Global Warming and the Mobs

The below is a guest post from Barry Bickmore, a professor of geology at BYU. He blogs at Anti-Climate Change Extremism in Utah.

The other day, Meridian Magazine (an LDS-themed publication) published an opinion piece by Gary Lawrence, who wrote that climate scientists who warn about the dangers of human-caused global warming are on par with “those who love and make a lie,” and “sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers” the scriptures warn against. He apparently believes that climate scientists have been fraudulently adjusting their data and conclusions to promote global warming hysteria and line their pockets with research money. His evidence? A few out-of-context quotations from some e-mails stolen from a University of East Anglia computer.

Of all people, Latter-day Saints should know better. A number of years ago, I used to read anti-Mormon books, and then write book reviews for LDS outlets like FARMS and FAIR. I discovered, while reading these books and looking up their sources, that they sometimes actually made a few reasonable arguments against us, but these were typically buried within mountains of nonsense, conjured up through out-of-context or doctored quotations, and inaccurate or incomplete statements of LDS doctrine. It was quite clear that most of the authors were not very knowledgeable about our religion, but instead were simply repeating the same debunked myths over and over, because almost all of them were too lazy to look up the sources themselves to determine the context. This kind of “zeal without knowledge” can have very negative consequences, and it was just these kinds of lies and half-truths in the early days of the Church that incited mobs against us.

Today, the Mormons aren’t the only people who reap real consequences from being bad-mouthed by intellectually lazy zealots. Climate scientists, about 97-98% of which agree that humans are causing significant changes in the global climate system, often routinely receive ominous threats. (Click here to see a video of a man brandishing a noose at a climate scientist trying to give a talk.) Certainly it’s just a few nuts that do such things, but they are egged on by numberless others, who invent or pass on baseless charges that climate scientists are perpetrating some kind of fraud. (Click here to listen to a very prominent climate change “skeptic” whipping up a cheering Australian crowd by saying, “So to the bogus scientists who have produced the bogus science that invented this bogus scare I say, we are coming after you. We are going to prosecute you, and we are going to lock you up.”)

But Brother Lawrence would object that his charges of fraud and graft aren’t “baseless.” What about those e-mails? For instance, in one of the quotations that so impressed Brother Lawrence, a climate scientist named Jonathan Overpeck supposedly said,

The trick may be to decide on the main message and use that to guide what’s included and what is left out of IPCC reports.

That sounds sort of sinister, doesn’t it? He’s talking about using some kind of “trick” to support some kind of “message,” and leave everything else out of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports.

The really sad thing is that since these e-mails were released, others have been checking the context of statements such as those provided by Brother Lawrence, but he seems completely unaware that anyone has gone to all that work. What’s more, the e-mails in question are available on the Internet, but it never seems to have occurred to Brother Lawrence to look up the e-mails he quoted. Let’s take a look at a more complete context from the passage quoted from Overpeck’s e-mail.

I think the hardest, yet most important part, is to boil the section down to 0.5 pages. In looking over your good outline, sent back on Oct. 17 (my delay is due to fatherdom just after this time), you cover ALOT. The trick may be to decide on the main message and use that to guid[e] what’s included and what is left out. For the IPCC, we need to know what is relevant and useful for assessing recent and future climate change. Moreover, we have to have solid data – not inconclusive information.

First, note that Brother Lawrence’s quotation is doctored with added words. Overpeck wasn’t talking about “what is left out of IPCC reports”. Instead, he was talking about “what is left out” of a half-page summary of an entire section of the IPCC reports. In that context, how generic is it to advise someone to “decide on the main message and use that to guid[e] what’s included and what is left out”? The true quotation, in context, is so obviously and utterly innocuous as to make me wonder about the mental competence or basic honesty of those who originally thought it was noteworthy enough to include in a list of damaging passages.

Second, note how Overpeck even talked about trying to be responsible about only including “solid data,” rather than “inconclusive information.” In context, he comes off sounding like a nice, responsible sort of guy.

And that’s what I want to emphasize here. Jonathan Overpeck, in context, sounds like a good, responsible scientist—just the sort we would want to be lead author of a section in the IPCC reports. He has a wife and two sons, and they like to go camping together. He’s a real person, in other words, who cares for his family and wants to leave a better world for his kids. And yet, without even bothering to lift a finger to check sources, Brother Lawrence and Meridian Magazine have passed on a doctored, out-of-context quotation designed to damage Prof. Overpeck’s reputation and stir up the nut jobs to threaten him. (At least Brother Lawrence probably didn’t alter the quotation himself. The apparent source was this blog, which also doctors some other quotations from the stolen e-mails.)

Now, I’m not saying any of this to tar anyone for disagreeing with me about the seriousness of human-caused climate change. After all, until a few years ago I didn’t think it was that big of a deal, either, and I had less of an excuse than most people, since I’m a trained Earth scientist. But I ask you—how is Brother Lawrence’s and Meridian’s behavior in this matter any different than that of the people who write anti-Mormon books, or who used to stir up the mobs against us? How many states do we have to be kicked out of, and how many of us have to be persecuted or killed, before we figure out that, no matter which side we’re on regarding a particular issue, we should never be on the side of the mobs?

Comments

  1. it's a series of tubes says:

    Barry, thanks for this post. Since you have some expertise on the subject, do you mind if I ask a question?

    Though I come from a family of geologists, I am not one myself. Not long ago, I was looking at the well-known graph of temperature and CO2 data from the Vostok ice cores that goes back 400K years or so. Reviewing the graph, I noticed that in each cycle, temperature increases happened first, and then CO2 level increases followed about 500 years later.

    To me, that seemed counterintuitive. I would have thought that the CO2 levels would have risen first, and then temperature followed.

    Can you shed some light as to why the temperature increases happened first? I’d like to understand it better. Was it a comparatively special circumstance related to deglaciation, as opposed to CO2 changes occuring in a non-glacial period? To me, CO2 rising after temperature rising seems to undercut the position that CO2 is a comparatively significant driver of temperature change (as opposed to other factors).

  2. Meldrum the Less says:

    I’m just sitting here freezing my arse off because it is the first time in 20 years I have seen frost this far south in Georgia in late November (and two nights in a row!) and thinking about the last time Al Gore held a climate change conference in Park City in June, it snowed in Parley’s canyon and his Limo slid off the road. Or so the story goes.

    I think climate change :
    1- Is complex but real
    2- Has been hijacked for political purposes
    3-Thereby has lost credibility amongst those of opposing political views

  3. Hi tubes,

    Here is a good, but not very technical, discussion of this issue.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/co2-lags-temperature.htm

  4. Julie M. Smith says:

    Thank you for this post.

  5. Barry, thanks for this very intelligent response to the Meridian article. When I read it, I couldn’t scrape my jaw off the floor enough to muster any kind of response, let alone an intelligent one.

  6. #1 – While I’m not Barry, or a geologist, I can quote you the explanation given by a NASA climate modeler: “The complexity though is actually quite fascinating…a full understanding of why CO2 changes in precisely the pattern that it does during ice ages is elusive, but among the most plausible explanations is that increased received solar radiation in the southern hemisphere due to changes in Earth’s orbital geometry warms the southern ocean, releasing CO2 into the atmosphere, which then leads to further warming through an enhanced greenhouse effect…[but the] point–that the observed long-term relationship between CO2 and temperature in Antarctica supports our understanding of the warming impact of increased CO2 concentrations–is correct.”

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/10/convenient-untruths/

    The chart you’re talking about is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Co2-temperature-plot.svg

  7. Meldrum,

    I’m a political conservative, too, but I have to disagree with your reasoning. Whether or not human-caused climate change is real is strictly a scientific problem. Almost all the experts on the subject agree that it is very likely to be a big problem for us if we don’t slow down our emissions. In other words, a problem exists.

    What we should do about it is a political problem. And OF COURSE the far left is going to try to use any problem to argue for a drastic change in our economic system. So what should the conservatives do? Should we complain that climate change has been “hijacked for political purposes,” or figure out some way of addressing the problem that doesn’t involve such a drastic overhaul of the economic system? By brushing the whole thing off as “hijacked for political purposes,” I think conservatives are giving away the store. If climate change is a real problem that will get worse and worse as we do nothing, at some point it’s going to be clear that conservatives have tacitly admitted that our political philosophy can’t deal with problems like this. We’ll be utterly discredited.

    Personally, I’d rather see us make a reasonable attempt to address the problem in a conservative-friendly way.

  8. it's a series of tubes says:

    3 and 5 – thanks for the responses.

  9. Thank you Barry. Lawrence’s piece is shameful,

  10. Meldrum the Less says:

    Hey B squared: Hold your horses…

    I agree with you, that we need to do something about it and not just “give away the store.” Something sensible, which to me is conservative friendly. I just love to laugh at these fumbling prophets of doom even when they are right about some things. On both sides. The guy in the video with the noose? They should have put the noose around his neck and given him a friendly kick in the pants and laughed him out of the room. Not the same as a mob. Mild violence with a smile, Joseph Smith style.

    What to do? That is always the question.

    I think that we have to convince more people, especially conservatives what scientific observations have been made and what they mean and how the information is growing and changing. Not all the experts agree on the details, further study is being done. But they do agree on many issues.

    I might be wrong but “global warming” might be morphing into “climate change. ” This means that not all places will get warmer, some places might actually get colder. If ocean warming shuts down the Gulf Stream, then Europe might get colder. The gulf stream strongly influences Georgia and might be why it is definitely getting colder and dryer here in the last few years. Except the summers, already unbearable, are getting worse. But who notices, once it is too hot & humid to go outside while wearing garments?

    Another question: Is warming a few degrees all that bad? If 70% of the earth is covered by oceans, then doesn’t more warmth mean more water evaporation overall and more rainfall world wide? Maybe this could result in more areas to grow food and more hydroelectric generation potential? Vast stretches of Siberia and Canada might change from tundra to forested taiga, tying up more carbon and making wood more available? If it happens slowly then people will migrate around and it doesn’t have to be that bad. I don’t know.

    It would be sad if the oceans rise and flood New Orleans. Yes that would be sad. (Not New York, I don’t like that place.) But those crazy Cajuns are so creative that they will find a way to survive and keep their 300 year long party going.

    Will this climate problem give us the motivation to figure out ways to pull huge amounts of carbon out of the atmosphere? If we could do that then we might be on the road to long-term, not just prediction, but actual control of our climate. That would be nice.

    What am i doing?
    1. Because of my job situation, it is possible for me to commute without ever starting up an internal combustion engine. Not easy being in the heat, cold, rain half an hour twice a day, but I have done it for 15 years.
    2. I recycle about 95% of my garbage. Taht is truckloads not little box loads of recycling.
    3. Trees cover my house lowering utility bills as they drop leaves on the roof and in the gutters which floods the basement. Most of my neighbors cut the damned trees, not I.
    4. I shop at the thrift store first and only buy new items when absolutely necessary, not the other way around.
    5. I plan to remodel my bathrooms and laundry room to put the brown water on the lawn, which I never water anyway.
    6. I have been bellowing to the Bishop (in a joking way) when he is going to raid the tithing fund to get money for the solar panels up on the church roof?

