Putting The Green In Greenland

Researchers have found the DNA of beetles, moths, and flies as well as traces of plant life in ice core samples from Greenland, the Los Angeles Times reports today. It demonstrates that the world was significantly warmer than previously thought, and that the glaciers of Greenland may have been a more recent development:

Ice-covered Greenland really was green a half-million or so years ago, covered with forests in a climate much like that of Sweden and eastern Canada today.
An international team of researchers recovered ancient DNA from the bottom of an ice core that indicates the presence of pine, yew and alder trees as well as insects.
The researchers, led by Eske Willerslev of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, say this is the first proof that there was forest in southern Greenland.
Included were genetic traces of butterflies, moths, flies and beetles, they report in Friday’s edition of the journal Science.

Historians have long known that Vikings established colonies on coastal Greenland over a thousand years ago, but that it disappeared as the Little Ice Age waxed. The creep of the glaciers killed the agricultural efforts of the colonists, and they eventually abandoned Greenland. Researchers had assumed that the colony took advantage of an exceptionally warm temporary weather pattern that freed the land from its normal icy status, but this discovery could show that the glacial period of Greenland is the exception rather than the norm.
That has some implications for the climate-change debate. Advocates of anthropogenic climate change use Greenland as key evidence in their argument. They claim that the loss of Greenland’s glacial mass — which is still in dispute — shows the effect that mankind has had on the Earth’s climate. If Greenland’s glaciers have only recently formed, then that argument makes little sense. Some estimates of the age of the DNA from the central portion of southern Greenland have them as recent as 116,000 years ago.
The entire notion of anthropogenic climate change needs much more study. Some people joke that when the Vikings begin farming Greenland again, they’ll begin to consider it. Now it looks like we can abide a forest in central Greenland and still have little over which to panic.

78 thoughts on “Putting The Green In Greenland”

  1. showing bias again Captain.
    just because the Earth has NATURAL climatic cycles over the eons (you act like this is a new revelation – its not), including a few exceedingly warms cycles in the past, in NO WAY counters the claim that the current warming trend may be man made.
    FACTS – lets stay with them ok?
    1. Climate changes from cold to warm and back again in natural cycles.
    2. This has no bearing upon any man made warming. in fact any man made warming will simply be additive to the natural cycle. in otherwords during a natural warm cycle you add a man made one on top = hotter than hell. likewise add man made warming to a ice age cycle and you get a mild cooling.
    3. man made warming has not be proven nor dissproven – though comon sense would indicate that assuming man made warming is a reasonable assumption.
    politics has no place in science – lay off with the bullshit “it was warm in a past so man made warming is false” crap.
    its bad science Captain!

  2. though comon sense would indicate that assuming man made warming is a reasonable assumption
    Showing bias again, gaffo. Why should I assume that your opinions have any relationship to “comon [sic] sense” or “reasonable”-ness? I know, I know…I should take it on faith, eh?

  3. the whole framing is dishonest, and many right wing types fall for/repeat it because it is so easily to refute. but as usual, the right has merely constructed a phony version of the position they oppose and then attack their own phony version. the claim is not “global warming” per se but climate change. ecosystems will be altered, but not all will necessarily be hotter. some may be cooler. the point is that human activity is disrupting established climate patterns. to deny that it is possible that human impacts on the environment can have unforeseen and catastrophic consequences and have done so in the past on smaller scales is to be really extremely hard headed, as my grandmother would say. shame on you.

  4. Fredrum:
    are you saying there have never been cases in history where human activity had enough impact to change local climate patterns which led to the collapse of civilizations? an honest question.

  5. are you saying there have never been cases in history where human activity had enough impact to change local climate patterns which led to the collapse of civilizations?
    Are you aware of the difference of scale between “local” climate change and global climate change?

  6. english teacher sez:
    “are you saying there have never been cases in history where human activity had enough impact to change local climate patterns which led to the collapse of civilizations? an honest question.”
    Well, instead of asking the question, why don’t you answer it yourself? Give us some examples of civilizations “collapsing” due to human activity changing local climate patterns
    Most “civilization collapses” I’ve ever heard of were due to other factors-disease (which nearly wiped out the natives of Hawaii), outside invaders (see the Incas) or other factors.

  7. Actually, english teacher, there haven’t been any civilizations that have fallen due to human induced local climate change. In many ways, your question is a simplistic one: there are many factors that go into the rise and decline of civilizations–far too many to discuss here.

    In many ways, the left’s reaction to challenges to the dogma of human induced global warming reminds me of the attitudes of 14th and 15th century medieval Scholasticism–especially as regards any challenges to the authority of the doctrine of human induced global warming. There’s also a fair element of human centered arrogance at the core which puts me in mind of those who continued to hold to the geocentric vision of the universe even after being confronted by Copernicus and Galileo.

    Now, does this mean that we shouldn’t be careful stewards of our environment? Not at all. We should be prudent as regards the impact our actions have on the environment. We should seek to wean ourselves from our dependence on fossil fuels–if for no other reason than because our civilization is rapidly reaching the point to where the energy output from fossil fuels will not be enough to sustain it–we need to explore nuclear power, solar power, geothermal power and a hopefully, eventually, nuclear fusion. It’s also necessary from a national security perspective. And, we should want to leave the world a better place for our children and grandchildren. But we can do all that without running about like chickens with our heads cut off or like Inquisitors looking to brand as heretics anyone who doesn’t toe the human agency party line. Politics should be kept out of science. And let’s put to bed this “human agency scholasticism” and allow for rational, scientific discourse and debate.

  8. The Captain makes the irrefutable point that AGM is a complex subject that needs further study.
    Discrete phenomena, like the greenhouse effect, are well understood in laboratory settings, but climate is incredibly complex. It’s diificult, perhaps, impossible, to fully understand how CO2 levels will affect global climate. There are no adequate experiments or models. How could there be?

  9. The good news is that “english teacher” has stopped swearing like a drunken sailor, at least for the moment.
    The bad news is that “english teacher” seems quite unaware of the concept of capitalization. If you ever wonder how we spend vast amounts of money on education to such little effect, this graphic example of what our money is spent on illustrates the underlying problem. Many of our “teachers” are scarcely more knowledgeable than those they teach.

  10. I’m afraid the Captain has mangled some of the science here, when he claims “It demonstrates that the world was significantly warmer than previously thought”. It does nothing of the kind.
    The surprise in the study was that the DNA fragments were from 450,000 years ago, not from 120,000 years ago as they were expected to be, based on the previous modeling studies.
    This indicates that Greenland was ice covered during the last interglacial period of 120,000 years ago, when the estimated mean global temperature was 3 – 5 degrees C higher than today.
    If so, and if this result is not overturned by later science, this indicates that the Greenland ice cap may not be in as much danger of melting (which would inundate much of the world’s low-lying coastal areas.) At least for now. However, since the oceans were higher during that period 120,000 years ago, and since that water had to come from somewhere (possibly antarctica) — if you live in Galveston, don’t think you are completely safe.
    The problem is always, as others above have said, that the climate change, if it is real, will operate within the chaotic system that is the world’s weather. It may melt the glaciers of Europe and leave the ice cap of Mt Kilimanjaro untouched, or vice versa. The only thing you can bet on is that, if you dump more energy into a chaotic system, it’s likely to become more chaotic, at least until a new equilibrium is reached.

  11. The models were wrong???
    How can that be????
    Now if the sun actually does go cooler, it’ll get really interesting around here.

