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Is the media conspiring to stoke alarmism or deny science? Shrill voices on each side can't decide

Researchers at George Mason University and Yale University bring the grave news that "belief in global warming" is at a "six year low". 
I. Do You Believe?
The study [PDF] comes courtesy of principle investigator Professor Anthony Leiserowitz, an environmental scientist at Yale.  Other principle investigators include Professors Edward Maibach and Connie Roser-Renouf (GMU communications professors, specializing in climate).  Geoff Feinberg, a Yale university employee who lacks a Ph.D but was a private sector polling specialist on environmental issues also contributed to the work. 
Another odd addition was psychopathology researcher turned climatology investigator Professor Seth Rosenthal, a member of Yale's climatology team. Rounding out the team was Professor Jennifer Marlon, a PhD expert in geography who currently teaches climate science at Yale.
The first oddity -- which you may notice -- is that there's nary a Ph.D credentialed climatologist in the field.  I think this is worth noting as critics of the more alarmist brands of "global warming" rhetoric are often attacked for not holding climatology degrees, despite the fact that many of them hold master's degrees or doctorates in related fields, such as physics or civil engineering.
Moving along to the 66-page study, it consists of a series of black and white questions such as:

Do you believe climate change is happening?

global warming belief

It concludes that after near record levels of "belief" in global warming in 2012 (with 70 percent in the "believers" camp, and 12 percent in the "non-believers" camp), things have sharply changed over the last year.  Today "non-believers" account for an estimated 23 percent of the American public, where as the believers have dwindled to 63 percent.

It also asks:

How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements...? "I could easily change my mind about global warming."

Global warming belief

It notes that roughly two-thirds say they won't be changing their minds, but a third say they could be swayed either way by evidence.  The researchers speculate that the recent decade-or-so lull in warming has turned some global warming "believers" into "skeptics".

II. Conspiracy + Media = Media Conspiracy!

Some in the media say it's time for the self-flogging to begin.  Mother Jones blogger Chris Mooney writes:

Journalists take heed: Your coverage has consequences. All those media outlets who trumpeted the global warming "pause" may now be partly responsible for a documented decrease in Americans' scientific understanding.

Should the flagellation begin?  Let's pause to consider another opinion.  Forbes columnist James Taylor wrote in March of last year:

The mainstream media are reporting in breathless fashion about a new paper claiming current temperatures are their warmest in 4,000 years. Already, however, objective scientists are reporting serious flaws in the paper...

When many temperature studies, including studies presented by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, indicate current global temperatures are cooler than the vast majority of the past 4,000 years, and then an outlier study with quickly identified serious flaws claims exactly the opposite, one would think the media would make note of the discrepancies. Unfortunately, the media has demonstrated little interest in doing so. There are several reasons for this.

First, the news media is prone to overhype the news events of the day. Hype sells newspapers and attracts viewers. This is the case for all news topics and certainly applies to global warming.

Second, fear captivates people. This is one of the reasons why television and print news contains so much bad news and so little good news. A single breathless report of impending global warming doom is going to rope in more viewers and readers than a whole collection of reports explaining that current temperatures are actually quite cool in historical perspective.

Third, it is no secret that the media drifts left on many issues, and drifts left on environmental issues in particular.

Well, it appears there is agreement that some sort of media conspiracy is afoot.  But before we can self-deprecate we have to figure out which direction the foul conspiracy runs in.  Therein lies the humorous challenge.
You see, if anything the shrill media commentary on both sides of the issue seems to suggest there is a diverse, if perhaps misleading debate.
Personally, I find the paper to be interesting, but not necessarily for the reasons the authors attend it to be.  First, I feel the language of the questions is very questionable, and perhaps reflective of the climate debate as a whole.  To some on either side you're a "denier" or you're an "alarmist".
I have a fundamental problem with that because from both external observations (e.g. the "pause" in warming) and from peer reviewed literature I've read, I feel many researchers are jumping to sensational conclusions without a proper understanding of how the Earth will respond to climate change and warming.
If global warming and politics were kept separate we wouldn't have this problem.  But with policy makers urging the public embrace wealth distribution schemes such as "carbon credits", what should become a question of science has become a matter of political debate.
III. Climate Change is Real, But Its Effects, Both Negative and Positive, Remain Poorly Understood and Exaggerated
What are the facts?
First, carbon gases are greenhouse gases, meaning they trap heat.  Second, the Earth has at least a modest ability to dampen heat trapping, as increasing CO2 levels lead to an increase in vegetation, etc., such that runaway warming is unlikely.  History further suggests that runaway warming is unlikely as there is evidence that global temperatures were higher, but stable when most of the carbon that today is stored in fossil fuel deposits was found in the atmosphere and short-lived deposits.
I have a fundamental problem with the hypothesis that global warming will somehow cause mankind to "go extinct" or that it's solely a bad thing.  If the dinosaurs can survive high levels of atmospheric greenhouses gases, you better bet that the most flexible creature ever to walk the face of the Earth can flourish in such conditions, as well.

If dinosaurs could thrive in a warmer world, so can we. [Image Source: PA]

It's important to bear in mind whether or not mankind had come along, some level of climate change is inevitable.  The climate is constantly changing.

Mankind has shifted the climate in a certain direction, but there are clear benefits (access to new resources deposits, arid polar land becoming fertile, etc.) of a warming plant.  There are also downsides, but many of those -- such as a small rise in sea levels -- are only an issue if mankind proves stubborn.

For example, much is made about the erosion of sediment in Alaskan villages and how they might "sink into the sea".  But the report ignores that it was the U.S. federal and Alaskan state governments that forced the native people to settle in this geographically unstable location. In other words, this was a government created problem as the government refused to continue to allow native peoples to migrate based on climate conditions.

polar bear
[Image Source: Free Republic]

Mankind would be wise to learn from the example of these native people when adapting to climate change.  Relocating our villages, cities, and towns in some extreme cases may be necessary -- but a move isn't going to kill us or destroy the economy.

I think it's almost an inevitability that mankind will burn most of its fossil fuels and that warming will run its course.  It's one thing to ask people to be a bit more efficient (which supply and demand will eventually force without intervention), it's quite another to ask people to go back to the Stone Age.

You can't expect mankind to stop burning fossil fuels [Image Source: Independent Refiners]

Eventually mankind will move to renewable/sustainable energy sources, but only when it becomes no longer economically feasible to burn fossil fuels.
In the aftermath of fossil fuel depletion, I think we'll look back and realize how much we overstated the dangers and understated the gains of global warming.  As I said, the climate is constantly changing; if the dinosaurs could thrive in a warmed globe, so can we.
IV. More Science, More Debate, Less Politics
There's a need for research.  But surveys on public opinion asked in shrill black and white terms offer little help to a legitimate debate.
And as much as there's a need for research, there's an equal age to push to remove this issue from a political debate.  Until someone can come up with a financially sound approach to emissions control, the government needs to step back and let the private sector handle its own affairs.
Mankind is changing the climate in numerous ways, many of which surpass even strong warming on a local basis.  From desertification to water cycle changes due to deforestation, many serious manmade climate changes are overlooked due to global warming's chokehold on media attention.
Global warming church
Singling out global warming "nonbelievers" seems silly.  Alarmists and proponents alike in the warming discussion tend to exagerrate and sensationalize to further their own financial and political ends. [Image Source: Lisa Benson]

Instead of focusing on querying public beliefs and condemning (or praising) "nonbelievers", let us instead focus the dialogue on constructive solutions to both adopt a sensible path to alternative energy (e.g. algae, nuclear power, solar), so that when fossil fuel supplies do near exhaustion, we're prepared.  And let's acknowledge that climate change -- manmade or not -- has always been occurring on planet Earth.

Last, but not least, let's not blame the media for putting things in alarmist or overly skeptical terms, when researchers themselves often resort to the same extremes for funding.  After all, most members of the media have at least a bachelor's degree in a technical subject.  Like many who publish climate research, we lack a Ph.D in climatology.  But so long as we express our opinions respectfully, keeping an open and questioning mind, I see no reason why the media's opinions are more or less valid that non-climatologist thinking heads in academia.  To suggest otherwise is simply elitist "ivory tower" type thinking.

The great biologist Thomas Henry Huxley once wrote:

Thomas Henry Huxley

I believe that quote is applicable here.

Before you self-flagellate, members of the media, consider instead embracing a diverse range of opinions.  And be open to debate and discussion; you might learn something.

