Enter your email address to receive updates by email:

subscribe in a reader like my facebook page follow me on twitter Image Map
Podcast Message Line: 512-222-3389
Logos Catholic Bible Software

« CDF Sobrino Warning | Main | Behind the Scenes at the CDF »

March 16, 2007

Comments

Ryan Renfro

Jimmy,

There is one correction for the post above. The documentary aired on the UK's Channel 4, not on the BBC as Sowell states repeatedly. There are no doubt greater chances that Mr. Gore's apocalyptic predictions will come true than such a documentary ever
airing on the BBC.

Frater tuus in Xpo,

Ryan

Linlithgow,
Scotland

Jrose

Jimmy,

I was going to point you towards this and ask you to post it, but once again you have proved to be one step ahead my friend. Thanks for the post. many people do not realize there is more the one side with science in this whole fracas. Thanks.

Leo

This documentary represents a small minority view amongst the experts (of whom there are probably none on this blog qualified to pontificate, but who - like me - will).

The overwhelming consensus view as expressed by over 2,000 climatologists on the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is that human activity is the main cause of climate change.

This documentary admits the earth is warming but suggests that non-human activity such as the sun and volcanoes are greater factors.

I saw a good counter-argument to this documentary a few days later at the end of one of David Attenborough's BBC series 'Can we save the planet?".

Attenborough asks 'is global warming due to human activity?' A climatologist then superimposes three graphs covering the last 1000? years (1,000 if memory serves).

The 3 graphs are:
1. actual global temperature changes
2. predicted global temperature changes due to non-human factors
3. estimated human CO2 emissions.

The correlation between graphs 1 & 2 is pretty good until about the 1970, when global temperature rises steeply. This suggests that the models used by the climatologists are reasonably accurate - at least until the 1970s. Graph 3 shows CO2 increases from the start of the industrial revolution and especially from about the 1950s.

The conclusion is that up until the 1970s the main cause of temperature fluctuation are natural but since the 1970 the global temperature changes are primarily caused by humans.

Whether we believe that global warming is happening or not should not be influenced by our political preference/hatred of Gore or Bush. (Abortion & homosexual rights/wrongs have nothing to do with this).

The difficulty of proving/disproving climate change is similar to a smoker who is sceptical of a smoking-cancer link who cites Aunt Edith who smoked till she was hit by a bus age 95. It would be nice if climate change due to human activity was untrue. It would be nice to keep on smoking.

If human CO2 emissions are changing the climate, we will only know with total certainty well after it happens. If cigarettes are causing me lung cancer I will only know with certainty when I am diagnosed. Unfortunately, we only have one earth to experiment on or do epidemeological studies upon.

If there is 'only' a 10% probability I will get lung cancer from smoking or a 10% chance that the earth's climate will change significantly due to our CO2 emissions then even Kantian 'rational devils' using Expected Value criteria would stop smoking and reduce CO2 emisions.

Neo-Cavalier

Yeeesss.

Sadly, the programme that you cited (which I watched here in England), was a hatchet-job itself. See the following Independent article which lists the main reasons why: http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/climate_change/article2355956.ece

If you didn't get to see the program, it can be watched on Youtube, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPKUVmLW8Nk

Grace and Peace be with you,

The Cavalier

Jon

I guess that makes the UK video an "Inconvenient Truth".

Tim J.

All Hail UK's channel 4!

Every school kid in America ought to see this.

My son, 15, is planning on meteorology as a career, and I'm showing this to him as soon as he gets home today.

"Sadly, the programme that you cited (which I watched here in England), was a hatchet-job itself."

Yes, it's a hatchet job, and a damned fine and successful one. Sad? Well, that might depend on how invested one is in the idea of man-made global warming. I found it extremely refreshing and entertaining. Don't look for any Oscar for this one, though.

Leo

Thanks Neo-Cavalier.

The Independent reports that some of the graphs used in 'The Great Global Warming Swindle' video, linked to by Jimmy above, were deliberately distorted.

David Attenborough was a climate sceptic until recently
http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/article570935.ece

The UK Meteorological Office's report 'Climate Change and the Greenhouse Effect' http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/hadleycentre/pubs/brochures/ has the following 2 graphs:

'Natural factors cannot explain recent warming'
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/hadleycentre/pubs/brochures/2005/clim_green/slide27.pdf

'Recent warming can be simulated when man-made factors are included'
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/hadleycentre/pubs/brochures/2005/clim_green/slide28.pdf

Tim J.

I read the Independent article, Cavalier. Lot's of spin, not much substance. Obviously biased, itself, even by a cursory reading.

They seem to be upset that he uses certain graphs, rather than The Approved Graphs.

These paragraphs are typical;

"The programme failed to point out that scientists had now explained the period of "global cooling" between 1940 and 1970. It was caused by industrial emissions of sulphate pollutants, which tend to reflect sunlight. Subsequent clean-air laws have cleared up some of this pollution, revealing the true scale of global warming"

"...scientists had now explained"? Which scientists? When? How? The article very dogmatically states that "It was caused by industrial emissions of sulphate pollutants" and give absolutely no explanation or resource.

"Mr Durkin has already been criticised by one scientist who took part in the programme over alleged misrepresentation of his views on the climate."

Just one? Which one? What was the criticism?

It's panic time in the mainstream press.

Leo

TimJ

some of the answers you seek re the science/scientists of sulphate pollutants are cited at the bottom of my above cited link 'Recent warming can be simulated when man-made factors are included' http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/hadleycentre/pubs/brochures/2005/clim_green/slide28.pdf

The mechanism of sulphate cooling is described in the same report at http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/hadleycentre/pubs/brochures/2005/clim_green/slide18.pdf
'Sulphur aerosols cool climate directly and indirectly.'

and 'Estimated burden of sulphate aerosols'
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/hadleycentre/pubs/brochures/2005/clim_green/slide19.pdf

JohnD

It's too cold where I live. I pray for warming. I don't really care which mechanism brings it about. :)

Brent Robbins

What I don't get is why has the religious right gotten involved in this issue? Why is it an agenda for Christians? If it's warming or if it's cooling, why is this a matter of religion?

