TCS Daily


The Media Adapt

By Iain Murray - June 7, 2006 12:00 AM

The cover story of the June 5th US News and World Report is about global warming, but the story is not quite the usual doom and gloom (as seen recently, for instance, in the Time cover story, "Be Worried. Be Very Worried.")

Instead, it dares to ask the question, can we live with global warming? Indeed, because it accepts many of the premises of recent alarmism -- to the extent that it worries that global warming is so imminent mitigation cannot prevent its effects -- it suggests that adaptation is necessary. Tony Blair recently said that the challenge is to ensure that "the developing nations can grow, the wealthy countries maintain their standard of living and the environment be protected from disaster." Those of us who have always said that have also always accepted that adaptation will be necessary. It is good to see the rest of the world catching up.

As the US News article suggests, many adaptation projects will be local in character. This is true because global warming isn't really global -- it is having different effects around the world. Even within the United States, different regions are experiencing different effects. While the Northwest is warming, the Southeast is actually cooling. Frost-free Florida isn't frost-free any more, which means the citrus industry is having to adapt there, as well. The question of whether the climate change there is anthropogenic in origins is irrelevant to the demonstrable need to adapt.

Yet there are policies that can be adopted by national and regional governments that will have beneficial effects. The precursor to adaptation is resiliency, which gives a society the capacity to adapt. Characteristics of a resilient society include a strong economy, the rule of law, high trust (lack of corruption, confidence in institutions etc) and a lack of regulatory barriers to innovation. A resilient society recognizes that the ingenuity of its citizens is, in Julian Simon's words, its "ultimate resource," not the presence of abundant natural resources, the leadership of a certain class or the teachings of a dead philosopher. The guarantees the citizenry needs to exercise its brilliance constitute the institutions of liberty.

Thus, in the US, where the other institutions are already strong, we can strengthen our adaptive capacity by increasing our freedom to innovate in response to threats such as climate change, whatever its cause. There are many regulatory barriers to innovation in general, and in sectors like energy and transportation in particular.

These sectors are important because innovative adaptation can have mitigation benefits as well. For instance: ending certain regulatory requirements of air traffic control that increase flight times will reduce the amount of aviation fuel used and therefore reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well. "Free flight," as it is called, is technologically reliable, safe, and would reduce domestic emissions from aviation by 17 percent. In Sweden, experiments with "green landings" at airports have reduced the amount of fuel burnt during each landing by 535 lbs. The barriers exist as historical anomalies, and removing them would benefit passengers, industry, airports and the environment.

Strengthening the institutions of liberty in the developing world would also be of great benefit to the people of those nations. Freedom correlates strongly with wealth and health. As the most recent "Failed States Index" compiled by Foreign Policy magazine shows, states most at risk of failure tend to have younger populations. If educated and freed from tyranny and corruption, these states could explode with creativity rather than rebellion.

Yet that is not all that adaptation could do to arm the developing world against the threats of global warming. Most of the claimed negative effects from a warmer world relate actually to the exacerbation of pre-existing problems rather than from new problems. An adaptive approach would seek to reduce or eliminate the effects of those problems now, rather than trying to mitigate exacerbating effects in 50-100 years time. In the adaptive world, there is little or nothing to exacerbate, meaning that global warming will have little effect.

Indur Goklany, in a study for the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), examined the effects of tackling infectious diseases, hunger, water insecurity, sea level rise and threats to biodiversity now as opposed to attempting to mitigate climate change now. In all cases he found that tackling them now would have considerably more effect and be cheaper than tackling climate change. For example, meeting the emissions reduction targets of the Kyoto Protocol will reduce the population at risk from malaria by just 0.2 percent in 2085. Investing as little as $1.5 billion in malaria prevention and treatment would cut the death toll in half today.

Moreover, we cannot ignore potential benefits of resiliency beyond greater capacity to adapt to climate change. In another study, Goklany found that a richer-but-warmer world provided greater benefits than a poorer-but-colder world. The benefits of wealth more than offset the costs or warming, while the climatic benefits of a colder world were more than offset by the costs of starving the world of energy to keep it cold. For example, if nothing is done to reduce temperatures, increasing wealth will drive down the population at risk from water shortage by up to 57 percent. The adaptive approach banks these benefits.

