Debate Over Global Warming is Good for the Environment

Creation Care, Politics — By on December 9, 2008 at 4:04 pm

“The debate over global warming is over.” This is the most rhetorically powerful (read abusive) and overused card played by those who claim to be champions of the environment. The debate is over. It seems to me that those who make this claim operate on the assumption that debate leads to passivity, to a lack of action. The thinking goes: Debate creates inaction! Inaction stops progress! Progress must be made! End debate!
Given the above line of thought, it is not unreasonable to arrive at the assumption that debate stops progress. And yet, the assumption is flawed.


While I believe that it is true to say that debate can stop action, I do not believe that it is true to say that debate stops progress. Actually, healthy debate improves a person’s critical thinking and better enables them to determine a proper direction for action. Since people make progress only by taking those actions that move them closer to a goal, debate helps us make progress by eliminating unhelpful actions that move us away from a goal leaving us with a clear idea of the actions needed to move us closer to a goal. In other words, debate serves to clear a path upon which we progress to our goal. If you eliminate the debate, you eliminate the path and, consequently, your ability to progress most efficiently.
To pull this thought out of cerebral land, I point to ethanol. Because the “debate was over,” people felt compelled to act (and act quickly) to save the planet from oil. The solution: ethanol. In their heart, nobody really thought that ethanol was a great idea. The evidence proved that more gallons of gasoline were burned making ethanol than were produced by ethanol. This evidence puzzled many people, but space was not given to debate and solve this puzzle – progress needed to be made! Democrats in Congress (as well as some Republicans) pushed through all matter of ethanol subsidies and other legislation. Ethanol became the sexy, trendy thing on university campuses. A “green” fog surrounded the issue. Consequently, it is only now that information about ethanol’s negative impact on the environment is being openly, honestly discussed… and debated. As it turns out, not only does ethanol production require more gasoline use than it can match once produced, but ethanol also puts out more harmful greenhouse gasses than does gasoline.
In brief, had debate been allowed to continue and global warming critics not been demonized, we could have avoided the ethanol debacle. As it stands, we learned a little too late through experience. Time, your and my tax dollars, and the dinners of many impoverished people worldwide have been wasted on a project which was first a bad idea unfiltered by debate.


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  • http://www.SecretCashFast.com Global Gifting Systems

    global warming is such a big menace.

  • Bhoy

    The debate may be over for those of us who read the evidence but the debate is not over for our elected “leaders.” We are going to be impoverished by the legislation contemplated by our “leaders.” CO2 does not cause “global warming.” The Maldives are not sinking. Al Gore’s hockey stick graph was not based on complete data. The agencies cooked the books and forced the data to fit the political results they wanted. The polar bear pictures Gore used were not true. Cap & trade, NAIS (taxing cows for methane), EPA regulations on buildings, bankrupting the coal industry — all of this will cripple our industry. Meanwhile gross pollution by India and China will not be subject to these regulations.
    Your in Liberty

  • Penny

    Meanwhile gross pollution by India and China will not be subject to these regulations.
    This is why more and more Christians are moving to those countries from America: why stay here and be impoverished when you can own a home and work in a REAL factory making plastic and metal that is exported around the entire world?

  • ex-preacher

    I look forward to the sequels to this line of reasoning:
    Debate Over the Link Between Tobacco and Cancer is Good for Lungs
    Debate Over Germ Theory is Good for Health
    Debate Over Lead Poisoning is Good for Paint Industry
    Debate Over Malaria is Good for Mosquitoes
    Your line of thinking is deeply flawed, Justin. While the debate over the reality of global warming and the contribution by humans is over, the debate over the best means to reduce greenhouse emissions must continue. Pretending that a debate over global warming exists is only good for those in denial about the need to do anything at all.

  • ex-preacher

    I look forward to the sequels to this line of reasoning:
    Debate Over the Link Between Tobacco and Cancer is Good for Lungs
    Debate Over Germ Theory is Good for Health
    Debate Over Lead Poisoning is Good for Paint Industry
    Debate Over Malaria is Good for Mosquitoes
    Your line of thinking is deeply flawed, Justin. While the debate over the reality of global warming and the contribution by humans is over, the debate over the best means to reduce greenhouse emissions must continue. Pretending that a debate over global warming exists is only good for those in denial about the need to do anything at all.

  • ucfengr

    While the debate over the reality of global warming and the contribution by humans is over
    Well, no, the debate is obviously not over, in fact it is intensifying. That’s what happens when the predictions of the alarmists don’t match up with empirical evidence, such as the fact that the global temperature has been cooling for the past decade, despite increases in CO2. It’s really your line of thinking , the “Damn the evidence, we need action now.” line, that is flawed.

  • ex-preacher

    So how do you explain this data from NASA?
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.A2.lrg.gif

  • ex-preacher

    And this:
    “Global Land Temperature Warmest On Record In March 2008″
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080418112341.htm

  • ucfengr

    So how do you explain this data from NASA?
    I would explain it by saying that we’ve both shown in the past that we can find data to support our respective positions on “global warming”. I see no reason to re-cycle those posts. I would also note that towards the end of the 19th century, we were coming out of a period of unusual cooling, known as the “Little Ice Age”. A period that lasted roughly 500 years. One would expect to see a period of natural warming following that.
    “Global Land Temperature Warmest On Record In March 2008″
    I would note that Spring 2008 was actually cooler than average according to the NOAA. That’s the problem with trying to paint a picture using only a single data points.

