Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Global Warming Advocates attack NASA

Recently NASA Chief Administrator Michael Griffin has been under attack for comments he made to NPR regarding Man-Made Global Warming. In an interview on May 31st, Mr. Griffin was asked by the NPR interviewer if he was concerned about global warming. The NPR interviewer said some people claim NASA isn’t spending enough money to study climate change from space. Mr. Griffin responded that he was,”…aware that global warming exists.” He restated much of the global warming argument. This argument states that over the last 100 years, the earth has experienced a temperature increase of about 1 degree centigrade plus or minus about 20%. Mr. Griffin even stated that it appears “nailed down” that much of this is manmade. If the interview had stopped here, I doubt many would have even known the NASA Administrator did the interview on NPR that day. However, it was the question and answer that came next that has caused such a controversy. As provided by NPR;

(NPR) Q: Do you have any doubt that this is a problem that mankind has to wrestle with?

(Michael Griffin) A: I have no doubt… a trend of global warming exists. I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with. To assume that it is a problem is to assume that the state of Earth’s climate today is the optimal climate, the best climate that we could have or ever have had and that we need to take steps to make sure that it doesn’t change. First of all, I don’t think it’s within the power of human beings to assure that the climate does not change, as millions of years of history have shown. And second of all, I guess I would ask which human beings – where and when – are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular climate that we have right here today, right now is the best climate for all other human beings. I think that’s a rather arrogant position for people to take.

This is a fair answer. Administrator Griffin was asked if global warming is a problem we should wrestle with. He raises a very good point in his answer: how do we know this is the best climate for the planet, and who gets to make that kind of a decision?

Responding to the interview on The Hill’s website, Mr. Gene Karpinski, President of the League of Conservation Voters indignantly wrote, “Griffin’s remarks are not only ignorant, but insensitive,” [emphasis mine]. Mr. Karpinski also wrote the following:

“As the world’s most renowned scientist concluded in the [IPCC] reports this year, the debate on global warming is over: global warming is occurring, humans are contributing to the problem and we need to curb the greenhouse gasses that cause it.

It’s not rocket science.”

Mr. Karpinski has illustrated the real problem with the global warming debate: any opposition viewpoint is attacked and not considered on its merits. Scientist who disagree with the man-made global warming theory are called insensitive. In the case of the NASA Administrator, his critics have even begun calling for his resignation. One would think Mr. Griffins comments, as NASA Administrator, would be worthy of some consideration. Instead, critics invoke flippant remarks such as, Mr. Karpinski’s statement that, “[Global Warming is] not rocket science”.

If this statement is true, then there are a few troubling facts about global warming Mr. Karpinski and others should be quite willing to explain. For example, if the science is as simple as we are lead to believe, why are there no computer models that can accurately predict global warming? Surely something so simple can be modeled. Perhaps Mr. Karpinski can explain why CO2 which represents such a miniscule portion of our atmosphere can cause such global catastrophe. How about explaining why other planets in our solar system (such as Mars) are also exhibiting signs of global warming. Presumably these planets don’t have a man-made source of increased CO2 emissions.

Many proponents of Man-Made Global Warming have increasingly cited the “consensus” of renowned scientist. Setting aside the fact that consensus is not part of the Scientific Method, the statement is false. Lawrence Solomon has been writing a series about prominent scientists who challenge the climate change debate. He originally started the series to simply profile six high ranking scientists. He wanted to illustrate that there is credible dissent within the scientific community. He has now profiled more than 20 scientist and isn’t sure when he will stop. Mr. Solomon writes, “Somewhere along the way, I stopped believing that a scientific consensus exists on climate change. “ He continues, “…there is no consensus at the top echelons of scientists…and certainly there is no consensus among astrophysicists and other solar scientist…”

The truth of the matter is that Global Warming, both man made and not, is an extremely complex issue. It is worthy of study by the best and the brightest. However, like many things in our universe, man simply hasn’t reached the point where we can scientifically prove many of our theories. Mr. Karpinski and other critics should remember that rocket science has quantitative measurements, repeatable experiments, and accurate computer models. Instead of insulting the NASA Administrator and calling for his resignation, global warming advocates should focus on improving the science surrounding global warming. We need legitimate study and research and not insulting remarks regarding those who disagree.


Mirtika said...

I don't think his remarks were insensitive. I think his remarks took a scientific view: Why should the climate remain as it is now? And why should we assume that we are right in trying to keep the climate as it is now?

I think he raised great questions.

Me, I'm in hurricane alley, so when they talk about warming and killer storms, yeah, I get scared.

But I also wonder how they can dismiss systemic (as in solar) changes when astonomy magazines routinely talk about warming on planets and satellites beyond the purview of human intrusion.

