A “warmist” scientist embraces the Heartland Conference

Dr. Scott Denning

As many know, I recently returned from ICCC4. It has taken me a couple of days to get back on track and I want to share over the next couple of days, some of the things I saw there.

One thing I witnessed was a story of courage and of professionalism in the face of adversity. As many know, Heartland formally invited many scientists and scholars who are AGW proponents from the other side of the aisle.

This has been done for every conference since the first one in 2008.

James M. Taylor, senior fellow for environment policy at the sponsoring Heartland Institute and the person who recruited all of the 70-plus presenters Including yours truly) at the May 16-18 conference, said this about the invitations:

“I personally and cordially invited literally dozens of high-profile scientists who disagree with our speakers, including Gavin Schmidt, James Hansen, Michael Mann, Phil Jones, William  Schlesinger, and many others,” Taylor said. “I planned to give each side equal time at the conference.

Regrettably – and predictably – only two ‘warmists’ accepted my invitation to participate: Scott Denning of Colorado State University and Tam Hunt, a consultant on renewable energy and a lecturer at UC Santa Barbara’s School of Environmental Science & Management.”

All others declined, nearly all of them cordially.

Scott Denning was warmly and respectfully received, leading him to request a second opportunity to address the audience. He was granted that opportunity at the May 18 closing luncheon that I attended, where he said,

I want to thank you very much for inviting me to this conference. I have to say that I’ve learned a lot here. It was very gracious of [Heartland Institute Senior Fellow] James [Taylor] and of the organizers to bring me here. And I actually feel that it’s really too bad that more of my colleagues from the scientific community didn’t attend and haven’t in the past, and I hope that we can remedy that in the future.

Denning’s remarks, with the applause he received throughout, can be seen on the YouTube video below. It is well worth watching because it illustrates the mood of the conference well.

Many scientists missed a chance to bridge the gap, and it is sad for them that they choose to keep the wall up, rather than participate in discourse and debate. Maybe Scott Denning’s courageous example will lead to more attendees next year.

Videos of all presentations from the two-and-a-half-day conference are being posted on the Web site of the Fourth International Conference on Climate Change.

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150 thoughts on “A “warmist” scientist embraces the Heartland Conference

  1. Why do you call him a “warmist” when he says – flatly – in the video you posted, “I am not a warmist?” It seems odd.

    REPLY: Humor on that very point he made, note the quote marks. -A

  2. This is exactly what I always thought… the way that the universe works is independent of how we think it works. And I think that the majority of true scientists think that. Unfortunately, some people will try to make people believe in their (wrong) way of thinking, on how the universe works.

  3. Nice guy! Can’t help thinking that a lot of what we know about what’s gone on before – RealClimate’s adversarial mindset for example – is either news to, or lost on Scott. What he says is entirely right with regard to opening the debate and dropping the “them vs us” attitude, but he doesn’t realise that when he says this he’s actually facing the choir square on.

    Top bloke.

  4. jcrabb, Paul Daniel Ash; In the same way this is not a “denialist” site and those who post here are not “denialists”. It seems just as odd that there are those who still use that label. On the strength of this post it seems both he and we are nothing more or less than seekers after the truth.

  5. Next up on the scientific front: Artificial DNA to create carbon gobbling bacteria. Does anyone see a potential problem with this concept? I know I’d like to keep the 18% of me that is carbon. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science_and_environment/10132762.stm

    “If we can really get cells to do the production that we want, they could help wean us off oil and reverse some of the damage to the environment by capturing carbon dioxide.”

  6. It was very positive that he both asked to and was encouraged to speak at the final lunch and he made some really good points.

    There is a danger of a void in the middle ground (between warmists and skeptics, for want of better terms). Looking at conflict resolution, the importance of neutral language and non-emotive language cannot be overstated. Perhaps we need to develop some new terms. If we have a battleground, is there a reluctance to be in the ‘no man’s land’ in the middle? Or is it just that those with the loudest voices shout from the back of the battlelines?

  7. I agree that this guy was a very stand up guy.

    I do see a problem that needs to be watched for though when you allow these opponents into the society. They are primarily very progressive people in general, and progressives have a tendency to work towards infiltrating with one or two people into the leadership of such endeavors. Once they have these one or two token progressives in the leadership, they work diligently to shut out everyone else and increase their numbers. They did this with the UN., Education, Foundations and so forth. You have to make certain that ideologues of the progressive persuasion are not allowed at any level of the leadership, or it will be a short 5 years before your organization will resemble the UN IPCC.

  8. Denning strikes me as kinda nieve and so vunerable. He is like a priest going to a meeting of agnostics, not realising that so many of his fellow priests are, at some level, agnostic too. As Linzen reminds us, the science hangs on a thread of positive feedback on CO2 warming. And no one wants to discuss this. And there are some many strategies to avoid discussing it. Because such a discussion threatens the whole popular funding base for the cloister. Only a very few doomsayers prophets need lead with statements of ‘99% certainty,’ immanent collapse of greenland ice etc. Only a few need doctoring the temp stats. How many times do you see a scientist say “well, while this research of mine does not point to AGW, there is still all the other masses of evidence.” They dont want to know, or they dont want to ask…that there are no such masses. Look at Denning’s CV. He is not doing the propaganda. And its probably great research he is doing. But this research surely benefits from huge funding surge since folks like Schneider started pushing the panic buttons in the 1970s. It’s like Denning doesnt get it. It’s like he is looking for the extra-biblical evidence for the various and contradictory biblical accounts of Jesus, not realisng, as many believers will tell him, that that’s not what it is really about.

  9. Well, I think this is interesting, but this statement is disturbing:

    “And I actually feel that it’s really too bad that more of my colleagues from the scientific community… ”

    Just who the heck did he think he was addressing? The “non-scientific community?”

    Being a graduate of CSU, however, I will give him the benefit of doubt….

  10. Reminds me of the Nixon “I am not a crook” speech.
    He is a warmist make no mistake.
    Despite the conciliatory tone he references solutions to climate issues.

    Have the courage to do nothing.

  11. Curiousgeorge says:
    May 20, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    Yes, I saw the report of the ‘historic’ achievement on the news.
    They took the DNA out of a cell and inserted chemically engineered DNA.
    There are enough problems with invasive species of plants and animals getting spread around the globe without adding computer generatedl life forms to Earth. They have crossed the line.
    I defer to Steven Hawking’s take on Alien Life Forms.

  12. I found one comment from Professor Denning rather difficult to understand. Perhaps it arose from his earlier involvement in the conference and the context has evaded me. He said what was missing from the debate was “constructive solutions that come from the political faction, or whatever we want to call it, that’s represented in this room”.

    Leaving aside liquids, one can only have a solution if there is a problem. Those who don’t believe something to be a problem are unlikely to offer a solution. In a highly politicised field offering a solution on the basis: “if you’re right, this is what I’d suggest”, is a hostage to fortune and will be treated by some as acknowledgment of the problem.

    Professor Denning expressly recognised that both sides of the AGW debate are highly politicised and I think that means he is asking for the impossible.

    If the debate extends wider and looks at oil and gas usage as a problem because the raw products are becoming more expensive to extract and are supplied by some pretty unreliable countries, then solutions are offered aplenty from all political hues.

  13. Re: remarks by astonerii. “Progressive” is coming predictably into increased use but we should instead call them “progressivist.” All the same they’re often reactionary.

  14. His publication record will provide evidence of his views no matter what he said! Just like others who want to offer an Olive Branch that stand behind their past work.

  15. Ben U.,

    How about plain old “Liberal.” That’s what they are.

    A communist is just a socialist in a hurry, and a socialist is just a liberal in a hurry. They all want to take what you’ve got, and own you.

  16. Anyone who has spent the last few winters in Fort Collins is going to have a very tough time believing that the world is warming out of control.

  17. Before this debate is settled it has to address what is at its core – the precautionary principle.

    Until this is done, the lack of evidence in support of the AGW premise and the abundance of contradictory evidence that refutes it will continue to be dismissed.

  18. rbateman says:
    May 20, 2010 at 7:50 pm
    Curiousgeorge says:
    May 20, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    Yes, I saw the report of the ‘historic’ achievement on the news.
    They took the DNA out of a cell and inserted chemically engineered DNA.
    There are enough problems with invasive species of plants and animals getting spread around the globe without adding computer generatedl life forms to Earth. They have crossed the line.

    ———-

    Agree. Scariest thing yet. Scientific hubris gone totally overboard, with potential consequences too horrifying to ponder.

    [REPLY - Or wonderful. It's too soon to tell. ~ Evan]

  19. Could someone here please define “warmist”. I doesn’t seem to be in the dictionary, (duh), and as near as I can tell, Scott Denning certainly believes in the GH properties of CO2, but he says he is not a warmist, so who the [self-snip] are these “warmists”?

  20. Regarding solutions coming from the skeptic side, here is one that I could live with:
    Instituting a tax on carbon with the revenues offsetting another tax. I would be happy with a tax on carbon for a variety of reasons — it is a tax on consumption; it is widespread and therefore would make more voters tax conscious. For the tax to be replaced, I could be happy with either one of the following: corporate income tax or part of the social security tax. The corporate income tax is double taxation that causes a wide variety of inefficient (and risky) maneuvers to avoid it. On the other hand, if we could use carbon tax revenues to enable private accounts in Social Security, that would be fantastic. (Safeguards could be established in the private accounts – such as half in gov’t bonds.) The advantages of private accounts are far too numerous to list in this post. I hope this is the type of solution that Mr. Denning has in mind – it satisfies those concerned about AGW at the same time increases efficiency and proper motivation in the economic system. Of course, the big problem is the political tendency to add taxes rather than replace taxes.

  21. Sorry, Smokey. I have great respect and gratitude for all your contributions — except this last one at 8:39: “‘Ben U.,

    How about plain old “Liberal.” That’s what they are.’

    A communist is just a socialist in a hurry, and a socialist is just a liberal in a hurry. They all want to take what you’ve got, and own you.”

