Online reading group and book discussion forum
  HOME FORUMS BOOKS LINKS DONATE ADVERTISE CONTACT  
View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Thu Sep 18, 2014 10:46 pm




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 56 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Global warming or carbon cult? 
Author Message
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Cunning Linguist


Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 84
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Thanks: 106
Thanked: 53 times in 42 posts
Gender: Female
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Global warming or carbon cult?
Maybe this isn’t the proper forum topic under which to express these particular thoughts, but they came to me while reading these posts, so I decided to post them here.

All the talk and speculation about new world-changing energy technologies reminds me of the efforts to invent a perpetual motion machine. The idea that somewhere out there a more-or-less inexhaustible source or method of creating energy must lurk, seems to ignore the fact that, at least so far, Newton has always proven correct: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. I understand that this law does not directly address things like energy sources, however, it does address methodologies, which would have to be applied to any source in order to convert it into an efficient supply of usable energy. I can’t get too technical about this because, frankly, I don’t have the necessary background in physics. Rather, what I want to talk about is the common sense of how things work in the real world, either economically or scientifically.

For centuries scientists and inventors have sought the holy grail of perpetual motion; or, to put in terms more relative to this discussion, a source of unlimited energy without loss (here I might add, without consequence). And, though thousands of such devices and processes have been created, none have proven to result in energy creation even equal to energy consumption, especially when you include economics in the equation. Even the most promising things like solar, wind, geothermal, biofuels and the like, have their economic downside that makes them less than practical at today’s costs, and the only remedy (now pretty much agreed on) is to increase the cost of all energy to the point where some of these “unlimited” sources become practical alternatives to traditional sources.

There is always the chance, of course, that tomorrow someone will make a huge breakthrough and suddenly this historic failure will be overcome. However, it seems to me that nature is still telling us, “nothing is free;” that no matter what we do, there will be some price to pay, and that price will probably be more than the cost of whatever we can come up with.

In a way, it’s kind of like infinity, which can be approached but never reached. This doesn’t mean that continuing to try is unwise or futile, only that the populace should be aware of the reality, and not hang their hats on the idea that there is some kind of panacea out there just awaiting discovery.

I know I will probably get hammered for saying this by the more scientifically astute folks who post here because, like I said, I am not nearly as educated or knowledgeable in the sciences as the average contributor. And actually, I’d like to hear the arguments against what I’ve said, because I really hope I’m wrong about this. I do know that so-called “common sense” doesn’t always apply to things like quantum physics, so there may be something out there I’m not aware of or couldn’t comprehend if I was. I did hear that they’ve maybe found something that travels faster than the speed of light, which, I supposed might lead to an entire paradigm shift in the physical sciences, so maybe something really is out there waiting for us.


_________________
Money is a lousy way of keeping score.


The following user would like to thank Avid Reader for this post:
DWill, geo
Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:43 pm
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Brains on top of brains

Gold Contributor 2

Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 3122
Location: NC
Thanks: 1022
Thanked: 1102 times in 828 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Global warming or carbon cult?
Avid Reader wrote:
All the talk and speculation about new world-changing energy technologies reminds me of the efforts to invent a perpetual motion machine. The idea that somewhere out there a more-or-less inexhaustible source or method of creating energy must lurk, seems to ignore the fact that, at least so far, Newton has always proven correct: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. I understand that this law does not directly address things like energy sources, however, it does address methodologies, which would have to be applied to any source in order to convert it into an efficient supply of usable energy.


This is all very well said and I think you're right on the nose. There's just nothing coming down the pipeline that comes close to the inexpensive and usable energy we get from fossil fuels. It seems likely that we're living in a bubble made possible by cheap energy that has allowed human population to grow exponentially. I used to worry about the peak oil scenario, but DWill mentions that we will become increasingly more efficient, not only at extracting oil from difficult places, but in how we use our energy. We certainly take our energy for granted. I think it would be fun and eye-opening to have a no electricity day just like the no drive day promoted in some communities. People would go home and not be able to use electric lights, TVs, computers etc. We used to call this camping.

I do think Robert's biofuel technology sounds very promising, but it would have to be built on a massive scale to make a dent in our energy needs. Biofuel replacing petroleum as our primary energy source sounds wonderful. But I also wonder what would happen if we did find some holy grail that yielded free and limitless energy. The earth would be able to accommodate a much larger human population and occupy an even larger ecological niche, displacing other life forms. Just how much of the earth are we entitled to?


_________________
-Geo
Question everything


The following user would like to thank geo for this post:
DWill
Sat Sep 24, 2011 8:52 pm
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
pets endangered by possible book avalanche

Gold Contributor 2

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 4944
Location: Berryville, Virginia
Thanks: 1081
Thanked: 1040 times in 813 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Global warming or carbon cult?
I heard Joel Achenbach, the Washington Post science writer who has just written a book about the BP Gulf oil gusher, at the National Book festival today. He said that the magnitude of that disaster drives home the point for him that we humans don't just occupy a niche in nature. To say that we do sounds nice, but it's far off the mark. We are attempting to engineer the planet according to the needs of our civilization, and that involves bigger and bigger projects, meaning ever greater effects when something does go wrong. That role seems to be opposed to living in accordance with nature in any way. I'm not saying that we should "go back to nature," only that we can be up front about the kind of role we're playing. Even if we could use algae or waves to satisfy all our energy wants, these technologies would have their negative environmental effects, too, if only because so much much infrastructure and production would be needed. And if limitless energy did enable us to fit 50 billion people on the globe, how many thousands of additional species would need to make their exits?

On the way home, I was totally astounded to hear the NPR report that today the U.S. produces half of the oil it uses, importing the other half. Less than 10 years ago, the percentages were 33 and 66. In a short time, our hemisphere will eclipse Russia and then the Middle East in oil production. A good deal of that increase comes from us, with huge oil reserves (and gas, too) now accessible through fracking in North Dakota, Colo., Wyo. Louisiana, and several other states. This will be a bigger economic stimulus than anything the government could do. However, some are also saying it means game over as far as slowing climate change.

The question is, how can we possibly not take advantage of new technology to find oil and gas? Is there really any other option? It can make us feel good to say we need to invest in alternatives instead, but that's what we need to while we continue to exploit fossils, isn't it? We're necessarily all about the short-term, after all. We have an imperative to keep what we have going.


_________________
Man is an animal suspended in webs of significance that he himself has spun.

Clifford Geertz


Last edited by DWill on Sun Sep 25, 2011 8:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.



The following user would like to thank DWill for this post:
geo
Sun Sep 25, 2011 8:39 pm
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Brains on top of brains

Gold Contributor 2

Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 3122
Location: NC
Thanks: 1022
Thanked: 1102 times in 828 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Global warming or carbon cult?
This Associated Press article discusses the social and psychological reasons why people deny global warming. The article ran in our local paper with the headline something along the lines of you can't really deny global warming any more.

The link to the article is here.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/art ... 49d13b180c

EDITOR'S NOTE: Climate change has already provoked debate in a U.S. presidential campaign barely begun. An Associated Press journalist draws on decades of climate reporting to offer a retrospective and analysis on global warming and the undying urge to deny.

The American `allergy' to global warming: Why?

By CHARLES J. HANLEY
AP Special Correspondent

NEW YORK (AP) -- Tucked between treatises on algae and prehistoric turquoise beads, the study on page 460 of a long-ago issue of the U.S. journal Science drew little attention.

"I don't think there were any newspaper articles about it or anything like that," the author recalls.

But the headline on the 1975 report was bold: "Are We on the Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming?" And this article that coined the term may have marked the last time a mention of "global warming" didn't set off an instant outcry of angry denial.

In the paper, Columbia University geoscientist Wally Broecker calculated how much carbon dioxide would accumulate in the atmosphere in the coming 35 years, and how temperatures consequently would rise. His numbers have proven almost dead-on correct. Meanwhile, other powerful evidence poured in over those decades, showing the "greenhouse effect" is real and is happening. And yet resistance to the idea among many in the U.S. appears to have hardened.

What's going on?

"The desire to disbelieve deepens as the scale of the threat grows," concludes economist-ethicist Clive Hamilton.

He and others who track what they call "denialism" find that its nature is changing in America, last redoubt of climate naysayers. It has taken on a more partisan, ideological tone. Polls find a widening Republican-Democratic gap on climate. Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry even accuses climate scientists of lying for money. Global warming looms as a debatable question in yet another U.S. election campaign.

From his big-windowed office overlooking the wooded campus of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, N.Y., Broecker has observed this deepening of the desire to disbelieve.

"The opposition by the Republicans has gotten stronger and stronger," the 79-year-old "grandfather of climate science" said in an interview. "But, of course, the push by the Democrats has become stronger and stronger, and as it has become a more important issue, it has become more polarized."

The solution: "Eventually it'll become damned clear that the Earth is warming and the warming is beyond anything we have experienced in millions of years, and people will have to admit..." He stopped and laughed.

"Well, I suppose they could say God is burning us up."

The basic physics of anthropogenic - manmade - global warming has been clear for more than a century, since researchers proved that carbon dioxide traps heat. Others later showed CO2 was building up in the atmosphere from the burning of coal, oil and other fossil fuels. Weather stations then filled in the rest: Temperatures were rising.

"As a physicist, putting CO2 into the air is good enough for me. It's the physics that convinces me," said veteran Cambridge University researcher Liz Morris. But she said work must go on to refine climate data and computer climate models, "to convince the deeply reluctant organizers of this world."

The reluctance to rein in carbon emissions revealed itself early on.

In the 1980s, as scientists studied Greenland's buried ice for clues to past climate, upgraded their computer models peering into the future, and improved global temperature analyses, the fossil-fuel industries were mobilizing for a campaign to question the science.

By 1988, NASA climatologist James Hansen could appear before a U.S. Senate committee and warn that global warming had begun, a dramatic announcement later confirmed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a new, U.N.-sponsored network of hundreds of international scientists.

