Huge glacier calves off Greenland

By Phil Plait | July 19, 2012 6:53 am

The Petermann Glacier is a vast tongue of flowing ice in Greenland. In 2010 it calved – broke off a chunk – releasing an iceberg far larger than Manhattan Island in New York City. That huge chunk of ice moved into the ocean and eventually melted in the Atlantic (see Related Posts below for more on that event).

And now Petermann has done it again. A crack appeared several years ago, and on July 16th conditions were right to allow a new chunk to break free:

Note the scale: the width of that glacier at that point is 20 kilometers, or 12 miles.

This iceberg was imaged by NASA’s Aqua satellite, designed to monitor Earth’s oceans. The berg itself is about half the size of the last one, but don’t kid yourself: that’s still huge.

As before, we can speculate whether this is due to global warming or not. Icebergs calf all the time. However, note that the last time, the berg calved later in the summer (August), and this crack is much farther up the glacier than usually seen.

As climate scientist Michael Mann says, global warming is like loaded dice. You don’t know if any particular throw of snake eyes is due to them being fixed, but you’ll see a lot more rolls turn up snake eyes than you would otherwise. Global warming is predicted to give us longer, hotter summers, drier conditions across the US, more record temperatures, thinner arctic ice, and having it cover less surface area of the Earth. And, yes, more frequent glacier calving.

By the way, the 2010 calving event was the largest seen in nearly 50 years. And also by the way, June 2012 was one of the hottest since records have been kept. And also also by the way June 2012 had the highest land and ocean average surface temperatures in the northern hemisphere in recorded history. And oh, one more thing: it also was the 328th consecutive month with a global temperature higher than the 20th century average. You can read all about this in the NOAA report "State of the Climate Global Analysis" for June 2012.

But you global warming deniers, you just go ahead and keep on denying. Keep cherry picking, keep changing the subject, keep misinterpreting graphs, and keep slinging ad hominems (note: that last one is skeevy and foul and disgusting almost beyond belief).

In the meantime those of us who understand the actual situation will take it seriously, and continue to speak out. Because this we know:

The Earth is warming up. The rate of warming has increased in the past century or so. This corresponds to the time of the Industrial Revolution, when we started dumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases warm the planet (hence the name) — if they didn’t we’d have an average temperature below the freezing point of water. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas which is dumped into the atmosphere by humans to the tune of 30 billion tons per year, 100 times the amount from volcanoes. And finally, approximately 97% of climatologists who actually study climate agree that global warming is real, and caused by humans.


NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen, using data from the Land Atmosphere Near real-time Capability for EOS (LANCE).


Related Posts:

Enormous glacier calves in largest Arctic event seen in 48 years
Ice island heading south off Labrador
Titanic’s revenge
New study clinches it: the Earth is warming up

Comments (103)

  1. Gary

    An analysis of the 97% of climate scientists survey is here — http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/18/what-else-did-the-97-of-scientists-say/

    BTW, when you call people “deniers” you disqualify yourself from complaining about ad hominems. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” still holds.

  2. Ryan the Biologist

    While I understand what you are trying to do with the “Earth is warming up…” mantra that you put in italics at the end of most of your climate change posts, I feel as if it may not come across well to the denial crowd. It sounds very much like a religious creed, like the Nicene Creed, and makes it sound like you need to repeat this to yourself whenever you hear opposition to climate change. I’ll be honest, I think the posts would probably come across as more scientific if that paragraph were removed. As it stands, all of us scientists that are not currently climatologists are regretably forced to take the climatology field’s word on this subject since we do not actually possess the training to form our own informed opinions, but it would be helpful if phrases and elements which made this trust in our fellow reseachers sound anything at all like blind faith were not so publically displayed.

  3. Doug Little

    As it stands, all of us scientists that are not currently climatologists are regretably forced to take the climatology field’s word on this subject since we do not actually possess the training to form our own informed opinions, but it would be helpful if phrases and elements which made this trust in our fellow reseachers sound anything at all like blind faith were not so publically displayed

    Why don’t you trust the consensus opinion of another field of science? What phrases and elements coming from the consensus opinion cause you concern? Why would you characterize it as blind faith? there is mountains of evidence that suggest the earth is warming, they aren’t just waving their hands in the air shouting abracadabra look there’s global warming.

  4. Dan_Veteran

    “And finally, approximately 97% of climatologists who actually study climate agree that global warming is real, and caused by humans.”

    If a climatologists is not studying the climate what are they studying? Is that like saying 97% of physicist that study physics agree….? Just curious.

    Dan

  5. Tony D

    @1
    You don’t have to be a climatologist to understand basic statistics and logic. Even if global warming isn’t being *caused* by humans, we sure as heck aren’t making it any better.

    Also, if you think that sounds like a religious creed, have you ever read a science book? All it’s stating is a bunch of facts. How is that a creed? That sounds like the complete opposite to me…

    @3
    Just because you study a field doesn’t mean you agree on everything within the field. That’s a huge part of science.

  6. Rick

    Oh, dear.

    The last link does not say that 97% of climatologists believe that global warming is caused by humans. That number is 84%. You really, REALLY need to get that right. Statistics like that end up being quoted all over the place. If I hadn’t checked, I might have quoted it myself, and felt very stupid if I was called on it.

    If you want to sway opinion, you CANNOT MAKE MISTAKES LIKE THIS. You must be accurate, including avoiding hyperbole, otherwise you undermine your whole argument. Not sure if that blurb was from Phil, but whomever it was needs to be more careful.

  7. Ryan the Biologist

    @2 When did I ever say I didn’t trust my fellow scientists? I was offering Phil advice on how his “Climate Change Creed”-like paragraph might be easily misinterpreted by the layperson. I think that you made an assumption about me without carefully reading the content of my post.

    @4 It takes more than a mere understanding of statistics and logic to understand the causes and trends of climate change, otherwise climatologists would be out of a job. Sure, anyone can look at a graph and take it at face value. But accepting that the methods used by climatologists to make the measurements used in those graphs are airtight is something that non-climatologists simply have to trust. It is a reliable thing to trust, the consensus of an entire field of science, but that fact is unfortunately not clear to the non-scientist, who might interpret that Creed-like paragraph as a statement of blind faith, and not the reiteration of heavily-supported facts that it is intended to be.

  8. Doug Little

    @1

    all of us scientists that are not currently climatologists are regretably forced to take the climatology field’s word on this subject

    Sounds like mistrust to me. The way I read that sentence is that because you don’t know enough to form an educated opinion on global warming you are forced, regrettably so, to side with the consensus opinion. It just reads like you don’t trust the consensus opinion, that if you knew more about the subject you would have problems with it.

  9. Steve

    I can just imagine Pasteur’s cohorts… ‘what do you mean, a germ?’ Have you ever seen this germ? Can you prove they exist, and how do they do harm even if they exist???
    And don’t get started on viruses!

  10. @Dan_Veteran (#4): Administrators, managers, department heads, etc. There are a lot of folks who are still part of a field, but they aren’t actually doing the frontline work in the field.

    @ Ryan the Biologist (#2) read the links provided. See if they at least follow the scientific method when those statements are made. You’ll probably start to notice where the actual evidence and data resides when you actually read up on it. If you are indeed a biologist trained in science, you should at least be trained to recognize the manufacuvorsey. This issue is the same as the creationist/evolution debate in that denialists are taking small disagreements within the field and turning them into some sort of centerpiece of the entire theory falling apart. You should at least be able to recognize that as a biologist.

    @Rick (#6): Citation Needed.

  11. ReasJack

    That’s a lotta agua on that big island. Too much. Coastal property. Don’t buy it.

  12. Ryan the Biologist

    @Doug Little and LarianLeQuella: I’m frankly shocked by your comments, and more than a little disappointed. That you would take a criticism I made of Phil’s approach to communicating the climate change issue to non-scientists, and the suggestion I made to improve his approach, and somehow manage to misconstrue this criticism into the words of a global warming denier is simply astonounding to me.

    When Phil makes statements that sound dogmatic, he opens up the floor to unfounded criticism of the subject matter. I’m telling him to be mindful of the way he communicates issues like this, because one of the denialists most common arguments is that scientists are blinding following Michael Mann like a pied piper. The less he does to perpetuate this illusion, the better.

