Pollution cures global warming

Climate scientists–the established ones, not the renegades–have found that global surface temperatures did not rise from 1998 to 2008, despite heightened carbon emissions, and they have been trying to figure out why.  Now they are saying the temperature drop is anthropogenic, the result (like they had been saying of global warming) of pollution, just a different kind:

Smoke belching from Asia’s rapidly growing economies is largely responsible for a halt in global warming in the decade after 1998 because of sulphur’s cooling effect, even though greenhouse gas emissions soared, a U.S. study said on Monday.

The paper raised the prospect of more rapid, pent-up climate change when emerging economies eventually crack down on pollution.

World temperatures did not rise from 1998 to 2008, while manmade emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuel grew by nearly a third, various data show.

The researchers from Boston and Harvard Universities and Finland’s University of Turku said pollution, and specifically sulphur emissions, from coal-fueled growth in Asia was responsible for the cooling effect.

Sulphur allows water drops or aerosols to form, creating hazy clouds which reflect sunlight back into space.

“Anthropogenic activities that warm and cool the planet largely cancel after 1998, which allows natural variables to play a more significant role,” the paper said.

Natural cooling effects included a declining solar cycle after 2002, meaning the sun’s output fell.

The study said that the halt in warming had fueled doubts about anthropogenic climate change, where scientists say manmade greenhouse gas emissions are heating the Earth.

“It has been unclear why global surface temperatures did not rise between 1998 and 2008,” said the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States.

via Asia pollution blamed for halt in warming: study | Reuters.

Good thing it exactly balanced out!  Otherwise we’d be causing a new ice age that would also destroy civilization as we know it.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://nbfzman.blogspot.com nbfzman

    Is it okay to laugh at them yet?

  • http://nbfzman.blogspot.com nbfzman

    Is it okay to laugh at them yet?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    LOL

    American and European pollution = bad, impose taxes on those folks

    Asian pollution = good,

    You can’t make this stuff up

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    LOL

    American and European pollution = bad, impose taxes on those folks

    Asian pollution = good,

    You can’t make this stuff up

  • WebMonk

    The premise isn’t totally crazy (at least on the surface view) that the pollution from China managed to counter-balance global warming from CO2, but it’s definitely scraping the bottom of the barrel of what can be generously called plausible. It gets a LOT worse once you start looking at the details of that paper – why? Because there aren’t really any more details to the paper.

    There is virtually zero actual investigation as to whether or not the particular type of pollution from China was properly distributed, sufficient, or in any way responsible for the warming. The paper is essentially a premise that sounds like it might be plausible, and that’s about it.

    It’s a paper that is generated to get grant money and to catch newspaper attention. There are many papers of this style released each year, and in some ways they serve a valuable use – they do some very preliminary investigation and try to get money for deeper investigation. However, they are not seriously considered by anyone as definitive and concrete research.

  • WebMonk

    The premise isn’t totally crazy (at least on the surface view) that the pollution from China managed to counter-balance global warming from CO2, but it’s definitely scraping the bottom of the barrel of what can be generously called plausible. It gets a LOT worse once you start looking at the details of that paper – why? Because there aren’t really any more details to the paper.

    There is virtually zero actual investigation as to whether or not the particular type of pollution from China was properly distributed, sufficient, or in any way responsible for the warming. The paper is essentially a premise that sounds like it might be plausible, and that’s about it.

    It’s a paper that is generated to get grant money and to catch newspaper attention. There are many papers of this style released each year, and in some ways they serve a valuable use – they do some very preliminary investigation and try to get money for deeper investigation. However, they are not seriously considered by anyone as definitive and concrete research.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    WebMonk,

    Since you seem to have read the paper, what’s your opinion on its occasion: that practically speaking, global warming has not actually been occurring since 1998? Is that similarly speculative (i.e. are they looking for money to study the causes behind measurements that aren’t definitive in the first place)? It does seem to run counter to the narrative that an ongoing rise in global temperatures is an Established Scientific Fact, so I would expect the occasion itself to be groundbreaking.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    WebMonk,

    Since you seem to have read the paper, what’s your opinion on its occasion: that practically speaking, global warming has not actually been occurring since 1998? Is that similarly speculative (i.e. are they looking for money to study the causes behind measurements that aren’t definitive in the first place)? It does seem to run counter to the narrative that an ongoing rise in global temperatures is an Established Scientific Fact, so I would expect the occasion itself to be groundbreaking.

  • Pete

    How cool is this !?!

  • Pete

    How cool is this !?!

  • SKPeterson

    We also have the ongoing volcanic activity that will further skew the measurements. Between Iceland and Chile, there are lots of sulfuric particles now floating around which will further cool the atmosphere. This also would be a hilarious argument for diminishing the use of low-sulfur coal to fire power plants and have them switch to higher sulfur coal. But then we’d have all that horrible acid rain (another debatable scientific alarum).

  • SKPeterson

    We also have the ongoing volcanic activity that will further skew the measurements. Between Iceland and Chile, there are lots of sulfuric particles now floating around which will further cool the atmosphere. This also would be a hilarious argument for diminishing the use of low-sulfur coal to fire power plants and have them switch to higher sulfur coal. But then we’d have all that horrible acid rain (another debatable scientific alarum).

  • helen

    Probably the only sensible thing said was that the solar cycle had changed toward a cooler phase.
    “Global warming” will be back in (11, isn’t it?) years.

    Indeed, sg, you can’t make this stuff up!

  • helen

    Probably the only sensible thing said was that the solar cycle had changed toward a cooler phase.
    “Global warming” will be back in (11, isn’t it?) years.

    Indeed, sg, you can’t make this stuff up!

  • Steve Billingsley

    At some point, isn’t a little humility in order?
    It seems rather obvious that there is a lot about climate that we just don’t understand. How hard is that to say?

  • Steve Billingsley

    At some point, isn’t a little humility in order?
    It seems rather obvious that there is a lot about climate that we just don’t understand. How hard is that to say?

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Per WebMonk’s comment, it’s worth noting that the ice age predictions that were in vogue in the 1970s were more or less predicated on the notion that soot from cars and power plants and such would block the sun. I do not know whether this was modeled well, then or now. Given that climatologists are still playing excuse games with the results of their models and fit to historic data, I’m guessing the answer is “no.”

    More directly to the point our host raises, it ought to be investigated more clearly whether the evidence supports positive or negative feedback in climate; given that the models consistently overestimate the effects of man’s existence on climate, I’m guessing that the feedback is negative, and that we’ve got a system that is–at least within certain bounds–stable.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Per WebMonk’s comment, it’s worth noting that the ice age predictions that were in vogue in the 1970s were more or less predicated on the notion that soot from cars and power plants and such would block the sun. I do not know whether this was modeled well, then or now. Given that climatologists are still playing excuse games with the results of their models and fit to historic data, I’m guessing the answer is “no.”

    More directly to the point our host raises, it ought to be investigated more clearly whether the evidence supports positive or negative feedback in climate; given that the models consistently overestimate the effects of man’s existence on climate, I’m guessing that the feedback is negative, and that we’ve got a system that is–at least within certain bounds–stable.

  • L. H. Kevil

    The best way I know to get a good perspective on these issues is to read Prof. Happer’s article in First Things:

    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2011/05/the-truth-about-greenhouse-gases

    Happer has a chair in physics at Princeton University and writes in a very cogent manner about climate science and the psychology of the climate crusaders or true believers.

  • L. H. Kevil

    The best way I know to get a good perspective on these issues is to read Prof. Happer’s article in First Things:

    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2011/05/the-truth-about-greenhouse-gases

    Happer has a chair in physics at Princeton University and writes in a very cogent manner about climate science and the psychology of the climate crusaders or true believers.

  • WebMonk

    Matt, I’m not sure what you’re asking. That the global temperature hasn’t warmed in that time period is a simple case of looking at the graph, no speculation at all. I’m not sure why the fact that temperature hasn’t warmed from 1998 to 2008 would be ‘groundbreaking’. Everyone has known that since Jan 1st, 2009. (actually, it was probably Jan 6th or 7th by the time the final numbers for Dec 2008 were released)

    Here is a copy of the paper: https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/pnas-201102467.pdf

  • WebMonk

    Matt, I’m not sure what you’re asking. That the global temperature hasn’t warmed in that time period is a simple case of looking at the graph, no speculation at all. I’m not sure why the fact that temperature hasn’t warmed from 1998 to 2008 would be ‘groundbreaking’. Everyone has known that since Jan 1st, 2009. (actually, it was probably Jan 6th or 7th by the time the final numbers for Dec 2008 were released)

    Here is a copy of the paper: https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/pnas-201102467.pdf

  • WebMonk

    I realize that’s not the official PNAS website, but you need to have a membership to get the paper from them.

    The WattsUpWithThat site doesn’t have the paper’s supporting documents. If you want them, check out: http://www.pnas.org/content/suppl/2011/06/28/1102467108.DCSupplemental/Appendix.pdf

  • WebMonk

    I realize that’s not the official PNAS website, but you need to have a membership to get the paper from them.

    The WattsUpWithThat site doesn’t have the paper’s supporting documents. If you want them, check out: http://www.pnas.org/content/suppl/2011/06/28/1102467108.DCSupplemental/Appendix.pdf

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    What seems to have got lost in the shuffle is that climate stayed the same despite a 30% increase in greenhouse gas emissions. That is a massive increase in emissions that would require something major to counteract – presuming the surprisingly static model that some climatologists seem to operate within. I suspect a few degrees variance in earth’s orbit affects climate more than all anthropogenic sources combined.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    What seems to have got lost in the shuffle is that climate stayed the same despite a 30% increase in greenhouse gas emissions. That is a massive increase in emissions that would require something major to counteract – presuming the surprisingly static model that some climatologists seem to operate within. I suspect a few degrees variance in earth’s orbit affects climate more than all anthropogenic sources combined.

  • WebMonk

    John, a few degrees variance in earth’s orbit (depending on what you’re talking about) could do almost anything from throwing the earth out of orbit, melt one polar cap entirely and expand the other by 5x, or cause massive earthquakes. Or, you could choose a degree change that would make the seasons more extreme or could pick one that would tend to even out the seasons some. Take your pick.

    I think a degree or three of warming or cooling would be the least of our worries if the earth’s orbit were to suddenly change by a few degrees. :-P

  • WebMonk

    John, a few degrees variance in earth’s orbit (depending on what you’re talking about) could do almost anything from throwing the earth out of orbit, melt one polar cap entirely and expand the other by 5x, or cause massive earthquakes. Or, you could choose a degree change that would make the seasons more extreme or could pick one that would tend to even out the seasons some. Take your pick.

    I think a degree or three of warming or cooling would be the least of our worries if the earth’s orbit were to suddenly change by a few degrees. :-P

  • DonS

    I guess if you’re proven wrong, and you are an esteemed climate scientist who has spent the past decade snorting at those doofus peasants who doubt the brilliance of your theories, the best thing to do when you find out you are wrong, and have been “blowing smoke” (pun intended) all of these years is to double down. Never admit you are wrong. Humility is so unbecoming. Besides, the people might rise up and throw off the environmentalist dictators who are attempting to control their lives.

  • DonS

    I guess if you’re proven wrong, and you are an esteemed climate scientist who has spent the past decade snorting at those doofus peasants who doubt the brilliance of your theories, the best thing to do when you find out you are wrong, and have been “blowing smoke” (pun intended) all of these years is to double down. Never admit you are wrong. Humility is so unbecoming. Besides, the people might rise up and throw off the environmentalist dictators who are attempting to control their lives.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Veith said:

    Climate scientists–the established ones, not the renegades–have found that global surface temperatures did not rise from 1998 to 2008

    But, but … in past discussions on climate science, I was told it was all bunk, and that all the scientists are liberally biased, anyhow, and we can’t believe a word they say!

    So … does that mean that the mean global surface temperature did rise from 1998 to 2008? Or is it okay to believe that fact, as long as it fits my preconceived (politically, not scientifically, informed) ideas?

    Or are we all just mocking the ideas that aerosols cause cooling? Or does no one believe that China’s coal consumption has increased? Help me out, here. What, exactly, are we mocking?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Veith said:

    Climate scientists–the established ones, not the renegades–have found that global surface temperatures did not rise from 1998 to 2008

    But, but … in past discussions on climate science, I was told it was all bunk, and that all the scientists are liberally biased, anyhow, and we can’t believe a word they say!

    So … does that mean that the mean global surface temperature did rise from 1998 to 2008? Or is it okay to believe that fact, as long as it fits my preconceived (politically, not scientifically, informed) ideas?

    Or are we all just mocking the ideas that aerosols cause cooling? Or does no one believe that China’s coal consumption has increased? Help me out, here. What, exactly, are we mocking?

  • SKPeterson

    OK. I’m providing this link from some of my colleagues. Take it for what it’s worth. Auroop and I differ on this topic – I think atmospheric chemistry and climate change modeling is too complex to adequately model, while Auroop thinks it’s very complex and often wrong, but we might as well try and then characterize the uncertainty. So he’s concerned with characterizing the uncertainty in climate models. It’s huge and largely unverifiable. Auroop thinks this might be manageable. I disagree, but he’s more of an expert in this than me. I just read the stuff and say impertinent things like “wow, you really are screwed.” My biggest criticism is an exercise in “how to lie with maps”, which manifest itself in the projected temperature differences between 2000 and 2100. This is the origin of the “angry red map” that is so beloved of the pro-anthropogenesis crowd. Excpet that’s what you get when you use a red shaded color grade to illustrate the issue. It is very misleading.

    Anyhow, here goes: http://www.ornl.gov/sci/knowledgediscovery/WarGaming/

  • SKPeterson

    OK. I’m providing this link from some of my colleagues. Take it for what it’s worth. Auroop and I differ on this topic – I think atmospheric chemistry and climate change modeling is too complex to adequately model, while Auroop thinks it’s very complex and often wrong, but we might as well try and then characterize the uncertainty. So he’s concerned with characterizing the uncertainty in climate models. It’s huge and largely unverifiable. Auroop thinks this might be manageable. I disagree, but he’s more of an expert in this than me. I just read the stuff and say impertinent things like “wow, you really are screwed.” My biggest criticism is an exercise in “how to lie with maps”, which manifest itself in the projected temperature differences between 2000 and 2100. This is the origin of the “angry red map” that is so beloved of the pro-anthropogenesis crowd. Excpet that’s what you get when you use a red shaded color grade to illustrate the issue. It is very misleading.

    Anyhow, here goes: http://www.ornl.gov/sci/knowledgediscovery/WarGaming/

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @8

    It is very hard not to choose sides. As an ignoramus, I have no opinion on whether climate change is in any way affected by what people do. I just don’t know. But, man, folks (probably not much more informed than I am) sure do expect people to take sides. I find this annoying. How can I have an opinion when I don’t know? I know I don’t agree with the tax scam, but that is about it.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @8

    It is very hard not to choose sides. As an ignoramus, I have no opinion on whether climate change is in any way affected by what people do. I just don’t know. But, man, folks (probably not much more informed than I am) sure do expect people to take sides. I find this annoying. How can I have an opinion when I don’t know? I know I don’t agree with the tax scam, but that is about it.

  • DonS

    sg @ 18: One side says — the evidence for this theory of climate change is, at best, inconclusive. Clearly, there is nowhere near enough evidence to justify a web of increasingly oppressive regulations to reduce carbon emissions, resulting in increasing hardship due to much more expensive and scarce energy, as well as mandated much smaller vehicles, both factors which will certainly increase deaths, injuries, and illness, as well as substantially reduce society’s standard of living. The other side says — we think this is going to happen, and no stone should be unturned in our efforts to drastically reduce and eventually eliminate carbon emissions, no matter what the cost to the world economy, standard of living, and health and safety of the world population, particularly the poor.

    Does that make the choice any easier? The bottom line is that choosing the global warming activist approach is difficult to later reverse, and, if their theory is true, won’t help much anyway, by their own admission. Choosing to defer oppressive regulation until you know more about the risk, if any, is not a permanent choice, if the evidence comes in later, and in the meantime, improves the lifestyle of people and will undoubtedly save lives now.

  • DonS

    sg @ 18: One side says — the evidence for this theory of climate change is, at best, inconclusive. Clearly, there is nowhere near enough evidence to justify a web of increasingly oppressive regulations to reduce carbon emissions, resulting in increasing hardship due to much more expensive and scarce energy, as well as mandated much smaller vehicles, both factors which will certainly increase deaths, injuries, and illness, as well as substantially reduce society’s standard of living. The other side says — we think this is going to happen, and no stone should be unturned in our efforts to drastically reduce and eventually eliminate carbon emissions, no matter what the cost to the world economy, standard of living, and health and safety of the world population, particularly the poor.

