Detailed Comments on An Inconvenient Truth

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Foreword by the blog moderator:

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

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

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

by Bob Edelman

October 3, 2007

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

Comments on An Inconvenient Truth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

32.  Gore says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Stan Needham

Was there ANYTHING about the movie that you liked?

Sylvain

“Stan Needham (17:46:21) :
Was there ANYTHING about the movie that you liked?”
Yes, when the movie actually end.

Philip_B

IMO, reviewers of AIT are way too generous. I found it a garbled mishmash of half and misunderstood science. It made about as much sense as someone from the Stone Age explaining how a laptop computer works.
I watched it with my 15 year old daughter and we agreed it was ‘science for morons.’
A couple of minor points.
Whether or not the effect of the US Clean Air Act(s) is visible in ice cores, those acts had nothing to do with CO2 levels. To suggest they did, is either ignorant or deceptive.
I recall Gore seemed to confuse the Columbia Icefield with the Columbia Glacier. They are unconnected, except by name. I’d have to watch it again to get the details, which I am not going to.

davidcobb

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

George M

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

Stan Needham

The question remains, however, how do we stop these self appointed alarmists who have caught the politicians attention, and are costing us enormous amounts of money, all unnecessarily, and plan to gouge us even more? If anyone has the answer to that, I would love to hear it.
A carbon tax would seem to be the next logical step in the gouging process, and civil disobedience on a massive scale would appear to be the only logical answer.

James Bailey

Does anyone keep track of the history of the IPCC estimates? If I recall correctly, I think Gore’s prediction of a 20 ft sea level rise by 2100, was the extreme worst case scenario of an earlier prediction. I think that the report prior to the most recent toned that down significantly (as well as unceremoniously dumping the hockey stick). And as discussed in note 30 above, the latest extreme worst case is now reduced to just a hair under 2 ft. That is a far cry from 20 ft, and not so scary.
Also, where are reliable estimates of past rates of sea level rise? I read somewhere that over the last 7 millenia it had averaged about 6 in/100yrs, but that lately it was increasing, estimated at about 12in/100yrs.
If those estimates are true, that means that the latest IPCC prediction is only a continuation of what we are now seeing. The worst case would only double what we see presently, and the best case would basically return us the old status quo.
And they are still using ‘positive forcings’ when they make their estimates. These are large multiplications of the direct heating by CO2, assuming that the CO2 heating causes increases in other greenhouse gasses like H2O, which would cause additional heating.
Despite all the scaremongering in the report, their own estimates are trending down to the background. (I think that is why other scaremongers have recently turned to the natural cycles, that they used to deny, inorder to claim that the warming effect is being masked and will come back with a vengeance.)

Jeff

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

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

DennisA

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

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

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

Duane Johnson

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

Michael Jankowski

Also, where are reliable estimates of past rates of sea level rise?
“Recent” http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/0f/Recent_Sea_Level_Rise.png
“Post-glacial”
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/1d/Post-Glacial_Sea_Level.png

Fred H

I felt this was a very good review, and one of the best I have read, and one important attribute- it is not a political review. Most reviews are political, just like the movie.
With so many factual errors, how can the movie be considered a documentary or non-fiction?

Fred H

5
10
2007
Eric Baum Wrote (05:40:55) :
You say the globe warmed about 1 degree in 20th century, and in point 19 say there is no data to say the oceans have warmed. But surely, given the parlous state of the US temp network, and the skimpy and presumably even worse state of the rest of the worlds in, say, 1920, there isn’t much evidence about warming on the land either.
Question: why do you believe the globe warmed a degree in the 20th century?
What evidence gives this conclusion?
I believe Bob stated this was consensus but not fact.

I completely agree with the facts in this article.

Chris Hall

Re point #1:
I think we may have to cut Al Gore a little slack on this one. Although there were hints of “continental drift” (and what became plate tectonics) in the 20s and 30s, and intriguing magnetic stripes in the 40s, plus early confirming paleomagnetic polar wander results in the 50s,and the paleomagnetic reversal time scale in the early 60s, the real “tipping point” was the Vine Matthews-Morley-Larochelle hyporthesis, which solidified a reasonable mechanism for continental “drift”. That was, iirc about 1965. The big revolution busted wide open in the late 60s. However, in the first half of the 60s, there were still “earth expanders” and “earth contractors” well into the mid to late 60s. The scientific consensus wasn’t truly finalized until the early 70s. So it would have been possible to hear someone denying the possibility of continental drift (had to do with “keels” and ridiculously high rock viscosity)in a college class, was well as a 6th grade class in 1960.

