The Denial Industrial Complex

Matt Nisbet reports:

A new study by a team of political scientists and sociologists at the journal Environmental Politics concludes that 9 out of 10 books published since 1972 that have disputed the seriousness of environmental problems and mainstream science can be linked to a conservative think tank (CTT). Following on earlier work by co-author Riley Dunlap and colleagues, the study examines the ability of conservative think tanks to use the media and other communication strategies to successfully challenge mainstream expert agreement on environmental problems.

(Clarification: A couple of readers thought Nisbet was saying that one particular CTT was linked to 90% of the books. Nisbet means that 90% of books can be linked to CTTs.)

Some extracts:

A key to the success of CTTs has been their ability to establish themselves
as a true 'counter-intelligentsia' that has achieved equal legitimacy with
mainstream science and academia -- both of which have been effectively
labelled as 'leftist' in order to legitimise CTT's as providing 'balance' (Austin
2002). Beder (2001, p. 129) highlights this, noting that even though 'think tanks
have more in common with interest groups or pressure groups than academic
institutions', their representatives 'are treated by the media as independent
experts and ... are often preferred to representatives from universities and
interest groups as a source of expert opinion'. This has been a particularly
notable accomplishment in the realm of scientific and environmental issues
because CTTs are populated primarily by economists, policy analysts and legal
scholars rather than natural scientists (Fischer 1991); the George C. Marshall
Institute is an exception (Lahsen 2005).

The lack of in-house scientific expertise helps explain why CTTs have been
quick to form relationships with the small number of academic scientists who
support their views, as in the case of 'climate sceptics' (Lahsen 2005; McCright
and Dunlap 2003). Doing so helps shield the fact that the sceptical position is
strongly aligned with conservatism and the economic interests it represents
(Austin 2002; Mooney 2005b), thus hiding from the public the underlying
source of what appears on the surface to be another 'policy debate' among
equally qualified experts (Ehrlich and Ehrlich 1996; Lahsen 2005). ...

As a result of their ready access to media (Dolny 2003), CTTs were able
to create a situation in which major media outlets portrayed climate science as
an evenly divided debate between sceptics and non-sceptics (Boykoff and
Boykoff 2004) employing what McCright and Dunlap (2003, p. 366) term the
'duelling scientists' version of the balancing norm. The result is that US media
have given disproportionate attention to the views of a small number of global
warming sceptics (Antilla 2005; Boykoff 2007), and as a consequence have been
significantly more likely than media in other industrial nations to portray
global warming as a controversial issue characterised by scientific uncertainty
(Dispensa and Brulle 2003; Gelbspan 2004; Grundmann 2007). ...

The timing of sceptical books follows a noticeable trend, as illustrated in
Table 2. There is a consistent increase in sceptical literature over time, starting
with only six books in the 1970s and 14 in the 1980s. All save two of these 20
are by US authors. The 1990s saw a five-fold increase in sceptical literature
over the preceding decade. Further, judging by the number of books published
in its first six years, the current decade is on track to surpass the 1990s (see
Table 2). ...

Our analyses of the sceptical literature and CTTs indicate an unambiguous
linkage between the two. Over 92 per cent of environmentally sceptical books
are linked to conservative think tanks, and 90 per cent of conservative think
tanks interested in environmental issues espouse scepticism. Environmental
scepticism began in the US, is strongest in the US, and exploded after the end
of the Cold War and the emergence of global environmental concern
stimulated by the 1992 Earth Summit.

Environmental scepticism is an elite-driven reaction to global environmentalism,
organised by core actors within the conservative movement. Promoting
scepticism is a key tactic of the anti-environmental counter-movement
coordinated by CTTs, designed specifically to undermine the environmental
movement's efforts to legitimise its claims via science. Thus, the notion that
environmental sceptics are unbiased analysts exposing the myths and scare
tactics employed by those they label as practitioners of 'junk science' lacks
credibility. Similarly, the self-portrayal of sceptics as marginalised 'Davids' battling the powerful 'Goliath' of environmentalists and environmental
scientists is a charade, as sceptics are supported by politically powerful CTTs
funded by wealthy foundations and corporations.

Categories

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This is the most insane commentary I think I have read yet. I dont even know where to begin.
Honestly, you do yourself a disservice by putting your opinions on paper.
'Sceptics', as they are called, use science to prove the point that AGW is not only categoricaly false, but more importantly, WRONG.
Tim, there are 2 foundations that support the AGW house of cards;
1. That atmospheric CO2 drives temperatures.
2. That human emmissions of CO2 drives atmospheric CO2.

Point 1- As clearly illustrated using the Vostic Ice Core Samples, CO2 levels FOLLOW Global temps. Al Gore was kind enough to provide that information to everyone in his 'film'.
Point 2- Proven fact #2 is that human emmissions contribute at an almost untraceable level to Atmospheric CO2 levels. The Oceans and decaying carbonic rock inside the earth generate almost all of the CO2 thats makes it into the atmosphere.

These facts come to us from individuals that are brave enough to stand up and speak the truth.
The vast majority of climate scientists rely on 'Governmental grants' and not private funding from businesses. And by the way, look up the head of the IPCC and look at all the boards he sits on.
One last thing that you may want to do is look at the trends of atmospheric CO2 up till the late 1920's and see what happens to that trend when the Great Depression hit and human emmissions of CO2 dropped by 30% over a 4 year period. Guess what happened? Nothing. Atm CO2 levels continued at the exact same rate. How is that possible????

By Monsoonevans (not verified) on 05 Jun 2008 #permalink

"Point 2- Proven fact #2 is that human emmissions contribute at an almost untraceable level to Atmospheric CO2 levels. The Oceans and decaying carbonic rock inside the earth generate almost all of the CO2 thats makes it into the atmosphere."

Drink deep from the Kool-Aid, or not at all. :)

By t_p_hamilton (not verified) on 05 Jun 2008 #permalink

> even though 'think tanks have more in common with interest groups or pressure groups than academic institutions', their representatives 'are treated by the media as independent experts and ... are often preferred to representatives from universities and interest groups as a source of expert opinion'.

Um, how true is this? My impression was that think-tankers work through the commentary page, and it's more like some sort of "right of reply" thing.

bi--IJI,
I didnt ignore the post. The whole reason I wrote a reply was because of the post. I may have incorrectly implicated Tim when it should have been directed to Mr. Nisbett. My comments were to do 2 things. First to present the facts to the author regarding the issue that the so called 'deniers' are denying. Its important to understand what the scope of the discussion is all about.
Secondly, one can go down the list of proponents of AGW and clearly see that they ALL receive funding/grants from some type of organization or another. Some even get their funds from both private and governmental agencies(Rajendra Pachauri for starters). My point is that the conflict of interest is much greater for the AGW proponents. Their jobs/existence depends on it. Think about it, if your a climate scientist and you go for your interview or ask for funds, what side do you want to be on? Not to hard to figure that out.
You can choose to bury your head in the sand and decide to ignore the evidence, or we can actually debate the merits of the issue at hand. It is disingenuous to suggest that those who back 'deniers' are anywhere close to the 'support' behind the alarmists.

By Monsoonevans (not verified) on 05 Jun 2008 #permalink

Bi - All this bluster when 2008 is a cold year, no temperture following CO2 here chappie. How do you keep a straight face? I suppose Gistemp will show a record May, only to be down graded later in the month, just like April. Using GisTemp the world has not warmed in 5 years but CO2 has increased 2-3%, I see divergence here.

Regards from a remarkably cool New Zealand
Peter Bickle

By Peter Bickle (not verified) on 05 Jun 2008 #permalink

Er, if you look at voting records, don't the vast majority of college faculty in the US vote Democrat? Is that because they're smarter than us unwashed conservatives?

"Bi - All this bluster when 2008 is a cold year, no temperture following CO2 here chappie. How do you keep a straight face? I suppose Gistemp will show a record May, only to be down graded later in the month, just like April. Using GisTemp the world has not warmed in 5 years but CO2 has increased 2-3%, I see divergence here."

Peter,

You do realise that you are trying to interpret noise don't you? It's funny, you look at the temperature records fail to see the consistent noisy nature of that data and see trends, but I see consistently noisy data.

We've seen "divergence" approximately 10 times since 1970 according to HADCRUT. I'd say that this "divergence" tends not to be very persistent.

"Point 2- Proven fact #2" ... really a fact? I don't know where to begin. Ever heard of isotopes? Ever heard of carbon-14?

Sorry, your fact is wrong. Anthropogenic carbon dioxide can be measured.

It is really sad when skeptics trying to deny the work of Charles Keeling and more.

Btw if human emissions are indeed 'untraceable' and this is a fact, your point

"One last thing that you may want to do is look at the trends of atmospheric CO2 up till the late 1920's and see what happens to that trend when the Great Depression hit and human emmissions of CO2 dropped by 30% over a 4 year period. Guess what happened? Nothing. Atm CO2 levels continued at the exact same rate. How is that possible????"

Makes no sense, how do you prove this then?

"Proven fact #2 is that human emmissions contribute at an almost untraceable level to Atmospheric CO2 levels."

Err, no. We can detect human contribution by measuring isotope ratios.

Isn't it sweet to be lectured on the mad science skillz of AGW deniers by someone who hasn't the foggiest notion of what the underlying science of the AGW theory is?

By Sock Puppet of… (not verified) on 05 Jun 2008 #permalink

So Peter (8) the president of Kiribati has asked NZ (and Australia) to accept his entire population as refugees as ocean rising is making his islands uninhabitable. Why don't you (and the rest of the NZ sound climate lobby or whatever they call themselves) invest in Kiribati real estate? Since global warming is a myth and the Kiribatians have been hoodwinked, they'll sell for peanuts and you could make a killing in the resorts and tax haven business when the ocean doesn't rise.

By James Haughton (not verified) on 05 Jun 2008 #permalink

Could I suggest not feeding the trolls. As the post shows, they are not merely deluded on this issue, but wrapped in an entire parallel universe of delusion. Debating them is a waste of time. The important thing is to publicise the facts about how their bogus worldview has been construct, so that media organisations stop treating conservative thinktankers as legitimate participants in scientific debate and start treating them as the hacks they are.

By John Quiggin (not verified) on 05 Jun 2008 #permalink

"The Oceans and decaying carbonic rock inside the earth generate almost all of the CO2 thats makes it into the atmosphere. "

I'll bite; is this a property of all water, or only sodium chloride solutions?

Quick! Someone get on the phone, ring up Benny Peiser, and get him on this list of 141 books!

Benben, the world needs you!

Best,

D

"Debating them is a waste of time."

Very much so. Ditto creationists, moon-landing deniers, and "9-11 was an inside job" nuts.

Why are these people so often Americans, do you think? Something to do with your founding myths: the moral goodness of america, the endless frontier, the unlimited natural wealth of the fruiting purple plains. Some people just cant let these myths go.

By Paul Murray (not verified) on 05 Jun 2008 #permalink

PB:

Using GisTemp the world has not warmed in 5 years but CO2 has increased 2-3%, I see divergence here.

Yes and CO2 has abolished natural variation. How do you keep a straight face?

Regards from a warm and very dry southern Australia.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 05 Jun 2008 #permalink

Frank, your

Um, how true is this? My impression was that think-tankers work through the commentary page, and it's more like some sort of "right of reply" thing.

isn't quite correct. NPR's Morning Edition has been fond of using Ken Green lately, and their use of CEI-AEI folks has increased since the Repubs got into their corporate office.

And the Sunday morning politics shows? Watch them. Rife.

