Climate Science Scandal – will Paleo Dendrochronology survive?

For new readers please NOTE  that I am NOT a climate skeptic, I am just wondering why groupthink seems so pervasive in the climate science community, especially over at the key climate blog RealClimate .

Update: Two very thoughtful and balanced pieces written – by climate scientist Judy Curry – and by Peter Kelemen at Popular Mechanics .

Here’s the Wall Street Journal’s take on this.

Here are the infamous hacked emails.

There’s a remarkable development today on the climate front [thanks to Glenn for the link in the earlier post].   A huge amount of climate data, including some remarkable emails between scientists, have been hacked from the University of Anglia in England.   These mails and data may shed some light on some of the more contentious points in climate science.

The odd methods and math seem especially conspicuous in tree ring studies of climate trends.   Called Paleo Dendrochronology, these studies are VERY often used either alone or with other data in climate studies and often are used alone or with other data to make the case that global climate change is potentially catastrophic.

The best scientific work critical of global warming science seems to focus mostly  on attacking this weakest link – or should I say the weakest rings – over at

Here is a great balanced view at UK Guardian of the story so far:

A critical view of the implications of this data is here at ClimateAudit

A sympathetic view is here at RealClimate where   I tried to post I posted this comment and I appreciate the good sportsmanship of them letting it through moderation.   When they do allow me to post this type of comment I wonder if I’ve been too hard on them for what seems like censorship, but possibly could be the crappy posting system they have over there where moderation, timestamps, and other factors seem to confuse everybody.

Somebody naively wondered why there are so few comments on this post. IMO the answer is that RealClimate is effectively content-censored to a large degree for conformance with the prevailing ideas here.

Uninformed dissenters are sometimes let in so the comment crew can bash them around, but reasoned dissenters are usually banned outright. Many don’t bother trying to post here for that very reason.

Gavin in the interest of transparency would you at least roughly estimate how many of the comments have been moderated out for this post? I would guess 95% have been zapped.

<i>[RealClimate wrote]  Scientists often use the term “trick” to refer to a “a good way to deal with a problem” </i>

Could you give a few examples? I searched right here at Realclimate for uses of that term they tend to relate to “trickery”, not good science.

More climate updates:   Here’s the Copenhagen Diagnosis,  an excellent summary of the latest climate science  since the last big IPCC report.    For the record I do think this does suffer from the prevailing “somewhat alarmist” tone in some of the interpretations of the research.   For example a key observation is the current pause in warming noted by satellite measures, and this is given short shrift here.

More clear thinking about climate change from Bjorn Lomborg

In the Washington Post today Bjorn Lomborg has a  nice short article about why the climate conference in Copenhagen is falling short of expectations and why it’s time to start focusing on different approaches to limiting global warming.

As one of the most articulate folks working to fight the alarmism about climate change, Lomborg is often spuriously called a “climate skeptic” when in fact he has always accepted the excellent IPCC work and the obvious fact of global warming and even accepted the likelihood that most of the observed warming is caused by humans.  But Lomborg rejects the many misguided, expensive approaches alarmists are suggesting to mitigate these changes.

If we are to respond effectively to global warming then we don’t need any more feel-good summits, or exaggerated but empty declarations of success from politicians. We need action that actually does good.

Yes Mr. Lomborg.   But there is no climate Santa Clause, and ironically we’ll see that the inaction continues in the political arena.    Hopefully innovation will trump all the inaction and hype and we’ll have some major energy breakthroughs, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

Is Climate Science on trial again?

The climate debate is entering a new state of confusion that will at least bring some of the fascinating technical issues into the popular press.     The first time this happened was during the congressional hearings featuring the “Hockey Stick” debates where critics suggested that some key math and research supporting “unprecedented global warming” was seriously flawed.   Although leading statisticians agreed with the critics the situation is probably best characterized as a stalemate with both sides claiming vindication and little change in the way others have addressed the issues at hand.

The technical issues sound obscure but they impact every man, woman, and child on earth in almost incalculable ways because many nations are preparing to forego a lot of GDP in the interests of climate mitigation, and this has substantial economic consequences.

I do believe in warming and believe it’s human caused.  However  I  don’t think we can afford to do all that much about it and also don’t think the consequences are nearly as severe as advertised.    Therefore I’m not reasonably called a “climate skeptic” .

Many bright people are skeptics however and everyone should resent that they are called “climate denialists”, a bizarre term used to conjure up images of  the ignorance and malice of  holocaust denial.