Being an aerospace engineer is in no way an assurance that one is not also a shill for some other interest or even a garden variety partisan hack. To wit . . .
1. This just deserves a “meh.” However, in the interest of thoroughness, I believe it is normal for some lag time to occur between the initial establishment of scientific consensus and the modification of sixth grade science curricula.
2. Gore’s simplification is not in principle misleading. To assert that greenhouse gases somehow manage to always “keep the Earth at a comfortable temperature” is deliberately misleading.
3. The non-trivial role of atmospheric carbon in the greenhouse effect hasn’t been legitimately controversial for years and years. “There is some disagreement” only because there are some propaganda mills and plenty of suckers happy to have their personal biases endorsed. While Gore is wrong to assert global warming deniers also deny that the greenhouse effect is a real phenomenon, it is much more insulting to readers/viewers intelligence to perpetuate misinformation about the role of atmospheric carbon in global warming.
4. This is a fair point. As recently as the early 90s, there was uncertainty about global CO2 levels. Concentration at a particular site may vary for all sorts of reasons, including proximity to cities or industrial facilities. However, the legitimate uncertainty of 1991 has given way now to an abundance of evidence demonstrating a dramatic increase.
5. Man, this guy sure is one unrepentant liar. Like any regional climate, the area around Kilimanjaro is a complex system influenced by many factors. Deforestation is one of them. So is outright temperature fluctuation plus global warming’s role in reducing precipitation and cloud cover in tropical Africa. Also, deforestation is obviously not a contributing cause in other glacial retreats dramatically ongoing right now around the world.
6. I don’t know this to be untrue. Yet I do know that all throughout the American Rockies, the Swiss Alps, and more than a few other notable mountain ranges, similar dramatic retreats are also underway. Should we really dismiss a global meltoff as the result of unrelated localized causes in each affected region?
7. There are precious few exceptions to the general trend of global glacier decline. I can’t imagine someone who was looking at the real evidence here would be so uncertain about a trend that is easily 10:1 in favor of less ice, even with the little dip global temperatures took from the 50s to the 80s.
8. This is another fair point. In fact, it does seem like that was an instance where Gore & co. pursued dramatic imagery at the expense of maximum informational clarity.
9. Doctor, yes, this man needs a rectal craniectomy, stat! It is true that ice now melting has been in place for thousands of years. Until recently, that was not at all the case. The comparatively feeble retreats of preindustrial times were balanced by accumulations from natural fluctuations above and below a stable middle ground. With atmospheric carbon emissions undermining that stability, -only- now do we see such tremendous amounts of ancient ice turning to water.
10. Yeah, and he didn’t mention that skiffle music is a popular entertainment in Great Britain either. So what?
11. Joke or no joke, surely these lies make us all the victim of a misinformation campaign.
12. Lies, damned lies, and statistics strike again. Experts do rightly quibble about some of the “hockey stick” details. However, none of this criticism amounts to a repudiation of dramatic changes contemporary with the industrial-scale consumption of fossil fuels. Apparently the author believes readers are gullible enough to see any clinical dispute as proof that there is no legitimate consensus behind the general finding of a rapid warming during the 20th century.
13. Nope, not apparently . . . I should have said, “actually,” because this point asserts that the hockey stick model has been discredited. In fact, no credible scientific criticism does more than to dispute minor inferences that only slightly change the final results of the math.
I can only shoot so many ducks in a barrel before I feel I must set my sights on something more challenging. Best of luck to anyone who might continue with this response. The world and every person in it deserves better than the kind of disingenuous sleaze I’ve seen so far.