Best,

D

"These facts come to us from individuals that are brave enough to stand up and speak the truth"...

while many are coincidentally and conveniently getting paid huge sums of money by industries with a vested interest in denial...

Just thought I'd add in what Monsoonevans didn't.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 05 Jun 2008 #permalink

Interesting thing about the denialists is that they have this (Huxley?) view of the way science works, that 'a beautiful theory can be killed by a single nasty fact'. But of course if science worked that way, we would have given up Newtonian physics in the early nineteenth century, when it couldn't account for the motion of Uranus.

Why bother with yet another post exhibiting the logical fallacy of "poisoning the well"? This blog has so many of them its make another superfluous. Are you going for some kind of award as the most illogical blog on the web?

What is important is whether the arguments used by sceptics are true and valid, not whom those who make them are linked with. That cannot logically have any bearing on the truth or validity of the arguments.

The green movement has to answer for the effects of its campaigns whether it is malaria killing poor people because of the anti-DDT campaign, or food shortages caused by anti-GM and pro-Biofuel lobbies. It cannot get off the hook by attacking the morals, politics, or business-links of anyone who points this out.

By Bernard Blyth (not verified) on 05 Jun 2008 #permalink

Bernard Blyth:

What is important is whether the arguments used by sceptics are true and valid

Your own post shows that these are not the only things that matter to you.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 05 Jun 2008 #permalink

What is important is whether the arguments used by sceptics are true and valid, not whom those who make them are linked with. That cannot logically have any bearing on the truth or validity of the arguments.

This would normally be a fair point, except that if their arguments were valid, we'd see a lot more independent studies confirmed them. Instead, what we see is that the only people repeating them are people who are paid specifically to repeat them.

Wow, a new level of silliness has been reached. WE know pretty well how much CO2 humans are producing, because we know how much fossil fuels are being burnt. This should be obvious. The changing isotope ratio allows us to prove that it is man made CO2 hanging around in the atmosphere.

When Bernard Blyth writes, "food shortages caused by anti-GM" he is creating the perfect straw-man argument. There's tons of evidence that the push for GM crops from the developed countries has absolutely nothing to do with alleviating hunger. The spectre of hunger and the starvation card is just another absolute good example of corporate greenwash in promoting a technology that is aimed at increasing profits for companies investing in the technology.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 06 Jun 2008 #permalink

Cairnarvon:

> Instead, what we see is that the only people repeating them are people who are paid specifically to repeat them.

Indeed... which must be why the inactivists here have avoided claiming that the "Do Nothing Now!" results don't come from a bunch of non-scientific think-tanks. Instead they just keep repeating the same old talking points they heard from the very same think-tanks

Jeff Harvey:

> while many are coincidentally and conveniently getting paid huge sums of money by industries with a vested interest in denial...

I argued in blog comments that the inactivists aren't motivated by good old things like power, money, or sex; instead they're motivated by plain old hatred for all things environmentalist. And the oil and coal industries, well, simply found in them a quick way to prop up their business models, and next we know they're in a sort of symbiotic relationship.

Pity I can't access the whole paper, would be interesting to see the whole thing.
One point that might be worth considering is who, if anyone, published and funded whatever books there were in the same period that supported the "environmental" view of the world.
Who is publishing what attempts to disprove such a view is interesting, but isn't it also interesting to see who publishes the original views? How much did the WorldWatch Institute publish over those years? And are we really supposed to take them as impartial promulgators of "science"?
There's also a bit of a mixn'match there between "climate sceptics" and the more general "environmental sceptics". If, for example, I were to publish something stating that curbside recycling programmes are more expensive than simpler landfill based methods of domestic waste disposal (as I have in an article or two, pointing out that none of the cost benefit analyses, even when they do include pollution externalities, include the cost of the time spent on the sorting by households) then I might be counted as an environmental sceptic but that doesn't then follow that I'm a climate change sceptic.
Or as Jerry Taylor at Cato has pointed out that some regulations on contaminants cost $ billions per life saved...this might be scepticism about certain plans of some environmentalists, but it's, again, not climate scepticism.

Bi, I don't totaslly agree with your statement, "I argued in blog comments that the inactivists aren't motivated by good old things like power, money, or sex; instead they're motivated by plain old hatred for all things environmentalist".

To me, this is too simple. At the root of it all is money because money is power and money is control. Andy Rowell's excellent book, 'Green Backlash", although written in 1996, is still very relevant today. It details how the 'brownlash' see any kinds of environmental regulation as a denial of liberty and as a threat to maximizing profit. In my view this has always been their primary aim: eviscertaing the role of government in the economy in pursuit of private profit. The denial lobby has invested billions of dollars in attacking the science they hate and to promote a pre-determined worldview and political agenda. They see the environmental movement as a threat to the way they do business, hence their vilification of it.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 06 Jun 2008 #permalink

Moonsoonevans writes:

Point 1- As clearly illustrated using the Vostic Ice Core Samples, CO2 levels FOLLOW Global temps. Al Gore was kind enough to provide that information to everyone in his 'film'.

In a natural deglaciation, CO2 follows temperature and amplifies the slight increase into a large one. That is NOT what is happening now. For the past 200 years, CO2 has led temperature.

There are two different sources involved. In a natural deglaciation, temperature rises, CO2 becomes less soluble in water, and it is emitted from the ocean. In the present situation, the CO2 is coming largely from the combustion of fossil fuels. We can tell from its radioisotope signature.

Point 2- Proven fact #2 is that human emmissions contribute at an almost untraceable level to Atmospheric CO2 levels. The Oceans and decaying carbonic rock inside the earth generate almost all of the CO2 thats makes it into the atmosphere.

Not the whole truth. The vast natural sources of CO2 are balanced by vast natural SINKS for CO2. That's why ambient carbon dioxide was steady at around 280 parts per million by volume for thousands of years. Since the industrial revolution began, the small additional output from human technology has raised the input above the output, and the background amount has increased from 280 to 385 ppmv. Thus 27% of the CO2 in the air around us is from human technological sources.

These facts come to us from individuals that are brave enough to stand up and speak the truth.

Right -- climatologists.

The vast majority of climate scientists rely on 'Governmental grants' and not private funding from businesses. And by the way, look up the head of the IPCC and look at all the boards he sits on.

And your point here is...?

One last thing that you may want to do is look at the trends of atmospheric CO2 up till the late 1920's and see what happens to that trend when the Great Depression hit and human emmissions of CO2 dropped by 30% over a 4 year period. Guess what happened? Nothing. Atm CO2 levels continued at the exact same rate. How is that possible????

Because, as you yourself noted, the human addition is very small compared to the natural background. For more on why this argument is bogus, try here:

http://members.aol.com/bpl1960/Cockburn.html

One point that might be worth considering is who, if anyone, published and funded whatever books there were in the same period that supported the "environmental" view of the world. Who is publishing what attempts to disprove such a view is interesting, but isn't it also interesting to see who publishes the original views?

What we can count on is not a well-controlled study to find this out, but rather a slapdash petition or Mike Morano press release or ululating op-ed picked up by the National Post

Fact is, this industry has published very few credible pieces of work.

Best,

D

Bernard Blyth blythely posts:

The green movement has to answer for the effects of its campaigns whether it is malaria killing poor people because of the anti-DDT campaign,

A myth. It has been widely discussed in this very blog. How long have you been reading it? The key fact of interest is that, contrary to right-wing propaganda, DDT was never banned for antimalarial use in the third world.

or food shortages caused by anti-GM and pro-Biofuel lobbies.

The amount of GM food being produced is small compared to non-GM, and most of it is consumed. No shortage there. Biofuel hasn't been a big problem either, though it will become one if countries go into it carelessly. The rising food prices of the present are caused largely by drought in Europe, Australia, the southeastern USA and Africa. BTW, global warming results in more droughts in continental interiors.

> To me, this is too simple. At the root of it all is money because money is power and money is control.

But that's definitely not the whole story. For instance, why did Nierenberg, as director of the SIO, decide to deny global warming instead of making a good name for himself by doing some cool stuff at the SIO? Can't he continue to get power, influence, and money by this route?

The oil and coal industries obviously have a motive to get folks to shill for them -- this is what I said. But what was in it for Jastrow and Nierenberg, for example? The standard account by Oreskes et al. simply goes that after the Cold War they suddenly decided to attack AGW, for no (stated) reason whatsoever. I do think there's an element of hate in there (though admittedly, that's not exactly a very good theory either).

Tim W:

>One point that might be worth considering is who, if anyone, published and funded whatever books there were in the same period that supported the "environmental" view of the world.

Going through books just to hand: Andrew Dessler, Texas A&M; Chris Mooney, freelance journalist; James Lovelock, Oxford; Ian Enting, Melbourne; Tim Flannery, Macquarie; Al Gore;

No think tanks or equivalents unless you want to count Al Gore.

Tim L, the books you list are mostly responses to the attacks on science. I'd suggest the correct answer to Tim W is found by looking for the funders of Nature, Science, Scientific American and so on, where the science attacked by the likes of Steve Milloy and PlanetGore is typically first published.

You could also look at the US NAS, CSIRO and so on, funded by governments that have, for the last decade or so been violently hostile to climate science and the environment.

By John Quiggin (not verified) on 06 Jun 2008 #permalink

Q is correct - you want to look at Island Press and other such imprinters. How many has Soros funded vs Scaife? How many green books go on the discount shelves 2 weeks after release like Scaife's do?

In fact, some of you well-funded enviro-**zis+ should preempt the piece of cr*p Mike Morano-PR poll that will come out in two weeks and do your own list of green books.

Best,

D

+ Right Tim and Q? ;o)

OK, is Worldwatch a think tank or equivalent? Certainly arguable, don't you think?
Their (incomplete) publication list is here:
http://www.worldwatch.org/taxonomy/term/45
I don't think any of us would argue that they're impartial promulgators of straight science, would we? That's why I mentioned them above: what is the comparison between rightie tankers and their books on the environment and greenie tankers and theirs?

Off topic, this is good from their press release for the first book on the list:

http://www.worldwatch.org/node/5300

"The increase in world agriculture prices caused by the global boom in biofuels could benefit many of the world's rural poor, according to the Worldwatch Institute."

Bi, I think in her online lecture (linked by Tim a few months back but Google will get it for you quickly enough) Oreskes said Jastrow and the other Marshall Institute founders were motivated by ideology: to them, any government regulation was backdoor communism. So 'environmentalism' was bad because its supporters agitated for regulation.

I tend to share Jeff Harvey's view when considered at a collective level: given that there are a number of scientists around with sufficient ideological biases to override their scientific objectivity, the ones who float (sink?) to prominence will be those whose biases can get financial support.

Bi, we agree on most points. As you said, I do think there's an element of hate in there against the environmental lobby, but my five cent's worth is that certainly some of this hate is projected for financial/profit related reasons, because many corporate elites see public opinion as a threat. If there are too many people promoting regulation to protect the environment, as influenced by a strong environmental lobby, then this will have profound fiscal repercussions. This might help to explain why there's so much money sloshing around in the anti-environmental coffers.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 06 Jun 2008 #permalink

Worstall tries in vain:

I don't think any of us would argue that they're impartial promulgators of straight science, would we?

Those of us who can identify science don't say WW conducts hypothesis tests on a regular basis. Or an occasional basis. But we say their sources and refs - FAO, scientific journals, usually no polemic books from people with no training in the sciences - are generally solid, not cherry-picked, quote-mined or mischaracterized.

