Union of Concerned Scientists launches global warming ad campaign

By Phil Plait | August 25, 2010 7:11 am

ucs_warming_adThe Union of Concerned Scientists has launched a cool campaign to raise public awareness not just about global warming, but also about the attempts to confuse the public about it. The campaign features young scientists who study the climate, showing them as kids and talking about how they got started doing what they do. The one shown here, talking about geologist Julia Cole, is particularly engaging.

This sort of thing is desperately needed. The denialists are still working full-tilt at skewing public perception of this issue.

And I love that they are specifically targeting Fox News. While all the news media outlets have contributed to the public’s misunderstanding of this science — giving equal time to the antiscience squad when they don’t deserve it — Fox is certainly the loudest of the mouthpieces for the Noise Machine. Putting Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp’s feet to the fire is something I wish more people would do.

The UCS campaign has gotten some attention, notably from the New York Times, but they should get even more. Check it out.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Piece of mind, Science
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Comments (71)

  1. IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE
  2. Putting Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp’s feet to the fire is something I wish more people would do.

    I dunno. I mena, Murdoch’s a madman. Just look at all the trouble he gave MacGuyver. What? Oh, different Murdoch?

  3. Yes, but research shows that evidence to the contrary only helps cement people’s erroneous opinions. How are we going to deal with that as a meta issue?

  4. Mike

    If Obama has been right about one thing, it’s when he said FoxNews wasn’t a real news station. I watch it just to see what stupid things they’ll say next. Ignoramous anyone?

  5. Peptron

    From an point of view outside of the US, this is probably one of the scariest ad I have seen. They have to make ads to rise public opinion about scientists? In a modern society, complete with electricity and running water? I mean, I could see that happen in Ethiopia or Somalia, but in the United States? I mean… really?

  6. Alan in Upstate NY

    @Peptron, It certainly is sad and scary.

    Scary too that Fox “News” gave $1 million dollars to the Republican Governor’s Association.

    Clear skies, Alan

  7. Bryan Elliott

    I can’t participate in the UCS’s campaign, much as I’d like to. Their position on nuclear power is completely inconsistent with what they’re trying to do here.

  8. 1) Leave the sulfur in aviation kerosene – or add more from scrubbing fossil fuel power plant exhaust.
    2) Free civiian and military transport into the stratosphere where it becomes sulfuric acid aerosol.
    3) The Earth is Officially SAVED!
    4) The minimum daily requirement of Enviro-whiner pissing and moaning is replaced by ground-based astronomer pissing and moaning.

    Was that so hard?

  9. Brian Schlosser

    @peptron: Believe me, from inside the US it can look pretty scary too. The anti-intellectual atmosphere here is not new, but as things get hotter (literally and figuratively) it seems to be ramping up to scary proportions.

    I see it as a side effect of the classic American “Can Do” ethos, which, on its own is a good thing (it let us build a nation in record time, go to the moon, win world wars, etc.) but is dangerous when applied to areas where “pioneer spirit” and a desire to go your own way are not good ideas, IE, science and medicine. Hence the abundance of YECers and holistic/altmed bunkum in American society.

    (I note that another nation with similar issues is Australia, which ALSO has a history of rugged, iconoclastic, Frontierism)

  10. Floyd

    #5, #9: There are a lot of people in the USA (and elsewhere) that ignore the findings of science because it contradicts their religious beliefs in “Young Earth Creationism.” In their minds, the Bible (usually the King James Version) is far more believable than science. Information that contradicts the KJV is ignored.

  11. Elmar_M

    Not too impressed with this Union. They are surprisingly anto nuclear power. Which is strange because it is by far the cleanest and most efficient option currently available (option that makes sense, wind and solar dont make sense yet, because they are not developed enough yet).
    Oddly enough they are so much against nuclear power that they would rather support oil, gas and co. Personally I consider this very shortsighted and silly. Sorry Phil, this time I can not support you. Nextbigfuture has a good rundown on why the Union of Concerned Scientists is wrong about nuclear:
    http://nextbigfuture.com/2010/08/few-oil-gas-and-coal-fatal-accidents.html

  12. Messier Tidy Upper

    By shaving the stalagmite’s core ..

    (from the “Unearthing Rock-Hard Evidence of Climate Change”
    [Profile: Geologist Julia Cole — by Seth Shulman] one.)

    Well I bet there’s a tongue twister or two in that! Let’s see :

    The solemn spelunking scientist smartly shaved the slippery stalagmite so she’d see the separate stratigraphy starting to show some solid signs!

    Try saying that ten times in a row fast maybe? 😉

    @9. Brian Schlosser : As an Aussie I’d have to agree that our culture has a lot in common with America’s although we also have quite a few points of different too. Among these is that Aussie’s in general tend to be a lot less religious and a lot more willing to mock dumb ideas instead of respecting them. I am a NOT a stereotypical Aussie. (But I do love my beer!) 😉

  13. IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE

    @Brian Schlosser (#9):

    (I note that another nation with similar issues is Australia, which ALSO has a history of rugged, iconoclastic, Frontierism.)

