Posted by: Barry Bickmore | January 5, 2011

LA Times: Scientist Proves Conservatism and Belief in Climate Change Aren’t Incompatible

Here’s a nice article in the LA Times today.  It’s primarily about Kerry Emmanuel (MIT), but it also mentions this blog.


Responses

  1. I think you’re becoming famous Barry!

    Perhaps conservatism doesn’t mean what the word implies anymore. I think the world should remain as unchanged as the ‘old-time religion’. It seems pretty liberal to me to spew GHG’s around without worrying how it’s going to modify the old way of being!

  2. Found your blog off a link in one of these articles. I was going to write a general response to the ideas here, but I couldn’t find a e-mail contact so I will leave a comment on the latest story…

    There are many reasons, IMHO, to be skeptical of the claims. It helps to put them in context so I can get a real “common sense” view. Human influence on a trace gas known to be, at best, a minor influence on thermal energy cycle of earth and representing less than 0.05% of the atmosphere is changing the climate. The known and unknown factors in the earth’s climate is staggering in it’s depth, breadth, and the shear number of interactions. The time frame in which humans have an accurate method of ascertaining the climate is a very tiny fraction of the time frame the earth is claimed to have existed. The longer term… estimates… we do have are so coarse it could easily hide many > 1 year cycles and trends we cannot even begin to guess. The ability to tweak factors at will for isolating variables and seeing what happens is effectively zero. Those are the obstacles facing this particular question of AGW.

    Given the above, to make even poor claims about anything involving two isolated pieces of the climate picture (CO2 and temperature) requires some pretty strong and very very extensive evidence. IMHO, we’re not in the position to even make small claims. I’m not really into debating the specifics, but this is my position opinion on the matter.

    But AGW doesn’t stop there… FURTHERMORE it is claimed that catastrophic effects will occur if we don’t “fix” our CO2 output. This level of claim is not even within the realm of scientific inquiry to make. As soon as you cross the line of catastrophic-to-humans the nature of the required inquiry changes. The quality controls are too poor, “Peer Review” is a joke of a audit method when lives are on the line. It’s considered a quick-n-dirty check by everyone I know who deals with quality questions. It is not acceptable to build a bridge, or verify airplane integrity, or ANY hard engineering field with critical safety systems. It’s not even acceptable to financial audits with no lives at stake! Thus, science, as it is presently practiced, is unequivocally not equipped with the tools to make this call in even simple cases. Not to say that science doesn’t have it’s good points. This is simply not one of them.

    Now, that should really be the end of the discussion. But the nuttiness continues… The solution to this plan, cap-n-trade. Which, if done, won’t have perceptible results for years if ever will likely only result in emissions moving locations (IE it’s a useless gesture that accomplishes nothing but add costs and make a few people look busy). Is proposed and declared good with criminally poor cost projections, in the face of the worst economic disaster in at least a generation facing the US while city, county, state, and federal government debt and obligations are spiraling out of control and many facing bankruptcy. This part is not really the fault of scientists promoting AGW, the financial mess or the debt levels. But many still accept and endorse it as at least a starting step despite the impossibility of actually executing it. Which makes them, at best, blind single-minded advocates who refuse to look at the whole picture like so many other population segments. And… lets just stick to the positive spin.

    Lastly, the notion of regulating CO2 has many many implications that nobody promoting it wants to talk about. What pandora’s box does that open? Suddenly it’s a very very easy and logical step for the government to be able to regulate all organic life that uses the controlled substance in it’s life cycle. Yeah yeah, I always hear “it’ll never happen”. But the history of government growth and control is otherwise regardless of what is being sold today. Perhaps they are right and it won’t, but it remains a valid concern.

    Thus, I’ve determined the correct position, politically, on AGW is “no action”.

    • Hi Brandon,

      The problem with your “common sense” view about greenhouse gases is that, even among the few climate scientists who buck the consensus, what greenhouse gases do is NOT a controversy. If you double CO2 in the atmosphere, it will raise the temperature about 1.2 °C, all else being held constant. If there is a “controversy” it is about what the “feedbacks” in the climate system amount to. Will positive feedbacks (like higher temperatures driving more water vapor–another greenhouse gas–into the atmosphere) dominate the system and drive the temperature even higher, or will negative feedbacks (like creating more of certain types of clouds that reflect sunlight back into space) dominate and drive temperature lower than it would otherwise be.

      And while humans haven’t been collecting climate data for very long, we have collected data that can help us estimate things like temperatures in past climates of thousands, or even millions, of years ago. We can also estimate things like how much CO2 was in the atmosphere and how much area glaciers covered (glaciers reflect sunlight back into space, as well). So while there are lots of unknowns in the climate system, climatologists are pretty sure they have all the MAIN drivers nailed down, because they can use these to roughly account for climate changes over timescales of decades, hundreds, thousands, and even hundreds of millions of years. You say you’re not into debating specifics, but those are just the kinds of specifics that are needed to make an informed decision about the matter. “Common sense” isn’t going to cut it. And yet, you have no problem telling the scientists that THEY don’t know enough to claim ANYTHING about causes and effects in climate.

  3. Mr Bickmore,

    “The problem with your “common sense” view about greenhouse gases is that, even among the few climate scientists who buck the consensus, what greenhouse gases do is NOT a controversy”

    I didn’t say otherwise. I know very well WHAT they do in a general sense. I put the concentration levels in perspective as well as the strength of those relative effects. Do you disagree? Are you stating that CO2 dominates water vapor as a green house gas? That CO2 has a greater effect than say, methane?

    CO2 is a trace gas, and it’s effects are relatively minor to other atmospheric gasses. Which is not saying that it has no effect, or even speculate on what that potential effect is. I’m simply framing a perspective.

    “If you double CO2 in the atmosphere, it will raise the temperature about 1.2 °C, all else being held constant. ”

    Taking this at face value makes it a logarithmic function. Thus, reducing our output by small amounts off the top is extremely ineffective. Logarithmic functions are not scary in the least, quite the opposite. The logical conclusion of this is:

    The problems are already here and showed up pretty quickly. It won’t get dramatically worse by letting things continue as they are or even letting them grow since the sensitivity is falling. We may as well go forward with what we’re doing unless we’re willing to cut back to meaningful levels of sensitivity, since there is no realistic way to do so, full steam ahead.

    “And while humans haven’t been collecting climate data for very long, we have collected data that can help us estimate things like temperatures in past climates of thousands, or even millions, of years ago. We can also estimate things like how much CO2 was in the atmosphere and how much area glaciers covered (glaciers reflect sunlight back into space, as well). So while there are lots of unknowns in the climate system, climatologists are pretty sure they have all the MAIN drivers nailed down”

    Yes, “estimate”, “pretty sure”, “main drivers”… Which leaves essentially all of the smaller effects well below the noise floor. And our modern instrumentation has recorded a mere blip on the geological radar, all we really have in detail in recent times is the geological noise. How can we compare the noise to the geological trends? Apples and oranges.

