Why Would Saylor Vote Against the County Climate Action Plan?

polarbearsIt was a strange vote and discussion on the County’s Climate Action Plan.  It is important to understand that the County’s Climate Action Plan only addresses “greenhouse gas emissions within the unincorporated area, which has seen very little population growth since 1990 as a result of the County’s historic land use policies.”

Moreover, “Although the inventories of the unincorporated area identify agriculture as a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions, when placed in a broader perspective, farming accounted for only 14% of the countywide emissions in 1990.”

The plan follows the requirement of AB 32, which which requires statewide reductions of GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

The vote ended up being 3-1 in favor of passage, with Supervisor Don Saylor the dissenting vote and Supervisor Mike McGowan absent.

But to look at the vote does not do justice to the dynamics of the arguments.

Supervisor Matt Rexroad’s view was that the larger global view of climate change theory is irrelevant to the Yolo County Board of Supervisors.  He viewed this as merely a vote by which to put Yolo County in compliance with state law to cut emissions by 2020.

That is a typical Matt Rexroad view of the world, looking only at the situation as required by the law.

Supervisor Duane Chamberlain would vote for the plan, but argued against climate change.

As written by Davis Enterprise reporter Jonathan Edwards, “He voted to approve the Climate Action Plan, but was the most vocal about his concerns over the underlying science.”

“Chamberlain not only took issue with climate change theory on a global scale, he also questioned the specific data underpinning the plan’s strategy,” the Enterprise reported.

“We don’t have any real science that’s on the ground,” Supervisor Chamberlain said at the meeting. ”We’re still missing the true science. I’m not sure it’s even there. The guys that are doing the on-the-ground science say, ‘We’re not sure. We can’t answer this.’ I don’t want to make decisions based on erroneous assumptions.”

“I’d like to see some science in here,” Supervisor Chamberlain continued. “The science is terrible. We don’t have any science. We have modeling. This is people who’ve drawn pictures.”

“We don’t know this stuff,” Supervisor Chamberlain said of data underlying the plan. “Someone’s made up all these numbers.”

Remember, this is the guy who voted for the plan.  His view is that someone has made up these numbers.

Supervisor Saylor, on the other hand, agrees with climate science but voted against the proposal.

According to the Enterprise, he said the science behind climate change is solid.

“It’s unambiguous that change is happening to our planet, and that human actions have led to many of these changes,” he said. “It’s important we begin to correct that.”

That was not enough for him, he had to write a full letter to the editor to explain his vote.

He wrote, “Unincorporated areas should be active participants in greenhouse gas reduction efforts being addressed statewide under the provisions of AB 32.”

He continued, “In January, I stated my concern that the goals for 2020 and 2030 were not ambitious enough. Specifically, the plan calls for greenhouse gas emissions to reach 1990 emission levels by 2020. The 2030 goal calls for GHG levels 27 percent below 1990 levels.”

Here is the crux of his argument, “The 2020 goal is disappointingly unambitious; in 2008, the GHG emissions in the areas covered by the Yolo County plan were estimated as 651,740 metric tons, only 6 percent above the 1990 level of 613,651 tons.”

He then contrasted that the Davis Climate Action plan, which he says would result in reaching GHG emission targets by 2010 (how is that possible given it was passed in June of 2010?), and further reductions of 28 percent by 2020.

Is it clear what is going on now?  Matt Rexroad and Duane Chamberlain supported the measure because it complies with state law and it only reduces GHGs by six percent by 2020.  It is a modest measure.

Don Saylor, however, gets a freebie.  He can oppose something that is largely pro forma, he can then show how environmental he is to Davis with a letter to the editor, but at the same time, it is an issue that really does not matter because the bulk of climate reduction that is going to occur in this county is coming from the cities, not the rural areas.

AB 32 is one of the most sweeping pieces of climate legislation we have seen, and once the voters voted not to water it down, it will make for sweeping changes in California. 

That is a good first start, and unfortunately, I would argue that it does not nearly go far enough for the magnitude of the threat of climate change. 

We need the US Congress to adopt similar changes, but unfortunately that will not happen and I suspect it will take calamity for the US to act with any kind of real purpose, and by then it will truly be too late.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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100 thoughts on “Why Would Saylor Vote Against the County Climate Action Plan?”

  1. E Roberts Musser

    dmg: ““I’d like to see some science in here,” Supervisor Chamberlain continued. “The science is terrible. We don’t have any science. We have modeling. This is people who’ve drawn pictures.”
    “We don’t know this stuff,” Supervisor Chamberlain said of data underlying the plan. “Someone’s made up all these numbers.”
    Remember, this is the guy who voted for the plan. His view is that someone has made up these numbers.”

    The numbers come from modeling bc there is just not enough data that has been collected over the number of years this planet has been in existence. Consequently the entire theory of global warming will remain a theory that can only be bolstered by modeling rather than actual data…

    dmg: “We need the US Congress to adopt similar changes, but unfortunately that will not happen and I suspect it will take calamity for the US to act with any kind of real purpose, and by then it will truly be too late.”

    Be careful what you wish for. Adopting stringent standards comes with a cost, as we have seen in the Clean Water Act of 1972 – which has resulted in gargantuan water/sewer rate increases in the very near future…

  2. Don Shor

    Interesting: I read that article very differently. I thought that the main point of the article was that there is question about the specific issue of fertilizer use on alfalfa.
    [url]http://digital.davisenterprise.com/news/supervisor-and-scientist-question-countys-climate-change-plan/[/url]
    Reading the article, I concluded that Duane Chamberlain was questioning the science of that aspect of it. Whether he questions the science about global warming was not clear. His quote “We don’t have any real science that’s on the ground” IMO refers to the practical implications of this measure, and the article cited Dan Putnam, an alfalfa expert, in calling those restrictions into question. I don’t think this was a debate about climate change, I think it was a debate about how Yolo County responds to the state mandate.
    I’m sure Duane could explain his statement to you. duane.chamberlain@yolocounty.org

  3. David M. Greenwald

    Elaine: While I agree with you that the standards for effluent discharge is too high right now, the Clean Water Act in 1972 took some of the most polluted streams and waterways and enabled them to be considerably cleaner and more safe. If the worst thing that happens as the result of that is that we have to pay higher water rates, then so be it. That is not to say I don’t think we ought to apply for a waiver, but it is only to say that I wouldn’t throw out the water act because of it.

  4. GreenandGolden

    The CWA did some other things for us, such as preventing chemical companies from dumping DDT into the sea in LA, stopping the pollution of ground water by all manner of junk that was just flushed down the sewers. Ya know what else caused our water and sewer rates to be higher? It was sewers themselves! That’s right. If we didn’t have sewers and were not required by government to use them instead of septic tanks in Davis, our sewer bills would be lower, lots lower.
    Gosh, with the logic of Elaine, we ought to junk the clean air act too, because by reducing acid rain, particulate pollution, black smoke, and smog, the CAA caused a slight increase in our electricity rates.

  5. David M. Greenwald

    When I was growing up, a neighboring community did not have sewers, Los Osos. It was always a problem. Sewers are expensive for sure, but if you look at the proposed rates, a fraction of the water supply hit.

  6. hpierce

    “Waivers”, as a matter of law, are a slippery slope… it usually means, “yeah I support the law, but it shouldn’t apply to me”… the biggest source of improvement for watwer quality in the 70’s, came, as I understand it, the recession(s) of the late 70’s, when many of the old, polluting industrial plants closed. When new facilities opened, they were built to more modern standards. The quality of drinking water in Pittsburgh PA is a great example. It’s one thing to get a waiver for an old, existing facility. It is quite another to anticipate a waiver for a expansion or new facility. If there is a justification for a waiver, I’d look first to amend the law and/or some bureaucrat’s interpretation of it (that latter is actually the biggest problem) rather than seek the waiver. Why should Davis get a waiver unless Dixon, Fairfield, Vacaville, Woodland, Winters, west Sacramento, Folsom. Marysville, Yuba City, Sacramento, Elk Grove, etc. be entitled to the same? Either the rules/regs are valid, or they are not. IMHO.

  7. David M. Greenwald

    You raise a good point that requires a bit more explanation on my part. Just because we apply for a waiver, doesn’t mean we get one. A waiver would have to take into account the totality of the system. So if we are pumping into the water supply too high a levels of salt for instance, and a waiver meant that everyone would pump to much salt into the same system then the waiver wouldn’t work. However, if we had a more isolated problem, perhaps the rest of the system was pumping in low enough levels of salt that our contribution would not cause a problem, then they could provide a waiver.

  8. E Roberts Musser

    dmg: “Elaine: While I agree with you that the standards for effluent discharge is too high right now, the Clean Water Act in 1972 took some of the most polluted streams and waterways and enabled them to be considerably cleaner and more safe. If the worst thing that happens as the result of that is that we have to pay higher water rates, then so be it. That is not to say I don’t think we ought to apply for a waiver, but it is only to say that I wouldn’t throw out the water act because of it.”

    Either you believe in the Clean Water Act or you don’t. As a citizen, you need to put your money where your mouth is… If it is good enough for everyone else, it is good enough for this city to follow…

    To hpierce: Nicely said!

    G&G: “Gosh, with the logic of Elaine, we ought to junk the clean air act too, because by reducing acid rain, particulate pollution, black smoke, and smog, the CAA caused a slight increase in our electricity rates.”

    I never advocated against the Clean Water Act in totality, just against such stringent standards at a time when the economy is struggling. In 1972, when this legislation was enacted, no cost/benefit analysis was done and should have been. Another commenter said the cost/benefit analysis is required now, but that is for any more stringent legislation than that of the Clean Water Act of 1972. My thought would be to “phase in” the standards in a way that cities could better handle the fallout in light of the current economic situation.

