Detailed Comments on An Inconvenient Truth



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Foreword by the blog moderator:

One of the things that often happens once your blog and effort is well known is that people start sending you things to look at and/or do. That’s the case here. There has been much discussion web-wide over AIT and potential inaccuracies in the presentation by Gore, but I have not taken on the subject here in any detail since I have my http://www.surfacestations.org/ USHCN weather station census requiring a good portion of my time. Nonetheless, when I was offered this review, it seemed to be quite comprehensive in scope, and done by a person who worked in aeronautic systems engineering, a very detail oriented job that combines many disciplines.  He had a thirty-three year career at Boeing, beginning as a software engineer in data reduction and flight simulation and retiring as the Chief Engineer of the Electronic Systems Division.

While AIT has been reviewed by many, I thought this review had some interesting points. Therefore, as a catalyst for discussion, here is Bob’s review of AIT with no editing nor commentary on my part.

UPDATE 10/5/07 A few commenters pointed out that there was a mistake that needed correcting. Mr. Edleman requested I repost his newly edited version that corrects a mistake in attribution of the institution Dr. Phil Jones is tenured at. Some additional format changes were made for readability by Mr. Edelman.

by Bob Edelman

October 3, 2007

My sister viewed Al Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth, and was disturbed enough to ask my opinion. In her words, “if the story is mostly true, we’d better stop the ideological wrangling and get busy salvaging what we can”. After some prodding I reluctantly rented the DVD and prepared the following comments in response. My conclusion is that the movie is mostly misleading and, yes, we’d better stop the ideological wrangling and consider the facts.

Comments on An Inconvenient Truth

Most of my comments pertain to the climatology science presented in the movie although I do include a discussion of charges made by NASA’s James Hansen that his scientific findings have been suppressed. I also discuss the issue of scientific consensus. I gave a pass to most of the trivial errors although I couldn’t help pointing out some that jumped out at me. Please forgive the nit-picking. A few words about the general circulation models (GCMs) used to predict climate change. Al Gore didn’t explicitly discuss the models that he used or the accuracy of his predictions so I don’t discuss them in my comments. Yet whenever he discusses future climate he necessarily is either guessing or relying on someone’s GCM. Given that no model has ever been validated I believe that the state-of-the-art still has a long way to go before climatologists can make predictions good enough to drive policy. One glaring hole in climate models is adequate modeling of precipitation systems. They are not modeled well because they are not understood. Yet precipitation systems are extremely important to moderating climate. A recently published study of tropical precipitation systems by Dr. Roy Spencer supports the existence of a strong negative feedback to temperature increases rather then the assumed positive feedback now modeled in GCMs. Once such systems are understood and modeled properly we may find why the earth’s climate is not as fragile as some would have us believe. After all, the earth once had an atmosphere consisting of mostly greenhouse gasses (carbon dioxide, methane and water vapor) and nitrogen, yet life and the climate evolved. The following comments are organized in the same chronology as the film. I suggest that you view An Inconvenient Truth on DVD and follow along since it is difficult to insert Gore’s slides into my comments. The most significant comments are in bold.

1.      The story about his sixth grade teacher may or may not be true – she may have been reflecting her own sixth grade education. The point of his story, however, was fabricated. He ends the story by saying that “the teacher was actually reflecting the conclusion of the scientific establishment at that time: Continents are so big that obviously they don’t move.” When Gore was in the sixth grade (about 1960) the scientific community had generally accepted the concept of continental drift.

2.      Gore’s explanation of the greenhouse effect is grossly over-simplified. The sun’s radiation reaches the earth in a broad spectrum, not just “light”. The warm earth emits long infrared radiation. Some of that radiation is absorbed by greenhouse gasses, the most significant of which is water vapor followed by CO2. The energy is re-radiated at wave lengths that differ from the excitation radiation. Most of the re-radiated energy is lost to space but some reaches the earth where it contributes to keeping the atmosphere at a comfortable temperature. The radiation is not “trapped”.

3.      In his explanation of the greenhouse effect he incorrectly equates it to global warming. This helps create the perception that people who disagree with his conclusions deny the existence of global warming and/or the greenhouse effect. Actually, there is general agreement on the following:

  • There is a greenhouse effect. It makes our planet livable.
  • CO2 is a greenhouse gas. There is disagreement as to its significance since water vapor is, by far, the most important.
  • There was global warming on the order of about 1ºF during the twentieth century. There is disagreement as to its cause.

4.      The assertion that his professor, Roger Revelle, was the first person to have the idea to measure the amount of CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere is false. Scientists have been measuring atmospheric CO2 since well before Revelle was born and the measurements showing increased concentrations were reported 20 years before Revelle’s study. Also, Gore implies that Revelle was concerned about the global warming effects of increased CO2 emissions. He wasn’t. In fact, Revelle is on record saying that increased CO2 could be beneficial and that it is too early (in 1991) for drastic action to prevent global warming effects.

5.      The assertion that the ice cap on Mount Kilimanjaro is disappearing because of global warming is not correct. It is generally accepted that the cause is desiccation of the atmosphere that resulted from deforestation. The temperature at the ice cap has remained at about minus 7ºC, indicating that ice cap loss has been from ablation (sublimation) to the dry atmosphere, not melting.

6.      The use of Glacier National Park as an example of man-caused (anthropogenic) global warming is wrong. Those glaciers have been receding since the beginning of record keeping. In fact, the rate of retreat was greater 75 years ago then now.

7.      The idea that the world’s glaciers are disappearing because of CO2 stretches credibility. Remember, the 20th century increase in temperature has been about 1ºF, much of which occurred before the era of large CO2 emissions. Most glaciers in temperate climates are relics of the ice age and have been receding since that time. Nevertheless, a large number of glaciers are growing, none of which were shown in the film, and only a small percentage of glaciers have been studied for mass balance changes out of the 67,000 that have been inventoried. (Note: the rate of recession and the rate of mass loss are two different things.)

8.      Gore shows a glacier calving to illustrate the horrors of global warming. “Here is what has been happening year by year to the Columbia Glacier. It just retreats more and more every year. And it is a shame because these glaciers are so beautiful. People who go up to see them, here is what they are seeing every day now.” Gore doesn’t seem to recognize that glacier ice slowly flows down-hill and calving is quite normal. A growing ice-cap will also calve.

9.      The assertion that people in the Himalayas will lose their drinking water because of glacier melting in the next 40 years may be true, but not because of anthropogenic global warming. The Gangotri glacier has been receding as have most relics of the ice age. However, it is incorrect to blame it on recent global warming. Melting occurs in the summer and temperature records since 1875 show a history of decreasing summer temperatures. This illustrates the major problem with using glaciers to prove catastrophic anthropogenic global warming.

10.  Gore attributes the retreat of a Peruvian glacier to global warming without mentioning the fact that the region has been cooling since the 1930’s. He also fails to mention the other South America glaciers that have been growing.

11.  Gore makes these comments when showing a video of an ice-core sample: “When I was in Antarctica I saw cores like this and the guy looked at it. He said right here is where the US Congress passed the Clean Air Act. I couldn’t believe it but you can see the difference with the naked eye. Just a couple of years after that law was passed, it’s very clearly distinguishable.” I will give Gore the benefit of the doubt and say that he was the victim of a joke.

12.  Gore incorrectly shows the infamous “hockey stick” chart as temperature history from ice-core data. This was actually from a study published by Dr. Michael Mann in 1999. He used tree ring data as a proxy for temperature for data up to the 20th century and then tacked on thermometer data. The graph shows a slow decline in global temperature for 1,000 years (the shaft of the hockey stick) and then a sudden increase in the 20th century (the blade of the hockey stick).  The study was quickly accepted by global warming alarmists without adequate review because it wiped out the pesky Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and the Little Ice Age. Some scientists raised a number of questions about the lack of agreement with previous studies and the historical record. Two Canadians, McIntyre and McKitrick, attempted to examine the methodology and, after much difficulty in acquiring data and software algorithms, were able to show gross errors in the use of statistical techniques. This controversy culminated in two studies requested by congress. The first was by the National Research Council (at the NRC’s suggestion) which gave some credence to Mann’s study although limiting it to 400 years. No statisticians were on the committee and, it turns out, most of the committee had professional connections to Dr Mann. A second independent study by a team of mathematicians was requested and headed by Dr. Edward J. Wegman. The Wegman study thoroughly discredited the Mann study because of invalid use of statistical techniques and found that the conclusions by Mann could not be supported. However, some still cling to the hockey stick. Gore is apparently one of them.

13.  Gore uses the discredited hockey stick to downplay the MWP and deride scientists who have shown the importance of climate change cycles. There have been numerous studies before and after the Mann study that show, through other proxies, the global extent of and magnitude of the MWP. There is ample evidence that the planet was warmer during the MWP then it is now. There are also numerous studies that show the existence of various cycles, such as the earth’s orbital cycles, and how those cycles can affect major climate changes.

14.  When Gore does display the ice-core data he incorrectly uses it to assert that CO2 is directly responsible for global temperature change. This is the most egregious error in the movie.

Now an important point: In all of this time, 650,000 years, the CO2 level has never gone above 300 parts per million. Now, as I said, they can also measure temperature. Here is what the temperature has been on our earth. One thing that kind of jumps out at you is… Let me put it this way. If my class mate from the sixth grade that talked about Africa and South America might have said, “Did they ever fit together?” Most ridiculous thing I ever heard. But they did of course. The relationship is very complicated. But there is one relationship that is more powerful than all the others and it is this. When there is more carbon dioxide, the temperature gets warmer, because it traps more heat from the sun inside.

All technical studies of ice-cores show the same thing; CO2 increases follow temperature increases and CO2 decreases follow temperature decreases. In other words, ice-core data show that temperature changes drive CO2 changes to a very large extent. The actual amount of the lag varies from different studies but it is approximately 800 years. The reason for the lag is postulated to be the delayed release and absorption of CO2 from the oceans, the earth’s largest reservoir of carbon. The reason for the large delay is the huge depth of the oceans and the time that it takes a temperature change to propagate. Gore and his technical advisors are certainly well aware of these facts.

15.  The ice-core graph along with estimates of CO2 growth is used to give the impression that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is greater than ever before in history and that it is going “off the chart”. In truth, CO2 concentrations have been much higher in geologic history. During the Cambrian Period (543 to 490 million years ago), concentrations were as high as 18 times the present level. It was during this period that there was an explosion of diverse life on earth (called the Cambrian explosion) and almost all living animal groups appeared. At the end of the Ordovician Period (490 to 443 million years ago) the earth experienced an Ice Age, yet CO2 concentrations were almost 12 times the present level. CO2 concentrations were almost 5 times higher during the Jurassic Period (206 to 144 million years ago), yet life thrived. These facts are at odds with the assertion a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere will be catastrophic to life.

16.  Gore’s claim that there is no controversy over the amount of CO2 growth in the next 50 years is wrong.

17.  Gore shows a chart purporting to be actual temperatures since the Civil War. (Note that the film doesn’t expose the dependent axis. If he did it would emphasize how small the changes in temperature were.) Gore states:

These are actual measurements of atmospheric temperature since our civil war. In any given year it might look like it’s going down, but the overall trend is extremely clear. In recent years it is uninterrupted and it is intensifying. In fact, if you look at the 10 hottest years ever measured in this atmospheric record, they have all occurred in the last 14 years. The hottest of all was 2005.

He can be forgiven for having been misled by a close advisor, Dr. James Hansen who heads the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). Hansen has recently been forced to admit that errors were made in correcting raw data and that the hottest year was 1934. Here is the new ranking: 1934, 1998, 1921, 2006, 1931, 1999, 1953, 1990, 1938, 1939.

This change in ranking came about because of the efforts of non-professionals. GISS derives temperature from a large network of stations in the United States. They have been severely criticized for using stations that are poorly placed so that significant error is introduced by artificially induced local heating and urbanization. GISS filters the data to extract very low temperature change signals from the very large temperature noise. A former TV meteorologist, Anthony Watts, voluntarily maintains a web site where individuals have been recruited to examine stations in a systematic manner and post photographs and station characteristics. To date, records for about 33% of the stations in the US Historical Climatology Network have been surveyed. There are numerous examples of poor placement such as near heat exchangers, on or near concrete, exposure to jet airplane exhaust, and even exposure to a burn barrel. The record of one station located near two air conditioner exhausts showed a sudden increase in temperature readings when the air conditioners were installed. It was noted, however, that the discontinuity continued in the winter when the air conditioners were presumed to be off. This got the attention of Steven McIntyre, the same Canadian who discovered the hockey stick math problems. He attempted to get the data reduction algorithms from Hansen but was refused access. (Refusing review of one’s work is not how responsible scientists behave.) McIntyre was forced to reverse engineer data from a number of stations and found a “Y2K” problem, i.e., discrepancies were introduced in the year 2000. Hansen has now admitted that he made errors when transitioning to a different data set but still refuses to divulge his methods. (I have more to say about Hansen later.)

18.  The connection of heat waves to global warming is grossly exaggerated. Remember, the 20th century increase in temperature has been about 1ºF.

19.  Gore claims that the oceans have warmed (by about .2 degrees according to his chart). Harison and Carson of the University of Washington studied 50 years of data from 1950 to 2000 and concluded that there was no warming evident. (Their data actually show cooling from 1980 to 1999.) They concluded that “The ocean neither cooled nor warmed systematically over the large parts of the ocean for the entire analysis period.”

20.  Gore claims that increased hurricane activity is caused by global warming. This claim is not supported by empirical studies. In fact, a recent study of tropical cyclones in Australia from 1226 to 2003 showed a decrease in the frequency and intensity of hurricanes in the last 100 years. (It is interesting how the researchers got records that old. They found that a heavy isotope of oxygen, O-18, is deficient in precipitation from cyclones. They measured the deficiency of O-18 deposited in stalagmite layers as a proxy for cyclone intensity and then validated their method against records of modern cyclones.)

21.  The claim that Lake Chad drying is caused by global warming is not correct. NASA concluded that water use and grazing are the probable causes.

22.  Gore shows a dramatic photo of a crack in the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf to illustrate “faster impacts from global warming” in the Artic and says that “scientists were astonished”. Some may have been surprised but scientists who have studied the ice shelf point out that it is a remnant of a larger feature that has been contracting since the end of the Little Ice Age and had already lost 90% during the period 1906-1982 due to calving.

23.  Gore shows a photo of a house that was built on permafrost and sunk when the permafrost melted. Solution: Don’t build a house on permafrost unless you plan to keep the living areas below freezing. (Alaskans figured this one out a long time ago.)

24.  A chart that purports to show that “there was a precipitous drop off in the amount and extent and thickness of the arctic ice cap” starting in 1970 is questionable. It has been reported that the data points were not all taken at the same time of the year. Also, 1970 was the end of a 25 year cooling period. Dr. Dick Morgan, a climatology researcher at the University of Exeter wrote: “There has been some decrease in ice thickness in the Canadian Arctic over the past 30 years but no melt down. The Canadian Ice Service records show that from 1971-1981 there was average, to above average, ice thickness. From 1981-1982 there was a sharp decrease of 15% but there was a quick recovery to average, to slightly above average, values from 1983-1995. A sharp drop of 30% occurred again 1996-1998 and since then there has been a steady increase to reach near normal conditions since 2001.”

25.  The animation of the desperate polar bear is representative of nothing. Polar bear population is increasing or stable in all areas except where there has been cooling! As a species they have survived much warmer temperatures seen 6000 years ago.

26.  Gore does a good job of describing the thermohaline pump and how the pump was shut down when a huge lake of fresh water was suddenly dumped into the ocean at the end of the ice age. However, he seems to imply that slow melting of the icecap will produce the same effect. This is not correct and no scientist worth his halide would make that claim.

27.  The claims that global warming is causing “exotic” species to appear where they were never seen before and outbreaks of disease have little or no basis. For example:

  • You’ve heard of the pine beetle problem? Those pine beetles used to be killed by the cold winter, but there are fewer days of frost. So the pine trees are being devastated.” Actually the pine beetle is native to areas where large outbreaks occurred. Small outbreaks became large because of forest management problems.
  • There are cities that were founded because they were just above the mosquito line. Nairobi is one. Harare is another. There are plenty of others. Now the mosquitoes with warming are climbing to hirer altitudes.” This is nonsense. These cities have always had mosquitoes and malaria. Malaria was a world-wide disease, including the United States at one time.
  • The Avian flu, of course is quite a serious matter, as you know. West Nile Virus came to the eastern shore of Maryland in 1999. Two years later it was across the Mississippi. And two years after that it had spread across the continent.” More nonsense. Avian flu (or any other kind) is not associated with higher temperatures. West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne virus that came from Israel. According to the CDC, the virus was never confined to tropical areas. The fact that these diseases spread to temperate areas contradicts Gore’s claim that they spread because of global warming.

28.  Gore’s discussion of the Antarctic focuses on the dramatic break up of the Larsen B ice-shelf in Western Antarctica. Andrew Monaghan of Ohio State University’s Byrd Polar Research Center and 15 colleagues have been studying the thickness of the ice cap. They point to evidence that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has been thinning over the past decade, while the East Antarctic Ice Sheet has thickened. A lot of work needs to be done to explain just what is happening in the Antarctic and concentrating on one single event can give a very distorted picture.

29.  Gore makes another absurd claim that Pacific islanders were forced to evacuate to New Zealand when part of the Antarctic ice shelf broke off. Dr Chris de Freitas, a climate scientist from the University of Auckland stated: “I can assure Mr. Gore that no one from the South Pacific islands has fled to New Zealand because of rising seas. In fact, if Gore consults the data, he will see it shows sea level falling in some parts of the Pacific.”

30.  Gore postulates a 20 foot rise in sea level if the Greenland ice cap or the Antarctic ice cap melted. He then shows the devastation that would occur from such a chance in sea level. No reputable scientist is predicting such a huge magnitude rise in sea level. Even the global warming alarmists on the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have projected a range of only 18-59cm at the end of this century based on various models and scenarios.

31.  The map showing that the US contributed 30% to global warming is actually a map produced by the World Resource Institute that purports to show CO2 emissions resulting from fossil fuel combustion. Global warming and fossil fuel consumption are not the same thing. Nor are global warming and CO2 emissions the same thing. Even if they were the map doesn’t show other sources of CO2 such as the 30% that Gore claims comes from burning wood.

32.  Gore says:

There was a massive study of every scientific article in a peer reviewed article written on global warming in the last ten years. They took a big sample of 10 percent, 928 articles. And you know the number of those that disagreed with the scientific consensus that we’re causing global warming and that is a serious problem out of the 928: Zero.

Anyone familiar with the scientific literature knows better. The study that he is referring to was conducted by social scientist Dr. Naomi Oreske. Another social scientist, Dr. Benny Peiser of the UK, attempted to verify Oreske’s study. The following is his summary:

“I replicated her study in order to assess the accuracy of its results. All abstracts listed on the ISI databank for 1993 to 2003 using the same keywords (‘global climate change’) were assessed. The results of my analysis contradict Oreskes’ findings and essentially falsify her study: Of all 1117 abstracts, only 13 (1%) explicitly endorse the ‘consensus view’. However, 34 abstracts reject or question the view that human activities are the main driving force of ‘the observed warming over the last 50 years’.

Oreskes claims that ‘none of these papers argued [that current climate change is natural]‘. However, 44 papers emphasise that natural factors play a major if not the key role in recent climate change.

