Climatic Heresy: 1


Lawrence Solomon book cover

(Charles Platt is a guest blogger)

At the risk of stimulating outrage, I’m going to ask some questions about climate. No one disputes that planetary warming occurred during the second half of the twentieth century; the question is whether it was primarily anthropogenic (i.e. caused by human beings). The Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claims that the debate on this issue is over. I’m not so sure anymore.

I'll begin with The Deniers by Lawrence Solomon, which I regard as the most important book that I read in 2008.

Solomon is an old-school environmental activist who dislikes nuclear power, wants to save rainforests, yet started to doubt the environmental party line on climate change after he made contact with a series of highly credentialled scientists, all of whom have been labelled with the pejorative term deniers. They accept that warming has occurred, but don’t believe it’s as simple as the IPCC makes it seem to be.

Several are convinced that our lack of knowledge about factors affecting cloud formation in the upper atmosphere makes an accurate warming model impossible. Many feel that recent warming is just a cyclical recovery from a “little ice age” and may have little to do with human activity. Some conjecture that we are already starting to descend into a new cooling period which will be far more difficult to deal with than warming. Whether they’re right or wrong is debatable; the point is that a debate does exist, and those on the skeptical side should not be ignored, ridiculed, smeared, or threatened with career damage.

The book presents a variety of data. I lack space here to explain why each item is supported by at least some evidence.

—CO2 levels may have been as high 11,000 years ago as they are today.

—Air bubbles in preindustrial Antarctic ice indicate that CO2 levels in the 1890s were almost as high as in the 1950s.

—Sea levels have been rising naturally for 16,000 years and have probably fluctuated by up to two meters during the past 1,000 years alone.

—While portions of the Antarctic are melting (and have attracted publicity), other portions are gathering ice (and have been ignored by the media). The overall loss of ice is probably minuscule. As for the Arctic, since it consists of floating ice, it would not cause sea levels to rise even if it melted completely.

—The planet Mars has been experiencing its own global warming, in sync with ours, unprompted by any human activity.

—The greenhouse effect is a logarithmic function; in other words, each linear increment in the volume of carbon dioxide causes a progressively smaller increase in temperature. We have already reached the point of diminishing returns.

—Many measurements of global temperature have flattened out during the last decade. The planet is probably cooler now than when George W. Bush took office.

—The so-called “hockey stick” curve, showing temperature suddenly increasing at an exponential rate after a long period of stability, has been discredited by some statisticians to the point where even the IPCC has backed away from using it.

Human activity may indeed be affecting the climate, but after reading the calm, methodical statements by the “deniers,” I’m no longer willing to believe that anyone has a complete model of the complex, chaotic systems that determine global temperature, and I regret that the simplistic fear-metaphors used by people such as Al Gore have tended to demonize those who simply feel that the evidence, at this point, is still inconclusive.

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  1. Still. If you began to suspect that your house MIGHT be slowly filling with carbon monoxide gas, but weren’t completely sure, would it be better to (A) take steps to avoid quietly suffocating, or (B) change nothing and adopt a “wait and see” attitude?

  2. Charles Charles Charles….
    I thought so much better of you…
    but if you insist on trolling….here we go.

    We can argue whether or not climate change is caused by human action all we want, and if you think its not man made..and the 99% of scientists that think it is man made don’t convince you….well…I’m obviously not going to convince you.

    But here’s the deal.

    If Climate change isn’t caused by humans and we try to lower CO2 and other emissions there’s no big loss. Heck, the world’ll probably smell better.

    If climate change _is_ caused by humans and we don’t try to lower CO2 and other emissions….we might destroy our planet.

    So either way I figure we try to curb emissions and either help or save the planet.

    I really hope you’re right. I hope its not our fault and its a normal fluctuation. In that case we don’t have a problem.

    But if I’m right, that we’re causing global warming, and we do nothing about it.

    Well….that would not be so nice.

  3. That would depend on whether my house was also being threatened by other catastrophic events, and how many resources I had available to allocate among them. It would also depend on how reliable I felt the evidence was that the gas really was carbon monoxide and was liable to kill me.

  4. “99% of scientists that think it is man made”

    Source for this number is?

    “If Climate change isn’t caused by humans and we try to lower CO2 and other emissions there’s no big loss.”

    Huge financial loss.

  5. Well, where to start.
    “Sea levels have been rising naturally for 16,000 years and have probably fluctuated by up to two meters during the past 1,000 years alone”

    I live in Great Yarmouth, UK – a coastal town no part of which is higher than 2m above current sea level. Since the town has been here for the last 1,000 years and has been continually occupied we must presume that the original founders built their town in the sea?

    Air bubbles in preindustrial Antarctic ice indicate that CO2 levels in the 1890s were almost as high as in the 1950s.

    We have actual measurements that show that CO2 levels have risen continually over the

    “While portions of the Antarctic are melting (and have attracted publicity), other portions are gathering ice (and have been ignored by the media). The overall loss of ice is probably minuscule”

    Actually disproved since the book was published in this paper
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v457/n7228/edsumm/e090122-01.html

    For the rest I recommend
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/start-here/

    For a simple primer on the facts.

    You have to remeber that this, like the “debate” over evolution, is an American issue. In the rest of the world nobody’s arguing about the reality of either – only in America is there concerted (and, in the case of global warming, commercially motivated) lobbying against scientific knowledge.

    You can always find someone with a science degree to opine on any position you like: the tobacco companies were producing “expert” witnesses to show no link between smoking and cancer fully 20 years after the scientific concensus had formed on that topic. In the same way Exxon can produce people with degrees to say “there’s no global warming” – and will probably continue to do so till the oil runs out. It won’t make it true.

    One final point. There is an independent check about the reality of climate change that isn’t often mentioned; wildlife. As climate alters animals either move or die out of areas that are no longer climatically suitable. Now around the northern hemisphere there are small populations, on the top of mountain ranges, of cold-adapted species whose main populations are much further north. These are remnents left over from the last ice age when these species could roam freely over the continent. When the ice retreated these animals died out or moved, leaving isolated populations on the top of mountains – where it was still cold enough to survive.

    As the climate warms these populations have to move further up the mountain to find areas cold enough. Eventually they run out of mountain and die out. Now, since their main population are now thousands of miles away they can not be repopulated – once they’re gone that’s it. Now in the last 20 years researchers have documented scores of alpine species (mainly butterflies) which have disappeared from alpine habitats in southern europe. This provides independent proof that the climate has not been this warm since the last ice age (since if it had warmed at an earlier point they would have disappeared then, and wouldn’t have been on those mountains 20 years ago.)

    In the same way, we can see sub-species of butterflies spread across the continental US – each sub-species occuping a band of latitudes where it is adapted to the climate. What we have seen over the last 15-20 years is that in each case the distribution of these sub-species are moving north. Now being sub-species, when they meet they interbreed – losing their distinctiveness and becoming a single sub-species. Again – if the climate had led to them meeting before they wouldn’t have been seperate sub-species when we first observed them.

    The scale of changes in distribution that are occuring in the natural world are breath-taking. If you live in Yorkshire, UK for example, fully 10% of the easily visible insects in your garden would not have been there in 1980. All over the world reports are the same – warm adapted species are moving out from the tropics toward the poles, while cold-adapted species are retreating or dieing out. This evidence, collected by naturalists from around the world, doesn’t rely on computer models or measurements of CO2, or “hockey-sticks” – and yet it presents clear and unambigous alternative evidence that global warming is happening and that it has not happened before (at least since the last ice-age).

  6. What would constitute conclusive evidence? There’s plenty of politicking on both sides of the debate and each side has it’s own agenda. It isn’t just the global warming advocates who are engaging in “simplistic fear-metaphors”.

  7. There is bona fide science research out there, complete with premis, data collection, summary, results, conclusion, followon research, and criticisms. The important thing is to find and read the actual research, look at the data, read the conclusions. Boing Boing seems to be spending a lot of time looking at second hand materials, works of criticism where authors pontificate. Do not rely on ancillary works to form your opinion, read the research first hand. When you read that some ice melts here, but forms there, don’t accept that as valid, go find the research that presented that finding, read it and understand what it say and means.

  8. As for the Arctic, since it consists of floating ice, it would not cause sea levels to rise even if it melted completely.

    Not true.
    Greenland, which must be considered part of the Arctic as it is situated mostly north of the Arctic Circle, contains enough ice to raise world sea levels by 7 metres.

    And that ice is all on land.

    Please stop spreading lies.

  9. The only way CO2 Levels are going to be significantly reduced is to curb the excesses of western lifestyle. It may cost more to use less, but probably not. Regardless of global warming, our current lifestyle is unsustainable. We can’t keep doing this forever.

    Charles, just say Global Warming was so much bunkum. When should we, as a society, change our ways to prevent the collapse of the ecosystem?

    If not now, when?

  10. Source for this number is?

    Oh, the same that told you yesterday that entry-level-jobs at WalMart are mostly done by people not having to pay their own full rent.

  11. @4

    Quote
    “99% of scientists that think it is man made”

    Source for this number is?

    Unquote

    There are people that will never be satisfied, call the number 51% or 100%.

    Just look at evolutionary theory.

    The important thing is that scientists have presented enough credible evidence to governments backed up by empirical evidence (the ice in the poles and glaciers is melting faster than ever in verifiable history). Responsible governments can’t sit on their hands and wait to see what happens.

    Quote #4
    “If Climate change isn’t caused by humans and we try to lower CO2 and other emissions there’s no big loss.”

    Huge financial loss.

    Quote

    And your source is?

    The UK government comissioned and independent study regarding this precise matter and it was found that the impact would be of 1% of GDP at most.

  12. “When should we, as a society, change our ways to prevent the collapse of the ecosystem?”

    I believe intelligent conservation is necessary and desirable. Nothing new there. But using CO2 as a justification doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, since conservation cannot possibly lower CO2 levels significantly in any reasonable period of time.

  13. Funny that publications like this are released while the Northern Hemisphere is in winter. Shrewd very shrewd.

    Currently in Australia’s southern states (particularly South Australia and Victoria) are experiencing an unprecedented heat wave and drought.

    Try telling me that global warming isn’t happening.

  14. “”If Climate change isn’t caused by humans and we try to lower CO2 and other emissions there’s no big loss.”

    Huge financial loss.”

    The cost of doing nothing and something happening would be far far higher than ‘huge financial loss’….we would be talking about civilisational collapse.

    Erring on the side of caution might be the wiser course….as well as enabiling a more sustainable developmental path.

