Why Republicans reject climate science

Jonathan Chait analyses the reasons why Republicans deny anthropogenic global warming:

As the evidence for global warming gets stronger, Republicans are actually getting more skeptical. Al Gore's recent congressional testimony on the subject, and the chilly reception he received from GOP members, suggest the discouraging conclusion that skepticism on global warming is hardening into party dogma. Like the notion that tax cuts are always good or that President Bush is a brave war leader, it's something you almost have to believe if you're an elected Republican.

How did it get this way?

The easy answer is that Republicans are just tools of the energy industry. It's certainly true that many of them are. Leading global warming skeptic Rep. Joe L. Barton (R-Texas), for instance, was the subject of a fascinating story in the Wall Street Journal a couple of years ago. The bottom line is that his relationship to the energy industry is as puppet relates to hand.

But the financial relationship doesn't quite explain the entirety of GOP skepticism on global warming. For one thing, the energy industry has dramatically softened its opposition to global warming over the last year, even as Republicans have stiffened theirs.

The truth is more complicated -- and more depressing: A small number of hard-core ideologues (some, but not all, industry shills) have led the thinking for the whole conservative movement.

Your typical conservative has little interest in the issue. Of course, neither does the average nonconservative. But we nonconservatives tend to defer to mainstream scientific wisdom. Conservatives defer to a tiny handful of renegade scientists who reject the overwhelming professional consensus.

National Review magazine, with its popular website, is a perfect example. It has a blog dedicated to casting doubt on global warming, or solutions to global warming, or anybody who advocates a solution. Its title is "Planet Gore." The psychology at work here is pretty clear: Your average conservative may not know anything about climate science, but conservatives do know they hate Al Gore. So, hold up Gore as a hate figure and conservatives will let that dictate their thinking on the issue.

Read the whole thing.

Also see discussion from Brad Delong:

Why have the industry shills and the hard-core ideologues led the thinking for the whole conservative movement? They have led the thinking because the energy industry has funded them.

Mark Thoma:

I think the influence of business in the GOP, not just the energy industry, is a factor. The fear is that any policy to address global warming will require business to implement costly changes, or, in the case of unilateral action by the U.S., reduce competitiveness causing profit to fall. Thus the policies, and even the idea the global warming exists are resisted.

Matthew Yglesis:

Gore aside, it's genuinely striking how much of conservative thinking about global warming seems to be driven purely by hatred of environmentalists.

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Matt Nisbet has an additional factor: as people are leaving the GOP, what remains is ideologically more pure, thus GOP as a whole (although its overall numbers are dwindling) is getting more and more likely to deny global warming. While this does not address the causes, it partially explains the polling numbers.

This piece is a typical attempt to avoid any substantive issues by speculating on the mindset of the people holding the belief. Unfortunate.

"This piece is a typical attempt to avoid any substantive issues by speculating on the mindset of the people holding the belief. Unfortunate."

Yes, because there are absolutely no posts on Deltoid or any climate blog dealing with the substantive issues, and the cause of knee-jerk denialism is simply a prohibited topic of discussion.

By Tyler DiPietro (not verified) on 25 Mar 2007 #permalink

Also, conservatives must feel that global warming threatens their religious belief in free enterprise, because unfettered consumption and commercial activity does have negative consequences and because environmental solutions will require collective governmental action and intrusive regulations.

Kevin, I have noticed that while you regularly complain the lack of substantive argument. You never initiate such arguments and seldom take part in them when they do occur.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 25 Mar 2007 #permalink

Could be an expression of loyalty to the Party/Party line/Party ideology. The less clearly it's supported by Science - thus obviously wrongheaded - the more loyal they are showing themselves to be. This is not unique to the Right but when it comes to global warming the short and medium term financial interests of a lot of mega corporations are perceived to be at risk. Australia's coal industry is so much seen as tied to economic prosperity that any suggestion of a need to restrict it brings a storm of disbelief and outrage from mainstream politicians - not exclusively on the Right.
The really unfortunate aspect is that funding and support for the development of low emission alternatives, at a scale that says this really is serious isn't there. We'll see more spent propping up coal exports, fighting regulation that could restrict it's sale to certified low emission end-users than will get spent trying to develop low cost alternatives that might make coal unprofitable.

Why read an article when I can analyse my own brain.. so, why do I reject climate change/science ?

This is going to be a ramble so stick with me..

Before I start I should state that I believe that maybe climate change is probably happening and it is probably man-made (dragged kicking and screaming). However I do read alot of Tim Blair and other sceptic blogs. They have a point. There is alot of unnecessary alamism being created to try and get the population behind it.

Anyway back to my story..

By nature I am conservative. I like things the way they are. I don't complain about government, because things are good.

This extends into climate change.

Climate Change might change the way I live my life.

I find myself embracing climate change skeptisism whenever I read it with a whole heart, even though I know the argument is probably lost.

Why ? Because I want it to be wrong.

I want to pour masses of CO2 into the atmosphere with no adverse affects. Why wouldn't I ? This means we can grow the world's economy without a worry in the world. It means we don't need to change anything.

I absolutely guarantee you, the article you mention is totally wrong. We want global warming to be a lie. It is not out of loyalty to a controlling cabal.

Wouldn't you prefer it if there was no global warming ?

It's a bit like Iraq. I wish it had been smooth and worked - even if it didn't. Why would anyone want it to fail ? Of course I will embrace good news.

By the same token, don't you think it's strange how the left loves climate change ? They want it to be real.

Why does the left like it so much and embrace bad news with such enthusiasm.. let's see..

I think because it proves to their psychology that there is something wrong with the world and the way it is structured. "See! We were right. There's something wrong with the world. Let's change stuff.. not just green house gas emissions, but other social/economic institutions"

I guess it's a bit like leftys pretending Multiculturalism/Diversity "makes us stronger" etc. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, you want it to be true even if studies always show it making us weaker.

These are just my thoughts, I'm not trying to push an agenda. I find left/right psychology interesting.

Please try and be objective instead of point scoring.

By RightWinger (not verified) on 25 Mar 2007 #permalink

There's another explaination for the GOP's denial of climate change. It's a problem that requires government intervention to begin to solve. Once they hear "government intervention", or hear about a "government plan" or a treaty, they reflexively oppose it, because the government can't do anything right. Those few conservatives who do acknowledge the problem insist that the magical hand of the free market will solve the problem.

These are good explanations for why republicans reject the conclusion that global warming is man-made, but there is another reason for their imovable inertia when faced with the irresistable force of evidence. The answer lies in the "Psychology of Persuasion" where Robert B. Cialdini describes the six factors that influence our decision making:
commitment/consistency -- They do not want to appear to be flip flopping on an issue. This is why they held up flip-flopping to be such a great sin in the last Presidential election. Another factor, social proof, also comes into play where groupthink is as great an influence in their rejection of science as it was in their belief of WMD's in Iraq. The factor of likability -- they simply do not like Al Gore. The factor of reciprocity -- obvious when you track the campaign finances. The scarcity factor -- the romantic notion of the single voice of reason promoting an alternative climate change theory while everyone else is hopping on the CO2 bandwagon somehow lends more value to the theory with minority support. In their eyes cosmic rays and sunspots becomes greatly valued like Galileo's sun-centric vision and Wegener's theory of plate tectonics. And the factor of authority -- they blindly follow the ideological anti-scientific leadership.

It also reveals that it will be the science of persuasion and not the science of climate that will eventually win the policy battle.

I guess it's a bit like leftys pretending Multiculturalism/Diversity "makes us stronger" etc. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, you want it to be true even if studies always show it making us weaker.

Could you direct me towards some of these studies? I mean... have they taken, say, Switzerland into account? As long as people don't confuse being entitled to their own opinions with being entitled to their own facts, I can't see anything here to be afraid of.

By David MarjanoviÄ (not verified) on 26 Mar 2007 #permalink

People love a good conspiracy theory, especially if it reinforces their ideology. This is why so many on the extreme left think that Bush had something (active) to do with 9/11. This argument is usually based on something like "airpleanes can't explode like that," which is equivalent to the rabid right's "CO2 is life."

Because their president--and their ideology--has been under attack, many Repuiblicans have retreated and hardened their stance. In the same way the extreme left sees a conspiracy in 9/11, the Republicans see a conspiracy in climate science. The difference is that there seem to be a lot more in the hard right camp than in the hard left.

The middle ground trusts scientists, and I can't see how the right's denial of the science will not weaken the party for years to come. Not that I'm complaining about that.

Al Gore's testimony was so strong that only 24% of Rasmussen respondents reckon he has any expertise on the subject.

http://tinyurl.com/2goae2

By Jack Lacton (not verified) on 26 Mar 2007 #permalink

Tim W. says in his link:

"This is the heart of my opposition to the Goracle's message: it's his extremism, his brushing aside of the actual science (both of climate change and economics) which makes him so dangerous."

Do you have any actual evidence that Gore is brushing aside climate science?

RightWinger: Let me take a crack at addressing what I see and the main theme in your post. You embrace the deniers because it is what you want to believe. While I can understand this, that idea has no place in what is essentially a scientific argument.

To continue on with your Iraq example, I would love for it to be a democracy with a strong national health, education and security program. One where free and fair elections were held and a country that agreed to do their best to curb terrorism (and actually did). Now, although I would like this, I think that the reality is that there is a large amount of sectarian strife, a not insignificant insurgency, and a lack of health and education. Now, the real question is which do we use to make policy? The two scenarios lead to very different foreign policy actions so which one should we use?

That is the issue we see here. I would love to see some real evidence that global warming is not happening and is not a problem. But there isn't any and thus basing policy on that assumption is not rational.

In regards to alarmism, I find that a great deal of alarmism is generated by people like Tim Blair selectively quoting or news makers trying to - well - make news. In my opinion, a good example of alarmism is this http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/article2211566.ece. I agree that talking about methane fireballs tear across the sky, causing further warming. is alarmist, but show me a peer-reviewed document that claims it will happen.

Let me leave you with a quote from Fermi: Whatever nature has in store for mankind, unpleasant as it may be, men must accept, for ignorance is never better than knowledge.

By John Cross (not verified) on 26 Mar 2007 #permalink

And in Tim W's preceeding post, he calls Gore the "Goreacle" and the "Inventor of the Internet". He doesn't "hate" Gore, he just calls him names and spreads lies about him instead of engaging with his arguments.

Rightwinger - thank you for your honesty. Like John, I can definitely understand how denial (I don't want it to be true, so it isn't) can be extremely seductive. Trust me, I understand. However, in the real world, denial only makes things worse - it takes away the ability to understand and try to head off/fix/deal with the problem. It's fundamentally irresponsible. We're all grown-ups here - our job is to deal with the world, not hide from it. Think of it like a bill. Pretending the bill didn't really come in the mail/not thinking about it is an effective short-term strategy for reducing anxiety. So is ignoring the subsequent bill, and further such correspondence, and screening the phone calls to avoid the collection agency - except that each step makes the problem worse and worse, until what probably could have been handled relatively easily becomes a giant credit-destroying nightmare. Global warming has a similar dynamic. We already have to deal with it. But the longer we put it off, the worse it is going to get.

"By the same token, don't you think it's strange how the left loves climate change ? They want it to be real. Why does the left like it so much and embrace bad news with such enthusiasm.. let's see.. I think because it proves to their psychology that there is something wrong with the world and the way it is structured."

This may in fact be true for some small percentage of the non-global warming deniers who are in fact on the left. And indeed, the idea that this isn't necessarily the best of all possible worlds does mean that it's easier to recognize possible problems. But almost all of us (at least almost all) we would love it to be wrong, too. It's just that - well, y'know, our desires don't determine reality. If the overwhelming majority of astronomers, etc. said that there was a giant hunk of space rock headed our way, I would really want that to be not true, but given that the sober, safe, conservative thing to do would be to assume that the world's astronomers were as close as we have to a source of accurate knowledge (if not instant and total Truth), and make an immense, worldwide effort to deal with the problem. No?

Ian:

I make plenty of substantive arguments; the replies typically don't rise to the same standard which is discouraging.

There remain three independent reasons why, for example, the Lancet study is inconsistent in the face of the Nature report on it and public statements of the authors. No one has substantively answered any of those, but I certainly caught plenty of rhetorical flak for pointing it out. Why it's cool for the authors of a study not to know what their interviewers did is beyond me. How that wouldn't entail suspicions about the objectivity of their results and how closely interview protocols were followed to prevent biased replies or questioning is a mystery too. Oh well, let's see some more speculation on why I want Lancet to be all wrong.

Coturnix: And exactly what substantive reply to this sort of psychologizing nonsense is preferred? Do you really need me to point out that there is no valid way for the author of the article to accurately psychoanalyze the zeitgeist of the decidedly non-monolithic group of people who are skeptical of AGW? Did you think his analysis was right on? If so, there isn't much of substance that you are going to find relevant.

Davis, that's a great little comic.

Kevin - whether or not one agrees with Chait's piece, there's actually rather little psychoanalysis going on. Much of the focus is on political strategy:

"The phenomenon here is that a tiny number of influential conservative figures set the party line; dissenters are marginalized, and the rank and file go along with"

The actual bit of psychoanalysis involved (Gore, Hollywood liberals, and the left in general as "hate figures": global warming must be wrong because they worry about it) seem fairly reasonable -see Tim W. babbling about the "Goracle," etc.

And is it me, or is that an odd use of the word "zeitgeist"? Isn't it generally considered to be, literally, the spirit of the time (or age, or era), in reference to broad and overarching intellectual cultural trends across an entire society, rather than developments within one small and specific (if allegedly diverse) group of global warming denialists?

Rightwinger: "Because I want it to be wrong."

This is a natural human tendency and personally I try to compensate for it.

For example, one reason I'm an agnostic is that I can see the powerful non-rational appeal of a belief in an afterlife.

To take the case of Iraq, it would have been personally embarrassing to be proven wrong - but that would have been a trivial matter if the pre-war claims of a democratic, prosperous peaceful Iraq had eventuated.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 26 Mar 2007 #permalink

Kevin, your response is all about the Lancet study.

Strangely, I thought that in criticising an article about global warming (which mentions Iraq briefly in passing) you were talking about global warming.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 26 Mar 2007 #permalink

RightWinger, I don't love climate change. There aren't very many educated people who do. I'll grant you there is a tiny minority of environmentalists who think it's really cool, seeing it as something like the wrath of their god. But this is a tiny minority. For myself, I am willing to accept the scientific work (and the actuarial work--the insurance industry believes in climate change; they are paying claims on it), and go on from there. There's some satisfaction in being validated in my environmentalism, but I'd happily give that up if we could have New Orleans back, let alone avoid all the problems that are coming. And I think that, in a changing world, it is best to be ready to change.

By Randolph Fritz (not verified) on 26 Mar 2007 #permalink

Many of these people have got so much invested in denial that it is virtually impossible for them to change their tune at this point.

They have defined themselves -- in their own minds and the minds of others -- as "crusaders against the lefty evildoers (like Al Gore), using words like "greatest hoax ever perpetrated on mankind" to characterize their foes. It's hard (if not impossible) to back away from such an extreme position without looking both stupid and foolish -- irrelevant, really.

To say nothing of the fact that many of these people have undoubtedly actually convinced themselves that global warming is a hoax.

Tim, does Gore exaggerate or does he not?

By nanny_govt_sucks (not verified) on 26 Mar 2007 #permalink

The previous post there under my name was not in fact written by me. No way of proving or showing this of course, but you might note that authorship has been reassigned to the person who did write it.
I'm unsure about how posting to Planet Gore that I don't hate him undermines my point that I don't hate him, no, sorry, I don't.
As to evidence that Gore is brushing aside climate science, well, yes, it's there in the post. It isn't, from the stated point of view of a climate scientist (James Annan) a crisis. Gore says it is.

Nanny: What a surprise! You are backpedaling and changing your position. Lets be clear here, are you saying that Gore "exaggerates" or "wildly exaggerates"?

Tim Worstall: If you read further down the link to James, you can see this paragraph.

Although some would no doubt find grounds to disagree, I don't actually think that the current rate of climate change (0.2C/decade) is especially disastrous (it may on balance be harmful overall, and I'm sure it is to some species/people). The really big issue is making sure it doesn't double or worse, and hopefully bring it down a bit. I'm also not sure that "stabilising climate" is really a meaningful or useful goal - if we could get the warming rate down to 0.1C/decade or below then that would buy rather a lot of time and maybe the problem would pretty much go away in another couple of generations.

While, as he says the current trend is about 0.2C per decade, this is expected to accelerate. Thus I think that the important phrase is The really big issue is making sure it doesn't double or worse.

So I can agree that it is not a crisis if you can agree that keeping the rate below 0.2 per decade is the really big issue.

Since James sometimes reads this blog I am sure he can correct me if I have not understood his points.

By John Cross (not verified) on 27 Mar 2007 #permalink

nanny_govt_sucks says: "Maybe people are just tired of Gore's wild exaggerations,"

Starting way back in the 90's with his "I invented the internet" exaggeration, right?

I hate to break it to you, but Republican rejection of the science behind global warming is clearly about much more than Gore.

Many of those questioning global warming think the whole thing is a hoax, for God's sake. That doesn't mean they think Gore or anyone else exaggerated. It means they think the whole thing was invented by some liberal cabal! -- which is wacky beyond words.

And its not just global warming that they question. It's stem cell research, evolution, and a number of other scientific issues.

If you think this is merely about Gore, I'd say you have not been following the issue very closely (if at all). You are clearly trying to make it all about Gore, but that's another matter entirely.

I realise that James sometimes read this blog. It was this blog that directed me to James' blog in the first place, so that it now sits in my RSS reader.

I also realise that this might be a little difficult for some to comprehend. Yes, I am a contributor to Planet Gore. Also to TCS Daily (Techcentralstation as was). However, even given the opportunities for ad hominems there I do think that the climate is indeed changing, it's getting warmer, and that via a combination of land use changes and fossil fuel emissions that we humans are responsible for a lot of it (no, I won't even try and cry that solar variability or cosmic rays are really to blame. Even if they are that just makes the problem worse, not better).

So, I'm pretty well in line with the consensus view of the science of the climate. Where I disagree with the proposed actions is, well, in what we ought to be doing about it. I'm a big believer in that rather cynical branch of economics, public choice theory. Feeding good science into the political process does not lead to a scientifically good outcome. See corn ethanol in the US, or bio diesel in the EU.

I'm prepared to believe that in theory it is possible for there to be international governmental action which will solve this problem. I'm not sufficiently a believer in the ability of governments to actually deliver such a result to think that it will ever happen in practice.

I'm thus much much more interested in 1) advancing technology and 2) adaptation. In my day job I'm peripherally involved in 1) (which I suppose, if I were nakedly self-interested would have me screaming for more government subsidy, but I don't).

Tim,

There are certainly several contributors to Planet Gore (and elsewhere on NRO) that are very much not in line with the consensus. Iain Murray, Chris Horner, Roy Spencer, Mark Steyn, that last piece from Fred Thompson, etc. They in fact find the consensus ridiculous. The tenor of the Planet Gore blog is that Senator Inhofe and the British documentary are right, and the whole thing is a swindle. Why do you not take issue with them on that?

I still don't see a response. Would anyone like to answer?

Does Gore exaggerate/wildly exaggerate or does he not?

JB, Chait is reflecting on the reception that Gore received. I'm merely pointing out that Gore's (wild) exaggerations could be the primary reason why he is treated so skeptically, and maybe only to a lesser degree is the skepticism because of the flawed science behind AGW.

By nanny_govt_sucks (not verified) on 27 Mar 2007 #permalink

"Feeding good science into the political process does not lead to a scientifically good outcome."

I assume you meant "necessarily lead"(?)

True enough, but one thing is for certain, if you don't feed in good science (ie, if you feed in no science or junk "science" that holds that "Global warming is a hoax"), there is absolutely zero chance that you will ever have a scientifically good outcome.

The problem with the "debate" about global warming is that it has been completely unreasonable. Many Republicans have been "debating" the science (something they know almost nothing about), figuring that if they could use the uncertainty card to "cut the science off at the pass", that would be the end of the trail. In that case, they would never even have to debate the policy.

It is only very lately (after debating the science became completely untenable -- idiotic, really) that the sands have been shifting and some have started to say that "Yes we accept the science, but what we really wished to debate all along is the policy" (Yeh, right).

JB, if you wish, you can go and look through the archives of TCS for my pieces. I haven't changed my stance since I started writing publicly in early 2004 (same on my blog). If you care to mine the usenet archives, I was saying much the same thing before that. I was trading commentary with William Connelly of this parish (Science blogs) on much the same terms in the years after Lomborg published. My position has always been that I accept (with minor provisos) the basics of climate change and yet I worry about policy to correct it.
(A minor point but I'm not a Republican, not even American. Politically a classical liberal.)
Necessarily, well, perhaps. I'm enough of a cynic that I think that the possibility of an optimal result from the political process is tiny, whatever the information fed in. The distortions are such that we're as likely to get a good result by feeding crap in as we are good information. But I agree, that is indeed excessive cynicism.
BTW, did you note this piece?
http://planetgore.nationalreview.com/post/?q=Y2U3NmJhNjU1MzQ1YjMyZThmZj…
Iain Murray, myself, George Monbiot and the CEI, all agreeing that current policy on bio fuels is insane? And my argument would be, in fact is, that this entirely counter productive situation has come about precisely because we fed good information (we'd like to decarbonize the transport system, for good reasons) into the sausage grinder that is the political process, where it got hijacked by rent seekers.
So I may be too cynical, but I think that many others are not cynical enough.

Tim Worstall said" if you wish, you can go and look through the archives of TCS for my pieces. I haven't changed my stance since I started writing publicly in early 2004"

I never claimed you had, but it is clear (to me, at least) that there are some who have.

" It means they think the whole thing was invented by some liberal cabal! -- which is wacky beyond words."

Interestingly, there is a pseudoscientific movement that was more or less invented by a cabal (and is indeed wacky beyond words) - that is, the Intelligent Design creationism movement. Of course, that's on the right, not the left (and also proves that it actually is hard to pull off an airtight conspiracy, especially if you drop off your manifestos at Kinko's to get copied and can't stop yourself from preaching around the other true believers, even if you're on record . . .

And of course, there's industry-funded global warming denial, which I guess could be considered as a somewhat cabal-based product. Is it all just a big case of projection?

Actually, there is a critical distinction between the global warming and ID cabal cases.

In the case of global warming, the cabal would have to involve thousands of climate scientists throughout the world (a wacky claim, if ever there was one).

In the case of ID, the cabal only has to involve a relatively small number of scientists who are providing the the "scientific" basis for the ID claims being used by others (considerably more likely than the former case -- and hence, the claim that "there is a cabal of right wing nuts pushing ID" is much less wacky)

Ian:

You asserted I don't make substantive commentary, and I replied with evidence to the contrary. On this article in particular, no substantive commentary is needed. It makes no substantive assertions WRT to AGW except for a poorly founded claim that the IPCC SPM is evidence that the science of AGW is becoming more definitive. Outside of that lone sentence, the rest of the article is devoted to speculating about how and why the right must condemn AGW, which I find to be invalid logically.

Dan S.: The thrust of this whole article is Chait analyzing his own speculations about Republican thought. He appears to be pretty clear about it. And if you don't think that different people have different reasons for being skeptical of AGW, despite the group in question being Republican, I think the burden of proof would lie upon you to prove it.

nanny_govt_sucks: "I'm merely pointing out that Gore's (wild) exaggerations could be the primary reason why he is treated so skeptically, and maybe only to a lesser degree is the skepticism because of the flawed science behind AGW."

Nice try, but not very convincing.

Check the title of Tim's post again: "Why Republicans reject climate science".

The title is not "Why Republicans reject Gore".

Though they clearly do not like Gore and are clearly using him as a punching bag for the policy (eg, emissions controls),they would undoubtedly reject that policy even if Gore had never been born (or is it born again?).

Someone who believes that "Global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on mankind", will manage to find some bogeyman to fixate on, no matter what.

Gore is merely convenient because the American media (eg, NY Times) think he is a big boob as well. If Gore did not exist, then the Republicans would either have to focus on someone else or actually invent someone like Gore to use as their punching bag.

nanny said:

"Does Gore exaggerate/wildly exaggerate or does he not?"

I'm not aware of Gore exaggerating. People say he exaggerates, then they provide an example based on something he never said. (e.g. 20 feet sea level rise by 2100).

Tim W. said:

"As to evidence that Gore is brushing aside climate science, well, yes, it's there in the post. It isn't, from the stated point of view of a climate scientist (James Annan) a crisis. Gore says it is."

I hardly think a subjective opinion on what is or is not a crisis constitues "brushing aside the actual science." Further, Gavin Schmidt sees AGW as a crisis:

http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=2938707&page=1

I'm sure other scientists do as well.

Tell you what Nanny, since you claim that Gore frequently exaggerates, why not pull out three or four of the most egregious examples so we can judge for ourselves.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 27 Mar 2007 #permalink

Whether the situation is a crisis or not is a subjective call that the science alone can not decide.

While the decisions about whether there is a crisis and what to do about it can be advised by the science, they can not be decided by the science.

Those are policy questions and surprise, surprise, Al Gore is a politician who has spent most of his career making and deciding on policy.

One of the top climate scientists in the US -- NASA's James Hansen -- also thinks there is a crisis (how else can one interpret his statement that the next ten years are a window of opportunity that may be closing thereafter?).

Hansen has more credibility than most when it comes to making projections into the future. He has a proven track record of making correct temperature projections at least a decade ahead of time.

Hansen also said recently that Gore got the science basically right, by the way -- as has Gavin Schmidt, also at NASA.

The idea that Gore is out there in left field just making up the science as he goes along is itself a myth. It's pure fiction.

There are a few things that Gore could have been more careful about in his movie -- the implication that Hurricane Katrina might have been made worse by Global warming than it otherwise might have been, for example.

The jury is still out on whether global warming will lead to more intense storms (some scientists think it will, some think not) and climate scientists may never be able to say whether an individual storm has been worsened by global warming, at any rate.
But Gore got most of the science right.

I cannot see any reason to believe that most Republican members of the US government are so dull witted or unread as not to see that AGW is clearly established as a cause that badly needs to be cut down. Surely it is more likely that asked a survey question they just respond with what seems to be politically smart, or survivable, or safe at the moment. They are public figures, not exactly a random samlple of Americans. What would anyone expect them to say, that of course AGW was a serious threat to the way of life and Bush should be sent to eco kinder garten? Since no such figures present when questions are coupled with advocacy of nuclear power, that can just as easily be considered as proof they know the situation and belief it is currently safe to affirm it if tied to a postive program Bush and co are on record as favoring. No body needs a survey to know that Bush is a bully, surrounds himself with the same kind of political snakes that Nixon did (remember the"Cobra" who has resurfaced in the same functions but as a NGO "born again" figure), and continually seeks political revenge.
So it is still safe and the wisest course politically to say I don't believe. Best thing is to chase the corporations, have City Councils send letters to corporations, how much do you produce and what are you going to do about it. Currently, ground swell campaigns will be absolutely sure fire. Also campaign to have Deniers indicted, and if it is said there is no law, call for a law. What they do is a lot more harmful that nasty remarks against Jewish people. Just proposing it will galvanize a lot of citizens.

The interesting thing about all the 'deniers' (I know, you hate that term..)is that there is a pathology or worldview which most of us don't share, as Ken and Dan.S have pointed out.
The best way of seeing this in action is to have a look at the threads of many of the articles posted on RealClimate, or BadScience for example (the Comment is Free section of the Guardian after George Monbiot's articles on the Warming Swindle programme was the perfect case).
The poster would normally start off with a comment such as 'the eco-fascists/green Taliban/nanny state' and then go on with the usual points which appear on Deltoids GW Bingo page.
After this, you post some links which might help them, such as RealClimate or even a government website or two. They then reply very quickly (having almost certainly not looked at any of the points you raise) with more of the same, possibly culled from the usual sites, such as JunkScience, etc.
In relation to TGGWS, you ask them about the people taking part, the graph, etc; and fairly quickly you realise that this programme, like the usual sites they mention, is canon.
Any time you mention the backgrounds of people like Fred Singer, you are involved in blackening their names. The graph is the graph, and Al Gore, James Hansen and Michael Mann are evil. And so it goes on. They never answer any of your points, but instead make vague attempts at hairsplitting about 'consensus' and '90% certain means its 10% uncertain', etc. Any attempt to counter the stuff they spout is answered 'Please try and be objective instead of point scoring'. At which point you give up.
Its a cult. Think of it that way and it all makes sense.
Despite the arguement that AGW is some sort of religion, its actually the deniers who hold their worldview together through faith. Its not about facts, or peer-review, or probability, because none of it matters to them. We might as well be speaking Cornish, because they don't want to hear. Rightwinger should be thanked for admitting why he feels as he does, because its honest. A number of people have already pointed out its flaws, but it helps us to understand why they believe what they believe, despite all the evidence.
Perhaps we should change tack. Its not enough to simply use facts, because they ignore them. Scaring the hell out of them with AGW (and by God, it is scary) doesn't work, because you are accused of overstating the case (although Hardacker and Co. seem to do that anyway), so perhaps we should try something else. We had better do something, because by what I've seen in the last few weeks on various messege boards, there are a hell of a lot of them out there. If you don't belive me, try looking at the reader reviews for The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming (and Environmentalism) on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/customer-reviews/1596985011/sr=ARRAY(0…
- there are a lot of people who want to believe, and they vote.

"Its not enough to simply use facts, because they ignore them. Scaring the hell out of them with AGW (and by God, it is scary) doesn't work, because you are accused of overstating the case'

I think the best tactic is merely to point out to others that the facts don't matter to these people -- and to point out what they are really up to.

Some may be just deluded, but I suspect that many (probably most of the ones leading the parade) are not -- which means they are simply lying.

MikeB:

Despite your claims about "all deniers":

I am aware of several peer reviewed studies which cast doubt on claims made AGW supporters, including some few which would apparently require some major revision of AGW theory.

I am aware of several influential environmentalists plainly making the pragmatic case, made decades before some people who have currently made minor points about the need to exaggerate, for lying to the public at large in service of saving the planet, "green cathedrals," animal species or whatever they believe is more important than the literal truth.

I am aware that the nature of paleoclimatology is itself highly speculative, far from settled and I think being brought to legitimate questioning on several fronts.

I am aware that the UN and many governments of the world are far more inclined to support redistributive wealth plans involving wealth transfer away from the US than they ought, and that the policy implications of most plans in the marketplace of global warming ideas involve just that.

Unlike having belief sans evidence, i.e. faith in no AGW, I simply think the AGW supporters have made a poor causal case for their claim and have made it from an ideologically and rhetorically suspect position. Not being a climatologist it is obviously hard for me to evaluate the primary arguments being advanced. Apparently, according to some critiques I have seen of a number of peer reviewed articles, it is also hard for other scientists, including other climatologists, to accurately evaluate one another's work.

Introduce sound indication of ideological bias into the mix, and I think Mann's wrt MBH 98 & 99 is established, and I really need a higher level of proof for AGW than I might have required otherwise. Wegman's critique of Mann is plain and pretty devastating. The isolation of the paleoclimatology community from the larger statistical community is itself a barrier to my uncritical acceptance.

I say this from a position of being fine with reducing my "carbon footprint" as most of the ways I would do so also make sound fiscal sense. I like gas efficient vehicles. I like not wasting energy and saving money as a result. Rational people should.

If there is a cult of anti-AGW folks out there there is also a cult of AGW supporters out there trumpeting every heat wave and hurricane as proof of AGW and every skeptic as a fringe lunatic, true believer. Most of all, people like you making blanket claims about the irrationality of all deniers, is not likely to convince anyone of anything. You are at best preaching to the choir and at worst alienating anyone who finds rational argument more persuasive than logically invalid, armchair psychoanalysis.

Kevin please document all these claims you're "aware" of so we can be aware of them too.

Oh and I've pointed this out before but if you want to represent yourself as the moderate rational face of climate skepticism you might want to leave out the UN World Socialism conspiracy stuff. Otherwise we'll end up with you denouncing Thatcher as a dirty commie once again and defining socialism as essentially everything other than some libertarian utopia.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 28 Mar 2007 #permalink

Kevin: you feel that "Wegman's critique of Mann" is devistating, so how do you feel about his statement that we should base our knowledge about global warming on what the climatologists think?

By John Cross (not verified) on 28 Mar 2007 #permalink

Kevin is resurrecting a tired argument that has been addressed ad nauseum here and elsewhere.

Kevin needs to do a little research because if he did, he would realize that the case for AGW does not depend on the work of any one individual (Mann or anyone else). It is a very large body of work and it all points to one thing: that most of the warming over the past 50 years was caused by human activities (ie, emissions). If the papers by Mann magically vanished into thin air, the conclusion about AGW would not change one bit.

No time to read all of this conversation in detail but I get the drift. So some of you might find this tale of a 'real-life', official IPCC reviewer interesting. He tried, my God, how he tried, to do his job and the copies of his correspondence with the IPCC officials and scientists make for an interesting insight. Having read it, I can only ask, would you buy a second-hand car from any of these people?

http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=640#more-640

Why not? He is, or was, an official reviewer for the IPCC which I should have thought was worth something in your eyes. Was there something wrong or dubious concerning the questions he asked of the IPCC officials and the researchers whose papers he was asked to review? They are all detailed in his published correspondence which only takes a few minutes to read, here: http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=640#more-640

David,

Your link shows what a shrill crank Steve McIntyre is. He was told politely that the IPCC would not get involved with any data collection, and he responded in an inappropriate way. He's been bugging actual scientists for years.

But he gets to post those emails on his site for all his sycophants to read and say "Gosh, Steve. You're doing a helluva job uncovering this vast socialist conspiracy."

Well, Abe, I can only say that 'shrillness' lies in the ear of the listener! For myself, I cannot detect any 'shrillness' in his polite requests, backed up by quotes from the IPCC regulations, themselves. As to being a "crank", that is an assertion requiring some, er, "data access"!

Further to Tim's comment above, I wonder (as an ex-second-hand car dealer, myself) if he would buy a car from me if I failed to provide him with *all* the service history. If the answer is yes, can I tell him, confidentially, of course, that I have a particularly nice Mercedes coming up for a mere £55k and he could be a proud owner!

Interesting how a thread entitled "Why Republicans reject climate science" eventually settled down on a discussion of Steve McIntyre.

I wonder, David, if you'd go to the time and trouble to provide the service history to an illiterate? To someone too young to drive? To a rival dealer?

Best,

D

JB remarks: "Interesting how a thread entitled "Why Republicans reject climate science" eventually settled down on a discussion of Steve McIntyre" although, even if it were true which it is not, for the life of me I can't find anything interesting in it! This latter part of the conversation above is solely concerned with the experience of an IPCC-appointed reviewer who was refused basic data by both the IPCC and the scientific writers of the original papers. The fact that it is Steve McIntyre and not 'Joe Bloggs' is neither here nor there. But, alas, as so often, I'm sure, perhaps I'm missing something!

Actually, Dano, to stretch the second-hand car (scientific(?) proposition) metaphor further; in this case it is *me* who is the customer in that I find myself being sold a Bill of Goods by all and sundry and one that comes at an exceedingly high price, not just in financial terms but also in loss of personal liberties. Consequently, in this scientific context, I probably come under your classification of "ignorant", although you, as a very clever fellow will know that that does not necessarily equate to unintelligent. The behaviour of the IPCC and its mandated authors gives me grounds for suspicion (I put it no higher), much in the same way as a second-hand car dealer would who continually leans against, and thus covers up, a dodgy bit of bodywork (not that I ever went in for such under-hand practices, myself - perish the thought!) My suspicion is only heightened by the implication contained in *your* use of the phrase "a rival dealer". Thus, you lead me to believe (correct me if I'm wrong) that in your opinion a scientist proposing a hypothesis should not under any circumstances offer the evidence to "a rival dealer" in ideas.

I am just in the process of reading (slowly and probably with my lips moving, I confess) a book that is hard going for me, on the subject of the philosophical/scientific differences between Kuhn and Popper. This thread provides me with some practical, or even, laboratorial examples!

David,

I think Dr. Solomon makes a good point about not letting the IPCC process interfere with journals. Mr. McIntyre is too busy playing the victim to see that point. You'd think people who see the IPCC as an insidious political organization would not want them involved in the peer review process of journals.

"Was there something wrong or dubious concerning the questions he asked of the IPCC officials and the researchers whose papers he was asked to review?"

Well, yes. McIntyre failed to get the point that the information in an unpublished paper is supposed to be, believe it or not, unpublished. I don't know anything about IPCC processes that involve using unpublished papers but contrary to what McIntyre thinks they are not a license to treat them as if they are published papers.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 29 Mar 2007 #permalink

In that case, Abe, why does the IPCC pretend that the reports they commission *are* peer reviewed when they know (and now we know, thanks to Mr. McIntyre!) that they cannot be because the basic data is withheld?

You wouldn't be trying to flog me an old banger with clocked mileage, would you, Abe?

Well Kevin and David Duff kind of made the case for my remarks in my last post.

From Kevin we had 'UN World Socialism conspiracy stuff' (as Ian Gould put it), which is sort of similar to the 'green taliban' stuff, although 'cult of AGW supporters' was a lot closer.

Then there was 'several peer reviewed studies which cast doubt on claims made AGW supporters, including some few which would apparently require some major revision of AGW theory' and 'I am aware of several influential environmentalists plainly making the pragmatic case', which follows the pattern of those 'experts' who disagree with AGW. Of course you didn't mention any names, which is par for the course. Now it could be that these 'peer-reviewed' scientists have secret identities ('a mild-mannered AGW fellow traveller by day, but a masked skeptic crusader by night, fighting for truth, justice and the Competitive Enterprise Institute!') or perhaps they simply don't exist and are figments of your or someone else's imagination. Since you dont actually mention any names, we all suspect the latter (please prove us wrong, go on, try).

I love this bit - 'I simply think the AGW supporters have made a poor causal case for their claim and have made it from an ideologically and rhetorically suspect position.'.
Of course the thosands of peer-reviewed articles, mountains of data, etc are worthless. But then you know better, because ' Not being a climatologist it is obviously hard for me to evaluate the primary arguments being advanced. Apparently, according to some critiques I have seen of a number of peer reviewed articles, it is also hard for other scientists, including other climatologists, to accurately evaluate one another's work.' Yes, because actually looking at other peoples articles tends to involve dragging your lazy arse to the college library, reading an article and trying to rip it apart, which is something that no academic ever bothers with. Instead, you could simply reject all the data out of hand as being suspect, which is much easier.

You also mentioned Mann (so that's one out of three). John Cross and JB already bitch-slapped you for that one, so I can't really be bothered.

The cult part? Um - none of us want AGW to be true - I mean I like the planet as it is, and I like flying, going to the shops and generally not living in a yurt (and having spent 5 weeks living in a tent while on fieldwork, thats more than enough for me). We don't want it to be true either, but it is. Believing in something despite all evidence to the contary is the very definition of faith, and it seems that faith is what (and all) you have.

As for David Duff - don't you guys bother to use 'the Google' on these people? Almost at the bottom of the first page 'http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Stephen_McIntyre

or just Wiki the guy. Its not difficult, but then again, if you want to quote his stuff, that's up to you. But don't do it here...your just asking for trouble.

Seriously, I'm in agreement with Mike Stark (Mike the Mad Biologist has a link here ) http://scienceblogs.com/mikethemadbiologist/2007/03/willful_
ignorance_the_global_w.php . I love the thoughts 'don't go out of your way to be nice or polite' and 'we can't afford the small talk' - damn right.

David Duff is making the same mistake as Kevin made above (and Steve McIntyre made).

As I indicated above (and has been indicated ad nauseum and ad infinitum here and elsewhere), the case for AGW does not depend on the work of any one individual (Mann, Hegerl, D'Arrigo or anyone else).

It is a very large body of work and it all points to one thing: that most of the warming over the past 50 years was caused by human activities (ie, emissions). If the papers by Mann, Hegerl and D'Arrigo magically vanished into thin air, the conclusion about AGW would not change one bit.

The implication that because one reviewer could not get the data he requested, that all the science going into the IPCC process is now suspect is simply so much nonsense.

I would therefore make the same suggestion to David as I made to Kevin above: Do a little research (and not just on Climate Audit).

JB said:

"that most of the warming over the past 50 years was caused by human activities"

I have seen this reference to 50 years in a few locations and I am curious as to how it is derived.

When I look at GISS "Global Temperature: Land-Ocean Index" it clearly indicates that the recent warming started in about 1974. Prior to 1974 the trend suggests global temperatures were relatively flat.

Shouldn't we be saying "that most of the warming over the last 30 years was caused by human activities"?

By Jeff Norman (not verified) on 29 Mar 2007 #permalink

Jeff:

That comes directly from the latest (2007) IPCC Summary for Policymakers:

"Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very
likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations12. This is an
advance since the TAR's conclusion that "most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely
to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations".

David,

The data is only withheld prior to publication because requesting it interferes with the peer review process of the journal considering the paper.

Any unpubished sources must be noted in the draft of the report. By the time the report is published in full all sources will be published (I think they must have been published by May 2006--though I'm not sure).

Frankly, I think the decision by an individual scientist to not send McIntyre any data is justified by unfounded accusations of fraud that he has levied in the past.

In short, McIntyre is blowing smoke you know where.

Just wanna put my 2 cents in, I have seen this guy kevin post before, and he seems to be an idiot. He comes in and ambushes, and then does not defend. You won't see kevin's name here again, the chickenshit.

