Nobel Peace Prize to Al Gore and IPCC

Congratulations – sort of – to Al Gore and the IPCC for the Nobel Peace Prize.   I’m somewhat confused because it seems to me their efforts would not fall under the general category of promoting “Peace”.    AP story about Al Gore and IPCC Peace Prize is here.  More importantly people should be concerned that our new global focus on very expensive and problematic climate change science will distract us from more pressing problems.   Here’s what I just wrote to the Nobel Prize Committee – their website even promises I’ll get a response. 

As much as I respect Al Gore and the IPCC I worry that our new global focus on Climate Change will distract us from the more pressing problems of poverty, health, and violent conflict.   Was this possibility considered by the awards committee?

Climate change is the best current example of how humans process information, problems, and solutions in irrational ways.    Generally people note that global warming is happening (true) and that warming is likely the result of human activity (probably true – IPCC concludes over 90% likely).    It’s also reasonable to assume that warming will lead to mostly undesirable changes.   HOWEVER, it does not follow from these truths that we should make Global Warming the top priority.  In fact due to the expense and difficulties involved a clear mind will conclude that we should implement cheap changes but forego the expensive changes in favor of devoting those resources to *current* catastrophic global conditions – generally these relate to poverty and health conditions in the developing world, but would also probably include work to alleviate the appalling conditions found in many American and European big city neighborhoods.

Below is a link to a video of Bjorn Lomborg at TED Conference on Global Solution Priorities.   In my opinion he’s the clearest thinker out there – a contrast to people who are so poisoned by “political thinking” and “advocacy thinking” that they can’t see the facts from their causes.    I think a good test of whether you are clear thinking about a topic is to make the opposition case effectively enough that people can’t tell your bias.    Most topics have complex sets of facts and no easy answers – everybody should keep that in mind.

Hey – Al Gore’s office looks a lot like mine, but with bigger monitors.    I like him, but don’t agree with him that GW is the big problem facing us.

There’s a LOT MORE about this over at Max’s blog.

186 thoughts on “Nobel Peace Prize to Al Gore and IPCC

  1. The Peace Prize is under different rules than those conferred directly under the will of Alfred Nobel. The prizes are conferred by the King of Sweden and ofcourse the final decisions are his but the selections are usually made by the Swedish Academy of Science. The Peace prize must be awarded rather than being discretionary and some other differences apply.

    I wonder if it was awarded for his having invented the internet? Oh well, I think the best prize of all goes to the US investment advisor who has never charged the fund any fees. And never invested any of the funds in Enron, etc.

  2. Thanks for the history FG – interesting. It sure seems to me that this decision was primarily political and looking to elevate the issue – and Al – even higher on the global agenda. “We” silly humans would rather give out awards and talk about problems than do what is needed to solve them. Most of the enthusiasm I see in the GW movement goes into talking about what *others* need to do, while even the activists often keep up the carbon excesses because driving, travel, and energy use is more fun than a spartan lifestyle. Is there a balance? Sure, but I’m not seeing it implemented in the lives of most of the people talking about Global Warming. Changing a few lightbulbs won’t do it, but it makes people feel good while they ignore the real problems of the world and even the core issues of Global Warming.

  3. Pingback: Al Gore got consolation prize: Nobel peace | CompendiumM

  4. I replied at my own blog to your comments. In summary:

    But what I consider is that the Nobel of peace is not only devoted to war and violence related – as the name might imply – but also to issues regarding the peace of the planet as a whole. So we might say that we, humans, are at war against the planet, and Gore tried to put a end to it, or at least open our eyes.

  5. Hi Felipe and thx for the comment. I think you are right that the Nobel folks have stretched the definition of “Peace” to pretty much include anything they think is helpful to the planet.

  6. Enjoy reading your comments on Gore, America’s official Dysfunctionally Disabled spokesman for near-Truths and almost-Environmental-Science. There may be some relation between increasing man-made CO2 and rising temperatures (though some say temp. data itself not reliable), but that is quite beyond Big Al, Haw-vard journalism flunkie. How do experts distinguish between increases in CO2 via humans, and maybe more CO2 due to photosynthesis or something??odd.

    But the real point is that global warming detracts from more pressing concerns, whether peak oil, corporate tyranny, war, or the status of Britney Spears’ pubic hair….

    Here’s one GoreBot who can’t quite figure out what you are getting at:

    Straighten ’em out, Herr Duck.

  7. I couldn’t help but notice your comments on New Worlds:

    Al’s a good guy but is focusing too much on GW as the key global problem, rather than one of many.

    That’s the standard greenish-management view, perhaps. I don’t agree. For one, Gore was a miserable student and knows less about biology and chemistry than probably any competent RN (see this :
    for some real discussion of g.w., and a nice dissection of Flunkie Al). That seems sort of important in a way: just as it was when citizens took issue with Dubya’s miserable grades.

    Few take issue with his alarming use of stats and graphs in TIT (and presenting probable “models” as Truth)–though you did point that out— or Gore’s own miserable environmental record with Clinton, his hawkishness and association with Lieberman (google for some quotes from 1999-2000), or that he has for years been a corporate puppet. He’s a “good” guy now.

    Au contraire: Big Al embodies American mediocrity, corporate deception, political compromise. Alex Cockburn’s amusing rips of Gore and g.w. (on Counterpunch) seem closer to political and economic truth than the compromisers and sentimentalists’ desire to re-hab Gore. See also Dr. Rancourt’s interesting material contra-GW (including questions of the temperature data and “modeling” itself).

    (Your comments were appreciated, however.)

  8. Hi Joe,

    Just a quick elaboration on some of the comments already made at New Worlds in response to this post.

    “In fact due to the expense and difficulties involved a clear mind will conclude that we should implement cheap changes but forego the expensive changes in favor of devoting those resources to *current* catastrophic global conditions…”

    This depends on how we evaluate the expense of any given change. Some changes may seem to be expensive in the short term but have huge payoffs in the long run. I think addressing GW and the negative consequences of a fossil-fuel economy are in this category. There is also to consider the unforeseen expenses involved in not addressing these concerns. Failure to migrate away from a dependence on foreign-based fossil fuels will result in more resource conflicts (potentially catastrophically expensive) and less ability to develop clean, sustainable alternatives when the fossil fuels become scarce and prohibitively expensive.

  9. Why doesn’t Al Jr.–the son of an Occidental Exec. and southern aristocrat–then take on the oil companies, not to say automotive manufacturers, airlines, and producers of fossil-fuel-dependent transportation? Because he’s in the corporate pocket , like his supporters. The problems are not merely resource-based, or “green”: they are economic, concerning distribution, finance, corporate power, global capitalism itself, and the relation of scientists to capitalism. At least Alex Cockburn has the spine to question the role of the scientists on the corporate dole as well (they are not there to advance economic justice, but mainly to increase profits).

    (and peak oil concerns and global warming hysteria are not on the same page)

  10. Ah McMax’s baptist drama coach Dreckonius appears! Watch out Duck, he does a damn fine job pretending to be a leftist. Probably even supported that “radical” Al Jr.: Al Jr., the FBI snitch, Occi. executive, Kosovo-enabler, Xtian, NRA-supporter, Harvard flunkie, anti-abortionist, pal of neo-con Lieberman, though Dreck’s now also fond of “honest republicans” like Ron Paul, and of Hillary herself.

    He may try to lay the good book on ya, later, after he repeats his favorite HS chemistry lesson. He should be sedated and put in a mental hospital, ASAP.

  11. Hey Max and Perezoso, there is massive cross blog pollinating going on, which is actually *enhanced* by Global Warming!

    Max if one believes as you do that the chance of catastrophic climate change is “high”, then you are being consistent to think we should pull out all the stops. My read on the IPCC report is that GW will almost certainly be gradual and non-catastrophic, and I (along with a lot of economics folks) support Lomborg’s interpretation of the economics of GW. We can spend a lot now and do little to help, or we can devote the resources to things that will save millions of lives and enhance the environment in cheaper ways.

    An area where most agree is that we should explore energy alternatives a lot more than now, and try to wean ourselves off fossil fuels. However that gets political fast. I now support a *massive* program for Nuclear Electricity like what they do in Europe, and I’d even reduce regulations to make it happen.

  12. Climate change is the best current example of how humans process information, problems, and solutions in irrational ways.

    You are right to question the motivations of some of the global-warming addicts and Gore groupies. GW may be a problem in some areas, but it’s not been completely confirmed. Temperatures constantly fluctuate as do tide-levels (and there are questions regarding the reliability of the temp. data). Moreover, read a few GW articles and one notes that scientists have not conclusively established a causal relation between rising CO2 levels (assuming that the CO2 is man-made) and rising temperatures: as anyone who has worked with data soon realizes, correlation (graphs sort of matching) is not necessarily causation. Yes, increasing CO2 probably has an impact on temperatures, but it is the sort of zealous faith of some neo-liberals in Gore’s GW models that troubles some–not all some Foxnews addicted rightists. And the temp. increases themselves (if accurate) of 1-2 degrees C may themselves be negligible.

    The process of the GW “dogma-formation” bears some resemblance to the 911-conspiracy process: once the dogma of the conspiracy has been accepted as truth (even though the evidence may be scant), anyone who objects is anathema, conservative, fascist.

    Cockburn wrote some interesting articles on this. Even though he is quite leftist (in fact sometimes too leftist), Cockburn correctly perceives the reactionary character of the GW fanatics and 911 conspiro-nuts. They are passionately attached to the cause du jour, to the images of liberalism, to the ID-politics, and often lose sight of the real issues. GW advocates are not all like that, but there exists a tendency to sort of replace ALL problems with this one Ur-issue of GW when obviously there are many other weightier issues (war itself really).

    Apart from the problems of GW, however, the Gore/Nobel peace prize concerns political amnesia in a sense. Gore was hardly a progressive as VP. Americans should not be obsessed with Gore’s fairly conservative record overly much, but it does matter, as much as say a 40s or 50s writer’s possible involvement with the Vichy might matter to later readers. Gore in a sense had his chance with Clinton. They fucked up, in essence. To add insult to injurt, Gore also stumped for war with Iraq as much as Bush was in 1999/200; and his choice of Lieberman proves that. No one is obligated to respect Al Jr.

  13. “Max if one believes as you do that the chance of catastrophic climate change is “high”, then you are being consistent to think we should pull out all the stops.”

    I don’t necessarily believe it will be high. I think there is a reasonable risk that it could be, but I could be way wrong. I’m more concerned about Peak Oil, which is a certainty- just a matter of timing. I can’t see how the human race can avoid a significant die-off when the cheap fossil fuel that’s been spiking food production and consequently population becomes a mere dribble. My hope is that the heightened concern over GW, justified or not, will push us to develop alternative technologies that will help ease the transition to that time of much reduced energy input.

  14. Note that confused Gorebots like “Max”, after presented with the facts of “global warming,” admit that the science might be iffy, and then start into qualifications: oh Gore’s lectures (and BS charts. etc.), the polar bear scam, might have some positive effect, etc. Sort of like Al Gore Jr. himself when confronted with the evidence of his kickbacks with Occi Petrol., his hawkishness with Lieberman, his mistakes with Clinton, etc. Like Gore, they are DINOs, or perhaps GINOs. Lieberdems–who recycle and eat tofu of course.

  15. Perezoso I approved your earlier comment with two links… note that more than one link goes into moderation automatically (this is an anti spam thing in my WordPress configuration).

    Horatiox are you and Perezoso and Totenkopf all the same person?

    The process of the GW “dogma-formation” bears some resemblance to the 911-conspiracy process: once the dogma of the conspiracy has been accepted as truth (even though the evidence may be scant), anyone who objects is anathema, conservative, fascist.

    I liked this point above and think it applies to many right wing views as well. People often put the groupthink of their own team above rational thinking. I have a great deal of contempt for standard thinking in both of our US political parties. Liberals never met a social program they don’t want to fund to excess, and conservatives never met a hugely bloated military and security budget they didn’t want to keep funding.

    The founders are spinning in their graves wondering how we’ve done so well despite our departure from their brilliant vision of free enterprise, low military interventionism, individual freedom, and justice for .. um…most.

  16. In other words, Duck, call a spade a spade: Gore’s a salesman for “global warming.” The research was flimsy: the charts and presentation of data especially alarming. The IPCC studies have been called into question for years. And Al himself was a flunkie at Harvard, less scientifically informed than even like the DINOS of New Worlds.

    It’s not a matter of right or left, except to irrationalists like Max. Gore’s more or less a liar, on a grand scale: even if SOME GW claims are accurate (though few would say it’s 90% probable– more like 50-60%), Gore presented probabilities and estimate as truth. Not only intellectually dishonest, but a fallacy (hasty generalization)–all of which would seem to trouble people concerned with accuracy and verification, for lack of a better term. Gore should be denounced (and Lombourg or whoever’s little tame PC yaps are not sufficient).

    This dude, regardless if you approve of his politics, has a good run down on the real issues (not the sentimental, cuddly polar-bear BS).

    Note the link to Dr. Hug’s rather technical REFUTATION of IPCC claims (which has been confirmed by other researchers). If Hug (and half-sigma) are anywhere near correct, Big Al the Occi Boy should be like sued for intellectual fraud, if not put away in a sanitorium.

    There’s more:

    “”””In conclusion, all the main easily observable and most cited regional warming effects are probably driven by radiative mechanisms having nothing to do with (i.e., not being caused by) global warming or increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration. More likely causal factors include: soot from coal-powered plants, mineral, soil, and organic matter dust from changes in agricultural practices, fires from changes in water and land management practices, increased high-altitude and polar atmospheric transparency, changes in the solar constant, etc.””””

    Rancourt’s no rightist either. IN fact his politics are rather anarchistic. He knows FAR more about GW than Gore, or most likely the IPCC people. That is Lombourg x 5.

    Cockburn too has more links to the GW skeptics (not “deniers”—skeptics).

    Jus’ the facts. It is conservatives who love the BS, the spin, the hype–.

  17. Totenkopf? Interesting. I may have heard of him: like “skull” in German. Perezoso I am not sure……….

    This is not intended to be confrontational, Mr. Duck. You must have noted, however, that it is the GW skeptics who are usually put on the defensive (this can be seen even at NewtWorlds): “what? you doubt Daddy Gore? You must be a neo-con, and have a swastika carved into your forehead!”.

    Rightists of course do this as well : “you question the premises of the Iraqi war? You are a lib-rawl, soft on communism, a threat to our precious moral fiber!”

    SO much of blogchat sort of relies on these little defamations and insinuations. ID politics, in essence. Empiricism itself (i.e. let’s examine the FACTs of global warming) generally is frowned upon: and in many cases, objectivity threatens both right and leftist dogmatists.

    Objectively speaking, “An Inconvenient Estimation” does not hold up. It’s not merely the “contextual” thing that Lombourg points out either (there are more important concerns, peak oil, war, etc.): it’s about intellectual dishonesty, and deception. The GW hype (if you will excuse a bit of postmodernist speculation), has become part of the media Simulacra: it’s accepted as truth by many, and looked upon as a massive problem, notwithstanding the rather provisional nature of the data and the research. Goreworld: sort of like a green Disneyland, with groovy webcasted rockconcerts, PC corporations tuning in, the IT giants, celebrities, hip ho-wood lezbians all lending a helping hand.

  18. The presentation of the “loyal opposition” to GW also functions as part of the Simulacra in a sense. Instead of say Alex Cockburn’s fiery debates with Monbiot (they are on Z-net, Counterpunch, elsewhere) appearing on Salon or Slate, Lomborg’s polite responses are pasted up. Lomborg becomes a PC straw-man. Alex C. is no strawman. Alex may be a bit too hot-headed, perhaps, but those who bother to read his essays (of course, consumers who bookmark Salon probably do not bookmark Counterpunch) will note that he offers a great deal of reseach, and links to GW skeptics. They are not all “fringe” or anarchists or whatever.

    Dr. Rancourt is one of the sources for Cockburn’s skepticism. Rancourt offers a lengthy and well-written objection, which is both scientifically informed and even PC to some degree. Instead of relying on Lomborg the pretty boy, the spinmeisters should be required to cut to Doc Rancourt in his office up in Ottawa and interview him on the problems of GW.

    In addition to Rancourt, the rather technical report of Dr. Hug (which nearly refutes the IPCC in toto) should be examined by those who are interested in the core issues, instead of the hype and the DailyDINOs high-fives.

  19. Horatiox I agree that the hype has become “the facts” and this is crazy, but IPCC is generally good science (I’ve only read summary stuff, not the full report). So I don’t get why you are so skeptical of human caused warming. It’s true that there are excellent scientists who challenge this, but there is an almost overwhelming concensus that CO2 is causing warming and humans are causing C02. I accept that conclusion because it’s researched heavily. I don’t accept the notion that we should forego much GDP in what I think will be futile attempts to reverse C02 emissions. China will be the big player in CO2 (next year) and in the economy (<10 years) They are not going to reduce emissions and we are not going to force them to do it.

  20. It’s true that there are excellent scientists who challenge this, but there is an almost overwhelming concensus that CO2 is causing warming and humans are causing C02.

    Thanks for noticing that I said “skepticism” and not “denial” (some bloggers prone to mendacity conflate the two). Skepticism would require a consideration of the doubts of serious scientists. I agree the Limbaugh-like dismissals are generally hype themselves and not serious(though the rightists do on occasion refer to more scholarly sources–even Crichton is not total BS). Did you read the linked essay by Dr. Rancourt (or his pal Noble)? That’s fairly serious, and has gotten some attention. He’s no politician.

    Rancourt’s point on the unreliability of the temperature data is spot on (and often neglected, especially by the Gorean fundamentalists). The CO2 data itself is questionable. Indeed that is as they say S.O.P. for research, both scientific and social science: not about right or left. Determine the validity of the data before speculating. Right? Rather critical. I won’t repeat Rancourt’s points, but they are rather crucial (and I don’t think Gore was careful with data whatsoever, and he or IPCC may be “skewing” data to suit his purposes).

    Other skeptics like Dr. Hug and Glassman should be read; also see “junk science”. I do think Monbiot made some good points (contra-the skeptics like Cockburn and his sources–see Z-net): but the fact remains that a strict causal relation between increasing man-made CO2 and increasing temps has not been established: it’s been estimated. There are problems even separating the man-made CO2 from the natural CO2; and obviously the natural accounts for like 95% of the total CO2 in atmos. (an obvious point that more zealous Goreans often overlook).

    I don’t see the 90% likelihood. Not sure what it is, but if you have some pretty high-powered scientists opposed to it I would hesitate to say it’s over 50%.
    Lomborg’s “contextualization” of GW, for lack of a better term seems important: that is, if one assumes the GW science is at least somewhat accurate.

  21. Note how one Miss Byronia on New Worlds does the bogus liberal act as well: that’s a classic ID politics specialist. Someone calls Gore the Flunkie on his research, points out the powerful counterarguments (at least to be considered), and Miss B-ron, all upset and in a huff as usual that one of her heroes has been insulted, starts into insults, defamations, ad hominems. What? You dare criticize a great Churchillian-like Hero such as Big Al! You must be insulted!

