Followup on the WSJ climate denial OpEd

By Phil Plait | October 7, 2011 11:30 am

Yesterday, I wrote about an embarrassingly bad OpEd piece published in the Wall Street Journal, the purpose of which was to try to sow doubt and confusion over the reality of climate change. One of the writer’s main points was that if we can doubt Einstein (due to the recent much-argued-over faster-than-light neutrino experiment) we can doubt global warming.

Needless to say, this analogy was such a howler that many, many people besides just me took fingers to keyboard to lambaste Robert Bryce, the author of that OpEd. I think my favorite is by cartoonist Maki Naro, the first panel of which is here (click it to see the rest, which is great). Andrew Revkin, from the somewhat more trustworthy Gotham paper The New York Times, also weighed in, making several fair points about the piece.

This nonsense also started a wonderful Twitter hashtag, #WSJscience, which I am quite enjoying perusing. So much so that I even submitted my own:

If serious scientists can question relativity, then a fatally flawed WSJ OpEd implies the written word doesn’t exist. #WSJscience

See? False equivalancies are fun!

Tip o’ the retreating glacier to JenLucPiquant.

Comments (87)

  1. Drew

    Dr. Plait,

    Do you not think it would be easier to address the substantive science of climate change by decoupling it from the tried-and-failed economic policies being sold with it as a package deal? Would you entertain the notion that central planning is an enormous non sequitur requiring inured confirmation bias to overcome?

  2. Christopher Jablonski

    What happened here? I’ve read and reread that WSJ piece; and, out of all the climate change denial I’ve seen, it’s one of the mildest offenders. It seems to me the community I identify with is overcorrecting and resorting to mean-spirited mockery instead of using the article as a teaching opportunity and refuting Bryce’s claims.

  3. Cade DeBois (@lifepostepic)

    Classic authoritarian personality vs. authoritative personality stand-off. The authoritarian appeals to publicly esteemed personalities and to the sentimentality and ignorance of his audience. The authoritative appeals to basic logic, critical thinking and known facts. And since this is science and not a FOX News-sponsored GOP debate, guess who wins?

  4. @Christopher Jablonski,

    Basically, the community is ignoring his first four “points” (or debunking them quickly and easily and moving on) and focusing on his fifth “point.” Here, the author was trying to say that scientists questioning the validity of one theory meant that a completely unrelated theory must be completely wide open to debate as well. (And not debate as in “how should we dot the i’s and cross the t’s”, but as in “does this really exist.”) It’s a horrid analogy (for many reasons) and he’s become the subject of much mocking.

  5. Maki Naro hit it right on the head when he said, “we’re once again faced with the presumption that any slight disagreement in the scientific community = dogs and cats living together”.

    Try rephrasing that a tiny bit and you see their basic truth:
    “Any slight disagreement in the [XscientificX] Bible community = dogs and cats living together”

    It’s not that these people’s logic is wrong, it’s that they don’t use logic at all. If truth is whatever I decide to believe, then anyone who disagrees with me is wrong. And if somebody can disagree with somebody else, then they’re both wrong, since there can be only one answer. QED.

  6. Mark

    If serious scientists can question relativity, then adult males can watch My Little Pony and be secure in their manhood.

    … this is gonna be SO COOL! /)^3^(

  7. Robin

    @ Christopher Jablonski (#1): What’s happened here is that the WSJ published a piece that does not provide a single factual point that counters AGW or for that matter addresses it directly. The most egregious of his points was his last, which either demonstrates that he either has no understanding of how science works or he purposely misleads his readers about how conclusions can drawn from science. In either case, someone at the WSJ proofread the article and sanctioned its printing. What science arguably being under attack by those with political agendas or otherwise and with a public willfully parroting what these people are saying, points such as the fifth one in the WSJ piece cannot be taken lightly.

  8. adam

    Followup on Phil’s refusal to be intellectually accountable for anything he writes, twisting the words of dissenters and usage of third parties to deflect criticism.

    Grow up, Dr. Plait.

  9. @MrTemple: If serious scientists can question Einstein’s relativity, there must be room to debate blowing up the moon. #WSJscience http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Csj7vMKy4EI

  10. Don

    So, up is down, left is right, day is night…

    Next thing you know, we will have a black President!

    … oh, wait…. I guess this guy ISN’T nuts! Q.E.D.

  11. Up Youns

    You need to know this:
    Entropy: The only difference between the past and the future is change!
    That applies equally well to climate!

  12. jrpowell

    I blame Rupert Murdoch. Since he took over the WSJ, it has become nothing more than another cog in his propaganda machine.

  13. Isaac

    Does this mean that the WSJ will now debate the wisdom of tax cuts and trickle-down economics?

    Nah, I didn’t think so.

  14. Bill

    @jrpowell – That cannot be. Rupert stated that he would be hands-off with the editorial part of the WSJ when he bought it out…. And we all know Rupert never distorts anything.

  15. Wzrd1

    I’m just trying to understand why a writer could claim any sufficient knowledge of science in general, let alone climatology or physics and consider himself competent enough to make such comments.
    A BFA does NOT give one sufficient education on science to be capable of commenting intelligently.
    Should we interview my two year old granddaughter on climate change next? Her comments would be equally valid.

  16. Cheyenne

    @Wzrd1- So by that standard nobody should listen to Chris Mooney when he writes about science?

  17. Chris L.

    I’m sorry, but the author’s last point seems to be the only one with a chance of being valid, though not in the way the author thinks. If you can challenge relativity, you can also challenge AGW. Of course challenging an idea is not the same as overturning that idea. The burden of proof is on the person questioning the consensus. If you can not produce data that refutes the consensus (that itself is based on accumulated data), the consensus stands for the moment. You can debate the issue all you want, you just can’t win the debate without data.

  18. Scott

    So basically what I’ve learned from reading this blog is that to be a “true skeptic” you must question everything, well everything except climate change. Climate Change is a pure undisputed 100% fact and if anyone questions that in any way size shape or form they must be mocked until they stop. Doesn’t sound really scientific to me.

  19. Orlando

    @ (18) Scott: Well, maybe you didn’t read it properly. Everything can be questioned, but it doesn’t mean you just can say “I question Kepler Laws, I think they’re completely flawed”, and that’s it. Next, you have to provide some evidence supporting your claim.

    And that’s where all AGW denialists fail miserably.

  20. Kath

    @Scott, I think you need to take remedial Phil lessons. The lesson remains question everything, find the evidence, test the evidence, rinse and repeat. So by all means question climate change ( data proves it is happening) question AGW ( data makes it highly probable that human industry is making a difference to the rate of warming). Keep looking, thinking, reasoning questioning.
    But. Put yourself forward as being a journalist and write something as stupid as the premise that if Einstein could be wrong then all science is disproved and so climate change/AGW is untrue. That level of logical pretzel creation means you will be mocked. And then mocked some more. It’s not science, it’s fair play. A democratic response to media distortion.

