The latest on global warming

AP reports another study on global warming.   Interestingly, the AP report is fairly balanced, and even ends with a comment by a person on the other side.

Personally, I’m too ignorant of the science to have any idea who’s right.  But let me suggest a couple of layperson thoughts.

First, it seems extremely unlikely that we could develop the way we have, burning fossil fuel that took millions of years to create, releasing huge amounts of greenhouse gasses, without having some effect on our environment.

Second, it seems equally unlikely that a small increase in the global temperature would result in a large increase in the number of major heatwaves.  This would only make sense if one also established that the small increase also resulted in greater termperature volitility.

What do you folks think of the latest report and the effort to attribute the latest heatwaves and droughts to global warming?

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  • Caped Crusader

    1. Follow the money, vested interests, kook environmentalists, minions, and the usual suspects.
    2. Forty years ago the same bunch were trying to convince the world a new ice age was upon us. Either Time or Newsweek had a cover picture with Polar bears tossing snowballs in Central Park.
    3. If an ice age was upon us, would you believe that driving more and burning more fossil fuel would correct the situation and save humanity; and would these same people be advocating it? Don’t remember what they advocated back then.
    4. Who the hell does that idiot from Tennessee think his is to decide what temperature the earth should be?
    5. Major factors determining temperature are solar activity, volcanic eruptions, and ocean currents and temperatures, and we can do nothing about any of them. Anything humans can do is like voiding in the ocean to see if you can raise the level.

  • Mike Devx

    It makes absolutely no sense to attribute this year’s heat waves to global warming, unless you also attribute the great heat waves of the 1950s to global warming.  And we don’t.  CASE CLOSED.  The case is closed, because you do not get to pick and choose selectively, data to fit your model.  That would not be merely bad science, but ANTI-science.  But hey, that’s what the global warming crowd has been up to for years now.  Anything to keep the money flowing – and remember, when it comes down to it, it’s usually about “follow the money”.

    This is just like when Al Gore used the years surrounding Hurricane Katrina to hype global warming as the cause of major hurricanes that were going to devastate coastlines year after year.  Then suddenly, after Katrina, the frequency and power of hurricanes dropped tremendously.  There was one year, I forget which, where we had only one hurricane strike the coast, and it was a weak Category 3.  Do you blame all of these peaceful, non-hurricane years we’ve had, on global warming?  You can’t.  And you can’t pick and choose your data selectively to fit your model.

    Climate science – and especially its predictive capabilities – remains in its infancy.  Its practitioners have chosen to gorge at the government trough.  (Follow the money).  That has been a catastrophic mistake for climate science.  The practitioners became corrupted, and they began falsifying their data to match the models that kept the money flowing in.  They became anti-science.  And now they are in disrepute.

    Money doesn’t corrupt.  The LOVE of money corrupts.  It is a terrible thing that has happened to climate science, due to the greed of the so-called global warming scientists.  And their government enablers.

  • Oldflyer

    There is simply too much evidence of distorted data, hidden data and unsubstantiated hyperbole on the part of the Warmists for them to have any credibility.
    There are a few verifiable facts.   There were very cold periods in the past, and there were very warm periods.  Real scientists have documented these cyclical variations.  They also provide various explanations for those that occurred not only before the industrial age, but before recorded human history.   DQ says common sense suggests that burning vast amounts of carbon fuels must heat the atmosphere.  That may be true, but how do you evaluate the scope of this effect?  Compared to the known massive drivers of climate, what is the relative importance of this factor?  Beyond those questions is the most basic one of, if there is AGW, will it mitigate the effects of the next cold period, and prove beneficial? We do not know; and at the moment science cannot tell us.
    The alarms about AGW are all based on computer modeling.  I have a very shallow knowledge of this science, or art.  I know enough to have a superficial grasp of the complexity involved.  Several years ago I questioned two friends who have  more extensive education in the subject.  One of these used the technique professionally for years to model fairly complex problems.  The other went in another direction after his initial graduate level education, law and data base development, but is one of the smarter persons I know.  Neither believes that it is possible to accurately model something so complex as the earth’s atmosphere. Armed with their opinions, along with those of other alleged experts that I have read, I give little credibility to the so-called predictive climate models.

  • weathtd

    Two years ago, NASA released study that showed the temp. on Mars over previous 40 years had risen by exact same percentage as temp. on Earth.  Al Gore had no explanation regarding all the little martians driving SUVs.  Temp. increase did match the 40 year solar cycle.  And I remember all the hype in the early 70s about entering the new ice age.  All amounts to different day, same ole BS.  Evil American consumerism is destroying Mother Earth.

  • Don Quixote

    I’m reminded of the old saying that just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you. Just because the global warming crowd is highly unreliable, it doesn’t mean the massive impact humans have had on the face of the globe will have no impact on the atmosphere.  In a way, we are conducting a grand experiment, aren’t we, with no real idea of the effect we are having?

  • Don Quixote

    Oldflyer, the article indicates that the new conclusions are “based on statistics, not the more typical climate modeling.”  Does this change your analysis?