    Of course Byronia ‘s inept insults are not quite as witty as like a Mad magazine cartoon. Anyone who thinks Churchill is a hero doesn’t knows jack about 20th century history or English politics anyway. That never stops a peasant like Byronia however.

    And “Max” here has allowed this for months, indeed encourages it.

  22. Note also Mr. Duck that Max now acknowledges that some scientists question Gore’s research and findings, and/or his approach. He now agrees with Duck (as did I, though not agreeing that IPCC is 90% correct–probably more 50-60% right). His own science source more or less refuted the hero Gore, and yet Max still “smiles,” even though he was more or less proven wrong. It would seem that one would admit a mistake, or at least question a prize offered to someone who offers estimations and probabilities as fact, and exaggerated the dangers of GW (Rancourt’s point, who is far more knowledgable on this than Gore–or Zubrin).

    Moreover, there are problems with the entire consensus model that some Gorebots appeal to: is X an expert/scholar in atmospheric physics? If not, his opinion is no better than Esmeralda’s at the grocery store. Real science is not done by consensus (even Einstein wrote on this issue when his first articles were not accepted at “peer-reviewed” journals). Some of the zealous Goreans also tend to commit the Appeal to Authority fallacy (that X has a PhD in Economics does not mean X is an expert in say atmospheric physics).

  23. Real science is not done by consensus

    Yes, this is a very important point. In fact good science is based on skepticism, and I think we’d agree there is far too little room in the GW debate halls for anyone expressing contrarian views.
    That said, you’ll *always* have a group of scientists who fall out of the mainstream view, and generally those scientists will be proven wrong over time. I’d be cautious to pin your beliefs on the skeptics. The fact that they have been unjustly treated, blacklisted, given too little media attention, and underfunded in their research does not tell you *anything* about whether they are right or not. They are good scientists using good data and coming to reasonable conclusions. However, so are most of scientists who believe that warming is 90% likely a product of increased human industrial activity.
    Since I don’t have time to get several PhDs in all the climate related disciplines or even become a hobby expert, I’ll go with the scientific concensus which is usually the best reflection of the correct interpretation of the data.
    Lastly though I want to agree *emphatically* with your statement that we must be very cautious if a scientist who studies, say, biology is generalizing about climate. In fact I think we’d agree this has contaminated otherwise good research reports with wild speculation about how something that is only indirectly and theoretically related to GW suddenly becomes “evidence” to support GW alarmism.
    Summary of my views:

    There is warming (fact)

    Warming has a relationship to greenhouse gasses (fact)

    Warming is caused by humans via increased C02 from
    industrial processes (likely – I accept the 90% from IPCC)

    Warming will affect the planet, on balance, in negative ways (likely).

    Warming will cause global catastophe(s).
    (EXTREMELY unlikely. Sea level rise is projected by IPCC to be between 18 and 59 centimers OVER THE NEXT CENTURY, DUDES!
    This is an average annual sea level rise about the height of this line | or this very appropriate exclamation point !

    Note how few scientists suggest in their own work in their own fields that catastrophe is looming. This is because it is not looming. They have left the promotion of GW catastrophism to the alarmists but have not been critical of this because you don’t get (politically inspired) grant funding to study global warming when the concensus is that Global warming will be a pain in the ass but not a catastrophe. (technically I should say it *probably* won’t be a catastrophe. You can’t be sure of anything, but it’s about 10% likely per IPCC that humans have nothing at all to do with warming. My gut says that the catastrophe scenarios in the film, where the planet basically collapses, is on the order of a 1/1000 likelihood or less. We could build anti-asteroid shields too, but I’d rather feed starving kids with my tax money.

    Therefore: (I simplify) Let’s worry about keeping malaria from killing several million people this year rather than worry about Global Warming eventually increasingly mosquito populations which will lead to a small % increase in extra malaria deaths in 25 years.

  24. I’d be cautious to pin your beliefs on the skeptics. The fact that they have been unjustly treated, blacklisted, given too little media attention, and underfunded in their research does not tell you *anything* about whether they are right or not.

    I agree with that. That’s a problem with Alex Cockburn on Counterpunch, perhaps: his resentment against Clinton/Gore admin (some justified, probably) seems to drive him towards the GW skeptics: they MUST be right, according to Alex. So he does refer to some “fringe” researchers or scientists, or at least they appear to be fringe. At the same time, that some of them are “fringe” doesn’t mean they are to be dismissed. Crichton’s surely not fringe, nor as his sources (his skepticism is well-documented), even if you don’t care for his politics (whatever they are).

    There is warming (fact)

    Warming has a relationship to greenhouse gasses (fact)

    Warming is caused by humans via increased C02 from
    industrial processes (likely – I accept the 90% from IPCC)

    OK. I have read quite a bit on GW online, and while I don’t pretend to be an expert, I note that some fairly respectable scientists doubt that man-made CO2 leads to global warming, or at least not to the degree IPCC claim. The evidence DOES suggest an increase in CO2 in the total CO2 in atmos. over last few decades. Even Cockburn and the skeptics grant that. But there are problems with that: even with increases, man-made CO2 is less than like 3-4% of total C02. The “experts” are debating what is and what isn’t due to man. Obviously natural C02 still accounts for nearly ALL CO2 (the carbon cycle/photosynthesis depends on C02). The natural greenhouse effect is really “good” in some sense, though man-made CO2 may have interferred with it.

    But some researchers doubt that temperatures have even risen that much, or that the temp. rises are negligible, or question the temp. data altogether, both recent and historical. Rancourt, a canadian scientist says the data-collection techniques are suspect, and doubts that accurate median temp. readings for the globe can be established (some of the GW people suggest he’s a quack, but I suspect he has a lot more knowledge of atmospheric science than the “modellers” that Gore/IPCC love. But he’s an outsider).

    Dr. Hug’s laboratory study is rather technical/analytical chem., but with some work most college boys can piece it together: that is, if they can stand to have their Gore/IPCC faith challenged. Hug refutes the IPCC claims nearly completely, but it is a laboratory setting. Nonetheless, his findings have been confirmed by other researchers. I agree that the atmosphere is not a chem. lab, but he shows that even 2 to 3 times the present amount of CO2 in atmos. does not lead to warming (as the IPCC claimed).

    (See link to Hug’s study here):

    So I remain skeptical, though grant that the IPCC might be correct. So leave it at 50/50. Even so, the Lomborg issue remains: GW could be a problem, but hardly the worst problem. Oil-reserves tapping out, agricultural collapse, nuclear war, or a Ghouliani presidency (or Hillary’s) for that matter would all be far worse.

  25. Warming will cause global catastophe(s).
    (EXTREMELY unlikely. Sea level rise is projected by IPCC to be between 18 and 59 centimers OVER THE NEXT CENTURY, DUDES!

    Your point is well taken. I believe, however, that you may be focusing a little too closely on sea-level rise as the only brand of catastrophe we might face. I also have to agree that it was one of the more compelling potential effects featured in Gore’s film. How much credence does the IPCC give to theories of potentially abrupt climate change due to Younger Dreyas like results from the Atlantic Conveyor stalling? This is the scenario that could result in most of Europe suddenly being unable to feed itself because of loss of capability to grow food due to a mini-Ice Age, not to mention similar problems on the Atlantic seaboard.

    I admit I don’t read enough science journals to go straight to the source. There are sources I trust however, to give me a sense of what might be possible in more general terms. Kim Stanley Robinson is one such source. I’m 2/3 of the way through his global warming trilogy; 40 Signs of Rain, 50 Degrees Below, and the third one I haven’t gotten to yet. Stan is a major science geek in that he loves to hang with scientists and study the way they work as well as what they’re revealing about the nature of things. The trilogy’s chief protagonist is not an individual, but the National Science Foundation. The NSF is forced to deal with abrupt climate change issues that develop throughout the book over the course of a few years. Sort of like The Day After Tomorrow, but stretched out over just enough time to sound utterly plausible.

    Yes, it’s fiction, but I know enough about KSR to know that he believes in the general thrust of what he writes and he basis that on a strong understanding of what the scientists in the field are reporting.

    One could probably say similar things about Crichton, I suppose, but I know much less about his methodologies and personal biases.

  26. BTW- KSR is ultimately an optimist about the future of humanity on this planet. He does think it’s going to be battle royale getting through the crises of the next couple of centuries, a period he refers to generally as “the overshoot.”

  27. Max – yes, there are other possibilities of warming catastrophes that include but are not limited to shut down of the conveyor, “super hurricanes”, and even I think localized *cooling* effects such as those absurdly
    presented in “The Day After Tomorrow”.

    As with everything these phenomena are probabilistic rather than certain. Reason (and in my opinion morality as well) suggests that we should assign probabilities to the likelihood of various scenarios, look at costs and benefits as much as we can, and then act accordingly.

  28. Warming will cause global catastophe(s).
    (EXTREMELY unlikely. Sea level rise is projected by IPCC to be between 18 and 59 centimers OVER THE NEXT CENTURY, DUDES!

    The IPCC4 did not include any assessment of the possible excess of melt over freezing from Greenland or Antarctica. I think there is some ice on those places.

    summaries of a few –


    Future sea-level rise is an important issue related to the continuing buildup of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, with the potential to raise sea level 70 meters if completely melted, dominate uncertainties in projected sea-level change. Freshwater fluxes from these ice sheets also may affect oceanic circulation, contributing to climate change. Observational and modeling advances have reduced many uncertainties related to ice-sheet behavior, but recently detected, rapid ice-marginal changes contributing to sea-level rise may indicate greater ice-sheet sensitivity to warming than previously considered.


    Satellite radar altimetry measurements indicate that the East Antarctic ice-sheet interior north of 81.6°S increased in mass by 45 ± 7 billion metric tons per year from 1992 to 2003. Comparisons with contemporaneous meteorological model snowfall estimates suggest that the gain in mass was associated with increased precipitation. A gain of this magnitude is enough to slow sea-level rise by 0.12 ± 0.02 millimeters per year.


    Sea-level rise from melting of polar ice sheets is one of the largest potential threats of future climate change. Polar warming by the year 2100 may reach levels similar to those of 130,000 to 127,000 years ago that were associated with sea levels several meters above modern levels; both the Greenland Ice Sheet and portions of the Antarctic Ice Sheet may be vulnerable. The record of past ice-sheet melting indicates that the rate of future melting and related sea-level rise could be faster than widely thought.


    The flow of several large glaciers draining the Greenland Ice Sheet is accelerating. This change, combined with increased melting, suggests that existing estimates of future sea-level rise are too low.


    Using time-variable gravity measurements from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite mission, we estimate ice mass changes over Greenland during the period April 2002 to November 2005. After correcting for the effects of spatial filtering and limited resolution of GRACE data, the estimated total ice melting rate over Greenland is –239 ± 23 cubic kilometers per year, mostly from East Greenland. This estimate agrees remarkably well with a recent assessment of –224 ± 41 cubic kilometers per year, based on satellite radar interferometry data. GRACE estimates in southeast Greenland suggest accelerated melting since the summer of 2004, consistent with the latest remote sensing measurements.


    The mean sea level has been projected to rise in the 21st century as a result of global warming. Such projections of sea level change depend on estimated future greenhouse emissions and on differing models, but model-average results from a mid-range scenario (A1B) suggests a 0.387-m rise by 2100 (refs 1, 2). The largest contributions to sea level rise are estimated to come from thermal expansion (0.288 m) and the melting of mountain glaciers and icecaps (0.106 m), with smaller inputs from Greenland (0.024 m) and Antarctica (- 0.074 m). Here we apply a melt model and a geometric volume model to our lower estimate of ice volume and assess the contribution of glaciers to sea level rise, excluding those in Greenland and Antarctica. We provide the first separate assessment of melt contributions from mountain glaciers and icecaps, as well as an improved treatment of volume shrinkage. We find that icecaps melt more slowly than mountain glaciers, whose area declines rapidly in the 21st century, making glaciers a limiting source for ice melt. Using two climate models, we project sea level rise due to melting of mountain glaciers and icecaps to be 0.046 and 0.051 m by 2100, about half that of previous projections.

  29. It’s interesting how GoreHeads will do about anything to avoid addressing the issue, or the specific problems with IPCC claims, or the facts rather than the hype. The IPCC people themselves offer probabilities, and still are determining whether increases in CO2 actually lead to rising temperatures on a global scale (moreover, whether that is due to man-made, or natural C02 has not been completely determined: Some GW questioners are still waiting to hear ONE Gorean acknowledge the natural carbon cycle and photosynthesis).

    Gore, Hawvard near-flunkie, however had no problem making all sorts of bogus “prognostications” and producing some groovy eco-movie for the masses. OMG! Super hurricanes, with the heroic Eco-Hero, Harrison Ford-like, battling for the very survival of, say, a few wealthy IT barons (and it’s also interesting where Gore/GW people focus on possible damage/impact via GW–Himalayas, Alaska, Scandanavia. Very pretty, dramatic places, fit for Sierra Club calendars: eco-tour destinations!. They aren’t discussing GW/rising tides as it impacts say Redondo Beach, or Galveston, or Lima, Peru.

    Super hurricanes are nothing compared to the oil-reserves tapped out, the depletion of topsoil , war, not to say modern plagues (whether malaria, STDS, AIDS, TB, Hep, etc.).

  30. As with everything these phenomena are probabilistic rather than certain. Reason (and in my opinion morality as well) suggests that we should assign probabilities to the likelihood of various scenarios, look at costs and benefits as much as we can, and then act accordingly.

    This sounds easier said than done. How do you account for spin-off benefits of a Manhattan Project style move to sustainable energy? How much could it save us due to the wars we wouldn’t have to fight for oil? I look at it this way.

    Scenario 1: GW doesn’t turn out to be much of a problem and we spend way more than we need to to fight it. Result: less money available to fight malaria and aids now, but much more later as the primary means to fight it (developing clean, sustainable fuels) allows us not to waste untold billions fighting resource wars.

    Scenario 2: GW turns out to be catastrophic and we don’t spend enough to fight it. Result: more money spent on aids and malaria possibly saving millions of lives, but many more millions, possibly billions at risk due to the results of GW.

    Scenario 3: GW catastrophic but we meet the challenge by investing early in mitigation. Result: millions die of malaria and aids whose lives could have been saved if we’d avoided the GW fight. Millions, possibly billions of lives saved due to mitigating GW AND the switch to cleaner fuels enabling avoidance of resource wars.

    This is overly simplified, of course, but hopefully it gives an idea of how difficult it would be to assign realistic probabilities that take into account all ramifications.

  31. Super hurricanes are nothing compared to the oil-reserves tapped out, the depletion of topsoil , war, not to say modern plagues (whether malaria, STDS, AIDS, TB, Hep, etc.)
    Excellent point Mr. Horatiox

    how difficult it would be to assign realistic probabilities that take into account all ramifications
    Excellent point Mr. Max, but at some level we *must* do this. In the scenarios you are prioritizing in what I see as a kind of emotional way, but I prefer using actual numbers, partly so we can more clearly see where we all agree and where we don’t.

    The points above combine for me to suggest our “disagreements” are often mathematical. We’d all agree it is *possible* that GW catastrophe looms, but we are all assigning different probabilities to the scenarios.

    Max 2/3 of your scenarios assume catastrophic GW, so clearly you see that possibility as *dramatically greater* than I do. If you could convince me that the GW mitigation costs will in fact result in huge alternative energy gains then ‘I’m all in!”. Show me positive ROI and you can tax me anytime. But I’m not seeing positive ROI with, say, Kyoto mitigations….rather I see a lot more expensive technologies (like the insanely expensive coal power plant stack scrubbers). I’m totally in favor of cheap energy savers, and totally against expensive ones.

    Also, you aren’t listing the scenario that I see as most likely (I assign this probability > 50%) to wit:

    USA is going to spend (or forego) tens of billions (maybe more) in money and lots of innovation on mitigating GW.
    People won’t give up SUVs and A/C and China won’t give up coal or adopt much mitigation themselves.
    GW’s effects will be measurable, along the lines of IPCC reporting, and undesirable. Mitgation will be shown to have had little impact on the warming trend.

  32. Yes. I failed to include an obvious scenario in the matrix- let’s call it…

    Scenario 0: GW doesn’t turn out to be much of a problem and we don’t spend much to fight it. Result: more money available to fight malaria and aids now, saving scads of lives, but also not developing sustainable fuel technologies until they’re desperately needed. When the downside of Peak Oil arrives, we have much less resources available to fight it and to help with things like malaria and aids.

    This is rather ironic, because scenario 0 is the one I worry most about. The clinging to the status quo because it will result in squeezing out a little more profit in the short run while being blind to the long range consequences. It’s this scenario that I feel Gore is fighting along with scenarios 2 and 3. If GW never arrives and we spent a lot of money preparing for it anyway, we’ll benefit from that money spent in having a cleaner and less fossil fuel dependent world.

    I still have a problem with the horatiox statement:
    super hurricanes are nothing compared to the oil-reserves tapped out, the depletion of topsoil , war, not to say modern plagues (whether malaria, STDS, AIDS, TB, Hep, etc.)

    You can’t really isolate these like items on a menu. “I’ll have one super hurricane and a side of malaria and TB, thank you. Hold the AIDS please.” They’re all intimately connected in a complex system like the Earth’s biosphere. In fact, I see all of the horrors on that menu being attacked simultaneously by the effort to clean up our world and make a healthy ecosystem sustainable. This is the larger aspect of Gore’s message. We’re spewing out crap to maintain this bubble lifestyle. If we want to have a healthy world for our children we have to live with foresight and have accountability for the side effects of all our high tech comforts and wonders. I don’t think Gore believes that he has all the answers, but he’s raising awareness of the possibilities and sparking debate, and that’s a good thing.

  33. Max the scenarios you layed out have helped understand the enthusiasm for the film and for activism about GW. If one thinks, as you do, that the benefits from GW mitigation are huge then it’s a no brainer to support mitigation. I think Al would probably agree as would many in the tech community who are big on GW as a cause. The idea is that “we can’t lose” with this type of spending because it’s going to bring great technologies at the worst, and at the best it’ll save the planet.

    But I remain very skeptical that this would exceed even a fraction of this spend on current catastrophes like malaria. I challenge any GW activist to tell a sub-Saharan African parent to support GW efforts instead of the oral rehydration that’ll save her kids today and help reduce birthrates for the future (increased standards of living lead to *reduced* birthrates, so it’s a huge win-win to save people in 3rd world.

    Can we do both? No, we actually won’t do either well, but if I’m going to be an advocate it’s for the ORT not the GW.

  34. This just jumped out at me:

    USA is going to spend (or forego) tens of billions (maybe more) in money and lots of innovation on mitigating GW.

    You don’t suppose there will be a considerable amount of innovation involved in mitigating GW? Much of that money spent will be in financing innovation, not foregoing it.

  35. Sorry, I didn’t wait for your response before posting the last. We really should be chatting 🙂

    increased standards of living lead to *reduced* birthrates, so it’s a huge win-win to save people in 3rd world

    I think it can be a win-win-win if you add the push for sustainability to the mix. What we’re quibbling about are the policy steps to achieve that, not the desired result.

    Can we do both? We’ll have to. Maybe we won’t do both as efficiently as we could do one without the other, but I think it’s a big mistake to put on blinders to either issue. I don’t think Gore would argue for ignoring third world health issues to save the planet. That’s a false dichotomy.