The most significant discrepancy with Oreskes’ results concern abstracts that are undecided whether human activities are the dominant driving force of recent warming. My analysis shows that a significant number of abstracts reject what Oreskes calls the ‘consensus view’. In fact, there are almost three times as many abstracts that are unconvinced of the notion of anthropogenic climate change than those that explicitly endorse it.”

Two German environmental scientist, Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch, conducted an extensive survey of 530 climate scientists from 27 different countries in 2003. (A similar survey was conducted in 1996.) On the critical assertion, “human activity is causing climate change” only 55.8% agreed, 30% disagreed, and the rest were uncertain. This is hardly unanimous agreement.

In a recent analysis of peer-reviewed studies, Dennis Avery and Fred Singer listed more than 500 climate scientists whose studies confirmed that climate change is a natural phenomenon.

There is no consensus. Even if there were it would have no value in science. Proof leads to consensus, not the other way around.

33.  Gore claims: “The misconception that there is disagreement about the science has been deliberately created by a relatively small number of people. One of their internal memos leaked and here is what it said according to the press. Their objective is to reposition global warming as a theory rather than fact.” I know of no efforts to “reposition global warming as a theory”. All reputable scientists recognize that there has been warming since the little ice age. However, “anthropogenic global warming leading to disastrous results” is properly positioned as theory.

34.  The movie shows testimony before the Senate from 1989 where James Hanson reveals that the final paragraph in his testimony was written by OMB during its review. The movie leaves the impression that scientific findings were changed. What actually happened is this: OMB added a sentence that Hansen’s conclusions “should be viewed as estimates from evolving computer models and not as reliable predictions.” Hansen phoned Gore and requested that he ask about the changes during the hearing. As it turns out, Hansen’s predictions were not reliable and his faith in them was not scientifically based.

Hansen openly admits to ignoring NASA media policies and frequently has made accusations of political interference since 1988. Recently, the Washington Post reported:

“The debate has been intensifying because Earth is warming much faster than some researchers had predicted. James E. Hansen, who directs NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies, last week confirmed that 2005 was the warmest year on record, surpassing 1998. Earth’s average temperature has risen nearly 1 degree Fahrenheit over the past 30 years, he noted, and another increase of about 4 degrees over the next century would ‘imply changes that constitute practically a different planet.’

‘It’s not something you can adapt to,’ Hansen said in an interview. ‘We can’t let it go on another 10 years like this. We’ve got to do something.’

This tipping point debate has stirred controversy within the administration; Hansen said senior political appointees are trying to block him from sharing his views publicly.

When Hansen posted data on the Internet in the fall suggesting that 2005 could be the warmest year on record, NASA officials ordered Hansen to withdraw the information because he had not had it screened by the administration in advance, according to a Goddard scientist who spoke on the condition of anonymity. More recently, NASA officials tried to discourage a reporter from interviewing Hansen for this article and later insisted he could speak on the record only if an agency spokeswoman listened in on the conversation.

‘They’re trying to control what’s getting out to the public,’ Hansen said, adding that many of his colleagues are afraid to talk about the issue. ‘They’re not willing to say much, because they’ve been pressured and they’re afraid they’ll get into trouble.'”

Again, Hansen turned out to be wrong and has had to revise his data. (See previous discussion about hottest years.) He now downplays its importance and blatantly lies about past practices. The following is from a recent article in the New York Times:

“Dr. Hansen and his team note that they rarely, if ever, discuss individual years, particularly regional findings like those for the United States (the lower 48 are only 2 percent of the planet’s surface). ‘In general I think that we want to avoid going into more and more detail about ranking of individual years,’ he said in an e-mail message. ‘As far as I remember, we have always discouraged that as being somewhat nonsensical.'”

Hansen has made a number of other incorrect predictions but he continues to hype the dangers of anthropogenic global warming. If past and present administrations have been attempting to suppress Hansen they have been spectacularly ineffective. Google his name and you will see what I mean.

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148 Responses to Detailed Comments on An Inconvenient Truth

  1. Stan Needham says:

    Was there ANYTHING about the movie that you liked?

  2. Sylvain says:

    “Stan Needham (17:46:21) :

    Was there ANYTHING about the movie that you liked?”

    Yes, when the movie actually end.

  3. Philip_B says:

    IMO, reviewers of AIT are way too generous. I found it a garbled mishmash of half and misunderstood science. It made about as much sense as someone from the Stone Age explaining how a laptop computer works.

    I watched it with my 15 year old daughter and we agreed it was ‘science for morons.’

    A couple of minor points.

    Whether or not the effect of the US Clean Air Act(s) is visible in ice cores, those acts had nothing to do with CO2 levels. To suggest they did, is either ignorant or deceptive.

    I recall Gore seemed to confuse the Columbia Icefield with the Columbia Glacier. They are unconnected, except by name. I’d have to watch it again to get the details, which I am not going to.

  4. davidcobb says:

    A charge was recently filed in british court that AIG should not be shown in british schools because it was politicaly biased and/or scientificly unsound.
    Educators conceeded this in order to avoid a formal ruling. However they only agreed to provide guidence to teachers. Meaning that the brainwashing of children can continue unhinderd.

  5. George M says:

    Thanks to Bob for taking the time to carefully address the major points, and to Anthony for publishing them in a convenient place. I plan to make sure this article gets proper exposure among my circle of acquaintances. As a physicist with just short of 50 years of practicing that discipline, I see only a very few minor points which I would state slightly differently. On the whole, however, the basic truths are there, and there in spades. The question remains, however, how do we stop these self appointed alarmists who have caught the politicians attention, and are costing us enormous amounts of money, all unnecessarily, and plan to gouge us even more? If anyone has the answer to that, I would love to hear it.

  6. Stan Needham says:

    The question remains, however, how do we stop these self appointed alarmists who have caught the politicians attention, and are costing us enormous amounts of money, all unnecessarily, and plan to gouge us even more? If anyone has the answer to that, I would love to hear it.

    A carbon tax would seem to be the next logical step in the gouging process, and civil disobedience on a massive scale would appear to be the only logical answer.

  7. James Bailey says:

    Does anyone keep track of the history of the IPCC estimates? If I recall correctly, I think Gore’s prediction of a 20 ft sea level rise by 2100, was the extreme worst case scenario of an earlier prediction. I think that the report prior to the most recent toned that down significantly (as well as unceremoniously dumping the hockey stick). And as discussed in note 30 above, the latest extreme worst case is now reduced to just a hair under 2 ft. That is a far cry from 20 ft, and not so scary.

    Also, where are reliable estimates of past rates of sea level rise? I read somewhere that over the last 7 millenia it had averaged about 6 in/100yrs, but that lately it was increasing, estimated at about 12in/100yrs.

    If those estimates are true, that means that the latest IPCC prediction is only a continuation of what we are now seeing. The worst case would only double what we see presently, and the best case would basically return us the old status quo.

    And they are still using ‘positive forcings’ when they make their estimates. These are large multiplications of the direct heating by CO2, assuming that the CO2 heating causes increases in other greenhouse gasses like H2O, which would cause additional heating.

    Despite all the scaremongering in the report, their own estimates are trending down to the background. (I think that is why other scaremongers have recently turned to the natural cycles, that they used to deny, inorder to claim that the warming effect is being masked and will come back with a vengeance.)

  8. Jeff says:

    However, “anthropogenic global warming leading to disastrous results” is properly positioned as theory.

    Actually it should be positioned as a hypothesis which so far has failed to be validated.

  9. DennisA says:

    Phil Jones is from University of East Anglia, not GISS, otherwise good summary.

  10. Eric Baum says:

    re pt 11. Gore makes these comments when showing a video of an ice-core sample: “When I was in Antarctica I saw cores like this and the guy looked at it. He said right here is where the US Congress passed the Clean Air Act. I couldn’t believe it but you can see the difference with the naked eye. Just a couple of years after that law was passed, it’s very clearly distinguishable.” I will give Gore the benefit of the doubt and say that he was the victim of a joke.
    I suspect Gore is telling the truth here. 15 yrs ago in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in DC I saw an exhibit based on an ice core (I believe Arctic, not Antarctic), showing contaminants by year, and it clearly showed the ice cleaned up markedly a few years before the Clean Air Act was passed.
    This is a real phenomenon, but like CO2 causing warming in the historical record, Gore missed the sequence of events. I was looking for the dating, which was clearly visible and significant, based on something I had read previously that attributed the sequence to: people wanted cleaner air, so the market provided, and then the politicians came along for the ride passing a law to take credit.

  11. Eric Baum says:

    You say the globe warmed about 1 degree in 20th century, and in point 19 say there is no data to say the oceans have warmed. But surely, given the parlous state of the US temp network, and the skimpy and presumably even worse state of the rest of the worlds in, say, 1920, there isn’t much evidence about warming on the land either.
    Question: why do you believe the globe warmed a degree in the 20th century?
    What evidence gives this conclusion?

  12. Duane Johnson says:

    A nice piece of work! But doesn’t Item 17 have an incorrect association for Dr. Jones?

  13. Michael Jankowski says:

    Also, where are reliable estimates of past rates of sea level rise?

    “Recent” http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/0f/Recent_Sea_Level_Rise.png

    “Post-glacial”
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/1d/Post-Glacial_Sea_Level.png

  14. Fred H says:

    I felt this was a very good review, and one of the best I have read, and one important attribute- it is not a political review. Most reviews are political, just like the movie.

    With so many factual errors, how can the movie be considered a documentary or non-fiction?

  15. Fred H says:

    5

    10

    2007
    Eric Baum Wrote (05:40:55) :

    You say the globe warmed about 1 degree in 20th century, and in point 19 say there is no data to say the oceans have warmed. But surely, given the parlous state of the US temp network, and the skimpy and presumably even worse state of the rest of the worlds in, say, 1920, there isn’t much evidence about warming on the land either.
    Question: why do you believe the globe warmed a degree in the 20th century?
    What evidence gives this conclusion?

    I believe Bob stated this was consensus but not fact.

  16. Kyle E says:

    I completely agree with the facts in this article.

  17. Chris Hall says:

    Re point #1:

    I think we may have to cut Al Gore a little slack on this one. Although there were hints of “continental drift” (and what became plate tectonics) in the 20s and 30s, and intriguing magnetic stripes in the 40s, plus early confirming paleomagnetic polar wander results in the 50s,and the paleomagnetic reversal time scale in the early 60s, the real “tipping point” was the Vine Matthews-Morley-Larochelle hyporthesis, which solidified a reasonable mechanism for continental “drift”. That was, iirc about 1965. The big revolution busted wide open in the late 60s. However, in the first half of the 60s, there were still “earth expanders” and “earth contractors” well into the mid to late 60s. The scientific consensus wasn’t truly finalized until the early 70s. So it would have been possible to hear someone denying the possibility of continental drift (had to do with “keels” and ridiculously high rock viscosity)in a college class, was well as a 6th grade class in 1960.

  18. Demonweed says:

    Being an aerospace engineer is in no way an assurance that one is not also a shill for some other interest or even a garden variety partisan hack. To wit . . .

    1. This just deserves a “meh.” However, in the interest of thoroughness, I believe it is normal for some lag time to occur between the initial establishment of scientific consensus and the modification of sixth grade science curricula.

    2. Gore’s simplification is not in principle misleading. To assert that greenhouse gases somehow manage to always “keep the Earth at a comfortable temperature” is deliberately misleading.

    3. The non-trivial role of atmospheric carbon in the greenhouse effect hasn’t been legitimately controversial for years and years. “There is some disagreement” only because there are some propaganda mills and plenty of suckers happy to have their personal biases endorsed. While Gore is wrong to assert global warming deniers also deny that the greenhouse effect is a real phenomenon, it is much more insulting to readers/viewers intelligence to perpetuate misinformation about the role of atmospheric carbon in global warming.

    4. This is a fair point. As recently as the early 90s, there was uncertainty about global CO2 levels. Concentration at a particular site may vary for all sorts of reasons, including proximity to cities or industrial facilities. However, the legitimate uncertainty of 1991 has given way now to an abundance of evidence demonstrating a dramatic increase.

    5. Man, this guy sure is one unrepentant liar. Like any regional climate, the area around Kilimanjaro is a complex system influenced by many factors. Deforestation is one of them. So is outright temperature fluctuation plus global warming’s role in reducing precipitation and cloud cover in tropical Africa. Also, deforestation is obviously not a contributing cause in other glacial retreats dramatically ongoing right now around the world.

    6. I don’t know this to be untrue. Yet I do know that all throughout the American Rockies, the Swiss Alps, and more than a few other notable mountain ranges, similar dramatic retreats are also underway. Should we really dismiss a global meltoff as the result of unrelated localized causes in each affected region?

    7. There are precious few exceptions to the general trend of global glacier decline. I can’t imagine someone who was looking at the real evidence here would be so uncertain about a trend that is easily 10:1 in favor of less ice, even with the little dip global temperatures took from the 50s to the 80s.

    8. This is another fair point. In fact, it does seem like that was an instance where Gore & co. pursued dramatic imagery at the expense of maximum informational clarity.

    9. Doctor, yes, this man needs a rectal craniectomy, stat! It is true that ice now melting has been in place for thousands of years. Until recently, that was not at all the case. The comparatively feeble retreats of preindustrial times were balanced by accumulations from natural fluctuations above and below a stable middle ground. With atmospheric carbon emissions undermining that stability, -only- now do we see such tremendous amounts of ancient ice turning to water.

    10. Yeah, and he didn’t mention that skiffle music is a popular entertainment in Great Britain either. So what?

    11. Joke or no joke, surely these lies make us all the victim of a misinformation campaign.

    12. Lies, damned lies, and statistics strike again. Experts do rightly quibble about some of the “hockey stick” details. However, none of this criticism amounts to a repudiation of dramatic changes contemporary with the industrial-scale consumption of fossil fuels. Apparently the author believes readers are gullible enough to see any clinical dispute as proof that there is no legitimate consensus behind the general finding of a rapid warming during the 20th century.

    13. Nope, not apparently . . . I should have said, “actually,” because this point asserts that the hockey stick model has been discredited. In fact, no credible scientific criticism does more than to dispute minor inferences that only slightly change the final results of the math.

    I can only shoot so many ducks in a barrel before I feel I must set my sights on something more challenging. Best of luck to anyone who might continue with this response. The world and every person in it deserves better than the kind of disingenuous sleaze I’ve seen so far.

  19. Laurence Sheldon says:

    davidcobb accurately (so far as I know) reports that:

    A charge was recently filed in a British court that AIG should not be shown
    in British schools because it was politically biased and/or scientifically
    unsound.

    Educators conceded this in order to avoid a formal ruling. However they
    only agreed to provide guidance to teachers. Meaning that the brainwashing
    of children can continue unhindered.

    I find it interesting that http://stopglobalwarming.org/ reports it differently in http://stopglobalwarming.org/sgw_read.asp?id=1043231042007 headed by “U.K. judge rules in favor of ‘Truth'”

  20. Bob L says:

    George Wrote:
    The question remains, however, how do we stop these self appointed alarmists who have caught the politicians attention, and are costing us enormous amounts of money, all unnecessarily, and plan to gouge us even more? If anyone has the answer to that, I would love to hear it.

    This is exactly right, now that Madison Ave. has adopted AGW as fact, it will slowly creep into the Main Stream consciousness. The masses will accept it and it will be harder to get the truth out. ( Look at the oil companies latest ad campaigns)

    The other component of this is discrediting those who have consumed the Kool-Aid. Although every predication he made in his book The Population Bomb has failed to materialize, Paul Ehrlich is still listened to today. We can’t allow this to occur in the AGW debate.

    A recent program on the History Channel held that due to AGW, the polar caps will melt, interrupting the Gulf Stream, and England, Europe and Northeastern North America will enter another ice age. Now they have their bases covered either way.

    In my layman’s view, every scientist is allowed to believe a theory, defend it, test it, write about it, or challenge it. Once it is disproved, they have an obligation to their integrity to change their minds and renounce their previous statements. Those who criticize others for testing of their ideas should be remembered and repudiated should their “science” is debunked. We should remember the Hansens, Schmitts, and Manns et al of this debate and discredit them. As far as the Gores, De Caprios, Travoltas, and Begleys et al of this discussion, we just have to pity them.

  21. Jeff says:

    Demonweed, none of your “facts, point to CO2 in any capacity. I’m sure one could correlate footwear trends to glacial retreat if one tried hard enough, perhaps by using software written my Mann and Hansen. Correlation is not causation. Show me the proof that CO2 is the bane of our existence.

  22. Richard M Morris says:

    Dear Demonweed,

    I thought Mr Edelman’s comments were thoughtful and insightful and he did not attack Mr. Gore. Your coments, Mr Demonweed were childish and downright rude. You may consider a civil discussion rather then name calling if you want people to take you seriously.

  23. Demonweed says:

    There is nothing civil about lying to people. The original piece was put together with a little too much effort for it simply to be the result of someone trapped in a hyperpartisan media bubble. I say hyperpartisan because even George W. Bush does not dispute the fact that industrial carbon emissions are a factor in ongoing global warming. As with the immigration issue, certain false journalists and genuine hatemongers find that their ratings do better when they stoke fires of hostility than when they go the less inflammatory route of presenting credible information.

    Whatever language I used that may give offense pales by comparison to the offense there is in lying outright to readers. I confess I do not know for certain that this was an insincere attempt at manipulation, but it sounds too coherent to be the usual sock puppet claptrap. Thus it is that I believe no invective I could possible craft, provided that it were based on my earnest beliefs, could begin to be as offensive as Mr. Edelman’s writing.

    As for the matter of causality vs. correlation, we have this neat little thing called physics. In the 1800s at least one notable scientist claimed to have “proved” that CO2 is not relevant to the atmospheric greenhouse effect. This “proof” came in the form of comparisons of concentration like 20%, 40%, and 60%. As it happens, the maximum effect on radiant energy occurs well below that threshold. As it happens, our atmosphere is presently moving through the critical range of concentrations that actually to change the behavior of radiant energy passing through the atmospheric medium. Today this is not controversial among scientists.

    It may be controversial amongst dittoheads, but then again those folks still go through life believing that tax cuts, not matter how poorly crafted or badly timed, always create economic growth. Those folks believe that the Montreal Protocol to ban industrial use of ozone-destroying chemicals was some sort of conspiracy against industry. Heck, those folks belief that a secular fascist regime in the Middle East was a natural ally to a terrorist organization that existed for the express purpose of removing secular regimes from the Middle East!

    I can be responsible for what gullible sheep put into their minds. However, I can at least try to offer up an alternative to the swill of lies that was once so popular and remains in high demand amongst the remaining fringe of hyperpartisan loyalists. I don’t know why it is that so many people let contempt for Al Gore or misinformation about the economic costs of transitioning out of a fossil fuel economy drive them into basing -scientific- beliefs on their -political- identity. I do know that this nation deserves better, and it isn’t going to get it while the same buffoons who are demonstrably wrong about so many other bold claims continue to command the loyalty of viewers/readers/listeners incapable of thinking beyond the negative emotions stirred in them at the very sound of the word “liberal.”

  24. James Bailey says:

    Thank you Michael.

    I am not sure I trust Wiki, but those graphs, while slightly smaller, are in crude agreement with what I heard. It looks like ~7m in the last 7000 yrs, or 4 in/100 yrs. (That graph is not very readable at that location.) And that the last century sea level rose 7-8 in. The IPCC report says 1.7 or 1.8mm/yr, which would be 7 in in the last 100 yrs. So IPCC is predicting a doubling from the present rate of sea level rise, (average is 13.5 in) with the best case staying constant at 7 in, and the worst case being a whopping 23 in, or a little over 3 times the rate of the past century.

