NASA Administrator Griffin: saying global warming is bad is “arrogant”

By Phil Plait | June 1, 2007 11:49 am

So I’m coming home from a quick trip to the store, and I’m scanning the radio stations. I hear NASA Administrator Mike Griffin’s voice, so I stop. He’s talking about global warming on NPR.

At first he says some adequate stuff. When the interviewer asks him about what NASA should do about global warming, Griffin responds that NASA is not charged with doing anything about warming, which is true, but weak. I would have been happier had he said, however, that this is a serious issue and NASA’s charge is to examine it scientifically with every tool they can bring to bear.

But then he said something that really shocked me. I’m glad I was already pulled over at my house when I heard it, because had I been driving I would have veered off the road.

I have no doubt that … a trend of global warming exists. I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with. To assume that it is a problem is to assume that the state of Earth’s climate today is the optimal climate, the best climate that we could have or ever have had and that we need to take steps to make sure that it doesn’t change. First of all, I don’t think it’s within the power of human beings to assure that the climate does not change, as millions of years of history have shown. And second of all, I guess I would ask which human beings — where and when — are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular climate that we have right here today, right now is the best climate for all other human beings. I think that’s a rather arrogant position for people to take.

(my emphasis)

When Griffin was first appointed to be head of NASA, I was excited. Here we have an engineer, and one who had fought against some NASA dumbosity in the past involving the space station. But when he says stuff like this, I wonder what the heck he’s thinking.

We know the Earth is warming. There is no doubt about this. None. You may ask if this warming is a bad thing, and the overwhelming majority of scientists will say yes, it is. But even if we aren’t sure that it’s a bad thing, doesn’t it make sense to not take any frakking chances? This is our planet we’re talking about!

Right now, our agriculture and many other forms of human sustainability are based on this climate. If it changes, so will our methods of survival. The U.S. is still a major food source for the planet, and if our climate changes, then that status may change as well. If temperatures go up a few degrees, will Kansas still produce wheat? Will Iowa and Nebraska still give us corn? Will California and Florida still be able to raise fruit crops? And this does not take into account other countries and their own major crops, like coffee beans, bananas, sugar cane, and so on.

It’s not arrogant at all to assume that this climate that we have now is a good one for our needs. I’m sure it could be better in some places, of course, but letting global warming continue is certainly not the best way to see if the climate can improve for some people. Mr. Griffin seems to be implying that we should throw the dice and see what happens. He is definitely saying that we cannot say for sure if we should do anything or not. That’s utter nonsense. That’s like saying that I am healthy, but maybe sticking a knife randomly in my body and twisting it around might improve something somewhere.

I am still reeling that the head of NASA — which, at its heart, is a scientific agency — would say something so ridiculous.

But maybe he does have a point. After all, some places may benefit from warming. I’m sure the citizens of Antarctica will be thrilled.

Update (Friday at 4:00 MT): According to ThinkProgress, White House Science Advisor Jack Marburger said:

"It’s pretty obvious that the NASA administrator was speaking about his own personal views and by no means representing or attempting to represent the administration’s views or broader policy," Marburger said. "He’s got a very wry sense of humor and is very outspoken."

That, again IMO, is unadulterated crap. When you are the head of a government agency, you have no personal opinion. Like it or not, when you are in a quotable position, everything you say is said as the head of that agency. And if Marburger is trying to play this off as a joke, that is contemptible.

Note: after writing this, I see that James Hansen, NASA’s top climate scientist, agrees with me.

Comments (141)

  1. Kirk

    I’m pretty sure this isn’t what he meant, but perhaps it’s arrogant of humanity to assume the best climate for us (and therefore our survival) is the best thing for the planet.

    Maybe global warming is just the planet running a fever to fight an infection. Us.

    oh– First.

  2. kvenlander

    He may be an engineer by training but he quacks like a political hack. He must be politically adept to be appointed by this administration. And to stay appointed in this administration, he has to toe the line – I wonder if he had a political officer, er, public relations expert in the studio with him.

    So he knows that he has to water down the message per White House policy on global warming. Maybe he overcompensated and added too much Stupid into the mix.

  3. seaducer

    Perhaps he is drinking the Bush Koolaid, no??

  4. Wayne

    One thing I think Griffin should consider is the amount of climate change since the rise of human civilization. It’s easy to look at millions of years of climate and think that this is no big deal, but relative to the last few thousand years this could become very significant. In his defense, though, I think it’s always healthy to question whether the sorts of things people want to do about it are actually effective and desirable. I also think he correctly assessed NASA’s role in the following press release.

    NASA press release:

    NASA Administrator Michael Griffin responded Wednesday to inquiries
    related to a National Public Radio press release. The radio network’s
    release contained excerpts from an interview that included comments
    on global climate change.

    “NASA is the world’s preeminent organization in the study of Earth and
    the conditions that contribute to climate change and global warming.
    The agency is responsible for collecting data that is used by the
    science community and policy makers as part of an ongoing discussion
    regarding our planet’s evolving systems. It is NASA’s responsibility
    to collect, analyze and release information. It is not NASA’s mission
    to make policy regarding possible climate change mitigation
    strategies. As I stated in the NPR interview, we are proud of our
    role and I believe we do it well.”

  5. Mark

    I suppose climate change is no rocket science…

  6. MattHaffner

    Let’s insert another hypothetical global disaster here and see if it sounds more stupid to him:

    “I have no doubt that … the asteriod will hit the Earth. I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with. To assume that it is a problem is to assume that the state of Earth today is the best we could have or ever have had and that we need to take steps to make sure that it doesn’t change. First of all, I don’t think it’s within the power of human beings to assure that the asteriod doesn’t hit the Earth, as millions of years of history have shown. And second of all, I guess I would ask which human beings — where and when — are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular Earth, that we have right here today, right now is the best Earth for all other human beings. I think that’s a rather arrogant position for people to take.”

  7. I know I am one of the few, and probably the only poster here to say it: I am in favor of global warming.

    1) It’s about time we started developing climate control technologies. Necessity is the mother of invention, and global climate change will provide that necessity.
    2) It’s inevitable. Our energy needs will always increase, our energy use will always increase, and within a thousand years(give or take a power of ten), I think we will be generating waste heat faster than our atmosphere can radiate it out into space.
    3) I’m curious about the impacts on human society, and am generally in favor of controlled catastrophe. Similarly, I think this can only cause the biosphere to thrive (in the long run).
    4) Unless environmentalists embrace technology and start producing cheaper, better products (that also happen to be greener), it’s unstoppable. You can’t make wide ranging social changes by demanding that people lower their standard of living. The feel-good effects of “cutting your carbon footprint” only motivate so many people. We need to turn to nuclear power (ignoring problem #2 for now). We need cradle to grave life-cycles. We need rampantly pro-industrial environmentalist groups. This, by the way, goes back to #1- developing new technology. It all links together.

    Long story short- I don’t think global warming is a problem, as much as it is a challenge. It’s not the end of mankind, and probably not even the end of Western Civilization. It’s happening, it’s partially man-made, people aren’t going to stop making it no matter how much concerned folks plead with them. Even if we stop it in the short run, in the long run, it’s absolutely inevitable- so we may as well maximize our benefits from it this time around by embracing and overcoming the challenge, not trying to steer around it.

  8. Mark

    “3) I’m curious about the impacts on human society, and am generally in favor of controlled catastrophe. ”

    Yes, I’m sure those who will bear the brunt of this change will share your enthusiasme. Sitting in the sun in Africa while their children are dying of hunger and/or thirst and their wife is being raped by a bunch of soldiers who have just invaded, they must be happy. “Hey, this is interesting. It looks like a controlled catastrophe…”

  9. Supernova

    I heard this NPR piece too, and was as astounded as you. His “who are we to decide?” attitude smacks of the whole “teach the controversy” thing that ID proponents have co-opted: it’s cultural relativism completely misapplied. Humans have been changing their environment for as long as we’ve existed on the planet. So as soon as we figure out that what we’re doing is bad on a very large scale and start thinking of ways to fix it, NOW is the time to suddenly stop meddling?

    I’m pretty well past being disappointed by now. Griffin’s just one more politico fiddling while Rome burns.

  10. Brian

    This is what happens when a person’s head gets detached from his body.

  11. Tim G

    I actually heard this comment on NPR not long ago and wondered how Phil Plait would react if he heard it. It looks like the BA had a similar reaction to what I had.

    The interview has drawn enough criticism to prompt Griffin to issue a statement: “…It is NASA’s responsibility to collect, analyze and release information. It is not NASA’s mission to make policy regarding possible climate change mitigation strategies…”

    But asserting that no action be taken sounds like policy to me.

  12. I am still reeling that the head of NASA — which, at its heart, is a scientific agency — would say something so ridiculous.

    Nothing – and I mean nothing – this administration touches is fact-based.

    Griffen is merely one of many in a long line.

    .

  13. Chip

    I guess Mr. Griffin wouldn’t think it our responsibility to condemn our kid’s kids to an eventual environment very similar to the one depicted in the 1970s Sci-Fi film Soylent Green. Though Soylent Green blamed a polluted, hungry, dry world, short on such “luxuries” as old canned beef stew on “overpopulation”, the real end result for the future could ironically be very similar.

  14. This smacks of the 1950’s and the possibility of a nuclear winter due to a thermonuclear exchange. At least the super powers decided to stop atmospheric testing. Was it arrogant to speak out in those times?

  15. Brian

    What a pathetic toady!

