“The Gore Effect”

Friday, January 30th, 2009

Can we stop this nonsense where every time a snowflake lands on Al Gore, we laugh about how it proves he’s wrong about global warming?

There’s lots not to like about Al Gore. And while I’m generally convinced that the earth is getting warmer, I’m also skeptical that (1) it’s entirely man-made, (2) there’s much we can do it about, (3) even if we could marginally offset it, it would be worth the enormous costs, (4) anyone really knows what the consequences of it will be.

But “global warming” refers to average temperatures across the planet. “Climate change” is the more appropriate term to describe the broader phenomenon, which is a greenhouse gas-caused general disruption in the climate patterns we’re accustomed to. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard Al Gore or anyone else say “global warming” means every spot on earth will be hotter, all the time.

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100 Responses to ““The Gore Effect””

  1. #1 |  Stephen | 

    The problem I have with Al Gore is that he wants to close and shut down any debate. This is not science. In science, the debate is never over. The only time there can be no room for debate is in a religion.

    “climate change” is a religion if there is no room for debate.

  2. #2 |  BlogDog | 

    As soon as the glowball warmening bullshitters stop calling every hot day proof of their pet theory, I’ll stop calling cold weather proof of their error.
    That’s right – they started it, they get to stop it first.

  3. #3 |  Lou W | 

    Radley I agree 100% with everything you said…except the first sentence. I find Gore eminently and justifiably mockable, and the ‘Snow Falls on Gore meme’ is an amusing shorthand pushback at the non-stop doom and gloomers. Because Gore and his fans do believe, and state, that hurricanes, drought, floods, etc, are the product of global warming. Many really think that Katrina was directly and specifically a product of global warming. So no, they don’t necessarily think that it means that the whole world is warmer all the time, but they do fail to understand the irrelevance of ANY local weather phenomena. So keep it up I say.

  4. #4 |  Dave Krueger | 

    The reason it’s cold where ever Al Gore goes is because he’s the Antichrist.

  5. #5 |  Episiarch | 

    I’ll believe Al Gore when I see ManBearPig with my own eyes, and not before.

  6. #6 |  A McGillican | 

    As a Ph.D student of Earth Systems Science, have no doubt that global climate change associated by increased global temperatures caused by our fossil fuel economy is real. Anyone who takes even a single university class on biogeochemistry (the study of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and nutrient cycling through the earth system) understands that by burning the vast amounts of carbon from deep stores and releasing them into the active system will have great consequences. Its not all that different that a commodities market crashing because its flooded by a new supply – there is a sudden shift and it takes a while for the system to balance out and it can be very rough during that transition period, only with the climate, we’re talking thousands of years. Climate has many spatial and temporal patterns that occur over years, decades, centuries, millennium. We have data that documents these patterns and what we have observed over the last 40 years is not a natural pattern. Its true that at this point, there probably isn’t much we can do about it as a whole and even if we could, it would take a fascist regime to impose the change. What the effects will be, is uncertain, but they will be bad since we has humans like to build and plan based on stability and any change, especially global changes that affect the global biosphere and agricultural systems will have severe impacts. Of course, those impacts will be worse for those with fewer resources (i.e. developing world). What happens to the US system when we run out of water in the Great Plains due to water mining and a drop in precipitation patterns? What happens when Iowa looks like Iraq? What happens when Las Vegas, Phoenix, and LA run out of water? We will adapt and change, but it will be a painful and costly process.

  7. #7 |  Fritz | 

    I’m glad he and his band of power-hungry fearmongers are stupid enough to speak during the colder months. Sad to say, but they’d make a more compelling argument to the average idiot if they only held press conferences in Death Valley, CA in July.

    And if they have the balls to make the claims they do (a good list is at http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/warmlist.htm), I don’t have a problem with people making him look like the ass that he is to the general public.

  8. #8 |  CTD | 

    What BlogDog said. I’ll stop the minute the Global Warming cultists stop citing every summer heat wave, flood, drought, thunderstorm, hurricane, tornado, lightning strike, iceberg and canary fart as evidence of inevitable climate catastrophe.

    They started this game. We can play too.

  9. #9 |  andyinsdca | 

    Absolutely NOT. They started out with “global warming” and they do NOT get to change the debate to “global climate change.” They got on the “global warming” horse, they get to ride it.

    And letting them get away with the verbal judo of changing “global warming” to “global climate change” gives them the power to blame ANY climate change of any sort on man, hence capitalism and progress. “2 more hurricanes than last year? Global climate change.” “2 less hurricanes than last year? Global climate change.”

    HELL. NO.

  10. #10 |  MikeS | 

    I always liken global warming ot the stock market. Just like the stock market has runs and crashes, the climate has cold years and warm years. Just like some stocks fall or rise, some parts of the planet have warm spell and cold spells.

    But over the long haul — over decades — the temperature of the planet is slowly rising, just like the stock market is slowly rising. YOu can’t get obssese with the small picture.

  11. #11 |  Eyewitness | 

    The old “it’s freezing, snowing, icy, etc. here, what happened to Global Warming (or Globular Warming), yuk, yuk, yuk” repeated ad nauseam is the adult equivalent of the fart joke. At best it’s only funny once and endlessly repeating it is only amusing to 10-year-olds (or their equivalents).

  12. #12 |  livingpre911still | 

    all you need to know about Global Warming is in this article…

    http://www.kusi.com/weather/colemanscorner/38574742.html#

    And while most of the time, I do agree with Radley, the poster was correct in saying that Gore offers no debates, accepting all current info as fact on the topic so the more that can be piled on Gore because of that, the better….

  13. #13 |  Trish | 

    I’m sure he’d be sorely disappointed if we did. No one even thinks about the guy otherwise.

  14. #14 |  colson | 

    Wouldn’t you find some humor if Chicken little tripped and fell on his face? It doesn’t say anything about whether he’s right or wrong, but it is a hard sell to tell people they need to severely change their lifestyles at any and all expense because the earth is getting warmer when people are experiencing one of the coldest winters in a few years in many places. Most people won’t get the connection and Gore comes off as even more Quixotic than he did during his little film.

  15. #15 |  boof | 

    As I understood it the climate change can take hold in many forms. Huricanes get stronger, not more plentiful because the ocean is tryin to rid itself of excess heat, same with the atmosphere, there may not be more disasters, phenomeneons, etc, but they may be more profound. Climate change can manifest itself in many ways. That said, I do not think it is to the extremes that it is being fed to us, however, I still see no reason that living “greener” shouldn’t be done. Why not do what we can to manage resources and hopefully increase quality of life? Now whether that is the gov’ts responsibility, thats another story. If private business feel as though they should and do it cost effectivly then go for it

  16. #16 |  Michael | 

    As long as we have PhD’s on “global warming”, we can expect it to be a mixture of pseudoscience and science. The people who promote global warming ignore any science that may refute the claim. But instead, they sit on their high and mighty PhD butts and play politics, instead of actually pursuing the goal of pure science, uninfluenced by political gobbledygook.

  17. #17 |  Tolly | 

    I can see Radley’s point, but it doesn’t help that Gore is such a blindered hypocrite…
    His mission is so important that it’s OK for him to fly all over with his entourage, not to mention his multiple McMansions, etc. But the rest of you plebes need to go back to your caves and save Mother Earth. And anyone daring to bring up additional data to debate the accepted wisdom is ripped apart as a big-oil stooge. Intelligent debate and proof would get the message across better than the usual “WE ONLY HAVE 3 YEARS TO SAVE THE WORLD” hyperbole. If that’s the deadline, then we might as well roll the enviro funds into a killer party, cause we’re all screwed…

  18. #18 |  Ben | 

    I agree that even if we can stop global warming, do we really want to mess with a system which we don’t fully understand and supports life on this planet.