No, I think what he said is worth pondering. Maybe the world will be BETTER warmer. Maybe better COLDER. I don't know.

But there are many questions that need to be raised without the whole "shut them up, they're insensitive" routine. Science shoudl be about open debate, not about taking a side and shutting the others up.

I think this is an issue that's easily used as a propaganda tool for politicians and activists, and THAT scares me more than some hurricanes.



Anonymous said...

If extremist Muslims were cooking the planet, you people would blow a gasket and join the Earth Liberation Front. But let the fossil fuel industry do it, and you'll drink intellectual kool aid and bring up crack-pot theories about Mars warming: check out for answers to these sadly repeated conspiracy theories about the scientific consensus on warming.

"Who's to say what temperature the planet should be?" Apparently you think Exxon and the fossil fuel industry--and not God--should tell us.

When I think about this kind of arrogance *about the future of the creation* and the world my kids are inheriting, I find myself at a loss as to how to communicate with people like you.

Is there *anything* -- any conceivable fact or event -- that would convince you to say, "yes, we need to solve this problem now." Anything?

Andy D said...

If we are going to debate Science, then in order to convince me, you need to use terms that are grounded in fact. I think we should use the Scientific Method, exam the data, test our theories, and draw conclusions based on that. The Scientific community is trying to do that. The problem typically comes about when politicians get involved in the process. When we start using terms like “consensus”, we are taking a poll, and not doing science.

For every scientist that believes one way, there are more surfacing that believe a different way. You name a website, I can name one (try Climatologists are still trying to develop models that accurately produce data that matches the real world. For example, clouds and their effect are still in the best guess stage.

What won’t convince me is when peole like those I site above call remarks “insensitive”. Science isn’t insensitive, it simply is science. When you accuse me of drinking “intellectual kool aid” and accuse me of speculating on “crack-pot theories about Mars” it shows me you haven’t done your homework. Typically, those who don’t know facts result to name calling.

Name calling and insults won’t bring anyone closer to figuring out if man-made global warming is a danger or not. And the point of my original article is we need an honest debate. We need to put the name calling aside and look at the science.

Anonymous said...

If scientific "fact" will convince you, then we should agree:

FACT: CO2 traps heat. That is why Venus is hotter than Mercury.

FACT: There is far more CO2 in the atmosphere now than at any time in human history. The rate of increase correlates to human-caused emissions of CO2--and the rate of increase is rising dramatically along with emissions.

FACT: The earth is warming dramatically, especially at the poles.

FACT: 40% of the world's population depends for survival on water from the Himalayas, whose glaciers are now quickly disappearing.

FACT: If the ice in Greenland were to melt, sea levels would rise world-wide by 20ft, making hundreds of millions of refugees.

Based on these few *undisputed,* non-political facts alone, I do believe that, yes, one must drink intellectual and/or moral kool-aid to shrug it all off and rebut the case for action by citing 2 yrs of observations of a local weather pattern *on another planet.* I do want to avoid name-calling (thanks for the reminder), but the thing about Mars is at best non-sequitur "scientific" reasoning when it comes to making any point about global warming on earth. (If you want the scientific details about Mars, I'm happy to deliver the goods. Believe me, I've "done the homework"--for academic credit ;))

But, more to the point: there are your scientific facts, arrived at by the scientific method. Were you being honest? Are you now ready to call for action?

Andy D said...

Here is the problem with this discussion, lets look at each of your Facts:

“FACT: CO2 traps heat. That is why Venus is hotter than Mercury.” – I have no quarrel with this. I will
emissions of CO2--and the rate of increase is rising dramatically along with emissions.” – This is not a fact at all but a hypothesis. We have no way of knowing for certain that there is “far more CO2 in the atmosphere” now. I have seen some UN projects that have listed a significant amount of CO2 in the atmosphere prior to man arriving on the planet. I don’t have the figure, but will find it later today and quote it for you.

“FACT: The earth is warming dramatically, especially at the poles.” – Again, not a fact. The word “dramatically” draws emotions, and isn’t necessarily supported by the data. The latest IPCC report (a supporter of the man made global warming theory) has projected a 1 degree (plus or minus 20%) increase over the last 100 years. While that is an increase, I don’t know that I would qualify that as a dramatic increase.

“FACT: 40% of the world's population depends for survival on water from the Himalayas, whose glaciers are now quickly disappearing.” – I haven’t done the research on this one, so I will not dispute it now.

“FACT: If the ice in Greenland were to melt, sea levels would rise world-wide by 20ft, making hundreds of millions of refugees.” – Not a fact, but a line from a movie. Even the IPCC states that at its worst, we would expect a global sea level change by a few feet, perhaps even less than two feet. Again, this is a theory and not a fact. This is based on projects, which do not constitute fact.