  16. Brant D

    If we were facing a situation where Earth was instantaneously shifting from one stable climate to another stable climate, and we had some time to prepare our civilization to thrive in the second climate, the Griffin might have a legitimate point. However, in reality, there is a long hard road between here and there. There will likely be a long, tough transitional period between the present climate and the stable climate of the future, which obviously will be unstable and somewhat unpredictable. That situation is beneficial for no one.

  17. Kullat Nunu

    It is sad that an administrator of NASA says something like that…

    I suggest you visit the excellent Dynamics of Cats blog (http://scienceblogs.com/catdynamics/)… the blogger has written several good entries on the subject.

    RE: Soylent Green

    Apparently the idea of global warming isn’t that new, as the protagonist (Charlton Heston) is sweating under the unnatural heat in dystopic New York.

    PS. The shocking “surprise” was kinda ridiculous when you really think about it.

  18. >NASA — which, at its heart, is a scientific agency

    There is no such thing as a scientific agency. Government inevitably politicizes everything it touches.

    The Bush administration’s environmental (and Iraq) antics are a great foil for the free-thinker or atheist, though. It’s nice to be able to drop little toxic thought-bombs like, “If you consider that many members of the Bush cabinet believe Jesus may come again within this century – to kill all the jews and take away the faithful – it’s not hard to see why they have problems formulating a decent environmental policy.” Or then there’s the old, “Since Bush claims to be getting advice on Iraq foreign policy from God, it sure has to present an embarrassing conundrum to all the christians who realize that the guy is a complete imbecile. But how can you disagree with a guy who gets advice directly from God?”

  19. >This smacks of the 1950’s and the possibility of a nuclear winter due to a
    >thermonuclear exchange.

    THERE YA GO!! The simple solution to global warming: nuclear winter!

    Let’s wait ’till it gets too hot and let off a few big ones someplace dusty and raise the ole albedo till Greenland freezes again and we can go back to smoking dope and watching Homer Simpson run the country for another hunnert years or so until Jesus comes.

  20. Ken Whitfield

    I am surprised that you were surprised that ‘any’ official in the current administration would have something intelligent and scientifically informed to say about climate change. After all, it is the stated and reaffirmed U.S. government policy that global warming and/or climate change is a myth. That the current runup in global temperature is ‘just another in a continuing line of fluke variations that is statistically insignificant in the grand scheme of history.’ That this is just another natural cycle that the planet is going through. I would be amazed if Griffin said something that agreed with the majority of the scientific community, of which he is supposed to be, but isn’t, an apolitical member. I have always wondered if the misinformed politicians would sing the same tune if the reverse were happening…that the globe was cooling off into another Ice Age. Although skiers and boarders would be ecstatic, everyone else certainly would have a hard time surviving. Either way, such a drastic change in the world’s climate would not be beneficial to the majority of the world’s population.

  21. Frank Ch. Eigler

    > It’s not arrogant at all to assume that this climate that we have now is a good
    > one for our needs.

    Sure, as long as “our” is defined by residents of Colorado and nearby countries.

    > I’m sure it could be better in some places, of course, but letting global warming
    > continue is certainly not the best way to see if the climate can improve for some
    > people

    “Certainly”? Considering the fact that the climate has gotten both much colder
    and much warmer in the past than it is today, this certainty seems like begging
    the question.

    > Note: after writing this, I see that James Hansen, NASA’s top climate scientist,
    > agrees with me.

    OK, but be aware that he’s not an uncontroversial figure. Some of his dire
    predictions over the last decade or two have been, let’s say, a wee inconsistent
    with reality. He may be retained right now for political reasons — the same ones
    you accuse the White House of having for issuing the “NASA admin speaks for
    himself, not us” press release. A token opponent.

  22. Ryan W

    Phil, I adore you. You might not believe me after I’m through giving you a piece of my mind, but I promise I’ll be a faithful reader for many years to come.

    Recently, I worry that you dangerously skirt the sort of idealogical intolerance that underpins those legitimate threats to rational free-thought we battle on a near-daily basis. When I compare some of your fact-lite rants with, say, the careful, measured and persuasive reasoning of the global warming catastrophe skeptics at Junk Science (see http://www.junkscience.com/Greenhouse/), I start to wonder whether the pendulum has swung to the other side. There’s a difference between religion’s complete disregard for science and another scientist’s opposing view of it, yet you approach each with the same indignant fervor.

    I’ve been a big fan of your website for years, and I’d love to see you return to old form. Instead of ad hominem attacks against the scientists you disagree with, why not address the meat of their claims? Why not contrast the merits of each side’s science instead of touting their relative popularity? After all, if such reasoning is persuasive, we atheists stand on the wrong side of another issue altogether.

    To those of you who have rejected my credibility for daring to so much as link to an opposing view, ask yourselves why? Have you followed the link, read what they have to say? Is that zealous opposition truly based on an understanding of the “other side’s” science, or is it simply the result of a landslide popularity contest? I hardly pretend to understand the science myself, I should add, which is why I’m open to considering, critically yet impartially, any reasoned attempt to explain it to me, whatever the source.

    Just as you’ll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, you’ll catch more freethinkers with reasoned science than with vitriolic rants filled with italicized absolutes and silly hyperbole (‘like sticking a knife inside and twisting it around?’ Puh-leeze). Of course, as rational freethinkers are today’s much-maligned minority, perhaps they’re no longer Phil’s target audience.

  23. I think that, in all fairness Griffin, should have disclosed that he owns property near Luthorville, and has a vacation home on Costa del Lex.

  24. I think that, in all fairness, Griffin should have disclosed that he owns property near Luthorville, and has a vacation home on Costa del Lex.

  25. Whoops, sorry about the dupe.

  26. Brant D

    Ryan W: Junk Science’s primary claims have been thoroughly debunked on multiple websites. Try Real Climate’s primer page, or this list of topics. You don’t automatically lose credibility by mentioning Junk Science, but know that Junk Science has no credibility for almost anyone knowledgeable in atmospheric and environmental sciences.

  27. Chip

    • Kullat Nunu wrote:

    “…RE: Soylent Green – Apparently the idea of global warming isn’t that new, as the protagonist (Charlton Heston) is sweating under the unnatural heat in dystopic New York. PS. – The shocking “surprise” was kinda ridiculous when you really think about it.”

    Yeah. The main point of my earlier comment was related to that “unnatural heat” and dusty rampant poverty as depicted in Soylent Green plus the overall lack of many basic services and choices we take for granted today. Not their solution to the food shortages in the film.

  28. Melusine

    Griffin may have read this article in The Atlantic Monthly by Gregg Easterbrook, titled “Hot Prospects – Who Loses–And Who Wins–In a Warming World. In the article Easterbrook writes that there are people in Greenland who are quite happy with the state of things because their growing season has lengthened. Canada, Siberia, the upper US states and other countries, in some scenarios, would benefit economically, some wouldn’t. I’m not making a case here, just pointing out why he might have made such a statement. (I have no idea what he reads.) The problem with the lower latitudes would be tremendous.

    This is what I consider “framing.” Take note.

  29. GRCG

    I did apreciate that he did make the distiction between the name “Global Warming” or “Climate Change” and the fact that the earth’s climate has, and is always changing.

    I have never felt that the soundbite “Global Warming” or “Climate Change” was good for the movement that it proposes to champion. To me, the core purpose for this movement is for humans to be more learned, responsible and careful with how we use and treat our enviroment. Then idyllically, to take it a step further and begin to repair damage we have already inflicted on the enviroment.

    I have always had a nagging concern that people take the soundbite names too literally and begin to think that all warming and all weather is bad. It is not very charitable of me, but really…you see people complain about the weather all the time like they are surprised that it is anything but sunny and 72 degrees out. I know that some of that is just human nature to complain….but sometimes their vehmence tells me that they really don’t think the weather should be different from their memory of years past. That is really pretty conceited and/or short-sighted.

    Climate change happens. We humans have the mental and physical abilities to effect substantial additional change. We just need to use knowledge, forethought and bigger picture thinking when impacting our enviroment. (Individual > Local > regional > continental > global) …yeah, I know. That makes a lousy soundbite.

    Regarding the comments of Administrator Griffin himself; It strikes me he has declined to ‘take a seat at the table’ regarding the “Climate Change” discussion. As the head of NASA, one of our premier scientific institutions, it was innappropriate to side step the whole discussion in the way he did. It is debateable how involved NASA will be in “Climate Change” efforts and research. But there is no question that it will be involved.

  30. Brian

    Ryan W.,
    Strictly speaking, an “ad hominem” argument is of the following form:
    “Griffin is a pathetic toady. Therefore, what he says is nonsense.”

    Most of the comments here take the form “Griffin’s remarks are so patently ludicrous that the only plausible explanation is that he is a pathetic toady.”

  31. Doodler

    God forbid, he doesn’t tow the orthodoxy of the global warming crusade. And here come the righteous with the pitchforks and low carbon emission torches demanding his head.

    He did not deny the existance of global warming, he didn’t even mention whether he believed one way or another about its origins. He’s of a similar mind to myself. Roll the dice, and may the best species adapt.

    Are you so unsure of humanity’s future? Personally, I’m not. It’ll be a rough ride, but having identified the problem, its a matter now of reducing the damage as technology permits. Humans have a footprint on the world. Our technology and civilization are not “unnatural”. That is the ridiculous arguement put forth by the primitivists who would pull the plug on our civilization and have us drink THEIR kool aid, Jonestown style. We have the right to impact the environment. Any species present in an area does so. We have it partially in our power to mitigate the damage of our footprint, and the rest will come as the desires of civilization drive us in that direction.