  11. Normally, CO2, a greenhouse gas among those responsible for making the planet hospitable at night, *lags* temperature rises. For instance, CO2 apparently has been released in large quantities from oceans and other reservoirs repeatedly throughout past eras after the planet started to warm aggressively.

    Today, CO2 appears to be leading temperature rises (corroborated by satellite and other measurements). I think it is a levels not seen in millions of years or so I got the impression from a graph I saw of CO2 levels over the past hundreds of thousands of years.

    The main difference between then and now? Mankind has been cooking heavily in “dinosaur fuel” that has gone into the atmosphere (and at growing levels with now 7 billion humans on earth) unchecked by natural processes.

    The sun is sitting this one out. The primary culprit is CO2 (a ghg), and it is leading to more powerful greenhouse gases (like water vapor and methane released from permafrost) getting in on the show.

    Please, let’s save some of that crude for making plastics and leave enough for our descendants to have for warming the planet during the next ice age many centuries from now. We don’t need to help the oceans rise any faster on our coastal cities this century. We don’t need to speed up the disappearance or reduce the many many species we depend on for life, health, and quality of living; evolution cannot compensate that quickly for our sloppiness! We’re going just a little too fast for our own good. We are selling short our kids and their kids and their kids, all the while being rather ungrateful for the beauty and bounties we have inherited ourselves.

  12. Hi Meldrum,

    You asked me whether a few degrees of warming would be so bad, and referenced more rainfall. Well, some places will be winners, and others will be losers in that game, and there will be a variety of effects, both positive and negative. It’s just that it’s anticipated that the negative effects will far outweigh the positive. Just to give some perspective, it turns out that the difference in global average temperature between now and the last glacial maximum, when giant ice sheets covered much of the continents, was only about 5 °C. Yes, this is a big, big deal.

  13. After Kevin posted this, I wrote to Gary Lawrence to tell him about this post. I simply gave him the link and said, “I think you have some apologies to make.”

    He e-mailed back and said, “And as I have just responded on the Meridian thread, if global warming were settled science, why would certain scientists hide their data and dissemble?”

    I then replied:

    “I compared your tactics to those of anti-Mormons. One other thing I noticed about them is that they tend to change the subject when they get caught red-handed. Is that what you’re doing now? I showed that, without question, you used a doctored, out-of-context quotation to slander Jonathan Overpeck. Are you going to respond to that? Do you think maybe you owe him an apology?

    “If you have the basic honesty to deal with THAT, then I would love to talk to
    you about how “settled” the science is or isn’t.

    “If not, then I wash my hands of you.”

    To which he responded, “The soap’s on the left.”

    [edited by admin]

  14. [edited by admin] Maybe he’ll come around after he has a few days to stew about it. However, it’s disappointing that it would take Bro. Lawrence more than a few minutes to decide it’s not ok to misquote someone in order to slander him.

  15. 12. Don’t drop the soap.

    If some one intentionally misquotes an email they usually have no interest in offering apologies.

  16. Barry, as much as I liked your post, your thoughts about the politics in the comment above really struck a chord for me. The unfortunate irony is that conservative denial of the science based upon a fear of heavy-handed government intervention will lead to an inevitable conclusion: draconian government intervention as the crisis becomes acute.

    Where would we be today if we had put a moderate price on carbon externalities ten years ago and let the free market take its course?

  17. Sistas,

    That’s the thing. I have no reason to believe it was intentional. I think he just got the doctored quote off another blog and didn’t check it.

  18. Those “draconian” measures will do next to nothing if other developing nations don’t do the same — and they won’t, believe me.

    Personally, while I believe we are contributing to the warming (in some measure) I don’t believe it will lead to a catastrophic future.

    I think the best thing to do is to find reasonable (economical) ways to promote technology and let that assuage our fears regardless of how settled the science may be. Everyone wins that way.

  19. Agreed, Jack. “Draconian” doesn’t equal “successful.” We’re risking an “everyone loses” future.

  20. What qualifies Gary Lawrence to talk intelligently about science? He has a graduate degree in political science. Which of course is no more a science than a lady of the evening is a lady.

  21. it’s a series of tubes Says: “I was looking at the well-known graph of temperature and CO2 data from the Vostok ice cores that goes back 400K years or so. Reviewing the graph, I noticed that in each cycle, temperature increases happened first, and then CO2 level increases followed about 500 years later.”

    You’re not telling the truth. If you do what you say – look at the graph – the 500 y delay simply isn’t visible – its too small. And, of course, it isn’t a fixed 500 year delay. Here’s one graph, for example:

    See the lag? No, of course you can’t. See-also:

    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2007/03/yet_more_tco2_lags.php

  22. Thank you for this post!

    I had the privilege to be mentored by Dr. David Long of the Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering at BYU. Dr. Long worked for NASA and specializes in microwave remote sensing, radar, SAR, signal processing, wind patterns, and ice patterns/changes around the globe.

    It is amazing when you hear about global warming from a person that is actually educated and has true experience researching the issue and compare it to the unresearched parroting of those ignorant zealots you talk about such as Gary Lawrence.

    The following is from an article in the BYU Mag:

    Long acknowledges that political advocacy related to climate change often gets carried away with worst-case scenarios. Ignoring scientific evidence is a two-way street. “It is truly unfortunate that climate concern has become so politicized over the last few years,” Long says. “This is an issue that should transcend politics. We’re all in this together.”

    http://magazine.byu.edu/?act=view&a=2505

  23. Jack,

    Bjorn Lomborg suggests we put 0.5% GDP toward things like research to make green energy technology more affordable. When the price comes down enough, everyone will install it anyway. I have problems with Lomborg’s work, because I think he is not exactly honest about how he evaluates risk and reports scientific findings. However, his proposal goes so far beyond what anyone is doing now, that I don’t want to knock it.

    And so I ask, “Where are the political conservatives pushing hard for this kind of solution, or negotiating with liberals to come up with a solution more like this than some of the other proposals (like cap and trade)?” It’s one thing to opine about how we ought to handle the problem, and another to actually try and get it done.

  24. it's a series of tubes says:

    You’re not telling the truth. If you do what you say – look at the graph – the 500 y delay simply isn’t visible – its too small. And, of course, it isn’t a fixed 500 year delay. Here’s one graph, for example:

    If you follow the link Barry posted in #3, the lag is clearly visible in the first graph on the page. I originally remember seeing the lag a couple years ago in a higher-resolution version graph of Vostok temp/Co2 data. Take 5 seconds and google, and you’ll see there are many, many graphs of the Vostok data.

    Also, reading the comments in Barry’s link in #3, it appears that the actual delay is a rough estimate that has been refined as the data improves. Somewhere between ~200 and ~1000 years, and the southern ocean release is the suspected cause.

    And I never said the delay was fixed. I said “about”.

    Thanks for calling me a liar and kocking down some straw men, though.

  25. It does sound like Lawrence was seriously overreaching.
    By the same token, there is constant rhetoric from scientists and politicians like Al Gore that the debate is over, truth has been declared, and “the thinking has been done.” Feisty Mormons everywhere have their teeth set on edge when they are told what to think and what to say. My basic response to such statements is that they reflect a lack of confidence by the censors of their own ability to make pwrsuasive arguments. The response of making personal attacks on those who disagree with you is how we get crazy deadlocks where no one is willing to point to problems, including failures with Space Shuttle parts and totalitarian governments.

    The problem I have with the more draconian measures proposed to decrease ghg emissions is that nothing short of massive economic disability will make a serious cut in ghgs in the near term so the cure would be far worse than the disease. Accelerated conversion to other energy sources will INCREASE ghg emissions in the short term so there is no net decrease for decades.
    As to the science itself, the SIZE of the changes is based on computer models that have NOT tracked the actual plateau in temps we have had for 15 years. Nor can they explain why temps were DROPPING for 40 years from 1935 to 1975. The models need to be a lot more aligned with reality before I am willing to bet my freedom and safety on them. Maybe there are factors that are preventing warming from developing as it should. The alarmism about hurricanes and tornadoes is also an obvious false alarm. Most of all, the notion that we only have a short window of ten years to fix the problem has no rationale. The changes are happening so slowly that it makes sense to get a better handle on the mechanism and prediction before we start prescribing solutions.
    Additionally, the problem is not CO2 per se, it is excess heat. A far simpler solution is to loft sulfates into the stratosphete and mimic the cooling by volcanic eruptions. Much simpler and cheaper than replacing our energy infrastructure overnight. See the discussion in Superfreakonomics.

  26. Speaking of warming, it was heartwarming to go over to Meridian and read the following headline: “Questions about Latter-day Saint Temples from a Jewess.”

    It’s enough to make you wonder about the etymological tie between Proctor and proctoscope.

  27. Lawrence’s article made me depressed (and the exchange in #12 made me sick). At least this post made me feel a bit better. Thanks, Barry.

  28. Those of us who have been following Lawrence’s semi-regular rantings in MM really aren’t surprised at the latest. Its intemperance and its extreme rhetoric are pretty much par for the course for him. It’s a bit ironic that he also writes columns addressing the matter of why people don’t like Mormons. If most Mormons expressed their disagreements like he does (thankfully, most don’t), I wouldn’t like us very much, either.

  29. > If you follow the link Barry posted in #3, the lag is clearly visible in the first graph on the page.

    No, it isn’t. Examine the graph more carefully, especially the scale on the x-axis. The image is 500 pixels wide. It covers 400,000 years. So one pixel represents approximately 1000 years. It simply is’t possible to see a 500 year lag on such a picture.

    > Also, reading the comments in Barry’s link in #3, it appears that the actual delay is a rough estimate that has been refined as the data improves. Somewhere between ~200 and ~1000 years

    Indeed, which is another reason why you can’t see what you claim to have seen.

  30. Steve Evans says:

    William, please dial back the aggressiveness a little. You don’t necessarily have to be strident to make your points here.

  31. I emailed Meridian complaining about Lawrence’s article and referring them to Barry’s response here. Maurine Proctor responded:

    “We believe these issues are worth discussing and would welcome Barry Bickmore submitting a response to Gary Lawrence to Meridian that didn’t include claims of his deceptiveness, but just discussed the issue.”

    Yeah, Barry, it’s really quite rude to claim that Lawrence was being deceptive–in his article claiming that 98% of the world’s climate scientists are being deceptive…

  32. Meldrum the Less, that is good stuff you are doing.

    I really like some of the research I heard about for putting hydrocarbons back together (taking CO2 out of the air). Hopefully we can do that cleanly and efficiently in time. We are greatly undertapping the sun’s potential.

    Every system reacts to stimulation potentially by undergoing oscillations. We see this in circuit design all the time. It is more than possible that the earth would overcompensate for a short time before swinging back up again. [I like to note the imperfect but useful analogy that the stock market is full of ups and downs short term even as it rises on pace with inflation in the long term.]