Secondly, what's wrong with warming? I plan on buying a lot of land in Alaska because I'm hoping global warming is true and Alaska will become the new California.

Ed Peters

You know all this global warming stuff give me, I think, a LITTLE insight into how non-Christians might see inter-Christian dissension.

As an intelligent outsider to the world of science, I can't be completely sure which side is right here. Credentialed people on both sides are touted, and I know enough of the world to know that right can be in the minority. So I kind of give up on it and say, If they can't decide, either can I.

I can imagine non-Christians looking at us, seeing the same kind of things going on, and making the same sad surrender to ignorance about things of Faith.

Made me think, anyway.

Tim J.

Leo,

The Hadley Centre? The same that in 2005 hosted the international scientific conference "Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change"? No bias there, I'm sure. Their funding relies on shoring up perceptions of a continuing "climate crisis".

The vaguearies of computer climate models have been ably demonstrated. Climate models can be manipulated ad infinitum, and they are only as reliable as the scientists doing the reasearch. Garbage in, garbage out.

The text accompanying the graph admits as much; "...Of course, this agreement may be fortuitous, for example, if the heating effect of man-made greenhouse gases and the cooling effect of man-made aerosols have been overestimated".

In other words, "If our assumptions about greenhouse gases and aerosols are wrong, the graph is meaningless".

Tim J.

Good point, Ed.

Brent - you said;

"What I don't get is why has the religious right gotten involved in this issue? Why is it an agenda for Christians? If it's warming or if it's cooling, why is this a matter of religion?"

Because it is a fairly meaningless and innocuous way for fundies to appear cool... like Christian Metal, or Christian tattoos. I fear they are climbing aboard for exactly the same reasons many politicians do... beacause doing so commits you to almost nothing, while not doing so might be perceived as backward.

So why not? Why incur the wrath of the Spirit of the Age? Preach on the vital necessity of environmental stewardship, and then drive home in your SUV. Everybody's happy.

Kat

Here's my $.02 take on the climate change debate. And I will say up front that I am one of these people who is very much a practicing Catholic and also very scientific minded, and I do not really find a problem reconciling the two. And also that I am nowhere near the level of Jimmy in debating and explaining myself. :) But here goes.

The documentary does admit the Earth is warming, and I think anyone who thinks that this, at least, is not happening has their head in the sand. The question is whether or not humans are a serious contributing factor.

I work at a scientific institution where, granted, most of the scientists do believe humans are a factor. All things being equal I tend to believe the majority of the experts, meaning people who study these things for a living. (Of course majority does always mean right either, but usually I go with the people with the most facts and scientists are pretty good at keeping each other in line with the scientific method. They will publicly rip each other apart if their facts are not solid.)

However I have learned there are scientists to be found on both sides of every issue/theory. The vast majority of paleontologists believe the world is billions of years old because of the evidence of carbon dating and plate tectonics and evolution. But these are all theories in themselves (except maybe carbon dating, which is a test that can be flawed) and there are some paleontologists who are also creationists. Did you know that even *gravity* itself is a theory? But you don't hear this one debated like Evolution/Creationism because I don't think anyone on Earth would argue that if you jump up in the air you are going to come back down, and practically you have to work with what laws you have established so far. But gravity does fall apart at the atomic level, and there is even something called the Pioneer Anomaly, in which the Pioneer spacecrafts launched in 1972 and '73 are not located right now where they "should" be according to calculations, and they have *no idea* why. Could be computer error or human error...or another force/principle acting that we have not yet discovered.

I think the bottom line is, climate change is too new and too complex a field with too many factors to ever really be certain what is going on. If a butterfly flapping its wings on one side of the planet can contribute to a hurricane on the other, then how can we ever possibly compute and accurately predict the future? Even the most sophisticated computers cannot account for every factor and variation. This is why with all the supercomputers in the world we still cannot accurately predict the weather more than a day in advance, and even then they are still often wrong! We cannot predict a single earthquake or volcanic eruption with certainty in a small area of the planet, so how to predict changes over the entire planet?

Nature is the realm of God--no matter how well we think we understand it, we have not yet learned all there is to learn, and probably never can/will.

So what to do? I think the only way to approach it is to ask what is the risk of harm in reducing human carbon emissions vs. not doing so? Well, the technology already exists for other cleaner, more efficient means of energy such as solar, water, wind, electric. True they are more expensive right now, and if it is going to have political/economic ramifications because the fossil fuel companies will experience upheaval, well that is another matter entirely - but the fact remains that fossil fuels are FINITE resources anyway, so why not at least start the transition toward renewable sources for the future?

And the flip side of the coin is, is there any risk of harm if we *don't* do anything? Yes, IF global warming due to human means does turn out to be true. (Frankly, I think the scarier scenario is if it's happening due to natural causes *beyond* our control, and the catastrophic predictions such as ice cap melting and sea level rise etc. come true and there is nothing we can do about it except pray and be forced to adapt as people did during the last Ice Age.)

If you take an umbrella in case of rain and it doesn't rain, you are not really harmed. But if you don't take it and it does rain, you're drenched and may get a stiff neck or get sick. Why not just play it safe? Why not do everything in your power to do?

That's my opinion.

Tim J.

Well, Kat, as the documentary notes, "playing it safe" by the definition of Global Warming alarmists, means imposing draconian restrictions on the behavior of individuals, businesses and states, through the force of law, and under the authority of tiny unelected groups of trans-national elites, who don't have to worry about cooking their next meal or keeping their children from freezing to death. They already enjoy the fruits of civilization, but would deny it to others.

"Playing it safe" in that sense is not safe, at all, for those who actually have to bear the burden.

"Let them eat Solar".

Dr. Eric

So what if the Earth is getting hotter? What are you going to do?

The only way to have zero impact on the environment is to live in a cave and eat the carcasses of dead animals.

I don't see the global warming alarmists giving up their computers , SUVs, and Organic Grocery Stores.

