By on June 8, 2007

truck.jpgThe political right likes to claim that the mainstream press has a liberal bias. These self-appointed media watchdogs see a cadre of left-leaning fascists looking to manipulate popular opinion, to infringe on individual freedom by stripping law-abiding citizens of their God given right to own guns, smoke, pray in public, eat supersized fatty foods and drive gas-guzzling CO2–belching behemoths. In truth, the American press isn’t red, blue, pink or green. It’s yellow.

Once upon a time, journalism was considered a public service. The news media was owned by beneficent potentates; men who cloaked their more obvious commercial enterprises in the sanctimony of servicing our “right to know.” When technology fractured the audience, when news was made to stand on its own, it suddenly became more of what it was all along: a business. 

The news media’s unshackled economic motives have amped-up their insatiable desire to be seen, heard and/or read. To that end they cater to our basest instincts with stories about all sorts of human extremes: fires, fanatics, fatalities and most important of all, anything urgently threatening. 

Even before the news media lost their dignity, they perpetuated pervasive paranoia. My childhood was haunted by visions of nuclear attack, food shortages and dwindling oil supplies. These stories eventually gave way to dark tales of nuclear disaster and Y2K meltdown. 

Thankfully, all of these perceived calamities are still largely theoretical. Food is produced in abundance, oil supplies have grown and Japan and France have demonstrated that nuclear power is safe and the Internet lives! And so new villains have arrived, most prominently terrorists but including the automobile.

While it pains me to even partially vindicate Detroit’s anti-media paranoia, it’s certainly true that automobile manufacturers have been victimized by willfully ignorant, self-righteous muckrakers. As ttac.com contributor Paul Neidermeyer recently recounted, the Chevrolet Corvair and Audi 5000 were both torpedoed by bogus safety concerns perpetuated by self-anointed safety campaigners (Ralph Nader and CBS).

Other popular models have fallen prey to absurd exaggerations of risk, provided without any discussion of context, scientific analysis or mitigating factors. Was the Firestone tire-clad Ford Explorer inherently dangerous? What does that mean anyway? The fact that over half the Explorer rollover deaths involved passengers who didn’t buckle their seat belts escaped the media’s limited attention.

Clearly, this trend has progressed to the point where the news media feels free to demonize the automobile in general, and vilify anyone who dares drive anything other than a [get-out-of-PC-prison-free] hybrid.

How many times does the media use the words “oil addiction” to describe our habit of driving our children to school, commuting to work, buying the things we need to survive and keeping the American economy healthy for ALL of us?

SUVs are regularly portrayed as the sole province of selfish, clueless, amoral Americans. The companies that provide these vehicles are cast as foot-dragging Neanderthals who, ironically enough, cater to their customers’ basest instincts.

Never mind that the news trucks schlepping their high-tech equipment are about as fuel efficient as a Sherman tank, or that the news helicopters that hover over televised tragedy burn more fuel than an entire fleet of Hummers.

And why is it OK to treat a normal, commercially vital activity like driving as if it’s some kind of criminal act? Global warming! And if global warming is the problem, American drivers are the cause. Oh, sorry, did I say “if?" I mean, “because.”

In case you hadn’t noticed, today’s news media never misses an opportunity to remind us of the “fact” that our vehicles’ fossil fuel combustion is creating greenhouse gasses that will hasten an increase in global temperatures that threatens our species’ survival.

Vehicle-induced global warming is a fact because a lot of scientists say it is– even though a large number of reputable scientists say it isn't. Woe betide anyone foolish enough to question global warming in the press; they're served-up as a crank or right wing nutcase.

Ten years from now, after a decade of declining ocean temperatures (as forecast by the National Hurricane Center), we’ll look back and wonder why people bought the paranoid pseudo-reality of global warming. Of course, by then the tragedy industry will have invented some new automobile-related threat to keep us riveted with fear.

Fascination is the key. The news media is afraid to tackle the tough questions relating to our cars because they believe the public is fundamentally stupid. They’re scared that their audience will take one look at a more complicated truth and switch off. If the information gatekeepers don’t simplify issues (e.g. SUVs suck), Americans will lose interest.

I like to think they’re wrong; that drivers can go beyond sound bites to engage in a proper debate on important issues related to our automotive activities. With your help, we’ll find out.

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218 Comments on “The Truth About the Press’ Anti-Car Global Warming Jihad...”


  • avatar
    carlisimo

    Global warming debates never go well. Please don’t get us started.

    But about the Corvair… it seems to me Nader’s criticisms were reasonable. Even your article pointed out the problems pretty well.

  • avatar
    compy386

    Good editorial. Kudos to you.

  • avatar
    miked

    “The news media is afraid to tackle the tough questions relating to our cars because they believe the public is fundamentally stupid”

    FTFY.

    Believe me, if there was money in reporting logical arguments for anything, it would be done. But since the public can really only think in black and white (cars are baad, um k), that’s what they’re fed. When people find out I’m a scientist they often ask me a question about my work and when I don’t give them a black and white answer, they’re always confused. They expect science to have a “yes/no” type answer, rather than the “it depends..” that we always use. E.g., the latest controversy with the head of NASA saying that IF there is global warming, it still may not be a bad thing. Seriously, if you look over geologic time scales, the climate of the earth has changed drasticlly (the high-altitude dessert that I’m at right now typing this comment, used to be a sea level tropical rain forest). Who’s to say that the current climate is the optimal climate (or even if you can create an ordered list of climates) for the Earth. It is what it is, and it will always change, and we just have to adapt.

  • avatar
    jabdalmalik

    When scientists stop throwing their weight behind global warming almost unanimously I’ll start to doubt it, and not beforehand.

  • avatar
    N85523

    Thanks, William for not being afraid to question the blind acceptance of the religion of global warming. Folks like you and NASA’s Administator Michael Griffin need to be heard. Today, I saw footage taken from a news helicopter hovering over Paris Hilton’s house waiting for officers to haul her to court and I thought “Wow, how is this really worth the $4.00/gallon jet fuel? What can the media say to defend this?”
    (This is going to get heated, I can tell…)

  • avatar
    NickR

    I disagree with your contention that reputable scientists reject global warming. They are few and far between, and often receive funding directly from companies who would benefit directly from diminishing concerns about global warming. The fact that you believe that there is a significant body of scientists skeptical of global warming is proof positive that the media has done a grand job of ill informing the public (i.e., the few global warming deniers are given voice far out of proportion to their presence in the scientific community).

    That being said, I totally agree that the mass media, especially the news media, seldom makes and effort to inform and if often distracted by stories that are easy to cover that they think will fascinate or titillate their audiences (Anna Nicole Smith’s death…who really cared?!!!).

    The treatment of cars and car companies is shoddy indeed. Toyota is widely lauded as a green car company, based solely on the existence of the Prius, while they expand aggressively into market segments known for poor mileage (trucks and SUVs). GM, however, was recently castigated by a variety of journalists for bringing back the Camaro, even though the anticipated volume of that vehicle was small. Not once have I heard a journalist or newsperson try to illustrate the difference between ‘mileage’ and ’emissions’, i.e., if you got 5 mpg but devised away to trap all the ‘bad’ emissions, you’d have an atmosphere saving vehicle. Nor have I seen them explain to their audiences the concept of statistical significance, i.e. 12 cars out of a sample size of 500,000 may not in fact be indicative of anything.

    Finally, they often fail to provide meaningul analysis of why people drive or, by extension, inquire why it can take 2 buses, a slow subway ride, and another 2 buses (almost two hours travel) to get from the west of Toronto to the east.

  • avatar

    jabdalmalik: Like the man said, global warming is not black and white (although the press portrays it that way). First, what constitutes global warming? Second, if it is happening, is it man-made? Third, is the man-made part related to vehicular emissions? Fourth, if they are, what percentage is related to vehicles? Fifth, is it something we need to address? Sixth, is reducing vehicular emissions the best way to reduce global warming? Seven, how would you do that? These are not simple questions. The answers are not simple. Me, I'm still wondering about question one before I start worrying about question four. Thanks to the media, the public is already on seven.

  • avatar
    Engineer

    GREAT article.

    Though I tend to lean conservative, I always chuckle at the way some conservatives depict the liberal media. Journalists tend to be liberal. Sure. Engineers tend to be conservative. That affects what both groups do, but it does not make either group part of a big conspiracy, eager to get “their man” into office.

    In the eyes of some conservatives, the media is always looking for a way to make “us” look stupid. But let’s be honest. In that regard neither “we” nor “they” need much help…

  • avatar
    Pch101

    William, you had me until you indulged in the rant about climate change.

    There is near-universal consensus that climate change is real. Only a tiny minority of scientists disagree with that position; arguably, they constitute a fringe group at most.

    As an auto enthusiast who tilts leftward, I have to shake my head at the hard-right among us whose absolute unwillingness to accept this aforementioned consensus on climate change could lead to anti-car laws that verge on overkill, because the enthusiasts are such ideologues that they were unwilling to make logical compromises.

    It’s really head-in-the-sand thinking to believe that climate change is a hoax just because we like to drive. I love driving, but passion for driving and wishful thinking about it do not equate to fact.

    As much as I love cars, I also care about the world that I live in and the legacy that I am leaving for the generations to come. It’s ironic for us to indict the short-term business strategies of the Big 2.8, while forgetting the importance of the long-term prospects of Earth, Inc. at the same time.

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    I think we should hedge the global warming discussion this way.

    Even if we assume that man-made global climate change is in progress, and if we assume that fossil fuels are a big contributor:

    (1) The mainstream media’s reporting is sensationalist, oversimplified, and inaccurate.
    (2) The perspective that American SUVs are solely or largely responsible for the fossil fuel emissions is not accurate.
    -America’s movement of goods is based on heavily polluting commercial trucking.
    -We fly thousands of enormous airplanes every day, many of them serving distances that could easily be driven or trained.
    -Maybe 10% of non-governmental helicopter use is truly worthwhile.
    -Other countries (China, India, the EU, Russia, Indonesia, and Brazil) contribue immensely to fossil fuel emissions, in many categories far outweighing the U.S., not just in vehicles but with massive powerplants and factories.

  • avatar
    kken71

    I’m a car enthusiast, and I’m grateful to Ralph Nader for pushing vehicle safety forward.

    The government should push emissions reduction forward.

    Automakers drag their feet, claiming safety and fuel economy standards will kill them, and then, when forced by the market or regulations (or the market spurred by regulations), then they miraculously comply.

    The media may be sensationalist, but automakers and oil companies have a clear interest in pretending global warming does not exist. That is what they pay the “credible scientists” to write articles disputing global warming. Their goal is to get people like you to buy into their propaganda and then spread seeds of doubt to the masses.

  • avatar
    Bob Beamesderfer

    Comparing fuel used to cover a news event with one of my neighbors firing up the Hummer to drive an able-bodied, but probably overweight, 6th grader 4 blocks to school is bogus. I don’t much care for a lot of the coverage TV deems worthy, like high-speed chases, but yours is not a valid comparison. Should TV trucks run on something other than gasoline or diesel? Yeah, probably. The garbage trucks around here are CNG, which is practical for short-rage fleet vehicles but not long-haul vehicles. The soccer moms I see in my area driving 2- and 3-ton trucks for the purpose of hauling around a couple of kids and some groceries IS wasteful. Add in the cell phone and an endemic lack of driving ability, and the whole scenario redefines absurd.

    As for global warming not being a fact, name ONE reputable scientist who says otherwise. Every time this comes up, the non-believers point to some industry-backed group. So, name one independent scientist with peer-reviewed and published research who says global temperatures are not rising.

    As for climate change over geologic time scales, the human race has only existed during a small portion of the latest of those epochs. If we want to make it through even a bit more of this one, something has to give.

  • avatar

    After watching PBS news for years now, I can not tolerate the nightly news as served up by the likes of ABC, NBC and CBS: Short “sound bite” ridden stories, lots of commercials. No depth.

    The local news is ever more difficult to tolerate: “A tree fell on Backwater Street, and we’ve got exclusive video.” Yawn.

    Global warming: I’ve seen numbers stating cars contribute 20% – leaving 80% from other sources; and I’ve seen where they’re [we are] blamed for 1/3rd – leaving 2/3rds from other sources. (Minimal research on my part, I’ll admit.)

    If that’s the case, the focus is on the smaller piece of the pie. But my wife points out “You have to begin somewhere.” But is it even real? Really long-term real? Tough to know given the shallow wading-pool depths of mainstream media coverage in the U.S.

    Let’s see what the headline of the moment is at http://www.wfsb.com, Channel 3, the local CBS affilliate here in central Connecticut is, shall we?

    Ah yes, nice dark red banner: “Live video on WFSB.com: Paris Hilton Late for Court Appearance”

    “Judge Says Paris Must Show in Court” is the lead for their “Eyewitness News Big Stories” as well.

    Not much left to say, is there?
    Save for: Excellent opinion piece. :-)

  • avatar
    Bob Beamesderfer

    “Today, I saw footage taken from a news helicopter hovering over Paris Hilton’s house waiting for officers to haul her to court and I thought “Wow, how is this really worth the $4.00/gallon jet fuel? What can the media say to defend this?” “

    They defend it because you and others watched.

    I agree with Glenn; the networks, which used to be decent, are now as empty-headed as local news. If you think you’re on celebrity overload where you live, try stomaching what we get in SoCal.

    As for who and what produces pollution, there is no doubt that 3rd world countries’ unchecked smoke-stack emissions play a huge role. Is that an excuse for industrialized nations to ignore the issue? Of course not.

  • avatar
    mikey

    How far back to acurate weather records go 150 yrs maybe 200?
    Show me some good data going back 20,000 yrs,maybe then we can make a good call on this.
    As William points out in his excelent article, the media loves big bad life threatening news,it sells.
    Why is it allways the rich people at fault?Why do we target the Lawyer drving his 70,OOO$ SUV 10,000 miles a year?Why not beat up the left over flower child with his 12 yr old out of tune Volvo,who drives 40,000 miles a year from one demonstration to another?
    I believe the whole global warming crap, is nothing more than another tool for the left, in thier never ending quest for wealth distrubution.

  • avatar
    carguy

    The news game is business and scaring people sells – whether its child molesters, terrorism or nasty things in the food that will kill you, they love pressing the fear buttons despite that all of things have a negligible chance of happening to you as opposed to the dull and un-newsworthy things that people really die from in large numbers.

    Global warming may very well be embellished by the media to the point where it sounds like the plot from a bad 70s disaster movie but that may not be such a bad thing as the push for alternative energies is a timely exercise in the US. The growth in oil demand in fast growing economies such as China will drive up the price of gas to a point where it will seriously impact the US economy which is much more prone to energy cost fluctuations than Europe which have a considerably lower per capita energy consumption. If the media hype will get us to a point where Americans stop wasting so much energy then that is a good thing as it will help cushion us (the US) from the inevitable oil crunch and the struggle against the every increasing global oil demand.

    Is the global warming danger real? Probably but not certain.

    Is the press presenting a well-informed discussion? Hell no – its just selling another fright story to its readers and viewers to increase their ratings and sell more advertising.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    All that I am positive about these days is that I sure miss Walter Cronkite.

  • avatar
    N85523

    One credible non-industry backed scientists:
    Jan Curtis, Aurora Borealis researcher and climatologist.

  • avatar
    mistercopacetic

    “It’s really head-in-the-sand thinking to believe that climate change is a hoax just because we like to drive. I love driving, but passion for driving and wishful thinking about it do not equate to fact.” –Pch101

    I second that. I’m pretty conflicted about more anti-car regulation, since I love driving so much. If only there was a way for automakers to make lightweight, safe, fun, frugal cars that people wanted. I guess a number of different factors would have to come together to make that happen, which probably won’t happen anytime soon. But someday…

  • avatar
    miked

    jabdalmalik:
    June 8th, 2007 at 1:18 pm

    When scientists stop throwing their weight behind global warming almost unanimously I’ll start to doubt it, and not beforehand.

    NickR:
    June 8th, 2007 at 1:23 pm

    I disagree with your contention that reputable scientists reject global warming. They are few and far between, and often receive funding directly from companies who would benefit directly from diminishing concerns about global warming.

    Thaks to RF for writing most of what I was about to write. But first I need to address the above two quote. You need to remember that what you see in the media is filtered in some way. You may think that every scientist out there says that global warming is happening, and that it’s terrible and that the world’s going to end. But the only reason you see that is because that’s what the media is letting you see. I’m not going to go all crazy with conspiricy theories, but you need to remember that you really know only what “they” want you to know unless you read the primary literature.

    I have read the primary literature, I have seen informal and formal talks given by scientists who work in this field, and they truely are split on what’s going on. Granted, when they write proposals to get more funding, they write it in a way that says the world’s about to end, that gets them more money to do research. But when you actually see a talk that describes the data, they truely are conflicted. I personally know scientists on both sides of the debate, they are all very smart and honest people, they want to know the truth, they are not out to make public policy.

    Here’s a quick example with graphs that I stole from the interwebs (I believe this counts as fair use, so no one should complain about copyrights).

    First, here’s a plot of the average global temperature over the last 1000 years. Before you look at the plot, I want you to think of a few things. 1) How do you define global temperature? Truthfully, if I were to give you money to measure the global temperature, I want you to explain how you’d do the measurement and how accurate it would be. 2) How do we know the global temperature for times before 1850’s when we started keeping track of that stuff. 3) What does this plot look like if we could have measured the temperature back to the beginning of the earth, think of ice ages, nuclear winter that probably killed off the dinosaurs, other large climatic changes before humans.

    So now, look at the plot

    I will say, that yes, indeed, there is an increase in temperature over the last 100 years, but there is nothing there that says that this is a big change, or that there haven’t been bigger changes before, or that it just isn’t normal fluxuation. remember, we only have data over the last 1000 years, and we’re seeing a change in the last 100 years, that’s only 10% of the recorded data. Not enough to really make any conclusions.

    Now, what scientists will do, is also show this plot

    of CO2 in the atmosphere over the last 1000 years, and say, “Hey look, when CO2 goes up, temperature goes up”. I agree that there is a correlation between CO2 and temperature, but is it causal? is it even related? Check out this other correlation with average global temperature

    Scientifically, it’s just as valid. But for some reason people will be lauging at the second correlation and not the first. Why? Because it doesn’t “Feel” right. but feeling right (truthiness) isn’t science, and it doesn’t tell us about the world.

    The statement “CO2 is causing global warming” has just as much evidence supporting it as the statement “Iraq as involved in 9/11”. But different people will pick which statement they want to believe.

    /end rant

  • avatar
    Bob Beamesderfer

    “(1) The mainstream media’s reporting is sensationalist, oversimplified, and inaccurate.”

    Unlike the Drudge Report, several blogs that do nothing more than regurgitate what they swiped from the NY Times and a few others for which the authors’ grammar and spelling wouldn’t get them out of high school.

    “(2) The perspective that American SUVs are solely or largely responsible for the fossil fuel emissions is not accurate.”

    Cite one story from any news source, “mainstream” or otherwise that says this. Don’t quote something that you assume means this because of your perceptual bias. An actual, verbatim quote from a news story, not an editorial or some half-baked column.

  • avatar
    dolo54

    But wait… SUVs do suck! For many other reasons than the tired topic of global warming. They make driving anything other than an SUV a much bigger chore than it used to be. And the few I’ve driven are terrible handling, boring, slow, the antithesis of enjoyable to drive. I’ve driven an Explorer, a Tahoe (BLEAH!!!), a Trailblazer and the only one I liked was an old Cherokee, which was great for what it was meant to do… handle offroad and bad conditions (which I was in at the time). Driving around nyc in the sea of SUVs I just shake my head sometimes. That’s the last thing I would want to be driving in a city.

  • avatar
    miked

    Bob Beamesderfer:
    June 8th, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    As for global warming not being a fact, name ONE reputable scientist who says otherwise. Every time this comes up, the non-believers point to some industry-backed group. So, name one independent scientist with peer-reviewed and published research who says global temperatures are not rising.

    I don’t have time to look up all of his papers, I need to get back to work, but here’s a starting point:
    http://www.colorado.edu/chem/people/nozika.html

  • avatar
    Bob Beamesderfer

    “How far back to acurate weather records go 150 yrs maybe 200?”

    Accurate records go back further. Tree-ring data, plant fossils, recorded history. But weather data isn’t the same as climate data.

    As for a “conspiracy to redistribute wealth,” that’s about as far-fetched as it gets.

  • avatar
    zoomzit

    jabdalmalik said: When scientists stop throwing their weight behind global warming almost unanimously I’ll start to doubt it, and not beforehand.

    Ummm… considering the current opinion of the international scientific community… it’s about time to start believing.

  • avatar
    Zarba

    Take a look at some DISPASSIONATE evidence:

    http://www.junkscience.com/Greenhouse/

    I admit that when the subject of global warming comes up, my BS Detector goes off the charts.

    There’s simply not enough evidence out there to prove what man’s contribution to global warming is, if it indeed exists.

    What makes me so skeptical is that this is all based on computer modeling, and as they say, Garbage In, Garbage Out. It’s all in the assumptions used to forecast the future, and so there’s a tremendous amount of room for error.

    That being said, i fully support technology that will lower our dependency on oil, such as nuclear power. Personally, I’d start by building 1,000 new nuclear plant so we could produce all our energy cleanly. There are stable places to store spent fuel, but that largely been stopped by NIMBY.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Yes indeed bob beam it is about spreading the wealth.
    Read and listen to the media it allways rich corps. and rich people that are the bad guys.Its always the poor and downtrodden who are on the recieving end.
    Thats what sells

  • avatar
    zoomzit

    Global warming. Could be true, might not. I tend to lean heavily on the side of it being true and that we are affecting it.

    However, it always bothers me that we waste so much time talking about global warming and discussing if we ought to do something about it when we don’t address the less debatable and far more pressing issue regarding US dependence on foreign oil.

    Quite simply, the US depends on highly unstable and unfriendly regimes for a large part of our energy. We need to stop this for our own security.

    This is why I support higher CAFE standards and true research into alternative energy. The bi-product of this reduction on our dependence on foreign oil is that we are contributing less to the production of greenhouse gas. Like Zarba, I am highly favorable of Nuclear power. At this point, it is clean and cheap, has a low impact on the environment (assuming no meltdowns) and it is domestic.

    In short, if we stop our dependence on oil, a secondary benefit is that we will end up reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.

  • avatar
    Bob Beamesderfer

    “Take a look at some DISPASSIONATE evidence:

    http://www.junkscience.com/Greenhouse/

    I admit that when the subject of global warming comes up, my BS Detector goes off the charts.”

    This guy’s political axe is huge. Fox News, Cato Institute. That’s not impartial.

    Take your bullshit detector and a photo of the Palisades Glacier on the East Side of the Sierra Nevada from 20 years ago and go look at the V and U Notches. The amount of permanent ice has declined significantly. The V-Notch used to be almost entirely a pure ice climbing route. Now it’s a heavily mixed rock and ice climb.

  • avatar
    brownie

    The perspective that American SUVs are solely or largely responsible for the fossil fuel emissions is not accurate.

    It’s not just SUV’s, but ~44% of total US crude oil consumption goes to gasoline, which is mostly used to fuel personal motor vehicles. Jet fuel is roughly 8%, diesel and other fuel oils are roughly 14% (and in the US diesel is almost exclusively used for commercial transportation, not personal). Gasoline is by far the largest individual component of US oil demand, and passenger vehicles are the largest component of gasoline demand. So yes, the best thing we can do in the US to reduce oil consumption is address passenger vehicles first and worry about the rest later. A big gas tax is the logical tool, but it probably won’t happen.

    I have no view on whether we “need” to reduce oil consumption in the US. But IF you believe that we do, then there is no question that passenger vehicles are the low-hanging fruit.

  • avatar
    Bob Beamesderfer

    "# mikey: June 8th, 2007 at 2:12 pm Yes indeed bob beam it is about spreading the wealth. Read and listen to the media it allways rich corps. and rich people that are the bad guys.Its always the poor and downtrodden who are on the recieving end. Thats what sells" So, simply reporting facts is the same as advocacy in your mind. As for "what sells" it's a lot more complicated than "Gee, today the Daily Bugle has a story on Paris Hilton, I think I'll buy it." I don't see every wealthy person vilified by a long shot. Bill Gates, Bono, Warren Buffett and many others are given fair shake, and often lauded. Or do you some how think that executives like Ken Lay should be allowed to fleece shareholders without being brought to justice? 

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    Media is a business and they tailor their product to their audience. You couldn’t get more of a Conservative mouthpiece than Fox News and more of a Liberal one than CNN. They hype things up to get you to tune in so they can sell more ads. It’s the way it works. Would you prefer news run by the government?

    There are several reasons for the short sound bites as opposed to involved discussion. People and families of today are much busier than in the past. You have limited time as a seller or media outlet to get your information to your audience. There are many more forms than just newspaper and the nightly 6:00 o’clock news to get your information so they are all competing for your attention. It’s also cultural as more people grow up with access to technology they multitask more and get their information in snippets on the go.

  • avatar
    bfg9k

    Several points: First, fascism is a right-wing, not left-wing, system of government, contrary to your 2nd sentence.

    Second, discussion of the mainstream news media is not complete without mentioning that a handful of companies control the great majority of news outlets. GE, Westinghouse, Viacom, Disney, Fox, Time-Warner are the 6 companies, and do you really think they’re going to let their media branches do anything to undermine their profitability?

    Third, manufacturing has severely declined in the US, as we all know. I have no numbers but I am willing to wager that the great majority of journalism college grads come from families and communities with no manufacturing backgrounds, so a lack of understanding of the automotive industry is hardly surprising.

    Steve_S:
    You couldn’t get more of a Conservative mouthpiece than Fox News and more of a Liberal one than CNN.

    Steve_S, CNN is hardly a liberal mouthpiece, and us left wingers see them as mainstream/centrist at best and FOX-chasing right wing wannabees at worst. If you really think that’s as liberal as media reporting gets, get thee to a newsstand, get yourself some copies of Mother Jones and The Nation, and start reading. If you want really left wing, get a copy of Z magazine.

  • avatar
    jaron

    I’ll accept that global warming is real and man-made, and that it is being exaggerated by the media, and by largely well-meaning people(1) who believe it must be simplified and exaggerated in order to get the concept across.

    But so what? What can we do about it? Once you start down the path of lowered expectations, of reducing what you can do to fit within limited resources, everyone must live with less and less until we all have nothing. The only way out is to expand resources at a greater rate than consumption rises.

    Sure, efficiency and conservation and avoiding wastefulness can buy us time but cannot be the answer. We are either on our way up or the way down. Oil reserves are clearly finite, but the set of all energy sources is not. (There are scary energy sources like fission plants in countries where the industry owns the regulators, and less scary ones.) There are other solutions to managing the planet’s temperature than burning less oil. (There are some scary solutions proposed here, too. Have you seen the proposal to dump powdered iron into the oceans so that algae will act as a carbon sink? I’m sure there will be no unintended consequences to that one!) But my point here is that people can engineer solutions to these problems and we are not limited to a future where a population of one billion lives on organically-raised, hand-hoed potatoes.

    (1) I accept that Al Gore is a large, well-meaning person.

  • avatar
    Luther

    The broadcast media will make a fool of ya everytime. The media cater to the un-thinking memorizers in order to sell them something. Take note of how many people will parrot a sound-bite or a TV jingle memorized from broadcasts and how many people hold the same [tired] opinions. Most if not all do not posses a logical step process to back up their [sound-bite] conclusions… so if you question their conclusion, they just get mad at you… They are memorizers not thinkers.

    Reminds me of the Alice Cooper song “I have no friends cause they read the papers….”

  • avatar
    Bob Beamesderfer

    Jan Curtis was mentioned by N85523. Here’s part of an article on CNS.com

    “There should be room for both sides of the argument, says Jan Curtis, a board member of the state climatologists group who works for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Center in Portland, Ore.

    “It’s a complex issue and we encourage open debate,” Curtis said.

    He declined to take a position in the global warming debate, but said of the skeptics, “They are concerned about the limited resources and our dependence on foreign fuels. They just believe you don’t need the reason of climate change to do common sense things.

    “The real issue here is conservation of limited resources as the population grows,” Curtis said.”

    http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewCulture.asp?Page=/Culture/archive/200702/CUL20070208c.html

  • avatar
    whitenose

    CNN, today, is center-right at best. At worst, they’re a GOP mouthpiece like Fox. CNN used to be less right-biased, but then 9/11 came and boosted Fox News, the GOP propaganda network. CNN, having no good ideas of it’s own, promptly swung away from the mainstream center in an attempt to capture viewers that Rush Limbaugh had long since trained to hate them. And then ABC fell victim to the same disease.