  • Danny Lemieux

    DQ, just a few comments (from a scientist):

    1) The earth (land and ocean) act as “buffers” that absorb and transform CO2. Land and oceans absorb the CO2 and plants and algae convert the CO2 into organic matter. So, the ability of humans to produce large amounts of CO2, as you put it, is counterbalanced by the ability of our planet to convert CO2. People tend to think of the earth as a “closed system”. It isn’t it is always changing, buffering, adapting. Otherwise, our planet’s biomass would have disappeared long ago.

    2) The world, sans human beings, always produced large amounts of CO2 – prairies and forests burned naturally and large herds of animals (e.g., buffalos in the U.S.) emitted large amounts of CO2. Interestingly, insects (esp. termites) collectively produce more CO2 than human beings. 

    3)  There has been long-term warming trends as we are still coming out of the last ice age. There was a time when rhinoceros and hippopotami roamed Great Britain. 

    4) “There are lies, damned lies, and statistics” – Mark Twain.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Ooops! I forgot to mention: as the earth warms (actually, there is good evidence that we are about to enter a 30-year cooling cycle), the biomass of the world increases, as seasons get longer and the growing zones of the world increase. For a number of reasons, this increases CO2 in the atmosphere (more animals breathing). A hilarious example of this was Al Gore’s “Earth in the Lurch” movie, where he was filmed speaking in front of a back-drop chart that showed CO2 increasing AFTER warming occurred.

  • Mike Devx

    DQ, you say:
    >  it doesn’t mean the massive impact humans have had on the face of the globe will have no impact on the atmosphere. 

    I have to ask, what are you basing this impression of “massive impact” on?

    You also say:
    > First, it seems extremely unlikely that we could develop the way we have, burning fossil fuel that took millions of years to create, releasing huge amounts of greenhouse gasses, without having some effect on our environment.

    I wonder if you understand the extent to which you’ve been programmed.  You say, “releasing huge amounts of greenhouse gasses” – note the word “huge”.  Then you conclude with the idea that this must have “some effect on our environment”.  But you don’t really mean “some” effect.  You mean, “a HUGE, harmful effect”.

    But what effect?  And how large?  What built-in biases do you have that you don’t even know you have?  What’s the effect of a year’s worth of industrial output compared to one volcano blowing its top and pouring its mix of gases into the atmosphere?  We tend to be overwhelmed by the size and scope of human activity, without also being able to contemplate the size and scope of the Earth itself and its atmosphere.

    Is it, in fact, true that on the scale of the Earth, human development has a “huge” footprint?  Just because it “seems” to be huge?  Based on what?  I would claim: based on how you’ve been programmed.  And you’ve been programmed to find it huge AND harmful.  We’ve been fed distorted data for more than a decade now, in pursuit of a political agenda.  It’s impossible at this point to know who to trust as a data source, if you can trust *anyone*.

    Climate science morphed into global warming science.  But then it became about the money, and only certain sets of results kept the money flowing.  Science used to be about the search for the truth.  Now, “science” is about proving an agenda, and providing only the data that supports the (political) agenda; and that’s not science at all.

    To a certain extent, none of this is new.  The scientific orthodoxy has always been resistant to changing the theory-du-jour.  It took decades of scoffing at plate tectonics before the orthodoxy began to grudgingly admit there was something to it.  In the decades since, we’ve come to understand subduction zones, the “Ring Of Fire”, and the causes of earthquakes.  But only after decades of scoffing and resistance.  But at least THEY – the orthodoxy of that time – did not deceive, did not lie, did not deliberately distort the data.


  • expat

    Although I am not a scientist, I am programmed to be skeptical about any new theory, expecially when it involves very complex systems. My biggest problem, however, comes with the ignorant solutions proposed to solve the global warming “problem.”  A friend just finished work on a major government-sponsored study about about the use of biomass for energy production. He and a very high-ranking group of scientists really crunched the numbers on green proposals and found that they didn’t add up. Either the technology was not ripe, the costs were outrageous, or the proposal overlooked serious problems in burning up existing biomass. One example involved straw. The total mass of straw was calculated and determined able to produce so much energy. What the greenies overlooked was that much straw has to be used in raising animals and much has to be plowed back into the soil to maintain its fertility.  They found this kind of ignorance in many other proposals. Needless to say the study is being attacked by greenies.
    Even if the earth is warming, I don’t believe any of the harebrained ideas now on the boards will have any effect. I think we should keep up basic research, but I don’t trust any of the greenie groups’ ideas.They live in fantasy land.

  • Oldflyer

    DQ, what statistics?  The statistics tell us that there has been no warming for the past 15 years.
    It is undeniable that the prognoses of AGW caused doom and gloom were based on predictive computer models, not statistics.  Statistically, we know that the earth has experienced cyclical periods of warming and cooling.  Now with regards to any modeling, it is almost a cliche, but a truism that models start with assumptions.  Always.  He who defines the assumptions controls the outcome.   With regards to statistics, another cliche may apply, “garbage in/garbage out”.  Statistics require data and as I said, among the Warmists  there have been too many instances of “adjusted”, or in more pointed terms doctored, data;  not to mention selective use of data and use of data with suspect relevance. 