    Before you get too excited about higher temperatures, understand that ecosystems can be a tricky thing. I’m not very keen on playing God with our only planet. I’m sure the proverb “for want of a nail” wouldn’t be too irrelevant here. And if we notice problems, we can’t very well hit the big red abort button.

    Also, Barry made a good point about the 5 C degrees delta between recent low and high glacial points (if I understood that).

  33. #17 Jack,
    I wouldn’t be so sure. The Chinese people are not somehow magically resistant to smog and pollution, and there are a number of factors at work:
    – authoritarian rule makes it easier to effect large-scale changes,
    – the Chinese have the money to finance a quick technological switch — which, given the predominance of legacy, dirty industry, will not be very difficult.
    They’re already leading the world in renewable energy research (USD 54 bln last year), and their market for green technologies is estimated at 500 bln – 1 trillion in the coming decade. They’re testing a cap-and-trade system and planning to reduce CO2 emissions-growth ratio to less than 50% of the 2005 levels by 2020. See: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2011/apr/12/china-green-plans-america

  34. Nice post, Barry. My exposure to dishonest anti-Mormon material also sensitized me to quote-mining. I later recognized it in much anti-evolution material. I think a good general rule of thumb is that if someone has to quote-mine to make their case, they don’t have much of a case.

  35. Jared,

    I e-mailed Meridian, too, but they haven’t e-mailed back. Can you send me Maureen Proctor’s e-mail address?

  36. #24 Raymond Takashi Swenson,
    There’s been no “plateau” for the last 15 years:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-stopped-in-1998-intermediate.htm

    and the temperatures were not dropping between 1935 and 1975 — more like stagnating (and for a shorter period of time):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Instrumental_Temperature_Record_%28NASA%29.svg

    mainly because of aerosol emissions by booming industry. As far as models are concerned, they don’t fare nowhere near as badly as some people would like them to see:

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/faq-8-1.html

  37. I agree the climate changes–has done so over the long course of the earths’s existence, and will continue to do so until who knows when. In the meantime, I remain unconvinced that human caused atmospheric CO2 is a significant forcing factor in any global warming that can be shown to be above and beyond the natural warming that has been occuring since the last ice age.

  38. Julie M. Smith says:

    Greg D., can you explain to us why we would consider your opinion when 97% of scientists in the field disagree with you?

  39. Raymond Takashi Swenson, are you going to let Gore trick you into appearing foolish (rhetorical question)?

    The quicker the majority of folks identify and offer support for the continuous results of the science process, the quicker we will all have a better idea of what exactly is settled and what isn’t. With this information in hand moving forward, we can make informed decisions and not simply go by gut feeling and suffer the consequences that accompany gut feelings.

    I’d guess from my limited knowledge that the next 10 years are not crucial, but if it takes decades as you say, then waiting many more decades to start on the road in earnest will mean that even past that 10 year “window” we would have blown many decades. Are you also saying we clearly have many decades we can punt? And after all of that to then have extreme views of one sort or other take over because one group of people allowed a politician to corner them into looking foolish is not something to desire. Think of your descendants and think about what you have inherited. We owe a little care to this issue.

    As for those talking about other nations, if we decide something is important, we can apply pressure and negotiate properly. The record speaks for itself of what we can accomplish. Plus, China and some other nations might be using the same lame excuse for delaying.

    I think you are wrong about the climate models not tracking global average surface temps. The models are low resolution models designed to get reasonable results far into the future. They don’t generally have (or claim to have) a resolution of less than about 30 years. That’s just the way they have been designed to date. They focus on the bigger picture and don’t all have modelling for the many oscillations our planet’s weather system experiences across years.

    I think you are wrong also about the models not covering the middle of the last century. I think the sun plays a very large role in our average global temperatures. The CO2 effect is modeled to have kicked in around the 1960s where the solar strength and the temperature diverged. We do always need data points to calibrate/discover the key parameters in the models. [This will always keep improving over time.] CO2 levels didn’t start taking off the charts until just the past few decades (global industrialization and population growth reached key marks apparently).

    >> The alarmism about hurricanes and tornadoes is also an obvious false alarm.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/extreme-weather-global-warming.htm says: “Global warming amplifies the risk factors for extreme weather events – and that is all that Climate Science claims.”

    So were you tricked by Gore into ignoring the actual science?

    >> A far simpler solution is to loft sulfates into the stratosphete and mimic the cooling by volcanic eruptions.

    Some genius must have thought this one up for sure!

    Yes, we can just keep pumping up more and more to match the increasing CO2, and as the acid and poisons drop out of the sky while the CO2 continues to persist up there, we can just divert all of our mining efforts to sulfates and rocketry. Eventually, we can divert 30 or maybe even 70 percent of our GDP to scraping the nation for the left over sulfates to fire back up into the sky and to revitalize some of that farm land and fresh water polluted (never mind allocating funds to fix the problem with the disappearing bees or whatever else we have ignorantly discounted as not important to man’s comfortable life here on earth).

  40. Greg D.,

    Paleoclimatologist study indicators of how things like temperature, greenhouse gas concentrations, and solar radiation have changed over long periods of time. From that, along with some basic physics, you can estimate what effect all these things like greenhouse gases and changes in solar radiation have on the climate. The projections about what we’re doing to the climate are based on THAT. What I’m telling you is that it’s precisely all that natural climate change that has gone on that allows us to make reasonable projections of what we’re doing to the climate by adding greenhouse gases.

    It isn’t a “natural vs. human?” problem. It’s a “what do greenhouse gases do?” problem.

    Likewise, it isn’t an “is change good or bad?” problem. It’s a “how fast can societies and ecosystems adapt?” problem.

  41. Julie M, Greg D lives in a cave because he has not convinced himself that society is anything but a development of natural evolution.

    He doesn’t pay attention to earthquake or hurricane warnings. He doesn’t understand the point of physicians or chemists or anything else really.

    Beware if you decide to have a closer chat with Greg. He doesn’t take showers and will fling his stones at you before asking “who’s there?”

  42. Sorry, in #34 I meant to ask “Jeremy” if he could send Maureen Proctor’s e-mail.

  43. I read the title and grabbed the popcorn before even starting to read. I should have grabbed two bags, and there were only #39 comments as I started to read.

    Thanks for this post. It’s good to read something of this quality and specific focus.

  44. My biggest problem with the debate is the extremist tone that has crept into a lot of things over the past decade. Makes it feel like the boy who cried wolf. Weren’t we all supposed to be feeling the effects of the hole in the ozone layer by now?

    I keep wondering what the next “OMG” thing is going to be for earth science.

    For me, I’m glad to do what I can to make the world a healthier place. The chicken little act, from either side of the debate, just gets tiring.

  45. #36 Greg D.
    “Climate variability” cannot be treated as magical handwavium that’s supposed to explain things without explaining them. Climate is a physical system. If it changes, it happens because a physical factor is influencing it. Climate changes in the past have always been a result of such influence. So, it’s not enough to talk about “natural warming” — you need to indictate WHAT is changing “naturally”. It happens that the glacial cycles are driven by changes in insolation, the level of Sun’s energy reaching the Earth. In other words, to claim that we’re just seeing “natural warming that has been occuring since the last ice age”, you need to show that the driving factor of this change (insolation) is at work here. And unfortunately, this is simply not true — for the last 40 years insolation and temperatures are moving in opposite directions:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/solar-activity-sunspots-global-warming-intermediate.htm

  46. Frank, the thing about the hole in the ozone layer is that we did something about it instead of just arguing about whether or not it was a real issue – the problem is not completely fixed, but it is well on its way. Here’s an great model of what the hole would look like now if we had not phased out CFCs http://scienceblogs.com/highlyallochthonous/2009/03/its_official_we_really_have_sa.php

  47. #43 Frank Pellett
    We’re not feeling the effects of the ozone hole (or rather, to avoid confusion, of ozone layer depletion) exactly because appropriate measures have been introduced globally in a manner which we’re inacapable to achieve in the case of greenhouse gases. The ozone layer is slowly recovering as the concentration of ozone depleting substances (CFCs mainly) peaked early in th 1990s and has been falling since then, but this doesn’t mean that the danger wasn’t (or still isn’t) real. Here’s a recent report on the subject: http://ozone.unep.org/Assessment_Panels/SAP/Scientific_Assessment_2010/index.shtml

  48. Kevin, the last sentence of your post says it all. We should know better. We should never be part of “the mob”. Thanks.

  49. Julie M. Smith # 36: Oh, Julie, you don’t have to pay any attention at all to my opinion. You are free to believe whatever you like–just as I am. I rely not on a supposed consensus, but on my own understanding of how science operates, how climate models operate, evidence of increasing temperatures versus evidence clearly implicating human-caused CO2 as a significant forcing factor (that I am so far aware of), and a general awareness of the complexity of factors involved in the make up of the earth’s climate.

  50. Barry Bickmore # 38: Unlike Jose_X # 39, I thank you for your thoughtful, ad hominem-less, respectful reply. May I ask two questions?

    One, given what you said in your comment, is it known what the estimated current temperature differential is between what is now observed as the average global temperature and what the average global temperature would currently be without human influence?

    Two, can you point me to documentation showing how all other factors and influences on the global climate have been controlled for and accounted for which leads to the conclusion that human-caused atmospheric CO2 is the primary driving factor behind the human-caused warming?

    I will appreciate your kind response.

  51. Hi Greg D #48,

    1. The estimates from models (which is the only way you can answer a hypothetical question like that) are maybe somewhere around 0.5-0.7 °C for the global average. For more info (and informative graphs), see this:

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/faq-9-2-figure-1.html

    2. The best summary is the attribution chapter in the IPCC report. Here it is:

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch9.html

    If that’s too technical to get you started, you might start looking at the articles linked here, under the heading “It’s Not Us”:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php?f=taxonomy

  52. Greg D. #48: In addition to whatever Barry says, have a look at what the IPCC says here and here.

  53. #49 Greg D.
    Why would anyone need such modelling? Your requests don’t make any sense, if I read your intentions properly, and you’re really trying to claim that without them the anthropogenic character of the warming is moot. It isn’t. You can employ models to simulate the climate system without the ~2.7 W/m2 of human-induced radiative forcing, but why would you do it? What would it prove or disprove? And the second point is putting things exactly upside-down: we have multiple, empirical lines of evidence unequivocally linking the warming to human activities:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/its-not-us-intermediate.htm

    If in view of the above you want to claim that all we see is a “natural warming that has been occuring since the last ice age”, the onus is on you to prove it — not on others to show that all possibilities other than human influence have been ruled out.

  54. Gary Lawrence e-mailed me and at least admitted that he had misquoted Overpeck. I’ll continue to try and talk him out of the conspiracy theory mindset.

  55. I love telling my Utah relatives who endorse Meridian that it’s more of a political rag, not a religious one.

  56. Kevin Barney says:

    Barry, I just watched the presentation you linked to in your last paragraph. Very well done! I highly recommend it to readers who have an interest in this issue.