    End result: only GOP fundamentalist whackjobs have their views represented by national news media, except for a couple of two-minute-hate pressure release shows on MSNBC.

  • avatar
    stuki

    I agree with you on media’s motivation. With increased competition for audiences, any journalist putting personal political bias ahead of simple commercial concerns will have a dwindling number of articles published. They ones still left writing are so because of their ability to pander to their advertisers’ targets, not because of some political conspiracy.

    That being said, SUV’s do indeed suck. That little detail might well be the only thing the political left, and the sheep that continue to keep them relevant, ever got right in their 100+ year history of being wrong, but damn, did they nail that one. I guess that says something about how obvious SUV’s suckage really is.
    I’d be willing to bet 98% of miles driven in modern day America is on roads, as in at least minimally graded paths. Some of those are driven on freeways, some in suburbs, some in dense urban settings, and others on rural roads. And I guess among car blog readers, some on race tracks and in canyons.

    Now rank available, or even better, possible, vehicle designs according to how well they serve in each of those environments, with the goal being getting the maximum number of drivers, pedestrians, motor- and bicyclists from their chosen points A to B as quickly and comfortably as possible, constrained by upper limits on systemwide accident number and seriousness, cost of infrastructure maintenance, and other negative side effects, like air and noise pollution. Then assign good to the best third, could use improvement to the middle, and downright sucky to the bottom.

    How would you expect a vehicle’s above earned grade to be affected as it gained qualities that changed it from being car’y to suv’y, like higher gravity center and weight, higher beltline and start of tumblehome, less fuel efficiency, and in current day America, more and darker window tint?

    For the remaining less than 2% of miles, maybe, just maybe, suv’s don’t suck. But you have to admit, being right 98% of the time is pretty amazing for a bunch of lefties.

  • avatar
    Luther

    Science/Pysical reality has absolutely *nothing* to do with consensus. Consensus is for MBA/politician committee meetings.

    “There is near-universal consensus that climate change is real. Only a tiny minority of scientists disagree with that position; arguably, they constitute a fringe group at most.”

    How can you make such a statement with such absolute certainty?

  • avatar
    eh_political

    NickR:
    June 8th, 2007 at 1:23 pm

    I disagree with your contention that reputable scientists reject global warming. They are few and far between, and often receive funding directly from companies who would benefit directly from diminishing concerns about global warming. The fact that you believe that there is a significant body of scientists skeptical of global warming is proof positive that the media has done a grand job of ill informing the public (i.e., the few global warming deniers are given voice far out of proportion to their presence in the scientific community).

    The Fifth Estate, a Canadian news program produced a documentary entitled: “The Denial Machine”. In the program, we find that “Big Oil” employs the same techniques that “Big Tobacco” used to deny the harmful effects of its product. Coincidence? Well, they also employ the same group of scientists tobacco used to obfuscate the issue. Scientists who have not published in peer reviewed journals on any subject in decades.

    I cannot do the program justice in a few paragraphs, so I will simply urge readers to locate the documentary for themselves in order to get a sense of how the “debate” is being manipulated in the United States.

  • avatar
    geeber

    Bob Beamesderfer: So, simply reporting facts is the same as advocacy in your mind.

    This is what mikey originally posted: Yes indeed bob beam it is about spreading the wealth. Read and listen to the media it allways rich corps. and rich people that are the bad guys.Its always the poor and downtrodden who are on the recieving end.

    So, rich people are always the bad guys? The poor are always victims (and, of course, through no fault of their own)?

    If you consider this “merely reporting the facts,” please come to my office in the Pennsylvania Capitol, and we’ll discuss this more.

    You can also meet my wife, who teaches severely handicapped children in an inner city school district that caters largely to the urban poor.

    You’ll get an earful, that’s for sure…and it won’t be what you read in The Nation.

    Bob Beamesderfer: I don’t see every wealthy person vilified by a long shot. Bill Gates, Bono, Warren Buffett and many others are given fair shake, and often lauded.

    Yes, because they tend to favor causes (aid to Africa, even if it causes harm in the long run; giving away wealth instead of allowing others to inherit it, etc.) that are also favored by those who hail from the “center left” (and some from the center right) of the political spectrum.

    Which rather neatly proves his point.

    Bob Beamesderfer: Or do you some how think that executives like Ken Lay should be allowed to fleece shareholders without being brought to justice?

    No where did he say that, or mention Ken Lay, or say that Ken Lay is somehow representative of rich people or business leaders in general.

    bfg9k: Several points: First, fascism is a right-wing, not left-wing, system of government, contrary to your 2nd sentence.

    Actually, facism is the “right wing of the left wing.”

    It still represents significant control of the economy by the government; it’s just that private property is still allowed. But the expectation is that a strong central government will still ultimately call the shots.

    The true right wing, when it comes to economic systems, is libertarianism, which advocates no government intervention in the economy.

  • avatar
    NICKNICK

    Here’s some big, fancy, SCIENTIFIC facts brought to you from the mainstream media (MSN). I’ll bet they even wore labcoats!: “The 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, for example, dumped enough volcanic ash into the upper atmosphere to lower global temperatures for the next two years. Unlike pollutants from human activity, however, naturally occurring pollutants tend to remain in the atmosphere for a short time and do not lead to permanent atmospheric change.”

    OK, so here’s some pollution COOLING the earth…mmmkay. But here’s the big fish: Naturally occurring pollutants are less permanent than man-made…

    So sulfur dioxide is somehow different when from a volcano than a tailpipe? “earthy” CO2 is different than from my car? Riiiight…

    NEVER trust your facts to television.

    Also, we have “accurate” climate data for the last 150 years? So we had killer thermometers and weather stations during the civil war? All over the world…you know, for a GLOBAL average?

    Listen, I think digging up dead dinosaurs and burning them is as bad of an idea as anyone else, but y’all gotta wake up and see where the “facts” are coming from…

  • avatar
    Pch101

    “There is near-universal consensus that climate change is real. Only a tiny minority of scientists disagree with that position; arguably, they constitute a fringe group at most.”…How can you make such a statement with such absolute certainty?

    I’ll crib an article excerpt that I provided on an earlier thread, but before I do, let’s cut to the quick: the climate-change-as-hoax rhetoric from the chattering classes and politicos is exclusively a right-wing fantasy, meant to defend our sense of privilege and the alleged unbridled right to consumption. It has no basis in fact, and you won’t be finding much here being offered by the skeptics that actually supports their allegation that a debate is taking place in the scientific community.

    The arguments against climate change largely have nada/zippo/zero to do with scientific research or logical thought. Much of the so-called “debate” is generated by corporate interests that seek to avoid regulation or a shrinking of demand for their products. In the real world, there is virtually no scientific debate at all, and it only enjoys the illusion of credibility as it does because the Bush administration has deliberately hijacked this issue to its own benefit.

    The article below in Science Magazine does a nice job of summarizing the science. Many of the claims of ambiguity are coming from politicians with no science background, not from scientists:
    _______________________

    The scientific consensus is clearly expressed in the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)…IPCC states unequivocally that the consensus of scientific opinion is that Earth’s climate is being affected by human activities: “Human activities … are modifying the concentration of atmospheric constituents … that absorb or scatter radiant energy. … [M]ost of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations” .

    IPCC is not alone in its conclusions. In recent years, all major scientific bodies in the United States whose members’ expertise bears directly on the matter have issued similar statements. For example, the National Academy of Sciences report, Climate Change Science: An Analysis of Some Key Questions, begins: “Greenhouse gases are accumulating in Earth’s atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures to rise”. The report explicitly asks whether the IPCC assessment is a fair summary of professional scientific thinking, and answers yes: “The IPCC’s conclusion that most of the observed warming of the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations accurately reflects the current thinking of the scientific community on this issue”.

    Others agree. The American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) all have issued statements in recent years concluding that the evidence for human modification of climate is compelling.

    The drafting of such reports and statements involves many opportunities for comment, criticism, and revision, and it is not likely that they would diverge greatly from the opinions of the societies’ members. Nevertheless, they might downplay legitimate dissenting opinions. That hypothesis was tested by analyzing 928 abstracts, published in refereed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003, and listed in the ISI database with the keywords “climate change”.

    The 928 papers were divided into six categories: explicit endorsement of the consensus position, evaluation of impacts, mitigation proposals, methods, paleoclimate analysis, and rejection of the consensus position. Of all the papers, 75% fell into the first three categories, either explicitly or implicitly accepting the consensus view; 25% dealt with methods or paleoclimate, taking no position on current anthropogenic climate change. Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position.

    Admittedly, authors evaluating impacts, developing methods, or studying paleoclimatic change might believe that current climate change is natural. However, none of these papers argued that point.

    This analysis shows that scientists publishing in the peer-reviewed literature agree with IPCC, the National Academy of Sciences, and the public statements of their professional societies. Politicians, economists, journalists, and others may have the impression of confusion, disagreement, or discord among climate scientists, but that impression is incorrect.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    As a former tv exec, let me tell you this:

    My kids grew up without tv (wouldn’t have one at home). They grew up reading books.

    I never watch commercial tv. And bartenders (on average) drink much less then the public at large.

    TV is like most good/easy ways to make money: the intelligent exploiting the ignorant.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Fellas,

    The Earth is alive, and even in the Goracle’s movie, he shows a time line of temperature changes. Those who are 100% convinced of human caused global warming, G-d speed. But when will a little common sense enter this debate?

    The earth’s temperature is increasing – not sure I’ve heard anyone dispute that. How much of that is due to my neighbor’s Suburban, or coal burning, or Brazil cutting down the Rain Forest or my brother downloading too much internet porn while leaving the lights on (hey Steve)? Who knows.

    I remember growing up in the 70’s hearing all sorts of predictions about population explosions and an inability to feed everyone on earth. Well, turns out that didn’t quite materialize as expected.

    Fear mongering is a helluva business (see the Goracle’s FOR PROFIT carbon offset company). As many have pointed out, the news is laden with it. Look at the coverage of the TB case or anthrax, or terrorism on airlines. Anyone have any idea how many people are killed on highways every year? In 2005, the number was 43,443. Let’s stop the hysteria on “what might be true” and focus on what is true first, capiche?

  • avatar
    dean

    For an excellent analysis of how and why we are manipulated into being afraid of so many things, read “The Culture of Fear” by Barry Glassner.

    Good editorial, even if I don’t agree with some of your comments regarding GW.

  • avatar
    shaker

    I’m with Pch101…

    Regading climate change (Formerly Known As: “Global Warming”); If one thinks that the trllions of tons of carbon that we brought up from Mother Nature’s 50 million year-old storehouse and thrown into the atmosphere inside of 200 years can make no difference to our climate, then do nothing. If you even have a clue why Venus is said to have an 800-degree surface temperature (due to its closer orbit to the Sun and high concentrations of CO2) then think of starting to turn this ship around, or we’ll be needing to export CO2 to Mars to prepare it for our eventual relocation…

  • avatar
    omnivore

    I think it’s pretty simplistic to draw a sharp dichotomy between acknowledging the overwhelming evidence of man-made global warming and being a car buff. It’s not an either-or choice. It is possible to love cars, driving, and the internal combustion engine and yet at the same time realize that global warming is in fact real and also just as threatening as the vast majority of scientists think. The historical moment that we find ourselves in calls for innovation. We need to lower our CO2 emissions, and we need to find a way to do it without losing our love for driving (see the previous review). Any argument that tries to force me to make a choice between acknowledging the reality of global warming and loving cars feels really manipulative to me.

  • avatar
    geeber

    The earth’s temperature is increasing. But the earth has gone through several warming and cooling trends throughout its history, quite indepedent of human activity.

    The question is whether human activities – i.e., the burning of fossil fuels – are exacerbating natural trends. And that question is not settled, as of yet.

    Although gas prices keep going up, and our heating oil contract just jumped by $45 a month, and food is getting more expensive (because of trucking costs, and demand for corn-based ethanol), so we will be reducing our carbon footprint for the most common “green” reason.

    Namely, we don’t have enough “green” to pay for as much gasoline and heating oil as we did at the lower prices.

  • avatar
    zoomzit

    dean said: read “The Culture of Fear” by Barry Glassner.

    Definitely agree with this. It’s a great book.

  • avatar
    Cowbell

    I’m trying to be very open minded with global warming and it’s cause, but I have to agree with shaker and say that no one in this forum so far has come close to proposing evidence as convincing as what Pch101 did. Naming one or two scientist or proposing hypotheticals doesn’t come close to what appears to be a very complete study of the scientific information available on the topic.

    Of course it could still be wrong.

    As for all the TV bashing, TV does seem to get things wrong more than other mediums, but we always need to be evaluating our information, regardless of where it comes from.

    Paul did your kids read in a book how aliens are abducting humans: http://www.amazon.com/Abduction-Encounters-John-E-Mack/dp/0345393007/ref=sr_1_7/105-2586576-9846825?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1181330523&sr=1-7

    or how Jesus Christ fathered children who went on to become European royalty: http://www.amazon.com/Holy-Blood-Grail-Michael-Baigent/dp/0440136482/ref=pd_bbs_2/105-2586576-9846825?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1181331184&sr=8-2

    It’s more important for us to properly evaluate (which would probably be hotly debated in itself) the information we receive rather than limit the sources or dismiss out of hand information because of its source.

  • avatar
    ex-dtw

    For anyone interested in a good climate change debate, please see an NPR program called Intelligence Squared.

    The format is simple, a statement is issued and three people per side argue as to why the audience should believe whether or not the statement is true.

    They recently took on the climate change question and the short of it was this. Prior to the debate the audience believed that climate change posed a crisis, after the debate, well, you guessed it – no crisis.

    Of course the “no crisis” side could very well have simply been better debaters, but the interesting thing was that the “crisis” side was represented by prominent proponents of the “theory”.

    Again, so everyone agrees?

    I think all that anyone wants on the “conservative” side is a reasoned discussion of the costs and benefits of action without the whole “sky is falling” crap. But as this article so eloquently points out, that is going to be tough in the media climate we currently have.

  • avatar
    BostonTeaParty

    I agree with geeber, in between drawing cars during lessons , i learnt during my geography classes that the earth goes through periods of cooling and warming, also the ice caps retreat and increase too, this was shown through core sampling going back thousands of years. Its a fact. So global warming does happen, but so does global cooling?! Where were the greens when carbon emmissions from naturally occuring sources affected the planet, how come during the industrial revolution the earth didn’t drastically warm up?

  • avatar
    TexasAg03

    I wonder if Al Gore, among others, is worried about what is causing the global warming on Mars. Maybe they should buy carbon offsets from his company as well.

    I just get tired of all the hysteria. Yes, the earth is warming, but it has before. Contrary to what many say, I think believing that humans can change the climate significantly is way more arrogant than thinking we can’t.

    Humans as the primary cause of global warming is a theory, not a fact. Until scientists build “Earth-2” as a control and run experiments on both planets, we just won’t know. I don know that most of the computer models have failed to accurately predict future climate patterns.

    Having said all this, I am all for finding ways to reduce emissions and consumption. I think it is an interesting problem and, as an engineer, I see it as a great challenge worth pursuing.

  • avatar
    McAllister

    http://video.google.ca/videoplay?docid=4499562022478442170

    I challenge you to watch the whole thing.

    A number of significant points and questions are raised as are a number of insights into the whole enviromental lobby industry. Even the co-founder of GreenPeace is speaking out about the dirty politics behind the scenes!

    Of the “2500” top ‘scientists’ that agree CO2 is the problem, not all of them are really scientists.

    From scientists who have been a part of this famed ‘2500’, they report that if you don’t toe the party line, you are expelled from the group rather than your evidence being given consideration. The group is agenda driven, not truth or science driven. Lots of dirty politics.

    There are a number of industries and lobbies that are greatly financially benefittting from this newest social cause – as admirable as it may be, even if it is based on some false premises.

    The currently proposed CO2 plans are keeping 3rd world countries in economic slavery so that we can continue to rape them of their resources for cheap prices.

    Is there global warming? Yes.

    Do we need to stop polluting the earth? Yes.

    Do we need to be less wastefull and more energy efficient? Yes.

    Do we all need to become highly active in preserving the earth? Yes.

    Is this whole politicized CO2 bandwagon the cure or are the issues being manipulated for a political gain and a profit? You decide.

    M

  • avatar
    TexasAg03

    The 928 papers were divided into six categories: explicit endorsement of the consensus position, evaluation of impacts, mitigation proposals, methods, paleoclimate analysis, and rejection of the consensus position. Of all the papers, 75% fell into the first three categories, either explicitly or implicitly accepting the consensus view; 25% dealt with methods or paleoclimate, taking no position on current anthropogenic climate change. Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position.

    I find the fact that none of the papers disagreed with the consensus to be suspect, at best. How convenient that they could not find any opposing viewpoints. They are out there, but why were they not included?

    One more thing, watch out for fuel cells. They emit a very common greenhouse gas – water vapor…

  • avatar
    McAllister

    Sorry.
    The link I posted is broken and a quick search cannot pull that documentary. But here is Part 1 (of 5) of another.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwgruLoObWo

    M

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    So many good comments, I don’t know where to begin…

    Climate change is measurable phenomena. But the notion of vehicular-induced global warming is a theory – a theory to which many scientists subscribe – but a theory nonetheless. Believe it or not.

    The point of my editorial is that the issue has been badly presented to the public by an exuberant media that is selling a crisis. The true facts of the issue – for or against – are distorted or neglected in whatever manner that helps Joe Reporter make the front page above the fold or lead on the nightly news broadcast.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    How convenient that they could not find any opposing viewpoints. They are out there, but why were they not included?

    The survey referenced above limited its analysis to peer-reviewed scientific articles, not wishful thinking from the Cato Institute or transcripts of rants from Bill O’Reilly.

    You just won’t find a lot of peer-reviewed studies that conclude that there is no climate change. Just as you won’t find much legitimate debate concerning gravity or evolution, the basis of climate change is not typically disputed.

    As noted, the major scientific bodies have opined on this topic, and are in agreement that climate change is a matter of fact. If you can find anything credible (i.e. that makes reference to the conclusions made in peer-reviewed journals, and not a political blog such as “junkscience”) that refutes it, feel free to provide it.

  • avatar
    miked

    ex-dtw:
    June 8th, 2007 at 3:53 pm

    For anyone interested in a good climate change debate, please see an NPR program called Intelligence Squared.

    The format is simple, a statement is issued and three people per side argue as to why the audience should believe whether or not the statement is true.

    Unfortunately, this is a very bad way to do science (or even discover the truth). Here’s the problem, people who are in charge of reporting to you (journalists, communications majors, etc) are generally in a field where there are no right or wrong answers and the goal is generally to get someone to believe your point of view (e.g., we should tax the rich to feed homeless orphans). The trouble is, that people think that science can work this way. It can’t, and the reason is that some times someone may be out numbered, yet be right! E.g., in the 1900’s when Einstein developed the theory of relativity, most scientists of the day thought he was a crackpot. So if there was a panel on NPR then, most of the scientists would say that Einstein is crazy and is being payed by the space-time conglomorates to say that there’s no difference between space and time. The only truth in science is what nature tells you when you ask it questions by experiments.

    Here’s another example (to bring this back to cars, since after all this is a car forum). I’m a car fan, and I can take care of my own cars, but I sure as hell don’t know how all the little things work. Say we wanted to know what the Johnson Rod (http://www.seinfeldscripts.com/TheFusilliJerry.htm) was for. We could set up a panel of people, where I was on one side and an automotive engineer was on the other side. I make up some crazy story about how it works and I’m much more convincing than the automotive engineer, but in reality, the automotive engineer is actually right (because he knows what’s going on). You can’t vote on the truth, it’s either true or it isn’t. It doesn’t matter how convincing someone’s argument is if the conclusion is wrong.

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    Pch101, actually Bill O’Riley believes in human-induced global warming. He’s on your side.

    Just sayin…

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    And to my point, Bill O’Riley has never been above reporting salacious material to get ratings so he can sell advertising time on his show.

  • avatar
    brownie

    On the 928 papers, it would be extremely unusual for a peer-reviewed scientific paper to ever draw a conclusion as broad as “Humans are responsible for climate change.” Real scientific papers on climate change have titles like “Atmospheric Methane and Nitrous Oxide of the Late Pleistocene from Antarctic Ice Cores”. They tackle things that can be carefully measured and studied in detail. And I’m quite sure scientists battle over these “small” topics. I know scientists in several fields (but not any climate scientists, FFD) and if there’s anything scientists love to do, it’s argue with each other. Therefore I find surveys like this one highly suspect. They seek support for a broad conclusion in papers that are very narrowly-focused.

    Before anyone flames me, I happen to believe in human impact on climate change. I just hate listening to dogmatic, ill-informed, non-scientific proponents of the theory. I especially hate being called names for quibling with particular points, as if I am the ignorant one, not the person who refuses to listen to dissenting opinions…

  • avatar
    msmiles

    Global Warming must be man made and made from CO2 from cars. Ever notice that when we get up to go to work in the morning, and we start our cars, the temperature can climb 10s of degrees F! Then we get home at night and turn off our cars the temperature drops almost immediately! There is no other cause worth looking at.

    But seriously folks, it is arogant of us to completely discount the sun and claim we are the cause of the earth’s warming. It’s especially silly to claim that CO2 is the cause when it is created by biomass. CO2 correlate with earth’s temperature due to the boom in biomass with increased temperature. The sun be a powerful beast.

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    “… the Man with the Muckrake, the man who could look no way but downward with muckrake in his hand; who was offered a celestial crown for his muckrake but who would neither look up nor regard the crown he was offered but continued to rake to himself the filth of the floor.”

    – Theodore Roosevelt at the Gridiron Club on March 17, 1906

    Well said, Teddy. Quite literally a muckrake is an implement used to rake or stir feces. I think this is one of the most vivid apt descriptions of the filth that we are served up by most media outlets.

  • avatar
    Luther

    “Unlike pollutants from human activity, however, naturally occurring pollutants tend to remain in the atmosphere for a short time and do not lead to permanent atmospheric change.”

    The broadcast media is such a sucker-trap aint it NICKNICK? You ruined a perfectly good scary bedtime story with facts…Shame on you. Im waiting for the day (soon?) that congress passes a law to put catalytic converters on volcanos…It’s coming…mark my words! It will be a bigger boondogle than ethanol.

    Dont know about you but I cant tell the difference between Comedy Central and CNN…Is there one?

  • avatar
    dolo54

    Another point that should be made, is that, while we would all like to believe that we have the ability to discern the truth of these matters, in reality we don’t. For instance, most of you probably have some highly specialized knowledge and expertise in your field of work. Likely it took years of training and experience to gain that expertise. You know that no one without that experience would be able to understand everything that you do. The same is even more true for scientists than for most professions. None of us are remotely qualified to fathom the truth of this issue. No matter what your “gut” tells you, you must admit that there are better qualified people than you to figure this out. I say leave it to them. After all you wouldn’t expect them to do your job properly either.

  • avatar
    oboylepr

    How far back to acurate weather records go 150 yrs maybe 200?
    Show me some good data going back 20,000 yrs,maybe then we can make a good call on this.
    As William points out in his excelent article, the media loves big bad life threatening news,it sells.
    Why is it allways the rich people at fault?Why do we target the Lawyer drving his 70,OOO$ SUV 10,000 miles a year?Why not beat up the left over flower child with his 12 yr old out of tune Volvo,who drives 40,000 miles a year from one demonstration to another?
    I believe the whole global warming crap, is nothing more than another tool for the left, in thier never ending quest for wealth distrubution.

    To your point about temperature records, even though we may not have very accurate records much past 200 years, scientists know that this Global warming is cyclical. It has happened before (more than once) however when it did occur there was not an SUV in sight, just dung fires and cattle farts! If you parked every vehicle that gets less than 50mph permenently this very day, it will not stop global warming. If we all shut everything down and left the planet for a few years, global warming will still happen anyway. There is not, and never has been, any proof that human activity is the cause of it. What temperature records we do have, comfirms this. The current hysteria concerning global warming (to use your description) is a load of crap!

  • avatar
    Pch101

    On the 928 papers, it would be extremely unusual for a peer-reviewed scientific paper to ever draw a conclusion as broad as “Humans are responsible for climate change.” Real scientific papers on climate change have titles like “Atmospheric Methane and Nitrous Oxide of the Late Pleistocene from Antarctic Ice Cores”.

    That’s not what the survey claimed. Rather, the survey pointed out that all of the studies in the database associated with the search term “climate change” either explicitly or implicitly accepted climate change, or else were silent on the topic. Not a single paper disputed it.

    The issue here isn’t whether everyone in the scientific community agrees on every nuance about climate change, but rather, the accuracy of the claim made by skeptics that there is an active and legitimate debate on this.

    So far, I’m seeing no evidence whatsoever that such a debate is occurring. Furthermore, there is a good deal of evidence that this lack of debate can be explained by a wide degree of consensus on the basics of climate change, as evidenced by the absence of peer-reviewed studies that dispute it, and the degree to which scientific organizations concur on the reality of climate change.

    Again: I’d like to see actual evidence of this debate. (Note: I’m not asking anyone to refute the climate change argument, just to provide examples of a large body of peer-reviewed work that disagrees with the prevailing theory.)

    If such a debate is occurring, it should be easy for someone to prove it, and to be able to prove it without resorting to political blogs and other “sources” that are decidely unscientific. Yet whenever I see this topic raised, evidence of this debate is sorely lacking.

  • avatar
    AGR

    As a car enthusiast I love horsepower, the more the better, we are experiencing a golden age of horsepower. Its memorable to throttle up a 12 cyl German sedan with tweaked ECU’s putting out over 600 HP.

    At the same time our collective good sense being enthusiasts tells us that gasoline is a finite resource, our atmosphere is being abused, and with ever expanding suburbia to enjoy the North American good life we are totally car dependent.

    Personally I would like to enjoy my horsepower experience for many years. To enjoy my horsepower experience, I consciously use a 4 cyl vehicle for “go get the milk” runs, and the usual daily commuting that most of us do.

    Most people in major metro centres spend hours each day in their vehicles commuting, in most cases 1 person per vehicle. In North America can we as a society continue to afford to commute in this fashion?

    There are numerous forces which are acting against our North American “automobility” as we understand it.

    From a different perspective, in the early 50’s Detroit knew that “safety” did not sell, the padded dash was not seen as a safety feature in cars with no seat belts. Through a variety of forces “safety” started surfacing as an important feature in all vehicles.

    Concurrently all the safety features in modern cars have raised the speed of traffic. Who drives the speed limit on highways?

    Be it climate change, green house gases, depletion of the ozone layer, the price of gas, hybrids, EV’s. Its all collectively acting on our North American “automobility”, especially as it applies to commuting.

  • avatar
    seldomawake

    I note a lot of speculation here. I’ve had the dubious honor of subscribing to several climate-related publications for over a year now. I won’t bother expounding my views here, but I will ask: please look at the data yourself. There’s a lot of it.

    Here’s a good place to start: http://www.realclimate.org/

    Follow citations. Look stuff up. It’s fun. Well, in my world, it’s fun, anyway.

  • avatar
    TexasAg03

    You just won’t find a lot of peer-reviewed studies that conclude that there is no climate change. Just as you won’t find much legitimate debate concerning gravity or evolution, the basis of climate change is not typically disputed.

    Once again, the point is that they conveniently didn’t find any papers disagreeing with the theory that humans are causing the earth to warm. I agree that the earth is warming, as it has before.

    By the way, while there is no argument that gravity exists, there are many theories concerning the way it works.

    I won’t even start on evolution…

  • avatar
    evohappy9

    Cowbell: Are you aware that for FAR (Fourth Assesment Report) the IPCC had to abandon MBH98 and MBH99? Both of those reports were proven to have used false proxy data, false proxy sets as well as employing false solution sets for their plots. The authors of MBH to this day have refused to release their methods, whether calculational or acquisistional, for scientific scrutiny. The IPCC knew these reports to be devastatingly flawed but still used them as their scientific flagship to herald the age of global catastrophe. Whats worse, the errors were of an elementary and simple fact checking nature. But thats what you get with peer reviewed literature.
    If you wnat to check facts – the official reports submitted by the IPCC crowd followed by analysis of the data go to http://www.climateaudit.org – here you may also find a full text of the Wegman Report. It would be nice if the people here that believe in anthropogenic global warming took the time to read the Wegman report and respond accordingly.

