Impact of Hurricane Sandy

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SandyANALYSIS: Climate Scientists Disagree on Impact of Climate Change – A week before a seminal presidential election, a powerful storm has already crippled a huge section of the east coast, bringing the nation’s financial markets to a halt, shutting down federal offices in DC along with public transportation across the east coast, and threatening the unthinkable if the storm damage is bad enough – altering the course of the nation’s elections.

Just how powerful is this storm?  Well, the hurricane portion of it is *just* a category one storm, with sustained winds at 85 mph.  But forecasters are alarmed, first by the record low pressure and also by the convergence of a strong midlatitude storm along with a blast of arctic air which, along with the moisture from Hurricane Sandy, figures to bring blizzards and five feet of snow to inland areas.

As senior meteorologist Stu Ostro put it: “History is being written as an extreme weather event continues to unfold, one which will occupy a place in the annals of weather history as one of the most extraordinary to have affected the United States.”

“This is an extraordinary situation, and I am not prone to hyperbole.”

But perhaps the strongest impact is its potential to alter the election.  There is the obvious: candidates are being forced to tone things down just as they would be pushing into the home stretch.  Appearances have been canceled.  Messages have been altered.

There is the unthinkable – a tragedy so bad that the election would have to be delayed for weeks if good portions of the east coast are cut off from roadways and without power.

And there is the ironic.  A storm may force us to grapple with the one issue that appeared off limits during the campaign.  In four debates, no one asked about it – climate change and global warming.

After the second presidential debate, moderator Candy Crowley explained the lack of questions on the topic of climate change.  She explained, “Climate change — I had that question, all you climate change people. We just — you know, again, we knew that the economy was still the main thing, so you knew you kind of wanted to go with the economy.”

The question of climate change is tricky – after all, a storm is weather, not climate.  As  any climatologist will tell you: No single weather event, be it drought, snowfall or hurricane, is caused by climate change.

Instead, as Amanda Staudt, a climate scientist for the National Wildlife Federation, an environmental advocacy group, writes, climate change amplifies the intensity or duration of extreme weather.  She likens it to “putting hurricanes on steroids.”

“The answer to the oft-asked question of whether an event is caused by climate change is that it is the wrong question,” writes Kevin E. Trenberth, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder. “All weather events are affected by climate change because the environment in which they occur is warmer and moister than it used to be.”

The Los Angeles Times reports on a number of potential factors in this storm.  In the last 100 years or so the average temperature has increased from between 1.5 to 2 degrees.  It does not sound like a lot but it has vast impacts.  It means that the atmosphere can hold about 4% more moisture than it did since just 1970.

The LA Times, citing Jeff Masters, cofounder of the website Weather Underground and a former flight meteorologist “‘hurricane hunter” with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, writes, “A typical hurricane could dump 20% more rain than it does now.”

That’s one factor.  The LA Times adds that the U.S. Global Change Research Program, a federal initiative, reports that research shows “the destructive energy of Atlantic hurricanes has increased in recent decades. The intensity of these storms is likely to increase in this century.”

Then there is the problem that it is late October, almost November, and we have a hurricane moving up the East Coast.

The LA Times reports, “The fact that the Atlantic is spawning hurricanes in late autumn may have to do with rising sea surface temperatures, recent research indicates.”

Jeff Masters reports that water temperatures are five degrees higher this year in the mid-Atlantic than normal, and this is contributing to “an unusually large amount of water vapor available to make heavy rain.”

The late arrival of the storm creates the possibility that Hurricane Sandy will combine with a cold front from Canada to produce the hybrid super storm.

The political debate in this country on climate change has hinged on the uncertainty of the causes and the effects of the warming.  As the effects become more evident, the debate is likely to shift.

But others warn it’s too soon to say how much impact human-caused climate change is having on the confluence of three events.

Dot Earth’s Andrew Revkin writes in the New York Times: “It’s easy to say, as some climatologists have, that ‘climate change is present in every single meteorological event.’ . . . some climate scientists are telling me this event is precisely what you’d expect following a summer in which much of the Arctic Ocean was open water.”

He adds, “But there remains far too much natural variability in the frequency and potency of rare and powerful storms – on time scales from decades to centuries – to go beyond pointing to this event being consistent with what’s projected on a human-heated planet.”

So there is indeed plenty of grist for both sides to chew on for a while.  Unfortunately, the public policy debate was short-circuited by the mainstream media, who for some reason did not want to see this policy discussion.

In the end, I fear time is running out and the debate will be forced to move from mitigate the climate impact to living with climate change.

Then again, perhaps it is a good thing that our kids will associate Halloween with 80 degree weather – if only there weren’t such a huge cost to that change.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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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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76 thoughts on “Impact of Hurricane Sandy”

  1. Frankly

    This is a local story of a left-leaning blog working hard to capture another crisis platform for its owner’s ideology and Party of choice.

    Think of the prize here. If only the Democrats could concoct a scheme where every hot, cold, wet and dry weather event can be pinned on their ideological foe. That would be big!

    I am 53 and growing up I have lived in many parts of the US. In that 53 years I have directly experienced and lived through hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, floods, fires, earthquakes… you name it.

    The only differences between then and now are the politics.

  2. medwoman

    JB

    “The only differences between then and now are the politics.”

    Are you really going to stand by this comment ? Whether or not one believes that global warming is significant, or whether or not one believes that human activity plays a role in this, the numbers remain the same. An increased average temperature is a difference over and above politics. Unless of course you are going to maintain that all of those doing the measuring around the gobe are in league with the Democrats.

  3. David M. Greenwald

    Unfortunately I am convinced that for people like Jeff, it will take total and irrevocable global climate destruction to believe in global warming.

  4. Frankly

    medwoman: I am talking about weather events, not global warming. There are no provable data correlation with weather events and global warming. Scientists cannot predict the weather. They can only be armchair quarterbacks making up theories that attempt to explain the source of changing weather as it happens or after it happens.

    Remember the year of hurricanes and then the later year of tornadoes? Don’t you remember the pseudo-science reporting that this was just a sign of things to come from extreme weather caused by global warming? Then the next several years we had no hurricanes and lower than average tornadoes. Why is that medwoman? Could it be that Al Gore was finally making an impact reducing everyone’s carbon footprint as he flies his carbon-spewing private jet around to lecture all of us little people?

    You see, global warming is not enough for the left. They need strong crisis events to bolster the fear factor they could politically-leverage to demonize economic activity and the business pursuit of profit. How cool would that be for all the people impacted by weather events to blame the things that the left and media have branded the politically right people with? That would be big indeed!

  5. David M. Greenwald

    “There are no provable data correlation with weather events and global warming. “

    Did you read the discussion of scientists I posted. None of that proves that there is a connection but they are all suggestive.