    Humans are good at one thing in general: screwing stuff up. I say we try to cut down, but don’t do anything drastic, because, chances are we’ll make it worse.

  19. #19 |  Someone | 

    Damn this post sounds like something straight out of Bush’s PR department. In fact I believe those are the exact arguments the Bush administration used to try and debunk Global Warming claims.

    It is unfortunate that everything you said can be shown using the scientific method to be wrong. I could go into great detail but I would fail to do the topic justice in this post and any Google search will reveal all the scientific detail in its glory.

    If those things are what YOU believe then I suspect YOU have never read anything about the topic and watch Fox News too much.

  20. #20 |  dad29 | 

    the broader phenomenon, which is a greenhouse gas-caused general disruption in the climate patterns we’re accustomed to

    And you know this with certainty because???

  21. #21 |  ZappaCrappa | 

    “Climate has many spatial and temporal patterns that occur over years, decades, centuries, millennium. We have data that documents these patterns and what we have observed over the last 40 years is not a natural pattern. ”

    And how do you know this? From your data from 1406? 1232? 43? 9212BC? How did you obtain your data from centuries or millennia ago? According to the history I have been exposed to, the earth’s climate appears to ALWAYS be changing.

  22. #22 |  Someone | 

    Although I recommend you try this experiment at home:
    1) Get an ice cube
    2) Get some “room temperature” water
    3) Put the ice cube into the water
    4) Measure the height of the water
    5) Wait for the ice cube to melt
    6) Measure the height of the water again

    Expected result: The height of the water will rise.
    Why? Solids are more dense than liquids
    The impact? The sea will increase in height eating entire cities on the coast as they do so…

  23. #23 |  Sam | 

    You know…my big problem with the “no global warming” side isn’t that they may be right about the mechanisms and data being interpreted correctly/incorrectly.

    It’s the knee-jerk head in the sand response that says we don’t need to worry about nuttin’. The earth’s population and industrialization has grown to the point that we’re massively emmitting a multitude of things into the environment to the point that it’s already changed and continuing to do so. If the last 100 years haven’t proven to you that ignoring what happens when you change the chemistry of our environment WILL produce SOME detrimental effects that we damn sure need to address then I ain’t got nuttin’ for ya. Good, bad, whatever…we need to pay attention.

  24. #24 |  Jim Henley | 

    Can we stop this nonsense where every time a snowflake lands on Al Gore, we laugh about how it proves he’s wrong about global warming?

    It’s difficult because global-warming skeptics are stupid. I’m using Samuel R. Delany’s distinction between “stupid” and “ignorant”: Ignorance is a condition. Stupidity is a process. That is, stupidity takes work; it is defined by the action of working to remain ignorant. It’s something people do, not something they are. So your question translates as, “Can people making a determined effort to be fools stop making fools of themselves?” Only if they stop working at ignorance. And, really, what are the odds?

  25. #25 |  JP | 

    Al Gore is ridiculous, but he brought an important issue to the forefront and has successfully kept it there. You can argue, if you wish, that the evidence suggests to you that the whole thing is some kind of insane liberal fraud meant to bring us back to the Dark Ages, but I would have to ask you: what evidence, exactly, are you talking about? I’m a researcher at a major institution in the USA; I’ve read literally dozens of reports discussing the phenomena surrounding global climate change; and I have yet to see all this apparently compelling research pointing towards fraud or negligence on the part of the climatology community. I should mention at this point that I have a bit of a conflict of interest here, since I and many of my colleagues do work on alternative energy sources (particularly solar), but I might also mention that right now, my salary is paid in full by one of the world’s largest oil companies. Those guys get it, and they have everything to lose or gain from the debate over global climate change. If the top executives at fossil fuel companies acknowledge the looming problem of global climate change, and acknowledge it with their pocketbooks, no less (R and D is expensive, as you might imagine), perhaps it’s time for those on the other side of the debate to take another look at the issue.

    One last thing I’d like to note: As I said, the world’s major power producers have been in the game of helping to develop alternative sources for many years now, so I don’t believe that the government will or even can be the major font of inspiration for change in this regard. That said, I don’t see any harm in public figures sounding the alarm on an important issue that many people still don’t understand very well. Remember that just because a person acknowledges the threat of global climate change does NOT mean that person advocates large-scale federal intervention to prevent it. I don’t know if the market can take care of the problem entirely on its own, but as always, it will play a huge role.

    Just my two or three cents.

  26. #26 |  ClubMedSux | 

    Here’s the libertarian paradox that I just don’t understand… Generally speaking, libertarians view science as a source of reason and thus they reject groups that ignore science (see, e.g., creationists). However, the one exception to the rule is climate change, where the overwhelming evidence of anthropogenic warming is summarily dismissed. I realize it’s a politically-charged issue, and ten years ago you could make a very strong claim regarding the uncertainty of forecast models, the political interests involved in climate-change research, etc. But today the overwhelming majority of meteorologists/climatologists/geophysicists agree that anthropogenic warming is being observed. I’m not saying there’s no room for debate (certainly there are many questions about the magnitude of warming, its impact on society, etc. and I agree that Gore & Co. are guilty of distorting facts to further their agenda) but I’m puzzled by the offhand dismissal of reputable scientific studies by folks who know their Hayek backwards and forwards but couldn’t define cloud albedo.

  27. #27 |  Mojotron | 

    While I generally I agree with the OP, I have some issues with:

    (1) it’s entirely man-made

    We know that it isn’t; volcanoes, forest fires, flatulent cows, etc… I’m not saying this is a straw man, but I don’t think anyone worth listening to in this debate is claiming otherwise

    (2) there’s much we can do it about

    To be determined

    (3) even if we could marginally offset it, it would be worth the enormous costs

    “enormous costs” and “marginally offset” are your choice of words; at this point I think we should be assessing our behaviour in order to determine the greatest benefits for the least cost. The options aren’t a dichotomy of “do nothing” vs. “ban coal” and there’s many low or no cost actions available in-between.

    (4) anyone really knows what the consequences of it will be

    Much like predicting the weather we’re using models based on past performance to guess future behaviour, no one “knows” this because it isn’t knowable.

  28. #28 |  Ben (the other one) | 

    The folks who make fun of Al Gore today are either the same, or the intellectual heirs to those who made fun of Al Gore in 2000, claiming that there wasn’t any difference between him and Bush. We have seen how well that worked out.

    There are a lot of posts here positing a “pro-global warming” vs. “anti-global warming” factions, e.g., CTD (#8):

    They started this game. We can play too.

    I’m not a scientist (although I did receive my undergraduate degree in Biology), but I am well-read enough to recognize a science-based argument, being made in favor of global warming, its man-made causes, and the need to take concrete action to curtail carbon emissions. I’ve also experienced enough ginned-up debates over largely settled scientific knowledge (e.g., asbestos, tobacco, evolution, etc.) to recognize the anti-global warming push as dishonest at worst, and faith-based at best.

  29. #29 |  Ariel | 

    Uh, Someone, ice is less dense than water. Otherwise, the cubes would sink to the bottom.

  30. #30 |  Michael Chaney | 

    Like Glenn Reynolds says – I’ll start believing it when the people who are screaming about start acting like *they* believe it.

    Al Gore has went from a net worth of a few million dollars when he left office (according to his declarations) to a net worth of around $100M, in 8 years. Do the math. He made that money by speaking about global warming, setting up a “carbon offset” company, etc.

    Meanwhile, he flies on private jets, lives in a house that is 3 times the size of mine, yet uses about 10 times the energy. Read that again.

    If he really believed this stuff, he wouldn’t be living like he does.

    As others have said, any little thing that happens gets blamed on global warming. Fine. If a hot summer day is proof positive of global warming, then a cold winter day is proof that it’s bunk.

