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Who here is a global warming skeptic?


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I am a global warming skeptic. I think it is not only plausible to have doubts, but essential, especially if we wish to honour the memories of Bacon and Galileo and Newton. We should doubt the data ga

Lots of things.   I am pretty well convinced that there is a problem with CO2 levels and decreasing Ph of the oceans. This could be serious indeed.   I am also convinced, based on isotope abundan

Can you please post some kind of evidence - preferably new evidence - which made you come to this conclusion? And FOX News does not count. Instead of forcing the climate sciences to "prove" that clim

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Can you please post some kind of evidence - preferably new evidence - which made you come to this conclusion? And FOX News does not count.

Instead of forcing the climate sciences to "prove" that climate change is a fact, why don't we reverse this for once? Just prove to us that climate change is a myth... then we can bust that myth.

 

I'm sick and tired of having to explain the whole climate theory... and then some stupid climate skeptic finds 1 little point which is perhaps not explained well, and claims that the entire theory falls to pieces. Let's reverse that process. You can prove that it's bunk, and we'll shoot holes in the climate skeptics' theories.

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My basic ethos is that if I haven't read both widely and deeply then I go with the scientific consensus . Without reading acknowledged experts, understanding the theory and attempting the maths I would have trouble believing much of modern science including einstein's relativity, qm, and most cosmology. There are huge amounts of academic reading material out there; unfortunately it is difficult to sort the scientific wheat from the political chaff - but it is worth the effort.

 

Science just does not admit to testing by the "what I think is right" methodology!

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I am a global warming skeptic. I think it is not only plausible to have doubts, but essential, especially if we wish to honour the memories of Bacon and Galileo and Newton. We should doubt the data gathering techniques, we should doubt the analytical processes, we should doubt the conclusions. We should doubt the researchers, we should doubt their motives, we should doubt the peer review process.

 

Doubt is a cornerstone of good science. Skepticism is an essential part of the scientific method.

 

Having doubted all of these things in relation to global warming I am left with the distinct impression that global warming is very real and very serious. However, as a good skeptic, there is one area in which I have no doubt. I do not doubt the possibility that new research could turn our current understanding on its head - its just that that possibility is, on the balance of the evidence, extremely remote. In the meantime we should proceed on the basis that global warming is a real and present danger.

 

Oh, and have a look in your dictionary. You will likely find that skepticism and denial are not synonyms. Skeptical? Just go ahead and check.

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Personally, I am no climate scientist... but I am tired of people who refuse to see the following things:

 

Facts:

- There are 7 billion people on earth. That is almost 50 people per square kilometer of land.

- Humans have altered nearly the entire surface of the earth. Cut down forests, built roads, built cities, etc.

- We have a LOT of factories, cars, and we use a lot of energy.

- CO2 can absorb heat. This is already known for more than 100 years, and can easily be tested in labs.

- The CO2 concentration is much higher than before, and going up fast.

- The CO2 concentration keeps a nice trend with our world's energy consumption, and the energy consumption keeps a trend with the economy. So, economic growth means more CO2 in the air.

- There is some heating of the earth, and weather systems are changing. And that happens just when CO2, which is a gas that can absorb heat, is released in huge quantities in the atmosphere.

 

That's too much to be coincidence. And since humans already changed the entire earth, don't you think there is a big chance we can actually heat it up by a few degrees as well?

 

Now, if you wish to deny (note the use of the word deny, rather than skeptic) that there is a big chance that humans have something to do with climate change, then be my guest. But don't come to ME to ask to prove the climate change. Instead, you can prove to me that this is really a coincidence.

 

And you better prove it and be certain about it... because this isn't something to make jokes about. If we get it wrong, we're screwed, as is explained pretty well in this

(if you're a skeptic/denialist: watch it, it's pretty simple to understand!).

 

I'm also tired of skeptics. If this was a very fundamental problem, then we could argue about it forever, and use scientifically rigorous methods. And then skepticism has its merits.

But it has become a political and an engineering issue. What do we build? Fossil, nuclear or sustainable? And that is something which cannot be postponed indefinitely... I cannot argue with the skeptics, because they just say "maybe", which is in fact the truth (we're not 100% sure).

But politicians need a simple YES or NO, and so far, the skeptics have been put into the 'nothing is happening' camp, which leads to the conclusion that fossil energy is good. This is how it's been put in the media.

 

For all other real scientific climate debates, I would refer to some excellent threads in this forum. They include nice graphs and figures and explain both sides quite well.

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Well it's undeniable the earth is heating up thats a given measurable fact where my skepticism lies is if it's somthing we're doing or is it a natural cycle we're minorly contributing to?

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I'm also tired of skeptics.

I'm tired of people who claim to be skeptics but clearly are not skeptical. If this really was an unsettled issue that is open for debate, statistically speaking we should expect 50% of skeptics who have come to a conclusion to be on the "AGW is real" side of of things. But the majority of self-described skeptics deny that AGW is real, and a large fraction of them have clearly embraced poor science and conspiracy theory.

 

(That's not to say that there aren't AGW proponents who couldn't argue their way out of a paper bag on the topic. But I don't see them trying to justify their stance with the spin of having carefully considered the topic in an objective manner)

 

edit: Put another way, someone who says they are skeptical of the arguments/evidence supporting AGW but they are not skeptical of the arguments/purported evidence that says AGW is false is not really a skeptic.

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We know there's more CO2.

We know that it's down to us- partly because we can, in effect, carbon date it; but largely because we know how much carbon we burn because we know how much tax we paid on it.

We know that CO2 absorbs IR

We know that the earth is not as hot as the sun.

Because of those, we know that CO2 acts as a greenhouse gas.

We know that the measurements show that the earth is warming.

 

What's left to be sceptical about?

 

The only possible debate seems to be that something else might also be affecting the climate. So what if it is? It's not a valid reason to keep making things worse.

 

Denial of AGW is like saying

"I know we put another blanket on the bed, and I know it's warmer now; but I don't think the two are causally related."

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We know there's more CO2.

We know that it's down to us- partly because we can, in effect, carbon date it; but largely because we know how much carbon we burn because we know how much tax we paid on it.

We know that CO2 absorbs IR

We know that the earth is not as hot as the sun.

Because of those, we know that CO2 acts as a greenhouse gas.

We know that the measurements show that the earth is warming.

 

What's left to be sceptical about?

 

The only possible debate seems to be that something else might also be affecting the climate. So what if it is? It's not a valid reason to keep making things worse.

 

Denial of AGW is like saying

"I know we put another blanket on the bed, and I know it's warmer now; but I don't think the two are causally related."

 

Lots of things.

 

I am pretty well convinced that there is a problem with CO2 levels and decreasing Ph of the oceans. This could be serious indeed.

 

I am also convinced, based on isotope abundance, that fossil CO2 is a major factor.

 

I am not convinced that the dominant source is other than coal mine fires (China being a huge player), forest fires, and volcanoes. Release of trapped methane due to warming may be a gigantic factor -- we need greater understanding.