    In regard to sewers, in my day, sewage flowed form the houses in open streams in the back of houses. Sewer lines are essential to the prevention of diseases…

  9. E Roberts Musser

    To Don Shor: I took Duane Chamberlain’s comments to mean he had his doubts in regard to the science of global warming, especially as he didn’t see any specific data in regard to the alfalfa issue, which is personal to him. It is interesting how two people can read the same passage, and take it in different ways…

    However, my point would still be the same – there is not enough data to prove/disprove the global warming THEORY, which is why modeling must be used…

  10. GreenandGolden

    Yikes, I was wrong above. The protection of our groundwater is addressed by the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and the Superfund act, according to the Wikipedia. After passage of these acts, one could no longer just dump chemical waste and sewage in a manner that pollutes ground water. Those acts cost individuals, businesses, and municipalities, not to mention the US Military, a great deal. They are involved in Superfund cleanup. They were expensive and have led to litigation, fines, bankruptcies, and costs associated with mitigation. Most importantly, they have led to substantial costs of infrastructure and technology that prevents wastes from entering groundwater. As a result, our groundwater is much, much cleaner.

  11. Don Shor

    [i]”there is not enough data to prove/disprove the global warming THEORY”[/i]

    Which aspect are you referring to? There is plenty of evidence that the world’s temperature is increasing. Most geophysicists agree that humans contribute to that warming. Models are used mostly to project future impacts. The question is how to implement any carbon-reduction practices locally.

  12. wdf1

    [i]The numbers come from modeling bc there is just not enough data that has been collected over the number of years this planet has been in existence. Consequently the entire theory of global warming will remain a theory that can only be bolstered by modeling rather than actual data…[/i]

    I would add to Don’s comment that measured average temperatures have been rising. The most dramatic increases have been seen at higher latitudes/least dramatic at lower latitudes.

    Past average temperatures on Earth can be determined by what sea level was at different points in time. Higher sea level = warmer temperatures; lower sea level = colder temps. Global sea level info is available for the last half billion years. In fact, researchers with Exxon developed these curves in order to better predict where to explore for petroleum:

    [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea-level_curve[/url]

    Atmospheric CO2 levels have been roughly determined throughout Earth history, again for at least the last half billion years. Even better data in more recent times (geologically speaking). Estimates are that Earth’s original atmosphere was probably closer to Venus’, which has ~95% CO2, and extremely hot temperatures. (No scientists are predicting that Earth will get as hot as Venus, by the way)

    [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide_in_Earth’s_atmosphere[/url]

    So my question for you, Elaine, is “How many years worth of data is enough for you?” Would you need to have all 4.5 billion years before you’re satisfied?

  13. Steve Hayes

    DWG …”If the worst thing that happens as the result of that is that we have to pay higher water rates, then so be it.”…

    Somehow, I don’t think that this “logic” will go over well with the voters (and the School Board for that matter) this summer as they face (and vote on) the proposed property tax increase for schools. We are truly in an era of limits and one hand will rob the other!

  14. medwoman

    To both David and Elaine a question for clarification: Are you saying that “the standards for effluent discharge are too high right now” because you believe the standards should be changed on the basis of changing scientific evaluation ? Or are you saying the standards are too high based on our current financial situation ?
    If the science is changing, revisiting the specifics of the act itself would be warranted.
    If this is an exclusively financial consideration, then it would need to be looked at in comparison to all of our other financial constraints and obligations.

  15. Frankly

    [i]”It’s unambiguous that change is happening to our planet, and that human actions have led to many of these changes,”[/i]

    See page#6:
    [url]http://www.heartland.org/custom/semod_policybot/pdf/17585.pdf[/url]

  16. Don Shor

    I don’t really feel like getting into a big debate about climate change here. I’ll keep this simple. Heartland Institute is not a reliable source on climate change issues.
    [url]http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Heartland_Institute[/url]
    It is the overwhelming view of geophysicists and climatologists that anthropogenic climate change is real. The page you link to there is a column by Alan Caruba ([url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Caruba[/url]) who has no expertise in climatology, geophysics, or any kind of science whatsoever. His extensive paraphrasing of Dr. Hans Van Storch illustrates the distortions of Heartland and Caruba. Dr. Von Storch, who has an excellent blog ([url]http://klimazwiebel.blogspot.com/[/url]), says this about climate change:
    “Based on the scientific evidence, I am convinced that we are facing anthropogenic climate change brought about by the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.”
    Yet Caruba presents him as somehow endorsing the view that there is no “consensus.” The fact is that Van Storch has had some celebrated conflicts with the ‘hockey stick team’ about the specifics of climate change, but is by no means a skeptic and is well within the range of what is broadly accepted by those in the field.

  17. Frankly

    Don: First, when you locate any scientific consensus of conclusion of theory over anything as complex and as incomplete as is the subject and data on climate change, you have copious evidence that the practice of science has been corrupted and supplanted by something else. Frankly, I see much more politics at work here than I do science.

    For one, there is a complete dearth of astrophysicists involved in the debate. [url]http://www.iceagenow.com/Harvard_astrophysicist_Sunspot_activity_correlates_to_global_climate_change.htm[/url]

    There is also scant substantive debate about historical climate change preceding the proliferation of man-made recording devices. So why was Greenland green a century ago?

    We have a bunch of circumstantial evidence and very little true cause and effect proof. We know water vapor is much more culpable as a greenhouse causing agent; yet we don’t know what causes it. We have areas of the globe experiencing cooling trends, yet we just cast these occurrences aside as some inconvenient truth.

    More importantly for me, we have a growth of leftist ideologues that, lacking the fear of prosecution from the likes of another Joe McCarthy, have made it clear their distaste for free enterprise. They are joined by the scientific community… most of which are on the left side of politics. [quote]A Pew Research Center Poll from July 2009 showed that only around 6 percent of U.S. scientists are Republicans; 55 percent are Democrats, 32 percent are independent, and the rest “don’t know” their affiliation.[/quote]
    There are many reasons to doubt the current media and political template on climate change… despite the support of “science” community.

  18. Don Shor

    Your link is to a complete non-scientist who thinks we are going into an ice age. He isn’t an astrophysicist at all. [i]Real[/i] astrophysicists do enter into the climate change discussion. Their papers, such as those by Soon and Baliunas, get published and reviewed and others in the field present their responses. Climate scientists can get pretty caustic with each other, but there is no evidence of a “dearth” of astrophysicists. There are discussions and debates about the role of water vapor, clouds, the extent of the MWP, and so on. In fact, the field of climate science is active and growing and includes many sub-disciplines.

    “the practice of science has been corrupted.’ Nope. There are at least 20,000 climate scientists worldwide. People are publishing about the anomalies, about less-understood parts of the general circulation models, and so on. Those articles are getting reviewed. Your notion of ideological corruption of the process of inquiry has no basis.

  19. medwoman

    JB

    I feel the need to challenge a couple of your statements.
    First using your numbers the ratio of Democrat to non Democrat scientists is 55 to 45 %. Hardly a sweeping majority. Especially when you consider that the words “Democrat ” and left wing ideologue are not synonymous.
    And are you seriously implying that those who believe in a human contribution to climate change are necessarily opposed to free enterprise ?
    I think a number of people involved in “green technologies” might be very surprised by that assumption.

  20. rusty49

    “First using your numbers the ratio of Democrat to non Democrat scientists is 55 to 45 %.”

    55% Democrat to 6% Republican is a huge sweeping majority.

    But nice try medwoman with your attempt at softening the numbers.

  21. medwoman

    Rusty49

    My point was about not generalizing not an attempt to “soften” numbers. We certainly don’t know the political ideologies of the ” independents” and “don’t knows” or more likely don’t care to states. For all we know they could all be communists or libertarians. My point was that we simply don’t know and therefore perhaps should not be generalizing.

  22. Don Shor

    It doesn’t matter what their party registrations are. If their work is published, it will get reviewed — before and after. Methodology will be dissected and criticized. Unsubstantiated conclusions will be identified. Science is self-correcting to a very large degree. The blogosphere has added another element, so that critics such as McIntyre, and those working in related fields such as the Pielkes, can provide insights in a manner that didn’t used to be as readily available. Any grad student would love to be the one who produces a paper that provides a unique insight, debunks some established conclusion, or otherwise creates a name for herself.

    There are plenty of aspects of the field of climate science I could criticize; I can only imagine what my geophysicist father would have thought about the contents of the emails that made so much news. He could be pretty caustic himself. But none of those criticisms undermine the basic premise: there is broad consensus, based on huge amounts of data, in favor of the principle of anthropogenic climate change.

    None of that leads to any specific policy conclusions. It is perfectly reasonable to debate the best ways to adapt or mitigate climate change, or whether it is even necessary or feasible to do so. I prefer that climate scientists stay out of that debate, unless they bring some special expertise to the discussion. But it is disheartening that the basic premise itself is no longer accepted by many for reasons that are themselves largely ideological.

  23. Don Shor

    That brings us back to the topic of this thread. It is not unreasonable to debate whether changing the fertilizer practices on alfalfa will work to reduce carbon emissions, or whether there is any science behind that policy proposal. And again, I think that is all Duane Chamberlain was discussing. But I could be wrong.

  24. Frankly

    Don: think grant money… the life blood for scientists’ careers lacking private-sector alternatives.

    I love the premise from those with a left-leaning worldview that they are somehow more intellectually capable of powering to completely logical conclusions, and hence they are beyond simplistic ideological labels… while those Republicans just cling to their guns and religion.

    If it squawks like a duck and acts like a duck, it is usually a duck… despite the desired lack of duck-like transparency.

    [url]http://www.scpr.org/programs/patt-morrison/2011/02/22/castles-of-sand-the-problem-with-peer-reviewed-res/[/url]

    Poltical bias is social bias and since social consideration permiates most of what social individuals think about and care about, it would stand to reason that it has some impact on what scientists would think about and care about. For example, think how little work has been done on understanding the global economic impacts (especially for third world countries) from global carbon restrictions. Let’s just leave all the economic concern to those greedy profit-seeking Republicans, right?

  25. rusty49

    First they were crying about global freezing in the 1970’s.
    Then it changed to global warming in the 1990’s.
    Since the cooling and warming didn’t take hold now the greenies have had to switch to “climate change”.

    The Earth has been around for billions of years but somehow this so-called science is going to make a determination based on a 40 year period?