    Does that make the choice any easier? The bottom line is that choosing the global warming activist approach is difficult to later reverse, and, if their theory is true, won’t help much anyway, by their own admission. Choosing to defer oppressive regulation until you know more about the risk, if any, is not a permanent choice, if the evidence comes in later, and in the meantime, improves the lifestyle of people and will undoubtedly save lives now.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@19) said:

    One side says — the evidence for this theory of climate change is, at best, inconclusive.

    Not only currently says that, but necessarily will always say that! Think that’s unfair? Then tell me on what grounds you reject the current scientific findings, and what it would take for you to accept a scientific conclusion of anthropogenic global warming. Merely saying that the evidence is “inconclusive” isn’t exactly meaningful or rigorous. What would be necessary for the evidence to become, in your opinion, conclusive?

    The bottom line is that choosing the global warming activist approach is difficult to later reverse

    Is it? It’s hard to consume more fossil fuels? It hasn’t proven hard, to date.

    If their theory is true, won’t help much anyway, by their own admission

    [Citation needed]. Everything I’ve read on the topic distinguishes between “business as usual” and some sort of mitigating action. Give me a citation from “them” that shows otherwise.

    Choosing to defer oppressive regulation until you know more about the risk, if any, is not a permanent choice, if the evidence comes in later

    Well, since the evidence has arguably come in now, one begins to suspect that this deferral is, de facto, a permanent choice, inasmuch as we will always need “more data”. Again, if you believe this isn’t true, delineate the grounds on which you would come to accept anthropogenic global warming.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@19) said:

    One side says — the evidence for this theory of climate change is, at best, inconclusive.

    Not only currently says that, but necessarily will always say that! Think that’s unfair? Then tell me on what grounds you reject the current scientific findings, and what it would take for you to accept a scientific conclusion of anthropogenic global warming. Merely saying that the evidence is “inconclusive” isn’t exactly meaningful or rigorous. What would be necessary for the evidence to become, in your opinion, conclusive?

    The bottom line is that choosing the global warming activist approach is difficult to later reverse

    Is it? It’s hard to consume more fossil fuels? It hasn’t proven hard, to date.

    If their theory is true, won’t help much anyway, by their own admission

    [Citation needed]. Everything I’ve read on the topic distinguishes between “business as usual” and some sort of mitigating action. Give me a citation from “them” that shows otherwise.

    Choosing to defer oppressive regulation until you know more about the risk, if any, is not a permanent choice, if the evidence comes in later

    Well, since the evidence has arguably come in now, one begins to suspect that this deferral is, de facto, a permanent choice, inasmuch as we will always need “more data”. Again, if you believe this isn’t true, delineate the grounds on which you would come to accept anthropogenic global warming.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 20: What evidence has come in now? We know that the earth didn’t warm at all between 1998 and 2008, mitigating against the original theory of warming. The authors posit a new theory, sans evidence, that perhaps this is due to offsetting pollution emissions. Hardly conclusive evidence, even by their own admission. It’s more theory. Not the basis for instituting wrenching cultural change.

    As for your notion that climate change regulation is easily reversible, because we can always “consume more fossil fuels”, exactly how many comprehensive government regulatory schemes have you tried to unravel? Has one ever been unraveled? It’s a one way street — greater regulation institutes its own embedded constituency, whether that be bureaucratic government employees that institute and oversee the regulatory structure or businesses which stand to benefit from those regulations (i.e. “green industry”).

    As for the fact that even the best case mitigation scenarios only call for a reduction of a fraction of a degree F from the otherwise expected 3-7 degree warming range, that evidence is abundant, of record, and well established in our prior global warming threads. You can research it yourself if you disbelieve it, but it is not controversial.

    And you haven’t even touched on the indisputable fact that making energy less available and more expensive disproportionately harms the poor.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 20: What evidence has come in now? We know that the earth didn’t warm at all between 1998 and 2008, mitigating against the original theory of warming. The authors posit a new theory, sans evidence, that perhaps this is due to offsetting pollution emissions. Hardly conclusive evidence, even by their own admission. It’s more theory. Not the basis for instituting wrenching cultural change.

    As for your notion that climate change regulation is easily reversible, because we can always “consume more fossil fuels”, exactly how many comprehensive government regulatory schemes have you tried to unravel? Has one ever been unraveled? It’s a one way street — greater regulation institutes its own embedded constituency, whether that be bureaucratic government employees that institute and oversee the regulatory structure or businesses which stand to benefit from those regulations (i.e. “green industry”).

    As for the fact that even the best case mitigation scenarios only call for a reduction of a fraction of a degree F from the otherwise expected 3-7 degree warming range, that evidence is abundant, of record, and well established in our prior global warming threads. You can research it yourself if you disbelieve it, but it is not controversial.

    And you haven’t even touched on the indisputable fact that making energy less available and more expensive disproportionately harms the poor.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@21) said:

    We know that the earth didn’t warm at all between 1998 and 2008, mitigating against the original theory of warming.

    “We know.” Ha. Trust the data that says what you want it to, and deny the rest?

    Anyhow, you completely failed to answer my main question to you (@20), which I asked at the beginning and of that comment.

    The authors posit a new theory, sans evidence, that perhaps this is due to offsetting pollution emissions.

    Um, if it’s truly “sans evidence”, then you are wrong to claim, as you obviously did, that “We know that the earth didn’t warm at all between 1998 and 2008.” Or are you claiming that there is no evidence for the idea that aerosols reduce global temperatures vis-a-vis solar warming? Which of those bits of evidence are you denying, exactly?

    Anyhow, yes, it’s a “theory”. As is gravity. We don’t know, exactly, how gravity works, but it’s clear that it exists, and we can describe its working to a ridiculously good approximation, in most cases. Of course, the theory needs tweaking from time to time, as was the case when Einstein came along and predicted (and we subsequently observed) various corner cases. But tweaking is not the same as invalidating, even though that appears to be what you’re claiming in this global warming case.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@21) said:

    We know that the earth didn’t warm at all between 1998 and 2008, mitigating against the original theory of warming.

    “We know.” Ha. Trust the data that says what you want it to, and deny the rest?

    Anyhow, you completely failed to answer my main question to you (@20), which I asked at the beginning and of that comment.

    The authors posit a new theory, sans evidence, that perhaps this is due to offsetting pollution emissions.

    Um, if it’s truly “sans evidence”, then you are wrong to claim, as you obviously did, that “We know that the earth didn’t warm at all between 1998 and 2008.” Or are you claiming that there is no evidence for the idea that aerosols reduce global temperatures vis-a-vis solar warming? Which of those bits of evidence are you denying, exactly?

    Anyhow, yes, it’s a “theory”. As is gravity. We don’t know, exactly, how gravity works, but it’s clear that it exists, and we can describe its working to a ridiculously good approximation, in most cases. Of course, the theory needs tweaking from time to time, as was the case when Einstein came along and predicted (and we subsequently observed) various corner cases. But tweaking is not the same as invalidating, even though that appears to be what you’re claiming in this global warming case.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 22: What in the heck are you rattling on about? How do we know the temperature of the earth didn’t increase between 1998 and 2008? Data! We have thermometers, and we can measure temperature. What the authors didn’t provide any evidence for is their new theory that this is not because the theory anthropogenic global warming just might have been wrong, but rather because other kinds of emitted pollutants have ameliorated the effect of increased carbon emissions.

    I’m not saying that the theory that the earth is warming, due to increased carbon emissions is wrong. I am saying that it is not sufficient proven to justify the immense economic cost we are beginning to place on our people to combat it. And this study, and new theory, if anything, shows that the theoretical problem is likely a lot less dire than environmentalists and government regulators want to admit.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 22: What in the heck are you rattling on about? How do we know the temperature of the earth didn’t increase between 1998 and 2008? Data! We have thermometers, and we can measure temperature. What the authors didn’t provide any evidence for is their new theory that this is not because the theory anthropogenic global warming just might have been wrong, but rather because other kinds of emitted pollutants have ameliorated the effect of increased carbon emissions.

    I’m not saying that the theory that the earth is warming, due to increased carbon emissions is wrong. I am saying that it is not sufficient proven to justify the immense economic cost we are beginning to place on our people to combat it. And this study, and new theory, if anything, shows that the theoretical problem is likely a lot less dire than environmentalists and government regulators want to admit.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Regarding the science, tODD is correct to note that there are innumerable difficulties with the “usual hypothesis,” starting with the fact that climate monitoring stations are often in urban heat zones. That said, if indeed the “heat island” effect created by improper stationing of climate monitoring stations still shows no net heating from 1998 to 2008, we ought to seriously consider whether the theory is tenable.

    Whether or not climatologists seriously reckon with the new data will tell us a lot, I think, about whether they can be trusted. As for me, the cherry-picking of results done by the IPCC, siting of climate stations in heat islands, failure to match models with historical data, and refusal to share results suggests very strongly that climatology is not science, but a social club with by-laws including “you will not challenge the standard hypothesis.”

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Regarding the science, tODD is correct to note that there are innumerable difficulties with the “usual hypothesis,” starting with the fact that climate monitoring stations are often in urban heat zones. That said, if indeed the “heat island” effect created by improper stationing of climate monitoring stations still shows no net heating from 1998 to 2008, we ought to seriously consider whether the theory is tenable.

    Whether or not climatologists seriously reckon with the new data will tell us a lot, I think, about whether they can be trusted. As for me, the cherry-picking of results done by the IPCC, siting of climate stations in heat islands, failure to match models with historical data, and refusal to share results suggests very strongly that climatology is not science, but a social club with by-laws including “you will not challenge the standard hypothesis.”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@23):

    I’m not saying that the theory that the earth is warming, due to increased carbon emissions is wrong.

    Hmm:

    What the authors didn’t provide any evidence for is their new theory that this is not because the theory anthropogenic global warming just might have been wrong, but rather because other kinds of emitted pollutants have ameliorated the effect of increased carbon emissions.

    So you’re not saying they’re wrong. You’re just saying they didn’t provide any evidence that they’re not wrong? Oh. Right. Gotcha.

    Anyhow, once again, are you questioning the cooling effects of aerosols on global temperatures? Because that seems sufficiently proven, as I understand science. But if it’s not that, then what? Are you questioning the increase of atmospheric aerosols from industrial pollution (specifically, from China and the rest of Asia)? Again, that seems fairly well established. If you aren’t taking issue with either of those points, then what, exactly, causes you to suggest that the real problem is with the whole AGW theory?

    Because here’s how science works, more or less. You observe a phenomenon. You come up with a theory. You gather data. You see if the data further confirm your theory. If not, you revise your theory. And so forth. The original theory did not account for 1998-2008, so they added another variable — pollution/aerosol production — and found that this new theory did occur for that period.

    What’s funny is that those who generally deny AGW use the exact same sort of pattern-matching to back up their own theories. So you hear people saying, “But look, the solar activity also tracks with global temperatures!” If attempting to take into account the aerosol production is bad science, then surely so is attempting to take into account solar activity.

    And hey, look, we’re back to my original question to you, which you still haven’t answered, Don:

    I am saying that it is not sufficient proven to justify the immense economic cost we are beginning to place on our people to combat it.

    On what basis is the current evidence “not sufficient”? What would constitute, to you, sufficient evidence? Is there a reason you keep not answering these questions?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@23):

    I’m not saying that the theory that the earth is warming, due to increased carbon emissions is wrong.

    Hmm:

    What the authors didn’t provide any evidence for is their new theory that this is not because the theory anthropogenic global warming just might have been wrong, but rather because other kinds of emitted pollutants have ameliorated the effect of increased carbon emissions.

    So you’re not saying they’re wrong. You’re just saying they didn’t provide any evidence that they’re not wrong? Oh. Right. Gotcha.

    Anyhow, once again, are you questioning the cooling effects of aerosols on global temperatures? Because that seems sufficiently proven, as I understand science. But if it’s not that, then what? Are you questioning the increase of atmospheric aerosols from industrial pollution (specifically, from China and the rest of Asia)? Again, that seems fairly well established. If you aren’t taking issue with either of those points, then what, exactly, causes you to suggest that the real problem is with the whole AGW theory?

    Because here’s how science works, more or less. You observe a phenomenon. You come up with a theory. You gather data. You see if the data further confirm your theory. If not, you revise your theory. And so forth. The original theory did not account for 1998-2008, so they added another variable — pollution/aerosol production — and found that this new theory did occur for that period.

    What’s funny is that those who generally deny AGW use the exact same sort of pattern-matching to back up their own theories. So you hear people saying, “But look, the solar activity also tracks with global temperatures!” If attempting to take into account the aerosol production is bad science, then surely so is attempting to take into account solar activity.

    And hey, look, we’re back to my original question to you, which you still haven’t answered, Don:

    I am saying that it is not sufficient proven to justify the immense economic cost we are beginning to place on our people to combat it.

    On what basis is the current evidence “not sufficient”? What would constitute, to you, sufficient evidence? Is there a reason you keep not answering these questions?

  • DonS

    tODD @ 25: What I am saying is that they did not prove they’re right.

    I don’t know much about the certainty of the science behind aerosol production, and its effect on global temperatures. We determined long ago to eliminate those emissions, and the science dried up after that, to my knowledge. At least, I haven’t seen any recent studies confirming whether or not the initial theories which caused us to ban certain aerosols were actually valid.

    Three things need to occur to justify the kind of wrenching changes environmentalists want to impose on the world economy, in my opinion. One is to have in hand sufficient actual confirmed data that warming is occurring, over a substantial period of time, and that other potential causes of that warming, other than man-caused carbon emissions, have been eliminated as a substantial factor. Two is to have in place a realistic plan for addressing the issue, in a way that is sustainable to the world economy, without undue hardship on the poor and working poor, and that will have a useful reducing effect on carbon emissions, such that the warming will not occur, or will be lessened to a manageable level. Third is to have in place worldwide agreements sufficient to ensure that our reductions of carbon emissions will not merely be displaced overseas. It does no good to substantially negatively impact our economy and living standards, if some other country merely picks up the slack and increases its emissions proportionately, most likely using even dirtier energy sources than we presently use.

    My sense at this time is that those goals are substantially impossible, and that it would be a much better use of science to research ways to mitigate the effects of the warming.

    The thing that makes me very cynical about the whole global warming industry is the tendency of its sponsor politicians and leaders to globe trot using highly inefficient transportation modes (the I’m an exception to the little people attitude that is so prevalent among elites), as well as the failure of environmentalists to embrace and encourage alternative energy sources such as nuclear power and fracking to obtain more natural gas, which is much more carbon-friendly than oil and coal. Also, why in the heck are environmentalists fighting transmission lines to proposed solar and wind farms? It makes no sense to me, if the science is as ironclad as they allege, and if the problem is as dire as they claim.

    Forgive my cynicism, but as a fellow cynic I’m sure you can relate.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 25: What I am saying is that they did not prove they’re right.

    I don’t know much about the certainty of the science behind aerosol production, and its effect on global temperatures. We determined long ago to eliminate those emissions, and the science dried up after that, to my knowledge. At least, I haven’t seen any recent studies confirming whether or not the initial theories which caused us to ban certain aerosols were actually valid.

    Three things need to occur to justify the kind of wrenching changes environmentalists want to impose on the world economy, in my opinion. One is to have in hand sufficient actual confirmed data that warming is occurring, over a substantial period of time, and that other potential causes of that warming, other than man-caused carbon emissions, have been eliminated as a substantial factor. Two is to have in place a realistic plan for addressing the issue, in a way that is sustainable to the world economy, without undue hardship on the poor and working poor, and that will have a useful reducing effect on carbon emissions, such that the warming will not occur, or will be lessened to a manageable level. Third is to have in place worldwide agreements sufficient to ensure that our reductions of carbon emissions will not merely be displaced overseas. It does no good to substantially negatively impact our economy and living standards, if some other country merely picks up the slack and increases its emissions proportionately, most likely using even dirtier energy sources than we presently use.

    My sense at this time is that those goals are substantially impossible, and that it would be a much better use of science to research ways to mitigate the effects of the warming.

    The thing that makes me very cynical about the whole global warming industry is the tendency of its sponsor politicians and leaders to globe trot using highly inefficient transportation modes (the I’m an exception to the little people attitude that is so prevalent among elites), as well as the failure of environmentalists to embrace and encourage alternative energy sources such as nuclear power and fracking to obtain more natural gas, which is much more carbon-friendly than oil and coal. Also, why in the heck are environmentalists fighting transmission lines to proposed solar and wind farms? It makes no sense to me, if the science is as ironclad as they allege, and if the problem is as dire as they claim.