As the US News article suggests, environmental campaigners have always denigrated adaptation, because it is predicated on the idea that we can live with global warming. Such a suggestion is anathema to the pure eco-campaigner. In insisting that mitigation, and mitigation alone, is ethically acceptable, they have sent the world down an ideological tunnel, one in which meaningful dialogue between the realist and the purist has been impossible. If they had allowed such dialogue, it is likely that the world would be much further down a path towards dealing with global warming than it currently is.

Iain Murray is a Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institutive.

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156 Comments

Global warming may well be an oportunity
Of course we can live with global warming. In the medieval warming period, grapes were grown in England and wine made, while at the same time herring were plentiful. Sea levels may indeed rise. This may mean dikes.

We are on the verge of breakthroughs providing cheap and abundant energy from several new sources. Here, the warming will be an asset. Even today all the energy needs of a home can be supplied, and then some, from solar sources. The conversion processes are getting more efficient, lighter, and cheaper all the time. This would be a very worthy investment for homeowners to make, providing cheap, uninterrupted energy with excess for sale. It may be cost effective even now to line our buildings with photovoltaic converter

The warmth should cause faster and greater growth of plants along with the increased water supplies needed to sustain it. Avocados, oranges, and apples in New Jersey would be nice.

Using the warmth for our benefit is relatively easy compared to improving our health which, along with increased longevity, grows worse every year, especially in comparison to England. A quick fix would be to sunset the FDA and regulatory control over matters of health and letting the trial lawyers go to work on the bad guys.

The environmentalists will howl, of course. All they want is to expand their influence and control over other people’s land. Yellowstone for example should be doubled or quintupled in size for example according to some.

True believers
Your comments suggest that those who believe in Kyoto type programs are opposesed to free markets.
How could you suggest such a thing?

Iain puts out his employers' latest talking point
After first insisting endlessly that the science was dubious, was bogus, was corrupt, was inconclusive, now the line is even though we know it's happening, let's not act aggressively to cut back carbon emissions, let's just plan for warmer days.

And anyone who suggests differently is an eco-alarmist. This writer has faithfully echoed every step of coordinated campaign to deliberately cast doubt on the science, suspicion on the scientists, to avoid drawing conclusions about action, as anyone who looks at his collected writings on this site can see for themselves. Caveat lector.

Evolution
Why this site accept evolution but not global warming (Bush doesn't)? Maybe it's because evolution doesn't cost Exxon anything. The creation science and intellegent design people create phoney controversy that looks just as real as the CEI manufactured GW stuff. There is a biology professor somewhere who doubts evolution, to say nothing of the missing links, and the fact that it would be impossible to evolve an eye without intellegent guidance.

Easy answer
Evolution - Tons of physical evidence based on fossil record, DNA research, microbiology, etc. Multi-disciplinary research has occured between anthropologists, paleotologists, geologists, cellular and microbiologists, botanists, etc.

AGW - No physical evidence. Pure theory based on models that cannot even replicate past weather/climate changes. Any disciplinary review outside climatology is immediately thrown out unless it supports AGW.

For the record, I don't like this article. It starts out on the false premise that AGW is a fact and goes downhill from there.

Global climate change, like ****, happens. We have adapted over the centuries to changing climate and will continue to do so almost unconsciously.

Hole in the **** of MSM
I think the author is pointing out that a MSM outlet has decided to look beyond AGW and examine how to deal with climate change in general.
And the CEI and my approach as well would be to point out that a robust growing econonmy will be most adept at responding to any climate change.
Last year's storm damage across the USA would have crippled other countries' economies. While it certainly has had an impact, the US economy is still growing after 9/11, tsunami aid, two current wars, and much storm damage.

energy from the sun
We are no where close to being able to get all of a homes needs from the sun.

Two points
1) The author never accepted that AGW is happening, much less that it will be catastrophic.

1a) There is no scientific evidence for catastrophic AGW. The evidence for any AGW is extremely weak.

2) As usual, eric doesn't try to refute any point in the article, just throw childish insults.

