Confirmed: Bush suppressing CDC science

By Phil Plait | October 29, 2007 9:52 am

I do sometimes comment on political activity, especially when it intersects — and tramples — science. The Bush Administration has been appallingly heavy-handed about crushing any science that goes against its political and religious leanings.

Last week, I posted about the White House redacting large portions of a speech given by the head of the Centers of Disease Control when she spoke about how the CDC is preparing to deal with the effects of global warming.

In a recent post I made about global warming, a reader, clearly unsatisfied with my posts, asked if I would take back what I said since the head of the CDC herself said it wasn’t a big deal.

I read that link, and was immediately suspicious: it’s from the Wall Street Journal editorial page, and those guys are neocon lackeys of the worst sort. So I said I would wait and see what the changes to the speech actually were, and comment then.

Good thing I did. As usual, the WSJ is full of it. The changes made by the White House were extensive, and clearly along the same line as their usual antiscience attacks on reality.

So, to answer the commenter: no, I won’t take it back. In fact, what I wrote was correct, and, if anything, the situation is worse than I originally thought.

You can find the actual edits to the speech here and here. It’s appalling: the White House removed a solid 1/3 of the speech. Some of it is harmless enough, but other parts make their agenda clear. Here’s one part taken out:

Scientific evidence supports the view that the earth’s climate is changing. A broad array of organizations (federal, state, local, multilateral, faith-based, private and nongovernmental) is working to address climate change. Despite this extensive activity, the public health effects of climate change remain largely unaddressed. CDC considers climate change a serious public health concern.

Maybe the White House doesn’t consider global warming "a serious public health concern". I sure do. Any reality-based person would. So why was this part taken out?

Or how about this:

In the United States, climate change is likely to have a significant impact on health, through links with the following outcomes:

* Direct effects of heat,
* Health effects related to extreme weather events,
* Air pollution-related health effects,
* Allergic diseases,
* Water- and food-borne infectious diseases,
* Vector-borne and zoonotic diseases,
* Food and water scarcity, at least for some populations,
* Mental health problems, and
* Long-term impacts of chronic diseases and other health effects

If she had given the original speech, she would have gone on to give a very detailed discussion of these problems. Unfortunately, the White House chose to edit all that out, leaving instead a fairly bland and obviously spun speech about how the CDC needs to be prepared. All the details taken out also take the teeth out of her speech. Instead of driving home what will happen in the US and the world when — not if, mind you, but when — temperatures increase and weather patterns change, what is left is just another empty set of statements from an agency head.

Too bad. It would have been fun to Senator Inhofe’s (R-fantasyland) head explode as she read that list of problems.

John Marburger, the scientist who sold his soul to the devil and is now the White House "Science Advisor", put out a statement on the changes as well. It’s actually laughable, in a highly schadenfreude sort of way. The money quote:

However, [the Office of Science and Technology Policy] also found that there was an overall lack of precision in aspects of the draft testimony describing important details regarding the level of certainty for specific findings, the spatial scale for which certain impacts have been assessed, and the specific nature of some climate change impacts on human health.

Yes, hello! That’s the whole point. We don’t know all the details, and so we need to be prepared. That was the point of her speech, but it was totally eviscerated by political hacks. Marburger’s comments are also precisely aligned with what the far right has been doing to science for years: saying "we don’t know enough, so we can’t draw any conclusions. More research is needed." That is simply and obviously a way to stall real science, real understanding. They get to pick and choose what we don’t understand well enough to base policy on, and therefore anything contrary to their preconceived notions gets swept under the rug (while extremely solid scientific findings are ignored when a policy they want to implement is contradicted by reality).

Chris Mooney has something to say about the part of speech dealing with the effect of global warming on hurricanes, as you can imagine. I also imagine we’ll be hearing more from actual scientists about this as time goes on.

I have said it before, and I’ll say it again: global warming is real. Humans are partly if not mostly to blame for it. The evidence is in, real scientists agree, and the effects are being seen now. Sticking your head in the sand will only make things worse down the line. You can listen to the boneheads like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and others who openly and actively lie about these and other issues, but you are committing an act of personal and global suicide by doing so.

And the Bush White House is only too happy to keep doing so. But there are those of us who have had enough, and we will be vocal about it. Please feel free to comment on this topic, but if you do, make sure you have your ducks in a row. I’m only too happy to inject a dose of reality into sandy heads.

Comments (120)

  1. Doc

    Thank you BA!

    Let the denialist yammerings commence.

  2. Bad Albert

    So when exactly is the next U.S. Presidential election?

  3. Doc

    Not nearly soon enough.

  4. xav0971

    We need a real scientist in office. Al Gore anyone? Is he close enough? Well at least he understands science unlike some other people *cough* Bush *cough*

  5. Dan

    You know, I really want to comment, but unfortunately, I am far too ticked off at this point (and, with respect to your comment policy’s stance on profanity, it’s probably best I clam up for a while). However, these antics by the Bush administration to create and enforce public stupidity by stultifying any scientific findings which are far above their vacuous little heads should be considered criminal, and it’s entirely baffling that anyone in their right mind could support this cabal of ridiculous, intellectually-infantile, halfwits.

  6. Gnat

    I was an Environmental Studies major (emphasis in Chemistry) in college in the mid-90’s, and when I look at my old Ecology/etc. text books I read the scientific predictions of what to expect, and some of those things are already happening.

    There was a video I saw in High School (~1990) that was showing what to expect…I would love to get my hands on that now! It was actually pretty cool. It was done up like a “Special Edition 20/20″ in the year 2010, talking about how we didn’t do anything at the end of the last millenium and how it’s affected us “now”.

  7. In the wise words of the Doctor,

    “The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common: they don’t alter their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit the views. Which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.”

    The problem is that at this point the “very powerful” and the “very stupid” happen to be the same group of people.

  8. Tom

    I need a quick review on when to use certain terms in useful discourse. Someone please give me examples of the best times to use the following terms:

    -“neocon lackey”
    -“John Doe: Idiot”
    -“full of it”

    I want to make sure I use them properly in my writings, so someone doesn’t question my skeptical, unemotional analysis of a situation.

  9. chris rattis

    I wish more people would stand up and shout the head in the sand types down. The ones who stick their head in the sand won’t be able to hear you because their ears have dirt in them, but those standing around looking at them will hear you.

    Thank you for standing up Phil.

  10. It’s worth reading the OSTP statement in full (it’s less than two pages) because it uses a tactic I haven’t seen before.

    He starts out by saying (reasonably-seeming enough) that they didn’t ask for things to be struck, but to be substantiated from IPCC4 – which sounds fine: the Administration endorsing the IPCC? Great!

    But when you get to the examples given, it’s clear that the IPCC is being used to dismiss all other sources of evidence. So local information about the USA doesn’t count because the IPCC only looks globally and regionally. More detail on the links between global warming and hurricanes doesn’t count because the IPCC only talks about intensity. (On food scarcity and mental health, though, we have old-fashioned straw men being used, presumably because they need to keep their hand in.)

    So, because the CDC couldn’t use IPCC4 to substantiate their claims, they were de facto forced to remove them.

    By switching from “the IPCC is a creature of the UN and therefore part of a conspiracy to take away our freedoms” to “the IPCC is the last word and we don’t listen to anything else” they can preserve the basic policy. Cunning, eh?

    Interestingly, still a fundamentalist mentality in the approach.

  11. Alien_from_Europe

    UNBELIEVABLE ;-|

  12. Daffy

    Phil, I admire you, I really do. But Bush supporters simply do not care. Bush is on a mission from God to these people and they will not hear ANYTHING negative about their savior.

    I hope you can carry on the fight…but as far as I am concerned, the US deserves whatever it gets at this point.

  13. Doc

    @Tom

    Phil is a citizen of the US, and can therefore express his opinions as part of his constitutional rights, which is what he’s doing in this blog.

    Nowhere in the constitution of the US does it say that Phil’s opinions must be unbiased, or that in exercising his freedoms he must refrain from describing people or organizations as he sees fit.

    As you are (were?) a member of the US Air Force, I would expect you to be vaguely aware of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights.

  14. @Tom,

    I’ll start by defending BA and say (yet again) that this is his blog and rational, skeptical people are perfectly capable of being emotional about things they care about.

    Having said that, it does get annoying to feel like I’m being lumped in with the anti-science types when the conservative-bashing starts getting heated, and I think it’s a bit of a cop-out to pidgin-hole people based solely on a few of their most controversial statements.

    For example, Glenn Beck has stated repeatedly on CNN (yes, I watch his show, gasp in horror) that he believes the Earth is warming. He may be a bit behind the curve on understanding the causes, but his main emphasis is usually on the solutions (ie, picking the right ones). Building new nuclear power plants in the US would do a lot more good that changing a few light bulbs, but you never seem to hear about that as part of the solution. I know his sarcasm hasn’t made him a lot of friends, and I disagree with him pretty often, but as others have pointed out you can’t shoot the messenger and expect the message to go away, and he’s being a lot more fair regarding AGW than a lot of the (more partisan) conservative talking-heads out there.