    It took us millenia to build our civilization on its current powerbase, it will not be altered to an environmentally benign one overnight. And those changes necessary to accomplish such are NOT in NASA’s mission.

    Quite simply, global warming is not Griffin’s problem. Talk to the EPA and let the man launch rockets.

  32. Brant D

    Doodler: By resorting to the idea of “rights” in your argument, it appears to me you are missing the point. Regardless of what we have done in the past, the question put before us is reducing our damage to the environment as money and technology permits with respect to the time limit nature has imposed on us. There are natural deadlines coming for us that do not depend on our economic and technological or political statuses; they are set by the laws of nature. We don’t have a lot of time to make the necessary changes before nature itself forces us to do so, and the consequences for missing those deadlines for any reason could be very grave. Global warming and other environmental issues have the potential to cut deeply into economic and technological activity if we don’t act fast enough. So the name of the game is “damage control”. There is a good chance we will not be able to eliminate all damage from global warming on our civilization, but we can have some say in when and where it happens. That is preferable to surrendering all say in the process just because we don’t want to get hurt until the last possible minute.

    We have the technology to address these problems now. They aren’t perfect, but they are good enough for the task at hand. I think a lot of people are waiting for a magic bullet, a “perfect” invention, as a scapegoat for having to make some very tough decisions. That is more wishful thinking than a serious strategy.

    As for rights, nature does not acknowledge a right to life. That should be pretty obvious by now.

  33. Ken G

    I’m still laughing at the spectacular level of “spin doctoring” our government mouthpieces have aspired to with that “wry sense of humor” comment! These are the people from whom we are supposed to get insight into how our government thinks. We’re to believe that the administrator was making a “wry” joke? Is “wry” some kind of code for “he was out of line and we’re in damage control, never fear it’s not our policy”? That’s the kind of newspeak we used to hear from communist nations.

  34. Brian

    On some level, the purpose of government is to help the people who live in the country. Of course, that goal is complicated by the fact that some interests conflict with others and honest opinions may differ as to means. But at least I would appreciate some sincere, reality-based attempt.

  35. John

    I think the reaction to his comments, both here and by publicity-monger Hansen, is out of all proportion to their significance. And I second Ryan W’s comment. It is scary to me how dogmatic the scientific establishment is getting wrt global warming.

  36. John

    I mean, “I’m glad I was already pulled over at my house when I heard it, because had I been driving I would have veered off the road.” And, “I am still reeling that the head of NASA — which, at its heart, is a scientific agency — would say something so ridiculous.” Those 2 comments are ridiculous. What Griffin said is not at all unreasonable – the cost of reducing emissions so drastically as to arrest or reverse global warming may very well not be worth the benefit.

  37. David Vanderschel

    I would like to offer some comment in Griffin’s defense. Though it is true that there has been some warming in the past few decades, it is far from clear that the major part of this warming can be attributed to human activity. I know it is popular to take such a position these days, but there are plenty of competent scientists who remain skeptical. In the quote from Griffin just before the parts the BA emphasized and which so excited him, Griffin commented, “First of all, I don’t think it’s within the power of human beings to assure that the climate does not change, as millions of years of history have shown.” I agree. The forces of nature at work on this planet are regularly way beyond the ability of we humans to significantly change their course. It is arrogant for us to think that we have the power to significantly impact climate (or even day-to-day weather, for that matter). Now, if you accept this force majeur position, then it is silly sit around and debate about whether or not we should be trying to maintain the status quo. Indeed, it is far from clear that a warmer climate would be worse on balance. Again, there are credible scientists who believe the planet would benefit if much fertile land where it is currently too cold to grow food could be put into production. Noting that Griffin’s remarks were made off the cuff, it is quite possible that, in the last sentence the BA quotes from him, Griffin was returning to the arrogance of humans believing that they even have the power to impact climate.

    I sympathize with the spirit of much of what Ryan W. wrote. However, citing Steven Milloy does not, IMO, garner any credibility. There was a time when I also took Milloy seriously; but, having followed his pronouncements for many years now, I think it is clear that he has an agenda which tends to be very much pro big business, especially for the oil and tobacco companies. This is apparent both from the positions he takes (especially the ones I regard as weak) and from the primary sources of funding for his activities. The Wikipedia article on Milloy is primarily negative. Some of Milloy’s positions are probably perfectly valid – the DDT issue being a prime example; but I think there is a lot of bias in much of his reporting.

  38. Ken G

    What you may have missed, John, is that Griffin said *nothing* about cost. Had he done so, your point might have held some validity. As he did not, your point is completely irrelevant. The objection here is that Griffin dismissed the issue entirely, independently of any cost issue. You are simply reading in your own opinions about what should be done, and all can agree that’s a very complex and difficult question, but the question here is whether or not NASA should be *at all* concerned by global warming. Griffin said, quite clearly I thought, “no”– on the grounds that it is somehow immoral of humanity to make choices about its climate, though not immoral to let big oil mess it up.

  39. Brant D

    It is simply untrue that the science of climate change is sketchy, that empirical evidence is lacking, and that there is a “dogma” forcing global warming to automatically trump all other explanations and claims. Sites like Real Climate and A Few Things Ill Considered and New Scientist have explained comprehensively the scientific basis for how we know global warming is real and manmade (which I linked to in an earlier post, but appears to be tied up in moderation). Not to mention organizations like the International Panel on Climate Change, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and other such organizations that hardly constitute a bunch of radical loonies.

    As far as the contrarian scientists go, they make plenty of noise, but so far they have not produced the research to support their claims. Claiming that they don’t have the grant money to challenge mainstream science sets up a contradiction; if they are not able to perform the research to challenge global warming, then how can they claim that there is scientific research that challenges global warming? Furthermore, if the science journals and the media ignore them the way they claim, then no one on this website except perhaps the curious would know the contrarians even exist. Their arguments are paradoxical.

    And the claim that humans are powerless to affect nature is a poetic argument, not something that is scientifically defensible.

  40. TheBlackCat

    Any mention of the phrase “Junk Science” and my BS detector perks up. That is a phrase seemingly used only by conservatives to mean “good science we do not like”. As for that Junk Science global warming site, it was absolutely useless. Basically they use incredibly simplistic calculations based on linear best-fits of obviously nonlinear data and then have the nerve of accusing the models of not be precise enough and making too many assumptions. They complete reject positive feedback as even being a factor, use the tired old “water is more important than CO2″ argument (yes, but we can’t change it directly). They reject the extremely sophisticated, heavily tested, and widely-respected computer models for unspecified reasons, but then use their own computer models (they don’t call them that but that is what they are) to prove it is wrong, despite the fact that their computer models take into account only one factor (the amount of CO2 at a given time). It’s incredible.

  41. Brian

    John,
    I think that it is more of an increasing consensus than an increasing level of dogmatism. Ten years ago, or maybe even five, the scientific community was more divided, the fundamental direction of the drift was less clear.

    Along with the mounting evidence that anthropogenic global warming is indeed ocurring, it now seems that it may be happening a lot faster than even those formerly dismissed as doomsayers were contending. There are alarming hints of feedback mechanisms that we hadn’t anticipated.

    I wish this whole issue had not become so politicized. We need to make good decisions. You are right about the possibilty of short-term economic costs of action, but there are probably potential long-term costs of inaction. My frustration is not with those who honestly disagree. If you are one of those, I welcome your input. But there also seems to be a large group attempting to obfuscate these issues. Griffin’s comments incline me to place him in this latter category. Only he really knows.

  42. Brian

    David,
    Griffin’s comment that “[he does not] think it’s within the power of human beings to assure that the climate does not change…” creates a straw man. Many of us simply propose limiting ANTHROPOGENIC warming.

  43. RamblinDude

    I don’t get this attitude that a lack of certainty somehow justifies inaction, and that erring on the side of temperance is fear mongering and overreacting. Not-knowing IS a cause for concern.

    It seems rather foolish to take a “well, gee, let’s just wait and see what will happen” attitude when we know that if the earth’s great ice sheets melt the results WILL be catastrophic. Maybe all the data isn’t in yet, but it doesn’t make any sense at all act like the drunk in the bar muttering, “bring it on, I can take it.”

    Just because we have the technology to bulldoze the earth up and ride roughshod over it doesn’t mean that it’s a sensible thing to do. At what point is it not simply common sense to take a step back and decide to proceed with caution?

    This isn’t about politics, or environmental morality, or browbeating ourselves because we, Homo sapiens, have become the ‘roommate from hell’. It’s just common sense stemming from self preservation.

    And a lot of the data is in; for good or bad, we are definitely warming up the place with carbon dioxide emissions.

  44. niin

    BA Quote: When you are the head of a government agency, you have no personal opinion.

    So if you was appointed head of a government agency, would you be okay with not being allowed to warn people of global warming? What about free speech?

  45. Frank Ch. Eigler

    > We know the Earth is warming. There is no doubt about this. None.

    Perhaps there is no “reasonable doubt”. But I sure wish one could be
    sure that the not too much data coming from temperature sensors
    was suspect like those in the “How not to measure temperature…”
    series at http://www.norcalblogs.com/watts/

  46. PK

    To all those of you who point out that there are plenty of credible scientists questioning global warming (or at least the anthropogenic part of it), you’re missing the point. Normally, when a branch of science is confronted with a problem (that is, always), the procedure is to gather data, formulate hypotheses, do some modeling, check against the data, etc. The scientists will have their pet theories that they defend against criticism, often far beyond what’s reasonable. This is a good thing: It makes sure that a specific option is thoroughly refuted. At some point there will be a clear consensus, even though there may be still a relatively large fraction of highly credible scientists that hold opposing views. These opposing views will however no longer be seriously debated or cited, and new publications are less likely to make it through the peer review process.