 

I am not convinced that the estimated 2mm/yr rise in sea level is real. I have quizzed experts, and they admit that there is no datum against which this is measured. Given just tidal variability, 2mm/yr strikes me as too close to a noise level to be credible.

 

I am not anywhere near convinced that heat transfer models purporting to account for sea currents are at all reliable. I have enough experience with the difficulties associated with large fluid dynamics models to be very skeptical.

 

I am not convinced that we have an accurate, comprehensive heat and mass balance model, or even that such a model is within current technological capability. I am convinced that we understand the physics of CO2 and infrared radiation.

 

I am convinced that the long term trend is toward warming. The glaciers that covered most of North America have receded and the "Little Ice Age" of the 1700's is no longer with us.

 

I am not convinced, nor is at least one emminent and concerned scientist with whom I have spoken, that a modest temperature increase is of necessity bad. I am much more concerned about the oceanic Ph level issue.

 

I am convinced that both sides of the debate have a hidden agenda and that both sides skew the facts to advance their personal interests.

 

I am convinced that qualitative arguments are no substitute for quantitative understanding. CO2 is not all bad. Plants need CO2. Too much is bad. Too little is also bad. We need to understand where the line is and why. There are known ways to reduce CO2 -- iron can encourage a red algae bloom (but we had better know all the ramifications before we do something that might prove to be rash).

 

I am damn tired of either side telling anyone not in complete agreement with them that they are stupid.

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Mr Rayon; What's surprising to me is you being a 19yo student and yet being "skeptical" of AGW, which as has been pointed out, is not denying the possibility, they would throw you out of school in much of the US. I'll ditto and am personally skeptical, primarily because of plausible or viable solutions that have been offered and the potential for "unintended consequences".

 

As an example; If man has the capability to overpower the natural forces of nature to begin with, what possible solution could be enacted "internationally", within any reasonable timeframe to counter or reverse any perceived activity that mankind over (pick your time frame), that has caused the questionable problems and at what estimated cost are we talking about.

 

Then if we could (we can't, as a collective) reduce CO2 from say the said 400ppm, back to say 250-300ppm, said to be optimal, what about plant life that actually is flourishing today and we already know would do better at much higher levels.

 

In any case the human race is now near 7B people, for as many variable reasons as there are for what causes natural weather patterns and I'd sure hate seeing the reversal of that explosion, from 1BP not long ago...

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Yes, I'm a sceptic.

 

I have the nasty feeling that "CO2 is the primary driver of climate" will go down in history as the "Phlogiston" of the 21st Century and that this will have a big rebound effect to the detriment of all sciences.

 

CaptainPanic. I think at least part of the political argument can be described as mitigation v adaptation. My own preference is for adaptation. We can change our power sources to whatever we want, become "carbon neutral" or whatever and the climate will still change. No matter what we do or how we do it (at least until we have true geoengineering and complete control of the climate) the climate will still change and we will have to adapt. At the time of the Holocene Optimum some 8,000 years ago the sea level was circa 2 metres higher than it is today, should the temps rise naturally back to those levels then we will have to adapt. Mitigation is based on the flawed premise that if humans weren't doing something to it the climate wouldn't change.

 

What we can state with certainty is that with the climate constantly changing, then where the wind blows today is not going to be the same in 50 or 60 years time. Build all the windmills you want, but as the climate changes they will produce less and less power as the wind patterns change. Build hydro dams, but as the climate changes so will the rainfall patterns. This is the simple truth of climate change. No matter what we do or don't do, we will have to adapt to a changing climate.

 

As to the youtube video, I'm sorry but it's silly. Instead of "Climate Change", let's try "Hostile Alien Invasion" or "Large Meteorite Impact" with the "Yes" (drastic action) column being for the massive nuclear weaponisation of space and turning Earth into a huge armed camp. I'm so glad that you will agree with these options and will back the large spending for nuclear global defence platforms in space. Note that for these two scenarios the outcome is far, far worse than the worst case in the video. The worst case in the video was the collapse of civilisation, the worst case in my two are the total extinction of the human race or the possible extinction of life on this planet. Since the worst cases that I've outlined are far worse than the one he outlined then obviously my scenarios present a far more compelling reason for drastic action. Wouldn't you agree? :D

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Yes, I'm a sceptic.

 

I have the nasty feeling that "CO2 is the primary driver of climate" will go down in history as the "Phlogiston" of the 21st Century and that this will have a big rebound effect to the detriment of all sciences.

 

Nobody says that CO2 is the "primary" driver of climate.

Our average temperature on earth is 15°C, or 288 K.

 

CO2 accounts for only a few degrees of all those 288 degrees. But it only takes a few to change so much. Of course the sun provides the heat, and accounts for a huge majority of the heat balance. And although water is somehow largely kept out of all the discussions on the internet, I don't think any climate scientist would say that water is not at least as important as CO2 for our climate. The water circulation on earth transports huge amounts of heat.

 

It's a typical argument for this discussion that you use there... but I think it's false. I think you put words in the mouth of the climate sciences, and then refute the words that you put in there yourself. I think that's called a straw man.

CaptainPanic. I think at least part of the political argument can be described as mitigation v adaptation. My own preference is for adaptation. We can change our power sources to whatever we want, become "carbon neutral" or whatever and the climate will still change. No matter what we do or how we do it (at least until we have true geoengineering and complete control of the climate) the climate will still change and we will have to adapt. At the time of the Holocene Optimum some 8,000 years ago the sea level was circa 2 metres higher than it is today, should the temps rise naturally back to those levels then we will have to adapt. Mitigation is based on the flawed premise that if humans weren't doing something to it the climate wouldn't change.

I never heard any climate scientist say that the climate is a constant value. I think this argument is false as well, because you put words in the mouth of others. I think that's another straw man.

 

What climate sciences say is that climate is changing faster than ever - so, they say there is an acceleration on top of the natural changes. And that's probably because of us, because of the CO2 we put in the atmosphere. This is also disputed, I know, and some say the sun accounts for ALL the change of the climate. Some say that the CO2 gas, which is able to absorb heat, is not in the balance at all. As a chemical engineer, I think that's weird to say the least. It's like saying that double glazing will not provide a better insulation for a house compared to single.

 

What we can state with certainty is that with the climate constantly changing, then where the wind blows today is not going to be the same in 50 or 60 years time. Build all the windmills you want, but as the climate changes they will produce less and less power as the wind patterns change. Build hydro dams, but as the climate changes so will the rainfall patterns. This is the simple truth of climate change. No matter what we do or don't do, we will have to adapt to a changing climate.

Do I understand that you claim that even the most basic climate models are changing? I mean: the coriolis effect is at least undisputed, or isn't it?

 

If we can agree that the coriolis effect is a constant factor, then we can agree that the dominant winds on earth will be relatively constant too.

 

Anyway, do you have any theory, paper or link to back up your statement? I think it's fine to be a skeptic, but please tell me what the basis is of your theory that wind patterns will change. I've just told you why I think they don't.

