Why We Should Still be Sweating Global Warming

October 6th, 2011 at 12:30 pm | 136 Comments |

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Robert Bryce, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and writer about energy, has an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal stating “Five Truths About Climate Change.” Some of his assertions are to the effect that there’s not that much that can be done to restrain carbon emissions. That’s a debatable stance, and I will address it. Then I will go on to his fifth “truth,” which has to do with the science of climate change.

But let’s take things in order. Bryce’s first assertion is:

1) The carbon taxers/limiters have lost.

Despite the high-profile warnings of Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Bryce points out, there has been scant action taken by governments in the past decade, while carbon emissions have soared. That’s true enough, but it doesn’t mean actions shouldn’t have been taken. Also, it says little about what may be politically feasible in the future. Maybe some creative future president will conduct a grand bargain that implements a carbon tax while abolishing the payroll tax, for instance.

Bryce’s next point, in its totality:

2) Regardless of whether it’s getting hotter or colder — or both — we are going to need to produce a lot more energy in order to remain productive and comfortable.

The first part of that sentence strikes me as deliberately vague. Sure, it’s getting colder or both hotter and colder, depending on where and when exactly you’re looking. Global warming is a broad and long-term trend of increasing temperatures, which has been confirmed by multiple data sets. But more about the science later. I take no issue with the statement that “we are going to need to produce a lot more energy in order to remain productive and comfortable.”

Moving on:

3) The carbon-dioxide issue is not about the United States anymore.

Bryce makes a valid point that China’s carbon emissions have grown dramatically, lately overtaking America’s, though it’s worth adding that U.S. emissions are still much higher on a per capita basis. But that only underscores the importance of developing cleaner energy sources and more energy-efficient technologies. Besides environmental considerations, it would be better for the U.S. economy if such innovations were developed largely in the U.S., rather than China or elsewhere.

4) We have to get better — and we are — at turning energy into useful power.

Agreed, though Bryce seems to think this is happening purely as an autonomous market process rather than having anything to do with regulations such as energy-efficiency standards. (He even mentions more efficient light bulbs without noting the political contretemps over their efficiency standards.)

Finally, we get to Bryce’s fifth point.

5) The science is not settled, not by a long shot. Last month, scientists at CERN, the prestigious high-energy physics lab in Switzerland, reported that neutrinos might — repeat, might — travel faster than the speed of light. If serious scientists can question Einstein’s theory of relativity, then there must be room for debate about the workings and complexities of the Earth’s atmosphere.

This attempt to stuff climate science into a black hole is a non sequitur. That’s not just because the neutrino finding, even if confirmed, has nothing to do with the data or theories of climate science. It’s also because the analogy Bryce is making — if relativity could be wrong, so could global warming — presents a misleading picture of the respective scientific theories and how science works.

For one thing, relativity did not fully overthrow the Newtonian physics that had been used for hundreds of years before Einstein. Rather, what Einstein showed was that new laws were required when dealing with objects that are traveling at extremely high speeds or that have great mass. Relativity is primarily a theory of the exotic, though it also had technological ramifications that brought some exotic effects into everyday life — for example, in the way nuclear power plants convert mass into energy.

If the neutrino finding is confirmed, this will mean physics has to be modified again. Based on historical experience, one can expect relativity would be subsumed into some larger theoretical picture (much as Newtonian physics was) rather than just thrown away. Certainly the finding will not mean that all data having to do with relativity — for example, the fact that nuclear power plants work — get overturned.

Similarly, no plausible change in climate science will wipe away all the data that show the Earth has been warming, or that the warming shows distinct patterns indicative of anthropogenic greenhouse gases. If some new theory were to replace the current one, it would have to explain why the greenhouse effect — the basics of which have been known since the mid-19th century — is not operating, despite the increase in atmospheric carbon. It would require some entirely new mechanism to be introduced into everyday physics and chemistry. By contrast, the (possible) neutrino finding would be small potatoes.

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136 Comments so far ↓

  • Elvis Elvisberg

    Republicans are anti-science. This is old news.

    Thanks for taking the time to go through this propagandistic squib from some wingnut welfare recipient, but let’s also not lose sight of the big picture here: Republicans don’t care about policy, and don’t care about reality.

    That isn’t how things were 20 or 40 years ago, but it’s where we are now.

    • paul_gs

      I thought Democrats were anti-science.

      Look at how progressive Democrats peddled the vaccinations=autism link which, due to children not being vaccinated, has killed over 700 Americans in the last several years according to the Centre for Disease Control.

      • xconserve

        Wow – what a remarkable distortion!
        Any more proof that Dems are anti-science?

      • Frumplestiltskin

        good lord, you really don’t get it. No leading Democratic politician advocates not taking Vaccinations, yet you have all the Republican candidates for President beating up on a proven anti-cancer vaccine because…horror of horrors, it is administered to young girls who must be protected from being protected.
        Republicans are batshit insane, EVERYONE of them.

    • Marquis

      Congratulations for making another sweeping generalization. If you took the time to research, you would have found out Democrats and Republicans alike have historically recognized the value of government-sponsored scientific research, and have shaped public policy to keep our nation on the cutting edge.

      • balconesfault

        Key term there:


        Anyone who believes that the GOP of 2011 resembles the GOP of Eisenhower, the GOP of Nixon, hell … the GOP of Reagan … with regards to science policy, is really doing a great ostrich impersonation.

  • balconesfault

    In 1849, Henry Thoreau said “a corporation has no conscience.” It’s true. The only duty of a corporation is to enrich its shareholders. But at what price? …

    The corporations have the money. Concerned citizens have the information. It remains to be seen who will win the battle. While I’d like to think the truth will hold the day, it runs against a fundamental belief of mine: Never bet against the money.

    Robert Bryce, Fri., Feb. 23, 1996, Austin Chronicle

    • Elvis Elvisberg

      Good god. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em seems to be Bryce’s moral philosophy. He’s a real-life Richard Rich.

      • balconesfault

        From Wikipedia:

        The Manhattan Institute received $19,470,416 in grants from 1985–2005, from foundations such as the Koch Family Foundations, the John M. Olin Foundation, Inc., the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Scaife Foundations, and the Smith Richardson Foundation. The Manhattan Institute does not disclose its corporate funding, but the Capital Research Center listed its contributors as Bristol-Myers Squibb, Exxon Mobil, Chase Manhattan, CIGNA, Sprint, Reliant Energy, Lincoln Financial Group Foundation, and Merrill Lynch.

        Huh. An institute heavily funded by the Koch Family Foundations produces shoddy arguments against any comprehensive climate change policy. Who would have figured?

        • armstp

          You mean an institute heavily funded by the fossil fuel industry (Koch, Exxon, etc.). Why does Exxon, as a corporation fund any of these institutions?

          Robert Bryce not only gets paid directly by big oil through the Manhattan Institute, but is the managing editor of Energy Tribune, the propaganda website backed by the energy industry. Energy Tribune Publishing Inc. is a private company set-up in Houston in 2005 by big oil to push their corporate views.

          Energy Tribune Publishing Inc.
          SIC Code 272102, Publishers-Periodical (Mfrs)
          NAICS Code 511120, Periodical Publishers

          Go do some research on who set this company up and why?

          Robert Bryce has no formal scientific training, education or has conducted any actual science research. He is just a journalist. A wordsmith for his big oil paymasters. He gets paid by big oil through the Manhattan Institute and Energy Tribune Publishing to write articles, run a energy industry website and write books that say what his paymasters want him to say.

  • jamesj

    Point 5 in this editorial is a master class in how to misunderstand the nature of science (not to mention misunderstanding the possible ramifications of the neutrino result {not to mention misunderstanding the relationship between any neutrino science and any global warming science}).

    Point 5 in this editorial is basically saying “Science is worthless. It is never settled. It doesn’t tell us anything of value when mankind’s collective body of scientists weighs in overwhelmingly on an issue. Things might change. Draw no conclusions. Muddle on in a haze of confusion and limitless possibilities.”

    As I read this screed, day in and day out, I get the image of these soulless hacks typing the last character, breathing a deep satisfied breath, and walking away from the keyboard triumphantly as if they’d said something coherent. Dunning Kruger is a serious problem. How can you run a complex society when no man has the ability or time to learn the inner complexity of most important issues AND your society loses its respect for expertise? Sure, we must each hold on to healthy skepticism, but we either value and respect expertise or we dissolve our ability to have a complex civilization.