  21. Chris

    For the denialists I recommend reading
    http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/10/06/338286/charts-evidence-human-fingerprint-on-recent-climate-change/

    Also good for the realists to have some info to refer to.

  22. Al deGore

    Thankfully Climate Gate exposed the fraud.After the next Presidential election the damage done to the economy will be reversed.

  23. David B.

    The thing is, there’s a really good point to be made here precisely by relating the recent neutrino announcements to global warming.

    What the OPERA group did:
    - Collected actual data indicating the possibility of FTL neutrinos.
    - Spent 3 years looking for possible errors in it.
    - Released their results, with data, to the scientific community for comment.
    - Asked others to check their findings, or even replicate them if possible.

    What the OPERA group did not do:
    - Claim to be right by default if they could nit-pick another scientist’s work.
    - Try to smear scientists working in the field of relativity.
    - Try to defund physics experiments that still use the theory of relativity.
    - Try to have Einstein’s work banned from being taught in schools.
    - Try to get other physicists fired if they didn’t uncritically accept the OPERA results.
    - Create ad-hoc explanations as to why other groups’ results are marred.
    - Try to vet the output of other scientists to remove or suppress anything that does not support FTL travel.
    - Claim that relativity is a fraud and a con perpetrated by scientists seeking to milk the government for funds.
    - Set up astroturfing organisations that seek to sway public opinion against special relativity.

    And the list goes on.

    When Bryce says “If serious scientists can question Einstein’s theory of relativity, then there must be room for debate about the workings and complexities of the Earth’s atmosphere.” I have to agree. Not only should there be room for that debate, there is room for that debate. I only wish the people challenging the “scientific orthodoxy” of AGW were doing so a tenth as conscientiously as the OPERA team are with SR.

  24. SLC

    Re jrpowell @ #12

    In fairness, this article appeared on the WSJ editorial page which, as I stated in the previous thread, has been a bastion of insanity since long before Mr. Murdock purchased the paper. According to long time readers of the paper, so far Mr. Murdock doesn’t appear to have interfered with the reportage to any considerable extent.

    Re Scott @ #18

    As Carl Sagan once wrote, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Thus far, the climate change deniers haven’t produced any such evidence as their arguments consist all too frequently of character assassination of the proponents of the consensus.

  25. David C.

    Ch4.The.Great.Global.Warming.Swindle video available via Torrents;

    would someone like to answer to me, why I should believe the AGW theory over the theories proposed by the Scientists in this documentary;

    as a skeptic, I take both of the groups proposals with a huge grain of salt; all I am sure about is that climate has changed and will continue to change;

    when I was a kid in the 60′s and 70′s we were told that there was a global cold spell coming, but then the story changed in the 90′s to a global warming spell coming; I am going to continue to be skeptical just as I am about the forecast for the weather; until I wake up, I can’t assume the forecasters were right; same goes for your theories Phil;

  26. TonyM

    David C, you’re an adult now, hopefully with the critical-thinking skills that an adult SHOULD have at your age. No one can lead you to the answer, however: “Weather forecasters” only tell you what MAY happen based on the current by-the-minute circumstances. Those people aren’t paid to convince you of anything, they are just reading the daily weather news to you.

    Yet the findings of 98%+ of the scientific community researching the issues ALL agree that the VAST amount of pollutants emitted by nearly 8 BILLION people on our planet into our environment are effecting a drastic change in that environment, to the detriment of EVERYTHING.

    The way I see it, people have three big choices:

    1) DENY the current researched and vetted findings about global climate change and keep over-polluting our atmosphere as though it will recover in time to NOT seriously affect ALL life on our tiny little world.

    2) IGNORE the current researched and vetted findings about global climate change and allow others to decide what happens (and no doubt, MONEY will win the argument as it usually does)

    3) REALIZE that we as a species will survive and actually flourish when we decide to do what nearly all of the scientific community is telling us, and NOT the corporate-funded greedy bastards: That we need to change our behavior to survive healthy and successful in the near future and distant, to preserve not only our health and well-being, but that of our descendants and life on our planet as a whole.

    Options 1 & 2 only give us temporary, instant gratification, and really only to a very small percentage of humanity and NONE of the rest of life on our non-disposable little world.

    Option 3 encourages us to make changes for the betterment of ALL life on the Earth, and it will only mean that a few people (that ultra-wealthy greedy 1%) accrue a fraction less wealth in the mean time.

    In the end, you have to decide for yourself. I’m just curious why less than 2% of the scientific community has you on the fence in the face of the real, serious consequences to our environment, as opposed to a slower the much lesser alternative of the accumulation of wealth for a few who 99% of us are NOT.

  27. Ron1

    @20. David B. Said: “Not only should there be room for that debate, there is room for that debate.”

    ………………………………………………………….

    David, I agree. However, as a rule, the deniers do not add anything new to the debate. Rather, they merely rehash the same old, tired alternate theories that have been successfuly refuted.

    Now, this is not to fall into the trap of induction and imply that, given their failures of the past, the deniers will never find an alternative theory that is better than AGW at explaining current warming and predicting future warming — I hope they can. Unfortunately for them, as of right now, they’ve not brought forth any better observations or explanations than those that support AGW. Therefore, AGW wins.

    When they do bring forth better obs and explanation, then I agree, let’s debate. Until then, they are simply bad chatter.

    Cheers

  28. Robin

    @ David C (#22): You can choose to believe or not to believe. That’s got nothing to do with the data, and fortunately, the science doesn’t rely on belief. The science is dependent on data. For the record the idea that the consensus was, in the 60′s and 70′s , that global cooling was on the way is bogus. One study of the literature showed 7 papers published supporting global cooling and 44 published supporting global warming. The more important consensus then was that the data and tools available at the time weren’t sufficient to make reliable predictions about future climate changes.

    Since that time, much more data has been collected, and the tools (sensors, computers, software, and etc) have become so much better. Science has availed itself of those tools refined and expanded the models and modified theories. This is exactly what the Scientific Method does and is how science works. It’s a self-correcting field of study that improves with time. Climate study and work on global warming have improved and have been adjusted through testing and additional data to the point where the consensus in the scientific community is that the global warming is real, and more importantly, that anthropogenic global warming is real.

    Of course there are questions that have yet to be answered, but that’s the normal state of science. There’s always more to know or to figure out. That in no way diminishes what is known or the current consensus.

    I’m on the side of science, so I could care less about belief.

  29. Ron1

    25. Robin

    I raise my glass to you, well said.

  30. 1. Drew Says:

    Do you not think it would be easier to address the substantive science of climate change by decoupling it from the tried-and-failed economic policies being sold with it as a package deal?
    ——–
    Uh, no. That’s impossible.

