BBC's snappy answers to climate-change denial

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30 Responses to “BBC's snappy answers to climate-change denial”

  1. cycle23 says:

    I hope the garbage=>hydrogen news as of late (288% energy increase using electron-spout’n bacteria-cells, economically viable right now) pans out.

    We should increase our measurement of the planet and our impact on it.

    I believe it is very important to understand how the planet responds to us. We are obviously having an impact on the chemical composition on the air, but this is a mighty complex system.

    I’ve always thought we are making the planet warm because we expect to be around during the next ice age. Be “we” I mean our DNA of course.

    Good luck with all the political parts of this debate.

  2. cycle23 says:

    – ‘Be “we”‘ => ‘By “we”‘

    – ‘composition on the air’ => ‘composition of the air’

    I meant to say something about world government.

  3. mike c says:

    If Nobel peace prizes carry any weight, let’s not forget the Summary for Policy Makers from the IPCC: http://www.ipcc.ch/pub/spm22-01.pdf

    The science is all in there (with references), so you can debate what’s happening with real numbers!

  4. richard schumacher says:

    For discussion of the facts of global warming by climatologists and atmospheric physicists see
    http://realclimate.org

  5. help i cant comfirm my username themelonbread says:

    @ #2 waugsqueke: You know something, I can definitely take your unexplained asertations more seriously than BBC any day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. help i cant comfirm my username themelonbread says:

    @ #9 posted by bikok888: you didn’t hear about the vast amount of natural resources and new oceanic passageways being uncovered in the north? Canada has claimed some of this stuff already.

  7. arkizzle says:

    Science is written with an objective, of course. It’s not meant to be unbiased. It’s meant to assert a hypothesis and support it relentlessly, in order to convince the rest of the world.

    No. No it isn’t. You “assert a hypothesis and disprove it relentlessly”.

  8. help i cant comfirm my username themelonbread says:

    @ #11 posted by phenylphenol: Yeah, it was in TIME Magazine, along with other popular media sources who lapped up the lurid assertions of a few outlying scientists. Just like how Fox News gives equal air time to psuedoskeptics who deny global warming.

  9. help i cant comfirm my username themelonbread says:

    “Science is written with an objective, of course. It’s not meant to be unbiased. It’s meant to assert a hypothesis and support it relentlessly, in order to convince the rest of the world.”

    !!!??? What, are you a proponent of intelligent design now?

  10. phenylphenol says:

    Mike C.,

    Actually, it’s exactly the publications cited by the IPCC that I’ve taken the time to personally peruse. And while for quite some time I was content to take the IPCC’s word for it, I’ve ultimately found that in reality, the data just doesn’t stack up so well as I had imagined.

    For example, in the pdf you supplied, the much-maligned “hockey-stick” shaped graph of global temperatures on the millennium scale is used. Note that it does not, in fact, include a definitive Medieval Warm Period, which is more or less an undisputed phenomenon. Wikipedia has a good article on the “Hockey Stick Controversy,” and provides a much more conclusive figure. Regardless, the IPCC is not necessarily to be completely trusted, nor taken as infallible. Compare the predictions for rising ocean levels from their previous reports to that of 2007, for instance.

    I think the biggest problem is that the time it would take to point out the exaggerations and bad science in these reports is far beyond the scope of any one individual, to say nothing of the other obligations of life. I can page through http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/Report/AR4WG1_Print_Ch03.pdf
    and find all kinds of distortions. Page 253 just happened to flash up showing a frightening accelerating rate of temperature increase. But note that each of these regression lines was chosen to conveniently match a down-turn in the graph? One beginning in 1935 or in 1875 would produce a regression that goes against the paper’s thesis.

    Science is written with an objective, of course. It’s not meant to be unbiased. It’s meant to assert a hypothesis and support it relentlessly, in order to convince the rest of the world. The problem is, there is not a large and credible enough opposing camp to help straighten this out. The IPCC’s funding is absolutely tremendous, and the amount of alarmist research going on enormous. Skeptics are labeled as irresponsible deniers.