    The Wall Street Journal editorial page is a joke at this point. I used to read the whole paper in my younger years. The reporting is still decent, but the editorial control is a disaster now. Not only are they silly and misinformed, but so many of them are so contrary to fact in the same way on a regular basis that you must assume the problem is more than simple ignorance or poor writing. The authors are purposefully misinforming their readers with garbage that supports a specific ideological point of view.

    • Banty

      It amazes me how, if science amended the understanding of the effects of CO2 emissions since the 1970′s (as we so often hear), or the behavior of subatomic particles, some folks will say that therefore all the current understanding of global climate, and everything else, is wrong.

      But you know what? People don’t *actually* believe that. They’ll accept it eagerly as an explanation for ‘their’ side in these ‘us vs. them’ discussions (as climate science has become), but they don’t actually believe it.

      How do I know? Say, a man’s wife, is ill with a cancer. That man’s mother, 30 years ago, had died of the same cancer. Thirty years ago, they had perfomed a surgery, tried radiation from a single beam, tried early chemotherapies, horribly sickening his mother as they strive to kill the cancer cells a little faster than the healthy cells.

      Now, he’s in the specialist’s office with his wife. The oncologist tells him that they have an 80% five year survival rate with this cancer, with a certain course of therapy that has been widely used for the past five years.

      Does the man stand up and say “you scientists don’t know what you’re doing look you changed your mind since 1981 when my mother died”?

      No, he doesn’t. He’s relieved and happy for the news. He believes in science.

      I tell you though, that same guy might proclaim that the “science of global warming is unsettled, why they used to worry about global cooling!”

  • kirk

    According to Karl Popper (an Austrian! Friend of Hayek!) each scientific theory stands on it’s own if it is falsifiable (each of its propositions can be shown to be wrong with new evidence) and if it makes risky predictions (Eddington showing gravitational lensing from General Relativity). From this, Anthropomorphic Climate Change can only be falsified if the specific propositions about Climate Change are falsified. Even then the theory is usually only modified slightly. Think cosmic rays changing how aerosols act – that just tweaks the overarching theory of climate change by changing (slightly) a vanishingly small effect of a small variable.

    The General Theory of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics can accommodate, in any number of ways, the faster than light neutrino (which has NOT YET been replicated by other experiments). This will not upend the entire edifice of science. And these chattering clams knows this.

  • Graychin

    The corporatist mentality puts money-making ahead of all other values. Money is much more important to it than saving the planet from the effects of increasing CO2 in the atmosphere.

    To that end, there are three approaches for arguing against the expense of action on climate change:

    1) Deny that climate change is happening. Deny and question the science, even grasping at silly irrelevant straws like the observed speed of neutrinos.

    2) Admit that climate change is real, but deny that human action has anything to do with it. Blame sunspots, orbital irregularities, or make up some other equally unscientific explanation.

    3) Admit that humans are the cause of climate change, but argue that it doesn’t matter because the climate has changed before in geologic time; that climate change may even be beneficial – opening up vast areas in Siberia to productive use.

    The root cause of America’s indifference to climate change (as compared to most of the rest of the developed world) is the corporatist mindset: that corporations are people, and that their profits must come before any other considerations.

    • Rob_654


    • mememine69

      I’m not a denier. I’m part of the former believer voting majority that sees climate blame science for what it was, a tragic exaggeration and Liberalism’s Iraq War of climate WMD lies and fear mongering. We need to put the CO2 mistake behind us.

      • balconesfault

        I’m part of the former believer voting majority that sees climate blame science for what it was, a tragic exaggeration

        You’re as misinformed about voter opinion as you are on science.

        Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication
        Interview dates: April 23, 2011 – May 12, 2011

        Do you think that global warming is happening?
        National Average 65%
        Democrats 78%
        Independents 71%
        Republicans 53%

        People disagree whether the United States should reduce greenhouse gas emissions on its own, or make reductions only if other countries do too. Which of the following statements comes closest to your own point of view? The United States should reduce…
        Regardless of what other countries do:
        National Average 63%
        Democrats 71%
        Independents 68%
        Republicans 54%

        What do you know – your majority you believe yourself to be in is actually a minority!

        What a shock, given the depth and insight in your comments in this thread.

    • paul_gs

      And that’s what it’s all about, right Graychin? You don’t really believe in AGW, it’s simply a tool to get back at corporations.

      • Graychin

        It’s not about me, Paul. But I can see why you would like to change the subject.

  • rbottoms

    Every day someone at FF makes the case why they should be voting Democrat.

    It’s almost always done in a post about some idea that the GOP should adopt, but won’t and includes the obligatory, but the Democrats are equivalently bad or worse swipe. But in the end it always illustrates why Republicans are the clown car party with its foot on the gas.

    Not one of the GOP candidates with a prayer of getting the nomination can even bring themselves to admit climate change is real.

    But you’ll be voting for whomever it is next November.

      • Elvis Elvisberg

        Are you saying that if Romney or Perry or whoever is nominated– someone who has expressed skepticism that climate change is real– then you won’t vote for the Republican nominee?

        • Kenneth Silber

          What Romney’s said about climate change (that I’ve seen) is that he thinks it’s happening and that humans contribute to it; in another comment, he said he doesn’t know if it’s mostly caused by humans. I don’t share the latter view, but it doesn’t amount to saying climate change is not real.

          What Perry’s said I disagree with completely, as I’ve written here.

          An outright denial that global warming is occurring would indeed be a strong reason for me not to vote for that candidate. But I won’t give you any guarantee; there are lots of issues I would consider. Plus, the fact that President Obama believes in the science but made little effort and had essentially no success in doing anything about it is not a great point in his favor.

        • wileedog

          C’mon be honest. Even if by some minuscule chance President Romney tries to push through some sort of carbon regulation he’ll get primaried in 2016 by the rabid right. There is no chance Mitt is going to go to the mat with the Tea Party over this.

          Because Romney made some typically waffling statement that conveniently doesn’t peg him anywhere on the issue (in other words, SOP) doesn’t mean he’s going to suddenly become a climate crusader against his own party.

        • balconesfault

          Plus, the fact that President Obama believes in the science but made little effort and had essentially no success in doing anything about it is not a great point in his favor.

          - On June 30, 2009, EPA granted a waiver of Clean Air Act preemption to California for the State’s GHG emission standards for motor vehicles beginning with the 2009 model year.

          - On December 7, 2009, Administrator Lisa Jackson signed a final action, under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act, finding that six key well-mixed greenhouse gases constitute a threat to public health and welfare, and that the combined emissions from motor vehicles cause and contribute to the climate change problem.

          - On May 13, 2010, EPA issued a final rule that establishes thresholds for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that define when permits under the New Source Review Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and title V Operating Permit programs are required for new and existing industrial facilities.

          - On July 29, 2011, EPA and NHTSA announced plans to propose stringent federal greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards for model year (MY) 2017-2025 passenger cars and light-duty trucks. The standards under consideration are projected to reduce GHGs by approximately two billion metric tons and save four billion barrels of oil over the lifetime of MY 2017-2025 vehicles.

          - December 23, 2010 – The Environmental Protection Agency has partly taken Texas’ air permitting program. The EPA will issue greenhouse gas permits to facilities in Texas after today’s announcement that states are now obligated to regulate greenhouse gases. Texas is the only state that has chosen not to comply with EPA mandates.

          - on July 29, 2011, EPA proposed NSPS for the oil and gas production sector, revising existing standards for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) and establishing air toxic standards for oil and gas production and gas transfer and distribution. 76 Fed. Reg. 52738. Though EPA did not regulate GHGs directly in this rule, it did propose that companies engaging in hydraulic fracturing or re-fracturing for natural gas employ reduced emissions completions or “green completion” technology to capture escaping hydrocarbons from flowback water, rather than venting or releasing them. EPA touted this aspect as creating the co-benefit of reducing the emissions of methane, a powerful GHG, as well as VOCs. The proposal was also noteworthy as the first new proposed regulation of the hydraulic fracturing technique. EPA is to finalize these rules by February 28, 2012.

        • Oldskool

          If he came up with a cure for every illness known to man, you think he’d get any support from Republicans in Congress? Not a chance.

          Innit ironic that the most serious piece of legislation of the last twelve years, the Iraq War Resolution, got a lot of support from Dems which is now used against them whenever it’s time to point fingers.

