Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Global Warming: Back to the Drawing Board

If you are a devoted believer in man-made catastrophic global warming, this will be a hard post for you to read. They say sunshine is the best disinfectant, so know that this is written in an effort to help you. The latest news is that some global warming supporters are asking for the movement to start over.

There was a meeting yesterday of 150 climate scientists. At the meeting, Brittan's official Meteorological Office (also known as the Met Office) encouraged climate scientists to produce,"… a new common trove of global temperature data that is open to public scrutiny and 'rigorous' peer review." According to Fox News, this new effort would:

  1. "verifiable datasets starting from a common databank of unrestricted data"

  2. "methods that are fully documented in the peer reviewed literature and open to scrutiny;"

  3. "a set of independent assessments of surface temperature produced by independent groups using independent methods,"

  4. "comprehensive audit trails to deliver confidence in the results;"

  5. "robust assessment of uncertainties associated with observational error, temporal and geographical in homogeneities."

This sounds like a very good attempt to make global warming a legitimate science. The only problem is the Met Office is assuming the results of the data before it collects it. Fox News quoted the Met Office as saying, "…we do not anticipate any substantial changes in the resulting global and continental-scale trends." If that's true, then why go through the effort? Shouldn't the science go where the data leads it and not draw conclusions ahead of time?

The real problem, and the reason for the exercise, is that serious questions have been raised about global warming in the last few weeks and months. There are no good answers for these questions. The Met and other global warming supporters need something to make their favorite cause look real. There have been a number of black eyes given to the supporters of man-made global warming in recent months. Here is a partial list:

  1. Leaked emails from the University of East Anglia showed where prominent global warming scientists in the U.K. and the U.S. failed to comply with Freedom of Information requests.

  2. These same emails showed an effort on the part of these scientist to prevent any dissenting views from being published in peer reviewed journals. To be clear: this was a political tactic, and not one used to debate scientific findings.

  3. The Chief of East Anglia, Phil Jones, admitted that much of the data used to create the now infamous "hockey stick" graph shown in Al Gore's movie, and relied on in the IPCC report put out by the United Nations, has been lost.

  4. Phil Jones also is on the record admitting there is no "statistically significant" global warming in the last 15 years. This isn't my claim, this is the director of one of the largest bastions protecting the theory of man-made global warming. Mr. Jones admitted in the same interview that two previous periods (1910 to 1940 and 1975 to 1998) both showed similar warming trends.

  5. The 2007 IPCC report released by the United Nations has been exposed to have included un-reviewed claims and used the reports from activist organizations without reviewing their accuracy. The IPCC had to recently retract a statement from the report claiming that the Himalayan Glaciers would disappear by 2035 knowing the statement was false when it was placed in the report. The UN has claimed the statement was inserted,"…purely to put political pressure on world leaders."

  6. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) has asked the Department of Justice to launch an investigation into the activities of Dr. Michael Mann of Penn State and Dr. James Hansen of NASA. Senator Inhofe argues that recent revelations concerning global warming show that both of these individuals may be guilty of research misconduct and may have broken the law. I don't know if the Obama administration will pursue this, but it is one more strike against two of the leading supporters of global warming in the United States.

I can appreciate the predicament supporters of global warming are in. If any other theory had faced similar problems, it would have been rejected by now. I would support the effort the Met Office has suggested, provided it was done correctly. How? With the Scientific Method firmly in place. Don't use the data to prove your point, collect the data, and see what it tells you. Until they can do that, I will continue to believe man-made global warming is simply a political cause, and not science.


SutherlinGriff said...

Great post Andy. Hopefully this mounting body of evidence that the scientific process on Global Warming has been tainted will allow more tolerance of skeptical views.

It is, however, important to always preface this debate by saying that we are all in favor of preserving our planet and leaving it sustainable for the next generation. What we do to accomplish this should be based on sound science.

the anonymous guy said...

You are a holocaust denier.

What is your theory about a) why the earth is warming, b) why the world's climate scientists are warning us of current and future catastrophe and c) how many people have already died/will die from climate change?

You quote him approvingly; do you really agree with conspiracy theorist Inhofe?