Those of us who don't know a T-test from hemorrhoid cream look at their Board and their mission statement and find that their goal is to promote sustainability, there are no big energy companies on the board looking to greenwash their reputations, nor does their mission statement have phrases like "balanced view" or "sound science", and the alarm bells go off and we wonder about their agenda. Horrors! Oh, the humanity! They want to send us back to the Stone Age!

Best,

D

Barton Levenson writes:

"In a natural deglaciation, CO2 follows temperature and amplifies the slight increase into a large one. That is NOT what is happening now. For the past 200 years, CO2 has led temperature."

Were are you getting that information? In your 1st sentance you state the CO2 FOLLOWS temperature. In your second sentance you say CO2 leads temps?!?! According to any reliable source I have seen, CO2 has always followed temps. Please point me to the research and samples that say I'm wrong.

I would also like to correct myself when I said human emmissions were almost untraceable. It would be more accurate to say; 'relative to naturally occuring events (ie., oceans, carbonic rock).
You can do all the name calling you want and claim we are using the same tired arguments, but at the end of the day, nature rules. This shouldnt be a political or economical debate but rather one based purely on science and common sense. Once you involve self interested parties (business, scientists, governments, capitalists), you lose objectivity.
The science as we know it says that were we are NOW is historically inline with were we should be. Milankovich clearly demonstates that.
Common sense clearly shows that atmospheric CO2 comes after temperature. The carbon 'sink' theory is just that. An attempt to rationalize a position with something that is just not accurate.
Last bit of common sense is why there can be No REAL answer to why temperatures keep going up and down if rising CO2 is directly causing the earth to warm. How does that make any sense??
Bottom line is that the proper people arent sitting down and hamming this thing out. It is being settled by disengenous people. When the IPCC refuses to allow dissenting views prior to final reports, then we have a problem with taking anything they say as fair or impartial.
I wish you didnt resort to name calling and using excuses as to not answering questions directly and addressing major problems with the AGW theory. It would go a long way in settling this debate if we debated the 'facts'. Just need to make sure we are using ALL the CORRECT facts.

I should have said, 'relative' to naturally occuring Atmospheric CO2. My mistake.

By Monsoonevans (not verified) on 06 Jun 2008 #permalink

BPL sets up a straw man in response to my post. I did not say that DDT has ever been banned anywhere. That point - despite being the subject of dozens of threads on this blog - is totally irrelevant. Many countries and aid/health agencies chose quite freely not to use DDT against malaria because of the widespread and successful campaigns of the green lobby; following Rachel Carson's false belief that even the smallest contact with DDT can cause cancer and other serious diseases.

But in any case my main point is unanswerable. Attacking the people making the arguments against you does not logically help your case one little bit, but instead diminishes your own case in the eyes of the neutral observer.

By Bernard Blyth (not verified) on 06 Jun 2008 #permalink

sorry, i ll bite:

Last bit of common sense is why there can be No REAL answer to why temperatures keep going up and down if rising CO2 is directly causing the earth to warm. How does that make any sense??

funny, CO2 is constantly increasing, but temperature rises every morning and sinks every evening. obviously you just gave us the proof, that CO2 is not related to tempearture in any way.

please give this man a medal!

====

on topic, nobody who has been following the denislaist sphere for more than a couple of months can ignore the fact that they are intervoven with a handfull of institutes and thinktanks.

What is frustrating about this is that the media treats these conservative think tanks as if they were actual reliable sources. The intellectual dishonesty it takes to remain a free market libertarian in the face of reality is quite impressive.

How may pro-global warming books can be linked to funded pro-global warming sources, I wonder?

Bit of logical fallacy to assume that because a book is "linked" to a conservative think tank, the book must be propaganda. Don't you have to argue each book on its merits? I would argue that the same logic, applied to pro-environmental books, would probably yield similar results. Does that mean we should dismiss such works also?

By WaitaSecond (not verified) on 06 Jun 2008 #permalink

Many countries and aid/health agencies chose quite freely not to use DDT against malaria because of the widespread and successful campaigns of the green lobby;

You "forgot" to mention:

The green lobby found that the application techniques led to increasing resistance and decreasing effectiveness.

The overapplication because of decreasing effectiveness (the hallmark of most insecticides, BTW, which is why licensed applicators must take entomology classes to understand this) was a causative factor in the dirty green lobby's pointing out the increased cancer rates and environmental damage caused by the mindless application of DDT.

But odds are if you are promulgating these talking points you don't want to hear this, so I merely post this whack-a-mole for the record and wonder why I wasted this time, which I'll never get back.

Best,

D

DDT:

Still, you can't really make the argument that cancer deaths from potential DDT overexposure would be greater than lives saved from Malaria.

The math is pretty simple on that.

By WaitaSecond (not verified) on 06 Jun 2008 #permalink

50: Read 49 again.

The math is pretty simple on that.

Speaking of simple: [killfile]

Best,

D

http://www.worldwatch.org/node/5703

DDT isn't a silver bullet for malaria control. Never was. Never will be. Broadcast spraying is pretty much useless. All DDT is good for is as a relatively inferior indoor repellent, which is just a band-aid approach.

It's all the greenies' fault that effective local vector controls haven't been established in Equatorial Africa. Sure.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 06 Jun 2008 #permalink

Bernard Blyth:

But in any case my main point

i.e.:

What is important is whether the arguments used by sceptics are true and valid, not whom those who make them are linked with. That cannot logically have any bearing on the truth or validity of the arguments.

is unanswerable.

I'd like to live in an ideal world where I knew the truth all the time too. But given that I don't, I need other ways of finding out what the truth is likely to be and then if I find some people are not telling the truth it's interesting to know why they they are not telling the truth. I know enough about the science to know that the sceptic arguments are garbage and that they have been garbage for a long time. It's interesting for other reasons to know what motivates sceptic arguments.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 06 Jun 2008 #permalink

WaitaSecond:

> Bit of logical fallacy to assume that because a book is "linked" to a conservative think tank, the book must be propaganda.

Well, if 90% of books touting the benefits supposed magical elixirs are linked to the vendors of such elixirs, of course one should give the benefit of the doubt and assume first that the books aren't propaganda. Of course!

===

Jeff Harvey:

> As you said, I do think there's an element of hate in there against the environmental lobby, but my five cent's worth is that certainly some of this hate is projected for financial/profit related reasons

Oh well, I guess the 'disagreement' is on how much of the hate is genuine, and how much of it is merely faked by the Big Smog industries. I'm currently thinking more towards the former, but I may be way wrong...

===

Vagueofgodalming:

> Oreskes said Jastrow and the other Marshall Institute founders were motivated by ideology: to them, any government regulation was backdoor communism.

I suppose what I'm looking at is how environmentalism (in general) came to be viewed as covert Bolshevism -- Jastrow and friends didn't exactly invent the "greenies are commies" meme. I'm still wondering where that come from, but at this point it still seems that it's merely an extension of an older hatred. Bleh.

===

sod:

> on topic, nobody who has been following the denislaist sphere for more than a couple of months can ignore the fact that they are intervoven with a handfull of institutes and thinktanks.

Clinton did it too, Clinton did it too, Clinton did it too, ...

Worldwatch predicted the increase in grain prices, and oil prices, and the decrease in freshwater availability many years ago, while the Usual Denial Clowns were insisting it couldn't happen because it would all be corrected by free markets, and anyway be of no concern to the world's rich. Of course this is now one of the arguments by the global warming deniers. As for the observation that "higher food prices should benefit the world's rural poor," that is a standard, one-equation classroom syllogism in economics -- since of course it should raise farmers' incomes. Indeed, one of Worldwatch's real failings is its occasional reversion to clownish economics arguments, ceteris paribus and without regard for complex systems. It is a sad reminder of the fact that, contemporaneous with the "Denial Industrial Complex," since the early 1970's there has been a concerted effort to flood the media with market fundamentalisms, and in the U.S. it was so successful that the man in the street is still spouting the gibberish. An investigation will perhaps show that those freemarket thinktanks are some of the same ones as the science deniers, and are funded by many of the same people -- all in service to the business and financial sectors, and their bought-and-paid-for politicians. These people learned by the early 20th century that in a democracy, public relations is everything: because votes are everything. By comparison, economics is really a small subdivision of control theory. Its manipulation, however, can be highly profitable.

Could I suggest not feeding the trolls. As the post shows, they are not merely deluded on this issue, but wrapped in an entire parallel universe of delusion. Debating them is a waste of time. The important thing is to publicise the facts about how their bogus worldview has been construct, so that media organisations stop treating conservative thinktankers as legitimate participants in scientific debate and start treating them as the hacks they are.

John's definition of "troll":

"Anyone who does not march in lock-step with my agenda."

John's definition of "hack":

"Anyone who does not march in lock-step with my agenda."

Going through books just to hand: Andrew Dessler, Texas A&M; Chris Mooney, freelance journalist; James Lovelock, Oxford; Ian Enting, Melbourne; Tim Flannery, Macquarie; Al Gore;

The question was who published and funded them, not who wrote the books. There's a difference.

This announcement brought to you by the Department of Duh!

By Global Warming… (not verified) on 06 Jun 2008 #permalink

me: You're just screaing and saying nothing substantial. Good day.

How does one screa?

By Global Warming… (not verified) on 06 Jun 2008 #permalink

Still, you can't really make the argument that cancer deaths from potential DDT overexposure would be greater than lives saved from Malaria."

but i can, will, and do make the argument that the ban on agricultural use of DDT saved whatever residual effectiveness remained after years of agricultural use generated enough resistance in insect species to make it useless in most of India, Ceylon, Africa, etc. In other words, every life which has been saved by DDT would not have been saved had the agricultural ban not been put into place, as you seem to think would have been preferable.

Were are you getting that information? In your 1st sentance you state the CO2 FOLLOWS temperature. In your second sentance you say CO2 leads temps?!?! According to any reliable source I have seen, CO2 has always followed >temps. Please point me to the research and samples that say I'm wrong.

Your definition of reliable... I'm afraid to know what it entails. For your research and samples, simply google PETM.

GLOBUL WARMINS A SCAY-UM writes,

> The question was who published and funded them, not who wrote the books. There's a difference.

Of course, it's the British royal court working with Bolshevists.

Really, you inactivists should get together and come to a consensus on which of the numerous climate conspiracy theories is true. It only works to wave your hands and say "You didn't see anything" if... you're the CIA. Or penguins.

I'm referring to your claim that There Are No Conspiracy Theories. You can wave your hands to make the conspiracy theories disappear, but we'll still see them.

"This shouldnt be a political or economical debate but rather one based purely on science and common sense. Once you involve self interested parties (business, scientists, governments, capitalists), you lose objectivity."

So hoe exactly do you conduct a scientific debate if you exclude scientists?

Actually judging by the list of people who should be excluded, I guess this is a debate best left to illiterate Mongolian yak-herders.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 06 Jun 2008 #permalink

"It's all the greenies' fault that effective local vector controls haven't been established in Equatorial Africa. Sure."

Well obviously.

After all Zimbabwe, Angola, Uganda, Ethiopia and Rwanda to name just a few African countries have been so peaceful and prosperous and run by such well-intentioned, honest and competent governments over the past half century that it's clear that access to DDT is the only conceivable factor standing in the way of them all running universal and 100% effective malaria eradication programs.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 06 Jun 2008 #permalink

It occurs to me that the "balance" of the denialists amounts to epistemological Manicheanism -- asserting a false equality between falsehood and truth, and then claiming the conflict thereof as a "natural balance".

By David Harmon (not verified) on 07 Jun 2008 #permalink

Monsoonevans posts:

Barton Levenson writes:

"In a natural deglaciation, CO2 follows temperature and amplifies the slight increase into a large one. That is NOT what is happening now. For the past 200 years, CO2 has led temperature."