 

As to the youtube video, I'm sorry but it's silly. Instead of "Climate Change", let's try "Hostile Alien Invasion" or "Large Meteorite Impact" with the "Yes" (drastic action) column being for the massive nuclear weaponisation of space and turning Earth into a huge armed camp. I'm so glad that you will agree with these options and will back the large spending for nuclear global defence platforms in space. Note that for these two scenarios the outcome is far, far worse than the worst case in the video. The worst case in the video was the collapse of civilisation, the worst case in my two are the total extinction of the human race or the possible extinction of life on this planet. Since the worst cases that I've outlined are far worse than the one he outlined then obviously my scenarios present a far more compelling reason for drastic action. Wouldn't you agree? :D

Totally disagree. I think your example is flawed. For two reasons:

 

Firstly: the chance that a meteorite hits earth is simply incredibly small, while climate change is here. The big meteorites hit earth perhaps every so many million years or so...

Secondly: the proposed solution is not the same either. There is no practical use for the 'massive nuclear weaponisation of space'. It actually is a threat, and has negative effects too because it can be abused. So, it costs money, has no purpose other than protection, and is potentially dangerous.

 

Let's compare that to sustainable energy:

Sustainable energy is not the "ultimate evil" as portrayed by some. It is economically interesting. China invests in it a lot, and China isn't your lobbyist heaven where you can misguide the leaders through some plays in the media. China today is an economic powerhouse that chooses its investments carefully.

Germany and Japan also invest in sustainable energy a lot. Again, it's not your fluffy silly economies. It's the 3rd and 4th economy in the world. So, some seem to think that the 'medicine' against global warming is actually a good businessplan. In fact, out of the top-4 economies, only the USA is not investing so much in sustainable energy.

 

So, if meteorites would wipe out life as we know it every 100 years, I am pretty sure we would invest heavily in the weapons needed to deflect them. But the fact is that the climate change poses a far bigger risk, and the medicine isn't so bad.

 

Anyway, I still think it's a good idea to also invest in detection and possible deflection technology against asteroids/meteorites. And we actually do invest in it (albeit not so much).

 

I am not convinced that the dominant source is other than coal mine fires (China being a huge player), forest fires, and volcanoes. Release of trapped methane due to warming may be a gigantic factor -- we need greater understanding.

Are you suggesting that the majority of the coal is burnt in the mines rather than in a powerplant?

Or that the majority of the forests are burnt on the spot rather than cut down for lumber and only then burnt either as a fuel or as a wastewood?

 

Our annual CO2 production is nearly 29 billion metric tons. That's something that you can just calculate from the energy consumption.

Due to unknown factors, this value might be higher, but not lower. That CO2 goes into the atmposphere, and possibly into the ocean.

 

And regarding the volcanoes, I think this is a decent argument: despite fluctuations in intensity of the activity of a volcano, the CO2 measurement stations right on top of volcanoes just follow the global CO2 trend.

 

How much more understanding do you want?

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For my 2 cents worth, I don't "believe in" AGW; but I do think, estimate, and judge that the theory is valid. I accept the axioms of physics, and I understand the various sciences informing the concept of AGW theory; and I am persuaded by the published literature that the measurements, observations, and extrapolations are overall correct on average--if not also in magnitude--at least in direction. So I don't "believe in" AGW as an article of faith, but I do accept the significance of continuing validations to the theory as reason to advocate for socioeconomic change--based on concern for society's stability in an increasingly unstable climate--since history shows that society's fortunes are often linked with and turned by climate. So I worry about AGW because I think AGW theory is valid.

===

 

 

I also have a "nasty feeling" that we're screwed, based on the observation that many people think AGW-type climate change is no different from "the climate constantly changing" throughout Earth's history, instead of people thinking AGW theory shows how our effect on the atmosphere is forcing change in the climate that is several orders of magnitude faster than occurred during the PETM, 55 million years ago; but that is just a nasty feeling about the public's perception, and it is not based on anything scientific.

===

 

 

I also try to avoid looking like the poster child for "An Inconvenient Truth," by not being "personally skeptical" of the science, just "primarily because of plausible or viable solutions that have been offered" are personally disliked or distrusted. I wouldn't want to confuse scientific research and theory with socioeconomic ideology and policy.

 

Social policy may be inconvenient for me "personally," but that doesn't change the reality that CO2 is acidifying the base of the food chain for our fisheries, nor does my uncertainty about any solution change the reality that CO2 is adding 2 to 4 Watts per square meter, over the entire planet's surface --24/7-- 365 days a year, year after year, decade after decade; pushing growing zones and desert regions into new territory, shifting migration patterns northward into new territory, and lowering soil moisture content during an era when (cheap, fossil fuel-dependant) agriculture is critical to maintaining a healthy, stable civilization.

 

But there are at least 15 identified strategies that easily solve the dilemma, which are already developed and deployable.

Check out the "Wedges Strategy," at:

http://cmi.princeton...edges/intro.php

 

Solutions to keep CO2 from rising, at least beyond the levels that have existed since modern mammals evolved, are identified in this "Wedges Strategy." This concept calculates how the problem can be stabilized if enough CO2 can be cut. Fifteen stabilization wedges can be mixed or matched to accumulate reductions by working... thru the use of currently developed technologies based on improved fuel-use efficiency, fuel switching, expanding alternative energy sources, and improved land-use practices.

 

Stabilization Wedges, each of which can yearly cut a Billion Tons of Carbon-- or 3.7 GtCO2 (Billion tons of CO2) --use existing technology and are simple to employ. And speaking of employment, many new and enduring jobs are created when the economy evolves and a new economy develops. Fifteen "possible solutions" that are currently "shelf-ready" are suggested, and we only need to choose 8 or 9 to stabilize the growth in CO2. But that's more of a matter for policy makers to customize for their national interests, and not for science or scientists to be judged by.

===

 

 

It is a lot of carbon to cut, and I trust the literature that explains how natural sources of atmospheric carbon such as coal mine fires or volcanoes amount to about 1% of current carbon emissions. It is the rapidity of current climate change that worries scientists who measure the large anthropogenic sources of atmospheric carbon and compare that with natural sources and historical variation.

Rapid climate change means that sea-level rise will change the map centuries after food web and population crashes occur, and after climate has shifted into some different heat-distribution mode. Sea-level rise is the least of our problems, so I don't care at all about that very gradual change, nor do I care much about Polar Bears at the top of the food chain--except as a lesson for other species in the top trophic level--hint, hint. I care more about the web of life that supports today's biodiversity, which evolved and refined itself during the Tertiary and Quaternary Epochs, and I worry about the consequences, to the stability and population of our species, from a growing extinction rate across many trophic levels.

===

 

 

But acidification alone is reason enough to keep CO2 levels in the atmosphere moderated to within limits set during the Quaternary Epoch, when humans evolved from Lucy-like creatures.

