Al Gore: The Climate for Change

Discuss

91 Responses to “Al Gore: The Climate for Change”

  1. Tom Hale says:

    I’m pretty sure the Earth is simply warming up from the last ice age. Glaciers have been receding and melting since recorded history – right? We just happen to be in the warming up cycle.

  2. The Unusual Suspect says:

    Wareagle, I do understand the scale of the system that we’re discussing here.

    Humanity will have to become considerably more powerful to affect a multi-billion year old global cycle either negatively or positively.

    Getting everyone to reduce, reuse and recycle will solve the immediate (and solvable) problem of us living in our own waste products.

  3. palindromic says:

    MossWatson,

    Well, I have to ask, what can we do about climate change? The issue Al Gore harps on is CO2 emissions, his big battle is reducing the ‘carbon footprint’ of everything, because he and his camp believe the CO2 emissions (specifically man-made) are a major source of global warming.

    So when you bring up deforestation, topsoil erosion, local pollution, etc etc, I have to stop you and say “I agree with most of that”. I agree that conservation of arable land is important. I agree that water supplies should be protected. What I don’t agree with is that lifestyle changes should be imposed on the basis of the very contentious idea that anything that emits CO2 is bad. (We emit C02, animals, insects, etc) As other posters have noted, Al Gore branded “climate change” brushes over what I and many others believe are more pressing ecological issues.

    That is all.

  4. Takuan says:

    never could understand how some people could so casually condemn their children.

  5. Mark Jaquith says:

    If it’s as serious, existential and immediate as he says, nothing but a rapid return to the stone age is going to help.

    Which is more likely: that humans will adapt to whatever climate changes happen, or that people will voluntarily cripple themselves, technologically?

  6. Tom Hale says:

    Antinous, Sorry – I must learn to resist these urges!

    I don’t watch FOX news anymore, but I used to hear a lot of opposing theories about global warming there. I guess its more of that “us against them,” mindset that prompts me to say some of this stuff. I relate it to the Mac vs Windows arguments I’ve taken part in on different sites. Its a reflex action I guess – I mean, I know Macs are generally better than Microsoft computers, but I hate the Mac fanboys so much – I just like trying to piss them off.

    I’ll keep trying to work on this problem.

  7. noen says:

    The denialists here are funny.

    “Al Gore is fat!!”

    That’s about all the substance they have. They seem to think if they just keep repeating the same lies over and over reality will change. It won’t.

    There were a lot on the right claiming McCain was going to win, “he may even already be ahead!!1101!!” (true quote) He wasn’t and he didn’t.

    It follows the same pattern in many areas, science, economics, law, even politics itself. There is a kind of deep ignorance combined with gung-ho boosterism and a total inability to ever admit you’re wrong.

    We have a word for species that use such a strategy – extinct.

  8. zyodei says:

    #31 Antinous: Well, according to petitionproject.org, there are over 9,000 American PhDs and 22,000 non-PhD scientists who have gone on record disputing the global warming theory.

    I know the oil industry has deep pockets, but still, that’s an awful lot of industry shills.

    http://www.petitionproject.org/
    http://www.oism.org/pproject/

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

    I don’t have the scientific credentials to seriously argue the issue. All I am arguing is that the debate is not 100% closed.

    It’s also important to realize that economic incentives for scientists go both ways: some might be receiving oil and coal industry dollars, others might be receiving government or U.N. dollars or have staked their careers on it. Either type of influence should be see as reducing the ojectivity of their findings.

    Articles like this one are at least as convincing as anything I have read from the pro-global warming side.

    http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=010405M

    As a side note, it is surprising that Al Gore is still considered a credible figure considering some of the glaring inaccuracies in the movie, which were highlighted by a recent court case in Britain. There are several of them, but the most forehead-slapping is the claim that “resident of south pacific islands have had to flee to New Zealand.” Only problem is, this apparently hasn’t ever actually happened. No native islanders have ever had to flee to NZ because of rising ocean levels. There are quite a few websites detailing inaccuracies like this, but even this one is quite an oversight for an Academy Award winning documentary.

    • Antinous says:

      zyodei,

      Your Wikipedia link says:

      This article lists scientists and former scientists who have stated disagreement with one or more of the principal conclusions of the mainstream scientific opinion on global warming. It should not be interpreted as a list of global warming skeptics. Inclusion is based on specific criteria that do not necessarily reflect skepticism toward climate change caused by human activity, or that such change could be large enough to be harmful.

      Your other links boil down to Concerned Citizens Against Whatever and a blog with articles about how to regroup conservatives after the election. Is that really your best shot? How about providing a citation from a recognized science journal? Because those links are partisan astroturf.

  9. Tom Hale says:

    Well, the first step to correcting a problem, is admitting you have a problem.

  10. MatthewFabb says:

    @zyodei: Well, according to petitionproject.org, there are over 9,000 American PhDs and 22,000 non-PhD scientists who have gone on record disputing the global warming theory.

    The problem is that none of these scientists mentioned in the petition or listed on wikipedia have put together a peer-reviewed paper supporting their view that global warming is not man made and providing an alternate theory. All these scientists can have whatever opinion they want, but without any research or data to back it up, it’s quite meaningless.

    From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change
    A 2004 article by geologist and historian of science Naomi Oreskes summarized a study of the scientific literature on climate change. The essay concluded that there is a scientific consensus on the reality of anthropogenic climate change. The author analyzed 928 abstracts of papers from refereed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003, listed with the keywords “global climate change”. Oreskes divided the abstracts into six categories: explicit endorsement of the consensus position, evaluation of impacts, mitigation proposals, methods, paleoclimate analysis, and rejection of the consensus position. 75% of the abstracts were placed in the first three categories, thus either explicitly or implicitly accepting the consensus view; 25% dealt with methods or paleoclimate, thus taking no position on current anthropogenic climate change; none of the abstracts disagreed with the consensus position, which the author found to be “remarkable”. According to the report, “authors evaluating impacts, developing methods, or studying paleoclimatic change might believe that current climate change is natural. However, none of these papers argued that point.

    Since then I’ve yet to hear of any peer-reviewed papers that provide an alternate view and I imagine had such a paper been published, the oil industry and conservatives would have jumped all over it. Not to mention any scientist who could provide such papers, would get huge financial support from oil industry and other carbon heavy industries.

    So what we do have is a constant growing number of peer-reviewed papers and studies that support the view that global warming is made made. And the other side of the “debate” are some scientists who disagree, but aren’t willing or are not capable of putting together a peer-reviewed paper to prove their point. Because if they want support their view, this is the only way to add to the scientific conversation. If they can start providing research poking big holes in the research that global warming is not man-made, or providing any alternate theories, then we would start approaching something of a scientific debate on the issue.