    @Doug Little specifically: How is it not regretable that everyone does not have training in climatology? Would that not be greatly preferable, if everyone were an expert in every field of science? Obviously, this is not, and will never be, the case… so we are regretably forced to trust experts in other fields.

  13. @Ryan the Biologist (#11), I understand that you may be shocked, but criticizing an approach of the way a blogger handles outreach is really pissing in the wind. This is HIS blog, not yours. He is perfectly within his rights to take whatever approach he wants. Much like PZ Myers is allowed to take his approach on biology, or Steven Novella on neurology, etc. Your offering of a suggestion did not come across like that at all. Maybe you need to change your approach in offering advice on changing one’s approach? ;)

    Just sayin’.

  14. JJ

    So very much concern being expressed.

    How noble of those that are so concerned.

  15. Rick

    @Larian(#10) – the citation is the original from phil (which is why it’s so unfortunate).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change#Surveys_of_scientists_and_scientific_literature

    He is presumably referring to the last paragraph, but it is grossly misrepresented.

  16. Andrew

    I get that the deniers here don’t like how Phil said it. What you’re doing by bringing that up though is the equivalent of a phrase I’ve heard said about lawyers; ‘When the facts favor you, bang on the facts. When the law favors you, bang on the law. When neither the facts or the law favor you, bang on the table’. The deniers have realized that the science and facts don’t favor them, so they’re doing their equivalent of banging on the table, getting butthurt about how the message is presented.

  17. Coda

    @ Rick (#6, #14)

    Perhaps I’m misreading, but what is mentioned in that link is that the 84% is from a 2007 survey of meteorologists and geophysicists. Reading on further (and looking at the image and caption on the right), more recent studies targeted specifically to climate scientists have found a 97-98% rate of affirming their opinion on human-influanced climate change.

  18. Rick

    @Coda (15) Good point, I did not notice that.

    In that case, however, in a single sentence he’s picking one number from one study, and another number from an entirely different study, while *discarding* the number for the same question in the original study. Not as bad as I initially asserted, but it does make it difficult to criticize the other camp for ‘cherry picking’, does it not?

    Edit: nevermind, I actually can’t tell which number is coming from which study because the results are too similar across different citations. If those are actually the best numbers for each question, then I’m OK with that.

  19. Ryan the Biologist

    @LarianLeQuella: Likewise, I am perfectly within my rights to offer constructive criticism. But you knew that, you were only changing the source of your disapproval because you realized I was not criticizing climate change. My disappointment was with how little benefit of the doubt it appears some of the posters here give and how quick to assume ignorance as the motivation behind a post, with what appears to have been only a cursory skim of that post’s contents. I’ve been following this blog for some time now, and I honestly expected better.

  20. ubikdood

    Dear Dr. Phil,

    Please apply the following regular expression to all your future posts :
    s/global warming denier/global warming skeptic/g

    Thank you.

    Sincerely,
    ubik dood

  21. Steve Metzler

    So ubikdood, what exactly are you skeptical about? That the globe is warming at an unprecedented rate, or that mankind is the primary cause of that warming? Please elaborate, because there are mountains of evidence that the recent warming is caused by mankind.

  22. F16 guy

    Who knew that Elaine’s boss from Seinfeld, has a glacier named after him:

    Elaine’s boss and the founder of The J. Peterman Company. Eccentric world-traveler. Once fired Elaine on suspicion of opium addiction after she failed a drug test due to a poppy seed muffin and again for her dislike for the film, The English Patient. According to O’Hurley, Peterman’s manner of speaking is inspired by “’40s radio drama, combined with a bit of a bad Charles Kuralt.”

    LOL !

  23. Doug Little

    Obviously, this is not, and will never be, the case… so we are regretably forced to trust experts in other fields.

    We are not forced to trust anybody. You either trust the consensus or you don’t. Your use of forced and regrettable makes it sound like you don’t trust the consensus, that’s all.

  24. Reggie, sponsored by Brawndo

    @21 “Please apply the following regular expression to all your future posts :
    s/global warming denier/global warming skeptic”

    Global warming deniers are certainly not skeptics, they’re pseudo-skeptics promoting astro-turf spin disguised as psuedo-science.

  25. RaginKagin

    Why aren’t scientists actually making suggestions on change? I’m sick of hearing this number and no one offering solutions. Is it the pollution? Is it the gases? Is it our breathing? We’ve changed the light bulbs, we’ve changed the gas mileage on cars, we car pool, we have solar panels and windmills…no change. Its bigger than we, the individual, can obviously do anything about…yet we’re the ones blamed for it everyday. Why not work on solutions to the problem? Scientists aren’t supposed to just find a disease…just discovering Polio didn’t really do anything, it was the vaccine that was impressive…so until someone actually has something productive to add, why continue hammering us with the same numbers over and over again. If its not fixable, then lets make a guess on the end of the world and move on.

    Also, Phil, I’ve been a reader of yours for many years and I’ve enjoyed you for, dare I say, 97% of the time…but when you decide that people who are skeptics of something you decided is right you come off as arrogant and rude.

  26. Becca Stareyes

    @4 I think it’s distinguishing those trained in climatology but who no longer work in the field. To use myself as an example: I’m a grad student in astronomy. I consider myself an astronomer, and that’s where my training is. If I get a job post-PhD teaching high school, or as a consultant, or working in another field, I’ll still have all that training, but I’m less likely to be as immersed in the field as I would be as a postdoc or research professor. So I’d say my opinion on astronomical matters should be weighted a bit less than someone who is still in the field, especially about more current matters. For the same reason that if I get a job in Madrid, my Spanish would be stronger than if I get a job in Boston: a research climatologist is constantly interacting with data and theories and models and other climatologists, while a non-research climatologist may be able to understand climatology research, but might not be as practiced or current on everything.

  27. Theron

    Ryan, your comparison to the Nicene Creed is way off base. There is no evidence for the claims in the Nicene Creed. Global warming on the other hand, caused by humans, is pretty close to the “sun rises in east, sets in west” level of evidence.

  28. Ray

    So when are we going to start towing those bergs a little further south and siphon off all that fresh water? There are a number of places on the east coast where you could park a berg.

  29. @RaginKagin (#25): I’m not sure where to start responding to your comment. First, scientists and engineers have suggested lots of ways to tackle climate change. Where have you been for heaven’s sakes?! Ironically, then you list a bunch of proposed helpful approaches in your own comment, but you just said no one has made any suggestions. Which is it?! Then you make patently silly statements about having changed a few things here and there but not having seen tangible results yet. The truth is, those changes you say we’ve made? — we have only just recently begun to make them and have *not* made them on wide societal scales owing primarily to the resistance of deniers in the first place. The climate is the size of a planet; it doesn’t flip on a dime the moment you turn out the lights as you leave a room. Come on! It will take years — decades — for the climate to respond to changes, and that is *once* we start making large scale changes, which honestly we haven’t started doing yet. Then, toward the end of your comment, you circle back to the claim that no one has proposed solutions, but there are tons of solutions out there. No, I’m not going to list them here because there’s that much to it — the sheer scope of recommendations on how to address climate change vastly exceeds a terse blog comment. Where do you come off saying no one has proposed any action to tackle climate change. Seriously?

    What a totally absurd comment, don’t be ridiculous.

  30. BeerMe

    “BTW, when you call people “deniers” you disqualify yourself from complaining about ad hominems. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” still holds.”

    No you don’t! I think you misunderstand what ad hominem means. It does not mean personal attacks, it means irrelevant personal details. An example would be, you eat your pizza with a fork and therefore we cannot trust your opinion on science. If you deny the science, calling you a denier is not an ad hominem attack, it’s pointing out your approach to the specific subject is not valid. Equating a researcher you disagree with a child-rapist is an ad hominem, it’s not dealing with the subject at hand.

  31. BeerMe

    “Why aren’t scientists actually making suggestions on change? I’m sick of hearing this number and no one offering solutions.”

    They *ARE* offering solutions. The entire point of Working Group III of the IPCC is exactly that!

    http://www.ipcc.ch/working_groups/working_groups.shtml#.UAhU__6indc

    Group 1 – physical science of climate change
    Group 2 – vulnerabilities of society and nature to climate change
    Group 3 – mitigation of climate change.

    If you haven’t seen scientists offering solutions, you haven’t looked.