  • ex-preacher

    You are right about cherry-picking the evidence. You do realize that you linked to an article that was only about the United States?
    In fact, for 2008,
    “The combined average global land and ocean surface temperatures for spring (March-May) ranked seventh warmest while May was the eighth warmest since worldwide records began in 1880.”
    http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2008/20080613_springtemp.html
    You said “the global temperature has been cooling for the past decade.” I have shown that this statement is absolutely false. Now you are making excuses.

  • ucfengr

    You are right about cherry-picking the evidence. You do realize that you linked to an article that was only about the United States?
    I am not sure why this is a problem. If the globe is warming, shouldn’t it be warming everywhere and not just selected areas? Since the US is the largest polluter, wouldn’t you expect them to see the biggest impact? I mean, if I dump a bunch of carcinogens in my backyard, I would expect my neighborhood cancer rate to sky-rocket. What I wouldn’t expect to see is the cancer rate in my neighborhood dropping, while the one in Bangladesh rises.
    You said “the global temperature has been cooling for the past decade.” I have shown that this statement is absolutely false.
    No, you really haven’t. What you have done is provided evidence that disagrees with other evidence. You haven’t shown why your evidence is more valid, only that it supports your position.
    Just for the sake of argument, let’s say you are right. The globe is warming, man’s use of fossil fuels is the main cause, and if we continue the consequences will be catastrophic. What sacrifice are you currently making to mitigate the problem? Unless you are living a fairly Amish lifestyle (without the religion, obviously), and encouraging your family and friends to do likewise, I question how seriously you really take the “problem”. It would be like me claiming to be a Christian, but not going to church or reading the Bible and spending most of my free time in adult bookstores.

  • ex-preacher

    It’s getting harder every day to take you seriously, ucfengr. Surely you understand the difference between putting something in the ground versus putting it in the air. Surely you realize that an individual’s behavior has nothing to do with the truth of an independent proposition.
    You are either trying to be funny or far less intelligent than I have always assumed. I hope you’re trying to be funny.

  • ucfengr

    Surely you understand the difference between putting something in the ground versus putting it in the air.
    It’s not a much as you would like to think, but the concept is still the same. That said, to humor you lets change the parameters a bit to cement the point. If a train full of chlorine derails in Galveston, I would expect to see the death rate from chlorine gas to dramatically increase in Galveston. I wouldn’t expect the death rate from chlorine gas to decrease in Galveston and increase in El Paso.
    Surely you realize that an individual’s behavior has nothing to do with the truth of an independent proposition.
    There’s an old saying (paraphrased for a family friendly website), “money talks, bovine excrement walks”. If global warming biggest proponents aren’t willing to sacrifice to “save the planet”, why should I take seriously there calls for me to do so? And, why is their solution for the global warming crisis the same as their solution for the auto industry crisis, the health care crisis, and every other crisis; more government control of everybody’s life? A prudent observer might wonder if their real concern is fighting global warming, et. al., or if it is imposing there vision of how we should live on us.
    You said “the global temperature has been cooling for the past decade.” I have shown that this statement is absolutely false.
    I took a further look at this data, and I note it only appears to go to 2006. If you add 2007-2008 data the trend looks very different.

  • Penny

    A prudent observer might wonder if their real concern is fighting global warming, et. al., or if it is imposing there vision of how we should live on us.
    Indeed! Some people just hate big cars and trucks and smokestacks and other factories that produce consumer goods, just like some people instinctively hate George Bush in spite of the fact that he is one of the most heroic and devout Presidents in our nation’s history. Yes, I drive an SUV (an Explorer). Yes, the gas mileage is not great. But it’s a safe car and some people just can’t stand that my car is safe and their little foreign tin lemon is not. So they make stuff up like “the earth is melting” so they can take my car away from me. Next up, of course, is the factory that allegedly “spews” pollution but really just provides jobs so my family can afford to drive to work and to the grocery store and to church. NOTICE THE TREND?!?
    Global warming is not a unique examplar. In my opinion, this global warming “crisis” is about as important to the average Christian as “the AIDS crisis”. In both cases, the alarmists have abused junk science to achieve their secularist goals.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Dustin Steeve

    Ex-Preacher,
    You said: “I look forward to the sequels to this line of reasoning:
    Debate Over the Link Between Tobacco and Cancer is Good for Lungs…
    Your line of thinking is deeply flawed, Justin[sic]. While the debate over the reality of global warming and the contribution by humans is over, the debate over the best means to reduce greenhouse emissions must continue.”
    It took me a few minutes to understand why you thought those titles were some sort of powerful mock of my ‘line of reasoning.’ However, I think I understand the problem. The problem is that you have a fuzzy understanding of scientific consensus. The majority of scientists (as well as doctors, etc) agree that the evidence suggests a link between tobacco and cancer. However, the precise nature of that link and how to prohibit or treat the problem of cancer that results is contested. It is because of these debates that new ideas are introduced in journals, new preventative treatments introduced, and new medicines are created. So, yes, debate over the link between tobacco and cancer IS good for the lungs.
    Similarly, there is a broad consensus that the earth’s climate is changing. However, it is the nature of that change that is being debated. When environmentalists, such as Al Gore, refer to Global Warming, they are equivocating. What they mean is Man Made Global Warming. That is why I, and others like me, push back against the term. The nature of the change is still very much up for debate (despite your ironic claim to the contrary). Therefore, the debate is not over “the best way to reduce emissions” the debate is over whether or not humans can or should counteract climate change.