    There are two – and ONLY two – possible responses to AGW/HIRGO. One is doing nothing and allowing the biosphere as we know it to collapse in a total global climatic meltdown. The other is putting complete control of all the world’s population and economy under one Soviet-style Communist authoritarian dictatorship while ratcheting back all of modern human society to pre-industrial agrarianism. There is not even the possibility of a middle ground. And if you’re not with us, you’re against us.

  31. Just a note I find relevant to the topic. A review paper titled “Our sustainable Earth” is now available on the journal Reports on Progress of Physics (Vol. 74, No. 11, article id 112801, http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/0034-4885/74/11/112801). It is interesting to see this topic brought up in a reputable review journal for physics. You may find it an interesting read.

  32. JB of Brisbane

    @The Math Skeptic #27 – And we all remember how environmentally conscious and nature-loving the Soviet Union was, don’t we? ;-)

  33. Gunnar

    @David C.#25, It is so frustrating that the myth that in the 60s and 70s the scientific consensus predicted global cooling just refuses to die–no matter how many times it is debunked. As Robin said, even then that idea was very much a minority opinion (though it received very much undeserved publicity in the media at the time).

    For that matter, in all the comments I have seen in this blog by AGW skeptics ever since Doctor Plait first posted about the dangers of global warming, I have very rarely (if ever) seen any arguments attempting to refute global warming that have not already been frequently and devastatingly debunked!

    Very well said indeed, Robin!

  34. Gunnar

    My hope is that the absurdity of Robert Bryce’s argument becomes so obvious to most people that it will do enough damage to the credibility of AGW denialism, to turn the tide of public opinion back to the side of scientific reality. If so, Mr. Bryce may have inadvertently done the goal of promoting awareness of the reality of AGW a great service!

  35. Infinite123Lifer

    There are two – and ONLY two – possible responses to AGW/HIRGO (30)
    —–

    When I clicked your name it took me to a site. I looked to the left and it said that 2+2=4 has never been proved.

    If math dont work where u come from then how do you c0unt to 2? 2 possibilities? I Dont Think So.

  36. Gunnar

    @Infinite123Lifer,

    I hope it is obvious to you that The Math Skeptic’s site is an intentionally silly and humorous spoof site that spoof’s pseudoscience of all types. I find it quite entertaining, myself. Yet much of the unintentional silliness of some pseudoscience and anti-science types (such as Mr. Bryce, creationists, and some AGW deniers) is very nearly as silly (if not more so) than Math Skeptic’s intentional silliness. I think it likely that his comment was “tongue in cheek.”

  37. PayasYouStargaze

    It’s sad that a satirical site such as The Math(s)* Skeptic’s can actually be confused for a genuine one. Sad because genuine conspiracist and pseudoscience sites really are that bonkers. A couple of my favourite minor ones included one that claimed that supersonic flight was impossible and another that there was a world conspiracy against “Burnelli” type lifting body aircraft.

    Note that that blog starts in 1970. Nice touch lol

    *I can never figure out why Americans only ever have one math, when there is a whole world of maths out there to be had ;)

  38. Mike G

    would someone like to answer to me, why I should believe the AGW theory over the theories proposed by the Scientists in this documentary;

    Here’s a complaint filed with the Office of Communication regarding the film that lays out about 175 reasons why you shouldn’t believe the documentary.

    I am going to continue to be skeptical just as I am about the forecast for the weather; until I wake up, I can’t assume the forecasters were right;

    By the same logic, the business model used by casinos is fatally flawed. They cannot predict with any accuracy the short-term outcome of a chaotic system like rolling a pair of dice, so therefore shouldn’t be able to set odds that favor the house. In reality though, they bet on the statistics of the long-term behavior of the system (the frequency of numbers and combinations which will appear), which are predictable. They prove time and time again that predicting the long-term behavior of a chaotic system that can’t be predicted in the short-term can be done with quite a bit of skill.

    Weather is the chaotic, short-term behavior of the atmosphere, which makes it hard to predict- though much more predictable than a single roll of the dice.

    Climate is the statistical description of the long-term behavior of the atmosphere- timing of seasons, frequency and severity of precipitation or the lack thereof, average and extreme temperatures, etc. Just as casinos have relied on the statistical behavior of dice to set favorable odds in spite of uncertainty about the next roll, farmers and publishers of Almanacs have depended on the predictability of climate for centuries, in the face of their uncertainty about the weather next week.

  39. It’s extremely annoying to see the myth of the 1970′s global cooling consensus pop up again and again in every debate about climate change, it has been thoroughly debunked through a review of the scientific literature of the time. Just like in creationism climate change denial arguments are much like zombies, no matter how many times you shoot them down they keep popping up everywhere. Which leads me to believe the denial of this field of science is driven by ideology, political not religious like in creationism, as opposed to real skepticism.

    For those interested, the link to the PDF of the survey of the scientific literature from the seventies is in my name (pdf)

  40. David C.

    @38. Rover
    Thanks for the link, just perused the first page; while I am not a scientist, just an ordinary civis, I lived through that time, and yes it was very much in the forefront of media alarm, that we were facing a cooling Earth that would dramatically alter human society; but as the paper you connected me to made note of, at the beginning, there was lurking in the background papers dealing with Global Warming, which didn’t see the light of media attention; Typical of the media, but as not a scientist or having access to those papers, as the majority of people, I could not have known other than the media trumpeted, just as now; I will read your pdf and become educated;

    for the others who replied to me, -D, implied ad homini attacks and mouthing of the “political line” does not make for a very good scientific argument; cheers

  41. In science the should alwayseroom for debate, everything should be questioned. When questioning things stops, so does science. That doesn’t mean there is no climate change, that means science should be science, science should question everything. If youthink it is wrong to even question things related to climate change then you are doing politics, not science.

    Certainly the Goofball writing the OpEd (an OpEd, by the way, is NOT the official position of a newspaper – many here seem confused about that) is of course saying that if we can doubt one thing then another must be wrong.

    Questioning things, even doubting thing, does not mean they are wrong. It means we are thinking. If you don’t doubt, if you don’t question, you are not thinking.

  42. 36. Gunnar Says:
    I hope it is obvious to you that The Math Skeptic’s site is an intentionally silly and humorous spoof site that spoof’s pseudoscience of all types. I find it quite entertaining, myself.

    37. PayasYouStargaze Says:
    It’s sad that a satirical site such as The Math(s)* Skeptic’s can actually be confused for a genuine one. Sad because genuine conspiracist and pseudoscience sites really are that bonkers.

    —–
    It would appear that my clever ruse has become un-rused. Its true – my site is satire. Primarily an attempt to redirect my anger and frustration at the science denialosphere into something positive, and secondarily a platform for a hack sci-fi writer to develop some narrative ideas.