    And ALSO convicts! 😉

    *Runs and hides*

  14. Damien

    I am tired of the bantering on both sides of this issue. Show me proof (that was not discredited recently by a certain email leak) that this is continuing to occur; that it is man made and not a natural phenomonon; that it can be stopped or mitigated realistically; and that you have determined this indpendently and come to a fair conclusion absent of either party loyalty. On the converse, show me that it can no longer be shown to be progressing; that is is a natural phenomonon or has occured before in history; that attempting to prevent it would do nothing; and that you have come to this conclusion using the scientific method devoid of any political party loyalty or personal rhetoric. What’s so unscientific about asking this? Has this become such a political issue that it is deemed unscientific to ask where the proof is or to allow a contrasting statement? It is equally unscentific to attempt to discredit those who say it is either not occuring or not something we can control and is tied entirely to politics. So for the last time, both sides put up or shut up. Give me data and not falsified charts and graphs.

  15. Messier Tidy Upper

    Obligatory links here to Peter Sinclair’s Climate Crock of the Week Youtube series incl. :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6Un69RMNSw&feature=PlayList&p=029130BFDC78FA33&index=24

    On the climate predictive models, what they’ve got right & why they work with some help from Clarke & Kubrick’s Space Odyssey : 2001

    Oh & note at the five min. twenty sec. mark a familiar section on the NW passage opening too!

    &

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WvasALL-hw&feature=PlayList&p=029130BFDC78FA33&index=5

    Climategate & consequences (Part III of III) incl. death threats aimed at climatologists with help form Monty Python & the Holy Grail.

    & see :

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

    For the full Climate Crock of The Week playlist which I’d recommend checking out. Especially for “climate skeptics” as it will save much time and embarrrassment for them if they check first to see if the claim they’re about to make has been debunked there already first!

    There is a real PR problem for climatologists and that’s sad.

    It is ironic that as the scientists who know best have become ever more certain in recent years that Anthropogenic Global Warming is real the public have never been more confused and less sure of its reality. :-(

  16. Messier Tidy Upper

    @12.IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE :

    Meh. Most Aussies don’t have convict ancestry but arrived as immigrants &
    those who *do* have convict ancestors are now rather proud of it actually! 😉

    PS. I reckon we’re going to whitewash England 5-nil in the Ashes this year – just you watch! Just like last time England played cricket here in Oz. 😛

  17. Brian Schlosser

    @Messier #13: Just watch out if you suddenly hear a loud WHOP and a bunch of white robots appear…

  18. dave

    Damien Says:
    August 25th, 2010 at 9:46 am

    I am tired of the bantering on both sides of this issue. Show me proof (that was not discredited recently by a certain email leak)

    I don’t know of any evidence that was discredited by any email leak. UCC should have some links to some evidence. Otherwise, I would look through Phil’s older posts about the issue.

  19. Scott B

    More blurring between science and activism. Exactly what the AGW debate needs…. This type of activity is simply going to lower some people’s trust in science even more. The picture ads are cute though.

    Going to their website, they simply repeat the same disputed talking points the IPCC and others have published. More worst case scenarios rather than balanced views. In the more disputed areas, they keep things generic enough to keep from outright lying but it’s obvious this is PR. Not what I expect from scientists. That’s a role for politicians. I’ll just pick out a couple of examples.

    Under the “Global Warming Science” section, there’s a link for “Hurricanes and Climate Change”. The repeat the mantra that AGW will produce stronger more destructive hurricanes. This has not been demonstrated. Any increase in strength in our record is hardly detectable and more easily explained by improved knowledge and monitoring capability than storms actually being stronger. They just blow this off and cherry pick papers that fit their message.

    Also under “Global Warming Science” is a link to “Global Warming FAQ”. Under this is a link to “Will responding to global warming be harmful to our economy?”. First, I didn’t realize economics has become predicatable enough to classify as science now. Yet another example of science being hijacked. Then they go on to state that the country will save billions while reducing emissions 50% in the next 20 years. They don’t state how and don’t even come close to attempting to make a balanced analysis that might have a chance of convincing a doubter. I think they are simply blowing smoke up our butts.

  20. Damien

    Dave Says
    I don’t know of any evidence that was discredited by any email leak.

    It’s called Climategate. If you are deliberately misleading the public about your efforts, whatever evidence you have obtained is suspect. The only applicable data is that which can be observed independent of this now tainted research. When you don’t share data, you manipulate numbers, and you manipulate your case, no matter how minor, you draw into question anything scientific you may claim to have discovered. Also the observation that there has been no significant warming since 1996, as stated by those on the line in this affair.

  21. katwagner

    Oh jeez people. So tell me exactly where we’re supposed to put all this spent nuclear fuel? At the INL (Eastern Idaho) on top of an earthquake fault, over the aquifer? Wait, for how many years? And the people at Yucca Mountain don’t want it either.

    Another news item that amazed me: Jane Mayer of the New Yorker wrote an expose about how the Koch brothers of Koch Industries are the bazillionaires behind the Tea Parties and various nay sayers on global warming. And the brothers try to keep a low profile because they own Georgie Pacific, to name one company, and their companies produce items like Brawny Towels. Their dad started the John Birch Society and tormented John F. Kennedy. All this pretty much blew my shoes off. (Mayer was on Rachel Maddow last night).

  22. Messier Tidy Upper

    @14. & 21.Damien Says:

    I am tired of the bantering on both sides of this issue. Show me proof (that was not discredited recently by a certain email leak).. It’s called Climategate.