          Republicans are not exactly trustworthy.

        • paul_gs

          Of course Obama is serious about climate change. He put solar panels back up at the White House. If that isn’t a sign he’s dead serious about AGW, I don’t know what is.

  • sinz54

    Obama’s own Energy Information Administration (EIA) now projects that in the year 2035, the vast bulk of world energy needs will still be met by fossil fuels:

    Coal and oil: 58%
    Natural gas: 22%
    Renewables (solar and wind): 14%
    Nuclear: 6%

    In fact, EIA projects that in 2035, the world will be using more coal than it’s using now.

    You can download their report from:
    You’ll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read it.

    That’s the reality, and all this nonsense about a “green economy” is just that–nonsense. We are still going to be heavily dependent on fossil fuels for the next 24 years at least.

    That means that anthropogenic global warming will NOT be stopped. It’s as simple as that.

    We’re going to have to learn how to adapt to the many changes that global warming will bring.

    One positive thing that Obama and the environmentalists can do is stop lying about “millions of green jobs.” They couldn’t sell dealing with global warming itself–so they tried to repackage fighting global warming as a jobs program. But now that this scam has been revealed, they have lost a lot of credibility.

    There aren’t going to be millions of green jobs–unless you want to pay a staggering cost. Right now, the loan guarantee program for green companies has spent $20 billion and produced just 3,500 jobs. To produce “millions of green jobs,” we would have to spend literally trillions of dollars. No way that’s going to happen.

    There will be jobs–but not “green.” We’ll need to build dikes and levees to protect our coasts from rising sea levels. We’ll need to build canals to bring water to parched areas of our country. We’ll need to develop new strains of crops that can resist the climatic changes that global warming will bring.

    • rbottoms

      Soylent Green…. it’s people!!!

    • valkayec

      Sinz, your argument against “green” jobs and technological advances reminds of what 19th C. naysayers said about cars and electric light bulbs, and what 20th C naysayers said about televisions: they’re all fads.

      Every generation has had it’s naysayers regarding new technologies and scientific theories. Some people get stuck in the past and have a difficult time letting go of it. But that doesn’t mean we as a people should stop moving forward to create new technologies that could make life better for everyone in the future.

      While we do need to do the things you mentioned, we also need to continue to research and invent ways to better manage or reduce the growing accumulation of green house gases in the future. Again, I point you to NASA’s climate website pages.

      • Primrose

        Or given the news today, what Xerox and IBM thought about personal computers. The past is an uncertain indicator of what the future will look like.Ray Kurzweiller points out that technological change is exponential. In 24 years, he sees (to my extreme discomfort) a merging of hardware (computers) and wetware (human brains). Surely, if it is likely we will live like cybermen, it is possible to make established green technologies marketable.

        It’s called vision and it can change the world in an instant.

        • valkayec

          Speaking of Jobs and Xerox, the Mac GUI was originally developed by Xerox. Xerox’s management thought the GUI was a dumb idea and had the work shelved. When Jobs saw it at the Xerox Research Center in Menlo Park, he saw it’s potential and bought it. We all know the results of that vision of Jobs.

    • balconesfault

      Obama’s own Energy Information Administration (EIA) now projects that in the year 2035, the vast bulk of world energy needs will still be met by fossil fuels:

      Yes – Obama’s own Energy Information Administration actually deals in facts. What the current regulatory scheme is for America, what global treaties are out there and who is a party, what kind of enforcement mechanisms are in place, and what kinds of technologies are available.

      I will bet you any sum of money you would like to put on the table that the individuals who were involved in compiling this report would substantially change their conclusions if you told them, for example, that the US was going to be willing to implement a Cap and Trade regulatory regime, that we would become a signator to a global climate change treaty, and that we would act to change our trade regulations to press our major trade partners into also becoming part of a climate change treaty.

      But the EIA is not a propoganda arm. It has to base projections on what is out there now, and not what they believe would happen if America did what 95% of the scientific community believes we should do, given that we directly consume about 25% of the world’s energy, and via our consumer products market indirectly consume an even greater fraction.

  • jdd_stl1

    It is scary to think that with the growth in places like India and China
    that anything we do here may not matter. But we have to still try
    to push the envelope on energy. There has to be a better way.
    If we lead on the research and development
    we can hope to have some influence on future generations and the
    developing world. But I don’t expect to see any major changes in where
    our energy comes from in my lifetime.

    • balconesfault

      It is scary to think that with the growth in places like India and China that anything we do here may not matter.

      It is pigheaded to think that with the amount of trade that India and China have with the US, that we could not use trade policies to influence their climate change policies.

    • greg_barton

      I certainly hope that what we do does not matter. Both India and China are making significant efforts to exploit thorium as an energy source, and China has a liquid fluoride thorium reactor project. (Though the original tech was developed in Oak Ridge.) We, however, are sitting on our collective asses.

    • Traveler

      Unlike Sinz’ assertions about green jobs, China is firmly embarking upon a most ambibtious green jobs program as part of their current (and future) five year plans. An insidious aspect of this is that foreign companies (GE, Siemens etc) have to not only share their technology to get contracts, they have to give over half away to SOEs (state owned enterprises) who then replicate it. So in essence China gets most of the profit and all of the technology for making its market available with these strings. The only reason why foreign corps put up with this is that if they sat out, somebody else will dive in. Plus the market is so vast that diluted returns are well worth it (in the short run).

      It is also worth noting how China controls the rare earth supply on the planet needed for green energy technologies. Formidable opponent. They will end up selling us the technologies we gave away to them with our lack of any coherent energy (or trade) policy.

      jgbennet will have a field day with this.

      This is why we need more threads on issues that really matter, not the wasilla wuss.

  • Houndentenor

    Let’s face it. The US isn’t going to do anything on carbon emissions any time soon. Neither will China or India. If such large countries do nothing, does it even matter what the rest of the world does? The truth is that your grandchildren are f***ed! When they curse the people of our time for doing nothing, we’ll deserve it.

  • mememine69

    Farewell to a fallible science:
    First off, the climate blame train left the station a long time ago because nobody is going to vote YES to taxing the air to make the weather colder and as money gets tighter, endorsing climate blame will cause governments to fall. Just watch Australia. Obama never even mentioned the greatest crisis imaginable, climate crisis, in his state of the union address and what did the thousands of saintly scientists do in reaction?
    We were foolish enough to let studying a worst a case scenario of an assumed crisis that has avoided our warnings for 25 years, was something close to consensus? How is studying the effects, not causes of an assumed to be real coming crisis supposed to be consensus? No scientist has yet come forward to say that this pattern of climate has never, ever happened before because that would also deny the tropical fossils under the melting ice.
    Government funded science was believer and studied almost entirely, JUST the effects while private funded research studied causes only. NOW do you see what a tragic exaggeration this all was and what a consultant’s wet dream it was? It’s science, yes the very same fallible science that gave us pesticides they denied were harmful yet poisoned our planet in the first place.
    I never did understand how the scientists outnumbered the climate crisis protesters but when we; the former believer majority, actually see these lab coat consultant’s marching and ACTING like it’s a climate crisis, we will gladly vote yes for lowering the seas with taxes and with carbon trading markets run by politicians and …………..corporations!

  • mememine69

    ALGORE is my shepherd; I shall not think.
    He maketh me lie down in Greenzi pastures:
    He leadeth me beside the still-freezing waters.
    He selleth my soul for CO2:
    He leadeth me in the paths of self-righteousness for his own sake.
    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of reason,
    I will fear no logic: for thou art with me and thinking for me;
    Thy Gore’s family oil fortune and thy 10,000 square Gorey foot mansion, they comfort me.
    Thou preparest a movie in the presence of contradictory evidence:
    Thou anointest mine head with nonsense; my fear runneth over.
    Surely blind faith and hysteria shall follow me all the days of my life:
    and I will dwell in the house of ALGORE forever.

    Condemning our children to a CO2 death is what, tough love? How neoconish!

  • mememine69

    Say NO to Corporate-run CARBON TRADING MARKETS. Occupy your city for System Change, NOT climate change.
    REAL progressives are happy the “CRISIS” warnings from CO2 science were tragic exaggerations.

  • Southern Populist

    The government can always fund research into new energy sources without introducing carbon taxes and other elements of the radical environmentalist agenda. Why are those two issues always conflated? The sooner someone comes up with an alternative to fossil fuels, the faster the world will move away from those fuels. Trying to get the world to move away from fossil fuels before a suitable replacement is ready is an exercise in futility.