    As you mention, it’s a bit difficult for me to keep up with the genuine denialists and woo-weavers – they come up with conspiracies and pseudoscience ideas far beyond anything I can imagine… :/

    Thank you for reading!

  43. (harruph)
    Now listen to me!

    Would someone like to answer to me, why I should believe the theory that smoking causes lung cancer over the theories proposed by scientists working at the Tobacco Institute?

    as a skeptic, I take both of the groups proposals with a huge grain of salt; all I am sure about is that some people get lung cancer and some people will continue to get lung cancer.

    when I was a kid in the 40′s and 50′s, the media told us told that smoking was just fine, but then the story changed in the 70′s to lung cancer and other stuff like that; I am going to continue to be skeptical just as I am about all that other fancy-shmancy science stuff; until I actually get cancer myself and the doctors start snipping out parts of my lung, I can’t assume the scientists were right; same goes for your theories Phil;

    ////

  44. Dallas

    Interesting fact in this book review from last weeks Nytimes. Between Indian and China they are building 4 coal fired power plants a week. They are unlikely to stop unless a much cheaper option is discovered. Any reduction in the west is not going to make much difference.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/25/books/review/the-quest-by-daniel-yergin-book-review.html?pagewanted=all

  45. David C.

    Two men walk into a bar. First man says “I’ll have a H2O” Second man says “Sounds good, I’ll have a H2O too”. Second man dies horribly.

    First, a joke to show there is no hard feelings;

    Second, @ 43. Cedric Katesby
    (HARRUMPH) (u misspelled it ;) )

    if imitation is flattery then I am flattered LOL but I must say, you did do a better job on the hyperbola BWG

  46. adam

    @ 20. Kath:

    “Put yourself forward as being a journalist and write something as stupid as the premise that if Einstein could be wrong then all science is disproved and so climate change/AGW is untrue.”

    That’s hilARious, seeing as this isn’t what the guy said at all. I sincerely hope yours (and Phil’s, and the rest of the echo chamber here’s) utter failure at reading comprehension isn’t indicative of the level of their and your scientific prowess.

  47. Harrumph!
    Now listen to me.

    So basically what I’ve learned from reading this blog is that to be a “true skeptic” you must question everything, well everything except the link between smoking and lung cancer. Smoking causing lung cancer is a pure undisputed 100% fact and if anyone questions that in any way size shape or form they must be mocked until they stop. Doesn’t sound really scientific to me.

    So basically what I’ve learned from reading this blog is that to be a “true skeptic” you must question everything, well everything except the moon landings. That Neil Armstrong landed on the moon is a pure undisputed 100% fact and if anyone questions that in any way size shape or form they must be mocked until they stop. Doesn’t sound really scientific to me.

    So basically what I’ve learned from reading this blog is that to be a “true skeptic” you must question everything, well everything except the safety of vaccines. That MMR vaccines don’t cause autism in children is a pure undisputed 100% fact and if anyone questions that in any way size shape or form they must be mocked until they stop. Doesn’t sound really scientific to me.

    So basically what I’ve learned from reading this blog is that to be a “true skeptic” you must question everything, well everything except the Theory of Evolution. That Evolution is true is a pure undisputed 100% fact and if anyone questions that in any way size shape or form they must be mocked until they stop. Doesn’t sound really scientific to me.

    So basically what I’ve learned from reading this blog is that to be a “true skeptic” you must question everything, well everything except the Theory of Sexual Reproduction. That babies come from ladies tummies instead of the stork bringing them is a pure undisputed 100% fact and if anyone questions that in any way size shape or form they must be mocked until they stop. Doesn’t sound really scientific to me.

    ////

  48. DrFlimmer

    @ #45 Dallas

    THAT’S exactly why we need an international (aka world-wide) treaty. But especially the US refuses again and again such a thing.

    On the other hand, you say: “Any reduction in the west is not going to make much difference.”
    With all due respect, I disagree. The US is still accounting for almost 25% of the global CO2 output (maybe a little less now, since China and India catch up fast). Reducing that amount will make a huge change. AND: Someone must give the example. And it must be the Western World. We are responsible for the waste that was made until now. Now, we should try to care about it, and show the others that there is another way.

  49. Robin

    @ David C. (#40): There was no ad hominem attack in my post, and there certainly was no mouthing of any political line. If you read as much in my post, then that was the result of your own bias. I stated facts about the global cooling claim, about how science works, and how belief relates to science.

    Your accusation about the “mouthing of the political line” is itself an ad hominem attack. Such attacks in no way change the data (available to everyone) from which AGW theory is formed/modeled.

  50. Dallas

    @49 Dr Flimmer. The author Yergin felt the even with reductions in the west we would be well past the “danger mark” with the “rest” increasing coal use astronomically. It is easy to predict energy consumption is going to skyrocket in the next 10 years. Here is a quote from the review by Fareed Zakaria.
    “The trend of ever-increasing energy use is certain to continue. Even if the Western world becomes much, much more energy-efficient, “the rise of the rest” guarantees a massive expansion in the demand for energy. Global G.D.P. is now $65 trillion and may rise to $130 trillion in just two decades. Energy consumption may well increase 30 to 40 percent along with it. The number of cars worldwide will rise from one billion to two billion. How will we find the energy to run them?”

  51. Congratulations on undermining your basic point. You badly misrepresented the WSJ article, which had a snippet about CERN and Einstein and noting rather blandly that even what seems settled can be superseded, and that therefore the claims of climate warning might – did you notice the word “might?” – at least be open to question. The rest of the challenge to climate alarmism, which you conveniently don’t point out to your readers, has a rather different basis.

    Your cartoon above gives a very different impression, doesn’t it? Some very silly things are said against AGW. Unfortunately for you, this time yours was the dumber comment.

    So you are a fool or a knave – it doesn’t matter really – unable to endure even the mildest challenge to your ideas without sneering and insulting. You might want to observe the people around you better, and notice that being condescending in place of a logical argument only works on people who adopted their ideas for social reasons to begin with.

  52. Undeniable

    49. DrFlimmer Says:

    The US is still accounting for almost 25% of the global CO2 output

    So, if with a massive effort costing trillions of dollars (which would almost certainly be totally impossible give the current state of the US economy) it was possible to cut CO2 by 50%, total world CO2 production would drop by 12.5%, assuming that China’s output does not grow, which it will.

    According to current figures (and assuming that 100% of sea level rise is caused by CO2, which it is not) that would produce a reduction in sea level rise of about 1 inch over the next 100 years.

    Love you long time.

  53. Infinite123Lifer

    42. The Math Skeptic Says:
    October 8th, 2011 at 8:16 am

    36. Gunnar Says:
    I hope it is obvious to you that The Math Skeptic’s site is an intentionally silly and humorous spoof site that spoof’s pseudoscience of all types. I find it quite entertaining, myself.