    “You say you’re not into debating specifics, but those are just the kinds of specifics that are needed to make an informed decision about the matter. ”

    Nonsense. I shall explain.

    Please tell me how the scientific verification process is valid and proper when large amounts of blood and treasure are at stake?

    Would you fly a plane who’s design was only “peer reviewed”? Would you trust a bridge who’s only verification of the integrity was a “peer review” from a few colleagues? Would you trust your life savings to a man who refuses to audit his books?

    Science is not setup to do full audits on papers to verify the correct processes were followed. It’s not setup to locate claims that were fraudulent or heavily biased by examining the process used to create the claim. Instead, it is assumed everyone is well behaved and honest. Only if trouble brews is any kind of serious inquiry done, and I haven’t even seen one of those that even smells like a real audit. This is not a good process to use when vast amounts of blood and treasure are at stake.

    I stated many issues why CO2 regulation is ridiculous. Any one of them, by themselves, are reason enough to halt the whole political process as useless.

    I don’t need to discuss specifics because the process used to generate those specifics is too poor to base such decisions on, it does not have the level of trust required. Full audits on every required claim, and supporting evidence, are required. Or, at the least, full audit powers of every claim and supporting evidence the parties in question (in this case, the public) wish to delve into. Nothing less than audit powers is acceptable. With trillions on the line, I find this a very small request…

    I don’t need to discuss specifics because we can’t afford it. We’re already the next thing to bankrupt and the economy is doing poorly.

    I don’t need to discuss the specifics because it gives government unreasonable power. Originally, this was a fundamental precept of America. Though, apparently, not anymore. Regardless, I hold to it.

    These are all informed, they are also all valid and unaddressed by the cap and trade advocates.

    If I want to claim the science is wrong, yes, we get bogged down in what is ultimately, minutia. I do, and did, make the claim that I think science is being arrogant in even thinking they can make these claims. But I can also take the option of letting that slide since there are so many other unavoidable reasons to reject the proposed solutions right out of hand. Since the truth of the specifics is irrelevant to my thesis, why discuss specifics? Sure, I have an interest, ideas, and positions. But ultimately, it just does not matter.

    • Hi Brandon,

      I’m just going to address a couple of your points. I hope you’ll forgive me, but this conversation could easily get out of hand (in terms of length) if we kept addressing everything the other said.

      You said:
      “Are you stating that CO2 dominates water vapor as a green house gas? That CO2 has a greater effect than say, methane?”

      Of course you are correct that water vapor is the dominant greenhouse gas. Methane is a more effective GHG per molecule, but there’s so much more CO2 that it has a bigger effect overall.

      Here’s what you seem to be missing, however. We are talking about climate CHANGE. We can turn on our lawn sprinklers, boil water in a billion teapots, or whatever, and all that extra H2O vapor we pump into the atmosphere won’t have much of an effect, because water vapor in the atmosphere already fluctuates around 100% relative humidity. That is, for a given temperature, there can only be so much water vapor in the air before it starts to condense and form clouds/precipitation. It turns out, though, that if you raise the global average temperature by some other means (changes in the output of the Sun, changes in other GHG concentrations, changes in ice cover, etc.,) more water vapor can go into the air, and thus further strengthen the greenhouse effect. This ENHANCES the effect of these other drivers.

      So pumping extra water vapor into the atmosphere without raising the temperature doesn’t do much in terms of climate CHANGE, but pumping in more CO2 into the atmosphere will have an appreciable effect.

      How big of an effect? You correctly surmised that the effect of CO2 on temperature is logarithmic function, which you say is “not scary in the least.” Instead of hand-waving about functional forms, let’s do the math. If people keep pumping out CO2 like we have been, and population keeps growing and developing at expected rates, we can expect to double or (more likely) triple the CO2 content of the atmosphere from pre-industrial levels by the end of the century. The best estimates of climate sensitivity are 2-4.5 °C for doubling CO2. There are a number of lines of evidence (not just models) that peg the most likely value around 3 °C. That means that maybe we can expect around 2-ish to about 10-ish °C rise in the global average temperature (some of which would be delayed due to things like ocean circulation, so not all in this century. The most likely values would be about 3-5 °C.)

      Now, that’s a HUGE range of possibilities, but hey, you’re the one who said you wanted the scientists say HOW certain they are about their claims. That’s exactly why they give probability distributions rather than single values.

      Suppose the truth is at the low end of the probability distribution. A few degrees doesn’t sound like much, because local temperatures fluctuate more than that every day. But in terms of global average temperature, you have to remember that the difference between the last ice age and the present is something like 5 °C! We’re talking about a huge change, in a short amount of time.

      If you think the whole scientific process is corrupt, I don’t know what I can do to convince you. But I do know that if you want to convince anyone on the other side of the fence, you need to take the effort to get more up to speed. Your comments about water vapor and logarithmic functions indicate that, while you seem to have some technical savvy, you haven’t taken the time to learn climate science even at the most basic level. How is anyone supposed to take you that seriously when you make such statements, while simultaneously accusing many scientists of rank arrogance?

  4. One more item.

    “And yet, you have no problem telling the scientists that THEY don’t know enough to claim ANYTHING about causes and effects in climate.”

    Not exactly my position. They can claim anything they like if they clarify how sure they are. My position is they cannot claim (without more arrogance than I can stomach) they are sure, I don’t think they can even claim pretty sure. Maybe, probably, and possibly are words I think fit much better. And those are words I don’t accept as a basis for new governmental powers and taxes.

    • Since there is always some uncertainty in scientific conclusions, I guess you can always dismiss any of them you don’t like. How convenient for you.

      • Seeing the limitations self-imposed by the scientific community by their methodologies, it’s not so bad to ignore them. I would probably defund them too if I could since we’re broke and it’s an incredibly low yield endeavor.

  5. “I’m just going to address a couple of your points. I hope you’ll forgive me, but this conversation could easily get out of hand (in terms of length) if we kept addressing everything the other said.”

    So only pick the points you like and ignore the harder questions staring you in the face, got it.

    Rather than allow you to get distracted by other points, lets keep this one simple…

    “But I do know that if you want to convince anyone on the other side of the fence, you need to take the effort to get more up to speed”

    So I have to understand and debate all the science before anyone will even look outside the little bubble of science? That’s ridiculous, are y’all really that close minded?

    You haven’t addressed why I should allow a process without audit powers anywhere near public policy.

    You haven’t addressed how in the world we can afford this when we are on the verge of bankruptcy with a poor economy.

    You haven’t addressed why government should be granted the power to regulate a substance vital to life, though at least initially, it’s vital to economic life. With the power to regulate comes the power to destroy.

    • Hi Brandon,

      Honestly, I didn’t mean to evade your points. I just have limited time and I’m a scientist, so I naturally gravitate toward the scientific points.