I'm sure you'll get all blustery and outraged at being called a holocaust denier. But there is now more clear evidence of anthropogenic climate change than there was for Hitler's final solution through major parts of WW II. During WW II, plenty of people kept asking (some honestly, some dishonestly, some just lazily) for more evidence before any action was taken, even as the ovens kept incinerating people.

Right now, there are millions of climate refugees, people dying from lack of water caused by climate change, and many millions more to come. Thus, you are a holocaust denier.

I don't use that term lightly. If you think it's really mean that I'm calling you that, then expose me as a name-caller. Let people decide which is worse: labeling you or holocaust denying.

pack04 said...

If I was Andy I would not "get all blustery and outraged at being called a holocaust denier" because it shows your lack of basic intelligent scientific arguments and hypocritical accusations.

I will agree with you that people did deny the holocaust was happening. Where the lack of intelligence comes in is your conclusion that because someone denies something and people in the past denied something different it means the current denier also denies the thing in the past. The hypocritical part comes in because I believe that at some point in past discussions on this blog you used some Latin phrase, I don't remember which one (sorry it must be my confederate North Carolina education that is failing me here), against Andy for doing the same thing. Is the Roman Catholic church a holocaust denier because they disagreed with Copernicus and Galileo on the heliocentric versus geocentric debate?

Additionally, as I understand what is happening here, some of the holocaust is taking place people are now saying that they do need to go back and improve their evidence.

Andy, I do disagree with you on one point. I think it is good they are doing this. Of course they are going to say we will come up with the same conclusions. Many have asked for the 5 things you listed, which should have been done in the first place, to support the argument. They are going to do it. If it truly is independent groups and methods than that is good.

I read some of Mr. Inhofe's Q&A from the link anonymous guy posted. I think he does bring up two interesting things, that are very real and a cause for concern. (I think he also sounds like a person that has put his foot down and no matter what happens or evidence he receives has no interest in changing his mind, which I don't think is a good thing) Scientist and companies that have an interest in agreeing with this because it can get them more money. Yes I would love to believe that it is true that they are doing this for the good of the people and are not driven by bottom line profit but for the last year or so I have had it driven into my mind that all corporations (wall street, banks, credit card companies and mortgage companies) are evil and profit driven.

Andy D said...

Anon Guy, I'm not blustery at all. First, I agree with Pack. Name calling is a sign you simply don't have a worthwhile response.

As an aside from this debate, I would encourage you to spend some time studying the holocaust. It shouldn't be taken lightly, and it really shouldn't be invoked to score some points in a political debate on a website.

the anonymous guy said...

Andy, we agree on this: you wrote the holocaust "shouldn't be taken lightly." I wrote: "I don't use that term lightly."

It is quite clear: if it weren't for people like you (who are choosing to dismiss the world's scientists) we would now have already solved the most serious threat to civilization we have ever faced. I don't think there's anything "light" about that at all. Just as there was nothing "light" about the holocaust.

People--right now--are dying because of the denial you and others like you are practicing. And many, many more will die, too. The speciousness of your "arguments" is really shameful. This isn't some game. Millions of people will die because of this kind of denial of reality.

Andy D said...

A) If you were taking the holocaust seriously, you would never through it around quite so easily.

B) Some people are dying from global warming hysteria. Like this girl's family tried to kill themselves over fears of global warming. At least the baby survived.

C) There are more and more scientist who question man-made global warming. There is far from a consensus. Until you admit that, your arguments really don't carry much weight.

D) And finally, it's interesting that you don't address the errors made by these prominent global warming supporters. Instead you insult and attack people such as myself who dare to point out the wholes in your pet scientific theory. The left constantly portrays itself as the victim of some right wing attack machine. The left would have us believe they are Galileo fighting the evil church. It's interesting that we dare to question your science and you call us "holocaust deniers".

Seattle Dave said...

I don't really have a strong opinion on Global warming. At this point, it seems pretty clear that we are doing harm to the planet in some way, shape or form.

But I will say the following:

- To support arguments against global warming and climate change, there should be more substance provided than soundbites from Mr. Inohofe and a disingenuous article from the daily mail. @ Andy, or anyone really, did you actually read the full transcript of the interview? Because if you did, you would know that he actually said opposite of what the Daily Mail reported in their article.