David,

My point is these scientists know Stevie Mac is looking to rubbish their work, and they have nothing to compel them to cooperate (look what happened to make Mann waste tons of time).

If you care to look, no one is denying data to climate scientists. No one. They are, however, like you would do, denying data to people who don't know climate (look what happened to make Mann waste tons of time).

Lastly, explaining this concept to people wastes tons of time. The decisionmakers know the story. Sadly, capitalism controls the telling (and the electing).

Best,

D

Davie Duff: "I find myself being sold a Bill of Goods by all and sundry and one that comes at an exceedingly high price, not just in financial terms but also in loss of personal liberties."

So yet another "skeptic" rejects the science because he doesn't want to believe it.

If only they were equally skeptic when the oil industries were peddled their claims that reducing greenhouse gas would lead to economic disaster.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 29 Mar 2007 #permalink

Chris wrote:

"I don't know anything about IPCC processes that involve using unpublished papers but contrary to what McIntyre thinks they are not a license to treat them as if they are published papers."

Uh? He was asked to review an unpublished paper back in August of 2005. How is that "treating them as if they are published papers"? Steve McIntyre is just now (it is 2007, after all) getting around to recounting the history -- namely, events surrounding problems of data access back in 2005. I think we all know that publication of the reviewed paper happened some time ago.

Let me play Abe G.'s 'shrill crank':

I have visited Climate Audit at http://www.climateaudit.org
and I have to say that my assessment differs. Steve McIntyre is true to his URL, that is, of being an auditor or at least trying to be one, in the face of obstructionist behaviour by some at the IPCC.

I don't think you can much argue with his own words at http://www.climatesearch.com/newsDetail.cfm?nwsId=131

Steve McIntyre has never said that AGW is not possible. In fact he has not come down on one or the other side. What got him motivated to get involved in the whole process was his amazement at how lax the prevailing standards in Climate Research were regarding requirements for supporting documentation and audit trails. Seems pretty basic to me. I cannot see how that is a matter of "bugging actual scientists for years" or having anything to do with "uncovering this vast socialist conspiracy".

Let's face it. Scientists are human beings. They have the same foibles as we all do. They are not gods. Is there no chance that Mann et al didn't perhaps take just a little umbrage at having some puny geologist point out to them shortcomings with regard to their own scientific methodology?

Hmmmm! Where to begin? Well, I will leave Kevin to fight his own battles but will share a smile at MikeB's complaint that Kevin failed to name names whilst indicating to us all that he, Mike, stood ready at a moment's notice to rubbish anyone he named - which might explain why Kevin didn't bother in the first place! (Personally I have never heard of the "Competitive Enterprise Institute". Is it some sort of off-shoot from the Ku Klux Klan, or something equally horrid?)

Mike then points to a site, which appears to have the same sort of authority as 'Mann et al', given that it purports to contain a bio of Mr. McIntyre although it fails to report that he was an IPCC-appointed reviewer who was refused access to the basic data of a paper by both the original authors and their employers, the , er, IPCC!

Mike then falls into the trap of forgetting that writing tells you more about the writer than the subject by finishing with this little gem: "I love the thoughts 'don't go out of your way to be nice or polite' and 'we can't afford the small talk' - damn right." Oh well, there goes the Enlightenment!

JB, on the other hand, does remain polite, for which many thanks. Unfortunately, his riposte to me has the accuracy of a 14th c. petard because he will not find me denying, here or anywhere else, that "the case for AGW does not depend on the work of any one individual (Mann, Hegerl, D'Arrigo or anyone else)." Nor, apparently will he find his bugbear, Mr. McIntyre, doing the same because he has just written: "I have never suggested that doubling CO2 is not a serious issue or that the impact of doubling CO2 should not be assessed in the most careful possible manner or that we know that such doubling is not a problem. I've only studied a subset of the arguments, primarily pertaining to climate reconstructions. The main argument is from the physics. I've been criticized for insufficiently attending to these arguments." Sounds humble enough to me, but at this point one is forced to ask, rather forcibly, I'm afraid, what does JB make of the works of " Mann, Hegerl, D'Arrigo or anyone else"? Forgetting the "anyone else", does he stand by the others?

Also, I have to ask if he is supporting the notion of science by democratic vote? In other words, if a majority of scientists propose 'x', then 'x' it is! (Personally I always thought that phlogiston theory had a lot going for it until that Lavoisier spoiled it all - but then, dammit, he was French, you know!)

He urges me, quite properly, "Do a little research (and not just on Climate Audit)" which is precisely and exactly what I am doing over here! However, no-one answers the bloody questions! (Am I suprised? NO!) Anyway, one more time: Does the in-action of the IPCC and the downright refusal of the authors to supply basic data to a reviewer comply with 'Best Practice' in the scientific world; and should it colour the way one views their conclusions?

"Is there no chance that Mann et al didn't perhaps take just a little umbrage at having some puny geologist point out to them shortcomings with regard to their own scientific methodology?"

My, my, are we into psychoanalysis now?

"Lie back on ze couch while I ask you a few questions about your childhood -- and your tree-ring data."

Is the evidence for global warming getting stronger. I've been following this issue for a number of years and I still haven't seen any "evidence" of anthropogenic global warming. I don't deny that more CO2 in the atmosphere should warm the climate, but where's the evidence?

My last response seemed to have been accepted but has not appeared. I put it down to all that hot air everyone keeps on about, but this is by way of a test to see if I get through.

Psychoanalysis is fine and it certainly can help those of us who are so afflicted with denial syndrome that we won't even bother to study the relevant issues.

Similarly it can help those of us who become so insomnious over worrying about the coming AGW apocalypse that our mental and physical health begins to suffer.

But to achieve anything relevant, socially and personally, we should examine -- and where we have the skills, contribute to -- the various scientific and technical and social studies.
This is not a one-person effort. This is not even a one school of science effort, limited just to Climate Science, as confirmed by another contributor earlier.
This will take all of us helping our brothers and sisters (near and far, even in China) for us to adapt and cope.

This would be true even if we were limiting ourselves to the damage caused by particulate matter in China's booming urban areas. The respiratory diseases alone are striking down many people in China today. They are about where London was during the great smoke killing fog (= SMOG) of 1952 in London which killed thousands:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Smog_of_1952

Apropos of this:

If anyone is interested in the recent (March 14, 2007) MIT report on the Future of Coal, please go to:

http://web.mit.edu/coal/

As quoted from that web page:

"The report states that carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) is the critical enabling technology to help reduce CO2 emissions significantly while also allowing coal to meet the world's pressing energy needs."

WARNING: If you refuse to read any research even partly funded by energy companies, then don't go to MIT's site because MIT makes this funding acknowledgement on their website:

"Generous financial support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Energy Foundation, the Better World Fund, Norwegian Research Council, and the MIT Office of the Provost is gratefully acknowledged. Shell provided additional support for part of MIT's studies in China."

Also, an associated newspaper article that writes up the part of MIT's study that deals with China's use of coal (funded by Shell, as indicated above) can be found at:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070328.wrreynolds2…

Samplings:

"The country [China] builds 100 large -- 500-megawatt -- coal-fired power plants a year. One-quarter of them are completely renegade, never approved by any central government department, board or agency."

"The number of 500-megawatt plants needed, he notes, will be 2,857, one hundred more a year for 28 years and counting."

So glad that you could join the conversation after all those years, Rip!

Hans: "This will take all of us helping our brothers and sisters (near and far, even in China) for us to adapt and cope."

Yes if only their were some mechanism to assist the developing world both to develop and to clean up their environment - a Clean Development Mechanism if you will.

If only the authors of the Kyoto Protocol had thought of that.

Existing Chinese power plants are highly inefficient and use low-grade coal, thus they contribute disproportionately both to local air pollution and to global warming.

Energy efficiency, stronger regulation for new coal-fired powerplants and cars and aggressive pursuit of alternative energy in China is probably one of the lowest cost global strategies to address the growth in carbon dioxide emissions.

Kyoto provides the tools to do this.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 29 Mar 2007 #permalink

It's what they call the news. Or as Harold Myerson put it in the Washington post

What gives with the Republicans? How have they -- not just in the White House but in Congress, too -- become so detached from reality?
There are, I think, four possible, partial explanations. The first is Rudy-ex-machina-- the hope that the party will nominate somebody who is not perceived to be part of their current mess and who will sweep them back into power no matter how big a hole they may now be digging for him. The second is a strategy to make it impossible for the Democrats to pass any legislation, and then run against the do-nothing Democrats.
The third is that the alternative reality conveyed by the Republican media -- Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and their ilk -- has created a Republican activist base that is genuinely not reality-based, and from which the current generation of Republican pols is disproportionately drawn. And the fourth, pertaining specifically to the inability of the administration to stop politicizing government, is that good government is just not in their DNA. Bush and Rove are no more inclined to create a government based on such impartial values as law and science than they are to set up collective farms.

Further evidence as to the impact of global warming:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/upi/index.php?feed=Science&article=UPI-1-20…

Global warming impacts food production

"LIVERMORE, Calif., March 19 (UPI) -- U.S. government scientists have found rising temperatures since 1981 have caused annual losses of about $5 billion in the world's major cereal crops.

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories researchers discovered that from 1981-2002, the world's fields of wheat, corn and barley have produced a combined 40 million metric tons less per year because of increasing temperatures caused by human activities.

"Though the impacts are relatively small compared to the technological yield gains over the same period, the results demonstrate that negative impacts of climate trends on crop yields at the global scale are already occurring," said David Lobell, the study's lead author.

The study is the first to estimate how much global food production has been affected by climate change. Annual global temperatures increased by about 0.7 degrees Fahrenheit between 1980 and 2002, with larger changes in several regions.

"Most people tend to think of climate change as something that will impact the future but this study shows that warming over the past two decades already has had real effects on global food supply," said Christopher Field, the study's co-author."

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 29 Mar 2007 #permalink

Abe G. writes:

"The data is [sic] only withheld prior to publication because requesting it [sic] interferes with the peer review process of the journal considering the paper.

"Any unpubished [sic] sources must be noted in the draft of the report. By the time the report is published in full all sources will be published..."

Maybe Abe, since you appear to know the accepted standards for publishing scientific papers, you could also tell us if the data are similarly withheld from the person(s) who might be reviewing on behalf of the publishing journal itself (i.e., prior to publication)?

And while you're at it, could you please tell us whether "all sources will be published" means that, after publication, an interested third-party investigator will then, finally, have access to the data which were withheld prior to publication?

In Climate Science, it does not appear to work in this manner.

That is basically the point that Steve McIntyre and his colleagues have been making all along, and are still making today in the face of the stonewalling and the obstructionistic behaviour of some researchers in the Climate Science community.

How can scientific papers that purport to statistically analyze data and draw valid conclusions from those data not want to make those data and models available?
I am assuming the researchers would want their own conclusions to be meaningfully taken into account by public policy makers for the good of all of our home planet's inhabitants, and that such researchers weren't in it for the money or for the Nobels.
I am sure you and all of us are deeply interested in having such important public policy decisions made judiciously and having them properly based on valid conclusions in such scientific papers. Then what harm to allow access to examine the underlying data?

I think Republican rejection of climate science is like 'Christian' rejection of evolution; to accept it would violate what some see as a tenent of the faith, although it's really just a shibboleth of a few sects.

hans, I don't usually like to feed the trolls, but sorry - you're wrong. I regularly review for 3 journals, publish in a few more, and I've never asked or been asked by a reviewer for my data, and none of my co-reviewers have ever asked to see the data. It's not a nobel-hungry issue, it's the thinly veiled accusation of fraud. Unless you don't trust the data, the information you need will be available in the manuscript. If it's not, then the reviewer will that bring out. Unless the findings are truly incredible (as in not credible), asking for the data is a delaying tactic. If it's publicly available, run your own analyses. If not, you're trying to set yourself up as a co-author - bad form (although I've had a few reviewers whose excellent suggestions could have qualified them as co-authors). Go get access to your own data, or propose a joint project and make a real contribution.

I think the rejection of man-made Global Warming may come in the way it's presented. First, when I hear that "the debate is over" it starts to sound a bit Orwellian to me. Second, to say Global Warming is all man-made and natural cycles are out of the equation....it makes me wonder if we have lost the ability to reason. Is it possible Global Warming could be caused by cycles and enhanced by man? We live in a solar system, we are in constant change, I'm talking entropy here.
Another problem I have with the presentation is the hype. When I hear words like "Catostrophic" and "Chaos" I get flashbacks of everything else in my life that I've learned was hyped with scare tactics ie; Y2K, Killer Bees, Radon, West Nile Virus,Sars,Bird Flu, Mad cow etc....not to say they aren't potential problems...but never as bad as predicted.
Finally, the IPCC said Global Warming was "most likely" caused by man.....not definetly caused by man....so how can the debate be over.
Bottom line...we should all strive to be good stewards of the land regardless...but I don't think the rejection is so much against Global Warming as it is to the "Debate Is Over Man-Made Global Warming".

By Bob Stalling (not verified) on 29 Mar 2007 #permalink

Ian, I'm curious as to why you think the two graphs you linked to are evidence that more CO2 in the atmosphere has warmed the climate?

I give you that they could be presented as evidence that the climate has warmed, but they say nothing about any supposed cause.

By nanny_govt_sucks (not verified) on 29 Mar 2007 #permalink

Actually, Hans, I'm a bit tired of rehashing the publically available IPCC methods regarding their review process. In my fatigue I might let a typo slip by or treat "data" as a singular noun :).

If the data be really an issue, them would be raised within the climate science community. Unless, of course, you think they are some insidious cabal intent on dismantaling the west. Or just normal everyday corrupt.

Well, one good reason for not giving the data to others before publication is that they can steal it. Unfortunately Eli is serious.

Nanny,

PJ expressly said that he accepted the argument that increased CO2 should lead to global warming. He simply asked whether the evidence for such warming has improved.

Meanwhile, can you please explain the mechanism by which increasing the concentration of a known greenhouse gas will NOT lead to a temperature increase?

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 29 Mar 2007 #permalink

Second, to say Global Warming is all man-made and natural cycles are out of the equation....it makes me wonder if we have lost the ability to reason.

Climate scientists don't say that "global warming is all man-made".

So perhaps you should ask yourself ... "why do denialists lie about what climate scientists say".

Stewart, what exactly are you reviewing for? If you or no one else has ever requested the data, then what exactly are you reviewing? Hell, what if they innocently screwed up the math? Your note is really disconcerting... I spent several years working in a university research lab as an undergraduate and graduate assistant. While never listed as a co-author, I worked closely with the experimentation, reports, data gathering, you name it for several published articles about the properties of alternate refrigerants (this was the early 90's). Data, sample calculations, computer code, etc. were all demanded and reviewed by third parties at multiple times during the life of the funded research, from proof-of-concept through the final reports to ASHRAE. I honestly cannot imagine you not being embarassed by what you wrote. Are all the people in your line of work so childish that they would view a request for data as an accusation of fraud (your words, not mine)?

And DANO, I'm curious about your comment... most of those organizations that have policies about archiving data usually state that the data needs to be stored in some publicly available place. Is it really your contention that scientists should hold the data and make people come to them? Who becomes the arbiter of which people deserve the data? This is just insane... Publicly funded research should have all results/data/notes/etc. publicly available at the library (at least any library with a computer with an FTP client).

By oconnellc@yahoo.com (not verified) on 29 Mar 2007 #permalink

Meanwhile, can you please explain the mechanism by which increasing the concentration of a known greenhouse gas will NOT lead to a temperature increase?

No, I don't think I'll be able to explain that mechanism, but I can show you its effects by pointing to periods of decreasing temperature while CO2 was on the increase.

By nanny_govt_sucks (not verified) on 29 Mar 2007 #permalink

Please do so.

Also please try to get your head around the idea that there are multiple other impacts on the Earth's climate.

At some point in the past, one or of these effects may have had a colling effect greater than the warming effect of increased CO2.

But unless the basic physics of the carbon dioxide molecule changes then up to the point of saturation, more co2 = more IR absorption.

Also could you explain why this unexplained countervailing effect just happens to have kicked in at the same that carbon dioxide has started to increase and ANOTHER unexplained mechanism has simultaneously kicked to produce an increase in global temperature which almost exactly replicates the increase predicted from the climate models for the CO2 increase.

Then you can explain why you expect both unidentified mechanisms (especially the one cancelling out the effects of CO2)to continue to operate.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 29 Mar 2007 #permalink

David Duff - Thanks for saying I brough a smile to your face - never let it be said that us Guardian-reading museli-weaving AGW Taliban types don't have a sense of humour.

But seriously, your twisted logic with regard to Kevin's (and where has he gone, by the way?) failing to 'name names' was great. He couldn't name anyone, because seemingly we would be horrible to them (because we're like a gang or something?). If they are talking crap, then yes, we would be. But if they had a good point, we would listen to them. That's how science works. Not naming anyone simply leads you to suspect that there isn't anyone - or are we back to the 'secret skeptic superhero' thing?

As for the CEI, who may possibly take umbridge at being compared to the KKK (however fair that might be), try these links http://www.cei.org/ & http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Competitive_Enterprise_Insti… - remember - use the Google!

As for Stevie Mac - why is his fan club suddenly posting? If you'd read many of the posts here, you'd quickly get a different view of his 'work'. McIntyre seems to have cast himself as a martyr, but that no reason to take him at his word. Since one of his past claims is that climate change ended in 1998 (and you have to admit thats a big no), why do you believe the rest of his stuff - try http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=98/ for more on him.

The reason why I've has enough of being polite? I've spent hours on sites like this (and the old BBC earth science board) patiently trying to show people like you peer-reviewed data which shows AGW is real, and got the same rubbish attacks back each time. Facts seem to not work (if you want them , start with Real Climates FAQ or the NERC site), and neither does sweet reason.
Hansen says we have 10 years, maybe less to stop the worst of the effects of climate change (and we still don't know how bad the positive feedbacks will be, but its likely to be worse that the IPCC has recently laid out). So why bother with reason, since its wasting time?
Indeed, thats the point of the original article. The Republicans and others have simply not bothered with facts. They've used lies, cherry-picking, half-truths and outright intimidation to deny reality(check out Chris Mooney for more on this). Thats why the RealClimate team lost the debate the other week, and why Mike Stark won his - because he realised that being nice does not work. Fighting fire with fire does.
What I love is the sheer cheek of the deniers to suddenly turn themselves into victims. Stevie Mac put on the griddle by AGW fundies (although this would be over a low-carbon flame, obviously) or Fred Singer as Galileo (because smoking does not really cause cancer) - I don't think so.

Oh, and Bob Stalling - Killer Bee's?!?!?! Thats soooo 1970's...

Nanny wrote:

I can show you its effects by pointing to periods of decreasing temperature while CO2 was on the increase.

I can point to periods when my car increased in speed while I was using the brake. Would you say that there is no relationship between car brakes and speed?

This often happens when I'm going down a steep hill. The car accelerates down the hill even though I'm using the brake -- it just accelerates more slowly than if I hadn't been using the brake to moderate the speed. The point is that more than one thing (let's call this thing a forcing) is happening at once. Sure you can point to periods when CO2 increased while temperature didn't -- but using this to question the relationship between CO2 and temperature means you're not paying attention to what is happening to the other forcings.

Ian Gould (god bless him) linked us to the following article by Lobell & Field in Environmental Research Letters (2007.
Amongst many here are just a few of the anomalies in the Lobell and Field article, which claims that recent AGW has reduced yields of major cereals and other crops, resulting in reduced output to the tune of US$5 billion a year less than it would have been without the warming.

1.The same FAO data source used by L&F shows that nonetheless the per capita index of agricultural production for the World has risen from 87.1 in 1979-81 (1999-2001=100) to 105.3 in 2004. As the number of capitas (i.e. people) rose from 4.43 billion in 1980 to c.6 billion in 2004, the Lobell-Field finding implies that there must have been a major increase in the area under cultivation (unlikely given massively increased urbanization between 1979 and 2004). World aggregates can be problematic as countries and their data come and go, but a hot country like Egypt with a strictly limited arable area increased its per capita production from 75.5 in 1979-81 to 106.1 in 2004 despite the warming it must have suffered, a fantastic result considering the about 60% increase in capitas since 1980 (40.9 in 1980, c.70 bn. in 2004).
2. The FAO data for World cereals production show an ABSOLUTE increase from 1.57 TRILLION tonnes in 1979-81 to 2.27 TRILLION in 2004. As there was no increase in yield, according to Lobell & Field, where did the extra production area come from?
3. Lobell & Field claim that AGW has reduced wheat yields, so how come that FAO shows an increase in US wheat yields (kg/ha) from 2251.7 in 1980 to 2656.7 in 1990 to 2825.3 in 2005, a period in which allegedly they suffered the hottest years ever recorded? No doubt they are growing wheat at what used to be the World Trade Center.
4. Lobell and Field like nearly all North Americans are unaware that there is a southern hemisphere, so the cereals growing season for them is May to October. Amazingly, this is not always the case in the southern hemisphere, e.g. Australia, but who cares?
5.The truth is that Lobell & Field like Sir Nicholas Stern and the IPCC (and Ian Gould) are incapable of (1) defining agricultural yield, (2) locating Egypt Australia or Argentina on a map, (3) noticing auto-correlation or any need for co-integration, (4) citing t-statistics, and (5) doing any real statistical analysis whatsoever.

I meant to note that Lobell & Field are also innocent of the concepts of serial correlation, or of the need to state the specific coefficients for bivariate correlations (in their case, temperature and precipitation), while Ian Gould's linking to the pathetic www.sciencedaily.com site fails to note its inability to grasp distinctions between its claimed absolute reductions in output and the actual Lobell-Field claims of reductions in yield. But that is typical of what passes for Science in the IPCC and all its true believers, especially Lambert and Gould. I confidently assert that there is not even one IPCC referenced article that ever has been or ever would be accepted by Econometrica on its statistical merits.

Tim, not only can I do all the things you claim I can't, I can also read. for example:

"Though the impacts are relatively small compared to the technological yield gains over the same period, the results demonstrate that negative impacts of climate trends on crop yields at the global scale are already occurring,"

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 30 Mar 2007 #permalink

I never did get round to a careful reading of the first half of this thread but the second half, for which I modestly claim a starter's fee, has been illuminating, instructive and, thank God, good natured. Incidentally, some one up above seemed to think that because I had drawn attention to this discussion on McIntye's site I was some sort of 'agent provocateur'. Not so, I read *both* sites (and others) because I am trying to make up my mind on this contentious issue. As I mentioned previously, I am a survivor of the 20th c. in which all sorts of charlatans, supported by a huge chorus of scientific, political and 'expert' opinion, have proclaimed various versions of the 'Heaven on Earth' variety which have usually left me poorer when not actually threatening my life and liberty! Hence, I confess to an inbuilt sceptisism whilst I try my best to understand both sides of this particular argument.

Even without the devastating contributions of Tim Curtin above (for which many thanks!), my faith in IPCC 'scientific' procedures, already dented by McIntyre's experiences, is now hospitalised by the fact that none of my interlocutors, especially JB, have answered my not unreasonable question, to wit:

What weight do they give to the works of Mann, Hegerl, D'Arrigo 'et al' when they, under a plethora of excuses (which themselves are controversial), refuse to divulge the basic data upon which they base their theories?

Or let me put it another way, how would the AGW supporters re-act if I pushed forward for their consideration a 'scientific' paper 'proving' that in fact the earth is cooling (I'm sure I could find one because only forty years ago the 'scientific community' was telling us just that) but refused point blank to release the data? Come along now, Ian Gould, JB and MikeB, don't be shy, what would you have to say to me? Indeed, what *did* you say *then*, when a freezing earth was the 'paradigm' of climate science?

This, you will be happy to learn, is probably my last word on this particular thread.

David, your claim to possess an "inbuilt sceptisism" is completely undercut by the fact that you found Tim Curtin's stuff "devastating". In future please mention your "inbuilt gullibility".

"Indeed, what did you say then, when a freezing earth was the 'paradigm' of climate science?"

Actually David during the six months in the mid-1970s or so when there was some credence given to the idea of a cooling Earth, I was in high school and blissfully unaware of the kerfuffle.

You might want to do some further reading on this hoary old chestnut.

Remember that mid-century cooling trend so beloved of denialists? It was based on that quite solid valid observational data that the cooling hypothesis was formed.

Then the same scientists who'd first advanced the theory realised that the anthropogenic aerosols causing the cooling weren't increasing as fast as carbon dioxide emissions and the warming effect from C02 would soon exceed the cooling effect.

Now how does the fact that climate scientists rapidly identified and rejected an invalid hypothesis validate your belief that they're stubbornly clinging to an invalid hypothesis?

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 30 Mar 2007 #permalink

TimC said, "I confidently assert that there is not even one IPCC referenced article that ever has been or ever would be accepted by Econometrica on its statistical merits".

How good a journal is Econometrica? Its impact factor is 2.6. Very good, but certainly not 'top of the table'. In my career I have been an author on more than 10 papers in journals over 3.0, and whereas I am happy to do so, its journals over 10.0 (e.g. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Science, Nature) that are the most rigid ones in my field. Very many of the articles cited by the IPCC appeared in Nature and Science, so as usual TimC is speaking out of his you-know-what. His forte is to make big statements that are completely hollow and devoid of an empirical foundation. But then again, most of the posters here know that.

As far as crop yields and other aspects of human welfare are concerned, TimC is a techno-optimist whose previous posts clearly suggest that he believes that humans have evolved beyond any constraints imposed by natural systems. Like Bjorn Lomborg, he believes that the human economy is independent of the natural economy, such that any apparent limits on material growth will be dealt with by human ingenuity (this is the third bulwark of neoclassical economics, following on from the first two which are equally flawed, substitutability and efficiency).

Brian Czech demolishes all three tenets of neoclassical economics in his book, "Shoveling Fuel for a Runaway Train". But TimC is not interested in this nor in realizing that technologies - which are not creating a sustainable world but are just enabling us to excavate the planet at a faster and faster rate - are creating a growing ecological deficit that will at some point push natural systems beyond a point where they will unable to sustain themselves - and us. Every developed nation on Earth fosters an ecological deficit, which can only be offset through trade and economic policies which allow the rich world to plunder the resources of the poor world effectively and cheaply. But this can't go on forever. Whether TimC wants to admit it or not, the planet and its natural capital are not infinite and if everyone across the world lived like the average American citizien now then we'd need an additional 4 Earth like planets just to sustain cnsumptio and waste production. Sadly, Earth like planets are hard to find these days.

As Lester Brown has correctly observed, the developed countries are basic 'bubble economies' which are expanding until one day they will 'pop'. All that technologies have done over the past forty years is to delay the inevitable. Just because fishing fleets have the most up-to-date on-board technology that ebnables them to scoop ever larger amounts of fish from the world's oceans does not mean that the marine systems are capable of replacing the fish that are removed. This explains why 11 of 15 of the world's major fisheries are on the brink of collapse. Right now, humans have so screwed up marine systems in northern European waters by overfishing that cod are now being preyed upon by species once below them in the food chain. The consequences of human-mediated unraveling of both terrestrial and marine food chains is hard to predict but is likely to be grave.

The thrust of the argument is this: the ability of dry regions of the Earth to sustain agricultural production in the mid-term depends not on human ingenuity but on the health and vitality of the soil ecosystems in these regions, on precipitation patterns, and on a wealth of other critical ecosystem services. If soils continue to be exhausted of their fertility at the rates at which they are now, then TimC's optimisms will be for naught. This may never sink in to him, for the simple reason that the tidy little econometric models he harps on about exclude the value of the natural economy.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 30 Mar 2007 #permalink

'Or let me put it another way, how would the AGW supporters re-act if I pushed forward for their consideration a 'scientific' paper 'proving' that in fact the earth is cooling (I'm sure I could find one because only forty years ago the 'scientific community' was telling us just that)... Come along now, Ian Gould, JB and MikeB, don't be shy, what would you have to say to me? Indeed, what did you say then, when a freezing earth was the 'paradigm' of climate science?'

David Duff - well that was difficult - having gone right to Deltoids wondeful GWS Bingo, I pressed the link - which came right to Real Climate http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=94.
The actual number of peer-reviwed articles? According to http://www.wmconnolley.org.uk/sci/iceage/ it was at least one, possibly two (I just skimmed the last website, but we're not talking many). And they never said 'there will be an ice age soon' anyway. On the other, there was lots of stuff in the popular press, possibly stoked by a certain Nigel Calder http://www.wmconnolley.org.uk/sci/iceage/calder.nature.1974.html & http://www.wmconnolley.org.uk/sci/iceage/calder.context.html - yes, this is the same bloke moaning about how 'scientists' said there would be an ice-age.

It took two minutes, and would possibly have been quicker if the kids hadn't started shouting at the time.
Glad we could help...

Sorry, Tim Lambert, I'm now (even more?) confused, er, does that mean the production of cereal and other crops went *up*, or, er, *down*? (I need to know, just so I don't embarrass myself again; and, yes, I did promise that my previous comment would be my last but, hey, you didn't take the word of a second-hand car dealer, did you?)

Hey, doncha' just lurve that Ian Gould? Such nonchalence, such insouciance: "the six months in the mid-1970s or so when there was some credence given to the idea of a cooling Earth". Six months? Some credence? Well, I suppose you would have to have been there.

Tim Curtin's pathetic attempts at throwing cold water on a paper neglect two simple metrics: arable land hectares utilized and fert/pesticide application rate change.

That's how production went up Tim. Nothing could be simpler. And FAO knows that per capita grain production peaked in 1984 (more capitas, see).

Best,

D

And David, it's not hard to imagine increasing irrigation to increase production (absolute). This argumentation is most silly.

Folks who don't grasp the simple fact that irrigation increased, fert app increased, pesticide app increased, arable land expanded, new crop varieties were introduced...

Sheesh. We're dealing with children here.

Best,

D

MB wrote, "Or let me put it another way, how would the AGW supporters re-act if I pushed forward for their consideration a 'scientific' paper 'proving' that in fact the earth is cooling (I'm sure I could find one because only forty years ago the 'scientific community' was telling us just that)".

B*S. As a senior scientist, it amazes me to see how much this myth is constantly dredged up by the delusionists. Cooling was suggested - not published on the empirical evidence - by a few climate scientists as a possible consequence of putting too many particulates into the atmosphere. This was around the time that developed nations were implementing more rigorous legislation reducing particulate emission. And any good scientist changes his or her mind as more data come in; since the 1970's our understanding of climatic forcing has increased enormously, and most of the prominent climate scientists who made passing remarks about cooling - such as Steve Schneider at Stanford - changed their mind on as the empirical evidence grew in favour of AGW.

That's it. MB, like the others who constantly wheel out this dead turkey, reveals his/her lack of scientific pedigree here completely. It is a classic example of not understanding the way science works and of clutching at straws.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 30 Mar 2007 #permalink

I confidently assert that there is not even one IPCC referenced article that ever has been or ever would be accepted by Econometrica on its statistical merits.

Excellent! I smell a bet coming on here!!! Ok, since you are so confident you should be willing to give me 5 to 1 odds. So I will bet $100 (US) against your $500 (US) that I can find at least 1 IPCC referenced article that has would have enough statistical merit to have been accepted into Econometrica.

We can work out judging details later. Do we have a bet?

By John Cross (not verified) on 30 Mar 2007 #permalink

MikeB, you say:

"McIntyre seems to have cast himself as a martyr, but that no reason to take him at his word. Since one of his past claims is that climate change ended in 1998 (and you have to admit thats a big no), why do you believe the rest of his stuff - try http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=98/ for more on him."

Where does McIntyre say this? Or anything like it? I'd say you're making it up.

Well David: I can't really say about the paleoclimatology stuff. I did get into an interesting discussion with Steve McIntyre about his results during which he corrected a misconception I had picked up (from what I would say is a poorly explained diagram and which he himself admited could have been better), but when we moved on to what the intrepertation of the eigenvalues the conversation seemed to lag. So I am still assessing.

But to me the paleoclimatology stuff is just the icing. To me the fundamental physics say that CO2 will produce warming and the current rise in CO2 is anthropogenic. Now, you can either accept these in which case the paleoclimatology is not really relevant, or you can challenge one of them, in which case I would be interested in hearing your argument.

regards,
John

By John Cross (not verified) on 30 Mar 2007 #permalink

I have reproduced below my reply to Brad Delong on this.

I think there is a very genuine danger of 'demonising' conservatives. I had a close friend who was a Gulf War veteran, consultant into the aerospace industry. We wound up not talking much about politics, because of his views (vs. mine) and his tendency to lapse off into what I considered the most absurd ideological rants by email.

But he was a good guy, and a true friend in many ways. He had good values, was loyal and stalwart, and I have no doubt he was a good father and husband.

As with evangelicals (which he most emphatically was not) one has to take them on their own terms, understand their universe.

The question of global warming is too big for simply left-leaning greenie liberals to solve on their own. We have to have a broad church, and understand the motivations of people all across the ideological spectrum.

my post below:

Brad

You are conducing partisan oversimplification. The conservative position on global warming is a deep-rooted psychological one. This has been studied in some quite interesting research cited below:

http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2006/11/13th_tipping_point.html

A 2005 study by Anthony Leiserowitz, published in Risk Analysis, found that while most Americans are moderately concerned about global warming, the majority--68 percent--believe the greatest threats are to people far away or to nonhuman nature. Only 13 percent perceive any real risk to themselves, their families, or their communities. As Leiserowitz points out, this perception is critical, since Americans constitute only 5 percent of the global population yet produce nearly 25 percent of the global carbon dioxide emissions. As long as this dangerous and delusional misconception prevails, the chances of preventing Schellnhuber's 12 points from tipping are virtually nil.

So what will it take to trigger what we might call the 13th tipping point: the shift in human perception from personal denial to personal responsibility? Without a 13th tipping point, we can't hope to avoid global mayhem. With it, we can attempt to put into action what we profess: that we actually care about our children's and grandchildren's futures.

CLIMATE CLIQUES AND NAYSAYERS

EISEROWITZ'S STUDY OF risk perception found that Americans fall into "interpretive communities"--cliques, if you will, sharing similar demographics, risk perceptions, and worldviews. On one end of this spectrum are the naysayers: those who perceive climate change as a very low or nonexistent danger. Leiserowitz found naysayers to be "predominantly white, male, Republican, politically conservative, holding pro-individualism, pro-hierarchism, and anti-egalitarian worldviews, anti-environmental attitudes, distrustful of most institutions, highly religious, and to rely on radio as their main source of news." This group presented five rationales for rejecting danger: belief that global warming is natural; belief that it's media/environmentalist hype; distrust of science; flat denial; and conspiracy theories, including the belief that researchers create data to ensure job security.

See:

Leiserowitz, A. (2005) American risk perceptions: Is climate change dangerous? Risk Analysis, 25 (6), 1433-1442.

http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~ecotone/pubs_assets/AmericanRiskPerceptions

By Valuethinker (not verified) on 30 Mar 2007 #permalink

Thank you, Daddy (Dano), and I know how irritating it is when the children speak out of turn but if, as you indicate, technology and farming practices are indeed *inceasing* the yields even above population increases and that this happy occurence has taken place through teh steepest part of teh 'hockey stick', why the hell should we worry about global warming?

Some one above is talking of having a bet. I would remind him that a very eminent disaster forecaster back in the '70s told us that oil would run out over the next 30 years or so, and some one offered him a bet that the price of oil would *fall* over that period, which it did. I wonder if he ever paid up?

Dear James - in reply to your post '"Since one of his past claims is that climate change ended in 1998".....Where does McIntyre say this? Or anything like it? I'd say you're making it up' - please check this out (I'm sure there are others)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2006/04/09/d…

I don't bother making things up, I just leave it to the CEI, Lomborg and the rest.

BTW - Jeff Harvey - I don't think the cooling stuff is true (far from it, as you can see) - I was just quoting David Duff (seemingly the Swiss Tony of this thread).

Bob Stalling

I think you are in danger of reasoning by false analogy.

Let me try to deconstruct your arguments a little more.

"I think the rejection of man-made Global Warming may come in the way it's presented."

- perhaps. Since 1989, there have been serious public warnings about GW. Margaret Thatcher in particular made it a priority. Softly, softly hasn't worked.

Certainly our understanding of potentially how bad it could get is far greater than it was 18 years ago, and correspondingly our concerns.

" First, when I hear that "the debate is over" it starts to sound a bit Orwellian to me."

- The debate about whether human activity causes GW is over, in scientific terms. The debate about the relative weights of different factors, the impact of non-human factors, how far the world climate will change, what we should do about it, and how fast is still open.

I'm not sure it is 'Orwellian' to accept a scientific hypothesis, granting that people will continue to refine what we think is happening.

Conservatives have a huge role to play in working out economically optimal mechanisms to deal with GW.

" Second, to say Global Warming is all man-made and natural cycles are out of the equation....it makes me wonder if we have lost the ability to reason. Is it possible Global Warming could be caused by cycles and enhanced by man? We live in a solar system, we are in constant change, I'm talking entropy here."

- science has done all it can to rule in/out non-anthropogenic causes of climate change. You will have seen the IPCC graphic, the one showing the different forcings, with the last column being 'State of Scientific Understanding'? It's well worth reviewing that.

We know what increasing CO2 does to temperature. We know what SO2 does to temperature (cooling, but not for as long or powerfully as CO2).

We haven't measured any sustained change in solar flux, the solar light hitting the earth, for as long back as we have instrumental records and/or measuring proxies.

Nor do we have a good theory about how sunspots and cosmic rays might affect climate.

I am not sure about your point about entropy, what you mean there.

" Another problem I have with the presentation is the hype. When I hear words like "Catostrophic" and "Chaos" I get flashbacks of everything else in my life that I've learned was hyped with scare tactics ie; Y2K, Killer Bees, Radon, West Nile Virus,Sars,Bird Flu, Mad cow etc....not to say they aren't potential problems...but never as bad as predicted."

This is where I think you are reasoning by false analogy.

1. some of those problems weren't as bad as predicted. Some we don't know (mad cow in particular-- there is a reason why, if you lived in the UK from 1985-2000, the US will not allow your blood into their bloodbanks. Because scientists *cannot say* how widespread the infection is).

Some were as bad, and *forestalled by human action*.

Nuclear war really would have been very bad. Nuclear winter you could argue was hyped (but we really don't know) on primitive models. But no one doubts a full fledged nuclear war would have killed hundreds of millions. There is a neat model you can download and run of a 'limited' nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the USA-- over 100 million dead on both sides, national economies set back generations, etc.

However we had SALT 1, SALT 2, the hotline, detente, etc. and now the risk is less.

I was working on solving Y2K problems in 1985. So there was definitely a lot of time and money spent solving those problems, we had programming standards that involved solving those problems in code whenever we found them.

Radon did kill lots of people. That's why the building code standards have had to be changed so much re ventilated basements and testing.

AIDS is killing 1/4th of Africa, and is a huge emergent problem in Russia (1-3m cases), India, China (scale unknown, but certainly millions in India). Now in some other countries, fast measures were taken, and the AIDS problem has been controlled.

Ozone Layer? There really is a hole in the ozone layer. It really is caused by CFCs and bromides. We really did have a huge problem. If the earth had lost its ozone layer, then we don't know all the effects. Two serious ones would have been the loss of bird and animal life (cataracts) and therefore the explosion of insects (birds eat insects, especially mosquitoes). Another is the loss of at least 40% of phytoplankton underneath the holes in the ozone layer-- phytoplankton is the entire basis of the marine chain of life, so the cost would have been untold.

So we did something, and the problem went away (well, is going away).

North Atlantic Cod? There really was a threat of overfishing. A trade which had sustained communities for over 4 centuries (longer if you include the Native North Americans and the Vikings), really has ceased. The Cod have not returned.

Flu. Well, if you talk to people in the know, on the front end of research, they tell you another influenza epidemic is certain. The last one killed 20-80 million people (we really don't know) so at least 1.5% of the world's population at the time-- if you talked to your grandparents and great grandparents, there was always a brother or sister who fell in the flu. We certainly don't have any treatment mechanisms that could handle that many millions of infected people. And the existing antivirals (Relenza and Tamiflu) might well not work, again most scientists seem to think that they will not.

There are hopeful signs. We are globally organised, much more. We can respond quicker. We have much better analytical tools. Unlike President Wilson, we won't be ordering American boys into ships to get infected, in direct contravention of medical advice at the time.

But if you talk to anyone in the know, they are worried. And they think it is inevitable.

(I am laughing at this point. I had a conversation with a friend, working advising at the highest levels of the pharma industry. He told me 'flu is something I am getting really worried about, but at least global warming isn't something we have to worry about'. ie he knows a lot about flu, not much about GW, and the former worries him far more.

(Ps bird flu is not the most likely vector. Pig flu is more likely, apparently).

' Finally, the IPCC said Global Warming was "most likely" caused by man.....not definetly caused by man....so how can the debate be over. Bottom line...we should all strive to be good stewards of the land regardless...but I don't think the rejection is so much against Global Warming as it is to the "Debate Is Over Man-Made Global Warming".'

I guess this opens up the questions:

- what level of certainty would you need ('most likely' is IPCC speak for 95%)?

- if you were uncertain, but you knew the potential damage could be immense, would you still refuse to act?

- if you thought it were happening, and there was, say, a 5% of a chance of a change in world temperatures that you thought would be disastrous (say 5 degrees centigrade), would you decide not to act, because 5% is such a low number, even in light of the potential consequences?