    Forgive my cynicism, but as a fellow cynic I’m sure you can relate.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@26):

    What I am saying is that they did not prove they’re right.

    And what I am continuing to ask you, over and over, is what, exactly, would constitute sufficient proof to you. Your continued inability to explain your beliefs makes me highly suspicious of their basis. It kinda seems like there is nothing you’d accept as proof. Like this has nothing to do with science and pretty much everything to do with politics. Feel free to prove me wrong, but that would require you to answer my questions for once.

    I don’t know much about the certainty of the science behind aerosol production, and its effect on global temperatures.

    That much is clear, as you appear to be solely referring in your response to CFCs and their ilk as propellants in aerosol spray cans. But here is Merriam-Webster on “aerosols”:

    a suspension of fine solid or liquid particles in gas <smoke, fog, and mist are aerosols>; also plural : the fine particles of an aerosol <stratospheric aerosols>

    So when I ask you, “are you questioning the cooling effects of aerosols on global temperatures”, I’m referring not to the use of CFCs (which were mostly banned for their effect on the ozone layer, not global warming), but of things like atmospheric volcanic ash. Think: Mt. Pinatubo. Seems fairly well established that the presence of large amounts of such aerosols cools the planet. That is the theory being used here to explain 1998-2008. My question, again: do you believe the presence of aerosols does not cause temperatures to drop? If you believe they do, then do you disagree with the data that such (anthropogenic) aerosol production significantly increased during that time period?

    But then, I am talking science here. And, call me a cynic (as you have, repeatedly), but you don’t seem very interested in that. You’re certainly not interested in discussing what constitutes “sufficient” scientific evidence.

    No, all one has to do, apparently, is trot out Al Gore to refute pretty much any scientific finding. Right. Well, Al Gore and some general anti-government paranoia. Hey presto, that’s not sufficient evidence, whatever it is you’re talking about over there!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@26):

    What I am saying is that they did not prove they’re right.

    And what I am continuing to ask you, over and over, is what, exactly, would constitute sufficient proof to you. Your continued inability to explain your beliefs makes me highly suspicious of their basis. It kinda seems like there is nothing you’d accept as proof. Like this has nothing to do with science and pretty much everything to do with politics. Feel free to prove me wrong, but that would require you to answer my questions for once.

    I don’t know much about the certainty of the science behind aerosol production, and its effect on global temperatures.

    That much is clear, as you appear to be solely referring in your response to CFCs and their ilk as propellants in aerosol spray cans. But here is Merriam-Webster on “aerosols”:

    a suspension of fine solid or liquid particles in gas <smoke, fog, and mist are aerosols>; also plural : the fine particles of an aerosol <stratospheric aerosols>

    So when I ask you, “are you questioning the cooling effects of aerosols on global temperatures”, I’m referring not to the use of CFCs (which were mostly banned for their effect on the ozone layer, not global warming), but of things like atmospheric volcanic ash. Think: Mt. Pinatubo. Seems fairly well established that the presence of large amounts of such aerosols cools the planet. That is the theory being used here to explain 1998-2008. My question, again: do you believe the presence of aerosols does not cause temperatures to drop? If you believe they do, then do you disagree with the data that such (anthropogenic) aerosol production significantly increased during that time period?

    But then, I am talking science here. And, call me a cynic (as you have, repeatedly), but you don’t seem very interested in that. You’re certainly not interested in discussing what constitutes “sufficient” scientific evidence.

    No, all one has to do, apparently, is trot out Al Gore to refute pretty much any scientific finding. Right. Well, Al Gore and some general anti-government paranoia. Hey presto, that’s not sufficient evidence, whatever it is you’re talking about over there!

  • DonS

    OK, tODD, let’s get into the scientific weeds, then. Actually, according to the article (I didn’t access the study — I didn’t see a link), the updated theory explaining why no global warming was observed is that increasing sulfur emissions due to coal burning in the far east are to blame. Not volcanic emissions. It was these emissions which were the basis for the warnings of the early global cooling alarmists of the 1970′s, before global warming became the vogue theory du jour. Now, we are apparently mixing the two.

    Now, if, as you say, the science on cooling due to sulfur emissions, resulting in the forming of “aerosols”, is settled, why did these esteemed climate scientists not see this coming? Why all of the dire warnings about global warming over the past twenty years, when they knew full well that aerosol production due to sulfur emissions was rapidly increasing? Why didn’t they explain all of this better ahead of time, rather than after the fact, when it looks suspiciously like an effort to keep the funding and regulation train moving in the right direction?

    The answer to your question is that, of course, I don’t know what it will take to convince me that we need to substantially damage our economy, inflict injury, illness, and death on a substantial portion of our population due to energy deprivation, and reduce our freedoms in an attempt to head off global climate change. I’ll know it when I see it. In the short term, it appears that one solution might be to burn more coal, thereby continuing to balance out the warming with the cooling, since the fear expressed in the study is that warming will resume when Asia begins reducing coal consumption.

    The bottom line is that the burden of proof for justifying doing this to our economy is pretty overwhelming. Beyond a shadow of a doubt seems like the appropriate standard to me, especially when we know that the use of fossil fuels is already waning due to supply scarcity. Let the transition to alternative fuels occur naturally, as it will.

    Now, you did not engage at all with the points that I made. What is the purpose in reducing carbon emissions in the U.S. if it will just cause a shift to overseas, likely dirtier, emissions? Why are environmentalists continuing to oppose and put roadblocks in the way to our transition to alternative energy, such as nuclear, solar, and wind? Why aren’t they leading by personal example in their own lifestyles? The best way to communicate urgency is to act urgently. I don’t see it happening.

    And, you were the one who brought up Al Gore.

  • DonS

    OK, tODD, let’s get into the scientific weeds, then. Actually, according to the article (I didn’t access the study — I didn’t see a link), the updated theory explaining why no global warming was observed is that increasing sulfur emissions due to coal burning in the far east are to blame. Not volcanic emissions. It was these emissions which were the basis for the warnings of the early global cooling alarmists of the 1970′s, before global warming became the vogue theory du jour. Now, we are apparently mixing the two.

    Now, if, as you say, the science on cooling due to sulfur emissions, resulting in the forming of “aerosols”, is settled, why did these esteemed climate scientists not see this coming? Why all of the dire warnings about global warming over the past twenty years, when they knew full well that aerosol production due to sulfur emissions was rapidly increasing? Why didn’t they explain all of this better ahead of time, rather than after the fact, when it looks suspiciously like an effort to keep the funding and regulation train moving in the right direction?

    The answer to your question is that, of course, I don’t know what it will take to convince me that we need to substantially damage our economy, inflict injury, illness, and death on a substantial portion of our population due to energy deprivation, and reduce our freedoms in an attempt to head off global climate change. I’ll know it when I see it. In the short term, it appears that one solution might be to burn more coal, thereby continuing to balance out the warming with the cooling, since the fear expressed in the study is that warming will resume when Asia begins reducing coal consumption.

    The bottom line is that the burden of proof for justifying doing this to our economy is pretty overwhelming. Beyond a shadow of a doubt seems like the appropriate standard to me, especially when we know that the use of fossil fuels is already waning due to supply scarcity. Let the transition to alternative fuels occur naturally, as it will.

    Now, you did not engage at all with the points that I made. What is the purpose in reducing carbon emissions in the U.S. if it will just cause a shift to overseas, likely dirtier, emissions? Why are environmentalists continuing to oppose and put roadblocks in the way to our transition to alternative energy, such as nuclear, solar, and wind? Why aren’t they leading by personal example in their own lifestyles? The best way to communicate urgency is to act urgently. I don’t see it happening.

    And, you were the one who brought up Al Gore.

  • John C

    This report has yet to appear in the global warming denial paper of record, Mudoch’s Australian and is therefore a hoax.

  • John C

    This report has yet to appear in the global warming denial paper of record, Mudoch’s Australian and is therefore a hoax.

  • WebMonk

    DonS: “especially when we know that the use of fossil fuels is already waning due to supply scarcity.”

    I think you may want to check what you “know”. The use of fossil fuels is most definitely NOT waning due to supply scarcity. Energy consumption as a whole took a very small drop in 2009 due to the global economic recession, but the typical growth in energy consumption came back full-tilt in 2010. That is true for both fossil fuels and energy from all sources.

    The only way that you can say the use of fossil fuels has been waning is maybe as a percentage of the whole. (sortofkindofbarely) The use of fossil fuels is increasing in raw numbers, but the use of renewable energy sources is increasing faster (percentage-wise), so if you want to squint your eyes and spin around three times maybe you can say the use of fossil fuels is waning.

    But, even if you do that, you still can’t say that it’s waning due to supply scarcity. Sorry.

  • WebMonk

    DonS: “especially when we know that the use of fossil fuels is already waning due to supply scarcity.”

    I think you may want to check what you “know”. The use of fossil fuels is most definitely NOT waning due to supply scarcity. Energy consumption as a whole took a very small drop in 2009 due to the global economic recession, but the typical growth in energy consumption came back full-tilt in 2010. That is true for both fossil fuels and energy from all sources.

    The only way that you can say the use of fossil fuels has been waning is maybe as a percentage of the whole. (sortofkindofbarely) The use of fossil fuels is increasing in raw numbers, but the use of renewable energy sources is increasing faster (percentage-wise), so if you want to squint your eyes and spin around three times maybe you can say the use of fossil fuels is waning.

    But, even if you do that, you still can’t say that it’s waning due to supply scarcity. Sorry.

  • DonS

    Webmonk @ 30: You took one sentence and ran with it. Fair enough, but my point was that we are already transitioning, naturally, because of economic and supply factors, from the fossil fuels that are of greatest concern with respect to traditional pollution as well as carbon emissions to cleaner fuels. “Supply scarcity” doesn’t just mean what’s in the ground — it also means what’s available for use. Sure, we have hundreds of years of coal left in the ground, but its use is clearly on the wane because of existing clean air laws and regulations, and the expense of burning it “clean”. Carbon regulations to dramatically increase the transition, at great damage to the economy, aren’t necessary. We hardly use any oil for industrial or electricity generation purposes anymore, except as a necessary component of plastics. Otherwise, it’s used almost entirely for transportation, where its portability and existing fueling infrastructure is impossible to replace on a mass scale. We’ve had a great shift to natural gas, which is a good thing, both because its relatively clean and in great supply domestically, as long as the government gets out of the way and permits us to produce it.

    Yes, on absolute terms, at present, fossil fuels are used as much as ever, because we are using more energy, worldwide, than ever, but the mix is slowly changing, so that it is a smaller percentage of the total energy consumption, and that will accelerate as time goes on.

    Of course, one of my main points above was that this transition would occur much more quickly if the environmentalists, those who claim to care about transitioning us from fossil fuels, would help us expedite the permitting and construction of new power plants and transmission lines, instead of litigating and fighting them every step of the way. And it would also help if our media would expose their lunacy and two-headedness, instead of covering for and abetting it.

  • DonS

    Webmonk @ 30: You took one sentence and ran with it. Fair enough, but my point was that we are already transitioning, naturally, because of economic and supply factors, from the fossil fuels that are of greatest concern with respect to traditional pollution as well as carbon emissions to cleaner fuels. “Supply scarcity” doesn’t just mean what’s in the ground — it also means what’s available for use. Sure, we have hundreds of years of coal left in the ground, but its use is clearly on the wane because of existing clean air laws and regulations, and the expense of burning it “clean”. Carbon regulations to dramatically increase the transition, at great damage to the economy, aren’t necessary. We hardly use any oil for industrial or electricity generation purposes anymore, except as a necessary component of plastics. Otherwise, it’s used almost entirely for transportation, where its portability and existing fueling infrastructure is impossible to replace on a mass scale. We’ve had a great shift to natural gas, which is a good thing, both because its relatively clean and in great supply domestically, as long as the government gets out of the way and permits us to produce it.

    Yes, on absolute terms, at present, fossil fuels are used as much as ever, because we are using more energy, worldwide, than ever, but the mix is slowly changing, so that it is a smaller percentage of the total energy consumption, and that will accelerate as time goes on.

    Of course, one of my main points above was that this transition would occur much more quickly if the environmentalists, those who claim to care about transitioning us from fossil fuels, would help us expedite the permitting and construction of new power plants and transmission lines, instead of litigating and fighting them every step of the way. And it would also help if our media would expose their lunacy and two-headedness, instead of covering for and abetting it.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@28), I’m having a hard time understanding how you see this as “the scientific weeds”, given that it is, well, the main topic for discussion in this post. This post to which you have contributed six substantial comments before getting around to the actual topic, I might add. And if you want to read the study, WebMonk provided links (@11, 12).

    The updated theory explaining why no global warming was observed is that increasing sulfur emissions due to coal burning in the far east are to blame. Not volcanic emissions.

    No, I get that it wasn’t (primarily) due to volcanoes. I mentioned them not as the primary source, but as examples of atmospheric aerosol sources. And, more to the point, as sources of aerosols with extremely good correlations to global cooling dips. Point being: scientists are pretty certain that increases in aerosol production (natural or industrial) result in lower temperatures, due to reflection of solar radiation. And there is also little question that Asia (mainly China) has contributed to a significant increase in aerosol production in the past decade or so. Once again, I will ask if you question these two key facts.

    Now, if, as you say, the science on cooling due to sulfur emissions, resulting in the forming of “aerosols”, is settled, why did these esteemed climate scientists not see this coming?

    Don, do you really not see the issue here? Scientists are constantly attempting to come up with the best model for things — in this case, factors for global temperature. A model is, necessarily, a simplification of the actual system. It is not possible to literally factor in everything. Previous models had (apparently; I’ve never actually looked into their particular inputs) considered levels of greenhouse gases as the main factors. Maybe they also took into account solar activity. Regardless, they didn’t think that aerosol production would have as much of a mitigating negative effect on the other things that were having a positive effect. The past decade made them have to question that. So they’ve adjusted their model to reflect the more recent data. And for this, people want to mock them. Frankly, I’m much more inclined to mock people who understand science so poorly.

    The answer to your question is that, of course, I don’t know what it will take to convince me that we need to substantially damage our economy, … I’ll know it when I see it.

    Ha. Sorry, that sounds no different than your just flat-out saying you’ll never accept any data as sufficient. You have no standard by which you’re judging anything. At least, not a scientific standard. Your political standards, however, are clear. In fact, you’ve hardly made any scientific arguments here at all. It’s always been about politics. I don’t trust the scientific opinions of people who don’t much care about, or even understand, science. You decry the effort of people who do care about and do understand science as “suspiciously like an effort to keep the funding and regulation train moving”, but your opinion on science is even more suspicious because it is even less grounded in science. I’m not going to take the opinion of a politician (or one grounded only in politics) on the work of a scientist. I would, however, consider another scientist’s opinion, or at least one grounded in science.

    What is the purpose in reducing carbon emissions in the U.S. if it will just cause a shift to overseas, likely dirtier, emissions?

    Translation: what is the point in trying? Wouldn’t giving up be easier than making difficult changes? Indeed, it would, unless the sky is falling because of government spending, in which case you suddenly side with the Chicken Littles. But in short, I don’t think you’re trying very hard to think about this question. There are any number of side benefits to our reducing carbon emissions here that directly benefit our country, from foreign policy entanglements to environmental quality. There is also this thing called global leadership. America used to have it, before the race to the bottom began. And with leadership comes leverage. Which we have precious little of right now. China is quickly coming to learn about the need for environmental concern.

    Why are environmentalists continuing to oppose and put roadblocks in the way to our transition to alternative energy, such as nuclear, solar, and wind?

    Why is it so hard for you to distinguish between environmentalists and scientists? Seriously, I don’t think you can do it.

    Why aren’t they leading by personal example in their own lifestyles?

    What you really mean here is: why aren’t the particular examples of particular people that you want to hold up as true for everyone across the board being addressed? Because there is no shortage of people who are leading by example in their own lives. But you don’t want to talk about them. You want to talk about Al Gore. Let’s be honest.

    And, you were the one who brought up Al Gore.

    Please, Don, I’m not an idiot. You mentioned (@26), “the tendency of its sponsor politicians and leaders to globe trot using highly inefficient transportation modes”. Don’t think I don’t know who, in particular, you had in mind when you wrote that. Al Gore’s personal habits are the go-to talking point for many a lousy anti-AGW argument. It’s all an extremely egregious ad hominem argument.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@28), I’m having a hard time understanding how you see this as “the scientific weeds”, given that it is, well, the main topic for discussion in this post. This post to which you have contributed six substantial comments before getting around to the actual topic, I might add. And if you want to read the study, WebMonk provided links (@11, 12).

    The updated theory explaining why no global warming was observed is that increasing sulfur emissions due to coal burning in the far east are to blame. Not volcanic emissions.