Nice article about science
"In the case of global warming it doesn't make any difference at how big your government grant is, how big your computer is, how fast it is, or again how smart you are, if the computer model can't explain, predict, or replicate observations in the real world as claimed, it is wrong. The observations settle these disputes, not computers. Computer results are not data; they are elaborate guesses at what the real world data produces. "

http://www.hawaiireporter.com/story.aspx?17eb12d0-de3f-4426-979d-f12c49cea627

Outstanding discussion, but.....
I congratulate Mr. Murray for making an excellent case for moving the debate to a different context. One point I'd like to make on behalf of conspiracy theorists. The eco-freaks are not really concerned about the possibility of mankind suffering the horrors they scream about. They want to hamstring America and to redistribute American wealth to the vast world population that doesn't enjoy our success. All of this AWG fuss is about persuading Americans that we need to participate in the global carbon trading system. Our participation would by some estimates raise the price of carbon credits to nearly 500 USD per ton. This would eventually result in the U.S. buying 3-6 billion carbon credits from the non-industrialized (read poorer) nations of the world at a cost of 1-3 trillion dollars per year. The eco-freaks and others that scream about Kyoto fully grasp the consequences of such an unprecedented transferral of wealth out of the U.S. This system does nothing to reduce carbon emissions and everything to reduce the wealth and military capability of America. That is what Kyoto is really about.

Hear Hear, well said
" The eco-freaks are not really concerned about the possibility of mankind suffering the horrors they scream about. They want to hamstring America and to redistribute American wealth to the vast world population that doesn't enjoy our success. "

They are just power hungry socialists.

There's more evidence to cast doubt on evolution, than exists to support AGW.
Evolution still can't explain irreducable complexities, or how the first cell came to be.

There is no evidence to support the claim that AGW will be harmfull, much less catastrophic.

I do note that LG still can't handle fine distinctions. Everybody here accepts the notion that more CO2 will mean a warmer climate. The fight is about how much. The evidence shows that the warming is quite small, some people want to ignore the evidence and claim that AGW will kill us all.

did not accept AGW as a fact.
He noted that the US News article started from the presumption that AGW is real.

This is no different than the position Lomburg took.

Change is EVIL
The Eco-Extremeists have always held, as a fundamental premise, that ANY change is evil. They want the world to be kept in a complete stasis, preferably that being the state the world was in prior to the Industrial Revolution.

Sorry guys (and gals) stasis is impossible. Entropy ALWAYS wins. The best we can do is manage change to our own benefit and make things better for ourselves and the rest of the planet.

The environmental community
is a somewhat disparate group in the range of their goals. What they all agree on is that technical and industrial progress has gone too far and in some measure believe must be undone. For some, its limited to eliminating things like nuclear power. For others, its a reversion to the Paleolithic. To some extent, they all share in the Noble Savage mythology propounded by Jean-Jacques Rousseau in the 18th century, and perpetuated thereafter in a variety of political philosophies, some left wing, some right wing.

There are some interesting contradictions in their movement. Generally they idolize the notion of "small is beautiful" to stress community based programs. However the interesting contradiction is that they depend upon big government mandate to achieve this.

What they also all agree on is that they believe there to be too many people in the world. Again views will vary as to how much they believe this to be the case.

What all of them agree on is that Kyoto is fundamentally about restricting the supply of energy. Achieving such restrictions would allow them to achieve what they would perceive to be success in both of their above-mentioned goals.

For some, they are worse than being power hungry socialists, Marjon. Some of them, particularly the deep ecologists are truly anti-human. What's difficult about the environmental movement is that it can find ready allies with both left wing and right wing, depending upon the issue.

A slight modification
Jim, they tend to believe that any change introduced by humans is evil.

Rainbow Six
If you have not read this book by Clancey, I would recommend it, if for nothing else the ending is fantastic.

"However the interesting contradiction is that they depend upon big government mandate to achieve this.

What they also all agree on is that they believe there to be too many people in the world. Again views will vary as to how much they believe this to be the case."

Stalin and H*tler, both good socialists, did their best to rid the world of humans.

Win-Win Adaptation
Long term climate trends (since about 750 million years ago) indicate that earth is warming as it emerges from a 60+ million-year “ice age”. There is also short term warming as a result of emerging from the last glacial period (that ended about 10k years ago). The earth’s oceans have been rising steadily for at least 10 thousand years. Also, there is the long term impact of the gradual increase in solar output…that will eventually fry the earth (in a few hundred million years) if intermediation is not forthcoming. So, for many reasons, gradual warming and rising ocean levels appear likely in the short to medium term. As a result, coastal cities and many islands are threatened. However, there are equally ominous threats to consider…such as the global trend of increasing acreage lost to desertification each year. Or the strain on water/food-production resources presented by the steady increase in global population. The end result…the very foundation (cities, water and food) of human civilization is at risk. A future Hollywood disaster movie readily comes to mind.

