TCS Daily


Global Warming Science, or Policy?

By Roy Spencer - January 31, 2006 12:00 AM

A nasty little spat has arisen as a result of NASA's leading climate scientist, Dr. James Hansen, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), speaking out on the Bush Administration's reluctance to begin imposing carbon dioxide restrictions to help slow global warming.

The first salvo by Hansen was fired on October 26, 2004 when, speaking to an audience at the University of Iowa*, he said, "In my more than three decades in government, I have never seen anything approaching the degree to which information flow from scientists to the public has been screened and controlled as it is now," referring to pressure he apparently has experienced from the Administration. The issue has now surfaced again after a more recent lecture, and Hansen has said he will ignore NASA's restrictions on him. Those restrictions call for coordinating with NASA's public affairs office, and getting management approval for any of his talks that touch on policy, as opposed to science.

I have some familiarity with these restrictions on government employees, as they were a major reason I resigned from NASA over four years ago. But back then, the shoe was on the other foot. NASA knew I was not supportive of the popular gloom-and-doom theory of global warming, and before any congressional testimony of mine on the subject, I was "reminded" that I could speak on the science, but not on policy matters. Well, it turns out that expert witnesses on this contentious subject are almost always asked by a senator or congressman, "What would you do about policy if you were me?" When the question came, I dutifully dodged it.

I am not sure, but disobeying my superiors would probably have been grounds for dismissal, if they wanted to press the point. In Jim Hansen's case, even if this was theoretically possible, I suspect the political fallout would be enormous, as he as done more than any scientist in the world to impress upon the public's consciousness the potential dangers of global warming.

Hansen is a smart, productive public servant that is on a crusade for what he believes in. I understand why he believes as he does -- but I still disagree with his conclusions, both scientific and policy wise.

For example, Hansen has been able to devise a scientific scenario whereby all warming in recent decades can be attributed to mankind. I believe, however, he has ignored possible natural mechanisms, for instance a change in cloudiness during the same period of time.

And in the policy area, it would be stupid to not do something now about reducing carbon emissions -- if it were that easy. But I believe that major technological advances are the only way humanity can substantially reduce carbon emissions in this century. And as readers of my previous articles here know, I have argued that only the wealthy countries can afford the R&D to make these advances. So, my conclusion is, we should not shoot ourselves in the economic foot to gain reductions equivalent to only, say, 10% in emissions. While this is also similar to the Bush Administration's position, I have had no influence from them or anyone else the last 20 years to change what I believe on this subject.

If you are concerned about the Administration possibly muting some of its employees' influence in this area (remember, NASA is part of the executive branch), don't despair. Our government heavily funds a marching army of climate scientists -- government, university, and private -- whose funding depends upon manmade global warming remaining a threat. The government agencies, like NASA, that the money flows through also depend upon these issues remaining alive for continued funding.

This is not to suggest that there is a conspiracy going on. It's merely to point out that climate scientists aren't always unbiased keepers of truth. The arena of global warming overflows with more strongly held opinions than it does unbiased or scientific truths.

Dr. Roy Spencer is a principal research scientist for the University of Alabama in Huntsville.


* Editor's note: an earlier version of this article claimed the speech was at Iowa State University. We regret the error.

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129 Comments

Need Proof
"...scientists aren't always unbiased keepers of truth..."
As the Koreans recently found out.

Possible Muting? Ask Philip Cooney
Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
September 24, 2003

Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., sought clarification as to whether the White House played a role in a Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) lawsuit challenging an Administration report on global warming that exposes the flaws in President Bush's environmental policy. In a letter to White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, Lieberman said:

"The June 3, 2002 CEI-CEQ email, which was produced as a result of a Freedom of Information Act request by Attorneys General from Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maine, was apparently written in response to a telephone call to MYRON EBELL of CEI from PHILIP COONEY [Chief of Staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality] requesting 'help' in dealing with the political fallout from the Climate Action Report. In the email, Mr. Ebell indicates his understanding of Mr. Cooney’s request -- that CEI IS BEING ASKED 'TO CLEAN UP THIS MESS' -- and expresses some doubt as to 'whether we have the resources to clean up this one.' "

http://www.senate.gov/~govt-aff/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressReleases.
Detail&Affiliation=R&PressRelease_id=496&Month=9&Year=2003

=============================

Ex-oil lobbyist quits White House job
MSNBC, June 11, 2005

PHILIP COONEY, the council/s chief of staff and a former energy industry lobbyist, resigned on Friday, two days after The New York Times reported he edited some descriptions of climate research in a way that cast doubt on links between greenhouse gas emissions and rising temperatures ... Cooney is a lawyer who previously worked for the American Petroleum Institute, which like the Bush administration opposes mandatory curbs on greenhouse gas emissions.

...In a memo sent last week to top officials dealing with climate change at a dozen agencies, Rick Piltz charged that "POLITICIZATION BY THE WHITE HOUSE" was undermining the credibility and integrity of the science program.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8137646/

Resignation
If Dr. Hansen disagrees with the policies of his boss, he should resign.
If he wants his scientific opinions aired, without review, he can start a blog, join a think tank, etc and he will probably gain more notariaty from the press.
And I would hope President Bush would demand his resignation if he refuses.

not controversial
Among climate scientists it is not controversial that human activities are causing global warming. Any controversy is manufactured by people who don't understand science.

It's interesting to compare this to the Korean cloning scandal. All scientists in the field understood that the cloning claims, while exciting, had not been reproduced by others and therefore had a high degree of uncertainty. Moreover, scientists are never unanimous about anything -- Einstein rejected quantum mechanics dispite mountains of evidence for it.

re: not controversial
"Among climate scientists it is not controversial that human activities are causing global warming.