  36. Pingback: New Worlds » New Worlds has gone to the ducks

  37. That Gore asserts Super Hurricanes are on the horizon means little to nothing, except in terms of increasing paranoia. It’s not even established that the median temperature rises are significant, statistically speaking (if the data is correct). It’s estimated, but not a “fact”. See this guy:

    The hurricane-prophecy is more “Disaster Chic”, mostly, with probably an attempt to cash in on Katrina-fears. There’s no conclusive evidence that GW had anything to do with Katrina. If anything, Katrina demonstrated the incompetence of NCAR/NOAA, and the limits of climate modelling. Massive hurricanes have been occurring, like, for a few million years. ‘Nawlins citizens caught in the anarchistic nightmare that followed the ‘cane can thank NCAR (as well as a few FEMA people, both conservative and dem) for the great modelling work and “head’s up.”

    The diseases are a completely separate issue, and for many people, especially in 3rd world nations, most likely far more troubling. Water issues are also problems–though droughts are also a fairly natural phenomena. It’s not so much a matter of rising temperatures (they haven’t risen much), but stupid planning: i.e. big cities in areas with not much water (Las Vegas, even SoCal–). There was a minor drought in El Lay last summer: that’s not a matter of H20 scarcity (though that is an issue) as bad planning, inefficient use of existing resources, extravagance (golf courses, big lawns, etc.)

  38. That’s an easy way to avoid dealing with his specific claims, experiments and high-powered research. There might be bias: sort of like when someone points out that Gore has been on the payroll of Occidental and Chevron for years.

    SO Millroy works for a slimy corp like Exxon. Lots of people work for slimy corps. But that doesn’t negate his arguments, though I agree it could show some bias. However, I think it’s amusing how you chose only one of at least 5 GW skeptic sites I linked to. Why not point out Rancourt’s bias?

    While a person might object to someone’s politics, that doesn’t imply that one negates their scientific skills. Werner Von Braun was a great rocket scientist for the nazis. After WWII he was a good American rocket scientist. Probably a fascist a**hole, but not stupid or incompetent. Heinlein fans would seemingly recognize that (instead of playing the appeal to pathos card, again).

    “”””Milloy holds a B.A. in Natural Sciences from Johns Hopkins University, a Master of Health Sciences in Biostatistics from the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, a Juris Doctor from the University of Baltimore, and a Master of Laws from the Georgetown University Law Center.”””””

    That’s quite a bit more scientific credibility than what Al Jr., Harvard flunkie and dixiecrat possesses. Either way, Millroys’ politics are merely relevant in terms of showing possible bias, but hardly disproves his claims contra-GW.

  39. “I’ll have one super hurricane and a side of malaria and TB, thank you. Hold the AIDS please.”

    Ha – Max you almost had me laughing out loud down here in cold, rainy Talent OR. Hey, if our weather tonight is any indication there is NOT any global warming going on!

    RE: Gore agreeing we should fight 3rd world problem. Yes, he’d put more resources to this than neoconservatives (who never met a military intervention they wouldn’t fund) and I like him for that. As President I’d consider 3rd world infrastructure a strategic imperative and redirect at least 33% of the current military spend. What could you do with this approximately $150,000,000,000 per year? Solve *every major human infrastructure problem on earth. Every one.

    You don’t suppose there will be a considerable amount of innovation involved in mitigating GW? Much of that money spent will be in financing innovation, not foregoing it.

    This is a very good point, and probably the weakest part of my point of view. Certainly GW is already spawning some good innovations and many more could come from the new focus. Thus even if GW stuff is “alarmist” this could lead to a better world because people will start worrying and spending and innovating in ways they otherwise would not have done. Also, it’s not at all clear to me that if I had my way and everybody stopped worrying so much about GW any more money would flow to 3rd world “catastrophes” than goes to solve those problems now. My argument to “ignore expensive GW stuff” gets weaker as you bring in our human tendency to ignore 3rd world poverty. If people insist on ignoring malaria and AIDs and poverty then yes, I’d be for spending more on energy innovations. But this begs the key question of “how do we prioritize solutions”. I’m VERY firmly with Lomborg and the Copenhagen Consensus on this topic of prioritizing solutions using constructs relating to quality of life and human life ROI:

  40. Millroy works for a slimy corp like Exxon

    nuff said…

    One must be careful with sources. If the facts are on one’s side there should be no need for deception such as keeping funding sources hidden.

  41. Not enough said: that’s a quote out of context. Indeed you seem a bit obsessed with showing that all GW skeptics are rightists, and that is not the case at all. When are you going to respond to Rancourt’s essay?

    Millroy working for Exxon merely shows possible bias. Bias is everywhere. Chevron has ads on DailyKOS. Gore works for slimy corporations, such as Occi. On the Evil-o-meter, Gore far outranks Millroy. He signed off on killing people in Iraq and Kosovo (1000s, in fact). He was anti-union. He was even anti-green until mid-90s. In terms of ethics qua ethics, Gore supporters have little ground to stand on.


    Don’t you think the key issue remains the actual validity of the GW claims themselves, Mr. Duck? That seems to me a bit more critical than some sort of planning-or resource-allotment fantasy. Decide if the science is good or not. That’s is difficult for most of us, but it’s sort of pointless to offer speculations about GW outcomes when the science of GW is itself still in dispute.

    I think’s it’s interesting how Max decided to focus on one of the more conservative GW skeptics, when there are other liberal/green ones, such as Rancourt, Glassman, Noble, etc (see Counterpunch). Could he doing his own “skewing” by trying to show that all GW skeptics are rightist? Perhaps. Of course not all GW skeptics or persons who object to Gore are rightist. Gore is a rightist, arguably (given his record with Clinton). He chose Lieberman and L. was known to be a hawk. It’s sort of rightist to overlook Gore’s own spotty political and environmental record with Clinton.

    Various people taking on Gore/IPCC raise many of the same points. That’s really a good thing: it shows that different people have reached similar conclusions, even though they might be completely at odds, politically speaking, and even opponents.

  42. Don’t you think the key issue remains the actual validity of the GW claims themselves, Mr. Duck?

    Yes, I agree the key issue is the validity of GW claims. Of course these vary enough that it makes for the spirited lively debate we are having here, and more. I’m going to get the film and see it again and take some notes because I’m simply floored by how many scientists seem to think Al is “reasonable” in the film. I wrote over here sharply criticizing the scientists who run the blog for defending the film (I’m comment 265)

  43. Thanks for that link. It did a lot to restore my respect for Al’s work in the film. Your comment seems to put words in the Real Climate guys’ mouths much as they claim the UK judge is doing with famous “9 errors” judgment. The main two points you raise are the sea level rise and the Katrina/GW connection. They point out that Gore didn’t provide a timeline on sea level rise and the rise of 20 feet is reasonable given the historical record. Not reasonable it would happen in 10 years or a hundred, but Gore didn’t say that. Similarly, they claim that Gore makes no claim for a connection between GW and Katrina. HE just says he’s are the kinds of problems one would expect in a warmer world. Again reasonable.

    It strikes me that the purpose of the film was to get people thinking about the kind of large scale effects that could potentially occur as a result of substantially impacting the atmosphere the way we have been. No where does he say it’s too late to act, that we must rush through legislation denying ability to address other problems, etc. He’s just getting people to think. What is irresponsible about that? Given what Al has learned in his work in this field and his ability to get the message out, to do otherwise would be irresponsible.

  44. the UK judge is doing with famous “9 errors” judgment.

    Another simplification. A judge doesn’t simply wave his hands and offer a decision: he has experts that he consults with–in this case, he had UK environmentalists, and the IPCC report itself. According to the judge, Gore takes freedoms with some of the IPCC’s own research. Indeed, most of the points (including the polar bear hype) outlined by the judge have been raised by other critics of Gore.

    There are reports in blogosphere that Gore did assert that GW led to Katrina, or at least had some relation (needs fact check). Note also the judge’s point on the graphs: one of the issues that Counterpunch people have stressed.

    Gore manipulated evidence (and the data is itself questionable) to some degree in TIT by scaling the graphs and making simplistic, management-like correlations. Look, the charts match, sometimes (after the graphics have been tweaked). Therefore it’s proven! That’s BS. The reliability of temp. data itself (including the ice core) is still in dispute; additionally (as Cockburn and his sources cogently argued), estimations done by simulated computer “modelling” are not really proof, especially if there is no substantial proof that shows increases of C02 lead to warming. Cockburn also notes that man-made C02 emissions have already decreased fairly substantially in many areas since late 70s.

    However much a rightist Millroy is (do you know if he votes GOP or Dem? He might be lib. but has to pay the bills), he points this out (as did Hug–see Even 2-3 times the amount of present CO2 in a mini-atmosphere shows no significant warming. The atmosphere is different than a lab, but Gore presents GW as if everyone agreed to the facts, when they don’t. The climatology “modellers” might agree to some extent; the atmospheric physicists and real scientists don’t seem to.

  45. I’ve worked my way down as far as comment #36 and I really like this summary paragraph:

    Global warming / climate change is complex with many unknowns, uncertainties, challenges, and probably surprises still remaining. The subject, however, is now firmly established at the top of the scientific and political agenda allowing research and debate to continue and develop so that we move closer to a more complete understanding and the solutions we all desire. Scientists and activists alike deserve the credit they are receiving for achieving this.

  46. Note that many of the comments on that site are rather critical, and are from scientists. I hope Duck, you also have seen this site which clearly outlines Gore’s errors:

    “”””14. When Gore does display the ice-core data he incorrectly uses it to assert that CO2 is directly responsible for global temperature change. This is the most egregious error in the movie.””””

    (A NASA person I believe).

    The central point (noted by UK judge as well) concerns Gore’s manipulation of evidence. He doesn’t even follow the IPCC report at all times. Not a matter of PCness, and I trust, Mr. Duck you perceive how the Goreheads more or less do anything to defend Al Jr’s spin: even granting that he could be mostly wrong, but that good will come out of it. That is unfortunate, and I think you should tolerate dissent: especially when it’s the Gorean faithful like Max who are running rampant over the blogs. It should be the IPCC report being debated anyway, not Gore’s eco-movie.

  47. Dissent, Duck. Rational dissent. That’s what blogging is about. Preventing dogma-formation, whether idiot-rightists, or green-stalinist Left. Gore is not the IPCC anyway.

  48. Max I don’t think I put words in their mouths, though another commenter also said I was doing that (I replied over there several comments later. In terms of grant funded bias I’m *super intrigued* with this notion and thinking it would make a neat and provocative PhD thesis. I have an MS in Social Science and I’m thinking of going back for more academics, and this is high on the list of subjects I’d love to study.

    Everybody interested in the issue should be asking themselves “what evidence would prove me wrong?”. For me the rapid disintegration of some ice shelves is both troubling and seems to support more of a catastrophe view, but I have not had time to look at that stuff closely.

    Much of this is the challenge of “probable” vs “possible”. I like the way IPCC assigns probabilities to the various scenarios because this is too complex to simply use “gut feelings”. However as silly human primates even scientists get caught up using intuition rather than data to generalize and form hypotheses. I think the folks over there are guilty of doing this – they feel so strongly that warming is threatening the planet that they are willing to applaud Gore for implying that catastrophe is looming even though they themselves would not say “catastrophe is looming”.

    Max my simple question for you is this: It is clearly
    “unlikely” that catastrophic climate change will happen. Why don’t you say that more often? You could still maintain that we should devote huge resources to mitigation for the other reasons you’ve written about here.

  49. …they feel so strongly that warming is threatening the planet that they are willing to applaud Gore for implying that catastrophe is looming even though they themselves would not say “catastrophe is looming”.

    It all depends on how you define catastrophe and how soon is looming? Catastrophic climate events are likely in the near and extended future. There is plenty of evidence that the rate and scale of these events could increase over time. I would say that is indeed likely. The doomsday scenarios are significant possibilities, but I wouldn’t necessarily say they are likely. I don’t think Gore would either. What struck me when I watched AIT for the first time was how optimistic he sounded after laying out so much evidence that things were so grim. He spoke as if he believed humans can rise to the challenge to prevent the worst case scenarios. That’s inspirational and is having an effect. I just don’t see deceptive scare tactics. I see “share my concern. I want to enlist some serious help fighting for our future.”

  50. Fair enough Max. I’m reviewing the transcript of the film, an unofficial version is here:

    What the film implies (vs the mostly technically correct statements) is going to vary person to person. I’d consider myself *wrong* if a panel of “neutral” observers, after seeing the film, correctly answered questions about sea level rises and hurricanes and then said the film is not alarmist. Hmmm – maybe this has been done?

  51. Edelman, a NASA atmosphere expert (his article is on a site linked to the article), asserts that Gore made some alarmist/exaggerated claims, and also exaggerated the GW consensus. It’s also important to note that Gore’s movie and the IPCC report are not the same.


    “”””””Two German environmental scientist, Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch, conducted an extensive survey of 530 climate scientists from 27 different countries in 2003. (A similar survey was conducted in 1996.) On the critical assertion, “human activity is causing climate change” only 55.8% agreed, 30% disagreed, and the rest were uncertain. This is hardly unanimous agreement.

    In a recent analysis of peer-reviewed studies, Dennis Avery and Fred Singer listed more than 500 climate scientists whose studies confirmed that climate change is a natural phenomenon.

    There is no consensus. Even if there were it would have no value in science. Proof leads to consensus, not the other way around.””””””

    Of course, it might be determined that Edelman eats meat or drives a Dodge–or even, yikes, vote republican—and so Goreans can then dismiss his assertions.

  52. Proof leads to consensus, not the other way around
    Hey, is that a Horatiox orginal quote? Good one..

    I was just reviewing the original “928 studies” social science paper cited in the film. It’s a big stretch to conclude from that fairly superficial analysis that nobody disagrees with the consensus view. The study you cite above looks like a better approach to answering the question of consensus on GW though the huge number of dissenters really surprises me.

  53. Have you read the Cockburn/Monbiot exchange on Z-net, and related articles on Counterpunch, Duck? Rather essential for an informed decision. I enjoy it because it’s not the debate as produced via corporate media (with the supposed “liberal” Goreans on one side, and the rightist Foxnews addicts on the other). No BS, or at least not as much as MSM. Indeed, reading Cockburn’s articles on Gore/GW a few months ago prompted my skepticism (NOT equal to denial). Alex is not an academic scientist, but a rather respected leftist-libertarian journalist: no corporate hack.

    Cockburnian invective can be a bit much for the usual suburban consumer–and admittedly some of his sources have a few connections that might irritate the PC— but I tend to think he’s mostly correct, and triumphs in his debate with Mssr. Monbiot (who however does a decent job defending the real IPCC claims, not the pop-GW of GoreCo).

    “””””I should acknowledge one imprecision in my description of Dr. Martin Hertzberg’s graph in my first column-“the smoothly rising curve of CO2”-that prompted several intemperate responses, charging that I couldn’t possibly expect CO2 or carbon levels to drop just because of a one-third cut in manmade CO2. Indeed, I should have written “one could not even see a 1 part per million bump in the smoothly rising curve.” Even though such transitory influences as day and night or seasonal variations in photosynthesis cause clearly visible swings in the curve, the 30 percent drop between 1929 and 1932 caused not a ripple. Empirical scientific evidence that the human contribution is in fact less than a fart in a hurricane, as Dr. Hertzberg says.”””””

    Heh heh. Hertzberg’s stuff is itself quite interesting: though Hertzberg did work as a munitions expert, and probably even eats beef on occasion. Cockburn also has some comments on the realclimate cronies. Of course Alex is not on DailyKOS, or DU, or Slate/Salon/MSNBC, primetime so most Mallocrats don’t have to deal with his effective leftist-contrarian writing.

  54. Of course, it might be determined that Edelman eats meat or drives a Dodge–or even, yikes, vote republican—and so Goreans can then dismiss his assertions.

    Actually, his son popped in to say his Dad drives a Prius and cares for the environment, so obviously he thinks exactly like me.

    I don’t dismiss his assertions, but neither do I dismiss those of the articulate and thoughtful poster named Demonweed who made several strong assertions to the contrary. In fact judging by the chorus of right-wing criticism blasted at him by Edelman’s friends and family, Demonweed’s defense of Gore was almost heroic. As entertaining as the comment battle might have been, that’s one thread that might have better been limited to the two chief protagonists.

  55. Demonweed refused to deal with Edelman’s specific points. His points were generally of the “my Hero Gore would never do such a thing, and only rightists criticize him” sort: come to think of it, similar to New Worlds.

    Edelman’s points on Gore’s misuse of temp. data (or at least possible misuse or misrepresenation) are especially interesting. Other GW researchers have mentioned that point as well. The alleged temperature rises over last few decades appear to be within the margin of error for the thermometer readings (like less than 0.7 degree C, I believe).

    The readings from 19th century also problematic, as is the ice-core data. It isn’t only the more traditional GW contrarians who have brought that up, either: Dr. Rancourt (whom no one seems to bother with–he’s a leftist canadian physicist (but maybe eats a burger now and then, perhaps)) also alluded to that problem of verifying the accuracy of the Temp. data. Some IPCC researchers (at least the ones maybe not dining at IPCC/Gore’s GW-grant slushbucket) also have called attention to the possible unreliability of temperature readings.

    What’s more, that problem will most likely NEVER be resolved, so the GW estimations have to be weighed in light of the rather conjectural temp. data. Not sexy, but if the supposed temperature fluctuations are not statistically significant, then the entire GW project more or less Inconveniently Bellyflops.

  56. Joe, nobody said that Oreskes’ “928 papers” proved that the consensus was unanimous. A larger sample might have one or two papers that rejected the consensus. But Gore’s point was about how misleading newspaper coverage of climate science was. Newspaper stories constantly report about on the people who reject the consensus, giving the impression that there is huge debate amongst scientists about it when there isn’t.

    The studies Edelmans cites are worthless. The first one was on online study and the URL and password was posted to a warming sceptics mail list, resulting in an obvious bias (and the answers weren’t even necessarily from climate scientists). Avery and Singer is even worse. Yes there are 500 scientists whose work shows that natural factors affect climate. But it is more than a little dishonest for them to pretend that these scientists concluded that man-made factors don’t also affect climate.

  57. “Obvious bias”: to the Gore camp, that means something like possibly undercuts our POV, therefore to be rejected. Gore is biased; even the IPCC has some bias. There are millions of shekels at stake for grants, studies, AIT luncboxes, etc. And not all GW people are groovy Greens: Hansen, one of the IPCC gurus (who says warming is probably not due to CO2, and that temp. data might be f-ed–he also made a documented error with temp. data) is a conservative and NASA dude, and not a pal of Big Al.

    “””Avery and Singer is even worse”””.

    That’s a declaration; not proven. What has been shown is that the reported temperature rises are hardly anomalous (and within a .7 to .8 C error margin). That’s the dirty secret of the GW and realclimate crowd. Milloy, however much a corp-boy, pointed that out some time ago (so did Crichton).