    Discredited? No. “Climategate” has been over-hyped and actually doesn’t refute anything. It just shows the humanity of some climate researchers who got very frustrated and angry but didn’t actually committ any of the crimes they’ve been accused of.

    See : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P70SlEqX7oY&feature=related

    and here :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJFZ88EH6i4&feature=related

    Or see the Bad Astronomer’s take on the “Climategate” affair together with links to other sites discussing it and people’s subsequent (lo-oong!) discussions of it and AGW generally here :

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/11/30/the-global-warming-emails-non-event/

    And many other times on this blog too …

    Plus you could research this blog, wikipedia, realscience, google the various papers and articles, etc … The BA has a search button at the top and has tagged posts – there’s plenty of discussion here – good and otherwise. Take a look.

    The evidence is certainly out there as Fox (Mulder not news!) & Scully would say! 😉

    The conclusion that the vast majority (98% according to one survey) of the people with the most knowledge and expertise in this area make – based on that evidence – is that, yes, Anthropogenic Global Warming is real and is a serious concern for our future.

  23. Bruce

    Typical. If you can’t convince the public to believe your politically-motivated “science”, hit them with an ad campaign to try to sway them. It won’t work. The public isn’t as dumb as you liberals think, which is why the public doesn’t believe in global warming.

  24. Elmar_M @ 11, (and others) What IS it about wind and solar et al, that makes you people think of them as kids toys? These are legitimite players and can easily cover even the obscenely large energy demand of the US – many times over! And wind and solar is immediately deployable and extremely scalable – you just add more solar panels and more wind turbines – it is that easy. Solar doesn’t really benefit from large scale, so I think the best way is just to put solar PV on as many roof-tops as possible – that includes yours! Wind on the other hand, gets much more efficient with size (size does matter…) and location matters a lot. Wind-farms makes a lot more sense than house-hold installations. More than 20% of Denmarks electricity is generated by wind – it is scalable – the US can do it too!
    I guess nuclear plants are considered big-boys toys, but they have big problems: It takes a long time to get one on-line – at least 15 years, according to several people I have yalked to, who are in the bussines. Another problem is that the knowledge to build and run nuclear power plants is very specialized – there aren’t enough people around to do that in the US, and they will need to get through school and certification first Public safety is a huge concern which adds a lot of complexity and cost. The waste problem (used fuel + decommisioned plants) is NOT solved! Uranium is NOT a renewable source of energy, and solving the CO2 problem with nuclear plants, would quickly deplete the easily accesible uranium deposits, driving up the price and environmental impact of mining it.
    A problem with a nuclear plant has a much larger effect on the grid and takes a lot longer to resolve, than a problem with 1 out of 40 5GW wind turbine in a windfarm.
    And I won’t mention the teorrist threat to monolithic power sources, and abundant radioactive waste – except I did…
    Cheers, Regner

  25. Daffy

    Bruce, very convincing post. No facts, just the usual frothing at the mouth.

    Liberals! Hide your children! Booga! Booga!

  26. Elmar_M

    @ Regner Trampedach and katwagner.

    There are several ways to deal with the waste.
    1. You can reprocess it and turn it into useable fuel again.
    2. There are several types of nuclear powerplants that have already been developed, or are currently in development (among them the traveling wave reactor which is backed by Bill Gates) that can burn nuclear waste.
    Several fusion fission hybrids will also allow for burning nuclear waste as a nuclear fuel.
    3. Problem of nuclear waste is completely blown out of proportion and negligible compared to the ill effects that other, more traditional energy creation methods have on the environment.

    On wind and solar: They are currently not competitive from a price point and the sun does not always shine and the wind does not always blow. Even if this was not the problem, we would need to cover so much land with solar and windfarms that this too would have a quite negative impact on the environment.
    Plus, solar cells still require a lot of energy to make and the balance of energy needed versus energy created is not very favorable for them. If that energy then comes from coal power plants, the positive effect they may, or may nor have on the environment (completely disregarding all the toxic chemicals used in the manufacturing process) is diminished.
    I am not saying that solar is never going to work, it just is not there yet. 40 cents/KWh (number I got from someone with a factory roof full of them), this is only going to be paying off, if you get government money and can use it for marketing and promotional purposes.

    Wind is total bullcrap anyway. I cant believe that people are so gullible. Read up on the issues involved with it. Heck even most green party voters that I know dont like it.

    Building nuclear reactors can go a lot faster if the regulatory and political hurdles are set a little lower. The sad truth is that despite the fact that probably thousand times as many people have been killed by coal power plants (health problems from pollution, or accidents related to coal mining, etc), people still are less affraid of having one of those in their backyard than a nuclear powerplant.
    There are other countries in the world that show at what pace nuclear reactors can be built if the will exists.

    Also, we have nuclear fuel resources for at least 1000 years. With Thorium it would be many times more. Traveling wave reactors also would extent the resources quite signifficantly.