 

This is evidence that we already have been geoengineering the planet and "controlling the climate," however unintentionally it may have been. We've had "dominion" over nature for more than 6 millennia now (I read somewhere). Between agriculture and our many uses of fire (from mining to forestry to warfare), man has remade the surface of the planet several times over, cumulatively. Check out Pyne's "Cycle of Fire" books, especially "Vestal Fire," as well as "Changes in the Land" by Cronon or "Larding the Lean Earth" by Stoll, and of course "1491" by Mann. They used forests--not coal--back then to fuel the Copper, Bronze, or Iron Ages, and for making pottery, quicklime plaster, glass, and for shipbuilding and resins, pitches, and tars.

 

As a species that controls fire and land use/agriculture, we are perfectly suited to intentionally geoengineer the planet, and to maintain this finely tuned, heaven-on-earth that finally evolved here. The question is whether or not we should accept our dominion, and start geoengineering the planet intentionally.

 

I do believe in advocating for the maintenence of our planet's highly evolved ecosystem services, which support biodiversity and also are critical to society's sustainability; it's the moral imperative.

 

~

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CaptainPanic, (sorry I can't get the name and date thingy to work. The old quote=username was easier, for me at least. :D )

 

Nobody says that CO2 is the "primary" driver of climate.

Our average temperature on earth is 15°C, or 288 K.

 

CO2 accounts for only a few degrees of all those 288 degrees. But it only takes a few to change so much. Of course the sun provides the heat, and accounts for a huge majority of the heat balance. And although water is somehow largely kept out of all the discussions on the internet, I don't think any climate scientist would say that water is not at least as important as CO2 for our climate. The water circulation on earth transports huge amounts of heat.

 

It's a typical argument for this discussion that you use there... but I think it's false. I think you put words in the mouth of the climate sciences, and then refute the words that you put in there yourself. I think that's called a straw man.

 

Alright, "Primary driver of climate change", is that better? And if you don't think that it is the main forcing factor, then why the push to reduce it? The world has warmed some .8 degrees in the last 150 years or so. If CO2 is the main forcing for this, then we can expect much higher temps in the future and we could be in trouble. However if CO2 is a minor contributor and the majority of the change is natural then attempts to constrain or reduce CO2 will have little effect on future temps and are basically pointless. This is the argument we are having in Australia right now with the gov wanting a "Carbon Tax". Without the major players in the world doing it as well, then all we will do is add a massive tax burden and make our industries uncompetitive in the world markets while having effectively zero effect on the climate.

 

This isn't a strawman, if you haven't heard comments that "CO2 has swamped natural forcings", then you haven't been listening for the last 10 years or so.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Radiative-forcings.svg

 

BTW, water vapour doesn't get mentioned because it is considered a feedback and not a forcing. The Sun, Aerosols and CO2 (along with other GHGs) are forcings, pretty much everything else is considered a feedback.

 

I never heard any climate scientist say that the climate is a constant value. I think this argument is false as well, because you put words in the mouth of others. I think that's another straw man.

 

What climate sciences say is that climate is changing faster than ever - so, they say there is an acceleration on top of the natural changes. And that's probably because of us, because of the CO2 we put in the atmosphere. This is also disputed, I know, and some say the sun accounts for ALL the change of the climate. Some say that the CO2 gas, which is able to absorb heat, is not in the balance at all. As a chemical engineer, I think that's weird to say the least. It's like saying that double glazing will not provide a better insulation for a house compared to single.

 

I'm not too sure what you are getting at here. The bit that this quote is responding to was about policy rather than science. Whether we live in supercities or grass huts the climate will change and we will have to adapt was my point. On that basis, policies for adaptation make more sense than policies for mitigation. To deny this is to deny that the climate changes, something that AFAIK no scientist denies.

 

As to the climate changing faster than ever, this is simply not true. Using the Greenland cores:

histo1.png

 

The "faster than ever" bit is the top 1/3 of the uptick on the right hand end.

 

But that is of course only one spot on the globe. What do the (unadjusted) long term instrumental records show?:

rc93fa.jpg

 

Warming yes, but "faster than ever"? I don't think so.

 

What a lot of people miss, and it seems to often get mixed up in debates on climate is that the "current warming" period can have two meanings. It can mean both the warming since circa 1850 or the most recent warming period of 1970-2000 (roughly). The two terms often get mixed in with each other to the confusion of all. The world has warmed since 1850 but this warming has not been constant. Since 1850 there have been three warming periods each about 30 years long which are separated by cooling periods of about the same time span.

 

The AGW argument is that the first two of these periods are totally natural with the third (1970-2000) being of anthropogenic origin. The next graph shows all three periods. (Ignore the green line for CO2 as it isn't germane to this point)

temp-emissions-1850-ppt.jpg

 

It will be noted that the trend line for all three warmings is the same, or at least statistically identical. All three are are in the .15-.16 degrees per decade range. So even if the 1970-2000 period was entirely caused by CO2 emissions, the rate of warming is not greater than the totally natural warming of 1850-1880. The idea that temps are rising "faster than ever" due to man is not supported by the actual data. The idea is wrong.

 

Refering to the ice core graph above you will also note that the time (1850 the instrumental period began) is also probably the coldest the planet has been in the last 8,000 years, so why are people surprised at some warming?

 

Do I understand that you claim that even the most basic climate models are changing? I mean: the coriolis effect is at least undisputed, or isn't it?

 

If we can agree that the coriolis effect is a constant factor, then we can agree that the dominant winds on earth will be relatively constant too.

 

Anyway, do you have any theory, paper or link to back up your statement? I think it's fine to be a skeptic, but please tell me what the basis is of your theory that wind patterns will change. I've just told you why I think they don't.

 

I think you've misunderstood what I meant. As climate changes, things change. I'm not saying that the wind will stop blowing, I'm saying that the "number of windy days" in a given spot will change. We place wind turbines in a place where there a good number of windy days per year now and as climate changes these spots will get less or more windy days in the future. Similarly we place dams where there is rainfall to fill them but as the climate changes so will the rainfall patterns and the rain won't fall in the catchments any more. This doesn't require a cite as to argue differently is to argue that although global climate will change, local climate will not and since global climate is the aggregate of local climes this is unsupportable.

 

Totally disagree. I think your example is flawed. For two reasons:

 

Firstly: the chance that a meteorite hits earth is simply incredibly small, while climate change is here. The big meteorites hit earth perhaps every so many million years or so...

Secondly: the proposed solution is not the same either. There is no practical use for the 'massive nuclear weaponisation of space'. It actually is a threat, and has negative effects too because it can be abused. So, it costs money, has no purpose other than protection, and is potentially dangerous.