  • avatar
    Luther

    PCh101 – You conclude certainty from a UN “study”?

    The UN are a bunch of parasitic tyrants! Can you not recognize that?

  • avatar
    Luther

    The Vikings were farming in Greenland 1000 years ago…Can anyone explain that? Did the Romans drive Hummers?

  • avatar
    shrique

    Just a quick comment.

    There is no black and white. Whether burning gas wholesale like we do is causing global warming or not doesn’t really matter. You know why, because it can’t be friggin helping now can it! We are using a resource that is finite, we are pumping sh!t into the atmosphere that doesn’t belong there. Let’s try to quit pumping toxins into the atmostphere and stop using a finite resource like it’s going out of style.

    Other than that I agree with all the stuff about the media playing to base instincts of fear & OMG LOOK AT THAT GUY!

  • avatar
    MgoBLUE

    How about if we all “tele-commute” once or twice a week? That would cut 20-40% of demand immediately. And while NOT ALL of us have jobs that allow for ‘working from home’, I betcha half of us do. So call it 10-20% reduction, conservatively. It would be a good start, right?

    Who’s with me?!

  • avatar
    brownie

    Not a single paper disputed it

    PCh101: That’s my point, real scientific papers do not dispute such things. If they can’t back it up with specific evidence it won’t be included in the paper. Hence, the idea of “implicit” agreement is bogus – lack of written disagreement is not evidence of agreement. A peer-reviewed scientific journal is not the forum for broad ideas. Scientific battles are fought on small fronts. In this case, disagreement will be over the interpretation of a specific data set on the size of Canadian glaciers, or the thickness of ice sheets in Greenland.

    Look, I accept that most climate scientists probably agree with the idea that humans have a measurable impact on climate. But the fact that no one refutes the broad claim doesn’t mean there isn’t a vigorous debate over the particulars.

    It’s like evolution. Prominent biologists all believe that it happens. But Steven J. Gould and E.O. Wilson still managed to carry on an extremely famous feud about the topic.

    I believe in evolution and human climate impact, but so what? Real science is being done on the specifics, not the broad concept.

  • avatar
    Tavert

    The only denial of climate change due to CO2 emissions is from people who were bribed to do so. The extent to which we’ll be able to change the path we’re on is the debatable part. We might get legislation in this congress for higher CAFE, and there’s nothing wrong with encouraging efficiency. It might be the final nail in the American companies’ coffin, but that’s entirely due to their own short-sightedness. Still, vehicles are only part of the story. With all the electricity and heating energy we use as a culture, the CO2 emissions are horrendous. We’re conducting an experiment with the earth by dumping this amount of CO2 into the atmosphere. We know there is a positive correlation. The planet has never experienced the levels we’re headed towards in geologic history. We can’t say the exact outcome for sure, but we only get to carry out this experiment once. Better safe than sorry in my mind. We need a worldwide Manhattan-project scale alternative energy (solar is the most scientifically viable, possibly not economically yet though. biomass may or may not be scalable to planet-wide sustainable), and we need it ten years ago. If we devote large portions of the world’s economy towards this problem, we might fix it if we’re lucky. Otherwise it’s too late.

  • avatar
    miked

    Tavert:
    June 8th, 2007 at 6:23 pm

    The only denial of climate change due to CO2 emissions is from people who were bribed to do so.

    No, there’s a strong correlation between atmospheric CO2 and global temperature, but there is no causal relationship known. I still maintain that global warming is due to the decrease in worldwide pirates. The correlation between pirates and global warming is as strong as the correlation between CO2 and global warming.

  • avatar
    Tavert

    There is strong correlation, and many mechanisms of causation. Unless you know atmospheric chemistry, I recommend you listen to those who do.

  • avatar
    chainyanker

    Check out how much impact we really have:

    http://mysite.verizon.net/mhieb/WVFossils/greenhouse_data.html

    And a list of global warming believers who are now skeptics:

    http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=c5e16731-3c64-481c-9a36-d702baea2a42

  • avatar
    Tavert

    For scientific (but layman-approachable) analysis of the situation, see http://nsl.caltech.edu/energy.html

  • avatar
    miked

    Tavert:
    June 8th, 2007 at 6:38 pm

    There is strong correlation, and many mechanisms of causation. Unless you know atmospheric chemistry, I recommend you listen to those who do.

    I’m 1 month away from my PhD in Chemistry, for the last many years I’ve listened to about 1 talk a month on atmospheric chemistry

  • avatar
    labrat

    “Global warming is largely a natural phenomenon. The world is wasting stupendous amounts of money on trying to fix something that can’t be fixed”.
    -Botanist Dr. David Bellamy, UK environmental campaigner

    “At first, I accepted that increases in human caused additions in carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere would trigger changes in water vapor etc. and lead to dangerous ‘global warming’. But with time and with the results of research, I formed the view that, although it makes for a good story, it is unlikely that the man-made changes are drivers of significant climate variation”
    -Dr. Chris de Freitas, Climate Scientist, University of Auckland, N.Z

    “I used to agree with these dramatic warnings of climatic disaster. I taught my students that most of the increase in temperature of the past century was due to human contribution of CO2. The association seemed so clear and simple. Increases of greenhouse gas were driving us to climatic catastrophy. However, a few years ago, I decided to look more closely at the science and it astonished me. In fact there is no evidence of humans being the cause. There is, however, overwhelming evidence of natural causes such as changes in the output of the sun. This has completely reversed my views on the Kyoto protocol.”
    -Paleoclimatologist Dr. Ian D. Clark, professor of the Department of Earth Sciences at University of Ottawa

    “..the earth’s climate seems to be cooling down.” …”If the climatic change is as profound as some of the pessimists fear, the resulting famines could be catastrophic.”
    -“The Cooling World”, Newsweek, April 28, 1975.

    (I could go on and on with these)

    I personally don’t know whether global warming is real or imagined, and how much we as humans contribute to it by driving our cars or any other activities. My point here is that the climate change debate is far from over, despite what Reverend Gore and his disciples want you to believe. We should let science, not cheesy scare tactics, political propaganda, or Hollywood lightweights dictate our response to the ‘problem’. Overreacting based on incomplete knowledge can be just as dangerous as not doing anything, as the law of unintended consequences kicks in.

  • avatar
    thebigmass

    Allow me to chime in on this, as I actually hold a degree in Physics and therefore have more background in this than Al Gore, Bill O’Reilly, or most of the other idiots that are driving this debate. I grow extremely frutstrated constantly hearing from the media how the greenhouse effect works like a greenhouse or a blanket. Blankets and greenhouses work by physically barring the transfer of heat via convection (transfer of heat my movement in a fluid), and reduce heat lost through conduction (transfer of heat from one molecule to another through contact). Earth is bordered by what is essentially a vacuum. Therefore, it cannot lose heat via conduction or convection, rendering such simplifications dishonest in the extreme.

    ‘Global Warming’ is in all likelihood occurring. Best estimates are ~.6 degrees kelvin over the past century or so. There have been recent studies showing that the current warming trend ended in 1998, but I’m willing to accept that warming is still occurring. According to most literature, carbon dioxide is the primary anthropogenic greenhouse gas. As predicted by quantum theory, and shown experimentally, each atom (and therefore compound) absorbs and emits EM radiation only of certain frequencies. Most of the absorbtion spectrum of CO2 overlaps that of water vapor. There is many times more water vapor in the atmosphere than there is CO2. Therefore, the total effect that CO2 may have on the global mean temperature is very small. Dr. Richard Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at MIT estimates for a cloudless sky the effect of doubling atmospheric CO2 from 300 parts per million to 600 would only be a .5 degree increase in mean temperature. Put simply, we would perish from the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere required to cause any catastrophic increase in temperature. Global warming is something to keep an eye on, but the hysteria with which it is now considered is silly and uninformed.

    As far as ‘consensus’ is concerned, the following scientists have all expressed serious doubts about anthropogenic global warming:
    Dr. Richard Lindzen, MIT
    Dr. Claude Allegre
    Bruno Wiskel, University of Alberta
    Dr. Nir Shaviv
    Dr. David Evans
    Dr. Reid Bryson, founder of University of Wisconsin’s Department of Meteorology
    Dr. Bill Gray, Professor Emeritus of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University

    There are many more, but frankly I don’t feel like typing them all. There is no consensus on global warming.

    Read this http://junkscience.com/Greenhouse/index.html
    for the best primer containing actual science on global warming.

    Hysteria over DDT thirty years ago has killed millions of children in Africa. Global warming hysteria has the potential to destroy economies in the Developing World (bear in mind that Developed nations can afford such indulgences), which could kill millions more.

  • avatar
    NICKNICK

    There seems to be some misunderstanding here (and everywhere, really) about what correlation means. Correlation only means that there is a relationship shown between two or more things, but it does not attempt to imply CAUSALITY.

    Yes, there is a *CORRELATION* between CO2 and global temperature. However, no *CAUSAL* relationship has been shown. CO2 dissolves in water–that’s what makes beer so great and soft drinks so, uh, bubbly. As I’m sure you’ve all noticed, beer goes flat faster when warm and stays satisfyingly bubbly when cold. That’s because CO2 more readily dissolves in cold water. When water containing CO2, such as the ocean, is heated, guess what happens–CO2 is released. If solar cycles cause the temperature of the earth’s surface and the oceans to rise, CO2 will be released.

    In sum, YES–there is a correlation between global temperatures and CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

    HOWEVER, there is NO evidence that proves that CO2 causes global temperature increases. On the contrary, it is reasonable that increased temperatures CAUSE increased CO2.

    The *real* difference, though, is that you can tax CO2, but you can’t tax the sun. See the rub?

    Now, back to beer science…

  • avatar
    Tavert

    Pardon the mistake. Too damn many commenters here ignore science altogether. Where you’re in grad school is pretty important though, institutions and locations are going to have local biases for political reasons.

    Scientifically though, what will happen if CO2 concentration continues to rise is mostly conjecture. We don’t know too much about the upper atmosphere as it stands right now, we know even less about what it might do. If something terrible happens at 500 ppm, 700 ppm, 1000 ppm, whatever, whether it’s runaway temperature increase, or the opposite effect throwing us into a new ice age, or any number of things we can’t foresee, we’re screwed. We should be acting now to prevent that. We can’t reverse what we’ve already done, so we need to come up with a solution before it’s too late.

    Developing countries are still at much lower CO2 per capita than the developed world. If the developed world “can afford such indulgences,” why don’t we? If we lead the way and fix it where we use the most energy, it’ll make its way to the developing world as well as they increase their consumption to first-world levels.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    That’s my point, real scientific papers do not dispute such things.

    With all due respect, that is dancing around the issue.

    Again: There is this claim by the US right-wing that there are a large number of scientists who dispute the conclusion that climate change is underway. Yet when pressed, there is virtually no peer-reviewed body of work to support this contention.

    There is an abundance of research that supports the climate change theory, whereas there is virtually zero hypothesizing the opposite position.

    There simply is no debate, and no one on this thread has proven that there is, in fact, a debate of any importance. Yes, there are a **few** scientists who have adopted a contrarian position, so quoting them selectively proves nothing when **most** scientists have accepted the climate change hypothesis.

    The UN are a bunch of parasitic tyrants! Can you not recognize that?

    As I stated earlier, the skeptics are not basing their position on scientific research, but are merely agenda-driven political ideologues who tilt harder to the right than a rusty windmill in a hurricane. That’s not science, just politics.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Journalists used to report the news, now they create it.

    Previously news, editorial, and commercial content were clearly differentiated. Today advertorials, slick commercial feel-good promotional messages, are surreptitiously inserted into newscasts.

  • avatar
    Luther

    “I still maintain that global warming is due to the decrease in worldwide pirates. The correlation between pirates and global warming is as strong as the correlation between CO2 and global warming.”

    There has been an increase in the number of pirates in the last 100 years or so (politicians and bureaucrats being modern-day pirates albeit with better hygiene) so this makes no sense at all.

    The temperature of the earth peaked about 1000 years ago and bottomed in the mid-1700s. The temperature of the earth is still far below average. Do you really think glaciers, perma-frost, and deserts are normal? these things are profoundly anti-life. Almost 1/2 the earth is naturally uninhabitable due to ice and desert. NICKNICK is right, global warming causes higher CO2 levels which causes life. The problem will be that since CO2 is being released from the oceans, petroleum oil will be produced in the earth in lesser quantity…We are all going to die! (Just practicing to be a jouranalist with that last bit)

  • avatar
    Luther

    And to add… ExxonMobil’s statement of “CO2 is the gas of life” is absolutly correct. The media berates them for stating this with their sheeple-enraging “Big Oil” “Evil Corporation” “Profit” sound-bite prompts.

    So get in your SUVs and drive…We need the CO2 and water!

  • avatar
    Tavert

    Okay yes plants take in CO2 and release oxygen, animals do the opposite. But the natural equilibrium is at far lower carbon levels than we currently have. We are unnaturally skewing the equilibrium, which is not a good thing to do. Additional carbon isn’t going to help.

    There was an interesting piece in Fortune recently about how Exxon refuses to invest or advertise in clean technology the same way BP and their other competitors do. It’s the reason they’re more profitable right now, but in 50 or 100 years that may not be the case.

  • avatar
    evohappy9

    One of the more interesting and measured correlations between rising temperature and CO2 levels is that through core sampling throughout the world -from the Arctic to Antarctic – there is strong evidence to suggest that a rise in temperature precedes a rise in CO2 levels. There are far too many variables that are unaccounted for in the GCM’s that are used to support anthropogenic global warming. Solar effect, water vapor, storm systems – all of these things may have a considerable effect on the climate. The fact is that our knowledge of these factors and their relationship to the planet is still in its infancy and no one is in possesion of any scientific “evidence” that connects man to global warming. All of it is either inferential or circumstantial.

    Tavert: I hope you realize that there is about fifty times the amount of money allocated each year to those with global catastrophe leanings compared to those that are skeptical. Look up the amount of money divied out by all of the tax exempt foundations as well as governments each year on climate study. You will immediately notice that every person/group that recieves money are in comptetition to present the most pessimistic forecast. For pete’s sake, two weeks ago on NPR (National Propaganda Radio) early saturday morning there was an entire program citing global warming as a cause of terrorism! The hotter it gets the more violent we become! People are at wits end trying to excogitate some fantastic connection between social ills and global warming simply to keep their grant money coming in.

  • avatar

    Was the Firestone tire-clad Ford Explorer inherently dangerous? What does that mean anyway?

    You bet. Any personal vehicle that flips because of a blow-out is inherently dangerous in my book. Also, all truck-based body on frame SUVs are inherently very dangerous to cars.

  • avatar

    There probably are no truly reputable scientists who doubt global warming. The one guy at MIT who I thought was completely reputable turns out to get oil money. And frighteningly, the signs of global warming are all over the place. I love internal combustion–I don’t particulary want to drive an electric, even if they solve the range and refueling time problems, nor do I want a hybrid. I would like nothing better than to find that global warming isn’t happening, or that there’s a new, cheap, easy way to sequester carbon, so that I can go flooring my gas pedal without guilt. But the signs of global warming are so blatant (there was an article in the past week about global warming in New England–flowers blooming 5 days earlier than they did 30 years ago, less ice on the rivers, stuff like that) that I can’t help thinking that people who doubt global warming aren’t paying attention. And if you don’t think NASA administrator Griffinn–appointed by oil man bush probably at the behest of oil man Cheney–has an agenda…

  • avatar

    Like the man said, global warming is not black and white (although the press portrays it that way).

    No, but it’s very dark gray and slightly off-white.

    First, what constitutes global warming?

    An overall rise in temp on the globe.

    Second, if it is happening, is it man-made?

    Enough of it is man-made that it will destroy civilization if we don’t stop it. According to John Holdren, current head of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, who was a prof of mine years ago, and who is a man of absolute integrity, with “business as usual,” the globe will be as much as 20 degrees warmer by 2100. He also says that 3 degrees of warming will send agriculture into a tailspin. That means there will be large-scale starvation.

    Third, is the man-made part related to vehicular emissions?

    Vehicle emissions represents around 20% of anthropogenic emissions.

    Fifth, is it something we need to address?

    Yes. See above.

    Sixth, is reducing vehicular emissions the best way to reduce global warming?

    Not by itself. All significant sources of emissions need to be reduced, ASAP.

    Seven, how would you do that?

    These are not simple questions. The answers are not simple. Me, I’m still wondering about question one before I start worrying about question four. Thanks to the media, the public is already on seven.

    We should have been on question 7 a decade ago. This is probably the most urgent problem civilization faces.

  • avatar
    50merc

    In the very first comment on this editorial, Carlismo said “Global warming debates never go well. Please don’t get us started.” Now, ninety-plus comments later, has anyone changed his/her mind on any part of the subject?

    A hearty “Amen!” to RF’s observation about the seven questions to be asked in sequence. And–sadly–yes, “Thanks to the media, the public is already on seven.”

    I’m always flabbergasted that people will say things like “only GOP fundamentalist whackjobs have their views represented by national news media.” At the very least, read long-time SeeBS reporter Bernard Goldberg’s “Bias – A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News.” It does much to explain why so many in the media present climate-change alarmism as holy writ.

  • avatar

    Re RF’s second question, above, I should have said that enough of global warming is man made that can can mitigate the warming sufficiently to save ourselves by drastically reducing our share.

  • avatar
    ejacobs

    I’ve been fascinated by cars since I can remember, but…

    Regardless of the impact we humans are making on the planet, Earth will outlive all of us millions of times over. That said, she’s alive, gives us a beautiful place to live, and is a helluva lot more powerful than us. Therefore, we should treat her with some respect and dignity.

    Yeah, cars and hooning are one of my biggest passions, and I don’t want anyone to take my cars away, with which I imagine most readers of this site would agree…but take a step back and look at the big picture.

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    David Holzman,

    My reference to the Ford Explorer is in the context of “absurd exaggeration of risk”. Is the Ford Explorer more prone to rollover than a Corvette? Of course. But the risks were so exaggerated by local and national media that it created a stampede on tire dealers to replace perfectly good tires to appease the hysterical public. The fact is that by and large, the Explorer was and is a safe vehicle as were/are Firestone tires. Most of the concern was media hype.

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    Pch101: There is near-universal consensus that climate change is real.

    David Holzman: There probably are no truly reputable scientists who doubt global warming.

    This simply isn’t true. The world’s communities of scientists hardly agree on anything. To wit, there are few agreed upon scientific laws such as gravity, motion, etc. Consensus is extraordinarily elusive especially on topics as complex as climate change and the causes thereof.

    I hate to say this because I don’t want to be offensive, but anyone who claims that there is consensus among credible scientist regarding this issue (that human activity is contributing meaningfully to global warming and that human beings can effectively regulate the earth’s temperature) is simply demonstrating his or her ignorance.

    Scientists can’t even agree on whether the mass known as Pluto that orbits the Sun is a planet. How then can you reasonably expect that they would en masse accept the theory that CO2 emissions are causing an increase in average atmospheric temperatures?

    Speaking of the Sun, there are numerous “credible” scientists (i.e. not activists) that theorize that the recent spike in Earth’s average temperatures, as wells those of our neighboring planets, in recent decades is primarily caused by (drum roll, please) – the Sun. Look it up.

  • avatar
    TomAnderson

    Regardless of whether or not global warming is being caused and/or exacerbated by human activity, doesn’t it make sense to reduce the amount of oil we have to buy from countries and regions that aren’t exactly fond of us? Particularly since oil is in finite supply and we’re all going to have to wean ourselves off of it anyway at some point? Just my $0.02.

    As for the contemporary American media being a multi-billion dollar fear-mongering-for-profit industry? That is, sadly, most definitely the case. I can only hope that the other journalism and communications majors of my generation will try, like I plan to, to return large doses of integrity, balance and overall common sense to the media. After all, if everyone stops taking the big outlets who at least try not to wear their biases on their sleaves seriously, who knows whom they’ll start taking seriously in their stead? (Some irate 40-something still living in and blogging from his mom’s basement? Some cult that practices infanticide and worships a sock full of oatmeal? Something even scarier?)

  • avatar
    Geoff Hall

    thebigmass:

    Allow me to chime in on this, as I actually hold a degree in Physics

    I’ve got a degree in Physics as well, though it was rather a long time ago and wasn’t specializing in atmospheric physics.

    Most of the absorbtion spectrum of CO2 overlaps that of water vapor. There is many times more water vapor in the atmosphere than there is CO2. Therefore, the total effect that CO2 may have on the global mean temperature is very small.

    This is slightly different from the usual skeptic argument on absorption spectra, that there’s already enough CO2 on its own that a little more can’t make much difference.

    This all sounds plausible, but you have to look a bit more deeply at the physics. The infra red gets absorbed and re-radiated several times before eventually being able to find a path clear through the atmosphere. The greater the greenhouse gas concentration, the higher on average will be the molecule that radiated the infra red. Say the average height used to be 10,000 feet and increased C02 etc makes it 11,000 feet. As you get higher you get colder, the usual adiabatic stuff. But to get things back in balance the atmosphere at 11,000 feet has to increase in temperature to the old temperature of 10,000 feet – implying that things get warmer until that balance point is reached.

    It’s a comparatively subtle point, readily ignored by those who want to confuse the issue.

    Dr. Richard Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at MIT estimates for a cloudless sky the effect of doubling atmospheric CO2 from 300 parts per million to 600 would only be a .5 degree increase in mean temperature.

    Lindzen is famous/notorious for downplaying any positive feedback, e.g. more C02 leads to warmer conditions leads to more water vapor in the atmosphere. The feedbacks are complicated but the re’s a strong consensus that for smallish changes the feedbacks are positive and result in a doubling or trebling of the effect of CO2 alone. Lindzen is deliberately ignoring the feedback effects here. There is a lot of history, Lindzen was the discoverer of a negative feedback which most people consider to be relatively minor, but the notoriety and publicity he got from what started as legitimate scientific debate seems to have have really got to him.

    Put simply, we would perish from the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere required to cause any catastrophic increase in temperature.

    Hmm, have you kept up with current research on the Paleocene/Eocene Thermal Maximum? Only over the last decade or so has it become clear that a mass extinction event was tied in with a sudden spike of greenhouse gases. The concentrations were well above current levels, but not anywhere near enough to be dangerous to breathe – about 2% instead of the current 0.4%. Given all the scary positive feedbacks that we’ll be unleashing if we don’t make real efforts now, a lot of caution would seem advisable. I don’t think it’s inevitable, but if we carry on with business as usual a three year drought in the Amazon would see the rainforest gone, there’s the methane from Siberian ex-permafrost, undersea methane clathrates, changed polar albedo with melted ice, reduced uptake of CO2 by oceans as the water warms, etc, etc.

    As far as ‘consensus’ is concerned, the following scientists have all expressed serious doubts about anthropogenic global warming:
    Dr. Richard Lindzen, MIT
    Dr. Claude Allegre
    Bruno Wiskel, University of Alberta
    Dr. Nir Shaviv
    Dr. David Evans
    Dr. Reid Bryson, founder of University of Wisconsin’s Department of Meteorology
    Dr. Bill Gray, Professor Emeritus of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University

    It’s noticeable that the same old names keep appearing, Lindzen still being the most respectable. Vanity Fair had an article about the skeptics a year or so back. On the subject of how journalism works, they left it as a fairly obvious between-the-lines conclusion that the skeptics they talked to were variously egotists (Lindzen), grumpy old men (Gray), conspiracy theorists or free market fundamentalists (most of the rest), and they couldn’t even agree with each other. Why they couldn’t just come out and say this is some kind of mark about the journalistic conventions of the day.

    Read this http://junkscience.com/Greenhouse/index.html
    for the best primer containing actual science on global warming.

    Junkscience had its origin in tobacco companies trying to obscure the truth. It hasn’t changed its method of operation, even if Steve Milloy has new paymasters.

    Going back to journalism and cars, of course the reporting is shallow, phony and sometimes laughably incorrect. I should know – I managed to pick up a really nice secondhand Audi 5000 after the unintended acceleration fiasco.

  • avatar
    jurisb

    not american drivers are causing global warming. but a great deal is still sustained by the usa. and it is the coal brining powerhouses. they account for the biggest proportion of co2 emissions in the world.( 46% ). china is catching up, but still usa is the top polluter. here is the question? how come usa being the richest country( theoretically) can`t change their obsolete technologies of powerstations? … well draw parallels with detroit. squeezing blood out of the stone, as Karl marx stated.

  • avatar

    Just to add a bit to what Geoff Hall said (You stole my thunder!): the place where the media has fallen down on global warming is not in failing to report the views of skeptics, but in giving them all too much credibility. Google any of the skeptics with the key words “oil” and “money” and you’ll find they have good financial reasons for their positions. Here’s some dope on Lindzen from SourceWatch.org, a project of the Center for Media and Democracy:

    Ross Gelbspan, journalist and author, wrote a 1995 article in Harper’s Magazine which was very critical of Lindzen and other global warming skeptics. In the article, Gelbspan reports Lindzen charged “oil and coal interests $2,500 a day for his consulting services; [and] his 1991 trip to testify before a Senate committee was paid for by Western Fuels and a speech he wrote, entitled ‘Global Warming: the Origin and Nature of Alleged Scientific Consensus,’ was underwritten by OPEC.” [3]

    In November 2004, climate change skeptic Richard Lindzen was quoted saying he’d be willing to bet that the earth’s climate will be cooler in 20 years than it is today. When British climate researcher James Annan contacted him, however, Lindzen would only agree to take the bet if Annan offered a 50-to-1 payout. Subsequent offers of a wager were also refused by Pat Michaels, Chip Knappenberger, Piers Corbyn, Myron Ebell, Zbigniew Jaworowski, Sherwood Idso and William Kininmonth. At long last, however, Annan has persuaded Russian solar physicists Galina Mashnich and Vladimir Bashkirtsev to take a $10,000 bet. “There isn’t much money in climate science and I’m still looking for that gold watch at retirement,” Annan says. “A pay-off would be a nice top-up to my pension.” [4]

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    I don’t see a problem with any of this. Both sides are exercising their right to express their opinions. As with all important issues, there will be lines of reasoning that the other side will say is ridiculous. That’s life, and that’s America.

    Diesels and hybrids will change the world’s rate of pollution for the better. Even as someone who loves cars, and makes his living at it, I understand that there can be serious improvements in emissions and in the overall consumption of resources. We also need to keep in mind that 90+% of daily driving incorporates the mundane. Commuting here, traffic there, straight line after straight line.

  • avatar

    Anyone still in doubt about global warming should go to sciencefriday.com, and click on this week’s podcast.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    This simply isn’t true. The world’s communities of scientists hardly agree on anything.

    With all due respect, that side steps my point and provides little substance in the way of a rebuttal. I asked for evidence of the debate. Your claim that “scientists hardly agree on anything”, made without support, is not evidence, just a repetition of the still-unproven claim of this alleged debate over climate change.

    I’ve provided support for the contention that there is no debate, i.e. that the proportion of scientists who repudiate the climate change argument is small, while numerous credible scientific organizations have issued statements, position papers, etc. in support of the climate change hypothesis.

    Hundreds of papers, yet no one has written a peer-reviewed study that takes a position which entails contradicting climate change. So where exactly is the debate that I’m hearing so much about?

    And clearly, scientists can and do reach consensus on numerous subjects. (You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who would debate the existence of gravity.) Just as one example, here’s the position paper of the American Meteorological Society dated February 1, 2007, a society with a 11,000+ membership: http://www.ametsoc.org/POLICY/2007climatechange.html Clearly, those involved with this position statement were able to agree sufficiently among themselves to conclude:

    [T]here is adequate evidence from observations and interpretations of climate simulations to conclude that the atmosphere, ocean, and land surface are warming; that humans have significantly contributed to this change; and that further climate change will continue to have important impacts on human societies, on economies, on ecosystems, and on wildlife through the 21st century and beyond. Focusing on the next 30 years, convergence among emission scenarios and model results suggest strongly that increasing air temperatures will reduce snowpack, shift snowmelt timing, reduce crop production and rangeland fertility, and cause continued melting of the ice caps and sea level rise. Important goals for future work include the need to understand the relation of climate at the state and regional level to the patterns of global climate and to reverse the decline in observational networks that are so critical to accurate climate monitoring and prediction.