Among geologists before the late 1960's it was not controversial that the continents were fixed in place and any resemblance between the west coast of Africa and the east coast of South America was purely coincidental. Or at least in public (if you wanted to have a career in geology) it wasn't controversial. That's how science works.

And the question about human activities and warming is still how much warming is caused by human activity and how much would have happened even if humans didn't exist.

No Subject
"Among climate scientists it is not controversial that human activities are causing global warming. Any controversy is manufactured by people who don't understand science."

This is true, but grossly insufficient to the point of misdirection. There is a very large scientific controversy about the AMOUNT of global warming caused by "human activities". Those who are claiming there will be large warming are doing so soley on the basis of computer models, models which have been proven to be faulty - they fail to reproduce the known history of the atmosphere for the last 25 years.

The claim by the global warmers that there is a scientific consesnus that mankind will cause global catastrophe if draconian political policies are not implemented is a lie. The only scientific consensus is that mankind is increasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. There is no scientific consensus on the effects of that CO2 increase, much less, what political policies should be in response.

Even politicized scientists like John Hansen have admitted that Kyoto is basically a fraud which will have no meaninful effect on global temperatures.

Andrew

Controversy, Policy, & Political Agenda
Perhaps the loss of credibility among many, no matter what arena they hail from, is that they all want to establish policy.
It looks like President Bush wants free markets, w/o global warming hype to block his approaches.
It looks like Global Warming contenders want to establish economic policies that coincide with their view of how society should function through programs that would aid redistribution of wealth, but their solutions provide minimal positive results to economically developed countries.
Too bad, we the people are left trying to figure out who is spewing bull, and how much.
Too much hype & not enough facts reflecting BOTH sides of the issues. As it stands now, implementing Kyoto like solutions appears to seriously, perhaps catastrophically, reduce economic development, but produce insignificant temperature reduction results. Few, if any, would accept such abysmal performance from their 401(k), pension plan, or stock portfolio. Why shatter an economic system that can work to find solutions if it is functioning, but would sink into third world status, if impaired by draconian economic restrictions?
Demands to reduce economic status appear to be more policy related to political agenda, than to saving the earth.

Where is the ice age?
I've been waiting for over 30 years for the ice age that was promised.
And why is there still food in the stores? We should all be starving now according the the Club of Rome.

being a liberal
means you should be immune from the consequences of your actions

reality
amongst climate scientists, the claim that humans are causing the current warming is extremely controversial.
Heck, even the claim that it's warming at all is somewhat controversial.

Regarding repeatability, all scientists are quite aware that the claims of the AGW crowd are based on nothing more than a couple of models. Models that have never been proven, and indeed have been shown to have serious weaknesses.

The braying ass age
Thanks for your concise and astute comments, marjon. The global warming scare-hoax is entirely political. Else why do the lefties all support it and the right all take the opposite position? As a sometime scientist myself, it seem obvious that scientists should stay out of policy, and political activism.

But, you don't have to be a scientist to have a scientifically sound position. The great experiment on the subject has been done, albeit inadvertently, and the results are in; folks, there is no global warming. The tiny fraction of 1% of the air that is CO2, has increased substantially, by about a third, in the past half century. The earth's temperature is taken constntly by satellites with exquisite accuracy. They show no, repeat no, resulting catastrophic global warming. The earth's temperature is, however, increasing at a normal and benign rate of about a degree per century.

There's even better news. The increase of CO2 plant fertilization is increasing the growth of crops and other plants by about 10%, while reducing their need for water. As a result, our earth is greening and wildlife and other animals, like us, are benefiting.

This information is easily available and not in dispute. As Yogi Berra would say "You'cn look ut up!" and decide for your self. Cheers, Don

NASA removes wind from hansen's sail
The heat islands are caused by human influence, with cities usually 2 or 3 degrees warmer than outlaying areas. Since NASA is now monitoring heat islands in some areas this is in effect saying the increased warming is caused not by greenhouse gases but by other means. They should also include in the equazion, glactic cosmic rays, solar output especially the 2800 Mhz solar flux associated with sunspots. This is very close to the 2400 Mhz output of microwave ovens. This heats water, oil and other compounds quicker than dry dirt or sand, while cosmic rays cause high level clouds that prevent radiation from reaching ground level. Hansen jumped to conclusions in 1988 before most of the facts were in, now he is paying the price.

Give this good news to the Nataional Academy of Sciences
They're the body empowered by federal law with the responsibility to give best scientific information to government. They disagree with you: they say best scientific information indicates government should act to control greenhouse gas.

They are joined in this by the National Academies of ten other developed nations. But, again, who cares what scientists thing.

We have it from you that "you don't have to be a scientist to have a scientifically sound position." Are you really saying that non-scientists are more scientifically sound than specialists in a field when the field is climate change and the conclusion is "no big deal?"

If so, do you routinely consult non-doctors for surgical options when you get hit by truck?

LIberal goodman writes
that I don't know anything about science since I don't agree with him.


I can see that it would be pointless to provide scientific data as he would say that I don't understand what it means.


I will point out therefore that ice covered Greenland is unaccountably called Greenland because it was in fact green when settled by the vikings (which is why it is now Danish territory even though more than a thousand miles removed). This is because some five hundred years ago the world was a warmer place that amongst other things permitted an agricutural system to operate in the territory of Greenland for a considerable period of time.


The current global warming is not extreme, it is not unique in geological terms, it isn't even unique in fairly recent human terms. There is no clearly established definition of what constitutes _the average global temperature_. Thus there is even less possibility of agreeing on what the average global temp. was one hundred, five hundred or a thousand years ago.