Jordan Potter

So it looks like the earth might be a teensy bit warmer now on average than it was a little while ago.

There's still not a shred of evidence that it's human activity that is causing the warming.

Nor is there a shred of evidence that a slightly warmer earth will be an uninhabitable earth.

By the way, how do the adherents of Global-Warmingism explain the fact that the Martian ice caps have been receding during the same period of time that the arctic and antarctic regions have been seeing receding ice caps and glaciers? Did the diabolical George Dubya find a way to export America's greenhouse gasses to Mars?

Tradcon

Brent asks why the religious right is getting involved with this issue.

As a non-American traditional conservative I ask myself the same question. Here in Europe, where we've just had the warmest winter in living memory (the ski resorts in the Alps had to use artificial snow) nearly EVERYONE - Christian and non, left-wing and right - is worried. I suspect that because a lot of environmentalist-types are secular humanists, the gut reaction of conservatives is to say "Well, whatever they're against, I'm for". I'm like that with smoking bans. I don't smoke and don't really care about it either way, but because pushy, patronising leftists are usually in favour of bans on smoking, I find myself supporting the pro-smoking crowd.

But surely saving the planet is more serious, and should take us beyond party-political pot-shots. As Gore says in his documentary, saving the planet is a moral issue, not a liberal or conservative issue.

Jordan Potter

One reason we worry so much about the climate on earth is because we no longer worry about the climate in hell.

Jordan Potter

Oh, and as I've mentioned before, while Europe has had its warmest winter in a long time, here in the American Midwest we've had one of our coldest and snowiest winters in more than 20 years. But I'm not going to panic about an Ice Age just around the corner. It's just the effects of El Nino, an ocean current -- and as we all know, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has nothing to do with the ocean temperature. That's the sun doing its job.

Leo

TimJ, you did not include the next two sentences:

"Nevertheless, the ability to simulate recent warming only when human activities are taken into account is a powerful argument for the influence of man on climate. Since this initial Hadley Centre experiment, other modelling centres have been able to reproduce the same broad conclusion."

The UK government's Stern Review on the economics of climate change concluded that the economic cost/benefit of reducing CO2 emissions is in favour of making changes http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6098362.stm

On complex scientific issues: until one has done sufficient research oneself it seems rational to 'err' on the side of those who have spent a large part of their professional lives researching the matter eg I trust my life to medical consensus.

The vast majority of those who have studied climate change are convinced that most of it is human-caused. I don't see any global control conspiracy by scientists or politicians here.

Roger

I think JAO should initiate the "Diamond in a Nutshell" award for the most insightful, succinct comment on a post. I hereby nominate Jordan Potter!

Rod

Jimmy,
I have enjoyed your BlogSpot for a long time now and never cease to be amazed at what is going on in this poor old world of ours. On a personal note, could you visit our Blog for the fight we are having to give one 12 year old Ethiopian Boy a new life? Unlike Madonna or Angelina Jolie we cannot walk in ans whisk this kid off his feet to his new life. He is not a cute little baby, innocent in this world, far from it. The challenges ahead for Alex are immense. But he is ready for the challenge and the change. Please help us bring the case of Alex to your blog readers so they might pray for him. Visit Alex today at http://alex-roadtofreedom.blogspot.com/ Thank you

One reason we worry so much about the climate on earth is because we no longer worry about the climate in hell.

You might as well say: One reason we worry about cooking our food, about our children not freezing, about the price of gasoline, etc., is because we no longer worry about getting to heaven.

Jordan Potter

That's true -- those who worry about such things definitely have their priorities screwed up. If you've dressed your kids warmly, it's irrational to worry about your kids freezing to death (especially if it's not all that cold out). If you've cooked your food and eaten it before it spoils, there's no reason to worry about getting food poisoning.

Those who don't have their eyes fixed on the important things will start having irrational fears about silly things like how warm it might be in another 100 years.

Jordan Potter

"The vast majority of those who have studied climate change are convinced that most of it is human-caused."

The vast majority of scientists used to think the Church was right in her condemnation of Galileo.

The vast majority of scientists used to believe in Phlogiston.

The vast majority of scientists who believe in Global-Warmingism haven't got any real evidence to support their beliefs.

You still haven't explained how George W. Bush was able to export our greenhouse gasses to Mars, Leo.

floaty

Who cause earth warm time when dinosaurs, the ice age and warm up again?

Is warmer happen anyway some time, even if man make happen sooner? Maybe dinosaurs come back. :)

Tim J.

"Nevertheless, the ability to simulate recent warming only when human activities are taken into account is a powerful argument for the influence of man on climate. Since this initial Hadley Centre experiment, other modelling centres have been able to reproduce the same broad conclusion."

Who says it's a strong argument? It's meaningless if the model is wrong.

"The vast majority of those who have studied climate change are convinced that most of it is human-caused."

I'm sorry, I just don't believe that. The "vast majority" thing, I mean. Since when is a scientific debate over simply because one side declares it over in a press conference? I don't trust these bureaucrats as far as I can throw them.

Follow. The . Money.

Eileen R

I watched the documentary, then read all the criticism, and am as confused as ever. My only conclusion at the moment is that Al Gore's done the whole debate a terrific disservice, since a lot of the public discourse now revolves around what *Gore* got wrong. But that's not a surprisingly conclusion. This *is* the founder of the internet, whistleblower on the Love Canal, model for Love Story, lifelong nemesis of tobacco companies etc. etc. etc.

What doesn't change with me, though, and has only grown stronger is a sense that the environmental activists may be well-intentioned, but there's something wrong with what they're asking for, that the demands they're making of humanity would be worse than global warming. This isn't a place to go into an essay/diatribe on the subject on how/why, but really, to say that some of us have thought about this, and our reactions aren't determined by our selfishness or a need to look cool.

Sara

There's money pushing on both sides of the issue, Tim.

Tim J.

I'm sure that's true, Sara. I just think it would be educational to trace the money and influence - on both sides - back to the source and see where it comes from.

