Why Reason Loses: Special Marc Morano Edition

By Chris Mooney | April 9, 2009 8:45 am

Dear Reader: I encourage you to head on over to DeSmogBlog for the latest evidence of why it is that all our money spent on global warming research does not suffice to solve the problem.

Warning, it’s likely to make you angry.

Marc Morano has long been Senator James Inhofe’s top global warming spinmeister and talking head. His special ability is to argue super-fast, spewing out questionable claims, a kind of howitzer of climate “skepticism.” (Below, for example, see Morano’s recent debate with Joe Romm provided in its first installment, with the second here. Joe tries to be patient in debating Morano, and to correct him as much as possible–a valiant attempt, but it’s simply impossible to correct everything Morano says as he bowls you over with dubious assertions.)

I bring all this up because Morano has now left Inhofe’s service; instead he’s joined an anti-global warming think tank, the Committee For a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), which has lost no time in pitching him to the media. DeSmogBlog has the email they’ve been sending out; it reads in part like this:

Here’s your counter guest debater to Al Gore and Global Warming Climate change disinformation plus how Obama’s Policies are affecting our economy.

For your on-air expert contributor talent files: Credentialed “Counter Guest” to popular global warming ideology: Here’s your anti-Gore Global Warming Expert who offers the science to counteract partisan and ideologically driven Environmental entities and issues.

If you believe most, or all, of the global warming dogma, you may use Marc as your “counter guest” to offer a lively, fair and balanced discussion to your audience. If you are a skeptic of the current doctrine, Marc can aid your program by clearing up the deception with the facts.

Marc Morano infuses the environmental debate with a balanced and truthful scientific perspective. Marc’s agenda is to revolutionize Climate and Environmental news dissemination to portray the accurate truth.

The thing is, this stuff is totally going to work. Morano is going to get on TV, and he’s going to sow more doubt about global warming. He’s quite effective at this–frankly, even as I lament it, I’m also impressed by his skill–and has a think tank behind him. And they’re willing to fight damn hard to get their point of view across.

In my view, while it may be justified (not to mention hard to resist), it’s rather pointless to get mad at Morano, or CFACT, over this. They’re playing the game to win, and they’re very good at it. Frankly, we should be paying close attention to their tactics, and even trying learn from them.

If we’re going to get mad at anyone, meanwhile, I can see two appropriate targets. First, there’s the media who allow this game to work, by creating environments (especially on television) where good science can easily get defeated by good rhetoric.

And second, there’s the wealthy philanthropists and well funded think tanks and interest groups on our side who, faced with this unfavorable media environment, have failed to adapt and equip us with counter-Moranos–intellectual warriors who are not only up for the task of setting the record straight, and defending accurate science, but actually have it as their full time job description. This is hardly impossible to do; you can learn to be a good TV debater, a stunningly effective advocate for your own side…but who has time to really make an art of it? Who is funded to do this?

So far as I can tell, it’s generally conservatives, that’s who. And that, my friends, is the latest installment of “why reason loses”….


Comments (126)

  1. Jumblepudding

    Ecch. Somebody fetch this guy a classical laurel crown for his debating skills. Make sure it’s wilted and dead and to indicate that it’s been killed by air pollution.

  2. SLC

    Mr. Mooney, there’s nothing new about this. This tactic has been around for a long time and is known as the Gish Gallop, after young earth creationist Duane Gish.

  3. Quite. Some AWG denialists are exactly like creationists. They want to bury you under objections and rhetoric. You don’t seem to have gotten a doctor’s prescription against arguing with such people, the way Dawkins (or is it Gould?) apparently got one for arguing against creationists.

  4. gaseous_cloud

    Mr. Mooney,
    Get a grip. Your “side” OWNS the media. You have no monopoly on reason. You do seem to have a monopoly on emotional appeals to fear. Some day, you may be proven wrong. You may be proven right. Right now, you have no idea, but you seem to have made a nice side business of delivering your own reactionary opinions.

  5. Jon Winsor

    Saying “Gish Gallop” probably won’t help you much on cable teevee…

  6. Jon Winsor

    I think conservatives’ hope is that we and our views stay corralled in nerd ghettos, so to speak. I think Chris is right that people have to figure out how to effectively reach out to a more popular audience…

  7. Erasmussimo

    gaseous_cloud, let us dispense with the nonsense about who owns the media. That’s a canard without foundation. Everybody likes to blame the media when they don’t parrot the line they prefer. Let’s just concentrate on what we can talk about with some objectivity.

    As to “appeals to fear”, that’s another canard. Right now the right wing is going hyperbolic about Mr. Obama taking away guns (a total fabrication) and Mr. Obama being socialist (another fabrication). Again, we would do better to concentrate on the facts rather than wild accusations. If you have a reasoned case to make, let’s hear it. I expect that challenging you to substantiate your claims will lead to your disappearance, as it has with so many of your predecessors here, but I’m hoping you’ll surprise me.

    One other thing: could you explain the semantic utility of your adjective “reactionary”?

    Chris and Jumblepudding, I think you mistake aggressiveness for debating skills. Mr. Morano is assertive and aggressive — those are not debating skills, they are huge liabilities. A competent debater would use them ju-jitsu style to discredit him. There were several points in the video where I thought to myself “He just left himself wide open! You’ve got him now! Nail him!” and his opponent just sat there quietly. Arggh!!!

  8. I agree with Chris that Marc Morano is an excellent debater and that there are no good debaters or thinkers on the other, concerned side. The main reason is that the “climate concerns” don’t make any rational sense, so it is clear that whoever is able to believe a “dangerous global warming”, can’t be a terribly good or fast thinker. It can be expected that she or he can’t debate well, either.

    The champions of climate concerns are not stimulated to think about the ideas, they are not led to discuss – because the debate is over – which are additional factors that make their brains stagnate and, indeed, disintegrate. This system of ideas is a classical textbook example of another totalitarian ideology – a collection of loosely but illogically connected dogmas that are not allowed to be questioned. Every attempt to think about them neutrally leads to problems and intimidation is the only method to protect this system of ideas.

    Chris may be looking for a solution but he must know that there is no solution. The problem is in the very essence of the system of ideas he wants to promote.

    It is irrational, shallow, constructed with irrational, fearsome audiences in mind, so this system of ideas simply can’t be doing terribly well in a confrontation of ideas or in detailed tests. So it is pretty much guaranteed that personal attacks and untrue libels are the only things that will be produced from the mouths of Joe Romm and all of his soulmates in the future, while the climate realists will be learning to understand the climate increasingly accurately, so even the average realists who didn’t start as professional scientists will become much better scientists than even the most famous names on the concerned side, such as James Hansen.

    The climate realists don’t agree about everything. There is a lot of healthy discussion in our camp that leads to an increasing knowledge of all players, usually especially those who didn’t know certain things at the beginning.

  9. Why are the grapes so sour? (Must be Global Warming!)

    It is easy to see why Al Gore claims that the climate debate is over, if you can’t win, don’t fight.

    Unfortunately for the Alarmists, in REAL science, debate is never over.

  10. Erasmussimo

    Well, Lubos and Tim, now that you guys have gone way out on a limb and declared that those who disagree with you must be idiots, I’m sure that you can back that up with a refutation of all the NAS reports in their entirety. Please, pick anything from those reports and show us how stupid we are.

  11. Jon Winsor

    “This system of ideas is a classical textbook example of another totalitarian ideology – a collection of loosely but illogically connected dogmas that are not allowed to be questioned. ”

    Yes, those totalitarian scientists! How dare George Bush convene a panel of them so that they summarize:

    Greenhouse gases are accumulating in Earth’s atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures to rise. Temperatures are, in fact, rising.

    Obviously, it’s a conspiracy involving practically every scientific organization in the world. How did the Secret Commies control the minds of so many scientists?

  12. Patrick

    Chris Mooney is right that we’d get mad. I am in shock at how slanted, biased and hypocritical this posting is! He uses a blatantly political pro-warming-political-advocacy site, DeSmogBlog, as a ‘reference’ …. and then has the audacity to not only claim there are no partisan advocates on the pro-Global Warming side … but that they dont get funding, when the very link he cites CONTRADICTS his whole point:

    “you can learn to be a good TV debater, a stunningly effective advocate for your own side…but who has time to really make an art of it? Who is funded to do this?”

    Reality check: DeSmogBlog is funded … their site says “DeSmogBlog team is especially grateful to our benefactor John Lefebvre, a lawyer, internet entrepreneur and past-president of NETeller..”

    Reality check: DeSmogBlog is engaged in character attacks on Marc Morano and others they claim are ‘deniers’. They are funded. Likewise, Joe Romm, who is a flak for the global warming alarmist agenda on his own website Climateprogress, has his own media outlet and is funded by Center for American Progress. Wiki says: ” The Center for American Progress is a liberal political policy research and advocacy organization.”
    Joe Romm is a PAID flak for liberal political activism. CAP had John Podesta, former CLinton chief-of-staff, as its President. Wiki further states: “The Center has no information on its website about its funding, but the Washington Post reported that “seed money pledged by such deep-pocketed Democrats as financier George Soros (and mortgage billionaires Herbert and Marion Sandler)” assisted its formation.[5] The authors of Her Way, a biography of Hillary Clinton, also assert that the Democracy Alliance, a progressive donors collective, has funded the Center. They also assert that the Sandlers and Soros provided seed money.”

    There are pro-Global-warming-Alarmism websites, flaks, and supporters galore. Soros has given plenty of money. Other liberals have as well. And of course you have UN and Govt organizations pushing a self-interested agenda to get people frightened. They are VERY well funded. If Joe Romm, who is a smart guy, well-funded by the liberal ‘think tanks’, can’t debate Marc Morano effectively, it’s probably due to the fact that the case for claiming that global warming is a crisis is a weak one!

    Marc Morano said cap-and-trade would NOT benefit the environment. Well, instead of attacking him personally, why don’t you explain his error or ADMIT HE’S GOT A POINT.

    This fear of debate over global warming is very unscientific. The claims that the debate is phony; attacking critics of cap-and-trade as ‘denialists’ is political fearmongering. Chris Mooney, you should be ashamed; this is dreadful anti-scientific anti-journalism.

    I am a Discover magazine subscriber who will now UN-subscribe. I have no interest in funding these kinds of character assassinations or this kind of junk biased reporting.

  13. Patrick

    This fear of debate over global warming is very unscientific. The claims that the debate about global waring is over is phony; attacking critics of cap-and-trade as ‘denialists’ is political fearmongering.

  14. Patrick

    “I’m sure that you can back that up with a refutation of all the NAS reports in their entirety. ”

    Well done on making Lubos’ and Tim’s point for them.
    They see reality as too complex to reduce to a simple all-or-nothing formula. By demanding an all-or-nothing resolution, you are showing that his description of your thought-structure is correct.

    A science-based thought structure thinks differently from the way the alarmists do – the global warming models could be partly right, partly wrong. It’s not at all necessary to refute 100% entirety of NAS reports to refute the ‘alarmists’. For example, it might suffice to agree to the basic mechanism but point out for example, that we have had 0.4C warming in the last 60 years and 35% CO2 increase that came with it, which portends a trend that is 1/3 what alarmist models show; it would yield a 1C temperature rise upon doubling of CO2. Such a trend would mean miniscule sea level rise (sub 10cm) by 2100 and practically no real ill effects on the environment, barely noticable. Since this trend is what fits the last 60 years of actual temperature data, it would be absurd and un-scientific to toss it aside as impossible. When it comes to what is correct here, we should be looking to data, not to models, not to fallacious appeals to authority, and not to argument-by-character-assassination.

    The global-warming-is-a-crisis side has taken the unscientific and non-credible ‘all or nothing’ approach. Gore said, unscientifically, the ‘debate is over’ when it never is in science. Questioning the ‘consensus’ is deemed treason to the environmental cause, and any dissenter is banished to the dark corners as a ‘denialist’. Lobus stated:
    “The champions of climate concerns are not stimulated to think about the ideas, they are not led to discuss – because the debate is over”

    The Joe Romm’s of the world will lose the debate so long as they falsely pretend that such debate is not legitimate. They will further lose the debate so long as they boil it down to simplistic “Is it real or not?” when the real issue is whether the impact is large enough to be of concern.

  15. Patrick

    “Some AWG denialists are exactly like creationists”

    Global warming alarmists are just like creationists.
    They have a faith creed that is very brittle and so they cannot abide even a little deviation from their orthodoxy. Any viewpoint outside the tight circle is deemed blasphemy. And they need a label – “denialist” – to describe that treasonous blasphemy.

    If I believe that doubling CO2 will lead to increase in temperatures of 1C, which is consistent with the actual temperature data of the last 60 years, does that make me a ‘denialist’? A lot of scientists who agree with parts of global warming science but dissent from the alarmist hype have been (mis)labelled ‘denialists’ by the Joe Romms for their blasphemous dissent.

    To paraphrase the Who: Meet the new religion. Just like the old religion.

  16. SLC

    Re Tim Slagle

    Unfortunately for the Alarmists, in REAL science, debate is never over.

    Absolutely, the debate over HIV/AIDS, CFCs/ozone depletion, evolution/creationism, cigarette smoking/lung cancer, etc. is never over.

    Re Patrick

    Since Mr. Patrick wants to smear Mr. Mooney with guilt by association, lets look at some of his pals on the global warming denialist side. We have the Discovery Institute, funded by Christian Reconstructionists, and purveyor of evolution denial, holocaust denial, global warming denial, and HIV/AIDS denial. We have the Heartland Institute, shill for the tobacco companies. We have the George Marshall Foundation (which its namesake would find insulting to the nth degree), funded by Exxon and the coal industry, among other parties with a vested interest in global warming denialism.

  17. Exhibit A: A worldwide conspiracy of ecoterrorist scientists, many of whom have never met or talked to each other, objectively conducting analyses and…viola….reaching exactly the same conclusion

    Exhibit B: A bunch of politically minded naysayers who make things up, deny well-accepted consensus, and smear scientific opinions with political mud?

    Occam’s razor…Occam’s razor my dear boys…

  18. Erasmussimo

    Patrick, you failed to read the entire paragraph I wrote. I concluded the paragraph with this:

    “Please, pick anything from those reports and show us how stupid we are.”

    That oversight on your part demolishes the point you attempt to make.

    You and your colleagues are full of accusations about the people with whom you disagree, but you have managed to raise but a single point of substance: your linear extrapolation of past temperature increases into the future. You are denying the role of positive feedback mechanisms. So please give us your estimates of the magnitudes of any (note that I write ANY, not ALL) of these forcings:

    aerosol influence on clouds
    release of gases due to permafrost melting
    hydrated sea floor methane
    changes in snow cover albedo

    And let’s take it from there, shall we?

  19. Dr Burns

    IPCC 2007 states that “recent data” can be used to validate its models that predict global warming. Recent data … the past decade … shows a clear cooling trend. The IPCC’s selection of climate models are wrong.

    IPCC 2007 fails to present any other evidence that man’s CO2 is having any effect on climate whatsoever. There is no “abnormal warming” or change in the trend since the Little Ice Age.

    We should be prepared for natural climate change, particularly the possibility of another ice age.

  20. SLC

    Boy, the denialists are out in force today. Now we have Dr. Burns repeating the canard that we really have to be worried about global cooling and another ice age. As Josef Goebbels once said, if one is going to tell a lie, make it a big one, tell it loudly, and tell it often and eventually people will come to believe it. And that is precisely the strategy of the Heartland Institute, the Discovery Institute, and the George Marshall Foundation and their hangers on like Fred Singer, Pat Michaels, et al.

  21. Erasmussimo

    Yes, these guys are all drive-by commenters. They swoop in, leave their comment, and poof! they’re gone! I often wonder at their motivations. Are they like taggers spray-painting their stuff on walls? Is the idea not to get caught up in actually discussing the issues?

  22. MadScientist

    I’m not angry because I see that all the time; being angry is a waste of energy. I just had a good laugh at the blurbs like:

    “If you are a skeptic of the current doctrine, Marc can aid your program by clearing up the deception with the facts.”

    Hmm. Yes. Morano ‘facts’ – I suspect it’s something like creationists ‘facts’ and how a good creationist is always happy to volunteer to dispel those evil evolutionary lies.

    The only bright side is that an awful lot more CO2 is going to go into the air before we even put a tiny dent in emissions; that means quite a few decades more of measurements and more to learn – well, provided we can still get money to make the necessary measurements. During the Dubbyah years I remember meeting a number of scientists who were working on instruments that would be useful deployed as a network on the ground and also on satellites – except that the instruments were being developed under the guise of being useful for a Manned Visit To Mars because policy dictated that Mars was ‘in’ and earth observations was so last century.

  23. Judy Cross

    Hey, all you Warmists. Explain why/how it is cooling when CO2 is still “high” at 387PPM.

    I think you all need some basic science lessons and I suggest you start with
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/ and his essay http://www.drroyspencer.com/2009/04/the-800-pound-gorilla-in-the-climate-system/
    “But how often in science is it decided that the first hypothesis to come along will forever be the only one allowed? That is effectively what the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has done.

    Ever since the IPCC was formed twenty years ago, their intent has been to tie global warming to human greenhouse gas emissions. They have never seriously investigated potential natural sources of global warming…except to say they can’t think of any that are large enough to cause the warming.

    They then run their climate models with tiny forcings, such as a tiny change in solar output, and then say, “See? Natural forcings can not explain warming…only increasing CO2 can!” This conclusion is then advertised with words like “this demonstrates that natural forcings can not explain global warming”.

    Dogmatism is not science, guys.

  24. flabob

    Goodness gracious,folks! Have any of you had Chemistry 101 or Calculus?

    As a retired professor, I taught global warming starting in 1966; it was obvious even then what our addition of CO2 to the atmosphere would do, and now it is starting to show itself.

  25. Peter Ferrara

    When I hear from the global warming skeptics, I get scientific arguments and scientific data. When I hear from the global warming advocates, I hear personal attacks and name calling. Is there any scientific argument in support of global warming that has not already been thoroughly rebutted by the skeptics? I can’t find any.