    • mememine69

      Meanwhile, the UN had allowed carbon trading markets run by corporations and politicians to trump 3rd world fresh water relief, starvation rescue and 3rd world education for just over 25 years of INSANE attempts at climate CONTROL.
      Remove the “CO2″ factor from the environomental equation and do things right. CO2 was a mistake so get ahead of the curve.

  • BenignBot

    On FrumForum, there are smart commenters such as SINAN. Sinan speaks truth about race in one of his most recent comments.

    Regarding climate science, however, then most of us on this wonderful blog should first take about 2 years of study before venturing half an opinion. Because climate science is NOT religion. After 2 years of dedicated study at Columbia University, or Rice University, or McGill University, then we should be more conversant with the important facts which can enlighten our debate.

    There is truly no fruitful benefit to argue facts with any people who argue against science. These guys are the same ones who you see with hoods holding signs in The New Yorker cartoons predicting the end of the world.

    Basically, we have fcking idiots who are arguing against mainstream science. And it does not matter a hill of beans because the majority, thank the lords, have already seen the light.

    But here is a very interesting fact we should keep in mind: When reliable anesthesia was first being developed, then there were some anti-science naysayers who preferred not to use the new anesthesia which could save their surgical patients extreme pain.
    Instead, they chose to torture their surgical patients by cutting and gouging without anesthesia. Just because they were too fucking stupid and set in their ideology to be able to accept scientific fact.

    These same fucking idiot types are now rearing their Palin heads in a last gasp to hold on to their fucked up traditional thinking.

    But, of course, if anyone might wish to learn the facts of life, then one can just go to any one of our major universities in North America, both Canada and the USA. Or, one can go to any of the great universities in the UK, GODS FCKING L O V E these great universities.

    Because, after all, then what is the point of fcking living if we cannot know the truth?

    Even better, why not go to the universities in the EU? Or, the ones in Red China? Because, sure as SHIT, every single one of these god damned universities around the world will totally agree with that asshole, Jeffrey D. Sachs!

    Jeff is a pussie optimist, of course. But we still very much like and admire his good work!!!!!
    Yes, no matter how much we might think he is a Prima Dona, still, Jeff deserves many accolades for all his very good work! And his heart is truly in the very right place!

    • mememine69

      I love the planet and I want my kids to have kids and not in a climate crisis so why would I search for reasons to believe in climate crisis because NOTHING is worse than a climate crisis. It’s virtually the end of the world for us and you just so flippantly condemn our kids to a CO2 death because of a headline? We are supposed be progressives and rebels and ones who question ALL authority, not bow to it like doomsday zombies. NOTE: Spare us your personal definition of climate crisis.
      If I gave you unquestionable proof that the CO2 dangers were grossly and “legally” exaggerated, you would obviously be relieved and over joyed a crisis was avoided. So read on.
      Here is PROOF of exaggeration:
      There are countless thousands of scientists who refuse to march in the streets and ACT like the crisis they are warning us of is real. They have kids too.
      When Obama didn’t even mention the crisis (what in God’s name could possibly be worse) in hi state of the union address, the scientists did nothing.
      Climate Change science was a lab coat consultants dream and the sooner we back off of the CO2 mistake the better for the planet.
      The CO2 theory states that YES there WILL be effects and those effects WILL be from negligible to unstoppable warming, or nothing or death. Gee, what’s’ not to agree with?

      • balconesfault

        The CO2 theory states that YES there WILL be effects and those effects WILL be from negligible to unstoppable warming, or nothing or death. Gee, what’s’ not to agree with?

        My theory of Mememine’s driving is that YES he WILL drive a car sometime soon, and he WILL either make it home a little early, or will die in a horrific traffic accident.

        I’m sorry to have to introduce the concept of error bars to you in such a graphic format, but you really should learn a little something.

  • paul_gs

    As I’ve said before, it is fine to “believe” in AGW, but belief, without action, suggests the majority of progressives are not serious about AGW. For progressives, their claimed “belief” in AGW is simply a rallying cry to hurl insults against others: big corporations, Republicans, the Koch Brothers (of course!), etc..

    For progressives, their “belief” in AGW has nothing to with reducing their personal carbon dioxide emissions.

    • rbottoms

      Vote the GOP out of office and we’ll be happy to fix that and other messes.

      We buy fuel efficient cars, reduce our output of garbage, support efforts t switch to less damaging fuels, and work to implement legislation that many in the GOP supported before the party went off it’s f*****g nut.

      Another one of those, see you can’t get anything passed in Congress so it’s your fault type of posts. Aside from the five or six bought and paid for Democrats, also know as Blue Dogs, we are up against idiots who think the Earth is 5,000 years old so getting science based laws on the books is a little difficult.

      We are in year 3 of the GOP strategy of make Obama fail, the hell with what it does to the country much less the world.

      • balconesfault

        Yeah, but Al Gore lives in a big house, and the vast majority of environmentalists still drive a car, instead of loading their kids onto a bicycle to take them to day care.

        • rbottoms

          So the GOP solution is ridicule and doing nothing as opposed everyone dong something.

          I don’t give a sh*t if Al Gore lives like a millionaire, he always was one. Progressives don’t expect everyone to junk their cars for bicycles. We expect the EPA to enforce higher and higher mileage requirements which result in better cars. We pressure record companies to abandon excessive packaging, we inculcate a sense of working harder for the environment.

          How many of you have heard the term “litterbug”?

          It was a masterful way to get kids to pressure their parents to be more careful with trash.

          Sneer away.

        • Frumplestiltskin

          I, for one, don’t have a car, I walk to work, (it takes me 3 minutes) and drive my bike into town and use a backpack and basket to carry my groceries. I also get my electricity from a windmill farm at La Ventosa, so I guess that makes me a God in Pau Gs eyes because I walk the walk and talk the talk, so Paul, how about you do the same as me and get rid of your car and use a windmill for your electricity, I just showed you it can be done.

          So I just crushed Paul Gs completely.

        • paul_gs

          How about your house Frumple? How many square feet? From what younstate, I applaud you for your commitment.

          Any chance of you persuading the 100 million+ progressive hypocrites who only talk the talk in regards to AGW?

    • valkayec

      …“belief” in AGW has nothing to with reducing their personal carbon dioxide emissions.

      Here’s one person who for years has chosen to reduce my personal CO2 emissions and energy consumption. Any car I’ve bought for the last 30 years had to be as energy efficient as possible – get the greatest gas mileage. Before retiring, I commuted by bus or train unless I needed my car for a business meeting or post work event. I changed the light bulbs in my house some 20 years ago when energy efficient bulbs came onto the market. I only wash clothes and dishes when I’ve a full load. I prefer hanging clothes on a clothes line rather than use a dryer. I began wrapping my water heater 20 years ago and keep it at the recommended temp. Even though I currently rent, I’ve managed to get much of the house upgraded to better energy efficiency.

      Should I continue to add other examples?

      • paul_gs

        I commend you also valk.

        Al Gore and Laurie David could learn from your example.

  • JohnMcC

    OK, Mr Mime. Let me put the ball in your court. Explain where the ice is going. Unless you have a better explanation than the one advanced by roughly 90% of atmospheric scientists, STFU.

    • mememine69

      No problem. Climate is still the same mystery it always was and if we actually DID understand climate, well just imagine what that kind of world would be like. Just think of how many lives would be saved and how food could be grown better and………get what I mean? We don’t have that world so we don’t understand climate, Dah!
      The melting ice caused by my SUV gas is YOUR theory. YOU prove it first. Why should the former believer majority have an answer to the biggest mystery of all time, climate?
      REAL planet lovers are former believers.
      Love, not climate fear mongering like neocons,

      • balconesfault

        In a world of Mememines, our cities would still be choked with lead-filled car exhaust fumes, the hole in the ozone layer would have expanded up to Rio de Janiero, and the forests of the Eastern US would have all been ravaged by acid rain.

        After all – the efforts to eliminate lead in gasoline, to ban CFCs, and to scrub SOx from power plant smokestacks were all just neocon-like control fantasies propogated by those tyrants in white labcoats.

      • greg_barton

        That’s pretty stupid reasoning. We understand weather systems 100 times more accurately than we did just a few decades ago. We still can’t control the weather.