 

Meteorites hit the Earth every day, thank God they are only small ones though. Large ones are less common but they are there and certainly not "every million years or so". The 20th Century saw two major strikes that we know of Tunguska in 1908 and Brazil in 1933. Both of these were air bursts in unpopulated areas but had either hit the Med then Southern Europe would have been devastated. Some 3 miles under the Indian Ocean is the burckle Crater about 30 klms wide. This impact dates to around 3,000 BC and is the probable cause of the "flood myths" that exist in all cultures. The remains of the mega tsunamis that hit Madagascar are still to be seen in the 600 ft high hills of debris left behind. In (I think) 17th Century Yugoslavia a town disappeared and was thought to have been smote by God. (Granted it was a Blacksmith and about 6 houses but the point remains) Neighbouring villages saw the flash and heard the thunder and when they went to investigate there was nothing but a hole where the town used to be. Larger impacts are far more common than once thought and the danger is very real.

 

To argue that "climate change is here" is a null point. Climate change is always here. If anthropogenic factors are important then we might be able to do something about it, if not, then there is bugger all we can do and efforts to the contrary would pointless.

 

BTW, I agree with you about detection. I was most unimpressed when our gov cut the funding for detection, a whole $3 million per year. These gov clowns could lose that much down the back of the sofa and not notice. As I understand the current situation is that there is now only one observatory in South america trying to cover the Southern Hemisphere for potential impactors. This I believe is "Double Plus ungood".

 

Similarly renewables are not going to be able to provide baseload power in the forseeable future. All that this will do is drive up the price of energy and create energy poverty in the Western World. So I would say that the excessive drive to renewables also has many negative impacts. If Europe wants to drive prices up so that in a very cold winter people can't afford to heat their homes then that is your lookout, but don't expect the rest of us to follow suit in your destruction. Note that the British are already being warned not to expect continuous power in the future. I hope that the brownouts don't coincide with 20ft snowfalls or the death toll will be tremendous.

 

A common flaw I see in climate debates is this sort of statement "Climate change is real and man is primarily responsible" being treated as a single comment. It is not, it is two distinct statements. The existence of climate change does not in any way validate a supposed attribution for that change. Proof of warming is not proof of attribution. The reality of climate change and the very real threat that it (especially cooling) poses doesn't automatically decide the policies to deal with it. As I said above, no matter what we do or don't do, the climate will still change.

 

As to power and the economies mentioned. Yes, China is investing in wind power, it's making a lot of turbines, most of which are sold to the West. It's still building coal power plants at a great rate. (I've heard "two a week" mentioned but can't find any proof for this figure so I take it with a very large grain of salt). Japan has realised the folly of building nuclear plants near fault lines and since the country is pretty much one huge fault line, moving from nukes is probably a good idea from them. Germany is basing it's decisions on the political ideology of the ruling party and has little or nothing to do with either common sense or reality. The recent decision to end nukes on "safety" grounds being a case in point. If German politicians think nukes are dangerous then I presume they neither fly nor drive as the death toll from these activities are significantly higher than from any nuclear accidents. Besides, if it all falls over they can buy power from the French nuclear plants.

 

But let's look at "renewables". (What a lovely catch all phrase that is.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ren2008.png

 

The lower part of the diagram shows renewables make up about 10% of the worlds energy generation. Of that 10% more than half is from hydro, which I have no problems with. Look at the next largest contributor "Biomass". 250 GWth. Do you understand that this figure includes all those poor bastards in the third world cooking over dung fires? Should they stay that way?

 

Cheap and abundant energy is the answer for the horrific death tolls and disease in the third world. A solution of expensive energy or "stay the same" is unacceptable to any civilised person.

 

A final point. You and many others appear worried about "climate change" and feel it will be disasterous. Since it is an observed fact that the climate has changed since 1850 and temps have risen by .8 degrees, can you point to a single example where this has been negative? Have weather anomalies increased? More floods or droughts? A reduction in crop harvests perhaps? I mean come on, if warming is a problem and we have already warmed then there must be something, or is it all "in the pipeline" and the Great God Gaia will smite us in the future if we don't change our ways?

 

Edit. I have no idea why but when I tried to post the links as images the board wouldn't accept them. At least one I posted here previously so I don't know what's going on. After manual editing it appears to be the .svg file from Wiki that is the problem. Does anyone know why?

Edited by JohnB
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Lots of things.

 

I am pretty well convinced that there is a problem with CO2 levels and decreasing Ph of the oceans. This could be serious indeed.

 

I am also convinced, based on isotope abundance, that fossil CO2 is a major factor.

 

I am not convinced that the dominant source is other than coal mine fires (China being a huge player), forest fires, and volcanoes. Release of trapped methane due to warming may be a gigantic factor -- we need greater understanding.

 

I am not convinced that the estimated 2mm/yr rise in sea level is real. I have quizzed experts, and they admit that there is no datum against which this is measured. Given just tidal variability, 2mm/yr strikes me as too close to a noise level to be credible.

 

I am not anywhere near convinced that heat transfer models purporting to account for sea currents are at all reliable. I have enough experience with the difficulties associated with large fluid dynamics models to be very skeptical.

 

I am not convinced that we have an accurate, comprehensive heat and mass balance model, or even that such a model is within current technological capability. I am convinced that we understand the physics of CO2 and infrared radiation.

 

I am convinced that the long term trend is toward warming. The glaciers that covered most of North America have receded and the "Little Ice Age" of the 1700's is no longer with us.

 

I am not convinced, nor is at least one emminent and concerned scientist with whom I have spoken, that a modest temperature increase is of necessity bad. I am much more concerned about the oceanic Ph level issue.

 

I am convinced that both sides of the debate have a hidden agenda and that both sides skew the facts to advance their personal interests.

 

I am convinced that qualitative arguments are no substitute for quantitative understanding. CO2 is not all bad. Plants need CO2. Too much is bad. Too little is also bad. We need to understand where the line is and why. There are known ways to reduce CO2 -- iron can encourage a red algae bloom (but we had better know all the ramifications before we do something that might prove to be rash).

 

I am damn tired of either side telling anyone not in complete agreement with them that they are stupid.

 

OK, that's a lot of stuff.

The coal mine fires, to whatever extent they are important, are anthropogenic because mines are anthropogenic.

Forest fires are effectively carbon neutral since the trees recently got their C from CO2 in the first place.

Sea level rise is not the current topic, temperature is.

Whatever the details of the heat transfers (and I agree they are horribly complicated) more heat being trapped by CO2 will cause the mean temperature to rise. (This may mean that my bit of the world cools- but that's not the issue).

The mass balance of the Earth is pretty easy- it's fixed.

The heat balance is complex in detail, but there's no way round the fact that if you trap more heat the temperature goes up.

The effect of a change in temperature is strongly dependent on how fast it changes.

A farmer can plant crops that are suited to the local climate, but only if he knows what that climate is. If that is changing rapidly it becomes more difficult. AGW will increase the rate of change even if there is some underlying upward trend due to some external factor.

 

I'd also like to know what my "hidden agenda" is supposed to be.