I am concerned that climate science, especially with respect to mathematical modelling and long term temperature reconstructions, has been compromised by egos and cognitive biases.    I don’t think climate science has been compromised enough to reasonably suggest that human caused warming is “unlikely”, but it’s been compromised enough to suggest climate alarmists, rather than the unfairly branded “denialists”, are the ones often standing on thin ice.

Here’s a comment I tried to post at but it appears to have been rejected:

It’s unfortunate to see so many insults and tired talking points rather than *key issues* such as:

Is Yamal robust?

Why does proxy selection in papers like Yamal, Kaufman seem to include more proxies with stronger GW signals than a randomized proxy selection process?

Why isn’t there a randomized proxy selection process or at least a well structured one as was suggested (but appears not implemented) in the Kaufman Arctic lakes study?

Why does it take so long to properly archive data and why is there a single shred of resistance to totally transparent archiving of source code and data?

To what degree is observed global warming the product of human activity?

To what degree is the modern warming trend unprecedented?

Role of the Medieval Warming Period and why is there so much disagreement about temps at that time? (another proxy selection issue!) Simply asserting that these questions “have been answered many times” isn’t only wrong and insulting, it’s counterproductive if you sincerely want to challenge the growing mainstream view that climate science has been compromised by cognitive biases and ego. I’m staying open to your insistence that the science has not been compromised at all and McKintyre is just a slinging mathematical mud, but posts like this don’t provide much support for that idea.

When Climate Scientists ATTACK

After a few years following some of the technicalities of discussions about global warming I’m glad to report that there’s FINALLY a really nice guantlet thrown and accepted by the authors of two of the key blogs in the discussion, Climate Audit and RealClimate.

Generally both blogs tend to discuss many of the technical issues in a way that makes it hard (for me at least) to identify clear and specific points of contention where somebody without a degree in math could conclude “this is wrong”.

However the latest round of attacks  should lead to a richer discussion than usual regarding one of the key technical points of contention in climate – climate proxy selection and validity.   Proxies are things like tree rings, ice cores, or sediment patterns that allow a reconstruction of past climate.   If the proxies used in key studies are poorly representative of climate realities, as Climate Audit often suggests and RealClimate always denies, climate scientists have more than a little’ ‘splainin’ to do.

However the shoe’s on the other foot if  ClimateAudit’s concerns are more along the lines suggested by Real Climate’s PhD and NASA crew:

… the conflation of technical criticism with unsupported, unjustified and unverified accusations of scientific misconduct. Steve McIntyre keeps insisting that he should be treated like a professional. But how professional is it to continue to slander scientists with vague insinuations and spin made-up tales of perfidy out of the whole cloth instead of submitting his work for peer-review? He continues to take absolutely no responsibility for the ridiculous fantasies and exaggerations that his supporters broadcast, apparently being happy to bask in their acclaim rather than correct any of the misrepresentations he has engendered. If he wants to make a change, he has a clear choice; to continue to play Don Quixote for the peanut gallery or to produce something constructive that is actually worthy of publication.

Now THAT is  some hot science commentary that you can really sink your teeth into!     Who ever said climate science was technical and boring – it’s almost a contact sport…..  Gentlemen, put those Hockey Sticks UP!!

Hot Air and the CO2 Problem

A few years ago I felt compelled to learn a lot more about global climate change because I kept hearing about all the pending climate caused catastrophes looming just over the horizon. Hearing this not just from poorly informed journalists and TV news looking to stir the pot to increase viewers and thus ad revenue. I was increasingly hearing these alarms from the very scientists I felt would be responsible, objective, unbiased voices on the topic.

Like Joe Friday on the ancient crime series DRAGNET, I figured NASA, USA, UK scientists would take a “Just the facts please” approach and give me the objective information I needed to make informed decisions about how much economic well-being we should sacrifice to appease the climate change god who was threatening us with rising seas, monster storms, and killer heat waves. Something just wasn’t adding up here. I know science and I know how stable large systems tend to be and I know a catastrophe when I see one, and climate just wasn’t looking catastrophic to me. A lot more research would be needed.

Enter the controversial author of “The Skeptical Environmentalist” Bjorn Lomborg. A statistician, teacher, and environmentalist, Lomborg’s initial enthusiasm for the “Green” movement led him to skepticism as he “did the math” on a variety of environmental issues and concluded there was more than a little fuzzy math being used to support many well accepted talking points about pending environmental collapse.