  32. Jim Fisher

    A beautiful display of the intersection of science and politics on display right here in this little blog. Beautiful! Yes, the science if fairly settled. The politics never will be.

    Carry on.

  33. Keith Bowden

    In the USA we have major elections coming up this fall. One of my criteria for selecting my candidates and positions on issues is rationality and science, and anyone who denies HIRGO (Human Induced Rapid Global Overheating) can’t get my vote. The same as with any history deniers refuting evolution.

  34. noen

    ” Equating a researcher you disagree with a child-rapist is an ad hominem”

    Not really. That’s personal attack. Saying that researcher’s published work is false *because* he’s a child rapist is.

    If every climatologist on Earth were a child rapist their conclusions would *still* be true if the science is true. Humans have a very strong tendency to believe that the authority of men makes things true. Which is why it took us thousands of years to discover the scientific method.

    “The truth is no respector of persons” is one of the most important lessons you can learn in school. And the fact that truth does not respect authority is why the fascist right-wingers in Texas wanted to eliminate critical thinking skills. For an authoritarian, besmirching someone’s reputation really does invalidate the truth of what they say because for them that is what makes things true or not.

  35. From where I’m standing, the notable difference between deniers and true skeptics is that deniers tend to fixate obsessively on a single issue, never extending that skepticism to other realms of inquiry. Strange, isn’t it, that we never see a climate denier questioning, say, the role of the FBN1 gene in Marfan syndrome, or the importance of sp2 bonds in carbon fullerenes, or, recently, the energy spectrum data suggesting the isolation of the Higgs boson? Climate “skeptics” are always single-issue creatures.
    Contrast this by visiting the websites of any true skeptical website (CSI, JREF, the Skeptic’s society, for instance) and you’ll see a broad A to Z of topics covered. And it’s not that science can’t or shouldn’t be questioned – quite the contrary. But most scientists (and rational people) tend to concede that a person working in a given field is best equipped to evaluate that field, that no one can be an expert in everything, and that if we want to get anything done, sometimes we have to trust the experts, just as we expect them to trust us to do whatever it is that we have expertise in.

  36. noen

    Ryan the concern trolling Biologist said:

    “the “Earth is warming up…” mantra […] sounds very much like a religious creed”

    FALSE. One is an objective fact about the global temp that can be scientifically verified and the other is a claim that a man performed miracles, rose from the dead and ascended into an alternate universe.

    “I was offering Phil advice on how his “Climate Change Creed”-like paragraph might be easily misinterpreted by the layperson.”

    How can anyone misinterpret “the Earth is getting warmer”? How is stating facts like a religious creed?

    “It takes more than a mere understanding of statistics and logic to understand the causes and trends of climate change”

    No it doesn’t. It does take specialized knowledge of statistics to catch subtle errors and statistics is one of those fields where human intuitions fail us. But to understand does not require one be an expert. If it did we could never teach children to understand the nature of chemical bonds with first teaching them quantum mechanics.

    “When Phil makes statements that sound dogmatic, he opens up the floor to unfounded criticism of the subject matter.”

    No, that would be true if he or other science populisers actually made dogmatic claims. Stating facts is not dogmatism because facts, unlike dogma, are not true because someone says they are true. They are true because the world makes them true.

    “I am perfectly within my rights to offer constructive criticism.”

    Concern trolling often does look like one is offering constructive criticism. However, for something to actually be genuine criticism it must be part of critical thinking skills. Which is the application of reasoning to determine validity and finding evidence or the use of rational arguments that support one’s position. Comparing established science to religious dogma does not pass the smell test.

    “My disappointment was with how little benefit of the doubt it appears some of the posters here give and how quick to assume ignorance as the motivation behind a post”

    Welcome to the internet.

  37. Frelance

    Gary, a “denier” label isn’t an ad hominem. Phil himself is a “blogger”; he blogs. “Deniers”… deny. Super solid call-a-spade-a-spade territory.

  38. Ryan the Biologist

    Now I’m trolling, eh?

    OK: This will be my final clarification. After this, I just give up. So here is everything I’d like to convey, in bullet points:

    -I have little doubt that anthropogenic global warming is very real and needs to be addressed. I’ve seen the evidence, and I’m not an idiot.
    -Phil is usually very good at discussing science in a way that laypeople can appreciate, and global warming is usually no exception.
    -However, I believe that the italics paragraph he adds at the end of many of his global warming posts provides ammunition for the denialist camp. I don’t believe such criticisms would be genuinely warranted, but for many people who do not know better, I believe this could help denialists undermine Phil’s arguments.
    -The reason I feel this way is because this paragraph READS/SOUNDS SIMILAR TO a religious creed, like the Nicene Creed. Not that I believe it actually is similar, but that the way it is organized and repeated blog to blog give the paragraph that APPEARANCE in the eyes of a potential denier. This could allow a denier (or a person who was still on the fence) a reason to believe that Phil was following dogma, and not legitimate arguments. AGAIN, I would like to emphasize (because apparently I did not make this obvious before), that I DO NOT PERSONALLY believe that these kinds of dogma-related arguments by potential deniers would have any merit, whatsoever. I understand what Phil is trying to do. I just feel that it is unnecessary ammunition to provide the denialist camp in a public blog.
    -My suggestion to Phil was to not use that paragraph in future blogs, for this very reason. Is Phil entitled to say whatever he wants with his blog? Absolutely. But if his aim is to try to convince people who might be on the fence about global warming that the scientists have the right idea (and I re-emphasize, yet again, that I ALREADY DO feel this way), then his purpose seems better served by not including that paragraph, and not risking the APPEARANCE of religion-like dogma.

    Hopefully this clears up any ambiguities about my previous posts. If not, frankly, at this point I couldn’t care less.

  39. Jay29

    Hey Ryan, I’m with you. I thought it was clear from your first post that you weren’t attacking Phil’s stance, but his style, and it’s a bit absurd how people have stretched your criticism to such lengths. Well, to paraphrase ‘noen,’ it’s the internet.

    I do think Phil’s repetition of that paragraph may be a little ill-advised, but since it’s accurate and informative (via links), I think anyone who criticizes its content can easily be refuted. It’s only ammo for people with really weak, flimsy, rusty old weaponry. Of course those are the idiots with whom it’s pointless to argue, but I don’t see it doing any harm.

    For the deniers who are misinformed but generally rational, the paragraph might be a nice, succinct summary of the science that would make them reconsider. The difficult task is getting those people unglued from Fox News and reading stuff like this in the first place!

  40. noen

    If you’re genuinely trying to give what you believe is good advice then I apologize. I did not in fact make any accusations about you.

    You are mistaken that there is anything Phill or anyone else could say that would make any difference. Right wing conspiracy theorists are not rational and do not curb their hysteria if you word things differently. Right now the same people who deny the reality of climate change are engaged in hair-on-fire McCarthy style rants that the Obama administration has been infiltrated by the Mooooooooslim Brotherhood terrorists.

    In fact, conspiracy theorists will always interpret carefully worded statements as confirmation of their conspiracy theories. That is one of the telling features of conspiracy theorists. They interpret disconfirming evidence as confirming their beliefs.

    In addition, the strength with which people hold pseudo-scientific beliefs only *increases* with intelligence. It’s the “smart idiot” phenomenon. The more highly educated or intelligent a believer in these false beliefs is the more resources they can bring to rationalize their false beliefs. That is not my conjecture. It’s based in real studies.

    A climate denialist US Senator also characterized Copernican heliocentricism as part of a Jewish conspiracy. A local (in my area) rightwing radio host and climate denialist recently said that he was afraid the Large Hadron Collider was “doing something” to the basic structure of the universe and somehow damaging it.

    This is who you are trying to reason with.

  41. S L

    Hopefully soon it will be warm enough to RE-settle Greenland. Just as it was over a thousand years ago. The winery owners in England will be particularly happy.
    Global cooling and warming has been happening far longer than man has been around. Just as the next ice age was coming forty years ago AGW is a tactic used to gain power and money.