    Granting some slight warming trend (the temp. data even from 2 to 3 decades ago suspect), there’s no hard evidence that GW isn’t due to natural processes, or natural CO2—of course one has to remind Goreans that man-made CO2 accounts for like less than 3-4 % of total CO2, and that CO2 is hardly present in atmosphere at all: quite less than 1% of total atmospheric gasses. Moreover in lab setting even 3-4 times the current CO2 levels have not shown to result in much temperature increases (yeah labs aren’t the sky, but nonetheless).

    The realclimate cronies have not derived some lag ratio either: so any warming (if there IS any) could be due to natural CO2 from decades or even centuries ago, even according to their own models! Methinx it’s mostly Inconvenient Hogwash, though Hansen is worth reading (he changes his views about every year now).

  58. Wow, you guys are forcing me into a GW career!

    No horatiox have not read Cockburn on this yet. I did find the piece you linked to above that was critical of points in the film very interesting. When I read the critiques of the film they often seem to be very thoughtful and well documented while the defenses seem to focus on how few of Gore’s statements were falsehoods, ignoring the obvious problem which was a huge exaggeration of the likelihood of catastrophic change.

    The complexity of the science has created a very fertile ground for people of pretty much any point of view to suggest the science supports them. Again, this is why I’ll accept the mainstream view until it’s disproven. Horatiox I agree that suggesting a “broad concensus” is probably premature and certainly Gore’s suggestion in the film that there is virtually no dissent in the scientific community is irrational, but unless I’m missing something you seem to think that scientists who study GW are wrong about the anthropogenic link even though there are far more in this camp than in the skeptic camp. As you’ve noted correctly consensus is NOT truth, but it’s often an indicator of truth – why don’t you give more credence to the hundreds of papers that support GW as good science? IPCC seemed to be very cautious in their use of terms like “likely” and “probable” and I have no reason to think they came to their conclusions without applying better scientific method than I’m capable of without spending several more years in academia.

  59. The complexity of the science has created a very fertile ground for people of pretty much any point of view to suggest the science supports them. Again, this is why I’ll accept the mainstream view until it’s disproven,

    I agree it’s very complex, and that’s one reason to withhold assent until all the facts are in (as Dewey or someone used to say); additionally, I do not deny that the IPCC model could be correct, though the IPCC does not equal Big Al the Green Dinosaur. But there’s a sort of dogma forming that the IPCC IS the authority on GW, and that does not seem correct. Hansen the IPCC GW Geek-in-command, has himself waffled on some issues, including CO2. According to a few sources Hansen nows says any warming is probably not due to CO2 (at least that’s reported on a few sites, including Wiki). That calls into question the whole anthropogenic CO2 thesis that the realclimate people and other GWers insisted upon.

    That’s part of the consensus BS: the IPCC are mostly modellers, sort of climate-geographers with high-powered servers doing groovy simulations: they are not primarily atmospheric scientists (Cockburn and his sources point that out), though some are. Simulation means jack if the data is not reliable.

    My own personal feeling is that the temp. data is close to “anomalous” but that it’s not that significant. It’s entirely possible that increased temperatures (if they are increasing), melting, rising oceans, etc are natural phenomena–. I would not say the data is not reliable: but some figures suggest that, including Milloy (and Crichton), whose writing in regards to the temperature sampling seems fairly important, though Steve probably doesn’t have a DailyKOS s-name. Cockburn’s people also suggest that, and they ain’t all quacks (indeed some probably rate lower on Quackometer than Doc Hansen, or Al Jr.).

    There’s some interesting stuff on here, and related sites:

    Click to access Climate%20Momentum%20Shifting%205-07.pdf

  60. … there’s a sort of dogma forming that the IPCC IS the authority on GW

    Thanks to the spirited debate you and Max have provided here, which led me to RealClimate’s emotionally charged scientists, I am going to re-examine my faith in IPCC. When scientists who participated in IPCC seriously suggest that the film does not exaggerate the science about GW to support a political conclusion, they are falling victim to our human tendency to choose alliances before truth. This undermines scientific credibility.

    Re: QuackOmeters. I have one of those!

  61. I think it’s interesting: not only because of the politics, but because of how the MSM presents the issue and the sociology of science issue (and Gore IS part of the MSM, however much some Kossack-types like to think he’s some great progressive).

    Slight correctio: Doc Hansen, though he insists on GW claims, does not have an association with the IPCC (not sure if he did). But he denies anthropic CO2 as the fundamental cause of warming.

    Peruse some of his essays, and one notes that he’s even more alarmist than IPCC, but at the same time grants that catastrophes similar to “worst-case GW scenarios” (Greenland melts, oceans rise 50+ feet. etc.) have occurred numerous times. That’s another weirdness: what caused those historical heat-waves? That would seem to indicate that GW could be a natural phenomena, or mostly natural.

    On the other hand, were the ocean to rise say 50+ feet it could take a large section of like entertainment riff-raff in Malibu: not a completely negative outcome (or imagine like a houseboat in Sausalito up on some massive wave….yeah). Maybe some Spielberg-like GW epics will arrive in the near future, too: imagine Max for like the Eco-Hercules role……..alas Charleton Heston is a bit aged.

  62. I do not think you are characterizing Hansen correctly. He has said that warming seen up to a certain point (I think roughly 200) was largely caused by GHGs other than CO2, which I believe he felt was being offset by aerosols. Many of the trace GHGs he was blaming are also put up there by human activities.

    I would not take him to mean he does not think CO2 will never force warming now or in the future.

    It depends on what people and nature do to the realities in the atmosphere.

  63. There was an overbearing officer in charge of supply during a large American campaign. His initials were JCH, same as mine, and officers who feared or resented him called him JesusChristHimself.

  64. Joe, I assume you’ve read Real Climate’s analysis of why the sea level numbers could be substantially higher than in their official report. I’m wondering how this affects your thinking on the potential mitigation costs.

    The scary thing to me is the implication that the rise will very likely be several meters if we look ahead several centuries, without any significant chance for a decrease in the foreseeable future. Not good for polar bears, let alone humans a few generations hence.

  65. Max I was just reviewing the info today. Gavin (one of the RC scientists) seems to reasonably suggest another 25cm could come from melting, but hardly the catastrophic levels. He also directed me to RealClimate’s guest post about ice shelf modelling and how problematic it can be.

    This type of modelling is where the catastrophic issues seem to come in, but in a way I’d argue is not very relevant to policy making. You can’t rationally suggest that because the models are very inadequate we sure better assume the worst and plan for catastrophe. Asteriod shields would decrease the chance of global catastrophe, but few would suggest they are worth the cost (hmmm – I wonder if those few have a vested interest in space research? I REALLY want to study this formally some day).

    The current GW catastrophe argument seems to go like this:

    GW is very likely to be melting stuff (true)
    Melting can lead to catastrophes (true)
    Catastrophes are possible (true)
    Catastrophes are likely (false!)

    The shelf and Greenland stuff is so complex, and the models so poor, I think it’s questionable to assume more than what is currently clear.

    The key error I think you and many RC people make in this is to assume there is not a huge cost to mitigation. If there is little or no cost (or a positive benefit as Stern suggests) then OF COURSE we should mitigate ’til the polar bears come home. But the cost is likely to be hundreds of billions per year in foregone GDP, more for the drastic mitigation scenarios. It’s simply very unlikely that the costs justify the benefit of a slightly decreased chance of catastrophe.

    Climate scientists correctly suggest that they, rather than politicians, should be addressing the likelihoods associated with GW predictions. Yet those same climate scientists, ironically, often express frustration when economists want to do the cost/benefit risk related allocations. For the same reason scientist should calculate melting scenarios, the economists should calculate the mitigation vs malaria allocations.

  66. You’re still leaving out the crucial parameter- timeline. From reading that analysis I’m left with little hope we won’t have catastrophic sea level rise… eventually. Is it really OK to ignore this just because the victims live a few generations down the road?

    I’m expecting a huge cost to mitigation, as well as a huge payoff considering the expense of the alternative to those future descendants (not to mention the bears and less iconic species).

  67. Max I’m not saying time does not matter, but it matters MUCH less as you move away from present and the cost goes WAY up if you use present dollars to solve the prospective future crisis.

    My main point is that we should do only cheap mitigations and allocate the extra GDP on saving the third world NOW, rather than expensive mitigations which will only delay warming a few years at best.

    Wwhat is your take on the fact that no matter how much we spend it is unlikely to have much effect on GW?. Even if I bought into the silly catastrophe ideas in the film I’d have to be convinced that mitigation would do some good.

    Another factor here is the advent of massively good computing within 10-15 years. This will probably come from consciousness in machines and recursively self-improving computer programs. Climate modelling is likely to allow a lot of “fine tuning” by then, and we’ll be able to spend where it will do the most good.

    What, me worry? This is the best of all possible worlds. If you have the internet and some pizzas 😀

  68. The RC temp. data should not taken as gospel, and so the RC modeller’s estimations (ice-melting predictions?) must be read with a certain degree of doubt in mind, especially since the Hockey Stick Mann’s initial claims were shown to be mostly exaggerated.

    There are some intelligent GW contrarians (not off-the-cuff deniers) at American Thinker:

    “”””There is also a more basic reason for my skepticism concerning climate models: Although climate scientists show no reluctance to assign high accuracy to their backward projections of global climate data, and although global-warming theorists boldly predict climate disasters 100 years from now, they all seem quite reticent about predicting climate conditions one or two years hence.””””””

    I agree with that. Hockey Stick Mann, or Doc Hansen should offer predictions for next 5 years. (And maybe back-up their claims with some shekels). The American Thinker gents also have a few words in regards to the GW prophecies of Doc Hansen, that Nostradamus from Iowa:

    “””””So you have a choice. You can either (a) hop in your car and head for the hills, or (b) consider the very real possibility that Dr. James Hansen has jumped the shark, and is rocketing upward fast enough to achieve orbital velocity. I personally think he has slipped the surly bonds of earth, as the poet says. NASA’s Prophet of Doom is up, up and away, with a beautiful vrroom.”””


  69. The RC temp. data should not taken as gospel, and so the RC modeller’s estimations (ice-melting predictions?) must be read with a certain degree of doubt in mind, especially since the Hockey Stick Mann’s initial claims were shown to be mostly exaggerated.

    There are some intelligent GW contrarians (not off-the-cuff deniers) at American Thinker:

    “”””There is also a more basic reason for my skepticism concerning climate models: Although climate scientists show no reluctance to assign high accuracy to their backward projections of global climate data, and although global-warming theorists boldly predict climate disasters 100 years from now, they all seem quite reticent about predicting climate conditions one or two years hence.””””””

    I agree with that. Hockey Stick Mann, or Doc Hansen should offer predictions for next 5 years. (And maybe back-up their claims with some shekels). The American Thinker gents also have a few words in regards to the GW prophecies of Doc Hansen, that Nostradamus from Iowa:

    “””””So you have a choice. You can either (a) hop in your car and head for the hills, or (b) consider the very real possibility that Dr. James Hansen has jumped the shark, and is rocketing upward fast enough to achieve orbital velocity. I personally think he has slipped the surly bonds of earth, as the poet says. NASA’s Prophet of Doom is up, up and away, with a beautiful vrroom.”””

    (not sure if posted, so repost).

    Apart from the issues relating to the IPCC and Hansen, there are ample reasons to criticize the Gore/AIT hysteria. I think it’s unfortunate that some so-called progressives sweep away any such criticism or skepticism by saying even if the GW claims are not as bad as claimed, awareness will come out of it. That’s a bit naive. It appears Al Jr. mispresented facts, and exaggerated the dangers. Even the title–“An Incovenient Truth”—misleads (estimations, probabilities are not truth). He should be called on that.

  70. Note how some of Max’s blogging buddies (like psychomotya) treat those who dissent from the Gore dogma, Duck. Endless accusations, ad homs, insults (“rightist, bum, impoverished, nearly psychotic, etc. etc.) That’s how the Brave New Worlds of PC blogging operates, mostly. Pure PC politics that would make Goebbels happy. You see that on RC comments as well. The Greenhousers are nearly as obsessed as the GOP good ol’ boys are. In fact, like Gore, they are mostly conservatives except they recycle, eat tofu instead of meat, drive Priuses, etc. Cockburn has noted that as well.

  71. The costs of mitigation are no different than any other costs. They’re mostly business opportunities. For instance, if the country were to decide to replace 4/5ths of its coal generators with windmills, it would be very costly. It would also create jobs and enormous wealth. GE builds windmills. They probably also build the steam turbines for the coal plants. Sales of one product would go way up; sales of the other would go way down.

  72. Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet. ~Albert Einstein

  73. If their survival on earth was so assured, explain why in Brussels all the little sprouts scattered whenever Albert walked by?

  74. Soon, Duck, Eco-Cops will most likely be establishing “No Carnivore” zones, and rules against internal combustion engines, and mandatory Recycling Laws. Time for your state-issued Soy Confinement Loaf! Yummy. That will be life in Goreopolis.

    Reducing consumption of fossil fuels is a good idea. Cool. Those who want that to happen must take on industry, transportation, petroleum corporations, etc.. It’s not solely a consumer problem: it’s a problem with corporate oligarchies, for lack of a better term. And as that arch-fiend Milloy pointed out, Gore’s own practices (flying around in private jets for his AIT lectures, for one) are hardly eco-friendly.

  75. “No Carnivore” zones ….

    There is only ONE way they are going to get my steak. They are going to have to pry the T Bone from my cold, dead, cholesterol filled hands ,..

  76. Joe, Joe, Joe! I know you’re having fun with this but still… according to the figures I’ve heard cited it takes 8 times as much farmland to grow the grains necessary to feed the animals you eat than it would to feed you directly. I assume that’s what was behind Albert’s quote. Using fossil fuels we’re stretching the land to its limit to feed the world’s burgeoning population. When the fuels start getting more costly and harder to come by, a lot of people are going to have to have that T-bone pried away. Will you really be proud of denying 8 people the food they need to live so you can gnaw on that greasy pound of dead carrion? Where’s your famous plight of third worlders compassion?

    The ironic thing is that tofu tastes better- really. I used to love me some steak. Now it kind of grosses me out just to look at it. Really helps too to have a veggie wife who knows how to cook. On my own I’d still be a vegetarian, but not quite as happy to come to the dinner table.

    Hypocrisy alert- we still eat fish and dairy products. They may get phased out over time, though. Can’t save the world in a day.

  77. Who is going to grow veggies in Montana? I think the veggieloops need to chill. Much of the land used to produce cattle is marginal range land. Just because it’s called an acre doesn’t make it biscuits. When you are in a place that actually can grow vegetables, nobody dicks around with raising cattle feed.

    It’s disgusting that you eat fish and dairy products. You are killing billions of starving people when you could be eating ducks. They’d still starve, but fewer ducks=good.

    The only problem with cows is they burp methane.

  78. Vegetarian dogma forms part of the Eco-Cop’s code: the EcoCop assumes veganism to be better than non-veganism, though that is not proven, though veggieloops will often vaguely hint at something like how cattle requires great amounts of fossil fuel. Of course cows don’t eat oil; the vegan really means to say (unless really f-ed up) that the cattle industry requires an excess of energy, including fossil fuels: the vegan offers a claim, and rarely if ever proves it. It’s sort of an item of faith, like…..Gore’s AIT is mostly a statement of faith.

    Yet merely to associate the Cows and Oil and the eco-moralist has created his little paranoid scenario: they are not only fossil-fuel consumers…..but beefeaters! And the Eco-cop often overlooks obvious counterarguments: cattle are usually transported on trains, for one, and as pointed out they graze in areas where farming is difficult or unfeasible. Cattle also consume waste ag. products like sileage. Moreover, meat-protein offers a more efficient protein source than that of your favorite Soy Product–one decent Burger (eeek!) will do whereas 5 soyburgers don’t. Many humans actually enjoy a T-bone as well–that offends the EcoCop’s puritanical sensibilities, of course. None of the facts against vegetarianism matter too much to the zealot VegoBot: he’s sort of baptist-like (or maybe muslim) in terms of his faith in the Truth of the Little Green Book.

  79. Who is going to grow veggies in Montana?

    Good point. The factor is probably not anywhere near 8:1 when suitability of land for vegetables and who knows how many other factors are accounted for. Still, Albert Einstein was Albert Einstein. Theorizing beyond his field of expertise, perhaps? Still a great quote to have handy for debating the anti-veggieloop rotting flesh eaters.

  80. Quotes aren’t proof. So you don’t even know if vegetarianism is more “efficient” than cattle and meat-eating, yet you offer that claim as truth (nor are you willing to do the legwork to prove the claim). Some nazis were vegetarians and anti-vivisectionists as well .

    Really, it’s not even a matter of efficiency to many green-lights: it’s—-eco-moralism! To the eco-moralist, meat-eating seems wrong not just because of an inefficient use of resources, but because it’s E-vil, sort of like kosher laws (Yet most EcoCops wouldn’t know Hume’s fact/value distinction from a Hummus-burger). And it’s like a sign of his “moral superiority.” McGreen is now one of the environmentally Elect.

    Moreover, someone owns some land, and if he wants to run cattle and then take it to slaughter, sell it, it’s his business. Under some green-socialism, when the EcoCops assume control, and seize property ala the Maoists or Stalinists that might not be the case (yet even most marxists are meat-eaters). Even then the Peoples would decide.

  81. Will you really be proud of denying 8 people the food they need to live so you can gnaw on that greasy pound of dead carrion? Where’s your famous plight of third worlders compassion?

    Max, now I’m feeling GUILTY! But that is a good thing.

    I’m nitpicking to say that “denying” others is probably not a good way to view our 1st world excesses because it’s a function of how we distribute “savings” rather than how we consume them.

    But more important is that it is by NO means a zero-sum game here. The relationship of 1st to 3rd world economies is highly dynamic and it seems to me the optimal situation for helping the poor requires a high production base of goods and services here in 1st world.

    Also note how the roster of people who will have a massive, millions-of-lives-plus saved impact on the 3rd world tend to be from the 1st world (Bill Gates, Buffett, Yunus. Gates has already done more than you or I could hope to do in 100 lifetimes, yet he is extremely representative of the ruthless capitalism that is held in such contempt by many well intentioned, but economically naive anti-globalists.

    But I do agree that vegetarianism is a great way to go, leads to longer and healthier lives, and if engineered properly leads to grain savings which feed people far more effectively than meaties.

    I do like Tofu OK if it’s made with lots of garlic and fried in oil – as long as there is a big juicy T-bone on the side!

  82. McGreen is now one of the environmentally Elect.

    I think he means me. I drive a Prius too- when I’m not riding my bike. How evil can one man be?

  83. I like tofu with a side of duckalatang.

    The veggieloopers “we hate meat” number I doubt the most is the amount of fresh water required. I used to carry water to the cows in 5-gallon buckets. I did not carry 10,000 gallons per whatever. Had I, in high school I would look have looked like Arnold the Barbarian. I didn’t. I don’t doubt there are instances where their water number is correct, but I also do not think it translates across 100 million animals.

    But on the fossil fuel required to create the duck’s T-bone, why quibble? It takes a lot.

    Veggies don’t burp methane; cows do; that’s the battlefield. Anytime a vegan wants to join me with rifles in hand, we’ll commence with killing off Elsie to save the planet. That’s the only known way to stop her from burping.