Laurence Sheldon

davidcobb accurately (so far as I know) reports that:
A charge was recently filed in a British court that AIG should not be shown
in British schools because it was politically biased and/or scientifically
unsound.
Educators conceded this in order to avoid a formal ruling. However they
only agreed to provide guidance to teachers. Meaning that the brainwashing
of children can continue unhindered.
I find it interesting that http://stopglobalwarming.org/ reports it differently in http://stopglobalwarming.org/sgw_read.asp?id=1043231042007 headed by “U.K. judge rules in favor of ‘Truth'”

Bob L

George Wrote:
The question remains, however, how do we stop these self appointed alarmists who have caught the politicians attention, and are costing us enormous amounts of money, all unnecessarily, and plan to gouge us even more? If anyone has the answer to that, I would love to hear it.
This is exactly right, now that Madison Ave. has adopted AGW as fact, it will slowly creep into the Main Stream consciousness. The masses will accept it and it will be harder to get the truth out. ( Look at the oil companies latest ad campaigns)
The other component of this is discrediting those who have consumed the Kool-Aid. Although every predication he made in his book The Population Bomb has failed to materialize, Paul Ehrlich is still listened to today. We can’t allow this to occur in the AGW debate.
A recent program on the History Channel held that due to AGW, the polar caps will melt, interrupting the Gulf Stream, and England, Europe and Northeastern North America will enter another ice age. Now they have their bases covered either way.
In my layman’s view, every scientist is allowed to believe a theory, defend it, test it, write about it, or challenge it. Once it is disproved, they have an obligation to their integrity to change their minds and renounce their previous statements. Those who criticize others for testing of their ideas should be remembered and repudiated should their “science” is debunked. We should remember the Hansens, Schmitts, and Manns et al of this debate and discredit them. As far as the Gores, De Caprios, Travoltas, and Begleys et al of this discussion, we just have to pity them.

Jeff

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

Richard M Morris

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

There is nothing civil about lying to people. The original piece was put together with a little too much effort for it simply to be the result of someone trapped in a hyperpartisan media bubble. I say hyperpartisan because even George W. Bush does not dispute the fact that industrial carbon emissions are a factor in ongoing global warming. As with the immigration issue, certain false journalists and genuine hatemongers find that their ratings do better when they stoke fires of hostility than when they go the less inflammatory route of presenting credible information.
Whatever language I used that may give offense pales by comparison to the offense there is in lying outright to readers. I confess I do not know for certain that this was an insincere attempt at manipulation, but it sounds too coherent to be the usual sock puppet claptrap. Thus it is that I believe no invective I could possible craft, provided that it were based on my earnest beliefs, could begin to be as offensive as Mr. Edelman’s writing.
As for the matter of causality vs. correlation, we have this neat little thing called physics. In the 1800s at least one notable scientist claimed to have “proved” that CO2 is not relevant to the atmospheric greenhouse effect. This “proof” came in the form of comparisons of concentration like 20%, 40%, and 60%. As it happens, the maximum effect on radiant energy occurs well below that threshold. As it happens, our atmosphere is presently moving through the critical range of concentrations that actually to change the behavior of radiant energy passing through the atmospheric medium. Today this is not controversial among scientists.
It may be controversial amongst dittoheads, but then again those folks still go through life believing that tax cuts, not matter how poorly crafted or badly timed, always create economic growth. Those folks believe that the Montreal Protocol to ban industrial use of ozone-destroying chemicals was some sort of conspiracy against industry. Heck, those folks belief that a secular fascist regime in the Middle East was a natural ally to a terrorist organization that existed for the express purpose of removing secular regimes from the Middle East!
I can be responsible for what gullible sheep put into their minds. However, I can at least try to offer up an alternative to the swill of lies that was once so popular and remains in high demand amongst the remaining fringe of hyperpartisan loyalists. I don’t know why it is that so many people let contempt for Al Gore or misinformation about the economic costs of transitioning out of a fossil fuel economy drive them into basing -scientific- beliefs on their -political- identity. I do know that this nation deserves better, and it isn’t going to get it while the same buffoons who are demonstrably wrong about so many other bold claims continue to command the loyalty of viewers/readers/listeners incapable of thinking beyond the negative emotions stirred in them at the very sound of the word “liberal.”