    >>More than 20% of Denmarks electricity is generated by wind >>
    Have you ever seen Denmark on a map? Locate it for me. Then think about the dimensions of this country in relation to its geography and topology. Then think about it some more, then come back and say you are sorry for talking bull****

    >>A problem with a nuclear plant has a much larger effect on the grid and takes a lot longer to resolve, than a problem with 1 out of 40 5GW wind turbine in a windfarm.>>
    5 GW? 5 GW? Dude, what did you have for breakfast? I want myself some of that. 5 MW, maybe (and then not steady and not always when you need it). That is a factor of one thousand less. 5 GW wind turbine, yeah sure.
    A single block of a nuclear powerplant usually has about 800 MW, maybe a bit more. A large plant has multiple blocks adding up to several GW.
    Again, wind turbines produce a hand full of megawatts, not gigawatts. Please guys, gest your numbers right.

    >>And I won’t mention the teorrist threat to monolithic power sources, and abundant radioactive waste – except I did…>>
    You have the same problem with large coal plants. Only they blow their radiactive waste into the atmosphere all the time, at levels that would have any nuclear plant shut down if it only happened once by accident!

  27. #10 Floyd “Information that contradicts the KJV is ignored.”

    Except when the information lets them watch American Idol or use their car’s GPS system or listen to their iPod or feed their family or…well, you get the picture :)

  28. dave

    Damien Says:
    August 25th, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Dave Says
    I don’t know of any evidence that was discredited by any email leak.

    It’s called Climategate.

    None of the evidence in that case was discredited, nor did any emails reveal an attempt to deceive the public.

    Funny how you say you want “both sides” to stop bickering, but then you present lies made up by one side.

  29. dave

    Katwagner: I’m glad Maddow is finally bringing that news to a wider audience. It’s been public knowledge for years that Koch was one of the companies financing the PR campaigns and fake science against global warming. They use some of the same PR companies the tobacco companies did when they were coming up with “science” that said nicotine wasn’t addictive. But nobody in the mainstream media reported on it. Only in America would the press think it’s good journalism to report on Tea Party rallies without reporting on who funds them.

  30. dave

    hale-bopp Says:
    August 25th, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    #10 Floyd “Information that contradicts the KJV is ignored.”

    Except when the information lets them watch American Idol or use their car’s GPS system or listen to their iPod or feed their family or…

    Or get divorced.

  31. dave

    @ Elmar: so what you’re saying is that, with future technology we don’t have yet, nuclear power will be clean. I happen to agree, but that doesn’t really help us now.

  32. Elmar_M

    @32 Dave
    It is already clean. It can get cleanER in the future though.
    The nuclear waste problem is not as big as it is made by certain people and it will be fixable. In fact the technology already exists, it just has not been brought to broad use yet.

  33. MaDeR

    Reading this threat, I will say one thing: ideology is real blinder. Congratulations, my quota for todays losing faith in humanity was fulfilled.

    Reasons as usual: wishful thinking, lies, denial, lies, double thinking and more lies. Did I mentioned about lies? And I am talking not only about (A)GW. Dscussion about alternative sources of enery was also funny in very sad way (we really need ecologs that are not from Greenpeace retards).

  34. @ Elmar: I second Dave @ 32’s comment about future technology. Wind and solar is proven and can be deployed right now. And it can of course be developed further in the meantime.
    >>Several fusion fission hybrids will also allow for burning nuclear waste as a nuclear fuel.<>Have you ever seen Denmark on a map? Locate it for me.<>Then think about the dimensions of this country in relation to its geography and topology.<>5 GW? 5 GW? Dude, what did you have for breakfast?<>we would need to cover so much land with solar and windfarms that this too would have a quite negative impact on the environment.<< No. And putting solar panels on roof-tops doesn't really take up more land, does it? And how much wind-load do you think a wind-turbine provides, compared to the buildings we put up without such concerns?
    I have many more comments, but I think I'll stop here.
    Cheers, Regner
    P.S. Please do tell me more about the hybrid fusion/fission process.

  35. Daffy

    MaDeR Says: if you are going to accuse other people of being “retards,” you might want to proof read your posts a little more carefully.

  36. Michael Swanson

    “Typical. If you can’t convince the public to believe your politically-motivated “science”, hit them with an ad campaign to try to sway them. It won’t work. The public isn’t as dumb as you liberals think, which is why the public doesn’t believe in global warming.”

    You know, they kind of are. That’s why they fall for the endless ad campaign for Fox News that is Fox News. That’s why they fall for all-American soccer moms like Palin without realizing that she is a dangerously stupid woman with no real grasp of national or international issues. It’s why they support the attack of a country that’s near a dangerous country with no proof of collusion between the two. It’s why they think Obama is a Muslim and a Kenyan. (Hate the guy if you want to – he wasn’t my first choice – but only for reasons that aren’t made up, please!)

    And it’s why they think that thousands and thousands of scientists around the world will gain some super secret ominous benefit for agreeing that anthropogenic global warming is real!

    Who the hell are these people that think scientists all meet in a bunker somewhere, twisting their mustaches and wringing their hands, to decide how to divide the bullion, the fame and the armies of super gorgeous sex slaves by lying to the public about climate change, evolution or moon landings?!

  37. Daffy

    Well said, Michael. This country is full of people who think they are intellectuals because they parrot nonsense from Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. It’s funny, in a sad sort of way.

  38. ND

    Daffy,

    “It’s funny, in a sad sort of way.”

    “It’s funny, in a dangerous sort of way.”

    There fixed for ya.