      Isn’t that how it should be, however? If the science is right, then our current economic woes will be pretty puny compared to what we might be facing in several decades. You implied that the science was obviously wrong, but it was clear that you simply didn’t understand the science.

      Bickmore’s First Law of the Box: “Thinking outside the box” requires being capable of recognizing “the box.”

      As for your point about “audit powers” and the ineffectiveness of peer review, I’m the first one to admit that peer review is just a first-cut effort at some kind of quality control. The real test comes over the next few years, where important results or conclusions that don’t seem to mesh with what everyone else has come up with are scrutinized much more closely. That takes a few years.

      If that makes you think that we shouldn’t make any decisions based on scientific conclusions, then I guess I can’t argue with you. It just makes me wonder what kind of information YOU base your decisions on. If you can’t tolerate the ambiguity that comes with science, where can you find less ambiguity?

      • “Honestly, I didn’t mean to evade your points”

        Sorry I was short with you, but I thought it was clear which points were really important.

        I do tire of some who will only respond pointing out what they view as the weakest part of an argument. If it must be brief, address the meat of the argument.

        “If the science is right, then our current economic woes will be pretty puny compared to what we might be facing in several decades.”

        You can’t seem to understand that WE CANNOT AFFORD IT. We are broke. Completely. You act like it’s minuscule in relation to the environmental concerns. But you can’t make rocks bleed, nor will you get blood from turnips and efforts to do so will be FUTILE. We cannot afford what is already on our plate, let alone more. We’re what, 14 trillion in the hole? Which is a little under 7 times federal revenues. The vast majority of the outstanding treasuries have moved to global war, followed by a period of prosperity, then global depression -> global war. I’m simplifying a great deal, but it’s still accurate. US bankruptcy? What does that do to the international power structure? Traditionally large shifts result in war and you can go back centuries and see that pattern. Does a nuclear war sound good for the climate? I know it’s not good for my health or sanity.

        “You implied that the science was obviously wrong, but it was clear that you simply didn’t understand the science. ”

        I disagree. You assume a good deal about my understanding, and much of it is wrong. My attempts to clarify only brought you to delve deeper in to details most of which I would not argue against. The majority of my disagreement was with the level of certainty and some of the issues that are glossed over more than I like with macro vs micro looks at climate.

        Though I do take a huge issue with you dismissing the shape of a function as a “handwave” to look at a constant that you had a huge margin on, that’s completely backwards to any sensible math.

        “As for your point about “audit powers” and the ineffectiveness of peer review, I’m the first one to admit that peer review is just a first-cut effort at some kind of quality control. The real test comes over the next few years, where important results or conclusions that don’t seem to mesh with what everyone else has come up with are scrutinized much more closely. That takes a few years.”

        Ahh, and we get to it. Hat tip to the acknowledgment of the weakness of peer review. Drives me crazy on some sites where peer review is the sacred cow.

        However, if I’m looking for gold coins, no amount of brass coins will produce a gold one.

        If I don’t have audit powers on one particular study, and I have to wait for a bunch of other items, that are also not auditable, to agree with it. I have not moved any closer to my goal, none of it can be validated. The process didn’t change, all you did was do more of it. More brass coins that are suppose to magically be considered gold now? No, it doesn’t work that way. You have to change the way you make the coin.

        “If that makes you think that we shouldn’t make any decisions based on scientific conclusions, then I guess I can’t argue with you. It just makes me wonder what kind of information YOU base your decisions on. If you can’t tolerate the ambiguity that comes with science, where can you find less ambiguity?”

        Who do I trust? I generally trust everyone when it doesn’t impact my safety or that of my wife and children. When you cross those lines, I need to be able to verify. It’s not a difficult life to live.

        Usually verification is really not THAT hard, audits can be simple. Even in science. It’s just science does not have this habit. And in my experience recently, the community appears to be dead set against it and that has been lowering my opinion of science. When people are THAT hard up against a particular change, there is usually a reason… And the implication is less than flattering. Though it may be as simple as pride in the way things have been done. Pride can be such a bother to progress. Anyway, enough with my ramblings.

        G’day to you!

  6. ugh, the software mangled my last post somehow.. Sigh.

    • The finance paragraphs should have appeared like this:

      You can’t seem to understand that WE CANNOT AFFORD IT. We are broke. Completely. You act like it’s minuscule in relation to the environmental concerns. But you can’t make rocks bleed, nor will you get blood from turnips and efforts to do so will be FUTILE. We cannot afford what is already on our plate, let alone more. We’re what, 14 trillion in the hole? Which is a little under 7 times federal revenues. The vast majority of the outstanding treasuries have moved to global war, followed by a period of prosperity, then global depression -> global war. I’m simplifying a great deal, but it’s still accurate. US bankruptcy? What does that do to the international power structure? Traditionally large shifts result in war and you can go back centuries and see that pattern. Does a nuclear war sound good for the climate? I know it’s not good for my health or sanity.

      • Well that didn’t work either, I’d say there are some bugs. One last attempt…

        You can’t seem to understand that WE CANNOT AFFORD IT. We are broke. Completely. You act like it’s minuscule in relation to the environmental concerns. But you can’t make rocks bleed, nor will you get blood from turnips and efforts to do so will be FUTILE. We cannot afford what is already on our plate, let alone more. We’re what, 14 trillion in the hole? Which is a little under 7 times federal revenues. The vast majority of the outstanding treasuries have moved to < 10 year bonds. That means it's no longer on a mortgage, it's on the credit card. What would happen to you financially if you had 650% of your net yearly salary on an adjustable rate card? Life is painful but possibly manageable if you're at 2-3%. But the real pain that ensues if you ever get adjusted upwards, it can mean instant bankruptcy with little to no warning. This is our state as a nation. The only reason I can sleep well at night is because I have faith in a higher power watching over me and mine.

      • If you want to clean this up, feel free🙂

        So… if we default… Consequences can occur. Last century had a global depression -> global war, followed by a period of prosperity, then global depression -> global war. I’m simplifying a great deal, but it’s still accurate. US bankruptcy? What does that do to the international power structure? Traditionally large shifts result in war and you can go back centuries and see that pattern. Does a nuclear war sound good for the climate? I know it’s not good for my health or sanity.

  7. Well I guess if we cannot afford to fix it, it cannot be a problem. That’s effective reasoning!

    • “Well I guess if we cannot afford to fix it, it cannot be a problem. That’s effective reasoning!”

      Try actually understanding my argument before you speak.

      “it cannot be” is substantially different in substance and meaning than my word, “irrelevant”.

      • Brandon,

        Maybe DL caricatured what you were getting at, to some extent, but don’t you think there might be a little truth to his characterization? That is, you think dealing with climate change via cap and trade, or whatever, is going to bankrupt us, and so you are maybe a little too open to arguments that indicate the problem won’t be that severe, anyway. Certainly that’s what happened with your water vapor argument, isn’t it?

