Monday, October 15, 2007

Hurricane Forecaster Disputes Man Made Global Warming

Today is “blog action day”. The website sponsoring this event is trying to encourage as many bloggers to post about the environment today as possible. I hadn’t planned on posting today, but the combination of this historic event and one particular news story that has been bouncing around my head lately simply won’t let me pass it up.

By now, everyone has heard that Al Gore and the IPCC are co-winners of the Nobel Peace Prize. While they join such humanitarians as Yasser Arafat and Anwar Sadat, I am guessing many of my colleagues will be posting about Al Gore and the Nobel Prize, so I can skip it. Besides, every major news agency in the world covered this, so you probably have heard all the details anyway.

What you may not have heard is the lecture that one Dr. William Gray gave at the University of North Carolina. Dr. Gray freely admits (as do I) that humans, “…might have caused a very slight amount of [global warming].” However, Dr. Gray also says, “…this warming trend is not going to keep on going. My belief is that three, four years from now, the globe will start to cool again, as it did from the middle ‘40s to the middle ‘70’s.” At the lecture in North Carolina, Dr. Gray said, “We’ll look back on all of this in 10 or 15 years and realize how foolish it was…”

This isn’t good news if you are a believer in man-made global warming. I am often challenged on this site to find someone in a local college that agrees with my viewpoint. Here is an academic who does. It turns out Dr. Gray is called “one of the worlds foremost meteorologists” (The Sydney Morning Herald) or “a pioneer in the science of forecasting hurricanes” (Wikipedia). Dr. Gray’s hurricane forecast are used by insurance companies when figuring how likely hurricanes are to hit a particular area. If that isn’t a good enough resume to make you take note of his comments, how about his diplomas. Dr. Gray received a BS in Geography from George Washington University. He received a MS in Meteorology and a PhD in Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago. If that resume doesn’t qualify him to comment on global warming, I don’t believe there is anyone alive capable of talking about global warming.

If this sounds vastly different from what you believe academics should be saying, Dr. Gray has an answer for that too. Dr. Gray has charged that many of his colleagues are intentionally lying about global warming because they need the grant money. If man-made global warming isn’t really an issue, then how does a scientist get funding to study it? Dr. Gray believes that humans simply have too small of an impact on the earth to cause a significant change in the global temperature of the planet.

There are those in the community who disagree with Dr. Gray. As I have said before, I don’t believe science fully understands how our planet works, so debate is necessary. However, the next time you hear about “consensus” in global warming, remember hurricane forecaster Dr. William Gray.


Mr President said...

I have long said what Dr Gray is saying about the lies we're told by the scientific community, and the motivations behind them.

My main argument has been, always question the source of any study, in particular, who funded it, and would they have done so if it had shown different results?

There is an agenda being pushed here. We're being told there's a consensus when there simply is not. Studies are showing record ice cap growth (the link's on my blog if anyone doesn't believe me), and here we have a prominent academic arguing that we will soon see global cooling.

Dr Gray is not the first scientist to say this either. There have been plenty of scientists from fields other than meteorology (such as geology and paleontology) who have argued that global warming/cooling is cyclical.

You're right to say that there is not enough evidence either proving or disproving man-made global warming, which is why we must always remain sceptical. It is a theory until proven otherwise.

pack04 said...

Dear Global Warmists,
I wish Dr Gray was wrong. We here in Georgia could use a couple of those Global Warming hurricane increases you promised to us to cure us of this drought. Now before you tell me the drought that we are in now is caused by global warming I am going to need some of that grant money you receive to say such things to make me believe such things.

On a non sarcastic note global warming is a theory. It might be correct it might not be correct. I am not worried about that. The smog cloud over our cities in the summer is not good. The tires, oil, shopping carts, etc in our creeks and rivers are not good. the thousands of pounds/gallons of material we waste is not good. We need to take care of that and not wait on the government to pass a law or to tell us to do something.

CarlU said...

Before we get too excited about Gray's ability to forecast the future, please recall his forecast for the current hurricane season.
He called for a total of 15 named storms for the entire hurricane season with eight becoming hurricanes and four becoming intense hurricanes (Saffir/Simpson category 3-4-5) with sustained winds of 111 mph or greater. I know the season is not over yet (we have a month or so to go), but his forecast so far overstated what has actually happened.