    This is how science works without the interference of the public, and it has worked pretty well so far.

    Now, because global warming is such an important issue, and the current US administration is ideologically opposed to what otherwise would be the natural outcome of the debate, the scientists with opposing views are wheeled out en masse to convince the public that the whole thing is pretty much unknown. This upsets the normal scientific process, and as a result the public receives a confusing message: yes, there is scientific consensus; no, there isn’t.

    It is tempting to say that the public should stay out of it, but let’s not forget that we’re ultimately doing science for the public. You can always find high-profile scientists with contrary views on any topic, and that is generally a good thing. But when they are used by an insidious administration to further their own cause it fundamentally sabotages the scientific process of formulating hypotheses, gathering data, and forming consensus.

  47. antaresrichard

    Griffin’s comments also take me back to the ’50’s, albeit directly to a time-worn sci-fi platitude. Suddenly, I can picture him aboard the United Planet Cruiser C-57-D as Commander John J. Adams, with Ataira at his side, and looking back on the fate of Altair-4. (Only in this case, it’s the Earth.)

    As the planet flashes into incandescence, in this truly global-warming scenario, he shakes his head at the hubris of those who, like the Krell, once proposed to act on their enviroment. “Alta… It’s true… We are, after all, not God.”

  48. Martin Foster

    It’s truly astounding that so many have fallen for the Global warming fraud. The basis of this fraud is that increased CO2 has caused temperature to rise, whereas it is as a result of increased temperature that CO2 in the atmosphere has increased. Increased temperature is due to a cyclical increase in solar radiation which is beyond the ability of man to control. Put that in your politically correct pipes and smoke it for a while.

  49. PK

    Martin Foster, that “theory” (or should I say “excuse”) has been thoroughly refuted, among others on this blog. By calling it a fraud you clearly display a political motive, which makes me suspect you have no regards whatsoever about facts in climate science.

  50. Martin Foster

    It’s truly astounding that so many have fallen for the Global warming fraud. The basis of this fraud is that increased CO2 has caused temperature to rise, whereas it is as a result of increased temperature that CO2 in the atmosphere has increased. Increased temperature is due to a cyclical increase in solar radiation which is beyond the ability of man to control.

  51. Martin Foster

    PK _ get yourself up to date on the stats. Or are you one of those who have a vested interest in the scam?

  52. Michael

    I was shocked, shocked that James Hansen agreed with you Phil. Lord knows he has no agenda.

    Why is when Hansen was ‘stifled’ by NASA there was an uproar of righteous indignation here and elsewhere, but now I’m hearing that Griffin should not express his personal opinion (much like the state climatalogist (I forget his name) who was threatened with dismissal if he expressed his doubts about AGW). I guess free speech only applies if you believe the gospel.

    And Hansen’s reply was certainly a gem:

    ” “It’s an incredibly arrogant and ignorant statement,” Hansen told ABC News. “It indicates a complete ignorance of understanding the implications of climate change.” ”

    As usual, anyone who questions the holy consensus is immediately called ignorant. It seems to be completely beyond the ability of the believers to accept that anyone could possibly question the ‘consensus’ and not be either stupid or corrupt. Is this the future of science?

  53. icemith

    Brian, (at 1:42pm):

    Given recent discussion in this BA blogsite, I would have thought “detachment” was inappriopriate. A bit of thoughtfulness on your part, would have been appreciated.

    Ivan.

  54. PK

    Michael and Martin, the fact is that there is a consensus that global warming exists, and that it is largely caused by humans. I know this because every news medium except Fox News tells me so. And I happen to know a few climate scientists personally. You can point me to as many web sites with “counter arguments” as you like, but because of the mechanism I described above this is not going to change my mind.

    This is not close-mindedness on my part, it is a realization that I have neither the time nor the technical background to check all studies for myself, and I have to rely on news media. I suspect the same is true for you. To call AGW a fraud or a conspiracy requires so many knowing participants (namely the majority of climate scientists — that’s a lot of people) that it is even more ridiculous than adhering to the moon hoax “theory”.

  55. Michael

    “You can point me to as many web sites with “counter arguments” as you like, but because of the mechanism I described above this is not going to change my mind”

    When someone proudly proclaims that no argument will change their mind, that’s called ‘dogma’, and it’s better suited to religion than science.

  56. Henry Culver

    One doesn’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to see a pattern here. I think that what most people see as incompetence is calculated. This is what happens when you put people in charge of government who think government is bad. The president thinks, I’m being pressured by the Europeans to commit to real action wrt climate change so I’ll craft a statement that the media will relay as a strong statement and then I will have the head of an agency that just released a report on the subject neuter the statement (as well as their own report). This may not convince anybody, but it is code to the base that he hasn’t really changed his position. Make FEMA ineffective and in several years when there is a republican congress again, they can eliminate the agency claiming it is ineffective and a waste of money. The same goes for the FDA, EPA and CDC. If the vast number of appointments of lobbyists opposed to the very agencies they are appointed to head isn’t a clue, I don’t know what is. One of this administrations ultimate goals is to eliminate any and all regulatory powers of government. Putting caps on carbon emissions is just another form of regulation and of course will cost the oil, coal and energy industries, so in wingnut land is unacceptable.

  57. Mark

    Yes, very good. We’re all here reading a safe science blog. It has nice pictures of galaxies and space stuff! Cool! If only that annoying bad astronomer would stop talking about that not so fun science stuff… You know, the stuff where if would accept the science we would have to accept some potentially annoying life style changes…

    No, we like our science in pretty pictures and only when it suits our political agenda.

    Science is not a choice option. You don’t get to pick the results you like and discard the bits you don’t like.

  58. TheBlackCat

    Martin Foster, there has been no net increase in solar irradiance at least since we have been keeping records in 1978. See here: http://www.pmodwrc.ch/pmod.php?topic=tsi/composite/SolarConstant

    You can find ranges over which solar irradiance has been increasing, for instance if you limit the plot to 1995-2002, but if you look over the whole range these are just short cycles and there have been several over the time period that temperature and CO2 levels have both been steadily increasing.

  59. Alex

    It is well known the current administration keeps the global warming a hypothesis yet to be proven and the rest follows suit. Regrettably, NASA thinks so too, as represented by their leader. Shame on NASA. Shame.

  60. TheBlackCat

    The real problem is that we, as a species, have spent the last 11,000-9,000 years organizing all aspects of our existence around the current climate. Our population distribution, agriculture, trade, building patterns, mining, logging, and just about every other aspect of our civilization is based on the current global climate. Yes, Canada may become more hospitable (although it is questionable how easy it will be to grow stuff on ex-tundra). The problem is that even if that it is the case, it will require an absolutely massive change in population distribution, agricultural patterns, trade, crops (since current crops are selectively bred for certain environments) and just above everything else. This is not a minor task. It will take years, if not decades, to alter our infrastructure to support such a change. Road, houses, cities, factories, businesses, farms, and other such basics do not appear overnight. How are we going to feed people in the meantime? So sure, some areas may become better to some people, the problem is that our society is not set up to make use of them and altering it do so will be extremely difficult. The dust bowl shows just how hard trying to adapt to a local, temporary change can be. Now imagine that worldwide for centuries.

  61. John

    I agree with Griffin. Climate in the past (last 50000 thousand years say) has changed slowly and dramatically not due to human input and will continue to do so.
    Basically:
    the recording of temperatures over the last 200 years while have shown a temperature increase at some of those spots -these scientists have failed to take into account the urban sprawls of cities = urban heat. While Rural recordings have shown no increase.
    We dont really know the % of the different variables that attribute to the climate – ie how much does the solar climate affect our climate.
    So do you want to spend millions of trillions of dollars(maybe go to war) on guesses? Yes guesses, not estimates, not science.

  62. Brian

    John,
    We are already, in fact, spending (ultimately) trillions of dollars having gone to war based on guesses.

  63. Brian

    John,
    My last post was way off topic, but it was just too much of a setup to resist. Here is my less flippant response to yor post.

    I agree with your point that there are a lot of things about the situation that we do not know. I think we should investigate the situation – find out as much as we can. My frustration is with those who impede or attempt to stifle those investigations or misrepresent their results. As you suggest, science can reduce the amount of guesswork.

  64. Mark

    Saying stuff like scientist have not forgotten to take into account the urban heat island effect is pathetic. It’s of the same level as an ID proponent claiming that we can’t be related to monkeys through evolution because there are still monkeys around today…

    Have a look here at this picture of mean temperatures:

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/2005/

    oops! I suppose you were right. Those big cities in the Arctic are causing quite some urban heat island effect…

    “I agree with Griffin…” Yeah, better agree with some guy on the internet than a few thousand scientists and several decades of work

  65. Juergen

    Unfortunately people don’t get his message – he HAS got a point:
    While many people will suffer from the effects of climate change, other people WILL benefit from it. For example, in the last 50 years the amount of rain in central India has risen considerably, which is attributed to the global warming. Due to this, food production in this region has grown considerably, allowing more people to live in that region.

    What he rightfully calls arrogance is the belief that the climate which currently benefits rich regions like Europe and the USA should eternally stay that way – while there has been a lot of research on how many costal cities will get flooded, there hasn’t been much research on the effects for example on rain patterns in Africa… what if due to the climate change the Sahara will be green again?