        I don’t mean to put you down by saying that, either, because the thing about water vapor wouldn’t be obvious to someone who isn’t a climate wonk. And furthermore, I figure that anyone who can recognize a logarithmic function in a verbal description can’t be stupid.

        All I’m saying is that I would ask you to stop for a moment and consider other options. What if you’ve been misled about the seriousness of the problem, or the seriousness of the economic consequences of trying to deal with it? What if the economic consequences would be severe for something like cap and trade, but not so severe with another strategy, e.g., a carbon “tax swap”?

        This just isn’t a “black-and-white” problem we’re facing, and at some point we’re going to have to sort out how to weight these competing factors. That can’t happen, however, until people stop debating non-issues like whether water vapor is a more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

  8. The following in the LA Times article caught my eye:

    “As a politically conservative climatologist who accepts the broad scientific consensus on global warming, Emanuel occupies a position shared by only a few scientists.”

    I wonder about the basis for that statement and I doubt that it is true.

    • Hi Mark,

      According to this article:

      http://www.slate.com/id/2277104/

      only around 6% of US scientists (of all types) are Republicans. I think there are a lot of reasons for that, but Republicans certainly aren’t helping the situation, lately. Look at how the LA Times article brought out how Kerry Emmanuel had voted for a Democratic presidential candidate in the last election. If Republicans are going to openly trash science all the time when it isn’t convenient for their ideology, what’s going to happen with Republican scientists? They certainly aren’t recruiting any more Republican scientists, I can tell you that.

  9. “Maybe DL caricatured what you were getting at, to some extent, but don’t you think there might be a little truth to his characterization?”

    No, I’d lump him in with those who intentionally misconstrue to build up their own arguments or to malign me.

    “That is, you think dealing with climate change via cap and trade, or whatever, is going to bankrupt us, and so you are maybe a little too open to arguments that indicate the problem won’t be that severe, anyway. Certainly that’s what happened with your water vapor argument, isn’t it?”

    Too open? A thing is real or it is not. A thing matters or it does not. I only mentioned water vapor to illustrate the relatively small effect CO2 has, it’s not a proof, it’s perspective.

    “I don’t mean to put you down by saying that, either, because the thing about water vapor wouldn’t be obvious to someone who isn’t a climate wonk.”

    Stop making this assumption. Listen to what I did say, water vapor > CO2 greenhouse effects. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s REALLY IRRITATING when you put words in my mouth and continuously harp on a minor point ignoring the higher level logic. You can’t see the forest through the tree stuck in front of your eyes.

    “All I’m saying is that I would ask you to stop for a moment and consider other options. ”

    I have weighed quite heavily on many options because of all the nonsense and dramatization done by the alarmists. I have heard nothing new here. Not a single thing. If you wish to provide one, I’m all ears.

    “What if you’ve been misled about the seriousness of the problem, or the seriousness of the economic consequences of trying to deal with it? ”

    By whom? I didn’t depend on any single source. I went out and studied the matter all on my own and came to my own conclusions.

    I could be mistaken and I do listen to intelligent and reasonable observations why that might be.

    “What if the economic consequences would be severe for something like cap and trade, but not so severe with another strategy, e.g., a carbon “tax swap”?”

    Here’s the principle issue, you cannot reduce CO2 output without curbing economic activity. They are inseparably linked by decades of built out infrastructure costing trillions. You cannot ignore this problem. Building out new infrastructure costs money. Lots of money. Money is something we don’t have, in fact, we owe a good deal of it to others.

    Then you battle the fact that there are no realistic substitutes with the exception of nuclear power, and nobody is jumping for joy at the prospect of building dozens to hundreds of nuclear plants. Regardless, it is still, new infrastructure.

    Everyone always puts the solution as some magical unseen idea just off the horizon. That’s terrible planning. Diffuse solutions like solar and wind are unworkable with current energy needs, let alone future anticipated needs if there is any growth.

    “This just isn’t a “black-and-white” problem we’re facing, and at some point we’re going to have to sort out how to weight these competing factors. ”

    Until you come to grips with the realistic costs of these “solutions” as well as realistic ideas of what it might “save” us, you don’t even have factors to weigh… Then you have to time adjust, money now is worth more than money then. It’s just such a landslide against rash action to curb out CO2 output it’s nearly inconceivable to think otherwise.

    “That can’t happen, however, until people stop debating non-issues like whether water vapor is a more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.”

    Indeed! I mentioned that once and you missed the point and keep bringing it up. You’re the only one debating it. Stop it!

    • Hi Brandon,

      You say I missed the point about water vapor, but as far as I can tell, the only reason for you to bring it up was if you thought it meant that the warming effect of CO2 can’t be as much as the climatologists say, so it’s nothing to worry about.

      Was there some other point? Or was it just a red herring that didn’t have anything really to do with your argument?

      • “You say I missed the point about water vapor, but as far as I can tell, the only reason for you to bring it up was if you thought it meant that the warming effect of CO2 can’t be as much as the climatologists say, so it’s nothing to worry about.”

        Question, can anyone’s model of the water vapor cycle accurately predict it?

        I would contend that the answer to that is a resounding NO or weather predictions would be much better than we have… AFAIK all our water vapor models are junk or the next thing to it. Predictive value: very bad to none. Sure, we can watch the weather patterns with fancy equipment and run a statistical break down to guess that will happen next and be somewhat accurate in the very short term. Typically a week or less. Sometimes we might even say X conditions usually lead to Y and speculate as to the reasons to give us a forecast. But real predictive value? Never seen it.

        If we can’t model water vapor accurately, and thus, don’t really have a firm grasp on one of the principle contributing factors in global climate. One that dominates CO2 in effect. How do we claim to understand such a minor factor with such precision? Especially with sufficient confidence to ask for massive new regulations and taxation on the people at large.

        A wide area change in land use might alter the water vapor pattern and have a much larger effect on the global climate than CO2.

        Then there’s the macro vs micro look at the climate. I just don’t get comparing the high frequency directly with the low frequency and saying “ah-ha!” as if that were meaningful… It’s like the people who say weather is climate. The same… but not directly comparable in meaningful ways.

        In so many ways you continue to insist that it’s the insect that’s important, never mind the elephant it’s riding on. Constants over function shapes (especially very powerful ones like ln(x) ), CO2 over water vapor…

        And apparently I need this…

        Disclaimer: Scientific discussion, while interesting, does not change the economic possibility of the proposed… “solution”. Nor does it change the lack of process verification in scientific research today.

        “Was there some other point? Or was it just a red herring that didn’t have anything really to do with your argument?”

        Flashback to the “reasons to be skeptical” paragraph. I attempted to describe CO2’s place in the heat cycle. It’s a small thing relative to others. There is no quibbling this point unless you want to make the outlandish claims I tried to point out in my second post, stating that other gasses have much stronger direct impacts than CO2. Sure, concentrations and means of adding and removing them vary, but facts remain that other gasses are much stronger. CO2 is relatively weak. CO2 is small in concentration and small in effect.