    As for number of scientests that do or do not support the issue….the reality is that cimate change is enough of an issue and been shown to be enough of an issue to be taken seriously.

    You, Charles, may not be satisfied with that, but if we where to wait until we get 100% accuracy, it will be to late.

  15. “Funny that publications like this are released while the Northern Hemisphere is in winter.”

    You mean it only happens in the summer?!

    Seriously, isolated data points don’t tell me much. I could tell you that last month, we had unprecedented amounts of snow in Arizona, and this month has been relatively mild.

  16. But using CO2 as a justification doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, since conservation cannot possibly lower CO2 levels significantly in any reasonable period of time.

    reasonable to whom? I’m thinking about my grandchildren, you appear to be thinking about you.

  17. Platt, your attempts to avoid the force of the precautionary principle FAIL. One excellent way to decrease emissions is to switch from meat based to a vegetarian diet. That would on a global level bring economic benefits. So your defence above does not work against that. There are also strong animal ethical arguments for that alternative. So, what reasons can you give for not going vegetarian immediately?

  18. Seriously, isolated data points don’t tell me much.

    Data points are isolated by their observer, not by reality.

    I could tell you that last month, we had unprecedented amounts of snow in Arizona, and this month has been relatively mild.

    And I could tell you it’s often like that in Arizona when there is a La Niña off of South America, but I think I’ll stop now rather than further intrude on your isolation. You seem content.

  19. The planet Mars has been experiencing its own global warming, in sync with ours, unprompted by any human activity.

    Oh dear. What’s this supposed to prove? I don’t even know whether it’s true or not, I don’t even NEED to know whether it’s true or not to figure that it’s got nothing to do with climate change on earth.

    For one, Mars’s only barely got an atmosphere. It’s 1/100 the pressure of earth’s, and it’s 95% COâ‚‚. I don’t think you could even speak of “climate” wrt Mars.

    The fact that you can’t see a problem with it, Mr. Platt, is quite alarming.

  20. Spazzm said: Charles, it seems you must have missed comment #7.

    Dude get a clue, even the guys at Real Climate don’t think Greenland is going to raise the sea level by 7m!

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/09/how-much-will-sea-level-rise/

    If everyone here would take the time to actually read the papers that establish anthropogenic climate change (sorry you need to know quite a bit about statistics), and listen to the back and forth arguments by both sides, you would see that Charles is right. Start with the Websites Climate Audit and Real Climate and go from there.

    BTW #11, to compare the evidence for anthropogenic climate change with the evidence for evolution is laughable.

  21. Dude get a clue, even the guys at Real Climate don’t think Greenland is going to raise the sea level by 7m!

    If you actually read your link, you’ll see that the maximum of 2 meters is for this century.

    In other words, it’s possible for the ice to contribute 2 meters in this century, but to continue melting until it has contributed 7 meters.

    Source:
    http://www.grida.no/publications/other/ipcc_tar/?src=/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/412.htm (see table 11.3)

    If everyone here would take the time to actually read the papers …

    Oh, the irony.

  22. Anthropogenic climate change is yet another thing that we can assign a reasonable probability to. It’s almost certainly not zero. Since the effects of climate change could be disastrous, we can make up some reasonable idea of the expectation value of the cost.

    Now, the fact that there are *other* benefits to getting off of coal and oil and increasing overall efficiency, and moving to low meat usage (less arable land needed, less eutrophication). If we look at it this way, retooling isn’t a cost at all, it’s an investment and it *DOESN’T EVEN MATTER* if global warming is true or not unless you want to prove that eutrophication and land use and high oil prices and non-renewability of oil and ….

    See, the argument is a bait and switch. They replace sound reasoning for one of the most convoluted and complex arguments they can can find. It’s just like debating about Zyklon-B levels in bricks with holocaust deniers. It *doesn’t matter* if there is Zyklon-B in the bricks. The holocaust still happened. Let’s start asking them if they advocate not doing anything about the environment. Are they really pro-pollutionists? Their rhetoric seems to point in that direction.

  23. The planet Mars has been experiencing its own global warming, in sync with ours, unprompted by any human activity.

    Oh dear. What’s this supposed to prove? I don’t even know whether it’s true or not, I don’t even NEED to know whether it’s true or not to figure that it’s got nothing to do with climate change on earth.

    It’s supposed to make the casual reader think that some sort of solar activity is responsible for warming on both Earth and Mars. The trouble is that the sun is in a historically “quiet” period at the moment, so that idea doesn’t hold up. That doesn’t matter for Platt’s purposes, though, because these talking points aren’t intended to hold up to detailed scrutiny or examination in context (“I lack space here to explain why each item is supported by at least some evidence”). They are just intended to muddy the waters.

  24. Charles,

    this huge financial loss might be real, but you have to admit that the majority of the other issues facing humanity, hunger, disease, war etc. are mostly poverty related, and a function of that economy.
    Fixing the economy is required to solve global warming, but also to combat those other issues.
    The cost of doing this will be a loss of hdtv’s, weapons, cars, superyaghts, airplane vacations, meat consumption, urbanisation, etc.
    In a metaphore: our current economical model is a pyramid scheme. Instead we need sustainability, which will cut the top off the pyramid, but it will broaden the base.
    The ‘cost’ you speak of is in reality a re-distribution.

  25. Spazzm- OK here is the paper my post was referring to when they mentioned Greenland

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/321/5894/1340

    This is the most up-to-date article regarding Greenland melt. You said that Greenland…contains enough ice to raise world sea levels by 7 metres. I don’t even know where to go with that.

    I also don’t get why you referred me to the old IPCC report, why not AR4? They did revise their sea level rise predictions in the new one.

  26. Chrissystarr:
    The papers you refer to all discuss sea level rise before the year 2100.

    I’m talking about how much the sealevel would rise if all the ice melts.

    Obviously, all the ice won’t melt before the year 2100.

    To sum up: You’re looking at a limited time, I’m not.

  27. The lack of intellectual rigor shown in these statements is breathtaking. It’s a pity that BoingBoing has permitted such an inferior person, so obviously lacking in both intelligence and ethics, to sully its site with his arrogance and ignorance.

  28. See, not being a scientist I find all of this information extremely difficult to get my head round.

    I can’t go looking at the original research, because it’s way over my head. I find even a lot of the layman’s stuff completely incomprehensible, because I don’t understand the reasoning and assumptions that underlie it.

    Instead, I have to trust the most qualified and most numerous party. As far as I understand, despite the detractions and possible ulterior motives for some ACC advocates, that’s still the vast majority of highly qualified environmental scientists that say that man-made climate change is real, and is a real danger.

    It’s interesting to look at the “industry” behind climate change, but in this day and age there’s an industry, and a profit motive of some kind, attached to EVERYTHING. It doesn’t yet undermine or disprove the overall consensus.

    The best metaphor I’ve come up with is this:

    You’re supposed to be travelling to a wedding in a foreign country. It’s a big wedding, all expenses paid, and you’re going to have a great time there. There’s also a lot of relatives you haven’t seen in a long time who will be disappointed if you don’t turn up.

    But as you’re about to board the plane, you’re told that there’s a serious fault. Various engineers are brought in to look at the problem, and 8 out of 10 of the engineers say that if the plane tries to take off, it will crash. 2 of the engineers say everything will be fine.

    I don’t know anything about aviation engineering, but, despite my missing out on a great party, and despite the disappointment it will cause to my relatives, there’s no way I’m getting on that plane.

    I know it’s a silly metaphor, but it works for me.

  29. @4 ff, “huge financial loss”.
    @14 “usd28 billion”

    Having lived through 2008 and on into 2009, and just about got my head round dizzying ideas like 700 billion and 825 billion dollar bailouts, and 10 trillion dollar debt, now 28 billion looks very small.

    @27 “Greenland ice melt”

    I followed your link, Chrissystarr, and I have to agree with Sapzzm, the text there only refers to predicitons up to 2100, not beyond. Maybe there’s somthing particular in the complete text, which I cannot access? If so, it’s a bad abstract. But I followed the transcript for the assocaited podcast, interviewing Tad Pfeffer, and there the host clearly summarises: “Tad Pfeffer is lead author of a paper on the kinematic constraints on outlet glacier response and land-ice contributions to 21st century sea level rise”.

    You mention checking AR4 – I downloaded that and found this sentence: “If such a negative surface mass balance were sustained for millennia, that would lead to virtually complete elimination of the Greenland ice sheet and a resulting contribution to sea level rise of about 7m.”

  30. SPAZZM said:
    Greenland, which must be considered part of the Arctic as it is situated mostly north of the Arctic Circle, contains enough ice to raise world sea levels by 7 metres.

    Really?

    The earth is ¾ water-covered, which leaves ¼ land. With a total surface area of 510,072,000 km^2 that means there is about 361,132,000 km^2 of water about 148,940,000 km^2 of land. To raise the sea level 7 meters it would take 7 m x the total water surface area to raise the ocean 7 meters, ignoring the fact that the amount of surface area would increase as the seas rise up over existing land. Simply put, you are arguing that there are 7 m x 361,132,000 km^2 of water resting on top of Greenland. Regretably (for your argument), Greenland is only 2,166,086 km^2 in surface area, and only 836,109 km^2 is actually covered with ice. Now, to store 7 m x 361,132,000 km^2 of ice on the surface of Greenland, you need to divide the total amount of ice by the surface area of Greenland.

    Ice needed for 7 m rise in ocean: 7 meters times 361,132,000 = 2,527,924,000 (or 2.5 Billion km^2 of ice)

    To store that ice on the surface of Greenland (not just the 81% currently covered in ice, but the entire country): 2.5 Billion km^2 divided by 2,166,086 km^2, or 1,167 meters of ice

    Is it your contention that Greenland is covered by over one kilometer of ice on its entire surface? Probably not.

    Note: Numbers are from Wikipedia entries “Earth” and “Greenland” – while some may scoff at Wikipedia, I feel confident these numbers are “close enough for government work” – in fact, these number appear to have been sourced from the CIA World Fact Book…

  31. @30: Instead, I have to trust the most qualified and most numerous party

    It’s only the word “have” that I disagree with here. What bothers me about Cory’s response, and the responses of many others here, is this seeming presumption that it’s unreasonable to be skeptical of the expert consensus, as if that requires any other logical support than “I’m generally skeptical of everything

    Little is certain in this world (especially weather) and we’re all just hedging our bets. So I think we could show a lot more respect to the wide variety of essentially reasonable ways that people hedge their own bets, and stop acting as if our own beliefs and priorities are the only option available.