  6. David M. Greenwald


    You see, global warming is not enough for the left. They need strong crisis events to bolster the fear factor they could politically-leverage to demonize economic activity and the business pursuit of profit.”

    I view global warming as a means to move forward with a post-industrial green revolution that should be an economic and technological boom AND it’s something we need to do anyway.

  7. Don Shor

    [i]I fear time is running out and the debate will be forced to move from mitigate the climate impact to living with climate change.
    [/i]
    The debate should have moved from mitigation to adaptation a long time ago.
    Meanwhile, actions such as increasing the fuel economy standards and increasing basic research and funding of alternative fuels are reasonable steps any administration can take. This one has, in fact, done some of that.

  8. Frankly

    [i]I view global warming as a means to move forward with a post-industrial green revolution that should be an economic and technological boom AND it’s something we need to do anyway[/i]

    That is a problem David, because it is used by one group of people to try and force an expedited social and economic transformation that would be damaging to many people. The government should support green energy R&D (e.g., grants to colleges for research), but it should not be picking winners and losers in buiness and meddling in the economy. As discoveries and inventions develop, business will adopt them as they make economic sense. In the meantime, I am fine with government incentives to move business to invest in green technology.

  9. Davis Progressive

    i’ll jump in here.

    “because it is used by one group of people to try and force an expedited social and economic transformation that would be damaging to many people. “

    i don’t see anything expedited about it.

    “The government should support green energy R&D (e.g., grants to colleges for research), but it should not be picking winners and losers in buiness and meddling in the economy”

    the government promotes r&d all of the time. it picks winners and losers all of the time.

    “As discoveries and inventions develop, business will adopt them as they make economic sense. In the meantime, I am fine with government incentives to move business to invest in green technology. “

    it sounds like you are in agreement here except for your strange choice of phraseology.

  10. Rifkin

    David: [i]”A week before a [b]seminal[/b] presidential election, a powerful storm …”[/i]

    Sorry to start off with trivia, but what makes this presidential election more seminal than any other presidential election? In other words, since the outcome of every single vote for the presidency will influence later events, why would you include the word seminal in that phrase?

    [i]”But perhaps the strongest impact is its potential to alter the election.”[/i]

    I heard a commentator (or maybe it was a reporter, I am not sure) on NPR state that Hurricane Sandy may have its largest impact on the ballots in Virginia. In that state, both the presidential and senatorial votes look tied in the latest polls. However, Sandy is apt to cause havoc along the coast, the Richmond area and the Washington, D.C. suburbs. It will bypass most of southern and western Virginia.

    As it happens, southern and western Virginia are heavily conservative and Republican, while the D.C. suburbs and the Richmond area are far more liberal and Democratic. If the storm’s devastation is still being felt a week from tomorrow, that might depress the Democratic vote enough to give the electoral college votes and the senate race to the GOP.

  11. Rifkin

    U.S. Global Change: [i]”The destructive energy of Atlantic hurricanes has increased in recent decades. The intensity of these storms is likely to increase in this century.”[/i]

    One area this can be seen clearly is with what is called storm surge ([url]http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/surge/[/url]).

    [img]http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/surge/images/stormsurgevsstormtide_sm.jpg[/img]

    In the last 120 years of measuring how much the ocean has risen above the normal astronomical tide during a storm event, almost all of the great storm surges have come in the last 10-15 years. That is a result of climate change.

    From what I have read, the great damage from Hurricane Sandy is likely going to come from the storm surge, as the Atlantic Coast rises up. Here is today’s NY Times: [quote]The hurricane center said the surges could reach 11 feet in New York Harbor, Long Island Sound and Raritan Bay in New Jersey — significantly higher than previous forecasts and significantly above the levels recorded during the tropical storm last year.

    Forecasters said the water could top eight feet from Ocean City, Md., to the border between Connecticut and Rhode Island. They predicted the waves would rise to six feet on the south shore of Cape Cod.

    A higher surge was one reason that Mayor Bloomberg ordered mandatory evacuations in low-lying areas of New York City, just as he did before Tropical Storm Irene. One city official said there was particular concern about Con Edison’s Lower Manhattan infrastructure, noting that if the storm surge washed over the bulkheads, it could damage the utility’s electrical and steam networks. If the surge runs as high as forecast, Con Ed will shut off two electrical networks in Lower Manhattan. [/quote] As scientists say, a particular storm is a weather event; it is not in and of itself climate change. But rising ocean levels due to climate change* is going to seriously impact all of our coasts in the next 50 to 100 years. The damage from Hurricane Sandy’s storm surge is just a precursor to what will happen along the Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf coasts in slow motion in the coming decades.

  12. dlemongello

    “The debate should have moved from mitigation to adaptation a long time ago.”

    Why is that?

    Because that is reality. Even if we could fix it, and we don’t know if we could or not, we wouldn’t; that’s how people are as a group.

  13. Rifkin

    *Rising ocean levels: Something I have learned in the last 10 years of reading about climate change is why the oceans are rising. It is not primarily due to the melting of the polar ice caps and melt in places like Greenland. That has an impact, but it is not the major cause. The reason our oceans are rising is because hot water takes up more space than cold water. [quote]When you heat some cool water ([url]http://van.physics.illinois.edu/qa/listing.php?id=1814[/url]), it expands. … So hot water takes up more space than cold water. The amount of space something takes up is called volume.[/quote] As the oceans rise in the coming decades, many crowded coastal areas (and of course low-lying islands) will become uninhabitable, and when you have serious storms, that phenomenon will only be worse.

  14. dlemongello

    I see it as realistic. We live in a bubble of awareness here in Davis and even here (to use one example) where it is so easy to bike everywhere, how many do? A few more examples: When you go to an event, how many disposables are used vs. reusable ware? People are up in arms about not being offered plastic grocery bags. How many people have actually switched to fluorescent bulbs? These are the really simple things to do, need I go on?

  15. Davis Progressive

    good example with bicycling. i lived for a considerable chunk of my time on the east coast for example and didn’t own a car until i moved back to california. why? didn’t need it. public transportation cheap and more convenient than driving. i’m a realist, i don’t believe your going to make people ride bikes, but i have seen that you can get people to ride the metro if you make it easy to do so.

  16. dlemongello

    We certainly need better mass transit in places that lack it whether that affects the climate or not. Thanks for being an advocate. But my point of course is the population as a whole. Yes, making it convenient is key, but then people still have to change their old habits. But if it is due to human activity, we are doing too little too late and as Don said, therefore we need to address what’s coming. Because it almost assuredly is coming.

  17. Don Shor

    [i]Don:”The debate should have moved from mitigation to adaptation a long time ago.”
    David: Why is that?[/i]

    There are only three current approaches to adaptation:
    international agreements to reduce carbon output;
    cap-and-trade;
    carbon taxes.