    Now, what I’d like to see on this thread, if I may, is evidence of this debate. I am not expecting anyone on the thread to disprove climate change, as I doubt anyone here has the credentials sufficient to do that, but just to show us all of this evidence of debate that has been claimed.

    Evidence of the debate does not entail quoting the usual (small) gaggle of suspects. This would largely be a statistical exercise, such as recent position papers from credible scientific organizations that reject the climate change argument, or perhaps showing that a large proportion of university science departments are in opposition to the climate change argument. A repeat of “take my word for it” or the quoting of the same few usual suspects who comprise a tiny minority of the scientific community studying this subject, won’t constitute evidence, at least not in my book.

  • avatar
    AKM

    I never cease to be amazed by the quality of the readership of TTAC, and have rarely seen so many well-contrued, sensible, polite arguments!

    William, thanks for your op-ed that led to so many replies.

    I disagree with you on global warming (and pollution in general) which are realities now. Cars represent only 15% of the problem, but in my opinion, it is more the american car “culture” that is to blame. Not the cars themselves, but the fact that we use them so much. I am lucky enough to live in a pretty dense suburb, where I can walk to the supermarke,t the train station, restaurants, and so on. Not only does this kind of environment lead to less driving, but also to more energy efficiency (more people use the same park, instead of individual lawns, less roads have to be built, and so on). I often fear that Americans, with their love of huge personal space, are sowing a huge range of problems, including a decrease of socialization, i.e. how to live together.

    But that’s a whole other can of worms right here…

  • avatar
    NICKNICK

    Pch101:
    Here are a couple peer-reviewed articles from dissenters:

    von Storch, Hans; Eduardo Zorita & Julie M. Jones et al. (2004), “Reconstructing Past Climate from Noisy Data”, Science 306 (5696): 679-682, DOI:10.1126/science.1096109

    McIntyre, Stephen & Ross McKitrick (2005), “Hockey sticks, principal components, and spurious significance”, Geophysical Research Letters 32, DOI:10.1029/2004GL021750

    McIntyre, Steven; Ross McKitrick. The M&M Project: Replication Analysis of the Mann et al. Hockey Stick. Retrieved on 2007-05-08.

    More importantly, however, are the articles not being written. You might want to scroll up and reread some of what miked has said. Unless you’ve worked in the sciences and tried to secure grant money (I have, so trust me on this), you often end up working backwards. You have a pre-determined outcome, and you ask for money so that you can prove it. As it stands right now, you will not get funding if you set out on a path of disagreement. Universities purport themselves to be point-sources of truth and diversity, but that is simply false.

    Let’s leave real science for a moment and pretend we’re sociologists. I dare any sociologist who values his career to set off down the path of proving that, regardless of economic situations or “socialization,” that blacks are simply not as smart as asians. Even if you could prove that it was true, you would be villified because the establishment holds EQUALITY above all else.

    Same thing in more real science–my research had to prove the desired outcome or there would be no Department of Energy money for next year. Thank goodness I now work in the private sector where real results matter. If the hypothesis is wrong, I must find the right answer, because the wrong one could cost the company millions. Academia is NOT run this way.

    Listen to what miked has said–in closed quarters and off the record, scientists are often not as certain as their publications would lead you to believe. Their jobs are on the line, and they aren’t about to bite the hand that feeds them. Global warming is about to become BIG buisness and BIG in taxes, so the government (where a HUGE amount of research money comes from) is not about to start funding those that have opposing viewpoints. A few token grants here or there to provide a veneer of “balance,” but nothing to kid yourself over.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    Assuming for a moment (a big assumption) that human caused global warming is a big problem; the issue is still not being reasonably presented by the media.

    Have a look into the details here:

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/ggrpt/carbon.html

    The entire transportation sector (including rail freight, road freight, air travel, subways, buses and yes personal trucks and automobiles) contributes about 33% of the total US carbon dioxide output into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide output is said to constitute 84% of the global warming gas emissions. 33% x 84% = 27.7%. Thus all of transportation is just over a quarter of the purported problem.

    I do not see the media demonizing unnecessary air travel or the explosion on retail stores across the landscape. I’m quite sure that all of the US’ retail products needs could easily be met by 50% of the retail floor space that now exists. Megabox stores of all sorts have been growing at breakneck pace. The 50% reduction number is easy because all it would mean was going back to 1990 ratios of retail space to people.

    “Between 1990 and 2005 the amount of retail space per person in the United States doubled…. Because most of this development was auto-oriented in nature, for every square foot of new store space, another three or four square feet was paved for cars.” Stacy Mitchell. Big-Box Swindle (Boston, MA: Beacon Press 2006)”

    Modern big screen televisions on which to watch the news reports consume much more energy than the 25″ norms of not very long ago. Yet you will never ever see a television report critical of large screen televisions or of the retailers and products which provide the advertising lifeblood to the industry.

    You also see no talk about the UCLA study which concluded that “the film industry in Los Angeles was rated as one of the worst polluters by a recent study at UCLA.”

    http://autone.wordpress.com/tag/filmmaking-a-dirty-business/

    All of which is to simply say that I agree with Mr. Montgomery’s main point, that the modern media is a revenue of profit chasing business which panders to the simplest of human emotions because that is the easiest way to make money. The old adage of the local news is “If it bleeds, it leads”. The holier than thou attitude most journalists take on for themselves is truly a variation on The Emperer’s New Clothes.

  • avatar
    evohappy9

    PCH 101,
    The burden of proof rests as greatly with you as it does with those who are skeptical. You are speaking as if there is scientific “proof” of anthropogenic global warming. No one here has presented “proof” linking man to climate change. There are no scientists that deny a slight rise in the earths temperature – but in order to champion anthropogenic global warming some incredible assumptions must be made. One, the earths climate was stable until the last 50 years. Two, that there are simply no other operating factors in climate temperature – like the sun. Furhtermore, surely you must have noticed that the global warmers will adapt their arguments to every concievable situation. If its too hot – global warming, if its too cold – global warming, if it rains too much – global warming, if there is a drought – global warming. It is too easy for them to claim moral ascendancy as a way to subtly obfuscate the fact that twenty years of research simply isn’t enough to know. Just because I don’t believe in global warming doesn’t mean I want to destroy the planet. There have been some intersting links supplied by the readers here so don’t say no one has supplied information. This is not the place for purely technical postings and I think people are trying to avoid prolixty. I believe in a previous thread I made the challenge for someone to read the Wegman report in his reply to Stupak and respond. Did you read it? Are you aware of the debates revolving around MBH98 – 99? –You should be. Our problem is not with the data but the seriously flawed methodology in interpretation and presentation.

  • avatar
    ejl

    As Pch101 has repeatedly pointed out, there is near-universal consensus from scientists that human-caused global warming is real. This claim comes not from the media but from peer-reviewed scientific articles like this one:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/306/5702/1686

    Anyone who thinks this near-consensus is media hype hasn’t done any investigation at all.

    “As it stands right now, you will not get funding if you set out on a path of disagreement.”
    NICKNICK, you’ve got to be kidding. Global warming “dissenters” are very well funded, they just can’t get their case past peer review. Here’s one source of funding for them:
    http://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release/ExxonMobil-GlobalWarming-tobacco.html

  • avatar

    Furhtermore, surely you must have noticed that the global warmers will adapt their arguments to every concievable situation. If its too hot – global warming, if its too cold – global warming, if it rains too much – global warming, if there is a drought – global warming.

    The globe is generally warming. But climate is fiendishly complex, with many different paths and feedback loops, but basically, besides the overall warming, climate change brings greater extremes. A warmer earth means more energy in the atmosphere, which means stronger storms, for example. It also means more evaporation over the ocean.

  • avatar
    evohappy9

    ejl: This is about your Union of Concerned Scientists. Really, you must be joking or decietful to represent $16 million dollars over seven years as well funded compared to the tens of billions that were allocated in the same time frame to the global warming supporters. Your statement militates against itself when you call attention to peer reviews. They are notoriously cabalistic with their good ol boy networks and the scientists are naturally only going to countenance works that strengthen their own posistions as a means of justifying their grant money. I will say it again – read the Wegman report and respond – it concerns itself with the statistical interlockings of peer review especially in the area of paleoclimatology. You might be suprised.
    Anyway the UCS is just another typical creation of the CFR which is proved by its list of benefactors.

    Another issue of concern to UCS is that of global warming. The organization circulated a petition that drew the signatures of some 1,600 scientific experts demanding that the United States ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

    A Union of Concerned Scientists declaration, entitled “Restoring Scientific Integrity in Policy Making,” charges that the Bush administration “has continued to distort and suppress science in pursuit of its political goals — despite a plea from top U.S. scientists to restore scientific integrity to the policy-making process.” According to UCS President Kevin Knobloch, “We found a serious pattern of undermining science by the Bush administration, and it crosses disciplines, whether it’s global climate change or reproductive health or mercury in the food chain or forestry — the list goes on and on.” The signers of this document portrayed themselves as objective scientists with no political agenda. But in truth, over half of them were financial contributors to the Democratic Party, Democratic candidates, or a variety of leftist causes. The UCS website offers visitors an online opportunity to register to vote; this service is sponsored by Working Assets.

    UCS is a member of the Save Our Environment Action Center, a leftist coalition that describes itself as “a collaborative effort of the nation’s most influential environmental advocacy organizations harnessing the power of the internet to increase public awareness and activism on today’s most important environmental issues.”

    UCS has received funding from the Beldon Fund, the Compton Foundation, the Educational Foundation of America, the J.M. Kaplan Fund, the Scherman Foundation, the Blue Moon Fund, the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Energy Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Turner Foundation, and Pew Charitable Trusts.

    http://www.discoverthenetworks.org

  • avatar
    evohappy9

    The globe is generally warming. But climate is fiendishly complex, with many different paths and feedback loops, but basically, besides the overall warming, climate change brings greater extremes. A warmer earth means more energy in the atmosphere, which means stronger storms, for example. It also means more evaporation over the ocean.

    Excellent!! That is the point! The system is so complex that not even a fraction of a fraction of climate variables and covariables are included in the GCM’s that are used to “prove” antropogenic global warming. The physical/chemical relationships between these factors are understood imperfectly at best and if one were to venture a GCM with factors such as solar effect, storm systems and water vapor as priciple components in the statistical model the results would vary radically. You should know that all of the GCM’s use anthropogenic factors as their principle components with a light sprinkling of enironmental/external variables. The point is that because of our general ignorance of the relationship between these factors the GCM’s are designed to accentuate, amplify and give dominance to anthropogenic factors. We simply do not have enough collected and properly understood data to form accurate GCM’s. Well actually the money is there but it is employed to reproduce the same flawed models over and over again.

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    I find it interesting that some of you continue to maintain that there is consensus among scientists for the notion that Global Warming is the direct result of CO2 emissions. Some TTAC readers have now posted dozens of names of dissenting scientists and links to dissenting organizations.

    I’ll add one more name to the list of anthropogenic Global Warming dissenters, or in this case a doubter: Houston meteorologist, Dr. Frank Neil. Dr. Neil, former director of the National Hurricane Center and foremost expert on hurricane and tropical storm forecasting, has said that so called man made Global Warming had no impact of any significance on the deadly 2005 hurricane season that spawned, among others, hurricane Katrina.

    Furthermore, Dr. Neil says that manmade sources of CO2 are likely to have no meaningful impact on future hurricane seasons. He allows that manmade CO2 might have some impact on weather, ocean levels and the climate in general, but that the contribution would be so slight as to be insignificant.

    This opinion runs contrary to the over-hyped hysterical fear mongering that is rampant in most Global Warming popular media presentations (or from politicians).

  • avatar
    ejl

    Who said there is a consensus? This is a red-herring. There is a near-consensus (see my above link for a peer-reviewed list of hundreds of peer-reviewed papers in this near-consensus), coupled with a tiny minority of dissenters, most of whom can’t get their papers past peer review.

    The fact that there are dissenters means only that perfect certainty is not to be had, as any scientist will tell you. It does NOT justify wild-eyed conspiracy theories, or mean that we can’t make a rational choice about where the weight of the evidence lies.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The burden of proof rests as greatly with you as it does with those who are skeptical.

    I have cited numerous scientific organizations that support the climate change hypothesis. Furthermore, I have made reference to hundreds of papers on the subject that explicitly or support the theory, and do not deny it.

    The nuance of my point seems to have been lost here. I am not arguing either in favor or against climate change, per se — I am not a scientist who has studied the topic, and I can claim no expertise but for what I have read in some of the primary and secondary literature.

    Rather, I am pointing out that this alleged **debate** on the subject is almost wholly non-existent, despite claims by political groups and business interests that there is no consensus.

    Scientists largely agree on the basics of climate change, accepting it as a matter of fact. There are very few — not zero, but very few — dissenters, so they are in a tiny minority. And their conclusions don’t tend to have sufficient veracity as as to make it past peer review, which makes their conclusions suspect.

    So again, I want proof of this alleged debate. The article claims “Vehicle-induced global warming is a fact because a lot of scientists say it is– even though a large number of reputable scientists say it isn’t”, yet nobody can provide evidence of this large number of reputable scientists who make this refutation, while there is abundant evidence that the predominant organizations in the sciences state the exact opposite. So where is the proof?

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    This was a good article, but the comments are awesome! I’m with the skeptic crowd. Wether or not there is consensus, consensus does not equal proof. There has been a scientific consensus of some form or other that world was about to end since the beginning of science. I believe we were headed for another ice age in the 70’s.

    Still, I am all for reducing potential pollutants. I just wonder why the absolute easiest thing to do is not being done. As said earlier, TELECOMMUTING!!!!!!! People who work in offices do not need to be there! You could immediately take a huge % of drivers off the roads by allowing them to work from home. Think of the savings! Driving could be for fun instead of trudging through traffic. I’m not saying there are no issues with implimenting this, but they are far easier to overcome than say replacing the internal combustion engine.

  • avatar
    NICKNICK

    Pch101:

    If you’ll scroll up, you’ll see that I have posted three bibliographies for you. One is even from Science, probably the most recognized and respected peer-reviewed journals after Nature.

    I will concede that the number of articles and scientists concluding that global warming is real FAR outnumbers those that dissent. This, however, means little. You wanted evidence of a “large number.” Well, I don’t know how you define large.

    Regardless, the debate is real. I remember feeling like part of a small minority when proclaiming we hadn’t sufficient proof of WMDs and that invading Iraq would be a mistake. And I remember the small minority saying that invading a whole country (Afghanistan) for the sins of a few men would be a mistake. And I remember feeling like part of a small minority saying that it’s OK to eat eggs. And I remember the small minority that said aspertame was not a safe alternative to sugar.

    Just because everyone else says it’s true does not make it right. Heck, EVERY mother in the world has given the old “if everyone else jumped off a cliff, i suppose you would too” speech.

  • avatar
    Bob Beamesderfer

    Geeber,

    I didn’t prove mikey’s points at all and my argument stands: Rich people are not demonized nearly as often or as much as you or he contends. Neither are all poor people held blameless. Ever watch “Cops,” or do you prefer to divide the media pie to the convenience of your arguments? Yeah, I thought so.

    Second, Warren Buffett is neither liberal nor does he actively, publicaly back any of the causes you mention.

    “Bob Beamesderfer: Or do you some how think that executives like Ken Lay should be allowed to fleece shareholders without being brought to justice?

    No where did he say that, or mention Ken Lay, or say that Ken Lay is somehow representative of rich people or business leaders in general.”

    But he contends that rich people are always being slammed by the media. Lay was rich and got richer by cheating shareholders and his own workers. His misdeeds got him a lot of TV time. So, is that the kind of rich person he thinks is being unfairly portrayed?

    I’m asking him the questions and you presume to answer.

    Connecting so-called wealth redistribution to what’s reported in any given media outlet at any given moment is a huge and illogical leap.

    Finally, I don’t read The Nation nor do I read National Review; both extremist and rather unpragmatic. As for visiting your office in the PA Capitol, next time I visit my parents I might do that. That is, if you have the courage to use your real name.

  • avatar
    Luther

    “As for the contemporary American media being a multi-billion dollar fear-mongering-for-profit industry? That is, sadly, most definitely the case.”

    It is not just the American broadcast media, it is in the interest of broadcast media everywhere…It is in their very nature. Who would consume media products if their wasn’t shack-n-awe/”we are all going to die” spin? The media’s very existence is dependant on socio-economic problems…Muckraking. One can always tell the people that consume media products…They all look like they are perpetually constipated and in a constant state of fear and they are not very pleasant to be around. It is such a waste of life to be “addicted” to broadcast media products…Probably worse than alcohol.

    In Europe, the media is profoundly anti-Isael but this is not really the case per se. The media is neither pro-Arab nor anti-Israel…It is pro-conflict. The broadcast media needs to create or perpetuate problems for their very own (bogus?) survival…This is nothing new…Read Randolph Hearst.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I will concede that the number of articles and scientists concluding that global warming is real FAR outnumbers those that dissent.

    That’s correct. Which validates my point, namely that the alleged degree of doubt and debate in the scientific community that is claimed in the article and by some of the posters is false.

    Nobody claimed that there are zero scientists who dispute the climate change hypothesis, but that they are few in number and that they do not represent the mainstream scientific view. You can’t have much of a debate when there aren’t many people to debate it.

    Just as the existence of the Flat Earth Society is not evidentiary of a “debate” about the earth being flat, the presence of a minority of dissenters does not change the fact that there is otherwise a consensus among the vast majority of scientists.

    There is no confusion, tumult or ambiguity among scientists — most of them accept climate change. Not a single person in this discussion has refuted the observation made in the excerpt of the article that I posted from Science about this being the case.

  • avatar
    Luther

    “Lay was rich and got richer by cheating shareholders and his own workers.”

    No. Ken Lay commited fraud in an attempt to ENRICH shareholders many of whom were his wage-earning employees. Im not defending his actions but the destinction is important.

    Again, just another example of broadcast media spin/mind-screw.

    It is silly that the US does not use more nuclear power but thanks to the media, people are afraid of it. When three mile island had a core overheat condition, the core shutdown as designed. The media coverage made people think that it was a catastrophe when in fact nobody was hurt. To this day when one mentions “Three Mile Island” in polite company, the look of horror comes to peoples faces.

    Again, just another example of broadcast media spin/mind-screw.

  • avatar
    213Cobra

    There is consensus that earth’s climate is warming. Still this may or may not prove correct over any specific span of time. What is not proven and for which there is not consensus is whether this climate change is anthropogenic. Is man the cause? A longer view says unlikely, or even, no. Moreover, relatively few climatologists are among the group of 2500 scientists often cited as proof the debate is over. Outside their fields, scientists are often boobs on a given subject too. We certainly know that politicians claiming cogent understanding of specific technical or scientific issues are.

    Some phenomena that cast severe doubt on the idea that empirically observable climate change is caused by human activity: 1/ The earth’s climate is always warming or cooling. It is seldom static for very long. 160 years is not very long, in this context. 2/ The long term historical and geological record includes warmer periods. It’s no coincidence that reasonably accurate temperature records only go back to about 1850, and that empirical record shows a warming trend. We were coming off a roughly 300 year cooling trend that ended in the first half of the 19th century — a period of time when the Thames river was routinely frozen and some summers in the northern hemisphere completely lacked summer temperatures.

    Before that there was an earlier warming trend that featured warmer temperatures than we have today and which was a reason that Greenland was hospitable to the Vikings around 1000 AD. As another example of the folly of paying too much attention to our little 160 year window, the LA Times reported last year that an examination of geologic evidence showed a 65,000 year period in which there were at least 20 instances where climate swung up or down by 15 degrees within a decade!

    There’s more. If greenhouse gas models are correct, global warming should have been more severe during the 20th century. Instead, within our 160 year empirical view, there were multi-decade cooling trends. Further, climate records and inferred data suggest that CO2 increases *AFTER* a warming trend has begun for other reasons. Further still, water vapor is a more power greenhouse agent, as is methane.

    3/ I’ve been reading about the greenhouse effect for over 40 years, when it was first brought to my attention in elementary school science. At that time it was properly presented as a natural effect that is essential to making earth a livable planet. We also knew then that greenhouse gas concentrations vary, and are influenced by climate itself, by volcanic activity and indirectly by variances in solar output. Of course a decade later was the great global cooling scare in which a “consensus of science” assured us that we’d be freezing in the dark and sharing a withering food supply by year 2000. The bogeyman then was particulate pollution and a climate run amok. Later, a scientific consensus was certain that acid rain would kill all the forests of the northeast in the US, and yet it’s more forested today than in 1900 and 1980.

    4/ The “scientific consensus” mostly ignores the sun, despite astronomers and astrophysicists knowing that minute variances in solar output, cued sometimes by sunspot activity and other phenomena, can significantly change the amount of thermal radiation absorbed by earth. Some of these changes are on 11 year sunspot cycles but some are much longer wave. Hmmm…..does our discovery that Mars is now also getting warmer cast doubt on climate change being anthropogenic?

    5/ There is a huge range of research available on the web. Estimates of human-induced release of carbon range from 3% – 6% of total natural emitters. First, that’s quite a range doubt in itself, and second, once you break down total human release into its component contributors, it’s easy to see that even IF you believe climate change is induced by us, that the automobile is not the place to start mitigating the problem. Coal fired power plants are stationary. At least there, we can use a variety of carbon sequestering techniques. If you’re serious about this and want the greatest change the soonest, then a global crash program to sequester carbon from stationary sources gets you much further than tweaking the automobile and hoping for wholesale transportation changes over the next 50 years.

    There are good reasons to burn less oil and its derivatives. They have nothing to do with climate change, instead being related to reduced toxicity in the environment, choking off the mass export of dollars, and regaining leverage in favor of liberty and rule of law around the world. However, again, the car is only a piece and its leverage is limited in the short term.

    We’ve already seen a pattern of gasoline and diesel engines becoming both more powerful and more efficient in this decade. No matter what class of vehicle you drive, even if you don’t change classes your next chariot is almost certain to use less fuel. If you have economic reasons to give up space, mass, power and comfort, go right ahead. But let’s stop the nonsense that whether you drive a Prius or a Ferrari will make any difference in how warm the planet is in 70 years.

    And let’s stop picking on Hummers, American SUVs and trucks. A 12 or 14mpg vehicle is a 12 or 14 mpg vehicle no matter what its form. A fully-loaded SUV can be quite efficient in people-miles per gallon. 8 mpg Lamgorghinis and Ferraris, 12 mpg AMGs, M series, Type Rs, etc. use the same amount of fuel per individual or more. Range Rovers, stupidly heavy German ubersedans, G-Wagens, Jeeps, RS-4s, Vipers…all this stuff has to get off the road if you hate SUVs. Celebrities who fly on Gulfstreams instead of Southwest to show up at an event preaching nonsense about climate change will be grounded. It will be 4 cyl cars, motorcycles, Vespas and mopeds. And the planet will still do what the planet does because the sun is throwing more heat.

    Where does it stop? Let’s see….I’ll by a Pontiac Solstice GXP instead of a Corvette Z06. Oh yeah? Does anybody not think that it won’t be long before some misinformed chicken little says, “no, bad man! you can’t have a supercharger, you must have the slow version.” Then, “evil…your car only carries two.” You buy a Triumph or a Harley. “No, you could be emitting less carbon if you ride something smaller.” Pretty soon, you’re pedaling a bicycle over the Rockies and someone on the other side wants to ticket you for exhaling too much CO2.

    Repeat after me: “Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant…. Carbon dioxide comes from you, me and the dog.”

    Automobiles are getting progressively cleaner, and a lot more of them of coming. Individual liberty and economic success are linked to personal mobility. Trains, planes, subways and buses are not full substitutes. Trillions of dollars worth of policy decisions and human effort are being driven by people who are well-meaning but misinformed, and by others who have control agendas for which climate change myths enable action. The market has mitigators on coming. Let people move about as they please and watch this whole issue be eventually superceded by something most likely contradictory.

    Please, if you want to worry about a global environmental crisis, worry about water quality and oceanic pollution. There’s something you can improve beginning at home, today. Meanwhile, climate changes. We have to adapt. Those trillions chasing anthropogenic relief could instead be building seawalls, much better water runoff collection, water banking, continental water transport networks as we have for liquid and gas fuels, and developing stationary leverage of solar radiation, among other things. The car is already on a path to migrate out of the environmental equation. Progress doesn’t require the disruptive motive forces of false crisis as in the myth that climate change is caused by mankind.

    Phil

  • avatar
    evohappy9

    213Cobra,
    Wonderful!! I was internally torn as to whether or not to post a thread that lengthy. Are you familliar with a site called ScienceBits? If not, I think you would greatly enjoy it. There are excellent articles regarding the Cosmic Ray Flux and the questionable nature of GCM’s as well as the relationship between solar and cosmic rays. Pure physics and quite succinct. Nir J. Shaviv’s work withstands mathematical as weel as logical scrutiny.

  • avatar
    thebigmass

    Just one quick point, as I don’t want to engage in a nerd fight, and my physics background only briefly touched atmospheric physics. I grow tired of the constant drive to impugn the work of ‘skeptics’ on the basis that they are funded by oil companies, libertarian organizations, et cetera. Why is this different from scientists funded by the government, or environmentalist groups? Oil companies want to maintain the dominance of fossil fuels as our primary energy source, governments want another way in which to tax constituents, environmental groups have their own (obvious) agendas. If you wish to argue a point, argue a scientific point, rather than spouting an ad hominem attack on the source of funds. I do believe there is slight anthropogenic global warming. I do not however think that it is a crisis. Anyone with proof otherwise (and spare me computer models, which in many ways have already failed) should post that here, as I would be very interested in reading it. I’m not attached to my skepticism, I simply think it is the most logical conclusion at this point.

  • avatar

    If “Global Warming” is anything more than a natural occurrence shouldn’t there have seen a significant spike during and after World War Two?

  • avatar
    PerfectZero

    I’m disappointed to find an editorial rant on global warming here because frankly, I doubt many of us here have the qualifications to really understand the science behind the debate. To argue about it with some half-baked understanding of climatology gleamed from wikipedia is pointless.

    Its sort of amusing when people attempt to become armchair scientists and debate complex issues like this as if they are pointing out things that scientists somehow missed. I really don’t understand why people think they can credibly challenge the predominant scientific opinion based on personal cynicism and a few hours of internet research.

    Personally when the scientific community comes to a sizable consensus I’m inclined to believe them because they have phd’s and I don’t. And yes, that makes a difference believe it or not.

  • avatar
    Bob Beamesderfer

    ““Lay was rich and got richer by cheating shareholders and his own workers.”

    No. Ken Lay commited fraud in an attempt to ENRICH shareholders many of whom were his wage-earning employees. Im not defending his actions but the destinction is important.

    Again, just another example of broadcast media spin/mind-screw.

    It is silly that the US does not use more nuclear power but thanks to the media, people are afraid of it. When three mile island had a core overheat condition, the core shutdown as designed. The media coverage made people think that it was a catastrophe when in fact nobody was hurt. To this day when one mentions “Three Mile Island” in polite company, the look of horror comes to peoples faces.

    Again, just another example of broadcast media spin/mind-screw. ”

    Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling put themselves first and shirked their fiduciary duties. If you want to spin that as trying to benefit shareholders instead of padding their wallets, go right ahead. But their fraud was designed to enrich themselves first and the shareholders be damned.

    You see, what reactionaries of the left and right never understand, or care to admit, is that low-life, scumbags come from all strata of society and every point on the political spectrum. How it’s reported can be just as straight down the middle as possible, but if your sacred cow is being gored because it broke the law, it’s all the biased media’s fault. If your “heroes” have feet of clay and can’t take responsibility for their own actions, that’s not the reporter’s fault or his/her bias.

    But like I said, I don’t watch TV news from any source very much. The lack of depth, the incomplete reporting and ham-handed writing is annoying. Of course, I find the same thing in newspapers and in many Internet blogs.

  • avatar
    213Cobra

    OK, this issue of “they are PhDs and we’re not” has come up earlier in this thread in various expressions of deference to scientific “consensus.” If we could see the full scope of scientific opinion and know the size of an alleged consensus, deference to an educated point-of-view might make sense. However we can’t, because the question of whether observable climate change is caused by human activity is answered through a political filter and truth is obscured by non-scientific agendas.