    My argument is still the same. The IPCC predictions are trending to the baseline. Will they be even lower in 5 more years?

    This is a real scientific red flag. How long can we hold a theory to be right, if it’s predictions gradually disappear over time?

    Moreover, the skeptics have in large part, been complaining over obvious exagerations of effects. By drastically toning down the predictions, the IPCC has tacitly admitted the skeptics are right! Yet they are still belittling the skeptics, and attempting to keep the fear alive, when their data no longer supports such fear. But without the fear, their political actions are DOA.

    And, I would love to see somebody make Al Gore redo the presentation with corrections, and using the latest IPCC numbers. A two foot rise in sea level won’t scare anybody.

  25. Duane Johnson says:

    Demonweed,
    The gist of your argument seems to be that because Mr. Edelman’s message is well thought out and rational, it is especially to be feared. At least, one can’t say the same regarding your ad hominum filled attack.

  26. James Bailey says:

    Dear Mr Demonweed,
    There have been two recent papers that have called into question the validity of the Montreal Protocol. One Says the ozone hole is not disappearing as quickly as they thought it would, now that we have banned CFC’s. The other is the first time somebody has actually measured one of the reactions critical to the theory that we created the ozone hole. It came in an order of magnitude too low. Together, they make clear that we acted without a full and proper understanding. The fact that nobody did the measurements is damning. They scared us into acting, knowing full well that they didn’t have proof of their scary theory. And now, this irony is as sad as your comments, it costs more, and takes more energy to air condition your house, your work, and your car. The same is true for refrigeration. So, the Montreal Protocol has forced us to make more CO2 than we would have without it.
    It seems that you strongly approve of Gore’s intentionally misleading people into following him. Enough so to partisanly attack someone for daring to bring up the facts, no matter that the facts are from established science, nor that they are presented in a reasonable non partisan way. Mr. Edelmen even encourages the readers to view Gore’s DVD, which would help fund Gore’s efforts.
    You appear to be the real sheep. One that has been kept in line by scaremongering. How many times can your shepards falsely cry wolf, before you open up your mind?
    It is sad that the proponents of both efforts, the Montreal Protocol of the past and the CO2 banners of the present, prefer to follow the radical dictum “By Any Means Necessary”, rather than relying on real science. It is even a bigger shame that the media doesn’t call them on their obvious distortions and falsehoods.

  27. SteveSadlov says:

    Greenhouse: It will happen in 1997 ……

    So, in that early portent of alarmism, written during the early 1980s by Dakota James, and, I sadly admit, at the time, lapped up by yours truely, there is prediction of people in California being so overtaken by the transition of the world into one giant torrid zone, that everyone starts to wear underwear as primary clothing. While certain celebs may indeed do this, I can assure you that anyone going outside in only underwear today would get hypothermia. There was snow down to 4000 feet last night. Frost advisory in a number of areas. Earliest onset of climatic winter in my 40 plus year life …….

  28. M. Jeffus says:

    Re: Partisan rant by Demonweed (15:51:48).

    There is a difference between lying and being wrong. You may not be lying. Steve McIntyre of climateaudit.org may be wrong on some issues, as may Anthony Watts of surfacestations.org. However, since their focus is on determining the truth, they are more inclined to admit mistakes than are radical partisans. Although most agnostics, regardless of the religion involved, don’t get a fair hearing, the AGW issue is being subjected to some excellent analyses on these sites and more attention is being paid to their research.

  29. Bob Edelman says:

    Demonweed,

    First of all, let me thank you for saying that my writing is “too coherent” to be the usual claptrap. I assure you that I did not review AIT as part of some devious scheme to mislead. Here is the sequence of events: (1) My sister saw the movie and asked my opinion; (2) I ordered the DVD from NetFlix, viewed it, and wrote my comments which I sent to my sister; (3) I recently sent a copy to my son, Ed, who is in the weather system business; (4) Ed forwarded a copy to Anthony; (5) Anthony asked he could post it; and (6) I agreed and added the note at the beginning explaining the origin of the comments and my name. I am not now nor have I ever been part of any conspiracy to mislead anyone (except when I play Bridge, and even then I’m not good at it).

    I will address your comments from your first post, point by point.
    1. OK. My point was not to question the event but rather Gore’s statement that the teacher reflected the scientific consensus at that time. She didn’t. In any case, this was one of the nit-picks that I hoped would be forgiven.
    2. What is misleading is the statement that heat is “trapped” by the greenhouse gasses. A real greenhouse actually traps warm gasses. The “greenhouse effect” is a process of radiation absorption and re-radiation, the re-radiation occurring at different wavelengths so that much of it escapes the atmosphere.
    3. I don’t know what you point was here. My point was that the greenhouse effect is not synonymous with global warming. You assert that “global warming deniers deny that the greenhouse effect is a real phenomenon”. You may be correct but I have not met any global warming deniers – all the people that I know believe that there has been warming since the little ice age and that it is nice to have a greenhouse effect that cuts down on our heating bills.
    4. No comment.
    5. I will grant that deforestation is not the only cause for desiccation of atmosphere at Kilimanjaro. However, sublimation has been identified as the reason for ice loss, not melting. Global warming has not been identified as a contributor. See this University of Washington press release at http://uwnews.washington.edu/ni/article.asp?articleID=34106 and the article that it links to. This is one of a number of studies that show global warming is not the culprit at Kilimanjaro.
    6. No, but don’t blame the melt off on global warming. Glaciers have been receding since the ice age.
    7. The point is that a causal relationship of CO2 to glacier recession has not been shown. Correlation is not proof. Furthermore, in many cases there is no correlation.
    8. No comment.
    9. Again, the proof that CO2 is causing catastrophic melting doe not exist.
    10. “So what?” So how does global warming cause melting of glaciers in an area that is experiencing cooling?
    11. No comment.
    12. You missed the point. The importance of the “hockey stick” to global warming alarmists is that it did away with the Medieval Warm Period. The MWP didn’t fit the paradigm and the claims that we are experiencing unusual warming during the petroleum age. The problem wasn’t some minor details in the analysis; the problem was that the mathematical techniques used to smooth data were improperly used. I suggest that you read the Wegman Report to Congress, available at http://www.climateaudit.org/pdf/others/07142006_Wegman_Report.pdf.
    13. See comments to (12).
    14. You stopped before addressing this one. This was the most egregious error in the entire movie and was the basis for Gore’s assertion that CO2 drives temperature. Please continue your rebuttal.

  30. Laurence Sheldon says:

    One wonders how much Demon Weed is involved and if Demon Rum is too.

  31. Laurence Sheldon says:

    Bob Edelman: Minor nit pick from somebody generally unqualified to comment at all,,,

    “6. No, but don’t blame the melt off on global warming. Glaciers have been receding since the ice age.”

    Should that not say “_Some_ glaciers have been …”?

    I seem to recall a lecture aboard ship by a Yakatat woman that mentioned Hubbard (am I remembering right?) closing off the exit and threatening her village several times in recent years.

  32. wattsupwiththat says:

    Lawrence Sheldon writes: “I seem to recall a lecture aboard ship by a Yakatat woman that mentioned Hubbard (am I remembering right?) closing off the exit and threatening her village several times in recent years.”

    You remembered correctly, here is a news story on it:

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9904E5D7113CF934A25755C0A9649C8B63

  33. Evan Jones says:

    Eric Baum:

    Yes, the cleanup started before the clean air act. The Auto industry, in an attempt to avoid the legislation, had voluntarily cleaned up c. 70%. THEN they got the CAA anyway, and it was not only 90% (as originally drafted) but 90% ON TOP OF the 70% the industry cleaned up. Or around 97%.

    To make a very long story short, the industry went broke chasing that extra 7%, and the difference was negligible in terms of human health. As to the CAA, doing the right thing is very important, but doing it rationally is essential.

    Same goes for GW. IF it’s a concern and IF it’s manmade, and IF we can do anything about it, I’d just as soon sacrifice (or fail to create) ONLY as much wealth as will actually have beneficial effect–it’s not as if the world’s poor can’t use all the wealth it can get..

  34. Evan Jones says:

    Bob E.

    I finally gave the thing a look. I was at least expecting an entertaining show. I mean, like the thing won an Oscar, right? And, after all, propaganda can have plenty of zing–anyone who’s seen Battleship Potemkin remembers that carriage rolling down the steps.

    But little did I know dreasry, how paralyzingly soporific an impending apocalypse can be. It was so boring I fell asleep within a half-hour.

    I swear if I were in school, I’d prefer regular class to that. If this is how they plan to propagandize the kiddies, I must say they are going to have to do a damnsight better job. It’s, like, yawnville, man, and as such, lousy propaganda.

  35. Stan Needham says:

    Deamonweed wrote: I say hyperpartisan because even George W. Bush does not dispute the fact that industrial carbon emissions are a factor in ongoing global warming.

    That’s hillarious. Now all of a sudden George Bush is smart because he agrees with you? ROFL!!

    Evan, the Danish economist, Bjorn Lomborg, has been a lone voice in the global wilderness in talking about the cost effectiveness of addressing global warming. His arguments are compelling, but he gets very little press, especially in this country. He gave an impressive presentation to Congress last year, immediately following one by Al Gore, IIRC.

  36. Jeff says:

    Bush, as most politicians, is seeing that the global warming nonsense can be used to control people, therefore he agrees that it’s a problem.

    Demonweird, yes we do have a nice little thing called physics, and it tells us that C02 isn’t capable of driving climate in any way. instead of name-calling and making assumptions about political affiliation, why don’t you deal with some facts? Lies occur on both sides.

  37. kill your tv says:

    To like or not like the film is irrelevant. Clearly it achieved its goal: to raise awareness and spark debate over the environment. For this alone Gore deserves an Oscar.

  38. Demonweed says:

    Physics does not dispute the importance of CO2. To the contrary, it establishes that our world is moving through a critical range at the present. I would never accuse this President of being smart, but I would say anyone sticking to some right-wing gun that he himself has abandoned, by definition, falls farther from the center than he does. Perhaps the question of whether or not that is truly “hyperpartisan” depends on whether or not you believe he really has been more of a uniter than a divider.

    It is true that some credible analysts have concluded that an effective carbon control protocol would reduce economic growth. While liars and the fools who trust them are the driving force behind doubt about global warming, belief that green politics are at odds with growth is a speculative question which (as with pretty much any broad complex economic question) does not yield to obvious answers by astute individuals making a good faith effort to get at the truth. Most of the money behind resistance propaganda is a function of fossil fuel industrialists concerned about being displayed by innovative enterprises in the field of energy production. Yet the matter of overall cost is not a concern worthy of dismissal.

    On the other hand, the cost of doing nothing is also not worthy of dismissal. Much of the population of the United States, as with many other nations, resides in coastal cities. Be it building seawalls or redefining “coastal,” very small sea level rises can impose tremendous costs. Then there is the matter of agriculture. America has been dealt a marvelous hand when it comes to regional climates and food production. What sort of patriot would play dice with that in the name of speculative fears about cost, or (much worse) zealous resistant to innovation in the energy industry?

    Here is a simple touchstone on this matter. I do not know when and how, this happened, since I stopped getting a daily dose of conservative talking points around the time the immigration issue created a rift between the actual agenda of the Republican party and the drumbeat of hostility in ordinarily partisan media. Yet I do know at some point “Martian warming” was one of those talking points. Ask yourself, did you take it seriously?

    Relevant records of Martian climate prior to the early 1990s are simply nonexistent. Geological data from Mars is both extremely limited (I doubt all landers and rovers have come withing 1km of 1% of the Martian surface) and orbital surveys could not be conducted until at least one orbiter was in place. The blatantly bogus talking point relied on very limited -regional- observations to come to conclusions on a -global- scale. Yet it was regurgitated in all manner of media.

    If you were happy to hear about Martian warming, it is likely your scientific views are a direct product of your political identity. If you were a skeptic on that one from the beginning, well, that speaks well of your judgment, but it says nothing about the reality of industrial emissions tweaking the composition of our atmosphere in a manner that nudges global temperatures warmer, with consequences that are both literally and figuratively uncool for many huge sectors in the American economy.

  39. wes george says:

    Demonweed is what Eric Fromm identified as a true believer, a simpleton bully so thoroughly indoctrinated as to be dependent upon his faith for his own self-identity and self-esteem, both of which he probably lacked as a child. The fact that he lurks online as a cannabis related avatar speaks volumes about his pre or postmodern grasp on reality.

    No amount of contrary evidence will dislodge his faith, because he is not rational in the sense of the Enlightenment, rather he is tribal. Thus, Edelman’s elegantly rational critique is seen by Demonweed as conspiracy rather than a convincing and honest argument of the facts from a specific point of view.

    The political Left, after having their theories of economics and socio-political organization so thoroughly discredited over the course of the last century, is now clutching the theory of AGW as the last great hope to halt the zeitgeist of global capitalism. Finally, the chance for that long hoped for socialist victory of the proletariat over their capitalist masters is neigh. Never mind that the paradigm of class warfare is so outdated as to be meaningless, nostalgia is a foundation of all extremism, left or right.

    What a great boon for the unreconstructed Left: Hansen, Mann, et al have confirmed the Left’s deepest held beliefs. Capitalism is destroying the planet! The consensus rules! Damn the statistical details, the ends justify the mean. Scientific Method must be modified to meet political objectives since they have a bloody planet to save! Can there be any moral high ground higher than Saving The Planet From Capitalist Destruction? Forget the peer reviews and reproducible results; there is so little time left!

    What we need is a zero-growth economy and we need it now. Of course, such an economy will have to be centrally controlled by a bureaucracy of right-thinking technocrats. And, of course, democracy as we know it today, will have to be curbed since it gives too much freedom to wrong-thinking people who would use their freedom in ways not conducive to Saving The Planet. Ultimately, a strong dictatorship, only for the immediate transition, you see, would be the most efficient way to confront AGW. Someone like a latter day Stalin, Mao or even an Ataturk would do. A Christ to drive the moneychangers from the temple. A Five Year Plan with mandatory targets.

    If the above seems unimaginably goofy, then take a look at the newspapers of 1907 and recall how unimaginably silly the subsequent history of the 20 th century would appear to the pundits of the day.

  40. NortonPete says:

    Well written and presented logically without bias.

  41. Evan Jones says:

    Gosh, I never knew retired Lt. Cdrs. rolled on the floor, SIR!

    As any good liberal should (but usually won’t) tell you, for every billion wasted (or never created), babies starve. Being a bad liberal, I find myself bringing this point up continually.

    Namely, if it’s a problem, we owe it to humanity to solve it as cheaply as we possibly can out of consideration for those who really, really need that which is being sacrificed.

  42. Jerry says:

    Demonweed misses some important points:

    The EPA just came out with an estimate of what it will cost to have only a 23 ppm impact on CO2 by 2100. The cost is trillions. That’s with a “T”. The temperature reduction? They wouldn’t say, but it’s likely only a few hundredths of a degree Celsius.

    China produced more CO2 last year than the US did. But the US sequestered 20-35% of our CO2 into our forests. And China has a growing coal mine fire problem that probably increases their CO2 production by another 5-15%. So China is, in fact, emanating bout twice as much CO2 as the US. On a per capita basis, this means that China is producing about half of the US’s per capita production. But read on –

    Chinese CO2 production increased about 10% annually just in the the last 2 years. At this rate, China CO2 production will double in 7-8 years, thereby equaling US per capita CO2 production. And with additional CO2 increases doubling again in another 7-8 years, and double again, yadda, yadda, China will be the most destructive generator of CO2 in the world on a per capita basis before we even hit 2030. And they have said in no uncertain terms that they will not reign in their economic growth to fight global warming. The US, on the other hand, actually reduced CO2 generation by about 1.3% last year. Add in India, Indonesia and Brazil economic development, and it looks like whatever the US tries to do will be irrelevant in the big picture.

    Sea level rise is a non-issue. Since the last Ice Age the oceans have been rising as the glaciers melted, but at a steady pace (about 1 foot every century) though reputable scientists are currently disputing even that high a rise. Yet people keep moving to the coasts of the world and put themselves at risk, particularly when that risk is sometimes subsidized through preferential government property insurance policies. If the water continues its slow rise, citizens will demand an end to those insurance subsidies and people will either gradually build dikes, absorb damages or move away from the coast.

    For example, look at New Orleans. Even before Katrina, technical journals were noting that N.O. and its levees were subsiding by 1/2 inch per year due to canal pumpouts within the levee system and that the city was becoming progressively more vulnerable to hurricanes. CAT3 Katrina hits, the city floods and people die, evacuate short term or relocate permanently.

    So what were many people still demanding afterwards? Full subsidies so they could rebuild their homes in the N.O. sink hole. But now getting refused. Many former residents have realized that N.O. is a losing proposition on many levels and are never going back. Yet many residents are still moving back to this disaster in progress. They are putting themselves at risk of the more common CAT2 hurricanes as the levees continue to sink. This is why people get hurt – they move to or stay in areas they shouldn’t.

  43. Bill H says:

    MBH99 Figure 3a (aka the hockey stick) starts during the Medieval Warm Period and somewhat does show the Little Ice Age. The linear trend line (the line that actually looks like a hockey stick) shows decreasing temperatures from 1000 to about 1900 AD just about as one would expect. One can argue that MBH99 underestimates the Little Ice Age but not that it wipes out the Little Ice Age.

  44. Stan Needham says:

    Being a bad liberal, I find myself bringing this point up continually.

    I’ll bite, Evan, what is a “bad Liberal”? (I thought all Liberals were bad, heh heh.)

    BTW, in addition to rolling on the floor, I also LMAO. I always have to chuckle when sanctimonious blowhards like Demon Weed invoke Bush to support their arguments. Of course, when they don’t agree, he’s the dumbest guy on the planet.

    I could not agree more with the last sentence of your previous post.

  45. Robert says:

    Dear Mr. Edelman,

    Thanks for your Detailed Comments on An Inconvenient Truth.
    I would enjoy reading any detailed comments you might have on The Great Global Warming Swindle.

  46. Jeff says:

    Evan, Liberals don’t care about babies, unless they’re white middle class babies, apparently. Which is why they so dislike DDT, since it keeps non-white people dying all over the world.

  47. Jeff says:

    The global sea level rise cannot be as consistent as is assumed. I live on an island where many parts would be underwater if sea level had risen 2 feet in the last 200 years, but they’re not. Everything is just fine. So things aren’t as simple mathematics would have us believe.

  48. Laurence Sheldon says:

    “kill your TV” “to raise awareness and spark debate over the environment. For this alone Gore deserves an Oscar”

    The Bhopal Disaster did all of that. Union Carbide didn’t get any awards.

    What’s up with that?