        You reacted strongly to these modest claims and started outlaying specifics about CO2 this, CO2 that. But that doesn’t change CO2’s place in the scheme of the climate. I tried to clarify why I’m stating CO2 status is small, citing one of the dominant factors – water vapor – which you latched onto with an iron grip. And a minor one (methane) for a simple comparison’s sake, I’m glad the number of tangents you take is limited🙂

        You insist that I’m somehow making claims about water vapor other than what I did – I only claimed that it has MUCH STRONGER effects than CO2. A fact.

        My claims were and are pretty basic, no “red herring”. It was an attempt to establish perspective. I hope this one sinks in at last.

  10. Hi Brandon,

    You said:

    “Question, can anyone’s model of the water vapor cycle accurately predict it?”

    “I would contend that the answer to that is a resounding NO or weather predictions would be much better than we have… AFAIK all our water vapor models are junk or the next thing to it. Predictive value: very bad to none. Sure, we can watch the weather patterns with fancy equipment and run a statistical break down to guess that will happen next and be somewhat accurate in the very short term. Typically a week or less. Sometimes we might even say X conditions usually lead to Y and speculate as to the reasons to give us a forecast. But real predictive value? Never seen it.”

    This is yet another area where you are demonstrating that you don’t understand the science. You seem to think that if we can’t predict the weather very well in 10 days, we can’t predict the climate in 50 years. The problem with your logic is that CLIMATE refers to the LONG-TERM average of weather. E.g., I can’t predict very well what the temperature will be, how much precipitation, etc., on Feb. 27 in Cleveland. But I can probably come much closer if I’m asked to predict what the AVERAGE temperature and precipitation will be for the entire month of February in Cleveland. And I can probably come much closer if you want me to predict the average for the whole year, and even closer if you want me to predict averages for a decade. Since GLOBAL averages would cancel out all the little shifts in the weather patterns, they would be even more stable over long periods of time.

    So there you go. Another red herring from Brandon.

    And yes, the water vapor point was a red herring, too. You said:

    “I attempted to describe CO2′s place in the heat cycle. It’s a small thing relative to others. There is no quibbling this point unless you want to make the outlandish claims I tried to point out in my second post, stating that other gasses have much stronger direct impacts than CO2.”

    And since changes in water vapor are a POSITIVE FEEDBACK in the climate system, which would AMPLIFY any forcings, including from adding CO2, this is just another distraction. You want readers to think that the relative strength of these greenhouse effects should help them “put into perspective” just how much damage adding CO2 can do, but since you conveniently leave out most of the information about how water behaves in the climate system, your particular “perspective” about it is hopelessly misinformed.

    Anyway, everyone gets the idea that you think dealing with the problem will be too expensive. And yes, I understand that we will have to pay through the nose for new infrastructure. You apparently want me to “address” this point, but what am I supposed to say? You haven’t provided any numbers about how much it will cost. What can I say when some random person on the Internet says some unknown figure is “too much”? The fact is that actual economists have gone through and calculated about how much it would cost to make the shift, and well, it’s a lot, but it’s not unthinkable. Maybe they’re wrong, but you certainly haven’t shown it.

    • “This is yet another area where you are demonstrating that you don’t understand the science. You seem to think that if we can’t predict the weather very well in 10 days, we can’t predict the climate in 50 years. The problem with your logic is that CLIMATE refers to the LONG-TERM average of weather. E.g., I can’t predict very well what the temperature will be, how much precipitation, etc., on Feb. 27 in Cleveland. But I can probably come much closer if I’m asked to predict what the AVERAGE temperature and precipitation will be for the entire month of February in Cleveland. ”

      “Much closer”, but still utterly abysmal. I mean, just look at all the bad press the met office is taking for getting this winter so horribly wrong in the UK.

      There is good reason why few to nobody really makes long term forecasts of any real use. Use averages all you like, I’m still not impressed with anyone’s predictive power in this vein.

      “So there you go. Another red herring from Brandon.”

      I guess if you close your mind off, everything else is a red herring. sigh.

      I noticed you’ve decided to ignore my other points once again. Why do you choose to spend so much time on the “red herrings” rather than the other points?

      “And since changes in water vapor are a POSITIVE FEEDBACK in the climate system”

      Whoa whoa, how do we know this if we don’t even really understand the system? Why can’t it be a negative feedback, or both, depending on the change? You announce “POSITIVE FEEDBACK” in capital letters like it’s a done deal, the *only possible* outcome… [sarcasm] Such boldness! Such sure knowledge! [/sarcasm]

      “Anyway, everyone gets the idea that you think dealing with the problem will be too expensive. And yes, I understand that we will have to pay through the nose for new infrastructure. You apparently want me to “address” this point, but what am I supposed to say? You haven’t provided any numbers about how much it will cost. ”

      I did layout our financial picture at -650% net yearly income on short term bonds and I’ll add that we are currently borrowing 40% of our year income per year. How do you afford *ANYTHING* with that picture? We really should be gutting 35-40% of the budget and paying down the debt rather than putting more things on the card. It’s a basic factual review of our country’s books.

      I believe the logical conclusion of my request is to show me what you believe it will cost and where the money is going to come from. Show me that it is other than what I said and why it’s workable and what benefits it will yield. I already gave you the principle numbers for my position, we’re the next thing to bankrupt.

      • Hi Brandon,

        You said:

        “I noticed you’ve decided to ignore my other points once again. Why do you choose to spend so much time on the “red herrings” rather than the other points?”

        Why don’t you stop throwing out so many red herrings? Being red herrings, they’re hard to ignore. What, exactly, did you want me to address? Like I said, your economic points are a bunch of vague hand-waving, so there’s not much to say about it.

        You said:

        “Whoa whoa, how do we know this if we don’t even really understand the system? Why can’t it be a negative feedback, or both, depending on the change? You announce “POSITIVE FEEDBACK” in capital letters like it’s a done deal, the *only possible* outcome… [sarcasm] Such boldness! Such sure knowledge! [/sarcasm]”

        Well, here’s the thing.

        1. Water vapor is a greenhouse gas. (You know this already.)

        2. The higher the temperature, the more water vapor can be in the air. (If you don’t know this already, look up the Wikipedia article on “relative humidity”.)

        3. Therefore, the hotter the air temperature gets due to other things (like increases in solar radiation or greenhouse gases,) the more water vapor can go into the air, trapping more heat by the greenhouse effect, making it even hotter. That’s a positive feedback, by definition.

        This is basic physics, Brandon. That water vapor is a positive feedback in the climate system is not controversial in the least, except among people who don’t understand basic physics.

        What IS somewhat controversial is whether cloud formation, for instance, is a net positive or negative feedback. Different kinds of clouds behave differently with respect to that, so it’s hard to predict.

        So yes, the idea that the water vapor feedback is positive is a “done deal,” although the exact magnitude of that feedback, and the nature of some other feedbacks (like clouds) is still being investigated. If you want people to focus on your economic points, I suggest that you quit arguing against basic physics.