  57. Barry: when I’ve been in “discussions” about this in the past with people who are convinced that climate change can’t possibly be impacted by anything humans do, I’ve used a rhetorical shift to call attention to crappy air quality resulting from the burning of fossil fuels. People can at least agree that particulates in the air, spouted by us, should be minimized as much as possible. Is this a legit shift? I’m on board with the climate change issue, but I’m wondering if air quality itself is a legitimate avenue to raise some awareness as well.

  58. #52. Barry,

    Accolades for the efforts.

    #35. Greg D.

    What would impress me Greg, is if you would kindly commit a few years, become a climate scientist, and then carefully review existing models and assumptions and give your informed opinion as to why the current state of the science has gone awry and made over-reaching conclusions, in a peer-reviewed journal so you can prove that you’ve actually faced the critiques of your peers and come off conqueror.

  59. #52. There’s progress. Guess you don’t need the soap just yet.

  60. The one thing that typically is missing in the debate, even in posts like this one, is that latter-day climate and geological change is pretty close to doctrine for Mormons, isn’t it? If your HPGL wants to argue that the science isn’t valid, that’s fine–can’t we settle the debate by saying “climate and geological upheavals are real because the prophets have said they are”? Between prophecies of calamitous last days and mormon doctrine regarding stewardship, I’d think we should actually be owning the issue of caring for the earth in a way that other religions might not be able to.

    Is this overly simplistic?

  61. If you believe that CO2, at 1/10 of 1% of all chemicals in the atmosphere, is causing global warming, then 2 questions: what impact does a volcano have in producing CO2 when it erupts, and when did Al Gore and Maurice Strong become prophets? Just asking, since we know who gave the first lecture on global warming in 1971 (when all scientists were warning we were headed for an ice age) and is now responsible for funding this study at universities; and who profits from its promulgation.

  62. clarkgoble says:

    The worse thing that could have happened to global warming was Al Gore and his video. It immediately made it a political identity issue. Liberals made it a keystone of being part of “the rational side” and conservatives, because it was identified with Gore, made seeing it as a conspiracy by liberals as a piece of their identity politics. Ironically I’m sure Gore had the best of intentions but prior to his movie there were plenty of mainstream Republicans who accepted Global Warming but rejected some of the Democratic plans for solving it. Afterwards people just couldn’t see it rationally. To liberals it became part of their identity as rational thinkers against the anti-science and anti-reason forces of Republicans. Then Republicans reacted by making it an example of liberal elitism.

    Too bad we couldn’t just keep the science and the politics separate. After all one can accept global warming without buying into all the solutions people proposed. (Or thinking them naive at best – witness how poorly even nations accepting global warming do at solving it)

  63. clarkgoble says:

    Larry (59), you know it was a myth that “all scientists” were warning of an ice age, right? As I said the fact Al Gore embraced something shouldn’t determine our own judgment of the issue.

    Kyle (58), I don’t think there’s any particular reason to think prophecy of the last days are about global warming. It’s about on par with thinking they were all about the Soviets back in the 80’s. (Which was pretty common when I was a kid) I’m not saying global warming might not be contributing the the horrible situations prophesied about. I just don’t see any compelling reasons to think they are.

    Frank (42), the fact that political pundits and the media have done a horrible job sensationalizing this from both sides doesn’t mean that one can’t investigate the issue more calmly. The media typically does a horrible job on all science reporting – primarily because most of the media never took science classes and doesn’t understand what they are reporting. Plus there is an incentive for sensationalism. (Of course there are some great science reporters – but fewer and fewer of them every year) The fact is that when you look at the science rather than the media most claims against human related global warming fall flat. Is it 100% certain? Of course not. But the evidence really is pretty compelling.

    What people investigating the issue need to do is decide what it would take to convince them, decide if that’s a fair standard, and then investigate. I was in the early 90’s (when there was a lot less data) a skeptic. I investigated and by the late 90’s all my doubts had been resolved. I then had to ask myself whether I was being fair in my skepticism or whether I was just being skeptical to be skeptical. That is was I really following the evidence.

  64. Great, I’m the meteorological equivalent of a Bircher….

  65. Larry. A few climatologists _were_ looking at global cooling. But there were many, many more geologists doing it – we shouldn’t lump all scientists in together unless there’s a good reason. If I remember the explanation aright, geologists somehow picked the wrong earlier period as being equivalent to this one – and it led to cooling then. But they were wrong about earth orbit (or something).

    Volcanoes? Human emissions of CO2 are 100 times that of volcanoes.

    Try here. http://www.skepticalscience.com/volcanoes-and-global-warming.htm If that’s not what you’re after, check the Intermediate version then try ‘volcano’ in the search box. There’s a whole heap of posts dealing with volcanoes and their role in climate.

  66. then doesn’t more warmth mean more water evaporation overall and more rainfall world wide?

    Higher water temperatures can lead to fiercer Hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, for example. And, would it be just a gentile increase in rain?

  67. “Questions about Latter-day Saint Temples from a Jewess”

    I would really like to answer the questions of a Jewess more often, about LDS temples or any other thing, but I’m usually in the opium dens tied to a hookah and very few Jewesses will seek me out there.

  68. #65 Mike H.
    More water vapour in the air also means more extreme snow in the winter — like last year. And it’s already visible that the weather patterns are changing with respect to rain too: expect less light rain, more heavy rain — which means more floods. Like last year.

  69. Peter LLC says:

    (Of course there are some great science reporters – but fewer and fewer of them every year)

    Is the decline in population driven by anthropogenic factors? Solar output? Ocean variability?

  70. A couple of anecdotal points in my current work at an environmental consulting firm (though I am not myself an environmental consultant). I’ve worked with and heard from people who are exceptionally knowledgeable about climate change, I can say that a lot of these people have an impressive and balanced grasp of the scientific and political realities of climate change.

    Also, for what it’s worth, I’ve been exposed to how the U.S. military – not exactly known for being full of left-leaning types – and seen that they view climate change as a deadly serious issue. They don’t care about the cause. It’s about the reality that it is happening (and how it will affect geo-political stability now and in the future).

  71. Greg D #48 >>Unlike Jose_X # 39, I thank you for your thoughtful, ad hominem-less, respectful reply.

    Sorry, Greg. Your comment at that point in time gave me the feeling you were willing to ignore everything professionals say and provide an excuse along the lines of “it’s all natural and so I don’t worry about it”. I had a little fun. I didn’t realize it would bother you. Thanks for the honest questions you then asked.

    Larry #59 >>If you believe that CO2, at 1/10 of 1% of all chemicals in the atmosphere, is causing global warming

    From wiki.answers.com: “Botulinum Toxin, is the most acutely toxic substance known. A mere 90-270 nanograms of botulinum toxin could be enough to kill an average 90 kg (200 lb) person.”

    To put this quantity in context, about 10,000,000 people can be killed simply with the quantity of pure Botulinum Toxin that would weigh about the same as a small paperclip.

    This is the same substance used in botox for cosmetic surgery and is one of many substances that can kill humans in tiny amounts but otherwise can save or enhance lives when used properly.

    With this in mind, CO2 in the atmosphere can be very good and it can be very bad. Same thing with fire, water, acid, and many many other things from nature that man has found a way to manipulate and control.

  72. Some people here seem to hate Al Gore more than they love the planet earth, oddly enough.

  73. Some people here seem to hate Al Gore more than they love the planet earth, oddly enough.

    Yet they have no objection to using teh interwebz …

  74. Ugly Mahana says:

    Gore should have stopped while he was ahead. Inventing the internet . . . Good Idea. Inventing global warming . . . Bad Idea.

    (Anyone who points out that Gore did not invent either has no sense of humor. Shame on you.)

  75. Clark–
    “The worse thing that could have happened to global warming was Al Gore and his video. …conservatives, because it was identified with Gore, made seeing it as a conspiracy by liberals as a piece of their identity politics. Ironically I’m sure Gore had the best of intentions but prior to his movie there were plenty of mainstream Republicans who accepted Global Warming but rejected some of the Democratic plans for solving it. …”

    Clark, it sounds like you are blaming Al Gore for making Republicans turn irrational and reject science. Nobody can “make” an opposing political party decide to do anything. He may have inadvertently teed up a scenario where there was a short-term political gain to be had by going anti-science, but Republicans were free to look long term, have a bigger picture about consequences, decide to aggressively make a move to “own” the issue but in their own style, or a bunch of other alternatives. Let’s put the blame where it belongs.

  76. Here is a link to private e-mails from those involved re: Climategate audit without any editing. I think they indicate that this is not settled science. http://climateaudit.org/2011/11/23/private-expressions-of-uncertainty/

  77. clarkgoble says:

    Cynthia (73), humans are humans and instinctively deal in signaling of group identity and the like. Most people aren’t capable of considering the science outside of politics. So yeah, I do blame Gore for making this a signaling issue for Republicans (and Democrats too).

    It’s not that Republicans or Democrats are turning irrational. It’s that this is simply how humans are at a basic cognitive level. If you wanted to get people on board to accept global warming making it a partisan political issue simply isn’t the way to go – especially the current political climate.

    Gore wasn’t the only one to do this though, but given the whole nasty situation after the 2000 election tie (let’s be honest now) I have a hard time thinking of a worse possible spokesperson they could have had. Don’t get me wrong. I think Gore’s heart was definitely in the right place. But he should have realized what would have resulted. (Gore’s no idiot after all)

    To turn it around, imagine George W. Bush becoming the spokesperson for something important in 2008. Do you think that would be a good way to engender bipartisan support?

    Peter (67), the decline in good science reporting is due to the collapse of news as a viable business the way it once was. Primarily due to competition from the internet (Craig’s List, eBay for classified; free news for much else; different marketing methods doing in print ads). Science reporting is expensive and honestly most people don’t care about science. There are still good places to find good science news but those aren’t typically the sites most people find news on anymore.

  78. Clark,

    Al Gore is just the front guy. Maurice Strong is the benefactor who doles out the cash. He is the one who is the main push behind global warming, and the one who believes he is god.

  79. clarkgoble says:

    Larry (76), the main push behind global warming is extremely strong evidence in the science. Gore believed the science correctly. As I said he’s far from an idiot. The problem wasn’t what he said (although he did plunge into hyperbole at times) but rather the fact he was the one saying it.

    BHodges (70) I don’t hate Al Gore. The fact I think him exactly the wrong person to popularize the issue says nothing about what I think about him. As I said I think his heart was completely in the right place. Just that he didn’t think how his role would turn the issue into a partisan signaling issue rather than bring bi-partisan consensus.

  80. Good point about the classifieds; hadn’t thought about that.

  81. Larry #74, what part of that email demonstrated that what part of climate science is not settled? I don’t see your point.

  82. In a dark humor kind of way, I think Kevin Drum about summed it up: “Climate change is the public policy problem from hell. If you were inventing a problem that would be virtually impossible to solve, you’d give it all the characteristics of climate change: it’s largely invisibile, it’s slow moving, it’s expensive to fix, it requires global coordination, and its effects will be disproportionately borne by poor countries that nobody cares about.”

  83. Jose,

    It’s not a single e=mail, it’s a collection of hundreds.