    I have enough exposure to academic circles to know that there is widespread dissent from the media-promoted view that global warming is anthropogenic. Many dissenters are quiet because of real career concerns, and many others simply can’t get their views heard through mainstream media. Dissenters are villified for being politically incorrect, regardless their scientific credibility. The 2000 or so scientists cited as proof that science agrees is nowhere near a majority. They are just 2000 or so whom have agreed to support the alarmism of a political elite.

    Another reason to not fall in line so easily is that PhDs have been wrong about macro phenomena that were politicized before. PhDs told us global cooling was the near and present danger in the mid-70s. PhDs scared us into swine flu vaccine. PhDs told us that oil supplies peaked 30 years ago. PhDs have in fact written reams of analysis in favor of anthropogenic global warming without *any* consideration or mention of what the Sun is doing. PhDs may know their methods in their fields but they can be narrow, uninformed and error-prone thinkers when applying what they do know to wider phenomena with myriad interdependencies between physical systems and multiple areas of expertise. And then there’s the feeble state of our ability to model the planet’s entire climate.

    But the PhDs aren’t the primary problem. Politics are. If Al Gore, for example, genuinely feels selfless about sounding the alarm for global warming, he would not have delivered the message himself in his film. He would have chosen someone with sober credibility on the subject who is not politically tainted. But no. He used the subject to rally those around him who believe the 2000 election was stolen from him.

    The Europeans openly want to pull the US down to their life of limits. The anti-business crowd takes some perverse delight in beating American carmakers with the global warming stick while red-carpeting a path for imports, as though Toyota, Mercedes, BMW are somehow saintly and absent 14 mpg vehicles in their catalogs. Hillary Clinton wants you to drive 55 again. Myriad people in government hate the car and the individual freedoms it provides. All their behavior telegraphs their intrinsic desire to get the citizenry under greater control. And if none of this seems political to you, something else should. When people who support a point of view on something that is still conjecture (anthropogenicism in climate change) reflexively claim, “the debate is over,” you know you’re in the realm of agendas trumping objectivity. And when a failed presidential candidate takes something like this up as his grab for relevance, you can be virtually certain you’re not hearing from an authority. Spare me the Bush comments, please — I’m a Democrat.

    Fortunately scientific dissenters can make themselves heard via the web, and Google is your friend. Yup, you’ll have to use your head. It’s not all done for you. Some of what’s published is formal, some is conversational. In the latter realm, have a look at this thread:

    http://www.sciencebits.com/IceCoreTruth

    It illustrates a difference between a politically-motivated and scientifically-untrained crusader’s reading of data, and dissenting views of the same information.

    Two excerpts:

    “The main evidence proving that CO2 does not control the climate, but at most can play a second fiddle by just amplifying the variations already present, is that of lags. In all cases where there is a good enough resolution, one finds that the CO2 lags behind the temperature by typically several hundred to a thousand years. Namely, the basic climate driver which controls the temperature cannot be that of CO2. That driver, whatever it is, affects the climate equilibrium, and the temperature changes accordingly. Once the oceans adjust (on time scale of decades to centuries), the CO2 equilibrium changes as well. The changed CO2 can further affect the temperature, but the CO2 / temperature correlation cannot be used to say almost anything about the strength of this link. Note that I write “almost anything”, because it turns out that the CO2 temperature correlation can be used to say at least one thing about the temperature sensitivity to CO2 variations, as can be seen in the box below.

    “It is interesting to note that the IPCC scientific report (e.g., the AR4) avoids this question of lag. Instead of pointing it out, they write that in some cases (e.g., when comparing Antarctic CO2 to temperature data) it is hard to say anything definitive since the data sets come from different cores. This is of course chaff to cover the fact that when CO2 and temperature are measured with the same cores, or when carefully comparing different cores, a lag of typically several hundred years is found to be present, if the quality and resolution permit. Such an example is found in the figure below….” (you’ll see the graph at the link)

    then:

    “The only temperature independent CO2 variations I know of are those of anthropogenic sources, i.e., the 20th century increase, and CO2 variations over geological time scales.

    “Since the increase of CO2 over the 20th is monotonic, and other climate drivers (e.g., the sun) increased as well, a correlation with temperature is mostly meaningless. This leaves the geological variations in CO2 as the only variations which could be used to empirically estimate the effect of the CO2→ΔT link.

    “The reason that over geological time scales, the variations do not depend on the temperature is because over these long durations, the total CO2 in the ecosystem varies from a net imbalance between volcanic out-gassing and sedimentation/subduction. This “random walk” in the amount of CO2 is the reason why there were periods with 3 or even 10 times as much CO2 than present, over the past billion years.

    “Unfortunately, there is no clear correlation between CO2 and temperature over geological time scales. This lack of correlation should have translated into an upper limit on the CO2→ΔT link. However, because the geochemical temperature data is actually biased by the amount of CO2, this lack of correlation result translates into a CO2 doubling sensitivity which is about ΔTx2 ~ 1.0±0.5°C. More about it in this paper. (the link is on the site)

    “The moral of this story is that when you are shown data such as the graph by Al Gore, ask yourself what does it really mean. You might be surprised from the answer.”

    Then, a response:

    “When I took a good look at Gore’s chart, I had a different question come to mind. Look at the previous four spikes in both temperature and CO2. Something caused temperature to increase and then fall back to ice age levels. If CO2 had been responsible, then why wouldn’t temperatures just continue rising. If CO2 started dropping first, which we know wasn’t the case but I’m playing devil’s advocate here, then what caused CO2 to suddenly start dropping? What I’m getting at is that there clearly was some natural mechanism that has a negative feedback effect that prevents the earth from getting too hot or too cold. Since the earth doesn’t care whether CO2 is from natural or man-made sources, there is no reason to suppose that this self-correcting mechanism won’t work again this time around too.”

    *****
    Do I trust the UN to run a scientifically-objective investigation? Are you nuts? This is an organization that wants governments to cede progressively more authority to them, and much of the organization’s membership wants to pull the American standard of living down to, say, the European mindset of limits or lower. Do I trust newspaper and TV editors to communicate the complexity of this issue? No. Do I trust Beltway politicos who will grab any issue that gives them regulatory and legislative leverage in the name of “crisis” to be objective? No. We really are left to our own persistence and willingness to research to come to our own conclusions on this one. So far, available evidence says your choice of transportation is irrelevant to the climate.

    Phil

  • avatar
    Pch101

    If we could see the full scope of scientific opinion and know the size of an alleged consensus, deference to an educated point-of-view might make sense.

    The article that I cited from Science did exactly that.

    Perhaps you could do this for me: Cite just one major scientific organization that would include climatology as part of its purview that disputes climate change. Just one.

    I’ve cited several credible organizations, such as the American Meteorological Society and the National Academy of Sciences that absolutely do uphold the climate change hypothesis. Do you know any that do otherwise?

    Do I trust the UN to run a scientifically-objective investigation? Are you nuts?

    This oft-made observation on this thread is just a strawman argument. (Wikipedia explains what this is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man)

    There are numerous organizations that have studied climate change and support the prevailing theory. It is certainly not just limited to the UN, by any stretch of the imagination.

  • avatar
    GeoKrpan

    SUVs are the province of selfish, clueless, amoral Americans. The companies that provide these vehicles are foot-dragging Neanderthals who cater to their customers’ basest instincts.

    I changed the wording a little. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    The public IS fundamentally stupid

    The news media is afraid to tackle the tough questions relating to our cars because they they don’t understand it themselves.

    Ten years from now, after a decade of declining ocean temperatures, Europe will be frozen over because the Gulf Stream has stopped.

    Children walking or riding a bike to school, taking public transportation to work, walking or riding a bike to buy the things we need to survive is going to keep the American economy from being healthy?

    Driving our children to school, commuting to work, buying the things we need to survive is keeping the American unhealthy.

  • avatar
    Bob Beamesderfer

    “Repeat after me: “Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant…. Carbon dioxide comes from you, me and the dog.””

    Well then, lead isn’t a pollutant either, so I suggest you coat everything in your child’s room with it. And while you’re at it, smear cadmium white on the kid’s face.

    That fact that something is produced naturally doesn’t mean that excessive quantities are not pollutants.

  • avatar
    213Cobra

    I don’t know how one article can be interpreted as revealing the full scope of scientific opinion or the size of the alleged consensus. Certainly that Science article doesn’t.

    Do you think I don’t know what a strawman is? I wasn’t using the UN to refute anything, I simply made a statement that I don’t trust that organization to publish anything objective. Nothing. Everything the UN publishes is politically vetted during and after any scientific vetting that might be present.

    I frankly haven’t even looked for organizations to support either side of this argument, because organizations don’t think, individuals do. Most climatology-oriented organizations agree that there is climate change. Guess what? There’s *always* climate change on earth, and always will be. No one, least of all me, contests that. The issue at hand is whether it’s anthropogenic. Organizations are by definition political. The Union of Concerned Atomic Scientists for decades kept a running doomsday clock allegedly to warn how close were are to nuclear catastrophe. It is an esteemed organization. But their alarmist indicator has never proven relevant to actual risk. No individual claims responsibility for that clock. An organization does, hence no one does. It’s meaningless. Similarly, individual scientists are quite uncomfortable with the media, political and organizational distortions of climate change research, while some organizations choose a position nevertheless.

    Organizations aren’t accountable, individuals are. It’s interesting that people accept that the oceans are in crisis based on the work of individuals, yet on climate change we’re expected to knuckle under to the positions of organizations and ignore the work of individuals. Organizations work to tamp dissent. On the abortion question, pro-choice organizations try to quell and hide internal debate regarding the consequences of abortion to mothers, and anti-abortion organizations villify anyone among their ranks who seriously tries to reconcile their position with demographic data that ties relatively low crime rates since the mid-90s to Roe v. Wade 1973. Organizations use PhD economists to tell us that oil companies don’t manipulate the retail price of gasoline, while other accredited organizations tell us they do.

    Whatever the AMS or the NAS say about observable climate change being anthropogenic, plenty of their individual members say otherwise. The idea comintern at the top of an organization chooses that organization’s position. The quality of that vetting process is inversely proportional to the groupthink imposed by the top. That is, the AMS and the NAS would have more credibility if they say, “here’s what we think as the managing directorship of this organization, but there’s plenty of dissent so please see for yourself.” But that doesn’t happen.

    Organizations of experts tell us all sorts of things that don’t turn out to be true, and political processes tend to carry limited pronouncements to myriad unintended conclusions. So, no…I haven’t bothered to catalog what organizations say, instead focusing on individuals, their work, and their accountability. More often than not, lasting understanding has come from individuals, not organizations.

    Essentially what we have is a *political consensus* in the Democratic Party in the US that climate change is anthropogenic, and that is based on a consensus of a subset of scientists who choose to be part of that political consensus. We have NO IDEA what proportion of all qualified scientists that subset is. And more to the point, we have no evidentiary basis for believing they are correct. You can’t keep the Sun out of this debate if you claim to be interested in a holistic investigation. You can’t willfully dismiss or ignore the lag between onset of temperature change and subsequent CO2 buildup and claim you’re thorough, yet many scientists do.

    And yet, I accept that many people are persuaded, however wrongly so, that climate change is man’s doing. I would be more impressed with the objectivity of that crowd, with their willingness to attack the problem sans a lunge for more control over individual freedoms, if they weren’t gunning for private transportation as the place to start. IF you really believe this is an emergency, power plants are the place to start. Large-scale carbon sequestering can begin to kick in within a few years at stationary sites. If it weren’t a politically fueled agenda, then give the US credit for its forests in the Kyoto accord, which the EU and Japan refused to allow.

    Again, the car is and has been on a path towards declining environmental impact. Jets, ships, trains, coal, oil and gas power plants have not, at least not at the same pace. The leverage is there. The automobile is already on the mend.

    Phil

  • avatar
    evohappy9

    It seems that PerfectZero ideologically leans toward an oligarchy. Second, why the apotheosis of scientists, or specifically those with PhD’s? They are highly specialized technicians that are just as prone to methodological fallacy, peer pressure and philosophical subversion through propoganda as the next guy. What does a PhD have to do with comprehending the methodological nuances of a data collection/calculation/recontruction process? Familliarity with college level physics or chemistry will most certainly enable the reader to understand the debated principles in operation. One’s microcosmic understanding of the relationship between certain variables may be wanting. And wait, here is a revolutionary thought…..someone who is not a paleoclimatologist might actually take the time and learn the science! Unlike other trades, paleoclimatology doesn’t require all too much lab time until you get to the GCM’s/CFR’s. Also, it has been demonstrated that the results of paleoclimatological studies rest heavily on the use of statistics in order to properly assimilate the gathered data. Do you want to guess at what field of study that paleoclimatologists are not required to have any background in? Yes, statistics. It can be easily shown with matrices of cross study associations that the primary authors of anthropogenic global warming papers do not even have professional ties with statisticians, let alone any scholastic experience with statistics. That is one of the primary reasons their methodology is so flawed.

    http://www.climateaudit.org/pdf/others/07142006_Wegman_Report.pdf

  • avatar
    213Cobra

    Bob,

    CO2 is present in the Earth’s atmosphere at a low concentration of approximately 0.038%. Man’s contribution from combustion is estimated to be 3% – 6% of the annual global emissions from all causes that maintain (or change) that concentration.

    Lead isn’t a pollutant. It’s naturally present, and harmless UNTIL it is ingested. It is lead ingestion and its various toxicities, that causes a problem. You can paint your child’s room with lead-based paint and they’d be perfectly safe *if the child doesn’t eat the paint or abrade the walls and inhale the dust.* I grew up in an old house with lead-based paint, but I didn’t ingest it.

    Is peanut butter a pollutant because a few people are fatally allergic to it? Peanuts? Peanut dust?

    We have no evidence that CO2 concentration is rendered excessive because of human activity.

    This idea that CO2 is a pollutant has resulted in some interesting distortions. The global warming panicked are often holding the mistaken assumption that a brand new SUV with an LEV or ULEV rating is more polluting than a 10, 15, or 20 year old Volvo that couldn’t hope to match the cleanliness of what comes out of a new Escalade’s tailpipe.

    And no, I don’t own an SUV.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I frankly haven’t even looked for organizations to support either side of this argument, because organizations don’t think, individuals do

    I’m sorry, but I’ll be blunt and call that for what it is — a copout.

    The fact that mainstream organizations with large memberships have all adopted positions in favor of the climate change argument illustrate that climate change is, in fact, a mainstream viewpoint.

    If there was a lack of consensus, as has been contended here, then these organizations would not adopt such definitive positions on this topic, and we would be seeing other bodies that take an opposing view.

    Yet we don’t see any of this sort of debate taking place. Why we don’t should be obvious.

    The issue at hand is whether it’s anthropogenic.

    The aforementioned organizations claim that it is anthropogenic (man made). So again, we see the mainstream organizations already address your concern, and argue against your position.

    For example, this is what the National Academy of Sciences stated in its position paper on the subject:

    Greenhouse gases are accumulating in Earth’s atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures to rise. Temperatures are, in fact, rising. The changes observed over the last several decades are likely mostly due to human activities, but we cannot rule out that some significant part of these changes is also a reflection of natural variability. Human-induced warming and associated sea level rises are expected to continue through the 21st century.

    http://books.nap.edu/html/climatechange/

    When the best that the skeptics can offer is the occasional dissenting paper or the views of a scientist bankrolled by a corporate interest group with a motivation to debunk climate change theory, then the opposition view is suspect.

    You’ve provided no reason to believe you, given the lack of body of work to support it. I’m seeing a lot of bun and a bit of mustard, but not a whole lot of meat…

  • avatar
    Bob Beamesderfer

    To assume that an ever-increasing population doesn’t have an effect on the world’s environment seems a rather foolish path to take.

    Now, will it turn out that climate change isn’t the big deal that a great many scientists believe it is? We don’t really know, but do you want policymakers to sit on their butts and do nothing until the proof turns out to be catastrophe? I don’t think anyone wants that. But we don’t want reactionary and ill-thought-out actions. The need is to keep the whole bloody system in balance. It’s trial and error, but it is not accomplished by ignoring potential warning signs and doing nothing in hopes that it’s just a natural swing. Do we really know how many people, regardless of the population’s impact on the biosphere, this planet can support? Probably not, and a definitive answer born of inaction isn’t something any of us wants to discover.

    An interesting twist to the bulk of 3rd pollution is that the large quantities of soot spewed out are causing an effect called “global dimming,” which diminishes sunlight and serves to lower the planet’s overall temperature. Of course, the more immediate effect of heavy particulate pollution is an increase in respiratory illness.

    Now, from a completely selfish point of view, I want to conserve energy for the money I save, not just for the welfare of the planet. If someone tells me I have to drive an electric car for my daily commute in order to run my race car, that’s deal I’ll take.

  • avatar
    evohappy9

    PCH101,
    You are consistantly confusing quantity of information and quality of information. Read the report that I provided a link for in my previous post and then please respond.

  • avatar
    213Cobra

    Pch101,

    There are a lot of “mainstream” points of view that prove incorrect. I’m not persuaded by the mainstream and organizations do not have credibility with me. Individuals do.

    You cite the NAS as saying:

    “Greenhouse gases are accumulating in Earth’s atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures to rise. Temperatures are, in fact, rising. The changes observed over the last several decades are likely mostly due to human activities, but we cannot rule out that some significant part of these changes is also a reflection of natural variability. Human-induced warming and associated sea level rises are expected to continue through the 21st century.”

    The first sentence is conjecture, and refuted or at least seriously undermined by data that shows CO2 concentrations rise *after* a warming trend begins. This sentence also ignores the past existence of warmer periods within recorded human history, when human population was low and no case can be made for such a warm period having been anthropogenic.

    I agree, that “temperatures are in fact rising…” for now.

    The changes observed over the last several decades are likely the cause of human activities? Several decades is nothing in climate cause-effect. More to the point, did they also ascribe the cooling decades in the 20th century to human activities?

    Oh….they had to qualify that they cannot rule out that some significant part of the temps boost isn’t caused by natural variability. How about most. Maybe all. Fact is, they can’t rule out “most” or “all” either. And there is no mention of solar variability nor the fact that global warming is now observed on Mars too. Is that because I drove to Phoenix, too?

    Paragraphs like that, undoubtedly written by a committee, do nothing to upgrade my confidence in organizations as “deciders” about what’s true and actionable, or not.

    Phil

  • avatar
    Bob Beamesderfer

    213Cobra,

    Something becomes a pollutant when it exists unnaturally in large enough quantities to be harmful.

    At very low concentrations, lead, cadmium, MEK, uranium and other naturally occurring compounds are not harmful. That doesn’t mean that they’re aren’t poisonous. We are made up of and need water, but people die of water intoxication.

    As for whether man has caused the increase of CO2, how else would you explain it? Trees? Considering the deforestation of the past 300 years, that’s not the answer.

    “This idea that CO2 is a pollutant has resulted in some interesting distortions. The global warming panicked are often holding the mistaken assumption that a brand new SUV with an LEV or ULEV rating is more polluting than a 10, 15, or 20 year old Volvo that couldn’t hope to match the cleanliness of what comes out of a new Escalade’s tailpipe.”

    But those distortions are based on a misunderstanding of the big picture of pollution caused by internal combustion engines. That doesn’t mean that CO2 in excessive amounts isn’t bad. And I’ve never met ANYONE who thought that any car from 20 years ago polluted less than what’s made today. Fuel economy isn’t the only factor in reducing tailpipe emissions and, whether they understand the technology or not, most people rightly believe that newer vehicles pollute less. Of course the 30 mpg car is better than the 12 mpg truck, but that’s always been true.

  • avatar
    Bob Beamesderfer

    Addendum:

    Of course the 30 mpg car is better than the 12 mpg truck, but that’s always been true.

    Given the same level of engineering. I don’t want to suggest that the 12 mpg ’67 Corvette pollutes less than the 12 mpg heavy duty pickup of today. And that pickup probably produces more hp and torque than the ‘vette. Therefore, making it more efficient vehicle.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    So I see that the now the discussion has morphed from the “climate change is debated (even though we can’t prove it)” paradigm to a new position, namely “the majority doesn’t know what it’s talking about (even though it studies the topic in great detail and has the credentials to back it up.)”

    Forgive me if that shift in position looks even weaker than the last. I’d like to know why the NAS, AMS, etc. are not allegedly credible, and what justifies giving the occasional skeptic one-hundred fold more weight than I would to the mainstream organizations whose views reflect the position of many, and not just one or two people.

    The logic behind a reject-it-if-its-popular-for-the-sake-of-it argument is sorely lacking. The mainstream position may ultimately be proven wrong — for the sake of mankind, I sure as hell hope so — but it is clear that belief in the climate change hypothesis is currently the mainstream body of thought, and there is no good reason at the moment to believe that it will be proven wrong.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Read the report that I provided a link for in my previous post and then please respond.

    Your report was just that — a report. It was not subject to peer review. Why not?

    Incidentally, it was commissioned by Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), a noted climate change skeptic who used to work for ARCO.

    And if you look at a graphic that compares the temperatures calculated by McIntyre (the former mining executive who wrote your report and runs the website that you’ve cited) and the MBH98/99, the result is largely similar. While McIntyre may dispute the methodology, his actual conclusions on the data itself are not substantially different.

    So I don’t see how you’ve established much of anything. You’ve hung your hat on a non-peer-reviewed report, sponsored by a Congressman who came out of the oil industry, that reaches conclusions that are largely similar to the data that it attempts to refute.

  • avatar
    213Cobra

    Bob,

    We don’t know the limits of earths ability to support human population. Circa 1970 Paul Ehrlich believed we were already past the limit, yet here we are almost 40 years later and the world is richer, with more food, more energy, more production and more people than ever before.

    But we do know this: The single most effective population control strategy ever developed is wealth. Economic development drives down population growth every time, everywhere it succeeds. Current trends indicate global population will peak in this at around 9 billion century and then go into extended decline. The population drivers to environmental stress will abate no matter what is done politically. Are a lot more cars coming online in China, India and elswhere? Yup. Nothing we do is going to change that, and the impact of anything we change will decline as well. But that’s OK. The automobile is getting better, more efficient, less stressing to the environment and is on a permanent track in that direction.

    I have no objection to people choosing to drive less, or drive smaller, more efficient cars. I do object to legislation that requires it. I do object to uninformed and often unintelligent politicians mandating a shift to electric cars while most power is coal-generated and high-capacity batteries are environmentally-damaging themselves. I do object to legislation and regulation that targets private transportation before the real point of leverage which is stationary power plants. And global shipping. And I don’t want trillions of dollars in policy-making to be based on junk science and narrowly construed scientific conclusions.

    Let’s suppose for a moment you agree with me that climate change is natural. If so, then we need to organize our resources to cope. If climate change is going to give parts of the US a prolonged drought, for instance, then we should be building robust run-off capture NOW. We should be building a national water distribution system to manage the imbalance of excess one place and shortage in another. We should be changing our building codes and, where it makes sense, building seawalls. That makes much more sense than building mass transit few people will use, or prematurely junking mass quantities of trucks, sedans and SUVs for hatchback carlets. And if we tax gasoline to artificially raise its cost, do you really believe that the government that collects those taxes has a responsible plan for redeploying that massive new cache of funds?

    If you don’t agree with me that climate change is largely natural, then you might want the government to do something. Again, I say, start with power generation. Start with not electing people who live in 10,000+ square foot houses and who fly private jets to their work and campaign destinations. Get serious about carbon sequestering where you can do it the soonest. Get behind nuclear power. Push the power lobbyists aside and get real subsidies behind rooftop solar. Eminent domain 100 square miles of southwest desert and build a national solar array. Fund a comprehensive upgrade of the national grid so we suffer less energy loss in transmission of electricity.

    Whichever side you’re on, the political responses have been nonsensical and agenda-driven. My advice: for a real crisis, turn your attention to the oceans. You can begin to improve that situation right now, this day, this minute and be confident you’re actually making a difference.

    Phil

  • avatar
    213Cobra

    Pch101,

    I said plainly that what organizations say in choosing to sum up the thinking of their constituent members is suspect. I don’t trust organizations, I look for reasons to trust individuals. That’s not a majority/minority issue.

    However, majorities are often wrong. We had majority support to invade Iraq. We now have majority rejection of the decision to do so. Which one is right?

    I’ve pointed out just a few serious flaws in the anthropogenic reasoning, and a little work on your part can easily uncover supporting documentation. I mean in mere minutes. You haven’t responded to those flaws *at all*, and you plainly choose to believe the political process of organizations taking a position whether its premature or not. If that’s your orientation, I can’t change your mind about the better focus on the quality work of quality individuals.

    I’ve operated in the academic environment myself and have a dimmer view of peer review and its impact on quality, than I had hoped. Peer review has its place, but don’t suppose it isn’t political. Further, I’ve seen plenty of non-reviewed work in multiple fields that has been both credible and proven to be correct, against the tide of peer majority opinion.

    Phil

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I don’t trust organizations, I look for reasons to trust individuals.

    I see no logical reason to apply your personal bias to my or anyone else’s worldview. That’s a function of your personality, not well-grounded scientific inquiry.

    However, majorities are often wrong. We had majority support to invade Iraq.

    Let’s not compare political opinion with scientific research. Those who have concluded that climate change is valid did not grab a few soundbites from Fox News or The Nation to gather their positions, but conducted research and subjected it to peer review.

    You haven’t responded to those flaws *at all*

    In fairly short order, I eviscerated McIntyre’s much-vaunted report, and didn’t even offer everything that I could have.

    Again, I don’t understand why the skeptics have such a tough time of offering a large body of peer-reviewed work or organizational support to prove their arguments if those arguments are legitimate.

    Now I’m supposed to take your word for it that a few scientists in the minority are right, while the vast majority are wrong, just because. Sorry, but that’s not compelling and I see no reason to believe the occasional skeptic, particularly when little of what they do passes even basic sniff tests for merit.

  • avatar
    213Cobra

    Bob,

    In fact, a 30mpg 1970 VW does pollute much more than a modern 12mpg truck, Ferrari or AMG. But I suspect you know that. Unfortunately, I meet lots of people who think that their older car pollutes less than a new truck, because it’s smaller and was made by a left-approved brand like Volvo, VW or Toyota.

    To what do I assign the CO2 increase if not to man? Well, first, geo-climatological data indicates CO2 rises *after* a warming trend begins. Second, volcanic activity can affect it. Third, natural sources completely, utterly, overwhelm anything man does. The largest single emitter of greenhouse gases is the planet’s termite population. Sure, deforestation can affect CO2 levels. And yes, human-instigated combustion might register.

    The problem is that the correlation between CO2 and onset of warming is loose at best. We had a big blast of human CO2 emission during WWII and in the boom following, yet the next 30 years were cooling. Between roughly 800AD and 1300AD climate warmed to higher temps than today, yet humans weren’t numerous enough nor instigating enough combustion to be a factor. Can you see why I don’t think this issue is settled, and policymaking based on the idea that it is is premature?

    Your point about toxicity and pollution being distinctly different but sometimes the same was my point exactly.

    Phil

  • avatar
    213Cobra

    Pch101,

    OK, fair enough. Peer-reviewed work by climatologists who are light on statistics and whom haven’t even asked an astrophysicist to explain how the sun fits into this is superior to the inquiry of those who are trying for a more holistic view. Got it.

    Politicians and scientific organizations that have sealed and inured their conclusions against new information like increased solar activity also raising temperatures on Mars are to be trusted. Got it.

    Peer-reviewed work (e.g.IPCC) that chooses to ignore warming trends where human activity was not a factor, and fails to account for an observed lag between onset of warming and rise in CO2 is to be trusted above the work of those who try to reconcile such discrepancies. Got it.

    I’ve read a lot of peer-reviewed scientific work over the past 30 years. Only a fraction has proven worth acting on. But more to the point, too much of the climate change work claiming anthropogenicity reads like a rationale for a conclusion reached before the research was done.

    Phil

  • avatar
    evohappy9

    And if you look at a graphic that compares the temperatures calculated by McIntyre (the former mining executive who wrote your report and runs the website that you’ve cited) and the MBH98/99, the result is largely similar. While McIntyre may dispute the methodology, his actual conclusions on the data itself are not substantially different.