  66. ” First of all, I don’t think it’s within the power of human beings to assure that the climate does not change, as millions of years of history have shown–‘Griffin”

    Okay, I’m liberal, I believe in human-caused global warming and I believe there is absolutely zero down-side to reducing our emissions of greenhouse gasses. However, if we take Griffin’s first point–that human beings cannot stabalize the climate, then perhaps has logic is also that human beings do not have the power to change the climate one way or the other. If that is his main point and the surrounding if a case of fluff and just talking too much, then perhaps Griffin deserves the benefit of the doubt in terms of logic. If he is trying to say that just as humans cannot change the effects of a giant meteor impact, but only adapt to it, then perhaps slow warming is just what the planet is doing right now, and therefore it would still be warming without humans, so humans necessarily have no impact.

    Yeah, he’s probably trying to save some political face to the Administration, but the iternal logic does actually work.

  67. TheBlackCat

    John, yes the climate has changes slowly in the past. The problem is that the current change is not slow. The current change is extremely fast compared to past changes. And things do not happen for no reason. The global average temperature is a reflection of the total amount of kinetic energy the matter that makes up the Earth has (including oceans, the atmosphere, etc). There are only two ways to change this energy level: change the amount of energy entering the system, or change the amount of energy leaving the system. There has been no net change in the amount of energy entering the system over the last several decades, at least not one that anyone has been able to measure. Yet there has been a net change in the average temperature over that time period. Therefor something must be preventing energy from leaving the system. If the climate is changing, there must be something causing it to change. It doesn’t necessarily have to be humans, but just saying “the climate changes so there is no way we can impact it” sidesteps the problem of finding out why the climate is changing in the first place.

  68. TheBlackCat

    Juergen, even if you are right how are we going to feed the worlds’ population in the years or decades it takes to develop the Sahara as farmland? The Sahara is all sand, even if there was rain it would not be particularly conducive to many types of farming. There are no roads, no cities, no houses. It may help them in the long run, but how many people will starve in the meantime? Massive demographic, infrastructure, and economic change does not happen overnight. It is also extremely expensive. People talk about the cost of more efficient cars. What about the price of building all those roads, houses, factories, farms, irrigation systems, grain refineries, and other buildings that will be needed to turn nearly uninhabited tundra and desert into major agricultural regions?

  69. hacman

    I like to listen to and read information on climatology, being a x-weather forecaster for the USAF. Many of these folks are skeptical of the disaster scenarios being promulgated by the news stories, Al Gore, and most recently by some folks at NASA. There are two primary reasons, firstly these are climate model scenarios, not fact, and they distrust some of the models, especially the precipitation modeling, which these computer codes do not model well. Secondly, these reports always report the maximum or worst condition and not the most expected condition so they are not valuable in that regard. Finally, the following needs to be pointed out: (1) CO2 is not the most important greenhouse gas, water vapor is and the models are poor at handling precipitation, (2) solar activity is also not treated well in these models, and (3) these climate models do not do a good job over a few years, much less 30-40 years. A little skepticism and rational thought is called for. Learn as much as you can from professional sources, and not the news media and make up you mind from that.

  70. PK

    When someone proudly proclaims that no argument will change their mind, that’s called ‘dogma’, and it’s better suited to religion than science.

    A very nice piece of sophistry, indeed. You completely (and probably deliberately) missed my point. If the experts come to a different conclusion and it gets filtered down through the various trusted media, then of course I will chance my mind. But not when it comes from some Republican propaganda site. The whole idea of hearing both sides of the argument and letting the public decide doesn’t work in science, because the public does not have the correct background (or —often— the intelligence) to assess the arguments. I think we’ve seen plenty of proof of that.

  71. Steve

    Altitude gone to your head Phil?

    Can’t see a whole lot wrong in what he actually said – as opposed to what you are making out he said.

    Ok lets suppose in a moment of global good will, the worlds leader agree to reduce CO2 emissions to X. Why X and not Y? What climate are we trying to get to? What tolerance are we going to accept? Back to the Thames freezing in London or the old farms in Greenland being habitable. What is good for Africa, asia, etc – are there conflicting demands on what we want ? Who choses the final value?

    Or to put another way

    “I guess I would ask which human beings — where and when — are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular climate that we have right here today, right now is the best climate for all other human beings. I think that’s a rather arrogant position for people to take.”

    Because accepting AGW is simple, it is happening. Deciding on what to do is a hell of a lot harder.

    1) Do we actually need to do anything?
    2) Ok we need to do something. What outcome do we want?
    3) How do we do it, will it work, and can we afford it?

    1) Be seen to be doing something.
    2) Who cares what it will cost, if it works or even has the opposite result, I can say I did something at election time.

  72. TheBlackCat

    (1) CO2 is not the most important greenhouse gas, water vapor is and the models are poor at handling precipitation,

    Water vapor is a feedback, not forcing. There is really no way for us to affect the amount of water vapor directly. The water vapor in the atmosphere is in a state of equilibrium, if we add more it rains back out very quickly. CO2, however, is much, much harder to get out of the atmosphere. Add water and it disappears almost immediately, in a period of days or weeks. Add CO2 and it continues to have an effect for centuries. Water vapor is very carefully analyzed in the models because it is such an important feedback. If the temperature increases, more water evaporates, and the temperature increases further. So water vapor is handled very carefully. Methane is a more powerful greenhouse gas on a per-molecule basis, although it is in much lower concentrations so it does not have as much of an impact in total. It is also a feedback. Increased temperature can unlock methane trapped in permafrost and other areas.

    (2) solar activity is also not treated well in these models

    Even if that is true, there has been no net change in solar activity and no indication there will be in the near future. I find that hard to believe, though. Solar input is the driving force behind the climate. Pretty much all the energy Earth receives is from the sun. It is ultimately what drives the climate. All greenhouses gasses do is change how much solar energy remains on Earth and how much is radiated back into space. Not dealing with solar activity well is like making a model of a soccer ball (football) being kicked but ignoring the force imparted on the ball by the kick. It basically requires the entire climatology community to be full of idiots who ignore even the most basic details of the system they are dealing with. I have found that any argument based on the assumption that an entire branch of science is made up solely of imbeciles is rarely correct. You may be right, but I’ll need to see some evidence to back up this statement.

    (3) these climate models do not do a good job over a few years, much less 30-40 years.

    True, they seem to be underestimating the problem. That is the scary thing.

  73. Brian

    Ivan,
    In re your post at 4:45 AM on June 2:
    I am not sure what you mean. If you mean that Michael, you, and I are all human beings, and that clear recognition of that fact could engender a love and respect that would dwarf our differences, I agree with you.

  74. Steve, you are missing the point. Deciding what to do is hard, sure. But deciding to do something is not. Mr. Griffin is saying we shouldn’t do anything, and hope that everything turns out OK. That’s intolerable, especially from the head of a scientific agency.

    Altitude gone to my head? Nice ad hominem. Maybe you should read the links I posted, and the many, many links therein supporting what I have written.

  75. Brian

    Steve,
    I agree with you that “…accepting AGW is simple, it is happening,” and that “Deciding what to do is a hell of a lot harder.” Where do we go from here?

  76. Brian

    Griffin’s use of “accorded the privilege,” “all other human beings,” and “arrogant” is an attempt to push peoples’ emotional buttons. Why use these words and phrases? Is he reporting to us, or is he trying to sway us?

  77. Michael

    PK: “You completely (and probably deliberately) missed my point. If the experts come to a different conclusion and it gets filtered down through the various trusted media, then of course I will change my mind.”

    Your point? That you don’t have the time or expertise to be bothered to actually study the science, so you wait for your ‘trusted media’ to tell you what to think? No, I didn’t miss that at all.

    What makes you think the reporters you seem to trust so well a) have the expertise to make a judgement for you; and b) don’t have any agenda themselves?

    Excuse me if I prefer to read everything I can find – pro and con – and make up my own mind.

  78. PK

    Correspondents from Nature, Science, and SciAm report on all climate change related events and issues, and they do an excellent job. I prefer to get my information from them, rather than anybody else. This is because I have a job. I do not have the time to think about or read up on climate science all day, and I believe this is the case for most people. It’s the way society functions.

    Of course you are excused for trying to read everything you can find. I just wished you wasted your time on something harmless.

  79. Brian

    The discussion between Michael and PK raises an interesting point. Since I cannot read and study everything (I think that may qualify as the greatest understatement I can ever remember making), I must, to some extent, rely on sources. How do I decide which to believe?

  80. John Bennetts

    I am an engineer. Griffin is an engineer. Engineering is the business of problem solving in the real world.

    Griffin is also a senior manager of a government organisation, reposible for the working lives and project funding and wellbeing of a large number of people in and around NASA. Management is the business of using time, resources, monay and people to reach goals.

    Griffin, I am happy for you that you seem to think that you have a perfect answer to one of the biggest questions facing today’s world, and that this answer is to do nothing. I am, at the same time, disappointed that this answer is based not on engineering nor science nor management, but on a blinkered view of a closed minded person who appears to be looking down on the world from his cloistered position.

    We all could respect the arguments of an engineer and a scientist and a professional manager in their resepective areas, but please shield us from closed minds.

    AGW is not simply an issue of science. The response to this phenomenon will require the best and most cooperative efforts of scientists, engineers and managers and a lot more professions besides if the world is to continue with anything like its current beauty, variety, opportunity and productivity.

    Our grandchildren and their grandchildren have the same rights that we have to inherit an inhabitable and hospitable world. Is there anything more important than that this should be so?

  81. Pete

    Sounded like a bureaucrat to me trying to avoid doing anything. Reasons full of weird logic and always somebody else’s problem.