How about these facts:

1) The Earth has repeatedly gone through warming and cooling phases since it first formed. This is part of the Earth’s natural cycle.

2) Measurements from NASA show melting at the Martian polar ice caps.

3) The Sun, source of all life on our planet, has been much more active lately.

4) No global warming model to date can predict any of today’s conditions with input from previous years.

5) Any attempt by man to affect the environment we live in on a global scale will have very far reaching implications on all of humanity.

6) No one knows with any degree of certainty if we can affect global warming.

The last one is a fact. Any plan we come up with to change the climate of our environment will cost vast amounts of money and resources. It can potentially (notice a qualifier to lay this out as a theory) cause death and stop the growth of developing nations.

I only cite this information to illustrate my point that there are a lot of competing scientific data out there. An intelligent person can look at the information and come up with a very different belief than that of Al Gore.

Saint said...

"Who's to say what temperature the planet should be?" Apparently you think Exxon and the fossil fuel industry--and not God--should tell us."

Surely we don't persume to know what temperature God would like Earth to be? Just because we are used to these temperatures, doesn't mean this is where God wants it. It may end up being hotter, or colder.

Also, for those who really want to look around, you would find there are places on the Earth colder now then they were a thousand years ago, and there are glaciers on the planet growing, not melting.

Anonymous said...

1) You're right. CO2 levels have been higher than present levels--but that was back when humans weren't around, when oceans covered most of North America and the arctic ice cap didn't exist! If that’s what you’d like to return to, I will ask that you try your experiments on another planet. Again, if you're OK with the high levels of CO2 we have now, what level of atmospheric CO2 (numbers, please) do you find *unacceptable*?

2) You've got a point about the word "dramatically." I'll amend it to "significantly." While average global temperature has increased a bit more than one degree (sounds insignificant but its not) the arctic has warmed around 7 degrees, and its sea-ice extent is decreasing by around 10% per decade. If these facts aren't enough for you to say that its time to act, I again challenge you to name the specific degrees of temperature rise that you believe merit corrective action.

4) A 20 foot sea rise from a melted Greenland is a conservative, scientific fact. You apparently haven't read the IPCC report because they specifically do not consider the sloughing of Greenland's ice--and they warn the reader of this quite explicitly. Look it up: if the water trapped as ice in Greenland goes into the ocean, it will raise sea levels by more than 20 feet. It’s simple math. Again: how much sea level rise (specific numbers, please) do you think is acceptable?

I’ll be surprised and impressed if you name specific, factual numbers of where you think the point for action is. My impression is that global warming deniers keep moving the goal posts, and can't ever be nailed down to name a trigger-point for when it is time to significantly reduce CO2 emissions.

I feel about global warming deniers probably much the same as you feel about some liberals who can never name when some country's actions would go "over the line" and mean that it's time for military action. Some liberals would fudge around endlessly and couldn't be nailed down to name a trigger point. But maybe you'll name some hard numbers here...

Remember, my original question was this: "Is there *anything* -- any conceivable fact or event -- that would convince you to say, 'yes, we need to solve this problem now.' Anything?"

I'm still waiting to hear specifics...

I’ll respond to your facts when we get these first three straight.

Andy D said...

I can’t name numbers. The reason? Because numbers alone don’t mean there is a problem. If we got up tomorrow morning and found the global temperature around the world had increased by 20 degrees C, I would say that is a problem. However, even if that is a problem, it doesn’t mean that we can do anything about it, or even know what to do about it.

The process should look like this: First, we must figure out how much, if any, percentage of global warming is man made. If we find there is any part man made, we need to figure out if we can do anything about it. If we can, we need to decide if we should. For example, if we can prove with a close to 100% certainty, that the current global temperature increase is as much as it will ever be, then surely you wouldn’t endorse spending billions of dollars to correct that.

The problem is, many people hear one or two “global warming” scare stories and want to rush out and do something. While commendable, it isn’t the wisest course of action.

Anonymous said...

Saint: you're right. Some glaciers are increasing in size. In fact, of the 1000 largest glaciers in the world, *only 997* of them are shrinking. Thanks for sharing.

Andy: you sadly proved my point.

The only trigger point for action you can name is a 20 degree temperature rise, which, among many other things, would have already turned the U.S. farm belt into a desert.

I hope people reading this see the point: people like Andy (and the people he listens to) really aren't able to name *any reasonable point* at which they will get serious about climate change. They'll keep driving this thing all the way into the ocean. Maybe they'll change their mind sometime. But as of now they can't name a time at which we ought to turn this rig around. The scientists of the world, however, have some pretty specific and urgent driving directions for us...