    However, that’s not the case and from the deniers side we mainly get the same talking points that provide disinformation more than anything.

    Here’s a very long list of a lot of those talking points or so called hard questions, with them being refuted with all sorts of references in their arguement:
    http://gristmill.grist.org/skeptics
    Also all of these refuted claims have comments in which people can debate certain specifics. Unfortunately as it is with this subject, the “debate” is more often a flame war than anything.

  11. The Unusual Suspect says:

    We’ll adapt, of course, as best we can.

    That’s what we’ve done through the many ice ages and heat cycles we’ve endured so far; that’s what we’ll do in future ice ages and heat cycles.

  12. palindromic says:

    ha ha ha.. the sad thing is, I’m a raging liberal social dem, who majored in science for 3 years before switching to English. I voted for Obama.. I still rue the day when Sarah Palin was chosen as McCains veep nom because she has sullied my online nom-de-plume. Hell, Gawker won’t even post my comments anymore, even clearly pro-liberal ones. DAMN YOU MCCAIN! I had this name WAY before she was chosen as veep.

    Anyway, I just LOVE when issues of science become embedded in party identity.. it really makes me smile when I read commenters like #37, who think that because there is a media shitstorm of “unequivocal” consensus that the debate is settled. Even in this day and age, believe it not, you still have to meet the standards of scientific rigor.. which man-made global warming, as a theory or even a hypothesis, has not.

    There were very few scientists who espoused the beliefs of An Inconvenient Truth before it started making headlines, and a whole slew of top name scientists who made very strong cases as to why we should remain skeptical of those claims when it did start influencing policy.

    One by one Al Gore and his ‘scientist’ cronies slimed their skeptics, put pressure on respectable institutions who refused to sign on board immediately, and ridiculed those who dared question their rhetoric. This whole issue has become a modern day crusade, where demagogues like Gore have drowned out all the good scientists who dared to raise a finger and say “wait a minute, the jury is not out yet.”. History will look back on this issue with the same kind of shame with which we view McCarthy’s red-scare.

    Take a minute to really have a hard look at the science of this issue (read “The Skeptical Environmentalist” by Bjørn Lomborg) and take a deep breath. This isn’t a party issue, this is bigger than that.

  13. Eduardo Padoan says:

    (Re-reading your comment I see that you were not implying that man-made-climate-change-deniers are necessarily right-wingers, sorry)

  14. palindromic says:

    Being skeptical of AGW is hardly conspiratorial.

    “Man is definitely causing global warming”

    Skeptic: “Okay, what are your sources?”

    AGW: “Well, these Vostok ice-core samples seem to show that with an increase in CO2, temperature increases. And we definitely increase CO2!”

    Skeptic: “Wait a minute, this graph looks suspiciously as though CO2 increase lags behind temperature, which would mean that as temperature increases, CO2 follows. Also man-made CO2 accounts for a very small percentage of the CO2 cycle.”

    AGW: “Denier, philistine, shill!”

    Skeptic: “…”

  15. HollywoodBob says:

    People, you’re all missing the point.

    Regardless of apocalyptic climate change’s validity, there is reason enough to end fossil fuel use and promote efficient use of resources. The geopolitical reasons alone would be a great benefit to the world.

    As yet, I’ve seen no politician or climate scientist put their ass on the line and tell the world it’s time to grow up, and fix the world, their corporate backers would ruin them if they did.

    It’s time to put the petty bullshit over who is right or wrong aside, and start realizing that much can be done if we stop worrying about what it’ll cost, and who can profit from it. Or is it not enough that all of mankind can reap the rewards of abundant energy, a healthy environment, excellent education, health care for all, and enough work for everyone?

  16. noen says:

    We need a solution.

    I’m not clear that we are in some kind of agreement. I’m hearing skepticism of the reality and the cause. How can you reach a solution if one doesn’t understand the cause? If global warming is caused by the sun as some would have it then we need a completely different solution than if it is caused by man.

    Fortunately, the Know-Nothing Party of the Unusual Suspect is dead and soon to be buried. No one wants to listen to their idiocy any more and they’ll soon fade and find their place in the dustbin of history.

  17. noen says:

    Anyway, I just LOVE when issues of science become embedded in party identity

    Ok, ya got me. Raging liberal social dems can also be idiotic denialists.

    you still have to meet the standards of scientific rigor.. which man-made global warming, as a theory or even a hypothesis, has not.

    Citation needed. Really, at this point in time you’ve made several bald faced assertions without the slightest facts to back them up. Please do so now.

    There were very few scientists who espoused the beliefs of An Inconvenient Truth before it started making headlines

    This is false. I was well aware of the current scientific opinons before “An Inconvenient Truth”. The consensus was overwhelmingly in favor long before Al Gore came along. Over the years the facts have never really changed all that much.

    Bjørn Lomborg? His Phd is in what? Oh! I see, political science. Hummmm doop de doop let’s look at what a real scientist has to say.

    The Copenhagen Consensus.
    Lomborg has a knack of putting the problem in perspective – if the past climate change really was not by far as bad as the two world wars, it doesn’t mean that climate change is unimportant (compared to the Big Bang, nothing seems important, not even HIV/AIDS…). And 50 years ago, I think it’s fair to state that most people didn’t think that HIV/AIDS was important either (most people hadn’t heard of it…), but that doesn’t mean it’s unimportant now. These are some examples of rhetorical tricks he and CC use: As opposed to a wholistic solution, Lomborg presents a picture where one can applies a few fixes here and there. Thus, I think Lomborg, CC, and/or WSJ are/is sneaky and try to wrap a hidden message (that they don’t believe that climate change is important) inside another story.

    And according to the website Lomborg Errors there are 319 errors in “The Skeptical Environmentalist”. Kind of a lot, but then he isn’t a climatologist. The same website also lists the errors for Al Gore’s “An Inconvient Truth”

    A count of the errors gives the following result:
    Al Gore´s film: 2 errors, 8 flaws, 10 in total.
    Al Gore´s book: 2 errors, 11 flaws, 13 in total.
    Film and book together: 2 errors, 12 flaws, 14 in total.

    I think I can safely breathe now.

  18. Beelzebuddy says:

    As a scientist (though not a climatologist), what gets to me is how friggin’ inane both sides are. No one here is taking the necessary steps to connect their arguments to their conclusions.

    For the FOX-NEWS crowd: let’s say global warming isn’t man-made. So what? Neither are tornadoes, volcanoes, or planet-destroying meteors. If it’s happening, it’s happening, and we need to man up and deal with it. Thinking that’s something’s better just ’cause it’s natural is for granola-eating tree-hugging hippies. You’re supposed to be better than that.

