Burt Rutan: engineer, aviation/space pioneer, and now, active climate skeptic

Burt_Rutan_large
Burt Rutan - aviation pioneer, engineer, test pilot, climate skeptic. Note the car.

Recently after some conversations with a former chemical engineer who provided me with some insight, I’ve come to the conclusion that many engineers have difficulty with many of the premises of AGW theory because in their “this has to work or people die” world of exacting standards, the AGW argument doesn’t hold up well by their standards of performance.

Today I was surprised to learn that one of the foremost and world famous engineers on the planet, Burt Rutan, has become an active climate skeptic. You may be familiar with some of Rutan’s work through his company, Scaled Composites:

Click here to learn about X-Prize flight #1Click here to learn about X-prize flight 2

Thanks to WUWT reader Dale Knutsen, I was provided a PowerPoint file recently by email presented by Mr. Rutan at the Oshkosh fly-in convention on  July 29th, 2009 and again on August 1st, 2009. It has also now been posted online by an associate of Mr. Rutan’s.

There were a number of familiar things in the PowerPoint, including data plots from one of the USHCN stations I personally surveyed and highlighted, Santa Rosa, NM. Rutan had an interest in it because of the GISS adjustment to the data. For him, the whole argument is about the data. He says about his presentation in slide #3:

Not a Climatologist’s study; more from the view of a flight test guy who has spent a lifetime in data analysis/interpretation.

In the notes of his PowerPoint on slide #3,  Rutan tells us why he thinks this way(emphasis mine):

My study is NOT as a climatologist, but from a completely different prospective in which I am an expert.

Complex data from disparate sources can be processed and presented in very different ways, and to “prove” many different theories.

For decades, as a professional experimental test engineer, I have analyzed experimental data and watched others massage and present data.  I became a cynic; My conclusion – “if someone is aggressively selling a technical product who’s merits are dependant on complex experimental data, he is likely lying”.  That is true whether the product is an airplane or a Carbon Credit.

Now since I’m sure people like foaming Joe Romm will immediately come out to label Mr. Rutan as a denier/delayer/generally bad person, one must be careful to note that Mr. Rutan is not your average denier/delayer. He’s “green”. Oh horrors, a “green denier”! Where have we seen that before?

From his PowerPoint, here’s his house, note the energy efficient earth walled design.

Rutans_home

In his PowerPoint notes he says about his green interests:

My house was Nov 89 Pop Science Cover story; “World’s Most Efficient House”.  Its big advantage is in the desert summer.  It is all-electric and it uses more energy in the relatively mild winters than in the harsh summers – just the opposite of my neighbors.

The property has provisions for converting to self-sustaining (house and plug-in hybrid car) via adding wind generator and solar panels when it becomes cost effective to do so.

Testing Solar Water Heat in the 70s at RAF; the Rutan Aircraft Factory was converted to solar-heated water in the 70s, when others were only focused on gasoline costs.

My all electric EV-1 was best car I ever owned.  Primary car for 7 years, all-electric with an 85 mile range.  I was very sad (just like the guy shown) when the leased cars were recalled and crushed by General Motors.  I will buy a real hybrid when one becomes available (plug-in with elect-range>60 miles). The Prius “hybrid” is not a hybrid, since it is fueled only by gasoline.  A Plug-in Hybrid can be fueled with both gas and electricity.  You might even see a ‘plug-in hybrid airplane’ in my future.

And he notes in the slide:
Interest is technology, not tree-hugging

Well that right there is reason enough to put all sorts or nasty labels on the man. Welcome to the club Burt, we are proud to have you!

Rutan’s closing observations slide is interesting:

Rutan_observations
Slide #32 from Burt Rutan's presentation

And, in his notes he makes this mention:

Is the debate over? – The loudest Alarmist says the debate is over.  However, “It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry”.

I think by the “loudest alarmist” he means Al Gore.

And his final slide:

Rutan_recommendations
Slide #33 from Burt Rutan's presentation

Rutan’s PowerPoint file is posted at:

http://rps3.com/Pages/Burt_Rutan_on_Climate_Change.htm

For those that don’t have PowerPoint, I’ve converted it to a PDF file for easy and immediate reading online which you can download here.

I wonder if in conversations with his biggest client, Virgin’s Richard Branson, he ever mentions Gore and their joint project? I’d love to be a fly on the wall for that conversation.

Is the debate over? – The loudest Alarmist says the debate is over.  However, “It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry”.
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MattB
August 16, 2009 5:37 pm

My conclusion – “if someone is aggressively selling a technical product who’s merits are dependant on complex experimental data, he is likely lying”.
Now that is a quote of the week

cba
August 16, 2009 5:46 pm

Better to be like-minded with Burt Rutan than with a hundred thousand gavin schmidts, james hansens, and michael manns

MattN
August 16, 2009 5:53 pm

“many engineers have difficulty with many of the premises of AGW theory because in their “this has to work or people die” world of exacting standards, the AGW argument doesn’t hold up well by their standards of performance.”
I am an Engineer, and I could not have said it better….

Allen63
August 16, 2009 5:58 pm

I agree with his points. Though he towers above me, apparently our experiences have been similar in dealing with other engineers and scientists — both the good and not so good.

Douglas DC
August 16, 2009 6:06 pm

MattB (17:37:45) :
My conclusion – “if someone is aggressively selling a technical product who’s merits are dependant on complex experimental data, he is likely lying”.
Now that is a quote of the week
Amen.Snake oil, anyone?

Tim McHenry
August 16, 2009 6:08 pm

Ahh, It’s good to see another saying that warmth is GOOD. How can this point be lost on the AGWers?? Just think of the arable land available in Canada and Russia. Just think of the extended growing seasons. All for the cheap price of a little beach erosion. How did we ever let them paint that as a bad thing?

Ron de Haan
August 16, 2009 6:16 pm

I am a great admirer of Burt Rutan who caused a revolution in the experimental aircraft scenery with his great “canard” designs (I fly a canard myself), his record non stop flight around the world, his space project and numerous aircraft (and other) designs.
Hopefully he will communicate his “climate opinion” to his customer, Billionaire Richard Branson who has completely lost it and joined the camp of Al Gore last year.
Burt Rutan’s opinion is a “heavy one” and much apriciated, at least by me.
Thanks for posting this.

Rocket Man
August 16, 2009 6:16 pm

Rutan has essentially the same view on AGW I do. Not surprising as we both work in the Aerospace field and have both done a lot of testing in out time (I have even done some work for him in the past). Bottom line is that a lot of the data used to justify AGW, especially the surface temperature data, is scientifically meaningless.
There are issues with how the data is collected, with the instruments used, how the instruments are sited, how the data is recorded, how the data is adjusted, etc, etc, etc. The raw surface temperature data and the “adjusted data” would be thrown in the garbage if anybody, for whatever reason, needed that type of data to design a flight vehicle (airplane or rocket), and real data, using scientifically rigorous collection methods, would be collected instead.
I simply cannot understand why anybody who understands the scientific method can take the surface temperature reconstructions of global temperatures seriously. Satellite data is better, but even that has its own instrumentation issues and coverage issues. It is a shame is that with all the billions of dollars that have been spent on AGW research carbon taxes, we still do not have a good idea what the temperature of the earth actually is.

timetochooseagain
August 16, 2009 6:34 pm

SSO is what inspired me to get into aerospace engineering! This guy is my hero, no doubt about it. Freakin’ awesome. Quite frankly, freakin’ awesome.

Kevin Kilty
August 16, 2009 6:39 pm

OK, Burt deserves all of the accolades, and it is nice to have a fellow with his reputation on one’s side. However, how do we leverage people like him, and ourselves to prevent the self inflicted wounds that are practically scheduled for us? How do we stop this train-wreck?

Douglas DC
August 16, 2009 6:51 pm

Branson’s only on board the AGW gravy train to cater to the Hollywood crowd and the elites that will be his customers.

August 16, 2009 6:51 pm

I am another engineer who has spent a career evaluating data, and agree completely with Rutan.

Patrick Davis
August 16, 2009 6:58 pm

Great post/article. I have been wondering these last few months since discovering this site, are there enough people aware of this site and the articles/posts, in particluar, about Co2? I mean, here in Australia, we are continually bombarded with pollitically bisased BS on climate change and Co2. KRudd747 and Penny w(R)ong are so commited to “establishing” their ETS they will do alomst anything before Copenhagen to pass the legislation. I also note the PM, Ms w(R)ong and many other “green” groups are claiming the ETS is required to “protect” jobs!!! So they need ETS subsidies to maintain these companies?! Yeah, OK, I get it!
There was another guy interviewed last night on TV, cliaming that 100 jobs at *his* solar mfg plant would be at risk if the renewable energies side of the bill(s) were not passed. Of course this person would not be selfinterest in this bill would he? He want me to pay him to employ people making solar panels which I, and *most* people in Sydney (Because they rent) can’t use.
It sickens me to see so many people just waiting to get their snouts in the gravy train trough that is an ETS.

LloydG
August 16, 2009 7:02 pm

Burt Rutan is someone I’ve always admired and respected for his innovative and entrepeneurial spirit. I am delighted to see his common sense and reasoned approach to the “Climate Change v2” (Global warming being v1) is in accord with my own beliefs on the issue.
The greatest immediate risk, by far, is sweeping legislation that will cripple the worlds productive efforts, through energy starvation, based on grieviously faulty theories and models.
I also agree strikes by NEO’s is the bigger long term risk to our planet we should focus on. Think Alvarez Event and K/T boundary extinction.
I sense the fracture/collapse of the biggest fraud in history.
Great post! Lloyd Graves

Curiousgeorge
August 16, 2009 7:11 pm

Good for Burt! I’m sure this will generate a considerable amount of wild handwaving and proclamations of disaster by the usual supects.
You might also be interested in this blog about next weeks rallies against the climate change legislation. http://blogs.chron.com/newswatchenergy/archives/2009/08/next_weeks_ener_1.html

David Ball
August 16, 2009 7:22 pm

People need to hear both sides of this debate and be allowed to make up their own minds. Rutan has clearly done his “due diligence” and studied this subject very thoroughly (case in point; his home). Gore would have been smarter to not say “the debate is over”. Do NOT tell me what to think for I am capable of making up my own mind, thank you very much. Great post, Anthony and moderators !! Burt Rutan, if you happen to read this, you are one the sharpest minds on the planet and courageous enough to take a stand, despite the personal harm that often comes with skepticism.

Curiousgeorge
August 16, 2009 7:23 pm

PS: Be sure to read the memo linked to at the Houston Chronicle blog post I mentioned. It’s very, very interesting!

CaryB
August 16, 2009 7:24 pm

Steve McIntyre said the same thing a few years ago. Since his expertise was in mining, his template for good research was an mining engineering report. He opined that no one comes close to this standard in climate science.

Methow Ken
August 16, 2009 7:29 pm

Burt Rutan: An American hero; wish we had more like him.
SIDEBAR: I still remember being down at their base in the Mojave Desert something like 30 years ago; and getting a ride in their LongEasy homebuilt aircraft. One of the most fun plane rides I ever had.
BTW: Do not underestimate the importance of Burt Rutan signing on to oppose the dark side of AGW: His world-wide reputation as an engineer, innovator, and all-around sharp guy is beyond reproach. . . . Oh, the AGW fanatics will probably try, but efforts to trash Burt Rutan ain’t gonna sell outside of their own little closed-loop, politically-correct world.
Time for a little adult supervision from real scientists and engineers, sez me.

Eric Anderson
August 16, 2009 7:32 pm

Congratulations and kudos to Burt Rutan. I’ve followed his space-related work for several years and am glad to see he is taking a careful and measured approach to this issue. Keep up the good work!

kris
August 16, 2009 7:39 pm

I used to work at Scaled Composites, and honestly this is surprising to me.

Jimmy Haigh
August 16, 2009 7:47 pm

Hmm. Nice house and a nice lifestyle. To live like this, you need to be a) rich and b) to have a real concern for the environment. Al Gore is rich…

the_Butcher
August 16, 2009 7:53 pm

I guess he ain’t getting much sunlight for his ‘weird’ House and has started to becoming a Sceptic…

Methow Ken
August 16, 2009 7:54 pm

Hopefully the moderator(s) will tolerate 2 closely-spaced posts by the writer for this special case:
I just finished downloading and reviewing all of Burt Rutan’s slides.
Versions of quite a few of them have of course appeared in various other good presentations. But Burt has done an especially outstanding job of putting this fairly long slide show together; the result of which is IMO one of the best logical and cohesive presentations on this subject that I have seen anywhere (and I have looked at many).
Every member of Congress should be required to study these slides.
Too bad not many likely will. . . . . [sigh]
Even so:
These slides are important; thanks much to WUWT for greatly assisting in their wide dissemination.
IMO it is not too far-fetched to say that civilization is again threatened by a modern equivalent of the barbarian hoardes; that finally overcame ancient Imperial Rome. Never forget that the so-called barbarians finally won no so much because of what THEY did, but because of what Rome did NOT do. Let’s hope sanity prevails before we repeat clear but unlearned lessons of history. . . .

August 16, 2009 7:56 pm

Please let us know when the video is available.
Anyone know how to print the notes with the slides? All I can print are the slides.
/Mr Lynn

August 16, 2009 8:11 pm

Mr. Rutan may be the most prominent public figure to speak out against the AGW movement. And of course his technical credentials are impeccable.
If any of you have contacts in the media, this is the time to make them aware of the huge fabric of lies that the Alarmists have promulgated, and Burt Rutan’s presentation is the ideal vehicle.
Just make sure you include the notes, which explain and explicate the slides.
/Mr Lynn

August 16, 2009 8:11 pm

My impression is that the only people who can afford the green lifestyle are the very wealthy, like Burt Rutan. And good luck to him.

hotrod
August 16, 2009 8:16 pm

When engineers screw up people get killed or maimed.
When climatologists screw up they adjust the data and issue another dire press release.
Way to go Burt, you have reinforced my substantial respect for you as an engineer and original thinker.
Larry

Dan Evens
August 16, 2009 8:21 pm

Re: A product that depends on complex experiments. The time it worksk ok is when there has been a long interplay between theory and experiment. The theory predicts a test. The test is done and matches the theory or does not. The theory is expanded, improved and the cycle redone. And until the cycle is able to go through several cycles of correctly predicting tests, with a wide variety of conditions, then things should be considered as provisional.
That’s how a mature industry works. Planes fly because there have been many decades of theory matching experiment, and all up and down from thermo-hydro-dynamics, materials science, electronics, traffic control, human performance, and so on and so forth.
I’ll take climate science seriously when they can usefully and accurately predict something.

Bobn
August 16, 2009 8:22 pm

but look at the pdf, many of the graphs/data he cites are flawed in themselves. For example the first one cites the flawed argument that human emissions of co2 are only about 3% of total co2 emissions.

F. Ross
August 16, 2009 8:33 pm

I have always admired Mr. Rutan for his aeronautical engineering and inventive skills. One of his plane designs – a canard pusher plane [don’t remember the exact model] – flies out of the local airport and, when possible, I stop to watch it land/take off.
Based on the above post, Mr. Rutan rises even higher in the pantheon of critical thinkers on AGW.
Nice house too!

henrychance
August 16, 2009 8:34 pm

My conclusion – “if someone is aggressively selling a technical product who’s merits are dependant on complex experimental data, he is likely lying”.
Now that is a quote of the week
The Rutan starship was a flop.
Rutan is a creative artist. he is not good for successful manufacturing.
Aviation has a lot of people that understand the weather. Algore is decades behind aviation.

John Laidlaw
August 16, 2009 8:45 pm

Bobn (20:22:18) :
but look at the pdf, many of the graphs/data he cites are flawed in themselves. For example the first one cites the flawed argument that human emissions of co2 are only about 3% of total co2 emissions.

Care to be a little more specific please?
“henrychance (20:34:00)
The Rutan starship was a flop”

Surely you don’t mean the Scaled Composites SpaceShipOne? Last I heard, that did exactly what it was intended to do…

oakgeo
August 16, 2009 8:45 pm

Rutan will be summarily ignored by the CAGWers. Or they’ll categorize engineers in the same vein as geologists, i.e. too trapped in their own expertise to fully appreciate the breadth of climate science. Or Rutan will be vilified as an insidious capitalist. Whatever, the CAGW faithful will dismiss him as just being wrong, without ever addressing the salient points he makes.
I guess I’m just pessimistic.

D. King
August 16, 2009 8:47 pm

Makes me proud to be an American.

August 16, 2009 9:03 pm

I fully support the argument that engineers either get it right, or people die. The Chemical Safety Board has a good summary of what happens when engineers get it wrong. http://www.csb.gov/
Burt Rutan is, as others above have noted, one of the most famous of technical men to weigh in on the skeptic side. There are many others, perhaps not so famous world-wide, who also know that CO2 cannot be a cause of climate change. Dr. Pierre Latour, PhD chemical engineer, recently wrote on this. Dr. Latour designed some of the control systems for the Apollo spacecraft. They worked, or people would have died.
Another commenter above asked what can we do to spread the word. I was asked this same question on my blog, and I re-post my response here:
“I see several avenues to pursue to make a difference. First, and most effective, is to use the legal system to repeal or soften the existing laws. Many environmental cases have been decided in the courts.
Next, is to rally huge numbers of voters to voice their opinion to legislators. Written letters, emails, faxes, phone calls, peaceful demonstrations, and personal visits to the offices of elected officials can be very effective when great numbers of people participate.
Next is to publicize the laws and their ill effects on people. A blog such as this is one example. Other media can also be used; the more the better.
Ultimately, as long as California is the only, or one of just a few, states with unfounded climate change laws, people will vote with their feet and leave the state for a friendlier location. This option disappears when a national law exists. We already see that California’s population is changing due to businesses leaving the state, and people migrating to other states. No longer is California the golden state that attracts people from the other 49 states due to better opportunities.
Even with a national law, businesses will move offices and manufacturing to more friendly countries, as happened during the 1980’s, 1990’s, and 2000’s when off-shoring became a buzzword.
A simple check on the price of one-way rental trucks verifies that more people are leaving than entering the state. One can go online, and obtain a rental price for a one-way trip on a moving van from Los Angeles to Dallas (or another non-California city). Then check the same moving trip for the other direction.
Another way I try to make a difference is by making speeches to various audiences around the country. These speeches are enthusiastically received. I find that most people suspect they are being conned by the media and government, and what I show and tell them confirms what they suspected.
One can also make note of valid science and reports and send links to friends and colleagues via email and popular networking sites. I do this regularly. In fact, here is a link that discredits three of AGW’s most sacred cows: Ocean Level Rising, Ocean Temperatures Rising, and Polar Ice Decreasing. The link is
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/06/30/roger-pielke-senior-on-real-climate-claims-bubkes/
Finally, the words of President Abraham Lincoln are appropriate: “The best way to repeal a bad law is to enforce it strictly.” With climate change laws, the harm to businesses and hardships on people will be visible.
I certainly hope we can repeal or soften these laws before the harm and hardships become too great. “

http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2009/06/ab-32-hypocrisy-vs-health-and-poverty.html

MartinGAtkins
August 16, 2009 9:08 pm

Bobn (20:22:18) :

but look at the pdf, many of the graphs/data he cites are flawed in themselves. For example the first one cites the flawed argument that human emissions of co2 are only about 3% of total co2 emissions.

If you are going to make statements like this, then you need to cite the source of your assertion.

BJL
August 16, 2009 9:25 pm

Now in addition to his long lists of accomplishments add, Patriot.

Gordon Ford
August 16, 2009 9:48 pm

Mr. Rutan is spot on. As a Geological Engineer I’ve sold mineral exploration projects based on a few facts and lots of arm waving to others who examined the facts and liked my arm waving. Most of these projects failed, as expected. As those projects that didn’t fail in the early stages moved forward large data bases were built from acquired facts. If all went well these facts (survey data, geological data from surface sampling and diamond and other drilling, metallurgical test results etc. were assembled into a document called a “feasibility study”. In the normal course of events this document would be torn apart by teams of geologists, metallurgists, mining engineers and accountants hired by banks and major investors. If no significant interpretaton errors were found, and comodity prices didn’t tumble, hundreds of millions were invested and the property put into production. About 50 % of new mines never returned a profit, often because product prices fell or production costs went through the roof. The other 50% are the ones you want in your retirement portfolio. Throughout the whole process the basic data from day one was preserved on it’s origional form. Post mortums are interesing.
Today when dealing with climate change we have inadequate data (some of which appears to be only available in “adjusted” form) and much arm waving.
We have prophets pontificating that the ‘science is settled ” while others protest “we don’t yet know what questions to ask”. Our political leaders by and large see this as an opportunity to tax and control.
And daily nature shreds the most rock solid theories.
Mr. Rutan is spot on, we know enough about the worlds climate to know that we are short of adequate, quality data on which to make major decisions.

Gene Nemetz
August 16, 2009 9:58 pm

I still haven’t seen anyone of the caliber of Burt Rutan go to the alarmists side in years. They are all coming the ‘skeptic’, ‘denier’ direction.
—————
I saw a good documentary about is outer space plane that cork screws back into earths atmosphere. It was interesting.

Gene Nemetz
August 16, 2009 10:10 pm

“….destroy US global competitiveness through Cap and Trade taxes.”
America should be concerned about this. We are falling behind China. And now China has said they aren’t going to do anything about carbon emissions until 2050. We will fall behind even faster with Cap and Trade. We can’t afford the luxury of Yuppie self loathing.
“China’s emissions will not continue to rise beyond 2050,”
Mr Su restated Beijing’s view that, as China still needs to grow its economy to help its 1bn-plus population to escape poverty, it is too early to discuss emissions caps.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a702b982-8933-11de-b50f-00144feabdc0.html

MrCPhysics
August 16, 2009 10:13 pm

“Curiousgeorge (19:23:54) :
PS: Be sure to read the memo linked to at the Houston Chronicle blog post I mentioned. It’s very, very interesting!”
The last thing the skeptic community needs right now (or ever) is rallies funded by the API or a conservative think tank. First of all, rallies accomplish very little, especially when the media is bound to report the rally with a pro-AGW slant. Secondly, we don’t want the American public to view the debate about global warming as Government versus Industry Lobbyists, since the Lobbyists may be the only group the public holds in lower regard than politicians. Why try to bully public opinion when the scientific truth is on your side?
Right now, the public debate is way too political anyway, and many otherwise intelligent people are turned away from the skeptical side because they perceive it as being an unscientific, politically conservative position. They’re wrong, of course, but political or industry “rallies” to the cause make it harder to convert people with the evidence, not easier.