  26. Musser

    “Elaine: While I agree with you that the standards for effluent discharge is too high right now, the Clean Water Act in 1972 took some of the most polluted streams and waterways and enabled them to be considerably cleaner and more safe. If the worst thing that happens as the result of that is that we have to pay higher water rates, then so be it. That is not to say I don’t think we ought to apply for a waiver, but it is only to say that I wouldn’t throw out the water act because of it.”

    lol, you believe the clean water act of 1972 was the right thing, but then you want a waiver. in other words, you want the environmental regulations just as long as it doesn’t hit us in the pocketbook.

  27. J.R.

    Unfortunately the global warming advocates have undermined their case by using bogus arguments in many cases. See for example a study by physicist Richard Muller at UC Berkeley.

    http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/13830/?a=f

    I’m not sure how valid other arguments for global warming are. But unless you yourself are a climate scientist, it is rather arrogant to express a view and at the same time dismiss other views for being made by non-experts.

  28. Musser

    “Which aspect are you referring to? There is plenty of evidence that the world’s temperature is increasing. Most geophysicists agree that humans contribute to that warming. Models are used mostly to project future impacts. The question is how to implement any carbon-reduction practices locally.”

    and those models do not agree. the weatherman is often wrong in predicting the weather outside a week, hence the term “weekly forecast.” furthermore,”the world’s temperature is increasing” means what exactly? by how many degrees? over what period? assuming humans do contribute to that unknown amount of warming, how much of that unknown amount is caused by people? and what is the proof?

  29. Frankly

    [i]”Beyond hermits and some monks, can you think of any one who is not a “social individual”?[/i]

    What I meant and did not say very well, is that there are people that do not really care about social issues as long as they do not materially affect them today. That is a large part of the global population.

  30. rusty49

    So Obama is now bombing Lybia. He says it’s all about an evil dictator killing his people. I’m just curious how you Liberals feel about that?

  31. Frankly

    Economic scientists could not predict the global financial meltdown, yet somehow, even with several orders of magnitude greater number of variables; we are to believe that climate scientists can predict the destruction of the natural world from human activity.

    As we can see from the crisis in Japan, the natural world will always win the test of destruction. Personally, I am more worried about that rouge asteroid slamming into earth (“we scientists just missed tracking that one”), or a mega volcanic eruption in the Mid-West (“we scientists missed that one too”), than I am global damage from human-caused carbon emissions.

  32. Rifkin

    [i]”Heartland Institute is not a reliable source on climate change issues.”[/i]

    I had never heard of the Heartland Institute until last week, when a Fox News show had on someone labled under his name as a “nuclear power expert.” I was (figuratively speaking) heartened to hear his expertise, which was so positive and so different from what I had been hearing about the horrifying problems in Japan from other experts. I wanted to hear some good news.

    Then I looked up the Heartland guy’s credentials. And alas I was disheartened. He was a complete fraud. ([url]http://lexicondaily.blogspot.com/2011/03/things-are-looking-worse-every-day-in.html[/url])

    P.S. As readers of mine know, I am not a lefty. So my disgust with that Heartland guy is not out of any ideological convictions.

    P.P.S. There are thousands of highly trained, brilliant climate scientists. A few of them are here at UC Davis. Almost all of them (I don’t know the exact percentage but it is very near 100%) agree on all of the basics of Global Warming theory:

    1. that a higher and higher concentration of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, will lead in a general way to higher and higher surface temperatures;
    2. that we have been experiencing a higher and higher concentration of those gases;
    3. that greater levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can be attributed to human activity, most notably the release of CO2 which, but for our burning coal and petroleum, would be sequestered underground or under the seas; and
    4. that there are already some serious consequences from global warming (including effects on crops and forests and various ecosystems and melting in Greenland and so on) and more and worse consequences are coming.

    Those who deny what is a nearly unanimous consensus strike me as either: 1) blinded by their own ideology; 2) corrupted (as in scientists who are being paid by fossil fuel interests; or 3) daft.

    I don’t doubt there are some profound criticisms against global warming predictions at the margin. But to deny the basic theory is pretty much like denying evolution or plate tectonic theory.

    PPPS I don’t think the currently proposed cap and trade system is the right way to attack global warming. Nor do I think those of us in Davis collectively or in Yolo County collectively ought to impose costs on ourselves to “do our part” to stop global warming. If an individual or a freely formed group wants to act, by all means do what pleases you. The only right answer is what Al Gore suggested maybe 20-25 years ago: a carbon tax, preferably a global carbon tax enforced by the GATT.

  33. Don Shor

    JR: [i]Unfortunately the global warming advocates have undermined their case by using bogus arguments in many cases. See for example a study by physicist Richard Muller at UC Berkeley. [/i]

    Dr. Richard Muller: “There is a consensus that global warming is real. There has not been much so far, but it’s going to get much, much worse.”
    Dr. Muller has indeed had his disputes with the hockey stick team as well, as noted in your seven-year-old link. But he agrees fully with the consensus that I have described above.

  34. Don Shor

    Musser: “[i]”the world’s temperature is increasing” means what exactly? by how many degrees? over what period? assuming humans do contribute to that unknown amount of warming, how much of that unknown amount is caused by people? and what is the proof?”[/i]

    There are excellent resources on line where you can find the answers to those questions. Do I understand you and others to believe that the earth’s temperature is not increasing?

  35. Don Shor

    I agree with Rich about cap and trade, and Duane Chamberlain (apparently) that there is little reason for Yolo County farmers to change their alfalfa fertilizing practices without a sound basis.

  36. wdf1

    Jeff Boone: [i]So why was Greenland green a century ago?[/i]

    It was? Where did you read/hear about that?

    Jeff Boone: [i]Personally, I am more worried about that rouge asteroid slamming into earth[/i]

    Rouge? Personally, I’d worry more about the black ones.

  37. Rifkin

    [b]Musser:[/b] [i] furthermore,”the world’s temperature is increasing” means what exactly? by how many degrees? over what period? [/i]

    If you are doubtful of global warming and suspect it is some sort of left wing conspiracy of environmental wackos, you might look to the most conservative business there is: the insurance market. You will find that Insurance companies have no doubts about global warming. ([url]http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2010/11/30/pm-insurance-companies-have-no-doubts-about-global-warming/[/url])

    [b]Musser:[/b] [i]”… assuming humans do contribute to that unknown amount of warming, how much of that unknown amount is caused by people? and what is the proof? [/i]

    The IPCC peer-reviewed science is your best source of information on this. Here is a link to that ([url]http://www.gcrio.org/ipcc/qa/03.html[/url]): [quote]A comprehensive assessment by the IPCC of the scientific evidence suggests that human activities are contributing to climate change, and that there has been a discernible human influence on global climate. [/quote]

  38. wdf1

    [i]First, when you locate any scientific consensus of conclusion of theory over anything as complex and as incomplete as is the subject and data on climate change, you have copious evidence that the practice of science has been corrupted and supplanted by something else. Frankly, I see much more politics at work here than I do science.[/i]

    Then what do you suspect is the motivation for so many scientists to agree with the anthropogenic warming concept?

    They’re all socialists and communists who meet in secret after giving the secret handshake and password and plot which peer-reviewed papers they will accept and reject for this month’s issue?

  39. J.R.

    “Do I understand you and others to believe that the earth’s temperature is not increasing?”

    There is some dispute about whether heat island effects are distorting the data.
    And the data manipulation by some activists is not helping.
    But probably there is an upward temperature trend.
    Scientists know that statements like this have probabilities associated to them.
    Only religious fanatics believe them absolutely.
    To some, global warming is a type of religious belief.

    Is it caused by humans? Probably yes.
    There are some plausible alternate theories based on solar activity.
    But human influence is not an unreasonable hypothesis.

    But the real questions that global warming activists never address is
    1. Can we do anything to significantly slow or stop it?
    2. Will our attempts to avert it cause more harm then good?
    3. Is global warming a bad thing overall?

    My belief is that the answer to these is
    1. No.
    2. Yes.
    3. Maybe. It has pluses as well as minuses and at least some analysis show that which is larger is unclear.

    Actions that lower carbon emissions in Yolo county might make you feel good, but they are based more on moral religious principles than on science. And trying to impose a moral religious principle on your neighbors has never been a policy for good government.

  40. Musser

    Rich,

    I read your IPCC source, and the IPCC does not appear to answer my questions at all, if anything it rebuts the theory of climate change:

    “There are still uncertainties in these detection and attribution studies. These are due primarily to our imperfect knowledge of the true climate-change signal due to human activities, to our incomplete understanding of the background noise of natural climatic variability against which this signal must be detected, and to inadequacies in the observational record. Such uncertainties make it difficult to determine the exact size of the human contribution to climate change. Nevertheless, the most recent assessment of the science suggests that human activities have led to a discernible influence on global climate and that these activities will have an increasing influence on future climate.”

    forgive me, but this does not appear to support the theory of global warming, climate change or whatever the latest label is. not by a longshot. if anything, the IPCC, when it is critically evaluated, says very little about what we actually know about climate and the human contribuion at all.

    your other article on the insurance industry does not either. Perhaps rich, you need to re-read it, because I did not find much information in that at all.

    “There are excellent resources on line where you can find the answers to those questions. Do I understand you and others to believe that the earth’s temperature is not increasing?”

    actually, don, I don’t really know what the temperature does. and I’ve looked at Data. for example, Michael Mann’s “hockey stick graph” if you look at it, only goes back about 1000 years. that is 1000 years out of 4.5 billion years or so the earth has been around. that is an insignificant period of time. and even that graph had problems because Mann had to throw out tree ring data he claimed was innacurate.

  41. Musser

    in short, the IPCC shows just how weak the climate change theory is. I’m repeatedly asked to take the IPCC as the gold standard, but if half the republicans in this country grew a brain and actually read the IPCC, they would discover just how much the IPCC REBUTS CLIMATE CHANGE. What you people think I don’t read? I don’t try to analyze? You thought you could bluff your way through, claiming the IPCC claims what it clearly does not?

  42. David M. Greenwald

    “lol, you believe the clean water act of 1972 was the right thing, but then you want a waiver.”

    Actually you are committing a pretty substantial logical flaw, you are using a marginal argument to attempt to refute a broad concept. I believe the Clean Water Act of 1972 was a landmark piece of environmental legislation that as someone else pointed out did away with broad classifications of polluting water. However, on the margins, I’m disputing where the specific levels of certain groundwater components should be. That’s a huge difference.