Were are you getting that information?

From time series data. I have figures going back 127 years. Want 'em?

In your 1st sentance you state the CO2 FOLLOWS temperature. In your second sentance you say CO2 leads temps?!?!

Read the whole sentences. I said CO2 follows temperature IN A NATURAL DEGLACIATION, e.g., 11,000 years ago. I said that is NOT what is happening NOW, since CO2 has led temperature FOR THE PAST 200 YEARS.

Sometimes one leads.

Sometimes the other leads.

According to any reliable source I have seen, CO2 has always followed temps. Please point me to the research and samples that say I'm wrong.

I can give you the figures, or you can just google NASA GISTEMP and MAUNA LOA CO2.

The science as we know it says that were we are NOW is historically inline with were we should be. Milankovich clearly demonstates that.

On the contrary. If you do the matrix math to calculate the effect of the Milankovic cycles, you find that the Earth should now be COOLING. We passed the peak of the interglacial 6,000 years ago.

Common sense clearly shows that atmospheric CO2 comes after temperature.

I don't think most people have intuition about which follows which. It's kind of something that has to be decided empirically.

The carbon 'sink' theory is just that. An attempt to rationalize a position with something that is just not accurate.

Huh??? Field work and lab work for over a hundred years has demonstrated that there are carbon sinks in nature. Plants do breathe in carbon dioxide. Soil can absorb it. The oceans absorb some. If there were no natural sinks for carbon dioxide, the rate at which it is accumulating in the atmosphere would be about twice what it is.

Last bit of common sense is why there can be No REAL answer to why temperatures keep going up and down if rising CO2 is directly causing the earth to warm. How does that make any sense??

Simply because CO2 isn't the only thing that affects the mean temperature of the Earth. Changes in sunlight, albedo, other greenhouse gases, clouds and aerosols, and the heat balance between the atmosphere and the oceans also have an effect.

I don' think there is any point to responding to these guys who parrot long-debunked talking points. Anybody who posts this kind of thing is either consciously trying to deceive, or else so irrational that no amount of reasoning will sway them. Just post the links, so that other readers don't get the impression that such nonsense is unchallenged. For example:

CO2 levels FOLLOW Global temps

human emmissions contribute at an almost untraceable level to Atmospheric CO2 levels

CO2 neither leads nor follows. The relationship is a feedback loop with an eventually terminating sum. At the end of glaciations solar forcing starts the loop. Now human carbon-dumping started it.

By Marion delgado (not verified) on 07 Jun 2008 #permalink

Re: CO2 following temperature increase:

Chickens always come from eggs, so that means the eggs coming from chickens theory is FALSE.

By t_p_hamilton (not verified) on 08 Jun 2008 #permalink

#70 trrll, I think we can safely cubbyhole it under "consciously trying to deceive." After all of this time, and with all of the available resources, no honest person who is able to read and write, much less come up with these detailed links, will really get the science wrong. Conclusion? We're reading public relations trolls, paid for by the petro industries. Hi, guys!

It looks like we've reached the point where arguing against CO2 affecting climate is crankery. It may have been debatable 20 years ago, like relativity, evolution through natural selection, the heliocentric solar system, or germ theory of disease, but now arguing against these things requires ignoring the host of accumulated evidence and requiring a conspiracy among those who actually study these topics for a living.

Re #71: Marion, in terms of the glacial cycle CO2 fluctuations, at the onset of either a glaciation or a deglaciation a CO2 feedback very definitely follows the initial change in temperature (driven in turn by the change in orbital forcing). See here for the details of the likely mechanism.

By Steve Bloom (not verified) on 08 Jun 2008 #permalink

Re #74: Stewart, it wasn't debatable then either. That the ice cores would show CO2 lagging T was not only predicted, had the opposite been found it would have required a complete revision of the science.

What's interesting about this particular argument is that only denialists seem confused by it.

By Steve Bloom (not verified) on 08 Jun 2008 #permalink

re: #73 Lee

Can you provide any evidence for your assertion that the trolls are trolls paid by petrochemical industries, as opposed to;

- paid trolls, paid by thinktanks [possibly paid by certain family foundations, maybe petrochemical]

or

- unpaid trolls, doing it either because they like baiting people, or are of the hardcore anti-AGW views for either ideological reasons or fear of economic issues (but without actually getting paid by petrochemical folks)

- From what I've seen, industries have paid for some specific thinktanks and marketing campaigns, and are relatively efficient in dispensing money.

- There are clearly a bunch of people who will fight AGW (usually for ideological reasons), and will do it for free, and may even spend money to set up websites for such. Maybe some hope to get some funding.

I conjecture that many trolls are of the latter category. Do you have any data that says otherwise?

By John Mashey (not verified) on 08 Jun 2008 #permalink

John,

You are correct but so is Lee. The latter category you describe (# 77) are more often than not made up of people who, as the commentator Mickey Z says in his book, "The 7 Deadly Spins", are doing well on the basis of the current global economic/political system (e.g. the beneficiaries of free market absolutism and the current economic order). They see any kind of change as a threat to their lifestyle, even if this would lead to some measure of social justice around the world. These people largely depend on the corporate media for their information - the same media that promote the 'mass production of ignorance' (to quote British historian Mark Curtis). These media outlets provide a conduit - a megaphone if you like - for the denial industry. It's no wonder then that many people in the developed world exhibit profoundly ideological resaons for opposing AGW. As with the government and media lies that were used to justify the invasion of Iraq, that were largely based on fear, the same strategy is being used to attack the science underpinning climate change. The fear card works, as the population huddles under an unbrella of support for those who wish to maintain the status quo.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 08 Jun 2008 #permalink

re: #78 Jeff

Yes, I agree, more-or-less. My point was that it is a (counterproductive) over-simplification to assume that any troll is getting paid by petrochemical interests (directly or indirectly), just as it is a bad idea to assume that every known anti-AGW writer/speaker is so paid.

In addition, I'd suggest that while there may be rich anti-AGW trolls, there are plenty who are not doing all that well on a local scale [although of course, anyone with a PC, internet connection, and enough free time to endlessly post... is better than average on a world scale].

Especially sad is the fact that such people often argue against their own & descendants' self-interest. [I.e., since many of the same actions needed to lessen economic downturn from peak oil+gas are exactly those (efficiency, renewable energy) are those needed for mitigating climate change. A lot of average folks are going to get hurt.

But the bottom line is that it is impossible to convince a paid troll, and likely to convince an unpaid troll with strong ideology, but one might sway some of the less committed ones, and simply proclaiming that any troll must be a petrochemically paid ... is of zero, and maybe negative value.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 09 Jun 2008 #permalink

#77 John Mashey, hi. No hard evidence. I am going on inference only. I include most "thinktanks" with the "public relations" industry, so that obviates your first distinction. I infer from human nature however, that no one spends this much time being so wrong, since if you were really concerned you would eventually learn the science; although both Locke and Hume allowed that it might happen. We know that the U.S. public relations industry is worth several billions a year and is intimately entwined with Washington lobbying; we know from their public statements and marketing materials that they offer internet-monitoring and blog-activating divisions (as do by now all major political operatives;) we know that the petrochemical industry is spending millions annually on public relations; we know that setting up thinktanks is a longterm tactic (from the 1970's)offering the veneers of certitude and respectability; we know that when trolls appear, they are usually on one or two talking points for that round, frequently with similar or identical phraseology, as off prompting lists. (For this one, it's "who is paying for these warming alarmists?") Through the last two elections on political blogs, the appearance of commenters cutting and pasting from prompt sheets with standard phrases was evident; and it turned out from revealed documents that many of these same phrases had been group-tested for emotional impact. (Questioning the motives and funding of the opponents was prominent.) I suppose some of our trolls may be independents, getting their scoops by reading denialist blogs which are in turn funded and vetted by industry; this could be more efficient. Much of it is a little too sophisticated. Most of the genuine denialists I have read, were on the attack with improperly-applied high-school physics, and were further educable. There just aren't that many people who want to be so wrong that they won't bother to try to follow and understand the entire science, before developing their own counter-hypotheses, before opening their mouths. Not trying to understand the climatologists' arguments, in toto, is a big clue.

Lee:
I am hesitant to ascribe all this to paid trolldom because I've had enough discussions with people who:

- I knew were *not* paid
- and yet had unshakeable anti-AGW beliefs for ideological reasons

In some cases, such people had wandered into the denialist alternate universe and gotten convinced ("anchored" in psych terminology).

You say:
"There just aren't that many people who want to be so wrong that they won't bother to try to follow and understand the entire science, before developing their own counter-hypotheses, before opening their mouths."

Let's see: with no particular economic or ideological reasons, large numbers of people believe in astrology or that they've been abducted by aliens.

My *hypothesis* is:
1) There is a modest amount of money from petrochemical companies, although in some cases they do all-out marketing campaigns. Naomi Oreskes has a great talk on the Western Fuels' Association, which I hope will get available soon.

2) There is money from foundations, which may be less than directly from petrochemicals or more.

3) There are thinktanks and PR agencies, and I do differentiate, in that PR agencies rarely do things without getting paid, whereas at least some thinktanks have worldviews and then seek support. There are some politicians who get

4) There are a few individual bloggers who may well get paid.

5) There are lot who don't.

6) There are a few trolls who get paid.

7) There are a lot who don't.

If anyone has real data, I haven't found it, although I've spent a lot of time trying to track information flows, as in the Monckton-Schulte-Oreskes case.

Anyway, you seem have a strong belief ... but where's the data?

There is strong evidence that people can and do believe in sorts of wrong things... far less complex than climate change, and with far less reason.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 09 Jun 2008 #permalink

Could I suggest not feeding the trolls....John Quiggin

If you examine these threads, you will find that most information comes from those refuting posts by opponents. For that, and for reasons of free speech, I welcome the whacks: they ultimately provide the best data, albeit unintentionally.

John, as already I wrote: I made a strong inference. It comes from (1) the style of the arguments, (2) the existence and known modus operandi of the public relations industry, and (3) the emergence of the internet as a main formulator of public opinion. You are probably not going to find any data. The management of public opinion is not advertised as such.

Watch the rhetorical style of the arguments. You can get a feel for the denialists who are genuine doubters, and the ones who are on fly-by tactical missions. Large numbers of people may believe in astrology, but I doubt whether this is the same type of person who takes enough care to make sophisticated arguments about certain sets of technical data, (for example,) and then draws overall conclusions while ignoring the rest of the science, and declaring that it is invalidated -- and, the MOST important clue, the persistence: never giving up, never even SHOWING a sign of doubt, despite careful rebuttal. They wouldn't handle any other type of information problem in their lives in this way! Even astrologers believe certain things -- but you can't be "half in" a science, believing only half its methodology. Not for long, anyway. If you have come this far, you want to understand it all, you want to be intellectually sound.

One of Naomi Oreskes' fine talks is here:
"The American Denial of Global Warming"
http://youtube.com/watch?v=2T4UF_Rmlio

This video is the tip of the iceberg. The quest for domination of public opinion has itself become a huge, slick and sophisticated industry. The effort started many decades ago with tobacco, moved in the 1970's over into denying chemical pollution, and has moved into the climate debate. (There has also been a steady funding effort behind goofy half-economics, "freemarket environmentalism," for example.) The most important thing to realize is that public opinion is the absolute prize. It is the key to laws and liabilities and massive corporate profit. There is money to be made!