    • JohnMcC

      Pretty much what I expected: No explanation. No brains. No guts. No thinking. Lotsa cute words. The soul of modern so-called-conservatism.

  • Dragonfly

    The problem with some people not understanding the possibility of global warming is because CO2 is produced naturally. They don’t understand that even though it is, our system may only be able to handle so much, burn out so much, and that adding man-made CO2 to what’s produced naturally may cause a greenhouse effect – warming.

    Our system may resemble something like a sink – if we fill it half way and keep the fill rate at 5 GPM, with our drain handling 5 GPM, we can keep the sink from overflowing – balanced. But, if we add to the fill, filling it at 8 GPM, while still draining at 5 GPM – unbalanced – trouble.

    Now, educating everyone on this would be nice – we’d all be on the same page, and maybe work together to help prevent a problem. But, that’s hard to do even here in America, so globally will even be harder. What makes it hard is that it is not tangible – a lot of people need to see things, feel things, in order to respond to them.

    That said, I think the best approach is with air pollution – lung damage, as well as heart damage as a result of lung problems.

    It’s tangible – there are big numbers in air pollution death and lung illness statistics due to pollution. Get this out, and people will respond – they won’t want to become a statistic, and they won’t want to raise a family in said environment to become a statistic.

    • mememine69

      We must be doing “something” to the planet is not science, its superstition.
      If that is a good enough reason for you to look a child in the eyes and condemn them to a death by CO2, I thank God that the majority of voters will not allow taxing the air to make the weather colder. And please, read up on the subject. Climate crisis is a death warrant to billions, not little kids planting trees and concerns about energy.
      You sound as if you need something to believe in and trust and count on. Scientists? They gave us pesticides, cruise missiles, land mines, deep sea drilling technology, germ warfare…
      Fear comes so easily to some eh.
      Leave the fear mongering to the neocons and get back to spreading love for the planet instead of needless panic.

    • balconesfault

      The problem with some people not understanding the possibility of global warming is because CO2 is produced naturally. They don’t understand that even though it is, our system may only be able to handle so much, burn out so much, and that adding man-made CO2 to what’s produced naturally may cause a greenhouse effect – warming.

      I appreciate your attempt … but it’s not even really a difference between naturally produced and man-made CO2. It’s a difference between CO2 that results from normal biological-atmospheric recycling of carbon, and CO2 that results from us extracting carbon that’s been sequestered underground for millions of years and rapidly releasing it into the atmosphere over a period of a hundred years or so.

      Thus, say, burning trees, or whale blubber, or ethanol produced from grown crops, releases CO2, but it releases CO2 from sinks where it has been relatively recently captured. If you grow new trees or whales or corn you’re going to grab that carbon back out of the atmosphere and put it back into biomass.

      However, burning a lump of coal, or a SCF of natural gas, or a barrel of oil, is where your extra few GPM being poured into the sink comes from.

      Otherwise, in general I agree with you, except for the following:
      that’s hard to do even here in America, so globally will even be harder.

      Sadly, given the fetish against elitism and intellectualism that has overwhelmed America, I would say that persuading, say, 75% of the global population is simple compared to convincing 75% of the US population.

      • Dragonfly

        “I appreciate your attempt … but it’s not even really a difference between naturally produced and man-made CO2. It’s a difference between CO2 that results from normal biological-atmospheric recycling of carbon, and CO2 that results from us extracting carbon that’s been sequestered underground for millions of years and rapidly releasing it into the atmosphere over a period of a hundred years or so.”

        That’s kind of what I said when I said that 8 GPM was being drawn into the sink versus 5 GPM when only 5 GPM could be drained.

        How exactly the extra man-made 3 GPM is produced, over and above the natural 5 GPM, is irrelevant – if the extra 3 GPM has an effect, it has an effect, and work must be done to stop the it.

        Maybe you’re not getting what I’m saying. For simplicity’s sake; let’s say without man’s intervention the Earth produces 5 megatons of CO2 monthly, and the Earth’s atmospheric layer dissipates the 5 megatons of CO2 monthly – lets it out. This is how it operates harmoniously. Now, via man, man’s intervention/presence/workings, we add another 3 megatons of CO2, but the atmospheric layer can only dissipate a maximum of 6 megatons. This leaves us with a 2 megaton buildup of CO2 stuck up in our atmosphere on a monthly basis, which can result in global warming. Get it?

        Keeping the possibility of it having an effect in mind will help, especially if world leaders know this. Can we stop all the man-made 3 megatons of CO2 (example) – no – but we can hone it down, and maybe to a level that our system can handle over and above the level produced without man (within 1 megaton to not exceed the 6 the system can handle). And, the best way to get the message to the public so they will voice concern to their representatives is through the effects of air pollution.

        • balconesfault

          I’m agreeing with you. It’s just a presentation – the less educated would easily come away with a misconception from your previous terminology.

          The bathtub analogy is the right one. I like to think of it this way … consider a bathtub with a fountain. The fountain sprays a certain amount of water into the air, which then returns to the bathtub. The bathtub isn’t going to overflow because water is falling from the sky.

          Turn on the faucet … and the bathtub will soon overflow. The faucet is fossil-fuels.

  • dittbub

    What if the neutrino find isn’t confirmed? Does that mean he will accept the climate science?

    I read on slashdot today that its because of einsteins theory of relativity that the neutrino arrived sooner than expected.

    • mememine69

      This was worth the time signing up to FrumForum because you amateur arm chair climatolgists are way too funny. Keep yappin…..

      • Frumplestiltskin

        wow, what a rebuttal, when being completely humiliated and thrashed on a forum, engage in a cheap insult like “keep yappin..”

        I have a question, are you let out at night to use the toilet because you and my dog have about the same intelligence.

        • balconesfault

          Hell, he doesn’t even need our rebuttals to humiliate him, when he posts bits like he did at 6:46. He’s clearly out to humiliate himself.

      • zaybu

        mememine69 wrote: This was worth the time signing up to FrumForum because you amateur arm chair climatolgists are way too funny. Keep yappin…..

        You sound like someone who failed high school algebra.

    • Oldskool

      I won’t be surprised if Albert called this one right too. The other day, NPR reported the difference may lie in the material the neutrinos traveled through, namely the earth. It may have sped them up. And the timing device is still being questioned.

  • 'Settled Science' and CO2 - NYTimes.com

    [...] action on CO2 ends up distracting readers from other points he makes that are correct (see one dissection by Kenneth Silber). And he provides fodder for those asserting that he’s driven more by an agenda than [...]

    • balconesfault

      Heh – I like the twitterverse snark that the NY Times piece references …

      @cqchoi: If serious scientists can question Einstein’s relativity, there must be room for debate about [whether the Earth goes around the sun].

      @jashapiro: #WSJscience If serious scientists can question relativity, there must be room to debate [whether we are living in the Matrix].

      • zaybu

        @mememine69: #WSJscience If serious scientists can question relativity, there must be room to debate [the theory of evolution].

  • mememine69

    Warning: Sarcasm
    We must trust the science, the scientists, climatologists, the experts and those who know more than us. It’s not WHAT is being said, it’s WHO is saying it! We have seen the signs all around us and change is everywhere and our planet is weak and needs our help to bring it back to life otherwise our children will die a CO2 death. Those who do not see the changes are blind to the truth and the planet will deal with them in its own way. The good politicians who promise to lower the seas and make the planet colder if we pay a tax on the air’s CO2 will help the carbon trading markets (run by corporations and the good politicians), do what’s in our best interests and we must trust them and do as they say or life as we know it will cease. We owe it to our children. Let’s do it for our children’s sake.
    Do less, have less, want less, use less, be less and all will be well again. The evil oil companies have been giving bribe checks to all the deniers and in the name of love they must be eliminated for the betterment of all. Catastrophic climate change crisis and unstoppable warming is our fault and now we must pay the price of robbing the planet of its resources and as the oceans acidify and the ozone hole grows wider and the acid rain and Y2K continue to ravage us, the planet will look at us in shame and punish us for the rest of our days.
    The two faced bible thumping republicans stand in our way and with the planet willing; we will prevail and defeat those who would harm our creator, the plant Earth. Earth is our Mother, our Creator, our Ruler and we must obey her.

    • Frumplestiltskin

      wow, you really are a kook, aren’t you? That is not sarcasm, that is just childishness.