  15. Chris

    Catastrophic Global Warming is nothing more then the same highly debatable alarmist forecasts we have all seen before that have all turned out to be wrong. I have scientists and on my side as well. The difference is my scientists have been right so far.

    The sun is most likely the major global temperature mover. You see evidence of this fact daily. If natural global warming stops, then you can be worried.

    Al Gore understands science so well that a British High Judge ruled that Al Gores film is “alarmist” and “exagerated.”

    I see the first poster used the term “deniers” to equate Global Warming skeptics with holocaust deniers. It’s this type of dishonest emoting that lends credibility to my side of the argument.

    And we have a poster who wants to shout us down because we are wrong and he is right so that of course gives him the right to take away our rights. This is typical of many of the arguments on the pro-catostophic global warming side. I think the supporters of the theory are wrong, some of them think I am a bad person. More emoting.

    I have Phill’s book. I throughly enjoyed it.

  16. Chris

    “You can listen to the boneheads like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and others who openly and actively lie about these and other issues, but you are committing an act of personal and global suicide by doing so.”

    A lie is a willfull deception. Being on the other side of an argument does not make one a liar.

  17. Doc

    @Chris

    Wake up. You’re repeating propaganda that has already been shown to be false.

    “The sun is most likely the major global temperature mover. You see evidence of this fact daily. If natural global warming stops, then you can be worried.”

    http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2006/12/28/090/30666

    “Al Gore understands science so well that a British High Judge ruled that Al Gores film is ‘alarmist’ and ‘exagerated.'”

    No, the judge stated that it contained 9 errors, but otherwise that the movie builds a “powerful” case that global warming is caused by humans and that urgent means are needed to counter it.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/11/AR2007101102134.html

    By “denialist” I was referring to those deluded fools who refuse to adjust their view of the world in the face of facts that contradict their dearly held beliefs. If you want to characterize yourself as such, that’s fine with me.

  18. Doc

    @Wayne

    “Building new nuclear power plants in the US would do a lot more good that changing a few light bulbs, but you never seem to hear about that as part of the solution.”

    Two problems with building new nuclear power plants (and there are many) are:

    1. That it will take many years before they can be brought online, and
    2. That the current “war on terror” makes anything having to do with fissionables so “risky” that the US goverment will not allow it.

    Whereas if everyone in the US replaced just two lightbulbs with compact fluorescents the reduction in energy consumption would be substantial (I’ve seen numbers bandied about on the order of 10%, but I have no idea how reliable they are).

    Less power consumed = less fossil fuels burned. The bulbs also produce a *lot* less heat, which means less requirement for air conditioning in summer or in warmer parts of the country, which in turn equate to extra energy savings.

    Admittedly the quality of the light is pretty crappy, but I suspect that will improve given time.

  19. Daffy

    Chris,

    Rush Limbaugh lies all the time. If you don’t know that, you aren’t listening to him. It has nothing to do with his political views…he is just fundamentally dishonest.

  20. Cello Man

    As an American, I feel compelled to tell the rest of the world: I didn’t vote for Bush.

    As a Texan, I feel compelled to tell the rest of America: I’m sorry.

  21. Kearby

    Why do you feel the need to apologize as a Texan? It’s not as if Bush really counts as being from Texas, what with his having been born and educated in the Northeast.

  22. Tom

    Doc-
    Way to distract from the point. Please cite where I said Phil couldn’t say what he wanted.

    My point has been that he cuts his credibility with most thinking people by lowering the debate with his hyperbole and name calling. I agree that many of his points are correct, but will relay anyone I can have a rational discussion with to the site because of the way Phil presents them.

    On my service to the US, I do so to allow Phil to continue to do whatever he wants with his website, and I hope you had the honor to serve your country as well.

    Wayne-
    You and I are on about the same page.

  23. Impium Orexis

    “Less power consumed = less fossil fuels burned. The bulbs also produce a *lot* less heat, which means less requirement for air conditioning in summer or in warmer parts of the country, which in turn equate to extra energy savings.”

    Does this mean more fossile fuels used for heating in the winter?

    Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed the stark lack of tropical storm activity this year?

    I don’t have plans to stop reading here, but I have come to think of this as more of the Bad Politics blog, rather than the Bad Astronomy blog.

  24. Doc

    @Tom

    I’m not distracting from the point, you were.

    BA is expressing his opinions and feelings on an informal forum of his own creation, and is thereby exercising his rights.

    You were being critical how how he was expressing himself as if this forum were some sort of peer-reviewed scientific journal or newspaper. It isn’t – a simple fact that I was attempting to point out as clearly as possible (which I evidently failed).

    Oh, and thank you for your service to this country. May you continue to cherish, uphold, and protect the Constitution and Bill of Rights in whatever way you are able (as will I).

  25. Tom: who says skeptics are unemotional? Humans are driven by emotion, and it would be illogical to ignore feelings.

    I am angry. I’m angry a lot at what’s going on in politics, and especially about how science is being mistreated.

    I show that anger. That’s part of being human. It doesn’t mean I am unskeptical.

    As far as the use of the terms like “neocon lackeys”, I would like to see evidence that the WSJ is not far, far to the right of mainstream America. They were instrumental in the drumbeat for war in Iraq, and that makes them neocons. Whether others feel that is an insult or not is up to them, but it certainly and accurately describes their politics.

  26. Doc

    @Impium Orexis

    “Does this mean more fossile fuels used for heating in the winter?”

    Possibly, though the inefficiency of heating by lightbulb vs. heating by more tradional methods would have to be figured out. Of course this would only matter in the northern half of the country – the southern half would still be using their air conditioning. On the whole, I’d suspect it would still work out to a net energy savings. Wikipedia (for what it’s worth) gives 7%.

    “Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed the stark lack of tropical storm activity this year?”

    And this is indicative of something?

  27. Chip

    Wayne:

    With regard to Glenn Beck, you wrote earlier in this thread:
    “…as others have pointed out you can’t shoot the messenger and expect the message to go away…”

    I hope you’ll extend that concept to Al Gore as well. Gore’s credentials, which you can find via Wikipedia and support for Gore’s presentation from within the scientific community, are more valid than Beck’s too.

  28. gopher

    @Doc

    Unfortunately the case for switching to CFL bulbs (swirls? heh) is overstated. CFL bulbs take far more energy to manufacture than an incandescent bulb, so they *have* to last longer in order to make that energy up during operation.

    Fortunately CFL bulbs definitely use less energy during normal operation and last longer than incandescents – provided that the bulb is left on for AT LEAST 15 minutes, and the bulb is in an open space, and the light socket is wired up to code (you’d be amazed at how often this isn’t the case. Building contractors are scarily incompetent), and the bulb in an upright position (as in, a lamp).

    If you leave it on less than that 15 minutes, or if you put it in an non-ventilated area, or if you have improper wiring (again, shockingly (haha) common), or if you tilt the bulb (such as having it upside-down in a ceiling light socket rather than a lamp) the bulb life drops dramatically. Really dramatically. So much so that in many cases the bulb will burn out before it earns back its manufacturing energy deficient (under 2 years in many cases).

    Still, all of this will be a huge boon to the lighting industry. More burnouts = more profit. It isn’t hard to see why these bulbs are being pushed so hard.

    If it were up to me I’d wait 5 years and switch over absolutely everything straight from incandescents to LEDs. They are longer lasting, more energy efficient, and they don’t contain mercury. Better all around than CFLs and the related technology like CCFLs.

  29. Impium Orexis

    Doc

    “And this is indicative of something?”

    Well, I may not be remembering correctly, but I think I read that global warming was supposed to cause an increase in intesnity and frequency of tropoical storm activity. If I understand the tropical storm situation correctly, this year could end up being a record setter in terms of a lack of activity. Is this idicative of something? I don’t know, that question is for smarter people than me. It does stand in glaring contrast to the predictions of what global warming was supposed to cause, however.

  30. Perhaps swapping lightbulbs /and/ building nuclear power plants? Or maybe increasing supply whilst reducing demand is asking too much.

    Really, I don’t care that Dr. Plait tends towards the hyperbolic and (well, for the sake of being polite, I’ll simply say) opinionated when it comes to the particular windmills he tilts towards and the ideological bases behind them. The only thing that really does bug me is the tendency towards a qualification via understatement before going into the shake-the-rafters-make-the-revival-tent-flutter harangue. As mentioned before, he doesn’t really hesitate to call advesaries not nice things, and he comments on politics a little more often than “sometimes,” if “sometimes” is used in the form of “normally I eat healthy, but sometimes I have a donut.”