    If you paid attention when breezing through those graphs, you would have recognized that it was the purpose of MM to reproduce the results of MBH
    That is the point!!! They randomly fed red noise into the algorithm which should not in any way have affected the dataplot, but in every instance the MBH algorithm extracted the hockey stick plot. I was expecting a technical rebuttle. It is very easy to trace the money sources for your organizations also. Any comment on Tree Network PC1 – whose own authors have stated several times that the information is not worthy of a temperature proxy? Any comment on the use of flawed proxies in order to validate a flawed proxy? Any comment on MBH refusing to ammend their methodology in their calibration of the proxy data set, thus they are knowingly representing demonstrably decentered data as correct? That omission is elementary. Any comment on the professional ties of the paleoclimate community and how that effects peer reviews?

  • avatar
    evohappy9

    One more thing, PCH101 any comparison of dataplots from either side of the ideological spectrum will probably show only a .2-.3 degree Celcius difference. It is that two tenths of a degree that has the environmentalists screaming global catastrophe. And why would you so flippantly disregard flawed methodology when that is the PRIMARY determining factor in data assimilation?

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Evo, you’re missing the point. You’re attempting to use McIntyre to disprove the hockey stick theory (the temperature spike in the 20th century), even though McIntyre does not offer a calculation that disproves it.

    You’re taking one conclusion — the methodologies of MBH 98 and 99 are flawed — and stretching it to a much broader conclusion, namely that climate change is a hoax. This despite the fact that:

    -Your study isn’t peer-reviewed. (And the failure to subject it to peer review is a big deal, even if you care to downplay it.)

    -Your study was commissioned by someone who wants the conclusion to come out against climate change.

    -Your study did not actually reach differing conclusions vis-a-vis climate change.

    -Other scientists have validated the hockey stick theory independently.

    -Numerous organizations subscribe to it, after having studied it.

    You have embarked on a typical journey of wishful thinking. First, you find a theory that fits your ideology; then, you uphold any little example that agrees with you as evidence of your correctness, even if there is a vast majority of other information that contradicts it, and even if the information that supports it has not be subjected to the basic tests of sciences, such as peer review.

    That’s why I don’t find the skeptics to be credible, the agendas seem to be ultimately political and economic in nature. I’m sorry that you find peer review to be such an, er, inconvenient truth, but I have no reason to ignore its importance just because you’d prefer that I did.

  • avatar
    Bob Beamesderfer

    “213Cobra:
    June 10th, 2007 at 5:33 pm

    Bob,

    In fact, a 30mpg 1970 VW does pollute much more than a modern 12mpg truck, Ferrari or AMG.”

    That’s what I said. Go back and read, carefully.

  • avatar
    evohappy9

    PCH101,
    I do not believe that I ever denied a rise in late 20th century temperature, nor has MM. This discussion is about whether or not that rise was actuated by anthropogenic factors.

    -Your study isn’t peer-reviewed. (And the failure to subject it to peer review is a big deal, even if you care to downplay it.)
    I was asking you to set aside your presuppositions and think about the information presented at face value and nothing else.

    -Your study was commissioned by someone who wants the conclusion to come out against climate change.
    A large majority of the organizations that you are fond of recieve their funding from politicos whose intentions are the inverse.

    -Other scientists have validated the hockey stick theory independently.
    It has been clearly demonstrated that the validations came from those who are closely associated with MBH, thus having the same self interest at stake. Statistically, it has also been shown that because of the limited number of peer reviewed publications on temperature proxies that it is highly probable that the same proxies were recycled over and over again in support of themselves.

    –Numerous organizations subscribe to it, after having studied it.
    MBH’s associates are the primary movers in these organizations. People whose professional careers depend on global warming. Look at those organizations and their departmental structure along with their subsequent funding. Take the anthropogenic global warming funding away and many of the departments will whither away altogether – and many of the organizations will have rather light pockets.

    You have embarked on a typical journey of wishful thinking. First, you find a theory that fits your ideology; then, you uphold any little example that agrees with you as evidence of your correctness, even if there is a vast majority of other information that contradicts it, and even if the information that supports it has not be subjected to the basic tests of sciences, such as peer review

    With due respect PCH101, there is not a single piece of evidence that goes beyond inference that conchatenates man to global warming. All of the evidence that you speak of regarding an increase in temperature is just that – evidence of an increase in temperate. There is nothing even approaching the realm of evidence that suugests a cause. Even the IPCC (albeit in microscopic print)admits the their claim to CO2 is a product of association because they refuse to acknowlegde cosmic/solar activity and so are left with nothing else. To me, without evidence, to take two correlating systems that superficially appear to materially interact and for political and economic purposes hyper-disseminate demonstrably false data and claims in order to marshal support for an imaginary problem that will entail great sacrifices from the people to achieve a remedy is diabolical.

    I do not so thoroghly disrespect the peer review process as you seem to beleive that I do. If you take my comments into consideration, you will understand that my problem is that of all of the scientific disciplines paleoclimatology is the most cloistered, and per force the most unaware of what is transpiring in competing fields of science. Especially those fields pertaining to physical and chemical processes whose understanding or inclusion would be an incalculable asset to paleoclimatology. For a science that draws so heavily on other disciplines for everything it does I regard its practitioners as suspect when they volitionally separate themselves from those disciplines – primarily because simple physics and chemistry
    tend to point away from anthropogenic causes.

    It’s a shame we could not meet on more common ground.

  • avatar
    Bob Beamesderfer

    “If you don’t agree with me that climate change is largely natural, then you might want the government to do something. Again, I say, start with power generation. Start with not electing people who live in 10,000+ square foot houses and who fly private jets to their work and campaign destinations. Get serious about carbon sequestering where you can do it the soonest. Get behind nuclear power. Push the power lobbyists aside and get real subsidies behind rooftop solar. Eminent domain 100 square miles of southwest desert and build a national solar array. Fund a comprehensive upgrade of the national grid so we suffer less energy loss in transmission of electricity.”

    Phil, that’s too logical. :^) And certainly power generation is a huge culprit in various kinds of pollution. Nuclear could very well be the answer. I like the odds of solving radioactive waste storage better than those of doing nothing and hoping we’re not a couple of decades away from catastrophic changes.

    However, I don’t believe that human population growth has zero impact on the environment. Had the early environmentalists not pushed for change, imagine where we’d be today. Los Angeles, for examble, would be barely habitable. Still, while there hasn’t been a Stage 1 smog alert in several years, childhood asthma continues to increase on a per capita basis. Of course having fleets of school buses that run on diesel seems like a bad idea, but the electorate would rather build prisons than fund education. After all, what value do we get from rewarding teachers that we can’t get from paying a higher salary to an ever-increasing number of prison guards? But I digress.

    The choice of erring on the side of caution vs. declaring that we can’t prove to EVERYONE’s liking that the Earth’s climate is going bad seems pretty easy. Besides, the free-marketeers are always saying how revolutionary ideas are what creates jobs and wealth. Why would they oppose the creation of a market in which they could flourish? Don’t tell me they suddenly care about the source of their wealth.

  • avatar
    213Cobra

    Bob,

    I didn’t say that population growth has no impact, only that the fix is already in. Proliferation of wealth will max out population. In the meantime, that wealth will raise global per-capita energy use. Nothing will stop that, it’s only a matter of what kind of energy is consumed.

    I’m not anti-environmental. I agree, the circa 1970 movement and its gathering political momentum in the 60s led to a more sustainable Los Angeles, for example. I live there. For a lot of people, the Cuyahoga river catching fire in 1969 was the symbolic tipping point that things had to change. What I take issue with is worrying that human-instigated combustion as an environmental problem for its carbon release.

    Asthma incidence in children, by the way, is traced in part to excessive use of anti-microbial cleaners in home environments in middle and upper-class families, and to insect infestations in poor households. Micro-particulates also play their part, so diesel buses and trucking certainly isn’t helping. But a good part of this problem is traceable to misguided practices by parents.

    I have no objection to free marketers and entrepreneurs forming or steering businesses to capitalizing on global warming sentiment. If it spurs more choice in cars and fuel types, great. But political coercion and incentivization is a problem. For instance, a reaction to the climate change hysteria is subsidy for bio-fuels. So we end up with a tidal wave of new corn growing, which is both water-intensive and petroleum-intensive and deeply polluting to fresh water, to in the aggregate make a tiny — truly tiny – reduction in CO2 (or maybe none at all) hoping to fix a problem we don’t even know we’re causing. Stupid.

    Politicians attempting to mandate solutions generally get things wrong. From attempts to force electric cars to unwarranted taxation of fuels to corn subsidies to CAFE, they just keep making the wrong choices. It’s interesting that Brazil, which has developed relatively responsible sugar-cane based ethanol supplies to the point of being able to export, is not allowed to send its fuel here at free market prices. We’d rather legislate a home-grown corn solution that is harmful in every way except farm employment.

    If Tesla develops a successful 300 mi range mass market electric car, fine. Just don’t believe it has no environmental impact if power comes from coal plants and battery disposal isn’t dealt with responsibly. If the Smart car becomes appealing as a local chariot in multi-car households, fine. But don’t be surprised if the injury and fatality rates for those drivers is higher than average. If motorcycle sales rise, fine. Good and bad will come of it. The market forces are in play.

    But if you really want to reduce CO2 from cars within 5 years, build road capacity in congested areas to keep traffic moving. Not a chance the CO2 fearmongers will get behind that. Replace archaic traffic signal systems in cities for modern traffic flow management. How about buying new cars for poor people who are running the 10% clunkers generating over half of our automotive pollution? How about embarrassing Mercedes S Class drivers into something lighter and more efficient instead of only targeting SUVs, some of which are more efficient.

    Show me the climate change crowd isn’t politically-motivated, and is inclined to prioritizing their programs reasonably, and I might respect their sincerity if not their understanding of the available facts.

    Phil

  • avatar
    JuniperBug

    First of all, it sounds to me like a lot of this debate is running around in circles:
    “There is no debate that human activity causes global warming.”
    “Yes there is. Here are some credible scientists who hold opposing views to the establishment.”
    “But just a few oddballs don’t prove anything. The established viewpoint is the valid one. No one argues it.”
    “Yes, they do. Here are some more examples.”
    “There is no debate.”

    Uh… we’re up to 16 pages. I’d say there most decidedly is a debate, to say the least. As for which side is presenting their case with more logic and more convincingly, I’d say it’s the so-called minority. But what do I know? (Answer: when it comes to this topic, very little.)

    So I’d like to veer off course a bit with my own question towards all the governments and “Ban cars because CO2 emissions will end the world” lobbyists:

    Why is it that so much time, effort and money is put into trying to develop a halfway viable electric motor/battery system for cars, when all most trains in North America are still run on oil, despite the fact that electric train technology is simple, reliable, completely established, and has proven to be economically viable the world over?

    Answer me that question, and I’ll be one more stop towards being convinced that there aren’t other agendas at play here.

    Or should I skip the optimism and get straight to the point: electric car technology is paid for by the private sector, while implementing electric rail systems would require outlay by the governments?

  • avatar
    geeber

    Bob Beamesderfer: didn’t prove mikey’s points at all and my argument stands: Rich people are not demonized nearly as often or as much as you or he contends.

    That wasn’t what the original argument. Here is what he said, and your response:

    Yes indeed bob beam it is about spreading the wealth. Read and listen to the media it allways rich corps. and rich people that are the bad guys.Its always the poor and downtrodden who are on the recieving end. Thats what sells”

    And your response was: So, simply reporting facts is the same as advocacy in your mind.

    Since you characterize his original statement as “reporting the facts,” and his original statement said that, “the poor and downtrodden are always on the receiving end, and the rich people are always the bad guys,” you did NOT merely say that rich people are less demonized in the media than poor people.

    You said that rich people are always the bad guys, and the poor and the downtrodden are always on the receiving end. You, after all, characterized his original contention as “simply reporting the facts.”

    So, my point still stands…based on your own words.

    Bob Beamesderfer: Neither are all poor people held blameless. Ever watch “Cops,” or do you prefer to divide the media pie to the convenience of your arguments? Yeah, I thought so.

    As I said in my original post, my wife teaches school in a poor neighborhood, and I work with these issues – including government programs aimed at the poor – so we don’t get our facts regarding the underclass from watching Cops.

    If forced to watch a reality police show, I prefer America’s Scariest Police Chases.

    Bob Beamesderfer: Second, Warren Buffett is neither liberal nor does he actively, publicaly back any of the causes you mention.

    Bono – the lead singer for U2 – has been quite public in his support for aid to Africa. I would wager that he is probably as well known for that cause as he is for his music career.

    The mainstream media tends to favor more aid to Africa, with few exceptions (such as John Stossel of ABC), even though there are real questions as to its effectiveness.

    And Warren Buffet has publicly stated that he will give his fortune away, as he doesn’t believe in large inheritances.

    This is his right – it’s his money – but that is the position that tends to be favored by the mainstream media.

    Bob Beamesderfer: But he contends that rich people are always being slammed by the media. Lay was rich and got richer by cheating shareholders and his own workers. His misdeeds got him a lot of TV time. So, is that the kind of rich person he thinks is being unfairly portrayed?

    Nowhere does he say that Ken Lay is representative of rich people. And Ken Lay tried to make shareholders rich – of which he was one. He committed crimes while doing so, and was prosecuted, and would have been punished, had he not died before the sentencing.

    Bob Beamesderfer: I’m asking him the questions and you presume to answer.

    It’s a free site, so I will answer whichever posts I wish.

    Bob Beamesderfer: As for visiting your office in the PA Capitol, next time I visit my parents I might do that. That is, if you have the courage to use your real name.

    Very few people use their real name on this site, so there must be lots of uncourageous posters, by your definition.

    You can e-mail me if you wish, and I will not only give you my name, but also my office number, and we can set up a meeting.

    But until I write an article for this site, I will not use my real name.

    Bob Beamesdefer: Still, while there hasn’t been a Stage 1 smog alert in several years, childhood asthma continues to increase on a per capita basis.

    Which tells me that pollution does not cause asthma, as pollution has been decreasing for several years now, ESPECIALLY in southern California.

    As an asthma sufferer who wants answers based on facts, not an ideological axe to grind, I would suggest that we look at the promising theories regarding insufficient exposure to allergens and plain old dirt among infants as the cause for increasing cases of allergies and asthma.

    This lack of exposure fails to “prime” the immune system, which means that it goes haywire when exposed to normal substances (pollen, etc.).

    Granted, this isn’t quite as sexy as blaming the auto industry or Exxon, but it seems to be the more logical theory, given trends in pollution levels and incidence of asthma cases, along with a knowledge of what really happens during an asthma attack.

    Bob Beamesderfer: Of course having fleets of school buses that run on diesel seems like a bad idea, but the electorate would rather build prisons than fund education.

    If there was a correlation between level of education expenditures and crime rates, Washington, D.C., would be one of the safest municipalities in the country. It has one of the highest levels of education expenditures per student. It is most definitely NOT one of our nation’s safest municipalities.

    For that matter, Philadelphia would be safer than many municipalities in southcentral Pennsylvania, as its school district spends more per student than those school districts. Which is not the case.

  • avatar
    evohappy9

    Or should I skip the optimism and get straight to the point: electric car technology is paid for by the private sector, while implementing electric rail systems would require outlay by the governments?
    I’m sure our eco-friendly environmentally concerned government would find some way to transfer the cost to their ever so destructive constituents.
    You are correct, our locomotive technology is, how should we say, quite unrefined compared to our European counterparts. It would be interesting to compare the extent to which we are reliant on trains to convey finished/unfinished goods and raw material compared to the Europeans. I think that data would determine whether or not a wholesale conversion of our locomotive fleets would be worthwhile, economically or environmentally.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Uh… we’re up to 16 pages. I’d say there most decidedly is a debate, to say the least.

    Yes, there is a debate in places such as this and on political forums, where agendas trump research.

    But this debate isn’t happening where it really counts, i.e. among those who actually study the topic. They may differ on the nuances, the degree to which it is happening and whether much can be done about it, but there is no controversy in the scientific community about either climate change or humans contributing to it.

    The fact that it is the amateurs who are debating it while those with expertise tend not to bother should strongly suggest that it may be the amateurs who are missing the boat. Let’s not confuse public opinion with informed research.

  • avatar
    JuniperBug

    So all the published works cited so far on the topic are all made up?

  • avatar
    Pch101

    So all the published works cited so far on the topic are all made up?

    As was noted earlier, many of the skeptics’ pieces, such as the McIntyre article referenced and dissected above, were not subject to peer review. So these tracts of the skeptics were not subject to the reasonable level of scrutiny required of published scientific work, and can be deemed to be less reliable.

    There is a whole host of literature flying around the internet of varying levels of accuracy. That may be OK for chitchat at the local coffeehouse, but it isn’t good enough for published scientific work.

    We should ask ourselves why folks such as McIntyre can’t get this sort of work in a mainstream respected journal with the peer review that one would expect. Based upon the rebuttals I’ve seen about it, I gather that failure is due to the fact that the McIntyre article has some serious flaws.

    The irony is that the research McIntyre attacks was subject to much more scrutiny than was his own work. If he really cared about having credibility in academic circles, where it counts, then he should have subjected it to the same level of peer review, so its credibility wouldn’t be suspect. And since he didn’t bother, it would behoove you to ask yourself why he would want to avoid the same level of analysis.

  • avatar
    PerfectZero

    The fact that it is the amateurs who are debating it while those with expertise tend not to bother should strongly suggest that it may be the amateurs who are missing the boat. Let’s not confuse public opinion with informed research.

    Thank you, this is exactly my point earlier. Debate at this level just gets people pissed off and is about as useful as a 10 year old debating investment strategy.

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    evohappy9

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    Robock, A., and H. Li, 2006. Solar dimming and CO2 effects on soil moisture trends, Geophysical Research Letters, 33, L20708, doi:10.1029/2006GL027585.

    Copsey, D., R. Sutton, and J. R. Knight, 2006. Recent trends in sea level pressure in the Indian Ocean region, Geophysical Research Letters, 33, L19712, doi:10.1029/2006GL027175.

    Scafetta, N., and B. J. West, 2006. Phenomenological solar contribution to the 1900–2000 global surface warming, Geophysical Research Letters, 33, L05708, doi:10.1029/2005GL025539.

    JuniperBug,
    These articles represent but a small fraction of “peer reviewed” officially published research that offer information to the contrary of popular media spin. I could easily sit up all night posting “peer reviewed” publications to the same effect.
    Allow me to interject with some critical information that has been conveniently omitted. In 2004 MBH were forced to publish a corrigendum because of the objections raised by MM. In the scientific community it is considered a grave humiliation to have even to consider the release of a corrigendum, let alone to actually complete one.
    Further, what is even more fantastic are the objections raised against the works of MM. Mann & clique contend that MM have simply misunderstood their PCA’s!!! This is after Mann has refused on several occasions to release the official MBH98/99 data sets thus ensuring an inability to “understand” exactly what their processes were or to replicate them. It is interesting to note that all of this started when McIntyre simply wanted to observe whether or not there was a “hockey stick” in the raw data. What has transpired since can be considered nothing less than burlesque. Each time Mann sent McIntyre a data set different information altogether was sent. Moreover, clearly the information that was sent had ben tailored to respond to the PCA algorithms in a specific manner. Mann claimed that he couldn’t find the original data used to make the calculations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The worlds governments are legislating policy from a report created from data that has been lost and subsequently cannot be reproduced!!!!!!????? Are we in middle school? That is still his position today. Subsequently, one cannot read any critique of McIntyre’s methods by one of Mann’s associates without them claiming that McIntyre used the wrong data sets, or PCA formula which is the reason that his results are at variance!!!!! Then supply the correct information so your model can be reproduced!!!!!!!

    I will also ask you to consider whether or not any objection to MBH methodolgy has been met? This is crucial because the methodolgy is what soley determines the interpretation of the data. There have been some exceptionally strange comments given as rebuttles concerning the methodology of MBH98/99 and MM’s critique of it. This decidedly show’s a lack of comprehension of the content of the said dissent. What scientific circle requires a counter theory to disprove an existing theory, or a counter formula to disprove an existing formula??? Weird. I mean that’s
    w-e-i-r-d. What is required is to relate either empirically or mathematically the corrupt nature of the theory/formula(I use that word to cover anything dealing with equations). With Mann’s PCA code, it has been indisputably proven to go “data mining” for “hockey sticks”. As PCH101 did not understand when he pointed out the similarity of the results between MBH and McIntyre as some sort of vindication of Mann’s work, the similarities in fact have the opposite meaning. Mann’s PCA’s are so rigged to data mine that totally random data sets can be plugged in at different time intervals and a “hockey stick” shape will still appear. That is a mathematical fact that not even Mann’s colleagues can refute. They revert to the argument against McIntyre previously stated.

    The question of the methodology used is all important – global warming alarmism depends on there not having been a detectable Medieval Warm Period/Holocene Optimum in order that the recent rise in temperature appears as a radical and unnatural anomoly that can be explained only by the coincidental increase of CO2/greenhouse gas emissions in recent years. When in fact, it is unlikely that the earth is warmer now than it was 1000 years ago. It is not hard to find ice core/sediment core/continental shelf core sampling data. So dont’t let someone belittle those who are searching for a comprehensive answer and solution as hacks. Demand a defense of the methodolgy. There is no one in the scientific communtity that will elide or ignore the importance of methodology as some have done on this site. Agree or disagree with global warming, the methodology of MBH98/99 is indefensible. Mann’s colleagues dont’t even try and they simply resort to attacking MM personally. Don’t allow someone to tell you that you are an idiot layman so don’t even try to understand the permutations of this discourse. Don’t have such a low opinion of your own abilities. If you are a layman, well then acquaint youself with the subject. Most of paleoclimatology is nothing more than a memorization or a familiarization of terms. Just about every published study in every area of climatology is available on the web. If you have a background in physics or chemistry you will be well on your way.

    Ask yourself one final question; does a legitimate mathematical demonstration cease to exsit or lose its validity because it hasn’t been peer reviewed? Also, for yourself, research the interconnection of cliques in the area of peer review for the paleoclimate discipline and how it differs from all other scientific disciplines.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I normally like to avoid finger pointing here, but I have to wonder whether the lengthy list above was some sort of attempt to obfuscate by providing so much content that the author would hope that no one would bother to verify it.

    I’ll indulge by discussing this one cite: Robock, A., and H. Li, 2006. Solar dimming and CO2 effects on soil moisture trends

    For anyone interested, here’s a copy of the article: http://climate.envsci.rutgers.edu/pdf/Dimming2006GL027585.pdf Here’s a bit from the introduction:

    Our results suggest tropospheric air pollution plays an important role in land water storage at the regional scale, and needs to be addressed accurately to study the effects of global warming on water resources…

    …Potential soil moisture changes from global warming, especially desiccation in growing seasons, are a grave threat to food security on which human society relies.

    Yep, you guessed it: Roback is not a skeptic at all! Just in case you had any doubts, this is a bit of his testimony to a Senate committee hearing:

    I agree with the conclusions of the 1995 IPCC Working Group I report that “the balance of evidence suggests that there is a discernible human influence on global climate.”…

    …The evidence which supports a human influence on climate includes observations that the concentrations of “greenhouse gases” which are produced by human activity, especially carbon dioxide, are increasing and that these gases warm the surface by enhancing the natural greenhouse effect. These facts are undisputed.

    (You can find this and his academic work on his website here: http://climate.envsci.rutgers.edu/robock/testimony.html)

    I’m just curious to how Roback would appreciate being described here as a climate change “skeptic”, even though his academic work and congressional testimony suggest exactly the opposite. And I have to wonder who else on this list has been included whose name doesn’t belong on it.

  • avatar
    evohappy9

    I don’t believe I labeled anybody a “skeptic”. No, I didn’t. Yes, Roback has provided several congressional testimonies in favor of anthropogenic global warming. The articles represent published works that provide technical data that is decidedly “un-alarmist” irrespective of the “conclusions” expressed by the authors. On almost every one of the articles in question a media report can be found that has overstated the provided data. It’s the numbers that we want here. It has been shown that arctic/antarctic warming is considerably less substantial than what is generally reported. More is being understood about the centennial/decadal movements of ice flows ect… The numbers are not nearly as extreme as reported. So PCH101, don’t jump the gun.

  • avatar
    213Cobra

    As is usually found when debating anthropogenicism with global warming alarmists, the logical fallacy of attacking the source prevails as the standard rejoinder to dissenting information.

    Phil

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I don’t believe I labeled anybody a “skeptic”.

    In the previous post, you stated that “These articles represent but a small fraction of ‘peer reviewed’ officially published research that offer information to the contrary of popular media spin.” Which, given your position, implies that the authors deny man made climate change.

    A bit of research showed that this assertion was not only wrong, but the exact opposite of the truth.

    So let’s take another bit that I’ve chosen at random: Cook, A.J. et al., 2005. Retreating Glacier Fronts on the Antarctic Peninsula over the Past Half-Century. Science, 308, 541-544.

    This article does not refute the climate change hypothesis at all. Rather, it claims that climate change is causing glaciers in areas of Antarctica to melt.

    Furthermore, David Vaughn, one of the authors of the article, also supports the belief that humans contribute to climate change. In a 2005 interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, he claimed that “human activity and the gases that we’re putting into the atmosphere are raising the global temperature, and a lot of people talk about global warming.” (He does go on to say that the subject is more complex than that, but he still asserts the role of man in climate change.)

    So that’s two people who have been tossed into the “skeptics” camp above, yet who don’t belong there. If I keep this up, am I going to find more?

  • avatar
    evohappy9

    PCH101,
    There are myriads of published works that support a change in temperature within the last 15 years. That is why I posted those titles!! Isn’t that what I said???? The second piece you read is one of them!! The argument is whether or not the change is anthropogenic. I will restate my statement – the numbers given in these studies are considerably less severe than what is generally reported upon in the media and also against the backdrop of reports that were published before. And guess what, every report ever written on this subject will only be capable of supplying you with an assumption on this matter. Even the IPCC states that the quantifiable level of uncertainty is higher than 3. In case you don’t know, that’s a large number for an uncertainty factor.

    If you reference articles in the media, just read the headlines of plague and famine and decimated cities. Yes, once again, these articles do run contrary to general media spin as I stated. I still can’t find the word “skeptics” in my post.

    All that these authors can do is suggest. That’s it. It’s like speaking to a wall. Once again, what did I say?? These articles were supplied for their TECHNICAL DATA and not the highly colored conclusions reached by the authors. Please tell me that you understand there is no way that Cooks observational data accounts for anthropogenic factors. An Opinion is being expressed as a conclusion that cannot be upheld by any mathematical or physical certainty.

    Allow me to save you some time. All of these studies in some way provide technical data for variations in temperature – sometimes an increase, sometimes a decrease. Since I cant’t be too sure with you – I did not and do not claim skepticism in any of these works.

    Once again, we are back to methodology. Explain to me why it necessarily follows that a rise in temperature implicates man as the cause of it?

    I do not believe that I have contorted your words and taken such liberties with them as you have with mine. You took very straightforward statements then strapped yourself to a runaway train. If, in the future, you have concerns with what you believe to be the tenuous, or in this case by your implications, the deceitful nature of something I have posted I would appreciate you inquire with me first about my intentions before going for the harpoon. Maybe I could clarify a poorly stated comment. If then you still do not merit my intentions then you have permission to harpoon away. As before – don’t jump the gun.

    Anyway, tomorrow, er…much later on today, if you want to continue the conversation that would be great. We can go over the technical data and its relevance to what is reported by the media and also the implications of regional impact and how anyone could possibly know whether or not these changes have happened before – or whether they are permanent and to what effect?

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Evo, for the sake of anyone still interested in this thread, let’s assess what has just happened here:

    -You’ve provided a lengthy list of articles that allegedly support the climate-change-is-not-man-made argument

    -I’ve taken two articles on your list, and shown that they do NOT support that argument. The first of those articles specifically blames air pollution for climate change in its first few paragraphs, while the second was written by a climatologist who has gone on record as stating that climate change is man made.

    So, given this, your list isn’t looking terribly accurate, which makes me wonder how you compiled it and whether you actually read anything on it. It also makes me consider whether you’ve tried to fatten up the list by adding articles in the hope that no one will see that they don’t actually belong on your list.

    Let’s face it — when you are trying to claim that these articles support the skeptics position, even though one of them blames humans for climate change within the first few sentences, then all of us have to question your credibility on this topic.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    OK, I can’t help myself — I’ve decided to review a third article and its author on Evo’s list: Shindell D. T. and G. A. Schmidt, 2004. Southern Hemisphere climate response to ozone changes and greenhouse gas increases. Geophysical Research Letters, 31, L18209, doi:10.1029/2004GL020724.