But there is a technological solution that addresses all of these threats simultaneously…it is the rare “win-win” answer. We build a worldwide system for moving desalinated ocean water inland, store it below and above ground and use the water to turn waste land into productive food and energy farmland. This approach addresses water/food shortages, expands the “green acreage” on our planet and contains ocean level increases…win-win. And equally important, it decreases the likelihood of another glacial period.

While it is true that adaptation in general is a proven survival technique, all adaptations are not equal. Species by nature adapt, yet billions of species have declined or become extinct. The key is to make THE correct and timely adaptations.

Another difference
>"Evolution still can't explain irreducable complexities, or how the first cell came to be."

And no one will claim to know this since the scientific investigations into these concepts are continuing. The study of Evolution is nowhere near complete but it is a basic fact that it occurs.

Get Off!
In a few hundred years, I would hope that space habitats could be built and scattered about the solar system.
Turn Earth into a park.

Tell the American Geophysical Union how weak the evidence is
>The evidence for any AGW is extremely weak.

Please tell this to the American Geophysical Union. This is what they say:

"Human activities are increasingly altering the Earth's climate. These effects add to natural influences that have been present over Earth's history. Scientific evidence strongly indicates that natural influences cannot explain the rapid increase in global near-surface temperatures observed during the second half of the 20th century."
http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/policy/positions/climate_change.shtml

But what do they know?

I will have to have a look
at it. Michael Crichton's recent book is still on my "to read" list. To look at this contradiction another way, we often consider the greens to be socialist in nature. However, as noted there is a contradiction between the greens's desire for small scale and the need to implement through big statist solutions.

Now it used to be that socialism, at least as defined by the Stalinist model, was big state, collectivist, and big, very big, on industrial development and technology. It suggests that the current blend represents a corrupting of the old Socialist state ideology (bear with me here for a minute) by the green anti-development agenda, which leads to this contradiction. We've seen the new red-green philosophy in action forming the government of a number of European countries during the 1990s, namely Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden currently, and now Spain and Italy. What these examples show is that the practical result of the contradiction in their philosophy is complete immobility, with government effectively unable to implement any policy, good or bad, because any action violates one side or the other of their contradictory philosophy.

For me, the good news is that even if through some electoral abomination, the red-greens get into power they will be unable to do anything (whatever Bill Clinton was, he was not a red-green, but Al Gore is). The bad news is that even when they're not in power, they can prevent the rest of us from achieving anything.

As to Stalin and Hitler, it's certainly true that both were socialist, but it was only certain groups they wanted to get rid of. The greens are worse; they just want to get rid of people, period. They've already partly succeeded with their ban on DDT. Want a good definition of sustainable development as practised by the greens? It's Western eco-paradise built on the bodies of millions of dead Africans.

nice thought, but unless you can provide a link I think the technology isn't here. . .
Ray - you wrote "It may be cost effective even now to line our buildings with photovoltaic converter."

We built our home in 1986 to take advantage of a south view and of the free warmth to be gained from sunlight coming under the overhangs and in through the broad windows in the colder months. As a result we have a ready made roof that faces due south and is sloped at 45 degrees - near perfect for photovoltaic converter installation.

Please post a link to the photovoltaic supplier that can provide us with cost effective panels.

Please try not to distort what the AGU is saying
Mark said the evidence for catastrophic warming was weak, but that's not the point being addressed by the AGU. Nowhere does the AGU address the likelihood of catastrophic outcomes in that document.

Moreover, your quote from the AGU says, "Scientific evidence strongly indicates that natural influences cannot explain the rapid increase in global near-surface temperatures observed during the second half of the 20th century."

First, "strongly indicates" does not equal "proves". I do not believe that any scientist would claim that we have observed and understood all the natural influences.

Second, this refers to natural influences that have been observed and understood. Hence the reference to scientific evidence. This does not by itself prove the statement, therefore human influence. The AGU later in that same statement refers to the difficulty of separating human from natural causes. It notes the range of views among researchers, with some being confident of predicting outcomes and others not. However, the AGU's caution about separating natural from human should be taken as an implicit criticism and caution to those who are too confident in predicting outcomes.

Why restrict ourselves to moving desalinated water
I recall talk back when of a proposal to dig a canal to introduce seawater to a large below seal level portion of the Sahara. I also recently read about a very low lying area in the great rift valley of East Africa. And then there is the Death Valley basin in California and the Dead Sea area in Palestine.

Digging canals, or building large diameter pipelines to bring ocean water into those depressions will modestly reduce the rise in seal level due to warming, and the greater water surface area will result in more evaporation and thus more local rain. And then you have the environmentally friendly power which can be generated by taking advantage of the fall of the water from sea level to 500 feet below sea level in the case of the rift valley depression.