Patrick Davis
August 16, 2009 10:16 pm

“Roger Sowell (21:03:16) : ”
Thankyou Roger. I believe the situation regarding accessing law makers, legislators, ministers etc here in Australia is that, to me at least, appears to be “out-of-bounds” to the masses. We go to the polls every three years or so (I wasn’t able to vote in Australia because 1, I was a temporary resident the last election. I now can vote. 2, I believe not one single politician has earnt my vote), and then those elected, get free reign. I never see genuine public involvment in Govn’t policy making, no public consultation espectially with new taxes being dreamed up (Well actually it’s not new, initially, as far as i can tell, here in Australia, it’s be a form of GST creep. GST will grow to 12.5% from 10%, and grow to possibly 17% as soon as 2015. I understand most Aussies are not aware of this aspect of the ETS bill) and considering the “science is settled” the elected Gummint just does what it wants.
I see a lot of apathy here in Australia (Although registering to vote is compulsory here in Aus), and similarly in New Zealand when I lived there, with regards to politics, Gummint and policy makers. I find Aussies and NZer’s too trusting of their elected (And in NZ many are not thanks to a form of proportional represntation called MMP) representitives to “do the job”. Well, they certainly do, at our expense.
I have tried, e-mails, but I get no response. There is an advert on TV here which shows black balloons of Co2 pollution popping out from every energy consuming device and, magically, floating up in to the air. I wrote to the authorising official to point out the blatant misinformation. I received no reply.
Australians, and NZers too, pay more attention to sports, and when sports personalities “endorse” AGW you know you’re on the losing side.

Gene Nemetz
August 16, 2009 10:18 pm

The documentary I mentioned; it’s from Discovery Channel. Title : “Black Sky: The Race for Space”
12 parts in YouTube

Denny
August 16, 2009 10:19 pm

Another great Post Anthony! Burt coming out and speaking His views is showing more and more Scientists that are Realists and speaking their Minds…Look at the Eighty Scientists that went against their Editor in the APS, American Physic’s Society! The oldest in America, amoung one of them…Now people like these need to go to Washington and denounce this Cap & Trade Bill as with the American People!
http://climaterealists.com/?id=3867

Robert Bateman
August 16, 2009 10:36 pm

How do you stop this?
You have to stop the 3 Marketeers: Pelosi, Waxman & Gore (for the US).
And that is political. Write thier opposition and express your deepest gratitude for oppsosing this crass stupidity. If you belong to the Party that is trying to shove this through, dump them.
It’s you or them. Some in history have sought to rule the world. They intend to own it, and they are willing to pay any price, your future included.

Robert Bateman
August 16, 2009 10:40 pm

Gene Nemetz (22:10:54) :
Absolutely. Another unbearable price tag of thier leglislation.

Hank Hancock
August 16, 2009 10:42 pm

Like other engineers commenting on this topic, I too have concluded that the case for global warming (er, um, climate change), has been built on the framework of circular citations and poorly QC’d, disparate, and too often cooked data. My training as an engineer compels me to demand solid evidence over emotional hype if I am to be convinced of anything. The solid evidence of AGW is lacking and the emotional hype is in much abundance. Alas, I remain a skeptic.
I’m glad to see a respected engineer such as Rutan challenge so-called concensus by underscoring the logical disconnects of the AGW hypothesis. He will be labeled as “out of his field” and scorned by AGW believers but he is too respected by most to be summarily dismissed.
I’ve been e-mailing national news outlets with links to this story on WUWT. I hope others will do so too.

observer
August 16, 2009 10:47 pm

The first half of the twentieth century saw an unparalleled explosion in knowledge and scientific progress that lifted our standard of living to where it is today. As a token of their appreciation the people have chosen to take this remarkable leap forward for granted and adopt a mindset embracing weak and unproven science that would never have led to the technological advances enjoyed (and taken for granted) today. It is no wonder that true scientists in the area of physics, chemistry engineering and other rigorous, disciplined fields of study are moved to voice their concerns about this mindless acceptance of agw garbage. The only thing is, will anyone bother to pay attention?

RunFromMadness
August 16, 2009 10:48 pm

Asteroid strikes, communists and theocrats. Those are threats, not global warmthingy.

Justin Sane
August 16, 2009 10:54 pm

Not being an American, I suggest that the American readers here send the pdf to all the members of congress and all the senators of the senate. Canadians, Australians, Brits etc. should also do the same with their respective governments.
On a side note, my understanding of AGW is higher lows at night, not generally higher highs during the day, and even at that more pronounced during the winter. Surely this a GOOD thing, increase in growing seasons, fewer people dying in the winter, no more A/C use in summer and maybe less furnace use in winter — both of which naturally lead to a reduction in CO2 as a by-product yada, yada, yada

Brian Johnson uk
August 16, 2009 11:58 pm

Starship was a Rutan design for Beechcraft. Twin turbine canard. Carbon fibre. Beech aimed at a market that wasn’t there and the Starship was withdrawn because Beech did not want to offer support. Rutan was not involved.
Dr S. Fred Singer quotes Man Made CO2 contribution as around 0.117%

stumpy
August 17, 2009 12:01 am

As an engineer and a modeller I fully agree and hate having to pay lip service to govt reports based on guess work contrary to observation.
I would say nearly every engineer I work with are skeptics with the best and brightest and most experianced engineers being the strongest skeptics, they can smell BS a mile off.
We have companys constantly offering us their “incredible” products and support their claims with obscure science and us engineers have quickly learnt to pull these claims apart in a second. Those that cant dont make very good engineers!
I especially know how misleading models can be!

D. King
August 17, 2009 12:20 am

Well, it looks as though the outcome is predetermined.
China, India, Brazil ect. will all comply (lie their asses off),
so dipstick can come home and declare consensus on CO2
cuts. Just how stupid do these morons think we are?

August 17, 2009 12:27 am

Rutan’s argument about complex experimental data being abused to sell an idea can also apply on the “estimated reserves” of coal and oil.
Apparantly he doesn’t realize that a finite space (Earth) can only hold finite amounts of coal and oil. (we will run out someday)
The cheaper alternatives he mentions are probably more expensive than the fossil fuels we used in the past decades.
And uhh …. planes don’t fly on coal, Bart.

Capn Jack Walker
August 17, 2009 12:33 am

Thanks Anthony and thanks Burt Rutan.

Chris
August 17, 2009 12:46 am

Patrick Davis (22:16:16)
The GST in Australia will not change it’s rate. It cannot change without every single state government AND both federal houses of parliament agreeing to the change.
Some economists have concluded that the ETS legislation would, if passed, effectively raise the GST rate, based on how much more Australians would pay for goods and services.

Editor
August 17, 2009 1:02 am

While I mostly did management of engineering projects, I’m still a decent hack / programmer. And it’s the same ethos. Get it right, or things break. His visibility will be worth a great deal.
FWIW, I did a little table / chart of the March of the Thermometers to the South:
http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/08/17/thermometer-years-by-latitude-warm-globe/
I can see no reasonable way to avoid the conclusion that the “warming” of the temperature record is because we put a pot load of thermometers closer to the equator and in the Southern Hemisphere.
And as a programmer, I can only say it would take one heck of a high “Q” filter to filter out that bias, and GIStemp is not up to the task. I would like to think that Burt would agree…

John Wright
August 17, 2009 1:30 am

Jimmy Haigh (19:47:39) :
“Hmm. Nice house and a nice lifestyle. To live like this, you need to be a) rich and b) to have a real concern for the environment. Al Gore is rich…”
Well it’s just an improved mud hut, is it not? You don’t need to be as rich Gore to follow Burt’s example (and I’m sure his house cost a lot less to build than Al’s mansion, and certainly a lot less in upkeep. We have friends in parts of France who live in old earth-walled houses. Obviously outside conditions don’t compare with the Nevada desert, but I can say that generally, they are cheap to keep warm in the Winter and naturally cool in the Summer – no need at all for air-conditioning. The same is true of houses with thick walls and good thermal insulation.
Thanks, Anthony for putting us on to this. I had already heard of and been impressed by Burt Rutan’s heroic global flight and space projects; Glad to hear he’s an AGW sceptic; the least I can say is he’s a good man to have as an ally.

August 17, 2009 1:30 am

Engineers are generally taken for granted and their power of insight disregarded by the lawyers and accountants we allow to rule us. The centuries old snobbery against the ‘dirty handed mechanic’ is still with us, even in the land of the free.
The economy is underpinned by engineers. They are the true wealth creators. The money jugglers merely redistribute it, into their own pockets.
When will we finally see through the confidence trick and gain the mettle to throw out the corrupt?

Robert Wood
August 17, 2009 1:37 am

I like his emphasis on data manipulation and mis-represntation.

August 17, 2009 1:39 am

Steve McIntyre keeps on about “engineering quality” in the science needed for global policy, and he is right. As a non-trained engineer but with a mind for detail of evidence (“the devil is in the details”) I KNOW he’s right – but I recognize that I hear those words with their emotional and spiritual power, but slightly lacking in exactitude. Many will be like me. They will KNOW we need “engineering quality”. What would be good would be to assemble a protocol that defines “engineering quality” in the context of the present situation in Climate Science. Defines it in a way that is rigorous enough for the noisiest and most “scientific” denier-debunker but is understandable by the lady in the street.

Steve Schapel
August 17, 2009 1:49 am

D King,
A bizarre video, eh? And one thing that’s always surprising is how often people still refer (without correction) to Gore as Vice-President.

Robert Wood
August 17, 2009 1:50 am

The web page pointed to by curiousgeorge is a typical piece of black propaganda. There are the usual accusations of “big oil/big coal” paying oh, millions, to stop Cap and Tax, ETS, or whatever windmill is named.
It is those in the pay of Big Government and Big Green, pushing for these nefarious get rich schemes, that are the Astroturfers.

Curiousgeorge
August 17, 2009 2:13 am

@ MrCPhysics (22:13:40) : That may be true. Depends on how it’s handled. It is interesting tho, yes? It illustrates just how politicized the entire subject is, and ignoring the politics of it won’t make the controversy go away. Whether it aggravates the situation or not, or is helpful or harmful to the skeptic view remains to be seen.
There have been plenty of attempts to get thru to the policy makers, using rational arguments and scientific studies that debunk AGW, that so far have failed miserably. We complain that they are being hoodwinked by cooked data, yet expect them to understand opposing data? Perhaps it’s time to employ different tactics.

Paul Vaughan
August 17, 2009 2:39 am

“if someone is aggressively selling a technical product who’s merits are dependent on complex experimental data, he is likely lying”
Interesting. The group of statisticians I used to work with might not like that comment…
I recall a statistical computing expert responding to a question about diagnostic-output from a computationally-intensive MCMC algorithm – his answer: “No one really understands what it means …or how to make any sense of it — but we just go with it anyway.”
When it gets to the point where people don’t even know what their fancy algorithms are doing…? …Can’t we admit we might have a problem?
Worthwhile results are robust across methodologies, but in the computationally-intensive fields, people are derided if they are not presenting cute, new, fashionable tools that their colleagues don’t generally have time to fully understand. (If it can’t even be readily understood within the field, that’s insurance for the discipline.)

“Oh horrors, a “green denier”!”
There are getting to be a LOT of green non-alarmists. I am a parks & wilderness advocate who has used only 8 tanks of gas in a small car during the past 2 years. My former jobs include: park supervisor, acid-rain/soils researcher, rare plant conservation botanist (for a nature trust). I got banned at Tamino’s [alarmist blog] for being honest. A lot of alarmists are not interested in working hard to understand REAL nature. The nature I know will never be as simple as an alarmist computer fantasy.

Funding for asteroid safety – a noble path – prudent, sensible.
…but don’t cut climate research funding – just redirect it to sensible people who are intent on understanding the complexity of nature.

Patrick Davis
August 17, 2009 3:08 am

“Chris (00:46:05) :
Patrick Davis (22:16:16)
The GST in Australia will not change it’s rate. It cannot change without every single state government AND both federal houses of parliament agreeing to the change.
Some economists have concluded that the ETS legislation would, if passed, effectively raise the GST rate, based on how much more Australians would pay for goods and services.”
Have a read here…it is a little alarmist…but I’ve seen politicians pass laws before without following proper “procedure” for instance Thatcher Thatcher the Milk Snatcher passed many draconian employment laws during the Falklands War while everyone else, including the media, were focused on the war. Why would Australian politicians be any better? Of course, they aren’t, and if it suits them, they will pass any law or adjust any existing law as they see fit (Gilt edge pension fund, voted on in secret). KRudd747 and Ms P. w(R)ong need something to “boast” with at Copenhagen. He’s definitely not going to be around a second term.
http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,20797,25912087-3122,00.html

jeroen
August 17, 2009 3:25 am

‘The Prius “hybrid” is not a hybrid, since it is fueled only by gasoline. ‘
I watched a Top Gear episode I believe one from 2004. They said you could drive 1 on 24 Thats in km and liters. But he only managed 1 on 16. An old diesel drives 1on 20 easely. So every celeberty with a hybrid is just a fake green person.

Michael Oxenham
August 17, 2009 4:04 am

Heaven and Earth – The Missing Science by Ian Plimer is an essential read for anyone who needs to learn about the Earth’s history and climate. His political comments are good value as well and up to date (2009)

BarryW
August 17, 2009 4:07 am

There have been other major names such as Freeman Dyson who are considered in the skeptic/denier camp.
Steve Schapel (01:49:43) :
It’s common for the highest title someone held to be used after they have left office as an honorific. Hence Mike Huckabee is often called Governor or Clinton, President.

Alexej Buergin
August 17, 2009 4:15 am

” Ron de Haan (18:16:13) :
I am a great admirer of Burt Rutan who caused a revolution in the experimental aircraft scenery with his great “canard” designs (I fly a canard myself), his record non stop flight around the world, his space project and numerous aircraft (and other) designs.”
That was his brother Dick Rutan doing the flying, together with girlfriend (at least at departure) Jeana Yeager (no relation to Chuck).

Chris Wright
August 17, 2009 4:23 am

Bobn (20:22:18) :
“but look at the pdf, many of the graphs/data he cites are flawed in themselves. For example the first one cites the flawed argument that human emissions of co2 are only about 3% of total co2 emissions.”
.
After a quick look at the slides, that one jumped out at me. It does seem to be completely wrong – or possibly Rutan believes that the 20th century CO2 increase was primarily natural. However, it could have been an honest mistake. By far the biggest emitter of CO2 is nature. I don’t recall the actual figure, but it could be that in any given year mankind only emits 3.4% of the total emission. Of course, in that context it was completely wrong. As I said, it could be an innocent mistake. Unfortunately many people will seize on that mistake and use it to discredit the whole argument, although it is of very small significance. The real argument is about what the effects of the CO2 increase are likely to be, not about its cause.
You say:”many of the graphs/data he cites are flawed in themselves….” but you only give this example, which I think may be a small slip up. So, please, could you list the other slides that you think are wrong?
…………………………………………………………………………………………
Like most people here, I was extremely impressed by Burt Rutan’s presentation. It’s great that such a high profile person has come to this conclusion. I particularly like the ‘Show me the data’ slides. I’ve searched for such data and have found some. In every case there’s no correlation with AGW alarmism, just as these slides confirm.
Actually, I do get a bit angry about this. It’s one thing to say we’re all doomed by 2050 unless we mend our ways. Most people realise that doom-mongers are pretty well always wrong (otherwise I wouldn’t be sitting at my desk and writing this) and they will take account of this.
But it’s another thing to state or imply that already climate change is causing catastrophes and already killing hundreds of thousand. Unlike the doom-mongering, this is a lie, pure and simple. Thanks to people like Burt Rutan for trying to rescue the truth.
If you read or hear people saying that climate change is already a disaster there’s a very simple response, as Rutan has pointed out: just say ‘Show me the data’.
.
As another poster pointed out, Rutan is working closely with Richard Branson, who is a true believer. I suspect people like Branson are believers primarily because, due to the biased and one-sided media coverage, they simply have no idea that there is a reasoned opposition to AGW. I hope that Rutan and Branson discuss climate change. After Branson has heard the other side of the story, maybe we could have another high profile supporter!
.
I hope Rutan doesn’t try to keep this quiet. Perhaps he should write a letter to Obama. It is extraordinarily important that the most powerful man in the world should hear the other side of the story, and if it’s coming from Burt Rutan it will have a greater impact.
.
Hearing about Burt Rutan has made my day. Thanks to WUWT for bringing this welcome news!
Chris

RW
August 17, 2009 4:23 am

E.M. Smith
“I can see no reasonable way to avoid the conclusion that the “warming” of the temperature record is because we put a pot load of thermometers closer to the equator and in the Southern Hemisphere.”
Did you know that the equator and the southern hemisphere show the least warming? The northern hemisphere at high latitudes is warming much faster than either. So, how does a warming signal come from a part of the world that isn’t warming very much?

Mark UK
August 17, 2009 4:40 am

Well, I am en engineer and the level of ignorance, arrogance and complete lack of understanding of the substance of climate science shown by most commenters here is depressing.
There is no excuse for being this ignorant on the subject when the information is readily available. Comments here put the entire species of engineers to shame.
[Reply: Any citations? Or are you just trolling? ~dbstealey, mod.]

Alexej Buergin
August 17, 2009 4:47 am

” Hans Verbeek (00:27:38) :
And uhh …. planes don’t fly on coal, Bart.”
Of course they do, Hans. Needs some treatment first, though.

dorlomin
August 17, 2009 4:50 am

“Oil\ coal are called ‘non renewable’ bbut every decade shows an estimated increase in reserves.”
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_qvha0CSgc90/SVqaog6mHjI/AAAAAAAAABU/Hu8CMcUN5hI/s1600/growing_gap_oil-discovery-vs-production.png
These figures include the doubling of reserves by OPEC in the 80s to boost quota share (they were backdated)
Every decade since the 80s we have consumed more oil than we produce.
No mention in this article whether Rutan is a ‘its not warmingist’ a “its warming but its the sun” a “its warming but its the PDO” or a ‘svensmarkian’.
*Shrugs*. Bit weak really.

dorlomin
August 17, 2009 4:52 am

Methow Ken (19:29:18) :
Time for a little adult supervision from real scientists and engineers, sez me.
————————————————–
Real scientists….. you mean people you agree with. Relevant qualifications are pretty meaningless to the kind of ‘skeptic’ found round here.

RW
August 17, 2009 5:00 am

Burt Rutan’s ‘observations’ are quite fatuous.
– Of course humans can code a computer model to predict global temperatures, and we’ve been doing so for three decades. The models have been pretty accurate.
– The effect of human greenhouse gas emissions on global temperatures is obvious.
– Statements that “warm is good, not bad!” amuse me. It’s like saying “food is good, not bad!” – that is, basically it’s meaningless.
– Statements that “CO2 is not a pollutant” also amuse me, particularly when they make use of patronising bold face. The easy response is to invite the claimant to spend just a few minutes in a room filled with pure CO2.
– if he believes ever-rising claims of reserve size, I’ve got a bridge he might like to buy. If he believes there will be a ‘gradual switch’ then he doesn’t understand maths. When use of a finite resource is exponentially increasing, there will be nothing gradual when the end comes.
And yet simultaneously he almost gets the point. He just about acknowledges that current global temperatures are unusual in the context of the last several centuries. He offers no explanation of why he thinks that is, or why the simple, well-established radiative properties of CO2 should somehow not be working.

August 17, 2009 5:03 am

Patrick Davis (18:58:19) : “I have been wondering these last few months since discovering this site, are there enough people aware of this site … here in Australia…”
WUWT? has a fair sprinkling of Australian contributors, Patrick, and many blogs and websites in Australia (including the high hit number Andrew Bolt blog) refer to and quote it. Additionally, Anthony links to Australian content. Based on that I would venture many if not most Australians interested in manmade global warming, aka climate change, are aware… but that all interested must continue to promote WUWT? as widely as possible.

Ron de Haan
August 17, 2009 5:22 am

henrychance (20:34:00) :
My conclusion – “if someone is aggressively selling a technical product who’s merits are dependant on complex experimental data, he is likely lying”.
Now that is a quote of the week
The Rutan starship was a flop.
Rutan is a creative artist. he is not good for successful manufacturing.
Aviation has a lot of people that understand the weather. Algore is decades behind aviation.
henrychance
“The Rutan starship was a flop.
Rutan is a creative artist. he is not good for successful manufacturing”.
I don’t agree with your assessment.
The Rutan Starship in the end was a little to heavy and to expensive, but still a marvelous airplane.
This was caused mainly because of new FAA regulations which were introduced after the prototype was build.
Most manufacturers score at least one in three projects to come up with a single commercially successful product and these companies have big (military budgets) and huge grants available to pay for it.
You mention me one single aircraft designer with a comparable success rate and design volume like Burt Rutan, operating without any Government support.
There is none.
Burt Rutan’s Scaled Composite designs aircraft including the entire mass manufacturing tooling and process.
This makes him an extremely successful “manufacturer”.
He has not only revolutionized the entire concept of prototyping and construction, but also the way the risky business of aircraft manufacturing is performed.
He enables companies who do not have the resources for design and research to produce state of the art aircraft products, thus reducing the overall business risks, the amount of capital that is needed making the industry more competitive and dynamic.
Without him we would still be flying “Blech Bomber” with struts, limited speed and range.
I think about this a lot, especially when I encounter a Cessna flying at top speed and I am able to circle it with an aircraft that uses half the fuel, cruises at twice the speed carrying a comparable pay load.

Rhys Jaggar
August 17, 2009 5:31 am

Well
The Australians have just thrown out Cap ‘N Trade legislation, so there’s hope yet.
It will take a politician of rare courage to achieve this, however in the UK and US, since they are all totally in thrall to it all.

John Stover
August 17, 2009 6:01 am

I read his slide presentation with interest. Certainly well documented from a wide variety of sources. I especially liked this item from his slide number four where he discusses bias in the interpretation of data:
“7. Global Governance foreigners (UN and America’s other global adversaries).”
Any American who equates the UN to America’s global adversaries is demonstratably a very cogent observer of the scene. Wonder how he felt about the “Oil for Food” scheme in Iraq that so handsomely rewarded Kofi Anan’s son?
Cheers,
John

Mike (retired pilot) McMillan
August 17, 2009 6:05 am

Little guys doing their own thing and coming up with great achievements are kinda rare these days. Rutan joins the likes of Edison, Lindbergh, and Jobs.

bluegrue
August 17, 2009 6:20 am

I’m disappointed with this talk. Just a few examples.
Slide #10: Rutan uses the Beck graph to accuse climate scientists of cherry-picking data with regard to CO2 background level measurements, where Beck’s data points do include non-background measurements of CO2. Note also that Beck’s data implies CO2 mixing ratio swings of the order of 100ppm within years, way larger than the seasonal variability of about 6ppm (peak to peak) measured today.
Slide #12: He uses as an example of “No intended deception here” a Monckton plot that puts Cuffey & Clow’s central Greenland temperature reconstruction into the Antarctic and has its last data point 95 years ago (if not 150 years, depending on the definition of “before present” (1950?) used) but proudly points to “300 years of warming”.
Slide #15: In order to diss Jim Hansen Rutan shows not the surface temperature of GISS or HadCRU, but chooses lower troposphere UAH instead, cut off in May 2008, the absolute monthly minimum since February 2000, and hiding the last 1 year of data where UAH has risen again. This in a July 2009 talk, where he accuses others of deceiving the public. I guess the 0.16°C/decade slope does not bother him.
Slide #16 & #18: Rutan uses the 1990 IPCC schematic adaption of Lamb’s Central England temperature estimate to prove a global medieval warm period and to accuse scientists of data manipulation.
Seeing how after #20 Rutan starts to recite Monckton’s artful graphs (Lucia’s take) I gave up on the rest of the talk.