    37. PayasYouStargaze Says:
    It’s sad that a satirical site such as The Math(s)* Skeptic’s can actually be confused for a genuine one. Sad because genuine conspiracist and pseudoscience sites really are that bonkers.
    —–
    It would appear that my clever ruse has become un-rused. Its true – my site is satire. Primarily an attempt to redirect my anger and frustration at the science denialosphere into something positive, and secondarily a platform for a hack sci-fi writer to develop some narrative ideas.

    As you mention, it’s a bit difficult for me to keep up with the genuine denialists and woo-weavers – they come up with conspiracies and pseudoscience ideas far beyond anything I can imagine… :/

    Thank you for reading!

    —–
    It is sad on a number of fronts. The ruse is up?Ok. The Math Skeptic site I think I partly understand now is a joke. Surely you have become that which you so hate. For I plead with you, to spread such ideas in any form IS what breathes Life into a subject. You are giving weight to ignorance by maintaining false information and every second wasted on a joke which only a quarter of us can understand is precious time lost in the completion of your potential. And hell yeah its THat BAd. Your site blows Math Skeptic and being a hack sci-fi writer, well, . . . write about something important &^%*. And your not creating positive energy through satire. Do the math. Use laughter accordingly, I fear you may have your Laughter License revoked.

    “they come up with conspiracies and pseudoscience ideas far beyond anything I can imagine… :/ ”

    and then you copy it or outdo it. Get a better Life.

    Excuse me? is there more than one Assistant Village Idiot in here?

    What about the bigger issue? How the *&(*) am I supposed to know!

  54. Ben

    Assistant Village Idiot – is that your chosen moniker or an actual, assigned title? Hard to tell, from the post.

  55. harry tuttle

    @ Infinite123Lifer’s – “Excuse me? is there more than one Assistant Village Idiot in here?”.

    Are you worried about the competition?

  56. David C.

    Find, and follow those that SEEK the truth, but run like hell from those that say they have found it

    end of my contribution to this thread; you don’t see your hand in front of your face; and you have no humour;

  57. Infinite123Lifer

    On the contrary David C. your contributions continue.

    David C said: (56)

    “Find, and follow those that SEEK the truth, but run like hell from those that say they have found it”

  58. Infinite123Lifer

    Many people want Hubble to have a successor. Hubble for me is sort of like a mascot or something. It represents us all here as a Planet together. I am not much into sports so the Hubble filled that void of belonging to something (well something ultimate with a brain anyhoo) :)

    I think there is enough reasonable people with their feet firmly planted on the ground who deeply believe that having super-binoculars in space makes us better than if we did not have super-binoculars in space. I have heard arguments for not launching JSTW as well. There are many departments and it is complicated I understand this. As long as everybody is asking the same question:

    “What is best for our Planet and Us Earth bound in the Future?”

    So if anybody out there finds out something goes faster than the speed of light then my super-binoculars will cease to work!? And if missiles are more better than say goodbye to super-binoc’s again?

    What is best? I think the JWST is. Who cares what advances or non advances we make or what theories are put to the test!!! (beside hoping for some forward progress at the very least) the super-binoculars still work!

  59. Infinite123Lifer

    56. harry tuttle Says:
    October 8th, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    @ Infinite123Lifer’s – “Excuse me? is there more than one Assistant Village Idiot in here?”.

    Are you worried about the competition?

    No I am not worried, I just got a wierd vibe and couldnt understand the lingo around here for a minute. No I do not feel the need to become competition. Are you serious though harry tuttle? I was not born of perfection nor does my strive to grasp it humble even the fairest intellect. I am working harder harry tuttle and I am definitely not the idiot in the village I come from. But there is only 4 of us so thats not sayin much :)

  60. harry tuttle

    I want super binoculars. I want them so much that the floor got wet again. Wasn’t me tho. Was the weird vibe and lingo that did it. Where’s the mop?

  61. Hemogoblin

    @ 38. Mike G

    By the same logic, the business model used by casinos is fatally flawed. They cannot predict with any accuracy the short-term outcome of a chaotic system like rolling a pair of dice, so therefore shouldn’t be able to set odds that favor the house.

    Lovely analogy! Mind if I borrow that for my next run-in with an AGW denialist? :)

  62. Joseph G

    Sigh. I don’t even have the energy or concentration (after having smashed my head against a wall several dozen times) to put down the post numbers, but the same thing keeps popping up over and over – some permutation of the following:

    “How dare you tell me that X is definitely true! Science is never settled, and conclusions should always be questioned!”

    Well, yes. And also, no. Or rather, yes, but only if you (A) are acting in good faith and actually using your ears as well as your mouth, and (B) if you know which questions have been asked, and which have been answered. See, scientists typically fulfill both these criteria. One thing a lot of people don’t seem to understand is that scientists question each others’ results ALL THE TIME. That’s what science IS. And of course, they’re often competing for grant money, and to publish the most credible paper on a given subject – they’re not all sitting around sipping Port and patting each other on the back.
    The thing is, even if a blogger has a valid question, the odds are that it’s already been asked, answered, argued, asked again, and eventually hashed out.

    To draw an analogy from my own experience, it’s a bit like a team of IT experts trying to get a fried server to boot, having done all the basic troubleshooting already, and are now discussing master boot records and power supply voltages. Now imagine some random guy (who can barely use a Mac) walking up and saying “HEY GUYS, have you made sure it’s plugged in? Maybe you forgot to do that. I’m helping!”

    You could hardly fault the IT geeks from turning and giving the newcomer a look that would set paper aflame. Now, is it a valid question? Sure. But it’s also a ridiculous waste of breath and time. The geeks in question are not going to be grateful to the newb for bringing up something they checked three hours ago.

    Similarly, I see many armchair pundits and bloggers bringing up questions about AGW science which they seem to think are original or insightful, but which have actually been covered a hundred times in the literature. When people who know the field hear this for about the thousandth time, they tend to lose patience and tell the “questioner” to go piss up a rope. Then said person whines they’re being silenced and that science is about questioning everything. It would be funny if it didn’t keep happening over and over and over and ****ing over again.

  63. flip

    #38, Mike G

    Great explanation of weather vs. climate.

    #62, Joseph G

    While I do agree overall with your sentiment, sometimes the people troubleshooting do overlook the basics. I’ve had it happen to myself, and I’ve seen other people do it. Sometimes you’re so close to the subject of what you’re doing, you miss the obvious.

    Not saying that’s what climatologists have done, or that the deniers are anything less than annoying, but to point out that sometimes yes, even the non-geeks might see something worthwhile. That’s another great point – and nuance – about science. A good idea might come from anyone. But then, the idea needs to be turned into data; for which the deniers seem to lack or at least, not be interested in finding.