  49. Bob Edelman says:

    Bill H.,
    The misapplication of statistical analysis methods by Mann led to minimizing the Medieval Warm Period so that today’s temperatures appear greater instead of less then those of that period. The Little Ice Age anomalies are also minimized.I again highly recommend a reading of the Wegman report, available at http://www.climateaudit.org/pdf/others/07142006_Wegman_Report.pdf

    The executive summary reports the primary problem:
    “The controversy of Mann’s methods lies in that the proxies are centered on the mean of the period 1902-1995, rather than on the whole time period. This mean is, thus, actually decentered low, which will cause it to exhibit a larger variance, giving it preference for being selected as the first principal component. The net effect of this decentering using the proxy data in MBH98 and MBH99 is to produce a “hockey stick” shape. Centering the mean is a critical factor in using the principal component methodology properly. It is not clear that Mann and associates realized the error in their methodology at the time of publication.”
    Finding number 7 discredits claims that the 1990s were the hottest decade in a millennium:
    “Our committee believes that the assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade in a millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year in a millennium cannot be supported by the MBH98/99 analysis. As mentioned earlier in our background section, tree ring proxies are typically calibrated to remove low frequency variations. The cycle of Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age that was widely recognized in 1990 has disappeared from the MBH98/99 analyses, thus making possible the hottest decade/hottest year claim. However, the methodology of MBH98/99 suppresses this low frequency information. The paucity of data in the more remote past makes the hottest-in-a-millennium claims essentially unverifiable.”
    McIntyre and McKitrick exposed the problems and showed that stationary trendless red noise would exhibit the same hockey stick shape after being processed using the MBH methodology! This was confirmed by Wegman.

  50. M. Jeff says:

    Quantification of Katrina related subsidies:

    Excerpt from Wall Street Journal, Thursday, August 30, 2007, “… The second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina arrived yesterday, with the White House disclosing that U.S. taxpayers have chipped in no less than $127 billion (including $13 billion in tax relief) to rebuild the Gulf region. That’s more than the GDP of most nations. … “

  51. Stan Needham says:

    Jerry,

    Excellent points. China and India are the twin elephants in the room that the alarmists don’t even like to think about, much less talk about.

  52. Demonweed says:

    Edelmen’s critique was as elegantly rational as Luxemburg’s army is overwhelmingly powerful. Good grief — the guy comes up with localized explanations for one glacial retreat after another, and people here seem overjoyed to have almost transparent lies thrown in their face like that! Does being enmeshed in misinformation about global warming really provide -that- much more satisfaction than the pride that comes from thinking for yourselves? Is this bunch really so pliable and gullible as to believe the hundreds of places around the world where glaciers are vanishing should each be written off by focus on one or another localized causes, rather than considering the prospect there may be a global cause behind this global effect?

    Perhaps Jerry gets the prize for greatest foolishness on display in the discussion so far. Except for some German radicals in the late 80s, I don’t think any serious political voices have called for zero growth or much in the way of nationalization to combat greenhouse gas emissions. Anti-growth politics are a false alarm raised again and again by people who want you to be afraid and/or hateful as an alternative to being -thoughtful-. That said, what is so precious about these generously subsidized profiteering oil and coil companies in business today? For all the noise conservatives make about welfare, when it comes to setting an agenda that will spend spend spend on corporate welfare for private entities that are already enormously profitable, contemporary American conservatives seem to always know just who to elect.

    Still, my point about foolishness was simple. Neither Gore nor myself nor anyone else in any way involved with this discussion has advocated crippling growth. To the contrary, moving from filthy approaches to generating energy (as the fossil fuel industry also creates all manner of toxic waste, adds carcinogens to the daily American experience, etc.) to newer cleaner approaches could very well spur economic growth. It may be a legitimate open question, but surely resistance to innovation is not good service to capitalism. Cries of zero growth politics are fearmongering manage to trick so many into staunchly resisting any shift away from today’s most antiquated energy production techniques, full of hidden costs that degrade the quality of American life.

    If you worship at the feet of coal and oil tycoons, I’m sure it seems noble to oppose any sort of environmental protection initiative. If you respect the nation as a whole, rather than only its most selfish and shortsighted plutocrats, there is no excuse for being as unpatriotic as one must be to put those special interests above the general interest of promoting a better quality of life for the young citizens who will inherit our nation.

  53. wattsupwiththat says:

    Demonweed,

    “transparent lies thrown in their face “…. what lies specifically? And please be careful not to do ad hominem in the response.

  54. Bill H says:

    Bob Edelman,

    “because it wiped out the pesky Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and the Little Ice Age “

    is different from:

    ” led to minimizing the Medieval Warm Period so that today’s temperatures appear greater instead of less then those of that period. The Little Ice Age anomalies are also minimized.”

    Perhaps you should rewrite point #12

  55. John Murphy says:

    “Demonweed”, isn’t that “POT”?

    I should have guessed it.

    A “POT” HEAD vrs. Bob Edelman.

    Bob Edelman has been a very “dear friend” of mine for over twenty+ years.

    In your “War of Wits” with him, you will soon find out that you will become “Defenseless” in refutting his “facts”.

    Mark my word!!!

  56. Demonweed says:

    I thought I was specific. Mr. Edelmen gives readers a long list of off-the-cuff explanations as to why this glacier and that glacier and the other one are all melting, and each pinpoints some sort of local phenomenon. It is as if his intent was not merely to obfuscate the role of industrial emissions in global warming, but also to convince readers that there hasn’t actually been any global uptick in temperatures!

    He writes of glaciers as ice age relics that have always been shrinking, when in fact for thousands of years there has been relative balance in the expansion and contraction of these entities. Only in recent decades have normal cycles of melting and thawing given way to an unmistakable trend of rapid thawing that goes beyond loss of relatively fresh ice and into the widespread melting of ancient ice. To suggest the rapid melting trend of recent decades is some sort of inevitable extension of a melting trend from the past falsely asserts that trends during the 18th and 19th centuries were similarly biased toward melting. With an overwhelming majority of contemporary glaciers shrinking at a rate -unprecedented- at any point in human history, clearly something about global climate systems is different from their behavior during the past several thousand years.

    To put it another way, it is as if 90% of the homes in a neighborhood were suddenly afflicted with rats, and one person’s evaluation is to go home by home with lines like, “well, you left that cake on the counter last night, didn’t you?” and “of course you’re going to get rats with the kind of music you play.” Some of his explanations don’t even make sense, and the ones that do are still designed to get readers to miss the point. If you’re inclined to buy those many varied localized explanations, it would seem that inclinations related to politics trump inclinations related to science. The kind of radical coincidence it would take for all these glaciers to melt away as a result of completely independent local influences at precisely the same time is the sort of coincidence no scientific thinker would accept at face value.

    Yet there seem to be very few people here who are at all capable of expressing skepticism when it comes to absurd assertions that so clearly demand a skeptical response. It is nothing more than hostility toward Al Gore that is shaping many of these views on climate. That behavior is stupid. I cannot say if the men who display that behavior are generally stupid. To do so would be an ad hominem. However, to say that swallowing this stuff hook, line, and sinker like that is stupid is to critique -behavior- . . . and decidedly thoughtless irresponsible uncivic-minded behavior at that.

  57. Bob Edelman says:

    Bill H,
    Sorry, I missed your point. I could have been more specific. The methodology minimizes both the MWP and the Little Ice Age to the extent that they are almost indiscernible and turns them into non-events. As I recall, Gore points these out in the movie and makes light of their importance since they appear to be insignificant.

  58. wattsupwiththat says:

    OK Then Demonweed, since you gave no specific example per my last request, how about if I cite one ?

    Regarding Mount Kilimanjaro’s disappearing snow cover, which one is the lie?

    1- caused by sublimation related to reduced precipitation
    2- caused by increased temperature and melting

  59. Bob Edelman says:

    Demonweed,
    There was a rapid retreat of mountain glaciers between 1860 and 1940, probably because of the rapid increase in temperatures after the Little Ice Age. (If you dispute the existence of the Little Ice Age then you must ignore all of the real historical evidence.) After 1940 some glaciers retreated and some advanced. I know of no analysis of actual data that proves that CO2 emissions cause glaciers to recede. Speculation and un-validated models don’t count.

  60. wes george says:

    So now Demonweed has devolved quickly to the last refuge and become a patriot. Citizens who are not true believers in catastrophic AGW are unpatriotic pawns of coal and oil tycoons. Are there any oil or coal tycoons still alive? More of that Leftist nostalgia for the old class warfare days, eh?

    I don’t doubt that Demon thinks the whole lot of us should be round up, made to sign confessions and trucked off to re-education gulags where we are forced to watch AIT over and over again while memorizing Hansen dialectics.

    He claims no one is calling for a zero growth economy; perhaps Demonweed lives in a cave. Any good environmentalist knows since the first Club of Rome’s report on the Limits of Growth that an ever expanding global economy is unsustainable at best and apocalyptic at worse. OK, so the Club, Paul Ehrlich, Dakota Jones and other neo-Malthusian prophets of doom were a bit premature, they are all still heroes today, no matter how wrong, wrong, wrong they were.

    Simply to meet the Kyoto Protocol’s targets for most economies would mean zero growth or bloody well close to it and the Demon weeds of the world know well that Kyoto’s targets are not nearly deep enough to Save The Planet from Total Destruction.

    Who is scare mongering? Al Gore predicts the destruction of all the world’s great costal cities, global plagues of biblical proportions, drought, super-cyclonic weather, mass extinction, Sudan-like temperatures in Europe and even possible ice ages and the end of civilization as we know it.

    The apocalypse is at hand according to Hansen, Mann and Al Gore, yet their proof resembles an evangelical hell and brimstone sermon.

    And those of us who prefer our taxes were spent first on more real science performed transparently and reproducibly before joining the hundred trillion dollar lemming rush to nowhere are unpatriotic pawns. Uh-huh.

  61. Demonweed says:

    First to address wattsupwith that, I never denied that deforestation could be one of the factors involved in Kilimanjaro’s deglaciation. However, it is also known that tropical rain belts shifted away from the area due to unexpected regional warming in the 1980s. Now that more data is available and climate modeling is a less speculative endeavor, hindsight reveals that this phenomenon, also responsible for the well-known Ethiopian famine of that time, was driven by global warming. In theory, most regional climates will be at risk of meaningful changes as circulatory patterns adjust to the increased energy retained by the atmosphere. It seems like that ought to be cause for concern amongst a people blessed with the world’s most productive breadbasket.

    In any case, the migration of tropical rain belts is not at all a theory, and it is a huge part of the problem at Kilimanjaro. Decreased cloud cover means more direct exposure of the peaks to sunlight. Decreased precipitation means less seasonal snowfall to replenish the remaining glaciers. Again, as I was quite clear about in my original comments, I do not dispute that local deforestation may have a role to play in this particular case. However, I’d like to think everyone here was smart enough to understand that some things are caused by more than one factor. wattsupwiththat presents us with a false dichotomy, and it seems hard to believe he really cannot go beyond binary “this or that” thinking on what causes the retreat of those particular glaciers.

    Speaking to the broader matter, I avoided Little Ice Age discussion because that is a pretty unscientific term. There was a real cooling period, or rather a series of them, leading up to and even overlapping the dawn of industrial fossil fuel consumption. However, the term has been used so inconsistently in literature that I felt it best not to handle such a slippery subject. Whatever interpretation of the phrase I should take would be at odds with other documented interpretations, so it is a no win scenario in criticism.

    On the lighter side, I still do have room to work with this, based on the original piece’s text. On the one hand we have this bizarre assertion that glaciers have been on continuous retreat for thousands of years since the last global ice age. On the other hand we have this legitimate observation that glaciers tended to expand during cooling episodes that are much more recent than thousands of years ago. How could it be that ancient ice was always melting rapidly away when at the same time we have a concession that there are times much more recently when it was accmulating? If you just poke at this stuff with the kind of minimal skepticism you should retain even for the words of close friends, it still falls apart under its own contradiction.

    Now, at no point have I stated that CO2 directly causes glaciers to recede. However, it does cause indirect recession by means of promoting warmer temperatures. The Kilimanjaro case is so dramatic because there many factors are in play. I don’t even know for certain that particular region is in line with the global temperature trend (i.e. warming) but I do know about the shift of the seasonal rain to a new pattern and I do not dispute the deforestation point because I would not be surprised if that was also a contributor.

    On the other hand, plenty of vanishing glaciers exist in places where precipitation patterns have not undergone a dramatic shift, and plenty of them exist in places where regional forests remain healthy. Conservatives are right to take pride in American forestry policy as an effective balance between economic needs and nature conservation . . . but this only means that deforestation cannot possibly be to blame for the fact that glaciers all over the Rocky Mountains lost the ice accumulated in recent cooling episodes years ago. Presently they pour off water from ice formed thousands of years ago, as do thousands upon thousands of other glaciers around the world. How many simultaneously balding mountains must be dismissed as the result of some local climate quirk before people will stop falling for the fossil fuel smoke screen and start facing the fact that this is a global phenomenon?

    Now, people desperate to remain faithful to some political orthodoxy may grasp at any straw. It must be the Sun’s fault, right? Look, some scientists quibble about trivial distinctions in their models, so the general consensus must be false, right? Besides which, everybody knows that “general consensus” cannot possibly be anything other than a Vast Left Wing Conspiracy. After all, I just saw last night how somebody wrote a book that it was a con on the American public . . . and if its in a book then it must be true.

    It is not as if there is no merit to any element of American conservative thinking. The problem is this bizarre love of inflexibility — an inability to concede error no matter how powerfully reality presents evidence at odds with a belief near and dear to the hearts of many. The movement and the nation would do well to pick battles based on what actually make sense and is good for the nation. Sticking to every gun, all the time, no matter how absurd, is just the opposite of good public service. Global warming denial has been a cottage industry for quite a while now. In the beginning it made a little sense, since much of the alarmism of the 70s and 80s was unsupported speculation. Now that support is present, and its chief obstacle is the peculiar blind spot that enables people to look at Gore’s slightly flawed treatment of the subject with great disdain while upholding this enormously flawed treatment of the subject as if it were sacrosanct scripture.

    So I don’t actually fail to address the point, here is what I’m sure Mr. Edelman already knew I would say before asking. CO2 contributes to the greenhouse effect. The perpetual volcano of fossil fuel industries, producing emissions 24/7 around the world, has increased the presence of that gas by -at least- 25%. (I’ve heard numbers from 25%-50% over the years. The best estimate I have on hand is a 38% increase.) While that may be only a tiny nudge in terms of the overall greenhouse effect, it is also a critical nudge that unbalances formerly stable systems and promotes an overall warming trend. That warming trend, which is particularly manifest at extreme altitudes and latitudes, is causing glaciers to shrink at unnaturally rapid rates. Ignoring the canary in the coal mine doesn’t make anybody any safer, though I suppose if that willful denial persists it could delay the inevitable progress of humanity from old methods of generating energy to new methods of generating energy. This is good precisely how?

  62. Demonweed says:

    As an aside to Wes George . . . who’s doing the fearmongering here? If you don’t think growth reduction is a sensible response to global warming, then advocate something that you do think is a sensible response. Clinging to a particular position on -scientific- issues because you have a particular -political- agenda is not at all constructive behavior. There are many ways to cope with these issues, and I favor innovation and progress over austerity and simply doing less of the same thing. Even if any American environmentalists actually were calling for an anti-growth strategy, those words alone would do nothing at all to change the realities of Earth’s atmosphere. What possible reason could anyone have for making this a debate about economic growth but that he or she wanted to stoke negative emotions as an alternative to focus on the facts?

  63. Jeff says:

    He writes of glaciers as ice age relics that have always been shrinking, when in fact for thousands of years there has been relative balance in the expansion and contraction of these entities. Only in recent decades have normal cycles of melting and thawing given way to an unmistakable trend of rapid thawing that goes beyond loss of relatively fresh ice and into the widespread melting of ancient ice. To suggest the rapid melting trend of recent decades is some sort of inevitable extension of a melting trend from the past falsely asserts that trends during the 18th and 19th centuries were similarly biased toward melting.

    Where’s the proof for this “balance”? Seattle isn’t under a mile-thick glacier any more. I hate to be the bringer of bad news, but yes, glaciers have been retreating since the last ice age, else we wouldn’t be here discussing it.

  64. Jeff says:

    Here’s a fact for you. Human activity accounts for less than 3% of the annual CO2 entering the atmosphere. How would CO2 increase or decrease be affected if we stopped ALL human activity right now? That means taking your precious computer away so you can’t bitch at people who don’t believe everything they hear without significant proof. That DOES mean reducing humanity to hunter gatherers, whereby billions will die of starvation.

    I’m all for alternate fuels and energy sources, but biofuels aren’t the answer. Taking space for growing food to produce fuel just isn’t smart, as we’re seeing all over the place right now. Unless there is proof that fossil fuels are destroying the planet, and there isn’t any proof, then we stick with it until a viable, safe alternative is developed. There’s no emergency. There ARE however other real problems which need to be dealt with, such as global disease (none of which is being exacerbated by the “global warming” chimera), famine, and poverty, all of which are best fought by development, not regression.

  65. Demonweed says:

    Ummm, showing that glaciers have retreated since the last full blown ice age is hardly the same thing as showing that they have been in a state of continuous retreat ever since. There is little evidence of a general trend either way when comparing glaciers from 1900 to best estimates of their footprints from 900. The fact that a global glacial period ended is all the Seattle argument establishes. It tells us nothing at all about the intervening period, whereas the best available evidence at glacial sites suggests relative stability. At the very least, it is pretty obvious the incredibly rapid worldwide meltoff of recent decades is without precedent since the prehistoric meltoff that liberated temperate zones from their last full blown coverage by supersized polar caps. (Actually, I should hedge that, since glaciologists often speak of 3000 year old ice melting off. By inference I gather a few thousand years ago there may have been something similar to what is going on presently. Then again, perhaps they are just being conservative in their estimates to insulate themselves from the inevitable accusations of false alarmism.)

    It is true that natural processes are constantly adding and removing atmospheric carbon. I’m not sure human endeavors are quite as minimal as Jeff suggests, but even +3% would add up fairly quickly. Imagine a bucket with a pinhole at one end and a slow stream of water pouring in from the other side. If input and output are balanced, the level remains constant indefinitely. Yet just a slight increase in input would eventually cause the bucket to overflow unless it were countered by at least as much an increase in output. What the fossil fuel industry adds to the carbon equation may not be much different from a few major volcanic events occurring each year, but it is a human addition with no counterpart in human subtraction. Even a 35:34 ratio, day after day, year after year, adds up to quite an accumulation. It is also a fact that CO2 is significantly more abundant in the air today than it has been at any other time since long before our ancestors walked on two legs. Is it really so hard to believe that burning billions of tons of sequestered carbon material is the cause?

    In fairness, those intent on reducing emissions have no perfect solutions. Some technologies are progressing more quickly than others, but the best of what we have on hand forces the choice between nuclear (which is problematic in other ways) or energy conservation (which is not the same as cutting back on growth, and in fact promotes economic efficiency, but does not appear to be sufficient unto itself.) Still, it seems like pure folly to shrug and wait for most of the worlds greatest cities to start struggling to hold back the oceans before showing some initiative here.

    That there may yet be time to minimize the impact is a silly reason to take no action at all. This is especially true when history gives (or perhaps gave and has since retracted) opportunities for America to display global leadership while promoting emissions control in places like China, India, and Russia. We forfeited a potential competitive advantage on the world stage simply to serve the interests of OPEC nations. Is the enrichment of Venezuelan and Saudi people really that much more important then encouraging clean energy in places where industrial growth is in the midst of dramatic boom times?

    Also, I wanted to offer up an apology to Mr. Edelman. I reviewed my original comments, which were composed while in the midst of a major headache. That is no excuse, but I hope it offers a wee bit of mitigation. I got into blogging with the hope of reducing the role negative emotions play in distorting political judgment. I stand by my judgments on points of fact, but certainly not quips that were much less funny than mean. For those I am truly sorry.