  39. Bruce

    @26 Daffy: No facts, just like the warm-mongers. That’s why they have to resort to ad campaigns with comments like, “I turned my passion for mud into an impassioned career.” What does that have to do with global warming? Nothing. It’s just a lame attempt at stirring up empathy for a scientist in the hope that it will get you to accept their beliefs.

    @37 Michael Swanson: The benefit isn’t super secret, it’s blatantly obvious: money. Global warming is the media buzz word of the moment, so anyone involved can have a boatload of cash dumped in their laps. Just look at Al Gore and his brand-new multi-million dollar mansion. Keep buying carbon credits, daddy needs a new pair of shoes!

  40. @Elmar_M

    Solar power doesn’t necessarily mean expensive photovoltaic cells. There is also solar thermal power where the sunlight is stored as heat instead of being converted directly to electricity. This also allows the storage of energy, in the form of molten salt for example, for the times when the sun doesn’t shine.

  41. don gisselbeck

    Here we go again, accusing scientists, (lucky to make $100,000 a year) of being in it for the money and ignoring the behavior of the $10,000 an hour men, the sort who would happily destroy western civilization if they could rake in $100,000,000 doing it.

  42. ND

    Bruce,

    The evidence has been put forth and available if you search for them. You’re just ignoring them. Deliberately and intentionally.

    You’re also a liar. From the page:
    “Cole’s stalagmite research is already yielding results. In a recent paper in Nature Geoscience (February 2010), Cole’s team documents that the wet and dry periods they have chronicled from the stalagmite’s composition correlate closely with the record derived from ice-core data in Greenland. “It’s a new picture of the climate in the Southwest during the last ice age,” Cole says. “What this new evidence shows us is that when it was cold in Greenland, it was wet here. When it was warm in Greenland, it was dry here.””

  43. Nigel Depledge

    Elmar_M (11) said:

    They are surprisingly anto nuclear power. Which is strange because it is by far the cleanest and most efficient option currently available (option that makes sense, wind and solar dont make sense yet, because they are not developed enough yet).

    Well, according to an article in NewScientist a few weeks back, this is precisely because of the energy pricing structures (at least, in Europe this is the case – I assume it is also for the US, but I don’t know).

    Energy providers by electricity from the generating companies at a price that equals the highest cost of production. Since the highest cost of production is always from the “stand-by” capacity of gas- and oil- fired power stations (as opposed to the “backbone” production of coal, nuclear and green energy), the energy-generating companies are clinging onto the pricing structure (and their gas- and oil- fired power stations) for all they are worth.

    Wind and solar electricity generation, while they have a huge capital cost, have the lowest running costs per MWh generated of any system currently in use. If the pricing structure, instead of reflecting only the peak cost of energy, were instead to reflect (say) the average cost of electricity (or, indeed, its actual cost), then energy suppliers would always go first to wind and solar producers for their electricity. Thus, wind and solar would become economically viable.

  44. Nigel Depledge

    Damien (14) said:

    I am tired of the bantering on both sides of this issue.

    And well you should be. Maybe you should tell this to the deniers who are deliberately muddying the waters?

    Show me proof

    We’ve done that before IIRC. Did you believe it then?

    I guess not, since you’re still pretending to be sat on the fence.

    Seriously, dude, the truth is available in the primary scientific literature. The Earth is warming up. This is almost certainly the result of human activity. Rising sea levels are a bad thing. The surest fix is to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

    Yes, it really is that simple.

    (that was not discredited recently by a certain email leak)

    Again, (a) show me the emails where the scientists admitted they were making stuff up. (b) leaked emails from one university have nothing to do with the other several hundred universities worldwide where researchers have reached exactly the same conclusions.

    that this is continuing to occur; that it is man made and not a natural phenomonon; that it can be stopped or mitigated realistically; and that you have determined this indpendently and come to a fair conclusion absent of either party loyalty.

    This is a global issue. How can loyalty to any specific political party be relevant?

    If you seriously wanted to see and understand the evidewnce, I’m sure you would have done so by now.

    The “reasonable” tone you adopt, in my view, is a smokescreen because you don’t want to change your lifestyle. In previous threads on this topic, people have pointed out the evidence to you, and you continue to doubt that it is real. That makes me ask the question: why have you not taken the trouble to see it for yourself? And the obvious answer is that you don’t want to. So you keep denying that the evidence is real, or claiming that it has been discredited (which, incidentally, it wasn’t – a fact is still a fact, no matter what someone says about it), or claiming that no-one has shown it to you.

    I say, stop whining. The evidence is published in the scientific literature. If you refuse to believe reputable sources that abstract, digest and re-present the data in a more easily-understood form (such as New Sicentist magazine), then it is not up to anyone to show you the data. Instead, it is up to you to go find it for yourself. Go to your nearest university. Join their library. Look up the data in the literature and then reach your own conclusions.

    On the converse, show me that it can no longer be shown to be progressing; that is is a natural phenomonon or has occured before in history; that attempting to prevent it would do nothing; and that you have come to this conclusion using the scientific method devoid of any political party loyalty or personal rhetoric.

    There is none. But you could find this for yourself if you were to examine the literature for yourself, or use only reputable sources.

    What’s so unscientific about asking this?

    Because, given that you refuse to believe the reputable sources that have done exactly this, no-one owes it to you.

    Has this become such a political issue that it is deemed unscientific to ask where the proof is or to allow a contrasting statement?