  43. Musser

    logical flaw my butt David. All of these environmental regulations sound good to the public until you have to finally give in and pay the piper. Just as long as someone else pays for it, not me. along the same lines as tax increases, and why many left wingers support those. Because hopefully it will only truly hit “the rich” in the pocketbook, and not oneself, because “they” and not “me” are not paying their so-called “fairshare”. That attitude is acting like a prince or a king. one set of rules for ones-self, and another set of rules for everyone else. If the costs of the 1972 clean water act are good for sacramento and woodland, they are good for Davis. Otherwise, we have a bad law that has to go. Forgive me but you Davis ecopeople are real hypocrites when it comes down to it.

  44. David M. Greenwald

    David: compare the pollution in our water now to 1972, it’s not even close. On the margins we can differ as to whether the exact levels of selenium imposed by the act are the right ones, but at the core, the act was good. I’m sorry you have no legs to stand on here.

  45. medwoman

    To Musser

    It is usually far easier to identify others hypocrisy than one’s own. What is it that leads you to believe that “left wingers” believe in taxes only for others? It seems that perhaps you do not know many of us who would be affected by the increased tax rates on “the rich”, and believe that it is incumbent upon those of us who have benefited greatly from our system to support it for those who follow.

    As for your interpretation of the IPCC statement, you seem to have ignored the last sentence of your own quote “nevertheless the most recent assessment of the science that human activities have led to a discernible influence on global climate and that these activities will have an increasing influence on future climate.”. While it is true that there are always uncertainties in the constantly changing body of knowledge that we call “science” that does not mean that there are no times when action should be taken based on uncertain knowledge. A well known example from medicine is that of Edward Jenner who is best known for advocating the practice of what is now known as vaccination based on the best evidence he had at the time which amounted to nothing more than astute observation and a theory which has ultimately led to the virtual elimination of smallpox and the science of immunology. As a side note, he was widely vilified by large segments of the press, medical establishment and society of his day.

  46. rusty49

    Medwoman

    You cite one example where action based on uncertain knowledge worked, and I’m sure there are a few others. But I’ll bet the numbers are much more in favor of action that has been taken on uncertain knowledge where it didn’t work out? I’ll give you an example that you leftists will love, Bush invading Iraq because of WMD. Acting on the uncertain knowledge of climate change will be very costly and harmful to our economy. Sorry, but I want more proof.

  47. Frankly

    [i]”While it is true that there are always uncertainties in the constantly changing body of knowledge that we call “science” that does not mean that there are no times when action should be taken based on uncertain knowledge.”[/i]

    I think I should have taken more science classes in college so I could better understand how the full community of them would arrive at concensus on so much ‘uncertainty’.

    As I understand, water vapor, the most significant greenhouse gas, comes from natural sources and is responsible for roughly 95% of the greenhouse effect, and total combined anthropogenic greenhouse gases account for about 5.5% of the remaining 5% – or .28% of the total greenhouse effect.

    [quote]The Kyoto Protocol calls for mandatory carbon dioxide reductions of 30% from developed countries like the U.S. Reducing man-made CO2 emissions this much would have an undetectable effect on climate while having a devastating effect on the U.S. economy. Can you drive your car 30% less, reduce your winter heating 30%? Pay 20-50% more for everything from automobiles to zippers? And that is just a down payment, with more sacrifices to come later.

    Such drastic measures, even if imposed equally on all countries around the world, would reduce total human greenhouse contributions from CO2 by about 0.035%.

    This is much less than the natural variability of Earth’s climate system!

    While the greenhouse reductions would exact a high human price, in terms of sacrifices to our standard of living, they would yield statistically negligible results in terms of measurable impacts to climate change. There is no expectation that any statistically significant global warming reductions would come from the Kyoto Protocol.[/quote]

  48. Frankly

    Greenland was once green

    wdf1: “It was? Where did you read/hear about that?”

    the Medieval Warm Period

    [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medieval_Warm_Period[/url]

    Note too the Little Ice Age about 400 years ago. To what man-made cause do scientists attribute this devistating change in climate?

  49. Frankly

    Rich: [i]”P.P.S. There are thousands of highly trained, brilliant climate scientists.”[/i]

    I admit that I am, and have been, fully perplexed at the lack of admission from this body that climate and atmospheric modeling is inexact science. The lack of this admission is evidence that there are other drivers.

    The scientific community is a combative one… filled full of capable thinkers striving for recognition of some breakthrough or original thesis… and only too happy to debate the merits of other theories… especially those based on complex and variable data. Even the Holy Grail theory of relativity is routinely tweaked and trashed.

    Once Algore got involved, the science became suspect of being more about politics.

    [url]http://icecap.us/images/uploads/assumptionsfeedbacks2.pdf[/url]

    [url]http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090714124956.htm[/url]
    [quote]“In a nutshell, theoretical models cannot explain what we observe in the geological record,” said oceanographer Gerald Dickens, a co-author of the study and professor of Earth science at Rice University. “There appears to be something fundamentally wrong with the way temperature and carbon are linked in climate models.”[/quote]

  50. medwoman

    To Rusty

    I agree with you that much more proof would have been appropriate prior to invading Iraq. However, your example falls short on two points.
    First there is a huge difference between inoculating yourself, your family, and members of your staff to prove your theory and launching an invasion costing the lives of thousands of innocents as well as those of willing combatants.
    As for the Iraq comparison, I find it spurious to compare political/military decision making to the process involved in scientific decision making.
    This is not to suggest that one is better than the other, or that either is infallible, just that they are so different in their decision making and review processes, and time frames as to make a direct head to head comparison meaningless. Except perhaps to tweak any “lefties”who may be following along !

  51. medwoman

    To JB

    Although my area of expertise is far removed from climate science, I do believe that unwillingness to “sacrifice our standard of living” is a large part of the declining state or our health if not the health of the planet. I believe that our dependence on the automobile as opposed to walking or bike riding not only has visible, not theoretical effects on air quality. ( I lived in LA and Orange County when the air quality was at its worst) .
    Our lifestyle is largely responsible for the current epidemic ( by the numbers, not hyperbole) of obesity both in our adult and pediatric population which is a time bomb waiting to go off in terms of totally preventable future medical costs for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, joint replacements, cancer treatment,

    As a nation, in our defense of our standard of living” we are choosing to ignore the aspects of that standard that are extremely detrimental to us. so while I cannot make a defense of changing our behaviors for the sake of overall climate change, I can certainly make a strong case for changing our lifestyles for the direct health and well being of our children.
    I would be happy to provide more and equally directly tangible examples if you would like.

  52. E Roberts Musser

    medwoman: “Our lifestyle is largely responsible for the current epidemic ( by the numbers, not hyperbole) of obesity…”

    And you know this for certain? How about longer life span; more availability of food; better health care which allows more obese people to survive and procreate; and so forth. How do you prove “lifestyle”, whatever that means, to CAUSING obesity?

    To globalwarming theory adherants:

    Global warming is a THEORY, and nothing more. At one time scientists were convinced the world was flat. Galileo was reviled for thinking the planets revolved around the sun by his fellow scientists. Einstein’s Theory of Relativity has had to be corrected as not completely accurate. Mathematics is a model and nothing more, that actually isn’t perfect – any number divided by zero has remained undefined.

    Assuming the earth is currently warming, how can anyone PROVE that manmade carbon emissions are the cause? Why could not the cause be mother nature and it is nothing more than a normal cyclical event in the climatic scheme of things? In fact, the climatoligists who proposed the theory of global warming being caused by carbon emissions based this THEORY on tree ring samples, which later was discredited as an appropriate measure of anything. Then these scientists went to ice samples. Whose to say that is a correct guage of anything? Having skepticism of science is healthy.

    The irony in all of this is that in my day, global warming was called “pollution”. Our motto was “let’s stop polluting”. The message was simple, not controversial or politically charged, and made perfect sense. Everyone can understand “dirty water”; “smoggy air”. So the question becomes: TO WHAT EXTENT DO WE CLEAN UP THE AIR AND WATER, AT WHAT COST?

    Which brings me back full circle to the topic at hand. The Clean Water Act of 1972 set out some pretty stringent standards, that did not take into account what the relative cost of those stringent standards would be. I think it would be appropriate to 1) revisit the science to determine if the standards achieve the intended goals; 2) revisit the standards in light of the current economic crisis. What good is it going to do to enforce overly stringent standards, if to do so will result in putting large segments of the populace out of their homes and on the street just so birds in the Yolo Bypass will have cleaner water to drink and swim in than the public has had to drink prior to this; and/or does not achieve the very goals it was meant to achieve.

  53. rusty49

    Medwoman,

    My example of Iraq was a response to ‘uncertain knowledge’. Now if you want examples of ‘scientific’ uncertain knowledge that failed then let’s take the fact that more than a dozen prescription drugs have been taken off the market due to serious side effects, in some cases after hundreds of injuries and even deaths have occurred.

  54. Don Shor

    Jeff: [i]”I admit that I am, and have been, fully perplexed at the lack of admission from this body that climate and atmospheric modeling is inexact science.”[/i]
    On what do you base this belief? Many aspects of climate science have high levels of confidence; others have less. You would really have to be more specific as to what is “inexact” and what you think is not broadly accepted and supported by data.

    ERM: [i]Assuming the earth is currently warming, how can anyone PROVE that manmade carbon emissions are the cause? Why could not the cause be mother nature and it is nothing more than a normal cyclical event in the climatic scheme of things?[/i]
    All of those things you are calling “mother nature” are called forcings and they are what the models are built from.
    [i]”tree ring samples, which later was discredited as an appropriate measure of anything”[/i]
    No, they weren’t discredited as “an appropriate measure of anything.” There was controversy about the way they were used. There are loads of other proxies.
    It probably isn’t necessary for us to give you a complete primer on climate change science when you can learn all about it yourself from a variety of online resources. Here’s one: [url]http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/start-here/[/url]

    Again, it is important to separate the political questions from the science questions.