  12. Al Gore’s Theories Still Not So Hot

    This pretty much speaks for itself:Gore: Ignorant or Dishonest?A good question. However, I don’t see why the two are mutually exclusive. After responding to Gore’s claim that atmospheric carbon is responsible for high temperatures on Venus, George Reis…

  13. Sandy,
    Tell you what, before making snide remarks about modeling, try developing a model of world climate yourself, based on only about 20 years of truly accurate data (and there’s a good deal to criticize even the last 20 years’ worth of data), and then try to extrapolate that 120,000 years in the past with any hope of accuracy.
    Let us know how that turns out.

  14. The whole point here is that evidence proves that the global temperature goes up and down and has in the past at levels enough to cause and melt glaciers. Most likely, this would be caused by variations in the amount of energy the sun puts out. The lefties are claiming that our modern convenience culture is causing climate change so that they have an argument for big govt. control over our production and energy use. Before they have used supposed benefits of communism, dangers of overpopulation, supposed global cooling, and supposed major health risks of pollution. It’s always the same, cry wolf to try to shut down growth and hand over control to centralized government planners. They use these scare tactics because their ideas don’t work for the benefit of Americans so they can’t convince people directly. Lefties: stay out of my wallet, stay away from my car, and stay out of my life! 🙂

  15. Its great to see “english teacher’ make his scientific and logical remarks. But once again this Scientist and thousands like me understand Science, and although semi-educated fools like you,who don’t understand how the
    World works, can be swayed with drivel and pollitical handwaving and we are NOT.
    The Sun is going through one of its periodic upticks, off and on,for the past 250 years andt after several hundred years of periodic downturn, that killed human life on Greenalnd and advanced the Glaciers across the world. Too bad that 75% of glacial retreat had occurreed before Henry Ford tinkered wiht his first Model T. The socialist llons had such such a romantic claim to balme incipient human advance for the receding Ice.
    According to Science that now studies the Sun with Solar orbiting satelittes, the Sun’s output wil lstart declining after 2111 for at minimum of 44, but probably a few hundred years.
    Too bad you political economy is as juvenile as your Science is party-line “Lysekositic”.
    Please feel free to consult a dictionary if the Lysenko is a foreign unknown to the likes of you. Closer to home you can read the psuedo-science or Margaret Sanger on the subject of Eugenics, and the need to remove the inferior breeds. It fits your idea of sound “Science”, I’m sure.
    Next time stuidy and major in some real subjects, and you too can distinguish the balderdash from the truth.

  16. Regarding modeling, I’d be happy to see a climate model that, given the conditions 100 years ago, could give results consistent with today’ s climate. It aint’ been done yet.
    Adding CO2 to the atmosphere probably does cause some warming, but exactly hop much is an unknown quantity. We need to find out what the situation is before proposing expensive solutions-just blindly “doing something” is certainly not consistent with Conservative principles.

  17. Rod,
    I’m curious: is just blindly continuing to dump millions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere without considering the consequences consistent with Conservative principles?

  18. Charles — you’re quite right. We must make the whales and elephants stop at once.

  19. Charles:
    More so than drastically restructuring our nation’s /the world’s economy and spending billions to fix a hunch.

  20. Richard,
    Non sequitur. My question was about Conservative principles, and I’d still like an answer, if anybody can supply one.
    But answering the implied question: given the number of elephants and whales, their impact on greenhouse gases isn’t significant — and is declining anyway, as their populations get smaller every decade. Cattle, hogs, sheep, that’s another matter — but that, again, would be within human control, wouldn’t it?

  21. Charles, let’s make a huge assumption not backed by any science and assume that the global warming since the Industrial Revolution, all 1 degree C of it, was man-caused. In exchange for that, the world GDP went up 1800%. Guess what? If another degree of global warming gives us the same tradeoff, it will be worth it.

  22. Gahrie,
    Characterizing the considered opinion of the vast majority of climate scientists as a “hunch” is a tad disingenuous, wouldn’t you say? It would be more proper to say that the belief that anthropogenic global warming is not happening is the “hunch” that many have, based on some questionable data, cherry-picked results, and studies by industry-funded “think-tanks”.
    Since the Conservative position, as explicated repeatedly here and elsewhere, is to do nothing but further study (I wonder what result would convince all people — there isn’t a single result of science that can truly to be said to be absolutely proven) it seems that there is no Conservative principle against continuing to allow the dumping of CO2 into the atmosphere, ignoring the consequences.

  23. Charles,
    You forgot humans, they produce an awful lot of nasty gases and hot air, too.
    You also forgot, that the same “experts” screaming about the global warming were screaming about the global cooling thirty, or so years ago. I’ll bet the next topic is either “global wetting”, or “global drying”, anything to get attention and funds.

  24. Charles,
    I suppose the conservative principle that I woud cite is “first, do no harm,” as idealistic as that may be.
    In my view, the climate science is simply not mature enough to base serious policy decisions upon. In fact, I believe we have a better understanding of the short term economic affects of Kyotoesque solutions than we do short, mid, and long term estimates of their affect on climate. We know we’d hurt the economy. We have no idea about the affect on climate.
    I think we’d be better off dropping the AGM stick, and lookinng for a carrot. We know that carbon energy sources are finite. We know that irresponsible energy use has a deleterious near term affect on environment–smog, etc. Why not focus on conservation, development of alternative energy, etc.

  25. SDN,
    Unfortunately, there is not a shred of evidence that the current amount of CO2 in the atmosphere will result in only 1 degree C of global warming, because of the persistence of CO2 in the atmosphere (40 years, I believe, on average.)
    In addition, your question has already been answered by a study which came out recently that indicates that even moderate climate change due to global warming may disrupt agriculture (always subject to the whims of nature anyway), disrupt the food chain in the oceans, cause coastal flooding, etc, etc, which will cost a lot of money.
    I’m not an economist, read it for yourself, see if you believe it. Here’s a link to the BBC which talks about the study, and from which you can get to the actual study (if you like to read papers on economics).

  26. What’s remarkable about the secular religion of “global warming” is precisely that: it’s all based on faith. You Gotta Believe.
    I’m old enough to remember when the big climatological bogeyman was “The Coming Ice Age.” But when that didn’t happen, and temperatures actually ticked up a few tenths of a degree, the people who won’t be satisfied until what’s left of humanity is swinging from tree branches again didn’t miss a beat in switching to “Global Warming.”
    And more recently, I’m reading and hearing alarmism that “Global Warming” is going to trigger the next ice age. Perfect. They’ve finally hit on a way that they can’t possibly be wrong.
    The National Weather Service can’t reliably predict the weather 10 days from now. Last year’s hurricane season was supposed to be worse than the year before last, but the prognosticators with all their computer models were about as wrong about that as they could be.
    Yet based on fear and conjecture, we in the United States are supposed to renounce our way of life based on scary computer models of what *might* happen 50 or 100 years from now, while unapologetic mega-polluters like China and India laugh at us.
    A hint to the greenies: The USA and George Bush aren’t responsible for the “Asian Brown Cloud” that’s visible from orbit.
    And I just love how, if you refuse to bow down to the Gods of Global Warming because the data is inconclusive, you become a right-wing heretic because you can’t prove a negative to the greenies’ satisfaction.
    Jaeger51 hit the nail on the head in his comment above: ultimately, it’s not the possibility of climate change per se that gets the enviro-totalitarians out of bed every morning as much as their desire to dictate to everyone else how they’re supposed to live their lives.