The models used to provide the so called evidence relating to the forthcoming climate catastrophe are computer models, models which use algorythms so complex that they can't be processed by humans because of the thousands of variables that are selected (or not) for inclusion. Thus the quality of the output is entirely dependent on the relevance of the data input and the quality of the algorythms. On those very few occasions when leaders of the climate scare industry actually provide any data about their methods and models which then are demonstrated to be incorrect they always respond with claims of other not released corroborating evidence which they can't be bothered to provide because the whole issue is settled anyway.


At any rate climate scientists claims regarding projected climate difficulties are based one hundred per cent on economic assumptions which are always childishly naive.


The country I live in exists as it is because of global temperature fluctuations. Our population has adapted to the wide variations in temp. that stretch over roughly hundred year periods very much to our advantage, having one of the highest standards of living in the world. This latest change is coming at just the right time for our society to exploit them again.


When ever friends try to tell me about the climate a hundred years from now I ask them to look around and tell me what the weather will be a day from now. They can't. Even when I tell them what to look at and for they don't know what the evidence means. You know, the direction the wind is coming from, the movement of the clouds, the behavior of the birds and animals, the quality of daylight all related to the time of day, week, month and year. You know, the, well, environment.

If you believe that all scientists agree on anything or that the subset of climate scientists all agree on something or that only climate scientists can reach valid conclusions about the environment and climate or that the only evidence about global climate that is or ever will be relevant is that body of knowledge the contemporary climatoligists specialise in then perhaps you should look in the mirror when seeking to label someone as not understanding science.

please source this
atmospheric scientists are quite aware of heat island effects.

>Since NASA is now monitoring heat islands in some areas this is in effect saying the increased warming is caused not by greenhouse gases but by other means

I don't think you'd find any scientist who would draw this conclusion. What's your source for this?

Again: give the National Academy of Science this news
It's the body set up specfically to give the best available scientific advice to policy makers. Its conclusions are quite different from yours.

>If you believe that all scientists agree on anything or that the subset of climate scientists all agree on something or that only climate scientists can reach valid conclusions about the environment and climate or that the only evidence about global climate that is or ever will be relevant is that body of knowledge the contemporary climatoligists specialise in then perhaps you should look in the mirror when seeking to label someone as not understanding science.

Sure. And when you want to design a bridge, don't both asking an engineer, and when you're sick, why see doctors? Climate science uses the same rules as other science. For some reason, it's the one field where people find every possible reason not to listen to what the experts say.

One other note: you might look up the difference between "climate" and "weather."

Polical agenda???
Sure: the whole thing's a big conspiracy between scientists and socialists to install world government. All that research is meaningless: a process -- science -- that we trust for just about any other determination of how the natural world works is meaningless here, and only rightwing politicians and energy companies understand the earth's climate.

What's remarkable, though, is the same people who say it's impossible to tell what will happen to the climate in the long run if nothing is done are sure they know what will happen to the economy if something is.

The idea that a program to reduce emissions would bring a depression is repeated as given established truth backed by wide consensus. It's not: the consensus on this is much weaker than the one on the existence of human caused climate change.

Scientists
Scientists are people too.
There is a groop a scien**** who claimed it impossible for a missile to hit a ballistic missile warhead in flight. Many of these scientists had no physics background.
There were significantly more scientists who said it could be done and made it so.
The author of this peice is a scientist in the field of climate research. I suspect he would not agree with the Academy. So, because he diagrees, his opinion is not valid?
As an example of the majority is not always right, remember the Austrialian doctor who claimed ulcers were caused by bacteria? He required 15 years of effort to prove it.
You can trust the Academy if you want, I will listen to the dissenters as well and make my own conclusions.

Just one silly little question...
Ok, let's try this:

Who here can accurately recall exactly what your local Weatherman predicted the weather on your area would be THIS week?

I don't recall his exact words, but I do remember him stating that this week we would be seeing high temperatures in the 40's and 50's this week.

And yet, somehow, miraculously, this week has been gorgeous, averaging, yes, an astonighing 72 degrees.

How can this possibly be?

I mean, come on, if 'scientists', especially those totally objective scientists with no agenda whatsoever, have been able to accurately predict what the weather is going to be like in a hundred years, well then, a mere trifle such as telling me what weather we're going to have a scant seven days hence should be child's play.

And yet, and yet..

The only thing weathermen seem to do well is be consistently wrong. They seem to be fairly good when dealing with the weather of only a day or so away, but beyond that, it's all just so much educated guesswork.

Now I ask you: What sane person would expect anyone to believe that someone could actually accurately predict the climate next YEAR, much less a century or more in the future? The very notion is preposterous.

Now don't get me wrong - I am no fan of pollution, nor do I think that natural progress in the areas of efficiency and emissions is a bad thing. But those advances are going to come along eventually anyway, because that's what progress is. No one had to hold a gun to peoples' heads to get them to stop riding horses in favor of the automobile. They made the change because it was better. The same thing will hold true in the future. The changes which come along which truly are better will be embraced, not because the government has mandated compliance, but simply because the choice will be the natural one to make.

It is time for people to see the GW crowd for what they really are: socialists in scientists' clothing. If you want to understand peoples' true motives, stop listening to what they say, and pay attention to their actions. Or, in the case of the ridiculous Kyoto mess, look at what the actual results would be, as opposed to the mere words spoken by its proponents.

The only real results would be the economic devastation of the most advanced nations, the United States in particular, while the worst polluters, such as Russia, China and India are exempt, as are the least-advanced third world nations, who also happen to be not terribly environmentally sound. The only real result is wealth redistribution, with no discernable reduction on global temperatures, or greenhouse gases.