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What mainly bothers me about the global warming consensus is that we know that there are some causes of global climate change operative which are not caused by humans, and that these forces are large, difficult to isolate, hard to quantify, and vary in ways we don't completely understand. If we accept that there is this large unknown being intermixed with the human contribution to global warming, then how do we know how signficant the human contribution to global warming is? It is accepted that the world is gradually moving out of the Ice Age of 10,000 years ago, so global warming to some degree is the norm against which all changes must be considered.

 

For example, the archeological record shows that there were farming settlements in central Greenland around the year 1100, and yet that area is today surrounded by vast glaciers all around. What made Greenland so warm then, when the human contribution to global warming was next to nothing compared to today, and why did Greenland cool down so dramatically to its condition today, two hundred years after the beginning of the massive increase in CO2 outputs from the industrial revolution? Similarly, there was a Little Ice Age in the 18th century, with snow being recorded in New England in June, so why, with so many more people and cattle emitting CO2 during the development spurt of the 18th century, was it getting so much colder?

 

During the 1960s and early 1970s climate scientists were all in a panic about the fact that the next Ice Age was overdue, and there was a similar concern back then that the world was becoming colder, not warmer. Now the next generation of these scientists is telling us the opposite, which has to make us reasonably doubt the certainty of their science.

 

There are also short-term climate variations which can complicate the accurate perception of general trends. Since widespread, accurate temperature records first began in the 1880s, the world has followed a pattern of alternating cycles of warming and cooling, each lasting about 30 years. Solar activity and complexities of the earth's ocean currents also alter cooling and warming of the earth in irregular ways.

 

The scientist who coined the term 'global warming,' who is now Professor a Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin, himself doesn't believe that global warming is a serious problem, and recounts how everyone in the 1960s and 1970s laughed at him for even bothering to raise it as an issue. A Professor of Climatology at MIT, who probably knows more about climate science than anyone posting on this forum, also regards global warming as nonsense. These few authorities can't decide the issue, of course, but they do suggest that its resolution is probably complex in a way that most people cannot adequately resolve for themselves, and yet the demand for consensus on this issue is now practically religious in its intensity.

 

But this elevation of Belief in Global Warming almost to a new branch of Political Correctness, to a kind of substitute social glue marking off the good from the bad now that the traditional social glue of religion is no longer available to promote social cohesion, also makes me sceptical. The fact that climate scientists have broken into two camps, each refusing to publish each other's work in their own journals, suggests that normal scientific rationality is breaking down in this area. The scandal a few years ago when scientists at the University of East Anglia were found to have cooked their data to make it look as though global warming was a more serious issue should also arouse scepticism about the politicized nature of thinking in this field.

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I am!

 

Anybody else?

 

It's still considered plausible to have doubts about it, right?

 

I think you are wise to be skeptical of anthropogenic global warming. When government and university scientists attempt to frighten you, skepticism is a reasonable response. A degree in chemistry, physics, or geology is not required.

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Marat, while I agree with most of your post I must correct one mistake.

 

The Greenland settlements were coastal, not in the interior. The centre of Greenland has not been ice free for at least 2 million years. (The GISP2 ice core is referred to by Dr. Richard Alley as the "2 Million Year Time Machine".) While some of the farms are only now coming out from under the permafrost it must be remembered that this is not a proxy for temperature. Ice melt lags temp rise. The Greenland farms only allow us to say that temps then were about the same as temps now. On a quantative basis they don't tell us whether it was slightly warmer or cooler than today or by how much. The data only allows us to say that both then and now, the ground was/is not permafrost.

 

I'd like to add a paper I came across yesterday as it is relevent to the climate discussion. The argument that CO2 is dangerous comes from the concept of "enhanced" warming from the gas. The world has warmed since circa 1850 as we left the "Little Ice Age", of this there is no doubt. Also without doubt is that the exit from the LIA was from forcings of natural origin. A good question here is "When did those forcings stop?" 1880? 1900? 1950? Are they still in effect today?

 

The paper from Syun-Ichi Akasofu of the International Artic Research Centre looks at this question. http://klimabedrag.dk/attachments/article/395/NS20101100004_10739704.pdf Published late last year in "Natural Science" (which appears to be a low impact journal that started in 2009).

 

Scrolling down to figure 9 we see that the best fit for the temperature curve from 1850- 2010 is a linear temperature rise of .5 degrees/Century with a 60 year cyclic harmonic superimposed. Put bluntly, there is no evidence of any "enhancement" at all. (Note that in AGW theory natural forcings are believed to be the main drivers of change until about 1950 and then the anthropogenic factors took over.)

 

From this two possible scenarios can be formulated;

 

1. The warming forcing that brought us out of the LIA at a rate of .5 degrees/Century is still in effect with a 60 year harmonic (possibly PDO related) and that CO2 has little effect. Now CO2 may have an initial effect however temps are after all forcings and feedbacks. Which implies that feedbacks effectively cancel any "enhancement" by CO2.

 

2. The forcing that brought us out of the LIA at a rate of .5 degrees/Century stopped/faded out circa 1950 and the Anthropogenic forcings took over after that period. This would require that the anthrop forcings quite amazingly and highly improbably came in at exactly the right rate as to exactly equal the initial natural forcings and so continue the underlying linear warming rate.

 

Occams Razor points to Number 1 as being the most logical answer. I really hate to use a logical fallacy as an argument but I think it is warranted in this case. "Argument from Incredulity". Seriously, CO2, aerosols, Land Use changes and all the other anthro forcings came in at exactly the right time and in exactly the right amounts so that they result in exactly the same forcing as the natural forcing that had held for 100 years? What would be the odds on that? But this is what AGW theory requires to have happened.

 

The data says that there is no enhancement from CO2. (Talking net effect here, not original) The simplest and most logical explanation for the data is that the forcing that brought us out of the LIA is still in force today and that that increased CO2 etc. has little net effect on the global climate.

 

So how did this idea of enhancment come about? We have the basic physics that says an increase in CO2 must cause air to warm, but where to from there? An interesting thing about climate science is attribution, what are the values of the forcings and how do we work them out? Attribution for the most part comes from the models, there are some factors that we can measure directly like CO2, TSI and those things, but the rest comes from curve fitting the models and from the basic underlying assumptions of the model makers.

 

Here I would like to point to Hansen 1981, one of the earliest model papers. Scrolling down to Figure 7 we see the temperature projected out to 2010 both with and without CO2 forcing. One could reasonably argue (and Scepticalscience does) that the 2.8 degree sensitivity matches the actual temps quite closely and that therefore the model is quite accurate and very good for it's time. That is certainly one interpretation. However look at the projected temps under only natural forcings. Dead level. The underlying assumption of the model is that under only natural forcings the climate is static or will change only very slowly.

 

This is, I think the basic flaw in modelling climate. The belief that under only natural forcings the climate changes very slowly and that therefore anything above or below this slow rate must have an anthro source. The concept was set very early on in the development of climate science and is simply accepted as true. In a similar way before Continental Drift theory it was simply accepted as true that the continents were the shape they are and are where they are.