      And wasn’t it Jesus who said it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle (a Roman arch) than it is to enter into the kingdom of heaven? Wasn’t his point that we should not allow ourselves to be possessed by materialism and greed, that you can do more with less, live better, know more, be happier when you live a life of moderation and respect.

      But you wouldn’t know anything about Jesus, would you? Jeebus, otoh, the one who says that wealth is a sign of his favor, that charity is a sin that makes people weak, that is the one you know. It has nothing to do with the actual Bible though.

      It figures your moniker is one of absolute selfishness and ludity. You truly are not worth my time as your have shown your ignorance so clearly.

  • Southern Populist

    By contrast, the (possible) neutrino finding would be small potatoes.”

    The neutrino finding if confirmed would show the worldwide Physics community from every Nobel prize winner on down was dead wrong on a fundamental point. It happens sometimes.

    If Einstein and his peers turn out to have been wrong, you will have to excuse some of us for thinking that lessar scientists might be too.

    • greg_barton

      Of course scientists can be wrong.

      Prove it.

      • Oldskool

        If Einstein and his peers turn out to have been wrong, you will have to excuse some of us for thinking that lessar scientists might be too.

        As long as you use the same scientific method, we’ll be fine with whatever you decide.

        • BenignBot

          There is only one scientific method that I know of, Barton Fink.

          And, under this scientific method, no one gets to ‘decide’.

        • Oldskool

          Sure they do, they decide they know all that they can. For now.

    • wileedog

      Ridiculous. By this logic we can’t accept the gravity is an accepted theory. So we should all walk around tethered to something so we don’t float off into space in case Newton was wrong.

    • Southern Populist

      This neutrino finding that might disprove the long established scientific consensus not on a peripheral matter but on a fundamental point basic to Physicists’ model of the universe seems to be getting under the climate priesthood’s skin.

      lol, who are the science deniers now?

      • Oldskool

        Wishful thinking on your part? Deniers of science are deniers of tested facts gathered to form conclusions.

      • baw1064

        You don’t appear to know how science works.

        First of all, global warming isn’t a “theory” in the same sense of relativity or quantum mechanics. The latter two give a mathematical formulation by which some physical process operates. Since we don’t know a priori whether the theory is right, a lot of effort has gone into testing it. So far they’ve passed all the experimental tests, but we know that both relativity and quantum mechanics are incomplete–for one thing, when you try to join them together, it doesn’t work.

        I’d say there’s a 99.9% chance the neutrino result is wrong. If it is confirmed, that wouldn’t mean that quantum mechanics is wrong, all your transistors based on quantum mechanics will still work. It would just mean that our understanding of the Universe had been incomplete. But we already knew that.

        A “tachyon” (hypothetical particle which travels faster than light) is mathematically possible in relativity, if its rest mass is an imaginary number. That means that it must always travel faster than light, and that the faster it travels, the less kinetic energy it has.

        Global climate, by contrast, isn’t a theory per se, but the output of a very complex model. But saying that the “theory of global warming” is wrong because some model doesn’t give a perfect prediction is like saying the “theory of hurricanes” is wrong because a hurricane which was predicted by a weather model didn’t form.

        But the underlying physics and chemistry are very well understood:

        -the greenhouse effect exists
        -the primary drivers of the greenhouse effect are water vapor and CO2
        -the concentration of water vapor is itself controlled by the temperature, so any underlying temperature change is amplified by changes in water vapor.
        -the amount of CO2 has been increasing over the last 100 years.

        Given this, it simply doesn’t make any sense to claim that if the concentration of atmospheric CO2 were arbitrarily high (say, as much as on Venus) that there is no reason to think that the Earth wouldn’t get hotter.

        What, if any, actions we should take regarding CO2, by the way, isn’t a science question. That’s a policy one.

        • Southern Populist

          Are you a physicist? 99.9 % suggests a level of confidence that I associate with credentialed professionals.

          Whether or not the neutrino result is ultimately confirmed, the possibility is apparently being taken seriously in the physics community. No one is labeling anyone with a smear word like denier.

        • baw1064

          I am a physicist, by education (undergraduate degree in Physics, PhD in Applied Physics, but work now more in physical chemistry and biology). I worked on a particle physics experiment while in school.

          The 99.9% sounded much more definite than it really was. Probably what happened in the neutrino experiment was there was some systematic error causing the travel time to be measured incorrectly (basically, after traveling some 250 miles, the neutrinos appeared to end up some 60 feet ahead of where they *should* have been).

          Even though it’s unlikely to be proved correct, the result should be looked at carefully, simply because the consequences if it were proved correct would be so profound.

          I agree what AGW hasn’t been statistically proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The problem, from a policy perspective is that changing the amount of CO2 isn’t equivalent to changing the thermostat setting (i.e. a predictable change that could be reversed by returning the CO2 concentration to its original level). We know from past history (e.g., the end of the last Ice Age) that things can change quickly (in a few decades) and irreversably (on any reasonable time scale) to a completely different climate. In other words, the Earth’s climate tends to be dynamic and chaotic. The danger is that a rapid, large, irreversable change could occur–we don’t really understand the dynamics of this because it hasn’t happened in recorded history. Then we might have proof that we’ve altered the climate, and we might be stuck with the new one for the next several thousand years.

  • armstp

    Such a troubling article of misinformation and mischaracterizations. This is what we have come to expect from the WSJ. What a terrible terrible newspaper. The paper now actually makes people stupider.

    1) The carbon taxers/limiters have lost.

    Lost? What does that mean? 10 years ago none of this was even on the publics radar screen. We have come a long way since Gore began to make the case. I would say a massive recession has gotten in the way of taking action. The U.S. was very close to putting cap n trade in place. Without the recession, we very well might have had cap n trade by now. Both McCain and Palin were actually originally for it before they were against it. It is inevitable that we will limit carbon in the future. No one has lost. Only the planet has lost for the delay.

    2) Regardless of whether it’s getting hotter or colder — or both — we are going to need to produce a lot more energy in order to remain productive and comfortable.

    I would not let this guy off the hook so quickly. No the planet is not getting colder, it is getting warmer. Period. I am not sure what the second half of his sentence has to do with the first half. Yes, we know we are going to have to produce more energy, so lets do it with renewables, new and alternative sources. Why are we continuing to rely on old technologies for energy production growth?

    3) The carbon-dioxide issue is not about the United States anymore.

    This statement is complete bullshit. The U.S. produces 25% of all the carbon emissions on the planet and it has only 5% of the population. Carbon emissions is entirely all about the U.S. This is a standard “conservative right-wing nutter” response. We do not have to worry about our own problem because someone else also has a problem. Utter garbage. I cannot believe this guy makes a living off his intellect or lack of intellect. He is just being dishonest.

    4) We have to get better — and we are — at turning energy into useful power.

    Great, he states the obvious. We have gotten better at this throughout history. It is called progress. We need to get better at reducing carbon emission and using new alternative energy technologies with less costs to the environment.

    5) The science is not settled, not by a long shot. Last month, scientists at CERN, the prestigious high-energy physics lab in Switzerland, reported that neutrinos might — repeat, might — travel faster than the speed of light. If serious scientists can question Einstein’s theory of relativity, then there must be room for debate about the workings and complexities of the Earth’s atmosphere.

    The standard lunatic fringe denial comment, which this guy even takes further with a very strange argument.

    Yes, the science is settled.

    So, this guy is saying that because there are questions about some unrelated physics theories then theories about climate change should also be questioned or may also not be true. You could say that about anything. You could say because someone said something different or new about Eistein’s work then all other science may be wrong. Such an generic point this guy makes that it becomes meaningless. Eistein’s theories might not be exactly correct, so maybe there really is no gravity.

  • mememine69

    How many climate change crisis believers does it take to change a light bulb?
    None, BUT they DO have consensus that it WILL change.

    History has a name for; “I see the changes.”, its Omen Worship.

  • mememine69

    I have a challenge to you remaining faded climate change crisis believers:
    ACT like climate change crisis is the greatest emergency imaginable. You can’t have a tiny little catastrophic climate crisis. Only comet hit or nuclear war is worse and none of you or your scientists act like its a real crisis. We see the exploitation and exaggeration. End of story. RIP Climate Change.
    Meanwhile, the UN had allowed carbon trading markets run by corporations and politicians to trump 3rd world fresh water relief, starvation rescue and 3rd world education for just over 25 years of INSANE attempts at climate CONTROL.