  26. Jon Winsor

    When I hear from the global warming skeptics, I get scientific arguments and scientific data.

    That’s news to me.

    Is there any scientific argument in support of global warming that has not already been thoroughly rebutted by the skeptics?

    Here’s a page of them:


  27. Erasmussimo

    As always, I will make the futile attempt to ask the deniers here to offer something, anything, in the way of scientific support for their claims. For example, Judy Cross declares that the world is cooling. Oh, really? Please substantiate that claim, Judy. Peter Ferrara complains that those he disagrees with offer no scientific arguments or data — so he presents no scientific arguments or data himself.

    {Sigh} These people just don’t ever back up any of their claims.

  28. Peter Ferrara

    Joe Rome said in the clip that on our current course U.S. temps over the next century would increase by 10-15 degrees Fahrenheit. Is there any significant scientific support for that statement? Let’s see it. What a disgrace.

  29. Judy Cross

    Erasmussimo, if you had bothered to check out Dr. Spencer’s site, you would have noticed: http://www.drroyspencer.com/latest-global-temperatures/

    Given that the PDO shifted to its cool phase last year, meaning 20-30 years of temperatures more like the 1942-1977 period, combined with very little to non-existant sunspot activity, we are in for prolonged cooling.

    “Unlike El Niño and La Niña, which may occur every 3 to 7 years and last from 6 to 18 months, the PDO can remain in the same phase for 20 to 30 years. The shift in the PDO can have significant implications for global climate, affecting Pacific and Atlantic hurricane activity, droughts and flooding around the Pacific basin, the productivity of marine ecosystems, and global land temperature patterns. #8220;This multi-year Pacific Decadal Oscillation ‘cool’ trend can intensify La Niña or diminish El Niño impacts around the Pacific basin,” said Bill Patzert, an oceanographer and climatologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. “The persistence of this large-scale pattern [in 2008] tells us there is much more than an isolated La Niña occurring in the Pacific Ocean.”

    There is then the usual tug of the forlock to the AGW hypothesis, “These natural climate phenomena can sometimes hide global warming caused by human activities. Or they can have the opposite effect of accentuating it.” That is perfectly true….so expect AGW to be “hidden” for a good portion of your life.

    Are you sure you want to pay some politician money to prevent something that won’t be happening for quite a while,….. if at all?

  30. Peter Ferrara

    Finally Jon Winsor provides at least a rational response. But no the outdated studies there are all rebutted by the voluminous science at http://www.sepp.org, which also supports what Judy said as well. I was particularly enlightened to see that Mann has “found that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest in the last millennium.” Except that the decade of the 1930s was hotter. Imposing $2 trillion of costs on the American people to stop global warming when the world is getting colder is going to be a very firm foundation for some more political “change.”

  31. The “tactic” of global warming skeptics is to honestly follow reason and evidence, while the alarmists are all either liars or dupes. The close historical correlation between solar activity and global temperature is thoroughly documented, going back 500 millions years. The slight change in Total Solar Irradiance that accompanies changes in solar activity is much too small to account for this correlation, implying that the driving force behind the relationship is the solar wind, yet non-TSI effects of solar activity are completely omitted from the IPCC models. Pure scientific fraud. After ten years of global cooling and on the cusp of what may well be a serious episode of global cooling, you eco-religionists are trying to unplug modernity. It is EVIL.

  32. SLC

    Re Peter Ferrara

    Mr. Ferraras’ link does not exist.

  33. Jon Winsor

    I found Mr. Ferrara’s link:


    The site was started by tobacco denialist Fred Singer:


    It would be nice if the site at least could tell the difference between weather and climate:

    “Is the climate stable or is it changing?

    The climate is never just “average”; it changes all the time, from season to season, year to year, and over the millennia.”

    Pretty basic distortion that you could explain to a student in grade school…

  34. SLC

    Re Roy Spencer

    Ms. Cross cites Roy Spencer as her source of information on global warming. The affiliations of Dr. Spencer are rather interesting.

    1. Dr. Spencer has appeared numerous times on the Glenn Beck show. Mr. Beck is one if the biggest nutcases on cable TV. No reputable scientist would appear on a show hosted by this nutjob.

    2. Dr. Spencer is affiliated with both the Heartland Institute and the George Marshall Foundation, shills for the tobacco companies and the energy companies.

    3. Dr. Spencer is also an evolution denier who supports so called Intelligent Design. Not surprising as individuals with nutty views in one area ofter have nutty views in other areas.

    Given his associations, Dr. Spencers’ views should be greeted with the utmost suspicion.


  35. SLC

    Ah gee, guess what, Dr. Spencer is also a CFCs/ozone depletion denier. What a surprise!

  36. Lance

    Chris I’m a bit concerned for your mental health. That you could write the following paragraph in earnest is cause for concern.

    “If we’re going to get mad at anyone, meanwhile, I can see two appropriate targets. First, there’s the media who allow this game to work, by creating environments (especially on television) where good science can easily get defeated by good rhetoric.”

    The media, especially television, is completely and unconditionally committed to perpetuating global warming alarmism. That you would declare this forum biased towards skepticism bespeaks a complete disconnect with reality.

    You follow these stunningly bizarre statements with,

    “And second, there’s the wealthy philanthropists and well funded think tanks and interest groups on our side who, faced with this unfavorable media environment, have failed to adapt and equip us with counter-Moranos–intellectual warriors who are not only up for the task of setting the record straight, and defending accurate science, but actually have it as their full time job description. This is hardly impossible to do; you can learn to be a good TV debater, a stunningly effective advocate for your own side…but who has time to really make an art of it? Who is funded to do this? ”

    As Lubos Motl pointed out the alarmist propaganda machine is extremely well funded, a point you make yourself in the above quote. You then admit that Romm is just one of many full-time climate alarmist mouthpieces but then you whine that these climate warriors don’t have the time or funding to compete with skeptics.

    Did you proof read this self-contradictory paragraph before you posted it?

    Did it never occur to you that perhaps the reason that skeptics continually win these encounters is that the case for catastrophic climate change is exceptionally weak?

    No, in your mind it’s just a matter of technique. Maybe you can patch things up with Nesbit and “frame” the public to your will. Or you could fall back on the tried and true tactic of calling the other side names and declaring that “the debate is over”.

    Either way it would appear that the last thing you want to do is compete in an open public forum armed with the scientific evidence. That is a fight your side keeps losing.

    The problem for you isn’t that “reason loses” it is that it keeps winning.

  37. Scott Robertson

    Wow. Did you link this post to climate audit or something? No fewer than 4 references to global cooling (no data links though) and the solar activity canard. And Lance, there have been several of these debates over the last couple of years. I know Gavin from real climate has participated in a few. I wasn’t aware that he lost though. And quit acting like the denier side wants to have a reasonable debate. They are as dug in as the environmentalists and not interested in debate.

  38. Erasmussimo

    Isn’t it sad that the great majority of the discussion in the comments is childish mud-slinging rather than scientific reasoning? After slogging through all the slime, I find exactly two scientific arguments. Let’s talk about those.

    The first claim is advance by Judy Cross (thank you for sticking around to make your case!). She argues that the climate has cooled in the last ten years. However, the source she references to support her claim actually contradicts it — in a way that illuminates the whole problem. If you look at the data from the last twelve months, you’ll see a huge increase in temperature: +0.5 ºC in just one year! Why, at that rate, in just 20 years, we’ll see an increase in temperature of 10ºC — easily enough to melt the polar icecaps! Oh, no! Death and destruction!

    Wait a minute. That’s a cherry-picked sample. I took the bottom of a downward fluctuation and matched it with the top of a spike. That’s call cherry-picking the data, and that’s dishonest. To be accurate, you need to include more data. How much more data? Well, that depends on how far into the future you want to look. If you want to look just one year into the future, then it might be defensible to use data from the previous year. If you want to look ten years into the future, then you should probably include data going back at least ten years. And so on.

    Now, Judy could base her claim on cooling on one of the previous spikes, such as the El Nino spike of 1998. However, if she wants to cherry-pick a spike, I can cherry-pick a valley. If she wants to use the 1998 spike, I could use the valley in early 2000 to “prove” that temperatures have increased. Or I could use the valley from early 1997 to “prove” that temperatures have increased.

    So what we have here is dueling cherry-picking. Judy cherry-picks her data points to prove that temperature is decreasing, I pick my data points to prove the opposite, and all we have is a demolition derby of cherry-picking. It proves nothing. How do we resolve this dispute?

    The solution is to refrain from cherry-picking. Use ALL the data, not any single pair of data points. And if we graph all the data going back 100 years, we see a very clear and strong upward trend. Global temperatures are increasing. And that’s the most reliable conclusion to draw from the data.

    The ball’s in your court now, Judy.

    Alec Rawls makes this statement:

    “The close historical correlation between solar activity and global temperature is thoroughly documented, going back 500 millions years.”

    We don’t have data on solar activity from 500 million years ago. We have some proxies for temperature, but not solar activity. But there’s a deeper problem here. Alec is offering a hypothesis: that the solar wind effects the temperature of the earth. That’s a good start. Now, what evidence can Alec and his cohorts offer to support the hypothesis? Well, that’s pretty thin. There’s some speculation, and some theoretical calculations, but very little in the way of evidence. In the absence of evidentiary support for the hypothesis, we have to set it aside for the time being. Come back when you have some evidence, Alec. That’s how the scientific method works.

  39. Judy Cross

    When you can’t refute what the messenger (Spencer) says, attack him instead.
    Given that the only media which allowed discussion of the supposedly “settled” science was the rather loathsome Fox and Glen Beck, I suggest that that was part of the general plan to discredit skeptics in the eyes of the “left”.

    Yes, the long term trend is up which is consistent with recovery from the Little Ice Age.
    Nobody ever denied the Earth is warming, it is the cause that is in dispute.

    What seems to be lost in this discussion is that there is no evidence to support the CO2 hypothesis…there is no longer even a correlation
    What correlation there was over the long term is that first temperatures rose and THEN CO2 did. CO2 levels are an EFFECT of temperature, not a cause.


    And the topper:

    Since the two people who have done most to push the false paradigm are in the business of carbon trading together, most rational people would take a second look at just what is being proposed to solve a non-problem.
    Maurice Strong, Al Gore
    Creators of carbon credit scheme cashing in on it

  40. Jon Winsor

    What seems to be lost in this discussion is that there is no evidence to support the CO2 hypothesis

    You didn’t read my link above: http://www.heatisonline.org/contentserver/objecthandlers/index.cfm?id=3458&method=full

    CO2 levels are an EFFECT of temperature, not a cause.

    See Coby Beck on this urban myth:

    As for your “topper”, “month to month cooling” doesn’t say much about long term trends.

    And I’m not going to respond to on an ad hominem attack on Al Gore. He just gave speeches and made a movie. He didn’t do the science.

  41. Erasmussimo

    OK, Judy, you rightly protest that people are attacking Mr. Spencer and rightly argue that we should argue the science. I agree. But I will ask you to be consistent here and not attack Mr. Gore or others. Let’s focus on the science, shall we?

    You write, “the long term trend is up which is consistent with recovery from the Little Ice Age.”

    What do you mean by “recovery”? Are you forwarding the scientific hypothesis that climate is like a spring that just naturally, without any other reason, just “recovers” from times when it’s “too cold”? If so, how do you define “too cold”? How do you know that the Little Ice Age was “too cold”? During the Big Ice Ages, it was a lot colder. Why didn’t the earth “recover” from the Big Ice Ages after a few hundred years instead of staying cold for thousands of years?

    You see, you’re offering a scientific hypothesis (that the earth just sorta naturally “recovers” from cold periods) but you don’t offer a shred of evidence in support of your claim. It’s just unsupported speculation on your part. Let’s do some science here! Let’s get evidence, OK?

    Next you write, “there is no evidence to support the CO2 hypothesis…there is no longer even a correlation”

    I assume by “CO2 hypothesis” you refer to the hypothesis that increases in CO2 concentrations will lead to a larger greenhouse effect which will in turn lead to increased temperatures. Actually, there’s ironclad evidence in support of it, evidence that you yourself can replicate. Here’s how:

    Get a sealed glass cylinder of plain air. Pass sunlight through it and measure the opacity of the air to the sunlight. Next, pass infrared light representing the blackbody radiation of a body at 300 ºK through the same cylinder and measure the opacity of the air to that radiation. Now replace the air with a mixture of air and CO2, and repeat the previous two measurements. Compare your results. Voila! You have proven that CO2 absorbs more infrared light than normal air — and that proves beyond any doubt that CO2 in the atmosphere will warm the earth.

    Now, we can get into more detail on the actual amounts of these effects, but the basic principle was proven more than a century ago. Your information is dated.

    Next, you write that “What correlation there was over the long term is that first temperatures rose and THEN CO2 did. CO2 levels are an EFFECT of temperature, not a cause.”

    Not quite. What the historical data prove is that, WHEN there’s an increase in temperature (for whatever reason), it leads to the release of more CO2 into the atmosphere. The fact that previous increases in temperature were not initially caused by increases in CO2 does not mean that increases in CO2 cannot cause increases in temperature; you’ve already proven that with your lab experiment. Here’s an analogy showing the logical error you’re making:

    “Every single earthquake we know about was NOT caused by the detonation of an A-bomb along the fault line. Therefore, it is impossible for A-bombs to cause earthquakes.”

    Do you see the flaw in the reasoning? A lot of different things can cause the earth’s temperature to rise. The fact that, in all those previous temperature increases, there wasn’t a civilization pumping lots of CO2 into the atmosphere, doesn’t imply that pumping CO2 into the atmosphere can’t cause temperature increase.

    What your observation about CO2 lagging the temperature increase DOES prove is this logical sequence:

    increase global temperatures –> release more CO2 into the atmosphere.

    Now let’s combine that with the results of your lab experiment:

    increase CO2 in the atmosphere –> increase global temperatures.

    When you put these two together, you get the following sequence

    add more CO2 artificially –> increase global temperatures
    increase global temperatures –> release even more CO2 into the atmosphere
    release even more CO2 into the atmosphere –> increase global temperatures
    increase global temperatures –> release even more CO2 into the atmosphere
    release even more CO2 into the atmosphere –> increase global temperatures
    increase global temperatures –> release even more CO2 into the atmosphere
    release even more CO2 into the atmosphere –> increase global temperatures
    increase global temperatures –> release even more CO2 into the atmosphere
    release even more CO2 into the atmosphere –> increase global temperatures
    increase global temperatures –> release even more CO2 into the atmosphere
    release even more CO2 into the atmosphere –> increase global temperatures

    do you see where this goes? Actually, the real situation is more complex and this vicious cycle doesn’t go on forever. But what you’ve done by pointing out the historical evidence is show that in fact things are a lot worse than just the first-order effect of releasing CO2 into the atmosphere. The problem collects interest and grows and grows on you. THAT’S why it’s going to do damage.

  42. Judy Cross

    Spencer’s religious beliefs are not relevant to this discussion., but Gore and Strong’s business involvements are an important piece of the puzzle.

    When the very people who stand to personally gain the most from this outrage, Gore and Strong, are two of the most active, who have been in a dodgy business together before, I suggest trying to bury those facts in a mass of verbiage about doubtful experiments is obscurantist at best.

    Going into the lab to do a doubtful experiment can’t wipe out the fact that warming proceeds CO2 rises.

    Carbon dioxide did not end the last Ice Age

    “Deep-sea temperatures warmed about 1,300 years before the tropical surface ocean and well before the rise in atmospheric CO2, the study found. The finding suggests the rise in greenhouse gas was likely a result of warming – but not its main cause. ”

    Read the sunspots
    “Using various coring technologies, we have been able to collect more than 5,000 years’ worth of mud in these basins, with the oldest layers coming from a depth of about 11 metres below the fjord floor. Clearly visible in our mud cores are annual changes that record the different seasons: corresponding to the cool, rainy winter seasons, we see dark layers composed mostly of dirt washed into the fjord from the land; in the warm summer months we see abundant fossilized fish scales and diatoms (the most common form of phytoplankton, or single-celled ocean plants) that have fallen to the fjord floor from nutrient-rich surface waters. In years when warm summers dominated climate in the region, we clearly see far thicker layers of diatoms and fish scales than we do in cooler years. Ours is one of the highest-quality climate records available anywhere today and in it we see obvious confirmation that natural climate change can be dramatic. For example, in the middle of a 62-year slice of the record at about 4,400 years ago, there was a shift in climate in only a couple of seasons from warm, dry and sunny conditions to one that was mostly cold and rainy for several decades.

    Using computers to conduct what is referred to as a “time series analysis” on the colouration and thickness of the annual layers, we have discovered repeated cycles in marine productivity in this, a region larger than Europe. Specifically, we find a very strong and consistent 11-year cycle throughout the whole record in the sediments and diatom remains. This correlates closely to the well-known 11-year “Schwabe” sunspot cycle, during which the output of the sun varies by about 0.1%. Sunspots, violent storms on the surface of the sun, have the effect of increasing solar output, so, by counting the spots visible on the surface of our star, we have an indirect measure of its varying brightness. Such records have been kept for many centuries and match very well with the changes in marine productivity we are observing.

    In the sediment, diatom and fish-scale records, we also see longer period cycles, all correlating closely with other well-known regular solar variations. In particular, we see marine productivity cycles that match well with the sun’s 75-90-year “Gleissberg Cycle,” the 200-500-year “Suess Cycle” and the 1,100-1,500-year “Bond Cycle.” The strength of these cycles is seen to vary over time, fading in and out over the millennia. The variation in the sun’s brightness over these longer cycles may be many times greater in magnitude than that measured over the short Schwabe cycle and so are seen to impact marine productivity even more significantly.”

    There is far more evidence to connect the Sun to changes in Earth’s climate than the sad attempt by Mann et al to connect it to CO2 with faulty methodology.