  • Earl

    Go check the amount of CO2 produced by man and compare it to the several greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere and the annual input of these gases by the “natural world” (as if man is not “natural”).
    We are NOT driving whatever warming has gone on since 1900.  Period.
    The earth has buffer systems, as has been pointed out.  It has been both warmer and colder in the past, as has also been pointed out, and (it shouldn’t need to be said) these changes occurred long before the modernity that is said to be leading us to disaster.
    Finally, if “science” were any part of “global warming (or “climate”, if you prefer) science”, then the (universally acknowledged) fact that Danny cited in #8 above would have abruptly eliminated the entire “Anthropogenic Catastrophic Global Warming” meme.  When you look at the data in detail, it is the WARMING that comes first…..followed (by more than 100 years) by the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide.  Get it?  Warming increases carbon dioxide, and cooling reduces carbon dioxide, and NOT the other way around.

  • Don Quixote

    Mike, either I wasn’t clear, or you do me a bit of an injustice.  The profound effect that man has had on the surface of the earth is evident to me every time I fly over the heartland of the United States.  Once you get past the Rocky Mountains, as far as the eye can see, you will see the impact of man. 

    Or drive the California freeways at rush hour and see the millions of cars, each one having their impact.  Or look at pictures from space, showing evidence of man-made pollution extending out for many miles from the mouths of rivers.  Or consider what we are doing to the rain forests.  Billions of people are going to have an impact. How could they not?   

    However, you put words in my mouth when you accused me of being programmed to believe that the impact would be huge and negative.  I don’t know what the impact will be.  And I’m well aware of the fact that the earth is, to some extent, self-adjusting.  I’m just saying that we don’t know whether what we are doing, and will continue to do, especially in the rest of the world where the population is still rapidly growing, will have a huge negative impact or not.  The facts that have been pointed out here (climate models don’t work, people studying the effects of man’s actions are untrustworthy, the data is inadequate, etc.) make the matter worse.  

    Obviously we should not take knee-jerk reactions to falsified data.  Buit we should also not bury our heads in the sand, trusting that good old mother earth’s coping mechanisms will automatically and adequately cope with the worst we can throw at them.  We don’t know.  And it is quite a gamble to continue in ignorance.     

  • Don Quixote

    Earl, generally you are right. But that does not account for direct emission of CO2 into the atmosphere by things like the burning of fossil fuels. 

  • Earl

    DQ:  First, we have no choice but “to continue in ignorance”…..what’s your suggested alternative? 
    Second, my point is that the current “direct emission of CO2 into the atmosphere by things like the burning of fossil fuels.” is small in comparison to all of the greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere and that are constantly being added by “natural” means.  
    As Caped Crusader so delicately put it in #1 above: “Anything humans can do is like voiding in the ocean to see if you can raise the level.”

  • Charles Martel

    The world’s population is not still “rapidly growing.” Thirty years ago, at the height of the population boom hysteria, the UN was forecasting as world population of 12 billion by 2050. The current estimate is 9 billion.
    Why the difference? Several reasons. Increases in wealth create a lessened need to have several children for support in old age versus rearing one or two children in modest comfort and depending on social welfare systems to provide old age sustenance. The drawback, of course, is that by replacing the family as the main source of late-life support, government welfare schemes have killed off the desire to have children. Europe’s population is imploding (excluding the addition of haplessly backward Muslims), Japan is losing 1 million people per year in total population, and China’s one-child policy is backfiring—its increasingly gerontocratic society now has too few children to support its old folks.
    So the growing problem isn’t having too many people, but not having enough.
    Besides, as societies reach certain levels of affluence, they begin to devote more resources to cleaning up and protecting their environments. As the Brazilian economy moves way past the $1 trillion mark, the country is starting to depend less on resource extraction and more on high-tech industries. India will soon do the same. In the US, which has been assiduously cleaning up its act since the 1970s, the amount of pollution since then has been reduced dramatically.  
    Affluence also creates a more thoughtful and imaginative use of resources. While most of the virgin timber in the US has been logged, our forest acreage remains about the same as when the Pilgrims landed—more than 700 million acres. While the quality of second, third, fourth, and fifth-growth trees can’t match what we were chopping down one or two centuries ago, we’re far better at using what we have to serve a far larger population. I’m watching a new house go up in my neighborhood, and many of the main load-bearing supports are made of laminates that take what was once considered wood waste products and binds them together with super-strong adhesives to form very sturdy construction materials.
    Finally, while I agree that what man is doing may have some effect, it has been noted here that we don’t know what that effect is. The urge to submit to the fearful assertions and speculations about what that effect might be, as provided by people who are demonstrably among the least trustworthy members of our society, is one we should happily resist.

  • Mike Devx

    DQ, as long as you do have an understanding of the extent to which you *have* been programmed – and you have, and I have; we all have – I have no problem with the position you’ve taken.

    You look at all those cars on that California freeway and you are sure they must be having “some impact”.  Again, I use quotes on “some impact” because I challenge you on your programming.  When you say “some impact” you are being deliberately vague, but it’s not entirely your fault. You are programmed to instantly view all those cars as a negative thing; yet you’ve been given nowhere near enough information to *quantify* that negative.  Because they can’t give you that information, not in a context that you can actually use.  You’ve therefore been programmed.