Lomborg’s analyses made him both famous and infamous in science circles where, in a series of articles in Scientific American, Lomborg was attacked as if he was an enemy of reason itself – accused of using the same data “cherry picking” tactics he’d suggested often lie at the heart of many environmental concerns, but more often than not simply attacked as an enemy of good science. This struck me as odd because Lomborg was easy to read and to understand and it appeared to me he was generally starting with a common sense question and looking for the answers in the math rather than using the math to support his contentions. Ironically this approach seemed very unlike the scientists who in the same Scientific American series had been attacking Lomborg almost exclusively on personal grounds rather than by carefully addressing his many reasonable points about how alarmism appeared to be trumping reason even within the scientific community.

This in turn led me to a very interesting private exchange with the editor of Scientific American who seemed overly alarmed I’d been “taken in” by Lomborg’s misleading math. He encouraged
me to spend more time studying the issues. Armed with my reasonably robust background in the sciences (BS Botany & Psychology, MS Social Sciences) I started to review the IPCC reports, participate actively at and – the two most intelligent Climate Blogs, and more.

RealClimate is written by several of the top climate researchers in the world so it was conspicuous to me how often they seemed to be waxing very philosophically about climate catastrophes and defending even the most flagrant propaganda points in the film “An Inconvenient Truth” and in the papers by James Hansen, NASA’s top climate spokesperson and an often cited proponent of pending climate catastrophes. Comments at RealClimate are even worse – personal abuse and reckless pseudo-science are tolerated when they support the case for catastrophic warming while reasoned questions are often moderated or attacked irrationally if they challenge the prevailing groupthink. In the blogOspheric chatterbox that kind of intolerance is nothing new, but RealClimate pretends to take a higher road and be a watering hole for intelligent climate debate. Unfotunately that is only a pretense, and this realization has led me to question how much personal bias has infected climate science itself.
Preliminary conclusion: Personal biases of climate scientists affect their generalizations a lot. So much so that the studies are always at risk for opportunistic data analysis( “cherry picking” ), influences from grant money (studies that “find” warming are much more likely to get headlines / additional funding) and perhaps most importantly a bias that insulates skeptical research from funding. Skepticism lies at the heart of good science and the newfound tendency of otherwise respectable scientists to disparage global warming skeptics as “corporate shills”, “deniers”, and worse is simply dispicable and outrageous. Just the facts please, and if you don’t agree address the idea, not the person. Of course the *reason* for this approach is that the science behind global warming hysteria is much weaker than advertised – a concern I’d actually rejected until recently.

I don’t think the weakness of the human caused warming hypothesis is enough to throw the basic warming hypothesis into serious doubt, but enough to want more support for human caused warming than we’ve seen so far from heretofore unreliable and non-falsifiable computer modelling and the fact that – since 1998 – the global surface temperature trend is DOWN. This fact is discarded out of hand by climate alarmists but it is important for the very reasons you won’t see discussed at RealClimate. CO2 is going up while temperatures are going down. The models did not anticipate this and there appears to be no good explanation other than the natural variability that is (quite reasonably) invoked to explain a lot of climate fluctuations. But if nature routinely swamps out the effects of human caused CO2 then why are so many suggesting we should forego trillions in GDP to stem the CO2 tide? Why are people deluding themselves into thinking the developing world will go along with our CO2 efforts even as their people clamor for more development?

The answer is simple: They are thinking politically, hysterically, irrationally. OR they aren’t looking at the data. Usually it’s both.

Another preliminary conclusion is that Lomborg’s analyses are spot on.

There is global warming and it’s probably mostly caused by humans but the significance is exaggerated and – most importantly – it is totally unreasonable to assume we’ll be able to do enough reduction of CO2
to make enough of a difference to matter much. Far better to focus on the *existing catastrophic conditions* in much of the developing world than a massive, expensive, quixotic CO2 fight we are going to lose anyway. This is not to suggest we should do *nothing*, rather that we should seek cheap ways to mitigate CO2 while spending the big money on mitigating dead children in the developing world, noting that raising standards in poor countries leads to lower birth rates so even the most Machiavellian or population obsessed among us should support expansion of food and health aid to developing world as long as it reaches the needy.

Challenging Climate Change? You WILL be BURNED at the STAKE! (after we purchase $14 in carbon credits, available online from www ….)