  43. Jon Winsor

    Gore doesn’t write IPCC reports, nor does he have time to brainwash each and every member of all the science organizations on this page.

    The case for the sun causing the warming has very little going for it, while the case for CO2-induced warming is ironclad. (This is the third time I’ve linked to this, and you haven’t responded, Ms. Cross.)

    You might say that perhaps someday–someday!–evidence will come out that it’s the sun. But as Naomi Oreskes pointed out, “perhaps” isn’t evidence:

    Some climate-change deniers insist that the observed changes might be natural, perhaps caused by variations in solar irradiance or other forces we don’t yet understand. Perhaps there are other explanations for the receding glaciers. But “perhaps” is not evidence.

    The greatest scientist of all time, Isaac Newton, warned against this tendency more than three centuries ago. Writing in “Principia Mathematica” in 1687, he noted that once scientists had successfully drawn conclusions by “general induction from phenomena,” then those conclusions had to be held as “accurately or very nearly true notwithstanding any contrary hypothesis that may be imagined….”

    Climate-change deniers can imagine all the hypotheses they like, but it will not change the facts nor “the general induction from the phenomena.”

  44. SLC

    Re Judy Cross

    Apparently, Ms. Cross doesn’t consider the fact that Dr. Spencer is an evolution denier to be relevant. In fact, it is quite relevant as it indicates that his thinking processes are quite deficient, particularly becausehis belief is apparently strongly based on his religious beliefs. As Richard Dawkins puts it, one who denies the theory of evolution is either ignorant, stupid, insane, or wicked (but he didn’t want to consider that).

  45. Erasmussimo

    Judy, I am disappointed that you choose to dismiss the point I make about CO2 absorption as a “dubious experiment”. It is not in the least dubious; it is quite clear and compelling. But your rejection of it suggests to me that you are not interested in the science. I am going to offer a hypothesis for your consideration. I do not expect you to respond to this suggestion of mine, and there really isn’t anything useful you can offer with respect to it.

    I hypothesize that your reasoning process is driven by political factors. In my hypothesis, you started with a strong opposition to the cultural preferences of those on the left wing of our society. From that starting point, you observed that these people whom you oppose support the AGW hypothesis, which led you to conclude that you should oppose the AGW hypothesis. (Alternatively, it could just as easily be possible that you were led to oppose the AGW hypothesis for reasons of loyalty to conservative leaders.) In any event, your opposition to AGW is not based on any science, but instead is a politically-based opposition. You then arm yourself with various scientific arguments — none of which you understand — and head out into the warpath, seeking to combat that culture you detest.

    My hypothesis makes several observational predictions that can be checked against reality. For example, it suggests that your pseudo-scientific arguments will be laced with expressions of anger directed at those with whom you disagree. If your interests were scientific, then you would not feel any emotional interest in this question. And sure enough, as we peruse your writings here we see such revealing phrasings as “the sad attempt”, “outrage” “dodgy”, as well as a number of phrasing that are contemptuous of those you disagree with. Clearly, there’s an emotional component to your writing that belies a purely scientific interest in the question.

    My hypothesis further suggests that you are not well-educated in the relevant scientific fields, and are in fact simply grabbing arguments from denialist websites and tossing them in here. Certainly your failure to use proper scientific terminology offers some evidence in favor of my hypothesis, as does your use of contradictory arguments: at one point you wrote that:

    “Nobody ever denied the Earth is warming, it is the cause that is in dispute.”

    but later you presented an argument that the observed global warming is due to the solar cycle. If this were the case, then we would not be seeing a secular increase in global temperatures exceeding a time period of 11 years, but in fact the secular increase spans at least a century.

    Lastly, if my hypothesis be correct, you will deny everything and insist that you are correct on all counts. A true scientist acknowledges contradictory evidence and argues the larger case. True scientists identify the factors that they consider controlling to the conclusion and presses them home; but you present us with a random hodge-podge of arguments with no logical cohesiveness.

    I don’t expect this hypothesis of mine to yield anything from you other than more emotionalism. But I want to plant a seed in the back of your mind that might someday grow. Vaya con dios.

  46. Judy Cross

    Give me a break..”ironclad” when there is no correlation? I give you real scientists like Stott and Patterson and you give me Ross Gelbspan? Real climate was set up by a PR agency to catch flack about Michael Mann’s fudging. The “Hockey Stick” was about all the case for CO2 stood on, and that was demolished by McIntyre and McKitrick whose work was upheld by both the Wegman and North Committees..
    The Wegman and North Reports for Newbies

    You obviously haven’t come across any of the criticism of the IPCC from insiders.
    (Revised 9 July 2008)
    Vincent Gray

    The IPCC Can’t Count
    – Author and Reviewer numbers are wrong
    by John McLean
    Jan 2009

    Bitten by the IPCC

    So all the CO2 hypothesis has is what is left of the $300 million Gore is spending on advertising and PR.
    Gore Launches $300 Million Climate Change Initiative

    As for Ms Oreskes: “Some commentators have argued that these differences undermine my main criticism while they validate Oreskes’ claim. However, as I have stressed repeatedly, Oreskes entire argument is flawed as the whole ISI data set includes just 13 abstracts (less than 2%) that explicitly endorse what she has called the ‘consensus view.’ ”

  47. Peter Ferrara

    Congratulations to Judy for moving this exchange into a scientific discussion, unlike Winsor and SLC, who have disgraced themselves with ad hominem attacks on Singer and Spencer, eminent scientists with far more extensive scientific backgrounds than anyone on either side of this exchange so far. But even they have not sunk as low as Joe Romm who said on national television that under current trends temperatures will increase 10 to 15 degrees F this century, which has less intellectual support than a Batman movie. I can guarantee you that Morano will pick that up and cite it in his future discussions of how crazy the global warming advocates are. This is why the global warming advocates are losing the debate for public opinion.

    Erasmussimo deserves credit for trying to discuss the science at least. But he doesn’t have to respond to Judy with a tone as if Judy is 15 years old and he is a high school teacher. I am not a scientist and don’t need to pretend to be one, but I am an intelligent layman and have studied and written about the issue, and I can already see based on that what is wrong with your arguments.

    You reference early on positive feedbacks, which shows you understand the argument for global warming much better than any other advocate I have heard from directly. But the latest science does in fact argue that the positive feedbacks cited by the IPCC are negligible or even negative rather than positive. At the recent Heartland conference I saw highly intelligent, well reasoned scientists present papers making that point. Among those who spoke at the conference were S. Fred Singer, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Science at the University of Virginia, and the founder and first Director of the National Weather Satellite Service, Richard Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, formerly a Professor of Dynamic Meteorology and Director of the Center for Earth and Planetary Physics at Harvard, Roy Spencer, Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, and U.S. Science Team Leader for the AMSR-E instrument flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite, Patrick Michaels, Research Professor of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia, and past President of the American Association of State Climatogists, David Douglass, Professor of Physics at the University of Rochester, and winner of numerous prestigious Science awards, and Syun-ichi Akasofu, Professor of Physics and former director of the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska, winner of awards from the Royal Astronomy Society of London, Japan Academy of Sciences, American Geophysical Union, Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, among many others. To these names you can add William Happer of Princeton University and the eminent physicist Freeman Dyson who have taken very similar positions.

    These scientists are as good and distinguished as any the global warming advocates have. These folks and what they have to say are going to be the basis for the opposition to global warming regulation. If they are not rebutted, when the public suffers the pain of any regulation that does get through, that will provide the foundation for a political revolution that will lead to the repeal of the regulation. So if you are interested you can go to the Heartland website and look up their presentations, and get their papers and even talk to them directly. If you are not interested, then stop pretending that you have a foundation for responding to Judy, who seems to be well aware of their arguments.

    Yes, you can always play games with the starting point of any asserted temperature trend. But it is not good for the global warming theory that satellite measured global atmospheric temperatures are down over the last 11 years, and that the trend has accelerated. More troubling for the theory is that temperatures were higher than today or in any recent period during the Medieval Warm Period or the thousands of years of the Holocene Climate Optimum, when mankind as a species flourished. One of the definitive rebuttals of the global warming theory is that for millions of years in the planet’s history atmospheric CO2 concentrations were much higher than today, even 30 times higher, and there is no evidence of the catastrophic effects claimed by global warming advocates. Indeed, the human species evolved into its present state during those times.

    Yes, it is true as well Erasmussimo that the historical evidence showing rising temperatures first and rising CO2 hundreds of year later does not definitively prove that the global warming theory is wrong, because you can always tell a tale as you have. But, again, that long term evidence is not good for, meaning it does not support and even contradicts, the global warming theory.

    You are also being unfair to Judy, Erasmussimo, when you insist that she come up with an explanation of why the climate recovered from the Little Ice Age or she can’t cite that trend. All the evidence she needs are the well established long term variations over millions and millions of years involving Ice Ages and periods of interglacial recovery. Humans do not presently have a scientific explanation for this well established, long term pattern, and you know that, so you were not completely honest in asking Judy to come up with one. But what she can cite on the present evidence is that these long term variations are a well established natural temperature pattern, and that this natural temperature pattern, and not the theory of global warming, helps to explain the temperature variations over the last century. In fact, this is exactly what the top scientists at the Heartland conference said, that all the temperature variations of the 20th century are fully explained by natural temperature variations, including recovery from the Little Ice Age, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, and patterns of solar activity. Again, you can go to the Heartland website and look up their presentations, or you can not be part of the debate.

    But this is the scientific debate that is going on now. Moreover, what is clear from that debate is that there is no scientific “consensus” in favor of the global warming theory, I think Morano is right in fact that the trend of scientific opinion is going against it. And those of you who are trying to peddle the myth that there is such an overwhelming consensus and that everyone who disagrees is a simpleton promoting urban myths are not being honest with us. Instead you are dishonorably behaving like Brown Shirts trying to shout us down. And that is not going to work. The global warming scientific debate is not over, it has just begun, and too many of the advocates today are behaving like the judges at the Salem witch trials.

  48. Scott Robertson

    Good try Erasmussimo but you are trying to engage people who don’t want to be engaged. I recently earned my Masters degree in meteorology from the University of Utah and without an actual formal poll I would say that 9 out of 10 of students and professors believe that the earth is warming and that we are causing it. I doubt you could get a one of them to profess a doomsday scenario, partly because they may not believe it but I think mostly because they wouldn’t feel qualified to make such a prediction. Go after the Sierra club or any other environmentalists making doomsday predictions but I doubt you could produce such a quote from a scientist actively involved in studying global warming.
    There is no question that legitimate research scientists have disagreements with global warming theory and Spencer, Christy, Singer come to mind as some as well as Lindzen although he hasn’t published in a while. This doesn’t change the fact that most people in the field do believe it is happening and the most vocal and listened to critics and advocates are people not in the field. Kinda funny huh?

  49. Erasmussimo

    Peter, I’d like to express my appreciation of the fact that you are presenting a case based on logical arguments. I can disagree with somebody and still respect their thinking. Most of your arguments are reasonable even when they are incorrect. I’ll start with the easiest points and work backwards from there.

    First, your claim that “the trend of scientific opinion is going against it [AGW]. That’s simply not true. You cite a dozen scientists who reject the AGW hypothesis. That’s fair. But there are thousands of scientists who support it. More important is the fact that scientific organizations have reached a consensus in favor of the AGW hypothesis. (Remember, a consensus is unanimity, not a majority or even a super-majority). Every single major scientific institution that addresses the science relevant to AGW has issued a statement supporting the basic AGW hypothesis. Not 51%. Not two-thirds. Every single one, including the National Academy of Sciences.

    Let me tell you a bit about the NAS. The NAS was formed by an act of Congress in the 1860s to provide advice on scientific issues as they pertain to policymaking. Thus, the NAS is the official government institution charged with the responsibility of making scientific reports to our government. The NAS is to science as the Supreme Court is to law, with a number of differences:

    1. The Supreme Court has only nine experts. The NAS has hundreds.
    2. The Supreme Court decides issues on a simple majority vote. The NAS has no formal standard, but has an unwritten rule of thumb that its reports should reflect the judgements of a strong majority of its pertinent members.
    3. The Supreme Court must decide questions in a single 9-month term. The NAS takes as long as it feels necessary, in some cases, decades.
    4. The Supreme Court has made some serious mistakes in its time and has even overturned precedents. In its 150-year history, the NAS has never made a mistake. Not once. They have never issued a single report that was later found to be incorrect. If they don’t know it, they don’t report it. They report only what they’re pretty certain of. And they have a perfect track record.

    And guess what? The NAS is firmly on the side of the AGW advocates. In the eyes of any reasonable person, that single argument should by itself settle the question. Do you really think that you’re smarter than the entire NAS? Do you think that any of the scientists at the recent conference are smarter than the entire NAS? Let’s be reasonable here!

    Second point: your statement that “the global warming advocates are losing the debate for public opinion.” I suggest that you check the polls more carefully. Here’s a link to some recent polls:


    If you check the numbers, you’ll find that only 20% of those polled worry “only a little” about global warming. 41% feel that it is being exaggerated in the news, but 57% feel that the news coverage is roughly correct or underestimated. 68% believe that global warming will start affecting them within their lifetimes; only 16% are in your category and deny that it will ever have any impact. However, 60% believe (correctly) that it is unlikely to have a serious impact on their way of life in their lifetimes. So your claim that opponents of AGW are winning the PR war is incorrect.

    You write, “the latest science does in fact argue that the positive feedbacks cited by the IPCC are negligible or even negative rather than positive.”

    That’s a strong statement and I’d really like to see the references to support it. And I mean scientific references, not popular press stuff. The IPCC stuff is all based on published science that has undergone the test of comment. If you have published science that contradicts those feedbacks, let’s see it. I’m open to reconsidering this issue if you’ve got evidence. And a vague reference to the Heartland Institute’s website isn’t specific enough. I wandered around that website just after their conference and it was full of broken links.

    You write: “satellite measured global atmospheric temperatures are down over the last 11 years, and that the trend has accelerated.” I suggest that you look at the data to which Judy linked, from a well-known opponent of AGW. His own presentation of the data contradicts your claim. His fourth-order polynomial fit shows a peak just a few years ago and a very shallow decline since then — and since when is a fourth-order polynomial the correct order to choose? Why not a third, second, or even linear fit? The linear fit shows a clear rise in temperatures. So, can you provide arguments in support of the position that a fourth-order fit is theoretically preferable to a linear fit?

    You write, “temperatures were higher than today or in any recent period during the Medieval Warm Period or the thousands of years of the Holocene Climate Optimum” That’s not what the data I’ve seen say. For example, IPCC AR4 Box 6.4 Figure 1 shows the MWP temperatures were at best equal to today’s; Figure 6.10 shows MWP temperatures definitely lower than today’s. And Figure 6.2, addressing the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, flatly states that the 5ºC temperature increase was coincident with a large increase in atmospheric CO2 and CH4. Now, if you’ve got better data, I’d love to see it. I have presented my evidence — where’s yours?

    You write, “One of the definitive rebuttals of the global warming theory is that for millions of years in the planet’s history atmospheric CO2 concentrations were much higher than today, even 30 times higher, and there is no evidence of the catastrophic effects claimed by global warming advocates.” Oh really? And what were the temperatures in those periods of extremely high CO2 concentrations? Weren’t they much higher than they are today?

    You then present a long paragraph arguing that temperatures have ranged up and down over millions of years. Yes, they have; so what? Judy’s claim was that we should somehow expect temperatures to “recover” from the Little Ice Age. But that’s a nonsensical argument; how do we know that current temperatures are the “correct” temperatures? How do we know that the LIA was not itself a “recovery” from the MWP, and now we’re back on another excursion? This whole notion that there are “right and proper” temperatures and that the climate somehow prefers to “recover” from a cold period is just nonsense. Things don’t happen by accident; there are reasons. The increases in temperature since the LIA do not reflect some deep-seated desire on the part of Mother Nature to “restore” temperatures to their “right and proper” values.

    I object to this anti-scientific approach you take when you claim that temperature changes are just part of some grand cyclic process. Your argument boils down to nothing more than a mystical claim that “temperatures go up sometimes, they go down sometimes, and that’s just the way things are.” Don’t you have any better explanation? Do you have any mechanisms that would explain WHY they go up sometimes and WHY they go down sometimes?

  50. SLC

    Re Peter Ferrara

    Well, well, Mr. Ferrara thinks that I have maligned Fred Singer and Roy Spencer, who, he claims are far more distinguished scientists then any on the other side of the global warming issue. Of course, Mr. Ferrara provides not a shred of evidence that I have said anything erroneous concerning their views. Just to set the record straight, here are some of the positions taken by these fellows.

    1. Prof. Fred Singer, in addition to claiming that global warming is not happening, has, in the past claimed that CFCs were not responsible for ozone depletion (when he wasn’t denying that ozone was being depleted) and has claimed that cigarette smoking was not a cause of lung cancer. If Mr. Ferrara wants to defend these positions, I suggest that he do so.

    2. Dr. Roy Spencer, in addition to claiming that global warming is not happening, claims that the theory of evolution is incorrect and is a supporter of Intelligent Design, putting him in bed with the good folks over at the Discovery Institute who include global warming deniers, evolution deniers, HIV/AIDS deniers, and, in the presence of its director John West, Holocaust deniers. If Mr. Ferrara wants to defend Dr. Spencers’ views on ID, I suggest that he do so.

    Then we have the Heartland Institute cited in Mr. Ferraras’ comment. The Heartland Institute was founded using money from the tobacco companies for the purpose of putting out propaganda against the notion that cigarette smoking can cause lung cancer. Subsequently, this outfit has accepted funding from various energy companies, including Exxon, to put out propaganda against the notion that CO2 being produced from the burning of fossil fuels is a cause of global warming. This outfit is nothing but a shill for the tobacco and energy companies.

    As to the citing of Prof. Dyson, I will link to a description of a presentation the good professor recently made on the subject of global warming . And I will call Mr. Ferraras’ Dyson and raise him with Nobel Laureates physicists Steven Chu and Steven Weinberg.