By Valuethinker (not verified) on 30 Mar 2007 #permalink

David Duff: "Sorry, Tim Lambert, I'm now (even more?) confused, er, does that mean the production of cereal and other crops went up, or, er, down?"

They went up but by a lesser amount that would be expected from the technological advances and the expansion in area under cultivation.

Dave Duff: "Hey, doncha' just lurve that Ian Gould? Such nonchalence, such insouciance: "the six months in the mid-1970s or so when there was some credence given to the idea of a cooling Earth". Six months? Some credence? Well, I suppose you would have to have been there."

Well David you can easily disprove my position. Just find and link to three peer-reviewed scientific papers of the period predicting cooling or, say, three pieces from the popular press of the day OTHER THAN the stories that ran in Time and Newsweek.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 30 Mar 2007 #permalink

David,

lad, don't you worry your little cowlicky head about global warming. Go ahead and do your thing.

There are far too many things to do in the day than to worry about the cares or fate of a dwindling population of delusionist dupes.

Best,

D

This is getting downright infuriating. David Duff writes, "Technology and farming practices are indeed inceasing the yields even above population increases and that this happy occurence has taken place through the steepest part of the 'hockey stick', why the hell should we worry about global warming?".

I have answered this a dozen times before BUT IT NEVER SINKS IN. NEVER. No wonder John Quiggin calls the denial crowd 'delusionists'.

One. We have not necessarily passedf through the 'steepest part of the hcokey stick'. We are somewhere on the blade laregly of our own making.

Two. Read my last post again. Or does it not register? Humans are not exempt from the laws of nature. Our speces has simplified natural sustems in a myriad of ways that are pushing them towards a point beyond which they will be unable to sustain themselves. This will have huge consequences for humanity, I can assure you.

As an ecologist with some qualifications in this area, I can say that our understanding of the way in which complex adaptive systems function is quite poor. This is ebcause ecology is by far the most complex of the life-sciences because of the very strong non-linear relationshp between cause and effect. Consider trying to understand literally billions of interactions between individuals, populations and species over highly variable scales. Because of tis, we have to simplify our research to 'manageable' proportions. When I give lectures at conferences describing interactions in linear food chains up to the fourth trophic level, I am sometimes asked how I have the time to study such a complex suite of processes, and I always reply, "In nature, this is at the simple end of the continuum".

We do know that processes emerge from natural systems over variable spatial and temporal scales - known as ecosystem services - which permit humans to exist and to persist. We also know that species, communities and ecosystems all interact in ways that are poorly understood but which we do know help to facilitate these life-sustaining conditions for humans. These include the stabilisation of coastlines, the detoxification of wastes, climate control, seed dispersal, pollination, pest control, the maintenance of soil fertility, the mitigation of floods and droughts, nutrient cycling and othervitally important services. At the same time human actions are effectively unravelling natural systems, destroying the very interactions which maintain their integrity and allow these services to freely flow from them. Because these services do not carry prices, we are nly aware of their importance whe they are added or, more worryingly, lost.

There are plenty of examples I could cite but its essential to grasp the iportance of climate change as a major factor that will drive extinction. This is hardly controversial science - species and genetically distinct populations are already being challenged by other anthrpogenic stresses such as other forms of pollution, habitat loss and fragmentation, invasive species etc. (one might say that humans have adopted a 'slash-and-burn approach to the biosphere). Species have optimal 'climate envelopes' outside of which their ability to reprduce and to survive is greatly reduced. As the climate warms at rates unforseen in many thousands of years, species must therefore move with the northward thermocline, but the situation is such the they find many impediments in their path: huge, agricultural expanses and paved landscapes. This is what makes the current warming episode unique. Previous warming episodes also resulted in increased rates of extinction, but in those events the planet was not utterly dominated by a rapacious bipedal primate (us). No species depends more on nature than we do: humans co-opt more than 40% of net primary production and 50% of freshwater flows. What scientsts do know is that warming will have serious consequences for the integrity of food webs and ecosystems, and that this will rebound on civilization.

But heck, I have said this all before. Either David Duff has not read it or else he doesn't understand it (so ignores it).

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 30 Mar 2007 #permalink

Ok - my bad - I replied to James about McIntyre claiming that 'global warming stopped in 1998'. Now I pointed him to an article which mentions him and this claim, but not directly. I've had a quick look through his site, and there are fair number of posts which suggest that he agrees with the statement http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=67, but I can't find a smoking gun - can anyone help? If not, its just an honest mistake, because someone has to admit when they are wrong...however reluctantly.

Valuethinker: I liked your comment in the thread "n The Australian's War on Science IV" that I actually took the time to read your long post here. Good thoughts.

David: That was me that offered the bet. First, it was Paul Ehrlich that made the bet you brought up and "in October 1990, Paul Ehrlich mailed Julian Simon a check for $576.07 to settle the wager in Simon's favor.

But hey, that's the thing about bets. There is usually some chance of being wrong. However in this case Mr. Curtin is quite sure about his position and I am somewhat sure about mine so it sounds like an interesting bet. I am just waiting for Tim to respond.

By John Cross (not verified) on 30 Mar 2007 #permalink

Jeff:

David is currently stuck on the fact that one reviewer, Steve McIntyre, (who has a bit of a "non-friendly" history with regard to some of the researchers whose work he has reviewed) could not get the data he was requesting from a few IPCC scientists (out of all those who contributed -- mostly peer-reviewed, published articles -- to the IPCC process).

I wrote:

"I don't know anything about IPCC processes that involve using unpublished papers (by D'Arrigo et al and by Hegerl et al) but contrary to what McIntyre thinks they are not a license to treat them as if they are published papers."

According to Hans:

"He (McIntyre) was asked to review an unpublished paper back in August of 2005."

McIntyre quoted:

"You have been nominated to serve as an Expert Reviewer for the Working Group I contribution to the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report,"

i.e. the unpublished papers I was referring to and for which McIntyre had no business acting like a reviewer were NOT the document he was asked to review which was a particular part of the IPCC report.

It must be an easy mistake for you to make Hans considering you are so busy writing your Nobel prize winning paper on the non-causal effects of the 2002-2003 El Nino.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 30 Mar 2007 #permalink

Valuethinker;
I liked your response to my thread.
It was well thought out,reasonable and had no hint of anger or sarcasm. You opened my eyes a little to do some further reaseach.
I do have a suggetion on reducing GW,that is,if we really take it seriously and want to make a change.How about this:
1.We eliminate or make it illegal to own or participate in any recreation that may contribute to GW ie; NASCAR,MOTORCROSS,DRAG RACING,AIR SHOWS,BOAT SHOWS,SNOWMOBILES,GOLF CARTS,SKI LIFTS,JET SKI'S,PRIVATE BOATS,PRIVATE PLANES,UNECESSARY TRAVEL,GO-CART RACING,TRACTOR PULLS,AMUSEMENT PARKS,CARNIVALS,FAIRS,PARADES,DISNEY LAND,DISNEY WORLD ETC..
2.WE limit the numer of homes a person can own to (1) and the number of cars a family can own to (2).
3.We eliminate all stadium sports.Think of all the traveling that is done by Baseball teams, Football teams, Soccer,Basketball,Hockey etc....and think of all the traveling by people to go to these games.In Baseball alone,each team plays 162 games per year.
4.Eliminate all Hollywood and Music industry award shows.....there are literally hundreds of them (do a search).Think of all the jet and limosine travel, not to mention traveling to the parties afterwards.
I could go on and on....
This may sound very sarcastic and I apologize if it does, but there is alot of truth to this.
Point being...are people and industries really going to give up things that they personally enjoy or make a living off of? They should if they are sincere...but will they?
P.S. I happen to be an inependent.

By Bob Stalling (not verified) on 30 Mar 2007 #permalink

Oh dear, I think I might have upset Jeff which was not my intention. He provides a long response and I can only offer up these brief comments:

He does not deny that we are on the way up the 'hockey stick' but admits that human ingenuity in the way of technology has still incresed the crop yields. Ah but ... he warns, we haven't reach the really steep part yet, to which, in my undoubted naivetee I can only say, 'bring it on!' If I have to choose between the advances of technology obtained mostly through private capitalism (and we have the past 200+ years by way of example), or falling in with a regime (I use the word advisedly) of scientists who are, in one instance, very reluctant to show their proofs, combined with both Red and Green Marxists, then I think I'll take my chances with the former, thank you very much. I am happy to concede that I might be choosing between two evils but it is still (just!) my choice.

Jeff then writes: "*Humans are not exempt from the laws of nature. Our speces has simplified natural sustems in a myriad of ways that are pushing them towards a point beyond which they will be unable to sustain themselves. This will have huge consequences for humanity, I can assure you*." Well, yes, ever since the pesky rascals went in for all that reproduction lark (ah, happy memories!) back in Eden there was, and still is, a down-side, but still, I'm sure Jeff would not wish to join the wowsers whose hatred for humanity is disguised, Angelo-like (in Measure for Measure)
as being in the Public Good. He should take heart and courage from the hidden wealth of men's minds and the history of technology that arose from it. Of course there will be miseries, when was there ever not?

His humility here does him credit even as it fatally weakens whatever trust I might have in his prognosis: "*As an ecologist with some qualifications in this area, I can say that our understanding of the way in which complex adaptive systems function is quite poor*." Er, well, thanks but in that case I'll pass if it's all the same to you, then.

His remark: "*This is hardly controversial science*" coming at the end of this particular thread does not add to my confidence in his observational capacities! And finally, this "*Either David Duff has not read it [Jeff's warnings that the end of the world is nigh] or else he doesn't understand it (so ignores it)*". Right, wrong and right, in that order. Sorry, Jeff!

John, thank you for providing the bet details - stout, stand-on man, that Erlich, even if he was a damn fool!

I forgot to mention that that appalling, anti-science man, McIntyre, has opened a thread entirely and soley for the benefit of any Dendroclimatologists who feel they have been wronged by his enquiries or writings. None of his 'usual suspects', ie, his regular commenters, will be allowed to run interference. Get to it, Brothers! (Personally, I think all this freedom of expression and information will end in tears and tantrums before bedtime!)

David Duff said: "If I have to choose between the advances of technology obtained mostly through private capitalism (and we have the past 200+ years by way of example), or falling in with a regime (I use the word advisedly) of scientists who are, in one instance, very reluctant to show their proofs, combined with both Red and Green Marxists, then I think I'll take my chances with the former"

Where did that come from? Outer Mongolia? Venus? Pluto?

Bob Stalling

Let's start by imposing a tax on emission of carbon.

I would start at $10/tonne of CO2 ($36.67/tonne of Carbon) and raise it to $30/tonne of CO2 ($110/tonne of Carbon) over time.

That latter level triggers the point where nuclear, wind power and carbon sequestration are all competitive with new coal fired power for electricity generation.

Electricity generation, and consumption of electricity, is the 'low hanging fruit' of global warming. All the evidence suggests that the propensity to emit CO2 of electric utilities is quite price elastic: tax it, and they will shift their generation mix.

By contrast, transport is much harder. Recent gasoline price rises have barely dented the American appetite for gasoline and driving. In the case of something like jet fuel, there aren't really substitutes. Yes, fuel efficiency per passenger is something like 50% better than it was in 1970, but the pace of progress is slow.

Even more important is an early, and large, programme to preserve the rainforests. A key carbon sink, and conversely truly dangerous to global climate if they run in reverse, and release the carbon they have stored.

There *is* a role for regulation: for regulation on better house and building design, on appliance efficiency.

California uses the same amount of electricity, per capita, that it did in 1980. Whereas America as whole uses 40% more. There have been structural shifts in industry, but the key factor has been the much greater attention paid, in California, to energy efficiency across the economy.

These are powerful and tangible steps world leaders could take *now* which would have significant impacts on current and future CO2 emissions. In terms of what we can achieve between now and 2050, I like the Socolow and Paccala 'Wedges' model (1 wedge = 1bn tpa of abatement in 2050 eg 700 new nuclear stations is 1 wedge):

http://mae.princeton.edu/index.php?app=download&id=437

Stabilization Wedges: Solving the Climate Problem for the Next 50 Years with with Current Technologies,"

Pacala and Socolow
Science 13 August 2004: 968-972
DOI: 10.1126/science.1100103

is also a good reference *if* you have access to Science (I don't).

On the likely effects of global warming, I can give you two references:

- The Weather Makers by Tim Flannery - well referenced general introduction

- Six Degrees by Mark Lynas - goes through the scientific literature on what would happen at each degree rise in the earth's temperature

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/media/9A2/80/Ch_1__Science.pdf

is the Stern Review's chapter on science of global climate change

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/media/986/D2/sternreview_report_part2.pdf

is a summary of the economic effects.

Note Stern cheats. He has been criticised for overvaluing the future damage (in present value terms) of the costs of global climate change.

But for the severe cases, that 20% chance of greater than 5 degrees centigrade (*if strong action is not taken*) he doesn't really factor in what the costs of that would be.

There are positive feedbacks built into the earth's climate system, such as the death of the rainforests and the mass release of permafrost methane. If and when we cross those points, we lose control of the process-- CO2 will rise regardless of human action thereafter.

We don't know when those points are. No reputable scientist will guarantee that we will not have crossed them at 550ppm CO2 (we are at 380 now, rising by 3ppm pa, and taking equivalence with the other 5 greenhouse gases, we are at 430ppm). On current trends of industrialisation, we will reach 550ppm shortly after 2050.

By Valuethinker (not verified) on 30 Mar 2007 #permalink

I'm amazed at this "greens are marxists" meme that seems to have popped up in several ostensibly unrelated places this week. It seems redundant to point out that it is incorrect. I suspect the promoters of it would have difficulty pointing to many Marxist analyses of then environment and its importance.

Bob Stalling

I should add I don't know of any reputable climate scientist who doesn't think the most important factors historically in driving the world's temperature were most likely:

- earth's orbit around the Sun (Milunkovitch cycles-- the 20,000 year ice age cycle)

- volcanic activity

- a CO2 cycle which appears to have begun after the commencement of each ice age

- an X factor, which might the reversal of the North Atlantic thermal circulation, might be fluxes in solar intensity (implicated in the 17th Century cold snap the 'Maunder Minimum' but also possibly there were volcanoes), might be some other factor about the CO2 cycle we don't understand

What is unique about the current, so-called Anthropocene era, is that since 1750 or so our CO2 emissions have been rising at an unprecedented rate, and at the same time we have been deforesting tropical rainforests at an unprecedented rate.

When we think the earth had a population of 1 billion in the late 19th century, the richest of whom probably emitted less CO2 than the average Indian, now (ie something like 1/5oth of the average American), we realise how fast we are going on this.

This is an enormous, one way experiment on the earth's climate system, with the unfortunate side effect that we will feel the consequences.

Our basic models, which have been in existence for over 100 years, say that doubling CO2 (ie to 560ppm from pre industrial) will lead to a 3 degree centigrade average temperature increase (in 1963, when the Thames nearly froze, temperatures were about 2 degrees C below normal). There will also be very significant shifts in rainfall (it's possible the '7 year drought' going on in Oz right now is a harbinger of that). 3 degrees is estimated to be enough to kill 20-30% of all living species, due to habitat contraction.

And there are risks that we will cross some tipping point, and the temperatures will be on course to rise far more than that. the IPCC is currently not forecasting a collapse of the Greenland or Antarctic Ice Sheets, so that scenario is most definitely not in the forecasts.

And somehow we have to feed 9-10 billion people when we get to that happy situation. And avoid nuclear war between desparate, climate ridden states.

By Valuethinker (not verified) on 30 Mar 2007 #permalink

Guthrie

FWIW I am a sometime professional economist/ policy analyst, and a free marketeer. I am also a Christian of sorts (not of a born again stripe).

I am pro (limited) gun control, against abortion (but against legal restrictions on abortion, other than ones to protect a fetus where it is viable), for liberalisation of drug laws, believe in the theory of Evolution, and think the US and UK should get out of Iraq.

So in American terms that makes me a flaming liberal, but in the rest of the world, maybe not.

FWIW I think Global Warming is the greatest threat to human civilisation we have engineered, other than nuclear war.

So call me a (mostly) free market green.

I don't think (here in the UK) that most greens are Marxists.

The Living Marxism crowd are something else. As I explain in the thread on the Oxford environmental congress, I don't think they were ever real Marxists.

By Valuethinker (not verified) on 30 Mar 2007 #permalink

I'm amazed at this "greens are marxists" meme that seems to have popped up in several ostensibly unrelated places this week. It seems redundant to point out that it is incorrect.

Let's see...in the United States, most of our major environmental and conservation legislation was passed during the Presidency of that well-known Marxist, Richard M. Nixon.

Including the legislation that created the Environmental Protection Agency.

That horrible 'ole Marxist also banned the use of DDT in the United States, IIRC.

Valuethinker;
Very interesting stuff.I started to delve into it but obviously it's alot and it will take some time.I have alot of questions as to the reality of applying these ideas (in the wedge model)..so many factors.... different countries, governments,religions,corporations,special interests,lobbyists,greed,economies,cultures etc...it's hard to get individuals to work together let alone the world.Whats good for one country may be unfair to another (or at least perceived that way).
I also did a quick check of the Stern Review on wikipedia and, like everything else, there are positive and negative comments.I haven't looked into it enough to have one.
On another note, I think I'm seeing a trend among some of the outspoken GW personalities that is alarming and hypocritical.Al Gore doesn't reduce his traveling because it's business related, John Travolta who owns 5 jets say's his traveling is due to the nature of his business (Hollywood), Richard Branson, who is giving alot of money to help reduce GW, won't give up his airline that creates GW because another airline will fill the void (business).The point being, if the outspoken ones are unwilling to change due to business, how will businesses throughout the world change?
Thanks for the links and the exchange...

By Bob Stalling (not verified) on 30 Mar 2007 #permalink

MikeB:

Lyman et al. 2006, Gouretski et al. 2007 imply ocean temperatures until recently were measured poorly. McIntyre has done quite a bit of auditing that implies many assumptions about prior ocean temperature records involve specious assumptions by climatologists, notably some interesting conclusions about the methods of measuring seawater instantly changing over from using buckets drawn up from the dea.

The Lyman finding that the ocean lost 1/5th of observed heat gain since 1955 in two years is significant and Gouretski claims a .2 to .4 C bias in oceanic XBT measurements and says this puts older ocean temp. records off by a factor of .62. The ocean being a massive heat sink makes it an important metric for climate change.

Kossin et al. 2007 poses issues for a link between GW and hurricane intensity.

And what you had from me on socialism is simply that the UN plans lead to a command economy under UN auspice. Now if you can dispute my analysis feel free. As it is, I don't think your arguments even rise to the level of fallacy.

>>'I am aware of several influential environmentalists plainly making the pragmatic case', which follows the pattern of those 'experts' who disagree with AGW. Of course you didn't mention any names, which is par for the course.

I didn't happen to have my textbok from my Environmental Ethics course on hand. Arne Naess is a prime example. Many ecofeminists are too. Plenty of people are willing to publicly make the case for the big lie in the public interest; it realy isn't that hard to find examples which is why I didn't run down a big list for you . In the listserv discussion referenced on CA right now, one of the dendrochronologists/climatologists states his explicit opinion that the science doesn't prove AGW but if we fail to act now disaster may ensue. I don't appreciate that particular point of view.

>>Now it could be that these 'peer-reviewed' scientists have secret identities ('a mild-mannered AGW fellow traveller by day, but a masked skeptic crusader by night, fighting for truth, justice and the Competitive Enterprise Institute!') or perhaps they simply don't exist and are figments of your or someone else's imagination. Since you dont actually mention any names, we all suspect the latter (please prove us wrong, go on, try).

Oh, here comes a 'please'? I thought you didn't have time for niceties like common courtesy or rational discourse.

>>I love this bit - 'I simply think the AGW supporters have made a poor causal case for their claim and have made it from an ideologically and rhetorically suspect position.'. Of course the thosands of peer-reviewed articles, mountains of data, etc are worthless. But then you know better, because ' Not being a climatologist it is obviously hard for me to evaluate the primary arguments being advanced. Apparently, according to some critiques I have seen of a number of peer reviewed articles, it is also hard for other scientists, including other climatologists, to accurately evaluate one another's work.' Yes, because actually looking at other peoples articles tends to involve dragging your lazy arse to the college library, reading an article and trying to rip it apart, which is something that no academic ever bothers with.

Is this sarcasm? Again, right now on CA, McIntyre recounts his experience with being asked to review for the IPCC and ultimately being told his desire to see the data for the studies he was being asked to review was not the IPCC's purview, nor should he have contacted the journals the unpublished articles were from, despite the authors of the articles specifically encouraging him to do so. Is this was IPCC peer review generally consists of? Is it what passes for peer review in climatology generally? And I ask this because of the interesting difficulties he has documented in just getting temperature data from the scientists who are making the case for AGW.

>>Instead, you could simply reject all the data out of hand as being suspect, which is much easier.

It would be nice if the data were even accessible, Mike.

>>The cult part? Um - none of us want AGW to be true - I mean I like the planet as it is, and I like flying, going to the shops and generally not living in a yurt (and having spent 5 weeks living in a tent while on fieldwork, thats more than enough for me). We don't want it to be true either, but it is. Believing in something despite all evidence to the contary is the very definition of faith, and it seems that faith is what (and all) you have.

I've seen nothing you've written that aspires to be anything but faith, and I mean that in all seriousness; you've cited nothing. You've proven nothing. Your reasoning doesn't approach validity, much less soundness.

John Cross:

>>Kevin: you feel that "Wegman's critique of Mann" is devistating, so how do you feel about his statement that we should base our knowledge about global warming on what the climatologists think?

I don't know, John. How does he justify that claim and in what context does he make it? I would presume the climatologists he was referencing would not include, for instance Michael Mann, since he just finished rubbishing not only his seminal work that the IPCC featured heavily but his entire network of co-authorial contacts in the climatology community. It also seems to present some tension with his complaint that the climatology community is apparently isolated from the statistical community despite being heavily involved in statistical reconstructions.

JB:

>>Kevin needs to do a little research because if he did, he would realize that the case for AGW does not depend on the work of any one individual (Mann or anyone else). It is a very large body of work and it all points to one thing: that most of the warming over the past 50 years was caused by human activities (ie, emissions). If the papers by Mann magically vanished into thin air, the conclusion about AGW would not change one bit.

Why isn't Mann's or the work of any of the other individual studies that McIntyre is looking at relevant? Mann's work was not influential? Jones work is not? Jones is a chapter author of the new IPCC report and Mann's was practically the centerpiece of the previous one. Many of his objections undercut basic arguments and assumptions of climatology that are responsible for their analytic reconstruction of non-existent temperature records. Most of these are central to the conclusion that the warming that is occurring now is atypical and cannot be explained sans AGW. I think your concluding sentence is simply false. Please recommend whatever research you think is relevant here to peeling the scales from my eyes.

According to David Duff:

"the works of Mann, Hegerl, D'Arrigo 'et al' .., under a plethora of excuses (which themselves are controversial), refuse to divulge the basic data upon which they base their theories"

This is a blatant lie in the case of Mann (I don't know the facts with the others). The data for MBH98 is referenced at the Nature web page.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 30 Mar 2007 #permalink

Kevin: "Most of these are central to the conclusion that the warming that is occurring now is atypical"

i.e. uncommon but nowhere near unprecedented. e.g. warming up from the last ice age involved a warming of about 8 degrees C.

"and cannot be explained sans AGW."

Explaining it has nothing to do with how atypical it is. Explaining it depends on our understanding of radiation and other physics. Paleoclimatic reconstruction tells us how much natural variation there has been and physics tells us how much artifical variation there will be. If the artifical variation was small compared with the natural variation we probably wouldn't have to think about it much but if the artificial variation will exceed natural variations then we should probably think about the consequences and unpredictable risks our actions are causing.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 30 Mar 2007 #permalink

Bob Stalling

Stern is certainly the most up-to-date, single source. It is written by an economist, for an economics audience.

For an intro which is well grounded in the science, but 'popular', Tim Flannery's The Weather Makers.

For a quick read, very well written, Elizabeth Kolbert's 'Field Notes from a Catastrophe'. Based on her New Yorker series.

On Stern, there is a huge debate about his economics. The basic question is whether he is using too low a discount rate for the future. This, to his critics, overstates future damages.

http://johnquiggin.com/index.php/archives/2006/11/17/stern-on-the-costs…

is a summary of that debate (from someone sympathetic to Stern).

My own feelings are neutral on that question. However I think he understates the costs of severe climate change.

On personality morality and behaviour and global warming:

- Al Gore - I do think Al Gore is an American obsession. 'An Inconvenient Truth' didn't tell us anything new, it's simply that American newspapers and tv news don't have that stuff, whereas ours (British) do, on a regular basis.

It's a good movie, and I especially enjoyed it for its insights into Al Gore the person, who comes across as a committed, conviction politician-- very different from his wooden image in the Clinton years.

So say I enjoyed the movie for learning about Al Gore, rather than about global warming (where I didn't learn anything I couldn't have learned in a year of reading our newspapers and periodicals, or the Economist special report on Global Warming).

As to his personal lifestyle. Well, he offsets his household electricity bill with green measures, and he and his wife run a business from his house. And Tennessee Valley Authority has some of the highest electricity tariffs in America.

As to flying. He cannot do the job he does without flying and without flying lots.

My argument is not that people will have to give up flying, but that a world where we pop to Geneva for the weekend (I have a friend who went from LA to Sydney *for the weekend* because he had the air miles), is probably not a very sensible world. In my business, people log billions of air miles, most of which is wasted going to meetings that don't need to happen or could be done by teleconference. It's a macho thing, how much time you can spend out of the office on a plane, how 'close you can be to the client'. It isn't actually getting work done.

You might be interested to know that climate scientist James Hansen himself, when asked, said that he thought if we made economies in other areas, we could keep on flying.

- John Travolta - John Travolta is a Scientologist. I immediately discount anything they say about anything, as I think they are a dangerous cult.

I don't know what his views are on global warming, or on anything else.

- Richard Branson - Branson is a businessman. He grabs a theme, builds a business around it, then sells it off. Often subsequent investors get left holding the bag, his stockmarket listed ventures (Virgin Brides, anyone?) haven't always given good returns.

He also owns a major airline. Branson thinks ahead of the curve, re new government restrictions and regulation. He can see what is inevitably coming, and is trying to protect his business and leverage his brand as 'green'.

I am a big sceptic of biofuels. Ethanol is obviously a con on the US taxpayer, in favour of farmers-- Iowa is the first presidential caucus, and those states could be up for grabs in the next election. If the US was serious about ethanol,it would use Brasilian sugar cane ethanol, which is cheaper and more environmentally friendly-- but there are huge trade barriers against it. Actually ethanol sourced from Cuba would be even better.

Biodiesel is a good fuel *if* you make it, say, from waste fat from McDonald's. But much biofuel is coming from Malaysian and Indonesian palm oil, which is created by clearing the rainforests.

www.biofuelswatch.co.uk

we are working on a campaign to stop the EU using this stuff.

For what it's worth the corporate campaigns I am more in favour of is the WalMart one, which is quite genuine about making WalMart greener (cutting their electricity bill in half, doubling the fuel efficiency of their truck fleet etc.).

Or the Marks & Spencer one. The retailer of salads and socks and underpants to middle England.

http://www.marksandspencer.com/gp/node/n/51360031

"What is Plan A?
Plan A is our five-year, 100-point plan to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing our business and our world. It will see us working with our customers and our suppliers to combat climate change, reduce waste, safeguard natural resources, trade ethically and build a healthier nation.

We're doing this because it's what you want us to do. It's also the right thing to do. We're calling it Plan A because we believe it's now the only way to do business.
There is no Plan B."

By Valuethinker (not verified) on 30 Mar 2007 #permalink

Bob Stalling

I don't know if you've seen the movie 'Amazing Grace'? That is a movie about William Wilberforce, the cholitis ridden, laburnum (opium) dependent British politician, who brought about the end of slavery in the British Empire, against all conventional wisdom that such was impossible, and that vast fortunes were made in the slave trade, vast personal wealth was held as slaves, and the slaveholders controlled parliament (catch that line in the trailer 'they have 300 MPs'-- you'll note the chief baddie is Tarleton, who is more famous amongst Americans for burning his way across the Carolinas in the Revolutionary War).

http://www.amazinggracemovie.com/

I think the question of global warming has become our slavery, our fascism of the 1930s. It has become the thing that we must deal with, that we cannot allow to continue. We owe that to future generations-- it is a moral question, at its roots. If that seems rather religious, well I am a Christian (if not of a born again stripe, a plain old boring Anglican) and I think much that is the best about human beings (and worst) comes from those impulses.

Socolow (in the New Yorker article that became Elizabeth Kolbert's book) probably puts this analogy the best:

http://hydrogen.its.ucdavis.edu/classes/HPC-Spr06/Readings/kolbert/prev…

After a while, I asked
Socolow whether he thought that stabilizing emissions was a politically feasible goal. He frowned.
"I'm always being asked, 'What can you say about the practicability of various targets?' " he told me.
"I really think that's the wrong question. These things can all be done.
"What kind of issue is like this that we faced in the past?" he continued. "I think it's the kind of issue
where something looked extremely difficult, and not worth it, and then people changed their minds.
Take child labor. We decided we would not have child labor and goods would become more expensive.
It's a changed preference system. Slavery also had some of those characteristics a hundred and fifty
years ago. Some people thought it was wrong, and they made their arguments, and they didn't carry the
day. And then something happened and all of a sudden it was wrong and we didn't do it anymore. And
there were social costs to that. I suppose cotton was more expensive. We said, 'That's the trade-off; we
don't want to do this anymore.' So we may look at this and say, 'We are tampering with the earth.'
The earth is a twitchy system. It's clear from the record that it does things that we don't fully
understand. And we're not going to understand them in the time period we have to make these
decisions. We just know they're there. We may say, 'We just don't want to do this to ourselves.' If it's
a problem like that, then asking whether it's practical or not is really not going to help very much.
Whether it's practical depends on how much we give a damn."

By Valuethinker (not verified) on 30 Mar 2007 #permalink

'Valuethinker' writes, "On Stern, there is a huge debate about his economics."

Not half! He was one of those 365 silly economists who signed a letter to the Times in the early '80s telling us all that the monetarist policies advocated by 'The Blessed Margaret' would lead to 'The End of the(economic) World'. Bit of a boo-boo there, Stern, old chap, but nice to see you're running true to form - even if it appears to be in the wrong direction. So, just another 'expert' who would have considerable difficulty running a whelk stall let alone running the world!

Hello Kev, nice to see you back.
Ok - Lyman and Gouretski. Well, there is review of Lyman here http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/08/ocean-heat-conten…
and a mention http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/09/why-greenhouse-ga… - unfortunately the PDF won't open, so I can't really say anything. perhaps someone with more knowledge could supply some information.
But I do note that a Google search of Gouretski does come up with this link http://climatesci.colorado.edu/2006/12/06/new-paper-on-north-atlantic-o… to Pielke Snr's weblog (ok guys, start your engines..), from which I assume you extracted your data. I would like to point out that despite all the arguements about instrument bias, etc (which I'll leave to others to explain further), there is these two quotes - 'We have found a dipole structure in the time averaged AHC: negative values are concentrated in the southern and middle latitudes of the North Atlantic whilst positive values are found north of 50°N. The upper 1500 m of the North Atlantic is warming throughout the period 1999 to 2005." & '"Secondly, despite the overall positive trend of the heat content in the North Atlantic, there were periods of several years when the heat content decreased substantially..."'. This would lead me to conclude that there is still warming in the Atlantic. BTW, its always suspicious when a name appears on a Google search in 'all the usual places' - it makes you suspect that cherry-picking is taking place...

'Kossin et al. 2007 poses issues for a link between GW and hurricane intensity'. Actually this link http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/527697/ , using a press release from the University of Wisconsin is entitled 'New Evidence That Global Warming Fuels Stronger Atlantic Hurricanes', and qutoes him saying '"While we can see a correlation between global warming and hurricane strength, we still need to understand exactly why the Atlantic is reacting to warmer temperatures in this way, and that is much more difficult to do," says Kossin.' So he seems to think that there is a link (but only for the Atlantic), and wants to know why.

I'm trying not to laugh at the idea that 'UN plans lead to a command economy under UN auspice'. Since the organisation can barely balance its own books, it would be interesting to see it trying to impose a 'command economy'.

I must admit I'd never heard of Arne Naess (although I was aware of Deep Ecology), so thanks for bringing him to my attention. But I can't find anything to suggest that he does not believe in AGW (but I suspect that he wouldn't mind living in a yurt). If you can find a quote, I'd love to see it. But I think we would all like to see some more names, since the number of 'influential environmentalists' who do think AGW is real is rather large (remember Sagan's 'extraordinary evidence'?).

Now I do like 'common courtesy or rational discourse' (and I wish Steve Millroy and his happy band would try to use some), so yes, I was being sarcastic. But you seem to forget that in the real world of academia and research (and yes, I knoww that sounds like an oxymoron), being horrible to other peoples papers is exactly what you do. You look at it, and then try to find fault with it. When you can't, that means its good. McIntyre (and WTF is up with this whole McIntyre cult thing at the moment?) tried to ask for data, not because he wanted to review it honestly, but as others have pointed out, probably to do a hatchet job on it. And why, you may ask, is a 'mineral exploration businessman' http://www.climatesearch.com/newsDetail.cfm?nwsId=131 doing as reviwer on AR4 anyway? I'd love to find out, so if anyone can explain..

Anyway - onto Valuethinkers excellent posts. I'd just like to say that stating that 'Stern cheats' is possibly giving the wrong impression. Stern 'has been criticised for overvaluing the future damage (in present value terms) of the costs of global climate change' and Valuethinker points out excellent reasons for it.
But perhaps we should remember that Stern clearly said that his reason for not using the usual discount figures (for which he has been criticised) is simply because classical economics fails to take into account profound possible changes in the future. The assumption that we can use a simple linar discount rate looks increasingly unrealistic when considering the problems of positive feedbacks which are becoming increasingly real. For instance, RealClimate has a discussion on the melting of the Greenland Ice sheets, which throws into doubt the conservative assumptions made in IPCC AR4. Frankly, all bets are off, and Stern should be applauded for thinking beyond 'business as usual'.

Ah yes Lyman, I guess the news has not run down under. Seems that there was a error associated with some of the Argo floats. When corrected the decrease in heat content disappears.

More seriously, this is symptomatic of first, clever and useful applications of new methods with complex algorithms. The first cut almost always has subtle formal errors. Other good examples of this are the Spencer and Christy MSU record and the MBH papers. In the former case, after corrections were made, the shift in the result was significant. In the latter, not so much (see the various spaghetti graphs). Formal error by itself is not determinative. Algorithms can be useful without being formally correct if the errors are minor or if the data set never wanders into regions where the algorithm does not function well.

Bob Stalling

Stern is certainly the most up-to-date, single source. It is written by an economist, for an economics audience.

For an intro which is well grounded in the science, but 'popular', Tim Flannery's The Weather Makers.

For a quick read, very well written, Elizabeth Kolbert's 'Field Notes from a Catastrophe'. Based on her New Yorker series.

On Stern, there is a huge debate about his economics. The basic question is whether he is using too low a discount rate for the future. This, to his critics, overstates future damages.

http://johnquiggin.com/index.php/archives/2006/11/17/stern-on-the-costs…

is a summary of that debate (from someone sympathetic to Stern).

My own feelings are neutral on that question. However I think he understates the costs of severe climate change.

On personality morality and behaviour and global warming:

- Al Gore - I do think Al Gore is an American obsession. 'An Inconvenient Truth' didn't tell us anything new, it's simply that American newspapers and tv news don't have that stuff, whereas ours (British) do, on a regular basis.

It's a good movie, and I especially enjoyed it for its insights into Al Gore the person, who comes across as a committed, conviction politician-- very different from his wooden image in the Clinton years.

So say I enjoyed the movie for learning about Al Gore, rather than about global warming (where I didn't learn anything I couldn't have learned in a year of reading our newspapers and periodicals, or the Economist special report on Global Warming).

As to his personal lifestyle. Well, he offsets his household electricity bill with green measures, and he and his wife run a business from his house. And Tennessee Valley Authority has some of the highest electricity tariffs in America.

As to flying. He cannot do the job he does without flying and without flying lots.

My argument is not that people will have to give up flying, but that a world where we pop to Geneva for the weekend (I have a friend who went from LA to Sydney *for the weekend* because he had the air miles), is probably not a very sensible world. In my business, people log billions of air miles, most of which is wasted going to meetings that don't need to happen or could be done by teleconference. It's a macho thing, how much time you can spend out of the office on a plane, how 'close you can be to the client'. It isn't actually getting work done.

You might be interested to know that climate scientist James Hansen himself, when asked, said that he thought if we made economies in other areas, we could keep on flying.

- John Travolta - John Travolta is a Scientologist. I immediately discount anything they say about anything, as I think they are a dangerous cult.

I don't know what his views are on global warming, or on anything else.

- Richard Branson - Branson is a businessman. He grabs a theme, builds a business around it, then sells it off. Often subsequent investors get left holding the bag, his stockmarket listed ventures (Virgin Brides, anyone?) haven't always given good returns.

He also owns a major airline. Branson thinks ahead of the curve, re new government restrictions and regulation. He can see what is inevitably coming, and is trying to protect his business and leverage his brand as 'green'.

I am a big sceptic of biofuels. Ethanol is obviously a con on the US taxpayer, in favour of farmers-- Iowa is the first presidential caucus, and those states could be up for grabs in the next election. If the US was serious about ethanol,it would use Brasilian sugar cane ethanol, which is cheaper and more environmentally friendly-- but there are huge trade barriers against it. Actually ethanol sourced from Cuba would be even better.

Biodiesel is a good fuel *if* you make it, say, from waste fat from McDonald's. But much biofuel is coming from Malaysian and Indonesian palm oil, which is created by clearing the rainforests.

www.biofuelswatch.co.uk

we are working on a campaign to stop the EU using this stuff.

For what it's worth the corporate campaigns I am more in favour of is the WalMart one, which is quite genuine about making WalMart greener (cutting their electricity bill in half, doubling the fuel efficiency of their truck fleet etc.).

Or the Marks & Spencer one. The retailer of salads and socks and underpants to middle England.

http://www.marksandspencer.com/gp/node/n/51360031

"What is Plan A?
Plan A is our five-year, 100-point plan to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing our business and our world. It will see us working with our customers and our suppliers to combat climate change, reduce waste, safeguard natural resources, trade ethically and build a healthier nation.

We're doing this because it's what you want us to do. It's also the right thing to do. We're calling it Plan A because we believe it's now the only way to do business.
There is no Plan B."

By Valuethinker (not verified) on 31 Mar 2007 #permalink

I've started blogging on this very topic.

I think I make some novel points in what was originally a submission that I sent to realclimate. Specifically, I begin to discuss how and why we scientists end up perceived as arrogant. Of course, there is a nugget of truth to work with; people at the top of any field are going to have to cope with a certain amount of pride. It's important to understand that there are malefactors out there seeking to make the most out of any opportunity we give them.

In short, I counsel patience (unlike my wife, who is a psychologist, and counsels patients...) in public discussions. Remember that the ideologically committed person issuing this or that exasperating challenge is not really having a conversation with you, but is conversing with the audience. Respond accordingly. Polemics is not scientific discourse.

We're at a disadvantage because we must play both games (discourse and polemics) at the same time. Those of our opponents who have no interest in discourse play their advantage by pretending to have such an interest.

Our advantage, of course, is the balance of evidence, which is plainly very far from the policies advocated by some. We need to present the evidence very carefully, though. The "arrogance" meme is a winner for the sleight-of-hand artists and we need to be very careful to avoid the trap as much as is possible.

Kevin said: "I think your concluding sentence [that "If the papers by Mann magically vanished into thin air, the conclusion about AGW would not change one bit"] is simply false. "

You are entitled to "think" anything you want to think, of course, but that does not make it so.

"Please recommend whatever research you think is relevant here to peeling the scales from my eyes."

OK, since you asked, please read the report of the National Research Council (National Academy of Sciences) that reviewed the temperature reconstruction work of Mann et al (Surface Temperature Reconstructions
for the Last 2,000 Years
)

"Surface temperature reconstructions [ie, like those of Mann et al] for periods prior to the industrial era are only one of multiple lines of evidence supporting the conclusion that climatic warming is occurring in response to human
activities, and they are not the primary evidence.

Kevin: In case it was not clear enough to you, that last quote above is directly from the NRC document. Don't take my word for it. Read the damned thing!

The statement was made by the scientists at the National Academy of Sciences (ever heard of them?) who produced the report.

It's funny how similar their statement is to the one I made (that you said was false) isn't it?

MikeB, thanks for the link. You *are* making it up. The Telegraph article is by Bob Carter, and the only mention of McIntyre is in relation to the hockey stick.

Want to try again? Where did McIntyre say that "climate change ended in 1998"?

Mike B. Sorry I missed your later post, and it's good that you offered the correction before you were called on it.

Your subsequent link, however is rather desperate. In that post McIntyre is looking at the relationship between proxies and temperature. In fact, his point is the exact opposite of what you contend - in the example, tree ring widths decrease in the warm 1990s. He is criticising the proxy, not the temperture record.

You won't find McIntyre saying that "climate change ended in 1998" or anything like it because he would never say such a thing. Neither would I. Nor you. So we all agree?