James Bailey

Thank you Michael.
I am not sure I trust Wiki, but those graphs, while slightly smaller, are in crude agreement with what I heard. It looks like ~7m in the last 7000 yrs, or 4 in/100 yrs. (That graph is not very readable at that location.) And that the last century sea level rose 7-8 in. The IPCC report says 1.7 or 1.8mm/yr, which would be 7 in in the last 100 yrs. So IPCC is predicting a doubling from the present rate of sea level rise, (average is 13.5 in) with the best case staying constant at 7 in, and the worst case being a whopping 23 in, or a little over 3 times the rate of the past century.
My argument is still the same. The IPCC predictions are trending to the baseline. Will they be even lower in 5 more years?
This is a real scientific red flag. How long can we hold a theory to be right, if it’s predictions gradually disappear over time?
Moreover, the skeptics have in large part, been complaining over obvious exagerations of effects. By drastically toning down the predictions, the IPCC has tacitly admitted the skeptics are right! Yet they are still belittling the skeptics, and attempting to keep the fear alive, when their data no longer supports such fear. But without the fear, their political actions are DOA.
And, I would love to see somebody make Al Gore redo the presentation with corrections, and using the latest IPCC numbers. A two foot rise in sea level won’t scare anybody.

Duane Johnson

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

James Bailey

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

SteveSadlov

Greenhouse: It will happen in 1997 ……
So, in that early portent of alarmism, written during the early 1980s by Dakota James, and, I sadly admit, at the time, lapped up by yours truely, there is prediction of people in California being so overtaken by the transition of the world into one giant torrid zone, that everyone starts to wear underwear as primary clothing. While certain celebs may indeed do this, I can assure you that anyone going outside in only underwear today would get hypothermia. There was snow down to 4000 feet last night. Frost advisory in a number of areas. Earliest onset of climatic winter in my 40 plus year life …….

M. Jeffus

Re: Partisan rant by Demonweed (15:51:48).
There is a difference between lying and being wrong. You may not be lying. Steve McIntyre of climateaudit.org may be wrong on some issues, as may Anthony Watts of surfacestations.org. However, since their focus is on determining the truth, they are more inclined to admit mistakes than are radical partisans. Although most agnostics, regardless of the religion involved, don’t get a fair hearing, the AGW issue is being subjected to some excellent analyses on these sites and more attention is being paid to their research.

Bob Edelman

Demonweed,
First of all, let me thank you for saying that my writing is “too coherent” to be the usual claptrap. I assure you that I did not review AIT as part of some devious scheme to mislead. Here is the sequence of events: (1) My sister saw the movie and asked my opinion; (2) I ordered the DVD from NetFlix, viewed it, and wrote my comments which I sent to my sister; (3) I recently sent a copy to my son, Ed, who is in the weather system business; (4) Ed forwarded a copy to Anthony; (5) Anthony asked he could post it; and (6) I agreed and added the note at the beginning explaining the origin of the comments and my name. I am not now nor have I ever been part of any conspiracy to mislead anyone (except when I play Bridge, and even then I’m not good at it).
I will address your comments from your first post, point by point.
1. OK. My point was not to question the event but rather Gore’s statement that the teacher reflected the scientific consensus at that time. She didn’t. In any case, this was one of the nit-picks that I hoped would be forgiven.
2. What is misleading is the statement that heat is “trapped” by the greenhouse gasses. A real greenhouse actually traps warm gasses. The “greenhouse effect” is a process of radiation absorption and re-radiation, the re-radiation occurring at different wavelengths so that much of it escapes the atmosphere.
3. I don’t know what you point was here. My point was that the greenhouse effect is not synonymous with global warming. You assert that “global warming deniers deny that the greenhouse effect is a real phenomenon”. You may be correct but I have not met any global warming deniers – all the people that I know believe that there has been warming since the little ice age and that it is nice to have a greenhouse effect that cuts down on our heating bills.
4. No comment.
5. I will grant that deforestation is not the only cause for desiccation of atmosphere at Kilimanjaro. However, sublimation has been identified as the reason for ice loss, not melting. Global warming has not been identified as a contributor. See this University of Washington press release at http://uwnews.washington.edu/ni/article.asp?articleID=34106 and the article that it links to. This is one of a number of studies that show global warming is not the culprit at Kilimanjaro.
6. No, but don’t blame the melt off on global warming. Glaciers have been receding since the ice age.
7. The point is that a causal relationship of CO2 to glacier recession has not been shown. Correlation is not proof. Furthermore, in many cases there is no correlation.
8. No comment.
9. Again, the proof that CO2 is causing catastrophic melting doe not exist.
10. “So what?” So how does global warming cause melting of glaciers in an area that is experiencing cooling?
11. No comment.
12. You missed the point. The importance of the “hockey stick” to global warming alarmists is that it did away with the Medieval Warm Period. The MWP didn’t fit the paradigm and the claims that we are experiencing unusual warming during the petroleum age. The problem wasn’t some minor details in the analysis; the problem was that the mathematical techniques used to smooth data were improperly used. I suggest that you read the Wegman Report to Congress, available at http://www.climateaudit.org/pdf/others/07142006_Wegman_Report.pdf.
13. See comments to (12).
14. You stopped before addressing this one. This was the most egregious error in the entire movie and was the basis for Gore’s assertion that CO2 drives temperature. Please continue your rebuttal.