By now there is a long shelf of books on the management of public perceptions of scientific issues, including climate, and there are more being published. If you will allow suggestive data, if you will allow a case to be made by "preponderance of evidence," almost all of these books have citations; in the aggregate there are many thousands of cited examples of efforts to confuse the public, and the money spent to do it, often but not only while fighting a certain piece of legislation or getting another to the floor of Congress.

If you are looking for additional financial data, there are now a few excellent websites following the money, for example SourceWatch.

All the media are monitored by the public relations firms and now, one of the keys to public opinion is the internet -- the money must follow. It is unrealistic (indeed lunacy) to suppose they WOULDN"T make an effort to manage opinion via blogs and comments. There are a handful of careful, credible blogs (including this one: all hail Tim Lambert!) which are read by newspaper editors and reporters to stay abreast of current news and events. It's the thing here, plus the Lexis-Nexis database, the AP wire, and whoever they can get on the phone: this is how the "news and views" is put together. It would be lunacy of the p.r. firms NOT to throw wrenches in here, and it would cost peanuts. Will they leave a money trail? No. Can I tell you a certain troll is making money? No. As I said, I made an inductive inference.

You guys crack me up. I'm not sure if you realize how delusional you are or you have just become so indoctrinated by your own ego's that you cant see whats right in front of your faces.
I participate in many blogs were you guys would be considered the 'trolls'. I would agree with the statement that the 'tolls' provide the ammunition. I just find it ironic that its the other way around in the other threads I participate in.
Not sure who saw it but, I saw a couple of interesting reports today that talks about the Solar Irradience effect on global temps. Its remarkable to see this and not be struck by apparent direct relationship between the two. You can find it at: http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/climate_forcing/solar_variabil…

The graph (which this site doesn't allow me to post)clearly shows the TSI beginning a sharp increase begging around 1910. Another spike in the early 30's and again in the early 50's. If you superimpose them with any of the available GST maps you will see a remarkable trend as it relates to GST.
This is not to say that the sun is the only driver of the earths climate, but most certainly the primary. Human emmissions are laughable as it relates to GST's.
The other piece is a paper that will soon be in the "Journal of Climate" from Roy Spencer and William Braswell (peer reviewed for your satisfaction) that discusses how the 'percieved' positive cloud feedback is nothing more than known long-term modes of climate variability (PDO, ENSO, La Nina, ect.) and no measurable connection to AGW.
Guys, these aren't kooks, denialists, or trolls. These are reputable scientists using all the data, research, and, perhaps most importantly, common sense, to lay out a much more plausible explaination than what is being presented by the AGW crowd.
And by the way, I am certainly not paid by anyone other than my employer who has absolutely nothing to do with any of this. I am just a weather enthusiast that has been drawn into this issue. I have a Bachelors of Science degree from a very well respected University with an associate degree in History. I have no vested interest in this other than, for reasons I dont even fully know, it angers me to see a small group of people manipulating a very suseptable public into something that is a 'smoke and mirrors' charade. Its been done throughout history and has never failed to amaze me how often the mass's are duped into something by some very devious individuals.
You guys all sound pretty book smart and I am really surprised that educated people could be so confused when the elephant is sitting right in front of them.
Sorry for the grammatical errors as, as stated, I was in the business and not the liberal arts college.

Monsoonevans

By Monsoonevans (not verified) on 09 Jun 2008 #permalink

Monsoon,

You still haven't grasped the fact that CO2 can be a feedback during glaciations and a forcing during an anthropogenic atmospheric perturbation. This is an important point, but if you are actually confused, that's fine. We can try to answer your questions. But asserting things leaves no room for learning.

Monsoon says:

"The graph (which this site doesn't allow me to post)clearly shows the TSI beginning a sharp increase begging around 1910. Another spike in the early 30's and again in the early 50's."

Well, yes. That would be one of the reasons that climate scientists for the most part argue that a substantial part of the warming in the first part of the century was due to changes in irradiance, but in the last 50 years, when there has been no net change in TSI, that TSI has not been a driver of the observed warming.

Can I tell you a certain troll is making money? No. As I said, I made an inductive inference.

I nailed a PR firm in the Detroit area on Tech Central Station doing just what Lee said, during the time that set up the recall of the California governor and the installation of an actor to that post. The tipping point (remember, I caught a Detroit-area firm) was the suggestion of higher cafe standards to help combat AGW. It was very clumsy and I'm sure this firm suffered because of these chuckleheads. This was before TCS changed their code that allowed me to see the e-mail of the person who logged in.

Best,

D

well, that's the argument in a nutshell. "we did not see in the past such things as CO2 leading temperature, or temperature rising without solar output rising, and we see those now, therefore, rather than this being evidence that the process has changed now from previously, it is more likely that we can not now be seeing what we are seeing now"

CAFE standards, of course.

D

"I have a Bachelors of Science degree from a very well respected University with an associate degree in History"

Yes indeed and I am the king of England. Toddle-pip chaps.

"I have no vested interest in this other than, for reasons I dont even fully know, it angers me to see a small group of people manipulating a very suseptable public into something that is a 'smoke and mirrors' charade."

I agree, those pesky climate skeptics make me angry too!

Thanks to all of you who have the stamina to go on debunking denialism. I don't know how you do it.

I want to give a shout-out to another very fine place to research the right-wing think tank apparatus - we could just call it a propaganda apparatus - which is http://www.mediatransparency.org. They have followed this for years and have a searchable database of donors, foundations, grants, recipients, important figures, etc. There really was a memo from the US Chamber of Commerce in 1970 (the "Powell memo") which argued that industry had lost control of the culture in the '60's and needed a new, aggressive program to make sure that never, ever happened again. The program included the creation of "educational," "charitable," and "research" organizations specifically to pursue this goal of cultural control, and that program was followed. It's quite plain in its language and is posted on the site.

So when we speak of "right-wing" think tanks, this is what we mean. What is so maddening about today's labeled world - there are "liberal" and "conservative" think thanks - is that, not so long ago, those now labeled "liberal" were in fact merely doing intellectually honest policy analysis. I know, my father worked in that world for many years. Conservatives may have felt that their results were too "liberal," but that isn't the same as having researchers deliberately set out to find ways to come to "liberal" conclusions.

However, if one is setting out to create a right-wing propaganda machine which includes ideologically biased "think tanks," one needs to create the impression that they're ALL biased, so one's own biased creations are merely doing what everyone else does. This impression is completely false, and is merely another aspect of the Powell project.

It's all about creating a false aura of intellectual respectability around ideas that are pure corporate-world PR (all the extremist free-market nonsense propounded on TV by "scholars" from Heritage and AEI would be just one example). And yes, with tons of money to put into it, this can be done. But it's still a pack of lies. The worst part is that you have to smear the intellectually honest analysts as engaging in the same sleazeball business that you yourself are in, in order to get away with it. You have to create the impression, in fact, that no one is intellectually honest... which is, itself, false.

It's the same with the AGW specific case of this general effort. That's why these people drive me nuts. I have never understood what the big ulterior motive on the "liberal" side is supposed to be (environmentalists and scientists are in it for the huge amounts of money to be made? Whereas oil companies are just trying to eke out an honest living? Please!). If you can stand to keep taking them on, good for you!

By Noone Really (not verified) on 09 Jun 2008 #permalink

Monsoonevans:

The graph clearly shows the TSI beginning a sharp increase begging around 1910. Another spike in the early 30's and again in the early 50's. If you superimpose them with any of the available GST maps you will see a remarkable trend as it relates to GST.

I presume "GST" means global surface temperature or something like that. In that case your quoted data from NCDC shows that TSI in 1957 was almost exactly the same as TSI in 2000. In spite of this, global average temperature has risen substantially since 1957. The thing that is remarkable is the remarkable divergence between TSI and global temperature since then. This is completely contrary to your assertion:

This is not to say that the sun is the only driver of the earths climate, but most certainly the primary.

You have shown that you are completely incompetent in making conclusions from available data. This makes nearly everything else you've said complete garbage.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 10 Jun 2008 #permalink

"Sorry for the grammatical errors as, as stated, I was in the business and not the liberal arts college."

So much for the science degree then, eh?

Noone Really, and others following this thread, might be interested (in the 'pull-my-hair-out-and-scream' sense) to read Ray Evans' latest piece in the Quadrant magazine for June 2008.

I think that I snorted aloud when I skimmed through the article at a news-stand this afternoon.

Warming for the unsuspecting - Evans is the secretary for the Lavoisier Group...

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 10 Jun 2008 #permalink

"Warming?" That's "warning", of course, and a big one at that. Evans spouts harder than a gargoyle.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 10 Jun 2008 #permalink

You have shown that you are completely incompetent in making conclusions from available data. This makes nearly everything else you've said complete garbage.

IIRC, TSI was in a trough during 1998, the warmest year on record. Some driver.

Best,

D

Noone Really, and others following this thread, might be interested (in the 'pull-my-hair-out-and-scream' sense) to read Ray Evans' latest piece in the Quadrant magazine for June 2008.

It's interesting for how it demonstrates how someone without a scientific education can spend so much time on the wrong track. I like his following little statement. It's the sort of thing you expect from newspaper journalists.

A household refrigerator is rated at 0.5 kW and will consume 1 kW per hour if it runs continuously for two hours.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 10 Jun 2008 #permalink

Name calling is a rather interesting argument technique but not really that effective.
My real question is why no one seems to want to answer some pretty simple questions. I have brought up the solar irradiance issue. This is a much more likely cause of warming than anything man can put into the air. How can we draw that conclusion? Well, if we look at the years starting in 1600 (per the NOAA chart) we can clearly see a correalating trend between GST and TSI. We dont see the same pattern with atmospheric CO2 and GST. What we see, and again please correct me if I am misinterpreting the data, is that atmospheric CO2 follows temp?
In summary:
TSI is a significant driver of temps.
Atm. CO2 follows temps.
Please SHOW me were I am wrong with both of those points.

And to respond to the post from Chris O'Neill:

"I presume "GST" means global surface temperature or something like that. In that case your quoted data from NCDC shows that TSI in 1957 was almost exactly the same as TSI in 2000. In spite of this, global average temperature has risen substantially since 1957. The thing that is remarkable is the remarkable divergence between TSI and global temperature since then. This is completely contrary to your assertion:"

Actually Chris, this is the furthest thing from contrary. When one looks at the entire 400 yrs on the graph its pretty clear that we would expect the jump in temps that we got.

To quote Dr. Stephen Wilde:
"It is true that since 1961 the average level of TSI has been approximately level if one averages out the peaks and troughs from solar cycles 19 through to 23.
However, those solar cycles show substantially higher levels of TSI than have ever previously occurred in the historical record."

If you take a look at the chart you will clearly see what I mean. Please look into this folks before you blast this.
People being closed minded isnt going to help anyone. It takes a very smart and brave man to be able to look himself in the mirror and face his own limitations.
I recognize mine. I am in a completely unrelated field so I dont try to pretend I am all knowing when it comes to climate. However, I am well trained, experienced, accredited in my field and I would still never pretend that I know everything with what I do. It would be foolish to do so. I wish many of you would do the same.

By Monsoonevans (not verified) on 10 Jun 2008 #permalink

monsoon,
That 'graph' you refer to is not a graph. It is the irradiance values by year, in a table, from the Lean reconstruction.
But no matter - the graph you ddescribe exists all over the internets.. Here are two examples:
http://www.brighton73.freeserve.co.uk/gw/solar/temp_vs_spots.gif
http://www.mps.mpg.de/images/projekte/sun-climate/climate.gif

Yes, irradiance has an effect on temp. Duh - this is basic to climate science. But note that something changes in about 1975 - 1980. Irradiance levels off, temps keep rising.With the newly-quantified bucket correction for the mid century years, that divergence may even push back to mid century. The fact is that in the most recent decades, something besides irradiance has been driving surface temperatures. Gee, I wonder what?