  • ex-preacher

    Dustin,
    You are correct that there is a broad consensus that the earth’s climate is changing. There is also a broad consensus that warming is occurring. And there is broad consensus that manmade greenhouse gas emissions are contributing significantly to that warming. There are very few qualified scientists who dispute these facts. If you don’t grasp this, it can only be because you are unaware of the overwhelming evidence. There simply is no debate over the reality of manmade global warming. The only legitimate debate left is over the best means to reduce manmade emissions. What you and other deniers do simply gives comfort to those who do not wish to change anything.

  • ex-preacher

    By the way, Dustin, I would love to have links to the articles over continuing research on the link between tobacco and lung cancer. I was under the impression that the unchallenged medical advice was: don’t smoke. Please tell me what “new ideas are introduced in journals, new preventative treatments introduced, and new medicines are created” as a result of an ongoing debate over the link between tobacco and lung cancer.

  • ucfengr

    You are correct that there is a broad consensus that the earth’s climate is changing.
    Nobody disputes that the climate is changing. It always has. It is you side that is operating under the premise that at some point the climate was static and that it is the actions of man (specifically Americans) that are causing the change.
    There are very few qualified scientists who dispute these facts.
    Actually, it is more than a few. In fact, 650 climate scientists have signed a US Senate report (to be released tomorrow, I believe) questioning global warming. Here are a few quotes:
    “It is a blatant lie put forth in the media that makes it seem there is only a fringe of scientists who don’t buy into anthropogenic global warming.” – U.S Government Atmospheric Scientist Stanley B. Goldenberg of the Hurricane Research Division of NOAA.
    “Since I am no longer affiliated with any organization nor receiving any funding, I can speak quite frankly….As a scientist I remain skeptical.” – Atmospheric Scientist Dr. Joanne Simpson, the first woman in the world to receive a PhD in meteorology and formerly of NASA who has authored more than 190 studies and has been called “among the most preeminent scientists of the last 100 years.”
    “Gore prompted me to start delving into the science again and I quickly found myself solidly in the skeptic camp…Climate models can at best be useful for explaining climate changes after the fact.” – Meteorologist Hajo Smit of Holland, who reversed his belief in man-made warming to become a skeptic, is a former member of the Dutch UN IPCC committee.
    “CO2 emissions make absolutely no difference one way or another….Every scientist knows this, but it doesn’t pay to say so…Global warming, as a political vehicle, keeps Europeans in the driver’s seat and developing nations walking barefoot.” – Dr. Takeda Kunihiko, vice-chancellor of the Institute of Science and Technology Research at Chubu University in Japan.

  • Penny

    650 climate scientists is a huge number. There are probably only about 2000 Ph.D. climate scientists in the entire world. I think climate scientists includes meteorologists. It must include them because two of those quoted people are meteorologists and Kunihiko is some sort of doctor.
    But the tree-huggers who peddle this stuff always try to characterize all who oppose their agenda as “fringe” and “flakey”. It’s the same sleazy tactic they use to censor and oppress those who refuse to join the sheep herd of Darwinists. World famous mathematicians like Dr. Dembski and molecular biologists like Dr. Behe have had to overcome incredible obstacles in order to have their work published. That these men carry on should be inspiration for climate scientists who also are not convinced by Al Gore and his “overheated” rhetoric (pun intended).

  • ex-preacher

    I’ve started doing some research on the quotes by global warming skeptics given by ucfengr, but it may be a day or two before I can post a full response since I am writing and giving finals. I can tell you that what I have uncovered so far on the individuals making the statements and what they actually said to be very revealing and/or funny.

  • Penny

    One of the most respected and intelligent experts on global warming is Lord Monckton, from the UK. He’s been at this a long time and is well-versed in the rhetorical games played by the climate change alarmists.

  • ucfengr

    Here is the link to the Senate report I cited above.
    I do look forward to ex’s promised attack on the GW dissenters. It will serve as a reminder that for the left, not only must dissent not be tolerated, but dissenters must be personally destroyed.

  • Penny

    Ucfengr, you hit the nail on the head again. The left does always seek to destroy its enemies by personal destruction politics. Even a popular liberal centrist like Bill Clinton saw his reputation being impuned by the socialists who have taken over the Democrat party. It really makes you question the mindset of a mob who act like they are little gods, casting down anyone who disagrees with their secular religion into a personal hell. They are awful people, and sanctimonious, too.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Dustin Steeve

    Ex-Preacher,
    You said:
    “By the way, Dustin, I would love to have links to the articles over continuing research on the link between tobacco and lung cancer. I was under the impression that the unchallenged medical advice was: don’t smoke.”
    Yes, the general consensus is that there is a link between smoking and cancer. Therefore, the general advice is “don’t smoke.” However, notice that I already stated as much in my prior response: “The majority of scientists (as well as doctors, etc) agree that the evidence suggests a link between tobacco and cancer. However, the precise nature of that link and how to prohibit or treat the problem of cancer that results is contested.” And my point still stands. The “precise nature” of that link is still being contested. One does not even need access to ProQuest or any medical journals, only access to Google, to discover that scientists are still doing research, still debating and diving deeper into the nature of the link between cancer and smoking. If this were not the case, then why would new research stating that there IS a link between smoking and cancer be interesting?