    I don’t believe the present trend in climate can be reversed and everything returned “like it was” or to some optimal state. I do believe that we can stop fouling the planet and exacerbating the problem by discontinuing the practices that got us to this position. That responsibility falls to the worst offenders. Stopping climate change is not possible; not feeding the forces that drive the changes are possible.

    Doing nothing is not an option.

  82. I run a site on global warming (www.globalwarming-factorfiction.com). It is designed to try to give both sides of the issue, I think I do a fairly good job of it since WSJ.com has referenced me several times.

    I think we need to look more closely at Mr. Griffin’s words. If GW is caused by nefarious human activity than we should do something about it. But if GW is caused by the natural changes of global climate, then we need to live with it and adapt. There is a high likelihood that the latter is true and many climate scientists think humans are not the root cause. In fact, in a recent study of scientists only 39% felt that carbon dioxide reductions were a priority (http://globalwarming-factorfiction.com/2007/06/02/they-call-this-a-consensus/).

    We simply do not know enough about our climate to take dramatic action on this issue.

  83. Mark

    Sean

    I would suggest that your work would benefit from a more critical look at your cources and a better understanding of the differences between editorials and scientific papers.

  84. Gary Ansorge

    Jurgeon: As far as growing food in the SAhara is concerned, look at the quantity of wheat grown in Saudi Arabia. They Ship millions of metric tonnes of wheat every year grown in SAND. All you need are water and fertilizer,,,

    Winds of change blow and people come unglued. That is the nature of humans. IF excess CO2 is the progenitor of global warming, THEN it must be reduced. The real argument is how to do that, how much it will cost, how do we adapt to rising sea levels(the Dutch are building floating houses), who will benefit and who will be a loser. Griffin is correct. He’s in charge of the exploration of space, not finding ways to undo humanities excesses.

    GAry 7

  85. Brian

    Gary,
    You said, “Griffin is correct. He’s in charge of the exploration of space, not finding ways to undo humanity’s excesses.” Yet the sentence to which many of us have expressed objections along with the paragraph that surrounds it are related to precisely the thing that you imply is not his concern. His statement implies that it would be “arrogant” to attempt to offset GW or, to reiterate your words, “undo humanity’s excesses,” even though he acknowledges the existence of GW.

  86. Brian

    Sean O,
    Your use of the word “nefarious” miscasts the debate. I would hope that that was not your intention. Most of the activity contributing to the AGW is either innocent or well-meaning. Nevertheless, there have been and continue to be negative consequences, consequences which are not altered by a characterization of peoples’ motives.

  87. Bolo

    “1) It’s about time we started developing climate control technologies. Necessity is the mother of invention, and global climate change will provide that necessity.”

    Agreed, though I’m not sure what you mean by “climate control technologies.” If you mean more efficient, less wasteful, and more environmentally-friendly technologies, then yeah. If you mean massive geo-engineering projects designed to alter the weather… then, no.

    “2) It’s inevitable. Our energy needs will always increase, our energy use will always increase, and within a thousand years(give or take a power of ten), I think we will be generating waste heat faster than our atmosphere can radiate it out into space.”

    This is not inevitable, though I do think it likely. But the difference between having 1000 years to adapt and 100 years is huge.

    “3) I’m curious about the impacts on human society, and am generally in favor of controlled catastrophe. Similarly, I think this can only cause the biosphere to thrive (in the long run).”

    Being “curious” about the potential for resource wars, famine, and mass migrations that will kill millions is pretty disgusting, imo. Life on Earth is obviously not threatened, but it will take a pretty big hit for the next few million years. In the long run, as you state, things should work out just fine. But I don’t want to see millions die in the short run.

    “4) Unless environmentalists embrace technology and start producing cheaper, better products (that also happen to be greener), it’s unstoppable. You can’t make wide ranging social changes by demanding that people lower their standard of living. The feel-good effects of “cutting your carbon footprint” only motivate so many people. We need to turn to nuclear power (ignoring problem #2 for now). We need cradle to grave life-cycles. We need rampantly pro-industrial environmentalist groups. This, by the way, goes back to #1- developing new technology. It all links together.”

    They are embracing technology. For example, look at the growing field of Industrial Ecology–tracing the use of materials and products through industry and society and suggesting ways to reduce waste. The appropriate term is “crade-to-cradle,” btw. Cradle-to-grave will just continue what we’re currently doing, but with a little less cleanup at the end.

    Technology alone won’t solve our problems. Our lifestyles will have to change to a certain degree. All technology can do is mitigate the changes as much as possible, making the transition easier for us.

  88. icemith

    > Brian, re your comment at 1:37pm, June 2nd, I was surprised to see reference to my comment much earlier in the post. Though I have not had a chance to thoughly read all comments, I gather the trend is discussing the various ways and means of accommodating, (or not), global warming. My point originally was to the use of the word “detatchment”, and my concern so soon after the Shannon Malloy blog items.

    I may have mis-judged your reference there, as it may have been a coincidence, rather than a poor choice of words. If so, then I whole heartedly apologise.

    As soon as I re-read all the comments, I feel I will be better informed, as there certainly is much more to consider than the popular press or the agenda bent Radio talkback would have us believe.

    Ivan.

  89. Tom Moore

    I can’t imagine anything more arrogant than assuming measurable human global energy impacts to be harmless! And this in the shadow of a planet turned to toast by a runaway greenhouse effect!

    Griffin is mainly trying to defend against diversion of his resources from exploration to local concerns. Which is more important to pursue? He should just have the courage to ask for more total funding to cover both, but instead he is torn between the priorities of Congress and the administration.

  90. Brian

    Ivan,
    Thank you for responding to my response. I haven’t the faintest idea who Shannon Malloy is.

  91. The hysterical ‘burn the heretic’ response of the left to anyone who does not tow the party line 100% wrt to climate change is all the evidence I need.

    These rabid attacks on dissenters shows that the left’s evidence is weak, and the probable actual benefit of the left’s proposed solutions to the problem are certainly massively overstated.

  92. If this “heated argument” gets out of control it might ADD to global warming….

  93. gaijin51

    ‘Burn the heretic’ is a strawman. The last people the actually burned heretics were on the religious right (and they still exist in some religions). Phil gave a rational argument and didn’t suggest setting anyone on fire.

  94. dirty_g

    agree with you totally Phil. the guy is in a very good position and can influence people and he comes out with crap on this occasion. Dissapointing

  95. Brant D

    On the topic of the Urban Heat Island Effect, the ground temperature record shows the strongest observed warming occurring in the high latitudes, not in industrialized and urbanized nations. Furthermore, the most recent spike in temperature began in the 1970s, a full two decades after mass urbanization of western nations began. These observations alone dispel the Heat Island argument, without needed to go into the work researchers have done to remove the Heat Island signal from ground temperature records. The Urban Heat Island claim is garbage. Abandon it immediately for your own credibility’s sake.

    Once again, the claim that the science is not sufficient to act on is a weak excuse to avoid making difficult decisions. Furthermore, it is almost always made by people who have not bothered to read the work that the scientists themselves have posted in credible peer-reviewed journals. The general media cannot be trusted to present an accurate account of the science’s status, as the media earn more profits off of presenting a false “controversy” than they do presenting the science as it stands.

  96. icemith

    Brian, I’m sorry, but you must have recently entered this site, not knowing one of the biggest discussions occured last month concerning events attributed to being “miracles” or not. Check one of BA’s items:

    http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2007/05/12/its-not-a-miracle/

    There is a sequel and this is signalled in the various updates. Or, I’m sure if you actually Googled ‘Shannon Malloy”, you could find even more info.

    Ivan.

  97. This is an imperfect comparison, and I’m certainly not comparing Michael Griffin to a murderous sociopath, but hearing Griffin’s comments immediately called to mind the “Mailboxes are exploding!” screed from five years ago:

    http://archives.cnn.com/2002/US/05/03/pipebomb.letter/index.html

    Both make use of the argument from ignorance: If you do not know with absolute certainty that there will be no benefits from event X (having Earth’s climate change drastically from its current norm / getting blown up by a bomb in your mailbox), then you are foolish to want to prevent or avoid event X.

    It could be true. Maybe the world will be better off after climate change, and we should keep pumping greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere to hasten the day. Who can say with absolute certainty?

    The problem is, like Daffy Duck’s piano that is rigged to explode when the opening notes to “Those Endearing Young Charms” are played, this is a trick that can only be done once. If we are going to continue down this path armed with nothing more than detached curiosity, we’d better meake sure we’re ready for the consequences.

  98. Brian

    Ivan,
    I have been coming here for a couple of years, but I am mostly interested in the science, especially cosmology and particle physics. I like the site because Phil knows more than I do about physics and apparently enjoys talking about it. I come primarily to learn physics rather than to post. I have very little interest in most of the “political” or “religious” threads.”

    When I followed the link you provided, I did recognize the OP, but, frankly, I had originally skimmed it briefly and was not interested in reading it thorouhgly or participating in the discussion. For the record, my perspective on miracles is that every breath is a miracle, an infusion of life, love, and joy.

  99. Quiet Desperation

    >>> 1) It’s about time we started developing climate control technologies.

    Exactly!

    What could *possibly* go wrong?

    Talk like this make my tail go all bushy.

    “And now, people of the world, we switch on our uber-global climate controller machine!”

    *click*

    Six months later we’re in a permanent ice age and pressing our grandparents into Soylent Green wafers.