Andy D said...

Carl, I don't disagree with you at all. In fact, I think it says something about our ability to forecast the future weather. If someone as respected as Dr. Gray can get projections from year to year wrong, why should we have any faith in climatologists projections 100 years down the road?

chuckles said...

Pack04 has nailed it. The global warming debate has been a distraction from what is really important, and focused the argument on the wrong questions. "Is there global warming?","If so how much is man responsible?" are irrelevant. Does this mean that if the earth stops warming, then we need do nothing? Regardless of whether the earth is warming, cooling, or staying the same, and whether or not it is man caused, we do not want to leave a legacy of poisoned air, water and soil to future generations. A clean environment should be a priority, regardless of who or what is to blame.

Anonymous said...

Umm, while y'all sit at your computers with your head in... the sand, the real world outside is cooking you up some pretty nasty dishes. And, yes, the "scientific consensus" has been consistently wrong--in that they have underestimated how serious human caused global warming is.

The Southeast is parched, the West is burning, the North is melting, the Middle East is going crazy for oil, but here on the freaky right-wing blogs, everything is just fine. It's all good. We're on a great trajectory. Let's keep it up!

You guys have been wrong about everything important (about Iraq, about Global Warming, about Bush's "prudent" economic policies, about U.S. respect in the world), but the more you get proved wrong, the more you hate the people who get it right. But don't let any evidence for anything make you re-examine your talking points: it's a proud day for the right wing.

After all, it's all only talking points. There really can't be a real world out there that actually dries up, or burns up, or descends into chaos, right...

Andy D said...

I don't hate people who disagree with me. I feel for them because they can't be right. :D

On a more serious note, the article you site mentions that the study looked at a very short time scale. It also mentioned that while the study found increased CO2 levels, it also found decreasing levels of other greenhouse gasses as well as an increase in pollutants that cool global temperature.

Just as Al Gore had items in his movie that had nothing to do with global warming, you lump events together hoping no one will step back and really look at what you wrote. Do you really believe there has never been a drought in the South East before? Do you believe this is the first time California has had wild fires? And surely you don't blame global warming for tyrants in the Middle East wanting more oil.

My complaint with those who believe man-made global warming is the root of all our problems is that they aren't willing to have a serious discussion. You continue to prove my point for me.

Andy D said...

By the way, I will see your article, and raise you a better one...

Anonymous said...

First, your argument ("we've had drought and fire before, so don't blame global warming") is a non-starter. Global warming by definition exacerbates problem we've always had: drought, hurricanes, heat waves, wildfires, sea levels. But, according to your logic, we can NEVER get serious about global warming's problems because we've ALWAYS had them. Sea levels could rise 50 feet, we could be alternating between hurricanes and wildfires, crop yield could be near zero, and you could argue: "we've always had these problems--you can't blame global warming."

Years ago, scientists predicted that global warming would increase all these problems. Your right wing bloviators scoffed. Now that the predictions are coming true *even more dramatically than expected* your right wing heroes have switched to the non-starter argument: "but we've had wildfires before!" That's like arguing that, because you've been dizzy before, your new 12-shot-a-day whiskey habit can't have anything to do with the way you're staggering around at work.

I mean, surely you can just acknowledge that: global warming exacerbates problems that have ALWAYS been around, so pointing out that "the south has had a drought" or that "california has had wildfires" in the past doesn't mean anything significant.

The point is to look at the scientifically observed TREND--which is not good news for your state or for California.

Second, John Stossel is an intellectual charlatan.

Anonymous said...

If you're in favor of science, then you're obviously outraged by today's news of how the White House "eviscerated" the CDC's scientific testimony to Congress on the health effects of global warming, right?

Andy D said...

So you would argue that every natural disaster (and focus on the word "natural") has some component that is made worse by Global Warming? That argument is absurd. First, we don't know enough about weather and climate to predict what the climate would be without man on the planet. Second, if every natural disaster is made worse by global warming, then is this years hurricane cycle better because of global warming?