    There has been no progress on an international agreement. Any that is agreed upon will be meaningless. At this point these meetings are a waste of time.
    Meaningful cap-and-trade won’t pass any legislature and wouldn’t work anyway. More likely would be some special-interest legislation that would massively shift revenues from one interest-group to another without causing actual reductions in carbon output.
    Carbon taxes that would be high enough to change behavior won’t pass any legislature, ever.

    Attempting to effect reduced carbon output through mandated conservation measures won’t work. People will conserve when there is a genuine, perceived, short-term emergency. Long-term conservation requires incremental measures that people can accept without noticing significant change to their lifestyle, such as the auto mileage standards noted above.

    As outside observers such as Bill Gates have noted, the adaptation measures that will reduce carbon output will come from technology. Biofuels, 4th-generation nuclear, etc. Meanwhile, there are real issues with the impact of rising sea levels on coastal areas, which require better-coordinated emergency responses and some long-term planning. It took the Netherlands sixty years to build the massive flood-control system that is the marvel of the world. I doubt Bangladesh has the resources to do what the Dutch did on their own.

    Identifying and planning for the areas of the world that will be affected, and developing international funding mechanisms and organizations for that, would be a much more productive use of time than trying to push forward with climate change policies that simply won’t pass or work.

  18. Rifkin

    Don: [i]”Carbon taxes that would be high enough to change behavior won’t pass any legislature, ever.”[/i]

    This is not really true. Take a look at the taxes on carbon fuels in your favorite Scandanavian countries. They not only have resulted in changed behavior–that is, people double up in cars and drive fewer miles–but they have changed the very types of cars people use. That is, they drive much smaller cars.

    The problem with carbon taxes is that they need to be (nearly) universal in order to have any impact on climate change. And we live in a world where it is nearly impossible to agree to such a thing and then enforce it.

    But a carbon tax would work if A) all of Europe and Russia, North America, India and the large oriental countries implemented a big tax on coal and oil and B) used the revenues generated from that tax to C) subsidize nuclear power, natural gas, wind and solar but not bio-fuels* and D) subsidize research into and the implementation of carbon sequestration.

    Due to the collective action problem — that is, universal agreement over a carbon tax among the major countries will never happen — I do agree with Don that [i]our primary focus[/i] needs to be on dealing with and planning for the most likely problems that rising temperatures are going to cause in the United States.

    But, if our political process would allow it — I doubt it will — we would not be harming ourselves as Americans in the long run if secondarily we would tax imported oil (say $25 per barrel), prohibit the construction of new coal-burning power plants unless half or more of the carbon effluent is sequestered, use the taxes collected on imported oil to subsidize nuclear power, solar, wind and conservation efforts, and put money into making carbon sequestration viable.

    Some years back, when I first met Andy Frank, he told me that he saw a future in which most people would be driving PHEVs, which he largely invented. They would have, he said, solar panels over their garages which would generate the electric power for their cars; and only for long drives they would have a liquid fuel, which could be gasoline or ethanol or a mixture of them. That future is not yet here, of course. But since then the price of gas has increased by $2 per gallon and a few companies are producing electric cars and Chevy has come out with the Volt, which is a PHEV. The Volt is not a perfect car, and its sales have not yet been that strong. But I think in 10 or 15 years every major car company, and maybe some which don’t exist now, will be producing PHEVs. Andy Frank’s vision of the future, which is extremely low-carbon, does not seem all that unrealistic to me.
    —————-
    *Most biofuels make no sense to me, even if they are carbon neutral. We need corn and other grains to feed the planet. We should not be dedicating crop-lands to growing fuels. Doing so makes food (for animals and people) too expensive, and it destroys forests by pushing farming into more and more marginal lands. There may be some weed crops which can be grown on soils which are unfit for farming food. I am okay with biofuels from that kind of source. The risk is that if we subsidize those weeds, we replace a healthy ecosystem in a region with a mono-crop we need for cars.

  19. rusty49

    If there was a way to link racism to climate change in my opinion that would be a story right in David’s wheelhouse. Oh too late, someone already beat David to it:

    “Al Gore Compares Climate Change Skeptics To 20th Century Racists

    by Josh Feldman August 28th, 2011

    Al Gore pushed the rhetorical envelope yesterday when he compared skeptics of climate change to racists during the Civil Rights Movement.”

  20. Frankly

    [i]Due to the collective action problem [/i]

    It is a practical problem too. The US is much larger geographically and population wise than any northern European country. We don’t have near the public transportation infrastructure.

    But,most importantly, we don’t have the benefit of living of the soft money of energy exports. Norway for example, gets 23% of its GDP from oil exports. Which is hypocritical if you think about it… this “green” country funds their greeness by selling carbon-producing energy to the rest of us.

    The US has to produce to pay our bills. We don’t have excess energy to sell to fund some green revolution. So, green energy needs to be cost-effective before industry will convert. That should be the entire effort… working to get the cost and availability of alternative, sustainable and green energy down to make it attractive enough to invest in.

    In terms of ethanol, there is a lot of progress being made on impoving the process for cellulosic ethanol. Nobody is eating those raw materials (except maybe some wild herbavors).

  21. Davis Progressive

    gore never actually compared climate skeptics to racists.

    Here’s the quote:

    [quote]“There came a time when people said, ‘Hey man, why do you talk that way? That’s wrong, I don’t go for that so don’t talk that way around me. I just don’t believe that.’ That happened in millions of conversations, and slowly the conversation was won. And we still have racism, God knows, but it’s so different now and so much better. And we have to win the conversation on climate.”[/quote]

    there is no comparison there. he did not say that climate skeptics are like racists.

  22. dlemongello

    If we are going to use ethanol as a fuel it will come from cellulose or bacteria if it is going to be sustainable. As for alternative fuels in general, the development has been slowed significantly by the powerful oil companies who in their own interest have blocked it at many turns. The economics will be a big determinant but if the economics had been freed of this interference I think we’d be a lot farther along.

  23. davisite4

    Global warming will only get worse over time. So, even as we pursue means for adaptation, we still need to pursue mitigation. It’s not as though the planet will only get so hot and then we just live with that. It will continue to get hotter and hotter.

    I get very frustrated when people talk about adapation and mitigation as though it is an either-or.

  24. Frankly

    davisite4: The problem with mitigation is that it is just about as useless as an effort as is global population management. It will be a bunch of hand wringing without any progress.

    Instead of mitigation, I suggest we focus on the economics of alternatives to lead a steady transformation based on rational business decisions while we focus on adaption for the impacts we can anticipate or we fear so much as to need a solution.