    I think for me, that’s the most annoying part. It’s not that the zombie arguments keep returning, it’s that they’re never accompanied by good data.

  64. Cory

    Tough to change the genetically myopic. But, as I believe Twain wrote, ” never argue with a fool – those watching might not be able to tell the difference.”. The deniers do more damage to their stance with their head-in-the-sand comments than anything sound science could offer.

  65. @ Joseph G

    Similarly, I see many armchair pundits and bloggers bringing up questions about AGW science which they seem to think are original or insightful, but which have actually been covered a hundred times in the literature. When people who know the field hear this for about the thousandth time, they tend to lose patience and tell the “questioner” to go piss up a rope. Then said person whines they’re being silenced and that science is about questioning everything. It would be funny if it didn’t keep happening over and over and over and ****ing over again.

    I would like to see this comment etched onto the computer monitor of every denier out there.

  66. Daniel J. Andrews

    Realclimate.org, the site that is written by real climate scientists, has an article up now that should be required reading for everyone.

    It starts off,

    Unusually, I’m in complete agreement with a recent headline on the Wall Street Journal op-ed page:

    “The Climate Science Isn’t Settled”

    The article below is the same mix of innuendo and misrepresentation that its author normally writes, but the headline is correct. The WSJ seems to think that the headline is some terribly important pronouncement that in some way undercuts the scientific consensus on climate change but they are simply using an old rhetorical ‘trick’.

    Gavin goes on to make some good analogies although I would quibble over a minor point or two (e.g. science in a certain area or field may never be settled but it is confirmed to such a high degree it is silly to reject it and for all intents and purposes you can call it settled). But, that is probably more semantics than an actual quibble, I’d guess.

    realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/unsettled-science/

    btw, just picked up that Gavin has the word ‘trick’ in quotes….that’s a reference back to the storm in an [empty] teacup over the use of the word ‘trick’ in one of the stolen emails. Amusing.

  67. DrFlimmer

    @ #51 Dallas and #53 Undeniable

    Sure. But what is the alternative? Sitting around, doing nothing, watching the earth go down to hell? Even if we can’t change the change, we have to do as much as we can to minimize the outcome.

    Btw: The US could have done a lot already. And it’s not that hard. For instance, why do the US citizens still need cars that use 15ltr/100km? A “European” engine as powerful as an “American” uses at most 8ltrs/100km in these days. And even less is easily possible. I can’t believe why this is so difficult!? It is quite simple to be far more efficient and not changing the tieniest bit in the way of life.

    That this is not enough, is a different story. And to convince especially China and India that there ARE alternatives, is our bl**dy responsibility. And if the Western World (those who began the sh*t in the first place) doesn’t start to change and to take the responsibility, who will? Always pointing to the other one doesn’t help at all. Then we can just keep sitting around. But that’s probably what humans are best at.

  68. Sean McCorkle

    Joseph G @ 63

    The thing is, even if a blogger has a valid question, the odds are that it’s already been asked, answered, argued, asked again, and eventually hashed out.

    Well put. In the days of Usenet newsgroups, this problem was addressed by maintaining and regularly posting or distributing an FAQ on the relevant topic. For AGW, Realclimate.org has a pretty good resource/FAQ page, and there’s also a pretty comprehensive list of myths at SkepticalScience.com, although the latter is casting things in the negative, which may be a bit off-putting to some.

    Your comment makes me wonder if more work on comprehensive FAQs on this, coupled with folks talking them up more on various blogs, might be helpful to the discussion.

  69. flip

    #69, Sean

    Although not related to science, I had been a long-time member of a site which developed an extensive FAQ to avoid constantly answering newbie questions. Although it might help, many people simply don’t bother reading them, and/or might not be able to find them easily, and/or assume they have some sort of special circumstance/idea that seems to blind them to taking the time to read the FAQs anyway. I’ll also add that even when people do read them, comprehension might not take, or they simply post anyway hoping for more information despite the extensiveness of the information provided.

    Basically, the only thing it will do is cut down work for the side answering questions (as you can point people to the FAQ), but it won’t really prevent people from continuing to post already-answered questions.

  70. Ann

    Wow! The press misinterpreted something. That’s unusual!

  71. Infinite123Lifer

    And then I misinterpret their misinterpretation and pretty soon there is so much misinterpretation that it causes heat to be released from the system of transmitting information and retaining it and that misinterpreted heat builds up. . . and well you know where I am going with this

  72. Penni J.

    Having read this series of replies, here are sone personal observations:
    1. Anyone can acquire data
    2. All data can be interpreted by many people in many ways; therefore, data can be skewed to the user’s advantage OR to another’s disadvantage
    3. Data is useful for scientific reasoning, but logical thinking and common sense must also play roles in using that data pertinent to any situation.

    All that being said, my travels have shown me that we on this planet are by no means on the same page when it cones to using this data (knowledge) to prolong our existence on this planet. When one part strives to reduce-renew-recycle, but another part makes no effort whatsoever, all the data in the world might just as well be tossed out! Yet common sense tells those of us who “do” to keep at it because every tiny bit helps! When one part conserves water up the wazoo, only to see fountains in a major metropolitan area spewing water all over the sidewalk, one wonders why even bother! After all, science tells us how the water cycle works, right? Here in CA, we have rolling brown/black outs during intensely hot summers, no matter how much we try to control energy use; how, then, does NYC justify Times Square and the extreme energy use there 24-7 ?

    We all have examples of butting our heads against skewed data, scientists, realists, and ostriches; Earth will go through cycles of change as always, and still we MUST simply do our part, just as a mustard seed can move a mountain! Ah, that is faith, which trumps all data! Stimulating conversation, eh?

  73. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ Ann : If only it were .. :-(

    Good article here though :

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-10-06/benson-science-is-the-only-game-in-town/3318062

    on the ABC news site on science and the Human Induced Rapid Global Overheating (HIRGO) issue. I second what is written there. :-)

  74. Messier Tidy Upper

    @25. David C. Says:

    Ch4.The.Great.Global.Warming.Swindle video available via Torrents; would someone like to answer to me, why I should believe the AGW theory over the theories proposed by the Scientists in this documentary;

    Yes, okay I’ll answer that for you David C. Please take a look at this :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boj9ccV9htk&list=PL029130BFDC78FA33&index=53

    and also at this :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2B34sO7HPM&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PL4957F2ACA87CF1B1

    and if you’d rather have a text than video then there’s this :

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2007-07-12/dont-be-swindled/97604

    for you as well.

    I’ll let those links speak for themselves and just add that T.G.G.W.S. has been utterly debunked and has zero credibility. Don’t believe me? Do your own quick checks on what it says – and then see what those who have actually dedicated their lives and careers to studying the climate think and say as well.