But when Hansen was called back to testify in 1989, the White House of President George H.W. Bush edited this government scientist's remarks to water down his conclusions, and Hansen declined to appear.

That was the year U.S. oil and coal interests formed the Global Climate Coalition to combat efforts to shift economies away from their products. Britain's Royal Society and other researchers later determined that oil giant Exxon disbursed millions of dollars annually to think tanks and a handful of supposed experts to sow doubt about the facts.

In 1997, two years after the IPCC declared the "balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate," the world's nations gathered in Kyoto, Japan, to try to do something about it. The naysayers were there as well.

"The statement that we'll have continued warming with an increase in CO2 is opinion, not fact," oil executive William F. O'Keefe of the Global Climate Coalition insisted to reporters in Kyoto.

The late Bert Bolin, then IPCC chief, despaired.

"I'm not really surprised at the political reaction," the Swedish climatologist told The Associated Press. "I am surprised at the way some of the scientific findings have been rejected in an unscientific manner."

In fact, a document emerged years later showing that the industry coalition's own scientific team had quietly advised it that the basic science of global warming was indisputable.

Kyoto's final agreement called for limited rollbacks in greenhouse emissions. The United States didn't even join in that. And by 2000, the CO2 built up in the atmosphere to 369 parts per million - just 4 ppm less than Broecker predicted - compared with 280 ppm before the industrial revolution.

Global temperatures rose as well, by 0.6 degrees C (1.1 degrees F) in the 20th century. And the mercury just kept rising. The decade 2000-2009 was the warmest on record, and 2010 and 2005 were the warmest years on record.

Satellite and other monitoring, meanwhile, found nights were warming faster than days, and winters more than summers, and the upper atmosphere was cooling while the lower atmosphere warmed - all clear signals greenhouse warming was at work, not some other factor.

The impact has been widespread.

An authoritative study this August reported that hundreds of species are retreating toward the poles, egrets showing up in southern England, American robins in Eskimo villages. Some, such as polar bears, have nowhere to go. Eventual large-scale extinctions are feared.

The heat is cutting into wheat yields, nurturing beetles that are destroying northern forests, attracting malarial mosquitoes to higher altitudes.

From the Rockies to the Himalayas, glaciers are shrinking, sending ever more water into the world's seas. Because of accelerated melt in Greenland and elsewhere, the eight-nation Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program projects ocean levels will rise 90 to 160 centimeters (35 to 63 inches) by 2100, threatening coastlines everywhere.

"We are scared, really and truly," diplomat Laurence Edwards, from the Pacific's Marshall Islands, told the AP before the 1997 Kyoto meeting.

Today in his low-lying home islands, rising seas have washed away shoreline graveyards, saltwater has invaded wells, and islanders desperately seek aid to build a seawall to shield their capital.

The oceans are turning more acidic, too, from absorbing excess carbon dioxide. Acidifying seas will harm plankton, shellfish and other marine life up the food chain. Biologists fear the world's coral reefs, home to much ocean life and already damaged from warmer waters, will largely disappear in this century.

The greatest fears may focus on "feedbacks" in the Arctic, warming twice as fast as the rest of the world.

The Arctic Ocean's summer ice cap has shrunk by half and is expected to essentially vanish by 2030 or 2040, the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center reported Sept. 15. Ashore, meanwhile, the Arctic tundra's permafrost is thawing and releasing methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.

These changes will feed on themselves: Released methane leads to warmer skies, which will release more methane. Ice-free Arctic waters absorb more of the sun's heat than do reflective ice and snow, and so melt will beget melt. The frozen Arctic is a controller of Northern Hemisphere climate; an unfrozen one could upend age-old weather patterns across continents.

In the face of years of scientific findings and growing impacts, the doubters persist. They ignore long-term trends and seize on insignificant year-to-year blips in data to claim all is well. They focus on minor mistakes in thousands of pages of peer-reviewed studies to claim all is wrong. And they carom from one explanation to another for today's warming Earth: jet contrails, sunspots, cosmic rays, natural cycles.

"Ninety-eight percent of the world's climate scientists say it's for real, and yet you still have deniers," observed former U.S. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, a New York Republican who chaired the House's science committee.

Christiana Figueres, Costa Rican head of the U.N.'s post-Kyoto climate negotiations, finds it "very, very perplexing, this apparent allergy that there is in the United States. Why?"

The Australian scholar Hamilton sought to explain why in his 2010 book, "Requiem for a Species: Why We Resist the Truth About Climate Change."

In an interview, he said he found a "transformation" from the 1990s and its industry-financed campaign, to an America where climate denial "has now become a marker of cultural identity in the `angry' parts of the United States."

"Climate denial has been incorporated in the broader movement of right-wing populism," he said, a movement that has "a visceral loathing of environmentalism."

An in-depth study of a decade of Gallup polling finds statistical backing for that analysis.

On the question of whether they believed the effects of global warming were already happening, the percentage of self-identified Republicans or conservatives answering "yes" plummeted from almost 50 percent in 2007-2008 to 30 percent or less in 2010, while liberals and Democrats remained at 70 percent or more, according to the study in this spring's Sociological Quarterly.

A Pew Research Center poll last October found a similar left-right gap.

The drop-off coincided with the election of Democrat Barack Obama as president and the Democratic effort in Congress, ultimately futile, to impose government caps on industrial greenhouse emissions.

Boehlert, the veteran Republican congressman, noted that "high-profile people with an `R' after their name, like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, are saying it's all fiction. Pooh-poohing the science of climate change feeds into their basic narrative that all government is bad."

The quarterly study's authors, Aaron M. McCright of Michigan State University and Riley E. Dunlap of Oklahoma State, suggested climate had joined abortion and other explosive, intractable issues as a mainstay of America's hardening left-right gap.

"The culture wars have thus taken on a new dimension," they wrote.

Al Gore, for one, remains upbeat. The former vice president and Nobel Prize-winning climate campaigner says "ferocity" in defense of false beliefs often increases "as the evidence proving them false builds."

In an AP interview, he pointed to tipping points in recent history - the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the dismantling of U.S. racial segregation - when the potential for change built slowly in the background, until a critical mass was reached.

"This is building toward a point where the falsehoods of climate denial will be unacceptable as a basis for policy much longer," Gore said. "As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, `How long? Not long.'"

Even Wally Broecker's jest - that deniers could blame God - may not be an option for long.

Last May the Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Sciences, arm of an institution that once persecuted Galileo for his scientific findings, pronounced on manmade global warming: It's happening.

Said the pope's scientific advisers, "We must protect the habitat that sustains us."

(This version CORRECTS Changes 50th paragraph to correct first name of Congresswoman Bachmann to Michele (with one 'l').)


_________________
-Geo
Question everything


The following user would like to thank geo for this post:
Robert Tulip
Mon Sep 26, 2011 11:38 am
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Brains on top of brains

Gold Contributor 2

Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 3122
Location: NC
Thanks: 1022
Thanked: 1102 times in 828 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Global warming or carbon cult?
DWill wrote:
I heard Joel Achenbach, the Washington Post science writer who has just written a book about the BP Gulf oil gusher, at the National Book festival today. He said that the magnitude of that disaster drives home the point for him that we humans don't just occupy a niche in nature. To say that we do sounds nice, but it's far off the mark. We are attempting to engineer the planet according to the needs of our civilization, and that involves bigger and bigger projects, meaning ever greater effects when something does go wrong. That role seems to be opposed to living in accordance with nature in any way. I'm not saying that we should "go back to nature," only that we can be up front about the kind of role we're playing. Even if we could use algae or waves to satisfy all our energy wants, these technologies would have their negative environmental effects, too, if only because so much much infrastructure and production would be needed. And if limitless energy did enable us to fit 50 billion people on the globe, how many thousands of additional species would need to make their exits?

On the way home, I was totally astounded to hear the NPR report that today the U.S. produces half of the oil it uses, importing the other half. Less than 10 years ago, the percentages were 33 and 66. In a short time, our hemisphere will eclipse Russia and then the Middle East in oil production. A good deal of that increase comes from us, with huge oil reserves (and gas, too) now accessible through fracking in North Dakota, Colo., Wyo. Louisiana, and several other states. This will be a bigger economic stimulus than anything the government could do. However, some are also saying it means game over as far as slowing climate change.

The question is, how can we possibly not take advantage of new technology to find oil and gas? Is there really any other option? It can make us feel good to say we need to invest in alternatives instead, but that's what we need to while we continue to exploit fossils, isn't it? We're necessarily all about the short-term, after all. We have an imperative to keep what we have going.


Thanks, DWill.

It does sound quaint to say we occupy an ecological niche when in fact we're taking over the planet. The Bible says we were made in God's image to have "dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." Well, it seems we've done that. Now what?

Realistically, I don't think there's anything we can do about our population growth. We're programmed to survive and procreate. And as has been discussed elsewhere, our birth rates are already falling dramatically on a global scale. Supposedly sometime in 40 years or so, we will begin to experience negative birth rates. Until then human population is expected to grow by 1-3 billion. I think it's far from given that we will survive this period. If, indeed, we are changing the climate, we might go out in a blaze of glory and take half of the world's species with us. If we ever get to the point of fighting over diminishing resources, there's a pretty good chance we'll utilize nuclear weaponry and render our world inhabitable for most life forms.

In previous centuries, European settlers devastated indigenous population in North America and in other parts of the world. Some of it was willful extermination, but a lot of it was simple displacement. It must have been difficult for the Europeans to see that what was happening at the time and even more difficult to see its significance. Throughout our history, humans have migrated to other parts of the globe and fought for domination, always easily justifying our actions. I wonder if a few hundred years from now, we will look back with regret at how our own success as a species has displaced other life forms, look back on their ancestors and easily see our speciesist attitudes.