Although I’m very critical of alarmism in Climate Change community it’s important to understand I agree about the following:

There is a Global Warming trend.
The bad consequences of the warming will far outweigh the good ones.
Humans are very likely  to have contributed to the warming , mostly via  CO2 pollution.
We should work to develop  CO2 reduction approaches.

[I just believe that alarmism and catastrophe claims are running rampant and I don’t think there is any likely scenario that will reduce CO2 enough to make much of a difference.    Non controversial studies indicate that much of the warming we are likely to see is now “baked in” to the system.   I think engineering changes are more likely to work than attempts to change the  behavior of people and governments that have historically done very little along the lines needed]

Now for my rant against the unconscionable attack on dissenters from the Climate alarmism “party line”:

As a fan of Paul Krugman’s usually bright and insightful economic analyses at the New York Times I was more than alarmed to read his recent post there where he suggested those who voted agains the cap and trade bill in congress were “betraying the planet” Krugman suggests in the article:

And as I watched the deniers make their arguments, I couldn’t help thinking that I was watching a form of treason — treason against the planet.

Treason against the planet?   Given that treason against a mere government is often punishable by the death penalty, Krugman is very close to suggesting that the penalty for climate dissent should be …. death.     To invoke “treason” against those who are presenting concerns about either the science or the alarmism running rampant now in Climate circles is both unacceptable and it is dispicable.   Shame on Krugman and shame on a climate alarmism community that increasingly uses scare tactics, threats, and censorship to promote their climate change agendas.

My first reaction was to excuse Krugman’s obvious ignorance of the many legitimate challenges to alarmist climate  conclusions.  He appears to rely on a recent Copenhagen Climate report that clearly plays more on the politics of climate rather than the recent data points which are anything but alarming.     For example Global ice remains very stable over the past decades.    You’ve read about Arctic sea ice which in fact is lower (though probably no new records this year), but conspicuously the Antarctic – where the ice is increasing – is left off of the alarmist ice analyses.     Surface temperatures?   After 1998’s very hot temperatures we’ve seen moderation.   Caveat:  A pending El Nino current and pending new sunspot cycle are suggested as reasons to worry that we’ll soon see more record hot years and I think these are legitimate points.   Sea Level Rise?   It’s pretty consistently rising, about as much as this  symbol:    |          Per year.      Yes this matters over a long time frame but I think the folks in Florida don’t have to move quite yet.      Hurricanes?    You haven’t heard much in the news about them because …. there haven’t been many.   Despite some silly hype, Katrina the Hurricane had little if anything to do with Global Warming (a good source is Chris Landsea, one of a handful of the world’s most knowlegeable Hurricane researchers and a former IPCC author who appears to have become fed up with the politics.)    More importantly without the levey breaks Katrina would not have been all that significant and that’s mostly a human engineering issue, not a climate one.     What about those big killer Australian fires?   Isn’t that clearly caused by Global Warming?    Well, it may have contributed to their severity but since they were lit by arsonists it seems absurd to say the climate caused them.    Lastly, the models on which most dire predictions depend represent some of the most complex and non- falsifiable hypotheses in the history of science.  The basics are simple and very likely  (CO2 increases will increase temperatures), but the record of these climate model as predictive agents is  very poor.    So poor that model predictions in my view should be considered “informed speculation” more than “science”.     This last point is critical.   We despartely need to focus on finding climate models that predict climate correct ly, not focus on bashing dissenters who note the obvious failures of the current models.

Journalists (and apparently even some Nobel Economists like Krugman) can be excused for relying too heavily on a climate science community that has been seriously compromised by alarmism,  ego problems that came from adversarial “anti science” policies under GW Bush, grant opportunism, an often incestuous peer review process, and far too many cases of statistical shenanigans.    However that by no means excuses the ongoing climate witch hunt that is seeking to burn down dissenters rather than address their many legitimate concerns about how to move into our uncertain future.

Climate alarmists may be right that we are in for catastrophic changes that will ruin the planet.   The data suggests otherwise.   It also suggests it will be nearly impossible to significantly change the climate outcome regardless of how we act now (e.g. if CO2 emmissions stop completely today the models still project lots of warming).

However whatever the viewpoint I won’t stand by while an intellectual mob works to burn dissenters at the stake.     Reason must guide our actions here – not alarmism, emotion, and vengeance.