  84. clarkgoble says:

    Larry – recognizing uncertainty != rejection of settled science. Although I hate the term “settled science” since I’d argue inherent to science is the rejection that anything is settled. Rather I think we have to talk about competing theories. The rhetorical trick some use is to try and talk about the thesis of global warming independent of alternative theories. Saying something isn’t settled in a strong sense doesn’t mean one can justifiably say it doesn’t have strong evidence for it. Science always has unexpected twists and turns. (Look at how the conception of gravity changed in the early 20th century and that was probably one of the strongest theories in physics)

    What some do is point to changing science as an argument that all science is untrustworthy.

  85. Larry, can you point to 100 and describe what part of climate science they show is not accepted widely but claimed to be accepted widely by the IPCC or any other report?

    It’s easy to make allegations. You know that. It’s not useful to me for someone to say that a bunch of emails prove apples and pears are the same thing but they won’t show me the emails or which part support their conclusion.

    This article is just about that: people making allegations without support.

  86. Clark,

    I agree with you. However, when I hear hyperbole from climate change advocates that all deniers should be jailed, I worry about their mental status. I will use polar bears as an example. One picture of a polar bear swimming in Arctic waters was sufficient to claim that polar bears were becoming an extinct species and that Arctic ice was melting. Coca Cola is spending millions supporting this claim. As a Canadian who has friends who live in the North, I can tell you that allegation is pure crap. There are as many, if not more, polar bears than there have ever been.
    When I see claims that the Arctic is melting, knowing what is really going on, causes me to wonder about climate change advocates. When I see temperature guages on concrete and ashphalt, with temperature measurements as much as 10-15 degrees higher than surrounding land, I worry about the numbers. When I see temperature predictions 50 years in the future, and they can’t get it accurate 2 days from now, I worry.
    When I know the history of Maurice Strong and his hatred of the oil industry (in the developed world) and his goal to get them, and his seemingly bottomless source of funds to “support” research on gloabal warming, I worry.
    Diminishing the information on the leak of the e-mails in Britain, does nothing to encourage me on global warming. Changing the term from global warming to climate change further caused me to wonder. Seeing the hypocrisy of Al Gore and David Suzuki and the size of their homes and their contribution to what they are fighting, caused me concern. When I learned that they had bought carbon credits in order to continue, and that they owned the companies they bought them from, I no longer worried.
    This is not settled science and I fear it is not science at all, but manipulation of numbers to achieve a political goal well laid out in the Brandt Commission report and the Club of Rome report from the late 70’s. I am a skeptic and not ashamed of it.

  87. Larry,

    Part of your problem is that you believe things like, “One picture of a polar bear swimming in Arctic waters was sufficient to claim that polar bears were becoming an extinct species and that Arctic ice was melting.” Really? Was that ALL it took?

  88. Larry,

    You’re absolutely right. Scientists put a huge amount of reliance on one picture of a polar bear. They’re too stupid to realize that temperatures on concrete and ashphalt (whatever that is) are higher, and fail to control for that in their models. Certainly, conspiracy theories, anecdotal stories from friends and Al Gore’s large house are much better indicators of what’s really going on.

  89. I’d become convinced by the global warming science and enjoyed tweaking family and friends that thought it was all a big conspiracy until lthe publicity surrounding ClimateGate v1 introduced me to more perspectives. Now I take more delight tweaking global warming alarmists since they’re more obnoxious than the deniers and skeptics. (The father-son combo of Roger Pielke Sr and Roger Pielke Jr at the University of Colorado are the two climate scientists whose refereeing on the debate I find most trustworthy. http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/)

    Also, regardless of a person’s perspective on the reality and causes of global warming, everyone should watch this TED video for both the substance and methodological approach. It’s rarely worth discussing global warming with someone until they watch this: http://www.ted.com/talks/bjorn_lomborg_sets_global_priorities.html

  90. Larry:

    >> However, when I hear hyperbole from climate change advocates

    Let’s keep that in mind for a second.

    >> One picture of a polar bear swimming in Arctic waters was sufficient to claim that polar bears were becoming an extinct species and that Arctic ice was melting.

    This sounds like hyperbole to me. Do you have any evidence to suggest that a single picture of a swimming power bear has led scientists or much anyone to declare that (a) polar bears are becoming extinct and/or (b) Arctic ice is melting?

    Honestly. Arctic Ice “is melting”. This comes from measurements of Arctic Ice and has nothing to do with any polar bears.

    [The polar bear issue has nothing to do with climate science, although, the climate might possibly be leading to polar bear reduction in numbers.. I don't know.]

    >> As a Canadian who has friends who live in the North, I can tell you that allegation is pure crap.

    You and your friends have been counting bears for decades? I’m almost curious to know.

    >> When I see claims that the Arctic is melting, knowing what is really going on

    You have been measuring Arctic sea ice?

    Here is one link about people who have been making real measurements http://www.skepticalscience.com/Arctic-sea-ice-hockey-stick-melt-unprecedented-in-last-1450-years.html

    >> When I see temperature guages on concrete and ashphalt, with temperature measurements as much as 10-15 degrees higher than surrounding land, I worry about the numbers.

    Do you know what is anomaly temperatures? These are temperature differences. Global warming is suggested because whether on concrete or anywhere else, global average temperatures in urban and in rural areas have been going up (global averages.. not individual location averages since some parts of planet might be cooler but most are warmer).

    A group of skeptics funded by various groups with large interests in the oil industry (the industry most hurt by CO2 restrictions in law) came to the conclusion (to their surprise) that the climate data was legitimate and almost exactly the same to what they determined after statistical analysis of various sorts. They accounted for urban heat and numerous other issues.

    >> When I see temperature predictions 50 years in the future, and they can’t get it accurate 2 days from now, I worry.

    Can you name a single climatologist that is claiming to know the temperature or the rainfall or anything else in the year 2100?

    You are confusing detailed weather forecasts with average long-term climate variable predictions.

    >> When I know the history of Maurice Strong

    Is that a climate scientist?

    >> Diminishing the information ..Changing the term from global warming ..Al Gore and David Suzuki and the size of their homes ..

    I don’t see what any of that (and I didn’t understand all of these examples) has to do with climate science.

    >> This is not settled science

    No science is settled science. Do you know what science is?

    What we have is the the experts are largely in consensus on a number of points.

    Larry, you made no references to actual science results and several references to Al Gore. Did you notice that?

  91. Matt Evans, I started watching the ted presentation. Due to shortage of time, can you summarize the point with respect to climate change?

    What I did get was that a guy was assuming the 7 billion people on the planet aren’t capable of working on more than a few very important problems at a time.

    Have you looked around? There are people working on all sorts of problems. Different people have different interests and strengths and find different places where they can make a difference.

    Also, what part of “climategate1″ changed your perspective? You are aware that these emails, just like with climategate2, have been taken out of context repeatedly? Barry Bickmore covered one of the more “damaging” parts of climategate1 here: http://bbickmore.wordpress.com/2010/05/27/series-climate-conspiracy-theories-in-utah-part-1/

  92. #82 Larry
    Can you point to at least some emails that prove anything like “the science isn’t settled”? Or are you expecting people to browse a few thousands of them, research them and contruct a context, and then do detective’s job on them, to decide whether you’re right or not? So far, there’s nothing special in the emails that have been singled out by various groups — unless they are doctored, twisted and commented to show intended meanings. It’s hardly a surprise, taking into account that what you’re dealing with now is warmed-up leftovers of the previous pseudo-scandal, rushed out of the kitchen by the same chef that prepared the earlier dish. The first happenned two weeks before Copenhagen, the second ten days before Durban. What a strange and unexpected coincidence.

  93. #88 Matt Evans
    Just of of curiosity, could you present a few points that the so-called Climategate made you change your mind about?

  94. #85 Larry
    >”When I see temperature guages on concrete and ashphalt, with temperature measurements as much as 10-15 degrees higher than surrounding land, I worry about the numbers. When I see temperature predictions 50 years in the future, and they can’t get it accurate 2 days from now, I worry.”

    Perhaps then you should learn about how temperature series are constructed, to ease your mind a bit. Each such series undergoes the homogenization of data, a process in which a sudden difference of 10-15 degrees would stick out like a sore thumb and would be immediately corrected. Also, weather stations are categorized as more credible (rural) and less credible (urban, peri-urban) and weighted accordingly. The result is that only the credible (rural) stations are taken into account for the long-term temperature trends:

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/

    “In step 1, if there are multiple records at a given location, these are combined into one record; in step 2, the urban and peri-urban (i.e., other than rural) stations are adjusted so that their long-term trend matches that of the mean of neighboring rural stations. Urban stations without nearby rural stations are dropped.”

    As for your second sentence, don’t confuse weather with climate. Climate is weather averaged over long terms. It’s as if you said “they can’t predict the next number winning on this roulette wheel, yet they want me to believe that in 100 000 spins I’ll see very close to 2630 red twelves”. Exactly so, Larry. Nobody will tell you what the weather will be on December 3rd 2013 in Toronto, but it can be quite well predicted that if we double the atmospehric concentration of CO2, the average global temperatures will evebtually rise by ~3 degrees. It’s been done before — Hansen’s predictions from over 20 years ago were the closest to reality, even if not perfect:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Hansen-1988-prediction.htm

  95. Larry, 2 things to note. Only Pielke senior is a climate scientist. Junior isn’t.

    Arctic sea ice. Here’s a nifty animation of the decline in sea ice over the last 30 years.

  96. Jose,

    You are too much fun. Go ask the researcher who did the study and has now is under investigation for creating false data.

  97. I love trees and am very sad about the huge loss of grand old trees in Davis and Weber Counties (Utah) this week. I ride my bike to work. I think we need to use less fosil fuel and continue reducing pollution. I guess I’m also a human caused warming skeptic. Sorry. I’m old enough to remember when 97% of scientists were warning us of the coming ice age. I’m skeptical of all scientists, politicians, and church leaders who claim to have all the answers and want to herd us to their version of Nirvana. I’m pretty sure the computer model doesn’t exist that captures all the variables that impact earth’s climate. My very unscientific conclusion is that sun spots probably more than anything else control our climate. Call me crazy.

  98. ops. “is now under investigation”

  99. StillConfused says:

    I love that whatever the latest fear thing is always seems to get a reality check from God. First there was Global Cooling and the temperatures didn’t cool. Then there was Global Warming and the warming didn’t come. Then there was just Global Climate Change and the weather patterns were actually milder than anticipated. I think it is God’s way of reminding us who is really in charge.

  100. Here’s a little more data . . . http://foia2011.org/. I don’t like the “I told you so” approach to showing why I don’t agree with climate change or global warming anymore than those who agree with it do, so don’t keep asking for proof. I’m not the most learned on the subject, but I have followed it for a number of years and the most cionsistent argument I find against warming is the only certain studies, often one or two, are used and lots of others ignored in order to make a point.
    I frankly don’t trust those who are dependent on grants from a particular source to produce good science. I suspect that careers at universities are dependent on a particular point of view to an issue like warming. Otherwise, why would comment after comment complain about studies that were ignored in order to bring abouit a conclusion that fulfilled an agenda and not good science.