  42. Ryan the Biologist

    @noen- True, there is no convincing the extremists, conspiracy theorists, and political pundits. But I have met plenty of people who are still trying to make up their minds about global warming. These people are still sorting through the media and tend to grant equal weight to arguments that don’t deserve it. The point is, I think there is indeed hope of convincing people to trust scientists again. But doing that means a heightened level of vigilance on the part of scientists who interface with the public, like Phil here, to avoid even the appearance of hyperbole, non-critical thinking, dogma, or bias. That is why I feel that the italics paragraph is potentially dangerous, as it has a dogma-like tone to it, even if the actual content is completely supportable and widely-accepted.

  43. RaginKagin

    @Kieth

    I was (very obviously) implying I’d like to see something a little larger than what I have done on a personal level, and I’d like to see more detailed articles on things that are changing for the better, or perhaps ideas from scientists on a larger scale that we can support.

    The ‘solutions’ that you talk about are comparable to the doctor telling you that you have a terminal illness, but here’s something you can do to make yourself feel better. It won’t matter, really, but you’ll feel better. Science has gone from inspiration to soothsaying doom mongers. Where is the Apollo Moon Landing idea of the global climate change age? I’m not disputing global warming, nor am I disputing man’s influence on that global scale. I am fully aware that we’re not going to see a change overnight, but I also don’t think the small things we’re able to control in our day to day is going to manage much of an impact at all. I don’t want to see “97% of Scientists agree 2+2 must equal something”…I want to see “Scientists are working on the solution to 2+2, won’t stop until they have answer…”

    I’d like to see articles about someone doing something…just someone coming up with some big idea to make things better instead of constantly telling me its getting worse. I do what I can, I vote for who I think will help the most…I’m sure the ideas, or even the devices, are out there, but no one really wants to talk about them…it doesn’t get people clicking on the website as much as doom and gloom. Changing a light bulb isn’t a solution, Kieth, its just something to make you feel better, just like your snarky little troll response did for you!

  44. Daniel J. Andrews

    I understood what Ryan was saying. I hadn’t thought about it that way before, but I see his point.

    As it stands, all of us scientists that are not currently climatologists are regretably forced to take the climatology field’s word on this subject since we do not actually possess the training to form our own informed opinions,

    Not necessarily true, Ryan. There is a good chunk of information within reach of many people especially if they have a science background. I’ll never have the understanding of a professional climatologist (unless I change careers), but the parts I am able to learn form a picture that is easy to see despite many of the pieces missing.

    As well, climatology is such a multidisciplinary field, and the parts that overlap with your field of study would be more accessible. I’m a wildlife biologist/ecologist and because of that I see something is different (bird migration changes, change in ice up and ice off lakes and ocean bays, talking to the First Nations people who live in the Arctic and Hudson Bay lowlands, plus reports from colleagues working in other parts of the country and with different species).

    Also I know how scientists in my field operate so if people in another field say “we have a consensus on the issue”, I’ll trust them on it even if I’m totally ignorant of the subject. The fact that the type of people famous for hedging bets, assigning probabilities, being ultra-conservative in their interpretations, come out and say “warming is unequivocal” ought to send people into the streets demanding their elected officials do something yesterday, if not sooner.

  45. noen

    @ Ryan — ” I feel that the italics paragraph is potentially dangerous, as it has a dogma-like tone to it”

    I don’t. If someone is truly educable then simple declarative sentences backed up with facts will work the best.

    The Earth is warming.
    The rate is increasing.
    CO2 is a greenhouse gas.
    Humans are responsible.
    98% of all scientists agree.

    I don’t see how that makes convincing anyone harder.

  46. Isaac

    @RaginKagin #40

    Scientists and engineers have come up with lots of ideas. I don’t follow this all that closely, and I know of several, so I don’t see how you could have missed them. A “solar parasol” at the L1 point is one such solution (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_sunshade). Another is injecting sun blocking aerosols. There are more ideas out there, as a quick internet search will show. The problem isn’t a lack of ideas, it is political and economic forces working against the implementation of the solutions.

  47. BeerMe

    RaginKagin: I was (very obviously) implying I’d like to see something a little larger than what I have done on a personal level, and I’d like to see more detailed articles on things that are changing for the better, or perhaps ideas from scientists on a larger scale that we can support.

    If you haven’t seen large scale advocacy for change from the scientific community, you simply haven’t looked. You’ve probably heard of the IPCC, but clearly don’t know that it is made up of 3 working groups, one of which specifically deals with mitigation. The first is the physical science of climate, the second is risks to society and nature, and the third is mitigating those risks.

    http://www.ipcc-wg3.de/

    The problem is that humanity lacks the political will to listen.

  48. Grand Lunar

    I find it amazing so large a berg calved off the Greenland ice sheet.
    And to think bigger ones emerge from Anartica!

    IIRC, there was an article on Yahoo that said that a study showed a cooling trend, and thus gave ammo to the denier crowd.
    I didn’t read it, figuring whoever wrote the article never read what you read, Phil.

    To those that complain about the paragraph written by Phil concerning climate change being dogmatic, I should point out that similarly worded paragraphs exist regarding other subjects.
    Simply because something sounds dogmatic doesn’t mean that it is dogma.

    Its like Bertrand Russell once said:

    “When you are studying any matter
    Or considering any philosophy
    Ask yourself only: what are the facts,
    And what is the truth that the facts bear out.”

    Phil mearly states the facts. Now consider what is the truth from those facts.

  49. Mark

    here we go with the astronomer who thinks he knows about the climate things again. broken record this guy is. the thing about it is, the earth has actually cooled in the last 15 yrs or so. he can keep citing NOAA all he wants, NOAA “climatologists” are in the bag so to speak. and quoting michael mann is farcical. love the astronomy but its just comical when a ‘scientist’ thinks he has carte blanche to talk basically about anything related to science. stick to astronomy buddy, your kind of good at that, but trust me, you don’t really know anything about the climate.

  50. kat wagner

    O right, Mark. And when California and those other western states fall off the continent because of wave erosion, Idaho will be beachfront property.

  51. vic

    When I was in high school in the early 60’s, we did experiments in our physics class with little wheeled carts we ran down ramps to learn about gravity and momentum and stuff. But when I got to college, they wouldn’t let me do experiments with their nuclear reactor or the cobalt-60 source that the nuclear medicine folks had. And I was a physics major!!

    They forced me to trust those nuclear physicists! Not fair!!!

    And when I went to work as a programmer on an air defense project, a couple of the programs I worked on sent guidance commands to ground-to-air missiles. You’d think the Air Force would let me verify the parameters about airspeed and turning radius and maximum altitude? But NO, I just had to trust their “Experts.” Just who do those experts think they are?

  52. @1. Gary :

    An analysis of the 97% of climate scientists survey is here —
    (snip) wattsupwiththat.com / 2012 / 07 / 18/ what-else-did-the-97-of-scientists-say/
    BTW, when you call people “deniers” you disqualify yourself from complaining about ad hominems. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” still holds.

    Whilst I personally dislike the ‘deniers’ term preferring to use climate contrarian instead I think the Bad Astronomer has answered that point here and made agoodcase for his use of the d-word here :

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/06/09/im-skeptical-of-denialism/

    The Bad Astronomer has also provided ample valid evidence compiled from groups like NASA and NOAA and the actual experts who’ve been studying this in the field some of which can be found here :

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/10/26/climate-change-the-evidence/

    and here :

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2011/10/21/new-independent-climate-study-confirms-global-warming-is-real/

    among other places or click on the Global Warming / climate change tags at the bottom of some of these posts.

    Also the “Watts Up With That” blog is not a highly regarded source to put it mildly here or in scientific climatological circles generally. See the clip linked to my name here – or search youtube for ‘Watts Up With Watts?’ by Greenman3610 – for an idea of why. WUWT is a rather notorious climate contrarian site.

  53. Messier Tidy Upper

    Couple more sites and links that will hopefully be useful here – Skeptical science :

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-scientific-consensus-intermediate.htm

    on the consensus which notes :

    A survey of all peer-reviewed abstracts on the subject ‘global climate change’ published between 1993 and 2003 shows that not a single paper rejected the consensus position that global warming is man caused (Oreskes 2004). 75% of the papers agreed with the consensus position while 25% made no comment either way (focused on methods or paleoclimate analysis). … (snip) .. 97.5% of climatologists who actively publish research on climate change responded yes. [To the question – “Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?”] As the level of active research and specialization in climate science increases, so does agreement that humans are significantly changing global temperatures.