The Illusion of Relevance

I’m not a big fan of the human intellect.      In fact I think one of the most obvious points in science – too rarely addressed – is how inadequately evolution has prepared us for the challenges of modern technological times.     A simple example is the fact many of us eat too much, and die early from diseases that we’d rarely get if we maintained a healthy lifestyle of modest calorie intake and modest exercise.

Every year *billions* of life years are lost simply due to minor deviations from our evolutionary designed healthy lifestyle recipe.   This is not to suggest that recipe of modest calorie intake + modest exercise is a health panacea, but those two factors dwarf most others in the developed world.    Poor countries, on the other hand, suffer more from *too few” calories and vices like smoking, war, and poor health standards.      In fact it is in this arena where humanity could have a stunning impact on raising the standard of living for about a billion people with a modest investments in health, water, and infrastructure.

Yet a combination of dictatorial regimes, inept bureaucracies, human ignorance among the victims, and widespread indifference from the affluent countries condemns an extraordinary number of people to a lifetime of relatively poor health and poverty.

What does this have to do with the illusion of relevance?     I think one aspect of our intellectual inadequacy is that we often assign importance to the wrong things.      Why is the death of Michael Jackson so much more interesting to so many than the deaths of some 125,000 children that have happened since Jackson’s untimely demise?   Every week sees hundreds of thousands die – often painfully and miserably – from diseases like malaria, rotoviruses, and malnutrition that are all easily preventable at relatively low cost.     This is NOT to suggest the people dying do not have responsibilities here – they do and I think a key component of bringing higher global health standards is to treat parents in the third world more harshly when they ignore the needs of their children in favor of their own bad habits and bad decisions.   Political correctness prevents using some marketing tactics that might prove effective in combating the profound, pervasive ignorance that often creates irrational aversion to great programs like vaccinations, health, condoms, schooling for girls, and other standard western rights that are currently beyond the grasp of so many in the developing world.

The tragic circumstances of the third world are not generally our *fault* as suggested by the naive who fail to see that it is the *lack of US participation*, not the presence of it, that has condemned so many poor economies to failure.

Still, solving these problems remains a large part of our *responsibility* as global citizens.    Partly due to the moral imperatives that are a product of the worldview most of us share but I think more importantly simply because we *can* solve these problems if we can extract ourselves from the foolish concerns that plague so many otherwise intelligent people.

More importantly, solving these problems requires us to dispense with the illusion of relevance about so many topics that have so little meaning to the collective humanity.     Britney Spears news vs Clean water for a billion people news.

You decide.

Sowing Alarmism? You will reap skepticism.

Over at my favorite global warming watering hole “RealClimate” where several distinguished (and some controversial) climate science dudes reside, there is a lot of hand wringing and whining about why the media does such a poor job reporting on climate change, most notably the recent spate of articles suggesting that it is pretty darn cold this winter.

RealClimate correctly notes that a cold winter or cold spell or cold day tells us virtually nothing about long term climatic trends, and they correctly point out that global warming is a long term and clearly established phenomenon.

However why was RealClimate so conspicuously quiet during the nonsensical stories suggesting that the European heat wave, Katrina, and various “hot days” were a sign of  impending globally-warmed-up-catastrophe looming within decades?

Even hinting over at RealClimate that climate hysteria may be out of control leads to a rash of criticism, comment moderation, and other intellectual intimidation and threats from a crowd who for the most part are very happy to see things exaggerated wildly and irrationally if that exaggeration supports their overall objective – massive intervention to reduce CO2 emissions.

Perhaps there is a lesson here?  Most climate Scientists failed to correct the thousands of overblown “heat waves and hurricanes!” stories and the naively alarming tone and half truths in the film “An Inconvenient Truth”.    I’m not sympathetic now that the shoe is on the other foot and the media is exaggerating cooling trends and bringing on the small handful of climate experts who are genuinely skeptical about global warming.

The scientific truth is far more nuanced and less alarmist than journalists like to suggest, since the object of journalism is not as much “truth” as it is  “readership”.

Journalism and many in science failed us during the hyperbole surrounding “An Inconvenient Truth” and too few scientists stepped in to correct the errors and explain how unlikely we are to have anything approaching a catastrophic climate disaster.

Now that the earth appears to be experiencing a cooling trend journalists are  suspicious and starting to ignore the mostly irrefutable evidence that GW is here to stay.

Stop whining RealClimateers,

You are reaping  skepticism because you helped to sow alarmism.


Don’t agree with me? Read this article from one of the world’s most influential climate researchers and then make your case.

