Senate narrowly votes down antiscience greenhouse gas Resolution

By Phil Plait | June 11, 2010 12:52 pm

earthonfireA Senate vote yesterday narrowly allowed the Environmental Protection Agency to monitor and regulate greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles. There has been a lot of spin and furor over this vote, but in the end I think that this was heavily (though not totally) influenced by a political (and heavily partisan) denial of climate change.

Here’s the deal: The Clean Air Act allows the EPA to monitor and regulate various pollutants emitted by industries. A recent provision, Section 202(a), added six greenhouse gases to that list — specifically, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride — and paves the way to allow the EPA to actively regulate them.

However, a Joint Resolution was submitted by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), basically disallowing that Section of the Act. In other words, this Resolution would not allow the EPA to regulate those greenhouse gas emissions.

The Resolution was voted down by a 47-53 vote. Yay! Interestingly, not one of the 53 votes against it came from a Republican. A half dozen votes supporting it did come from Democrats, however.

What do we make of this?

Those who voted for the Resolution have a list of reasons. They say this is a power grab by the EPA, trying to overreach its authority. That, however, is clearly wrong. The idea of the EPA regulating pollutants goes back to the Clean Air Act’s beginnings in 1970. Since then, when new pollutants are found, they are added to the EPA’s list. Greenhouse gases are pollutants by definition, so the claim that this is some power grab is thin indeed.

There are also claims that this will allow the EPA to impose a backdoor tax on small businesses, farms, and so on, in the form of permits. This idea has more traction. I’ll note that some of the Democrats who voted for the Resolution have made these same claims as well. I agree that there is a financial burden on small businesses, and I am loathe to see it get any worse. However, I think climate change is a bigger problem overall, and it needs to be addressed.

Also, and very importantly, it should be noted that the Supreme Court ruled that the EPA must regulate these gases. That puts both those above claims into shady territory.

Regulation is needed. It’s a good thing. Regulations make sure industry doesn’t take advantage of lax laws and lax law enforcement. One of the root causes of the current recession, and the oil spill in the Gulf, is a lack of regulations and enforcement. I’m all for allowing corporations to grow and to profit, but there has to be some oversight. While the vast majority of private businesses operate above board, it only takes a handful to truly screw things up. That’s why we have laws.

But even if the supporters of the Resolution do believe those claims are valid, I still have alarm bells ringing in my head, because for at least some of them this is really about scientific ideology.

About this Resolution, Orrin Hatch (R-UT) came out and said, "There is nowhere a scientific consensus on one of the EPA’s findings that humans are causing warming or that warming is necessarily bad for the environment or for humankind." Senator Hatch, that’s utter garbage. There is a consensus. The disagreement over this is almost entirely a manufactured controversy, artificially created and pumped up by a religiously fervent noise machine.

Not everyone on that side said this, to be fair. Moderate Olympia Snowe (R-ME) stated that she understand what the science actually says, and I’m glad — very glad! – to hear that. But people like Hatch, Inhofe, and others make me very suspicious indeed — see the Related Posts at the bottom of this post for a litany of reasons why.

Obviously, this is a complicated issue. We have the real danger of greenhouse gas emissions and the real danger opposite it of over-regulation. But time and again we have seen the far-right members of Congress stomp on science, and I’m pretty much at the "fool me twice, shame on me" stage when I hear them on these issues. And I know I agree with this sentiment:

"The Murkowski resolution gives the United States Senate a choice between real science and political science," said Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Illinois. "That’s what it comes down to."

"This discussion about global warming is now political, not scientific. And this is absurd," added Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vermont.

As even Senator Murkowski said, science is what it is — though reading her entire statement, I don’t think she actually puts a lot of stock in it. It is my fervent hope that someday — maybe even after the mid-term elections coming up this fall — we’ll have a Congress that truly understands that and acts on it.

Tip o’ the thermometer to reddit.



Related posts:

- Deniers abuse power to attack climate scientists
- Climate change attacks followup
- Breaking: Climate scientists cleared of malpractice by panel
- Let them eat fake
- You can’t resolve away climate change

Comments (130)

Links to this Post

  1. Episode 4: Show notes — Irregular Climate | June 21, 2010
  1. Pi-needles

    The disagreement over this is almost entirely a manufactured controversy, artificially created and pumped up by a religiously fervent noise machine.

    Funny how the one thing both sides here seem to agree on in this Global Warming issue is the use of the adjective “religious” as a derogatory insult with which to attack the opposing side! ;-)

    Each side claims to be the “really” scientific one too. Hmm .. Of course one side has all but a couple of the actual qualified practicing climatologists on the planet so that’s a bit of a give-away as to what the really scientific side actually is. ;-)

    Seems the “good news” year in the battle against the woo and anti-science is continuing so far. Thanks to a lot of good work from a lot of good people it must be added. :-)

  2. Ray

    So when the EPA fines you for exhaling carbon dioxide you’ll be OK with that?

  3. Pi-needles

    @ ^ Ray : Gee, you think they’re going to fine us just for breathing? Seriously!? :roll:

    If so, boy do I ever have a bridge to sell to you! ;-)

  4. Paul

    Unfortunately, I believe this is a flat-out wrong extension of the Clean Air Act (CAA). The CAA was designed to regulate *pollutants*. These are unburned byproducts of combustion. Unoxidized carbon (carbon monoxide), partially oxidized hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxides are clearly pollutants. These materials when released from the tailpipe directly cause smog.

    Carbon dioxide, on the other hand, is a complete *product* of combustion. It does not contribute to nor cause smog.

    If regulations for carbon dioxide emissions are desirable, the issue should be comprehensively debated in Congress and a separate law passed.

    The CAA should *not* be used for this purpose at all.

  5. Ronnie76er

    Voted down 53-47…. Not one of the 53 votes against came from a republican.

  6. Just a nitpick but Olympia Snowe is from Maine not Washington.

  7. dcsohl

    Paul, you are correct that carbon dioxide does not contribute to smog. But the rest of your comment makes no sense, in particular your claim that “a complete *product* of combustion” is not a pollutant. I have never heard, until today, a definition of “pollution” that depended on whether the substance was a “complete product of combustion” or not.

    Me, I like the current first sentence of the Wikipedia article on pollution: “Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into an environment that causes instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem i.e. physical systems or living organisms.”

    As such, (ahem, Ray) it should be clear that merely breathing is not polluting (as the quantity of contaminants being introduced causes no harm to the ecosystem), but introducing massive amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere is. I’d like to hear the compelling argument for the Wikipedia definition being wrong.

  8. Marcus

    The 2007 Supreme Court decision was _specifically_ on whether carbon dioxide qualified as a “pollutant” under the Clean Air Act: if you disagree, take it up with the highest court in the land.

    (of course, courts can make mistakes, and do not have much in the way of scientific expertise, but in this case, the key issue was a question of legal definition and statute and not science)

  9. Sorry about the voting numbers mess up. I’ve corrected it, and the misattribution of Senator Snowe’s state. That one made me smile; slip of the finger, thinking of Olympia WA! :)

  10. Teh ebil partisan antiscience people wanted to vote down the bill because they don’t want their sulfur hexafloride regulated – they need to inhale it before shouting “MUWAHHAAAHHHAAAHHHAAHHHAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!”

  11. Ray,

    Thats is exactly the kind of dumb statement that just shows how little you have bothered to understand any portion of this debate.

    The issue is not the emission of carbon that was already present, natural cycles for the most part can still take care of that. its the emission of NEW carbon that is the issue. The carbon we dig up in the form of fossil fuels. that is why if we had our energy cycle solely from burning wood, even though that would release lots of carbon dioxide, it shouldn’t be considered a pollutant. However burning plastics should (aside from all the other nasty crap), because that carbon came from fossil fuels.

    Unfortunately, the energy density of wood, is far far lower than we currently require (it was a poor source of energy even back in the 1600s). One of the first things to check about a product or a process that emits CO2 is where the original carbon came from. If its plants or biomass, then burning it completes a cycle which essentially uses solar energy as the input (this is essentially what breathing is).

    Its those sort of comments that show how little the deniers actually understand even the most basic aspects of the problem.

  12. Eric

    One other minor quibble with the post. Sen. Bernie Sanders is an independent, not a Democrat.

  13. Dan

    You say greenhouse gases are, by definition, pollutants. What’s the definition? It’s intriguing to call carbon dioxide a pollutant, when we breathe it out.

  14. Lee

    “One of the first things to check about a product or a process that emits CO2 is where the original carbon came from. If its plants or biomass, then burning it completes a cycle which essentially uses solar energy as the input”

    Whoa, so all that oil and petroleum burning is okay, since the oil was biomass to begin with? So what’s the big fuss about then?

  15. Aerimus

    Well criminy, there’s your problem right there. There’s an earth-sized ball of fire just over the middle east. Put that out and we should be alright.

  16. Dr.Sid

    As GW goes, there is no real science, only political one. It’s too big topic. Everybody is somehow interested in one result or the other.

  17. andy

    One neat little point about the effects of carbon dioxide on planetary temperatures: the planet Venus actually ranks third in our solar system in terms of absorbed solar radiation flux, after Mercury and Earth. The global layer of reflective sulphuric acid clouds more than compensate for Venus being closer to the Sun than the Earth is, so most of that increased flux gets reflected straight back out into space. In terms of watts per square metre, the fantastically nasty Venusian climate runs on only about 70% of the Earth’s solar energy budget.

  18. It’s good that this was defeated (and the result wasn’t in much doubt, as I understand things, having been following Ezra Klein on this), but in order to have international cooperation on this we really need the cap-and-trade bill, and the prospects for that aren’t looking too good. If yesterday’s vote is repeated, it will fail since it needs to pass the filibuster: Kerry needs to get at least one Republican vote on board, and Graham has walked away. And coal-mining Democrats will probably only be bought off by making the bill toothless.

    And if you wait till after the mid-terms I think it needs to pass the House again…

    Your system is designed around checks and balances, or, to use the technical term, gridlock.

  19. cgray

    Let’s just hope that global warming kills every last worthless, baby killing liberal on the planet. Then things will REALLY get hot for all you hypocritical, SUV driving a$$holes.

  20. Paul T.

    I always have to chuckle at these kinds of comments about pollution. So what if we breathe it out? Anything that metabolizes organic molecules will have to do something with the carbon dioxide. Nature has mechanisms to deal with that. But it can’t keep up when we take billions upon billions of tons of stored carbon and throw it back into the carbon cycle. It’s been absent that cycle for millions of years. The carbon we breathe out was in the food we ate. It’s not new to the cycle.

    So what if we breathe it out? Ammonia and feces can pollute water sheds.

    I guess people are really confused about what a pollutant is, even though some others have given good descriptions of them in this thread.

    A pollutant is any substance which causes deleterious effects. Whether or not it’s deleterious, depends on the context. One fish urinating and defecating in the ocean isn’t polluting. Millions of salmon doing the same year after year without a fallow period in an aquaculture farm is probably going to pollute the benthic community below.

    Context.

  21. While the armies of anthropogenic global warming alarmism v. it’s-all-a-bunch-of-tree-hugging-hooey amass and prepare to take to the field, I’d like to side-note that this particular bill is for the monitoring of emissions from motor vehicles, and nothing else. Not factories, or plants, or breathing……it’s for cars and trucks and buses and such. Which, to me, seems very reasonable considering the ever-increasing quantity of such things worldwide. I mean, I don’t have a line graph showing the increase of vehicles on Earth from 1970 to 2005 but one can only assume there’s a heck of a lot more now than then, and even with the efficiency of today’s cars – today’s NEW cars – there must be a steadily-growing amount of combustion pollutants in the atmosphere, which therefore must be doing SOMETHING. (*cough* warmer climates *cough*) It only seems logical to me, but I’m no scientist. Of the “real” or “political” variety, although I tend to trust the former on such matters.

  22. Jeffersonian

    @16. Then how do YOU define “real” science?

    @19. Yeah, you don’t sound crazy at all.

  23. Matt T

    @cgray (#19)
    Congratulations. You win this thread’s Miss Teen South Carolina Award.

