New study clinches it: the Earth is warming up

By Phil Plait | August 3, 2010 7:14 am

For quite some time now, the evidence that the Earth is warming up has been piling up. Study after study has shown this, and that’s why the vast majority of scientists agree on it.

And now, to pile on even more, a large NOAA study has been released reiterating this fact:

The 2009 State of the Climate report released today draws on data for 10 key climate indicators that all point to the same finding: the scientific evidence that our world is warming is unmistakable. More than 300 scientists from 160 research groups in 48 countries contributed to the report, which confirms that the past decade was the warmest on record and that the Earth has been growing warmer over the last 50 years.

They looked at multiple indicators for temperatures, including sea levels, air temperature over land, air temperature over water, the sea surface temperatures, and more. All of them — all of them — indicate the Earth is warming.

warmingindicators

I have little to add to the science or conclusions of this, since I’ve said it so many times here on the blog (see Related Posts at the bottom for more info). But what I will mention are some of the headlines I’m seeing. CBC News said, "Global warming signs unmistakable" and had a video saying it was "undeniable". Slashdot had it as "Global warming undeniable, report says" as well. You can find many others.

That’s not correct. Of course this report is deniable. That’s what deniers do: deny. And we’ll be hearing from them in the comments below, have no doubts.

Mind you, I am distinguishing, as I always do, between deniers and skeptics. Those are two very different things. I am, quite literally, a skeptic of global warming. I do think it’s happening, but that’s because that’s what the evidence is telling me. If good, solid evidence came along that contradicted that, I would a) look at it, and b) assess it, and c) if it’s incontrovertible then I would change my mind. But I haven’t seen that evidence. Note again I mean evidence that overturns the consensus, not evidence that simply weakens it. A good, broad theory does need occasional modification (like the Big Bang model has added pieces like inflation, dark matter, and dark energy) but it takes a boatload of evidence to overturn. That evidence doesn’t exist.

But to deny means to ignore the evidence, or twist it, spin it, cherry-pick it, distort it. Studies like the one above are critical, but they will be dismissed by the deniers and their acolytes. We need to keep hammering away at the deniers, and make sure we get as much press — more — than they do. Because this is real, it’s happening, and all the denialists with their fingers in their ears cannot change that. All they can do at this point is make it worse.

Always remember, this is the denialists’ mascot:

lalalala_ottercanthearyou


Related posts:

Two posts about denialism: climate change and otherwise
Stepping off the narrow path of reality
Global warming emails: followup
Climategate’s death rattle


CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Science, Skepticism

Comments (237)

  1. “Well, of course it’s warming up! It’s summer!” :-)

  2. Astrofiend

    Yeah, yeah, but, well, but…um.

    Ahem. Excuse me – I have some goal posts to move, and a Rush Limbaugh style manufactured outrage campaign, a Hoagland-sized conspiracy-in-science-theory and a McCarthyesque witch hunt to orchestrate.

  3. Ah, but you see, now, assuming the deniers don’t just ignore this study, they’ll simply trot out their next age-old tactic: shifting the goalposts.

    See, instead of saying “the global isn’t warming! If anything, its cooling!”, they’ll now say “Well sure, no one said it wasn’t warming, what we’re arguing with is, like, *why* its warming. I mean, we’re coming out of an ice age! And the earth was warming in the past and life flourished! And we can’t do anything anyway, and if we do, we’ll destroy the economy, so we should just mitigate the effects and stuff!”

    See how easy that is?

    So, yes, this study will be hailed by the those who are already convinced of the reality of AGW as clear evidence that Bad Things are happening. But it’ll do nothing for the deniers, and, basically, the beat keeps going on.

    Nah, at this point I’m wholly convinced: there will *never* (at least in my lifetime) be any concerted political will to do anything about anthropogenic global warming. The only thing that’ll stop us from burning petroleum is when peak oil kicks in in earnest and we can no longer afford the stuff… but until then, we, as a species, will just keep on keeping on, squabbling amongst each other like petty children while rome burns. *shrug*

  4. Jerm

    Some scientists will tell you that this warming is due to man’s influence. POPPYCOCK!!! This is a global conspiracy to raise the temperature to be more suitable….. to the Reptillians! I may be lacking in evidence but that is only because the Reptillians are suppressing it! I will soon be moving to Scandinavia to begin the revolution, you are all invited to join me.

  5. But, but, it SNOWED! in WASHINGTON!!!!!

  6. Mandy Q

    And you’ll also have those who will say that it’s just part of the “natural” cycle of the Earth, having nothing to do with human activity. I can’t WAIT to see what Jim Inhofe has to say! Ugh.

  7. Keith

    It does not (sadly) seem to SAY that we’re causing the warming: only that warming is definitely occurring. So, the deniers will still be able to say it’s OK to keep doing everything as we always have (unless you live in Bangladesh).

  8. AJKamper

    Well, I’ve always been pretty well convinced that the Earth is warming, but I’m only about 80% convinced that it’s anthropogenic in nature.

    I’m consistent about it, though. The people to distrust are the people who say all three at the same time: “Well, the world isn’t warming, and even if it is humans aren’t the cause, and even if we are we can’t do anything about it anyway!” That’s when you know that the real theory is denialism, and everything else is just an excuse.

  9. Monkey

    Nail, hit firmly on head.
    Although the distinction between Denialism and Slepticism is well discussed on forums such as these, the words are seemingly interchangeable within the general conversations of the public, on radio and in print. We need to press this issue – scientists are skeptics of everything. Its just that, as you wrote, the skeptical clarity points to incontrivertable conclusions (often). To deny is to opine without consideration of evidence. To be skepticl is to ask for evidence. Totally different.

    Lets keep pressing this distinction. Its vital.

  10. Oh, deniers have it easy on this one:

    “Of course this report is deniable. […] I am … a skeptic of global warming.”
    Phil Plait, Astronomer

  11. Messier Tidy Upper

    SBS Australia news outlet (TV & online) has this :

    http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/1313522/Global-warming-undeniable:-scientists

    Which I presume is the same study. Note the ‘undeniable’ headline again there as predicted by the BA! ;-)

    And I would also recommend the “Crock of the Week” video’s here :

    http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=029130BFDC78FA33

    Which the BA first introduced me to via this post :

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/06/02/climate-denial-crock-of-the-week/

    These are pretty effective at explaining the science and well made & interesting once folks get past the slightly insulting name.

  12. Could someone provide me input on data showing whether this is anthropogenic or a cyclical upturn?

  13. Mark

    Slepticism, ey?

    Slepticism, noun.
    Uncertain of previous night’s amount of sleep. “I was sure I got a good night’s rest, but now i’m sleptical.”

  14. Messier Tidy Upper

    But what I will mention are some of the headlines I’m seeing. CBC News said, “Global warming signs unmistakable” and had a video saying it was “undeniable”. Slashdot had it as “Global warming undeniable, report says” as well. You can find many others. That’s not correct. Of course this report is deniable. That’s what deniers do: deny.

    Just because the evidence for something is undeniable doesn’t mean people won’t still try to deny it.

    Our first reaction to bad news is often, quite naturally to say “No! I can’t believe it! Its not true!” We don’t want it to be true. So we deny that that is. Even when we really know – or should know – better. Whether its a terminal illness or being bankrupt .. or global warming. Its the first stage of grief and people do get pyschologically stuck at certain stages.

    I wish (Catastrophic?) Anthropogenic Global Warming wasn’t true.

    I don’t know what if anything we’re able to do about it.

    I’m still not sure just how bad it will turn out to be – but I do now after many earlier discussions here accept that it really is a genuine phenomena that is happening in the real world. :-(

    Much as I still like to be able to deny it I can’t anymore.

    @3. Brett from Canada Says:

    Nah, at this point I’m wholly convinced: there will *never* (at least in my lifetime) be any concerted political will to do anything about anthropogenic global warming. The only thing that’ll stop us from burning petroleum is when peak oil kicks in in earnest and we can no longer afford the stuff… but until then, we, as a species, will just keep on keeping on, squabbling amongst each other like petty children while rome burns. *shrug*

    I’m afraid you’re correct here. :-(

    The climatologists have a consensus of experts that after years of studying the available evidence has come to a certain conclusion that Anthropogenic Global Warming is real.

    The chances of all these experts who’ve dedicated years of their lives all being totally wrong is miniscule.

    But the majority of the US (& probably Australian) public has never had more doubt over the reality or need to act on AGW. Cimategate & “Glaciergate” and the skeptics arguments – however incorect they are – have done a lot of damage to the scientists credibility in the public eye and thus the chance sof getting any politicians acting strongly to mitigate AGW.

    In a nutshell :

    The “AGW is real” side has won the science debate but lost the popular vote.

    Nothing will be done about it for years.

  15. ND

    “All of them — all of them — indicate the Earth is warming.”

    Them’s baitin’ words!

    I don’t think we can be sure until we get to see some leaks of very candid emails of dubious worth.

  16. ITS JUST GOD HUGGING US CLOSER!

    OK, channeling of the whackadoodle zanies is done now.

  17. Maria

    I’m a skeptic I guess. I don’t pretend to understand all the data. I do wish more people would be honest about that as well. Too many people around pretending to understand all the nuances, even ones they have never heard of until the moment you bring it up.

    Anyways, even though it’s not my training or education I guess I’m in the camp of those armchair warriors who, after looking at the science and history, strongly suspect that drastic climate change is occurring. However, that now as in the past the underlying engine is natural factors, yet in our current age it is being heavily steered and skewed by anthropogenic factors.

    I feel that we’re going to be seeing a lot more extremes in weather and climate. I’m not convinced that the end point is a warmer planet or if it is a phase. I do think we could have been able to prevent much of it, but not all of it. I think this distinction needs to be made in order to understand climate change and our role int it. Much in the same way some past civilizations might have prevented their down fall by changing their agri methods and land use but they still wouldn’t have been able to prevent coastlines from disappearing, massive flooding or trade winds shifting.

    So, I’m a skeptic but I’m ok with it, I’ve been told that I’m a tea party loving GW denier and brainwashed socialist GW kool-aid drinking zombie, all in the same week.

  18. I have a problem with that graphic. If you put the word “GLACIER” or “SNOW COVER” with a downward-pointing arrow in front of a picture of a mountain with snow and ice on top, what does that mean? You could take it the way it was intended – indicating smaller glaciers and reduced snow cover – but you could just as easily (more easily?) take it to mean the opposite – indicating glaciers and snow cover extending further downhill.

  19. @ZADL, LOL! Given the mounds of data offered up by so many different entities, not sure where the deniers get all their steam, but I know at the core of being a “conspiracy theorist” is the false sense of importance one gets from deliberately rejecting something widely accepted. Some folks just aren’t going to believe it until their coastal town is under water.

  20. Wow, you mean all the scientific evidence that was collected in the 60’s and 70s is finally getting read? Seriously, it’s taken us over 40 years to get our poop in a group about this?

    Humans are probably going to go down in the history of the universe as the only species that had the ability to prevent their own extinction, but instead hastened their own extinction…

  21. Oh yeah! But what’s an even bigger greenhouse gas than CO2? Water vapor! And that isn’t…what? More humidity? Oh…uhh…carry on.

  22. You obviously don’t understand, so let me spell it out for you.

    1. Government imposed carbon restrictions jeapordize personal (which acording to SCOTUS includes corporations) liberties.

    2. Personal liberty is the one fundamental natural moral law.

    3. Anything that argues in favor of carbon restrictions is contradicted by moral law and therefore is necessarily wrong.

    4. Hence your “scientific findings” must be wrong!

    I don’t see how I can make it any clearer than that. If you can’t see that, then obviously you’re just a paid shill for Al Gore and the elite communist academics.

  23. wright1

    @ #5, AJKamper: that is an excellent criterion for identifying a true denialist, as opposed to someone who is unconvinced but still open to changing their mind. Seems to me it would work pretty well with any topic, really.

    If a person is intent on their agenda over the facts of a given situation, then they HAVE to make the denial of those facts as comprehensive as possible.

    As for me, I’m convinced AGW is a reality. And I feel sad and a bit angry on behalf of my six year-old nephew, who will (I hope) live a long life. During that lifetime, he is going to be affected by AGW and what my generation did or failed to do about it.

  24. Jason Dick

    @Mike,

    Unfortunately, there is no “silver bullet” piece of evidence that demonstrates that the warming is anthropogenic in nature. To tease that out of the evidence, we have to be rather careful. In essence, it involves doing the following:

    1. Catalog all proposed factors that may effect the climate.
    2. Examine each individual factor and determine the magnitude of its warming (or cooling) effect, preferably using multiple, independent pieces of evidence.
    3. Compare the estimated total effect of all of these climate forcing to the measured temperatures and see if the result makes sense.

    What we find when we do this is:
    1. Yes, our climate models do accurately estimate past temperature changes (to within the model variance).
    2. The largest effect stems from human greenhouse gas emissions.

    This isn’t everything, mind you. This is just a first step. Since these analyses show that, based upon our knowledge, greenhouse gas emissions should be the primary warming factor, we should look for other, independent checks of an increased greenhouse effect. We can do this by looking at the radiation coming from the Earth, or by examining the temperature of the upper atmosphere. The greenhouse effect acts by lowering the temperature of the upper atmosphere, thereby reducing the radiation emitted from the planet, increasing the amount of heat trapped at lower altitudes. So, a good independent check is to see if the stratosphere has decreased in temperature. Lo and behold, that’s exactly what we find.

  25. Elf Eye

    But but but . . . a hundred years’ worth of temperature records in Picayune, TX, prove that global warming couldn’t possibly be happening! I know this to be a fact, because the data were analyzed by a fourth-grader for a science fair. Take that, NOAA!

  26. Jason Dick

    @Todd W.,

    I get the feeling you’re joking. I hope so. But, in case anybody here doesn’t know the skinny on water vapor, I thought I’d lay it out.

    Yes, the greenhouse effect from water vapor is quite a bit larger than the greenhouse effect from CO2. But, there is a crucial difference: the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere is explicitly a function of temperature. This means that water vapor isn’t what is known as a “forcing” of climate change. It’s a feedback effect. If you increase the temperature by some amount through some other means (increase in solar output, increase in CO2 in atmosphere, decrease in aerosols, etc.), then you end up with more water evaporating, which means more water vapor, which means more greenhouse effect. This has the effect of amplifying changes in temperature of the Earth.

  27. hcj

    I know there’s a lot of data on temperatures and other things, but I thought a lot of the recent evidence consisted of changing migration patterns, changes in mating behavior, where certain species are starting to thrive and others can’t anymore, ocean pH/currents, etc etc. Has anyone put all of these works together in a giant review? I know that animals aren’t exactly NOAA’s bag, just curious.

  28. ND

    Jo Phil,

    An actual astronomy topic is brewing :)

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19252-the-sun-sends-a-charged-cloud-hurtling-our-way.html

    Edit: On second thought it was probably rude to post like this. I should have emailed it in.

  29. Onshay

    I would count myself deep inside the camp of climate change acknowledgers but I think this post might be missing a large point behind deniers’ arguments. Many of those opposed to regulating emissions of greenhouse gasses from human sources don’t deny climate change – they deny that humans are the source of climate change. They point to historic precedents where the earth underwent warming or cooling.

    Now, don’t flame me as a support of that viewpoint – I just wanted to make sure that it is recognized and addressed since I believe it is far more dangerous and prevalent than simply denying that climate change is happening.

  30. Richard L

    begin {Living_in_a_fairy_tale}
    Nice, now all the people that think the planet isn’t warming will finally shut up!
    end{Living_in_a_fairy_tale}

  31. Cheyenne

    Global warming is definitely real. And there is no chance anything remotely substantial is going to be done about it for the next decade at the very least.

    Cap and Trade won’t pass, nobody is seriously taking a personal obligation to reduce their own CO2 footprint (I mean, no offense to the BA but do you know how many lbs of AV fuel was burnt on your F16 Discovery stunt alone? Prius owners can go suck it….hee-hee), some in the Green movement are blocking attempts to re-start nuke plant construction, coal consumption is skyrocketing in China, India, etc. The global economic slowdown has reduced energy consumption but that isn’t going to last. We’re going to be emitting far more CO2, at increasing rates, in the future.

    Can’t wait to see what things will be like in 30 years….

  32. Mike

    “If good, solid evidence came along that contradicted that, I would a) look at it, and b) assess it, and c) if it’s incontrovertible then I would change my mind. ”

    I’ve heard a lot of sceptics say this, and I often say so myself, but has any of you actually had it happen to you – or seen it happen to someone else? I mean, a lot of research in the psychological sciences seems to indicate that many people, when faced with evidence that contradicts their deeply held beliefs, instead of turning their coat choose to ignore the new evidence and actually reinforce their existing beliefs. I wonder if it’s not the same for sceptics. Maybe not in all areas of life, but some. Or are you really, really honest to His Pastafariness, open about all and any ideas you have?

  33. JJ

    It’s obvious the Earth is warming, it’s been warming and cooling for the last 4.5 billion years. The fact of the matter is that there’s still much controversy over the AGW claims in the science community, the science is not settled, yet political pundits and alarmists keep pushing their propaganda to gain public support for their environmental agenda. On the other end of the spectrum are blatant deniers of warming, which are actually few and far between. Most people simply don’t buy into the AGW theory, but are aware that the Earth is warming. There’s very convincing correlations of weather patterns affecting warming, namely the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the El Nino/La Nina phenomena. Most meteorologists agree that weather patterns are more likely to raise global temperatures than CO2 and people are starting to wake up to that reality.

  34. Last night I watched the Cosmos episode “Heaven and Hell,” which at the end had as something of an afterthought a bit about how we need to be careful of greenhouse gases or else our planet might end up like Venus. This was in 1980, long, long before most people had even heard of the terms “global warming” or “greenhouse gas.”

    Even if this current trend isn’t caused by man (and I personally believe it most likely is, based on the evidence I’ve seen), I don’t see why we should feel okay about possibly making things WORSE, and possibly catastrophically so.

  35. Patrick from Anoka

    God bless you, JJ!

    We need to stop this radical environmental agenda in its tracks. Its a runaway freight train that will make us poorer and less free.

    Sure, it may be warming, but the natural variations causing it are far more important than CO2 put in by man.

  36. Chris B

    I’m gonna say this to the AGW deniers: It doesn’t matter why it’s happening, it is, and we have to do something about it. You can complain it’s all about money, but in the end, it’s about our survival as a species. Money won’t even exist if we’re all dead.

  37. Alan Haggard

    Well said, Mr. Plait.

  38. Lupine

    But if “weather patterns” are causing global warming, what’s causing these patterns to change? Nature just doesn’t do random things because she’s in a bad mood.

  39. BJN

    @JJ

    Meteorologists aren’t climatologists. From what I’ve seen, many of them don’t know the difference between weather and climate, and they don’t have a grasp of the multiple lines of data that clearly demonstrate the anthropogenic sources of warming.

  40. @Mike #22,

    YES, I have had it happen to me. I was very much convinced that this was a “cycle” and that we could in no way determine that it was anthropogenic (that at best we would come up with something inconclusive due to our lack of understanding). I have since changed my mind due to the data.

    (ASIDE: Of course, there are people who will insist that they always had a specific idea about something, even though they have changed it. Many people aren’t even aware that they have changed their minds on many issues. They just naturally state that they were always right.)

    I also had very strong opinions on the nature of dark matter and dark energy, and have had those opinions changed from research and reading.

    I held some rather dubious opinions regarding the early geology of Mars, and have since had some viewes changed.

    I have also changed my mind on many political issues as well.

    It happens if someone is truly honest. :) It really helps knowing how the brain works though, and being aware of it. This may be a good article for a start at that understanding in this area: http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2010/07/11/how_facts_backfire/

  41. JJ

    Lupine, El Nino and La Nina are natural weather phenomena, they’ve existed as long as we’ve known. Little Ice Age? Warming that killed the dinosaurs? Warming that led to Greenland sustaining cultivation? These certainly occurred before the burning of fossil fuels. You seem to think that we can explain everything in the universe, that’s far from the truth. If it were true, science would cease to exist. Statistical analyzes have shown very significant correlations between natural weather phenomena and warming.

    “Meteorologists aren’t climatologists. From what I’ve seen, many of them don’t know the difference between weather and climate, and they don’t have a grasp of the multiple lines of data that clearly demonstrate the anthropogenic sources of warming.”