    So-called Conservatives forget that they have as much authoritarianism in them as do (classical) liberals. Each founding American perspective — Liberal and Conservative — viewpoint has needed the other to remind them when they get too full of themselves. Today we do not have a problem with “progressives” but with those who are out-and-out totalitarians — marxists-islamists-fascists-statists. This situation is of a different quality and very serious.

    Astonerii (7:23) has them pegged and shows the problems with the hail-fellow-well-met or he’s a good “person” back-slapping jollity: “I agree that this guy was a very stand up guy. I do see a problem that needs to be watched for though when you allow these opponents into the society. They are primarily very progressive people in general, and progressives have a tendency to work towards infiltrating with one or two people into the leadership of such endeavors. Once they have these one or two token progressives in the leadership, they work diligently to shut out everyone else and increase their numbers.”

    All we need is the science, from whatever perspective — warmist, denialist, skeptic. Just prove the science. And quit the fraud. I wish Steve McIntyre had not been so “forgiving” for all the years of hours he had to spend to try to see what the science was that was keeping out all other perspectives — and helping these authoritarians make a move toward global government by their elitist selves. When it isn’t science, then the issues becomes very serious indeed.

  22. He cautions us about falling into a, “us verses them
    paranoid point of view.”
    Thanks!

  23. R. Gates says:
    May 20, 2010 at 9:24 pm
    Could someone here please define “warmist”.

    =============================

    You.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  24. astonerii says:
    May 20, 2010 at 7:32 pm
    Once they have these one or two token progressives in the leadership, they work diligently to shut out everyone else and increase their numbers. They did this with the UN., Education, Foundations and so forth.

    The UN was founded by socialists, they didn’t need to infiltrate it.

  25. While there is no evidence that AGW is currently an issue that justifies the expense of a “solution”, the free market community would probably be receptive to a revenue neutral tax on imported oil, or petroleum products in general, even without AGW as an issue. The national security risks of dependency on foreign energy supply and policing the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz are externalities, i.e., costs associated with oil, but not reflected in its price. Politically, it should be revenue neutral, because this government already is spending and taxing too much. The question becomes, do those claiming that there is an important climate justification really want a tax like this that would have price effects that would reduce consumption enough to reduce taxes elsewhere, or are they just wanting to enrich the government with more revenue and power to implement social policies and control the economy.

  26. I appreciate Scott Denning’s participation, yet I think he may have injured himself when he said:

    “I’m an American and I believe in free enterprise and free markets”. Sadly, most of the warmists are socialists or even marxists.

    Hope he won’t be black-balled from now on.

  27. There is a real simple solution to get more of the warming crowd to the Heartland Conference. Starting a couple months before announce a list of “banned” speakers from the conference. Get some of the proxy talking heads on the cable networks excited about why Gavin and his fellow travelers can’t go and speak. Stick to your guns for awhile and then relent with lots of arm waving and saying, “we were forced by the liberal media to allow these warmists into our conference”. Everybody wins except the dorks on msnbc. Make sure you keep banning somebody for 4-5 years before everybody realizes its all a ruse. But by then its too late and you win

  28. Dr Denning seems to be a small chink in the suit of armour the other warmists are frantically trying to reinforce. Let’s hope the rust of reason sets in.

  29. REPLY – Or wonderful. It’s too soon to tell. ~ Evan.

    Yes, I heard them talking about ‘cleaning up the environment’ or ‘curing diseases’ and all those wonderful things. The latter at least seems to have some potential. The former is so fraught with huge risks that it simply doesn’t. I’m suddenly thinking of new and improved cane toads.

    Problem is, by the time we find out, the cat could be out of the bag, and it could potentially be one very big mutant cat. Or more likely zillions of microbe-sized ones, reproducing with no predators or natural control. To borrow the favourite word of the AGW gang, since it seems to fit here, it could be truly catastrophic.

    But, really, silly me… what could possibly go wrong? We’ll get the UN to watch over it. And only use peer reviewed research. And this time Big Pharma will be saints. And there won’t be any accidents or unintended consequences or unknown feedbacks.

    Sorry, Evan, but I just don’t think the potential risks are worth the potential rewards. Not that what I think matters. There’s big bucks to be made here and there’s no probably no stopping it.

    So, I hope you are right.

  30. Rhoda R says:
    May 20, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    What he calls himself is not an issue, it is what he is advocating.

    I missed his main talk, in his comments at the lunch he pointed out the overlap of interests, noting that everyone there was interested in learning how the world works. The data he sees tells him one thing, the data we see tells us something else. That’s fine, that’s how science works and it’s what focuses people on the key points.

  31. DeNihilist says:
    May 20, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    Do you know if Prof. Curry was invited?

    She wasn’t there, as far as I know. I was a bit disappointed, as I share her concern about what has happened to respect for the scientific method.

    If I go next year, I’ll encourage her to go too.

  32. An Inquirer says:
    May 20, 2010 at 9:24 pm
    “Regarding solutions coming from the skeptic side, here is one that I could live with:
    Instituting a tax on carbon with the revenues offsetting another tax. I would be happy with a tax on carbon for a variety of reasons — it is a tax on consumption; it is widespread and therefore would make more voters tax conscious.”

    Granted, a carbon sin tax would involve considerably less bureaucracy and considerably less corporate welfare than an Emissions Trading Scheme. But from an energy economics perspective, there’s a fly in the carbon-tax ointment. How so?

    First point. Compared with coal, a smaller proportion of petrol BTUs come from carbon. The rest comes from hydrogen; hence the term hydrocarbon.

    Second point. World coal reserves are much larger than reserves of easily-and-cheaply-extracted oil. The US is the Saudi Arabia of coal. And Australia is the Kuwait of coal. In the intermediate term, oil prices will increase much faster than coal prices, because we’ll need to spend a lot more money drilling into hard-to-reach deep oil deposits in places like North Dakota. And we may need to sign lopsided PSAs in order to get the benefit of advanced Russian drilling technology. In light of the current BP oil spill, we may also need to give up on drilling in mile-deep water, until it can be done more safely.

    Combining the two points, a carbon sin tax would create a smaller incentive to conserve the scarcer resource, oil, and a larger incentive to conserve the more abundant resource, coal.

    The human race would get more overall utility from our finite energy resources if we used them more efficiently. As compared with a carbon sin tax, increasing the petrol sin tax to a comparably onerous level would be more effective in promoting this goal.

    The extra revenue from either sin tax could be earmarked for transportation. In addition to highway maintenance everywhere–and bridge maintenance in Minneapolis–this should include things like purchasing easements for light rail, laying of track, and extra security at Park-and-Rides.

  33. Also from the Heartland Institute’s Fourth International Conference on Climate Change but not available in their collection of videos:

    New Ice Age ‘to begin in 2014′
    May 17, 2010
    CHICAGO – A new “Little Ice Age” could begin in just four years, predicted Habibullo Abdussamatov, the head of space research at St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in Russia.

    Abdussamatov was speaking yesterday at the Heartland Institute’s Fourth International Conference on Climate Change in Chicago, which began Sunday and ends today.

    The Little Ice Age, which occurred after an era known in scientific circles as the Medieval Warm Period, is typically defined as a period of about 200 years, beginning around 1650 and extending through 1850.

    In the first of a two-part video WND recorded at the conference, Abdussamatov explained that average annual sun activity has experienced an accelerated decrease since the 1990s. In 2005-2008, he said, the earth reached the maximum of the recent observed global-warming trend.

    More:

    http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=155225

    Dr. Habibullo Abdussamatov, Head of Space Research Laboratory at the Pulkovo Observatory and Head of the Russian-Ukranian project Astrometria on the Russian Segment of the International Space Station. Based on analysis of sun spot activity predicts coming of a new Little Ice Age. Heartland Institute Fourth International Climate Conference, Chicago, Illinois, Monday, May 17, 2010.

    Part 1 of Abdussamatov’s speech

    Part 2 of Abdussamatov’s speech

  34. [REPLY - Or wonderful. It's too soon to tell. ~ Evan]
    By all means!!!! Surely, we haven’t seen enough of unintended consequences. We should have more. I can almost bare more, but not quite. It is insipidly stupid to charge ahead with things we haven’t even the remote grasp of the consequences. No one seems to ask, “just because we can, does that mean we should?”. With the current progression of man’s abilities, there isn’t much we can’t do, but it has always been that way. Oddly, we’ve never learned the well known lesson of Pandora’s box. Hope and Redemption is all that is left. I wouldn’t risk Redemption in favor of hope. It’s a bad bet.

  35. It seems there are crazy ideologues on both sides of this debate. Crazy, idealistic progressives who blindly take the word of scientists whose careers have been built on catastrophic predictions, and crazy, idealist conservatives who are skeptics simply because progressives are on the opposite side of the fence.

    I’m a liberal, progressive democrat, and quite a strong skeptic. Can we please keep all that tea party trash talking out of here? This is supposed to be about science, not liberal-bashing. There are plenty of conservatives who take the skeptic side for all the wrong reasons, and think progressives take up the AGW cause purely for cynical and sininster reasons, which is simply not the case. Most progressives actually believe the stuff scientists tell them, because they don’t know science very well, and then they take the very sensible position that something must be done about it, and governments need to step in. If the AGW science were right, then that would be the right course of action to take. So the fault is not with the progressives, as far as I can see, but with the scientific community which has fallen into a self-created logic loop they can’t seem to get out of yet.

  36. I also wondered about Dr. Curry.

    I have a suggestion to all who have academic or scientific professional status: Make a project of some person on the alarmist side with whom you have some professional contact and insist that they attend ICCC5, and put up or shut up on the matter of “engaging” critics. These guys, for example, would like to be regarded as “embracers of dialog”, as

    the two main researchers heading up the $35-million project say one of their first tasks is to deal with those who claim man-made climate change is a bunch of hooey.

    But then they also say

    “There is still a lot of unknowns,” said Søren Rysgaard, head of the Greenland Climate Research Centre at the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources. “If people think that everything is known about climate, they’re totally wrong. There is a lot of things we don’t know.”

    and

    “I avoid getting into scientific debates with people who aren’t scientific. I can meet somebody who says, ‘You know what? The Earth is only 6,000 years old. Some people firmly believe that. I do not. I deal with what I believe is the real situation and I try to inform the public about that.”