Our situation seems bleak. Maybe I'm just cynical, but honestly it's hard to put a positive spin on what's happening right in front of us.


_________________
-Geo
Question everything


Mon Sep 26, 2011 1:03 pm
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Brains on top of brains

Gold Contributor 2

Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 3122
Location: NC
Thanks: 1022
Thanked: 1102 times in 828 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Global warming or carbon cult?
Perhaps relevant to the Associated Press article, there have been some interesting studies on how birth order affects personality traits and I've heard it said that firstborns tend to be more conservative than latter borns. Of interest, psychologist Frank Sulloway evaluated the stances of nearly 4,000 participants in 28 scientific controversies dating from 1543 to 1967 and found the likelihood of accepting a revolutionary idea is 3.1 times greater for latter borns than firstborns. For radical revolutions the likelihood is even higher. This is no statistical anomaly. Opponents to Newton, Einstein, and Lavoisier (all firstborns by the way) were predominantly firstborns and converts tended to be latter borns.

This, of course, doesn't have anything to do with whether AGW is real or not. But if it was real, you'd expect that conservatives would in fact tend to resist the idea.


_________________
-Geo
Question everything


Mon Sep 26, 2011 1:56 pm
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Book Slut

Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 4137
Location: Canberra
Thanks: 1131
Thanked: 1184 times in 891 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Australia (au)

Post Re: Global warming or carbon cult?
geo wrote:
This Associated Press article discusses the social and psychological reasons why people deny global warming. The article ran in our local paper with the headline something along the lines of you can't really deny global warming any more.
The link to the article is here.
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/art ... 49d13b180c
The American `allergy' to global warming: Why?
By CHARLES J. HANLEY
AP Special Correspondent
Thanks Geo, great article. It shows how the politics has gone toxic. My view is that the link between climate science and left wing politics is unhelpful, although the Republicans have gone insane. We won't fix the climate by measures that increase the intrusion of governments.
Quote:

NEW YORK (AP) -- Tucked between treatises on algae and prehistoric turquoise beads, the study on page 460 of a long-ago issue of the U.S. journal Science drew little attention. "I don't think there were any newspaper articles about it or anything like that," the author recalls. But the headline on the 1975 report was bold: "Are We on the Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming?" And this article that coined the term may have marked the last time a mention of "global warming" didn't set off an instant outcry of angry denial. In the paper, Columbia University geoscientist Wally Broecker calculated how much carbon dioxide would accumulate in the atmosphere in the coming 35 years, and how temperatures consequently would rise. His numbers have proven almost dead-on correct. Meanwhile, other powerful evidence poured in over those decades, showing the "greenhouse effect" is real and is happening. And yet resistance to the idea among many in the U.S. appears to have hardened.
You might recall I cited Broecker's book Fixing Climate: What Past Climate Changes Reveal About the Current Threat--and How to Counter It in the Climate Apocalypse thread. He is brilliant. The idea he promotes in that book for artificial trees to suck carbon from the air has to be a big part of the solution. Fixing Climate would be a good Booktalk selection.
Quote:
What's going on? "The desire to disbelieve deepens as the scale of the threat grows," concludes economist-ethicist Clive Hamilton.
I know Hamilton, and unfortunately he is a leftist who frightens the horses. He has supported authoritarian solutions to climate change, and also calls for a reduction in affluence. These ideas make him politically marginal.
Quote:
He and others who track what they call "denialism" find that its nature is changing in America, last redoubt of climate naysayers. It has taken on a more partisan, ideological tone. Polls find a widening Republican-Democratic gap on climate. Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry even accuses climate scientists of lying for money. Global warming looms as a debatable question in yet another U.S. election campaign.
Perry is an evil idiot, somewhat similar to Adolf Hitler. The USA would become a danger to the world if he got elected.
Quote:
From his big-windowed office overlooking the wooded campus of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, N.Y., Broecker has observed this deepening of the desire to disbelieve. "The opposition by the Republicans has gotten stronger and stronger," the 79-year-old "grandfather of climate science" said in an interview. "But, of course, the push by the Democrats has become stronger and stronger, and as it has become a more important issue, it has become more polarized." The solution: "Eventually it'll become damned clear that the Earth is warming and the warming is beyond anything we have experienced in millions of years, and people will have to admit..." He stopped and laughed. "Well, I suppose they could say God is burning us up."
This comment about God illustrates the apocalyptic currents in this debate. But if we wait for God to save us it will be too late. The first step is to recast climate change as a conservative security issue, solvable by capitalist ingenuity, with the government in a non-intrusive supportive role for business. The solutions exist, they just have to be de-linked from left wing politics.
Quote:
The basic physics of anthropogenic - manmade - global warming has been clear for more than a century, since researchers proved that carbon dioxide traps heat. Others later showed CO2 was building up in the atmosphere from the burning of coal, oil and other fossil fuels. Weather stations then filled in the rest: Temperatures were rising. "As a physicist, putting CO2 into the air is good enough for me. It's the physics that convinces me," said veteran Cambridge University researcher Liz Morris. But she said work must go on to refine climate data and computer climate models, "to convince the deeply reluctant organizers of this world."
"Refining models" is not going to influence politics. What will influence politics is ability to speak to people in simple terms that convince them to change their minds, and moving ahead with investment ideas that are practical and profitable. Scientists are not very good at that, and nor are environmentalists, with all their left wing baggage.
Quote:
The reluctance to rein in carbon emissions revealed itself early on. In the 1980s, as scientists studied Greenland's buried ice for clues to past climate, upgraded their computer models peering into the future, and improved global temperature analyses, the fossil-fuel industries were mobilizing for a campaign to question the science.
By 1988, NASA climatologist James Hansen could appear before a U.S. Senate committee and warn that global warming had begun, a dramatic announcement later confirmed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a new, U.N.-sponsored network of hundreds of international scientists. But when Hansen was called back to testify in 1989, the White House of President George H.W. Bush edited this government scientist's remarks to water down his conclusions, and Hansen declined to appear. That was the year U.S. oil and coal interests formed the Global Climate Coalition to combat efforts to shift economies away from their products. Britain's Royal Society and other researchers later determined that oil giant Exxon disbursed millions of dollars annually to think tanks and a handful of supposed experts to sow doubt about the facts. In 1997, two years after the IPCC declared the "balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate," the world's nations gathered in Kyoto, Japan, to try to do something about it. The naysayers were there as well. "The statement that we'll have continued warming with an increase in CO2 is opinion, not fact," oil executive William F. O'Keefe of the Global Climate Coalition insisted to reporters in Kyoto. The late Bert Bolin, then IPCC chief, despaired.
"I'm not really surprised at the political reaction," the Swedish climatologist told The Associated Press. "I am surprised at the way some of the scientific findings have been rejected in an unscientific manner." In fact, a document emerged years later showing that the industry coalition's own scientific team had quietly advised it that the basic science of global warming was indisputable.
Just like the tobacco industry knew in the 1950s that smoking kills, and just like the asbestos industry knew in the 1930s that asbestos is a killer. For energy firms to be allowed to corrupt the public debate in their naked commercial interest is a total scandal.
Quote:
Kyoto's final agreement called for limited rollbacks in greenhouse emissions. The United States didn't even join in that. And by 2000, the CO2 built up in the atmosphere to 369 parts per million - just 4 ppm less than Broecker predicted - compared with 280 ppm before the industrial revolution. Global temperatures rose as well, by 0.6 degrees C (1.1 degrees F) in the 20th century. And the mercury just kept rising. The decade 2000-2009 was the warmest on record, and 2010 and 2005 were the warmest years on record. Satellite and other monitoring, meanwhile, found nights were warming faster than days, and winters more than summers, and the upper atmosphere was cooling while the lower atmosphere warmed - all clear signals greenhouse warming was at work, not some other factor. The impact has been widespread. An authoritative study this August reported that hundreds of species are retreating toward the poles, egrets showing up in southern England, American robins in Eskimo villages. Some, such as polar bears, have nowhere to go. Eventual large-scale extinctions are feared. The heat is cutting into wheat yields, nurturing beetles that are destroying northern forests, attracting malarial mosquitoes to higher altitudes. From the Rockies to the Himalayas, glaciers are shrinking, sending ever more water into the world's seas. Because of accelerated melt in Greenland and elsewhere, the eight-nation Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program projects ocean levels will rise 90 to 160 centimeters (35 to 63 inches) by 2100, threatening coastlines everywhere. "We are scared, really and truly," diplomat Laurence Edwards, from the Pacific's Marshall Islands, told the AP before the 1997 Kyoto meeting.Today in his low-lying home islands, rising seas have washed away shoreline graveyards, saltwater has invaded wells, and islanders desperately seek aid to build a seawall to shield their capital.
This is a really good summary of the clear and present danger. There is also the risk that climate could hit an unforeseen tipping point, causing a sudden phase shift like an earthquake.
Quote:
The oceans are turning more acidic, too, from absorbing excess carbon dioxide. Acidifying seas will harm plankton, shellfish and other marine life up the food chain. Biologists fear the world's coral reefs, home to much ocean life and already damaged from warmer waters, will largely disappear in this century.
Some climate scientists have commented that the effects on the ocean are the big sleeper in climate change, storing up heat and acid in a sort of diabolical planetary experiment.
Quote:
The greatest fears may focus on "feedbacks" in the Arctic, warming twice as fast as the rest of the world. The Arctic Ocean's summer ice cap has shrunk by half and is expected to essentially vanish by 2030 or 2040, the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center reported Sept. 15. Ashore, meanwhile, the Arctic tundra's permafrost is thawing and releasing methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. These changes will feed on themselves: Released methane leads to warmer skies, which will release more methane. Ice-free Arctic waters absorb more of the sun's heat than do reflective ice and snow, and so melt will beget melt. The frozen Arctic is a controller of Northern Hemisphere climate; an unfrozen one could upend age-old weather patterns across continents.
This concept of the "feedback loop" is very important. It shows how a tiny global input, billions of tons of carbon, can be enough to change the whole system. To understand how CO2, such a small factor, 0.04% of the atmosphere, can have such a big impact, a friend commented that we can see dyes in extremely small concentrations, and we can also use colored lighting to show how they're visible in some wavelengths and not in others. That you can't see its effect in the visible range doesn't mean CO2 doesn't have an obvious effect in the infrared range at those concentrations.
Quote:
In the face of years of scientific findings and growing impacts, the doubters persist. They ignore long-term trends and seize on insignificant year-to-year blips in data to claim all is well. They focus on minor mistakes in thousands of pages of peer-reviewed studies to claim all is wrong. And they carom from one explanation to another for today's warming Earth: jet contrails, sunspots, cosmic rays, natural cycles. "Ninety-eight percent of the world's climate scientists say it's for real, and yet you still have deniers," observed former U.S. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, a New York Republican who chaired the House's science committee. Christiana Figueres, Costa Rican head of the U.N.'s post-Kyoto climate negotiations, finds it "very, very perplexing, this apparent allergy that there is in the United States. Why?"
I don't find it perplexing, I just think that the science of climate change has been used as a stalking horse for big government agendas, and conservatives naturally react against being deceived like that. Climate science should link itself to small government advocates like Hayek to purge the socialists.
Quote:
The Australian scholar Hamilton sought to explain why in his 2010 book, "Requiem for a Species: Why We Resist the Truth About Climate Change." In an interview, he said he found a "transformation" from the 1990s and its industry-financed campaign, to an America where climate denial "has now become a marker of cultural identity in the `angry' parts of the United States." "Climate denial has been incorporated in the broader movement of right-wing populism," he said, a movement that has "a visceral loathing of environmentalism." An in-depth study of a decade of Gallup polling finds statistical backing for that analysis. On the question of whether they believed the effects of global warming were already happening, the percentage of self-identified Republicans or conservatives answering "yes" plummeted from almost 50 percent in 2007-2008 to 30 percent or less in 2010, while liberals and Democrats remained at 70 percent or more, according to the study in this spring's Sociological Quarterly. A Pew Research Center poll last October found a similar left-right gap.
And this shows again that people detect a political subtext regarding a desire by totalitarians like Hamilton to infringe their liberties. They think when he calls them 'angry' he really means they are stupid. They resent being patronized by egg heads.
Quote:
The drop-off coincided with the election of Democrat Barack Obama as president and the Democratic effort in Congress, ultimately futile, to impose government caps on industrial greenhouse emissions. Boehlert, the veteran Republican congressman, noted that "high-profile people with an `R' after their name, like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, are saying it's all fiction. Pooh-poohing the science of climate change feeds into their basic narrative that all government is bad." The quarterly study's authors, Aaron M. McCright of Michigan State University and Riley E. Dunlap of Oklahoma State, suggested climate had joined abortion and other explosive, intractable issues as a mainstay of America's hardening left-right gap. "The culture wars have thus taken on a new dimension," they wrote.
It won't be until climate response is reconciled with liberty that this polarized paralysis will be overcome. My view is that this is possible through large scale ocean based algae biofuel production as a profitable capitalist private enterprise.
Quote:
Al Gore, for one, remains upbeat. The former vice president and Nobel Prize-winning climate campaigner says "ferocity" in defense of false beliefs often increases "as the evidence proving them false builds." In an AP interview, he pointed to tipping points in recent history - the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the dismantling of U.S. racial segregation - when the potential for change built slowly in the background, until a critical mass was reached. "This is building toward a point where the falsehoods of climate denial will be unacceptable as a basis for policy much longer," Gore said. "As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, `How long? Not long.'" Even Wally Broecker's jest - that deniers could blame God - may not be an option for long. Last May the Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Sciences, arm of an institution that once persecuted Galileo for his scientific findings, pronounced on manmade global warming: It's happening. Said the pope's scientific advisers, "We must protect the habitat that sustains us."