The credibility of anyone who's career depends on the existence of human-caused global warming would be a bit suspect, don't you think? Obviously oil companies and big industry will have a vested interest in poo-poo-ing global warming, at present, though even some of them have their PR departments hopping on the Green bandwagon.

All considered, my bet is that GW is completely baseless, ginned-up hysteria.

Snowman

Eileen R. hit the nail on the head. Even if the earth is warming, one gets the impression that the enviros have one nasty remedy up their sleeves for us. And I also get the feeling it won't be a suggestion, either. The remedy will be imposed on us all, regardless of the cost. That's not to say that everybody concerned about the environment is out to ban cars and bring industrial activity to a screeching halt, but a lot of those groups put out a serious anti-business vibe.

I'm all for cleaner air, if for no other reason than car exhaust stinks, but if draconian taxes and policies are going to be imposed on people (as some will undoubtedly propose), you have to have rock-solid evidence, and I don't believe they have it. There are just too many doubts, and too many "scientific" frauds (like the infamous hockey-stick graph). I have seen enough bias from scientists, leading to bad policies in a variety of areas, that I just don't trust them anymore.

Some have proposed a link between the extremism and a lack of religion. Perhaps even scientists sense a need for a messiah, but decided they would be that messiah, and are building up an artificial crisis so they can "save" the world from it. Whatever the motives, and there seem to be a lot of potential ones, something just doesn't feel right about what they are saying and how they are going about it.

SDG

I'm with Ed.

I also tend (tentatively) to credit the human factor in global warming more than not.

Michael

Jordan,

You cited two instances where the "vast majority of scientists" agreed on something that turned out to be wrong. One could easily fill a library with instances in which the vast majority of scientists agreed on something and turned out to be right. Just because X group of people was wrong about something in the past doesn't by itself mean that you should be skeptical of agreeing with experts on a topic.

Additionally, the Martian ice caps are probably melting because a gradual shift in planetary tilt that is occuring right now with Mars but not with the Earth.

Esau

There's money pushing on both sides of the issue, Tim.


More so for the 'end of the world' side it seems or else stuff of a contrary nature would receive, at the very least, equal degree of publicity and exposure.


I agree with the particular comment in the article:

Academics who jump on the global warming bandwagon are far more likely to get big research grants than those who express doubts -- and research is the lifeblood of an academic career at leading universities.


Like anything, it's what's considered 'popular' that gets the attention. The same applies to what's considered 'popular' research. For example, most research that deals with 'AIDS' will undoubtedly get almost anything it needs -- grant money, personnel, lab space, etc.

However, when it comes to diseases and such that afflicts a smaller portion of the population -- nada!

This is the same market-driven principle utilized by the pharmaceutical companies in order to get more bang for their buck.


Here, the 'popular' theme (even politically-motivated, it seems) is that of the 'The Day After Tomorrow' types!

What's worse is that unlike AIDS, which is a real threat, the data that supposes this ominous 'climate catastrophy' is tenuous at best when you consider the very principle basic to all carbon chemistry, that being of the penchant for 'equilibrium'; especially when you consider that the medium in which such reactions are taking place is in the atmosphere!

Leo

Tradcon is right, this is not a question of values but of facts.

I expect none of us are qualified climate scientists or medical doctors. If I am seriously ill I trust my life to qualified doctors and medical consensus unless I have studied the science enought to stake my life on my own expertise. I imagine that Jordan Potter and TimJ do so as well, despite the fact that we can all think of historical examples when the majority of doctors were completely wrong.

One way of testing models is to see how well they correspond with reality. If the model corresponds with reality that is the first condition of being reasonably accurate. The non-human model warming breaks down from the 1970s, the human-caused model still holds.

Re Mars. None of the majority of 'pro climate scientists' denies that other factors are involved, as a reading of eg the UK Meteorological Office's reports cited above shows. The early evidence for a link between CO2 and planetary warming was the amount of CO2 in the athmospheres of Venus and Mars. In the last 200 years we have released carbon absorbed over millions of years (as coal and oil) back into the athmospere, this is probably why CO2 levels are the highest they have been for 650,000 years.

As to following the money: is TimJ suggesting a funding link between all the pro climate change scientists and some conspiracy?

Shalom.

JohnH

Michael - you can find vastly more instances where scientists were wrong than where they were right, it's part of the nature of science. Theories stand and then fall when we've found more information.

As far as 'the vast majority of scientists' agreeing. First, isn't one of the things this movie showing the scientists who have been put onto Global Warming docs who didn't actually agree with the conclusions? Second, just becasue most people agree with one idea doesn't make it right.

Esau

... you can find vastly more instances where scientists were wrong than where they were right, it's part of the nature of science.


That's because the 'actual' often contradicts the 'theoretical'.

For example, there were many who were surprised back in the days to find out that nucleic acids were actually the building blocks of life.

Most were of the notion that it would be proteins that carried this sort of 'data' given their complexity whereas nucleic acids seemed too simple in nature.

It often happens in Science that theories are often just that -- theories!

Catholic Whiteboy

I know he's not the first to say it, but the more and more this debate goes on, the more I realize Michael Crichton is right...

Science has absolutley NOTHING to do with consensus. From a scientific standpoint, what matters is verifable, reproducable results. While someone made the point that there's a list of things scientific consensus got right, it's 100% irrelevant. The fact that a hypothesis was tested, confirmed, verified and reproduced is what matters, not that x percentage of scientists agree. And all it takes is 1 single test to cause "consensus" to come crashing down.

The problem with the GW debate is that it's based on predictive models that have no real way to test and reproduce the results. There is story after story about how the numbers put into models have been fudged (including the infamous "hockey-stick" graph) to make things work. There's story after story about selective data usage designed to elimated warmer periods in the Earth's history. And since the same people doing the research are responsible for getting and keeping their funding, as well as providing the analysis of their research, you don't know which models to trust (because the models all say different things). Heck, the models can't 100% accurately start 50 years ago and predict TODAY'S conditions, and we actually HAVE that data to verify against.