  101. #95 Neal
    “I’m old enough to remember when 97% of scientists were warning us of the coming ice age.”

    Then you’re an example of a guy who sees the past through his mind’s eyes, not as it really was:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/ice-age-predictions-in-1970s.htm

    Perhaps you mistook journalists looking after a story for scientists.

  102. #94 Larry
    Did you bother to check what the investigation is really about?

    http://blogs.nature.com/news/2011/08/polar_bear_researcher_is_back.html

    Where did you get this “for creating false data” part from? It’s a trick directly equivalent to what Mr. Lawrence did in the article that prompted Dr. Bickmore to respond in the first place.

  103. #95 Neal
    And how do you arrive at the conclusion “it’s sunspots” (read: solar activity) when there’s not even a correlation between them and Earth’s surface temperatures?

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/solar-activity-sunspots-global-warming.htm

  104. #98 Larry
    And what can you say about the e-mails other than provide a link? I repeat: judging by those that have been singled out as media-worthy, nothing in this latest batch says that there should be any doubts about the science behind the AGW theory. Could you please be a bit specific about what you think the e-mails exemplify?

  105. clarkgoble says:

    Larry, I’d but urge caution and not judge something based upon what some of its proponents believe. The mere fact that Al Gore and Maurice Strong believe something says nothing about its truth. The fact that some proponents of global warming very into ridiculous, hyperbole and worse says nothing about whether global warming is true. It merely means they choose very counterproductive ways to persuade people.

    Might I suggest examining the science? And to be fair, consider what it would take to convince you. (There is no such thing as proof as such in science – science by its very nature is forever tentative)

    For the record it bothers me immensely that so many believers in global warming seem to adopt rhetoric designed to turn people away from accepting global warming and then complain that people don’t accept it. Calling people stupid for being skeptical (even if their reasoning is horrible) is simply not the way to convince people. I think that many prefer to “have the truth” and be “better than those irrational doubters” rather than actually educating people or solving the problem. As I said it’s much more about in-group signaling and differentiating one from the out-group. It’s identity politics on both sides and that’s a dang shame because we really should be examining the science.

  106. Larry, Mann (the researcher) was cleared of all serious charges.

  107. This might help Jose understand why I feel the way I do. Many thanks to Clark, who at least is causing me to acknowledge that there are good people on both sides of this argument. I will try to be more critical in my undrstanding and acceptance of information.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2066706/BBC-sought-advice-global-warming-scientists-economy-drama-music–game-shows.html

    Also this. It has 2 parts = one on Dec1 and the other on Dec. 2. http://climateaudit.org/2011/12/01/hide-the-decline-plus/

  108. Clark,

    How do I become convinced that Maurice Strong isn’t the major push behind global warming when he finances so much research from so many of his organizations . . . somewhat like George Soros and his Media Matters influence on the American press. Between the two of them, they spent over $500 million on environmental issues in Canada alone last year, according to a recent article. If they spent that here, how much elsewhere, and how much power do they wield?

  109. Here are a couple of sites that might prove interesting. One is a brief biography and reference to a book he published, and the other is the recent revelation provided bt Japanese satellite that raises some interesting questions. It’s individuals and articles like these that keep me a sceptic.

    http://john-o-sullivan.suite101.com/ and http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/japanese-satellites-say-3rd-world-owes-co2-reparations-to-the-west/

  110. This site provides references to the various e mails that were hacked with dates etc. for those who might be interested.

    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/emails-in-order/

  111. #106 Larry,
    Will you please provide any specifics, or are you just going to channel tabloids and denialist blogs? Have you noticed how the tabloid doesn’t even include the e-mails in question, and instead simply tells you what to think, based on at most single sentences given out of context? And do you need proof that the denialist blog spreads misinformation? Here’s the original paper on the “divergence problem” that supposedly was being “hidden” in 2003:

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v391/n6668/abs/391678a0.html

    It’s dated 1998, as you can see. It is quoted in the IPCC Third Assessment Report (TAR) in 2001:

    http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/068.htm

    “[...]the biological response to climate forcing may change over time. There is evidence, for example, that high latitude tree-ring density variations have changed in their response to temperature in recent decades, associated with possible non-climatic factors (Briffa et al., 1998a).[...]Thus climate reconstructions based entirely on tree-ring data are susceptible to several sources of contamination or non-stationarity of response. For these reasons, investigators have increasingly found tree-ring data most useful when supplemented by other types of proxy information in “multi-proxy” estimates of past temperature change (Overpeck et al., 1997; Jones et al., 1998; Mann et al., 1998; 1999; 2000a; 2000b; Crowley and Lowery, 2000).”
    By that time, the paper had already had dozens, if not hundreds of quotations. How can you possibly “hide” anything by publishing papers about it? Any specialist knew that high latitude Nothern Hemisphere tree rings had this problem. None of them would be surprised to see the “declining” part of reconstructions discarded, as it was obvious it was useless — that’s sixties we’re talking about, when instrumental temperature record was available. The whole supposed problem is a tempest in a teapot, with no significance as far as the scientific knowledge — or scientists’ integrity — is concerned.

  112. #99 and #101 No need to provide the site on the coming ice age projected years ago. I remember as a kid worrying how I would survive. It’s nice that we all have sites that support our positions. Maybe sunspots aren’t one of the big factors that affect climate. “It’s possible” as Wesley said to Prince Humperdink. Maybe the reason we haven’t seen the global warming hockey stick is because of Chinese particulates. “It’s possible.” While we wait for the hockey stick or the naked emperor perhaps there are some things on which we can agree. For example: I think it’s appalling. Yes I said appalling that our duly elected officials continue to allow coal fired power plants right here in the good ole USofA to operate without scrubbers. The technology for which has been around for years. Just another example of how these guys are bought and sold like trading stamps. I suggest that instead of holding our breath to avoid flooding Manhattan we work together on polluters that should have been shut down years ago.

  113. Scientists, as a group, never said the Earth was cooling. One scientist did. A scientist named Schneider in 1971 published a paper describing a model that showed the Earth’s atmosphere would cool. It got printed in Newsweek, and so was born the myth that science once taught the Earth was cooling. The modeler went back and realized the model had underestimated CO2, and overestimated aerosols from volcanic eruptions. Was cooling a scientific consensus? Were data coming in from freezing glaciers in alpine regions? Was arctic ice getting thicker? Were species from multiple taxa, everywhere you looked, redistributing because of a cooling planet? Were oceans becoming less acidic? Was there less CO2 and other greenhouse gasses being measured in the air? Were temperatures actually being measured as going down from multiple sources? Were multiple models, from multiple independent labs, located in multiple countries across the world, converging to the same story? No. No, to all of these. One guy. One inadequate model. One more weapon in deniers arsenal to put up a smoke screen to the scientific story unfolding on ACC.

  114. I just want to say while it seems highly likely we are affecting the climate, I disagree with the scope and scale of our impact of that estimated effect, as well as the suggested remedies being banded about. Despite that… when I read the first few sentences of the Merriddian article I though the problem with modern society is not the “those” climate people as the author tried to claim, but rather his devisive attitude which is naturally found present in some on the other side of the issue as well.

    We would do well to remember we should emulate He who is an advocate for his fellow men and not he who is the accuser and adversary to them.

    Doesn’t mean we can’t disagree or even condemn if appropriate but as people who are trying to be saints you’d think we could hold ourselves to a higher standard.

  115. Betty W. Johnson says:

    Does anyone still give any credibility at all to anything printed in Meridian Magazine?

  116. One of the things that is going on is … no one wants to think that the Devil is winning. Since the Devil is much hotter, one result of the Devil winning is that the earth will warm up. If God were winning, the temperatures would all be getting closer to 68 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the temperature of God. No extreme temperatures can abide His presence. But we are driving God from the planet by not praying to Him in school and by electing a Kenyan president. Kenyans should be presidents in Kenya, Americans should presidents in America.

    I don’t think we should fear, though. We should be assured the Devil won’t win. In fact, there is evidence that the Devil knoweth not the mind of God, because this warming is going to drown the coastlines, where they all live.

  117. I’m not a scientist, but even I have noticed that sometimes when the ice melts in my lemonade glass, the lemonade spills out over the sides of the glass. It’s kind of like science to notice this. Now, think about all those iceburghs melting, and think about the average number of feet above sea level in the State of Florida. Perhaps you can’t see God’s wrath when he looks at Florida, but I can.

  118. #112 Neal,
    Nobody could possibly question what you remember. It’s one thing, however, to say “I remember I was worrying how I would survive”, and quite another to claim that “97% of scientists were warning us of the coming ice age”. They weren’t. You can verify that for yourself, checking publication databases. Only about 10% of them told about a cooling/mini ice age, as opposed to ~60% predicting a warming. What you remember is most probably media stories selling a sensation — just like the one about “Climategate” that they are attempting to sell right now. You can always count on them to find a scare and blow it completely out of proportions.

    I don’t have Dr Bickmore’s expertise, but a few years ago I was a “skeptic”, too. And I changed my mind quite fast when I tried to actually verify things that I came to believe based on other people’s opinions. Very, very few of them turned out to be true. What I’M appalled with is the amount and the degree of misinformation surrounding with the issue — misinformation that’s predominantly coming from one side of the supposed debate, unfortunately.

  119. clarkgoble says:

    How do I become convinced that Maurice Strong isn’t the major push behind global warming

    Investigate the science. Look at the peer reviewed papers. The evidence is there. You just need to be willing to look.

  120. Can we just name Thomas Parkin commenter of the century, exempt him from the weekly competition and keep nominating lesser comments as BCotW?

  121. Ray, I was about to ask Thomas Parkin if he’s running for BCotW, and tell him he had my vote…

  122. Clark,

    I guess my response to that is that there is a vast amount of money poured into research, and corruption beyond the pale, that I see happening by the proponents of global warming. The hysteria that they create and the economies they destroy leads me to believe that it is a religion more than a science. Peer pressure in that field is sufficient to destroy the careers of those that have doubts about the research and the conclusions. There are plenty of good scientists that see errors in the data collected, and the manipulation of formulas used who are not given the time of day, Without those voices being heard, and debates had, how can we believe. If the data being passed around as peer reviewed is false or manipulated in the beginning, it is false or manipulated in the end, I linked earlier to research data provided by an investigation into the East Anglia e-mails. There was a whole lot of doubts expressed and concern voiced about the data, and yet it was accepted as fact.
    If one doesn’t have faith in the data that is used, then one can’t believe. The reason Maurice Strong is my question is that I know a little of his background and a lot about his objectives and influence, and I can’t believe that his money and influence are to a righteous end. He will have that science reach his conclusions and no other.
    As I said, he wields vast sums of money and he uses it accordingly. The powerful in that field worship and eat at his table, plain and simple.

  123. Steve Evans says:

    wow.

  124. Paul and Ray,

    I am not concerned about the honors of men. I serve only a particular conception of God, and these United States of America.