    Plus see :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wbzK4v7GsM&list=PL029130BFDC78FA33&index=36&feature=plpp_video

    Looking at the failure of the Watt’s Up With That blog to correctlypredict the level of Arctic sea ice.

    In addition, given what the BA wrote in the OpeningPost here :

    As climate scientist Michael Mann says, global warming is like loaded dice. You don’t know if any particular throw of snake eyes is due to them being fixed, but you’ll see a lot more rolls turn up snake eyes than you would otherwise. Global warming is predicted to give us longer, hotter summers, drier conditions across the US, more record temperatures, thinner arctic ice, and having it cover less surface area of the Earth. And, yes, more frequent glacier calving.

    The latest video from Grennman 3610 /Peter Sinclair here :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0NrS2L6KcE

    is worth watching and contemplating too.

  54. noen

    Mark said: ” the earth has actually cooled in the last 15 yrs or so”

    FALSE

    Hottest years since 1990

    And

    Temperature Composite since 1890

    And

    Various Temp Measurments

    Someone doesn’t know what they’re talking about but it sure isn’t Phil.

  55. As before, we can speculate whether this is due to global warming or not. Icebergs calf all the time. However, note that the last time, the berg calved later in the summer (August), and this crack is much farther up the glacier than usually seen.

    The trend is undeniably clear. The Arctic sea ice, perhaps the best “canary in the coal mine” when it comes to HIRGO has been declining very dramatically as the graph linked to my name shows. We’re tracking below 2007 levels sea ice~wise so far and have been for a while.

    Human Induced Rapid Global Overheating is a lot more than speculation, unfortunately.

    The scientific observational evidence for it, already overwhelming, keeps piling up higher every day.

    Question though – is it icebergs “calf” allthe time or rather they “calve” all the time? Think its the latter but not 100% sure not that it matters anyhow.

    PS. Judging from last night’s Letterman show, New York has been experiencing record heat and its longest ever drought. I wonder if there’s some way to tow this giant iceberg over as a water supply? Might as well try to make the best of it.

  56. @25 RaginKagin: Why aren’t scientists actually making suggestions on change? I’m sick of hearing this number and no one offering solutions. Is it the pollution? Is it the gases? Is it our breathing?

    It’s the greenhouse gases emitted by fossil fuel use, primarily. That’s pretty clear from the literature. Scientists HAVE made suggestions on change, however, it’s not really the climatologist’s job to do this.

    Why not work on solutions to the problem? Scientists aren’t supposed to just find a disease…just discovering Polio didn’t really do anything, it was the vaccine that was impressive…

    That’s really not a good analogy. As complex as climate change is, its cause is simple. A better comparison would be discovering the cause of death of people who fall out of airplanes. The phenomenon itself (what happens with a human body impacts the ground at high speed) is complex, but the cause (falling from a height) is pretty darn simple. It doesn’t take a medical genius to figure out how to prevent that kind of injury.

    so until someone actually has something productive to add, why continue hammering us with the same numbers over and over again. If its not fixable, then lets make a guess on the end of the world and move on.

    Because there are many people who have their heads buried in the sand (or in even less savory places) who don’t even accept that there’s a problem in the first place, and finger-in-the-wind politicians really aren’t going to start taking action unless the populace at large is aware of the magnitude of the problem. I understand that there’s some fatigue that sets in after hearing about this issue for so long and nothing really changing, but if you want to be angry, get angry at the idiots who let religion and politics cloud their ability to think rationally and address reality, not those who are trying to get through to said people.

  57. @52 Mark: the earth has actually cooled in the last 15 yrs or so

    To paraphrase a common ground rule of internet forums: Source or gtfo :)

  58. TheBlackCat

    the thing about it is, the earth has actually cooled in the last 15 yrs or so.

    Citation needed. Every empirical analysis I have seen or heard of has shown a warming trend over the last 15 years, which is amazing since we were dealing with record low solar output for much of that period.

    stick to astronomy buddy, your kind of good at that, but trust me, you don’t really know anything about the climate.

    As Phil pointed out, pretty much everyone who does know a lot about the climate (roughly 97% last time they checked) agrees with Phil, not you. So that would indicate the one who knows nothing about climate is you. Or do you think you know more about climate than pretty much every expert in the entire field?

    And before you start complaining about “argument from authority fallacy”, this is merely a refutation of your claims of authority on the subject. You made sweeping assertions, and rejected everything Phil said, and your only evidence to back this up is “trust me”. So the only one using that fallacy is you.

  59. As the excellent quote from geophysicist and Nobel Laureate Dr Henry Pollack at the 1 minute and 15 second mark in the clip linked to my name notes ice is apolitical. Ice is, as Dr Pollack notes at the end of that clip, nature’s thermometer. It doesn’t follow the political debates in the USA or Australia or anywhere else. Ice isn’t affected, cannot be affected by any grandiose implausible conspiracy theories. Ice doesn’t vote or lobby or blog.

    Ice just melts.

    As the global average temperatures – & especially Arctic ones – keep rising.

    Ice is melting globe~wide. We’re seeing that. Right before our eyes.

    Morever, Arctic ice is melting much faster than most (all even?) climatologists predicted. If anything the IPCC and climatic computer models have been too conservative and underestimated the speed of what is happening.

    2010 was, NASA records show, the hottest year on record tied with 2005.

    2011 was the hottest La Nina year ever.

    I expect this year will break that record or at least be right up there.

    That’s what we call evidence.

    It says we’re in very big trouble climate~wise.

    Whether we choose to listen to that and act or not.

    The amount of thermal inertia in the system and record breaking levels of Greenhouse gases in our atmosphere (notably 395 ppm or so versus previous pre-industral age tops of 280 or so ppm.) means we’ll be dealing with the reality of HIRGO for the rest of our lives -and our childrens lives and their children’s lives and so on unto the who knows whateth generation.

    I wish that wasn’t true. But it is.

  60. Jonathan Ray

    There’s no doubt humans are causing global warming and people in low lying coastal areas are screwed. But there are negative feedback mechanisms in the form of 1. changes in ecosystems 2. increases in low-latitude cloud cover and convection 3. increased weathering of rocks as inorganic sequestration of CO2. These may be why there was no runaway effect when the earth was much hotter than its current temperature at certain times in geologic history (e.g. 6 degrees hotter than present temperatures at 4 different times during the past 500 million years). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleoclimatology

  61. Nigel Depledge

    Gary (1) said:

    BTW, when you call people “deniers” you disqualify yourself from complaining about ad hominems. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” still holds.

    Wrong.

    People earn the label “denier” by the kind of argument they make, and their refusal to accept the evidence.

    OTOH, an ad hominem would discount the arguments a person makes purely because of something else that person has said or done. For example: “Phil Plait wears pink socks, therefore his opinion on AGW is bunk” would be an ad hominem. But it is simply factual to label someone a denier for arguing against AGW in the face of the overwhelming preponderance of evidence that supports AGW.

  62. Nigel Depledge

    Ragin Kagin (27) said:

    Why aren’t scientists actually making suggestions on change?

    Erm . . . they are.

    Do you ever read New Scientist?

    I’m sick of hearing this number and no one offering solutions.

    I can think of at least 6 solutions that have been described in the pages of New Scientist alone in the last three years or so, based only on my humanly-fallible memory (Solar thermal energy, carbon capture and storage, wave power, tide power, geoengineering including stratospheric aerosol injection and wind power). I’m sure there are at least twice that many solutions that are being investigated that I read about but have forgotten.

    Scientists are offering solutions.

    Politicians ain’t listening.

    Is it the pollution? Is it the gases? Is it our breathing? We’ve changed the light bulbs, we’ve changed the gas mileage on cars, we car pool, we have solar panels and windmills…no change.

    Because industry is continuing to grow. Our thirst for electricity is continuing to grow. These mitigations are actually pretty small (I think the UK obtains under 20% of its electricity from renewable sources) and in their current form they can only slow down the increase in CO2 emissions.

    Add to that the fact that the climate has a great deal of inertia (well, I think technically, it’s a form of hysteresis, but inertia conveys the concept I’m trying to get across more clearly). What we emitted 20 or 30 years ago is what is responsible for the current temperature changes we are recording. IIUC, if we were to cease emission of GHGs today, the amount we have already added to the atmosphere to date would still have an effect for about a century before the system can stabilise itself.