    For the granola-eating tree-hugging hippies: let’s say global warming IS, definitely for certain, man-made. So what? We can’t just stop producing CO2 right now without self-inflicting far more economic damage than global warming would if we do nothing. What will that damage BE, exactly? The seas will rise, so they tell me, but how much and how quickly? Will Denver be the last bastion of humanity, or will the Dutch add a foot on their dikes and call it a day? Is the sky going to turn red and the waters fill with blood, or will we need 5% more power for air conditioning? How much should we be looking to spend to reduce global warming’s effects by 10%? How much are our current measures helping? Costing? All we have are guesses at this point, because most everyone is going from “Global Warming!” to “Reduce the Carbons!” with nothing in between. If anyone questions that reasoning it seems they’re branded a Climate Change Denier and shunned like communist sympathizers in the Fifties. That’s the sort of thing the FOX-NEWS crowd panders to. You’re supposed to be better than that.

  19. palindromic says:

    Gee, a website called “Lomborg errors” found only 10 flaws with Al Gore’s movie? But 319 with his ridiculously over-cited book? Well knock me over with a feather.. Looks like I was wrong folks, shows over! Thanks for coming!

    Please.. You were well aware of the consensus among the same scientists who contributed to AIT. A consensus amongst climatologists who couldn’t even successfully extrapolate a correlation from THEIR OWN GRAPH is hardly reassuring. The burden of proof is not on the skeptics, but those making the claim, sadly. I can cite thousands of brilliant skeptics who point out all the glaring flaws in the Inconvenient Truth conclusion, but what would the point be? Lomborgerrors.com has already made your mind up for you.

  20. Beelzebuddy says:

    Noen,

    No, you did not make it clear in the slightest. Actually, the fact that you posted the Chicken Little estimate despite knowing that it was crap is a good indication that your misdirection was deliberate. You threw the most extreme numbers you could find at me, hoping I’d bite. That’s exactly the kind of behavior you need to stop doing. It doesn’t paint a picture of a reasonable argument following rational observations, it makes you look like a single-minded reactionary freaking out about something they heard on the news. You’re doing just as much a disservice to the actual problem as the deniers you’re trying to refute. Knock it off.

  21. noen says:

    No one here is taking the necessary steps to connect their arguments to their conclusions.

    Beelzebuddy, the Fox News crowd makes the connection that it definately isn’t happening but if it is there certainly isn’t anything we can do about it. Their counsel is one of complacency and despair.

    What will that damage BE, exactly? The seas will rise, so they tell me, but how much and how quickly?

    Well that all sort of depends but this stuff has been in the news quite a while now. It isn’t hard to find.

    New Scientist:
    “If we burn all the fossil fuels that are left underground, the globe will warm by an average of up to 13 °C, according to the first serious assessment of how global warming might progress beyond 2100, the normal time frame of model predictions. That will wipe out most rainforests, destroy the fertility of many soils and leave the Arctic ice-free even in midwinter. London will be as hot as Cairo – except that, along with many of today’s most populous areas, it will have been engulfed by an 11-metre rise in sea levels.”

    Probably not a good idea to do that huh? James Hansen has some good resources and unlike Bjørn Lomborg is an actual climatologist. He says we have maybe 5 years at best before we reach a tipping point. After which we may be in for a 3 or 4 °C rise. Not as bad as above but not good at all.

  22. noen says:

    I can cite thousands of brilliant skeptics who point out all the glaring flaws in the Inconvenient Truth conclusion, but what would the point be?

    For starters it would signal to me the beginning of a debate. Are you aware palindromic that you haven’t given any evidence at all? You just yell and when that doesn’t work you yell louder.

    “Wait a minute, this graph looks suspiciously as though CO2 increase lags behind temperature, which would mean that as temperature increases, CO2 follows. Also man-made CO2 accounts for a very small percentage of the CO2 cycle.”

    CO2 doesn’t lead, it lags

    See? No name calling. But you are wrong.

  23. ausuchinu says:

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  24. Tom Hale says:

    Whose scientist’s are right? What common ground can we agree on?

  25. palindromic says:

    My beef is with anti-science, and how the agenda of a small number of demagogues can seemingly successfully override the system of checks and balances in the scientific community as a whole.

    Science is a very powerful institution, yet when political figureheads twist the life out of the debate with character assassination, vitriol, and baseless claims of corporate pandering.. well, it gets me knickers in a knot, innit? Al Gore never claimed there was a debate.. he announced the debate was over, before there even was one!

    If you want to tell the 3rd world they can’t use coal, or sanction their emissions, or do anything to harm the quality of life of those who aren’t struggling with the choices of “free trade” coffee but rather the choice of eating or buying medicine.. well, then you might arrive at the same place that fuels my fire. The sanctions that Kyoto and Gore’s crowd would put in place would irrevocably harm the rights of those who have not yet been given choice. This is a serious debate, and we can’t just close the book on it because one side is shouting louder than the other.

    • Antinous says:

      Al’s a politician. His job is to try to create change based on what he’s been told by a phalanx of credible scientists. I don’t believe for a second that there’s any serious doubt that we’re negatively impacting the climate. I do think that the carbon approach is simplistic. I also think that the sudden rush to produce biofuels was ill considered and will probably starve some millions to death. But I don’t consider it rational to reject the consensus of the overwhelming majority of the scientific community just because some politicians and entrepreneurs have exploited climate change for their own purposes.

  26. Hmpf says:

    @82:

    “If it’s as serious, existential and immediate as he says, nothing but a rapid return to the stone age is going to help.”

    You mean the stone age most of our grandparents lived in in the first half of the 20th century? ;-)

    Kidding aside: even if it was the *actual* stone ages – if given a choice between another two, three decades of a life with all mod cons followed by a spectacular collapse of civilisation; billions of deaths by famine and natural disasters; wars and civil unrest everywhere; extinction of most currently living species; loss of all rainforests and coral reefs etc., OR a return to a stone age lifestyle which will allow us to continue to live on a liveable planet for another few millennia – I’d choose the stone age option in a heartbeat.

    Even though I love the internet with a hot passion and would miss it terribly.

    BTW, speaking as an archaeologist, we are by no means all that certain that life in the stone ages was universally horrible.

    Also, not all of the knowledge and technology we have now necessarily depends on the rampant exploitation of fossil fuels. E.g. we would not lose our medical knowledge, and not all of our medical technology, either – just to give an example of something that is arguably fairly vital. In an energy-poor world, technology is not impossible; it just has to be decided very carefully what is still worth using energy on and what isn’t. And, really – 90% of the stuff we’re currently using our energy on we could easily do without, without even remotely having to return to a stone age lifestyle.

    • Antinous says:

      The percentage of energy that serves medical care or scientific research is infinitesimal compared to that which serves toaster ovens and large screen televisions.