That said, there are numerous, legitimate, non-fear based reasons to cut back on pollution and change our energy usage. I'll gladly get behind anyone that wants to promote those kinds of positions in a reasonable manner (and my standard for reasonableness is easy - don't crash the entire economy). Raise efficiency standards at a reasonable pace? Sure, why not, the tech is there for it. In exchange, how about dropping opposition to nuclear power? This is a real policy discussion that we can and should be having, regardless if we're causing warming or if it's just something that's happening.

As far as the actual GW positions, at this point there are only two things that can make me take them seriously. First, (and I credit Crichton where I heard this first) institute a double-blind study policy for climate research. Separate the funding from the people that run the study, and separate those that prepare the study, run the study, and analyze the study (similiar to new drug tests run by the FDA). It won't solve things overnight, but hopefully in 20 years we will ahve created a climate that's eliminated the majority of bias.

Second, I have another easy standard - if you want me to believe that this is going to happen 100(+) years from now, fine...give me a minute by minute run down to temperature, pressure, humidity, etc etc for tomorrow that is 100% accurate. Once you've accomplished that, do the same for a week from now. Once you've got that, figure it out for a month from now. Then, give me 1 and 5 years out...once you accomplish that, then we can start talking about your 100+ year model.

Jordan Potter

"Just because X group of people was wrong about something in the past doesn't by itself mean that you should be skeptical of agreeing with experts on a topic."

Of course. But it does show that just because a majority of those who seem to be experts agree on something, that doesn't mean those who seem to be experts know what they're talking about. There's no scientific proof that it is human activity that is causing the very slight increase in average global temperatures that seems to be occuring. All we have are speculations and jury-rigged computer models.

And again I say that even if human activity is making the earth a little warmer, there's no reason to panic and there's no reason to think it will be a bad thing.

"If I am seriously ill I trust my life to qualified doctors and medical consensus unless I have studied the science enought to stake my life on my own expertise."

I wouldn't trust my life, or my wallet, to anyone who thinks they can predict what the weather will be in 100 years, or to anyone who thinks we can determine what the weather was like 650,000 years ago. Unlike the purveyors of Global-Warmingism who can't prove that their hypothesis is true, medical doctors actually know something about healing the human body. When they find a malignant tumor, it's not just speculation that it will prove fatal unless treated. But I'm not going to volunteer for surgery or chemo just because some quack tells me, without real evidence, that it's possible there might be a cancerous tumor in my body somewhere. Even less will I agree to having my arm amputated just because he tells me that, since my uncle got cancer in his arm, someday I might get cancer in my arm too so drastic preventive measure are necessary.

As for the receding of the Martian ice caps that is happening simultaneously to earth's slight warming, yes, perhaps Mars is tilting a little.

Or perhaps it's solar cycles.

JohnD

Here's a related and fairly humorous tidbit:

http://newsbusters.org/node/11461

Mike Petrik

"Additionally, the Martian ice caps are probably melting because a gradual shift in planetary tilt that is occuring right now with Mars but not with the Earth."

Ah, but who is causing that mysterious and catastrophic shift in planetary tilt? Why is it that I have a hunch that if Earth was undergoing a similar shift, we'd be having a similar debate?

John J. Simmins

No conspiracy, Leo. Scientists lie. I've worked at NIST, Oak Ridge National Lab and Brookhaven National Lab as a guest scientist. I was in government sponsored research for 10 years. Scientists lie. They lie to keep their funding. They say that their research is relavent when it isn't. They try to cut funding for theories or programs that compete for funding with them. They stretch the truth, saying that there will be the big breakthrough in the next funding cycle. They cherry pick results. They will present the raw data in manners that minimize what they want minimized and maximize what they want maximized. They ignore or don't mention contrary results. They massage results. They just flat out lie. I've seen people study the same material (I was a materials scientist) for 30 years. Each time there was fad (like ceramic superconductivity) some scientist would present the same material that they have been researching as a candidate for whatever the funding sources were shoveling money into that year.

You see the same thing in global warming. People who were researching penguins are now researching penguins to see the effect of global warming. People who were researching fungi on trees are now doing so to demonstrate the effect of global warming. It goes on and on. The funding, right now, is to 'prove' global warming. So if you want tenure, if you want to fund your graduate students, if you want the grant from DOE, or if you just want to pay your mortgage, you write your grant application to get money for global warming....and you damn well better find SOMETHING or you won't get funded again next year.

Realist

Facts to Ponder:

1. The Ozone hole/layer problem was real and was manmade.

2. This year's global winter was the warmest on record.
http://www.canada.com/topics/news/world/story.html?id=909393c4-ef1d-41d2-b23f-e2951794130f&k=14306

T. Shaffer

I'll believe in the global warming scare when I see beachfront property values drop. Until then it's nothing but speculation. Follow the money folks.

Augustine

I'm looking forward to a warmer climate, when there are going to be more crops, more rain and a green Greenland at last!

Augustine

The average temperature in 2006 is below that of the 30's and 50's. Enough said.

Snowman

Catholic Whiteboy said it well, first that the science needs to be actual, verifiable, Science, not the simply the opinions of scientists. Secondly, that almost nobody is opposed to a cleaner environment. But based on how GW is being presented as a looming catastrophe, it's clear that some are getting ready to propose more radical remedies. But as far as simply having a cleaner environment, absolutely, I agree with that. Unfortunately, I doubt that's enough for the GW crowd.

bill912

Could the increase in temperatures on Earth, Mars, and other planets be caused by the increase in the energy output of the sun during the same period?

Jordan Potter

"The Ozone hole/layer problem was real and was manmade."

Then how come we never hear about it any more? Even you say "was" real, not "is" real.

Think about it, Bernard.

Then how come we never hear about it any more? Even you say "was" real, not "is" real.

Maybe because we actually, you know, dealt with the problem.

Esau

The Ozone hole/layer problem was real and was manmade.


Realist:

I challenge you to examine the actual chemistry in this.

They all involve reversible reactions which often seeks to achieve 'equilibrium' in that regard.