Apparently 'Dr.' Stephen Wilde is an English solicitor with zero scientific background other than being a 'weather enthusiast'.

Like many septics, he gets his CV from a box of crackerjacks.

The cumulative radiative forcing from well-mixed anthropogenic greenhouse gases is â2.7Wm^-2 , steady and growing.

The variability in TSI insolation is â0.18Wm^-2 , fluctuating above a minimal floor over an 11 year period.

Which is the bigger forcing?

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 10 Jun 2008 #permalink

Lee
Your missing the point. There are always ridges and troughs that will occur. The fact of the matter though is that the bottom of the trough during '75-'80 is STILL at a higher level than recorded on this 'graph'. It then continues it upward trend even further lock-step with recorded temps.
Are you minimizing the effects of TSI? Your 'duh' comment seems to indicate as much.

By Monsoonevans (not verified) on 10 Jun 2008 #permalink

"then continues it upward trend even further lock-step with recorded temps. "

ok, now you're just making things up.

luminous beauty
This doesn't include a little thing called water vapor. WV contributes significantly more to the GH than the anthropogenic greenhouse gases. You need to present the facts in a relative fashion. When you look at the forcings over the 30yr period that you linked us to, one may draw the same conclusion. However, we have the benefit of looking back much further to see the whats really going on. Would you agree with the graph in terms of changes in TSI over the last 400 years have been much closer in matching temps?

By Monsoonevans (not verified) on 10 Jun 2008 #permalink

Now Monsoonevans, I want you to know, there are some readers of this blog who think you are like an astrologer or one of those people who has seen a space alien -- but I am not one of them! In order to prove them wrong, I hope you will follow the ENTIRE chain of reasoning, and comment upon it, AS AN ENTIRETY:

The reason why carbon dioxide is leading temperatures this time, is in the graph here:

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

Now don't go jumping onto the validity of the graph; we all know the story. It has even been thoroughly vetted by the boneheads in the U.S. Congress. In fact the Wikipedia article does a very good and fair-handed job of following the controversy -- and a logical and judicious reading of the entire story of the controversy on that Wikipedia page, and following all the links at the bottom and reading them all the way to the end too, will end in the conclusion that the picture still holds up pretty well:

Temperature increase began around the moment of the ramp-up of the Industrial Revolution.

Now, we know from the older records that CO2 lagged earlier warming episodes by an average of 800 years -- and then the warming INCREASED for hundreds or thousands of years more! Why might this happen?

Well, because CO2 itself is ANOTHER actor upon climate -- in addition to changes in solar radiance, earth orbital variance, planetary albedo, etc.

How do we know that CO2 does this? Because of the simplest physics and chemistry, proven in countless other ways since the 19th century.

But does the CO2 trap "heat?" Not exactly, and this is important. It makes solar electromagnetic energy from the sun bounce back and forth in the atmosphere a little longer in the infrared part of the spectrum, before it is finally lost to space, as before.

So: the continuous balance of temporary available energy, called the "flux," increases.
What does this do? Part of the bouncing adds energy to air, water and ground. What does that do? It changes wind and water currents. What does that do? It changes the transport of heat energy and moisture to land masses in new and different ways all over the globe.

And what will that do? It will make some places colder for a while, and some places warmer. Some places will be wetter for a while; some will be drier.

It is a complex system: so your objections, that temperature increase should be uniform if CO2 buildup is uniform, do NOT apply.

And this is true even for global mean temperatures, and indeed we know their increase is not uniform. Why? Because some of the energy flux gets temporarily locked into wind and water momentum, not air temperature; because it is a complex system.

But mean temperature is increasing, even after the spike in '98, and that must have adverse results. Will it end life on earth? Of course not. But the litany of possible economic and environmental hazards is well known.

I wish to point out two hazards that didn't have much salience until some of us started to raise the question rather recently: (1) change in climate seems likely to accelerate the extinction of wildlife species which has been preprogrammed by habitat fragmentation; this would happen because the responding species migration will come up against the barrier of human habitat; and (2) disruption, or curtailment in some places, of "ecosystem services," such as air and water purification, soil and water retention, freshwater availability, pest and disease control, etc., which is valued at maybe US$40-50 trillion annually for the globe.

Now, you may find certain new reports that change or clarify some parts of the Big Picture. When they are validated, that is science, and we all benefit. But there are massive amounts of science which are NOT changed, and the big picture is still the IPCC 4th assessment.

You may hope to claim that the IPCC did not accept contrary opinions -- although this appears to be nonsense from cranks; in fact, there was an enormous period of comments and vetting -- and you may NOT know that the final conclusions were in fact TONED DOWN at the demands of a few countries with large business interests in the matter, particularly the United States and Saudi Arabia.

In fact, a majority of climatologists are a bit more alarmed than their official assessment would let on. The recent events with Arctic ice may only be the tip of the iceberg.

NOW: please respond to the import of the ENTIRE argument, without reference to little bits of science as if they might be conclusive upon these larger matters. I may have gotten things wrong, so please point that out. WE deluded booksmart jerks need to know!

But please, do not bother saying it is all a socialist conspiracy for a world government. There is no such conspiracy, nobody much likes government, and nobody wants global warming to be happening.

Monsoonevans writes:

The graph (which this site doesn't allow me to post)clearly shows the TSI beginning a sharp increase begging around 1910. Another spike in the early 30's and again in the early 50's. If you superimpose them with any of the available GST maps you will see a remarkable trend as it relates to GST.
This is not to say that the sun is the only driver of the earths climate, but most certainly the primary. Human emmissions are laughable as it relates to GST's.

Yes, Mon, variations in sunlight affect temperatures on Earth. Very true. But the TSI has been essentially flat for more than 50 years, so it can't be driving the sharp upturn in global warming that began 30 years ago.

There are other problems with the solar hypothesis as well.

1. Increased sunlight would heat the stratosphere first, since that is where ozone absorbs ultraviolet light. Instead, the stratosphere is cooling. Some of this is accounted for by ozone depletion, but not enough. The rest is explained by increased carbon dioxide, since the balance of energy in the stratosphere lies between absorption by ozone and emission by CO2. Climate modelers predicted this would happen.

2. Increased sunlight would have its greatest effect at the equator, and lessen toward the poles, due to Lambert's cosine law. Instead, the poles are warming more than the equator. This "polar amplification" was also predicted by the climate modelers. It has to do with the fact that there is less water vapor near the poles, so increases in carbon dioxide have a disproportionate effect. In addition, there is the "ice-albedo" feedback -- the more ice that melts, the more dark surface is exposed to the sun.

3. Increased sunlight would have its greatest effect during the day (duh!). But nighttime temperatures have increased more than daytime temperatures. Again, the climate modelers predicted it, since more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere retard heat release from the ground at night. You may have noticed that a cloudy night is warmer than a clear one; that's because clouds in darkness are pure greenhouse agents.

It's not the sun.

Monsoonevans posts, dishonestly:

CO2 follows temps. Please SHOW me were I am wrong with both of those points.

You have been shown where you were wrong repeatedly, by myself as well as others. You show no interest in learning, you just repeat the same garbage over and over again no matter what anybody says in reply. You are a troll pure and simple. Piss off.

Monsoonevans posts:

luminous beauty This doesn't include a little thing called water vapor. WV contributes significantly more to the GH than the anthropogenic greenhouse gases.

Water vapor hasn't gone way up. Carbon dioxide has. "Bigger" does not mean "rising."

Just to be clear - Lee (me) and Lee A. Arnold are two different people...

Lee Arnold,
Great post and explanation. I'm going to need some time to digest it but promise to respond back. I certainly don't consider myself an astrologer and havent seen any aliens (unless you consider Gore an ALF!! Just kidd'n).
My interest in all of this was by accident. I follow winter storms and have self educated myself on the dynamics that go into the formation of snow storms. I subsequently learned how to track various elements that go into 'making' a snow event. It was in this that I came across how the different models/trends/patterns/climatology of our weather systems and how they interacted with each other and how one could predict, or make an educated guess on the what/when/where/and hows'. (sorry for the run-on sentence).
I work in the financial service industry by the way. I could tell you all you ever wanted to know about mutual funds/annuities/Defined Contribution Plans/ect. But by no means would I ever challenge a client that came to me with information that I simply overlooked. It would be like me saying to my client that 'insert your dotcom company here' has all the makings of a great buy and list all of the very valid reasons why it was. But if my client came to me and said that I was missing the boat on something pretty obvious (no earnings/capital/history)I could either chose to ignore it (because thats what our years of education tell us) or I could take a step back and look at through a different lense.
I kinda think thats what a lot of you guys are doing. You have it so ingrained in your minds that if CO2 reacts this way or that way, than this thing or the other thing HAS to be true. In my profession that is not the case and my experience tells me that it seldom is the case in any walk of life.
This little diatrabe doesn't count towards my reply Lee A.

Monsoon

By Monsoonevans (not verified) on 10 Jun 2008 #permalink

This is not my promised response yet Lee A. but wanted to expand on my points about TSI real quickly and get your thoughts. This comes to us from www.physicstoday.org march 2008 edition. I am posting just a snippet but wanted to get some scientific responses back on it.
thanks

Nicola Scafetta is a research associate in the Duke University physics department. Bruce West is chief scientist in the mathematical and
information science directorate, US Army Research Office, in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

...Incorporating the influence of solar cycles
into this thermodynamically closed
climate modeling strategy reveals coordinated
variability over even longer
time scales. Recent heuristic studies indicate
that the climate time response
parameter Ï, analogous to the Onsager
relaxation time in statistical physics,
might be 5-10 years.4,5 By using a climate
time response Ï of 7.5 years and
the phenomenological 0.1 °C amplitude
of the 11-year solar cycle (see reference
1, page 674, for details) as constraints on
a simple two-parameter model in the
tradition of the earliest climate models,
we recently showed that it is possible to
reconstruct a phenomenological solar
signature (PSS) of climate for the last
four centuries.5 In the figure, the interval
from 1950 to 2010 is displayed with
two such PSS reconstructions derived
from two alternative TSI inputs. The
figure shows excellent agreement between
the 11-year PSS cycles and the cycles
observed in the smoothed average
global temperature data; a 22-year cycle
component in the temperature also
matches the 22-year PSS cycle very well.
In particular, since 2002 the temperature
data present a global cooling, not a
warming! This cooling seems to have
been induced by decreased solar activity
from the 2001 maximum to the 2007
minimum as depicted in two distinct
TSI reconstructions.
Thus the average global temperature
record presents secular patterns of 22-
and 11-year cycles and a short timescale
fluctuation signature (with apparent
inverse power-law statistics), both
of which appear to be induced by solar
dynamics. The same patterns are poorly
reproduced by present-day GCMs and
are dismissively interpreted as internal
variability (noise) of climate. The nonequilibrium
thermodynamic models
we used suggest that the Sun is influencing
climate significantly more than
the IPCC report claims. If climate is as
sensitive to solar changes as the above
phenomenological findings suggest,
the current anthropogenic contribution
to global warming is significantly overestimated.
We estimate that the Sun
could account for as much as 69% of the
increase in Earth's average temperature,
depending on the TSI reconstruction
used.5 Furthermore, if the Sun does
cool off, as some solar forecasts predict
will happen over the next few decades,
that cooling could stabilize Earth's climate
and avoid the catastrophic consequences
predicted in the IPCC report.
The authors thank the Army Research Office
for research support and for grant W911NF-
06-1-0323.
References
1. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change, Climate Change 2007: The Physical
Science Basis, Cambridge U. Press, New
York (2007). Available at http://ipccwg1.
ucar.edu/wg1/wg1-report.html.
2. N. Scafetta, B. J. West, Phys. Rev. Lett. 90,
248701 (2003).
3. P. Allegrini, M. Bologna, P. Grigolini, B. J.
West, Phys. Rev. Lett. 99, 010603 (2007); G.
Aquino, P. Grigolini, B. J. West, Europhys.
Lett. 80, 10002 (2007).
4. S. E. Schwartz, J. Geophs. Res. 112, D24S05
(2007).
5. N. Scafetta, B. J. West, J. Geophys. Res. 112,
D24S03 (2007).