    Anyway, in his very first “heretical” post, Charles said:

    I’m no longer willing to believe that anyone has a complete model of the complex, chaotic systems that determine global temperature

    That’s pretty much where I’m at in my skepticism, after reviewing the best cites presented to me by the die-hard climate change believers. I’m willing to hedge lots of bets, for both selfish and selfless reasons. The most insulting thing I’ve seen here is simply the presumption that either I must either hedge them the same way anyone else would or be considered unreasonable until proven otherwise.

    Of course, I didn’t get that vibe at all from Charles. I pretty much thought one of his main points was simply that any deviation got treated like heresy. It’s surprising to me that so many folks would miss that point completely and dive right into proving it for him.

    But hey, nobody’s perfect.

  32. Thanks Charlie for this series. I’ve been skeptical about anthropogenic global warming theories for years. Climatology is a relatively new science, and the system it tries to model is infinitely complex. while there is some evidence that there is global warming, there is also evidence against anything abnormal happening. Some politicos have glommed onto the evidence for abnormal global warming, and blamed it on humans (with no real evidence to back up that theory), and used it to spread fear, and make money.
    As seen by the comments, people are convinced and religiously so, that the end is coming because of this. Global warming is the new religion of the left, and any one saying that it may not be a correct theory, is a heretic, and must be excommunicated.
    What I find amusing is that most people accept this without question, even though they know that meteorologists can’t predict the weather with any accuracy more than 5 days ahead.
    someone in Australia used anecdotal evidence that this was their hottest summer on record. Well, here in Maine USA it was a very cool wet summer for us, and we have record lows this winter. Evidence for global cooling?

  33. “—Many measurements of global temperature have flattened out during the last decade. The planet is probably cooler now than when George W. Bush took office. ”

    I take small comfort in an argument that hinges on “probably cooler.”

  34. “… our lack of knowledge about factors affecting cloud formation in the upper atmosphere makes an accurate warming model impossible.”

    Scientists do not say “Impossible”. Public Relations, directed by those with an interest in seeing something fail, say “Impossible”.

    To put it another way: Evolution deniers say that our lack of ((direct)) knowledge about an arbitrary fossilisation process, or a particular transition of a particular molecular mechanism, makes an accurate model of Evolution “Impossible”. They then put forward their own pet model – which inevitably is poorly supported by the facts.

    The same thing occurs in anthropogenic global warming deniers’ circles.

    Cloud Formation in the upper atmosphere is one – ONE – source of variables and data, amongst many – and the scientific consensus (IPCC and otherwise) is that global warming is anthropogenic, based on a /complete/ consideration of /all/ the available data.

    Claiming that an accurate warming model is “impossible” because of difficulty modelling upper-atmospheric interactions is tantamount to saying “Because of this eccentricity in Hubble’s lenses, an accurate picture of the heavens is impossible!” or “Because the venetian blinds are down (though open) it is impossible to see what’s out that window!”

    It is seriously important to critically examine claims.

    PR doesn’t make science.

  35. I’m just curious why people who express skepticism about the research and motives of both sides, and don’t accept the premise that “the debate is over” (that’s not how science works, Al), are painted as “deniers” (you have to say it with venom, you know).

    Also Veree@1 – You didn’t include a third option: C)take steps to avoid quietly suffocating and adopt a “wait and see” attitude. Of course, the Earth is not a house, so we can’t just open a couple of windows and leave.

    Trying not to troll,
    lego7

  36. “Of course, I didn’t get that vibe at all from Charles. I pretty much thought one of his main points was simply that any deviation got treated like heresy. “

    I’m sorry, but the use of such worthless arguments as the Mars comparison I quoted above is enough to discredit the whole thing. And if it was the only one … but most of those are completely bogus. It’s like a catalog of logical fallacies: ad hominem (Al Gore is in for the money therefore GW is bogus), irrelevant comparisons (Mars), and so on ..

  37. MONKEYBARRISTER – your link is appreciated, but I have t question what is under that ice – is Greenland essentially flat, or is there a mountain range under that 3 KM peak?

    That is a sincere question (I feel the need to point that out)

  38. @#4 Charles:

    “”99% of scientists that think it is man made”

    Source for this number is?”

    How about this:
    “A 2004 article by geologist and historian of science Naomi Oreskes summarized a study of the scientific literature on climate change.[76] 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.””
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change

    Which in turn comes from:
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/reprint/306/5702/1686.pdf

  39. Timothy Hutton:

    Is it your contention that Greenland is covered by over one kilometer of ice on its entire surface? Probably not.

    Monkeybaister:

    “The thickness is generally more than 2 km (see picture) and over 3 km at its thickest point.” [with actual citation]

    Science wins again!!!

    Ok, back to the point. Mr Platt, you haven’t answered the point about ice (not several other points).

    You said “As for the Arctic, since it consists of floating ice, it would not cause sea levels to rise even if it melted completely.

    Since this has been very clearly refuted (since most of the ice in the Arctic is most certainly not “floating ice,” would you care to post a retraction?

  40. lego7: For one simple reason: Very often, the ultimate consumers of these “alternate” “theorems” are people who have vested (financial and/or sociological) interests which are threatened by a change in the status quo. The Venn diagram for those who deny Evolution, those who deny Global Warming, and twenty-years-on those who deny Anthropogenic Global Warming – are very often very close.

    God made Man, and He gave him Dominion over the Earth and all the things therein, and those at the top of the hierarchy that follows from the social order aligned under this pretense live comfortably and well and will continue to live comfortably and well – unless some scientists come along and tell society that deities didn’t make men, that the Earth doesn’t rest on pillars, isn’t the center of the Universe, that an oil economy is physically and economically toxic and will destroy the future of /all/ our children ; Oh, Shit, the scientists have disrupted your comfortable social order wherein you and your children are liege. You’d better confuse those people so they will keep giving you money, sending you on vacation, and ensuring the social dominance of your children. Quick, pretend you’re a republican, and call yourself a Republican.

  41. @36: confuses of the difference between weather and climate: “meteorologists can’t predict the weather with any accuracy more than 5 days ahead”.

    I’ve heard this before, by Mark Steyn, being interveiwed on a radio station here in Ireland (his column used to appear in a newspaper here). Is this a standard thing? To me it sounds at best disingenous, at worst … (but that would be to start casting aspertions).

  42. Timothy, the sheet is that thick. Greenland is not flat, but the sheet is on top of the land and varies in thickness from 2km to 3km. Ice cores of 3km deep have been taken – that’s 3000 meters of solid ice, sampled.

  43. does the immediate physical risk outweigh the immediate financial risk?

    I’ve been persuaded by what I have seen so far it does.

    We have all our eggs in one basket. (stupid humans)
    We HAVE to assume we will die slower if we proceed on the basis of man-made climate change being real and imminent. Because if we assume otherwise and are wrong, we will have killed the species.

    If we proceed on the basis that economic damage is the greater harm – and it turns out we aren’t wrecking our climate – we will be lucky gamblers.

    Do we have the right to gamble?

    Now if we do achieve absolutely positive, irrefutable proof man is warming the planet too much and too fast,and say just China or India says “so?” and continues to kill us all, what will and should all the other nations do about that?

    I think in the interests of avoiding World War 3, we should build a planetary scientific consensus the respective politicians can use to control their soon-to-be dangerously aroused populations.
    That consensus has to come down on the side that climate change is man made and real – if only for political reasons that could doom us a surely as boiling, freezing or drowning.

  44. @#4 Charles:

    “”99% of scientists that think it is man made”

    Source for this number is?”

    How about this:
    “A 2004 article by geologist and historian of science Naomi Oreskes summarized a study of the scientific literature on climate change.[76] 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.””
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change

    Which in turn comes from:
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/reprint/306/5702/1686.pdf

  45. Finally! It is so good to see a dissenting view on Boing Boing. As much as I love this site, it pains me to constantly be equated to some kind of holocaust denier for not believing in something that has yet to happen- and by ‘yet to happen’ I don’t mean melting ice; I mean the global devastation, famine, and death of humanity that we have brought upon ourselves by being so evil and selfish as to use our natural resources. When climatologists are able to accurately predict the weather a week from now, I will believe that they can accurately predict it years and decades ahead.
    I don’t mean this as a personal attack on Cory, but I’ve never understood how a person so unapologetically opposed to “Big Brother” in the form of government surveillance and spying on citizens could be so unquestioningly supportive of the same institution when it promises to save the earth by telling people what they can and cannot buy, sell and drive. The promise of keeping us safe from ourselves is the same argument government uses to sell the War on Drugs, the War on Terror, the War on Obesity, the War on Poverty, and now the War on Climate Change, but all of these prohibitions and legislations are nothing but tools of government control and expansion.

    Every criticism that I have seen in these comments about Charles’s healthy skepticism have argued that this or that government study, or this or that government agency supports the theory of man-made global warming. They all assume that government is the unquestionable authority on all science and reasoning. But of course government is going to support any theory that creates an excuse to tax the bejeezus out of individuals, businesses, and nations. Of course government is going to welcome the opportunity to expand its power and scope by keeping people in fear of some unseen threat. That’s been the motivation for every war, crusade, and tax throughout history.
    I’m excited to see this debate finally happening on Boing Boing. I hope the rest of you commenters will refrain from name calling (“troll”? Seriously?) and stick to proving your points about the argument at hand. Demeaning people and hurting their feelings doesn’t do anything to change a person’s mind about a subject. It just makes them feel bad.

  46. @8

    “Charles, give me a huge financial loss, over an apocalyptic habitat loss, any day.”
    That’s probably because you can afford such a loss. Legislation like this always punishes those at the bottom of the financial ladder- People who cannot afford to buy a new fuel-efficient car, or pay for yet another tax such as a government mandated emissions test- Developing nations that can’t industrialize because of the UN’s requirements that they only use renewable energy – And the increase in taxation on every person and business that is required to enforce these new regulations hurts the lower economic class in ways that those in the middle hardly ever feel.

  47. Timothy Hutton: the Wikipedia page does seems to be saying ice thickness, not altitude of the surface. By implication, a 2km high mountain would still have a further 3km of ice on top of it. The picture caption mentions a 3km ice core.

    But it’s Wikipedia, so I wouldn’t necessarily take that at face value!

  48. @19
    “One excellent way to decrease emissions is to switch from meat based to a vegetarian diet. That would on a global level bring economic benefits. So your defence above does not work against that. There are also strong animal ethical arguments for that alternative. So, what reasons can you give for not going vegetarian immediately?”
    How do you suppose we will enforce such a measure? If you can think of a way of forcing the majority of people on earth to give up their dietary and culinary culture without massive violence, death, and rape, I would love to hear it.