Sources: Climate Change "Beliefs" Study [PDF], Mother Jones, Forbes

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Get the stories straight
By carage on 1/20/2014 8:47:32 PM , Rating: 3
I would suggest the scientific community duke it out among themselves first before coming out with any report.
It is so f**king annoying to read conflicting reports in the news all the time.
Last night I just read a report about some British scientist predicting a new ice age based on solar activity (or lack thereof)
Alright, I know all the environmental nuts and so called "rationalists" are going to jump on this and say this does not conflict with the man-made disaster known as global warming. Solar activity has nothing to do with global CO2 emissions. OK, I accept that.
But could someone with a PHD or whatever tell us what does this big picture mean? So is it global warming or global cooling? Or maybe they eventually cancel each other out, so nothing happens?
This doesn't just deal with global warming either. A year ago I read a report saying salmon is good for you, a few months later another scientist concludes salmon is actually bad for you. After promoting multi-vitamins for thirty years, now they tell us taking those pills have no effect at all?! Seriously, sometimes I would want to agree with the saying: Ignorance is bliss!

RE: Get the stories straight
By Jeffk464 on 1/20/14, Rating: -1
RE: Get the stories straight
By Captain Orgazmo on 1/20/2014 9:51:19 PM , Rating: 4
Here is just a small sample of your "fringe" scientists:

Mentioning Rush Limbaugh is a straw man argument at its most obvious. Did you visit the Joe Biden School of Demagoguery, you idiotic mindless partisan?

RE: Get the stories straight
By homebredcorgi on 1/21/2014 12:38:19 AM , Rating: 2
What point are you trying to make with that link?

The graphic in the top right of that link shows anywhere from 82%-98% of "Climate and Earth Scientists" believe global warming is largely caused by humans. It then states:
"A 2013 survey of 3984 abstracts from peer-reviewed papers published between 1991 and 2011 that expressed an opinion on anthropogenic global warming found that 97.1% agreed that climate change is caused by human activity."

Further down the article you can read on several dozen non-climate scientists (geologists, physicists, astronomers, mathematicians, etc) that do not believe it is largely caused by humans.

But the guys actually doing the research are in agreement. Do you hire surgeons to work on your car? Computer scientists to design an airplane? Why are you so quick to dismiss the people doing the research but embrace the opinion of non-experts that disagree?

RE: Get the stories straight
By Captain Orgazmo on 1/21/2014 1:03:07 AM , Rating: 3
The point was, they are not "fringe" scientists. That is a label, just as demagogues label anyone who they disagree with (i.e. racist, sexist, islamophobic, right-wing, etc). I have no doubt the vast majority of climate scientists propagate the CO2/AGW crap, but a majority view does not make it fact. How many times have scientific majority views been demolished, in subjects ranging from flight, to whether the earth was flat or round?

Also, if you think geologists, astrophysicists, and others have nothing to add on the subject, you are a total fool. The study of historical earth climate conditions IS geology. The study of the behaviour of the sun, cosmic particles, and their interaction with earth's atmosphere is part of astronomy or astrophysics.

"Climate scientists" are the modern equivalent of alchemists, and by definition take a narrow view of things that simply can't be trusted without greater context. Not to mention the logical deduction that one gets more grant money for bad news than good news.

Finally, I never hear discussion outside beyond the "CO2 is BAD" false paradigm. What if global warming is caused by land use changes - should we stop farming and building cities, and starve humanity? What if climate change is completely out of our control - should we just all jump off a cliff in mass panic? What if we in the middle of an inter-glacial period which is part of a much larger ice age? What if global warming is beneficial to humanity - then Al Gore and the other CO2 fraudsters would have to find a new sky is falling theory to make their billion$.

RE: Get the stories straight
By tim851 on 1/21/2014 7:26:53 AM , Rating: 1
Demagogue is a label as well.

Also, not all "Liberals" are eco nuts and not all "Conservatives" drive pick-up trucks.

This divisive rhetoric is tiring.
And it only serves the powers that be. Because once you divide people into only two groups - Liberal vs Conservative - you really make it an us-vs-them or good-vs-evil thing. And at that point, political actors will just place everybody who's not of their opinion into the other camp. Into the "them"-camp. The "evil"-camp.

It's just an awesome way to suppress diverging opinions.

Now, you may know this and do it to serve your purpose. Then you won't care.

Or you do this because you feel "the others" are doing it too. Then you're not helping.

The dinosaurs analogy is really stupid. Sharks have been thriving for millions of years under water. Doesn't mean we would.

We will use up all fossil fuels anyway. We can bitch and moan about, but we will. Those who don't like the pollution that comes with it, like me, can hop that "peak oil" and "peak coal" and "peak gas" are coming soon.

But let's focus our energy on dealing with the consequences.
While the dinosaur analogy is stupid, the author is right about one thing: we are the most adaptable (higher) species on this planet and 3c warmer won't kill us.

RE: Get the stories straight
By Da W on 1/21/14, Rating: 0
RE: Get the stories straight
By Schrag4 on 1/21/2014 9:26:43 AM , Rating: 3
Ok, if the climate does change in 50 years, can i go around and kill all those who claimed it was false, along with their children and grand children? Cause they sure are contributing to make MY children's future a living hell !

Put the crack pipe down. Whether the earth warms naturally or has help, history has shown that the earth is quite hospitable (actually more hospitable) during warmer periods - you know, those thousands of warmer periods that occurred before the industrial revolution.

RE: Get the stories straight
By clarkn0va on 1/21/2014 12:06:37 PM , Rating: 2
can i go around and kill all those who claimed it was false, along with their children and grand children?

Far worse than any of his claims is the intolerance you're exhibiting.

If you feel you're living through hell, you might want to examine your own beliefs first.

RE: Get the stories straight
By Reclaimer77 on 1/21/2014 12:23:29 PM , Rating: 1
Lol the only living hell his kids will be in is having him for a father.

The insanity of these Liberals...kill people for just living their lives? And their children and children's children too! Cause little kids really have an opinion about AGW.

I think mankind would be best served by locking this lunatic up before he snaps, along with all of his ilk!

RE: Get the stories straight
By ven1ger on 1/21/2014 6:50:05 PM , Rating: 2
Oh the hypocrisy, man. Didn't you call for killing all liberals?

RE: Get the stories straight
By Reclaimer77 on 1/21/2014 7:14:55 PM , Rating: 3
Well yes but not their children and grandchildren! Come on, that's just over the line :)

RE: Get the stories straight
By ven1ger on 1/21/2014 7:24:46 PM , Rating: 2
Okay, I'll have to give you the children and grandchildren, that was too much. Nice to see even you have your boundaries...

RE: Get the stories straight
By Amedean on 1/23/2014 8:31:42 AM , Rating: 3

shut up about it and go to bed!

RE: Get the stories straight
By Da W on 1/21/14, Rating: 0
RE: Get the stories straight
By Reclaimer77 on 1/21/2014 9:51:34 PM , Rating: 3
but by your beliefs and denials, you endanger the future of my children and grand children yourself.

How does that work exactly? If he "believed" the CO2 would start to go down at a measurable rate suddenly?

Get a hold of yourself, crazy.

RE: Get the stories straight
By homebredcorgi on 1/21/2014 1:16:35 PM , Rating: 1
Ah, yes - They're all in on it so they can get more grant money and drive their Lamborghinis! They've managed to keep it going for decades with thousands of people "in on it." Your conspiracy theory is asinine. As if there isn't plenty of groups out there with vastly more money willing to reward anyone who can come up with some real scientific evidence that proves it wrong. Now who's taking a narrow view of things?

Sorry, they are fringe scientists as they are in the vast minority and are not experts in the field. How many geologists/astrophysicists/whatever-else-you-think- might-be-valid do believe that you are ignoring? Again, why do you ignore them? Because they haven't been listed on Wikipedia or signed a petition?

You don't hear anything beyond CO2 is bad because they have looked into it and nobody can think of anything that could produce the effects we are seeing given the science we know. It is that simple. Their view is "narrow" because we have added nearly everything we can think of that would change the climate into a very large energy balance. The only way we can account for the large spike in temperatures, rise in sea levels, etc is by including what we know of the physics of greenhouse gases and it just so happens that we had a massive spike in CO2 while this all happened.

The Greeks knew the Earth was round thousands of years ago (and even knew its size to great accuracy). The idea that we thought it was flat in the 1400s is a fun myth we tell elementary school children. Many of these fun stories ("science can't even explain how a bee can fly!") are fallacies. Furthermore, because people were wrong before you are ignoring the thousands of times (over thousands of years) we were right about things. Again, why do you ignore such a large amount of people, working for decades and focus on a very small amount that disagree?