  27. TomB and Gaius Livius,
    The old “they were all worried about global cooling in the 70’s” story is pulled out every time. I read about it at the time, and here are the facts:
    1. It was the product of a small group of scientific papers, based on very incomplete science, nothing like the mass of evidence for global warming today.
    2. Even the scientists who originally supported it repudiated it after a few years.
    3. It was largely hyped by the popular press, as so many outrageous scientific articles are. It never was accepted by the majority of scientists at the time, who immediately started trying to disprove it — with great success. That’s how science works.
    I agree completely with your suggestions that conservation, increased research into alternate energy, and a more aggressive approach to something like a cap-and-trade system for CO2 make sense (remembering that I am not an economist, and that none of us want to trigger a severe recession over this.)
    See if you can convince some of your fellow conservatives. For my part, I’ll oppose any draconian “back to the stone-ages” efforts from the left.

  28. Charles
    One of the most promising technologies for reducing CO2 emissions is nuclear power. The left would go a long way towards demonstrating their good-faith on the AGW front if they showed more interest in replacing coal-powered electric plants with nuclear ones.

  29. maybe most AGM folks think more pollution and some global warming is better than heaps of radioactive waste with a half life of 20,000 yrs.
    I know i do.
    give me coal before rusting plutonium barrels leaking into the ground water.

  30. Some random relevant *facts* (you can easily google for yourself):
    1) The Mann “hockey stick” graph of atmospheric CO2 versus “global average temp” (itself a nearly meaningless statistical voodoo) which got the bee in every one’s bonnet about AGW due to CO2, has been shown to be very suspect, statistically.
    2)The largest greenhouse gas, by far, is NOT CO2 but *H2O* — water vapor, further complicated by the formation of clouds, which have both a warming effect (as shown by the desert being cold at night in their absence) and a cooling effect in terms of reflecting more sunlight back into space. Models of water vapor dynamics on a global scale have been seriously neglected in all the hype about CO2.
    3) It appears there *may* be some warming, but the true amount is very difficult to gauge in any overall sense.
    4)As to rising CO2 and ocean temps, there is a real chicken and egg problem, apart form anything else: anyone who ever took HS chemistry, or worried about an aquarium or pond overheating, knows that gases become less soluble in a liquid as it warms.
    5) We know that the sun, the ultimate driver off all the energy balances, is in fact in a higher activity part of the cycle. Not only the direct flux, but a mechanism has been discovered by which the increased solar magnetic field further shields the earth from extrasolar cosmic rays, which are a key driver of cloud formation (fewer daytime clouds, warmer earth)
    6) a)We know with certainty that the climate changes over time (the ‘ecology’-minded enviro wannabes tend to take a too static view of the various equilibria around us).
    b)We know with less certainty that the climate is changing now, or at least by how much.
    c)We know (I’m talking *proof* here) with MUCH less certainty that manmade carbon emissions are the dominant contributor now.
    d) We know with even less certainty what the effects of fullbore carbon reductions would be on the presumed warming even as we know the economic effects would be draconian.
    Given the *uncertainties* about degree of warming and just how at fault we are, and the fact that climate changes over the long term *anyway* — it is far better to be able to deal with mild to moderate climate change (or even *severe* if we’re not in the driver’s seat) if the world is richer rather than poorer.
    The near puritanical sacrificial urges of the presumably “reality based” and largely *secular* AGW enviros always puzzle me. Its as if that particular religious impulse is alive and well even in the “enlightened”.

  31. Flenser,
    (Is that name chosen from Vinge?) At the risk of destroying my “leftist” credentials, I’m all for the development of nuclear power. Always have been.
    Many “leftists” and environmentalists are also now pro nuclear power (although it does have dangers). Why we’re not in the midst of a resurgence of spending on building new nuclear plants isn’t clear to me, but I don’t think it’s primarily opposition from the left.

  32. Man made global warming is the latest boondoggle from the people who brought us global cooling in the 70s (it was man’s fault then). The earth concerts are the natural progression of the travelling medicine man with his bottles full of potions (Take one and all will be well). The only difference being that the Gorebot can influence millions through the use of new technology when the lowly medicine man could only convince those in his or her small crowd around the wagon.
    I can only say beware the wrath of the convert when they discover the truth. The medicine man got run out of town on a rail. There will be nowhere for the Gorebots to hide.
    A few tidbits to get the Gorebot started.
    There have always been sceptics
    Bow down to the Gorebot
    It is not that man does not contribute to temperature change, man does, just like any living organism on the planet. Man’s contribution compared to the overall picture is the issue.
    Considering the number of natural variables affecting the climate, it is the height of hubris to think that man is the prime mover of changing temperatures.

  33. Reisman, in the post cited by Gina Cobb, poses the question “Gore: Ignorant or Dishonest?”, and says the two are not mutually exclusive. That is probably the case with most of the doomsayers of “climate change”. Al Gore, unlike many in the scientific community who can only claim dishonesty, may originally have been only ignorant–his intellectual and scientific credentials would seem to indicate that he could easily be persuaded about global warming (if not actually duped). Given all that has transpired since he first mounted this horse, and all the objections raised by credible climatologists about his ludicrous claims regarding scientific concensus, the potential magnitude of and the probability (if not the certainty) of global disaster, only dishonesty really explains his continued malfeasance. If a combination of the two is to be invoked, then dishonesty now holds greater credibility as principle explanatory cause and he can join the legions of pompous academic charlatans and the other pandering politicians.
    What appalls, however, and further suggests simple dishonesty is Gore’s unwillingness to admit his intellectual failures or even to qualify his outrageous conclusions in light of, again as Reisman characterizes, consequences that would “turn our economic system into a poverty-stricken hell-hole” operating at a subsistence level at best in order to justify his soapbox. Neither do such economic considerations or possibilities ever seem to gain any import or potential credibility on the part of the environmental zealots who then prostate themselves at the temple where Al preaches. But that stands to reason, because the leftist (or purely green), liberal mind never really extends beyond the initial “cause celebre” to real economic consequences. So, for those pseudo-intellectuals like “englishteacher” (the implied scientific credentials, if not the obvious naked intellectual horsepower, practically clubs one into submission) who wallow unquestioningly in the effluent of the dishonest charlatans like Gore, because they consider themselves “enlightened”, only ignorance suffices as explanation. And with each passing day they look increasingly ignorant–and despite their self-assumed intellectual superiority just as dumb as a rock.
    Nice job “teacher”, I’m sure convinced. And impressed too. Then again, why would anything uttered by a fool make me change my mind about this subject? When it comes to the subject of global warming, climate change or whatever you want to call it, you do not know how important human activity and CO2 is, I do not know how important human activity and CO2 is, the world’s scientific community does not know how important human activity and CO2 is, and believe me Al Gore never will know how important human activity and CO2 is.

  34. “Why we’re not in the midst of a resurgence of spending on building new nuclear plants isn’t clear to me, but I don’t think it’s primarily opposition from the left.”
    Please get real, Charles. Thanks for being sensible about modern nuke technology, but the left is *full* of anti-technology (other than their Macs & iPods that magically grow on trees) types who *you* have to help the rest of us convince. Sort of “Only Nixon could go to China.”
    There won;t be any resurgence until all of the knee-jerk and very deliberately stifling regulatory hurdles are revisited.