    Rather, I think climatologists don’t understand the difference between the sensitivity of natural weather phenomena vs CO2. Meteorologists explain much of the warming because they understand weather and argue the Earth is much more sensitive to changes in natural phenomena over CO2, it has been presented in studies. I’m not convinced all climatologists understand weather patterns to the extent of some meteorologists. Many seem to think natural phenomena has a minimal effect on warming, even though they’ve historically correlated with warming and cooling trends around the world. Now, I’m no climatologist, but those studies raise a lot more questions than they answer.

  42. Larry

    Mike’s second comment is exactly correct. Fortunately an “appendix” to the NOAA report is a do-it-yourself times series plotter (http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/bams-state-of-the-climate/2009-time-series/). So, one can go there and test climate hypotheses all day long. Don’t take “their” word for it, Mike (@22), go and see if stratospheric temperatures are decreasing while surface temperatures are increasing.

  43. Gus Snarp

    I really love when people think climatologists don’t know about El Nino, La Nina, and other weather patterns and incorporate them in the model. That’s climatology 101 folks. Literally. I took the class. From a climatologist. Who specifically researches climate change in the arctic. Most climatologists agree that we are the main cause of global warming, and I assure you they know a bit more about El Nino than you do.

  44. SciGuyJoe

    @Mike #22,

    Here’s an interesting article about that same topic:
    “How Facts Backfire”
    http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2010/07/11/how_facts_backfire/

    (Edit: Doh, didn’t refresh before posting–@Larian #28 beat me to it!) :)

  45. Jones

    A few decades? Woah, that’s pretty significant if you think the world is 6000 years old.

  46. This is the best anti-Global Warming argument I’ve seen:

    “We are producing more CO2 than ever before, and CO2 absorbs the hot like a sponge. That is why the earth is actually cooling!” ~Stolen from the comments on Digg

  47. IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE

    @ Gus Snarp (#30),

    It’s the same with those “Electric Universe” people, who think that astronomers/cosmologists don’t know anything about electromagnetic effects in the Universe. :roll:

  48. Lee Holmes

    I have read the full report. I wonder if any of the other commentors have, particularly the ones who purport that the report states that the global warming is anthropogenic; it does not. Misstating the facts does nothing to advance your cause, nor does it contribute positively to a rational discourse on the subject.

  49. JC

    I really love the argument “Well, it got hot in the past without human help, which means that this time humans don’t have anything to do with it, either!”

    Logic fail.

  50. JJ

    Not that they don’t know, Gus. It’s that they don’t study them enough because they’ve already brushed them aside as potential culprits to focus solely on proving man made causes.

  51. DrFlimmer

    In this context, it is really sad to be right! And you are right, Phil!

    @ JJ

    Interestingly, the frequency of El Ninos, etc, is rising. Why is that, I wonder?

  52. Doc

    @JJ

    I’m not an expert in this, so I need to rely on the work of others. I did some searching over at http://www.realclimate.org/ – a website run by climatologists – for this (PDO, ENSO, etc.).

    From what I can tell, they have apparently been looking at the effect of such weather patterns (PDO, El Nino/La Nina) for quite some time, and have come to the conclusion that the correlations aren’t strong enough to overcome the mountain of evidence for AGW.

    I did come across one note that also pointed out that the correlation might be caused by GW affecting the weather patterns instead of the other way around.

    Another note mentioned that the whole debate about this was very old news. I couldn’t find anything about most meteorologists agreeing on this. Have you got any links to recent research? Otherwise it sounds like you’re giving one of those “everyone knows” arguments that relies on cherry picking and shifting the goalposts – like any good climate change denier.

  53. Ed

    @Mike #22

    I would say, from my observations, most people who call and pride themselves as “Skeptics” are really just closed-minded and locked into their own personal world-view. I don’t like to call myself a skeptic for that very reason; I much prefer the term “critical thinker”. So-called Skeptics will usually claim falsification when presented with evidence that contradicts their personal world-view, with no evidence of their own for the actual falsification. But since it doesn’t match what they believe about the world, it simply MUST be falsified.

  54. Azam Khalid

    I have to point out that the data Phil points to only shows warming over the last 50 years. I don’t see why this should be an indicator of things going bad or climate going out of control give the Earths 4.5 billion years or so of climate history. I agree, the earth is warming up. Has anyone considered external factors as well like the sun actually heating up more causing the earth to warm up as well? Sure you cant take multiple temperature readings from a variety of indicators but what is the REAL cause of the temperature rise? I am no expert and I have no real knowledge on the subject. What I don’t like are people using temperature readings to point to global warming and sighting pollution/green house gasses etc as the cause of it without any direct link. Its easy to say pollution causes global warming but I have yet to see a study that clearly identifies human pollution as the root cause of it. All the data I have seen so far has been correlated to human pollution and not directly linked. Surely; a 50 year warming trend when compared to the 4.5 billion year history can’t be the end all of the discussion.

  55. JJ

    “So-called Skeptics will usually claim falsification when presented with evidence that contradicts their personal world-view, with no evidence of their own for the actual falsification. But since it doesn’t match what they believe about the world, it simply MUST be falsified.”

    I believe you’ve just defined a denier, not a skeptic. Skeptics come in varying degrees, some of which take more convincing than others. That doesn’t mean they reject opposing claims. Everyone has a personal bias to some degree and I see it as weighting the arguments. Some evidence carries little weight, while others are simply irrefutable. People weight things differently and thinking critically is part of that process. However, I’ve also witnessed so-called “skeptics” that fit your definition, I don’t believe they’re using the term correctly either.

    @Azam, well said, I agree. While CO2 does effect climate, no studies have proven that it has or will have a catastrophic effect as “alarmists” claim.

  56. FUAG

    @ 34
    You just missed one word in your paraphrase: “…. which means that this time humans MAY not have anything to do with it , either.” This is a logical argument, and given what the alternatives are (Cap and Trade, Geo Engineering, etc…) some want to see an article stating “New study clinches it: We are causing the Earth to warming up” before we can accept the consequences.

    As far as I’m concerned, this is not news. Any rational person already believed the earth is warming as fact…

  57. Alas, after reporting on climate change for some 20 years, I have to conclude this “debate” has nothing to do with facts. Which is to say, there ARE facts, but the little otter with his flippers over his ears can’t hear them. Let me prove my point.

    Some months ago, I was at a colloquium at Goddard Space Flight Center listening to the brilliant and well-informed Compton Tucker reviewing the “Climategate” episode. Tucker is an expert in monitoring changes in the planet from satellites, specifically forest cover. He reviewed all the data and all the Climategate claims and reported what he found.

    At one point, he made the point that deniers cite REGIONAL data about a warming spike in 1934 in North America — the warmest year on record in North America — to say that the world is actually COOLING.

    Tucker explained (with nice Powerpoint slides!) that although 1934 was the hottest REGIONALLY, GLOBALLY the world has been warming. Multiple sets of global data–especially bore hole data–say this beyond a shadow of a doubt.

    But a little otter had gotten badged into GSFC somehow that day. And he came to do some denian’. So he stands up after Tucker finished, and REPEATS WORD FOR WORD WHAT TUCKER HAD JUST CAREFULLY AND FACTUALLY EXPLAINED AND DISMISSED.

    So Tucker just looks at him and says something like, “Well, yes, as I just said….” And explains it again.

    So the otter flaps his fins and REPEATS THE SAME FREAKING IGNORANT B.S. HE JUST SAID A MINUTE BEFORE.

    So, see what I mean? You can let the otters swim in an ocean of solid data but they will never peel the flippers off.

    And if you don’t agree with me I’m gonna just sit here and float and say lalalalala until the world ends…

  58. Part of the real root of this denialism – not so much why it occurs by why it utterly refuses to go away, even among those who simply haven’t read anything serious on this – lies in how utterly atrocious the media coverage of the science is.

    This report is one of the most comprehensive done since the IPCC, and it’s far more accessible to the public, and it’s good ol’ Murrican, not like them UN guys, donchekenow, you betcha, so you’d think the American media would do a better job covering it than, say, focusing on an unrelated, fabricated nontroversy.

    Skepticism requires information and evidence to evaluate its opinions. When no real information is provided, how can skepticism be applied at all?

  59. @Jason Dick

    Yep, I was joking. Thanks for adding the facts about water vapor, though, for those that don’t know.

    @Azam Khalid

    Has anyone considered external factors as well like the sun actually heating up more causing the earth to warm up as well?

    Actually, yes, and it has been ruled out as a cause. IIRC (and someone correct me if I’m wrong…going by memory, here), the energy output from the sun has been stable or inverse to the warming of the Earth.

    I recommend doing a search for other articles here about global warming, as well as reading the IPCC reports and other published research on the topic to get a better understanding of what has been examined. This study is not, by itself, proof that the Earth is warming. Rather, it is part of a vast amount of other research all of which point to the same conclusions: the Earth is warming, the rate of warming is faster than can be accounted for solely by a natural course, and humans are very likely the cause of the increased rate of warming.

  60. @Azam #38:
    Has anyone considered external factors as well like the sun actually heating up more causing the earth to warm up as well? Sure you cant take multiple temperature readings from a variety of indicators but what is the REAL cause of the temperature rise?

    No, of course not, climatologists are completely unaware of everything that influences the climate. I mean, seriously.

    First, the sun isn’t warming up – it’s actually at the bottom of a solar cycle now and has been declining for years before that (this is just part of this solar cycle, though – across multiple solar cycles there has been no appreciable change in solar output either way, meaning the sun’s been held constant), and yet we still keep getting record temperatures, droughts, and periods of increased record highs and decreased record lows.

    Second, if it were the sun, you would expect the extra energy to warm the stratosphere on its way to the surface. If it were due to the greenhouse effect, you’d expect to see a warming troposphere but a cooling stratosphere (as more heat radiating from Earth is retained before passing through the stratosphere). We look and see the stratosphere cooling.

    Third, if it were the sun, you’d expect the daytime temperatures to rise faster than nighttime temperatures, while the greenhouse effect would imply the opposite. Temperatures are rising faster at night.

    We have lots of direct evidence showing that the globe is warming up, it’s due to enhanced greenhouse effect, we know the increased GHGs are from humans, and we know it’s going to be bad. Good summaries of all of them can be found in lay English at, for instance, Skeptical Science.

    The information is out there. Please look at it.

  61. Julie

    Just a question here.

    This report says the last 50 years. I remember during the 1980s that the concern was global cooling and a runaway albedo effect. Were the scientists of that era simply incorrect, or does this report unveil new data that overturns the theory of that decade? I assume, although I was too young to really research or understand the data then, that in the 1980s there was scientific data pointing to a global cooling trend. Was that data incomplete or flawed in some fashion?

    My understanding previously was that the global warming trend has been something occurring in just the last 15-20 years, not 50.

  62. Ray C.

    But…but…but…

    AAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLL GOOOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRRRRRRE!

  63. fatkid

    If sheeple allow themselves to be led to slaughter, I think the rest of us should at least profit from our seemingly inevitable demise.

    I am sick of spinning my wheels doing the right things, watching the eco-licentious profit from doing wrong.

    There’s money to make on Bee colony collapse by investing in fruit futures, BP stock is poised (poisoned?) to rebound, the ‘clean’ coal company that lopped off yonder mountain top has a Dynamite return on investment. Now I really know what the green movement is.

  64. @Julie #44:

    I remember during the 1980s that the concern was global cooling and a runaway albedo effect. Were the scientists of that era simply incorrect, or does this report unveil new data that overturns the theory of that decade?

    Actually, that was just media coverage. The vast majority of scientific papers during the 70s predicted warming, not cooling, but a few papers did predict cooling if and only if certain conditions were met (such as quadrupling aerosol levels, which increases albedo). These papers were hyped in the mainstream media (Time, Newsweek, etc) in the 70s and thus made a huge splash in the popular “understanding” on the subject.

    The paper that coined the term “global warming” just turned 35, though. It predicted a warming trend very close to the one we observed – and it did that in the middle of the 1970s “imminent ice age” of public opinion.

  65. JJ

    “This report says the last 50 years. I remember during the 1980s that the concern was global cooling and a runaway albedo effect. Were the scientists of that era simply incorrect, or does this report unveil new data that overturns the theory of that decade? I assume, although I was too young to really research or understand the data then, that in the 1980s there was scientific data pointing to a global cooling trend. Was that data incomplete or flawed in some fashion?”

    There was a revelation recently that the tools used to collect temperature data during the 70’s was flawed. Apparently, the sensors were shielded by some type of material that caused the daytime temps to appear lower, resulting in some flawed studies. This is what I’ve read, I’m not sure how true it is because it came from a pro-warming “think tank” site.

  66. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    As many said, the next denial (indeed an old one) is that “it is only natural variation”. Sadly it doesn’t work any longer. The effect has become so strong that this year attribution, predicting the effects from sources, shows with 2 sigma (95 % certainty) that it is anthropogenic.

    95 % sigma is the same certainty used when looking for the mass of the Higg particle, or other particles. It is a lot better than the 60 – 80 % certainty your doctor can diagnose and treat _your_ diseases. So we can diagnose the Earth a lot better than we need for usual treatment, and we know AGW is correct.

    You can read all about it in “Detection and attribution of climate change: a regional perspective”, Stott et al, WIREs 2010.

    @ #7 Mike:

    Could someone provide me input on data showing whether this is anthropogenic or a cyclical upturn?

    @ #17 Jason Dick, #38 Azam Kkalid:

    Actually climatologists do one better, according to Stott et al. If the scaling factors of models sums to ~ 1, there is a natural and consistent explanation. I.e. not only can they check if the factors predict the GW, they can check if they missed something.

    And they haven’t. In the reference, it sticks out as a sore thumb again and again that AGW predicts GW better than “natural variation” in all models. And that it is _the_ explanation (all factors then sums to 1). We have not only introduced the largest effect, but the effect is too large to be explained by earlier types of climate factors. (In other words, we have left the natural regime.)

    @ #22, 29, 39, 49 JJ:

    The fact of the matter is that there’s still much controversy over the AGW claims in the science community,

    Complete and utter lie. The climatologists are the scientists of note here, and the area supports AGW as the explanation for GW. This is easy to check by reading IPCC -07 report for example, simply summing up the science as they were tasked to do.

    So why do you lie or don’t care to get to the answer if it is so important to you? Do you really believe you can argue people to overlook the facts?

    It’s that they don’t study them enough because they’ve already brushed them aside as potential culprits to focus solely on proving man made causes.

    Read again my comment on #17: _all the factors have been considered_ that explain earlier climates but not todays; _the data itself tells us so_! (The difference is the AGW.)

    As for your Gish gallop, that is standard denialist MO too, so it doesn’t impress. You could at least ask, now _that_ would be impressive.

  67. Gus Snarp

    I’m only going to say this once, I’ve already been foolish enough to wade into this discussion. As gogblog above so ably points out, I can make the case as many times as I want to, the deniers will continue to regurgitate the same tired, discredited arguments over and over until I get bored and my comments are buried deep in the thread. This saddens me not because I know that I can never convince them, but because a lie told enough times with enough conviction becomes the truth and anyone who actually doesn’t understand and wants to learn about climate change becomes more likely to find the lies than the facts. But I’ll make a brief point about what are basically the two key factors in understanding climate change.

    First is time scale. You have to choose the correct time scale for the question, one that makes sense given what you want to determine and that incorporates enough data to make a reasonable judgment. Global warming deniers invariably use the wrong timescale, one chosen specifically to show what they want to show, not one based on any kind of logic. Some deniers will talk about the weather this year, but that’s not climate, it’s noise in the data. They’ll talk about El Nino, which is a roughly five year oscillation, and also basically noise. It’s not really relevant to global warming what the temperatures were 4 billion years ago. We can fairly comfortably say that they were much higher than they are now. But that’s part of the point, the plants and animals that evolved and covered the earth absorbed the carbon from the atmosphere and sequestered it for millions of years in their decomposing corpses and eventually in coal and oil.

    That brings us to the second key point: carbon. We know beyond doubt that carbon dioxide causes a greenhouse effect that warms the planet. We know there are other gases involved, but the key point is that carbon is the one that is really changing and driving change. We’ve altered the total carbon in the atmospheric carbon cycle by digging up all those dead plants and animals and burning that coal and oil, returning their stored carbon to the atmosphere. There were no humans when there were dinosaurs, but in all likelihood the earth was much, much warmer than, and even warmer before all those dinosaurs. We don’t really want to recreate that climate.

    Put the two together and what you get is global temperatures increasing at a rate that is unprecedented in the thousands and thousands of years of temperature data that we have. The unprecedented rate of increase begins at about the time of the industrial revolution, when we started digging up and burning all that carbon. So what we have is a very strong correlation combined with a known atmospheric mechanism that strongly implies causation. And it’s good enough for virtually every scientist seriously researching the topic, and if you have any trust in science whatsoever (which you must every time you take an ibuprofen or turn on your computer) then it really ought to be good enough for you.

  68. Quantumman

    I will start off by saying my knowledge is limited here, but seeing as sorting through ANY sort of data is really just an application of signal processing and good engineering deduction and I do have a good bit on knowledge there I will point out a few things:

    Patterns and long period cycles in any signal are able to be filtered out with enough information about the signal(here we have core samples to show long term temperature trends). Now, unless everyone working on this problem is an idiot, I’m sure that’s been done.

    50 years is nothing compared to the history of the earth — true, but we don’t care much about the entire history other than its use in predicting ‘natural’ patterns so that their effect can be filtered out of the data. This is like applying a low-pass filter to a signal to remove know low-frequency noise.

    Humanity has only been effecting the climate in any meaningful way in the last 200 years(industrial revolution and beyond). Unfortunately we have only had the tools to really study the effects of humans on the climate in the last 50 years or so.

    As per the question of correlation vs causation, causation is extremely difficult to prove. Even by showing that say the way the sun heats the earth would be different than the way greenhouse gases do all you have done is eliminate a single factor, there could be other hidden ones we have yet to seen dragged into the spot light. Basically the easiest way to prove it would be vary one of the parameters while holding all of the others the same (or monitoring and accounting for their variation) and then wait for a change. Given the only parameter we really have any control over is pollution, I think we should try that one. Now if you can show me how to limit the Sun’s output or change the weather patterns then sure we can try your way, but until then perhaps we should use my experiment.

    Now if in a hundred years we find we don’t have any effect, then what have we changed…
    -More efficient engines
    -Alternate fuel sources
    -Better understanding of the climate and weather
    -Assorted scientific and engineering advancements that came out of trying to figure out to reduce pollution(like how AT&T spent years trying to improve phone quality and transistors, Unix, the big bang, and quite a bit more of the modern world happen to come out of those projects)

    I’m sure all of these things would be quite terrible, but we will have to live with them so we can finally prove or disprove AGW.

  69. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    @ #8 MTU:

    I don’t know what if anything we’re able to do about it.

    @ # 21 Cheyenne:

    And there is no chance anything remotely substantial is going to be done about it for the next decade at the very least.

    Yeah, they have started to model that too. The other day I saw some model from such a group:

    * To keep below the +2 degC target of current politicians, we have to start capping the CO2 emissions 2050, towards 0 level 2100.

    * But what will happen then is that the GW trend is linear at the time. AGW will keep shooting up, first at the same fast rate, and level out over thousands of years.

    I guess to satisfy todays politicians goals of reasonable changes, which sounds like a reasonable moral goal (not too many climate dead, starving, refugees), after 2100 we must implement techniques to remove CO2 from the atmosphere… And all that because we are lazy, and hampered by nitwits.

  70. JJ

    “The fact of the matter is that there’s still much controversy over the AGW claims in the science community, ”

    As far as I know, there’s only a few hundred qualified climatologists in the world and according to Wikipedia, about 50 of them don’t buy into the AGW theory, that’s significant. I’d like to see a complete list of qualified researchers and where they stand.

    “…after 2100 we must implement techniques to remove CO2 from the atmosphere… And all that because we are lazy, and hampered by nitwits.”

    We may be nearing the end of our fossil fuel supply by that time. Politicians should be more concerned about that than CO2. Even if you disagree with the AGW theory, we need alternative fuel sources for that simple reason. I haven’t heard any politician use that notion to support alternative energy.

  71. What have future generations or the global ecosystem ever done for us, anyway? Excuse me while I gas up my SUV.

    Seriously, I despair at what’s coming.