Ok James - Mea Culpa! While I had thought I'd come across a story about him using the 'warming stopped in 1998' factoid, I was evidently wrong, although I believ it actually might be Lindzen who's peddled this particular myth. So, as Jake Gittes puts it, 'when your right, Curly, your right, and your right'.

However, I am still intrigued by the number of posts lauding McIntyre. Since he seems to have no background or training in climate change and according to the GMI website "Stephen McIntyre has worked in mineral exploration for 30 years, much of that time as an officer or director of several public mineral exploration companies. He has also been a policy analyst at both the governments of Ontario and of Canada."', why do you all set so much store by what he says, when numerous posts on this thread (never mind a quick look at the internet) paints him as less than independent, and certainly in the wrong when reviewing Mann et al http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=98? You may of course point out Mann's involvement in RealClimate, but that does not take into account the dozen or so other studies which back Mann and reject McIntyre and McKitrick.

MikeB. OK i accept your admission that you have been consistently wrong in this thread.

I don't accept you continuing to be wrong about McIntyre's critique of MBH. This was supported by the NAS panel and the Wegman report,

I doubt you'd get to a dozen studies supporting Mann, but such studies are hardly independent, relying on a common pool of proxies.

After reading most of these threads, I have to ponder.....for a debate that's over, this is quite the debate.
Sorry, just trying to inject a little humor.

By Bob Stalling (not verified) on 01 Apr 2007 #permalink

Bob Stalling

I am reminded of that classic Monty Python sketch 'that's not an argument, you're just contradicting me. No I'm not.' ;-).

The sort of fringe grousing you read about here, doesn't count as scientific debate. There were geologists who for decades denied continental drift.

To argue against global warming is to argue against high school chemistry: ie to argue that adding CO2 and water vapour to the air doesn't block the transmission of infrared light.

The debate now is about how much global warming, how fast, and what to do about it?

The problem is, by the time we know whether we are right, whether the right hand end of our predictions (note, not our worst fears: climatepredictions.net has some model runs that show 11 degree centigrade temperature rises in the next 100 years) is going to come true, is really too late.

If it's our central case (2-3 degrees) then an inevitable amount of adaptation will take place. You can see governments already preparing for that: Australia is planning to recycle sewage for drinking water; the US Pentagon's Chief Strategist has written a plan for dealing with widespread global chaos; the UK government is dictating which parts of the coastline we will sacrifice-- villages are being told that they will be allowed to wash into the sea, building codes are being changed to allow for regular flooding.

If it is the right hand end of the predicted range-- say 5 degrees or more, then I don't know of anyone who thinks we can meaningfully make a full adaptation. 'Civilisation' in a Western sense, will be over. What's the price in GDP of the Collected Works of William Shakespeare?

If we are wrong, we spent some resources on forestalling something that didn't happen. Stern estimates 1% of GDP in 2050, and goes through a lot of effort to make that estimate, but even if it was 5% of GDP, that wouldn't seem to be an unreasonable insurance premium.

It's as least as likely, if not much more so given the positive feedback loops in the CO2 cycle, that we are wrong the other way i.e. the chances of 5 degrees or more are much higher than we currently estimate, or that there is some other climate bomb embedded out there.

And we won't know how big the warming problem is until it actually happens, and the results will be essentially irreversible.

When Michael Crichton asks for double-blind tests, we don't have a spare planet Earth upon which to conduct them.

By Valuethinker (not verified) on 01 Apr 2007 #permalink

Valuethinker:
All your points are valid.You are well informed, reasonable and logical. I for one, do not deny Global Warming and know what the debate is about, though I do believe cycles play a part in the picture.I am not a scientist, however I do have a degree in Natural Resource Management.
The fact of the matter is, words and phrases are polarizing.People,such as Al Gore,are also polarizing (ironic isn't it?. Should the phrase "The debate is over" be re-phrased to "The debate that GW is most likely man-made is over". Here in the U.S., after the IPCC came out with it's 4th report, almost all the headlines read "Man made Global Warming Conclusive", not "Man made Global warming most likely" (though some did).
I understand that the IPCC's terminology means that they are 90% sure that GW is man-made. If the police were to catch a suspect and say all the evidence led to the person being "most likely" guilty.They are 90% sure.Should they give him the death penalty...case closed?
Don't get me wrong, I realize steps need to be taken, but if the point is to change the mindset of millions of people, perhaps the approach needs to be less polarizing and scare tactics should be used less.
The NYT Science section had an article asking Al Gore to tone it down:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/13/science/13gore.html?ex=1331438400&en=…
If Al Gore were as smart as he get's credit for, and if he truly believed this should be a non-partisan issue (which it should), then why did he put himself in the limelight? Didn't he realize he would turn people off?
Also, I think the phrase "the debate is over" by Al Gore, is looked at by the Rebulicans the same way the phrase "your either for us or against us" by Bush is looked at by the Democrats.It's devisive.
Unfortunately, most people read just the headlines and not the story, very few, like you, are willing to do the research.People will tend to stick to the media that best supports their views on the world...seldom will they stray, and when they do, there is a mental block that doesn't allow opposing thoughts to get through.
I for one, tend to think the truth and answers are usually found somewhere in the middle.....that's why I'm an Independent...as I think most Americans really are.
You have said that I was "reasoning by false analogy". I thought about this and in some cases I believe you are right..but let me ask you this. If in 1975 I were to question the scientific data telling us the Earth was in a cooling phase for 40 years....would I have been reasoning by false analogy or analyzing by true reasoning?

By Bob Stalling (not verified) on 01 Apr 2007 #permalink

"after the IPCC came out with it's 4th report, almost all the headlines read "Man made Global Warming Conclusive",

Almost all? Really? You could have fooled me. Please provide some examples (which must be very easy to find if "almost all" said that). Even if it were true (which I doubt), it would be an issue to take up with journalists who don't always get the science right (not with Al gore).

"If Al Gore were as smart as he get's credit for, and if he truly believed this should be a non-partisan issue (which it should), then why did he put himself in the limelight? Didn't he realize he would turn people off?'

How nice that some (Republicans?) are so concerned that Al Gore is "polarizing" and works against a compromise on this issue.

I hate to break it to you, but anything Al Gore does and says puts him in the limelight and is polarizing. If Gore said, "I have to use the men's room", someone would undoubtedly find some ulterior motive in that statement.

And, by way, I don't really think Al Gore gives a hoot what his detractors think. That's just the way it is -- and with a Democratic Congress poised to actually do something about global warming, it looks like Al Gore is right: it does not matter what his detractors think.

Bob Stalling

On Al Gore I can only say he is a conviction politician. The scientists he talks to are very alarmed by our lack of concrete action on this matter.

What the scientists have been saying for the past 15 years hasn't really changed. What has changed is 1). the evidence of global warming through new temperature data and the evidence of climate change in biology, glaciology etc. 2). the sophistication of our forecasts about GW 3). our understanding about the speed of climate change when it happens in historical timeframes-- the world flopped into and out of an ice age in a 10 year period. Climate is not some insensitive beast, it turns out it is highly sensitive.

And yet politically we have done almost nothing about climate change. Kyoto has some good ideas and mechanisms, but it was a baby step and the US has refused to implement it.

So one can see how, with mounting scientific alarm, and inertia in the political system, a lone political voice with a long track record of sounding the alarm, one Al Gore, has become rather important. As I said, what the movie said was nothing new, but to Americans it felt like new information: your media blocks you off from what we see, on a regular basis.

Reiterating the scientific facts hasn't worked. An extraordinarily effective disinformation campaign has effectively prevented any serious or substantive action being taken.

You say 'answers are found in the middle'. But that begs the question of what the middle is.

As I have tried to point out, the IPCC is probably the middle scientific consensus-- it's been massaged to that point, in part so 'sceptic' countries like the USA would sign the report. 1.8 to 5 degrees centigrade, no glacial melting. That's the *middle*. Some of the data, models and scientists out there think things are a lot worse than that. This is particularly true on the question of the Greenland and Antarctic ice cap melting (where the latest data is not included in the IPCC report).

You also wrote:

- If in 1975 I were to question the scientific data telling us the Earth was in a cooling phase for 40 years....would I have been reasoning by false analogy or analyzing by true reasoning?

That I don't think is the same situation here. The analogy you made was to problems that:

- appeared to be happening, but didn't really happen or were not as severe as forecast

My counterargument is what about problems that really were severe (like nuclear war, ozone layer holes, air pollution etc.) but major steps and programmes were undertaken to avert their worst harm? Or what about ones where we didn't move fast enough (North Atlantic Cod)?

In 1975 there *was* data showing the world was cooling (although less that was thought at the time, at least from the people who have looked at it subsequently).

(just as an aside, it's been shown quite conclusively that there was no scientific consensus in the mid 70s on a threatened Ice Age. There were a couple of speculative papers, and the newsmedia picked up on it. The situation now is very different. you have thousands of scientists and scientific papers demonstrating the reality of global warming, as well as a 100+ year old theory about why it might be happening, and the best modelling we can do to back it up.

http://www.aip.org/history/exhibits/climate/Public.htm#S3

Spencer Weart's book 'the Discovery of Global Warming' is a great online resource-- I actually bought the paperback I found it so illuminating.)

If you had questioned that the world was cooling, the onus would have been on you to identify what in the data it was that said we weren't cooling.

So again I don't see your analogy is relevant. We are in a situation now where the data, as best as we can construct it, says we are warming, and warming quite fast. We also have a good explanation as to why (increase CO2, increase water vapour => increased greenhouse effect).

Let me give you two examples of what I mean about the 'debate is over' ie that the world is indeed warming:

- The Mann curve debate has been answered by the IPCC, and the National Academy of Sciences. The latter looked at it, didn't like one statistical aspect, recalculated the data and came up with the same conclusion. The former looked at 8 different approaches, and came up with the same answer.

- Similarly the apparent cooling of the Troposphere has been explained (realclimate.org has a post on this)-- the original discoverer has conceded there was a satellite measurement error.

On the second part, that humans are causing it, since we can rule out solar flux (no evidence it has fluctuated enough, or in a sustainable direction) then we are left with our basic science: CO2 + water vapour. We are as certain that humans are causing global warming, as we were that humans were causing the hole in the ozone layer.

So it comes down to what, where, when, how to address the problem.

By Valuethinker (not verified) on 01 Apr 2007 #permalink

Meanwhile, The environment minister of Alberta, of all places, states:
"One of the most compelling facts for me is this one -- by 2080, the children born this year will be in their early 70s, and the temperatures in Grande Prairie and Fort McMurray could be very similar or higher than the temperatures we see today in Lethbridge and Medicine Hat,"
"I'm from Medicine Hat and I know how hot it gets. I can't imagine Fort McMurray having that same kind of heat. Nor can I imagine where the Medicine Hat that I know today might be at that point in time.
"These are startling facts, and facts we can no longer afford to ignore."

Of course, this in the context of fighting federal emissions regulations in favor of provinical regulation, but it must make the Tim Balls apoplectic.

JB
http://uk.news.yahoo.com/01022007/356/mankind-blamed-global-warming.html
http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSL0160494020070202
http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/GlobalWarming/wireStory?id=2843621
http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=scienceNews&storyid…
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/02/AR20070…
http://www.jacksonholestartrib.com/articles/2007/02/02/news/world/ff97d…
http://origin.denverpost.com/nationworld/ci_5140117
http://www.tbo.com/news/nationworld/MGBRG3J5OXE.html
http://www.wciv.com/news/stories/0207/393813.html
I could post more.Both Reuters and the Associated press put out headlines that read GW is "man made", not "very likely" man made. The AP alone distibutes to 1700 newspapers and 5000 radio and television outlets.
This type of reporting turns some people off when they actually read the article and it states "very likely".
The discussion is about why "Republicans Reject Climate Science". Misleading headlines could be part of the cause.Don't shoot the reader.

By Bob Stalling (not verified) on 01 Apr 2007 #permalink

Bob Stalling: "The NYT Science section had an article asking Al Gore to tone it down:"

Bob, there's an entire thread here devoted to that article.

The supposedly neutral scientists calling for Gore to tone it down are all AGW skeptics and the reporter has produced previous articles sympathetic to the skeptical position.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 01 Apr 2007 #permalink

David Duff astonishingly writes: "He [meaning me] should take heart and courage from the hidden wealth of men's minds and the history of technology that arose from it". In other words, David is saying, "Look Jeff, you are speaking way over my head, I don't understand anything about science so I dismiss any kind of rational scientific argument and resort to (a) personal smears and (b) the old 'human wisdom' chestnut to get me out of jail".

Just as I suggested, David's reply to my post was derisive, ignorant, and devoid of any scientific underpinning. Yes, David, you don't have an scientific qualifications, that is clear now. I presented facts based on the empirical evidence: you resorted to childish ridicule. If you want to debate me on the empirical evidence, exploring human impactsd on a critcal range of ecosystem services, you can try (albeit your infintile attempts at smearing were a classic example of having your back against the wall and defending your untenable position using whatever feeble ammunition you could).

Human ingenutiy? Is that it? That is the only straw that you could desperately clutch with respect to the consequences human assault on our ecological life-support systems? I've debated high school students who could come up with better arguments than this dead old turkey. What David is saying is this: "I don't know anything about ecological complexity nor do I care to. I place my faith in the human mind even if humans pave every square inch of the planet's terrestrial surface".

Sigh. To be fair, David's vacuous view of the world is sadly shared by many. They cannot comprehend any of the myriad of ways in which the natural economy permits humans to exist and to persist; the economics literature is now rife with examples of economists who reaize that the material economy rests on a foundation of conditions emerging over variable spatio-temperal scales. Herman Daly, Geoffrey Heal, Stephan Vidermann, John Gowdy and other economists now accept that the material economy is about 1% of the natural economy that underlies it (and David Duff has probabl never heard of any of these people).

As to my intentions, David accuses me of being 'anti-human'. I am sure that other scientists have been tarred with the same stupid brush. I think my qualifications make me better able to understand the current predicament than people like David, but I will leave that up to the readers of this and related threads to decide. I would, however, like to ask David how many peer-reviewed papers he has published in his career? Um - nix?

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 01 Apr 2007 #permalink

Now I geddit! I checked up David Duff's blog site called "Duff and Nonsense". I assume the 'nonsense' part refers to Mr. Duff's take on environmental matters and on science in general. Appropriately titled, then!

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 02 Apr 2007 #permalink

1.John Cross: why do you need to be paid to cite any IPCC reference that would meet Econometrica's publication criteria? If you can cite three that might, I will send you $100 for each that I consider might achieve those criteria - and MBH is not one of them.
2.Jeff Harvey: do point me towards your own peer reviewed papers that (1) show valid statistical relationships between AGW and rates of known species extinction, and (2) explain why the survival of the fittest rule is inapplicable in these cases.
3.Ian Gould: thanks for your ref. to Lobell and Field, who "show" (in Environmental Research Letters) that "simple measures of growing season temperatures and precipitation...explain c.30% or more of year-to-year variations in global average yields for the world's six most widely grown crops...and that for wheat, maize and barley there is clearly negative response of global yields to increased temperatures". This paper exemplifies much of what is wrong with "climate science". It is contrary to best practice to establish a "Law" from observed data. Lobell and Field omit to explain ab initio why rising temperatures may be expected to produce a negative response in yields. At the most elementary level, horticulturalists use greenhouses to raise temperatures, or are the Dutch mad to do so? If so, why are GHG so called? The danger of statistical "Laws" based on global averages is that there will generally be about as many cases below as above the average. So it is with the Lobell-Field Law: using their FAO data on wheat yields in UK, and Hadley temperature data for 1961-2002, and using their first differences year-on-year, it turns out that if anything there is a positive, not negative, relationship between rising temperatures and wheat yields in Britain. In science as understood by Karl Popper, this is enough to discredit the Lobell-Field Law, even without the derisory R2s in their results and their unpublished (because unacceptable) t-statistics. However as Lobell-Field admit that they could not determine any CO2 effect with a yield signal, their "warming" was likely more to do with El Nino or other cyclical climate changes (eg sunspots) than with AGW (which show better R2s and ts than their own decadal data). Yet they still persist in asserting a second Law, that the fertilizer benefits of enhanced CO2 will not offset their claimed heat-induced lower yields. No evidence for this Law, just assertion.
4. Meantime Tucker (of NASA's Laboratory for Terrestrial Physics) et al. "show increased photosynthetic activity and an earlier start to the growing season at high northern latitudes from 1982 to 1991 and 1992 to 1999. This evidence supports previous reports that increased early season ecosystem photosynthesis explains recent changes in the seasonal cycle of atmospheric CO2 at these latitudes (Keeling et al. 1996; Randerson et al. 1999).... Our analysis strongly supports a variety of different reports in the literature of an earlier start and later end to the growing season at higher northern latitudes directly linked to increasing surface temperatures (see their "Higher Northern Latitude NDVI and Growing Season Trends from 1982 to 1999"). These results imply that there must be a positive relation between rising warmth and yields.
5.BTW both Lobell-Field and Tucker et al are financed by the present Republican administration, despite its "war" on climate science, but are seemingly unable to get their acts coordinated. The first see warmer (mainly because longer) growing seasons as being bad for yields, the latter imply that the earlier seasons "explain" CO2 seasonality.
6.In addition, the data reporting by Lobell and Field is as exiguous as usual, with nothing on actual choice of countries. Their cited climate source leaves out very many countries, including conveniently Egypt, which is known to have shown significant cooling since the 1980s.
7.Some other contributors to this thread have referred to Mann Bradley & Hughes (1998) and their mostly very impressive hockey stick paper. The real issue with them is that their criteria for selection of particular tree ring series as proxies for global temperature before 1850 are biased. Some species are more responsive ring-wise to precipitation than to temperature, and are for that reason discarded by BMH, but of course high rainfall years are often cooler than lower rainfall years, so to discard these species imparts a systemic bias to BMH. (see NSF-DEB-9815500-, Jackson & Betancourt, "LATE HOLOCENE EXPANSION OF UTAH JUNIPER IN WYOMING: A MODELING SYSTEM FOR STUDYING ECOLOGY OF NATURAL INVASIONS". This is a very non-PC paper, because it shows "mega-droughts" (so likely warm periods) in the MWP of 1350-1500 that was abolished by BMH, that many years in the 18th and 19th centuries were drier than any in the 20th, and that only 1936 in the 20th was a very dry year). Did BMH refer to the Wyoming juniper? If they did, I will agree that pigs have wings.

Ok - James - here we were having a reasonable exchange, with me saying I got something wrong. Fine. But then you had to overreach. 'OK i accept your admission that you have been consistently wrong in this thread'. Thats not what I said. I was wrong when I attributed to him the idea that 'warming stopped in 1998', and immediately clarified it. But although you may disagree with what I say |(as you are perfectly entitled to), the facts I have cited are not in dispute with regard to McIntyres lack of training in climatology, etc.

Of course you should always be careful in citing studies or using links when discussing such a subject. For instance,where you said 'I don't accept you continuing to be wrong about McIntyre's critique of MBH. This was supported by the NAS panel and the Wegman report'.
The NAS report, while not perhaps being a full endorsement of Mann et al, seems broadly to support it. The fact that even Roger A. Pielke, Jr. called it a "near-complete vindication for the work of Mann et al" would strongly suggest that the original conclusions were not found hugely wanting. The Wiki entry for the 'Hockey Stick' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hockey_stick_controversy#National_Research… also notes that the review which appeared on Climate Audit itself made claims for the report which were not actually in the report at all.

Wegman does seem to be very popular on certain sites, but it does not mean that itself does not contain errors http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2006/07/the_wegman_report.php. It was comissioned by a commitee dominated by anti-AGW Republicans (at last back on topic!) who, as Deltoid noted at the time http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2006/07/wegman_report_on_hockey_stick.p…
'It would be cynical of me to suggest that the terms of reference for WSS were crafted so that WSS would only check this aspect of MBH98 and not whether it made a difference to the reconstruction.'. As liverpoolmiss noted over on the Badscience site http://www.badscience.net/?p=386 , 'The Wegman Report .... investigated the statistical methodology behind the hockey stick graph. Not the data, or the inference - just the statistical techniques.'
And of course it turns out that the authors were not climate scientists but statisticians, who did not themselves submit it to peer review. And when you examine the data in the way that Wegman reconmends, nothing seems to actually change vey much in relation to the graph. The dozen or so other reviews of the same data seem to all come to the same conclusion.

As you put it 'I doubt you'd get to a dozen studies supporting Mann, but such studies are hardly independent, relying on a common pool of proxies'. Which means you acknowledge, that given the same data, others do come up with much the same conclusions as Mann et al!
I'm certain that there are many defences of Mann on the net (starting with RealClimate), but even they themselves acknowledged some of Wegman's comments (see Liverpoolmiss for more). Enough with Wegman and the NAS reports - they are certainly not vindications of M & M's paper, despite what McIntyre might say.

Now you may have a go at the proxies, such as the bristlecones, but in that case, come up with some better ones! But all the nonsense about the hockey stick misses the point, because, as JB put it earlier 'Kevin needs to do a little research because if he did, he would realize that the case for AGW does not depend on the work of any one individual (Mann or anyone else). It is a very large body of work and it all points to one thing: that most of the warming over the past 50 years was caused by human activities (ie, emissions). If the papers by Mann magically vanished into thin air, the conclusion about AGW would not change one bit'.
That's the problem for McIntyre and co - they may try to argue away one or two studies, but they cannot overturn all the data, its simply overwhelming.

However, there is still a question you have not answered - why do you believe McIntyre, who is a 'former mining executive', who has no background in climate science, whose paper on the hockey stick was criticised by many, and who is closely associated with the George Marshall Institute, rather than anyone else?

I don't want to get into the whole thing with Tim Curtin (thats somebody elses fight), but I would like to point out that although the Dutch do use greenhouses, they tend to grow those horrible tastless peppers in them, which needs a higher tempreture than the average Dutch field. On the other hand, we tend not to grow wheat under glass....

Tim: Why thank you. That is very sporting of you and I am happy to take you up on it.

Here are my first three.

First, from the TAR, Chap 10 - Decision making Framework quotes the following paper Hart, S., and M. Kurz, 1983: Endogenous Formation of Coalitions. Econometrica, 51(4), 1047-1064. I assume that a paper from Econometrica meets its own standards.

Second, the guidance notes for lead authors on uncertainity references the following Kahneman, D. and A. Tversky. 1979. Prospect theory: an analysis of decision under risk. Econometrica 47, 263-291. I agree that this is not part of the Assessment Reports, but it is a clear reference and the publication does meet the standards.

Third, we have to go outside Econometrica and see what other economic journals are there. While Econometrica is one of the top in its field, the Journal of Economic Literature is generally considered better these days. From that Journal we have this Dosi, G., 1988: Sources, procedures and microeconomic effects of innovation.
Journal of Economic Literature, 36, 1126-71.
from the TAR Chapter 9 - Sector Costs and Ancillary Benefits of Mitigation.

So, I trust these meet the standard and I look forward to my cheque! I can provide an address where you can sent it to.

By John Cross (not verified) on 02 Apr 2007 #permalink

TimC,

Sneaky one that, coming from someone (you) with no pedigree in science. You've read Dano's posts. Please folloow his advice if you will.

As to my peer-reviewed research, what relevance is your question in correlating AGW and extinction? I am a population ecologist who studies plant-insect interactions and mechanisms. But several of my colleagues here do study phenological relationships between insectivorous migratory and non-migratory birds in western Europe and they have reported - in several Nature articles - that climate change is having a profoundly negative effect on food supply for nesting great tits and pied flycatchers. The latter species is declining over much of western Europe as a result of being unable to adjust its reproductive period with peak insect abundance. This is because the bird leaves its overwintering grounds in central Africa to head north to its breeding grounds at approximately the same time as it did thirty years ago but it arrives here past the peak of its caterpillar food due to rapidly a advancing spring in temperate regions as a consequence of climate change. This is certainly not an isolated case, but is very likely to be a trend with serious consequences for food webs, ecological communities andf ultimately ecological resilience.

TimC, if you understood one iota of science you'd also realize that extinction is not an instantaneous process but that there are temporal lags following a disturbance or significant ecological change to a given habitat. This is referred to as the 'extinction debt' (described by David Tilman in his 1994 Nature paper). This debt can take decades or centuries to manifest itself. Until it is realized, populations decline towards either a new, but sustainable equilibrium, or else continue to head towards extinction. This explains why the loss of secies rich habitats such as tropical forests does not result in immediate species loss, but in the end the debt will be incurred.

Conclusion: AGW, in combination with other human assaults on the biosphere, will and are generating a mass extinction event (the sixth in the planet's history). Amongst scientists working in the field, this is mostly indisputable - except, of course to delusionists like TimC, whose arguments are of comic book level quality. TimC, why do you bother? You've got your politically dogmatic position and you'll stick it irrespectve of the evidence.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 02 Apr 2007 #permalink

TimC,

One question: I'd like to know what your defintion of 'fitness' is. Off the top of your head. Please define it. Of course I know what it means, as I use the term all of the time in my research. But it will be interesting for me to get a layman's idea of what the term means. I ask you this because its clear to me from your last posting that your interpretation of it is incorrect.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 02 Apr 2007 #permalink

Bob Stalling:

Thanks for the links, but I would remind you that you said "almost all" and you gave just a handful of examples.

More importantly, you finished with this claim:
"The discussion is about why "Republicans Reject Climate Science". Misleading headlines could be part of the cause.Don't shoot the reader."

As I indicated above, you should blame the individual papers/TV stations (or even the media at large ,if you think its a conspiracy) for that, not Al Gore and certainly not scientists.

Furthermore, the title of the Post was "Why Republicans Reject Climate Science", not "Why Republicans reject the media".

Then gain, perhaps Republicans never bothered to read the articles themselves (perhaps they never got past the headline they did not like?) -- where it explained that scientists thought it very likely that most of the warming over the last part of the 20th century was caused by human activities.

But if that is the case (if they never got past the headline), your thesis about them being turned off by "misleading headlines" is not correct because how could they know that a headline did not accurately represent the article if they never read the article itself?

And if they did not bother to read the article, it is perfectly legitimate to blame the reader.

Actually, it is either way (whether they read it or not), because most people know that the purpose of headlines is to get someone's attention.

If one rejected everything one read in an article because one thought that the headline exaggerated, I suspect that one would reject nearly everything in the paper.

Finally perhaps you might say they reject the science because they reject everything they read in the media. But even that is no excuse, because anyone who has internet access can download the IPCC reports for him/herself and read their conclusions (in Summary for policymakers, for example). One does not have to be a scientist to read the basic conclusions (Journalists with no scientific training do it all the time)

John Cross: touche! - yet too fast. This thread is about climate science, not coalitions, risk, and innovation. What one looks for from IPCC authors includes statistically valid empirical verifications to date (to standards of Econometrica) of their predictions of both AGW vis a vis non-A GW since their first ARt, methodological studies showing how they combine both linear (CO2 emissions) and non-linear model inputs to produce their mostly linear outputs, complete with econometric verifications (as opposed to Stern's counting up unverified outputs of computer models) and their justification for using 64 SRES scenarios "all of which are equally probable", a fine cop-out if ever there was one. Astrologers and darts players would do as well but not in the pages of Econometrica.
Jeff Harvey: surely you can do better than that when you are so much cleverer and more widely read than Lord May or Bjorn Lomborg.
JB: the referenced articles appear (from the summaries) not to explain why there have not already been extinctions on the scale predicted for 2050 from the exceptionally warm last 15 years or so (including 10 or 12 of the warmest "ever" if we believe MBH).

I continue to be heartened by knowing that the reply by Tim C is the best they can do.

Best,

D

JB
You said "send me SOME examples. I sent you (9). If you read what I wrote after the examples you will see that some of the examples were put out by AP and Reuters. These two companies distribute to literally thousands of media outlets. Was I suppose to send them all?
I find it funny that you were ready to reject these examples even before I sent them...you said that "even if they were true (which I doubt), it would be an issue to take up with the jounalists who don't always get the science right". Do you realize what you said? Even if the examples I send are true, they are wrong because journalists don't always get the science right.The problem with this statement is that the examples support your view, so are you saying your view is wrong?
Does rejecting facts before you see them and then again after you see them sound like something GW deniers do?
Also, when I was talking about misleading headlines, I wasn't talking about Al Gore, it was a different point in the same thread.
And as far as Republicans rejecting media...there is some truth to this...Zogby did a poll that showed 97% of Republicans and 64% of Independents believe there is a liberal media bias:
http://www.zogby.com/news/ReadNews.dbm?ID=1262
So if headlines are tweeked and Republicans feel the media is biased, could this be one cause of doubt regarding climate science?
By the way....I never said Republicans only read the headlines...I said "Most people" only read the headlines (opinion).
On another note..it seems you like to carry the water for Al Gore....I have several observations on Al:
1.Just because someone calls Al Gore a hypocrite does not mean they deny GW. If the Surgeon General smoked cigarettes and I called him a hypocrite does this mean I deny Cancer?
2.Al Gore buying carbon offsets as an excuse for his carbon emmissions is like the Surgeon General (if he smoked) giving money to Cancer research to offset his smoking.
3.One reason Al Gore is polarizing to Republicans is because he still believes Bush stole the election from him. Think about this...he chooses to ignore all evidence (the recounting of the votes many times over under the scrutiny of everyone) and then can't except the consensus by a panel of experts (The Supreme Court).Sound familiar? GW denying mindset maybe?
4. Here's another thought (off subject). If Bush stole the election...it is possibly the greatest heist in the history of the world...only a pure genius and a mastermind could pull this off! I think we can all agree this probably isn't the case.
You stated that "If one rejected everything one read in an article because one thought that the headline exaggerated, I suspect one would really reject everything in the paper". I would say to a large extent this is true...if someone finds one form of media constantly exaggerates and tweeks the truth...perhaps they would try to avoid it as is the case with Democrats and Fox news.
So...if the topic is "Why Republicans Reject Climate Science" and my suggestions are all rejected by you ie:
some Republicans (and others) are turned off by misleading headlines and the possibility of hype and scare tactics, Al Gore may be polarizing and/or a hypocrite to some,and the term "the debate is over" sounds devisive to many people(I know what it means).That could only lead me to conclude that the Republicans just hate climate in general...particularly when it involves science.
That was meant to be funny.
Lastly,as I mentioned in a previous thread, Valuethinker (fitting name by the way) said I was "Reasoning by false analogy" on several issues. It was a point well taken though I think mostly I am Analyzing by true reason...you on the other hand appear to be Falsely analyzing for no reason.

By Bob Stalling (not verified) on 02 Apr 2007 #permalink

So...if the topic is "Why Republicans Reject Climate Science" and my suggestions are all rejected by you ie: some Republicans (and others) are turned off by misleading headlines and the possibility of hype and scare tactics,

Tim's point in a nutshell - they don't read the science, which is why the FUD purveyors did what they did for so long (note my past tense).

Best,

D

JB: I notice the cite you provided does not indicate what the primary evidence for AGW happens to be. Any insight on what the primary evidence is in their consideration?

Also, one critique McIntyre offers of the NAS claim is that after they say bristlecone pines are a poor proxy, they then form their conclusions from studies relying on temperature proxy data from bristlecone pines. There seem to be a number of issues with tree ring temperature proxies that make the conclusions from them sketchy. What proxy reconstructions does the NAS think *are* primary? I did note that the NAS said the reconstructions for everything prior to 1600 were of less than reliable nature.

And you misconstrued my claim. Neither I nor you claimed that Mann was necessary and sufficient to build the AGW case. I mentioned, right in the post you replied to, Jones as another individual who was influential and whose work was influential. What I was taking exception to was the conclusion you offered that the disintegration of no particular individual's studies would necessitate rethinking AGW or some retrenching of lines.

Do you accept the NAS position completely? Is your acceptance due to explicit awareness of their evidence for their conclusion, your implicit belief in the character of the NAS or something else?

Eli:

Yes I had read that post on Pielke's website. However, I don't like deciding ahead of the evidence. If their calculation changed once, it may change again, or maybe Pielke just got a wrong tip. After all, their study did pass *peer review*.

I do find it interesting that sans any solid evidence you've already concluded that Lyman et al. 2006 is ready for the wastebin of history and no longer even possibly holds counter implications for AGW theory. I am sure you hold everything Pielke writes in similarly high regard.

MikeB:

I don't know what you conclude about what studies are cherry picked based on the location in which you find them, but without the ability to evaluate the data on your own [and I am not claiming to be able to do so either] we are both reliant upon the analyses of others. The analysis of Lyman, at least for the moment, is a big loss of heat from the ocean in a manner that is inconsistent with current AGW theory.

Kossin himself concludes in the paper whose press release you cited that because only the Atlantic, about 15% of the world's ocean, shows any link, then his findings present difficulties for there being any link at all. He is quite plain in the conclusion of that paper.

>>I'm trying not to laugh at the idea that 'UN plans lead to a command economy under UN auspice'. Since the organisation can barely balance its own books, it would be interesting to see it trying to impose a 'command economy'.

Who the hell said they would be good at it? All I am asking is if you can agree that the implications of AGW as expressed through Kyoto, for instance, would be a world wide market intervention?

>>I must admit I'd never heard of Arne Naess (although I was aware of Deep Ecology), so thanks for bringing him to my attention. But I can't find anything to suggest that he does not believe in AGW (but I suspect that he wouldn't mind living in a yurt).

You misunderstood what I was saying about Naess. Naess is on record advocating misleading the public on issues about which he feels strongly, e.g. the environment. I don't understand how you would think I was saying Naess doesn't buy AGW as I quoted a person supporting, not AGW, but acting on it ahead of the evidence in the same paragraph.

>>But you seem to forget that in the real world of academia and research (and yes, I knoww that sounds like an oxymoron), being horrible to other peoples papers is exactly what you do. You look at it, and then try to find fault with it. When you can't, that means its good. McIntyre (and WTF is up with this whole McIntyre cult thing at the moment?) tried to ask for data, not because he wanted to review it honestly, but as others have pointed out, probably to do a hatchet job on it. And why, you may ask, is a 'mineral exploration businessman' http://www.climatesearch.com/newsDetail.cfm?nwsId=131 doing as reviwer on AR4 anyway? I'd love to find out, so if anyone can explain..

Your reasoning is specious on McIntyre. He needs data to do a valid and sound critique. You can do a hatchet job with lies and innuendo. I think his difficulty in getting the data shows where the fear of truth is to be found. Moreover, most of the data he asks for is supposed to be publically archived and is not, meaning 1) the scientists are failing the standards of the IPCC and the journals in which they publish and 2) how can ANYONE do a good review without data? Obviously they can't. And that is precisely the form of review that these papers are being treated to by harsh scientific academia, i.e. nothing susbtantive.

Tim C: "At the most elementary level, horticulturalists use greenhouses to raise temperatures, or are the Dutch mad to do so? If so, why are GHG so called?"

Yes, just think what they could achieve if they heated their greenhouses to 50 or 100 degrees celsius.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 02 Apr 2007 #permalink

Wrong, Dutch horticulturist use CO2 to boost growth directly, not to raise temperature. The radiative effect of CO2 is academic in a greenhouse with an optical path length of only a few meters.

By Hans Erren (not verified) on 02 Apr 2007 #permalink

Kevin: "Your reasoning is specious on McIntyre. He needs data to do a valid and sound critique. You can do a hatchet job with lies and innuendo. I think his difficulty in getting the data shows where the fear of truth is to be found. Moreover, most of the data he asks for is supposed to be publically archived"

It was not supposed to be publically archived until after the papers were published. Please try to find out how the scientific publishing process proceeds before you make baseless assertions about it.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 03 Apr 2007 #permalink

Tim C: Your statement was:

John Cross: why do you need to be paid to cite any IPCC reference that would meet Econometrica's publication criteria? If you can cite three that might, I will send you $100 for each that I consider might achieve those criteria - and MBH is not one of them.

Let me just re-read it! Humm, err, no, I don't see anything in there about "statistically valid empirical verifications to date (to standards of Econometrica) of their predictions of both AGW vis a vis non-A GW since their first ARt, ...".

You asked for "any IPCC reference that would meet Econometrica's publication criteria" and I would ask you if articles published in Econometrica meet Econometrica's standard?

In regards to the Journal of Economic Literature, that one is a little more open to question. If we asked Dr. Jeff Harvey nicely perhaps he could provide the impact factor of JEL which might give us some insight into the publishing standards.

You wouldn't be trying to get out of our bet would you? David Duff would be very disappointed in you if you were!!

Regards,
John

By John Cross (not verified) on 03 Apr 2007 #permalink

Valuethinker:
I never saw the movie Amazing Grace but will put it on my list..thanks. Also...your reference to Monty Python was classic. Truly some of the best comedy of all time. It reminded me of the classic dead parrot skit. GW alarmists are telling us the parrot is "dead..deceased..Kaput".....the deniers are responding with "no it's just resting... it has lovely plumage..it's pining for the fiords".
I have a question for you.....if the IPCC states that GW is "most likely" man made...that is, they are 90% certain.....than what is the reason for the 10% doubt. This is not asked out of sarcasm but curiosity.

By Bob Stalling (not verified) on 03 Apr 2007 #permalink

I tried, my God, I tried to reach the bottom of this thread yesterday in order to reply to Jeff Harvey but time and again the blasted thing would only let me in to about halfway down. Nothing personal, I trust!

Jeff began by quoting *me*, thus: "He [meaning Jeff] should take heart and courage from the hidden wealth of men's minds and the history of technology that arose from it". He then translated that to this: "Look Jeff, you are speaking way over my head, I don't understand anything about science so I dismiss any kind of rational scientific argument and resort to (a) personal smears and (b) the old 'human wisdom' chestnut to get me out of jail". No, I don't know either how he managed that imaginative leap from 'a' to 'z', perhaps it was one of those 'Eureka' moments that scientists have from time to time!

I will avert my gaze from his next paragraph in which he resorted to sundry insults, not because I mind, but only because they were really not very good - but, hey, 'E' for Effort, Jeff! Next he dismisses the *evidence* of tens of thousands of years of human history during which we managed to avoid all sorts of catastrophes despite not having the benefits of ecological scientists like Jeff to point out that the end of the world is nigh. (I don't know how we managed, really I don't!) But then again, I say "evidence", and Jeff says "straw", so take your pick and hope you don't choose a short one!

Then he brought up the heavy artillery, as follows: "economists who realize that the material economy rests on a foundation of conditions emerging over variable spatio-temperal scales. Herman Daly, Geoffrey Heal, Stephan Vidermann, John Gowdy and other economists now accept that the material economy is about 1% of the natural economy that underlies it (and David Duff has probably never heard of any of these people)". Of course, he's absolutely right, I have not heard of, or read, any of those distinguished gentlemen and if their only insight is the stunningly obvious fact that 'economies change from place to place and time to time', then Im jolly glad I saved *my* time. (I mean to say, "a foundation of conditions emerging over variable spatio-temperal scales", where do these people learn their English?)

Finally, I wrote this up above: "I'm sure Jeff would *not* [my emphasis] wish to join the wowsers whose hatred for humanity is disguised, Angelo-like (in Measure for Measure) as being in the Public Good" and translates it into: "David accuses me of being 'anti-human'." Being of a charitable disposition I suppose I must put it down to another 'Eureka' moment, but it is rather worrying that Jeff, apparently teaches High School children - not English, I trust, for I fear he cannot read too well!

I almost forgot, Jeff did ask me how many "peer-reviewed" papers I had published and I can tell him that about 50 years ago I published, er, well, scribbled, several which were vigorously reviewed by sundry experts who mostly decided they were rubbish, and thus did I fail my 'O'-level Maths, Physics, Chemistry and, er, Biology. Still, I was having some success with girls and beer-drinking at the time and you can't be good at everything - unless, apparently, your first name begins with a 'J'!

The supporters of the AGW *hypothesis* have a case that deserves scrutiny. I remain sceptical but open-minded on the subject which is why I try to follow the arguments put for and against on sites likesthis one. However, I can't help feeling that advocates like Jeff must be something of an embarrassment to them and their case!

David,

I rest my case. What I said in reply to your rather one-dimensional retort was appropriate. You can't debate the scientific basis of human dependence on ecosystem services, so you responded with dismissal, wrapped in some stale one-liners and personal attacks on me (e.g. saying that my 'hatred for humanity is disguised' [Is that better? I stand corrected!] etc.).

This is the standard way that the anti-environmental crowd deals with academic inquiry that they cannot understand or wish to ignore - by ridiculing both the messenger and the message. As I said above, David, try and debate me on the science. There's your challenge, instead of relying on the tooth fairy and human wisdom to bail us out.

The problem is that you haven't read any of the appropriate literature (not all of it is reserved for academics you know): a good bet would be Yvonne Baskin's, "The Work of Nature: How the Diversity of Life Sustains Us" or Gretchen Daily (ed) "Nature's Services". The former is probaly more accessible to the general reader than the latter, but both explain in full how humans utterly depend on a range of ecosystem services for which there are no technological subsitutes (or where technology cannot replicate the efficiency of specific services). Two excellent examples of this are water purification and pollination - if pollinators, for example, were to disappear tomorrow human extinction would be inevitable. There is aready a growing pollination crisis in the United States, as populations of honeybees are in freefall, and the consequences for agricultural systems are enormous. Nutrient cyclng is another service which is indispensble; again, the loss of nitrogen fixing bacteria would be a calamity. From an economist's point of view, Geoff Heal's "Nature and the Marketplace" is also a good bet, as Heal spent the better part of a year at Stanford University with ecologists like Gretchen Daily, Paul Ehrlich, Harold Mooney, Peter Vitousek and Joan Roughgarden learning the value of nature through the eyes of ecologists. Stanford has one of the best Departments of Biology, so Heal's time was weel spent. The first chapter of his book explains in detail how the economic infrastructure of civilization is underpinned by the ecological infrastructure. For a great critique of neoclassical economics, Brian Czech's "Shoveling Fuel for a Runaway Train" is fine reading and well-researched. In the book Czech demolishes one of the three tenets of neoclassical economics theory: human ingenuity (David's sacred cow).