    Wouldn’t it be great if we could get these guys to come out?

  37. #
    pyromancer76 says:

    … When it isn’t science, then the issues becomes very serious indeed.

    The issue has always been the science and only science can clear it up. That will take real work, consistent data collection and analysis, and some serious theoretical work, once that is well developed there may actually be a few scientists out there who actually have a productive idea of how climate works, or if the idea is even a useful one scientifically.

    The PROBLEM is politicians, “activists,” and ambulance-chasing lawyers, especially lawyers, who push “issues.” It reasonable that many AGW theorists are perfectly sincere and perfectly sure that the world is going to hell in a handbasket. Every stripe of politician, and their priests, pastors and bishops too, seem to have been assuring us of this for decades. Humanity has always had a fascination with apocalypse and as one fades there are always individuals in the wings ready to serve up a new one. Consider revolvers, semiautomatic pistols, DDT, silicon implants, the coming ice age, deforestation, asbestos, lead paint, carbon cap and trade, and the myriad other non-problems that have marked the last 150 years alone. This doesn’t count the religious fringes and their repeated and repeated and repeated apocalyptic expectations, just secular apocalypses.

    Also, note that most of these are not serious in any real, human experiential terms. People make them ideologically serious, regardless of facts, real science and knowledge. Not even carbon taxes, stupid and meaningless as they are, are really going to produce an apocalypse any more than AGW would or has.

  38. Al Gored Said, “…with potential consequences too horrifying to ponder.”

    Isn’t that like the precautionary principle mixed with “It’s worse than we thought” that gives many of us the Tom Tits.

    Michael

  39. Seems a genuine guy & came across as sincere. Perhaps understandably whilst pointing out the issues of political agenda in the science he apparently observed at the Heartland Conference, he avoided high-lighting the “political agendum” of the “warmist” side of the non-debate that has taken place for almost 20 years of settled science! We all want to see world hunger, poverty, & depravation solved, the issues are how one goes about it, but for me at least, a Marxist Socialist Global Goverenment that would be unelected, undemocratic, unaccountable, & rather more importantly, unsackable, that would as is the Socialist want, IMPOSE its will upon one & all (except of course the self-promoting, self-enriching, venal, mendacious, politcal classes, clique & claque), is NOT the way forward! I can’t stand people who claim they know what’s best for me & mine. Woops, didn’t wish to let my magnanimity show through quite so much. Sarc off!

  40. conradg:
    I’m behind you 100 %. I’m a progressive myself, but I’m very skeptical of human made AGW. I’m not a scientist (just a journalist covering scientific and technical stuff since 30+ years). I’ve been interested in science since I was a kid.
    Thus I get very frustrated when right- or left-wingers try to hijack important scientific issues for political reasons. This is the best climate blog I’ve found so far, but sometimes the anti-liberal ranting by some commenters gets a bit heavy to stomach…

  41. Yes but he talks about the “political response”. Does this response include what Monckton calls “the courage to do nothing?”

  42. Not exactly on topic but not far off?
    Hans Jelbring, PhD in Climatology: http://ruby.fgcu.edu/courses/twimberley/EnviroPhilo/PolGreenhouse.pdf

    exposes the UN IPCC’s greenhouse gas effect ‘theory’ in four ways:
    1. The high school approach.
    2. Observational evidence
    3. Advanced theoretical considerations
    4. Politicized science

    He includes a strong comment by William Gilbert, a scientist in chemistry and chemical engineering, who expresses alarm at the UN IPCC’s ‘theory’ contradicting basic science.

    Understanding that the UN IPCC’s radiative warming effect is nonsense seems to be strong among scientists in chemistry. They deal with the fundamentals.

  43. savethesharks says:
    May 20, 2010 at 10:00 pm
    R. Gates says:
    May 20, 2010 at 9:24 pm
    Could someone here please define “warmist”.
    =============================
    You.
    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

    Oh Man!, I’ve got to stop reading this site at work!

    Now everyone in the office thinks I am nuts after the fit of giggles that obvious answer brought on.

    Thanks Chris, cheered me up no end.

    Alan

  44. Great conference – and glad to see someone (2 guys) make an effort to learn rather than ‘defend’.

    Unfortunately – the ‘need’ for a Heartland Conference like this is actually just a response to the problem: closed, clubby, agenda-driven post-modern ‘science’.

    If discourse were truly happening on a scientific basis (honest, open) – the driver for the Conference would disappear.

  45. O/T but important?

    “US geneticist Craig Venter’s ambition is to create organisms that are not only new, but lucrative”

    He’s created a basic organism from scratch and “has secured a deal with the oil giant ExxonMobil to create algae that can absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert it into fuel — an innovation he believes could be worth more than a trillion dollars.

    This must be the most scary and misguided thing I have heard in a long time.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/may/20/craig-venter-synthetic-life-genome

  46. toby: May 21, 2010 at 12:47 am
    Calling him a “warmist” when he insists he is not does not show much respect.

    Nope. Inviting him to take part in the conference shows that he *is* respected. Saying he’s a “warmist” is merely being truthful about his particular point of view.

  47. Michael Larkin: May 21, 2010 at 2:24 am
    He’s created a basic organism from scratch and “has secured a deal with the oil giant ExxonMobil to create algae that can absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert it into fuel — an innovation he believes could be worth more than a trillion dollars.
    This must be the most scary and misguided thing I have heard in a long time.

    I hope he doesn’t decide to spend too much quality time with his “children” in a sealed lab…

  48. “He’s created a basic organism from scratch and “has secured a deal with the oil giant ExxonMobil to create algae that can absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert it into fuel …”

    How is that different from what algae and other photosynthesizing plants do now?

  49. Denning recommends policies based on facts, not the other way around. Unfortunately, even facts can drive bad policy if they are partial. If a car is approaching, should I cross the street? Based on this fact, I might say no, but what if I revealed that the car was approaching a red light at my intersection and slowing in speed? Or what if I said the car was approaching from 10 miles away? Based on these additional facts, I might say yes.

    He also calls for solutions from people who are skeptics of AGW.
    – If facts indicate that GW really is a problem and there is no way for humans to stop it, then it seems political solutions would be around facilitating adaptation and migration.
    – If facts indicate that GW is not a serious problem, then political solutions would be related to addressing damage caused by overstated alarm and reversing unnecessary taxing and other restrictions to economic growth.

  50. #
    #
    An Inquirer says:
    May 20, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    Regarding solutions coming from the skeptic side, here is one that I could live with:
    Instituting a tax on carbon with the revenues offsetting another tax. … Of course, the big problem is the political tendency to add taxes rather than replace taxes.
    _______________________________________________________________________

    Actually the big problem is the taxes you and I pay do NOT go towards running our government. The Grace Commission report notes that 100% of personal income tax goes to pay interest on the national debt, the lion’s share of which goes to the banking cartel that we know as the Federal Reserve. see: http://www.bloggernews.net/17032

    This is why there is such big money behind every idiotic expansion of our governments. Government borrows the money for the bureaucratic expansion from the central banks and the banks get to collect another slice of our wealth (labor) in return for their monopoly money and give it to our governments. It is really very simple. “Liberals, Socialists, and Progressives are the easiest to manipulate into the “everyone has a right to “fill-in the blank” and the government has to pay for it, so they are given media and monetary support. Groups like the libertarians that advocate small government and personal responsibility are going to be in for a smear campaign and ridicule.

    “Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people.” Theodore Roosevelt

    I suggest everyone read:

    Evidence of Mr. Graham Towers: Governor of the Bank of Canada, (at the time), appearing in 1939, before the COMMITTEE ON BANKING AND COMERCE:
    A Primer on Money, House Banking and Currency Committee, 1964

    More controversial reading:
    The creature from Jekyll Island: the Federal Reserve: A talk by G. Edward Griffin
    Secrets of the Federal Reserve: The London Connection by Eustace Mullins

  51. There is an accusation of fraud levied against Don Easterbrook’s presentation make
    at Heartland. I’m not impressed with the cited typo, nor the fact that Easterbrook
    may have made adjustments to some already-existing graphics. (Seems efficient to me, if they were in public domain…? Why re-invent a wheel?)

    I cannot deal with the substance of the charge. Someone should. It’s here:

    http://hot-topic.co.nz/cooling-gate-easterbrook-fakes-his-figures-hides-the-incline/

    TGIF! And a pleasantly warm one, here in Virginia. …Lady in Red

  52. R. Gates says:
    May 20, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    Q: Could someone here please define “warmist”
    A: Anyone who takes on faith the supposition of human-induced via fossil fuel-burning climate change, and, more broadly, in the conclusions of IPCC AR4 which are based on that supposition.

    Yes, Dr. Scott Denning seems an affable fellow, and kudos to him for attending the conference. I do have to wonder though, what he actually learned. Perhaps he could give a post here.

  53. Why should the chief priests of Global Warming accept the invitation? They have always been about keeping things close-knit and closed. Why won’t they share their data, even when legally required to do so? Why is they control a big part of the peer-review process? Why is they are always saying the science is settled and thus trying to silence debate? Gavin Schmidt, Michael Mann, James Hansen, Phil Jones, and Al Gore would never attend. This conference is all about everything they are against, namely openness and scientific integrity.

  54. Anthony…. Are you “gating” comments? If there is a need for that, you might notify
    posters of the fact, that comments will “seem” to disappear into a hole, which they
    await your approval…? …L in R

  55. I now see “awating” moderation about my comment awaiting moderation.

    However, I have lost two others, essentially identical, in the dust bin.

    None of these need to be posted. Trash them all, but do deal with the Easterbrook
    charge, as appropriate.

    And check your dust bin. ….L in R

  56. All right. I have lost three messages to the dust bin about the fraud against
    Easterbrook. You won’t accept a message with a link…? Is that it?

    Well, then: go to ClimateProgress and look at early comments to Romm’s latest post.
    There is a reference to Easterbrook fraud there. I won’t post the link a third time.