And while you disparage Stossel, I notice you didn't have a retort for his arguments.

The White House has within its purview the ability to review testimony provided to Congress. The CDC says the points they wanted made at the testimony where still made.

Anonymous said...

Andy complained that I didn’t deal with John Stossel’s claims (I only showed that Stossel was a fraud in the past). So, at Andy’s request, and with apologies for the length, here’s how Stossel defrauded Andy in the article he linked to. (I assume Andy is really interested in knowing whether Stossel is accurate or not. We’ll see if that’s true…) Stay with me now--it's worth it.

Stossel compared Gore’s citation of a potential 20 foot sea level rise to the IPCC’s estimate of 7-24 inches, and implied that Gore was therefore wrong. However, Gore makes it abundantly and specifically clear that he’s talking about what would happen if Greenland or West Antarctica melts. He is completely correct on this. The IPCC *specifically warns* in its report that the IPCC sea level rise predictions do not take into account the catastrophic possibility of Greenland or West Antarctica melting—even though they acknowledge that the melting is occurring now. Gore and the IPCC are measuring different possible outcomes—and both Gore and the IPCC are very clear on this. Stossel, however, wants to confuse the issue. Surprised?

Stossel implies that the long-term health of polar bear populations is good and getting better. Nobody studying polar bears thinks that.

Stossel implies that carbon dioxide levels rise only *after* temperatures increase. Unfortunately CO2 levels do rise in response to temperature increases (for example, you get more smoky fires when its hotter and the oceans absorb less CO2), but CO2 also drives climate change. That’s one reason why scientists are freaked out by current global warming: because the more warming we get, the more the earth gives off CO2 and the less it absorbs CO2. It’s called a feedback loop. Anybody who knows the least bit about the phenomenon Stossel is talking about here knows that that phenomenon is one reason that current global warming is deadly serious. Stossel, however, would confuse you into thinking the opposite: that there’s nothing to worry about.

Stossel wonders if humans are driving climate change. He’s lying, uninformed, or really stupid: 1) It is an uncontested fact that CO2 traps heat. 2) It is an uncontested fact that there’s much more CO2 in the atmosphere than at any time in human history—and well before that. 3) It is an uncontested fact that we know where the CO2 comes from: we can measure it through the amount the stuff we’re burning. 4) It is an uncontested fact that as humans have burned more fossil fuel, CO2 levels in the atmosphere have gone up, as has the temperature. Stossel claims there’s a big scientific debate about this. He is utterly, completely wrong on this. Try debating whether or not humans are causing global warming in a science paper at your local university. Or try arguing that tobacco doesn’t cause lung cancer (more on that below).

Stossel implies that this question is an argument against current human-cause global warming: “Why did Greenland's temperatures rise 50 percent faster in the 1920s than they are rising now?” Any scientist would toss that *innuendo* into the gutter even before looking into its *factuality*. Here’s why. A local hot or cold snap anywhere in the world at any time is a very different thing than average global temperature. So what if Greenland had a heat wave in the 1920s? The entire planet is having a serious heat wave now, and it's steadily getting worse. Stossel would have us think that because Greenland, or North Dakota, or some other local place, had a few warm years in the past, then we can ignore the fact that the entire planet is heating up.

Stossel claims that John Christy, Roy Spencer, Tim Ball “don’t get money from business.” Why let facts get in the way? A simple Google search shows that Christy is on the take from CEI, Cato, Marshall, Heartland, and the Independent Institute—all funded by fossil fuel dollars; Spencer rakes it in from TechCenter, Heartland, and Marshall—all funded by fossil fuel dollars. Ball is formerly of “Friends of Science” (funded by oil companies) and now of the Frontier Centre (funded by big business). Stossel and other shills for fossil fuel companies are paid explicitly to keep the “debate” about climate change going for as long as they can—in exactly the way the “scientists” hired by Phillip Morris were paid to keep the tobacco “debate” going. In fact, many of the scientists who questioned the link between lung cancer and tobacco are now the ones questioning the link between CO2 and warming. I'm not even criticizing Christy, Ball, and Spencer here for taking the oil money. I'm criticizing Stossel for flat-out lying about it.