People like David espouse the hollow kinds of rhetoric they do because ecological services are freely provided, and therefore taken for granted by most people. They don't understand even the basic science underpinning them, so all they can do is dismiss them, in David's case with a few ad-homs and jokes thrown in. BTW, David, you'll be glad to know I don't teach high school children. I am a senior researcher and confine the vast majority of my lectures to university audiences.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 03 Apr 2007 #permalink

JB,

Don't read into TimC's replies: he is espousing utter gobbledegook (as usual). He wrote: "The referenced articles appear (from the summaries) not to explain why there have not already been extinctions on the scale predicted for 2050 from the exceptionally warm last 15 years".

As I said above, TimC, like David Duff, distorts science to suit his own agenda. To reiterate, extinction is not an instantaneous process. We do know that many well-studied species are declining rapidly, and climate change is certainly one of several factors involved. But there are always lag effects in more deterministic systems. The more local the study, the more stochasicity there is; as the scale increases the processes slow down. TimC's argument would be akin to saying that "There's no problem so long as a species technically exists; its current demographic trend is unimportant". Of course this in nonsense. Current demographic trends for many well-studied species point to very worrying trends in population declines. This is what provides the evidence for the 'smoking gun'. Populations are disappearing, which suggests that extinction at the species level will follow. I mentioend passerine declines in western Europe; there are other examples in North America. Chris Thomas' Nature paper (2004) was not an exaggeration: we are currently into an extinctio spasm and this will be accelerated by climate change, in combination with other anthropogeic stresses.

Winning an argument with an anti-environmentalists like TimC is like trying to win a pissing match with a skunk, to coin a phrase from an American scientist I corresponded with a few years ago. Their tactic is to say that, without 100% unequivocal proof, the problem does not exist. They are using this cunning trick to dismiss concern over biodiversity loss and climate change.

And to answer one last dig from TimC: Lord May's credentials are outstanding, he is one of the world's leading scientists. But to compare Lomborg's puny peer-reviewed output (one paper and his book) with mine is an insult. If you understood even the basic science, you'd realize that Lomborg's chapter on biodiversity loss is atrocious. But then again, you don't care about that, do you?

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 03 Apr 2007 #permalink

Jeff,

if I may, the structure of David's argumentation is such that the titles you give him to read are dependent upon someone having a natural sciences class at some time in their life.

Instead, I suggest Ehrlich's The Machinery of Nature for those who are uneducated in the natural sciences...

Nonetheless, immensely enjoy your comments.

Best,

D

(of late ecologically languishing in a much less biodiverse ecosystem than previously...)

"There is aready a growing pollination crisis in the United States, as populations of honeybees are in freefall, and the consequences for agricultural systems are enormous."

Jeff: All pollinators? A lot of pollination involves wind dispersal of pollen. There are also lots of native pollinating insects (as opposed to 'domesticated' honeybees). The consequences of honeybee decline might be enormous for certain crops and honey producers, but perhaps not for the food supply overall. Honeybees have had their problems recently, what with mites, now 'colony collapse'; I wouldn't assume these are related to climate change.

Kevin asked "Do you accept the NAS position completely? Is your acceptance due to explicit awareness of their evidence for their conclusion, your implicit belief in the character of the NAS or something else?"

All I am going to say to that is that I read the full report (which discusses/analyzes the relevant research) and I suggest you do the same.

I have neither the time nor the patience for nonsensical discussions about whether I accept National Academy's conclusions based on the "character" of their scientists or some other such BS.

There are lots of wacky (eg,libertarian) sites that you can go to for those kinds of discussions.

Kevin,
By the way, since you made a big deal of it above, I would also point out that you are simply wrong when you say that the NRC (National Academy of sciences) report that I referenced does not include the primary evidence for AGW over the past century.

I know it's asking a lot to read that far, but...let me direct you to page 2 of the document (Fig S-1) which includes the instrumental record (beginning in 1856)of global mean surface temperature (which is the primary evidence for AGW).

If you don't believe/accept the instrumental record, that's your prerogative of course, but good luck in finding company in your disbelief.

Bob Stalling:

"JB You said "send me SOME examples. I sent you (9). If you read what I wrote after the examples you will see that some of the examples were put out by AP and Reuters. These two companies distribute to literally thousands of media outlets. Was I suppose to send them all?"

I merely pointed out that you claimed "almost all". That's a pretty big bill to fill and the onus is on you, not me to do so.

You then went on to mis-state something I said:
"I find it funny that you were ready to reject these examples even before I sent them...you said that "even if they were true..."

Actually, no. That's not what I said. You have changed a critical word from my post (from "it" to "they") (Ever heard of "cutting an pasting" by the way so you won't make that mistake?)

Here's what I actually said:
"Almost all? Really? You could have fooled me. Please provide some examples (which must be very easy to find if "almost all" said that). Even if it were true (which I doubt), it would be an issue to take up with journalists who don't always get the science right (not with Al gore).

In other words, what I was saying (that you mis-understood and mis-stated) was that "even if it were true that 'almost all the headlines read "Man made Global Warming Conclusive" (as you claimed) it would be an issue to take up with journalists who don't always get the science right (not with Al gore)."

JB: If you said "it" meaning "almost all" and I was thinking you mean't "they" meaning the examples, I apologize.
Of course when you said send "some" examples I should have known you mean't "all" examples.
Whew!

By Bob Stalling (not verified) on 03 Apr 2007 #permalink

richard,

Jeff didn't claim that pollinators' decline is due to AGW.

The ecological dependence on pollinators cannot be overstated. If the fraction of flowering plants dependent upon bees goes away, then human economy likely collapses. It is true that graminaceous crops are wind-pollinated, but the high-dollar crops are not, and normal, typical flowering plants can't go away without widespread ecosystem collapse.

Best,

D

Bob Stalling: "The supporters of the AGW hypothesis have a case that deserves scrutiny. I remain sceptical but open-minded on the subject which is why I try to follow the arguments put for and against on sites likesthis one."

This, of course, leads us to the next and more important question: given less than perfect certainty, what is the appropriate course of action?

1. Do nothing and wait for absolute certainty - which if it ever arrives is likely to be far too late.

One problem with this is the lag associated with the warming of the oceans, most of the additional heat absorbed in the atmosphere ends up warming the oceans which have enormous thermal inertia. The longer we wait and the more carbon dioxide we emit in the interim, the more future global warming we've already committed ourselves too. Additionally, the costs of adaptation are likely to be non-linear i.e. the cost of adapting to a 2 degree rise is likely to be more than double the cost of adjusting to 1 degree rise.

2. Start working now on long-term low-cost response strategies.

Adopting a long-term target for deep cuts as Britain has done has a couple of advantages.

Firstly, we can let existing capital equipment such as coal-fired power plants continue to operate until the end of their operating life, thereby minimising the transitional cost and spreading it over a longer period. Of course, we could accelerate that process with faster depreciation schedules for the most polluting power plants and capital grants and accelerated tax write-offs for replacement plants
that met low-GHG emission standards but Kevin wouls think that was socialism. (Note to Kevin: there is a difference between "market intervention" and "socialism" why don't you go look it up?)

Secondly, in the vastly unlikely event that Bob Carter et al are right (which strikes me as only slightly more likely than finding out that the Earth really is flat or that the germ theory of disease is a fraud perpetrated by the pharmaceutical companies) we can stop without having spent too much money.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 03 Apr 2007 #permalink

"How nice that some (Republicans?) are so concerned that Al Gore is "polarizing" and works against a compromise on this issue."

Don't worry when the 2008 Republican nominee, be it Guiliani or McCain, says the exact same things as Gore 6-12 months from now he'll be a uniting moderating figure reaching out across the partisan divide and proposing a Lincolnian binding up of the wounds of civil conflict.

And Al Gore will still be fat.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 03 Apr 2007 #permalink

"I almost forgot, Jeff did ask me how many "peer-reviewed" papers I had published and I can tell him that about 50 years ago I published, er, well, scribbled, several which were vigorously reviewed by sundry experts who mostly decided they were rubbish, and thus did I fail my 'O'-level Maths, Physics, Chemistry and, er, Biology. Still, I was having some success with girls and beer-drinking at the time and you can't be good at everything - unless, apparently, your first name begins with a 'J'!"

You know you tend to rather undercut your calls for a reasoned moderate debate when you include them in the same post as ad hominen attacks such as this.

Google Jeff Harvey's name, you'll see that, if anything, he's understating his standing in the scientific world.

I disagree strongly with Jeff on a number of political issues but his statements regarding ecosystems and ecosystem services are an accurate and even conservative statement of the views of ecological scientists. (I'm basing that on the time I spent in the Queensland EPA as an environmental economist when I worked closely with a lot of environmental scientists and followed the professional literature as cosely as my layman status permitted.)

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 03 Apr 2007 #permalink

Jeff Harvey said: "Don't read into TimC's replies"

I don't read far (or much) into them.

Actually, I've had a basic year-long biology sequence (including ecology) at the university, so I know a little bit about this stuff.

I know enough about the impact of habitat destruction on species to realize that in many cases, the habitat will have to disappear before the species do -- and the habitat disappearance/destruction does not usually happen over night, as TC seems to assume.

JB: I asked fairly plainly if you simply bought the NAS report on its reputation or if you were a climatologist and were evaluating and accepting it as a scientist able to replicate relevant experiments, including Mann's and Jones'. Apparently the former is the case? If so, then you are pretty credulous yourself.

And I don't notice the report saying the temperature record itself is the primary evidence for AGW. For starters, how would you distinguish AGW [CO2 caused or some other] from natural climate variability or increased solar irradience without further evidence and analysis? The report seems simply to be a report of temperature which is insufficient to prove the "A" in AGW.

From the summary:

"In summary, large-scale surface temperature
reconstructions are proving to be important
tools in our understanding of global climate
change. They contribute evidence that allows
us to say, with a high level of confidence, that
global mean surface temperature was higher during
the last few decades of the 20th century than
during any comparable period during the preceding
four centuries."

They are pretty sure that the world was warmer at the end of the 20th C. than at any time back to 1600. Okay. And how is this primary evidence of AGW?

Regarding Figure S-1: Where does it say the temperature record is the primary evidence? It only goes back to 1850ish, i.e. not very long. I thought that was the point of using proxies, to establish that current warming is not only atypical but unprecedented.

The instrumental record has also been disputed by McIntyre and others for a number of reasons. Several think the corrections employed by some climatologists undervalue UHI and that records regarding seawater temperature are incorrectly biased based on a spurious assumption about how quickly the method of measuring the water changed.

Chris:

>>It was not supposed to be publically archived until after the papers were published. Please try to find out how the scientific publishing process proceeds before you make baseless assertions about it.

1) Thanks for the high-handed reply but the only baseless assertions are your own strawmen. McIntyre asks for a lot of information that is supposed to be publically archived and is not. He's detailed very specifically the standards of the journals and the federal funding for several studies for which he's had difficulty in obtaining data. It's real hard to replicate someone's statistical analysis sans their data and since you've apparently frequented his blog, I don't understand why you've any difficulty in understanding what I meant.

2) If the particular IPCC reports for which he recently tried and failed to get data are the point of reference for your statement above, allow me to ask why unpublished papers are to be legitimately included in the IPCC report at all?

From Martin Manning of the IPCC in reply to McIntyre:

"However, the IPCC process assesses *published* literature, it does not involve carrying out research, nor do we have the mandate or resources to operate as a clearing house for the massive amounts of data that are used in the climate science community or referred to in the literature used by our authors."

The IPCC's printed standards include:

""The Working Group/Task Force Bureau Co-Chairs should make available to reviewers on request during the review process specific material referenced in the document being reviewed, which is not available in the international published literature.""

How can a reviewer reasonably review a study when they cannot evaluate the data founding it? Moreover, if the paper has been submitted but not yet passed peer review or otherwise met whatever is necessary for publication, it kind of makes one wonder why it is reasonably being cited in the portion of IPCC chapter up for review.

It seems contradictory to ask someone to evaluate a chapter referencing work that has not been published and resultantly cannot be validly reviewed, doesn't it? Maybe not, but only if the point of IPCC review is to rubber stamp whatever analysis fits the prescribed conclusion regardless of the soundness of that analysis.

Jeff offers up this hostage to fortune after telling me at length that the world really cannot manage without proper 'ecological scientists' to guide its way:
"Heal spent the better part of a year at Stanford University with ecologists like Gretchen Daily, Paul Ehrlich, Harold Mooney, Peter Vitousek and Joan Roughgarden learning the value of nature through the eyes of ecologists."

Would that be the same Paul Erlich who got it so spectacularly wrong over future oil reserves and lost a very public bet with a (whisper the name and cross yourself) 'denier'? Would that be the very same Paul Erlich who wrote in 1968 "*The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now*"? If so, it must be the same Paul Erlich who wrote this "*Our position requires that we take immediate action at home and promote effective action worldwide. We must have population control at home, hopefully through changes in our value system, but by compulsion if voluntary methods fail.*" Truly, a Malthus *de nos jours*. And this 'silly (but sinister) Billy' is held up by Jeff as an example to us all of a great teacher. 'Way to go', Jeff!

Ian Gould: In a comment above you implied, inadvertantly, I'm sure, that Bob Stallard was the writer of some immortal lines of wisdom which in fact were mine. (To be honest, I don't really care but poor old Bob might have a reputation to keep up, where-as I have none, as Jeff will tell you in his humourless way!)

Dano, Ian, Thanks for your support.

As Dano said, my discussion of pollinator declines is not attributable to AGW, but its effects on natural and agricultural ecosystems will be profound. A good example of the value of pollinators is the oil palm industry in SE Asia. Oil palms originate in west Africa, but were imported into SE Asia early in the 20th century. Until 1980, the palms were pollinated by hand, a laborious exercise with limited effectiveness. Then, in 1980, a specialized snout beetle (Curculionidae) was introduced into SE Asia from west Africa, where it was found t be a major pollnator of oil palm trees. Very soon, hundreds of millions of dollars were saved in labor costs and oil palm yields increased by more than 60% at the same time.

There are other examples of the value of different kinds of ecosystems servcies: the Catskill Mountain watershed, pest control by anole lizards in the west Indies, fruit products in a Peruvian rainforest. Bob Costanza and colleagues at University of Maryland estimated the value of indrect 'provisioning' ecosystem services to be worth between 18 and 33 trillion dollars per annum in 1997 - or more than twce the planet's combined GDP. The paper was controversial because neoclassical economists claimed that value cannot be extrapolated where it is infinite, but Costanza said he was motivated to calculate ecosystem values because, as he put it, he was 'fed up with economists estimating nature's value at about 2% of GDP'. His paper is seminal because it was one of the first to demonstrate human's utter dependence on a range of critical ecosystem services which had up until then been pretty much taken for granted. Since then, as I said in other posts, research has further elucidated the importance of nature in sustaining civilization, at a time when humans continue nickel and diming the planet for private profit.

JB, I am glad that you can see through TimC's veneer. I forgot to mention yesterday several other relevant points: the IUCN does not officially classify a species as 'extinct' until it has not been reported in nature for 50 years. The conservation body is very conservatve, hence countless species that have already been lost but not reported since the 1960's (for example, in the Mata Atlantica forests of eastern Brazil), are still considered to be extant. Second, a species loses its ecological value long before it becomes extinct. Many species have declined to occupy only a small fraction of their original range (e.g. in NA the California Condor, Red-Cockaded Woodpecker, and American Bison). Extinction must important also be measured at the level of genetically distinct populations, and not only at more macroscopic levels (e.g. species). In the Nearctic and Paleractic realms, many well-studied species are undergoing significant population declines (some are linked with climate change - e.g. the Pied Flycatcher - whereas in others several factors may be involved). In eastern North America, Loggerhead Shrikes disappeared from much of the continent east of the Mississippi River beginning in the 1960's (I was fortunate to see them in Alabama and Mississippi when I visited the USA in 2001). They are now extinct or virtually so in eastern Canada. In NW Europe, the Red-Backed Shrike began declining in the 1960's, is pretty much extinct in the UK (where it was once common) and is only found in healthy numbers in eastern Europe (Poland, for example) and in Iberia and elsewhere in parts of the south. These declines are probably attributable to intensive agricultural practices, which have also negatively impacted many other familiar birds, such as song thrushes and lapwings.

Climate change is a more recent phenomenon, at least the current episode, and its effects will take decades or even centuries to be played out. There is particular concern, for example, of climate change on populations of specialist insect herbivores, which feed on plants with distinctive allelochemical 'fingerprints'. As the climate envelope shifts rapidly northwards, the insects must track their foodplants but the problem is that the plants may not be able to colonize optmal edaphic (soil) conditions outside of their usual range and will be 'squeezed' out. This will have a cascading effect on the many consumers that depend on that plant, right up through the food chain. Ecologist Peter Raven said a few years ago that for every plant species that disappears from tropical forests, at least 30 other extinctions of associated consumers will follow because these are species dependent on that single plant. Unfortuneately, we are only beginning to understand how these processes work and what effects they will have on ecological communities, but the prognosis is not a good one, given that populations and species are already challenged by a range of other serious anthropogenic stresses (that I mentioned in earlier posts).

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 03 Apr 2007 #permalink

David Duff,

How many times are you willing to embarrass yourself? Paul Ehrlich has been an author or co-author on over 200 peer-reviewed papers, is the author of many books, and won the equivalent of the Nobel Prize given in the field of ecology (the Crafoord Prize). What is your claim to fame? One crappy web site?

Anyway, Paul wasn't necessarily wrong when he wrote 'The Population Bomb' in 1968. Sure, his time-line was incorrect, but in the 1970's many warnings from the scientific community were heeded and regulations were implemented (e.g. the Clean Air Acts in various developed countries) that forestalled many of the consequences of inaction. What Paul did not factor in was the effects of certain technologies that would forestall - but not necessarily eliminate - future threats. For instance, as I mentioned earlier, 11 of the world's 15 leading fisheries are on the brink of collapse. New technologies have enabled fishing fleets to suck out more and more fish from the world's green seas, but the result is that the terminal end of marine food webs is being vanquished (see George Monbiot's article in the Guardian paer on Tuesday for a discussion of the ecological consequences). Humans are digging deeper and deeper into the biosphere to support consumption by primarly less than one-fifth of the world's population in the developed world. To quote Paul this is the sprint of folly.

As for the infamous 'bet' with Julian Simon, what has the price of metals got to do with the health of the biosphere? Paul and Steve Schneider offered Simon a series of further bets (15 points in all) in 1994 based on the natural economy 10 years later. These included atmospheric CO2 levels, mean global temperatures, fertile cropland per person, wheat yield per person, the global area of virgin forests, oceanic fish harvests per person, biodiversity loss and several others. These are important because they are strongly linked with the health of the natural economy. Simon refused to bet on any of them.

In a discussion of the death toll in Iraq since the illegal US invasion and occupation, based on the Lancet papers, Kevin once attached a paper aimed at those who knew nothing about statistics but claimed to be bestowed with worldly wisdom on the subject. The paper was entitled, "Unskilled and unaware of it: how difficulties in recognizing one's own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments" (1999) by Justin Kruger and David Dunning in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. The abstract states that

"People tend to hold overly favorale views of their abilities in may social and intellectual domains. The authors suggest that tis overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these domains suffer a dual burden. Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it".

Charles Darwin once noted that "Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge". These passages appear to appropriate describe comments from the likes of David. He has made no effort whatsoever to answer any of the scientific points I raised, but has only been able to respond with smears and what he thinks are witty dismissals.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 04 Apr 2007 #permalink

David Duff: You seem to wish to take Erlich to task and discard all his work since he made a bet which he lost. I agree with you on this and feel that all scientists should be held up to such a standard.

Newton was obviously an idiot since he never had a clue about relativity and thus all his laws of motion are wrong! Einstein was even worse since he knew about quantum mechanics but ignored it. And don't get me started with the Greeks or Romans!!! Some might call them smart, but you and I know better.

If any scientist ever makes a mistake then all his work is tainted! Period! End of story! It is certainly the rule that I live by since I have never made a mistake (except for that lecture I gave back in '89 - but that was on purpose to see if people were paying attention). However I would appreciate it if you would keep this conversation from my wife since she might not agree.

By the way, could you please put in a word for me with Tim Curtin since he seems to be refusing to pay up on our bet!

By John Cross (not verified) on 04 Apr 2007 #permalink

John Cross: Sorry for delay in paying you off, but I think you should be made to work a bit harder. I am also enjoying shifting the goal posts. What I originally had in mind is the general lack of statistical integrity in the IPCC and all its sources. As it happens a recent article in Journal of the Royal Statistical Society (which once had the honour of publishing a book review by me) sets the gold standard: Terence C. Mills, Times Series Modelling of two millennia northern hemisphere temperatures... (170 Part 1, 2007). Mills presents his results in a format conspicuously absent from most IPCC references. What I require from you is naming of similarly complete statistical formatting in IPCC sources. BTW, Mills poses some difficult questions for MBH et al. - and so far as I can see has never been cited by Stern, Houghton, or IPCC. Also BTW, the JRSS has some great recent papers showing home team bias of even "neutral" umpires/referees in cricket and soccer, and analysing rankings of cricket's test and ODI teams, all far more important than the inanities of the IPCC.

"If the fraction of flowering plants dependent upon bees goes away, then human economy likely collapses. It is true that graminaceous crops are wind-pollinated, but the high-dollar crops are not, and normal, typical flowering plants can't go away without widespread ecosystem collapse. "

Well, perhaps, Dano, but I believe the comments by Jeff were referring to reports on the 'domesticated' bee industry which has suffered a number of problems recently. There are plenty of wild pollinators (are they in decline as well? perhaps insectide application and monoculture have taken a toll there also); these, together with wind, I believe provide most of the pollinating services. The domesticated bees are used often for high-value crops, that's true, but these crops are not necessarily key to avoidance of ecosystem collapse. And, given Jeff's post, I don't think it was unfair to infer that he was implying a relationship between the decline in honey bee colonies and climate change.

Jeff, you provide a spirited, one might almost say, gushing, defence of Erlich so, suitably chastised, I can only ask if these words of his meet with your approval:

"Our position requires that we take immediate action at home and promote effective action worldwide. We must have population control at home, hopefully through changes in our value system, but *by compulsion if voluntary methods fail*."

It's important because it will allow us all to judge your, er, committment to your particular cause; you know, that old 'When the tough get goin' we all take cover' sort of thing.

Kevin said: "I asked fairly plainly if you simply bought the NAS report on its reputation or if you were a climatologist and were evaluating and accepting it as a scientist able to replicate relevant experiments, including Mann's and Jones'."

At least I don't claim something in one post and then deny I ever said it -- or claim I said something else -- in the next.

Richard,

I was certainly referring to the bee industry, but you miss my point. In response to David's vacuous responses and failure to understand the value of ecosystem services, I cited pollination as one that is taken for granted. And I stand by the argument I made, that if pollinating insects disappeared tomorrow, planetary ecossytems would shut down in a matter of a few years. We'd be living in a landscape of 'the living dead'. Certainly, abiotic processes like wind are also involved, but are much less important.

As far is David is concerned, he's reduced to a a few snide remarks now aimed at Paul Ehrlich, one of the world's leading ecologists. Pauls' work in the field is outstanding, whatever he wrote back in 1968. I don't agree with much in 'The Population Bomb'; however, at present there is ample evidence that humans are living off of natural capital rather than income, for the reasons that I have outlined in earlier posts. As the deficit grows, the ability of natural systems to sustain themselves is reduced. Because natural systems function in profoundly non-linear ways, its likely that they will withstand the current assault up until some threshold is reached, beyond which there will be serious repercussions: increased floods, droughts, hypersaline soils unable to sustain plant life, more extreme conditons in general.

Most importantly, not a single point I have raised with respect to the science underpinning ecological services has been debated by David, because it is apparent he has no relevant knowledge and thus is is left with nothing but a few personal attacks aimed at me (or Paul Ehrlich). David, if you insist on getting the last word in, fine, but why not engage in a real debate? I've presented facts and you've responded with childish jibes.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 04 Apr 2007 #permalink

JB: "Jeff Harvey said: "Don't read into TimC's replies"

I don't read far (or much) into them."

That's a pity, you're missing a lot of great (unintentional) humor.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 04 Apr 2007 #permalink

Kevin: "McIntyre asks for a lot of information that is supposed to be publically archived and is not."

How long is it going to take you to understand that a journal has no business publically archiving data related to one of its papers until after the paper is published. What do you think the word "publish" means? McIntyre likes to make a big winge about how he couldn't get information related to unpublished papers by Hegerl and D'Arrigo that he was allowed to study when he was given the job of reviewing an IPCC document. If he didn't want to use these papers to do his assigned job without bypassing the normal publication process then all he had to do was ignore them. What is so hard about that?

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 04 Apr 2007 #permalink

JB: Seriously, why did I bother to reply to you? You offered non sequiturs, I pointed them out and you follow up with some vague dig at me relevant only to your own misinterpretation.

Are you able to reasonably interpret the NAS' *primary* evidence by evaluating the various reconstructions they cite in Fig. S-1 or not? Is proving increasing temperature sufficient to prove AGW or not? Simple questions; they require no specious interpretations of my choice of verbiage. If your answer to them is 'no,' then you are personally accepting their argument on faith in the character of the organization rather than say, on logic or rational argument.

John Cross raises an interesting point when somehow he compares Erlich with Newton. (No, I don't know, either!) The difference between them, which is, after all, the size of the proverbial elephant, is that one made a prediction which was totally wrong and the other made a prediction which was and remains precisely correct (at the scale at which he operated). Einstein is another rascally fellow, one of those '*deniers*', you know, need I say more in this distinguished company? Foolish fellow reckoned quantum mechanics was tosh and said something about God not playing with dice. Duh! (Mind you, now I think about it, and bearing in mind Jeff's obsession, that Einstein chappie did publish an enormous number of peer-reviewed papers! So who am I to believe?)

By the way, John, as far as your bet is concerned, I'm sure 'the cheque's in the post'!

As for the man, himself, er, Jeff that is, not Einstein, he confuses me even more. He won't actually come out and say he approves or disapproves of the example of Erlich's politics that I quoted. Instead he lards him with praise but then adds, puzzlingly: "*Pauls' [Erlich's] work in the field is outstanding, whatever he wrote back in 1968. I don't agree with much in 'The Population Bomb'*".

You're confused! How do you think I feel? And this is the man who keeps telling me the world is going to end because the bees all dropped dead! And I came here for clarification ...

Chris:

Did you even read my post before responding?

1) McIntyre has been carping about the lack of archiving for many more studies than the unpublished ones in the IPCC. Jones 1990 study, for instance, was published 17 years ago. My initial statement was relevant to those as well, as I pointed out last post, and which you ignored completely.

2) How is ignoring supporting documents you're supposed to review due to their inclusion in a larger document you are reviewing ethical? Why wouldn't reviewing include evaluating supporting evidence that will be published in the report?

3) McIntyre was urged by the IPCC to contact the authors and by the authors to contact the journals. You ignored this to again assert he violated protocol in pressing for access to the data. How does it make logical sense to ask someone to review a study and then debar them from access to data comprising the study?

Kevin "You offered non sequiturs, I pointed them out and you follow up with some vague dig at me relevant only to your own misinterpretation."

You're just making stuff up.

Anyone who reads our exchange above can see that for themselves.

And quite frankly, I'm wondering why I ever bothered responding to you.

The difference between them, which is, after all, the size of the proverbial elephant, is that one made a prediction which was totally wrong and the other made a prediction which was and remains precisely correct (at the scale at which he operated).

I assume David's talking about Newton's seminal work as an alchemist?

This lurker sees that once again David has responded to Jeff's latest post with nothing more than a flurry of ad homs.

David Duff: I like your elephant comparison, except I will point out that by its very nature, a bet is fairly informal and has an uncertainty associated with it. Now stack this up against Newton's rather extensive work on alchemy.

In regards to the cheque, I wish I could share your optimism but based on recent responses from Tim C I am a little skeptic!

By John Cross (not verified) on 04 Apr 2007 #permalink

John Cross, you are a naughty, slippery fellow, and I shall tell Tim to stop payment on his cheque immediately. If I may remind you, you raised Newton in the context, and I quote your own words, "*his laws of motion*", not his nonsense on alchemy which, I might add, rather proves my point concerning the fallibility of scientists. I can bring myself to forgive Mr. 'Dhogaza', who appears to have difficulty spelling his name (and who can blame him?) and cannot therefore be expected to read very well your original comment; but you, Sir, have no excuse!

Alas, this constant shifting and shallying over this rather trivial point serves only as yet another example of the sort of behaviour constantly faced by Mr. McIntyre when he poses perfectly straightforward but important questions to some of the 'much published', 'peer reviewed', 'Jeff-approved' AGW, er, scientists.

Bob Stalling

I think the point in science is that one can never be 100% certain. And scientists are people who are not given to making absolute statements-- it's the nature of their profession.

Particularly not in as complex a field as climate, where there are many different factors working towards the outcome.

(an example which could be something of a false analogy. You and I would say with 100% confidence that 9-11 was caused by 19 operatives, recruited and trained by the Al Quaida movement, operating under the orders of Osama bin Ladin. A scientist might say we can say that with 'a very high degree of certainty'. Now that doesn't justify the '9-11 was a government conspiracy' case, it just happens to be how scientists describe things).

(Similarly scientists couldn't say that 'smoking causes cancer'. What they can say is that people who smoke are more likely to get cancer, and they can show a biological mechanism as to why this is likely to occur. But it's fundamentally a statistical judgment).

I would have to dig into the full text of the report (the latest is not available, only the summary) to understand on what basis they make these judgments (in terms of %).

However I do know that the percent confidence has been rising steadily since the first IPCC report (1991 I think). I think it's now at 95% confidence (that the world is warming, and humans are causing it).

We do *know* with 100% certainty that CO2 levels have been rising. So it's not a huge reach to believe that human activity (deforestation plus unprecedented carbon emission) is causing that.

The conclusion that this rise in CO2 is causing the observed rise in temperatures accords with everything our theories, and what we can show in the lab (about CO2 and water vapour absorbing infra red light ie heat), tells us.

The bitter reality is, by the time we are 100% sure of global warming, we may have unleashed severe consequences that we can do nothing about. A point Socolow makes in that quote I cited, upstream.

The nature of CO2, that once it released at least some of it sits in the atmosphere for 100 years (we can show that using radiocarbon dating), and that the earth takes a long time to heat up, means that we have a necessity to act, even though we know that new information will come up in the future (which might be worse, much worse, than we expect, not necessarily better).

After Mount Pinatubo erupted in 1991, world climatologists (the Goddard Institute at Columbia) made some brave forecasts about the likely effects due to the dust and Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) released. They said the world would cool off by 0.5 degrees centigrade over the subsequent 12 months. And indeed it did. Those models are much more primitive than the ones we use now, and the world climate science community was shocked at the accuracy of the forecast, suggesting we really were beginning to understand the impacts of different factors on the climate.

It is likely that, to date, the rise in world temperatures has been masked, by:

- emission of SO2 (a cooling gas) due to the very rapid post 1940 industrialisation in the west and Japan

- post 1970, when Japan, the US and other countries brought in the Clean Air acts, world SO2 emissions fell

- since 1980, Chinese SO2 emissions have been soaring

The net result is the world was probably heating up faster than we realised, but the SO2 was shielding us from it. However, SO2 dilutes in water (making acid rain, and acid fog), so it doesn't last very long. A cooling effect, but the CO2 emitted at the same time will have a much longer and stronger heating effect.

So we are at a crossroads. We have unambiguous evidence of climate change. We have a causal mechanism that we understand well, and matches everything we know about the physics and chemistry of the atmosphere.

And we think we have benefited from a 'masking' which will drop away, as China (already) starts to put in pollution controls.

Things could get a lot worse in the future than they have been, and a lot more quickly. there are 'tipping points' embedded in the natural environment (such as the death of Amazon, or the melting of the permafrost and associated methane release) that we just don't know when they might occur, at what average temperature.

The last constraint is that doing anything serious about CO2 emission is a 50 year project. We need to find cleaner ways of transport, cleaner ways of generating electric power, etc. All while still maintaining economic growth, necessary to give the world the resources and money to solve the problem.

Carbon related fuels are about 86% of all US energy consumption (hydro and nuclear are the balance). That's broadly true for every developed country (France has more nuclear, Norway and Canada have more hydro). That gives one an idea of the scale of the problem: we either have to do away with those fuels, or bury the CO2 output in the ground.

And at current rates, the world's rainforests may be gone in 30 years.

We have to start *now* because of the scale of the transformation that has to take place.

By Valuethinker (not verified) on 04 Apr 2007 #permalink

David Duff: "The difference between them, which is, after all, the size of the proverbial elephant, is that one made a prediction which was totally wrong and the other made a prediction which was and remains precisely correct (at the scale at which he operated)."

Yes, let's hear it for the precisely correct corpuscular theory of light.

Tell me David, did it ever occur to you that it was in part due to Erlich that the world put enormous resouces into population control and the green revolution, thereby preventing the disaster he predicted?

Furthermore, as to his being "precisely wrong", how many people have died of starvation since the publication of The Population Bomb?

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 04 Apr 2007 #permalink

"As for the man, himself, er, Jeff that is, not Einstein, he confuses me even more. He won't actually come out and say he approves or disapproves of the example of Erlich's politics that I quoted. Instead he lards him with praise but then adds, puzzlingly: "Pauls' [Erlich's] work in the field is outstanding, whatever he wrote back in 1968. I don't agree with much in 'The Population Bomb'"."

Erlich is an ecologist. When he ventures out of ecology and comments on demography or public policy he's as likely to be wrong as any other layman in those areas. (Kinda like Carter an McIntyre commenting on climate science.)

However, Jeff cited Erlich's position on a specific issue in environmental science. In that area he is a recognised expert (as demonstrated by all those peer-reviewed publications).

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 04 Apr 2007 #permalink

(an example which could be something of a false analogy. You and I would say with 100% confidence that 9-11 was caused by 19 operatives, recruited and trained by the Al Quaida movement, operating under the orders of Osama bin Ladin. A scientist might say we can say that with 'a very high degree of certainty'. Now that doesn't justify the '9-11 was a government conspiracy' case, it just happens to be how scientists describe things).

But how can you know there weren't really 20 or 18?

Maybe the planes were actually hi-jacked by remote control and the Al Qaida story was made up by the airlien manufacturers to cover it up?

Maybe the four crashes were just a coincidence which government terrorist experts are using to get increased funding.

Has Steve McIntyre conducted an independent audit of the passenger manfestoes?

There were other plane crashes in the past, I suppose you expect us to believe that they were all caused by Al Qaida too?

Seriously, I think we should refuse to take any action against Al Qaida until we have further proof of the Anthropogenic 9-11 hypothesis.

I'm not a conspiracy nut, I'm a just a concerned citizen worried about the proposal to introduce a command economy trhough increased government inspection of airline passengers and freight containers.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 04 Apr 2007 #permalink

Bob Stalling ".if the IPCC states that GW is "most likely" man made...that is, they are 90% certain.....than what is the reason for the 10% doubt. This is not asked out of sarcasm but curiosity."

The IPCC policymakers summary says "very likely" defined as 90% OR MORE probability.

The draft sent to the politicians for approval said "extremely likely" defined as 99% or more probability.

The wording of the final document (which is a consensus document) was watered down on the insistence of those two champions of truth, free markets and the environment, China and Saudi Arabia.

AS has already been said, there's no such thing as absolute certainty in science. Einstein's modification of Newton's laws of motion, which had passed every experimental test for three hundred years is an example of that.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 04 Apr 2007 #permalink

Ian Gould: You stated "How nice that some (Republicans?) are so concerned that Al Gore is "polarizing" and works against a compromise on this issue." I don't know so much that I would blame the Republicans for finding Al Gore polarizing...it's the nature of politics and human behavior. He has a history with Republicans just as Bush has a history with Democrats (and Republicans). What I'm trying to say is.....if Bush were to make the movie "An Incovenient Truth", how many Democrats would believe it?
The fact is Al Gore IS polarizing and made this a partisan issue with a lot of people, as wrong as that may be.
I honestly believe that if a different person had narrated this movie, someone who was respected by most Americans as an honest, non-partisan, likeable person, then more people would have seen it and taken the issue more seriously.......perhaps Jimmy stewart if he were still alive.
Another problem with the media here is that more people know Britney Spears than the Vice President....the media uses Hollywood Stars to warn us of the climate and tell us how to live our lives, in fact Al Gore has become a Hollywood Star of sorts. The problem is, these people are poor representatives and mostly hypocrites, as is the case with John Travolta...as you probably know from this London entertainment guide:
http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/showbiz/article-23390848-details/Air+mile…
Also, most people can't relate to the lifestyles of Al Gore and Hollywood. So in a sense, I blame Al Gore himself. I think he knew he would create some division but wanted the spot light more than he wanted the message to be recieved by everyone (perhaps sub-consciencely).
Finally....it's not that the Republicans don't read the science......most people don't read the science..including the Democrats. If I were to stop someone on the street and ask them about the facts of GW science, I doubt most people would know much. The average person isn't going to sit down and research GW. However, they would probably have an opinion on whether GW is real or not and how serious it is. This is based on how GW was presented to them and who presented it.
I enjoy reading your threads and appreciate the response to the "10% doubt" question I asked.

By Bob Stalling (not verified) on 04 Apr 2007 #permalink

You know, after posting my above thread, I realized that by using Jimmy Stewart as an example, I contradicted my point about Hollywood. I guess I just thought of him as a non-partisan likeable guy.Perhaps a Brian Williams type would have been a better example.I also misspelled subconsciously, perhaps subconsciously.

By Bob Stalling (not verified) on 04 Apr 2007 #permalink

Chris, just thought you might want to look at the Nature policy for data archival. I haven't looked at any others recently, but the Nature policy actually requires that the data be archived on submission (not publication). When the article is submitted, it is supposed to come with an URL linking to the archive and the UID/Password required to get it.

By oconnellc (not verified) on 04 Apr 2007 #permalink

John Cross: do send me your email and postal addresses - I award you 50% given your too literal intepretation of my challenge.

Back to hocket sticks and T.C. Mills: his paper in the JRSS (Time series modelling of two millennia of NH temperatures) uses the MBH and MM data inter alia and reinstates the MWP while opening the possibility of cooling to 2050 based on his regressions.

By Tim Curtin (not verified) on 04 Apr 2007 #permalink

"Also, most people can't relate to the lifestyles of Al Gore and Hollywood."

As opposed to the lifestyle of Texas oil millionaires.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 04 Apr 2007 #permalink

Valuethinker:

Ozone Layer? There really is a hole in the ozone layer. It really is caused by CFCs and bromides. We really did have a huge problem. If the earth had lost its ozone layer, then we don't know all the effects. Two serious ones would have been the loss of bird and animal life (cataracts) and therefore the explosion of insects (birds eat insects, especially mosquitoes). Another is the loss of at least 40% of phytoplankton underneath the holes in the ozone layer-- phytoplankton is the entire basis of the marine chain of life, so the cost would have been untold.

So we did something, and the problem went away (well, is going away).
North Atlantic Cod? There really was a threat of overfishing. A trade which had sustained communities for over 4 centuries (longer if you include the Native North Americans and the Vikings), really has ceased. The Cod have not returned.

I believe that comparing the ozone hole case to the North Atlantic cod case illustrates the Cassandra Irony quite well.
W.r.t the ozone hole, the alarms were heeded, action was taken, CFC emissions were curtailed, and now the hole is shrinking - the dire forecasts were rendered false precisely because they were heeded.
W.r.t the North Atlantic cod, the forecasts of fishery collapse were ignored for decades - and came true, because they were ignored.
Much the same for global warming - if severe action is taken, much of the worst will avoided. Those who work to prevent action on global warming are working at making true the very forecasts they insist are wrong - while those who work to encourage action, work to make false the same forecasts.

llwelly: I have some bad news for you, as the ozone hole (km2) after some falls appears more recently to be on a rising trend, so back last year to where it was in 1998 (26 million km2), while the minimum value has actually increased from 96 Dobsons in 1998 to 100 in 2006. BTW, CFCs were largely replaced as refrigerants etc by CO2, so in reducing the ozone hole (which for all anybody knows might have been a lot bigger before it was first observed), we are wrecking the planet anyway. Odd also that the good year for ozone (1998) was the worst ever year for AGW. Ah well, we cannot win them all!

By Tim Curtin (not verified) on 04 Apr 2007 #permalink

Ian asks me: "Tell me David, did it ever occur to you that it was in part due to Erlich that the world put enormous resouces into population control and the green revolution, thereby preventing the disaster he predicted?"

No it didn't, Ian, because, er, the *world* did no such thing - except teh monsters who run China)! What happened was that as more and more individuals became wealthier they stopped having so many children and they were assisted in this by the technology (ie, the human ingenuity in which Jeff places no trust whatsoever) of modern birth control from the pill to the condom (and don't let's forget mass abortion!) Thus, Erlich's silly, alarmist, doomsday prognostications on the 'population explosion came to naught.