    The evidence is where it has always been – in the primary literature.

    It is equally unscentific to attempt to discredit those who say it is either not occuring or not something we can control and is tied entirely to politics. So for the last time, both sides put up or shut up. Give me data and not falsified charts and graphs.

    The IPCC (apart from one very widely-publicised cock-up) has already done exactly this. If that’s not good enough for you, your only recourse is the primary literature.

  45. Michael Kingsford Gray

    Fox is certainly the loudest of the mouthpieces for the Noise Machine. Putting Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp’s feet to the fire is something I wish more people would do.

    Don’t be such a Dick.

  46. DS

    “38. Daffy Says:
    August 25th, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    Well said, Michael. This country is full of people who think they are intellectuals because they parrot nonsense from Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. It’s funny, in a sad sort of way.”

    Sort of like the people who think they are intellectuals because they parrot nonsense from Oberman and Schultz?

  47. Elmar_M

    @ Regner Trempedach who said:
    >>Wind and solar is proven and can be deployed right now. And it can of course be developed further in the meantime.>>
    Wind and solar are proven to be crap, that is all. They break, they are UNRELYABLE, they are expensive and especially wind will never provide enough energy to support the worlds needs. Only nuclear power can do that. Solar may be able to do that one day, but it can not do that yet. Here in Austria we have maybe 100 sun days a year, so solar is completely out of the question. The many mountains make wind also impossible. As I said, Denmark has a very different topology from most of the world. It is also in the middle of the goddamn ocean. That means that it has plenty of wind from the sea. You can NOT take Denmark as an example for the rest of the world. You just can not do that. Denmark is one example where it works.
    Also, just to do some math here for you. A 3 block nuclear power plant produces 3GW roughly. That means that you would need 600 5 MW wind turbines to produce the same energy. Now you can not just put them on top of each other, so they do need to be spaced out a bit, quite a bit actually and there is your problem.
    But then, even when you have put up your 600 (!) wind turbines, you still can not use that for the backbone of your power generation, because there are times when the wind does bot blow. Then what do you do? You fire up your coal power plant, or your nuclear power plant. Only that having those stand still costs you almost as much as running them (especially true for nuclear), so you might just as well run them all the time.
    Plus, not even the green voters like them because they harm the wildlife, especially birds.

    >>That means you should be able to do it with half the density of solar panels and wind turbines. >>
    This is exactly why I told you to look at the geography and the topology. For wind turbines land does not equal land. They have to be in areas with just the right amount of wind. Not to much, or they will desintegrate, not to little, or they will be inefficient und unrelyable.
    Denmark has a wonderful topology for that because it is surrounded by the sea and comparably flat too. Do you get now what I meant by “check geography and topology”?

    Coal of course is by far the worst power generation method in regards to polution and global warming. Strangely enough, nuclear power, the only clean energy source one with a better energy density becomes the enemy of the “concerned scientists”. Talking about shooting yourself into the foot.

    >>Please do tell me more about the hybrid fusion/fission process.>>
    You use a a high neutron fusion process, e.g. DD, or DT to produce neutrons to irradiate the fuel source (which in itself would not be reactive enough to produce fission). The fusion reactor part does not need to have a q of more than 1 for this to work. There are several approaches that will reach this very soon. Good candidates are the research at Helion and Tri Alpha (though Tri Alpha are aiming for a q high enough to allow a pure fusion reactor using p+B11). Both are Field reversed configurations. The late Dr. Bussards (of Bussard Fusion Scramjet fame) famous polywell reactor design might also turn out to have a high enough q to be a pure fusion device (p +B11), but should also make for a good hybrid in case it does not get the high enough q, or can only be made to work with DD. DD reactions are preferred because they dont require you to breed Tritium, which is the biggest engineering issue for all of those types of reactors. In the left field we also have Focus Fusion with their dense plasma focus (though they have the most doubters).
    In any case there are plenty of potential fusion neutron sources that would work.
    In addition to this, you should read up on the traveling wave reactor principle. This is a pure fission device that is currently being developed with financial backing by Bill Gates. He gave a really good talk about this recently at TED 2010. It is definitely worth watching. You can say about Gates whatever you want (most people hate him for some weird reason), but he turned himself out to be quite a philantropist in recent years. He is also smart and powerful enough to make this work. So I wish him all the best.
    Here is a link to a video of the TED talk (you may be able to find more if you do a search):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwRYtiSbbVg
    The fusion- fission hybrids would work in a simillar way, only that here the fusion reactor provides a constant neutron source and no enriched uranium fuel (that starts the reaction in the traveling wave reactor) is needed.
    There are also several other interesting reactor designs, such as Thorium Molten salt reactors. They are an interesting read too.

  48. Elmar_M

    @Shane who said
    >>Solar power doesn’t necessarily mean expensive photovoltaic cells. There is also solar thermal power where the sunlight is stored as heat instead of being converted directly to electricity. This also allows the storage of energy, in the form of molten salt for example, for the times when the sun doesn’t shine.>>
    Yes, this is actually true Shane. However, this also only makes sense in places with a good amount of sunshine every year. Like any solar power facility they do also require quite a bit of maintenance. It is true though, they make a lot more sense and they are more efficient too.