    No, I get that it wasn’t (primarily) due to volcanoes. I mentioned them not as the primary source, but as examples of atmospheric aerosol sources. And, more to the point, as sources of aerosols with extremely good correlations to global cooling dips. Point being: scientists are pretty certain that increases in aerosol production (natural or industrial) result in lower temperatures, due to reflection of solar radiation. And there is also little question that Asia (mainly China) has contributed to a significant increase in aerosol production in the past decade or so. Once again, I will ask if you question these two key facts.

    Now, if, as you say, the science on cooling due to sulfur emissions, resulting in the forming of “aerosols”, is settled, why did these esteemed climate scientists not see this coming?

    Don, do you really not see the issue here? Scientists are constantly attempting to come up with the best model for things — in this case, factors for global temperature. A model is, necessarily, a simplification of the actual system. It is not possible to literally factor in everything. Previous models had (apparently; I’ve never actually looked into their particular inputs) considered levels of greenhouse gases as the main factors. Maybe they also took into account solar activity. Regardless, they didn’t think that aerosol production would have as much of a mitigating negative effect on the other things that were having a positive effect. The past decade made them have to question that. So they’ve adjusted their model to reflect the more recent data. And for this, people want to mock them. Frankly, I’m much more inclined to mock people who understand science so poorly.

    The answer to your question is that, of course, I don’t know what it will take to convince me that we need to substantially damage our economy, … I’ll know it when I see it.

    Ha. Sorry, that sounds no different than your just flat-out saying you’ll never accept any data as sufficient. You have no standard by which you’re judging anything. At least, not a scientific standard. Your political standards, however, are clear. In fact, you’ve hardly made any scientific arguments here at all. It’s always been about politics. I don’t trust the scientific opinions of people who don’t much care about, or even understand, science. You decry the effort of people who do care about and do understand science as “suspiciously like an effort to keep the funding and regulation train moving”, but your opinion on science is even more suspicious because it is even less grounded in science. I’m not going to take the opinion of a politician (or one grounded only in politics) on the work of a scientist. I would, however, consider another scientist’s opinion, or at least one grounded in science.

    What is the purpose in reducing carbon emissions in the U.S. if it will just cause a shift to overseas, likely dirtier, emissions?

    Translation: what is the point in trying? Wouldn’t giving up be easier than making difficult changes? Indeed, it would, unless the sky is falling because of government spending, in which case you suddenly side with the Chicken Littles. But in short, I don’t think you’re trying very hard to think about this question. There are any number of side benefits to our reducing carbon emissions here that directly benefit our country, from foreign policy entanglements to environmental quality. There is also this thing called global leadership. America used to have it, before the race to the bottom began. And with leadership comes leverage. Which we have precious little of right now. China is quickly coming to learn about the need for environmental concern.

    Why are environmentalists continuing to oppose and put roadblocks in the way to our transition to alternative energy, such as nuclear, solar, and wind?

    Why is it so hard for you to distinguish between environmentalists and scientists? Seriously, I don’t think you can do it.

    Why aren’t they leading by personal example in their own lifestyles?

    What you really mean here is: why aren’t the particular examples of particular people that you want to hold up as true for everyone across the board being addressed? Because there is no shortage of people who are leading by example in their own lives. But you don’t want to talk about them. You want to talk about Al Gore. Let’s be honest.

    And, you were the one who brought up Al Gore.

    Please, Don, I’m not an idiot. You mentioned (@26), “the tendency of its sponsor politicians and leaders to globe trot using highly inefficient transportation modes”. Don’t think I don’t know who, in particular, you had in mind when you wrote that. Al Gore’s personal habits are the go-to talking point for many a lousy anti-AGW argument. It’s all an extremely egregious ad hominem argument.

  • DonS

    So, tODD, @ 32, that was a really nice lecture. But, where are you going with it? If it’s just about the science, and not the politics, then I guess you agree that these studies are far too preliminary to have no real application to our lives at this point in time. Oh, but wait:

    There are any number of side benefits to our reducing carbon emissions here that directly benefit our country, from foreign policy entanglements to environmental quality. There is also this thing called global leadership. America used to have it, before the race to the bottom began. And with leadership comes leverage.

    I see. You, too, are really in it about the politics, not the science.

    You say that I have no real interest in science, and it’s all just politics to me. Well, it’s politics to me because the regulatory left has made it so. I’m fine with science. I love science. But when science becomes politics, as this issue clearly has, I fight it on a political level. You yourself are now admitting that these modelling exercises are so preliminary that the researchers have not even taken into account such basic mitigating factors as aerosol production when designing them. What else have they not taken into account? How do we trust their conclusions as to the state of the climate in 2050 when they were dead wrong about its state in 2008? This science is clearly not ready for prime time, certainly when you consider the cost, now estimated by the U.N. in its brand new climate report as, conservatively speaking, 3% of world GDP, or $1.8 trillion (up from an estimated $600 billion just two years ago). And we know that the vast majority of this cost is going to fall directly on those who can least afford it.

    I’m fine with reducing energy consumption. I do it whenever possible in my personal life. At the personal, voluntary level it makes a lot of sense. It saves money and if we can reduce energy consumption significantly, it will help us reduce energy imports. I get all of that. But our government has no business imposing a draconian regulatory burden on our economy, dramatically increasing energy costs and causing people to lose their jobs, on the basis of half-baked science.

    As I’ve said repeatedly, why doesn’t government start, if it’s so concerned about this issue, by streamlining the building of new efficient and green power plants, and the transmission lines necessary to use them? Why does it not work hard at improving and expediting nuclear power projects that will provide a base load of clean carbon-free electricity at affordable cost? Why not expedite domestic production of new supplies natural gas and oil, so that our overseas imports are reduced? Why doesn’t our government ever see itself as a helper and expediter, rather than just a hinderer and a regulator?

    There are any number of side benefits to our reducing carbon emissions here that directly benefit our country, from foreign policy entanglements to environmental quality. There is also this thing called global leadership. America used to have it, before the race to the bottom began. And with leadership comes leverage. Which we have precious little of right now. China is quickly coming to learn about the need for environmental concern.

    I have no problem with global leadership. But taking unilateral regulatory action to reduce carbon emissions simply by making energy more difficult to generate and much more expensive, only serves to export jobs and production overseas. It doesn’t take a genius to see how many manufacturing jobs we’ve already lost, and if we make plant permitting even harder to get, because of additional environmental studies required under carbon emission reduction laws, and make electricity cost 50% more than it does not, the loss will accelerate. Americans out of work, and American manufacturing moving overseas. Now, that’s leadership! And, of course, when that production takes place in Mexico and China instead of here in the U.S., I’m sure it’s so much “greener”.

    Here’s an idea — let’s lead by helping our manufacturers and electricity producers gain access to newer and cheaper domestic sources of energy, by reducing regulation so that they can get new plants up and running faster.

    Nah, that’d be crazy.

  • DonS

    So, tODD, @ 32, that was a really nice lecture. But, where are you going with it? If it’s just about the science, and not the politics, then I guess you agree that these studies are far too preliminary to have no real application to our lives at this point in time. Oh, but wait:

    There are any number of side benefits to our reducing carbon emissions here that directly benefit our country, from foreign policy entanglements to environmental quality. There is also this thing called global leadership. America used to have it, before the race to the bottom began. And with leadership comes leverage.

    I see. You, too, are really in it about the politics, not the science.

    You say that I have no real interest in science, and it’s all just politics to me. Well, it’s politics to me because the regulatory left has made it so. I’m fine with science. I love science. But when science becomes politics, as this issue clearly has, I fight it on a political level. You yourself are now admitting that these modelling exercises are so preliminary that the researchers have not even taken into account such basic mitigating factors as aerosol production when designing them. What else have they not taken into account? How do we trust their conclusions as to the state of the climate in 2050 when they were dead wrong about its state in 2008? This science is clearly not ready for prime time, certainly when you consider the cost, now estimated by the U.N. in its brand new climate report as, conservatively speaking, 3% of world GDP, or $1.8 trillion (up from an estimated $600 billion just two years ago). And we know that the vast majority of this cost is going to fall directly on those who can least afford it.

    I’m fine with reducing energy consumption. I do it whenever possible in my personal life. At the personal, voluntary level it makes a lot of sense. It saves money and if we can reduce energy consumption significantly, it will help us reduce energy imports. I get all of that. But our government has no business imposing a draconian regulatory burden on our economy, dramatically increasing energy costs and causing people to lose their jobs, on the basis of half-baked science.

    As I’ve said repeatedly, why doesn’t government start, if it’s so concerned about this issue, by streamlining the building of new efficient and green power plants, and the transmission lines necessary to use them? Why does it not work hard at improving and expediting nuclear power projects that will provide a base load of clean carbon-free electricity at affordable cost? Why not expedite domestic production of new supplies natural gas and oil, so that our overseas imports are reduced? Why doesn’t our government ever see itself as a helper and expediter, rather than just a hinderer and a regulator?

    There are any number of side benefits to our reducing carbon emissions here that directly benefit our country, from foreign policy entanglements to environmental quality. There is also this thing called global leadership. America used to have it, before the race to the bottom began. And with leadership comes leverage. Which we have precious little of right now. China is quickly coming to learn about the need for environmental concern.

    I have no problem with global leadership. But taking unilateral regulatory action to reduce carbon emissions simply by making energy more difficult to generate and much more expensive, only serves to export jobs and production overseas. It doesn’t take a genius to see how many manufacturing jobs we’ve already lost, and if we make plant permitting even harder to get, because of additional environmental studies required under carbon emission reduction laws, and make electricity cost 50% more than it does not, the loss will accelerate. Americans out of work, and American manufacturing moving overseas. Now, that’s leadership! And, of course, when that production takes place in Mexico and China instead of here in the U.S., I’m sure it’s so much “greener”.

    Here’s an idea — let’s lead by helping our manufacturers and electricity producers gain access to newer and cheaper domestic sources of energy, by reducing regulation so that they can get new plants up and running faster.

    Nah, that’d be crazy.

  • WebMonk

    Don,
    Even if you come at it from the angle you’re taking, you still can’t come up with any sort of meaningful way that humanity is transitioning off fossil fuels, and especially not because of any sort of scarcity issue (understanding that scarcity is not just what is in the ground, but what is accessible to us at a ‘reasonable’ cost).

    People generally would LIKE to transition off fossil fuels, but we haven’t even begun to do it in anything even approaching a significant way except for nuclear, bio, and hydro. Nuclear won’t grow, and bio/hydro grow more slowly than consumption – they’re more or less maxed out as far as a percentage of global energy usage goes so we can’t move to them.

    The only non-fossil area that can grow faster than consumption (and thus could possibly allow a transition off fossil fuels) is solar power.

    Photovoltaic energy is growing quickly, but is only a tiny, tiny fraction of the world’s energy consumption. (0.02% to 0.04% depending on the figures and methods used) It needs to grow fifty times over to get up to only 1% of the total. And it is fundamentally impossible for earth-based solar power to provide a major portion (1/3?) of the earth’s energy consumption.

    As you haven’t even touched on any numbers on this topic, I suspect you came to your opinion completely separate from actual facts. I would love it if you had some facts to back your view up, but I can guarantee you they aren’t there. There are lots of optimistic statements out there, but the facts are that we aren’t doing anything that could be considered a significant transition off of fossil fuels.

  • WebMonk

    Don,
    Even if you come at it from the angle you’re taking, you still can’t come up with any sort of meaningful way that humanity is transitioning off fossil fuels, and especially not because of any sort of scarcity issue (understanding that scarcity is not just what is in the ground, but what is accessible to us at a ‘reasonable’ cost).

    People generally would LIKE to transition off fossil fuels, but we haven’t even begun to do it in anything even approaching a significant way except for nuclear, bio, and hydro. Nuclear won’t grow, and bio/hydro grow more slowly than consumption – they’re more or less maxed out as far as a percentage of global energy usage goes so we can’t move to them.

    The only non-fossil area that can grow faster than consumption (and thus could possibly allow a transition off fossil fuels) is solar power.

    Photovoltaic energy is growing quickly, but is only a tiny, tiny fraction of the world’s energy consumption. (0.02% to 0.04% depending on the figures and methods used) It needs to grow fifty times over to get up to only 1% of the total. And it is fundamentally impossible for earth-based solar power to provide a major portion (1/3?) of the earth’s energy consumption.

    As you haven’t even touched on any numbers on this topic, I suspect you came to your opinion completely separate from actual facts. I would love it if you had some facts to back your view up, but I can guarantee you they aren’t there. There are lots of optimistic statements out there, but the facts are that we aren’t doing anything that could be considered a significant transition off of fossil fuels.

  • DonS

    Webmonk @ 34: I’m hesitant to delve into this issue specifically, both because it’s a distraction from the main topic, and because it is subsumed by my main point above, which is that, if anything, government should be expediting and enabling the private development of new sources of energy (whether fossil or otherwise), as well as expediting, rather than impeding, the construction of new power plants and transmission lines. The transition would occur much more quickly if government would get out of the way, rather than simply regulate additional layers of permitting, oversight, and costs into the process.

    So, it’s unclear to me which statements I made @ 31 that you disagree with. Have we not transitioned largely away from oil for industrial and electrical generation energy sources? It’s apparent to me that we have, whether or not “numbers” are attached. Nuclear won’t grow because we have put up regulatory roadblocks and haven’t done nearly enough to educate the population about the lack of non-fossil alternatives. We’re shutting down hydro because of environmental opposition. Wind is impractical because of its unreliability and lack of storage capacity, as well as because environmentalists don’t want the windmills or the transmission lines. Solar farms and their necessary transmission lines are also heavily opposed by the very same enviros who claim our increasing carbon emissions are dire for mankind. That pretty much leaves rooftop solar as the only alternative energy we are allowed to have. Good luck with that.

    My point to tODD, really, was that if government and environmentalists would see fit to get out of the way, and encourage the shift to alternative energy, it would happen naturally. But instead, the plan seems to be simply to let everything go dark — make energy more scarce and much more expensive and move the jobs and economic growth overseas.

  • DonS

    Webmonk @ 34: I’m hesitant to delve into this issue specifically, both because it’s a distraction from the main topic, and because it is subsumed by my main point above, which is that, if anything, government should be expediting and enabling the private development of new sources of energy (whether fossil or otherwise), as well as expediting, rather than impeding, the construction of new power plants and transmission lines. The transition would occur much more quickly if government would get out of the way, rather than simply regulate additional layers of permitting, oversight, and costs into the process.

    So, it’s unclear to me which statements I made @ 31 that you disagree with. Have we not transitioned largely away from oil for industrial and electrical generation energy sources? It’s apparent to me that we have, whether or not “numbers” are attached. Nuclear won’t grow because we have put up regulatory roadblocks and haven’t done nearly enough to educate the population about the lack of non-fossil alternatives. We’re shutting down hydro because of environmental opposition. Wind is impractical because of its unreliability and lack of storage capacity, as well as because environmentalists don’t want the windmills or the transmission lines. Solar farms and their necessary transmission lines are also heavily opposed by the very same enviros who claim our increasing carbon emissions are dire for mankind. That pretty much leaves rooftop solar as the only alternative energy we are allowed to have. Good luck with that.

    My point to tODD, really, was that if government and environmentalists would see fit to get out of the way, and encourage the shift to alternative energy, it would happen naturally. But instead, the plan seems to be simply to let everything go dark — make energy more scarce and much more expensive and move the jobs and economic growth overseas.

  • WebMonk

    DonS, “Have we not transitioned largely away from oil for industrial and electrical generation energy sources? It’s apparent to me that we have, whether or not “numbers” are attached.”

    Not even close in any way shape or form! What’s “apparent” to you is dead wrong.

    For one, we have never used oil as a major source of electrical energy production – we have always used other fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas WAY more than oil. However, they’re all fossil fuels. Since you’ve been talking about fossil fuels in general before, I assume you intended to mean fossil fuels this time, and not just oil.

    Oil, coal, and gas are 80+% of what we use for energy overall. (including cars, airplanes, etc) Nuclear makes up the next biggest chunk with hydro following well behind. A few percentage points are left to be split amongst all the other renewable energy sources.

    If now you want to just look at electricity production, you’re looking at oil, coal and natural gas making up 70%, with nuclear making up 20%. Hydro gets 7%. That leaves a whopping 3% split amongst all the other renewable sources. Hydro and Nuclear are essentially static. The fossil fuels are staying mostly even as a percentage, but are growing rapidly in raw numbers.

    Like I said, I’m not sure where you’ve gotten the idea that we are “transitioned largely away from oil for industrial and electrical generation energy”. Not even close no matter how you slice it. Someone sold you a whopper.