    Oh, and since it’s going to happen sooner or later, let’s get this over with:
    “I come here for the astronomy, not to have your librul political agenda rammed down my throat”. OK, now those that understand the concept of a blog (particularly one you don’t have to pay to read) can continue the discussion uninterrupted. You’re welcome.

  24. What do you expext it’s politics after all ;)

  25. What is it about the InterWeb that creates so many bozos who type nastiness?

    In Georgia, as of July 1, it will be illegal to text while driving. Maybe THAT will clean up these people!

    What are you going to do, @cgray, when you can’t post in blogs and drive anymore?

  26. Sir Craig

    The odd thing is, idiocy like cgray‘s is not limited to cgray: I’ve seen other morons post similar rantings about the hypocrisy of “libruls” and their gas guzzlers on other blogs, however I have yet to see any one of these morons back up those claims.

    To the GW denialists, or those who claim this is a political issue rather than established scientific fact, you are wrong. ‘Nuff said.

    And for those that seem confused that CO2 would be added to the list of pollutants based solely on its “natural” introduction, I would remind you that methane is produced naturally as is ozone, yet few people would argue these are not pollutants. Any time you introduce any gas like CO2, O3, or CH4 and raise the levels to a point that natural absorption/utilization can no longer keep up, it becomes a pollutant, natural or otherwise.

    If I am incorrect in this observation, please feel free to educate me: I love expanding my knowledge.

  27. I’m all for allowing corporations to grow and to profit, but there has to be some oversight.

    Not if they are polluting the public commons — which they do not own — to do it.

    CO2 is not just a pollutant. It’s a poison. That’s why our bodies exhale it. Just ask Jim Lovell and the crew of Apollo 13. They nearly died from breathing CO2 coming back from the moon.

  28. MartyM

    We expel carbon-dioxide from our bodies. Yes, we breathe some in, but we remove it from our bodies as we exhale. So imagine if there was nothing but CO2 in the air we breathe. We would not survive. So then you would consider CO2 a pollutant? We know it harms us, and ultimately the planet’s climate (think of Venus), so at what level of concentration would you consider CO2 a pollutant? I don’t think it matters. I’d rather not wait until 30% of our plants and animals have gone extinct and we’ve lost 25% of our farm land or coastal land, and have water shortages, etc.

  29. David Slack

    While I’m not completely against the EPA regulating CO2 emissions there is one point that I haven’t seen here. The federal government enacted the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard to regulate vehicle emissions. Congress sets the limits and rules for this and it is debated on the House and Senate floors. CAFE has brought it’s own problems, but it has greatly improved the fuel efficiency of America’s light vehicle fleet. Current attempts to raise CAFE have met much resistance. Allowing the EPA to regulate CO2 emissions from vehicles would allow the federal government to side step CAFE and change fuel economy standards arbitrarily and with no oversight or debate.

  30. Messier Tidy Upper

    @9. Phil Plait Says:

    …I’ve corrected it, and the misattribution of Senator Snowe’s state. That one made me smile; slip of the finger, thinking of Olympia WA!

    Olympia always makes me think of Greece. The city of Olympia where they used to hold the Olympics, Mt Olympus where the greeks gods lived – then next of the Olympic Dam mine in the north of my own state near Lake (salt pan!) Eyre. ;-)

    @17. andy Says:

    One neat little point about the effects of carbon dioxide on planetary temperatures: the planet Venus actually ranks third in our solar system in terms of absorbed solar radiation flux, after Mercury and Earth. The global layer of reflective sulphuric acid clouds more than compensate for Venus being closer to the Sun than the Earth is, so most of that increased flux gets reflected straight back out into space. In terms of watts per square metre, the fantastically nasty Venusian climate runs on only about 70% of the Earth’s solar energy budget.

    (Emphasis added)

    Wow. That is a neat factoid which I didn’t know & certainly wouldn’t have expected. Thanks. :-)

    Mind you, my understanding (possibly mistaken natch) is that the problems with the Cytherean climate came about because Venus was much closer to the Sun. To start with Venus was quite earth-like with oceans and perhaps even life but being in a much closer position to our Sun, the greater heat flow from our neaerer and thus in apparent terms* larger, brighter and hotter Sun led to a runaway greenhouse that created the hellish planetary inferno we know today.

    So Venus may be running on less solar energy than us *today* due to its reflective, silvery toxic acid clouds but our Cytherean twin sure didn’t *start out* that way – wonder how much heat energy Venus had *before* the Cytherean oceans boiled and evapourated away and the carbon dioxide baked out of the Cytherean rocks?

    PS. Anyone know what our Sun’s apparent magnitude would be as seen from Venus?

    From Earth the solar app. mag. is minus twenty-six point seven five for comparison. (Source: James Kaler, ‘The 100 Greatest Stars’, Copernicus Books, 2002.) How about the same for Mars too? Anyone please?

    PPS. On the point(s) about exhaling Co2 – there’s a reason why we exhale and get rid of carbon dioxide from our bodies. Its not good for us. Just thought I’d mention that. ;-)

  31. Messier Tidy Upper

    Thinking Venus, Earth & the (natural) runaway greenhouse effect this artistic depiction (with captions) of Earth’s eventual future :

    http://business.fortunecity.com/soros/98/zukunft.html

    as our Sun evolves away from the main-sequence towards red gianthood and death is interesting if poignant.

    It also stands in nicely for what has already happened to Venus too. Hope the link works!

    NB. There is one slight mistake in that sequence of space-art in one caption given that our Sun never becomes a red supergiant just a red giant. Just so’s y’all know. There’s also another different (foreign lang?) spelling of the name of one of the inner planets there too. ;-)

  32. Paul in Sweden

    Anti-Science – You and your ilk are to blame Phil!

    How is it possible that I still visit your site via RSS daily?

    That is(for your faith based CAGW regular peanut gallery) a rhetoric question. Instead of drudging through the EurekAlert(s) you provide light reading and cool pictures, so that is a simple matter of convenience.

    At an early age I saw the crippling effects of polio and other ‘now’ preventable diseases. Even if evidence (scientific evidence for regular BA readers) was ever produced that one or even five percent of the people that were vaccinated against the barrage of crippling or fatal illnesses, I would still be in favor for a general vaccination policy. How can you let little time bombs run around in the general public?

    Phil, your picking up the flag on vaccination is admirable, however when you champion faith based ‘Chicken Little & left-wing extremist and MSM’ causes, all the good things I think about you go right out the window.

  33. StevoR

    Here’s the horrible, grim and depressing truth about (Catastrophic?) Anthropogenic Global Warming as I understand it :

    Nothing we do can actually make any difference because of the rest of the world (esp. China & India*) wanting, quite understandably, to live like we do. :-(

    Americans, Australians and Europeans could – hypothetically anyhow (in reality we can’t & won’t) – all become hippies, give up all our cars and industries and return to living like Neandertals in caves – and it wouldn’t stop (C?)AGW because India and China and all those overpopulated tinpot little nations in Africa and Asia would still be seeking prosperity and trying for living the wonderful, materialistic, Western life that we all enjoy today. Their emissions and the pollution they will produce would, pretty much, knock out in a *day* any gains that would occur by the Western world, well, giving upon being *Western*, in a *decade.*

    The sad truth is we cannot all have the Western lifestyle, the Western quality of life – not with the number of people alive now. To stop global warming we would need to somehow prevent the rest of the world living like us which is what they (naturally) want to do. To stop or even slow global warming by very much we simply cannot allow China and India and the rest to live at our technology and lifestyle level. We’d need to somehow take them out and condemn these other nations to living a lesser lifestyle, less happy, less prosperous lives with no chance of things getting better for them.

    Do we have the right to do that?

    Can we do that?

    Are you willing to ruin the lives of the rest of the world so (C?)AGW can be slowed or halted?

    Cold logic and the harsh mathematics of economics and demographic reality decrees a “human cull.” Decrees the end of letting other nations, other people, aspire to being like us – us giving up on our quality of life alone – even if we were *really* willing to do it won’t be enough.

    International agreements and treaties are never going to be agreed sufficently.

    Domestic laws and taxes and things like this and the (now abandoned)Aussie ETS and cap’n'trade are NOT going to suffice.

    Do you think China will agree to make no more progress, to go back to being a “sleeping dragon” whose people live in a feudal peasant lifestyle?

    Will India promise and stick to any promise to stay as a crowded poverty blighted slum with no hope for improvement?

    Would us folks here all agree to live without electricty, without the internet, without cars, struggling to survive at all let alone in the luxury we are all accustomed to?

    No we won’t, no they can’t. That’s it.

    Arguing over the science of (C?)AGW then becomes a moot point.

    If we are to get out of this (C?)AGW dilemma the only plausible solutions I see are radical, massive acts of technology deliberately affecting our climate and putting it under Humanity’s control – pumping reflective chemicals into the air to offset Co2 as I saw in one TV show ages ago (20:20 I think), Putting up a giant sunshade in space to cut down on incoming solar radiation, feeding phytoplankton as suggested in one of KimStanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy novels so they absorb Co2 in a “terraforming” of our own planet, nuclear power and trying to get that hydrogen fusion energy tech that’s been “in the pipeline” for the last fifty years or so – always expected in 20 years time never arriving. That’s where our hope lies methinks.

    Laws and taxes & things like this, well not so much.

    Because they’re not going to be adopted by the world or even enough of the world to make a substantial difference possible as the failure of the Copenhagen summit clearly showed.

    The USA (& my nation of Australia) can only hurt themselves and their own economies by doing what the rest of the world just won’t do and thereby disadvantaging ourselves for nothing. :-(

    Sorry, but bleak as it is that’s the stark reality of the situation as I see it.

    I could be wrong. (Yeah again! ;-) ) Natch, I don’t think I am.

    ——-

    * Singling those two out in particular because they are the biggest, the most populated and the most rapidly developing. Which would be good for them except for the problem this presents in (C?)AGW ( & also other environmental) terms. I don’t think we can ask China and India to be other than what they are nor do I mean to pin all the blame on them. It’s just how it is. :-(

  34. tw

    >>One of the root causes of the current recession… is a lack of regulations and enforcement.<<

    Not really. The current recession is more a product of BAD regulations, than a LACK of regulations.

  35. Mircea

    Good work , global warming is a myth :) ))) Nobody makes any sense this days :(

  36. America and its technological advances are the greatest hope for our planet. Cap and Trade will hobble that capability out of proportion to its ability to limit global warming. This is a values argument, and keeping our economy strong is more important than slowing our increase in global warming gas emissions.

    Hairy

  37. Mircea

    I think we’ll see what matters in a short time …

  38. Oli

    @28: Of course. Oxygen is also poison. Everything is a poison if you breathe in too much. We don’t expel it because it’s so poisonous, but because C6H12O6 + 6O2 -> 6CO2 + 6H2O. We just happen to form it when we consume glucose, and we can’t use it, so we dump it.

  39. Mircea

    Phil what would you said if you saw Earth through a telescope , i wonder what your post looked like :)

  40. Utakata

    According some of these posters…something that is flat, 6000 years old and populated by Ferengis, Mircrea @ 38.

  41. mrbarney

    I swear if I hear one more stupid theory about co2 causing venus to be hot I’ll scream! Let me “put some learnin on ya” if I might. Venus is hot because it’s atmospheric pressure is 92 times greater than earths and the reason it’s that thick is because it is one of the most volcanicly active planets in the solar system. There’s good evidence that the enire surface of venus was resurfaced with lava as little as 100,000 years ago. The current theory on why this happens is that the venusian crust is a lot thicker than earths and does not move tectonically causing the pressure internally to build until it pops in a world covering eruption. This has probably been going on since venus first cooled after it was formed and it never was “earth like”….

  42. Ted

    I have to disagree with you on the role of the EPA. Something so far-reaching and massive is beyond the original intend of the CAA. Doing something about global warming should be an act of Congress, not something done by an unaccountable bureaucracy. To my mind, pawning this off on the EPA is Congress once again trying to weasel out of tough decisions and bypass the democratic process. Haven’t we learned that doing this with tough issues only makes the divisiveness worse?