    [Reply: Your messages were in the Spam filter. They are rescued and posted now. WordPress puts comments into spam based on keywords and links. They don't disclose their algorithm. There were several comments from others among the spam, and they have now been posted. It is nothing personal. If you don't see your comment posted after a reasonable amount of time, make a comment about it and a moderator will check the Spam filter. WUWT gets a huge amount of spam, and dealing with it is a low priority compared with moderating the several hundred comments in the queue that come in daily. There is also better moderator coverage during the busier times of the day, than in than the wee hours. ~dbs, mod.]

  57. Wow. Just lost a third message. What are your posting rules? What messages do
    you automatically trash?

    Are your rules posted somewhere? I must admit, trying to be helpful, this is very very annoying. …Lady in Red

  58. The people at WUWT are showing that many minds on a problem are better than an individual secluding himself creating an answer. This is how science was created.
    Many areas in science are incorrect and have been passed down for generations.
    To have the right to pick apart science to make it better should be encouraged.
    But alas, the current mindset is “crack pot” to any individual who tries.

  59. RE: The Venter story. Besides the rather obvious potential uses of this technology, one must wonder what the response of the natural world might be to this new invader. We already have plenty of experience with invasive species ( Kudzu for example ) . How would “natural” species evolve over time to deal with it? This would obviously be a new competitor in the evolutionary boxing ring, and I have to believe that the other competitors would adapt in some unknown manner, similar to the issues we now have with anti-biotic resistant diseases, etc..

    I would prefer not to find out what that response is.

  60. ******************
    vjones says:
    May 20, 2010 at 7:11 pm
    It was very positive that he both asked to and was encouraged to speak at the final lunch and he made some really good points.

    There is a danger of a void in the middle ground (between warmists and skeptics, for want of better terms). Looking at conflict resolution, the importance of neutral language and non-emotive language cannot be overstated. Perhaps we need to develop some new terms. If we have a battleground, is there a reluctance to be in the ‘no man’s land’ in the middle? Or is it just that those with the loudest voices shout from the back of the battlelines?
    *****************
    There is no scientific value in compromise or seeking the middle ground unless the truth happens to lie there. Otherwise, it is a waste of time and other resources.

  61. The problem however would subsist af far as belief possitions are held by leading institutions, as your Academy of Sciences. These should always remain open, free to accept and discuss alternative explanation of how things work. If this is not possible then “market competivity” as Prof.Denning remarked should open the possibility for the creation of divergent and competitive institutions.
    The gap is to big to be closed, if one thinks of the “manniatic “armageddonian hockey stick or those Hansennian trains of….where non believers would supposedly be sent to, obviously, reeducational camps.

  62. To everyone who said they would be for a carbon tax if the tax went to something really good, like offsetting another tax or on our infrastructure, I want you to look into North Carolina’s Highway Trust Fund tax. I live in North Carolina and several years ago the state raised gas taxes. That gas tax was supposed to go into a special fund called the Highway Trust Fund. For a few years it did. But then the state faced a “budget shortfall”. The Highway Trust Fund was robbed. The extra gas tax no longer goes toward roads but into to the general tax base. And still does. I have more. About 3 or 4 years ago, the state illegally passed a lottery. To sell it to the public, we were told the lottery would ADD to the general education fund. To this day, it is called an education lottery. However, after it passed, it became clear that the “education” lottery REPLACED education money. The schools received no extra money (although it did open up a few college scholarships).

    Here is the point: Governments lack the ability to leave taxes alone. If a carbon tax for infrastructure is passed, it will not be long before that carbon tax goes to some boondoggle. Don’t be naive. My state is a prime example of what will go wrong with the carbon tax for infrastructure idea. Notice I said that this will happen, not might happen.

  63. R. Gates says:
    May 20, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    “Could someone here please define “warmist””

    Gates, that is a part of the problem. And its a problem for the warmists to solve, not for us.

    If the warmists could make a document of, say, 3-4 pages declaring what the theory is, from scratch, and a method on detecting whether it “holds water”, then we could all, on both side of “the fence” say; Okay, I support this theory, because this or that, or opposite.

    Additionally, when my son is about this in school, I could address it to the teachers. They could show me what they are teaching, and why. Now they cannot.

    As it is now, and of course, its a part of the Post Normal Science strategy, it is impossible to say what you believe in. Its snowing more, its snowing less.Its colder here, its colder there. The goal-post is moved all the time. Therefore it is not science.

    And therefore we dont really know what a warmer is.

    My personal definition is; Any-one who gets upset when I say I dont think CO2 is a pollutant, and I dont think its a dominant climate driving force. Its neglectable.

    If he/she additionally mentions Arrhenius,Planck, Boltzmann, etc, then the diagnosis is certain.

  64. I do not understand why Denning is calling for people to come up with political solutions when the people he is addressing feel the science indicates no problem exists. Really. What problem is he talking about? In Denning’s mind, what political goal needs to be achieved? I’m totally baffled by his comments.

  65. Exactly what I’ve been saying on this site time and time again. If the Skeptical case appears to be emanating solely from the Right side of politics, it will alienate the Left. And thus you’ll see time and time again your arguments met with links to the likes of Sourcewatch and Exxonsecrets.

    This isn’t supposed to be about Left vs Right.

    While skepticism of AGW remains a solely Right wing cause celebre it will remain marginalized and ridiculed by the mass media.

  66. I read the BBC report. It’s truly a shame how the reporter “knows” the science so well that no question of accuracy or content should trouble his mind. Supercilious mocking isn’t reporting.

    I dare say that the reporter neither raised the cotton, picked it, nor ginned it, prior to weaving it into his textile garment. He couldn’t have been wearing an English wool suit, could he? If so, how un-green of him. What sailing ship did he take for his Atlantic crossing?
    /sarc

  67. I applaud him for attending and participating.

    However…

    I found his comments about “what you guys should be doing” to be arrogant, implying that there is some middle ground “our side” should be seeking.

    No, it is always about the physics. If the physics, which as he states operates independently of whatever is happening politically, indicates that CO2 isn’t a problem, then the politics of climate change is flawed from the start. He fails to comprehend that there is no basis for ANY policy decision regarding energy if it is based on global warming as a credible threat.

    There is no middle ground.

  68. Denning is “Director for Education, Outreach and Diversity” for CMMAP at Colorado State University. “CMMAP educates and trains a diverse population in climate and Earth System Science by enhancing teaching and learning at all educational levels, disseminating science results through multiple media, engaging stakeholders and policymakers, and improving science pedagogy.” Does re-education sound familiar, Comrade?

    Looking at Denning’s slides, and his explanation of CO2 forcing; he makes the same mistakes as Tyndall and Arrhenius, in not considering the two primary mechanisms, conduction and convection, that transport heat from the surface to the top of the Troposphere. Like most of the folks with advanced degrees in “Atmospheric Science” or “Climate Science”, he likely chose the field because of yearnings to do something about the environment or to be popular, and also like most of the folks with advanced degrees in these fields, no science was ever considered, only “settled science”, and how to get that word to the masses. (These folks are commonly referred to as “warmists”.)

    If Denning wants to do something about solving the problem of anthropogenic global warming, he should start by studying thermodynamics and heat transfer in atmospheric physics, and then write letters to the masses he has misled; explaining that there isn’t any AGW.

    BWD

  69. When you listen and speak to someone from a ‘foreign country’ there are the significant problems of background and perspective, as well as, language and nuance which separate you.

    “Science” is managed, funded, and controlled by non-scientists. Until scientists refuse to be slaves to their masters (dare I say whores to their pimps) they will continue to be slaves and have masters, and they and their “science” will be subject to external controls which have nothing to do with truth.

    Just thought I’d reiterate the obvious. Some still think of the ways of the world in an outdated paradigm. This is the Age of Chaos, of Global Village Economics, and of Big Brother (or Sis) & the MSM.

  70. The only way Al Baby would have followers: By making them
    ROME – Catholic Church officials said Friday the recent creation by researchers of the first synthetic cell can be a positive development if correctly used, but warned scientists that only God can create life

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100521/ap_on_re_eu/eu_catholic_church_synthetic_cell

    But HE is already God, and with this new technique he will produce “Bedwetters” for the millions. Remember Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World”? LOL

  71. FatBigot says:
    May 20, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    “Leaving aside liquids, one can only have a solution if there is a problem.”

    We’ve been debating this at Pielke Jr’s place.

    Nuclear power is cost competitive with fossil fuels if the fossil fuels have a cost of $4/Million BTU’s. The cost of a ton of 25 million BTU is $105 delivered to New England, $80 delivered to the Carolina’s. Do Senators Kerry,Lieberman and Graham believe in Climate Change or Cheap Electricity?

    When folks talk about cheap electricity from cheap coal they talk about the price of coal in Wyoming. Most people live on either coast. The price of delivering the coal to either coast is prohibitive.

  72. Dr. Denning speaks of facts. Ok. Then I put to Denning, Little Ice Age, fact or fiction? If fact: based on a consensus I see in the scholarly (other than climatologists) community; what does it tell us about natural variability in the climate, and what would be the dangers of another little ice age? What would the repercussions be of an extensive June frost in the American corn belt? Does Dr. Denning agree that it is historic fact that there was an extensive June frost in the states of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan on the morning of June 5, 1859 during the Little Ice Age? What do models say would happen to the worldwide price of grains if we had a killing June frost in the nation’s corn belt that cut harvest by 20, 30, or 40 percent?

  73. I know what he is thinking. He comes from near Denver and they have had a fine amount of snowflakes more recently called goreflakes falling just this month. He feels guilty and calling him a Warmist adds to the internal guilt. Warmists say global warming causes snowfall to increase.

    The rational mind says not so. It looks like he may be getting weary fighting rational feelings.
    Now it would be climate change if the Sahara was covered with snow. It would not be global warming.

  74. Larry Fields says: “Combining the two points, a carbon sin tax would create a smaller incentive to conserve the scarcer resource, oil, and a larger incentive to conserve the more abundant resource, coal.”
    Larry, that is a good point. Such a good point that I would modify my proposal: A revenue-neutral BTU tax on fossil fuels. Perhaps that would not encourage oil at the expense of coal. At the same time, I would get rid of all the other subsidies for solar and wind. This aid (of taxing fossil fuels) should be enough help if solar and wind are viable.
    We need to emphasize that the revenues collected via such a “sin” tax need to reduce taxes elsewhere — especially taxes that undermine our national goals.