Additionally the continuous evaporation of the seawater in those low lying areas would lead to laying down of new salt deposits for far future generations. The ultimate environmentalist coup - long term creation of a resource by use of passive solar energy.

A win, win, win. I would think that the enviros would flock to this idea.

eric can't read, what's new
No contradiction between what the AGU said, and what I said.

They claim that natural warming is not responsible for 100% of the warming.

I stated that only a portion of the warming is due to CO2.

For those who passed 2nd grade reading, those two statements are not contradictory.

ominous trends that aren't
Desertification is an artifact of changing cycles. These same deserts have grown and later shrunk in the past. Most desertification is in fact desert movification. Deserts growing on one edge, and retreating on another.

The earth's human population is nowhere close to being a burden. Regardless, the rate of growth is plummeting.

Just one problem
The human consumption of water for all purposes is tiny compared to the water inventory of the world's oceans. Assume that each person for all purposes (including industry) consumes 50 l of water per day. That means an daily consumption (by 6 billion people) of approximately 3 x 10(5) square kilometres to a depth of 10 cm. However, the area of the world's oceans is about 4.5 x 10(8) square kilometres to an average depth of 2 - 3 kilometres (I may be underestimating the depth). This would add about another 2 x 10(5) at a minimum in difference between the volumes. I guess what I'm saying here is that total human consumption of water is much less than a rounding error in the world's total water inventory. That being the case, your plan will not significantly effect thermal expansion of the world's oceans.

However, your idea is still excellent. We don't have a shortage of water, we have a shortage of fresh water, and large scale desalination is the best concept for minimizing environmental impacts while increasing water availability in desert areas or any other water-deprived area such as some very large cities, as you wisely suggested.

They hate it, Sully
because desalinating water means using energy on a large scale, and the greens want to restrict energy and human habitation, and not allow the expansion of either one.

Incomplete sentence
Only microevolution has been proven to occur. I do not think there is any argument here. Yet, common descent is a hypotheis, not a fact. Most evolutionary claims these days are philosophic claims, not empirical proof, especially when you get into the hard proofs.

What's annoying
is that the AGU has issued a rather moderate, middle of the road statement on global warming, in no way lending itself to projections of catastrophic outcomes, and in no way claiming certainty over predicting effects, catastrophic or not.

The Sahel, for one, is greening
Recently published research (see: http://www.co2science.org/scripts/CO2ScienceB2C/articles/V9/N23/B1.jsp for example) shows that in the Sahel region of Africa, biomass has been increasing for the period 1982-2003. Most of this is due to increased rainfall (cycles again), but some of it may be a result of CO2 fertilization and more efficient water use associated with higher CO2 concentration. IIRC, the increased rain in the Sahel is also associated with the same cycle that causes more Atlantic hurricanes.

But what do they know?
That they will do or say anything to keep the flow of taxpayer dollars coming in their direction. Scaring those less inclined to study and critical thinking is one of the ways used. Note that our dim-witted politicians have either fallen for the fear mongering or are using it to gain career points, aka being re-elected.

This was a very good response to eric…
and his constant prattle about the AGU or the NAS say____________ (you fill in the blank). I have tried repeatedly to point out that those groups do not say what he claims they do. Alas, my efforts fell on deaf ears. Hopefully he will take some notice from this as it is very well done.

The point is that we do not know much about the AGW theory and the exact relationships of the mechanisms at work. Still, from what I've read, I believe that, if it exists at all, AGW is a small part of the overall warming equation.

denial
if you don't like "strongly indicates," why not try "virtually certain."

"Moreover, research indicates that increased levels of carbon dioxide will remain in the atmosphere for hundreds to thousands of years. It is virtually certain that increasing atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases will cause global surface climate to be warmer."

If this were a medical diagnosis, would you be looking for little loopholes in the language?

You say this...
but the AGU and the NAS positions speak for themselves.

> Still, from what I've read, I believe that, if it exists at all, AGW is a small part of the overall warming equation

And that's what you say. What the AGU says is:
"cientific evidence strongly indicates that natural influences cannot explain the rapid increase in global near-surface temperatures observed during the second half of the 20th century"

But we're supposed to believe you and doubt the AGU. Why?

No contradiction???
"They claim that natural warming is not responsible for 100% of the warming. I stated that only a portion of the warming is due to CO2."