    Now that I’ve said what’s going to aggrivate people, time to get back on topic. In the fourth generational battlespace that is the modern world, traditional information control via coverups and censorship are quickly becoming obsolete. The White House, the Kremlin, 10 Downing Street, et al. can and will attempt to suppress uncomfortable information as much as possible, but with information being much more mobile nowadays and loyalties shifting from abstract nation-state entities and towards personally fulfilling networks, it’s increasingly doomed to fail. That being said, it also means that increasingly ideological tensions between networks are becoming provocation for hostility, rather than somewhat more artificial yet in a modern sense more traditional tensions between nations.

    Yes, disease spread due to global warming is a worthwhile concern. Once malaria starts becoming widespread in the States, it would be nice if there was some preparation beforehand. That preparation probably will not occur, however, should the internal ideological conflict between ‘crisis’ and ‘non-crisis’ schools of thought does not go well. How does one train puppies or mules? A combination of positive reinforcement and punishment, carrots and sticks. Right now both sides have the ‘stick’ down pat. We’re right, you’re wrong and dooming the planet/spreading irrational fear. Other than making the pain of being yelled at end by changing sides in a sort of negative reinforcement, however, there aren’t any effective carrots applied by the ‘crisis’ mindset, which is the problem.

    Crisis standpoint: Everyone’s partially responsible for destroying the environment (stick), but if we all bunch together, a portion of us will survive at a standard of living a bit lower than we enjoy today (carrot).

    Non-crisis standpoint: Everyone’s partially responsible for destroying the environment (stick), but through market forces/sunspot cycles/the hand of God we’ll all make it through and continue to have nifty things in a bright future (carrot).

    Given that people like to blind themselves to grim realities, and like to blind themselves even more as the grim realities become all the more grim and pressing, I can’t say I’m particularly hopeful for anything approximating a reasonable solution. Even should the crisis standpoint win, it requires a strict regimen that will have to be kept up for two or three generations as trends due to current actions run through the cycle and eventually subside, but when people take on a regimen (at least in the Western world) they generally expect results. One thing with the power to enforce a regimen without results to one degree or another is religion (given that Jesus or the Mesioach or the real Mahdi haven’t shown up yet), but taking a reasonable course of action on faith alone brings up its own problems…

  31. PK

    @Tom: A skeptical approach does not mean one cannot be emotional about something. On the contrary.

    @Chris: It has been tried before to take the moral high-ground by taking “denier” to mean “Holocaust denier”. I’ve seen it in the comments of this blog, but I can’t be bothered to look it up for you. In any case, it is just another example of trying to get away from scientific discourse.

  32. jrkeller

    Doc,

    Replacing two lightbulbs will not save 10% of anyones power. Most of the power used in US homes goes to either AC or home heating. The best course of action is to replace both your AC and heating. Replacing the bulbs does help too.

    Math:

    Current Light Bulb – 60 Watts
    Fluorescent Light Bulb – 13 Watts

    Net Savings – 47 Watts

    Savings per hour/two bulbs – 94 W-hr

    Savings per year at 8 hours/day – 275KW- hr (I do not leave my lights on that much)

    The average US household uses between 5000 KW-hr (NYC) to 16000 KW-hr (Dallas) energy/year. That’s only 6% for NYC and that if you have your light on 8 hours a day, everyday for a year.

  33. Doc

    @Impium Orexis

    “Well, I may not be remembering correctly, but I think I read that global warming was supposed to cause an increase in intesnity and frequency of tropoical storm activity. If I understand the tropical storm situation correctly, this year could end up being a record setter in terms of a lack of activity. Is this idicative of something? I don’t know, that question is for smarter people than me. It does stand in glaring contrast to the predictions of what global warming was supposed to cause, however.”

    To put it simply, weather is highly variable, and while it’s easy to see long term trends in weather (e.g. steady increase in global average temperatures, increase in the average number of tropical storms, increase in the average intensity of those storms), there very well may be data points for a particular city, day, or year that fall outside of that pattern. This does not prove that the overall trend isn’t happening.

    Your observation, and implicit argument that it disproves global warming, is similar to finding a particular city that has had record low temperatures, and is tersely addressed at the following URL:

    http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2006/10/31/214357/31

  34. Cello Man

    @ Kearby:

    He was the Governor in Texas before he ran for the Presidency. If it weren’t for the majority of voters in my home state, we probably wouldn’t be in as much political shennanigans as we are now. That’s why I apologize on behalf of Texas. Even my brother and sister in law who voted for Bush have said several times that they want their votes back.

  35. Doc

    @jrkeller

    If you take a few moments to actually read what I wrote, you will find that I said “I’ve seen numbers bandied about on the order of 10%, but I have no idea how reliable they are”, and in a later post noted the 7% figure cited by Wikipedia.

    Even at 6%, or even 3%, that’s still a substantial amount of energy when taken for the US as a whole – about a quarter of the amount of power currently generated by nuclear power plants.

    Oh, and the majority of business in the US leave their lights on for 24 hours a day – a practice that really needs to stop (if only because the “light pollution” interferes with astronomy).

  36. It is easy to bury one’s head in the sand when there is a lot of sand due to the increase in the overall global temperature of the planet.

    As many people have pointed out, there is clearly a global increase in temperature which will have profound effects on all of our lives. (Those individuals who believe that only a couple of degrees difference cannot make that big an effect should try increasing the temperature in their fridges and see how quickly food spoils – it’s just an illustration of a small change having a larger effect.)

    There is a lot of international political emphasis on global effects at the moment. The Kyoto Protocol was signed ten years ago to try to limit the carbon emissions in order to save the earth from a fate similar to that of Venus (see – it is about astronomy after all).

    Unfortunately, only 160 countries have ratified this protocol. Australia haven’t yet and neither have….the United States, who, in 2005 were the biggest producers of CO2 from burning fossil fuels (yes, I know that China has since exceeded this, but the point still stands).

    In the UK, we have woken up to the problems of global warming – primarily due to the fact that an increase in sea levels will permanently flood large areas of land. We’re not doing enough to combat it, but it infuriates me (and many others) when we hear George “Dubya” Bush refusing to even admit that there is a problem.

  37. Changcho

    Dr. Lysenko is the science advisor for the current regime, er I mean administration right?

  38. Daffy

    Changcho,

    Amazing how we have become our former enemies, isn’t it?

  39. Doc

    Daffy & Changcho

    Of course news stories like this one only add weight to the comparison…

    http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/29/fema.newser/index.html

  40. Impium Orexis

    Doc

    I’m having trouble finding more than one place with a numerical account of TS activity over the last few decades. Even still, the information I have found doesn’t indicate any kind of trend to me. For the last few years, TS activity across the Notherm Hemisphere has been dropping precipitously. For some years before that it was increasing on average, and further back still (mid 80’s), is yet another general decrease.

    A point of contention, I don’t think a decrease in activity across the Northern Hemisphere over multiple years can be called a data point, or equated to the temperature in one city.

    Also, in the future, I’ll thank you for not putting words into my mouth. I was stating that the predictions were not supported, not that global warming is disproved.

  41. Daffy

    Doc,

    I know…amazing, isn’t it? Can you even IMAGINE the flap if something like that had happened during the Clinton administration?

    But it’s Bush, so no one cares. Maybe Bush and co. will start printing a newspaper called “Pravda,” the truth being whatever they declare it to be.

  42. Dan

    Now, correct me if I am wrong here, but this argument isn’t so much about climate change itself, but it seems much more about the fact that the White House is actively taking steps to hide the truth of the health impact of climate change on humans.

    So, really, discussing light bulbs and reactors is nice, but the real meat and potatoes here is that our government is lying to us and withholding things we NEED to know. I simply don’t understand how anyone in their right mind could support an administration which lies to its people with regards to information that is this important.

  43. Doc

    Impium Orexis

    NOAA has a lot of hurricane and tropical storm data available online.

    NHC Archive of Hurricane Seasons
    http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pastall.shtml

    I took the time to enter into Excel the number of named storms each year from their listing, from 1958 to 2006 (see the values below). When I did a quick scatter graph of the data there is a clear increase starting around 1990. Rather hockey-stick shaped, actually.

    1958 10
    1959 10
    1960 6
    1961 10
    1962 5
    1963 8
    1964 9
    1965 5
    1966 12
    1967 8
    1968 7
    1969 13
    1970 7
    1971 11
    1972 4
    1973 7
    1974 7
    1975 8
    1976 8
    1977 6
    1978 11
    1979 8
    1980 11
    1981 11
    1982 5
    1983 4
    1984 12
    1985 11
    1986 6
    1987 6
    1988 11
    1989 11
    1990 14
    1991 7
    1992 6
    1993 8
    1994 7
    1995 19
    1995 21
    1996 13
    1997 9
    1998 14
    1999 16
    2000 19
    2001 17
    2002 14
    2003 21
    2004 16
    2005 31
    2006 10

    They also had data for the pacific, but it wasn’t as easy to pull dig out quickly.

  44. Doc

    Daffy,

    Bush doesn’t need Pravda. He’s got the WSJ and FOX News.