  35. Charles,
    You just have to admit that you simply cannot find this kind of intelligent banter over at your Left blogs, now can you?!!!
    You know, if you keep hanging around long enough, you might just wake up with a Fred Thompson tattoo and a bumper sticker that says, ” Nancy Pelosi really IS a liar!”
    : )

  36. Newscaper,
    There is no absolute certainty or unquestioned data in the global climate science. However, all of your critiques have been considered and you can read what the consensus view of them is here.
    In short, the consensus of scientists is that your reservations are not justified by the science.

  37. “global warming” is Marx with a new beard.
    it’s not a coincidence that most of the true believers, and religious fanatics they are, are progressives which is today’s hip new term for socialist. that was the hip new term made popular by hitler when he wanted to differentiate himself from the hated communists. it all ends in the same shit bucket of central planning. the target is always the same–the economy and the means of production.
    as to the lunacy of global warming–it used to be cooling–a volcano puts out more crap than humanity does in a lifetime. as for the sacred document called Kyoto it does absolutely nothing in regards to temps. with all the huff and puff and al “i’m not a moron” gore leading the charge, the affected temperature after ruining the world economy is .6 of one degree over 100 years. excuse me morons, we don’t even have equipment that can measure that change with confidence.
    old time farmers have always known that the most important general influence on crop predictions is the sunspot activity cycle. slowly but surely we will probably find that to be the answer.
    in 1000 AD we had the Christians whipping themselves with the world ending. 2000 AD we have the modern version.

  38. F4TR,
    Agreed. If we only talk to people who agree with us, and if we don’t have our beliefs challenged, we don’t learn anything, especially about how we might be wrong — or right.
    Don’t hold your breath about the bumpersticker…but where there’s life, there’s hope, isn’t there?

  39. Newscaper,
    I think bureaucratic red tape could have been disappeared in 6 years, if the Bush administration wanted to tackle it.
    A cynic might point out that nuclear energy would hurt the Saudis. Or that both the GOP and the Democrat leadership are beholden to big oil, big gas, and big automotive. They may fight each other for PR, but you have to wonder about their sincerity.

  40. It is NOT news that the typical temperature of this planet is much warmer than today. Here’s a graph of past climate…
    Scroll down to read.
    You’ll see that we’re still coming out of an ‘Icehouse Earth’ era, one of those rare times when the Earth has polar caps, unlike MOST of the last billion years.
    Physics tells us that yes, CO2, water vapor and methane are greenhouse gasses, gasses that can hold more heat than plain ‘air’. For many reasons it’s prudent to switch away from fossil fules to renewables and nukes. But there need be no panic or hysteria over anthropic warming since the natural cycle probably predominates. Forget the GW secular religion and take prudent steps to free us from the entanglements of Middle Eastern energy dependence.

  41. gaffo says, “politics has no place in science – lay off with the bullshit”
    Gore says, “We must stop tolerating the rejection and distortion of science. We must insist on an end to the cynical use of pseudo-studies known to be false for the purpose of intentionally clouding the public’s ability to discern the truth.”
    Well said both of you.
    The Gore quote came from the following article.
    The author James M. Taylor is a environmental policy expert sort of like Mr. Gore. In contrast to Mr. Gore, Mr. Taylor actually derives his data and conclusions from named refereed science journal articles as well as respected lay magazines such as “New Scientist” rather than “scientists are unanimous” voodoo. The journal articles do not agree with the Gore “bullshit”.

  42. gaffo says, “politics has no place in science – lay off with the bullshit”
    Gore says, “We must stop tolerating the rejection and distortion of science. We must insist on an end to the cynical use of pseudo-studies known to be false for the purpose of intentionally clouding the public’s ability to discern the truth.”
    Well said both of you.
    The Gore quote came from the following article.
    The author James M. Taylor is a environmental policy expert sort of like Mr. Gore. In contrast to Mr. Gore, Mr. Taylor actually derives his data and conclusions from named refereed science journal articles as well as respected lay magazines such as “New Scientist” rather than “scientists are unanimous” voodoo. The journal articles do not agree with the Gore “bullshit”.

  43. burt,
    Don’t forget to add that James M. Taylor is a senior fellow at the Heartland Institute, which is an industry-funded “think tank.” The scientific analysis money can buy is just astounding these days.
    The Boston Globe did an article on him, from which I think the following quote says it all: “Not surprisingly, he has no discernible qualifications in science. According to the Heartland Website, he is a lawyer”

  44. Well, Charles, you might consider this fine series of articles on those who reject as untenable (or at least unproven) the notion that human beings are responsible for an ongoing phenomenon that has been documented throughout the history of the world.
    And yes, Charles, “continuing to dump millions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere” is the conservative thing to do. It happens every day as the result of a process called breathing — but if you and all the man-made global warming advocates would like to be good liberals and STOP breathing, we conservatives will not be put out in the least. Until you folks have the decency to do that, we’d appreciate it if you actually proved you point with good, irrefutable science instead of hocus-pocus mumbo-jumbo and cult-like invocations of a consensus that does not exist.

  45. Charles
    A cynic might point out that nuclear energy would hurt the Saudis. Or that both the GOP and the Democrat leadership are beholden to big oil, big gas, and big automotive.
    Nuclear power would have no impact on any of these, surely. It would replace coal. Of course there is a coal lobby as well, but it has nothing to do with the Saudis.
    And yes, it’s from Vinge. That was one of the all time great sci-fi novels, IMO.

  46. Rhymes,
    Each human emits, on average 1Kg of CO2 perday, so the entire human race emits less than 500 million tons of CO2 in a year by breathing. According to the government, the production of cement and burning of fossil fuels produces 22 gigatons of CO2 per year, about 44 times as much.
    That you think this is a serious argument says volumes — about your unwillingness to participate in honest discussion.
    As for the National Post series, I glanced at some of it. For each of its arguments it introduces a scientist who disagrees with the AGW theory. Unfortunately, finding a scientist who disagrees with something, even in their area, is pointless. Ever hear of Linus Pauling and vitamin C?

  47. Charles sez he is from the “left” – but then types this!
    “Democrat leadership”
    WTF? bad English. Nice to see you adopting the talking points and the language of the Right.
    “DemocratIC” leadership” is the proper use of our language.
    I bet you use “death tax” and “tax relief” too.

  48. Charles:
    I notice that you liberally (sorry, I couldn’t resist) quote from such leftist sources as the BBC and the NY Times-owned Boston Globe to try and support your arguments about this subject.
    Don’t you think that you should get all sides of the issue, not just get your news from sources that accept global warming as a fact? After all the Boston Globe endorsed Al Gore for President in 2000. As for the BBC, it’s a joke (and I’ve been a BBC consumer since 1964, so I know a little of what I am talking about)

  49. Charles – Thee are a few on the left who are no olnger rabidly against the concept of neclear power. A few are even starting to say that we ought to have more of it. However, there is still no specific place on earth where the left is willing to see a plant actually built (sort of like wind farms – great in concet but opposed at every location where anyone proposses one),

  50. The reaction of the lefties here is predictably absurd. Evidence that the earth (gasp!) has been warmer than it is now – long before the advent of the nasty ol’ internal combustion engine – is greeted with a “Yeah, well, we KNEW that, but global warming NOW is man-made and something has to be done to stop it!”
    And a note about scientific “consensus”. This is a popular word with the libs these days, a rhetorical club to beat down those who dare espouse the heretical view that anthropogenic global warming is unproven at best and hysterical voodoo at worst. As has been pointed out by many people, “consensus” is not how science operates: the majority does not rule. There are verifiable facts in science (for example, the boiling point of water, the speed of light, the mass of a carbon atom, etc), and there are theories. Some theories are better than others and explain natural phenomena so well that they are widely accepted (for example, the quantum theory).
    Anthropogenic global warming is another theory, one that neither relies on established facts nor does a good job of explaining natural phenomena (we can’t even accurately predict the weather two weeks from now). That global warming even exists at all is open to some question given the problems with the data (incomplete global sensor array; sensors not properly maintained; sensors not properly sited; sensors not properly calibrated; sensors lack necessary precision; sensor sites changing from year to year; varying numbers of sensors; etc). Yet, we’re expected to radically alter our economy and individual ways of life because there is a “consensus” that, somehow, we’re altering the climate. “Consensus” essentially amounts to a large number of scientists simply saying, “Well, I think it’s a good theory, but there’s no conclusive evidence to support it.”
    Let’s keep in mind that scientists have had some pretty bizarre if not laughable consensuses (consensi?) over the centuries: demons cause mental illness; burning material drives off phlogiston, an element with negative mass; the sun goes round the earth; miasmas and bad humors cause disease; etc, etc, etc.
    But THIS time the scientific consensus is dead right. We know because a man who flunked out of divinity school tells us so.