  75. Messier Tidy Upper

    Part II – Continued :

    @25. David C. :

    ..as a skeptic, I take both of the groups proposals with a huge grain of salt; all I am sure about is that climate has changed and will continue to change;

    Yes, the climate has changed and will – naturally but as this youtube link explains :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5hs4KVeiAU&feature=related

    we can unravel what the natural factors are – and what role Humans can play in changing the climate.

    As this clip :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9ob9WdbXx0

    by Sir David Attenborough concisely and clearly demonstates the natural climate wouldn’t be doing what the current Human affected climate is doing.

    .. when I was a kid in the 60′s and 70′s we were told that there was a global cold spell coming, but then the story changed in the 90′s to a global warming spell coming;

    You haven’t done much research before you posted have you David C? As (#39.) Rover has pointed out and as this clip :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XB3S0fnOr0M&list=PL029130BFDC78FA33&index=42

    entertainingly shows, that’s not really the case.

    I am going to continue to be skeptical just as I am about the forecast for the weather; until I wake up, I can’t assume the forecasters were right; same goes for your theories Phil;

    Human Induced Rapid Global Overheating (HIRGO) isn’t Phil’s theory – it is a basic well-established climatological fact that was established by many scientists over a long period of time starting with Svante Arrhenius in the 1890′s.

    What we do about that fact, *that* is up to us.

  76. Gunnar

    @Messier Tidy Upper

    Thanks so much for the link to that article! It should be required reading for everyone on both sides of the AGW debate.

  77. Ron1

    @65. Cory Said:
    “The deniers do more damage to their stance with their head-in-the-sand comments than anything sound science could offer.”

    …………………………………….

    Agreed, however the issue is MUCH bigger than just the science.

    I tend to be a little rough with deniers, and yet, I can’t help but feel that they have good reason to fear economic hardship arising from efforts to mitigate climate change (ie. movement away from a carbon-based economy).

    While I strongly think we have no choice but to change, I also think we must keep an eye on the process in order to be as supportive as possible of everyone who is hurt by the needed changes, particularly in light of (global) government actions to reduce or remove national social safety nets at a time when they are most needed.

    Events in the Middle East are a good example of possible events to come. Keep in mind that the protests and social unrest in the Middle East began over issues of bread prices, over issue of food. Ultimately, the issue of food evolved into protests against wider social justice issues and ultimately, in the case of Libya, violent civil war. The ‘Occupy” movement in the US (begins October 15 in Canada) is following the same low-key muddy message beginning but is ALSO basically a peaceful, social justice protest against issues of inequality arising from financial and social hardship. At its heart, the (corrupt) Tea Party movement is much the same.

    So, while I don’t agree with deniers about their arguments against AGW and I certainly do not agree with them about their ‘do nothing’ path going forward, I think we do share common ground with regard to socio-economic harm arising from AGW regardless of which path is followed.

    I find that I am beginning to see that we are also sticking our heads in the sand if we let the AGW is/isn’t argument lead over the argument of change is coming regardless of cause and what are we going to do about it argument. I think we are worse because we should know better.

    Cheers

  78. mike burkhart

    It is sciences job to question and look for the facts. Science dose not cling to doctorens like religon. Many times science has had to change its view of things as new discoverys are made and this will continue as long as there is science.

  79. Joseph G

    @Sean Mccorkle: Your comment makes me wonder if more work on comprehensive FAQs on this, coupled with folks talking them up more on various blogs, might be helpful to the discussion.

    I kinda doubt it. For every honest inquiry, it seems there are half a dozen rants by people who are convinced that it’s all just a big evil commie conspiracy.
    I applaud those who build those FAQs, all the same.

  80. Bill

    @Messier Tidy Upper

    I certainly agree with most of what is said in that article. My question is, how is Benson’s conclusion different from Bryce’s? Both use the CERN neutrino results to make their points. The only difference is that Bryce applied that conclusion to Global Warming, while Benson did not bring up a contemporary example in which well intentioned outsiders are allowed to challenge the orthodoxy. Is any questioning of the catechism of AGW a mortal sin? As for Bryce, I perceive him as someone with an open mind, willing to listen to opposing views and change his mind upon reflection. As he has commented, “I am a liberal whose was mugged by the laws of thermodynamics.” Indeed, his first two books are a well researched, clearly argued treatise on the dangers of greed & crony capitalism practiced by the leaders of Enron, the Bushes, the oil industry, and the neocons. Have you assumed that the nature of his politics was right wing conservative because it was published in the WSJ rather than Mother Jones? In fact, he has written many more pieces for MJ than WSJ.

    Bryce’s latest two books address issues of energy policy. He takes the “drill, baby, drill” folks to task for their talk of energy independence and their militarist solutions to energy supply. He also takes the environmental left to task for their belief that renewable energy in the form of solar, wind and biofuel are practical solutions to either the problem of AGW or sustainable energy. His assessment of renewable energy is not very different from that of David MacKay (Sustainable Energy — Without the Hot Air). Bryce’s and MacKay’s policy recommendations differ: Bryce recommends increased use of natural gas as a bridge to a low carbon/low fossil fuel future, whereas MacKay encourages greater use of renewable energy today (with the exception of biofuels). Interestingly, Bryce’s views on renewable energy are fairly close to those of James Hanson, who recently wrote, “But suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.” My objections to renewable energy reach back to my environmentalist roots: habitat preservation (see Stewart Brand’s The Whole Earth Discipline for a treatise that are similar to my views in many ways).

    Although Bryce’s comparison of the CERN results and AGW have attracted much derision and scorn, there are several aspects that I think needs closer examination. As with everything, context matters. Both special and general relativity have been extensively tested in many scientific experiments, and the understanding of nature conferred by these insights have led to many practical uses. Moreover, SR & GR have been around for about a century. In contrast, climate science is relatively new and because of its scale is a very different field. Perhaps, a more precise comparison is between relativity and the absorption/radiative properties of CO2, H2O and other GHGs. A better analog of climate science is star/planetary system formation and evolution. Both use well tested physical parameters as inputs into their computer models, but the performance of each model is very sensitive to a whole slew of other factors and processes. The use of these dynamic models are necessary to lead us to better understanding these systems. The major difference is that energy policy is not set by the outcomes of the latest runs of the Nice model.

    Climate models require careful observations of several atmospheric processes of varying scales of time and space to inform their sub-grid parameterizations. Measurement of past climate conditions and GHG concentrations are clearly important. In the late 1990s, reliable estimates of past CO2 concentrations from ice cores started to become available. The rather stable, low concentration of CO2 could not explain the Medieval Warm Period to Little Ice Age transition. In the first IPCC report, there was a consensus that the MWP and LIA were real phenomena. This was based not so much on a detailed statistical analysis of the several hundred paleoclimatic reconstructions using a variety of proxies but was more of a general impression. Moreover, the reconstruction results were messy, some suggesting a MWP and some not. In hindsight, the field was ripe for a meta-analysis, similar to those being performed in the drug and health industries. If Mann had not come along and performed this kind of analysis, I am sure someone else would have.