  51. Judy Cross

    Did you know that the Pew Center was founded by OIL money? The WORST KIND” Alberta Tar Sands money…yuck!

    Consensus has never been established…who took a poll or a vote?…of which scientists where?
    I notice that few academics speak up until they are safely retired.

    Again, we get back to pretending that skeptics are “claiming global warming is not happening”….just not true. Many claim MAN-MADE global warming isn’t happening, some like P. Michaels think there is a small contribution. That didn’t stop them from firing him from his State Climatology job. The Goddess Gaia demands total conformity.

    Dr Spencer can speak for himself about his beliefs. I prefer his open mindedness to the dogmatism displayed here. He rightly points out both sides are a belief system.

    Ah….the word DENIERS. What an epithet. What freight it carries, as you have pointed out above. The word gets used to close discussion. It is the worst form of bashing I have ever encountered, and anyone who uses it exposes himself as being at the end of rational argument.

    As for temperature and CO2, there is little correlation historically

    I think Steve Milloy puts it well:
    “Given that the late Ordovician suffered an ice age (with associated mass extinction) while atmospheric CO2 levels were more than 4,000ppm higher than those of today (yes, that’s a full order of magnitude higher), levels at which current ‘guesstimations’ of climate sensitivity to atmospheric CO2 suggest every last skerrick of ice should have been melted off the planet, we admit significant scepticism over simplistic claims of small increment in atmospheric CO2 equating to toasted planet. Granted, continental configuration now is nothing like it was then, Sol’s irradiance differs, as do orbits, obliquity, etc., etc. but there is no obvious correlation between atmospheric CO2 and planetary temperature over the last 600 million years, so why would such relatively tiny amounts suddenly become a critical factor now? ”

  52. Erasmussimo

    Judy, now you’re using what’s called a “shotgun” tactic: toss out lots of random claims and hope that something sticks to the wall. You don’t even bother attempting to provide evidence to support your claims. You just sling ’em out like burgers at a fast food place.

    You write: “Consensus has never been established…who took a poll or a vote?…of which scientists where?” Actually, the NAS reports are based on the deliberations of a number of different groups of scientists. As I wrote earlier, they do not have a formal system of voting; instead, they rely on an informal system of reaching a decision that a substantial majority of their committees can agree to. So, yes, agreement HAS been reached. And there IS a consensus among the relevant scientific institutions.

    “I notice that few academics speak up until they are safely retired.”
    Wow, that’s quite a claim. Can you offer ANYTHING in the way of evidence to support that? I doubt it.

    “Again, we get back to pretending that skeptics are “claiming global warming is not happening”….just not true. ”
    Oh, really? How about this statement from a critic of the AGW hypothesis:
    “Explain why/how it is cooling when CO2 is still “high” at 387PPM.”
    Obviously, this critic believes that the earth is cooling now. And who might this critic be? Judy Cross, here, April 9th, at 8:41 PM. Look it up.

    Next you write: “some like P. Michaels think there is a small contribution. That didn’t stop them from firing him from his State Climatology job. The Goddess Gaia demands total conformity.”

    Look, if you have a case here, present it. This standalone comment is utterly meaningless without some sort of substantiation.

    “Ah….the word DENIERS. What an epithet. What freight it carries, as you have pointed out above. The word gets used to close discussion. It is the worst form of bashing I have ever encountered, and anyone who uses it exposes himself as being at the end of rational argument.”
    Well, I don’t think it’s an epithet. We do need some sort of term to describe the two schools of thought. I usually use “the advocates of the basic AGW hypothesis” and “the opponents of the basic AGW hypothesis”, but both of those are rather long-winded. I sometimes use the term ‘deniers’, but I certainly mean no disrespect by my use of that term; it seems to me that people who deny the basic AGW hypothesis are accurately described as ‘deniers’. I realize that you prefer the term ‘skeptic’, but I don’t think that term is appropriate because my experience has shown that deniers never, ever concede anything. You certainly haven’t. An honest skeptic acknowledges contradictory points and is open to new information. I very much doubt that any amount of evidence would change the minds of the deniers I have encountered — which means that they are not skeptics, but deniers. I myself would prefer the pair of terms “asserters” and “deniers”, because they are perfect mirror images and they accurately portray the positions of the two sides.

    Let us not forget, too, the frequent use of the term ‘alarmists’, which is clearly pejorative in intent.

    You repeat your earlier mistake with this comment:
    “As for temperature and CO2, there is little correlation historically”

    Did you not read my comments about the causal relationships between CO2 and temperature? Did you not understand them? If you did understand them, then why not answer my comments directly rather than mindlessly repeating the same point?

    Your quote from Steve Milloy demonstrates a very simple-minded approach to climatology. Do you really think that the earth of Ordovician times is comparable to the earth in Holocene times? Remember, this was BEFORE the Carboniferous when the quantity of plant life exploded. Do you really believe that the earth without much terrestrial plant life is thermodynamically comparable to the earth covered with plant life? Do you have any idea of the role played by flora in the carbon cycle? Are you certain that the solar constant back then was the same as it is now? I don’t know anybody who is. The sun does change (although solar variability on the time scale of years to decades is too small to explain current increases in temperature). But if you want to go back half a billion years, that’s another matter entirely. Moreover, the distribution of continents in the Ordovician was completely different than it is now, and ocean circulation was assuredly completely different. And here you are, blithely asserting a comparison between conditions on this planet half a billion years ago and conditions today!

  53. Davo

    10 to 15 degrees F? I hope Romm is kidding.

  54. SMS


    I’ve been reading this thread since it started, and you haven’t made your case. Instead you side-step issues and science.

    So, without using a shotgun approach; just how would you argue against the “fact” that the temperature of the world has dropped during the last ten years? The year 1998 was a strong El Nino event previously used by alarmists as evidence of “catastrophic” global warming. And even though the ppm of CO2 has continued to rise since then, the temperature of the world has dropped from that very hot year of 1998. Am I cherry picking? No more than you! But the drop in the world temperature does not follow the rise in CO2; making the theory you promote very weak.

    Steve McIntyre did a blog post on the Peterson paper on UHI. You need to read it. Using the data provided by Peterson, he showed that most of the temperature response attributed to CO2 is in reality UHI. Take the UHI out of the picture and the “Catastrophic” claim goes away.

    And that should really be the argument. Is the change in global temperature we are seeing “catastrophic” or “not”? If you ask most qualified scientists, they will tell you that the Earth has warmed due to CO2. Even Lintzen will tell you that the Earth is warming due to CO2. But the correct question to scientists would be; do you believe in “Catastrophic” warming? Then the “catastrophic” AGW consensus falls away.

    It was James Hansen who told us in 1990 that the sea levels would rise to the base of the Washington Monument in 20 years. One more year left. Do you live in fear, Erasmussimo? Have you sold your beach property?

    If people really believed in this theory, they would have left the coast a long time ago. They didn’t; making them skeptics. Most of the worlds population lives on the coast. Most of the world’s population must be skeptical of the warming and sea level claims made by the alarmists.

  55. Orson

    Maybe “reason” loses because these reasons are not reasonable?

  56. Orson

    (Occam’s razor, don’t cha know.)

  57. SLC

    Re Judy Cross

    Dr Spencer can speak for himself about his beliefs. I prefer his open mindedness to the dogmatism displayed here. He rightly points out both sides are a belief system.

    Dr. Spencers’ claim that the theory of evolution is a belief system is equivalent to claiming that the heliocentric solar system, or the germ theory of disease are belief systems. This claim only demonstrates Dr. Spencers’ incompetence as a scientist. The body of scientific evidence supporting the theory of evolution is as great or greater then that supporting any other scientific theory. As the great geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky put it, “nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” I would suggest that Ms. Cross try to learn something about the subject area before making an fool of herself. I suggest she read the two books by biologist Ken Miller (no atheist he), “Finding Darwins’ God,” and “Only a Theory,” where the claims of the IDiots are totally debunked.

    I think Steve Milloy puts it well:

    Mr. Milloy is a paid shill for the tobacco companies and the energy companies, in addition to being a columnist for the Fox News channel. Ms. Cross is going to have to do better than that.


  58. Jon Winsor

    A predicable lineup of the usual suspects:

    Steve Milloy, Junkscience.com, Fred Singer, Pat Michaels…


  59. Evolution: Jerry Coyne’s recent “Why Evolution is True” is also excellent. It pulls no punches and simply and calmly lays down the overwhelming evidence for evolution. Occam’s razor.

  60. Scott Robertson

    Okay we have now officially jumped the shark. While I disagree with spencer, lindzen, michaels, at least they are qualified but Steve Milloy? Come on. And the earth is not cooling over the last 10 years. It just isn’t.

  61. It’s amusing to see people talking about the 10 year trends being negative. First, you need 20-30 years to determine a climate trend in global mean temperatures. I give reasons for why that’s the case. Second is the cherry picking involved.

    Third, and most interesting perhaps, is they’re wrong. I just pulled down the Hadley temperature record, you’re welcome to repeat it for others, and looked at the 10 year trends in the global mean temperature. From 1998-2007, starting on the favorite year for cherry pickers, a year even Pat Michaels said — in 1999 — was just a warm weather year of no climate significance — the trend is +0.0049 C/year. For 1999-2008 (ending on the last full year of data), the trend is +0.0071 C/year.

    Those are positive numbers. I dare say the statistical significance is negligible. But the folks saying that the 10 year trends are negative are simply wrong — even when letting them cherry pick an anomalously warm year for their starting point.

  62. Erasmussimo

    SMS, you ask, “just how would you argue against the “fact” that the temperature of the world has dropped during the last ten years?”

    I refer you to the post I made less than 24 hours ago, at 11:20 AM. In that post I explained why cherry-picking data is intellectually dishonest. I further explained that, if you accept the principle of cherry-picking data (as you do when you claim that temperatures have dropped in the last ten years), then I can cherry-pick data to prove the opposite.

    There’s a very simple solution to all of this: don’t cherry-pick your data. Use ALL the data available. And when you do that, the rise in temperature is clear.

    There’s another point here that is often lost upon deniers: the notion of “thermal mass” or “thermal inertia”. Let me present this in terms of an imaginary television program:

    Welcome to:
    The Marc Morano Investment Advice Program!!!

    Monday: “Uh-oh: the Dow-Jones is down 6 points. You’d better sell you stocks.”
    Tuesday: “Great news! The Dow is up 10 points. Buy all the stock you can!”
    Wednesday: “The Dow is up another 8 points! Mortgage your house and use the money to buy stock!”
    Thursday: “Oh no! The Dow is down 12 points! Quick, sell every stock you have!”
    Friday: “Argh! The Dow is down another 20 points! It’s a disaster! A depression is upon us!”

    Such behavior would be silly, because we all know that the stock market fluctuates. However, that doesn’t stop up from buying stock. We take into consideration the long-term behavior of the stock market. We ignore the little daily jiggles and concentrate on the average movement over years. Financial advisers will tell you to put your money into some good stocks and then leave them there for years.

    The same basic concept applies to the earth’s climate — except that we have a way to calculate just how long to wait before we know that something is a real trend and not just a fluctuation. Climatologists use a rough rule of thumb of “decades” to talk about climate trends, but we can actually figure it out for ourselves. You see, the hydrosphere (all the water on the planet) soaks up heat like a sponge. Have you ever noticed that, if you put a pan of water on the stove, it doesn’t boil instantly? It takes time to boil because it takes time to transfer more heat into it. More water takes more time. I can walk you through the calculation step by step (and no, it’s not a “doubtful” calculation, this is high school physics), but the end result is that, if the sun stopped shining, it would take a bit longer than a year for the oceans of the earth to cool by one ºC. So, if the earth truly is cooling, then there’s something causing that (we don’t believe in magic). And to cool by, say, half a degree ºC in ten years, that cooling factor would have to be equivalent to 5% of the sun’s output. To put it the other way, if the sun’s output reduced by 5%, then we’d see a 0.5 ºC cooling in the earth.

    Here’s your problem: a reduction in solar output of 5% is huge. We’d notice it immediately. And any other causal factor equivalent in size would have to be huge. To increase the albedo of the earth by 5% would require that we add snow cover on an area of the earth the size of North America. The same thing would go for increases in cloud cover. Any change of such a magnitude would be sensational. And we haven’t seen anything remotely like that in the last ten years. In other words, there’s nothing going on here. The changes that you’re seeing are just fluctuations, not secular changes.

    The trick here is the difference between reality and measurement. We try to make our measurements as accurate as possible, but we can’t measure the temperature at every point on the planet. What’s the temperature at the bottom of the Marianas Trench? We don’t know. What’s the temperature in the Romanche Deep? We don’t know. How about the temperature 10,000 feet down in the Atlantic along the equator? We don’t know. We carry out extremely complicated calculations to provide us with estimates of these temperatures, but they could be changing in ways that we don’t yet understand. Which means that the atmospheric readings are showing a downward fluctuation when the deep ocean is warming. The earth as a whole is still getting warmer, but our readings show a downward fluctuation. That’s why we don’t sit in front of our computers anxiously awaiting each day’s readings. The range of fluctuations runs into decades. Anything taking place over less than a few decades is just a fluctuation.

    I’ll also remind you that straw man arguments are intellectually dishonest. You build a case around catastrophism. Since when is catastrophism the issue? *I* have never made such claims. Nor has the NAS, nor has the IPCC. You’re avoiding addressing the real issues by loudly condemning the fringe. If you want to make some headway here, you need to take on the big boys with the evidence, not the wimpy little fringe people.

  63. SMS

    Scott and others,

    You may not believe the world has cooled since 1998, but here is a graph you can use to judge for yourself. Start your line at the very top of the peak of 1998 (Yes, cherry picked), but so is EVERY THING that the alarmist use to beat us over the heads with.


    If you go to the Junkscience site you can find other graphs. Some are contradictory to alarmism and some not. I find the graphs from the satellites very revealing. They don’t match the ground monitoring system that well, but it is the ground monitoring stations that are the most suspect. When you add the recent measurements coming from the oceans, catastrophic AGW is dead. Deader than hell.



    There are better discussions on Jennifer Marohasy’s blog site as well as Anthony Watt’s site. In these discussions, the alarmists take a beating. They have no science to back themselves up with. They have become advocates of the AGW belief, much like religious zealots.

    You can make of the graphs what you want, but there are other clues you can use to help you decide.

    Keep this in mind; if all the oceans heated just 1Cº, the expansion would raise the level of the water by a whopping 21 ft. (I believe this is what James Hansen was expecting by 2010) The levels are rising, but at a meer 10 to 15 centimeters per century, much like they have risen since the Earth came out of the Little Ice Age in about 1820. If you offset this rise in ocean levels with the amount of water coming into the oceans from snow and ice melt and from the amount of water we have pumped from our depleting ground water systems, the rise is very meager.

    Add to this the fact that cold records are being set each year all over the world. How can that be? If the world temperature has truely risen as much as the 1-2ºC claimed, there could never be another cold record. We would have moved up the temperature scale, not allowing another low temperature record to be accessible.

    So where is the heat going that was predicted to raise the temperature of our atmosphere and expand our oceans? Psst….Must not have been that much of a rise in temperature due to GHG’s.

  64. Erasmussimo

    Woops! A few minor corrections:

    “To put it the other way, if the sun’s output reduced by 5%, then we’d see a 0.5 ºC cooling in the earth.”

    should read:

    “To put it the other way, if the sun’s output reduced by 5%, then we’d see a 0.5 ºC cooling in the earth AFTER TEN YEARS HAVE ELAPSED.”

    A fine point about deep ocean temperatures: we have in fact measured them at various times and locations, but we don’t know the temperature at every location at every second. We know temperatures that were measured at some point in the past. They might be changing in ways we don’t know about.

  65. SLC

    Re SMS

    Junkscience is the website of the aforementioned Steve Milloy, who, as I have already mentioned earlier on, is a paid shill for the tobacco companies and the energy companies. Referring to Mr. Malloy on climate science is equivalent to referring to William Dumbski on evolution. Mr. SMS will have to do better then that.

    Re Ashutosh

    I have not read Prof. Coynes’ book but the reviews have been excellent. The only problem is that Prof. Coyne is a militant atheist which would cause religious nutcases like Dr. Spencer to disregard him. They can’t make that claim about Ken Miller.

  66. SMS


    I would like to let you in on something; I work for an oil company. Not a great sin in my mind but probably in yours. Not long ago, I didn’t work for an oil company. Back then I thought that this whole global warming thing could use a good looking over. I think the same thing now.

    Back then you would have believed me a sane and thoughtful person. Now that I’ve admitted I work for an oil company, you think of me as a pariah. I haven’t changed much; other than my job. I can still think and question what goes on around me.

    The graphs aren’t contrived. You can look at them without your eyes being burnt out.

    If you get the chance, read this old blog on the Climateaudit.org site. It was a real eye opener for me.


    What causes a linear increase in temperature starting in +/- 1900 to present?

    What creates more temperature increase in large metropolitan cities than in median cities?

    What causes almost no increase in temperature in rural settings?

    I’m looking for answers. Can anyone tell me?

    BTW, the GHG temperature buildup is a logsrithmic function that supposedly started in the 1940’s. I haven’t found it yet; but I keep looking.

  67. Jon Winsor

    SMS: I would like to let you in on something; I work for an oil company. Not a great sin in my mind but probably in yours.

    Here’s the thing. You think this is personal, or has to do with culture wars, or some other blah blah blah.

    It’s not. It just has to do with reading the facts in a disinterested way. You don’t inject politics into the scientific method, you go where the facts lead you. If you can’t do that, you are fighting a *political* fight while pretending to make a scientific case. I think what Chris Mooney is concerned with is calling out where people are fighting *political* battles and pretending that they’re scientific ones.

    And that’s where our calling out interest groups comes from. If you obviously have an axe to grind (as someone like Steve Milloy certainly does) that’s relevant, because we’re saying that you’re not making good faith scientific arguments, when you’ve got an agenda.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with working for an oil company. But arguing disingenuously, like a lawyer when you’re pretending to argue good faith science, there I have a problem and I will call you out (and frankly, wonder if you have a conscience).