  • ucfengr

    However, notice that I already stated as much in my prior response: “The majority of scientists (as well as doctors, etc) agree that the evidence suggests a link between tobacco and cancer.
    This really highlights why ex’s analogy fails. In medicine, we can study large groups of people and made determinations. Say for example, we can take a group of 1000 smokers and 1000 non-smokers, control for other behavior and study the rates of cancer between the two groups. If one group shows a statistically significant difference, we can assert causation, even if we don’t know the exact mechanism of action. In the case of the planet, we only have one, so we can’t pump a bunch of CO2 in another one and observe the difference and try to make a determination, we have to rely on computer models. The problem is, the models haven’t shown a lot of fidelity; this is a function of the complex nature of the climate. We just don’t know all the variables. So it is really foolish, if your goal is to “save the planet”, to make a lot of decisions based on these models. However, if your goal is to increase government control over people’s live, one mechanism is a good as another.

  • ex-preacher

    Dustin,
    I take your response to mean that you found no articles to support your assertion. For purposes of discussion, I’ll accept your claim that there are ongoing studies of the exact nature of the link between tobacco and cancer and that these studies are providing useful insight into more effective treatments. Now, let’s suppose that someone you love is a heavy smoker. Let’s suppose that person tells you that he/she will continue to smoke until every aspect of the link between smoking and cancer is completely understood and every living scientist is in complete agreement. How would you respond?
    As ucfengr reminds us, we only have one planet. With the evidence we now have about the probable harmful effect of greenhouse gas emissions, is the cost of doing something greater than the risk of doing nothing?
    For you and ucfengr – do you think we should do anything to curb greenhouse gas emissions? Or should we just keep on huffing until absolute proof emerges?

  • ucfengr

    With the evidence we now have about the probable harmful effect of greenhouse gas emissions,
    What’s the evidence? That the planet is warming (except when it isn’t)? Well the planet is constantly going through warming and cooling cycles. Why is this one different? That a bunch of scientists say it is harmful? Well a bunch say that it isn’t. Who to believe.
    is the cost of doing something greater than the risk of doing nothing?
    Well, you tell me; what is the cost of doing something vs. the cost of doing nothing? Exact figures aren’t necessary, a ROM (rough order of magnitude) cost will do. I’ll save you the time, you don’t know what the costs are, and no one else does either. It may be that the cost of doing nothing is lower than the cost of doing something.
    For you and ucfengr – do you think we should do anything to curb greenhouse gas emissions?
    Well, since 90+% of greenhouse gases are produced “naturally”, I am not sure we can do anything. In any case, what sense does it make to spend trillions of dollars to have, at best, a marginal impact on a problem we can’t even be sure we have? Unless your goal is not to “save the planet”, but to increase control over other’s lives, it makes very little sense.

  • Penny

    I read recently where an expert (and one who thinks global warming is a liberal myth) calculated that the earth can easily accomodate twice as many people as it currently holds, over 1 billion more cars, and several thousand additional coal plants.
    Think about all the jobs that would produce. The market could certainly use those jobs, but no, the liberals want to regulate it. Have you heard of the invisible hand of the market? Guess Who that Hand belongs to! :)

  • ex-preacher

    In comment #18, ucfengr provided quotes from four of what he claims are “climate scientists” who are “questioning global warming.”
    Contrary to ucfengr’s bizarre claims, I have no desire to silence anyone, much less see anyone “personally destroyed.” I am interested in finding the best answers to important questions. Also, I do not represent “the left” or any other conspiracy, just myself.
    Let’s take a closer look at the quotes and the qualifications of those who provided them.
    1. The first quote is from Stanley Goldenberg, a hurricane meteorologist with NOAA. Mr. Goldenberg holds a B.A. and an M.S. in meteorology from Florida State University. The key point Mr. Goldenberg makes is that there is no solid evidence that warming of the ocean temperatures necessarily leads to increased hurricane activity. As I understand it, Mr. Goldenberg and others believe that the probability of increased hurricane activity due to warming of the ocean temperature may be offset by increased likelihood of windshear. I cannot find any evidence that he denies that global warming is taking place or that such warming may be caused by human activity. If he does make such claims, they would be outside his area of expertise.
    His colleagues at NOAA who are experts on global warming say this: “The accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will almost certainly cause Earth’s surface temperature to rise.”
    http://www.climate.noaa.gov/index.jsp?pg=./about_climate/about_index.jsp&about=intro
    2. Next up is Dr. Joanne Simpson, who holds a PhD in meteorology. The most important part of a quote is often in the ellipses, or what we call the dot-dot-dot (…). Such is the case with this quote. Here is part of what ucfengr left out: “What should we as a nation do? Decisions have to be made on incomplete information. In this case, we must act on the recommendations of Gore and the IPCC because if we do not reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and the climate models are right, the planet as we know it will in this century become unsustainable.“
    3. The third quote comes from Hajo Smit of Holland. Examining his credentials and statements is difficult since I don’t speak Dutch. Fortunately, others do and have examined his qualifications:
    http://jules-klimaat.blogspot.com/
    4. Finally, we have “Dr. Takeda Kunihiko, vice-chancellor of the Institute of Science and Technology Research at Chubu University in Japan.” According to the Chubu University website, Dr. Kunihiko works in the “Office of Strategic Recruitment” for “Mechanical Engineering.” He appears to have done research on plastic. An article in the Japan Times calls him “one of the world’s leading authorities on both uranium enrichment and recycling.”
    From what I can tell, he exactly zero expertise on climate. I encourage you to read the article for some insight into his other interesting views:
    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20080722jk.html
    As I am in the midst of grading finals, I especially like the way he says he grades papers. He does not read them, but simply grades them based on length. Maybe he is smarter than I thought!