  49. #53, Yeah, when I feel like asserting my political choices, rape is right up there as a form of protest.

    We’re doing a Mass Rape to Save the Polar Bears in association with Greenpeace later in the month, too. Come along, you’ll probably enjoy it.

  50. Charles, until today you have bored the hell out of me. However, your heretical posts today (and Cory’s responses) can stimulate very productive dialogue. I too am a little uncertain of man’s role in climate change and think that the earth’s weather system is so vastly complex that it is almost impossible to fully comprehend.

    Our current problem may be man made, or natural, or both. Regardless, we need to do what we can to mitigate a situation that could make life a lot less hospitable for our species. Unfortunately, turning it into a marketing fad and distributing politically convenient disinformation (from both sides) about our circumstances will only damage long-term efforts to fix the problem. Real honest dialogue, however, is exactly what we need.

  51. @40
    I’m sorry, but the use of such worthless arguments as the Mars comparison I quoted above is enough to discredit the whole thing.

    I’m not really looking to discredit anyone. Look at my opinion again, the exact sentence you’re directly responding to here: “I pretty much thought one of his main points was simply that any deviation got treated like heresy.” That’s not even predicated on the deviation being right. I figure it just means the deviation gets rejected without further hearing; only those who meet minimum orthodox requirements are allowed into the debate.

    At the end of the day, my opinion is gonna be made up mostly of maybes. It takes a damned lot for someone to really be discredited in my eyes; until then, I like reading their unique “heresies” because they help me flesh out my maybes. Even if they’re mostly wrong, folks outside the mainstream still have a way catching the mainstream’s blind spot, so I’m not looking to cut anyone out just for being mostly wrong.

    Charles told me about the climatological dissenters he found compelling, without insinuating they were perfect. He talked about how this had lead him to temper his opinion on climate change, without asserting that anyone was flat-out wrong. He got my brain churning on the topic a little, and I thought that was awesome. So this whole rush to fully discredit what he’s brought to the table (“the whole thing”) just entirely misses the mark for me.

  52. I think the real problem is the injection of Politics into the scientific process.
    No one thinks the science is decided and politicians are ready to make very large financial and regulatory decisions based on very thin evidence.
    What about the Global Warming Petition where 31,072 scientists have signed a petition urging the United States Gov’t to reject the Kyoto agreement and indicating there is NO scientific evidence that human release of CO2 is causing or will cause disruption of earths atmosphere. http://www.petitionproject.org/

  53. It is odd that spending money on public works should be seen as some sort of financial burden. Historically, well managed public works projects have often resulted in increased wealth and employment.

    It is also odd that people should think making large non-human animals obsolete would be “good for the planet”. If there were no humans preying on deer, my immediate environment would certainly suffer.

  54. I am concerned by the verbiage used in the climate debate. People who don’t agree with climate change are labeled heretics and deniers? Are we going to force these deniers to make some confession of faith? What is this the Spanish Inquisition?

  55. I think Charles’ choice of the word “Heresy” is incredibly apropos.

    Has anyone else noticed that the opinions and tactics for mentally coping with the issue of climate change are a Pascal’s Wager for the 21st century?

    1. Going to church and grovelling in Latin will save your soul if there is a God at the cost of wasting one hour a week if there is not.

    2. Reducing your environmental footprint will save the earth if climate change is anthropogenic at the cost of inconveniencing your lifestyle if it is not.

    What disappoints me is that even as BoingBoing goes increasingly political on a number of fronts, this is the one area where dissenting view appears to be verboten. Charles’ wish to plead for continued dialogue when dissenting experts’ credentials and careers are threatened for contradicting the prevailing (and sexier) orthodoxy has resulted in the e-equivalent of readers threatening to cancel their newspaper subscription.

    Personally, I *like* the debate. I *like* the argument. Having everyone agree on an issue — especially one this complex — is easy and boring. Dissension is a fundemental whetstone for honing study, analysis and discussion.

  56. @54

    I’m sorry if my wording confused you. No, I don’t expect a bunch of vegetarians to begin raping non vegetarians in the name of polar bears, although that would make for an interesting headline. Nor do I believe vegetarians will murder anyone for the same reason.

    My point was about government force. If a government outlaws eating meat, or anything that people naturally do, people wil naturally continue to do it. The only tool government has to stop people from a natural behavior is force. People who don’t comply are taken violently by force and put into cages called prisons where rape is performed regularly and without punishment. You could argue that rape is just a side effect of the prison system, but I can only conclude that giving people either the choice of eating government approved food or being locked in a cage where rape happens regularly is a violent act on the part of the legislators and those behind the legislation.

    I’m not going to assume that you support Yakta’s ideas since your sarcasm was only directed at my use of the word “rape”, but for the sake of arguing my point, imagine that we took Yakta’s advice and globally banned the sale and consumption of all meat products. Do you think people would just comply and completely change their lifestyles based on a law? If history is any clue, I think that the prohibition of meat would result in an illegal meat market. Suddenly eating something that people have safely eaten for all of human history would become much more dangerous. Businesses and individuals who participated in the meat trade would suddenly become criminals and have to operate under much more violent conditions. Gangs would probably take over the trade like they did during alcohol prohibition and like they currently do with the drug trade. The illegitimacy of the meat business would probably result in less safe products and people would become ill from eating meat sold by unscrupulous dealers. And going back to my original point, people who were caught being involved in this illegal practice would ultimately be sent to prison, where the probability of being raped or murdered is much higher than it is outside of a cage full of violent people.

    My original post asked how a global meat ban could be put into effect without these results. If you, Yakta, or any other Boingers have an answer to this question I would still love to hear it.

  57. #53 dstntmbrk:
    “How do you suppose we will enforce such a measure [switching to a vegetarian diet thus reducing the enourmous greenhouse gas emissions from meat production]? If you can think of a way of forcing the majority of people on earth to give up their dietary and culinary culture without massive violence, death, and rape, I would love to hear it.”

    (“massive violence, death, and rape”; that’s actually a good description of what meat “production” consists in. I’ll set that animal ethical point to the side in this post though.)

    I and millions of others have already made the transition just by will and reasoned argument. I stopped buying meat and started buying stuff from another shelf in the same supermarket. I’m proud to say that I accomplished that without using violence against anyone and even without killing or raping anyone (if someone else had been going for the last cart of soy milk then I might’ve been tempted to wrestle mildly for it but I’d draw the line there!) Try it! I’m sure you’ll also find your way to the tofu hotdogs without committing any of the three atrocities you mentioned.

    On a macro scale, we can apart from consciousness raising use the time proven tool of taxation: let meat (and meat eaters) at the very least carry its own climate cost through a tax. (Currently, the climate costs of meat production is not NOT internalized. On the contrary, many countries have massive subsidies for killing cows and pigs. Yep, that’s how fracked up things are.)

    Including the climate costs, and removing subsidies, would at minimum double the price of meat products. Fewer would then buy them. And so emissions would be lowered.

    But I understand that it will take some effort to inform the majority of the climate problem with meat. But, to get back to you, you seem informed enough to not fall in that category. So you can just switch to vegetarian for right now, by will.

    Essential reading: Livestock’s long shadow http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a0701e/a0701e00.HTM

  58. #45 Actually I do know the difference between weather and climate. My point was that both meteorologists, and climatologists study a very complex system, with many variables, of which they don’t even know what most of the variables are, and saying un-irrevocably that humans are the source of global warming (which may, or may not be at an abnormal rate, or rather a rate that hasn’t happened before) is poor science, and smacks of religious fervor.
    Does all this mean that I thing we shouldn’t reduce CO2 emissions, and other pollutants? No it does not, because I like breathing the nice fresh air, and have found that lowering my personal CO2 emissions/pollutants actually is good for my economy.

  59. I don’t know about 99% of scientists, but I think “the vast majority” is easily defensible:

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

    As you’ll see, there are dozens of major organizations and surveys weighing down on the anthropogenic side, and one on the non-anthropogenic side. And that one? The American Association of Petroleum Geologists… who have since revised their 2007 denial statement.

    The outliers don’t represent any significant scientific organizations, and they constitute a small minority in scientific surveys. Ipso, fatso.

  60. @mikeF32: The “petition” was posted by Mr Platt in his “Climate Heresy 2” post and rather dismissed. A whole third of those “scientists” actually had PhDs! A few of those even had degrees in fields related to climate study..!

    …but not many.

  61. #62 dstntmbrk:
    I didn’t see that when I posted the above. But I think I answer what you’re after.

    I could add that this is like any other political issue where some oppose a change (restricting smoking, anti-speeding measures, child protection regulation, …) We can and should use the whole political toolbox.

    Maybe you got hung up on the seemingly binary character of the issue either force everyone to immediately become vegetetarian or not? But then see the above. Then don’t be. Many gradual policy suggestions have been made, just do some searches. Example of a (very weak) gradual suggestion:
    http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/mark_bittman_on_what_s_wrong_with_what_we_eat.html

    But that’s for the general, uninformed public. You are now informed and can easily switch to vegetarianism at once. Millions of others have done it easily. Why would it be harder for you?

  62. because I like breathing the nice fresh air, and have found that lowering my personal CO2 emissions/pollutants actually is good for my economy.

    KPerkins, you are wise. Lofty sentiments and accusations of persecution alike are merely distractions from the work at hand, the tea will still be tea afterwards.

  63. 13strong “I know it’s a silly metaphor”

    not at all. Let me add that the 8 mechanics you want to trust are beginning to quietly suspect the other 2 of actually being flight attendants in coveralls.

  64. Charles, I thought this was a great write-up and I look forward to picking up this book for my next read. Good luck with all your responses here…I’m sure you were expecting responses of this caliber.

    ~Howard

  65. First, it is my sincere HOPE that the climate change “deniers” are right, and the planet is not warming. However, I am convinced that it is happening.

    “—The planet Mars has been experiencing its own global warming, in sync with ours, unprompted by any human activity.”

    Mars barely has an atmosphere, something like .01 atm. That mars is warming, as is the earth is hardly conclusive. Further, if you look at mars, you have to look at Venus. Venus is what you get with runaway CO2. At 96% CO2 at 90 ATM, Venus is proof that CO2 does create runaway global warming.

    “—The greenhouse effect is a logarithmic function; in other words, each linear increment in the volume of carbon dioxide causes a progressively smaller increase in temperature. We have already reached the point of diminishing returns.”