  49. David D.

    Interesting how those commenters who seem so concerned about the “politics” of Fox News seem completely at ease with the “politics” of the Union of “Concerned Scientists.”

    Funny and dangerous, indeed.

  50. TheBlackCat

    @ David D:

    Right, because complaining about a new channel having a political bias is equivalent to complaining about an explicit lobbying grouping having a political bias.

    Lobbying groups are supposed to push a particular agenda, that is their job. News channels are not.

  51. David D.

    @TheBlackCat–

    So, as an example of truly “fair and balanced” reporting without political bias, you would point to–who exactly?

    I am not aware of any news channel/broadcast/publication that DOESN’T have a political bias. Other than local police reports and the obit column (maybe), it’s pretty hard to find unbiased, neutral reporting. Not necessarily defending Fox, but this kind of criticism is kind of like handing out tickets for speeding at the Indy 500, don’t you think? (Thanks, Capt. Willard . . .) :)

    But you’re right–lobbying groups are supposed to push a particular agenda. SCIENTISTS are not (and no, sorry, “reality” is not an agenda). My problem with UCS is that they are nothing more than another example of politics muddying the scientific field. Their stands on plant genetic engineering and nuclear power show how politically motivated they are.

    Perhaps finding an unbiased scientist is not that easy, either . . .

  52. Elmar_M

    I think FOX is going a bit over the top though with being soooo obviously biased. I mean come on! These guys are not even trying to be objective and they put their religious crap down everybodies throat wherever they can. I think that of all news stations that I have ever seen, Fox is by far the most ideologically tainted of all and I have had 30 years of Austrian government TV…
    I am for genetic engineering whereevery necessary, also on humans.
    I am also for nuclear power. I am against religion and I am against anything that is so called “ethics”. I think “ethics” is a religion too.
    I also think that global warming is real. If not man made, then man enhanced. We can at least reduce it a little bit by reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. How do we do that? Close down those dang coal powerplants and replace them with nuclear powerplants!
    But then of course the union of concerned scientists is lobbying against that. So how are we going to keep energy prices down without having to ration electricity, ESPECIALLY when everybody will be driving electrical cars, as is desired to reduce global warming?

  53. ND

    Elmar_M,

    I think one can even call what Fox does activism. Given how they’re pushing the Tea Party. They’re actively biased as apposed to most of the rest of the media where they can be seen as passively biased. Personally I think they don’t have much of a backbone given how they let themselves be swayed. The irrational reaction to the Manhattan Islamic center being a good example. Fox on the other hand is deliberate in it’s purpose.

  54. David D.

    “They’re actively biased as apposed to most of the rest of the media where they can be seen as passively biased.” Does the “rest of the media” include the NYTimes, or MSNBC? Do you really think they are “passive” in their bias?

    And, really–“Active” vs. “passive” bias? Are you serious? How does one even define those terms? Is it somehow “better” or less harmful if you are only “passively” biased? Is this like “active” racism vs. “passive” racism? Or “active” ignorance vs. “passive” ignorance?

    My point is not about Fox News’ bias–it’s about the bias of those “Concerned Scientists.” We can rant and rave about media bias all we want, but I would have hoped that some of the commenters here (and BA) would have recognized UCS for the lobbying group that it is. The fact that they come down on the side of the global warming debate that a lot of folks here agree with does not suddenly make them a group of disinterested scientists.

  55. ND

    David D,

    I had CNN, ABC, NBC and similar news sources in mind. MSNBC with Olberman, that’s a different story. Note I said “most of the rest of the media”. I see greater misinformation coming out of Fox.

  56. David D.

    ND–

    I’ll give you 5 points for recognizing MSNBC/Olbermann as “a different story.”

    A little Google effort may show you that your other “similar news sources” may not be as passive or unbiased as you think.

  57. Daffy

    For Neocons ANY criticism of a Republican ,for any reason whatsoever, is a result of “liberal bias. “

  58. David D.

    @Daffy

    For Neocons ANY criticism of a Republican ,for any reason whatsoever, is a result of “liberal bias. “

    Non sequitur much?

  59. Daffy

    Garsh, pardon me, David, I thought the last few posts were about media bias. Next time I’ll check with you first.

  60. David D.

    In the last few posts, no one mentioned Neocons or “liberal” bias–except you.

    You don’t need to check with me–just read a little bit more carefully. KTHX.

  61. Brian137

    From post #53,

    Perhaps finding an unbiased scientist is not that easy, either . . .

    David D,
    Do you think that most people are biased (according to whatever definition of “[un]biased” you had in mind when you posted the above comment)? Do you feel that scientists are especially so? Do you feel that an accurate assessment of whether the earth is warming and, if it is, to what extent that warming is anthropogenic would be useful?

  62. David D.

    Hmmmm . . .

    I would guess that every human being on this planet is biased in some fashion or another, either consciously or unconsciously.I don’t feel that scientists are any more or less susceptible to bias, although we probably expect them to be unbiased when it comes to their scientific work, for example, the use of double-blinded studies.

  63. Brian137

    David D,
    Thank you for responding.

    I would guess that every human being on this planet is biased…

    I am extremely biased.

  64. Steve in Dublin

    I don’t feel that scientists are any more or less susceptible to bias, although we probably expect them to be unbiased when it comes to their scientific work, for example, the use of double-blinded studies.