An Inquirer
August 17, 2009 6:30 am

Hans Verbeek (00:27:38) :
RE: “. . . a finite space (Earth) can only hold finite amounts of coal and oil. (we will run out someday)”
Your posting does not demonstrate an understanding of the physics and economics of coal and oil. We will run out of economically-feasible coal and oil, but to simply say that “we will run out someday” is to ignore key fundamentals. As a limited resource gets strained, a substitute will be developed — such as Rockefeller developed below-ground oil to substitute for resource-constrained whale oil. As technology improves, more and more coal and oil resources become economically viable. Yes, eventually, subsitutes will be cheaper; whether that will be 50 years from now or 150 years from now, I do not know. But I do know that shifting our industries overseas is bad for our economy and bad for the environment.

Peter S
August 17, 2009 7:05 am

“It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry”
Wonderful Thomas Paine quote – perfect response to this issue.

Charlie
August 17, 2009 7:13 am

“many engineers have difficulty with many of the premises of AGW theory because in their “this has to work or people die” world of exacting standards, the AGW argument doesn’t hold up well by their standards of performance.”
I’ve noticed that engineers tend to be conservatives politically while university professors tend to be liberals. My contention that the underlying root cause of this is similar to your quote above. Engineers are used to having to deal with the real world and living with real world constraints. What one “desires” or “feels” doesn’t count compared to what is real. With many liberals on the other hand, the feelings or intentions behind something are more important that the actual results (and unintended side effiects).
Per the liberal mentality, Cap and Trade feels good.
Per the engineering mentality, Cap and Trade makes no sense.

August 17, 2009 7:27 am

RW (05:00:42) :
In all seriousness, RW, it would benefit you to reconsider your views. The CO2-temperature curve you cite shows conclusively that CO2 is not related in any way to temperature. I show that same curve when I make formal presentations on Global Warming’s legal aspects, and I have yet to have a single person disagree – and my audiences are engineers.
Peak oil is a myth, as clearly demonstrated on my blog.
Wander over to sowellslawblog.blogspot.com, also energyguysmusings.blogspot.com, and do a search for “peak oil.”
Then do a search for “Latour.”

Kevin Kilty
August 17, 2009 7:40 am

D. King’s proposal of letting the strict enforcement of laws, a la Lincoln’s suggestion, lead to repeal of nuttiness is a poor tactic because Cap and Trade will lead to a lot of damage, first, and who knows how difficult it’ll be to repeal the laws, second. Better to head this off early. But how?
Waxman, Pelosi, and Gore may be the “three marketeers” at present in all this, but they hardly represent the mass of the opposition (comments about Gore’s profile aside).
Everyone on this site is starry-eyed and gushing for the past two days because Burt Rutan has openly joined your side. Well, I think that’s fine, but look at what the other side has: a confused general public who think science is about “facts” rather than data or method, a compliant, duplicitious media, opportunistic politicians who are also confused, duplicitious and ascientific, scientific journals, opportunistic businessmen, foaming at the mouth activists, and worst of all, most celebrities. In other words the other side has star-power. We’ve none. I’ll bet half the people posting on this site wear pocket-protectors and horn-rimmed glasses!
The Australians have set their government’s plans back, but that is about all–a delay. The U.S. health-care legislation has run into headwinds because it scares people directly. Maybe Cap and Trade will scare a few politicians sufficiently to defeat it, but mixing oil companies into the fray is probably not good because they are so easy to villify (even otherwise sensible people believe the craziest conspiracies about oil and mining companies). And finally, Rutan himself gets into off-topic issues like the 3% of CO2 emissions claim. It is true, but really not pertinent, and so easily parodied and deflected.
Maybe I am just pessimistic today, but I see the best case as some sort of compromise on Cap and Trade that does damage, but leaves the gods unplacated, and the next unusually hot summer or bad hurricane season, or appearance of a comet, or whatever, reignites this trouble and finds us defending a narrower strip of land.
I’ve been watching the global warming scare grow remarkably over the past four years or so. It’s like watching a hurricane pass over extremely warm water.

Douglas DC
August 17, 2009 7:40 am

Brian Johnson uk (23:58:42) :
“Starship was a Rutan design for Beechcraft. Twin turbine canard. Carbon fibre. Beech aimed at a market that wasn’t there and the Starship was withdrawn because Beech did not want to offer support. Rutan was not involved”
One of the unexpected problems was the good’ol FAA that freaked when such an innovative design was put out there.As it wasn’t anything they had seen before.So, they started to ‘improve’ it with caution.Development costs,and other Govn’t red tape was
a big factor in the Starship’ s demise.

August 17, 2009 7:40 am

bluegrue (06:20:44) :
Engineers know that CO2 cannot have anything to do with climate change. I make two points below, and these are the basis for the engineers’ certainty that the “A” in AGW is a non-entity. All the rest is arm-waving and shouting.
As Dr. Pierre Latour wrote, if you cannot measure it, you cannot control it. Measuring a global temperature is meaningless, over a time range that is long enough to be useful in the climate change debate.
Second, even assuming one could properly and accurately measure global temperature, if the proposed control system does not have a consistent response, the manipulated variable (CO2) is not a candidate to regulate the controlled variable (global temperature).
“CO2 in the atmosphere is not the way to control global temperature. What one can also see from the CO2 estimations and temperature estimations throughout history is that CO2 remained relatively stable, while global temperatures went up during the Roman Warming, the Medieval Warming, and decreased dramatically during the Little Ice Age. More recently, while CO2 perhaps was fairly constant or even rising a bit due to industrial activity, the globe warmed from 1900 to 1940, then cooled from 1940 to 1970. Clearly, CO2 is not a good control variable because it does not seem to matter what the CO2 level is, as temperatures go up, and go down.” — from:
http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2009/02/chemical-engineer-takes-on-global.html

Gene Nemetz
August 17, 2009 7:50 am

This news about Burt Rutan looks even better this morning than it did last night—and it looked good last night!

Stoic
August 17, 2009 7:51 am

Hans Verbeek (00:27:38) : “And uhh …. planes don’t fly on coal, Bart.”
I think you will find, Hans, that the Luftwaffe ran at least partially on fuel made from coal during WW2.
Mark UK (04:40:02) :
“Well, I am en engineer and the level of ignorance, arrogance and complete lack of understanding of the substance of climate science shown by most commenters here is depressing.
There is no excuse for being this ignorant on the subject when the information is readily available. Comments here put the entire species of engineers to shame.”
Mark, it would help if you would clarify your position. What and where is the objective information that is readily available for commenters here (most of whom I would guess are not engineers) to persuade any sceptics to become true believers?
Regards
Stoic

J. Bob
August 17, 2009 7:53 am

Old rule of thumbs we had were:
“The more complicated the analysis, the more suspicious to be” or
“Suspicion should be, at least, proportional to complexity”
Great post. Glen Beck may be weird at times, but he gives a non-conformist view, which in these times, is a good thing.

Charlie
August 17, 2009 7:54 am

Roger Sowell (07:40:49) : “Engineers know that CO2 cannot have anything to do with climate change. I make two points below, and these are the basis for the engineers’ certainty that the “A” in AGW is a non-entity.”
A good engineer distinguishes between “certainty that the ‘A’ in AGW is a non-entity” and “there is no certainty that the A in AGW exists”.
Or as it has been put more elegantly “Absence of proof is not proof of absence”

August 17, 2009 7:57 am

@RW (05:00:42)
Few posts make me want to yell out, but that one does.
“- Of course humans can code a computer model to predict global temperatures, and we’ve been doing so for three decades. The models have been pretty accurate.”
No they have not. Not even close. They have been retrofitted to account for all sorts of anomolies we do not pretend (unless we are arrogant beyond belief) to understand. Still they fail to predict. That is not accurate.
“– The effect of human greenhouse gas emissions on global temperatures is obvious.”
No it is not. What is this ‘obvious’ effect that transcends natural (and therefore chaotic) variability? How can it definitely be attributed to CO2? Has it ever been, irrefutably?
“– Statements that “warm is good, not bad!” amuse me. It’s like saying “food is good, not bad!” – that is, basically it’s meaningless.”
Warm periods in our civilisation have been definitely beneficial. Cold periods have been definitely detrimental. What amuses you about thousands of people dying from cold (as they do every year), exactly?
“– Statements that “CO2 is not a pollutant” also amuse me, particularly when they make use of patronising bold face. The easy response is to invite the claimant to spend just a few minutes in a room filled with pure CO2.”
We are talking about 0.038% of the air – that is 0.00038 as a decimal. That is not ‘full’. Even the most dire scenario gives us less than 1% CO2 in total. That is with ALL (note patronising capitals) fossile fuels burnt. 1% CO2 I will happily breathe, any day (and have, as I used to work in a brewery, where CO2 is a natural by-product of fermentation).
“And yet simultaneously he almost gets the point. He just about acknowledges that current global temperatures are unusual in the context of the last several centuries. He offers no explanation of why he thinks that is, or why the simple, well-established radiative properties of CO2 should somehow not be working.”
Because climate is constantly changing. The only constant about climate is change. We are recovering from a bad cold period, very slowly if at all right now (less than 0.01C a year). Good thing, too.

D. King
August 17, 2009 8:00 am

RW (05:00:42) :
– Statements that “CO2 is not a pollutant” also amuse me, particularly when they make use of patronising bold face. The easy response is to invite the claimant to spend just a few minutes in a room filled with pure CO2.
Let me see if I follow; lack of O2 in a room means CO2 is a pollutant.
Conclusion: She’s a Witch!

TG
August 17, 2009 8:10 am

A US Senator from Michigan recently said she could “feel” global warming when flying(!). Here we have this world renowned engineer saying that the global warming crowd is daft. Let’s see, who do we believe? A Senator who has a feeling in her fanny when she flies, or this engineer? Umm…..I go with the engineer. I also am an engineer. Global Warming is the biggest hoax in the history of man. Our society is so “sleepy” right now that it might succeed. How do we combat it? We have to be loud. Yes, we might face ridicle by some pea-size brainiacs we work with, but be loud we must. Stand up for yourself and be confident standing by your convictions. Make sure you tell people that there is not a “consensus of scientists” on global warming, and the science is not “concluded.”

August 17, 2009 8:11 am

@ D. King (08:00:50)
“we found a witch, can we stop people making it?”
“How do you know it’s a witch?”
“It looks like one!”
“Bring it forward!”
CO2: “I’m not a witch!”
“But you are dressed like one.”
CO2 “They dressed me up like one. And this isn’t my effect, it’s a false one.”
“Well?”
“Well, we did do the effect…”
“The effect?”
“and the positive forcing. But it is a witch!”
… I could go on, but it’s past my bedtime here in Oz….

Retired Engineer
August 17, 2009 8:12 am

dorlomin (04:50:44) :
“Every decade since the 80s we have consumed more oil than we produce.”
Since we don’t have a huge tank full of oil to make up the difference, I suspect your statement does not read exactly as you intended.
Rutan builds things that work. One design flew around the world on a single tank of gas. Another made it into space. They weren’t intended as commercial products. He accomplished what he set out to do. That’s what computer models are for. Design it, build it, test it. Make it work.
GCM’s predict things that haven’t happened. Why trust them?
That’s the difference between real world Engineers and ivory towered Academics. Our designs have to work. Otherwise companies fail and worst case, people die. (Managers take a dim view of this) In academia, you adjust the data, apply for another grant and go on your merry way. Worst case, you blame it all on the engineers. (been there)
Eventually we will have alternates to fossil fuel. Academics may talk about it. Engineers like Rutan will make it happen.

August 17, 2009 8:16 am

“That’s the difference between real world Engineers and ivory towered Academics. Our designs have to work. Otherwise companies fail and worst case, people die. (Managers take a dim view of this) In academia, you adjust the data, apply for another grant and go on your merry way. Worst case, you blame it all on the engineers. (been there)
Eventually we will have alternates to fossil fuel. Academics may talk about it. Engineers like Rutan will make it happen.”
Thank you.

Nogw
August 17, 2009 8:20 am

RW (05:00:42) : Stop exhaling CO2…if you can!

David Segesta
August 17, 2009 8:24 am

Burt Rutan is an engineering genius. I’ve been a fan of his for many years, and more so now!

Alexej Buergin
August 17, 2009 8:29 am

“RW:– Statements that “CO2 is not a pollutant” also amuse me, particularly when they make use of patronising bold face. The easy response is to invite the claimant to spend just a few minutes in a room filled with pure CO2.”
I would hate to be in a room full of N2, although 76% of the air consists of it. I would not want 100% O2 (23% of air) either, remembering Gus Grissom. So your response is easy because it is dumb.

bluegrue
August 17, 2009 8:30 am

Roger Sowell (07:40:49)
Which engineer will treat a machine entirely as a black box, if even just partial reconstructions of sketches and blueprints are available? We have a combination of solar, aerosols, land use and change thereof and GHGs forcing, accompanied by orbital forcing and continental drift over longer time scales, plus a few feedbacks like biological systems. Who would assume, that temperature is tied only to CO2? Nice straw man, if a bit old.
BTW, any comments on the issues I raised with Rutan’s talk or is your reply just a “engineers know better” claim of authority?

Ron de Haan
August 17, 2009 8:39 am

RW (05:00:42) :
“Burt Rutan’s ‘observations’ are quite fatuous.
– Of course humans can code a computer model to predict global temperatures, and we’ve been doing so for three decades. The models have been pretty accurate.
– The effect of human greenhouse gas emissions on global temperatures is obvious.
– Statements that “warm is good, not bad!” amuse me. It’s like saying “food is good, not bad!” – that is, basically it’s meaningless.
– Statements that “CO2 is not a pollutant” also amuse me, particularly when they make use of patronising bold face. The easy response is to invite the claimant to spend just a few minutes in a room filled with pure CO2.
– if he believes ever-rising claims of reserve size, I’ve got a bridge he might like to buy. If he believes there will be a ‘gradual switch’ then he doesn’t understand maths. When use of a finite resource is exponentially increasing, there will be nothing gradual when the end comes.
And yet simultaneously he almost gets the point. He just about acknowledges that current global temperatures are unusual in the context of the last several centuries. He offers no explanation of why he thinks that is, or why the simple, well-established radiative properties of CO2 should somehow not be working”.
RW,
Please come up with some serious arguments and skip the BS you have written down.
You show all the symptoms of an AGW extremist.

August 17, 2009 8:52 am

@ Charlie (07:54:54) :
“A good engineer distinguishes between “certainty that the ‘A’ in AGW is a non-entity” and “there is no certainty that the A in AGW exists”.”
Yup. That is why engineers have the certainty. Fundamentals of process control are inviolable. For atmospheric CO2 to be the driving force behind the gradual climate warming since 1850, the Little Ice Age, would violate fundamentals of process control. That is why my engineering audiences never, not once, have disagreed with the point that CO2 has nothing to do with global temperature.
We build sophisticated refineries and chemical plants and power plants and other processes to make modern life possible. Process control systems are key to making these things work, and work safely, and work efficiently. There is a reason that many (perhaps most) of the process explosions occur when control systems are disabled. When engineers get it wrong, people die and equipment gets broken.
Millions upon millions of process control loops operate every day, and have done so for many thousands of years. Some are automatic, but many are in manual control mode. An example of manual control is heating a pot of water over a fire. To heat the water faster (without making the fire bigger), one places the pot closer to the fire. To heat the water more slowly (as in simmering a soup or stew), one places the pot farther from the fire. That is a simple yet fundamental control system. The manipulated variable is distance from the pot to the fire. The controlled variable is rate of heating of the water in the pot.
The key is that placing the pot closer to the fire increases the rate of heating, every time. Farther from the fire decreases the rate of heating, every time. In addition, for a constant fire, the rate of heating will be the same for a given distance, every time. (for the purists out there, I am simplifying by omitting ambient air temperature and wind effects, and postulating a constant fire or rate of heat from the heat source).
CO2 exhibits none of those characteristics for controlling global temperature.
There may be other variables responsible for the gradual global warming, such as aerosols, atmospheric fine dust, clouds, Milankovic cycles, sunspots, and others. Some may be subject to man’s control, others clearly are not and never will be. But whatever it is, we know with absolute certainty that it is not CO2.

doug01
August 17, 2009 8:58 am

A commenter above mentioned that he thought Fred Dyson had been cited as being among those who doubt AGW. Perhaps he did. If we are referring to the creator of the bagless vacuum cleaner and other appliances; that Dyson is an engineer of sorts (industrial designer in effect), but I wonder if the comment did not in fact refer to another Dyson; Freeman Dyson (I don’t know if they are related in anything other than surname). If one wished to familiarize oneself with a remarkable refutation from someone who is widely recognized as one of the most perceptive of modern polymaths, Freeman Dyson’s recent interviews and articles on this subject would be the ones to use.They have casued some controversy.
Dyson, by the way, chooses to call himself a “heretic” which is a noble descriptive in the way he uses it, and in stark contrast to the “orthodoxy” or the environmental religion that has assumed the position of leadership in the forum (with a little help, of course, from the media monkeys who seek only increased viewership and the resulting profits). Dyson is very much in favor or a world where nature is valued, cherished and protected and draws attention to a number of what he considers greater threats (cosmic impacts including)…so it’s not as if he doesn’t believe, but that he believes differently, and that extends evidently to the inclusion of Cap and Trade as the ONLY acceptible means by which we can address it. Dyson is in favor of reducing CO2 by using genetically designed ‘trees’ and no-till farming, etc..
Anyhow, wonderful to see Rutan’s perspective and I hope it can extend its well reasoned view to those beyond the choir of engineers and people like me who would love to see a clean and environmentally benevolent world, including polar bears,and suggest we do something that will help such as fusion research or space based solar energy. Increasing the complex beaurocracy at incredible cost with little to show for it, does no body I know any good.

August 17, 2009 9:03 am

bluegrue, I invite you to read my 08:52:16 response.
My goal at this time is to stop the madness and certain destruction that will result from Carbon reduction laws. As far as I know, CO2 is the target of those laws, and not aerosols, etc.
Pointing out the absurdity of controlling the globe’s climate by reducing CO2, and having the engineers in agreement will go a long way toward stopping the madness.
You refer to a strawman, yet that is in error. It is not straw, but iron-clad substance in the various global warming laws such as AB 32 in California. Other states have similar laws, and federal legislation is in the works.
This is not a game. It has become deadly serious, with enormous consequences for survival and quality of life for the survivors. To achieve CO2 reductions on the scale required by Obama and California’s AB 32 is to reduce fossil fuel use by 93 percent by 2050, compared to the business as usual case. The increase in cost of fundamental utilities, transportation, and goods and services will cripple the economy and put millions out of work.
For the AGW crowd to hold on to the proven falsity that CO2 reduction will prevent global warming is the problem. Engineers solve problems.

Alexej Buergin
August 17, 2009 9:06 am

“RW: And yet simultaneously he almost gets the point. He just about acknowledges that current global temperatures are unusual in the context of the last several centuries. He offers no explanation of why he thinks that is, or why the simple, well-established radiative properties of CO2 should somehow not be working.”
Current temperatures are NOT UNUSUAL at all. It was quite a bit warmer during the Medieval Warming (or Greenland would not have been green) and it was colder during the Little Ice Age (or else the glaciers would not be retreating). And nothing indicates that CO2 had anything to do with it; there is no correlation.

JamesG
August 17, 2009 9:19 am

Most people are missing the fact that Rutan is 100% behind any effort to green up our energy supply regardless of global warming. Many (and I’d like to think most) engineers would agree with that position. And unlike the wannabe planet-savers he doesn’t wait for government to mandate a tax or start a trading scheme/scam, he just goes ahead and does his best with the funds available. If more of those angst-ridden doom-mongers would just go out and buy green products instead of waiting for tipping points, carbon limits, hurricane counts or continuously repeating “we need to do something” then progress would be possible and skeptical engineers like Burt (and me) would be only too happy to take on the challenges of improving the technologies.
But it’s blindingly clear that Cap and Trade is wrong wherever you stand on AGW (well except for Goldman Sachs and their ilk). A small carbon tax is much more preferable and it’s even sensible. And all of it should go towards renewable energy research. Even Exxon agrees with that approach. For a tiny proportion of what we spend on military escapades, government bureaucracy or banking bailouts we could fund a lot of viable alternative energy projects. If you seek common ground rather than conflict then there is where it lies.

Government Peon
August 17, 2009 9:31 am

“RW (05:00:42) :
Burt Rutan’s ‘observations’ are quite fatuous.
….
– Statements that “CO2 is not a pollutant” also amuse me, particularly when they make use of patronising bold face. The easy response is to invite the claimant to spend just a few minutes in a room filled with pure CO2.”
The same could be said of any other gas besides oxygen (nitrogen, helium, argon) or a variety of other substances (sand, coffee, molasses, dihydrogen monoxide) which displace oxygen and don’t support normal mammalian respiration. Should all of these substances be labeled as pollutants also?

RW
August 17, 2009 9:49 am

Jerome:
“They have been retrofitted to account for all sorts of anomolies we do not pretend (unless we are arrogant beyond belief) to understand. Still they fail to predict. That is not accurate.”
Did you follow the link I gave? Model predictions have been pretty accurate. Merely to say otherwise, without offering any supporting evidence, is pure denialism.
“What is this ‘obvious’ effect that transcends natural (and therefore chaotic) variability? How can it definitely be attributed to CO2? Has it ever been, irrefutably?”
Did you look at the link I gave? It seems unbelievable that you might be unable to see the obvious correlation between CO2 going up and temperatures also going up. How can it be attributed to CO2? Well I think you may need to go all the way back to Tyndall for the answer to that one.
“Warm periods in our civilisation have been definitely beneficial. Cold periods have been definitely detrimental.”
Yes, it’s easy to say, isn’t it? Strange that you provide no examples. Ever wondered why countries at 60N are far, far more prosperous than those at the equator? How does that observation fit your “warm is good” theory?
“We are talking about 0.038% of the air – that is 0.00038 as a decimal. That is not ‘full’. Even the most dire scenario gives us less than 1% CO2 in total.”
Do you understand the meaning of the word ‘pollutant’?
“The only constant about climate is change. We are recovering from a bad cold period, very slowly if at all right now (less than 0.01C a year). Good thing, too.”
Unfortunately you seem not to have the first clue about climate science. The climate never ‘recovers’. If it is getting warmer, it’s because something is acting to make it so. 0.01°C = rapid climate change, and in fact the rate over the last thirty years has averaged double that.
Alexej Buergin:
“Current temperatures are NOT UNUSUAL at all. It was quite a bit warmer during the Medieval Warming”
Strange that you don’t cite your data.
“(or Greenland would not have been green)”
Ever read the Saga of the Greenlanders? To say what you have just said requires appalling ignorance of history.
“And nothing indicates that CO2 had anything to do with it; there is no correlation.”
There is a strong correlation; basic physics indicates why. To say there is no correlation is, once again, pure denialism – like saying there is no blue colour in the sky.

hotrod
August 17, 2009 9:55 am

Eventually we will have alternates to fossil fuel. Academics may talk about it. Engineers like Rutan will make it happen.