    See above.

  66. @64

    Yakta, thank you for your thoughtfull response. Please see #62 for a more detailed explanation of my statement.

    “So you can just switch to vegetarian for right now, by will.”

    I agree absolutely. I have no problem with people making such choices for themselves. It’s people making those choices for everyone else that I am opposed to.
    I also agree that discriminatory taxation on certain groups is an effective tool to hurt any activity, but if you read my previous comments you’ll see that I find this equally unethical. Putting people out of business by taxing them into oblivion is no different from outlawing the activity because those that cannot afford the fees are complicit in crime if they participate in the meat trade without paying the outrageous taxes.

  67. Just the claim that Mars is warming – forgtet the nonsense about how it is ‘in sync with ours’ – marks the write as a fool. There isn’t enough data to make any seriously plausible claim about the Martian climate.

    Not to mention little details like no large heat reservoir oceans, rather different atmospheric makeup, blah blah blah.

    Fail. Total fail.

  68. Ministry – Actually, the Wikipedia entry cited by the earlier respondent has the answer to my question, the answer briefly is that the weight crushed any discernable land features under the ice formation.

    From the Wikipedia entry for Greenalnd Ice Sheet (aka the longer version ;^):

    The massive weight of the ice has depressed the central area of Greenland; the bedrock surface is near sea level over most of the interior of Greenland, but mountains occur around the periphery, confining the sheet along its margins. If the ice were to disappear, Greenland would most probably appear as an archipelago.

    So the answer is yes, Greenland is essentially flat under the ice, if not a little depressed. (Is anyone on Greenland not depressed? Sorry, that was off-topic…)

    My mind may not be changed, but I did learn something today – thanks Charles for starting the discussion that enabled that education.

  69. no need to get emotional about this, it’s not like it’s the end of the world. BWAHAHAHAHA!

    Damn, I’m gonna have a LOT to eat!

  70. As a question, what if I wanted to plant the most efficient plant I could that would scrub CO2 from the air? What plant would that be?

    I’ve never heard anyone answer that question, all plants can’t be equally good at scrubbing the CO2 out, can they?

    To put a small damper on the resultant flames, I am not suggesting that if we plant a magical plant on hundreds of thousands of acres across the globe we could solve anything, I just am wondering about the most efficient plant for CO2 scrubbing… Wouldn’t it be something if it turned out that Hemp wat the ideal plant for such an effort? Tobacco?

    Anyway, just curious…

  71. Can we shift the thread a little bit and talk about “what now?”. How the heck are we going to make the human race change its ways? Government regulation and penalties for not changing? would a global environmental crisis police agency be formed? what would the consequences of not changing be..sanctions? wars?

    I just can’t wrap my head around what we could really do to make any changes on a global scale.

    Lets face it, we don’t all get along.

  72. yeah, I mentioned that. My guess is covert biowar. Give the other avian flu, only after you have a vaccine Too bad that and any other warfare will do nothing to help, or rather end up exacerbating the climate collapse. But hey, people are stupid. They’ll probably trigger a nuclear winter by throwing bombs over the right to pollute by burning fossil fuels.
    I know,I know, I come across as a hopeless pollyanna – but I have this irrational liking for the species. Reality will no doubt be much worse.

  73. @dstntmbrk:

    “I don’t mean this as a personal attack on Cory, but I’ve never understood how a person so unapologetically opposed to “Big Brother” in the form of government surveillance and spying on citizens could be so unquestioningly supportive of the same institution when it promises to save the earth by telling people what they can and cannot buy, sell and drive.”

    Perhaps Cory, like myself and many other rational people, do not equate all state function with oppression. Governments do actually accomplish positive things. Start with a reading of Hobbes’ Leviathan, then progress from there.

    Is it me, or are others getting tired of libertarians blaming The Government for all of the evil in the world?

  74. RationalPragmatist, if it’s you, it’s you and me both. In fact, for me, everything in your last sentence from the word ‘blaming’ on is superfluous.

  75. #72 dstntmbrk:

    (I have to go to work so this’ll be my last post on the matter. Post a reply if you like, I’ll see it when I read the thread again tomorrow.)

    “It’s people making those choices for everyone else that I am opposed to.”

    I agree that state intervention in individual’s activities is sometimes unacceptable. But this is not such a case.

    If someones actions create risks for other people’s life and welfare then the state can and should act.

    Anyone buying meat products today is introducing such risks, given subsidies for and non-internalization of the climate costs of meat.

    And it is not discriminatory to tax meat eaters to internalize the climate costs (and to remove all subsidies immediately). It simply an instance of making those that cause a problem be fully economically responsible for fixing it. Most people accept that in many other everyday cases (“you broke it, you fix it”).

    Put more bluntly: it is unfair to expect others to pay the extra climate costs of ones meat eating.

  76. “A whole third of those “scientists” actually had PhDs!” That is just over 10,000 scientists with Phds. That is not trivial.
    It means to me there is great disagreement in the scientific community and getting politicians involved at this stage is very premature.
    Politicians as a group are not trained to analyze the “fact” but to assess the political climate and opinions of the voters who aren’t scientists either. If it were left totally to politicians we probably still wouldn’t have chlorinated drinking water.

  77. As RyanMcFitz noted in #60, this is basically Pascal’s Wager. (With the exception that reducing CO2 emissions “just in case” does have some cost).

    Stephen Fry explains it very well:
    http://www.stephenfry.com/blog/2007/11/19/getting-overheated

    (For the record, I am agnostic on the Climate Change questions (how much CO2 is added to the atmosphere due to human activity, how much heating it causes, whether any heating trends would naturally reverse over time), since it’s so easy to gather an impressive pile of evidence pointing in either direction. But I think it’s important to realize that getting energy from fossil fuels is not sustainable, and due to this alone, we should do our best to stop it. Like Paul MacCready said, “We need to live off the Earth’s interest, not its capital”. So it’s also important to recycle, and to make disposable things realistically biodegradable. And, like, pollution is bad. Duh. So I tend to side with the environmentalists).

  78. I find all this very disheartening. Even if you don’t want to accept the AGW argument, surely there are other reasons for changing the way that we do things.

    Energy security. At the moment we do rely an awful lot on (finite) resources in a carbon-based economy that much of is controlled by regimes that have, or have the potential for, hostility to the west (it’s not like they can’t find other developing markets for their product). As an aside, I dislike the argument that “greens” are in some way luddite. Surely developing “cleaner” technologies provide an exciting opportunity for technological growth?

    Also, I dislike this idea that there is a green conspiracy. Potential losers, if we curb our appetite for fossil fuels, are the oil companies. Not exactly run by hippies, last time I checked, and I suspect that they have a great deal more clout with government than, well, most people.

  79. As a question, what if I wanted to plant the most efficient plant I could that would scrub CO2 from the air? What plant would that be?

    Ooh Ooh!

    Most plants use a C3 cycle to sequester carbon into carbohydrates. A few plants use a C4 cycle

    (this means the molecule which actually accepts the C from C02 is a 3 Carbon (C3) skeleton or 4 carbons (C4) skeleton prior to adding the C from the C02, and liberating the 02 to the atmosphere).
    C4 plants are slightly more efficient, but not more prolific for a number of reasons.

    Carl Sagan wrote a brilliant story in the 70’s about bioengineering C3 plants to use the C4 cycle. Let’s call it a cautionary tale. Let’s also agree he was a smart guy.

    Most of the Carbon we’ve been digging up (as coal and oil) and burning was laid down by algae millions of years ago. C3 algae. So I vote for algae, they will outlive us.

  80. I don’t have time to read all of the comments to see if they’re all negative, but I want you to know that at least one person is thankful to see the other point of view discussed here. It’s sad to see how upset people get when you question the poular wisdom. Does it really hurt to ask questions?

  81. DSTNTMBRK:

    “That’s probably because you can afford such a loss. Legislation like this always punishes those at the bottom of the financial ladder- People who cannot afford to buy lead-free paint, or pay for yet another tax such as a government mandated lead-free pipes– Developing nations that can’t get plumbing because of the UN’s requirements that they only use lead-free pipes – And the increase in taxation on every person and business that is required to enforce these new regulations hurts the lower economic class in ways that those in the middle hardly ever feel.”

    DO YOU SEE THE FALLACY OF YOUR ARGUMENT NOW?

  82. somgeye: when the purpose of the questions is the abuse of the Socratic method in order to confuse and dissuade the audience, yes. In some places it’s called PR, in some places it’s called propaganda. In all cases it requires a lack of good faith on the part of the person asking the question – in this case extending to the fact that those who are ballyhooing seeing this “debated” had already made up their mind, and lack the tools to discern which side has the chops and which does not.

  83. @91

    “DO YOU SEE THE FALLACY OF YOUR ARGUMENT NOW?”

    Not at all. If given the choice of having your home outfitted with either lead plumbing or copper plumbing, or having your house painted with either lead paint or latex, which would you choose? I would hope that your instinct of self preservation would lead you to choose the safest product.

    Do you really want to give all of the power of making safe choices to a small group of people? What if they start deciding that other things are unsafe and people need to be protected from them: things like drugs, foods, lifestyles? Do you think that without government we would all be dead now from lead poisoning? Neither of us can be sure, but I tend to think that the demand for deadly plumbing would be pretty low at this point- low enough for its production to halt completely- even without government intervention.

    If you want to replace words to prove a point, try some more. What about organic foods. Certainly these are healthier than chemical injected factory processed foods, but can you imagine the bottom class of the economy having to buy all organic foods when they currently can barely afford bologna. Yes they would certainly be healthier and safer, but they’d also be much poorer.

    I think your lead paint example is a little bit misleading in the context of my original post. Lead poisoning is something we have already observed. Climate change has not killed anyone yet, which yields the idea of climate change killing humans unproven in my mind. A better replacement for lead poisoning would be something like a testicle-eating eagle. It definitely sounds bad, but so far no one has had their testicles eaten. Let’s try that one out…

    “That’s probably because you can afford such a loss. Legislation like this always punishes those at the bottom of the financial ladder- People who cannot afford to buy an anti testicle-eating eagle defense system, or pay for yet another tax such as a government mandated testicle-eating eagle liability policy– Developing nations that can’t open a bird sanctuary because of the UN’s requirements that they only use United Nations standards certified non-testicle-eating eagles – And the increase in taxation on every person and business that is required to enforce these new regulations hurts the lower economic class in ways that those in the middle hardly ever feel.”

    If you are worried about this and other dangers that only the government can protect us from, don’t worry. They are doing an excellent job protecting us from lead poisoning.