  55. wdf1

    Elaine Roberts Musser: [i]Global warming is a THEORY, and nothing more.[/i]

    Elaine, take a good close look at the dictionary definitions of “theory”:

    [url]http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/theory[/url]

    You equivocate. You take one definition of theory and use it to argue against a different definition of theory. That’s either dishonest, or a mistake of ignorance.

    This definition accounts for the theory of gravity, the geocentric theory of the solar system, the cellular theory of life, the theory of evolution, the bacterial and viral theory of diseases, the theory of evolution, the theory of plate tectonics, the atomic theory of matter, etc.:
    [quote]5: a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena
    [/quote]
    This definition is used when saying, “the police have a theory as to whom the suspect is”:
    [quote]6a : a hypothesis assumed for the sake of argument or investigation b : an unproved assumption : conjecture [/quote]
    By your assertion, we can absolutely disregard all science, because it’s “just a theory”. Don’t bother with medical doctors or any advances made in medicine, nutrition, and gerontology, because it’s all based on “just theory”.

    The “theory” and practice of science is that you propose the best explanation to fit the observations, and you always hold out for the possibility of a better explanation. As to the “theory” of global warming, the best explanation that is out there is that Earth is warming due to greenhouse gas emissions. Alternative hypotheses are weaker. If you want to disprove anthropogenic global climate change/warming, then present a stronger explanation that fits the data and observations.

    Scientists have ambition and ego. If there is a better explanation, then science will find it.

    Your example of Galileo shows what happens when the political and religious views of the day attempt to over-ride science. Scientists have known since ancient times that Earth is spherical. It is probably one of the first conclusions that established science as a field.

  56. medwoman

    To rusty 49 – couldn’t agree more and have probably seen many more examples of erroneous medical applications in my 28 years in medicine than you would believe. However that should not stop us from making the best assessment we have at that time and acting on the information rationally rather than resorting to emotion based arguments or misrepresentations of the positions of those with whom we do not agree and name calling.

    To ERM

    I probably cannot prove it to a standard that you would accept, but I will be happy to provide both my direct experiential evidence and give you a starting point in the literature if you are interested.

    First from my direct experience. I served as a general medical officer on what at the time was referred to as the Papago reservation near Tucson. The two very closely related groups of native Americans, my group and the nearby Pimas have the dubious distinction of having the worlds highest prevalence of type II diabetes and also one of the highest prevalences of obesity. However, the story is not simply one of genetics or available food supply. There are two distinct subgroups of the population. the largest group are those that are living within the town of Sells and it’s surrounds, who have largely adopted a lifestyle dependent on automobiles, fast food, and very little physical activity and over 40% of this group are both obese and have developed Type II diabetes prior to age 40. The second, numerically smaller group had made the decision to follow the traditional lifestyle involving walking, horseback riding, growing their almost exclusively vegetarian food supply, largely beans, peppers, corn, tomatoes, and were for the most part very lean with a much lower rate of diabetes, HTN, cardiovascular disease, stroke,
    renal failure, amputations. so, same genetic stock, same geographic area, different lifestyle with vastly different health outcomes.

    Also from direct experience, many years of experience with my own patients who as they gain weight develop increased problems with diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. When they lose significant amounts of weight either through dietary changes, increased exercise, gastric bypass or some combination of the above find these illness tend to improve in many cases enough to no longer require medication for management.

    As to the data in the literature, it is so overwhelming with regard to the increased health risks associated with both obesity and a sedentary lifestyle independently that I am uncertain where to start. Up to Date is a good starting point which can be googled and cites multiple references for basically any entry point to this subject from obesity to exercise to a whole host of medical conditions such as diabetes, HTN,
    uterine and breast cancer just to name a few. Any reliable medical site from UCD to the NIH to the Mayo clinic will also have information on this issue. As you may have guessed by now preventive medicine is a special area of interest of mine and I think highly relevant in assessing the impact of the environment on both our finances and other aspects of our well being.

  57. wdf1

    JB: [i]So why was Greenland green a century ago?[/i]

    wdf1: [i]It was? Where did you read/hear about that?[/i]

    JB: [i]the Medieval Warm Period[/i]

    I’m glad you clarified that. The medieval period was definitely earlier than a century ago. Your link makes no specific reference to Greenland being green though. Could you offer a better source?

    What your link does say is:
    [quote]The Vikings took advantage of ice-free seas to colonize Greenland and other outlying lands of the far north.[/quote]
    If you assume that the name Greenland means that it was green, I always understood the naming to be an issue of marketing. The name Greenland would invite other naive pioneers to check it out.
    [quote]The name Greenland comes from the early Scandinavian settlers. In the Icelandic sagas, it is said that Norwegian-born Erik the Red was exiled from Iceland for murder. He, along with his extended family and thralls, set out in ships to find a land rumoured to lie to the northwest. After settling there, he named the land Grœnland (“Greenland”), supposedly in the hope that the pleasant name would attract settlers.

    Greenland was also called Gruntland (“Ground-land”) and Engronelant (or Engroneland) on early maps. Whether green is an erroneous transcription of grunt (“ground”), which refers to shallow bays, or vice versa, is not known. The southern portion of Greenland (not covered by glaciers) is green in the summer.

    [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenland#Etymology[/url]
    [/quote]
    If you’re making a point, it isn’t clear to me what it is.

    [i]Note too the Little Ice Age about 400 years ago. To what man-made cause do scientists attribute this devistating change in climate?[/i]

    I’m not aware that scientists attribute the Little Ice Age to man-made causes. Again, you’d better clarify what point you’re trying to make.

    If your point is that Earth was been warmer in the Medieval Warming Period and what we’re experiencing now is no big deal, then you should know that the MWP was a regional phenomenon that was not observed globally; same with the LIA. Also, the current trajectory of warming is taking us beyond temperatures reached during the MWP.

  58. Frankly

    [i]”you should know that the MWP was a regional phenomenon that was not observed globally”[/i]

    Well then… who was there to observe this time of global warming during WMP? Was it the same scientists that discount the regioinal difference in warming and cooling today?

  59. wdf1

    wdf1: [i]”you should know that the MWP was a regional phenomenon that was not observed globally”[/i]

    JB: [i]Well then… who was there to observe this time of global warming during WMP? Was it the same scientists that discount the regioinal difference in warming and cooling today?[/i]

    Jeff, I don’t know if you’re making a rhetorical question or not, or why you’re asking this. You presented the Wikipedia reference to the Medieval Warm Period. What I told you above can be found in that article along with reference citations. It summarizes some of the key research for you. You can find those answers.

    [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medieval_Warm_Period[/url]

  60. Musser

    medwoman: It is usually far easier to identify others hypocrisy than one’s own. What is it that leads you to believe that “left wingers” believe in taxes only for others? It seems that perhaps you do not know many of us who would be affected by the increased tax rates on “the rich”, and believe that it is incumbent upon those of us who have benefited greatly from our system to support it for those who follow.

    lol, and how do you support it for those who follow? to apply for a fee waiver from water and sewer increases. the town of davis is trying to get out from paying the bill.

    medwoman: “As for your interpretation of the IPCC statement, you seem to have ignored the last sentence of your own quote “nevertheless the most recent assessment of the science that human activities have led to a discernible influence on global climate and that these activities will have an increasing influence on future climate.”.

    no, I did not ignore it at all. I wondered if you would hang onto those last few words. and if you read that sentence carefully you would realise that the term “discernable influence” is a vague statement that could mean any number of things.

    medwoman: While it is true that there are always uncertainties in the constantly changing body of knowledge that we call “science” that does not mean that there are no times when action should be taken based on uncertain knowledge.

    at least you admit knowledge is uncertain. hence the theory of global warming is uncertain. thank you ma’am.

    medwoman: A well known example from medicine is that of Edward Jenner who is best known for advocating the practice of what is now known as vaccination based on the best evidence he had at the time which amounted to nothing more than astute observation and a theory which has ultimately led to the virtual elimination of smallpox and the science of immunology. As a side note, he was widely vilified by large segments of the press, medical establishment and society of his day.

    yes, and another well known example of acting on “uncertain knowledge” is the theory of eugenics, which claimed there was a “crisis” in the gene pool which led to “inferior” human beings breeding faster than “superior” ones. THe eugenics movement moved to nazi germany and led to the gassing of jews. but that was a good thing though because Germany was acting on “uncertain knowledge” that the Gene pool was being corrupted and took swift action.

  61. Frankly

    wdf1: [i]”I don’t know if you’re making a rhetorical question or not”[/i]

    I was. From Wikipedia:
    [quote]Interpretation of ice core and clam shell data suggests that between 800 and 1300 AD the regions around the fjords of southern Greenland experienced a relatively mild climate several degrees Celsius higher than usual in the North Atlantic, with trees and herbaceous plants growing and livestock being farmed. Barley was grown as a crop up to the 70th degree.[13] What is verifiable is that the ice cores indicate Greenland has experienced dramatic temperature shifts many times over the past 100,000 years[/quote]

    So, your point is that Greenland, like other places on the globe, seems to get hotter and colder for some reason that scientists cannot sufficiently explain.

    So many things that cannot be explained, yet we “know” man is causing widespread global warming and it “will” imperil us.

  62. Don Shor

    Temperature changes around the globe are unevenly distributed. Even in the shorter time frame, decadal oscillations have been identified and are yet another area of research in climate science (arctic oscillation is a big factor in this year’s weather in many parts of the northern hemisphere, for example). Shorter still are the oscillations such as ENSO, our infamous El Niño/La Niña cycle. Here’s a sobering thought: a strong ENSO combined with a warm-phase PDO should kick in about 20 years from now, and would likely lead to an even warmer spike in global temperatures than we saw in 1998.

    The MWP wasn’t 500 years. Greenland isn’t the globe. There were warm periods of differing durations in differing parts of the world. At the rate global temperatures are increasing, we will exceed any of those within a shorter duration than has ever been observed in proxy data. The regional anomalies are very interesting and help to confirm that the effects of global warming would be unevenly distributed.