And before you get too high and mighty in defending 'scientists', don't be too quick to ascribe scientists as being paragons of virtue. Human beings are what they are - some good, some bad, none of them perfect. Remember, it was 'scientists' who experimented on helpless humans in the nazi regime, it was scientists who developed ever more effective chemical and biological weapons, scientists who have given us both viagra and the abortion pill, scientists were convinced that Eugenics was legitimate, scientists knew 35 years ago that another ice age was absolutely on its way.

A last silly little question: Does anyone know of a GW 'true believer' who is not also a political and social liberal?

Poor dupes. These people truly are 'Dunces With Wolves'.

Of course scientists can be wrong
But the essence of science is that it corrects itself. You keep studying a subject, letting the chips fall where they may, and the errors come out & are corrected.

This is why science works, and it works in all areas of science, including climate studies. But for some reason, a vocal minority, almost all of them non-scientists, is making noise that science isn't working here.

>The author of this peice is a scientist in the field of climate research. I suspect he would not agree with the Academy. So, because he diagrees, his opinion is not valid?

First of all, I'm not sure he would disagree with the conclusions of the Acadamies. But either way, It's just his opinion. The swamping majority of the specialists in the field disagree. I'm not an expert, so I trust the opinon of the swamping majority.

>You can trust the Academy if you want, I will listen to the dissenters as well and make my own conclusions.

On the basis of what expertise? You're reviewing the original data and peer reviewed reports? Or are you basing yourself on what blogsites claim they know. I'd suggest you do to a university & talk to a specialist in the subject. You might learn something.

look up the words "climate" and "weather"
Why weather predictions have a short horizon and variable accuracy is quite well known. But they're still right much more often than they're wrong.

Climate deals with averages over long periods of time, which is more stable than day-to-day conditions. Maybe you don't think it can be done. Most people in the field disagree.

> it was scientists who developed ever more effective chemical and biological weapons,

Um, yes, and the reason they are more effective is because science works. You're welcome to pose moral objections to specific work, but here the morality isn't the question, it's the accuracy of the work, Or maybe you think there's something immoral about trying to determine future climate to try to avert problems.

But the bottom line is you don't seem to like scientists. May I suggest you never fly in an airplane, never take any drug, never have an operation, don't drive a car.

>Poor dupes. These people truly are 'Dunces With Wolves'.

But you have it all figured out. You're smarter than all those scientists with their advanced degrees and satellites and instruments. You're the man.

Fool me once....
"This is why science works, and it works in all areas of science, including climate studies."

When the climate scientists can predict what will happen next year, then I might begin to believe their models and the data they feed it are accurate.
So far, several reports have suggested that base upon current rates, in 50 years something really bad will happen.
The only thing constant is change. New data will be developed, models will be refined, 2nd, 3rd and higer order relationship may be revealed, etc.
They predicted we would now be in an ice age. They were wrong then. Fool me once...

The masses of scientists did not believe bacteria caused ulcers.

I suspect, as Wesley descibes below, you have socialists leanings and want to control the world. The human caused GW is but one lever socilists can use to take more of my money.

You're not listening
You yourself seem to be taking the position that scientists are incapable of having an agenda, as though they are somehow above the pettiness of us mere mortals.

This is not the case, as I illustrated.

Researchers are slaves to their funding sources, they are slaves to their ideologies, and they are slaves to their pre-conceived notions.

This makes an already-suspect sub-genre of science (let's be honest - using computers to simulate what could happen to the climate in a century is not truly science anyway, it is just speculation, since no experimentation is possible on the subject) even more suspect.

I notice you conveniently failed to address the real point - that actions speak louder than words. The GW fanatics want only one thing: the punitive disruption of the economy of the United States.

It is also amusing that you would flat-out state that climate change is stable: "Climate deals with averages over long periods of time, which is more stable than day-to-day conditions."

In any case, I don't dislike scientists. I dislike dishonest people who seek to deceive and manipulate, and take advantage of the trust they believe people should have in them.

Frankly, science as a whole is a history of being constantly proved wrong by other scientists. This is common knowledge, and is why people have an even easier time being skeptical of the claims of 'scientists' than they do of today's mainstream press.

ESPECIALLY when, if taken at face value, their conclusions would do direct and serious harm to our lives.

The mantra of a left wingnut
You and I had this discussion under different names at the old TCS site. Academies of Science? Your mantra is old and so is you desire to make others conform to your religion. The "Swamping Majority" doesn't disagree, or agree for that matter, with anything. Name me the total number of true climate scientists and the number that actually, fully agree with the published majority opinion of the academies. You'll find massive dissent just within the academies members, as has been shown since the first released opinion as referred to Kyoto.

Here are the facts, look them up.
1. The "Swamping Majority" agree that the earth is warming.
2. A notable majority believe man's activity (the production of various polutants) is responsible to some degree.
3. GHG emmissions are believed by a majority to be the biggest polutant threat.

After that all agreement ceases. again, here are a few facts. If you take the time to look into the actual experiments and published studies, this is what you'll find.
1. There is no agreement on the degree of natural causes vs. manmade ones. (I.E. What percentage of the tempature rise is man-caused.)
2. There is no notable agreement on whether a total ceasation of GHG emmissions would have a notable effect on warming.
3. There is no agreement on whether or not a total ceasation of all of man's destructive activities (mining, pollution of the seas, destruction of the rain forests, etc.) would have a notable effect.
4. There is absolutely no agreement on whether or not there any climate change model is accurate or even meaningful. There is "swamping dissent' on one aspect or another of every theory, most of the stastics, most of the data gathering techniques and all of the conclusions.

In the end, your "Academies" are no different that a U.S. Supreme Court decision; a majority opinion is published with some of the unknowns and dessenting opinion. The attention is given to the majority opinion. that is not a "Swamping Majority". Also, it took a lot of arm twisting to get several of those vaunted "Academies" to sign on to the majority opinion. That has also been published several times and in several locations.