  84. Everyone has to remember how radically underdetermined all knowledge is. Even particle physicists, who do the most precise investigations possible have contentious debates about interpretation and formulation of models and fitting dating to them. Epistemologically speaking, we never hit bottom.

    The ‘climate debate’ will _never_ be resolved. Instead, we have to hedge our bets with limited information. Mr. Platt is correct in reminding us all of that fact by presenting the information in his posts.

    Life will go on as nature will constrain the activities of humanity appropriately to permit this. The question is really how we obtain the cultural consensus to swim with this tide instead of against it if necessary. This question of consensus goes far beyond the nature of scientific demonstration and is humanistic in origin.

  85. Fascinating. A few points.

    1. The “better do something then do nothing, even if we are not sure” argument is basically a Pascal’s wager adapted to global warming. And it is refuted in the same way.

    2. Every mention of Exxon and other companies, who supposedly profit from anti-GW research, seems to forget a few things. The majority opinion is now firmly in the “Global Warming Doom Is Upon Us” camp. So, there is no profit in financing anti-GW research, since it would just give you bad publicity. On the other hand, there is a LOT of money in promoting Global Warming. Every extra emission tax, every emission control regulation spells billions in tax money, consulting fees, research grants etc. While the financial incentive to continue anti-GW war has strongly decreased for the oil/car/gas industry, the financial incentive to continue with the GW propaganda didn’t go anywhere.

    3. The “99% of scientists” argument that has been flying around here, finally cooled down to “majority of scientists”, but even that cannot be definitively said, since there has been several complaints (links can be easily found by a bit of googling) by scientists, that they were being silenced or denied grant money or fired for expressing skepticism about GW. This means, that some voices have not been counted when that “majority of scientists” was calculated.

  86. Do you really want to give all of the power of making safe choices to a small group of people?

    That is really what this is all about: a distrust of the gummint.

    It’s become fairly clear that climate change is real and manmade, and the public has become aware of the issue enough that the government could enact some legislation to try to fix the problem, but the more paranoid simply don’t like the gummint making decisions for them.

    Laissez fair capitalism is now laissez fair ecology. The paranoid argue that the invisible hand of self-preservation will force people to do what is best for the environment cause if its a real problem. If climate change is real, the paranoid will say, we’ll all die, and we don’t want to die, so only a fool needs to be told by the government to do the right thing. Therefore, the paranoid argue, the only reason the gummint is trying to tell us what to do is because what they’re telling us is NOT the right thing to do. Soylent Green is People, they shout. The gummint wants to grind up human beings to turn them into food for polar bears, they claim.

    The byline of the book listed at the top of this post portrays the gummint as a source of “hysteria, political persecution, and fraud”. You can cut the paranoia with a knife its so thick.

  87. If the ice in the Arctic continues to melt (which it will) the albedo (reflectivity) of that surface will be lost. Replacing a white mirror-like surface with a dark heat sponge.

  88. @83

    “Is it me, or are others getting tired of libertarians blaming The Government for all of the evil in the world?”

    I don’t blame government for all of the evil in the world, and I don’t know a libertarian that does. Individuals are “evil” (your terminology, not mine) just as individuals are good. Government does not exist without the people that make it up, so I place the blame for “all the evil in the world” on those people. Because individuals do bad things I disagree with the concept of giving small groups of people monopolistic authority over all of the rest of humanity- the system we currently have in place. Yes, of course there are individuals in governments who are public servants, who strive to do the right thing and succeed. But there are just as many tyrants, crooks, and liars, and I don’t know of any form of government that has succeeded in weeding these people out. Those tyrants, crooks and liars are accountable only to other government officials, not the people they rule over.

    RationalPragmasist, In my original comment I gave several examples of ways that government systems hurt individuals (the War on Drugs, the War on Terror, etc.) to back up my argument. Your response was to imply that I am not a rational person and tell me to read a book that you hope will do your arguing for you. As much as I love to read, and I very well might read Hobbe’s Leviathan some day, I can’t exactly drop everything and read a 700 page book in time to respond to this debate while it is still fresh, so why not give me the Cliff’s Notes? You claim that “Governments do actually accomplish positive things.” I agree, but individuals and private groups accomplish the same things, and so often when governments do something positive in one area it has unforseen consequences for another area that would not occur in the private world. So, if you care to back up your claim with a concrete example, what are some positive things that only governments can accomplish, and that do not have negative side effects? I look forward to your answer.

    I can give you a list of not-so-good things that only government-“A group of people who hold a monopoly on the legitimate use of force in a given territory”- can accomplish.

    War
    Genocide
    Mass Internment
    Institutionalized Slavery
    Corporate Monopoly

  89. —CO2 levels may have been as high 11,000 years ago as they are today.

    Wasn’t earth in an Ice Age 11,000 years ago? Are we saying that an Ice Age is a good thing now? I don’t know about you, but if there’s a premature Ice Age because of greenhouse gases causes the ice to melt and that kills the atlantic conveyor, then I’m going to be seriously ticked off.

  90. @97

    “but the more paranoid simply don’t like the gummint making decisions for them.”

    Does it really require hysterical paranoia to mistrust a group of people responsible for the mass death of Native Americans, the institutionalized enslavement of Africans, the mass murder of Japanese citizens, the mass internment of American citizens, the mandatory deaths of hundreds of thousands of men via the selective service, the destruction of entire communities in Vietnam, the bombings of civilian weddings in Iraq, the spying on and surveillance of citizens, the imprisonment without trial, and so on and so on for every government in the history of the world?

    Am I really the backwards hick that you portray me as because I am able to look at these events and conclude that the people responsible for them might not actually have my best interest at heart like they claim to?

  91. Greglondon, to go one step further -> the high C02 levels 11,000 years ago (arguably) ended that ice age, not caused it.

    It would end the ice age today too, if we were in one, instead we’re gonna get a desert age. Yay for us!

  92. #102, MDH

    No, instead we have diverted another ice age from coming naturally! We have effectively saved ourselves from the natural cooling trends of the planet, go us! (Do you see how this can go on?)

  93. Am I really the backwards hick that you portray me as because I am able to look at these events and conclude that the people responsible for them might not actually have my best interest at heart like they claim to?

    No. You are what you are (a backwards hick was your term, not mine) because you choose to question any conclusion that might put authority over you, regardless of whether that conclusion is correct.

    you fear authority more than you desire the truth.

    Does it really require hysterical paranoia to mistrust a group of people responsible for the mass death of Native Americans, the institutionalized enslavement of Africans, the mass murder of Japanese citizens, the mass internment of American citizens

    If the truth was that climate change is real and only the government can stop it, you’d fight it not because it was real, but because you don’t want the government to have that authority.

    You’re not actually engaging in the process of truth, you’re engaging in the process of avoiding authority.

  94. @85

    Yakta, I have to be honest, and I don’t mean this to be insulting in any way, but I don’t understand a lot of what you have written in your last response, particularly this sentence; “Anyone buying meat products today is introducing such risks, given subsidies for and non-internalization of the climate costs of meat.”

    I will address what I did understand. I completely agree with removing subsidies for meat products, as I also support removing subsidies for all things. I’m sure you don’t appreciate your tax money being spent on an industry that you find to be unethical, and I would bet that American citizens who agree 100% with how their tax dollars are spent are few and far between. The only way to satisfy everyone would be to let them keep their money and spend it on what they choose to. If a person wants to eat meat they should simply pay for it directly. Government subsidies just mean that the person has to pay for it twice.

    I also agree with your “you broke it, you fix it” argument. If a person damages another person’s body or property, certainly they should pay some form of compensation. But so far, none of the climate change theories of death and destruction have happened and there is no one to compensate. All of those tax dollars are not going to victims of climate change. They are lining the pockets of bureaucrats. Just to be clear, I don’t believe the devastating predictions about climate change to be fact because they simply have not happened, so I obviously don’t support punishing or fining individuals or groups for something that is so far unproven. For my general view on preemptive action against not-yet-committed crimes, please refer to the US War in Iraq or my comment #94 about a testicle-eating eagle.

    One point of confusion for me was your reference to “climate costs”. What is the monetary price of these climate costs in US dollars and how are the prices determined? Who do the dollars go to and how are they spent in a non-discriminatory manner? Is it a set price or can politicians inflate the price at will to create more revenue and snuff out businesses and competition?

  95. Lawrence Solomon doesn’t have a good record in the field of ‘accurately reporting the views of scienctist on Climate Change’:

    Dr. Nigel Weiss:
    “The article by Lawrence Solomon, which portrays me as a denier of global warming, is a slanderous fabrication. I have always maintained that the current episode of warming that we are experiencing is caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gases, and that global temperatures will rise much further unless steps are taken to halt the burning of fossil fuel.”

    http://www.desmogblog.com/national-post-ducks-correction-repeats-slander

    and

    http://www.desmogblog.com/irresponsible-solomon-at-it-again

    and

    http://www.desmogblog.com/national-post-deniers-feature-picking-favourite-facts

    and

    http://www.desmogblog.com/national-post-misrepresenting-climate-change-denial

  96. @104

    “You are what you are…because you choose to question any conclusion that might put authority over you…”

    I choose to question everything, Greg, and I pity anyone who does not do the same for himself. Perhaps you should question your groundless assumptions about people’s cognitive processes before committing them to text.

    I don’t assume that things are false simply because the government claims them to be true. I question them, try to find as much information on the subject as I can, and make the best informed decision that I can. This is what any educated individual is supposed to do, right?

    The alternative you offer, which is to not “question any conclusion that puts authority over” me doesn’t really jive with my disposition.

    Perhaps you once knew a person who diametrically disagreed with any and every government position, and you are basing your stereotype of me, a person that does not immediately accept all government positions at face value, on this person. Under your stereotype of me, I would have been a gonner long ago. Lets take your convoluted sentence and replace climate change with something more immediately threatening. How about bears?

    “If the truth was that a grizzly bear was about to eat your face off and only the government can stop it, you’d fight it not because it was real, but because you don’t want the government to have that authority.”

    Certainly being the backwards hick that I am (my words, not yours), I would would lather my face in warm honey before believing that the government might be telling the truth about my bear friend.

  97. #106: “You are what you are…because you choose to question any conclusion that might put authority over you…”

    Allow me to introduce you to a logical fallacy called the fallacy of accent. the meaning is changed by altering which parts of a statement are emphasized.

    you didn’t even quote my whole sentence, and instead kept the most important part off, the part that said “regardless of whether that conclusion is correct

    So, in it’s entirety, I said, you question any conclusion that puts authority over you regardless of whether that conclusion is correct. You question climate change even if climate change is a correct theory because you don’t want it to put some government authority over you.