    I don’t imagine that people would be equally blase if George Bush has given the HHS the power to regulate abortion. Or had given the military the authority to decide War on Terror civil liberties issues.

  43. Grand Lunar

    I’m curious what the EPA’s legistration will be in light of the new regulations.
    I hope it won’t be counterproductive.

    On a humorous note, I wonder how they’ll handle Mars and Venus!
    And let’s not get on about Titan!

  44. Chris

    @11 One of the first things to check about a product or a process that emits CO2 is where the original carbon came from. If its plants or biomass, then burning it completes a cycle which essentially uses solar energy as the input (this is essentially what breathing is).

    By your own statement burning oil/gas is therefore OK. Even though you say it is different.

    As far as I understand, the present scientific consensus is that, oil/gas are products of biomass after being squeezed for a while. Being derived from biomass then burning completes a cycle, to use your phrase, and so doesn’t count as a pollutant.

    I’m not saying that it isn’t a pollutant, just that your example is unsound

    @18 what a wonderful idea, let’s create a market in hot air so that city traders can rob us blind.
    If we truly believe that the emissions are bad then legislate against them at source, don’t make more ways for people to hide and lie nor for bankers to rob us blind.
    Politicians need to bite the bullet, if they truly believe that CO2 is a threat, and fine the polluters and reward those who clean up their act.

    All that cap and trade will do is make extra profits for companies that rellocate to the third world.
    Don’t believe me, try looking at the EUs cap and trade
    (police investigations have already revealed that most of the trade is bogus) and why Corus moved its production to India from the UK (they got a 92,000,000 pound carbon credit that the UK taxpayer pays for losing jobs).

  45. You know?
    There is no one, no single one, real empiric proof that ratifies the existence of anthropogenic global warming. I suppose that if a scientific could get one, he would deserve a Nobel prize.
    Who wants to try? (A hint: models are not reality, but a tool in which output depends on the input, i.e., on the modeler and his/her knowdlege and preconceptions)

  46. Luke

    Isn’t it amazing how Poe’s Law applies to AGW deniers as well?

  47. DS

    Or how Poe’s Law applies to GW cheerleaders as well?

  48. MartinM

    Venus is hot because it’s atmospheric pressure is 92 times greater than earths…

    That’s one of the most stunningly idiotic suggestions I’ve ever heard.

  49. Luke

    Nope, haven’t seen that so much. :)

  50. andy

    mrbarney is talking complete rubbish. For starters, the proposed global resurfacing event is thought to have occured about 300-500 million years ago, if it did at all, not 100,000 years ago. Aside from that, the level of volcanic activity is not that high, probably less than Earth’s, and definitely nowhere near the level of activity on Io. As for the high surface pressures, so what? That cannot be the only reason for the high temperatures, as you need to have the gas doing some absorption of radiation to have an effect. I.e. something in the atmosphere must be acting as a greenhouse gas.

    (Then again, I have had AGW deniers quote the ideal gas law at me to try and prove that increased pressure must lead to increased temperature… do bear in mind there are other variables in that equation: i.e. volume and number of atoms of gas)

  51. Nigel Depledge

    Paul (4) said:

    Unfortunately, I believe this is a flat-out wrong extension of the Clean Air Act (CAA). The CAA was designed to regulate *pollutants*. These are unburned byproducts of combustion. Unoxidized carbon (carbon monoxide), partially oxidized hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxides are clearly pollutants. These materials when released from the tailpipe directly cause smog.

    Carbon dioxide, on the other hand, is a complete *product* of combustion. It does not contribute to nor cause smog.

    If regulations for carbon dioxide emissions are desirable, the issue should be comprehensively debated in Congress and a separate law passed.

    The CAA should *not* be used for this purpose at all.

    That’s the narrowest definition of “pollutant” I have ever seen.

    Nitrate fertilisers that run off fields into rivers are pollutants, but I don’t see farmers trying to combust their fertilisers.

    Redefine “pollutant” as “an emitted substance that adversely impacts the environment” and you have a more realistic definition and also the power to regulate based on the CAA. Job done.

  52. amphiox

    that is why if we had our energy cycle solely from burning wood, even though that would release lots of carbon dioxide, it shouldn’t be considered a pollutant.

    I don’t think it is as clear cut as that. The carbon locked in wood is quite stable, and takes a very long time to be recycled back into the atmosphere. A significant portion of the wood gets buried and is not recycled (it becomes petrified wood, coal, etc). CO2 released by burning wood on a massive industrial scale would be putting that carbon back into the atmosphere at a rate (days to weeks) much, much higher than it what would have happened naturally (decades to centuries), and to me would count as a pollutant.

  53. amphiox

    There is no one, no single one, real empiric proof

    There is also no one, no single one, real empiric proof that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow.

    The proper term is preponderance of evidence.

  54. amphiox

    Venus is hot because it’s atmospheric pressure is 92 times greater than earths

    Jupiter’s atmospheric pressure is thousands of times greater than either earth’s or Venus’, and Jupiter is not hotter than earth or Venus.

    and the reason it’s that thick is because it is one of the most volcanicly active planets in the solar system.

    Venus is less volcanically active than earth. Being smaller, it’s core has cooled down faster.

    The current theory on why this happens is that the venusian crust is a lot thicker than earths and does not move tectonically causing the pressure internally to build until it pops in a world covering eruption.

    Which means of course that in between “resurfacing” events, Venus has actually much, much less volcanic activity than earth (almost none, in fact). And averaged over the entire history of each planet, almost the same (but earth, being slightly bigger, has slightly more).

  55. amphiox

    So imagine if there was nothing but CO2 in the air we breathe. We would not survive. So then you would consider CO2 a pollutant?

    The lethal level of inhaled CO2 is about 5% for humans.

  56. amphiox

    Nothing we do can actually make any difference because of the rest of the world (esp. China & India*) wanting, quite understandably, to live like we do.

    That is precisely why we must limit ourselves to a sustainable level first. Then, and only then, can we ask the rest of the world to “live like us, now (and not as we foolishly and self-destructively did in the past)” and not be hypocrites.

    And give the Chinese and Indians (and the rest of the world) some credit, will you? They’re not guaranteed to be idiots that will blindly pursue a self-destructive course of action, just because we in the west did so. We had an excuse – we were the first to do so, and at least in the beginning, we didn’t know any better. They will have the advantage of being able to witness what we did and what the consequences were.

    Moderation happens to be an esteemed value in both Chinese and Indian cultures, too.

  57. Nigel Depledge

    Bipedal Tetrapod (10) said:

    Teh ebil partisan antiscience people wanted to vote down the bill because they don’t want their sulfur hexafloride regulated – they need to inhale it before shouting “MUWAHHAAAHHHAAAHHHAAHHHAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!”

    I concede. I cannot argue against this.
    ;-)

  58. Nigel Depledge

    Dan (13) said:

    You say greenhouse gases are, by definition, pollutants. What’s the definition? It’s intriguing to call carbon dioxide a pollutant, when we breathe it out.

    If the mean global temps were stable, then greenhouse gasses would not be polluting. However, the Earth is currently undergoing a period of changing temperature of almost unprecendented rapidity. Certainly the rate of global change is unprecedented since the beginnings of civilisation.

    Ergo, greenhouse gasses are harmful to the environment and therefore pollutants. Of course, greenhouse gasses are also essential to maintaining temperatures on Earth that are conducive to human existence, but we currently have a large surplus.

  59. Nigel Depledge

    Dr Sid (16) said:

    As GW goes, there is no real science, only political one. It’s too big topic. Everybody is somehow interested in one result or the other.

    What?

    So, what do you think all of the climatologists have been doing for the last 40 years?

    In fact, there is real science. Anyone who says otherwise has an axe to grind, and they will usually try to tell you that the IPCC (or whomever) is making claims beyond the data (or words to that effect).

    In fact, mean global temperatures are rising. This has been established beyond reasonable doubt. The only credible cause is emissions of greenhouse gasses from human activity.

    The question is also a political one. How much money is there available for lobbying among the following industries? Oil, coal, automotive, electricity generation, plastics, cement, air travel, shipping, and … well, pretty much any industry that either sells or relies on burning large quantities of fossil fuels. While some forms of renewable energy are profitable, the profit margins are smaller than for oil, coal etc.

    Ironically, I’ve even seen the lunatic claim that climate scientists are making inflated claims in order to secure funding. Anyone who knows anything about modern science knows that scientists are not in it for the money :- there are too many easier ways to make larger amounts of it than doing science.

  60. amphiox Says:
    June 12th, 2010 at 11:58 am
    There is also no one, no single one, real empiric proof that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow.
    The proper term is preponderance of evidence.

    Yes, but it is no valid in this case. The sun rised today, and yesterday, and day before yesterday, and we have a lot of observational proof that the Earth revolves around the Sun and around itself… but there is no registered proof that CO2 level rised before temperature did, although there is a lot on the contrary.

    AGW isn’t even a theory, it is just a hypothesis that has been modeled; not more, not less. The one and only clear prediction was a hot spot in the stratosphere, and it has not been detected. On the contrary, CO2 levels have risen continually, but temperature has been almost flat (slightly descending) for the last 12 years (although it is true also that the AGW hypothesis never produced a detailed prediction).

  61. MartinM

    temperature has been almost flat (slightly descending) for the last 12 years

    False.

  62. TheBlackCat

    but there is no registered proof that CO2 level rised before temperature did, although there is a lot on the contrary.

    That CO2 is a greenhouse gas is based on simple physics. If CO2 cannot warm the plane then pretty much everything we know about physics is wrong.

    The reason CO2 did not precede warming in the past is simple: there has never been an instance before where massive amounts of ancient carbon were released into the atmosphere in a very short period of time with no other climactic trigger. That is happening now, but the fact that it is will warm the planet is inevitable unless you throw out most of physics.

    AGW isn’t even a theory, it is just a hypothesis that has been modeled; not more, not less. The one and only clear prediction was a hot spot in the stratosphere, and it has not been detected. On the contrary, CO2 levels have risen continually, but temperature has been almost flat (slightly descending) for the last 12 years (although it is true also that the AGW hypothesis never produced a detailed prediction).

    Completely and totally wrong. AGW has made dozens of specific predictions that have been born out. For one thing it predicted that the stratosphere will cool not warm, which is exactly what has happened. It also predicted that nights would warm faster than days, the poles would warm faster than the equator, the northern hemisphere would warm faster than the southern, decreased escape of energy into space in the absorption frequencies of CO2, decreasing uptake of CO2 by the environment, decreasing uptake of heat by the oceans, and anthropogenic carbon isotope signatures were all predictions of AGW that cannot be explained by any other known mechanism. The temperature increase has tracked the predictions of AGW well within the margins of error but not within the margins of error of our predictions if human influences are excluded, as has projections of sea level increases. In fact most of what we are seeing is going considerably worse than the IPCC prediction, the IPCC reports have turned out to be highly conservation, rather than being alarmist as lots of people claimed at the time.

    Also, the temperature has not been descending for the last twelve years, if you exclude the El Nino 1998 (which anyone with the slightest bit of integrity or understanding of the climate would) it has most likely been warming slightly, although it is just below the level of statistical significance due to the large year-to-year fluctuations. This is despite the last decade or so being the deepest and longest solar minimum on record, so if there was a time you would expect the world to be cooling it would be now. The last decade has been the hottest decade on record, every year since 2001 has been hotter than nay year prior to 1998, and 11 of the last 13 hottest years on record have occurred in the last 13 years.

    There have been short-term upswings and downswings in the climate (short term being on the order of a decade or so) over the warming period (last century or so). As with the current flat period, those have generally been associated with solar minima. This is not surprising, and why warming is calculated over periods of at least 20 years (to smooth out the 20 year sunspot cycle). That is why anyone talking about cooling over a period of a decade or so is either ignorant or dishonest, cooling over that time period would be expected due to changes in solar forcings and does not cast even the slightest doubt on AGW. What is actually somewhat surprising is that the last decade or so has NOT seen cooling like during many other solar minima, if anything it has warmed a little. That means that unlike in the past the current greenhouse gas-induced warming is overwhelming the changes in solar output. And this is despite the fact that this solar minima has gone on longer than any other on record.