    I’m always struck by the breadth of my own programming.  I still think back to the 4th grade diorama I had to construct of the Indian village, and I did a damned good job of it.  I was enthralled by it, too.  But did I ever have to construct a diorama, write a story or a report, of a colonial town growing up at the confluence of two rivers, full of white settlers?  No.  Never.  Programming.

    Yes, the pollution at river mouths is there.  But again, can you quantify it, or are you simply sure that it must be bad, very very bad?  How bad *is* it, any idea?  I remember being struck by the anthropomorphic programming of Finding Nemo’s river-mouth sequence.  And then there’s the 80% of utter garbage that is Pixar’s Wall-E programming – a movie I found utterly, coldly cynically and totally manipulative.  It was as clunky as “Reefer Madness”, yet so many people loooooved it.  I couldn’t understand why.

    I think how shocked – completely shocked! – all the experts were concerning the BP oil spill (I use “spill” for want of a better word – the underseas gusher).  They were, and are, completely shocked at how nature did in fact simply take care of the problem.  Every single step the Obama Administration took to deal with the problem was wrong, wrong, wrong.  Only Bobby Jindal did the right thing – or tried to, in the face of total hostile resistance by the Obama Admin.  He protected his very sensitive marshlands at the coast.

    It does no good to throw trillions of dollars at the wrong problem.  You have to know what the problem *is* in order to correctly solve it.  If you have not yet identified the problem, why in the world would you go about “solving it”?  Insanity.  I have this argument constantly with a liberal friend of mine.  He’s simply convinced – as in many ways I think you are – that we simply have to do *something*, and NOW NOW NOW!  It doesn’t matter whether it will be effective in any way.  We are perpetually on the cusp of ecological disaster.  Programming.

    Back to the problem of having “some effect”.  Let’s look at my argument from a household finances perspective. Your family brings in some $N of income.  You go out to the store to buy a candy bar.  Yum.  Are you having “some effect” on your household finances with the purchase of that candy bar?  Of course you are!  Are you having ANY significant effect on your household finances with the purchase of that candy bar?  Of course you are NOT.  But the vagueness surrounding the phrase “some effect” allows you to take a position on the purchase of that candy bar that is harmful overall.  Until you quantify the effect of that purchase, “some effect” is just weasel words.  Bringing home $40,000 per year, and blowing $20,000 at Vegas… now THAT is a quantifiably bad effect. Until you quantify, and can identify the scope of the effect, “some effect” just doesn’t cut it.  At All.

  • Earl

    Mike D – CLEARLY, you hate Gaia and love the cancer that is her human population. 
    Otherwise, you wouldn’t be engaging in all that retrograde linear thinking and logical argumentation when we have a DISASTER before us that MUST be addressed — NOW, NOW, NOW, as was so wisely suggested up above…..No, Wait!

  • Mike Devx

    Charles Martel #16:
    I’m watching a new house go up in my neighborhood, and many of the main load-bearing supports are made of laminates that take what was once considered wood waste products and binds them together with super-strong adhesives to form very sturdy construction materials.

    That’s an interesting supporting point, Charles.  My dad and his best friend bought property in the northern Michigan woods back in the 1960’s, and we (the next generation) just took down the hodge-podge cabin that had been constructed and basically built a cabin “castle”.  At least, compared to the original.  Two floors, upper floor is all sleeping area bunk beds.

    But the ceiling of the first floor is all thick beams of the “laminate” that you have mentioned, all constructed from what was formerly just waste wood material, bound with the super-strong adhesive.  And my god, you are so correct: It is very, very STRONG.  As strong as steel?  And aesthetically pleasing, too.  It could take ten times the current weight, I’m sure.

    Technology, and the imaginative use of resources.  Also, as you mentioned, an affluent society such as ours does clean up its act.  As we have since the 70s.  

    Energy efficiency: We’ve vastly increased our per-capita *use* of energy equipment in the home and in industry (and our population has more than doubled since then).  Yet the per-capita use of energy itself has remained constant.  Just the addition of so much air-conditioning throughout the South, as our population has doubled, should have sent our energy use through the roof.  Yet it hasn’t, due to our use of technology and the attention paid to conservation efforts.  And I must emphasize that those conservation efforts have been driven by the free market, in ways that demonstrably have proven to WORK.  The targeted well-known and understood problem, the targeted and *effective* solution.

  • Don Quixote

    Geez, Mike, I wish you’d quit trying to read my mind.  I said “some effect” because I have no idea the magnitude of the effect.  Nobody does.  I meant no more and no less by the comment.  Don’t read something into it that isn’t there.

    Your household finances example fails completely.  Whether it’s a candy bar or a trip to Vegas, I know what I spend and I can easily figure out the magnitude of the effect.

    By contrast, we haven’t been able to come close to figuring out the magnitude of the effect of man’s burning of massive amounts of fossil fuel.

    Respectfully, the assertion that “Anything humans can do is like voiding in the ocean to see if you can raise the level”  is no better supported by facts or science than the ravings of the global warming alarmists. 

    Earl, what is the factual basis for your assertion that “the current ‘direct emission of CO2 into the atmosphere by things like the burning of fossil fuels.’ is small in comparison to all of the greenhouse gases”?    I’m not saying you are wrong; I’m just asking for the facts behind the statement.  Can you quantify it?