Stossel implies that the IPCC is not made up of real scientists. Does he think we’re that intellectually lazy? You can begin reading about the IPCC on this PDF.

Sorry for such a long post, but if the article had only a few mistakes and lies, this post would have been much shorter. But everything that Stossel wrote was misleading or wrong. Everything.

So think about this: on *every point* Stossel makes he’s either flat out lying (or at best simply wrong) or radically distorting the facts. And this is, of course, nothing new for him . If Stossel had been this grossly wrong about even *one* of his points (for example, claiming that those “scientists” weren’t on the take from business), I’d be done with him, ashamed to be associated with him. What about you, Andy?

Anonymous said...

Don't you hate those whining scientists, Andy? They think that the White House's deletion of scientific testimony about matters of public health is a really big deal.

But I agree, Andy: it's no big deal. It's only our health and our kids' health that's at stake.

chuckles said...

While "anonymous" continues to parrot the global warming hysteria of the left, I'm still waiting to hear what he is personally doing to reduce his own "carbon footprint" and improve the environment. My first challenge some time ago is still unanswered. How 'bout it? Do you put your money where your mouth is, or is it all just talk?

Anonymous said...

Hey chuckles, glad to hear you acknowledge that all the left does is repeat ... actual *science.*

I also notice that there's radio silence on your side when Stossel gets held up to scientific scrutiny. I'm beginning to believe that y'all know the truth and are just nihilists.

Does anybody out there care that all your right wing talking points on global warming are lies and distortions? Or is that just an unspoken thing with y'all--just keep repeating it and don't ask whether or not it's true?

In response to your question: though individuals actually make a small difference (it's large-scale changes--industry and governmental shifts--that we need as a first priority), my family and I are carbon neutral. What are you doing?

Anonymous said...

I wonder what y'all conservatives think of this. The great-great grandson of Charles Darwin is proposing a presidential debate strictly on scientific topics. I think this is a great idea. What do you conservatives think?

chuckles said...

Of course Anonymous thinks the problem is the big business, and, let me guess; We are to use the police power of the state to force them to do "behave". Right?
Consumers drive business, not the other way around. We needed no government intervention to make oil, automobiles, cell phones, computers and host of other businesses profitable. Why? BECAUSE WE BUY THEIR PRODUCTS. Think about this Anonymous. Every big company is big because the average Joe buys their stuff. No arm twisting, no conspiracy. By the way, they can be shut down just as fast.
As to your being "carbon neutral" What exactly does that mean? I'd like to know.

Andy D said...

I would watch a scientific debate. I think there are many Democratic theories that don't stand up against reasoned, logical, arguments. The "global warming consensus" would take a pretty hard hit.

However, the Presidential candidates (on both sides of the aisle) aren't running for a scientific position. They are running for a political position. A President isn't Chief Scientist of the Land. The President sets policy, and leads the country. What questions would you expect to see in a Scientific Presidential debate?

chuckles said...

P.S. If everyone is "carbon-neutral", then what will change?

Andy D said...

My apologies Anonymous, I honestly thought I had responded to the “Great Stossel Scandal”. I guess my blog ate my homework, so here is another response. Sorry again for the lateness.

First, let’s pretend for the sake of argument that all of your accusations are dead on the money when it comes to Stossel. It doesn’t change my opinion of the piece I cited above. That’s not because I don’t care about his past, it is because I think the piece was well thought out and seems to agree with other, respected, opinions on this subject. Because of that, I can take his arguments at face value and examine them without attacking him. I used this technique when I watched An Inconvenient Truth. I think Mr. Gore has somewhat suspicious motives, but I am willing to dismiss that and examine his arguments.

You can continue to believe in the great 20 foot seal level rise if you want. However, Mr. Gore himself has admitted that the 20 foot rise is a worst case scenario, and not the most likely. He felt like it was acceptable to take a certain poetic license with the facts in order to wake up everyone to global warming. If Mr. Gore doesn’t believe the 20 foot sea level rise is likely, then why should I?