RE: Get the stories straight
By Reclaimer77 on 1/21/2014 5:11:11 PM , Rating: 2
You don't hear anything beyond CO2 is bad because they have looked into it and nobody can think of anything that could produce the effects we are seeing given the science we know. It is that simple. Their view is "narrow" because we have added nearly everything we can think of that would change the climate into a very large energy balance. The only way we can account for the large spike in temperatures, rise in sea levels, etc is by including what we know of the physics of greenhouse gases and it just so happens that we had a massive spike in CO2 while this all happened.

Do you think there were climatologists 200 or 300 years ago with satellite data and temperature sensors across the globe? How about a thousand years ago?

We only think there is something unusual going on because we've only been studying it an infinitesimal amount of time. Planetary climate cycles happens on a geologic scale. And we can't even get computer models to be accurate over a measly 10 year period.

We also think something unusual happens because of the media. Storms are suddenly referred to as "Superstorms", like Sandy. A heat wave happens somewhere, and it's attributed to global warming with "near record" (again we've only been recording temperatures for a pitifully insignificant time frame, but no matter) highs. A freeze somewhere else at the same time, and here's our newest buzzword, POLAR VORTEX!!! *queue danger music* That's right folks, because of your CO2, the POLAR VORTEX is here to claim your babies!! Oh wait, you mean that cyclical event that's been happening for thousands of years? Well, never mind that! Just be scared and trust us, the end is neigh unless you buy carbon credits or an EV!!!

Spikes in temperatures? Sea levels rising? Storm activity? It's all happened before, regardless of man, and will happen again.

RE: Get the stories straight
By homebredcorgi on 1/21/2014 10:48:16 PM , Rating: 1
Yes, climate cycles happen on a geologic scale. Except we are currently seeing changes that would normally take eons occur in less than a century. It also just happens to coincide with industrialization.

There are proxies and ways to infer temperatures and CO2 concentrations going back thousands and even tens of thousands of years. Computer models of "climate sensitivity" aim to predict how the climate will change if we significantly alter the CO2 in the atmosphere. Every study, be it based on glacial data, temperature measurements, volcanic eruptions, etc. has shown a high positive correlation to CO2 content in the atmosphere and increasing temperatures. By saying "it's changed before" you are actually invoking the argument for high climate sensitivity.

While I doubt you will read it, feel free:

RE: Get the stories straight
By Nfarce on 1/20/14, Rating: 0
RE: Get the stories straight
By flyingpants1 on 1/21/2014 2:09:32 AM , Rating: 4
It's actually almost a perfect analogy. In both cases, creating a bunch of smoke ruins everything. The people that profit from the smoke naturally want you to believe that smoke is harmless.

RE: Get the stories straight
By Nfarce on 1/21/2014 12:17:40 PM , Rating: 2
Wrong. We *know* what smoke does to lungs (any smoke for that matter, not just cigarette smoke). And the last time I checked, it has been decades since the cigarette manufacturers have been forced to put warning labels on the side of the boxes and what they have been *proven* to do to your health.

We don't need "computer models" and guesses on how it damages lungs, unlike what is used for forecasting both short term and long term weather forecasts, as well as global weather patterns in general. Take the last seven years of hurricane season forecasts for example post-Katrina. That "big one" was supposed to be the precursor to even bigger and more frequent storms. However, each successive year the forecasts of both the frequency and intensity of the hurricane seasons have had to be reduced.

And that's just regional where the models got it all wrong - the same models used for studying "climate change", not the entire planet.

RE: Get the stories straight
By KFZ on 1/21/2014 1:10:51 PM , Rating: 3
Yet we target smokers with campaigns, increased costs and banning it in public places while, unless you are willing to point to e-cigarettes as a rebuttal, doing nothing about the emissions or the product. People are informed of the risks and left to smoke if they want to. Curiously, I have to wonder if the above efforts aren't, in part, about fighting AGW, too.

On the other hand, climate change has kicked off public policy that's forcing changes on industry which affects everything. Everything from what cars are made (or no longer made) to what the landscape looks like (wind turbines) to where tax payer money is going (failed solar companies).

At this point it's not unreasonable to presume I'm an AGW skeptic, and it's important to note that when I say I've never heard any significant argument that says industrial pollution is harmless. What you *will* hear is that carbon dioxide in and of itself is not harmful to the environment. Anyone with that mentality would probably take a fish out of water and conclude that air is harmful to sea life.

Anyway, I'm not focused on "debunking" fact from fallacy, I'm primarily opposed to serious, idiotic apocalyptic theory and the absurd solutions put forward that don't even involve some of the world's biggest polluters.

In recent news, even the EU is backing off its ambitious goals, and why not? Why should they break their backs to make a difference beside the absolute filth in the third world who ignore even the bare minimum in environmental safety standards?

Skeptics don't want dirty air or the greed of industry to prevail over our environment. We do want common sense, and not only does it not exist in the public response to CC, there's not even significant global commitment to actually do something about it. Screw this idea of "leading the charge"; talk to us again when you get the worst offenders to actually make an effort. Until then stay off the CO2 hate-train, quit studying how much cows fart and do something useful like rebuild America's energy grid.

RE: Get the stories straight
By marvdmartian on 1/21/2014 2:31:43 PM , Rating: 2
Meanwhile, the cadre of scientists, most of whom are getting wheelbarrows full of grant money from the current administration for their man-made climate change "research", have absolutely no reason in the world to tip the apple cart over, and lose their golden egg-laying goose, do they?

Face it, most of these guys are making, at best, educated guesses as to what they THINK is happening. They're not better at guessing the facts than the guys who say it's all hogwash....and there's too much weird stuff going on to say whether it's man-made climate change, or just natural.

Until they can prove their point, this isn't denial, because it's not factual science.

RE: Get the stories straight
By Jeffk464 on 1/20/2014 9:02:41 PM , Rating: 2
PS - Supposedly multivitamins have no effect because very few americans are deficient in vitamins. If you look at food labels half the stuff you eat is fortified with vitamins.

RE: Get the stories straight
By amanojaku on 1/20/2014 9:23:09 PM , Rating: 2
First of all, the scientific community isn't one single entity, other than being a convenient term. There are thousands, maybe even millions, of scientists, each with their own field of study, level of competence, personal beliefs, and basic necessities (i.e. who's paying the checks). This leads to a lot of skewed opinions, despite the requirement for scientific fact.

No one knows what's going on with the weather, no matter how many times the temperatures are analyzed. The problem isn't the accuracy of the surface temperature records, or even the accuracy of the published reports. It's even simpler:

There isn't a single scientist of the face of the Earth who can explain every single variable that determines weather.

Scientists have found so many variables, significant and otherwise (and with varying degrees of significance - CO2 could account for as much as 25% of global warming, or as little as 9%), that the only thing they seize upon is greenhouse gases. They make a serious mistake that no scientist should make: they ASSUME an increasing trend in greenhouse gas emissions is the cause of an increasing trend in global temperatures. So when the numbers came out showing DECREASED temperatures during periods of high emissions, or INCREASED temperatures during periods of low emissions, folks were shocked. Thus, a lot of facts ended up massaged to fit the argument for or against global warming.

What scientists need to do is shut up and figure out how the weather works first. Just like there are formulas for the accelerating descent of an object due to gravity, there should be a formula for temperature. Complicated, sure, but well worth it. Time for some weather@home.

RE: Get the stories straight
By homebredcorgi on 1/21/2014 12:51:51 AM , Rating: 3
They are not assuming. They are hypothesizing using what we know of historical measurements and all known effects on climate. When the add in the measurements (increasing temperatures and a large spike in atmospheric CO2 levels) with the effects (solar, volcanic, oceans, etc). They can only account for the rapid rise in temperatures when they include the effects of global warming.

No physicist has a quantum model of gravity! By your logic we better stop flying because "there should just be a formula for it" first.

I would suggest scrolling down to the section titled "Do we know enough to act?":

RE: Get the stories straight
By Arsynic on 1/21/2014 10:37:24 AM , Rating: 2
One question I would like the AGW crowd to answer is this:

What would be proof that man made climate change isn't happening?

RE: Get the stories straight
By homebredcorgi on 1/21/2014 1:27:25 PM , Rating: 2
You would need to either 1) fundamentally change our understanding of gases in the atmosphere and how they absorb/reflect energy - something that started with Arrhenius in the 1850s and is pretty rock-solid. Or 2) would need to find a very large source/sink of energy that is not being accounted for correctly in the total energy balance. For instance, maybe the oceans absorb very little heat or the Earth reflects much less light than we have currently estimated. That would show that the science is currently incorrect and you would then have to relate that back to the spike in CO2 emissions just being a coincidence.