  84. Priuses are themselves sort of indicative of the PC pseudo-green politics. What are they— 50 grand or so? For all the money/energy spent on Priuses or “hybrid” yuppie eco-cars, public transportation could be ramped up, as could light-rail systems, alternative energy research, bicycling, computer-commuting, green-friendly van pools, etc.

    The problems are systemic and economic, not so much consumer-based. It’s not merely vague assumptions such as vegetarianism seems more efficient than meat-eating, but all sorts of related issues, such as agricultural economics, property issues, corporations themselves–the Oligopoly, in Galbraith’s terms–and how the economic problems relate to supposedly democratic politics.

  85. What are they— 50 grand or so?

    You can have mine for the low, low price of only $40K! I’ll throw in the super veggie eco-stigma at no additional charge.

    Everybody knows that all eco-fascist Prius drivers despise public transportation, alternative energy research, bicycling, computer-commuting, green-friendly van pools, etc.

  86. Really, the essential point of the criticism of Gore/AIT, Mr. Duck, sort of relates to economics, and to ideology, for lack of a better term. Not about some fratboy-like flame festival: that’s what both the rightists and Gorean faithful have reduced it to.

    Reading Cockburn’s rips of Gore/AIT/IPCC on Counterpunch (including the hype of Mann’s hockey stick), one notes that Alex points out (as does that Lomborg person) that GW is mostly a “bourgeois” concern. It’s not nearly as problematic as the problems related to corporations, economic inefficiency, resources, and distribution, etc.

    One should not invoke Marxism without some trepidation, but I wager Karl would agree somewhat with the Counterpunch writers (or Lomborg) and be somewhat skeptical in regards to GW, both in terms of the science and the underlying ideology. Green progressives are typically bourgeois whites, or executives and the wealthy (like the one Rothschild heir who has taken an interest in eco-politics: featured on Gore’s eco-rock concert).

    Poor people don’t worry about glacier-melting ratios: they worry about food, jobs, shelter, dinero, medicine, transportation, etc. Now whether we should “care” about those issues is another matter, but environmental-awareness is generally sort of determined by socio-economic standing–it’s a problem to like Richard Bransons and Al Gores, but not to say the average citizen of Mexico City.

  87. Several of Cockburn’s articles challenging warming stuff, combined with counterpoints from Monbiot, are here:

    Horatiox I think Cockburn has a remarkable style and wit, but he’s ignoring too much science to come to the conclusion that GW is unaffected by humans – he even implies that the warming / CO2 connection is questionable.

    Becoming better informed about GW has actually not changed my earlier positions – basically that warming is virtually certain, very likely mostly man made, but very unlikely to be catastrophic. Also I’m more convinced than ever that a mitigation frenzy will do little or nothing to stop the warming and will distract us from more pressing problems we can easily solve with less money.

    The most interesting thing I’ve learned relates to how irrational many scientists become when discussing GW over at the blog. Their unqualified endorsements of the film’s obvious alarmism suggest to me that Cockburn is right to suspect that many scientists are now a prisoner to the GW grant machine. I’m not suggesting this is a conscious process on their part – rather the simple challenge that it’s a lot easier to jump on a bandwagon when that bandwagon is filled with friends and interesting, lucrative grant projects.

    This type of behavior is consistent with a lot of research in the area of social interaction though it’s a stretch to suggest scientists are going to act with the conformity of regular folks. Still, scientists are hardly immune to social forces that virtually demand conformance to the gospel of prevailing mainstream GW thinking. Ironically there is now a lack of serious consideration for rational alternative hypotheses. Even when these alternatives are simply fueled by skepticism rejecting them out of hand is, pretty much by definition, bad science.

    I’ve wondered why so many of the GW skeptics seem to be “emeritus” faculty. This is just speculation but I wonder if it’s because they have less to lose than those in “the community” that now frowns so severely on dissenters.

  88. Which climate scientist(s) responded to you in a way that reflects bad science?

    I’ve read just about every article back in the stacks at RC, and have spent hours at the library reading scientific papers written recently about things like methane and ice (subjects that interest me). I have never seen a hint of bad science from any of the contributors at RC: not in their papers and not in papers of scientists who disagree with some of the RC contributors. From what I’ve seen of their work, they are consummate scientists and they are among the most informed skeptics on the subject you’ll find who are willing to lay all of their cards on the table. I’m very curious to learn about their practice of bad science. I’d love to read a paper by Gray or Lindzen, but lately they won’t show their cards. I’ve read some of Pielke’s stuff and the guys from UAB who wrote a recent paper that nominally supports Lindzen, but to be honest, there doesn’t seem to be much there that negates anything I’ve seen in the stacks at RC. Show me what I missed.

  89. Horatiox I think Cockburn has a remarkable style and wit, but he’s ignoring too much science to come to the conclusion that GW is unaffected by humans – he even implies that the warming / CO2 connection is questionable.

    Cockburn’s not a scientist: that is true. But he has assembled quite an impressive amount of “GW-contrarianism”. He’s sort of a catalyst (and a rather superior catalyst than say Gore). He synthesizes a great deal of material.

    I have read most of the Znet exchange, and while I agree Cockburn was a bit hasty in his conclusions (he does a great table-pounding marxist act), most of his material comes from legitimate scientists, such as Hertzberg, Glassman, Hug’s report, Dr. Rancourt, Noble. Rancourt’s summary of the issue still seems quite spot on, especially in regards to temp. data. They may be partly wrong, but then so might the mainstream greenhousers. That’s just it: the theory is in development–data collection underway. It has not reached a “paradigm” stage, in Kuhnian terms, except to Al Jr.: in fact it’s a rather profitable paradigm for Al.

    Most of these gents are not at Princeton or UCLA or Harvard, or whereever, but that also intrigues, and Cockburn does a good job pointing out the politics of GW, and the funding game. Monbiot often seemed to be whining (oh the article was not peer-reviewed! What he meant was that the IPCC/climatologists had not peer reviewed it: of course, climatologists are not physicists). Monbiot knows his stuff, but he also quotes Hansen, and Hansen’s original claims (based on mistaken temp. data) were corrected. Hansen seems pretty whacked, that is, quacked–and he doesn’t even think CO2 is that critical (it is less than 1% of total atmosphere, and man-made like 3-4% of that less than 1%).

    In fact Hug and Barrett took the IPCC apparatchiks head on in a debate a few years ago, and the IPCCcheks were forced to revise (or at least question) some material in light of Hug’s research (not sure whether that has been settled or not). Yes, some warming might be taking place, but it does not appear to be nearly as significant as the IPCC’s original claims.

    Hug’s research has been published AND peer reviewed:

  90. Hansen, 2007:


    Palaeoclimate data show that the Earth’s climate is remarkably sensitive to global forcings. …Recent greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions place the Earth perilously close to dramatic climate change that could run out of our control, with great dangers for humans and other creatures. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the largest human-made climate forcing, but other trace constituents are also important. Only intense simultaneous efforts to slow CO2 emissions and reduce non-CO2 forcings can keep climate within or near the range of the past million years. …”

  91. Dr. Idso of “C02 science” possesses some real scientific expertise, and has some strong doubts about Hansen’s research:

    “”””””””Also contrary to what Hansen claims is the fact that the earth is not any warmer now – and is possibly a fair amount cooler – than it was many times in the past. These warmer-than-present periods include much of the Medieval Warm Period of a thousand years ago, most of the Climatic Optimum that held sway during the central portion of the current interglacial, and significant portions of all four of the prior interglacials, when (in all six cases) the air’s CO2 concentration was much lower than it is today. These facts are extremely important because they demonstrate that today’s temperatures are not in any way unusual, unnatural or unprecedented, contrary to what Hansen claims.””””””””

    Hansen’s credibility was damaged as well when some of temp. reports were shown to be mistaken. Isn’t that relevant? Edelman seemed to think it was. I don’t really care: but if it’s a game of who do you trust (since not many of us can do C02 spectography experiments in the garage), Hansen seems fairly whacked.

    On other hand, taking a more cynical, and macabre view of things, the findings of the mysterious Doktor Hansen are somewhat interesting: say he’s even underestimated the real potential for danger of the wicked CO2, and that within the next 5 years or so catastrophes of epic proportions strike the earth: the polar caps melt, ocean rises 200 feet in like the course of a few hours. Then………a giant Sea Creature appears, like off the coast of So-Cali, and he’s carrying a giant………-Selzter Water Bottle! Oy vey.

  92. the theory is in development–data collection underway. It has not reached a “paradigm” stage

    This is a really interesting issue. I’m not clear if it’s considered reasonable to call it a theory yet vs a hypothesis. My understanding would be that warming is probably reasonably called “theory” (ie it’s well established that there is warming) but AGW or “Anthropogenic Global Warming” is still a hypothesis but getting close to theory due to the near-consensus in the climate community.

    Sounds like semantics but this is very relevant. Skeptics are saying that the hypothesis does not hold up to scientific scrutiny and I’m skeptical of that claim. On balance there is a lot of data that supports AGW. There is enough uncertainty in climate modelling, and a small amount of data that supports alternative hypotheses that we should welcome the skeptics, but we should not embrace their ideas and we should now assume a very strong burden of proof.

    Hope is now driving this debate far more than science. Human warming folks are citing every hot day and dry lake as signs of pending catastrophe while skeptics ignore the bulk of the evidence in favor of their pet alternative hypotheses.

  93. I like your approach to a point. There seems to be enough data available to begin to develop potential scenarios for how things might develop over the ensuing decades and centuries, assign probabilities to each of these, and draft plans for how to address the likeliest scenarios including estimates of cost and benefit. These calculations must include ancillary costs (the loss of revenue for current crises) as well as potential benefits (the gains associated with a cleaner world less dependent on diminishing fossil fuel resources).

    The thing that rankles me most about some of the skeptical viewpoints (not yours) is the construction of the straw man that AGW advocates believe sincerely in imminent catastrophe. I think most people who are concerned about this problem are not such absolutists and can think in terms of probability and realize there is a real chance we could be misled by the evidence into over-treating a problem that may be overestimated. If we throw away this absolutist approach we could begin to make traction toward solutions.

    I think the one word that is most bothersome and unhelpful in this discussion is ‘catastrophe.’ One person’s catastrophe is another’s manageable problem, depending upon perspective. No matter what happens, a rise in a few degress C will be catastrophic to some species and even people while no doubt beneficial to others, such as the new wine kings of British Columbia. The time line almost always gets lost here as well. What is manageable over a few decades or one century timescale may be indeed catastrophic in the long run.

    What needs to be addressed, rather than the question of will or will there not be a climate catastrophe, is the question of how much damage are we potentially facing and how costly will it be to address the problem.

  94. “My understanding would be that warming is probably reasonably called “theory” (ie it’s well established that there is warming) but AGW or “Anthropogenic Global Warming” is still a hypothesis but getting close to theory due to the near-consensus in the climate community.”

    Close to theory, but not yet there. The claim about warming/temp. data for one remains a bit unsettled. The EPA’s own data (or the Fed weather bureau) over the last 100 years or so falls within the margin of error (like less than 0.7 average rise over last 100 years or so), and there are great problems with even obtaining accurate At least according to some GW contrarians that is the case–the IPCC people say the temp swings are significant.

    So two competing claims: even Crichton and the junkscience dude, however unPC, had some decent arguments why the temp. swings are not significant. Should we just disregard that because they are not considered cool or PC? Crichton probably knows quite a bit more about this than do most GW people. I remain in Mugwumpland: but that doesn’t mean one supports the GOP (except to the ID politics-obsessed types at Cafe Gore).

  95. There seems to be enough data available to begin to develop potential scenarios for how things might develop over the ensuing decades and centuries, assign probabilities to each of these, and draft plans for how to address the likeliest scenarios including estimates of cost and benefit.

    Right on dude!

    Max I agree with pretty much everything you wrote in comment 101 (holy warming, 1oo+ comments for this post!)

    Except …. I don’t think that catastrophe claims are a straw man. Gore and even Hansen – to my way of thinking – are implying catastrophe is looming rather than the more reasoned implication that climate catastrophe is highly unlikely in this century and that all mitigation efforts proposed will *at best* delay the problems for less than a decade rather than reverse them.

  96. Again, “catastrophe” may or may not be looming in this century. Damage (possibly very costly) is almost certain. We stand a better chance of quantifying the risk of significant damage if we avoid thinking in terms of will it or won’t it be a catastrophe. I think Gore’s main point can be seen as a warning of how bad the damage could be if the problem is ignored. It’s a wake-up call. People don’t wake up if you whisper gently to them that morning has arrived. They need the shock of clanging bells. Usually they forgive their clocks for overstating the problem once they adjust to the reality that, yes, waking up was in order and beneficial.

  97. Regarding men of straw; Cockburn and bloggers like horatiox seem to be getting a thrill out of painting the alarmists (not necessarily pejorative- see last comment) as certain of catastrophe when what they really are after is raising awareness. I don’t think Gore or Hansen are “certain” of anything. I think both are likely very hopeful that things haven’t gone too far. I don’t see them as akin to final days type religionists. We’re all doomed! I’m biased towards a belief that legitimate, hard working scientists are ultimately interested in the truth, not just grant money. There are some that have lost the noble guiding light, to be sure, but I’d hesitate to say that it was anywhere near a majority. Perhaps I’m naive, but I don’t think so (of course).

  98. You don’t know what a straw man fallacy is Max, obviously. The real GW fallacy is hasty generalization, which GW fanatics commit routinely when, for instance, ignoring all the statistical data which shows that temp. rises are not significant: in fact that’s what the Feds’s data suggests, and GW guru Hansen was required to revise his initial claims. Spare us your sort of milquetoast alarmism, the ID-politics, the wannabe-censor routine, and decide on the temp. data, if you can.

  99. This century is not even a blink. Why is this century your last stand?

    Swiss Re evaluates risks. They do great math on looming catastrophes. They’re pretty good at it. They have economists and actuaries and tough minded, bottom-line executives who all working their butts off to make a profit. What does Joe Duck know that they do not know?

  100. There’s of course evidence showing that the earth’s median temperatures have been higher, numerous times, going back 10s of 1000s of years.

    This guy mentions that, and there are other studies:

    But I can hear some Monbiot-like GW radical yapping, but it’s not been peer-reviewed! (it may have been, not sure)
    Estimating temps from tree ring data or the ice cores is all inferential, and there are generally fairly significant margins of error. Edelman pointed out most of this on his site, which the RC cronies don’t even bother to read. The hockey stick was more or less debunked; Hansen’s research was called into question. So it’s a bit like Who do You Trust? I trust Edelman, engineer (and his sources, like McIntyre), slightly more than I do modellers and the Hansenites.

  101. Actually,Duck, I simply want to know what your informed opinion (or the RC people’s) on Mann’s Hockey Stick is, and then I will killfile Horatiox, and leave the site, and go back to racetrack business. My sources (including Edelman) indicate it was BS, inflated, alarmist, and debunked, or mostly debunked. If that were the case (it was debunked), obviously AIT can be read as hype, and I think any reasonable person has grounds for like calling Al Jr. the fat fraud he is. So Edelman and others (even those nasty skeptics like Crichton and Milloy) say Mann was FOS. RC people still seem to hold to the Mann data/chart. Which is it?

  102. In hockey terminology, I think Mann’s hockey stick won the shootout.

    I don’t know, maybe in some people’s heads they have confused AIT with Costner’s Waterworld. Cool graphics of all the world’s ice melting, seas cover most of the globe, Al Gore drinks his own pee and grows gills.

  103. Did he? Not according to Edelman and McIntyre. Or Wegman (or others). Wegman’s official report nearly completely refuted Mann’s “hockey stick”, and I suspect Dr. Wegman, a statistician (not a modeller) knows his standard deviation from his summation signs. So what is your source?

    The point on “who do you trust”? somewhat interesting, and reminds some of like Wm. James’ comments on the justification of belief. Given the Edelmans (and dozens of others who have pointed out errors in the temp. data) there are decent grounds to question the temp. data, and thus not to believe in the entire GW story. Perhaps the experimental evidence can provide additional support for the AGW claim, but if GW claims hinge primarily on the temp. data, the skeptics are at least somewhat justified in their withholding of belief.

    (I do think the h.s. graphic was Green-Hollywood. Designed for shock value: even though the temp. range was like 3-4 degrees F. That’s manipulation, and scare tactics. Marketing, not science)

  104. The hockey stick was attacked because the graph was congruent with AGW happening right now, which a whole bunch of people were totally vested in disbelieving.

    So you go through all the attacks and defenses followed by more attacks and more defenses, and a congressional hearing of all things (led by a guy who used to work at Arco Oil and Gas), and more attacks and more defenses, and you end up with a graph in chapter 6, AR4 that is essentially the same result.

    Why? Because in 1824 a scientist put forth a theory that some gases act in the atmosphere in such a way to further heat the earth’s surface. He’s still right and the graph is still there because global warming is happening now. It is caused by humans burning fossil fuels, which emit the types of gases that 1824 dude was talking about.

  105. That’s assuming the temp. data is correct, and overcomes the margin of error, which Dr. Wegman, a professional statistician claims it doesn’t. And he isn’t the only one.

    I may have posted this before, but still a good intro. into GW skepticism 101, however much it might upset some of the cool cats at Cafe Gore:

    “””””””It was no easy task to arrive at the most cited original estimated rate of increase of the mean global surface temperature of 0.5 C in 100 years. As with any evaluation of a global spatio-temporal average, it involved elaborate and unreliable grid size dependent averages. In addition, it involved removal of outlying data, complex corrections for historical differences in measurement methods, measurement distributions, and measurement frequencies, and complex normalisations of different data sets – for example, land based and sea based measurements and the use of different temperature proxies that are in turn dependent on approximate calibration models. Even for modern thermometer readings in a given year, the very real problem of defining a robust and useful global spatio-temporal average Earth-surface temperature is not solved, and is itself an active area of research.””””

    I don’t think many consumers realize what sort of leaps of faith many of the AGW/IPCC people are taking with the data. Rancourt, a canadian physicist (not a modeller), and quite “left” (whatever that is) realized that some time ago. Spater. The discussion seems sort of over, since some people take the leap of faith (it is all inferential: we weren’t there taking thermometer readings all over the earth for decades) and believe the temp. data to be accurate; others don’t.

  106. What did Wegman actually say? He’s a highly qualified statistician, and he is not a climatologist. He discovered some statistical problems. Once they’re incorporated into the graph, it’s still a hockey stick.

    AR4 has been out for a long time, and I can’t find a single comment on chapter 6 from Wegman. Point me there if there is one. His work did no material harm to the hockey stick.

  107. Article from a Canadian newspaper regarding Wegman’s revisions of the “Hockey Stick”:

    “””””Our committee believes that the assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade in a millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year in a millennium cannot be supported,” Wegman stated, adding that “The paucity of data in the more remote past makes the hottest-in-a-millennium claims essentially unverifiable.” When Wegman corrected Mann’s statistical mistakes, the hockey stick disappeared.“”””””

    According to quite a few sources (online, at least), Wegman did revise if not repudiate the hockey stick. So have others.

    (However I sort of doubt Solomon’s essay was “peer reviewed” by the IPCC, since it might jeopardize their livelihoods).