Finally, Andy, here's your logic back at ya:

"The process should look like this: First, we must figure out how much, if any, percentage of global TERRORISM is caused by IRAQ. If we find there is any part CAUSED BY IRAQ, we need to figure out if we can do anything about it. If we can, we need to decide if we should. For example, if we can prove with a close to 100% certainty, that the current global TERRORISM increase is as much as it will ever be, then surely you wouldn’t endorse spending billions of dollars to correct that."

We're going to solve this climate problem, boys. I hope you'll eventually be part of the solution.

familyman said...

Have you seen "An Inconvenient Truth"?

Andy D said...

Familyman, I have not seen “An Inconvenient Truth”. I have no plan on seeing it simply because it is not a documentary. Mr. Gore has publicly admitted that he overstated global effects and the implications of global warming in order to make a more significant impact on people. If Mr. Gore is willing to admit that some of his movie is false, why should I give any money to him or it to see the movie? However, I have read articles from scientist and the UN about “man-made global warming”. I prefer to use that as the body of evidence for global warming instead of Mr. Gore’s movie.

You have fallen into the trap I have complained about. Man-made global warming should be a debate about the science behind it. As more and more politicians get involved in the debate, the science gets more and more murky.
I named the trigger simply to give you a number. You asked that I respond to your facts and to give you a number. I have done that. I asked for your comments on my facts, so far you haven’t been able to do that.
Again you take my arguments against Kyoto and other global warming policies, and attempt to tar and feather me. Naming an arbitrary goal line that would require action makes no sense at all. You would have the world immediately implement all kinds of reductions with no thought to the effects of those reductions. Have you looked at the actual cost behind something like Kyoto? Are you aware it would require us to reduce our population and our technology, industry, and transportation to 1950’s type levels? You would have everyone buy carbon credits because it seems like a good thing to do. In reality, carbon credits have little to no effect on global warming. When implementing vast sweeping policy changes, without the basis for their needs, you run the danger of causing catastrophic consequences not in the next 100 years, but in the next 10 years. Glob al warming requires serious people to do serious thought.

As you say, I hope people are reading this. Pay very close attention, I do believe in conservation. I do believe in regulating the amount of pollutants we allow into our environment. I don’t believe in this because of any global warming scare, but I believe in it because it is responsible.

We need a serious debate among scientist about global warming. Once we have a scientifically proven set of data, we can go from there. Working from estimates runs the risk of doing as much harm as good. If we wanted to legislate any other field based on the type of unproven science on the global warming side, most reasonable people would either be outraged, or would laugh at us.
You try to draw a comparison between my stance on global warming and the war in Iraq. You do this because you can’t respond to my facts and are hoping to gain support from people who disagree with the war in Iraq. This is the very thing I am arguing against. Don’t muddy the discussion with rhetoric. Let’s discuss the science. Let’s debate the findings.

familyman said...

Well, I hate to see you disparaging it as much as you do, having never seen it.

And if you could point me towards some source where Gore is actually saying he overstated things in the movie I'd like to see it. I thought iwas a very powerful movie and if there is some reason why I should temper my opinion about it I'd really like to see it.


Andy D said...

Mr. Gore, in an e-mail exchange about the critics, said his work made “the most important and salient points” about climate change, if not “some nuances and distinctions” scientists might want. “The degree of scientific consensus on global warming has never been stronger,” he said, adding, “I am trying to communicate the essence of it in the lay language that I understand.”

This is a quote from a New York Times article that appeared on March 13th of this year. One of Mr. Gore’s supporters is described as follows:

While praising Mr. Gore for “getting the message out,” Dr. Vranes questioned whether his presentations were “overselling our certainty about knowing the future.”

Another claim from the article:

[A report issued by the IPCC] estimated that the world’s seas in this century would rise a maximum of 23 inches — down from earlier estimates. Mr. Gore, citing no particular time frame, envisions rises of up to 20 feet and depicts parts of New York, Florida and other heavily populated areas as sinking beneath the waves, implying, at least visually, that inundation is imminent.

The entire article can be found here. In being as fair as I can to Mr. Gore, I think he was trying to say that while some parts of his film may not be 100% accurate, he tried to remain true to the heart of the man-made global warming argument. I am providing the link because I am trying to give a honest assessment of the article. If you feel the article is saying something different, please let me know.

familyman said...

In your earlier post you said, "Mr. Gore has publicly admitted that he overstated global effects and the implications of global warming in order to make a more significant impact on people."

I didn't see that anywhere in the article.

Your paraphrasing of his comments actually overstate what he did say.