    We all know that Mann’s analysis produce the Hockey Stick graph. It was rapidly embraced by many in the field and prominently showcased in IPCC3 and in the general media. Even though it challenged a shaky consensus, there was little scrutiny of its methodologies for reasons that are beyond me. When McIntyre & McKitrick examined the methodologies, they found that Mann had used a non-standard procedure in the principle component analysis that led to the production of the severe hockey stick shape. Both the NAS panel headed by Gerald North and the Wegman report reached the same conclusion: the shape was an artifact of a flawed methodology. North took great pains to point out that Mann’s conclusions might be correct, but acknowledged that the support of this came from the same paleoclimatic data set that previously had been taken as evidence supporting a MWP.

    Examining the controversy on my own actually helped me to better understand similar analyses of *omics data. What surprised me most is the unpredictable sensitivity of PC analysis is its sensitivity to outliers (removal of one series, the Graybill-Idso pines, demoted the hockey stick shape from PC1 to PC4).

    Other questions naturally arose, my main one being is the global average temperature telling us anything whatsoever? Does it have any meaning? Is it the appropriate metric to measure the heat flux imbalance produced by increasing CO2 concentrations?

    I have other reservations about the skill of the GCMs in predicting future climatic conditions, but I have gone too long. I will end with a lament. To often when climate science is discussed on protagonist sites such as this one, those who question the orthodoxy are treated with derision and insults to the delight of the AGW protagonists (not to say that the antagonists behave any better). Unfortunately, such an approach will not win any converts among the infidels, but it does work to keep the heretics in line.

    My greatest fear is that calling too many people ignorant and stupid concerning AGW will lead to increased distrust of scientists and a lowering of support for funding of basic science research. As one who has been funded by government grants, I am keenly aware that politicians of both stripes, and more importantly, the tax paying public are my patrons. Insult and denigrate your patrons too much, and they just might ask, “Why are we paying you?” Better to treat them with respect while persistently and patiently delivering your message.

    Cheers

  81. mike

    I once read the WSJ editorial page.

    Once.

  82. Messier Tidy Upper

    Good article here :

    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2011/10/gobal_warming_is_melting_the_i.php

    From Greg laden’s blog which adds a bit of historical perspective to the HIRGO issue too if folks are interested. (Hope it doesn’t breech netiquette or anything like that.)

    @22. Al deGore :

    Thankfully Climate Gate exposed the fraud.

    Bzzt. Wrong See :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nnVQ2fROOg

    Plus :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WvasALL-hw&list=PL029130BFDC78FA33&index=33

    which starts with a girl eating ahamster and gets better still! ;-)

    But will you have the integrity to watch those with an open mind and check the facts yourself rather than close-mindedly spouting Fox news talking points? I hope so but am doubtful of it.

    After the next Presidential election the damage done to the economy will be reversed.

    Wasn’t that what they were saying just before the election of Obama in 2008 when Bush II was departing?

    Wish it could happen so quickly. I don’t think any presidential baton change willreally fix things. Not fats and not easily anyhow. I fear it’s going to be a long hard slog to get out of this economic mess probably over decades at least.

    @23. David B : Well said & seconded by me. :-)

    @77. Gunnar : No worries! Glad you liked it. :-)

  83. Sean McCorkle

    Bill @ 81

    We all know that Mann’s analysis produce the Hockey Stick graph.

    I would hope that we all also know that others have also independently observed hockey sticks using entirely different data and methods, not tree rings. That means that even if you were to actually demonstrate that the tree ring reconstructions are invalid, the hockey stick still stands.

    Examining the controversy on my own actually helped me to better understand similar analyses of *omics data. What surprised me most is the unpredictable sensitivity of PC analysis is its sensitivity to outliers (removal of one series, the Graybill-Idso pines, demoted the hockey stick shape from PC1 to PC4).

    Thats not a problem. Schmidt and Amman demonstrate that at least 5 or 6 PCs are needed to do the analysis properly.

    Other questions naturally arose, my main one being is the global average temperature telling us anything whatsoever? Does it have any meaning? Is it the appropriate metric to measure the heat flux imbalance produced by increasing CO2 concentrations?

    Since the greenhouse effect is ultimately a radiative energy balance problem, the heat buildup is the issue. If not temperatures, what else can be measured to determine it?

    I have other reservations about the skill of the GCMs in predicting future climatic conditions, but I have gone too long.

    You seem to be conflating computer models with evidence for AGW. The case is made for AGW without relying on computer simulations.

  84. Messier Tidy Upper

    @^ Sean McCorkle :

    I would hope that we all also know that others have also independently observed hockey sticks using entirely different data and methods, not tree rings.

    Yep. There’s not just the single Mann’s hockey stick graph anymore, we’ve got a whole hockey team. ;-)

    See :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrKfz8NjEzU&feature=player_embedded

    for a good source (sources plural really) & discussion of the “hockey Stick controversy” starting at the 2 minute 30 second mark.

    If not temperatures, what else can be measured to determine it? [HIRGO.]

    Diminishing amounts of sea ice? Retreating glaciers? Vanishing alpine ecologies and major ecological shifts? Increasing ocean acidity? Increasing storm frequency and intensity? Increased nyumbers and intensities for floods, heatwaves, sea level rises and increased human casualties and property damage? :-(

    You seem to be conflating computer models with evidence for AGW. The case is made for AGW without relying on computer simulations.

    Indeed. Moreover, it seems that the computer simulations may be under-estimating the severity of the problem as the mention here :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRc_9nNTZg0&list=PL029130BFDC78FA33&index=1

    shows regarding the steeper than predicted decline in Arctic sea ice. :-(

    Additionally as this shows :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6Un69RMNSw&list=PL029130BFDC78FA33&index=52

    the computer models are actually pretty reasonable and impressive albeit arguably too conservative.

  85. Messier Tidy Upper

    Meanwhile in other HIRGO related news, my nation of Australia is about to get a vehemently debated and politically costly carbon tax. The legislation for that has been argued over for many years and has claimed a couple of big political scalps including former opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull and former PM Kevin Rudd but it will (almost certainly) finally be passed through Parliament tomorrow by Julia Gillard’s determined minority government. (Which, it must be said, promised NOT to deliver a carbon tax pre-election but was forced to do so to gain power by the Greens.)

    Personally, I’m NOT sure whether the carbon tax is the really the best way to go or not – I tend to think that the same science and industry that got us into this mess is the only thing likely to get us out again – but I guess it’s better than doing nothing.

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