    As for what I would do, I’d take a fair amount of the resources being given to the global warming alarmists and give that money to people who would use it for honest, objective research on the matter.   


  • FrancisChalk

    Some mathematical facts for you about CO2 in theatmosphere: CO2 makes up about 400 parts per million of the gases in our atmosphere. By the Warmists own account, man contributes about 20% of that 400, about 80 parts per million. Eighty parts per million equates to 8 parts per 100,000.
    If the gases in our atmosphere were a $100,000 investment portfolio, and manmade CO2 were a stock in that portfolio, no investment expert would say, “You’d better watch that one share of $8 stock like a hawk because your entire retirement hinges on the value of that one share.” But when it comes to Global Warming that is essentially what the so-called experts are saying; basically, that the one $8 share of stock is all that matters. The rest of your $100,000 portfolio (all other gases in the atmosphere and everything else that interacts or impacts it) is irrelevant to your retirement nest egg.  Does that come close to passing any type of proportionality or reasonability test? 
    To put it another way: if you were driving the 3,000 miles from New York to LA, you would never think the only part of the trip that matters is the first ¼ mile; after all you’d likely still be driving in your own neighborhood. Yet, that same ratio— ¼ mile out of 3,000 miles (about 8 parts per 100,000) is what manmade CO2 contributes to the gases in the atmosphere.
    The “Theory of Global Warming” is based heavily on modeling and the basic mathematical facts don’t come anywhere near to passing any type of common sense test.

  • Don Quixote

    FrancisChalk, thanks for providing some hard data to this so far very soft discussion.  400 parts per million does put things into a comforting-sounding perspective, at any rate.

    I’m not sure your analogies hold up, though.  In my very limited understanding of the issue, the global warming folks argue that man’s contribution upsets a rather delicate balance.  Their opponents argue that the balance is not so delicate and man’s effects are easily managed by the earth’s own ability to adjust. 

    It would be difficult to argue that the stocks are interrelated such that if the one stock does well everything elsewill suffer.  Or that if the road in the first 1/4 mile has potholes, it will cause the rest of the road to be undrivable.

    Still, I appreciate the hard data.  And it does sound to this completely ignorant layman’s ear that 80 parts per million is an amount that the earth at least should be able to cope with.  I assume (always dangerous) that the global warming folks are arguing that this 80 parts is increasing, and that the 400 parts is as well.  I suppose the argument is that if that number increases sufficiently it is both proof that the earth can’t cope and cause for concern.  Thanks for writing and, I wonder, do you have any information on the changes in the CO2 levels over time and their possible effects?        

  • Allen

    DQ, I pretty much trust the paleoclimate data from ice-core studies. The metrology is sound, and the data are sensible. One example: there is a fixed amount of deuterated water naturally present in the oceans, as temperature rises so too does evaporation, thus more deuterated water would be present in glacial ice. One correlates deuterated water to temperature change. That’s broad and a little oversimplified but you get the idea.

    Over the last 400,000 years the ice cores indicate temperature and gas cycling, atmospheric gases are trapped in the ice. One such gas is CO2. It cycled from about 150 ppm in the cold cycles to about 300 ppm in the warm cycles. The first argument is: does the CO2 follow the temperature increase or cause it? Obviously, some have said it’s the cause of temperature increase but an equally powerful argument can be made it’s the other way around. Here’s your own experiment: place a carbonated beverage in the refrigerator and one in the garage. Let them come to temperature, and open them. Which fizzes more? The warm one. More CO2 goes into solution in water at lower temperatures. This is known as Le Chatelier’s Principle. 

    Finally, something on the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Using readily available data on the amounts of CO2 emitted worldwide in the last 100 years, the extra 100 ppm (300 warmcycle to 400 currently measured) can be totally attributed to man made sources. But therein lies a problem, if that is true then no extra CO2 is available to acidify the oceans. Interesting that.

  • jj

    Ah, your #22 is enlightening, Don.  There is little about the earth’s natural systems that qualifies as “delicately balanced.”  This planet, so far from being delicately balanced, is actually robust.  It handles problems in its stride.  A Tambora put more greenhouse gas of all forms – not just CO2 but also methane and other compounds – into the atmosphere in an afternoon than everything mankind’s done throughout its history.  The planet recovered, as it is designed to do.  Same for Krakatau, the effects were noticeable world-wide for about a year, then they went away.  We weren’t able to do anything so we did nothing, and the planet cleaned it up. 

    We really only know – “know,” as opposed to “think” – two things about the climate: it can be beyond violent in the short term, and; it always changes.  Is the globe warming?  Yes, it’s been doing so since the last ice-sheets retreated 15,000 years ago.  Not in a smooth straight line, there have been hiccups along the way, periods of greater warmth or cold, but generally trending up, with or without input from us.  There are examples all around us from our own history.  The Vikings weren’t all drunk; they called it “Greenland” instead of “Snowland” because green and fertile land is what they saw when they happened by.  They were literalists, and obviously the world was warmer then.  They settled and grew stuff – but were driven away in a couple of centuries because the world grew (gasp) cold, and the settlements could no longer support themselves.  In the so-called Mediaeval Warming they were growing vines and making wine in the Scottish Border country, something impossible in the last five centuries right up to today: it’s too damn cold for successful viticulture.  The Little Ice Age followed – a planetary reaction? – and, as our forefathers reported in journals, it snowed in what is now Central Park – in July.  Then it resumed the previously-established post-Ice Age general warming trend, which, anecdotally, continues.  Statistically it doesn’t – as Oldflyer points out the globe has not warmed for the last decade and a half, no matter what summer feels like where you are.