  • ex-preacher

    From NOAA just yesterday:
    - – - – -
    Climate Changes in North America Since 1951: Key Findings
    Temperature — What happened?
    • From 1951 to 2006 the yearly average temperature for North America increased by 1.6°
    Fahrenheit. Virtually all of this warming has occurred since 1970.
    • Six of the ten warmest summers in the continental United States since 1951 occurred
    between 1997 and 2006.
    • The largest yearly average regional temperature increases have occurred over northern and
    western North America, with up to 3.6°F warming in 56 years over Alaska, the Yukon Territories,
    Alberta, and Saskatchewan.
    • No significant yearly average temperature changes have occurred in the southern United
    States and eastern Canada.
    Why?
    • More than half of the warming averaged over all of North America is likely (more than 66
    percent chance) the result of human activity.
    http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2008/20081211_climate.html

  • Penny

    I notice that ex-preacher has left the expert premiere out of his hate list, i.e., Lord Monckton. I wonder what that is? Like Al Franken, perhaps ex-preacher believes in hiding the evidence.
    This is what separates deeply religious Christians from so many secularists and liberals: we know that we can’t hide the truth from God.

  • ex-preacher

    Mr. Monckton has no scientific training or credentials.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2006/nov/14/science.comment

  • ucfengr

    His colleagues at NOAA who are experts on global warming say this: “The accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will almost certainly cause Earth’s surface temperature to rise.”
    All his colleagues say this? Do they all use the exact same words or are you paraphrasing? Is this an example of “Stepford climatologists”? But in any case, even if they are right, and human activities is causing some of the warming (nobody is claiming we are causing all of it) we are experiencing, so what? Again, non-human causes emit over 90+% of all greenhouse gases, so even if we could reduce our emissions by 80-90%, which we can’t do, we would only have, at best, a marginal impact on predicted warming. And we still have no idea what the positive impacts of some slight warming will be. So if we listen to ex and his cohorts, what we will do is spend trillions of dollars to have, at best, a marginal impact on a problem that may not be a problem at all. Again, I point out, this makes no sense if your goal is to “save the planet”, but it makes lots of sense if your goal is to give government more control over people’s lives.

  • ucfengr

    But in any case, even if they are right, and human activities is causing some of the warming (nobody is claiming we are causing all of it) we are experiencing,
    I should note that we really haven’t experienced any significant warming over the long term (1000 years or so), and over the short term, our temperature may be dropping. Some scientists are predicting that we are entering a cooling period.

  • ucfengr

    In comment #18, ucfengr provided quotes from four of what he claims are “climate scientists” who are “questioning global warming…”
    Now, this is interesting, because the IPCC report claims to have been written by 2500 climate experts, but many of the “experts” had no background in meteorolgy or climatolgy. In fact, the chair of the IPCC, Rajendra Pachauri, is an industrial engineer and economist, not a climatologist. What it is beginning to look like is, the main qualification for being classified a climate expert is supporting the alarmist position on global warming. That way, Al Gore (BA in government) is a climate expert, but Roy Spencer (Ph.D. in Meteorology) is a crank and oil industry stooge.
    Climate Changes in North America Since 1951: Key Findings
    The only interesting thing about this is it highlights the fact that you can show just about anything you want if you pick the right data points. Are we warming, or not? The correct answer is “it depends on where you start your data points”.
    More than half of the warming averaged over all of North America is likely (more than 66
    percent chance) the result of human activity.

    How much more than half? Since human activity contributes less than 10% of total “greenhouse gases”, on what basis can they assert that we are responsible for the majority of the warming. Does CO2 emitted by a power plant have more impact than that emitted by the soil or animal activities? What it looks like is that they have reached a conclusion, and are tailoring their findings to support it.
    Here’s an interesting letter from the CEO of the George C. Marshall Institute in the current issue of their “Policy Outlook”, along with some quotes. I offer this up because the institute takes a position that global change is occurring.
    From the letter:
    “The Stern Review and the IPCC Summary for Policy Makers demonstrate that you can prove anything if your assumptions do not have to be anchored in fact and reality and you begin knowing the conclusions that you want to reach. The IPCC projections of an impending climate catastrophe are the direct result of unrealistic scenarios of how economies and technologies will evolve this century and reliance on complex computer models of the physical interaction of the climate that have never been scientifically validated and which are driven by assumptions, rather than established science. The major scientific uncertainties that are inadequately represented in these models include the hydrological cycle (including cloud formation and water vapor feedbacks), climate sensitivity, solar effects, ocean circulation, aerosols, and natural variability, among others. The extent of these uncertainties renders it impossible to make accurate climate projections or to replicate past climate without model adjustments.
    IPCC defenders waive away these concerns as nothing more than complaints by a handful of skeptics, making skepticism a vice instead of a virtue. But these defenders are at a loss to explain why their models show ever-increasing temperatures when in fact there has been no global temperature increase in a decade. The lack of warming for one or two years could be explained away as just an aberration. But after a decade, it might be time to admit that the models might be inadequate for the task to which they are being used.