    I actually believe the earth is warming, people seem to forget that we had an ice age recently (in geologic time) and the earth seems to go between hot and cold. This happened before humans.

  31. #31 |  Cliff | 

    >>>>>Climate has many spatial and temporal patterns that occur over years, decades, centuries, millennium. We have data that documents these patterns and what we have observed over the last 40 years is not a natural pattern.<<<<<

    Here’s another problem. ANY 1 40 year slice of data over timeperiods you describe can’t be classified as a pattern. I don’t care what your PhD is in…your math is suspect. Further, can you link to the data? I find it hard to believe there was never a 40 year slice of time going back millenium that wasn’t similar to the last 40.

  32. #32 |  Jim Henley | 

    Here’s the libertarian paradox that I just don’t understand…

    CMS: Back in the 1990s, libertarians’ formative experiences with future-modeling were the Paul Erlich/Club of Rome population/resource doom scenarios of the early 1970s, which famously did not bear out. Those provided legitimate reasons for initial skepticism: sometimes even scientists are wrong. But as the years went on and evidence piled up, it became a pathetic rearguard action akin to a blowhard sales guy who can’t shut up about the time he made the winning jump shot in the regional high school championship. Being skeptical has never been the same thing as being dismissive.

    Nowadays, climate-change denialism survives among the libertarian/conservative grass roots on the strength of hatred of environmentalists/liberals and unwillingness to admit mistakes, and among elites because of the imperatives of corporate interests. (Libertarians are very good at recognizing malign corporate interests in a lot of cases of rent-seeking, but pretty blind to them in other cases – such as, oh, trying to perpetuate legal regimes that let them externalize production costs through pollution.)

  33. #33 |  jwh | 

    No, we can’t stop it…….and every time it happens I realize how fortunate we were that he didn’t win the Presidency in 2000……..who knows what kind of damage he could have caused if he’d been let loose on the world from the oval office……..

  34. #34 |  Steve | 

    #21 Someone. You are joking, right? If you aren’t, you need to go back to high school. Actually, you should try the experiment. My theory: Since the ice is floating in the water, its mass is already displaced. When it melts, the mass is still the same, thus the water level remains unchanged.

  35. #35 |  mcmillan | 

    #1 It’s not entirely man-made, but that there is a man-made contribution is pretty much a settled science question,
    #2 and #4 are where the real scientific questions are. #3 is political question a not scientific, and most of the climate researchers I’ve interacted with will acknowledge that.

    Like Mojotron said, there’s someoptions that are lower cost than others and it would be better to have a libertarian perspective in this debate. But if you all are too busy making stupid arguments and pointing to the stupid people on the other side then the legitimate questions aren’t being asked and responded to.

  36. #36 |  Max | 

    Hey Ariel: sacrifice is only for the little people.

  37. #37 |  Nando | 

    #31 jwh

    No, we can’t stop it…….and every time it happens I realize how fortunate we were that he didn’t win the Presidency in 2000……..who knows what kind of damage he could have caused if he’d been let loose on the world from the oval office……..

    I severely doubt that it could be any worse than what Bush did.

    Anywho, nobody with half a brain can deny that we have changed our environment in the last 200 years. The amount of waste, plastic, toxins, nuclear debris, trash-burning, coal-burning, industrial waste, etc. is HUGE compared to what it was before the industrial revolution. If the mere fact of observing something changes it, what do you think all of the shit we do to this planet is doing?

    Scientists can go back 10’s of thousands of years and measure the gaseous deposits in the Antarctic ice. At no time in the previous history of this world have these gases been as high as they are today. I’m not saying that they cause more hurricanes or tornadoes, but you have to admit that they do have an effect on our climate, even if it’s moderate/small.

    As we continue to add shit to the environment that should’ve never been there to begin with, we continue to change our world and we cannot know what the consequences for our race will be. Why not do a little bit here and there if at all possible?

  38. #38 |  Tim C | 

    Many scientists disagree that this is even happening. In fact, I can’t trust #6 PhD student one bit, unfortunately, because it is well-documented that scientists who don’t toe the global-warming-is-a-fact line lose funding. Currently we are in a solar cycle peak; in a few years I expect to see us go from warming to cooling, no matter how much hot gas is spewed by vehicles, Al Gore, etc.

  39. #39 |  Ben | 

    Why? Solids are more dense than liquids

    You, sir, need to go back to basic chemistry class. Ice floats. Therefore it’s less dense than water. Durrr.

  40. #40 |  ChrisD | 

    “climate change” is a religion if there is no room for debate.

    This is a 100% correct statement. If temps go up, it’s climate change. If they go down, it’s climate change. Therefore, this is a totally unfalsifiable theory. The only thing we can say about climate is that is will not remain perfectly stable, “proving” climate change is a reality.

    Mcmillan, I don’t think that’s true. The hugeness of these data sets and the lack of an appropriate baseline to compare them to cannot be overstated. I would not be shocked if it turns out to be true, but I don’t think there’s an unequivocal consensus yet.

  41. #41 |  Jerry S | 

    All skeptics of the man-made global warming hypothesis are stupid, ROFLMAO. Nice Ad Hominen attack there Jimbo. Way to back up your opinions with facts. Whew! Dr. Roger Pielke Sr., Dr. Roy Spencer, Dr. Fred Singer and now many former NASA engineers/managers (google John Theon) are really stupid. Glad you cleared that up for me Jim H. /sarcasm

    I’m sorry to the earth sciences Major above (A McGillican), but are you kidding me? You do realize that CO2 is only about 0.03% of the atmosphere and that CO2 drives plant life (why do you think they make real greenhouses, not the incorrectly named greenhouse effect which really acts nothing like a true greenhouse)? Or did they not teach that to you in school.

    The climate models, which all of AGW is built upon, are not prognosticators of the future, nor can we accurately say what the average temperature is of the globe (or even what it should be). The only basic physics in the models are the pressure gradient force, advection and the acceleration due to gravity. These are the only physics in which there are no tunable coefficients. Climate models are nothing more than engineering codes (Other than the basic physics equations, everything else used are approximations) and should never be treated as an absolute. And the majority of these equations are based on a closed system, not an open, dyanmic, chaotic system like our earth.

    I’m not a scientist, just a lowly Engineer, we neither have the knowledge or accurate measurements to predict climate changes over any timescale.

    (http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/anomalies/anomalies.html)

    “NCDC’s long-term mean temperatures for the Earth were calculated by processing data from thousands of world-wide observation sites on land (not all are sited the same, nor maintained properly) and sea for the entire period of record of the data. Many parts of the globe are inaccessible and therefore have no data.
    Also, since the reconstruction is designed to resolve the large-scale variations, it does not always have as much spatial structure as the observations. Therefore, the land component of the merged temperature is adjusted to make it more consistent with the GHCN temperature. ”

    Read that last line, in order to overcome the spatial structure, the temperature is adjusted to make it consistent with the GCHN temperature.

    Now if you want to wreck our economy based on an overblown PlayStation model, be my guess. But I wouldn’t trust the huckster Al Gore as far as I can throw him.

  42. #42 |  John Jenkins | 

    @ Someone (#21): To borrow a phrase: epic fail.

    The density of water varies by temperature. Ice (that is solid water) is less dense than liquid water. That’s why ice floats on the top of water, rather than sinking. The reason the water level in your container rises after the ice cube melts is because some of the ice was above the water level to begin with.

    Different materials have different densities, and whether two materials are solid or liquid is immaterial to their relative densities (the same substance may vary in density based on temperature, such that liquid and solid will have different densities).

    Even your final premise is faulty. Suppose that an increase in the mean temperature around the world of 1 degree celsius occurs. Some ice that would have remained frozen will now be liquid, but some water that would have been liquid will now be water vapor caught up in the atmosphere, changing weather patterns in ways we cannot predict.