    Do we really need to debate this? If you don’t even believe global temperatures are increasing, then you won’t support any action to reduce carbon emissions. There are several independent data sources that would show you that global temperatures are increasing, if you cared to look at them.
    The trend since the mid-1800’s is inexorably upward, with a brief drop 1940 – 1970 and a slower [i]rate of increase[/i] since about 2000. During that time humans have significantly increased the amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
    Based on proxy data, researchers can estimate how much the global temperature would be increasing in the absence of those gases (due to the fact that we are coming out of an ice age) and assign the remainder of the increase to human sources. What you are calling uncertainties mostly have to do with analysis about the extent, not the existence, of that human-caused change.

    Models are useful for identifying the forcings and assessing how they might interact to change global temperatures going forward. They are not predictive. They are run multiple times and give a range of outcomes. Then probabilities are assigned to those outcomes. You are right that water vapor and cloud formation is one of the variables about which there is more uncertainty than others. Clouds might save us. Hell, peak oil might save us. But both of those possible impacts on the future of global temperatures has its own set of effects which policy-makers must plan for.

    The uneven distribution of global climate change is a very important component of planning. The local effects (glacial melting, flooding, changes in drought and rainfall patterns) need to be understood better. Whether you favor mitigation or adaptation, whether you think the temperature change is natural or human-caused, it is important to recognize and plan for those changes. A huge portion of Bangladesh will experience more frequent and more severe flooding. Parts of the western United States that are dry will be drier a lot of the time. The models are useful tools for helping governments, the military, corporations, water districts, the UN, and NGO’s plan for catastrophes.

    Sadly, public opinion surveys show that Republicans have gone from a majority acceptance of the principle of climate change, to a majority who believe it isn’t happening. In fact, a majority believes it is “a hoax.” This has happened in a matter of less than 4 years. Tea Party adherents hold those beliefs by an even stronger margin, and they appear to be the driving force in the Republican party these days.

    Cap and trade is dead. Carbon taxes won’t ever happen in the U.S.; we can watch Australia right now to see how well those policies go over with the public, and my guess is their PM’s experiment with that policy will demonstrate that it is political suicide. Copenhagen was a complete waste of time, and would yield no results. Technology and adaptation will be the only avenues that governments are likely to pursue. Ultimately, Yolo County would do better to build a reservoir or two than to tinker around with alfalfa fertilizing practices.

  63. Don Shor

    I was trying to remember where I had run across Alan Caruba before. At Tea Party Nation, where he is one of the guest bloggers. A sampling:
    Obama is a communist [url]http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com/2011/03/obama-as-red-as-it-gets.html[/url] who should be impeached; Caruba is, of course, a birther. [url]http://www.theabsurdreport.com/2010/ridding-ourselves-of-obama-by-alan-caruba/[/url]
    Global warming is “a complete fabrication” [url]http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com/2011/03/global-warming-rip.html[/url]

  64. medwoman

    With apologies to Don Shor who is making a thoughtful attempt to bring us back on topic, I can’t let a ” look what the Nazis did” argument go unchallenged. There is a distinction to be made between scientific theory based on observation of natural phenomena and theories derived from observation of social phenomena. While of course one’s own biases play a role in the development of any theoretical construct , they tend to be harder to see past when dealing with sociopolitical issues such as the ” superiority or inferiority”of an entire group of people.
    There is a further distinction to be made between the theory itself and the uses to which it can be put to further a political agenda.
    I think it is a reach to compare the hatred behind the Nazi use of eugenics to the desire to reduce as much as possible the human contribution to a perceived threat to our environment.

  65. wdf1

    On uncertainty:

    There will always uncertainty about the weather forecast, whether sensible diet and exercise will improve your life, whether you will live or die today, whether a major earthquake will hit California within the next 20 years, whether your education will make a positive difference in your life, whether that operation will solve a person’s cancer or heart condition, whether smoking will shorten your life, and whether the current warming trend is caused by human activity or not. It is the nature of science to entertain that there is uncertainty.

    If you want to play safe odds based on scientific research, you will make certain informed choices. If you believe scientists are pushing a political agenda over on you, then maybe you should just ignore those odds and do whatever feels good.

  66. Frankly

    medwoman: Very well said. However, Hitler was supported by “scientific theory” during his time. I think by this comparison you have stumbled on the primary problem: when scientists and political forces join together to engineer society.

    Now, if it was just politicians exploiting the work of scientists, I would direct all my ire at the politicians. However, in this case there are many climate scientists spouting their ideas for solutions matching the liberal progressive mindset of some bizarre and impossible post-industrial existence. In my opinion, this takes them out of the scientific realm and makes them political. More importantly it serves to question their objectivity and hence their credibility as a scientist.

    My problem with this may be similar to how you might view the Catholic Church standing with politicians attempting to engineer society. It is made more troubling by the fact that politically left-leaning people are more apt to turn to science rather than organized religion. Science has become the new religion of the liberal-progressive left and this collusion with politics is as problematic as would be that of church and state.

  67. wdf1

    Jeff B: [i]However, in this case there are many climate scientists spouting their ideas for solutions matching the liberal progressive mindset of some bizarre and impossible post-industrial existence. In my opinion, this takes them out of the scientific realm and makes them political. More importantly it serves to question their objectivity and hence their credibility as a scientist. [/i]

    So scientists have no business weighing in on political discussions, but everyone else does?

    If you know that something is a potential danger to others, don’t you have a responsibility to say something about it?

    If you, as a medical researcher, were to find a cure for HIV/AIDS, wouldn’t you have some moral obligation to share that information and make it available to the public?

    Jeff, I asked you earlier, what is the selfish motivation for so many scientists to agree on this? I don’t find that you answered that.

    If there were compelling and overwhelming evidence to disprove anthropogenic global warming, the oil industry would be pumping research money to any researcher to develop those ideas and promote them. Economically, though the deck is stacked against agreeing with this conclusion.

  68. Frankly

    wdf1: I worked for a life insurance company that fired one their top actuarials that could not stop voicing his opinion about product design and pricing. His job was to do the research, to chunk the numbers and deliver reports on the data. He exceeded his role-capacity, and given his intement knowledge on the risk data, he had a corrosive influence on the business decisions for how to design and price products relative to that risk. He in fact did not have enough of a big picture to be given the level of decision authority his education and ego led him to believe he deserved.

    I really do not doubt the science that shows warming trends. What I doubt is that there is sufficient evidence to prove much of it is human-caused, and I also reject that there is sufficent evidence to justify massive global economic and social change advocated by Al Gore and his merry band of narrow-focused, grant-hungry, left-leaning climate scientists.

    Selfish motivations are generally ego-driven. If you are a medical researver and you find a cure, then by all means share the information. However, if you are a medical researcher and you decide to join a political causes to make all fast food illegal, then you have exceeded your capacity as a medical scientist and joined the political-social-engineering mode and earn the same target provided politicians.

  69. Alphonso

    “Selfish motivations are generally ego-driven.”

    To me, it sounds like you are describing yourself – your thought is so clouded by politics, reality will just pass you by. I am not sure what to think about global warming personally, but it is important to pay attention and keep an open mind. After all, masses of ice are melting and glaciers are getting smaller – something is happening and we should be concerned.

    Based on what you have said I assume if Fox News said the world was flat you would completely agree

  70. Frankly

    Alphoso – I suggest you read a bit more before you comment on this subject.
    [quote]Total Antarctic sea ice anomalies have been steadily increasing since 1978 (NSIDC (2006)). 2007 showed the largest positive anomaly of sea ice in the southern hemisphere since records have been kept starting in 1979 and 2008 is currently on pace to surpass last years record.[/quote]

    Also, your comment about Fox indicates that you are politically biased about your news sources. I have never denied my conservative views, how about you?

  71. Don Shor

    To all: please avoid attacking other blog participants.

    Jeff: Antarctic sea ice is an interesting issue worthy of considerably more research. Hopefully funding will be there for more work on that. It doesn’t particularly prove or disprove anything, except that the effects of global temperature change are unevenly distributed. And that the amount of data from Antarctica is thin.

    [i]However, in this case there are many climate scientists spouting their ideas for solutions….. In my opinin, this takes them out of the scientific realm and makes them political.[/i]
    I agree, and this is one of my pet peeves about [i]certain[/i] climate scientists. At least in the past, James Hansen has been particularly bad in this regard. As head of NASA’s Goddard Institute (GISS), he needs to make it very clear when he is speaking in his official capacity and when he is just voicing opinion as a private citizen. It is important to separate the science from the policy issues. If he wants to be a climate activist, he should retire from NASA. However, his work stands on its own. It is published and reviewed. When McIntyre found an error in the GISS data, they ultimately corrected it and even credited him for it.

    Likewise the head of IPCC has serious conflicts of interest and should be replaced.

  72. Alphonso

    “Also, your comment about Fox indicates that you are politically biased about your news sources. “

    Yes a suppose that is true – I watch Fox about 60%-70% of the time (culmulative news and commentary programming).

  73. E Roberts Musser

    To all: Very interesting discussion. From my perspective, I see science as a body of knowledge that is ever changing, constantly self-correcting. Much as the law is. When I went to law school, I can remember a professor telling us we should get comfortable w the idea that the law is not a fixed mark but an ever changing thing. The professor warned us that a lot of students were going to be uncomfortable w this idea. I see much the same thing here. Many are uncomfortable with the thought that science is not fixed, but an ever changing thing, constantly self-correcting. If someone could come up w a different math model so that division by zero would not be undefined, I would say hooray!

    What I also have to wonder about is why people are such slavish adherants to the theory of global warming. There is no way to prove or disprove, with any reliable data, that any temperature anomolies that we may or may not be experiencing now, are the result of man-made pollution or is just normal cyclical climate fluctuation. The earth has been around for billions of years, and the temperature data collected is from a few hundred years. But it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that water or air pollution is a bad thing and needs to be addressed. So why am I not “permitted” to believe that we just don’t know?

    Because the global warming issue has become so politicized. Democrats have staked it out as THEIR CAUSE AND ONLY THEIR CAUSE; and Republicans have staked out their position THEN WE ARE AGAINST IT IF THE DEMOCRATS ARE FOR IT. Both positions are self-centered, disingenuous, self-serving, and destructive. Both should be able to agree that dirty water and dirty air are not in the best interests of human beings.