  108. Joe, I posed this on RC just before your related (and last?) response was. Thought you might be interested.

    re 416 (M.) “…parrot erroneous talking points that fester amongst the pandemic of libertarianism we are suffering.”

    What on earth??!!? What is that? Is it good or bad? Pandemic of libertarianism: is that like everybody going their own way at once? Who is suffering?

  109. Horatiox I’m confused about the hockey stick controversy, but I’m inclined to believe that Wegner’s review was reasonable and Mann misapplied the stats in his initial analysis. But I think you do get a HockeyStickEsque chart with the right numbers, just not as clear or as ominous as the film implied.

  110. Hey Joe – I enjoyed watching you work over at RC. You were touching on something that was covered at RC some time ago.

    It was a post called Consensus as the New Heresy. Basically, some climate scientists were getting some negative feedback because their presentations were not alarmist or scary enough for the true believers. Roger Pielke Jr. coined the term non-skeptical heretic to describe those who accept the science and believe that global warming is real, but refuse to exagerate about the potential harms (like Gore). Among the RC ditto-heads, these non-skeptical heretics are often considered to be worse than the so-called denialists who believe that GW is a hoax.

    Did you notice the one who said Lomborg is worse than Hitler and Stalin together. Did you notice that one of the RC diciples called you JoeDuck from S. Oregon (in other words, we know where you live). As soon as someone starts questioning their chapter and verse, a dozen of the minions start googling the name of the poster. These people are scary. If the greens ever take power, you can hide in my attic, then you can write the diary of JoeDuck.

    By the way, I believe GW is a real problem that needs to be addressed, but I find Gore’s alarmism and the RC storm troopers to be very creepy.

    Good Luck JoeDuck

  111. You never answered their questions.

    You want to go to the moon, you call NASA. You want to know about the atmosphere on Venus, you call NASA. You want to go to Mars, you call NASA. You want to know about oceans, you call NOAA. On most scientific issues few Americans would ever think to seriously question the scientists at those organizations.

    You want to know about the earth’s atmosphere, and suddenly NASA/NOAA, etc. are a bunch of devious fishermen suckering in gullible fish.

    How would something as lunatic as doing that benefit them? And don’t tell me grants because if they are that Machiavellian they would have zero problem getting better grants to parrot what people want to hear.

  112. Thx Lucky – I’m pretty experienced online but I’ve never felt so “attacked” as over there, though the irrational stuff was mostly from non-scientists. I think your point about them getting more angry with folks like me than somebody who downright denies AGW is true. I hope most over there are not scientists or teachers. An angry and hostile place unless you tow the line.

    JCH – Are you saying you think I was unreasonable over there? I did miss some questions and I think I bowed out before addressing Lomborg’s overturned “dishonesty” decision (I tried for some time to find the actual decision but could not. I actually had a long exchange with the editor of Scientific American about that a few years ago. It was their criticisms that led to the initial “dishonest” decision and if you read them on Lomborg I think you’d agree it is very political and very personal. Also did not engage somebody I thought was too hostile about how mitigation will be so expensive as to have a negative ROI.

    I thought I did address a lot over there in what I thought was reasonable fashion. I know of only one “real” scientist among the commenters – Physicist Ray – and much of what he wrote I agreed with.

    It was hard to keep up over there and I was more interested in them addressing the obvious than in following their garden path of questions.

    I’m actually doing more research on this than I ever have done, and with each paper I’m more and more alarmed about how science seems to be co-opted by people like most at RC who are not interested in science unless it supports “the cause”. Even the scientists there have moved firmly into the camp of “advocates for policy”. I challenge the claim that is a science blog. It is far more an advocacy blog than anything else. The best evidence was the non-refutation of the 9 points in the movie. All those points were spot on and the UK judge did an excellent job characterizing the flaws in the film. To suggest there were virtually *no* flaws in the film except a problem with tense regarding the evacuation of Tuvalu is beyond absurd, and disrespectful of the science the film failed to use. I’m OK with the film as an activist piece, but when scientists call it a science piece I get very worried that they have lost their scientific objectivity. I would suggest that many commenters at have lost that objectivity and seem to see AGW connections everywhere, even when they are insignificant.

    Good and obvious examples: Lake Chad Drying up and Katrina. In both cases you simply must read at least a few summaries. I have found *none* that suggests much if any connection to AGW (RC’s original post seemed to say that they may not be connected to AGW, but they represent things that will start to happen in the future when GW becomes more apparent to us). It is hard to read the *undisputed* parts of the science and still conclude that 1) AGW has much if any effect on them and 2) The film was not super alarmist on these points.

    The RC folks, even some real scientists over there, simply assert that AGW changes things, and feel that trivial levels of causation are nontrivial. They do this OVER AND OVER again, and it’s scientifically unacceptable. When this is pointed out over there they bully people with mean attacks.

    I just found a paper by hurricane researcher, Chris Landsea (he’s controversial as a former author of IPCC’s hurricane stuff who is now very critical of them. He’s alsot the most experienced Atlantic Hurricane researcher and I think this is not disputed by many in science. Landsea suggests that the AGW contribution to Katrina winds would be at most a few MPH, and that it’s probably not reasonable to make much if any AGW Hurricane connection at all at this time.

    I think some other Hurricane researchers would say the models show AGW effects already, but I don’t think any hurricane researcher would say the there is a big connection between Katrina and AGW.

    In terms of Lake Chad there are some extremely complex models that suggest – I think I read this correctly – GW is going to lead to *more moisture* in that area. But that stuff is very speculative and talking about the Sahel in general. Chad was studied extensively by Foley and Coe from UW Madison (my alma mater!), and my understanding is that they did not feel GW contributed much if anything to the drying up of Chad.

    Now, if you think that *tiny possible connections* to GW mean that it’s fine to imply a *huge connection*, then you should not have a beef with the movie. I’ve learned from this lesson in the social sciences that even scientists become so passionate about their position that they start to make fundamentally irrational arguments. Luckily I think this happens when they are discussing science they don’t understand any more than you or I would – e.g. A paleobiologist on Lake Chad or a physicist on hurricanes.

  113. Wow, the internet really does rock. I just emailed Dr. Coe, the author of the Lake Chad study of 2001 who is currently doing more research there. Since he is the virtually indisputed expert on this I’ll hopefully have very good information about the AGW to Chad connection from the world’s most knowlegeable researcher on the topic.

  114. I’m not clear who you’re referring to when you say “the RC folks.” Do you mean the scientists who post and occasionally provide feedback in the comments, or the commenters themselves (some of whom are clearly unhinged- like that Max Wyvbern dude talking about terraforming Mars)? I’ve been very impressed with the scientists writing the primary articles there. For instance, in the latest piece on the sulfate aerosols concept, Gee Whiz Geoengineering, I thought they took care to point out the danger of committing future generations to a course of action that could mask the effects of AGW and result in a big problem whould we lose the technological capability to maintain the treatment. It’s this kind of long-range vision that needs to be considered when debating matters that have effects in the centuries and millenia timescale.

  115. AS noted by quite a few GW skeptics (including Real Scientists such as Rancourt), the problem with the IPCC/RC relates to the “modelling,” and the lack of experimental proof (and CO2 forcing experiments do not show conclusive support for the IPCC/AGW claims: see )

    Obviously modelling only means something assuming the accuracy of inputted data: that’s ye olde GIGO syndrome. And given all the variables with the temperature data collection, and the closeness of supposed temp. swings to margin of error, some skepticism in regards to the modelling apparatchiks seems in order (not the same as denial, of course). Modellers and climatologists are generally not atmospheric scientists: they are experts at simulation, not at IR spectrography.

    In fact Hansen was required to revise his initial forecasts due to his sloppy use of temp. data–the hottest decade of the 20th century was in the 30s not 90s: though few Gorebots seem un willing to acknowledge the implications of Hansen’s revision).

    The truth of AGW, then, obviously hinges on the chemistry of the supposed CO2 to warming phenomena, not the endless models and simulations: an important point raised by Cockburn and the numerous scientists who question the IPCC claims. Citizens who value objective, ideology-free scientific research (instead of the Gore eco-fluff), should therefore demand experimental verification of the AGW claims before assenting to the AGW hypothesis.

  116. I don’t know who originally said Al Gore, in AIT or anywhere else, said sea level would rise 20″ by 2100, but Lomborg said it in front of congress and in the Boston Globe.

    It’s a lie. Lomborg is pretty sneaky. He says more people die in the winter, generally true, so warming could be good. Funny, I don’t see the grim reaper getting swindled out of any annual totals down in Florida. Lomborg is just too simplistic to be useful. Swiss Re, which is not so far away from Denmark (they know exactly who he is and what he has to say), ignores him in total, and they are a business where such a decision has always been extremely informed on their part. They have racked up zillions in profit betting on the future. Lomborg hasn’t. Big boys; little boy. Take your pick.

  117. That’s not nearly as significant as Hansen’s temperature fudging. It’s not the skeptics that should be questioned: we should question those making rather alarming fact-claims without sufficient evidence to support the claims.

    Did Hansen intentionally skew the temp. data? Looks that way. The hottest decade of the 20th century was the 30s, not the 90s. Yeah in terms of centuries that’s not significant: but then neither are the supposed temp. rises. Hansen either made a gross mistake (and then’s he’s incompetent, since his argument depended on his discredited claim that the 90s were the hottest) OR Hansen’s a liar and actually intentionally skewed the to prove his iffy hypothesis (and that is what Pegg and Edelman suggest). That’s nearly Orwellian: make shiiete up to sell an iffy science (and add the hockey stick in there too), but then have Gore, a Great Communicator (who doesn’t know squat about science anyways) with hollywood and corporate connections, to pitch it to the masses. Ca-ching. Operation Mindfuck, as they used to say.

    Mann’s data was also called into question: some say completely refuted, others say just modified. Wegman’s report seemed to suggest Mann was mostly wrong. So more deception via “modelling..”

    Lomborg’s another number cruncher too, not an atmospheric scientist: at least he doesn’t have the biblethumper sort of faith in the IPCC: eco-fundies!. The AGW claim hinges on experimental data (ie. chem. labs), not the modellers; temp. inferences, tho’ eco-fundies have yet to realize that. Lacking experimental confirmation of AGW (C02 forcing does not result in the sorts of temp. increases IPCC initially suggested), consumers out in Eco-ville have every right to question the official AGW claims.

  118. Max – I’m guilty of generalizing about RC without spending enough time reading through all their stuff, and I agree that it’s not fair to view the commenters as the main bloggers. However in my opinion, and I do have a fairly strong background in various sciences (BS Botany, MS Social Science) I don’t think the tone of the main posts is generally “scientific”, rather it’s more like “AGW strikes again!”.

    The defense of the 9 points is the best example I saw of that where science is used to confuse the issue, not enlighten. AGW’s contribution to Chad or Katrina would be trivial, and a good scientist on any side of this should at least point that out. I do think the Chad confusion stems from the fact that “Climate” is a powerful force there but not “AGW”. I have not changed my opinion but I think people may have misread the headlines in an honest mistake about Chad causality. Also, I could be wrong of course.

    We have become so fearful of AGW skepticism that we start assuming if something is based on climate change it is also based on AGW. This is nonsensical though at one level technically true in the same way you can say Lake Chad drying has to do with sex – if nobody in the region had sex there would be no people to pull lake water for irrigation, which is one of the key Chad drying factors (the other is regional Climate variation which is of course connected in some way to AGW, but the connection would be trivial and therefore it is helpful for somebody to say “AGW has little or nothing to do with Chad drying up”). Science tries to assign values to the factors involved, and I don’t see them doing nearly enough of that at RC blog. Small change over large time can have huge consequences, but I don’t agree that the way to illustrate this best is to focus on the huge consequences.

    Also agree that for the most part the “pure science” posts over there good, and I did note your Mars comment which was not crazy (though I think it would be … expensive!?).

    Solar shields at LaGrange. I admit I’m biased to this opition as a big fan of the film “2001”, where the big obelisk was at the LaGrange point. Maybe we’d squander hundreds of billions, but it sure would be a cool webcam out there. (“LOOK! …. it’s a giant star baby on the web cam! … oh shit, meteors!)

    My beef at RC is with the very questionable 9 points defense. That was a scientist over there – David – who seems to be the RC guy who takes the most political stands on things. He didn’t seem interested in informing, rather just making the case. That’s not science at all.

    Read the UK judge on the 9 points and you’ll see what I mean – he was very reasonable.

  119. Before the error was discovered, the some science indicated 1998 was just an nth hotter than 1934. After the error was corrected, 1934 is an nth hotter than 1998.

    2001 paper by Hansen (long before the error was discovered:

    “The U.S. annual (January-December) mean temperature is slightly warmer in 1934 than in 1998 in the GISS analysis (Plate 6). This contrasts with the USHCN data, which has 1998 as the warmest year in the century. In both cases the difference between 1934 and 1998 mean temperatures is a few hundredths of a degree. …”

  120. JCH – RC is “”.

    JCH –[Lomborg] says more people die in the winter, generally true, so warming could be good

    Well, he is clear that it would be good only in the narrow sense of total deaths from hot and cold spells. Lomborg thinks that warming on balance is bad, but in the case of deaths from AGW he is concerned that people are quoting the extra warming deaths without extending this projection to include fewer deaths from cold.

    This is one of those totally obvious things people address by saying “Lomborg is dishonest” because his point is so obviously reasonable. The polar bear thing is *super interesting* as well. There are no current documented bear deaths from warming, but many researchers believe that as habitat is decreased via ice sheet edge melting the bears will have to swim farther and this will kill them off. But something is killing lots of bears right now – hunting. Lomborg’s point is that to save the bears we should look to hunting rules, which affects them greatly, rather than AGW, which has only a speculative connection.
    Read the judge’s points in the UK case, which is a reasonable treatment of the 9 points.

    JCH – You are right that science suggests people should not be harping about 20′ rises, but didn’t you see the film? There is a lot of talk about The 20′ sea level rise that would happen if Greenland melts completely away. There is film of glaciers calving into the sea, and there is a sequence of what a 20′ rise would do to several cities. I think the film even points out that ice on land poses much more danger to sea level than ice in the water because the water ice won’t have as much effect on sea levels and in some cases no effect as when an ice cube melts in a glass of water – no rise.

    My problem is same as the judge’s with the 20′ talk in the film. Al implies this 20′ rise is a real threat for this century where the science suggests the melting will add a tiny rise per year. Also very important is that even if we could expect a rise of 20′ *next year* it would not tell us to increase our mitigation of C02, it would tell us to move the cities to higher land. Of course there are many other good reasons to lower C02 and we should do all the cheap ones immediately and also I favor some of the carbon tax stuff.

    Max and JCH – cities have dealt with the sea level rises on the order projected by IPCC (18-59cm) successfully for the last century. Why are you concerned that we won’t be able to deal with them in the coming century? What are you worried is going to happen that is so bad compared to the big bad stuff that happens right now?

  121. Here’s a transcript of the film:

    A lot of the argument is simply that implying causality and connections when the science shows those connections to be weak or only general is not a good way to talk about science.

    People who do that should go into an advocacy job rather than be a scientist. I think many people who work in science may be crossing that line – though usually when they are crossing over to fields in which they are not expert.

  122. He did not say 2100. It is a lie they spread intentionally all over the world.

    In AIT there is no suggestion of building dikes around New York City to avert imminent flooding in Gore’s list of things people can do about global warming.

    Do you agree that building dikes would be a reasonable thing to do to avert imminent flooding?

    Did he suggest putting a snow machine on Kilimanjaro? No. Did he suggest building a water pipeline to Lake Chad? No.

    It is irrational to think someone would claim that New York is about to go under water, and then suggest people do things like switching light bulbs to stop the water.

    He never said that was about to happen. Not by 2100, not by 2200, not by any date in time. You persisted in repeating the lie at RC. It was not received very well.

    Ask any scientist this question:

    If mankind continues with business as usual with respect to GHG emissions, what is the probability of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets melting essentially in total?

    Again, Swiss Re, a real business in the risk assessment business, does not pay any attention to Lomborg at all? Why? You like probabilities. Swiss Re eats them for breakfast. What do you know that they do not know? And they are not the only major casualty insurer of similar mind. You refuse to acknowledge that a multitude of scientists and economists and actuaries and bottom-line executives think Lomborg is unreasonable and wrong about a great many things, but that is the reality of it.

  123. You refuse to acknowledge that a multitude of scientists and economists and actuaries and bottom-line executives think Lomborg is unreasonable and wrong about a great many things, but that is the reality of it.

    That’s perhaps relevant, but it doesn’t realy prove anything, except that lots of business people take AGW seriously. It’s a form of an “ad populus” fallacy, related to “consensus-science,” that one notes on RC and similar pro-AGW sites (and ably pointed out by Cockburn): many corporate execs, industry leaders, academic scientists take AGW claims very seriously, so the specific fact-claims used to buttress the AGW claims mut be correct.

    Of course that’s not true: science doesn’t work via consensus; it’s relevant but hardly proof. Until the experimental verification of AGW arrives (man-made C02 to significant warming), doubts in regards to the reliability of the models are more than warranted, especially given the “official” revisions of Hansen and Mann.

  124. JCH – First, I think you may be correct that people like me are unfairly putting up a sort of “straw man” 2100 time frame on the “big melt” scenario. I think it comes from a conflation of the IPCC projections (which mention the 100 year time frame) and the sea level rises described in the film.

    I’m close to agreeing with you that it’s not reasonable for critics to say Gore made this connection in the movie.
    However it’s partly his fault because I assumed at the time he was talking about things that are not in the very distant future. The sun is very likely to go nova in the future and this will destroy the earth. But this won’t happen for some time. Gore spent a lot of time talking about events that are almost certainly not going to happen for thousands of years. By then it seems reasonable to assume that big hurricanes, 20′ rises, and even asteroid redirection will be completely manageable. Technology grows exponentially – in 30 generations we’ll have things that would seem like magic today.

    If mankind continues with business as usual with respect to GHG emissions, what is the probability of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets melting essentially in total?

    OK, now we are starting to talk scientifically! 99.99% would be my answer. I think most of the models project this to happen over the course of the next few thousand years with or without AGW mitigation. I’d also accept what I think is a consensus view that the chance of this happening within 100 years is on the order of well under 1%.

    This is why I think we are focusing on the wrong topic when any catastrophic GW stuff is discussed. Current climate models are problematic and we have seen few signs of impending catastrophe – exception might be the Larsen ice shelf collapse which should concern skeptics and is a good sign that we are in a very warm period and that this can cause massive ice change quickly.

    I’m not clear if there is anything but wild speculation about how much AGW will change the rate of melting. Reasonable to assume that putting less C02 will delay this process but I think we are very unlikely to stop it.

    JCH – agree with you that we should be taking some measures, just not expensive ones because their effect is very unclear at this point. I prefer devoting USA innovation and money to health and poverty where the returns are clear and spectacular in both moral and strategic terms.

    Swiss Re – I want to read more about that. You make an excellent point that business tends to view these things objectively and with profit in mind. But we need to make sure they are not simply taking advantage of this. For example I’d be very happy to sell insurance that would protect people from losses from any events that had more than a tiny connection to to warming – let’s say a causal factor of more than 5%. I’d probably not have to pay any claims for 500 years or more!