Laurence Sheldon

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

Laurence Sheldon

Bob Edelman: Minor nit pick from somebody generally unqualified to comment at all,,,
“6. No, but don’t blame the melt off on global warming. Glaciers have been receding since the ice age.”
Should that not say “_Some_ glaciers have been …”?
I seem to recall a lecture aboard ship by a Yakatat woman that mentioned Hubbard (am I remembering right?) closing off the exit and threatening her village several times in recent years.

evanjones

Eric Baum:
Yes, the cleanup started before the clean air act. The Auto industry, in an attempt to avoid the legislation, had voluntarily cleaned up c. 70%. THEN they got the CAA anyway, and it was not only 90% (as originally drafted) but 90% ON TOP OF the 70% the industry cleaned up. Or around 97%.
To make a very long story short, the industry went broke chasing that extra 7%, and the difference was negligible in terms of human health. As to the CAA, doing the right thing is very important, but doing it rationally is essential.
Same goes for GW. IF it’s a concern and IF it’s manmade, and IF we can do anything about it, I’d just as soon sacrifice (or fail to create) ONLY as much wealth as will actually have beneficial effect–it’s not as if the world’s poor can’t use all the wealth it can get..

evanjones

Bob E.
I finally gave the thing a look. I was at least expecting an entertaining show. I mean, like the thing won an Oscar, right? And, after all, propaganda can have plenty of zing–anyone who’s seen Battleship Potemkin remembers that carriage rolling down the steps.
But little did I know dreasry, how paralyzingly soporific an impending apocalypse can be. It was so boring I fell asleep within a half-hour.
I swear if I were in school, I’d prefer regular class to that. If this is how they plan to propagandize the kiddies, I must say they are going to have to do a damnsight better job. It’s, like, yawnville, man, and as such, lousy propaganda.

Stan Needham

Deamonweed wrote: I say hyperpartisan because even George W. Bush does not dispute the fact that industrial carbon emissions are a factor in ongoing global warming.
That’s hillarious. Now all of a sudden George Bush is smart because he agrees with you? ROFL!!
Evan, the Danish economist, Bjorn Lomborg, has been a lone voice in the global wilderness in talking about the cost effectiveness of addressing global warming. His arguments are compelling, but he gets very little press, especially in this country. He gave an impressive presentation to Congress last year, immediately following one by Al Gore, IIRC.

Jeff

Bush, as most politicians, is seeing that the global warming nonsense can be used to control people, therefore he agrees that it’s a problem.
Demonweird, yes we do have a nice little thing called physics, and it tells us that C02 isn’t capable of driving climate in any way. instead of name-calling and making assumptions about political affiliation, why don’t you deal with some facts? Lies occur on both sides.