    This article essentially says that methane may be a greater contributor to the “greenhouse effect” than had been previously thought. It does not assume a position against man-made climate change.

    Furthermore, its author Drew Shindell believes that climate change is man-made. This is what he said before a House of Representatives committee last January:

    The Earth as a whole in unquestionably warming, and virtually all climate scientists believe that the evidence regarding a human role in this warming is clear and compelling. Multiple lines of evidence based on measurements, theory, and computer modeling support these conclusions. Observations of the oceans, glaciers and ice sheets, the atmosphere, and ecosystems all show that the impacts of climate change are already being felt. The scientific evidence indicates that the Earth is now warmer than at any time during the last 1000 years, and probably warmer than at any time during the last 5000 years.

    So again, how does this article or author — one that you have cited as being representative of your position — support your argument that climate change is not man made? Clearly, the guy who actually did this research holds the exact opposite position. And he acknowledges that among his peer group, there is little disagreement that climate change does come from human activity.

    Article summary: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/NasaNews/2004/2004100617707.html

    House testimony:
    http://oversight.house.gov/documents/20070130113315-90082.pdf

  • avatar
    ex-dtw

    That’s the funny thing isn’t it. The surety of people in causality in the face of basic limitations to its proof.

    Show me the control. Otherwise, let’s work on improving efficency and developiong that next piece of transformational tech without shutting down the worldwide economy.

    Because increasing energy costs will have an expicit cost today, not some intangible, disputed, and forecast cost tomorrow.

  • avatar
    jdv

    “Vehicle-induced global warming is a fact because a lot of scientists say it is– even though a large number of reputable scientists say it isn’t.”

    As Al Gore would say – Name them. Can you cite any RECENT papers at all from a respected non-political source? The scientific establishment is almost unanimous at this point, except for studies that have been paid for by someone that clearly has something to gain one way or the other.

  • avatar
    jdv

    “How far back to acurate weather records go 150 yrs maybe 200?
    Show me some good data going back 20,000 yrs,maybe then we can make a good call on this.”

    Actually, ice cores taken from the arctic can show the CO2 levels millions of years ago.

    Given the possible consequences on our grandchildren, are we so selfish that we are willing to risk it? Would our lives be so disrupted if we had to suddenly start making cleaner power, and driving less poluting cars? Would that be so bad? Can’t we even start to examine the best ways to do this? Is there any argument to continue polluting that isn’t selfish?

    Our grandchildren will curse us for the massive debt we left them, and for the different world they will inherit based on our selfishness.

  • avatar
    Bob Beamesderfer

    “Yes indeed bob beam it is about spreading the wealth. Read and listen to the media it allways rich corps. and rich people that are the bad guys.Its always the poor and downtrodden who are on the recieving end. Thats what sells”

    And your response was: So, simply reporting facts is the same as advocacy in your mind.

    Since you characterize his original statement as “reporting the facts,” and his original statement said that, “the poor and downtrodden are always on the receiving end, and the rich people are always the bad guys,” you did NOT merely say that rich people are less demonized in the media than poor people.

    You said that rich people are always the bad guys, and the poor and the downtrodden are always on the receiving end. You, after all, characterized his original contention as “simply reporting the facts.”

    So, my point still stands…based on your own words. “

    Geeber, you’ve twisted this into knot. I did NOT characterize his statement AT ALL. Asking a question doesn’t qualify as characterizing anything. His statement is that the news media ALWAYS bash the rich and excuse the poor. My response is to ask whether or not he considers the reporting of FACTS, such as the Enron scandal, to be bashing the rich.

    I have no idea how you could say that I was characterizing his statement when what I did was ask him to define his contentions more clearly. The word “always” is absolute in its meaning. So, I asked if under his contention that rich people were always portrayed as bad included when rich people broke the law.

    “Which tells me that pollution does not cause asthma, as pollution has been decreasing for several years now, ESPECIALLY in southern California.

    As an asthma sufferer who wants answers based on facts, not an ideological axe to grind, I would suggest that we look at the promising theories regarding insufficient exposure to allergens and plain old dirt among infants as the cause for increasing cases of allergies and asthma.

    This lack of exposure fails to “prime” the immune system, which means that it goes haywire when exposed to normal substances (pollen, etc.).”

    First, Smog alerts are issued based on hydrocarbon and ozone levels, particulates are not part of the equation.

    Second, Diesel particulates are a proven cause of childhood asthma.

    Third, since the 1960s, the number of diesel-powered fleet vehicles had increased as a percentage of all vehicles on SoCal roads up until many of the public transit agencies and other fleet operators, such as Waste Management, converted to CNG.

    “If there was a correlation between level of education expenditures and crime rates, Washington, D.C., would be one of the safest municipalities in the country.”

    I’m not making any such correlation. I’m stating the fact that in this state, the electorate barely pays any attention to how much is spent on prisons, while school bond measures often struggle for passage. It’s only the past two years that average citizens have found out just how powerful the prison guards union is.

    As for D.C., it’s also one of the most heavily policed cities. That doesn’t automatically make it safer either. Police presence is a starting point; effective policing is how crime rates are lowered.

  • avatar
    dolo54

    A few more editorials about climate change and TTAC’s server’s might crash due to insane amount of posts. I wonder if anyone’s opinion on the subject was changed in the slightest… hmmm agree to disagree?

  • avatar
    Lokkii

    Wow! 18 pages of this!

    I suppose it’s a little late to ask my question:

    Exactly why is global warming considered to a bad thing? It happened before and the impact was good. Europeans were able to grow more crops and it was possible to sustain a large population in Greenland.

  • avatar
    ex-dtw

    JDV

    Would our lives be so disrupted if we had to suddenly start making cleaner power, and driving less poluting cars?

    Your life might not be but that is not the point. I think for the person who drives the $200 beater because he can’t afford a “clean” vehicle that his life might be disrupted. Or how about the rural peasont in a developing country that needs to get his produce to market. Adding a couple of hundred dollars of cost to the vehicle might not seem such a burden to us but to him it might just mean the difference between making it or not.

    If things things are out of whack it is because the costs are not properly assigned. That is where all of this should begin – cost-benefit!

    Let’s just lay out both (honestly) and see where that gets us.

  • avatar
    Claude Dickson

    RF:

    1) Global warming is the raising of the earth’s temperature by human activity

    2) By definition, global warming as the term is understood is man-made

    3) It’s also pretty clear that vehicular emissions contribute to global warming

    4) How much is due to car? Not clear, but probably a significant proportion

    5) Should we address it? I guess that depends on your point of view and where you live. Places like Greenland see global warming as presenting advantages. But it does seem from everything I’ve read that you are accelerating climatic changes without fully knowing the outcome which could be very dangerous.

    6) Controlling vehicle emissions is seen as part of the answer, but certainly not the whole answer (and perhaps not even the best answer)

    7) This is perhaps the toughest question because it assumes you know how much would be enough to reverse human activity and I seriously doubt anyone has the answer to this one.

    But overall, I’ve seen very little by credible scientific sources that question the existence of global warming and the overall question is not nearly as fuzzy as you suggest.

  • avatar
    Claude Dickson

    Justin:

    I heartily agree with your perspective on the discussion. It’s part of what makes finding any solution to global warming next to impossible.

  • avatar
    Luther

    Excellent Discusion Guys! I am throughly impressed!

    Formal training in Scientific Method and Reality Reckoning cannot be more appearant. Without study of math/calculus, physics, chemistry you will be forever trying to figure out *WHO* to believe instead of *WHAT* to believe. You will be forever relying on an External Authority instead of using the authority of your own mind…This is bad.

    On a personal note: If I have no choice but to give up 1/2 my income in taxes, I would want people like 213Cobra to spend it.

  • avatar
    Luther

    In the Brave New World of government-sponsored scientism, our physical servival is at stake. What is our Ruler’s end-game with this crap? I reckon it is:

    1. To control/enslave/rob us further (an envy-ridden laggard’s wet-dream)
    2. To starve-off perhaps 1/3 of the world’s human population (a hard-core environmentalist’s wet-dream)
    3. to push us toward nuclear power (my dream…My wet-dream is Anna Kournikova…I digress)

  • avatar
    evohappy9

    PCH101,
    Wow, are you serious? I will ask again before I begin – Are you serious?

    With each successive thread your attempt to pin me becomes more desparate and ill concieved. Has a single word I have posted in my previous threads concerning these titles registered with you?? I am asking because you go on and on as though an explanation of these postings was not given. You resort to a now familiar formula where all TECHNICAL DATA in the study is disregarded in favor of foundless assumptions on AGW expressed by the authors. That demonstrates that if you did read these reports you simply did not understand them. Before I go on to elucidate the crushingly apparent significance of the studies in question and why they are more than relevant in context to the reasons stated in my post, let us first deal with your manner of argumentation.

    First, you have not countered any technical objection with anything approaching mathematical, chemical or physical demonstrations. You continually revert to – because a bunch of people/organizations say so. Have you not realized yet that every time these authors and their organizations express a positive statement concerning the effects of AGW they are operating entirely off of speculation and conjecture?? Are you aware that they have nothing more than a correlation of two independant systems on their side for “evidence”?? Yet these authors and organizations are at pains to slip in fly blows rearding the primacy of AGW every chance they get. Why is this important you ask? It is important because whether or not you support or deny AGW their method of dissemination of this idea is about as unscientific and unilaterally agenda driven as can statistically be achieved. Are you telling me that you intellectually have no problem with their constant claims of AGW in studies whose field of research is so narrow as to not include in any way the recording or observaion of anthropogenic forcing factors? With nothing more than coincidence on their side they slip in a reference to athropogenic forcing. The Robock study (which we will review in greater detail in a moment)if you care to notice, assumes without reason, method or fact that the CO2 is anthropogenically forced for his model – but with interesting results. That is the case with most GCM’s and CFR’s. There are many factors such as cosmic/solar rays, cloud cover and water vapor that have far stronger chemical and physical calculations/theories behind them that far surpasses the legitiamacy of any half cocked conjecture on anthropogenic forcing. Yet, in these very GCM/CFR models, these factors are either non-existant or have been given so little statistical account as to render their presence in the model meaningless. But, as a SOP to those who wish to believe this is cutting edge science, the authors love to let you know how objective and thorough they are by stating that other factors “could” be involved. The supreme irony is that they are none the wiser as to the statistical primacy of A-N-Y of these factors including anthropogenic forcing. These authors, as are their organizations, are under considerable pressure from the agenda driven institutions from which they recieve their funding. There is no other explanation for their actions as their manner of presentation to the public so completely defies the structure of scientific method. Even if they are correct their actions are inexcusable.

    If you reference articles in the media, just read the headlines of plague and famine and decimated cities. Yes, once again, these articles do run contrary to general media spin as I stated. I still can’t find the word “skeptics” in my post.
    Do you remember me posting this statement????? Good then, let’s continue.

    Cook, A.J. et al., 2005. Retreating Glacier Fronts on the Antarctic Peninsula over the Past Half-Century. Science, 308, 541-544.

    Now answer me this—how far does one need to search media archives to find stories of massive Antarctic glacial receding? Since you have insisted that I haven’t read the articles I will respond by stating that you didn’t even read the TITLE of this one. PCH101, what is the key word is in this title? Give up? Peninsula maybe? News agencies around the world posted stories regarding the content of this study when it was released – and for what?? Read the alarmist headlines. Most of them neglect to mention that the Antarctic Peninsula comprises about 1.98% of the Antarctic land mass. Why is that important you ask? Because you know very well that the media has represented it in their headlines as a wholesale melting of the Antarctic. Why did I supply the title? Isn’t it obvious by now? It is a recorded FACT that slightly over 65% of the Antarctic land mass has been cooling for the last 35 years while the remainder has experienced equilibrium. This is also coming on the heels of NASA’s announcement regarding their findings that “Satellites Show Overall Increases in Antarctic Sea Ice Cover”. But wait, it get’s better when you include the fact that it has been recorded for at least three decades that the Penninsula has been warming. The result ot anthropogenic forcing? You decide. It gets even better yet when you take into consideration that the cooling of the primary Antarctic land mass defies all GCM predictions!!! So, allow me to reiterate as I have done several times now – I posted this title because it is a perfect example of how TECHNICAL DATA is either disregarded or mendaciously presented by the media. If you read the report you will not find any alarmist DATA as I have so many times stated.

    Robock, A., and H. Li, 2006. Solar dimming and CO2 effects on soil moisture trends, Geophysical Research Letters, 33, L20708, doi:10.1029/2006GL027585.

    Oh brother, this is so absurd that I actually have to explain these things. OK – on to Robock. PCH101, answer me this – how far does one have to search in order to find media sources that quote topsoil dessication as a primary consequence of AGW? Isn’t that one of the strongest claims made by the alarmists? Is’t that one of the much vaunted famine and disease scenarios – topsoil dessication from anthropogenic CO2 forcing & solar dimming? Now PCH101, if you read the report you will find that Alan and Haibin noticed that in many Russian/Ukranian test stations during a period where topsoil dessication should have been observable, as predicted almost unanimously by the GCM’s, there was actually a rise in topsoil moisture. Go figure! In spite of the GCM’s, Robock claims this was not a suprise because “The reported upward summer soil moisture trends for many Former Soviet Union stations are consistent with the decrease of pan evaporation around the same period for the same region, as pan evaporation can be thought as a direct measurement of the atmospheric evaporative demand.” Also, “Both ground-based observations and satellite measurements reveal a widespread reduction of solar irradiance from 1950s to 1990s and a gradual recovery afterwards, known as the ‘global dimming’ phenomenon. Increasing atmospheric aerosol loading from rapid industrialization is believed to be the culprit.” Note, how Robock without calculational foundation assumes the effect of anthropogenic forcing if CO2. But that’s okay, because for the sake of my point his results were very intersting. If you can follow his technical discourse you will immediately recognize that his findings were notably inconsistent with GCM (and alarmist) predictions of dessicated topsoil layers from increased CO2 concentrations. Robock then demonstrates in his model that by “forcing” CO2 instead of dessicating the soil there is actually an increase in moisture!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I will leave it to you to actually go back and read the study. Some of his closing statements are rather interesting; especially his stated uncertainties regarding anthropogenic forcing. It appears to me that the DATA and findings in this study are perfectly alligned with my stated reasons for posting this title.

    Now, to sum up. Far from myself not having read these studies, it certainly appears that A)if you read them at all, you did not comprehend the technical content or B)if you did read them and comprehend the technical content then you once again sought to misrepresent not only the technical data, but my intention for posting these titles as you deliberately evaded placing the technical data in the context of my stated claims, which definitely seems to be a recurring theme with you. Furthermore, I absolutely guarantee that for every provided title there is a corresponding distortion, misrepresentation or outright falsification of the technical data by an influential news source. There is also an expanding body of recent work, like Robock’s, that, although AGW is still maintained, are revealing the grave inconsistencies of early alarmism.

    If you wish to continue to superficially gloss over the reports in total denial of my stated claims for having posted the titles you’re on your own.
    This is my last post on the subject.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Evo, for the sake of the readership and my desire to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome, I’ll try to be brief —

    -Above, you provided an extensive list of articles that were intended to support your contention that climate change is not man made

    -I selected three articles at random. One of them specifically states that climate change is caused by humans in its opening paragraphs. The other two did not refute climate change theory, plus its authors are noted for claiming that climate change is caused by humans.

    I’m sorry, but that result — we all know what happens in baseball to a hitter who misses 3 out of 3 — makes your representations look pretty bad. The articles you’ve chosen don’t make the arguments that you’ve claimed that they’ve made, so I’d say your list doesn’t do a very good job of establishing your position.

    I’m not going to keep reviewing your list, as I expect that it will just end up being more of the same, i.e. your articles won’t back you up. I’m just curious — where did you get this list from in the first place?

  • avatar
    LAcommuter

    Many news stories today are in regards to the price of gasoline at the pump. People complain that the oil companies are getting rich off the high prices, so then to advocate increased gas taxes, those dollars would then go to the government. Does that mean the oil companies are off the hook for the price of gas? Catch 22 here.

    With respect to climate change, the data isn’t enough to prove that human action is THE CAUSE. Granted it might, that’s right – might, have an influence, but how does that compare to solar activity, or to geologic activity. Yes, volcanoes put out “greenhouse gasses” too. How does the lack of SUVs factor into the Medieval Warming Period? Greenland wasn’t just a catchy name to attract settlers. How about the “Little Ice Age?”

    It’s far too easy to jump onto a bandwagon simply because it’s trendy. Look at the facts, just as it was said earlier in this thread, since the theories are based on computer models they are certainly error prone – “garbage in, garbage out.”

  • avatar
    Pch101

    With respect to climate change, the data isn’t enough to prove that human action is THE CAUSE.

    I’m not sure why this statement is continually restated, when it is not at all accurate:

    -Firstly, the vast consensus among scientists studying climatology is that climate change is both real and caused by humans.

    -Secondly, nobody knowledgable on the subject claimed that humans were the only cause, so it’s a strawman argument to claim that this argument is being made.

    -Thirdly, to the extent that climate change may have additional causes does not change the position that humans are one of the causes, and are a significant contributor among those causes.

    I don’t see peer reviewed work as being trendy. What is trendy is the wishful thinking that resorts to relying upon non-peer review work and gross misstatements about the results of mainstream research in order to defend the skeptics’ position.

    We’ve already seen papers cited here that were identified as supportive of the skeptics’ position, even though they were offering views that were quite the opposite. It’s the willingness of the skeptics to stretch the truth that seems trendy, not mainstream science.

    Over the last three decades, scientists have evolved their position to one of skepticism to one of acceptance. That position may take time to penetrate the moat around the GOP, but the research remains what it is.

  • avatar
    213Cobra

    Claude,

    1) Global warming is the raising of the earth’s temperature by human activity

    No. Global warming is just warming of earth’s climate, whatever the reason. Global warming has occurred before without measurable human input. It is merely climate change in a warming direction. The entire debate here regards whether our currently observable warming trend is caused by human activity, and then if so, whether enough of it is our fault to warrant any action solely spurred by such a conclusion. And then whether any chosen action is worth the economic and ethical consequences.

    2) By definition, global warming as the term is understood is man-made

    No, see above. If you are correct about GW being “understood as…”, then accept that we are talking about climate change.

    3) It’s also pretty clear that vehicular emissions contribute to global warming

    What’s clear is that vehicular emissions contribute to global annual carbon contributions to the atmosphere. We also know that all contributors dwarf human activity and further dwarf vehicular emissions. It’s not clear that those carbon contributions are doing anything causal to climate change, or that they are a significant driver toward catastrophic result.

    4) How much is due to car? Not clear, but probably a significant proportion

    Estimates vary, but the automobile contribution is maybe 14 percent of the man-made component of CO2; total transportation contribution estimates range from 1/5th – 1/3rd. You can dig for your own preferred estimate. Almost any number is available. But these are what I’ve averaged from my reading. BUT, that 14% is 14% of 3 – 6%, which is the range of estimates I’ve seen for total human CO2 contribution. So in total terms, the automobile’s contribution is globally quite minute.

    5) Should we address it? I guess that depends on your point of view and where you live. Places like Greenland see global warming as presenting advantages. But it does seem from everything I’ve read that you are accelerating climatic changes without fully knowing the outcome which could be very dangerous.

    I think we have to get to the point of agreeing that addressing it at all will have *any* meaningful impact whatsoever on a natural phenomenon. However, I do agree that there are other reasons for developing more efficient automobiles, which are not time-sensitive.

    6) Controlling vehicle emissions is seen as part of the answer, but certainly not the whole answer (and perhaps not even the best answer)

    In my view, the latter. IF you believe climate change is man-induced, the car is not the place to start nor the place to drive meaningful impact the soonest. And anyway, automotive efficiency is already improving without government intervention. Even a new 6.2L Escalade delivers more power and burns less fuel than the last one.

    7) This is perhaps the toughest question because it assumes you know how much would be enough to reverse human activity and I seriously doubt anyone has the answer to this one.

    If you DO believe climate change is anthropogenic, reversing human activity isn’t much of a weapon. We are finally getting the world we (the US) wanted after WWI & WWII, which is a world of expanding wealth and a greater stake for all nations. This is exactly what the combination of 66 years of American internationalism, open markets and billions in trade deficits were sustained for. We have 2 countries with populations of 1+ billion people that have reached developmental ignition. They are going to grow no matter what. Russia will find its footing. Brazil will progressively industrialize. Africa will want to find a way. These places are not going backwards, and they’re not going to grow without boosting the carbon load instigated by humans. Forget about “reducing human activity.”

    Meanwhile, Europe, Japan and Russia will demographically shrink. The US, Canada, Australia will grow in population and their technical foundations will drive growth more efficiently, just as we have seen here since the 1970s. Since the ’73 OPEC embargo, we drive a percentage point of GNP growth on about half the energy we did then. The SUV thing of the past 10 years is a surge, a blip. Every vehicle class is getting more efficient, except perhaps AMGs, M series, Ferraris, Lambos, Maybachs, Bentleys, and Toyota trucks. (If the EU and Japan were truly serious about this, might they forbid their car companies to expand into efficiency-regressive sectors? Noooo…..gotta grab while the grabbing’s good in North America!) Per capita energy use here will abate even if the govt nannies keep their hands off.

    If you DON’T believe climate change is anthropogenic, then we can calmly go about the already-extant business of diversifying energy sources, replacing appliances and vehicles with more efficient ones on a normal duty cycle, reducing real toxic pollutants, tend to the oceans, and build the coping infrastructure for gracefully handling warming. And you know what? If it doesn’t materialize beyond the kind of experience mankind has already had with the Medieval Warm Period, we’d still find a national water capture, banking and distribution network useful. We’d still have traffic moving more freely in congested areas if we built selective road capacity. We’d still have major coastal cities better protected against storm surges. We’d still see the market and technical forces steadily making the automobile environmentally less intrusive. And we wouldn’t be in as much danger of electing a new wave of knuckleheads to office on single-issue politics drummed up by egocentric elitist boobs who still won’t like you living your life your way for other reasons no matter how this turns out.

    But overall, I’ve seen very little by credible scientific sources that question the existence of global warming and the overall question is not nearly as fuzzy as you suggest.

    Scientific literature and scientists are numerous that/who challenge the notion of anthropogenicism. However, the politicized vetting process in organizations and the complicit fear-mongering of mainstream media, plus the self-interested demagoguery of some politicians has severely narrowed the perception of people like you regarding what’s “credible.” I’m not sure what to do about that.

    Phil

  • avatar
    jl1280

    Seems to me that the discussion of climate change is at exactly the same point that Galileo was at the end of the 16th century when he had some preposterouuuuuus idea that the earth wasn’t actually the centre of the universe or some crazy thing like that. Wasn’t he just looking at the data trying to make some sense of it all, but quickly found out that those in the know sure didn’t appreciate his nasty subversive thoughts. …Now back to climate change. (And for those who can’t contribute to a peer reviewed journal don’t forget, you are still quite welcome to read them.)

  • avatar
    dkulmacz

    Wow. Wow. My head hurts now.

    I’ve read through just about every post here. Or tried to. Tough going.

    I can’t say I have a strong opinion on this subject. I just don’t know, because all I’ve heard comes from the spinmeisters.

    However . . . I must say that of the two sides here, the ‘arguments’ put forward by PCH are by far the LESS compelling. Cobra et al seem to be referencing the data and perhaps the methodologies in their posts. PCH however seems to only fall back to consensus and peer review. Oh, and also who funds what. Those just seem like the type of arguments that you make when the data doesn’t really support you.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    So let’s understand your argument, dkulmacz: You’d like us to believe that the people who actually conduct the research and complete the credible studies on the subject don’t know enough about what they’re talking about to draw the correct conclusions about what they’ve studied.

    That’s what the skeptics want us to believe, namely that the scientists who dedicate their professional lives to studying this stuff haven’t got a clue what they’re looking at, while amateurs who are interpreting it without the education or expertise have a better grasp of it. If that isn’t wishful thinking, I don’t know what is…

  • avatar

    Pch101: you’ve done a beautiful job trying to convince these skeptics. I’ll be surprised if you d convince the skeptics. In my expeience, people who have made up their minds on something, particularly when there’s a strong emotional compoenent, for whatever reason, are very hard to reason with. (I know I weighed in on this much earlier. It’s hard to resist.) However, you’ve probably pursuaded people who hadn’t previously made up their minds. Great job! David

  • avatar
    KixStart

    1) In fact, despite assertions here to the contrary, the IPCC did look at changes in solar input. The conclusion was that it’s minor (.12 watts/m**2) when compared to the CO2 effects (1.6watts/m**2). They didn’t ignore it or dismiss it, they evaluated it and integrated it.

    Apparently, however, I’m supposed to believe that the IPCC would deliberately overlook insolation in an effort to foist their “agenda” on an unsuspecting public. Not so much here on TTAC but this theme is rife through the Internet and talk radio.

    But what do the researchers who made up the IPCC have to gain? They fly. Have cars. Families. And so on. They live in the industrialized countries. Where’s their payoff if all these things are to be demonized by the IPCC?

    2) Whether or not the increase in CO2 is related to human activity is something I had once wondered about myself. How does one prove this? It turns out to be relatively easy – isotopic analysis. CO2 that’s “current,” part of the natural cycle of living things, has a certain proportion of certain isotopes of Carbon (and this is the foundation of the the idea of radio-carbon dating). C in the biosphere is continually being turned into certain isotopes by radiation at a predictable rate. When this C gets buried, this conversion process stops and it reverts back to a more stable isotope at a predictable rate.

    Analysis of atmospheric CO2 apparently reveals that about a fourth of atmospheric CO2 – or about equal to the increase since the early 1800s – is the result of burning fossil fuels.

    And this is a pretty simple calculation, so you’re not going to see too many papers on it; once someone had the idea, it was easy enough to do the measurement and then one paper was probably enough to settle the question once and for all.

    The world is a complex system; it could be that the IPCC is wrong, that other forces are at work, even that the world has mechanisms that will protect us from ourselves.

    But I wouldn’t bet on it. It seems to me to be the height of folly to believe that 6 or 7 billion people, harnessing technology to their own ends (a thing which animals and plants can not do), can not profoundly influence their environment. All populations expand to use up their resources and then some and the resulting population collapses can be cataclysmic. This is high-school biology.

    We are the only animal with enough brains to look down the road and use collective wisdom – if we choose – to change our own future and avoid catastrophe. But I don’t think we will.

    Earlier, someone mentioned that transportation is the low-hanging fruit. That is certainly true to some extent. It’s certainly wasteful enough. We routinely use 5,000 lbs of SUV to transport less than 300lbs of meat – er, people. How crazy is that? If I must move a 300 pound piece of equipment around the office, I use a dolly which weighs less than 100 lbs.

    Would I miss my car if there were credible alternatives? I don’t think so. It’s hellatiously expensive. Edmunds’ TCO for most new economy cars is $.44/mile and up. A Hummer? $.98/mile.

    Most of the time, driving isn’t even any fun. When you’re stuck in traffic, are you whistling a happy tune? Are you happy to be alive and stationary on I-95? You can’t watch TV or read (although, I must admit, some do… and shave, eat, take notes while on the phone…). Without FM radio, I do believe I’d go insane. And my commute is short.

    We can’t build roads fast enough to handle the congestion. Deciding what and where to build and who gets the money is a giant political game and never seems to get handled fairly. Minnesota alone has a backlog of a $billion or so in desperately needed major road projects, without considering issues like bridge replacement. The disruption of the new road construction itself is maddening.

    Whenever we do build a new major road project, we usually kill some neighborhoods in the process.

    And reliance on the car kills mobility for the poor. The public transportation infrastructure does not exist to help them get jobs and/or education. The poor remain a drag on society. I’ve looked at using public transportation myself and, around here, it’s a bad joke. If you live in the suburbs and work downtown, 9 to 5, you probably have some optoins. Outside of that, you’re screwed.

    Never mind the poor. How often do the kids need a ride here or there? We spend a lot of time behind the wheel, carting them around town before they turn 16 and, once they do turn 16, we buy them a car (or they divert college money to their own car), so we don’t have to drive them around any more. Why? There’s no alternative! And, developmentally, 16 is a bad age for kids to be driving. There WILL be accidents and you’re just hoping they’re small and you can cover them out-of-pocket.

    Oil imports enrich dictators and terrorist and further tilt our balance of trade to the red.

    Given this confluence of factors, why not do something different and more efficient?