  125. I

    The way science works is the presentation of research for other scientists to rip to shreds, if they can. If skeptics want Hansen and his klan to be wrong, they need to produce some research that demonstrates it; instead, all I hear is science doesn’t work by consensus. Or experts are often wrong (they’re also often right). That’s why oil companies employ scientists. Weird how they trust them implicitly when they want to find oil. The reason there is an ever emerging consensus on AGW among scientists is simple. Nobody can prove the science to be incorrect (and that includes a statistician named Wegman), at least not yet. So instead of producing research, the people skeptical of the AGW science produce complaints, rail against imagined alarmism, invent dates, claim there is an air of intimidation (like heck), screech like ninnies at any trivial change in data that AGW is now dead and gone, etc., all of which is woefully short of being science, including being far short of science by consensus.

    No research indicating the science that attributes current warming to GHGs emitted by man is incorrect has been produced. No other plausible explanation for current warming that stands up to scientific rigor has been offered. That is where the scientific table is; there are blank name cards and chairs open.

  126. Gore spent a lot of time talking about events that are almost certainly not going to happen for thousands of years. By then it seems reasonable to assume that big hurricanes, 20′ rises, and even asteroid redirection will be completely manageable. Technology grows exponentially – in 30 generations we’ll have things that would seem like magic today.

    This is a very big and bold claim. Technology grows exponentially… when you have an energy glut to fuel it. The Romans probably thought they’d have flying cars in 30 generations. The truth is that collapses happen, and we face a reasonable chance of heading into one unless some miraculous source of everything fossil fuels provides cheaply materializes. This is why I really like the point the RC guys made about not saddling future generations with an AGW treatment (sulfide aerosols) that future generations might not be able to sustain. I think we have another form of this problem in the very near future as our treatment for world hunger- fossil fuel supported mega-agriculture- may not be sustainable.

    You talk about Gore being irresponsible by hyping catastrophes unlikely to happen soon, but wouldn’t it be grossly irresponsible for us to lay traps for future generations which may have big problems of their own to worry about?

    I prefer devoting USA innovation and money to health and poverty where the returns are clear and spectacular in both moral and strategic terms.

    It can’t be either/or. Solutions have to be comprehensive. No question it will be expensive. Question is how much we pay for what and when.

  127. You apparently don’t even bother to read the threads now do you, Max. Hansen’s temp. data was PROVEN to be wrong (see comment 127, as well as Edelman, Pegg, Wegman’s comments on Mann, etc.), and he had to revise his research; indeed there may be possible penalties still to be assessed–NASA people wanted to pink-slip Hansen.

    Hansen’s not a chemist or atmospheric scientist anyways. He’s merely a modeller, like most of the IPCC apparatchiks. Temp data is inferential, not experimental confirmation. Additionally, ad populus, or mere appeals to authority (Monbiot, who wrote on AGW says this, and he wouldn’t mislead us, right?) are not arguments.

    There’s another issue. Someone mentioned straw man fallacy. Lomborg has become the RC’s straw man: he’s the GW contrarian boogey man, depicted as freak, outsider: that he’s queer and sort of odd looking doesn’t help. We don’t have to take skeptics seriously: they are Lomborgs. A girly man! That’s how corporate ID politics functions.

  128. Sorry, horatiox, but I’m not here to fight. Looking for insight, info, inspiration- not enemies.

  129. Better doubt than true belief, until all the facts are in (whether temp/CO2 data, or laboratory evidence). And Carl Sagan suggested as much, did he not.

  130. James Hansen:

    Ph.D. (Physics), University of Iowa, 1967
    Visiting student, Inst. of Astrophysics, University of Kyoto & Dept. of Astronomy, Tokyo University, Japan, 1965-1966
    MS (Astronomy), University of Iowa, 1965
    NASA Graduate Traineeship, 1963-1966
    BA with highest distinction (Physics and Mathematics), University of Iowa, 1963

    He is not merely a modeler, as though there is something wrong with that. There is not. Like Wegman, I believe he is a member of the National Academy of Scientists.

  131. Max I think we agree on the many points you have made.
    I strongly agree with the basic premise that we should be allocating resources in very different ways, and we should decide about that using our best current estimates of what poses the greatest risk to humanity now and in the future, combined with a very robust cost benefit analysis.

    Also we’d agree that we should be allocating a lot more than now to alternative energy research and development and focus everybody on energy savings – these are clear “win win” scenarios with no downside.

    But it’s cheating ourselves to think we can do everything that needs to be done. I cannot “prove” that massive mitigation programs will distract us from malaria, intestinal worms, and AIDS, but it sure seems to me this is happening already. Certainly militarism has this effect. We’ve now spent enough in Iraq to have pretty much fixed the entire *world* with respect to water, food, malaria, and a lot more education.

    You think history will judge us harshly for failing to mitigate GW, where I think they’ll judge us harshly for spending on that and wars rather than deworming kids in Africa.

    Jeez, now I’m really depressed. I shall continue to hope the technological singularity intervenes to save everything. Now there is a scenario where you really CAN “do everything”, and consistent with that I would suggest we fund conscious computing research at a very high level because success probably means saving the world within a few years after the computers start deciding how we should allocated resources most effectively.

    … but of course I’m more likely to benefit from computer research funding and developments than GW funding, so my bias may be creeping in here. Lucky for me these here blogs don’t get no peer reviews. Lucky for RC too!

  132. I would suggest we fund conscious computing research at a very high level because success probably means saving the world within a few years after the computers start deciding how we should allocated resources most effectively.

    Ever read Colossus? 🙂

  133. Nobel committee on why they chose Al and IPCC for Peace:

    Max! Colossus the Forbin project? I love that movie. Except unlike most people I tend to root for Colossus – except when he nukes that city. But I don’t root for computers in “demon seed”, because that computer is …. evil!

    Seriously though I think the AI field, which was hugely overhyped in the 70s, will blossom to conscious computing in 10-15 years. I agree with many people like Marissa Mayer at Google and Ray Kurzweil that computers are likely to be conscious by then, and I think that self awareness in those computers will be basically like our self awareness.

    If that happens, I think everything will quickly change like it’s never changed before.

    Unlike us, these conscious computers will probably get smarter fast via a process called “recursively self improvement” and their analytical capabilities will be – literally – mind boggling to us.

    We’ll be able to partly keep up for a few years with thinking computers using more complex forms of the brain implant chips already getting tested by a company called “BrainGate” that has been using rudimentary implants into the neocortex of some disabled folks so they can move a computer cursor. This is rudimentary, but pretty amazing when you think this will likely extend to us having this “blog” conversation with our brains and at 1000 times the speed.

    What was science fiction in 1970 is close to reality now. OK, I’m all giddy with excitement ….. pass the chips please!

  134. What do people make of this?
    This OISM is an hour from here but I hadn’t heard of it until it was mentioned over at RealClimate. I’d have to say Cave Junction is a very odd place for a science facility ….

    They are defining scientist too loosely here by including anybody with a B.S. However if this many PhDs really signed it’s quite an amazing list even if this is just from emailings and such.

    However, on further reflection I think this is pretty silly as any measure of concensus on GW. If you assume 1/4 on the list are actually PhDs and assume that 10% of those PhDs actually have some qualifications in assessing the science, rather than just being annoyed at the alarmism and signing, it means only a few hundred people out of millions qualified to sign did it. This could mean something but I think as presented you can’t really see this as meaningful.

    The Oreskes study of the 928 papers can’t address the important question here about those challenging the mainstream view – are they put out of the grants and debates or self censoring themselves out of those debates? One could argue that in a highly politicized topic like this peer review may not just help reject crappy conclusions, it may reject *undesirable* conclusions. This itself should be a testable hypothesis, but I have not figured out how to approach it. Hmmm – I’m shooting wildy here but I wonder if there is a database of peer rejected science papers? You might be able to find a topic where the mainstream view changed about something from X to Y. You’d then look at the relationship of rejected papers to the mainstream view as the mainstream view changed. If peer review is unbiased the mainstream view should have *no effect* on the likelihood of rejection, right? You would probably get more rejections of non-mainstream papers due to the crackpot factor, but I think by comparing changes in the rejections over time you could remove that problem.

  135. I think you would have to ask the people in the 3rd world. Assume all-out mitigation now were the only way to save the planet, I would certainly feel ripped off if somebody from some other world decided to cure my kid’s worms instead.

  136. JCH, Max, Horatiox – are any of you familiar with why there seem to be two popular climate blogs without much interraction between them?

    Both blogs seem to have contentious and mean-spirited commenters plus several key players in the climate conflicts, all of whom seem pretty reasonable to me.

    However I do find the reasoning about politics and science at ClimateAudit more reasoned. They say things like “be clear when mixing politics and science” where RealClimate seems to attack even the science they don’t like. “AGW Rules!” “AGW has no rules!”

  137. JCH one of the reasons I’m increasingly critical of RealClimate is what is a very stubborn refusal to recognize how many people like me there are in the world. I’m very open to adjusting my views on GW because I’m still learning about it. More importantly, I have no dog in the fight other than reasonable allocation of my taxes and time. Heck, I even like Al Gore.

    But, as a fairly experienced science guy I’m starting to real be floored by the way the Scientists at RC generalize without studies. It borders on the bizarre as in the defenses of the misleading parts of the film but also reason seems to take a back seat in many of the descriptions of studies.

    Distinguished voices in science are simply discarded as irrelevant, while complex issues are obfuscated to the extent that even a well-informed observer will not be able to make relevant generalizations from the studies.

    The hallmark of good science is simplification of complex phenomena. At ClimateAudit they seem to try to do that, where at RC they seem to be working very hard to prevent any simplifications that do not fully support their political agenda.

    JCH why do you think I could come away with this impression? I don’t have ties to oil and gas, I like Al Gore, and I adore science.

    Yet the support for AGW at RC is so poorly articulated and the complex descriptions of things seem so intellectually suspect that, incredibly, I’m on the verge of actually doubting things I thought were clear – things like Hurricanes and AGW having a clear connection and skeptics like Landsea being mistaken about way too much politics at IPCC. I’m not an AGW skeptic, but I sure am more sympathetic to why they are so pissed off.

  138. Here is an example of writing I would argue is somewhat incomprehensible and certainly inconclusive, yet presented as clear evidence of AGW:

    Over the multi-decadal time scales, there is more reasonable evidence for an NAO and surface temperature response to solar changes though the magnitudes are still small. Over even longer time scales (hundreds of years) there are a number of paleo-records that correlate with records of cosmogenic isotopes (particularly 10Be and 14C), however, these records are somewhat modulated by climate processes themselves (the carbon cycle in the case of 14C, aerosol deposition and transport processes for 10Be) and so don’t offer an absolutely clean attribution. Nonetheless, by comparing with both isotopes and trying to correct for climate (and geomagnetic) effects, some coherent signals have been seen.

  139. Interesting stuff. But you forget that if you are going to go to the expense of saving the people of the world from poverty, malaria, TB, etc., it makes economic sense to make sure there is world left for the saved peoples. Or you waste your money.

  140. Wadard! Nice to see you here. I sure appreciated the diplomatic criticism you and Max have provided here when I ventured over to There, I was berated and boiled alive using globally warmed, 20′ tall seawater simply for saying AGW is real but very unlikely to be catastrophic.

    I’m wondering if you object to the science done by sincere people like McIntyre over at He’s provocative but in a good and scientific way. Frankly, as a science guy I’m floored by how speculative all the AGW studies have been. I’ve assumed the connections were much clearer rather than rooted mostly in very statistically sensitive climate modelling.

  141. JCH why do you think I could come away with this impression? I don’t have ties to oil and gas, I like Al Gore, and I adore science.

    I don’t know why. I do have ties to oil and gas.

  142. The hallmark of good science is simplification of complex phenomena. At ClimateAudit they seem to try to do that, where at RC they seem to be working very hard to prevent any simplifications that do not fully support their political agenda.

    After reviewing the work at both sites I come to the exact opposite conclusion. I think it is very difficult to separate one’s biases from affecting one’s perception of who has an agenda and who is being objective.

  143. I’ve been swayed to be skeptical of RC’s objectivity by the repeated and hearly hysterical claims on this site that they are only supporting their agenda, to get grant money, etc. I’ve tried in vain to detect any such bias, including the infamous 9 errors analysis. They strike me as honest scientists doing their best to explain complex phenomena in simple terms- exactly what Joe says they fail at.

    By contrast, my one visit to ClimateAudit was soured by the feel that the main contributor was a cranky iconoclast with an axe to grind, whining about being excluded from conferences and just generally being pissy about all the guys who disagreed with him.

    Just thought I couldn’t let this go without expressing this contrary perception to that expressed by our host.

    Now about bias. I may have left the impression in the previous comment that I am aware of a personal bias in favor of AGW and the accuracy of Al Gore’s claims in AIT. I don’t believe this is accurate. I like Al Gore, but so does Joe. I like understanding of what is going on, and I get that better from RC than from ClimateAudit (though I should spend more time there to give them a chance).

  144. JCH as I review the literature and the statements a few things have really jumped out at me, and even though I started my “journey” with an open mind I’m now in the middle thinking that climate modelling science is problematic enough that it’s not reasonable to accept so many things based on the modelling.

    It also appears to me that many scientists have become prisoners to their egos and methods – they are often unwilling to clearly and scientifically address key concerns about the AGW hypothesis. The hocky stick debate, the political hearings, and then the scathing critiques in the recent Wegman Report (Paleoclimatologists are insular and using statistics questionably) are significant indications that we have problems here that are not related to the “gas and oil lobby”.

    A great example of this “advocacy” problem would be RealClimate’s post defending the misleading aspects of “An Inconvenient Truth”. If that post is a reasonable indication of the way those scientists generalize about climate data in actual science studies, then it raises very serious questions about those studies. Obfuscation is not a defense, it is a curse.

    Surprising to me is the fact that the models appear to be the primary way science generalizes about climate, often virtually ignoring some fairly powerful sets of data such as the 100+ years of C02 measurements taken all over the world (Beck 2002). The forward-looking predictive power of the models is very, very weak, but folks continue to be comfortable assuming that they have learned enough looking at how the models process climate data.

    I think this is what Cockburn (high skeptic) says when he suggests there is “no empirical data” to support Anthropogenic Global Warming. I think he’s wrong to use “empirical” in this fashion, but Mann’s defense of this point seemed to focused on the “isotopic smoking gun” which I understand would require one of the complex and problematic climate models to line up with warming (I think all support for AGW requires these complex models, and support for AGW must discard a fair amount of conflicting data to line things up).

    Still, I think the cause and effect relationships of CO2 and warming appear to be “well established”, but the mechanisms remain “poorly understood”. In science this clearly means those challenging the mechanisms and should be welcomed to the debate, not scorned. Most skeptics I have now encountered are anything but irrational. They want a type of verification of the AGW hypothesis that is normally demanded in science. Clear cause and effect relationships, established in independent and verifiable lab and analytical work. I’d have to agree with McIntyre (AGW agnostic) that a clear cause and effect relationship is lacking between humans and the small average annual warming we see on earth.

    However as a science guy I’m retaining my skepticism of skepticism since so many scientists argue for the IPCC interpretation of things.

    My next phase of this study will be to try to understand the climate modelling better. The complexity of the models means that only a few (thousand?) people in the world really can understand these well. Contrary to what some suggest the climate community has enough connectinos to be problematic from a “human bias” standpoint, graphed in detailed fashion by Wegman – a report that should be required reading for any AGW enthusiast. AGW is framed almost entirely within the results of models whose details can only be understood by a small sector of the science community. For me, this diminishes the significance of “consensus” quite a bit.

    Clearly the earth is warming.

    AnthroGW hypothesis has considerable support, but I’m not clear how much of this is well-informed support. IPCC says AnthroGW is 90% likely. I continue to accept that number.

    I’m outraged that many, including some scientists, keep characterizing or implying that AGW is “virtually certain”. This reflects the alarming amount of advocacy that has replaced scientific understanding even in the science community.

    I’m concerned that a relatively small, insular network of allied scientists – mostly in paleoclimatology – have taken up the cause and effectively kept the more reasoned scientists from comfortably discussing any departures from the “party line” that AGW is almost certainly the driver of climate now.

  145. Citizens who value ideology-free science (instead of bogus eco-propaganda), should thank McIntyre of Climate Audit–even if he isn’t a Democrat (and whaddya bet McIntyre probably even enjoys a ….Burger now and then). McIntyre was in fact one of the first researchers to point out the problems and misinformation pertaining to Mann’s infamous “hockey stick.”

    In technical terms, Mann uh made shit up. McIntyre pointed out all the gaps in the supposed CO2/warming correlations; other criticism of Mann followed, such as Wegman’s Fed. funded report. Crichton used McIntyre’s rebuttals of Mann in State of Fear, and so have others.

    In fact as Crichton points out, 20th century temperature data (assuming it is accurate, which is highly doubtful) clearly indicates a cooling trend from like 1940 to 1970 (and 30s were hotter than 90s, contrary to what Mann and Hansen initially said); yet at the same time, CO2 emissions were greatly increasing! So in effect the IPCC’s own data fails to show a correlation. Later, some IPCC (and RC people) posited a “time lag” to AGW and so forth (with little or no proof or explanation of how the time-lag operates (is the warming from 10 years ago, or 1000?? Spin the wheel, Vanna!). In other words, McIntyre mostly refuted the IPCC claims, but the IPCC then offered new conjectures (the Time Lag!), and the BS continued.

  146. Horatiox I’m not convinced Mann made up anything – Wegman said his stats method was defended reasonably in the paper but still was not the right way to do the stats.

    Agree that McIntyre is a guy to watch – he does some ranting against people and he obviously has sympathy to gas and oil where he made his money, but he sure seems to separate that from his science studies. Wegman’s report is clearly a vindication of McIntyre’s abilities as a researcher.

    I’m still confused about the time lag stuff and how it does appear that the modellers seem to be revising the models under a prevailing assumption of AnthroGW. This would be OK if the AnthroGW was better established as happening by non-model studies, but I think AnthroGW is pretty much all modelling, so I’m increasingly uncomfortable with what does in fact seem like a strong aversion to allowing any of the points in the many skeptical scenarios.

  147. a cranky iconoclast with an axe to grind, whining about being excluded from conferences and just generally being pissy

    Max I agree with this, but he’s still doing good science. Read the Wegman report if you want a good idea of why people are pissed off at the paleos.

    I do agree with you that we bring things to the table when we review stuff, and it is very hard to separate that baggage from our reviews. Unfortunately I stumbled into RC when they were dealing with AIT – a very contentious, non-science treatment and then I wrote something that even I agree was inflamatory (literally – I said I’d “burn my masters degree” if that defense of AIT was reasonable.)

    I stand by that by the way – AIT is not defensible as a scientific treatment of global warming and is even very questionable as a general treatment of the topic. I’d qualify that by saying that if the few folks like Hansen are correct and catastrophic change is somewhat likely somewhat soon, I’d be dead wrong.