Believe it or not, the experts have thought about this and have tried very hard to get these estimates for energy balance correct. Are they perfect? No. But it would take an unprecedented discovery to dramatically alter the outcome.

Using the science we know, the only thing that explains the rising temperatures, sea level, etc. is factoring in a "greenhouse effect" largely caused by the spike in atmospheric CO2 (also measured) - which is almost certainly man-made.

RE: Get the stories straight
By Schrag4 on 1/22/2014 11:43:36 PM , Rating: 2
What if the spike in atmospheric CO2 was caused by the rising temperatures? Food for thought.

RE: Get the stories straight
By BZDTemp on 1/21/2014 3:38:22 AM , Rating: 3
Of course not all scientist agree - that is only a healthy thing (when you ignore that some disagree because they are payed to do so).

Global warming is about the average temperature on the globe going up and doing so in a rate that has never been seen before. And that the change follows trace of human activity especially the industrialization and the way we live today, since our Earth is a VERY complex system the average temperature going up it doesn't mean there won't be cold weather in places and for those freezing it is easy to overlook that others many have record heat.

The big fear is that unless we all do something about it, then we will see that not only does the average temperature keep going up and up it will change even faster. So far the consequences have been small compared to what might come, even though it is easy to say if ones house hasn't been blown away, burned down in a drought made fire or flooded in extreme rain.

RE: Get the stories straight
By troysavary on 1/21/2014 5:37:00 AM , Rating: 1
The global mean temp hasn't gone up in 10 years, and actually went down this year. These are natural cycles that have been going on since there was an earth. Arctic ice recovered significantly this winter, and is pretty close to what it has been for decades. Antarctic ice is actually higher than usual. Perhaps you heard the ironic story of global warming researchers getting stuck in the ice near south pole last December.

1000 tears ago, the Norse settled Greenland. So it was pretty warm then. 200 years ago, you could skate on the Thames, so it was colder then. Temps go up and down, and will continue to do so.

RE: Get the stories straight
By BZDTemp on 1/21/14, Rating: -1
RE: Get the stories straight
By Dorkyman on 1/23/2014 12:39:16 PM , Rating: 1
Add to all the bad stuff happening RIGHT NOW the fact that we've had record numbers of hurricanes. Oh, wait, sorry, just the opposite.

Well, then look at all the record numbers of tornadoes. Oh, wait, not happening either.

Well, how about the loss of polar ice? No? Crap.

Okay, well, CO2 has been classified as a pollutant by the EPA, who never gets anything wrong and never does anything for political purposes. What, CO2 is plant food, greatly increasing crop yields? Double crap.

Well, it's an article of faith to me that things are going to get really, really bad. So please don't try to use "evidence" or "logic" with me.

RE: Get the stories straight
By homebredcorgi on 1/21/2014 11:07:26 PM , Rating: 2
What do you see in this graph? Four periods of steady temperatures or one long period of increasing temperatures?

Arctic sea ice "recovered" because it was at all-time lows. It is actually still below the trendline for the last 60 years despite the "recovery", underscoring just how low it got a few years ago. See the first graph:

Antarctic ice is much more nuanced than you claim: Antarctic sea ice is increasing while land ice is decreasing.

RE: Get the stories straight
By idiot77 on 1/21/14, Rating: -1
RE: Get the stories straight
By flatrock on 1/21/2014 8:30:27 AM , Rating: 3
Human activity has contributed to global climate change.

Well the inherent arrogance of the human race makes it hard for us to believe we aren't effecting the world on a global scale.

The climate is warming slowly, though that seems in great part to be part of a natural cycle. The general consensus appears to be that mankind is contributing to that trend.

There appears to be generally more argument about how much we are contributing and will any changes we can make without drastic measures that would threaten huge numbers of lives and livelihoods, make any significant difference?

What is clear is that there are a lot of politicians that are using this threat to advance their agendas. We are supposed to be facing rises in ocean levels that will cause significant flooding of coastal areas. Are we planning on how to relocate all those people and that vital infrastructure? What about all our shipping ports and naval bases? It takes quite a few years to design, allocate resources for, and carry out the construction of infrastructure on such a scale, yet I haven't heard anything about plans for such things, or congress investigating what it will require. Instead we have more wealth redistribution programs and taxes. More power grabs in the UN. Same politics, different looming disaster.

RE: Get the stories straight
By idiot77 on 1/21/2014 9:57:30 AM , Rating: 2
To what end? Either it is a problem, and we can do something about it, or we try and fail, or it was never a problem.

Here's the problem: There is no reason for us to do things the way we are. Fossil fuels will run out. Now people keep prattling on about when that will be, unlikely in our lifetime, but it is a finite resource. That source is stored energy which is literally stored energy from light that hit the earth a few eons ago.

So again, why not change what we're doing? It obviously destorys the enviorment independent of climate change.

You seriously need to read more Jared Diamond.

Who's going to cut the last tree down on the island?

RE: Get the stories straight
By retrospooty on 1/21/2014 10:54:34 AM , Rating: 2
Regardless of the climate we need to ween off of oil for alot of reasons having nothing to do with a warmer climate.

#1. Economy. We need to get off of oil so we can stop buying it from countries and people that despise us, that is making them rich and us poorer.

#2. Politics. (see #1) We also need to get the hell out of the middle east. Leave it alone, they dont want us there period. We are creating an enemy that doesnt need to exist. Give them back their hole.

#3. Environment. Not the climate change, but the air quality. Anyone anyhere near a large city sees the smog layer. Breathing it in cant possibly be a good thing.

#4. Oil wont last forever and as it gets harder and harder to cheaply extract, those with it will jack the price and use it to their advantage.

That is plenty reason enough, climate change or not, we need to ween off it.

RE: Get the stories straight
By ebakke on 1/21/2014 11:28:52 AM , Rating: 2
#1 - If people cared, they would seek out gasoline (and other fossil fuel based products) from domestic sources. We, by and large, don't.
#2 - That's not an oil issue, that's a foreign policy issue.
#3 - I find this to be the most convincing argument against burning, well, anything.
#4 - Natural economic pressure will for us off oil when a suitable alternative exists.

You listed a bunch of reasons why you think we should stop consuming oil, yet you completely ignored all of the reasons why we use it today. Without a clear understanding of the latter, you'll never find a solution that allows you to kick oil for good. Well, unless you put a gun to everyone's face and stay, "stop or I'll shoot".

RE: Get the stories straight
By retrospooty on 1/21/2014 2:41:42 PM , Rating: 2
"#1 - If people cared, they would seek out gasoline (and other fossil fuel based products) from domestic sources. We, by and large, don't."
You are right, by and large we don't. I am saying we should.

"#2 - That's not an oil issue, that's a foreign policy issue."
Driven by Oil.

"#4 - Natural economic pressure will for us off oil when a suitable alternative exists."
That is true If it doesn't come to a flash point before that tech exists. If we don't plan for it and take steps, that tech wont ever happen.

RE: Get the stories straight
By ebakke on 1/21/2014 3:47:57 PM , Rating: 2
"You are right, by and large we don't. I am saying we should."
Meh. I'd rather encourage people to make an educated choice than encourage them to make the choice I made.

"Driven by Oil."
Prove it. While there may be a truly evil congressman or two who would choose to engage in war solely to pad their own portfolio, I think it's far more likely that they engage in these middle eastern wars for other reasons. A few that come to mind: American arrogance - the thought that we have the best form of governance and we must force others to adopt it as well (or "help" them in creating their own). The vicious cycle of violence - "they killed us, we must kill them back!" or "if we don't go there first, they'll hit us tomorrow!" Nationalism. The guilt associated with being the world's only real superpower (for the time being) and the perception by some that this obligates us to be the world's police.

That is true If it doesn't come to a flash point before that tech exists. If we don't plan for it and take steps, that tech wont ever happen.
I don't believe that for a second. As more oil is consumed and it's harder to extract more, it'll naturally become more expensive. This will swing the pendulum in favor of other technologies that are currently prohibitively expensive. You'll also have added years of research to drive costs of existing technologies down, as well as provide new technologies. It won't be some hard "OMG - NO GAS!" switch. And even if it were... it'd suck for a few months, maybe a year. And then we'd figure out a replacement. Necessity is the mother of all invention, after all.