The problem here is that Gore has not advocated for real solutions. An Inconvenient Truth says "each one of us can make choices to change that with the things we buy, the electricity we use, the cars we drive; we can make choices to bring our individual carbon emissions to zero. The solutions are in our hands." This is just syrupy garbage. All this stuff, and windmills and carbon taxes, might delay global warming a week. We need industrial scale new technology to reverse CO2 increase in the air. A global problem requires a global solution. Personal responses of the type proposed by Gore are worse than useless, because they deflect attention from real solutions that could actually fix the problem.


_________________
http://rtulip.net


Last edited by Robert Tulip on Tue Sep 27, 2011 10:20 am, edited 3 times in total.



The following user would like to thank Robert Tulip for this post:
geo
Tue Sep 27, 2011 10:14 am
Profile Email WWW
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Brains on top of brains

Gold Contributor 2

Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 3122
Location: NC
Thanks: 1022
Thanked: 1102 times in 828 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Global warming or carbon cult?
Here's an experiment on Mythbusters that apparently shows C02 and methane in a controlled environment to produce a warming effect.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPRd5GT0 ... r_embedded

And then here's the same experiment with an accommodation for expanding gases.

http://myweb.cableone.net/carlallen/Sit ... dered.html

The second experiment doesn't prove that C02 and methane don't contribute to warming, but it goes to show that nothing is as simple as it seems.


_________________
-Geo
Question everything


Thu Sep 29, 2011 3:07 pm
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

BookTalk.org Moderator
Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 5308
Location: California
Thanks: 670
Thanked: 1361 times in 1072 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Global warming or carbon cult?
Avid Reader wrote:
There is always the chance, of course, that tomorrow someone will make a huge breakthrough and suddenly this historic failure will be overcome. However, it seems to me that nature is still telling us, “nothing is free;” that no matter what we do, there will be some price to pay, and that price will probably be more than the cost of whatever we can come up with.


Good post, I like your thinking. A sustainable Earth would need supplement to renewable energy sources. Currently space economy isn't an issue, but I think economics will replace land-based solar energy collection devices. They would be spaceborn if anything. Nuclear is the best guess, with energy being taken indirectly from matter. They need to start putting them below sealevel with emergency flood gates though. A bullseye for terrorism, so we'd need to get our 'animal' under control first.

There is also the nature of the byproduct. Our ignorance is slowly becoming illuminated, so we see the consequences of past actions. I think that while that is a good lesson, we are also better at forecasting the side-effects of our actions. We have large blind spots still, so must heed our wisdom for a long time yet. But my point is that we're progressing.


Imagine if cars could capture all but one part per billion of the CO2 it produced as well as eliminating all other toxins. Imagine if we could use that compressed CO2 in some manner that consumed a ton of it along with harmful byproducts from landfills to produce carbon nanofibers and more gasoline. Whatever the byproducts, the rest would need to be inert. It's an interesting thought experiment. There are assumptions of course. The oxygen byproduct would be measured to keep the atmosphere at stable levels. That the use of the other byproduct is responsible and considered in energy loss calculations.

Imagine if we could track each and every byproduct(someday we will), to include energy loss. Someday you'll be able to pull up a real-time overview of how much the temperature changes over Los Angeles from the cumulative heat produced by each and every vehicle's brakes. Well, that would be possible if we weren't already recapturing that energy. But it's a good example. The daytime temp over a specific region would be 0.00001 degrees warmer(or some other ridiculously low number). Every second the number would change, and the further ahead we look for our prediction, the less accurate it becomes due to the complexity of nature. A wind speed change of 1 mph would have a greater effect.

Everything we do changes something around us. But we're getting better and better at figuring out what changes.

With regards to CO2 emissions, we were driving faster than we could see. Our consumption outpaced our ability to see it's effects. But we're stepping deeper into the information age with every passing year, and our vision is getting clearer at a rapid rate. I hope that means we'll make less harmful or disastrous mistakes. Being unable to resolve past mistakes may still be our doom.


_________________
In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.” - Douglas Adams


The following user would like to thank Interbane for this post:
Avid Reader
Thu Sep 29, 2011 5:14 pm
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
No Bell Prize Winner


Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 1298
Thanks: 518
Thanked: 484 times in 368 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Global warming or carbon cult?
Quote:
Here's an experiment on Mythbusters that apparently shows C02 and methane in a controlled environment to produce a warming effect.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPRd5GT0 ... r_embedded

And then here's the same experiment with an accommodation for expanding gases.

http://myweb.cableone.net/carlallen/Sit ... dered.html

The second experiment doesn't prove that C02 and methane don't contribute to warming, but it goes to show that nothing is as simple as it seems.




_________________
A) The Origins of Religious Worship

B) The Christmas Nativity

C) The Mythicist Position

D) YEC theory put to rest!


Last edited by tat tvam asi on Thu Sep 29, 2011 10:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.



The following user would like to thank tat tvam asi for this post:
Avid Reader, youkrst
Thu Sep 29, 2011 10:00 pm
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Book Slut

Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 4137
Location: Canberra
Thanks: 1131
Thanked: 1184 times in 891 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Australia (au)

Post Re: Global warming or carbon cult?
Avid Reader wrote:
All the talk and speculation about new world-changing energy technologies reminds me of the efforts to invent a perpetual motion machine. The idea that somewhere out there a more-or-less inexhaustible source or method of creating energy must lurk, seems to ignore the fact that, at least so far, Newton has always proven correct: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. I understand that this law does not directly address things like energy sources, however, it does address methodologies, which would have to be applied to any source in order to convert it into an efficient supply of usable energy. I can’t get too technical about this because, frankly, I don’t have the necessary background in physics. Rather, what I want to talk about is the common sense of how things work in the real world, either economically or scientifically.
Consider the orders of magnitude. The world ocean contains about two billion cubic kilometers of water. The moon and sun cause this water to go up and down about a meter twice a day. The energy contained in tidal motion is massive. In practical terms, meaning on historical time scales, the tides already are a perpetual motion machine.