  63. SLC

    Re MartinM @ #62

    The canard that many AGW denialists like Mr. Hever Rizzo propagates relative to no global warming in the last 12 years is a perfect illustration of the old Josef Goebbels aphorism about the big lie. If one is going to tell a lie, make it a big lie, tell it loudly, tell it often and eventually people will come to believe it. Justt for the information of Mr. Rizzo, the average global temperature in 1998 was an outlier caused by, among other things, a stronger then normal El Nino condition in the Pacific. If 1998 is excluded as a data point, then not only is the average global temperature been increasing but the 2nd derivative of the curve is positive (e.g. the rate of increase is increasing).

    I see that in between my comment and Mr. MartinMs’, Mr. Black Cat has already responded to the situation relative to 1998.

  64. Undeniable

    So, is Venus hot mainly because of CO2 induced greenhouse effect or because of high atmospheric pressure? I always thought it was the former but according to this…

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/05/06/hyperventilating-on-venus/

    …it’s pressure. Interesting debate in the comments, too. I don’t mean the comments here, of course.

    This is an astronomy question so maybe Phil can answer…

  65. Dee Niah

    Heber Rizzo wrote:

    “AGW isn’t even a theory, it is just a hypothesis that has been modeled; not more, not less. The one and only clear prediction was a hot spot in the stratosphere, and it has not been detected. On the contrary, CO2 levels have risen continually, but temperature has been almost flat (slightly descending) for the last 12 years (although it is true also that the AGW hypothesis never produced a detailed prediction).”

    Mr Rizzo please stop listening to your friend, Lonny Eachus, and start reading some stuff from real climate scientists.

  66. Undeniable (#65): That article at wattsupwiththat is laughably wrong on most of its assertions, but that one did literally make me LOL. When you compress a gas it does heat up, but just because something is compressed doesn’t mean it’s hot. The gas will cool off, if it can. The thing is, Venus’s atmosphere hasn’t cooled off. Why is that?

    Could it be … THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT? Dun dun dunnnnnn.

  67. andy

    Looks like the people at wattsupwiththat haven’t quite realised that the volume of a planetary atmosphere is not fixed to be some constant value (there’s no ceiling to prevent it expanding or contracting), nor that the amount of gas is a factor in the gas law. Oh well.

  68. Eric

    I think the choir fails to realize that all this comes off to the average American as he said vs. she said. Whether or not you like it, both sides make compelling arguments to people who aren’t scientists. Calling them stupid denialists probably won’t help win them over.

    The arrogance of alarmists is their Achille’s Heel (it’s never worked well for me either), along with their faith in politicians to legislate solutions that would actually work and not increase the cost of everything. That hurts poor people far more than those who live comfortably in quaint Rocky Mountain communities or quiet central neighborhoods of Sonoran Desert cities. Either they haven’t realized that or they just don’t care. Good luck with the campaign.

    Personally, I think the best thing we can do for the planet is get the undeveloped world up to speed ASAP. They can get through their industrial and technological revolutions far faster, and thus cleaner, than we did. (And it would would remarkably reduce population increase.) Any legislation that would hinder such progress is ridiculous. Few of us “average” folks buy into the talk of looming catastrophe, the constant clucking that things will be “irreversable in 30…no…20!…yeah…10 years!!” Be realistic or be quiet…we all know a sham artist (or a bogus computer model being hyped by the media) when we see one.

    *ahem…nuclear power…ahem*

  69. Pi-needles

    @46. Heber Rizzo Says:

    You know? There is no one, no single one, real empiric proof that ratifies the existence of anthropogenic global warming. I suppose that if a scientific could get one, he would deserve a Nobel prize. Who wants to try? (A hint: models are not reality, but a tool in which output depends on the input, i.e., on the modeler and his/her knowdlege and preconceptions)

    Actually there’s not one proof of AGW but rather *many* proofs from many areas – see :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9SGw75pVas&feature=PlayList&p=029130BFDC78FA33&playnext_from=PL&index=3

    (Hint for you as well – the computer models get compared with the real world and the actual data and have been found to be in accord with reality.)

    @ 44. Grand Lunar Says:

    I’m curious what the EPA’s legistration will be in light of the new regulations. I hope it won’t be counterproductive. On a humorous note, I wonder how they’ll handle Mars and Venus! And let’s not get on about Titan!

    Are you referring to the canard about the whole solar system supposedly warming? If so, you should know that that’s been busted many times – incl. by Phil Plait on this blog – but I’ll refer you to this videoclip that rebuts it nicely compete with some excellent planetary images :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSXgiml5UwM&feature=PlayList&p=029130BFDC78FA33&playnext_from=PL&index=12

    @61. Heber Rizzo Says:

    On the contrary, CO2 levels have risen continually, but temperature has been almost flat (slightly descending) for the last 12 years (although it is true also that the AGW hypothesis never produced a detailed prediction).

    Wrong. See : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwnrpwctIh4&feature=PlayList&p=029130BFDC78FA33&playnext_from=PL&index=13

    - With thanks to Peter Sinclair’s “Crock of the Week”‘ for making rebutting these tired old falsehoods so easy! :-)

  70. MartinM

    1) AGW proponents are arrogant
    2) We ‘average’ folk know better than all the scientists
    3) I’m not a hypocritical moron

    Pick any two, Eric.

  71. gss_000

    What I find so funny about this debate is the arguments from people who should know better about how regulation will not destroy the country and won’t kill the economy. Know why? We’ve actually done this before. The same arguments were used against ozone destructing chemicals and acid rain (sulfuric acid). Then as now the same arguments, but when applied clean up went faster and cheaper than expected.

    @34. StevoR

    You stared out with a good point, but your conclusion is wrong. It is true: in order for developing countries to prosper, they have to spend energy. This is a sticking point in treaties for the smaller, developing countries. Why should they have to regulate now when states like the US and the developed West have gone through this awkward phase spending all the energy and polluting without reservations.

    But instead of being hopeless, this is where the US steps up. There are several reasons why you are incorrect in your analysis.

    1) The developed nations can provide aid and tech to make things cleaner, and it doesn’t even have to be expensive. Got $200? Find the appropriate aid group and you can buy a clean burning stove so families don’t use the filthy (carbon-wise) burning ones. Furthermore, in treaties like the Kyodo Accords (not ratified by us), the US got “credit” for reclaimed forests. Trades off like that for tech to smaller countries is not hard if people.

    Furthermore, what’s good about these efforts is by studying climate change, we are learning tat we could have short term effects by removing black carbon carbon and other aerosols. The last I saw, there is big uncertainty on the role of aerosols in the climate (net cooling or net warming). While you can’t stop the problem without dealing with CO2, if it’s much cheaper in the short term to regulate particulates and the other chemicals in the EPA ruling, you may be able to have big short term effects that aren’t as costly. These are also something these smaller countries can do that will help the health of their citizens.

    2) People will follow the US example. As you said, they want to be like us. One of the big stumbling blocks is for reasons mentioned above, countries don’t want to be the first. They will follow the US lead. Look at space development in Asia. There is now a mini-Space Race going on in India, China, Japan, South Korea, etc. They flat out say part of it is for prestige and they want to advance fast. Think they won’t go into this are if the US shows its serious?

    3) China is already doing it. Sure, China has vast stores of coal, but there are people out there who have already written off all of that being spent. I wish they wouldn’t, but fortunately China is already going green, and in some ways faster than the US. Because of their size, they will not be able to supple their country with normal sources for long. They have to go renewable if they want to grow. China plans to quadruple the amount produced by renewable by the end of the decade. In the last 6 years, according to Renewable Energy World, the number of wind power manufactures has jumped from 9 to 60. This may cause an issue with the economy of the field there, but China could become the manufacturer of low-cost equipment.

    To say its useless to do anything is the wrong conclusion to have.

  72. Nigel Depledge

    Eric (69) said:

    I think the choir fails to realize that all this comes off to the average American as he said vs. she said.

    Perhaps it appears so to you.

    However, you can look up the credentials of the people doing the claiming. You can read the IPCC reports. Hell, you even can go to a university library and read up the basic research that underpins the whole thing.

    If, that is, you can be bothered to inform yourself about the issue. If you cannot, then you should believe the IPCC, which represents the closest thing there is to a consensus among climatologists.

    Whether or not you like it, both sides make compelling arguments to people who aren’t scientists.

    This is where some critical thinking could stand you in good stead. The arguments made against AGW are largely unsupported assertions, no matter how apparently convincing they may be. The arguments made for AGW, OTOH, are supported by international scientific organisations because they are based on sound research. This is why the AGW denialist lobby makes claims of conspiracy (again, these are unsupported by anything resembling actual evidence). If they cannot discredit the scientists by mud-slinging, then no-one will believe their claims.

    Calling them stupid denialists probably won’t help win them over.

    A denialist, by definition, is not won over by evidence. The evidence is there for anyone who cares to learn about it. If it were not for the AGW denialist lobby, we would be substantially closer to tightly regulating our emissions of greenhouse gasses.

  73. Paul in Sweden

    @ 42. mrbarney
    :)

  74. Paul

    67. Phil Plait Says:
    June 12th, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    Undeniable (#65): That article at wattsupwiththat is laughably wrong on most of its assertions, but that one did literally make me LOL. When you compress a gas it does heat up, but just because something is compressed doesn’t mean it’s hot. The gas will cool off, if it can. The thing is, Venus’s atmosphere hasn’t cooled off. Why is that?

    Could it be … THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT? Dun dun dunnnnnn.
    _______________-
    Excuse me, excuse me I have an announcement to make – science has left this blog a long time ago(regarding CAGW :) other topics are just fine). Please remain in your seats for the rest of the religious convention. The end of the world is near and at the end of this rally/convention/rave we will hear if we will freeze to death or fry like an egg on a sidewalk in Las Vegas in the summer, just remember to keep sending your money…..with your recommendations to your politicians and NGOs of what temperature you would like your tax money to set the earth’s thermostat.

    OMG Phil; I did not LOL when I read your comment, my jaw dropped.

    Be a first Phil.

    Post any evidence that anthropogenic CO2 emissions have a catastrophic effect on the global climate. Heck Phil how about you just present quantifiable evidence that anthropogenic CO2 has effected the global climate at all?

  75. Cory

    Why are people surprised at the ability of an opposition party to maintain a party line? It’s embarrassing to see people act surprised or, worse, preachy about such a thing.

    Phil, I must protest. Even though this post seems to be about science at the outset, it quickly devolves into merely a political blog post — a product we have far too much of already.. It’s uncouth, limits the effectiveness of your own message to even people who agree with you, and worse allows your opponents to “box” you up and refuse to even read your (usually quite well-made) points on your areas of expertise.

  76. mrbarney

    @55 said:

    “Jupiter’s atmospheric pressure is thousands of times greater than either earth’s or Venus’, and Jupiter is not hotter than earth or Venus.”

    Temperatures on jupiter range from -130°C at the top of the clouds, to perhaps 20,000 K at the planet’s center. You’ll notice that 20,000kelvin is quite a bit hotter than earth or venus…

  77. Fox

    Typical republican stance. Anything that regulates businesses makes Republicans angry, especially when it also goes against the “God gave us dominion” bit that says we should be allowed to kill the planet at our will.

    Republicans will only be happy when businesses have zero regulation, repeating the rhetoric of “The guv’ment can’t run anything!” instead of trying to contribute to proper ways of the government running things. The moment that no-regulation wave hits, and serious damage is done? Then they’ll point the finger elsewhere. Don’t think so? Seems I recall we’ve got a major natural disaster going right now…

  78. Paul in Sweden

    77. mrbarney Says:
    June 14th, 2010 at 2:01 am @55 said:

    “Jupiter’s atmospheric pressure is thousands of times greater than either earth’s or Venus’, and Jupiter is not hotter than earth or Venus.”