    And unfortunately, the knowledge that’s prerequisite to actually understand these data is unattainable to the layperson. And unfortunately, sending back and forth links to articles about research none of us has actually read amounts to ZERO intellectual discussion.

    (As a caveat: I think we probably do have some degree of anthropogenic global warming, and need to put some serious money into bringing the technologies that allowed Amsterdam to exist to the rest of the world)

  11. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Untidy, Melonbread. Drop me an e-mail about your registration problems and I’ll forward it to the tech guys.

    Unusual Suspect (19):

    What is this BBC article if not itself a collection of “prepaid talking points”? And is the article’s purpose really to convert opinions… or to arm GW proponents in their efforts to shout down critical thinking on this matter?

    I said prepackaged, not prepaid. And what’s being countered in that BBC article (not “shouted down”) hardly counts as “critical thinking.”

    In discussions all over the internet, prepackaged talking points are being used to give the impression that global warming is a frivolous and largely unsupported theory. In fact, it’s got far more data supporting it than many commonly accepted scientific theories that never make the news. The “uncertainty” about it is the formal uncertainty of scientific method, which wouldn’t be called uncertainty in any other context.

    The BBC knows the standard talking points that have been marshaled against it, and has provided concise, well-grounded counters to them; but the BBC is hardly the one responsible for the reduction of global warming arguments to mechanically extruded issue-like product.

    BCrowell (20):

    I’m convinced that global warming is happening, that it’s caused by humans, and that its overall effect will be harmful. What I’m less sure about is the optimal amount of economic pain to inflict in order to slow it down.

    What’s the dollar value of all the shorefront property in the world, including shipping facilities? Of crop losses, human losses, and property losses stemming from increasingly erratic weather? Of every building, road, and pipeline built on what used to be permafrost? Of coral reefs and the fisheries they support?

    What’s the combined real-estate value of Shanghai, Hong Kong, and eastern Tokyo and Yokohama? Of Venice, Ravenna, and the western Po Valley? Calais and Dunkirk? The eastern Netherlands including Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, and the Hague? Southwark, East London, the Thames Estuary, and The Fens from Peterborough to The Wash? Southern Bangladesh? The Maldive Islands? Boston, Larchmont, Jersey City, Bayonne, and the Far Rockaways? Chesapeake Bay, eastern North Carolina, Charleston, Savannah, Cape Canaveral, the Florida coast, the Everglades, the entire Gulf Coast and Mississippi Delta from Mobile to Galveston (inclusive), Cancun, and the San Francisco Bay Area?

    How many people died in that last big heat wave in Europe?

    You want to talk about economic pain? The stuff I’ve already listed is just scratching the surface.

  12. JohnKruksLoveChild says:

    “The Earth is getting hotter, it’s our fault, and it’s a problem. What we do about it is up for debate, but those three facts are as close to a scientific consensus as you can come.”

    Oh really ? Show me where in that BBC article (or any scientific paper) there is conclusive evidence that humans are the cause of global warming. You won’t find it, because no conclusive evidence exists, we are making educated guesses based on data that spans multiple scientific disciplines.

    I agree the data indicates that there is warming going on. But trying to figure out exactly how that is going to affect the world’s climate is anyone’s guess. And laying the blame outright on humans is silly and puts people in a defensive mindset. It is *idiotic* to constantly try to harp on why we’re to blame. Why not just show that there is definately warming going, and say “we don’t know how much we’re contributing to this process, but we should try to reduce our effect”.

    Getting caught up in “it’s our fault” is the worst strategy for convincing people. Are we 10% responsible ? 50% ? 70% ? There is NO way to know that, we simply don’t have the data or knowledge to say definitively. And so you leave the door open for people to argue that our role is so small, it’s not worth making changes to how we do things.

    By placing the blame squarely on humans, you are giving the anti-global warming folks a leg to stand on. Open your eyes and stop walking into their traps by arrogantly assuming science has all the answers, when in all honesty, it does not.

  13. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    Sorry if I sounded a tad combative there. The soberly estimated costs of global warming range from “huge” to “literally incalculable.” That doesn’t mean that any and all costs are justified, but very considerable costs certainly are. There’ll be economic pain no matter what. There’ll be a lot more if we don’t act.