    Its bigger than we, the individual, can obviously do anything about…yet we’re the ones blamed for it everyday.

    You can write to your elected representatives. You could join a lobbying group such as Friends of the Earth. You could ask the stores in which you purchase goods about the provenance and carbon footprint of the goods you buy. What is needed is change at the level of commerce, industry and government. And we can effect those changes by applying appropriate pressure, but it has to be widespread. Wal-Mart (plucking a corporation’s name out of the air to use as an example) won’t really care if 1000 people write to them to ask about their carbon footprint. But they will cae if 1,000,000 people ask the same question.

    Why not work on solutions to the problem?

    A great many scientists and engineers are doing so.

    In some countries, there are even changes at the level of law. For example, Germany has a very simple law. If you manufacture something to sell to the public, you are responsible for the packaging in which that thing is sold. Consequently, for example, in a German supermarket, it is normal to see people unwrapping a lot of the things they have just bought and leaving the wrapping materials in an appropriate receptacle for the shop to send back to the manufacturer.

    This means, ultimately, less rubbish going to landfill (landfills emit a substantial amount of methane as organic material undergoes anaerobic decomposition), and it means more recycling of packaging. And this is just one element of what is being done.

    Scientists aren’t supposed to just find a disease…just discovering Polio didn’t really do anything, it was the vaccine that was impressive…so until someone actually has something productive to add, why continue hammering us with the same numbers over and over again. If its not fixable, then lets make a guess on the end of the world and move on.

    Because with more and better data, the models that project what we should expect as a consequence of AGW can become more accurate. And it is the predictions that these models make that will end up persuading people to act.

    Also, Phil, I’ve been a reader of yours for many years and I’ve enjoyed you for, dare I say, 97% of the time…but when you decide that people who are skeptics of something you decided is right you come off as arrogant and rude.

    To deny the existence of AGW is not to be sceptical. Don’t forget that a true sceptic is always prepared to change their view when evidence indicates they have previously been wrong. However, the denial of AGW is not being sceptical (people who are AGW deniers claim the label sceptic because it sounds reasonable), because the evidence for AGW is overwhelming. I expect that most (or all?) of the anti-AGW talking-points can be traced back to money from the fossil fuel industries, who have a huge and obvious vested interest in denying the existence of AGW.

  63. Twinarp

    75%, 87%, 98%. A steamroller is coming toward you and any of those percentages are the chance you’ll be flattened by it. Are ANY of you willing to take that chance? Just because it is slow, doesn’t mean it isn’t going to kill you. Stop arguing about how many authorities say its going to happen and recognize it is already happening. Yes, I’ll argue from authority here, because the climate scientists are the ones with the data, and the data says its getting warmer. The scientists are the messengers, the data is the message.

  64. @ 52. Mark :

    here we go with the astronomer who thinks he knows about the climate things again.

    Yeah, its not like other planets have their own climates and the Greenhouse effect doesn’t impact on whether say Venus or a given exoplanet may be habitable or not .. :roll:

    Wonder whether you’d support an astronomer arguing that Global Overheating is cuased by our daytime star?

    Hint here & linked to my name also for this comment :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSXgiml5UwM&list=PL029130BFDC78FA33&index=61&feature=plpp_video

    Its not. ;-)

    broken record this guy is. the thing about it is, the earth has actually cooled in the last 15 yrs or so.

    Wrong see :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwnrpwctIh4&list=PL029130BFDC78FA33&index=62&feature=plpp_video

    &

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-stopped-in-1998-basic.htm

    You are either repeating a climate contrarian line that has been repeatedly debunked from ignorance or are doing so deliberately because that just ain’t so.

    &

  65. Nigel Depledge

    Oh, whoops, it looks like I screwed up one of my blockquote tags in #61 above.

  66. Nigel Depledge

    MArk (52) said:

    here we go with the astronomer who thinks he knows about the climate things again. broken record this guy is. the thing about it is, the earth has actually cooled in the last 15 yrs or so. he can keep citing NOAA all he wants, NOAA “climatologists” are in the bag so to speak. and quoting michael mann is farcical. love the astronomy but its just comical when a ‘scientist’ thinks he has carte blanche to talk basically about anything related to science. stick to astronomy buddy, your kind of good at that, but trust me, you don’t really know anything about the climate.

    So, you claim the BA is wrong here, but you cite no evidence to contradict the points he makes.

    You claim the BA is talking outside his field of expertise when he cites and links to the work of expert climatologists.

    You deride the work of some of the world’s leading climatologists, and once again cite no evidence to support your insinuations.

    You demand that the BA (and, by implication, the rest of us) should trust you in this when you can’t even construct a grammatical sentence.

    Guess what, Mark? Trust is earned, not handed out on request.

    Now, go away and learn something about the science behind the inescapable conclusion of AGW. Messier Tidy Upper usually provides some very instructive links in these threads. Don’t come back until you have learned why the world’s climatologists have concluded that AGW is real.

  67. Nigel Depledge

    Noen (48) said:

    The Earth is warming.
    The rate is increasing.
    CO2 is a greenhouse gas.
    Humans are responsible.
    98% of all [climate] scientists agree.

    Fixed that for you (scientists who do not study climate are not really relevant to the fact, whether they agree or not).

    [/nitpick]

  68. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ 52. Mark :

    here we go with the astronomer who thinks he knows about the climate things again.

    Yeah, its (also) not like NASA’s climate expert Jim Hansen* didn’t start off as an astronomer before shifting to the climatology area or that astronomer Carl Sagan hasn’t also commented on the overlap here :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9oMff5p5Rk

    Oh wait. He did – and back in 1989 long before Al Gore was on the scene just as Stephen Hawking and Isaac Asimov (1988 even!) among others have also raised the HIRGO issue :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEPhf0SHQEk

    too – plus there’s a youtube clip of Asimov discussing it even in 1977.

    Or how about solar astrophysicists who keep debunking the lie that the Sun is somehow behind global overheating – see :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Sf_UIQYc20&list=PL029130BFDC78FA33&index=76&feature=plpp_video

    broken record this guy is. the thing about it is, the earth has actually cooled in the last 15 yrs or so.

    Wrong. 2010 was the hottest year tied with 2005 as this press release from NASA shows :

    http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/2010-warmest-year.html#

    You are either repeating a climate contrarian line that has been repeatedly debunked from ignorance or are doing so deliberately because that just ain’t so.

    he can keep citing NOAA all he wants, ..

    Yes, he can indeed – because they’re actual experts and a legitimate source here. ;-)

    What’s that you think otherwise? Why? What evidence do you have that we shouldn’t trust NOAA or NASA or the majority of the climatologists?

    NOAA “climatologists” are in the bag so to speak. and quoting michael mann is farcical.

    Why exactly? Mike Mann is a climatologist and a reliable expert in the field – unless you think Ken Cuccinnelli is right n which case, well, no. If youthink Mike Mann is wrong youneed to explain why your extraordinarycliam is correct using some very extraordinary evidence. Balls in your court now – do you have any extraordinary evidence toofffer us or just the usual tired canards?

    love the astronomy but its just comical when a ‘scientist’ thinks he has carte blanche to talk basically about anything related to science. stick to astronomy buddy, your kind of good at that, but trust me, you don’t really know anything about the climate.

    Why should we trust you and what are your qualificiations in this area? How many years study have you spent in this field?

  69. Nigel Depledge

    SL (44) said:

    Hopefully soon it will be warm enough to RE-settle Greenland. Just as it was over a thousand years ago.

    Citation needed.

    The winery owners in England will be particularly happy.

    Er, no. Currently, pests like vine powdery mildew can’t stand our cold winters. Besides, what’s the value in having better wines when a large part of London will be underwater at every high tide?

    Global cooling and warming has been happening far longer than man has been around.

    So it has. So what?

    Never before has there been a human civilisation so uniquely vulnerable to climate change. Never before has that climate change been driven so rapidly by the activity of a single species.

    Just as the next ice age was coming forty years ago

    Nope, this was media hyperbole. It was never the consensus of any branch of science.

    AGW is a tactic used to gain power and money.

    Well, if you are correct, it seems to be failing quite spectacularly. It seems to me that both the power and the money are still firmly in the hands of the fossil-fuel industries.