    The next question becomes what should we do about the problem of pollution? Well, the Clean Water Act of 1972 is an example of what has been done legislatively. And we see at what cost. So ultimately what addressing the pollution problem is all about is weighing costs vs benefits. What will it cost us to address the problem of air and water pollution at a certain level, and to what extent will it ameliorate the problem? Should we sign on to the Kyoto Treaty and force our businesses to cut down significantly on their pollution, while India and China pollute to their hearts content, while our businesses are set at a distinct economic disadvantage which could destroy them? How do we get worldwide cooperation on the pollution problem? How much money should this country expend on solar panels, development of alternative fuels including nuclear energy, instituting a plastic bag ban? Many costs, many alternatives, many benefits, no easy answers…

  74. Frankly

    Nice balanced post Elaine. Have you thought about running for office?

    Interesting WSJ article that is an example of where I would like to see more scientists spending their time and energy instead of joining causes to push more of the global population back to third-world status so the “planet will be saved!”
    [quote]Might the Fukushima accident eventually create a chance for the nuclear industry to “reboot”? In recent years some have begun to argue that solid-fuel uranium reactors like the ones in Japan are an outdated technology that deserves to peter out and be replaced by an entirely different kind of nuclear energy that will be both safer and cheaper.
    Thorium could make 90 times as much energy as the same quantity of uranium—and it produces no bomb-making material.
    The problem, as is often the case in capital-intensive industries, is inertia. Nearly all the expertise, research and sunk costs are in the old technology. Fukushima just might start to change that.
    In the short run, the beneficiary of nuclear’s now inevitable crisis is going to be fossil fuels. Renewable energy remains too expensive, too land-hungry, too unreliable and too small-scale to take up much slack, so cheap coal and newly abundant natural gas will do the job.
    This is ironic, because however high the death toll at Fukushima climbs, it is unlikely to match the casualties in the fossil-fuel industry. In the last year alone, 29 people died in a New Zealand coal mine, 11 on a Gulf oil rig and 27 in a Mexican pipeline explosion. A human-rights activist has estimated that as many as 20,000 people die in Chinese coal mines every year.
    But with America now awash in shale gas and the world about to follow suit, the price of electricity is bound to stay fairly low. Since gas-fired generation is about the most scalable, efficient, flexible, clean and (on a large scale) lowish-carbon form of electricity available, it is going to prove economically and politically attractive.
    Against this formidable competitor, uranium will struggle for many years to come—especially with the extra cost and political handicap that Fukushima is bound to add. So nuclear needs to reinvent itself. Because nuclear reactors were developed by governments in a wartime hurry, the best technological routes were not always taken. The pressurized-water design was a quick-and-dirty solution that we have been stuck with ever since. Rival ideas withered, among them the thorium liquid-fuel reactor, powered by molten fluoride salt containing thorium.
    Thorium has lots of advantages as a nuclear fuel. There is four times as much of it as uranium; it is more easily handled and processed; it “breeds” its own fuel by creating uranium 233 continuously and can produce about 90 times as much energy from the same quantity of fuel; its reactions produce no plutonium or other bomb-making raw material; and it generates much less waste, with a much shorter half life until it becomes safe, so the waste can be stored for centuries rather than millennia.
    A thorium reactor needs neutrons, and both ways of supplying these subatomic particles are relatively safe. They can be introduced with a particle accelerator, which can be turned off if danger threatens. Or they can be introduced with uranium 235, which in this process has a much lower risk of an uncontrolled reaction than it does in today’s nuclear plants. The fuel cannot melt down in a thorium reactor because it is already molten, and reactions slow down as it cools. A further advantage of this design is that the gas xenon is able to bubble out of the liquid fuel rather than—as in normal reactors—staying in the fuel rods and slowly poisoning the reaction.
    Nobody knows if thorium reactors can compete on price with coal and gas. India has been working on thorium for some years, but the technology is as different from today’s nuclear power as gas is from coal, and very few nuclear engineers even hear about liquid fuel during their training, let alone get to work on it.
    New technologies always struggle to compete with well-entrenched rivals whose costs are already sunk. The first railways couldn’t rival canals on cost or reliability, let alone lobbying power.
    Now is the time to start to find out about thorium’s potential.
    [/quote]

  75. Musser

    Don Shor: Do we really need to debate this?

    Hell yes, we need to debate it! if you claim certain knowledge of somethig that is not certain, and then ask people to roll over and agree to drastically change their lifestyles based on that uncertainty, then yes we need to force your side to prove their case.

    after all of this discussion: a few points stand out:

    1. nobody on this blog, myself included knows exactly what temperatures are going to be 5 years from now, 10 years from now, or twenty years from now.

    2. nobody knows what percentage of that increase or decrease is caused by mother nature.

    3. nobody knows what percentage is manmade.

    4. unless scientists want to come up front now and put numbers to their claims, they don’t know either.

    5. the IPCC, if you look over its documents carefully does not really support the theory of global warming at all, and if anything contradicts it.

    Medwoman: I agree with Jeff’s point that the problem with global warming, like eugenics is a heavily politicized science, where like eugenics people and companies are being punished to engineer society for political purposes, and claiming it is about protecting the environment. in this case its the democrat party, in particular, al gore. and I find that quite troubling.

  76. Don Shor

    [i]1. nobody on this blog, myself included knows exactly what temperatures are going to be 5 years from now, 10 years from now, or twenty years from now. [/i]

    If you were gambling, you would do well to bet — even large sums of money — that average global temperatures as measured at various independent sites will be higher in each of those time intervals. The range as to how much higher is given in the IPCC reports.

    [i]2. nobody knows what percentage of that increase or decrease is caused by mother nature.

    3. nobody knows what percentage is manmade.

    4. unless scientists want to come up front now and put numbers to their claims, they don’t know either. [/i]

    Oh, they have. In many places. Here’s a good summary from a decade or so ago that I think covers the topic well. [url]http://www.sciencemag.org/content/278/5342/1416.full[/url] Let me know how many more you would like.

    [i]5. the IPCC, if you look over its documents carefully does not really support the theory of global warming at all, and if anything contradicts it. [/i]

    The IPCC documents [i]fully support the theory of global warming[/i]. Call any geophysicist at UC Davis and read your statement, and see what the response is. What you are reading as ambiguity is the standard jargon of scientists being careful not to say things unequivocally.

  77. medwoman

    Another thing that is clear. Even if we do not know what percentage of climate change is attributable to human activities, we know 100% that the only portion of that equation that we can affect is human activity. Which brings me to the well written post of Elaine. Where we can all agree is that pollution is bad for us. Just this simple concept should be enough to cause us to drop the petty squabbling and seek solutions both small and large to lessen its impact.

  78. Frankly

    Pollution is bad for us, but economic activity is essential. Also, as it relates to some environmental causes, the cure is sometimes worse.

    Take for example the changes to logging regulations that led to larger and hotter fires because of forest overgrowth. Scientists now agree that more frequent natural fires used to keep the forests thinned and therefore prevented the mega fires we see today. We fight the smaller natural fires and prevent logging, and now when it is really dry and we have lightning storms, millions of acres go up in flames and the entire forest is devastated.

    Look at the problems we face disposing of florescent bulbs to protect us from the evil incandescent bulb. How much more mercury is being dumped from people not willing to pay $2-5 per bulb disposal fees.

    We need thoughtful, short-term and long-term, cost-benefit analysis. We need balance. Unfortunately the activists that work on this stuff are single minded, and they know once their cause gets ingrained in our media pop culture, rational arguments against them will fail. That is why the debate on global warming has been politicized… the scientist have turned activist and have taken their cause to the media. It is a propaganda war to prevent them from destroying more economic activity than necessary.

  79. wdf1

    ERM: [i]What I also have to wonder about is why people are such slavish adherants to the theory of global warming.[/i]

    Because average global temperatures are, in fact warming above anything ever recorded. This is data that is already measured. It is as certain as saying that we have had an unusually wet rainy season this year (a fact).

    2010 is tied for the warmest year on record, and 34th consecutive year in which temperatures were above the 20th century average:

    [url]http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2011/20110112_globalstats.html[/url]

    If you follow this data on a regular basis, then your statement above is like saying, “I have to wonder about is why people are such slavish adherants to the theory of a sun-centered solar system.”

    ERM: [i]There is no way to prove or disprove, with any reliable data, that any temperature anomolies that we may or may not be experiencing now, are the result of man-made pollution or is just normal cyclical climate fluctuation.[/i]

    There is a correlation between warming and a rise in greenhouse gases. The only plausible explanation for the rise in greenhouse gases in the past 150 years is human activity. Temperatures are rising above any known cyclic fluctuations and influences. If you want to argue effectively against human-influenced global warming, then present a convincing alternative. So far that hasn’t happened, and as we get year-by-year data, it only strengthens the case of global warming and human contribution to it.

    We can do absolutely nothing and wait and see what happens, but we run a risk of taking on greater costs in economic losses.

  80. Frankly

    [i]”The only plausible explanation for the rise in greenhouse gases in the past 150 years is human activity”[/i]

    Well, no, that is not the case. There are other plausible explanations. The one I like is “we don’t know”. I share dislike for any factory belching toxins into the air and water. We already have strong regulations to prevent it. Unless you want to classify the breath that humans exhale as a toxic gas, Carbon dioxide should not be allowed to be classified the same. It amounts to a very small percentage of the total greenhouse gas, and human-contributions are a small fraction of that.

  81. E Roberts Musser

    Don Shor: “What you are reading as ambiguity is the standard jargon of scientists being careful not to say things unequivocally.”

    Now why do you think that is? Maybe bc scientists know better than anyone else that nothing in life is certain?

  82. wdf1

    wdf1: [i]”The only plausible explanation for the rise in greenhouse gases in the past 150 years is human activity”[/i]

    Jeff Boone: [i]Well, no, that is not the case. There are other plausible explanations. The one I like is “we don’t know”.[/i]

    That’s lazy and shows ignorance of observations and research. If you went to the doctor feeling very ill, and the only thing the doctor responded with was, “I don’t know”, you might start to question his competence.

    CO2 is the most abundant greenhouse gas accumulating in the atmosphere that is produced by burning fossil fuel. Yes, there are other sources of CO2, but they don’t contribute enough, and there are also other greenhouse gases produced by burning fossil fuels that are building up in equivalent proportions in the atmosphere (but in smaller concentrations) that have no other plausible source.