  • anniemargret

    Another reason why it’s so much better to be a Democrat. Progressive ideas. Positive thoughts and facing reality head-on.

    Republicans are mired in the past. Regressive and reactionary they measure every conceivable new idea for improvement in this country in a political vein and and an eye on the corporate dollar.

    Even if it means our children and grandchildren will breathe polluted air and drink polluted water, and cesium and plutonium creep into the soil and make our lives the stuff of nightmares.

    • Dragonfly

      WRONG – Progressives are extreme liberals and are no better than extreme conservatives.
      Both are accountable for a lot of crap in U.S. history.
      Sure, both have contributed some good, but both have contributed way more bad than good.

      America would fair much better with less of the extremists and more people who use their brains to strike a happy medium – more level-headed people and less extreme people would certainly make for a better world – ain’t no doubt about it.

  • BenignBot

    The whole crux of this question is totally off kilter!
    “Why We Should Still be Sweating Global Warming” should be better phrased as, ‘why do people hold on to illogical beliefs in the face of incontrovertible evidence which clearly run contrary to these beliefs?’

    LEON fcking FESTINGER!

    That’s right,

    I. fcking E.,
    We act in ways which are not congruent to what we basically know to be logical and according to reality.
    And so then we must change our belief systems to be consistent with our fucked up illogical behavior.
    And, by so changing our belief system, or perception of reality, then we reduce that sick feeling in our gut,
    or in our tiny warped minds.

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar might be a HERO to some mfkrs.
    But Leon Festinger has always been much more of a HERO to me,
    than any god damned NBA Rinky Dink basketball flunky.

    If we might wish to better understand why there is still such a divide, among the dumb fcks in the US, regarding BELIEF about anthropogenic global warming, then the work of Leon Festinger must be considered.

    Any fcking asshole worth his salt should know that COGNITIVE DISSONANCE is not a term to be taken lightly. And cognitive dissonance is a real phenomenon which shapes our world in so many terrible ways.

    But most god damned Americans prefer Leon Russel to Leon Festinger.
    And so then why not listen to a great old Leon Russinger tune?:

    A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall

    Leon Russel or Leon Festinger!
    Anyone with the first name, ‘Leon’,
    they were born to be great!

    But we do not mind dumb fcks who pretend to be stupid by denying reality;
    they are just a dime a dozen.

    PS: Jumping up and down near hoops should be left to kids. We do not need tall adult men jumping around in sneakers. But, the Harlem Globe Trotters are a Gas! The NBA and the NFL are a unique American diversion from thinking about the most important things in our lives which truly have existential sway over us. But then most of us do not need to go into battle in Afuhan tomorrow morning, nor do we need to worry about melamine in our milk.

  • anniemargret

    Personally I think they are just pissed off that Al Gore started the conversation and since he’s a Democrat, they are obliged to the do the knee-jerk dance of anything that Democrats put out on the table, must at all times be squelched, crushed and ridiculed.

    • balconesfault

      Aside from the massive amounts of money pumped by the oil industry into the GOP coffers, you have a solid point there.

  • Fairy Hardcastle

    Cosmic rays. You really should read up if you want to hold yourself out as some kind of know-it-all about the climate.

    • Demosthenes

      If you think cosmic rays have anything to do with climate change, you know nothing about either.

      • Fairy Hardcastle

        Hate to burst your unsubstantiated bubble, but though I am not a scientist, I can read this: http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110824/full/news.2011.504.html. And the scientists at CERN are scientists.

        • DeathByIrony

          I don’t get what you’re trying to say here. Unless you’re suggesting we find a way to keep the sun on a constant low cycle, cloud formation via rays would average out to nothing. Any gains would be short term.
          This is irration on the level of people shouting “GLOBAL WARMING!” every time we have a hurricane.

        • Fairy Hardcastle

          I am not sure I understand your response. The author says there has been no other credible theory for climate change. I am simply providing information that a respected institution thinks cosmic rays may have a profound effect on the climate. He responded, in effect, that this was untrue. Look, like any other nature lover, I think pollution is bad and the more we can reduce it the better. But to stop it at the detriment our economy and way of life is wrong when no one knows how the weather works, no one can prove temperature is effected by our carbon emissions, data from a formerly respected UK institution was fudged, and when scientists just doing their job come up with important data that suggests other more powerful forces are at work. No one can predict that there will not be another cooling period say in 10 years for example. If we do, what then?

        • Demosthenes

          The results from CERN are ambiguous at best as regards the effect of cosmic rays on cloud formation, however the idea that ordinary (i.e. non-greenhouse gas) cloud cover is what drives global warming is a fringe theory.

        • jdd_stl1

          Fairy Hardcastle,

          That is a very interesting study that people have started to refer to
          quite regularly to try to shoot down the human input into
          climate change argument. It is important to note, though, that
          this is a VERY preliminary finding. Quoting from the article
          you cite:
          “At the moment, it actually says nothing about a possible cosmic-ray effect on clouds and climate, but it’s a very important first step,”

          But still, an interesting are of study to keep an eye on as it moves forward.

  • Demosthenes

    EXCELLENT post Ken, keep up the good work!

  • mememine69

    More amateur arm chair climatology,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,ahahaha! Stop it!
    Climate change scientists have done to science what abusive preists did to the Catholic Church.

  • sweatyb

    Doesn’t everyone realize that the people who measured the speed of these rogue neutrinos are also scientists? If they’re right, then all science cannot be trusted. And if they’re wrong, then all science cannot be trusted!

    It’s far better to remain ignorant and just wait for mass panic in the streets. When civilization collapses and people start killing each other over scraps of food, then we can begin the debate over whether climate change is real.

    • Demosthenes

      The neutrinos arrived about 60 nanoseconds ahead of schedule, or .00003% of c. Given that our measurements of c have so far been derived from electromagnetism, which does not interact with neutrinos (they only interact with the weak force), what is likely happening is that we now have a .00003% more accurate measurement of c than previously. Nifty, but not paradigm-shifting. So what does this say about climate science, or (pace Kuhn) the paradigm of General Relativity? Absolutely nothing. It says nothing about the validity of the scientific method, nothing about the method of climate scientists, and nothing about human knowledge or its relation to science that we didn’t already know.

      • baw1064

        Uh, no. The speed of light is known to nine significant figures, and this measurement, if due to an inaccurate value of c, would mean a change in the sixth digit, i.e. 1000 times bigger than the uncertainty.

        It turns out that the speed of light can be measured so accurately that it is known more accurately than the length of a meter or of a second (both of which are now defined in terms of light). So c is actually the defined quantity, and the meter and the second are derived.

        • Demosthenes

          I’ll have to double-check the report, but from what I remember the researchers say they have their distance (732 km) accurate to within 20cm thanks to lasers and GPS. Assuming a value of c that is 299 792 458 m/s, in one billionth of a second, light travels 29.9 cm, well outside the margin of experimental error. Accordingly, in 60ns the light should travel an extra 17.94 meters vs. what was measured, so… the expected result is off by a ratio of 17.94m / 732,000 m = 2.45×10^-5 or (approximately) .00003%.

          Could you explain how you arrive at the error being in the sixth significant figure? I understand the point you are making but I don’t understand your math, doubtless this is my own fault!

          Regardless, while naturally you are correct about meters and seconds being defined in terms of c, the point is that the most accurate measurements of c to date are owing to measurements from electromagnetic phenomena such as laser interferometry and the spectrum of Krypton-86. “Uncertainty” in the measurement is uncertainty in a measuring technique that involves fundamentally different forces (indeed, a different fundamental force) than the weak force which governs neutrinos. Obviously I don’t have the answers, no one does, this is an exciting result with unclear implications. And of course I am assuming that the result is not due to experimental error. But my sense is that the difference in measurement is happening because of some difference in the way neutrinos propagate as opposed to the way photons propagate, which makes sense because photons interact with matter much more easily than neutrinos do — actually neutrinos have mass but don’t usually interact with other fermions at all, instead interacting almost exclusively with the W and Z bosons.

          Either way I don’t think it is plausible to argue that the value of c for neutrinos is different from the value of c for photons. Before the visual light signal from SN 1987A (a supernova in the Large Magellanic Cloud) arrived, there was a burst in neutrino detection, however it happened about 3 hours before the visual light event. At 51.4 kiloparsecs a difference of .00003% in c should have had the neutrino signal arrive years earlier, not hours, if neutrinos somehow simply propagate faster than photons by that amount. The smart money is on a (slight) revision of c, not a new Theory of Relativity.