    (But thanks, you brought a climate change, a veritable warming trend, to my heart, this morning. *wink*)

  125. Ron Madson says:

    In support of Thomas..this is how God really shows his glory…

    http://themormonworker.wordpress.com/2011/04/14/environmentalists-say-the-craziest-things/

  126. I don’t understand all this love for Thomas Parkin. He’s got the science all wrong when he says, “If God were winning, the temperatures would all be getting closer to 68 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the temperature of God. No extreme temperatures can abide His presence.” I would direct him to the scriptures, where it clearly says that lukewarm is not of God: Revelation 3:16: “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”

  127. #121 Larry,

    “Peer pressure in that field is sufficient to destroy the careers of those that have doubts about the research and the conclusions”

    — can you support this claim somehow? How do you know that? Dp you really expect people to believe in this conspiracy theory of epic proportions, whereby ALL climate scientists in the world, and ALL earth science departments conspire to silence any voice of dissent? And it actually would have to be much worse, since earth science/climatology is a fairly cross-discipline area of study, you’d have to include a lot of physicists, biologists, statisticians etc. in the conspiracy as well.

    “I linked earlier to research data provided by an investigation into the East Anglia e-mails”

    — yes, you linked a batch of emails, and no specifics, except for a tabloid article and a denialist blog. You’re as if waving a pile of papers shouting “these here prove very bad things!” but for some reason you’re not able to say what bad things exactly.

    And you know, this latest batch is just some more of the old thing. And since the old thing was published, there have been about nine investigations on both side of the Atlantic, from university to parliamentary level, each single one vindicating the science and the scientists — even though they voiced concerns about openness etc. Wouldn’t that mean that you have to widen the conspiracy considerably? Don’t you think it’s beginning to look a bit too far-fecthed?

  128. No matter the person or the topic, an e-mail that announces “you have some apologies to make” is not likely to be an effective form of communication. Anyone who spends any time in the public eye gets hate mail. And most of them deposit it right into the circular file. I certainly do.

  129. Cynthia,

    I think Clark has a point. There is some great psych research indicating that people’s cognitive processes (including their evaluation of scientific evidence) are influenced by their cultural views. (See http://www.culturalcognition.net/ — it’s really great stuff). Given the reality of cultural cognition, of course Al Gore’s endorsement is going to have an effect. Conservatives will see the idea of climate change as tied to an unreliable and objectionable speaker, and will therefore be likely to view the disputed matters of fact in the opposite way.

  130. And in particular, I would recommend this paper, which dispels some popular ideas about climate change denial (for instance, that people who deny climate change are less scientifically literate).

    The paper abstract reads:

    The Tragedy of the Risk-Perception Commons: Culture Conflict, Rationality Conflict, and Climate Change

    The conventional explanation for controversy over climate change emphasizes impediments to public understanding: limited popular knowledge of science, the inability of ordinary citizens to assess technical information, and the resulting widespread use of unreliable cognitive heuristics to assess risk. A large survey of U.S. adults (N = 1540) found little support for this account. On the whole, the most scientifically literate and numerate subjects were slightly less likely, not more, to see climate change as a serious threat than the least scientifically literate and numerate ones. More importantly, greater scientific literacy and numeracy were associated with greater cultural polarization: respondents predisposed by their values to dismiss climate change evidence became more dismissive, and those predisposed by their values to credit such evidence more concerned, as science literacy and numeracy increased. We suggest that this evidence reflects a conflict between two levels of rationality: the individual level, which is characterized by citizens’ effective use of their knowledge and reasoning capacities to form risk perceptions that express their cultural commitments; and the collective level, which is characterized by citizens’ failure to converge on the best available scientific evidence on how to promote their common welfare. Dispelling this “tragedy of the risk-perception commons,” we argue, should be understood as the central aim of the science of science communication.

  131. Matt Evans says:

    The Climategate publicity introduced me to good referees like Roger Pielke Sr, the emails themselves didn’t convince me of anything except that a lot of physical scientists suffer from confirmation bias and ego trenching like everyone else.

    Jose, keep watching the video. It’s worth your time and he addresses your question. (We can’t do everything; every project and effort reduces the resources for alternatives.)

  132. Matt Evans says:

    That’s an interesting abstract, Kaimi. Is the paper worth reading?

  133. Cynthia that is far worse. Are you saying God LIKES cold then? This is horrible. I might have to start being disobedient. So are we assuming each degree of glory is colder? I’m somewhat okay with 68. I have sweatshirts I could survive. I’m made for hot and humid…born that way if you will. OH no. what if we celebrate Christmas during the winter to prepare us for the cold of christ’s coming. this is up there with polygamy for me as far as discouraging righteousness.

    I have enough speculation at church I figured I better redirect it.

    That said. When I first heard about he emails “disproving” global warming, my first thought was: why does it really matter? It will always be the right thing to recycle, care for the earth….

  134. Kaimi,

    I sort of believe the claim that more “scientific literacy” makes one more likely to be a climate change contrarian. The more nominally educated you are about science in general, the more likely you might be to think you can dispense with expert opinion about a specific scientific topic. I have seen this a number of times, especially among people like electrical engineers. For instance, climatologists talk about the climate system being dominated by “positive feedbacks,” but to an electrical engineer that means the system should be unstable. Since it obviously isn’t unstable, many EEs think climatologists are full of hooey. What they don’t realize is that the climatologists are using the terminology a little differently, i.e., they have a different zero point. Most EEs don’t bother to look into it far enough to realize this.

  135. Larry, you wrote:

    “I frankly don’t trust those who are dependent on grants from a particular source to produce good science. I suspect that careers at universities are dependent on a particular point of view to an issue like warming.”

    I think looking at funding is a reasonable way to glimpse where someone’s biases might come from, or their ideology a la Maurice Strong and Al Gore. That is no substitute for the process is science itself, which is designed to protect researchers from their inherent bias.

    And also looking at funding and ideology does go both ways. For example, much of the small amount of research out there that minimizes the amount of global warming or potential danger comes from researchers funded by fossil fuel companies(Willie Soon and Sally Baliunas), or who have overtly expressed libertarian ideology (Roy Spencer), or both (Pat Michaels).

    I don’t think it’s fair to look at one set of hidden potential bias, but not the overt evidence. Also, even those “contrarians” don’t deny AGW, they just try to claim it won’t be as bad as the majority says..

  136. Sorry Larry, should read more like “no substitute for looking at the science itself, the process of which protects one from one’s biases”.

  137. it's a series of tubes says:

    Indeed, which is another reason why you can’t see what you claim to have seen.

    William, it’s not clear to me why you are so insistent on claiming I am lying. threatened somehow? Methinks you protest too much.

    With a little searching of my email archives, I found the graph where I originally noticed the lag:

    If you continue to claim that I didn’t see CO2 rise lagging temperature rise after reviewing that graph, then further conversation is clearly pointless.

  138. Barry, you should either edit your #135 or admit that your harangue against Gary Lawrance slandering people with inept internet musings applies to you as well. “Most EE’s…” What, you took a poll? Or are you just omniscient?

  139. it's a series of tubes says:

    I also liked his indirect “nominally educated” swipe in that post as well.

  140. clarkgoble says:

    I guess my response to that is that there is a vast amount of money poured into research, and corruption beyond the pale, that I see happening by the proponents of global warming.

    I think the problem with going the route of conspiracy theory is that you then end up in a position that you can’t test your own beliefs. After all if evidence appears that contradicts your belief you just discount it as a lie. One’s position becomes unassailable.

    The problem is that I am very convinced that there isn’t widespread “corruption beyond the pale.” Further when even skeptics typically go into the data and examine it they end up coming up with similar results. Consider the review of temperature data by Berkley skeptic Richard Muller.

    I think any position that requires an unfathomably competent conspiracy is always wrong. I’m not saying people don’t conspire. Just that one can’t do it without mistakes. Further your view requires basically that every single climate scientist be part of the conspiracy. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying scientists are above being human. They have their own views, suffer confirmation bias and so forth just like the rest of us.

    All of this is why I said you should decide up front what it would take to convince you and then investigate the data itself as directly as possible. It’s honestly not hard to do. I think you’ll find that if you look at the science rather than all these side shows that you’ll find the data is pretty solid. At worst you’ll find a disagreement over degree.

  141. Clark,

    You make too much sense. I guess I knew that at the visceral level, but refused to acknowledge it, because of the bias’ I have re: some who are promoting it. I mixed environment and green propaganda with the science and missed the real point of the science.
    Thanks for the correction. I will try to study the science with more diligence and separate bias from fact.

  142. > it’s a series of tubes Says: …why you are so insistent on claiming I am lying

    I didn’t; I was more polite. I said you weren’t telling the truth. You still aren’t.

    > With a little searching of my email archives, I found the graph where I originally noticed the lag:
    > http://www.daviesand.com/Choices/Precautionary_Planning/New_Data/IceCores1.gif

    You’re not thinking clearly – exactly the same analysis that demonstrates that you can’t possibly see a 500 year lag in the picture you previously claimed to see it in, shows that you can’t see it in that one, either.

    That picture uses 600 pixels to show 400 kyr. Each pixel is thus 666 years. It is not possible to see a lag of 500 years. And no, I don’t think you could even see a one-pixel lag either.

    If you want to see the lags, you need to use a higher resolution image. Like the one I pointed you to earlier:

    See the lag now? Oh…

    Anyway, I think it is time you stopped pretending that you could see the lag just by looking at the pix. What actually happened is you read this stuff on some blog or another. There is no great shame in that.

  143. Whoa, assuming that the sentiment of comment #142 is sincere (which I think it is) then I have to say that I’m not only pleasantly surprised but a bit shocked by the exchange between Clark and Larry here. How rare is it that on an acrimonious topic like this, a meeting of minds and sincere willingness to reconsider one’s position emerges from a discussion in the comments on a blog? Very impressed, Larry.

  144. KLC,

    Sorry, I should have said, “Most EEs who have discussed climate change with me.” I have also talked with EEs who agree with me about it, but have noted the same problem with their EE friends.

  145. What Brad said.

  146. Tubes #140,

    I didn’t mean “nominally educated” as a swipe. I should have supplied more context before saying such a thing, though. If most people have a question about “science,” they assume any “scientist” will do to answer it, even though scientists nowadays are really quite specialized. And so we have situations cropping up like the “Oregon Petition,” which was a statement saying there’s no evidence that humans are doing much to the climate, signed by over 30,000 “scientists” (meaning anyone with a bachelor’s degree or above in any science/math/health/engineering field.) This impresses a lot of people, but someone like me sees the qualifications of the signatories and says, “Why does anyone care what some collection of veterinarians, mechanical engineers, entomologists, and lab technicians thinks about the evidence regarding global warming?”

    So my point is that it shouldn’t be surprising that “scientifically literate” people think one thing or another about global warming. Maybe it should matter what “scientifically literate” people who have deeply looked into the problem think, but that’s a different question.

  147. “Why does anyone care what some collection of veterinarians, mechanical engineers, entomologists, and lab technicians thinks about the evidence regarding global warming?”

    Barry, you left geologists off your list.

  148. KLC,

    Well, some geologists actually study paleoclimate, but if you mean ME, then I’m fine with that. If I were telling people to discount the views of 97-98% of actively publishing climatologists based on MY credentials, that would be relevant. But I’m not.