  • ex-preacher

    The man who wrote the words that ucfengr quotes is William O’Keefe. I haven’t been able to find his scientific qualifications, if any, but he has been a GW denier since at least 2000. Here something I did find:
    “According to federal lobbying records, O’Keefe was a paid lobbyist for ExxonMobil, 2001-2005 on the issues of environment and climate change, with contacts with the White House and the Office of Management and Budget. He writes frequently about climate change in his role at the George C. Marshall Institute.
    “O’Keefe served as Executive Vice President and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, a position he held until 2000.”
    Also, here’s a snippet that ucfengr left out from the letter he quoted above: “There is a clear recognition that new technologies are needed to slow the growth of greenhouse gas emissions, stabilize them, and ultimately reduce them.”

  • ucfengr

    According to federal lobbying records, O’Keefe was a paid lobbyist for ExxonMobil, 2001-2005 on the issues of environment and climate change
    It’s funny, Al Gore has made millions spreading his alarmist agenda, and nobody questions his motives. GW alarmist, NASA’s James Hansen has taken $250k from Teresa Heinz’s foundation and $720k from George Soros’ Open Society Initiative, organizations that promote an alarmist agenda, and in Soros’ case, the politicization of science, and nobody questions his integrity. But boy, take a dime from an oil company and your credibility is toast.
    Also, here’s a snippet that ucfengr left out from the letter he quoted above:
    Since I provided a link to the letter, it’s kind of silly to assert nefarious intentions here. It’s not really surprising, for the left’s assertions that conservatives and Christians are stupid and narrow-minded, it is the left that has the truly narrow worldview; agree with them and you are good, disagree and you are evil.

  • ucfengr

    The man who wrote the words that ucfengr quotes is William O’Keefe. I haven’t been able to find his scientific qualifications, if any, but he has been a GW denier since at least 2000. Here something I did find:
    Also, here’s a snippet that ucfengr left out from the letter he quoted above: “There is a clear recognition that new technologies are needed to slow the growth of greenhouse gas emissions, stabilize them, and ultimately reduce them.”
    Sounds like what we have here is the rarest of all birds, a global warming denier who believes we need to do something about global warming. I guess all it takes to be labeled a “global warming denier” is to not unquestioningly accept the most alarmist position.

  • Kurt

    As long as people are quoting numbers regarding the supposed “consensus” regarding AGW, please take a look at some statistics from the Global Warming Petition Project at
    http://www.petitionproject.org/
    Over 31,000 U.S. scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and technically trained people who object to draconian knee-jerk actions that Al Gore and his ilk would foist upon us. True, not all of them are climatologists, but then neither are all of the authors of the IPCC reports. (And Al Gore has no scientific credentials at all.) “Only” 3,697 of them are trained in atmospheric, environmental, and earth sciences, and “only” 9,000 or so have PhDs. But all of them have technical credentials and are qualified to read technical literature and evaluate what they read.
    It should be noted that you need more than just climatologists to make a case for AGW. You need a whole host of specialist from other fields such as physicists, chemists, computer scientists and mathematicians (for those fancy computer-run models), etc. All of these specialists have valid input into the debate. And all of these are represented among these petition signers. And these 31,000+ are just in the U.S. It does not include all the scientists, etc. from other countries that hold similar views, of whom there are doubtless many.
    Now, does this list of people prove that global warming is not happening or that man is not causing it? No. But it does prove that there is no such consensus as claimed by the alarmists, and it suggests that that the AGW proponents are a MINORITY of the scientific community.
    Note: The Global Warming Petition Project receives not one dime from the oil industry. It is basically a grass-roots movement within the scientific community.

  • ex-preacher

    The “Oregon Petition Project” and its “31,000 signatures” has almost zero credibility. It has been widely discredited and debunked. Very few of its signatories have relevant academic training.
    A fun pasttime is to pick a random name off the list and try to find that person’s actual academic and scientific background.
    For instance, here are the first five signatories:
    1. Earl Aagaard. Field: Biology, interested explicitly in Intelligent Design. Relevant publications on climate change? None.
    2. Charles W. Aami. Field: Unknown. I couldn’t find any person by that name in connection to any scientific field, let alone climate science. Relevant publications on climate change? None.
    3. Roger L. Aamodt. Field: Oncology. Relevant publications on climate change? None.
    4. Wilbur A. Aanes. Field: Veterinary surgery (specifically “large animal surgery”). Relevant publications on climate change? None (although he seems to be well-published on equine surgery, which I’m sure has some bearing on climate change).
    5. M. Robert Aaron, DECEASED. Field: Telecommunications. Relevant publications on climate change? None.
    Someone else picked 50 random names, focusing on people with PhDs and discovered:
    “Of 60 samples (including 54 phD’s), there were a grand total of zero publications behind the sampled signatories that were relevant to climate or climate change. None has specific background in meteorology, climatology, oceanography, etc and just two with a geology background (including one who is now deceased).”
    Someone else checked the first five names from Montana and found this:
    David J. Abbott has a family medical practice in Harve, MT.
    Frank Addison Albini, PhD, (1936-2005), was a forest fire behavior scientist.
    Corby G. Anderson, PhD is a metallurgical engineer specializing in pyrometallurgy. According to his Montana Tech profile, “he has served successfully as an expert witness on several international mining cases.”
    William Ballard, PhD is the CEO of Ballard Petroleum. According to the Ballard Petroleum website: “Headquartered in Billings, Montana, Ballard Petroleum Holdings LLC is a privately held, independent energy company engaged in the acquisition, development, production and exploration of oil and natural gas reserves primarily in the Rocky Mountain States.
    David W. Ballard is the President of Ballard Petroleum.
    - – - – -
    This could go on and on, but you get the idea. The links to my sources are in the following post.