We already to have alternatives, synthetic oil and fuel from biomass are currently sufficiently mature processes to be competitive with fossil fuels at approximately $70-$90/bbl crude prices. They have been incrementally improving in efficiency for decades.
Germany augmented its oil reserves with synthetic oil during WWII significantly mitigating the effects of Allied bombing efforts against their energy infrastructure.
South Africa also successfully used synthetic oil technology to help sustain their economy . Sasol commercialized the technology in 1955. They are currently producing about 28% of South Africas fuel needs using their Fischer-Tropsch method of converting coal to liquid fuel and chemicals.
The same technology can be applied to any carbon based feed stock, as is demonstrated by the thermal-depolymerization process used by Changing World Technologies in 1996. The feed stock (any carbon containing material can be used) is heated to 250 deg C, and 600 psi for 15 minutes, then flash depressurized to boil off excess water. The resulting slurry consists of crude hydrocarbons and minerals. The minerals are extracted then the slurry is passed through a second stage where it is heated to 500 deg C. to finish the process. Approximately 15 to 20% of feedstock energy is used to provide energy for the plant. The rest is available as fuel energy in the output stream, which is distilled just like light crude oil. Final cost of production in 2005 was $80/bbl, or about $1.90/gallon.
There is not now, nor will there be a true shortage of liquid fuels. Shortages only exist due to artificial limits in production by current fossil fuel sources and physical limits to storage, and transport in the world crude oil market. Liquide fuels can be manufactured in unlimited quantities (only subject to feed stock supplies) with current technology. The only thing that will happen is a gradual transition from todays fossil fuel stocks harvested from the earth, to synthetic manufactured fuel stocks produced from biomass and trash as economics change and industries and political jurisdictions make the commitment to use the technology that already exists.
A great deal of R&D is under way in this area and there have been a steady stream of process breakthroughs coming out for years to improve efficiencies and broaden feed stock options for synthetic fuel production.
Larry

jmbnf
August 17, 2009 10:11 am

In response to those of the mindset of Hans Verbeek who stated:
“Apparently he doesn’t realize that a finite space (Earth) can only hold finite amounts of coal and oil. (we will run out someday)… And uhh …. planes don’t fly on coal, Bart!”.
Burt’s point is that there has always been scarcity fear mongers like science advisor, John Holdren . No one debates whether the earth (or even the Milky Way) is finite. Science knew this since they discovered the earth was round. However, the environmental advocates need to understand that we can extract/convert fuels like oil from many carbon based forms such as deep ocean, tar sands, shale oil, algae, corn, and even coal using the Fischer-Tropsch process: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fischer%E2%80%93Tropsch_process.
The above processes all involve varying degrees of viability and environmental consequences not to mention a cost per barrel needed to justify them economically. A pie in the sky guess as to how much oil there is in known and accessible oil from shale tarsands and coal is in the vicinity of hundreds of years of supply in North America, and bio-fuels from renewable resources can go longer than that. So don’t Panic, real scientist and engineers have time to work on the problem.
And Hans, Planes CAN fly on coal: http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS228002+05-Aug-2009+BW20090805

TG
August 17, 2009 10:14 am

“RW: And yet simultaneously he almost gets the point. He just about acknowledges that current global temperatures are unusual in the context of the last several centuries. He offers no explanation of why he thinks that is, or why the simple, well-established radiative properties of CO2 should somehow not be working.”
Temperature (measurements) over the last several centuries? Let’s examine that point from a scientific view. Just HOW were these measurements made (if at all?)? Let’s go back just a hundred years. The high end temperature measuring devices were not even close in sophistication and accuracy as they are today. Nor were they readily available. The calibration of them out in the field was extremely rare or non-existant. And, who is to vouch for the accuracy of the people taking the measurements? In short, the devices in 1909 were not as accurate as today’s instruments, and the lack of planned calibration would, in today’s scientific world, would throw all of the observations out the window. What about devices in 1809, 1709, 1609? How on earth does one determine what the temperature variations were in the “last several centuries?” Guess?–oh, I’m sorry, the word is estimate. In 1609 Europeans were still determining the extent of land on planet earth. They weren’t concerned at all with taking accurate temperature readings from all points on the globe. Anyone how can say with “certainty” what global temperatures were hundreds of years ago is daft.

goodspkr
August 17, 2009 10:35 am

A man goes into a store to buy a suit. The salesman is trying to get rid of one suit that is a complete mess. The man tries on that suit and first notices that the right sleeve is about two inches longer than his left sleeve. The sales man says, no problem, just dip your right shoulder down and so your arm will reach the end of the sleeve. He then notices the back of the suit is longer than the front. Again the salesman says, “just stick you butt out in the back. Finally he sees the pants are about two inches too long. Again the salesman says just bend you knees and walk like that.
The salesman give the customer a terrific price so the mans buys it and walks out of the store wearing the suit. Two older ladies notice him walking out, when the first one says, “That poor man. He so deformed.” The second woman says, “Yes, but do you notice how nice his suit fits?”
Watch alarmist try to explain why there is not hot spot (use wind speed rather than thermometers to measure that), or why there’s been no heating in the ocean since Argo was launched (the alarmist who first noted this finally realized the error when he said the equipment must be malfunctioning or you have to believe the ocean has stopped warming), or why June 2009 according the Hansen was the second warmest June in 130 years while UAB satellite data shows it was the 15th hottest in the last 30 years, is like watching the guy in the suit. “That poor theory, it’s so deformed.” “Yes but look how nice the data fits when we massage it.”

Eric Anderson
August 17, 2009 10:54 am

dorlomin wrote:
“No mention in this article whether Rutan is a ‘its not warmingist’ a “its warming but its the sun” a “its warming but its the PDO” or a ’svensmarkian’.”
Why should he have to? There are still plenty of open questions and, frankly, it is probably best to remain somewhat open right now. The key thing is realizing that the AGW story has serious holes at nearly every point in the whole process (initial theory, data collection, analysis, reporting, policy, proposed solution). Recognizing this does not require that you also have your own theory to propose.

Curiousgeorge
August 17, 2009 10:54 am

Better man up folks. Get yer battle rattle on. CNN and Newsweek (among others ) have already started pumping the Copenhagen conference, and it will just get more and more strident the closer it gets. I know those two outlets are not highly thought of among skeptics, but they do have a pretty big following. Better be paying attention and doing something constructive to derail this besides posting on blogs. This is going to be one hell of a fight. It will make the Health Reform business look like nap time in the day care center.

August 17, 2009 11:08 am

TG (10:14:20) : Well-said, and that is precisely the point Dr. Latour made in his article published in Hydrocarbon Processing in January 2009.
In control parlance, If you cannot measure it, you cannot control it.

George E. Smith
August 17, 2009 11:23 am

Well Government Peon. how would you like to spend a few minutes in a room filled with nothing but pure Oxygen (O2).
As any scuba diver can tell you; that would simply not be a good idea; you would be poisoned just as surely as if the room was filled with CO2.
Perhaps you can enlighten us as to what specific polluting reaction comes from CO2 in the atmosphere; at present levels of 385 ppm, which the AGW alarmists assure us is much too high.
Consider the following two situations. Situation (1) takes place in an arid tropical desert that might be 120 deg F during the day; but drops to 40-50 deg F overnight; and yields spectacular clear views of the milky way and the rest of the seldom seen ni9ght sky.
Situation (2) perhaps takes place in the Florida Keys with a day time temperature that might only be 90 deg F but with high humidity that stifles; and at night the temperature remains at 75 deg F still with excessive humidity; and the night sky may be impeded by high wispy cirrus clouds that hide those desert stars.
Now both of those scenarios happen to contain the exact same amount of atmospheric CO2; your universal pollutant for which you are willing to destroy the economies of the entire developes world.
So how come in situation one; your pollutant failed miserably to perform its AGW mandated task of heating the globe; even though it started with a 30 deg F advatage over the balmy Florida Keys.
Seems to me that it is H2O that is the dangerous pollutant that is cooking the planet; not the CO2.
Do you know that the old time treatment for a drowning victim in polynesia, was to hang them by their heels over a fire smothered with green banana or coconut leaves to create thick white smoke. Evidently the increased CO2 pollution level in that white smoke was all that it took to trigger the breathing response in the nearly drowned victim. Try it yourself; take a breath and hold your breath for five minutes (if you can), and see how long you can resist the CO2 “pollution”.
George

Editor
August 17, 2009 11:26 am

RW: CO2 correlation is not great. Oceanic/atmospheric oscillations have a much stronger correlation.
It is indeed plausible that CO2 has an underlying fingerprint and has contributed to a slow, steady rise. But the proximate ups and downs seem to match AMO/PDO (etc.) better.
The question centers somewhat less on the direct effects of CO2 than on the proposed positive feedback effect which is projected to be several times greater than the direct effect.
If positive feedback theory is not valid, then there is no emergency, and we can study/deal with CO2 effects carefully and without undue overhaste.
Stipulating that the PDO is in negative phase, it will be interesting to see how far temperatures decline. That will be an important part of the observation.

George E. Smith
August 17, 2009 11:33 am

Perhaps my note to Government Peon was meant for RW

George E. Smith
August 17, 2009 11:40 am

“”” Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into an environment that causes instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem “””
From that compendium of all knowledge; Wikipedia.
CO2 is a part of the environment; ergo not a contaminant.
CO2 isn’t causing instability.
CO2 isn’t causing disorder.
CO2 isn’t causing harm or discomfort to the environment.
Therefore CO2 is not a pollutant.
Human beings do all of those above things; therefore human beings are a pollutant; and must be eliminated.

Gary Hladik
August 17, 2009 11:41 am

Roger Sowell, thanks for the process control view of carbon dioxide as a climate regulator.
RW, thanks for the laughs.

George E. Smith
August 17, 2009 11:51 am

Burt Rutan is evidently somewhat wealthy. He evidently got that way; by having other people pay him for what he knows how to do. Ergo, he must be quite smart; but that is not assured; because people pay lots of money to see Hollywood idiots perform like circus animals; and most of them are dumber than a box of rocks.
Rutan came up with an aeroplane; a one off special; that he predicted using compuetr models and other engineering skills, would fly around the world non stop without refuelling.
When they tried the experiment to see if he knew what the hell he was talking about, it worked first time, and without any subsequent readjustment of the data.
I’d believe him long before I would believe Dr James Hansen; who now has more than 10 years running on his wild eyed predictions to the US Congress; and after 105 of his predictive time scale he isn’t anywhere near 10% of the way towards his goal. So much for the idea of a linear trend.
No I’m with the Japanese; Climatology is akin to ancient astrology; and as for historical measurments from the past; rember the believable past only goes back to 1979/80 time frame, when polar orbit satellites and ARGO buoys began life.

August 17, 2009 12:01 pm

In response to: “We are talking about 0.038% of the air – that is 0.00038 as a decimal. That is not ‘full’. Even the most dire scenario gives us less than 1% CO2 in total.”…
RW replies with this non-sequitor:

Do you understand the meaning of the word ‘pollutant’?

It is crystal clear that RW fails to understand the entire issue. CO2 is no more a pollutant than H2O. Both are beneficial and necessary for life.
This is the wrong site to post a fatuous analogy that assumes CO2 is a pollutant because a person would suffocate in a 100% CO2 atmosphere. They would also suffocate in a room filled with 100% H2O.
Just to keep the amount of atmospheric CO2 in perspective, look at the Roy Spencer graph: click. Look close or you’ll miss it.
It never ceases to astonish me that people actually believe that an increase in a *very* minor trace gas, from 4 parts in ten thousand, to 5 parts in ten thousand, will cause runaway global warming and climate catastrophe. But that is exactly what alarmists believe, even though they back and fill with new obfuscation like “climate change.”
CO2 is entirely beneficial. It does not run the climate. More CO2 is better. The climate naturally fluctuates without any necessity for explaining it by adding an extraneous and unnecessary entity like CO2:
“Never increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything.”
— William of Ockham [1285-1349]

Very similar to the KISS principle.
Natural variability fully explains the climate, which is well within its historical parameters. Adding a new entity like CO2 only muddies the waters and promotes confusion.

August 17, 2009 12:08 pm

If only the world had more Cal Poly SLO grads!
Rutan class of ’65.
Says me — class of ’94.

Bruce Cobb
August 17, 2009 12:31 pm

JamesG (09:19:19) :
Most people are missing the fact that Rutan is 100% behind any effort to green up our energy supply regardless of global warming. Many (and I’d like to think most) engineers would agree with that position.
That all depends on what your definition of “green” is, doesn’t it? Does Rutan in fact make the claim that he’s “green”? And where, or where does he claim to be “100% behind the effort to green up our energy supply” (whatever the heck that means)?
How about instead of an ill-defined, nebulous “green energy” we instead support “smart energy”? Energy which is more expensive can almost never be smart, which is why Rutan will be “adding wind generator and solar panels when it becomes cost effective to do so “.
Carbon taxes, whether small or large are not smart either, since raising energy costs can only hurt our already-suffering economy, and because punishing carbon makes no sense.

bluegrue
August 17, 2009 12:41 pm

Roger Sowell (09:03:17) :

To achieve CO2 reductions on the scale required by Obama and California’s AB 32 is to reduce fossil fuel use by 93 percent by 2050, compared to the business as usual case.

Nitpick session: It’s not AB 32 (which only fixes reduction goals up to 2020 and leaves further goals up to the Governor and the Legislature in section 38551c) but Executive Order S-3-05 and more importantly it’s 83% of 2010 emission levels (or more precisely 80% of 1990 levels) by 2050, still a large chunk but not your 93%. You seem to posit that because this task is too daunting climate science must be wrong. I’m just asking, because apart from bold assertions you evade the science and go for the politics in all your arguments.
I’ve read your reply at (08:52:16) asserting that anthropogenic CO2 emissions causing AGW “violates fundamentals of process control”. How so? Have you figured in delayed response? Have you figured in other drivers of climate? How about fundamentals of physics? Why would increasing the global average CO2 mixing ratio by 30% (as we have done already) and more not raise global mean temperature and change climate in the process? After all CO2 is an IR absorber in windows not saturated by H2O. Are you contesting the magnitude of the influence of CO2 or the greenhouse effect in its entirety? So, in your own words, how does AGW violate process control?

Tenuc
August 17, 2009 12:52 pm

Good presentaton from a very influential scientist. Another nail in the AGW coffin, I think.
Let’s hope Mr Rutan gets lots of publicity for his insight.

August 17, 2009 12:53 pm

Burt Ruatan, his lifelong achievements and especially his successful pursuit of the X Prize has always been an inspiration to me.
Hans Verbeek (00:27:38) :
Rutan’s argument about complex experimental data being abused to sell an idea can also apply on the “estimated reserves” of coal and oil.
Apparantly he doesn’t realize that a finite space (Earth) can only hold finite amounts of coal and oil. (we will run out someday)
The cheaper alternatives he mentions are probably more expensive than the fossil fuels we used in the past decades.
And uhh …. planes don’t fly on coal, Bart.
The Russian theory of abiotic creation of oil has not, to my knowledge, been disproven. Planes may not fly on coal, but oil can be created from coal (http://thefraserdomain.typepad.com/energy/2005/07/about_coal_liqu.html). Planes and rockets can fly on methane (as evidenced by John Carmack’s Armadillo Aerospace, one of Ruatan’s competitors for the next X Prize – http://www.armadilloaerospace.com/n.x/Armadillo/Home), and we’re not running out of that

John F. Hultquist
August 17, 2009 1:00 pm

T. Boone Pickens and Ted Turner ought to be introduced to Burt Rutan. When these two smart rich guys are so far off-base on “devastating climate changes” it is hard to believe anything else they write.
See the following for the opinion piece that caused me to write the above statement:
Commentary.
New Priorities For Our Energy Future
By T. Boone Pickens and Ted Turner
Our natural gas reserves contain more energy than Saudi Arabia’s oil.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203863204574348432504983734.html
In the 5th paragraph, the write:
“ Climate security: Likewise, the clock is ticking on potentially devastating climate changes. We already are witnessing the disintegration of polar ice, melting glaciers, rising sea levels and altered weather patterns. But if we act now, we can prevent catastrophic human and economic impacts.”

RunFromMadness
August 17, 2009 1:02 pm

Statements that “CO2 is not a pollutant” also amuse me, particularly when they make use of patronising bold face. The easy response is to invite the claimant to spend just a few minutes in a room filled with pure CO2.
Surely quote of the week for pure stupidity!

Dave Andrews
August 17, 2009 1:21 pm

RW,
“Strange that you don’t cite your data.”
And where did you cite any data in your posts?

DaveE
August 17, 2009 1:28 pm

RW (05:00:42) :

– Statements that “CO2 is not a pollutant” also amuse me, particularly when they make use of patronising bold face. The easy response is to invite the claimant to spend just a few minutes in a room filled with pure CO2.

I invite you to spend an hour in a room filled with ANY gas, (including O2)!
By your reasoning, as O2 in excess is poisonous, it is a pollutant & must be removed from the atmosphere at all costs!
DaveE.

RW
August 17, 2009 1:29 pm

evanmjones:
“CO2 correlation is not great”
This is pure denial. Just look!.

August 17, 2009 1:31 pm


wattsupwiththat (11:58:54) :
RW is just another internet coward acting as foil.

Hmmm … I recognize that particular ‘callsign’ from another site; I think the dude just enjoys playing a professional contrarian … it’s just ‘theater’ anyway isn’t, RW?
.
.

John F. Hultquist
August 17, 2009 1:31 pm

RW (09:49:31) :
You wrote: “. . . like saying there is no blue colour in the sky.”
As with all else you have written, this too indicates you need to do much background reading in science and the physical systems of Earth. That blue colour is in your head, not in the sky. Likewise, all that CAGW caused by CO2 is in your head, not in the atmosphere. The good news is this can be fixed, if you try.

George E. Smith
August 17, 2009 1:36 pm

“”” John F. Hultquist (13:00:46) :
T. Boone Pickens and Ted Turner ought to be introduced to Burt Rutan. When these two smart rich guys are so far off-base on “devastating climate changes” it is hard to believe anything else they write. “””
Well ole’ TBoone is a bit of a snake oil salesman. He tried to get the gummint buy some big wind mills for him, and a lot of other get rich quick suckers too. Now he’s given up on the wind; and his favorite energy du jour is now Propane. Seems to me that Propane is still “fossil fuel” and will cause just as much catastrophic man made climate change global warming CO2 as any other fossil fuel; but evidently TBoone has cornered a pile of it.
And as for Ted Turner; didn’t he marry Jane “China syndrome” Fonda; that should give you some idea of just how smart ole’ Ted is. Ted got pissed off at Dennis Connor, because Dennis got serious about Americas Cup yacht racing, and took it out of the hands of the Ted Turner playboys, and turned it into an international phenomenon.
Amazing how the warmists are ready to Jump on Burt Rutan because he is not a “Climatologist”. That’s like all the lawyers who say Americans should read the Constitution of the USA, because they aren’t lawyers, and they are incompetent to understand what it says. Trouble is, the Constitution is written in English, and not that mediaeval Roman mumbo jumbo that lawyers talk; so anyone with an 8th grade education in English (outside California of course) can read what it says and understand it.
Seems like most “climate scientists” are NOT physicists; but statisticians; and they seem to average their way to some trend line even in quite random numbers, in the search for information where none actually resides.
I’ll believe Burt Rutan, long before I would believe Al Gore.

August 17, 2009 1:50 pm

bluegrue: no time now for full response, but will do so in about 6 hours.
Basically, 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 is 93 percent below business as usual. It depends on the population growth rate and economic growth rate one uses to extrapolate energy consumption in 2050. Not made up figures, and yes, I can and will discuss the science. Be happy to. Just remember that certain fundamentals are inviolable. Process control is one of them. Whatever mechanism scientists postulate as changing the climate, there must be conformance with process control fundamentals. All else is smoke and mirrors.

F. Ross
August 17, 2009 1:51 pm

RW (05:00:42) :
You should lay off the [AGW] Kool-Aid; you’ve had way too much!

Curiousgeorge
August 17, 2009 1:55 pm

RunFromMadness (13:02:52) : I agree. But it would be cheaper and easier for Mr. RW to just suck on the business end of a fire extinguisher for a few seconds. What planet do people like this call home? Can’t be Terra. 😀

Government Peon
August 17, 2009 1:57 pm

George E. Smith and Smokey,
Please re-read my earlier post – I am with you in pointing out the logical fallacies of RW’s flawed arguments.
I use a handle because AGW is accepted as holy writ by the higher ups in my local government office. Being publicly identified with something counter to the position of my department isn’t the best professional move. I figure I can do more good in the long run by staying employed, injecting some logic and common sense, and generally doing what I can to make sure that that the inmates don’t take over the asylum.
I’m agreeing with Anthony that RW isn’t worth another single keystroke. Signing off…

Richard S Courtney
August 17, 2009 1:58 pm

CuriousGeorge:
You say:
“There have been plenty of attempts to get thru to the policy makers, using rational arguments and scientific studies that debunk AGW, that so far have failed miserably. We complain that they are being hoodwinked by cooked data, yet expect them to understand opposing data? Perhaps it’s time to employ different tactics.”
I wholeheartedly agree. And Rutan, being an engineer, may like the “different tactics” I am suggesting.
Th JunkScience.com blog asked me to summarise my views on the alternative I have been suggesting for some years, and I understand that tomorrow morning they are likely to post the contribution I have submitted in response and that I copy below.
Richard
STOPPING CLIMATE CHANGE
There is need for a new policy on climate change to replace the rush to reduce emissions. The attempts at emissions reduction have failed but there is a ‘Climate Change Policy’ that would work.
Climate change is a serious problem. All governments need to address it, and most do.
In the Bronze Age Joseph (with the Technicolour Dreamcoat) told Pharaoh that climate has always changed everywhere and always will. He told Pharaoh to prepare for bad times when in good times, and all sensible governments have adopted that policy since.
But now it is feared that emissions from industry could cause additional climate change by warming the globe. This threatens more sea level rise, droughts, floods, heat waves and much else. So, governments have attempted to reduce the emissions of the warming gases, notably carbon dioxide.
The UN established the Kyoto Protocol which limits the emissions from developed countries until year 2012. But the Kyoto Protocol failed. It has had no detectable effect on the emissions which continue to rise. Now the pressure is on to get a successor to that Protocol for after 2012, and negotiations are being held around the world to decide the new treaty at a conference in Copenhagen in December.
But the negotiations have stalled. All industrial activity releases the emissions. Developing countries say they will not limit their emissions, and industrialised countries have problems reducing theirs. China releases more of the emissions than any other country, is industrialising, and says it is entitled to the same emissions per head of population as the US. So, China says it intends to increase its emissions more than four fold. India says the same. The US is having problems adopting a ‘Cap & Trade’ policy that would harm American industries and force industries from America to China. The EU adopted a ‘Cap & Trade’ policy that collapsed and has not affected the EU’s rising emissions. The Australian Parliament has recently rejected a similar policy.
Politicians have been responding to the failure of the Kyoto Protocol by showing they are ‘doing something’. They have adopted pointless and expensive impositions on energy industries, energy supplies and transportation. And the public is paying the large costs of this in their energy bills.
The Copenhagen Conference will provide a decision because it has to, but that decision will have no more effect than the Kyoto Protocol. And this will put more pressure on the politicians to be seen to be ‘doing something’ with further cost and harm to peoples and to industry.
There is as yet no clear evidence that the additional climate change is happening. But environmental groups are pressing the politicians to act “before it is too late”. And politicians are responding because of the fear of dire consequences from the additional climate change.
Politicians have decided how much additional climate change is acceptable, because they have decided that global temperature must not be allowed to rise to 2 degrees Celsius higher than it was at the start of the last century. But they need a method to overcome the urgency which is forcing them to do things and to agree things which do not work.
There is an available solution to the problem. The urgency is because of fear that the effects of the emissions may be irreversible. However, the additional climate change can be reversed, quickly, simply and cheaply. This provides a complete solution to the problems.
There is no need for the Copenhagen Conference to reach a forced, inadequate, and premature agreement on emissions. The Conference needs to decide funding to perfect the methods to reverse the additional climate change if and when that becomes necessary. This decision would give politicians decades of time to conduct their negotiations about what to do to limit the emissions. So, the politicians can agree actions that work instead of adopting things everybody knows do not work.
The solution addresses the cause of the fear of the additional climate change. Every sunbather has noticed it cools when a cloud covers the Sun, and this is because clouds reflect sunlight to cause negative radiative forcing. The fear of the additional climate change is based on an assumption that global temperature is determined by net radiative forcing, and the emissions induce additional positive radiative forcing.
The forcing can be altered in many ways. An increase to cloud cover of a single percent would more than compensate for the warming from a doubling of carbon dioxide in the air. There are several ways to increase cloud cover, for example small amounts of sulphates, dust, salt or water released from scheduled aircraft would trigger additional cloud formation. And the carbon dioxide in the air is very unlikely to increase so much that it doubles.
And there are many other ways to reflect sunlight so it is not absorbed by the ground. Crops could be chosen for reflectivity, roofs could be covered with reflective materials, and tethered balloons could be covered in reflective material.
Each of these options would be very much cheaper than constraining the emissions by 20 per cent for a single year. So, any delay to implementation of emission constraints by use of these options would save a lot of money.
Global temperature has not again reached the high it did in 1998 and has been stable since. But it could start to rise again. If it does then use of one or more of these options could be adopted when global temperature nears 2 degrees Celsius higher than it was at the start of the last century. This would be a cheap and effective counter measure while the needed emission constraints are imposed. Indeed, it would be much cheaper than the emission constraints. It could be started and stopped rapidly, and its effect would be instantaneous (as sunbathers have noticed when a cloud passes in front of the Sun).
Until then there would be no need for expensive ‘seen to be doing something’ actions such as capturing and storing carbon dioxide. Energy and financial policies would not need to be distorted, and developing countries could be allowed to develop unhindered.
Indeed, there would be no need to deploy the counter measures unless and until global temperature rises to near the trigger of 2 degrees C rise.
The various methods for reflecting sunlight need to be developed and perfected. They each have potential benefits and problems which need to be assessed. But if the problems are detectable they need not be significant. For example, the additional cloud cover could be induced over oceans distant from land. This requires much research.
Politicians know they need to be seen to be ‘doing something’ and they would be seen to be doing something worthwhile. Each counter measure experiment and demonstration provides opportunity for media coverage.