  149. KLC,

    I think you are missing my point, in any case. A general scientific background definitely makes it easier to look into climate science. It’s just very unlikely that most people with a scientific background actually have gone to all that work. And when there is some issue like a difference in basic terminology (like there is between EE-speak and Climatology-speak), your background can sometimes hinder you!

    So my comments were not meant to insult anyone, or put anyone down, and I have never claimed that I am an expert in climatology. When I explain my point as I have in the last paragraph, do you find anything to disagree with?

  150. Barry, I may be missing your point but I think you are also missing mine. Inspite of your good intentions you’re coming across like most passionate proponents of climate change:

    “Most people are dumb, even people with marginal scientific knowledge. But the smart people, like me, think climate change is really,really important and anyone who doesn’t think that is just an idiot.”

    You keep on plowing that same field with such self righteous vigor that when someone like Clark Goble tries to inject new and insightful comments and facts into this tired old internet tug of war you can’t even lift your eyes out of the “people are stupid, except for me and my homies” furrow to notice.

    People’s resistance to current climate change rhetoric reflects fundamental human nature that isn’t going to be remedied by academics preening their scientific wisdom in internet debates and calling their opponents idiots. Sometimes I wonder if climate change proponents really want to make progress or do they just want to feel more smug than the masses while accomplishing nothing? If progress is the goal I would suggest they re-evaluate their approach since current tactics are yielding less and less fruit. But if smugness is the goal they’re doing fine.

  151. ““So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.””

    Cynthia – if we had a better translation of this verse it would read “because thou are perfect, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” Sort of like Mama Bear, Papa Bear and Baby bear. Papa Bear and Baby Bear were always too this or that, but Mama Bear was always just right. Would you rather be spued out of his mouth or chewed up lie cud? Cause God is going to masticate the cold and hot.

  152. it's a series of tubes says:

    Anyway, I think it is time you stopped pretending that you could see the lag just by looking at the pix. What actually happened is you read this stuff on some blog or another. There is no great shame in that.

    William, again, you are knocking down a straw man. Rereading my original post, I can see how you might have the takeaway that “I see a 500 year lag on the graph”. Restating more clearly, I was saying that I noticed SOME LAG when I looked at the graph. When I initially noticed it, I had no idea of the size of the lag, nor did it appear to matter – a subsequent event can’t cause a prior event, regardless of the time between then. Your point regarding the resolution of the graph is indeed accurate – but it does not contradict my clarified statement, because I never claimed that the graph illustrated a ~500 yr lag.

    Also, please note my response to Barry’s #3 in my #8. When I first noticed the lag a few years ago, it was something of an “aha” moment, because I thought I was uncovering a significant detail. But the explanation in the link Barry provided makes sense to me.

  153. Now here is a study that claims IPCC does have a political agenda and does falsify data. How am I to read this?

    http://newnostradamusofthenorth.blogspot.com/2011/12/ipcc-falsified-satellite-altimetry-we.html?spref=tw

  154. Larry #154,

    Morner looks like one of those self-proclaimed experts relying on anecdote to get his point about data obfuscation and conspiracy across. Look at the comments in the same blog link you posted, do your own research and debunking, and then enlighten us about the real state of sea level data. Thanks.

  155. “How am I to read this?”

    Larry, I would look at this with the eye of the Larry from 142.

    Consider the source, and what the bulk of the science says. Here is a link to an article about “sealevel gate” that to my eye looks like a strong and well-reasoned rebuttal. But I would be very interested in what you thought of its tone and content… http://www.skepticalscience.com/Nils-Axel-Morner-wrong-about-sea-level-rise.html

  156. #154 Larry,
    Perhaps you should simply hear both sides of the story:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=1153

  157. KLC,

    You seem to be reading a lot into whatever I said here. Can you point to any examples of where I said anyone was an idiot if they didn’t think like me? In fact, in the text of my post I said, “Now, I’m not saying any of this to tar anyone for disagreeing with me about the seriousness of human-caused climate change. After all, until a few years ago I didn’t think it was that big of a deal, either, and I had less of an excuse than most people, since I’m a trained Earth scientist.” And for what it’s worth, I liked Clark’s comments, but didn’t feel the need to say anything about them.

    Now, getting the “tone” of informal writing just right is hard business, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I come across as snotty, sometimes. In fact, I could give you some links to some instances where I’m sure I have. But in this case, I just don’t see where my tone was so terrible. In fact, when you took issue with how I said something, I corrected myself, and when you came after me for trying to imply I was an expert, I made sure to clarify that I make no such claim. I even tried to clarify my point in a way that I hoped wouldn’t upset you.

    But no such luck. You seem determined to take offense where none was intended.

  158. Wrong. He is not a self-proclaimed expert relying on anecdotal evidence. He is a researcher, with the credentials to back it up, who has done his own studies. He knows what he is talking about. To debunk him as a self-proclaimed expert is to commit the same error that those who debunk global warming based on Al Gore are committing, IMHO.

  159. Agreed, let’s bring back Larry 142 please.

  160. Barry, I’m not offended because so far I haven’t said anything about my education or my sympathies for climate change science, both of which are much closer to yours than you’re assuming. But you seem determined to ignore what I’m trying to say. You are clearly a passionate advocate for global climate change awareness. Your rhetoric about nominally educated people and clueless engineers who don’t get it like you do are revealing. Yes, you tried to explain what you meant, but could I suggest that you are quick to explain what you think you meant and slow to examine your own biases and preconceptions? I mentioned Clark’s comments because I thought it was interesting how quick you were to explain away the study he cited about education levels among critics of global climate change. People are lauding Larry for stepping back and admitting that maybe he has some biases that are affecting his views. Why is it only those on that side of the debate that should be willing to do that? I’m saying that maybe you have some of those preconceptions as well that are hindering the debate and maybe you could take some time to examine them.

    What is the goal for passionate defenders of climate change like yourself? Do you just want to feel superior to those on the other side or do you want to effect real change? Real change will only happen in the political arena of votes and money not in the laboratory or on the pages of journals. Dwelling on the ignorance or stupidity or lack of hard work on the part of those who hold those votes seems like a strange way of winning them. If change is the real goal then the fundamental tactics have to change, speaking down to your opposition is not going to get us there.

  161. Larry, he may be right, and maybe the article’s tone was too dismissive, but what did you think about the scientific arguments against his position?

  162. KLC,

    At what point did I say anything about your education or your sympathies? I’m just wondering, because I actually had the impression from your comments that you might have similar sympathies to mine. I did think you must have some kind of chip on your shoulder about the education thing, however, so maybe you’re partly right about my “assumptions” there. (I thought maybe you were an electrical engineer.)

    I’m biased just like everyone else, but at least I know I’m capable of changing my mind about something like this because I already have. In any case, just because I would like to be the sort of person who draws in all the skeptics by sheer force of my reasonableness doesn’t mean I’m going to roll over for anyone who starts accusing me of, well… all the stuff you’ve been accusing me of while providing no evidence. If you want me to step back and examine my biases about… I don’t know exactly what… then you’re going to have to do better than that.

    So far all you’ve got is that I was too quick to dismiss a study Clark cited… except that I was responding to a study Kaimi cited, so I’m assuming you mean that. (I was wondering what the heck Clark had to do with anything.) Anyway, what’s the problem with what I said? Kaimi cited the study to show that people who don’t believe humans cause much climate change aren’t necessarily “scientifically illiterate”. I agreed, and gave an example from my experience showing that sometimes a person’s scientific literacy in particular fields can be an impediment to understanding, at least at first. Personally, I would think a reasonable person would have taken from that exchange that even though Bickmore is a “passionate defender” of mainstream climate science, he still acknowledges that you can be a scientifically literate, intelligent person and disagree with him. Bickmore just happens to think that if such people would look into it more, they would change their minds.

    But even though all that follows from what I SAID, you started going off on me about what you were sure I MEANT. You’re still sure that’s what I meant. And now you’re telling me all about what I’m assuming about you, which is mostly wrong.

    From the get-go it has seemed to me that you have been trying to provoke me into confirming your own biases about me, and when I don’t oblige, you make stuff up about me. What’s that about?

  163. #161, KLC,
    “Why is it only those on that side of the debate that should be willing to do that?”

    Because it’s that side of the debate that demonstrably contradicts the opinion of 97-98% of actively publishing specialists. If we rely on the existence of a thing such as scientific knowledge, then only one side of the debate may be right about it. There’s no symmetry in this case. If one side of the debate makes extraordinary claims (contradicts the science), the onus is on these people to present extraordinary evidence. And they consistently fail to do so.

  164. Here’s where I see the problem, and hopefully can offer a solution. Most of the information I find comes from sources I find on the internet. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to research every argument. In the main I trust my sources (which carries burdens with it) to present the material fairly, because it is truth we all seek. Apparently, I have been let down.
    My recommendation is that a site be set up where all articles are presented, without bias, and a discussion (or argument) ensue with the proper standards of argument followed.
    I am impressed with the level of discussion of those reasonable people on both sides of this issue in this discussion. As Kaimi pointed out, the unreasonable ones we ignore.
    Everything must be up for discussion, including whether or not IPPC and other groups have a political bias, and therefore scrub data that doesn’t fit the agenda, as well as whether or not not those opposed follow the data or their emotions, and also have a political agenda. The articles can be grouped into their different categories, so that each issue can be viewed, pro and con, independently. To dismiss everything that opposes the science as the work of idiots or highly unenlightened is to assume that all the answers are “mine”, because I (generic) am a scientist and my interpretation of the data is the only right one. Therefore, faith is not necessary; and maybe the next president should be a scientist (behavioural), because only they know how people behave and should behave. (I hope that makes sense, because as I thought about it it did . . . which may indicate where my problem lies :>))
    This has been a refreshing experience for me and I hope that others have found it equally as good.

  165. Gary #156 and Steve #160,

    Thank you for the comment and reminder. My first question would be: Did the current president engage in hyperbole when he suggested the numbers that opposed the previous president. We’ve all had experiences where jealousies exist and any opportunity to put someone down is an opportunity not to be missed. So the trick is to compare both studies and find the strengths and weaknesses of both and then draw conclusions. This requires the likes of Clark and Barry et al to lead us on. I love their humility and feel that they are reasonable. I really wish I had the background to definitively distinguish between the good science and the bad science in research done on the part of both these scientists. I yield to reasonable discussion and am no longer a hard nut to crack. Thank you!

  166. should be “both these studies” and not “both these scientists” Sorry.

  167. #165 Larry,
    Please consider consulting/subscribing the site http://www.skepticalscience.com/ to at least see the other side of the argument. Beside articles you’ll find a blog there, with comments on current events. I don’t think you can say there’s no bias there, but the “pro-science” bias is always supported by numerous references to peer-reviews publications.

  168. Kevin Barney says:

    I want to thank Barry for accepting my invitation to respond to Gary Lawrence’s Meridian article. I learned a lot. I think the thread is pretty much played out, and so I’m going to close comments.

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