RE: Get the stories straight
By retrospooty on 1/21/14, Rating: 0
RE: Get the stories straight
By Reclaimer77 on 1/21/2014 5:46:57 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry but I think he gets this a bit more man. Anyone who thinks we're just going to run out of oil one day and go "uhhhh, now what?" just isn't being realistic.

Hell we'll probably be driving on algae biodiesel in our lifetimes.

RE: Get the stories straight
By retrospooty on 1/21/2014 6:17:55 PM , Rating: 2
Who said anything remotely like that suddenly running out one day? I said "as it gets harder and harder to cheaply extract, those with it will jack the price and use it to their advantage"

That scenario will happen. It's not even a question of if, but when.

RE: Get the stories straight
By ebakke on 1/21/2014 7:28:18 PM , Rating: 2
And here again you claim (or at least imply) that the relationship between the cost to extract oil and its price are not proportional. You say when it gets "harder and harder" (implying some kind of gradual scale) sellers will "jack the price" (implying a disproportionate increase). I think it's much, much more likely the price will gradually increase as demand gradually increases and supply gradually becomes more expensive to procure.

Which, like I said, is the natural economic pressure that will force us off oil as a suitable alternative comes into existence.

RE: Get the stories straight
By ebakke on 1/21/2014 7:34:45 PM , Rating: 1
Hmm. I thought we were having a discussion.

You don't win arguments or convince others your opinions are sound simply by declaring your opponent stupid and walking away. Even with a winky face. I'm all for ignoring your post and continuing the discourse if you'd like to respond to my arguments. What do you say?

RE: Get the stories straight
By retrospooty on 1/21/2014 9:57:51 PM , Rating: 2
No offense meant, I meant that if you think our involvement in the middle East isn't about oil, you are burying your head in the sand. Even Afghanistan is about oil indirectly. We are there because of Al Qaeda/Bin Ladens connections and the Taliban and the fact that they attacked us... But they hate us and attacked us because of our previous meddling in what they consider their holy land. We have been there meddling for decades because of oil.

Other than that, I agree free market should drive this but if we aren't ready and working on alternatives we won't have them ready when needed. Gas prices will spike massively and we go into a massive recession. Nothing wrong with being prepared. It won't last forever, and people pissing on new tech acting like oil is a limitless burden free gift from above isn't helping.

RE: Get the stories straight
By ebakke on 1/21/2014 10:57:12 PM , Rating: 1
We have been there meddling for decades because of oil.
You keep claiming this without offering any evidence to support it. Where's the smoking gun? Or even some evidence, outside of the indisputable fact that we consume oil and they produce it. Iran also produces saffron. Does that mean any future involvement with Iran would be over saffron? Few things in Washington stay secret, particularly juicy career-ending stories like "all those on the senate foreign relations committee voting 'yes' for war have a strong financial investment in the war industry". You know Kucinich would be screaming that to every possible news outlet if he had it.

Other than that, I agree free market should drive this but if we aren't ready and working on alternatives we won't have them ready when needed. You're working yourself up over nothing. People will always look for better, cheaper ways to do things. They're doing it today and they'll do it tomorrow. And until something better comes around, we'll keep consuming the resource(s) we have. We aren't going to suddenly wake up one morning to zero gas and armageddon.

I mean, cripes. Look at the last 10 years as evidence. 10 years ago gasoline was ~$1.50/gal and few people drove hybrid let alone electric cars. We didn't have nearly as much natural gas available to us. And solar power was only used by the hippies. 10 years later, gas is twice as expensive and that price increase has made other alternatives more appealing to many more people.

RE: Get the stories straight
By retrospooty on 1/22/2014 7:08:33 AM , Rating: 2
"You keep claiming this without offering any evidence to support it. Where's the smoking gun? "

Come on, that is like proving the NSA has been spying on all of us 2 years ago before Snowden outed it... OF course its about Oil... Oil drives our economy and our richest companies and people. This is what I meant by the head in the sand comment. If you don't want to see I cant make you see. To be honest, I dont think we fundamentally disagree on anything other than that... My point here is that we need to get off oil, at least ween down so that it isnt so important, so that if one crazy dictator int he middle east decides to threaten blocking oil shipments prices don't spike. When Iran threatens that and prices jump 50 cents on the mere threat, and we are told it could go to $6 a gallon if he actually blockades the gulf (even though we know our Navy is vastly superior and it wouldnt be log lived) we are too dependent. It isnt healthy. That is all I am saying. There is no getting worked up, just stating it needs to happen and people that piss all over new tech and act like oil is permanent gift from above need to wake up.

RE: Get the stories straight
By ebakke on 1/22/2014 11:57:40 AM , Rating: 2
OF course its about Oil [...] If you don't want to see I cant make you see.
What you're describing is speculative, at best. You're looking at a single data point between the US and the countries we've fought in the middle east and declaring that it's "obvious" this is the reason we've fought over there. It's not obvious. To make a claim like that the onus is on you to provide the proof to back it up. It'd be much, much more convincing if you had something other than just "they produce oil, we consume oil, we fought them - it must be about oil". Show me something. Show me a link between the Congressional votes and individual Congressmen's investments from their Personal Financial Disclosure. Show me campaign contributions by X to Y where X has a financial interest in oil, and Y keeps voting for war. Show me something. Anything.

By your current logic, and without any evidence, I could claim we're fighting them for any number of common traits: their darker skin, their religion, the fact that they live in a desert, our alliance with Israel, etc.

To be honest, I dont think we fundamentally disagree on anything other than that...
:-/ You want the free market to drive it, but you also want us to do it faster than the market forces dictate. You want the free market to drive it, but you also claim "if we don't plan for it and take steps, that tech wont ever happen." The free market is not something that's centrally planned. It works on its own by millions (billions) of individual decisions and reactions to those decisions. You believe that "we need to get off oil, at least ween down so that it isnt so important". I don't. We'll move away from oil when there's an economic reason to do so.

It seems we have more disagreement than just the rationale for our military interventionism.

RE: Get the stories straight
By retrospooty on 1/22/2014 12:35:44 PM , Rating: 2
"What you're describing is speculative, at best"

Umm... OK.

"You want the free market to drive it, but you also want us to do it faster than the market forces dictate. You want the free market to drive it, but you also claim "if we don't plan for it and take steps, that tech wont ever happen." The free market is not something that's centrally planned. "

You are reading an awful lot into that. I never said that. I just mean what I said "people that piss all over new tech and act like oil is permanent gift from above need to wake up". This being the legions of people that piss all over any and all research and autos that use anything buy ICE.

RE: Get the stories straight
By ebakke on 1/22/2014 1:39:13 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps I'm reading things you didn't say.

By "we need to do" this, "we need to do" that, if "we aren't doing" X then "we won't have [X] ready when needed" it definitely gives the impression that you're advocating we, collectively the people of the United States, should act a certain way. The only collective action that can be taken by us (or more accurately, on our behalf) is by the US government. Decrying the people who don't agree with your evaluation as having their "head in the sand" and "acting like oil is a limitless burden free gift from above isn't helping" gives the impression that you believe to have the right answer and these other stupid people are simply impeding our collective progress. So it reads to me like you're advocating for market interventionism by the government.

But if you say you're not, I'll take you at your word. In return, I'd appreciate not being accused of "piss[ing] all over new tech and act[ing] like oil is permanent gift from above".

I don't think it's permanent. I don't think there's a man in the sky that could give us gifts. And I still don't think electric vehicles are ready to replace ICE vehicles. I don't think electric engines are ready to replace ICE in my lawnmower or chainsaw. I don't think solar or wind power is a suitable replacement for an oil-fired boiler. If that makes me a "hater" or a "pisser" in your eyes, then you're simply ignoring the economic realities.

RE: Get the stories straight
By retrospooty on 1/22/2014 12:48:25 PM , Rating: 2
And BTW, a quick 10 seconds search on Google yealded this...

And many many many more. To think that oil doesn't drive our foreign policy in the middle east and hasn't since the automobile age is absolutely absurd. Its why we are involved, it is why we pull strings and it is why they hate us. I am not saying its a good reason to kill, terrorists are scum, but its all about our foreign policy in the middle east which revolves around oil.

RE: Get the stories straight
By ebakke on 1/22/2014 1:46:45 PM , Rating: 2
I don't dispute that trade is one of many criteria considered when deciding to engage in war. I dispute the claim that the trade of oil is the reason we've waged war. I don't have time to read your links while at work - I'll check them out tonight.