  • ex-preacher
  • ucfengr

    A fun pasttime is to pick a random name off the list and try to find that person’s actual academic and scientific background.
    Another fun pastime is to point out the inconsistencies of the alarmist position. The IPCC group included biologists, computer scientists, industrial engineers (the chair of the IPCC, for example), even sociologists; but because they tow the alarmist line, they get to be classified as climate experts. But equally qualified people who disagree are oil industry stooges or some equally reprehensible creature.
    It also highlights the elitism of most liberals. Only people that went to the right schools and have the correct opinions matter. Others are irrelevant.

  • Kurt

    @ex-preacher:
    And your point is … what, exactly? That only people who have published papers regarding climate change are entitled to have an opinion on the debate? What utter nonsense. By your logic, no one should be allowed to criticize, say, Intelligent Design theory, or cold nuclear fusion studies, or the SETI project, unless they have published a paper in that respective narrow field.
    No, one need not have published climate change papers in order to be able to read the literature and evaluate it, to recognize shoddy work, poory designed studies, or shaky foundations for conclusions. One might need some scientific or technical background to do a reasonable job at this — which is just what the signers of the petition have.
    You have quoted some random facts regarding signers of the petition. So far I don’t see how anything that you have quoted in any way “debunks” the project. You’re going to have to do better than that.

  • ex-preacher

    It is true, ucfengr, that experts from many areas were involved, but the key point is that the IPCC reports are based on reviews of scientific literature from people who are experts in climatology and related fields. Not every person who was involved in writing or reviewing the reports was a climate expert. No one has claimed that. Have you bothered to read the 4th IPCC Report?
    If wanting to listen to people who actually know something about what they are talking about makes me an elitist, so be it.
    Of course, Kurt, anyone can (and does) have an opinion on climate change. I happen to think some people are more qualified on certain subjects than others. For instance, I choose to have my medical tests interpreted by doctors as opposed to bus drivers.
    You claim that the signers of the petition have all read the climate change literature and have formed their opinions based on that. What is your evidence for that?
    I did not cite random facts about the signers. I cited facts about a ramdomly selected group of signers. The burden of proof of establishing the legitimacy of the signatories to Oregon Petition Project rests with those who assert that it has any value.
    If and when the spam blocker allows my list of sources to be posted, you can check the reliability of the following.
    “Compare these [first five Oregon Petition signers] to the first five authors alpha listed for the IPCC AR4 WG1 The Physical Science Basis of Climate Change:
    1. Krishna Achutarao. Research Scientist at the Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Relevant publications: plenty.
    2. Robert Adler. NASA Senior Scientist in the Laboratory for Atmospheres and is also currently serving as Project Scientist for the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM). Relevant publications: plenty.
    3. Lisa Alexander. Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research. Relevant publications: plenty.
    4. Hans Alexandersson. Climatologist at the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute. Relevant publications: plenty.
    5. Richard Allan. Atmospheric scientist, Environmental Systems Science Centre, University of Reading. Relevant publications: plenty.”

  • http://ateam.blogware.com/ David N.

    Ex,
    Your response to Kurt did have rhetorical flare, but I’m curious to know if you have anything substantive to say in response to his point that a degree in one specific, narrow field is not necessarily required in order for someone to form an educated opinion on an issue. Certainly there are many scientists not specifically trained in meteorology who support the cause of global warming activists, and you don’t seem to have a problem with that. If you do, intellectual honesty should lead you to condemn them openly and not simply accept their opinions as part of your much lauded majority consensus.
    Also, according to the Petition Project’s website, “Atmospheric, environmental, and Earth sciences includes 3,697 scientists trained in specialties directly related to the physical environment of the Earth and the past and current phenomena that affect that environment.”
    Picking names at random might be fun, but they already openly acknowledge that “only” 3,697 of the signers are atmospheric or environmental scientists. So my question is, do you have some reason to think that they’re lying (as you said that they have “zero credibility”), or is 3,697 not quite enough for you to consider their opinion worthy of notice? Or do they simply not have the RIGHT atmospheric/environmental training? Or what?

  • ex-preacher

    David,
    Tell me who the 3,697 qualified climate experts are. Or point me to a list of them and their qualifications.
    Obviously, one can have an informed opinion without being an expert. I speak for only myself, but I accept the reality of global warming based on the testimony and qualified scientists. It is fine if the Oregon signatories have a different opinion, but what or who exactly informs their opinion? Where is the body of qualified experts who have done the field work that has influenced them?
    I’m pretty confident someone could set up a website and gather hundreds of thousands or perhaps millions of signatures of people with some sort of science degree who agree with the IPCC. Would that impress you?

  • ex-preacher

    The Oregon Petition website says that 40 of the signers actually have some education in climatology. Who are they?
    Also, David, I didn’t say that the petition had “zero credibility,” I said it had “almost zero credibility.”

  • ucfengr

    It is true, ucfengr, that experts from many areas were involved, but the key point is that the IPCC reports are based on reviews of scientific literature from people who are experts in climatology and related fields.
    Well, there are quite a few “experts in climatology and related fields” who disagree with the alarmist position. Oh wait, I forgot, only people who agree with the alarmist position get to be classified as “climate experts”. Silly me.