  • WebMonk

    DonS, “Have we not transitioned largely away from oil for industrial and electrical generation energy sources? It’s apparent to me that we have, whether or not “numbers” are attached.”

    Not even close in any way shape or form! What’s “apparent” to you is dead wrong.

    For one, we have never used oil as a major source of electrical energy production – we have always used other fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas WAY more than oil. However, they’re all fossil fuels. Since you’ve been talking about fossil fuels in general before, I assume you intended to mean fossil fuels this time, and not just oil.

    Oil, coal, and gas are 80+% of what we use for energy overall. (including cars, airplanes, etc) Nuclear makes up the next biggest chunk with hydro following well behind. A few percentage points are left to be split amongst all the other renewable energy sources.

    If now you want to just look at electricity production, you’re looking at oil, coal and natural gas making up 70%, with nuclear making up 20%. Hydro gets 7%. That leaves a whopping 3% split amongst all the other renewable sources. Hydro and Nuclear are essentially static. The fossil fuels are staying mostly even as a percentage, but are growing rapidly in raw numbers.

    Like I said, I’m not sure where you’ve gotten the idea that we are “transitioned largely away from oil for industrial and electrical generation energy”. Not even close no matter how you slice it. Someone sold you a whopper.

  • WebMonk

    Oh, and DonS, the transition would not happen ‘naturally’ without significant outside support (aka government subsidies), at least not right now. Let oil, coal, and natural gas all double in cost, and they would still be cheaper than renewable sources if government subsidies were taken away.

    All energy sources are subsidized – fossil, nuclear, and renewable. However, renewable energy production is almost an order of magnitude more heavily subsidized than fossil fuels. If all the subsidies were taken away (which is what it sounds like you’re suggesting when you say the government should get out of the way) renewable energy sources would be anywhere between 2x and 4x more expensive per watt than fossil fuels.**

    For example, here in the US, fossil fuels generate 78.8% of our electricity. Nuclear is 9.8%. Hydro is 9%. All other renewables are 2%.

    Nuclear gets 50% of R&D subsidies, fossil fuels get about 25%, and renewables get about 25%. That means that per watt, nuclear energy is receiving 16x more subsidy than fossil fuels. Renewables (including Hydro) produce a seventh of the energy of fossil fuels, which means they are getting 7x more subsidy per watt than fossil fuels.

    If you take away all the subsidies, energy from all sources goes up in cost, but the cost for nuclear and renewables goes up WAY more than fossil fuels. Right now the government “being in the way” is the only thing keeping the price of renewable energy at even a vaguely similar price as fossil fuels.

    This is all really basic stuff, and so you might want to check whatever you’re using for information about energy – they’re either totally ignorant of the topic, or they are giving out an extremely skewed picture.

    ** The exact amount of change were subsidies be taken away is debateable in the details – there are a LOT of things that would change. However, everyone agrees that without subsidies renewable energy would be much, much more expensive than fossil fuels. Even the craziest, pro-renewable massaging of numbers and maybes still have renewable energy costing 50% more than fossils. Realistically, it’s somewhere between 2x and 4x per watt the cost of fossils.

  • WebMonk

    Oh, and DonS, the transition would not happen ‘naturally’ without significant outside support (aka government subsidies), at least not right now. Let oil, coal, and natural gas all double in cost, and they would still be cheaper than renewable sources if government subsidies were taken away.

    All energy sources are subsidized – fossil, nuclear, and renewable. However, renewable energy production is almost an order of magnitude more heavily subsidized than fossil fuels. If all the subsidies were taken away (which is what it sounds like you’re suggesting when you say the government should get out of the way) renewable energy sources would be anywhere between 2x and 4x more expensive per watt than fossil fuels.**

    For example, here in the US, fossil fuels generate 78.8% of our electricity. Nuclear is 9.8%. Hydro is 9%. All other renewables are 2%.

    Nuclear gets 50% of R&D subsidies, fossil fuels get about 25%, and renewables get about 25%. That means that per watt, nuclear energy is receiving 16x more subsidy than fossil fuels. Renewables (including Hydro) produce a seventh of the energy of fossil fuels, which means they are getting 7x more subsidy per watt than fossil fuels.

    If you take away all the subsidies, energy from all sources goes up in cost, but the cost for nuclear and renewables goes up WAY more than fossil fuels. Right now the government “being in the way” is the only thing keeping the price of renewable energy at even a vaguely similar price as fossil fuels.

    This is all really basic stuff, and so you might want to check whatever you’re using for information about energy – they’re either totally ignorant of the topic, or they are giving out an extremely skewed picture.

    ** The exact amount of change were subsidies be taken away is debateable in the details – there are a LOT of things that would change. However, everyone agrees that without subsidies renewable energy would be much, much more expensive than fossil fuels. Even the craziest, pro-renewable massaging of numbers and maybes still have renewable energy costing 50% more than fossils. Realistically, it’s somewhere between 2x and 4x per watt the cost of fossils.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@33),

    If it’s just about the science, and not the politics, then I guess you agree that these studies are far too preliminary to have no real application to our lives at this point in time.

    Best I can tell, that’s a complete non sequitur. As to the validity of the science behind AGW, I will not consider arguments as to potential political or economic impact — pretty much the sole arguments you have lobbed at the science, other than a little general ad hominem defamation here and there. No, for me, I’m far more interested in what scientists themselves believe, and most of them do not appear to agree with you that “these studies are far too preliminary”, depending on which “these” we’re referring to.

    As to your “gotcha” moment (“You, too, are really in it about the politics, not the science”), you seem to have completely ignored the context in which that statement was made, which was in a response to a question from you (@28) which had nothing to do with the validity of science, and instead asked about politics — namely, the question of what to do about other countries vis-a-vis CO2 emissions. To quote my answer to you and then make it seem like I’m only “really in it about the politics, not the science” appears to be remarkably disingenuous on your part.

    You say that I have no real interest in science, and it’s all just politics to me. Well, it’s politics to me because the regulatory left has made it so.

    Translation: You will accept the science to the degree that the government doesn’t actually act on it, ever. It’s like saying you believe in bacteria, but the moment the government tries to regulate food products with botulism, you start questioning everything “scientists” say about the topic.

    Sorry, Don, but you continue to make non-scientific arguments. And the little science you attempt here is fundamentally indistinguishable from your well-established anti-government political stance. Consider, after all, the phrasing here:

    This science is clearly not ready for prime time, certainly when you consider the cost

    See? You judge the validity of the science based on the cost. What reason do you give me to believe that you care about the science at all? I mean, you didn’t even know what aerosols were after extensive involvement in this conversation — which is about aerosols! Why can’t you just say that you don’t care about the science, period? Prove to me otherwise!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@33),

    If it’s just about the science, and not the politics, then I guess you agree that these studies are far too preliminary to have no real application to our lives at this point in time.

    Best I can tell, that’s a complete non sequitur. As to the validity of the science behind AGW, I will not consider arguments as to potential political or economic impact — pretty much the sole arguments you have lobbed at the science, other than a little general ad hominem defamation here and there. No, for me, I’m far more interested in what scientists themselves believe, and most of them do not appear to agree with you that “these studies are far too preliminary”, depending on which “these” we’re referring to.

    As to your “gotcha” moment (“You, too, are really in it about the politics, not the science”), you seem to have completely ignored the context in which that statement was made, which was in a response to a question from you (@28) which had nothing to do with the validity of science, and instead asked about politics — namely, the question of what to do about other countries vis-a-vis CO2 emissions. To quote my answer to you and then make it seem like I’m only “really in it about the politics, not the science” appears to be remarkably disingenuous on your part.

    You say that I have no real interest in science, and it’s all just politics to me. Well, it’s politics to me because the regulatory left has made it so.

    Translation: You will accept the science to the degree that the government doesn’t actually act on it, ever. It’s like saying you believe in bacteria, but the moment the government tries to regulate food products with botulism, you start questioning everything “scientists” say about the topic.

    Sorry, Don, but you continue to make non-scientific arguments. And the little science you attempt here is fundamentally indistinguishable from your well-established anti-government political stance. Consider, after all, the phrasing here:

    This science is clearly not ready for prime time, certainly when you consider the cost

    See? You judge the validity of the science based on the cost. What reason do you give me to believe that you care about the science at all? I mean, you didn’t even know what aerosols were after extensive involvement in this conversation — which is about aerosols! Why can’t you just say that you don’t care about the science, period? Prove to me otherwise!

  • DonS

    Webmonk @ 36 & 37: You know, I can’t even find the single sentence you originally cherry picked to go off on this tangent anymore, to read the context. And I really can’t figure out what your agenda is in pursuing this side tangent, other than to divert the discussion for whatever reason. But I DO know that you should have been able, from the context of this discussion, to know that I was not talking about natural gas when I used the term “fossil fuels”. Yes, I know that gas is a fossil fuel, but it is clean burning, as pollutants are traditionally defined, and you will note that one of my main points in this thread is to advocate moving toward, not away from, natural gas, because it is clean burning, in abundant domestic supply, and the only reasonable alternative for the next number of decades to foreign energy imports.

    As for your comment @ 36: http://www.eia.gov/emeu/steo/pub/cf_tables/steotables.cfm?periodType=Annual&startYear=2005&startMonth=1&startQuarter=1&endYear=2009&endMonth=12&endQuarter=4&tableNumber=22&noScroll=true

    Let’s just set the record straight, since you insist that I’ve been “sold a whopper” and that what’s apparent to me is “dead wrong”. You want a chart, you got a chart. As you will see, the use of petroleum as a source of electricity generation declined from 319 million kwh per day in 2005 to 98 million kwh per day in 2009. That’s quite a drop! Enjoy your whopper! Coal has also decreased substantially, while natural gas has substantially increased. All pretty much as I have said all along. The major thing to take from this chart is that the so-called renewables are not going to be a factor, at all, for many decades. On that point, I think we agree.

    Moreover, if you go back a few more decades, I think you will find that oil was a much bigger part of the energy mix for electricity generation historically. You’re right — it was never the majority source nationally, but I think it may have been in the northeast, where I grew up. I remember when my dad’s chemical plant converted from oil to natural gas in the ’70′s. Also, in that era most people heated their homes using oil in the northeast, but that usage has definitely diminished in the past thirty years. Before oil, it was coal. But coal is clearly diminishing, because of conventional pollution regulation, and that will continue, naturally, under current regulatory requirements.

    Now, as for your comment @ 37:

    Oh, and DonS, the transition would not happen ‘naturally’ without significant outside support (aka government subsidies), at least not right now. Let oil, coal, and natural gas all double in cost, and they would still be cheaper than renewable sources if government subsidies were taken away.

    Again, you’ve created a “straw Don” to knock down. When I said “naturally”, that didn’t mean, in context, taking away status quo regulations. It meant not piling on a bunch of new carbon emission reduction regulations. What I meant by getting the government out of the way, as I think I pretty clearly explained, was that it should expedite permitting and streamlining new construction — power plants and transmission lines. In this respect, one thing that should be done is fixing the laws so that all of these loony environmental organizations cannot so easily get standing to tie up these projects in litigation for years on end, all while they declaim our excess usage of dirty fuels!

  • DonS

    Webmonk @ 36 & 37: You know, I can’t even find the single sentence you originally cherry picked to go off on this tangent anymore, to read the context. And I really can’t figure out what your agenda is in pursuing this side tangent, other than to divert the discussion for whatever reason. But I DO know that you should have been able, from the context of this discussion, to know that I was not talking about natural gas when I used the term “fossil fuels”. Yes, I know that gas is a fossil fuel, but it is clean burning, as pollutants are traditionally defined, and you will note that one of my main points in this thread is to advocate moving toward, not away from, natural gas, because it is clean burning, in abundant domestic supply, and the only reasonable alternative for the next number of decades to foreign energy imports.

    As for your comment @ 36: http://www.eia.gov/emeu/steo/pub/cf_tables/steotables.cfm?periodType=Annual&startYear=2005&startMonth=1&startQuarter=1&endYear=2009&endMonth=12&endQuarter=4&tableNumber=22&noScroll=true

    Let’s just set the record straight, since you insist that I’ve been “sold a whopper” and that what’s apparent to me is “dead wrong”. You want a chart, you got a chart. As you will see, the use of petroleum as a source of electricity generation declined from 319 million kwh per day in 2005 to 98 million kwh per day in 2009. That’s quite a drop! Enjoy your whopper! Coal has also decreased substantially, while natural gas has substantially increased. All pretty much as I have said all along. The major thing to take from this chart is that the so-called renewables are not going to be a factor, at all, for many decades. On that point, I think we agree.

    Moreover, if you go back a few more decades, I think you will find that oil was a much bigger part of the energy mix for electricity generation historically. You’re right — it was never the majority source nationally, but I think it may have been in the northeast, where I grew up. I remember when my dad’s chemical plant converted from oil to natural gas in the ’70′s. Also, in that era most people heated their homes using oil in the northeast, but that usage has definitely diminished in the past thirty years. Before oil, it was coal. But coal is clearly diminishing, because of conventional pollution regulation, and that will continue, naturally, under current regulatory requirements.

    Now, as for your comment @ 37:

    Oh, and DonS, the transition would not happen ‘naturally’ without significant outside support (aka government subsidies), at least not right now. Let oil, coal, and natural gas all double in cost, and they would still be cheaper than renewable sources if government subsidies were taken away.

    Again, you’ve created a “straw Don” to knock down. When I said “naturally”, that didn’t mean, in context, taking away status quo regulations. It meant not piling on a bunch of new carbon emission reduction regulations. What I meant by getting the government out of the way, as I think I pretty clearly explained, was that it should expedite permitting and streamlining new construction — power plants and transmission lines. In this respect, one thing that should be done is fixing the laws so that all of these loony environmental organizations cannot so easily get standing to tie up these projects in litigation for years on end, all while they declaim our excess usage of dirty fuels!

  • DonS

    tODD @ 38: Quite frankly, the “science” itself doesn’t interest me in the least. It’s an exercise in computer modeling, and an opportunity for people to get paid nice sums of grant money to make wild predictions about what may or may not occur in 50 years. I don’t consider it science really. Science is what you can see and observe, and the application of those observations to develop useful laws of nature you can use to help people have better lives. Extrapolating data beyond the observable is an interesting exercise, and is useful in developing theories that may lead to more research that could ultimately lead to useful science.

    The problem with this science is that it was hijacked by politicians as a justification for furthering preconceived societal objectives held by radical environmentalists and other naturists who always thought we were abusing the planet. Power-hungry politicians, who never miss an opportunity to regulate, and by so doing, gain power, jumped at this “science” to re-vitalize existing efforts at environmentalism.

    What made it interesting to me is when politicians began misusing preliminary scientific theories to impose radical regulatory schemes now, claiming that, no matter how much they harm people and our economy, we must “move forward” or risk destroying the planet.

    That kind of cheap sensationalism, jumped on by our fawning and stupid establishment media and a host of profiteers, such as “green energy” titans, used to circumvent our ordinary democratic process, is the worst kind of abuse imaginable. Accurate and measured information is essential to a proper democracy and an educated voting public, and deliberate misinformation is, to the contrary, its greatest threat.

    For this issue, clearly, the politics have overwhelmed the science. This setback for the climate warming crowd, combined with the prior setback when it was discovered that these scientists were willing to misinform and mislead to keep their efforts going, is a great thing for our country, to the extent it forces people to acknowledge that we are dealing with preliminary, possible wrong, theory, rather than established certainty.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 38: Quite frankly, the “science” itself doesn’t interest me in the least. It’s an exercise in computer modeling, and an opportunity for people to get paid nice sums of grant money to make wild predictions about what may or may not occur in 50 years. I don’t consider it science really. Science is what you can see and observe, and the application of those observations to develop useful laws of nature you can use to help people have better lives. Extrapolating data beyond the observable is an interesting exercise, and is useful in developing theories that may lead to more research that could ultimately lead to useful science.

    The problem with this science is that it was hijacked by politicians as a justification for furthering preconceived societal objectives held by radical environmentalists and other naturists who always thought we were abusing the planet. Power-hungry politicians, who never miss an opportunity to regulate, and by so doing, gain power, jumped at this “science” to re-vitalize existing efforts at environmentalism.

    What made it interesting to me is when politicians began misusing preliminary scientific theories to impose radical regulatory schemes now, claiming that, no matter how much they harm people and our economy, we must “move forward” or risk destroying the planet.

    That kind of cheap sensationalism, jumped on by our fawning and stupid establishment media and a host of profiteers, such as “green energy” titans, used to circumvent our ordinary democratic process, is the worst kind of abuse imaginable. Accurate and measured information is essential to a proper democracy and an educated voting public, and deliberate misinformation is, to the contrary, its greatest threat.