If this is all mumbo jumbo let me know and I will post more of the supporting materials from the paper.
Monsoon

By Monsoonevans (not verified) on 10 Jun 2008 #permalink

"ect"

Hahaha.
Eejit.
>plonk<

By Nick Barnes (not verified) on 10 Jun 2008 #permalink

Monsoon, the Scaffeta and West paper is tripe as a model of real world climate.

It is dependent on this:
"Recent heuristic studies indicate that the climate time response parameter Ï, analogous to the Onsager relaxation time in statistical physics, might be 5-10 years.4,5 By using a climate time response Ï of 7.5 years and the phenomenological 0.1 °C amplitude of the 11-year solar cycle (see reference 1, page 674, for details) as constraints on a simple two-parameter model in the tradition of the earliest climate models, "

First, there is not one climate time constant - there are several, for different systems that interact. A huge system that determines rate off warming from a forcing is ocean het mixing - and the time constant for that is almost certainly on the order of decades, not 5 or 7.5 years. Scwhartz's determination of a 5 year time constant was for transient responses, which b by definition exclude from his determination any slower time constants. His analysis shows nothing more than that the climate time constant for responses to events that last about 5 years, is about 5 years. It says nothing relevant about the longer time constants. Strike one.

He uses an 0.1C temp amplitude for temperature response to the 11 year solar cycle. This is FAR from established - it isnt even established that there is ANY detectable temperature response to the solar cycle. Strike two.

And he uses an archaic 2D model that by definition fails to include heat transport mechanisms - which are at the heart of the climate time constants, which are essential for his conclusion. Strike three.

BPL wrote:

You have been shown where you were wrong repeatedly, by myself as well as others.

that's a 9. Protest your convictions in the teeth of obvious and overwhelming objections.

You show no interest in learning, you just repeat the same garbage over and over again no matter what anybody says in reply.

That's an 8 (b) Give the same answer you gave in your 50 previous comments in the same thread. This is very easy using copy and post.

You are a troll pure and simple. Piss off.

Monsoon passed the troll test with flying colors he did

Monsoonevans:

But if my client came to me and said that I was missing the boat on something pretty obvious (no earnings/capital/history)I could either chose to ignore it (because thats what our years of education tell us) or I could take a step back and look at through a different lense. I kinda think thats what a lot of you guys are doing.

Actually, that's what you're doing. Why don't you step back and look at it through a different lens?

You have it so ingrained in your minds that if CO2 reacts this way or that way

This statement might betray how you're got it completely round the wrong way because the issue is not how CO2 reacts, but how temperature reacts to CO2.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 10 Jun 2008 #permalink

Eli
I prefer hobbit or even ork, but troll?
1. I don't think I've made the same post more than once.
2. Contrary to your ascertion, I am a sponge for learning. I am eagerly awaiting the (don't want to say proof as I know that gets some people fired up) convincing evidence/rational/theory that humans have done so much 'bad' to warm the planet to the point we are all going to die.
The real problem, IMO, is that unethical individuals have hijacked the science for their own personal gain. I don't think there is a single 'denier' out there that doesn't believe that humans have had an effect on the atmosphere. I think that's were we need to begin.
Perhaps the emotion of trying to prove yourself correct clouds your objectivity and unconsciously intensifys the perceived human induced role.

By monsoonevans (not verified) on 10 Jun 2008 #permalink

shorter monsoon, in 117:
"I am a sponge for learning," but all y'all who disagree with me are deluded and don't have anything to teach me.
---
Oh, there's a straw man in there, too.

Monsoon, climate science is not arguing that 'we're all going to die."

monsoonevans:

When one looks at the entire 400 yrs on the graph its pretty clear that we would expect the jump in temps that we got.
To quote Dr. Stephen Wilde: "It is true that since 1961 the average level of TSI has been approximately level if one averages out the peaks and troughs from solar cycles 19 through to 23. However, those solar cycles show substantially higher levels of TSI than have ever previously occurred in the historical record."

No-one is denying this. The point you fail to grasp is that it has warmed up a lot over those 50 years while average TSI has not increased.

If you take a look at the chart you will clearly see what I mean.

I can clearly see that average TSI has been high AND has not risen in the last 50 years.

Please look into this folks before you blast this.

Please take your own advice before you credulously believe that TSI caused the warming of the last 30 years.

People being closed minded isnt going to help anyone.

You being closed minded isn't going to help anyone.

It takes a very smart and brave man to be able to look himself in the mirror and face his own limitations.
I recognize mine.

What would a man who hasn't recognized his own limitations say?

I am in a completely unrelated field so I dont try to pretend I am all knowing when it comes to climate.

You are pretending to know one thing, however.

However, I am well trained, experienced, accredited in my field and I would still never pretend that I know everything with what I do. It would be foolish to do so. I wish many of you would do the same.

I just wish you would stop pretending that TSI caused temperature to rise in the last 30 years.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 10 Jun 2008 #permalink

hmmm.. taking another tack, though not one that's new...if the sun were the cause, wouldn't there be something other than the earth that is warming? aha, what about Mars!! OK, out of all the objects in the solar system, that's two.... random chance would suggest that half of them, more or less, would be warming and half cooling, if nothing were happening, though. show me that **every** planet **except** two are warming, and i will begin to suspect the sun. show me that the moon is warming and i will begin to suspect the sun.

Re #111: Actually there's a funny story relating to that S+W article. Physics Today ran it as an opinion piece, I think as a none-too-subtle message to the authors.

Re #117: You're probably right about that last point, monsoon. If you were one of Eli's students he'd just flunk you and be done with it.

By Steve Bloom (not verified) on 10 Jun 2008 #permalink

Monsoonevans.

I have developed a habit (although it's more of a tradition now) of asking this question of climate change deniers.

So far I have only had one or two feeble attempts at a reply, that were hardly worth even a snigger, let alone a rebuff.

Perhaps you could turn your razor intellect to the question, and debunk the 'warmist' perception of empirical environmental consequences of AGW in the context of geological history.

The ecologists haunting Deltoid are patiently awaiting the brave denier who thinks that they have the answer...

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 11 Jun 2008 #permalink

"Monsoon, climate science is not arguing that 'we're all going to die."--- Lee.

Well maybe not "all" but you don't have to look very hard to find plenty of doom mongering by Hansen (Death Drains, tipping points), Lovelock ("...before this century is over billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be kept in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable.") and others.

Lovelock...

is not a climate scientist...

Lovelock is one of the most outspoken climate alarmists extant and while he is not specifically a "climate scientist" (he has a BS in Chemistry and PhD in medical research) he was involved in atmospheric research and is credited with first measuring CFC's in the atmosphere.

His Gaia Hypothesis is widely accepted by the environmental movement if not by the scientific community as a whole.

His Gaia Hypothesis is widely accepted by the environmental movement if not by the scientific community as a whole.

So now it's "the environmental movement" that's the perpetrator and not "climate science" as in "climate science is not arguing that 'we're all going to die'". Amazing how easily the point gets transmogrified. Don't worry Lance, we already know you're dishonest.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 12 Jun 2008 #permalink

Lance,

The Gaia hypothesis is an empirically based theory in which biomes, ecosystems, communities, and individuals are all connected at differing spatial and temporal scales. It argues that processes emerging over large scales - such as nutrient cycling, water purification, and maintenance of a breathable atmosphere as well as many others - are by-and-large the result of literally trillions of interactions that occur amongst individual organisms as they perform their biological activities. The important point is that these emerging properties are not the result of processes that are performed out of intent, but that they occur as a result of the synergized activities of a stupendous array of biota. This is one of the great puzzles in our understanding of the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning - that systems work on the basis of the sum of their parts.

Gaia was essentially hijacked by those who wish to view nature in the purest sense as benign and who want to believe that these processes are driven by some self-fulfilling 'intent'. Of course this is not true, but nevertheless it is important to recognize that natural systems sustain civilization through the generation of services that occur as a result of a dizzying array biological activities between individuals, populations, species and communities over variable and often vast scales.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 12 Jun 2008 #permalink

Chris O'Neil,

Dishonesty is a very serious accusation. I am often incorrect or mistaken and am glad when these errors are pointed out to me so that I can avoid making those same errors in the future. Dishonesty is a much different claim however. Do you have any evidence that I have been dishonest?

I merely pointed out that there were scientists willing to make predictions of doom. I don't believe that is dishonest. To say that I am moving the goal posts because I can't show that "climate science" itself is making dire predictions is pretty silly.

You seem to take a rather strident tone in your posts, such rancor and arrogance does little to foster the kind of respect necessary for meaningful dialogue.

Jeff Harvey,

Dawkins, and others, are pretty dismissive of even the more restrained version of the Gaia hypothesis that is devoid of the teleological trappings of the more fanciful interpretation. That organisms can affect their environment and then respond to the new environment thereby establishing a new ecological equilibrium needs no over-arching theory that postulates that the system be described as a mega-organism on the planetary scale.

This sort of theory does however lend itself to the image of the "fragile blue oasis" emotional drivel that is so popular in environmental media pieces.

Lance,

Of course I do not go along with the idea of the biosphere as a super-organism, but there's no question of hierarchies in biological systems across scales that are interconnected. Your point - that organisms can affect their environment and then respond to the new environment thereby establishing a new ecological equilibrium - does not acknowledge the fact that properties emerging from systems - such as the maintenance of biogeochemical and hydrological cycles - are the function of an array of processes generated by individual organisms and the interactions occurring among them. This is where some of the ideas proposed in Gaia come from.

Moreover, whereas natural systems, for the most part are not 'fragile', at least by our definition, the services that emertge from natural systems may be not so robust. Fragility is a purely human concept, and there's no doubt that natural systems have had to be quite resilient to have mostly (through not entirely) withstood the human assault thus far. But, given that these systems function in quite non-linear ways, it is clear that we may be approaching a tipping point.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 13 Jun 2008 #permalink

Jeff,

If you were to list and prioritize the top five threats to the ecosystems that sustain both biodiversity and human populations what might your list look like?

Lance, before Jeff answers, what would your list look like?

The other non-'warmists' here refuse to become engaged in issues relating to ecology, especially if climate is involved, so I am curious to hear your take on this before it is coloured by the opinion of an expert in the field.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 13 Jun 2008 #permalink

Lance,

Quite busy now. But in a nutshell the 'five' can in actuality all broken down into three. These are all very broad and are not at all mutually exclusive

1. Habitat loss and/or simplification/fragmentation (due to many anthropogenic factors)
2. Various types of pollution
3. Exotic invasive (non-native) species

Bernard J. hits the nail on the head - the vast majority of sceptics posting here write as if the ecological consequences of global change driven by various human activities are largely irrelevant to human society. The bottom line is that there will be (and already are) ecological consequences to the continued expansion of the human footprint on natural systems. Some of these effects will have significant and negative impacts on our civilization, because they underrmine the ability of these systems to generate services that we depend on.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 13 Jun 2008 #permalink

Bernard J.,

Fair enough. Here goes.