  • Penny

    David, I didn’t say that the petition had “zero credibility,” I said it had “almost zero credibility.”
    This is why we have a vigorous debate. The alarmists will fall back on slippery wiggle words nearly every single time.

  • http://ateam.blogware.com/ David N.

    Ex,
    Their website claims that 3,697 of the signatures are from scientists in the fields of ” Atmospheric, environmental, and Earth sciences.” I don’t know who they are, nor to I intend to look them up for you. But my question to you was what reason you have for dismissing this out of hand, or for being so intent on finding any shred of evidence that will allow you to dismiss it. You can’t simply ASSUME that because some of the scientists on your side have consulted literature in the appropriate fields that therefore all the scientists who disagree with you (even the ones with degrees in the appropriate fields!) must be making uninformed or ideologically biased judgements. There is nothing about your position that makes it immune from such bias, and so unless you know for a fact that their website is lying or that these 3,697 scientists haven’t read any relavent literature, you can’t just shift the burden of proof. If these same 3,697 had supported your conclusion instead, you would be the first to point out that their degrees are in the relavent fields of science, since you would assume (correctly) that this counted as support for your position. Thus, you need an actual reason to think that they are uninformed despite their training (or, again, that the website is flat out lying).
    P.S. “zero” and “nearly zero” amounts to basically the same thing (especially in the context of your whole comment).

  • ex-preacher

    David,
    The website breaks down the 3,697 signers by discipline and ends up with 40 who have some education in climatology. Signers pledge that they have at least a B.S., but there is no other indication I can find about what exactly these individuals have done, studied or even read to make them qualified to make a judgment on climate change. Please point out where I said they must be “making uninformed or ideologically biased judgements.” I am simply saying I have no idea what their qualifications are. I am certainly open to considering their views, but I need to know exactly what makes them scientific experts.
    We could go on and on about the significance of the word “almost” (“he was almost killed” versus “he was killed”), but I was most bothered by the fact that you deliberately misquoted me. I have long ago given up trying to correct certain people around here who constantly misquote and mischaracterize others’ statements, but I hadn’t given up on you yet. Your latest post tells me that perhaps I should add you to the list of people who value “scoring points” over finding the truth.

  • http://ateam.blogware.com David N.

    Ex,
    “but I was most bothered by the fact that you deliberately misquoted me. I have long ago given up trying to correct certain people around here who constantly misquote and mischaracterize others’ statements, but I hadn’t given up on you yet. Your latest post tells me that perhaps I should add you to the list of people who value “scoring points” over finding the truth.”
    I’m flattered. In any event, my misquoting of you wasn’t intentional, but I suppose it was sloppy. I simply honed in on the word “zero” when I first read your comment and didn’t pay attention to the qualifier. I’m still not entirely sure how “almost zero” is any better. Saying “very little” or something similar would have at least conveyed to me that you acknowledged the possibility of them having SOME credibility, but that’s not really an important enough issue to press any further. I’m not even arguing that these folks DO have real credibility, but they are at least making claims to having it, and I’m only concerned that we don’t casually dismiss educated opinions without good reason.
    Out of curiosity, how much importance would you give to the consensus of the scientific community? By that I mean to point out that scientific consensus has been on the wrong side of issues in the past, and sometimes it took the persistence of a maligned minority to turn things around. So, in this case, suppose that these 40 climatologists are the only climate experts in the world to dissent from what is otherwise the consensus on global warming. Would you say that the most reasonable position for a laymen observer to take would simply be to go with the current consensus, or would you say that, in order to have an educated opinion, one ought to find out as much as possible about the dissenting minority and see if there is any good reason to prefer their opinion? To follow up on that, if you would say the former (go with the current consensus), do you think that there is ANY merit in someone choosing to withhold their full-fledged support for the consensus until they have very good reasons for rejecting the opinion of the dissenting minority?

  • ex-preacher

    David,
    I appreciate the civil tone. I accept that your misquoting was unintentional. I originally had written “zero credibility” and then decided that was too harsh since I really don’t know who the signers are or what their credentials are.
    As far as the weight I give to consensus in the scientific community, I hesitate to give a blanket answer since it would depend on the exact issue at hand and whether I thought the scientists actually had some basis to form their opinions. There are some areas where I would value their opinion no more than anyone else’s. But when it comes to areas where they have expertise, I do tend to give a lot of weight to their views. If five doctors told me I had a brain tumor and my dentist said I didn’t, I would go with the doctors.
    In the case of climate change, it certainly could be that the minority of experts is right. In fact, I hope they are. But I think they need very good evidence to prove that the overwhelming majority of their colleagues are wrong. It seems odd to me that the website does not tell us the names of the forty. Are these people who took a few courses as undergraduates or are they mature scholars who have studied the issue in depth? On issues of great complexity, it is hard for laypeople to fully understand the topic, but I have read many of the arguments on both sides and am convinced that anthropogenic glocal warming is real.
    On many issues, it really doesn’t matter if we hold out on making a decision until unanimity is reached. In this case, the risks of doing nothing are, in my opinion, simply too grave. As even a skeptic like Dr. Joanne Simpson has said, “What should we as a nation do? Decisions have to be made on incomplete information. In this case, we must act on the recommendations of Gore and the IPCC because if we do not reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and the climate models are right, the planet as we know it will in this century become unsustainable.”

  • http://www.clairechiang.net/ Claire

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