  45. Doc

    Oh, and I just noticed that in this “quiet” year, we’ve already had more named storms (13) that in any year between 1958 and 1994, with the exception of 1969 which we tied.

  46. Doc

    Dan,

    You’re right, of course.

    The only reason I can think of is that people support the Bush administration because it tells them what they want to hear, and that way they don’t have to think about things that might scare them.

  47. So any idea when the ubermensch who will have the overpowering will to ram global medicine down the throats of the masses will show up?

  48. Skepterist

    What’s up, Doc?

    Why are there two entries for 1995? Which is correct, 19 or 21?

    Also, has there been any recent change in the method used for naming the storms that could explain the increase in number of named storms? A change in the scale perhaps?

    B-)

  49. Edward C

    I thought the named storms was at 14.

  50. aarrgghh

    @Gnat (a long way back up)
    That sounds like James Burke’s ‘After the Warming’. It’s old but I remember it was good at the time like most of his other works (Connections, The Day the Universe Changed). I can’t seen to locate a copy anymore.

    @gopher
    Any link to documentation on CF bulb life being drastically reduced based on their spatial orientation? I haven’t heard of this effect before.

  51. Tim G

    In 1990, Bush Senior stated, “Science, like any field of endeavor, relies on freedom of inquiry; and one of the hallmarks of that freedom is objectivity. Now, more than ever, on issues ranging from climate changes to AIDS research to genetic engineering to food additives, government relies on the impartial perspective of science for guidance.”

    Even if Junior does not agree with the findings, he should at least act like his father and allow others to hear them.

  52. eewolf

    Doc:
    “Oh, and I just noticed that in this “quiet” year, we’ve already had more named storms (13) that in any year between 1958 and 1994, with the exception of 1969 which we tied.”

    And 2 of those were category 5 storms when they came ashore. The activity for the US has been minimal, but the world is a little larger than that.

  53. I’m sorry about the lightbulbs and reactors topic, I was just making an example. :-)

    Now that the can is opened, though, I have to say that Doc’s reasons against nuclear power are short-sighted. OF COURSE we need other short term solutions, but if you do the math there are very few options for cheap energy in the post-petroleum world, so we might as well get started building them now while we can afford to.

    Chip:
    Yes I do extend that concept to Al Gore, and you may be surprised to know that when it comes to the science of Global Warming (as opposed to future projections and proposed solutions) I pretty much agree with Gore. In fact, I just watched his movie last night, and agreed with a lot more of it than I expected to. A few oversimplifications and inadequately explained predictions, but overall pretty solid. He’d have more credibility if he was a bit less of a hypocrite, though.

    In summary:
    I read this blog.
    I watch Glenn Beck.
    I mostly liked “An Inconvenient Truth”.
    Al Gore needs to loose the energy-hog mansion.
    France has it right regarding nuclear power.
    Denying global warming is silly, but we need an honest discourse about likely future consequences and mitigation strategies.

    Some might see me as a contradiction, but that’s what happens when you’re a (traditional) conservative Christian and a professional scientist who wishes everyone could just take a deep breath and try to get along for a change.

  54. BA, you should really look into getting a threaded comments section. :P

  55. Chris

    “By “denialist” I was referring to those deluded fools who refuse to adjust their view of the world in the face of facts that contradict their dearly held beliefs. If you want to characterize yourself as such, that’s fine with me.”

    Doc, you should have said so then. Surely you are aware the word denier is used in that fashion in the Global Warming Debate? Maby you should be more carefull when you choose your words if you want to be understood clearly.

    “Wake up. You’re repeating propaganda that has already been shown to be false.”

    Your welcome to your “opinion.” There are plenty on my side of the argument who have science that we believe supports our views. But of course my views are propoganda and false. It’s funny you should mention the word propoganda as proponents of global warming have recieved 50 billion in funding over the last decade compared to 19 million to global warming skeptics.

    “No, the judge stated that it contained 9 errors, but otherwise that the movie builds a “powerful” case that global warming is caused by humans and that urgent means are needed to counter it.”

    Agreed. But the judge still recomended that the film should not be shown unless notes were supplied to counter Gore’s “one-sided” views. Sounds mutually exclusive to me.

  56. Brian

    Impium Orexis,
    Noel is the 14th tropical storm in the Atlantic Basin so far this year. According to the data in Doc’s post at 2:49 PM, in only 8 of the last 50 years has this total been exceeded. Perhaps the fact that 6 of these 8 years occurred in the most recent ten year span makes 14 seem low to us by comparison, particularly in light of the truly monstrous total of 31 racked up recently in 2005. A bit of parochialism may be involved in this perception of low activity also – no catasrophic storms hit the United States this year.

    Actually, I believe that 2007 did set one record for hurricane ferocity.
    I believe I heard that this is the first year on record in which two category 5 hurricanes (Dean and Felix) made landfall in the Atlantic Basin in the same year. Some Americans may not have noticed these two juggernauts so much because they did not strike us directly.

  57. tacitus

    It’s only been a “quiet year” on the hurricane front because few of them have made landfall this time around. TS Noel is the 14th named storm of the season (with another month to go) and the long term average is only 11 named storms.

  58. Chris

    “Denying global warming is silly, but we need an honest discourse about likely future consequences and mitigation strategies.”

    We need to define terms. There is a large difference in natural warming and the catastrophic warming predicted by some. The earth heats up and cools down in cycles. As I said already, these doomsday predictions have always turned out to be alarmism.

    That is not to say that we should do nothing and we are not. The Prius and Corn Fuels are attempts to solve what pollution problem we do have. “The problems of today are solved by tomorrows technologies.”

    Should we be working on ways to cut down on pollution? Yes. Do I need to start riding my bike today and reducing my carbon footprint so sea levels don’t rise 20 feet? No.

  59. Daffy

    “Should we be working on ways to cut down on pollution? Yes. Do I need to start riding my bike today and reducing my carbon footprint so sea levels don’t rise 20 feet? No.”

    Let’s see…forests across the western US are dying, Georgia is (literally) running out of water, fires raging…

    What would it take to start doing something, anything?

  60. Chris

    “You can find the actual edits to the speech here and here. It’s appalling: the White House removed a solid 1/3 of the speech. Some of it is harmless enough, but other parts make their agenda clear. Here’s one part taken out:”

    Stop the presses, a speech was edited! I would imagine this sort of thing happens all the time. You can’t have one person speak for 3 hours. It seems more logical that the cuts were made out of a sense of expediency rather then some grand conspiracy. From the CDC chief herself:

    “This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” Gerberding said of the furor. “I don’t let people put words in my mouth. I spoke the truth to Congress.” The testimony went through many versions, perhaps as many as 40, Gerberding said. “This was not an issue of someone trying to cover up a connection between climate change and health,” she said.

    “Critics say they fear the White House censored the CDC director for political reasons. Gerberding has said she was not censored and that she was able to say everything she wanted to the committee through both her verbal and written testimony.”

    If the woman ranked #23 on The 100 Most Powerful Women of 2006 by Forbes.com is not upset I don’t think we need to be.

    “Maybe the White House doesn’t consider global warming “a serious public health concern”. I sure do. Any reality-based person would”

    “George Bush is a criminal against humanity. It’s just that simple.”

    “…real scientists agree…”

    “You can listen to the boneheads…”

    Ad-hominem attacks. They don’t help you advance your case.

  61. Chris

    “Let’s see…forests across the western US are dying, Georgia is (literally) running out of water, fires raging…

    What would it take to start doing something, anything?”

    Gosh, there never have been fires and drought untill the year 2000. Ludicrus.

    You didn’t even read what I wrote. I gave two examples: The Prius and Corn Fuels. There are many others. What we disagree about here is the level to which our concerns must drive us.

  62. Larry

    The denial of science to advance a political agenda is just one of dozens of reasons I have for looking forward to the day this pack of criminals is removed from power. There is a nice compilation put together by a writer readers of this blog should recognize, David Brin.

    http://www.davidbrin.com/ostrich2a.html

    I have tried to approach my Righty friends with something similar the last couple of years. I call it the “Other Foot Hypothosis”. Brin calls it “Ostrich Hunters”. Ask any friends you may have that are still backing the Bushies if they would still feel the same way if a Democratic administration had tried to pull off the power grab GW & Darth Vader have done. Brin terms all his questions around the idea of “what if Clinton did… ” He suggests you should sit your Righty friends down and read these questions to them and insist on answers. I suggest you have a visit and read it yourself.

  63. Brian

    Skepterist pointed out that Doc had made two entries for 1995 in his post at 2:49 PM. The correct figure for 1995 is 19; the number 21 should be deleted from the list. Then the total of 14 named storms has been exceeded only 7 times in the last 50 years, and 6 of those 7 have occurred within the last 10 years.