  25. dlemongello

    Dare I say that perhaps as the bigger threat is identified funds will shift from wars to some of these outrageously costly adaptations. Perhaps. Although since the wars have yet to be paid for because the money is actually borrowed, we are a long way form having any actual money to shift. The other thing is to recognize what adaptations may be worthwhile vs. knowing when to just get out of the way of nature. Historically we have been pretty poor on that too. I wonder if we’ll learn from past mistakes. Afterall, I think the powers that be are still trying to change the course of the Mississippi River.

  26. Frankly

    [i]when coastal areas flood, your plan is?

    when crops fail, your plan is?[/i]

    Growth Issue… exactly. That is what we should be working on.

    Personally, I purchased some land at 4500 ft so I will have coastal property and a big garden after all the ice caps melt.

    And if they don’t melt and it gets colder again, I will continue to fish in the summer, and go cross-country skiing in the winter.

    By the way, there are some great land deals up in all the depressed mountain communities around CA. Get it now before Romney wins and turns the economy around! 😉

  27. davisite4

    [i]”davisite4: The problem with mitigation is that it is just about as useless as an effort as is global population management. It will be a bunch of hand wringing without any progress. “[/i]

    Well, then we’re screwed. I’ll just hope to be dead before things get really bad, and be glad that I don’t have any children.

    The only certain way to know that mitigation won’t succeed is to not even try.

  28. medwoman

    JB

    “That is a problem David, because it is used by one group of people to try and force an expedited social and economic transformation that would be damaging to many people”

    Kind of like when a major corporation ( remember, corporations are people ) decides to expedite both social and economic transformation damaging to many people here by moving their jobs to another country ?

  29. Frankly

    [i]Kind of like when a major corporation ( remember, corporations are people ) decides to expedite both social and economic transformation damaging to many people here by moving their jobs to another country ?[/i]

    No nothing like that. These workers can go work for another company. They can change careers. They can start their own business.

    They are free to make up their mind and freely associate with anyone they so desire to associate with.

    A company does not seek social and economic transformation. It only seeks profit. In fact, if a company could stay exactly the same and continue to earn a profit, it would do just that. But before it can seek profit, it needs viability. Global competition has driven down the cost of labor. US workers – especially unionized workers – do not support that level of wage elasticity that would allow US companies facing problems with profit and viability to lower their labor costs to effectively compete. So they take their operations to other countries.

    And consumers benefit from this. The Apple iPhone would cost half again as much if Apple had to produce and assemble parts in the US. Apple competes with the Android platform with parts manufactured and assembled in low-cost labor countries.

    Contrast this to government. There is only one government and when that government makes rules to force change, there is no alternative. You cannot quit one government and select another. Government holds the monopoly. Talk about lack of freedom!

  30. dlemongello

    Maybe it will work this way: After enough suffering (but that is not a corporate or government concern, yes sarcastic) there will be so few people able to afford to buy anything that jobs will move back to the U.S. because that will be the best way to make a profit.
    Or to get back on topic (not that I think any topic is isolated from the others) maybe there will be so much devastation that the last thing on your mind is going to be a cost of your iPhone and the like because you’ll be in survival mode.
    Sorry “Growth Issue”, maybe I am defeatist afterall.

  31. Frankly

    Here is what I think… and it is already happening to some degree.

    As global wages begin to level, manufacturing and other currently outsourced industry will come back.

    However, where we are at risk is that our education system is crappy and overpriced. So, we will not have the skilled workforce needed. So, we will get the lower-skilled jobs while the higher-skilled jobs go to Asia.

    That is unless we completely reform our entire education system to crank out the workers needed.

    And we change our tax code so that we encourage rather than dissuade business from relocating here.

  32. Don Shor

    Crops fail regularly for various reasons. The answer to persistent crop failure or increasing crop failure is agronomic research and development and changes in cropping patterns.
    In developed, wealthy countries, coastal areas that are occupied will be protected if the will and the land value are there. If New Orleans is going to be re-populated, engineering will be done to make it safer. The problem is the poorer countries that have lots of low-lying land. So see my comment above.
    Sea level rise isn’t going to be stopped regardless. It’s the [i]rate[/i] of rise that anthropogenic climate change is affecting. One foot over a century versus three feet over a century, for example.

    What we can expect is more events, and more intense events, that displace a lot of people suddenly, intermittently, and sometimes catastrophically. It isn’t as though that doesn’t already happen. So much of the adaptation is a process of expanding and refining existing disaster and land-use policies and practices.

  33. Rifkin

    [i]”As for alternative fuels in general, [b]the development has been slowed significantly by the powerful oil companies[/b] …”[/i]

    This is greatly exaggerated and thus largely untrue.

    While oil companies have used their money to corrupt our political process in order to hold down their taxes and to reduce the economic risks of looking for new sources of oil, there is no case to be made that they have actively slowed the development of alternative fuels. In fact, all of the big American oil companies have actively invested in alternative fuel technologies.

    [i]”… who in their own interest have blocked it at many turns.”[/i]

    The great impediment to all alternative energy sources is not the actions of oil companies. It is the cost of energy. That is, coal and oil, as priced in the market, cost a lot less than solar or wind.

    One thing which has changed in the last 5 years is the dramatic drop in the market price of natural gas, due to fracking. In various states around our country, new electricity generation from gas is replacing that from coal. The reason is largely one of cost. But a side benefit is that gas produces half the CO2 of coal.

    [i]”The economics will be a big determinant; but if the economics had been freed of this interference I think we’d be a lot farther along.”[/i]

    It is actually just the opposite of what you say here. The problem is that the economics of alternative fuels have, so far, worked against alternative fuels. What we need is more interference in the market in order to change that equation.

    That is the very idea of a carbon tax–to interfere in the market calculus. There is some objective (but hard to measure) cost of carbon effluence. A carbon tax would try to help the market internalize that cost.

    And if we took the money from a carbon tax and (pardon the pun) pumped it into alternative energy sources which produce less or no effluents, that sort of market interference would incentivize energy consumers to change from dirty to cleaner fuels.

    Yet even without a carbon tax, there are a few things working in that direction already. One is that we do in fact subsidize wind and solar. If you put solar panels on your roof, half of the cost will be borne by the taxpayers. Were it up to the free market, no one would have solar panels on their homes. A second is, as noted above, fracking. It may be terrible for the environment in other respects (such as causing earthquakes and polluting ground water). But insofar as gas is replacing coal for electricity production, that is a clean for dirty substitution. And third, competition and subsidies are driving down the cost of solar and wind. To see that, look at this chart:

    [img]http://solarpower-solarcost.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/solar-power-cost-us-year.png[/img]

    And this chart:

    [img]http://www1.eere.energy.gov/tribalenergy/guide/images/chart2_wind.gif[/img]

  34. Rifkin

    [i]””As for alternative fuels in general, the development has been slowed significantly [b]by the powerful oil companies[/b] …” [/i]

    The most significant impact that the oil companies have had with respect to the general public’s interest in alternative fuels is to have created the myth (that right-wiing nuts have bought into) which says first that the science on global warming is not really science and second that global warming is not caused by human activities, such as burning fossil fuels and third that nothing can ever be done to change the direction or velocity of climate change.