You might believe that Stossel is lying about the Polar Bear population, but that isn’t what a court in London found. Do a search for An Inconvenient Truth and British Courts. Or better yet, read my post on the trial here. It seems that this is another point that doesn’t hold up so well to scrutiny. I read the headline for your article and I noticed it said “predicted decrease” .

Actually, the CO2 feedback is a little more complicated than that. The CO2 levels don’t match directly, and the Earth does take time to adjust. However, there is some question as to which comes first, CO2 or heat level rises. CO2 does trap heat. However, while the CO2 levels today are high, they are not unprecedented. We have had higher levels in our atmosphere before, and the planet continues to exist. As far as arguing global warming, go reread my original post and see who I was quoting that disagrees with man-made global warming.

Am I done with Stossel? No. As far as I can tell, you have made as many errors in this post as he has. At some point we have to have a debate on the actual man-made global warming science, and not on the resume of every person that questions it.

Anonymous said...

chuckles: Here's how I do carbon neutrality:

First and most importantly, my family and I have reduced our carbon footprint (the carbon emissions resulting from our lifestyle) drastically by a number of choices we have made. We continue to look for more ways to live responsibly on this overheating planet.

Second, because we live in a society that hasn't yet responded very systemically to the climate crisis, we "tax" ourselves on the remaining carbon emissions we produce (our utility company only provides power from a coal burning plant, so we "tax" our energy use and fund an equivalent amount of wind-power generation in places that are now using it to shut down fossil fuel burning plants). Some people call this "offsetting." A good example is It's not a long-term solution; it's only to jump-start the clean economy sector while the government is controlled by fossil fuel executives.

Third: if everybody becomes carbon neutral, the world will avoid the worst of the blowback from the damage we've already done, and the earth will (over the next 100 years, because CO2 stays in the atmosphere for around 100 years) also cool back down to its natural temperature. The breadbasket of the United States won't turn into a desert, etc.

Saint said...

Anon - what is the natural temperature of the Earth?

I think the scientific debate would be entertaining, as long as everone keeps in mind that it is entertainment, and doesn't mean anything. There are some problems with the "guidelines" your aritlce suggested.

The author of the article claims we should not vote for anyone who turns down an invitation. Seems a little harsh, and what about the candidates that are not invited? Are we allowed to vote for them? Also, I would be concerned about getting a fair representation of both sides of scientific arugments. Your author presents Evolution to be fact, last I checked it was still a theory.

If the politicans don't know what subjects are going to be talked about, how can they be expected to do their homework and speak intelligently about any of the topics?

Anonymous said...

Saint: you prove my point. A debate would demonstrate that the candidates who doubt scientific accounts of evolution are the same ones who doubt scientific accounts of climate change, food safety, air and water quality, etc. I think most voters would see that important connection. (By the way, I think this is one reason conservatives think universities are such liberal places--because we actually investigate reality, and that tends to upset pre-conceived and selfish notions about the world.)

A debate like that isn't entertainment--it's called seeking the truth. And the truth, I believe you may have heard, dear saint, will make you free.

You can get your info about earth's temperature here.

Saint said...


First - how can you assume anyone who doesn't believe in evolution doesn't believe in global warming, climate changes, air and food quality and etc?

Second - as far as the universities, I don't know which ones are liberal and which ones are not, and frankly, at this point in my life, I don't care.

Third - you bring up the truth. Try this quote, if you know where to find it, "What is truth?". Scientist once said the world is flat. Is this truth? Scientist once said the universe revolved around the Earth. Is this truth? Scientist have claimed to have found the missing link 12 times. Is this truth?

I like science, and I support it. However, I also do not accept what a scientist may say just because he is a scientist, especially if other scientist disagree.

Please explain something to me: Why such arrogance and disdain toward those who don't accept what your favorite scientists say without question? I have a challenge for you. Call up your 10 favorite scientist and ask them this question "Should the people of America except every scientific finding without question?" I would be shocked if even one of them said yes. Because, to say yes, would put themselves out of business, and flies directly in the face of what the heart of sceintific discovery is. Think of where we would be if no one ever questioned a scientific finding.

You made a comment about pre-conceived and selfish notions about the world. If you are implying what I think you are, don't go there, you will not win that debate.