    And yes, as someone above pointed out, NASA is unable to escape that Mars is warming, just as we are.  I’m sure Hansen, who isn’t even a climatologist, doesn’t like that, but that’s too bad: it’s a fact.  Whatever the Martians are doing, they better clean it up!  This suggests that the sun, which has spent the last few years relatively quietly – though that may be changing – has a far more direct, and not remotely understood effect on climate.  And its effect spreads through the solar system, not just here.  (Though granted: here is all we care about.)  We haven’t had a summer in the northwest for three years.  It’s August 6th, we’ve touched 90 twice in Seattle, not at all on the Olympic Peninsula in the last three summers.  You want anecdotal evidence, ours is that global cooling is well under way!  I have not yet awakened on a morning this year – not once! – when the thermostat hasn’t had the heat running.  So much for what we see: anecdotal evidence.  It’s useless, but it gets reported every day.

    The planet’s pretty damn tough, and pretty damn resilient.  When one volcano puts more crap into the air than every motor running in every city for a year does, it may turn California’s air brown, but is it really a big global issue?  Seems not.  I don’t advocate pollution, but given how readily the Gulf cleaned itself up post-BP, I have to conclude there’s some flexibility there we probably shouldn’t forever rely on, but it’s a lot more powerful than we know about.  I suspect the planet’s inclination to warm – if there is one – is part of the cycle.  it was doing that anyway, as far as we can tell.  If it wasn’t we wouldn’t be here: all of human growth has occurred during the current kindly inter-glacial period.                      

  • Earl

    DQ: You said “…we haven’t been able to come close to figuring out the magnitude of the effect of man’s burning of massive amounts of fossil fuel.”  That will get you called a “denier” in many circles….but it doesn’t change the truth of the statement. 

    However, we DO know that temperatures on other planets in this system, ones where we can measure the average temps with approximately the same kind of precision as we can on earth, have risen about as much as ours.  All this without “man’s burning of massive amounts of fossil fuel.”  Logically, that indicates to me that our fossil fuel use is unlikely to be raising the average termperature of the earth.  And there are any number of other indicators suggesting the same thing….and NOTHING credible shows the opposite. to GHG (green house gases), here’s some data – you can go to the link ( for more detail.

    Carbon Dioxide (CO2) represents approximately 390 ppmv or 0.039% (of our atmosphere);
    Additional atmosphere components includes Water vapor (H2O) that represents approximately 0.40% (10x) over full atmosphere, (and) typically 1%-4% at surface.;
    “Water Vapor accounts for the largest percentage of the greenhouse effect, between 36% and 66% for clear sky conditions and between 66% and 85% when including clouds.”

    I don’t recommend Wikipedia as a rule, because the contributors have a definite point of view, and the proprietors are very open about their job being to represent the current consensus on any subject – enough so that actual data that conflicts with the consensus position is eliminated.  I recently read a piece by a major researcher of the Sacco and Vanzetti case who had this happen to him over and over again.  However, the stuff above represents measurements that are not in conflict.

    OH!  Man-made CO2 is about 3% of total “natural” emissions from volcanoes, etc. each year.  You can find that number all over the place, but I read it in Britannica:

    All the predictions of disaster because man is burning fossil fuels depend on the estimate of “forcing”, that is, how much temperature increase will occur if a GHG doubles (usually used for CO2).  This is often referred to as the “climate sensitivity”.  And it IS an estimate: “There can be no consensus because all of the key parameters in the fundamental equation of climate sensitivity are unknown and unknowable. Not one can be directly measured, indirectly inferred, or determined by any theoretical method to a precision sufficient to give us a reliable answer.”] You can read this quote and a LOT more good stuff, here:
    DQ. I do wish that you were in charge of the federal budget on climate issues – because you appear to be genuinely curious and determined to be fair, despite the level of (inevitable) programming that you (and all the rest of us) have.  It’s not like the catastrophic warming skeptics don’t have anything to offer…there are bright and very capable people who doubt the current “consensus” (which I doubt is as wide and deep as is said – there is a lot of fear in “the community”).  Just check this out:

    Keep an open mind, folks….and follow the money!!

  • Don Quixote

    Earl, thank you so much for all of the information and links.  That is exactly the kind of objective data I was looking for! 

  • Mike Devx

    Don Q,
    Fair enough, in #20.

    But when someone says things like “we must be having some impact”, or “we must be having some effect”, alarm bells go off very loudly in my head.  If my candy bar example fails, it only rarely fails, and yours may be the rare case.  I know we are under the assault of the “sustainability” movement, which is the replacement for the “global warming” movement.  And all those cars on all those freeways simply *must* be having “some effect”.  And by that, 99% of people mean, “some very bad, very very bad, effect”.  But I will grant that you may be the exception to the rule.  You may be the true 1%: You may mean EXACTLY what you say, and no more.