That being said, that article is a good reality check.

The message I get from that article is that when viewing the movie, one should keep in mind that Al Gore is not a scientist and that there are of course scientists who disagree with some of what he says. But that there are a lot of reputable scientists that give Gore a lot of credit for communicating the basic ideas in layman's terms.

Now, you need to do your homework and watch the movie. You can't keep credibly discussing it if you haven't watched it. I made a point of not commenting on it until I saw it.

Saint said...

"Saint: you're right. Some glaciers are increasing in size. In fact, of the 1000 largest glaciers in the world, *only 997* of them are shrinking. Thanks for sharing."

I can honestly say I do not know the number of shrinking and growing glaciers. However, I have seen enough to question your numbers. Where do they come from? I have seen many reports indicating growing glaciers around the world. Reports released in 2006 indicate growing glaciers in Pakistan, Himalayan Mountain range, New Zealand, and even Greenland.

I am not disputing that global warming is happening, I am just curious how much is man's interference and how much is natural? I also question the degree to which it is happening, and would like understanding why there are so many reports indicating colder temperatures and growing glaciers if everything is as bad as we are lead to believe.

I actually saw one article contributing glacier growth to global warming? At least, so says National Geographic.

Anonymous said...

I did the math. The WHOLE ice shelf on Greenland would need to be at least 1 mile thick. I did not research real far to see how thick it really is but I guess it would work. I did not really look at how the surface area of water would increase as the water level increased. In addition to that you would have to assume that if the earth was warm enough for the Greenland ice cap to melt others would be melting as well.
See that is sciencetific method there. Gather information. Analysis information. Report findings and give reasons why your findings could be correct as well as incorrect.
Is it not possible that as the ice is melting the trapped gases, one of which is CO2, being released could be affecting the temperature of the earth? How about the fact there are now over 6 billion people on earth exhaling CO2 in levels never seen before.
I like global warming. Those 5 great lakes around Michigan are beautiful. Same with the Finger Lakes in New York. If I remember correctly those were formed by glaciers receding. Of course global cooling is good as well. As the water level went down it has exposed south Georgia and it is just plan beautiful down there.
Is it not funny that 23 reasons in the authorization to use military force in Iraq turns out not to be enough reasons for getting involved in a war. 16 were good enough to secede from the British Empire and 1 theory is good enough to solve global warming. Make up your mind. Politics should not control science but science should guide politics. Be good scientists! That was the point of the blog post. Stalin use to kill scientists for telling him the wrong thing. Sounds to me that is what they want done with the NASA guy. The blog was created to point that out and demand that we get good science involved in policy making and not some movie, note I did not say documentary, by a celebrity. What is next Paris Hilton making a movie on prison reform?

Anonymous said...

Andy wrote: "If you think the article is saying something different, let me know." How about we let a scientist tell you:

Here's the full text of a March 20 letter in the NYT in response to the article:

"To the Editor:

The National Academy of Sciences, the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorology Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science have all issued statements stating that climate change is: a) occurring, b) largely caused by humans and c) likely to continue with large negative consequences for natural and human socioeconomic systems unless we rapidly decarbonize our global energy systems.

People who have evidence that contradicts these statements can publish their findings in scientific journals, after which the public might expect to see this work discussed in Science Times. In the meantime, if you feel obligated to publish what are simply opinions, please use the opinion pages rather than the science section.

James J. McCarthy
Cambridge, Mass.

The writer is the president-elect of the American Association for the Advancement of Science."

You asked for people to listen to the scientists and not the politicians. Got your ears on, y'all?

(I think it's hilarious that the people saying that we should listen to the scientists have the same tired talking points that come from a handful of skeptics and talk radio gasbags--*not* directly from scientists. From their comments, it appears they have not even read the lay summary of the IPCC report--an overview statement of the state of the scientific research on climate change. All of the tired ditto-head "facts" that Andy lists are rebutted at a moderated site run by real climate scientists, You can go there if you want scientific responses to Rush's--er, Andy's--talking points.)

My original point is so obvious: there is apparently nothing that could happen or be proved that would make Andy and the people he listens to say that its time to solve the climate problem.

Andy nonsensically claims both that global warming is *not* a problem, but also that it's too *big* problem to be solved. The only common thread in his argument is that we never can solve it!

It's time to turn off daddy Limbaugh, y'all, and be part of the solution.

Andy D said...

I believe most of the information in that article was both opinions and largely from Gore supporters. I simply cited that article where Gore comments about the movie. I believe the original post that caused all of these comments was based on an interview given by the NASA Chief Administrator. My arguement continues to be that we need a debate among scientist, and not simple politics.

I notice you keep responding and have yet to respond to my facts. You did promise....