If we can extract a tiny fraction of the energy of the tides, and of the similarly massive energy of sun, wave, wind and current, the key question becomes one of finding the most technologically efficient and environmentally beneficial way to convert that energy into a means to suck carbon out of the air to regulate the global carbon cycle. It is likely that working out ways to extract ocean energy will be the most productive and scalable, since the ocean is more than twice as big as the land.

Carbon taxation is just fiddling with incentives in a secondary, inadequate, unpopular and dubious way. The real game is identifying and developing new sustainable energy technology that will help to regulate the global carbon cycle. Only when such new technology is commercially profitable will we have a sustainable incentive for large poor countries such as China and India not to free-ride on rich country emission reduction efforts.
Quote:
For centuries scientists and inventors have sought the holy grail of perpetual motion; or, to put in terms more relative to this discussion, a source of unlimited energy without loss (here I might add, without consequence). And, though thousands of such devices and processes have been created, none have proven to result in energy creation even equal to energy consumption, especially when you include economics in the equation. Even the most promising things like solar, wind, geothermal, biofuels and the like, have their economic downside that makes them less than practical at today’s costs, and the only remedy (now pretty much agreed on) is to increase the cost of all energy to the point where some of these “unlimited” sources become practical alternatives to traditional sources.
Increasing cost is not a remedy. Energy use is inelastic, and if a country such as China chooses not to apply these taxes, it will simply shift even more industrial production there. Popular resistance to carbon taxation is massive. Government subsidy for commercial research and development can, in my view, readily produce new technology that will be competitive on price against fossil fuel.
Quote:

In a way, it’s kind of like infinity, which can be approached but never reached. This doesn’t mean that continuing to try is unwise or futile, only that the populace should be aware of the reality, and not hang their hats on the idea that there is some kind of panacea out there just awaiting discovery.
I don't think many people are actually hanging their hats on new discovery, it is more that people are hiding their heads in the sand and hoping the problem will go away. Our planet is finite, not infinite. If we can extract a tiny proportion of the massive energy in the ocean we can establish sustainable abundance.
Quote:
I know I will probably get hammered for saying this by the more scientifically astute folks who post here because, like I said, I am not nearly as educated or knowledgeable in the sciences as the average contributor. And actually, I’d like to hear the arguments against what I’ve said, because I really hope I’m wrong about this. I do know that so-called “common sense” doesn’t always apply to things like quantum physics, so there may be something out there I’m not aware of or couldn’t comprehend if I was. I did hear that they’ve maybe found something that travels faster than the speed of light, which, I supposed might lead to an entire paradigm shift in the physical sciences, so maybe something really is out there waiting for us.

You are absolutely right that we need a paradigm shift. The key in my view is a determination to work with nature rather than against it. This applies to religion just as much as to science and economics. My views on this whole topic of climate change and energy are colored by the fact that I have proposed a method to solve global warming using large scale ocean based algae production. I believe the method I have proposed will work, but am not sure how to get anyone to test it.

The question is the most efficient and effective way to convert ocean energy into useable form. I don't think the current models based on direct conversion of wave or tide energy to electricity are likely to be the best. If we use ocean power to pump and transport and process algae for biofuel, it should be possible to establish closed loop coastal power stations such that all the produced CO2 goes back into the algae farm for new production with zero emissions. Tidal pumping for algae production especially could be a way to tap ocean energy in a way that makes it accessible for electricity, reducing dependence on fossil fuel. Using ocean power to enable low operating costs for algae biofuel production is also possibly a way to retain the internal combustion engine after peak oil, with all the flexibility and distributed infrastructure it now has.

None of this sort of thing will happen unless people test out different ideas. NASA is doing some good testing with their OMEGA project in California, but it is small scale, and I am not aware of many other activities aimed at large scale sea based biofuel production.

According to Jonathan Trent of NASA, algae farming could yield 100 times the amount of oil produced by soyabean, and six times the amount from palm oil for equal crop area. This makes sense since microalgae is the fastest growing plant on earth. Algae will grow nearly anywhere at sea. If technology is developed, algae could readily become scaleable to mass industrial operation at sea, with the advantage that it will not replace arable land or rainforest or other useful areas. Fifty million square kilometers of ocean is classed as desert, and might eventually be ideal for bulk fuel and food/fish production, after piloting in sheltered coastal locations. Ocean based algae production would require 0.1% of the world ocean to sequester all current coal emission equivalent. That is not impossible, and could be a commercially valuable way to cool the ocean and grow biofuel as part of a practical strategy for climate stabilization and energy and food security.

Growing new algae, rather than 'diverting' algae from a current role can make the [url="http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2008/20080305_oceandesert.html"]ocean deserts[/url] bloom at low cost. My assessment is the impact would be entirely benign, helping to stabilize atmospheric CO2, reduce ocean temperature and provide a sustainable biofuel that would deliver energy and reduce pressure on land for crops. That is all something for independent analysis to comment on, but I don't think there has been much discussion of this theme.

Intensive algae farms on 0.1% of the world ocean, using wave and tide energy to raise nutrient-rich water from the ocean deep, could mimic algae production from the upwelling of deep rich cold currents. Mixing this rich water with CO2 provided by sources such as artificial trees or mine emissions, could produce algae for fuel and protein, or for release into the sea as fish food. The NASA OMEGA project is an interesting starting point.


_________________
http://rtulip.net


The following user would like to thank Robert Tulip for this post:
Avid Reader
Fri Sep 30, 2011 4:41 am
Profile Email WWW
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Cunning Linguist


Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 84
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Thanks: 106
Thanked: 53 times in 42 posts
Gender: Female
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Global warming or carbon cult?
I don't have much more to say on this, mainly because you guys have gone pretty far over my head on the technical stuff, but I've read all the comments and I appreciate the fact that you addressed my thoughts directly. I tend to vacillate between hope and despair on this subject, but reading these detailed ideas tends to tilt me more toward the side of hope. Thanks!


_________________
Money is a lousy way of keeping score.


Fri Sep 30, 2011 9:14 am
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Book Slut

Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 4137
Location: Canberra
Thanks: 1131
Thanked: 1184 times in 891 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Australia (au)

Post Re: Global warming or carbon cult?
Tim Flannery has a fine new book about the problems of the world, Here on Earth: A Natural History of the Planet.

A fine review is available online for five dollars from the current issue of the New York Review of Books, titled Can Our Species Escape Destruction?

Flannery is one of my favorite writers. This review explains that he calls for a rebalancing between cooperation and competition, seeing Wallace, Darwin's great rival in the discovery of evolution, as presenting a message of how natural history requires us to view the world as a unity, while Darwin is ever the reductionist, taking nature apart to show how it works. Our instincts produce what the reviewer calls a Zoroastrian relation between cooperation and competition, two equal cosmic principles that contend against each other like light and dark, or good and evil.

As with many current books on apocalyptic science, the emphasis is on psychology, asking what it is about our instincts that makes us so indifferent to our current headlong path to extinction. Flannery speculates that perhaps the extremophiles will be the only survivors from the looming catastrophe. I am more optimistic than that.


_________________
http://rtulip.net


Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:10 am
Profile Email WWW
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Brains on top of brains

Gold Contributor 2

Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 3122
Location: NC
Thanks: 1022
Thanked: 1102 times in 828 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Global warming or carbon cult?
I think Matt Ridley makes some good points here in the recent Angus Millar lecture at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh. Ridley shows the slippery slope argument in action. There's a consensus among scientists that the earth's surface temps have increased by about 1.2 C, but beyond that not so much.

Scientific heresy

It is a great honour to be asked to deliver the Angus Millar lecture.

I have no idea whether Angus Millar ever saw himself as a heretic, but I have a soft spot for heresy. One of my ancestral relations, Nicholas Ridley* the Oxford martyr, was burned at the stake for heresy.

My topic today is scientific heresy. When are scientific heretics right and when are they mad? How do you tell the difference between science and pseudoscience?

Let us run through some issues, starting with the easy ones.

Astronomy is a science; astrology is a pseudoscience.

Evolution is science; creationism is pseudoscience.

Molecular biology is science; homeopathy is pseudoscience.

Vaccination is science; the MMR scare is pseudoscience.

Oxygen is science; phlogiston was pseudoscience.

Chemistry is science; alchemy was pseudoscience.

Are you with me so far?

A few more examples. That the earl of Oxford wrote Shakespeare is pseudoscience. So are the beliefs that Elvis is still alive, Diana was killed by MI5, JFK was killed by the CIA, 911 was an inside job. So are ghosts, UFOs, telepathy, the Loch Ness monster and pretty well everything to do with the paranormal. Sorry to say that on Halloween, but that’s my opinion.

Three more controversial ones. In my view, most of what Freud said was pseudoscience.

So is quite a lot, though not all, of the argument for organic farming.

So, in a sense by definition, is religious faith. It explicitly claims that there are truths that can be found by other means than observation and experiment.

Now comes one that gave me an epiphany. Crop circles*.

It was blindingly obvious to me that crop circles were likely to be man-made when I first starting investigating this phenomenon. I made some myself to prove it was easy to do*.

This was long before Doug Bower and Dave Chorley fessed up to having started the whole craze after a night at the pub.

Every other explanation – ley lines, alien spacecraft, plasma vortices, ball lightning – was balderdash. The entire field of “cereology” was pseudoscience, as the slightest brush with its bizarre practitioners easily demonstrated.

Imagine my surprise then when I found I was the heretic and that serious journalists working not for tabloids but for Science Magazine, and for a Channel 4 documentary team, swallowed the argument of the cereologists that it was highly implausible that crop circles were all man-made.

So I learnt lesson number 1: the stunning gullibility of the media. Put an “ology” after your pseudoscience and you can get journalists to be your propagandists.