  64. Brian

    Chris,
    I try not to use the term “denialist” or “denier”, but denialism really seems to me to accurately describe your professed state of mind on the subject of global warming. I am not saying that to be hurtful or disparaging, but I just cannot see any other self-consistent explanation of your remarks. You are obviously intelligent. You could use your intelligence to contribute rather than to obstruct.

  65. A departing reader

    Seems to me Phil your argument is with Julie Gerberding but you don’t have the courage to take her on personally. Why is that?

  66. I am just so fed up with what’s going on in the Bush Administration that I could scream. Between bankrupting our economy with an unnecessary war, violating our civil liberties with illegal wire taps, having our government support religion in violation of the Constitution, their distortions of Science is just one more thing that has caused me to believe that the damage done to our country over the last 6.5 years will be years in the un-doing. And it’s also taught a certain segment of our society that they can no longer trust Science. Yet just ask one of these nay-sayers if they would go to a doctor that didn’t believe in evolution. Ask them to give up their cellphones because science developed solid-state circuitry. When you add stupidity to religious advocacy and then promote it as the national agenda, bad things are going to happen.

    Now it looks as if China and India will both be on the Moon before we’ll get back. And CERN is now the leading particle accelerator in the world. And the ESO’s VLT is, I believe, the largest and most advanced telescope in the world. Except in biology (maybe there, too!), we’re beginning to be followers, not leaders. We’re headed downhill, folks, and BushWhacker and his pro-profit reactionary evangelical zealots are leading the march.

  67. Chris

    Here’s a link to another speech that took place recently on the senate floor. I highly recomend it to all of you on my side. A lot of good rebuttles to the current Global Warming hysteria:

    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/reprint/2007_global_warming_alarmism_reaches_a_tipping_point_.html

    I certainly cannot say that it’s all God’s honest truth but I see a lot there that I have heard before and agree with. From the preamble:

    WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, delivered a speech more than two hours long on the Senate floor Friday revealing the very latest in peer-reviewed studies, analyses, and data error discoveries in global warming science. The new developments have prompted many scientists to declare that the scientific basis for fears of catastrophic man-made global warming are collapsing. Senator Inhofe also detailed how children have been impacted by climate propaganda from their schools, Hollywood and our pop culture. Further, Senator Inhofe exposed the painful economic realities of global warming cap-and-trade legislation.

  68. Jim P

    I drive a hybrid. I have replaced most of the light bulbs in my house with fluorescents. Yet, I am skeptical about 90% of the so called inconvenient truth about global warming. Is it OK to be skeptical about both sides of the aisle Phil? Less use of foreign oil and fossil fuels makes sense for numerous reasons, and you don’t have to view Al Gore as a scientist to see those reasons for yourself.

    Democrats seem to spend a lot of time spouting hate while driving SUVs. Republicans are far more despicable.

    Get off your tiny internet podiums and lead by example.

  69. Chris

    “Chris,
    I try not to use the term “denialist” or “denier”, but denialism really seems to me to accurately describe your professed state of mind on the subject of global warming. I am not saying that to be hurtful or disparaging, but I just cannot see any other self-consistent explanation of your remarks. You are obviously intelligent. You could use your intelligence to contribute rather than to obstruct.”

    The other self-consistent explanation that you missed is that you may be wrong. If I believe I am right and I have sound scientific evidence to back up my claims I cannot be denying anything. If we did not have a group that does mean to compare global warming skeptics with holocaust deniers when they use that term we could use it. However that’s not the way it is. When us skeptics here that term we think that’s what you mean unless we hear otherwise.

    According to the deffintion to deny something is To declare untrue; contradict. To refuse to believe; reject. Used in the context of the debate however It has a much more negative connotation then the word skeptic which is why people use it. It implies we are wrong, as in denying the truth.

    I am using what small intelligence I posses to contribute to my side of the argument.

  70. alex

    i think that bush is a nefarious individual and the worst (ever) president of usa. i know also that wsj is anewspaper from the right side of the political spetrum. but, and always are a but:
    if the article was a lie and Ms.Gerberding did not say what they told us… why she did nor protest???
    the article was published some time ago, so she has time to make a complaint.
    and she could really thinking that all was ok and that nothing was wrong with her presentation, so all your rant if pure and simple anger againt bush, and as we sayn in spanish “la ira es mala consejera” (anger is bad counselor or something alike)

  71. Pundit

    “i think that bush is a nefarious individual and the worst (ever) president of usa. ”

    NOPE. That distinction belongs to Jimmy Carter. He let Iran fall to the fundamentalists which led directly to the mess we are dealing with now.

  72. “We don’t know all the details… warming is real. Humans are partly if not mostly to blame for it. The evidence is in, real scientists agree, and the effects are being seen now.”

    I call BS. You can’t have it both ways, Phil. And that second part is nothing less than religious demagoguery.

  73. Steve Huntwork

    As Astronomers and scientists, you should all be ashamed of yourselves.

    Instead of repeating what people tell you to think, have you ever bothered to evaluate the raw data yourself?

    Polly want a cracker?

    Take the time and study the raw data yourself. You may actually learn something new.

  74. Brian

    Chris,
    “The other self-consistent explanation that you missed is that you may be wrong.”

    Well that’s certainly self-consistent but seemingly inconsistent with the evidence. I say “seemingly” because, wittingly or unwittingly, we have all been wrong many times. Sometimes we kid ourselves because of hopes or fears or biases.

  75. gopher

    aarrgghhon:
    “@gopher
    Any link to documentation on CF bulb life being drastically reduced based on their spatial orientation? I haven’t heard of this effect before.”

    It says it on the box of a CFL that I bought. Paraphrase of instructions on the box: ‘Do not use bulb in any position other than socket down. Do not use bulb in enclosed or airflow restricted area. Not for outdoor use. Failure to follow manufacture instructions will result in greatly reduced bulb life.’

    This was one of the more expensive brands (10 bucks a bulb at a discount supermarket – what – a – ripoff. But the dollar store ones are garbage. They burn out really quickly, just like dollar store incandescents, and dollar store batteries). If I was reading that warning on a nutjob site or even Wikipedia I’d be somewhat skeptical. But I tend to believe such things when the manufacture feels it necessary to waste money by printing it on the side of the package.

  76. Today’s Dilbert strip is available to describe the writers at the WSJ ;)

    http://dilbert.com/comics/dilbert/archive/images/dilbert2036667071030.gif

  77. Steve Huntwork

    As Astronomers, how can an entire planet have temperature spikes, if there is not an external heat source producing it?

    Something is very wrong with the data which is constantly being regergitated without any questions being asked. Anyone that takes their time to study the raw data, soon realizes that someone is not being totally honest.

    You will ignore my basic challenges to evaluate the raw data yourself and that will be your choice. But in the process, you will have lost a golden chance to learn something new about our planet and the dynamics of our Sun.

    Thirty years ago, I teased a fellow Astronomer because he wanted to explore how the Sun could influence the weather on the Earth. Since my field of study in Astronomy was about variable stars, I “knew” that our Sun was not a variable star and his studies would end up being a total waste of time.

    Today, I have learned that our Sun is a variable star and I learned something important from him. He was doing original research and everyone else was telling him that he was being foolish.

    He taught me something that I will never forget.

  78. Steve Huntwork

    The enormous telescreen flashed into life, accompanied by the percussive sounds of a-tonal music, dark and brooding. The Hate had started.

    As usual, as on the mighty billboards outside Old London Bridge station, now part-derelict and largely unused by No-Airstrip One, the face of The Climate Change Denier, the Enemy of the People, revealed itself, like a long-forgotten gargoyle, backed by black, crumbling cliffs and swirling smokestacks. There were hisses here and there among the audience. The small woman in the hemp kaftan squawked with fear and disgust, mingled with superior snivelling. A blank-faced man, once it is rumoured a leading ‘Liberal’ politician, whatever that was, shook his fist. Yes, there he was, on the screen, the renegade, the backslider, who once, long ago, had been a carbon copy of themselves, full of righteous indignation against the Suvs of Emissionania, with whom there is constant war. How they loathed Emissionania; they existed to fear it. “Holocaust Man!”, one young state television producer yelled out. “Swine, swine, swine!”, the others chanted in contorted rage. “Don’t let him speak!” “Don’t let him speak!” Darkness fell.

    And then the screen suddenly juddered to a new image of the Thought Police raiding a tiny apartment where they found copies of that dreadful book without a name, full of old heresies about something called ‘science’ and even more mysteriously ‘opinion’, a terrifying word that did not exist in any of the vocabularies, ‘A’, ‘B’, or ‘C’. A new word abruptly scrawled its way across the flickering screen:

    GOODTHINK. GOODTHINK. GOODTHINK.

    This was followed by a list of proscribed items from Room 101, many of which the youngest watchers had never seen: milk; light bulbs; electric fires; cars (so different from the hydrogen pods driven by the leading Party members); aeroplanes; ships; fishing rods; whisky; patio heaters; gardens; mowers; – on and on they went. The crowd bayed and howled at each new monstrous image.