I will make you a deal. I will watch Mr. Gore's movie (as much as I don't want to) if you read a book of my choice in return. Game?

familyman said...

You're on! :D

Name the book.

familyman said...

One other thing about climate change and in particular Michael Griffin's comments.

I actually think his comments are very interesting. It appears to me that he is looking at global climate change through a much wider lense than most people.

Most people look at it in Human terms. In relation to Human history and Human future. When you look at it like that, there do indeed seem to be some relatively catastrophic consquences.

But look at it through the lense of the Earth's history, and Earth's future, then it becomes a blip. The relative effects become hardly noticeable.

Anonymous said...

Andy: I really shouldn’t address your “facts,” because you’ve already stated that there is *nothing* that anyone can show you that would make you call for solutions to global warming. But, confident that you’re coming around to being part of the solution, here goes:

“1) The Earth has repeatedly gone through warming and cooling phases since it first formed. This is part of the Earth’s natural cycle.”

TRUE. BUT the whole point is that current warming is not a natural cycle. Current warming and the current levels of CO2 are significantly higher than ever recorded and they are changing perhaps faster than ever before. Again: when the earth was warmer than this in history, oceans covered much of the land, there was no arctic ice cap, and humans didn’t exist. The earth was also once a flaming ball of magma, but that doesn’t mean that it would be “part of the Earth’s natural cycle” to melt the thing with nuclear bombs.

“2) Measurements from NASA show melting at the Martian polar ice caps.”

TRUE AND FALSE. There have been a few photographs that indicate some melting at the *south* Martian pole during the past 2 Martian years. There are complex reasons for this melting—one of them being something like Martian “summer” happening—but if you’re implying that a) because some ice is melting on Mars, therefore, b) global warming on earth isn’t caused by humans, you’ve committed a pretty gross logical error. It’s odd, also, that you would believe in global warming on Mars on the basis of a few photographs, but dismiss global warming on earth, with mountains of data to demonstrate it! Mars and ice cap melt here.

“3) The Sun, source of all life on our planet, has been much more active lately.”

FALSE. While solar activity does vary, it has not increased significantly since the 1950s, and therefore does not correlate with the most significant rises in global temperature. Carbon dioxide levels, however, do correlate with temperature rise. You can see charts related to this here.

“4) No global warming model to date can predict any of today’s conditions with input from previous years.”

FALSE. Global warming from CO2 emissions was first predicted in 1896. In fact, when current models do *not* take into account anthropogenic (human-caused) CO2 emissions, they don’t work (they underestimate global temperature). Only when models *include anthropogenic CO2 emissions* in their calculations do they accurately predict current global temperatures. If you want one scientific example here it is.

But even if models couldn’t predict precise temperature changes, that wouldn’t make the solutions any less clear. Just because you can’t predict exactly *when* eating Big Macs will give you a heart attack doesn’t mean you should just go ahead and eat them every day.

“5) Any attempt by man to affect the environment we live in on a global scale will have very far reaching implications on all of humanity.”

TAUTOLOGICAL. Yes, if you affect the place where people live, people will be affected. Is there a point here?

“6) No one knows with any degree of certainty if we can affect global warming.”

FALSE. We already are “affecting” global warming by pumping CO2 into the air. If, however, you're suggesting that we can't be certain that we can *solve* the problem of global warming, I'll be glad to address that when you acknowledge that there *is* a problem to be solved.

There’s nothing left of your talking points, Andy. Why not come around to the solution-side, and start proposing some business-friendly ways of solving global warming? E.g. each incandescent light bulb that is replaced with a compact florescent light bulb not only keeps 1000 pounds of coal-fired CO2 out of the atmosphere, but it also saves $90 in electrical bills over the life of the bulb. That’s true for *each* bulb. Businesses could save big bucks and fight global warming by making the switch.

Anonymous said...

Saint asked for evidence of glaciers melting instead of growing. Here it is, photos, texts, and charts, on a scientific site.

The "growing glaciers" thing gets repeated by talk show hosts in the same way they go on and on about one cool day in the summer. There have been some chilly days in the last few years, but that doesn't change the fact that the three hottest years on record are 2005, 2006, and, so far, 2007. The global trend is the point.

Also, Saint, show me a report that says the world is cooling and I *guarantee* I can find oil money, anti-regulation money, and/or discredited science behind it. Remember, it wasn't long ago that Limbaugh and the rest simply denied that global warming existed. That's changing now as the evidence has become overwhelming. Now they're largely shifting to saying that a) humans may not be responsible for global warming or b) it's too big a problem to solve. Their explanations change all the time, but the conclusion is always the same: we never get around to solving the problem.