    Temperatures on jupiter range from -130°C at the top of the clouds, to perhaps 20,000 K at the planet’s center. You’ll notice that 20,000kelvin is quite a bit hotter than earth or venus…
    _______________________________________
    mrbarney, i’ve got this brick that is many times denser than the atmosphere of Jupiter. I broke it in half, one half I put in the oven the other half I put in the freezer. After only an hours time I measure the temperature of each half. Their temperatures seem to be different.

    WattsUpWithThat?

  79. MartinM

    Heck Phil how about you just present quantifiable evidence that anthropogenic CO2 has effected the global climate at all?

    Elementary physics says that, ceteris paribus, increased CO2 concentrations should cause warming. Advanced modelling confirms this, and observations are firmly in agreement.

    At this stage, I think the burden of proof is on the deniers to show that a) basic 19th century physics is wrong, or b) there exists a strong negative feedback which can cancel out the known warming effect of anthropogenic CO2.

  80. Jebus II

    Phil, your picking up the flag on vaccination is admirable, however when you champion faith based ‘Chicken Little & left-wing extremist and MSM’ causes, all the good things I think about you go right out the window.

    Paul in Sweden’s has let the arctic air go to his tiny little brain. what don’t you understand about scientific evidence. Global warming is not faith-based you peanut brained fool.

  81. Greg in Wisconsin

    “But time and again we have seen the far-right members of Congress stomp on science…” Phil, your comment and the article feed the perception many on the left have that Republicans are anti-science. Dr. Tyson told an LA public library audience that under Pres. George W. Bush funding for science (NIH, NSF, NASA) went up. Please see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7Q8UvJ1wvk

  82. Nigel Depledge

    Paul (75) said:

    Excuse me, excuse me I have an announcement to make – science has left this blog a long time ago(regarding CAGW other topics are just fine). Please remain in your seats for the rest of the religious convention. The end of the world is near and at the end of this rally/convention/rave we will hear if we will freeze to death or fry like an egg on a sidewalk in Las Vegas in the summer, just remember to keep sending your money…..with your recommendations to your politicians and NGOs of what temperature you would like your tax money to set the earth’s thermostat.

    OK, first off, the established facts:

    Many of the gasses emitted as by-products of human activity contribute to the greenhouse effect. Mainly these come from burning fossil fuels and from making cement, but there are many others too.
    Global mean annual temperatures are rising.
    Glaciers and polar pack ice are melting.
    The only natural phenomenon that could conceivably account for the pace of change is unusually widespread vulcanism. Since we don’t see unusually widespread vulcanism and have not in recorded history, we can rule that out.

    Ergo, the only logical conclusion based on current evidence is that human activity is indeed responsible for the recent rapid change.

    This has been shown beyond reasonable doubt.

    What is not known for sure is the medium-term impact of such changes. Sea levels will rise (in fact, they are rising), but to what extent? What positive feedbacks might be triggered and what impact will they have? What impact will alterations of cloud cover and atmospheric aerosol content have?

    These are difficult questions, and answering them is not very precise at the moment. That does not mean we should ignore them.

    Be a first Phil.

    Post any evidence that anthropogenic CO2 emissions have a catastrophic effect on the global climate.

    For evidence, see above.

    Depends what you mean by “catastrophic”.

    In terms of the effect on the planet, likely impact is as close to nothing in geologic terms as makes no odds.

    In terms of the biosphere, we are already in a mass extinction event (caused mainly by habitat destruction). Global climate change could well accelerate this. Long-term, new forms will evolve to fill ecological niches that become open to exploitation.

    In terms of human civilisation, the impact will be significant but we can still largely mitigate it if we do something about it. Try to imagine a world with less habitable land and with many major coastal cities awash with sea-water. If you think what happened to New Orleans was bad, imagine a similar scenario but where the water doesn’t drain away. Repeat for all major coastal cities.

    Heck Phil how about you just present quantifiable evidence that anthropogenic CO2 has effected the global climate at all?

    Hey, here’s a novel thought:

    How about you come up with the goods. The evidence for AGW is in the scientific literature. If you disagree with it, how about you come up with studies that contradict these findings?

    And by “studies” I mean actual scientifically-rigorous investigations, not some random link to a denialist website.

  83. SLC

    Re mrbarney @ #77

    Gee, the temperature at the center of the Sun is about 100 million degrees Celsius. Therefore, AGW must be wrong. End snark.

  84. Nigel Depledge

    Paul (75) said:

    Heck Phil how about you just present quantifiable evidence that anthropogenic CO2 has effected the global climate at all?

    (My bolding)

    Oh, yes, and that should be affected.

    To affect means to influence. To effect means to cause to occur. An effect is an outcome.

  85. Nigel Depledge

    Paul in Sweden (78) said:

    mrbarney, i’ve got this brick that is many times denser than the atmosphere of Jupiter. . .

    While I get your point, your argument has flaws:

    To which part of Jupiter’s atmosphere are you comparing your brick?

    If the cloud-tops, you are right. If about 1,000 km down, you might still be right (I don’t know). If about 10,000 km down, you are almost certainly wrong.

    Having said that, I agree that density is unrelated to temperature. Of course a gas will heat up when it is compressed, but it can then cool down again without changing its density very much (and any change in density as a gas cools will be an increase in density).

    Jupiter is large enough that its atmosphere will cool only slowly; also it is a large enough body that the Kelvin-Heimholtz mechanism is relevant in Jupiter’s “atmosphere”. Venus, however, isn’t. Venus’s surface should be substantially cooler than it actually is if all one considers is insolation + compression from planet formation.

  86. Paul in Sweden

    79. MartinM Says:
    June 14th, 2010 at 4:44 am

    Heck Phil how about you just present quantifiable evidence that anthropogenic CO2 has effected the global climate at all?

    Elementary physics says that, ceteris paribus, increased CO2 concentrations should cause warming. Advanced modelling confirms this, and observations are firmly in agreement.

    At this stage, I think the burden of proof is on the deniers to show that a) basic 19th century physics is wrong, or b) there exists a strong negative feedback which can cancel out the known warming effect of anthropogenic CO2.
    _______________________________
    “At this stage, I think the burden of proof is on the deniers” evidence of thought by climate alarmists has not been demonstrated. Imagination, ink and shrill voices are no substitute for actual evidence.

    Yes, a candle burning in my basement will have a mathematical addition to my home’s temperature on a cold winter’s night but I doubt my wife would accept that as consolation.

    A glass tank subjected to long wave radiation without any of the positive & negative dynamics of our actual climate will raise one degree with the first doubling of CO2. That is your “Elementary physics” yadda yadda yadda. No such CO2 influence has ever been detected/isolated. Any possible attribution to CO2 is lost in the statistical noise. Since the little Ice Age our climate has been warming. That warming cannot by the imagination of climate alarmists be attributed to anthropogenic emissions.

    Show me evidence that anthropogenic CO2 emissions have had any effect on our climate.

  87. Podex Monckey

    Paul in Sweden Says:

    “Show me evidence that anthropogenic CO2 emissions have had any effect on our climate.”

    You show us your conclusive proof that CO2 emissions aren’t doing a thing to the climate. Or show us the peer reviewed paper that you’ve written that puts forward your hypothesis for some other means of explaining GW.

  88. Paul in Sweden

    “80. Nigel Depledge Says:
    June 14th, 2010 at 5:33 am

    Paul (75) said:

    Excuse me, excuse me I have an announcement to make – science has left this blog a long time ago(regarding CAGW other topics are just fine). Please remain in your seats for the rest of the religious convention. The end of the world is near and at the end of this rally/convention/rave we will hear if we will freeze to death or fry like an egg on a sidewalk in Las Vegas in the summer, just remember to keep sending your money…..with your recommendations to your politicians and NGOs of what temperature you would like your tax money to set the earth’s thermostat.

    OK, first off, the established facts:

    Many of the gasses emitted as by-products of human activity contribute to the greenhouse effect. Mainly these come from burning fossil fuels and from making cement, but there are many others too.
    Global mean annual temperatures are rising.
    Glaciers and polar pack ice are melting.
    The only natural phenomenon that could conceivably account for the pace of change is unusually widespread vulcanism. Since we don’t see unusually widespread vulcanism and have not in recorded history, we can rule that out.

    Ergo, the only logical conclusion based on current evidence is that human activity is indeed responsible for the recent rapid change.”
    _____________________________________

    Ergo, we do not know the dynamics of the earth’s climate, we know anthropogenic emissions have a theoretic positive and negative influence on long wave absorption & dissipation of energy so in a “Hail Mary” without any observational evidence we will guess/believe “have faith” that the only possible reason that the earth is warming since the little ice age is anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

    Got that Nigel, but that dog won’t hunt!
    ______________________________________
    “80. Nigel Depledge Says:
    June 14th, 2010 at 5:33 am
    What is not known for sure is the medium-term impact of such changes. Sea levels will rise (in fact, they are rising), but to what extent? What positive feedbacks might be triggered and what impact will they have? What impact will alterations of cloud cover and atmospheric aerosol content have?”
    ____________________________________________

    Bingo, if I had the ability to give you a prize Nigel, I would.

    However there is still no quantifiable evidence that man has affected global climate at all.

    “80. Nigel Depledge Says:
    June 14th, 2010 at 5:33 am

    These are difficult questions, and answering them is not very precise at the moment. That does not mean we should ignore them. ”

    Nigel, I agree with you also. We need to put our efforts into research and stop spending all this money on political whims. There are actual problems in our environment that must be dealt with now.
    _____________
    “80. Nigel Depledge Says:
    June 14th, 2010 at 5:33 am
    Be a first Phil.

    Post any evidence that anthropogenic CO2 emissions have a catastrophic effect on the global climate.

    For evidence, see above.

    Depends what you mean by “catastrophic”.

    In terms of the effect on the planet, likely impact is as close to nothing in geologic terms as makes no odds.

    In terms of the biosphere, we are already in a mass extinction event (caused mainly by habitat destruction). Global climate change could well accelerate this. Long-term, new forms will evolve to fill ecological niches that become open to exploitation.”
    _________________________________

    Nigel, please re-read your previous posts, if you do you will clearly see you have not posted anything that resembles evidence that anthropogenic CO2 emissions have had or will have a catastrophic effect on the global climate. This of course is not your fault as no such evidence exists anywhere.

    LOL@your “we are already in a mass extinction event”. I know, I know, it is worse than we thought… we ran computer models and they predict we will all be dead at 0647 in the morning on the 9th of October in the year ….whatever it has been pushed up to now.

    Post any evidence that anthropogenic CO2 emissions have a catastrophic effect on the global climate.

    Pssst….Nigel…. I won’t be holding my breath waiting for you to post actual evidence. I will be laughing expelling massive amounts of CO2.

    In all seriousness if I actually saw evidence of CAGW I would be out there trying to do something, but you know what, if this was real all the governments of the world would have actually done something years ago.

    Think about it. Follow the money, who is holding the healing crystals and dancing around drum circles wearing polar bear costumes waving the CAGW flag? Certainly no one I take seriously.

  89. 70. Pi-needles Says:

    “the computer models get compared with the real world and the actual data and have been found to be in accord with reality”

    73. Nigel Depledge Says:

    “You can read the IPCC reports”

    What models? Did you ever read the IPCC reports?
    That’s no science, it is just politics.

    From IPCC, WG1 section 8.6.4
    http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/ar4-wg1.htm

    “Moreover it is not yet clear which tests are critical for constraining the future projections,consequently a set of model metrics that might be used to narrow the range of plausible climate change feedbacks and climate sensitivity has yet to be developed”

    That’s why everything, from fire to ice, can be attributed to ACW. There are no proofs, no factual data, no real projections, because models are not reality. And when you have lots and lots of differente models, each one of them adjusted by the modeller to fit anything that happens, you have no science, only delusion.
    That’s why GISS modifies every year the past temperatures, in order to make every year the hottest, even when temperatures are, yes, flat and a little descending, since 1998.
    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/NASA2.jpg

    And about the flat temperatures since 1998, even Phil Jones (ex-director of CRU) reluctantly aknowledges that, because he must go back to 1995 to find an ascending level:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8511670.stm

    “B – Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming

    Yes, but only just.”