  27. Tom says:

    Antinous: Nope.

    Sorry it comes across that way–you should have seen my original draft of that note, before I toned it down!

    Ok, back to the drawing board…

  28. teddyhedenquist says:

    nice photo

  29. noen says:

    Palindromic
    Noen.. did you even read my comments? Are you just objecting to the notion that skepticism is valid?

    I had a much longer reply that I think the spam filter ate, or something, I’m not seeing it. Maybe the mods can free it up from it’s exile. Of course skepticism is valid. I’ve never claimed otherwise.

    The data they claim to have extrapolated from these core samples, through gas chromatography and various other measurements, is what they use for the basis of their MAIN CLAIM, the proposal that CO2 is the main driving factor in global temperature increases.

    Yes, I know. The evidence is good, the data is solid. The objections of Bjørn Lomborg are without merit and he has been rightly accused of scientific misconduct. Acquitted yes but I believe the charge is valid.

    And what I’m trying to get across to you is, if you read deeply into this debate, you will find that THAT is precisely what is going on. Lots of hard questions are being asked, and not a lot of solid, conclusive answers are being offered.

    I see you are back to lecturing me rather than arguing. All you do is make assertions, where is your evidence? I have also looked into this debate and no, I am not seeing what you claim to see. When I googled Bjørn Lomborg it was easy to find those who debunked his work even though you presented him as this devastating critic. Personally, I find Bjørn’s debunkers to be convincing and the 300 errors in his book are deeply troubling.

    But you don’t respond to the factual basis or lack thereof in Bjørn’s work. You just hyperventilate about how the author of the site must be biased and have it in for Bjørn. This is a pattern for you. You don’t give substantive replies, you engage in hyperbole, so let’s boil this down.

    You appear to me to claim that CO2 does not contribute to global warming. Is that correct? Well, you need to support your case with actual evidence. What is the evidence that dumping gigatons of CO2 into the atmosphere does NOT lead to a greenhouse effect? You need to explain for me how that is possible.

  30. palindromic says:

    Oh Noen.. where do I even begin. The fact that such a website even exists, and makes a lot of really vague claims about what this data might actually mean, i.e.

    “So it is correct that CO2 did not trigger the warmings, but it definitely contributed to them — and according to climate theory and model experiments, greenhouse gas forcing was the dominant factor in the magnitude of the ultimate change.”

    implies that this data has yet to be processed to a final understanding. Welcome to science.. This is what scientists do, they argue about what data means. One might even be so crazy as to question the validity of the data extracted from those ice cores. Is arctic ice static? Do samples reflect temperature accurately, and to what degree? Do all ice core samples show the same data or is this data averaged over a series? How does one accurately posit within a given timeframe (sample location) which data comes first, carbon or temperature? Can you prove that any conclusions you come to regarding this stand up to tests on independent samples? What equipment is used to measure this, and what is the contamination rate you experience when drilling into a core from friction, gas expulsion, gas transfer, etc?

    If the debate is still over, let me know. I’ll be right here, asking questions.

  31. The Unusual Suspect says:

    The argument for anthropogenic global warming is based on relatively simple models developed and applied to relatively small amounts of data (when considered in relation to the complexity and size of the system they are meant to describe.

    Becuase none of the current models fit, the AGW argument boils down to this:

    “Scientists don’t know for sure what natural forces caused the 0.65 degree increase in global temperature over the past 100 years, so it must be anthropogenic.”

    How is that different than the argument in favour of Intelligent Design? It’s not. Contrast:

    “Scientists don’t know for sure what natural forces caused the first single-cell life, so it must be intelligent design.”

    In either case, challenging people to prove the NON-existence of your proposition is a logical fallacy. (I’m looking at YOU, Antinous @ #21.)

  32. Brainspore says:

    #20 posted by HollywoodBob , November 9, 2008 3:20 PM

    That’s all fine and good assuming the polluters are in a location where they fall under your control. But even then it’s not a long term solution. And I think it’d be obvious by now that free markets don’t function for the benefit of anyone but shareholders…

    A huge portion of the polluters ARE in a location where they fall under American control. We may buy the fuel we use for energy from overseas, but we burn it within our borders. Charge a flat rate for every ton of carbon burned in the United States and other forms of energy suddenly look a lot more financially viable.

    Free markets can and have been harnessed to work the environment- so long as we put a price tag on hurting it. That’s when the shareholders’ benefit and the public’s become one and the same.

  33. Anonymous says:

    That’s actually a historically significant photo from the day they picked up Gillian and the crew. It looks great now that it’s been touched up.

  34. Antinous says:

    Noen,

    There’s nothing in the spam bin from you.

    Unusual Suspect,

    I hope that your ‘logic’ doubles as a flotation device. Nice try with the Creationist gambit. Not a single credible journal article from a scientist in a related field to back you up. Tell me again who’s the Creationist?

  35. noen says:

    How is that different than the argument in favour of Intelligent Design?

    Because scientists don’t postulate the activity of a mythical sky god to explain the observed rise in global temperature. Occam, a razor, and your theory, I eated it.

    challenging people to prove the NON-existence of your proposition is a logical fallacy.

    No, it’s perfectly valid to demand evidence or some kind of explanation. It is not enough to take pot shots from the peanut gallery. There is a problem, it needs to be explained. The problem is “What effect does dumping massive amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere have on the environment?”

    The counter claim is that there is no effect but they need to explain or offer an account of how this is possible. CO2 is a known greenhouse gas. This fact is rooted in quantum mechanics and is hard science. How does your counter theory explain this?

    Do you even have a counter theory? No, you do not. All you have is Exxon funded propaganda. It’s all bullshit.

  36. noen says:

    Actually, it’s a photo from the future. That’s Florida.

  37. Marcel says:

    We know the drill, the world is only allowed to be saved if the U.S.A. can take credit for it.

    Our noble saviors.

  38. HollywoodBob says:

    I really wish someone would sit AG down and explain to him that nothing will change as long as there is more profit in raping the planet and poisoning the environment. Laws won’t change anything, corporations will just move away from them. Hybrids and electric cars won’t help, very few people can buy a new car. And who is going to be happy to watch their power bill double because the power company decides to pass on the cost of that 100 million dollar solar farm to their customers.

    In order for real change to be made the first thing that will have to happen is to shift to a resource based economy. Until society can stop asking “what’ll it cost” and “how much can we profit”, and start asking “can it be done” and “do we have the resources”, we’ll continue to be stuck on the same path. One where greedy corporations do everything they can to protect their bottom line by buying our lawmakers, and acting with complete indifference for the damage they do to the planet and it’s people.