Also, as you have read up above, global cereal production is up to record levels and today the only places where starvation takes place is in those countries run by thugs and gangsters. As for the western world, it is now the rich people who are thin and the 'poor' people who are fat.

Erlich is a chump and stands as an embarrassing warning to all HAFs (Hot Air Fanatics) who follow their single-minded fanaticism without once taking a broader view. (Now who could I be thinking of here ... no, don't tell me, I'll get it in a minute.)

Tim Curtin says: "CFCs were largely replaced as refrigerants etc by CO2". No they weren't. The breadth of your ignorance is amazing.

Sorry, an afterthought and then some news.

*My* forecast for the next problem in the future is a population *shortage* (but don't, for Christ's sake, tell Erlich!)

The news, good for some, bad for others, is that after 5 years of outright refusal Prof. Jones of the (in)famous report has been legally forced by Steve McIntyre and Douglas J. Keenan to divulge *all* of his data. It will be published, menacingly, on Friday 13th! I have no idea who will end up with the egg on their face but whatever you think of their science, both McIntyre and Keenan deserve *everyone's* gratitude for insisting on full disclosure and thus supporting the Popperian ideal of an Open Society.

David Duff writes: "What happened was that as more and more individuals became wealthier they stopped having so many children and they were assisted in this by the technology (ie, the human ingenuity in which Jeff places no trust whatsoever) of modern birth control from the pill to the condom (and don't let's forget mass abortion!) Thus, Erlich's silly, alarmist, doomsday prognostications on the 'population explosion came to naught".

I am busy today, far too busy to respond to this comic book level analysis. Dave's ignorance knows no bounds; Darwin was correct when he said that 'Ignorance begets confidence more often than knowledge'.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 04 Apr 2007 #permalink

Tim Lambert: Evidently you are having one of your genial host welcoming even dissentient views days!

"Carbon dioxide will not burn or support combustion. Air with a carbon dioxide content of more than 10% will extinguish an open flame. Air containing more than 10% CO2, if breathed, can be life-threatening. Such concentrations may build up in silos, digestion chambers, wells, sewers and the like.

CO2 gas is 1.5 times as heavy as air, thus if released to the air it will concentrate at LOW elevations. [Tell that to the IPCC and the ludicrous Keeling of Mauna Loa!] Carbon dioxide will form "dry ice" at -78.5ºC (-109.3º F). One kg of dry ice has the cooling capacity of 2 kg of ordinary ice. Gaseous or liquid carbon dioxide, stored under pressure, will form dry ice through an auto-refrigeration process if rapidly depressured.

Carbon dioxide is commercially available as high pressure cylinder gas, relatively low pressure (about 300 psig or 20 barg) refrigerated liquid, or as dry ice. Large quantities are produced and consumed at industrial sites making fertilizers, plastics and rubber.

Carbon dioxide is a versatile material, being used in different ways by various interested in its reactivity, or its inertness and/ or coldness. Common uses include raw material for production of various chemicals; fire extinguishing systems; carbonation of soft drinks [tonics for my G & T, Allah be praised] ; freezing of food products such as poultry, meats, vegetables and fruit; chilling of meats prior to grinding; REFRIGERATION and maintenance of ideal atmospheric conditions during transportation of food products to market; enhancement of oil recovery from oil wells; and treatment of alkaline water."

"Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Applications and Uses:

Multi-Industry Uses for Carbon Dioxide (CO2):
Carbon dioxide in solid and in liquid form is used for REFRIGERATION and cooling. It is used as an inert gas in chemical processes, in the storage of carbon powder and in fire extinguishers."

The above quotes are from UIG, who make a buck or two from selling CO2, unlike Tim Lambert:April 5, 2007

'Tim Curtin says: "CFCs were largely replaced as refrigerants etc by CO2". No they weren't. The breadth of your ignorance is amazing.'

nuff said!

Here;s some more of my ignorance for Tim Lambert:

Title:Aerosol propellant for personal products Document Type and Number:United States Patent 4139607 Link to this page:http://www.freepatentsonline.com/4139607.html Abstract:Certain fluorinated dimethyl ethers have been found to possess the stability, the compatibility and sufficient freedom from deleterious physiological effects to be used as aerosol propellants in cosmetic, hygienic, pharmaceutical and other personal products. Bis(difluoromethyl) ether is also FREE of the chlorine atoms believed responsible for some destruction of OZONE in the upper atmosphere. Bis(difluoromethyl) ether and carbon dioxide provides a combined gaseous and liquefied propellant system having improved aerosol pattern and emptying characteristics and eliminates the compressed gas effect usually shown by use of carbon dioxide in propellant systems.

Hi Tim Lambert: here's some more of my ignorance (from the E. Brittanica, admittedly an inferior source relative to your own superior knowledge and wisdom):
"Propellant:
any gas, liquid, or solid the expansion of which can be used to impart motion to another substance or object. In aerosol dispensers, compressed gases such as nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, and many halogenated hydrocarbons are used as propellants. The PROPELLANT may remain in gaseous form (nitrous oxide or carbon dioxide), or it may liquefy under pressure..."

So what is your evidence for NON-use of CO2 to replace CFCs as propellants?

Tim Lambert: Sorry, the quote in my second offering above (7.22 am) got lost in the ether:

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Applications and Uses:

Multi-Industry Uses for Carbon Dioxide (CO2):
Carbon dioxide in solid and in liquid form is used for REFRIGERATION and cooling. (Source: www.uigi.com)

So clearly as Tim Lambert is always right, CFCs were NEVER used as regrigerants or propellants,and that is why they never were replaced by even one milligram of C02.

"No it didn't, Ian, because, er, the world did no such thing - except teh monsters who run China)! What happened was that as more and more individuals became wealthier they stopped having so many children and they were assisted in this by the technology (ie, the human ingenuity in which Jeff places no trust whatsoever) of modern birth control from the pill to the condom (and don't let's forget mass abortion!) Thus, Erlich's silly, alarmist, doomsday prognostications on the 'population explosion came to naught."

So there was no increase in resources for family planning in the developing world in the 1970's and 80s?

There's a general link between income levels and fertility but its nowhere near as certain as you seem to think David.

You might, for example, compare the fertility level of the US with that of most of Europe.

Or you might want to ask yourself why Saudi Arabia and the other gulf states have amongst the highest fertiility rates in the world.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 05 Apr 2007 #permalink

Perhaps David would also like to console his euphoria with the fact that 1 in 9 people in the world today receive such little nutrition that their minds are literally wasting away. The number of people starving would also cheer David's vacuous optimism - there are more of them now than the total world population in the 1930's.

As I said above - David's world view is tainted by comic book level analysis. The structure of the global economy is geared towards overconsumption in the north and poverty in the south - and to ensure that the planet's resources remain in the 'proper' hands.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 05 Apr 2007 #permalink

Tim C.,

Carbon dioxide is used for some forms of refrigeration and for some forms of fire suppression.

It is NOT used for electrical fire suppression, the principal form of fire for which CFCs were and still are used.

You see Tim, while the production of CFCs was largely stopped after the Montreal Protocol was signed, existing stocks (including stocks recovered from obsolete refrigeration equipment) are still being used in fire protection - and they will continue to be used in this role until 2030.

Second, CFCs are up to 10,000 times as effective as a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide, so replacing CFCs as a propellant with carbon dioxide would remove 99.99% of the associated warming. (Oh and compared to total anthropogenic emissions of around 2.4 billion tonnes of carbon dioixde per year I suspect the fraction used in aerosals is pretty trivial.

Third, industrial carbon dioxide (i.e. the type used in aerosol propellants, fire extinguishers and as dry ice) is primarily a by-product of either natural gas production or fermentation. If it weren't diverted to industrial use it would probably simply be discharged to the atmosphere. So such uses probably contribute little or nothing to anthropogenic emissions.

Fourth, the principal replacements for Chlorofluorocarbons as a refrigerant were not carbon dioxide but hydrochlorofluorocarbons and hydrofluorocarbons. These compounds have similar properties to CFCs meaning they could be directly substituted in existing refrigeration equipment with little or no modification. These compounds are also potent greenhouse gases but have much shorter residence times in the atmosphere.

You may not believe this Tim but I actually have a considerable degree of respect for you, But on this issue you are not only wrong, you are wrong to a truly spectacular degree.

Oh and if the density of carbon dioxide is sufficient to prevent it mixing in the atmosphere, how do you explain the existence of the ozone layer? (Ozone is also denser than air Tim.)

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 05 Apr 2007 #permalink

http://www.unep.ch/ozone/PressBack/Press-Backgrounder.shtml

"In 1986 the total consumption of CFCs worldâwide was about 1.1 million ODP tonnes; by 2001 this had come down to about 110,000 tonnes. It has been calculated that without the Montreal Protocol global consumption would have reached about 3 million tonnes in the year 2010 and 8 million tonnes in 2060,"

So if CFCs were totally replaced by carbon dioxide (they weren't) carbon dioxide emissions might now be around 0.1% lower had the Montreal Protocol not been ratified.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 05 Apr 2007 #permalink

Tim Curtin: Stout of you to offer to pay up. I would be happy to call it square with a symbolic $10 contribution to The Alliance for Climate Protection or some similar local environmental organization that has global warming as an issue it is examining (I reserve the right to approve the organization - I wouldn't want a contribution going to the Wise Use Foundation). I would have gone for $1 contribution but I think that it costs a typical organization more to process a $1 contribution than it makes from the $1.

regards,
John

By John Cross (not verified) on 05 Apr 2007 #permalink

Actually, I wouldn't mind getting a charitable contribution given the amount of time I have spent here educating the impoverished for nothing. But could I have it in Pounds Sterling, please, because just at this moment 'The Godallmighty Dollar' doesn't go very far!

I don't suppose it's worth trying to drag this back on-topic by throwing up a link to some of the work being done on cultural cognition, which seems to go a long way to explaining different attitudes to various risks and their associated mitigation strategies, is it?

Jeff: I don't think I missed your point. I simply don't think there is any good evidence that pollination services are likely to disappear.

You are correct that David Duff has largely ignored your case, and, no doubt, correct as to the reason why. The climate change now underway is likely to be catastrophic for many; others, however, will be well-insulated from the consequences of their actions. I think that is the main reason for the existence of the denialists. They believe that they will be unaffected by climate change, and they may be right. If they think that they will be unaffected, why put up with anything that might alter their lifestyle for the sake of GHG control?. For the most part, it will be the poor (who are unable to relocate, who will not have access to new antibiotics and medicines, who will be less able to absorb increase costs of food) that take the hit. Some local cultures are going to disappear; the Canadian Innuit for example will not likely be able to maintain their communities in northern Canada. The same governments that are reluctant to act to reduce human impact on climate change are also reluctant to plan for the consequences of not acting.

Kevin: "McIntyre has been carping about the lack of archiving for many more studies than the unpublished ones in the IPCC"

Maybe, but that's not what this thread was discussing. If you want to drop in a non sequitur to obfiscate the issue I'm not interested in playing your game.

"How is ignoring supporting documents you're supposed to review"

You still don't get it. McIntyre wasn't supposed to review those documents.

"Why wouldn't reviewing include evaluating supporting evidence that will be published in the report?"

There's nothing stopping McIntyre saying in his review that unpublished papers shouldn't be referred to by the IPCC document.

"McIntyre was urged by the IPCC to contact the authors and by the authors to contact the journals. You ignored this to again assert he violated protocol in pressing for access to the data."

I didn't assert he violated protocol. I'm just pointing out that McIntyre likes to make a big winge when he can't get what he wants while following protocol.

"How does it make logical sense to ask someone to review a study"

i.e. the IPCC document

"and then debar them from access to data comprising"

i.e. data used by a potential reference in

"the study?"

The IPCC were not debarring access to data. The owners of the knowledge of what that data was were debarring it.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 05 Apr 2007 #permalink

oconnellc: "just thought you might want to look at the Nature policy for data archival. I haven't looked at any others recently, but the Nature policy actually requires that the data be archived on submission (not publication). When the article is submitted, it is supposed to come with an URL linking to the archive and the UID/Password required to get it."

So that means it's publically accessable, does it?

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 05 Apr 2007 #permalink

Richard, as far as I can tell Jeff is absolutely correct to say that if these pollinators dissappeared tommorrow things would get very bad very quickly.
However, what we are facing is a slow decline, which if we do not do anything about, will cost us much, much more in the long run than it would to do something about it now.
For more information on the decline in Bee's, look here, on scienceblogs:
http://scienceblogs.com/worldsfair/2007/04/bees_are_dying_who_cares.php

I have a few questions. I've reviewed the SPM for the upcoming AR4, and I'm not sure how the particular values for the contribution of CO2 to radiative forcing are determined.

Of particular concern to me is the phrase in the SPM that "Additional forcing factors not included here are
considered to have a very low LOSU".

If we have a low Level Of Scientific Understanding of multiple potential forcing factors, should that not indicate a much larger set of error bars than we see presented in Figure SPM-2 for the total anthropogenic net forcing? How does one go about assessing the error bars (and their net effect) from an unknown number of additional forcings with low LOSU?

Of particular concern to me is the error bar range on the cloud albedo effect from total aerosols. How is an apportionment to be made for the anthropogenic fraction of total aerosol effects on cloud albedo? How would that be distinguished from possible cloud albedo effects from non-anthropogenic aerosols (or other causes of cloud cover variation)?

Given that, I'm rather curious as to how it's possible to determine at a 90% certainty level that the majority of the temperature rise is attributable to anthropogenic causes? Wouldn't you first need a stronger understanding of all actual forcings, with relatively narrow error bars, and only then apportion the fractions, and know that the anthropogenic portion is greater than 50%?

I ask this at least partly in the context of Henrik Svensmark's recent paper in Astronomy & Geophysics 48.

It would seem to me that this could represent a major forcing that there does not appear to be an accounting for in Figure SPM-2. If Svensmark's findings hold, would that not require a fairly radical alteration in the apportionments that are currently used?

As Svenmark notes:

The 2% change in low cloud during
a solar cycle, as seen in figure 3, will vary the
input of heat to the Earth's surface by an average
of about 1.2 W m-2, which is not trivial. It
can be compared, for example, with 1.4 W m-2
attributed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change for the greenhouse effect of all of
the additional carbon dioxide in the air since the
Industrial Revolution (Houghton et al. 2001).

Comments?

By Barry Kearns (not verified) on 05 Apr 2007 #permalink

Barry, may the Lord have mercy on your soul because I fear, old lad, you are in for a bucketful of the smelly stuff from all directions! And that Svenmark is 'dead Swede walking' (or Dane, or whatever) for daring to suggest that the 'A' might be missing from AGW.

Richard: "The climate change now underway is likely to be catastrophic for many; others, however, will be well-insulated from the consequences of their actions. I think that is the main reason for the existence of the denialists."

I think this is an important point and much more widely applicable that the climate debate,

Westerners, across the political spectrum, mostly live cossetted protected lives. They're insulated by government safety nets and the wealth of the societies into which they were born from most of the consequences of their mistakes.

Therefore they're free to indulge in whatever fantasy appeals to them - whether it's David Icke's reptiloids; the extreme libertarianism so ably represented here by Kevin and Nanny, 9-11 conspiracy theories - or climate science denialism. (David Duff's belief that he's "educating the ignorant" through his mish-mash of personal abuse; bluster and unsupported assertions is a pretty good example too.)

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 05 Apr 2007 #permalink

"Barry, may the Lord have mercy on your soul because I fear, old lad, you are in for a bucketful of the smelly stuff from all directions! And that Svenmark is 'dead Swede walking' (or Dane, or whatever) for daring to suggest that the 'A' might be missing from AGW."

Svensmark's work has been criticised.

Point me to one example where the man himself has been criticised.

The difference in reception to Svensmark, who is publishing papers in peer-reviewed journals and Singer McIntyre et al might tell you something about the latter.

As it happens, Svensmark's work has a couple of serious problems. The first is that he used North American cloud cover as a proxy for global cloud cover. However, comparison with global data sets shows the North American record diverges from the global norm. Second, the changes in cloud cover he says are correlated with solar activity turn otu to be in large part an artefact of the data caused by changes in measurement techniques.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 05 Apr 2007 #permalink

Ian Gould wrote:

As it happens, Svensmark's work has a couple of serious problems. The first is that he used North American cloud cover as a proxy for global cloud cover. However, comparison with global data sets shows the North American record diverges from the global norm. Second, the changes in cloud cover he says are correlated with solar activity turn otu to be in large part an artefact of the data caused by changes in measurement techniques.

Thanks Ian! Could you provide a reference to (hopefully publicly-available) resources which back up these contentions (Svensmark using unrepresentative proxies and correlation largely due to changing techniques)?

Many thanks in advance.

By Barry Kearns (not verified) on 05 Apr 2007 #permalink

Valuethinker:
Thanks for the informative response to my "10% doubt" question.Funny thing, I was looking over the IPCC report and noticed one of the authors is a Jonathan Overpeck.Ends up he and I were in Boy Scouts together 35 years ago......my father and his father were Assistant Scout masters. He is now the director of the "Institute for the Study of Planet Earth". Here's the link if interested.
http://www.ispe.arizona.edu/index.shtml

By Bob Stalling (not verified) on 05 Apr 2007 #permalink

Chris, I'm not sure what you mean by 'publicly'. The Nature policy is pretty detailed. It certainly discusses material being available to reviewers well before publication. It also discusses materials being available at conferences, and even being able to show information to the press before publication. All material is free to be shown at scientific conferences.

I haven't seen the list of items that McIntyre was asked to review. If the IPCC was reviewing unpublished papers, that was certainly against their published policies. McIntyre claims to have correspondence between himself and IPCC reps who told him to contact both the journal and the authors for the information he was looking for.

Since this all happened in the past, I can't imagine anyone hiding what papers were being officially reviewed and at what date. Maybe if someone here had a publicly available reference they could point the rest of us to, it would solve what is really a silly argument. He was either asked to review those papers or not. Lets just see the list...

By oconnellc (not verified) on 05 Apr 2007 #permalink

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/03/cosmoclimatology-…

Barry, this RealClimate post links to the principal criticisms of Svensmark.

Svensmark is probably incorrect but further research is probably justified. His papers are one of the reasons the IPCC sets the probability that the current global warming is anthropogenic as greater than 90% (or greater than 99% if we listen to the scientists rather than the politicians) rather than 100%.

On a similar note (and the "skeptics" seem to have missed this one completely) Douglas Wallace of the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences recently published evidence that the deep ocean was absorbing more carbon dioxide than previously assumed, implying that future global warming may be less than previously assumed.

http://environment.newscientist.com/channel/earth/climate-change/dn1117…

According to David Duff, Wallace should have been ignored, slandered and condemned by the AGW establishment. nothing of the sort has happened.

Again, we need to follow up Wallace's research. For all we know, the absorptive capacity of the oceans is nearing capacity meaning global warming may accelerate. Or it may be that absorption will continue or even accelerate.

The question is whether we do nothing while we settle these issues. (Let's note here that Inhofe et al have never, so far as I know, argued for additional research to confirm or refute Svensmark or the various other countertheories. That suggests to me that they aren't interested at getting at the truth. They just want an excuse for inaction.)

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 05 Apr 2007 #permalink

John Cross: I have contacted The Alliance to ask how to send my offering. If you send me your email details (by email to my address available from my website)I will send you TC Mills' rather remarkable paper in JRSS.
Ian Gould: Thanks for your kind remarks, but there is still no doubt that CO2 can be and is used to replace CFCs in various uses. The Real Climate response to Svensmark fizzled, not least because as yet not peer-reviewed.
Eli: you may well be too quick on the draw once again re Lyman, but thanks for the link, which led me to sen. Pielke's further rockets up the IPCC's collective, all suggesting unravelling of The science, with the A rapidly disappearing from AGW. As I noted in my exchange with John Cross, the IPCC's sources do not appear to include reputable statistical differentiations (e.g. coefficients with significance tests) between non-A and A sources of GW, but I am still laboriously looking for same, without success so far.

Tim C., while the Realclimate articles aren't peer-reviewed, they cite the peer-reviewed papers which call into question various aspects of Svensmark's work.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 05 Apr 2007 #permalink

Anyone who's a member of the American Geophysical Union (or who's interested enough to spend $9 for a copy of the paper)can read Kristjánsson and Kristiansen's critique of Svensmark here:

http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2000/2000JD900029.shtml

The rest of us proles can access the abstract:

"In order to evaluate a recent hypothesis of a coupling between galactic cosmic rays, clouds, and climate we have investigated temporal variations in global cloudiness and radiative fluxes at the top of the atmosphere. For this purpose we have used the best available global data sets, i.e., those of the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) and the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE), respectively. Both globally and over midlatitude oceans only, we find a decrease in total cloud coverage between 1986 and 1990 of 2%, while between 1990 and 1993 there is a slightly smaller decrease. When the results are related to temporal variations in cosmic ray activity, we do not find support for a coupling between cosmic rays, total cloudiness, and radiative forcing of climate. A possible exception is low marine clouds at midlatitudes, characterized by few cloud condensation nuclei and a large net cooling effect, but no physical mechanism is known which might explain a connection between cosmic rays and low clouds. The net radiative effect of clouds during the period 1985-1989 shows an enhanced cooling effect despite a reduction in both total and low cloud cover. This contradicts the simple relationship between cloud cover and radiation assumed in the cosmic-ray-cloud-climate hypothesis. The interpretation of the results is rendered difficult by the short time series of ISCCP and ERBE data and by uncertainties concerning instrument calibrations and changes of satellites. When a 43-year time series of synoptic observations over sea is related to cosmic rays over the same period, a weak, negative correlation is found."

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 05 Apr 2007 #permalink

Hi Ian: but a paper from 2000 cannot be used against Sevnsmark et al 2006 which reports their experimental (as opposed to a priori) results

By Tim Curtin (not verified) on 05 Apr 2007 #permalink

Tim,

Svensmark's experiment proved that cosmic radiation could produce nucleation.

That in no way proves that fluctuations in solar radiation affect global temperatures - and doesn't in any way answer the criticisms of his earlier work by Kristjánsson and others.

In the absence of any evidence that solar activity DOES influence cloud formation, it seems premature to talk about possible mechanisms for such an influence.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 05 Apr 2007 #permalink

Ian: thanks for your very up to date link to New Scientist - but the link there is less cheering (albeit out of date re the extent of the ozone hole itself) : "By about 2030 to 2040 we predict a 10 per cent increase in ozone levels, because of these climatic effects," Neil Harris told New Scientist. "The greenhouse gas will cause a rise in low-atmospheric temperature, but a chilling of the upper stratosphere. The lower temperature there will slow down the chemical reaction that depletes ozone, so ozone levels will build up."

He adds: "Scientists have been so concerned about ozone depletion that they haven't really thought about what effect such a high ozone level could have - life on Earth needs a certain amount of UV." Looks like we'll have to learn to do without!

By Tim Curtin (not verified) on 05 Apr 2007 #permalink

oconnellc: "I'm not sure what you mean by 'publicly'. The Nature policy is pretty detailed. It certainly discusses material being available to reviewers well before publication. It also discusses materials being available at conferences, and even being able to show information to the press before publication. All material is free to be shown at scientific conferences" at the authors' discretion.

That's not the same thing as you and I being able to just click on a link and have it appear in front of us.

"McIntyre claims to have correspondence between himself and IPCC reps who told him to contact both the journal and the authors for the information he was looking for"

to see if they wanted to give it to him, which they were under no obligation to do.

"He was either asked to review those papers or not."

Here we go again. McIntyre was asked to review an IPCC document. He was not asked to review unpublished papers that he was given access to and which he could use or not use as he saw fit.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 06 Apr 2007 #permalink

Getting back to the original subject of this thread, I note from BBC Radio 4's 'Today' http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/listenagain/ram/today5_climate_200704… this morning that at the IPCC conference in Brussels, the US government have apparently had cut a paragraph referring to the large economic, social and environmental damage which will cause to the US by climate change, while being perfectly happy to include something about the 10% rise in some agricultural production in the US due to higher tempretures. Hopefully this cut will have been reversed in the agreed report. I think it shows clearly to those who argue that the IPCC has been 'politicised' that it seems to have been the deniers in various (polluting) governments doing the real damage, not the scientists.

Tim, if an excess of ozone ever becomes a problem we can simply restart CFC production

Or vent some of the CFCs stored in the halon banks.

Or stop paying Chinese factories that produce CFCs as a byproduct to destroy them under the Clean Development Mechanism.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 06 Apr 2007 #permalink

Its been confirmed that the US did get the first paragraph cut out of the US section, so apparently you will offically get better crop yields (in the short term), but won't suffer any economic ill-effects. Its good to see stupidity and cowardice triumph. isn't it?

TC, Eli has heard the same thing about Lyman from several places, it's just that Climate Science was the nearest link at hand. Don't hold your breath

"Its been confirmed that the US did get the first paragraph cut out of the US section, so apparently you will offically get better crop yields (in the short term), but won't suffer any economic ill-effects."

Plus I hear the chocolate ration is to be increased to 15 grams a month.

America is at war with Fundamentalist Islam. America has always been at war with Fundamentalist Islam. Russia and China are our allies. Russia and China have always been our allies.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 06 Apr 2007 #permalink

Chris, I think you miss the point of my post entirely. First, if McIntyre was asked to review an IPCC document, and the IPCC document repeats claims made in a scientific paper, from what I can tell McIntyre has three options. 1) just ignore those claims altogether. I would state that this doesn't do anyone much good. 2) He could summarily reject those claims because the paper is unpublished. This also doesn't do anyone much good. 3) He can accept those claims as true, with the only basis for that acceptance being trust in the authors (since the paper has not yet been published, it would seem difficult to do this, since he would have no way of knowing what changes would be made to the paper during the peer review process that was likely occuring at the time). I don't think this does anyone much good either 4) He can choose to verify those claims himself. From what I can see, this is the only option that does anyone much good and is certainly the only option that fits the spirit of the document and scientific investigation in general.

From what I can tell by poking around at all the sites and organizations and publications that have data archiving policies, they underlying goal of all of this is being able to replicate, verify and build on earlier work. They tend to mention embargoes in one form or another, but Nature, for example, is fairly lenient about sharing that data pre-publication for purposes of sharing scientific knowledge (you can share you papers at conferences and even discuss them with other press).

Given this (now, just because I say it is a given, doesn't make it so. If I am wrong about something here, please correct me), I can't imagine the outrage at his requesting the data. I mean, he has the papers in his hands. If he wanted to blow the embargo, he could do that without asking for the data. If he wanted to do a hatchet job on the paper, he would only have to wait for publication and then ask for the data. So, why the outrage? Any damage that he might do to the authors or the publication he could already do without having to make this request at the time he made it. I would argue that the deadline of "publication" is arbitrary. For example, would the situation be materially different if the rule for sharing data was 2 days after publication? What about 2 days before publication? In my opinion (and I could be wrong), the rule is in place for the same reason the embargo exists. The adherence by everyone to the exact letter of the rule for no reason, other than the fact that it is the letter of the rule, seems pedantic. And it certainly seems counter to other expressed goals of the peer review process in the first place.

Now, to save you some effort, I am not proposing that every schmoe off the street has the right to receive this data before publication. But that is not what we are discussing.

By oconnellc (not verified) on 07 Apr 2007 #permalink

Actually Bob, apart from the titles they have little or nothing in common.

The Y2K guide appears to have more in common with Homeland Security instructions circa 2002 to stock up on duct tape.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 07 Apr 2007 #permalink

Ian:
You may be correct about the difference in content, however, the underlying message is the same. Prepare for doom.... or as one critic wrote about the Y2K Survival Guide..... Nimoy compares the current state of things to the last days of Atlantis and states that "perhaps only chaos theory could calculate the multiple ramifications of what may occur." And then it goes on to suggest that hygiene will be a problem after civilization collapses, instructing viewers to use baby wipes on a daily basis to clean underarms and private areas.
Of course, with the even greater pending doom of GW, the Global Warming Survival Guide gives us tips like hanging your clothes on a clothesline. So perhaps there is some simular content.
Yes, I understand the potential consequenses and believe it or not, I do my best to conserve energy and not abuse carbon emmissions. I guess I'm just a little numb from being bombarded by doom, catastrophy, the apocolypse, terrorists, floods, Chaos, dead Polar bears and computers on the rampage.

By Bob Stalling (not verified) on 07 Apr 2007 #permalink

Loose the water supply and you are back to 1850 in life expectancy. Loose sewage and cholera runs wild. Without transport and tractors you are back to pretty much to subsistence agriculture. The problem Bob is that you have no idea of what sustains you and how narrow our margin is.

Eli - well said! (spell checked)"Lose the water supply and you are back to 1850 in life expectancy. Lose sewage and cholera runs wild. Without transport and tractors you are back pretty much to subsistence agriculture. The problem Bob [I suppose he means Comrade Mugabe] is that you have no idea of what sustains you and how narrow our margin is".

All so very true, and that is what Comrades Gore, Blair, Merkel, Rudd, and Garrett have in store for us. Admittedly Mugabe did not set out to destroy his country's energy and water systems in some mad unlateral dash to out-Kyoto Kyoto, but that is what he has done, and it is what our Comrades wish all of us to do, with their targets for cutting energy use to at least 60% below the 1990 level by 2050 (since cutting emissions without viable alternative sources of energy is the Mugabe route). The outcome in Zimbabwe - no power, so no water treatment or sewerage, cholera alrerady in place, and no fuel so no tractors or any form of transport, and life expectancy already well below the 1850 level - is exactly what said Comrades envision for USA, UK, EU, and Australia, since they all (directly or indirectly) rule out nuclear for base load power and rely instead on that pie in the sky, clean coal, as well as taxing all transport out of existence. G'day!

Guthrie: "For more information on the decline in Bee's, look here, on scienceblogs: "

What you and others are doing here is conflating the problem within the North American domestic bee industry with overall pollination services. The NA bee industry ships bees all over the continent, allowing bee pests to spread with them. These epidemics, while worrying, do not necessarily reflect on overall pollination services in NA, and certainly do not say anything about climate change.

Well, I didn't know that Mugabe blogs under the nom de guerre of Bob Stallings, but you learn something every day. However, I do think that Gore understands this, and Merkel, being a chemist by training probably does. The others can fend for themselves. The problem of course with TC's formulation is that changing the radiative properties of the atmosphere willy nilly affects the hydrological cycle, and can kill the water supply where people live, that our behaviors are wiping out pollinators and other natural systems that we subtly and not so subtly depend on and so on.

TC is certainly a member of the Stalinist/Libertarian alliance that believes there is a techno fix to everything the only difference being that the Stalinists believe that Glashnost will do it and the Libertarian thinks that his pen knife on his balcony tomato plant is what will turn the trick. Me not.

oconnellc: "I think you miss the point of my post entirely."

Either that or you miss the point of my post entirely.

"if McIntyre was asked to review an IPCC document, and the IPCC document repeats claims made in an (unpublished) scientific paper"

in that hypothetical situation of repeating those claims...

"McIntyre has three options. 1) just ignore those claims altogether. I would state that this doesn't do anyone much good."

Maybe but does "trying to do someone some good" justify being impertinent and publically wingeing when someone doesn't want to give you their property?

"He can choose to verify those claims himself. From what I can see, this is the only option that does anyone much good"

He should have sent letters saying, "ve have vays of making you do some good".

"and is certainly the only option that fits the spirit of the document and scientific investigation in general"

Steve McIntyre fitting the spirit of scientific investigation. Oh, the irony.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 08 Apr 2007 #permalink

Perhaps I am my own Ghostwriter under a different name. Eli, I think I know the narrow margin of what sustains me, but to what extent should it effect my psyche. If I were to worry as much as the media would want me to, I would have ceased sustaining long ago.
If AGW is the potential cause of the end of civilization as we know it (I believe it's a problem, though I think there are other factors involved) then Al Gore should change his C02 emitting lifestyle without the man-made excuse of carbon offsets. Better yet, why doesn't he reduce his carbon emissions and pay for extra carbon offsets so he has a negative carbon footprint. I might start believing he believes what he says.

By Bob Stalling (not verified) on 08 Apr 2007 #permalink

Eli: the problem is that your cures are far worse than even the claimed let alone the substantiated ill effects of global (sic) warming. Read St George Monbiot, a dedicated true believer in all Eli's worst fears, for a graphic analysis of what is really needed if those fears are warranted, the least of which is total shut down of all air travel, as there is no way windmills will ever replace jet fuel, or gasoline for that matter. So both Bobs are right, credits are not enough, and only abstention from all forms of energy use other than on windy nights and sunny days will reduce emissions to the level required.

By Tim Curtin (not verified) on 08 Apr 2007 #permalink

"Better yet, why doesn't he reduce his carbon emissions and pay for extra carbon offsets so he has a negative carbon footprint. I might start believing he believes what he says."

He pays for more green power than his home actually consumes, how's that for a start?

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 08 Apr 2007 #permalink

He owns three homes. Which one?

By Bob Stalling (not verified) on 08 Apr 2007 #permalink

Three?

The last time I heard that particular line it was four.

Seeing as we know he's buying green power AND carbon offsets for his principal residence in Nashville it's probably a reasonable assumption he does so at his other residences too.

Meanwhile, besides his new Midland home, how many houses does Bush own?

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 08 Apr 2007 #permalink

"...the least of which is total shut down of all air travel, as there is no way windmills will ever replace jet fuel, or gasoline for that matter."

So Tim how exactly is your preferred nuclear panacea going to work in the aviation sector?

If we accept that the world's supply of oil is going to be constrained in the future, there's really only two viable alternatives as far as I can:

1. Synthetic liquid fuels made from coal or natural gas;

2. biofuels.

Biofuels are probably the more economic option even leaving aside greenhouse concerns. In part that's because they have superior low-temperature performance characteristics to av-gas meaning you don't need expensive additives.

Without radical advances in battery technology, you need liquid chemical fuels in order to get the required energy density.

Fuel cells running on hydrogen, CNG or ethanol might be feasible but only if we were prepared to go back to prop technology.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 08 Apr 2007 #permalink

Ian Gould asks about nuclear power for aviation - it is feasible, pop one of the reactors from a sub into an if necessary bigger A380. But your alternative of synthetic fuels from coal does not solve the CO2 problem, I drove past Sasolburg in 1966, not a pretty sight. Bush's biofuels program is driving up the price of corn which could cause difficulties for the WFP.

One Tim Curtin
Two Bob Stallings
Three Gore homes.

Raise.

You know I would really really really try and believe Tim C about how terribly expensive this is all going to be if I didn't just read the estimate of the German Department of the Environment that its gonna require investments of 4 billion Euro a year to reduce CO2 emissions 80% by 2050. OTOH, if it is not done, the cost will be about 100 billion Euro/year in damages.

Eli is interested to note that the Stalinist/Libertarian alliance thinks the answer is flying hot water reactors. Hooh! And Bob, I refuse to pay taxes until Bill Gates dons sackcloth and ashes.

Ian:
No, it's only 3 homes. This from USA Today 12/7/2006.....
"Public records reveal that as Gore lectures Americans on excessive consumption, he and his wife Tipper live in two properties: a 10,000-square-foot, 20-room, eight-bathroom home in Nashville, and a 4,000-square-foot home in Arlington, Va. (He also has a third home in Carthage, Tenn.) For someone rallying the planet to pursue a path of extreme personal sacrifice, Gore requires little from himself."
You put me in an awkward position of actually trying to defend Bush on an environmental issue (his house). Keep in mind, I think Al Gore has done a good job of bringing the GW issue into a bigger arena....I just believe he is a hypocrite and could tone down the exaggerations, hype and overacting.
With that said, I don't believe Bush still owns the house he lived in as a child in Midland.....he does own this house in Crawford...http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2007/3/1/74130.shtml

By Bob Stalling (not verified) on 08 Apr 2007 #permalink

Tim,

There were several attempts to build nuclear-powered aircraft in the 50's and 60's. They went nowhere.

Do you seriously think we're going to be able to replace the world's entire commercial airfleet with nuclear-powered aircraft in, say, 20-30 years, given that the latest generation of commercial airliners took a decade or more from design to roll-out?

We're talking thousands if not tens of thousands of planes. Whereas the nuclear industry to date world-wide has built around 200 reactors in the last 50 years.

"But your alternative of synthetic fuels from coal does not solve the CO2 problem,"

I'll assume you missed the bit in my post where I said we'd need to come up with an alternative to kerosene for aviation regardless of greenhouse issues.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 08 Apr 2007 #permalink

Bob Stalling

You may have seen the press coverage this weekend, about the latest IPCC report:

- China and Saudi Arabia in particular demanded that the word 'very' (as in we are very confident that humans cause global warming ie 95% certain) be struck out of the final report

- some scientists have told the press they will refuse to cooperate in future with the IPCC, the influence of the political delegates on the final report was so large

- a table, showing changes in the world's ecosystems, and impacts, by 1 degree changes in average temperature, was removed (at US insistence)

Now one would have to ask why such a summary table was struck out, I suspect because someone saw how easy it would be for the lazy and uniformed press to stick that as a graphic into a newspaper report. (in fact Mark Lynas, in his book 'Six Degrees' does have such a chart. See also:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/media/9A2/97/Chapter_3__Global_Impacts.pdf

take a look at page 2, especially the entry under 5 degrees centigrade.

There *is* a lot of politics in the global warming debate. What you have just seen is a handful of powerful countries strike out scientific consensus, because it was politically inconvenient.

The concerted effort is to make the 'middle road' look like a relatively conservative IPCC report. But, in fact, that's the low end of the guess of what will happen, *if we do not take action*.

By Valuethinker (not verified) on 08 Apr 2007 #permalink

Ian Gould

Imperial College looked at this.

Biofuelled kerosene would work, but it's unlikely we can generate the sorts of volumes necessary.

Hydrogen doesn't work-- it's too light, the energy density isn't high enough.

We can probably double the fuel economy of jets, using advanced aerodynamic architectures (circular wings etc.). New Scientist I think had a piece on this. The problem is our existing aircraft architecture is over 50 years old, so at a rough guess we might take another 50 years to do that.

I suspect the answer is we may go back to sailing ships, with auxiliary power (steam-electric turbines fueled by biomass?). And possibly dirigibles (although Helium comes almost entirely from natural gas wells, and when it is gone, we have no way of replacing it). Rocket planes for those in a real hurry?

A related problem is that jet contrails create global warming themselves, possibly the contribution of jets to GW is 3 times their actual emissions. One suggestion is that we stop flying at night (since the trapping effect is worst then).

Interestingly US temperatures dropped significantly during the 'no fly' period after 9-11. (Tim Flannery has the scientific reference).

I have a (possibly wrong) thought that prop planes might be made radically more efficient than jets (thinking dual, 12-bladed, ultra large size carbon fibre props, etc).

By Valuethinker (not verified) on 08 Apr 2007 #permalink

Eli: Your German friends have been too much influenced by Nick Stern. Sadly, their first US$2 bn this year is for a new coal fired power station in the Ruhr, NOT for reducing emissions (the investment has been exempted from the ETS).
Ian: technology does move on, the new pebble bed reactors would do just fine in airliners, and could drive say 8 prop engines to be very competitive with 4 jets, especially in a context of carbon taxes (see Valuethinker above). But your ALP mates will never go for them!

USA Today: "Public records reveal that as Gore lectures Americans on excessive consumption,"

I thought the issue was excessive carbon dioxide emissions but I guess USA Today knows better than me.

Bob Stalling: "Better yet, why doesn't (Al Gore) reduce his carbon emissions and pay for extra carbon offsets so he has a negative carbon footprint."

Or even all people who believe AGW is problem to pay for carbon offsets for everyone else as well as themselves so that there is no longer an AGW problem.

"I might start believing he believes what he says."

If someone else carried the burden of paying for your non-CO2-emitting energy, who would care what you believed?

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 09 Apr 2007 #permalink

Tim Curtin: "Read St George Monbiot, a dedicated true believer in all Eli's worst fears, for a graphic analysis of what is really needed if those fears are warranted, the least of which is total shut down of all air travel"

So the thing that is least needed is a total shut down of all air travel. Not many people would disagree with that. A total shut down of coal-burning electricity generation is much higher on the priority list.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 09 Apr 2007 #permalink

"your ALP mates will never go for them!"

Neither I suspect would governments or the general public in a post 9-11 world.

Although I'm sure the governments of north Korea and Iran will be first in line to place orders for their national airlines.

There's also the question of weight - a nuclear sub reactor might fit into a commercial aircraft but they were designed to minimise size not weight.

Seriously, do you really think it's cheaper and more feasible to replace the entire commercial aviation fleet rather than to pay slightly more for biofuels that can be used in existind aircraft?

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 09 Apr 2007 #permalink

Valuethinker,

The Imperial College people were probably not aware of this new technology which can boost biofuel production per hectare threefold.

You need a hydrogen source but that could be provided from non-fossil energy (either renewable or nuclear). Using nuclear power in this way strikes me as more feasible than building thousands of flying reactors. (Although it rather tickles me to think that Tim C. could one day be flying on fuels ultimately derived from windpower.)

Alternately you could use a wet steam reaction to convert sequestered carbon dioxide into methane and then convert that into propane. You'd use solar or nuclear power to produce the steam. Emissions would effectively be halved compared with simply venting the carbon dioxide from the power plant.