    The Hate rose to a climax. They saw the power stations of their enemy, Emissionania, and their soldiers delivering coal and oil, gas and nuclear rods, whatever they might be.

    But then Big Brother came, with a face highlighted by the glowing light of solar panels, his black hair blowing in the gentle breeze from wind farms in the hills, and, by his side, a horse and cart. His rich words echoed throughout the cavernous hall: “Remember Dystopia is Utopia, Utopia Dystopia. All is done for YOUR good. Victory shall be yours. Be vigilant. Report all deviant behaviour. Recycle this message. Support Minipax, Miniluv, Minitrue, Minigreen. Thoughtcrime does not entail death; thoughtcrime IS death.”

    A sense of renewed confidence entered the room, and slowly Big Brother’s face distilled into the slogans of the Party, standing out in bold capitals:

    GROWTH IS LESS
    FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
    IGNORANCE IS TRUTH

    And they all fell to the floor and cried in a sobbing voice: “Our Saviour!”

    The music stopped, and the screen flashed one last time:

    GOODTHINKWISE

    (Produced by The Ministry of Truth, 2024, for GRUNSOC)

  79. “As Astronomers, how can an entire planet have temperature spikes, if there is not an external heat source producing it?”

    No one is saying that the Sun isn’t the ultimate source of the warming. The Sun is the ultimate source of nearly ALL the energy that we use on the Earth (with the exceptions of nuclear and geothermal).

    If you want to go “back to basics”, let’s do a simple energy-balance calculation for the Earth as illuminated by the Sun. I assign this problem to my second-year physics students, so I’m sure you can handle it.

    The energy reaching Earth from the Sun at the top of the atmosphere is 1.36e3 W/m^2, called the solar constant. Assuming that the Earth radiates like a blackbody at uniform temperature, what do you conclude is the equilibrium temperature of the Earth?

    The application of the Stefan-Boltzman Law for blackbodies, and setting energy in = energy out for equilibrium, we arrive at 278 K = 5.3 C = 41 F. Of course in reality the Earth has a pretty high albedo, (about 30%) so the actual equilibrium temperature will be lower.

    Now, I don’t know about you, but last time I checked the average temperature of the Earth was much warmer than this. Something (the atmosphere) MUST be trapping heat and raising the equilibrium temperature. Changes in atmospheric composition = changes in equilibrium temperature. It’s just that simple. After that, things get a bit more fuzzy, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t keep whittling down the unknown details.

    I’m skeptical of some of the worst-case-scenario stuff myself, but even I accept the basic idea that we can and are changing the equilibrium temperature of the Earth.

  80. Steve Huntwork

    Wayne;

    We, as Astronomers can do something to directly measure the albeto of the Earth. Instead of guessing that it is “about 30%”, we can use our telescopes and monitor the Earthshine from the moon.

    I am trying my best to perfect the software to use High Dynamic Range (HDR) images that anyone with a telescope can obtain. In the past, neutral density filters were used to equalize the bright side of the Moon with the Earthshine, which is 10,000 times fainter.

    If you take the ratio of the Solar and Earth illuminated sides of the Moon, then you have a direct measurement of the Earth’s albeto.

    http://www.bbso.njit.edu/Research/EarthShine/espaper/earthshine_proposal.html

    Calibration has always been a major problem, but with HDR images, it is now possible for anyone with a camera and telescope to provide scientific quality data.

    My hope is to organize people around the world to monitor the Moon each day and provide 24 hour coverage for the next 11 year solar cycle.

    I do not debate with people that simply parot what they have been told how to think.

    If you are interested in doing real science and honestly desire to investigate what our planet is actually doing, then let me know.

  81. Steve Huntwork

    Wayne;

    We, as Astronomers can do something to directly measure the albeto of the Earth. Instead of guessing that it is “about 30%”, we can use our telescopes and monitor the Earthshine from the moon.

    I am trying my best to perfect the software to use High Dynamic Range (HDR) images that anyone with a telescope can obtain. In the past, neutral density filters were used to equalize the bright side of the Moon with the Earthshine, which is 10,000 times fainter.

    If you take the ratio of the Solar and Earth illuminated sides of the Moon, then you have a direct measurement of the Earth’s albeto.

    http://www.bbso.njit.edu/Research/EarthShine/espaper/earthshine_proposal.html

    Calibration has always been a major problem, but with HDR images, it is now possible for anyone with a camera and telescope to provide scientific quality data.

    My hope is to organize people around the world to monitor the Moon each day and provide 24 hour coverage for the next 11 year solar cycle.

    I do not debate with people that simply parot what they have been told how to think.

    If you are interested in doing real science and honestly desire to investigate what our planet is actually doing, then let me know.

  82. Steve Huntwork

    At the moment, I am taking images of 17P/Holmes with my 10 inch telescope and a Canon 350D camera.

    High clouds are moving in and out over my location, so I must take my shots when the comet is visible. This is going to be a long night!

    High Dynamic Range (HDR) images will give me the details of the core, while also providing quality coverage of the coma.

    Until then, I will continue to request that you and other Astronomers do a “reality check” with the global warming fraud.

  83. Steve Huntwork

    With the Solar minimum, we should expect an increase in the Earth’s albeto and a lowering of global temperatures in the next three years.

    Unlike the virtual reality of computer models, we have a valid and falsifiable predition than can be tested in the next ten years.

    Are YOU ready to take images of the Moon each clear evening and prove if this theory is right or wrong?

    This is what real science is all about….

  84. Chip

    Real science is not about twisted politics but the results of its research and facts can fall victim to it, that’s what Phil’s essay above is about.

  85. Steve Huntwork

    “I have said it before, and I’ll say it again: global warming is real. Humans are partly if not mostly to blame for it. The evidence is in, real scientists agree, and the effects are being seen now. Sticking your head in the sand will only make things worse down the line. You can listen to the boneheads like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and others who openly and actively lie about these and other issues, but you are committing an act of personal and global suicide by doing so.”

    I am a professional Meteorologist, Software Engineer and an Astronomer.

    I actually evaluate the RAW data and realized that some people have not been rather honest.

    Any Astronomer that is willing to take the time and effort to evaluate the RAW data, would also realize what I found out.

    I have no patience with people that simple parot what they have been told to think.

    When you want to do real science once again, let me know.

  86. Sailor

    “If it were up to me I’d wait 5 years and switch over absolutely everything straight from incandescents to LEDs. They are longer lasting, more energy efficient, and they don’t contain mercury. Better all around than CFLs and the related technology like CCFLs.”
    Amen, LEDs are available now (rather expensive) but so much better than CFLs it is worth the extra or waiting. The expence is more a matter of what we have been used to than actual value.
    We (the world) could probably cut back about 30% on energy use if it was treated as a priority, just consider all the lights, computers, heating and AC left on all night when t no one is around. If you observe a city from afar at 0200 when most people are asleep it glows so brightly you can see it from 20 miles away as a great loom of light.
    Also energy use and environmental degradation is equated with population, unless we take population control seriously we will never beat it. We don’t even have a moral value yet that having lots of kids is bad.

  87. Sailor

    Steve Huntwork, you have not said anything meaningful, and if you are really a hotshot professional, why not go and debate with the climatoligists on http://www.realclimate.org they seem to know what they are talking about.

  88. Jim

    Might I suggest that you refer to the Dilbert cartoon of 10-30.

    Perhaps Scott Adams reads your blog……

  89. Doc

    “Democrats seem to spend a lot of time spouting hate while driving SUVs. Republicans are far more despicable.”

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

    Sorry, but of all the people I know, it’s almost exclusively the Democrats driving the hybrid cars and the Republicans driving the Hummers.

    Phil, you must really be hitting a nerve here, because all I see from the global warming denialists here is either the “Is not! Is not!” kind of posts or repeats of repeats of long-debunked bogus “science”.

    Oh, and sorry to anyone irritated by my data error on the hurricanes. I was counting them in a rush and typing it into Excel. Obviously I got the wrong number in there. I did however post a link to the source of my data to allow others to check my work – something denialists rarely do. If there was any change to how / when storms are named, I didn’t notice any mention of it while I was mining data. It was just a rough check, after all. I would expect a real study to be much much more thorough.

  90. Sue Mitchell

    Husband spotted this yesterday. It seems to hit the nail on the head pretty accurately:

    http://img267.imageshack.us/img267/4060/stupididru7.jpg

    ;-)

  91. Brian

    Steve Huntworkon: “The Hate had started.”

    Steve,
    I think your expressed view of the human race is overly pessimistic. People do occasionally feel hatred, but they also feel love. Sometimes people are intolerant, but often they are kind.

    Quote: “I actually evaluate the RAW data and realized that some people have not been rather honest.

    Any Astronomer that is willing to take the time and effort to evaluate the RAW data, would also realize what I found out.”

    When you say that “some have not been rather honest,” are you referring to a large number of climate scientists or to a small group? Are we talking about hundreds or thousands of dishonest ones, or are we talking about a handful? The reason I ask is that I am trying to get a better picture of the scenario that you envision.