 

People often say that "Climate Science" is young or relatively new. While this is true in the form we know it today, climate science has its base in many of the older sciences, especially geology. Arguments and papers concerning paleoclimate can be found that date back to the early 20th Century. A reading of papers and articles up to the 1970s is rather revealing. The science was divided into two camps, the "Gradualists" and the "Catastrophists". Gradualists of course believed that the Earth was too big and too massive to have its climate change faster than .1 or .2 degrees per century, the Catastrophists believed that climate could change very rapidly indeed. Like the "Steady State" people that held power in Astronomy when the "Big Bang" idea came out , the Gradualists held the positions of power in Climate Science.

 

By the 1970s, 1980s with better and better equipment and data it was quite obvious that the climate of the 20th C had undergone rapid changes and this gave the Gradualists a problem. Either they were wrong and the Catastrophists were right OR there was another factor in play and their underlying belief was right all along. This is the period that we see the increasing importance given to anthro factors. A cynic would possibly find this amazingly convenient for those in control. I simply think it is human nature. Given a choice between dropping long held and vigourously defended beliefs or keeping those beliefs and blaming someone or something else, 99% of the human population will play the blame game.

 

So right from the start the science believed that climate changed slowly under natural forcings and this basic premise was built into the earliest climate models. (See Hansen above for proof of this) Implicit in the model is the assumption that while there are annual and decadal variations, climate changes very slowly on centennial scales. One would expect those taught by him and other Gradualists would have exactly the same basic assumption built into their models. Note also that the attribution to CO2 in models is basically "Argument from Ignorance" as Dr Phil Jones admitted late last year "We just can't think of anything else". Maybe they are underestimating natural forcings and feedbacks?

 

We see the remains of this today in many discussions. The period 1970-2000 is pointed to as "unprecedented" and due to anthro factors while the totally natural and exactly the same warming from 1850-1880 is virtually ignored. Ignoring inconvenient data is not science in my book.

 

I must add the fact that any training I've had in "how science works", I got here. Before really reading any climate science I simply had a general interest. I learned the scientific method and how science is supposed to be done by seeing it patiently explained by people like swansont, Ophiolite, Mooeypoo and our other experts to complete dullards in the old "Pseudoscience" subforum. I had never heard of Popper or Feynmann or how, for want of a better word "real" science is done. I learnt about proper referencing and not making unsupported statements as facts. The very high standards that make science the powerful force that it is that improves the lives of everybody on this planet. I got to see how "real" scientists talk and by reading a diverse range of papers, how they write.

 

And then I started reading climate science. What a shock. The divergence problem being written off as "caused by unknown factors, probably of anthropogenic origin". Say what? Your data diverges and that's the explanation? Hiding conflicting data (Dr. Manns "censored" file), refusing to share data to allow it to be checked ("Why should I give you the data when all you want to do is find something wrong with it". How would that argument go around here?) The list is long.

 

Science works on trust. Each scientists who reads a paper trusts that the data backs up the conclusions and trusts that if he or she wanted to they could get the data and replicate the findings. They trust that the peer review process isn't "gamed" in some way and is fair and honest. This I learned here. I cannot reconcile these things with comments by Phil Jones that "Also just sent back comments to Mike Mann on the paper by Tom and you factoring out ENSO and Volcanoes. Felt like writing red ink all over it, but sent back a short publish suject to minor revision to Mike." Maybe Dr Jones marks the things he agrees with with lots of red ink, but it seems that it was more important to get a mates paper published than to get good science published.

 

Yes, I'm a sceptic and I'm damn proud of it. And I'm very thankful to the people here that showed me how science is supposed to be done and made me into one.

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What mainly bothers me about the global warming consensus is that we know that there are some causes of global climate change operative which are not caused by humans, and that these forces are large, difficult to isolate, hard to quantify, and vary in ways we don't completely understand. If we accept that there is this large unknown being intermixed with the human contribution to global warming, then how do we know how signficant the human contribution to global warming is? It is accepted that the world is gradually moving out of the Ice Age of 10,000 years ago, so global warming to some degree is the norm against which all changes must be considered.

 

For example, the archeological record shows that there were farming settlements in central Greenland around the year 1100, and yet that area is today surrounded by vast glaciers all around. What made Greenland so warm then, when the human contribution to global warming was next to nothing compared to today, and why did Greenland cool down so dramatically to its condition today, two hundred years after the beginning of the massive increase in CO2 outputs from the industrial revolution? Similarly, there was a Little Ice Age in the 18th century, with snow being recorded in New England in June, so why, with so many more people and cattle emitting CO2 during the development spurt of the 18th century, was it getting so much colder?

 

During the 1960s and early 1970s climate scientists were all in a panic about the fact that the next Ice Age was overdue, and there was a similar concern back then that the world was becoming colder, not warmer. Now the next generation of these scientists is telling us the opposite, which has to make us reasonably doubt the certainty of their science.

 

There are also short-term climate variations which can complicate the accurate perception of general trends. Since widespread, accurate temperature records first began in the 1880s, the world has followed a pattern of alternating cycles of warming and cooling, each lasting about 30 years. Solar activity and complexities of the earth's ocean currents also alter cooling and warming of the earth in irregular ways.

 

The scientist who coined the term 'global warming,' who is now Professor a Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin, himself doesn't believe that global warming is a serious problem, and recounts how everyone in the 1960s and 1970s laughed at him for even bothering to raise it as an issue. A Professor of Climatology at MIT, who probably knows more about climate science than anyone posting on this forum, also regards global warming as nonsense. These few authorities can't decide the issue, of course, but they do suggest that its resolution is probably complex in a way that most people cannot adequately resolve for themselves, and yet the demand for consensus on this issue is now practically religious in its intensity.

 

But this elevation of Belief in Global Warming almost to a new branch of Political Correctness, to a kind of substitute social glue marking off the good from the bad now that the traditional social glue of religion is no longer available to promote social cohesion, also makes me sceptical. The fact that climate scientists have broken into two camps, each refusing to publish each other's work in their own journals, suggests that normal scientific rationality is breaking down in this area. The scandal a few years ago when scientists at the University of East Anglia were found to have cooked their data to make it look as though global warming was a more serious issue should also arouse scepticism about the politicized nature of thinking in this field.

Most of these are denialist canards that have been debunked long ago. I'll just put in a general "citation, please" for each paragraph.

 

One distressing, and emblematic, aspect of this discussion is that not only have these claims been debunked only to be repeated, they have made here BY YOU, been debunked HERE, and yet you repeat them. Specifically the claim that scientists were in a panic about an imminent ice age and that the East Anglia data were fabricated.

 

http://www.scienceforums.net/topic/50957-global-warming-is-not-the-problem-we-are/page__st__40

 

This is a science site. The facts matter.

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swansont, to be fair I don't think the whole "global cooling thing of the 70s is quite cut and dried. It was certainly popularised by Newsweek and other publications. (I remember reading the dire predictions in my morning paper, the Saturday "Science" section.) However both Drs Schneider and Erlich were quite happy to be interviewed on the topic which must have given the idea credence in the public mind. It's also unlikely that they were publishing papers about "warming" while giving interviews about "cooling".