Since you seem to be interested in the simplistic summation of the "Majority Opinion", here it is.
1. We are pretty sure the earth is warming up.
2. We aren't sure why, but we know that much of it is natural and suspect some of it is man-caused.
3. We think pollution is a factor to some degree.
4. We think GHG emmissions are the main pollution factor.
5. We would guess that a very significant reduction in GHG emmissions will slow, but won't end, this warming trend.

Because of this the Academies will back anything that limits GHG emmissions immediately and long-term. Though the Academies own opinion shows they doubt it will do any good, they back Kyoto. The Climate Science community does not set policy for anyone, nor does it really suggest anything by a reduction in GHG emmissions. Most world policy makers now agree that emerging technology is the best, and only real, hope for future reduction in GHG.
In the mean time, GHG will rise globally as emerging economies begin to be bigger emmitters. This in spite of Kyoto and any other major reductions by present high-level industralized nations.
Sounds stupid? that's Kyoto!

I would suggest you talk to a variety of climate in different groups and with a variety of opinions, don't just read what is published by your beloved acadamies. If you actually talked to a number of specialists, you might learn something!
By the way, you might try doing what marjon does and come to your on conclusions based on all the facts and all the opinions. Otherwise you are just another brainless, left-wing drone.

Who predicted we'd be in an ice age?
That was a small group that predicted nuclear winter, caused by a war.

Again, you have the best scientists in the field, few or none of whom were involved in the nuclear winter thing, in agreement on this.

But you're sure you know better.

Here's another example: a group of best scientists in another field say there is a danger -- not a certainty, but a danger -- of a global pandemic of avian flu. Is your idea that we should do nothing about this because it hasn't happened yet, and anyway what do scientists know?

"I suspect ... you have socialists leanings and want to control the world. "

Actually, I am God almighty speaking to you.
Look, suspect whatever you want. I am not the issue. The science is, and the science stands up. It's not a socialits plot. You can resist socialism all you want. I suggest that dealing with rising water levels swamping cities is not a socialist bugaboo, but a real threat. Most scientists in the field agree.

You're ignoring the science.
"ou yourself seem to be taking the position that scientists are incapable of having an agenda, as though they are somehow above the pettiness of us mere mortals."

I'm taking no such position. The thing is, you haven't presented a particle of evidence that this is the determining factor in this case.

"Researchers are slaves to their funding sources, they are slaves to their ideologies, and they are slaves to their pre-conceived notions.

This makes an already-suspect sub-genre of science (let's be honest - using computers to simulate what could happen to the climate in a century is not truly science anyway, it is just speculation, since no experimentation is possible on the subject) even more suspect."

That's what you say. That's not what the National Academy says. Why are you so sure you'r right an they're wrong.

" The GW fanatics want only one thing: the punitive disruption of the economy of the United States. "

And your evidence for this is what?

" is also amusing that you would flat-out state that climate change is stable: "Climate deals with averages over long periods of time, which is more stable than day-to-day conditions."

"Predictable" would be a better word. The problem is the physics indicates taht the climate is changing.

"In any case, I don't dislike scientists. I dislike dishonest people who seek to deceive and manipulate, and take advantage of the trust they believe people should have in them."

Excuse me, but what evidence of such deception do you have? Are you really accusing the National Academy of faking conclusions? If you are, you'd better have more back-up than "it seems to me..."

"Frankly, science as a whole is a history of being constantly proved wrong by other scientists. "

that's why it works. The only thing wrong with that analysis is that in this case it hasn't been proved wrong. But you're sure it's wrong. Are you a scientist? If not, what makes you so sureh.

"ESPECIALLY when, if taken at face value, their conclusions would do direct and serious harm to our lives."

First, this isn't the case; it's just your claim. Second, one consequence of ignoring the conclusion could be worldwide flooding, desertification and much more. Are you saying that this would have no consequences on our lives?

Your the one ignoring science, unless it agrees with your pre-disposition
you close with - "Second, one consequence of ignoring the conclusion could be worldwide flooding, desertification and much more. Are you saying that this would have no consequences on our lives?"
Are you stupid or just plain living in a padded room?

First, no, it won't (have consequences on my life). None of this will even begin to come about in my lifetime.
Second, Costal flooding is a given, little else is. I've seen all kinds of models, from a near barren earth (massive desertification) to a lush, world-wide tropical rain forest, all of which is more than 500 years in the future at present climate change rates. It depends on which way you see the models going. A globe where the average tempature below the polar circles and aboute the tropics rises 20F doesn't mean a barren earth. In fact, the majority I've read, go the other direction. 30% + less uncovered land mass and much, much more rainfall and warmth. Less desert, more tillable land, more forestation. this will actually increase city population density as food will be more readily available. (good thing as there will be less land to till and live on)
In other words, things will change but this is not all bad news for humans. Yes, most of the world's major cities will have to slowly creep inland several miles over 5 centuries. Given the time frame this is very doable with little disruption.

We could set the whole thing to rest fairly easily..
You know, the whole debate is actually kind of silly.

'Future Climate Change Science' is not a science at all.

It can't be the subject of experiments to test the various hypotheses surrounding the subject.

Plus, no matter what a computer simulation might say, predicting the future is still nothing but educated guesswork.

And yet we are constantly asked by these people to believe that their wildly-varying guesses be accepted as gospel truth, on the basis of nothing more than their own hardly-disinterested say-so.

It seems to be a dilemma, but hold the phone. Is it really?

Are we really left with the choices of either A) Believe them, because they say so, and shut up if we don't agree, or B) Reject their claims, in favor of more 'study' ?

It's not that complicated.

The real issue is whether or not any one of these people can accurately predict the future, climate-wise.