  66. Bob Edelman says:

    Demonweed,
    You are concerned that we are approaching some “critical nudge” from CO2 that will unbalance stable systems and lead to catastrophe. You blame this impending doom on all the CO2 that mankind is returning to the atmosphere. Please review item 15 and explain why the earth experienced an ice age in the late Ordovician period when the CO2 concentration was 12 times higher than now. Or, if that was before your time, how about the Jurassic period when CO2 concentration was 5 times higher?

    By the way, I’m still waiting for you to explain why ice core data show that changes in atmospheric CO2 lag temperature changes by about 800 years (item 14).

  67. Vixt says:

    I stumbled across this site from another blog that linked to it and I read the review.

    I think Mr. Edelman did a good job of sticking to facts without getting sidetracked.

    I think Demonweed suffers from the same thing that drives many of his type, supreme arrogance.

    If you click on his link with his name, it takes you to his own blog web page.
    http://demonweed.wordpress.com/ and it is titled: “What You Should Think”.

    No kidding.

    Like so many liberals, I think he believes he has the moral and intellectual high ground like some sort of constitutional right, and he must tell us all “what to think” to save us from ourselves. That’s why he calls other commenters “sheep”.

    So as Ross Perot used to say, “now, here’s the deal…”

    You don’t have a moral or intellectual high ground, these guys are running circles around you but you can’t see it. You don’t even answer direct questions but deflect with rhetoric.

    The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is claimed to be the forcing agent behind a 1 degree F rise in the last century, yet people keep finding all sorts of problems with that 1 degree number. Many alternate explanations have been offered for forcing of climate, but the warmers insist it can’t possibly be anything but CO2. Now who’s got a “bizarre love of inflexibility”?

    There’s a claim of 3 degrees centigrade of temperature rise for a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere, yet there doesn’t seem to be a first principles research that proves this. It seems to come from a claim that James Hansen made in a paper back in the 1980’s, but where is the proof?

    The people pushing the CO2 agenda, like Hansen and Gore, have a dog in the fight, monetarily, via continued grants, and politically, through social engineering. Hansen stopped being a physical scientist long ago, he’s mostly a political scientist now. And you trust them and the conclusions they reach?

    The earth has been both warmer and colder before, we and other species survived just fine. We will again.

    Humans have no control over earths processes, the solar system processes, or the processes of time and space we reside in. Our puny ability to make changes in the total energy balance of the earth is but a tiny fraction of the net energy balance.

    If the atmospheric gas volume is equated to the height of the Empire State Building, the 380 parts per million that is CO2 would be about the height of the linoleum on the first floor.

    You are a victim of political science, reality bites buddy.

    But I’m sure you’ll tell us all “what to think” now, since by your own blog definition and comments here, we aren’t capable of thinking for ourselves.

    Such arrogance.

  68. M. Jeff says:

    Demonweed

    Before declaring that all truth is known and that there is no longer a need for scientific research, perhaps consideration should be given to the idea that there are still a few areas where there is some uncertainty.

    Any chance that the following widely reported and discussed research could possibly lead to other research which will in the future dramatically correct some of the deficiencies of climate models? Any chance that the actual AGW will be eventually shown to be a fraction of the current projections?
    ____________________________________________
    GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 34, L15707, doi:10.1029/2007GL029698, 2007
    Cloud and radiation budget changes associated with tropical intraseasonal oscillations
    Roy W. Spencer – Earth System Science Center, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, Alabama, USA

    William D. Braswell – Earth System Science Center, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, Alabama, USA

    John R. Christy – Earth System Science Center, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, Alabama, USA

    Justin Hnilo – Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California, USA

    Abstract
    We explore the daily evolution of tropical intraseasonal oscillations in satellite-observed tropospheric temperature, precipitation, radiative fluxes, and cloud properties. The warm/rainy phase of a composited average of fifteen oscillations is accompanied by a net reduction in radiative input into the ocean-atmosphere system, with longwave heating anomalies transitioning to longwave cooling during the rainy phase. The increase in longwave cooling is traced to decreasing coverage by ice clouds, potentially supporting Lindzen’s “infrared iris” hypothesis of climate stabilization. These observations should be considered in the testing of cloud parameterizations in climate models, which remain sources of substantial uncertainty in global warming prediction.

    Received 15 February 2007; accepted 16 July 2007; published 9 August 2007.

  69. wattsupwiththat says:

    M. Jeff,

    Do you have a link to that paper?

  70. Robert says:

    Re: Do you have a link to that paper?

    Google told me this:
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2007/2007GL029698.shtml

  71. Demonweed says:

    Wow, I’ve seen people fall back on law of the jungle thinking before, but never quite so literally. Yes, humanity probably would survive all sorts of radical shifts. Hit us with an impact event that leaves the skies dark as night for years, and remnants of our kind may shelter in deep bunkers to emerge and rebuild when nature permits. Does that mean we should shrug and do nothing if we see an enormous rock headed this way?

    No credible forecasts related to global warming involve a scenario that “destroys the world” or even exterminates humanity. However, our economic endeavors rest on a much more precarious position than our mere survival. Agriculture, an unavoidable economic necessity and one of America’s strong suits, is extremely vulnerable to even slight variation in climate. Some populations in Europe and Asia are at particular risk of losing access to drinking water without the natural buffer glacial reserves provide. It is wrong to characterize this as a doomsday issue, but then again only conservatives intent on attacking that straw man actually do indulge in that characterization. People intent on honest discussion recognize the peril as largely economic, but extremely large in its potential to inflict economic losses.

    While I appreciate that this is not the first warming episode in the history of the world and that cooling periods have occured at times of greater CO2, I do not appreciate the bait and switch here. Long before humanity evolved (or is it taboo to suggest we aren’t descended from some guy sculpted out of clay less than 10,000 years ago?) biological activity had yet to produce anything like the atmospheric chemistry of the present. The fact that there were ice ages throughout natural history does not negate the fact that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere enhances the intensity of the greenhouse effect. Be it vulcanism or impact events or any number of other causes, that higher levels of CO2 didn’t prevent those ice ages is irrelevant. Heck, it is still just speculation as to whether or not any degree of global warming could avert the next ice age.

    Why then is there such interest in these prehistoric events? Why would the ice age phenomenon be offered up as “proof” against beliefs related to anthropogenic global warming? I can only infer from it all that Mr. Edelman is hopeful that people will take a simple-minded approach that delves no deeper than “hot and cold are opposites.” Understanding why ice ages occur, getting informed about the complexities of global climate, radiant energy, atmospheric chemistry, etc. — all that is apparently off the table. Instead it is all dumbed down to “it was cold when CO2 was everywhere, so it can’t possibly be that CO2 could warmth.” The truth is that the influence of CO2 on temperature is not in the same order of magnitude as forces that drive the ice caps to engulf temperate latitudes. If you understand that, then you ought to also understand what a bogus and misleading line of inquiry this is.

    Now, I will grant that there is no perfect knowledge of climate systems even today. However, the intuitive hunches of decades past now yield to views based on credible research. We do not know everything there is to know about gravity or light or magnetism, but does that mean you should doubt me if I tell you not to jump off a bridge? Apparently you should if someone who panders to your political prejudices manages to argue that the jump is a good idea. I have yet to use the term “sheep” in the context Vixt implies. Yet how else might one characterize behavior like that? (Especially with that tired old saw about how humanity is too puny to make a difference. Never mind the CO2 metaphor that is entirely in agreement with the factual case that supports a finding of industrial emissions being a significant cause behind the effect of global warming. If he believes that a gas must be more than a small part of the atmosphere to alter its behavior, imagine the mindblowing experience it would be to educate him about ozone chemistry and physics.)

  72. Jay says:

    Demonweed spoke of a 35:34 ratio when describing the “tipping point”. That would be true if that was how much CO2 we were contributing, but I thought our contribution was 0.012% of the total atmosphere and only 0.9% of all greenhouse gases. Seems like if greenhouse gases were causing the dramatic 1 degree raise in temperature then we should be looking at the other 99.1% of the problem. I personally cannot take much of what Hansen says seriously. He was part of the “Global Cooling” warning in the 70’s. Just this past summer there were a few bad tornados. What did Hansen do? He created a new computer model to say that global warming was causing them. Seems like he foregoes hard research and only relys on his precious models. Do we honestly believe that we have the technology to accurately predict ever factor that drives our climate?

  73. Bob Edelman says:

    Demonweed,
    Good. We’re making progress. You have agreed that CO2 is not necessarily the driving force for climate change.

  74. paminator says:

    Bob:

    Thanks for the review of AIT, and thanks to Anthony for posting it. I do not understand Demonweed’s ranting defense of AIT, as much of its scientific accuracy was dismissed long ago. I consider it about as accurate as the science used in The Day After Tomorrow”, but AIT is a snoreville by comparison.

    My brother’s reaction to the movie (he is a professional classical musician) was that he almost fell asleep, and came away out of the theatre with an urge to go out and buy Apple products.

    Also, I am glad to see that Demonweed, by default, enthusiastically supports rapid deployment of nuclear power throughout the world. As greenergists should be aware, solar and wind are not base-load dispatchable generation, and require between 60% – 80% of their generation capacity to be backed up by ADDITIONAL generation from reliable sources. If coal, oil, gas are off-limits, that leaves nuclear.

  75. BarryW says:

    wes george (02:25:10) :

    I think you got the wrong Eric: It was Eric Hoffer who wrote the True Believer which is the best description of someone like Gore or Demoweed I’ve ever read.

  76. Jim Clarke says:

    Demonweed,

    You seem to be focusing on the fact that Bob Edelman only refered to a few glaciers and did not give the status of all glaciers (which information, to date, does not exist). But he was actually addressing the cherry-picked examples used by Al Gore. Now Al Gore implied that these shrinking glaciers were specifically the result of human induced global warming, an assertion that has been clearly shown to be false. If you are that upset by liars, where are your ad hominems for Gore?

    It was pretty clear to me that Mr. Edelman was refering to the overall retreat of the glaciers since the last ice age, and was not suggesting that this was a perfectly linear trend, as you imply. Also, where do you get your information that the glaciers were stable for most of the Holocene? The fact that slowly receding glaciers in Iceland and Greenland are revealing human settlements from 1,000 years ago certainly suggests that your statements are false. Are you misinformed or are you one of the liars you claim to despise?

    No one here denies, all things being equal, that increasing CO2 would tend to increase global atmospheric temperatures. The science puts this increase around 1 degree C for a doubling of CO2. Calling anyone here a global warming denier is not only inaccurate, but demonstrates the weakness of your arguments by resorting to name calling.

    Several of your arguments seem to grow from some sort of an Eden myth, or belief that the climate was stable and unchanging before humans started to meddle, and that any observed changes today must be due to humans. All physical evidence indicates that the climate is and always has gone through constant cycles and that the current warm cycle is similar to many of the previous (Holocene) warm periods, and cooler than some. The tropical convergence zones also shift at times. Ethiopia has had a long history of droughts and floods.

    As to the oil companies…they are not a volcano pumping CO2 in the atmosphere. They produce products which we consumers use to better our lives. In the process of bettering our lives, we (you and I) release the CO2 into the atmosphere. If you think this is criminal, stop using their products. No one is forcing you. Also, do you have any evidence that anyone commenting here has been funded by the oil industry or worships big oil? No, of course not. This is just another empty ad hominem, further revealing the weakness of your arguments.

    Finally, a little economics…If alternative energy is more costly to produce and use than fossil fuels, forcing the use of such alternative fuels will hurt the economy and all of us partaking in it. Siting just a few industries that will benefit from such regulation and claiming that it will be good for the economy is the same as siting a few expanding glaciers and saying that they are all expanding. If Bob Edelman made such a claim, your indigation would be legitimate. Since it is you making the bogus arguments, perhaps you should take a few minutes and make derogatory comments to the mirror.

  77. Demonweed says:

    I never contended CO2 was the only force that shapes climates around the world. However, I do continue to believe that it is the driving force behind a warming trend ongoing at present. In fact, if we really want to get technical about it, there are two opposing forces produced by human industry. “Global dimming” is a worldwide decrease in direct sunlight reaching the Earth’s surface. Fine particulate matter emitted by industry directly obscures light and increases the longevity of rainclouds. Thus, if some genius came up with a perfectly safe clean way to make as much energy as industry could possibly require without any unwanted byproducts at all, the end result could be a brief surge in global warming as particulate pollution quickly falls from the sky and atmospheric CO2 remains at present levels.

    I never brought up global dimming because it introduces another level of complexity to a discussion where so many people seem intent on reducing the entire matter to a single simple cause and effect relationship. Reality is not that simple. Yet reality does feature a slight global rise in temperatures, a remarkable and abrupt global rise in atmospheric carbon, and a tendency for modern air with its higher levels of CO2 to retain a little more warmth than pre-industrial air with its lower levels of CO2. There are other factors at work to be sure, but so what? Unless we have comparably solid evidence that an major natural upheaval is pending and could be addressed by deliberately continuing to raise atmospheric greenhouse gas levels, the prosperity of our nation and our world is being put at risk in the name of political inaction. What about doing nothing is so wonderful that it justifies surrendering countless beaches, countless harvests, and most of the worlds great urban centers to a potentially preventable change?

  78. Stan Needham says:

    When I was a youngster, (well over a half century ago), one of the most valuable things my mother taught me was, “if you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all.” With that lesson in mind, I’d like to offer up a compliment to Demon Weed: he’s one helluva typist.

  79. Ed Edelman says:

    I am Bob Edelman’s son, and I will attest to the fact that my father’s review was originally intended solely for his sister and not public consumption, and I was surprised by some of the ad hominem arguments.

    Demonweed, you may be surprised to know that my father drives a Toyota Prius, installed environmentally friendly fluorescent lighting throughout his home, and is a conservationist and protector of his local environment.

    Unscientifically documented scare tactics that drive specific behaviors are dangerous to society. The banning of DDT has resulted in untold malaria deaths in Africa, and it is possible that a worldwide restriction of fossil fuels may prevent poverty stricken countries from developing self sustaining economies.

    Everyone I know wants a cleaner environment. However, we must be very cautious when politics drives scientific consensus, and not the other way around.

  80. M. Jeff says:

    Re: wattsupwiththat (19:47:04)
    The link that I used was as reported by Robert (20:01:21).

    Various sources have referred to the paper. Steven Milloy’s evaluation of the reference, Friday, August 31, 2007, http://www.junkscience.com/ByTheJunkman/20070831.html
    seems to impartially sum up its potential significance. In his evaluation Milloy says, “No doubt the iris effect will require more research to confirm its existence.”

    Excerpt from Milloy’s evaluation follows:
    ____________________________________________
    … Analyzing six years of data from four instruments aboard three NASA and NOAA satellites, the UAH researchers tracked precipitation amounts, air and sea surface temperatures, high- and low-altitude cloud cover, reflected sunlight and infrared energy escaping out to space.

    Rather than the hypothesized positive feedback of the climate models, the UAH data actually shows a strong negative feedback. As the tropical atmosphere warms, cirrus clouds decrease, allowing infrared heat to escape from the atmosphere to outer space.

    “To give an idea of how strong this enhanced cooling mechanism is, if it was operating on global warming, it would reduce [climate model-based] estimates of future warming by 75 percent,” said UAH researcher Roy Spencer in a media release.

    “The role of clouds in global warming is widely agreed to be pretty uncertain,” Spencer said. “Right now, all climate models predict that clouds will amplify warming. I’m betting that if the climate models’ ‘clouds’ were made to behave the way we see these clouds behave in nature, it would substantially reduce the amount of climate change the models predict for the coming decades.” …

  81. John Murphy says:

    Ed Edelman

    I have not had the opportunity to meet you yet, however, as I stated on this site early, I am a “very” good friend of your dad and I confirm everthing you have stated here.

  82. Bob Edelman says:

    M. Jeff and wattsupwiththat,

    In discussing his research on precipitation systems and the lack of negative feedback modeling in GCMs, Roy Spencer recalled the Joni Mitchel lament

    “I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
    From up and down, and still somehow
    Its cloud’s illusions I recall
    I really don’t know clouds at all”

    There is a short discussion as part of his excellent Global Warming primer at http://www.weatherquestions.com/Roy-Spencer-on-global-warming.htm

  83. wes george says:

    Thank you BarryW, it was Eric Hoffer, not Fromm who wrote The True Believer as valid today, when attempting to grasp the pyschology behind the attraction that mass movements often based on little or no evidence hold for certain personalities, as it was in the 1950’s. I recommend the book to those wishing to probe the sociopolitical dimension of the AGW debate, as Hoffer’s insights are particularly relevant.

    I watched AIT again with Mr. Edelman’s critique at hand. AIT is quite self-consciously designed to frighten the lay public with revelations of an impending global apocalypse unless the global economy is forced to change. Force will be necessary, as Gore points out, recalcitrant corporations are already conspiring against his crusade. AIT won an Oscar not for its production values but for its propaganda punch.

    Gore, in a folksy used car salesman style, spent at least a quarter of the film musing about himself, implying trust me folks–I’m just your honest, average (millionaire) shoulda-been-president sorta guy who just happens to be on a globe trotting crusade to save the planet with all this secret information I have gathered. What facts Honest Al did have were used selectively to make emotional impacts on frighten children, rather than to illustrate the actual state of understanding on AGW.

    If Al Gore had made an honestly rational film about what we do and don’t know about AGW, what the risks of inaction are versus the risks for precipitous action that might waste resources, then we wouldn’t be here today. He wouldn’t have won an Oscar and he probably wouldn’t have even found a distributor.

    Instead he made an ideological film based on the most extreme AGW positions available. Why? I believe it is about wielding insinuation, fear and blame in a political smear game. The subtext of the film is that global capitalism and consumerism are to blame. And, of course, Al might really believe that he needs to save the planet by any means necessary. What higher calling could there be than to thwart the imminent destruction of the biosphere? Might as well take out your political foes while your at it.

    Al Gore has attempted to create the basis for an enduring new mythology, which he hopes will skew the political balance of power in the US towards his side for a generation or more. People like Demonweed are eager acolytes in this new secular religion. He believes we need a revolution rather than more facts that might muddy the clarity of the vision, distracting from the high moral crusade.

    The one fact that everyone seems to agree upon is that the Earth’s surface temperatures have risen by some unknown amount in the last circa 40 years. That one side of politics is attempting to blame the increase on the other side speaks volumes about how thin the line between scientific fact and propaganda has now become.

    The blindingly obvious solution is to require our government research agencies, NASA, NOAA, GISS and others, by new federal legislation if necessary, to get serious about doing transparent, reproducible science and stop obscuring their methods, biases and fudges from independent researchers.

    That’s the real urgency that wild claims of a 20-foot ocean level rise demand. If GW is possibly that bloody catastrophic then the above mentioned complacent agencies need to be shaken up from the top down. The revolution we need is a return to good old fashion enforced scientific method sans the high moral pronouncements and obscurantism from tax-payer funded technocrats and researchers.

    Let the real peer-reviewed, independently verified facts and analysis fall where they will, transparently and reproducibly, that is all we can ask for. Kind of like a John Lenon song, hold up your Bic lighters–all we are asking is to give scientific method a chance!

    Meanwhile, Hansen, Mann, Gore, et al have convinced a section of society that the End is Nigh in what might well be the greatest fear campaign ever and the first that is truly global in scale. Nothing in history really compares to the AGW apocalypse scenario. Not even the fear of nuclear annihilation during the Cold War compares, because that fear was quite demonstrably real!