    The position of global-warming fetishists is premised on the faulty assumption that the way the Earth is right now is the super-best-most-awesomest way it could possibly be and that any change is bad. We don’t know that. We can’t know that. The reason many people (most?) think that global-warming alarmists are full of shit is that the alarmists lack the most basic epistemic humility of believing that it is just possible that they might be wrong. They are so convinced of their righteousness, they don’t care what costs are incurred to save their utopian vision, even though we have absolutely no reason to believe the Earth’s current state should be privileged over any past or future state.

    @ A McGillican (#6):

    What the effects will be, is uncertain, but they will be bad…

    Think about what you sound like. “I don’t know what’s going to be happen, but it’s going to be bad.” That’s not a scientist talking. That’s a witch-doctor or a psychic wrapping a lock of hair around his finger and consulting the auguries.

    @ ClubMedSux (#25)

    But today the overwhelming majority of meteorologists/climatologists/geophysicists agree that anthropogenic warming is being observed.

    Global warming is observable. Anthropogenic global warming is a causal claim that is inferred, not observed. Second, the fundamental problem with global warming believers is that even if their causal claims are true, they fail to deal with the fundamental issues that raises:

    1. Why should the current (or 1980’s or 1970’s) state of the Earth be privileged over any other state?

    2. The alarmist’s mindset of “slow (or stop) warming” no matter the cost is a fanatical mindset, not a reasoned one, and ignores the logical possibility that it is possible to slow or stop global warming but that the costs of doing so are greater than the costs of global warming.

    @ Nando (#37):

    As we continue to add shit to the environment that should’ve never been there to begin with, we continue to change our world and we cannot know what the consequences for our race will be.

    Should implies a normative claim, not a scientific one. That is another libertarian objection to climate science of all sorts; its practitioners are trying to enforce a moral code rather than engage in real science.

  43. #43 |  ChrisD | 

    +Climate has many spatial and temporal patterns that occur over years, +decades, centuries, millennium. We have data that documents these +patterns and what we have observed over the last 40 years is not a +natural pattern.

    I’m sorry but I have to take issue with this, too. It’s like saying we have data on 9/11 and on the assassination of Caesar. It’s true, but they’re of nothing like the same quality. Gas samples from ice cores in glaciers versus millions of measurement in populations centers worldwide. Are those really equivalently powerful data points?

    I also think that in your program worries about global warming will drive additional billions in funding to further research, lucrative consultancies, and more professorships. It would simply be human nature to err on the side of believing it.

  44. #44 |  Paul L. | 

    I don’t believe I’ve ever heard Al Gore or anyone else say “global warming” means every spot on earth will be hotter, all the time
    Perhaps you missed this bit of political theater.
    “The planet has a fever,” Gore said. “If your baby has a fever, you go to the doctor. If the doctor says you need to intervene here, you don’t say, ‘Well, I read a science fiction novel that told me it’s not a problem.’ If the crib’s on fire, you don’t speculate that the baby is flame retardant. You take action.

  45. #45 |  Laertes | 

    Yeah, I didn’t imagine that post would play well with this crowd. A lot of self-styled libertarians are actually just wingnuts with enough sense to be embarrassed by Bush, but are otherwise members in good standing.

  46. #46 |  ChrisD | 

    Cliff is correct about similar climate periods in history. There was a medieval warming period. England had better wine than Spain at the time! There’s even a book “The Long Summer” about it.

  47. #47 |  Ben | 

    Anywho, nobody with half a brain can deny that we have changed our environment in the last 200 years. The amount of waste, plastic, toxins, nuclear debris, trash-burning, coal-burning, industrial waste, etc. is HUGE compared to what it was before the industrial revolution.

    To play devil’s advocate, explain to me how much of that wasn’t around when we started. In other words, how much did we create out of nothing? None of it. It’s all part of the world. The world isn’t the problem. Our ability to survive on this planet is the problem.

    George Carlin on the issue:

    I’m getting tired of that shit. Tired of that shit. I’m tired of fucking Earth Day, I’m tired of these self-righteous environmentalists, these white, bourgeois liberals who think the only thing wrong with this country is there aren’t enough bicycle paths. People trying to make the world save for their Volvos. Besides, environmentalists don’t give a shit about the planet. They don’t care about the planet. Not in the abstract they don’t. Not in the abstract they don’t. You know what they’re interested in? A clean place to live. Their own habitat. They’re worried that some day in the future, they might be personally inconvenienced. Narrow, unenlightened self-interest doesn’t impress me.

    Besides, there is nothing wrong with the planet. Nothing wrong with the planet. The planet is fine. The PEOPLE are fucked. Difference. Difference. The planet is fine. Compared to the people, the planet is doing great. Been here four and a half billion years. Did you ever think about the arithmetic? The planet has been here four and a half billion years. We’ve been here, what, a hundred thousand? Maybe two hundred thousand? And we’ve only been engaged in heavy industry for a little over two hundred years. Two hundred years versus four and a half billion. And we have the CONCEIT to think that somehow we’re a threat? That somehow we’re gonna put in jeopardy this beautiful little blue-green ball that’s just a-floatin’ around the sun?

    The planet has been through a lot worse than us. Been through all kinds of things worse than us. Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles…hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worlwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages…And we think some plastic bags, and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference? The planet…the planet…the planet isn’t going anywhere. WE ARE!

    We’re going away. Pack your shit, folks. We’re going away. And we won’t leave much of a trace, either. Thank God for that. Maybe a little styrofoam. Maybe. A little styrofoam. The planet’ll be here and we’ll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake. An evolutionary cul-de-sac. The planet’ll shake us off like a bad case of fleas. A surface nuisance.

    Read the rest here: http://www.habitablezone.com/flame/messages/420992.html

  48. #48 |  Rob Davidson | 

    (1) “Climate change” is redundant. If the climate _isn’t_ changing, you are on a dead planet. The moon’s climate is remarkably stable.

    (2) “Global temperature” is _completely_ meaningless – a nonsense term that is only useful to bamboozle the gullible. We don’t even have reliably accurate data for the United States covering the past 100 years, let alone for the entire planet covering the millennia. Considering the problems with faulty weather reporting stations here in the U.S. (stations placed on or adjacent to parking lots, etc.), you cannot even come up with a realistic average temperature for one state.

  49. #49 |  tim | 

    I think we can all agree that Al Gore is a blowhard and I am personally tired of the ‘sky is falling’ pitch that many scientists take on this subject.

    Its basic common sense that we are messing with our climate. The only unanswered question is what will happen? I take the position that the earth will become a tad less hospitable to us but we will survive just find or at least as well as we are doing today.

    (I am amused at all the global warming skeptics in this thread and how quickly they are being voted up. Its telling on who reads this blog.)

  50. #50 |  Al Gorch | 

    Gotta love the “well they started it” argument. In case you don’t know it comes off something like this:

    “Those fucking hippies are stupid. Wait till I show ‘em what a dumbfuck I AM. Wheeeeeeeeeeee.”

  51. #51 |  Nando | 

    #47 Ben:

    As much as I love Carlin, he was a comedian, not a scientist.

    Again, anyone with half a brain knows that when you burn coal, you release gases that would’ve never been released otherwise. Can anyone actually argue intelligently that all the coal we burn would’ve somehow unearthed and burned itself? Of course not. And, by applying heat to something (like Coal or Uranium), we chemically alter the substance and create new substances. Nobody can tell me that plastics would form naturally had we not started rearranging molecules.

    There are so many substances that we’ve created that would otherwise not exist that you have to admit that they will change the environment in some way or form. Maybe it isn’t detrimental and, in the grand scheme of things, I’m sure it’s not permanent, but something will change.