I read the same New Scientist article and there does seem to be big potential for increasing fuel efficiency in aviation. (As an example, for Tim C., using electic-powered or hybrid tractors to haul aircraft aroudn on the ground rather than taxiing them.)

The Australian government also recently claimed they could cut aviation fuel use by 10% essentially through better traffic management - where there's a shortage of landing slots make aircraft delay their departure rather than sitting in holding patterns for hours.

It seems to me a 50-60% reduction in aviation fuel demand is possible and 50% or more of the remaining demand could be met by biofuels. That delivers a 70-80% reduction in aviation emissions without cutting flights. Then we need to get sufficient additional efficiency gains every year to meet growing global demand.

As for air freight, there was another article in New Scientist a year or so back about high speed cargo ships (80-100 knots). They'd obviously never completely replace air freight but on the relatively short haul transatlantic routs I can see them picking up a chunk of current airfreight business especially seeing as their costs (and emissions) are expected to be about 10% of those of airfreight.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 09 Apr 2007 #permalink

Speaking of technology marching on, Tim:

http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/printedition/story.htm…

"The study crunches the numbers on how the VRB system could be used at the Sorne Hill wind farm, a 32-megawatt operation to be installed near the northern tip of Ireland. It calculates battery storage will allow Sorne Hill to forecast its output for a 24-hour period with 98% reliability -- a key selling feature for electrical markets. Those figures are convincing enough that Tapbury Management Ltd., the company that plans to build Sorne Hill and had contracted to buy US$6.3-million of VRB batteries, has now raised its contract -- which could be finalized in as little as four weeks -- to US$9.4-million.

In Ireland, a free electricity market has led to significant discounting in the price for wind energy, but the study's results show the VRB batteries make wind-powered output stable enough that the Sorne Hill project could reasonably seek the amount paid for more dependable fossil-fuel-generated electricity, Mr. Clarke said.

Since the Irish winds generally blow at night, the batteries will also allow wind farms to save their electricity for peak demand times during the day."

http://uaelp.pennnet.com/display_article/289021/22/ARTCL/none/none/New-…

"Dublin, Ireland, April 4, 2007 -- Sustainability Energy Ireland (SEI) has published the results of a feasibility study for the implementation of a wind energy storage facility at Sorne Hill Wind Farm, Buncrana, Co. Donegal. The analysis into the feasibility of using an energy storage system said such a system could guarantee an uninterrupted supply of wind generated electricity to the national grid, improve the efficiency of the energy produced and remove financial risk.

The study, which was jointly funded by SEI and Tapbury Management Ltd., which oversees the management of Sorne Hill Windfarm, examined the integration of a battery storage system with a 6MW wind farm. The purpose of the report was to determine the optimum size for such a system in order to deliver an optimum return on investment, and to review the main benefits that the system could offer. The report concluded that the optimum battery is a 2MW capacity battery delivering 6 hours of electricity storage."

Vanadium redox batteries and other technologies for storing electricity have the potential to reshape the entire electricity industry.

Besides making renewables a lot more viable, they'll eliminate the need for most peaking power - which by itself will drastically reduce emissions and raise the average thermal efficiency of the generation quite a bit.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 09 Apr 2007 #permalink

Eli:
1. I used to think of myself as an Independent. Now that there are two of me, I suppose we are a Republican and a Democrat. I'm bi-polarizing.
2. You stated: "Hooh! And Bob, I refuse to pay taxes until Bill Gates dons sackcloth and ashes." I'm not sure what Bill Gates has to do with paying taxes, however, if he were to tell me computer operating systems were the cause of the coming apocalypse, and then refused to cut back on sales, I would call him a hypocrite.
3. I have no problem with Bill Gates donning sackcloth and ashes, as long as those ashes are not a product of coal combustion.

By Bob Stalling (not verified) on 09 Apr 2007 #permalink

Chris O'Neil:
If you think that by "consumption" USA Today mean't eating habits, then Al Gore is still a hypocrite.
Also, you stated "Or even all people who believe AGW is problem to pay for carbon offsets for everyone else as well as themselves so that there is no longer an AGW problem." That's not the point. If I were the standard-bearer for AGW awareness, it would be in my best interest and the interest of the world to set an example. It's called leadership. He loses some credibility with me.

By Bob Stalling (not verified) on 09 Apr 2007 #permalink

Tim Curtin

If you read the history of the 'atomic aircraft' it is not inspiring. They couldn't solve the intractable problems of shielding, etc. And the safety implications are frightening. Airplanes *crash* and sometimes people *hijack them and fly them into tall buildings*, or *put human bombs, known in Chechen as 'black widows' on them*.

I'm not a big fan of pebble bed. One of the early ones nearly melted as a pebble caught in the recirculation pipe. It takes 50 years to develop a robust, stable nuclear technology (pressurised light water is more or less that old, dating from 1949 US Navy experiments from memory). In 50 years time, I suspect most, if not all, of our nuclear fusion will be water-moderated, despite the technical superiority of some liquid metal technologies.

Air travel is currently undergoing exponential growth. It's more than likely that we will stop, or slow down that exponential growth.

Ian Gould, you appear to be referring to using a hydrogen adding technology to create propane? that's a long way from aerospace kerosene.

In any case, whilst all the efficiencies you cite are worthwhile, they simply delay the problem, which is one of exponential growth confronting an environmental limit.

Biomass itself is problematic, because it emits CO2 back into the atmosphere-- when you emit CO2 is as much of a problem as whether it is eventually offset (if the carbon cycle has a finite tolerance for CO2 concentrations ie if the damage curve or function is cumulative).

We would need an order of magnitude efficiency gain to deal with the projected growth in air travel over the next 50 years (roughly, world air travel is doubling every 10-12 years).

Whereas with electric power and even ground transport, we can see our way to low carbon solutions over, say, 50 years, for air travel we will need a technological breakthrough which is not yet in view.

But all is not lost (it never is). We will live longer in the future, and the fastest clipper ships could reach the Antipodes in 6 weeks, from memory (the Round the Cape tea races). You could cross the United States, coast to coast, by train in 3 days in times of yore-- no reason we couldn't do it in 2, even without a TGV technology.

Global Warming is very much a sociological and societal and political problem, rather than a technological or environmental one. We can change the world, and we can save the world, the question is 'do we care to'?

Put it another way, how much do we value our children, and our children's children, against ourselves?

So far the answer isn't terribly optimistic, but I am fundamentally optimistic about the human condition.

My father had a friend who was an inmate of Auschwitz, as a child. One of the handful of children (or adults) to survive a place where over 1 million people were put to death. He has a saying 'while there is life, there is hope'.

Indeed. While there is life, there is hope.

By Valuethinker (not verified) on 09 Apr 2007 #permalink

Elizabeth Kolbert again

http://www.wesjones.com/climate3.htm

- In climate-science circles, a future in which current emissions trends continue, unchecked, is known as "business as usual," or B.A.U. A few years ago, Robert Socolow, a professor of engineering at Princeton, began to think about B.A.U. and what it implied for the fate of mankind. Socolow had recently become co-director of the Carbon Mitigation Initiative, a project funded by BP and Ford, but he still considered himself an outsider to the field of climate science. Talking to insiders, he was struck by the degree of their alarm. "I've been involved in a number of fields where there's a lay opinion and a scientific opinion," he told me when I went to talk to him shortly after returning from the Netherlands. "And, in most of the cases, it's the lay community that is more exercised, more anxious. If you take an extreme example, it would be nuclear power, where most of the people who work in nuclear science are relatively relaxed about very low levels of radiation. But, in the climate case, the experts -- the people who work with the climate models every day, the people who do ice cores -- they are more concerned. They're going out of their way to say, 'Wake up! This is not a good thing to be doing.' "

......

- Last year, the two men published their findings in a paper in Science which received a great deal of attention. The paper was at once upbeat -- "Humanity already possesses the fundamental scientific, technical, and industrial know-how to solve the carbon and climate problem for the next half-century," it declared -- and deeply sobering. "There is no easy wedge" is how Socolow put it to me.

.....

- Socolow estimates that the cost of emitting carbon would have to rise to around a hundred dollars a ton to provide a sufficient incentive to adopt many of the options he has proposed. Assuming that the cost were passed on to consumers, a hundred dollars a ton would raise the price of a kilowatt-hour of coal-generated electricity by about two cents, which would add roughly fifteen dollars a month to the average American family's electricity bill. (In the U.S., more than fifty per cent of electricity is generated by coal.)

- All of Socolow's calculations are based on the notion -- clearly hypothetical -- that steps to stabilize emissions will be taken immediately, or at least within the next few years. This assumption is key not only because we are constantly pumping more CO2 into the atmosphere but also because we are constantly building infrastructure that, in effect, guarantees that that much additional CO2 will be released in the future.

.....

- The overriding message of Socolow's wedges is that the longer we wait -- and the more infrastructure we build without regard to its impact on emissions -- the more daunting the task of keeping CO2 levels below five hundred parts per million will become. Indeed, even if we were to hold emissions steady for the next half century, Socolow's graphs show that much steeper cuts would be needed in the following half century to keep CO2 concentrations from exceeding that level. After a while, I asked Socolow whether he thought that stabilizing emissions was a politically feasible goal. He frowned.

- "I'm always being asked, 'What can you say about the practicability of various targets?' " he told me. "I really think that's the wrong question. These things can all be done.

......

- "What kind of issue is like this that we faced in the past?" he continued. "I think it's the kind of issue where something looked extremely difficult, and not worth it, and then people changed their minds. Take child labor. We decided we would not have child labor and goods would become more expensive. It's a changed preference system. Slavery also had some of those characteristics a hundred and fifty years ago. Some people thought it was wrong, and they made their arguments, and they didn't carry the day. And then something happened and all of a sudden it was wrong and we didn't do it anymore. And there were social costs to that. I suppose cotton was more expensive. We said, 'That's the trade-off; we don't want to do this anymore.'

- So we may look at this and say, 'We are tampering with the earth.' The earth is a twitchy system. It's clear from the record that it does things that we don't fully understand. And we're not going to understand them in the time period we have to make these decisions. We just know they're there. We may say, 'We just don't want to do this to ourselves.' If it's a problem like that, then asking whether it's practical or not is really not going to help very much. Whether it's practical depends on how much we give a damn."

By Valuethinker (not verified) on 09 Apr 2007 #permalink

"Biomass itself is problematic, because it emits CO2 back into the atmosphere-- when you emit CO2 is as much of a problem as whether it is eventually offset (if the carbon cycle has a finite tolerance for CO2 concentrations ie if the damage curve or function is cumulative)."

But on most cases (certainly with annual crops corn corn) the carbon is "offset", before the fuel is burnt.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 09 Apr 2007 #permalink

More of those agricultural benefits from global warming:

http://environment.newscientist.com/article/dn11556-snow-goose-invasion…

"The invasion has prompted local farmers to declare war on the birds. "They're like locusts," says Ted Oien, whose dairy farm located just 3 kilometres from the festival grounds has been ravaged by thousands of geese. Oien reckons the birds ate $10,000 worth of grass off his fields last winter. "They keep everything mowed down to nothing," he says. "It's hard to run a dairy operation when you don't have grass to feed your cows."

While the lesser snow goose (Chen caerulescens) is a familiar sight in Washington, the number of birds visiting each winter has doubled to 83,000 in just 10 years. Mike Davison, a biologist with the state's Department of Fish and Wildlife, says the culprit is climate change on a distant, windswept island in the Arctic Ocean. "Whether you call it global warming or a moderation in temperatures in a specific geographic area, it has caused them to be very successful in nesting," he says.

The subpopulation of snow geese that calls on Stanwood each year breeds exclusively on Wrangel Island off the north-east coast of Siberia. The birds can only breed in large numbers if Wrangel's winter snowpack melts early enough, which historically occurred about once every four years. "Now they have been getting access consecutively for five years," says Davison."

Great news for the snow geese not doubt. Not so great for the farmers or for their prey species or for species that compete with them.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 09 Apr 2007 #permalink

TC Valuethinker, unfortunately I have to come down with VT. A few weeks ago I was talking with someone recently retired from DOE about pebble beds. He said, he thought they were many years away, exactly because no one knew how to make a pebble that would not break, and if one broke in the circulation pipe you had to shut down the plant if you were lucky.

Bob, lean back and enjoy. Double the personalities, double the fun. Take it from an old Rabett.

Valuethinker: Thanks for the info, I checked it out, including a Greenpeace site with the same info. Sorry, I'm not the panicking type. These all appear to be worst case scenarios designed to create fear. Good sound decisions are seldom made under these conditions, especially when attatched with the phrase "we're running out of time."
Yes, steps need to be taken and are being taken, hopefully not irrationally. I think this campaign to predict the most dire consequences possible is not a reasonable approach and may backfire over time. There is no easy answer, the truth lies, I'm sure, in educating people, corporations and Countries about how making a difference, large or small, can enhance the world around them. Not by having them run pell-mell into the wind with the thought that they are surrounded by doom. Buying a more fuel efficient car puts more money in your pocket, energy efficient appliance's and better insulation will help you save on fuel bills, plant trees to keep your house cooler in the summer or as a wind block in the winter or to increase the value of your property. Wal-mart is designing stores to minimize their impact on the environment, of course they are really designed to save them money. Point being, we need to see the personal benefits of change to change willingly. If changes are forced by apocolyptic "theories", catostrophic "possibilities", "likely" chaos, "computer generated" models, "shocking" headlines and end of the world "scenarios", then there will be resistance and "possibly" a worse outcome then predicted. Don't threaten entire industries and lifes. You message seems to revolve around this...."The cost of action needs to be weighed against the price of inaction". Keep in mind, these were the exact words of President Clinton after he bombed Iraq in 1998 and was asked about the possibilities of heavy casualties. Bush was probably thinking the same thing when he invaded Iraq....how's that working out?

By Bob Stalling (not verified) on 09 Apr 2007 #permalink

Eli: That was the best advice I've heard yet. Thanks.

By Bob Stalling (not verified) on 09 Apr 2007 #permalink

Chris, in retrospect, I think I did miss your point. You made this statement: I didn't assert he violated protocol. I'm just pointing out that McIntyre likes to make a big winge when he can't get what he wants while following protocol

and then you said this: Maybe but does "trying to do someone some good" justify being impertinent and publically wingeing when someone doesn't want to give you their property?

I originally thought that you didn't like what he did in his actions while he was an IPCC reviewer. I see I was wrong. You also appear to think he was following protocol. You didn't have any problem with him asking for the data. You just didn't like what he did after he was refused. I guess I understand you now. I don't agree with you, but I understand. Personally, I'll take the "trying to do some good" any day I can get it. Even if it results in some impertinence... And I also don't know what good we are getting from a protocol that doesn't appear to be followed (I'm just making the leap that if McIntyre was following protocol, he should have been granted his request. Or was that not following protocol?).

By oconnellc (not verified) on 09 Apr 2007 #permalink

Bob, if the theatre really is on fire, shouting fire is justified.

The scientists have been trying in their polite diffident way to inform people about climate change for about 25 years.

They have in fact convinced the majority of people, unfortunately the minority are being obstructive and to return to the theatre analogy, attempting to block the firedoors.

Meanwhile, the politicians, for from overstating the issue, are understating it:

http://scienceblogs.com/authority/2007/04/diplomatically_pissing_into_t…

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 10 Apr 2007 #permalink

Bob

I don't think you can equate the Iraq situation with Global Warming.

The one was a political question. And the case for invasion was staked on evidence that was very clearly manipulated and cherry picked to show that he might have weapons of mass destruction.

Even if Saddam did have WMD, it was never explained why this should be a big worry: chemical weapons can be neutralised (we expected to face them) and bacteriological weapons have all kinds of limitations. There was never any evidence he had an active nuclear programme.

And indeed when rogue states get nukes, they are deterred by our nukes.

Iraq was a political problem.

The other thing you have to consider is the cost of doing something. The cost of entering Iraq was well flagged, outside the government if not in, it was of an occupation that would last years, if not decades. The cost of doing something about global warming is -3 to 5% of GDP by the year 2050. That has been well estimated by a number of sources.

(you can see as a sense check why this might be true. Energy is roughly 4% of world GDP. Double the cost of energy, and that is a cost of 4% of world GDP).

As I have argued the better analogies than Iraq are the hole in the ozone layer (which was real) and was ameliorated by swift international action.

Or the US Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. Maybe you are too young to remember when the river in Cincinnati *caught fire*? Or when LA had over 100 smog alert days per year? Or when Tokyo policemen carried oxygen bottles? Or when Canadian forests were dying from US Acid Rain? These were real problems, and they were addressed.

As to the chart. I don't know about the Greenpeace one. The Stern Review one is in a public UK document, issued by Her Majesty's Government. HMG is not given to scientific alarmism. However her Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir David King, believes global warming is the worst threat we have ever faced.

There are two criticisms of Stern. One is that he over-eggs the economic damage (in dollar terms) of the middle scenarios. The equally valid criticism is that he doesn't factor in the costs of the higher temperature estimates, because not enough work has been done on what they would be.

I didn't see anything on that chart that looked unlikely ie an increase in world temperatures of that magnitude, would produce those environmental results, most likely. What did you think was controversial about it?

So then it comes to an argument whether those temperature changes are likely. All we can say there, is that the best climate science that we can muster, the best modelling, tested and proved over decades, says yes, if CO2 concentrations rise as forecast, then those temperatures are likely.

By the time we know whether we are right or not, it will be too late to take action. We can't heat the world up 2 degrees (without reducing CO2 emissions) and then decide, suddenly, to stop.

I really don't see this as '*typical* alarmism'. It's much more fundamental than that: we have a clear steer from our scientists that if we do not change our ways, we are going to wind up with a planet that will be much more difficult to inhabit. It's not alarmism to respond to scientific warning.

For what it's worth, I am an optimist about the human condition (having read too much Robert Heinlein and Poul Anderson in my youth, no doubt). But I also believe societies can choose right and wrong courses of action.

I also believe that our time window to do something about this problem may be quite small, and is closing rapidly.

By Valuethinker (not verified) on 10 Apr 2007 #permalink

Bob Stalling: "If you think that by "consumption" USA Today mean't eating habits, then Al Gore is still a hypocrite."

I didn't think that. I presume they meant what they were talking about, i.e. the size of his buildings. You're not getting the point that the thing that matters is CO2 emissions, not the size of the buildings you own.

"If I were the standard-bearer for AGW awareness, it would be in my best interest and the interest of the world to set an example" which Gore is certainly doing without going beyond being carbon neutral and paying to have a negative carbon footprint. Imagine if your actions are carbon neutral and hence you are not responsible for further increases in global warming while the rest of the world is continuing with business as usual and will eventually cause major damage to many aspects of the earth's surface. I personally would be quite angry that other people are having an adverse impact on the future world and my descendents' lives in that world because other people are not interested in carrying their share of the burden. To me they are just selfish.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 10 Apr 2007 #permalink

oconnellc: "I'm just making the leap that if McIntyre was following protocol, he should have been granted his request."

Protocol means that if you want something, you ask the owner for it and it's up to the owner to decide if he wants to give it to you. Protocol does not mean that when you ask for something, the owner is supposed to give it to you regardless of whether they want to or not.

"Personally, I'll take the "trying to do some good" any day I can get it."

Pity the same doesn't apply to McIntyre.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 10 Apr 2007 #permalink

Chris O'Neill:

>Kevin: "McIntyre has been carping about the lack of archiving for many more studies than the unpublished ones in the IPCC"

>Maybe, but that's not what this thread was discussing. If you want to drop in a non sequitur to obfiscate the issue I'm not interested in playing your game.

This is ridiculous. The title of this thread is about Republican rejection of climate science, not the IPCC. I made a general point about Steve McIntyre's press for publicly accessible data and you conflated that point with only being about one specific instance. If calling you on warrantless assumptions is playing a game, I can understand why you are uninterested in game playing.

>"How is ignoring supporting documents you're supposed to review"

>You still don't get it. McIntyre wasn't supposed to review those documents.

Then why were they included as supporting documents for the section he was given to review?

>"Why wouldn't reviewing include evaluating supporting evidence that will be published in the report?"

>There's nothing stopping McIntyre saying in his review that unpublished papers shouldn't be referred to by the IPCC document.

What's stopping you from saying that? For his part, he has said that already.

>"McIntyre was urged by the IPCC to contact the authors and by the authors to contact the journals. You ignored this to again assert he violated protocol in pressing for access to the data."

>I didn't assert he violated protocol. I'm just pointing out that McIntyre likes to make a big winge when he can't get what he wants while following protocol.

While apparently following it. So what's your point? You dislike consistency?

"Bob, if the theatre really is on fire, shouting fire is justified." Ian, only if the film playing is "An Inconvenient Truth"....... Seriously, it may be justified, but I don't believe it would be the right way to go about it. The panic created could cause people to be trampled, and then the people themselves would block the doors. The mass exit would have them wedged in the doorways (not to be confused with Socolow's wedges.) Then, what if they were to find out that the fire was small and caused by the automatic timer kicking up the furnace.....all those people injured and a business destroyed due to panic. How about this: tell people that there is a potentially serious problem and they need to exit in an orderly fashion. Well marked exit signs are to the front and rear of the building, Ushers can help hold the doors open while reassuring people in calm voices to watch their steps and not panic.
I read the changes made to the latest report. I have the feeling Mike Dunford would be upset no matter what the report said, short of "It's all over! We've killed ourselves!"

By Bob Stalling (not verified) on 10 Apr 2007 #permalink

Chris O'Neil: The bigger the building, the more energy needed to heat the building, more lights, more air conditioning, perhaps a heated pool, hot tub, jacuzzi, more resources used to build the building, more maintenance re: lawncare, irrigation, perhaps spotlights, security systems electic gates.....all using an energy source that I would assume isn't nuclear. One of Al Gores three houses uses 20x the average of other U.S households. Wake up and smell the C02!

So, you say that's fine because he buys Anthropogenic Carbon Offsets (ACO's). Tell you what, I have a solution to the entire GW problem. Every person, every business, every Country be allowed to emit as much CO2 as they want, just buy ACO's and everything will be fine. Case closed. Just be sure to buy your Carbon offsets from "General Investment Management". Al Gore is the founder and Chairman.

By Bob Stalling (not verified) on 10 Apr 2007 #permalink

Bob Stalling

- you are obsessed with Al Gore. He's a public figure, and has influenced opinion, but he's hardly the most important one in the climate debate.

- I'm not sure what you think a 'moderate' position is on global warming, or why you think we are 'panicking in the movie house' if we assert that:

1. given the current evidence, and the current modelling, and everything our science tells us, if we continue down our present track we could trigger changes in our environment that are likely to lead to the end of our current civilisation. That temperature chart is crystal clear on the likely ecosystem effects of average temperature rises.

and also that

2. because CO2 is such a ubiquitous output of industrial civilisation, it will take concerted effort over a very long time, *beginning now*, to reduce our CO2 emissions to at or below the levels which we *know* the planetary system can absorb (roughly about half our current levels of output).

The 'panic' such as it is is that the default state on which the world is currently travelling is to do nothing, and continue with our current acceleration of CO2 output, which has led to CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere rising at an an ever-increasing rate.

By Valuethinker (not verified) on 10 Apr 2007 #permalink

"Every person, every business, every Country be allowed to emit as much CO2 as they want, just buy ACO's and everything will be fine."

Precisely, it's called a market mechanism.

"Just be sure to buy your Carbon offsets from "General Investment Management". Al Gore is the founder and Chairman."

Actually that would be "Generation Investment Management" - and surprisingly given their name, they're an investment manager not an offset company.

GIM buys offsets to cover ALL their employees emissions, including Al's, from an outside source.

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/viewstory.asp?Page=/Nation/archive/200703/N…

Even the far-right Cybercast News Service has accepted this is the case.

Not only is this all public information, it's been discussed on other threads on this blog.

Oh and the 20x times figure is wrong too - as has also been explained at length here and elsewhere.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 10 Apr 2007 #permalink

Oh and before Bob runs the "only the rich can afford offsets" line, current average US GHG emissions are circa 20 tons of carbon dioxide per year.

Purchasing carbon credits for 20 tonnes of carbon dioxide on the Chicago Climate exchange currently would cost circa $70.

But once again American rightwingers know more about prices than markets.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 10 Apr 2007 #permalink

Say, while we're tossing around accusations of hypocrisy, what was does the co-author of the McCain-Leiberman Climate Stewardship Bill drive?

http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,660207937,00.html

"Arizona Sen. John McCain, a Republican candidate for president, drives a Cadillac CTS, which gets city mileage in the 15-17 mpg range, the guide says."

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 11 Apr 2007 #permalink

Ian, thanks for the correction on GIM. Why do I get the feeling I'm in the midst of a family of scatterable mines (FASCAM)? If I think a Democrat is being a hypocrite, I'll call him a hypocrite, if a Republican is being a hypocrite, I'll call him the same. That's why I'm an Independent. I'm not obsessed with Al Gore...I'm more amazed at the fact that no matter what he does, some people will defend him. Point out the hypocrisies of the Republicans all you want....if it's true, the only thing you will get from me is agreement. So everybody just relax and take a deep breath....just don't exhale the C02.

By Bob Stalling (not verified) on 11 Apr 2007 #permalink

Ian Gould

A more realistic long term figure would be $100/tonne of carbon emitted. At that level, most of the leading low or no-carbon technologies are competitive (at least for power generation).

Note that's a long term figure. Estimates for what it would take to significantly reduce the average *household's* carbon emission from electricity generation are on the order of $20/month.

So per American citizen, in the long run, $2000 pa, against an average GDP per capita of c. $40,000 pa. So for a US family then, (say 2020), not larger than their current average health insurance bill.

*however* the tax (or emission permit auction) would be structured to be revenue neutral.

If we rebated that amount, a la the Alaska personal dividend (paid annually from oil resources) to each American, then half of Americans would be worse off, and half would be better off. That would be entirely their personal choice-- a rich person could opt to emit less than a poor person.

(as CO2 emissions fell, so would the tax credit, but the point would remain the same-- half better off, half worse off*).

* I'm assuming the mean carbon emission is also the median carbon emission. Which is of course wrong in practice. It's likely, as with personal income, that there is a small number of people who emit far more carbon than anybody else-- think the owners of private planes, or people who fly many times a week. However they are likely to be financially well off, so well positioned to take the burden.

Assuming the above is right, on a per person basis, the average (median) American would be *better* off.

By Valuethinker (not verified) on 11 Apr 2007 #permalink

Ian: I found that link you gave me regarding GIM's carbon offsets interesting. Here's a few lines that caught my attention:

It can be difficult to know to what extent such offsets really work, said Ben Dunham, staff attorney for the liberal U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

"These personal offset companies really do invest in projects somewhere in the world," Dunham told Cybercast News Service. "The problem is you can never be sure a project wouldn't happen anyway regardless of the contribution."

Ted Dodge, executive director of the National Carbon Offsets Coalition, said advocates of this offset industry agree about the need to impose more regulations.

Currently, industry standards are set by the Chicago Climate Exchange - the only carbon offset firm in North America, Dodge said.

"This is not the answer to global climate change, but it's part of the answer," Dodge said.

"These are real offsets. This is a bridge to the future. It's not a real option to shut out fossil fuels now," he added.

Ex-campaign manager

The president of GIM's U.S. operation is Peter S. Knight, who served as Gore's chief of staff in the U.S. Senate and later as campaign manager for the Clinton-Gore reelection campaign in 1996.

Knight is a controversial figure. In 1999, Republicans on the House Commerce Committee asked then U.S. Attorney Janet Reno to investigate whether a $1 million payment to Knight from a Tennessee developer was an illegal contingency fee for helping get the Federal Communications Commission to move to the development.

Ian, to me this brings up many questions. It's like randomly sending money to a charity that you may not know much about or isn't regulated well. You don't really know where the money is going or how it's used. This has been my gut instinct about carbon offsets from the beginning and the reason I call them "man-made". My gut tells me it's a man-made excuse to enjoy luxuries without feeling guilty.

By Bob Stalling (not verified) on 11 Apr 2007 #permalink

"Ian, thanks for the correction on GIM. Why do I get the feeling I'm in the midst of a family of scatterable mines (FASCAM)? If I think a Democrat is being a hypocrite, I'll call him a hypocrite, if a Republican is being a hypocrite, I'll call him the same."

Yeah and how many of the right wing bloggers and pundits who've been spreading out-and-out lies about Gore will do the same about McCain?

Why do you give people who supported possibly the most pointless war since the War of Jenkin's Ear and bought the "tax cuts will cut the budget deficit" nonsense any credence?

If you're independent why did you accept blatantly partisan attacks on Gore without checking whether they were true?
The left can and does get things wrong, the extreme American right however is simply delusional and increasingly desperate. Any time you read a global warming denialist screed jsut repeat the words "We will be greeting as liberators" and "It may last six days or six weeks perhaps. But not, I think, six months."

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 11 Apr 2007 #permalink

"Ian, to me this brings up many questions. It's like randomly sending money to a charity that you may not know much about or isn't regulated well. You don't really know where the money is going or how it's used. This has been my gut instinct about carbon offsets from the beginning and the reason I call them "man-made". My gut tells me it's a man-made excuse to enjoy luxuries without feeling guilty."

Bog, having used false information about Al gore to attack him, you're now shifting the goal posts.

There's a need for government regulation of the offsets market to set and enforce common standards but the existing voluntary industry-based standards are nowhere near as lax as you seem to think.

Also how does the fact that Knight a BUYER of offsets was once investigated (and cleared) for financial impropriety reflect in any way on the SELLERS of the offsets? Is every company that ever did business with Enron automatically suspect?

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 11 Apr 2007 #permalink

Valuethinker: You asked me a few questions that deserve response. First:

"I don't think you can equate the Iraq situation with Global Warming."

"The one was a political question. And the case for invasion was staked on evidence that was very clearly manipulated and cherry picked to show that he might have weapons of mass destruction."

"Even if Saddam did have WMD, it was never explained why this should be a big worry: chemical weapons can be neutralised (we expected to face them) and bacteriological weapons have all kinds of limitations. There was never any evidence he had an active nuclear programme."

Valuethinker, this is off subject so I'll keep it short. WHAT? GW not political? WMD's not a worry? Nuclear Weapons are real with real consequences, Global Warming is real with speculative consequences.....your more worried about speculative happenings than what's right in front of you? What would a nuclear bomb do for Global Warming?!! And GW is a scientific, economic, political, personal and societal problem.

Back to topic.....I wasn't equating Iraq with GW as much as I was pointing out that best intentions may not always go as planned.

Other question: "I'm not sure what you think a 'moderate' position is on global warming, or why you think we are 'panicking in the movie house' if we assert that."

For starters, if GW is a problem that effects us all equally, then don't exempt certain countries like China, India and Saudi Arabia from Kyoto. This creates an unfair ecomomic playing field. Thats why politics becomes involved, wordings on reports are changed, and Countries don't sign on. President Clinton and Al Gore did not sign Kyoto for the same reasons Bush and Cheney did not sign Kyoto. Second, don't attempt to win over the multitudes with only worst case scenarios as though they are fact. They are possibilities just as the lowest case scenario is a possibility. Point all the possibities out, but discuss in the tone of the middle.....the moderate, probably most realistic perspective. Also...Ian brought up the analogy of a fire in the movie house, not me. And if you don't think yelling fire in a movie house creates panic, then your probably not worried about nuclear threats.

Finally this: "The 'panic' such as it is is that the default state on which the world is currently travelling is to do nothing, and continue with our current acceleration of CO2 output, which has led to CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere rising at an an ever-increasing rate."

Who says nothing is being done? Are auto industries working on Hybrid cars? Is progress being made on Solar panels? Is research being done on cleaner fuels, ethanol etc.? Are more efficient light bulbs being made? Are people fighting to save the rain forests or make their plight more known? Is progress being made on wind and hydropower technologies? Is the IPCC getting any attention? Are wealthy people buying carbon offsets?

The point is...things are happening. Perhaps not as fast as you would like, which I believe is not only unrealistic, but "potentially" Apocalyptic, Catastrophic and Chaotic to World industries and economies.

I know what your saying, we need to act as fast as GW is happening. The problem is, if you believe GW is happening at the speed of spontaneous combustion, then we need to make changes that fast....of course this means we are all dead.

By Bob Stalling (not verified) on 11 Apr 2007 #permalink

My question is directed to all who care to comment. How is the global warming is " man-made " debate over? I am one who likes to listen to both sides before I make a decision. I have also been a firm believer that an educated mind is an open mind. I constantly hear the phrases " debate over " and " scientific concensus", but never any names besides the IPCC attached to them. I've heard many contradicting reports to "man-made" global warming( to hear one only has to listen), but I never see them posted in the main stream media. I really believe that a situation so dire to mankind should hear both sides of the debate. I do believe that global warming is happening, how much is "man-made" and how much is a natural trend, I don't know.

"For starters, if GW is a problem that effects us all equally, then don't exempt certain countries like China, India and Saudi Arabia from Kyoto. This creates an unfair ecomomic playing field."

Well for starters, the develoepd world is repsonible for the great bulk of the carbon dioixde humans have released into the atmosphere to date.

Even if china does barely nudge the US out as the top GHG emitters ion the next few years (as the American right rather mystifying seems to desperately be hoping for) it's per capita emissions will remain around one quester those of the US.

Secondly, the developing countries weren't exempted from Kyoto, they made a bynch of commitments whic hthey have largely met. THey didn't sign up to Annex B, the national quota system in large part because they didn't have adequate greenhouse gas accopunting systems in place to set their historic baselines. Rather than have everyone wait while that was resolved, it was agreed that for the first five years, the devleoped countries would go first.

Then the US reneged on its Kyoto commitment and started acitvely blocking the process of negotiating further commitments post-2012. (The US not only won;t commit itslef it goes to the CoP meetings and insists that nobody discuss these issues.)

Fourthly, China is investing far more in renwable energy than is the US and its car emissions standards will be tighter than those in the US within the next couple of years.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 11 Apr 2007 #permalink

Bob Stalling

Iraq (or Iran, or North Korea, or Pakistan or Israel) getting the atomic bomb is not the same thing as a nuclear war.

As I say, the history of nuclear weapons is that states with them, are very cautious about other states with them. The closest anyone came to launching a nuclear strike was the US.

Even a regional nuclear war, terrible though it would be, would not end civilisation. It's possible (although not certain) that an all out nuclear war between Russia and the USA might do so. But that really is the extreme scenario. Even when they had the chance, no US president ever ordered such a strike aagainst either China or the USSR.

So equating nuclear war with Iraq getting the bomb is not a logical thing to do.

Arguing that we invaded Iraq out of good intentions, and they went wrong, is not a good argument for doing nothing about global warming. A better example would be that we reduced US sulphur dioxide emissions by over 60%, out of good intentions, and the US Acid Rain problem is much less (and human health is greater). Or that we have abolished CFCs, and the ozone layer appears to have stopped deteriorating.

Or that we stopped harvesting North Atlantic Cod, out of good intentions, but in fact the Cod stocks have never come back.

You elide a critical problem with Global Warming as the same thing as being able to do nothing because we are dead. This is clearly not the case, as far as we know. Even if it were the case, it would be better to go down fighting.

We don't know what the final impact on world climate will be of the changes in the atmosphere we have already triggered, but we do have a pretty good idea that the changes and damages rise exponentially from here.

So there is still time to do something. The costs of delay multiply though, with each passing moment of delay-- both because the damages are greater, and because capital equipment in an economy is long lived. Build a dirty powerplant now, and live with it for the next 40 years.

The reason I am arguing for these 'extreme' views of the damage of global warming is that it's pretty clear these aren't the 'extreme' views. They are what climate scientists are actually saying will happen, if we do not change course. It gets buried in the IPCC process, but if you go back to the fundamental predictions, that is what will happen.

You can, and you will, say that you are an 'independent' thinker who strikes a 'middle' ground. What I would say to you is dig a bit deeper. The 'middle' ground is nowhere near where you think it is. There are runs of those climate models that show 11 degree centigrade rises.

Then think about the damage. If we are wrong, and the world's climate system is more stable and robust than we think, we've spent a bit of money delaying the increase in CO2 concentrations. We haven't lost a lot.

If we are wrong the other way, ie our estimates of potential outcomes are too optimistic, then we could literally lose the ability to maintain our civilisation on this planet.

So precaution says do something. You don't need a large percentage chance (I would say less than 1%) of a 5 degree centigrade rise to justify spending a lot of money preventing it.

We know, as best we can know, that ideally we would stop CO2 accumulations rising above 450ppm. That would minimise the chance of dangerous climate change (ie a greater than 2 degree centigrade rise in average world temperatures).

That's not a political judgment, that is a scientific one. Where the politics and economics comes in is the judgment, see the Stern Review, that that is no longer economically and politically practicable. We are going to shoot for CO2 stabilisation at 500-550ppm, and hope that we haven't, inadvertently, destabilised the world's climate.

The reason I focus on these 'extreme' cases (above 2 degrees centigrade) is 1). the chances of them occurring (assuming no significant action) are much higher than political bodies are admitting 2). the damages to our civilisation and biosystem are disproportionate.

Put it another way, I think 2 degrees centigrade is 'in the bag'. We will live in that warmer world (we are 0.6 degrees of the way there). The UK government is already making plans for that, in terms of abandoning coastline etc. The Pentagon has already produced a briefing paper on it. The question is what happens in the 3-5 degrees world, or the 5 degrees plus world.

You don't like the damage charts. They are based on some quite straightforward logic: if the world temperature is X, then Y are the likely effects. I think you don't like the damage charts because if you believed them, you would have to change your views. They are based on as good science, and as broad science, as we have available to us.

When I say we are not doing anything, there is a normal level of CO2 reduction: in the case of the US, CO2 per unit of GDP falls by about 1.5% pa. So overall emissions grow except in a bad recession year. That is ordinary technology change, increased efficiency, shifts in the structure of the economy.

But until we see actual, plausible plans and mechanisms and legislation to achieve emissions *reductions* out of the world's developed economies, I would submit we are doing nothing.

We are sleepwalking to oblivion on this one.

By Valuethinker (not verified) on 11 Apr 2007 #permalink

Good analysis of the question of 'what is 'extreme' in the climate debate?'

http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2007/04/frames-and-frames.html

Lovelock's view is the 'extreme' on the 'global warming is doom' side. And he doesn't get any real public airtime, v. say Michael Crichton.

What worries me about Lovelock is he is, in fact, a brilliant scientist, with a track record of seeing things other scientists have not. Hence Gaia.

When Lovelock says the problem with scientists is that they don't see the whole, it rings true. Science is highly compartmentalised. So climate modellers, paleoclimatologists, glaciologists, oceanographers, zoologists, alpinologists each see tangible evidence of global warming, sometimes absolutely alarming evidence of global warming, but no one ties it all together.

It's a bit like a military intel report, if you've ever read one. They can often see the forest, but miss the trees. In the way technology analysts missed the coming of the PC or the internet, if your memory reaches back that far.

Similarly, James Hansen, who in 1988 one would have called an 'extreme' view of global warming, has been proven essentially completely right to date. So right that his 'B Case' was deleted by his critics when critiquing him. You're really fighting a losing battle if you delete the other guy's main argument.

I've read a number of geoscientists who say when Hansen made his famous claim about quantifying the effects of Pinatubo in 1991-92, they thought he was making a fool of himself. Yet his team's forecast was almost dead on. Our models really do work that well.

So we're now in a world where we have to believe Hansen, and hope Lovelock is wrong. We have to act as if Hansen, and Paccala and Socolow are on the right track, and that 500-550ppm is 'enough' to stop uncontrollable climate change.

By Valuethinker (not verified) on 11 Apr 2007 #permalink

"As I say, the history of nuclear weapons is that states with them, are very cautious about other states with them."

How many people have been killed by nuclear weapons in the past fifty years?

Now how many people have been killed with boxcutters in that past five years?

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 12 Apr 2007 #permalink

Ian: Good to hear from you again. My wife is getting suspicious. A few things...first this: "Yeah and how many of the right wing bloggers and pundits who've been spreading out-and-out lies about Gore will do the same about McCain?" How did McCain get into this?
Second, this: "Why do you give people who supported possibly the most pointless war since the War of Jenkin's Ear and bought the "tax cuts will cut the budget deficit" nonsense any credence?" So everything that the Republicans say or do is wrong by the mere fact that they are Rebublicans? And here I thought we were having an open-minded discussion. Keep in mind, Interest rates in the U.S are low, the unemployment rate is low, jobs are being created, inflation is low, homeownership is at an all time high, businesses are doing well as reflected by the stock market...... those Capitalistic Republican bastards! Ian, not all is bad, it's just that we seldom here about the good...I'm sure it's not the rightwing media keeping the good news from us. Oh, and comparing Jenkin's pickled ear to 3000 people dying on 911 is classic.

Third: "If you're independent why did you accept blatantly partisan attacks on Gore without checking whether they were true?" I thought I thanked you for the correction? I actually enjoy being corrected if I learn something in the process. I still have issues with Gore, just as I have issues with Bush.

Fourth: "There's a need for government regulation of the offsets market to set and enforce common standards but the existing voluntary industry-based standards are nowhere near as lax as you seem to think." I wouldn't know what to think....I don't know how lax they are just as you don't know how strict they are. Thus the need for government regulation to enforce common standards.

Fifth: "Also how does the fact that Knight a BUYER of offsets was once investigated (and cleared) for financial impropriety reflect in any way on the SELLERS of the offsets? Is every company that ever did business with Enron automatically suspect?" Are you asking me this question? I didn't write the article. It came from the reliable article that you linked to me.