    For this issue, clearly, the politics have overwhelmed the science. This setback for the climate warming crowd, combined with the prior setback when it was discovered that these scientists were willing to misinform and mislead to keep their efforts going, is a great thing for our country, to the extent it forces people to acknowledge that we are dealing with preliminary, possible wrong, theory, rather than established certainty.

  • WebMonk

    Don, you seem to be using ‘oil’, ‘fossil fuels’, and ‘natural gas’ in a bizarre mish-mash of substitution and exclusion, the logic of which completely escapes me.

    Apparently in 28 you said “especially when we know that the use of fossil fuels is already waning due to supply scarcity” but you don’t include natural gas as a fossil fuel. Oh, and you apparently only mean fossil fuels (except for natural gas, of course) in electricity generation, excluding all other forms of energy use. Oh, and apparently you just mean to imply oil when you said ‘fossil fuel’. Oh, and apparently this is based on the change in our use of oil, which has never been more than 4% which has dropped down to 1% in the last 5 years, but is extremely volatile and has done drops and rises very similar to this before. (example: 94-95 had a 70% drop in one year!! And then a 41% increase from 97-98!! Based on the drop seen in the last five years we must be moving away from oil in an unprecedented manner!! Wow!! Or, of course, it could be that oil use in electricity generation is volatile and you are picking a particular date range divorced from its history. But, no, that would be crazy.)

    Ah yes, forgive me for thinking you were saying something completely and ridiculously wrong. I naturally should have realized you had all those caveats in there.

  • WebMonk

    Don, you seem to be using ‘oil’, ‘fossil fuels’, and ‘natural gas’ in a bizarre mish-mash of substitution and exclusion, the logic of which completely escapes me.

    Apparently in 28 you said “especially when we know that the use of fossil fuels is already waning due to supply scarcity” but you don’t include natural gas as a fossil fuel. Oh, and you apparently only mean fossil fuels (except for natural gas, of course) in electricity generation, excluding all other forms of energy use. Oh, and apparently you just mean to imply oil when you said ‘fossil fuel’. Oh, and apparently this is based on the change in our use of oil, which has never been more than 4% which has dropped down to 1% in the last 5 years, but is extremely volatile and has done drops and rises very similar to this before. (example: 94-95 had a 70% drop in one year!! And then a 41% increase from 97-98!! Based on the drop seen in the last five years we must be moving away from oil in an unprecedented manner!! Wow!! Or, of course, it could be that oil use in electricity generation is volatile and you are picking a particular date range divorced from its history. But, no, that would be crazy.)

    Ah yes, forgive me for thinking you were saying something completely and ridiculously wrong. I naturally should have realized you had all those caveats in there.

  • DonS

    Webmonk @ 41: You are being deliberately and provocatively contentious for no apparent reason. You came in late to a discussion, cherry-picked one sentence of mine, out of context, without addressing any of the substance of the argument in which it formed a part, and diverted the thread discussion into something totally tangential to the point. Read the whole discussion. You will see, with clarity, if you choose to, how out of context your who argument is. Here’s an example from my comment @ 26:

    The thing that makes me very cynical about the whole global warming industry is the tendency of its sponsor politicians and leaders to globe trot using highly inefficient transportation modes (the I’m an exception to the little people attitude that is so prevalent among elites), as well as the failure of environmentalists to embrace and encourage alternative energy sources such as nuclear power and fracking to obtain more natural gas, which is much more carbon-friendly than oil and coal. Also, why in the heck are environmentalists fighting transmission lines to proposed solar and wind farms? It makes no sense to me, if the science is as ironclad as they allege, and if the problem is as dire as they claim.

    See the italicized portion? I specifically included natural gas as an alternative to the dirtier fossil fuels oil and coal. See that? That, my man, is context. In comment 28, I shorthanded the term “fossil fuels” to mean coal and oil.

    If you are going to jump in and derail a discussion, flinging personal insults along the way, at least do so constructively, and with respect for the context of the discussion before you joined in.

  • DonS

    Webmonk @ 41: You are being deliberately and provocatively contentious for no apparent reason. You came in late to a discussion, cherry-picked one sentence of mine, out of context, without addressing any of the substance of the argument in which it formed a part, and diverted the thread discussion into something totally tangential to the point. Read the whole discussion. You will see, with clarity, if you choose to, how out of context your who argument is. Here’s an example from my comment @ 26:

    The thing that makes me very cynical about the whole global warming industry is the tendency of its sponsor politicians and leaders to globe trot using highly inefficient transportation modes (the I’m an exception to the little people attitude that is so prevalent among elites), as well as the failure of environmentalists to embrace and encourage alternative energy sources such as nuclear power and fracking to obtain more natural gas, which is much more carbon-friendly than oil and coal. Also, why in the heck are environmentalists fighting transmission lines to proposed solar and wind farms? It makes no sense to me, if the science is as ironclad as they allege, and if the problem is as dire as they claim.

    See the italicized portion? I specifically included natural gas as an alternative to the dirtier fossil fuels oil and coal. See that? That, my man, is context. In comment 28, I shorthanded the term “fossil fuels” to mean coal and oil.

    If you are going to jump in and derail a discussion, flinging personal insults along the way, at least do so constructively, and with respect for the context of the discussion before you joined in.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS said (@40),

    Quite frankly, the “science” itself doesn’t interest me in the least.

    Thanks for admitting that. You can see how that admission sounds pretty much nothing like “I’m fine with science. I love science” (@33). This is why I don’t take your critiques of the science very seriously. Because you’re almost never discussing the science — you take issues with the findings based on their political and economic implications, and you further malign those making those findings as being self-serving and not actually interested in the science, even as you yourself admit you are not at all interested in the science. I see no reason to take your critiques, such as they are, seriously.

    It’s an exercise in computer modeling, and an opportunity for people to get paid nice sums of grant money to make wild predictions about what may or may not occur in 50 years.

    I like how you malign people for getting paid for their work. One wonders what this says about the honesty of your legal work — are you as unscrupulous as you assume others are? Or are we only here to malign other people who come to conclusions you (1) don’t agree with and (2) don’t care to understand?

    As to “computer modeling”, you seem to assume that computer models are equivalent to guesswork. This would, of course, be news to the vast number of engineering and industrial activities that rely on computer modeling. Hey NASA, guess what? All your space flight that involves predictions of where planets and other bodies will be in the days, months, and years to come? Merely “an exercise in computer modeling”! Total guesswork! The mere fact that you had to adjust your understanding of gravity — which is only a theory, you know — to accomodate relativity proves you’re totally guessing.

    Science is what you can see and observe, and the application of those observations to develop useful laws of nature you can use to help people have better lives.

    Hmm. “What you can see and observe”. You mean, like, temperatures and aerosol levels? We can see and observe those. And we can apply those observations to develop a useful set of laws on how the atmosphere and our planet interact. But … you deny that doing that is science. Because, you know, it would have political ramifications.

    I’ll go further than that. Science involves making predictions. If science cannot make predictions, it is not meaningfully science. That’s, more or less, what the scientific method is about. That’s why engineering works. Because the predictions keep coming true. And when they don’t, science looks to take other things into consideration.

    The problem with this science is that it was hijacked by politicians as a justification for furthering preconceived societal objectives held by radical environmentalists and other naturists who always thought we were abusing the planet. Power-hungry politicians, who never miss an opportunity to regulate, and by so doing, gain power, jumped at this “science” to re-vitalize existing efforts at environmentalism.

    It’s a fine conspiracy theory, of course. But nothing more. Look, I’m not interested in your opinion on the “hijacking” of science that doesn’t interest you “in the least”. You are, by your own admission, incapable of making that assessment, because to make that assessment properly would involve your caring about and understanding the science, such that you could point to where it was unduly influenced. You can’t do that, Don. Not until you start caring about the science.

    And I’m sorry, but to complain about “cheap sensationalism”, after the paragraph of yours I just quoted, is a bit much.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS said (@40),

    Quite frankly, the “science” itself doesn’t interest me in the least.

    Thanks for admitting that. You can see how that admission sounds pretty much nothing like “I’m fine with science. I love science” (@33). This is why I don’t take your critiques of the science very seriously. Because you’re almost never discussing the science — you take issues with the findings based on their political and economic implications, and you further malign those making those findings as being self-serving and not actually interested in the science, even as you yourself admit you are not at all interested in the science. I see no reason to take your critiques, such as they are, seriously.

    It’s an exercise in computer modeling, and an opportunity for people to get paid nice sums of grant money to make wild predictions about what may or may not occur in 50 years.

    I like how you malign people for getting paid for their work. One wonders what this says about the honesty of your legal work — are you as unscrupulous as you assume others are? Or are we only here to malign other people who come to conclusions you (1) don’t agree with and (2) don’t care to understand?

    As to “computer modeling”, you seem to assume that computer models are equivalent to guesswork. This would, of course, be news to the vast number of engineering and industrial activities that rely on computer modeling. Hey NASA, guess what? All your space flight that involves predictions of where planets and other bodies will be in the days, months, and years to come? Merely “an exercise in computer modeling”! Total guesswork! The mere fact that you had to adjust your understanding of gravity — which is only a theory, you know — to accomodate relativity proves you’re totally guessing.

    Science is what you can see and observe, and the application of those observations to develop useful laws of nature you can use to help people have better lives.

    Hmm. “What you can see and observe”. You mean, like, temperatures and aerosol levels? We can see and observe those. And we can apply those observations to develop a useful set of laws on how the atmosphere and our planet interact. But … you deny that doing that is science. Because, you know, it would have political ramifications.

    I’ll go further than that. Science involves making predictions. If science cannot make predictions, it is not meaningfully science. That’s, more or less, what the scientific method is about. That’s why engineering works. Because the predictions keep coming true. And when they don’t, science looks to take other things into consideration.

    The problem with this science is that it was hijacked by politicians as a justification for furthering preconceived societal objectives held by radical environmentalists and other naturists who always thought we were abusing the planet. Power-hungry politicians, who never miss an opportunity to regulate, and by so doing, gain power, jumped at this “science” to re-vitalize existing efforts at environmentalism.

    It’s a fine conspiracy theory, of course. But nothing more. Look, I’m not interested in your opinion on the “hijacking” of science that doesn’t interest you “in the least”. You are, by your own admission, incapable of making that assessment, because to make that assessment properly would involve your caring about and understanding the science, such that you could point to where it was unduly influenced. You can’t do that, Don. Not until you start caring about the science.

    And I’m sorry, but to complain about “cheap sensationalism”, after the paragraph of yours I just quoted, is a bit much.

  • DonS

    Interesting, tODD @ 43. Your tactics are fascinating. Surely, you don’t live in a bubble. You certainly realize that the entire reason why this particular “science” is reported the way that it is is because of its political ramifications, and that entire regulatory schemes have either already been enacted (California) or are very close to being enacted (EPA) based upon research that, so far, has utterly failed to live up to expectations. The California carbon emission limitation regime is expected to increase electricity prices 30% over the next decade. Thirty percent ON TOP OF the normal increases! How much hardship is this going to cause to California residents, whose electricity rates are already 50% above the national average? How many more industries are going to flee the state, taking middle class jobs with them, and leaving untold misery for millions of people? You know, what is stunning to me is that the same people who claim that we need to keep running up the national debt, regardless of the catastrophe which will ultimately certainly befall our nation as a result of that profligacy, because they claim that, otherwise, benefit cuts will hurt poor people, are oftentimes the same ones who are fine with, and even encouraging these dramatic energy restrictions. Even though making energy much more scarce and expensive will have an even more profound impact on the poor, and even though the alleged catastrophe which will befall us if we fail to act is far less certain than is the coming debt bomb.

    If this were merely science, divorced from the political, as you claim, then these scientists would be a lot more honest about what they don’t know, and where they are guessing. Loving science, as you claim you do and I don’t, isn’t about nodding your head at every pronouncement and saying “ahh, I see. Of course”. It’s about questioning assumptions, examining data as it comes in, adjusting your hypotheses as the data is examined, and reporting the whole matter honestly. These guys make bald claims that global temperatures are going to increase x degrees over y decades. They claim that we will be able to see that trend over the first decade, beginning to take form. They review the data — nothing. Well, what does that mean? Maybe we’re wrong about the carbon emissions. Maybe the atmosphere can absorb a lot more than we thought before the biosphere begins to have trouble accommodating it. Maybe carbon levels have varied more than we thought over the course of world history. Maybe some other factor is countering the warming. Maybe the whole theory was bunk, and carbon levels in the atmosphere actually have nothing to do with temperature variation at all. Maybe I should have used a Mac instead of a PC.

    OK, so they picked ONE of those. They scratched their heads, came up with sulfur emissions from China as a counterweight to the carbon level increase, based on prior theories and some short-term data after volcanic eruptions. Now, they perpetuate their error by not saying it “might” be this. No, now they run with this new theory, and all of a sudden it is the new fact. Conveniently, it allows their original global warming theory to continue without question.

    So what’s going to be the explanation the next time the data doesn’t support the theory?

    Now, to your specific comments:

    “I like how you malign people for getting paid for their work.” — no. I malign people for claiming to know things they don’t know, and couldn’t know. I malign scientists for a lack of humility and for not properly educating people regarding the caveats and assumptions in their work, especially when they know that their work is causing politicians to force-feed tremendous and wrenching societal changes that are costing millions of jobs and a lot of deprivation.

    As to “computer modeling”, you seem to assume that computer models are equivalent to guesswork. This would, of course, be news to the vast number of engineering and industrial activities that rely on computer modeling. Hey NASA, guess what? All your space flight that involves predictions of where planets and other bodies will be in the days, months, and years to come? Merely “an exercise in computer modeling”!

    Really, tODD? You know full well what a ridiculous comparison that is. NASA modelling is based on reams of verifiable and directly observable data. Carbon emission theory is based on very scant and short term data, many assumptions, and a lot of extrapolation. We now know, as well, that the modelling to date failed to take into account what the scientists now claim is an obvious and basic mitigating factor — sulfur emissions. What else are they failing to account for?

    I’ll go further than that. Science involves making predictions. If science cannot make predictions, it is not meaningfully science. That’s, more or less, what the scientific method is about. That’s why engineering works. Because the predictions keep coming true. And when they don’t, science looks to take other things into consideration.

    On this point, we totally agree. Where we disagree is on the political part. Drastic action should not be taken based on scientific predictions UNTIL THEY HAVE BEEN VERIFIED! These predictions clearly have not been, as any honest scientist will attest.

  • DonS

    Interesting, tODD @ 43. Your tactics are fascinating. Surely, you don’t live in a bubble. You certainly realize that the entire reason why this particular “science” is reported the way that it is is because of its political ramifications, and that entire regulatory schemes have either already been enacted (California) or are very close to being enacted (EPA) based upon research that, so far, has utterly failed to live up to expectations. The California carbon emission limitation regime is expected to increase electricity prices 30% over the next decade. Thirty percent ON TOP OF the normal increases! How much hardship is this going to cause to California residents, whose electricity rates are already 50% above the national average? How many more industries are going to flee the state, taking middle class jobs with them, and leaving untold misery for millions of people? You know, what is stunning to me is that the same people who claim that we need to keep running up the national debt, regardless of the catastrophe which will ultimately certainly befall our nation as a result of that profligacy, because they claim that, otherwise, benefit cuts will hurt poor people, are oftentimes the same ones who are fine with, and even encouraging these dramatic energy restrictions. Even though making energy much more scarce and expensive will have an even more profound impact on the poor, and even though the alleged catastrophe which will befall us if we fail to act is far less certain than is the coming debt bomb.

    If this were merely science, divorced from the political, as you claim, then these scientists would be a lot more honest about what they don’t know, and where they are guessing. Loving science, as you claim you do and I don’t, isn’t about nodding your head at every pronouncement and saying “ahh, I see. Of course”. It’s about questioning assumptions, examining data as it comes in, adjusting your hypotheses as the data is examined, and reporting the whole matter honestly. These guys make bald claims that global temperatures are going to increase x degrees over y decades. They claim that we will be able to see that trend over the first decade, beginning to take form. They review the data — nothing. Well, what does that mean? Maybe we’re wrong about the carbon emissions. Maybe the atmosphere can absorb a lot more than we thought before the biosphere begins to have trouble accommodating it. Maybe carbon levels have varied more than we thought over the course of world history. Maybe some other factor is countering the warming. Maybe the whole theory was bunk, and carbon levels in the atmosphere actually have nothing to do with temperature variation at all. Maybe I should have used a Mac instead of a PC.