    But, of course, warmists cannot be won by evidence. It is a religion, with some priests making a lot of money and a lot of believers playing their game.

  90. dachs_dude

    What is it about a lie repeated often enough?

    Phil, why don’t you do all your readers a big service and report the truth about the flat-earth myth?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth_of_the_Flat_Earth

    By allowing your readers to spread this lie, aren’t you just towing the “party line”. By your silence on the issue, you must think that since it paints believers in a bad light, no matter how factually inaccurate, it must be repeated. That doesn’t sound much like a sceptical scientist interested in facts, but more like a person with an agenda.

  91. dachs_dude (91): What the heck are you talking about? Where did I talk about this, where did “my readers” talk about this, and why is it my responsibility to rein in what my readers say on a topic I didn’t mention?

  92. SLC

    Re Heber Rizzo # $90

    Apparently, Mr. Rizzo failed to latch onto the phrase statistically significant at the 95% confidence level in Prof. Jones statement. The reason that warming since 1998 is not statistically significant is because of the anomalous value for 1998, which was due in part to a stronger then normal El Nino condition in the Pacific. If 1998 is excluded as an outlier, I guarantee Mr. Rizzo that the increase in temperatures will not only be significant at the 95% confidence level (and in fact well beyond that level) but the positive second derivative will also be statistically significant. Stop repeating the same old malarkey from denialist web sites.

  93. adam

    One of the root causes of the current recession is a lack of regulations and enforcement.

    More like one of the root causes being bipartisan efforts that resulted a lot of really awful fiscal policy with regard to lending practices. When the government mandates that your bank give out loans to people very unlikely to be able to pay them back, and that is done millions of times across the country, you wind up with a cascading effect that results in a recession. A “lack of regulations” wasn’t the problem, seeing’s the government specifically pressured lending groups into giving out money they either didn’t have or wouldn’t be able to get back, so as a reaction these groups packaged up the loans they knew were toxic and tried to pawn them off any way so that they could hopefully actually see some concrete money somewhere along the line.

    Government is the reason for the recession. The banks’ bad behavior was a reaction to government meddling. If you want more regulations on banks to prevent harmful behavior, don’t pressure them into bad behavior in the first place. That’s a start.

  94. dachs_dude

    Phil Plait (92) One of your readers said this:

    41. Utakata Says:
    June 12th, 2010 at 2:49 am
    According some of these posters…something that is flat, 6000 years old and populated by Ferengis, Mircrea @ 38.

    I would think that on a science blog, which for the science and space stuff I love, you would be interested when people spread lies and myths.

    The lie is that Christians believe that the earth is flat, and are thus anti-science. If you read the link you’ll see the origin of that myth and some of the ways it’s been used since the 19th century to paint anyone who is against some kinds of scientific progress as “flat earthers” who are too stupid to understand the benefits of science. This is also known as Conflict Thesis.

    One thing for certain, there is alot of evidence that climate change is occuring, if it’s solely or in part caused by humans, is still in debate. I think we need to do more research and develop more predictive models before we decide to unilaterally destroy the west’s manufacturing base,(cap and trade) and standards of living while the far east continues to manufacture with pre-1970s levels of environmental safeguards. That can’t be good for the economy, earth or our standard of living.

    Thanks for responding.

  95. Paul in Sweden

    Phil, I think you throw these CAGW threads up just to rile us….

  96. Paul in Sweden

    “78. Fox Says:
    June 14th, 2010 at 3:53 am

    Typical republican stance. Anything that regulates businesses makes Republicans angry, especially when it also goes against the “God gave us dominion” bit that says we should be allowed to kill the planet at our will.

    Republicans will only be happy when businesses have zero regulation, repeating the rhetoric of “The guv’ment can’t run anything!” instead of trying to contribute to proper ways of the government running things. The moment that no-regulation wave hits, and serious damage is done? Then they’ll point the finger elsewhere. Don’t think so? Seems I recall we’ve got a major natural disaster going right now…”
    __________________________________

    Nope. There is no actual science in catastrophic anthropogenic global warming. The topic is the a political topic or a faith based religion.

    In the absence of evidence there is no science!

    Believe what ‘you’ want to believe but remember the rest of society is not laughing with you we are laughing at you.

  97. ND

    ” The banks’ bad behavior was a reaction to government meddling. ”

    Wow! really? It had nothing to do with greed? This housing mess was caused by runaway scams that was based on making huge short term gains by moving money around and not dealing with the core business.

    Please note that not all banks ran into trouble. Why? Cause they didn’t willingly and knowingly go after people who should have known better than to take out loans they could not afford. How come so many banks were untouched by these problems? How are they doing right now? Did they not feel this guv meddling?

    Regulations should set lines where everyone, including those in the industry know should not be crossed, othewise bad things will happen. While most may stear clear of these lines, there will always be some that will cross it out of greed. And as we have seen with housing and oil, it takes only one or just a few companies to make huge messes.

  98. Paul in Sweden

    83. Nigel Depledge Says:
    June 14th, 2010 at 5:33 am
    [...]
    Hey, here’s a novel thought:

    How about you come up with the goods. The evidence for AGW is in the scientific literature. If you disagree with it, how about you come up with studies that contradict these findings?

    And by “studies” I mean actual scientifically-rigorous investigations, not some random link to a denialist website.
    ______________________

    No Nigel there is no evidence of CAGW in any scientific paper.

    If you should suddenly come across a published paper that cites evidence of anthropogenic CO2 being even measurable or causing any effect on the earth’s climate please call your local news station, after you update this blog . I think people like myself who read Phil’s Bad Astronomy Blog every day for Astronomy news and humorous ancillary posts should be the first to read your earth shattering discoveries.

    Crying wolf is a bad thing. As a matter of principal I do not gamble but if I were a gambling man I would go all in and say that I am most probably more green than the majority of the green hypocrites out there.

    I am not a denialist I am a realist.

    We either have a problem or we don’t. I’m not the president of GreenPeace making more than half a million from just one boardroom position. I am probably just like you(I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt but I always say follow the money), I live on this planet and I care very much about it.

    Be a first ‘Nigel’. (PHIL YOU MUST BE LAUGHING, I hope you belly hurts! You wind us up with these darn CAGW threads, can’t believe an Atheist really marries a religious cause #”%**#) Tomorrow morning I am going outside to shoot that darn goat so you can’t get it and rile me like this PHIL!!! :P This is all beyond silly. If there were not so much tax money spent and wasted I would turn a blind eye.

    Post any evidence Nigel or anyone else, that anthropogenic CO2 emissions have a catastrophic effect on the global climate.

    Do so and I will not even have the time to react because every government in the world will have already enacted emergency measures.

    Roll your trousers down Nigel, the flood waters are not coming. Relax! Let us look at the stars and contemplate the Universe. You religious zealots always find some way to pee in the pool.

  99. Aaron Mills

    Swedish Paul writes:

    “No Nigel there is no evidence of CAGW in any scientific paper.”

    Wow man you’ve read every single one of those scientific papers and seen through the global conpiracy! Why aren’t you up for a Nobel prize for saving science from making such a huge mistake?
    I’d also like to know how a one man debunkerating army, sorry, climate realist like yourself defines catastrophic?
    Would a sea level rise of up to ten feet fit the bill?

  100. MartinM

    Attribution of twentieth century temperature change to natural and anthropogenic causes :

    We analyse possible causes of twentieth century near-surface temperature change. We use an “optimal detection” methodology to compare seasonal and annual data from the coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation model HadCM2 with observations averaged over a range of spatial and temporal scales. The results indicate that the increases in temperature observed in the latter half of the century have been caused by warming from anthropogenic increases in greenhouse gases offset by cooling from tropospheric sulfate aerosols rather than natural variability, either internal or externally forced. We also find that greenhouse gases are likely to have contributed significantly to the warming in the first half of the century. In addition, natural effects may have contributed to this warming. Assuming one particular reconstruction of total solar irradiance to be correct implies, when we take the seasonal cycle into account, that solar effects have contributed significantly to the warming observed in the early part of the century, regardless of any relative error in the amplitudes of the anthropogenic forcings prescribed in the model. However, this is not the case with an alternative reconstruction of total solar irradiance, based more on the amplitude than the length of the solar cycle. We also find evidence for volcanic influences on twentieth century near-surface temperatures. The signature of the eruption of Mount Pinatubo is detected using annual-mean data. We also find evidence for a volcanic influence on warming in the first half of the century associated with a reduction in mid-century volcanism.

    Attributing physical and biological impacts to anthropogenic climate change:

    Significant changes in physical and biological systems are occurring on all continents and in most oceans, with a concentration of available data in Europe and North America. Most of these changes are in the direction expected with warming temperature. Here we show that these changes in natural systems since at least 1970 are occurring in regions of observed temperature increases, and that these temperature increases at continental scales cannot be explained by natural climate variations alone. Given the conclusions from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report that most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-twentieth century is very likely to be due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations, and furthermore that it is likely that there has been significant anthropogenic warming over the past 50 years averaged over each continent except Antarctica, we conclude that anthropogenic climate change is having a significant impact on physical and biological systems globally and in some continents.

    Detection of Anthropogenic Climate Change in the World’s Oceans:

    Large-scale increases in the heat content of the world’s oceans have been observed to occur over the last 45 years. The horizontal and temporal character of these changes has been closely replicated by the state-of-the-art Parallel Climate Model (PCM) forced by observed and estimated anthropogenic gases. Application of optimal detection methodology shows that the model-produced signals are indistinguishable from the observations at the 0.05 confidence level. Further, the chances of either the anthropogenic or observed signals being produced by the PCM as a result of natural, internal forcing alone are less than 5%. This suggests that the observed ocean heat-content changes are consistent with those expected from anthropogenic forcing, which broadens the basis for claims that an anthropogenic signal has been detected in the global climate system. Additionally, the requirement that modeled ocean heat uptakes match observations puts a strong, new constraint on anthropogenically forced climate models. It is unknown if the current generation of climate models, other than the PCM, meet this constraint.

    Multi-fingerprint detection and attribution analysis of greenhouse gas, greenhouse gas-plus-aerosol and solar forced climate change:

    A multi-fingerprint analysis is applied to the detection and attribution of anthropogenic climate change. While a single fingerprint is optimal for the detection of climate change, further tests of the statistical consistency of the detected climate change signal with model predictions for different candidate forcing mechanisms require the simultaneous application of several fingerprints. Model-predicted climate change signals are derived from three anthropogenic global warming simulations for the period 1880 to 2049 and two simulations forced by estimated changes in solar radiation from 1700 to 1992. In the first global warming simulation, the forcing is by greenhouse gas only, while in the remaining two simulations the direct influence of sulfate aerosols is also included. From the climate change signals of the greenhouse gas only and the average of the two greenhouse gas-plus-aerosol simulations, two optimized fingerprint patterns are derived by weighting the model-predicted climate change patterns towards low-noise directions. The optimized fingerprint patterns are then applied as a filter to the observed near-surface temperature trend patterns, yielding several detection variables. The space-time structure of natural climate variability needed to determine the optimal fingerprint pattern and the resultant signal-to-noise ratio of the detection variable is estimated from several multi-century control simulations with different CGCMs and from instrumental data over the last 136 y. Applying the combined greenhouse gas-plus-aerosol fingerprint in the same way as the greenhouse gas only fingerprint in a previous work, the recent 30-y trends (1966–1995) of annual mean near surface temperature are again found to represent a significant climate change at the 97.5% confidence level. However, using both the greenhouse gas and the combined forcing fingerprints in a two-pattern analysis, a substantially better agreement between observations and the climate model prediction is found for the combined forcing simulation. Anticipating that the influence of the aerosol forcing is strongest for longer term temperature trends in summer, application of the detection and attribution test to the latest observed 50-y trend pattern of summer temperature yielded statistical consistency with the greenhouse gas-plus-aerosol simulation with respect to both the pattern and amplitude of the signal. In contrast, the observations are inconsistent with the greenhouse-gas only climate change signal at a 95% confidence level for all estimates of climate variability. The observed trend 1943–1992 is furthermore inconsistent with a hypothesized solar radiation change alone at an estimated 90% confidence level. Thus, in contrast to the single pattern analysis, the two pattern analysis is able to discriminate between different forcing hypotheses in the observed climate change signal. The results are subject to uncertainties associated with the forcing history, which is poorly known for the solar and aerosol forcing, the possible omission of other important forcings, and inevitable model errors in the computation of the response to the forcing. Further uncertainties in the estimated significance levels arise from the use of model internal variability simulations and relatively short instrumental observations (after subtraction of an estimated greenhouse gas signal) to estimate the natural climate variability. The resulting confidence limits accordingly vary for different estimates using different variability data. Despite these uncertainties, however, we consider our results sufficiently robust to have some confidence in our finding that the observed climate change is consistent with a combined greenhouse gas and aerosol forcing, but inconsistent with greenhouse gas or solar forcing alone.