  72. Gus Snarp

    Yes, well, if Wikipedia says something about a highly politicized issue we can rest assured of its accuracy.

  73. Sarah

    Lalala Otter has spoken.

  74. Jeremy

    I don’t think I can properly articulate how frightening it is that it’s 2010 and we’re still having this completely inane conversation about whether it’s happening, rather than already well on our way to implementing solutions.

  75. MartinM

    As far as I know, there’s only a few hundred qualified climatologists in the world and according to Wikipedia, about 50 of them don’t buy into the AGW theory, that’s significant. I’d like to see a complete list of qualified researchers and where they stand.

    Slightly more accurate than Wikipedia.

  76. @Brain D
    Maybe I’m biased — I mean, I was part of the independent science media until a year ago — but I think you are just wrong. Now more than ever, there is fantastic, in-depth, accurate media coverage of the climate issue. I do not include Fox in this; they are just buffoons, incompetents, and liars.

    I think you may not be looking in the right place. Don’t confuse a 2.5 minute spot on local TV for climate journalism.

    Start at RealClimate.org. and then go to New Scientist, Science News, Time, etc., etc. And Phil Plait, by the way, gets it right, too. The good people are easy to find.

    This is not a shot at you, but many people are just too lazy to spend 15 minutes finding the good stuff. Don’t blame the messenger you never bothered to listen to.

  77. Okay, so now that the question is settled, what next? I mean, I’m all for improving fuel efficiency on cars, or switching to CCFLs, or moving to clean coal, or building more nuclear, or, or, or…

    The problem with the solution end of things seems to be a lack of focus. We (the general public) are bombarded with the “next big thing” in green solutions, whether it be an end-consumer product, or something higher up the food chain. How do we make a nuanced evaluation on solutions when the language used to describe them is all so superlative. This is leaving aside the whole green-vs-green problem on things like wind power and nuclear.

    Basically, now that we can simply and straighforwardly convince all but the most deafened denialist that AGW exists, what happens?

  78. @JJ #52

    As far as I know, there’s only a few hundred qualified climatologists in the world

    Well, it would be apparent that you really don’t know much then! :D I am having trouble coming up with a verified source while at work, but I am getting numbers closer to 30,000 (and some sources indicate that is just in the US).

  79. JJ

    Martin, most scientists agree that CO2 affects climate, where they differ is the extent. Few believe CO2 to be catastrophic to mankind, that is the source of controversy, at least in my research.

    “Well, it would be apparent that you really don’t know much then! :D I am having trouble coming up with a verified source while at work, but I am getting numbers closer to 30,000 (and some sources indicate that is just in the US).”

    I don’t see where you would get such numbers. I don’t have access to the American Geological Institute’s Directory of Geoscience Departments, but I found a site that lists many of them, 515 to be exact. I’m sure they’re more acknowledged universities out there, but even if there were 1,000 and each contained 5 qualified climatologists, lead researchers, that’s only 5,000 in the US. Even if there were 20,000, many of those who are qualified don’t publish papers directly associated with the effect of CO2 on climate, therefore the number would be smaller still.

    http://orgs.usd.edu/esci/geodepts.html

    http://climate-change.suite101.com/article.cfm/no-scientific-consensus-on-human-climate-chan

  80. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    @ #28 Larian LeQuella:

    As long as we are confessing, here are some things that I have changed opinion on because of facts or better theories that have come around:

    – Big bang accelerated expansion. This was before the WMAP 2nd release data and its test of the standard model. That took, oh, say one year before I got around to see that this was the area result.

    – String theory (vs LQG). Yes, I was loopy at first; I entered the Einstein Admiration Zone; I was not aware of the physicist vs math people background, or the outstanding LQG problems.

    – AGW! Well, I didn’t know the science at first.

    – Philosophy. Used to adore it. Silly me, it is useless: can’t tell fact from fiction.

    – Atheism vs agnosticism. Used to believe there was no fact for or against. Silly me: why not reject one religion more? What is more likely? _And_ I know how to falsify materialism now!

    – Accommodationism, framing, “don’t be a dick”. Same here. Silly me, there are both old social movements (say: slaves, suffragettes, gays), modern statistics (atheists from science) and now latest even psychological data that says you should be outspoken and firm if you have a strong case.

    … and I’m sure I will have to change some current ideas:

    Outstanding issues, me against perceived consensus/science strategy/press releases:

    – Methane on Mars as sign of methanogens: Because on Earth, methanogens phylogenetically was among the latest metabolisms to develop; I have a good reference: it developed after the oxygenation event as seen by genes (most likely comes from an oxygenating metabolism). Volcanism is likelier.
    – Steranes as fossils sign of eukaryotes: since there are AFAIU at least 4 classes of bacteria that makes the sterols that metamorphose, and bacteria likely came first, and horizontal gene transfer is less likely than vertical. But of course, if you assume eukaryotes came first/early, you _can_predict it was eukaryotes. Just not very likely – and surely not a falsifiable test.

  81. Bob

    So the earth is warming up, big deal. Putting taxes on carbon based fuel is not the answer. Making solar and wind power tax free is better. And by the way this web site contributes to global warming. Takes a lot of CO2 producing electricity so people can read this web site.

  82. Lonny Eachus

    @JJ:

    I don’t know why we bother. It became obvious to me after Phil’s last climate-oriented blog post that it is impossible to have a reasoned argument in these pages. Even asking a simple “skeptical” question will get you labeled denier, and if you try to use actual reason you and your sources will be inundated with ad-hominem attacks.

    Although it is probably futile, I will simply point out as others have that this announcement by NOAA has very little bearing on the existence or absence of AGW. We did indeed already know that temperatures were trending upward.

    @Ray M:

    Why do you despair? Do you have a problem with longer growing seasons, an increase in vegetation, increased habitable land mass, and fewer hurricanes? All of which are likely as the globe warms. (That last point simply because that has been the overall trend in recent years.)

    Regardless of whether AGW actually exists, historical and paleo data strongly suggest that warmer temperatures, far from being a disaster, are likely to be a great boon for humankind.

  83. Lupine

    JJ “Lupine, El Nino and La Nina are natural weather phenomena, they’ve existed as long as we’ve known. Little Ice Age? Warming that killed the dinosaurs? Warming that led to Greenland sustaining cultivation? These certainly occurred before the burning of fossil fuels. You seem to think that we can explain everything in the universe, that’s far from the truth. If it were true, science would cease to exist. Statistical analyzes have shown very significant correlations between natural weather phenomena and warming.”
    Um, the Little Ice Age did occur after people started using fossil fuels. Most researchers believe that an asteroid impact that COOLED the Earth caused the dinosaurs to become extinct. The Earth had warmed before that due to an volcanic eruption. So we know what caused that.
    And yes, I do think we can explain everything in the Universe if we study. And that was my point. If AGW deniers are so certain that this is “natural” event, what exactly is causing it at this point in history?

  84. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    @ #61 JJ:

    most scientists agree that CO2 affects climate, where they differ is the extent. Few believe CO2 to be catastrophic to mankind, that is the source of controversy.

    Way to move the goalposts, in the same thread! You started out with claiming:

    “Most meteorologists agree that weather patterns are more likely to raise global temperatures than CO2 and people are starting to wake up to that reality.”

    So now you ‘know’ that CO2 affect climate, it’s not the weather.

    But if you know that, why don’t you know that there is no controversy about the catastrophic effects (raised temperatures outside natural variation)?

    Besides that this is naturally catastrophic, because neither society nor biosphere is adapted, and it will cost us, UN and most other organizations have already been able to calculate the likely result: ~ 10 %, or ~ 10^9 people, climate refugees 2050. That is a heavy moral and economical burden, and in fact could be called a catastrophe for any society.

    And those numbers are low, since we now can start to adjust the estimates up after what really happens, not earlier robust predictions.

    In my home town of ~ 10^5 people, it would be as if 10^4 people had to be thrown outside the city gates in short time, with very little resources and probably quite some deaths from increased incidences of drowning etcetera in the process. It would be a calamity, and a moral crisis.

  85. Lonny Eachus

    @60 Larian LeQuella

    There may technically be that many climatologists in the world (the best number I have found so far is more like 20,000) but only a miniscule fraction of them have done any work in the area of AGW.

  86. Azam Khalid @ 38: You are completely correct Azam. The Earth has been a lot warmer in the distant past, and what we are doing now will be a tiny blip in the history of Earth. After our civilization has collapsed and wars over water, food, land, etc. has left humans in unsustainably small scattered and isolated populations, nature will rebound and there will probably be a species explosion akin to the Cambrian one. No, Earth and Nature will be just fine – sure, we will loose a lot of species, but purging the planet of humans is probably the best that could ever happen to Earth.
    So when I am scared by what we have learned from climate science (and no, it is not going to be like in “The Day After Tomorrow”), it is not out of concern for charismatic mega-fauna like polar bears (the denialists view of environmentalists, greenies, tree-huggers), but out of concern for our own species.
    My daughter just turned 4 today, and I would really like for her to have as easy, comfortable and profitable (not money-wise) a life as I have enjoyed so far.
    As my wife has said, nuclear physicists and engineers are rather comfortable with nuclear radiation, but the public is scared about it. Climate scientists on the other hand, are scared about global warming (our predictions seem to always underestimate the warming), whereas the public is pretty complacent…

    A very concerned scientist, citizen and human,,
    Regner Trampedach

  87. Quantumman

    @#65 Lonny Eachus
    Lalalalala.

    In all seriousness though, rather than offering a question like: “Is there a chance that human’s are not the cause?” you expressly say that there are under causes that have not been considered and then complain when somebody shows that they have been. Now I will admit the comments answering the questions are not as politely worded as they could be, but that is as much a reaction you the tone the question is asked in as anything.

    As per longer growing seasons and all that… you are wrong. Increased temperatures raises ocean levels which will reduce usable land mass. Also higher temperatures reduce snow deposits on mountains reducing the flow of streams and rivers during the growing season which is bad. Higher temp also raises ocean temps which is bad for many delicate ecosystems living there and also changes storm patterns over the ocean. If I’m right, there have been more hurricanes in recent years, a longer hurricane season, and stronger hurricanes. So basically Raising global temperatures is in general bad.

    Now I would love to see some information countering my points, but in general I believe we have more to gain from trying to reduce our pollution levels than from just ignoring them. It is only through challenge that science advances, we are a species that loves to solve problems and a grand challenge will inspire many minds to search for an answer.

  88. JJ

    No goal post moving there, I referred to scientists and meteorologists. Scientists consists of climatologists, meteorologists, geologists, etc. I then referred to meteorologists as a specific group, they’re about split down the middle on AGW in my research.

    @Lonny, I try my best to talk some skepticism into this place just to see how people react to the questioning and often get the same reactions every time…denier, idiot, sarcasm, etc. People resort to personal attacks when they’re out of ideas, happens in politics all the time. I just like to provoke thought against the “consensus” because that’s what real skeptics do.

  89. Oli

    I fully agree that our planet is warming up. But really, do we humans have the power to warm it up? I think not. There is much evidence for the theory that we humans are causing this, but there is also a lot of evidence that this is just another warm interglacial period. So please stop acting like the people who think that that’s the case are stupid and denialists, because that’s ridiculous.

  90. Lonny Eachus

    @66 Torbjörn Larsson

    “… why don’t you know that there is no controversy about the catastrophic effects…”

    He doesn’t know it because it’s not true. There is a great deal of controversy. But the majority of the actual EVIDENCE suggests that warmer temperatures will be a good thing. Conditions for humanity overall are likely to get better, not worse.

    Climate refugees? Sure. But those are local and temporary disruptions, not an overall negative effect. And there will be plenty of time for people to move to better conditions. It’s not like it’s all going to happen overnight. Remember… even the IPCC said that the maximum ocean rise by 2100 is only 2 feet. Not many meters, as Gore’s alarmist movie suggested.

  91. MikeMcL

    @61 JJ:

    Did you bother to read the April 2010 abstract from 57?

    “Here, we use an extensive dataset of 1,372 climate researchers and their publication and citation data to show that (i) 97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of ACC outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers.”
    in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

    Reading some of the comments here it’s almost hopeful to see some skeptics moving towards AGW is real but is really a good thing as compared to denying it is happening at all.

  92. XPT

    Oh Jeez. When there’s a warming, it’s not caused by human activities… the next one will be: it’s not us, it’s the Chinese.

  93. JMW

    Just to expand on the general talking point about “natural cycles”, there are indeed natural cycles that affect the Earth’s climate and make it colder or warmer than it is now.

    These cycles exist, and are documented in amazing detail in the Newark Supergroup geologic formation. Three of these cycles are responsible for the cyclic filling and emptying of lakes in the area that is now Nova Scotia. These cycles have lengths of 11,000, 90,000 and 110,000 years respectively (going by memory so the figures may be off). The point is that the amount by which the average temperature of the entire Earth has increased in the last 250 years is equivalent to what those natural cycles did over a period of 10,000 or 20,000 years. So if we are to accept the hypothesis that natural cycles are causing this, the hypothesis you need to explain how these natural cycles have apparently sped up the potency of their effects.

    One of the most recent times the Earth’s climate was as warm as models will predict it will get was about 35 million years ago (again, from memory so don’t necessarily trust my figures), when Texas and all states north were underwater, all the way up to northern Alberta. I’d suggest buying real estate in the foothills of the Rockies, and hope it doesn’t get expropriated by desperate governments.

  94. TheEvidence

    @71
    Sorry, Gore said there’d be a multiple meter sea leavel rise by 2100? I don’t seem to remember that part in the movie. I do remember the part where he made a sea level rise prediction based on a negative land-ice delta (ie. melting). I don’t recall that being tied to any specific time though.

    Doesn’t that make the comparison a bit apples and oranges?

  95. Brian D

    @Gogblog #58:

    I think you may not be looking in the right place. Don’t confuse a 2.5 minute spot on local TV for climate journalism.

    You’re absolutely right, which is why I said “even among those who simply haven’t read anything serious on this”. I should have been clearer – I was referring to the media coverage that the general public is reading, not the media that those of us interested in climate science go to. It was a bash against mainstream media sources, not the few and proud remaining science journalists or scientist journalists. The former appear to see “climate” in a news story and immediately think “oh, I should talk about Climategate and other aspects of this debate, presenting both sides and bugger the evidence” rather than “Oh, I should find a way to make this science approachable and well-understood by the general public”. That may be a touch unfair, but until I see the prestige press rivaling RealClimate (or, I suppose, RealClimate being read by the audience currently reached by the prestige press), I see no reason not to hold their feet to the fire. Nothing personal, though.

    One of the newer books on the subject of manipulation of public opinion of science for political means is Oreskes and Conway’s Merchants of Doubt, which has a recurring theme of “the challenges to the science, often politically motivated and deliberately deceptive, get published in the prestige press while the defenses of science tend to show up in science journals with a much smaller audience”. That desperately needs to change. And since we can’t count on the public picking up subscriptions to Nature and Science, we have to rely on the press to close the gap.

    Incidentally, though, the press is guilty of yet another shifting of the Overton window. They tend to report on the IPCC vs. the few vocal skeptics (Pat Michaels is particularly well-quoted here), ignoring the fact that the IPCC process is consensus-based. Anyone who’s ever worked on a consensus-based statement knows that it’s inherently conservative: If 9 out of 10 people think a problem is “dire” but one does not, and remains adamant on that point, the conclusion must be lowered to meet consensus. Thus, the IPCC isn’t always representative of the balance of scientific opinion on climate science – but anything more severe than the IPCC is considered unreasonable and remains unreported. And, even worse, this entire issue is in general only covered by the specialist climate blogs, so only those of us following those are even aware of it. Everyone else is blissfully unaware of this, and if they hear anything new on climate science, it’s frequently “balanced” with skeptical viewpoints, distracting people from the science with a freaking horse race of a “debate”.

    Sorry. I’m just incredibly bitter about the state of public information on scientific issues, and to me the biggest culprit, who could make the biggest difference with just a little bit more effort, is the media. Scientists who can communicate well are important (RIP, Dr. Stephen Schneider…), as is better science education (especially in the long term! Nothing else could equal this, but good luck funding it when we’re still encountering creationism in some classrooms!), but in terms of immediate impact, better journalism could simultaneously move us past the debate and help reign in the problem of denialism – instead of supporting, deliberately or not, those who would do anything to delay action. Even reasonably dedicated journalists don’t seem to get this – the link I provided above digs at Andrew Revkin, for instance.

  96. JC

    @69 JJ:
    I just like to provoke thought against the “consensus” because that’s what real skeptics do.

    Uh, no. Being a skeptic doesn’t have jack to do with the consensus. Any consensus is irrelevant ; skepticism is just a method of looking at the evidence.

    As a counterpoint to your claim of what a “real skeptic” is: since the consensus is that the earth is round, would you really consider yourself a “real skeptic” by claiming the earth is flat?

  97. MikeMcL

    @71 “Climate refugees? Sure. But those are local and temporary disruptions”

    I’m reminded of George C Scott in Dr Strangelove: “Mr. President, I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed, but I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops, uh, depending on the breaks”

  98. Brian D

    @Lonny Eachus #71:

    … even the IPCC said that the maximum ocean rise by 2100 is only 2 feet.

    You left out two important caveats.

    1) Gore specifically said that those levels were if Greenland (or half of Greenland and half of West Antarctica) were to melt completely, which no one expects to happen by 2100. It’s very much like saying that “if aerosols quadruple, we’ll cool” – a true statement based on an implausible premise.

    2) This one’s more important: The IPCC projection assumes no melting of Greenland or West Antarctica, because they couldn’t model those accurately enough. (It clearly says that right in the table that gives you the estimate you’re quoting, by the way. Congrats on reading your source.) It only looked at thermal expansion and glacier melt, not ice sheet melting. Unless you think the total melt from those areas is around zero, the IPCC numbers are going to be low.

    This has been known, and documented, since at least 2007, by the way.

  99. John F

    ” But really, do we humans have the power to warm it up? I think not.”

    I guess that’s better than the Yahoos who bluntly say, “Man simply is not capable of tampering with creation”

    Do we have the power to warm up the earth? Yesiree BOB, let’s do a thought experiment, what would happen to the global temperature if 100 square miles of mirrored superthin mylar were put in orbit on the night side of the earth, reflecting sunlight (that otherwise missed the earth), onto the earth.

    200 square miles?
    400?
    800?
    1600?
    at what point do you think that would significantly impact global climate/temperature

  100. Lonny Eachus

    @76 Brian D:

    Not according to the IPCC Third Assessment Report (I don’t have a copy of the 4th handy at the moment):

    Quote:

    * thermal expansion of 0.11 to 0.43 m, accelerating through the 21st century;
    * a glacier contribution of 0.01 to 0.23 m;
    * a Greenland contribution of 0.02 to 0.09 m;
    * an Antarctic contribution of 0.17 to 0.02 m.

    Including thawing of permafrost, deposition of sediment, and the ongoing contributions from ice sheets as a result of climate change since the Last Glacial Maximum, we obtain a range of global-average sea level rise from 0.11 to 0.77 m. This range reflects systematic uncertainties in modelling.

    End Quote

    These are their estimates for the 21st Century (2001-2100). So according to IPCC themselves, Greenland and Antarctica ARE accounted for in their figures.

  101. JJ

    “As a counterpoint to your claim of what a “real skeptic” is: since the consensus is that the earth is round, would you really consider yourself a “real skeptic” by claiming the earth is flat?”

    Obviously not, it’s been proven well beyond a doubt and physically observed (from space). When you challenge “consensus”, it’s not about going against them because they’re the majority, it’s about challenging the majority of thought until the truth emerges, that’s why I put consensus in quotes. The consensus of scientists once thought the world was indeed flat and that the solar system revolved about the Earth. Thanks to some skeptics, we learned the real truth.

    When all the questions are answered with enough evidence, one can be convinced it’s the absolute truth. I have yet to see that absolute truth emerge in the AGW case, there’s too many unanswered questions, over-exaggerated claims (many made public, often from the same few sources), and bad data that has been documented to call it settled science.

  102. Well, I’ll say it again. I’ve never questioned if the temperature was changing. I only question what is changing it; at what rate; and what can we do to offset it?

  103. Lonny Eachus

    @77 John F:

    Your argument is ridiculous for at least a couple of reasons:

    First, there is no “night side”. If you meant opposite the sun, you are still wrong because there would be no sunlight to reflect. You would have to put it to one side or the other, not directly behind.