    David, I think you’ve unwittingly hit upon the solution for convincing the public that AGW is for real. The scientists have been Doing It All Wrong™. What they really need to do is a double-blinded study! That way, they can’t be accused of making sh#t up to support their playboy lifestyles, or to suit their agenda of achieving a New World Order. Just one thing stands in the way: we need to find another, similar planet to use as a control group…

  65. Party Cactus

    NO, NO, NO! The Union of Concerned Scientists does not need more attention! Dang, man, so if Generation Rescue, Age of Autism, or Vaclib supported something like this, would you promote it? Genetic engineering denialists are every bit as anti-science as vaccine denialists, and the Union of Concerned Scientists are without doubt GMO denialists. Listen, I’m sorry if anyone has bought into that strain of nonsense, but the science is in, the results tallied, GMOs are safe for humans, an overall net benefit for the environment, and useful for farmers, and what the UCS and other similar groups does isn’t insightful, it isn’t new information that throws into questionthe old data, it isn’t critique of social issues surrounding the technology, it’s denialism, plain and simple, there’s no other word for it, it’s the same kind of fearmongering and half-truths the anti-vax groups rely on. They published a study once about the yield of GE crops claiming they (somehow) decreased yield. It was based on data showing an increase. That’s the kind of group you want to get more publicity? Really? A group that twists and distorts data to support their own unscientific biases? Maybe you you don’t pay much attention to this area (a real shame, it’s utterly fascinating), and I know you want to support science in all it’s forms, but pull your head out of the stars and look at your plate for a moment; groups like this are a big issue, a big threat, in the horticultural and agricultural sciences. I just wish that pseudo-/anti-science in agriculture got as much attention as medical pseudo-/anti-science does.

    What they do in this area may be perfectly valid, but you know what? What a homeopath says about eating fruits, nuts & vegetables and getting exercise is usually also valid. If, say, Bill Maher criticizes bad science, it’s hard to mention that without also pointing out the hypocrisy of his anti-vax beliefs. I’m just saying, endorsing the UCS really should come with a note about their flaws. Regardless of this, make no mistake, they are NOT friends of science, at least so far as science based agriculture is concerned. These are not the people you want to be associated with.

  66. Muzz

    The UCS were obviously horribly biased in their choice of web and graphics designers (two arch liberal trades if ever there were any). They should have done a double blind study of effectiveness, making one of each sort of web site and assessing hits independantly; one in fancy flash, one XHTML and CSS, and one conforming to HTML1 standard with a tiled background, lots of clipart and random all-caps Comic Sans. With a default grey blank page as a control.
    (actual hypothesis pending. But it’s the Principle people!)

  67. Elmar_M

    I dont care about whether the union of concerned scientists is biased. Sure they are, they are a lobbying group. I just dont like a lot (not all) of the things they have to say.
    I dont like that they are against genetic engineering (I am with Party Cactus here). This is a very naive and almost religious attitude, btw. I also dont like that they are against nuclear power. This is also an almost religious attitude with no basis in science. As Cactus said, they could just as well be antivaxxers.

  68. Michael Swanson

    @ 40. Bruce Says:

    (RE: My sarcastic comment about the benefits that secret cabals of scientists gain.)

    “The benefit isn’t super secret, it’s blatantly obvious: money. Global warming is the media buzz word of the moment, so anyone involved can have a boatload of cash dumped in their laps. Just look at Al Gore and his brand-new multi-million dollar mansion. Keep buying carbon credits, daddy needs a new pair of shoes!”

    Not talking about Al Gore. He’s not a scientist. I never saw An Inconvenient Truth because I don’t care what Al Gore’s opinion of global warming is. He is not a climate scientist. He can use the idea of global warming to gain an ear and a bunch of money, but so can Bill O’Reilly by claiming that it’s not real. Politicians and media figures don’t figure into the veracity of scientific claims.

    I’m talking about actual scientists! The ones that you assume live in mansions, drive Lamborghinis and get private audiences with the Queen because they say, “Overwhelmingly, the evidence indicates that global warming is real, and is being caused or exacerbated by human industrial and agricultural activity.” They work on university campuses and in government offices, and they make a pretty decent salary on average. And they, the experts in their fields, agree on the evidence.

    You can argue with the tire experts that state that under inflating your tires reduces their life span, but you’d be foolish to do it. You can argue with the dental experts that state that excess sugar is bad for you teeth and gums, but you’d be foolish to do it. You can argue with geologists that state that the Grand Canyon didn’t form in one giant flood, but you’d be foolish to do it. And you can argue with climate scientists from around the world that agree that global warming is a very real thing, but YOUR reasoning (not mention your research and your millions of data points) is different and insightful: you don’t like Al Gore!

  69. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ 70. Michael Swanson :

    I’m talking about actual scientists! The ones that you assume live in mansions, drive Lamborghinis and get private audiences with the Queen because they say, “Overwhelmingly, the evidence indicates that global warming is real, and is being caused or exacerbated by human industrial and agricultural activity.”

    Or because you’ve discovered planetary moons Triton orbiting Neptune, Hyperion circling Saturn and Ariel and Umbriel around Ouranos in the case of English astronomer William Lassell :

    When Queen Victoria visited Liverpool in 1851, Lassell was the only local she specifically requested to meet.

    Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Lassell :-)

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