    I am a stockholder in ExxonMobil. It is a great company. It pays a great dividend. And its stock price has quadrupled in the years since I bought my first shares in it. (I have subsequently bought many more shares and profitted from that handsomely.) But Exxon (even more than the crazy Koch brothers) has been the leading propogator of the anti-scientific right-wing view on global warming. Look into that propaganda and you will find Exxon’s fingerprints all over it. The right-wing politicians who spout their anti-science about global warming are all on the take from Exxon. The think tanks and other crazy Fox News nuts who prey on the stupidity of the American right are all on the take from Exxon.

    The behavior of Exxon, in funding unscientific research to confuse the stupid, mimics what the tobacco companies did to confuse the stupid into believing that using their products would not harm their health. Big tobacco understood that once everyone accepted the real science, their products would be taxes and face greater restrictions, and all that has come to pass.

    The big oil companies have nothing against wind or solar or nukes. They are investing money in them. But they make their real profits from oil and gas (and some from coal). And what they really are doing in trying to fool the unscientific rightwingers into thinking that global warming is faux science is to avoid greater taxation and regulation of their product, their cash cow, oil.

  35. Rifkin

    Note: In my 3:51 post, the first chart shows the declining cost of solar power over time.

    [i]”Big tobacco understood that once everyone accepted the real science, their products would be [b]heavily taxed[/b] [s]taxes[/s] and face greater restrictions … and thus their profits would fall, and all that has come to pass.”[/i]

    Corrected.

  36. Rifkin

    For anyone interested in wind power, there was a sad development last week at a leading Bay Area startup called Makani Power. Its founder and CEO, Corwin Hardham, who was just 38 years old, died (cause not reported).

    Although Hardham’s death will certainly be a setback for this company, its wind power technology looks very promising. From Makani’s website: [quote]The Makani Airborne Wind Turbine is a tethered wing that generates power by flying in large circles where the wind is stronger and more consistent. It eliminates 90% of the material used in conventional wind turbines, and can access winds both at higher altitudes and above deep waters offshore — resources that are currently untapped. Our goal is the utility-scale deployment of airborne turbines in offshore wind farms. [/quote]

  37. Don Shor

    I really think that continuing research and development at the government level, inefficient as that may seem, is going to be necessary for a number of years to help prod along the alternative fuels. That means continued, even increased funding for science grants. It means going ahead and partnering with private enterprise so government absorbs some of the costs, risks, and inefficiencies. And it means continuing to invest in some of the companies, even at the risk that a few of them may go bankrupt. Because it is in the public interest to keep the momentum going, even if the market won’t support bringing them to market yet.

  38. Frankly

    Global warming is foremost a political movement by the left and environmentalists… one that happens to be supported by a majority of the scientific community who have unknowingly become their tools.

    The politicians get their brand enhanced with support from the scientists.

    The scientists get their brand damaged by association with the politicians.

    Sounds like a very bad deal for the industry of science.

    Too bad scientists didn’t come out against Algore when he spouted all the garbage in his movie. Too bad they didn’t complain about his 24 room mansion using 20 times the power of an average home. Too bad they didn’t complain about the use of his private jet spewing tons of carbon on his way to lecture the rest of us about living a life with a smaller carbon footprint.

    Too bad they didn’t do these things because the result is a perception that science is complicit in the social agenda of the left politicians. That is not good for science at all since that makes scientists perceived enemies of the political right.

    If global warming a completely scientifically-proved, factual, reality? That question no longer matters because it has become political. The topic has been hijacked to be ammunition of the left to be used in our nation’s ideological/culture wars. It leads to bolder moves like attributing weather events to the theories. That is a holy grail of political power… be the side that controls the weather and can make it better while the other side can be pinned for causing it to be bad.

    Joe Biden as the Wizard of Compassionate Weather Control versus Pau Ryan the Dark Weather Lord and purveyor of tornadoes, hurricanes, fires and floods!

    If the question of global warming does still matter (enough can be made to believe it is even a worthy pursuit), then the burden of proof has been raised to be nearly absolute. But, science has not provided absolute proof. The computer models that “prove” global warming are pinned together with a significant inventory of assumptions. That is not good enough given the implications.

    If science is not complicit, then we are seeing great displays of lazy ignorance… (i.e., I am a scientist and am above the fray of political squabbles!). The science community should take a page out of Chief Justice Robert’s play book for this. In this day and age, almost everything is politics. You ignore the political implication of the larger issues you involve yourself with at risk for your own degradation.

  39. jrberg

    Jeff @ 5:19: As a chemist and a scientist, I am appalled at your broad brush condemnation of climate scientists. This kind of hysteria has no place in a fact based discussion of a phenomenon that is clearly having an effect on Earth’s climate.

    Have you examined the evidence that you decry? Have you talked to climate scientists to determine their political motives? Do you even understand why individual events, like the current storm, can intensify over what has been seen before because of the warming of the oceans? Do you understand the science?

    Your screed is one of the most saddening things I have seen on this forum. You are apparently a good businessman. I assume analytical abilities are valuable in business. Please try to employ them in other facets of life that affect us all.

  40. biddlin

    For some, the impact is less global and more immediate . The tall ship HMS Bounty has been lost with two of its crew, Robin Walbridge, the ship’s captain and Claudene Christian, a recent USC grad and former Miss Teen Alaska. Large parts of Ocean City, Maryland, Atlantic City, New Jersey, Manhattan and other boroughs of NYC are under water .Seaside Heights N.J. is virtually submerged . At least one man is dead in Queens after a tree fell through his house . Millions are without power and snow is falling in the Appalachian Mountains and Catskills as polar air meets with Sandy to make a blizzard . Not one word of concern, encouragement or even acknowledgement of the human cost of the last few hours from anyone, liberal, conservative or village idiot in this posting . I wish I could say I’m shocked .

  41. Don Shor

    I’ve been following along on Facebook with my daughter where she is in Brooklyn. Power is on for her, but out in various places. The whole city shut down and had prepared well for the emergency, but this is at an unprecedented level of intensity for NYC and surrounding areas.

  42. Rifkin

    Jeff: [i]”Global warming is foremost a political movement by the left and environmentalists… “[/i]

    As you told me yourself in a comment on this blog, you have never examined climate science and you have never had an in-depth conversation with a climate scientist. Rather, you have simply repeated the blathering of those who have taken corrupt money from the oil and coal interests, whether you knew that was the source of their funding or not.