Leo

T.Shaffer should avoid buying beachfront properties on the Maldives (pic 5) of National Geographic's global warming in pictures
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/12/photogalleries/global_warming/index.html
and http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/3930765.stm

The ozone hole is improving (due to international treaties) but still a problem according to the British Antarctic Survey http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/Key_Topics/The_Ozone_Hole/anniversary/index.html

bill912

The ozone hole is improving because ozone is created by sunlight.

Leo

The ozone hole is improving because ozone is created by sunlight ...
and not being removed as fast by as much CFCs etc.

Esau

and not being removed as fast by as much CFCs etc.


Kindly provide a Thermodynamic as well as Kinetic argument for this?

bill912

I thought that Mt. Pinitubo(I'm sure I didn't spell that correctly) in The Phillippines put more CFCs into the atmosphere in one eruption than man has in all of history.

Esau

It's all in the interpretation of the data.

Anybody can put their own 'gloss' on empirical data to fit their agenda.

Principal scientists oftend do so in order to keep the money going.

Augustine

Keep this in mind: DuPont's patent on CFC was about to expire before it was banned...

There's evidence in Antarctic ice that the ozone-layer hole existed at least a century ago, before CFCs came into being. That's probably why it's about the same size almost 2 decades after its production was banned.

Augustine

The Pinatubo eruption also released more CO2 than man in all his existence...

DJ

The Pinatubo eruption also released more CO2 than man in all his existence...

No, congress does. :) Time to go to confession.

Esau

The regular release of methane by cows (i.e., cow 'farts') can equally be said to be the underlying factor in this whole global warming crisis, for goodness sake!

Does that mean Sizzler and all our Steak Houses should be forced out of business anytime soon or all our cows massacred?

bill912

Thanks for the correction, Augustine. I think DJ is right, too.

Augustine

On global warming, see http://www.oism.org/pproject/s33p36.htm.

On the ozone layer depletion, see http://www.predictweather.com/ozone%20depletion/index.asp.

This science in action. Now let's stop mixing science and politics. The last time it was tried, 6 million Jews died.

Leo

For Esau, if you are more interested in chemistry rather than rhetorical flourishes, http://www.atm.ch.cam.ac.uk/tour/part3.html Cambridge University.
Ozone is straying a little from the subject.

Augustine, I am curious about your source for the Pinatubo assertion. According to the US Geological Survey 'Comparison of CO2 emissions from volcanoes vs. human activities' http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/Hazards/What/VolGas/volgas.html

"Human activities release more than 150 times the amount of CO2 emitted by volcanoes"

Are you confusing gaseous CO2 with solid carbon emission as rock, soot, smoke etc.?

DJ

I can't imagine that we're not causing at least SOME changes to the planet. There's a difference between the one time injection into the atmosphere of CO2 from a volcano and the long term effects of industrialization. The time scales are two different things. We don't know if they're different or the same as far as impact on the environment goes. A volcano could be worse for the planet than anything we can do, or it could be surprisingly insignificant.

It bothers me when people take black and white stances on things like human induced factors in global warming (or even the existence of global warming.)

Augustine

A computer model of the climate is as good as its predictions. Given that such models are trying to predict decades in the future, that's how long it'll take to validate them.

Of course, one could try to predict the past and see if it fits the record. But one needs to be willing to see the truth, not one's agenda.

See this chart from a site that BBC set up arguing for human-caused warming: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/climateexperiment/theresult/abouttheresults.shtml. Note how the prediction by the model overshoots the record. As an engineer with a minor degree in physics it tells me that the model is biased and at least its assumptions and should be checked. But, no, BBC, with the help of the scientists at Orford, push the model as valid, counting on the average person's ignorance to interpret scientific data.

Dr. Eric

The only true scientific method is trial and error. The problem is that it takes a long time and no one makes money from it.

I second the post that says that scientists, doctors, and the government all lie.

Esau

Thanks Leo.

Esau

I second the post that says that scientists, doctors, and the government all lie.


Especially those bearing the title "Dr." in their handle!

Eileen R

DJ, I agree entirely with you. Where The Channel 4 documentary definitely fell down was in presenting the scientists they interviewed as one unified "Down with global warming" mass. Each of them has very different views, and differing credentials. John Christy, for example, who came across very impressively in his segment, believes that global warming is a problem with a significant man-induced component but is skeptical of the extent that people claim in consequences. Particularly, the sea will rise and cover everything angle.

Paul Driessen, the ex-radical environmentalist, seemed less concerned about the science of global warming and more about social justice and human rights. And that's a legitimate approach to the issue, much ignored lately.

Carl Wunsch, who's upset now that the documentary made him seem like he was denouncing the entire science of global warming, is also very critical of the Catastrophe Mongerers, who predict with absolute certainty things like the Gulf Stream shutting down.

All these views are a lot more nuanced that what we usually hear from either side.

Maybe the documentary would have been more effective if it tried to calm the hype rather than up the hype itself. But it's sure got people hopping. :-)

Sailorette/Foxfier

This is all *really* amusing to me, since my first science love was dinosaurs. I adored learning about them and still remember the stuff I was taught... including that the earth was warmer back then, and had more plant life. :^)

Augustine

Leo,

Such yearly emissions do not count for major eruptions.

Just to put things in perspective, human activity accounts only for 2% of the release of CO2 in the atmosphere (see http://www.sci-tech-today.com/story.xhtml?story_id=35979). Moreover, such statements forget to mention that there's a carbon-cycle, i.e., carbon is absorbed back.

If you do the math, you'll find out that an average sedan (mine averages 23MPG in my commute) emits just 5 times more CO2 than a person (7g/h), or 35g/h.

Yet, what do pundits propose to replace fossil-fuels? Hydrogen. They then argue that the by-product of Hydrogen powered fuel-cell is water vapor. Never mind that water-vapor is about twice as more powerful a greenhouse gas than CO2! So much so that no weather prediction model considers CO2, only H2O. When was the last time that you saw a satellite image of atmospheric CO2 on TV? Not to mention that there's only 1% of water vapor in the atmosphere as CO2. BTW, it too is increasing (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:BAMS_climate_assess_boulder_water_vapor_2002.gif).