Anonymous said...


Broken link to melting on mars fixed here, and broken link to solar activity, CO2 and temperature fixed here.

Sorry 'bout that, y'all.

Andy D said...


Great comment. This is the debate I am trying to emphasize. Mr. Griffin brings out a point that should be considered. The two points you list in your post are very debatable positions that we should discuss. Should we look at global warming on a planetary scale? If there is evidence that the Earth has it’s own cycles complete with warming seasons and ice ages, is a 1 degree change over 100 years an issue?

Many people get hysterical on both sides of this argument. I wish to divorce as much of the politics as I can and focus on the science.

Also…I will accept your challenge. I will watch the Al Gore movie, and post a review of it on here. In return, I would like for you to read “State of Fear” by Michael Crichton. I finished it a few weeks ago. If you really want to consider the science behind global warming (both for and against man-made global warming) it is a must read. While it is a fictional book, the author’s note, appendices, and footnotes contained within the book are very interesting. He also includes a bibliography designed for further reading on both sides of the debate. After you read it, I would love for you to write a guest review on my site about the book.

Andy D said...

Anonymous, I am going to try this one more time. A temperature increase alone should not be reason to begin passing legislation like it is going out of style. We need to know what is causing the temperature increase, what can we do about it, and what cost will there be to do something about it. A temperature increase of any size is only part of the puzzle.

I think whoever wants to switch light bulbs in their house or business should by all means do that. However, I don’t think the government should be forcing anyone to change light bulbs against their will. You can’t keep politics out of the discussion. You tell Saint that any study that shows something different from what you believe must have big oil money in it. How would you feel if I accused any study that disagreed with me of having “crazy eco” money behind it? Neither statement does any good, and neither statement helps us study global warming.

You seem to be convinced that the current CO2 levels are the highest they have ever been. I have waited to respond to you until I could find a particular article. From the Houston Chronicle dated January 9, 2007 in an article entitled “Climate changes of past yielding clues to present” by David Perlman in the sidebar:

“Computer calculations by the team showed that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere must have swung back and forth between 250 parts per million to 2,000 parts per million, Isabel P. Montanez, a geochemist, said”

The article discusses how a team from the University of California, Davis (hardly a big oil company) is studying previous periods of global warming on our planet to gain clues into today’s global warming. The gist is that the Earth went through periods of heating and cooling naturally. For example, “[The team] uncovered evidence that 300 million years ago a long-lasting ice age froze entire continents and then gave way 40 million years ago to a period of global warming that melted all the ice and left the Earth dry, dust-blown and covered only with sparse vegetation.” The article also says, “During those extreme temperature swings….[there was] a highly unstable period of climate change, marked by millions of years when temperatures yo-yoed up and down as the atmosphere’s natural levels of carbon dioxide, the major heat-trapping greenhouse gas, rose and fell wildly…”

This article focus on global warming in the geological past. I cite it as evidence that the Earth does have natural temperature and global climate changes. While man may have a component in what we are going through, I challenge everyone reading this to at least consider that some to all of the current climate change is natural.

My reason for discussing this topic is to discuss get away from the political rhetoric and to talk about the real science.

familyman said...

Excellent. I'll pick it up tonight.

Whew. I thought you were going to make me read Bill O'Reilly or something. :)

And I do have more comments about the climate change thing, but no time right now.

I'll post again later.

Anonymous said...

Andy, either you are not reading what I wrote or you are willfully ignoring the facts. The article you cite talks about CO2 swings that occurred *tens and hundreds of millions* of years ago--which, I note for the *third* time, was when oceans covered much of today's land, the arctic ice cap didn't exist, and humans didn't exist either. Is that what you'd like to return to?

Modern humans have been around something like 200,000 years and CO2 levels have not risen above 300 parts per million in the last 600,000 years --*until now.* And they are rising faster each year.

That 600,000 year period includes *numerous* ice ages and thaws. In all of that time CO2 levels never even came close to as high as they are now. That is utterly undisputed scientific fact.

Until you get the basic, uncontested science straight, you have no credibility talking about the "real science" of climate. Seriously, that is like flunking the first quiz of climate science 101. I don't say that as an insult but as a reality check. You literally don't know what you are talking about.

I challenge you to visit, ring up, or email *any* climate scientist at *any* Atlanta university (take your pick) and run your ideas by them.

Andy D said...

Ok Anony, I too am going to try again. I understand what you are saying. I am intentionally citing CO2 information before man. I am simply trying to illustrate that there are processes within the Earth that change the level (quite dramatically sometime) without any input from man. I wish to show that man is not the only thing that affects CO2 levels. Surely you can see that.