  100. Stuart

    Now, now, Hobbes, err, I mean, Quiet Desperation, don’t go knocking those Soylent Green wafers, they’re tasty and nutritious…

    I agree, though, that climate control technologies should stay within the realms of SciFi for now. There are realistic proposals even now (like seeding the oceans with iron to encourage fungal growth) but the probability of getting it wrong is ≈1

  101. DennyMo

    Isn’t “adapt or die” one of the primary rule of evolution? If so, then any species which fails to adapt to changes in its environment deserves to lose its place in the food chain. Doesn’t matter whether its whales getting confused by human sonar usage or humans/frogs/butterflies being impacted by global warming. What’s with all the hand wringing? Jeez, people, this is how the system is supposed to work. Or maybe the theory needs a little tweaking…

  102. Quiet Desperation, don’t be silly. Old people taste terrible. They’re all stringy and tough. We’ll be raiding our neighboring city-states for sweet, tasty children. Old people will be used as fertilizer.

    Every projection I’ve run in my head has a pretty grim outcome, just based on population growth and resource demands. Things like climate change are confounding factors and may even help to put the brakes on population growth. But short of some event that knocks back the human population by one or more factors of ten, I don’t see us avoiding resource wars (for resources other than oil) in the fairly near future. And what better way to eliminate competition and exploit resources simultaneously than to eat the people who are competing with you for those resources, turning them into a source of nutrition?

  103. Stuart

    DennyMo, I don’t see your point.

    Are you saying that humans should die off because they can’t adapt to a change they created? That we should do nothing?

    Or are you saying they should adapt, by undoing the harmful changes before it’s too late?

    Or are you saying we should kill more whales, because they’re stupid?

    Help me here…

  104. I think what he’s saying is something like “f*** ‘em, kill ‘em, and eat ‘em”.

    An oh-so enlightened view on things.

  105. Quiet_Desperation

    >>> I think what he’s saying is something like “f*** ‘em, kill ‘em, and eat ‘em”.

    Not necessarily in that order. :)

    >>> I don’t see us avoiding resource wars (for resources other
    >>> than oil) in the fairly near future.

    I think the holy wars may take precedence.

  106. icemith

    Brian, thanks for the update. I’m glad I did re-think my original reaction. As a matter of fact I did have quite a time trying to find the actual postings, no reflection on BA, it’s just that I kept flipping past the correct one assuming something else.

    But at least it was on Google with all the other references. So maybe we could/should have a little more in the way of title info at the head of each daily item; that is on the first page we see on opening the mail. Or is there an index that I do not know about yet?

    And I understand that some items are less interesting than others, and especially if they concern a particular parochial issue that is of limited interest to other nationals.

    Ivan.

  107. Brian

    Ivan,
    OK, I finally see who Shannon Malloy is. The link you provided led me to an OP about miracles, which I did not read. Earlier today, my eye fell on the link provided by Phil titled “Donate to the Shannon Malloy Fund,” and that jogged my memory. I now remember who she is. Her situation is heart-wrenching, and I would certainly never allude to it in any context other than a completely sympathetic one.

  108. Does anybody know if Hansen has proposed any new space probe that could help clarify the situation regarding climate change, global warming and/or anthropogenic global warming?

    After all it’s NASA, if they don’t use space-based whole-planet observatory then who will?

  109. Brant D

    NASA is currently running the Earth Observing System, a series of satellites launched and soon to be launched to study Earth’s atmosphere, environment, and climate. This system is a critical component of climate change research along with many other fields of research. We have a large number of satellites up there dedicated to helping to resolve lingering uncertainties, and so for the moment there isn’t a pressing need to propose any new revolutionary new observing systems. We already have a gaggle of researchers pouring over the huge amounts of data coming down; we haven’t come close to tapping the EOS’s full potential yet.

  110. Sylvia P.

    Just as this diety-sanctioned administration seems to believe that climatic changes are not relevant, it also apparently feels that it has been annointed by said diety to make sure that any whiff of birth control be carefully deleted from its budgets, programs and official positions (missionary, one assumes.) Most of the environmental problems/challenges that are manifesting on what appears to be an escalating model seem to me to be tied directly to (human) population overload stressing the system. Too bad we’re contributing to the premature demise of so many other species as we rush headlong toward our own extinction. Whatever happened to ZPG and NPG?

  111. Ellie R

    Good for him (Mike Griffin that is). NASA may be an American scientific institution, but the work and research they do is important on an international level. That the head of NASA has demonstrable abilities to see beyond national boundaries and short term future is heartening. The immediate and hostile reaction to someone who has dared to imagine a future for planet earth without Americas position of global domination is less so. The idea, if humankind does develop technology that can control global climate, that without scientific analysis or ethical debate the climate should without question be set in perpetuity at that which is optimum for the present American agricultural economy (or the UK’s or Europes) is not just arrogant, it is obscene. Exactly how much more important in the overall scheme of things are the present Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Florida (and those other countries) in comparison to everyone else, anywhere, ever, if it can be shown that climate change could be beneficial to areas where it is either hard or impossible to exist now?

    I personally disagree with what Mike Griffin said. As far as I can tell, for the last few thousand years we have enjoyed an exceptionally stable period in comparison to the fluctuations seen previously, and it is in all likelihood that this stability is only possible at the current temperature level, and is therefore optimum for humans on a global scale by default. This does not mean to say, however, that the issue of ethics, or research into positive effects of climate change should be disregarded. If the head of NASA can not challenge current thought and open these kinds of debate, then who can?

  112. Brian

    Ellie R,
    Good for you Ellie. It sounds as if you are trying to see the best in someone, and I admire that. Sometimes, amidst the clash of ideas, the rhetoric, and the suspicions, we risk losing sight of each others’ humanity.

  113. icemith

    I’d be interested to know if the so-called optimum temperature we presently embrace, (whatever that is really), has been a stable period for the thousands of years as suggested by others. Has it been “only” since the end of the last ice age, or was it a continuing elevation of global temperature till only relatively recent times?

    We have much information of the last two to three thousand years, but relatively little of the comparable time *before* then or even before that ice age; core samples of the alluvial soil and contintental shelves and ice caps, maybe even petrified tree rings. On an even more distant ice age maybe the contents of the stomachs of animals and insects trapped in amber may help.

    But for those times there are only generalisations – you know – plus or minus thousands of years is not that accurate when we are now talking of a few decades since some concerned people started to ask questions about our depletion of resources, global warming and dire warnings of drastic solutions in a few more decades.

    So, does anybody have information on comparative temperature trends, and how they may have influenced civilisation develop as we know it?

    “Lucy” was the progenator of our species, and they are said to have wandered north from that homeland in Africa, through the tropics and into a much more temperate climate, some even went that far north as to have to acclimatise themselves to freezing polar conditions. And as you know some were not satisfied with that and crossed to the Americas, though more recently, but not much later than the Aborigines who also used land bridges to take up home in Australia.

    The point I am making here is that various tribes of humanity have found, or cannot escape from the local conditions. That is “normal” now for those who stayed for generations, and it covers a quite wide range of temperatures. Consider the Eskimo and the Aborigine, just two examples, and we think we are being hard done by! By defination, “Temperate” Zone does mean that, so even though we still have the seasonal variations, it is probably easier to live there. But we still like to have our air-con and heated pools and program our activies at night-time instead of daylight, and then sleep during the day!

    I know, I’m typing this at 03:35am. (But I know I have a busy day tomorrow so am going to bed now.

    Ivan. (Sorry for the rant.)

  114. Eric

    “I don’t think it’s within the power of human beings to assure that the climate does not change, as millions of years of history have shown.”

    No kidding, the climate does change, over millions of years, no matter what. Slow change is adaptable. The real question is whether we want to change the climate to the extent that we kill ourselves – whether we want to be sadistical idiots or not.

    “I guess I would ask which human beings — where and when — are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular climate that we have right here today, right now is the best climate for all other human beings. I think that’s a rather arrogant position for people to take. ”

    As far as I know, it’s not a question of whether now is the “best climate” ever. The real question is whether we want a “worse climate” in the future. And the answer would be, the human beings that is living on earth, right now, have the obligation (not priviledge). And the “other” human beings, would be the next generation.

    Not arrogant, but responsible.

  115. Martin Foster

    PK – But not when it comes from some Republican propaganda site. The whole idea of hearing both sides of the argument and letting the public decide doesn’t work in science, because the public does not have the correct background (or —often— the intelligence) to assess the arguments. I think we’ve seen plenty of proof of that.))))

    I’m anything but a Republican – I’m in South Africa, Pretoria, to be exact and it seems to me that quite a bit of money is being spent on research in the hope of preventing further warming. Back in 1975 some were pridicting an ice age. I would be disinclined to buy that the hype that industrial countries are creating warming. I personally think that the intent is to persuade the populace to accept Nuclear power stations as an alternative to coal and oil. How safe or unsafe Nuclear stations are is difficult for me to ascertain.
    PS – Thanks to all for pointing me to other views.

  116. Josh

    Ivan,

    >>”I’d be interested to know if the so-called optimum temperature we presently embrace, (whatever that is really), has been a stable period for the thousands of years as suggested by others. Has it been “only” since the end of the last ice age, or was it a continuing elevation of global temperature till only relatively recent times?”

    http://www.alaskareport.com/science10064.htm

    ” ‘If you look back far enough, we have a bunch of data that show that warming has gone on from the 1600s with an almost linear increase to the present,’ Akasofu said. He showed ice core data from the Russian Arctic that shows warming starting from the early 1700s, temperature records from England showing the same trend back to 1660, and ice breakup dates at Tallinn, Estonia, that show a general warming since the year 1500.”