  68. Scott Robertson

    Okay one more thing and then I will give up.The above guesswork from SMS leads us to the urban heat island. It is my understanding that this is accounted for and adjusted for but what do I know.
    And Chris you want to know why the right seems to be winning this debate (at least according to some) just read the above comments. A scientist cannot participate in this kind of discussion.

  69. Erasmussimo

    First, SMS, I don’t care if you are a professional child-raping litterbug; the only thing that matters is the logic and evidence you produce.

    So let’s consider that data from ClimateAudit. It certainly does suggest that there is an urban heat island effect. And in fact if you consult IPCC AR4 chapters 2 and 3 you will find extensive discussions of urban heat island effects. Climate change deniers often act as if UHI effects are some earth-shattering discovery that they have made that scientists have never managed to figure out. In fact, they are thoroughly discussed and accounted for in the observational results. There’s nothing new here.

    You write, “I’m looking for answers. Can anyone tell me?”

    The answers are right there in IPCC AR4. I strongly urge you to read it. It’s rather technical but it really is the most detailed analysis available. Indeed, there are lots and lots of factors addressed in IPCC AR4 that you probably never thought of. In any case, it behooves you to make yourself aware of the science behind this debate before drawing conclusions. If you have any fair-mindedness at all, the IPCC AR4 report will at the very least convince you that the simple-minded arguments bouncing around on the blogs are really quite superficial.

    “BTW, the GHG temperature buildup is a logsrithmic function that supposedly started in the 1940’s. I haven’t found it yet; but I keep looking.”

    Look in the IPCC AR4 report; you’ll find it there.

  70. Judy Cross

    Scott R. Anthony Watts and a team of volunteers have done a great deal of evaluation of the ground based temperature data system. It doesn’t look as though adjustments are possible for things like burn barrels, air conditioners, placement on downtown tar and gravel roofs and in parking lots.


  71. Orson

    “cherry picking” or baseline games? 10 years of cooling is not a trend? What about one-thousand? We are at temps lower than the Medieval Optimum. Lower than the Roman Optimum, and lower than the Holocene Optimum. So much for “unprecedented warming” due to AGW.
    There is nothing “intellectually dishonest” about pointing this out – everything dishonest in not dealing with it.

    The fact remains that climate sensitivity to ACO2 remains unproved, as does the enhanced greenhouse effect (the predicted so-called “Hot Spot). What remains is a weak correlation of CO2 and temperature, and many other competing theories too often almost dismissed by the IPCC. And no wins by AGWer in debate with critics. I see a hoax.

  72. Orson

    the earth is not cooling over the last 10 years. It just isn’t.
    Different authorities cite different baselines. Michaels, the mid-90s for instance. Another, Roger A Pielke, Sr, a climatologist at the University of Colorado at Boulder, cites seas surface temps to support a four years trend:

    The rate of [temp]increase is NOT accelerating. There is absolutely no question that global warming has stopped for at least 4 years (using upper ocean data) ; e.g see
    Pielke Sr., R.A., 2008: A broader view of the role of humans in the climate system. Physics Today, 61, Vol. 11, 54-55.
    and over 7 years using lower tropospheric data; e.g. see
    Figure 7 TLT in http://www.ssmi.com/msu/msu_data_description.html.,


  73. Jon Winsor

    You can believe all that Orson, but you have to be very careful not to read any of the links in my comments above.

  74. Jon Winsor

    By the way, somehow I suspect that a lot of the different names above came from the same IP address. We have a term for that on the intertubes

  75. SLC

    Re Judy Cross

    I see that Ms. Cross has given up on defending Dr. Spencers’ views on ID. Now she brings up one Anthony Watts. Guess what, in addition to being a global warming denier, Mr. Watts is a 9/11 troofer who claims that aircraft didn’t bring down the World Trade Center on 9/11. This guy is a bigger whackjob then Roy Spencer. Give it up Ms. Cross. Most of the global warming deniers are either shills of the energy companies or nutcases.

  76. Erasmussimo

    Judy, the ground-based temperature systems have undergone a lot of twiddling, and there are already lots of corrections in place for UHI. More importantly, it’s not our only source of temperature data, not by a long shot. We have plenty of other sources, and they all agree on the basic point that temperatures are steadily rising. Besides, weren’t you the one who wrote “Again, we get back to pretending that skeptics are “claiming global warming is not happening”….just not true.”

    Orson, you seem to be having problems understanding the basis for differentiating climate from weather. As has already been noted twice before, climatologists use a rough rule of thumb of “decades” to differentiate weather from climate. And I provided the calculation on which this rule of thumb is based. There’s nothing arbitrary here; it’s simple physics. As my calculation shows, a ten-year change cannot be considered a secular trend; my calculation also shows that a thousand-year change can definitely be considered a secular trend. Just follow the numbers.

    “We are at temps lower than the Medieval Optimum. Lower than the Roman Optimum, and lower than the Holocene Optimum. So much for “unprecedented warming” due to AGW.”
    Yes, that would be significant if it were true. But it’s not. Please, provide your data. My evidence is IPCC AR4 Figure 6.10. Where’s yours?

    Also, you fail to grasp a crucial point: it’s not the absolute value of the temperature that is unprecedented, it’s the rate of change of temperature. There’s a chance that the increase in temperatures after the Younger Dryas was as steep as current warming rates, but we’re not sure of that. What we are sure of is that the warming periods you note developed over hundreds of years, not decades.

    And yes, it *is* intellectually dishonest to make claims and refuse to produce evidence for them when it is requested, as several deniers here have done.

    And your claim that “The fact remains that climate sensitivity to ACO2 remains unproved” belies a failure to understand basic principles of science. Nothing has ever been proven in science, and nothing ever will be.

    ” And no wins by AGWer in debate with critics.”
    Well, that depends upon what you mean by “debate”. In the places where it matters — scientific institutions — the asserters have won a resounding victory, achieving unanimity among those scientific institutions whose purview covers climate change.

    On the Internet, of course,there are lots of people who claim that this is still a huge controversy. There are also lots of creationist websites, people who claim that the Apollo moon landings were staged, and even that the earth is flat. The one common element you share with these people is a refusal to accept scientific reasoning.

    I’d like to ask, how do you answer the point that the great majority of scientists accept the basic AGW hypothesis? Do you believe that they are all part of some vast dark conspiracy to take over the world?

  77. Jon Winsor

    (Whay are all these “different” commenters commenting on *this* thread and none of the others on this blog? Makes you go hmmmm…)

  78. Erasmussimo

    My guess is that somebody on one of the popular denier sites sounded the alert: “Alert! Alert! Asserters active at Intersection website! Volunteers needed to counter their lies!”

    Would any of the deniers here like to tell us what brought them to this discussion? Maybe we can return the favor!

  79. Judy Cross

    I didn’t know Watts is a 9/11Truther….that’s a plus, in my book. Dr Spencer’s religious beliefs have nothing to do with his job and presentation of temperature data. Trying to pretend they do points up the lack of real evidence for AGW. You wouldn’t need to use ad hominem attacks if you had real data. You have nothing but lots of money, no facts, but plenty of fakery.
    Michael Mann’s getting rid of the MWP a case in point. After all, one can’t have a catastrophe if “worse” conditions existed before and polar bears lived through it.

    Warming /cooling is cyclical and there is plenty of evidence to prove it. The well documented Arctic warming of the 1920s looks like it could even have been more extensive than that of the 1990s.

  80. SLC

    Re Judy Cross

    didn’t know Watts is a 9/11Truther….that’s a plus, in my book.

    Well, well, so Ms. Cross, in addition to being a global warming denier is also a 9//11 troofer. Not at all surprising, considering that most deniers have more then one hobby horse to ride. I attach a link to a thread about 9/11 troofers who, in their nuttiness, are right up there with the moon landing deniers.


    Dr Spencer’s religious beliefs have nothing to do with his job and presentation of temperature data.

    I don’t recall commenting on Dr. Spencers’ religious views. I commented on his being an evolution denier and an ID advocate , although most such individuals are also religious fundamentalists (conspicuous counterexample, David Berlinski). I again quote Richard Dawkins, “one who denies the theory of evolution is either ignorant, stupid, insane, or wicked (but he didn’t want to consider that).”

  81. Judy Cross

    If people are interested, there is much to question about the official version of 9/11.

    Professionals for 9/11 Truth

    * Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth
    * Firefighters for 9/11 Truth
    * Lawyers for 9/11 Truth
    * Medical Professionals for 9/11 Truth
    * Patriots Question 9/11
    * Pilots for 9/11 Truth
    * Religious Leaders for 9/11 Truth
    * Scholars for 9/11 Truth & Justice
    * Scientists – Journal of 9/11 Studies
    * Veterans for 9/11 Truth
    * Researchers – Complete 911 Timeline
    Sidebar at http://www.911truth.org/

    And Dr Spencer’s religious beliefs STILL have nothing to do with his views on climate.
    Every time the word “denier” is used, it reveals a belief in a dogma from which no one is allowed to deviate. Sorry, that’s not science, it’s intellectual fascism.

  82. SLC

    Re Judy Cross

    And Dr Spencer’s religious beliefs STILL have nothing to do with his views on climate.

    Ms. Cross appears to have a problem with reading comprehension. I have commented on Dr. Spencers’ views on the theory of evolution, not his religious views. Unless, of course, Ms. Cross considers that religious objections to the theory of evolution are to be taken seriously.

    If people are interested, there is much to question about the official version of 9/11.

    As for the troofers claims about 9/11, all of their claims have been totally discredited by reputable scientists and engineers. They are whackjobs, just like the moon landing deniers, the the alien abduction believers, the Obama birth certificate deniers (known as birthers) , etc. I suggest that Ms. Cross read the thread on Prof. Shallits’ blog which I linked to. In fact, she can find other threads on that blog that provide refutations of the troofers claims and references to technical publications on the subject. The buildings were brought down by the commercial aircraft that were videotaped flying into them. Period, end of story.

  83. Erasmussimo

    Well, Judy, I’ve rebutted your claims and you simply move on to new unsubstantiated claims. Now you’re peddling 9/11 conspiracy stuff. It makes perfect sense that you would be both a climate change denier and a 9/11 conspiracy advocate. In any case, it’s obvious now that reasoning with you is a waste of time. I sure tried.

    Best of luck to you.

  84. SLC

    Re Erasmussimo

    I wonder if she’s a birther also?

  85. Judy Cross

    Eras, you gave a perfect demonstration of gatekeeping on areas of false consensus. Thank you.

    And now back to climate.You didn’t manage to rebut much except in your own mind. CO2 is still up and temperatures down, ice levels are returning to average after the low of 2006-7 in spite of the spin that was tried this past week. Even the MWP is being returned to its rightful place….although they are trying to re-name it the Medieval Warm Anomaly….more spin.

    The whole AGW argument is bolstered by bad data,

    ignored data,

    and fiddled data,

    I’ve already mentioned the Hockey Stick as an attempt to get rid of the MWP, but I didn’t mention David Demings testimony at the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works Hearing Statements
    Date: 12/06/2006
    “a Ph.D in geophysics from the University of Utah. My field of specialization in geophysics is temperature and heat flow. In recent years, I have turned my studies to the history and philosophy of science. In 1995, I published a short paper in the academic journal Science. In that study, I reviewed how borehole temperature data recorded a warming of about one degree Celsius in North America over the last 100 to 150 years. The week the article appeared, I was contacted by a reporter for National Public Radio. He offered to interview me, but only if I would state that the warming was due to human activity. When I refused to do so, he hung up on me.

    “I had another interesting experience around the time my paper in Science was published. I received an astonishing email from a major researcher in the area of climate change. He said, “We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period.””


    This is the committee that Marc Morano was connected with. He can easily point to dissenting scientists and their testimonies because he was intimately associated with it. No wonder there is a need to discredit him.

  86. Peter Ferrara

    Erasmussimo, dear friend, I don’t work for you. You get your own science studies. I told you where to get them if you want to be part of the debate. Note the implication there. I am sure you can get that even though you do sometimes get lost in the logic of your own monologues. Those same sources have also torn IPCC AR4 apart.

    In a sane world, SLC and Winsor would not be allowed even to write comments on the commentary of others. They can only discuss personalities and not science. Their comments here sound like the telephone conversations of a couple of teenage girls I know. Not going to get cap and trade through Congress talking like that. Using SLC/Winsor “methodology” I note that the UN is more self-interested in this global warming debate than the oil companies, and that is the root of the problem with IPCC “science.”

    Again, kudos to Judy Cross, who actually can discuss the science with the best of them.

  87. Erasmussimo

    Peter, how can you dismiss the IPCC AR4 report if you haven’t even read it?

  88. SLC

    Re Peter Ferrara

    Again, kudos to Judy Cross, who actually can discuss the science with the best of them.

    Yessir, nothing like kudos to 9/11 troofers and evolution deniers like Ms. Cross. The fact is that the best that Mr. Ferrara and Ms. Cross can do is cut and paste quote mined articles from discredited folks like Fred Singer (considering that he was wrong about cigarette smoking and cancer, and CFCs and ozone depletion, what credibility has he on global warming), Roy Spencer (considering that he is wrong about evolution, what credibility has he about global warming), Anthony Watts (considering that he is wrong about 9/11, what credibility has he on global warming), Steve Milloy, shill of Exxon and Philip Morris, etc.

    Their comments here sound like the telephone conversations of a couple of teenage girls I know.

    Well, well, Mr. Ferrara is a pedophile with a yen for teenage girls.

  89. Jon Winsor

    They can only discuss personalities and not science.

    Nope, I linked to plenty of science (this, for instance). But there was no interest.

    I also linked to a page of dozens of organizations other than the IPCC.

    Again, kudos to Judy Cross, who actually can discuss the science with the best of them.

    Hey, we just got started on the 9/11 truth issue!

    (This thread not only jumped the shark– Fonzi’s jacket sprouted a jet pack in mid jump and landed him at the home of the Hooper triplets.)

  90. SMS

    You guys need to quit the religious thing and get back to the subject. Your using it as a distraction.

    Erasmussimo, you say that UHI has been adjusted for. No it hasn’t. Using the Peterson paper, NOAA has decided that UHI doesn’t have to be adjusted for. So they don’t. Only Hadcrut adjusts for UHI. But they don’t want to tip the AGW boat too much, so they only adjust 0.1ºC. Not that much. Consider how much UHI you saw in the blog. Up to 2ºC in large cities.

    But using the correct UHI only would adjust down the world gain in temperature about 0.6ºC for the last century. There are several temperature signals in our temperature record. One of the most obvious is the PDO. It was responsible for the rise in the world temperature from 1915 to about 1940. And for the temperature drop from 1940 to 1975 and then rising again from 1975 to about +/-2000. Its about a full 60 year cycle. We are just starting into the drop in the PDO affected world temperature.

    Even NASA has said that the world temperature is going to drop in the next 6 years. NASA is being careful. Most skeptical scientists would suggest to you that the world temperature is going to drop for another 25 years (and would complete the 60 year cycle). I go along with the 25 year drop. That would put us back to where we were in 1975 when people like James Hansen were suggesting we were going into our next ice age.

    I remember reading about the body of an Army parachutist being found in the Sierras a few years ago. The snow had finally melted back enough to find the body. He had jumped out of a plane in 1940. That told me that the temperature of the world was back to where it was when that airman jumped out of that plane. A few years before that, the bodies of two German soldiers were found in the Alps after they had been covered by snow in 1943-44. Is snow a proxy for temperature? Probably better than tree rings.

    Sometime in about 1990 the body of a man was found between the borders of Switzerland and Italy. Once they figured out whose country the fellas body was found in, they started taking a closer look. Turned out he had been in that spot for about 4000 years. The snow had melted back to where it was 4000 years ago to allow for his discovery. Is snow a proxy for temperature? It’s probably better than tree rings.

    As glaciers melt back, they find remnants of copper mines left by the Romans during the Roman Warm Period. They are also finding tree stumps. In Greenland they are finding remnants of farms from the Vikings who settled there 800 years ago. Is this a proxy for temperature. Don’t know, but it has to be better than tree rings.

    Tree ring studies get rid of the Medieval Warm Period, the Roman Warm Period and the Maecean Warm Period. That way people like Al Gore can say what we are seeing is “unprecedented”.

    As more and more studies are done, we find out that what is happening is not unprecedented. And that we are not going to see a runaway temperature take place. What we are seeing is part of a cycle, a cycle that is normal.

    Yes, CO2 can raise the temperature of the world. But no one knows what CO2’s sensitivity is on the world’s temperature for a doubling of CO2. Our temperature record is not accurate enough nor precise enough to determine this sensitivity exactly. But as more and more data comes in, the sensitivity appears to be much less than originally thought.

    Don’t sell your beach property.

  91. Erasmussimo

    SMS, here’s what IPCC AR4 says about urban heat island effects in its executive summary for Chapter 3:

    “Urban heat island effects are real but local, and have
    not biased the large-scale trends. A number of recent studies
    indicate that effects of urbanisation and land use change on
    the land-based temperature record are negligible (0.006ºC per
    decade) as far as hemispheric- and continental-scale averages
    are concerned because the very real but local effects are
    avoided or accounted for in the data sets used. In any case, they
    are not present in the SST component of the record. Increasing
    evidence suggests that urban heat island effects extend to
    changes in precipitation, clouds and DTR, with these detectable
    as a ‘weekend effect’ owing to lower pollution and other effects
    during weekends. ”

    Section directly addresses the UHI factor. I won’t quote it here, as it is several pages long and references quite a few scientific papers. Instead, I’ll simply ask you to provide your specific criticism of the material in Section Please be specific.