    You can cover this one with plain old rational consent to shared mutually beneficial actions.

  14. The Unusual Suspect says:

    Not combative at all Teresa. You’re afraid for our future and passionate about doing something to prevent potential disaster.

    And my comments are merely intended to point out that there is no “universal consensus” (as one poster put it in an earlier thread) that such a disaster is any more imminent today than at any time in the past.

    Read up on Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. John Christy, who was a lead author for the 2001 IPCC report (and the guy who compiles the data everyone’s arguing about) and see what he has to say on the matter of global warming.

  15. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator says:

    I’m getting tired of seeing prepackaged talking points retailed by people who pretend to do their own thinking. The last global warming thread was overrun by them.

    Global warming is real. The science behind it is real. The rest of the world knows it. Koolaid drinkers in the United State are the only first-worlders who think it’s in doubt.

    Don’t kid yourself that you’re demonstrating that you’re an independent thinker by pooh-poohing it. You’ve fallen for a disinformation campaign that makes used car ads look touchingly earnest by comparison.

  16. Jesse M. says:

    phenylphenol wrote:

    For example, in the pdf you supplied, the much-maligned “hockey-stick” shaped graph of global temperatures on the millennium scale is used. Note that it does not, in fact, include a definitive Medieval Warm Period, which is more or less an undisputed phenomenon.

    It’s not undisputed that the medieval warm period was especially warm on a global scale, no, although Europe may have warmed up a lot. Wikipedia’s article on the Medieval Warm Period has a useful graph showing a variety of temperature reconstructions of the past thousand years (the ‘hockey stick’ graph is only one), and none show the Medieval Warm Period being as warm as today globally.

    Also, I really do recommend reading through the list of responses to climate skeptic claims I mentioned earlier–in particular, check out these two sections:

    claim: ‘The Medieval Warm Period was just as warm as today’
    claim: ‘The hockey stick is broken’

    There are also a lot of sections relevant to the article that waugsqueke posted above, like these two:

    claim: ‘CO2 doesn’t lead, it lags’
    claim: ‘It’s the sun, stupid’

  17. bour3 says:

    Fine!, Mr. Jones, I’ll sip the Cool Aid â„¢.

  18. waugsqueke says:

    Some of the information in the counter column is plainly inaccurate. #7 in particular is outright incorrect. Several of the purported skeptical views are silly too (#8 and 9 in particular).

    Climate change has not been shown to be actually occurring. There’s nothing new here to convince me. I’ve yet to see any good response to Christopher Monckton’s pieces in the Telegraph:
    http://tinyurl.com/yc4jtf

  19. RyanH says:

    I never really got why anyone would argue about if it is our fault or not. Once you have established that it is happening, is New York going to be under any less water if it was caused by a natural cycle?

    In many ways, if it is happening (which I am not arguing) I would rather have it be our fault. If we broke it, we have a decent chance at fixing it. If it really is the result of some natural cycle of the solar system or something our odds of being able to mitigate it drop significantly.

  20. zuzu says:

    The rigor of scientific skepticism is very important; we certainly don’t want to take actions that will make things worse due to our misunderstanding of such a complex problem. The polarizing appeal to emotion from both sides detracts from the actual scientific debate.

    Foremost, I think the scientific message populated in the media needs to stop focusing on a posteriori arguments (e.g. climatic temperatures are rising and we need to stop this) and instead focus on a apodictic explanation. For example, most people will follow this very simple logical assertion of the greenhouse effect:

    1.) Anthropogenic carbon dioxide production exists. We burn fossil fuels for energy, alot.

    2.) Carbon dioxide acts as an insulating filter for infrared radiation. This can be demonstrated literally with a fish tank, a lamp, and a thermometer. In fact, Bill Nye did this in an episode of The Eyes of Nye.

    3.) Therefore, we are significantly increasing the retention of solar energy due to human produced carbon dioxide emissions.