1. Habitat loss

2. Water pollution

3. Water usage (related perhaps to No. 2)

4. Land usage (related perhaps to No. 1)

5. Mismanagement of ecological resources (over fishing, poorly planned agriculture, strip mining etc.)

Jeff,

I composed my list before I read yours. It is interesting that we agree that habitat loss is the number one issue.

Also we agree on the threat of "pollution" though probably not on CO2. That doesn't mean we can't work together on all the other pollutants about which we agree.

I hadn't considered invasive species as a threat to sustainability. While I yield to your much greater knowledge on the topic, and have seen first hand the large impacts of invasive species in the Great Lakes ecosystem in which I spend most of my time, I think that the inadvertent transport of species due to the high mobility of modern society is going to lead to more and more of these "invaders".

I think it will just introduce different selection pressures on the various ecosystems that will eventually reach new equilibriums. I don't know that this can be avoided or that it is necessarily a long term detriment to sustainability.

Another question I have always had about invasive species is why they seem to do so well when transported to ecosystems in which they didn't evolve? You would think that the species that had specifically adapted to their local environment would have no trouble competing with an organism that evolved to fit a different set of selection pressures.

Of course in the case of ferrel cats on islands that have animals that had evolved with out predators the answer is obvious but one might wonder why no predators had evolved in that system before? Also perhaps this situation is temporary and once the cats have depleted their food source they will become locally "exinct" and the native species will rebound in the long term. This would explain the lack of land based predators in the first place.

I know that it is thought that marsupials survived on Australia due to the lack of contact with other terrestrial predatory placental mammals that evolved on the other easily traversed continents but this would also seem to be an extreme case.

Anyone have any insights on this?

Lance:

I merely pointed out that there were scientists willing to make predictions of doom. I don't believe that is dishonest.

It was a non-sequitur chosen to attack the original point. Using a non-sequitur in that way is dishonest. Do I need to remind you of your past dishonesty?

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 13 Jun 2008 #permalink

Look O'Neil, I made a passing remark in response to Lee's point that not "all of climate science" was saying we were doomed. My point was that prominent scientists involved with AGW were making doomsday statements, hardly a "non-sequitur".

If you have specific evidence of my "dishonesty" bring it on. I suspect you would rather just make vague and sleazy statements of innuendo. That is very much in keeping with your previously displayed behavior.

Lance writes:

Dawkins, and others, are pretty dismissive of even the more restrained version of the Gaia hypothesis that is devoid of the teleological trappings of the more fanciful interpretation.

I am dismissive of Gaia myself to a large extent, but I'm also dismissive of Dawkins -- contrary to popular belief, he is not a mainstream biologist, but advocates some nutty ideas, specifically, gene-level natural selection (as opposed to individual-level) and sociobiology. What's more, he goes around saying gene selection is now the consensus and he's been proved right, which strikes me as dishonest.

"Another question I have always had about invasive species is why they seem to do so well when transported to ecosystems in which they didn't evolve? You would think that the species that had specifically adapted to their local environment would have no trouble competing with an organism that evolved to fit a different set of selection pressures."

The simple answer seems to be that they manage to leave their most of their pathogens and parasites behind.

"but one might wonder why no predators had evolved in that system before? "

Because we're talking about small areas most of which are relatively young in geological terms.

Given enough time, a rat or parrot could probably evolve into a pretty efficient predator - but "sufficient time" here would likely be in the tens of millions of years.

You also have to remember that evolution doesn't necessarily
arrive at the optimal solution to every problem.

Australian marsupial carnivores have been comprehensively out-competed by humans, dogs and cats despite having had tens of millions of years to specialise in hunting Australian herbivores.

So long as the Thylacines. Devils and Quolls were the most efficient carnivores around there was little need for them to evolve further.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 14 Jun 2008 #permalink

I should also point out that the "top five threats" to ecosystems can't be treated in isolation.

Quick example: Many migratory birds don't eat or eat very little while migrating. This appears to be an evolved trait to be other migrators so as to get first crack at the food supplies and the nesting sites.

Probably as a result of this, migratory birds show remarkably precise timing in their departures and arrivals. They get to their European summer feeding grounds literally within a day or two of the main food plant species blossoming.

One already demonstrated, indisputable result of global warming is that plants are blossoming earlier.

Given time, the migratory species will adapt to this change.

But for species already under threat of extinction due to feral animals or pollution or ecosystem destruction, that temporary disruption may be enough to push them over the edge.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 14 Jun 2008 #permalink

Lance, I'll give you a hat-tip for a decent effort.

My list at the time you asked was:

1) habitat loss/degradation (and Jeff's fragmentation and simplification points are also vital factors that I did not include at first blush)

2) invasive/introduced species, and in this I include diseases, which are biologically simply further taxa to be moved around

3) pollution of all sorts, excluding GHG

4) over-exploitation of species, through excessive forestry, fishing, hunting, collecting for medicine/pet trade/horticulture/etc, culling for human convenience (such as elimination of species that compete with humans for resources) - I think the point is clear, and the list could go on

5) climate change.

Yes, I will be brazen and put climate change in there. It is not quite as immediate in significance as the others in the list, but it has the potential to surpass the first four points if it is sufficiently severe, and it can certainly potentiate the effects of the first four points regardless of its final magnitude.

And to the consternation of many biologists, a climate change signature is already evident in the recent phenological record, irrespective of any effect of the first four points, and in complete disregard of climate change deniers' wishes that it were otherwise.

I would like to say more on the matter, but I am extremely fatigued at the moment and intend to catch more than four hours sleep tonight.

So, later.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 14 Jun 2008 #permalink

"Another question I have always had about invasive species is why they seem to do so well when transported to ecosystems in which they didn't evolve?"

Short answer: no or few natural diseases, competitors, or predators.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 14 Jun 2008 #permalink

Bugger. I really should read all of the posts before replying - Ian has already answered the introduced species question.

The success of introduced species is actually quite a complicated collection of phenomena, and perhaps in thousands or millions of years the balances will have shifted again in many different directions. Almost certainly, in fact. It is possible to regard the whole ecological question of translocated species in abstract, philosophical terms (and in a geological context) and argue that such considerations are irrelevant in the greater scheme.

However, I can think of two pressing counters: the path of contemporary humanity's survival is critically dependent upon the biosphere's fate as a whole, so we have an immediate vested interest; and further, if we are to maintain our pretensions to civility in whatever guise we choose to define it, we have certain moral/ethical imperatives to show due regard to other species and their hosting ecosystems.

It is also important to be circumspect about how we regard introduced species. Whilst they can be devastating pests out of their natural ranges, this does not necessarily imply that they can be cavalierly regarded when managing their home ranges. The casuarina and melaleuca species that are wreaking havoc in the Everglades are regarded as endangered community associations in eastern Australia, where they originate - although each species in isolation is doing OK. And the cane toad, so despised in Australia is having a hard time of it in its natural range. There are numerous other examples, and unfortunately there are deniers of other stripes who like to confuse issues of species management, simply because such species have become problems outside of their natural ranges.

I could say much more, but it really is time for bed.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 14 Jun 2008 #permalink

At last I've come across a word that the more paranoid of the denialists can sink their teeth into - courtesy of Gavin at RealClimate.

I can reveal here, for the first time, that there exists a secret cabal of climate scientists who are nefariously manipulating the innocent CO2 emitters of the world - the Climatati...

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 15 Jun 2008 #permalink

"Another question I have always had about invasive species is why they seem to do so well when transported to ecosystems in which they didn't evolve"?

This is an excellent question, Lance.

There are many possible and not necessarily mutually exclusive factors. We are doing research in an attempt to answer this question in our group (I have a PhD student working on an invasive plant and native insect consumers, for example). One of the main factors appears to be release from natural co-evolved enemies; for example, plants take with them a suite of pehnotypic traits that evolved in their native range in response to a range of selection pressures. In their new range, many of these traits, such as defense chemistry, are often 'novel', meaning that native pathogens and insect herbivores are not adapted to them, enabling the new plant to 'fit' well ecologically in the new habitat. This brings in the second major hypothesis in explaining the success of invaders: they possess 'novel weapons' making them less palatable to enemies (e.g. better defended). A third hypothesis is based on the limited biotic resitance of the recipient (invaded) community where exotic organisms possessing novel traits are superior competitors with native species.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 15 Jun 2008 #permalink

Jeff, Bernard and Ian,

Thanks for the insights into the reasons for the adaptive success of invasive species.

My local environment (Central Indiana) has been over-run by Asian lady beetles. They seem to be rather benign and I have read that they eat aphids and other harmful pests.

In the fall they congregate in the thousands on structures and will get in any small crevice or opening. My old Victorian house isn't very "tight" and the little buggers are all over the place inside my windows and other openings.

I wonder if they are putting pressure on the local lady bird beetles and other predatory insects?

Bernard J.:

> I can reveal here, for the first time, that there exists a secret cabal of climate scientists who are nefariously manipulating the innocent CO2 emitters of the world - the Climatati...

Evidence of the Climatati is growing. Climate scientologist, the days of thy nefarious funding are numbered!

Hi Lance,

WShen you write, "Asian lady beetles" I assume you are referring to Harmonia axyridis. Harmonia was intentionally released into France as a bio-control agent about 15 years ago whence they spread rapidly into adjacent countries, including Holland, where I live and work. The larvae are like miniature T-rex's, are very active and have voracious appetites. The main problem with Harmonia is that they readily attack the larvae of native ladybirds, and there is some concern that they will drive the local extinction of species like the two-spotted and seven spotted ladybirds.

Interestingly, Harmonia does not appear to do well on aphids like the cabbage woolly aphid that sequester plant allelochemicals (toxins), whereas the native ladybirds do. This suggests that they may be able to co-exist if their niches are divided according to certain ecophysiological characteristics of their prey. I collected Harmonia a few weeks ago and noticed that they were absent on wild cabbage plants where the aphids and the native ladybirds were abundant.

Because different countries within the EU have different regulations with respect to the release of exotic species, there is much consternation amongst those with rigid laws (like the UK, where Harmonia is now established) where such a species would have to mett many tough criteria to be released. France has much more lax legislation, as do several other EU countries, and herein lies the rub. The aim is to streamline legislation on the release of exotic species, because the 'winds carry no passports' and we have huge volumes of evidence that exotic species can create ecological (and economic) havoc in their new ranges.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 17 Jun 2008 #permalink

Jeff,

Yes Harmonia is the species name. It is thought that they were first introduced in the US by arrival on freighters from Asia into the ports of Louisiana. They have since spread north. I wonder if they are affecting the local ladybird beetle populations because I rarely see the native species any more (anecdotal evidence I know).

The Great Lakes region of the US is highly sensitized to invasive species protection due to the effects of the Zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha). Like many invaders the Zebra mussel has had both positive and negative effects. It is estimated that they have caused over 5 billion dollars in damage and treatment costs due to clogging and encrusting industrial and municipal water systems.

On the positive side since they are highly effective filter feeders they have helped to improve the water quality of the Great Lakes. This has been credited with increasing the populations of fish and countering the effects of eutrophication.

If you walk the beaches of Lake Michigan their shells are all over the place.

The paper can now be downloaded for free (h/t Nude Scientist climate blog).

By Steve Bloom (not verified) on 21 Jun 2008 #permalink