By Bob Stalling (not verified) on 12 Apr 2007 #permalink

Ian: We are drifting off subject.. so some quick responses.You said "As I say, the history of nuclear weapons is that states with them, are very cautious about other states with them." This sounds alot like Reagan's "Peace through strength" policy.....are you agreeing with a Republican policy? Wasn't this policy fought tooth and nail by Democrats?

And I might add, fanatics flying airplanes into buildings or blowing up trains have killed more people than Global Warming. Of course, I'm sure if they had suitcase bombs with small nukes they would have opted not to use them....the plane/train scenarios are less harmful to the environment.

By Bob Stalling (not verified) on 12 Apr 2007 #permalink

Kevin: "I made a general point about Steve McIntyre's press for publicly accessible data and you conflated that point with only being about one specific instance."

Kevin is the one who did the conflating earlier on after I pointed out that:

"It (supporting data for the papers) was not supposed to be publically archived until after the papers were published."

""You still don't get it. McIntyre wasn't supposed to review those documents.""

"Then why were they included as supporting documents for the section he was given to review?"

They didn't necessarily have to be used to support the IPCC document. He was allowed to use those documents if they were any use for his review.

"""Why wouldn't reviewing include evaluating supporting evidence that will be published in the report?"""

""There's nothing stopping McIntyre saying in his review that unpublished papers shouldn't be referred to by the IPCC document.""

"What's stopping you from saying that? For his part, he has said that already."

In that case, what has your first question got to do with McIntyre's complaint about accessing data for the unpublished papers, which was the original point?

""I didn't assert he violated protocol. I'm just pointing out that McIntyre likes to make a big winge when he can't get what he wants while following protocol.""

"While apparently following it. So what's your point?"

The point is, McIntyre is running a winge blog about the IPCC that shows he's not the most rational person around.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 12 Apr 2007 #permalink

"So everything that the Republicans say or do is wrong by the mere fact that they are Rebublicans?"

No, everything that rightwing American bloggers (the majority of Republicans are not bloggers) who supported the war and who propound the economically illiterate nonsense that the US is currently still on the downward trending side of the Laffer curve say is automatically suspect.

Read the Instapundit archives on Iraq some time and ask yourself why Glenn Reynolds doesn't quit public life out of sheer embarassment.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 12 Apr 2007 #permalink

"Oh, and comparing Jenkin's pickled ear to 3000 people dying on 911 is classic."

Ans the dead of 9/11 were related to the decision to invade Iraq, how exactly?

"Keep in mind, Interest rates in the U.S are low, the unemployment rate is low, jobs are being created, inflation is low, homeownership is at an all time high, businesses are doing well as reflected by the stock market......"

To quote Adam Smith, 'There is much ruin in a country'.

The United States economy is currently based on unsustainable government spending and private consumption financed by foreign, primarily Chinese lending.

Do you genuinely believe both public debt and national debt, as a proportion of GDP, can rise indefinitely?

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 12 Apr 2007 #permalink

"Ian: We are drifting off subject.. "

And quite possibly off object - the post you respond to here was by valuethinker.

But let me point out the nuclear deterrence was hardly the invention of Ronald Reagan.

"And I might add, fanatics flying airplanes into buildings or blowing up trains have killed more people than Global Warming."

Really, how do you know how many people have been killed by global warming?

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4195561

"All Things Considered, December 1, 2004 · A new study in the journal Nature finds that global warming probably contributed to Europe's killer heat wave of 2003."

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 12 Apr 2007 #permalink

Ian: I guess we'll stay off subject a little longer (isn't there a war blog?). It's not a war on Al Q, it's a war on terror. A war that the Democrats voted to approve. Afghanistan and Iraq are the same war...I'm not going to try and justify either, and yes, many mistakes have been made. Keep in mind the Democrats were making the case about WMD's and regime change in Iraq before Bush was even President. What was the target of the 1998 bombing of Iraq by Clinton? It wasn't a C02 emmisions factory, though in that case, I'm sure it would have been justified.

I still don't know what that has to do with a pickled ear.

By Bob Stalling (not verified) on 12 Apr 2007 #permalink

Bob Stalling: "The bigger the building, the more energy needed"

assuming someone is actually living in the building. Maybe the Gore attackers think he is so fat that he occupies three buildings at once.

"to heat the building, more air conditioning,"

assuming all other things (such as insulation) are equal, which they don't have to be

"more lights,"

since Gore is so fat, he occupies all the rooms in all his houses at once and thus has to have all the lights on at once

"perhaps a heated pool, hot tub, jacuzzi,"

all switched on at once because of Gore's problem

"more resources used to build the building,"

yes but how large is this relative to other CO2 emissions?

"more maintenance re: lawncare, irrigation, perhaps spotlights,"

yes but again how large are these relative to other energy use?

"security systems electic gates"

I guess he's using them all at once

".....all using an energy source that I would assume isn't nuclear"

and hopefully you won't assume it isn't wind energy either.

"One of Al Gores three houses uses 20x the average of other U.S households."

Don't believe everything that Gore attackers tell you.

"So, you say that's fine because he buys Anthropogenic Carbon Offsets (ACO's)."

The opportunity to offset immediately is available now in the form of wind energy electricity. If Gore pays for an increase in wind energy production, then the atmosphere will have less CO2 in it than if he didn't pay. That is the bottom line.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 12 Apr 2007 #permalink

"All Things Considered, December 1, 2004 · A new study in the journal Nature finds that global warming probably contributed to Europe's killer heat wave of 2003."

There we go with that word "probably" again. Why don't we all just admit that probably means "fact". So it must be a "fact" that the heat wave of 1901 was also "probably" caused by Global Warming.

By Bob Stalling (not verified) on 12 Apr 2007 #permalink

So Bob what would you do if your doctor told you a mole on your face was probably cancerous?

As for your "war on terror" claims, the CIA has now stated that there were no pre-war links between Al Qaida and Iraq but I'm sure Glenn Reynolds disagrees.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 12 Apr 2007 #permalink

Bob Stalling

- Saddam Hussein was the mortal enemy of Osama bin Ladin. He listed Iraq as number two on his enemies, after the USA (and just before Saudi Arabia). There was never a shred of credible intelligence evidence that AQ and Saddam Hussein had ever collaborated.

- the invasion of Afghanistan was about the war on terror and 9-11. That's why NATO participated.

- the invasion of Iraq was a weird Bush thing, that had nothing to do with the War on Terror. Nor was there any evidence that Saddam Hussein had nuclear weapons, nor any way of obtaining them. That's why NATO did not participate.

The issues here have gotten conflated and confused, so I'll leave this debate with the following thoughts.

- What one thinks of Al Gore or his lifestyle is irrelevant to this debate, and whether one thinks that a nuclear armed middle eastern state is as big a threat to the US as global warming is irrelevant to this debate. My own judgement is that nuclear war is bad, but only 2 nations on the planet (besides France) serious threaten the US with their nuclear arsenals: Russia and China, and that is very unlikely to change for the foreseeable future.

- If what we know about the atmosphere and the climate is true, and we keep adding CO2 at the rate we are adding it,

then the world temperature is going to rise 2-5 degrees centigrade (likely) and there is a chance that it could rise a whole lot more than that.

We have nothing in our current science and data to suggest we are wrong about this. The climate has responded remarkably predictably to the emission of CO2 to date.

- There are very credible scientists and models which show precisely that 5 degree plus rise.

- We don't know if we can sustain our civilisation in such a circumstance. The damages would undoubtedly be huge.

My conclusion is therefore we shouldn't try to find out if the world temperature will rise that much. Sheer precaution tells you not to do things that might be very harmful.

Recognising that seriously reducing world CO2 emissions will take a long time and a lot of effort, we should do something concrete now.

By Valuethinker (not verified) on 13 Apr 2007 #permalink

Chris, I gotta admit that you continuing to harp about McIntyre is starting to sound a little crazy. Fine, the authors didn't have to share with him. They didn't break any laws by refusing to give him the data. By a strict interpretation of the rules, they were in the right. So, McIntyre complains on his blog. Also not breaking any rules.

So, of those two, which should bother me, as a tax paying citizen of the US the most? Some guy complaining on his blog about not getting data? Or, the author of a soon to be published scientific paper not sharing the data with A GUY WHO ALREADY HAS A COPY OF THE PAPER? You ignored most of my post where I argued that there was really little reason for the data not to be shared, so I assume that you agree with me. So, why not just give him the data? The reasons could vary from the sinister (they were afraid that if the data was exposed, the paper would be shown to be a fraud) down to the high school (they just don't like McIntyre from his reputation, so they thought they would be a pain in his a**). It doesn't really matter what the reasoning was, I don't feel too strongly about them either way. But, regardless of the reason, why would McIntyre be the one that bothers you the most?

But, I understand that you are a stickler for the rules. If you go to McIntyre's blog, you will see that he has some pretty extensive documentation for publications and papers (and US Government organizations) that aren't following the rules (or the laws) regarding publicly archiving data and supplementary material. Perhaps you would like to enlighten the rest of us still checking this thread on just how extensive the rule following (or breaking) is?

By oconnellc (not verified) on 13 Apr 2007 #permalink

Valuethinker:Given that the rise in temperature over the last century is 0.6 degree(+/- 0.2) what is it that will cause a likely 2-5 degree rise in world temperature?

"So Bob what would you do if your doctor told you a mole on your face was probably cancerous?"

If I had a history of moles on my face, I would ask him what caused the other moles and what makes this one different.

You refer to an article that states a heat wave was "probably" caused by GW, so that means it was? What if someone is "probably" guilty, does that mean he is? What if a plane crash was "probably" caused by overloading...no need to ask more questions? If I were "probably" to get accepted to Yale, should I just have them mail my Diploma?

By Bob Stalling (not verified) on 14 Apr 2007 #permalink

CHRIS O'Neil: You have absolutely convinced me that larger houses, more houses, and larger buildings, do not contribute to more C02 emmissions.

Also,I have no doubt that you and others on this link are all paying for carbon offsets accordingly. Chris, please send me the information on how you personally are estimating your own carbon usage, including the energy created from computer use, and let me know what it's costing you in offsets....then we can all follow your example. Also, which projects are your particular offsets going towards. Thanks.

By Bob Stalling (not verified) on 14 Apr 2007 #permalink

Chrisl

Double the CO2 (from pre Industrial Revolution levels) and you increase the temperature of the earth by 3 degrees centigrade (within a 90% confidence interval, +/- 2 degrees). (see latest IPCC report for a much smarter and more exact version of this)

Note that the risks (see below) that the increase is *greater* than 5 degrees are not symmetric with the chance that they are lower than 2 degrees, if anything they are higher. We have model runs that give us 11 degree centigrade rises. If you know anything about optimal control theory and complex systems, you'll know that those kind of 'outside' results are quite possible in a complex system.

We have increased CO2 from 280ppm to 383ppm (actually to 430ppm equivalent, because the 5 other leading greenhouse gases have their own effects-- CFCs, methane etc).

That 0.6 degrees we have had to date is not the whole effect from the 103ppm increased concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere that we have caused). It's on the order of 50% of the final effect-- the world will go on heating for centuries from our activities of the last 150 years *even* if we stop entirely, right now.

(it could be less than 50% ie there is more than 0.6 to come). We've also emitted a lot of cooling gases, specifically Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) and other cooling aerosols. The bad news is, the SO2 cooling effect is only a temporary offset because SO2 becomes acid rain, whereas CO2 emitted sticks around in the atmosphere for up to 100 years)

We are increasing that CO2 concentration by 3ppm, and at a rate that is *increasing*.

So 560ppm is less than 50 years away, given that our emissions are still increasing, and we are 430ppm (CO2 effective) now.

Embedded in the world carbon cycles are 'red lines'. Once temperatures pass a certain point, for example, the methane emission from the permafrost increases, thus increasing warming, thus increasing permafrost release of methane.

If we go over those redlines, we have no way of stopping global warming, nor any sight of the endpoint. One endpoint we do know about is the Permian Extinction, when mass methane release triggered off a surge in global temperatures, and the death of 90% of all life forms.

http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2006/11/13th_tipping_point.html

is a good nontechnical summary of the problem.

By Valuethinker (not verified) on 14 Apr 2007 #permalink

Chrisl

Every aircraft carrier with which the US won World War II, was ordered before the beginning of WWII. The fighter which more than any other aircraft, won WWII for the Allies (the Spitfire) was first flown in 1938. The United States would never have defeated Japan without those carriers, and would never have defeated Nazi Germany without the Spitfire (because Britain would have lost the Battle of Britain, and surrendered to Germany, and without British airbases and ports, Germany could not be beaten).

This gives you an idea of the time lags inherent in changing course, or building new capabilities, even under pressure of total war. Hence my call for urgent action.

By the time we fully know whether our climate science is right or wrong about 550ppm CO2, it will be too late to change the course of history.

If you go upthread, you'll find my quotes (via Elizabeth Kolbert) of Robert Socolow. Which I think summarise quite accurately my own urgency in this:

- So we may look at this and say, 'We are tampering with the earth.' The earth is a twitchy system. It's clear from the record that it does things that we don't fully understand. And we're not going to understand them in the time period we have to make these decisions. We just know they're there. We may say, 'We just don't want to do this to ourselves.' If it's a problem like that, then asking whether it's practical or not is really not going to help very much. Whether it's practical depends on how much we give a damn."

By Valuethinker (not verified) on 14 Apr 2007 #permalink

oconnellc: "I gotta admit that you continuing to harp about McIntyre is starting to sound a little crazy."

Not to mention that oconnellc continuing to harp about McIntyre is starting to sound a little crazy.

"which should bother me the most? Some guy complaining on his blog about not getting data?"

Shouldn't bother anyone. Just shows he likes to complain regardless of the circumstances and is best ignored by everyone.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 14 Apr 2007 #permalink

Valuethinker: I took a look at that website and I'm a bit worried about your values.
I'm also a bit worried about your mathematics. You say that we are 430parts per million(co2effective) now.Which has resulted in 0.6(+/-0.2)degrees warming.An extra 150ppm.
But if we add another 130ppm to get to 560ppm this will result in a further 2.4 degrees of warming.

Valuethinker: I realize you are more concerned about Global Warming than anything Nuclear, but before we build a Nuclear power plant in every city, we "might" want to consider this from Greenpeace International....

"Chernobyl, Ukraine -- A new Greenpeace report has revealed that the full consequences of the Chernobyl disaster could top a quarter of a million cancer cases and nearly 100,000 fatal cancers."

"Our report involved 52 respected scientists and includes information never before published in English. It challenges the UN International Atomic Energy Agency Chernobyl Forum report, which predicted 4,000 additional deaths attributable to the accident as a gross simplification of the real breadth of human suffering."

"The new data, based on Belarus national cancer statistics, predicts approximately 270,000 cancers and 93,000 fatal cancer cases caused by Chernobyl. The report also concludes that on the basis of demographic data, during the last 15 years, 60,000 people have additionally died in Russia because of the Chernobyl accident, and estimates of the total death toll for the Ukraine and Belarus could reach another 140,000."

"The report also looks into the ongoing health impacts of Chernobyl and concludes that radiation from the disaster has had a devastating effect on survivors; damaging immune and endocrine systems, leading to accelerated ageing, cardiovascular and blood illnesses, psychological illnesses, chromosomal aberrations and an increase in foetal deformations."

The site shows many images and then goes on to state.........

"These powerful images are a timely reminder that human lives are more than just numbers. For each statistic there is a person paying the ultimate price. Anyone who doubts the dangers of nuclear power should visit the exhibition and see for themselves one of the reasons why we oppose nuclear power. Twenty years on, every nuclear power plant bears the legacy of the nuclear industry's victims; and every nuclear power plant represents the threat of becoming the next Chernobyl."

This isn't a "very-likely" or a "probably" or a "might".......this is a "real".

By Bob Stalling (not verified) on 14 Apr 2007 #permalink

Chrisl

Not sure where you are on this?

The forecast of doubled CO2 = 3 degrees C (+/- 2) is a rough rule of thumb. Arrhenius first calculated it at the end of the 19th century.

We're 103/280m of the doubled CO2 ie 36.8% of the way there, and the temperature has risen by 0.6 +/- 0.2. Now the best guess is that it will eventually rise by 1.2 on that increase (although taking over 100 years to do so).

So 36.8% +> +1.2

1.2/.368 = 3.3 degrees rise in total, with the appropriate (wide) range of uncertainty.

The forcing from the other greenhouse gases is on top of that (since Arrhenius had never heard of CFCs!). And of course has been offset to date by our other industrial pollution (negative aerosol forcings, ie SO2 and white particles).

http://www.ipcc.ch/SPM2feb07.pdf

SPM-2 (p4) gives you the best summary of the forcings, and our level of scientific understanding.

See also p12 and p13 for the likely temperature ranges under the different scenarios of emissions.

'Values substantially higher than 4.5 degrees cannot be excluded, but agreement of models with observations is not as good for those values'

That's science speak for 'we just don't know, but it could happen'. With the proviso that we have no idea whether this planet would be habitable for 9 billion people, at a temperature 5 degrees warmer than it is now. The auspices aren't great: the agricultural land you would gain in Canada and Russia is not of high quality (scrub pine forest and muskeg doesn't make for great topsoil) and the land and habitation you would lose are among the world's most fertile.

So the world's climate scientists, under heavy political pressure to massage down their conclusions, (hence the exclusion of data about melting ice caps and their potential impact, as well as dying rainforests), have just told me that under plausible assumptions about economic growth, I could trigger off an unstoppable temperature rise, to a level which is well beyond anything this civilisation has ever experienced.

I'd rather act, than wait around for that to happen.

By Valuethinker (not verified) on 14 Apr 2007 #permalink

Bob Stalling

The below will give you a debate on nuclear power.

http://crookedtimber.org/2007/04/09/nukes-now/#comments

My own view is it is not cheap power, but it might be useful-- but at most 1/8th of the problem solved.

The Greenpeace site explicitly doesn't consider the costs of global warming. Global warming is one of those things that is going to force us to make tough choices, with an incomplete data set.

There is lots that we can do which does *not* involve building more reactors, in any case.

By Valuethinker (not verified) on 14 Apr 2007 #permalink

Valuethinker: Thank you for your explanations and for providing the links

Chrisl

You are welcome.

I am a policy guy, my background is economics, rather than climate science. www.realclimate.org is a better place to discuss the science (also see Sir John Houghton's book on Global Warming- -as an evangelical Christian as well as former Chief Meteorologist to Her Majesty's Government, Sir John has an interesting take on the subject).

So my science, such as it is, is understanding the basic intuition of what is going on, and then trying to map the probable consequences to the real world.

There is some good discussion (in which I had an interchange with famed blogger Jane Galt, apparently) at the blog posts below (unfortunately he never finished his series on the Stern Review):

http://www.samefacts.com/archives/climate_change_/2006/11/stern_report_…

It disturbed me, at the time, that Galt (the Economist's US correspondent) didn't appear to have a grasp of basic mathematics, however I don't *know* that the poster is her. Her question was reasonable if you don't understand calculus and relative rates problems.

http://www.samefacts.com/archives/climate_change_/2006/11/stern_report_…

http://www.samefacts.com/archives/climate_change_/2006/11/stern_report_…

By Valuethinker (not verified) on 15 Apr 2007 #permalink

Global Warming is a cult -- and it does not seem possible to object at all, even not with logical reasoning without getting belittled or otherwise attacked.

Now you guys can say what you like, but for as long as the statistics used are bogus (chartmanship and other unethical tricks) I am not going to 'believe' in the new religion. (sorry) And for as long as your math is dodgy I will continue to dismiss your 'science'.

Do I think that humanity needs to make less mess and be less wasteful? Yep. But making everyone use dim lightbulbs that are complex to build and poisonous when they break is not an answer. However, raising the guarantee time on items we buy is a real move -- why should a printer not be built to last 10 years? Even if you just make companies guarantee their goods for 2 years and if you make them design their goods so they are use servicable you will stem th flow of built-to-break-gadets considerably.

In all this noise about people trying to make sense out of stuff that most mathematicians that know a bit about modeling think to be applied handwaving, the real things we need to discuss are going under!

Valuethinker: I appreciate that you allow for margins of error and limits of scientific knowledge etc. There is way too much overselling of the science (and underselling for that matter).I don't think that doomsday scenarios are very helpful nor do I think we should be dismissive of gloabl warming. Politicians certainly have some difficult decisions to make in the next few years so information is important.I certainly don't want them to wreck their economies due to false information.
Good work

Valuethinker: Thanks for the link.....no partisanship on that one. You know, I never really thought of Greenpeace as right wing, I guess you learn something everyday.

I agree with you that Nuclear power it is not cheap but useful. There is definitely an important role to be played. This is where I've been trying to explain that things can't be rushed, even if we want them to......there is too much involved, such as politics for one. Take the company called "Entigy" for example,they are a huge nuclear power generator and have alot at stake financially in GW. Here's a short excerpt from some commentary on Examiner.com:

"Entergy, based in Louisiana, is a top player in the electricity industry (bringing in $11 billion in revenues last year) and the nation's second-biggest nuclear power generator. The company supported the attorneys general in forcing the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant, and the company will profit if Congress does, in fact, create mandatory limits on carbon dioxide emissions."

"Entergy began its amicus by declaring, "This case makes for strange bedfellows." A closer look at Entergy's business model makes it clear there is nothing strange about finding this company in bed with environmentalists and regulation-happy politicians"

Keep in mind that a new nuclear power plant hasn't been built in the U.S. in 30 years....this Global Warming is a windfall for Entery and other Nuclear power generators! Just as long as those right wing environmental extremists like Greenpeace don't interfere.........

By Bob Stalling (not verified) on 15 Apr 2007 #permalink

Chris, I'm glad we finally were able to come to an agreement. Neither of us thinks that McIntyre did anything wrong, and neither of us thinks that what he did should bother anyone. And people say you can't have a rational conversation on these internet blogs...

By oconnellc (not verified) on 15 Apr 2007 #permalink

Imli: If your going to use logic and common sense on this blog let me give you some advice. Be prepared to be surrounded. Cover your flanks. Study up on the classic "Pincer movement". Keep a positive attitude.....think of the infamous Chesty Puller in the battle of the Chosin Reservoir. When told by his second in command that they were surrounded by a few hundred thousand Chinese troops and his supply lines were cut off, his response was...."They've got us right where we want 'em, we can shoot in every direction now".

I happen to be of the belief that GW exists but is not entirely man-made.I also disagee with the Apocalyptic and Catastrophic mentality. Prepare for battle my friend.

By Bob Stalling (not verified) on 15 Apr 2007 #permalink

Gee Bob, that one is a classic strawman. Without quantification to say well part of the observed warming is natural is meaningless. Fortunately we have measurements of warming and models which allow us to look at what has happened in the past. Here is a five year old example of such a study. The natural forcing driven change and the observational record start to diverge about 1940 when manmade greenhouse gas effects start to kick in.

Your strawman catches on fire when you look at projections of greenhouse gas growth in the atmosphere coupled with model results. Guess what the projections show. It ain't a bowl of cherries.

Chrisl

I think we do have to worry about 'doomsday' scenarios. Because of the one way nature of the changes we are inflicting on the Earth's climate, and our lack of knowledge of where the 'tipping points' are.

The science tells enough to be worried, very worried.

The real critique of the models is that they could massively underestimate the damage.

It's not models per se, but science, that tells us there are 'tipping points' out there, where we lose control of the climatic heating process-- lose the ability to influence the outcome.

It's also not models per se, but science, that tells us what devastating impacts could happen at very high temperature increases. Scientists know that a 5 degree centigrade increase in temperature, for example, would lead to mass extinction. And radically alter what parts of the earth are habitable and are suitable for agriculture.

We don't know where these tipping points are, but we know they are out there.

Everything science tells us from here is to be very careful, and not to push the envelope of the climatic system.

The other thing the science tells us is that we cannot be certain of outcomes. This is embedded in the fact that CO2 sits as a pollutant in the atmosphere for 100 years, and that the oceans have their own idiosynchratic responses.

By the time we know what the 'safe' level of CO2 emission is, it will be too late to do anything about it.

So we have to look at the probability of 'worst cases' (which actually aren't worst cases, they are simply 'bad cases').

*that* is what has to guide our policy.

By Valuethinker (not verified) on 15 Apr 2007 #permalink

Bob Stalling

I know Entergy professionally. They are very good people-- quality operators.

Of course they are going to seize the chance to pursue their solution.

That is true of any individual corporate actor in this. What we need, is a uniform price for carbon emission, to drive power producers to the lowest cost low carbon solution.

By Valuethinker (not verified) on 15 Apr 2007 #permalink

Eli: It's good to hear from you again, I miss your sense of humor.....much needed here.

I would agree with you that to say GW is partially caused by natural cycles without quantification is meaningless. I'm not a scientist, and quite frankly, don't have the time to become one, however, I do get the gist of what I read.

The link you gave me is impressive. For some reason, when I attatch a link on this site, it doesn't go thru as a blue hi-lited line that you can just click onto, so if I send a link, please take the time to type it in and check it out.

First, the journal of science article you showed me basically concludes that heating in the first half of the century is natural and in the second half is C02 related. One problem I have is that it covers a 100 year period....natural cycles may play out over thousands of years.

Second, this statement in the article:
''These differences, which cannot be
resolved without improved understanding of the solar
origins of the variations, reflect the large uncertainties
in reconstructing historical solar irradiances from a limited
solar monitoring database, with only rudimentary
knowledge of the pertinent physical processes.''

Third. Here's an excerpt from an article in the Journal of Science titled "Do models underestimate the Solar Contribution to Recent Climate Change?".........."However these calculations relied on a methodology
whose systematic bias results in an underestimate of the
climatic response attributed to weak climate change signals
subject to sampling noise. Therefore previous results
could have overestimated the observed warming
attributed to anthropogenic factors and underestimated
the observed warming attributed to natural factors."

In addition....here is a link to an article titled "Predicting Climate Change" that discusses the difficulties of predicting Climate with current computer models. http://www.ornl.gov/info/ornlreview/rev28_2/text/cli.htm

I feel like less of a strawman and more like one of those plastic Owls that gets abused by the thing it's suppose to deter.

By Bob Stalling (not verified) on 15 Apr 2007 #permalink

oconnellc: "Neither of us thinks that McIntyre did anything wrong,"

I can't find where I said that.

"and neither of us thinks that what he did should bother anyone."

I'd like to live in an ideal world where crackpots like McIntyre don't get the opportunity to bother anyone but unfortunately that's not the type of world we live in.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 17 Apr 2007 #permalink

Chris, I guessI got confused. You said: I didn't assert he violated protocol. I'm just pointing out that McIntyre likes to make a big winge when he can't get what he wants while following protocol.

And you also said: Shouldn't bother anyone. Just shows he likes to complain regardless of the circumstances and is best ignored by everyone.

Are you bothered or not? Did he do anything wrong or not? I confess, I have been posting because of a triviality... I have been trying to figure out your point. Why have you been posting? Is it because some guy writes on his blog? And that bothers you?

By oconnellc (not verified) on 18 Apr 2007 #permalink

Bob Stalling

The observation that climate models are flawed should make one *more* cautious, and more keen to do something about CO2 emissions, sooner, rather than less so.

It's at least as likely that our models are too conservative, and underestimate the long term heating effects, as it is that they are overly aggressive.

The difference being that we know what to do if they turn out to be overestimates (go on polluting) whereas if they turn out to be too conservative, we've blown it, and we've lost the chance to do anything.

Uncertainty makes one *more* cautious in one's decisions and analyses of threats, not more optimistic.

Hoping that global warming is not as bad as our models say is not a plan. It's just a hope that 'something will come up'.

By Valuethinker (not verified) on 19 Apr 2007 #permalink

Valuethinker, I haven't read before that "It's at least as likely that our models are too conservative, and underestimate the long term heating effects, as it is that they are overly aggressive."

I'm curious about the discussions about what are incorrect with the models. I happen to be one of those people who thinks the planet is warming, just not sure that it is really caused by people. Acknowledged uncertainties in the models is one thing that leaves me uncertain. I agree with you that we should not do nothing while we are waiting for the uncertainties to be ironed out. However, I do feel that when evaluating what to do with our limited resources, those uncertainties need to be considered when comparing this need for money with say... the need for money to be spent on diabetes research. Or the need for money to be spent on building desalination plants to bring fresh water to places that don't have enough. Or, deciding what to do about the report just released by the WHO that automobile accidents are one of the largest dangers worldwide to people between the ages of 10 and 25. This is actually far worse in third world countries (also the sorts of places that will supposedly suffer most because of global warming).

All of this talk about "the science being settled" and using the word "deniers" to describe anyone who isn't convinced doesn't really do anyone any good. Consensus has been wrong before and it will be wrong again (in 1910, what would the consensus medical opinion have been about your doctor needing to wash his hands before he operated on you?). Science is based on provable facts and they (provable facts) have nothing to do with consensus.

I would like to see some serious discussion (and maybe there has been and I have just missed it) that actually talks about the position of global warming (uncertainties and all) in that list of things that are bad for the planet and what the opportunity cost is of not spending money on each of them.

By oconnellc (not verified) on 19 Apr 2007 #permalink

I hesitate to jump into this thread at this point.

I shall, only to say Valuethinker is making a play on the right-wing denialist propaganda phrase 'the science isn't settled', which arose before the corrected MSU data, while the IPCC screwed up the 'likely' message, and during the period (now past) when the propagandists successfully muddled the message.

Best,

D

Dano says: "Valuethinker is making a play on the right-wing denialist propaganda phrase 'the science isn't settled' and then says: "when the propagandists successfully muddled the message".

I'm curious, why have right-wing denialist/propagandists muddled the message? Is it because they are all rich corporate oil types? Or is it because they are all ignorant and uneducated? But wait, isn't it generally true that the more educated you are, the higher your salary? So are they rich because they are educated or ignorant because they are rich?

By Bob Stalling (not verified) on 19 Apr 2007 #permalink

Bob, because it will cost the vested interests lots to retool. And certain ideologies need an 'other' to motivate.

But lets not quibble over the veracity of the reason to spam comments, shall we? That quibbling tactic is so yesterday.

IOW: who cares. It happened. Its no longer happening. Societies are beginning to debate how to debate over the adaptation and mitigation solutions. Any quibbling over hockey sticks means the quibbler will be left at the station while the rest of society gets on with the business at hand.

I counsel decision-makers. They know. They hear.

Best,

D

oconnellc

I've argued it elsewhere in this thread that:

- increasing the amount of CO2 and water vapour in an atmosphere, trivially, reduces its reradiation of heat energy (that's high school chemistry). The modelling of its' effects is complex, but the basic Arrhenius equation, that doubling CO2 raises the earth's average temperature by roughly 3 degrees C (I'd have to check, but I think his estimate was somewhat lower than that) holds.

- so then we have 'what is causing the CO2 rise'? By radiocarbon studies, we know the excess CO2 in the atmosphere stems largely from human activities (ie the burning of coal, oil and gas, which have carbon atoms all dating from a certain geologic era).

We also know all about deforestation, particularly tropical deforestation, which is another major human activity of the last 200 years. (parts of the northern hemisphere deforested and then reforested)

Then we can see the explosion in CO2 concentrations coincided quite nicely with the WWII and WWII explosion in industrial activity (and tropical deforestation).

So I don't have too many doubts that humans are causing global warming. Why do you have these doubts?

As to alternative ways to spend money:

- you can't equate a policy measure (like reducing the CO2 emissions of homes) with a policy to spend more money on diabetes research

That latter comes out of a direct government budget, which is far, far smaller. The former is spread out across the whole economy.

- diabetes kills individuals and is preventable even without new scientific discoveries (it's a disease of affluence), global warming has potentially far vaster consequences.

I don't think too many people (Bob Stalling perhaps an exception) doubt that if the world warms up 5 degrees centigrade, the damage (quantified) would amount to trillions of dollars and potentially the deaths of hundreds of millions of people. At the very least, the political struggles around shortages of food and water could lead to widespread collapse and war, leading to more Darfurs, more Sierra Leones, and probably more 9-11s.

History is littered with civilisations that collapsed because of temporary or permanent shifts in the climate. Ours could be one of them. What monetary value does one place on the Collected Works of William Shakespeare?

James Lovelock sketches out even more horrific scenarios, at higher temperatures. That a couple of hundred million of us settle around the Arctic Ocean, the new Mediterranean Sea. Which means 9 billion people, more or less, died.

You don't need a high probability of that, at all, to my mind, to justify urgent and significant action. A fraction of 1% probability, in fact.

Because if you're wrong and things aren't as bad as you think, you've just spent money. Many of the things that you've spent money on, such as wind power or energy conservation, have positive net present value from a financial point of view anyways-- you've made the economy bigger and people better off.

If on the other hand you're wrong, and things are worse than they seem, then you might just have done enough to forestall catastrophe.

I keep coming back to James Lovelock's point: this is 1938. We know war is coming, and we are hoping it will go away. It won't go away, we're going to have to deal with that one.

For my grandparent's generation it was beating Hitler, for my parent's, nuclear war. Global warming is ours.

I'll close with Winston Churchill, if I may:

- In this crisis I think I may be pardoned if I do not address the House at any length today, and I hope that any of my friends and colleagues or former colleagues who are affected by the political reconstruction will make all allowances for any lack of ceremony with which it has been necessary to act.

- I say to the House as I said to ministers who have joined this government, I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many months of struggle and suffering.

- You ask, what is our policy? I say it is to wage war by land, sea, and air. War with all our might and with all the strength God has given us, and to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark and lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy.

- You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory. Victory at all costs - Victory in spite of all terrors - Victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival.

- Let that be realized. No survival for the British Empire, no survival for all that the British Empire has stood for, no survival for the urge, the impulse of the ages, that mankind shall move forward toward his goal.

- I take up my task in buoyancy and hope. I feel sure that our cause will not be suffered to fail among men. I feel entitled at this juncture, at this time, to claim the aid of all and to say, "Come then, let us go forward together with our united strength."

13th May, 1940

By Valuethinker (not verified) on 19 Apr 2007 #permalink

Bob Stalling

You've decided global warming is a hoax.

Your style of argument reminds me of the people who think 9-11 was a US government conspiracy. Not that you are extreme, but the way you are arguing and the line of argument.

I wish that were so, in a way-- that GW was some giant world conspiracy by corrupt scientists.

Vt

By Valuethinker (not verified) on 19 Apr 2007 #permalink

Valuethinker, thanks for your response. I guess I have to ask you a few more questions though... I wasn't really making a specific point about diabetes, but I guess it does form a good topic for discussion. You first make the point: you can't equate a policy measure (like reducing the CO2 emissions of homes) with a policy to spend more money on diabetes research

You state that it comes out of a budget, as opposed to a policy change, which is spread across the entire economy. I can be convinced, but I guess I don't see that it just naturally follows. Why couldn't we decide to devote a major portion of our economy to wiping out diabetes? You state that it is a disease of affluence. Does that mean poor people don't get it? Does that mean it doesn't occur in the third world? What if we replace "diabetes" with "breast cancer"? Honestly, it doesn't matter. There is a long list of things we drop into that sentence instead of "diabetes".

And I can understand why you would make some of the arguments that you are making... but, I have to say, I'm not proposing that we do nothing to make our economy more energy independent. I admit the planet is warming. I think the planet has been warming for hundreds of years. I think we should be spending money on things like solar, nuclear, wind etc. etc. But I think about proposals like huge tax increases on the price of gas... That might cause some people to drive less. But lots of people have to drive as much as they do. And how do Florida oranges get to Wyoming if you don't put them on a truck? How does corn from Illinois get to Maine without a truck?

And I agree that if AGW really is happening to the extent some people fear, we could be in a lot of trouble. But I think that politics has gotten too involved in the process and I have a hard time believing a lot of what I hear. If you scan above, look at the thread about McIntyre and his request for data. Maybe McIntyre was rude, but I don't really care. I'm worried about scientists who refuse to share their data with someone who already has a copy of their paper. They probably would eventually be forced to make all that information public anyway, so what was the harm? Personally, I think it was politics. They didn't like McIntyre, so they didn't share. That is fine, they didn't have to. But things like that just make me wonder how much politics their really is... You can make the claim that governments are going to be political and side with the "deniers", but I think that is not the case. Nancy Pelosi may really believe in the "A", but I don't think it is a coincidence that she feels that way and the district she represents happens to be where it is. Look no further than Canada if you want to see global warming play a part in politics on both sides.

My primary objection to warmie arguments is that they trivialize the contribution of available energy to our existence. They talk of "Addiction" to oil and "Love affair with cars" as if transportion were important only for Sunday drivers rather than an esential element in freeing up choice in employment and residence. I can see why the extelligencia prefers the company town where everybody walks to work with their dinner bucket and sends their kids to school to learn the company anthem.
My second problem is the way they applied correction factors to their numbers.
My third objection is the failure to validate their programs against reality and, as a corrolary, failed to demonstrate that the draconian changes they prescribe would, in their own programs, yield an improvement significant enough to justify the costs.
I am enured to the fact that my statement will bring down a storm of unimaginative invective, but then I expect no more.

By Walter E. Wallis (not verified) on 07 Jul 2007 #permalink

1) as much as you or anyone may love any particular lifestyle, if it doesn't work then it doesn't work, and the sooner we start coming up with workable alternatives the less jarring it will be. I'm sure it was a blow to the plumbers when they had to stop making water pipes out of lead, but if it doesn't work, then it doesn't work.
2) what are these correction factors of which you speak? Is there a specific in mind, or is this just a handwaving argument?
3) Maybe Tim would rerun timlambert.org/img/hansenupdated.gif for 18 months of solid validation of a model state of the ancient art of 1988.
otherwise, you'll just have to settle for
http://www.giss.nasa.gov/edu/gwdebate/

Tim Lambert: Sorry, the quote in my second offering above (7.22 am) got lost in the ether:

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Applications and Uses:

Multi-Industry Uses for Carbon Dioxide (CO2):
Carbon dioxide in solid and in liquid form is used for REFRIGERATION and cooling. (Source: www.uigi.com)

So clearly as Tim Lambert is always right, CFCs were NEVER used as regrigerants or propellants,and that is why they never were replaced by even one milligram of C02.

John Cross: I have contacted The Alliance to ask how to send my offering. If you send me your email details (by email to my address available from my website)I will send you TC Mills' rather remarkable paper in JRSS.
Ian Gould: Thanks for your kind remarks, but there is still no doubt that CO2 can be and is used to replace CFCs in various uses. The Real Climate response to Svensmark fizzled, not least because as yet not peer-reviewed.
Eli: you may well be too quick on the draw once again re Lyman, but thanks for the link, which led me to sen. Pielke's further rockets up the IPCC's collective, all suggesting unravelling of The science, with the A rapidly disappearing from AGW. As I noted in my exchange with John Cross, the IPCC's sources do not appear to include reputable statistical differentiations (e.g. coefficients with significance tests) between non-A and A sources of GW, but I am still laboriously looking for same, without success so far.

Tim Lambert: Sorry, the quote in my second offering above (7.22 am) got lost in the ether:

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Applications and Uses:

Multi-Industry Uses for Carbon Dioxide (CO2):
Carbon dioxide in solid and in liquid form is used for REFRIGERATION and cooling. (Source: www.uigi.com)

So clearly as Tim Lambert is always right, CFCs were NEVER used as regrigerants or propellants,and that is why they never were replaced by even one milligram of C02.

John Cross: I have contacted The Alliance to ask how to send my offering. If you send me your email details (by email to my address available from my website)I will send you TC Mills' rather remarkable paper in JRSS.
Ian Gould: Thanks for your kind remarks, but there is still no doubt that CO2 can be and is used to replace CFCs in various uses. The Real Climate response to Svensmark fizzled, not least because as yet not peer-reviewed.
Eli: you may well be too quick on the draw once again re Lyman, but thanks for the link, which led me to sen. Pielke's further rockets up the IPCC's collective, all suggesting unravelling of The science, with the A rapidly disappearing from AGW. As I noted in my exchange with John Cross, the IPCC's sources do not appear to include reputable statistical differentiations (e.g. coefficients with significance tests) between non-A and A sources of GW, but I am still laboriously looking for same, without success so far.

Tim Lambert: Sorry, the quote in my second offering above (7.22 am) got lost in the ether:

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Applications and Uses:

Multi-Industry Uses for Carbon Dioxide (CO2):
Carbon dioxide in solid and in liquid form is used for REFRIGERATION and cooling. (Source: www.uigi.com)

So clearly as Tim Lambert is always right, CFCs were NEVER used as regrigerants or propellants,and that is why they never were replaced by even one milligram of C02.

John Cross: I have contacted The Alliance to ask how to send my offering. If you send me your email details (by email to my address available from my website)I will send you TC Mills' rather remarkable paper in JRSS.
Ian Gould: Thanks for your kind remarks, but there is still no doubt that CO2 can be and is used to replace CFCs in various uses. The Real Climate response to Svensmark fizzled, not least because as yet not peer-reviewed.
Eli: you may well be too quick on the draw once again re Lyman, but thanks for the link, which led me to sen. Pielke's further rockets up the IPCC's collective, all suggesting unravelling of The science, with the A rapidly disappearing from AGW. As I noted in my exchange with John Cross, the IPCC's sources do not appear to include reputable statistical differentiations (e.g. coefficients with significance tests) between non-A and A sources of GW, but I am still laboriously looking for same, without success so far.