        With respect to your economic argument, you say that we can’t afford anything right now, and we should be gutting the government and cutting the debt. Ok, I’ll agree with that–I am a Republican, after all.

        However, we can make it much more cost effective to switch to renewable power by making a tax on carbon emissions. We don’t have to “raise taxes.” Rather, we can substitute it for some of the existing payroll and income taxes. This is the “tax swap” idea proposed by Rep. Bob Inglis (a Republican).

        Once the tax is in place, there will be great incentive to both conserve energy and switch to renewables. The amount of the tax could be gradually ramped up at a predictable rate over time, so businesses could plan ahead, and minimal economic turmoil would ensue.

  11. Below we have an excellent digest and analysis of the present situation by an eminent atmospheric scientist who, unlike Mr. Bickmore and the vast majority of contributors to the IPCC, actually has serious credentials in climate science.

    There is no and never was such a thing as a “consensus” of 2,500 IPCC climate scientists regarding anthropogenic warming because there never were 2,500 climate scientists working on the original assessment reports. The total “consensus” involved a few dozen scientists at the maximum, and only a fraction of had expertise in climate science, broadly speaking. A substantial body of reviewers were not empirical climate scientists but climate modelers (which, or who, lie at the root of the entire scientific argument for AGW).

    http://mclean.ch/climate/docs/IPCC_numbers_orig.pdf

    Bickmore likes to carp at the rather startling Oregon Petition, showing that only a small percentage of its scientific support is in niche areas of climate science per se (while ignoring the large body of closely allied earth scientists present), yet he ignores the fact that many of the “scientists” that produced the various IPCC assessment reports were from disciplines well outside either climate or the earth sciences, and the even more inconvenient fact that many were not scientists at all.

    Just for an example, note the credentials of the following:

    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg3/ar4-wg3-annex4.pdf

    There are a few scientists associated with earth or climate science here, yes. The bulk of reviewers however, include a lot of people from non-earth science disciplines as well as a rather telling quantity of environmental activists, NGO representatives, and members of government agencies.

    Resisting climate hysteria

    by Richard S. Lindzen

    July 26, 2009

    A Case Against Precipitous Climate Action

    The notion of a static, unchanging climate is foreign to the history of the earth or any other planet with a fluid envelope. The fact that the developed world went into hysterics over changes in global mean temperature anomaly of a few tenths of a degree will astound future generations. Such hysteria simply represents the scientific illiteracy of much of the public, the susceptibility of the public to the substitution of repetition for truth, and the exploitation of these weaknesses by politicians, environmental promoters, and, after 20 years of media drum beating, many others as well. Climate is always changing. We have had ice ages and warmer periods when alligators were found in Spitzbergen. Ice ages have occurred in a hundred thousand year cycle for the last 700 thousand years, and there have been previous periods that appear to have been warmer than the present despite CO2 levels being lower than they are now. More recently, we have had the medieval warm period and the little ice age. During the latter, alpine glaciers advanced to the chagrin of overrun villages. Since the beginning of the 19th Century these glaciers have been retreating. Frankly, we don’t fully understand either the advance or the retreat.

    For small changes in climate associated with tenths of a degree, there is no need for any external cause. The earth is never exactly in equilibrium. The motions of the massive oceans where heat is moved between deep layers and the surface provides variability on time scales from years to centuries. Recent work (Tsonis et al, 2007), suggests that this variability is enough to account for all climate change since the 19th Century. Supporting the notion that man has not been the cause of this unexceptional change in temperature is the fact that there is a distinct signature to greenhouse warming: surface warming should be accompanied by warming in the tropics around an altitude of about 9km that is about 2.5 times greater than at the surface. Measurements show that warming at these levels is only about 3/4 of what is seen at the surface, implying that only about a third of the surface warming is associated with the greenhouse effect, and, quite possibly, not all of even this really small warming is due to man (Lindzen, 2007, Douglass et al, 2007). This further implies that all models predicting significant warming are greatly overestimating warming. This should not be surprising (though inevitably in climate science, when data conflicts with models, a small coterie of scientists can be counted upon to modify the data. Thus, Santer, et al (2008), argue that stretching uncertainties in observations and models might marginally eliminate the inconsistency. That the data should always need correcting to agree with models is totally implausible and indicative of a certain corruption within the climate science community).

    It turns out that there is a much more fundamental and unambiguous check of the role of feedbacks in enhancing greenhouse warming that also shows that all models are greatly exaggerating climate sensitivity. Here, it must be noted that the greenhouse effect operates by inhibiting the cooling of the climate by reducing net outgoing radiation. However, the contribution of increasing CO2 alone does not, in fact, lead to much warming (approximately 1 deg. C for each doubling of CO2). The larger predictions from climate models are due to the fact that, within these models, the more important greenhouse substances, water vapor and clouds, act to greatly amplify whatever CO2 does. This is referred to as a positive feedback. It means that increases in surface temperature are accompanied by reductions in the net outgoing radiation – thus enhancing the greenhouse warming. All climate models show such changes when forced by observed surface temperatures. Satellite observations of the earth’s radiation budget allow us to determine whether such a reduction does, in fact, accompany increases in surface temperature in nature. As it turns out, the satellite data from the ERBE instrument (Barkstrom, 1984, Wong et al, 2006) shows that the feedback in nature is strongly negative — strongly reducing the direct effect of CO2 (Lindzen and Choi, 2009) in profound contrast to the model behavior. This analysis makes clear that even when all models agree, they can all be wrong, and that this is the situation for the all important question of climate sensitivity.

    According to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the greenhouse forcing from man made greenhouse gases is already about 86% of what one expects from a doubling of CO2 (with about half coming from methane, nitrous oxide, freons and ozone), and alarming predictions depend on models for which the sensitivity to a doubling for CO2 is greater than 2C which implies that we should already have seen much more warming than we have seen thus far, even if all the warming we have seen so far were due to man. This contradiction is rendered more acute by the fact that there has been no statistically significant net global warming for the last fourteen years. Modelers defend this situation by arguing that aerosols have cancelled much of the warming, and that models adequately account for natural unforced internal variability. However, a recent paper (Ramanathan, 2007) points out that aerosols can warm as well as cool, while scientists at the UK’s Hadley Centre for Climate Research recently noted that their model did not appropriately deal with natural internal variability thus demolishing the basis for the IPCC’s iconic attribution (Smith et al, 2007). Interestingly (though not unexpectedly), the British paper did not stress this. Rather, they speculated that natural internal variability might step aside in 2009, allowing warming to resume. Resume? Thus, the fact that warming has ceased for the past fourteen years is acknowledged. It should be noted that, more recently, German modelers have moved the date for ‘resumption’ up to 2015 (Keenlyside et al, 2008).