    So, presumably, you have evidence to support your contention that the AGW conclusion is a conspiracy, right? Otherwise, it would be slander and/or libel, depending on exactly how those offences are defined in various places. So, who started the conspiracy? How did they go about recruiting other climatologists? How does the conspiracy keep any whistle-blowers quiet? (It seems to me that such a conspiracy would have a tough job, because any whistle-blower would be the saviour of the richest industries in our international economies and could, more or less, name their price.)

  70. Messier Tidy Upper

    * PS. If you haven’t already read it I strongly recommend you read James Hansen’s excellent Storms of My Grandchildren (Bloomsbury,2009.) book :

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

    Seriously. :-)

    Hansen has at least one chapter in that about solutions or what we’d be better advised to do and is critical of cap’n’trade (carbon taxes / ETS’es) preferring and making a good case for an alternative fee -and-dividend idea among other things.

    Plus I’d also highly recommend this book :

    http://scribepublications.com.au/books-authors/title/poles-apart/

    When it comes to looking at the evidence and making up your mind which “side” of this “debate” has the facts and best arguments on its side.

    Plus this book and website here :

    http://www.carbondetox.org/html/index.html

    When it comes to finding solutions (although mitigating not curative) and what each of us can practically do which may be of use for one or two of the questioners upthread – applicable to all of us though too.

    FWIW, pretty sure I read a good book by (George?) Monbiot about the possible courses of action we can take and how they’d change the world too. ‘Twas a library book not in my personal possession read afew years ago so, alas, I cannot recall its exact title and details I’m afraid. :-(

    Hope these links and references help. :-)

  71. Ray

    @ S L #44,

    “re-settle?”

    Huh? Greenland has over 50,000 people living there NOW.

  72. Nigel Depledge

    Noen (37) said:

    “The truth is no respector of persons” is one of the most important lessons you can learn in school.

    Indeed.

    Another way to put it is Nullius in verbam, which is the motto of the Royal Society (and, roughly translated, means “take nobody’s word for it”).

  73. @RaginKagin (#46):

    “just like your snarky little troll response did for you!”

    I don’t think you know what troll means in that context. I responded to the specific points in your comment, in the order you made them no less. If think that’s trolling, you’re reinventing the term.

  74. Keith Bowden

    @Keith Wiley
    *whew!* I thought he was talking to me and was totally confused. Not that I understand how your reply to him was snarky or trolling, either…

  75. Derek

    You don’t get to call yourself a skeptic if you ignore evidence. Skepticism is expressing an appropriate amount of disbelief when evidence is absent, not expressing stubborn and unreasonable disbelief in the face of evidence.

  76. Fredo

    List of everything that has been blamed on global warming: http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/warmlist.htm

  77. RaginKagin

    To the people responding with links and ideas, that’s exactly what I meant. I said I knew they must be out there, but I hadn’t heard about them, and certainly I haven’t seen any from this site. Not to trash on Phil or this blog, which I read and enjoy daily, but I hardly ever see any sort of positive or inventive articles on many of the problems discussed so regularly. It is very frustrating to see that the scientific community, or perhaps it would be better to place blame on the people reporting on the scientific community, never seem to report on what can be done to solve the issues. I look forward to reading up on the links you guys provided. Again, I love Phil and the blog, I didn’t like how aggressive he was in the end of his article, but he’s certainly entitled to his opinion on his blog and I still enjoy him for it. I do not dispute that global warming is true, nor do I dispute these big ideas exist, I just didn’t know what they were…until now. Thank you!

    @77: When someone can’t actually answer the comment without having to insult the person who made the comment, I call it snarky. I see many people above who were able to answer my questions, provide links, and discuss the topic without having to call me silly, absurd or ridiculous. Instead of pointing me in the right direction, he decided to make it an argument and had to dress someone down in front of the readers. @59, @49, @50 and @65 were able to discuss the issue without trying to make me look like a fool for daring to ask some questions and express myself. I call it snarky for that, I call it trolling because he picked out a comment to nitpick and didn’t add anything constructive. Dispute my using of the word trolling all you wish, but I still think he could have been less concerned with picking apart my comment and more concerned with offering something constructive.

    Not Constructive:
    “Then you make patently silly statements about having changed a few things here and there but not having seen tangible results yet.”

    “What a totally absurd comment, don’t be ridiculous.”

  78. TheBlackCat

    @RaginKagin: I can’t count the number of times I have seen scientists criticized for providing solutions. Whenever a scientist tries, the denialists are all over them for “not sticking to the science”, “pushing a political position”, “furthering there liberal green agenda”, or something along those lines.

    It seems scientists just can’t win. If they stick to the science, they get blamed for not discussing solutions. If they discuss solutions, they get blamed for not sticking to the science.

  79. TheBlackCat

    @Ray: “Huh? Greenland has over 50,000 people living there NOW.”

    To be fair, that is less than 0.7% of the population of New York City.

    Not that greenland was ever a nice place to live while humans were there, despite denialist claims. There are a long string of failed settlements going back thousands of years, and at it speak was only sparsely inhabited.

  80. green girl

    now i am no scientist but surly we all know that we live on a living planet called earth ,fact!,i like to call earths protector mother nature and i believe if we humans keep consuming and destroying eventually nature WILL fight back! call it global warming, cooling or climate change i dont care ,what i do care about is that our generations will suffer from our errors ,people need to change for the sake of our planet and every living creature on it!,floods ,heatwaves,low temps,ice brakes are all warning signs i am sure of.

  81. @RaginKagin (#80): I see your method of argument all the time. You make gross generalizations and presume to require any counterarguments to do your research for you. No, do your own damn research. I’m sure you appreciated other people giving you a bunch of links, and I see that you explicitly resented me not doing the same, but why should they (or I) be obligated to do your hard work for you. If you want to know about proposed solutions to climate change, then do your own research. I don’t owe you my time for that. Yet, at the same time, it’s perfectly reasonable for me to call you out on making unsubstantiated overly general claims without doing the research for you that you should have done in the first place.

    Incidentally, have you simply tried googling “climate change solutions”. Geez, I couldn’t believe how good some of those first hits were. Why didn’t you do that?

  82. Gunnar

    I think it is quite instructive and remarkable how the same contrarians keep coming back with the same old PRATT’s every time, with little or no new evidence to support them, despite how many times and how thoroughly their arguments are shot down in flames by arguments abundantly backed up by numerous, credible links and citations. Its like bringing cardboard swords or toy light sabers against heavy artillery and expecting to win!

    What is even worse is that some of them apparently suffer from the delusion that they are winning!

  83. Steve Metzler

    84. Gunnar Says:

    I think it is quite instructive and remarkable how the same contrarians keep coming back with the same old PRATT’s every time, with little or no new evidence to support them, despite how many times and how thoroughly their arguments are shot down in flames by arguments abundantly backed up by numerous, credible links and citations.

    Good point. I like to call it the ’50 First Dates’ syndrome, or alternatively, simply: ‘Groundhog Day’. Generally, the AGW deniers (note: we’re not equating you with Holocaust deniers. See the big ‘AGW’ there to qualify your particular brand of denial):

    1. Can’t be bothered to read anything on a given thread that has been posted before their own little/big bit of drivel/copy-and-paste screed.
    2. Aren’t aware that sites like BA have been discussing this topic oh… like, for years. To them, it must be the first post on AGW here *evah*! And we’re all n00bs on the topic, just waiting for those PRATTS to roll in like we’ve never, ever seen them before.
    3. Are probably responding to a dog whistle from an AGW denier site.
    4. Will claim that AGW is off-topic for an astronomy site, not realising that the BA is a long-standing skeptic of the JREF school.

    Have I left anything out?

  84. BeerMe

    RaginKagin: “Why aren’t scientists actually making suggestions on change? I’m sick of hearing this number and no one offering solutions.”

    After everyone points out how lazy people who say stuff like this are, Ragin revises history with: “I said I knew they must be out there, but I hadn’t heard about them, and certainly I haven’t seen any from this site.”

    I’m sick of no one offering solutions != I know solutions are being offered, please point me to them.

    Worst part is, you as you changed history, you also attacked Phil. That’s disappointing, but not unexpected for someone who initially said scientists don’t offer solutions. Seriously Ragin, read your post at 27 and tell us exactly where you said you knew solutions existed? You said the exact opposite!