- I can't stand the folks who argue against domestic spending because "we are going to leave our children and their children, in debt," yet are perfectly ok with denying science that apparently has been around for over 100 years. Wouldn't it seem that the two are NOT mutually exclusive? Shouldn't the preservation of our living environment, on some level, be a higher priority than domestic spending? Afterall, if in fact global warming is true, we have to have a planet to live on before we have debt to pay back.

-Anytime American politics enters into these types of debate, or anything for that matter, then we get these distorted arguments about facts and truth. That's what our system (political) does, kills progress on any level, in any form, by either side of the aisle.

What I find truly funny in all of this is that those who level the argument that Mr. Gore is simply out to make money are the same folks who are tried and true free-market capitalist, and should be supporting this effort 100% (if they actually believe in what they say they believe in - which, is always debateable). However, since it's a currently established market segment that is lobbying hard for the denial group, it becomes even more hypocritical.

This is what I hate about our country, to be perfectly honest. Esentially you have supposed capitalists (denier lobby) fighting tooth and nail against supposed socialists (believer lobby) who are attempting to create yet another industry in this country that could help marginalize some of the impact we have on our planet. Sure they would compete, to an extent, but wouldn't that be exactly the principal that say, republicans are championing with regards to, healthcare?

In my mind, it's just all a bunch of hypocritical BS being thrown around.

This is probably pretty incoherent right now, just jotting down some thoughts before i head into the office.

the anonymous guy said...

Seattle Dave,

To frame the denialists as skeptics and the scientifically-informed community as "believers" puts it exactly backwards.

Science--the skeptical scientific method--is what produced the theory of climate change in the 1800's. Science--skeptical science--is what has confirmed that climate change is now occurring and is attributable to human carbon pollution.

There is no "blind faith" on the part of the scientifically-informed community here. Blind faith (with the emphasis on blind) is what is practiced by the denialist camp, which has no uniform theory for their denials, but rather vacillates between conflicting claims: there is no warming; the sun is causing the warming; warming is good for the planet; warming is only bad for Africa; urban heat islands are confusing the data; the earth is actually cooling; warming will help crops grow; warming will kill crops but we'll adapt; warming is small so don't pay attention to it; warming is so big we can't afford to do anything about it; you can't trust any scientists because they're just responding to market forces; we all just need to trust the market to solve the climate crisis. The only thing all of these "theories" have in common is a *belief* that the scientifically-informed community should be ignored. It is truly blind faith on their part.

And I find it all really disgusting, morally repugnant. People are dying because of this crap, and many more will die because of what people like Andy are doing. We'd have solved it by now if it weren't for this garbage.

pack04 said...

Seattle Dave those maybe quick thoughts you jotted down before heading into work but they are probably the most intelligent thoughts I have read on the debate in a while.

With that in mind I will say one thing. I am for Al Gore's capitalistic approach to making money. I am against the government giving him a monopoly so to speak on making that money.

Andy D said...

Dave and Anon Guy,
You both argue that this science has been around for 100 years. Yet, within my lifetime, scientists were warning of global cooling. We were told that a global ice age was just around the corner. If we had passed major legislation to counter that then, what would the temperature be like today?

I don’t argue that those who believe in global warming should be forbidden from speaking their point. I argue that they should be forced to follow the scientific method. Today’s man-made global warming movement can’t stand up to the basic scientific method. Our planet goes through natural warming and cooling cycles. The magnetic poles have even reversed over time. These weren’t caused by man, but by nature.

I believe we should protect our environment. If you believe in global warming and want to buy a Smart Car, or the little swirly light bulbs, then good for you. I don’t think anyone should prohibit you from doing that. However, I have a real problem when you try to legislate that choice away from me.

The Kyoto Treaty would not fix global temperatures, even if you buy into global warming. For the same money Al Gore wants us to put into fighting a problem that isn’t proven, we could combat malaria in Africa or any other number of global problems we know exist.

Andy D said...

Anon, you continue to insult me in this debate. You have called me a “holocaust denier” and have blamed me for the deaths of others. This is not the first time I have warned you about this kind of behavior. Dave and others comment on this site, dispute my point, and do it in a respectful manner. I don’t ask you to agree with me on this point or any other. I do ask that you be respectful to everyone commenting on this site. If you can’t make a coherent argument without insulting people, or me, don’t come back. Like many things in life, you make a decision on how to conduct yourself. I hope you conduct yourself in a respectful manner here.

the anonymous guy said...