A Channel 4 team did the obvious thing – they got a group of students to make some crop circles and then asked the cereologist if they were “genuine” or “hoaxed” – ie, man made. He assured them they could not have been made by people. So they told him they had been made the night before. The man was poleaxed. It made great television. Yet the producer, who later became a government minister under Tony Blair, ended the segment of the programme by taking the cereologist’s side: “of course, not all crop circles are hoaxes”. What? The same happened when Doug and Dave owned up*; everybody just went on believing. They still do.

Lesson number 2: debunking is like water off a duck’s back to pseudoscience.

In medicine, I began to realize, the distinction between science and pseudoscience is not always easy. This is beautifully illustrated in an extraordinary novel by Rebecca Abrams, called Touching Distance*, based on the real story of an eighteenth century medical heretic, Alec Gordon of Aberdeen.

Gordon was a true pioneer of the idea that childbed fever was spread by medical folk like himself and that hygiene was the solution to it. He hit upon this discovery long before Semelweiss and Lister. But he was ignored. Yet Abrams’s novel does not paint him purely as a rational hero, but as a flawed human being, a neglectful husband and a crank with some odd ideas – such as a dangerous obsession with bleeding his sick patients. He was a pseudoscientist one minute and scientist the next.

Lesson number 3. We can all be both. Newton was an alchemist.

Like antisepsis, many scientific truths began as heresies and fought long battles for acceptance against entrenched establishment wisdom that now appears irrational: continental drift, for example. Barry Marshall* was not just ignored but vilified when he first argued that stomach ulcers are caused by a particular bacterium. Antacid drugs were very profitable for the drug industry. Eventually he won the Nobel prize.

Just this month Daniel Shechtman* won the Nobel prize for quasi crystals, having spent much of his career being vilified and exiled as a crank. “I was thrown out of my research group. They said I brought shame on them with what I was saying.”

That’s lesson number 4: the heretic is sometimes right.

What sustains pseudoscience is confirmation bias. We look for and welcome the evidence that fits our pet theory; we ignore or question the evidence that contradicts it. We all do this all the time. It’s not, as we often assume, something that only our opponents indulge in. I do it, you do it, it takes a superhuman effort not to do it. That is what keeps myths alive, sustains conspiracy theories and keeps whole populations in thrall to strange superstitions.

Bertrand Russell* pointed this out many years ago: “If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence.”

Lesson no 5: keep a sharp eye out for confirmation bias in yourself and others.

There have been some very good books on this recently. Michael Shermer’s “The Believing Brain”, Dan Gardner’s “Future Babble” and Tim Harford’s “Adapt”* are explorations of the power of confirmation bias. And what I find most unsettling of all is Gardner’s conclusion that knowledge is no defence against it; indeed, the more you know, the more you fall for confirmation bias. Expertise gives you the tools to seek out the confirmations you need to buttress your beliefs.

Experts are worse at forecasting the future than non-experts.

Philip Tetlock did the definitive experiment. He gathered a sample of 284 experts – political scientists, economists and journalists – and harvested 27,450 different specific judgments from them about the future then waited to see if they came true. The results were terrible. The experts were no better than “a dart-throwing chimpanzee”.

Here’s what the Club of Rome said on the rear cover of the massive best-seller Limits to Growth in 1972*:

“Will this be the world that your grandchildren will thank you for? A world where industrial production has sunk to zero. Where population has suffered a catastrophic decline. Where the air, sea and land are polluted beyond redemption. Where civilization is a distant memory. This is the world that the computer forecasts.”

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts", said Richard Feynman.

Lesson 6. Never rely on the consensus of experts about the future. Experts are worth listening to about the past, but not the future. Futurology is pseudoscience.

Using these six lessons, I am now going to plunge into an issue on which almost all the experts are not only confident they can predict the future, but absolutely certain their opponents are pseudoscientists. It is an issue on which I am now a heretic. I think the establishment view is infested with pseudoscience. The issue is climate change.

Now before you all rush for the exits, and I know it is traditional to walk out on speakers who do not toe the line on climate at the RSA – I saw it happen to Bjorn Lomborg last year when he gave the Prince Philip lecture – let me be quite clear. I am not a “denier”. I fully accept that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, the climate has been warming and that man is very likely to be at least partly responsible. When a study was published recently saying that 98% of scientists “believe” in global warming, I looked at the questions they had been asked and realized I was in the 98%, too, by that definition, though I never use the word “believe” about myself. Likewise the recent study from Berkeley, which concluded that the land surface of the continents has indeed been warming at about the rate people thought, changed nothing.

So what’s the problem? The problem is that you can accept all the basic tenets of greenhouse physics and still conclude that the threat of a dangerously large warming is so improbable as to be negligible, while the threat of real harm from climate-mitigation policies is already so high as to be worrying, that the cure is proving far worse than the disease is ever likely to be. Or as I put it once, we may be putting a tourniquet round our necks to stop a nosebleed.

I also think the climate debate is a massive distraction from much more urgent environmental problems like invasive species and overfishing.

I was not always such a “lukewarmer”. In the mid 2000s one image in particular played a big role in making me abandon my doubts about dangerous man-made climate change: the hockey stick*. It clearly showed that something unprecedented was happening. I can remember where I first saw it at a conference and how I thought: aha, now there at last is some really clear data showing that today’s temperatures are unprecedented in both magnitude and rate of change – and it has been published in Nature magazine.

Yet it has been utterly debunked by the work of Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick. I urge you to read Andrew Montford’s careful and highly readable book The Hockey Stick Illusion*. Here is not the place to go into detail, but briefly the problem is both mathematical and empirical. The graph relies heavily on some flawed data – strip-bark tree rings from bristlecone pines -- and on a particular method of principal component analysis, called short centering, that heavily weights any hockey-stick shaped sample at the expense of any other sample. When I say heavily – I mean 390 times.

This had a big impact on me. This was the moment somebody told me they had made the crop circle the night before.

For, apart from the hockey stick, there is no evidence that climate is changing dangerously or faster than in the past, when it changed naturally.

It was warmer in the Middle ages* and medieval climate change in Greenland was much faster.

Stalagmites*, tree lines and ice cores all confirm that it was significantly warmer 7000 years ago. Evidence from Greenland suggests that the Arctic ocean was probably ice free for part of the late summer at that time.

Sea level* is rising at the unthreatening rate about a foot per century and decelerating.

Greenland is losing ice at the rate of about 150 gigatonnes a year, which is 0.6% per century.

There has been no significant warming in Antarctica*, with the exception of the peninsula.

Methane* has largely stopped increasing.

Tropical storm* intensity and frequency have gone down, not up, in the last 20 years.

Your probability* of dying as a result of a drought, a flood or a storm is 98% lower globally than it was in the 1920s.

Malaria* has retreated not expanded as the world has warmed.

And so on. I’ve looked and looked but I cannot find one piece of data – as opposed to a model – that shows either unprecedented change or change is that is anywhere close to causing real harm.

No doubt, there will be plenty of people thinking “what about x?” Well, if you have an X that persuades you that rapid and dangerous climate change is on the way, tell me about it. When I asked a senior government scientist this question, he replied with the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. That is to say, a poorly understood hot episode, 55 million years ago, of uncertain duration, uncertain magnitude and uncertain cause.

Meanwhile, I see confirmation bias everywhere in the climate debate. Hurricane Katrina, Mount Kilimanjaro, the extinction of golden toads – all cited wrongly as evidence of climate change. A snowy December, the BBC lectures us, is “just weather”; a flood in Pakistan or a drought in Texas is “the sort of weather we can expect more of”. A theory so flexible it can rationalize any outcome is a pseudoscientific theory.

To see confirmation bias in action, you only have to read the climategate emails, documents that have undermined my faith in this country’s scientific institutions. It is bad enough that the emails unambiguously showed scientists plotting to cherry-pick data, subvert peer review, bully editors and evade freedom of information requests. What’s worse, to a science groupie like me, is that so much of the rest of the scientific community seemed OK with that. They essentially shrugged their shoulders and said, yeh, big deal, boys will be boys.

Nor is there even any theoretical support for a dangerous future. The central issue is “sensitivity”: the amount of warming that you can expect from a doubling of carbon dioxide levels. On this, there is something close to consensus – at first. It is 1.2 degrees centigrade. Here’s* how the IPCC put it in its latest report.

“In the idealised situation that the climate response to a doubling of atmospheric CO2 consisted of a uniform temperature change only, with no feedbacks operating…the global warming from GCMs would be around 1.2°C.” Paragraph 8.6.2.3.

Now the paragraph goes on to argue that large, net positive feedbacks, mostly from water vapour, are likely to amplify this. But whereas there is good consensus about the 1.2 C, there is absolutely no consensus about the net positive feedback, as the IPCC also admits. Water vapour forms clouds and whether clouds in practice amplify or dampen any greenhouse warming remains in doubt.

So to say there is a consensus about some global warming is true; to say there is a consensus about dangerous global warming is false.

The sensitivity of the climate could be a harmless 1.2C, half of which has already been experienced, or it could be less if feedbacks are negative or it could be more if feedbacks are positive. What does the empirical evidence say? Since 1960 we have had roughly one-third of a doubling, so we must have had almost half of the greenhouse warming expected from a doubling – that’s elementary arithmetic, given that the curve is agreed to be logarithmic. Yet if you believe the surface thermometers* (the red and green lines), we have had about 0.6C of warming in that time, at the rate of less than 0.13C per decade – somewhat less if you believe the satellite thermometers (the blue and purple lines).

So we are on track for 1.2C*. We are on the blue line, not the red line*.

Remember Jim Hansen of NASA told us in 1988 to expect 2-4 degrees in 25 years. We are experiencing about one-tenth of that.

We are below even the zero-emission path expected by the IPCC in 1990*.