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

Physics does not dispute the importance of CO2. To the contrary, it establishes that our world is moving through a critical range at the present. I would never accuse this President of being smart, but I would say anyone sticking to some right-wing gun that he himself has abandoned, by definition, falls farther from the center than he does. Perhaps the question of whether or not that is truly “hyperpartisan” depends on whether or not you believe he really has been more of a uniter than a divider.
It is true that some credible analysts have concluded that an effective carbon control protocol would reduce economic growth. While liars and the fools who trust them are the driving force behind doubt about global warming, belief that green politics are at odds with growth is a speculative question which (as with pretty much any broad complex economic question) does not yield to obvious answers by astute individuals making a good faith effort to get at the truth. Most of the money behind resistance propaganda is a function of fossil fuel industrialists concerned about being displayed by innovative enterprises in the field of energy production. Yet the matter of overall cost is not a concern worthy of dismissal.
On the other hand, the cost of doing nothing is also not worthy of dismissal. Much of the population of the United States, as with many other nations, resides in coastal cities. Be it building seawalls or redefining “coastal,” very small sea level rises can impose tremendous costs. Then there is the matter of agriculture. America has been dealt a marvelous hand when it comes to regional climates and food production. What sort of patriot would play dice with that in the name of speculative fears about cost, or (much worse) zealous resistant to innovation in the energy industry?
Here is a simple touchstone on this matter. I do not know when and how, this happened, since I stopped getting a daily dose of conservative talking points around the time the immigration issue created a rift between the actual agenda of the Republican party and the drumbeat of hostility in ordinarily partisan media. Yet I do know at some point “Martian warming” was one of those talking points. Ask yourself, did you take it seriously?
Relevant records of Martian climate prior to the early 1990s are simply nonexistent. Geological data from Mars is both extremely limited (I doubt all landers and rovers have come withing 1km of 1% of the Martian surface) and orbital surveys could not be conducted until at least one orbiter was in place. The blatantly bogus talking point relied on very limited -regional- observations to come to conclusions on a -global- scale. Yet it was regurgitated in all manner of media.
If you were happy to hear about Martian warming, it is likely your scientific views are a direct product of your political identity. If you were a skeptic on that one from the beginning, well, that speaks well of your judgment, but it says nothing about the reality of industrial emissions tweaking the composition of our atmosphere in a manner that nudges global temperatures warmer, with consequences that are both literally and figuratively uncool for many huge sectors in the American economy.

wes george

Demonweed is what Eric Fromm identified as a true believer, a simpleton bully so thoroughly indoctrinated as to be dependent upon his faith for his own self-identity and self-esteem, both of which he probably lacked as a child. The fact that he lurks online as a cannabis related avatar speaks volumes about his pre or postmodern grasp on reality.
No amount of contrary evidence will dislodge his faith, because he is not rational in the sense of the Enlightenment, rather he is tribal. Thus, Edelman’s elegantly rational critique is seen by Demonweed as conspiracy rather than a convincing and honest argument of the facts from a specific point of view.
The political Left, after having their theories of economics and socio-political organization so thoroughly discredited over the course of the last century, is now clutching the theory of AGW as the last great hope to halt the zeitgeist of global capitalism. Finally, the chance for that long hoped for socialist victory of the proletariat over their capitalist masters is neigh. Never mind that the paradigm of class warfare is so outdated as to be meaningless, nostalgia is a foundation of all extremism, left or right.
What a great boon for the unreconstructed Left: Hansen, Mann, et al have confirmed the Left’s deepest held beliefs. Capitalism is destroying the planet! The consensus rules! Damn the statistical details, the ends justify the mean. Scientific Method must be modified to meet political objectives since they have a bloody planet to save! Can there be any moral high ground higher than Saving The Planet From Capitalist Destruction? Forget the peer reviews and reproducible results; there is so little time left!
What we need is a zero-growth economy and we need it now. Of course, such an economy will have to be centrally controlled by a bureaucracy of right-thinking technocrats. And, of course, democracy as we know it today, will have to be curbed since it gives too much freedom to wrong-thinking people who would use their freedom in ways not conducive to Saving The Planet. Ultimately, a strong dictatorship, only for the immediate transition, you see, would be the most efficient way to confront AGW. Someone like a latter day Stalin, Mao or even an Ataturk would do. A Christ to drive the moneychangers from the temple. A Five Year Plan with mandatory targets.
If the above seems unimaginably goofy, then take a look at the newspapers of 1907 and recall how unimaginably silly the subsequent history of the 20 th century would appear to the pundits of the day.

NortonPete

Well written and presented logically without bias.

evanjones

Gosh, I never knew retired Lt. Cdrs. rolled on the floor, SIR!
As any good liberal should (but usually won’t) tell you, for every billion wasted (or never created), babies starve. Being a bad liberal, I find myself bringing this point up continually.
Namely, if it’s a problem, we owe it to humanity to solve it as cheaply as we possibly can out of consideration for those who really, really need that which is being sacrificed.