Common widom suggests their claims cannot be tested, because the answers won't actually come for hundreds of years.

So why not try an easier test?

How about an open challenge to any individual or organization which claims that global warming is a fact? Let's challenge them to a simple exercise, one which they should be able to perform easily:

Predict next year's climate. Predict the year after that. And 5 years, and maybe even ten years.

That's probably not too much time to spend seeking answers, given the seriousness of the issue.

And at the end of the trials, let's tally up and see who was right. At least then we might have a better idea of who might be worth listening to, and who has no clue what they're doing.

Should be easy, right? After all, we have much more solid data from right now than we have on global climate in 100 years, so it ought not to be a problem, right?

How many of these hysterical scientists would be willing to put up or shut up, do you think?

It seems reasonable enough to me. I would like to see it happen.

But somehow I doubt a single one would be willing to step up to the challenge. Because climate change is not what they are about, and more than likely the only thing such an experiment would demonstrate is that they have no more chance of accurately predicting a climate than Punxatawney Phil.

And if they are shown to be clueless, then their socialist wealth-redistribution utopian fantasy gets tossed.

And we can't risk that, now, can we?

Crank/crackpot science
The word for people who insist that they know more about the science than the scientist is crank.

"Name me the total number of true climate scientists and the number that actually, fully agree with the published majority opinion of the academies. You'll find massive dissent just within the academies members,"

The number of "true" climate sciientists in the world is pretty easily determined by membership in certain societies. Of the members of these societies, I don't believe you will find "massive dissent" from the NAS formulation. If such massive dissent existed first, the NAS never would have taken the position it did; and second, if somehow it took such a position against massive dissent, it's announcement would have produced a massive reaction. Bottom line: you are making it up.


consider this:

"In the end, your "Academies" are no different that a U.S. Supreme Court decision; a majority opinion is published with some of the unknowns and dessenting opinion."

The difference is statutes and legislation were made by humans, as opposed to physical laws, which aren't affected by what people think. Even the most eccentric opinion about a law, by a justice, can in an important sense never be wrong, can never be falsified. This is not true in science.

For the rest, I really don't need Pauled's simplistic summation of the "Majority Opinon." The scientists in question have expressed it quite clearly. Hansen expresses it quite clearly, for example, speaking in his own voice. Calling such epxressions "left wingnut" simply discredits the speaker.

This is simply silly:

"By the way, you might try doing what marjon does and come to your on conclusions based on all the facts and all the opinions. "

In fact, I do. The fact that I don't reach the same conclusions he does in no way means that he has been more thorough or honest than I have.

"Otherwise you are just another brainless, left-wing drone."

This namecalling doesn't add to your argument in the least, but rather underlines su****iion that you are either a political hack or a science crackpot/crank

Prediction: 2006 will be among the 10 warmest on record.
This is pure denial.

The physics of the process have been established for decades. Observations back up the predictions. Warming is a fact. What it will specifically mean in 50 years in terms of (for example) how much icecap will melt and where coastlines will be isn't established down to the last mile. It's quite clear that the warming will have consequences.

Regarding predictions: it's been a completely safe bet for the last ten years ago that any given next year will be among the ten warmest on the record. You may regard this as coinicidence, but tell that to Punxtatwaney Phil

>nd if they are shown to be clueless, then their socialist wealth-redistribution utopian fantasy gets tossed.

Sure. the national academy is part of a crank socialist wealth redistribution utopian fantasy conspiracy. Better get your binoculars ready for the black helicopters.

Excuse me, but how do you know this?
I mean, you're not a scientiist; you've published nothing you're pulling your conclusions out of thin air. But we're supposed to ignore people who have studied this all their lives and listen to you?

>Are you saying that this would have no consequences on our lives?"

First, no, it won't (have consequences on my life). None of this will even begin to come about in my lifetime.

Depends on how old you are. But, sure, no reason to worry about what will happen to our children and theirs: let them take care ofit.

As for this:
'Are you stupid or just plain living in a padded room?"

These kind of shouts indicate that can't make your point with argument and fact. Look in the mirror.

Denial?
Asking these people who are so sure of themselves that they can shriek in terror that the average temperature MAY rise by 1 degree over a 100 year span to accurately predict the actual average temperature over the next 12 to 120 MONTHS is denial? If they can predict a one-degree rise over 1200 months, I would accept nothing less than pinpoint accuracy for such a much smaller time frame. 'Next year will be among the ten warmest on record' doesn't cut it.

Denial on whose part, mine or yours?

All I am asking is these so-called experts back up their self-proclaimed titles with a little demonstration of their expertise.

The only reason I can think of that someone who considers him/her self an expert on these things would refuse would be self-doubt. Or, they have something to hide.

By the way, no one has denied the notion that the earth goes through constant cycles of change. Research has borne out that this was occurring long before Mankind ever walked the earth.

What is at issue is whether or not these changes are caused by, or even affected at all by, Man's influence.

No doubt pollution is not great for the planet. No one denies this either.

The question at hand is not whather or not the earth is warming. Your claim that it is is disingenuous on your part, at best.

There is no proved link of causality, especially since it has happened before, both warming and cooling trends; in fact there has never been a time that the planet was NOT in the midst of either a warming or cooling trend.

But for some unexplained reason, certain people would try to have us believe that mankind is now somehow responsible for something that has actually been happening for billions of years.

I want actual proof. Not proof that the planet may be in a warming trend, but actual proof that mankind is indis****bly responsible for said trend. I also want proof that there is ANYTHING we could do to change this cycle one way or another. And lastly, I want proof that attempting to interfere in this cycle wouldn't actually cause more harm than good.