Ah, says the consensus, sulphur pollution has reduced the warming, delaying the impact, or the ocean has absorbed the extra heat. Neither of these post-hoc rationalisations fit the data: the southern hemisphere has warmed about half as fast as the northern* in the last 30 years, yet the majority of the sulphur emissions were in the northern hemisphere.

And ocean heat content has decelerated, if not flattened, in the past decade*.

By contrast, many heretical arguments seem to me to be paragons of science as it should be done: transparent, questioning and testable.

For instance, earlier this year, a tenacious British mathematician named Nic Lewis started looking into the question of sensitivity and found* that the only wholly empirical estimate of sensitivity cited by the IPCC had been put through an illegitimate statistical procedure which effectively fattened its tail on the upward end – it hugely increased the apparent probability of high warming at the expense of low warming.

When this is corrected, the theoretical probability of warming greater than 2.3C is very low indeed.

Like all the other errors in the IPCC report, including the infamous suggestion that all Himalayan glaciers would be gone by 2035 rather than 2350, this mistake exaggerates the potential warming. It is beyond coincidence that all these errors should be in the same direction. The source for the Himalayan glacier mistake was a non-peer reviewed WWF report and it occurred in a chapter, two of whose coordinating lead authors and a review editor were on WWF’s climate witness scientific advisory panel. Remember too that the glacier error was pointed out by reviewers, who were ignored, and that Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the IPCC, dismissed the objectors as practitioners of “voodoo science”.

Journalists are fond of saying that the IPCC report is based solely on the peer-reviewed literature. Rajendra Pachauri himself made that claim in 2008, saying*:

“we carry out an assessment of climate change based on peer-reviewed literature, so everything that we look at and take into account in our assessments has to carry [the] credibility of peer-reviewed publications, we don't settle for anything less than that.”

That’s a voodoo claim. The glacier claim was not peer reviewed; nor was the alteration to the sensitivity function Lewis spotted. The journalist Donna Laframboise got volunteers all over the world to help her count the times the IPCC used non-peer reviewed literature. Her conclusion is that*: “Of the 18,531 references in the 2007 Climate Bible we found 5,587 - a full 30% - to be non peer-reviewed.”

Yet even to say things like this is to commit heresy. To stand up and say, within a university or within the BBC, that you do not think global warming is dangerous gets you the sort of reaction that standing up in the Vatican and saying you don’t think God is good would get. Believe me, I have tried it.

Does it matter? Suppose I am right that much of what passes for mainstream climate science is now infested with pseudoscience, buttressed by a bad case of confirmation bias, reliant on wishful thinking, given a free pass by biased reporting and dogmatically intolerant of dissent. So what?

After all there’s pseudoscience and confirmation bias among the climate heretics too.

Well here’s why it matters. The alarmists have been handed power over our lives; the heretics have not. Remember Britain’s unilateral climate act is officially expected to cost the hard-pressed UK economy £18.3 billion a year for the next 39 years and achieve an unmeasurably small change in carbon dioxide levels.

At least* sceptics do not cover the hills of Scotland with useless, expensive, duke-subsidising wind turbines whose manufacture causes pollution in Inner Mongolia and which kill rare raptors such as this griffon vulture.

At least crop circle believers cannot almost double your electricity bills and increase fuel poverty while driving jobs to Asia, to support their fetish.

At least creationists have not persuaded the BBC that balanced reporting is no longer necessary.

At least homeopaths have not made expensive condensing boilers, which shut down in cold weather, compulsory, as John Prescott did in 2005.

At least astrologers have not driven millions of people into real hunger, perhaps killing 192,000 last year according to one conservative estimate, by diverting 5% of the world’s grain crop into motor fuel*.

That’s why it matters. We’ve been asked to take some very painful cures. So we need to be sure the patient has a brain tumour rather than a nosebleed.

Handing the reins of power to pseudoscience has an unhappy history. Remember eugenics. Around 1910 the vast majority of scientists and other intellectuals agreed that nationalizing reproductive decisions so as to stop poor, disabled and stupid people from having babies was not just a practical but a moral imperative of great urgency.

“There is now no reasonable excuse for refusing to face the fact,” said George Bernard Shaw*, “that nothing but a eugenics religion can save our civilization from the fate that has overtaken all previous civilizations.’’ By the skin of its teeth, mainly because of a brave Liberal MP called Josiah Wedgwood, Britain never handed legal power to the eugenics movement. Germany did.

Or remember Trofim Lysenko*, a pseudoscientific crank with a strange idea that crops could be trained to do what you wanted and that Mendelian genetics was bunk. His ideas became the official scientific religion of the Soviet Union and killed millions; his critics, such as the geneticist Nikolai Vavilov, ended up dead in prison.

Am I going too far in making these comparisons? I don’t think so. James Hansen of NASA says oil firm executives should be tried for crimes against humanity. (Remember this is the man who is in charge of one of the supposedly impartial data sets about global temperatures.) John Beddington, Britain's chief scientific adviser, said this year that just as we are "grossly intolerant of racism", so we should also be "grossly intolerant of pseudoscience", in which he included all forms of climate-change scepticism.

The irony of course is that much of the green movement began as heretical dissent. Greenpeace went from demanding that the orthodox view of genetically modified crops be challenged, and that the Royal Society was not to be trusted, to demanding that heresy on climate change be ignored and the Royal Society could not be wrong.

Talking of Greenpeace, did you know that the collective annual budget of Greenpeace, WWF and Friends of the Earth was more than a billion dollars globally last year? People sometimes ask me what’s the incentive for scientists to exaggerate climate change. But look at the sums of money available to those who do so, from the pressure groups, from governments and from big companies. It was not the sceptics who hired an ex News of the World deputy editor as a spin doctor after climategate, it was the University of East Anglia.

By contrast scientists and most mainstream journalists risk their careers if they take a skeptical line, so dogmatic is the consensus view. It is left to the blogosphere to keep the flame of heresy alive and do the investigative reporting the media has forgotten how to do. In America*, Anthony Watts who crowd-sourced the errors in the siting of thermometers and runs wattsupwiththat.com;

In Canada*, Steve McIntyre, the mathematician who bit by bit exposed the shocking story of the hockey stick and runs climateaudit.org.

Here in Britain,* Andrew Montford, who dissected the shenanigans behind the climategate whitewash enquiries and runs bishop-hill.net.

In Australia*, Joanne Nova, the former television science presenter who has pieced together the enormous sums of money that go to support vested interests in alarm, and runs joannenova.com.au.

The remarkable thing about the heretics I have mentioned is that every single one is doing this in his or her spare time. They work for themselves, they earn a pittance from this work. There is no great fossil-fuel slush fund for sceptics.

In conclusion, I’ve spent a lot of time on climate, but it could have been dietary fat, or nature and nurture. My argument is that like religion, science as an institution is and always has been plagued by the temptations of confirmation bias. With alarming ease it morphs into pseudoscience even – perhaps especially – in the hands of elite experts and especially when predicting the future and when there’s lavish funding at stake. It needs heretics.

Thank you very much for listening.

http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2011/11 ... eresy.html


_________________
-Geo
Question everything


The following user would like to thank geo for this post:
youkrst
Wed Nov 16, 2011 12:47 pm
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Brains on top of brains

Gold Contributor 2

Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 3122
Location: NC
Thanks: 1022
Thanked: 1102 times in 828 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Global warming or carbon cult?
Much is being made in the media of Richard Muller — "former climate skeptic" — who recently published an Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal saying that there’s no longer any reason to doubt global warming. It's fantastic to see the various spins being put on Muller's new stance (although Muller's supposed skepticism is probably as much of a media fabrication as is his about face). Muller himself addresses only that the earth is warming. How much of the warming is due to human emissions and to what extent is still very much an open question.

The Case Against Global-Warming Skepticism
There were good reasons for doubt, until now

By RICHARD A. MULLER

Are you a global warming skeptic? There are plenty of good reasons why you might be.

As many as 757 stations in the United States recorded net surface-temperature cooling over the past century. Many are concentrated in the southeast, where some people attribute tornadoes and hurricanes to warming.

The temperature-station quality is largely awful. The most important stations in the U.S. are included in the Department of Energy's Historical Climatology Network. A careful survey of these stations by a team led by meteorologist Anthony Watts showed that 70% of these stations have such poor siting that, by the U.S. government's own measure, they result in temperature uncertainties of between two and five degrees Celsius or more. We do not know how much worse are the stations in the developing world.

Using data from all these poor stations, the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates an average global 0.64ºC temperature rise in the past 50 years, "most" of which the IPCC says is due to humans. Yet the margin of error for the stations is at least three times larger than the estimated warming.

We know that cities show anomalous warming, caused by energy use and building materials; asphalt, for instance, absorbs more sunlight than do trees. Tokyo's temperature rose about 2ºC in the last 50 years. Could that rise, and increases in other urban areas, have been unreasonably included in the global estimates? That warming may be real, but it has nothing to do with the greenhouse effect and can't be addressed by carbon dioxide reduction.

Moreover, the three major temperature analysis groups (the U.S.'s NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the U.K.'s Met Office and Climatic Research Unit) analyze only a small fraction of the available data, primarily from stations that have long records. There's a logic to that practice, but it could lead to selection bias. For instance, older stations were often built outside of cities but today are surrounded by buildings. These groups today use data from about 2,000 stations, down from roughly 6,000 in 1970, raising even more questions about their selections.

On top of that, stations have moved, instruments have changed and local environments have evolved. Analysis groups try to compensate for all this by homogenizing the data, though there are plenty of arguments to be had over how best to homogenize long-running data taken from around the world in varying conditions. These adjustments often result in corrections of several tenths of one degree Celsius, significant fractions of the warming attributed to humans.