    But for 99% of the people, they don’t.  You’ll have to pardon me for my assumption that you’re in the 99% who can’t but help yourself but view all those cars on those freeways as a definite negative.  Perhaps you don’t view all those cars on those freeways as a definite negative.  (To focus on just one example)


  • Danny Lemieux

    Earl, your points about water vapor as THE major greenhouse gas were spot on the mark. In the climate modeling that was done to “prove” manmade global warming, two of the largest factors (sun and moisture) were given constant values because the math was too complicated by these two factors.

    In fact, the recent breakthrough research at CERN that established a link between cosmic rays and cloud formation on our planet was critically important in defining the linkage between these two factors and climate.

    The tendency of scientists (and “quant” financial theorists) to ascribe the values “1” or “0” to factors that they don’t understand is a disgrace, unfortunately, that has led to lot of false conclusions in many fields, unfortunately.

  • Earl

    Correction, Danny:  They only “ascribe the values ‘1’ or ‘0’ to factors that they don’t understand” *IF* the result fits the template.
    Believe me — if ignoring water vapor’s variations and its effects on the climate produced a result that argued against Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming, they would jigger the numbers somehow, until “all was right with the world” again.

  • Don Quixote

    Aw, Mike, I’m not nearly that saintly.  I certainly didn’t mean ““some very bad, very very bad, effect.”   The effect could even be beneficial if, for example, it caused global warming that was offsetting undesireable global cooling from other sources.  Or the reverse, for all I know.

    What troubles me is that it seems like a lot is going on, man is effecting the world in so many sizeable and visable ways, and those who are suppose to know differ sharply as to what effects will result and as to the magnitude of those effects.  My own suspicion (guess!) is that there will be some negative effect, but over a very long period of time (hundreds of years) so we will have plenty of time to deal with it and/or it will be dealt with automatically as CM’s analysis suggests. 

    But it does bother me that people who have the knowledge to make more than my ignorant guesses and have studied the problem for years don’t seem to have any better grasp of the true situation than I do.  And the whole matter is so overrun by politics that almost no one on either side can be trusted.  The issue is too important to be left to the politicians.

    By the way, I suppose my concern on this started years ago when I heard Rush ranting one day, in complete denial.  His thesis was that mankind is so little and the world so big that we couldn’t possibly have any significant effect.  I was dumbstruck by the idiocy of this position, taken without any factual analysis whatsoever.  Ever since then, I’ve been personally as skeptical of the skeptics as of the promoters of the global warming theories.           

  • Earl

    DQ said: “And the whole matter is so overrun by politics that almost no one on either side can be trusted.”
    The left would LOVE each of us to take this kind of position on SO MANY issues.  It’s a way of implanting in the minds of the citizens that each side is as dishonest, as biased, as nuts as the other.  The only problem is that is is NOT true.
    Yes, Rush is “over the top” a lot of the time – he’s an entertainer, and he wants an audience, and he didn’t get to be #1 (or to stay there) by taking a quiet and analytical tone.  My big “beef” with Rush was when he talked about vegetarians – so I wrote him a letter about how ignorant he was making himself sound with his rant about how you couldn’t be healthy without eating meat.  I’ve not heard him do it, since.
    But, DQ….with all due respect, it’s just “lazy” to listen to Rush rant and then equate the two sides — to be as skeptical of the skeptics as you are (are you, really?) of the “consensus position”.  This is an important issue, and I’ve got to tell you that without getting deep into the science, almost anyone can learn enough to understand that our “real” skepticism ought to be aimed mainly at the mainstream view.  All it takes is a bit of time, and a willingness to risk abuse by your progressive friends.
    I’ve given you a couple of logical disconnects, above….but there are LOTS more.  Plenty of other widely-conceded influences on our climate that tell (logically) against CAGW.  Plenty of examples of “mistakes” in reporting data and offering interpretations – all of which acted to support the original position, and thus appear to be cheating.  Plenty of examples of stone-walling when asked for access to the data and algorithms that went into a scientific paper.  Plenty of examples of covering up what appeared to be unethical, and even unlawful, behavior.  Etc.
    It’s on the CAGW side that you find this stuff, DQ….I’m not aware of a single case where it has occurred among the skeptics.  Add to that the fact that it is the “Warmists” who have the big-money incentives to hold their position – despite a lot of whining and moaning, no one has shown any significant number of cases where skeptics are beholden to Big Oil, or Big Nuclear, etc. – and the implications approach, for me and many others, certainty.
    My own experience of “the scales falling from my eyes” was this: after giving financial support for years to Sierra Club, Audobon, NRDC, and others – even doing a Wilderness Survey for the SC – I watched the entire environmental community turn on a dime from The Coming Ice Age to Catastrophic Warming and virtually every one of their “solutions” to the “problem” stayed exactly the same!!  It looked like the American “progressives” turning from isolationism to interventionism the moment that Hitler invaded Russia!  That’s when the word “watermelon” took on new meaning for me and I began to look more skeptically at what we were being told.  It was shocking to find the corruption and dishonesty that exists among the academics and activists who are committed to CAGW. 
    I was careful about speaking my doubts – I was in an academic setting, after all – but I took a great deal of grief for my heresy, however mildly expressed.  I’m happy to say that, given all the new information we have, quite a few of my former colleagues are far more circumspect about their commitment to the coming man-caused disaster, but there are still a few who are true believers, and I am pleased to send them an occasional article (only those published in Science or Nature) that would serve to debunk the consensus in any truly open mind.  At this point, I have seen, and continue to see, such a volume of data (as well as revelations of “cheating” among the faithful) that is most logically interpreted as undermining CAGW that I’m quite comfortable with my skepticism.
    Open minds, folks…..and follow the money!