    You don’t care if climate chagne is correct or not. You’re casting doubt on it solely because of your fear of authority. And because of that, you’re not actually engaging in the conversation of climate chagne, you’re engaging in the conversation of stopping the “gummint” and your paranoid delusions.

    You’re not paranoid?

    Explain to me what relavance the genocide of Native Americans, enslavement of Africans, or the mass murder of Japanese citizens has to do with a discusson on windpower?

    It doesn’t.

    It’s nothign but your paranoia at work. You’re not fighting climate change based on whether or not climate change is correct or not, you’re fighting it because of whatever paranoia has you associate it with genocide and enslavement of entire swaths of people.

    And that’s a pretty paranoid jump.

  98. Charlie Platt, from the original post: I regret that the simplistic fear-metaphors used by people such as Al Gore have tended to demonize those who simply feel that the evidence, at this point, is still inconclusive.

    dstntmbrk@101: (refers to the government as) a group of people responsible for the mass death of Native Americans, the institutionalized enslavement of Africans, the mass murder of Japanese citizens, the mass internment of American citizens

    Hey, Charlie, about those “fear-metaphors” used to “demonize” opponents: you wanna weigh in on the above statement and it’s relavancy to windpower?

  99. @108 & 109

    Greg, Thank you for introducing me to the fallacy of accent. I’m sorry that I chose to emphasize the part of your sentence that I wanted to discuss. Here is another quote that I will be careful not to highlight any portion of…

    “So, in it’s entirety, I said, you question any conclusion that puts authority over you regardless of whether that conclusion is correct. You question climate change even if climate change is a correct theory because you don’t want it to put some government authority over you.”

    I’m going to make the same argument here that I did previously. I agree with you. I do question any conclusion, from any source, government or not. Don’t you? Why are you so opposed to questioning? As to your phrase “whether that conclusion is correct”, isn’t the correctness of something a value that I am supposed to assign myself through questioning? Even at the most base level that you want me to operate at there would have to be at least one question asked…

    Q. Does the government tell me it is true?
    A. Yes.
    Conclusion. I accept and comply.

    This may be how you operate, but it simply won’t satisfy me. When I’m presented with information that directly affects my life and others I try to find as many sides to the debate as I can, listen to those arguments without attempting to psychoanalyze the people making them, find historical examples of the argument or theory in question, and draw the most reasonable conclusion I can based on the information that I have been exposed to.

    *****

    Greg, imagine that a known convicted murderer knocked on your door one day and offered you a free plate of brownies. Would you eat them? I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that you wouldn’t (I wouldn’t either). Now, I don’t know whats running through your head (although you certainly seem to know everything that’s running through mine), but I would assume that you wouldn’t eat the brownies, not because you have a paranoid fear of brownies, but because you know that the person offering them to you is a murderer.

    My mistrust of government is based on the countless atrocities committed by said institution over the entire span of world history. I thought that I made that point pretty clearly the first go-around, but you seem to have found a way to debate everything in my comment other than the fact that all of those events either did or currently do take place. The people who are now in office do bomb innocent people. They do spy on citizens. They do sell out the American people to special interests. They do imprison people without trial. Forgive me if I don’t automatically assume that these same people have my best interests at heart. These things that I am writing are not “fear-metaphors” because they are not metaphors at all. They are things that are actually being done by the organization that I am accusing of doing them. Are you telling me that someone other than the “gummint” is responsible for the events that I have listed?

    “Explain to me what relavance the genocide of Native Americans, enslavement of Africans, or the mass murder of Japanese citizens has to do with a discusson on windpower?”

    There is none. That’s why I haven’t discussed it. Where did you get the idea that this debate was about wind power? It’s not anywhere in the original blog post and its not in any of my comments. What are you talking about?

  100. Ice needed for 7 m rise in ocean: 7 meters times 361,132,000 = 2,527,924,000 (or 2.5 Billion km^2 of ice)

    To store that ice on the surface of Greenland (not just the 81% currently covered in ice, but the entire country): 2.5 Billion km^2 divided by 2,166,086 km^2, or 1,167 meters of ice

    Is it your contention that Greenland is covered by over one kilometer of ice on its entire surface? Probably not.

    That is my contention, actually:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenland_ice_sheet

    Choice quote:
    “The thickness is generally more than 2 km (see picture) and over 3 km at its thickest point.”

    A+ for maths, F- for reading comprehension and fact checking.

  101. Why are you so opposed to questioning? As to your phrase “whether that conclusion is correct”, isn’t the correctness of something a value that I am supposed to assign myself through questioning?

    but you’re not driven to find the correct answer, you’re driven to find the answer that protects you from the gummint that commits genocide, slavery, internment, and mass murder. You brought it up, not me. That’s your driving factor in questioning something. Will the answer force you to submit under the thumb of this evil gummint.

    case in point: imagine that a known convicted murderer knocked on your door one day and offered you a free plate of brownies. Would you eat them?

    Imagine one day, the vast majority of scientific experts all come to the same conclusion that climate change is real and that the government must do something about it.

    Would you equate them to murderers, genocidal maniacs, slave traders, and such until proven otherwise?

    There is a thing called “logic”. In “logic”, you start with a thing called a “premise”. For something to be a valid “premise”, it must be agreed upon between everyone involved in the debate. from various premises, you make “arguments” that then expand what you know to be true from the premises. You then reach a “conclusion” which is the last “argument”. If you start with true premises and true, logically sound arguments, you will reach true conclusions.

    Tell me, if you start with the premise that the gummint is out to enslave you, murder you, or otherwise intend to do you grievious harm until proven otherwise, do you think that is a valid “premise” that everyone can agree to as being true?

    It’s true for you because of your paranoia. That doesn’t mean that everyone else buys it.

    So the gummint decides we need to cut down CO2 levels. Do I start with the premise that the Gummint is out to commit genocide and this CO2 thing is just a cover, and do I hold to that premise until someone proves otherwise?

    No.

    You do. But not me. And it’s paranoia, clearly demonstrated here:

    I would assume that you wouldn’t eat the brownies, not because you have a paranoid fear of brownies, but because you know that the person offering them to you is a murderer.

    What was your premise? SOmeone offers you brownies. and… they are a murderer.

    Is that an accurate portrayal of scientific organizations who specialize in climate and environmental science who all say climate chagne is real and caused by man?

    Or did you create a strawman based on false premises where the scientific organizations turned into murderers with brownies?

    I think it’s a strawman. If you think it’s a realistic and accurate portrayal, then that’s paranoia talking and I can’t help you until you see what you’re doing.

    Why are you so opposed to questioning?

    I’m not. But I started with non-paranoid premises of the scientific and governmental groups involved in the climate change debate, questioned them, and came to completely different conclusions than you did by starting with paranoid, non-reality-based premises that demonize various players, and you reach a different conclusion.

    As to your phrase “whether that conclusion is correct”, isn’t the correctness of something a value that I am supposed to assign myself through questioning?

    Logic says you can only be sure of getting correct conclusions if you start with correc premises and use correc logical arguments. You started with incorrect premises. Therefore you have no way of knowing if your conclusion is correct.

    Forgive me if I don’t automatically assume that these same people have my best interests at heart. These things that I am writing are not “fear-metaphors” because they are not metaphors at all. They are things that are actually being done by the organization that I am accusing of doing them.

    You’re now talking on the level of a conspiracy theory. And I’ve yet to figure out a way to convince a conspiracy theorist that they’re advocating a conspiracy theory rather than something reality based. Any attempt to show that the conspiracy doesn’t match reality can be adjusted for by expanding the conspiracy to include more people.

    Yes, the American Government allowed slavery. From George Washington to Abraham Lincoln, to be precise, though. All those slavers are dead. Yes the american government interned Japanese during WW2. But I’m pretty sure everyone who was in power then are also now dead. So, it isn’t really relavant in any way here unless I subscribe to a wild sweeping generalization that everyone in government right now should be assumed to be the worst of the worst of the entire history of government. That that should be my starting premise.

    I don’t buy that.

    Not only that, but you’d have to expand this evil intent to include all the scientific organizations who are claiming climate change is real. That they are all either as evil as the most evil members of government in all of history, or that they are unaware that the evil government is going to use their scientific declarations for evil intentions.

    I don’t buy that either.

    Do I question my government? Absolutely. I opposed the Iraq war from the beginning, was loudly against it from the day Bush was beating the drum to go to war with Iraq. I’m against torture. I’m for due process.

    But do I think it is reasonable to start from the point of view that the members of government and scientists who are advocating that climate change is real are doing so out of some evil on par with genocide or the enslavement of an entire nation? That global warming is some sort of first step to eventually revoke the entire bill of rights???

    Seriously, man, if I have to ask the question, we’re on two completely different planets. One of us is on Planet Paranoid, and it isn’t me.

  102. @dstntmbrk

    “imagine that a known convicted murderer knocked on your door one day and offered you a free plate of brownies.”

    Eh?

    You What?

    Was this Murderer gaoled for poisoning people or stabbing them? Do the Brownies look tasty? Has the Murderer finished their sentence?

    Eh?

    Your confusing me

  103. I’d only eat the corner brownies. You can’t trust those center ones any time, and since a Murderer is offering them the edges could be risky too. Corner brownies are always good.

    Mr. Hutton asked:

    As a question, what if I wanted to plant the most efficient plant I could that would scrub CO2 from the air? What plant would that be?

    It’s really dependent on a lot of local variables – do you own vast farmlands, or have an urban postage-stamp yard, for example? Do you own a saw? Is your lawn required to be mowed by your municipality? But I will give a generic answer anyway.

    Plant the fastest-growing trees native to your area that can be profitably harvested for wood. In my area that would probably be yellow-poplar, although personally I have actually planted several dozen species.

    The majority of the physical structure of a tree is derived from the atmosphere. Very little is taken from the ground other than water. Trees thus sequester carbon released by the foolish burning of petroleum.

    When you die, someone may cut your trees. If the wood has value, you have a higher chance that the carbon will continue to be sequestered as furniture or other structures than if you plant something that has lesser commercial value.

  104. @115
    Cha0tic, the brownies look completely scrumptious. We’ll say that he bludgeoned a hobo to death with a meat cleaver, and we’ll assume that he is not an escaped convict but was instead recently released on good behavior. I should have been this specific the first time.