  39. Beelzebuddy says:

    Noen,

    Fox News crowd makes the connection that it definately isn’t happening but if it is there certainly isn’t anything we can do about it. Their counsel is one of complacency and despair.

    I actually went and looked at the Fox News website, and in the five minutes I had to skim before reaching my daily rage quota, couldn’t find anything regarding global warming. This completely unrelated story was awesome, though.

    Regardless, that’s actually not what they’re saying. It’s subtle, but they’ve inserted “man-made” or “anthropogenic” here and there, presumably to invalidate the current body of work demonstrating global warming while not having to change their arguments. My request for them was that it *should.*

    New Scientist:

    You can stop there. Although it’s a great way to learn what’s out there and who’s trying to do what, New Scientist is not a reputable source for scientific information. They’re better than your average AP news story, but have an unfortunate tendency to print press releases verbatim, and conjecture as solid fact.

    The particular piece you quote is locked behind a paywall (probably why you didn’t link it), but the first glaringly bad assumption I see is the phrase “If we burn all the fossil fuels that are left underground.” There is a lot of fudging you can do with that estimation alone – just look at the disparity between peak oil and big oil numbers.

  40. noen says:

    Ppalindromic
    Oh Noen.. where do I even begin.

    You could begin by presenting evidence to support your position, which is what exactly? Global warming is real, we can measure it. Or perhaps you feel it isn’t caused by human activity. In which case you have to explain to me how dumping gigatons of CO2 into the atmosphere would not have an effect. Or perhaps you believe there is nothing we can (or should) do. Which makes no sense to me since as it was caused by human activity then it should be possible to be countered by us.

    I’m quite sure that you can play the skeptic’s game as long as you like but that is just a game and not an honest discussion.

  41. Beelzebuddy says:

    Hm, sorry about the non-working link. Lemme try again, as a street brawl between monks from two christian orthodox sects is too good to pass unnoticed:

    Here yas go

  42. MossWatson says:

    “I really wish someone would sit AG down and explain to him that nothing will change as long as there is more profit in raping the planet and poisoning the environment.”

    amen.

  43. noen says:

    By the “Fox News crowd” I meant those denialists that I have met who seem to get all their info from Fox News or JunkScience or other propaganda outlets. They are typically conservative extremists.

    Yes, I know the New Scientist article was on the far end of the scale. A 13 degree rise in global temps would be very very bad. The question was what the effects would be and that is one possibility. Hopefully not likely. I thought I made it clear in context that it was on one end of the extreme.

    A 4 degree rise will be bad enough. It means 50% species extinction, 35% drop in agricultural yields, 50% drop in water availability in some areas and up to 300 million displaced by global floods. We have almost no ability to adapt to this. It is best to avoid it at all costs.

  44. pauldrye says:

    Oh look, there’s another one of those “Barack Obama musts” that actually mean “I think we must”.

    It seems that the internet and mass media have interacted with circumstances to make the president-elect the most psychologically displaced-upon person in history.

  45. coldspell says:

    To find common ground, I will try to enumerate what I understand the fundamental positions to be:

    * Global warming is not actually happening.
    * Global warming is happening, but it is natural (e.g. ice age, sunspots, whatever)
    * Global warming is happening and it is anthropogenic.
    * Global warming is happening and it is both natural and anthropogenic.

    If one believes global warming is actually happening, then:

    * Humans cannot prevent it.
    * Humans can prevent it and should.
    * Humans could prevent it, but the cost is too high (e.g. companies/people would lose work or the money could be spent more effectively on other global problems like malaria).
    * Humans shouldn’t worry about global warming because we will be able to reverse it later through some geoengineering/terraforming technology not yet invented.

  46. lost feliz says:

    Dear #6 & #7,
    Please explain your alternatives. Gore should quiet down “until society” changes? Who knows if people will exist in 200 years. Seriously. Who knows if change in environmental stewardship will happen soon enough. But shall we spend our days in a bliss of blindness or fight the good fight?

    I know what I’d choose.

  47. HollywoodBob says:

    @#77 RandomCat:

    The sea level couldn’t rise more than a few feet, there’s simply not enough ice on the land to increase the water content, and ocean born ice already raises the sea level because of displacement. Besides, if sea levels were really rising, places like Vanuatu (+/-1′ above sea level) in the south Pacific would already be underwater.

    @#84 Noen:

    Why does the cause matter? We still need to get systems for cheap abundant energy and utilize our resources more efficiently.

    The technology is already available to build wind, solar, tidal, and geothermal power systems. We can end desertification by utilizing massive irrigation systems, there by increasing the amount of arable land vastly by reclaiming much of Africa. We could put wasted land to use for growing industrial hemp and timber bamboo two plants that strip far more carbon from the air then they replace in processing.

    There are hundreds of things that can be done to ensure a future with a far greater quality of life for all, the question is can we get past the bullshit of our current society and get things done.

  48. noen says:

    nothing will change [...] Laws won’t change anything

    Cynicism is a disease of the mind. If you believe nothing will ever change then it won’t. If you believe things can change for the better then they will. Within limits imposed by the real world of course but there is tremendous latitude there. There is nothing in reality that says we must pollute or we must use every last drop of oil.

    And last time I looked the force of law is a powerful check on behavior.

  49. Anonymous says:

    How about we start preparing for the worst instead of delaying the inevitable.

  50. MossWatson says:

    Feliz,

    I am suggesting that we stop pretending that we can fix the problem without looking at the true cause of the problem. Mass production of vehicles, hybrid or otherwise, is destroying the planet. Industrial forestry is destroying the planet. Commercial fishing is destroying the planet. The lifestyle we all enjoy is killing the planet. period. If people are going to talk about solutions it needs to be about drastic lifestyle changes, and what it means to live truly sustainably.

  51. assumetehposition says:

    The bold steps that are needed to solve the climate crisis are exactly the same steps that ought to be taken in order to solve the economic crisis and the energy security crisis.

    I think that’s the point Rush Limbaugh has been trying to make. It’s all too convenient…

  52. palindromic says:

    okay.. I give up.

    Noen.. did you even read my comments? Are you just objecting to the notion that skepticism is valid? The entire point I’m raising here is that, within the realm of science, the burden of PROOF is on the shoulders of the one making the CLAIM. Science works like this.. if you have a conjecture, hypothesis, theory, what have you, you are the one who has to provide the evidence and the data to support your claim. The AGW crowd made a claim, they presented their data and the conclusions they drew from it. It’s all out there for you to read if you so choose. I’m not talking about sappy music played over scenes of polar bears swimming between ice floes. I’m talking about the Vostok ice-core data (which is fundamental to the AGW crowd’s claims about ‘tipping points’ and dire consequences for inaction).