  • Earl

    Those who hold that the earth self-regulates are feeling a bit smug with the latest from the right-wing crazy climate deniers at Berkeley East – Boulder, CO (sarc\):
    Earth’s CO2 sinks increasing their uptake
    Posted on August 2, 2012 by Anthony Watts
    Readers may recall these WUWT stories:  Earth’s biosphere boomingCalifornia’s giant redwoods inconveniently respond to increased carbon dioxide, and Forget deforestation: The world’s woodland is getting denser and change could help combat climate change. NASA satellite imagery pointed this out long ago.
    Now confirmation from another source: From the University of Colorado at Boulder
    Earth absorbing more carbon, even as CO2 emissions rise, says CU-Boulder-led study
    Check it out, here:

  • Don Quixote

    Earl, your criticism of me is fair.  It is lazy of me to not learn more.  But, I suspect that the skeptics are not independently wealthy and are fighting for funds, too.  And, certainly, there are an awful lot of people who would benefit from the skeptics being proven correct, who could well do the funding.  My laziness is in not taking your advice and bothering to follow the money to see how it is flowing on both sides. 

  • Ymarsakar

    Science and politics is a matter of experimenting on human beings in order to prove their pet theories true. The fallout of that is that if you get experimented on and destroyed, they’re not going to restore you, using either science or political handouts.

  • Charles Martel

    “Earl, your criticism of me is fair.  It is lazy of me to not learn more.  But, I suspect that the skeptics are not independently wealthy and are fighting for funds, too.  And, certainly, there are an awful lot of people who would benefit from the skeptics being proven correct, who could well do the funding.  My laziness is in not taking your advice and bothering to follow the money to see how it is flowing on both sides.”
    DQ, you’re beginning to sound like a New York Times reporter. You “suspect” that the skeptics are not independently wealthy, and that “certainly” a lot of people would benefit from the skepticism being proven true. While Earl and others document, your response is to assert.
    I “suspect” that you have been doing your usual masterful lawyer’s job of teasing out the best and the most arguments from a Bookworm Room topic. If so, nicely done.

  • Earl

    DQ says: “I suspect that the skeptics are not independently wealthy and are fighting for funds, too.  And, certainly, there are an awful lot of people who would benefit from the skeptics being proven correct, who could well do the funding.”
    This is a gross failure in logic, DQ….are you not aware that the Legacy Media, Big Science, the Democrat Party, every single “environmental group”, etc. etc. etc. are on the side of CAGW?  I’m confident that you know this very well.
    Given that, how credible is it that your single-handed efforts to “follow the money” on the skeptical side of the debate is going to turn up something new?  If any such connection existed, are you telling me you don’t think that it would be on the front page of the New York Times and leading every evening newscast? 
    I think you’re letting yourself off the hook too easily, my friend.  I suspect that your problem is the same as many of my friends in the academic world – that is, if anyone even hints at doubt that the conventional wisdom on CAGW is “Truth”, that person is going to be isolated and scorned.  Yes, the severity will depend on the length of previous friendship and the decency of the person who is shocked at your heresy….but the threat is very real.  I know this from experience, because I lived it for years and years, and I’m confident that I’m not the only one – others on this thread know what I’m talking about.
    With all due respect, spare us the suggestion that there isn’t sufficient evidence on the table to say that the CAGW crowd is exaggerating, cherry-picking the data, and even cheating.  Evidence can be found (every now and then) even in the popular media.  Yes, the volume is overwhelmed by all of the cheerleading for the current paradigm, and by the denigration of human beings and their effects on the earth…..but anyone who wishes to make a logical decision on where they should position themselves on the issue (i.e. at least mildly skeptical) has plenty of information to abandon the “It’s pretty much the same on both sides.” straddle.  That simply isn’t tenable anymore.

  • Don Quixote

    CM, guilty as charged!  😉

    Earl. well, okay, but I still doubt that the scientists doing the work on the skeptical side are all wealthy and self-funded.  You can prove that wrong if you want. but I’m done.  Peace, out, as the kids say.  

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  • Ymarsakar

    They’re not wealthy, they are out of work and blacklisted as anyone in Hollywood stepping beyond their station has experienced.

  • Ymarsakar

    It doesn’t actually take a lot of money to do research. Most of the costs go to bureaucrats and bribes for government officials. None of the real inventors and scientists in the past had government funding. It has come to be this way for the same reason why public education and universities are over priced. There is a specific design to increase the amount of money being moved through research as a way to launder ill gotten loot from various parties into the hands of their cronies. Whether it is called one thing or not, doesn’t really matter.