The only honest answer to global warming is that its cause is unknown. And it's foolish to make any policy on hot air.

bill912

The earth's temperature naturally varies over time. 400 years ago, the world was much colder than it is today. 1000 years ago, the world much warmer than it is today, and there were farms in Greenland(and, of course, the Greenland ice cap was much smaller than it is today). These vast changes in the earth's temperature took place without industrialization. Heck, most of the earth's temperature changes occurred before the existence of man. To attribute a degree or two change in the earth's temperature in the last century to man, when man could not possibly have been the cause of the much more drastic climate changes that have occurred for the last 4,000,000,000 years, with future increases in temperature over the coming decades predicted by weather models that often can't predict what the weather will be tomorrow, seems, to me, to be hubris.

bill912

BTW, as I have asked before, does anyone know what the ideal temperature of the earth is? And why?

Jordan Potter

The earth's ideal temperature is whatever will scare the most people into agreeing to higher taxes and more intrusive, unjust government.

bill912

Makes sense to me.

Matthew

Thank you for posting this!

Leo

Thanks Augustine, interesting article. I note that GW Burrows specialism is chemistry not climatology. I don't know his source for saying that 98% of CO2 is produced by non-human sources. No doubt there is a natural equilibrium involving plant and animal activity. The question is whether human activity has altered the CO2 balance.

Atmospheric CO2 was fairly stable at about 280 parts per million (ppm) for most of recorded human history until about 1800 when it rose steeply to 370 ppm today.
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/hadleycentre/pubs/brochures/2005/clim_green/slide14.pdf (UK Meteorological Office). The obvious explanation is that the industrial revolution and human activity have caused a great increase in CO2 CONCENTRATIONS.

Bill912, in a sense it is meaningless to talk of an 'ideal' average global temperature - as long as it is within the range of 0C (liquid water) to 50C (when vital proteins start to denature). As far as humans are concerned it depends on where you are and what you can/want to do. Geological-age-scale major climate change affects whether an area is above or below the sea, is desert, jungle, tundra etc.. eg in the same area of the UK one can see geological strata of glaciers, deserts, coral seas, jungles and other evidence for an old earth.

The problem for humans is what to do about their current habitation, livelihood, and food supply if major climate change occurs within a human lifetime or two.

bill912

"...in a sense, it is meaningless to talk of an 'ideal' global temperature..."

Why?

Jared

Um ... "specialism???"

Tim J.

"Atmospheric CO2 was fairly stable at about 280 parts per million (ppm) for most of recorded human history"

Except when it wasn't.

"...until about 1800 when it rose steeply to 370 ppm today... The obvious explanation is that the industrial revolution and human activity have caused a great increase in CO2 CONCENTRATIONS."

No, not obvious. It is simplistic and it is not science. The fact that two events occur at (roughly) the same time does not mean they are causally linked, at all. Not to mention that industrial CO2 emmissions before mid-twentieth century would have been miniscule AND even with the relatively massive industrial development since then, man-made CO2 barely makes a dent in the overall CO2 content of the atmosphere.

Eileen R

I think Leo means that what's ideal in one place at one time may not be ideal in another. For example, it's *freezing* here in Canada right now, which is quite appropriate for the time of year.

Leo

Bill912 have you actually seen the graph of the increase in CO2 concentrations which 'coincide' with industrialization beginning about 1800?

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/hadleycentre/pubs/brochures/2005/clim_green/slide14.pdf

True, a correlation is not necessarily a cause. But do you have a more plausible alternative explanation for this apparent correlation between increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration and increasing industrialization?

Tim J.

"...do you have a more plausible alternative explanation...?"

The sun.

Leo

for CO2 concentration?

Augustine

Leo,

Actually, the CO2 concentration varies pretty much with the ice ages (see http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/Image:Carbon_Dioxide_400kyr_Rev_png).

But to attribute the increase to the industrial revolution, right on 1800 is not reasonable, for I guess that in 1850 the CO2 emissions were a tiny fraction of what they are today. In that period, it was pretty much restricted to England and it was immensely smaller than nowadays. Heck, industrialization outside of N. America and Europe started only after WWII. Before that

If I would attribute it to any human activity, I'd say that urbanization and deforestation are better candidates. But it's still a stretch as much as attributing it to industrial activity.

Tim J.

Did you watch the documentary, Leo?

Increased solar activity causes the oceans to warm, which releases vast amounts of CO2.

Decreased solar activity causes increased absorbtion of CO2 in the oceans.

There is a CO2/temperature correlation, but it runs the opposite direction... warm temperatures cause increased CO2 in the atmosphere.

Realist

The "Trinity" has spoken. There is no GW.

Leo

Thanks Augustine. The chart you link to is subtitled 'the Industrial Revolution has caused a dramatic rise in CO2'. The inset graphs on the right of your link show a correlation between fossil fuel burning and CO2 concentrations, especially at the times of greater industrialization you mention.

It is true that there have been variations in atmospheric CO2 in the last 400,000 years according to the Vostok ice cores. There is also a striking correlation between these changes in CO2 concentrations and global temperature changes http://www.grida.no/climate/vital/02.htm

The post 1800 increase in CO2 concentration is much faster than any previous natural cyclic CO2 increase.


Thanks TimJ, If increasing solar activity causes CO2 emissions we would expect to see a correlation between increased solar activity and CO2 concentrations but we do not see a clear correlation when we compare
CO2 concentrations http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/hadleycentre/pubs/brochures/2005/clim_green/slide14.pdf
with solar input http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/hadleycentre/pubs/brochures/2005/clim_green/slide09.pdf

The explanatory note on the last link says "However, current climate models do include changes in solar output ... do not find evidence for a large solar influence. Instead, these analyses show that recent global warming has been dominated by greenhouse gas-induced warming, even when such analyses take account of a possible underestimate of the climatic response to solar changes by models."