  43. Rifkin

    [i]”At least one man is dead in Queens after a tree fell through his house.”[/i]

    A lot more have died ([url]http://www.oakridger.com/article/20121029/NEWS/310299999/1001/NEWS[/url]). [quote] Superstorm Sandy pummelled the East Coast on Monday, and [b]at least 10 deaths[/b] have been blamed on the storm. Sandy was downgraded from a hurricane just before it made landfall, NOAA’s National Hurricane Center reported, but it was because of the shape and temperatre. Winds still were at least 80 mph.

    The superstorm caused [b]a monstrous 13-foot surge of seawater in New York City[/b], it was reported, and the city’s subways were in danger. Other areas were experiencing severe flooding as well. In Atlantic City, whole cars were under water, and in Seaside Heights, N.J., Police Chief Thomas Boyd said, “The whole north side is totally under water.” [/quote]

  44. Rifkin

    One more thing for Jeff: As you know, I am not a leftwiner or even a liberal. I am also aware that some men of science can delude themselves. But, unlike you, I have spoken directly with a number of climate scientists and I do not believe any of them have any agenda other than science.

    What is more is that conservative insurance companies and farm corporations and other business interests which stand to lose money from climate change are dispassionately convinced that the climatological consensus is real and correct. Unlike you, who seems to be spouting ideology at no personal cost, they are betting their companies on the scientific facts which are driving the scientific consensus.

  45. Frankly

    jrberg, I thought I might get a response like yours. I am being very analytical but from a political perspective. At this very moment we have the real winds of Sandy, and the political winds of Sandy. The real winds cause me concern for the people and property that will be damaged or destroyed. The political winds have me concerned too.

    Storms come and go. They always have and they always will.

    However, the political winds are unprecedented with potential long-term damage.

    Democrats like Al Gore knew this when they attempted to exploit the science for political gain. “Inconvenient Truth” is what we would expect for a movie title with this type of hidden agenda.

    I was thinking about this situation tonight and trying to compare it to other issues/topics/events current or historical. I frankly cannot come up with anything similar. The absolutism and group-think would be breathtaking for any other scientific theory having even a small percentage of similar complex control variables. For climate change, it is beyond fantastic that we have already moved to denigrate and demonize anyone having a different opinion, challenge or competing theory. From my perspective, it appears that we have created a new religion, and failure to believe is blasphemy. That is not the science I know and love where scientists tend to swim against the tide, and the only thing keeping a theory grounded is the wait for the next one to blow it up. It is also not the science I know and love to be actively or even passively complicit in a political motive.

    Here is the problem in a nutshell… why almost half the population either does not believe or is skeptical of anthropogenic global warming… and all the media gets it wrong trying to explain it.

    Many people on the left believe that part of the solution to climate change is suppression of economic activity. Environmental extremists want to kill entire industries and stop producing energy with fossil fuels. The Democrat Party is controlled by extreme leftist Democrats that demonize successful people and business. Our President grew up with socialist and communist influences, and there is concern that he is out to reduce America’s global profile and diminish our influence. With his economic and foreign policy record, it is very hard to argue against this. Most people have lost at least half of the wealth they had earned. The economy is not growing fast enough and real unemployment is historically high. This has been going on for over four years and it seems it will continue. Around the same time, Democrats AND scientists have all jumped on board the man-made global warming scare-fest.

    All of this plays out as a grand conspiracy to turn America into a weaker, more passive, less industrial and less economically-powerful version of herself.

    Again, there is no other situation I can find that compares to this. Help me if I am missing something. When has science been in this deep with one side of such a profound political and ideological conflict?

    In my opinion, science needs to find a way to extract itself from even the perception of political affinity… especially for something like the theories of climate change where the stakes are so high for how we should respond to it.

    Rich, I appreciate your points, but I see a bigger problem for how the scientific theories of global warming are being used for left political and ideological advance. That advance will result in great personal cost to me and everyone else (except those with a cushy government job, or committed fat pension.) More importantly it is just another damn exploitive invention of the screwed-up, selfish, baby boomers that have effectively destroyed opportunity for all the generations that follow. Do you know how hard it is to start a business today? Just add all those ideas to centrally-control carbon emissions and energy alternatives and we might as well throw in the economic towel.

    I wish I could just focus on the science and feel confident that it will not be used as a political and ideological tool against conservative principles.

  46. Don Shor

    [i]”The absolutism and group-think would be breathtaking for any other scientific theory having even a small percentage of similar complex control variables.”
    [/i]
    Yes, they would, if they existed. There is no absolutism or group-think among geophysicists. The fact that there is general consensus about a theory isn’t group-think, on this topic any more than it is on evolution. You demonstrate this regularly by mentioning Al Gore, who is not a scientist and does not represent scientific opinions on the subject. He is a lay person, just like you, who has tutored himself on the issue. His opinions are his own. Some scientists support his political activities, just as they and you and others support various political causes and activities.
    You haven’t, as far as any of us can tell, spent any time exploring the range of information out there on the topic. So you are making assumptions based on your political views without doing any research.
    The rest of your comments are just your usual claptrap.

  47. Mr.Toad

    My fear is we wake up in the morning and New York looks like what Al Gore predicted.

    As for the political I just saw a clip from a Republican primary debate where Mitt Romney says we should get rid of FEMA, turn it over to the states or preferably privatize it. No wonder he has stopped campaigning.

  48. Don Shor

    Once upon a time intelligent Republicans recognized the problem of climate change and supported measures to address it. During the primaries it was almost embarrassing to watch Romney, Huntsman, and Gingrich abandon their previous informed positions for political reasons. Those who were simply ignorant, like Perry and Santorum, didn’t have to change their positions, but that doesn’t speak well for their intellectual rigor.

    I’m never big on conspiracy theories, but it is a fact that there are very powerful interests advocating strongly against any climate change legislation. And it is proven that they have developed an extensive campaign to discredit scientists, fund countervailing symposia, try to fund contrarian research (sometimes with comical results), and promote candidates who are ignorant on the topic. They have been remarkably successful.

    Unfortunately, this kind of anti-intellectual attitude fits in with some of the other themes that have been successful with Republican candidates. So it is now acceptable to say things about climate science that are provably false, and to simply assert that the prevailing consensus is the result of ideology, deceit, or groupthink.

  49. Frankly

    [i]”You haven’t, as far as any of us can tell, spent any time exploring the range of information out there on the topic. So you are making assumptions based on your political views without doing any research.[/i]

    Sure I have Don. We have debated the details ad nauseum. If you forget, I can post links of previous blog topics. Of course I am not a scientist, but I have read a lot on the science of climate change. I can say that I have grown less skeptical of the science over the last several months having read some well done reporting on the topic. However, at the same time I have grown more skeptical of the political motivations of many pushing an agenda in response.