RE: Get the stories straight
By retrospooty on 1/22/2014 3:03:38 PM , Rating: 1
Who said "war". You keep bringing that word in. I said oil is a large driver for our middle east foreign policy, you read "We went to war for oil" - no-one said that. The oil, the money and the strings we pull because of it is what made so much of the anti US sentiment in the middle east.

How would we feel if (hypothetically) corn somehow became a massive cash crop, and other countries started trying to manipulate and pull strings on the backs of farmers and thier families and our local and state govts? We woul dbe pissed, and we would have new enemies.

All I am saying is that we need to get off of it. Lets get the hell out of that craphole that is the middle east, without oil, we dont need it. Let them go back to hating and killing each other like they have for the past 6000+ years. All we are doing is giving their hate a target.

RE: Get the stories straight
By ebakke on 1/22/2014 3:25:11 PM , Rating: 2
I said war because you were talking about our actions creating enemies. Given the fact that our involvement in the middle east has included several wars, in addition to you talking about enemies, us "being there" in Afghanistan, and people killing each other, it isn't that much of a stretch. But, sure, I agree that our interactions with middle eastern countries is more than military interventionism.

All I am saying is that we need to get off of it. Lets get the hell out of that craphole that is the middle east, without oil, we dont need it.
And I'm saying neither is a prerequisite to the other. We can stop interfering with the middle east and still consume oil. And we can keep interfering with the middle east even if we stopped consuming oil. It's a foreign policy choice by our elected officials; it is not a natural consequence of consuming oil.

RE: Get the stories straight
By retrospooty on 1/22/2014 3:45:22 PM , Rating: 2
"It's a foreign policy choice by our elected officials; it is not a natural consequence of consuming oil."

That's a fair enough statement in itself, but the damage is done and the hatred is there... They want us out. We wont get out as long as we need oil. It just wont happen. Whatever, I stand behind the 4 points I said above as to good reasons to get off oil as a society. I think your dissenting points are kind of short sighted IMHO, but we can differ, no worries.

RE: Get the stories straight
By ebakke on 1/22/2014 3:58:27 PM , Rating: 2
What fun would the world be if we all agreed on everything? No fun. No fun at all.

Thanks for the spirited discussion... even if you are wrong ;)

RE: Get the stories straight
By retrospooty on 1/22/2014 4:58:37 PM , Rating: 2
"Thanks for the spirited discussion... even if you are wrong ;)"

LOL... I thought that about you

RE: Get the stories straight
By Reclaimer77 on 1/22/2014 11:42:22 PM , Rating: 2
Well you've certainly gone full blown liberal on this one bud.

RE: Get the stories straight
By retrospooty on 1/23/2014 2:12:21 PM , Rating: 2
If it were anyone else, I wouldnt notice, but for you, "liberal" is worse than an insult. What exactly do you disagree with out of those 4 points?

RE: Get the stories straight
By ClownPuncher on 1/21/2014 1:16:45 PM , Rating: 2
We get most of our oil from Canada, and quite a bit of it from ourselves.

Yes, get out of the middle east, but that's not really an oil game. Afghanistan has no oil.

Environment - make more efficient cars, which we are.

RE: Get the stories straight
By retrospooty on 1/21/2014 2:43:44 PM , Rating: 3
Oil comes from all over the place and the middle east is rich with it. Like almost happened a few years back, if Iran blockades the gulf, gas will instantly shoot to $6 a gallon. The Middle east matters when it comes to oil, regardless of who we buy from directly.

RE: Get the stories straight
By ClownPuncher on 1/21/2014 3:15:42 PM , Rating: 1
Only due to an outdated and outmoded cartel and our shady political ties to some of those nations.

RE: Get the stories straight
By idiot77 on 1/21/14, Rating: 0
RE: Get the stories straight
By powerwerds on 1/21/2014 10:35:28 AM , Rating: 3
I sir have prepared a spectacular cookie of irony, baked to perfection and served to you, for your likewise spectacular display of reason. The way you comment with insistence, the way you deprecate your fellow denizens, and the way you disparage that which you pilgrimage has left you undeniably meritorious. Bask and glow in your accolades, and enjoy their savory sweetness.

RE: Get the stories straight
By TSS on 1/21/2014 10:07:52 AM , Rating: 4
I'll deny that. And the reason why is pure and simple too.

How can we contribute to global warming when the earth is cooling?

And i'm not just talking the last few years i'm talking pre 1940 for example. after 140 years of industrial activity, most of which was a heck of alot less clean that the stuff we burn now (with cities covered in rust for example), how could the earth ever cool? Well it sure did. Significantly, too.

pre-1980 it was all about global cooling. Which we humans contributed to, aswell. How can we contribute to both global warming and global cooling?

And even if that's possible, i still would not agree with your statement simply because it's stating the obvious. Wether we contributed 1% or 0,00000000000000000001%, it'd still be true. Change it to climate change, i'll still say the same, ofcourse we contribute to the changing climate we're part of that climate! how could we not have any effect?

The question is faulty. The question should be; did we contibute *significantly* to the change of climate? And my awnser would forever be, no. No we did not. To think we humans have an impact even remotely as large as the clouds, the oceans, the volcano's, all other animals living combined, the forests etc, is pure arrogancy.

Maybe i'll look crazy now. But what i *believe*, which is still what we're talking about here because nobody has any definitive data on the subject since climate research is still in it's infancy at best and has been already corrupted by many political agenda's, is that in 100 maybe 1000 years time, it'll look like only 1% of the world remained sane.

Which, considering the state of the rest of human life such as economics, politics, mass consumerism, whole sale spying activies, pop culture etc, still seems perfectly plausible.

RE: Get the stories straight
By retrospooty on 1/22/2014 3:53:01 PM , Rating: 2
"nobody has any definitive data on the subject since climate research is still in it's infancy at best and has been already corrupted by many political agenda's"

That is totally true. How many examples have we seen where ice measurements are taken one year in the winter and 3 years later in the summer and of course, in the summer the ice has receded. Then they sound the alarm - "The sky is fal... The ice is melting". ... NO tell me with all those years in schools acquiring that PHD and years of studying the issue in the field cant tell you to take the reading at a consistent time of year to compare against previous years? Of course they know that, the "alarm" is being sounded as part of an agenda.

Like I said above, there are plenty of good reasons to get off oil... Economic, political, air quality, etc... None of those god reasons are "climate change". The Earth will be fine. Its been here alot longer than us and been through alot worse than we can throw at it including an all out nuke fest.

RE: Get the stories straight
By tanjali on 1/21/2014 10:30:51 AM , Rating: 2
“Global Warming” terminology is so irrelevant, it is CO2 emissions here that is important.
Global Warming is only confusion for general populace and it can mean many things.
Increased Earth tilting can cause variation in temperatures and I still couldn’t figure out what is causing Earth to tilt. Maybe Moon is artificially hold in unnatural orbit in relation to Earth and Sun, making Earth tilting violently, and making, besides seasons, havoc in weather and other disasters.
I agree CO2 emissions probably can’t permanently change weather or Terraforming Earth for some kind of Extraterrestrial invasion, but it can influence health and wellbeing of Earth inhabitants globally.
Increase of cancerous diseases, asthmas and allergies, slower brain activity, premature death.

RE: Get the stories straight
By Arsynic on 1/21/2014 10:32:17 AM , Rating: 2
Scientists has always been beholden to whoever controls the money and power. Those that don't are persecuted and marginalized by the people with the money and those that they bought off. Ask Galileo.

In the past the Catholic Church had the scientific community in it's pockets. Whatever the church believed was what "science" proved. Today, the ones with the money and power are governments and their politicians. They threaten the scientific community with "death" by starvation and ridicule. The scientific community is only as good as who finances the research. There are only two possible sources: Grants from private industry and government with the vast majority coming from the latter. If I'm a scientist and my livelihood relies on a steady stream of government grants, I'm going to bias my research so that I'll be awarded the grant.

If you're a biologist studying the mating habits of South American flying squirrels, there aren't many grants out there. However, if you change that subject to "The Effect of Climate Change on the Mating Habits of the South American Flying Squirrel" you have many government grants you can apply for. And when you accept that grant, what do you think you're going to say when a survey comes across your desk asking if you believe in man made climate change.

Even then a lot of people believe in man made climate change like myself, but don't believe it has a negative long term affect on the ecology. I certainly don't believe in the draconian efforts to limit it that are really just a socialist money-making scheme and another boogey man created by the socialist movement which has hi-jacked so many special interests including the environmentalists.