    OK, so they picked ONE of those. They scratched their heads, came up with sulfur emissions from China as a counterweight to the carbon level increase, based on prior theories and some short-term data after volcanic eruptions. Now, they perpetuate their error by not saying it “might” be this. No, now they run with this new theory, and all of a sudden it is the new fact. Conveniently, it allows their original global warming theory to continue without question.

    So what’s going to be the explanation the next time the data doesn’t support the theory?

    Now, to your specific comments:

    “I like how you malign people for getting paid for their work.” — no. I malign people for claiming to know things they don’t know, and couldn’t know. I malign scientists for a lack of humility and for not properly educating people regarding the caveats and assumptions in their work, especially when they know that their work is causing politicians to force-feed tremendous and wrenching societal changes that are costing millions of jobs and a lot of deprivation.

    As to “computer modeling”, you seem to assume that computer models are equivalent to guesswork. This would, of course, be news to the vast number of engineering and industrial activities that rely on computer modeling. Hey NASA, guess what? All your space flight that involves predictions of where planets and other bodies will be in the days, months, and years to come? Merely “an exercise in computer modeling”!

    Really, tODD? You know full well what a ridiculous comparison that is. NASA modelling is based on reams of verifiable and directly observable data. Carbon emission theory is based on very scant and short term data, many assumptions, and a lot of extrapolation. We now know, as well, that the modelling to date failed to take into account what the scientists now claim is an obvious and basic mitigating factor — sulfur emissions. What else are they failing to account for?

    I’ll go further than that. Science involves making predictions. If science cannot make predictions, it is not meaningfully science. That’s, more or less, what the scientific method is about. That’s why engineering works. Because the predictions keep coming true. And when they don’t, science looks to take other things into consideration.

    On this point, we totally agree. Where we disagree is on the political part. Drastic action should not be taken based on scientific predictions UNTIL THEY HAVE BEEN VERIFIED! These predictions clearly have not been, as any honest scientist will attest.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS said (@44):

    You certainly realize that the entire reason why this particular “science” is reported the way that it is is because of its political ramifications, and that entire regulatory schemes have either already been …

    Thank goodness. For a moment there, I was worried that a sentence that included the word “science” wasn’t going to end in a discussion of political ramifications.

    Seriously, are you incapable of discussing the science without skipping straight to discussions of politics and economics? Because you keep doing that. You also seem to think that science is to blame for what environmentalists and journalists do with its results, which only further convinces me that you really, truly don’t care about science at all. Seriously, why should I care about your opinions about science? I mean, I generally enjoy reading WebMonk’s opinions on science, even if he and I share divergent ideas about political impacts. But that’s because he appear to know what he’s talking about, more often than not.

    If this were merely science, divorced from the political, as you claim, then these scientists would be a lot more honest about what they don’t know, and where they are guessing.

    Oh, so now you’re going to tell me how science works, in spite of not caring much about it? And you’re going to tell me how honest these scientists have been? Have you even read the study in question? What did it have to say about what they know, and what they don’t know? Because, frankly, you seem to be the one guessing about what scientists do and don’t admit to, because you don’t appear to actually be listening to what scientists say. Instead, you listen to celebrity environmentalists and read political commentary and then get angry at scientists for their perceived dishonesty. To me, that process itself seems dishonest. I mean, honestly, have you even skimmed the study? It doesn’t sound like it at all.

    Loving science, as you claim you do and I don’t, isn’t about nodding your head at every pronouncement and saying “ahh, I see. Of course”. It’s about questioning assumptions, examining data as it comes in, adjusting your hypotheses as the data is examined, and reporting the whole matter honestly.

    Which is, of course, exactly what has happened in this case — questioning, adjusting, reporting. Oh, but you seem to be claiming that the whole matter is not being reported honestly, because it somehow clashes with your political worldview. That’s scientific honesty for you!

    So what’s going to be the explanation the next time the data doesn’t support the theory?

    See? You don’t actually think science involves adjusting to new data, do you? Because you decry them for doing just that! Your arguments are based on the idea that science means always being right the first time. Oh, and the proper political ramifications, of course.

    I malign scientists for a lack of humility and for not properly educating people regarding the caveats and assumptions in their work, especially when they know that their work is causing politicians to force-feed tremendous and wrenching societal changes that are costing millions of jobs and a lot of deprivation.

    And yet another sentence that begins with “scientist” or “science” ends with an excoriation of political and economic impacts. Are you listening to yourself?

    People who have admitted to lacking interest in science, and who are ignorant about the most basic terms and concepts involved, really have no claim to criticize the “honesty” of studies they apparently aren’t reading. And blaming a study for “causing” politicians to do something with it is even more ridiculous. Are you just not content to blame the politicians directly for their actions? Might as well shoot the messenger, too?

    Drastic action should not be taken based on scientific predictions UNTIL THEY HAVE BEEN VERIFIED! These predictions clearly have not been, as any honest scientist will attest.

    Except that you have offered no standard for words like “verified” and “honest” (or “sufficient”) except agreeing with your preconceived political tenets. Best I can tell, the only scientist you’ll bless with the label of “honest” is one who comes to conclusions you like. Which is the opposite of an honest scientist.

    Sorry, Don, but I don’t believe that you could ever be convinced that AGW science is verified. You have consistently refused to offer a rubric by which you would agree to such a thing. Yours is a political screed, and nothing else.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS said (@44):

    You certainly realize that the entire reason why this particular “science” is reported the way that it is is because of its political ramifications, and that entire regulatory schemes have either already been …

    Thank goodness. For a moment there, I was worried that a sentence that included the word “science” wasn’t going to end in a discussion of political ramifications.

    Seriously, are you incapable of discussing the science without skipping straight to discussions of politics and economics? Because you keep doing that. You also seem to think that science is to blame for what environmentalists and journalists do with its results, which only further convinces me that you really, truly don’t care about science at all. Seriously, why should I care about your opinions about science? I mean, I generally enjoy reading WebMonk’s opinions on science, even if he and I share divergent ideas about political impacts. But that’s because he appear to know what he’s talking about, more often than not.

    If this were merely science, divorced from the political, as you claim, then these scientists would be a lot more honest about what they don’t know, and where they are guessing.

    Oh, so now you’re going to tell me how science works, in spite of not caring much about it? And you’re going to tell me how honest these scientists have been? Have you even read the study in question? What did it have to say about what they know, and what they don’t know? Because, frankly, you seem to be the one guessing about what scientists do and don’t admit to, because you don’t appear to actually be listening to what scientists say. Instead, you listen to celebrity environmentalists and read political commentary and then get angry at scientists for their perceived dishonesty. To me, that process itself seems dishonest. I mean, honestly, have you even skimmed the study? It doesn’t sound like it at all.

    Loving science, as you claim you do and I don’t, isn’t about nodding your head at every pronouncement and saying “ahh, I see. Of course”. It’s about questioning assumptions, examining data as it comes in, adjusting your hypotheses as the data is examined, and reporting the whole matter honestly.

    Which is, of course, exactly what has happened in this case — questioning, adjusting, reporting. Oh, but you seem to be claiming that the whole matter is not being reported honestly, because it somehow clashes with your political worldview. That’s scientific honesty for you!

    So what’s going to be the explanation the next time the data doesn’t support the theory?

    See? You don’t actually think science involves adjusting to new data, do you? Because you decry them for doing just that! Your arguments are based on the idea that science means always being right the first time. Oh, and the proper political ramifications, of course.

    I malign scientists for a lack of humility and for not properly educating people regarding the caveats and assumptions in their work, especially when they know that their work is causing politicians to force-feed tremendous and wrenching societal changes that are costing millions of jobs and a lot of deprivation.

    And yet another sentence that begins with “scientist” or “science” ends with an excoriation of political and economic impacts. Are you listening to yourself?

    People who have admitted to lacking interest in science, and who are ignorant about the most basic terms and concepts involved, really have no claim to criticize the “honesty” of studies they apparently aren’t reading. And blaming a study for “causing” politicians to do something with it is even more ridiculous. Are you just not content to blame the politicians directly for their actions? Might as well shoot the messenger, too?

    Drastic action should not be taken based on scientific predictions UNTIL THEY HAVE BEEN VERIFIED! These predictions clearly have not been, as any honest scientist will attest.

    Except that you have offered no standard for words like “verified” and “honest” (or “sufficient”) except agreeing with your preconceived political tenets. Best I can tell, the only scientist you’ll bless with the label of “honest” is one who comes to conclusions you like. Which is the opposite of an honest scientist.

    Sorry, Don, but I don’t believe that you could ever be convinced that AGW science is verified. You have consistently refused to offer a rubric by which you would agree to such a thing. Yours is a political screed, and nothing else.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 45: This is the last paragraph, from the conclusion, of the paper at issue:

    The results of this analysis indicate that observed temperature after 1998 is consistent with the current understanding of the relationship among global surface temperature, internal variability, and radiative forcing, which includes anthropogenic factors that have well known warming and cooling effects. Both of these effects, along with changes in natural variables must be examined explicitly by efforts to understand climate change and devise policy that complies with the objective of Article 2 of the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to stabilize “greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference in the climate system.”

    Note the italicized portion, if you will. What is the conclusion of the authors? Why, that we need to examine these effects explicitly “by efforts to understand climate change and devise policy that complies with the objective of Article 2 of the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to stabilize “greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference in the climate system.

    Well, what do you know? It seems as if perhaps you are the only one in this for the pure enjoyment of science. Even though this study is pretty much “scraping the bottom of the barrel”, as even Webmonk, whose science you greatly admire, says above @ 3, the authors are pursuing the study, not for the pure science, but to get policy back on track.

    “Seriously, are you incapable of discussing the science without skipping straight to discussions of politics and economics?”

    Well, golly gee, neither are the authors of this report, obviously.

    “You also seem to think that science is to blame for what environmentalists and journalists do with its results, which only further convinces me that you really, truly don’t care about science at all. ”

    Hmm, it seems as if what the scientists are doing is also a concern, since their preconceived objective is to implement U.N. policy.

    “And yet another sentence that begins with “scientist” or “science” ends with an excoriation of political and economic impacts. Are you listening to yourself?”

    Yes. When the scientists leave politics out of their report, I’ll leave it out of my comments.

    People who have admitted to lacking interest in science, and who are ignorant about the most basic terms and concepts involved, really have no claim to criticize the “honesty” of studies they apparently aren’t reading. And blaming a study for “causing” politicians to do something with it is even more ridiculous. Are you just not content to blame the politicians directly for their actions? Might as well shoot the messenger, too?

    I never admitted to lacking an interest in science. I said that I lack an interest in this “science”. Because it isn’t. It’s predetermined garbage. And I’m guessing you didn’t read the study either, given your lack of knowledge as to the scientist’s bald assertions that they want to see U.N. policy implemented. Or maybe you’re the only pure scientist left in the world.

    “Best I can tell, the only scientist you’ll bless with the label of “honest” is one who comes to conclusions you like. Which is the opposite of an honest scientist.”

    No, I’ll settle for one who just reports his research, and leaves the political conclusions to others. These guys are not that scientist.

    “I don’t believe that you could ever be convinced that AGW science is verified.”

    Not when the alleged scientists have already determined that the 1992 U.N. policy on greenhouse gases should be implemented. I’ll know an honest scientific report on this issue when I see it.

    That report is a political screed, and nothing else.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 45: This is the last paragraph, from the conclusion, of the paper at issue:

    The results of this analysis indicate that observed temperature after 1998 is consistent with the current understanding of the relationship among global surface temperature, internal variability, and radiative forcing, which includes anthropogenic factors that have well known warming and cooling effects. Both of these effects, along with changes in natural variables must be examined explicitly by efforts to understand climate change and devise policy that complies with the objective of Article 2 of the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to stabilize “greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference in the climate system.”

    Note the italicized portion, if you will. What is the conclusion of the authors? Why, that we need to examine these effects explicitly “by efforts to understand climate change and devise policy that complies with the objective of Article 2 of the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to stabilize “greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference in the climate system.

    Well, what do you know? It seems as if perhaps you are the only one in this for the pure enjoyment of science. Even though this study is pretty much “scraping the bottom of the barrel”, as even Webmonk, whose science you greatly admire, says above @ 3, the authors are pursuing the study, not for the pure science, but to get policy back on track.

    “Seriously, are you incapable of discussing the science without skipping straight to discussions of politics and economics?”

    Well, golly gee, neither are the authors of this report, obviously.

    “You also seem to think that science is to blame for what environmentalists and journalists do with its results, which only further convinces me that you really, truly don’t care about science at all. ”

    Hmm, it seems as if what the scientists are doing is also a concern, since their preconceived objective is to implement U.N. policy.

    “And yet another sentence that begins with “scientist” or “science” ends with an excoriation of political and economic impacts. Are you listening to yourself?”

    Yes. When the scientists leave politics out of their report, I’ll leave it out of my comments.

    People who have admitted to lacking interest in science, and who are ignorant about the most basic terms and concepts involved, really have no claim to criticize the “honesty” of studies they apparently aren’t reading. And blaming a study for “causing” politicians to do something with it is even more ridiculous. Are you just not content to blame the politicians directly for their actions? Might as well shoot the messenger, too?

    I never admitted to lacking an interest in science. I said that I lack an interest in this “science”. Because it isn’t. It’s predetermined garbage. And I’m guessing you didn’t read the study either, given your lack of knowledge as to the scientist’s bald assertions that they want to see U.N. policy implemented. Or maybe you’re the only pure scientist left in the world.

    “Best I can tell, the only scientist you’ll bless with the label of “honest” is one who comes to conclusions you like. Which is the opposite of an honest scientist.”

    No, I’ll settle for one who just reports his research, and leaves the political conclusions to others. These guys are not that scientist.

    “I don’t believe that you could ever be convinced that AGW science is verified.”

    Not when the alleged scientists have already determined that the 1992 U.N. policy on greenhouse gases should be implemented. I’ll know an honest scientific report on this issue when I see it.

    That report is a political screed, and nothing else.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@46), thank you for finally at least skimming the paper in question.

    However, I do think it’s odd, in light of your repeatedly complaining that WebMonk “took one sentence and ran with it” (@31) and “cherry-picked one sentence of mine, out of context, without addressing any of the substance of the argument in which it formed a part” (@42), that you’ve very much done the same thing when it comes to this study. I almost wonder if you read anything other than the conclusion.

    What’s clear is that you haven’t understood either the general nature of conclusion sections, or this one in particular. It’s not at all unusual to find applications or suggestions for further study in such a section. That doesn’t contradict the nature of the study — its data, its methods, its analysis — it just attempts to answer “what now?”

    Not that it matters, because you’ve really taken this one sentence and completely misread it, in keeping with your science-indifferent, but pro-political framework. The sole thing that your “gotcha” sentence says is that those trying “to understand climate change”, as well as those working to “stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference in the climate system’”, need to take into account both the warming and the cooling effects.

    You’d think that you, of all people, would think this to be a good thing. But no. Somehow, you take from that one sentence that this means the study is politically driven, and not “for the pure enjoyment of science”. So … anything that can be applied politically is scientifically questionable?

    The authors are pursuing the study, not for the pure science, but to get policy back on track.

    Riiiight. If you say so, Don. I notice you’ve hung your entire comment on this one sentence, and your tortured reading of it.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@46), thank you for finally at least skimming the paper in question.

    However, I do think it’s odd, in light of your repeatedly complaining that WebMonk “took one sentence and ran with it” (@31) and “cherry-picked one sentence of mine, out of context, without addressing any of the substance of the argument in which it formed a part” (@42), that you’ve very much done the same thing when it comes to this study. I almost wonder if you read anything other than the conclusion.

    What’s clear is that you haven’t understood either the general nature of conclusion sections, or this one in particular. It’s not at all unusual to find applications or suggestions for further study in such a section. That doesn’t contradict the nature of the study — its data, its methods, its analysis — it just attempts to answer “what now?”

    Not that it matters, because you’ve really taken this one sentence and completely misread it, in keeping with your science-indifferent, but pro-political framework. The sole thing that your “gotcha” sentence says is that those trying “to understand climate change”, as well as those working to “stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference in the climate system’”, need to take into account both the warming and the cooling effects.

    You’d think that you, of all people, would think this to be a good thing. But no. Somehow, you take from that one sentence that this means the study is politically driven, and not “for the pure enjoyment of science”. So … anything that can be applied politically is scientifically questionable?

    The authors are pursuing the study, not for the pure science, but to get policy back on track.

    Riiiight. If you say so, Don. I notice you’ve hung your entire comment on this one sentence, and your tortured reading of it.

  • DonS

    You do realize, tODD, that you are the only commenter I’ve seen on this thread who grants any sort of scientific credibility to this paper. Now, I recognize that good science is not subject to democracy, but, really, your efforts to discredit me personally, rather than deal with the discussion issues look like desperate flailing at this point. You get more shrill with each comment.