  51. Gaffo,
    When in Rome …
    Neither you nor I have anything like the reputation for accuracy that the BBC, Boston Globe, NYT, or the Podunk Herald, for that matter, has. All these publications can make mistakes, they can have bias, but when they report matters of fact, especially when they give pointers to the original material upon which they based their articles, you can trust them as much as you can trust anything. Much more than you can trust me.
    I routinely follow links people give to support their arguments — it’s part of the learning process. I read far more sources of information than you seem to think, and I have for many years, and I can detect bias fairly well. There is a profound difference between the editorial staff of a publication and the reporting staff. Whatever you think of the NYT editorial staff, their science reporting is first rate, for example.
    If you reject everything the BBC, NYT, or Boston Globe reports on principle, yet believe much of anything “newsbusters” has done, I’m sorry, but we won’t have much to talk about.
    NIMBY is a problem that is not exclusively the province of the left or the right. I myself live within about 30 miles of a nuclear plant, and they could put one 5 miles away as far as I’m concerned, but — others are not so pragmatic.

  52. “Gaffo,
    When in Rome …”
    Thank you for responding, it is appreciated.
    However – when you use THEIR political based/biased Phraseology/Jargon, you validate it and thus enpower it. Even then it is blatently political and wrong english!
    So – lets use the adjective “Deocratic” and not the noun “democrat” when decribing a noun – ok?
    otherwise: I think we should nationalize the term Repugicon or Reichbugicon minority (oh how that hurts! – no longer the majority) on a national scale!
    I mean – Savage uses “democrat congress” as so Hannity as does Doyle and Rush.
    Democrat Congress – Democrat Leadership, Democrat bill, Democrat legislation etc….
    FUCK the pres. uses the term in the FULL KNOWLEDGE and as an INSULT to all Democrats with every fucking public speech the asshole makes.
    SO I ASK YOU CHARLES why do you enable the assholes? the Reichbulicons/Repuglicons.
    If we (the non Reichassholes) had the AM band we too could assualt the airwaves with “Reichbug” this and “Repug” that…………..
    but we don’t – and YOU to claim that you are not a pug but use THEIR propagandistic language is inexcusable.
    I’m not even a Gad damned Dem, but a registered Independant – but everytime I hear “democrat congress” I HURL with from the blatent propaganda/insult.
    And the pussy dems need to get off the fucking pot on this and demand the proper use of the work DEMOCRATIC and demand a retraction from every asshole who willfully uses the word DEMOCRAT as an insult to half of America (that includes you Boy King jerk!).

  53. gaffo,
    Ok, I’m a newbie here and not really sure what all the fuss is about… but I was under the impression that, dictionary definitions aside, it’s an improper use of the adjective “democratic” (meaning characterized by the principles of democracy) to describe something pertaining to the Democrat Party. I mean, it’s the Democrat Party not the Democratic Party, right?
    If someone says “Democrat bill” they mean a bill sponsored by the Democrat Party. If they say “democratic bill” they should mean a bill that pertains to the principles of democracy like, say, social equality or popular election. No?

  54. Gaffo,
    This isn’t about “them” and “us” for me. It’s not a game, it’s not a contest, it’s all about getting insight and understanding spread around to as many people as possible, and learning. I don’t comment because I want to find fault. I comment because I think (possibly erroneously) that I have something to add to the discussion.
    I’m not even sure I have a side. It would be safer to assume that I’m not going to stand up for you if you say something factually wrong. If I say something factually wrong, I’d appreciate somebody telling me. I’ll be more careful, in the future, to use the appropriate politically-correct (and the pun is intended) terminology.
    And finally, I see we’re repeating ourselves —
    DocJim, the paper on which this whole discussion is based, does not indicate that the world was warmer in the past. See my first comment, a long time ago and up above.
    As for scientific consensus, it’s been wrong quite a few times, sure — but you’d very seldom go broke betting on the scientific consensus in the last forty years. Unfortunately, the scientific consensus changes with each new scientific result or paper. In fact, until modern communications technology made it possible, there was no possibility of “scientific consensus” any more than there was of a “national town-hall meeting.”
    If you expect immutable certainty from science, you’ve come to the wrong church. At best, it’s a guide to what scientists think is the way the universe works — and it’s been remarkably successful, wouldn’t everyone, sitting at their desks, using their computers, agree?
    I’ll see you all on another thread, another time.

  55. Charles,
    As as chemist, I think petroleum is too valuable to be burned as fuel. The consequences of adding CO2 into the atmosphere should certainly be considered. However, we don’t know what those effects are. If the effect is to prevent an ice age, then it is a net positive to those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. When I combined the probabilities in the UN report, the probability that the noted increase in temperature is due to human activity is _55%_. That is hardly overwhelming evidence, and I think it is very unwise to to commit trillions of dollars based on a probability that is quite close to that of flipping a coin.. The point I was trying to make is that we don’t know, and we need to learn more. Conservatism is about dealing with the world as it is, and that requires facts.
    As fart as “the consensus of scientists” goes, as a scientist myself I can tell you that consensus means nothing in science-what matters is if the facts support the hypothesis. It was once consensus that the world was flat, the Earth was at the center of the Universe, and that there were three fundamental particles. The consensus meant nothing when data were found that falsified these hypotheses.
    Also, there can be a fine line between peer review and a protection racket. When Mann’s paper was reviewed by statisticians rather than climate scientists, grave issues were noted. Mann’s paper, by the way, was based his Doctoral dissertation-he’s hardly a seasoned veteran, but his work keeps the grant money rolling in to he and his reviewers.

  56. So you want scientific “consensus” as the holy grail for “proof” of man-made global warming? and someone else thinks such a concept wasn’t even possible before the last 4 decades? let’s look at that….
    100 years ago, there was scientific consensus across europe and america that something called “eugenics” was a great idea, and the only hope to save humanity. a whacko named margaret sanger took this idea and decided to create planned parenthood, which since the mid 70s has murdered 20 MILLION black children in america. Mind you, there are about 40 million black people in america at this time, meaning that another 50% of the black population has been systematically WIPED OUT due to “consensus”. There was another whacko named hitler who used this same “consensus” to wipe out 50 million more people, and he did it with the willing people of germany who were convinced that his “science” was right due only to “consensus”.
    compared to other animals, human CO2 production is miniscule.
    compared to insects, human CO2 production is miniscule.
    compared to the oceans, human CO2 production is miniscule.
    compared to volcanoes, human CO2 production is miniscule.
    compared to all these other producers combined, human CO2 production is almost immesureable.
    so quote your “impressive” human CO2 numbers all you want, but until you stop lying by omission and citing the other sources, you are nothing more than a political hack trying to pass off scientific “consensus” as fact, and I’ve had enough of being lied to by you and all your ilk.