    Your discussion of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation is rather simplistic. I suggest that you consult IPCC AR4 section 3.6.3 for a more thorough explanation of what’s going on here. In any case, your simple extrapolations have no scientific foundation. Indeed, the PDO may be merely an artifact of more fundamental processes. From the cited section:

    “Schneider and Cornuelle (2005) suggested that the
    PDO is not itself a mode of variability but is a blend of three
    phenomena. They showed that the observed PDO pattern and
    evolution can be recovered from a reconstruction of North
    Pacific SST anomalies based on a first order autoregressive
    model and forcing by variability of the Aleutian low, ENSO and
    oceanic zonal advection in the Kuroshio-Oyashio Extension.
    The latter results from oceanic Rossby waves that are forced
    by North Pacific Ekman pumping. The SST response patterns
    to these processes are not completely independent, but they
    determine the spatial characteristics of the PDO. Under this
    hypothesis, the key physical variables for measuring Pacific
    climate variability are ENSO and NPI (Aleutian Low) indices,
    rather than the PDO index. ”

    Do you understand what these guys are saying? If they’re right, then the PDO is the consequence of three nearly independent processes that are interacting in an oscillatory fashion — and that could readily change.

    You cite some anecdotal evidence regarding various snowmelts, and use that anecdotal evidence to ask the question “Is snow a proxy for temperature?” and then conclude that it’s “probably” better than tree rings. Oh really? Why is it “probably” better than tree rings? Because you don’t like the results coming from tree rings? Please provide us with your own scientific evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of tree ring analysis as a temperature proxy (I know, you won’t do this; you’ll just move on to some other attack, but I at least wanted to call you out on it.)

    Implicit in your anecdotes about snow melt is the acknowledgement that we’re seeing a dramatic warming going on, but you somehow manage to get this backwards. The fact that snow is melting in many places is an indication of warming, not cooling! You seem to think that this suggests that temperatures were the same or warmer than today. The logic doesn’t work. For example, let’s consider the case of the Iceman that you cite. You suggest that there could not have been snow at his location when he died. By what form of logic do you draw this conclusion? The man was fleeing his pursuers and struggled to the summit line where, exhausted, he lay down and went to sleep and died. There’s nothing in that story suggesting that there wasn’t snow on the ground where he died. Indeed, the fact that he died sleeping strongly suggests that he died of exposure: he froze to death. And you say that this means there was no snow there!?!?? Nothing in the evidence supports your claim. And the fact that he was recovered largely intact means that for 4,000 years his body was never once exposed to the elements; if it had been uncovered, it would have rotted. No, that body was solidly encased in ice even on the day it was discovered; they had to use a chain saw to get the body out of the ice. So if this body was solidly encased in ice for the last 4,000 years and only now did the snow melt enough to expose it, how can you claim that it was warmer on that mountain at any time between 4,000 years ago and today? That’s illogical.

    As to your other anecdotal information: yes, they’re always finding new stuff. What relevance does that have to global temperatures? Tossing out a few random comments establishes nothing. If you want to make your case, the MAKE YOUR CASE! Present the evidence and the logic you use to draw your conclusions. Right now, you’re just asserting and re-asserting your conclusions without providing enough evidence to substantiate them. WHAT Roman copper mines are you referring to? WHAT tree trunks are you describing? HOW do these discoveries say anything about ancient temperatures? Don’t just toss out these off-the-cuff comments — present the reasoning!

    You write, “But no one knows what CO2’s sensitivity is on the world’s temperature for a doubling of CO2.”

    Well, YOU don’t know, but that doesn’t mean that nobody knows.

    “Our temperature record is not accurate enough nor precise enough to determine this sensitivity exactly.”

    Yes, you’re right. But we don’t need to be exact down to the 25th digit. We can do quite well with calculations that have uncertainties in them. And in fact all the responsible scientific studies on this question do present quantified uncertainties.

    “But as more and more data comes in, the sensitivity appears to be much less than originally thought.”
    No, the exact opposite is true. As more and more data comes in, scientists are raising their estimates of how quickly climate change is happening. For example, early estimates of the decline in Arctic ice cover suggested that we might temporarily lose ice cover by 2050. With each passing year, that estimate has been shortened as the ice continues to melt more rapidly than anybody had anticipated. If anything, scientists have been too conservative in assessing the magnitude of this phenomenon.

  92. SMS


    How much UHI did you see in the Peterson article on Climateaudit.org? Didn’t you find it ironic that almost none appears in rural areas? Only large urban areas? How can anyone suggest that the UHI is only .006 ºC/decade? It is site dependent, and must be corrected for on a site by site basis. And as long as cities keep growing, this problem will continue to contaminate the temperature record. UHI appears to grow linearly util a city becomes saturated, not exponentially.

    Erasmussimo, using only the rural record chosen by Peterson, would you say we have a CO2 problem? Does CO2 only effect urban areas? Are the effects of CO2 site dependent?

    Thanks for the quotes on the AR4 paper. I’ve read about the paper many times on other blogs. It is on blogs like Climateaudit that you get a real feel for climate science and it’s current state.

    When you discuss ice cover, keep in mind the Arctic ice extent is currently not outside its normal bounds and appears to be heading up. If you include the ice extent in the Antarctic, we are above normal. There is some question about the thickness of the Arctic ice, and we will find out in a few years what is happening with that. You discussed the PDO in depth, so you must know that we are at the top of the warm phase of the PDO and are now starting down in temperature. As the temperature drops, the ice will recover to its high point in about 25 years. The Northwest Passage opened up in the 40’s and there is anecdoltal evidence that it has opened up before. We’ll probably see the Northwest Passage open again in about 60 years.

    As for the temperature record not being accurate to the 25th digit. No, we don’t need that much precision. But precision and accuracy are what is lacking. Instead we see dendrochronologists using tree rings to tell us the temperatures of the past.

    It was McKitrick and McIntyre that shredded the Michael Mann hockey stick. Even though its been shredded, others continue to still use it. Turns out you can put in random numbers in the hockey stick algorithim and get a hockey stick. And how can you justify putting a tree ring proxy and attaching it to a temperature record?

    Erasmussimo, your cut and paste skills are pretty good. Instead of doing the same thing, let me just send you to Climateaudit.org. They’ve discussed the hockey stick and all the other dendro records in detail. Much more detail than you are going to find in IPCC AR4. Pretty detailed discussions which show the frailties of the statistics used to build the case for unprecedented warming.

    Wasn’t the man in Italy killed by a spear/arrow to the shoulder and laid down and then died? I doubt he dug a snow cave and climbed in to die so he expired on top of the ground and was then covered by snow.

    Enjoy the discussion. Keep it up.

  93. Erasmussimo

    First: in the matter of the Peterson question, that is an extremely complicated matter. Mr. Peterson’s article is entitled “Assessment of urban versus rural in situ surface temperatures in the contiguous United States: no difference found.” He wrote in that paper that there is no difference between rural and urban sites. Mr. McIntyre took issue with this and carried out his own statistical studies which led him to conclude the opposite. If you want to understand the complexities of this issue you should slog through the articles at Climate Audit as well as the articles at Real Climate as well as the shorter discussion in IPCC AR4. You ask “How can anyone suggest that the UHI is only .006 ºC/decade?” Well, perhaps if you read IPCC AR4, you might find out.

    I’d like to step aside for a moment and make a point about authority. You are not arguing the case itself; that is, you are not presenting evidence and arguing the case; instead, you are providing links to other people who make the case. This means that you are not deciding these questions for yourself. The fact that you have apparently not read IPCC AR4 supports this supposition. So really you’re not making an independent assessment of the case, you’re just relying on authority. The problem is, whose authority do you accept? It’s obvious that you have chosen to accept the authority of Steve McIntyre and reject the authority of the IPCC, the NAS, the people at RealClimate, and so forth. Now, why on earth would you favor the authority of Steven McIntyre over anybody else? I’m not saying that he’s a bad guy, but asking why you would select him as the only authority whom you will trust, while rejecting lots of other people. I have a hypothesis to explain this oddity: you prefer Mr. McIntyre’s authority because he’s saying what you already decided you want to hear. Thus, I am suggesting that you are not at all respectful of the science and instead are merely throwing around the scientific terminology merely as a political activity. If you were seriously interested in the science, you would read both sides of the issue before making up your mind, but I think that you made up your mind first and then read only those things that support your preconceived notions. That, at least, is the conclusion I draw from your statements here.

    You ask, “Erasmussimo, using only the rural record chosen by Peterson, would you say we have a CO2 problem? ” Looking at that data, I would draw the conclusion that we don’t have enough data to draw any conclusion. I’d want to see lots of other data, such as sea surface temperatures, snowmelt data, and a great deal more before I drew any conclusions. And when I look at the totality of the evidence, I find it overwhelmingly in support of the AGW hypothesis.

    “It is on blogs like Climateaudit that you get a real feel for climate science and it’s current state.”

    This statement surprises me, because it suggests that you have such a firm grasp of climate science that you can evaluate the relative merits of the many different websites. But how can you say this when it is obvious that you haven’t spent much time reading other materials? As I wrote, it appears that you haven’t even read IPCC AR4. How can you claim to have even a rudimentary grasp of the issues when you haven’t even read the basic material? IPCC AR4 is the starting point, the very first thing that anybody who is serious about climate change should read. You don’t have to agree with everything in it, but you should at least understand what it says. I suspect that your entire education in climate change is derived from ClimateAudit, some other denialist sites, and Rush Limbaugh. How do you expect to be able to discuss this issue with somebody like me when you don’t even get the basics? Yes, I have read a lot of ClimateAudit. I check it about once a month because I want to understand both sides of the issues. Don’t you?

    “You discussed the PDO in depth, so you must know that we are at the top of the warm phase of the PDO and are now starting down in temperature.”

    Wait a minute — isn’t it standard among denialists that temperature peaked in 1998 and has been heading down ever since? So which is it: are we at the top of the oscillation now or did that happen ten years ago?

    On the hockey stick: you’re about ten years out of date. The original hockey stick paper was published in 1998. There were some flaws in it that were pointed out by a number of critics. Unlike denialists, who never yield an inch, Mr. Mann acknowledged the errors and issued a corrected version in 2003, which has not garnered any serious criticisms. His results are factored in with the results of a number of other studies in Figure 6.10 of IPCC AR4 — you really should look at that if you want to understand the current state of the science (actually, even AR4 is now becoming a bit dated, but it’s the easiest place to get all the results in one place). (BTW, you can download the IPCC AR4 reports as PDFs; I’ll provide the links if you wish.)

    I don’t know where you’re getting your facts, but you’re operating on a completely different set of data than I am. For example, you state that

    ” the Arctic ice extent is currently not outside its normal bounds and appears to be heading up.”

    I’m not sure what you mean by “heading up” but I assume that you mean that the volume of Arctic ice is increasing. What’s your source for that? All the data I’ve seen shows a steady decline. Are you relying on month-by-month data rather than looking at long-term trends?

    As I recall, the Iceman had suffered a serious injury (I don’t recall whether it was in the shoulder or the ribs) and was, they believe, fleeing north. They can’t say for certain whether he died from the injury but it is unlikely because if he were losing a lot of blood he would never have made it up the steep climb to the top. I believe that the best guess is that he might have survived the wound. There is no question, however, that he was found in a sleeping position. We can’t be sure what the state of the snow cover was at the time he was there but we do know that there was ice underneath him when he was found. He had a kind of grass poncho that served as both cape and survival tent; he wrapped himself up in it and laid down, and never got back up. What’s particularly odd about this is that he had reached the top; the hard work was over and it was now literally downhill all the way from there. He must have known that he’d be safer and warmer at lower elevations. Perhaps he reached the summit right at sunset and decided it was too dangerous to attempt the descent in the dark. In any event, the crucial issue for us is whether it really was warmer then than now, and there’s no question that he was covered with snow shortly after dying, and that he didn’t melt out until 4,000 years later. This provides compelling evidence that the integrated temperature on that mountaintop over the last 4,000 years has always been lower than recently. The presence of ice underneath the body suggests that it was also below freezing when he arrived.

  94. SMS

    Thanks for the reply Erasmussimo, I’ll try to respond to your points.

    I’ve read the IPCC AR4 in parts as they were presented in papers or blogs on those portions that were pertinent. I don’t think reading the IPCC AR4 in one whole session would do me any good. I’d forget most of it soon enough, as I do most things. So as blogs progress through the points of the AR4, I read what it has to say and then I read the comments to the AR4 made on the blogs. I’ve read RC as well as Climateaudit. RC makes some good points but they control the direction of the discussion and don’t really let it open up. They are pretty good at protecting their opinions. I’ve heard from others that they sometimes delete comments they feel too critical of their views. I don’t know this for sure, but I have heard it from several sources.

    I believe you have the same issues with authority as you are accusing me of. But I didn’t make the extravagant claims that are being made by the AGW alarmists. And when you make extraordinary claims, you need extraordinary evidence to back up those claims. I haven’t seen that extraordinary evidence. Any claim made by you and others needs to be held out for critizism to ensure it’s correctness. We don’t need people saying “the argument is over, no more discussion”. We don’t need people saying that if you have an opinion different than theirs that you are a denier, work for coal companies, are a stooge for Exxon, believe in God, etc. These arguments are strawmen and don’t have a place in this discussion. But you hear it all the time from the those in the RC community who feel they have won the battle without even permitting a discussion. Read some of the commments on this thread.

    There is now a petition of 32,000 PHD’s and others that feels there are problems with the theory. The signatores are emminent people. You might find one person you can question the motives of, but you won’t find ten. The evidence we are seeing does not support the theory. If you believe only in the AR4 discussion, you are a cynic. You need to open your mind up to being a skeptic. Question everything.

    The Peterson data is seminal to the discussion and the problems of anthropogenic CO2 warming. You can google any large city and UHI and you will probably find a UHI map of the city. They have even done a UHI survey of Barrow Point Alaska and have found UHI. You should be demanding that the temperature record be corrected for UHI and in an open environment. Make the discussion open and the results open. Don’t hide behind “the science is in, no more discussion”. The AR4 should not be considered a closed document.

    The use of 1998 is of no real value other than to show how manipulative the AGW crowd has been. They were the ones that used this year as their flagship. I’m just using it to show how stupid the argument was using this noisey data. It is cherry picking at its worst. But I’ve seen a lot of cherry picking, and it’s mostly from your perspective. Admittedly, most of it made by the media in a frenzy to sell papers and ads. But enough of it from some eminent people who should know better.

    If you really want to find out more about UHI and it’s effects on the temperature record, visit Wattsupwiththat.com. Anthony Watts is doing some work in establishing the quality of the temperature sites we now use for determining what is happening in the USA. If you want to be a little skeptical, drop a comment. His site is an open site and very little manipulation is done. (He does snip OT comments and lets you know)

    There is also a blog on Climataudit on Sea Ice. There are up to date curves showing where the current Arctic sea ice area/extent is. I’m sending you there because I don’t want to spend all my time making an argument that has been made so eloquently on their site. There are people like you making comments. Follow the comments of Phil for an opposing view. He does a good job of holding up your end of the argument.

    While you are on this site, you can read the criticism of Mann’s newest attempt at temperature reconstruction. It gets shredded. As are others who use the same data.

    Thanks for the update on the Iceman. Interesting that the world was warmer then than now. But you are right, why was the body not rotted away if there were warmer periods in between? Makes for an interesting discussion. But that means you must have some ideas on the snow level theory I’ve introduced. So tell me, why was the airman’s body only uncovered by snow a few years ago?

    Add to that the rise in sea levels during the Roman periond when the Romans landed in England. The sea level has dropped something like 6 or 8′ since then (as they know exactly where the Romans landed). How much heat went into the oceans to cause that much expansion? Fairbridge did some work in this area. I think the sea levels were 450′ lower than now after the last ice age and got to a height of 30′ greater than they are now during the this interglacial period. Maybe the Holocene period.


  95. Erasmussimo

    I’m going to take a macroscopic approach here and discuss some general points.

    First, UHI. You and most of the deniers seem to think that this is a Big Deal. In the first place, the argument is not whether we should correct some of the temperature data — everybody agrees that we should and in fact that data is corrected before it is used for analytical purposes. The argument concerns that magnitude of the required corrections. The deniers argue that the urban data must be corrected even further downward than it currently is. The accepters argue that the existing corrections are sufficient. The confusion arises over the fact that much of the data being presented to the public is UNCORRECTED data, on which you can clearly see the UHI effect. The corrected data that is used in various analyses is harder to find — I only saw a graph of that data once and I cannot recall where I saw it. So you have to be very careful when you see a graph that supposedly proves something. You have to ask where the data is coming from, what corrections have already been applied to it, and how inclusive is it.

    Moreover, this is a tempest in a teapot. We could throw away all the data in question and we’d still have plenty of evidence showing strong increases in temperature.

    On top of this, the basic point being questioned is whether or not temperatures are rising. This basic point has been conceded by just about everybody; the only argument now concerns the cause of the observed temperature rise. So what’s the point in arguing over a tiny subset of the data when you’ve already conceded the conclusion that the data is used to support?

    Second, I’d like to talk about skepticism. Deniers prefer to call themselves skeptics, but my opinion is that they represent the antithesis of skepticism.

    Skepticism is the refusal to accept conclusions until strong evidence in support of those conclusions has been produced. The most important point about skepticism — and the point that deniers don’t get — is that skepticism cuts BOTH ways. A true skeptic questions BOTH the arguments for AND the arguments against any hypothesis. If you would just read the actual scientific reports on climate change, you would see how real skepticism operates. IPCC AR4 bristles with internal controversy. Where evidence is strong, it presents the conclusions, but where the evidence is weak, it presents competing hypotheses and the evidence for and against those hypotheses. This is what real skepticism reads like. It is devotion to truth, not political ideology.

    Contrast this with your own behavior. Observe that you seldom present evidence to support your claims. You simply make them and move on, indicating that you do not believe that hypotheses need evidence to support them. You rely on authority, not evidence to make your case; you simply declare that X authority asserts Y, and that’s as far as you go. I’m a skeptic; I don’t trust any single authority. I prefer to look directly at the evidence rather than trust authorities. I read the IPCC reports carefully, looking for weaknesses. I read what other people have to say about it and I evaluate their criticisms just as skeptically as I evaluate the original claims.