This is simple science. Try to remove as many variables from an experiment and see what is left. The planet itself is a variable. Too many people today forget that.

Anonymous said...

Andy wrote: "I wish to show that man is not the only thing that affects CO2 levels. Surely you can see that."

Yes. Of course there are many things that cause CO2 emissions. And the levels have been higher in the (very far distant, pre-human) past. No one disputes that.

You seem to be implying that the increase in CO2 levels could therefore be part of some mysterious natural cycle (that only by sheer coincidence happens to coincide with measurable, massive-scale fossil fuel carbon emissions).

So, where do you think all of that carbon from all those millions of years of history went? The carbon didn't just disappear--and it's no mystery. Much of that old carbon is stored in something we call "oil" and "coal," where it was deposited over hundreds of millions of years. And in less than 100 years we have put literally millions of years' worth of CO2 back into the atmosphere. That's not "natural." And it's also not difficult to understand. But it *is* something that is hard for many of us to take responsibility for.

You don't seem to trust me but you say you trust "science." I'll say it again: get in touch with *any* climate scientist at *any* Atlanta university (your choice) and run your theories by them.

The sooner we start working on solutions together, the less expensive its going to be to fix this problem. On that point (it's way cheaper to act now than wait until the problems pile up), check out The Stern Review from London School of Economics Professor Sir Nicholas Stern.

I think I've said all I've got to say on this unless somebody wants to talk about solutions. That's where I'm putting my energy these days. But if there are ditto-head/Crichton kinds of claims you'd like me to address, I'm always happy to engage.

Saint said...

Anonymous - Where does your link say "997 of the 1000 largest glaciers are shrinking"?

I never clamied glaciers were not shrinking, just questioned your numbers. I also noticed in your link it said "some" scientist attribute it to global warming.

Using specific numbers like you did will only hurt your argument if you can't back them up.

familyman said...

Caution: I am not a scientist and I don't pretend to be. But I do love NOVA on PBS, I watch a lot of the Discovery Channel and I have a subscription to National Geographic. :)

In the grand scheme of things, human kind's time on Earth is tiny. If you take the 4 and a half billion years that the Earth has existed, and the 6 billion years that it is expected to survive until the Sun dies, and compress all of it into a timeline the length of one year - the time that humans have been around would fit into an hour in the middle of June.

Over the hundreds of millions of years that complex species of life has been on this planet, the environment has changed dramatically many times.

I would guess that the changing environment over the eons has been at least partially linked with the activities of whatever species are inhabitting the earth at any given time as well as whatever plant life is covering the Earth, and whatever geological processes are going on at that time.

So all of these processes - atmospheric, geologic and biologic are all intertwined with each other.

As one process changes, the others need to change or evolve to adapt, or they die. We see this happen over and over throughout the fossil record.

So now along come Humans. They evolve to a point where they are able to use and abuse the earth's resources. Of course because of this human activity, other processes change and adapt to deal with this new activity. Just like it has for the last 4 and a half billion years.

What exactly all these changes and adaptation will be is hard to say because in terms of "Earth Time" we really haven't been around long enough (and we are too ego-centric) to see the big picture.

In the big "Earth Time" picture there's nothing so special about us. There have been many species that lasted much much longer than us.

And at present, there is life on Earth, like bacteria, that is much more succesful than us in terms of resilence and diversity.

So, let's say the seas rise 20 feet around the world. And half the population dies because of our inability to adapt. For us it's a catastrophic change. But for the Earth is it really a big deal?

North and South America used to be connected to Europe and Africa! Now there's an ocean in between. THAT'S a big change.

If we pump too much CO2 into the atmosphere and the Earth reacts by making conditions difficult for humans to survive, and thereby cutting the population to a point where we aren't a factor anymore. Well, that just looks to me like the atmospheric-geologic-biologic system is doing it's thing just like it always has.

Now just for the record, I'm all for taking steps to stop the ridiculous amount of green house gas emissions we produce. I personally think that we probably are causing things to be worse by our actions. I think we are being completely irresponsible by not doing everything we can to be more "green". I think that anyone who says it is too expensive to convert over to environmentally friendly technologies is being very shortsided. I think that the more aggressively we pursue those technologies, the more economic opportunity we will create. And I think that if the U.S. doesn't become a leader in the field of environmental technologies and initiatives, the U.S. economy will be playing catch up for years to come.

But I really have my doubts that the Human Race can turn this ship around in time. I think it's more likely that the Earth itself will take care of the situation.

Andy D said...

I think that is a very well thought out post Familyman. I disagree with you towards the end, but I think that overall your comment is probably pretty accurate.

Thanks for everyone's participation in this comment to date. This is my first post to break 30 comments. Thanks everyone.