  57. Charles
    1) Every little bit helps — so why are you unwilling to help reduce the problem by ceasing your CO2 emissions for the sake of the planet ? After all, a cessation of respiration would also result in the collateral decrease of the rest of your CO2 emissions due to the reduction of your “carbon footprint” to zero.
    2) You keep telling us that there is a consensus based upon science, but when there is an attempt to show there is not one by citing competent scientists in the field you bring up Linus Pauling and a subject completely outside his field. Face it — if it ever existed, the consensus is dead.

  58. Rod, and Runaway,
    Your questions can be answered if you care to look at the IPCC AR4WG1_Pub_FAQs.pdf (look here), where they answer the question (number 9.2): “Can the warming of the 20th century be explained by natural variability?” as “very unlikely” — meaning a probability of from 1 to 10 percent.
    Why is it that people who don’t believe in the “scientific consensus” trot out “demonic possession” and “the world was flat” and similar beliefs, which, please note, pre-date the development and understanding of the modern scientific method by centuries?
    A better example would be the theory of “continental drift”, which was proposed in 1908 and never accepted until the 1950’s. Unfortunately, this example doesn’t work for AGW, because the pattern was just the reverse. AGW through greenhouse gases was originally suggested by Arrhenius in 1896, kicked around, dissed in the 70’s (by a brief spurt of “global cooling” papers) and has only recently become accepted by the overwhelming majority of climate scientists.
    Eugenics was supported by prominent figures, and a lot of money was found to support the research, but the science never paid off, and now it is the province of only a tiny set of cranks.
    Don’t mistake spending for consensus. Scientists don’t have money. This does point out the danger of “paid research” by, say the coal consortium, or by oil companies, or by government leaders with an agenda.
    As for lying by omission, if I gave you the impression that my answers were encyclopedic, I apologize. I’ve only tried to address specific issues, and tried to point people to where they can find more information.

  59. RwR,
    Do not mistake “scientific consensus” with unanimity. The argument about AGW will rage for decades in the scientific community, long after your and my Carbon footprints have faded.
    The argument of the National Post (or yourself) is that, because they can find prominent scientists, who are, according to them, experts in their fields, there is no consensus, is baloney. Do you have any idea how many scientists there are in the world in this area? No? Thousands. 99 percent of them do not find Svensmark’s research convincing, just to give one example. He may, in time, be proven correct, but I think it’s stupid to back one scientist against many just because you want to believe his results. If you are an expert on radiative transfer and its affects on climate, do feel free to enlighten us — or better yet, just write a paper providing proof (or at least further evidence) of his results. Absent that, you are just providing fact-free opinion.
    You think your argument is clever, but it’s just fundamentally dishonest. I’m not going to bother responding to any more of your comments, unless you actually provide an assertion of fact. I doubt that will happen.

  60. The idea that the vast majority of scientists believe that the earth will warm catastrophically if we don’t stop producing CO2 is what’s laughable.
    And yes, the idea that the world will warm up substantially because of CO2 is at best a wild guess. The ONLY, I repeat, ONLY evidence to support it is climate models. Climate models that don’t get clouds right (ask the authors, they will tell you), models that don’t come close to predicting current climate when fed historical and current data.
    The earth has warmed up about 0.6C. At least half of that is caused by the sun. At least half of the remainder is the result of urbanization pollution in and around the temperature sensor sites.

  61. Charles,
    I’m not surprised you found the study that global warming will disrupt agriculture convincing. You find New Scientist to be convincing after all.
    Out here in the real world, we recognize that farmers, unlike New Scientists, are able to adapt. If it gets too warm to grow one crop, they switch to another. Your “study” assumes that any piece of ground is only capable of growing the crop currently found on it.
    Look back through history, even pre-history, warmer times have always been good times for both plants and animals.
    Add to that the well established fact that enhanced CO2 enables plants to grow faster, bigger, and healthier, and to use less water while doing so, and there is no reason to assume that agriculture will be damaged by CO2 induced warming (if it were actually happening), much less, “devastated”.

  62. Charles,
    Where do you get this idea that Bush can do anything he sets his mind to?
    Sure worked well with ANWR drilling.

  63. Typical Gorebot,
    Don’t listen to that sceptic, he’s funded by (insert evil of choice).

  64. MarkW,
    The only thing you said that needs a response is the claim that American agriculture can respond to changes in climate.
    I grew up on a farm. Do you know how much it would cost a farmer to, just for example, switch from corn/soybean rotation to wheat/oats/sunflower, or to something else? Go price some farm machinery and see how much it will cost to get the “corn” version or the “small grains” version — or both.
    I live in the city now, but I head out to the country every chance, and last summer I noticed that there were an awful lot of fields planted to winter wheat, when a few years ago they were planted to spring wheat. Seems the spring wheat has been having poor yields in the last several years. It isn’t just one crop. Farmers have to have several crops, because they can’t just plant the same crop over and over.
    If you believe that our finely-tuned agriculture can adapt automatically and without problems to a large climate shift, you are not a farmer. Uncertainty in climate means farmers don’t know what to plant. If the weather is too hot and wet, you get rust on the small grains. If the weather is too hot and dry, you don’t get a good corn crop.
    The theory that additional CO2 will make crops more productive has been researched, and it has been debunked, as you could check if you follow some of the links I’ve provided. You sneer at New Scientist, but they don’t do the research, they just write articles about recent papers and reports, and they’ll provide you with links back to the original sources.
    You, on the other hand, simply make assertions with no attribution at all. To any reasonable person, New Scientist is more credible.

  65. “Ok, I’m a newbie here and not really sure what all the fuss is about… but I was under the impression that, dictionary definitions aside, it’s an improper use of the adjective “democratic” (meaning characterized by the principles of democracy) to describe something pertaining to the Democrat Party. I mean, it’s the Democrat Party not the Democratic Party, right?
    If someone says “Democrat bill” they mean a bill sponsored by the Democrat Party. If they say “democratic bill” they should mean a bill that pertains to the principles of democracy like, say, social equality or popular election. No?”
    no – Marco.
    I’m not sure how old you are, but I’m 41 and I’ve NEVER heard the term used “Democrat” instead of “democratic” since maybe 10 yrs ago.
    Its probably a Gingrich thing.
    if someone say “democrat” bill – it is a reichbuglicon you can be sure!! a gingrich follower.
    all else use the proper English – “Democratic” Bill
    this is about POLITICS – pure and simple. Dems need to stop being pussies and demand that the word DEMOCRATIC be used as it has been since 1776 – (until Gingrich took over the English language for political reasons and the dems refused to call him on it!).

  66. RwR,
    According to you, if you can find 100 scientists out of 10,000 don’t find the evidence convincing, “there is no consensus.”
    I call that dishonest.

  67. charles,
    There’s a big difference between costly and impossible.
    Your study claimed that it was impossible.
    You have now admitted that your study is in error.
    So why do you continue to tout a study that even you admit is deeply flawed?
    Could it because you are so desperate to believe what you want to believe.
    I’m not surprised that you want to ignore everything else I posted. You can’t respond to facts.