 

Similarly the CIA seems to have had no problems in assembling a panel to advise them of possible problems due to a cooling climate.

 

I think that the fairest thing that could be said about the cooling hype is that there were some climatologists who were indeed concerned about cooling and they publicised those concerns. However there was at that time no consensus concerning cooling or warming. But it cannot be written off as "media hype" alone.

 

As usual the truth lies between the extremes of "Scientists were warning of cooling" and "It was just a media thing".

 

I do find it interesting that two of the warners about the dire consequences of cooling became leading lights warning about the dire consequences of warming. I guess some people just can't find a potential disaster that they don't like. ;)

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swansont, to be fair I don't think the whole "global cooling thing of the 70s is quite cut and dried. It was certainly popularised by Newsweek and other publications. (I remember reading the dire predictions in my morning paper, the Saturday "Science" section.) However both Drs Schneider and Erlich were quite happy to be interviewed on the topic which must have given the idea credence in the public mind. It's also unlikely that they were publishing papers about "warming" while giving interviews about "cooling".

 

Similarly the CIA seems to have had no problems in assembling a panel to advise them of possible problems due to a cooling climate.

 

I think that the fairest thing that could be said about the cooling hype is that there were some climatologists who were indeed concerned about cooling and they publicised those concerns. However there was at that time no consensus concerning cooling or warming. But it cannot be written off as "media hype" alone.

 

As usual the truth lies between the extremes of "Scientists were warning of cooling" and "It was just a media thing".

 

I do find it interesting that two of the warners about the dire consequences of cooling became leading lights warning about the dire consequences of warming. I guess some people just can't find a potential disaster that they don't like. ;)

 

Then it should be no problem finding the actual peer-reviewed papers. But everybody cites Newsweek.

 

The NAS report, cited in the article, is a far cry from a panicked prediction of an imminent ice age

 

http://www.wmconnolley.org.uk/sci/iceage/nas-1975.html

http://logicalscience.blogspot.com/2006/11/wooden-stake-in-newsweeks-global.html

 

Unfortunately, we do not have a good quantitative understanding of our climate machine and what determines it's course. Without this fundamental understanding, it does not seem possible to predict climate-neither in short-term variations nor in any in its larger long-term changes.

 

They were saying we don't know enough to make predictions.

 

Now, of course we know more, based on 35 more years of data and models.

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To be fair, though I'm solidly convinced of AGW, I remember that back in the 70s there were really articles and even adverts about the "coming ice age" in things like Scientific American. (I know that's not much more peer reviewed than Newsweek)

So what?

That was then, this is now.

 

This proves that science is not dogma; nothing else.

 

They made a prediction based on the data available at the time ( the records of ice ages) and the prediction was that, since there had been ice ages in the past, there would be others in the future.

That's not an unreasonable prediction.

The press probably blew it out of proportion because that's what sells papers. What else would they have done?

 

Since then those studying the climate have done another 40 years of work on the issue and have found another major factor- the greenhouse effect.

 

They now include that effect in their models.

The improved models now show, at least in the relatively short term, a different behaviour.

There may well be another ice age on the way, but before that there will be warming which won't make things better for our species and that warming is essentially down to us.

 

What I don't understand is why those who don't accept AGW keep banging on about something which is very old news. Is it the best they can come up with?

 

It reminds me of the story of the old schoolteacher musing on the fact that a lot of his students had failed exams because they didn't remember something which turned out not to be true anyway.

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Then it should be no problem finding the actual peer-reviewed papers. But everybody cites Newsweek.

 

This isn't something I know much about but here is a PDF that you guys should find interesting.

 

http://aerosol.ucsd.edu/classes/sio217a/sio217afall08-myth1970.pdf

 

It has a list of "global cooling" and "global warming" papers from 1965 to 1975 with numbers of citations; no idea if the list is exhaustive. It appears that there was in fact some peer reviewed literature that embraced "global cooling" at the time. However they seem to be outnumbered and out-cited by the global warming papers in significant numbers.

 

It appears that JohnB and you, swansont, are both correct in a way.

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Another problem with the modern climate change consensus is the supposedly imminent swamping of the island nation of Tuvalu. This tiny island in the South Pacific is just about at sea level, and in the 1970s a guage was installed on the ocean bed near it to determine when it would start to be covered by the rising seas as an inevitable result of the melting of ice associated with global warming. Since the guage failed to cooperate, however, it was replaced with another more recently in a different place to disguise the failure of the predicted results, and Tuvalu remains an intact land mass. But melting water has to go somewhere!

 

I don't pretend to be a climate scientist or anything close to it, but I am concerned at what appears to be the politicization of science with respect to this issue. The whole 'Gaia' movement which regards humanity as a toxic parasite on the Sacred Mother Earth which is much more important to preserve, even at the cost of extinguishing that parasite; the whole movement of environmental trogdolites who would like nothing better than to have an excuse to dismantle the industrial and scientific world so that we could all return to the Rousseauian paradise of living in a cave with a candle while enjoying the fresh, clean air and the trickling streams; and the aggressively naturist Green Peace and animal rights movements all seem to inject an irrational, messianic, religious aspect into the climate change debate which threatens to silence critics rather than to accord them the fair hearing that Popperian falsifiability standards normally allow in science.

 

Science and politics often get mixed in deleterious ways, even in the modern world, as the examples of Lysenko and the Nazi theory of 'blood purity' suggest. There was a very serious international congress on maintaining the purity of the blood in Germany in 1936, which was interpreted, not as avoiding septicemia, but as ensuring racial purity, which is a form of reasoning essentially based just on a pun -- but still, Ph.D.s and M.D.s were seriously arguing this nonsense. The general problem with science is that it is often internally perfectly accurate in its methods, but the entire theory is based on a suppressed and false premise.

 

There is so much at stake in this debate that any hint of political irrationality in the science backing it up should encourage everyone to be a climate sceptic. Given the current design of our political institutions, the multi-trillion dollar cost of destroying the carbon economy and building the infrastructure for a green economy to replace it (the suburbs, for example, where more than half the population now lives, have got to go) is going to be imposed exclusive on the poor and the lower middle class, with catastrophic impacts on life expectancy, health, mental illness, alcoholism, crime, unemployment, and economic growth stagnation. People forget that even with the most efficient operation possible of our existing carbon-based economy, recessions and depressions still occur, and most Western nations have an unemployment rate of around 10%, plus massive debts. What is going to happen if we now deliberately burden these economies with the hugely-expensive transition to a green economy? The surplus wealth generated by the uninterrupted operation of the carbon-based economy is a prerequisite to finding cures for cancer, diabetes, renal disease, lupus, atherosclerosis, etc., so you can forget ever seeing any of that for yourself or your great-grandchildren if a drastic transition to a green economy soaks up all our resources.

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