    I don’t argue that the state of the world at any given time is the best/optimal as far as the Earth is concerned. However, there are certain conditions which are the most favorable for human life and habitation. That is where the “global climate change” army would like the world to be.

    Again, I’m very philosophical on this issue and stand somewhere in the middle. IMHO, to do nothing or to change everything are both just as bad. I believe we should do our part to use less fossil fuels and use more renewable sources of energy like wind, solar, geothermal, etc. I also don’t think that the levels of C02 in our atmosphere are good for us as a species.

  52. #52 |  Jerry S | 

    (I am amused at all the global warming skeptics in this thread and how quickly they are being voted up. Its telling on who reads this blog.) – tim

    As we are amused with AGW alarmists.

    The position of global-warming fetishists is premised on the faulty assumption that the way the Earth is right now is the super-best-most-awesomest way it could possibly be and that any change is bad. – John Jenkins

    Amen! I’ll second that and add that the hubris displayed by the AGW alarmist crowd about stoping the warming is laughable. We’ll either adapt or perish and has anyone thought maybe a warmer world just might be better? A colder world would be much worse, IMHO.

  53. #53 |  chance | 

    In the debates between skeptics and proponants that I have seen online, heard on radio, and read, the skeptics generally haven’t been persuasive to me.

    Anywho, I would expect libertarians as a group should be the first to use and extol the virtues of alternative power sources like solar, wind, and non-fossil fuels. After all, these power sources have the potential to free the user from using state supported/subsidized electricity, and the strings that come attached with that.

  54. #54 |  Mattocracy | 

    So…if you don’t believe in Global Warming/Climate Change, you’re an ignorant and uninformed anti-intellectual, and if you do believe in it, you’re a part of a cultish religion using faux science that wants to end all debate…

    Talk about a bunch of pots and kettles.

    Bjorn Lomborg is the only person I’ve heard talk about climate change that is a reasonable and honest.

  55. #55 |  Peyton | 

    Actually, that’s not the case, Radley. Gore and global warming alarmists frequently point to regional temperature anomalies and isolated extreme weather events — events that have zero correlation to global warming — as proof of global warming. Their entire strategy has been to condition the public to view anything above, below, or outside the “average” temperature, rainfall, hurricane strength, snowfall, or what-have-you as cause for alarm. (Notice they’ve shifted their phraseology from “global warming” to “climate change” — acutely aware that the Earth, as a whole, is entering a somewhat predictable cooling period). And these alarmists have, to a large degree, succeeded. That’s unfortunate because thinking people understand that the “average” is just that — the middle point between extremes. And extreme nature events (hot spells, cold spells, ice ages, melting, freezing, dry spells, wet spells, species going extinct, etc.) have been occurring and fluctuating since the dawn of time. Pointing out when snow and cold follows Gore around is simply giving the gander what the gander thinks is good for the geese. One might disagree with the tactic, but that’s a separate debate.

  56. #56 |  chance | 

    Hear hear on #50. That pretty much sums up my beliefs on the subject.

  57. #57 |  Steve Verdon | 

    Jim Henley,

    I suggest you read this,

    Like Glenn Reynolds says – I’ll start believing it when the people who are screaming about start acting like *they* believe it.

    My problem is that these guys don’t act it is the catastrophe they claim it will be. They go on driving big SUVs, flying private jets, consuming vast amounts of electricity. But they want all of us “peons” to cut back so they can maintain their lifestyles.

    Reminds me vaguely of the government in 1984.

  58. #58 |  Mattocracy | 

    @ Chance,

    Totally. I think empowering individuals to be self reliant is the only way for humans to reduce carbon output, if that is their individual goal. The government has too many interest groups to bribe to get honest policy.

  59. #59 |  Jim Henley | 

    Steve, I have a lot of respect for your opinion on several issues that are not this one.

  60. #60 |  Elliot | 

    Ridiculing politicians is a wonderfully effective American tradition, particularly for dissidents who despise how such arrogant politicians pretend to be infallible while they trample on our rights.

    Who is seriously claiming that a cold day “proves” anything? What in the world made you decide to defend this crackpot collectivist icon? And, I don’t recall you objecting to any over-the-top ridicule of Bush, Quaylee, Coulter, et al..

    I say: MORE RIDICULE! DRIVE IT HOME! LAMPOON THEM ALL UNTIL THE VERY MENTION OF THEIR NAMES CAUSES IMMEDIATE LAUGHTER! SPARE NO PRESIDENT! SPARE NO PART!

    Any reason why not?

  61. #61 |  Elliot | 

    PART -> PARTY

  62. #62 |  Ben | 

    Nando, #50; I don’t argue that the state of the world at any given time is the best/optimal as far as the Earth is concerned. However, there are certain conditions which are the most favorable for human life and habitation. That is where the “global climate change” army would like the world to be.

    Allow me to point out the phrases that make me like that quote, because they are so true:

    You know what they’re interested in? A clean place to live. Their own habitat. They’re worried that some day in the future, they might be personally inconvenienced.

    and

    You wanna know if the planet’s all right, ask those people in Mexico City or Armenia or a hundred other places buried under thousands of tons of earthquake rubble, if they feel like a threat to the planet this week.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think we should stop doing what we’re doing simply to extend the potential time of existance for humans. But we need to stop saying “Save the Planet” because the planet doesn’t need saving. Nor do we need to stop global warming. We need to start with the “Save the Humans” because humans are the endangered species if this keeps happening. That’s his point, and that’s mine as well.

  63. #63 |  jwk | 

    Maybe if Al Gore would stop talking – that would help lower the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

    In Nashville – we’re still waiting for him to repair the “bridges he burned” in the 2000 election. Do you think the emissions from the burned bridges contributed to global warming??? Just a thought….

  64. #64 |  Nando | 

    #62 Ben

    Allow me to point out the phrases that make me like that quote, because they are so true:

    You know what they’re interested in? A clean place to live. Their own habitat. They’re worried that some day in the future, they might be personally inconvenienced.

    and

    You wanna know if the planet’s all right, ask those people in Mexico City or Armenia or a hundred other places buried under thousands of tons of earthquake rubble, if they feel like a threat to the planet this week.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think we should stop doing what we’re doing simply to extend the potential time of existance for humans. But we need to stop saying “Save the Planet” because the planet doesn’t need saving. Nor do we need to stop global warming. We need to start with the “Save the Humans” because humans are the endangered species if this keeps happening. That’s his point, and that’s mine as well.

    Ben,

    You’re arguing semantics. If I tell you that you’re going to die tomorrow and some religious nut tells you that you’re going to the best possible place you could ever imagine, does it make a difference? Nope, you’re still going to die.

    When people say “Save the Planet,” it’s obvious that they could care less what happened to the planet, per se, if they weren’t on it. They, and everyone else, should be interested in keeping the Earth hospitable for humans. Whether they say “Save the Planet” or “Help Keep the Planet’s Atmosphere and Environment at a Level that Sustains Human Life” is a moot point. It’s not the semantics that matter, it’s the meaning that does.

    Arguing with people who say that saying “Save the Planet” is dumb because they don’t mean Planet, they mean Humanity is like arguing with an 8 year-old on why fart jokes are funny.

  65. #65 |  John Jenkins | 

    @ Nando (#50):

    I don’t argue that the state of the world at any given time is the best/optimal as far as the Earth is concerned. However, there are certain conditions which are the most favorable for human life and habitation. That is where the “global climate change” army would like the world to be.

    What conditions are those that are “most favorable for human life and habitation?” We could not begin to optimize a system as complex as the entire Earth for human habitation if we wanted to and that is not the argument being advanced. The global warming argument is a steady drumbeat of carbon emissions, carbon emissions, carbon emissions, and it specifically privileges past states over the present and future states. See, e.g.,here.