    @114
    Greg, would you believe that I have actually never even tasted a brownie? It’s the darndest thing; Every time someone offers me one of the things I realize that the person offering it is a murderer!
    You are one slippery eel. Once again you have managed to reply to my questions without a single answer other than a pompous psychoanalysis of a person you have never met and a checklist of every fun fact you learned in Logic 101. I’m afraid our conversation will have to end here because a nasty, mean-spirited, one-sided dialogue like this can do nothing but stew in its own stagnant funk, and because we’ve gotten so far away from the original topic of climate change (or was it windpower?).
    I hate to go without one last hypothetical situation, though, since you did such a wonderful job of deconstructing my last scenario without being a good sport and answering it. Please read more slowly this time Greg, because the beginning portion of my last scenario, in which I clearly established that the person was a “known convicted murder”, somehow bypassed your superiorly logical steel trap of a brain. Feel free to non-answer this one by actually not answering at all…
    Suppose you wear glasses and visit a new optometrist to ask about contact lenses. You ask what the benefits of contacts are over glasses, and if there are any drawbacks. The optometrist says something like,
    “You aren’t asking me about contacts because you are interested in their practical use; you are just humiliated by the fact that you wear spectacles and want to appear more normal to those around you. You aren’t interested in your own vision; you’re just a frightened little man with no self-esteem.”
    You reply, “Whoa, buddy, I just came here to ask about contacts. I think they would be more convenient for some uses, but I want to know if they might irritate my eyes. Would disposable contacts be more expensive or less?”
    “Allow me to introduce you to a concept called “self-consciousness”. As an optometrist, I am able to correctly infer from your questions about contact lenses that you are a highly self-conscious individual without a spine who was bullied all throughout high school and is too cowardly to confront his own cheating wife. Your life is one of miserable self-loathing and fear of person-to-person interactions and you feel that contact lenses will give you at least some shred of a backbone. “
    “But I’m not even married. Where are you getting this from? Are you going to answer my questions or not?”
    I will continue my deconstruction of your questions after I inhale the delicious smell of my own flatulence.” The optometrist then places his nose firmly between his cheeks and farts into his own face.
    “Ummm, I gotta go.” End of scenario.
    So why did you leave the optometrist? Most people would answer that they would not want to continue a conversation with such an arrogant, uninformed, incompetent, fart-sniffing doctor, but it’s actually a trick question that only a paranoid delusional like me could figure out. It’s because he’s a murderer!
    *****
    I want to leave you with one last tidbit that actually relates to both global warming and the sinful concept of questioning authority. This is a very detailed article featuring 35 criticisms of factual errors found in Nobel Peace Prize winner, and mass-murderer of Serbians, Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. Nine of these errors are discovered, not by some gun-hoarding anti-state wacko, but by an English High Court judge. Are we to assume that this government official’s only possible reason for questioning a politician’s claims is his irrational distrust of all government action and that he will always conclude that government motives are evil, regardless of the premise? Equally interesting is the fact that many of his criticisms are of the disparity between the claims in Al Gore’s movie and the actual findings of the IPCC, a government agency. He doesn’t even have to question the legitimacy of the IPCC’s report to discover that a politician would use lies and distortions to create fear-based legislation.

  105. I’m afraid our conversation will have to end here

    OK…

    I hate to go without one last hypothetical situation, though

    er…

    Suppose you wear glasses and visit a new optometrist

    And the guy says, “Who needs a 12 inch pianist?” HA!

    I want to leave you with one last tidbit that actually relates to both global warming and the sinful concept of questioning authority

    Yes, that’s exactly what this is all about. Deny any fact you don’t like. Tell everyone you’re simply questioning authority. If people complain, strawman their objections as saying that questioning authority is “sinful”.

    Yes, that’s exactly what everyone here is saying to the deniers. That they’re sinful.

    (eye roll)

    So why did you leave the optometrist?

    You are one slippery eel. Once again you have managed to reply to my questions without a single answer

    Here’s a question for you, dstntmbrk. It’s a simple yes/no question. So, if you answer this question with anything other than a yes or no, you’re avoiding the question, like the slippery eel you are. Answer either “yes” or “no”. No qualifications. No caveats. No alternatives. No other option is valid other than “yes” and “no”. Are you ready for the question now? Since you are so eager to engage in discussion, I’m sure you are. So, here it is:

    Have you finally stopped beating women and molesting little children?

    yes or no?

    Tell you what, you want to start dealing with reality, maybe we can have an actual conversation. If you simply want to go off on paranoid delusions and fantasy scenarios involving known murderers bearing gifts and brownies, and then call me “slippery” because I call your nonsense what it is: loaded questions, bifurcations, strawmen, and too many logical fallacies to count, then, yeah, we’re done.

  106. @4

    “‘99% of scientists that think it is man made’
    Source for this number is?”

    Here:

    http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf

    A survey just done and published in EOS, the weekly pub put out by the American Geophysical Union. You know, actual scientists. If you actually care to look at the expert category (“Climatologists who are active publishers on climate change”) you can see it’s high 90s (~97) who say increasing temperatures are caused by human activity.

    If you care about climate change, you need to understand science. And if you don’t bother to understand how science actually works (peer review, incremental changes, verification) then you’re easily led into thinking that MAYBE there’s some HUGE conspiracy and climatologists have a racket going on. And if you’re particularly vulnerable to ego-driven crackpot stories of the Evil Monolithic Climate Science Goliath being taken down by the David 4of the clever engineer working in his basement, I suggest you go into fiction. Better to ape Dan Brown than argue that the tens of thousands of actual climatologists who actually bother to learn things and do research in the sciences are idiots.

    Seriously. Climate Change Denial is functionally equivalent to Evolution Denial, and made only marginally less laughable than Flat Earth Theory because of the complexity of the systems involved. And it spreads like all crackpottery. I’ve got a guy trying to apply to a conference who claims climate change is caused by the Earth’s core heating up the atmosphere. If you believe that I’ve got some alien teleportation technology to sell you.

    Seriously disappointed that boingboing provided this forum for more such blatantly political disinformation.

  107. @Charles Platt from post #51 –

    Well heres just one easy example …

    On your link from “Climatic Heresy 2”, comment number 7 had me wondering exactly what Robert Carters qualifications are, so I googled him ..

    Here are the highlights and the links to the information …

    He is a geologist specializing in palaeoclimatology, stratigraphy, marine geology, and environmental science. Carter is a former Director of Australia’s Secretariat for the Ocean Drilling Program and a Co-Chief Scientist for drilling leg 181

    Impressive! I does make me do a double take when an environmental scientist aligns himself with the oil industry, but lets just say im overly cautious, nothing here im ready to hang my hat on, lets look a bit more.

    Carter is active in the media, volunteering letters and opinion pieces on science topics to a variety of newspapers, magazines and web magazines. Carter is a member of the conservative think tank the Institute of Public Affairs

    Even more interesting, the conservative think tank “institute of public affairs”, have to read up on them as well.

    Heres a quick snippet from sourcewatch about the IPA.

    The IPA key policy positions include advocacy for privatisation, deregulation, reduction in the power of unions and denial of most significant environmental problems, including climate change.

    What else do they have to say about the IPA?

    More recently, the IPA has been the driving force behind the establishment of a number of new non-profit front groups, including the Australian Environment Foundation – which campaigns for weaker environmental laws – Independent Contractors of Australia – which campaigns for an end to workplace safety laws and a general deregulation of the labour market, and the ironically named Owner Drivers Australia, which campaigns against safety and work standard for truck drivers.

    and theres more …

    For all their talk of ‘transparency’ though, the IPA has beem embroiled in controversy over failure to disclose funders of its work. In June 2004 it was revealed that Australia’s largest irrgation company, Murray Irrigation Limited, contributed $40,000 to the IPA. The IPA’s environment unit director Jennifer Marohasy played a critical role in persuading a government committee to overturn recomendations to increase the volume of water released into the Murray River
    However, Marohasy did not disclose the donation to the committee. When asked by the Australian Financial Review about the MIL donation, Marohasy would not confirm or deny whether she knew about the donation while writing her report or giving evidence to the committee. She said she did not take “an interest in who funds IPA”

    So Robert Carter, a supposed environmentalist is part of a group that really doesnt sound concerned about the environment, it actually sounds like he ends up supporting weakened environment protections led by corporate interests solely, be they his connections with the oil industry or not.

    Lets read some more!

    Research and Background
    According to a search of 22,000 academic journals, Carter has published over 50 original research in peer-reviewed journal mainly in the area of stratigraphy, in other words the study of rock layers and layering.
    Carter and the “Institute for Public Affairs”
    Carter is on the research committee of an organization called the “Institute for Pulic Affairs” (IPA). The IPA is an Australian-based organization that, according to Sourcewatch, has received funding from the fossil fuel industry. In reference to his involvement with the IPA, Carter stated in a March 15, 2007 Sydney Morning Herald article, that: “I don’t think it is the point whether you are paid by the coal or petroleum industry.”
    Carter “not a credible source” on climate change
    In response to claims made by Carter that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change uncovered no evidence that global warming was caused by human activity, a former CSIRO climate scientist stated that Carter was not a credible source on climate change and that “if he [Carter] has any evidence that [global warming over the past 100 years] is a natural variability he should publish through the peer review process.”
    Carter and Tech Central Station
    Carter has written articles for Tech Central Station. TCS is an organization that has received money from ExxonMobil. Until very recently, TCS was run by Washington lobby/PR firm DCI Group, whcih in turn was at the centre of controversy over a YouTube Al Gore spoof video they produced and posted under the guise of 29-year old amateur filmmaker. ExxonMobil is reported to be a client of the DCI Group.

    Theres more information to be read, this is what I was able to find in about 5 minutes worth of searching …

    You can go after the sources if you like but im sure youll find it all true.

    Robert Carter is oil backed shill whos expertise is mostly in rock layers, hes part of a group whos agenda is to deregulate business, weaken government, destroy unions and hes backed by corporate interests that dont want to be subject to environmental standards.

    With all due respect Charles Platt, your posts get TROUNCED repeat TROUNCED with just a little googling.

    This was in regards to one small posting that u made, I think I made my point, its a shame you didnt do this work in the first place.

    Links:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_M._Carter

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Institute_of_Public_Affairs

    http://www.desmogblog.com/rm-bob-carter

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

    P.S. I hate having to post with any sort of code here, I cant use regular BB code and the HTML doesnt seem to allow me to put quotes in properly or even seperate text without losing the bold function or opening a WYSIWYG editor, blah.

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