    Not that transportation policy is any different from any other energy-related policy. Carter urged us into the “moral equivalent of war” on energy back in the late ’70’s. Apparently, nobody volunteered for that mission.

    Half – perhaps more – of the housing stock around here has been built since the ’70’s. We were slow to pick up on even the most basic of improvements (like 6″ walls), which add relatively little to the cost of a new home. A few extra per cent added to the cost of the house (or a reduction in size of a few per cent) could have made an enormous difference in the energy demand of each house and the region in aggregate. Solar hot water and/or solar heat, which are fairly low-tech and fairly well understood since the ’70’s, or even careful attention to passive solar gain and landscape siting is fairly well non-existent, except for the homes of a few weird-oh Greenies.

    Sprawl continues (a major reason there’s no public transportation – the population density is so low as to make it difficult to operate effectively and profitably). We convert farms into tract housing at low density – more every year. Gott have that full acre lot. Wny? Are Americans so repulsive that we don’t want to live near them?

    We vote with our checkbooks (or revolving credit) to satisfy our immediate wants and vanities and give little thought to the future. Which is very strange because most of us become parents and should have a tremendous interest in the future.

  • avatar
    213Cobra

    KixStart,

    The IPCC’s period for evaluating insolation was — as is true for the rest of their study — quite short. Did they estimate solar role from the solar constant or measure irradiance at the surface? Has the relationship between cosmic ray intensity, solar winds, solar output and cloud composition been fully factored in? Did they fully factor in water vapor content? Not with the same rigor they claim for the greenhouse gas research. The report seems quite weak and not thorough in considering solar, cosmic and other natural factors. And since the IPCC report was released, data trends from Mars indicate global warming there, too. Is that coincidence or does it point to a causal tie between a phenomena observable on two relatively closely-spaced planets and the neighborhood’s primary energy source? We can’t say yet, but that’s certainly new information that suggests questioning older assumptions. I don’t even hear AGW contenders open to it.

    There must be an error in your contention that isotope differences indicate 1/4th of atmospheric CO2 is from burning fossil fuels. Climate change alarmists publish estimates of man’s annual contribution of greenhouse gases as a share of all contributors as being 3% – 6%. That range is amazing itself for its imprecision, but in any case, “our” carbon doesn’t last longer in the atmosphere than nature’s. Up to 6% annual contribution won’t translate to 25% atmospheric CO2 contribution unless you can make the case that carbon from fossil fuels persists longer than carbon from natural sources. The planet’s ecosystem emits carbon dioxide in vast quantities and it absorbs vast quantities to maintain a varying balance. How would CO2 concentrations from human-instigated combustion climb to 25% of all atmospheric carbon if annual contribution is under 6%?

    I don’t think skeptics of alleged anthropogenic global warming doubt that human activities contribute to some measurable increase in CO2 concentrations. What we do doubt: that the human contribution drove the .7 degree 20th century boost, or that it will drive climate change into the anticipated hockey stick that alarms people; that greenhouse gases are unmitigated by other factors; and that the data or the science or both are sufficiently sophisticated to be relied upon to be actionable with high confidence in the consequences of actions taken. You can’t expect to win over skeptics when your response to obvious natural aberrations from your theory are dismissed, ignored or papered over as inconvenient to the conclusion you’re selling. Intensity and ocean transit paths of some recent storms are only alarming to the young or those who have short memories. It’s been warmer before without the industrial age’s carbon release. Big slices of the 20th century cooled in the midst of a carbon buildup. The model being sold suggests we ought to be warmer than we are if human carbon release is the problem. Equally certain science that projected a global cooling crisis was wrong in the 70s, despite equally alarmist scientific vehemence that the crisis was real. Glaciers in various areas have been in further retreat in the past. Ice is melting in some places while accumulating in large areas elsewhere. Etc., etc. We know politicized research reporting when we see it and it’s reasonable not to be so trusting.

    As I’ve written earlier, there certainly are good reasons to burn less oil and coal. But on a per-capita basis we’re headed toward doing that anyway in advanced countries. Let’s accept we have a warming trend. We don’t know how long it will last, nor what its magnitude will be. Let’s not hand over individual liberty or national sovereignty to a control cabal because of politicized science. Convince me it’s not politicized and there’d be a better context for credibility. But that would require AGW believers to factor in the aberrations, accept the skepticism, and to desist from simply declaring “the debate is over” because Al Gore has 2,000 scientists in his pocket.

    What do researchers have to gain by sounding a trumped up alarm? I’m not worried about researchers as individuals. There are plenty of researchers who think the idea of anthropogenic global warming is myth even if they accept anthropogenic CO2 contribution. And plenty who believe it’s a problem. What skeptics are concerned about is the political layer of “deciders” that chooses an organizational stance and editorially distorts expression of (incomplete) scientific observation, then the media magnifiers who mindlessly amplify any message that can be manipulated to create a measure of audience dependency, and then the governmental political layer of permanent bureaucrats and legislators who reflexively pounce on every little worry as reason to regulate, tax, reallocate and spend. Not to mention the Blame America and Blame Man crowds that coalesce around everything that looks troublesome about the world. Every individual researcher I’ve ever spoken with about this face-to-face has either disagreed on AGW or has said that it’s too soon to know whether the regulatory mania gathering steam is the right response. Again, I trust logic and individuals whom I can vet, not organizations.

    The cost of energy is, as always, going to change choices people make. If you’re concerned about carbon, I don’t think transportation is the low-hanging fruit. The number of vehicles in use globally is approaching 1 billion and will grow well beyond that over the next few decades. That fleet turns over slowly. In the US alone, there are about 43,000,000 used car purchases per year, against roughly 16,000,000 new. Stationary power plants are the place to begin if you believe in AGW. Further, with the right incentives, you can improve energy efficiency in homes within a few years. Transportation is the long wave. The only serious near-term impact you can have is by idling the fleet some of the time, or using it much less. Mobility is the lifeblood of wealth, and wealth reduces population growth and increases capacity for green living and and reduced disease.

    If Congress and every state legislature took an indefinite vacation tomorrow, your next vehicle is bound to be more efficient if you buy in the same class as what you drive now, or smaller. Maybe even bigger. But power firms aren’t going to quickly implement widespread carbon sequestering without a push.

    Here’s what we get from alarmism: Ill-conceived CAFE regulations that reduce choice and fail to meet objectives, nevertheless raising cost. Taxes that don’t return citizen benefit and increase regulatory drag. Idiotic subsidies for biomass that veer the agri sector into fertilizer- (read petrochemical), fuel- and water-intensive non-food corn-production for ethanol. Blind refusal to build road capacity that would keep traffic moving in growth areas (oh sure, much better to spew pollution and waste fuel at idle rather than reduce same at speed near an engine’s peak efficiency). Etc., etc.

    Over the next 30 years, the automobile will be receding from the environmental equation, just as it has over the last three decades, and there will be bigger fish to fry. You could be sequestering carbon from thousands of coal plants within 5 years, rapidly expanding private and commercial solar power adoption, and building water capture, storage and distribution projects for much greater impact and preparedness.

    On the evidence presented so far, I am not willing to drive a trillion+ dollars shift in policy consequences, coerce poor countries into needlessly persistent poverty, and hand over a substantial slice of individual liberty to cynical political elites who believe they can live your life better than you can, and who will act on that arrogance without making changes themselves.

    In short, yes it is quite believable that researchers have missed some causal phenomena, and it’s believable that they willfully ignored what they can’t explain because promoting an idea became more important than understanding whether it’s true or not. It’s believable that a preconceived sense of urgency about driving action limits the depth and scope of research and understanding of data gathered, in the time allocated before publishing.

    The EU tipped the politics of its hand during the Kyoto negotiations to bring the US onboard, so their agenda is tainted. The UN’s credibility on almost every issue they’re involved in is unfortunately compromised. The “global warming is us” contingent looks for an oil industry connection behind every skeptic. If climate change researchers who believe global warming is anthropogenic want to convince skeptics, they have to change their approach from the selective emotionalism of “Inconvenient Truth” and the browbeaten claim that the debate is over.

    Phil

  • avatar
    Pch101

    There are plenty of researchers who think the idea of anthropogenic global warming is myth even if they accept anthropogenic CO2 contribution.

    Yet when asked to name these researchers and their research, we end up with papers that weren’t subject to basic standards such as peer review (invariably commissioned by oil companies and others with agendas).

    In the alternative, we end up with bogus lists such as the one provided by Evo above, which is filled with references to papers that weren’t written by skeptics at all, as claimed.

    So this list filled with “plenty” of researchers is really very short. I can’t see any reason why I should be convinced by the skeptics, particularly when they routinely avoid subjecting themselves to the same degree of scrutiny as does the mainstream.

  • avatar
    213Cobra

    PCH,

    Sorry, I don’t maintain a reference list, but that doesn’t mean I can’t help you out.

    If you have a politicized process and gang behavior deriving from groupthink, and a reverence for peer-review, you end up with a constricted view of published evidence of dissent on an issue, including this one. And you miss the unpublished thought stream. Peer review has noble aims but is no guarantee of truth. It can as well wind up an enforcer of belief, unfortunately, before the facts are in and understood.

    http://downloads.heartland.org/20861.pdf

    The link above reports results of representative study of climate scientists (and only climate scientists) on their beliefs regarding many of the questions raised here. If you only look at the pie charts, you will miss much of the nuance that further sharpens the lack of consensus. It shows that when scientists are insulated from groupthink pressures, there’s less consensus than you and Al Gore contend.

    As for lists of papers, you’ve already demonstrated that you’re unable or unwilling to distinguish between documents submitted for the utility of their contained data, and the public positions of their authors in other venues.

    http://downloads.heartland.org/18869.pdf

    The link above leads to a paper that openly expresses its authors’ skepticism that currently-observable climate change is anthropogenic. You probably won’t like it, but it is a data-driven document, not a polemic. The list of reference articles and papers in the appendix contains a wide variety of sources containing data that undermines certainty in the AGW idea, even if some of the authors express different conclusions. I’ve read a large percentage of them, but not all, yet.

    And yes, both document links come from an organization that has taken the position that global warming is not a crisis worth a dramatic shift in public policy and expansion of the regulatory state. Their bias is free market solutions to most problems, including GW if it is a problem. Unlike GW alarmists, this organization is happy to be driven by information, they just aren’t convinced. Focus on the data. The AGW story doesn’t add up as actionable.

    Phil

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Peer review has noble aims but is no guarantee of truth.

    The logical leap — the lack of peer review is superior — puts you over a cliff and into a great logical abyss.

    Posting yet another political tract, as you have above, only substantiates the points made earlier — your side lacks credible research that withstands the sort of scrutiny that is typical within the scientific community.

    The skeptics material is meant to appeal to laymen, business interests and politicians, not academics. It’s always ultimately a political argument, rather than a scientfic one.

  • avatar
    213Cobra

    This just in:

    http://uwnews.washington.edu/ni/article.asp?articleID=34106

    It turns out that glacier retreat on Kilimanjaro, one of the icons for AGW emotionalism, isn’t carbon related at all. What are the chances we’ll see Gore re-edit “AIT” and issue a correction to the press?

  • avatar
    Pch101

    It’s interesting to see how the skeptics are so adept at picking-and-choosing what they want to see, while conveniently ignoring whatever is necessary to affirm their positions.

    Here’s a quote from the article from one of the researchers you’ve cited in the article:

    There are dozens, if not hundreds, of photos of midlatitude glaciers you could show where there is absolutely no question that they are declining in response to the warming atmosphere

    It’s astounding that you could claim that the article debunks climate change, when one of the researchers is quoted as making the preceding statement.

    The researcher did not dispute that climate change was occurring, but that it did not apply to this single circumstance. And you wonder why I find these amateur online skeptics to be so lacking in substance…

    Your conclusions are as faulty as this “logical” statement:

    -Mainstream researchers claim that DWI is allegedly a contributing factor to many car accidents

    -Yet I have found evidence of an accident in which alcohol and drugs were not a factor

    -Therefore, DWI is never a contributing factor to collisions.

  • avatar
    213Cobra

    Reference:
    Hammel, H. B., and G. W. Lockwood, 2007. Suggestive correlations between the brightness of Neptune, solar variability, and Earth’s temperature, Geophysical Research Letters, 34, L08203, doi:10.1029/2006GL028764.

    Summary Link:
    http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2007/05/08/neptune-news/

    Earlier I mentioned that since the IPCC report was published, it’s been found that Mars is warming too. Forget Mars. How about Neptune? Well, it’s reflectance has been getting brighter since 1980.

    Go to the link and gaze at the graphic data showing the lockstep correlated rise in Neptune photometry, solar irradiance, solar UV flux, and earth’s mean temperature change. Correlation isn’t necessarily cause, although the mimicry of the curves is remarkable here, but you can’t explain the correlation with industrialization, either.

  • avatar
    213Cobra

    Pch,

    You don’t read thoroughly. I didn’t cite the Kilimanjaro study as proof that global warming doesn’t exist — although it might be an indicator. I posted the link to show that the emotional iconism of the AGW proponents is frequently incorrectly grounded, yet I’m certain this example won’t be withdrawn from Gore’s dramatic film masquerading as a documentary.

    It’s the messaging that reveals the politics. AGW proponents cherry pick as much as anyone, but they often don’t confirm their science before doing so.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Earlier I mentioned that since the IPCC report was published, it’s been found that Mars is warming too. Forget Mars. How about Neptune? Well, it’s reflectance has been getting brighter since 1980.

    Yet another faulty logical construct.

    You’d like us to believe that because correlation and causation are not always linked, we should go further and conclude that correlation and causation are never linked.

    Again, this is the sort of approach that makes me skeptical of the skeptics. All of the faulty analogies and straw man positions have to make we wonder what’s driving this whole pursuit. Every time that we peel away at this flawed fruit, you respond by lobbing a different lemon.

  • avatar
    213Cobra

    The Coming Global Cooling?

    http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2007/03/16/the-coming-global-cooling/#more-228

    The paper underlying this summary is peer-reviewed. What can be done about a couple of renegades when a consensus is already baked?

  • avatar
    213Cobra

    Pch,

    You’d like us to believe that because correlation and causation are not always linked, we should go further and conclude that correlation and causation are never linked.

    I didn’t say that anywhere in my text, nor imply it. However, you can’t explain warming on Mars and Neptune, correlated to increase in solar output as well as to earth’s temperature curve, on human industrialization. You might still be able to explain rising temperatures on earth as related to human industrialization, but the multi-planet/solar data ought to at least raise a question whether you should, and press a researcher to re-validate his AGW conclusion in light of newer, more macro, information.

    Again, this is the sort of approach that makes me skeptical of the skeptics. All of the faulty analogies and straw man positions have to make we wonder what’s driving this whole pursuit. Every time that we peel away at this flawed fruit, you respond by lobbing a different lemon.

    I think the lemon here was yours. You lobbed a rejoinder that misrepresented my post.

    Phil

  • avatar
    KixStart

    213Cobra: What’s in the atmosphere and why:

    Isotopes Track CO2 Sources

    You also asked how our contribution could make up 25% if our annual contribution is only 6%. I expect that, especially in light of deforestation, we’ve outstripped the planet’s capacity to maintain a balance. That will lead to compounding.

    The physics of this are very simple, the heat-trapping effect of CO2 has been known for a century. Simple caution suggests that we think twice about what we’re doing to the planet and consider alternatives.

    The naysayers would rather focus on Gore than the science (in re the Kilamanjaro “icon”).

    One of your Heartland articles “openly expresses the author’s skepticism [that] global warming [is] anthropogenic.” The author is Robert Ferguson. This Robert Ferguson?

    Tell Me About Robert Ferguson”

    That article reminds me, in tone, of Creationist’s attacks on Evolution. They like to carefully pick and choose what they present to make a case. Curiously, dismissal of Evolution and dismissal of Global Warming go hand-in-hand in the politics of the Christian Right.

    As for the EU tainting things, I don’t believe it. From what I can tell, most researchers set a premium on getting things right. You don’t become Immortal by proposing the wrong theory, even if it enjoys moderate popularity for a few years. The Truth will out.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    However, you can’t explain warming on Mars and Neptune, correlated to increase in solar output as well as to earth’s temperature curve, on human industrialization.

    So we’re back to revisiting your faulty analogy yet again.

    Again, no one claimed that humans were the only cause of climate change, just a substantial one that can impact the overall result. No one with credentials in this area is claiming that there are no additional factors or that temperature change can’t occur elsewhere for a variety of reasons.

    To embrace skepticism with gusto, there seems to be no alternative but to adopt a tunnelvisioned view that ignores virtually all of the research and the conclusions of the researchers, to rely upon a smattering articles that are almost always paid for by industry and are not subjected to review and to construct a field of straw man arguments to “bolster” the position.

  • avatar
    213Cobra

    KixStart,

    The possibility that carbon release by man’s activities is outstripping the planet ecosystem’s ability to absorb is an explanation for rising CO2 concentration, but why should “our” carbon accumulate while natural carbon gets reclaimed from the atmosphere by plant-life and the oceans? Once “our” carbon is in the mix, the mix should assimilated — or not — at the same rate.

    As a third party having observed this continuing debate for years, and sometimes participating in it, I repeatedly note that the charge of cheery-picking data to make a case is bandied about by both sides. And then there are the attacks on sources, rather than attention to the data or logic. I don’t really care whether Ferguson got an oil industry grant, for this is no more tainted than global warming alarmists getting grants from government and non-profit sources that already made up their minds there is an emergency. It’s the data and logic that matters, and Ferguson is making sense in raising the doubts in his papers.

    The EU showed the politics of their hand back in the 1990s during the Kyoto discussions. They were plainly looking to put as much drag on the US economy as possible, at a time when we were vaulting ahead on almost every front. Again, I have confidence in individuals I can vet, but I do not have confidence in political entities that roll up the contributions of individuals into a generalized position that is often as not inconsistent with what the constituent individuals believe.

    Phil

  • avatar
    213Cobra

    Pch,

    So we’re back to revisiting your faulty analogy yet again.

    Again, no one claimed that humans were the only cause of climate change, just a substantial one that can impact the overall result. No one with credentials in this area is claiming that there are no additional factors or that temperature change can’t occur elsewhere for a variety of reasons.

    Nowhere do we hear the proponents of the idea that the current global warming is induced by mankind claim that man is the minor driver. IF EVER we heard someone from the global warming alarmists camp say something like, “earth’s climate is warming due to natural cycles and it appears that anthropogenic carbon release may exacerbate the trend,” there’d be far less distance between the parties in disagreement. If I am a scientist whom has measured climate change or believes the globally-captured data has veracity, and I’ve sided with the camp that says man is the reason, and I subsequently found that evidence of increased solar output shows up in the Martian and Neptunian environments in exact correlation to a warming trend observable on earth, I would at least be open to revisiting my prior conclusions and perhaps my data. I also would not turn a blind eye to prior warmer periods where anthropogenic CO2 could not be blamed. Instead I would thoroughly try to understand how that should affect my interpretation of current phenomena. And I’d put be paying a lot less confidence in 1850 as my demarcation of emergency if I know that the date roughly coincides with earth coming out of a multi-century cooling trend. Now, I might re-examine all my data and thinking and still conclude there’s a real problem and we’re the cause. But that’s not the stance the AGW steamroller is taking. You’re asking thoughtful people to accept “the debate is over.” Well, it’s not.

    Over 17,000 scientists went on record to say that the Kyoto provisions were/are not warranted by the climate science available. But Gore’s 2,000 scientists are claimed to trump them.

    At the end of the day, I only care what’s right, not who. Al Gore hasn’t been right about much in his career, and I say that as a Democrat. But if he is on the right side of the climate change debate, fine. Only, he politicized his message from the start, cherry-picked his evidence, manipulatively dramatized his case, and he tainted everyone who jumped on board with him. So you all have to deal with his contamination of the debate. If you want to convince us, stop talking about peer review and “my scientists count but yours don’t”. Focus on the science and calmly, rationally assimilate and respond to the countervaling evidence that gives people good reason to doubt you. Again, if we didn’t see the mad lunge for regulation, and the absurdity of knuckleheaded alarmists flying carbon-spewing private jets to make appearances to exhort, scare and browbeat people into lying supine before a juggernaut of regulation, it might be possible to exchange ideas in a spirit of mutual credibility.

    Is man the *primary* driver of climate change? For those who say yes, a massive, global, regulatory and authoritative government initiative is deemed acceptable or even imperative.

    However, is man a *secondary*, tertiary or quaternary driver of climate change? For those who believe this, emergency measures are not only uncalled for but will be massively regrettable for the misdirection of resources, needless expansion of government and erosion of individual rights, and the setback to the efforts of poor countries to create more wealth.

    I am in the camp of those who are not convinced by the science that man is the primary cause, and therefore I don’t support an emergency response at the various expenses I outlined. I’ve said a few times that I do believe there are good environmental and economic reasons to burn less oil. And technology for improving responsible use of coal isn’t close to being tapped out. We have good reasons to hasten adoption of solar power wherever it makes sense. But the alarmists’ focus on the automobile is for me naked evidence that the real agenda of much (not all) of the AGW community involves a power grab, and not a serious understanding of the phenomenon we’re debating. Further, knowing the difficulty of getting large populations to attend to more than one perceived emergency at a time, I am certain that global warming alarmism is and will distract and prevent countries from addressing the real environmental crisis of our time, which is ocean pollution and degradation.

    Phil

  • avatar
    KixStart

    213Cobra: Except that plants prefer certain isotopes of C.

    I could probably do the calculations myself, if I worked at it a while, but I don’t see a need to. If this was easily refuted, someone would do so. In fact, nobody responsible would let Mann get away with it. Science is not something that can be readily bent by politics, it only answers to evidence.

    As for the EU tipping its hand, what a crock that is. Why would they agree to Kyoto and hamstring themselves to get us? Why would our own researchers go along with fraudulent science? Have they all been promised cushy jobs in EU? And nobody’s broken this Code of Silence? Puh-lease. Conspiracies of thousands are good only in cheap novels.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    OK, at this point, I’ve been banging my head so much that I’m going to have to form a metal band (with eco-friendly amplifiers, of course.)

    Previously, I stated this (emphasis added):

    Again, no one claimed that humans were the only cause of climate change, just a **substantial **one that can impact the overall result.

    To which you respond:

    Nowhere do we hear the proponents of the idea that the current global warming is induced by mankind claim that man is the **minor** driver.

    If we are going to distort even basic statements, than having a cogent discussion will be next to impossible.

    How does my use of the word “substantial” become twisted and bent into the much lesser descriptor “minor”, becoming the basis for your argument which is based upon rebutting a premise that I did not articulate?

    That is a classic straw man tactic (see the Wikipedia link above for the definition.) Forget heavy metal, I’ve got enough skeptic-built straw men to become a farmer, instead…

  • avatar
    213Cobra

    KixStart,

    I..uh…didn’t say there was a conspiracy involved in the EU tipping its hand. I think it was quite plain and open. A key point of contention between the US and the EU + Japan was that those parties refused to allow the US to consider the carbon banking of its forests, plus the potential to increase sequestering through reforestation, when calculating compliance with the Kyoto provisions. The US reasonably wanted to have any measures that would result in net carbon reductions from economic activity, but the EU and, if I recall correctly, Japan, refused to consider it. Their objective was clearly to torque down US economic output as much as possible through Kyoto compliance.

    It would be easier to believe there was no political agenda if holistic thinking had prevailed. Also, in their home market, the EU’s program emphasized carbon trading, which is of course the very best way to prove you’re not really serious about attacking the problem when *you* have to make a sacrifice. But of course we’ve seen that in Al Gore’s personal behavior too.

    Phil

  • avatar
    213Cobra

    Pch,

    No straw man present.

    If by substantial you do not mean primary, largest, etc., then there is no emergency and we should be prioritizing projects for *coping* with inevitable warming over torqueing policy to reduce man’s minor contribution.

    If one believes it’s an emergency and we must prioritize reducing man’s carbon contribution over programs to *cope*, then I’d have to believe you think man is the primary driver, when you say “substantial.” I don’t see how you can be on both sides of the fence. But only you can say what you meant, so which is it? Whatever you mean is fine. I am just then looking for alignment between what you mean and the response advocated.

    Apart from that, I characterized the argument of a group, not so much you specifically.

    This is my first issue. If warming isn’t primarily induced by us, then the political will and economic response should be aimed first at mitigating the consequences of something that’s going to happen with or without us in the mix. The first resort to regulation, major policy change on transportation and energy use, etc. strongly says people who back this priority see coping as secondary to prevention. But if we are only the minor cause, it makes much more sense to make sure coping responses are addressed first.

    Phil

  • avatar
    geeber

    Bob Beamesderfer: Geeber, you’ve twisted this into knot. I did NOT characterize his statement AT ALL.

    LOL…keep trying to deny what you wrote, Bob. It’s quite entertaining.

    Bob Beamesderfer: Asking a question doesn’t qualify as characterizing anything.

    Once again, for the third time, this is what you wrote:

    So, simply reporting facts is the same as advocacy in your mind.

    YOU are the one who characterized his original contention as “simply reporting the facts.”

    Bob Beamesderfer: His statement is that the news media ALWAYS bash the rich and excuse the poor. My response is to ask whether or not he considers the reporting of FACTS, such as the Enron scandal, to be bashing the rich.

    That may have been what you meant to say, but that isn’t what you said. We can’t be expected to read minds here…

    Also, your posts show that you really don’t have much in-depth understanding of what happened with Enron, beyond, “Ken Lay is bad” and “People lost money.”

    Bob Beamesderfer: First, Smog alerts are issued based on hydrocarbon and ozone levels, particulates are not part of the equation.

    The decline in pollution levels is not just with those pollutants that trigger smog alerts.

    Bob Beamesderfer: Second, Diesel particulates are a proven cause of childhood asthma.

    No, it may aggravate asthma, but the cause is related to the lack of exposure to allergens, which result in the failure of the immune system to be properly “primed.”

    I’d also love to hear your explanation of why my asthma is worse in rural areas (with cleaner air) than urban areas (with all of those vehicles). Doesn’t quite go with your hypothesis.

    Bob Beamesderfer: Third, since the 1960s, the number of diesel-powered fleet vehicles had increased as a percentage of all vehicles on SoCal roads up until many of the public transit agencies and other fleet operators, such as Waste Management, converted to CNG.

    And the number of gasoline-powered cars has increased, too, and pollution levels still have declined. That doesn’t prove anything.

    Pollution standards for diesel-powered vehicles have toughened since the 1960s, too.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    213Cobra: “… I didn’t say there was a conspiracy in the EU tipping its hand…”

    True. However, a conspiracy theory would be necessary to explain why all (or most, if you prefer) of our own researchers would play along with the EU’s goal of disabling us. They would all have to stand to profit in this, somehow.

    Unless you can offer some other reason why all (or most, if you prefer) of our own people would pretend there was evidence for anthropogenic global warming when there actually wasn’t?

  • avatar
    213Cobra

    KixStart,

    Let’s separate two things here: First, I noted that the political taint of the EU on AGW was telegraphed by their refusal to give the US credit for reforestation and other sequestering options as weapons against CO2 release. I don’t know of any situation where American researchers agreed with that position, nor did I allege it. Again, it is the filtering of research through the political layer that undermines trust and credibility.

    Second, that we have American researchers who agree with EU researchers that climate change is being induced by man is undeniable. That’s not a conspiracy, but it’s not proof they’re correct, either. We have no data on whether this is a majority or not, and even at that I don’t care. Majorities are frequently wrong. However, elsewhere in this thread you will see a link to a survey I pointed to that rolls up a mixed picture undermining perception of “consensus” among climatologists.

    However, going back to Kyoto, there is the swept-under-the-rug matter that over 17,000 scientists went on record to say that the state of climate science did/does not warrant the prescriptive responses mandated by the Kyoto accord. Is that more than the number of scientists who are alarmist, favoring Kyoto? I don’t know. I don’t think anyone does. But it is a lot more than the 2,000 or so scientists Al Gore cites as “proof” that the debate on AGW is settled.

    I don’t doubt that the majority of people who believe climate change is man’s fault feel they are sincere. I also don’t doubt that much of the political layer advocating dramatic, legislated response is far more motivated by other considerations having nothing to do with climate. This is loudly telegraphed by their own unaltered habits and prioritizing of their personal projection over credibility, and lack of leadership-by-example.

    Phil

  • avatar
    Luther

    I reckon Al Gore is kicking himself for inventing the Internet.

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