    The data they claim to have extrapolated from these core samples, through gas chromatography and various other measurements, is what they use for the basis of their MAIN CLAIM, the proposal that CO2 is the main driving factor in global temperature increases. And thus, because mankind is a producer of CO2 (in the gigaton range, as you say) we are contributing to the increase in global temperatures we have observed over the past decade. That’s it. That is the whole debate.

    What the scientific community is beholden to do, because of the requirement of science to test and retest every conjecture, is poke holes in those claims by asking very serious questions about the validity of the data, and more importantly, the validity of any conclusions that one may draw from that data. What you seem to not understand is that it’s not my or any other scientists responsibility to provide any proof or data, or even counter their claims with an alternative scenario. All we are required to do is ask the hard questions about the methodology of their data gathering and conclusion making. And what I’m trying to get across to you is, if you read deeply into this debate, you will find that THAT is precisely what is going on. Lots of hard questions are being asked, and not a lot of solid, conclusive answers are being offered. Sure, there are good defenses here and there, but fundamentally there is not a solid A -> B -> C lineage of conclusive, irrefutable evidence that supports their claim.

    As much as the media, and Al Gore, and the ‘consensus’ scientists will try and tell you, there has not to date, yet, been a presentation of conclusively irrefutable data and theory.. yet. As much as they want to believe that their science stands up to the tests of skeptics, the ones who ask the hard questions, the ones who demand rigor in testing, conclusions, and ultimately methodology, they have not yet presented a bullet-proof argument as to why man-made global warming is a reality, and thus must be addressed. They haven’t even made an effort to do so. Instead, they have created a political machine to attack those who would dare ask those hard questions.

    In the realm of hard science, this is like getting a Nobel prize for saying you believe in God, and that’s that. I hate to be the one to say it, but they’ve played dirty, and they have garnered resentment and incredulity at every turn for doing it. They *might* be right.. but they have forcibly skipped the process of vetting their conclusions. This is what the skeptics, and anyone who pays attention to Science with a capital S has found objectionable. It’s not that they are _obviously_ wrong, it’s that they have made claims that they aren’t willing to defend, or even allow any scrutiny at all which might undermine their agenda. It amounts to a kind of white-washing of the accepted process for these things, and it smacks of McCarthyism at the very least.

    You might not believe what I’m telling you, and that’s fine. But at least look at the idea of what I’m telling you, and try to line up the notion of full disclosure with what has happened. “Climate change denier” has become synonymous with devil incarnate.. and why? All because the political clout of one version of climate change has been pushed to the point of doctrine. Doctrine that undermines everything scientists value about their position, politically. This is my last post about this topic, just consider it. That’s all I’ll ask.

  53. atadenglish says:

    #63,

    I would like to say that you neglected to mention the belief that I hold– that trying to predict the climate is a lot like trying to predict the stock market. Like I mentioned earlier: I recommend everyone read the books Fooled By Randomness/Black Swan by Nissam Taleb. Just because there is consensus among economists about something doesn’t necessarily mean anything. The fallacy lies in the understanding of statistics and the data on which they are based. All it takes is one “black swan” to throw it all on its head.

    On another note: Al Gore et al. can learn something from the success of Barack Obama and the failure of George W. Bush. Inspiring optimism about solutions to problems is a lot more effective than fearmongering. Not only is it more effective, but it’s just plain healthier. This whole “You’re either with us or you’re against us” divisiveness and completely over-the-top rhetoric is just sad. I try to avoid discussions like this because I can actually see the cumulative blood-pressure rising… and it’s contagious. No matter what side of this debate you’re on, if you get worked up about it I feel sorry for you. LEARN TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB :)

  54. imipak says:

    Some links:

    http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=the-unquiet-ice
    http://scrippsnews.ucsd.edu/Releases/doc/zpq038084771p.pdf
    http://www.planetwork.net/climate/Hansen2007.pdf
    http://researchpages.net/media/resources/2008/02/05/final_proof.pdf

    (Oh and before the denialists start, that’s “final proof” in the publishing sense.)

    Well, of course these are all written by conspirators trying to, er, er,… 4) profit!!

    yes, I’ve certainly got very rich encouraging people to generate less CO2 by saving energy. I haven’t quite worked out how, exactly, but I read on teh intarwebs that I have done, so it must be true.

  55. noen says:

    The sea level couldn’t rise more than a few feet, there’s simply not enough ice on the land to increase the water content

    This is unbelievably ignorant. “Melting of the current Greenland ice sheet would result in a sea-level rise of about 6.5 meters” – pubs.usgs.gov

    The Greenland ice sheet is 1.7 million km2 and up to 3 km thick. The ice over the continent of Antarctica is 30 million km2 and up to four miles think. Floating ice does raise sea levels when it melts because ice is made of fresh water and has greater volume when melted.

    Why does the cause matter? We still need to get systems for cheap abundant energy and utilize our resources more efficiently.

    Why? Why should we do that if it doesn’t matter how much oil we burn? If CO2 really has no effect on our environment then we should burn every drop of the cheapest fuel we can find and then go to other planets, bring it here and burn some more. Why do you hate America?

  56. randomcat says:

    For heaven’s sake. Al, you’re not helping anybody by using hyperbole like “armageddon” and “existential threat.” The human race will survive global warming.

    It may cost us billions or trillions, and chances are quite good that many people will have to leave their homes because some rivers that used to flow all year will dry up during the summer, some areas will turn to desert, and other areas (hello, Florida) may get submerged.

    Even if the sea level rises by a couple meters, the human race is going to survive. It’s simply not an existential threat.

  57. pauldrye says:

    Feliz, why you’re right! I *was* suggesting that Al Gore stop speaking entirely! How foolish of me. It’s fortunate you came along to straighten me out as opposed to (say) your countering with an argument that’s not actually relevant to the point.

    People have been coming out of the woodwork the last week with agendas phrased as if some obscure law of physics made it literally impossible for Barack Obama to not follow them. This is one of them. It’s either arrogant, naïve, or a sign that they can’t tell the difference between their own desires and those of others.

  58. Ugly Canuck says:

    …or the US armed forces.

  59. Anonymous says:

    I realize this is slightly OT but since when was ‘America’s revolutionary declaration that all human beings are born equal’ in any way at all revolutionary?
    France abolished slavery in 1794, Britain in 1833 and America dragged it’s heels and abolition was passed in December 1865 with some of the main proponents being British? Hardly revolutionary.

  60. Anonymous says:

    I recommend everyone read Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Taleb. Although I will admit it argues what I already believed about the nature of the world and the limit to using statistics to predict the future (I’m 25 and my undergrad was in Stats–if that means anything). Taleb wrote another book more recently called Black Swan that is also good. It is human nature to construct narratives.