And that's just the surface-temperature record. What about the rest? The number of named hurricanes has been on the rise for years, but that's in part a result of better detection technologies (satellites and buoys) that find storms in remote regions. The number of hurricanes hitting the U.S., even more intense Category 4 and 5 storms, has been gradually decreasing since 1850. The number of detected tornadoes has been increasing, possibly because radar technology has improved, but the number that touch down and cause damage has been decreasing. Meanwhile, the short-term variability in U.S. surface temperatures has been decreasing since 1800, suggesting a more stable climate.

Without good answers to all these complaints, global-warming skepticism seems sensible. But now let me explain why you should not be a skeptic, at least not any longer.

Over the last two years, the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Project has looked deeply at all the issues raised above. I chaired our group, which just submitted four detailed papers on our results to peer-reviewed journals. We have now posted these papers online at http://www.BerkeleyEarth.org to solicit even more scrutiny.

Our work covers only land temperature—not the oceans—but that's where warming appears to be the greatest. Robert Rohde, our chief scientist, obtained more than 1.6 billion measurements from more than 39,000 temperature stations around the world. Many of the records were short in duration, and to use them Mr. Rohde and a team of esteemed scientists and statisticians developed a new analytical approach that let us incorporate fragments of records. By using data from virtually all the available stations, we avoided data-selection bias. Rather than try to correct for the discontinuities in the records, we simply sliced the records where the data cut off, thereby creating two records from one.

We discovered that about one-third of the world's temperature stations have recorded cooling temperatures, and about two-thirds have recorded warming. The two-to-one ratio reflects global warming. The changes at the locations that showed warming were typically between 1-2ºC, much greater than the IPCC's average of 0.64ºC.

To study urban-heating bias in temperature records, we used satellite determinations that subdivided the world into urban and rural areas. We then conducted a temperature analysis based solely on "very rural" locations, distant from urban ones. The result showed a temperature increase similar to that found by other groups. Only 0.5% of the globe is urbanized, so it makes sense that even a 2ºC rise in urban regions would contribute negligibly to the global average.

What about poor station quality? Again, our statistical methods allowed us to analyze the U.S. temperature record separately for stations with good or acceptable rankings, and those with poor rankings (the U.S. is the only place in the world that ranks its temperature stations). Remarkably, the poorly ranked stations showed no greater temperature increases than the better ones. The mostly likely explanation is that while low-quality stations may give incorrect absolute temperatures, they still accurately track temperature changes.

When we began our study, we felt that skeptics had raised legitimate issues, and we didn't know what we'd find. Our results turned out to be close to those published by prior groups. We think that means that those groups had truly been very careful in their work, despite their inability to convince some skeptics of that. They managed to avoid bias in their data selection, homogenization and other corrections.

Global warming is real. Perhaps our results will help cool this portion of the climate debate. How much of the warming is due to humans and what will be the likely effects? We made no independent assessment of that.

Mr. Muller is a professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of "Physics for Future Presidents" (W.W. Norton & Co., 2008).

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... 27348.html


_________________
-Geo
Question everything


The following user would like to thank geo for this post:
Robert Tulip
Wed Nov 16, 2011 12:55 pm
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 56 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:


BookTalk.org Links 
Forum Rules & Tips
Frequently Asked Questions
BBCode Explained
Info for Authors & Publishers
Featured Book Suggestions
Author Interview Transcripts
Be a Book Discussion Leader!
    

Love to talk about books but don't have time for our book discussion forums? For casual book talk join us on Facebook.

Featured Books

Books by New Authors



Booktalk.org on Facebook 



BookTalk.org is a free book discussion group or online reading group or book club. We read and talk about both fiction and non-fiction books as a group. We host live author chats where booktalk members can interact with and interview authors. We give away free books to our members in book giveaway contests. Our booktalks are open to everybody who enjoys talking about books. Our book forums include book reviews, author interviews and book resources for readers and book lovers. Discussing books is our passion. We're a literature forum, or reading forum. Register a free book club account today! Suggest nonfiction and fiction books. Authors and publishers are welcome to advertise their books or ask for an author chat or author interview.


Navigation 
MAIN NAVIGATION

HOMEFORUMSBOOKSTRANSCRIPTSOLD FORUMSADVERTISELINKSFAQDONATETERMS OF USEPRIVACY POLICY

BOOK FORUMS FOR ALL BOOKS WE HAVE DISCUSSED
Oliver Twist - by Charles DickensSense and Goodness Without God - by Richard CarrierFrankenstein - by Mary ShelleyThe Big Questions - by Simon BlackburnScience Was Born of Christianity - by Stacy TrasancosThe Happiness Hypothesis - by Jonathan HaidtA Game of Thrones - by George R. R. MartinTempesta's Dream - by Vincent LoCocoWhy Nations Fail - by Daron Acemoglu and James RobinsonThe Drowning Girl - Caitlin R. KiernanThe Consolations of the Forest - by Sylvain TessonThe Complete Heretic's Guide to Western Religion: The Mormons - by David FitzgeraldA Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - by James JoyceThe Divine Comedy - by Dante AlighieriThe Magic of Reality - by Richard DawkinsDubliners - by James JoyceMy Name Is Red - by Orhan PamukThe World Until Yesterday - by Jared DiamondThe Man Who Was Thursday - by by G. K. ChestertonThe Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven PinkerLord Jim by Joseph ConradThe Hobbit by J. R. R. TolkienThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas AdamsAtlas Shrugged by Ayn RandThinking, Fast and Slow - by Daniel KahnemanThe Righteous Mind - by Jonathan HaidtWorld War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max BrooksMoby Dick: or, the Whale by Herman MelvilleA Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer EganLost Memory of Skin: A Novel by Russell BanksThe Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. KuhnHobbes: Leviathan by Thomas HobbesThe House of the Spirits - by Isabel AllendeArguably: Essays by Christopher HitchensThe Falls: A Novel (P.S.) by Joyce Carol OatesChrist in Egypt by D.M. MurdockThe Glass Bead Game: A Novel by Hermann HesseA Devil's Chaplain by Richard DawkinsThe Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph CampbellThe Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor DostoyevskyThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark TwainThe Moral Landscape by Sam HarrisThe Decameron by Giovanni BoccaccioThe Road by Cormac McCarthyThe Grand Design by Stephen HawkingThe Evolution of God by Robert WrightThe Tin Drum by Gunter GrassGood Omens by Neil GaimanPredictably Irrational by Dan ArielyThe Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel by Haruki MurakamiALONE: Orphaned on the Ocean by Richard Logan & Tere Duperrault FassbenderDon Quixote by Miguel De CervantesMusicophilia by Oliver SacksDiary of a Madman and Other Stories by Nikolai GogolThe Passion of the Western Mind by Richard TarnasThe Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le GuinThe Genius of the Beast by Howard BloomAlice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll Empire of Illusion by Chris HedgesThe Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner The Extended Phenotype by Richard DawkinsSmoke and Mirrors by Neil GaimanThe Selfish Gene by Richard DawkinsWhen Good Thinking Goes Bad by Todd C. RinioloHouse of Leaves by Mark Z. DanielewskiAmerican Gods: A Novel by Neil GaimanPrimates and Philosophers by Frans de WaalThe Enormous Room by E.E. CummingsThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeGod Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher HitchensThe Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama Paradise Lost by John Milton Bad Money by Kevin PhillipsThe Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson BurnettGodless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists by Dan BarkerThe Things They Carried by Tim O'BrienThe Limits of Power by Andrew BacevichLolita by Vladimir NabokovOrlando by Virginia Woolf On Being Certain by Robert A. Burton50 reasons people give for believing in a god by Guy P. HarrisonWalden: Or, Life in the Woods by Henry David ThoreauExile and the Kingdom by Albert CamusOur Inner Ape by Frans de WaalYour Inner Fish by Neil ShubinNo Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthyThe Age of American Unreason by Susan JacobyTen Theories of Human Nature by Leslie Stevenson & David HabermanHeart of Darkness by Joseph ConradThe Stuff of Thought by Stephen PinkerA Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled HosseiniThe Lucifer Effect by Philip ZimbardoResponsibility and Judgment by Hannah ArendtInterventions by Noam ChomskyGodless in America by George A. RickerReligious Expression and the American Constitution by Franklyn S. HaimanDeep Economy by Phil McKibbenThe God Delusion by Richard DawkinsThe Third Chimpanzee by Jared DiamondThe Woman in the Dunes by Abe KoboEvolution vs. Creationism by Eugenie C. ScottThe Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael PollanI, Claudius by Robert GravesBreaking The Spell by Daniel C. DennettA Peace to End All Peace by David FromkinThe Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerThe End of Faith by Sam HarrisEnder's Game by Orson Scott CardThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark HaddonValue and Virtue in a Godless Universe by Erik J. WielenbergThe March by E. L DoctorowThe Ethical Brain by Michael GazzanigaFreethinkers: A History of American Secularism by Susan JacobyCollapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared DiamondThe Battle for God by Karen ArmstrongThe Future of Life by Edward O. WilsonWhat is Good? by A. C. GraylingCivilization and Its Enemies by Lee HarrisPale Blue Dot by Carl SaganHow We Believe: Science, Skepticism, and the Search for God by Michael ShermerLooking for Spinoza by Antonio DamasioLies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al FrankenThe Red Queen by Matt RidleyThe Blank Slate by Stephen PinkerUnweaving the Rainbow by Richard DawkinsAtheism: A Reader edited by S.T. JoshiGlobal Brain by Howard BloomThe Lucifer Principle by Howard BloomGuns, Germs and Steel by Jared DiamondThe Demon-Haunted World by Carl SaganBury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee BrownFuture Shock by Alvin Toffler

OTHER PAGES WORTH EXPLORING
Banned Book ListOur Amazon.com SalesMassimo Pigliucci Rationally SpeakingOnline Reading GroupTop 10 Atheism BooksFACTS Book Selections

cron
Copyright © BookTalk.org 2002-2014. All rights reserved.
Website developed by MidnightCoder.ca
Display Pagerank