One last thing, your link did not tell me what the temperature of the Earth should be. I'm still waiting, because we can't fix the Earth's temperature if we don't know what it is supposed to be, or is this like the stat you gave me about 997 shrinking glaciers...

Anonymous said...


the average temperature of the earth was around 59 degrees in 2004. But scientists don't use that kind of global average very much. They tend to use deviation from mean temperature in each local place, so you can get a much more precise reading. You can average all those deviations together to get global temperature deviation. Here's
a good place to look at that.

I'm all for solving the climate crisis, but we need to be careful about the idea that we can "fix" the earth like we're setting a thermostat right where we want it. (Some people are now arguing for radical technological fixes for global warming, and we'll probably be seeing more of these as the earth continues to heat up--things like a giant sun-shield in space, particulates released into the atmosphere, seeding the ocean to absorb CO2. These are "cures" that may do more harm than the disease--and still not solve the disease.) The earth, like our own bodies, will get to the right temperature when we cut down our greenhouse pollutants and let the earth be healthy on its own. We cannot technologically "manage" the life of the planet. We can't even do that very successfully with a single lab rat.

About those melting glaciers: sorry for not responding earlier. I learned that 3 out of the largest 1000 glaciers are growing (and the other 997 are shrinking) in a science lecture. You won't be surprised by that data after looking at this page.

Saint said...

Anon: Thinks for responding. However, I have a hard time running with evidence from a science lecture that can't be confirmed. Also, I noticed in the article you linked too, some of the data illustrating how much glaciers have shrunk goes back to the late 1800s. The implications of that should be obivious.

As far as the Earth setting itself at the right temperature once we stop polluting it, I would challenge that notion as well. As science can testify, and even global warming scientist will tell you, the Earth's temperature has had major average temp changes over the years. I contend that even if you take out the "global warming years", sceintist still could not predict what the average temperature of the earth should or will be in years to come. That's my problem with man made global warming. It's like trying to solve a mathmatical equation with 6 variables, and no constants. Remove one of the variables, and you still won't have a constant for an answer.

Lastly, I look forward to your reply on the other questions in my last post you have left unanswered.

Anonymous said...


I hope you won't take my word on that science lecture. I hope you'll go investigate on your own. But I'd suggest you do it quickly. I've already seen too many glaciers disappear in my young lifetime.

You suggest that I say people should stop thinking and just listen to "my favorite scientist." No, that wouldn't be... scientific. But there is a real world out there, outside of all our opinions, and it is to a large extent knowable--not perfectly, but to an important degree it is knowable.

Like, we pretty much know it would be bad if we dropped nukes on all of our cities. We've never tried that before, but we can make a pretty educated guess. We also know what happens when CO2 levels increase: things heat up. We can measure it. What we've never done is soak the planet's atmosphere in CO2, until now. And scientists have been predicting this present warming for about 100 years now. So I'm not asking you to stop thinking and accept some foreign thing called "science." I'm asking you to think about the evidence and the stakes that we face.

One thing you should ask yourself: what would convince you that climate change is a serious threat that you could help solve? Because I don't see how you could ever, in any circumstance, be convinced. And I think, morally, that's a really horrible place to live. From my perspective, that's like committing yourself to lifetime denial of the holocaust, on "principle." There's no way you can be convinced. There's nothing you'll do to help.

But maybe I'm wrong about you.

Andy D said...

Really? It's the same as denying the Holocaust?

Quick trivia question: What is the number one producer of CO2 in our atmosphere? (HINT: It isn't man)

kermitjohnson said...

Thank you for taking part in Blog Action Day.

Unfortunately, I did not participate.

However, I wrote a belated post about an environmental issue. As a real estate agent in Minneapolis, I see a lot of people using a product in luxury homes that is very destructive in a number of ways. It may also be contributing to the changes in the environment. It might not. Either way, it is still causing a lot of destruction and suffering. Check out this post, please:

Brazilian Teak Hardwood Floors, Slave Labor, and the Destruction of the Rainforest.