    Hmmmm – I just realized something in regards to who is betting what on the AGW outcomes. “True believers” want to bet everybody’s taxes that catastrophe is near where “skeptics” are betting everybody’s lives. What does this say about the situation? Not sure.

  148. I work around people who stick needles into their little Al Gore dolls every day of the week. It’s like they think they are defending their industry. One day it dawned on me that they were being dumber than a mindless sucker rod.

    So pump on.

  149. dumber than a mindless sucker rod.

    Hey, you DO seem to work in the oil industry! I had to look that one up and I’m still not sure what you mean

  150. “True believers” want to bet everybody’s taxes that catastrophe is near where “skeptics” are betting everybody’s lives.

    Is there really such a clear division or are these just the most vocal fringes? I would have major problems with the idea of all tax money going to climate mitigation and none to foreign aid, but I don’t think anyone is suggesting this. OTOH, it would probably be better than putting almost all of it into ‘defense.’

  151. Max I think that the vocal fringes do get us worked up when in fact most people, even those spouting about GW like me, are just basically living our lives.

    Seems to me that within 10-15 years it will be clear that catastrophe is highly unlikely, climate change is most relevant on a region by region basis, and change is mostly linear, and then people will calm down on both sides. Note that NYC has had sea level rise of about one foot over the past 150 years. Nobody noticed. Will they notice the likely 1.5 feet expected in the coming century? Probably not.

    Yes, we probably agree about defense spending and I’ll even a say Kyoto is more productive than defense spending, which is mostly an abomination *even if* you are a pure imperialist and machiavellian strategist. We’ve made the world hate us and obtained less security in the process. There are many better ways to spend $500,000,000,000 per year, and *nobody* who calls themselves a fiscal conservative can support this without being a total and idiotic AssClown hypocrite (ha – how’s THAT for ranting!)

    Congress wants pork barrels while Bush wants to forceably impose upon Iraq things people (foolishly but predictably) will resist, like democracy.

  152. Speaking of Kyoto, it might be recalled that Gore did not agree to the first “protocol”, while eco-Czar for Clinton. Some subversive “fringe” types at Counterpunch pointed this out after Al Jr. received his peace prize (as they pointed out his initial pro-NRA stances, anti-abortion, corporate-support, close friendship with Israel, Lieberman, Kosovo, etc.).

    Gore soon returned to Washington only to reiterate his message that the Clinton administration would not put the Kyoto Protocol before the Senate. “As we have said before, we will not submit the Protocol for ratification without the meaningful participation of key developing countries in efforts to address climate change,” he said.

    Sort of old news, but those greenish types who hold Gore to be a great environmentalist are probably the same people who swallowed the “hockey stick” without blinking.

  153. Continuing with the thread that will never die. This development would seem troublesome:

    ‘Unexpected growth’ in CO2 found

    Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere have risen 35% faster than expected since 2000, says a study.

    International scientists found that inefficiency in the use of fossil fuels increased levels of CO2 by 17%.

    The other 18% came from a decline in the natural ability of land and oceans to soak up CO2 from the atmosphere.

  154. Frank’s essay indeed makes a good case for Gore the rightist and corporate boy (Occi. shill to be exact). His green makeover and AIT act notwithstanding, Gore’s a sort of a poster boy for moderates, not really even liberal (Gore’s choice of Lieberman in 2000 also demonstrates his political soul, or lack thereof).

    The moderate Gorehead generally seems to think that if corporate execs. merely recycled, drove Lexus hybirds and switched to soy products political problems would magically disappear. Thank Osiris there are still a few Counterpunch types around who dissent from this naive Pollyannaish political model. Most of the pro-Gore and AGW/RC types simply censor dissent which counters their AGW faith anyway. Mention on a proGore site the problems with the IPCC’s own data (which does not clearly indicate that temp. swings have exceeded the margin of error), and poof! the predictable insults follow, and the message disappears………

  155. 166 comments! I was impressed by how many comments they get over at RealClimate. This thread is surpassing some of those although it’s mostly just Max, Horatiox, and me commenting.

    Max I still think you are worrying too much. Read the Beck report (update – Beck is probably bogus. Steve McIntyre did not think it was a good refutation and here’s a good debunk: on CO2 collections over the past 100+ years, and also the CO2 data for Moana Loa (this latter is the standard lab work now in use). As with sea level and temp rises the increases are *so* tiny. Over time they’ll make a difference but I do not accept we should worry much about “tipping points” and “runaway” increases. Hansen’s justifications for that simply seem like speculation to me.

    I accept that there were some collection problems in the past that might have shown high CO2 readings, but I don’t accept how they have simply been trashed without good explantion. The more I read up on the way CO2 data is measured and then uses selectively as a warming indicator the more skeptical I become that any “tipping points” or castastrophe talk is called for here. I now think it is “likely” that the talk of catastrophic change is a deliberately deceptive practice used primarily to keep the grant money rolling. I think Hansen is sincere but is not criticized by those who know better because there really is a “climate of fear” about this topic. Scientists should be *ashamed* of the way they are not correcting alarmism. The movie should have been picketed by climatologists, not embraced by them. The alarmism is a scientific disgrace and will go down in history as such.

    The factor in all this that has not been properly researched is that science egos are involved to the extent it’s very hard to draw responsible policy from the science. The Wegman report was very alarming because (to me) it suggested that too many in science have become a prisoner to finding dangerous levels of AnthroGW. I’m more skeptical about the hazards of AnthroGW than I was when I started all this – far more.

    All that said I’m not at all a “global warming denier” as the AthroGW proponents maliciously call anybody who challenges the weak causal links.

    I find myself continuing to line up with Michael Crichton and I think Steve McIntyre on this stuff – warming is happening and human warming (AGW) is probably driving it to some extent. The connection is not yet “proven” or even very clear, but it is so strongly suggested by all the modelling that there is probably human caused warming.

    However the consequences of the warming simply won’t be that big of a deal. Seas will continue to rise a bit as they have for the past century, and there will be some habitat diminishment, and there will continue to be some very severe regional and local climate challenges such as Lake Chad, Desertification, Hurricanes, and more. These will be affected by AGW, but in small enough measure that
    we should assume that AGW effects pale in comparison to other problems on earth that are far easier to resolve.

    My overall conclusion is that the whole thing is overblown but that AnthroGW folks simply won’t be convinced even when the science starts to show the triviality of the human component – which think will be within 5 years or so thanks to improvements in supercomputing.

    Within 15 years the computers should be able to model climate superbly because they should have some form of consciousness and recursive self-improvement by then, and hopefully will have similar interests to ours

  156. When I say a study “would seem troublesome” you shouldn’t take it that I am unduly worried that catastrophe is looming with years or decades due to GW. At current rates of warming I really don’t think there’s much to worry about, but I’m thinking beyond that- and I believe those with real vision on this topic are as well. The biggest looming threat is how we deal with the diminishing availability of fossil fuels in the coming decades. We will have to make major adjustments and the ‘easy’ solution, burning a lot more coal, could make the warming problems much much worse. I am confident that there are more practical, cleaner solutions, but it is a question of political will to achieve them. I’ll be talking a lot on New Worlds in coming days and weeks about one such potential solution recommended By Robert Zubrin in a book I have just started reading in advance manuscript; “Energy victory: Winning the War on Terror by Breaking Free of Oil.” It’s basically a case for rapid conversion to an alcohol standard for liquid fuels. I have reservations with some aspects of his approach, such as the use of the WOT slogan and all it implies, but I’ve come to respect his knowledge and vision and believe he recognizes the scope of a very real problem.

  157. At current rates of warming

    Citation? Assuming that the temp. data is correct (and playing the AGW game of assuming the margin of error has been overcome, when most of the stats people say it hasn’t) current median temps are at most 3 to 4 degrees higher F. than a century ago or so, and in many areas of the globe it’s about the same, or even cooler than it was decades ago. Not unprecedented whatsoever. And the temp rise has not been steady: there was a cooling trend from 1940s to 1970s, and was warmer in 1930s than 1990s (i.e. the revision of ye olde hockey stick). The AGW faithful continually ignore the problems with the (since it substantially undermines the entire AGW hypothesis).

  158. Let’s try a slightly more complete version of that quote:

    At current rates of warming I really don’t think there’s much to worry about…

    Do I need to include a citation to back up my suspicion that the sky isn’t falling?

  159. On a comments’ thread, no; but, technically, yes. While objecting to AIT hype, I am not an outright “denier” of AGW claims: temps do appear to have risen fairly significantly over last century or so, tho’ with some flattening out here and there. Besides, I seem to recall you defending Hansen’s research (i.e. “the sky is falling” school), and he DOES say the temp. increases are significant and caused by GHGs, as does Mann. The point concerned the need for accurate data.

    Another problem many AGW people overlook concerns “localization” (Rancourt has touched on this issue). Industry and pollution could possibly alter the climate around certain urban areas–say LA, or Chi./NY areas–, and perhaps lead to temp. increases or other problems, such as the acid rain/dioxin problems of a few years ago. But does that alter the climate in Tahiti, or Siberia, or Ceylon, etc..? Very hard to prove, and the few polluted urban areas obviously would skew the temp. data as well. (Even Crichton noted this in his “State of Fear”).

  160. I don’t think I’ve ever even mentioned Hansen (I just checked and I haven’t- you have at least 20 times however). My point is that you seem not to be bothering to notice that I’m saying I’m NOT worried about rising temperatures at present. My concern is more for how things might change in the future if massive coal burning becomes our only option. Much as you’d like to assume that congratulating Gore means I back the whole program of AGW (whatever that might be) it’s simply not the case. My congratulations go to Gore for his tireless efforts to get people thinking about the health of our planet.

  161. Gore may have made tireless efforts, yet they were very profitable efforts; moreover, he misrepresented the facts, and exaggerated the dangers, according to many (even some AGW supporters). Al Jr. also lacks any authentic scientific authority, and simply relays AGW research about which he knows little or nothing: that may sound harsh, but that’s the facts (numerous online sites have documented his nearly failing record at Harvard). Wouldn’t it seem a bit strange to call someone a Hero for crying “Fire!” in a theatre, thereby causing panic and dangerous commotion, when it’s just a few matches? Or some analogy like that.

    I’ve referred to Hansen a few times, not 20. Some AGW supporters (such as Monbiot, and RC people) still affirm much of what Herr Doktor Profesor Hansen says.

  162. Hansen’s most recent paper is very interesting because it almost seems to throw down the AGW gauntlet.

    Click to access East-West_070925.pdf

    I’ve only scanned it so far, but I think in science terms it is a challenge to scientists to agree or stay quiet while Hansen promotes what I would call “robust gonzo AnthroGW” science.

    Also it’s a rallying cry for regular folks because this is a distinguished legitimate scientist in peer review who is suggesting that catastrophic warming could be upon us now with huge sea level rises coming to a planet near us soon.

    Unless I’m mistaken many science folks are shying away from this paper. Part of the new way to maintain credibility is to keep things kind of vague and hard to challenge, and this paper is going to make that more difficult.

  163. I followed the link but seem to have gone to a different paper entirely. This one is by a guy named Hansen but he sounds like a serious, well-balanced scientist working hard to understand an extremely complex set of phenomena without being unduly alarmist, not the crazed, half-baked crackpot professor I was expecting. These couple of paragraphs near the end sound rather sober indeed:

    Common sense does not support inaction, even if all parties place highest priority on
    economic well being. Fossil fuel inventories are limited and national and global pictures when
    energy has moved “beyond fossil fuels” are highly attractive. Cooperation among nations would
    make sense for all parties, and this can occur on many levels, even without major international

    Indeed, it is a mistake to think that progress and turning the corner toward decreasing
    emissions is dependent upon hammering out a grandiose international agreement, which would
    almost surely take more time than is available. The primary need is insightful leadership. There
    is great economic advantage in getting to that cleaner future sooner. Once this is comprehended,
    by either of the principal players, progress could become rapid.

    If there is one sentence of this report that I wish world leaders (and potential leaders) would internalize and let become a guiding light to their thinking it would be “There
    is great economic advantage in getting to that cleaner future sooner.”

  164. From Hansen’s wikipedia page:

    “The contrarians will be remembered as court jesters. There is no point to joust with court jesters … The real deal is this: the ‘royalty’ controlling the court, the ones with the power, the ones with the ability to make a difference, with the ability to change our course, the ones who will live in infamy if we pass the tipping points, are the captains of industry, CEOs in fossil fuel companies such as EXXON/Mobil, automobile manufacturers, utilities, all of the leaders who have placed short-term profit above the fate of the planet and the well-being of our children.”

    At this rate I will soon bypass horatiox as the premier Hansen-mentioner.

  165. I mentioned Hansen a few times because he represents a AGW alarmist (and he is one of the realclimate gurus); additionally, his initial claims were revised, after his sloppy research was detected: however “sober” he is, he errored in saying the 90s were the hottest decades when it was the 30s. Not that that seems to bother the AGW faithful. He may raise some important if obvious economic or political points (as others have) but that doesn’t prove AGW claims based on modelling, the central point: conclusive experimental evidence of AGW has yet to arrive.

    Hansen’s political ideas are predictably liberal and not that sophisticated anyways: the Counterpunch greens (recall Nader?) and leftists have said these sorts of things for years, but they did it before the global warming hype started. JK Galbraith criticized petroleum oligarchies his entire life, as have marxists for decades.

    If anything, the power of the petrol. corporations (and automotive manufacturers, etc.) reveals the shortcomings of capitalism and democracy itself. Dr. Hansen does not appear to have solutions for that. Most of the academic science establishment works for corporate interests anyway, and it’s unlikely that they will issue any real solutions. Hugo Chavez had one solution, though probably not too appealing to American suburbanites.

  166. There is great economic advantage in getting to that cleaner future sooner

    Max this is all I need to be convinced about to fully support massive mitigation at the personal and the national and international level.

    However – I don’t think this is true even though it sounds great – it is only true at the lower levels of spending to get less CO2. Also, there’s a big problem with the hyporcrisy we are all guilty of when we reduce problem to what “other people must do”.

    Think about our daily lives right now. Clearly you appear to do more than we do to mitigate since you have a hybrid car and I presume pay attention to low carbon footprints more than I do, but why not do EVEN MORE and use no car – just public transport and a bike? And why don’t you keep your house temp at 50 degrees in winter and use zero A/C in summer? I’m not accusing here as I do all this too, and so do our neighbors and their neighbors and even Horatiox! If we simply outlawed all fossil fuel consumption (or taxed it at enormous rates), we could mitigate the crap out of CO2. *Nobody* will advocate that. Why? The answer is that we all know it’s not nearly as bad as it is getting described, even by some sicen

    The reason is that we all are in favor of making the tradeoffs that hurt the environment but give us conveniences. I run into only a handful of people over many years who do pretty much every conceivable thing to reduce their impact, and they always seem to be more obsessive than innovative.

    I would agree (as I always have) that if we can find cheap, efficient ways to reduce C02 we should do it. However between that and “doing every conceivable mitigation” leaves a huge amount of AGWarmingWiggleRoom (AGWWR).

  167. Nobody can prove the science to be incorrect

    This is true, but you cannot prove *anything* to be incorrect. Of the existing hypotheses AnthroGW is the best fit with the existing climate record. However even IPCC’s “90% certain” number would indicate we should keep advancing and shooting down alternative hypotheses rather than proceeding as if the 90% was 100% total certainty, which it “most certainly” is not. Science is not certainty, it is probability.

  168. You thought this thread was dead? We’re not even to 200 comments yet 🙂

    At New Worlds I am reviewing a book by Robert Zubrin; Energy victory: Winning the War on Terror by Breaking Free of Oil which should be of considerable interest to anyone concerned about global warming and the effect energy policy may have upon it.

    I intend to review it chapter by chapter and my first post is on the preface. When I’m done I’ll try to sum it up and leave a note here.

    Just a little teaser for Joe and Horatio; he has some serious issues with Al Gore.

  169. Max, thanks for keeping the dream alive dude! The people at RC are treating me with more civility, though they sure don’t seem to have any limit to spending on mitigation over there.

    If I was wiser I’d stop beating the “moderate mitigation” AGW drum. I get to win that battle regardless of right or wrong because people simply won’t do what is needed for massive mitigation no matter what any of us say. Better to try to help focus the debate on the many perils of our oil based economy. With a few notable exceptions everybody agrees that we *must* eventually transition away from oil to different energy sources. The issue is how fast and how. This has almost incalculable geopolitical benefits as well as pollution/climate benefits.

  170. we *must* eventually transition away from oil to different energy sources. The issue is how fast and how.

    Zubrin thinks we can do it within a decade. I trust his figures- he’s a sharp guy. He might be a tad optimistic on the timeframe, but in principal I think he’s on to something. I highly recommend the book.

  171. Ethanol or methane-based fuels could eventually replace petroleum to a large extent. Zubrin’s obviously not the first to suggest Eth.: that’s been around for decades. Brazil uses a lot of eth. reportedly. Ethanol production however requires quite a bit of energy itself: not only the growing, but the distilling and the logistics involved (and retrofitting vehicles equipped for petrol). Many greens claim that Eth. works out to be more cost-efficient than petroleum, but I have read some skeptics who say it isn’t, or it’s not that much more efficient when processed on a large scale, tho’ it may have to suffice given the depletion of oil reserves (and/or wars).

    One could go a bit neo-Thoreau and build an ethanol still for cooking mash from potatoes, corn, sugar, etc. (tho’ fuel grade–like 95%+– takes some refining), and do some distilling on weekends, but I doubt many wifeys in the CA ‘burbs would be very interested in something like that.

  172. Zubrin’s major point is that we have to do both; eth + meth. Neither by itself has a sufficient resource base. The key is the flex fuel mandate. Until there are a lot of cars capable of running any alcohol fuel it won’t be economically worthwhile for gas stations to sell it and hence for industry to ramp up to produce it. The mandate would make this happen quickly.

    Lots more detail on this in future installments of the review. First we have to get into the horror of the Saudis.

  173. Flex-fuel vehicles are standard in Brazil, and in other SA countries. OK, eth.-meth. may solve some problems, but that’s not exactly a revolutionary solution. Rifkin and other energy journalists (Lovins?) were saying similar things years ago, and pointing out the horrors of OPEC.

    Energy issues relate to political and economic matters as well: that’s one reason I alluded to Thoreau. Though it might be infeasible for some, fuel self-sufficiency (i.e. home-based ethanol production, small-scale co-ops, etc.) could be one way, at least in theory, to deal with petrol. problems, and that removes the corporate aspects: no need to have Exxon involved. Biff and Bunny cooking up corn-mash for fuel after a hard day at the office may not be too sexy, but has a certain integrity to it. There are other solutions: light-rail, or van pools, cycling, etc. Van pooling in LA has reduced quite a bit of traffic. Of course Ted Kazcynski had other ways to expedite Freedom day.

  174. Note Mx. Max on his conservative site, now Duck: supporting pro-NASA israeli hawks like Zubrin who talk trash about muslims, with his zionist pal Beyta. Max should just quote like Podhoretz–or Kissinger–and register GOP.

  175. Guys this is getting too far off topic.

    I am thinking of setting up a Global Warming thread here to discuss mitigation stuff – if I try to keep up with the frantic comment pace over at RealClimate I’m going to run out of … hot air.

Comments are closed.