  66. #66 |  Nando | 

    John,

    Yes, you’re right that they privilege past states above the future ones. That is done because we KNOW that humans can survive when certain elements are within certain parameters in our environment. Changing them to a level never before seen since humans came onto this world (such as the Carbon levels are soon to be) brings the unexpected and the unexplainable. The prediction is that the world would become more inhospitable as certain elements start to rise above certain levels in the atmosphere and environment.

    We also know we can’t live under certain conditions, which are very likely to emerge if things stay on their path. That is why they favor the past over the future. I’d rather take my chances with the way things used to be since we KNOW that humans can safely live under them, then change them and see what happens. I’ll gamble with my money but I’d rather not gamble with my life.

  67. #67 |  Big Chief | 

    Radley, I blame “global warming” the way you do “gay marriage”, with the same level of sarcasm. I particularly use it on the nutjobs I know who have seriously sited global warming for every hurricane, tornado and heat wave that has hit over the last 5 or 10 years. I don’t have any remorse for throwing it back at them, infantile as it may seem. I do think it’s important to make the point that there is little evidence that the current state of the planet is outside of the norm.

    I think there is evidence that there is some global warming, and that there may be an man-made component to it. I don’t believe there is any evidence to conclude we have to take drastic steps to reverse it, or that we can even reliably do so. I have a big problem with anyone who claims that the man-made part of it is the biggest factor, or even if they start siting what the percentages are since there is so little information to base it on.

    The biggest problem I have with the current global warming fear-mongers is that their apocolyptic scenarios are based on climate models. From what I have read these climate models have not even accurately predicted the current state from past ones (like why the oceans haven’t warmed as predicted).

    The global warming nuts seem to be just another incarnation of prohibitionists and need to be shamed into silence. I’m for exploring other more effective means of silencing them as well.

  68. #68 |  Big Chief | 

    Nando – I live in Cleveland and am currently looking outside at over a foot of snow. I know from articles that I have read that it has been warmer here. I vote for warmer.

  69. #69 |  $name | 

    3 points:

    1) People you meet, politicians, and that guy you argued with on the internet are not representative of the scientists who research the climate and work on climate models. There exists a realm of scientific debate, in scientific journals and conferences, where all the points skeptics bring up are actually analyzed. If you can show that current models are false, PUBLISH. You’re argument will be heard. If you doubt me, go to a SCIENTIFIC conference on climate modeling.

    2) To claims that we don’t have enough information, where is the vehemence for cosmologists, particle physicists, and astronomers? They infer much more, from much less, than scientists working with earth based models. Unless you claim that there is nothing to be gained from the scientific investigation of the data we have, what is the point in claiming that we don’t have enough data?

    3) People may claim the current state of the planet is the “best possible”. Such people wouldn’t know what the hell they’re talking about. Arguments can be made that a warmer earth would be better for humans. HOWEVER, the rate of change is MUCH more important than the final state. How fast do you think the agriculture industry can relocate? How much of a loss would they take by abandoning current operations? What if the locations with the best conditions for farmland are remote by current standards? What will the costs be to extend infrastructure to those places?

    If any of the long range sea level models are even remotely accurate, how much will it cost to move / rebuild all coastal cities and how fast can we do it? What loss would we take if this occurred over 1000 years, 100 years, 50 years, or 25 years? If you say the earth is changing independent of humans, perhaps we should study that and determine what effect it will have on humans?

    Whether or not man has an effect on the climate is almost irrelevant. We need to know if things are changing, how they’re changing, how fast they’re changing, what is creating that change, and what, if anything, we can do about it.

  70. #70 |  God's Own Drunk | 

    To paraphrase most people on both sides of the climate change issue-

    “I’m not a scientist, have no background in this subject matter and I have not performed any research into it. However, I did read an article once about it, so let me explain in absolutes why you are wrong, I’m right and how this whole global climate paterns thing works…… I also stayed in a Holiday Inn last night.”

    :)

  71. #71 |  Dakota | 

    Global Warming, fuck that. Lets get back to the goddamn super volcano!!! Now that shit is scary.

  72. #72 |  Stephen | 

    #42 smallish fail :)

    “The reason the water level in your container rises after the ice cube melts is because some of the ice was above the water level to begin with.”

    Actually when the ice melts, the water level does not change. The ice becomes exactly the same amount of water that it was displacing when it was floating in the water as ice. So, floating ice that melts does not change the sea levels. Now glaciers that are sitting on land will raise the sea levels if they melt.

    I think the earth has many “buffer” systems that act to smooth things out. Example, More heat=more water vapor in the air=more clouds=more heat from the sun reflected back into space thus reducing heat etc.

    I think the USA has done quite well in cleaning it’s act up from the early industrial times. Places that looked and smelled horrible when I was a kid are much nicer now. We are cleaning up our mess while the rest of the world is still messing things up. (hint – China)

    Places I would rather all this “climate change” tax money should go are:
    1. Cleaning up all the plastics we put in the ocean or at least stop making it worse.
    2. Logical care of our fisheries. Way too much overfishing going on.
    3. Gathering something like 100 times the data we have now about global temperature past and present and worldwide.
    4. Designing climate models that accurately predict the present when given the data up through 1990 or so. If you constantly have to go back and change your model, then it was not accurate was it?
    5. Recycling programs for medicines. Way too many pharmaceuticals end up in our water.
    6. Stop flaring off natural gas in oil production. These huge fires in Nigeria that have been going for decades are probably warming things up a little don’t you think?

    I also think that the sunspot record correlates just as well with global temperature as the C02 levels. The C02 levels could actually be caused by warming and not the other way around.

    I am an just an engineer and not a climate scientist but the way I have seen things work in my life is that just because you found a correlation does not mean you have found the cause. It might be a cause but certainly not always.

  73. #73 |  JP | 

    “When nearly all physicists and chemists believe in the importance of quantum mechanical effects at the microscopic level, and ignore dissenting voices saying that quantum mechanics is ridiculous and false, that’s not science; that’s religion. If scientists really wanted to understand natural phenomena, they would open their minds to the possibility that only classical mechanics apply to microscopic systems, and that the quantum mechanical ‘concensus’ is manufactured by cultish institutionalism.”

    Think about it for a minute.

  74. #74 |  Jim Henley | 

    As Glenn Reynolds wrote, “Some meth addict told me that it was a bad idea to get hooked on crystal meth. Well, I’ll believe that when that meth addict starts living like HE believes it’s a bad idea to get hooked on crystal meth! HAR HAR HAR! Pass me that empty Pringle can . . . “

  75. #75 |  Big Chief | 

    $name – re: your second point.
    I have no issue with speculation except when it starts to impact policy. Especially when it impacts how lawmakers try to control my life. I’m not aware of any work done by “cosmologists, particle physicists, and astronomers” that says we should go back to living in caves to stop the sky from falling.

  76. #76 |  Mikestermike | 

    Last I checked there hasn’t been any glaciers in my backyard for several thousand years. I am thankful for any global warming, as I don’t hunt mammoth very well….

  77. #77 |  Big Chief | 

    Henley, you’ve convinced me. I’ll only vote for meth addicts for president from here on. They can hardly do worse.

  78. #78 |  fwb | 

    The total industrial output of C to the atmosphere is 6 billion tons per year. This amounts to an increase of 0.73% per year IF all the carbon stays in the atmosphere. That calculates out to 0.002% of the atmospheric C per day. The naysayers claim CO2 lasts anywhere from 50 yrs to more than a thousand yrs. Why because they do’t know how long it lasts. The equilibirium between the atmosphere and oceans is rapid with the oceans containing 51x as much dissolved C as the atmosphere. The models suck because the person creting the model can only include certain factors. In order to properly and scientifically evaluate anthropogenic effects, the entire system needs to be modeled leaving out nothing.