Anything you can do to share this link or help promote awareness of this issue will be greatly appreciated. Most luxury home owners in Minnesota are unaware of the environmental and human cost of these products. I feel sort of ill every time I walk into a home that has Brazilian teak floors.

Thank you!

Saint said...

Anon - it appears you are wrong about a lot of things. I don't take people's word on important issues to form my opinion, I do my homework on them.

I have never said climate change is not a threat. I am not willing to put "serious" in there, because I'm not convinced how much we can do about that nor that all of the doomsday predictions are right. Now, before you go accusing me of being blind to the evidence, I suggest you examine the evidence yourself, without your predisposed supposition that man made global warming is going to kill us all tomorrow. Every time you have presented an article when we have gone back and forth, I have read those articles. I have then asked questions, and time and again, you don't answer. You also bring up figures to "support" your position that can't be verified. When myself, or someone else on here, challenges your statements, you start with character assaults and blow off evidence because it must have "big oil money" behind it. I think it is you who have the tunnel vision, and maybe you should start thinking about the evidence. I've read articles that blame drought, floods, shrinking glaciers, growing glaciers, hurricances, fires, and genocide wars all on global warming. Does that really make sense to people?

Furthermore, why don't we look at all the problems in the world and see where the threat of global warming really falls in priority. Morally, I think the people being killed and persecuted across the globe for no reason is a little more important then global warming. If you don't believe me, call up people in Indonesia, China, Saudi Arabi, Tibet, and several other countries and ask them. Or maybe, people dieing today doesn't mean much to you, and morally, I think that would be a horrible place to live.

I won't even address the idiocy of bring the holocaust into this discussion.

Anonymous said...

saint, I think those other problems are extremely important too. You're right: we shouldn't lose track of them.

On the science. If you think I'm part of some conspiracy, just go take an atmospheric science class at a local college, ok? I dare you to let them grade your global warming "homework."

On the holocaust. Do you know how many people died in the holocaust? Do you know how many deaths public health experts estimate would be caused by climate change if we continue with business as usual? You might check that question out...

Andy, are you suggesting that humans aren't the primary cause of this?

Anonymous said...

Saint, here's some help in researching your holocaust question. Now maybe think its time to change teams and start solving this thing?

Saint said...

Anon - nice editorial, didn't see any hard data though. You do realize there is a difference between people who actually have died, and "estimates" based on scientific models and theories?

Is there the possibility that the formuals used to obtain the doomsday predictions have errors? Not saying they do, just is there a possibility?

Anonymous said...

Saint. First, just a clarification. That was not an editorial. If you'll notice, it was written by the science editor of the Observer, and reported on a scientific study.

You ask if there is a possibility that climate change predictions have errors. I would respond that there is not simply the possibility of error, but the certainty of error. "The trouble with predicting the future is that it hasn't happened yet," I believe Yogi Berra said.

But this is where a lot of people get suicidally stupid. Scientists could estimate that X number of people would die if we put Y amount of arsenic in the water supply of Crawford, Texas. If we actually tried that experiment we would surely find that the scientists were wrong about how many people would die. But obviously that would not be any reason to say that scientists don't know what they're talking about or that we should try that kind of experiment and just see what happens.

Scientists right now can't predict how long you'll live if you start smoking 5 packs of cigarettes every day. But they can estimate it. And we all know enough now to know that that would be really bad for your health.

The very same thing is true of global warming. Millions of people had to die before we took tobacco smoke seriously. But we've only got one planet. And people from the new tobacco industry--the fossil fuel industry--are doing everything they can to keep the planet smoking.

I'm part of the team that wants the planet to quit smoking. Which team are you on?

Andy D said...

It finally occurred to me why your smoking example breaks down. It has been nagging at the back of my head that something just wasn't quite right and I couldn't put my finger on it. And it is the same problem as your Arsenic example. Finally it dawned on me...

With Arsenic poisoning or even with tobacco use, we can duplicate these events in a controlled lab environment and make predictions based on that. We can perform controlled experiments and find out what the lethal dose of either of those items are.