Augustine

Leo,

Don't pay attention to the caption, just to the data.

Notice that someone juxtaposed ice core data with atmospheric data. Says who the ice core record captures transient variations of the atmospheric CO2 concentration? You see, a lot of the problem is that people jump to conclusions before disparate data that happens to coincide. And they just coincide unless an identifiable cause-effect correlation is established.

The fact of the matter is that the science behind an alleged anthropogenic global warming and dooming consequences is little to nil. Once the smoke, the mirrors and hand-waving are set aside, it's just rhetoric.

Augustine

Finally, Leo, ever thought that it may not be a matter of emitting CO2 but of absorbing it? Why doesn't anybody mention the massive deforestation in the last couple of centuries, although everybody knows that trees absorb CO2 from the atmosphere? How about the destruction of marine habitats, where most of the photosynthesis in the world takes place by phytoplankton?

So many questions, so many "experts" urging us to trust them blindly and crown the UN to lord over us...

Leo

Augustine, I can't see the connection between energy efficiency, using renewable fuel resources and reducing dependence on fossil fuels (especially from unstable regions) with the advance of any UN world government conspiracy to lord over us.

Tim J.

Leo -

There certainly appears to be a correlation between solar activity and temperature, based on those graphs. Increased solar activity and increased temperatures. The caption confirms as much.

I noted that "Based on the Hadley Centre HadCM3
climate model, we can estimate the global
temperature increase which the changing solar
radiation may have caused..."

So, this graph is not a representation of actual measured data, even indirectly, but the results of a computer model's ESTIMATE of solar-caused warming. Why not a straight comparison to measured data? Such data can be found in ice core samples, rocks, tree rings, soil strata... why filter all this through a highly maleable computer model?

I thought it interesting that;

The data for concentrations of CO2 goes back only to AD 1000. That is hardly "most of recorded human history". Even if it were, why stop there? Is the data before AD 1000 somehow irrelevant? CO2 concentrations varied wildly before then. Limiting the data to the last millenium seems rather myopic when we are talking about earth science.

Also, the CO2 data comes from two different sources, ice core samples for levels before before the 1950s, and direct atmospheric sampling since. Is this not apples and oranges to some extent?

It is also pointed out that other possible mechanisms, like cloud cover and gamma radiation related to solar activity, are not factored into these climate models;

"There are some theories that the solar influence on
global climate could be amplified by an indirect
route..."

"...there is some empirical evidence for relationships between solar changes and climate, and several mechanisms, such as cosmic rays influencing cloudiness, have been proposed, which could explain such correlations. These mechanisms are not sufficiently well understood and developed to be included in climate models at present."

Yet they confidently maintain...

"analyses show that recent global warming has been dominated by greenhouse gas-induced warming..."

It is clear from reading the material acompanying these graphs that the Hadley Centre is in the business of Global Warming apologetics, rather than science. They are looking for data that corroborates The Theory.

I do not take them seriously. I do not believe them.

SLowboy

"""It is clear from reading the material acompanying these graphs that the Hadley Centre is in the business of Global Warming apologetics, rather than science. They are looking for data that corroborates The Theory.

I do not take them seriously. I do not believe them."""

Tim: This does not refelct nicely on catholic apologetics. As Ed pointed out one could read into this that catholic apologetics is simply looking for data to corroborate "The Theory".

Whatta ya think Realist?

Leo

Greetings TimJ, atmospheric CO2 concentrations are at their highest for 650,000 years. Augustine's graph confirms 450,000 years of this.

http://www.clearlight.com/~mhieb/WVFossils/last_50k_yrs.html shows CO2 levels for the last 10,000 years (most of recorded history) at about 260 ppm, rising steeply from the time of the Industrial Revolution.

Apples and oranges? Same molecule. Since about 1950 there have been direct measurements of CO2. Before then we have over 450,000 years of trapped air bubbles in Antarctic ice. (Laid down in annual strata for the benefit of 'young earthers').

It's difficult to have direct quantifiable historical records of solar inputs, that's why models have to be used - which predict with reasonably accurate predictive power (see my earlier links). The danger with being ultra-sceptical/cynical of places like the MetOffice/Hadley on solar input is that it can undercut your own evidence.

James

Sir John Houghton has written a critique of this programme's claims:
http://www.jri.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=137&Itemid=83

Paul

I work in science, as a physics graduate researcher. This means that I probably know a lot less about global warming than Jimmy, or than most of the rest of you. However, this means that I have friends who have a fairly good understanding of global warming. I have talked with a few of them, and the consensus is that Global Warming is happening (Science 14 July 2000: Vol. 289. no. 5477, pp. 270 - 277). There are literally hundreds of articles supporting this, and virtually no articles opposing. It is possible that the community is wrong, just as it is possible Big Bang is wrong. But it is extremely unlikely.

I place this argument because (a) this is the only argument that I, a nonexpert, can really appreciate, and (b) this is the only argument that those who have not really studied global warming can fairly address. If you want to combat the scientific consensus on Global Warming, then you should study it first, in depth. I would suspect that, if one did this, one would come to accept Global Warming as a reality.

That said, there is no consensus of the cause (see article above). Most scientists accept that there is a component that is human-caused (due to certain fluctuations, within error bars), but there is still a sizable minority that contends against this conclusion. Furthermore, even those scientists that accept that there is a human-caused component to global warming have as yet been ineffective at showing if that component is significant, and if removing that component would make a large difference. Articles (and scientists) argue both way.

To argue that global warming does not have a significant human-caused component is reasonable. To argue that there is no such thing as global warming, from the perspective of a non-expert, is simply silly. And counter-productive.

Jordan Potter

Yes, it does look like the earth is a very tiny bit warmer today than it was a little while ago.

However, there's no proof it is human activity that has caused the earth's thermostat to go up a degree, and plenty of indications that it's got nothing to do with us. Global-Warmingism is a fideistic, unfalsifiable religion -- pseudoscience, not science.

The comments to this entry are closed.

January 2012

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31