    This article is about Dr. Syun-Ichi Akasofu, “former [retired] director of both [University of Alaska Fairbanks’] Geophysical Institute and International Arctic Research Center”

    Now, I’m not saying that this 100% disproves man-made GW (neither is Dr. Akasofu), I’m just saying that there isn’t necessarily a hard core consensus among respected geologists/climatologists, as the IPCC claims.

    However, that being said, I don’t see any problem with a gov’t effort to subsidize efforts by coal power plants, refineries, and auto-makers to develop and use technology to reduce CO2. It’s just the right thing to do. Does anyone know that GE has already developed technology that (they claim) can greatly reduce CO2 output in coal power plants? I don’t need to tell you how many power companies have started using it (zero). They’re NOT going to spend that kind of money without some sort of incentive program from the gov’t.

  117. Mark Y.

    I have long been a fan of this website. It, for the most part, deals with pure science. However, this string has me extremely disappointed. What Griffin said, to me, really seemed like common sense and really not that controversial. However, AGW has become so political, people (from both sides of the issue) get riled up by anything with which they disagree.

    I have a lot of respect for Mr. Plaitt, however this entry:

    Steve, you are missing the point. Deciding what to do is hard, sure. But deciding to do something is not. Mr. Griffin is saying we shouldn’t do anything, and hope that everything turns out OK. That’s intolerable, especially from the head of a scientific agency.

    is absurd. What, pray tell, should we do? Will it be effective? How much will it cost? Who will pay for it? Will it actually make the situation worse via unanticipated consequences?

    These are but some of the questions that are central to the AGW controversy, but no one from the side of “settled science” wants them asked, let alone answered.

    Please stick to the pure science.

  118. Brian

    aol.com is running a video clip of Michael Griffin apologizing to the staff of NASA (in a NASA staff meeting) for the remarks cited in the OP above. I had not considered this possibility: that the staff itself would demand an apology from him for making a statement so contrary to the opinions of the agency’s own scientists. They may have felt that the head of an agency should represent the agency as well as himself.

  119. icemith

    Josh, thanks for your informative links, particularly the latter one:

    http://www.iarc.uaf.edu/highlights/2007/akasofu_3_07/Earth_recovering_from_LIA.pdf

    I found much to consider. It really does show how difficilt it is to be absolute about anything relating to weather. That we *have* weather is about the only absolute…. Just kidding….

    But my personal observations are supported by the work as shown in the link, though I was also wanting info re the previous Glacial and Inter-glacial periods. I had forgotten about the Mini-iceage though.

    One thing may be easily addressable, namely: *if* the globe has been much colder during the ice-ages, and the poles would have been well and truely frozen over, was the North Pole ever so thick that its mass would have compressed the underlying mantle to be much deeper than it is at this moment, though not neccessarily as deep as the South Pole Region is.

    That the data seemed the indicate differences between the hemispheres, and that Antarctica is much more massive than the Arctic, has this been investigated anywhere?

    Could we expect in the geological future, a land mass which is above sea level, and the North Pole *is* a pole stuck in dry land?

    Ivan.

  120. Brant D

    Just because someone can slap a line on a graph does not mean he/she has proven a linear trend. Climate research would be easy if that was the case.

    As for showing that the 1930s maximum was caused by different mechanisms from the current spike, recall that the 1930s were plagued with hot summers and droughts, even more so that Earth currently is, even though the global average temperature was significantly lower than it is now. A warming trend dominated by summertime heat waves is indicative of a solar-based climate forcing. Obviously the sun will have its greatest effects when it is most available, which is the daytime and the summer. Observations of the sun suggest the sun indeed was brighter than present, and computer models also pick up on the sun’s warming effect back then. So there is ample evidence that the global mean temperature maximum in the 1930s was caused by something other than what is causing the current temperature spike.

  121. John

    TheBlackCat, what about dramatic climate changes in the past – before the industrial revolution? There were plenty in recorded human history.

  122. wallet55

    I think you should go a little easier on global warming skeptics. (in particular, you should quit using the term deniers. While I agree that there is ample evidence, it is not yet up there with HIV deniers or holocaust denial, that is to say the question is too recently settled to call laggards “deniers”)

    For those of us of a certain age, this is a case of pareidolia. We have seen spectacular claims before, that turned out to be bogus. It takes conscious energy on my part to resist this….

    While I am very worried about global warming, I am right now worried that things have gotten away from real science and into the hollywood/politics/fad realm. If they get too much ahead of themselves, as I believe they will, one good cold summer (a likely event given the unevenness of climate trends, will “debunk” everything in the court of public opinion.

  123. Brant D

    John- Never in the past 800,000 years has global CO2 concentration risen over 100ppm in a century. Even the most rapid “natural” climate shifts had an increase in CO2 concentration of only 1ppm per century. That’s two orders of magnitude difference between previous climate shifts and the current one. Can you really say there are no important differences to be found?

  124. John

    I said Dramatic CLIMATE changes before the 1800s were common.

    C02 has increased dramatically the last 100 years.

    C02 has 0.00000000000000000000000001(insigificant) to 100.0% (very sigificant impact on the climate. We just DONT know the % of the above statement. You dont go and buy a house if you have no idea how valuable it is (even if the value is priceless- otherwise you might as well go and play lotto). I hope this analogy helps.
    You found out the value first and then consider buying(ie do research and found out this value!)

  125. John

    sorry I meant (even if the value could be priceless).

  126. John

    What about this argument:

    The temperature icnreased by 2c or whatever.
    C02 increased dramatically.
    C02 is a greenhouse gas and greenhouse gases have some (again 0-100%) bearing on the climate.
    Therefore C02 ->2c temperature increase.

    Im sorry the last statement is NOT science. Its an assumption that has not been proven (or even beoynd resonable doubt- again how much). What about the other factors that can cause climate change. Eg) the sun’s climate changes->magnetic field stronger->cosimic radiation less->2c temperature increase. (just as ridiculous)

  127. dan

    First of all, apologies for the long post.

    Having read both the pro and the (largely oil sponsored) con science, to the extent that a lay-man can, I think the evidence is pretty incontriversal that there is global warming, and that it will be wrose than what has currently been predicted. The scientific consensus is staggering, and those who do not accept it need to learn more about how science works (as opposed to partisan politics).

    It is true that people have been wrong about disasters in the past. They have also been right about disasters, and the global warming “theory” has an enormous amount of empirical evidence.

    For those of you who somehow believe that there is no global warming because some scientist somewhere once thought we might be entering an ice age, I can provide an equally logical (but more complelling) counter-example.
    1. The Bust administration refuses to accept global warming as a real threat worthy of action.
    2. Virtually every claim the Bush administration has made has been false (WMDs, Iraq will be a cake-walk, there is no need for warrants to wire-tap the American public, etc.).
    3. Therefore, we can conclude that there is global warming and it is a serious threat, as Bush acts like it isn’t.

    Either way, it is ridiculous to expect everyone to accept the truth before proceeding to do something about it. For example, Einstein refused to accept quantum mechanics, that didn’t mean we had to wait to convince him… The global warming science is established, the so-called “debate” is largely a creation of the oil industry and other special interests who realize action will hurt their profits and who are therefore seeking to delay it with junk-science, political donations and empty argumentation. It’s the same tactic the tobacco industry used successfully for thrity years, but we can’t afford to spare thirty years on this issue.

    As for Griffin’s comments, they were both irresponsible – he can have personal opinions all he wants, but he was speaking as the head of NASA – and ridiculous. Of course, man has the power to alter the environment, that’s the whole problem: man-made global warming. And of course we need to stop it. All of our infrastructure, and the Earth’s bio-systems, are adapted for the current climate. The cost of trying to re-adapt, of moving our cities, of hoping the tundra and deserts can grow food for us (they can’t, the soil is wrong) is in-calculable, and far out-weighs the cost of changing our CO2 output. Millions will die if we do nothing. Moreover, huge numbers of species will not be able to adapt in time and will be lost. This will also inflict further damage on us as food supplies dwindle. Even species that could in theory adapt, will often be prevented from doing so by man-made interference – ie forests can gradually move North in theory to compensate for higher temperatures, but roads, cities, suburban sprawl, etc. will prevent many from expanding in that direction.

    Clearly, being the people currently alive we have the responsibility of acting and deciding which climate is ideal, and clearly the ideal climate is the one that we and the rest of the Earth are currently adapted to. Arguments to the contrary are so clearly thoughtless and illogical that they can only be explained as ruses by those seeking to delay action on global warming.

  128. John

    Dan,
    (personally Im not a republican,american or even pro oil).

    how arrogant is this statement:
    ‘Clearly, being the people currently alive we have the responsibility of acting and deciding which climate is ideal’

    Hello?

  129. Thomas

    “how arrogant is this statement:
    ‘Clearly, being the people currently alive we have the responsibility of acting and deciding which climate is ideal’”

    Arrogant relative to what? The people not yet borned?

  130. Rob (Aus)

    This is life so go and have a ball. Because the world don’t move to the beat of just one drum. What might be right for you may not be right for some. You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have … my opening statement. Sit, Ubu, sit. Good dog.

  131. Max

    Global warming will have absolutely no impact on our civilization, because the politicians and environmental crowd will destroy our freedoms and our civilization long before Mother Earth could even consider it. Where is Rome? Where is Greece? Where are the ancient Americans, Egyptians, Babylonians? America will be extinct soon enough and then we can ask the spirits of civilizations past what SUV they were driving that destroyed them. Loss of freedom destroys civilization. Mother Earth just watches and laughs.

  132. Just wondering, here two years later, do you still think that global warming is still an open-shut case scientifically?

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