  92. alex

    doc:
    i do not know who use hybrids or who use hummers, but have you seen this link??? no??? well if you read it you will see that your “data” was dead wrong… the important is not the number of “names” but the intensity of ACE please read it. the problem if not of “warmist” versus “deniers” or replublicans versus democrats, is about science of demagoguery. i repeat please read this link!!! and them speak!!!

    http://www.coaps.fsu.edu/~maue/tropical/

  93. Skepterist

    Hey Doc,

    I wasn’t irritated or meaning to attack you, so if I came across that way I apologize. I just noticed the repeated year. This is indeed just a snippet of “raw Data” to analyze, and I can see that if we only looked at named storms, there seems to be an alarming rise. Regardless of the cause (human-created global warming, temperature cycles of the sun, too many butterflies in Africa, whatever) people need to know and be prepared. I used to live near the coast, and annual hurricanes were a fact of life.

    Hey Steve,

    You sound pretty smart. Have you thought of submitting your analysis of the data to peer-reviewed scientific journals, in addition to posting to blogs? I bet that would increase the strength of your claims. Just a thought.

    B-)

  94. Doc

    Alex,

    I don’t know this guy, and I really don’t know the topic that well. I merely looked at what NOAA data was available online and made an extremely simple, high-level analysis. If he think he’s got some huge observations and evidence, good. He can publish and his work can be reviewed by other specialists in his field. I’ll be interested in what they say.

    On the other hand, my first glance at his website showed what looked like “cherry picking” to me. He has big, bold words noting the below-average number and intensity of storms, with smaller letters stating that it’s for September and October, and even smaller letters stating that the number of named storms for the year is above normal. He goes on to note that other regions have below average storm seasons, but does not say if the difference is statistically significant.

    I do not see how my “data” can be “dead wrong”. I did not make it up – it came directly from NOAA. I am *not* a climatologist, and I don’t claim any special insight into the matter. I may have made errors in compiling the data (e.g. 1995), and my analysis might be flawed (I freely admit it’s a very simple one), but I’m comfortable to let it stand until someone can show the specific errors in the data source, collection, or methodology. Then I’ll correct the errors if I can and see what it looks like.

    As for demagoguery, dictionary.com defines it as “impassioned appeals to the prejudices and emotions of the populace.” I’m not relying on what the politicians and pundits are saying to support my viewpoint. I’m looking to what the general consensus of climate scientists say. If you push all the demagoguery aside and look at reality, then there is no doubt that: global warming is a fact, humans have caused the majority of global warming, and the effects are going to be very bad.

  95. Doc

    Skepterist,

    No huhu. I don’t take offense at someone correcting my errors – it’s an important part of the scientific method.

  96. Skepterist

    Alex,

    You’re not comparing apples to apples. The link that Doc pointed out shows the number of named hurricanes for each year. The data you pointed out shows the number of days of cyclone activity for each year. They are related, but they don’t contradict each other in any way.

    Also, I would be skeptical of some of the conclusions by the author of those reports. It says right beneath the first chart, “The red line marks the mean/median of a climatology constructed from 1970-2006 data. Data during the 1970s should be considered with caution.***” But it doesn’t say why.

    If data from the 1970’s is suspect, why include it? Why not look at data going back even further? I guess my point is that one can draw different conclusions when looking at a small set of specific data, and I wonder if this report specifically excluded data that contradicted the author’s intention.

    B-)

  97. fos

    Like all of these “dire” effects like the worst storm season in what 30 years????

    More global warming religion.

  98. JimV

    It seems to have become gospel to the deniers that a British judge found nine errors in “An Inconvenient Truth”. Granted, this false impression has been conveyed by a lot of media types that should have checked their own facts, but for the actual story, see the “Deltoid” blog, starting with this post:

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2007/10/an_error_is_not_the_same_thing.php

    There have been several good follow-ups since.

  99. Caledonian

    Our observed conditions (level of sea raising, ice melting, permafrost thawing, and CO2 levels) are already worse than the worst-case scenarios being bandied about twenty years ago.

    Certainly there are Chicken Littles who will rush to proclaim anything a disaster. That doesn’t mean that anyone proclaiming disaster is a Chicken Little. Things are bad, and they’re going to get worse. And we’re going to have to hit rock bottom before we acknowledge that.

  100. Antonio

    All that happened here is that one politician took out what another politician put in.

  101. alex

    doc:
    the problem is not the number of “names” of an hurricane season, the problem is the “intensity” of the hurricanes. an hurricane beings as a tropical depression, then a tropical storm and finally a fullblown hurricane.it is in this moment that they put a name in the hurricane. but a lot of them “fizzled” and became again a tropical storm… so in a year you could have 20 name hurricanes but only really 5 fullblown… i’m not a hurricane expert but i am interest in global warming and have read a lot about them. i know now about ace, enso a lot “words” that i never thought they could exist! i beg you perdom for 2 thing: 1) i am a spanish speaking person and my english is “espantoso” and 2) i regret profoundly to have said “dead wrong”
    friends?

  102. Chris:

    Regarding http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/reprint/2007_global_warming_alarmism_reaches_a_tipping_point_.html

    “An abundance of new peer-reviewed studies, analysis, and data error discoveries in the last several months has prompted scientists to declare that fear of catastrophic man-made global warming ‘bites the dust’…”

    Caltech has an excellent E-library, so I just thought I’d see if I can find any of these peer review studies named by the good Senator Inhofe.

    Climate Dynamics, a climate journal, has 192 references to “global warming”. I don’t have the time to read them all carefully, but perusing the abstracts I see the common phrases, “major global warming”, “rapid global warming”, “worldwide agricultural drought”. I don’t see any peer reviewed studies here that claim global warming isn’t occurring.

    Climatic Change has 743 articles, 37 published in the last six months. Article titles include: “Catastrophic winter storms: An escalating problem”, “Assessing mitigation-adaptation scenarios for reducing catastrophic climate risk”, “Indices for extreme events in projections of anthropogenic climate change”… again, I’m not reading them all, but I don’t see a single article claiming that the current stance of the climatological community is anything other than what was posited here: global warming is real, and man-made.

    Web of Science, World Cat, nope. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, Journal of Applied Meteorology, Journal of Climate (all journals of the American Society of Meteorologists), nope, nothing there either.

    I’m afraid that right at the beginning of Senator Inhofe’s speech, I find his evidence to be lacking in credibility.

    Inhofe’s leanings might be explained by his political contributors. The Oil and Gas industries contribute more than twice as much to his campaign has the second place contributor:

    1 Oil & Gas $847,073
    2 Health Professionals $357,487
    3 Retired $333,640
    4 Insurance $292,116
    5 Electric Utilities $286,063
    6 Air Transport $265,604
    7 Lawyers/Law Firms $211,698
    8 Leadership PACs $207,353
    9 Misc Finance $204,223
    10 General Contractors $190,122
    11 Automotive $188,050
    12 Defense Aerospace $171,600
    13 Commercial Banks $165,827
    14 Lobbyists $162,655
    15 Real Estate $141,666
    16 Building Materials & Equipment $123,617
    17 Business Services $119,295
    18 Pro-Israel $112,650
    19 Republican/Conservative $101,947
    20 Accountants $100,200

  103. Brian

    Alex,
    I think that Doc got his figures from the web site of the
    National Hurricane Center: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/

    You are, of course, right about the intensity of the storms being as important or more important than the number of named storms. If you go to the web address of the Hurricane Center and click on
    “storm archives”, you can get a lot of information about each named storm in any particular year. The site not only tells you which storms developed into hurricanes and what the categories of each hurricane were, but it also gives you a lot of other info.

  104. Betsy

    It doesn’t help anything of course but I take a little comfort in knowing that reality bites. These people can deny until their heads turn inside out but it won’t change a thing mother nature decides to do. Unfortunately for us all–they will learn and/or be taught. I take more comfort in the fact that I’m 65 instead of 25.

    I usually lurk here but want you to know that I am a faithful reader, every day and you are the greatest! Well, maybe you and PZ (heh)

  105. aarrgghh

    As I recall storms are named after they get to a certain intensity, so the named analysis does use some intensity information, namely the number over a specified intensity.

    As the CF bulbs, I just checked the Phillips marathon CF’s I have and they don’t say that orientation will reduce the life. They do say that using them in enclosed or recessed can fixtures will. It seems heat could be the issue. If used as described they’ll warranty the bulbs for 7 years of 3 hours per day of use. Fortunately, all of the ceiling fixtures I have aren’t enclosed, they have a half inch gap between the glass cover and the ceiling for ventilation.

  106. Brian

    aarrgghhon 30 Oct 2007 at 10:47 pm
    “As I recall storms are named after they get to a certain intensity, so the named analysis does use some intensity information, namely the number over a specified intensity.”