  75. A solution for the professor. Convert as much of the electric generation capacity as possible to nuclear as quickly as you can. Tear down those stupid, useless, expensive wind farms, then hope that the planet really is warming because I have never yet heard a rational argument that warmer is worse.

    How many places on Earth are empty of people becasue they are too warm? Too dry sure, but too warm? Compare that to the places that are empty because they are too cold. In addition how many cold ecosystems are known for their huge “diversity”.

    My solution: Warm the planet if at all possible, at least a couple of degrees.

  76. pyromancer76 May 20, 2010 at 9:24 pm,

    Sorry pyromancer, I overstepped with the “liberal” part. Also, IANAC, more of a small “L” libertarian. Actually, a Constitutional originalist. Socially liberal, fiscally very conservative. Limited government was the way the country was set up, and it served us extremely well. Now, it’s Katie bar the door.

  77. John Hooper says:
    May 21, 2010 at 6:33 am
    If the Skeptical case appears to be emanating solely from the Right side of politics, it will alienate the Left.
    That “appearance” is completely false, of course, and is just a convenient straw man argument for Warmists. The issue is being exploited by both sides of the political spectrum, and that is too bad. It is the Warmists who are to blame for that.
    Frankly though, I feel sorry for anyone who can’t see through the politics to the actual scientific issues. Those Warmist blinders are quite effective in not allowing people to see. In some cases perhaps they’ve been on so long it’s as though they are glued on.

  78. BigWaveDave says:
    May 21, 2010 at 6:51
    Looking at Denning’s slides, and his explanation of CO2 forcing; he makes the same mistakes as Tyndall and Arrhenius, in not considering the two primary mechanisms, conduction and convection, that transport heat from the surface to the top of the Troposphere. Like most of the folks with advanced degrees in “Atmospheric Science” or “Climate Science”, he likely chose the field because of yearnings to do something about the environment or to be popular, and also like most of the folks with advanced degrees in these fields, no science was ever considered, only “settled science”, and how to get that word to the masses. (These folks are commonly referred to as “warmists”.)

    If Denning wants to do something about solving the problem of anthropogenic global warming, he should start by studying thermodynamics and heat transfer in atmospheric physics, and then write letters to the masses he has misled; explaining that there isn’t any AGW.

    The conduction and convection and energy transfer is massive. Just the power and lack of heat in a downdraft and wind sheer tell us a lot of warming cause heat is rapidly lost. Some of the 10 cent lab experiments us bottles and assume no wind, lift or motion.
    Your post covers lot of science.

  79. harrywr2 says:
    May 21, 2010 at 7:27 am

    “…………When folks talk about cheap electricity from cheap coal they talk about the price of coal in Wyoming. Most people live on either coast. The price of delivering the coal to either coast is prohibitive.”

    When did Pennsylvania run out of coal? It’s too much to move coal from Idaho over one state? Who told you that? There is a coal train that runs through a little town I work in. It comes from the Dakotas (I’m not sure which one) and runs to south Oklahoma. Runs through about once a week. Seems its worth it for Oakies. I agree, nuclear is cost competitive in term of energy, but to state coal transport is cost prohibitive is something of a stretch, especially when one considers the cost of energy for the end users on either coast. I live on a rural electric coop, so my cost is significantly higher than most municipalities. My cost? 10 cents/kwh. That 10 cents is enough to keep the coop running and engage in largess and the wholesaler to make a significant profit. Our energy mix is over 50% coal fired electricity. The municipalities in this area typically run about 7 cents/kwh and everybody still remains viable. Of course this will all change and be significantly more expensive with the adoption of “smart grid” technologies.

  80. Smokey:

    You are arriving at a very intelligent conclusion: NO more tax funded science research, privatize science related agencies. The best example of private success: The winners of the X-Prize. Made a spaceship with a 20 million budget.

    http://www.scaled.com/

  81. conradg says:
    May 21, 2010 at 12:25 am
    “I’m a liberal, progressive democrat, and quite a strong skeptic.”
    —–
    goranj says:
    May 21, 2010 at 1:41 am
    “I’m behind you 100 %. I’m a progressive myself, but I’m very skeptical of human made AGW. “

    Agreed with both of you. Someones political opinion should not come into this. Don’t be destracted from the AGW line of attack.

    Not all sceptics are right-wing (like me) and not all right-wingers are sceptics. The same goes for left wing.

    http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressRoom.Speeches&ContentRecord_id=B87E3AAD-802A-23AD-4FC0-8E02C7BB8284

  82. A “revenue neutral” tax is nothing but wishful thinking. This proposed tax would end up only as putting more of our money in the hands of politicians to waste, “buying more votes”

    The simple fact is, western civilization can’t afford it. Can’t survive it. It will destroy our way of life completely.

    Spain has wasted lots of money, spending it on “renewable” energy schemes, and Spain now has an unemployment rate of more than 20%. Taxes, mostly, cause dire harm to any economy. The greater the taxation rate, the more harm to the economy it does. The higher the consumer cost of fuel, the poorer the economy will perform.

    The whole EU is in dire economic straits as of right now. There are “interesting times” coming in the near future. Not only for Europe, but for the rest of the world as well. As the old adage goes, “waste not, want not”. We ignore history at our peril.

  83. If you witness a crime and say nothing you are part of the problem. I don’t know where Denning has been on the flawed UN reports and the warmists “scien-tists” that wrote it, but if he has not been vocal on the abuses he remains part of the problem.

  84. Good on Dr Denning to attend and speak, but the main message I took from him was was “Don’t be too radical or your political message won’t be heard”. It was only a thinly veiled group directed ad hominen attack in my mind. “You are conservative therefore you deny.”

    And to Mr. R Gates, who wanted to someone to define “warmist”, I go to the Climate debate daily webisite and modify the header above the left column a bit to define a warmist as the following…

    “A person who believes the idea that global warming poses a clear threat to humanity, that it is largely caused by human activity, and that solutions to the problems of climate change lie within human reach.”

    Whether the label “warmist” is “fair” can be compared to whether “denialist” is “fair.”

  85. This is OT but related. I am 60 and live in Prince George BC Canada. Back when I was a kid my ma said never plant befor May 24. That has always been true. This weekend its dipping down to zero and right now its snowing.

  86. Well, that’s very nice. Now the alarmists are saying the science is not settled so why are the skeptics claiming it is. If we were JUST “doing science” and searching for the truth of the real world, that would be fine, but we’re not. We’re being told we have to reduce our carbon footprint back to 1867 levels. We’re being told our economy has to die.

    So if the scientists now say the science is NOT settled, why don’t they all tell the politicians that? Why doesn’t the IPCC say, “We don’t really know what is going on, so just hold off on that cap & trade for a bit.”

    But the do not, and THAT is the problem.

  87. I’m fascinated by all these comments about Dr. Curry. IMO, she is more like a Trojan horse that someone who really wants to understand the science. She made up her mind long ago and most of her olive branches have a thorn or two embedded in the text. Maybe she really believes what she says or maybe she is just very clever in the way she seems to disarm the “competition”.

  88. Al Gored: May 20, 2010 at 10:57 pm
    Problem is, by the time we find out, the cat could be out of the bag, and it could potentially be one very big mutant cat. Or more likely zillions of microbe-sized ones, reproducing with no predators or natural control.

    Or zillions of unicellular Tribbles.

    What could possibly go wrong?

  89. Jim says:
    May 21, 2010 at 5:55 am
    There is no scientific value in compromise or seeking the middle ground unless the truth happens to lie there. Otherwise, it is a waste of time and other resources.
    I agree, however science has been the loser in this debate. My comment is that normal scientific debate about this issue is hampered by the current situation and that science needs to come to that middle ground for discussion – on many issues certainly there will be no agreement. So yes in this case I am agreeing with Judy Curry for better disucussion of scientific issues.

    OTOH if there is a need to shout from the battlelines to expose some of the climate ‘tricks’, then so be it. There are many who deserve no quarter.

    At the end of the day, what I heard at the conference was a desire to improve understanding of the climate and that is common ground. In any other field healthy debate would move the science forward and the entrenchment of views is regrettable in this case.

    And yes it would be good to find out what Scott Denning learned.

  90. ‘only two ‘warmists’ accepted my invitation to participate: Scott Denning of Colorado State University and Tam Hunt, a consultant on renewable energy and a lecturer at UC Santa Barbara’s School of Environmental Science & Management.’

    So only two up standing citizens and proper scientists in the warmist camp? That’s it?

    Either the warmists are making too many presumptions or they’re really that friggin cheeky.

  91. Michael in Sydney says:
    May 21, 2010 at 12:55 am
    Al Gored Said, “…with potential consequences too horrifying to ponder.”

    Isn’t that like the precautionary principle mixed with “It’s worse than we thought” that gives many of us the Tom Tits.

    Michael

    ———-

    I get what you are saying but in the case of this ‘synthetic biology’ with people tinkering with DNA and creating new life forms – with scientific hubris, the profit motive, and the potential for accidents and unknown unintended consequences – I think the potential for disaster here is far greater than anything else I can imagine. And to compound this idiocy they are even talking about applying this to geoengineering to save us from AGW!

    I’m no Chicken Little or devotee to the stupid Precautionary Principle but, in my opinion, this is truly insane Mad Scientist material. The potential rewards are simply not worth the potential risks.

    Since you are in Australia, I’ll repeat again… how do you like the idea of new and improved cane toads on a microbe level?

    And for what?

  92. Bill Tuttle says:
    May 21, 2010 at 11:14 am
    Al Gored: May 20, 2010 at 10:57 pm
    Problem is, by the time we find out, the cat could be out of the bag, and it could potentially be one very big mutant cat. Or more likely zillions of microbe-sized ones, reproducing with no predators or natural control.

    Or zillions of unicellular Tribbles.

    What could possibly go wrong?

    —————

    I don’t know what Tribbles are… ? But, yes, what could possibly go wrong? It will all be peer reviewed, Big Pharma is entirely trustworthy and infallible – especially if the WHO monitors the situation – and it will all be backed by a consensus of experts.