  61. Ugly Canuck says:

    Screw all this end the War already.

  62. Anonymous says:

    Unrelated to the flame war:

    No, we shan’t start referring to people by their Twitter at-sign reference. Al Gore and Tim O’Reilly are just fine and make far more sense.

    We don’t refer to blogs in common speech by their URLs, and we never cited people by their full e-mail addresses.

    Usernames and nicknames are and have been used since at least USENet, but @al_gore barely means anything now – if anything, it means “at Al Gore”, which is senseless in this context – and it certainly won’t mean anything once Twitter’s gone the inevitable way of the tech dinosaur.

  63. palindromic says:

    Ahh, Al Gore and his straws. How he loves to grasp away at them, his fleeting hopes for convincing anyone that doom is imminent still getting more and more ludicrous as time soldiers on, with about the same amount of hurricanes and weather cycling as usual.

    There was a boingboing post not long ago about how very few people understood basic science terms, and I think as more and more people come to the realization that “Man causes global warming” is a pretty damn flimsy Theory, we’ll gradually move away from these hysterical calls to vast, lifestyle destroying change and more toward a sober and pragmatic outlook at what can, can’t, should and most certainly should not be done. Yes we can cut back on certain excesses, but declaiming that our children will all die if we don’t start living in mud huts and driving hybrids is just unscientific garbage.

    What caused the great periods of cooling and warming before man had industry, if we are so certain that industry is causing global warming? Climate science is far less reliable than even quantum theory at this point, the big difference is the Large Hadron Collider is an actual experiment that can give some solid data to work with. The climate, obviously, is much harder to do experiments on. The sooner we put these asinine histrionics about climate to bed the better off we’ll all be for it.

  64. Brainspore says:

    I really wish someone would sit AG down and explain to him that nothing will change as long as there is more profit in raping the planet and poisoning the environment.

    One of Gore’s core arguments (which may or may not be proven correct) is that it is possible to create an economic environment where it is more profitable to reduce pollution than to rape the planet. If polluters had to pay for every ton of carbon they released into the atmosphere, the free market would seek the most carbon-neutral alternatives available.

  65. WarEagle says:

    NOEN and Palindromic.

    I think you both agree that the climate is warming. That sea levels are rising. The only thing you are “debating” here is why.

    Palindromic, it seems like what you argue is for the human race to remain open minded and not unnecessarily expend resources on a solution/problem that is somewhat speculative and still debatable.

    NOEN, it seems like you want the human race to accept that we are, at the very least, party responsible for this warming of our planet thru our massive CO2 emmissions.

    Either way you are both a necessary entity in this very important argument. Restraint vs. Action. I hope action wins of course, but yes we need to make sure what we are doing is worth the huge costs that will follow, and also EFFECTIVE.

    You both agree the planet is warming. I suggest you take that small bit of common ground and build from that. We need a solution.

  66. Jeremiah Cornelius says:

    There is no climate crisis, and Al Gore is a huckster for another globalist scheme to sift your pockets.

    The iceberg/polar bear slide in Inconvenient Truth was a demonstrable fraud – as much of the anecdotal content and nearly all the empirical data slathered n this ‘film’.

    It is a sales presentation, and someone smells a profit.

    If it is true, critics don’t need to be ridiculed or supressed:
    http://www.dailyexpress.co.uk/posts/view/69623

    • Antinous says:

      There is no climate crisis

      A statement of such grandeur requires citations. Meanwhile the rest of us will continue getting our news from reputable sources.

  67. HollywoodBob says:

    @Feliz, not at all, I’m saying that he should stop advocating limited changes and start advocating more drastic ones. And he could start by selling that monstrosity that he lives in and his private jet. It’s hard for me to take him seriously when he buys bullshit carbon credits to offset the footprint for air conditioning his 10000 sqft mansion.

    As for alternatives. Lets start by dissolving the department of defense, it uses way too many resources. Next nationalize all power companies and build solar, wind and tidal farms, as well as constructing geothermal plants (say goodbye to Yellowstone National Park, and hello to Yellowstone Caldera Geothermal Plant). Then nationalize all the auto plants and start building electric cars cheap enough that everyone can buy one. A necessity if you’re going to take the next step and eliminate fossil fuels. You can replace freight delivery trucks with trains, and build a maglev network all over that hauls people and goods, allowing you to do away with air travel.

    All of these may seem drastic, but I say they’re not drastic enough.

    The good thing about them is that each project will need thousands of people to build them, which would put to work millions of qualified people who have lost their jobs to outsourcing.

  68. HollywoodBob says:

    @ #14 Brainspore:

    That’s all fine and good assuming the polluters are in a location where they fall under your control. But even then it’s not a long term solution. And I think it’d be obvious by now that free markets don’t function for the benefit of anyone but shareholders.

    The free market promotes outsourcing, poor quality, ignorance of citizenry and government corruption. Market forces can be overcome by corporate greed and stupid customers.

    I’m sorry to say it but we’re all slaves to the dollar, most of us work for too few, and do what we can to buy goods as cheap as we can, regardless of the damage caused by their production. Letting the free market encourage environmental conservation, is as stupid as letting a wolf guard your sheep.

  69. MossWatson says:

    Palindromic,

    Just because the climate went through drastic changes before man existed means that nothing we do can affect it? Not a very strong argument.

    Climate change is just one aspect of the problem, peak oil is another, yet another is the fact that our entire civilization is based upon the constant (and constantly increasing) production of limited natural resources.
    Look at current extinction rates, look at the rates of deforestation, look at the loss of topsoil, look at the rates of toxic chemicals in every stream in America. Look at the amount of raw materials it takes to produce the items that define our lifestyle, and at the destructiveness required to extract these materials and tell me how we don’t need to change our lifestyle.

  70. palindromic says:

    #21, How about the statement “man is causing global warming” ? And please, nothing from anyone who points to a graph and says “as you can see”. Evidence is thin on both sides of this argument, the big difference is one side is saying the other side is a “denier” for questioning any of the data or interpretations.

  71. Cool Products says:

    I’ve seen a couple of comments on here that have mentioned that Al Gore has ulterior motives in pushing his environmentalist agenda. Does anyone actually have any evidence to support these claims? It sounds like a pretty hasty generalization to me.

  72. palindromic says:

    Mosswatson,

    One big volcano blows up and all our carbon scrimping efforts get set back 10 years.. Should we invest in volcano reinforcing equipment?

    The short answer to _your_ question is YES. And its a HELLUVA lot more sensible than the argument against it.

    We aren’t talking about peak oil, but I’ll bite on that. I agree about cutting back in certain areas to make sure that land/fuel/building materials remain viable for future generations. That makes perfect sense, because it assumes that even though technology may come along that makes all of it completely pointless, it’s smart to not risk it.