  68. charles,
    CO2 fertilization has been debunked????
    On what planet do you live on.
    It’s been confirmed by hundreds of studies.
    I’d send you to CO2Science and ClimateAudit for confirmation, but you would just claim that they are funded by some evil corporation,
    So one’s year evidence, that a small handfull of farms have had a drop in yield, is in your mind, proof positive that global warming is real and it’s going to be devestating on agriculture?
    Man, you do live in some kind of alternate reality, don’t you.
    If you can come up with some evidence that 99% plus of scientists believe not only in AGW, but catastrophic AGW, I’d love to see it.
    Everywhere I look, I find scientists who are pushing back against the claims of the alarmists.
    Just today the cheif meteorologist of Canda, has come out with a statement that the sun is the primary driver of the recent warming.
    But I suppose he’s on the the payroll of Exxon to.

  69. MarkW,
    On costly versus impossible — I’m assuming that you are referring to crop switching, please clarify if my assumption is incorrect. Isn’t it one of the primary complaints of the global warming skeptics that to take action is “too costly”? And yet you blithely accept that there will be a cost, which you cannot estimate, due to climate change, on American agriculture. Somehow, this seems like sophistry.
    On consensus, look here
    On increased CO2 levels not increasing yield, you made the unsupported claim that more CO2 would increase productivity. I supplied a link to a scientific study which gave data that falsifies your theory. Now you still want to believe your theory?
    On the “chief meteorologist of Canada” — I took the trouble to look up the article, and what was signed was a letter asking to reopen public discussion of Canada’s efforts under Kyoto. It includes a statement that “Global climate changes all the time due to natural causes and the human impact still remains impossible to distinguish from this natural `noise.'”
    That’s not the same as stating, as you did, that “the sun is the driver for recent warming”. To say that something “remains impossible to distinguish” means what? According to the IPCC, there’s a 90 percent or better probability that human activities are contributing to global warming.
    So how lucky do you feel? Want to bet the Earth’s climate on a 1 in 10 shot?
    It’s perfectly fine with me if you want to say, as the signatories of this document did, that we shouldn’t start spending trillions of dollars and commit to an economic straightjacket at this time. This is even more true of Canada, since their actions aren’t, by themselves, going to make much difference. Once the US dumped Kyoto, it was rendered pointless. I’m not saying, here, mind you, whether or not Kyoto would have had a point had the US joined. But once the US pulled out, it was destined to be nothing but a joke.
    But in any case, these 20 scientists are a tiny fraction of the tens of thousands of scientists in Canada. Oh, yes, there’s a lot of names, but did you notice that only the first 20 were Canadian? See, above, at the link on consensus.

  70. Charles,
    Your definition of “consensus” must be different than mine. The internet and modern communications don’t make it possible whereas it WASN’T possible a few centuries ago. The scientists who believed in demonic possession, miasmas, phlogiston, and all the other strange explanations for observed phenomena in the past were just as united – probably moreso – than modern scientists are regarding global warming today. There wasn’t the plethora of universities, symposia, journals, books, etc. that there are today, but you seem to imply that each scientist was living in his own little world, completely isolated from the work and opinions of his peers. This was not the case. There was a far more solid consensus for a flat earth than there is for global warming.
    It may well be that students a century from now will sit in their classrooms studying climatology or history and ask, “Some people in the early 21st century believed WHAT about the climate???”
    But, ultimately, Rod is right:
    … consensus means nothing in science-what matters is if the facts support the hypothesis.
    The “facts” supporting the hypothesis of anthropogenic climate change seem to me to be very shaky. The models upon which all the hysteria are based have been consistently proven unreliable and inaccurate. Further, we’re getting in a lather about a rise in temperature of 0.6 degC. I question whether or not this is a significant deviation from the average given the problems with accurately measuring “global” temperature. After all, 0.6 degC is only about 1 degF. It is easy to measure this difference in a laboratory (moreso now than in the past, I would add); how easy is it to measure in a weather station in the middle of the Gobi Desert? In a rain forrest in South America? Or even atop a building in downtown Kansas City?

  71. DocJim,
    Folks, I really wasn’t going to write any more, but DocJim has really raised some excellent points, and he deserves an answer.
    I’d like to point out that before the Renaissance (and even after, for much of the world), the basic principles of modern science were largely unknown (except, in a naive form, to some of the ancient Greeks). Hence, talking about any “science” before then means you are probably talking about religious dogma, magic, or old wives’ tales.
    The fact that the world is round was known to the Greeks and to learned people (of which there weren’t a lot) in the Middle Ages, even in the West. Don’t forget that, at this time, the center of learning was in the Middle East.
    Science works by making predictions and then performing experiments which disprove the theories that made those predictions. There will never be a single theory that agrees with the experimental result, since the theories that “it just randomly happened that way”, and “God made it do that” are always an explanation.
    The scientific method was not adopted by all scientists simultaneously. Doctors, for example, were late to the table, only getting on board in the 19th century. I’m not completely convinced that psychiatry has reached the status of “science” today, and as for String Theory… This is not a criticism of these fields: they, like climatology, have real problems with the complexity of the systems they study, and with experimental methodology.
    In the 18th century it could take months for scientific results to be transmitted around Europe, and years before they’d be known in America, so yes, there could really be no such thing as “consensus”, as meaningless as the term might be.
    As for consensus meaning nothing, I agree with you and Rod that, ultimately, consensus means nothing — it’s the data that drive the science.
    Here’s the problem with AGW: we’re dealing with such a complex and physically large system that experimental methods do not work well, modeling is still not accurate, and a priori analysis is out of the question.
    Here’s an explanation of the measurement methodology that explains how the temperature is measured and which accounts for the factors you mention. It also explains the significance of the effect of even a tiny difference in temperature. Please note that, if this goes on, we’re looking at real problems with agriculture, fisheries, and sea-level. Since the rate has accelerated since 1975, it could get worse. We just don’t know for sure, the modeling isn’t definitive.
    Given that, what do you want to do? If it didn’t matter, we could just let the Great Experiment run for a few more decades, until the modeling is accurate. Could be, at that time, we’ll be starving, with millions of displaced people, and and running out of oil, too. Maybe technology, or God, will step in to make the problem go away, but my experience is that God (or technology) helps those that spend the money to do the R&D. I’m not sure that I’m completely on board with God’s methods…
    We would be fools to accept, without skepticism, the AGW theory as fact, and I’m not urging anybody to do that. I am prepared, on the basis of information that comes out tomorrow, to change my opinion. That information, however, will have to be pretty important in order to outweigh the masses of information that have been gathered and which are pretty convincing that AGW is, basically, a sound working hypothesis.
    I would suggest that it would be better to use the “scientific consensus” — which represents the overwhelming preponderance of scientific groups and knowledgeable individuals throughout the world — to start ramping up to handle the problem. I’m repeating myself, but I do not think that some incredibly expensive world-government approach is the way to go. However, I am deeply disappointed in people, especially so-called “leaders” of our country, who apparently think we should do nothing.