    Climate alarmists respond that some of the hottest years on record have occurred during the past decade. Given that we are in a relatively warm period, this is not surprising, but it says nothing about trends.

    Given that the evidence (and I have noted only a few of many pieces of evidence) strongly implies that anthropogenic warming has been greatly exaggerated, the basis for alarm due to such warming is similarly diminished. However, a really important point is that the case for alarm would still be weak even if anthropogenic global warming were significant. Polar bears, arctic summer sea ice, regional droughts and floods, coral bleaching, hurricanes, alpine glaciers, malaria, etc. etc. all depend not on some global average of surface temperature anomaly, but on a huge number of regional variables including temperature, humidity, cloud cover, precipitation, and direction and magnitude of wind. The state of the ocean is also often crucial. Our ability to forecast any of these over periods beyond a few days is minimal (a leading modeler refers to it as essentially guesswork). Yet, each catastrophic forecast depends on each of these being in a specific range. The odds of any specific catastrophe actually occurring are almost zero. This was equally true for earlier forecasts of famine for the 1980’s, global cooling in the 1970’s, Y2K and many others. Regionally, year to year fluctuations in temperature are over four times larger than fluctuations in the global mean. Much of this variation has to be independent of the global mean; otherwise the global mean would vary much more. This is simply to note that factors other than global warming are more important to any specific situation. This is not to say that disasters will not occur; they always have occurred and this will not change in the future. Fighting global warming with symbolic gestures will certainly not change this. However, history tells us that greater wealth and development can profoundly increase our resilience.

    In view of the above, one may reasonably ask why there is the current alarm, and, in particular, why the astounding upsurge in alarmism of the past 4 years. When an issue like global warming is around for over twenty years, numerous agendas are developed to exploit the issue. The interests of the environmental movement in acquiring more power, influence, and donations are reasonably clear. So too are the interests of bureaucrats for whom control of CO2 is a dream-come-true. After all, CO2 is a product of breathing itself. Politicians can see the possibility of taxation that will be cheerfully accepted because it is necessary for ‘saving’ the earth. Nations have seen how to exploit this issue in order to gain competitive advantages. But, by now, things have gone much further. The case of ENRON (a now bankrupt Texas energy firm) is illustrative in this respect. Before disintegrating in a pyrotechnic display of unscrupulous manipulation, ENRON had been one of the most intense lobbyists for Kyoto. It had hoped to become a trading firm dealing in carbon emission rights. This was no small hope. These rights are likely to amount to over a trillion dollars, and the commissions will run into many billions. Hedge funds are actively examining the possibilities; so was the late Lehman Brothers. Goldman Sachs has lobbied extensively for the ‘cap and trade’ bill, and is well positioned to make billions. It is probably no accident that Gore, himself, is associated with such activities. The sale of indulgences is already in full swing with organizations selling offsets to one’s carbon footprint while sometimes acknowledging that the offsets are irrelevant. The possibilities for corruption are immense. Archer Daniels Midland (America’s largest agribusiness) has successfully lobbied for ethanol requirements for gasoline, and the resulting demand for ethanol may already be contributing to large increases in corn prices and associated hardship in the developing world (not to mention poorer car performance). And finally, there are the numerous well meaning individuals who have allowed propagandists to convince them that in accepting the alarmist view of anthropogenic climate change, they are displaying intelligence and virtue For them, their psychic welfare is at stake.

    With all this at stake, one can readily suspect that there might be a sense of urgency provoked by the possibility that warming may have ceased and that the case for such warming as was seen being due in significant measure to man, disintegrating. For those committed to the more venal agendas, the need to act soon, before the public appreciates the situation, is real indeed. However, for more serious leaders, the need to courageously resist hysteria is clear. Wasting resources on symbolically fighting ever present climate change is no substitute for prudence. Nor is the assumption that the earth’s climate reached a point of perfection in the middle of the twentieth century a sign of intelligence.

    References:

    Barkstrom, B.R., 1984: The Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE), Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 65, 1170–1185.

    Douglass,D.H., J.R. Christy, B.D. Pearsona and S. F. Singer, 2007: A comparison of tropical temperature trends with model predictions, Int. J. Climatol., DOI: 10.1002/joc.1651

    Keenlyside, N.S., M. Lateef, et al, 2008: Advancing decadal-scale climate prediction in the North Atlantic sector, Nature, 453, 84-88.

    Lindzen, R.S. and Y.-S. Choi, 2009: On the determination of climate feedbacks from ERBE data, accepted Geophys. Res. Ltrs.

    Lindzen, R.S., 2007: Taking greenhouse warming seriously. Energy & Environment, 18, 937-950.

    Ramanathan, V., M.V. Ramana, et al, 2007: Warming trends in Asia amplified by brown cloud solar absorption, Nature, 448, 575-578.

    Santer, B. D., P. W. Thorne, L. Haimberger, K. E. Taylor, T. M. L. Wigley, J. R. Lanzante, S. Solomon, M. Free, P. J. Gleckler, P. D. Jones, T. R. Karl, S. A. Klein, C. Mears, D. Nychka, G. A. Schmidt, S. C. Sherwood, and F. J. Wentz, 2008: Consistency of modelled and observed temperature trends in the tropical troposphere, Intl. J. of Climatology, 28, 1703-1722.

    Smith, D.M., S. Cusack, A.W. Colman, C.K. Folland, G.R. Harris, J.M. Murphy, 2007: Improved Surface Temperature Prediction for the Coming Decade from a Global Climate Model, Science, 317, 796-799.

    Tsonis, A. A., K. Swanson, and S. Kravtsov, 2007: A new dynamical mechanism for major climate shifts, Geophys. Res. Ltrs., 34, L13705, doi:10.1029/2007GL030288

    Wong, T., B. A. Wielicki, et al., 2006: Reexamination of the observed decadal variability of the earth radiation budget using altitude-corrected ERBE/ERBS nonscanner WFOV Data, J. Climate, 19, 4028–4040.

    Richard S. Lindzen is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  12. A few more tidbits for consideration:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/02/17/william-schlesinger-on-ipcc-something-on-the-order-of-20-percent-have-had-some-dealing-with-climate/

    The following may be especially embarrassing to Mr. Bickmore:

    http://opinion.financialpost.com/2011/01/03/lawrence-solomon-97-cooked-stats/#ixzz1A5px63Ax

    And especially this:

    http://hw.libsyn.com/p/b/f/6/bf663fd2376ffeca/2010_Senate_Minority_Report.pdf?sid=5413ae56bef8e93636cd169c0b3a995b&l_sid=27695&l_eid=&l_mid=2336201

    • Hi Loran,

      Nice to hear from you again.

      In fact, I’m not “embarrassed” by the things you’ve cited BECAUSE:

      1. I’m not one of the people who have pointed to the “2500 IPCC scientists” as representing a “consensus”. As you point out, lots of them were reviewing ancillary issues that don’t get at the heart of the matter. For example, one of the IPCC “lead authors” that contrarians almost always cite is Tom Tripp, a metallurgist who works for US Magnesium. He was in charge of the section on CO2 emissions from magnesium production. (So what does he know about climate science?) In fact, I think it was perfectly legitimate for Dick Lindzen to point out that media pundits shouldn’t be using the “2500 scientists” argument.