Sorry, that was the contradiction pointed out.

Here's what you said:

>>The evidence for any AGW is extremely weak.

Here's what the AGW saiid:

Scientific evidence strongly indicates that natural influences cannot explain the rapid increase in global near-surface temperatures observed during the second half of the 20th century....
Moreover, research indicates that increased levels of carbon dioxide will remain in the atmosphere for hundreds to thousands of years. It is virtually certain that increasing atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases will cause global surface climate to be warmer.

And you say there's no contradiction??? Do you understand what the word "contradiction" means?

Sure. It's all a big conspiracy
The scientists and the eco fanatics pushing for world government. That's a nice looking tinfoil hat you're wearing.

If you follow their language carefully
the AGU summarized it rather well. They believe that evidence shows there to be some warming of the planet and that there may be some reason to believe that humans have some role in it and that this warrants investigation. A moderate statement that no one could deny. Mark was correct that what he posted is not in contradiction with the AGU position statement.

A problem we have is that many of the trends are very long term. For example, it is true that global warming may, if the theory is true, result in thermal expansion of the oceans. However, it is also true that the sea levels have been rising about 18 cm/ century for the past 10,000 years or so. Why? I don't know, personally, except that I suspect that isostatic rebound from the Wisconsin ice age is most of it. We do know that it takes at least that long for ice sheets in Antarctica to respond to changes in sea level (one paper I read from the Hadley Centre suggested that the adjustment time was 78,000 years!!).

So when a hot topic like human global warming comes along, there is sometimes a tendency to lump a lot of these long term trends that no one knew about except a few specialist scientists into the new "cause de jour".

That's your characterization
What the document says is

"The unprecedented increases in greenhouse gas concentrations, together with other human influences on climate over the past century and those anticipated for the future, constitute a real basis for concern."

You say, no reason to worry. Send the AGU a postcard so they can change their statement.

…and dead industralists, and dead consumers, et. al.
Good post and very accurate in my opinion. I would just add that the "watermelon" people (green on the outside, red on the inside) seem to be growing in number. This is a chilling proposition when you consider the overall agenda.

"Strongly indicates"
and "virtually certain" are certainly not synonyms. Moreover, nothing in the quoted passage indicates anything about predicted effects.

This isn't a medical diagnosis, and the comparison to medicine is not relevant. By the way, the decay time for CO2 is 120 years (time to decay to 37% of initial value, H.Rodhe, Science 248 p 1217, 1990).

I'm quite happy with their statement
but I'm not happy with any suggestion that their statement lends support to predicting catastrophic outcomes nowhere implicit in their statement.

They're growing
because they have been at least partly successful in selling their moral message, namely that it's virtuous to be thrifty with our resources, consume less, be more efficient and do good things for the planet.

But like any good carny, you never tell the rubes all the facts and that the game is rigged against them. The greens have been more than a little coy about the outcomes of their eco-paradise.

A conspiracy?
Hardly. It's just hysteria, and such popular hysteria crops up regularly about every 15-20 years or so. Like a head cold in winter, this too shall pass, until we're told to be frightened of something else.

eric continues to distort
The NAS stated quite specifically that we don't know how much of the warming seen to date is caused by man, and that we don't know with any certainty how increasing CO2 will affect the climate.

Three degrees of ad hominem
There are three degrees of ad hominem.

1. Questioning the competence or impartiality of someone offering expertise on an issue. This is legit.

e.g. Ian Murray is an employee of an organization
(CEI), whose reason for existence is to help oil
companies combat global warming measures.

2. Giving correct personal information about the person making an argument that has no bearing on the argument itself.

e.g. LG is an elitist.

3. Giving imagined, false, and irrelevent "facts" about the person making an argument.

e.g. The eco-freaks are not really concerned about
the possibility of mankind suffering the
horrors they scream about. They want to
hamstring America and to redistribute American
wealth to the vast world population that
doesn't enjoy our success.

In this particular thread, the liberals are giving type 1 (good) arguments while the wingnuts are descending from type 2 to type 3. (Clue to Mark: in case your neuron is tired, you've been dissed.)

Distinction without difference
It says the climate is changing and action is needed. That the change may not be catastrophic is hardly a recommendation.

Hysteria? From the AGU?
Neither the NAS nor the AGU are noted for being hysterical. But let them know: they'll change their statement.

Please try to understand this
Neither the NAS or the AGU are hysterical. Rather those who pervert their positions into predictions of catastrophic outcomes are hysterical.

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