Darell C. Phillips
August 17, 2009 2:07 pm

Well, Mr. Rutan has some competition on using canards methinks. Mr. Gore and Mr. Hansen’s canards are not aviation components, however.
And as a comment on RunFromMadness (13:02:52) :
Using your argument, H2O (or ANYTHING, including oxygen or even a pure vacuum) filling that room of yours could then be classified as a “pollutant.” In following the spirit of your own comment, I hereby submit your two sentences as QOTW…

Henry Galt
August 17, 2009 2:11 pm

RunFromMadness (13:02:52) :
Spend a few minutes in a room “filled” with pure anything. Please.
When you watch your children grow you are watching CO2 in action.
The amounts of CO2 the flaura and fauna of our fair planet have been exposed to for geological time periods are not dangerous and not anything to get hysterical about.
Hunter-killer and attack nuclear submarines are “allowed” to attain up to 11,000 ppmv of CO2 for entire sorties (lasting for months). Some of the crew get a little nauseous at higher levels so there is this sensible cutoff.
Any guesses how much “stuff” we would have to burn to reach such levels?

Mr Green Genes
August 17, 2009 2:22 pm

Patrick Davis (03:08:11) :
… I’ve seen politicians pass laws before without following proper “procedure” for instance Thatcher Thatcher the Milk Snatcher passed many draconian employment laws during the Falklands War while everyone else, including the media, were focused on the war.

Eh????? You need to provide the evidence of when and how Mrs Thatcher’s government managed to do that. I was wide awake and taking a good deal of notice of what was going on at that time. The Falklands conflict lasted for less than 3 months which simply isn’t time to pass any significant law in the UK if the opposition declines to co-operate. The Labour opposition at the time was totally opposed to any changes to employment legislation.
Even Blair, with a majority of over 150 had to follow the ‘rules’.
By the way, for anyone mentioning Richard Branson getting close to Al Gore, this doesn’t necessarily mean that he is a true believer. I’ve worked for a Branson company and I can assure you that he believes in one thing and one thing only; Richard Branson. He’s one of the world’s most successful self-publicists and has just spotted another way to help promote himself. He’s quite a nice guy really.

CaptainPlanet
August 17, 2009 2:23 pm

“Statements that “CO2 is not a pollutant” also amuse me, particularly when they make use of patronising bold face. The easy response is to invite the claimant to spend just a few minutes in a room filled with pure CO2.
Surely quote of the week for pure stupidity!”
By that logic if someone spent a few minutes in a room filled with pure H2O they might think water is a pollutant too
/palm
/face

CaptainPlanet
August 17, 2009 2:27 pm

“But if we act now, we can prevent catastrophic human and economic impacts”
I know this is OT – well maybe not completely when you think about Mr. Rutan’s statements regarding “[trying to sell you something using complex data]” – but was anyone else waiting for him to throw in some OxyClean and Mighty Putty if we call within the next 30 seconds?

Darell C. Phillips
August 17, 2009 2:34 pm

Just to be sure of context, I was in agreement with RunFromMadness
re: RW (05:00:42) :

DaveE
August 17, 2009 2:35 pm

Retired Engineer (08:12:58) :

In academia, you adjust the data, apply for another grant and go on your merry way. Worst case, you blame it all on the engineers. (been there)

Me too 🙁
DaveE.

Mark T
August 17, 2009 2:40 pm

Water intoxication is a potentially fatal condition resulting from drinking too much water. Does that make water a pollutant, too? Man, it’s hard to keep up with the kooks these days. Have they outlawed breathing yet?
Mark

Jack Hughes
August 17, 2009 2:53 pm

Way to go, dude !

Joseph Murphy
August 17, 2009 3:06 pm

Great post Anthony. It is nice to read blog comments that are not censored. Some of the best comments are those in response to differing view points.
There are two things I wanted to respond to. I don’t have time to find a quotes but it is not really necessary anyways.
-That even big oil (EXXO) supports XYZ enviro legislation so XYZ must be in the right direction.
*If the CEO or any other director or officer of a publicly traded company made a decision or took a public stance that was not 100% based on improving the company’s financial strength they would not have a job the next day.
-That we should contact our politicians and let them know our opinions.
*Politicians don’t care about your opinion besides in the voting booth. I don’t mean this in a negative way what so ever. A politician’s job is to get elected and stay elected… that’s it. They listen to who is paying them and the only thing that will get their attention from you is “I will vote for whom ever runs against you if you vote for XYZ.”

Bob
August 17, 2009 3:08 pm

HERETIC!!!

bluegrue
August 17, 2009 3:11 pm

Roger Sowell (13:50:48) :

bluegrue: no time now for full response, but will do so in about 6 hours.
Basically, 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 is 93 percent below business as usual.

Sorry, I was calculating as percent of current emissions using Arthur Rosenfeld’s numbers, I missed the business-as-usual of 2050 bit. My mistake. So, according to Rosenfeld’s numbers California needs to cut to 89% of the projected 2050 BAU emissions. Whether 89% or 93%, it’s substantial. If you agree we could drop this point as settled.

Process control is one of them. Whatever mechanism scientists postulate as changing the climate, there must be conformance with process control fundamentals.

That’s the bit I’m much more interested in.

Editor
August 17, 2009 3:13 pm

RW: If you follow the temperature trend from 1900 to present and match CO2 with temperature you get a different picture.
You get a very good correlation for PDO/AMO, which is strengthened by the up-down oscillation matching. But for CO2, it is relatively flat until post WWII, which means the big warming phase from 1915+ to 1945+ (as big a slope as 1975+ to 2000+) occurred without much increase in CO2.
We then have a cooling from 1950 to 1979 coinciding with a serious CO2 increase. This was followed by the 1979 – 1998 warming. Then a decreasing trend from 1998 – present. All of this occurred with CO2 on a steady rise.
Therefore, during the time of steep CO2 rise, we have four decades of mild cooling and two decades of moderate warming (with a small net warming), roughly equal to the rise from 1900 – 1950. Not a very good CO2 correlation.
I said CO2 may well have an imprint, a direct effect (which you ignore when you accuse me of “pure denialism”). But it does not coincide well with the large up-down oscillations of the last century. And it certainly does not demonstrate positive feedback. And if there is no positive feedback, there is no emergency.
By the way, for 1900 – present, Joe D’Aleo shows a 0.83 correlation between PDO/AMO index and temperatures and a 0.44 correlation between CO2 and temperatures.

Editor
August 17, 2009 3:21 pm

Have they outlawed breathing yet?
Just yours.

DaveE
August 17, 2009 3:23 pm

Richard S Courtney (13:58:47) :
I like the ‘Barrage balloon’ solution! It could be deployed over major cities & reduce UHI at the same time 😉
DaveE.

Gene Nemetz
August 17, 2009 3:33 pm

CaptainPlanet (14:27:00) : some OxyClean
Not that this is on topic…. but OxyClean works

RoyFOMR
August 17, 2009 3:36 pm

RW claims that CO2 is a pollutant.
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
“The question is, ” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty. “which is to be master—that’s all.”
The US Supreme Court has ruled that carbon dioxide (CO2) is a pollutant ergo it is!
End of story, end of the Scientific Method. Welcome to Wonderland!
[REPLY – That’s not Wonderland. That’s Looking Glass Garden! ~ Evan]

Gene Nemetz
August 17, 2009 3:37 pm

Why are so many feeding trolls here?

Jeremy
August 17, 2009 3:39 pm

Thank you for posting this. It is an inspiration to all of us Engineers out there who watched moon landings as kids and took the toughest courses and studied hard only to graduate in the mid 80’s to find that the sun had set on the glory days of NASA moon missions and big blue sky child hood dreams. Many of us found a cynical world that had left us and our big dreams far far behind: Aerospace programs and Nuclear programs and big R&D jobs in high tech industry were vanishing on scale never seen before. Large projects became the whipping boy of derision as irrelevant big wastes of money – after all, social scientists and accountants asked what did landing on the moon achieve for the average man – nothing we were told – what a waste of taxes! Computer scientists, business schools and Ecologists was what the world really needed – there was no need for outdated traditional engineers like Burt Rutan.
Thirty years on. I have watched how science has almost been completely subverted to the eco-gravy train fascist philosophy. Countless study after study confirmed that everything Engineers have ever done has been NEGATIVE for Gaia – industry, polution etc. Countless documentaries taught our very own children to hate us (documentaires usually conducted on Carribbean islands and filmed by artists and commentated upon by fake scientists like David Suzuki, who prognosticate on science that they no nothing about with an air of absolute convition). Of course, it was only a matter of time before the fascists “proved” that the very air we breathe out and the output of almost every industrial activity, “CO2” was THE guilty party.
Most Engineers of my generation have learned to not mention what they build, what they manufacture, what they design or what they do – lest one is attacked and villified. And above all, don’t dare point out that the energy and products sourced from fossil fuels has been the greatest boon in the history of mankind, on par with the discovery of farming, fire or the wheel! No we must not dare to offend, instead we must behave deeply humbled and ashamed of everything we have done and do.
Good on Burt Rutan for calling a spade a spade!

August 17, 2009 3:48 pm

wattsupwiththat (11:58:54) : RW is just another internet coward acting as foil. Burt Rutan is the real deal and unlike RW has the courage to put his name to what he believes. Ignore him/her/it. Waste of bandwidth. – Anthony
Anthony, I am 200% in support of you and I think you (and others here) have the patience of a saint, when I survey the hundreds of hours you have all spent courteously arguing the case, and insisting on civility, with a thousand other RW’s. Though I too care passionately, I know I could not do what you do. I have to take time out so I don’t get hopping mad. Without quiet sanity, all efforts are wasted.
Nevertheless, there is an important issue here that I think you miss. I can explain it better by referring to Plimer, whose book is excellent, a good read, and a mine of information for skeptics. But it’s been shot down by quite a number of professors on many counts. Last night I collected a decent cross-section of these debunks, because now, many intelligent people “know” that Plimer’s been shot down by highly-qualified academics. They may not know who to believe, other than trusting the Science they’ve always believed they could trust. I maintain that skeptics need to have answers at our fingertips, linked to the best sources, to all the standard debunks. Otherwise we still remain two sides, polarized. RW asked Jerome, IMO quite reasonably from his POV, had Jerome actually looked at RW’s references? I did look. It’s just as easy to debunk RW’s refs as to give some other classic skeptic argument – but, it seems to me that debunking his refs is rather more likely to make RW stop in his tracks – and by extension, millions more – and think again. Ref 1 stopped at 2000 – missing the recent cooling that no model predicted. From CA, we now know that Rahmstorf (ref 2) widened the range of the model predictions post facto so that they cover the downtick (otherwise the records would no longer be “compatible” with the prediction). And since the Ugly Sister has cut his toes off this year to fit Cinderella’s Shoe, he has no more toes to cut off next year.
Smokey has a cache of such info at his/her fingertips. But not always impeccable. You have a lot. Monckton has a lot – but with his isolation, it’s easier to dismiss him. I know a lot now but don’t have the refs at my fingertips. IMHO, this is what I think we need a skeptics wiki for. A resource for effortlessly debunking the standard debunks of the standard debunkers like RC, Deltoid, Coby Beck, Michael Tobis, Monbiot, Grumbine Science etc – a group effort by skeptics, and an excellent exercise to keep folk interested and busy, producing something of quality that can be used. I don’t have the resources to manage it, otherwise I would. However, it could start really simple, with an FAQ picking up some of the commonest AGW beliefs and references.
That’s IMHO of course.

Gene Nemetz
August 17, 2009 3:49 pm

I see the trolls come out more for people like Burt Rutan. They stir when they are scared.
What would happen if Antonino Zichichi was featured in a post? Or, maybe the trolls wouldn’t know his name so they wouldn’t know they are supposed to come out from under the bridge.

Craig W
August 17, 2009 4:00 pm

Excellent!
As for the “EV” … hey I’d love to own a vehicle that doesn’t require weekly or bi-weekly visits to the filling station.

RoyFOMR
August 17, 2009 4:02 pm

[REPLY – That’s not Wonderland. That’s Looking Glass Garden! ~ Evan]
I’d read it as Cooking Gas, Pardon?

RoyFOMR
August 17, 2009 4:06 pm

Oops Evans,
I should have said –
Cooking Gas, Graundian!

RoyFOMR
August 17, 2009 4:19 pm

and on reflection- you’re right!

Richard S Courtney
August 17, 2009 4:25 pm

DaveE:
Thankyou for your interest. But please note that the purpose of the proposed policy is to provide the politicians with a way out. The purpose is not climate control.
At present AGW-alarmists are lobbying the politicians to do something. Climate realists have adopted the position of asking the politicians to do nothing, and agreeing to that request may make scientific sense but it is not a viable political response to the lobbying. The politicians need to be seen to be responding to the lobbying by doing something and, therefore, they are doing harmful and pointless things.
The possibility of using climate change counter measures if and when needed allows politicians to be seen to be doing something without imposing harmful Cap&Trade, ETS, CCS, etc.
If global temperature does not rise to the ‘2 deg.C trigger’ (and I am confident that it will not) then the counter measures would not be used. And until that time negotiations can continue about what emissions reductions may be needed and how they will be imposed.
The negotiations could continue indefinitely (which many negotiators would like) or until the time when the ‘2 deg.C trigger’ is reached (everybody agrees that will not be reached for decades to come if ever). And the AGW-scare can fade away as has its predecessors (few remember ‘acid rain’ unless reminded of it).
The negotiators will continue their junkets in Bali, Copenhagen, etc. at our expense when AGW is gone because they will find another excuse for the junkets. The problem is that at present they need to make decisions. The proposed policy removes the urgent need for them to make decisions and allows them to keep talking instead. And it enables them to be seen to be doing something because they would be providing the climate control research which would have media impact with each experiment and trial.
Richard

Editor
August 17, 2009 4:29 pm

RW (04:23:50) :
E.M. Smith “I can see no reasonable way to avoid the conclusion that the “warming” of the temperature record is because we put a pot load of thermometers closer to the equator and in the Southern Hemisphere.”
Did you know that the equator and the southern hemisphere show the least warming? The northern hemisphere at high latitudes is warming much faster than either. So, how does a warming signal come from a part of the world that isn’t warming very much?

The short answer is “by putting more thermometers there”. You see, the S.H. can’t “warm much” since there is little record for it to warm against. But it CAN put more “winter degree days” into the present record. The longer form is:
Notice that I said “temperature record”. I’m talking about the body of data, not a patch of dirt. You are talking about a patch of dirt. But if you want to talk dirt, I can do that too.
First up, how do you know how much the southern hemisphere has warmed since, oh, 1860? I’ll give you a hint: Take a look at the link I gave you, I’ve added percentiles now. We had exactly ONE PERCENT of world thermometer records from south of the equatorial band in 1860. Yup. 1%
So, you gonna smear 1% of records over 1/2 the planet? And that will mean what again? (Oh, btw, that 1% was in the S. Temperate band only. NONE were in the Southern Cold band…)
But that’s outside the GIStemp baseline, surely it gets much better!?
OK, 1879 decade ending (i.e. as we enter the first records kept by GIStemp) we have dramatically risen all the way to 5.5%. I can hear the whoops of joy now “MORE THAN 5 TIMES THE THERMOMETERS!!!” Yeah, all 29 of them. For almost 1/2 the planet. Wonder where they were… Probably not a lot of them in the center of the Sahara, the Amazon, the Congo, The Outback. Probably a lot more in port cities near the ocean…
But what the heck, I’ll gladly agree with you that the Southern Hemisphere isn’t warming and can not warm the planet. (You clearly have no idea how much it makes me happy to agree with you on that point…) So all the freight must be carried by the Northern Hemisphere thermometer record (for purposes of this discussion only…)
Lets take a look at that northern hemisphere you claim is getting so hot so fast..
We have a dramatic rise in number of thermometers from ONE in 1701, to about 7000 at peak, then back to the circa 2000 range, but with a dramatic percentage of them moving from the “cold band” to the temperate band. (From 100% in the cold band at peak, dropping to 8.7% at bottom in the cold band, now 10.3%. The Temperate band changed from ZERO in 1701 to 69.6% at peak, faded to “only” 57.4% now as more thermometers took off for the Tropics…)
You can find the numbers posted here:
http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/08/17/thermometer-years-by-latitude-warm-globe/
So I’m not at all surprised you would find “warming” in the N. Hemisphere thermometer record. They were moving from Siberia to Italy… in Latitude.
But what happens when we pick a stable set of thermometers? What if we don’t let the thermometers run around so much? Well, picking the Top 10% of stable thermometers, those with a life span of over about 103 years – that incidentally leaves out most of the Southern Hemisphere, we find no warming of the record.
No,these are not gridded,boxed, zoned, or otherwise molested. Just a nice stable cohort of thermometers measuring the same places for decade after decade as the centuries roll by. Not much need to grid, box, homogenize, zonalize, or any other -ize a clean stable record of what really happened. No need to patch and fill, stretch and blend, spice, dice, or re-imagine the data. Just look at it.
And it clearly says that the record did not warm. And that record, being by far the Northern hemisphere (last stop to add a 103 year old thermometer was in 1906)… I’ll use the 1909 data, just to be conservative: In that year, ALL S.H. thermometers (even adding in the WHOLE equator band to 10 N) were less than 10% of the record. So we can say with certainty that there were not a whole lot of those S. Hemisphere thermometers in the record to survive unchanged the next 100 years.
So what do those stable, (more than 90%+ N. H.) thermometers say about the change of the average of their temperatures? They say nothing has changed much.
Remarkably devoid of trend. Within a few tenths C decade to decade in all months columns and in the average for each year. If you told me that the average thermometer reading for a given month for the planet would not change by more than a couple of 1/10 C over 150 years I would not have believed it possible.
You can find more of the text, along with the table of actual numbers at:
http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/gistemp-quartiles-of-age-bolus-of-heat/
Source code is freely available so you can “do this at home” under other postings at the site. If you care that much, you can visit the “gistemp” tab at the top of the site.
Realize that none of this depends on GIStemp. It is looking at the GHCN data directly.
I’ve also “run the numbers” through GIStemp up to the zonalizing steps. Through all the temperature steps (where things are still kept as temperatures for locations) GIStemp acts as an amplifier, not a filter. The impact of thermometer change increases in the product,not decreases.
The gridding, zoning, anomalizing et. al. steps are next on my shopping list, but I can tell you already that since there is NO warming in a stable set of thermometers: any effect from grids, zones, etc. can only be to fabricate a warming in a place that does not have one.
(FWIW, this change in thermometers by latitude work comes directly from my making a baseline for the purpose of testing the GIStemp grids, zones, boxes, etc. on the data and on the record. To have a “benchmark” to be able to say EXACTLY how much the last couple of GIStemp steps can undo – or amplify – the impact. No, don’t have it done yet. Maybe by next week. But right now it’s very clear that it needs to overpower a 10:1 power factor in the raw data plus some for it’s early amplification.)
You see, GIStemp likes to be seen as a filter, but what I’ve seen and demonstrated so far (by running it on real data) is that it’s an amplifier. Even if the grid, zone, etc. steps do dampen the signal some at this point, it first must remove the amplification it has already added into a trend that is already strongly (as in 10 to 1 strongly) skewed by The March Of The Thermometers. That takes a filter with one heck of a high “Q”, and GIStemp just doesn’t have the bones to cut it.
And that stable set of benchmark thermometer records confirms that assertion on my part.
Now, you can assert that GIStemp is a perfect filter. And you can assert that the zones, boxes, grids et. al. will exactly undo the mess that’s being fed to it (shown, not asserted, DEMONSTRATED above), but “I don’t think so Tim!”
And in the end, the result of the characterization of the final steps will be a public suite of data, source code, and analysis. Not opinion.
So I’d suggest being cautious about what opinions you espouse, you will find the facts in your face soon enough. Rather like all the other facts above. You see, it’s all about the data, and just letting them speak.
If you torture the data enough, they will tell you what you want to hear. I believe in respecting the data and asking them politely what they have to say. So torture all you want with grids, boxes, zones, homoginization, …
but those simple stable thermometers will still be there, softly speaking, saying that things are more like they have always been than you imagine. Or re-imagine…
But how can a STABEL S.H. that IS NOT WARMING (that you have said is so, and that I 100% agree with) warm the world? Here, you work it out:
S is south, N is north. T is Temperate. W is warm, C is cold, EQ is equator.
The March of the Thermometers, in big bites:
Just to put a bit of a finer point on it, if, excluding the poles due to very poor coverage, we add up the “warm areas” of SW, EQ, NW and add up the cold areas (SC, ST, NT, NC) we get the following, by 1/2 century steps:
YEAR Warm Cold
1839 2.8 97.2
1889 8.3 91.5
1939 15.5 83.8
1989 25.4 73.2

Bob Meyer
August 17, 2009 4:32 pm

Unless you are an engineer or scientist the odds are (unfortunately) that you have never heard of Burt Rutan.
I went to watch SpaceShipOne’s first flight into space back in 2004. Almost everyone there was an engineer or worked in aerospace (a few Trekkies, maybe).
It says something about a society where everyone knows what pop stars are in rehab but almost no one knows the name of the man who is probably the greatest living aeronautical engineer and possibly the greatest one of all time.
In any event, there is another reason to admire Rutan: He’s got guts as well as brains. He’s too smart not to know what happens to “deniers”.