    Tropical Cyclones are categorized according to the Saffir-Simpson Scale, which is described in the following link: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/HAW2/english/basics/saffir_simpson.shtml

    When sustained winds (as opposed to gusts) reach 39 mph, the storm is given a name and categorized as a “tropical storm”. If the sustained winds get up to 74 mph, the storm is called a hurricane. Hurricanes are categorized by strength as category 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, with 5 being the most intense.

    Many factors, such as wind shear and intrusion of dry air, affect the strength of the storm, but the temperature of the water over which the storm passes plays a large role. That’s why, for instance, hurricanes occur in the summer and not in the winter.

  107. IBY

    Whoever said about the sun being a variable star, yes, it does change, but from what I heard from REAL astronomers, the change is like one thousandth

  108. IBY

    oops, eliminate the word star in variable star, it becomes just variable. Its just that the sun’s cycle may affect space weather, but not enough to cause global warming

  109. Chris

    “Climate Dynamics, a climate journal, has 192 references to “global warming”. I don’t have the time to read them all carefully, but perusing the abstracts I see the common phrases, “major global warming”, “rapid global warming”, “worldwide agricultural drought”. I don’t see any peer reviewed studies here that claim global warming isn’t occurring.”

    Ah, you don’t have the time to read them all carefully so they must not be there then. True a lot of scientists believe in Global Warming. A lot of them don’t. That you can find more who disagree with me is no evidence as to the truth of Catastrophic Global Warming.

    “The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd.”
    Bertrand Russell

  110. Chris

    “I’m afraid that right at the beginning of Senator Inhofe’s speech, I find his evidence to be lacking in credibility.

    Inhofe’s leanings might be explained by his political contributors. The Oil and Gas industries contribute more than twice as much to his campaign has the second place contributor.”

    Well, that’s up for debate. I find the site I linked to to be an excellent resourse for debunking Global Warming Hysteria. Here’s a jem:

    “The imbalance of money between the promoters of climate fears and skeptics is so large that one 2007 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant of $20 million to study how “farm odors” contribute to global warming exceeded ALL of the money the groups skeptical of climate fears allegedly received from ExxonMobil over the past two decades.”

    Ah, and then we have this old canard. He’s wrong becuase the evil oil and gas companies are paying him off so they can make money off of us while the world burns. Forget that it’s the evil oil and gas companies spending millions of dollars on research for alternative fuels and energy.

  111. Chris

    “Climate Dynamics, a climate journal, has 192 references to “global warming”. I don’t have the time to read them all carefully, but perusing the abstracts I see the common phrases, “major global warming”, “rapid global warming”, “worldwide agricultural drought”. I don’t see any peer reviewed studies here that claim global warming isn’t occurring.”

    That’s it then. Global Warming is true! 192 references!

    “Science is about observation, experiment and the testing of hypotheses, not consensus. Einstein pointed out that hundreds of people agreeing with him were of no relevance, because it would take just one person to prove him wrong.”

  112. They get to pick and choose what we don’t understand well enough to base policy on

    For example, if there’s only a 95% chance that the global temperature will rise by 3-5 degrees in the next century, then we need more data. If there’s a 20% chance that Iraq has WMDs, then we need to do something about it immediately.

    Someone, please let me know when I’m cynical enough.

  113. Another Chris

    Chris, I’m coming late to this discussion, and you may never see this comment, but there are some major flaws in your reasoning. First, though a minor detail: your comment about a $20 million grant for investigation of the effect of “farm odors” on global warming was meant to be derisive, but I suspect that you simply misunderstood the purport of the study. We know that methane is a major greenhouse gas, and it is produced in large quantities on many farms. Primary sources are bovine digestion (cow burps), manure piles, and piles of agricultural waste products. So there’s nothing at all silly about looking into these matters.

    But more important is your misunderstanding of how science works. You offer quotes from Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein to the effect that the opinions of the majority of scientists prove nothing. And they’re both right — because nothing is ever proven in science. No theory, nothing that you call a fact, has ever been proven. Proof is a mathematical concept, not an empirical one. If you drop an apple from an apple tree a trillion times, and it falls to the earth every single time, that doesn’t prove that apples always fall to the earth from apple trees. It just makes it highly likely.

    So tell us, what standards would you apply to evaluating any scientific hypothesis? Suppose, for example, that I asked you to prove that the earth orbits the sun. Could you prove that hypothesis? Could you do so in a manner that is fundamentally different from the methods used by scientists to establish that AGW is real? I think not. But give it a try, and I’ll have fun applying the same arguments to your attempt that you’ve been using against the AGW hypothesis.

  114. > Ah, you don’t have the time to read them all carefully so they must not be there then.

    On the contrary, I’m not claiming they’re not there.

    They may be there. However, I can’t find them. I’ve looked for them, at least a cursory inspection.

    Inhofe clearly stated: “An **abundance** [emphasis mine] of new peer-reviewed studies, analysis, and data error discoveries in the last several months has prompted scientists to declare that fear of catastrophic man-made global warming ‘bites the dust’…”

    I not only do not find “an abundance”, I don’t find any. I’m certainly willing to accept that they may exist. However, if you’re going to defend Senator Inhofe’s statement, it would behoove you to provide this magic abundance. Demonstrate this abundance. Give me some references.

    See, I’m attacking Inhofe’s claim as lacking in evidence. If you want to challenge my attack, you have to provide evidence. You can’t claim that my attack is invalid because I haven’t done the research, that’s Inhofe’s job (and yours). This is how science works. He’s providing this claim, he needs to back it up. If you’re going to defend him, YOU need to back it up.

    > Ah, and then we have this old canard. He’s wrong becuase the evil oil and gas companies are paying him off so they can make money off of us while the world burns.

    I did not claim this in any way, and attempting to inject a moral argument here (citing “evil oil and gas companies”) is a blatantly bogus attempt on your part to belittle my stance by implying that my intellectual stance is clouded by a moral judgment on my part.

    I do not claim that corporations are “evil”. They are manufactured personalities and artificial constructions. Claiming that corporations are “evil” is like claiming that any other non-sapient construct is “evil”.

    I claimed that he was wrong, ***as he provided no evidence for his claim***, and I was unable to corroborate his statement, as ***I was unable to find evidence myself***.

    To counter my claim that he is wrong, YOU MUST PROVIDE EVIDENCE.

    I posited, additionally, that perhaps the **reason** why I am unable to find evidence is that the evidence does not exist, which necessarily implies that Senator Inhofe is either an idiot, misinformed, or a baldfaced liar in his speech on the senate floor.

    A possible justification for *this* statement is the fact that he gets the vast majority of his campaign funds from the oil and gas industries. This doesn’t even imply necessarily that Inhofe is lying or stupid, it simply shows that he has a relationship with industries that have a significant economic interest in continuing business as usual. Since he’s getting a lot of his funds from this industry, it stands to reason that he has a lot of interaction with people from this industry, who may be providing him with unscientific assertions.

    You can provide evidence that Inhofe is not lying by either providing citations that back Inhofe’s original claim, or by providing a credible explanation why Inhofe has reason to believe this evidence exists when neither myself (or, apparently you) are unable to find this evidence.

    > Forget that it’s the evil oil and gas companies spending millions of dollars on research for alternative fuels and energy.

    Yes, millions of dollars spent on research for alternative fuels and energy is certainly a piece of evidence. However, without contextualizing it, it is meaningless. How much money do they spend on research for petrochemical fuels? Do they get a tax break for research into alternative fuels? My impression is that petrochemical companies spend a vanishingly small proportion of their R&D budget on alternative fuel research in comparison to known technologies (feel free to provide evidence to the contrary). According to Chevron’s fact sheet (http://www.chevron.com/documents/pdf/corporatefactsheet.pdf) they’re spending an estimated $20 billion dollars on exploration and capital investments. How does this compare to their alternate energy research? Shell Oil’s corporate public documents don’t even detail how much money they spend on alternate energy research (http://www.shell.com/static/investor-en/downloads/publications/faoi/faoi_2006.pdf)

    Interestingly, the Chevron site does not claim that global warming is a hoax or cite or provide any evidence to the contrary, which would seem to be a logical place to find it if it existed anywhere other than in Inhofe’s speech.

    My interpretation of your statement here is that oil and gas companies are spending significant resources on alternative fuels and energy is evidence that they’re not “evil”. (If I’m misunderstanding you, please clarify)

    Since I don’t claim that they’re evil, I’m not sure what you’re trying to do here other than distract me from your lack of evidence. They’re corporations. They have an obligation to their shareholders to maximize profit and cut expenses.

  115. zippy

    one of my favorite quotes from “space cops” bbc,
    (what ever happened to that???) is,

    “science is to politics
    as money is to police work”

    ever wonder how an oil man became president???
    zip

  116. zippy

    got that wrong..

    money is to science
    as politics is to police work

    been a long time…loved that show…only saw about 5 episodes…
    have searched all over for it,
    zip

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