    It could even be used to produce safe cigarettes.

  93. Jimbo says:
    May 21, 2010 at 8:32 am
    conradg says:
    May 21, 2010 at 12:25 am
    “I’m a liberal, progressive democrat, and quite a strong skeptic.”
    —–
    goranj says:
    May 21, 2010 at 1:41 am
    “I’m behind you 100 %. I’m a progressive myself, but I’m very skeptical of human made AGW. “

    Agreed with both of you. Someones political opinion should not come into this. Don’t be destracted from the AGW line of attack.

    Not all sceptics are right-wing (like me) and not all right-wingers are sceptics. The same goes for left wing.

    ——

    Very true. But the ‘us v them’ manipulators who use this simplistic thinking to divide and conquer have done a fine job of setting up this false dichotomy, haven’t they?

  94. James Sexton says:
    May 21, 2010 at 8:23 am

    “When did Pennsylvania run out of coal? It’s too much to move coal from Idaho over one state? Who told you that?”

    Prices of ‘delivered steam coal’ by state for 2008. $105 for New Jersey, $79 for North Carolina, $90 for New Hampshire.

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/coal/page/acr/table34.html

    Here is a list of coal production by state. Pennsylvania once produced 227 million tons per year(in 1918). That down to 64 million tons per year.

    http://www.nma.org/pdf/c_production_state_rank.pdf

    One doesn’t need to ‘run out of coal’ before mining it becomes less then profitable.
    As with all things, we tend to use of the ‘cheap stuff’ first.

    According to the USGS there are only 10 billion tons of ‘cheap coal’ left in Wyoming.

    http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2008/1202/

    In 2002 a ton of coal in China was worth $27. Today a ton of coal in China is worth $116. They burned up all their cheap coal. Sames goes for India. Same goes for the Europeans.

    In selected regions of the US there isn’t any cheap coal left. Other regions have 20 or 30 years worth of cheap coal left.

    If we started building nuclear power plants at the rate of 1/month it would take 40 years to replace all the coal fired electricity plants.

  95. Curiousgeorge says:
    May 21, 2010 at 5:28 am
    RE: The Venter story. Besides the rather obvious potential uses of this technology, one must wonder what the response of the natural world might be to this new invader. We already have plenty of experience with invasive species ( Kudzu for example ) . How would “natural” species evolve over time to deal with it?

    —–

    That’s one big kicker. Time. The current problems with invasive species is just a hint of the potential problems; they are natural species at least. When you introduce something which could potentially be so new and ‘alien’ the ‘natural’ species that have been coevolving over time may not have enough time to adapt at all. Dominoes. Eventually they will but the resulting surviving ecosystem and species may not be anything like what we might hope it would be. Things are working out great for Kudzu. Evolution marches on.

    Consider the impact of the smallpox virus on Native Americans (North and South) post-1492. And that only directly impacted those humans (and indirectly impacted the whole ecosystem). This kind of stuff could potentially impact far more.

    How about a ‘new and improved’ mitochondria? By accident. Oops.

    How about just tweaking with wheat or rice, or their pathogens? That seems like a noble idea, in theory. And what could possibly go wrong?

    As an earlier poster put it… Pandora’s Box. And I just don’t see how the rewards could possibly be worth the risks.

  96. Carbon is evil =>Carbon must be restricted => Carbon tax would restrict carbon=>

    tax dollars fund CO2 warming research => findings carbon is bad and it is getting hotter=> collect more taxes => fund more research to find CO2 causes warming

    They want more taxes to fund research that will tell them to collect more taxes to fund more research that says CO2 causes warming.

  97. @ Al Gored says:
    May 21, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    That’s one big kicker. Time.

    This is all over the news today with all kinds of pro and con comments and people lining up on both sides of it. Venter has been known to be a little “out there” with his research, and generally doesn’t give rats patoot about how his research may be used by others who may have less than the best interests of humanity in mind. While I have no particular objection to basic research, I think the controls of potentially dangerous developments such as this are hugely inadequate.

  98. I was very impressed by Dr. Denning’s presentation. I was equally impressed by the polite and cordial reception given him by the conference attendees.

  99. Kinda pretentious and illuminating that he said “its too bad more of my colleagues in the scientific community didn’t attend,” as if the skeptic scientists are not part of that community….. tells us who he really regards as his colleagues.

  100. @ Al Gored says:
    May 21, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    PS: “Not with a bang, but a whimper.” ? Perhaps T.S. Elliot was prophetic after all.

  101. Al Gored Said

    “..Since you are in Australia, I’ll repeat again… how do you like the idea of new and improved cane toads on a microbe level? ”

    Yes my previous post was just trying to poke a bit of fun, I hope you’ll indulge me :)

    Improved cane toads – all for it if they can make them tasty or at least able to play footy a bit better ;)

  102. BigWaveDave says:

    Looking at Denning’s slides, and his explanation of CO2 forcing; he makes the same mistakes as Tyndall and Arrhenius, in not considering the two primary mechanisms, conduction and convection, that transport heat from the surface to the top of the Troposphere…

    If Denning wants to do something about solving the problem of anthropogenic global warming, he should start by studying thermodynamics and heat transfer in atmospheric physics, and then write letters to the masses he has misled; explaining that there isn’t any AGW.

    Really…Could you elaborate on this? How a large a mechanism is conduction in the atmosphere? How do you understand the thermodynamics to work? In particular, let’s focus on the energy emitted to space. Are you saying that increasing greenhouse gases so that the radiative emission is now coming from levels of the atmosphere that are colder will not result in a radiative imbalance?

  103. Granted this man is naive in many ways. I congratulate him for stepping forward and speaking. But he misses the mark by a mile.

    It’s clear he regards his colleagues of “scientific inquiry” (pseudo), who regularly cite (and misuse) models that rely upon data (homogenized) in place of actual data based upon actual observations, as the “Scientific Community”.

    What a joke. He doesn’t get it. Its doubtful he ever will. The mainstream, publicly funded scientific machine, is fueled by targeted inquiries that defend earlier assumptions and support earlier results, without regard to the scientific basis for the results.

    Bottom line is that he is afraid to ever directly challenge a perceived incorrect approach, even if he could identify it. The “climate change (scientific) community” has him tied into their knot. The rationalization and resort to reference to the (missing) mass of prior studies will always be a solution for this person. Damn the data. Worship the “scientific and expensive” model. After all, it was scientists (highly paid by politically motivated public funds) who made the models, therefore they must be used and they must be correct. Why else would they have funded their development?

    Excuse me???? Scientific judgement deferred to current sustenance. Talk to Galileo about that. See what he endured for objective observationally based science.

    There is no gumption for a Galileon stance. At least not with this gentleman. Sorry to say. I doubt that this person even realizes that he may have unwittingly elevated himself to a position such as Galileo. Personally I doubt he would ever take that step. He doesn’t have it. This is an observation, not a prediction.

    Show me wrong.

  104. Demming’s presence was great and very welcome. However, for me the heart-stopping moment at Heartland was Steve McIntyre’s closing comments. As he said when he sat down, it was interesting that he got a standing ovation when he arrived on the podium, and muted applause when he sat down. His sage comments on the state of the AGW debate should be noted by all, lest we be guilty of hubris.

  105. @ harrywr2
    All one has to do is to look at your link http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/coal/page/acr/table34.html to realize the artificial forcings in place. Cost/short ton in N.J….$105.26 N.Y….$64.79 for electricity. In Mich., the cost for electric generating coal, $37.99 …while, the cost for other uses is $86.61. Obviously, there is something other than availability and cost of transport at work. Coal isn’t cost prohibitive because we can’t get to it, it’s cost prohibitive because the feds and various state governments wish it to be. Yes, in Wyoming, in one particular basin, they’ve mine most of the coal. So what? The term economically recoverable is a bit of “slight of hand”. It’s not economical for electric generation? It cost 3-4 times as much to produce electricity with gas than coal. See http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epm/table4_13_b.html and http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epm/table4_10_a.html .
    No one really cares, because they just pass the cost on to the end users. With less and less coal fired plants and more and more gas fired plants, we can expect to see the cost of gas significantly increase over the next few years all they while hearing the meme of it being too costly to mine for coal. 3-4 times the cost would buy a lot of earth moving and digging equipment. BTW, about 50 miles ESE of my home, there is coal literally ON the ground. While it is true it isn’t of the highest quality, to collect it, one doesn’t even have to dig today. It is impossible for me to believe that is the only place in the U.S. with that type of coal availability. There may be a high cost to coal, but it isn’t because its not there, or that it is too difficult to mine it.

  106. Lady in Red, May 21, 2010 at 5:11 am :

    All right. I have lost three messages to the dust bin about the …

    Looking good here, Lady in Red (could not resist using those words) … sometimes the mods, Anthony even, must engage in ‘real life’, including such activities as eating, sleeping, interacting with actual flesh-and-blood corporeal loved ones; these reasons may explain the delay in approving comments, postings, et al.

    .
    .

  107. Gail Combs, May 21, 2010 at 4:21 am :

    … the banking cartel that we know as the Federal Reserve …

    … central banks …

    …The creature from Jekyll Island: …

    Hmmm … how does tie in with NAIS (National Animal ID program, your other favorite bogeyman)?

    .
    .

  108. They didn’t create life, they duplicated a molecule (think of it as a very long stack of punch cards) that they don’t understand and inserted it into an already, non-human-manufactured living cell. They have no more created life than the analogous punch-card stacker has written a program.

    As to creating green algae that sequesters carbon, I think that’s been done.

  109. Joel Shore,

    “Are you saying that increasing greenhouse gases so that the radiative emission is now coming from levels of the atmosphere that are colder will not result in a radiative imbalance?”

    Since that level is at higher altitude there is a greater emitting surface area, so more total energy could be emitted, even though at a lower temperature. If the net feedbacks to CO2 are negative instead of positive, natural variation will often dwarf the greenhouse warming contribution and the radiative imbalance may at times be negative instead of positive, even 100 years from now.

  110. Martin Lewitt says:

    Since that level is at higher altitude there is a greater emitting surface area, so more total energy could be emitted, even though at a lower temperature.