    Ultimately, though, skepticism relies fundamentally on education. You cannot be a true skeptic if you cannot evaluate the evidence for yourself. Without your own scientific informed judgement, you end up relying on authority. There is nothing shameful in this; nobody can be expert in everything, and indeed, my own education is insufficient to permit me to evaluate the finer points. But the question remains, how can a citizen evaluate complex yet important scientific claims?

    That’s why we have institutions such as the National Academy of Sciences. Steve McIntyre has made some mistakes. Real Climate has made some mistakes. No single scientist can be trusted. But the NAS has never made any mistakes in its public reports. It is extremely conservative in its pronouncements. Indeed, if you read their public statements, you will find that they don’t go anywhere near as far as Mr. Gore or Mr. Hansen.

    In the end, your lack of education in this area gives you no choice but to accept some person or group as an authority. If you are politically prejudiced, you will chose an authority whose statements conform to your political requirements. If you are a true skeptic, and truly open-minded, then you will rely upon the National Academy of Sciences, because by every measure of trustworthiness, they are far, far more reliable than any other authority.

  96. Judy Cross

    The Press Gets It Wrong
    Our report doesn’t support the Kyoto treaty.

    Monday, June 11, 2001 Last week the National Academy of Sciences released a report on climate change, prepared in response to a request from the White House, that was depicted in the press as an implicit endorsement of the Kyoto Protocol. CNN’s Michelle Mitchell was typical of the coverage when she declared that the report represented “a unanimous decision that global warming is real, is getting worse, and is due to man. There is no wiggle room.”

    As one of 11 scientists who prepared the report, I can state that this is simply untrue. For starters, the NAS never asks that all participants agree to all elements of a report, but rather that the report represent the span of views. This the full report did, making clear that there is no consensus, unanimous or otherwise, about long-term climate trends and what causes them.

    As usual, far too much public attention was paid to the hastily prepared summary rather than to the body of the report. The summary began with a zinger–that greenhouse gases are accumulating in Earth’s atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures to rise, etc., before following with the necessary qualifications. For example, the full text noted that 20 years was too short a period for estimating long-term trends, but the summary forgot to mention this.

    Our primary conclusion was that despite some knowledge and agreement, the science is by no means settled. We are quite confident (1) that global mean temperature is about 0.5 degrees Celsius higher than it was a century ago; (2) that atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide have risen over the past two centuries; and (3) that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas whose increase is likely to warm the earth (one of many, the most important being water vapor and clouds).

    But–and I cannot stress this enough–we are not in a position to confidently attribute past climate change to carbon dioxide or to forecast what the climate will be in the future. That is to say, contrary to media impressions, agreement with the three basic statements tells us almost nothing relevant to policy discussions. (continues )

  97. Erasmussimo

    You might want to check the date on that report, Judy. It’s eight years old. Just as I said, the NAS is extremely conservative and doesn’t make statements unless it is quite certain of them. In 2001, when this statement was released, the NAS was not prepared to wholeheartedly endorse the AGW hypothesis. If you check their latest reports, they are much more confident these days. You can find a short brochure explaining the science at:


    It was published last year. Here are some of the key statements:

    “temperatures will likely rise at least another 2°F, and possibly more than 11°F, over the next 100 years. This warming will cause significant changes in sea level, ecosystems, and ice cover, among other impacts. In the Arctic, where temperatures have increased almost twice as much as the global average, the landscape and ecosystems are already changing rapidly. ”

    “The scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to begin taking steps to prepare for climate change and to slow it. Human actions over the next few decades will have a major influence on the magnitude and rate of future warming. Large, disruptive changes are much more likely if greenhouse gases are allowed to continue building up in the atmosphere at their present rate. ”

    Pretty clear, isn’t it?

  98. Judy Cross

    Yes, it’s old. that’s part of the point. The link you provide is to a glossy brochure. It is in-house spin. Also, during the intervening 8 years there was plenty of time to get rid of inconvenient skeptics from positions of influence.

    “This brochure was prepared by the National Research Council based on National Academies’ reports. It was written by Amanda Staudt, Nancy Huddleston, and Ian Kraucunas and was designed by Michele de la Menardiere. ”

    I’m well acquainted with the “glossy brochure ” obscurantist technique having seen it used to sell Canadians on the FTA. Then we could get the governments interpretation of the proposed agreement, but it was almost impossible to get a copy of the agreement. Once both were in hand the comparison was very enlightening.

    I am also acquainted with the get “your people on the committee” technique
    in private organizations like the NAS, having seen it used to push food irradiation in the late 1980s. The committee makes a statement that is used to imply the whole organization agrees with it. The AMA,CMA, and WHO all seemed to endorse food irradiation which was used by various PR agencies to proclaim ‘wholesomeness and safety” even though test animals couldn’t survive/produce litters unless fed an artificial anti-oxidant.

    Soon AGW/CC will be seen in the same light as the present financial debacle as a set-up promulgated by well paid insiders.

  99. Erasmussimo

    Judy, perhaps you should go back and read my explanation of the NAS. You have completely misapprehended this group. This group is not a private organization, it was created by an act of Congress more than 100 years ago. It consists of the elite of American science, the best of the best. Its whole purpose and function is to provide the best possible scientific advice to the government. It doesn’t get money or lose money based on its recommendations.

    You seem to think that a summary written for the public that is presented in the form of a glossy brochure must somehow be less reliable. If you’d rather dive into the nitty-gritty, there are plenty of technical publications there, none of which are glossy.

    “during the intervening 8 years there was plenty of time to get rid of inconvenient skeptics from positions of influence.”

    Like, perhaps, Mr. Lindzen? If you check, you’ll find the Mr. Lindzen is still a member of the NAS. Nobody got rid of him. You’re blowing smoke, Judy.

    You list the authors. So what? Do you think that these three people were given free rein to write anything they wanted? Or perhaps were they required to present a reliable precis of the technical reports?

    “I’m well acquainted with the “glossy brochure ” obscurantist technique”

    Are you complaining that the publication to which I linked is difficult to understand, or that it is incorrect? Please answer.

    “I am also acquainted with the get “your people on the committee” technique in private organizations like the NAS”

    As I pointed out, the NAS is most definitely NOT a private organization. So why don’t you back up your insinuation with some facts? Who sits on the committees that wrote the various reports? Tell us why these people are not trustworthy. Provide names of members of the NAS whom you believe to be trustworthy.

    You next insinuate that the brochure cited above is not representative of the opinions of the membership of the NAS. But you don’t know the membership of the NAS and you don’t know the opinions of those members. You’re just making this stuff up.

    Lastly, you present us with this statement:

    “Soon AGW/CC will be seen in the same light as the present financial debacle as a set-up promulgated by well paid insiders.”

    Tell me, Judy: who are the “well-paid insiders” at the NAS?

    Judy, you’re making wild accusations that you don’t have the slightest evidence to support. This is tin-foil hat stuff you’re peddling. If you would offer some serious logic with some evidence, we’d have something to discuss, but until then I just have to shake my head at these wild rants of yours.

  100. Judy Cross

    Whenever people get too close to reality, the “tin-foil hat” epithet or more usually “conspiracy theory” is invoked.

    I say that it is very possible within large organizations to gain control of a committee whose reports need to be in agreement with goals other than truth-finding. Were there any skeptics among those writing the reports the glossy brochure was based on?

    F. Sherwood Rowland, the atmospheric chemist from the University of California, Irvine, the chair of the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, is on record as saying he thinks CO2 will go to 1000 ppm. That is a clear bias toward alarmism.

    Raymond T. Pierrehumbert, Professor of Geophysical Sciences,University of Chicago, another board member but also connected to RealClimate. He was a lead author on the IPCC
    Third Assesment He’s hardly neutral…but then, I forgot, “the science is settled”.

    I could go through the list to show more of the bias, but instead you show me one name on the list that isn’t in agreement with the AGW/CC hypothesis.

  101. Erasmussimo

    “F. Sherwood Rowland… is on record as saying he thinks CO2 will go to 1000 ppm. That is a clear bias toward alarmism.”
    No, it isn’t. It’s a simple extrapolation based on the current output of existing facilities and likely growth scenarios. There really isn’t much science involved; it’s just basic arithmetic.

    “Raymond T. Pierrehumbert… connected to RealClimate. He was a lead author on the IPCC
    Third Assesment He’s hardly neutral”

    I see! Your definition of “neutral” is “agrees with me”.

    “you show me one name on the list that isn’t in agreement with the AGW/CC hypothesis.”

    Gosh, I didn’t think you’d so readily concede that there is a consensus among expert scientists regarding AGW. But yes, you’re right, the leading scientists are in broad agreement on this issue. Gosh, if they agree, it must be a conspiracy, right? 😉 And every time the Supreme Court decides a case, that’s another conspiracy! And whenever Congress votes and passes another law, that’s ANOTHER conspiracy! OMG, there are conspiracies everywhere!

  102. MadScientist

    “combined with very little to non-existant sunspot activity, we are in for prolonged cooling”

    Wow – I need to re-read my books. All these years I thought no sunspots = hotter weather. Lots of sunspots = cooler weather.

    As for “the globe has been cooling since 1998”, have a look at the actual data to date; it’s a pretty small cooling compared to most of the past century and a lot more cooling is needed to offset the warming over the past century. Why is every little cool spell interpreted as a coming ice age?

  103. SMS


    CO2 going to 1000 ppm? How is that going to happen?

    With the oceans cooling you aren’t going to get anything from them. There isn’t enough fossil fuel in the world to generate the 1000 ppm in anthropogenic CO2 you are quoted.


    Why to you duck on this issue? NOAA and CRU don’t make adjustments for UHI. NASA uses satellite lights to determine the UHI, and Hadcrut makes a minor adjustment. Science you can depend on? NO!

    Again, if you look at the rural data given on the Petersen paper you can see there is almost no trend. In the larger cities, the trend is up by 2ºC or more. You should be gobsmacked by this. UHI is real and is not accounted for correctly.

    You can go onto the climateaudit site or the Wattsupwiththat site and read numerous articles on this subject. All show there are problems that have not been accounted for.

    Please don’t quote AR4. Your bible needs some tweaking. Instead, go to Petersens own paper, draw out the data yourself, plot the data yourself, compare the rural and urban data. Make a conclusion based on what you see.
    Or, you can just use the blog post given above. You are free to do both.


  104. MadScientist

    Hmm. No articles with a clear “more sunspots = hotter” or “more sunspots = cooler” story. The best I could find was “more spots = whacky magnetic behavior and more UV reaching the upper stratosphere”. I guess the sunspot stories I’ve heard over the decades were just old wives’ tales.

  105. SMS


    Do you see a correlation between sunspots and temperature? How much have you read? Just wondering.

    I’m always amazed at the correlation made between CO2 and warming. The only correlation found is that warming leads increases in CO2 by 800 years.

    Do you believe that we should be making decisions based on short temperature records when we know there is at least one 800 year lag? Add to this the other inputs that create lag/leads in temperature (including sunspots), and you can’t predict what will happen in one year, let alone a hundred years.

    How good can the models be? That’s all the AGW side has right now to rely on for their arguments. The temperature just isn’t cooperating with the theory.


  106. Erasmussimo

    SMS asks how we’re going to get CO2 concentrations of 1000 ppm. This is accomplished by burning fossil fuels. You then declare “There isn’t enough fossil fuel in the world to generate the 1000 ppm in anthropogenic CO2 you are quoted.”

    Oh really? Let’s examine that claim. The total world supply of recoverable coal is about 1 x 10**15 kg. If all this coal were converted into CO2, the mass of the resulting CO2 would be about 4 x 10**15 kg. The mass of the earth’s atmosphere is 5 x 10**18 kg. Thus, burning all the remaining coal would increase the mass fraction of CO2 in the atmosphere by 1000 ppm (by mass), which is not the same as the molecular ppm, but close enough. And that’s just from burning coal; it does not burning oil or natural gas. Nor does it include the increments due to the release of hydrated methane or the thawing of permafrost, which are much larger in magnitude.

    You ask why I “duck the issue” regarding UHI. Obviously you did not read the explanation I offered earlier. I shall repeat it for your convenience:

    Moreover, this is a tempest in a teapot. We could throw away all the data in question and we’d still have plenty of evidence showing strong increases in temperature.
    On top of this, the basic point being questioned is whether or not temperatures are rising. This basic point has been conceded by just about everybody; the only argument now concerns the cause of the observed temperature rise. So what’s the point in arguing over a tiny subset of the data when you’ve already conceded the conclusion that the data is used to support?

    If you have any questions about this point, I’ll be happy to answer them. In the absence of some sort of response from you on these points, I shall consider the matter dealt with.

    Next, you challenge the reliability of IPCC AR4. Inasmuch as you still refuse to read it, I shall treat your criticisms as baseless. When you are able to offer specific criticisms, I shall be happy to answer them. But I dismiss unfounded hand-waving denunciations.

    You also declare to MadScientist:

    “Do you believe that we should be making decisions based on short temperature records when we know there is at least one 800 year lag?”

    I have already explained the significance of the lag in historical records. I shall not repeat the lesson; I suggest that you go back and re-read my explanation if you want to understand your mistake.

    “Add to this the other inputs that create lag/leads in temperature (including sunspots), and you can’t predict what will happen in one year, let alone a hundred years.”

    Oh really? Scientists have been making predictions about all sorts of things, and many of those predictions have come true. Your blanket dismissal of scientific method is without foundation. If you took the time to understand the science, I think you’d be in a better position to appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of the relevant science.

    “How good can the models be? ”
    That depends upon the model and what you’re trying to get from it. Our models for orbital motion have permitted us to send satellites into extremely complex paths around planets, dipping close to different moons. I know it seems incredible to somebody who doesn’t understand the science that we can do such things, but again, if you understood the science, you’d see why it works. And the undeniable fact is that science DOES work, over and over again. Sure, it fails sometimes. And when it does, scientists go back and figure out where they got it wrong. They’ve been doing this with climatology for decades now, and they’ve gotten better and better at it.

    “That’s all the AGW side has right now to rely on for their arguments.”
    You know, you really should read the science before declaring that it doesn’t exist.

    ” The temperature just isn’t cooperating with the theory.”
    This is a variation on the classic “weather is not climate” mistake made over and over and over by deniers. You just can’t seem to get through your head the difference between weather and climate. Let me explain it to you:

    Weather is what happens in a single location in a time frame of about one day. Climate is what happens in a large area over decades. It’s the difference between the macroscopic and the microscopic. It’s the difference between the GDP and the income of the Smith family on Oak Street in Peoria, Illinois. If Joe Smith gets a raise, that doesn’t mean that all those economists are wrong and the recession is over; and if he gets laid off, that doesn’t mean that we’re in a depression. If AIDS patient Jones takes medication X and still dies, that doesn’t prove that medication X doesn’t work; you have to consider how it works for thousands of people. If Podunk City had two murders in 2007 and none in 2008, that doesn’t mean that crime in the USA has been vanquished. If forestry experts predict that the infestation of pine bark beetles in a forest will eventually kill all the pines in a certain forest, and no pines die this month, that doesn’t mean that the forestry experts are wrong.

    Do you understand the concept now? Weather is not climate. The little picture is not the same as the big picture. Microscopic details don’t prove or disprove anything about macroscopic processes.

  107. SMS


    This tells me there are some problems with your bible.



    You’ll notice the IPCC uses Peterson to say UHI is negligible. You’ve been directed to the original Climateaudit/Peterson blog before and asked how you, or anyone, can ignore the UHI produced in urban areas. Now you have the AR4 ignoring UHI.

    But let me ask you again, if you have read the Peterson blog on Climateaudit, how can you support the temperature records (NASA/NOAA/CRU/Hadcrut) where UHI is not adequately accounted for? Does UHI only affect urban areas? Is the effect of CO2 as a green house gas only in effect in urban areas? Why is there not an increase in temperature in the combined rural area temperature record? Why does the apparent increase in world temperature seem to affect larger cities more than smaller cities? How can you ignore 2ºC of UHI in larger cities when larger cities make up most of the world’s temperature sites, and then say that UHI is negligible?


    Lets see, we’ve been burning fossil fuels for a long time. But accelerated use in the 40’s. We are told oil and gas are in short supply. But we do have lots of coal. From pre-industrial times to present the ppm of CO2 has climbed from 275 to about 390 parts at present. So, to get another 610 ppm we would have to burn 5 times as much in fossil fuel as has already been burned. Do we have that much coal? I think maybe you are forgetting the CO2 uptake by oceans.

    Do you support the use of nuclear power?


  108. Judy Cross

    The models and projections have been so badly off their predicted temperature targets that to any but the most dedicated Warmist, they would be objects of great derision…that is if the public knew of them.

    “Since Al Gore’s climate movie An Inconvenient Truth was launched in January 2005, global cooling has occurred at the equivalent of 10F (5.5C) per century. If this rapid cooling were to continue, the Earth would be in an Ice Age by 2100. ”

    The UN’s climate panel, the IPCC, had projected temperature increases at 4.5 to 9.5F (2.4 to 5.3C) per century, with a central estimate of 7F (3.9C) per century. None of the IPCC’s computer models had predicted a prolonged cooling.

    The IPCC�s estimates of growth in atmospheric CO2 concentration are excessive. They assume CO2 concentration will rise exponentially from today�s 385 parts per million to reach 730 to 1020 ppm, central estimate 836 ppm, by 2100. However, for seven years, CO2 concentration has been rising in a straight line towards just 575 ppmv by 2100. This alone halves the IPCC’s temperature projections.


    Read the whole paper with enlarged graphs at …if you dare leave the Church of the Warming, that is.

    The first graph shows the clear correlation between sunspot activity and warming, or lack of it and cooling. The page also has the old IPCC graph clearly showing the MWP and the LIA
    before Mann invented the “Hockey Stick”

    There is no such correlation with CO2 and temperature.