    Optimal filtering for Bayesian detection and attribution of climate change :

    In the conventional approach to the detection of an anthropogenic or other externally forced climate change signal, optimal filters (fingerprints) are used to maximize the ratio of the observed climate change signal to the natural variability noise. If detection is successful, attribution of the observed climate change to the hypothesized forcing mechanism is carried out in a second step by comparing the observed and predicted climate change signals. In contrast, the Bayesian approach to detection and attribution makes no distinction between detection and attribution. The purpose of filtering in this case is to maximize the impact of the evidence, the observed climate change, on the prior probability that the hypothesis of an anthropogenic origin of the observed signal is true. Whereas in the conventional approach model uncertainties have no direct impact on the definition of the optimal detection fingerprint, in optimal Bayesian filtering they play a central role. The number of patterns retained is governed by the magnitude of the predicted signal relative to the model uncertainties, defined in a pattern space normalized by the natural climate variability. Although this results in some reduction of the original phase space, this is not the primary objective of Bayesian filtering, in contrast to the conventional approach, in which dimensional reduction is a necessary prerequisite for enhancing the signal-to-noise ratio. The Bayesian filtering method is illustrated for two anthropogenic forcing hypotheses: greenhouse gases alone, and a combination of greenhouse gases plus sulfate aerosols. The hypotheses are tested against 31-year trends for near-surface temperature, summer and winter diurnal temperature range, and precipitation. Between six and thirteen response patterns can be retained, as compared with the one or two response patterns normally used in the conventional approach. Strong evidence is found for the detection of an anthropogenic climate change in temperature, with some preference given to the combined forcing hypothesis. Detection of recent anthropogenic trends in diurnal temperature range and precipitation is not successful, but there remains strong net evidence for anthropogenic climate change if all data are considered jointly.

  101. The Thearchist

    Paul in Sweden Says:

    Roll your trousers down Nigel, the flood waters are not coming. Relax! Let us look at the stars and contemplate the Universe. You religious zealots always find some way to pee in the pool.

    How do you know that AGW or CAGW isn’t real? Do you have any evidence, apart from ideological ranting about Greenpeace to back up your statements? Or should we take your
    unverifyed word at face value and have mere faith in what you say? I’d love AGW not to be real, but I need evidence that the scientists and their work are wrong, not some unsupported rant from a bod on the internets.

  102. Paul in Sweden

    93. SLC Says:
    June 14th, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Re Heber Rizzo # $90

    Apparently, Mr. Rizzo failed to latch onto the phrase statistically significant at the 95% confidence level in Prof. Jones statement. The reason that warming since 1998 is not statistically significant is because of the anomalous value for 1998, which was due in part to a stronger then normal El Nino condition in the Pacific. If 1998 is excluded as an outlier, I guarantee Mr. Rizzo that the increase in temperatures will not only be significant at the 95% confidence level (and in fact well beyond that level) but the positive second derivative will also be statistically significant. Stop repeating the same old malarkey from denialist web sites.
    ___________________________

    Explore the instrumental temperature record with today’s molested & pathetic, hacked and too few remaining weather stations. How do you distinguish the just as statistically significant swings UP & DOWN that even the Bishops & Cardinals of your ‘Church of Global Warming’ state in the doctrine of your faith based global warming cannot possibly be explained by anthropogenic CO2 emissions?

    Climate changes. Duh!

    Post any evidence SLC, that anthropogenic CO2 emissions have a catastrophic effect on the global climate. The sun rising tomorrow or Global Climate becoming warmer or colder is in no way evidence of catastrophic climate change due to anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

    I look forward to the laying of the corner stone of the Ted Kennedy ‘Cape Cod Wind Farm’ and I hope the entire nation knows the energy bills of Massachusetts consumers & with our tax subsidies that is not a far cry.

    I hope for the failure of the ballot initiative that would suspend California’s AB 32. Massachusetts and California should be examples of what will happen in the rest of America if people do not think for themselves.

    lessons will be learned. It is taking a long time. America is failing to learn from the mistakes of Denmark, Spain, Portugal, Germany and now the UK.

    Open your wallets, unlatch your belts, drop your pants and bend over.

    I have already and continue to ask for a “Manhattan Project” focusing on Gen IV Nuclear, PV Solar, Wind & Wave power. Research in those areas, for that I am totally 150 percent willing to open my wallet!

  103. 100. MartinM

    Models, just models, only models, nothing more than models.
    Could you give us a numerical prediction, just one, that confirms the AGW hypothesis in the same framework in wich it explains past climate changes?

    93. SLC Says:

    “If 1998 is excluded as an outlier, I guarantee Mr. Rizzo that the increase in temperatures will not only be significant at the 95% confidence level (and in fact well beyond that level) but the positive second derivative will also be statistically significant. Stop repeating the same old malarkey from denialist web sites.”

    OK. Not 1998 as a starting point. So… why no take 1934. Since then, the slope is descending.

    OK. Well, maybe 1934 is an outlier too. So we could go back to the Medival Optimum, or to the Roman Empire, or even to the Minoan. Damn! It descends more…

    And if we go to the start of the Holocene, just after the Younger Dryas, 8 000 years ago? Damn again! The downward slope is even greater!

    Ah… at last… Let’s go back 15 000 years, There we will be in the last Glaciation. And surely, temperatures have come up since then. Only…. damn damn it! There was no industrialization, no oil burning, no CO2 production… no ACW…

  104. Paul in Sweden

    102. The Thearchist Says:
    June 14th, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Paul in Sweden Says:

    Roll your trousers down Nigel, the flood waters are not coming. Relax! Let us look at the stars and contemplate the Universe. You religious zealots always find some way to pee in the pool.

    How do you know that AGW or CAGW isn’t real? Do you have any evidence, apart from ideological ranting about Greenpeace to back up your statements? Or should we take your
    unverifyed word at face value and have mere faith in what you say? I’d love AGW not to be real, but I need evidence that the scientists and their work are wrong, not some unsupported rant from a bod on the internets.
    ___________________________________

    After more than twenty years of your dancing around a drum circle without a single shred of evidence that “The end is Tomorrow – next week/month in 30 days/Ten Years/20 years/50 years/ 100 years whatever….” in total fear of mass extinction I think you are due a “time out”.

    Open your window. Take out your old pictures, go down to the shore. See the water level today and look at the water level of the day of your great, great grand father.

    OMG back as a boy we learned duck and cover but that was because the USA and the USSR were going to destroy the world. Back then it seemed real, looking backwards it still seems like it could have been be real. I like to think now that Moscow/DC/Beijing have made nice.

    Have you been offered a job trimming palm trees in Canada?

    There is no fluctuation in temperatures that we have not already seen in the twentieth century. Even if there were an event that represented a massive change in our ever changing climate there is not a shred of scientific evidence to indicate in is do to anthropogenic activity.

    Read the “Freaking IPCC third assessment report Read the IPCC fourth Assessment Report” nowhere in the TAR or AR4 will you find any evidence of anthropogenic CO2 emissions causing catastrophic climate change.

    You will find in the IPCC reports and all other published science papers evangelizing CAGW , beliefs, maybes and likelys but for you weak minded faith based people that is enough.

  105. Markle

    So, do you think crap-flooding the bottom of the comments is somehow going to negate all that is posted above? Your questions were answered. Any reasonable person would read that and then come across your childish nonsense. I’m willing to bet you don’t come across well.

  106. Hullk

    “Open your window. Take out your old pictures, go down to the shore. See the water level today and look at the water level of the day of your great, great grand father. ”

    Paul, I just did what you told me to do out of blind faith to your unsupported and blinkered rant. I live in a place called Withernsea near hull in the UK. The water level at the time of my great grand daddy was at such a low level that there were villages that are now gone under the sea. And guess what, its getting higher.
    Now tell me why after twenty years of shilling for tobacco and oil, and selectively ignoring what scientific papers say, how you 100% know that catastrophic global warming won’t occur. Perhaps it is a symptom of your weak minded faith of denial that you evangelize for the oil companies.

  107. SLC

    Re Heber Rizzo

    Mr. Rizzo obviously thinks’ he being funny but he’s just being pathetic. The data that was available for 1934 is pathetic compared to the data that is available for the last 10 or 15 years. I suggest we start with 1997 and exclude 1998 as an outlier which has been explained, in part, as due to an unusually strong El Nino. Obvously, Mr. rRzzo doesn’t know what a statistical outlier is. Nobody except clowns like Mr. Rizzo put any credence in global temperature data in 1934 as climate change was not even an issue back then. On the other hand, its clowns like Mr. Rizzo and Mr. moptop and Mr. Verbus that provide the blog with much unintended amusement.

  108. Steve in Dublin

    And here we are yet again attempting rational discourse with the Internet equivalent of 10-year old schoolyard bullies. Every AGW thread, completely derailed courtesy of the Noise Machine. I’m sick of it, and just don’t know what to do about it any more :-

  109. Stephen W

    @104 Herber Rizzo Says

    OK. Not 1998 as a starting point. So… why no take 1934. Since then, the slope is descending.

    I’d love to know how you came to that conclusion.

    Using either GISS or HadCRU data, the trendline from 1934 to 2009 is ascending.

    If you ment the 12 years since 1934 the trend line is still ascending.

    Still, if you look hard enough I’m sure you can cherry pick a point where the slope is descending.

  110. MartinM

    Models, just models, only models, nothing more than models.
    Could you give us a numerical prediction, just one, that confirms the AGW hypothesis in the same framework in wich it explains past climate changes?

    What the hell do you think a model is? Observations in, predictions out.

  111. MartinM

    I’d love to know how you came to that conclusion. Trendline from 1934 to 2009 is ascending (though obviously not really linear.).

    Not just ascending, but quite obviously so. I suspect he’s referring to the US temperature record, for which 1934 and 1998 are basically tied for warmest year.

  112. Paul in Sweden

    107. Hullk Says:
    June 14th, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    “Open your window. Take out your old pictures, go down to the shore. See the water level today and look at the water level of the day of your great, great grand father. ”

    Paul, I just did what you told me to do out of blind faith to your unsupported and blinkered rant. I live in a place called Withernsea near hull in the UK. The water level at the time of my great grand daddy was at such a low level that there were villages that are now gone under the sea. And guess what, its getting higher.
    Now tell me why after twenty years of shilling for tobacco and oil, and selectively ignoring what scientific papers say, how you 100% know that catastrophic global warming won’t occur. Perhaps it is a symptom of your weak minded faith of denial that you evangelize for the oil companies.
    ________________________
    Hullk your worries are unwarranted. Ease your mind by reading: “Land-ocean interaction:” + “Book for the Withernsea tide gauge” on google books and you will find that what you see out your window is not the specter of CAGW.but simple coastal erosion.