    Okay. So, let’s estimate the magnitude of this effect for a doubling of CO2. The average lapse rate in the troposphere is 6.5 C/km. If we assume that a doubling of CO2 produces about 3 C of warming, then that would correspond to raising the emitting level by about half a km. If you divide this by the radius of the earth (~6000km) and multiply by 2 (this factor coming from the binomial expansion (1+x)^2 is about 1 + 2x for x << 1), then you get the fractional increase in surface area, which turns out to be ~0.00017. Hence, the ~240 W/m^2 emission would be reduced by about 0.04 W/m^2. This is about a 1% reduction of the original 4 W/m^2 forcing. (And, in fact, this is probably an overestimate of the effect, since it is really probably not consistent to use the after-feedback estimate of the temperature rise but the radiative forcing of the CO2 emissions itself. I should have either used 1 C for the warming due to CO2 directly or used a higher value for the full radiative effect of a CO2 doubling, including the radiative effects due to the increase in water vapor and reduction in ice albedo.)

    So, yes, there is such an effect, but it is insignificant.

    If the net feedbacks to CO2 are negative instead of positive, natural variation will often dwarf the greenhouse warming contribution and the radiative imbalance may at times be negative instead of positive, even 100 years from now.

    That is a pretty big “IF”. As Denning explains in the talk, our current understanding of the forcings and temperature change from the last glacial maximum til now implies that the feedbacks are positive, as does other empirical evidence, as do the climate models that represent our best (albeit imperfect) understanding of the physics. And, at any rate, if you really want to show that the feedbacks are negative, then serious effort needs to be made to demonstrate this and explain how it is compatible with the paleoclimate and other data. Claiming that people who argue for the current understanding don’t understand thermodynamics and heat transfer in atmospheric physics, as BigWaveDave does, seems to be just a distraction from this.

  111. Joel Shore says:

    “Really…Could you elaborate on this? How a large a mechanism is conduction in the atmosphere? How do you understand the thermodynamics to work? In particular, let’s focus on the energy emitted to space. Are you saying that increasing greenhouse gases so that the radiative emission is now coming from levels of the atmosphere that are colder will not result in a radiative imbalance?”

    Conduction is very strong at the surface, and is enhanced even further by plants. This drives convection.

    The greenhouse effect in a greenhouse is due to its prevention of convection from carrying heat away. The same thing happens with earth’s greenhouse effect. Earth’s gravity prevents convection above the troposphere. Heat escapes by radiation from there.

    The only prerequisite for radiation is that there is a temperature difference. There is no one radiative equilibrium temperature for Earth. Just look at IR photos from about two million miles away:

    http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA00558

    http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA00559

    Earth’s gravity also keeps atmospheric pressure higher at lower elevations, which creates the lapse rate that keeps surface temperatures higher than top of troposphere temperatures.

    Dave

  112. Joel Shore, May 23, 2010 at 8:15 am :

    Okay. So, let’s estimate the magnitude of this effect for a doubling of CO2. The average lapse rate in the troposphere is 6.5 C/km. If we assume that a doubling of CO2 produces about 3 C of warming, then …

    Hmmmm … and what part does this play/what would the allowance be for increased direct-into-space radiation from the surface through the atmosphereic window (~10 … 15 um) result in as the ‘peak’ in the LWIR spectral curve is centered there and as we all know total emitted/radiated enegy is proportional to T ^4 and as the surface temp is assumed to be 3 deg C higher?
    .
    .

  113. Hmmmm … and what part does this play/what would the allowance be for increased direct-into-space radiation from the surface through the atmosphereic window (~10 … 15 um) result in as the ‘peak’ in the LWIR spectral curve is centered there and as we all know total emitted/radiated enegy is proportional to T ^4 and as the surface temp is assumed to be 3 deg C higher?

    It would play the role that it is calculated to play. Do you think this isn’t included in the calculations?
    .

  114. BigWaveDave says:

    Earth’s gravity prevents convection above the troposphere. Heat escapes by radiation from there.

    I’m not sure what this means. The stratosphere doesn’t have convection because it is primarily heated from above (by absorption of UV by ozone) so the temperature rises with altitude, promoting stability. (Of course, gravity matters…in the sense that without gravity, you don’t have buoyancy effects, but gravity is also necessary to have a significant atmosphere at all.)

    The only prerequisite for radiation is that there is a temperature difference. There is no one radiative equilibrium temperature for Earth. Just look at IR photos from about two million miles away:

    I’m not sure what this is supposed to prove. The 255 K is an average. Yes, there is variation.

    Earth’s gravity also keeps atmospheric pressure higher at lower elevations, which creates the lapse rate that keeps surface temperatures higher than top of troposphere temperatures.

    Without the greenhouse gases, the surface temperature (technically, the average of T^4) would have to be the radiating temperature to maintain energy balance, which is about 255 K with the current albedo. Note that the criterion you get for the lapse rate tends to be an (approximate) upper bound…i.e., you can have lapse rates smaller than this…in fact even temperature rising with height as you do in the stratosphere. However, when the lapse rate is steeper than the criterion, then you get instability that tends to drive the lapse rate back toward this criterion.

  115. ******
    Joel Shore says:
    May 23, 2010 at 8:15 am

    Martin Lewitt says:

    If the net feedbacks to CO2 are negative instead of positive, natural variation will often dwarf the greenhouse warming contribution and the radiative imbalance may at times be negative instead of positive, even 100 years from now.

    That is a pretty big “IF”. As Denning explains in the talk, our current understanding of the forcings and temperature change from the last glacial maximum til now implies that the feedbacks are positive, as does other empirical evidence, as do the climate models that represent our best (albeit imperfect) understanding of the physics. And, at any rate, if you really want to show that the feedbacks are negative, then serious effort needs to be made to demonstrate this and explain how it is compatible with the paleoclimate and other data. Claiming that people who argue for the current understanding don’t understand thermodynamics and heat transfer in atmospheric physics, as BigWaveDave does, seems to be just a distraction from this.
    *******

    Sure, during periods when large amounts of reflective glaciers existed at lower latitudes. This is reinforced by the evidence of huge swings of temp at ~1500 yr intervals shown in the polar ice-cores. Once those glaciers have disappeared from all but the highest latitudes, the game changes and positive feedback is reduced to where the interglacial temps are comparatively quite stable.

    One might surmise that the positive feedback during glacial periods is caused by the ice/albedo effect & not GHGs. What causes the changes from interglacial/glacial periods is the big question — ocean-current changes would be my guess. The ~800-yr time-lag of CO2 vs temps shows that it isn’t the dominate or even a significant effect IMO.

  116. Joel Shore, May 24, 2010 at 7:35 am :

    It would play the role that it is calculated to play. Do you think this isn’t included in the calculations?

    Non-answer; I’ve yet to see it described, alluded to, included as a factor.

    Furthermore, are you challenging the veracity of the claim that the earth’s radiative IR spectra peaks in the vicinity of the atmospheric window? And with higher surface temperature, shows exponentially even more energy radiated thru this atmospheric window?

    .
    .

  117. Non-answer; I’ve yet to see it described, alluded to, included as a factor.

    So, what you are basically saying is “I think, on the basis of no evidence whatsoever, that all of the scientists in the field are doing the radiative calculations incorrectly.” One could challenge any piece of science that one didn’t like (presumably because of my ideological beliefs) in that way.

    Furthermore, are you challenging the veracity of the claim that the earth’s radiative IR spectra peaks in the vicinity of the atmospheric window? And with higher surface temperature, shows exponentially even more energy radiated thru this atmospheric window?

    It is not exponential…It is T^4 dependence (and will pretty close to linear over the range of temperature variation that will occur on an absolute temperature scale). And, the absorption characteristics of the atmosphere are already included in all of the calculations. So, you are not adding anything new to what is already known.

  118. beng says:

    One might surmise that the positive feedback during glacial periods is caused by the ice/albedo effect & not GHGs.

    One might surmise that if one could not calculate the radiative effect of changes in GHGs to quite good accuracy and estimate the changes in radiative effects due to ice / albedo. And, it shows them to be…roughly speaking…of close to equal magnitude and of such a magnitude that the climate sensitivity is somewhere around 0.75 K per W/m^2. The only way your claim could make sense is if the ice / albedo radiative effects are being vastly underestimated.

  119. Joel Shore says:

    “Without the greenhouse gases, the surface temperature (technically, the average of T^4) would have to be the radiating temperature to maintain energy balance, which is about 255 K with the current albedo. Note that the criterion you get for the lapse rate tends to be an (approximate) upper bound…i.e., you can have lapse rates smaller than this…in fact even temperature rising with height as you do in the stratosphere. However, when the lapse rate is steeper than the criterion, then you get instability that tends to drive the lapse rate back toward this criterion.”

    The point is that a greenhouse works by trapping convection, not by trapping radiation. The transfer of heat from the surface is not by radiation directly to space, it is by transfer to the atmosphere, and the atmosphere radiates to space.

  120. BigWaveDave says:

    The point is that a greenhouse works by trapping convection, not by trapping radiation.

    The limitations of the analogy between an actual greenhouse and the atmospheric greenhouse effect are well-known (e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_effect ), but I am not sure what the relevance is.

    The transfer of heat from the surface is not by radiation directly to space, it is by transfer to the atmosphere, and the atmosphere radiates to space.

    Well, that is not completely true…but even if it were, I am not sure what the relevance is.

  121. I response to:
    The point is that a greenhouse works by trapping convection, not by trapping radiation.
    Joel Shore says:
    May 24, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    “The limitations of the analogy between an actual greenhouse and the atmospheric greenhouse effect are well-known (e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_effect ), but I am not sure what the relevance is.#”

    Wiki’ does say that the ghe isn’t like an actual greenhouse, but Fourier, Tyndall and Arrhenius all did think that the wacky second law violating definition Wiki gives for the ghe was the way a greenhouse actually worked.

    The relevance is in that believers in the “accepted” Wiki-type definition of ghe ignore or disregard many important factors in the transfer of energy within Earth’s atmosphere, e,g. second law, mass, gravity, conduction, convection specific heat, …, which support the hypothesis that Earth’s atmosphere actually does work like an actual greenhouse.