    OK, so at first I was injecting politics into the pure science the authors of this study were offering. I show you how it’s not so pure, because their conclusion, despite the obviously preliminary nature of the report, they conclude that we must implement the 1992 UN policy on carbon reduction. Of course, earlier you admitted that the science is at such an early stage that these guys didn’t even know to adjust their original modeling for sulfur emissions.

    Now, I’m taking one sentence in the conclusion out of context, apparently. Yes, it’s common to suggest further RESEARCH in a conclusion. It’s not common to assert that a predetermined political policy should be implemented. In a scientific paper, no less. That should really offend you, as a devotee of true science. At any rate, you’re really off base on this one.

    However, there is a lot more than just the conclusion at issue in this bogus study. There’s this, from the first two paragraphs of that same paper:

    Data for global surface temperature indicate little warming between 1998 and 2008 (1). Furthermore, global surface
    temperature declines 0.2 °C between 2005 and 2008. Although
    temperature increases in 2009 and 2010, the lack of a clear increase in global surface temperature between 1998 and 2008 (1),
    combined with rising concentrations of atmospheric CO2 and
    other greenhouse gases, prompts some popular commentators
    (2, 3) to doubt the existing understanding of the relationship
    among radiative forcing, internal variability, and global surface
    temperature. This seeming disconnect may be one reason why
    the public is increasingly sceptical about anthropogenic climate
    change (4).

    Recent analyses address this source of scepticism by focusing
    on internal variability or expanding the list of forcings. Model simulations are used to suggest that internal variability can generate extended periods of stable temperature similar to 1999–2008 (5). Alternatively, expanding the list of forcings to include recent changes in stratospheric water vapor (6) may account for the recent lack of warming. But neither approach evaluates whether the current understanding of the relationship among radiative forcing, internal variability, and global surface temperature can account for the timing and magnitude of the 1999–2008 hiatus in warming.

    Hmm. The whole premise of this study is to explain the temperature anomaly away, and to confirm the established warming theory. Note the italicized portion. What’s it say? We’re losing people, and we need to get them back on board. Here’s a way to do it.

    Pure science that is not. Maybe YOU need to read the study.

  • DonS

    You do realize, tODD, that you are the only commenter I’ve seen on this thread who grants any sort of scientific credibility to this paper. Now, I recognize that good science is not subject to democracy, but, really, your efforts to discredit me personally, rather than deal with the discussion issues look like desperate flailing at this point. You get more shrill with each comment.

    OK, so at first I was injecting politics into the pure science the authors of this study were offering. I show you how it’s not so pure, because their conclusion, despite the obviously preliminary nature of the report, they conclude that we must implement the 1992 UN policy on carbon reduction. Of course, earlier you admitted that the science is at such an early stage that these guys didn’t even know to adjust their original modeling for sulfur emissions.

    Now, I’m taking one sentence in the conclusion out of context, apparently. Yes, it’s common to suggest further RESEARCH in a conclusion. It’s not common to assert that a predetermined political policy should be implemented. In a scientific paper, no less. That should really offend you, as a devotee of true science. At any rate, you’re really off base on this one.

    However, there is a lot more than just the conclusion at issue in this bogus study. There’s this, from the first two paragraphs of that same paper:

    Data for global surface temperature indicate little warming between 1998 and 2008 (1). Furthermore, global surface
    temperature declines 0.2 °C between 2005 and 2008. Although
    temperature increases in 2009 and 2010, the lack of a clear increase in global surface temperature between 1998 and 2008 (1),
    combined with rising concentrations of atmospheric CO2 and
    other greenhouse gases, prompts some popular commentators
    (2, 3) to doubt the existing understanding of the relationship
    among radiative forcing, internal variability, and global surface
    temperature. This seeming disconnect may be one reason why
    the public is increasingly sceptical about anthropogenic climate
    change (4).

    Recent analyses address this source of scepticism by focusing
    on internal variability or expanding the list of forcings. Model simulations are used to suggest that internal variability can generate extended periods of stable temperature similar to 1999–2008 (5). Alternatively, expanding the list of forcings to include recent changes in stratospheric water vapor (6) may account for the recent lack of warming. But neither approach evaluates whether the current understanding of the relationship among radiative forcing, internal variability, and global surface temperature can account for the timing and magnitude of the 1999–2008 hiatus in warming.

    Hmm. The whole premise of this study is to explain the temperature anomaly away, and to confirm the established warming theory. Note the italicized portion. What’s it say? We’re losing people, and we need to get them back on board. Here’s a way to do it.

    Pure science that is not. Maybe YOU need to read the study.

  • http://www.climateafrica.co.za/ Maxime

    The most worrying is that it seems that more and more people don’t trust the media and environmental agencies anymore, all the more since the failure of the Copenhagen summit. I am currently working in carbon management company in South Africa (http://www.climateafrica.co.za/ , http://www.climatestandard.org/) and more and more people come up with stuff like “Why should we reduce our ghg emissions when volcanoes are responsible for more CO2 emissions than human activities?”. I don’t know where people hear that but i suspect anti-ecologist to be behind such statements. I did some research and volcanoes are responsible for 200 million tons of emissions whereas human activities represent 30 billion tons. I hope that the media will cover such questions more accurately, so that people become really aware of the problem.

  • http://www.climateafrica.co.za/ Maxime

    The most worrying is that it seems that more and more people don’t trust the media and environmental agencies anymore, all the more since the failure of the Copenhagen summit. I am currently working in carbon management company in South Africa (http://www.climateafrica.co.za/ , http://www.climatestandard.org/) and more and more people come up with stuff like “Why should we reduce our ghg emissions when volcanoes are responsible for more CO2 emissions than human activities?”. I don’t know where people hear that but i suspect anti-ecologist to be behind such statements. I did some research and volcanoes are responsible for 200 million tons of emissions whereas human activities represent 30 billion tons. I hope that the media will cover such questions more accurately, so that people become really aware of the problem.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@48), you’re reading things that aren’t there:

    I show you how it’s not so pure, because their conclusion, despite the obviously preliminary nature of the report, they conclude that we must implement the 1992 UN policy on carbon reduction.

    (My emphasis.) What the report actually said:

    The results of this analysis indicate that observed temperature after 1998 is consistent with the current understanding of the relationship among global surface temperature, internal variability, and radiative forcing, which includes anthropogenic factors that have well known warming and cooling effects. Both of these effects, along with changes in natural variables must be examined explicitly by efforts to understand climate change and devise policy that complies with the objective of Article 2 of the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to stabilize “greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference in the climate system.”

    In other words (and allow me to spell this out for you, since you’ve already read it several times, it would seem), for those out there (1) either trying to “understand climate change” in general, or (2) devising policy in keeping with the UN Framework, the authors recommend taking into account the factors discussed in the paper.

    They do not say that “we must implement the 1992 UN policy”. Period. If anything, they show the shortcomings of the phrasing of said UN policy, as it mentions only “greenhouse gas concentrations”, and not the broader factors considered in this paper. That is, in fact, the point of that sentence.

    I really don’t know how you missed that.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@48), you’re reading things that aren’t there:

    I show you how it’s not so pure, because their conclusion, despite the obviously preliminary nature of the report, they conclude that we must implement the 1992 UN policy on carbon reduction.

    (My emphasis.) What the report actually said:

    The results of this analysis indicate that observed temperature after 1998 is consistent with the current understanding of the relationship among global surface temperature, internal variability, and radiative forcing, which includes anthropogenic factors that have well known warming and cooling effects. Both of these effects, along with changes in natural variables must be examined explicitly by efforts to understand climate change and devise policy that complies with the objective of Article 2 of the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to stabilize “greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference in the climate system.”

    In other words (and allow me to spell this out for you, since you’ve already read it several times, it would seem), for those out there (1) either trying to “understand climate change” in general, or (2) devising policy in keeping with the UN Framework, the authors recommend taking into account the factors discussed in the paper.

    They do not say that “we must implement the 1992 UN policy”. Period. If anything, they show the shortcomings of the phrasing of said UN policy, as it mentions only “greenhouse gas concentrations”, and not the broader factors considered in this paper. That is, in fact, the point of that sentence.

    I really don’t know how you missed that.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 50: You “really don’t know how [I] missed that? You’re kidding, right?

    It’s funny how you now want to focus on that one passage, and actually one sentence in that passage, after I went to all of the trouble @ 48 to quote you additional language from the study, after you earlier complained that I only gave you that one passage in the conclusion.

    So, here it is again, for your review and consideration. If the authors were truly only concerned about the science, and not the overwhelming politics surrounding this issue, why did they mention “popular commentators” and “the public” in their introduction? Here is the pertinent sentence again:

    the lack of a clear increase in global surface temperature between 1998 and 2008 (1),
    combined with rising concentrations of atmospheric CO2 and
    other greenhouse gases, prompts some popular commentators
    (2, 3) to doubt
    the existing understanding of the relationship
    among radiative forcing, internal variability, and global surface
    temperature. This seeming disconnect may be one reason why
    the public is increasingly sceptical about anthropogenic climate
    change
    (4).

    What do popular commentators and the public have to do with an article in a scientific journal, unless you care about what these people are saying and thinking, and the influence they might be having? Shouldn’t your concern, as a scientist, be solely with the fact that the data isn’t showing what the theories thought it would? Shouldn’t your introduction address that anomaly, and then discuss the things you looked at that may provide an explanation for that anomaly? The last thing you should be concerned about, when the data isn’t matching the theory, is that the public may be losing faith in the theory. After all, until you’ve conclusively confirmed and proven the theory, it shouldn’t matter what the public thinks. Should it? Unless, gasp, you are trying actually to influence political policy.

    Now, returning to the issue of the conclusion, it seems, in your view, that the sentence OBVIOUSLY actually has an “or” in it, and you really can’t figure out how I missed that. What a dunce I must be! So, all the researchers are saying is, well, we don’t care one iota about the politics, but if you are interested in studying climate change in general, you should consider these factors. And, oh, by the way, if you happen to be devising policy in compliance with the 1992 UN climate policy, you should also consider these factors.

    Well, you might be stunned to learn that, by no means do I believe your suggestion to be the best reading of this sentence, nor does it even strike me as being reasonable. If you were asked to write the message you believe is being conveyed, would you write it that way? You claim that it’s an “or” proposition, but the chosen word is “and”, not “or”. The justification for “or”, in your mind, is that the writers mean those desiring to study climate change generally. Problem — “generally” doesn’t appear in the quoted sentence. The actual language is “understand climate change AND devise policy”. In other words, they are addressing those trying to understand climate change FOR THE PURPOSE OF devising policy. That’s the best and most logical reading.

    Now, in combination with the introductory reference to public commentators and the public losing faith in climate change theory, your theory that the conclusion is merely concerned with advising anybody concerned with climate change to consider these issues, and nothing more, strains credulity to the limit. If the concern of the researchers is generic, why mention one particular standard, the UN policy of 1992, specifically? What do you care, as a scientist, about such a political policy, if you truly have no interest in politics? Why not just say “anyone interested in studying climate change or policies connected to climate change should consider these factors”? Or, if you insist on mentioning the 1992 policy, why don’t you say

    Both of these effects, along with changes in natural variables, must be examined explicitly by those seeking to understand climate change or devise policy that complies with or rejects the objective of Article 2 of the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to stabilize “greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference in the climate system.”

    I mean, if you are truly neutral about the whole thing, shouldn’t you want everyone to consider these factors, no matter what their political position is on the issue of climate change?

    I’m sorry, tODD, but there is absolutely no way that you can make a credible case that this is a purely scientific study without a political objective. It just ain’t so.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 50: You “really don’t know how [I] missed that? You’re kidding, right?

    It’s funny how you now want to focus on that one passage, and actually one sentence in that passage, after I went to all of the trouble @ 48 to quote you additional language from the study, after you earlier complained that I only gave you that one passage in the conclusion.

    So, here it is again, for your review and consideration. If the authors were truly only concerned about the science, and not the overwhelming politics surrounding this issue, why did they mention “popular commentators” and “the public” in their introduction? Here is the pertinent sentence again:

    the lack of a clear increase in global surface temperature between 1998 and 2008 (1),
    combined with rising concentrations of atmospheric CO2 and
    other greenhouse gases, prompts some popular commentators
    (2, 3) to doubt
    the existing understanding of the relationship
    among radiative forcing, internal variability, and global surface
    temperature. This seeming disconnect may be one reason why
    the public is increasingly sceptical about anthropogenic climate
    change
    (4).

    What do popular commentators and the public have to do with an article in a scientific journal, unless you care about what these people are saying and thinking, and the influence they might be having? Shouldn’t your concern, as a scientist, be solely with the fact that the data isn’t showing what the theories thought it would? Shouldn’t your introduction address that anomaly, and then discuss the things you looked at that may provide an explanation for that anomaly? The last thing you should be concerned about, when the data isn’t matching the theory, is that the public may be losing faith in the theory. After all, until you’ve conclusively confirmed and proven the theory, it shouldn’t matter what the public thinks. Should it? Unless, gasp, you are trying actually to influence political policy.

    Now, returning to the issue of the conclusion, it seems, in your view, that the sentence OBVIOUSLY actually has an “or” in it, and you really can’t figure out how I missed that. What a dunce I must be! So, all the researchers are saying is, well, we don’t care one iota about the politics, but if you are interested in studying climate change in general, you should consider these factors. And, oh, by the way, if you happen to be devising policy in compliance with the 1992 UN climate policy, you should also consider these factors.

    Well, you might be stunned to learn that, by no means do I believe your suggestion to be the best reading of this sentence, nor does it even strike me as being reasonable. If you were asked to write the message you believe is being conveyed, would you write it that way? You claim that it’s an “or” proposition, but the chosen word is “and”, not “or”. The justification for “or”, in your mind, is that the writers mean those desiring to study climate change generally. Problem — “generally” doesn’t appear in the quoted sentence. The actual language is “understand climate change AND devise policy”. In other words, they are addressing those trying to understand climate change FOR THE PURPOSE OF devising policy. That’s the best and most logical reading.

    Now, in combination with the introductory reference to public commentators and the public losing faith in climate change theory, your theory that the conclusion is merely concerned with advising anybody concerned with climate change to consider these issues, and nothing more, strains credulity to the limit. If the concern of the researchers is generic, why mention one particular standard, the UN policy of 1992, specifically? What do you care, as a scientist, about such a political policy, if you truly have no interest in politics? Why not just say “anyone interested in studying climate change or policies connected to climate change should consider these factors”? Or, if you insist on mentioning the 1992 policy, why don’t you say

    Both of these effects, along with changes in natural variables, must be examined explicitly by those seeking to understand climate change or devise policy that complies with or rejects the objective of Article 2 of the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to stabilize “greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference in the climate system.”

    I mean, if you are truly neutral about the whole thing, shouldn’t you want everyone to consider these factors, no matter what their political position is on the issue of climate change?

    I’m sorry, tODD, but there is absolutely no way that you can make a credible case that this is a purely scientific study without a political objective. It just ain’t so.

  • DonS

    Oops. Forgot to close my last blockquote.

  • DonS

    Oops. Forgot to close my last blockquote.

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  • http://www.thecarbonreport.com Teresa Legg

    What staggers me is there is a massive dichotomy between the 1st world and the 3rd world when it comes to the impacts of climate change. The developing world will feel most of the impacts of climate change whilst in the main they are much lower emitters than developed economies (barr China). There is very little incentive for the US to reduce and politicians continue to operate within a 5 year horison which is not acceptable. I work for an SA based company called The Carbon Report, (http://www.thecarbonreport.com) which specialises in carbon footprinting and emissions reduction. Even here there is complete apathy despite the fact that the impacts will be so dramatic. We are already seeing micro climate change in the Kokerboom forests in Namibia and our climate is rapidly becoming unpredictable. Real action needs to happen and it needs to happen now before it is too late.

  • http://www.thecarbonreport.com Teresa Legg

    What staggers me is there is a massive dichotomy between the 1st world and the 3rd world when it comes to the impacts of climate change. The developing world will feel most of the impacts of climate change whilst in the main they are much lower emitters than developed economies (barr China). There is very little incentive for the US to reduce and politicians continue to operate within a 5 year horison which is not acceptable. I work for an SA based company called The Carbon Report, (http://www.thecarbonreport.com) which specialises in carbon footprinting and emissions reduction. Even here there is complete apathy despite the fact that the impacts will be so dramatic. We are already seeing micro climate change in the Kokerboom forests in Namibia and our climate is rapidly becoming unpredictable. Real action needs to happen and it needs to happen now before it is too late.