    Science is a wonderful thing Hullk, you should consider looking in to it every once in a while. :)

  113. Paul in Sweden

    108. SLC Says:
    June 14th, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    Re Heber Rizzo

    Mr. Rizzo obviously thinks’ he being funny but he’s just being pathetic. The data that was available for 1934 is pathetic compared to the data that is available for the last 10 or 15 years. I suggest we start with 1997 and exclude 1998 as an outlier which has been explained, in part, as due to an unusually strong El Nino. Obvously, Mr. rRzzo doesn’t know what a statistical outlier is. Nobody except clowns like Mr. Rizzo put any credence in global temperature data in 1934 as climate change was not even an issue back then. On the other hand, its clowns like Mr. Rizzo and Mr. moptop and Mr. Verbus that provide the blog with much unintended amusement.
    _______

    The newer automated weather stations of today with limited length computer cables located under air-conditioning vents and on tar roof tops of today are much more accurate than the mercury thermometers of 1934.

    Look at the places we measure temperature. Check out the IR pics. http://surfacestations.org/

    Based on crap/cherry picked data there is panic based on possible variations of only tenths of a degree C over more that a century?

    Get real. Look at the science yourself.

  114. Paul in Sweden

    101. MartinM Says:
    June 14th, 2010 at 2:56 pm
    :) Now actually read what you pasted!

  115. Paul in Sweden

    111. MartinM Says:
    June 14th, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    Models, just models, only models, nothing more than models.
    Could you give us a numerical prediction, just one, that confirms the AGW hypothesis in the same framework in wich it explains past climate changes?

    What the hell do you think a model is? Observations in, predictions out.
    ________________________________
    Martin, you are sorely mistaken.

    Rodger Peilke Sr. is a good place to start on correcting your misconceptions of Climate models(he is a warmest scientist and he actually does science).

    The climate models are not just Garbage In Garbage Out, the feedback assumptions do not reflect the climate on planet earth. This is why they are always wrong. Dr. Peilke Sr. in some of his recent writings explains why the predominate climate models are wrong in the same way. If ten climate models are all in agreement and wrong that does not change reality. In Climate science this does not seem to be true. Observational data seems irrelevant in Climate Science.

    There are just so many dynamics of our climate that we just do not know. This is admitted by both actual scientists and by the popular Alarmists. I don’t get a warm and fuzzy feeling when a worker in the Global Warming Industry says “we don’t really know how things work but we are 95 percent confident of our conclusions”.

  116. Paul in Sweden

    100. Aaron Mills Says:
    June 14th, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Swedish Paul writes:

    “No Nigel there is no evidence of CAGW in any scientific paper.”

    Wow man you’ve read every single one of those scientific papers and seen through the global conpiracy! Why aren’t you up for a Nobel prize for saving science from making such a huge mistake?
    I’d also like to know how a one man debunkerating army, sorry, climate realist like yourself defines catastrophic?
    Would a sea level rise of up to ten feet fit the bill?
    ______________________________________

    Aaron,

    Have you read any science papers? Has science affirmed your faith in the church of Global Warming? Share your spiritual light.

    Post any evidence that anthropogenic CO2 emissions have a catastrophic effect on the global climate.

    It is that simple.

  117. Stephen W

    @112 MartinM

    I suspect he’s referring to the US temperature record, for which 1934 and 1998 are basically tied for warmest year.

    Of course, should have remembered that some people think that US == the globe.

    Even then the trend must be ascending. I guess he’s using the denier trick of drawing a line from 1934 to 2009.

  118. Doremouse

    “Rodger Peilke Sr. is a good place to start on correcting your misconceptions of Climate models(he is a warmest scientist and he actually does science).”

    Paul you mean this guy. Seems he’s full of misconceptions himself.

    “Pielke’s highly punctuated outburst does a disservice to his own record. His argument that three years of temperature records constitutes a reliable trend is, again, unworthy a scientist of his accomplishment. ”

    And here is some more of his “misconceptionality”:

    http://climateprogress.org/2009/07/02/like-father-like-son-roger-pielke-sr-also-doesnt-understand-the-science-of-global-warming-or-just-chooses-to-willfully-misrepresents-it/

    And here:

    http://climateprogress.org/2009/06/22/roger-pielke-jr-denier-john-tierney-link-climate-change-extreme-weather/

    Paul, is Pielke your messiah in the firm faith of your denialism?

  119. Doremouse

    Paul said:

    “Read the “Freaking IPCC third assessment report Read the IPCC fourth Assessment Report” nowhere in the TAR or AR4 will you find any evidence of anthropogenic CO2 emissions causing catastrophic climate change.”

    You mean this one don’t you?

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg3/en/ch4s4-1-1.html

    It doesn’t contain any evidence of CAGW because its about mitigating the effects of GW.

  120. Doremouse

    Hullk said:

    ” I live in a place called Withernsea near hull in the UK. The water level at the time of my great grand daddy was at such a low level that there were villages that are now gone under the sea. And guess what, its getting higher.”

    Hullk, I guess that Paul hasn’t read this as he is too busy bowing to the Pielke statue in his shrine :

    http://www.english-nature.org.uk/Science/natural/profiles%5CnaProfile21.pdf

    Especially this section:
    “By trapping heat in the
    atmosphere, this may be causing a gradual warming of the global climate, with far reaching
    implications for the Humber Estuary and the low lying land around. One of the major effects
    of global warming could be rising sea levels, as water in the oceans expands with increasing
    temperature and glaciers melt releasing more water. This will lead to greater pressure on the
    sea defences and the widespread threat of flooding of low lying land.
    Almost four hundred thousand people live in this flood zone protected by embankments.
    Rising sea level has serious implications for these flood defences, raising question such as:
    should the defences be heightened and enforced or should we really be living or working in
    such an area. Without interference, the coastline would retreat under rising sea levels,
    creating new beaches and mudflats to reduce the power of the waves.”

    And here we get this statement: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holderness

    “The estuary is shallow because of this constant deposition. Isostatic recoil is, however, causing the area to sink at the rate of 3 mm annually and global warming is making the sea level rise.The combined effects of these processes mean that the sea in the estuary may be half a metre higher by the year 2050.”

    I hope you can swim Hullk.

  121. MartinM

    Now actually read what you pasted!

    I have. Thank you for making your intellectual dishonesty clear to everyone. There’s little point engaging in a discussion with someone who believes that CAGW is false as an article of faith.

  122. Nigel Depledge

    Paul in Sweden (89) said:

    Ergo, we do not know the dynamics of the earth’s climate, we know anthropogenic emissions have a theoretic positive and negative influence on long wave absorption & dissipation of energy so in a “Hail Mary” without any observational evidence we will guess/believe “have faith” that the only possible reason that the earth is warming since the little ice age is anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

    Got that Nigel, but that dog won’t hunt!

    Hmmm … it seems to me that you have missed something here.

    The greenhouse effect is well established. Without it, the Earth would be at least 30 °C cooler than it is (mainly due to the contributions of water vapour).

    Human activity has been adding a greenhouse gas to the atmosphere and nothing else has.

    The climate is warming.

    Solar input has not changed (well, this depends how picky you want to get. In fact, it seems that insolation has been slightly less in the last 10 years or so than in the preceding time for which we have any data).

    It seems to me that the evidence quite clearly points to AGW.

    Especially since there is no evidence to date of any other cause for the recent warming. This requires no faith at all, just sound reasoning.

    I guess that kind of reasoning is disagreeable to you for some reason.

  123. Nigel Depledge

    Paul in Sweden (89) said:

    Nigel, please re-read your previous posts, if you do you will clearly see you have not posted anything that resembles evidence that anthropogenic CO2 emissions have had or will have a catastrophic effect on the global climate. This of course is not your fault as no such evidence exists anywhere.

    Ah, I see from this parag that you haven’t the slightest clue what a sound logical inference is.

    Please do not post anything else until you understand why you should believe the input of your own eyes when attempting to cross a busy street.

  124. Paul in Sweden

    120. Nigel Depledge Says:
    June 15th, 2010 at 6:07 am

    Please do not post anything else until you understand why you should believe the input of your own eyes when attempting to cross a busy street.
    __________________________________
    Nigel, lift your head up, flush the bowl you are not drowning in sudden CAGW sea level rise.

    “119. Nigel Depledge Says:
    June 15th, 2010 at 6:03 am

    Paul in Sweden (89) said:

    Ergo, we do not know the dynamics of the earth’s climate, we know anthropogenic emissions have a theoretic positive and negative influence on long wave absorption & dissipation of energy so in a “Hail Mary” without any observational evidence we will guess/believe “have faith” that the only possible reason that the earth is warming since the little ice age is anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

    Got that Nigel, but that dog won’t hunt!

    Hmmm … it seems to me that you have missed something here.

    The greenhouse effect is well established. Without it, the Earth would be at least 30 °C cooler than it is (mainly due to the contributions of water vapour).

    Human activity has been adding a greenhouse gas to the atmosphere and nothing else has.

    The climate is warming.

    Solar input has not changed (well, this depends how picky you want to get. In fact, it seems that insolation has been slightly less in the last 10 years or so than in the preceding time for which we have any data).

    It seems to me that the evidence quite clearly points to AGW.

    Especially since there is no evidence to date of any other cause for the recent warming. This requires no faith at all, just sound reasoning.

    I guess that kind of reasoning is disagreeable to you for some reason.”

    Your ‘belief’ that solar input has not changed is worth about as much as your other faith based utterances. The solar wind has been matched quite nicely with our 20th century weather and cloud cover. This ‘might’ be a clue into the subtle fluctuations that you and other chicken little alarmists have blown out of proportion. I do not hang my hat on Svendsmark’s theory as it is only a small piece of a climate puzzle with many pieces still missing. I like many actual scientists have no problem saying we just do not have enough data(evidence) to conclude anything.

    Out in left field you however are perfectly comfortable in your faith and willing to hold no evidence in either hand and conclude “the sky is falling” although the sun is shining, the seas are rising at the same rate they always were, the Glaciers in the Alps are not melting as fast as they were in the ’30s & ’40s, the arctic ice is recovering nicely & even Alarmists have realized that the 2007 summer minimum was due to a change in wind patterns that blew the ice out to lower latitudes. The Antarctic ice extent continues to grow, the Pacific Island Nations of The Maldives, Tuvalu, etc are growing as coral islands would be expected and not sinking or in danger of capsizing as one Democrat in the USA government thought Guam. Where is the problem that you desperately seek a solution? The only worries exist in computer models and they are designed specifically to generate the very problems they output. Use your eyes, read the actual data.

    Where do you see a problem? If you do see problems come back with some evidence that anthropogenic emissions for the first freaking time in the entire roller coaster history of our planet has even the potential to change the Global Climate.

    Nigel should you happen to stumble into any kind of evidence and someone says “Hey Nigel, that is evidence” please post it here! Should I come across any evidence that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are having a catastrophic effect on our Global Climate I will post it here also. :)

  125. MartinM

    The solar wind has been matched quite nicely with our 20th century weather and cloud cover.

    False.

    …the seas are rising at the same rate they always were…

    False.

    …the arctic ice is recovering nicely…

    False.

    The Antarctic ice extent continues to grow…

    While Antarctic ice volume continues to shrink.

  126. Luke

    Swedish Paul, whatever else you do, please learn to format quoting correctly. It is difficult (Other than seeing a dramatic shift from reasoned arguments to denialist talking points of course) to understand your posts without parsing.

    Thanks so much!
    Faithful Minister of the AGW Church of the Holy Atheist Librul Lame Stream Media Obama Socialism, etc.

  127. Undeniable

    #67 Phil Plait:

    A late reply…

    I suppose I should be grateful that you replied to my question about the wattsupwiththat posting about Venus’s temperature but after reading your reply, I’m not so sure. You say that most of the assumptions in the post are wrong without giving any actual examples, then go on to present a false version of the argument which you make fun of (I believe that tactic is called a straw man). The point you raise is covered in the 450+ comments, where it is discussed at length. I’m not sure which side wins in the debate but at least there IS a debate and not just name-calling. (’Deniers!’)

    I presume from your reply that you didn’t properly read the post or replies so I am left none the wiser as to whether Venus’s atmospheric pressure is largely responsible for its’ temperature or not.

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