    But of alll people (even with your contrarian MO) you should get it. You are one advocating adaption… and being challenged by others that want correction/reversal. Attempts at correction/reversal are my great concern.

    What drives me to ramble on is my anger over the crap we keep sticking our kids with. I know some think we are will be sticking our kids with a big climate mess, but I don’t accept the theory of a coming global warming apocalypse. I think it is more likely we will oversteer as reliable reactionaries and screw up the economy even more without making a dent in any climate outcomes.

    I want scientists to speak up about this… the politicizing of the science.

    I can’t think of any other time where the science has been so political when the political stakes are this high, can you?

  50. Don Shor

    [i]”However, at the same time I have grown more skeptical of the political motivations of many pushing an agenda in response.”
    [/i]
    Once again: your argument is with the policies and alarmists, not the science or the scientists. While some scientists are alarmists, there are tens of thousands of geophysicists who just do basic research and don’t even get into policy debates. But once again, you decided to criticize the science and the scientists with your descriptions of groupthink and whatnot.
    It is not reasonable or prudent for “scientists to speak up about this.” Really, it is time for conservatives to speak up against anti-intellectualism and take back their party from the willfully ignorant.

  51. jimt

    Rich,

    Great posts on this topic.

    Re: “In fact, all of the big American oil companies have actively invested in alternative fuel technologies.”

    I was employed at the Jet Propulsion Lab in the early to mid 1980s; to examine solar panels (from a large variety of manufactuers) that had been tested in the field. At that time period, many of the small companies that were producing the best solar panels (for the time) were being bought up by the big oil companies. Their key scientific personnel were often recruited at lucrative salaries; and the oil companies operated the solar R&D at kind of a low-level holding pattern. Research in this area was not accelerated by the oil companies; but they wanted to be sure they had in-house expertise to keep their fingers in the pie; in case there were breakthroughs somewhere in the solar business they wanted to be ready to pounce. A sound business strategy. They had little incentive to ramp up solar R&D because the risk:benefit was/is so much better in the hydrocarbon area. Technical patents normally expire in 11 years or so; if they ramped up in-house R&D eventually their hard-won technical edge would be co-opted by competitors (also staff lured away would spread the good techniques to competitors); it is also difficult within a large corporate environment to foster risky long-term research; the management isn’t structured or oriented in this direction (there are some notable exceptions, such as Bell Labs). So an argument can be made that the investment by big oil in alternative energy sources does not necessarily speed up technical progress and development of these sources; it may in fact slow it down (not necessarily deliberately, but as a result of risk:benefit business analysis in guiding the alternative energy departments/divisions), largely as a result of luring key researchers in the field with seductive high salaries. They are allowed to develop in-house research programs; but the corporation owns the research results and decides whether or not to develop the results. This does not necessitate any nefarious scheme by the big oil companies, but policies of ensuring market share and maximizing short-term profit,

  52. biddlin

    While you are discussing the political, social and economic Impact of Sandy over bagels and Starbucks, that itch under your right butt cheek might be the vestigial conscience alleged to still exist in Davisites . The Red Cross, Salvation Army and Humane Society are already at work on what looks to be a huge rescue and recovery. What we know about in the large urban areas is bad. We have not begun to see the rural areas like Appalachia and The Catskills where many are without power or communication due to blizzard like conditions.Those of you fortunate enough to have a few extra bucks and dry socks this morning might cut a check to one or all of the organizations mentioned . I have !

  53. dlemongello

    jimt’s post above sums up this topic well. Yes, the oil companies taking over the alternative energy research is their way of controlling it, for their own bottom line.
    ” This does not necessitate any nefarious scheme by the big oil companies, but policies of ensuring market share and maximizing short-term profit”
    Well if it’s market share and short term profit that should determine how we live, then that’s exactly how we got where we are. Business as usual, profit will fix everything, OBVIOUSLY NOT!

    biddlin, good idea, thanks for the reminder

  54. wdf1

    [quote]Ex-FEMA director Michael Brown criticizes Obama for reacting too quickly to storm ([url]http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/ex-fema-director-michael-brown-criticizes-obama-reacting-202803013.html[/url])

    Former FEMA director Michael Brown, who was heavily criticized for the agency’s failure to prepare for Hurricane Katrina, has criticized President Obama for responding to Hurricane Sandy too early.[/quote]

  55. wdf1

    JB: [i]If the question of global warming does still matter (enough can be made to believe it is even a worthy pursuit), then the burden of proof has been raised to be nearly absolute. But, science has not provided absolute proof. The computer models that “prove” global warming are pinned together with a significant inventory of assumptions. That is not good enough given the implications.[/i]

    [quote][url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=YhDacrl1aSA[/url]

    This film (~5 min.) exposes the parallels between Big Tobacco’s denial of smoking’s cancer-causing effects and the campaign against the science of climate change — showing that not only are the same strategies of denial at work, but often even the same strategists.[/quote]

  56. wdf1

    A friend of mine is a faculty climate scientist at a university in the U.S. He posted a pretty good explanation on Facebook on the connection of global warming and Hurricane Sandy:
    [quote]People are asking me, “wasn’t this storm caused by climate change?” The answer is- we can’t really say. Predicting which INDIVIDUAL storms are caused by climate change is like predicting which INDIVIDUAL home runs are hit by a baseball player on steroids, or which individual cycling races were won by a guy who was doping. Asking if Sandy happened because of climate change is like trying to figure out exactly which individual Tours deFrance would have been won by Lance Armstrong if he were competing fairly, or exactly which of Melky Cabrera’s 159 hits last year he got because of the performance-enhancing drugs. We can’t say, individually. But in aggregate, a pattern becomes apparent.[/quote]

  57. Frankly

    There was another similar storm in 1938 (I think I have the year right). I assume that going back in time if proper records were kept, we would see a storm like this every 75 years or so. It was/is the last month of hurricane season, and the first month of the Noreaster season.

    The problem I have is that our collective weather mythology is growing for directing blame on industrialization and enterprise.

    Time for science to step up and push back that mythology.

    It is also time to ramp up the discussion on adaption. For example, what about updating the construction code for buildings in coastal proximity and in low-lying territory with higher probability of flooding? If hurricans are going to be more frequent and large, then shouldn’t we be building with concrete blocks instead of sticks?

    If I were building or renovating a house on the gulf or Atlantic coast, it would be pretty much water-proof on the first floor, and as wind-proof as I could make it. My folks had a second home on the Pacific coast in Baja Mexico for 20 years, and that was exactly how homes in that area were build. Concrete block construction with tile floors. Some building build on stilts.

    Changes to construction code, over time, would reduce the dollar cost of damages.