    Second, you are saying that “we have the power” to warm the Earth but the example you give is beyond the current capability of our technology. We have no way to create a 100 sq. mile sheet of mylar in the first place, much less put it in space and aim it. Just the other day, the Japanese deployed humanity’s first-ever solar sail, and it was only a tiny fraction of that area.

    So you might as well argue that we could just put a giant laser up into space and use that to warm the earth. It’s preposterous… at least at our current level of technology.

    Maybe you could think of an example of something we could REALLY do?

  104. Cheyenne

    Could we build a giant space laser that could at least heat up Chicago in January? ‘Cause IF we can do that I totally think we should. It’s cold as all get out up in this joint on those winter days.

  105. John F

    “Maybe you could think of an example of something we could REALLY do?”

    Burn billions of tons of fossil fuels and dump the resultant waste into the atmosphere?

  106. RPJ

    “First, there is no “night side”. If you meant opposite the sun, you are still wrong because there would be no sunlight to reflect. You would have to put it to one side or the other, not directly behind.”

    The Moon is a hoax!

    “Maybe you could think of an example of something we could REALLY do?”

    Burn thousands of tons of carbon a year?

  107. John F

    “First, there is no “night side”. If you meant opposite the sun, you are still wrong because there would be no sunlight to reflect. You would have to put it to one side or the other, not directly behind.”

    So let’s see, when it’s nighttime in NYC (where I live), let’s say 9pm, and the moon is bright and visible in the sky it (the moon) the source of its brightness is not reflected sunlight- because there is no sunlight to reflect?

    BTW “Night side” is the side of the earth that is NOT facing the sun at any given time.
    Something could be orbiting over the “night side” of the earth – and yet itself be in sunlight- the moon does this quite often in fact.

  108. Jeffersonian

    Yep. It used to be that Climate Change deniers could be lumped in with Holocaust deniers or 9/11 nuts. At this point they can safely be lumped in with Flat Earthers, Young Earthers and alien abductees. They’re the people society has to drag along with them while solving the real problems. Particularly those that somehow ended up in congress. Sheesh.

  109. Rick W.

    Boy, am I glad we had SUVs and coal fired power plants 10,000 years ago. If we hadn’t had those things back then we’d still be living in an ice age.

  110. Steve in Dublin

    “Maybe you could think of an example of something we could REALLY do?”

    Burn billions of tons of fossil fuels and dump the resultant waste into the atmosphere?

    John F FTW!

  111. Wayne Robinson

    Admittedly, you can’t extrapolate from short term weather to long time climate, but this week in Perth Australia has been incredibly warm. Usually August is the coldest Winter month, but this week I have actually been getting around in shorts, t-shirt and thongs (and feeling warm). Yesterday, I noticed ants were swarming much earlier than usual.

    When we leave the present ice age (and I think that this is a certainty, regardless of the cause), I wonder if the climate will become similar to that of the Cretaceous (the arrangement of the continents were similar to the present), with a much more uniform global climate, and less extremes, with no really very hot or very cold regions).

    Not that I want to risk major changes in climate. We know that life on Earth has survived very well major upheavals in climate. I don’t know if 6.5 billion (and increasing) humans will survive though.

  112. Lonny Eachus

    “So let’s see, when it’s nighttime in NYC (where I live), let’s say 9pm, and the moon is bright and visible in the sky it (the moon) the source of its brightness is not reflected sunlight- because there is no sunlight to reflect?”

    The moon is not directly opposite the sun at that time. When it is, that’s called an eclipse. Just ask Phil.

    I know what you meant by “night side”. But obviously what part of the Earth is on the night side changes from moment to moment. Just as there is no persistent “dark side of the moon”.

  113. Jeff

    I believe the IPCC study of 2007 basically did the science correct, and I’ve read Mann’s book and find it convincing. Whenever earth temps . rose in geological past, they were always correlated with rises in CO(2). And since no doubt exists that CO(2) has risen recently, what the heck other than man’s activities could account for this.

    But this field will forever now be charged with emotion, and whenever that happens, forget it, the ball game is over as far as a fair, impartial scientific debate on the subject. Now , it will forever be wedded into politics, and that will kill the scientific debate.

    But those of us who know, know, and don’t listen to all the group-think politically charged debates.

  114. RPJ

    “I know what you meant by “night side”. But obviously what part of the Earth is on the night side changes from moment to moment. Just as there is no persistent “dark side of the moon”.”

    Let’s assume that geosynchronous satellites have been invented.

    “The moon is not directly opposite the sun at that time. When it is, that’s called an eclipse. Just ask Phil.”

    You’re the only one claiming that this is about “directly opposite, ergo in eclipse”. John F only said the “night side”, which is a wide range, and is a colloquial term anyway. You’re either trolling (harder than me), or can’t understand.

  115. John F

    “And since no doubt exists that CO(2) has risen recently, what the heck other than man’s activities could account for this.”

    Here’s where you have to be careful, the denier responds (hell even an honest skeptic at that point) can point out that other things than man have and can account for CO2 changes.

    It’s not enough to draw the correlation between past CO2 levels and temperature rises.

    1: Correlation =/= causation, a skeptic could note that CO2 rises maybe causes by whatever mechanism is making the temperature rise, or the temperature is the cause and CO2 is the effect.

    2: Let’s say you’ve established that yes, increases in CO2 CAUSE rises in temperature- then what, then you have to establish that we are causing an increase in CO2, and the increase WE ARE CAUSING is significant- a denier may say yes we’re adding CO2 to the air, but so are ___, ___ & _____ and our share is insignificant…

    There’s an idiotically false maxim that many sportwriters adhere to when evaluating players, “If it takes too many words to explain why someone is great, then he’s not”

    sadly, it takes a hell of a lot of words to properly explain AGW, and the second a “skeptical” listener loses the thread of the argument… well thats[ it for that listener. However, if you do the short version: CO2 = greenhouse, we pump greenhouse gases out, therefore the earth’s warming s our fault- you leave “gaps” that the deniers can and will exploit

  116. John F

    “But this field will forever now be charged with emotion, and whenever that happens, forget it, the ball game is over as far as a fair, impartial scientific debate on the subject. Now , it will forever be wedded into politics, and that will kill the scientific debate.”

    Not forever, just a generation or so.

  117. Quantumman

    Look this is all very simple, we change what we can and wait to see if it fixes things. Namely we assume we are causing the global warming and fix carbon emissions. Then we can argue all we want about whether we were at fault in the first place. In the end if conditions return to normal we will all be happy and it won’t matter if it was a cycle or us otherwise we will find out it wasn’t us and if things continue to get worse, well it wasn’t our fault but its not like we could have done anything to stop it.

    Also, researching ways to clean up our act will, as I mentioned before, lead to advancements in technology that will benefit all.

  118. RPJ

    “Not forever, just a generation or so.”

    What do you think will happen that will detach emotion? A sinking ship doesn’t usually cause emotional detachment…if anything, I would think that catastrophic climate change would foster an increase in emotionalism.

  119. John F

    “A sinking ship doesn’t usually cause emotional detachment…if anything, I would think that catastrophic climate change would foster an increase in emotionalism.”

    Well when a sinking ship is actually going under it will change the minds of those who thought it wasn’t sinking

  120. Lonny Eachus

    @92 RPJ:

    Clue: geosynchronous satellites do not stay opposite the sun. Try again.

    And no, I wasn’t trolling. When the moon is shining brightly it is to one side of the Earth in relation to the sun, not behind it. I was explaining to John F. why a reflector has to be to one side or the other (or above or below) the Earth, and why. That was an essential part of his scenario, not some stupid irrelevant detail.

  121. TheBlackCat

    When all the questions are answered with enough evidence, one can be convinced it’s the absolute truth.

    No, it can’t. You cannot prove anything is “absolute truth”. By definition no skeptic accepts anything as absolute truth. Everything is tentative, everything is open to revision, everything could be proven wrong. What matters is whether enough evidence has accumulated that you can act with some confidence in the results. The vast majority of experts in the field think this is the case with AGW.

    I have yet to see that absolute truth emerge in the AGW case, there’s too many unanswered questions, over-exaggerated claims (many made public, often from the same few sources), and bad data that has been documented to call it settled science.

    I notice you provide no actual examples of any of these. Far from the claims being over-exaggerated, the IPCC report actually drastically underestimated the effects global warming would have, primarily because they wanted to be extra-careful that they didn’t exaggerate anything.

    Also, if your examples of “over-exaggerated claims” are non-scientists or, worse yet, reports in the popular press, you will lose all credibility. Using things said by non-scientists and presenting them as evidence that scientists don’t know what they are talking about is extremely dishonest.

  122. rick

    Not to jump in with the deniers, but don’t many of them agree that it’s warming and just disagree that it’s caused by man?

  123. rick

    TheBlackCat: consider the recent study quoted on this blog about global warming causing illegal immigration here from Mexico.

    This is more irresponsible than what some conservative deniers are saying, I’d propose.

  124. John F

    ” I was explaining to John F. why a reflector has to be to one side or the other (or above or below) the Earth, and why. That was an essential part of his scenario, not some stupid irrelevant detail.” do you even bother to read (in full) the stuff your responding to?

  125. John F

    “Not to jump in with the deniers, but don’t many of them agree that it’s warming and just disagree that it’s caused by man?”

    Yes, some “deniers” will admit/agree it is warming. They tend to get drowned out by the Faux Newz crew that claims that we’re in a “cooling trend” though.

  126. Zucchi

    Lonny:

    Clue: a geosynchronous satellite is in direct sunlight most of the time. A rough mental estimate is about 22 hours a day. Good enough?

    Come to think of it, during most of the year a geostationary satellite is simply outside the cone of the Earth’s shadow; 24/7 continuous sunlight. For a few weeks surrounding each Equinox, they get less — but still better than 22 hours a day.

    Hope this is helping. What an odd point you’ve chosen to argue, from a position of ignorance that suggests you don’t spend much time on astronomy sites.

  127. Lonny Eachus

    @103 Zucchi:

    Nice straw-man argument, Zucchi. Who is nitpicking now? In fact you are misrepresenting my claim. I did not state that geosynchronous satellites did not see plenty of sunlight, only that they did not stay parked opposite the sun (in relation to the earth). The subject under discussion was reflection of sunlight to the “night side” of the Earth. A geosynchronous satellite would not accomplish that goal.

    Further, for a reflector to be very effective, it cannot be BETWEEN the Earth and the sun, so your point is almost completely irrelevant. I say “almost” because there are certainly angles that would make reflection possible during much of the orbit, but most of the time that would make for a woefully inefficient reflector… not even worth building.

  128. Lonny Eachus

    I have removed this comment because in making it I unintentionally broke a self-imposed policy.

  129. JJ

    “No, it can’t. You cannot prove anything is “absolute truth”. By definition no skeptic accepts anything as absolute truth. Everything is tentative, everything is open to revision, everything could be proven wrong. What matters is whether enough evidence has accumulated that you can act with some confidence in the results. The vast majority of experts in the field think this is the case with AGW.”

    Can you deny the Earth is a sphere? Can you deny that gravity restricts us from floating freely about the Earth? Some things are absolutely true and cannot be denied, but confidence is obviously important too. That’s the difference between scientific laws and theories. Furthermore, I’ve presented numerous sources of studies, nothing from an anti-warming think tank as you seem to imply. For example:

    http://climate-change.suite101.com/article.cfm/no-scientific-consensus-on-human-climate-chan

    http://international-environmental-affairs.suite101.com/article.cfm/new-scientist-does-about-turn-on-global-warming

    http://climatology.suite101.com/article.cfm/top-russian-space-scientist-debunks-greenhouse-gas-theory

    Even if you disagree with them, there’s no denying that these studies raise more questions than they answer.

  130. Zucchi

    Lonny: wow. You’re working hard at arguing about nothing.

    1) It’s possible to have more than one satellite in orbit. If you have ten, then any longitude on the planet would have reflected sunlight shining down on it from within 18 degrees of directly overhead at the Equator. That’s like the Sun between late morning and early afternoon.

    2) Although we’ve been talking about geosynchronous orbit, it’d actually be more efficient to have your solar reflectors closer in.

    What I’ve completely lost the thread of is why the hell you would want to do that anyway. We’ve already got AGW; the last thing we need is to increase the amount of sunlight the Earth gets, raising the mean temperature even more. Sure, we could do it, but why the hell would we?

  131. RPJ

    The point was refuting the notion that humans are powerless to affect the world

  132. Zucchi

    Hey, Lonny, here’s one for you: park your reflector at L2 in the Earth-Sun system. Permanent sunlight. And make it about 12 thousand kilometers in diameter. Result? We now have two suns, and no night. Again, I don’t know why you’d want to do that; sounds nightmarish.

  133. @ Lonny (#78)

    You’re reading that incorrectly.

  134. Zucchi

    “The point was refuting the notion that humans are powerless to affect the world.”

    Oh. Well, obviously we can affect the world. That’s why we have this damn AGW.

  135. Lonny Eachus

    @106 Zucchi:

    “It’s possible to have more than one satellite in orbit.”

    Why should I bother arguing with you, if you are just going to keep moving the target? That wasn’t the subject under discussion! Straw-man all the way.

    “What I’ve completely lost the thread of is why the hell you would want to do that anyway.”

    Obviously, and that was my point: you aren’t talking about what we were talking about. It’s like you came into a conversation late, and didn’t bother to determine the subject before throwing in your 2 cents’ worth. Well, AFAIAC that’s about what it’s worth: 2 cents.

  136. To expand a bit on #109:

    When reading a small section of a scientific document, if your reading seems to indicate a result contrary to a summary, there are two possibilities. One, the accumulated authors are making a major error. Two, you’re misunderstanding the context of the small section that you’re reading.

    Rather than point at a small section of a document (which presupposes that you’ve read the rest of the working group materials — which you probably haven’t), instead look at the summary:

    http://www.ipcc-wg1.unibe.ch/publications/wg1-ar4/faq/wg1_faq-5.1.html

    “An important uncertainty relates to whether discharge of ice from the ice sheets will continue to increase as a consequence of accelerated ice flow, as has been observed in recent years. This would add to the amount of sea level rise, but quantitative projections of how much it would add cannot be made with confidence, owing to limited understanding of the relevant processes. ”

    In other words, #76 is correct, and you’re wrong. Ice sheet melting from Greenland and the Antarctic is in fact not included in the chosen projections, as it cannot be modeled with high confidence.

  137. Lonny Eachus

    @109 Pat Cahalan:

    “You’re reading that incorrectly.”

    No, I’m not. The post to which I was replying asserted: “The IPCC projection assumes no melting of Greenland or West Antarctica, because they couldn’t model those accurately enough.”

    The page I linked to and my quote from it directly contradict this assertion. And not just in the part I quoted above but very specifically, just below that, on the same page:

    QUOTE

    The West Antarctic ice sheet (WAIS) has attracted special attention because it contains enough ice to raise sea level by 6 m and because of suggestions that instabilities associated with its being grounded below sea level may result in rapid ice discharge when the surrounding ice shelves are weakened. The range of projections given above makes no allowance for ice-dynamic instability of the WAIS. It is now widely agreed that major loss of grounded ice and accelerated sea level rise are very unlikely during the 21st century.

    END QUOTE

    This is a solid and direct refutation of the statement to which I was responding. I misread nothing. Far from saying that the region was disregarded (nor Greenland, for that matter; it is specifically included in the figures I quoted earlier), it states that the region WAS accounted for, and that the idea it would raise sea levels more than the stated estimates is not currently considered to be realistic.

  138. Lonny Eachus

    @108 Zucchi:

    “park your reflector at L2 in the Earth-Sun system. Permanent sunlight. And make it about 12 thousand kilometers in diameter. …”

    Once again, if anything you are supporting my own “side” of the argument. We do not currently have the technology to do that given the resources at our disposal. John’s original thought experiment was all about the idea that we DO have the technology to do something like that. I was explaining that in fact we don’t… not his specific proposal, anyway.

    I’m not trying to be nasty or contrary… just trying to clarify the subject under discussion. And maybe in fact you have an idea: what could we do — given our current level of technology and resources — to significantly warm the planet? (Burning fossil fuels has already been mentioned.) It’s not that we WANT to do that. The idea was: could we do it, and how?

    Lots of controlled nuclear fission might do it. But it would take a lot.

  139. Brian Too

    Climate Change also makes sense from first principles. Humankind has been burning fossil fuels on a mass scale since the Industrial Revolution, or roughly 200 years. We’ve been burning wood and other combustibles too, for much longer. However consumption was lower, populations were lower, and much of the consumed wood may have been replaced with new growth.

    No, it was mass combustion of huge carbon deposits that was different. Coal, oil, gas, take your pick. Imagine how much coal has been burned in two centuries. I was recently in an old coal mine, which had been completely mined out many decades ago. It was just one of a whole group in the area. They fed the early railroad system.

    We know that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, and we know that we’ve been adding millions of tons of it to the atmosphere, every year for 200+ years. Less of course at first, and more as industrialization progressed. To the point that measurable increases in CO2 occur every year.

    Yet the denialists would have us believe that this is a “natural phenomena” caused by sunspots, or increasing solar output, or the rotation of the galaxy. The Industrial Revolution was a man-made event, and the denialists have to ignore it’s very existence to make any kind of sense. London was famous for pea-soup fogs for most of that time. Those fogs were caused by pollution from fossil fuels and only abated when cleaner burning fuels and combustion methods were found. In fact there is substantial air pollution in most major cities worldwide caused by human activity.

    So much for “mankind cannot change the weather”.

  140. Paul Hannah

    I look at it this way. The flora of the planet has spent millions of years trapping the CO2 and laying it down harmlessly below ground. We have spent 150 years digging it up and setting fire to it on an industrial scale.
    We need to find a way to put it back. We can’t leave it in the air or it will destroy us. And the flora will have to start again.

  141. TheBlackCat

    The flora of the planet has spent millions of years trapping the CO2 and laying it down harmlessly below ground.

    Try hundreds of millions of years. They don’t cal the period from 360-300 million years ago the “Carboniferous” for nothing.

  142. Paul in Sweden

    Has anyone here actually read the report?
    -http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/cmb/bams-sotc/climate-assessment-2009-hi-rez.pdf

    I haven’t dug into the report yet myself.

    Headlines are fun but “The 2009 State of the Climate report released today draws on data for 10 key climate indicators that all point to the same finding: the scientific evidence that our world is warming is unmistakable.” which is a continuation of the acknowledgment of most scientists that the world has increased in global temperatures since the little ice age and perhaps as much as a 0.6-0.7C over the last hundred or so years(which coincidently overlaps the industrial period) is unremarkable and non-controversial.

    Looking forward to reading the report. I hope some of you actually read the report too. :) Perhaps we will all be startled by some evidence of attribution of this slight variance in the global average temperature.

  143. TheBlackCat

    Not to jump in with the deniers, but don’t many of them agree that it’s warming and just disagree that it’s caused by man?

    Some think it isn’t warming, some think that it is warming but the warming isn’t caused by humans, and some think that it isn’t warming but that the warming isn’t caused by humans.

  144. owlbear1

    Strip away all of the bluster and the essential message of the denialists’ is, “The pollution isn’t hurting you, so shut up so we can continue profiting from dumping our wastes on you.”

  145. Tyler Durden

    The “debate” about AGW will continue until science provides a cheap, easily deployed, permanent solution to the crisis, which doesn’t require anyone to sacrifice even so much as a plastic bag in the effort to prevent the globe from warming.

    Until that day, it will be standard operating procedure for politicians, pundits, and the emotionally immature to deny, deny, deny. They’re simply incapable of acknowledging a calamity in the works, without also being spoonfed the solution to prevent the calamity.

    And aside from that bit of depressing human psychology, there is of course the economic incentive to global warming denial. It simply isn’t profitable to acknowledge that your entire industrial system is making the planet uninhabitable, because then you’d have to *do* something about it. It’s far more beneficial to confuse the gullible masses into thinking nothing is happening, so you can continue reaping record profits.

    Personally, I don’t care about global warming anymore. It’s entirely obvious that our industry caused this; but I have enough faith in science to believe that before the worst effects of global warming take place, we’ll already have found technological solutions to reverse AGW.