    “Lessons” from Eras on anything would be worthless given his “explanation” of the time lag.
    I take that back…maybe coaching in smugness?

  109. MadScientist


    I can’t see any correlation between sunspots and temperatures; the people who make such claims pick out a few years which support their theory and ignore all other years. If sunspots have any effect on the climate it’s generally not a major effect, which is what mainstream scientists are saying.

    “The only correlation found is that warming leads increases in CO2 by 800 years.”

    So you’re saying that the CO2 amounts we’re experiencing now must be due to warmer times 800 years ago? Now that’s nonsense. A simple estimation of anthropogenic CO2 vs the annual atmospheric increase indicates that nature is taking in about half of what we’re putting out – in effect humans are responsible for all of the increase and this has absolutely nothing to do with the weather (or climate) 800 years ago.

    People like me really couldn’t care less what the Global Climate Models do; more CO2 = more energy trapped in the atmosphere. Looking at what history we can and ascribing warmer/cooler climates to anything but CO2 (and leaving out periods of known large perturbations such as the eruption of Tambora) and taking a guess at what today’s climate should be, things are warmer than expected. Throwing in the expected contribution from CO2 still leaves a gap and that gap is presumably due in part to any ‘positive feedback’. So the earth in general is getting warmer; unfortunately instruments can only give us an idea of ‘how much warmer’ in reference to some point in the past and also after the event. Predictions of how much warmer things will get will be somewhat contentious with a fair idea of the CO2 contribution but a lot of bickering over what the feedback should be, but the warming is certain. Fans of an imminent ice age need not despair; who knows if one extreme could trigger the other via some unexpected mechanism. The changes occur surely but over years and they’re dwarfed by the temperature variability within a year so it’s not as if you can step out your door one day and say “this year is much warmer than last year; it must be global warming”. However, there have already been numerous reports confirming some expected results of a warming trend, specifically changes in seasonal trends or behavior of plants and some animals. For those who say “this is all geological” or “the climate is controlled by sunspots”, those people need to provide the evidence to back up their claims, and “it looks that way to me when I look at these squiggles” just isn’t good enough.

  110. SMS


    Thank you for your cortial response, and one where you express your ideas instead of sending me to endless internet sites and endlessly acting like a Brownshirt quoting from Mein Kaumpf.

    I’ve gotten tired of the sunspot thing as well. They just haven’t gotten it figured out enough to claim an answer we all can believe in. But given that; it is an area that needs to be studied. Our Sun supplies the energy that keeps up alive. And it’s actions create Glacial Periods and Interglacial Periods. From year to year we see changes in the worlds temperature. These changes aren’t coming from CO2. CO2 is being added to the atmosphere at a, more or less, constant rate. Look at the rise in temperature in 1998 and the ensuing drop the next year. Look at the Roman Warm Period, the Medieval Warm Period and the Holocene period. In 2007 the worlds temperature dropped wildly and has since recovered some. NASA has said the drop will last at least another 6 or 7 years. We all know its the PDO, but it is the sun that runs the planet’s heat system and controls the PDO.

    But I see more critical thinking being made by the skeptics in the area of climate research.

    As I said on an earlier post, I don’t think any of the serious skeptics are saying that no warming is due to the CO2. It is a question of how much.

    Lindzen has said that it is in the range of 0.3 ºC per doubling of ppm CO2. I feel he is close. Most of the skeptics say it is 0.6 ºC. These are numbers that we don’t have to worry about. The only way the current theory for CO2 warming creates a problem is if there are a number of pile-on positive feedbacks. We know this is not possible having gone through other warm periods in the past. And like Lindzen, I believe there are a number of negative feedbacks to moderate/control the temperature. He refers to an “iris effect”.

    Once the UHI is taken out of the surface temperature record, this could be cleared up. Too bad NASA/NOAA/CRU/and Hadcrut aren’t working on this. Maybe when they do, the surface temperature record will follow the satellite record. The satellite record shows a little warming increase, but not much.

    Nothing catastrophic is going to happen. If it were, don’t you think Gore would have moved into a mud hut by now to show how serious the problem is instead of trying to earn his first billion? When it comes to the AGW, there are no Ghandi’s. No one believes in the Theory enough to make a strong commitment that shows he truly believes the problem is truly Catastrophic. It’s all mostly rhetoric.

    I live near the coast. Here we are told that the oceans are warming and destroying the reefs. Yet when the temperature record is reviewed for the oceans, the winter to summer cycle is so huge as to mask any other changes in temperature. Argos tells us the temperature of the oceans are dropping, but you won’t hear that from the MSM. So, do you believe everything you are told? If you get your information from a newspaper or TV, it is probably exaggerated. I’ve seen that happen a lot. You see the news and then read the article it was taken from and they don’t even sound the same.

    If you have time, read what I’ve written on UHI. The Peterson blog on Climateaudit is pretty telling.


  111. MadScientist


    But the UHI is a well-known effect and really is very localized. Most of the planet is uninhabited by humans and with about 70% covered by the great oceans; urban centers simply do not consume enough energy to have any significant effect on the surface temperature over the vast area of the oceans (even though a single power plant can have an easily measured effect in its vicinity). The progress in satellite measurement of sea surface temperatures over the past 30 years has really been incredible and though perhaps scaled back a bit in magnitude, there are still ongoing shipboard measurements to help ensure the validity of the satellite estimates.

    I am always infuriated when people make claims like “global warming will result in more frequent and more devastating hurricanes” and yet cannot provide a means for testing that statement – that’s not science, that’s plain scaremongering. However, a continued gradual warming on a global scale of the magnitude observed in the past century will at the very least cause widespread changes in food production over the next century and may necessitate change of crops, abandonment of farms, or even large scale migration of farms. Currently society is not even geared to adapt to such changes; smaller societies were more flexible and, for example, entire tribes could simply pack up and move. We’ve already seen recent claims of deficits in global food production due to a combination of rising demand and some large losses in production due to the current climate (and a ridiculous amount of blame placed on production of biofuels, which at the moment is somewhere between zero and insignificant and really had almost nothing to do with the deficit).

    If the climate becomes less suitable for certain crops (and as the human population continues to grow) we can expect more such problems. We would already have far more severe problems with food production if not for mechanization and the incredible work done by people such as Norman Borlaug. So the point of curbing CO2 emissions is really one of attempting to avoid anticipated problems from a known and controllable contributor to the warming; an up side to that is that we will also start reducing a dependency on oil and that’s a good thing because the oil will not last forever.

    We really cannot say if the reduction in emissions (and hopefully a later reduction in overall atmospheric CO2) will achieve the hoped for consequences; we may not do enough in time or nature might totally screw us over and do something we didn’t expect. However, doing nothing at all really doesn’t help in the least. Although people like Lawson and Monckton in the UK believe that it will be cheaper to adapt than to curb CO2 emissions (they obviously looked at the opposite side of Stern’s crystal ball), that’s really easier said than done. Imagine trying to move a large modern city because local conditions can no longer support it – for example, imagine what happens if the available water in Boulder Dam decreases by, say, 20%. The Italian government can’t even get people to move away from the region under threat from Mt. Vesuvius; attempting to move mega cities will be a nightmare.

  112. SMS


    I agree, UHI is localized; usually near the local official thermometer. Take a look at the rural record; there just isn’t much warming to worry about. If the world didn’t put their thermometers in large cities or adjacent airports, this problem wouldn’t be so bad.

    There are problems with the SST measurements made off ships. Has to do with wooden buckets, steel buckets, canvas buckets and engine intake thermometers. But about 7 years ago they started the Argos ocean temperature monitoring system to detail what is happening with ocean temperatures. Down to a depth of 3000 meters. They got them in about five years ago. In that five years the oceans have cooled. How can that have happened if the world is warming? Can’t.

    Can we adapt to a small increase in temperature? My bet is yes. Remember we’ve been through this before in the Roman Warm Period and the Medieval Warm Period. During those periods the world flourished. It was the cooling of the Little Ice Age that caused devastation. Consider that CO2 is the best food crops can have. The variability of world temperatures over the past 4000 years has enough noise to mask what we are seeing now.

    There is some discussion as to whether the effect of CO2 is a log or ln function, but most say log. If so, we have reached 70% of the amount of warming for a doubling of CO2. If that amount of warming is only 0.3 ºC to date, then the remaining warming amounts to only another 0.1 ºC. That would bring the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere to 550 ppm. Another doubling brings the ppm to 1100 ppm and a corresponding temperature increase of .4 ºC. No one knows what the sensitivity is of a doubling of CO2. Erasmussimo doesn’t know and neither does Pierrehumbert. It cannot be derived. With the recent temperature decreases in the ocean and the atmosphere, scientists are having to rethink how GHG’s work. There is more confusion now than ever before.

    I really doubt that we have enough fossil fuels to get to 1150 ppm. Just not enough coal to be found.

    If you believe that the current warming is catastrophic, then you would want to install nuclear plants everywhere. I don’t see a big push to go nuclear. So again, I don’t think people are really considering the AGW issues as catastrophic. Add to that Al’s insistance in not leaving his mansion, and you know it’s not too serious. Again, where is the AGW Ghandi?

    I’ve wandered enough.


  113. MadScientist


    Based on current estimates of mineable coal reserves, if the earth continues to take up 1/2 of the CO2 we put out, we will be over 1000ppm before the known reserves are depleted; those are only the current estimates on known coal reserves and there is still a lot of exploration which can be done. There is also oil and natural gas to help push that number up.

    Small changes in temperature are often trivial to adapt to – you simply do nothing. Unfortunately the changes are on a large scale and will interfere with crop production.

    The expected behavior of warming due to CO2 alone (no feedback) is roughly the same change for each doubling of CO2; CO2 has been studied in such detail over many years and predicting its direct effect on the earth’s radiative balance is something that can be reliably calculated – so much so that the (unfortunately lost) Orbiting Carbon Observatory was relying on detailed knowledge of CO2’s radiative properties to estimate the amount of CO2 based on the amount of sunlight scattered from the earth’s surface and back to the satellite. What scientists were hoping to see with that mission were the large-scale distribution and changes in CO2 which are not currently possible to estimate well with ground-based instruments. Whenever you see estimates of air temperatures at high altitudes, odds are the estimates were derived from a satellite analyzing CO2 at those altitudes in a limb viewing mode.

    I don’t know what problems you imagine there are with measuring SST from ships; for at least 20 years this has been done with instruments which point some distance away and to the side of the ship to ensure that the ship doesn’t affect the readings; a precision of about 0.05C would be somewhat trivial to accomplish with current technology and even 20 years ago 0.1C would not have been difficult to achieve. There are no buckets involved. I’m not familiar with Argos or what its objectives are; I’ll have to take a look now. There’s nothing magical about the earth though; if one part changes temperature, energy must have come from somewhere or gone somewhere.

    I don’t know what you’re talking about when you say scientists have to rethink how GHGs work; there have been no fundamental changes in that branch of science for perhaps 60 years – about 25 years before the invention of the climate model(s). The work over the past 60 years has been largely to refine the information we have about various gases and such work continues today and for the most part is not done for the benefit of the climate scientists.

    The warming is not currently catastrophic, but that’s no reason to presume it never will be. The ferocious weather common in sci-fi movies might never be seen but damage could be far worse due to failing crops and such – but Farmer Joe’s crop being ruined for the 30th time in a row just doesn’t make a good movie. Hardly anyone’s even remotely interested in the decades long and ongoing famines throughout Africa – it just doesn’t look cool on TV. Dorothy and Toto being plucked off the streets and thrown far away from the city sells though. So the monster hurricanes that Al Gore likes to talk about may not be what you need to worry about; there are far bigger problems which are more subtle.

    There is no push to go nuclear for political reasons – who would want a nuke in their back yard? Governments are also very slow to react; it took about 20 years to sort out the ozone/CFCs mess – in that case it was fortunate that industry could adapt so rapidly, but that is not the case with curbing CO2 emissions. About 15 years have gone by now and the ozone hole is still huge, but then again we weren’t really expecting things to get back to what they were like in 1960 for at least another 50 years. The CO2 issue is even bigger and will take longer to resolve; no one alive today will live to see the hoped-for improvements. Since I expect CO2 to increase substantially before any action taken begins to make even the slightest effect, I suspect we’ll have an excellent record in the future to give us an idea of what could have been if nothing was done.

    I wouldn’t expect Al Gore to become a hermit even though I think he really believes in what he says; even if he consumed a lot more power than a typical household, he’s still only an insignificant fraction of the population in that area. I don’t see reducing personal power consumption as a large part of the solution; industry still need all that power during the day and the power generators can’t really change their fuel consumption on demand. Industry just have to see what they can cut, and on top of that we need to encourage development of different technologies and also try a number of solutions.

  114. Erasmussimo

    Well, I think it’s time for me to give up on you deniers; I’m talking to a brick wall. I have explained twice now that the UHI issue is irrelevant to the larger issue, but you just keep chanting “UHI, UHI, UHI”. I have explained that weather is not climate, I have even presented the calculations behind the statement, and you just keep repeating that the earth has been cooling for all of ten years. I have asked you to provide evidence to support your claims, and you just keep saying “Go to climateaudit” (Yes, I had read that piece before this discussion and reviewed it upon your suggestion.) I have challenged your claims and you never offer substantiation, you just keep repeating them. When I refer to evidence from IPCC AR4, you airily dismiss it by comparing it to Mein Kampf. Meanwhile, you continue to reject the findings of every major relevant scientific institution.

    It takes a lot of hubris to think yourself better and smarter than all those eminent scientists. It takes even more hubris to do so when you haven’t even read what they have to say. I shall state the obvious: you really don’t know or care about the scientific issues. You have taken a stand for purely tribal reasons: your tribe rejects AGW, so you mindlessly reject it, too. You really don’t understand why you reject it, but your loyalty to your tribe compels you to do so. Like a parrot, you repeat over and over the veneer of terminology that you have learned. Instead of “Polly wants a cracker” it’s “UHI”.

    Fortunately, the rest of the world has left you behind. Democracies all over the world are taking action to reduce CO2 emissions. You can rail at them, but you’ve already lost the battle. The irony here is that, by insisting upon your lost cause, you remove yourself from the table when it comes to discussion the truly debatable point: what we’re going to do about this problem. When you try to participate in that debate, the unspoken response to you will be “You claimed it isn’t a problem, so why should we listen to you now?”

    I say none of this with rancor. I’m very much a rationalist about these things. If people deny reality, then reality eventually smacks them down. It’s the old hubris thing. If humankind does not dismiss your kind of tribalist thinking, then humankind will go extinct. That’s just the way things are. I don’t resent the way reality operates. If we’re doomed by our Pleistocene prejudices, so be it.

  115. The only point I second is the one about building more nuclear plants. Sadly the irrational fears of everything nuclear prevent this from happening.

  116. Erasmussimo

    I agree, we need to build a LOT more nuclear plants.

  117. Judy Cross

    UHI isn’t a problem for the Earth…just for those trying to pretend the temperature records from urban and suburban areas are an accurate representation of Earth’s temperature.

    It is always amazing to me how Warmists project their own intellectual shortcomings on to skeptics. …like tribal loyalty. I don’t belong to a tribe and I used to donate to environmental NGOs.

    I have no doubt this conversation has been uncomfortable for Warmists, given that the skeptics present real data and Warmists rely on character assassination, spin and alarmism.

    The bottom line is nothing is going to go extinct due to a 0.6 degree C temperature rise over 100 years given that the Earth has been warmer and for longer that the little bit of warming we had over the period from1977-2000.

    The bid to geo-engineer the atmosphere to control a supposed problem that stopped 10 years ago is madness.

    “Many factors cause climate change, but only a few are considered in the current scientific debate and most are based on estimated or inadequate data. Even fewer factors or data are part of the political debate including how the amount and nature of aerosols in the atmosphere affect the amount of solar energy at the surface and in the atmosphere. The proposal to add particulates to offset warming is the environmental equivalent of adding to the debt to get out of debt, only worse. Despite this politicians demonstrate their lack of knowledge of the science by proposing to play God. Maybe they should wait until there is enough space debris to block the sun and cause cooling”

  118. Carbonicus

    It is good to see many people on this thread who’ve not swallowed the AGW apocalypse bait.

    Judy, you’re spot on. Dr.’s Spencer, Christy, Lindzen, Michaels, Balling, Soon, Baliunas, and too many others to list have cast enough doubt on the claims of pending catastrophe – even as many/most accept that human activity has an effect on climate – that mankind would be crazy to stifle further economic development to “save the planet”. The planet will be fine.

    If/when watermelon liberals (green on the outside and red on the inside) ever get around to putting humans before animals and Gaia, they might come to realize what we do: that only at a certain level of per capita income do societies have the luxury of wealth to be able to protect the enviroment. This goes for CO2 and energy, water, deforestation, air, and every other environmental metric that matters.

    For you eco-socialists that want to argue this, plot per capita income on a horizontal axis and environmental conditions on the vertical axis, then plot the data for the world. Then, after your eyes bug out, Google “environmental kuznets curve”. If/when this makes you question everything you’ve been sold about environmental catastrophe, go buy Bjorn Lomborg’s “The Skeptical Environmentalist” and read it.

    With 1-2 billion people on this planet living in poverty, without adequate clean water, no basic sanitation, energy poverty, and not enough to eat, to piss money away on carbon guilt is, ironically enough given the claims of eco-socialists and Al Gore, morally reprehensible.

  119. Eric Gisin

    Someone slandered Anthony Watts by calling him a “9-11 truther”. A google search finds only real “truther” who critizes Watts for accepting 9-11 reality.


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About Chris Mooney

Chris is a science and political journalist and commentator and the author of three books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science--dubbed "a landmark in contemporary political reporting" by Salon.com and a "well-researched, closely argued and amply referenced indictment of the right wing's assault on science and scientists" by Scientific American--Storm World, and Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, co-authored by Sheril Kirshenbaum. They also write "The Intersection" blog together for Discover blogs. For a longer bio and contact information, see here.


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