Jerry

Demonweed misses some important points:
The EPA just came out with an estimate of what it will cost to have only a 23 ppm impact on CO2 by 2100. The cost is trillions. That’s with a “T”. The temperature reduction? They wouldn’t say, but it’s likely only a few hundredths of a degree Celsius.
China produced more CO2 last year than the US did. But the US sequestered 20-35% of our CO2 into our forests. And China has a growing coal mine fire problem that probably increases their CO2 production by another 5-15%. So China is, in fact, emanating bout twice as much CO2 as the US. On a per capita basis, this means that China is producing about half of the US’s per capita production. But read on –
Chinese CO2 production increased about 10% annually just in the the last 2 years. At this rate, China CO2 production will double in 7-8 years, thereby equaling US per capita CO2 production. And with additional CO2 increases doubling again in another 7-8 years, and double again, yadda, yadda, China will be the most destructive generator of CO2 in the world on a per capita basis before we even hit 2030. And they have said in no uncertain terms that they will not reign in their economic growth to fight global warming. The US, on the other hand, actually reduced CO2 generation by about 1.3% last year. Add in India, Indonesia and Brazil economic development, and it looks like whatever the US tries to do will be irrelevant in the big picture.
Sea level rise is a non-issue. Since the last Ice Age the oceans have been rising as the glaciers melted, but at a steady pace (about 1 foot every century) though reputable scientists are currently disputing even that high a rise. Yet people keep moving to the coasts of the world and put themselves at risk, particularly when that risk is sometimes subsidized through preferential government property insurance policies. If the water continues its slow rise, citizens will demand an end to those insurance subsidies and people will either gradually build dikes, absorb damages or move away from the coast.
For example, look at New Orleans. Even before Katrina, technical journals were noting that N.O. and its levees were subsiding by 1/2 inch per year due to canal pumpouts within the levee system and that the city was becoming progressively more vulnerable to hurricanes. CAT3 Katrina hits, the city floods and people die, evacuate short term or relocate permanently.
So what were many people still demanding afterwards? Full subsidies so they could rebuild their homes in the N.O. sink hole. But now getting refused. Many former residents have realized that N.O. is a losing proposition on many levels and are never going back. Yet many residents are still moving back to this disaster in progress. They are putting themselves at risk of the more common CAT2 hurricanes as the levees continue to sink. This is why people get hurt – they move to or stay in areas they shouldn’t.

Bill H

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

Stan Needham

Being a bad liberal, I find myself bringing this point up continually.
I’ll bite, Evan, what is a “bad Liberal”? (I thought all Liberals were bad, heh heh.)
BTW, in addition to rolling on the floor, I also LMAO. I always have to chuckle when sanctimonious blowhards like Demon Weed invoke Bush to support their arguments. Of course, when they don’t agree, he’s the dumbest guy on the planet.
I could not agree more with the last sentence of your previous post.

Robert

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

Jeff

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

Jeff

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

Laurence Sheldon

“kill your TV” “to raise awareness and spark debate over the environment. For this alone Gore deserves an Oscar”
The Bhopal Disaster did all of that. Union Carbide didn’t get any awards.
What’s up with that?

Bob Edelman

Bill H.,
The misapplication of statistical analysis methods by Mann led to minimizing the Medieval Warm Period so that today’s temperatures appear greater instead of less then those of that period. The Little Ice Age anomalies are also minimized.I again highly recommend a reading of the Wegman report, available at http://www.climateaudit.org/pdf/others/07142006_Wegman_Report.pdf
The executive summary reports the primary problem:
“The controversy of Mann’s methods lies in that the proxies are centered on the mean of the period 1902-1995, rather than on the whole time period. This mean is, thus, actually decentered low, which will cause it to exhibit a larger variance, giving it preference for being selected as the first principal component. The net effect of this decentering using the proxy data in MBH98 and MBH99 is to produce a “hockey stick” shape. Centering the mean is a critical factor in using the principal component methodology properly. It is not clear that Mann and associates realized the error in their methodology at the time of publication.”
Finding number 7 discredits claims that the 1990s were the hottest decade in a millennium:
“Our committee believes that the assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade in a millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year in a millennium cannot be supported by the MBH98/99 analysis. As mentioned earlier in our background section, tree ring proxies are typically calibrated to remove low frequency variations. The cycle of Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age that was widely recognized in 1990 has disappeared from the MBH98/99 analyses, thus making possible the hottest decade/hottest year claim. However, the methodology of MBH98/99 suppresses this low frequency information. The paucity of data in the more remote past makes the hottest-in-a-millennium claims essentially unverifiable.”
McIntyre and McKitrick exposed the problems and showed that stationary trendless red noise would exhibit the same hockey stick shape after being processed using the MBH methodology! This was confirmed by Wegman.

M. Jeff

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