    Getting published as a disbeliever is nearly impossible. Scientific journals are hgihly politicized and peer-review is one of the most overrated methodologies out there. Peers nearly always allow their friends or people they agree with publish while doing all they can to stop those with whom they disagree from having their day.

    Do humans cause issues? Yes, but those are primarily localized. Do humans THINK they are in control? Of course, the ego is a major player in most people. Can we FIX the issue? We probably have a minor effect on the global climate and because of that we can only have a minor effect on controlling change. We each are here for such a short time that most often we have no idea of changes over geologic time scales.

    I’m just a PhD with 30 yrs experience studying chemical thermodynamics of the environment. And I still know very little except that the aim of all these chicken littles is to frighten others so that controls can be implemented. The current hobgoblin is CG. Soon there will be something else and many will be clamoring for those in charge to protect them.

  79. #79 |  $name | 

    Big Chief-

    Point partially accepted.

    Most (I personally know of none, but I haven’t actively tried to find any climate scientists that are also Luddites) scientists studying the climate do NOT recommend we go back to living in caves. Public figures and politicians on the other hand…

    I agree with you that making policy decisions based on commonly held beliefs about the science is ridiculous. I feel the same way about nuclear power, free trade, public education, and a host of other issues where the common consensus disagrees with the research. Just because idiots use research to advance their cause / position does not mean I think the researchers are wrong.

    We have what amounts to a failure for markets to properly incorporate negative externalities into their prices. Pollution of various types has various effects on people and commerce. For example, certain types of pollutants raise the risks of certain diseases, thereby raising health care costs. Why is that price not included in the product producing the pollution? Partially because the risk isn’t sufficiently understood or quantified, but also because it takes a massive state intervention in pricing (which I think is a BAD idea). From a Bayesian perspective we should try to incorporate all current information into an estimate of the probability of negative aspects related to climate change occurring, multiply this by the estimate of the cost of the negative thing occurring, spread that cost over all industries contributing to the risk, and put the proceeds towards insurance, prevention, or something. I have no idea how to do that and feel it’s probably impossible.

  80. #80 |  John Jenkins | 

    @ $name (#69):

    To claims that we don’t have enough information, where is the vehemence for cosmologists, particle physicists, and astronomers?

    Three things here: (1) we don’t argue about particle physics because no one has a clue what the hell they’re talking about (hint: if your discussion ever tends toward the properties of dead cats, you’re way out past the point anyone is listening); (2) what are astronomers making up (although the inability to settle on a definition of “planet” makes you wonder about those guys); (3) the consensus (or lack thereof) among cosmologists, physicists and astronomers is not generally cited as proof that we have to do something or we’re all doomed (of course, if we’re all dead in a box somewhere, but no one can see us, aren’t we already doomed? Damn it, physicists!).

    If climate scientists were just duking it out in their journals, no one would care. Once you try to bend science to your policy preferences, it’s a whole different ball game.

    @ Stephen (@72):

    Actually when the ice melts, the water level does not change.

    You’re right. I forgot my basic displacement equation (and the fact that water’s decreased density when frozen corresponds to the increased volume).

  81. #81 |  Elliot | 


    #67
    Big Chief, well put.

    The more arrogant the spokesperson, the more dire or hysterical their warnings, the more fun to tweak their noses. These Y2Kyoto Chicken Littles have not been ridiculed near enough, considering all the anti-freedom legislation which they have passed and which they plan to pass.

    Large corporations are trying to position themselves as being Green, hoping to avoid being carted off to the guillotine when and if this becomes a full bore revolution. Green is the new Red, after all, and the best two weapons against them (in protection of freedom) are (1) science, as a rational tool of skepticism to seek the truth and (2) ridicule, in large heaping doses, for those who push irrational ideas via propaganda.

    To put it another way, David Letterman, who often does a fine job poking fun of politicians until the very mention of their names starts the audience chuckling, has given air time to RFK, Jr. and some of the most hysterical climate “experts”, when he should be putting up pictures of the Hollywood disaster film footage Gore included in his so-called documentary, or the poor polar bear on the melting iceberg.

    When comedians don’t do their jobs, it’s time for us to push them. It’s not time to insist that people stop joking about Al Gore and cold weather.

  82. #82 |  chance | 

    “(3) the consensus (or lack thereof) among cosmologists, physicists and astronomers is not generally cited as proof that we have to do something or we’re all doomed (of course, if we’re all dead in a box somewhere, but no one can see us, aren’t we already doomed? Damn it, physicists!).”

    You obviously haven’t been following the doomsday asteroid debate.

    Also, I swear the comment numbers changed, I gave props to 50, and then 50 changed to 51. Does that happen often here?

  83. #83 |  John Jenkins | 

    @ chance (#82):

    Also, I swear the comment numbers changed, I gave props to 50, and then 50 changed to 51. Does that happen often here?

    It doesn’t happen a lot, but it does happen sometimes. I think it happens because some comments get intercepted for moderating and when a comment gets approved, it gets put into correct time order by the time the comment was made, and all the subsequent comments are displaced by one.

  84. #84 |  supercat | 

    If scientists really wanted to understand natural phenomena, they would open their minds to the possibility that only classical mechanics apply to microscopic systems, and that the quantum mechanical ‘concensus’ is manufactured by cultish institutionalism.

    The scientists who suggested that relativity and quantum physics model the universe more accurately than classical physics were able to formulate predictions and say, in essence, “If we do X, classical physics predicts Y will happen but we believe Z will happen.” They then conducted experiments and confirmed that action X does indeed produce consequence Z.

    Really, nobody knows if the actual mechanisms behind the behavior of the universe bear any relationship to those theorized by quantum physicists, but the engineers at Intel, AMD, et al. do know that high-speed, high-density chips whose designs take quantum-physic effects into consideration are far more likely to actually work than those which ignore such effects. Thus, regardless of whether quantum physics is “right”, it is useful.

    What useful (or even meaningful) predictions have global warming “scientists” put forth? Scientific theories are useful when, and only when, they can accurately predict things. Any “scientific” theory that can’t accurately predict anything is meaningless.

    Global temperatures are certainly significantly below historical maxima (Greenland used to support agriculture, for example), and CO2 levels seem to be below historical maxima as well. Given that the planet didn’t go into any sort of thermal runaway condition then, I see no reason to believe it’s in imminent danger of going into one now.

    Although some methods of reducing CO2 emissions would be practical and inexpensive, the “global climate change” alarmists are pushing for many measures which are expensive and impractical. The environment would be better off if, rather than spending $10B on some particular anti-global-warming measure, a business instead spent $5B doing something that would produce real benefit to the environment and let its shareholders have the other $5B. The alarmists, however, would rather force the shareholders to spend $10B on environmentally-useless measures.

  85. #85 |  Ironbear | 

    “Can we stop this nonsense where every time a snowflake lands on Al Gore, we laugh about how it proves he’s wrong about global warming?”

    Well, no – because that just never ever gets old. ;)

  86. #86 |  John Jenkins | 

    @ Nando (#66):

    I’ll gamble with my money but I’d rather not gamble with my life.

    But when you gamble with economic development, as such, which will necessarily decrease in any significant effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (think less efficient fuels, more expensive fossil fuels, etc.), you are not just throwing away money, you are potentially throwing away lives as people who might otherwise survive or flourish are either not born in the first place as a result of the economic plight of their parents or die for lack of food, potable water or medicine (imagine the vast famine that would ensue across the world if petrochemical fertilizers became too expensive to produce).

    That’s the problem with trying to predict a complex system (in this case, two independent, complex systems!) that you really don’t know what you’re bet is. You might be all in without even knowing it.