  85. Chris Winter

    In addition to numerous Web sites, some of which have been suggested, there are lots of quite readable books about the science of climate change, as well as about possible ways to mitigate its effects.

    So, RaginKajin, may I suggest two titles that do a good, non-technical job on what’s called “geoengineering” — specifically, ways to lower the temperature of Earth.

    * How to Cool the Planet, by Jeff Goodell
    * Hack the Planet, by Eli Kintisch

    If you read these, you’ll find both warn about unintended consequences, and rightly so. In any case, no one AFAIK has come up with an affordable way to remove large quantities of carbon dioxide from the air, and without doing that cooling the planet won’t ever touch ocean de-alkalization.

  86. Gunnar

    @Steve Metzler”

    “Have I left anything out?”

    Some of them claim that we need not worry, because we puny humans cannot possibly have the power to significantly alter or damage almighty God’s creation.

    If the AGW Deniers “win” (that is succeed in persuading enough people and politicians that AGW is a hoax, or that we need not or cannot effectively do anything about at this point), we all ultimately lose–including the Deniers themselves.

  87. Gunnar

    Chris Winter says:

    In any case, no one AFAIK has come up with an affordable way to remove large quantities of carbon dioxide from the air, and without doing that cooling the planet won’t ever touch ocean de-alkalization.”

    How about this as a partial (at least) solution to removing Co2 from the atmosphere, or at least significantly reducing our net Co2 emissions.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=cement-from-carbon-dioxide

    If you google “Making cement from atmospheric C02″, you will find a number of other articles as well describing how the making of cement and concrete can actually be transformed from a signficant source of excess Co2 emissions to a very cost-effective and even profitable means of removing Co2 from the atmosphere, or, at least, a minimal source of excess Co2.

  88. TheBlackCat

    a very cost-effective and even profitable means of removing Co2 from the atmosphere, or, at least, a minimal source of excess Co2.

    There is a really big difference between those two.

  89. Steve Metzler

    I don’t think it’s so much that we need to find a way to geo-engineer CO2 out of the atmosphere; more that we need to stop putting it there. Oddly, that seems to have become a major sub-topic of this thread. Geo-engineering must be seen as a last resort. There is only one planet Earth. Are we willing to gamble its future on some grand experiment like injecting sulphates into the atmosphere? Who knows what the long term consequences of that might be? But we are pretty darn sure what the long term consequences of injecting CO2 into the atmosphere will be :-(

    The way of the future is to make renewable energy, like: concentrated solar, wind, wave, and geothermal, more viable by making their costs per KWhr competitive with the prices we now pay for coal, oil, and gas. That takes money to research, and money from investors with some level of confidence. But more importantly, it takes commitment, and cooperation on a global scale; the kind of commitment you don’t get when people with vested interests are intent on keeping things just the way they are now by sowing FUD amongst the populace.

  90. Gunnar

    @TheBlackCat:

    July 21st, 2012 at 11:40 am
    a very cost-effective and even profitable means of removing Co2 from the atmosphere, or, at least, a minimal source of excess Co2.

    There is a really big difference between those two.

    You’re right, of course. Using Co2 captured from flue gases to make cement won’t actually remove Co2 from the atmosphere that was already there. It will only greatly reduce the net emissions of Co2 contributed by that one industrial source. As Steve Metzler correctly pointed out, the most important thing we can do is to “stop putting it there,” if we can. I have to agree with that! It would still be nice, though, if some commercially viable, cost-effective and perhaps even profitable means could be found to meet some of our carbon needs by extracting enough of it from the atmosphere to make a significant difference. If we are to remove excess C02 from the atmosphere, it would (it seems to me) be better if we actually use it for something beneficial, rather than just sequester it.

  91. Gunnar

    @Steve Metzler:

    The way of the future is to make renewable energy, like: concentrated solar, wind, wave, and geothermal, more viable by making their costs per KWhr competitive with the prices we now pay for coal, oil, and gas.

    Agreed! However, it is also true that if we continue our profligate use of coal, oil and gas, their increasing scarcity will force their cost to rapidly escalate to the point that renewable energy will become very cost competitive with fossil fuels–no matter what we do or don’t do.

  92. TheBlackCat

    @ Gunnar: First we have to remove all the subsidies coal, oil, and gas receive. Part of the reason they are so cheap is because the government gives a ton of money and other concessions to keep prices down.

    The question regarding peak oil is whether it will happen soon enough to have much of an impact on global warming.

  93. Gunnar

    @ TheBlackCat:

    I sadly agree with your assessment of the situation. You are among the contributors to this forum that I most highly respect and admire. Keep up the good work!

    I also agree that, everything considered, the government is not really doing us any favors by using subsidies to artificially keep fossil fuel prices down, if this discourages the development of renewable resources and maximizing energy efficiency and resource conservation.

    IIUC, peak oil has either already happened or very soon will. I hope it is not too late to make a significant impact on slowing global warming.

  94. Nigel Depledge

    Ragin Kagin (80) said:

    To the people responding with links and ideas, that’s exactly what I meant. I said I knew they must be out there, but I hadn’t heard about them, and certainly I haven’t seen any from this site. Not to trash on Phil or this blog, which I read and enjoy daily, but I hardly ever see any sort of positive or inventive articles on many of the problems discussed so regularly. It is very frustrating to see that the scientific community, or perhaps it would be better to place blame on the people reporting on the scientific community, never seem to report on what can be done to solve the issues. I look forward to reading up on the links you guys provided. Again, I love Phil and the blog, I didn’t like how aggressive he was in the end of his article, but he’s certainly entitled to his opinion on his blog and I still enjoy him for it. I do not dispute that global warming is true, nor do I dispute these big ideas exist, I just didn’t know what they were…until now. Thank you!

    Well, I have no idea what media access you have but it seems to me that you have been looking in the wrong places.

    Potential solutions to AGW – whether these are economic, political or technological – are reported in New Scientist on a regular basis.

    So, I dispute your contention that such solutions are not being investigated or explored, and I dispute your contention that these investigations are not being reported.

    As to the tone of Phil’s article that you dislike – well, the USA is the only country of which I am aware in which a significant portion of the population rejects the reality of AGW. For quite a large proportion of the last 20 years, the USA, as well as being the world’s largest economy, has been the largest per capita emitter of GHGs (I do not know if it still is – I saw a report not too long ago that Australia was now the largest per capita emitter), so getting the USA on board with any coordinated international effort to deal with AGW is critical. So, the anti-AGW crowd needs to be shown to be arguing with nothing more than hot air.

  95. Matt B.

    That ad hominem article (“Football and Hockey”) is truly sick. Also, the writer, Mark Steyn, doesn’t seem to know what “cove” means at all, and confused “systemic” with “systematic”. There’s no need to hyphenate “climate change” since it’s just a noun being modified by another noun, like “garden hose”. And I don’t even know what to make of the phrase “tree-ring circus”.

  96. we need to come up with some biobots that eat CO2 and fart oxygen –oh wait plants do that -preserve , plant more forests … dont produce electricity from lignite and oil –oh wait we can produce electricity from the sun, the air , water motion on rivers and oceans …

    We do know these, we even know more that these, we just don’t care enough and it is much ‘cheaper’ to not do anything about it.

    So keep on bitching until you change the collective consciousness.

  97. Keith

    What’s to say that global warming is abnormal? It’s happened in the past. I look forward to the unveiling of Greenland’s prior civilization. That should be fascinating! Perhaps ice caps act as (small) thermal capacitors for the planet and this is their discharge cycle. The ice caps melt to some degree every year. Why is it that only the melting part makes news? In all honesty it is global cooling (which made for alarm in the 1970s) that has been and will again be the extinguisher of mass populations. Keep warm my friend!

  98. bwana

    We’re still coming out of the last ice age. Quite reasonable to expect glaciers and sea ice to be melting! And yes, humans may be accelerating the process BUT I’m not arrogant enough to think we impact (very much) what nature can do all on her own…

  99. emkay

    Wow, Nigel Depledge wrote about 13 paragraphs of stuff, then mispelled ‘skeptic (several times) …thats really sinking it to the bone Nigel……statistics? crap, everyone makes them work for whatever cause you are pushing…. by the way, ONE volcano dumps more CO2 than all of mankind in a year…not the other way around or 100 times more…. look it up…

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