    Finally, before anyone starts talking about carbon taxing and the Kyoto protocol, we need to first address ending the subsidies to fossil fuel industries that make such fuels artificially cheap. Particularly, this means never again using military conquest of oil as an elaborate subsidy. Buy it peacefully at the true free market value. Taxes attempt to treat the symptom but not the disease (like morphine to mask pain, leading to morphine addiction); cure the disease if you wish to restore the patient to health and vitality. In all likelihood, this means expanding the development of nuclear fission pebble bed reactors; this is exactly what Iran is doing and perversely why the AIPAC is prodding the USA to invade Iran next.

  21. Jesse M. says:

    You can see a more extensive series of responses to common “climate skeptic” claims and arguments here:

    http://gristmill.grist.org/skeptics

  22. Kevitivity says:

    The only constant with regards to climate *is* change.

  23. Fannington says:

    A scientist’s skepticism is in inverse proportion to the security of his/her funding.

    A scientist who isn’t a skeptic is a very poor scientist, indeed.

    Given that most scientists today have very little security of funding, what does that say about the quality of a lot of modern scientific investigation?

  24. The Unusual Suspect says:

    “I’m getting tired of seeing prepackaged talking points retailed by people who pretend to do their own thinking. The last global warming thread was overrun by them.”

    Theresa, ask the risk of being banned, (just kidding, I know you are better than that) I have to ask:

    What is this BBC article if not itself a collection of “prepaid talking points”? And is the article’s purpose really to convert opinions… or to arm GW proponents in their efforts to shout down critical thinking on this matter?

    I am a scientist, and have been an environmental activist for over 35 years, and I am appalled to see our message or sustainability reduced to folly by erstwhile “GW researchers” and tub-thumpers.

    Like most things in this world, I suspect the truth of the matter will be found somewhere in the middle of GW extremism and oil lobby conservatism.

  25. TimLambert says:

    waugsqueke says “I’ve yet to see any good response to Christopher Monckton’s pieces in the Telegraph”.

    Here you go:

    Chinese navy disproves global warming

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  27. strathmeyer says:

    Funny, why isn’t one of them, “Because pseudoscience isn’t science”?

  28. phenylphenol says:

    I’m with waugsqueke on this one. The problem remains that the scientific evidence is not nearly as conclusive as Mr. Supergore would have you believe, though the prospects are indeed just as frightening. Then again, if the greenhouse theory IS wholly correct (and we haven’t overlooked any ameliorating feedback mechanisms), then it seems prudent to link the indisputable CO2 increase above historical levels with this newfound warming trend.

    But just remember back to the early 70s when Global Cooling was TIME magazine’s favorite doomsday prospect. That one didn’t quite pan out.

    And yet, ironically, we are STILL ultimately headed for another ice age. Are we not, in fact, saving ourselves from future woes by warming the planet up a bit?

  29. White Noise says:

    Climate change has not been shown to be actually occurring. There’s nothing new here to convince me. I’ve yet to see any good response to Christopher Monckton’s pieces in the Telegraph

    You haven’t bothered to look, have you? George Bush says it’s wrong, and Michael Crichton says it’s wrong, and the opinions of such Deep Thinkers are good enough for you. Here’s just one, you might use Google to discover the others for yourself.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,1947248,00.html

  30. bcrowell says:

    I’m convinced that global warming is happening, that it’s caused by humans, and that its overall effect will be harmful. What I’m less sure about is the optimal amount of economic pain to inflict in order to slow it down. Suppose we say that the economic cost of implementing the Kyoto protocols would be $x for the U.S., $y for China, and so on. Are x and y the right amounts of money to spend? Maybe they’re too small, and maybe they’re too big. You get into the problem that economics isn’t an exact science. Economists have something called a utility function, and every rational human is supposed to act in such a way as to maximize his/her utility function. The problem is that it’s very hard to define a utility function in a meaningful way. Personally, it would maximize my utility function if the planet was a lot less crowded with hairless bipedal primates, but maybe other people think the Yosemite Valley would look nicer with condos in it. How important is it to keep polar bears from going extinct? How do you put a dollar amount on that?

    What’s much more clear to me is that the cost to the U.S. of dependence on oil from the Middle East is ruinous. We’re getting ourselves into war after war, and it’s hurting us as well as the countries where the wars are happening.

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