    An Inconvenient Truth is a gorgeous technocolor myth with all the elements–battles between good and evil, monsters,plagues, cures, a prophet and crystal balls, while thin on facts. Myth is the foundation of dogma. With the AGW apocalypse myth now firmly in place, encourage the media to cite it over and over again, refining the language, until it becomes a creed in the lay public’s mind. Eventually even global cooling will be an unwelcomed side effect of AGW.

  84. Jeff says:

    (or is it taboo to suggest we aren’t descended from some guy sculpted out of clay less than 10,000 years ago?)

    There go the assumptions again, bringing religion into a scientific “debate”. You are just wrong, wrong, wrong. How about leaving politics and religion out of this? Or is that something you’re not capable of?

  85. Jeff says:

    We do not know everything there is to know about gravity or light or magnetism, but does that mean you should doubt me if I tell you not to jump off a bridge? Apparently you should if someone who panders to your political prejudices manages to argue that the jump is a good idea.

    Which is exactly what you want us to do, jump before we have even a moderate understanding of what we’re doing. And you bring politics in yet again, interesting. Keep pushing that agenda, dude, hope it works out for you.

    Actually we know virtually nothing about gravity, only that it exists.

    So when are you going to start practicing what you’re preaching and stop using all fossil-fuel-related products? The clock is ticking….

  86. Stan Needham says:

    As can be seen from my previous comments, I tend to get rather glib with “True Believers” like Demon Weed. One of the main components of their arguments, as he alluded to a few posts back, is that this is basically a Left/Right issue, and that Conservatives are satisfied with the status quo and just don’t want to rock the boat, regardless of the future consequences. He alludes to the fact that we are all against alternative energy research, which, at least in my case, could not be farther from the truth.

    So, I’m curious. Are there any other GW/climate change skeptics here who don’t think we, as a civiliazation should be constantly exploring and seeking out new, better and cleaner forms of, preferably, renewable energy?

  87. NortonPete says:

    We may not know everything about gravity but we can measure it and acurately predict its behavior. We can do experiments that can be repeated by others with the same outcome.
    Look at climate models or better yet how about simple weather forecasts out 5 days. Try getting repeatable results.

  88. wattsupwiththat says:

    Stan wrote: “Are there any other GW/climate change skeptics here who don’t think we, as a civiliazation should be constantly exploring and seeking out new, better and cleaner forms of, preferably, renewable energy?”

    I not only agree with it, but I’ve put my money where my mouth is, putting a 10KW solar array on my own home and a 125 KW solar array on a local school as part of my position as trustee with our local school district.

    I think most everyone wants cleaner, better, energy methods, and will adopt its use given the chance. What many people don’t want are artificial limits and caps and taxes and penalties. Let the free market drive change. Trying to mandate social change never works well, just look at prohibition. I think the AGW’s miss the fact that there are probably a lot of people that will embrace the clean energy message, given choices, but will wholeheartedly reject mandates.

    Gore’ carbon credit schemes won’t work, except for the very gullible.

  89. Evan Jones says:

    Sr. Weed,

    Yes, you have put a cat among the pigeons. But please consider that both sides of the debate have a basic fondness the planet. Even conservatives are said to favor the place if for no other reason that it’s where they keep their stuff.

    Also consider that many of the posters here actually know a fair bit about the little-known subject, and are not corporate shills, either. Not even I am going to be swayed one way or another by what dubya thinks this week; he’s no more of an expert than I am.

    Besides, “corporate shills” have been making valuable scientific discoveries ever since there have been corporations. Heck, you think it’s wrong for scientists to be partisan? I don’t think they can help it. And I think it perfectly natural. Why, I think it’s part of what drives their processes and parameters. And that’s where scientific method comes in.

    It is up to the scientific process (the key being full disclosure of data and method) to filter out the partisanship on either side.

  90. Jay says:

    Isn’t science supposed to be about scrutiny? Why would every scientist just lay down and say the theory of AGW is real? Einstiens laws of physics were settled until quantum physics challenged him. When the strongest voices for AGW are hypocrites like Al Gore and Laurie David, you should question who you are following. Then when the debate starts to sway away from your beliefs, then I hear the “even Bush” believes in it. Well that settles it. For years now, EVERYTHING Bush has done has been shouted down as wrong, but now, just now, he is right. Please.

  91. Ed Edelman says:

    Stan wrote: “Are there any other GW/climate change skeptics here who don’t think we, as a civiliazation should be constantly exploring and seeking out new, better and cleaner forms of, preferably, renewable energy?”

    I used to work for Capstone Turbine Corporation (www.microturbine.com) as a Systems Engineer. The microtubine efficiently burns waste gas that is usually flared into productive electricity to supplement or run independently of the power grid. In addition, the clean burning exhaust can be “recycled” (co-generation) to increase efficiency to as high as 90%. The microturbine uses no coolent fluids and oil (air bearings protect moving parts).

    I am a strong believer that the private market (not government regulation) will drive new efficient and clean technologies.

    Some excellent points have been made here – increasing solar and wind energy production still require base loading (the wind stops blowing and the sun goes down), and the most efficient base loads are hydroelectric and nuclear (both of which have been distained by some environmentalists). Most power plants built today use natural gas or coal because of this.

  92. CO2Breath says:

    “I not only agree with it, but I’ve put my money where my mouth is”

    My personal belief is that the US is better off not importing oil and oil based products, so ~ 2yr ago I took steps to reduce my personal vehicle transportation fuel useage by 75%.

    As far as I can tell, the AGW alarmists (led by the wanton CO2 producer AlGore with his 10x utility bills and private jet use) want the gov’t to do something to make “everybody” reduce so they can continue without any real sacrifice on their part. I’d suggest that if they believe that things are at a crisis point to “save” the Earth that they quit exhaling CO2 at all to show the rest of us the way. If half the population follows, problem solved! (though there’ll likely be others arising). I’ve yet to see much of any personal action on the part of any alarmist sheep I know (The Wabbet doesn’t want to discuss this at all I’d note).

  93. captdallas2 says:

    Excellent review! BTW, the new site looks great!

  94. Jim Clarke says:

    Wes George,

    Had I read your words 17 years ago, I would have thought that you were way out there, but I have come to much the same conclusions over the years. Ten years ago, I read an essay by a history professor whose name I can no longer recall. The essay outlined the 5 steps that all of the despots of the 20th century used to gain their ruthless power.

    1. Adopt a noble cause
    2. Exaggerate the threat to the noble cause
    3. Demonize your opponents as being against the cause
    4. Claim to have the only solution to the crisis
    5. Require the people to sacrifice money, freedom or both to save the noble cause

    Does this sound familiar? While this process is dishonest in the extreme, it can be very effective. Hey, if it worked for Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot, why not modern environmentalism?

    The ironic thing about using this method is that it almost always ends up severly damaging the noble cause. For Hitler, the noble cause was saving the Father Land. He nearly destroyed it. For Communists, the noble cause was the elimination of poverty. They made poverty nearly universal. For Pol Pot, the noble cause was ending corruption. What can be more corrupt than murdering millions of your countrymen.

    The defense of a noble cause must be made honestly and openly. If decisions are made on false or exaggerated claims, the result will likely do more harm than good to the cause.

    History is repeating itself with the AGW crisis scare, only this is the first time the 5-step method has been tried on a global scale. Will we have the wisdom this time around to prevent the misery, or will we continue to abandon rationality in favor of emotion and manipulation.

    Many in society, including our political leaders, are already drinking the kool-aid.

  95. BarryW says:

    Re Jim Clark (16:50:25) :

    Let us not forget the Inquistion and the French Revolution’s Terror both which were the product of noble goals and degenerated into blood. When faith in a cause becomes so all consuming that no facts can change your beliefs then anything is possible. We’ve only seen the tip of the ecofascist movement and the ecoterrorism that we’ve experienced so far is nothing compared to what is to come.

  96. Jim Clarke says:

    BarryW,

    I hope you are wrong on your prediction. We live in an age where global communication allows these movements to become global. But the communication revolution also makes it impossible to suppress desenting voices and much more difficult to ‘get away with murder’.

    Back in the ‘pre-Internet’ days, I thought I was the only one who had a problem with the dire predictions being made about the AGW faithful. Then came the Oregon Petition, Still waiting for Greenhouse, and the many blogs presenting peer reviewed science that contradicted the ‘consensus view’. When I read Mann’s orginal paper on the Hockey Stick, I had a good idea that the methodology was not legitimate, but did not have the statistical background to prove it. Along comes M&M and the Climate Audit website gradually revealing the whole tawdry affair.

    Now, through the online efforts of people like the Pielke’s, Mr. Watts, Joe D’Aleo over at Icecap and many others, we get both sides of the story and can judge what is truly happening. As much as the AGW folks would like to shut these people up, they can’t, and their constant demonizing is starting to backfire.

    In the end, global cooling should put an end to this particular episode of silliness, but the good works of private, knowledgable citizens may go a long way at preventing much of the harm that is being proposed.

    That is my hope.

  97. Vipertrunk says:

    Stan wrote: “Are there any other GW/climate change skeptics here who don’t think we, as a civiliazation should be constantly exploring and seeking out new, better and cleaner forms of, preferably, renewable energy?”

    Absolutely, but as others have noted – we should be realistic about which energy sources will meet our needs and let the market drive the change.

    Government mandates which force the of “renewable” energy are a bad idea. [note: renewable in quotes due largely to the "1 gal of ethanol requires 3/4 gal of fossil fuel to produce" problem. I'm not sure how renewable that is.]

    If you live in the SW US – solar is easy to come by. If you live in the NE US (or Alaska!) however, there aren’t 300 days of clear skies per year. Mandating “X percent” of energy from renewable sources will just punish people who live in areas where renewables aren’t prevalent (or practical.) Not every state has consistently windy or sunny days or major rivers for hydro-power.

    In addition – we could plant the entire US in corn and not produce enough ethanol even to drive our cars, let alone all the other things we use oil for. Solar is great, but there are serious efficiency problems with (current) solar technology and panels are easily damaged over time by abrasion. No doubt the technology will improve, but it will still occasionally be dark and/or cloudy.

    Wind is also great, but (again) the amount of windmills required to satisfy our energy needs is enormous. Also, as Christopher Columbus always used to say: “It sucks when the wind doesn’t blow.” [Columbus day tomorrow - couldn't resist!]

    I’m all for building nuclear reactors – it’s a shame that a third of our electricity comes from oil when there are better uses for oil. If we could displace coal as well that would be nice, but coal is plentiful and cheap – whereas fissionable materials are not. I don’t know if anyone has done a “peak uranium” study, but I’m not confident that we could go “all nuclear” and meet our current total energy needs.

    Ironically, oil has been demonized – but it’s probably the best thing to happen to the human race since creation. Man started pumping oil out of the ground (in earnest) circa 1850. It was much cheaper and more prevalent than the product it replaced and so – it was adopted quickly by consumers without any government intervention. I know most of you have guessed the nature of the product that oil replaced: whale blubber – processed into an oil commonly used for lighting.

    Believe me – if somebody discovered something which would power my car for a week (or 400 miles) at half the cost of gasoline with half the pollution – I’d sell my brand-new car tomorrow and buy one of those!

    Ideally, of course, I’d want that technology to be able to provide a third of our electric power generation, to lubricate nearly everything mechanical and to make up a significant portion of nearly everything I own (plastics, fabrics etc) – sort of like oil does! But that might be going too far!

  98. Vipertrunk says:

    Dang it. I hated questions like this on the SAT!

    Stan wrote: “Are there any other GW/climate change skeptics here who don’t think…

    Yeah, I read that “don’t think” part too fast. I was agreeing that we should pursue better cleaner energy.

    I didn’t mean to suggest that there were “Absolutely” people on this forum who don’t support that research! I suspect most people posting here would support newer, cleaner, better energy sources.

  99. Philip_B says:

    Wes George, very well and eloquently said.

    I would add, the most disturbing aspect of the AGW political hysteria is that it exposes a deep flaw in our advanced technological society, namely the small and shrinking pool of people who know enough to follow the science and have a reasonable chance of sorting through the often deceptive and misleading arguments.

    Gore’s AIT is propaganda to sway the scientifically ignorant. It has nothing to do with science and everything to do with belief. Al Gore has put his religous studies to good use.

    The debate becomes dominated by the like of Demonweed with his endless stream of ‘I know’ psuedofacts, interspersed with examples of his lack of understanding. I’ll pick one example more or less at random.

    How could it be that ancient ice was always melting rapidly away when at the same time we have a concession that there are times much more recently when it was accmulating?

    Answer: All glaciers accumulate new ice at their sources and melt ancient ice at their terminus. This is true of all glaciers at all times and pretty much defines what a glacier is.

  100. Demonweed says:

    I was hoping we could let this die on “environvmentalists are just like Hitler” because that does seem to sum up the powerful feelings that substitute for thinking on this issue. However, I couldn’t let Philib_B’s underhanded sleaze pass unanswered.

    For people who were actually following along, one of Mr. Edelman’s contentions was that glaciers had always been shrinking since they were originally formed in the previous ice age. This argument for continuous retreat was supported by comments from others. Yet it is also contradicted by the assertion that glaciers grew during a cooling period. I was pointing out the flaw in claiming that glaciers were only composed of prehistoric ice while the same post also claims that they have at times expanded.

    Again, this stuff isn’t brain surgery or even freshman algebra, but apparently some people seem so proud of getting it wrong they cannot help but chime in, and take a few sock puppet style digs at us nasty lib-er-als along the way. It seems like all anyone has to do to “debunk” global warming is throw out one or two facts and conclude “therefore Al Gore is an idiot.” Has no one here any analytical skills? I realize that means reading first and coming to conclusions after, but I’m confident everyone here is capable of doing that with apolitical subjects. Believe it or not, this is a question of science, not a question of politics.

    It is simply wrong to argue that existing mountain glaciers are “relics from the ice age” that are entirely or even chiefly composed of ice deposited during the last full blown ice age. That more recent accumulations contribute to their mass may be a fact. So what? If someone tells you that the sky is blue and the sky is not blue, do you thank him for his expertise because one of his claims about the sky was accurate? I’m not expecting many hearts and minds to change from this, but it would be nice to see global warming denial defended by something -many- notches less underhanded and feeble than that last comment.

  101. wes george says:

    Jim Clark, we’re describing the same phenomena from different angles, however your angle is more concise stated then I am capable of…my apologies for the length of this post.

    The most striking similarity between all apocalyptic claims from Revelations, through Malhus to the Club of Rome and now AIT is that they are all false, but that’s not the point.

    As Ed Edelman correctly notes the universal motive for apocalyptic prophecies is the desire to control economic resources and drive specific social behaviors by the elites that control the prophecies. Note that this crass motive does not have to be understood as such by the priests or technocrats administering the myth. They are the true believers.

    I’m using the term myth here not to mean a lie but rather a holistic system of thought that answers the universal human questions. Truth and falseness is a whole other issue.

    Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? What should I do? How will I do it? These are the questions that humans have asked since time immemorial. We are hardwired to crave the answers in order to achieve our full humanity. A coherent mythological system answers the above questions comprehensively. Today we find our answers from a multitude of sources–religion, ethnic identity, scientific materialism, theories of economics and political ideologies.

    In less heterogeneous times past, single mythologies encapsulated whole cultures creating an airtight portal through which a group viewed the world.

    Captain Cook off the coast of Australia watched the indigenous people on the beach and wondered why they didn’t return glances of shock, or any emotion at all for that matter at the sight of his ship, surely the first they had ever seen. The Aboriginals on the beach saw only their dead ancestors who were always hanging about in some odd form or another, nothing to get chuffed about, and simply continued with their business. The actual shipness of Cook’s ship was invisible to them, although of course, their eyes physical functioned the same as yours or mine.

    Myths so define our handle on reality that it is difficult, if not impossible, to really understand, say, an Achilles’ or Montezuma’s world from our modern perspective. The point is that we are generally unconscious to the fact that we too are encapsulated in a great, highly sophisticated, mythological artifice, albeit one that so precisely represents many aspects of nature that we can measure sub-atomic particles and map genomes. Just recite the so-called Big Bang creation scenario to yourself for a moment. Nor do we usually grasp that there is a potential for our myth, call it a paradigm, if you find that more modern, to be appropriated and then twisted into something quite degenerative and destructive to our most basic humanist values.

    Since the 1950’s there has been an emergent mythological stream, as old as the hills, really, and not fully coalesced as a single consciousness, but moving together as related groups of sociopolitical memes–Greens, social justice movements, new agers, wiccans, nativists, ecological direct action movements such as Earth First of Northern California, anarchists, pacifists, luddites and anti-globalists, etc. Imagine a three dimensional space defined by a social y axis, a political x axis and a spiritual z axis, all these groups, and others like minded wanderers would be found huddled together in the lower left, left quadrant of the space. I’m not making any value judgment; all these memes have something to offer the mainstream if nothing more than diversity.

    It’s likely that the Anthropogenic Global Warming Apocalypse myth will provide these groups with a single, persuasive and elegantly simple answer to the who, what, why, where and how of existence that they have all been so desperately searching for and not finding in modern Western societies.

    The most appealing part of the AGWA myth is the apocalypse prophecies, because it confirms their one most deeply cherished belief—Western civilization is an evil and destructive force. And promotes their most cherished hope that Western civilization can be put down and replaced by some sort of vague harmonic convergence of collectivist, green, matriarchal culture in a post-modern utopia.

    Normally, there would be little concern that such marginal and ineffective groups even united would amount to anything more than perhaps a greater influence in the art and music scenes, effecting politics through a slow cultural osmosis rather than direct political power.

    However, Al Gore backed by the might of the entire center left of politics and the media, in the most powerful nations on Earth are throwing their combined political weight behind an apocalypse myth with the power to unite and rejuvenate the most disparate cliques of a broad coalition, including the extreme fringe elements. The fringe is important because for a long, long time they have been alienated from mainstream politics. AGWA will give them the vindication and clout they need to return to the fray with their cultural innovations.

    An apocalyptic myth spawning a political ideology will tend to drive the normally rational and centered mass of humanity towards the fringes since their contented existence is prophesized to soon end. Meanwhile, leadership from the fringe is empowered by their uncanny prescience, while the mainstream politicians, if they don’t radicalize their views rapidly, are seen as too weak or out-of-touch to deal with the coming apocalypse.

    Who are we? We are love children of Gaia. Where are we going? We are going to fight for Gaia. Why are we here? We are here to save Gaia from those who would rape and murder her out of greed. What are we to do? We must act now before it is too late, the consensus is already in.

    How are we to do it? Ahhh! That is the sixty trillion dollar question isn’t it? It’s the reason why Johnny-come-lately power brokers like Al Gore and his natural political allies around the world are now, quite suddenly, taking ownership of the AGW apocalypse myth.

    The cyclone coming from the chimney on the DVD cover of AIT isn’t a hurricane, it is the gathering of all the disparate forces–political, cultural, spiritual and social into a new united order, driven by a powerful and elegantly simple mythology that anyone can grasp, stronger by a thousand fold then its individual parts, a whole far greater than the sum.

  102. Stan Needham says:

    I didn’t mean to suggest that there were “Absolutely” people on this forum who don’t support that research! I suspect most people posting here would support newer, cleaner, better energy sources.

    Vipertrunk, I also have to apologize. The question was worded badly. Like you, I suspect there are few if any AGW skeptics who post here (or anywhere, for that matter) that believe developing new, better, cleaner, cheaper forms of energy is a bad idea. Where we mostly part company with the Alarmists is with regard to what should drive the R & D. You and I (and most everyone else) are on the same page, and your original post at 22:17:06 was right on the money.