Editor
August 17, 2009 4:47 pm

Alexej Buergin (04:47:26) :
” Hans Verbeek (00:27:38) :
And uhh …. planes don’t fly on coal, Bart.”
Of course they do, Hans. Needs some treatment first, though.

Yup. If you tank up your Jet in South Africa, you will get jet fuel from SASOL, who make it from coal… And
The U.S.A.F. has begun qualifications for the entire fleet to run on synthetic fuel produced from your choice of coal, trash, or anything else with lots of carbon in it. Test batches of fuel provided by Syntroleum IIRC (though it might be Rentech – I own bits of both of them for entertainment and sometimes get their press releases crossed…)
So right NOW there are both commercial and USAF jets flying on coal. Just like the German airforce flew on coal derived fuels via F.T. processing in WWII.
It’s really a pretty easy process, well understood, and not too expensive.

Editor
August 17, 2009 4:57 pm

Hans Verbeek (00:27:38) : Apparantly he doesn’t realize that a finite space (Earth) can only hold finite amounts of coal and oil. (we will run out someday)

Apparently the old “running out” canard is raising it’s beak again too 😉 OK, time to dust this one off again:
http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/03/20/there-is-no-energy-shortage/
There is a matching “not running out of stuff” link too:
http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/05/08/there-is-no-shortage-of-stuff/
Yes, we run out of coal in a few hundred years. We can also make motor fuels of all sorts from garbage, trees, pond scum, … and we have a functionally infinite supply of Uranium:
http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/05/29/ulum-ultra-large-uranium-miner-ship/
So can we PLEEEASE let go of the notion that we’re gonna “run out’? It just does not happen. STUFF does not leave the planet and we have an unlimited quantity of energy to rearrange the STUFF into other STUFF as we see fit.
The whole ‘running out’ fantasy is brought to you by the same Club of Rome jokers who love to promote AGW and they are just hopelessly wrong and clueless (I prefer to apply Hanlon’s razor here – the alternative is not something I’d want to contemplate… )

CaptainPlanet
August 17, 2009 4:57 pm

Gene Nemetz (15:33:23) :
Still OT… but agreed! 🙂
I just poured out a little of my 40oz for my homie Billy. My wife and I are still sad that there aren’t going to be any more Pitchmen episodes – not sure why but we got hooked on it… fascinating!
Back OT, kinda-sorta, imagine Billy Mays giving Burt’s presentation or, heaven forbid, going to the Dark Side and giving Al Gore’s presentation… either way maybe it’s for the best that his powers can no longer be used for good *or* evil

Curiousgeorge
August 17, 2009 5:01 pm

@ Richard S Courtney (13:58:47) : Not bad. I noticed a couple minor grammatical omissions, but you made a good points. Have you considered submitting this for publication to a mainstream outlet?
Part of the problem, as I see it, is that both sides of this issue essentially “preach to the choir” (there are a few exceptions, of course ). To be effective an argument must be presented to the target audience – those whose behavior or attitude you wish to change – and in a manner, venue, and format that they will be inclined to absorb. It does no good, for example, for me to lecture someone on their failure to appreciate my viewpoint; which is what I see a lot of lately from both sides. As the Captain (movie Cool Hand Luke ) said: “What we have here, is a failure to communicate.” His point was that “Communication” requires a communicator and a communicatee and takes many forms. As both the Captain & Luke discovered.
Not being critical, just offering some suggestions that may yield a greater degree of success.

DaveE
August 17, 2009 5:02 pm

Richard S Courtney (16:25:17) :
I did wink 😉
DaveE.

Editor
August 17, 2009 5:02 pm

Oh, and I ought to add that the not running out and the re-arranging some stuff into other stuff we want AND the unlimited energy are all brought to you courtesy of Engineers like Burt Rutan.
If you ever get a chance to even kiss the feet of such a person, even that is not enough. You owe them everything that keeps you alive and comfortable today.

August 17, 2009 5:04 pm

Burt Rutan is one of my all time heroes, up there with Richard Feynman. I wish he were alive today. he would have poked so many holes into the AGW theory, you couldn’t even use it as a sieve.
Anyway, I posted it to reddit. Not surprisingly, it was deleted from the environment sub-reddit (This is the second time this has happened to me), but it’s holding it’s own in the science sub-reddit.
It’s nice when someone of Mr Rutan’s stature uses the IPCC’s own data to demolish their own hypothesis

Editor
August 17, 2009 5:19 pm

Chris Wright (04:23:24) :
Bobn (20:22:18) :“but look at the pdf, many of the graphs/data he cites are flawed in themselves. For example the first one cites the flawed argument that human emissions of co2 are only about 3% of total co2 emissions.”
.
After a quick look at the slides, that one jumped out at me. It does seem to be completely wrong – or possibly Rutan believes that the 20th century CO2 increase was primarily natural. However, it could have been an honest mistake.

Before you jump all over this, take a look at this chart. It’s cute, and it’s from NASA, so it must be right 😎
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Carbon_cycle-cute_diagram.jpeg
It shows the human C component as 5.5 out of (what looks to me, rapidly adding in my head the big numbers) about 210 (from the land plants, soils, and sea alone) so the percentage looks close to me… (The units are GIGA tons of C).
If you are basing your “worry” over some projection based on C12 / C13 ratios, well, that approach “has issues”:
http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/02/25/the-trouble-with-c12-c13-ratios/

Richard M
August 17, 2009 5:20 pm

E.M.Smith (16:29:44),
Great response. Since I have been following your exploits with GIStemp so I LOL at RW’s silly assertion. His reply was a remarkable example of cognitive dissonance. He had no idea what you were stating yet his belief is so strong in CAGW that he threw out an uninformed response immediately. I doubt he will enjoy the embarrassment.
Keep up the good work.

Editor
August 17, 2009 5:30 pm

and on reflection
Woof.

Rattus Norvegicus
August 17, 2009 5:37 pm

I might point out that many engineers have problems with the evidence for evolution, also. Just because you are a good engineer does not mean that you know or understand the evidence for a given scientific theory, especially if it is one outside of your area of expertise.

Richard M
August 17, 2009 5:49 pm

Rattus Norvegicus (17:37:31):,
Once you look at climate science you will quickly understand that NOBODY understands everything that would be needed to deal with the complexities. There are just too many overlapping fields. OTOH, many of the aspects of climate are not difficult for any educated person to understand. Just how hard is it to read a thermometer 😉

Editor
August 17, 2009 5:52 pm

OTOH, no one can tell me what the progenitor of man is past Homo Ergaster.
Homo Erectus turns out to be a separate line (and, of course, Neanderthal). And now we are told that Homo Habilis might well be a dead end.
So where did we come from? Somewhere, that’s for sure. But we are very uncertain as to which line. Ergaster seems to be the only direct connection we can identify. And that’s just of last scan. The scholarship may have changed since then.

Damian M (Climate scientist)
August 17, 2009 5:53 pm

I think Rutan should probably stick to planes, with naive comment like “warm period are good, not bad, it would be beneficial to have more warming than present”
This is a common catch cry in the denier movement it ignore the basic physics of what happens to ice in a warmer world and the flow on effect of what that does to sea level.
Or this “warm periods have been brief and they are not the ‘normal’ planet state.”
Rutan appears to have done no research on what he is talking about except for the recent glacial cycle (2.5 million years) the planet has actually been warmer for most of it’s history but with little ice and much higher sea levels.
His comment about oil reserves ignores the fact that they have fallen, and the source for this is not greenies or alarmists but BP
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a6.7NWiQ5wGw
they have even attached a figure “The world has enough reserves for 42 years at current production rates” The likelihood of current demand staying the same is slim as throughout the history of our use of oil demand has only ever grown.

Editor
August 17, 2009 5:59 pm

RW (05:00:42) : – Of course humans can code a computer model to predict global temperatures, and we’ve been doing so for three decades. The models have been pretty accurate.
Since the models are predicting a fantasy that they are modeled upon, that would not surprise me. The only problem is that the real temperatures are not the same as what GIStemp et.al. say they are. (Covered earlier under The March of the Thermometers).
And yes, I do computer stuff professionally. Ran a super computer site doing computer modeling of plastic flow (even donated time to a Ph.D. candidate at Stanford trying to model clouds). I “know a little bit about this”… including having read all of GIStemp code and porting it to a machine running just a few feet from me as I type this…
– The effect of human greenhouse gas emissions on global temperatures is obvious.
SImple. Obvious. And wrong. The classic trilogy…
– Statements that “warm is good, not bad!” amuse me. It’s like saying “food is good, not bad!” – that is, basically it’s meaningless.
Glad it amuses you. Go to the center of the Greenland ice sheet, sans food, and see if you are still amused.
It is not meaningless, it is a statement of fact. Plants in general, and food plants in particular, need a certain number of “degree days” to mature and make food. To cool? Even by a bit? No food. Too warm, even by a lot? A whole lot more food a whole lot sooner.
(If you want to argue this point, lets do it elsewhere. But first compare the food production from California and Arizona to that of Alaska and The Northwest Territories…)
– Statements that “CO2 is not a pollutant” also amuse me, particularly when they make use of patronising bold face. The easy response is to invite the claimant to spend just a few minutes in a room filled with pure CO2.
Well, I’ll happily do that (as long as it’s less than 2.8 minutes) as long as you will spend the same time in a room full of Nitrogen. (Yes, my record for breath holding is 2.5 minutes+ figure I can pant straight CO2 for a few seconds getting the O2 going…)
Your “troll” piece is pointless. The “poison is in the dose”. With too much SUGAR, SALT, or even WATER you WILL DIE!!!! (Needed to get those patronizing all caps bold in somewhere…) But too little you die as well. Both hypo and hyper natremia are lethal. It means nothing to say something like your example.
What matters is the limits to the dose. For CO2, it is beneficial to life, especially to plants, up to about 2000 to 3000 ppm. Drop too low (below about 200 ppm) and plants die. They certainly grow much more slowly for each step below 2000 ppm (indicting the evolved for higher levels than are in the air now and are struggling to adjust). YOU will die if the CO2 level at the lung tissue surface drops too low. Upper bound is somewhere over 10,000 ppm.
So with present levels about 3xx and the lower bound 2xx with the upper bound 2xxx to 10xxx I’d vote for more, not less, as the prudent thing to do. Besides, we get more food production (about 20% to 40% more) up to that level. Chose to use it for more people, healthier people, or just a lower “footprint” on the land from farming. It’s “all good”. Drop from 350 or so to 220 or so and you need to cut down 15% to 20% of wild lands to make up the loss of food. Your good with that?
– if he believes ever-rising claims of reserve size, I’ve got a bridge he might like to buy.
You clearly have a poor understanding of how reserves are calculated. They HAVE been ever-rising. Once you have about 20 to 30 years worth “in the can” you stop looking. There is no reason to spend the money (and risk confiscation by nutty governments, and risk market collapse from “glut”).
If he believes there will be a ‘gradual switch’ then he doesn’t understand maths. When use of a finite resource is exponentially increasing, there will be nothing gradual when the end comes.
Ok, your a Brit. Got it. Small place, close quarters, running out paranoia.
Well, did you notice when the “exponentially increasing” fish consumption hit “peak fish”? No? Maybe that’s because we added aquaculture when we “hit the wall” (now about 20% and rising). How about “peak whale oil”? It was a big deal in the 1960’s. Oh, that Jojoba thing… “Peak Cotton”? (Rayon). Peak Silk (Nylon). Peak Coal (Oil – a big deal back in the 1800’s) See:
http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/05/12/jevons-paradox-coal-oil-conservation/
I could go on, but I won’t. The entire history of economic advance and engineering accomplishment is based on the very fact of finding ever more resources that can be used in ever more ways and substitution for ever more expensive rare things to be replaced with ever more inexpensive common things.
Heck, want Star Saphire? Ruby? Emerald? I’ve got a big chunk laying around here somewhere. It used to be a laser. We can now MAKE all we want. At one time it was a “kings ransom” and know it’s just a chunk of fancy glass. We’ve even got diamonds so cheap and so good that folks need highly specialized equipment to tell which are man made and keep up the scarcity fantasy.
Get a grip, please. Engineering is the art and science of turning nothing into wealth. There is plenty of planet for everyone to live a very wealthy life style AND save the best bits in pristine shape. Take a look at Earthships and Rutan’s home. Heck, everyone on the planet could live a beach front condo in North America and leave the rest of the planet absolutely empty.
So just look at how to make a great place for everyone and start building it. Works much better than the doom and gloom thing…
(If the N.America Condo thing doesn’t work for you, consider that the entire planet could live in six cities the size of England at a level of density that of London leaving the rest of the place empty. We CHOOSE to spread out, but we don’t need to…)

Stuart Nachman
August 17, 2009 6:00 pm

Are the trolls aware that most greenhouses consider 1000 ppm CO2 as ideal and that the Navy considers 8000 ppm acceptable on submarines?

Matt
August 17, 2009 6:02 pm

“– Statements that “CO2 is not a pollutant” also amuse me, particularly when they make use of patronising bold face. The easy response is to invite the claimant to spend just a few minutes in a room filled with pure CO2.”
What a rediculous statement!
By this argument water is a polutant. What would we do in a room full of water.
Also by this argument pure oxygen is a polutant. In fact anything is a polutant by this argument.
The real question should be if we remove CO2 and try to grow plants how would they fare?

John Michalski
August 17, 2009 6:20 pm

E.M.Smith (16:29:44),
I have been following your GIStemp series on your blog. I’ve watched all day waiting for your response to:
>RW (04:23:50) :
>E.M. Smith
>“I can see no reasonable way to avoid the conclusion that the “warming” of >the temperature record is because we put a pot load of thermometers closer >to the equator and in the Southern Hemisphere.”
>Did you know that the equator and the southern hemisphere show the least >warming? The northern hemisphere at high latitudes is warming much >faster than either. So, how does a warming signal come from a part of the >world that isn’t warming very much?
Great Post. It was worth the wait. Keep up the good work.

Electrical Engineer
August 17, 2009 6:21 pm

Exactly correct in your premise about engineers…I’m a skeptic but read both sides to try to ascertain reality. In my experience as an EE, and also trained in fluid dynamics / heat transfer, it is baffling to understand how meaningful conclusions can be drawn from climate models and the climate data thusfar presented in the literature. While modeling has grown exponentially in accuracy, the complexity of the various processes is paramaterized due to incomplete definition of the exact mechanisms at work. That’s ok — but one has to recognize the limitation — which is that there is a high degree of uncertainty associated w/ the inability to accurately model a process. Further, from what i read on the data side — there leaves much to be desired in terms of data accuracy. Calibration of instrumentation and analysis to compensate for changes in ambient environmental biases over time are amateurish mistakes that seem to get hand-waved. The theory of AGW could very well be true – or more likely partially correct – but going off half-cocked w/ expensive propositions that won’t solve a real problem is insanity. I leave you with this quote from a renowned journalist of the previous generation, describing what he observed of a lot of government activity:
“The chief cause of problems is solutions”
– Eric Sevareid

August 17, 2009 6:29 pm

Damian M., re peak oil.
Please, you must understand that oil reserves are a function of oil price. The higher the price, the more oil is “discovered.” It has always been thus. And always will be.
Note that after OPEC increased the price of oil in the 1970’s and early 80’s by a factor of roughly 4, oil was “discovered” (drilled for and produced, actually) in many places around the world, including the North Sea and Alaskan North Slope.
OPEC learned a good lesson from that, which any first year economics student could have taught them: high prices attract competition. Note that OPEC has not raised prices dramatically since then…instead, they have worked diligently to maintain prices as low as possible consistent with meeting their cash flow needs.
Now, with oil at $70 or so, alternatives are attractive that would never have been attractive with oil at $20 per barrel. But, OPEC needs oil priced at $70 or thereabouts to meet their cash flow needs. My link below discusses this under the Grand Game.
There is no oil shortage. Never has been, and never will be. You might ask just how can I be so certain, what credentials do I bring to this argument? Not much, by some people’s reckoning, just have worked with or for oil and chemical companies for 30-plus years, come from a family in the oil and gas business since 1949, and now provide legal advice for those in the industry. Here’s a hint: the major oil companies would not be investing billions in drilling for oil if they thought it was all gone, with no more to find, and therefore their drilling has a zero chance of producing any more oil. They are not in the business of drilling dry holes. Oh, and one of my classmates in undergrad was a guy named Rex Tillerson. Yup, that guy; currently Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil. Rex is on record many times (and I agree with him on this) that the only obstacle to more oil is lack of access to known oil deposits.
For my views on peak oil (as mythical as unicorns) and the Grand Game (energy for our future), see this site:
http://energyguysmusings.blogspot.com/2009/07/peak-oil-and-unicorns-both-mythical.html

Pamela Gray
August 17, 2009 6:33 pm

Measurements of CO2 from an engineering standpoint would prompt an engineer to determine where CO2 is being siphoned off. To illustrate: We can pour oil into a car’s well-tuned engine, if it is a closed system, and the engine will run fine with little oil used. One needs to clean it, but one does not need to keep putting more oil into the engine until it is time to replace the oil. On the other hand, if there is a leak (or multiple leaks) in this system, one will need to put more and more oil into the engine until the mechanic finds the leaks. The oil is still there and can be accounted for, it just leaked onto the ground.
The case can be made that at Mauna Loa, a local source sensor, the measurement of CO2 appears to be increasing (more going in than going out). But the increase seems more likely to be an artifact of some kind. Very few things in nature are this regular. It will be interesting to continue to monitor CO2 in the troposphere (AIMS) through different complete oceanic flips (and probably several).
But that leads me to a question. Are there anomaly charts of CO2 for each of these sensor locations?

cba
August 17, 2009 6:35 pm

Damian M (Climate scientist) (17:53:59) :
“This is a common catch cry in the denier movement it ignore the basic physics of what happens to ice in a warmer world and the flow on effect of what that does to sea level.

So much for your ‘scientific’ credentials. Maybe you should stick to hyping scientology. Of course I do wonder about what basic physics you are referring to there. Are you trying to say that warming water that is somewhat below 4 degrees C will cause it to expand? There’s basic physics involved in that – although that’s actually not what happens.
“His comment about oil reserves ignores the fact that they have fallen, and the source for this is not greenies or alarmists but BP

So much for your understanding of economics too. Just how much oil exploration do you think is going to happen when little to none of it will be developed in the next 30 years? Can you really think that a company is going to spend large amounts of money finding and establishing reserves that will not be needed or used in the next few decades? Especially considering too the potential risk factor of anticarbon hysteria.

Richard M
August 17, 2009 6:50 pm

I suspect Damian M (Climate scientist) is young. As I indicated previously I think our education system is responsible for an ever increasing lack of critical thinking skills. Instead, younger scientists are taught to use references, so they tend to believe way too much of what they read.
This was clearly evident in his post. Hopefully, this experience will jolt him … although I doubt it.

Nick B (all around jerk)
August 17, 2009 6:53 pm

Damian,
As a scientist I’m sure you’ve used physics to make life or death design decisions right?

Jeremy
August 17, 2009 7:40 pm

Currently you can find the slides here
http://www.bobscherer.com/Pages/Burt_Rutan_on_Climate_Change.htm
I expect he is frustrated to see all these wasted Government funds going to fraudulent scientists and policy makers and their pretense to objectively study Global Warming (usually involving field trips to nice Carribbean Islands to study sea levels no doubt). Frankly the whole Global Warming thing is utterly disgraceful.
One of the slides has a nice list of other big “scares” that proved false or exaggerated – like the Ozone hole nonsense. And like DDT.
He even points out that the real threat to mankind is a very large asteroid. Of course, this is a very low probability to occur any time soon but almost certainly it is inevitable that one day BOOM and the whole evolutionary clock gets a complete reboot (unless we do something about it).

Jimmy Haigh
August 17, 2009 8:02 pm

RW (05:00:42) :
“The easy response is to invite the claimant to spend just a few minutes in a room filled with pure CO2.”
This isn’t a rational response: it’s just plain stupidity. It’s on a par with the guy who suggested that someone should spend some time in a room with 300ppm Sarin gas in the atmosphere as an analogy for 300ppm CO2 being dangerous.

cba
August 17, 2009 8:10 pm

well, unfortunately asteroids and comets are not so cut and dried in the ability to defend against them. While there’s nothing we’re going to be able to do in the immediate future if it turns out that Betelgeuse is going to go supernova with a major gamma ray burst that has a half angle of 20 degrees or greater. That could create one heck of a problem here.
Clearly, some impactors might be discovered early enough so that some effort to deflect them could be done. Unfortunately, there are definite exceptions to this possibility. First is the discovery of an impactor with too little time – say less than a decade before impact. The second is the failure to discover the impactor prior to impact. A great example is the blotch near Jupiter’s pole which was evidently caused by something probably around the size of those Schoemaker Levy fragments that struck Jupiter around 10 or 15 years ago. Our first knowledge of it was shortly after the object struck Jupiter and left a splotch on the cloud tops about the size of the Pacific ocean. Those comet fragments were discovered about 2 years before they struck Jupiter. However, if they, or even just one of them had been headed towards Earth, nothing could have been done to deflect or stop it. Regardless of what we do to document potential Earth impactors, there’s always the possibility that one may come from the opposite side of the solar system – “out of the sun” – and hitting Earth prior to even our discovery of the object. However, being able to deal with even a few (if not most) of the incidents might delay the next catastrophic event by millions of years and serious but less than extinction level events perhaps by thousands of years.
As for Betelgeuse – it’s a few hundred light years away – too far to damage the Earth’s ecology by a mere supernova. It’s massive enough to undergo a core collapse supernova. It’s in the red giant phase – at the end of its life span. Massive stars like that appear to have life spans of around 10 million years – less than 1/6 th of the time frame since the dinosaurs were apparently croaked off by a large asteroid. Betelgeuse is close enough and large enough for images of the actual surface – which suggests we’re looking at one of its poles which appears be around 20 degrees off axis from our direction. Gamma ray bursts appear to be highly directional, with estimates of half angles that range from around 3 degrees to 23 degrees. The only good news at present is that the star is not roiling and broiling in such termoil that might suggest it’s going to blow soon – sometime in the next few thousand years. If all the ‘ifs’ pan out wrong for us, it’s possibly close enough to generate a serious ecological disaster – not all that different in severity from what the warmer loons are dellusional over now.