Why are we failing?

Can you have too much concern over safety and security?    Yes, and we do in this country.   Far too much though I don’t expect things to change any time soon.    Our irrational perceptions of risk are damaging our economy more severely than most people understand, mostly thanks to the two massive wasteful spending categories national defense/military and social services.    Ironically each party has its sacred cows for spending and despite the nonsensical bluster from both McCain and Obama we’ll see huge ongoing budget deficits regardless of who is elected.

Humans are designed to act in short term, which is why we should not trust ourselves to do effective long term planning.   This is one of the reasons the founders advocated a small and flexible government and economic structure with high levels of personal accountability.

On a more specific note along these lines Tim O’Reilly notes in a post called Why are we failing at math and science?

Because it isn’t fun any more. When you put safety on the highest altar, what do you give up? When fear of lawsuits — not to mention fear of technology — drives product design, marketing, and public policy, you eliminate science at its roots, in the natural experimentation of kids who want to know how the world works.

Tim’s point is narrower than my general contention that we must learn to accept much greater levels of *certain types of risk* in our daily lives to avoid the ongoing reckless spending.   However the general rule he’s talking about applies to almost all aspects of our lives – from our indefensible military budget of 550 billion (not including the ongoing wars) to obscenely expensive CO2 mitigation schemes.    When people perceive risk irrationally as they tend to do with respect to terrorism and global warming, they accept irrational resource allocations.

I’m actually only suggesting we increase the risk in our lives by a fairly small amount.  Contrary to what people perceive, the riskiest things in our lives are generally cheap fixes.    Auto accidents, for example, are mostly caused by drunk driving, and more seat belt use would save thousands of lives and avert tens of thousands of injuries every year at a tiny fraction of the cost of, say, saving lives with high tech medical interventions.

The military is where most of the waste is but the calculations are complicated by the fact that a “zero military” option would certainly lead to the overthrow of the US by hostile powers.   Clearly the US needs to have a powerful defensive capability, though the notion that this requires spending of over a trillion every two years is beyond the pale and no rational person can be both a fiscal conservative and a big spender on military.    In a similar vein liberal spending advocates absurdly suggest that massive spending on education and social services somehow “primes” the economy to greater heights of prosperity.

Solutions?     Reallocate taxation and spending along rational lines which means massive reductions in spending in most sectors which can fuel increases where spending will do the most good (inner city health care has a huge ROI compared to research hospital neonatal wards).   Third world health ROI dwarfs that in first world.  Why are those guys worth so much less than you or I?

The Hockey Stick Controversy …

You are well advised to avoid the globally frustrating mistake of getting interested in the underpinnings of climate science as it relates to global warming, climate models, paleoclimate reconstructions, the IPCC, Al Gore, and the academy awards.

However if you fall into the trap of actually looking at the science you’ll be interested in an excellent lay summary of the hockey stick controversy by Bishop Hill. I wish he’d left out the perjorative stuff because I think he’s done a nice job of documenting some of the irregularities that seem to shape the modern debates among scientists, statisticians, and political forces.

Here’s a harder to read but perhaps more objective review of the Hockey Stick at Wikipedia.   This debate is important more from a political view than a scientific one as the graph is a key cornerstone for global warming activism even though it is NOT a cornerstone for the science, which to most experts clearly indicates human caused global warming is a problem.

Although warming is clear and human causes are likely, a reasoned review of the science hardly suggests catastrophe is looming.   This is the advanced debate which is only just beginning – given that we have warming caused by humans, how aggresssively should we work to stop it?   At what cost should we work to keep CO2 from rising?

I remain confused about how much problematic math and insider politics within the climate scientist community should affect our perception of global warming’s threat to the planet, but no reasonable observer can maintain that pristine science has shaped the current debate over global warming.    Spend an hour at reading the defense of the film “An Inconvenient Truth” by several internationally prestigious climate scientists to see what I mean.

Ironically as the scientific debate becomes far more nuanced than it was even a few years ago, the *political debate* is effectively over.   The political/alarmist camp says that Global warming is destroying earth and we need to make drastic changes … yesterday … to avoid climate castastrophes of greater-than-biblical proportions.

Catastrophe isn’t looming, but it’s also true that we are damaging things possibly beyond repair.  That does not mean we should spend trillions trying to fix these problems while greater problems loom so large on earth, but it suggests we should do every cheap thing we can and find better ways to pull energy from our environment.