It's disgusting that you get morally indignant about being called names even as you deny the reality of the most significant threat facing human civilization.

When you realize (much too late) that you've been wrong about this, I hope you'll double your effort to make amends.

Seattle Dave said...

First off, thanks Pack04 (I did it! I remembered to type our your whole name!) :)

Secondly, here is a link to timeline of the history of global warming and climate change, Andy.


Now, maybe it's just me, but I'm going to take the word of a lifelong physicist and historian vs. the word of any politician out there right now.

Here is his personal note about it all. It's what I would think is a reasonable outlook and perspective.


He makes some extremely salient points.

Finally, I just want to say this. You deny that this is happening, and the proof that supposedly makes your case is as follows:
- Hacked emails, which are incomplete
- A scientist losing his notes on one specific thing. (although, i don't really agree with the hockey graph thing either, to be honest)
- A Daily Mail article about Phil Jones, which upon reading the entire transcript, is found to be misquoted and misconstrued.
- 2007 IPCC report (I actually agree with you on this, if that is what the UN actually said)
- James Inohofe

Here's the problem with your argument. There isn't one piece of scientific data to support the premise that global warming isn't man made.

It is just me, or doesn't that seem a bit odd? If people don't believe this is happening, shouldn't they be asking for scientific data that supports that, instead of taking the word of a senator or a newspaper writer or relying on incomplete emails stolen from a university?

And in a nutshell, that's the problem I have with the denier crowd. There is never a logical and conclusive argument, using science, to dispute what is happening.

Again, i don't have a strong opinion on Global Warming, but then again, I might be the only one here who would readily admit to a) not being a scientist and b) now knowing everything about everything.

Andy D said...


Those are very good comments.

Here are a couple of posts I have written on this blog dealing with some of the scientific problems with "man-made catastrophic global warming":

My Global Warming Primer

Top 5 Problems with "Climate Change"

An Inconvenient Day in Court for Gore

Each of these touch on some aspect of the factual problems with the theory. If you would like, I can post a new article just dealing with the scientific challenges.

Andy D said...

While we are at it, here is a story from today that illustrates my problem with much of the coverage of Global warming.

My favorite line:

The very idea that critics would have to use the Freedom of Information Act to pry back-up data from a scientist on a matter of great public importance is insane. That data should have been out there years ago, without anyone having to ask. If it’s considered ‘normal’ in climate science for researchers to keep their raw data under lock and key, and refuse to subject it to skeptical and hostile review, then climate science isn’t science.

the anonymous guy said...

Andy, Seattle Dave's got a point.

What's your theory about why the earth is warming? i.e. what is the actual physical cause of it--not simply the generic "natural forces"?

It's easy to show that "the theory of gravity" has some real problems (look at birds, airplanes, and the moon and stars just hanging up there), but unless you've got a better theory, I wouldn't recommend jumping off a tall building and expecting that the "theory of gravity" is just a scientific conspiracy.

Seattle Dave said...

Andy - I've read your articles in the past.

I don't want your articles on why you think what is/isn't happening is or isn't happening.

I want an actual scientist, not an engineer who moonlights as a writer, to write a cohesive, well construed, evidence backed piece on why global warming isn't man made.

Since when did we forget that scientific theories have to be proven AND disproven via SCIENCE?

That's all I want to see. I don't want to listen to your highly charged political rhetoric. I want real, verifiable scientific facts that come from people who actually study this stuff for a living.

No offense meant to you, but your an engineer, not a scientist. Therefore, you can't possibly believe that I would simply read your articles and decide that global warming isn't happening.

And again, this goes to the crux of the problem. It's SO highly politicized at this point that there has essentially been no real scientific data to support the denialist claims. I mean to say, when you start infusing things like "killing our economy (already dead), killing large business (dead if not dying), socialism and fascism (my favorite rebuttal by neocons these days, considering they are 2 entirely different political theories, yet can be thrown together by any neocon and used in the same sentence and context) and whatever else neocons have decided is valid as an argument against, then we begin to forget what's important. James Inohofe is not the story, the Daily Mail is not important, random emails hacked from one of hundreds of scientific communities is not important.

What is important is that something is happening, and if we don't try to fix it, we could be knackered at some point in the future.