Jimmy Haigh
August 17, 2009 8:11 pm

Roger Sowell (09:03:17) :
“Engineers solve problems.”
One of my favourite sayings is: “Those, who can, do. Those, who can’t, teach”.

Editor
August 17, 2009 8:35 pm

Retired Engineer (08:12:58) : Eventually we will have alternates to fossil fuel. Academics may talk about it. Engineers like Rutan will make it happen.
You need to fix the tense. “already have made it happen”. From WWII on.
At present, the FT and related synthetic fuels are cost competitive when oil is over about $60 / bbl (depends a bit on “in which country”). Synthetic oils from waste coal tailings, at about $40 / bbl (depends on local waste disposal laws and fees), from trash at about $50 / bbl and from “tar sands” in Canada anywhere from $25 /bbl to $50 / bbl depending on which deposit you look at and method used. Oh, and Gas to Liquids at anywhere from $25/bbl to $80/bbl depending on which gas and country (and pipelines…) Oil shales are more in the $80 – $100 / bbl plus range so are “next century” fuels for now. Have to get through a lot of tar sands and coal first.
Publicly traded companies doing this on a developmental basis include SYMX Synthesis Energy Company, SYNM Syntroleum, RTK Rentech and a few others. Most notable for the “trash to liquids” “green” approach.
Companies doing it IN PRODUCTION TODAY include SSL Sasol or South African Synthetic Oil Company (who has been doing it in “country sized” quantities since the ’70s), CVX Chevron Texaco, BP British Petroleum (or Beyond Petroleum in their news spin), XOM Exxon Mobil, RDS Royal Dutch Shell, COP Connoco Philips, MRO Marathon Oil, and a half dozen others. Oh, and DD Dupont or DOW Dow Chemical are working with BP on a rollout of a biomass to butanol fuel (drop in replacement for unleaded gasoline) demo factory (I forget which one, I think it’s DOW?). Honorable mention goes to EMN Eastman Chemical who make their chemicals from coal, having never joined the rush FROM coal to oil dozens of years ago…
Now, some of the things I’ve listed are still “fossil fuels” in that they take coal or natural gas and make “petro” chemicals and motor fuels; but generally the same processes can take any carbon rich stuff, including trash and trees or even pond scum. It’s just a question of relative prices.
Note that NONE of the things I’ve listed make fuel that would cost over $4 / gallon US. Most are in the $3 and many in the $2 / gallon range. (That’s wholesale before taxes are ladled on).
It just cracks me up when people talk about “someday” we’ll “develop” an alternative to oil (I know, you said fossil fuels, not oil, but what cracks me up is the ‘alternative to oil’ folks) when I’m running it in my car today. (BioDiesel for me… made from waste food oils) and Chevron and several others are selling gasoline, kerosene and Diesel from tar sands.
The basic technologies were developed between the 1930s and 1980s with ongoing work in cost reductions (plus some enhanced methods and newer catalysts and…) since then.
Oh, and this ignores all the “grow your fuels” folks. GGRN Global Green Solutions, OOIL Origin Oil, etc. More speculative, but the “Algae to fuel” folks are shooting for about $25 / bbl equivalent cost. PSUD Petrosun is an “odd duck” in that they do oil field support work AND are building out Algae ponds to make fuel in production now.
There’s more, but I think you get the point. LOTS of Engineers have solved LOTS of problems and given us LOTS of choices for our energy future. Some are production today, some a bit too costly, some just needing more “shovel time” to hit “prime time”… (SYMX, SSL, and RTK or SYNM I forget which one have contracts with China to make LOTS of synfuels plants. IIRC SSL was $billion scale and SYMX was negotiation for near that scale. Someone has clue, even if the USA has lost theirs…
So, run out of fuel? No Worries! Not going to happen.
Ever.
Yes. Ever. Really. I meant that. What, you want to know why?…
OK, in the ’70s some crafty folks at VW figured out how to make methanol motor fuel from coal, or any other carbon rich feed stock, using Nuclear Process Heat (about 75% of the energy in the fuel comes from the nuke) at about 75 CENTS / gallon of gasoline equivalent. Call it about $2.25 in todays money (more or less). Since we have a functionally infinite supply of Uranium, and trash is carbon rich…
And all this ignores all the nifty work with DME (dimethylether) and a host of other neat fuels “good to go”. The fact is that we’re up to our eyeballs in fuel choices that have already been developed. Just waiting for oil prices to get out of glut and stabilize at a stable and reliable $50 / bbl or better for more than 5 years. (i.e. that brief $35 we hit a couple of months back, bad juju..) The only real problem we have with oil is too much of it still slopping around the planet at too low a price when we hit moments of glut.

Jimmy Haigh
August 17, 2009 8:45 pm

Richard M (17:20:57) : and others commenting on E.M.Smith (16:29:44),
“Keep up the good work.”
I agree. You are doing some very good work there, E.M.!
And enjoy your single malt! I’m Scottish myself and have quite a nice collection of single malts… I had a tipple of my home town malt last night: The Aberfeldy 21 year old. It is becoming a popular ‘airport duty free’ item and I bought mine in Kuala Lumpur Airport last year.

August 17, 2009 8:46 pm

It’s hard to know where to start with the foolishness on this post and its comments. Should it be Roger Sowell who says “there’s no oil shortage, never has been, never will be” and supports the argument by pointing out that oil companies are spending billions to find oil? No, too easy.
How about Burt Rutan, a man whom I hugely admire for his creativity, innovation, and courage? A user of computational fluid dynamics in his day to day life who says “man … cannot code a computer model to predict future temperatures.” Man can code a computer model to predict the airflow from dead calm to hypersonic over an airfoil. He can code a computer model to predict combustion dynamics in a cylinder. Mr. Rutan’s credentials (much like Anthony Watts’) to comment on the validity of geophysics is exactly equivalent to my credentials to comment on air and spacecraft design. That is, we’re both smart guys (he’s no doubt smarter, but not in any way that helps), nothing more.

Sparkey
August 17, 2009 8:51 pm

“His comment about oil reserves ignores the fact that they have fallen, and the source for this is not greenies or alarmists but BP…”
I remember back in the 70’s (at the height of the energy shortage that allowed Carter to foist the Dept. of Energy on us) the CEO of BP announcing that the planet would run out of oil in less than 50 years. Forty years later we’re still 50 years away from oil deprivation.

bill
August 17, 2009 9:12 pm

Jeremy (19:40:33) :
One of the slides has a nice list of other big “scares” that proved false or exaggerated – like the Ozone hole nonsense. And like DDT.
DDT is a persistent poison – it does not quickly break down to safe compounds.
Mosquitoes breed rapidly and DDT resistant strains were developing. To continue to spray DDT to eradicate the non resistant mosquitoes would be pointless. Why poison the world eradicating fewer and fewer mosquitoes
From 1952:
http://www.ajtmh.org/cgi/content/abstract/1/3/389
http://www.cdc.gov/malaria/control_prevention/vector_control.htm
Resistance to DDT and dieldrin and concern over their environmental impact led to the introduction of other, more expensive insecticides. As the eradication campaign wore on, the responsibility for maintaining it was shifted to endemic countries that were not able to shoulder the financial burden. The campaign collapsed and in many areas, malaria soon returned to pre-campaign levels
an interesting bit:
http://www.gladwell.com/2001/2001_07_02_a_ddt.htm
DDT killed some and not other bugs leading to bed bugs ! etc.
In Malaysian villages, the roofs of the houses were a thatch of palm fronds called atap. They were expensive to construct, and usually lasted five years. But within two years of DDT spraying the roofs started to fall down. As it happened, the atap is eaten by caterpillar larvae, which in turn are normally kept in check by parasitic wasps. But the DDT repelled the wasps, leaving the larvae free to devour the atap.
In Greece, in the late nineteen-forties, for example, a malariologist noticed Anopheles sacharovi mosquitoes flying around a room that had been sprayed with DDT. In time, resistance began to emerge in areas where spraying was heaviest. To the malaria warriors, it was a shock. “Why should they have known?” Janet Hemingway, an expert in DDT resistance at the University of Wales in Cardiff, says. “It was the first synthetic insecticide. They just assumed that it would keep on working, and that the insects couldn’t do much about it.”
DDT was abandoned not because of greenies but because
it was becoming ineffective
It was killing other beneficial bugs.
the money dried up
It was being improperly applied.

August 17, 2009 9:13 pm

To Sparkey, et al:
It’s off topic for this post but yes, there’s lots of oil left. About half, to the best estimates of those who search for it for a living. There are two problems:
1. The second half is dramatically more difficult to get to than the first.
2. Exponential growth in the consumption of a finite reserve means that, basically, we’ll use as much oil in the next 30 years as we have in all previous history if rates of growth in consumption continue.
The good thing is, those rates won’t continue. Oh wait, is that a good thing??

Jimmy Haigh
August 17, 2009 9:15 pm

About oil reserves. It’s in oil companies’ interests to keep the oil price as high as possible. Saying that it is going to run out is a good way of doing this as any.
When the UK North Sea came on production around 1970 they all said it would run out by 2000. This got them very favourable tax and licencing deals with Labour the government of the day.

August 17, 2009 9:24 pm

@ Jimmy Haigh
North Sea production peaked in 1999.

Editor
August 17, 2009 9:27 pm

RW (09:49:31) : Yes, it’s easy to say, isn’t it? Strange that you provide no examples. Ever wondered why countries at 60N are far, far more prosperous than those at the equator? How does that observation fit your “warm is good” theory?
OK, Medieval Optimum, Roman Optimum, Neolithic Subpluvial, (all the Saharan Subpluvials for that matter), Bollinger Allerod interstadial, and the modern optimum; just for starters.
On the cold is bad side we have:
The iron age cold period. The Dark Ages. The Little Ice Age. Migration Era Pessimum and the various Bond Events that correlate with several “pessiums”.
Warm is good, cold is bad. 15,000 years plus of history and archaeology say so.
BTW, have you looked at Brazil lately? Hot as a pistol, growing like a weed, prosperous modern democracy. Gotta love it. What, it’s on the Equator? Who knew… How about Australia. One of the best, most stable economies on the planet and doing fine, thank you very much (modulo a certain number of brain dead political hacks we all seem to accumulate). No where near 60N, more like 30S. Or maybe that little backwater called the U.S.A. most of it but Alaska south of Latitude 45 or so on down to 20N (yes, Hawaii counts too …) And those little nowhere places of Japan and China at 35N to 45N or so. Both with thousands of year old cultures and one with lots of present wealth, the other recovering from communism but with historical great wealth and a stellar future. Then there is The Muslim World, most all of it south of about 40N. Not like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the Emirates have any prosperity or most of the worlds money…
Do you even bother to think before you hit enter? Heck, even most of Europe is south of 60N (and a lot of it is only a decent place to live thanks to the accident of the Gulf Stream…). And need I remind you that Europe almost evaporated in a stew of intense poverty as the rich Muslim world invaded all the way to Austria on one side and France on the other? (During a cold period, BTW…)
Sheesh. Go read a book on history, please. After that, some economics. Then a bit of geology and some geography wouldn’t hurt either. If you get through that, add some archeology and a bit of ancient cultures studies (the Indus Valley Culture, Hittites, Persian Empire, and a bit of Egyptology and maybe even some of the Nubian history would also help you come to understand that the world does not begin with Europe and the 45N latitude.) THEN you can take on the question of why (not if, why) it is that Warm IS Good.

Jimmy Haigh
August 17, 2009 9:31 pm

Rob Ryan (21:24:15) :
“North Sea production peaked in 1999.”
Is that UK, Norway or total? Anyway it didn’t run out.

Mark T
August 17, 2009 9:59 pm

So what, the cheerleader in charge is not only arguing that CO2 is a pollutant, but colder is better than warmer? No wonder rational science is struggling, it’s up against lunacy.
Mark

Jimmy Haigh
August 17, 2009 10:04 pm

I have now had time to look at the slides with all the notes. It’s a pretty good presentation. No wonder the alarmists are worried – they are being rumbled and the momentum against them is increasing.
I also think Branson could be ‘educated’.

Editor
August 17, 2009 10:21 pm

Hoystory (12:08:32) : If only the world had more Cal Poly SLO grads!
Rutan class of ‘65. Says me — class of ‘94.

Golly… My niece is summa cum laude class of 2009. Go SLO!
Most rigorous engineering school I know. Great programming talent.
Should’a known Rutan would be an alumni.. If fits his style. Elegant, lateral thinking. Great rigor in the details and math. No excuses for error allowed. Complete mastery of the subject matter.

August 17, 2009 10:23 pm

Rob Ryan,
So, my point is easy, huh? Go look at this site,
http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/steo/pub/fsheets/real_prices.html
and ponder the little red line. Note that it descends for decades, since 1919. Then remember that every decade, peak oil was thrown about as happening next year…when clearly it did not. Even with gas guzzler cars, and long economic expansions with multiple cars per family, the real price of gasoline decreased. The only time the price increased shortages (1980 era) and speculators (2008 era).
Note also that technology for finding oil makes finding the oil cheaper and cheaper. Note also that, as E.M. Smith pointed out above, there are serious alternatives for petroleum at many price points. Even with OPEC striving mightily to maintain their monopoly, by keeping prices as low as they can, we are not running out of oil. Then note that the Bakken field was recently discovered…plus another oil field of roughly the same size just below that one…then ponder that most of the earth’s surface has not been drilled to substantial depths…
Then note that the U.S.A. has mandated very high miles per gallon for vehicles in the very near future, and that gasoline sales are declining.
Then come back and tell us that we are running out of oil. But bring some facts this time.
I’ll put my money on Rex and the boys at ExxonMobil. They don’t spend billions expecting to find a dry hole.

Editor
August 17, 2009 10:37 pm

As I have said many times . . .
Peak Oil: Peek and ye shall find.

Editor
August 17, 2009 11:12 pm

bluegrue (12:41:33) : You seem to posit that because this task is too daunting climate science must be wrong. I’m just asking, because apart from bold assertions you evade the science and go for the politics in all your arguments.
I don’t see it as “going for the politics” so much as pointing out that the “cure” being mandated for this minor headache (giving the benefit of the doubt to AGW for this argument only) is economic decapitation… Something of an important point to consider…
I live in California. I’m watching the State die.
I was born here and know what it was, and what it could be again. The blatant stupidity of this law (whatever numbers apply) at a time when we are so far up the brown creek without a paddle is just astounding. To watch the rest of my country want to embrace the same idiocy, with us as an existence proof of the insanity of it; well, it just is beyond belief.
We’re somewhere between $20 BILLION and $40 BILLION in the hole (depending on which smoke and mirrors you believe), as a State, for this year. We have had a massive exodus of working people, jobs and factories for the last decade (long before the latest recession) and it is not getting better. And now they want to put this choke hold on us too?
Economic beatings will continue until business morale improves!
http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/03/11/csd-california-socialism-disorder/
About a decade ago I was told that any presentations we made to a local venture capitalist (a large Name) MUST have our China strategy in it. How were we going to outsource or relocate to China (or equivalent). That this was being required for ALL “pitches” made to them.
I knew then that it was just a matter of time. One by one, then dozens by dozens I watched companies close up and move out (some went under or merged). But unlike the prior 3 decades when new businesses popped up to replace them, funded by venture capital: I saw more IPO’s in China. More China news. And more empty buildings sitting for years with For Rent signs in the windows.
Now add to that:
1) No electricity supply growth.
2) Massive price increases for electricity.
3) Massive reductions in fuel availability with hugh price hikes for any shipping of product out or raw materials in.
4) Escalating labor costs (hey, the folks will need more money to cover their fuel and electricity bills.
5) Non-functional transportation systems (how will they work with little to no fuel and rising labor costs?) BTW, BART just announced a fair hike, since ridership was down. Typical left solution. Attract more people with more pain…
6) Massive government intervention (must make sure you are not cheating and using any non-approved materials or fuels…).
7) Basic commodities and products needed for manufacture banned.
8) Really Big tax burden to pay for all the government intrusion you didn’t want in the first place AND to pay for their GreenDoggle projects and their excessive fuel costs.
Now, you must decide where to put your business. In California with the above Big 8 (and a whole gaggle of smaller issues) or in Nevada without those problems?…
So, in recent news, the State of California announced they were sending a blue ribbon commission to Nevada to find out why so many folks and businesses were leaving California and moving to Nevada. Yup. They really did that…
My neighbors have bought land in S. America and are leaving “soon”.
I have the OK from my spouse that in 1.5 years when kids are done with college, we can leave (if it’s not collapsed before then).
My mechanic is talking, seriously, about how to relocate to Brazil.
Get the picture? Folks with business and degrees leaving. Folks with MediCal, Welfare, and State checks staying. What happens when these two lines cross? Oh Wait! We already had that, $40 Billion Hole.
But the good news it that I recently did an 8 AM prime commute hours run down the freeway at 65 MPH! A time and place that 5 years ago was jammed solid with folks going to work. Don’t know where they all went, but man it’s nice having no body going to work in the morning! Just need to get some “stimulus money” to keep the roads fixed (since the gas tax is drying up…)
BTW, I’ve talked with my Son (who graduates UC next year) about where he will relocate to. No idea yet, but staying in California was not discussed…
Will the last one out the door turn off the lights? Oh wait, their already out…

Editor
August 17, 2009 11:27 pm

Government Peon (13:57:55) : I’m agreeing with Anthony that RW isn’t worth another single keystroke. Signing off…
NOW you tell me! (I know, read ALL, then post…)
(Inspecting stubs of fingers… pondering if I could have gotten GIStemp STEP2 and STEP3 benchmarked and profiled instead… deciding mocha cures a lot… yea, that’s it… time to get the mini-espresso machine out… THEN hit GIStemp STEP2 and STEP3 Profile of Fiction task… 😎 Who needs sleep!

August 17, 2009 11:31 pm

E.M.Smith,
Bullseye, with both barrels.
As the old song says, The Times, They are a Changin.

Richard S Courtney
August 17, 2009 11:42 pm

Curiousgeorge:
Thankyou for your advise and attempted help.
You say:
“To be effective an argument must be presented to the target audience – those whose behavior or attitude you wish to change – and in a manner, venue, and format that they will be inclined to absorb. It does no good, for example, for me to lecture someone on their failure to appreciate my viewpoint; which is what I see a lot of lately from both sides.”
I very strongly agree.
JunkScience intends to circulate the matter to journal Editors.
But if one cannot get one’s own side on-board then there is no hope with the opposition.
I have been plugging this for years but it has been ignored until recently. I think there are two reasons for the recent interest. Copenhagen is imminent, and the recent success in Australia has demonstratd that direct involvement in the political process can benefit the climate realist cause.
However, only a few hours ago I obtained an email from aclimate realist that said:
“I would think many alarmists would be negative to climate control qua
geo engineering.
Besides, isn’t it tantamont to admitting the AGW or something akin to
it is “real” or authentic? (“If and when …”)
Bunk is bunk, and encouagement to consider “doing something” to
prevent the consequences of bunk to me is pointless.
But I do understand your point as something akin to “buying time ’till
the public forgets” –
… I’m lukewarm. If there are no ghosts, we shouldn’t invent
measures to “counteract” them.”
I replied saying:
“There may be no ghosts but there are dragons; i.e. C&T, CCS, windfarms, etc.
You may be “lukewarm” but you will get burned like the rest of us when the dragons breath on you. You can say “there are are no ghosts” as I do, but I want to slay the dragons, too. People will forget their fear of the ghosts given time.”
Richard

Editor
August 17, 2009 11:43 pm

Gene Nemetz (15:37:15) :
Why are so many feeding trolls here?

The Obesity Epidemic …
And hoping for an infarction…

Matt
August 17, 2009 11:58 pm

To Jimmy Haigh (20:11:24)
Does it make you good to insult the entire teaching profession!!
Do you have some uresolved anxiety issues from school that you need to make such insulting comments.
There are plenty on my teahcers who i have had who can do!!

Richard S Courtney
August 18, 2009 12:01 am

Damian M (Climate scientist) :
You say:
“I think Rutan should probably stick to planes, with naive comment like “warm period are good, not bad, it would be beneficial to have more warming than present””
Pot and kettle? In the same post you say:
“His comment about oil reserves ignores the fact that they have fallen, and the source for this is not greenies or alarmists but BP
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a6.7NWiQ5wGw
they have even attached a figure “The world has enough reserves for 42 years at current production rates” The likelihood of current demand staying the same is slim as throughout the history of our use of oil demand has only ever grown.”
But oil reserves were about 40 years throughout the twentieth century while oil demand grew. They are still about 40 years, and they always will be.
No resource exhausts. Humans did not run out of flint, antler bone, bronze or iron.
The cost of a resource increases as the scarcity of the resource increases. And the increased cost has two effects; viz.
1. people look for additional sources of the resource because more expensive sources become cost effective
and
2. people look for alternatives to the resource.
Thus, sources of any resource are maintained or increased. Why look for additional sources when there is a plentiful supply available? The available reserve of crude oil was about 40 years supply throughout the twentieth century. It still is about 40 years supply because there is no point in looking for more when there is known to be 40 years supply available.
But ‘low fruit are picked first’. The amount of available resource may remain or increase but the cost of obtaining the resource increases with time. This increasing cost encourages search for alternatives. And the found alternatives often turn out to have advantages (e.g. iron had advantages over bronze but was more difficult and more costly to obtain).
However, you say you are a “Climate scientist” who believes in AGW and, of course, that gives no confidence that you know what you are talking about.
Richard

Editor
August 18, 2009 1:30 am

Richard M (17:20:57) : Keep up the good work.
Jimmy Haigh (20:45:08) : I agree. You are doing some very good work there, E.M.!
And enjoy your single malt! … The Aberfeldy 21 year old.
I’ll look some up and tipple in your honor, sir! I’ve a bit of a bottle of something I can’t pronounced fetched back here for me by a native Scotsman some 15 years ago that was made in the year of my birth (now over 55 years gone, not saying exactly how many over ;-). About every 2 to 4 years I allow myself a weee dram… Cost more than I care to think about, and worth more than gold to me now. That’s what I’ll be pouring a full jigger of, should the day come to celebrate!
John Michalski (18:20:02) : I have been following your GIStemp series on your blog. I’ve watched all day waiting for your response to:
To all, thank you for your kind words. Glad it was worth the wait…
Had to get the percentages enhancements in, then had to spend some time in the zones code. Then… Finally got a break and visited here… The result, you’ve seen. 😎
My, but it is satisfying to put the actual numbers in front of folks. When the data whisper in your ear that they know the truth, would you help them speak up just a wee bit, well, the feeling is wonderful.
Great Post. It was worth the wait. Keep up the good work.
When the truth is on your side, and the facts in your hip pocket, and their code running on your box: Then you are inside their house and turning on some very bright lights. Their “baffle ’em with BS” (as one wag puts it: Bad Science) then can not work. “They” can claim that GIStemp zones will do something, I can tell them exactly what line of code does which thing and were the integer divide truncates or the float rounds…
Roger Sowell (23:31:41) :
E.M.Smith,
Bullseye, with both barrels.