    Global warming is an eventuality that, given the scale of the earth and our biomass presence (even with industry, far far less than insects and plants) we should be smart about and realize we can’t really do much for or against it. Its not in the same league as resource management, it is simply an invalid assumption about quite simply, how ‘big’ we are.

  73. Takuan says:

    “someone smells a profit.”

    not at all like a hyper-moral oil company.

  74. The Unusual Suspect says:

    Oh you want a solution? Why didn’t you say so?

    The solution to all our environmental problems is to get everyone to reduce, reuse and recycle. It really IS that simple.

    The solution is NOT to buy carbon credits, or to scream at your neighbours to do s

    (Oh, and get off oil, if only to stop giving all your money to Bad People.)

  75. HollywoodBob says:

    @ Noen: I’ll concede the ice point, I was exaggerating. Though, I believe you’re mistaken about the floating ice, the displacement should be the same no matter if it’s a solid or a liquid.

    I’ve already stated the numerous reasons why fossil fuels are bad, but you’ve been to busy bitching about who’s fault global warming is to take notice. As I’ve said before, too many people are preoccupied with laying the blame than figuring out how to overcome the problem.

    Your message is the equivalent of saying we need to jail more criminals than making a world where fewer criminals exist. Setting climate change aside, fossil fuels are a source of a host of bad things, from non-carbon pollutants to the effects oil and coal have on society in general. We profess to hate human rights abuses but yet we send trillions of dollars to a country that has one of the worse human rights records on the planet in exchange for something we have plenty of alternatives for.

    I’ll say it again, if we could collectively stop asking “what does it cost” and “how can we profit” and start asking “can we do it” and “who will benefit” we could maybe make some change for the better.

  76. Tom says:

    Preamble: Apocalimatologists are doing a great disservice to both science and the environment by attempting to create and leverage fear for their own political gain, particularly given that the science they are basing their arguments on is not of sufficient quality to justify its use as a strong basis for policy [*].

    Hypothesis: No statement about environmental policy should begin with anything other than some variant of “I have done X” or “I am going to do X” It should never begin with “We/They/You must/should do X”.

    Argument: Most people, like Al Gore sitting in his 18,000 square foot mansion, are too timid or too entitled to change their own extravagantly destructive behaviours, but are more than willing to tell others what they must/should be forced to do. This tars the entire environmental movement with the brush of authoritarianism. Furthermore, it practically defines cowardice: commanding others to make changes that you are not willing to make yourself.

    Are the changes we need to make difficult? Not really, if we aren’t idiots about it. I’ve made a lot of them, and am slowly migrating further along the path, and the only thing I’ve “given up” are high fuel bills.

    I choose to live in a smaller home that is within walking distance of almost everything I care about. If I could buy a ZENN car here I would, as it would completely take care of any transportation needs not covered by my feet and my bike. And I am creating a market for goods like ZENN cars and other sustainable technologies. This will move the market to serve the needs of people like me without the need for some mythical, magical all-wise commissar to take control of the next Five Year Plan and absolve me of the need to risk investing my own hard-earned money in the kind of future that I pretend to believe in.

    I am trying to act on Gandhi’s dictum: be the change you want to see in the world. Compared to what he did what I’m doing is trivial, and so easy that anyone could do it. Even Al Gore.

    —————-

    [*] If you disagree, show me a GCM that doesn’t require energy conservation to be added as a kludge, or long-term temperature records that actually agree with model predictions covering the same place and time. In the data/model comparison published recently by those Greek hydrologists the model predictions were for the most part somewhat anti-correlated with reality.

  77. Freddybear says:

    It would be a lot easier to believe Al Gore if all his prescriptions for addressing climate change didn’t involve giving government more power over society and the economy.

  78. WarEagle says:

    It really is that simple? I mean don’t get me wrong I encourage recycling and the benefits are endless, but I don’t see it as a solution to reversing a rise in global temperatures and rising sea levels. I dont’ think you really understand the scale of the problem we are discussing here.

  79. MossWatson says:

    Palindromic,

    I didn’t mean to say that we can prevent a naturally occurring climate change – things will happen that are out of our control – but how do you take that to mean that nothing we ever do could possibly negatively affect the climate?

    as for your volcano, yes that could happen, and one day the sun WILL burn out, but does that mean people should starve to death in the meantime? be poisoned to death in the meantime? Your argument is a total cop out, albeit a disappointingly common one.

    again:
    Look at current extinction rates, look at the rates of deforestation, look at the loss of topsoil, look at the rates of toxic chemicals in every stream in America. Look at the amount of raw materials it takes to produce the items that define our lifestyle, and at the destructiveness required to extract these materials and tell me how we don’t need to change our lifestyle.

  80. zyodei says:

    I’ve got a few issues with how global warming is presented.

    (First), I don’t like how it presented as being proven beyond any doubt, and not open to debate. It may well be true. But, there is evidence against the hypothesis too, and credible scientists who feel otherwise. I am unsettled by any rhetoric that seeks to silence debate.

    (Second), it’s presented as such a massive, existential threat that justifies all means to solve it. This corresponds to terrorism on the right: a massive, existential crisis that justifies any means to stop it. New York City gets nuked. New York City gets drowned. Either way, any and all means are OK.

    And what are all of the means proposed?

    An increase in government power. Remember, a universal carbon tax would be an incredibly regressive tax which would hit the poor the hardest and reduce freedom of movement.

    Maybe some people would trade their Suburbans for Geo Metros…but even a relatively small tax can be a lot for the poorest.

    As a longtime user of a bicycle for sole transportation who chose to live in a city with good public transit, I recognize that not everyone can get around without cars. Until new technology finally comes around, they are necessary in rural America.

    (Third), I feel that all of this emphasis on Carbon and Global Warming pulls in all of the environmental attention. So we come to a point where the sole metric of environmental progress is carbon emissions. Polute the rivers, pave the meadows, stuff the landfills – as long as we are reducing our carbon footprint, it’s OK. You might argue that overall environmental impact and carbon emissions dovetail, and that it’s good that people are more aware of the environment, drive less, etc. But I really feel that there’s a risk that carbon issue will crowd out all other environmental concerns in the mass consciousness.

  81. Antinous says:

    The overwhelming majority of the scientific community holds one view and the overwhelming majority of the climate change comment thread community holds the opposite. Hmmmm. Whom should I believe?

    I don’t like how it presented as being proven beyond any doubt, and not open to debate. It may well be true. But, there is evidence against the hypothesis too, and credible scientists who feel otherwise. I am unsettled by any rhetoric that seeks to silence debate.

    Credible? Like creationism and ‘HIV doesn’t cause AIDS’ credible?

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