    Your best bet to support your assertion that human burning of fossil fuel hasn’t increased greenhouse gases in the past 150 years is to present a stronger plausible source. If you can, then I am certain that there is research funding available that would pay your salary. The priorities of our society and economy rest on that question.

  83. wdf1

    ERM: [i]Now why do you think that is? Maybe bc scientists know better than anyone else that nothing in life is certain? [/i]

    If a car were driving toward a ditch, a scientist acting professionally would acknowledge that there’s always a chance that the car doesn’t end up in the ditch. But it is clear the direction of momentum. Maybe for good measure, the scientist might address what would keep the car from going into the ditch, but the conclusion, based on observation, would still be that the car is headed toward a ditch.

    In your world, it seems you’d like to wait to see what happens before deciding what to do. Of course by then, it’s a little more expensive.

  84. Frankly

    [i]”That’s lazy and shows ignorance of observations and research”[/i]

    I may be ignorant of all the facts, but certainly not lazy. Just count the words I posted on this subject.

    My dad, a died in the wool conservative, argues with me on the subject of global warming. Of course, he also believes that pets deserve more protection than humans, so I’m thinking he is coming at this argument from a different perspective. I also know plenty of moderate-leaning scientists and engineers that doubt the current scientific conclusion on man-made climate change.

    Let me ask you these questions…

    What is the worst that will happen if I am wrong and you are right, and we take all the extreme measures demanded by global warming activists?

    What is the worst that will happen if you are wrong and I am right, and we continue our current trends allowing market forces to develop technology that improves energy consumption and produces less carbon gas?

    How silly will all this global warming hand wringing seem when the Mid-East is frying under several nuclear clouds?

  85. wdf1

    [i]That is why the debate on global warming has been politicized… the scientist have turned activist and have taken their cause to the media. It is a propaganda war to prevent them from destroying more economic activity than necessary.[/i]

    “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”

    You will find extremely little disagreement among climate scientists over the following:
    1) Average global temperatures have been rising
    2) CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere have been rising due to industrialized activity (burning fossil fuels)
    3) At least some of the warming that we have seen can only be attributable to rise of greenhouse gases.

    Now here’s where you can find reasonable disagreement for scientific debate:
    1) How much warming is attributable to human activity v. how much is attributable to something else
    2) How fast is this change happening? Models differ — some show rapid change, others slow change, yet others in between. Because these models disagree doesn’t mean that the direction of change isn’t toward warming temperatures.
    3) Can we do anything to change this? Right now there are climate scientists, particularly who view rapid change and a stronger human component to the warming, who think we’re beyond being able to do anything about it. Others who estimate that it is still within parameters to change things.

  86. wdf1

    wdf1: [i]”The only plausible explanation for the rise in greenhouse gases in the past 150 years is human activity”[/i]

    Jeff Boone: [i]Well, no, that is not the case. There are other plausible explanations. The one I like is “we don’t know”.[/i]

    wdf1: [i]That’s lazy and shows ignorance of observations and research.[/i]

    Jeff Boone: [i]I may be ignorant of all the facts, but certainly not lazy. Just count the words I posted on this subject.[/i]

    First, an apology. I should have clarified what I meant. If a climate scientist who has pored over decades worth of global research can only come up with “I don’t know” as an answer to why atmospheric CO2 concentrations have gone up in the past 150 years, then I would say that person can’t or isn’t thinking critically. I didn’t have in mind you personally; just whomever suggested “we don’t know” as the best possible answer.

    [i]What is the worst that will happen if I am wrong and you are right, and we take all the extreme measures demanded by global warming activists?[/i]

    Don’t mistaken all climate scientists who draw these conclusions (that human industrialization has led to global warming) to be insufferable activists with extreme ideas. Some politicians and pundits have taken to conflating the two groups and therefore positing that climate scientists have an agenda.

    I’m not a climate scientist, though I read about it fairly regularly.

    [i]What is the worst that will happen if you are wrong and I am right, and we continue our current trends allowing market forces to develop technology that improves energy consumption and produces less carbon gas?[/i]

    I suspect that we’ve already lost most chances to make a significant change in the U.S. Many measures could have already been taken to move in the direction of lower GHG emissions that would have also strengthened our economy by now. The U.S. auto industry looked a little silly relying on lower milage products when the recession hit. Those Prius’ look a little more attractive now that we’ve hit $4/gallon, but the U.S. auto industry is behind on having competing products.

    It seems that the U.S. has also ceded much of the market for wind and solar to other countries.

    Promoting these technologies earlier (like at the start of the GW Bush administration) and more aggressively in the U.S. would have been a good idea in hindsight. But Bush and Cheney had oil interests, and it seems they didn’t particularly want to do anything to give credibility to Al Gore, especially after a close 2000 election.

  87. Frankly

    wdf1: thanks for the clarifications.

    On your last point, the problem we have today is that there are not enough comparable energy sources. The world runs on oil, and despite the political rhetoric about Bush and Cheney, their differences with Algore was based as much on fundamental policy disagreements as they were politics. Besides, Algore made his wind and millions while flying on his private jet and living in his 28-romm Tennessee mansion… while Bush’s ranch had been converted green many years prior. Algore was/is the hypocrite.

    Wind and solar have proven problematic with cost and the amount of land they require. Clean burning coal and natural gas appear to be the next better alternative. However, those praying to the green deity have their vision of a world running on only pure sustainable sources… and don’t want these options on the table. We are decades if not more away from the technology that would be needed to even make a dent in the use of fossil fuels. Environmentalists and their ilk seem to think that we can punish business while we throw tax money at research and control the outcomes to their short list of acceptable solutions. I think this is a bad dream, and what will work much better is to allow the pursuit of profit to lead the way for technology innovations.

    I applaud my neighbor for driving a Prius (no matter that the batteries are a hazardous waste issue and the car will never pay-back the cost given that she drives it 80 mph on the freeway); however, I cannot fit my 6’ 3” 200 lb. frame in one very easy, and I cannot tow my boat and my trailer full of off-road recreational vehicles with a one. I need my good ol’ American-made F150. If I could buy a comparable battery powered truck, boat and RVs for a reasonably comparable price, I would do so in a heartbeat, because I dislike foreign oil with a passion and I like the idea of having a smaller carbon footprint. However, I want this to be my choice and not something forced on my by incomplete science, lying hypocrite politicians and narrow-focused environmental wackos.

  88. Musser

    Don: If you were gambling, you would do well to bet — even large sums of money — that average global temperatures as measured at various independent sites will be higher in each of those time intervals. The range as to how much higher is given in the IPCC reports.

    but true science is not about gambiling and bets don. it is about facts and evidence. and yes, I have read IPCC reports including the ones you cited and the language doesn’t appear to answer any of the questions I have posed about just what the human contribution to this global warming theory really is.

    Don: Oh, they have. In many places. Here’s a good summary from a decade or so ago that I think covers the topic well. http://www.sciencemag.org/cont/1416.full Let me know how many more you would like.

    well, then you have your work cut out for you because if you carefully read the text of the article you cited, it doesn’t really quantify how much human activity causes temperatures to rise. maybe you need to re-read the article.

    Don: The IPCC documents fully support the theory of global warming. Call any geophysicist at UC Davis and read your statement, and see what the response is.

    No, they do not and just because you say they do doesn’t make it so. The language that is repeated throughout the document tells me those people don’t really know much of anything about the human contribution. reread the last paragraph of what is “virtually certain” again.

  89. Don Shor

    Musser: [i]it doesn’t really quantify how much human activity causes temperatures to rise.[/i]

    “Very Probable Projections
    These projections have a greater than 9 out of 10 chance of being true within the predicted range:
    ▪ A doubling of atmospheric CO2 over preindustrial levels is projected to lead to an equilibrium global warming in the range of 1.5° to 4.5°C. For the answer to lie outside these bounds, we would have to discover a substantial surprise beyond our current understanding.”

    The only thing causing CO2 to double is human emissions.

    The notion that IPCC documents don’t support the concept of global warming is simply Orwellian.”… [i]those people don’t really know much of anything about the human contribution.”[/i] Can you please identify the other sources of increased CO2?

  90. E Roberts Musser

    wdf1: “Now here’s where you can find reasonable disagreement for scientific debate:
    1) How much warming is attributable to human activity v. how much is attributable to something else…”

    I rest my case…

  91. Musser

    “Very Probable Projections
    These projections have a greater than 9 out of 10 chance of being true within the predicted range:
    ▪ A doubling of atmospheric CO2 over preindustrial levels is projected to lead to an equilibrium global warming in the range of 1.5° to 4.5°C. For the answer to lie outside these bounds, we would have to discover a substantial surprise beyond our current understanding.”

    I have seen numbers like these before. numbers like these, are actually examples of precisely what I am talking about. for me to use these numbers in a context that is meaningful, I have to know several things:

    1. over what period of time is this “projected” increase supposed to occur? in the next century?
    2. where did the numbers come from?
    3. was there ever a time in the earths historical record temperatures were ever higher than this projected amount of this increase? (the earth is in the billions of years old) does anyone know? if so how do they know?
    4. factoring in mother natures contribution, and this CO2 doubling effect caused by man made activity, what is the temperature going to be when all of this takes place?

    Now, this sentence you have given me, if you critically analyze it, says they say this with a 90% probability (I’d be interested to know where that figure was derived at) but then say, there would have to be a suprise

    and this 9/10 claim appears to be contradicted by the last stmt: they don’t know what percentage man’s contribution is vs. mother natures contribution is to this problem, and it has to be explored further.

    and a word of caution: don’t assume I haven’t plowed through other sources and examined this stuff myself.

  92. wdf1

    ERM: [quote]wdf1: “Now here’s where you can find reasonable disagreement for scientific debate:
    1) How much warming is attributable to human activity v. how much is attributable to something else…”

    I rest my case… [/quote]

    I point out that you disputed that Earth was even warming, without regard to the anthropogenic component:

    ERM: [i]What I also have to wonder about is why people are such slavish adherants to the theory of global warming[/i]

    If we agree on already measured facts, now, then we’ve made some progress.

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