A wise person knows when to admit he just doesn't know everything. It is the height of arrogance for these people to claim they know things that they cannot possibly know, and even worse to expect others to blindly believe and follow them over the cliff of economic ruin.

And, lest ye think me naive, I am well aware of the fact that the hallowed halls of academe are among the few remaining bastions of near-homogenous leftism in this nation. And where does most of this 'research' take place? And who populates the research programs?

You can stop trying to use the National Academy of Science as some kind of shield against accusations of fraud, propagandism, and intellectual dwarfism. Since the specter of blobal warming was created out of whole cloth in 1987, plenty of adults with an agenda have had plenty of time to gain the mantle of 'scientist' in the ensuing 18 years. It's not as though this is a field of study which has been around for hundreds of years.

You asked for a predication; you got one.
I gave you one. Now you're just sputtering.

>By the way, no one has denied the notion that the earth goes through constant cycles of change. Research has borne out that this was occurring long before Mankind ever walked the earth.

And so why is it so incomprehensible that humans are triggering an episode?

"A wise person knows when to admit he just doesn't know everything. It is the height of arrogance for these people to claim they know things that they cannot possibly know,"

The scientists in question don't claim to know everything: they just know about climate. If anyone is claiiming to know everything, it's you; you're sure you know better than they do.

"and even worse to expect others to blindly believe and follow them over the cliff of economic ruin."

Again: what "economic ruin?" This is just what you say & fear: you've offered no backup whatsoever.

"ou can stop trying to use the National Academy of Science as some kind of shield against accusations of fraud, propagandism, and intellectual dwarfism."

The National Academy, established by Abraham Lincoln, is composed of the best scientists in the U.S. If you really think it's just a political body of cryptosocialists who don't know what they're talking about, this is a comment on your agenda, not theirs. Again, watch out for those black helicopters, and keep your tinfoil hat on tight so the evil commie scientists don't take over your brain.

And it hasn't
" There is a groop a scien**** who claimed it impossible
for a missile to hit a ballistic missile warhead in
flight. Many of these scientists had no physics
background..."

Scientists, more or less anyone with the technical background, said that ground based missile defence is impractical, and it has proven to be so, at least so far. The problem, as the techies will tell you, is not hitting one rock with another in space, but distinguishing the warhead from thousands of decoys (blow up a role of tin foil in space & make decoys). Most tests have failed and the ones that "succeeded" were rigged, for example, by putting the homing beacon inside the target, something the North Koreans probably wouldn't know how to do even if they wanted to.

Have you noticed that tests no longer are reported. Either the failures are kept secret or the testing has stopped.

Predictions
Fortunato,

I thought short term predictions were beyond the capability of the climate prediction models used to predict long term global warming. If I only slightly understand the general model a good prediction and an impressive one would be predicting the earth's average temperature for the year 2006 solely from data before 1906. Your prediction proves nothing. You are merely extrapolating a curve, which has a high probability of success for short term predictions and says nothing about the controversy.

Do you read anything but you own posts?
The name for someone who relies only on sources that agree with their own point of view is "delusional". Everything about you post fits that description. Add in infantile ego-centric and narcissistic and the mix is complete.
By the way, that is not name calling it is an evalution, free of charge, based on your insistance that one particular group, who happen to agree with your view, is the only authority. Add to that your insistance, in spite of mounds of evidence to the contrary, that it is some "super-majority" opinion. Read some of the studies, read the descenting opinions, check out some of the differing theories. Do this, and I won't have to listen to another mention of the academies.

There is a lot of work being done in this field, and none of it is yet evidence of anything. There is evidence and counter-evidence, statistics and counter-statistics, theories and counter-theories. If evolution was this convoluted it wouldn't be allowed to be spoken about in public.

But you know part of what the academies said. (I believe I posted the part in the old TCS about what the academies said that didn't agree with your narrow view, but you denied that as well; as I said Delusional. When your beloved academies say something you disagree with you even poo-poo that!)
Also, I note you focus on one sentence but ignore the precusor. Everything is name calling when it is directed at you, but you never engage in it do you? hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!! now that is the best joke of the day!!;)

Yup
I see nothing here I can really disagree with. One thing I have noted, most of the bad environmental policy of the past 30 years has been based on this kind of junk science.

70's Ice Age
"http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/coolingworld.pdf"
Or Newsweek, April 28, 1975, p. 64.

There is always a danger of some sort lurking about. Only recently has the flu of 1918 been linked to chickens in 1916 France. (All influenze starts in birds, by the way. Guess that's why they incubate the vaccine in chicken eggs.)
What needs to happen with all the risks waiting to destroy us is an objectibe analysis of the risk and what can be done to avert the risk.
Global warming, from whatever cause, seems to be a low risk. However, evidence exists that asteroids have impacted the earth with immediate devastating effects. The risk in our lifetime is low, but we now have the technology to mitigate the risk.
Every week someone publishes another paper finding another cause for global warming.
And forests increase the amount of heat absorbed by the sun. (Stop global warming, cut down a tree!) http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/NewImages/images.php3?img_id=16905

You are a religious zealot
And your religion is GW and the academies. You repeat that mantra more than a backslidding Catholic doing Hail Mary's and Our Fathers.

You add nothing to the debate, just try and debase others arguments. Show me all the agreement on the "Hockey Stick" model. Is there any debate? any disagreement? I'vbe read the published science, not just the conclusion of a single body of scientists. There is a lot of disagreement out there, but you won't look for it. Calling you a "Left Wingnut" is descriptive, not name calling, if this is all you have to offer.

I and others have given you numerous chances to actually enter into a debate of the topic, but you simply negative comments about our education or background without offering up a single slice of thought out opinion or facts, not theories, that match your opinion.

I offered you a list of paraphrased conclusions that coincide with those published by climate scientists, you ignore them because you do not know enough to agree or disagree.