      2. On the other hand, you cite Lawrence Solomon (whom I don’t respect very much) saying that the “97% of climate scientists” figure (which I HAVE used) is based on a small sample. It’s true that the number of climate scientists polled by Kendall Zimmerman and Doran was only 77, but that’s polling for you. You take a random sample, then estimate your margin of error based on the size of the sample. They actually polled a much larger number of scientists, but they included all types of “Earth scientists,” and separated them based on how much they had published recently about climate science. Solomon claims that the researchers excluded “solar scientists, space scientists, cosmologists, physicists, astronomers and meteorologists,” but um, since when are meteorologists not “Earth scientists”? (That shows just how informed Solomon is.) And in any case, while a “solar scientist” might give some insight about how solar irradiance of the Earth might change over time, what would he know about how changes in radiation affect the climate?

      3. And guess what? Anderegg et al. (2010) had a bigger sample of climate scientists, and they came to a similar estimate (97-98%).

      4. Neither one of these studies polled every single climate scientist on the planet, but they did take pains to get representative samples, as opposed to a one-sided petition drive. I’m sure there’s a few percent margin of error, just like in any political poll that extrapolates the opinions of a thousand or two “likely voters” to an election involving tens of millions of voters.

      5. The Oregon petition is patently idiotic. Not only is it a one-sided petition drive, rather than a scientific poll, but it basically implies that if you want to know what to think about climate change, you should ask some guy who got a B.S. in entomology or metallurgy, or your local veterinarian.

  13. NOAA continues its “nature tricks” and its hiding of the complete data picture from the publik skool educated masses:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/14/according-to-ncdcs-own-data-2010-was-not-the-warmest-year-in-the-usa-nor-even-a-tie/

    That high 1998 mark is, of course, a huge El Nino year, and has no empirical connection to anthropogenic CO2 (or any CO2, so far as I know).

    • Hi Loran,

      I don’t quite get your point. NOAA and NASA reported that the 2010 global average temperature tied for the highest recorded. Anthony Watts doesn’t dispute this. Rather, he says that it wasn’t a record year in the U.S.

      I ask you, “SO WHAT?” Last I checked, the USA is not the entire globe.

      If you think that “global warming theory” predicts that every single locality on the globe will warm up at the same rate, and with the same year-to-year fluctuations, you are sadly mistaken.

      The really sad parts are that:

      1. you were impressed that a regional temperature didn’t go up as much as the global temperature, and

      2. you go beyond what Watts said and concoct a conspiracy theory about NOAA “hiding… the complete data,” when Watts said he got the data from NOAA.

      Boy, some conspiracy. I’m afraid.

      And in any case, since the global average temperature is the most inclusive figure, I would say that Anthony Watts was the one trying to draw attention away from “the complete data picture”.

      And if you care to become informed about the fact that climatologists really do know about El Niño, look at this article that came out today.

      http://www.comcast.net/articles/news-science/20110114/SCIENCE-US-CLIMATE-TEMPERATURES-NINO/

  14. Loren,

    You’d have more (or any credibility) if you’d quote authors who haven’t taken money or travel expenses to speak at the Heartland Institute Climate Change Conference. Whenever a purportedly objective “scientist” consistently takes perks from Western Fuels, Exxon Mobile, OPEC etc., their underwear starts to show.

    I’m always amazed that given the long and rich history (since the 1830’s) of GHG and climate study by a widely diverse and authoritative collection of men and women with PhD’s whose fruits of of labor have been offered as proof; people such as yourself continue to cherry-pick the ax-grinders to support ANY commentary to prove an untenable position!

    The NASA pronouncement regarding 2010 is real and on the table. We all need to get on with what to do about it.

    • “You’d have more (or any credibility) if you’d quote authors who haven’t taken money or travel expenses to speak at the Heartland Institute Climate Change Conference. ”

      LOL, so you attack the source rather than the material? I can attack the source too. Who can trust any government funded scientist that lobbies for government powers? Direct conflict of interest! The bias argument runs both ways Mr Harman.

      Funding does matter, but it will never be neutral, so all that is left to discuss is what coping mechanisms are best. Full audit powers removes some of the potential for issues alone these lines.

  15. “Why don’t you stop throwing out so many red herrings? Being red herrings, they’re hard to ignore. What, exactly, did you want me to address? Like I said, your economic points are a bunch of vague hand-waving, so there’s not much to say about it.”

    Sigh.

    It’s so hard to get points across to you because you see what you wish rather than what I try to emphasize. You’ve never adequately addressed macro vs micro. I can throw all the filters on data I like, but pretending you can throw an average on a small dataset and claim you’ve found a signal when we clearly don’t understand all the signals. That’s a deceptively difficult task, and yet we’re suppose to be able to reliably see identify variances that are essentially sitting within the noise parameters and understand the cause and know it’s unattributable to other long term trends already in effect? Yet you’ll use it for your defense when convenient. You insist on mathematical lies like constants with wide uncertainty parameters are more important than functional shapes and call ME out on your apparent ignorance as “hand waving”. You choose to ignore the fact that science has a poor fundamental verification process that assumes trust and consequently can be easily gamed and manipulated for any set of biases. With water vapor, you, yourself, threw out doubts. So what if warmer air holds a bit more? Fact is that we don’t understand that system in it’s entirety very well and we KNOW it’s more complicated than your simplification. It could very well net negative on temperature rise, we just don’t know.

    There is nothing vague about how I describe the current state of the economy. I guess if you really want that new car, the facts of your recent pay cut, deep debts, and possible future layoff could be “hand waving”. When you REALLY WANT THAT NEW CAR, all other concerns are damned.

    I’m tired of trying to lead you by the nose. You don’t listen, all you do is try to convince me of my alleged errors. This site is pure advocacy and nothing more, and poorly done for people like me I might add.

    • Hi Brandon,

      Sorry we couldn’t have a more productive conversation. I’ve tried my best to be reasonable, but maybe I’m not very good at it.

      It seems to me, however, that you haven’t been very open to correction (from a scientist!) about basic scientific points. The fact is that your view of the science is littered with basic misconceptions, and every time I pointed one of them out, you waved it away as a minor point, but then didn’t ever concede any of those “minor” points. Why not? If it’s such a trivial thing, then why not just say, “Well, ok, that wasn’t a very good example,” or something like that?

      But once again, you wave it all away by noting that even **I** admitted there are some uncertainties, and we don’t completely understand the climate system. Essentially it’s the old, “We don’t know everything, so we don’t know anything” chestnut. That’s nonsense.

  16. […] already knew that Kerry Emmanuel was a Republican, but it turns out that Richard Alley is, […]


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