RE: Get the stories straight
By Director12 on 1/21/2014 3:23:11 PM , Rating: 2
I'm still waiting to see the peer-reviewed scientific consensus that proves that more tax plus carbon derivative trading scams is how we fix this purported global disaster. Let's face it, if the worlds governments wanted to reduce CO2 emissions they could have done so easily by now. The more it drags on and more practical inaction I see the more I'm convinced that the real game here is just so separate us from even more of our money.

By Motoman on 1/20/2014 8:47:38 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Actuality
By Dorkyman on 1/20/2014 9:53:04 PM , Rating: 4
Slate is not generally known to be impartial.

That said, sure, the climate is changing. It is always changing. And I'm pretty comfortable with the argument that going to 400ppm from 300ppm in CO2 is a factor. Just how big a factor is the question.

And if it's a factor, then so what? Mankind will not willingly reverse course on fossil fuel use. The developing world wants what the USA and Europe already have. And China is developing so rapidly it's been said that if the USA went to zero (ZERO!) CO2 emissions, the increase in emissions by China would put us back where we were in just a few years.

Finally, I'd think we should be more concerned with a cooling planet in terms of growing food to feed a growing population than a warming planet, especially since this so-called "pollutant" is plant food. Adapt and be happy to have the gift of life. Enjoy the sunshine. Enjoy your family.

RE: Actuality
By homebredcorgi on 1/21/2014 12:28:03 AM , Rating: 4
So you immediately dismiss the link that OP gave (which was very pertinent to the topic of this article) based solely on the source website?

But just for fun, if you actually want to see some of the science that refute your claims:

The climate has always been changing:

Global Cooling:

Ugh. Plant food? Really?:

RE: Actuality
By Jeffk464 on 1/21/2014 12:58:08 AM , Rating: 2
This argument I at least get, you accept the best evidence of what is happening but then just say who cares. By the way population will always match the amount of food you can produce, it cant do otherwise.

I'm in denial
By cmart on 1/21/2014 10:27:30 AM , Rating: 2
Did the denial have an uptick when the global warming exploration ship got stuck in the ice?

RE: I'm in denial
By Arsynic on 1/21/2014 10:58:29 AM , Rating: 2
What's even more funny and sad at the same time is that we had to go to alternative media to find out that the scientists were doing AGW research.

But all we heard from the mainstream state-run media (AP, New York Times, Washington Post) is that there were "researchers" stuck on the vessel.

The AP needs to change it's name to the "Activist Press". They just don't want to report the news, they want to create perception and change public opinion.

RE: I'm in denial
By Reclaimer77 on 1/21/2014 12:01:40 PM , Rating: 2
Research? Hell every time I heard it mentioned by the mainstream media they were calling it a "tour". Seriously, tour!?

How much you want to bet the evil "Faux" news called it like it was?

RE: I'm in denial
By MikeDiction on 1/21/2014 12:41:36 PM , Rating: 2
How much you want to bet the evil "Faux" news called it like it was?

Every cent I own and can borrow.

That said the NBC/CBS/ABC demand driven journalism rarely calls it right either.

Everything is OK
By flyingpants1 on 1/21/14, Rating: 0
RE: Everything is OK
By Tony Swash on 1/21/2014 9:12:28 AM , Rating: 2
Humanity deserves whatever it gets at this point.

It is. What humanity has actually been getting over the last forty plus years is the single largest improvement in human welfare ever achieved. Because of the addiction to a culture of pessimism many people have simple failed to notice how spectacularly things have improved.

Three simple statistics showing how much things have improved.

Average global life expectancy is now 70 years

Average global births per woman is now 2.5 and falling.

The global rate of adult literacy is now 84 per cent

There is absolutely no evidence of any of the ongoing positive trends in improvement in human welfare slowing down.

RE: Everything is OK
By Arsynic on 1/21/2014 10:54:05 AM , Rating: 2
I think the brake lines in our car are being cut. You think they're perfectly fine. I say we should slow down, and yet you insist on speeding.

Another shitty analogy.

Here's a more accurate one:

You tell me brake lines were cut on my car and I've been driving 50 miles already with no loss of brake pressure, yet you insist that I go to a specific mechanic to get it fixed. Then I go home and do some research and I find out that your brother is the mechanic and you have a stake in the business.

You're mad because I'm not a sucker.

RE: Everything is OK
By cmart on 1/21/2014 5:17:07 PM , Rating: 3
The car seems to have rolled to a stop. Yet we seem to have people who insist on screaming "The brakes! The brakes!" while refusing to look out the window to see that we're stationary.

Of course..
By coburn_c on 1/21/2014 12:45:26 AM , Rating: 1
the planet is warmer. Even without the greenhouse effect the dramatic increase in population of all animal life and heat created from energy expenditure would warm it to some degree. The real question is what are the effects and how we deal with them. Self imposed rationing and making our lives shittier shouldn't be the solution.

RE: Of course..
By ppardee on 1/21/2014 4:38:45 PM , Rating: 3
Warmer than when? An arbitrary time chosen to make the point? Instead of looking at the last 150 years lets look at the last 100 million years. The planet is 10C colder than it has been for the majority of its history. 150 years is NOTHING in the lifetime of the planet. We are also at a record CO2 deficit.

Its not possible...
By Jim_Liquor on 1/21/2014 7:11:44 AM , Rating: 2
.. to have it both ways. It was "global warming" ... that wasn't true so now its "climate change". That's great. the climate is changing. Real brilliant there.

You can't have it both ways folks. It cannot be getting COLDER and WARMER.

Add to that the mainstream, left wing media saying anything and everything they can to protect the Democrat party, as well as just loving to scare everyone to death in an attempt to get ratings, and what we have here is bad comedy.

RE: Its not possible...
By carage on 1/21/2014 7:54:33 AM , Rating: 2
That is what I was thinking.
They need to get the story straight,
how could it be both getting warmer and colder?
Now they just conveniently invent a new term called climate change so it covers any direction. Ha!

So, how about some facts for a change...?
By boeush on 1/21/2014 7:57:36 PM , Rating: 1
The great decadal "pause"/"hiatus" in global warming (??):

Comments? Questions?

By skeansmith on 1/23/2014 12:01:29 PM , Rating: 2
These silly charts do not mean a thing. I feel in my heart nothing is wrong and the earth will never be impacted in a negative way that could hurt mankind. Scientist are just trying to scare us with manipulated data so they can get our money.
End of standard rebuttal

By evo slevven on 1/21/2014 1:59:36 AM , Rating: 2
Because models and theories preclude just that; they are simply postulating an idea that may or may not be right. The problem with the climate is that its not like postulating ideas about quantum mechanics; you can label individuals "conservatives" and say the environment issue is out of context and vastly exaggerated. In fact you're entitled to believe that if you wish. Likewise you can also label people "liberals" and say that man-made pollutants are making the situation worse.

The only thing that distresses me overall with the environment is that Earth only has so many finite resources and we are very prone to fudging them up. We need only think about W. Virginia as an example. In some cases playing it safe isn't such a bad thing because if we play it wrong, well lets just not go there. I'm not an environmentalist but I do believe that there are a finite number of resources at our disposal and that once exhausted, things become increasingly grim.

A summary
By Tony Swash on 1/21/2014 9:01:30 AM , Rating: 2
Here is how I would summarise the situation.

There has been a gentle warming of about, or just under, one degree celsius over the last 100 years. That warming marked the end of the Little Ice Age and the recovery of temperatures to around, possibly slightly above, where they were before the Little Ice Age.

There are at least two phenomena associated with that warming that might be it’s cause (of course there may be other mechanisms at work that we don’t know about).

a) An increase in human emitted CO2

b) The long solar grand maxima that occurred in the 20th century during which solar activity was at an 8000 year high

Probably both (a) and (b) have contributed to the 20th century warming. However separating out which caused what proportion of the warming is very hard. If you look at the actual results returned by climate scientists in the famous ’95% consensus’ survey you will see many climate scientists openly acknowledge the impossibility of confidently allocating the proportion of warming caused by CO2 and natural causes.

Numerous climate models based on the CO2 hypothesis have been built and have produced projections about what the surface temperature would do under various scenarios for various levels of CO2. Those projections have been falsified by the actual temperature data and it is pretty clear that those models run too hot (i.e. that they over estimate future CO2 warming trends).

The sun is now entering a very quite period of reduced solar activity, a process that started over ten years ago, and which will last for many years to come. There has been no increase in the surface temperature since 1998 even though total human emitted CO2 in the atmosphere has increased by 25% since then.