Thank you! I do have a very nice old double 12 ga I’m fond of… deep red wood finish… Some day I’d like to collect an English Drilling double bbl rifle in one of the obsolete large bore calibre Africa guns. Not too keen on the modern over / under stuff. (Yeah, I know it’s better. Doesn’t make it right though…)
As the “old hands” here know, I’ve been shoving my brains through the GIStemp code for quite a while now (seems like years, but I’m sure it’s less than one… hope it’s less than one…). Finally reached the “payoff” stage.
When you hit “pay” it’s all worth while. The speculation ends. The pointless dead ends end. The “what if” and “maybe this” and “why bother” and “will it ever be worth it” all evaporate. It’s replaced by “I Know“; and that feels pretty darned good.
I’m at that point now with GHCN and GIStemp.
I know the original data, and what’s wrong with it.
I know what they try to do, and what they actually do.
I know where the big problem is (in the march of the thermometers).
I know that they can not fix the holes in the data the way they claim to fix them. It’s just “a bridge too far”. (How do you interpolate a zero thermometer Southern Warm band in the baseline?…)
And I’ve shown you the evidence (dare I say it: the Proof) that this is a major problem and can not be wished away. (And GIStemp is no longer a “black box” of obfuscation. It’s now a well illuminated bit of code that is laying on my morgue table being dissected… with Ducky telling it not to worry…)
All that remains is a mechanical process of documenting the flow through the remainder of the code; the actual changes to the benchmarks and magnitudes along the way in the “anomaly” stages; showing that the original skew to the data flow through as the AGW “signal”; and making the code free for all to duplicate. And documenting any odd “little issues” in the code along the way. Things like characterizing the “tuning” of reference station distances – just what DOES 1 km vs 1000 km vs 1500 km do to the results?
Oh, and learning how to do graphics on the internet 8-}
Ought to be done in a couple of more months…
And as soon as I know something, you will know it too. If I learn anything interesting, it goes up same day or next day. This is as close to Real Time Science as you can get.
So we learn things together. Things like STEP0 has a dodgy F to C convert and warms the data by about 1/1000 C. An issue, but a little one. But that The March of the Thermometers has a huge impact and carries all the warming signal. And that the stable set of long lived records have no warming… And that the warming happens only in the winter months of the data, not in the summer months.
And once you have 27% of the data showing NO warming in any months, then it isn’t “Global” since the spacial domain is now no longer showing consistent warming.
And once you have 1/2 or so of the data showing warming only in the winter months, with summers steady at 20C over 150 years; then it isn’t CO2, since no AGW theory lets CO2 take summers off. The temporal domain of the data are now inhomogeneous with respect to rise, and CO2 requires a monotonic increase in temperatures that does not happen.
And there can be no “tipping point” since the winters data rises, but the summers do not. The exact opposite of the behaviour with a positive coefficient of a tipping point. Hotter months just top out at 20C average and halt. “Tipping” would require broader ranges and more spikey rises (only falling back as external events prevented the runaway This Time…)
And if it isn’t Global, and it isn’t CO2, then exactly WHY do we need to do anything about CO2?
And that’s a very nice thing to have learned together.
But more, it isn’t opinion. It isn’t about what I think or believe. It’s all in the data for anyone to see and anyone to explore. Basically, it isn’t about me. I’m just here to hand out flashlights and maps of the cave… Anyone can repeat what I’ve demonstrated and Anyone can do what they want with it.
One can only hope that someone will slide the data, and the code, and a little note about the need for real clothing in public under the noses of some folks in danger of being ridiculed for the rest of their carriers… because this is not going to just lay quietly and be ignored. It’s just too easy to see the truth that the data want to speak …

NS
August 18, 2009 1:48 am

Amen to that Burt – as a (bad) computer engineer and a (average) poker player I know bs when I see it too…

Editor
August 18, 2009 2:06 am

Sparkey (20:51:02) : I remember back in the 70’s (at the height of the energy shortage that allowed Carter to foist the Dept. of Energy on us) the CEO of BP announcing that the planet would run out of oil in less than 50 years. Forty years later we’re still 50 years away from oil deprivation.
Somewhere in my stored book boxes I have an old Oil Geology text from circa 1919 IIRC. I kept it for the simple reason that it predicted exactly when (then) known reserves would run out… in 50 years. I found it in some books the Engineering library was dumping in the ’70s right when BP was saying we would run out in 50 years… The irony struck me.
That seems to be the number where no body keeps looking for new oil and where everyone is comfortable that they have enough reserves “in the can” for their career…
I’m going to go out on a limb here and make a prediction. I predict that in 20 years we will have … 50 years of oil reserves.

Editor
August 18, 2009 2:27 am

Rob Ryan (21:13:40) : It’s off topic for this post but yes, there’s lots of oil left. About half, to the best estimates of those who search for it for a living. There are two problems:
1. The second half is dramatically more difficult to get to than the first.

And our technology is dramatically more productive than it was when Drake drilled his first well…
So yes, we have about 1/2 the oil in the ground and know how to get about 1/2 of that up relatively well. THEN you get into the oil in things like tar sands and shales that make up more than all the other oil the planet has ever had…
Oh, and you do know about the giant field found be Petrobras off the coast of Brazil in deeper water than theory said was possible? And you do know that Standard Oil hit a bit well in deeper water in the Gulf of Mexico than theory said was possible? This now opens a whole new “shell” of depth for exploration, since before we just assumed there could not possibly be oil at those depths…
And consider how much oil exploration has been done in the coastal waters of the US Pacific ocean and the Arctic ocean. (You do know about the Alaska Naval Oil Reserve, yes?) How about the Atlantic ocean off Boston?… None for decades, you say? Almost the entire length of time that electronic oil survey methods have existed? Hmm…
The 1/2 in the ground is based on old estimates. As we find more, the 1/2 point keeps moving…
2. Exponential growth in the consumption of a finite reserve means that, basically, we’ll use as much oil in the next 30 years as we have in all previous history if rates of growth in consumption continue.
Oh dear, the old Club of Rome Exponential Growth curve dusted off again from the 1970s Meadows et. al. Limits to Growth…
Real growth curves are S shaped, not exponentials.
Real growth does not continue into a wall at hight speed, but “tops out” and switches to alternatives or finds a way to gently ramp down.
And real world economics has folks automagically shifting (called resource substitution) via price signals in a fairly smooth manner in most markets.
(Don’t believe that last one? Well, my family has 4 cars in play. 2 are Diesels. We slide back and forth between gasoline, mineral Diesel, and my car often gets bioDiesel. We’re always doing a 3 way fuel price optimize and smoothly transition between the fuels from one week to the next.
I bought an electric lawn more a couple of years back when they finally got cheap enough. Another smooth transition.
It’s called a market. And they work.

Editor
August 18, 2009 2:35 am

Jimmy Haigh (21:15:12) : When the UK North Sea came on production around 1970 they all said it would run out by 2000.
Rob Ryan (21:24:15) :
@ Jimmy Haigh
North Sea production peaked in 1999.

Prediction was “run out” as in all gone dry hole, counter argument is “peaked” as in massively producing at the highest rate they had ever seen.
As a counter argument, it seems a bit weak to me…
Usually when you run out of something you do not set records for production of if.

NS
August 18, 2009 3:05 am

bluegrue (06:20:44) :
I am always interested to discuss with a reasonable warmer.
Can you explain what this means? “….. the global average CO2 mixing ratio by 30% (as we have done already) …”
What is this ” global average CO2 mixing ratio ” ?
Monckton’s artful graphs (Lucia’s take) – I read this. It seems that Lucia’s argument is simply about the semantics of which IPCC report is used and the corresponding effect on the slope of the graph used. This is classic (AGW) diversionary tactic that ignores the substance of the issue. Do you challenge the substance?
Do you deny this is a false comparison? “….Are you contesting the magnitude of the influence of CO2 or the greenhouse effect in its entirety?….”
Everyone knows CO2 is a greenhouse gas. It is the feedback process that is contested. You should know that.

Chris Wright
August 18, 2009 3:40 am

E.M.Smith (17:19:21) :
Many thanks, that NASA diagram sums it up nicely. So human emissions are roughly 2.6% of natural emissions. So, by the logic of some believers, nature is by far the biggest polluter….
.
But I think my point still stands. It’s a case of apples and oranges. All the other figures refer to amounts of carbon dioxide. But this figure (the small red dot) is a relative emission rate, which is quite different. I think that diagram should have made that clear.
.
But, having said that, Rutan’s point is very valid. The fact that human emissions are tiny compared to nature’s is quite extraordinary. It seems that a roughly 3% increase in emissions has caused a roughly 50% increase in the actual amount. It’s not what you would expect….
……………………………………………………………………………….
About that comment about filling a room with 100% CO2: maybe WUWT should have cut it, on the grounds of sheer, unadulterated stupidity! But maybe not. It’s probably quite useful, as it gives all of us a demonstration of where this bizarre religion called AGW can lead otherwise sane people.
Chris

JamesG
August 18, 2009 4:13 am

Bruce Cobb (12:31:16) :
“That all depends on what your definition of “green” is, doesn’t it? Does Rutan in fact make the claim that he’s “green”? And where, or where does he claim to be “100% behind the effort to green up our energy supply” (whatever the heck that means)?
Bruce, the man has a solar powered house and factory. How much greener can you get? And if you think our current energy supply is green – which very obviously means kind to the environment and renewable – then you have blinkers on. Anyone who doesn’t want to green up our supply is by definition an idiot. The cost is the only issue. Which leads us to your next objection:
How about instead of an ill-defined, nebulous “green energy” we instead support “smart energy”? , which is why Rutan will be “adding wind generator and solar panels when it becomes cost effective to do so “.
Exactly the same point i made! And the key thing that makes things cheaper is that people have to start buying it.
“Energy which is more expensive can almost never be smart”
This depends whether you are talking short or long term. The smart question is, does it have the potential to become cheaper or to save money long-term? Because when engineers improve things they always get cheaper. By your definition, no technological advance would ever have taken off because it was initially too expensive. Yet all it needs is for it to become trendy, then people buy it, then it becomes cheaper. Geothermal energy and solar panels are a prime example. If you can afford the initial outlay then they save money in the long term and in the future, as more people buy, they will be cheaper still. On that i suspect you agree. Yet what if it was possible to accelerate the process by smart policy. Would that not be smart energy policy? Every bit of home generated energy takes the load off the national grid. I suspect your real concern is with the replacement of power stations, not with home-generation. they are two entirely separate considerations though.
“Carbon taxes, whether small or large are not smart either, since raising energy costs can only hurt our already-suffering economy, and because punishing carbon makes no sense.”
A large tax would certainly hurt but a small tax wouldn’t. Notice that the effect of cheap gasoline was that everyone went out and bought utterly ridiculous (and often ugly) gas-guzzlers. This was a criminal waste of a scarce resource for mere fashion. So the lesson is that when our fuel is too cheap we just waste it. For that reason a small tax is good.

Stefan
August 18, 2009 4:45 am

“Man can code a computer model to predict the airflow from dead calm to hypersonic over an airfoil. He can code a computer model to predict combustion dynamics in a cylinder. Mr. Rutan’s credentials (much like Anthony Watts’) to comment on the validity of geophysics is exactly equivalent to my credentials to comment on air and spacecraft design.”
um, even a dumb layman like myself can see the differece. Those airflow models can be checked in a wind tunnel and in real life.
Show me a climate model that makes 50 year predictions that regularly come true and I will belive them, regardless of how they are coded.
Climate science does not have a proven track record. Their predictions are indistinguishable from vague guesses. They have no proven track record, end of story.

JamesG
August 18, 2009 4:46 am

I agree about the resource arguments being false: we are running out of cheap oil, not expensive oil and we aren’t running out of coal for a long time. However, by 2050 there will be 9 billion people on the planet and they’ll all be clamoring for more and more energy – as is their right. So any smart energy policy has to consider renewables. Yet all this talk about cost and markets ignores a lot of technologies that wouldn’t have got anywhere without a public sector push prior to the private sector pull. The internet is a pretty good example. Would you be without it? How much money has it saved your business? Renewables just need the same small push until the private sector pulls in force. Then we’ll all save money.

Bruce Cobb
August 18, 2009 6:03 am

JamesG – Ah, so, Rutan is “green” because you say he is. He has obviously invested a lot of money into powering his home and factory with solar, but the question is, how long is the payback period, particularly given that solar panels typically have a life of about 25 years? Renewable energies like solar, wind and geothermal sound exciting, but the fact remains they are expensive. Trendy? Give me a break. They are for folks with money to play with, and with government subsidies it’s very often OUR money.
There certainly will be technological advances coming which will hopefully provide us with energy which can compete with coal and oil. Let’s hope it is soon. But meanwhile, paying more for energy just because it is supposedly “green” is idiotic, economic suicide for the U.S., and particularly hurts the poor and middle class.
Oh, and far as a “small tax” not hurting? They never do stay “small”, do they? We need a strong, vibrant economy, one which “raises all boats”, especially now. It is only with a vibrant economy that we can effectively deal with REAL issues of pollution, environmental degradation, and social issues.

Jimmy Haigh
August 18, 2009 6:28 am

Matt (23:58:01) :
I didn’t make the quote up: someone else did and a long time ago.
Of course I didn’t mean to insult the entire teaching profession at all – and I’m sure the author of the quote didn’t either. For the record, I thought that most of my teachers were pretty good.
I googled the phrase and found this:
http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/Those+who+can,+do%3B+those+who+can't,+teach
Apparently it was George Bernard Shaw who came up with it. But it might be an old Chinese proverb…

Jimmy Haigh
August 18, 2009 6:44 am

More on BP regarding North Sea Oil. The boss of what was to become BP said, in about 1964, that he would drink all of the oil that they found in the North Sea!
I rest my case…

Douglas DC
August 18, 2009 7:26 am

E.M.Smith (23:12:22) :-Oregon is California’s mini-Me…

August 18, 2009 7:32 am

One of the best presentations that I have seen. One small point though.
I think Rutan has it wrong on his slide 8 showing a 10 x 10 grid of greenhouse gas content. Is he not confusing annual CO2 contribution with accumulated CO2 content. If CO2 has gone from 280 to 380 ppm and that most of the increase is human, then almost one whole square should be red, shouldn’t it?

August 18, 2009 7:58 am

@ Stefan
Such checking has been done. The GCM’s do a superb job on dramatically different time scales of “postdicting,” i.e., using known conditions as input and comparing output to known later conditions. They are not exact, just as the results of the combustion dynamics models are not exact. In fact, such uncertainty should elicit more caution, not less since the forcing is as likely to be worse as to be better than estimated. That is, if it’s predicted by known physical principles (note the distinction from “computer models”) that a doubling of CO2 will result in a 2.5 K increase in global mean temperature with a standard deviation of 2.5 K, then a 5 K increase is equally likely as no increase. Note that no application of known physical principles has led to a prediction of 0 K
The strawman used by the posters here is “computer models.” Computer models are nothing more than the application of known physical principles to initial conditions with a machine that can do a lot of calculations in a hurry. They are no more mysterious or arcane than modeling the acceleration of an object of known mass under a known force by using a calculator, a slide rule, or a pencil and paper (or a computer) to say a=F/m.
These arguments are reminiscent of the moronic young Earth creationists who say “show me a transitional form between species a and species b.” When shown one, say species a.5, they say “show me a transitional species between species a and a.5 and one between species a.5 and b.” When thinking people refuse to participate further in the charade, the creationists say “see, we told you.”
As to peak oil, there are three points to be made:
1. The infinite series (sum, i=1->infinity, 1/2^n) has a finite sum. It’s true that we can and will keep finding oil into the future, and that Exxon, et al, will continue to make money bringing it to us. But this will end.
2. As we are forced to go further and further out into the ocean, etc. the economic AND ENERGETIC costs dictate that, at some point, it won’t be worth it. If it takes more than about 1.5*10^9 joules to recover a barrel of oil, no one will recover it since that’s all the energy that can be gotten (assuming a utilization efficiency of 25%) from that barrel.
3. We are constrained by growth. The population grows and that vast proportion of the world that is subsisting on an average (per capita) rate of energy consumption of less than a kilowatt strives to live as we do, at a rate of 11 kilowatts. If you think that’s fine and we’ll all consume energy in this way, then I’m afraid that getting through your irrationality is hopeless.

August 18, 2009 8:01 am

Edit to the series above: it should be either both i’s or both n’s. It’s hard to type math in text.

David Ball
August 18, 2009 8:25 am

I haven’t the time right now, as I am off to work, but I will be back later today and tear apart Rob Ryan’s post that is being disingenuous on EVERY point he makes. The delusion that he is being rational and no one else is, is laughable. Rob, try posting on a current thread so that EVERYONE can see your posts, instead of skulking behind the scenes. Doesn’t look good. Gives the impression that you are being weasel-like. “Every lock that ain’t locked when no ones around, …” is a direct quote from Rob’s webpage. Nice.

August 18, 2009 8:27 am

Richard S Courtney (13:58:47) :
Re: “STOPPING CLIMATE CHANGE”

You’re buying into (or pretending to buy into) the speculation that “emissions from industry could cause additional climate change by warming the globe. This threatens more sea level rise, droughts, floods, heat waves and much else.” You’re also buying into the conclusion that it makes sense for governments “to reduce the emissions of the warming gases, notably carbon dioxide.”
This speculation (‘could’ is not a prediction) is just baseless fear-mongering, and attempts to reduce carbon dioxide are foolhardy in the extreme. Warmer climates benefit humanity and life in general. So why should we bother to prevent warming? Cooling, now that’s a different matter!
If the point of your article is just to deflect political attention away from CO2 and toward some other, more innocuous activity (like seeding clouds to block sunlight), the intention is understandable but misdirected. The political elites pushing AGW are not really interested in ‘climate change’; they’re interested in control and taxation.
/Mr Lynn

August 18, 2009 8:40 am

E.M.Smith (16:57:37) :
. . . So can we PLEEEASE let go of the notion that we’re gonna “run out’? It just does not happen. STUFF does not leave the planet and we have an unlimited quantity of energy to rearrange the STUFF into other STUFF as we see fit.
The whole ‘running out’ fantasy is brought to you by the same Club of Rome jokers who love to promote AGW and they are just hopelessly wrong and clueless (I prefer to apply Hanlon’s razor here – the alternative is not something I’d want to contemplate… )

Hanlon’s Razor: “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.”
In this case, unfortunately, I think we have to consider the alternative:
“The real enemy then, is humanity itself.” – Club of Rome
See here: http://www.green-agenda.com/
/Mr Lynn

August 18, 2009 8:49 am

Jeremy (15:39:04) :
. . . Most Engineers of my generation have learned to not mention what they build, what they manufacture, what they design or what they do – lest one is attacked and villified. And above all, don’t dare point out that the energy and products sourced from fossil fuels has been the greatest boon in the history of mankind, on par with the discovery of farming, fire or the wheel! No we must not dare to offend, instead we must behave deeply humbled and ashamed of everything we have done and do.

What a sad and shocking state of affairs! Can it be that in the space of only a few decades the United States of America, the country of Thomas Edison and a host of others, has turned its back on the creative genius that propelled us to prosperity and world leadership? If anyone, in addition to our soldiers, should be celebrated, it should be our engineers and their ‘can do’ spirit.
Rather than fleeing the country, as EM Smith’s friends (and EM himself?) intend to do, we should be asking: “What can we do to turn this around, and get this country back on the track to greatness once again?”
/Mr Lynn

Jimmy Haigh
August 18, 2009 8:51 am

Matt (23:58:01) :
To Jimmy Haigh (20:11:24)
“There are plenty on my teahcers who i have had who can do!!”
Of course I could have said that maybe your spelling teacher couldn’t!

Henry Galt
August 18, 2009 8:54 am

Jimmy Haigh (06:44:40) :
“More on BP regarding North Sea Oil. The boss of what was to become BP said, in about 1964, that he would drink all of the oil that they found in the North Sea!
I rest my case…”
Any talk of peak oil is political. Nothing more.
The rich get richer and the poor stay poor.
I have worked in nearly every oil refinery in the UK (left the game years ago) and have friends in various areas of the business who hardly ever talk to me about it in depth it now as I have moved on to more interesting other things but…
One close friend (considered by the best in the industry to be the best ever fast assayer of crude) I bumped into in his local recently had this to tell me – “I am snowed under and jet-lagged trying to get around all the sites they want me to evaluate.” He is not the only person in his field.
I then reminded him of something he said a few decades ago that made me laugh and sigh then and which makes me sad and angry now – “We only ever find oil where we look for it.”

RW
August 18, 2009 9:01 am

I get nothing but pleasure from the open vitriol being directed at me, and Anthony’s encouragement of it. If all you can do is call me names, rather than talk science, do you think it makes me look bad, or do you think it makes you look bad?
So, ignoring all the personal attacks and sticking to a couple of at least vaguely scientifically-grounded points:
evanmjones:
“RW: If you follow the temperature trend from 1900 to present and match CO2 with temperature you get a different picture.”
No, you don’t. You see the same strong correlation.
“You get a very good correlation for PDO/AMO, which is strengthened by the up-down oscillation matching. But for CO2, it is relatively flat until post WWII, which means the big warming phase from 1915+ to 1945+ (as big a slope as 1975+ to 2000+) occurred without much increase in CO2.”
CO2 was not relatively flat until post WWII. Look at the data! From its pre-industrial 280ppm, CO2 increased to 310ppm.
“We then have a cooling from 1950 to 1979 coinciding with a serious CO2 increase. This was followed by the 1979 – 1998 warming. Then a decreasing trend from 1998 – present. All of this occurred with CO2 on a steady rise.”
There is “no decreasing trend from 1998” – only by ignoring statistics can you think so. The last decade has in fact been the warmest in the instrumental record.
“Therefore, during the time of steep CO2 rise, we have four decades of mild cooling and two decades of moderate warming (with a small net warming), roughly equal to the rise from 1900 – 1950. Not a very good CO2 correlation.”
Now seriously. Did you look at the data? Does it seem foolish to explain verbosely how bad the correlation is, when even the most cursory glance at the actual data shows the strong correlation?
“By the way, for 1900 – present, Joe D’Aleo shows a 0.83 correlation between PDO/AMO index and temperatures and a 0.44 correlation between CO2 and temperatures.”
Joe D’Aleo smoothed the data, thus artificially inflating the correlation, and the temperature data used was for the US only. Thus, the claim is meaningless.
Lucy Skywalker: “Ref 1 stopped at 2000 – missing the recent cooling that no model predicted”
Replace ‘missing the recent cooling that no model predicted” with “missing the warmest decade on record” and your statement becomes accurate. How many sets of climate model outputs have you ever looked at, by the way?
REPLY: I think you look bad no matter how you slice it. You attack a man (Rutan) who puts his name to his work and beliefs, yet hide in the shadows of net anonymity. Thus, you are a coward. If you want respect, come forward, take the same risks as Mr. Rutan, otherwise zip it.- Anthony