  122. BigWaveDave,

    The earth does radiate directly into space in some parts of the spectrum. You will have difficulty explaining infrared satellite images if you doubt that. You are correct that convection and other components of the water cycle are under-represented in them models as published in Science by Wentz. None of the models were reproducing more than a half of the increase in precipitation seen in the observations in association with the recent warming. Once the heat gets higher in the troposphere via convection and release of the latent heat of the water cycle, GHGs help more efficiently radiate it into space. There is, of course, conduction in both directions between the GHGs and the less efficient radiative components of the atmosphere, O2 and N2.

    Joel Shore,

    The error bars in a paleo estimate of climate sensitivity such as that in Denning’s talk must necessarily be huge. I’m especially skeptical of his estimate of the increased albedo at under 4 watts, because even in the 1990s, the albedo feedback reported by Andreas Roesch just from earlier spring snow melts, amounted to over 3W/m^2 when globally and annually averaged. It just isn’t credible that ice age albedo effects due the ice sheets and desertification don’t exceed that. Denning didn’t disclose a peer review reference for his analysis, but I’d be interested in reviewing it for the sources of his estimates. I’ve yet to see any credible evidence that the net feedbacks to CO2 forcing are positive, and they need to be for AGW to be more than a just a minor warming perturbation of natural variation. Hopefully, you agree that the science isn’t decided and await new results as eagerly as I do.

  123. BigWaveDave says:

    The relevance is in that believers in the “accepted” Wiki-type definition of ghe ignore or disregard many important factors in the transfer of energy within Earth’s atmosphere, e,g. second law, mass, gravity, conduction, convection specific heat, …, which support the hypothesis that Earth’s atmosphere actually does work like an actual greenhouse.

    No, they do not ignore these transfers. No, they do not ignore the Second Law and the descriptions that you read of the greenhouse effect don’t violate it. However, at the end of the day, they understand that the only way for the earth / atmosphere system to exchange heat with space is via radiation.

    Martin Lewitt says:

    You are correct that convection and other components of the water cycle are under-represented in them models as published in Science by Wentz. None of the models were reproducing more than a half of the increase in precipitation seen in the observations in association with the recent warming. Once the heat gets higher in the troposphere via convection and release of the latent heat of the water cycle, GHGs help more efficiently radiate it into space.

    If you guys are going to argue that somehow under-representation of convection overestimates the greenhouse warming, can one of you put some actual meat on this hypothesis. It seems to me that since what matters for the radiation back out into space is the temperature structure in the atmosphere as a result of this convection, your claim would amount to the hypothesis that because of this more efficient convection, the upper troposphere gets warmer than expected for a given amount of surface warming and is thus able to more efficiently radiate the heat back out into space. So, in other words, you seem to be suggesting that the lapse rate feedback, a negative feedback already included in the climate models, is larger in magnitude than the models believe it to be.

    However, at the same time, many skeptics claim that the so-called “hot spot” predicted by the models and representing the magnification of the warming as you go up in the tropical troposphere is not there. This would then imply that the lapse rate feedback is being overestimated by the models.

    I don’t see how you can have it both ways.

  124. Joel Shore,

    I was on the Working Group I draft review, so I had already reviewed the literature cited by the IPCC. Another problem with those estimates is that they cross between the ice age and the interglacial. Even if estimates of the possible error range had been done, it wouldn’t be particularly relevant to warming in an interglacial. I might go look at see if any of that is the source of his albedo estimate.

    The model hot spots are not particularly hot, they are just there because the CO2 effect can’t be seen at lower altitudes in the tropics until one gets up above most of the water vapor. The disparity with the observations is in the temperature structure of troposphere column. Increased convention and transfer of heat via the water cycle, could just be washing out or masking that hot spot structure.

    The models are going to have to more closely match the climate, because simplistic linear reasoning just doesn’t cut it. Models which reproduce less than half the observed precipitation increase, under-represent the surface albedo feedback by more than 3W/m^2 and reproduce less than half the amplitude of the observed response to the solar cycle, should never have been used to project or attribute the recent warming. These are all correlated errors for all the IPCC models. The correlated surface albedo feedback bias and several other diagnostic issues in the literature were known at the time of the FAR, yet the results were reported without any attempt to account for what they might imply for the projections and attribution. Using the model sensitivities and projections was the major error of the IPCC FAR.

  125. The model hot spots are not particularly hot, they are just there because the CO2 effect can’t be seen at lower altitudes in the tropics until one gets up above most of the water vapor. The disparity with the observations is in the temperature structure of troposphere column. Increased convention and transfer of heat via the water cycle, could just be washing out or masking that hot spot structure.

    You are actually wrong about the “hot spot”. It has nothing to do with CO2. The same magnification effect is seen in the model with solar forcing or in the models and the data for temperature variations due to ENSO. It follows from moist adiabatic lapse rate theory. Claiming that increased convection masks it makes no sense at all…and, like I said, since the negative feedback due to the lapse rate is a direct result of this magnification, its absence would mean that the lapse rate feedback is smaller in magnitude, not larger.

  126. Joel Shore says:

    “If you guys are going to argue that somehow under-representation of convection overestimates the greenhouse warming, can one of you put some actual meat on this hypothesis. It seems to me that since what matters for the radiation back out into space is the temperature structure in the atmosphere as a result of this convection, your claim would amount to the hypothesis that because of this more efficient convection, the upper troposphere gets warmer than expected for a given amount of surface warming and is thus able to more efficiently radiate the heat back out into space. So, in other words, you seem to be suggesting that the lapse rate feedback, a negative feedback already included in the climate models, is larger in magnitude than the models believe it to be.”

    Consider this: Between about 20°N and 20°S latitudes, the ,Solar radiation that reaches the Earth’s surface is about 25% more than what is radiated by Earth to space, and in the two polar regions above 65°N or below 65°S, Earth’s radiation to space is about twice the incoming Solar radiation.

    Joel Shore says:

    “However, at the same time, many skeptics claim that the so-called “hot spot” predicted by the models and representing the magnification of the warming as you go up in the tropical troposphere is not there. This would then imply that the lapse rate feedback is being overestimated by the models.”

    If the lapse rate is not properly considered as a result of gravity acting on the ideal gasses in the atmosphere, then it’s hard to say what kind of results the models will give.

    Joel Shore says:

    “I don’t see how you can have it both ways.”

    It can’t be any harder than relying on the “not-how-a-greenhouse-works” effect.

  127. BigWaveDave says:

    Consider this: Between about 20°N and 20°S latitudes, the ,Solar radiation that reaches the Earth’s surface is about 25% more than what is radiated by Earth to space, and in the two polar regions above 65°N or below 65°S, Earth’s radiation to space is about twice the incoming Solar radiation.

    Yes…And your point is? It is well-known that there is considerable transport of heat from the tropics to the polar regions both by ocean currents and atmosphere.

    If the lapse rate is not properly considered as a result of gravity acting on the ideal gasses in the atmosphere, then it’s hard to say what kind of results the models will give.

    The lapse rate is considered in the models…and the evidence is that the magnification of temperature fluctuations as one goes up in the tropical troposphere is seen in the data on timescales of months to a few years. There is more debate on whether the multidecadal trends show this same amplification, although since both the satellite and radiosonde data are subject to artifacts that can create spurious trends over the data record, it is difficult to determine if any inconsistency really exists.

    And, at any rate, it doesn’t take complicated guesswork to suggest that a model that shows more amplification than occurs in the real world would overestimate the (negative) lapse rate feedback.

    It can’t be any harder than relying on the “not-how-a-greenhouse-works” effect.

    I am not sure why you are so hung up on this. Analogies are always imperfect. In this case, the name for the effect was coined early on and it has persisted despite being a quite imperfect analogy to actual greenhouses. Big deal.

  128. Joel Shore,

    “You are actually wrong about the “hot spot”. It has nothing to do with CO2.”

    That hasn’t really been established, but if the models demonstrate that behavior, perhaps it is because they fail to fully reproduce the difference between CO2 and water vapor. The latter is far more likely to condense, freeze, re-evaporate and precipitate. Wentz published that the models managed only one-third to one-half the increase in precipitation observed in the recent warming. However, the models did better on the water vapor increase. So the increased water vapor is apparently sitting there acting more like CO2 with a different spectrum than its dynamic water cycle self.

  129. Martin Lewitt says:

    “You are actually wrong about the “hot spot”. It has nothing to do with CO2.”

    That hasn’t really been established,

    Well, the models show the same behavior if the forcing is solar or even for the fluctuations in temperature (e.g., due to ENSO)…and, furthermore, the modelers know what sort of physics are going into the models. Roy Spencer seems to agree that the moist adiabatic lapse rate theory is the reason for the “hot spot”. So, I am not sure what additional evidence you want.

    but if the models demonstrate that behavior, perhaps it is because they fail to fully reproduce the difference between CO2 and water vapor. The latter is far more likely to condense, freeze, re-evaporate and precipitate. Wentz published that the models managed only one-third to one-half the increase in precipitation observed in the recent warming. However, the models did better on the water vapor increase. So the increased water vapor is apparently sitting there acting more like CO2 with a different spectrum than its dynamic water cycle self.

    The Wentz paper is interesting but I don’t think it necessarily has anything to do with this. The Wentz paper claims to show that the models have a tendency to underpredict the rise in precipitation with warming, whether it is due to the slow underlying warming trend or due to the ENSO. However, it has been shown that there is quite good agreement between models and data on tropical tropospheric amplification for fluctuations on the monthly to yearly timescale. So, the two issues do not seem to be related.

  130. – but the climate alarmists block and smear people like McIntyre. Eschenbach has listed their witch hunt rantings. You cannot meet halfway with evil. Sure, let’s try to not dump on those who are willing to have dialogue, but we have to be very clear on principles and emphasize the science. Doing that will result in criticism of bad science and game playing.
    – and watch terminology. What does “warmist” mean? There’s a difference between someone who said in the early 1990s that climate was warming and those who blamed humans for warming (and blamed humans for cooling in the 1970s).

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