  • Dot Earth Blog: ‘Settled Science’ and CO2 - World Bad News : World Bad News

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  • mememine69

    Say NO to Corporate Carbon Trading Markets and Taxing the Air to make the weather colder. SYSTEM CHANGE not CLIMATE CHANGE.
    Boycott all fear mongering climate change media.
    Climate Blamers are the real fear mongering NEOCONS!

  • mememine69

    25 years of Climate change may be dead but the crimes these CO2 environMENTALists have done will not be forgotten in history for you condemned billions of children to a CO2 death just to get them to turn the lights out more often. You misguided fear mongers wanted to let carbon trading markets, run by corporations, tax our air to make the weather colder. Your irresponsibility and utter selfishness will not be forgotten.
    Meanwhile, the UN had allowed carbon trading to trump 3rd world fresh water relief, starvation rescue and 3rd world education for just over 25 years of INSANE attempts at climate CONTROL.
    REAL planet lovers and progressives were happy the crisis was proven to be a tragic and criminal exaggeration.

  • Southern Populist

    RE: more thoughts on neutrinos..

    Of course the neutrino finding even if confirmed won’t tell us anything about climate science. Yeah, no shit all you Sherlock Holmeses out there on Twitter and elsewhere; lol, you really need to quit embarrassing yourselves, because let me tell you something; it does not take much sophistication, intelligence or learning to state the obvious.

    The relevance of the neutrino finding is that it exposes the intolerant, bigoted, authoritarian, and anti-science mindset of the environmentalist fringe.

    Just look at how these neutrino physicists are being treated compared to the climate dissenters.

    Are they being smeared with the propaganda label “deniers”? Are they being smeared as anti-science? Are people suggesting they are financially motivated and trying to attract research money by being provocative? Are they being treated as anything other than principled individuals looking for the truth?

    The answer, clearly, is no they are not, so the question naturally arises, why not?

    The reason is that particle physics is not useful for pushing carbon taxes and other elements of the radical environmentalist agenda. If it were, the high priests of AGW like Al Gore would no doubt try to punish these physicists for heresy.

    The reason fair minded people should maintain at least a little skepticism about the AGW science is the style of argument its proponents favor.

    The fact that they use the smear word “denier” to describe skeptics is reason enough not to fully buy into what they have to say.

    The fact that they also make retarded statements like “Republicans don’t believe in science” is also reason enough. An accurate characterization would be “Many Republicans reject one very narrow area of established science that is being used by non-scientists like Al Gore and his supporters to push a political agenda.”

    People who use smears like “denier” immediately expose themselves as parties who don’t care about the disinterested pursuit of the truth.

    If they did, they would use the language of reasoned debate rather than the language of a priesthood looking to silence dissent and metaphorically burn heretics at the stake.

    Theirs is the true anti-science, anti-reason mindset.

    - DSP

    • Arms Merchant

      Well argued.

      Too bad you can’t argue with the global warming (excuse me, climate change) crowd. The science is settled! There’s a consensus! Haliburton!

      Nobel Laureate Giaever is only the latest to register his disgust with the Climate Lobby.

      • Southern Populist

        Good find. That information deserves a spot in the thread.

        [blockquote]In a fresh challenge to claims that there is scientific “consensus” on climate change, Prof Ivar Giaever has resigned from the American Physical Society, where his peers had elected him a fellow to honour his work.

        The society, which has 48,000 members, has adopted a policy statement which states: “The evidence is incontrovertible: global warming is occurring.”

        But Prof Giaever, who shared the 1973 Nobel award for physics, told The Sunday Telegraph. “Incontrovertible is not a scientific word. Nothing is incontrovertible in science.”

        The US-based Norwegian physicist, who is the chief technology officer at Applied Biophysics Inc and a retired academic at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the oldest technological university in the English-speaking world, added: “Global warming has become the new religion.”

        Prof Giaever was one of Barack Obama’s leading scientific supporters during the 2008 president election campaign, joining 70 Nobel science laureates endorsing his candidacy. [/blockquote]

    • Velocity

      That climate change is real and being driven by human activity is supported by mountains of evidence and data collected over several decades by scientists in a number of disparate fields (climatology, ecology, chemistry, oceanography, etc).

      The neutrino experiment is one experiment that has yet to be confirmed independently by others.

      You guys really have no idea how science works, do you.

      • Southern Populist

        What about the Nobel physicist Arms Merchant and I just quoted? He said climate change is the new religion. Does he not understand science?

        It looks like I was on target in my comment this morning drawing parallels between some in the AGW crowd and a religious priesthood. The Nobel physicist used a similar comparison, interestingly enough.

        • Velocity

          Your tooth hurts. You go to a 100 dentists. After an examination, x-rays, etc, 98 of them say you have a cavity. 2 say there’s nothing wrong with your tooth and that the other 98 dentists manipulated your x-rays to may it look like you have a cavity.

          Most of us would believe the 98. Apparently you guys would choose to believe the latter 2.

        • Demosthenes

          Also Dr. Giaever is pointedly not saying that he rejects climate science or its implications, only that he objects to the characterization of something scientific as “incontrovertible.” It is a methodological and epistemological issue, not a judgment on the veracity of climate science. And I happen to agree with him: it is not the APS’ place to say anything about climate change one way or the other, nor to decide what is “incontrovertible,” as indeed there is no such thing as “incontrovertibility” in science.

    • sweatyb

      Can you explain how burning someone at the stake metaphorically works? I just can’t picture it.

    • MikeH

      @Southern Populist

      You miss the fact that it is the the climate change denialists who have turned the climate debate into the same kind of sideshow as the evolutionist/creationist debate.

      When you demonstrate that corporations who would benefit from altering the theory of relativity are spending millions of dollars to publicize and give credence the CERN findings, you might have a point.

      When you can show how a political party has made absolute adherence to the idea that CERN is correct and the rest of the world’s physicists are engaging in a plot to hide the truth about the speed at which neutrinos can travel, your post would make a little more sense.

      When you can point out the multitudes of laymen with no real knowledge of physics who spend hours on line and in the media promoting the anti-relativity maunderings of high school physics teachers, retired physicists who haven’t worked in the field in years and economists…with the occasional upper-class British twit tossed into the mix, your analogy might work better.

      Until then, lol, you really need to quit embarrassing yourself.

      • Southern Populist

        Calling people denialists is a dumb talking point akin to calling Barack Obama a socialist. No substance. If you’re interested in a honest debate, why not just call them what they are? Skeptics. This reliance on smear language and dismissive labels reveals the intolerant mindset of these people. The skeptics are skeptical for many reasons such as the fact that people like Al Gore and many other non-scientists pushing carbon taxes have a political agenda just like BP and the Koch brothers.

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  • jdd_stl1

    Here is my take on the whole climate change debate and how it compares
    to the neutrinos faster than the speed of light finding.

    First, the climate change science debate got thrown into the political arena
    much too soon. For instance, the paper that launched “hockey stick” graph
    was a scientific paper that had been through peer review but had NOT been
    through peer testing and confirmation. That latter process takes much longer
    and is not done when a scientific paper is reviewed for publication. But when
    that paper was published it almost immediately became the basis for political
    arguments for human caused climate change. When it was found that there
    were problems with the original paper, the whole science was thrown into
    question. Since then the work has been cleaned up and there have been follow
    on studies that I believe have for the most part confirmed the original findings.

    Second, how does the climate change debate differ from the neutrinos faster
    than the speed of light debate? Well, one has huge political and economic
    ramifications and the other if confirmed COULD change the direction of
    physics but does not have any immediate political or economic impacts.
    I don’t think there is a well endowed lobby that has a vested interested
    in speeding neutrinos.

  • Arms Merchant

    Anyone who argues that “consensus” is the basis for scientific truth really doesn’t understand science. Science is about reproducible results.

    Consensus reports, not just in climate science but in all the branches, more often then not are the result of political considerations that have little to do with scientific merit.

  • Arms Merchant

    BTW, there’s a new “hockey stick:” the rise of scientific paper retractions:


  • Russell

    Bryce’s performance makes one wonder about his hosts:


  • Political Rants » A Taste of the Coming Global Holocaust

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