We can't do that with our climate. There is no way to perform a controlled experiment in a lab with our climate. The only thing we can do is model our climate using computer programs. Those programs are only as good as our knowledge of the environment. We don't know how to model things in our environment like clouds, el nino, and others because scientist aren't sure what causes them. Man-made global warming isn't something we can prove (or disprove) in a lab like tobacco use. Man-made global warming is an educated guess at best.

Anonymous said...

Andy, I'm not quite sure I follow.

Let me try. On this point, I think we agree: we can demonstrate in a lab that CO2 traps heat. But because we can't make an entire planet and its atmosphere fit inside a lab, we can only model and predict what CO2 increases will do to the whole planet. If this is what you're arguing, I wholeheartedly agree with you. But, again, this is where some people get stupid. They say, "since we can't know with complete precision what will happen to the earth, therefore let's keep putting CO2 into the atmosphere." (Since we can't know which chamber the bullet is in, go ahead and pull the trigger!)

Now, this is a tangential point that I don't care too much about, but you're simply wrong about being able to tell in a lab how much of X chemical is fatal. For which body? How old? How weak or strong? Male or female? In combination with what diet or other medicines? I've got a lot of colleagues in the health sciences and they know very well that experiments in the lab have an important but quite inexact relationship to actual patient outcomes.

All of which speaks to my point. Just because medical research only gives estimates of what will heal and what will kill, it doesn't mean that we throw up our hands and say that it's all only an "educated guess at best" and you can't trust those inexact scientists.

Other examples could pile up. Even though we don't have a lab as big as our galaxy, somehow those inexact scientists have figured out how to land space probes on other planets and drive them around, and send other probes outside of the solar system. By your standards, we couldn't prove any of that data but--surprise!--the scientists were right. The same people who figured out how to drive spaceships around on Mars are the ones going crazy because people like you are getting your climate science from Exxon and Rush Limbaugh.

Finally, just want to point this out. You assert that, by definition, anthropogenic climate change cannot be scientifically proven. That's wrong, first of all, according to the world's top scientists (but, who knows, you may know more than them). But, if even if you just think that it can't ever be proven, then shouldn't you stop complaining that scientists haven't proven anthropogenic climate change? You're complaining that people haven't done something that you say is impossible.

Andy D said...

On the aside, we can predict within a fairly narrow margin what doses of a particular chemical will cause harm. If I am not mistaken, that is what MSDS sheets are for.

I am not saying that we need a planet size laboratory. What I am saying is that we as humans don’t know enough about how the climate works to perform an experiment. We don’t understand clouds and other driving factors in the environment to attempt a scale model. There are studies that claim by releasing particles of recycled tires into the atmosphere, we can change the direction of hurricanes. This is entirely theory because we can’t create any sort of comparable model. If we can change it with these tire parts, we have no idea where it might go.

You talk about estimates in medical tests, we don’t know enough about the climate to make good estimates. We can’t predict the weather three days from now, let alone 100 years. I know you will tell me that weather and climate are different. Well, weather is a component of climate, as are clouds. Modern Science doesn’t understand how clouds are formed, science doesn’t understand why they form, or their exact significance on the climate. Doesn’ that sound like a pretty big variable in climate models?

Scientist can prove that anthropogenic climate change exists, but they can’t prove what degree man plays into that change. Scientist have proven that man isn’t the number one producer of CO2 on our planet.

I don’t think we should simply put as much CO2 into the environment as we wish. I think we should do what we can to limit CO2 release. Any reasonable attempt at that must include an increase in nuclear power for the United States. If you aren’t willing to build nuclear reactors, you aren’t serious about limiting CO2 production. I think families and business should be encouraged to go green. However, my problem with the eco movement today is that it wishes to force people at gunpoint to go green based on the same scientist who twenty years ago told us we were heading for the next ice age.

Anonymous said...

Andy, I'm glad to hear that at least we're both working to reduce CO2. (Nuclear power is expensive, dangerous, and terrorists love it, but if you want a plant in your backyard, ok. I'll pass. And I'd love for you, I'll say again, to run your global warming theories by a local professor of climate science.) But, in all seriousness, I'd love to see some more conservative politicians and bloggers do what you've just done: advance ideas for how to reduce CO2. We need your intellectual firepower on this issue. Thanks.