Given the actual evolution of the earth’s surface temperature corresponding with a known increase in CO2 it is very reasonable to argue that the evidence is getting very strong that the climate sensitivity to CO2 is low and that therefore the most we can expect from a doubling of CO2 in the next 100 years is somewhere between 1 and 2 degrees. A rise of one degree would mean coping with an identical rise as has happened in the last 100 years.

The effect of the adoption of theories, policies and funding based on CO2 being a driver of dangerous climate change has been to:

- Increase funding for climate related research by more than a factor of 1000. It is difficult for scientists in any field to embrace positions that would result in massive reductions in the future flow of research funding

- significantly strengthened the global green political movement that existed prior to the popularisation of the global warming theory and which had pre-existing idealogical objections to fossil fuel exploitation, ongoing economic growth, and many other aspects of modern life. The theory of dangerous climate change driven by CO2 is now a central pillar of a very large, very influential, international political movement.

- Been the foundation upon which very large, often international, public sector bureaucracies have been built which, like all bureaucracies, are populated by career bureaucrats seeking to increase their remits and budgets, and to improve the security of their chosen career path domain ("There is no passion like that of a functionary for his function" - Georges Clemenceau).

If the earths temperature does not rise in the next decade, and especially if it falls, the evidence that the solar impact on climate is much stronger than the CO2 impact will be very strong indeed.

All talk of hidden heat, or warming of a thousandth of a degree in the deep oceans (based on data only stretching back a few years) is just an attempt to shore up a theory in the face of challenging data. The proponents of the strong case for CO2 warming made over the course of many years very confident and assertive predictions about the surface temperature. Their theory will and must live or die by those predictions.

By Flunk on 1/21/2014 9:30:16 AM , Rating: 2
This article is very confused and relates a lot of things to each other that are not related. The number of people who believe in global warming is not in any way related to if global warming is actually occurring (which is not really under debate in the scientific community anymore). At this point it's more about people not paying attention to the scientific community as a whole. This entire "debate" has been manufactured by the media.

Also, you stated that civil engineering is a related field to climate science. That's hilariously incorrect. At least physics is related, but arguably physics is related to everything.

By Arsynic on 1/21/2014 10:11:43 AM , Rating: 2
There may be a direct correlation.

The first
By Dr of crap on 1/21/2014 12:32:36 PM , Rating: 2
pro warming person with some sense. IF the globe is warming, then humans will not be wiped off the planet. I can agree with this guys statements. SO I have no agreement with him OTHER than the media have bachelor degrees and as such do not spew nonsense and hype.

That is what they get paid to do - spew nonsense and hype!

we control the past apparently
By moremilk on 1/21/2014 1:15:25 PM , Rating: 2
Nearly 100% of scientists believe climate change is caused by humans. Apparently, until 300 years ago, the climate was perfectly stable. Either that, or our impact is do disruptive that it affects the past as well ...

seriously though, saying that 97% of scientists believe climate change is affected by our activity is so stupidly useless. On one hand, it's obvious that we affect the climate to some extent. It's also obvious that massive climate changes happened very regularly in the past without any human presence.

So the only pertinent questions is, do humans have enough of an impact to alter these massive cycles in our planet's evolution? We, and our 3% global increase in the planet's carbon dioxide emissions?

I find it very hard to believe such a small change in a factor that oscillates naturally by much larger amounts can be significant.

On the other hand, it's quite easy to destroy a planet's environment in other ways, such as the CFL debacle, or say an atomic war. Depletion of minerals and energy sources is real and an immediate danger. Even if the population stays constant and level of use doesn't increase, we still have, at best, 1000 years of resources left. And that's probably 5x as much there will actually be, because population will keep growing and more and more people will get access to more luxuries.

So there's lots of reasons for thinking green. Global warming is not one of them, and it's doing a lot of harm to what should be the real issues at hand. Because, even if it was true, global warming is not bad. There's nothing inherently worse in the planet being warmer. For billions it will create temporary disruptions and may not be pleasant for a few decades. But in the long run? Probably zero impact. Running out of coal/oil/gas on the other hand could destroy the race if it happens explosively enough.

the easy solution
By moremilk on 1/21/2014 1:20:12 PM , Rating: 2
of course, there is an easy solution. Given that cows emit more CO2 than the rest of everything we do, and that meat is such an inefficient way to generate energy for consumption, we should just kill all cows and switch to soy instead.

wonder how much popular support would this solution get ... :)

I rest my case.
By Hammer1024 on 1/21/2014 2:20:47 PM , Rating: 2
I. Do You Believe?

And when "Science" becomes belief, I'm out'a here! This is my problem with the toothless hockey-stick crowd...

BELIEF IS NOT SCIENCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

By drycrust3 on 1/21/2014 5:00:15 PM , Rating: 2
...or at any rate, without the distortion of prejudice, ...

I never thought I would one day quote Huxley, but in this case he is right, you should treat your research data in an impartial manner, but that isn't what we hear. This could be a classic example of how to write a TV soap!
First we had scientists from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit that didn't like the fact that the raw data gathered faithfully by Meteorologists from all over the world for over 100 years didn't fit their favourite climate change theories, so one had to change, either the data or their theory, and just as you'd expect in a soap they changed the data so it matched.
Well, just as in any good soap, they wrote up their reports showing how great well the rigged data fitted their favourite theories, but, "Oh no!": they suddenly realised the peer review system might catch them out, so what to do now? Hide the corrupted data and the reports they had written based on it or rig the peer review system so their reports would be accepted as valid?
"Look to the right, look to the left, anyone watching? Lets rig the system!" So their reports based on rigged data were published! Oh, the glory, the accolades, maybe even a Nobel Prize!
Ah ha! But you forgot this is a soap! Just as the Champagne glasses were clinking because of the rave reviews and the number of sitations their reports were getting, who sneaks in from the wings but the mystery hacker! "Hello world ... hello world ... HELLO WORLD! What do we have here? Boy, is these are too good to keep to myself, this is so classic".
"Ummm ... Excuse me Professor, but have ... oh, yes you have read the front page of the newspaper!"

It's simple...
By petrosy on 1/21/2014 5:42:30 PM , Rating: 2
Those scientists and politicians that deny climate change(GW)need to leave there addresses on some mailing list that will be sent out to the general public when the sh*t hits the fan. I want to eat them first!!!!

Even if GW is not real... which it is! We are still polluting the crap out of our planet and those that deny GW just give polluters free reign to continue transforming our planet into a garbage dump.

Mick says it's ok everybody, we're saved!
By fortiori on 1/21/2014 6:23:34 PM , Rating: 1
In the aftermath of fossil fuel depletion, I think we'll look back and realize how much we overstated the dangers and understated the gains of global warming. As I said, the climate is constantly changing; if the dinosaurs could thrive in a warmed globe, so can we.

Wow. wow-e-wow-wow. Debate over guys. Let's all give Mick a big round of applause combined with a healthy dose of our undying gratitude and put AWG to bed once and for all. Mick has taken in all the trillions of AWG variables, has calculated them, and has found no danger. We can all rest easy.

After all, if the dinosaurs could thrive in a warmed globe, so can we.

The coronation will commence tomorrow at noon.

By ooofest on 1/21/2014 11:47:32 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah, Jason has been posting some entries lately that have been more than implicitly political lately, but this explicit climate change denialism is simply dangerous to foster on a Tech blog, IMHO. Even if unintended.

I have been referring people to his articles through a relatively apolitical weekly news digest - on a well-known political blog - for years. That activity stops as of today.

Less Politics?
By elvischannel on 1/23/2014 12:00:09 PM , Rating: 2
The issue of climate change cannot be anything but politics. As we are no longer sparse populations of hunters and gatherers, we simply can't pack up and move to a better location if climate change occurs. With defined national boundaries and real estate ownership now, conflict is bound to arise if land changes for the better or worse, or disappears altogether. Is neighboring India going to take in two hundred million Bangladeshis flooded out of their submerged country? How many American farmers will Canada welcome as the wheat belt moves north? What happens when the snow melt of the Himalayas declines and reduces the life giving flow of the major rivers of China, India, and Southeast Asia. Will Russia allow the hundreds of millions thus affected settle a newly warm and productive Siberia? It is and always will be politics first and foremost.

By Visual on 1/28/2014 8:52:38 AM , Rating: 2
Coincidentally, yesterday's xkcd seems relevant.

Pretty crap comparison
By macca007 on 1/21/14, Rating: 0
"My sex life is pretty good" -- Steve Jobs' random musings during the 2010 D8 conference

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