    Jim Clarke,

    I’ve read “The 5 steps of Despotism” before, and the name of the writer escapes me too, but the AGW Alarmists do seem to have a good grasp of the concept.

    BTW, KUDOS to Bob Edelman for sparking such an interesting and informative debate (and to Anthony for publishing Bob’s analysis).

  103. Jeff says:

    In the end, global cooling should put an end to this particular episode of silliness

    I doubt it. Already alarmists attribute every “extreme” weather event to global warming, no matter if it’s a deep freeze or a heat wave. No matter what happens naturally, it will be our fault.

  104. paminator says:

    Vipertrunk- you say

    “I don’t know if anyone has done a “peak uranium” study, but I’m not confident that we could go “all nuclear” and meet our current total energy needs.”

    Your concerns are well-founded.
    Hoffert et al. published a summary of world energy technologies in Science in 2002, in which they report that existing Uranium reserves recovered using conventional mining techniques at conventional mines will only support at most 30 years of generation at 10 TW/year (world power production in 2002 was 12 TW/year). They go on to propose a number of fission and fission/fusion technologies (Breeder reactors and Thorium burners among them) that show promise of extending this limit out by at least a factor of ten. So, building a whole mess of PWR fission plants using today’s technology will not provide a long-term (century or more) global solution. Research on new nuclear technologies is required.

    The “peak uranium” argument has pitfalls, since it relies on proven reserves which depend on the the price of the commodity. The time evolution of world proven oil reserves has provided an ongoing lesson for the “peak commodity” theory. Alberta became owner of the second largest proven oil reserve in the world in 2006 when development of tar sands became economical. Colorado and Wyoming will have the largest proven oil reserves in the world (by far) when shale oil becomes economical to produce. Of course, at that price point, unsubsidized solar and wind will also be economically viable.

  105. Bob L says:

    Stan wrote: “Are there any other GW/climate change skeptics here who don’t think we, as a civiliazation should be constantly exploring and seeking out new, better and cleaner forms of, preferably, renewable energy?”

    I’m all for renewable energy and I conserve whenever and where ever I can (ask my kids how many times they have heard TURN OFF THAT LIGHT!). But the environment is the secondary driver for me. I conserve to save my capital for other uses. The problem is you have to have a certain amount of wealth before long term survival can be considered along with day to day survival.

    In my view, the underlying factor in all the immediate problems of the planet is the lack of capitalism and freedom. Disasters strike around the world and the impact on lives follows with the economic ability of the population. Ethiopia suffered famines as a result of a ruthless dictator preventing food distribution in addition to a drought. The next time a disaster is reported, be it an earth quake or storm, compare the death toll to the relative political and economic freedom of the population. I think that would make an interesting study.

    When you make the most efficient use of capital, you develop drought resistant crops, technologies that prevent coastal devastation, and more efficient HVAC systems, because there is a demand that free and talented people will move to meet. Sure beats central planning.

  106. Evan Jones says:

    V.

    You can go further than that. One might well say that Green Mother Gaia reched out her leafy fingers in her Wholesome Goodness and gave to man, her custodian, the pristine blessing of the internal combustion engine.
    And therefore the environment was saved.

    Those who have read their history and know the Dirty Story of Coal, Horses, and Agriculture will appreciate the complete lack of irony in the declaration above.

    (P.S., Stan, a bad liberal has looked at both sides of issues such as these and is not afraid to draw the obvious conclusions.)

    As for China and India, I repeat that they will (without international accords) clean up their act in due time same as the west did, and furthermore they’ll be quicker about it than we were.

    Invevitable cycles work in social history same as they do for climate. Not until a nation can easily sustain its basic needs will it “clean up”. No nation (with the partial exception of the beastly Sovs) ever failed to clean up once its basic needs were met.

  107. Evan Jones says:

    “the small and shrinking pool of people who know enough to follow the science and have a reasonable chance of sorting through the often deceptive and misleading arguments. ”

    Take it from an old historian that in the Good Old Days the intellectual pool was miniscule. Almost nobody could read, often not leven the local honcho, bone-rattler, or quack. (The Scopes trial was around 1920.)

    Sad to say, we’re better equipped for the debate than ever before.

  108. Robert says:

    Demonweed,

    You have made several factual assertions, including these:

    1. For thousands of years there has been relative balance in the expansion and contraction of glaciers.

    2. Only in recent decades have normal cycles of melting and thawing given way to an unmistakable trend of rapid thawing that goes beyond loss of relatively fresh ice and into the widespread melting of ancient ice.

    3. An overwhelming majority of contemporary glaciers are shrinking at a rate unprecedented at any point in human history.

    Please forgive me for not just taking your word for it. Would you be kind enough to direct me to sources I might read to decide for myself whether your assertions are correct?

  109. Paul Nevins says:

    Mr Edelman does a nice job here with a reality based and as far as I can tell fair evaluation of An inconveniet truth.

    And that is just the point, someone like demonweed with his crude remarks does not disprove Edelmans points and many of his non crude points are either incorrect or deliberate obfuscation.

    I see a lot of I am not a scientist but… type comments on this issue. Well I am a scientist and scientific method is what I’m good at. The idea that “anthropogenic catastrophic global warming” is real and an immediate threat is pure rubbish.

    The amazing thing is the lack of consensus. The US alone spends $6 billion per year to fund climate research with the clear understanding that only studies that support AGW will continue to be funded. Anyone whose research seems to disprove any part of the global warming story can expect to have their funding cut and all their researchers thrown out of work with a permanent black mark on their record.

    In other words the “skeptics” are chosing to be such in direct conflict with their own self interest. What you’re seeing with them is scientific integrity.

    Small wonder it has been called the new McCarthyism. I doubt the black lists of the 50’s were ever this damaging. Perhaps the new Eugenics would be a better description.

  110. Demonweed says:

    I am glad, Robert, to see curiosity brought to bear here. I don’t think this one is for you, but for people who want a quick light read that is only very slightly misleading . . .

    http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/kids/change.html

    That content emphasizes uncertainty a little much, since the past twenty years have seen much progress in replacing speculation with observation and analysis. In any case, it is a good primer young people with no prior knowledge, and I hope that it would also serve as a “back to reality” tool for people who normally take their views on science from political punditry.

    Now, I’ll try to respond to specific points as well. However, here is the big picture that made all those localized explanations, apparently fabricated by someone who had already excluded any notion that global warming might actually be a factor, for the glaciers Gore sited. Even if one or two of those glaciers really are more heavily influenced by factors unrelated to global warming, the general trend is clear. Here’s an EPA comment . . .

    http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/basicinfo.html

    “Scientists have observed that some changes are already occurring. Observed effects include sea level rise, shrinking glaciers, changes in the range and distribution of plants and animals, trees blooming earlier, lengthening of growing seasons, ice on rivers and lakes freezing later and breaking up earlier, and thawing of permafrost.”

    Note the use of past tense. These are things scientific experts in the field actually have documented, not fictions created to service a political agenda.

    Holy crap! A good bit of time passed between starting this comment and just now. Of course no serious scientist is contending something as patently absurd as “glaciers are relics of the ice age that have been melting off ever since.” Forget glaciology — anyone out there with moderate math skills should be able to handle that. If anything resembling 20th century rates of decline was an ongoing process since the last full blown ice age, well over 10,000 years ago, then at that time these glaciers must have contained more water than there is on Earth, if not all our solar system. The continuous retreat scenario makes no sense because if you wind it backward just a few thousand years, the glaciers become much larger than any mountain that could stand up to Earth’s gravity . . . and I gather ice is a little less tough that way than granite.

    That analysis and the conventional scientific wisdom that glaciers were never highly variable but for proper ice ages, major supervolcano/basalt eruptions, extraterrestrial impact events, and this recent phenomenon concurrent with industrial CO2 output. As it turns out, I haven’t kept up to date on the state of the art in glaciology (not it ever was a specialty of mine.)

    Here’s a good article that touches upon this new way of thinking . . .

    http://news.mongabay.com/2006/0109-ualberta.html

    It reveals unexpected discoveries in efforts to analyze the footprints of glaciers in western North America as they existed from 0-1000 AD. In some sense it is still in line with my thinking on the subject — clearly the evidence does not support some crazy process whereby supernaturally large glaciers constantly shrunk from original formation until they reached their present sizes. It also does not suggest that anything resembling the rapid loss of ice ongoing at present might have happened during those thousand years. On the other hand, it does suggest the variability during that millennium was nontrivial, and that sounds like it was a surprise even to the experts.

    In deference to Mr. Edelman though, retreat from the last proper ice age was not at all an instantaneous process. The following URL features an excellent little animation that illustrates a legitimately continuous process from the last ice age as pertains to the sheet that once covered much of North America.

    http://www.museum.state.il.us/exhibits/ice_ages/index.html

    Note how small the vestiges of the ice age had become by 8,000 years ago. Though the term “glacial” epitomizes slowness, hopefully everyone understands that high altitude glaciers from the tropics to the Rockies do not process precipitation -that- slowly.

    Now, I do owe the group a mea culpa. I thought I recalled from Nova or some other such source that tropical rain belt migration, which is not actually global warming but which is driven by it, was the primary cause of Kilimanjaro’s glacier loss. Apparently, either NASA isn’t splitting that particular hair or Al Gore had it right all along. Either way, here is the agency’s opinion on the matter . . .

    “The 11,000 year-old ice-cap on the summit of Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro has almost completely disappeared, primarily due to increasing average annual temperatures in the region.”

    taken from

    http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a003100/a003125/index.html

    In fact

    http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/earthandsun/climate_change.html

    is an excellent resource for people who want to ditch politics altogether and let scientists explain the science of this empirical reality.

    I wish I could be more on point with this stuff, but I don’t want to get pre-filtered as spam for overdoing it with the URLs. While it is wrong to suggest I was deliberately false with anything I’ve written here, and just as wrong to suggest I go around filling myself with lies to accommodate some sort of political identity (umm . . . glass houses and stones, anyone?) it is fair to assess my opinions as little more than that. I wrote from recollections that are informed by extensive relevant reading along with a smattering of documentary views, but I haven’t even seen An Inconvenient Truth. I heard it was a sleepy film, and I didn’t expect Al Gore to tell me much about the matter I couldn’t get from apolitical scientists.

    The problem is this fishbowl of special media that enables people to fall back on the work of political scientists (or more often, pseudoscientists.) This thread is full of people talking about how “AIC has already been discredited” and “everybody knows it’s all a conspiracy to control people.” Yes, in tinfoil hat territory that is all well and good. Out in the non-partisan world, where people don’t need special newspapers and a special news channel to insulate them from certain types of information, no such picture is evident. Large corporations as well as national governments are taking action, or at least preparing plans to take action. Global warming denial is a cottage industry that is precisely like creationist propaganda mills in so many ways. It spins a false narrative not because the end result is a better informed audience, but rather because some people will flock to sources of misinformation if it is misinformation that validates their otherwise untenable views.

    If you want to learn about distinctions between races, you can do better than to read The National Vanguard. Likewise, if you want to learn about what’s going on with the Earth’s climate, you can do better than to listen to . So far I’ve stuck with the EPA and NASA, because I figure those can’t be assailed as part of “the liberal media.” If false narratives have people skeptical of those agencies too, perhaps the next query for sources could include a few hints about what is acceptable. Now, knowing full well a portion of readers will find it unacceptable, I give you a Wikipedia submission graphically depicting trends in glacier size around the world . . .

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/93/Glacier_Mass_Balance_Map.png

    I’m really trying to address those questions directly, but my already long-winded comments would have been much much longer had I chosen exhaustive detail over glibness. Even now it is difficult to be sure I’ve not overlooked some critical aspect of the issue. By all means, please lob more questions my way if there are any points that could benefit from further clarification.

  111. Mark Whitney says:

    There is someting bugging me.
    I seem to recall a little thing that went like this: Heat flows spontaneously from a body of greater temperature to one of lesser temperature. This is considered a “law”. Doesn’t the whole “greenhouse” hypothesis fly in the face of this thermodynamic property? We know for certain that there is no radiative “greenhouse” effect in a greenhouse, merely limitation of convection. I think it was attempted, but I don’t think any real measurements of “radiative forcing” in the atmosphere at large have been accomplished. Please correct me if I am mistaken.
    Mark Whitney
    Sandy,Utah,USA

  112. Mark Whitney says:

    Paul Nevins
    I’m sorry to go off-topic, but I like your reference to “the new eugenics” as opposed to the “new McCarthyism.” It is far more accurate. Eugenics was bogus science as opposed to McCarthy’s correct assertion of communist infiltration of the State Department. As far as I can ascertain, McCarthy’s single list of some 80 or so individuals caused few any real discomfort, other than himself. He never went after anyone in Hollywood. That was the HCUA in 1952. McCarthy became a Senator in 1953. It is relevant, however, as an example of obfuscation of the truth to achieve a desired result as in the current discussion of AGW.
    Mr. Edelman, a very good analysis. I would echo the question of another poster: Have you done a similar evaluation of the Great Global Warming Swindle? I suspect the new version will hold up under scrutiny far better than Gore’s AIT.
    Mark Whitney
    Sandy,Utah,USA

  113. Robert says:

    Dear Mr. Whitney,

    This article:
    http://www.weatherquestions.com/Roy-Spencer-on-global-warming.htm
    especially Fig. 4, might answer your question.

  114. Mark Whitney says:

    Robert
    Thank’s for your reply. I glanced through Dr. Spencer’s presentation and will consider it in more detail later. My question stems from a publication by two German physicists.

    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/Falsification_of_CO2.pdf

    My calculus skills are poor, so my ability to properly evaluate their argument is limited. Perhaps someone can offer clarification.
    Mark Whitney
    Sandy,Utah,USA

  115. Jerry says:

    The AGW-ers are, to their mind, on the ascendancy. But they’re accelerating towards a wall of: A) economic finite resources where the cost of the prescription for the cure could exceed the cost of the disease; B) the economic benefits are shrinking for any policy as new scientific knowledge calls into question the efficacy of the preventive activity (C02 reduction) while the costs remained fixed at horrific levels (reduction of family income and wealth); C) for better or for worse, common-sense people will hope that delay of the inevitable economic consequences of inaction are, rightly, favorable to the costs of inaction; D) the AGW’ers get progressively associated with the Hate-Human-Society/Capitalism/Decentralized-Decision-Making/Autonomy-At-All-Cost-Faction; and E) the whole AGW effort is nothing but an end run to gain trump-card control of every aspect (economic, social and political) of our lives.

    This not a rant. It’s an accurate statement of the goals and obstacles of the AGW effort to get control of our society and lives. I work with passionate bugs-and-bunnies types daily – I am not exaggerating in any way.

  116. Bob Edelman says:

    Robert & Mark Whitney,

    I did see the telecast version of “The Great Global Warming Swindle” on Google Videos and thought that Channel 4 did a fine job. (I went back to view it again and found that it has been removed. That may be because of the full-length DVD has been released.) The original version had a few errors which, of course, were jumped on by the zealots. However, I thought it did an excellent job of graphically showing that there is no historic data verifying that CO2 drives temperature. In fact, ice core data shows the opposite tendency. I liked the illustrations of the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period although my favorite illustration of the Little Ice Age, Washington crossing an ice-choked Delaware River, wasn’t shown. (There may be some British sensitivity to that event.) I particularly liked the interviews with experts in various fields of climate research – something which Gore avoided.

    Thank you for your comments. I didn’t know that the revised version is now available in NTSC format and have just now ordered the DVD. I expect that the few errors have been corrected.

  117. Demonweed says:

    A quick skim of that work attributed to two German men leads me to believe they expected every single reader would be so busy pretending to think critically about global warming science that they would never dare think critically about any critique of that science. Very early on they (as Spencer also did) hammer away at one of the “go to” points for deniers — carbon dioxide is a relatively small part of the Earth’s atmosphere. They then seem to argue that its interactions with radiant energy could never produce effects that were out of proportion to the gas’s concentration in the air.

    Victims of similar tricks have been vocal in this discussion. Carbon dioxide is not visible to human eyes (unless you freeze it solid,) but it does really have some effect on some wavelengths of light. Imagine placing a single drop of red dye in a large bucket of water. You may very well now have a bucket with 0.03% dye and 99.97% water. Do you imagine it will look 99.97% clear after that change? Do you imagine red light will pass through it just the same as before?

    The CO2 situation is a little different than that — more like there was one drop sitting naturally in the bucket and human industry is in the process of adding a second drop. The total amount will still be minor. If someone is interested in playing upon ignorance to create the perception that the amount is also irrelevant, there will be great focus on the fact that the part of the atmosphere that is not CO2 is way way way way way way way bigger than the part that is CO2. “There’s hardly any of it to begin with, so it really doesn’t matter,” may be nicely intuitive and satisfying on some simple-minded level, but “it really doesn’t matter” is nonetheless a very wrong conclusion to draw from “there’s hardly any of it to begin with.”

    In any case, the German duo seems absolutely certain that there can be no such thing as an atmospheric greenhouse effect. Tell that to the planet Venus, eh?

    Anyone at any time can sling around a mix of facts and faulty analysis to “convince” people to embrace beliefs already passionately heartfelt. Much of the lying that goes on to promote a political alternative to scientific thinking is unnecessary — skillful deceivers can get the same result just starting with a cherry-picked selection of truths, tossing in just a dash of fresh nonsense, then claiming it all “proves” what he or she already knows readers/listeners/viewers long to hear.

    Roy Spencer is a special case in that the term “scientist” is not heavily abused when applied to him. He chooses his words carefully, and he normally doesn’t embrace anything as crazy as that German “there is no greenhouse effect in planetary atmospheres” stuff. A self-styled “global climate optimist,” the term suits Spencer as that is the main basis for his beliefs (or findings, if you prefer) — he has dedicated the remainder of his life to cultivating a case that the Earth will adapt to industrial emissions without inflicting much economic damage on human civilization.

    While I still feel he may be deliberately misleading at times, he stands alone amongst “scientist” skeptics as not horrendously botching any actual science that may become entangled in his efforts. In fact, he seems to retain a scientist’s respect for authentic empirical methods. He is still guilty of the “carbon dioxide is so small we shouldn’t worry about it” trick, and you really have to dig that whole “tree ring data is a temperature proxy, but digging holes in the ground lets us look at temperature ‘pulses’ that are not at all temperature proxies.”

    In point of fact, anything that isn’t a temperature reading taken in the relevant time and place is by definition a temperature proxy. It just happens that his proxy data is also collected by using thermometers. Whether or not these subterranean “temperature pulses” are more reliable and informative than tree ring data is hard to say — after all, that area of inquiry was completely unfamiliar to me until today (I’m not even entirely sure the ground actually records temperatures as he claims, though I’m not equipped to repudiate that assertion either,) whereas tree ring studies have been going on for centuries, to the point where the modern science of it is hardly guesswork.

    Still, Roy Spencer mixes a great deal of genuine scientific insight in with his work. I am particularly keen on this statement/heading of his . . .

    “Climate Prediction and Weather Forecasting Are Not the Same”

    That is so elementary to this subject that going forward without that understanding would be like trying to drive a car without knowing if it was motivated by spinning wheels, jet exhaust, or a team of invisible reindeer. It’s hard to even think of a more fundamental piece of information than the distinction between climate and weather. Yet even in this discussion we see the old saw about, “they can’t even predict the weather 10 days in advance, so how can anyone be right about global warming?” What I wonder is, if someone doesn’t even have a grasp of the kindergarten level stuff in this area of inquiry, why speak up to advocate any particular position on a scientific question? Could it really be that at least some of the comments here are nothing more than proud political parroting, or is showcasing a lack of understanding of science really satisfying in itself?