  72. Charles,
    With all due respect, you’re trying to have it both ways:
    We would be fools to accept, without skepticism, the AGW theory as fact, and I’m not urging anybody to do that.
    I would suggest that it would be better to use the “scientific consensus” — which represents the overwhelming preponderance of scientific groups and knowledgeable individuals throughout the world — to start ramping up to handle the problem.
    In effect, you’re saying that there is a scientific consensus about a problem that may not even exist, and, while we shouldn’t rush to accept that we have a problem, we should do something about it.
    I looked at the article you linked. This caught my eye:
    Recent warming coincides with rapid growth of human-made greenhouse gases. Climate models show that the rate of warming is consistent with expectations (5). The observed rapid warming thus gives urgency to discussions about how to slow greenhouse gas emissions (6).
    Whoever wrote this report is relying on unreliable models to demonstrate that “greenhouse gases” are causing “global warming”. To my mind, this is like a doctor using an uncalibrated instrument – nay, an instrument that he KNOWS is faulty – to diagnose a patient’s health.
    I have read that satellite data is rather more reliable than surface station data. This seems reasonable to me: satellites cover the earth pretty thoroughly and regularly, and (presumably) aren’t influenced by local conditions such as “urban heat islands” or even shade on the sensor during parts of the day. Satellite temperature data is presented on this page (chart labeled “Global Tropospheric Temperature Anomalies”):
    I don’t see a trend in this data. There are “warmer” periods offset by “cooler” periods. Keep in mind also that the data cover only about thirty years and that the age of the planet is rather more than that.
    The article also discusses modeling, with these comments:
    Some scientists suspect that the record of surface temperature warming has been exaggerated by the so-called “asphalt effect,” creating unrealistically high expectations for the warming of the troposphere.
    Thermometers used to calculate the average surface temperature are usually located in areas easily accessible by people. In industrial countries, the thermometers are most often found at airports. It is not clear what fraction of the observed warming of the Earth’s surface is due to the influence of “urban heat islands” on the measurements. [Or jet engines dumping millions of joules of thermal energy into the local environment or the sensors! – dj505]
    “I believe there are still urban warming biases in the global thermometer record that are exaggerating the global warming signal,” Spencer said. “I don’t think it will be possible to remove these biases since virtually all thermometer sites have experienced changes in their microclimate due to (humanity’s) activities.
    The improved temperature record will guide efforts to refine computer models of the world’s climate so that the behavior of the models more closely resembles the observed behavior of the atmosphere.
    Current models suffer from several shortcomings.
    For example, clouds are not well represented by the models. The resolution of current models is too coarse for features as small as clouds, Spencer said. Yet clouds clearly play a crucial role in climate due to their influence on humidity, precipitation and albedo (the percentage of solar energy reflected back into space as light).
    “The role of clouds is still regarded as one of the biggest uncertainties in global warming predictions,” Spencer said.
    The ability of plants to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and the role of soils have only recently been added to the models, and scientists aren’t confident yet of how the models portray these factors, Spencer said.
    As I’ve written above, the global warming nuts are predicting gloom and doom because of a small measured rise in the earth’s surface temperature THAT MAY NOT BE REAL. Then they put data into models that they KNOW are inaccurate, get the desired conclusion (that the sky is falling), and rush out to tell us that, if we keep driving our SUVs and using incandescent lamps, we’re going to cause NYC to sink into the ocean.
    It’s ridiculous on the face of it. It’s not science at all. People with an agenda (like Algore) have taken some data, gotten some scientists to agree with them, and are trying to affect public policy. Others have pointed out above when “science” has been used for perverted reasons, and I think that global warming is another such instance. Witness the reaction of many global warming nuts to challenges: question the motives of the challenger, smear him as a tool of “big oil”, and even attempt to silence criticism by declaring that the question is settled and that people who persist in challenging the new orthodoxy should be punished.
    Science doesn’t work like that.
    Global warming isn’t science. It’s witchcraft / voodoo / snake oil repackaged for a new generation of gullible twits.

  73. DocJim,
    How is it “trying to have it both ways” to adopt the “scientific consensus” as a working hypothesis while keeping an open mind? Suppose you start running a fever, develop a bad cough, with chest congestion, and the chest X-ray shows signs of pneumonia. Blood test shows slightly elevated white count. Are you going to accept pneumonia as a working hypothesis, start an antibiotic, and do some more follow-up, or are you going to wait for the autopsy to determine what it is?
    When you say you “looked at the data and didn’t see a trend” — what statistical test did you apply? Just because you don’t see a trend with the eye doesn’t mean there isn’t one.
    A couple of other little notes: The AGW hypothesis predates Al Gore’s activism. He didn’t convince the scientists, they convinced him. Whether he is using this as a path to power, I don’t know, and I decline to speculate until he decides to run for President.
    It’s strange that you claim that “many global warming nuts question the motives of the challengers” etc, when that’s exactly the what you (and a lot of others) are doing to Al Gore.

  74. Charles,
    I will adopt your medical metaphor as I think it’s a good one. In this case, however, I’m NOT running a fever, coughing, or have chest congestion. In fact, I feel quite normal. However, a doctor who is convinced that he’s discovered a new disease finds out that I had a slight fever a week ago, examines me with a malfunctioning instrument for ten seconds, then solemnly announces that, if I don’t completely alter my lifestyle, I’m going to die in five years.
    The only difference is that Gore isn’t a doctor. He has no professional qualifications at all. One might wonder whether he actually believes in global warming or whether he’s cynically ginning up the issue to gain power and prestige for himself. Given the lifestyle he chooses to lead, I’m banking on the latter.
    As for applying a statistical test to the satellite data… You’ve got me there. However, given the hype about how “obvious” the evidence for global warming is, I would think that I wouldn’t need to do any special statistical testing to see a trend. I would also expect to see most if not all data points to be above the center line if there was such an obvious warming trend as the global warming nuts tell us exist (I note that the explanation with the chart identifies a 0.047 degC per DECADE trend; I would be interested in knowing the coefficient of correlation. In a century, then, we’ll be up a whopping 0.5 degC. Color me not alarmed about that). Finally, as I indicated before, this is a thirty year slice of global temperature measurements. The age of the Earth is estimated to be 4.5 billion years. Going back to the medical analogy, looking at this data and trying to find some definitive trend that supports or undermines some course of action would be like a doctor taking your temperature for five – ten seconds and telling you that you’ll be dead from a fever in a few hours.
    If you want to use “global warming” as a hypothesis to warrant investigation into climatology and improved climate modeling, be my guest. Pursuit of knowledge is seldom in vain. However, when the VERY unproven hypothesis becomes the basis for major public policy changes, we must part company.

  75. DocJim,
    Scientists invented statistics just to answer questions like you pose about information embedded in noisy data. It’s been required for engineering and science students for forty or so years, you should brush up on it.
    While we’re torturing metaphors, the proper metaphor is that 100 nurses took your temperature, and 99 of them think you’re running a little fever, but one says not. Also, don’t forget to mention that your sister, Venus, has an inexplicably high fever — and is dead. That might make the doctor think a bit.

  76. Hi, Charles,
    It’s good to see that you are still a master of physics, but sad to see that you are still logic’s …umm … mistress.
    Venus is a different planet. It is closer to that big, hot thing in the sky. It has an atmosphere over 90 times as dense as our own, for reasons that are probably still a whirling mystery to you.
    That atmosphere is almost entirely CO2, unlike ours which is almost entirely not CO2. The surface temperature of Venus seems to provide substantial evidence of the greenhouse effect produced by high concentrations of 90 bar CO2. The surface temperature of Earth in comparison to that of Venus seems to provide additional evidence of the greenhouse effect produced by high concentrations of 90 bar CO2.
    Beyond that, Venus isn’t of much use in a discussion of what is likely to happen if the CO2 concentration in Earth’s atmosphere goes from 0.038% to 0.040%.
    Yet you keep bringing Venus up as if it were relevant.
    At least you’ll have plenty of witnesses for your side when you petition your school for a refund.

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