  146. TheBlackCat

    *sigh* and now Paul shows up. There goes this thread.

  147. Ryan G

    Surface temperature trends are a matter of taking measurements and interpreting the data. I don’t think the notion that it’s not warmed since the 70’s exists outside of the creationist blogosphere.

    There are some very interesting issues in climatology. It’s commonly said (including in the comments on this page, I think) that climate is determined by a limited set of influences and that each of these is known and understood. In my opinion, the most interesting influence is aerosols. An input to climate models is the concentration of various aerosols versus time. To my knowledge, while there are single widely used datasets for CO2 and temperature, there are no established datasets for ozone, aerosols, or natural forcing factors. I believe that proposition is supported by the following paper:

    http://www.agu.org/journals/ABS/2007/2007GL031383.shtml
    Kiehl 2007: Twentieth century climate model response and climate sensitivity

    I think the lack of an agreed-upon data set for aerosols is important because climate models achieve agreement with past surface temperature data by coupling carbon/humidity/heat feedbacks to aerosol feedbacks. Basically, models with high CO2 sensitivity avoid simulating too much warming by using a small net forcing and models with weak feedbacks still simulate observed warming with a larger forcing. This means the reason why major climate models can all reproduce warming trends pretty well even though they don’t agree at all on the fundamentals of climate forcings is they make whatever assumption about aerosols necessary to adjust the radiative forcing to the level needed to balance the assumed sensitivity. I believe that proposition is supported by the following paper:

    http://www.agu.org/journals/ABS/2008/2008GL034932.shtml
    Knutti 2008: Why are climate models reproducing the observed global surface warming so well?

    When such, let’s call them strong arm tactics, are being used to achieve agreement with past temperature data, I don’t think it makes sense to evaluate a climate model based on its ability to model past surface temperature. I’m a somewhat educated lay observer here, but perhaps agreement with precipitation or other somewhat unrelated data would be a better way to evaluate models? I think this is important because model agreement with past data seems to be the only way to justify the proposition that all climate influences are known and understood.

    Also, I suspect the reason there is no agreed-upon data series for aerosols is that there is no clear cut scientific answer to the question of what is the correct or at least the best data series. I have seen allegations, that I hope are typical baseless internet libel, that sometimes aerosol data series are actually evaluated by how well climate models reproduce past data when fed the particular aerosol data as an input. I hope to be told that no such thing takes place, because that’s flirting with the dark side.

  148. @Lonny #78:

    So according to IPCC themselves, Greenland and Antarctica ARE accounted for in their figures.

    http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/ar4-wg1.htm

    SPM page 13, in which the table gives estimates of sea level rise by 2100. (The upper range of the worst scenario, 0.59m, is about 2 feet, the value you’re citing.)

    The column heading is “Model-based range excluding future rapid dynamical changes in ice flow” – which is explained elsewhere in the report (esp. Chapter 5) to refer to things like the Greenland or West Antarctic meltwater acting as lubricant, speeding up its flow into the ocean (which is equivalent to them melting faster as far as sea level rise is concerned; I was a bit loose with my terms, I apologize). They didn’t have enough information on the system to model it with confidence, so they left it out.

    Incidentally, if you look at the 2007 paper I cited above, you’ll see that the observed sea level rise is already tracking the upper limit of the IPCC’s projections, suggesting the models were conservative in the first place. Which was my whole point.

    I await your correction with antici…..

  149. Johannes

    Sorry guys, the (lower) troposphere is not warming.

    REFS:

    Kim, H. and Dessler, A.E. (2004): Observations of convective cooling in the tropical tropopause layer in AIRS data. Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss. 4, 7615-7629

    Klotzbach, P.J. et al. (2009): An alternative explanation for differential temperature trends at the surface and in the lower troposphere. J. Geophys. Res. 114, D21102, 8 PP, doi:10.1029/2009JD011841

  150. Aaron

    I used to think that global warming is happening.Now I think that global warming might be happening.I guess I am more reasonable than I used to be.But even if all the glaciers were melting right now there would still be skeptics saying “there is no global warming.”

  151. TheBlackCat

    @ Johannes: Uh, neither of those papers come remotely close to supporting your conclusion.

    Not only does the first paper not say that the troposphere has not been warming over the last half-century, it doesn’t deal with tropospheric warming at all. It only deals with a small sub-layer of the troposphere, only deals with a rare event that lasts less than a month twice a year in localized area, and that event leads to cooling in some sub-layers of the troposhere and warming in others. So it doesn’t even come close to even mentioning the question of whether the troposphere is warming.

    The second paper says that the troposphere is warming, but that the surface temperature records and satellite records don’t agree on exactly how much. So not only is it not proof that the troposphere is not warming, it explicitly states that the troposphere is warming.

    Is that really the proof you have that the troposphere is not warming? A paper that does not deal with tropospheric warming at all and a paper that claims the troposphere is warming?

  152. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ 59. Buzz Parsec : [July 27th, 2010 at 3:24 pm]

    From this old thread :

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/07/26/that-nasa-look/#comment-285539

    MTU – Re: AGW, next time a global warning thread rolls around, perhaps you could discuss what you found convincing? Or did you already do that in a comment to some post I missed recently (I’ve been intermittent here lately.) I hope this was a rational conclusion based on evidence, and not because the rest of us Global Warming Thugs beat you into it!

    Okay, now is the right time & I’ll keep my promise in comment #65 there :

    Well it wasn’t just *one* thing or discussion but rather a whole *lot* of them over time taking out argument after argument and it was a long cumulative process I’ll say that much now. I’ve discussed this before here – so long ago that I’ve forgotten exactly which thread – but I’ll do so again maybe on the next AGW thread the BA posts here.

    Well, I’ll start by saying no I wasn’t bullied into changing my view but very gradually convinced. My personal experience here is as follows :

    I’ve been interested in this issue for ages – growing up in the late 1980’s I initially felt concerned and alarmed by the Greenhouse Effect (Global Warming) issue.

    Some years later – after some of the over-hyped predictions from then hadn’t quite materialised – I encountered the geologist, skeptic and AGW denier Prof. Ian Plimer. I attended a few of Plimer’s lectures against the reality of AGW – some through an astronomy group. I spoke with him in person – and he came across very well as a good, sincere bloke who is genuinely committed to science with a valid if un-orthodox perspective. I read Plimer’s book ‘Heaven + Earth’ which, I can assure you, seems very scholarly and convincing. Thus, yes, I did become very strongly convinced by Plimer’s case there that AGW is bunk.

    With the zeal of a convert, I then argued this case to others – incl. & esp. here on the BA blog. In doing so, I had to argue with a number of people who of course, disagreed vigorously and provided evidence against what is was saying. There were a number of passionate arguments with a number of posters over a long time. Very gradually, painfully, I found that what I was now convinced was true wasn’t so much.

    I was convinced that 1998 being the hottest year alone (which okay is what I then thought – 2005 was almost certainly slightly hotter) just about ruled out the notion of dangerous Global Warming on its own – that we had, in fact, been cooling down over the past decade. I still think it is a major point against AGW and will be happier when we have a much hotter, much more recent record hot year but I’ve had to accept that, yes, it is possible for 1998 or 2005 to have been record hottest years but yet the trend is still going upwards.

    Plus that the selection of 1998 as a starting point is misleading and doesn’t provide the full picture, that 1998 was an outlier and that a decade by decade comparison shows that the last period has indeed been unnaturally hot. Eventually, I had to accept that and acknowledge that the ‘1998 = hottest year thus no AGW’ argument while initially highly convincingly is misleading and wrong.

    I’ve argued it was a natural process, a natural cycle and not caused by humans – that it’s our Sun or Milankovitch cycles or lack of volcanic eruptions etc .. NOT us. But when you look at the evidence you find that these have been taken into account by the climatologists. That they don’t add up to the full picture. The Sunspot cycle explains and follows our climate pattern to a large extent but then at a point in recent decades the relationship breaks down. The Sun should be causing the climate to cool but instead it warms. Why? The Milankovitch and other natural cycles say we should be cooling down – but the upwards trend is still there. Why?

    I still think there may be a natural component or two – that some factors may explain a small part of Global Warming. But it is now clear that these cannot explain all the warming. That some natural factors, (eg. the solar cycle) are out of synch with rising planetary temperatures and cannot be the cause of them. That, when everything is taken into account – & it has been by the climatologist’s involved – natural processes and cycles are insufficient to cause the warming we have experienced. So I’ve had to acknowledge, slowly and painfully, that yes, Humanity is behind at least a very large percentage of the Global Warming we’ve undergone.

    I’ve also had to acknowledge that the climatologist conspiracy theory doesn’t work. That all these individuals aren’t frauds or charlatans but genuine scientists who have trained and understood the science aren’t all just working a con to gain grants and drive a political agenda. That the climategate emails can be explained as being taken out of context and misinterpreted. It has been very hard to convince me that “things like “hide the decline”, “we can’t find the warming and it’s a travesty we can’t” & “don’t tell them England has a Freedom of Information request” don’t have the obvious negative readings they seem to have. That these don’t add up to a disproof of the science of AGW & a proof of conspiracy. I’ve had to face the reality eventually that the science is solid despite some nasty leaked emails. The words used by a few have been overblown, cherry-picked and taken to mean things that they just don’t.

    I still wish there was an enquiry or two more – and more visible independent from the bodies involved with more clearly neutral judges. I still think some of the content of the emails is disturbing and that the CRU scientists are far from above reproach. For instance, I think the “change the meaning of peer review” attempt – which I now get was NOT actually successful – was a deplorable and disgraceful thing to say that reflects very badly on the individuals involved. That the threat to delete emails and the loss of raw data is very worrying. I am a huge believer in science needing to be open to scrutiny and that information should be made public and available for everyone to see. But I now accept that this doesn’t invalidate the whole science itself. That the rising temperatures, the melting glaciers, the biological indicators all point conclusively to undeniable evidence that our planet is indeed warming.

    I’ve also, perhaps most painfully had to accept that Ian Plimer’s book is NOT an entirely valid and comprehensive and conclusive disproof of AGW. A couple of posters here have pointed me to a number of reviews that show instead that it is badly flawed and not what it seems. Plimer isn’t telling the whole story at best. He comes across as very sincere and armed with compelling evidence all well sourced and cited but a lot of things in the book are wrong or misinterpreted. A lot of the studies he cites don’t mean what he claims they mean & the arguments made in his book don’t actually stand up to further scrutiny – as I’ve noted in the paragraphs above.

    There’s more I could say, these are just some of the main points & I might see if I can find some of the more powerful comments here and reference them for you. I’ll also note again Peter Sinclair’s “Climate Denial Crock of the Week” videos which I found among the final straws that broke the camel of my former “AGW = bunk” belief.

    I’ll stress again, it wasn’t any one single thing that finally convinced me but instead a cumulative process of many things and eventually being forced to concede argument after argument that was no longer tenable.

    I’ll also note that name-calling and being rude to me never worked. providing the evidence and arguing calmly, logically and politely eventually did.

    Finally, I know this blog has changed a lot of people’s minds on various things and even changed people’s lives sometimes quite dramatically. All for the better. Mine is one of one of those – and I will say Thanks for that to the BA and to some of the commenters here. :-)

  153. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ Buzz Parsec – I’ve answered your question earlier on another thread a week or two ago (July 27th) about what changed my view on Global Warming from denial to acceptance. It is awaiting moderation now & hopefully will appear soon or at worst tomorrow.

  154. Jimmy Cracks Capricorns

    Hey SPORTS FANS!!!!!!…….the DENIALISTS didn’t deny the earth was warming, they denied WE HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH IT!!!! You have to convince red neck bible thumping creationists that our cars, coal fired power plants, and commercial feed lots indeed are the primary culprits. We all want electric cars, we just want them to go 300 miles and only take 5 minutes to change batteries….how will I drive 800 miles to Santa Fe like I do every year???

  155. ad

    In case anyone is actually interested in some reasoned responses to the report:
    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/originals/collection_re_noaa.pdf

  156. Ratandeep Singh

    I think we are missing a crucial point in our discussion. Since there is enough evidence to show that earth is warming up, we should not fight over whether it’s caused by man or is natural. Even if it’s natural, we need to do something about it. If the weather is going to be unplesent, we need to change it, no matter the cause. It’s the same logic as an asteroid on a collision course. It’s not man made, but we HAVE to do something about it. We HAVE to play with nature.

    Even if global warming is a natural cyclic occurence, as much as an asteroid impact is a natual cyclic(statistically) occurence, we have to change its course.

    But the main problem is that we don’t have much evidence that reducing our carbon footprint will solve this problem. I think we need to invest in geoengineering.

  157. Reality

    Hey Lonny and JJ, how’s it feel to be owned by the facts, over and over and over again?

  158. Lonnie in Norway

    I don’t know what the fuss is all about, we’ve known that the Earth has been trending in the warming department. Anyway warming is good, ALL the EVIDENCE points to a utopian world where unfashionable woolly jumpers and unsightly heavy overcoats will be a thing of the past.
    Its nothing to do with CO2. Svante Arrhenius didn’t prove anything. In fact the warming trend is caused by the sun, undersea volcanoes and the effect of Al Gore’s libido, along with some complicated cyclical orbital mechanics and the fact that the Earth is large enough to have a molten core.
    So alarmists please stop whining and get ready for the rapture of a warm world. Hallelooyah!

  159. Paul in Sweden

    tropospheric temperature worries…

    Look at the darn paper. There is even a pretty graphic :) FIG. 2.4 page 25
    -http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/cmb/bams-sotc/climate-assessment-2009-hi-rez.pdf

    “The 2009 global average temperature of the lower tropospheric layer (TLT, surface to ~8 km, see Fig. 2.2 in Karl et al. 2006) was approximately +0.3°C above the 1979–98 average. The first half of the year was near the decade’s average but the troposphere subsequently warmed quickly in response to the developing warm phase of ENSO (Fig. 2.4).”

    Warmed quickly in response to ENSO…

    No anthropogenic attribution there.

    Does anyone see an alarming trend in the global mean lower tropospheric temperature (1958–2009)?

    Looks near zero!

  160. Reality

    Hey JJ and Lonny, how’s it feel to be OWNED by the facts, over and over and over again?

  161. Muzz

    Monck-ton

    -noun

    A rhetorical tactic where one’s opponents’ arguments or evidence are quoted in support of one’s own position, usually in contrary to the opponents own conclusions.
    Can take the form of suggesting the opposing argument doesn’t say what it itself thinks it says (thus painting the opposition as willfully misleading), or ignoring the opposing conclusion entirely and claiming by ommision the ostensible opponent is actually in support of one’s position (thus relying on the ignorance of the audience).
    A refined form of Cherry Picking.

    “To Monckton” “To pull a Monckton”

    Named for Christopher Monckton, Viscount of Brenchly, who was chief proponent of the tactic during the so called climate wars.

  162. Your Name Here

    They’ll never say that global warming is bad. Not even when everyone is dying from heat in Greenland.

  163. Nigel Depledge

    Mike (12) said:

    Could someone provide me input on data showing whether this is anthropogenic or a cyclical upturn?

    Sure, no probs:

    1) Go to your nearest University.
    2) Jump through whatever administrative hoops they have to allow you access to their library.
    3) Look it up for yourself in the primary literature.

    BTW, the thing about a “cyclical upturn” is that puts the burden of proof on you – is there a cycle of which the current trend could be a part? When you get your paper published in a reputable scientific journal, let us know so we can go and read it.

  164. ad

    So Nige, since you have obviously done the research, give us all a few shortcut references. I’ll be waiting…

  165. Oli

    @ John F – I hadn’t thought of that way to change the climate. What I meant was that I don’t think humans have the power to warm the Earth several degrees withina century by emission of gases like carbon dioxide, methane, et cetera.

  166. Mike G

    Paul, you’re either the most dishonest poster here or the most incompetent at reading graphs. Which is it?

    Fig 2.4 pg 25 clearly shows an increase in tropospheric temperature of about 1 deg C, not “near zero.” The nearly flat, multicolored lines at the top are the differences between datasets, not the temperature trend.

    Lest the graph of difference confuse you, scroll down to the very next page and have a look at the top right corner of Fig 2.5 where it says “Tropospheric Temperature: 7 Datasets.” How flat does that trend look?

    And, gee they don’t attribute a single year’s temperature anomaly to CO2? Wow, that’s a shocker.

  167. JJ

    “Hey JJ and Lonny, how’s it feel to be OWNED by the facts, over and over and over again?

    Facts? You must have not been paying attention.

    Global warming just means a longer golf season… :-)

  168. Mike G

    JJ (129)

    I confess that I didn’t visit all three of your links. The “top-russian-space-scientist-debunks-greenhouse-gas-theory” part of the last one caught my eye and immediately sent up a huge red flag. One guy (not a climatologist) single-handedly debunked a 100 yr old field of study? Color me skeptical.

    The article first claims that the sun has been continuously increasing in intensity for 100 years. No evidence is provided, nor has Abdussamatov published any academic work on the subject. The claim is actually contradictory to work that has been published which shows little or no trend in solar output over the last 30 years, while temperature has increased steadily (e.g. see: http://rspa.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/464/2094/1387.abstract). It then goes on to cite Gerlich and Tscheuschner as having debunked the physics of the greenhouse effect. Eh, no. Most of their paper is spent complaining that the greenhouse effect doesn’t work like an actual greenhouse, supported by citations of newspapers and anonymous internet sources. They even cite The Journal of Irreproducible Results.

    My confidence in your skepticism isn’t helped by pointing to links with that level of scholarship.

  169. Paul in Sweden

    167. Mike G Says:
    August 4th, 2010 at 7:34 am

    Paul, you’re either the most dishonest poster here or the most incompetent at reading graphs. Which is it?
    Mike, I am certainly not a dishonest poster. Clearly I should have blown the graph up more and put reading glasses on. Thanks for correcting me Mike.

    Fig 2.4 pg 25 clearly shows an increase in tropospheric temperature of about 1 deg C, not “near zero.” The nearly flat, multicolored lines at the top are the differences between datasets, not the temperature trend.
    Clearly you are right Mike, I see now that the anomalies are a composite of both radiosonde & Sat data. The legend did not indicate this(solid blk for radiosonde) but the description below Fig. 2.4 does. I carelessly thought they broke out the radiosonde on the bottom and had a heavy smooth on the upper portion for differences on satellite data. I was a little miffed originally that they did not graph sat anomalies but I see now they did a composite.

    Lest the graph of difference confuse you, scroll down to the very next page and have a look at the top right corner of Fig 2.5 where it says “Tropospheric Temperature: 7 Datasets.” How flat does that trend look?
    The Fig. 2.5 graphs are not readable and the reverence is for the home page of the annual BAMS reports. The Fig 2.4 graph clearly makes your point that the trend was not about zero as I incorrectly interpreted.

    And, gee they don’t attribute a single year’s temperature anomaly to CO2? Wow, that’s a shocker.
    Sadly it is not a shocker. Clearly attribution this year is given to ENSO for the +0.3 anomaly. Climate scientists state the facts but any warming reported is attributed to anthropogenic forcings by much of the media and a number of the contributers to these CAGW threads here at BA and elsewhere.

  170. Steve in Dublin

    JJ (#129):

    Furthermore, I’ve presented numerous sources of studies, nothing from an anti-warming think tank as you seem to imply. For example:

    [3 links to *blog posts* from suite101, a site with *10,000 contributors*. Oh yeah, they must be so heavily vetted. NOT! “Top American Party Schools for 2009-2010″. I’m unfamiliar with that field of climate science.]

    You CANNOT be serious! I read the first article you linked to on suite101, and that was enough to establish exactly where you’re coming from. The author seems to rely only on die-hard contrarians for his sources. Benny Peiser and Pielke?! Is this some sort of joke? They are both affiliated with anti-warming think tanks. And this one had me ROTFLMAO:

    “Moreover, the term ‘catastrophic warming’ appears nowhere in any of the papers.” [the peer-reviewed ones]

    Duh. That’s because ‘catastrophic’ is almost exclusively used by deniers to supposedly make fun of us warmists. Real climatologists just cite figures with a 95% probability and let rational people draw their own conclusions. That’s the way science works. Nothing is ever ‘proven’.

    ‘Reality’ is just so deliciously spot on when he/she says:

    Hey JJ and Lonny, how’s it feel to be OWNED by the facts, over and over and over again?