    Also, as an aside about Joe McCarthy, what sort of person seriously believes the right way to handle a counterespionage situation is to whip the public into a frenzy and conduct highly publicized hearings? McCarthy may have done nothing more than consult in the HUAC vs. Hollywood business, but he was far from helpful when it came to rooting out actual Soviet agents or promoting responsible civic discourse. He thrived on fear and hatred, because he was a pretty unlikable guy if people were left to think rationally about him. I suppose there is some role for public oversight in counterespionage activity, but the last thing you want to do when trying to catch secret agents is print up broadcast schedules and announce to the nation every detail of your efforts in that area. Public grandstanding and bombastic rhetoric where his weapons of choice. I can’t think of methods that would be less effective in hunting real spies, but those two sure can be effective in influencing voting behavior (almost always for the worse.)

  118. Demonweed says:

    MODERATORS NOTE: I do not endorse the comments below. I find the comments below distasteful, degrading, and indicative of a person who cannot stick to courteous, reasonable discourse. While I came close to deleting it, I decided I’d allow it as an example of the kind of thing I don’t want this blog to deteriorate into. Demonweed, clean up your act. This kind of imagery does not belong here.
    ————————————————–

    As a postscript what is up with all this nutso garbage about “the global warming movement is out to get us!” I know it must be comforting to see other people repeating elements of that same narrative, but wouldn’t it be more comforting to wake up and smell the payola? Scientists are making this up for grant money?!? Anyone who dissents is risking his livelihood?!? Puh-leeze . . . anyone with a lab coat and semi-coherent grammar can make a healthy living shilling for the fossil fuel industry. On top of which, academic institutions (and government, albeit to a lesser degree) don’t go giving out grants with the expectation of bias in research. That is the province of “think tanks” and advocacy groups.

    Still, lets say for the sake of argument that Al Gore has a secret Green Army all poised to take over the nation and sing Dixie Chicks songs while cooking aborted fetuses on a grill fueled by American flags. So what? Are you really going to let how you feel about politics define what you believe about science? Even if you really believe a conspiracy theory, injecting it into the discussion clouds and distracts, assuming that there are some people here who have the intention of getting at the truth in a clash of non-political facts and analysis.

  119. Philip_B says:

    Demonweed wrote,

    It is simply wrong to argue that existing mountain glaciers are “relics from the ice age” that are entirely or even chiefly composed of ice deposited during the last full blown ice age. That more recent accumulations contribute to their mass may be a fact. So what?

    My point was that the ranks of global warming believers are full of people who don’t understand enough science to process the arguments and data, and the likes of Gore exploit this ignorance.

    I picked a comment of yours to illustrate my point. Your rebuttal above merely further illustrates my point.

    Is the volume of a river a function of how long ago the rainfall it comprises fell? Of course not, and neither is the size of a glacier. If you are interested, your error is to confuse a glacier as a relic with the ice it comprises as relic ice.

  120. Mark Whitney says:

    Demonweed
    I was going to avoid comments to you since your demeanor is so caustic, but I have to throw this in:
    “Anyone at any time can sling around a mix of facts and faulty analysis to “convince” people to embrace beliefs already passionately heartfelt. Much of the lying that goes on to promote a political alternative to scientific thinking is unnecessary — skillful deceivers can get the same result just starting with a cherry-picked selection of truths, tossing in just a dash of fresh nonsense, then claiming it all “proves” what he or she already knows readers/listeners/viewers long to hear.”
    You are quite correct, and the alarmists have used this strategy effectively, i.e. Al Gore, James Hansen and Steven Schneider, to name just a few who have openly admitted to exaggeration, hyperbole, and “cherry picking”.
    I suspect your knowledge of McCarthy comes from Hollywood, since it is incorrect in every important particular.
    Mark Whitney
    Sandy,Utah,USA

  121. Demonweed says:

    Obviously emotions are intense here, and I seem to have stepped on a sore spot. I understand why people might be deeply offended, and I apologize. Ironically, in trying to illustrate the point that people should separate their thoughts on science from their feelings about politics, I seem to have insured the former will completely eclipse the latter. I see my mistake now. I promise, subsequent to this paragraph, that never again will I mention the Dixie Chicks in this blog.

    [snip]

    From Moderator: “Dixie Chicks?” Patronizing remarks aren’t appreciated either, try again.

  122. Demonweed says:

    Wow, no sense of humor and no intellectual integrity to be found either? I suppose I should leave you fellows to your circle jerk then. Every single one of you deserves better than what you’re giving each other though. Enjoy the shelter today’s emotional hysteria provides . . . it will likely be a long time before another dissenting voice is heard in this chorus.

  123. Philip_B says:

    Wes George wrote,

    Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? What should I do? How will I do it? These are the questions that humans have asked since time immemorial. We are hardwired to crave the answers in order to achieve our full humanity.

    It is indeed an existential issue for many (most?) people, which goes a long way to explaining the combination of deep passion and irrationality it engenders.

    Wes, do you have a blog? I’d certainly be a regular reader.

  124. wattsupwiththat says:

    Demonweed. There’s a real difference between a sincere apology for writing something very offensive, and writing an apology poorly cloaked in comedy as a way of deflecting the issue. Given your obvious command of the English language, I would be remiss in allowing you to dispense such vile language that you’ve used in the offending post with such a disingenuous cavalier attitude disguised as an apology.

    Note that no other participant, except you, has resorted to such offensive imagery to make a point. If a reprimand and suggestion to “try again” because the apology you gave was condescending is reason enough for you to stomp off in a huff, leaving behind yet another trail of low brow language to justify your actions, well then so be it. But in doing so, you automatically stereotype yourself.

    You are welcome to post anything about the science here. But I will not further tolerate the kind of disgusting juvenile language you have been using in the last few posts.

    Either engage discussions like a responsible adult, or move along, it is your choice.

  125. M. Jeff says:

    Re: wattsupwiththat (16:08:05) “… Either engage discussions like a responsible adult, or move along, it is your choice. …”

    Perhaps demonweed would profit by heeding the advice given at http://demonweed.wordpress.com/about/ “… I hope to establish a recurring theme here related to the triumph of reason over emotion. …”

  126. Jeff says:

    Demonweed said:

    Ironically, in trying to illustrate the point that people should separate their thoughts on science from their feelings about politics, I seem to have insured the former will completely eclipse the latter.

    You’re the one who injected politics into the discussion, at every opportunity. You assume everyone arguing against you is a conservative/republican. You couldn’t be more wrong.

    Go back to your blog that no one frequents and pat yourself on the back.

  127. Jeff says:

    Demonweed takes the phrase “constant retreat” in reference to glaciers literally, instead of the actual meaning, a trend of constant retreat. On the whole, glaciers have retreated since the last ice age. There have been periods of advance, obviously, but the net result has been retreat. It’s a CONTINUING trend, not a sudden one.

    Most of the glacial retreat in Glacier National Park, for example, occurred before 1950. this is proven by aerial photographs then and now. The bottom line is glaciers have not been studied enough to know if any modern trend is unprecedented or not. The only thing we know is that we’ve gotten better at studying things, that doesn’t mean the things are different than they were 100 or 10,000 years ago.

    And then there’s the Ice Man, Utzi, I think they named him. He died in the alps 5000 years ago, and was THEN covered by mountain glaciers. So obviously glacial retreat in the alps was at least comparable to today, when he was found.

    Then we have the Lost Squadron of WWII. They force-landed in Greenland in 1942 on top of the glacier. The crews were rescued but the planes were left behind. Two squads of P-38s and one B-17 were then buried under ice for the next 60 years. How much ice? 268 feet. So the Greenland glaciers were constantly growing during that time. Why, during the period of most CO2 expenditure, did the glaciers keep getting thicker and thicker?

  128. Jeff says:

    Hah, from Demonweed’s own site:

    Dismissing me as a “damned dirty hippie” might involve a factual half-truth, but doing so is an evasive alternative to confronting the merits and substance of my views.

    It’s ok for him to call other people names, but if we do it we’re being evasive.

    News Flash: Just looked up the word hypocrite in the dictionary and it said, “See: Demonweed”.

  129. wattsupwiththat says:

    What is most important to note is that glaciers are driven primarily by precipitation volume and frequency, not temperature. While temperature is a factor, it is not the primary driver. You can have bitter cold, but with no precipitation, or not enough precip to overcome sublimation, no glacier happens

    Thus glaciers are more likely driven by weather patterns, both short and long term. As Jim Goodridge shows in the post http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/2007/10/07/california-climate-pdo-lod-and-sunspot-departure/

    Pacific Decadal Oscillation can be linked to rainfall patterns in California. Recently it was discovered that Mount Shasta’s glaciers in Northern California were on the advance. Given the graph of 107 year California rainfall trends:
    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2007/10/goodridge_fig3_107yrrainfall.png

    Where is shows the current period has been growing in precip since about 1990, it is hardly surprising to learn that glaciers at Mt. Shasta are advancing.

    http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/2007/09/05/mount-shastas-glaciers-not-heeding-climate-change/

  130. Mike N says:

    IMO, some commentators are paying too much respect to the likes of DemonWeed. He’s not here to discuss facts, truth or reality. He freely uses ad hominem arguments. He cannot fail to know that ad hominems are logical fallacies. He doesn’t care. Such things as truth and false mean nothing to him. There is a saying iirc: “You can’t reason a man out of that which he wasn’t reasoned into.”

  131. Jim Clarke says:

    Wes George.

    I, too, would like to thank you for your eloquent exposition of a process I dryly summarized. Your insight and wisdom is prized and I will be reflecting on your words more in the days ahead.

    Shortly, after writing my comment that suggested the Internet would be a powerful tool in revealing the reality of climate change and the relatively minor impact humans are having, I stumbled upon an editorial written by Bjorn Lomborg in the Washington Post. Bjorn accepts the IPCC claims as true, but argues that carbon taxes and mitigation will not be the best way to handle the situation. While his suggestions are most logical and reasonable, the comments that followed can only be described as ignorant rants. Writers displayed an amazing ignorance about climate, geography and science in general, but had no qualms in proclaiming that Lomborg was a witch and should be burned at the stake. (slight exaggeration) They made Demonweed
    look downright civil, knowledgeable and gentlemanly.

    I may have to reconsider my optimism about human rationality.

    Still, I do have hope that weakening solar cycles and a shift in the PDO will save the day. I just wonder if they will materialize in time.

  132. James says:

    On the subject of glacial retreat, it is instructive to look at the chart posted on Real Climate:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/03/worldwide-glacier-retreat/#more-129

    It would appear that glacial retreat generally began about 1850, and so can hardly be attributed to AGW, as the effect does not usually precede the cause.

  133. wes george says:

    Mr. Edelman’s critique of AIT sticks to the science claims in the film. By demonstrating most of the film is less than undisputed scientific fact he has exposed AIT as demagoguery.

    Further parsing of the factoid details allows the real crimes of the film to slip by undocumented. By only debating the AIT’s accuracy bestows a kind of legitimacy to the film, as if its purpose was to promote a free and healthy debate. In fact, AIT is designed to shut down public debate and create an atmosphere in which skeptical dissent isn’t tolerated.

    See Demonweed’s posts for a mild taste of how roughly rational skeptics are to be handled in an online discussion. Now imagine how one might fare on the floor of next year’s Democratic National Convention as an AGW skeptic.

    Machiavellian politics, vengeance, mythology, intrigue, faith, mendacity, fear, violence–a whole range of human follies more commonly invoked in discussions about Shakespeare’s work are at the core of AIT, the science part of the film is in the genre. It emulates a documentary. Facts are to AIT what spice is to gruel.

    Indeed, human passions and politics are what this discussion should be about, because that is what Gore’s film has brought to the table. While we’re at it, Hansen’s voluminous screeds and Mann’s remarkable hockey stick graph should be included in any discussion about the sociopolitical struggles of AGW science and myth.

    Demonweed wants to keep the discussion at the tit for tat techno-slur level as a diversion from a deep analysis of Al Gore’s political motives, allies and techniques. He doesn’t want us to delve into the bigger picture of why a major American political actor made a strongly partisan film that takes ownership of the AGW moral high ground for one side of politics strategically against the other.

    I’m from Australia. The message received here by the average AIT viewer was that big American corporations enabled by their party hacks in Washington are guilty of a future global holocaust. Imagine being accused of a mass murder that won’t come to pass until 50 years hence, rendering it impossible to clear one’s name. More like a Hollywood sci-fi plot than fair-game politics in a democracy. In fact, it’s both. The one thing it is not is science.

    Hansen, Mann and Gore have all predicted a modern apocalypse even though the facts for such a precipitous prediction are in deep dispute. They make no effort to hide their partisan leanings, their prophecies of doom come appended with accusations and blame.

    They should be exposed and held to account. And this is one of the few places on the planet to expose them. The document trail starts here. The accounting will come much later.

    It’s a mistake to play Demonweed’s make-believe that we are in a scientific debate of the facts, sprinkled with a few slurs. This is blood and guts politics, folks.

    I’ve already posted my analysis of what could happen politically across the Western democracies. I would only add that while one side of the political spectrum has found a compelling and holistic new mythology to unite and rejuvenate itself, the other side has simply no idea of the fall from grace that awaits them like a bridge out ahead.

    Al is a latecomer to the AGW debate, but what a clever idea to politicize the weather! Al Gore discovered Love Canal and invented the Internet now he has appropriated the AGW apocalypse myth as his own. This time he seems to have gotten away with the theft. If every hail storm, every oil tanker beached by high seas, every collapsed bridge or tornado could be pinned to a political opponent…

    Every storm, every drought, every cold or warm front is an opportunity to say the magic words on the evening news–climate change. Everyone talks about the weather and like pop music, everyone has expertise. Everyone thinks they know the weather trends in their area and to them that’s climate change. Now everyone has someone to blame the next time the SUV gets hail damage and it won’t be Mother Nature. Weather is local. So is politics.

    Don’t like this year’s weather? Vote now to change the Earth’s climate. Legislation will be introduced to outlaw the rising waves of the oceans.

    And the oceans will be calmed.

  134. Stan Needham says:

    Since this thread is about “An Inconvenient Truth”, I was reminded this morning, by a post on another blog, of a real inconvenient truth.

  135. Steve Moore says:

    Maybe a reasonable voice on the subject of glaciers:

    http://www.udel.edu/PR/UDaily/2008/oct/glaciers100807.html

  136. nashville says:

    Hey Demondweed, this must hurt…

    http://tinyurl.com/26fwll

    funny thing happens when facts are required.

    your point of view is proven to be a joke.

  137. nashville says:

    Mr Edelman , who would have thought a note to his sister would be ‘peer reviewed’. Good on you .

    Seems a British judge is in your court.

  138. horatiox says:

    Demonweed would do better writing some PC speeches for like remaining members of the Kennedy family: his ability to spout meaningless liberal rhetoric while completely overlooking the central issues of GW is quite impressive.

    Here’s a real issue (and no, dismissing it as “right-wing” does not an argument make):

    Decide first if the data that the great modellers (like IPCC and realclimate) rely upon is even accurate: have you read Milloy’s account (on junkscience) of the temperature data? Do you know the standard GW temp. increases fall within error margin? (less than like 0.7 degree C). If corp-boy Milloy’s a bit too rough for you, try the Canadian physicist Dr. Rancourt: R. (he’s even PC, sort of) reaches nearly the same conclusions as Milloy (and Crichton, earlier): the temp. data itself has not been confirmed as reliable. Moreover, no lab studies confirm higher amounts of “forced” ‘C02 lead to significant temp. increases.

    What’s more, some GW gurus (like Dr. Hansen) have made rather egregious errors with the temp. data: Hanson for instance was claiming the hottest years of 20th century were in 90s’ when in fact the data showed it was the 30s, and the Feds in fact made him correct his estimations. He’s even nuttier than the IPCC people (ocean rises 75 feet, next year! place yr bets). Hansen even has modified his earlier claims and now says man-made CO2 is not the chief culprit. He’s nearly as much a Quack as An Inconvenient Haw-vard Flunkie named Al Gore.

    (Good work Herr Edelman. Contrarians of all political stripes should be working together to bring Big Al Jr., America’s official GW pseudo-scientist, to trial for intellectual fraud)

  139. Rick S. says:

    Demonweed is just so nasty it’s no wonder people are ditching AGW. Science is about respectful debate, like that which has been going on regarding quantum mechanics for about the last 70 years. Demonweed seems to be fairly typical of the AGW supporters and it really proves that there is no consensus on this issue. I wonder why the AGW supporters do it then, since it does nothing but hurt their cause? Could it be that maybe science isn’t on their side? Could it be that shrill ad hominem attacks are all they’ve got?

  140. horatiox says:

    Peruse some of his bizarre libertarian-on-drugs rhetoric (on his strange little site “What you should think”) , and you will note that Demonweed really has no POV , except to appear like a wannabe KGB bureaucrat. He will argue for AGW, and then a few paragraphs later, agree with the AGW skeptics (as long as the skeptics are PC). Of course it’s unlikely he knows the biochemistry of photosynthesis from the cliffsnotes to his eastern philosophy class at Pacoima JC. Note that DyslexicWeed misconstrued Edelman’s points on Gore’s skewing of temp. data (and how Mann and Hansen also errors), and in effect derailed the entire thread with his Clintonesque preacherspeak.

    On his own little site, DyslexicWeed attempts to invoke Da Classics like Aristotle, and then botches a categorical syllogism. He alludes to Dan Quayle, and Edmund Burke (hah!) and then turns around and quotes that great savior Marx (and also overlooks any substantial Marxist concept (i.e error), whether class struggle or surplus labor theory). He praises Ron Paul, and then argues for an open border policies.

    DyslexicWeed now has a blogger-pal, Max who also waffles with about every post. McMax, of New Worlds, praises Al Gore’s nobel, then a few days later Max takes a Lomborg like view, and says Gore might be mistaken, but should be praised nonetheless. Then Max shifts again, this time to right, and showers love on Robert Zubrin, NASA man and Mars advocate, who has more or less completely denounced Gore and AGW. So it goes at leftist schizophrenia.com.

  141. Pingback: Yet another inconvenient story ignored by the MSM. « Watts Up With That?

  142. Thank you for your work on this. It is very much appreciated by those of us who are decide fact from fiction, or propaganda from real issues. Wonderful work here sir.

    Peace and Love,
    allnaturalhealer

  143. Jessica Wee says:

    Mr. Watts,

    I’m a high school student from the Philippines and we just watched about a third of AIT (with plans to continue it on our next Social Studies class). Actually, I was just asking if I could present the comments mentioned above to my class because I don’t want to them to be fooled! Please tell me if you would allow it or not. Thanks!

    Jessica
    Manila, Philippines

    REPLY: Absolutely, go for it.

  144. Pingback: Plumb Bob Blog » Why Climate Skepticism is Crucial

  145. crystal says:

    an inconvenient truth it’s a scary reality I think that the world she be more careful and not use so much electricity like walk to work when possible and use less water flick the switch of when leaving a room and take one step at a time towords a better climate
    and in what other ways can we make the world better

  146. crystal says:

    can you tell me more ways to help the climate crisis

  147. Pingback: Detailed Comments on An Inconvenient Truth

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