It is you with no belief in science, no understanding of the scientific process and no reason to comment further among intelligent people. It is all about belief with you. In other words, you my fine-fethered fruitcake, are a liberal GW religious nut.

Expert?
I believe the challenge was to a climate expert who would take the challenge.
You did not provide any details about the expert. Are you the expert? (Sources, sources)
BTW, New England was predicted to have a cold winter. So far they have been wrong.

Some otherwise intelligent people
Some otherwise intelligent people have a hard time understanding that in every realm, management sets policy. Scientists and technical people make recommendations, but management has to take other things, like costs (of all sorts), into consideration.

It doesn't really matter, sometimes, how strong one's case is for a proposed policy, if there are other factors that make it cost prohibitive to implement.

the challenge was a general challenge
The 1990s were the warmest decade in the past 1,000 years.
1998 was the warmest year in the past 1,000 years.
The 11 warmest years of the past 140 have occurred since 1983, with the warmest years being 1998, 1997, and 1995.

And much more at:

http://www.classzone.com/books/earth_science/terc/content/investigations/esu501/esu501page02.cfm

The answer was mine, and seems, based on the recent record, a pretty safe bet. If you want to challenge a climate expert, find one and put it to him or her.

Or course not
What says something about the "controversy" are the positions of the National Academy and other learned bodies, which are based on detailed theory and modeling in addition to what the record shows. The prediction thing was the contribution of one person on this board; the prediction (pretty good, I think) is mine.

Please spare me the insults
This is silly.

"And your religion is GW and the academies. You repeat that mantra more than a backslidding Catholic doing Hail Mary's and Our Fathers."

The only problem here is that the position isn't revealed as an illumination, it's emerged from decades of intensive research by thousands of researchers, all criticizing each others conclusions. If anyone is being a crank religious nut, it's people without credentials who insist that they know as much about the issues and facts as people who have spent their whole lives and careers studying this stuff.

"There is a lot of disagreement out there, but you won't look for it"

If there's so much "disagreement" by re****ble scientists instead of crank factories like the Oregon project, you should be able to cite it. It's not my job to make your case for you.

"I offered you a list of paraphrased conclusions that coincide with those published by climate scientists, you ignore them because you do not know enough to agree or disagree."

Why not present your citations? Some of what you say is close to true, some isn't. But put it in the scientists own words.

"It is you with no belief in science, no understanding of the scientific process and no reason to comment further among intelligent people.

Sure: you're the bright guy, you're the guy who knows science. If you're so bright, why not submit your conclusions to peer review, showing your work?

I'm ignoring the rest of your irrelevant personal attacks which are, let me repeat, an infallibl sign of someone who doesn't have a factual argument.


Sure.
Managment does set policy. And if they want to argue that certain measures are too expensive, etc, they absolutely should.

That's not what's going on. What's being said is that we don't have to do anything because there's no clear scientific consensus that action is needed. This is simply untrue.

The Challenge Redux
"How about an open challenge to any individual or organization which claims that global warming is a fact? Let's challenge them to a simple exercise, one which they should be able to perform easily:

Predict next year's climate. Predict the year after that. And 5 years, and maybe even ten years."

Just wanted to restate the challenge. So you will go on the record and state that the average global temperature (pick an elevation and preferably not in a city) in 2006 will be higher than 2005?

Also, how was temperature measured and recorded 1000 years ago? What is the uncertainty in the measurements if they were made using the same method?
Do you imply that it was warmer over 1000 years ago? And if so, how could that occur if GW is cause by industrialization?
Real science is questioning the data and questioning the interpretation of the data until it is repeatable.

Sources
The error bars on the temperature model are so large that it could be interpreted to mean it was warmer or colder even 500 years ago.
What was the distribution of the error?
I would also encourage you to examine the source data from that curve before accepting at face value.
Remember there are lies, damn lies, statistics and graphs of data.

Misrepresentation of facts
"the ones that "succeeded" were rigged, for example, by putting the homing beacon inside the target, "

A radio beacon was placed in a target to allow ground radar to track the target. Remember, it was a test and data was needed. Also, radar powerful enough to track the target was prohibited by the ABM treaty.
The kill vehicle does not use radar to acquire or track so why would they put a radio beacon on the target if it was rigged?

As for classifying the tests and results, because our intelligence of North Korea and Iranian nuclear balistic missile capability is incomplete, it would be wise to keep them guessing when, where and how we might defend against an attack.

1975 National Academy of Science
"But they are almost unanimous in the view that the (cooling) trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century. If the climatic change is as profound as some of the pessimists fear, the resulting famines could be catastrophic. “A major climatic change would force economic and social adjustments on a worldwide scale,” warns a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences, “because the global patterns of food production and population that have evolved are implicitly dependent on the climate of the present century.”"

http://www.globalclimate.org/Newsweek.htm

average global temperature
Average global temperature is, as noted, a global measure. If you don't know what it is or how it's calculated, you probably shouldn't be talking about this until you research.

If you want to pose the challenge to an organization, go and do so.

>. So you will go on the record and state that the average global temperature (pick an elevation and preferably not in a city) in 2006 will be higher than 2005?

What I said said, speaking for myself, was the the average global temperature recorded in 2006 will be among the top ten recorded. Again, please familiarize yourself with the concept of average global termperature.

>how was temperature recorded....

A variety of measurements of fossil plankton, tree growth and a lot more. Go look it up.

>Real science is questioning the data and questioning the interpretation of the data until it is repeatable.

Please state specifically what your problem is with climate science. You'd be surprised,but climate scientists are quite familiar with the definition of science. So are the scientists at the National Academy of Science. But why not call them & tell them that they don't know what they're talking about?

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