  87. #87 |  Tim C | 

    Here is an interesting summary, note that many of these scientists reversed there position (this is specifically aimed at those commenters who have said they haven’t heard convincing arguments from skeptics). Also note, solar cycle thing I mentioned previously is mentioned here as well.

    http://capmag.com/article.asp?ID=5370

  88. #88 |  chance | 

    “But when you gamble with economic development, as such, which will necessarily decrease in any significant effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (think less efficient fuels, more expensive fossil fuels, etc.), you are not just throwing away money, you are potentially throwing away lives as people who might otherwise survive or flourish are either not born in the first place as a result of the economic plight of their parents or die for lack of food, potable water or medicine (imagine the vast famine that would ensue across the world if petrochemical fertilizers became too expensive to produce).

    That’s the problem with trying to predict a complex system (in this case, two independent, complex systems!) that you really don’t know what you’re bet is. You might be all in without even knowing it.”

    But wouldn’t you agree the gamble works both way? If we assume the consensus on climate change is flawed (or fraud, or hype, or whatever) and are wrong (i.e. global warming is partially man-made, and the effects are bad for us), then those same people “who might otherwise survive or flourish are either not born in the first place as a result of the economic plight of their parents or die for lack of food, potable water or medicine” because we didn’t take prudent measures?

    I look at it this way, and maybe from an economic standpoint this is naive, but if global warming really is not happening, and we take actions that cause the economic hardship you describe, we can reverse course on those policies that caused harm (oops, solar sucks, free coal for everybody!). If on the other hand warming is real and we take no actions until it is much later down the line, will it be as “easy” to change direction and implement mitigation strategies?

  89. #89 |  supercat | 

    I look at it this way, and maybe from an economic standpoint this is naive, but if global warming really is not happening, and we take actions that cause the economic hardship you describe, we can reverse course on those policies that caused harm (oops, solar sucks, free coal for everybody!).

    If the global climate is going to change in an adverse way regardless of what people do, people may find themselves needing a lot of energy. If adequate facilities for energy production and distribution are not in place before that occurs, there may not be time to develop such resources before many people starve, overheat, or freeze.

    Mathematically, it is very unlikely that the climate is proceeding toward disaster with just enough ‘momentum’ that changes in man-made CO2 emissions will determine whether or not it goes over the brink. I don’t know how likely it is to go over the brink, but the probability that it will go over the brink regardless of what mankind does is almost certainly higher than the probability that mankind’s actions will be the determining factor. To use a rough analogy, suppose a bowling ball is rolling toward the top of a hill. Maybe it will go over, or maybe it won’t. It could theoretically have just the right amount of momentum such that blowing on it (with normal human breath) could make the difference between going over and not, but it would almost certainly have either too much or too little.

    Thus, if one is going to take any course of action, it would make more sense to plan toward the more probable difficult scenario (i.e. that the climate is going to change adversely, so we’ll need a way to deal with it) than the improbable one (we can prevent an adverse climate change by undermining the economic development that would protect us against one if it occurred).

  90. #90 |  Big Chief | 

    $name – re: your second paragraph – Please point out where I made that statement, or even implied it.

    My contention is that while there is general agreement in the scientific community, there is far from any consesus on the future levels of warming, the root cause(s), or the effects. My complaint is that I’ve heard of NO scientific group that supports the extreeme outcomes being touted by Al “ManBearPig” Gore. The UN committee’s own worst case estimates are FAR below Gore’s claims. But Gore’s scenarios are what are being used by the media (news and popular) as the baseline.

    Frankly, South Park was too kind to Al Gore.

  91. #91 |  Jerry S | 

    BIg Chief – You’re right, South Park should’ve slammed him more but it was still pretty finny.

    My contention is that the consensus is failling apart.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/01/27/james-hansens-former-nasa-supervisor-declares-himself-a-skeptic-says-hansen-embarrassed-nasa-was-never-muzzled/

    Retired senior NASA atmospheric scientist, Dr. John S. Theon, the former supervisor of James Hansen, NASA’s vocal man-made global warming fear soothsayer, has now publicly declared himself a skeptic and declared that Hansen “embarrassed NASA” with his alarming climate claims and said Hansen was “was never muzzled.” Theon joins the rapidly growing ranks of international scientists abandoning the promotion of man-made global warming fears.

    “I appreciate the opportunity to add my name to those who disagree that global warming is man made,” Theon wrote to the Minority Office at the Environment and Public Works Committee on January 15, 2009

  92. #92 |  mattincincy | 

    I apologize if this has been addressed. I’m at #42. If I have a large cup (32 0z) filled with Ice and water to the tippy tippy top, when the ice melts the water will not overflow. Period. The Ice Melting Flooding the World claim is bs. Unless you’re talking about ice that’s on land. That’s different.

  93. #93 |  mattincincy | 

    “Some meth addict told me that it was a bad idea to get hooked on crystal meth. Well, I’ll believe that when that meth addict starts living like HE believes it’s a bad idea to get hooked on crystal meth!”

    If the idea here is to disprove the validity of this arguement:

    I’ll start believing it when the people who are screaming about start acting like *they* believe it.

    That doesn’t work at all. A crystal meth addict isn’t making piles and piles of meth and telling everyone else not too- he also can’t keep himself off the drug. Al Gore is very capable of not flying around the world in Lear Jets, living in gigantic homes and consuming the energy of a small village. Not only is Al Gore NOT part of the solution, he’s a bigger part of the problem than most.

  94. #94 |  Jason | 

    “Climate change” is the new name for what we used to call “weather”.

  95. #95 |  Dreadnaught | 

    You do make a point. But, fear monger James Hansen seemed to think it was very important that it was warm on the day he testified before Congress. And he is a scientist. If it is relevant that it is hot on one day, it is just as relevant (politically) that is was cold on a particular day.

    http://dreadnaught.wordpress.com/2009/01/21/inauguration-fails-to-demonstrate-global-warming/

  96. #96 |  JB | 

    “Retired senior NASA atmospheric scientist, Dr. John S. Theon, the former supervisor of James Hansen”

    That’s very interesting, and completely untrue.

  97. #97 |  JB | 

    “I apologize if this has been addressed. I’m at #42. If I have a large cup (32 0z) filled with Ice and water to the tippy tippy top, when the ice melts the water will not overflow. Period. The Ice Melting Flooding the World claim is bs. Unless you’re talking about ice that’s on land. That’s different.”

    This kind of stuff is painful to read. Of course ice on land is counted. That’s what a glacier is. Also, you’re completely ignoring the volume/temperature issue. As water is warmed, it becomes less dense and increases in volume. Warm up an ocean, and the water level will rise.

  98. #98 |  Ytaker | 

    The fact that he, and many others, interpret every even mildly hot day as a proof that global warming is happening is rather galling. I know that individual events aren’t that important in the general scheme. My friends, and he, don’t seem to. Given that the world is, in general, a lot colder than the past, and the fact that a huge number of people are experiencing snow, it’s only fair to rub it in.

  99. #99 |  10INTM | 

    Stop wasting our time, JB from #97! Yes, matter takes up more volume as it warms. HOWEVER!!!….water is the exception to the rule because it is denser in its liquid form than it is in its solid form. Life, as we know it, on Earth would not be sustainable if water behaved regularly. Water organisms would not be able to live in partially-frozen ponds. Penguins in the Antarctic and polar bears in the Arctic would have much less to walk upon. Winter migrations would be impossible for many land animals (unless they’re some damn good swimmers).

    Either try the experiment yourself (without already having your mind made-up about what kind of results you’ll get [or want]) or Google your facts before you post them.

  100. #100 |  JB | 

    You didn’t even read the link I posted, did you?

    Liquid water increases in volume as it heats. We’re talking about an enormous amount of liquid water in the oceans, which increases in volume as it warms.

    You are embarrassing.

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