  171. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    @ #90 Lonny Eachus:

    There is a great deal of controversy.

    Read again, I puposely defined “catastrophic”, which wasn’t previous defined, as “raised temperatures outside natural variation”. And I have shown you the references why that is not controversial, it is already a known fact to 95 % certainty.

    Climate refugees? Sure. But those are local and temporary disruptions, not an overall negative effect.

    Poverty and refugee status, perhaps for ever, is a negative effect and likely not temporary for those concerned.

    even the IPCC said that the maximum ocean rise by 2100 is only 2 feet. Not many meters, as Gore’s alarmist movie suggested.

    And now you are lying. The IPCC gave a minimum rise of 20-50 cm, and the maximum (6 m) was used by Gore. The minimum has now been adjusted up, as everyone who has listen to Abraham debunking similar lies from Monckton knows:

    “which would trigger another 5-6 m of sea level rise” (p 818, ch 10).

  172. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    @ #142 PiS:

    Perhaps we will all be startled by some evidence of attribution of this slight variance in the global average temperature.

    Too late. In my comment #66 I gave a reference which do indeed give attributions to AGW at 95 % certainty. It is possible to do now precisely because it isn’t a “slight variance” but an unnatural variation. (I.e. can’t be explained by the factors that historically predicted climate.)

    You could do well by reading the thread and the science before you jump in with irrelevancies and factual errors.

  173. JJ

    “[3 links to *blog posts* from suite101, a site with *10,000 contributors*. Oh yeah, they must be so heavily vetted. NOT! “Top American Party Schools for 2009-2010″. I’m unfamiliar with that field of climate science.]”

    All of the articles reference REAL, peer reviewed studies by REAL climatologists. The references are listed as well. The article is simply a summation of the premise of those studies. Once again, not paying attention I guess. Just another example of marginalizing the opposition with attacks irrelevant to the presented studies.

  174. Steve in Dublin

    JJ (#175):

    All of the articles reference REAL, peer reviewed studies by REAL climatologists.

    Oh, they reference them alright. So they can QUOTE MINE them! Get real, JJ. Here is a sample of some of the denialist gems from that first paper you linked to, by John O’Sullivan:

    Climate Consensus Cold-shouldered in a Cooling World

    So the world is cooling, huh? The last 10 years are the hottest since records began. And:

    Pointedly, world-renowned climatologist and key IPCC author, Professor Phil Jones of the UK’s Climatic Research Unit, in an interview with the BBC in February 2010, admitted there had been no significant global warming for 15 years.

    That’s because contrarians got to choose some of the questions for that particular interview. In fact, I believe that particular question was down to Lubos Motl. And Motl was coached by McIntyre. He knew that if you start from 1995, that it’s just shy of the 95% statistical significance level to conclusively demonstrate a warming trend. If you start from 1994, or in fact ANY YEAR BEFORE 1995, there’s a significant warming trend. That question was specifically chosen to embarrass Dr. Jones. It had no other purpose. That’s the sort of under-handed tactics denialists have to resort to in order to score points with the uninformed public. But that garbage doesn’t work with people who know the science behind AGW. And finally, O’Sullivan writes:

    In fact, climate scientists are coming round to the theory of the sun being the key driver of climate.

    Hahahahahahaha. Like I said before, you cannot be serious.

  175. JJ

    “So the world is cooling, huh? The last 10 years are the hottest since records began. ”

    We know the world has been hotter in the past, just like we know it’s been much colder than “normal” during the Ice Ages and scientists still don’t know exactly what caused them, the most likely culprit is the sun. If the sun can cause ice ages, why can’t it cause significant warming? We’re currently experiencing historically high solar activity (over the last decade), expected to last through 2014.

    Also, 150 years of data is hardly a representative sample of Earth’s history and there’s no established “normal”. How hot is too hot? What happens when global temps cool for x consecutive years, will scientists say we’re cooling at a too rapid rate, heading for another Ice Age? That would depend on the representative sample…

    “In fact, climate scientists are coming round to the theory of the sun being the key driver of climate.”

    http://climate-change.suite101.com/article.cfm/global-warming-is-caused-by-our-sun

    As for Phil Jones, using the same statistical techniques you can say the world hasn’t been warming as much by using different reference points. If you had 500 years of data, 1000 years, 2000 years, the conclusions would very likely be different. 15 years is certainly a significant period of time in a sample of only 150 years. Even Jones admitted the Medieval Period was likely as warm, if not warmer, than today but couldn’t scientifically verify that because there’s not enough data from the Southern Hemisphere.

  176. Floyd

    Now, assuming that AGW really is happening (the denialists seem to be the kind of people who ignore facts they don’t like), what do we do to replace heat sources that won’t heat up the atmosphere?

    You have to remember that the factories, vehicles, and power plants that waste heat, are also what provide heat, cooling (in summer), and so forth. People are not going to tolerate homes and buildings that aren’t warm enough in winter and cool enough in summer.

    I see the solution being nuclear (or, we hope, fusion power), somehow transferring energy to vehicles and buildings, but I can’t conceive of an efficient way to do so.

    Constructive comments are very welcome…

  177. JJ

    I think nuclear would be the best option, unfortunately there’s a lot of economic downsides or hurdles. Namely: initial cost, lack of manpower, time to build a plant, and issues with storing spent fuel. There are newer types of reactors, breeders, I read about that run on recycled spent fuel, resulting in waste that takes very little time to degrade. However, they’re even more expensive and complicated than traditional nuclear plants. It would be cool to have individual reactors underground in everyone’s backyard too.

    I believe bio-fuels derived from algae are our best bet for long term sustainability, at least in cars and homes. The technology is far from efficient to produce that much fuel, but I believe it’s the most promising long term solution to our energy needs. Plants will probably continue to run primarily on coal and natural gas, but technology should help sequester the majority of carbon below ground.

  178. TheBlackCat

    We know the world has been hotter in the past, just like we know it’s been much colder than “normal” during the Ice Ages and scientists still don’t know exactly what caused them, the most likely culprit is the sun.

    First, the “most likely culprit” is changes in Earth’s orbit called Milankovitch cycles, but those happen on a time frame of tens of thousands of years, not decades.

    Second, there is no such thing as “normal” temperature. There is the temperature that the current forcings produce. Those tend to change over very long time periods. Changes over very short time periods are much rarer. But things don’t just change for no reason, something has to drive the change.

    If the sun can cause ice ages, why can’t it cause significant warming?

    It can, but since, as Todd pointed out in post 59, the trend in solar output over the entire warming period has been either flat or slightly negative, that obviously isn’t what is causing it this time. Do you really think you are the first one to think the sun might be involved? Of course they checked that, and they ruled it out. In order for solar activity to be the culprit, there needs to be a positive change in solar activity. There simply hasn’t.

    We’re currently experiencing historically high solar activity (over the last decade), expected to last through 2014.

    No, we aren’t. In fact you have it exactly backwards, the last decade has been the deepest and longest solar minimum ever recorded. If the sun was the culprit then the last decade should have been unusually cold, yet it was the warmest decade ever recorder.

    How hot is too hot?

    Hard to say exactly, but as we have learned more about the climate and various parts of our planet’s response to it, the temperatures at which we predict serious, negative consequences start happening have been going down, not up. We are already seeing significant disruptions in animal and plant ecosystems around the world. And if the temperature go up only a little more than the IPCC report predicts (which is looking more and more likely as the IPCC report has been shown to have underestimated what would happen), then it could easily render parts of the world literally uninhabitable. There is a maximum temperature, I think it is 37 degrees celsium, above which humans cannot survive for any length of time. Global warming could certainly push temperatures in parts of the world into that range.

    What happens when global temps cool for x consecutive years, will scientists say we’re cooling at a too rapid rate, heading for another Ice Age? That would depend on the representative sample…

    It isn’t just the fact that it is warming. AGW made specific predictions of where it would warm, when it would warm, and in what way it would warm, and these were all true. Other potential culprits predict other very specific patterns of warming that we have not seen. That is how science works, you make specific, testable predictions, and the hypothesis that makes the correct predictions is the one that wins out.

    As for Phil Jones, using the same statistical techniques you can say the world hasn’t been warming as much by using different reference points.

    Good thing that a simple trendline is not the only thing we are basing this on.

    15 years is certainly a significant period of time in a sample of only 150 years.

    No, it isn’t. Not when there is an 11-year cyclic change in solar output.

    Even Jones admitted the Medieval Period was likely as warm, if not warmer, than today but couldn’t scientifically verify that because there’s not enough data from the Southern Hemisphere

    The evidence is pretty strong that the medieval warm period was a regional, not global event.

  179. TheBlackCat

    I read the link you provided. No one is debating that the sun is able to cause climate change, but nothing in that article provided any indication whatsoever that the sun is responsible for the current warming trend. They mention solar flares, which are irrelevant since they are sudden short-term events, and the now long-debunked “cosmic ray” explanation for global warming (I can’t believe anyone has the gall to still bring that up after it has been so totally demolished), but not the slightest indication that anyone thinks that the current warming is due to changes in solar output

  180. TheBlackCat

    You have to remember that the factories, vehicles, and power plants that waste heat, are also what provide heat, cooling (in summer), and so forth. People are not going to tolerate homes and buildings that aren’t warm enough in winter and cool enough in summer.

    Global warming is not due to waste heat we are producing, such heat is negligible compared to the sun. Global warming is due to gasses in the atmosphere trapping more energy from the sun. Specifically, some of the energy that would have gone back out into space is absorbed by the gasses, some of which heats up the gasses and some of which is sent back towards the ground where it heats the air, land, and oceans (part is also sent out into space).

    This leads to an energy imbalance, the amount of energy arriving at the planet is greater than the amount of energy leaving. The only possible result is for the Earth to heat up (or to break chemical bonds, but it isn’t hot enough to do that very much). As Earth heats up, it radiates more energy into space. So Earth will continue to heat up until the energy it is radiating back into space matches the energy arriving, then the temperature will become stable since the energy entering and leaving balance out.

    It is a bit more complicated then that, in part because there is also heat coming from under the Earth’s crust, but that is a decent first approximation.

  181. Chris Winter

    In post #156, ad wrote: “In case anyone is actually interested in some reasoned responses to the report:”

    URL snipped.

    It’s typical SPPI work — a 64-page PDF with a nice cover picture1 of a fancy NOAA building, and filled with glitzy colorful graphs. Also chock-full of assertion, innuendo and word-twisting.

    * It asserts that greenhouse gases are not involved in the current warming, contrary to physics worked out 150 years ago.

    * It quotes Anthony Watts to allege that the surface temperature record is flawed. Has Watts finished and released his analysis of those flaws yet? He has not. He was going to publish when 70% of the stations were studied; now his team is up to 82% and we’re still waiting. Meanwhile, NOAA has shown that the data from stations his team labels “good” or “best” plots out to closely match their original curves.

    * It still tries to argue that Kevin Trenbeth confessed in the CRU e-mails that the planet is actually cooling.

    Etc. etc.

    Nothing worth spending much time on there; it’s a rehash of threadbare arguments.

    ——–
    1. Why show us the NOAA building? Good science can only be done in a nondescript building? Or is this the “mainstream scientists get all the money” meme?

  182. JJ

    I like your explanation and agree in part, but these responses are contradictory. If the sun’s affect is negligible over the entire warming period, then why would solar cycles matter over that 15 year span?

    “It can, but since, as Todd pointed out in post 59, the trend in solar output over the entire warming period has been either flat or slightly negative, that obviously isn’t what is causing it this time. Do you really think you are the first one to think the sun might be involved? Of course they checked that, and they ruled it out. In order for solar activity to be the culprit, there needs to be a positive change in solar activity. There simply hasn’t.”

    15 years is certainly a significant period of time in a sample of only 150 years.

    “No, it isn’t. Not when there is an 11-year cyclic change in solar output.”

  183. TheBlackCat

    I like your explanation and agree in part, but these responses are contradictory. If the sun’s affect is negligible over the entire warming period, then why would solar cycles matter over that 15 year span?

    The sun’s output goes up and down over short time (~ 1 decade) periods, but this averages out over the period of a few decades. For a rough comparison, you could say it is like the difference between waves and tides. Waves, generally, alter the ocean level at a given point on a time frame of seconds, while tides alter ocean level at a given point on a time frame of hours.

    Using a 15-year time period to test whether the world is warming is like using a 3-second time period to test where the tide is going up or down. The tide will likely be going up or down during that time frame, but the changes it causes are swamped by the waves, making it impossible to tell that what the tide is doing with statistical significance.

    On the other hand if you spread it out over enough waves you can average out the effect of the waves and determine the overall trajectory of the tides. This is the same as what we do for global warming (one of many different things we have done). We look over several solar cycles to average out the effects of short-term solar variability.

    It is even worse if, when looking at at the short-term variation, if someone cherry-picks two different points on the short-term curves to give the conclusion he or she wants. For instance picking the crest of one wave as the starting point and the trough of another as the ending point in order to “prove” the tide is really going out. This is exactly what denialists are doing when they pick the peak of one solar maximum (mid-late 90’s) to the trough of a solar minimum (mid-late 2000’s).

    It is even worse when they pick an unusually high bump on the peak of a curve. This is exactly what denialists do when, for instance, they compare the temperature from 1998 (an El Nino year at the peak of a solar cycle) to the temperature from the mid-to-late 2000’s.

    Both of these approaches are fundamentally dishonest because they are cherry-picking the data points that will give the conclusion they want. When real scientists study global climate, they look at temperatures averaged over a period equal to or large than the period of the solar variation in order to smooth out the short-term changes and only show the long-term changes. Note that on such time periods longer-term trends in solar output would be visible if they were happening.

    So it is not a matter of cherry-picking for those on the AGW side, real scientists take great care to remove such extraneous influences on their data and only look at the effects that actually matter, and there are many approaches to doing that depending on the nature of the signal they are looking for and the nature of the extraneous influences. Cyclic changes with a fairly consistent time period are particularly easy to deal with.

  184. JJ

    “This is exactly what denialists do when, for instance, they compare the temperature from 1998 (an El Nino year at the peak of a solar cycle) to the temperature from the mid-to-late 2000’s.”

    I agree with the long term assessment, but the “alarmists” (in the media, as well as some researchers conducting PR stunts) use that same time frame and claim it’s the hottest decade on record because of CO2 (conveniently neglecting solar influence and El Nino). That’s exactly the same thing. You hardly ever hear the big picture during this debate, like the data going back to late 1800s or earlier, influence of the sun, El Nino, PDO, etc. The main focus of the argument and biggest source of controversy is that notorious “hockey stick” of the last decade.

    Ideally, I’d like to see a public debate, with presentations of key studies between climatologists on both sides. The primary source of information for the general public is the internet and we all know it’s full of propaganda on both sides. I try to stick to reading the studies of qualified scientists before making judgments, but the general public doesn’t do that. Even if you find studies of one side, it’s not always easy to find contradictory studies or understand and interpret them. This is why it would be much more transparent to have groups of scientists present both sides of their arguments in a forum of sorts, for the interest of the general public. If the government is planning on taking actions that directly affects the American public, it’s necessary that we get the most information as possible to gain insight on the issue. I think the overwhelming majority of Americans would agree to that.

  185. Steve in Dublin

    If the government is planning on taking actions that directly affects the American public, it’s necessary that we get the most information as possible to gain insight on the issue.

    Science-wise, we’ve had all the information we’ve needed for about a decade now. Exactly how do you propose convincing a population that is willfully/blissfully ignorant of the science behind AGW that we need to take action? If 65% of the U.S. population refuses to accept evolution – which is as close to fact as science can get – because of their religious beliefs, then what makes you think they won’t reject the science behind AGW because of selfishness/ideology (i.e. “You can pry my SUV from these cold, dead hands!”)? In fact, this is demonstrably happening.

    Every year it gets warmer, glaciers keep retreating, arctic ice continues to lose area (and more importantly: volume), spring comes earlier, etc. In fact that’s what this very article is all about, or have you forgotten that? The warning signs are all there and yet, paradoxically, more people every year seem less certain that there is a serious problem that needs to be dealt with. WTF?

    JJ, the real problem here is that the oil and coal industries have a vested interest in delaying action. They are raking in profits on the order of a billion dollars PER DAY. They operate by spreading misinformation to create doubt, as happened with the lung cancer/tobacco industry debacle. I’m really tired of hearing this “we must present both sides of the argument”, when there really is only one side: the rational side.

    If we maintain the status quo, this can only turn out badly. I reckon that about 20 – 30 years from now, when it becomes impossible to deny that we have irrevocably ‘soiled our nest’, the deniers will just shrug and say: “Well, who knew?”

  186. Messier Tidy Upper

    Myself # 152 :

    There’s more I could say, these are just some of the main points & I might see if I can find some of the more powerful comments here and reference them for you.

    Keeping my word here’s some of the comments – just a very, very few that had some impact for me :

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/01/07/tis-a-bit-nippy-guvnah/#comment-238974

    95. MaDeR Says: [January 13th, 2010 at 9:50 am]

    StevoR: There you go. Below is example of chart where trend is warming, yet warmest year was been a few years ago.[Now not working?- ed.] As you can see, this is possible.

    http://madcio.no-ip.info/pics/warmestlongagobuttrendstill.png

    & here’s another with some clever links tonegative reviews of Plimer’s work :

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/02/26/two-posts-about-denialism-climate-change-and-otherwise/#comment-250291

    …SteveoR aka Plutonium being from Pluto’s posts in regards to AGW are so basically flawed in their assumptions that they’re not even wrong. His conversion seems to have come from reading Heaven and Earth “written by Australian geologist and mining company director Ian Plimer. A book soundly (each letter a link to a different review by an AU scientist. I ran out of letters, not reviews) trounced for its “science”.

    &

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/02/24/nasa-talks-global-warming/comment-page-4/#comment-249602

    #201. llewelly Says: [February 22nd, 2010 at 3:43 am]

    Palaeoclimatology CO2, Richard Alley video ..

    & … just a few more

    (my next comment – limit of 3-or-4 links per comment or so I’ve found out the hard way before.)

  187. Messier Tidy Upper

    Part II – Cont. :
    —————-
    Here are some more links to some of the comments that I think were (eventually) convincing for me personally :

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/02/24/nasa-talks-global-warming/comment-page-4/#comment-249586

    163. gss_000 Says: [February 25th, 2010 at 9:44 am] on timescales re: Milankovitch cycles.

    & http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/02/24/nasa-talks-global-warming/comment-page-4/#comment-249602

    169. gss_000 Says: [February 25th, 2010 at 10:41 am] Deconstruction ice ages, trends, Plimer

    &

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/12/04/global-warming-emails-followup/#comment-230396

    Plus …

  188. Messier Tidy Upper

    Part III Continued – final part :
    ————————————–

    & more like this :

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/12/04/global-warming-emails-followup/#comment-230396

    198. Daniel J. Andrews Says: [December 4th, 2009 at 11:32 pm]

    On the nature of the scientists – esp. this :

    “It would make me famous. If I could prove climate change wrong, I’d do the same. But I’m in the middle of that science. And I can’t. It’s solid, despite what the media makes it out to be. If it wasn’t, I’d be famous. You have to realize that most scientists want to know the truth. And as humans, we like nothing better than to be able to yell, DUMBASS in a very loud voice, while pointing at the dumbass so everyone notices. I believe in science because if I screw up, that will happen to me. So I try really hard not to screw up. As do all scientists. The ridicule of your peers is a very good tool to keep you honest.”

    & this :

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/02/26/two-posts-about-denialism-climate-change-and-otherwise/#comment-250183

    The minor detail of the invented “Al Gore invented the internet” claim but one that did make me think a bit more about believing some of the things I’d read & accepted as true in the popular media.

    & finally :

    231. TheBlackCat Says: [February 22nd, 2010 at 9:11 am]

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/02/21/you-cant-resolve-away-climate-change/#comment-248603

    Long deconstruction of many things incl. volcanoes, Dr analogy, etc..,

    ****

    Plus there are many, many more which eventually helped change my former view on this.

    As noted earlier, my opinions here were changed not by any one single thing or piece of evidence but by a lot of them over a long time.

    Just in case anyone’s interested &/or it helps somehow.

    ——

    PS. Yes, I already know I was wrong and a bit messed up, & yes I could be mistaken again. Mea culpa. I’m a fallible human being.