  58. Don Shor

    Jeff: this is Roger Pielke Jr.’s area of expertise. Note that he is considered a contrarian by alarmists because he isn’t alarmist enough for them. So some consider him a dissenting voice. [url]http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/[/url]

  59. Frankly

    Don, Mr. Pielke seems to echo my points that get you and a few others so riled up.

    For example:
    [quote]So long as some climate scientists are willing to talk about their work as being “correct” in scare quotes in the context of a desire to shape public opinion, they are going to face credibility problems. Think Dick Cheney linking Al Qaeda to Saddam Hussein, and you’ll understand why such efforts are not good for either science or democracy.[/quote]

    Do you disagree with this?

  60. Siegel

    I think it’s questionable that climate scientists are playing politics here other than out of frustration for the politicalization of the issue despite all evidence to the contrary which only gets stronger each season.

  61. Don Shor

    It is because of the work of people like Roger Pielke Jr, and especially his father Roger Pielke Sr., that I disagree with you about the idea that there is ‘groupthink’ in the profession. Dr. Pielke Sr. is a lot denser reading, but you might be interested in his blog as well: [url]http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/[/url]
    Alarmists really don’t like him, because he is much more likely to focus on the complexities of the systems. He is well-published in peer-reviewed journals.
    Yes, ‘some’ climate scientists talk about their work in the manner he describes, and which you tend to focus on. More often, it is non-scientists who are talking that way. But there are alarmists among the climate science community, as well as others who are less alarmist. There are very few denialists, though.

  62. Don Shor

    Here is a well-moderated blog that you might find interesting: [url]http://klimazwiebel.blogspot.com/2012_10_01_archive.html[/url]
    Judith Curry, mentioned in one of the October blog posts, has her own site: [url]http://judithcurry.com/[/url]
    She regularly gets harsh criticism from some of the most prominent researchers, including Michael Mann of ‘climategate’ fame. He participates, along with a number of other highly-regarded climate scientists, here: [url]http://realclimate.com/[/url]

    All of that will show you that within the complex field of climate science, there are things most researchers agree on, and some they don’t.

  63. Frankly

    [i]But there are alarmists among the climate science community, as well as others who are less alarmist. There are very few denialists, though.[/i]

    Very well. My use of the term “groupthink” missed the mark.

    My issue is a bit more nuanced. At risk of getting people riled up again – because I lack another analogy – my issue is similar to global terrorism. I believe there is a responsibility – inconvenient and distasteful as it might be – to directly and aggressively denounce, and even fight against, the extreme elements within your group that are causing or risking damage to others as a result of their extreme actions and/or behaviors. Otherwise I, and others, will see you as complicit in that extremism.

    I think the number of climatologists and geophysicists that are extreme and political is not a trivial number. Science is a closed, gated community. Even you and Mr. Rifkin are fond of pointing out that I am not talking enough directly to those within this closed community… and that my opinions lack enough basis of understanding about science. I accept that.

    But, I was thinking about this last week…. all my clients and customers for information technology and banking and how nice it would be to be able to tell them to just trust me because they are not educated enough in my disciplines to understand the details. What a luxury that would be!

    Medical science has a similar tendency. Just tell your doctor that you had done some research online to learn about some symptoms you had been experiencing to help with diagnosis. Boy will you get a stern look and a scolding for wasting your and his time.

    So, science is a closed shop were only the adequately-certified have credibility to opine.

    Fine, but you just can’t have that cake and eat it too. If there are rogue, extreme, political… members spouting off and acting off within that closed community, then the other members of that closed community have to step up and deal with it. Otherwise that closed community needs to accept that their entire brand and credibility will be drug down with the words and actions of those extreme elements.

    And by the way, I hear every Tom, Dick and Harry spouting off criticism about information technology and banking. In fact, many of those spouting off are scientists untrained and uncertified in either.

    By the way, I am a frequent critic of the extreme elements in either of those two disciplines I am certified in: banking and information technology.

  64. Frankly

    [quote]By pioneering the science of seasonal hurricane forecasting, William Gray turned a university far from the stormy seas into a hurricane research mecca.

    But last year, the long-term relationship between Gray and Colorado State University, where he has worked for nearly half a century, nearly unraveled in an episode that highlights the politically charged atmosphere that surrounds the global warming debate.

    University officials told Gray that handling media inquiries related to his forecasting required too much time and detracted from efforts to promote other professors’ work.

    ‘A flimsy excuse’
    Gray, who has emerged as a leading voice of skepticism about global warming, reacted hotly, firing off a memo to Dick Johnson, head of CSU’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences, and others. He didn’t buy the too-much-media reasoning.
    “This is obviously a flimsy excuse and seems to me to be a cover for the Department’s capitulation to the desires of some (in their own interest) who want to reign (sic) in my global warming and global warming-hurricane criticisms,” Gray wrote in the memo, obtained by the Chronicle.

    Gray initially declined to speak about the issue, but on Tuesday Gray acknowledged the dispute.

    “You see, so many people in our department make a living off the global warming threat,” he said. “So I think that’s part of why they came to me.”[/quote]

  65. Don Shor

    Any more misinformation I can help you with, Jeff?

    [quote]A pioneering expert on hurricane forecasting is disputing media reports that Colorado State University is pulling its support of his work because of his controversial views on global warming.
    William Gray, a professor emeritus at Colorado State, is a skeptic of man-made global warming and once said that pro-global warming scientists are “brainwashing our children.” An article Monday by the Houston Chronicle that was cited by FOX News claimed that Gray’s views had prompted the university to stop promoting his renowned annual North Atlantic hurricane forecasts.
    The Chronicle quoted a memo Gray sent the university last year accusing it of trying to stifle his views on global warming, but Gray issued a statement Tuesday saying that his status at the university hadn’t changed.
    “We’re still putting the forecast out,” he said. “CSU continues to support me. I’m in the same office I’ve been for 41 years now and I hope to stay here some more years and keep working as I always have.”
    Sandra Woods, dean of the university’s College of Engineering, said the memo Gray sent last year was based on misinformation, and the misunderstanding has been corrected.
    “We are all on the same page and CSU continues to offer full support of his forecast,” Woods said in a written statement. “His funding has not been pulled.”
    Gray initially declined to be interviewed, according to the Chronicle, but after the story was published Gray told the newspaper that since last year the university had “backtracked” on its position toward him.
    In the fall of 2005, Gray passed lead authorship of the hurricane forecasts to his former student Philip Klotzbach, but he continues to head the Tropical Meteorology Project at CSU.[/quote]

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,353266,00.html#ixzz2AwNdpLQh

  66. Don Shor

    By the way, this blog post of hers is an excellent example of discussing adaptation vs mitigation: [url]http://blog.ucsusa.org/sea-level-rise-in-florida-is-no-laughing-matter/[/url]

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