  189. adam

    This is how AGW proponents here and elsewhere, Phil Plait included, see other side:

    “We don’t believe that the earth is warming.”

    This is reality:

    “We don’t believe that we know conclusively that

    1. humans are the primary cause in the warming.
    2. currently proposed measures to curb said warming will be even remotely effective.
    3. the warming trend will lead to widespread, global catastrophe.”

    So when you want to talk about ignoring reality, let’s at least drop the facade of understanding opposing arguments because you clearly don’t.

  190. JJ

    Steve, most people are against it because of the media coverage on both sides. We’ve had scientists engaged in “less than honest” activities in the IPCC (Jones even admitted to not releasing certain data in his testimony), blatantly false claims by IPCC officials (Himalayan glacier disappearing), Al Gore and his grossly over dramatic and often debunked claims, lack of any kind of effort at Copenhagen. Put it all together and you really think people are going to trust these guys?

    Once this debate became political and dramatized it lost all credibility. Furthermore, the efforts touted in the “cap and trade” proposal do nothing to stop carbon emissions, it’s all about the money. Charging companies for emissions is nothing more than a tax. Why not subsidize carbon capture technology? Offer tax cuts to businesses that convert from coal to natural gas? There’s so many better ways to actually fix the problem without costing Americans thousands more a year in energy bills. Obama admitted himself, and I quote, “energy prices will necessarily skyrocket” if we tax emissions, while referring to coal. These are all red flags, the skepticism is rightfully justified. Then there’s the political spin of moving from “global warming” to “climate change”…climate has been changing since the beginning of time, everyone knows that. If it’s really warming, why is now referred to as climate change? Like I said before, people don’t care much about the studies (they’re not climatologists), they’ve only been observing all of these behaviors and they don’t speak well for the cause. From all of this, it certainly seems like science isn’t certain of the extent of our effect on warming and politics have taken a front row seat on the issue.

    Now, if politicians came out and said we need to start moving away from fossil fuels because the world has a limited supply and current projections predict we have about 120 years of oil left, more people would listen. If they tried to convince people that we need to unite against foreign oil, they would understand the significance. If you tell them the world is going to implode because they drive SUVs, you bet they’re going to be skeptical because there’s no evidence that we (the lay person) can observe around us. The current sell for AGW is based on scare tactics and everyone knows that when politicians use scare tactics, they’re usually full of crap. Have you watched Al Gore’s documentary? The entire movie is one big piece of scare tactic propaganda because so many of the claims have been deemed exaggerated or false by scientists. That’s supposed to educate us on the topic? That’s going to convince us that there’s a sense of urgency? It’s like watching a bad infomercial…marginalize the opposition to elevate our product.

  191. JJ

    “JJ, the real problem here is that the oil and coal industries have a vested interest in delaying action. They are raking in profits on the order of a billion dollars PER DAY. They operate by spreading misinformation to create doubt, as happened with the lung cancer/tobacco industry debacle. I’m really tired of hearing this “we must present both sides of the argument”, when there really is only one side: the rational side.”

    Oil and coal industries don’t actively campaign against the fact that the Earth is warming. They campaign against a “cap and trade” policy that will cost them, and consequently us, thousands more a year in energy bills. They know there’s no way, realistically, that the world will ever be 100% non-dependent on fossil fuels in the near future. Any scientist and economist would agree to that. Even with the most supported efforts, it would take well over 30 years to cut our oil imports by even 50%. There’s no other fuel source that is nearly efficient as fossil fuels. You can’t cut fossil fuels entirely when you don’t have an efficient substitute.

    Furthermore, why aren’t the oil companies campaigning against fuel efficient hybrids and clean diesels? More efficient internal combustion technology? Bio-fuels? Do you really think oil companies don’t invest in “green” technologies? Do you know how business works? Simply because they don’t sell “green” products doesn’t mean they don’t have financial investments with “green ” companies, specifically bio-fuel companies. The “evil” oil company argument is pure politics. We know they have an interest in selling oil, that’s obvious, but they’re not going around campaigning against “green” technology, which has already taken off and continues to grow. When the market changes, companies adapt or go under, it’s fundamental to free market capitalism.

    You also act like we’re doing nothing. We are currently developing “greener” technologies to curb emissions and cut back dependence on foreign oil. Most people support the idea out of simple common sense and clearly signed on to doing their part: hybrid sales are strong, as are clean diesels (even though they’re significantly more expensive than their internal combustion counterparts), and more companies are adopting “greener” technologies. We’re not against the idea of lower emissions for a cleaner planet, we’re against being forced into paying much higher utility bills because some controversial studies say the world is going to implode if we don’t. The American people are the most rational in this respect.

  192. TheBlackCat

    I agree with the long term assessment, but the “alarmists” (in the media, as well as some researchers conducting PR stunts) use that same time frame and claim it’s the hottest decade on record because of CO2 (conveniently neglecting solar influence and El Nino). That’s exactly the same thing.

    Averaging over a decade, as I said, is fine since that is about the length of the solar cycle. It is only looking at trends within a decade, or close to it, that is a problem.

    You hardly ever hear the big picture during this debate, like the data going back to late 1800s or earlier, influence of the sun, El Nino, PDO, etc. The main focus of the argument and biggest source of controversy is that notorious “hockey stick” of the last decade.

    The hockey stick has nothing to do with the last decade, it has to do with the last 600 years or so. Second, why should we keep hearing about that stuff? That is all stuff that has been known for decades. It is not news.

    Steve, most people are against it because of the media coverage on both sides.

    No, people are against it because of a well-funded group of professional denialists whose sole job is to make the public think there is a legitimate scientific debate on the subject when there isn’t.

    Don’t make this into a PR debate, you and others have said over and over again in this thread that the state of the scientific discussion is totally different than what it really is. When you get slapped down on that, suddenly it isn’t about the science it is about how scientists behavior appears to the public? It wasn’t about that earlier in the thread when you and others were reporting on what you wrongly thought was the state of the science right now. That is what we call “moving the goal posts”, when you are beaten on the science you move onto PR.

    We’ve had scientists engaged in “less than honest” activities in the IPCC (Jones even admitted to not releasing certain data in his testimony),

    Yeah, there is data that they are legally forbidden from releasing because it belongs to other groups like national weather services. You can get the data, just not from them, you have to ask the original owners.

    That doesn’t have anything to do with the IPCC report, though. Can you name a single piece of data used in the IPCC report that is inaccessible to the public?

    blatantly false claims by IPCC officials (Himalayan glacier disappearing),

    Oh please, so far, in the entire IPCC report, which if I recall correctly is thousands of pages long, people have been able to find exactly ONE statement that had one number wrong, it wasn’t in the part that dealt with the scientific basis for AGW, and there is no evidence whatsoever that it was intentional.

    Al Gore and his grossly over dramatic and often debunked claims,

    Al Gore released one movie what, 6 or 7 years ago? I haven’t watched the movie, don’t care, it came out a long time ago. But at the time my understanding is that it had a few mistakes but overall was considered a good representation of the state of science at the time. A lot of the “mistakes” weren’t mistakes at all, they were correct. But that doesn’t stop denialists from claiming they were mistakes. We’ve learned a lot since the, though.

    lack of any kind of effort at Copenhagen.

    Are you kidding me? The lack of effort at Copenhagen wasn’t because of the scientists, it was because of people like you who accept the blatant misrepresentation of the denialists and push their representatives to do nothing.

    Put it all together and you really think people are going to trust these guys?

    So let me see if I get this straight: the worst things that the AGW side has done were not release data they could not legally release, and make one mistake out of easily thousands or tens of thousands of statement that didn’t actually have any bearing whatsoever on the validity of global warming, and this is enough to dismiss a whole field of science.

    However, blatantly misrepresenting peoples’ statements, overtly cherry-picking data to give pre-defined conclusions, using long-debunked hypotheses and long out-of-date data, repeating statements that they have seen clearly refuted, and many other acts of intellectual dishonesty is just fine. The same people behind the AGW denialist campaign were behind the tobacco/cancer denialist campaign, the CFC/Ozone campaign, the second hand smoke/cancer campaign, and several others. They manufacture doubt for a living. Yet none of this casts even the slightest bit of doubt on the credibility of denialists?

    That position doesn’t strike you as the slightest bit hypocritical?

    Charging companies for emissions is nothing more than a tax. Why not subsidize carbon capture technology? Offer tax cuts to businesses that convert from coal to natural gas? There’s so many better ways to actually fix the problem without costing Americans thousands more a year in energy bills.

    Good thing that people are calling for a multi-faceted approach. But money doesn’t grow on trees, if you are going to cut taxes and give subsidies, where are you going to get the money?

    Then there’s the political spin of moving from “global warming” to “climate change”…climate has been changing since the beginning of time, everyone knows that. If it’s really warming, why is now referred to as climate change?

    Because of people like you, once again. People who couldn’t be bothered to understand the science assumed that global warming meant that every place on the world will always be warmer on every time scale, then dismissed global warming when it wasn’t. That was never the position taken by scientists, but they changed the name in hopes that it wouldn’t be misrepresented anymore.

    Oil and coal industries don’t actively campaign against the fact that the Earth is warming.

    Yes, they do. Exxon has flat-out admitted they funded organizations whose sole purpose was to confuse people on the state of science of global warming.

    Furthermore, why aren’t the oil companies campaigning against fuel efficient hybrids and clean diesels? More efficient internal combustion technology? Bio-fuels?

    There has been a huge amount of resistance to tightening restrictions on car mileage and emissions. And bio-fuels are popular because the corn lobby is extremely powerful in the U.S., current biofuels take more energy to make then they provide.

    Let me ask you this: what, exactly would convince you that AGW is true? And it needs to be a criteria that, if applied across all science, would not result in throwing out much of current scientific knowledge.

  193. TheBlackCat

    @ adam: A lot of people still don’t accept that the world is warming at all. “Global warming stopped in 1998″ and “the world has been cooling since 1998″ are still a very popular talking point. Even in this thread JJ has been arguing that the world hasn’t warmed in the past 15 years. So it would be nice if you were right, but you aren’t.

  194. JJ

    Once again, I’ve made it clear that warming is happening, it’s all posted in here. However, I still believe we’re not contributing to it as much as the “alarmists” say. You can spin all you like, those are simple observations, the science isn’t settled. My atmospheric science friends in college used to watch weather movies and point out everything wrong with them just for kicks, including Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth. Adam is right on the mark.

  195. ND

    JJ says: We’ve had scientists engaged in “less than honest” activities in the IPCC (Jones even admitted to not releasing certain data in his testimony),

    BlackCat says:
    Yeah, there is data that they are legally forbidden from releasing because it belongs to other groups like national weather services. You can get the data, just not from them, you have to ask the original owners.
    ————

    JJ, please address this issue. When Jones was talking about not releasing certain data, was it because he chose not to or he legally could not? Please clarify for us.

  196. TheBlackCat

    @ JJ: Then why did you bring up the assertion that it hasn’t been warming for the past 15 years? What point could that possibly have besides trying to cast doubt on the idea that the world is warming? The only conclusions I can think of are that you think this means the world isn’t warming, or you brought up something you know is irrelevant for the sake of derailing the discussion. What other reasons are there?

  197. JJ

    “Good thing that people are calling for a multi-faceted approach. But money doesn’t grow on trees, if you are going to cut taxes and give subsidies, where are you going to get the money?”

    Spending cuts and from the due to expire Bush tax cuts. However, Democrats still favor spending (as Republicans did under Bush) and refuse to make significant cuts on wasteful programs in DC, someone should teach them basic budgeting. Economically and realistically, we can’t spend much more unless we make some deep cuts.

    “There has been a huge amount of resistance to tightening restrictions on car mileage and emissions. And bio-fuels are popular because the corn lobby is extremely powerful in the U.S., current biofuels take more energy to make then they provide.”

    That’s the work of the federal government, working to limit fossil fuel use and imports, pushing for “greener” technology. I agree that corn based ethanol isn’t worth using, that was a political move on part of Bush and Republicans and supported by Democrats alike to this day. They should have pushed for plant based bio-diesel and clean diesel technology if they really wanted to do away with foreign oil.

    “Yes, they do. Exxon has flat-out admitted they funded organizations whose sole purpose was to confuse people on the state of science of global warming.”

    Wrong, not since January of 2007. Big oil has been investing in “green” technology like the rest of the country for a while now.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16593606/

    “Are you kidding me? The lack of effort at Copenhagen wasn’t because of the scientists, it was because of people like you who accept the blatant misrepresentation of the denialists and push their representatives to do nothing.”

    Since when did world leaders actually listen to their people? Communist China? India? Russia? UK? It’s certainly not us minority “deniers” influencing global politics.

    “Oh please, so far, in the entire IPCC report, which if I recall correctly is thousands of pages long, people have been able to find exactly ONE statement that had one number wrong, it wasn’t in the part that dealt with the scientific basis for AGW, and there is no evidence whatsoever that it was intentional. ”

    That scientist actually admitted it was intentional, he stated he was trying to spark a fire of sorts into the political debate…”On Wednesday, the IPCC got around to acknowledging that the claim was “poorly substantiated,” though Mr. Pachauri also suggested it amounted to little more than a scientific typo.” – WSJ

    http://online.wsj.com/article/NA_WSJ_PUB:SB10001424052748703837004575013393219835692.html

    @ND

    “Muir Russell report says scientists did not fudge data, but they should have been more open about their work”
    “But the panel said the scientists’ responses to “reasonable requests for information” had been “unhelpful and defensive”. The inquiry found “emails might have been deleted in order to make them unavailable should a subsequent request be made for them” and that there had been “a consistent pattern of failing to display the proper degree of openness”. Scientists also failed to appreciate the risk their lack of transparency posed to the university and “indeed to the credibility of UK climate science”.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jul/08/muir-russell-climategate-climate-science

  198. JJ

    …previous comment in moderation due to links

    “@ JJ: Then why did you bring up the assertion that it hasn’t been warming for the past 15 years? What point could that possibly have besides trying to cast doubt on the idea that the world is warming? The only conclusions I can think of are that you think this means the world isn’t warming, or you brought up something you know is irrelevant for the sake of derailing the discussion. What other reasons are there?”

    If you paid attention to context, you would have realized I was using it as an example to challenge your notion that 15 years isn’t a significant time frame in determining trends. It’s a commonly used argument for proponents of global warming (for example the last 10 to 15 years have been the hottest on record), which is ok by your explanation of solar activity, but not ok when used by opponents because, according to you, anything near or between a decade is not a representative sample due to solar activity. I never used it to defend the notion of cooling.

  199. Steve in Dublin

    TheBlackCat (TBC herein) is tireless, and apparently has a lot more patience left to deal with these anti-science hold-outs than I do. Kudos to you. You have addressed all the issues that JJ raised against my previous post. My time zone is 5 hours ahead of the U.S. east coast. That is the reason why it’s difficult for me to maintain any kind of continuity/momentum on these boards, and no other.

    Now… both TBC and ND have clarified the point that I would have clarified earlier (had I not been dragged screaming and kicking to dinner :-)) – the CRU could not release data that they did not have permission to release. It is released to academics for research purposes, but is owned by the various met offices that gather the information. They need to sell it in order to defer the costs for them to collect it. Is that clear? This has been one of the main denier brickbats since Climategate broke, and it just doesn’t wash. M’kay? How many freakin’ times does this have to be explained before you folks get it?

    Number two: the bit about the Himalayan glaciers melting by 2035 was a single typographical error in a 3000 page report. It should have been 2350. Yet you put it down to “blatantly false claims by IPCC officials”. Spin, spin, spin.

    Finally, my previous point which you never addressed, JJ (because you guys never address points that catch you out, do you?) Lubos Motl was coached by Lindzen (my bad, I previously thought it was McIntyre. But I try to learn from my mistakes) to ask Phil Jones in that BBC interview a few months back if there had been any significant warming trend since 1995. They knew full well that this was not the case (not to the 95% statistical significance level, anyway). This is due to the really strong combination of El Nino and solar insolation in 1998. But the fact is… if you start from any year prior to 1995, even 1994, there IS a significant trend. So, the deniers were given a chance to ask Phil Jones questions, and the best they can do is come up with one that is intentionally disingenuous? The reality is that you need to look at trends at least 22 years long, because that covers at least 2 complete 11-year solar cycles. And both Lindzen and Motl are fully aware of that.

    You see, this is what happens when you try to do ‘science’ via public debates. Just ask any evolutionary biologist who has attempted to debate a creationist. It’s all about form, rhetoric, and scoring points with the audience, who in the main are not scientifically trained. It has little to do with actual science, which is carried out in the peer-reviewed literature.

  200. JJ

    “Number two: the bit about the Himalayan glaciers melting by 2035 was a single typographical error in a 3000 page report. It should have been 2350. Yet you put it down to “blatantly false claims by IPCC officials”. Spin, spin, spin.”

    If the WSJ article wasn’t enough…

    “The scientist behind the bogus claim in a Nobel Prize-winning UN report that Himalayan glaciers will have melted by 2035 last night admitted it was included purely to put political pressure on world leaders.”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1245636/Glacier-scientists-says-knew-data-verified.html

    “Hasnain has since admitted that the claim was “speculation” and was not supported by any formal research. If confirmed it would be one of the most serious failures yet seen in climate research. The IPCC was set up precisely to ensure that world leaders had the best possible scientific advice on climate change.”

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6991177.ece

    “Said Lal: “We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policy makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action.” In other words, Rose says, Lal “last night admitted [the scary figure] was included purely to put political pressure on world leaders.”

    http://www.usnews.com/science/articles/2010/01/25/ipccs-himalayan-glacier-mistake-no-accident.html

    Are these sources biased in some way? If you can’t trust well respected news organizations, who can you trust? I don’t make this stuff up. It is your notion that is political spin.

  201. TheBlackCat

    Spending cuts and from the due to expire Bush tax cuts. However, Democrats still favor spending (as Republicans did under Bush) and refuse to make significant cuts on wasteful programs in DC, someone should teach them basic budgeting. Economically and realistically, we can’t spend much more unless we make some deep cuts.

    The basic issue is that oil is just too cheap. We aren’t going to get people to reduce oil consumption unless we both make oil more expensive and make alternatives less expensive. That is what a multi-faceted approach is.

    Wrong, not since January of 2007. Big oil has been investing in “green” technology like the rest of the country for a while now.

    They only cut ties with some of the groups, they still fund others. As the article said, they only cuts ties with 5 or 6, that is just a small fraction of the total number of oil-funded denialist groups.

    Since when did world leaders actually listen to their people? Communist China? India? Russia? UK? It’s certainly not us minority “deniers” influencing global politics.

    Wait, you are saying the UK doesn’t listen to voters? India doesn’t? Yes, you are definitely influencing global politics. That and an extremely highly-funded oil lobby and government leaders that benefit from it.

    That scientist actually admitted it was intentional, he stated he was trying to spark a fire of sorts into the political debate…”On Wednesday, the IPCC got around to acknowledging that the claim was “poorly substantiated,” though Mr. Pachauri also suggested it amounted to little more than a scientific typo.” – WSJ

    He said it was intentional, but said it was nothing more than a typo? What? A typo, by definition, is a mistake, not intentional.

    If you paid attention to context, you would have realized I was using it as an example to challenge your notion that 15 years isn’t a significant time frame in determining trends.

    No, that wasn’t how you originally used it. It originally came from an article you posted as supposed evidence that there was no scientific consensus on AGW. When someone else called you out on this, you then asserted it was significant. If it is significant, which it isn’t, then by that logic then hasn’t the warming stopped? You can’t say the lack of a trend is significant and say the world is still warming, those two statements contradict each other.

  202. Stephen W

    @193 JJ says

    Once again, I’ve made it clear that warming is happening, it’s all posted in here.

    But @189 JJ says

    Then there’s the political spin of moving from “global warming” to “climate change”…climate has been changing since the beginning of time, everyone knows that. If it’s really warming, why is now referred to as climate change?

    (Emphasis mine)
    Slight contradiction here, no? If you are as convinced as you say that warming is happening why cast innuendos about the name “climate change”?

  203. JJ

    Calling it climate change suggests that warming is not necessarily happening or that scientists don’t really know what they’re talking about. Why not call it global warming, isn’t that what it is? It’s a matter of semantics for PR reasons. I used that phrase when I was referring to influencing the public on the matter, a simple observation, once again, context does matter.

  204. JJ

    Do I now need a disclaimer for explaining why the public doesn’t believe AGW theory? For future use, ill use *not necessarily the view of the poster. I’ve explained my view numerous times, which isn’t significant when referring to real world events anyway, you can go back and read all of them if you like, maybe you’ll find something else to spin in labeling me a “denier”.

    My favorite one…global warming just means a longer golf season :-)

    I feel I’ve posted enough here, see post 202 where I expose a nugget of political bias and consequently why the public has lost confidence in the IPCC and AGW theory.

  205. TheBlackCat

    @ JJ 202: The whole purpose of that part of the IPCC report was to explain the threats posed by global warming. Of course they would include facts that highlight potential threats, that is the whole point! You are acting like it was some sort of conspiracy that they were doing their job.

    The threats are less certain, that part of the report was always known to not rest on as solid a foundation and to be more speculative than the part dealing with whether global warming is happening and whether it is caused by humans because it is dealing with future predictions of complex phenomena, often on small time and/or size scales. In the end they were very conservative in their estimates, most things are either on the worst end of their predictions or even worse.

    Why not call it global warming, isn’t that what it is?

    I already answered this question back in #194.

  206. Steve in Dublin

    Well, JJ, it would appear we are both a little bit wrong on the subject of the inevitable decline of the Himalayan glaciers. But as these things go, the train of events is very complex to unravel. This is the most reliable source I have managed to find:

    IPCC slips on the ice with statement about Himalayan glaciers

    It references the quote where I got my take on the story from:

    The extrapolar glaciation of the Earth will be decaying at rapid, catastrophic rates— its total area will shrink from 500,000 to 100,000 km² by the year 2350. Glaciers will survive only in the mountains of inner Alaska, on some Arctic archipelagos, within Patagonian ice sheets, in the Karakoram Mountains, in the Himalayas, in some regions of Tibet and on the highest mountain peaks in the temperature [sic] [temperate] latitudes.

    [my emphasis added] But for certain, Murari Lal DID NOT intentionally try to mislead anyone. That is just appalling ‘journalism’. Rather, he cited figures from a ‘grey literature’ report that appears to have transposed the 2350 into 2035. This is further discussed here:

    UN scientist refutes Daily Mail claim he said Himalayan glacier error was politically motivated

    Yeah, so he should have vetted the figures he was quoting better. But he didn’t have any political motivation for what he did, as several so-called reputable sources are claiming.

  207. JJ

    Steve, you cite climate progress as a credible source? Really? They’re associated with the left wing think tank Center for American Progress…it says it right on the top of their site. There’s no denying the facts, it’s plain and simple. I cited 4 different non-partisan, well respected NEWS organizations that noted the comment was politically motivated. You’ve been the victim of political spin because that’s all the comes from those sites. Another reason why the American public doesn’t trust the AGW theory…I know I said I was done, but I had to point out the obvious. I honestly hope you don’t get all your information from think tanks like that, you’ll be very misguided and biased that way.

    “The Center for American Progress is dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through progressive ideas and action.”

    http://www.americanprogress.org/aboutus

    That would be like me citing something from the Heritage Foundation…

    “Founded in 1973, The Heritage Foundation is a research and educational institution—a think tank—whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense. ”

    http://www.heritage.org/About

  208. JJ

    “@ JJ 202: The whole purpose of that part of the IPCC report was to explain the threats posed by global warming. Of course they would include facts that highlight potential threats, that is the whole point! You are acting like it was some sort of conspiracy that they were doing their job. ”

    So, you’re saying his comments about the Himalayas were justified and supported by science? There was no potential threat. He admitted, himself, that his statement wasn’t verified by science and it was politically motivated, it’s clear as day.

    “I already answered this question back in #194.”

    I know you did, it was rhetorical, as I was explaining myself. I forgot to use that disclaimer again…

  209. Mike G

    JJ (205)
    Temperature is ONE aspect of climate, and not the only one expected to change. In addition to warming, precipitation patterns, and possibly the frequency or intensity of storms are also expected to change. Climate change is the generic term used to encompass all changes from day/night temperature differential, average temperature, wind speed and direction, drought and flood severity and frequency, storm frequency and intensity, sea level, etc. whereas global warming only refers to an increase in global average temperature.

    And to be clear, scientists haven’t shifted from using “global warming” to using “climate change.” The term climate change had been used in the title of papers specifically predicting warming at least as far back as 1970. The first paper to use the term “global warming” wasn’t published until 5 years after that. A quick search on Google Scholar will also show that there are still an abundance of papers being published with “global warming” in the title. I found 127 just from the first 7 months of this year, compared to 191 in all of 2000. It’s also worth noting that the “CC” in IPCC stands for “Climate Change,” and that among other aspects of climate change like precipitation patterns, they’ve consistently warned of global warming for the past 20 years.

  210. JJ

    Thanks Mike, good explanation. Nasa basically says the same thing, but the term actually started because scientists weren’t sure of where the data would lead them, that was one of the points I made as to why the general public may remain skeptical to the use of the term. The additional explanation goes into the science as you detailed, but the general public isn’t much aware of that. The term global warming actually became widely used after 1988.

    “To a scientist, global warming describes the average global surface temperature increase from human emissions of greenhouse gases. Its first use was in a 1975 Science article by geochemist Wallace Broecker of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory: “Climatic Change: Are We on the Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming?”1

    Broecker’s term was a break with tradition. Earlier studies of human impact on climate had called it “inadvertent climate modification.”2 This was because while many scientists accepted that human activities could cause climate change, they did not know what the direction of change might be. Industrial emissions of tiny airborne particles called aerosols might cause cooling, while greenhouse gas emissions would cause warming. Which effect would dominate? ”

    http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/climate_by_any_other_name.html

  211. Pi-needles

    Why not call it global warming, isn’t that what it is?

    I sometimes wonder if we shouldn’t use the term “Global Overheating” or suchlike instead. “Global warming” makes it sound much more benign & mild than it threatens to be. ;-)

    @ 202. JJ:

    If you can’t trust well respected news organizations, who can you trust?

    Try trusting the experts who’ve spent their lives studying & working in the climatology area. That kinda gives them a clue as to what they’re talking about.

    Sadly, the media has been pretty appalling on Global Excessive Heating ;-) and is now hardly deserving of being “well-respected.” :-(

    Take what you hear in the media with a pinch of salt (Mmmm.. salty newspaper!) – or a mountain of salt when it comes to Faux “news.”

  212. Pi-needles

    For example look here:

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/07/the_australians_war_on_science_51.php

    Sadly, The Australian is my nations main newspaper – & part of the Murdoch press empire. :-(

  213. Steve in Dublin

    Well JJ, it’s pointless trying to engage you in a meaningful discussion. You never address any of the substantive points that are brought up. You just go off on tangents, nitpicking on little details that have nothing to do with what is actually being discussed. Evade, evade, evade… the tactic used by those who know they can’t address the actual topics. Like:

    1. You won’t acknowledge that the FOIA requests that CRU didn’t fulfill were for data they did not own and they had no right to release. This has been a denier canard that is repeatedly brought up since Climategate, and has been debunked every time it is brought up. But you guys keep bringing it up. It’s like your mantra or something.

    2. You haven’t made any comment about the fact that Lindzen and Motl intentionally crafted a question for that BBC interview with Phil Jones that was guaranteed to dupe both the journalists and the public into thinking there was no significant warming since 1995. I’m not going to explain this again, as I already have taken pains to do so twice up-thread. So that means you appear to be completely ignorant of how trends and statistics work. They duped you too.

    3. Looks like you didn’t even read the piece on climatesciencewatch.org that explains how the 2350 got transposed into 2035. So the IPCC *did not* intentionally mislead anyone. Murari Lal *did not* ‘own up’ to putting that figure in there on purpose. That appalling fabrication by the Daily Mail was a deliberate move by right-wing journalists to make a mountain out of a molehill. And other publications just repeated the lie.

  214. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ 75. MartinM Says: [August 3rd, 2010 at 11:49 am]

    As far as I know, there’s only a few hundred qualified climatologists in the world and according to Wikipedia, about 50 of them don’t buy into the AGW theory, that’s significant. I’d like to see a complete list of qualified researchers and where they stand.

    Slightly more accurate than Wikipedia. [linked to:]

    Expert credibility in climate change William R. L. Anderegg a , 1 , James W. Prall b , Jacob Harold c , and Stephen H. Schneider a , d , 1

    Here, we use an extensive dataset of 1,372 climate researchers and their publication and citation data to show that (i) 97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of ACC outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers.

    Thanks for that. I’d heard the “98% of climatologists accept AGW” figure before but wasn’t sure where it was coming from. Now I know. :-)

    @76. gogblog Says: [August 3rd, 2010 at 11:50 am]

    @Brain D : I think you may not be looking in the right place. Don’t confuse a 2.5 minute spot on local TV for climate journalism.
    Start at RealClimate.org. and then go to New Scientist, Science News, Time, etc., etc. And Phil Plait, by the way, gets it right, too. The good people are easy to find. This is not a shot at you, but many people are just too lazy to spend 15 minutes finding the good stuff. Don’t blame the messenger you never bothered to listen to.

    That’s the problem sometimes its hard to know who we’re talking about when it comes to the media.

    If by “media” you mean the mainstream general news media -TV, papers, some radio then the coverage *is* pretty appalling. But if you meant or include the specialised science popularisation blogs, websites and magazines aimed for those with a particular focus or interest its a rather different & better story. So we need to know which idea of “media” we’re talking about.

    BTW. Are you there Buzz Parsec – did you see my reply to your question @ # 152 here?

  215. Stephen W

    @205 JJ says

    Calling it climate change suggests that warming is not necessarily happening or that scientists don’t really know what they’re talking about. Why not call it global warming, isn’t that what it is? It’s a matter of semantics for PR reasons.

    So, if I’m understanding you correctly, you are claiming that climate scientists stopped using the term “global warming” in order to fool people into believing warming was not happening. Somehow I don’t think that’s what you meant to say.

  216. JJ

    No, Stephen, see 212.

    “Well JJ, it’s pointless trying to engage you in a meaningful discussion. You never address any of the substantive points that are brought up. You just go off on tangents, nitpicking on little details that have nothing to do with what is actually being discussed. Evade, evade, evade… the tactic used by those who know they can’t address the actual topics.”

    I’m not going into political spin again, it’s you who is trying to avoid looking wrong…it’s all posted up there from real news sources, 4 of them! News stories are retracted when they get the facts wrong, that’s a fact! All the other things you seem to claim as “fact” likely came from left wing think tanks as you cited them as “fact” earlier. No evading necessary.

    As for #2, I’ve seen no evidence of this published in real news sources, left wing think tanks don’t count as news. If they now count as factual news, as you cite them, I’ll start citing Glenn Beck, the Heartland Institute, and the Heritage Foundation, they have lots of “evidence” against global warming. If you still don’t get it, i’ll explain: think tanks provide “news” with a specific political views, biased in every way.

  217. Stephen W

    218. JJ Says:

    No, Stephen, see 212.

    Sorry, still not seeing your point. In 192 you said

    Then there’s the political spin of moving from “global warming” to “climate change”…climate has been changing since the beginning of time, everyone knows that. If it’s really warming, why is now referred to as climate change?

    yet in 212 you link to a NASA page explaining that global warming is just a part of climate change

    But temperature change itself isn’t the most severe effect of changing climate. Changes to precipitation patterns and sea level are likely to have much greater human impact than the higher temperatures alone. For this reason, scientific research on climate change encompasses far more than surface temperature change. So “global climate change” is the more scientifically accurate term. Like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we’ve chosen to emphasize global climate change on this website, and not global warming

    http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/climate_by_any_other_name.html

    So is this page an example of political spin? Or, are you agreeing with the article you linked to, in which case are you admitting your claim of spin was unjustified?

  218. JJ

    See 205. It’s how it’s presented in the public arena for which I was referring, “political correctness”. The general public does not care about the specific scientific definitions, I’ve addressed this already. Politicians throw around whatever phrase will help them further an agenda or change the public perception. How many times have you heard a politician define the scientific difference between the two? By the changing how they refer to it, it raises public skepticism because the ultimate goal of “political correctness” is to change public perception. Therefore, many of those in the public see that the new term is now “climate change”, which must imply that science doesn’t really know what they’re talking about. I mentioned that much earlier up there somewhere.

  219. Steve in Dublin

    Oh, great. Now we’re down to debating whether it should be called global warming or climate change. Nero fiddles. End of another AGW thread on the BA’s blog, as they all must end. Badly.

    For the record, JJ, this really isn’t about appeals to ‘authority’, or left-wing think tanks, or right-wing think tanks. It’s about the general public being educated enough to make up their own minds given the evidence presented. They aren’t, and I’m afraid we’re screwed because of that.

  220. On the flipside, JJ, you could just look at how the terms have been used in the scientific literature.

    To put it simply, the denialist argument is that we went from warming to cooling and thus the scientists shifted from “global warming” to “climate change” to encompass this.

    Issue #1: The term “climate change” (or “climatic change” depending on the source) in the context of AGW has been around for ages – for instance, it’s what the CC in IPCC stands for, and the IPCC has been around a lot longer than any “recent cooling trends” that Inhofe et al can care to name. The term “global warming” was, apparently, first used in the peer-reviewed literature in 1975, in a paper in Science by Wally Broecker – which used “climatic change” as a lay summary of what’s going on in its abstract (which it wouldn’t have done if the term wasn’t already established).

    Issue #2: This argument is typically thrown out by denialists, when we have a smoking gun of the denialists themselves doing exactly the same thing. Ever heard of the Luntz memo? Republican pollster and master wordsmith Frank Luntz wrote a memo to the Bush administration early on (2003, I believe) in which he counsels the Republicans to use “climate change” rather than “global warming” because the latter is scarier than the former. It’s part of a rather shocking, bald-faced spin document that we only know about due to a leak. (Luntz, by the way, has since reversed his stance on climate change, believing now that it’s a threat. However, he remains crafting Republican spin on different issues, with other memos – on health reform and financial regulation – having been leaked during the last year or so. Fun way to spend an evening: See how many of his talking points were adopted by the Republicans. Hint: It’s “nearly all”.)

    Oh, and as to that talking point being deliberately crafted, would you accept a direct admission from Lubos Motl himself? His exact words are ” 1995 is the earliest year when the statistical significance of the trend from that year to 2009 safely fails.” (By “safely” he means “barely” – it’s only just below 95%. You *do* know what that means, right?)

  221. JJ

    “Republican pollster and master wordsmith Frank Luntz wrote a memo to the Bush administration early on (2003, I believe) in which he counsels the Republicans to use “climate change” rather than “global warming” because the latter is scarier than the former.”

    That’s exactly what I just said…twice! That’s why politicians use “political correctness”, public perception.

  222. TheBlackCat

    @ JJ: So in other words the change had nothing to do with scientists, it was a conspiracy by denialists to downplay the importance of the issue? How, exactly, is that a criticism of the scientists, other than not being dishonest enough to compete with denialists?

  223. Pi-needles

    @218. JJ Says:

    News stories are retracted when they get the facts wrong, that’s a fact!

    Bwah-hahahahaha!!! You’re joking right? :roll:

    If only *that* were true.

    Which 4 stories were you refering to again JJ btw? Because some of the ones posted were from a blatant denialist site. Those the ones you meant? Or were they “climategate” ones given that’s a dead horse that’s long since been shown as a false scandal made by cherry-picked, out-of-context quotes as the BA’s noted here many times.

    @217. Stephen W Says:

    So, if I’m understanding you correctly, you are claiming that climate scientists stopped using the term “global warming” in order to fool people into believing warming was not happening. Somehow I don’t think that’s what you meant to say.

    LOL. Too true. :-)

    Actually both terms are overly mild. I prefer Human Induced Excessive Global Heating as the plainest label, although I can’t see this catching on.

    But what matters is NOT what we call it but what is actually happening – and, make no mistake, it *is* happening, it *is* our fault and we *do* need to do something about it.

    Something other than stick our heads in the sand and hope that if we point at Al Gore and sing “lalalalalalalalalalala” long enough it will just go away. It won’t.

  224. Tyler Durden

    >Yes, they do. Exxon has flat-out admitted they funded organizations whose sole purpose was to confuse people on the state of science of global warming.

    >>Wrong, not since January of 2007. Big oil has been investing in “green” technology like the rest of the country for a while now.

    Okay, so your original position, that oil companies don’t create controversy by funding organizations to confuse the public on the issue, was shown to be demonstrably false.

    So you come back and say that they haven’t – for 3 years.

    This is further proven to be false (another poster demonstrated that they withdrew funding for *some* of the talking head organizations they were supporting, but not all – which is precisely what you’d expect them to do with their hand caught in the cookie jar.

    Is it possible for you to be reasonable and admit that yes, oil companies have an incredible incentive for obstructing science with politics, and making everyone believe that there is no warming happening? Because not only is it a common sense answer, it’s *supported by the facts*.

    And so what if they’re invested in green technology? In Vegas that’s what’s referred to as HEDGING YOUR BETS. Take a look at the amount of money they’re spending on green technology vs the amount of money they’re spending on discovering new oil sources and expanding the sale of petroleum. The two don’t even compare.

    Oil companies investing in green technologies is like Phillip-Morris tobacco investing in anti-smoking ads. Looks great for the photo shoot, but it doesn’t mean they actually want people to quit using their product.

  225. Dys

    Clearly I’m coming to this thread way too late, but I can’t help but mention how amusing I find it when anyone says global warming isn’t a problem because it’s just a reiteration of the same cycles which caused previous mass extinctions.

    Can someone explain to me how the repetition of a mass extinction event is not cause for concern?

    As far as I can see, the whole anthropogenic aspect of all this is tangential. There is a problem, which needs a solution. Part of that would be the shift away from fossil energy sources, which has to happen sooner or later anyway, due to the limited nature of said resources.

    We can talk geoengineering after the simple things are taken care of.
    Mind you, engineering the climate on a global scale might well be judged easier than shifting the oil economy. The former involves scientists and engineers. The latter politicians and businessmen.

  226. Messier Tidy Upper

    @227. Dys :

    Can someone explain to me how the repetition of a mass extinction event is not cause for concern?

    Meh, its only a mass extinction event, nothing to worry about there. Perfectly natural, we’re just going to die & see the ecology collapse planet-wide so *almost*-but-not-quite-everything perishes & life takes millions of years to recover albeit evolving into very different forms. The planet (ie. the actual inanimate ball of rock) will survive fine. ;-)

    Okay, maybe not a such a good explanation ..

  227. I’ve just reposted a modifed and updated version of my comment #152 here on the latest AGW thread ‘Sea Ice,coming and going’ on Aug. 19th 2010.

    For a link to the latest – & last – version of that click on my name above.

  228. KNRover

    There is no doubt Earth is warming. It has warmed and cooled many, many times in recent millennia. While CO2 is one of the factors that causes the plant to warm or cool, there are many other factors, two of which are the Sun and THE major greenhouse gas, water vapor, have a far more profound effect.

    But. . . there is also little disagreement with the theory that the % of CO2 in the atmosphere has, since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, grown more rapidly that at any time in recorded history, and will likely continue growing because absorption by the oceans and rocks is extremely slow. It will also continue growing because governments will not do very much to curb its growth; it is just too expensive to do so.

    So, it’s probably a given that Earth’s temperature is going to rise. But there have been times when Earth was MUCH warmer than now (by about 10 degrees C); humans even farmed in Greenland, which you can’t do now because it’s too cold (Earth’s current mean temperature is ~12 degrees C). Palm trees and dinosaurs lived in Antarctica. Earth was not destroyed by being warmer; it was just different. So, my question is: Is a warmer Earth necessarily bad?

  229. Global warming deniers playbook: When one of these is proven wrong, go to the next.
    1) The world is not getting warmer.
    2) OK, it is getting warmer, but it is due to natural effects like the sun warming.
    3) OK, so it is man-made, but warming is good! What is wrong with less snow?
    4) OK, so maybe there will be some bad effects, but it is too expensive to stop it.
    5) Climate scientists say that some warming is inevitable since there is already an increase in CO2. If it is too late to stop it completely, why try at all?
    6) If we just deregulate the government and reduce taxes, by the time it becomes a serious problem, everyone will be so rich that they can buy their way out of any problems caused by the climate with air conditioning and bottled water.

    I have heard all these arguements.

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »