The Washington Post has discovered a shocking truth: when it comes to climate change, Republicans are less than convinced

Many left-leaning people have considered the Republican party’s position on climate change irresponsible and intellectually bankrupt for years, if not decades. But while it’s true that the GOP has been estranged from Teddy Roosevelt’s spirit of transcendental conservation for very long indeed, the 2012 GOP primary has nevertheless revealed an entrenched and intensified opposition to science among the faithful that is truly astounding.

Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney have all had to walk-back, to one degree or another, previously sane — but now increasingly heretical — stances on the problem of climate change and the way to address it.

Pawlenty’s gone now, of course, but he made sure to embarrass himself as thoroughly as he could in his vain effort to convince Republican primary voters that his earlier support of cap-and-trade was, well, a severe lapse of judgment; and who among us has not sinned, right? Gingrich, meanwhile, has tried to argue, with usual shameless, chutzpah-tastic aplomb, that an advertisement he cut with Nancy Pelosi in 2008 urging a bi-partisan response to the climate threat was nothing of the kind.

Gingrich now says that when he sat next to then-Speaker of the House Pelosi, the embodiment of all that is heinous and wrongheaded with American liberalism to many in the GOP, he did it not as a show of solidarity, but rather as an attempt to show his cohorts that they “shouldn’t be afraid to debate the left, even on the environment.” Sadly, this act of heroism was “misconstrued”; but in any event, like Pawlenty, Gingrich assured us that this ex-post facto crime was “probably one of those things [he] wouldn’t do again.”

Amidst such craven silliness, Mitt Romney’s refusal to arch himself backwards 180-degrees is quite admirable, really — especially when one remembers that we’re talking about Mitt Romney here. Mitt’s not about to go around out-doomsdaying Al Gore, or making any bold promises about turning back the tides, but neither is he engaging in any flailing acts of self-criticism; and for that he deserves real credit.

Yet, as if to spite Romney by one-upping him when it comes to what would be, in most other contexts, a rather unspectacular show of reasonableness, his rival Mormon Governor, Jon Huntsman, recently made waves by fearlessly tweeting (like countless statesmen and warriors before him) his implacable belief in conventional wisdom:

Huntweet

(Some have wondered, in response to this, whether or not Huntsman is even trying to win in 2012. I’d imagine he is. But I’d also hazard to guess he’d like to lose as the real Last Sane Latter-Day Saint in the race, if he must lost at all.)

This is the context, then, that the Washington Post hopes to explain in a recent piece. Remembering that this is the old guard, traditional, “Sides differ on color of the sky” media, I must say that the authors come remarkably close to calling it like it is, and rendering a judgment of the GOP’s stance today that lies somewhere between the sardonic and the bemused:

Four years ago in New Hampshire, campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination, John McCain said to voters, “I do agree with the majority of scientific opinion, that climate change is taking place and it’s a result of human activity, which generates greenhouse gases.” He made global warming a key element of every New Hampshire stump speech.

This week in New Hampshire, the governor of Texas and newest presidential contender, Rick Perry, said scientists have manipulated data to support their “unproven” theory of human-influenced global warming. He said increasing numbers of scientists have disavowed the theory altogether.

This is not simply a case of two very different politicians saying two very different things. The political discussion about global warming has lurched dramatically in four years — even as the scientific consensus has changed little. McCain’s 2007 description remains the scientific consensus: Human activity, including the burning of fossil fuels, is pumping carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and warming the planet.

But that scientific conclusion has become a lively point of debate in the GOP presidential campaign. Joining Perry on the skeptical side, for example, is Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who suggested Wednesday that “manufactured science” underpins what a questioner called the “man-made climate-change myth.”

The piece goes on to do an admirable job acknowledging the places where the theory of climate change is just that (theory); and how the scientific community has, as of late, often hurt its own cause with unfortunate lapses of tact or wanderings into hyperbole. But in the main, these are necessary but somewhat secondary acts of lip-service; these reporters come down in favor of the validity of man-made climate change with a force uncommon in this day and age:

Such missteps revealed that the scientific establishment does not always function like a well-oiled machine and that climate science in the raw is a more contentious enterprise than the average academic news release might suggest. But the errors did not change the basic science behind the theory of anthropogenic, or human-caused, global warming.

That the planet has warmed is a fact hardly anyone disputes — it has been measured with instruments on land and sea and in space. That humans have contributed to the warming through industrial activities is a theory supported by multiple scientific organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and NASA. […]

There are dissenting scientists, but they’re a small minority within the climate-science community. A 2010 study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences surveyed 1,372 climate scientists and found that 97 to 98 percent agreed that humans are contributing to global warming.

Where the Post goes wrong — and where candidates like Perry and Bachmann, in a limited sense, go right — is in understanding why it is that Republican voters, and indeed much of the electorate at-large, have turned so forcefully away from conceding that, yes, the house does seem to be ablaze.

To use an old cliché: it’s the economy, stupid. People, understandably, are going to be rather skeptical of dealing with a problem that has not yet occurred (and may not occur within their lifetime) through means which quite possibly could exacerbate the pain of the catastrophe with us here-and-now.

When I’m flush with cash, I might listen to you when you plea with me to lay down a couple of grand to get that flood insurance you’re always talking about. But once I’ve lost my job, the bills are piling up, and my check account is dwindling down — well, that’s when you being to sound to me like a damn fool.

And you know how they treat fools down in Texas, right? Pretty ugly, that’s how.

(x-posted at Flower & Thistle)

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428 thoughts on “The Washington Post has discovered a shocking truth: when it comes to climate change, Republicans are less than convinced

  1. I’m with ya up til the last few paragraphs. There are probably a fair number of people who consider the potential cost and rationally cultivate climate change skepticism.

    But boy howdy is that viewpoint absent from the conservative media.

    In it’s place: trumpeting of junk science, screaming about any finding that can be construed as contradicting climate change, accusations of fraud and bias aimed at climate scientists. It’s everywhere. There’s a fox news memo (from 2007 or thereabouts, I think?) in which an editor directed all mentions of climate change news to be followed up with skepticism or derision about the evidence supporting it. Stuff like that.

    And that’s just arguments on the merits, so to speak. There’s also the way that the ressentiment that conservative media marinates in started coating climate change discussions. Al Gore hatred, “hypocrisies” by people who believe in climate change like flying or owning coastal property, applying the “regulations => telling you how to dress” crap to proposed attempts to deal with climate change, etc. This kind of stuff is more likely to dominate a discussion now than, say, some argument about sunspots, seems like.

    So I’ve got to think that a good number of people (probably more than the rational deniers you talk about, maybe a pluarality, perhaps even a majority?) are stuffed so full of ignorant “science” and cultural signifiers that they can’t tell a changing climate pattern from a hole in the ground.

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  2. The adoption of the cause by the left makes it hard for the right to see clearly. Ad hominem attacks do not necessarily negate the accuracy of an argument, and that’s a hard lesson to learn (and there are plenty of crazies out there on the left). I think it comes down to that, natural skepticism, and the capacity of politicians to have personal gain from fear.

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    • Never underestimate the ability of the Picnic Party to fill up their furry teddy bear tummies with a few comments about “ivory tower apple pies”, “elitists” and a side helping of “and this fuzzy bunny president is from the Thousand Acre Woods!”

      [Note: Original comment (roughly): Never underestimate the ability of the Retarded Party to rile up their racist, sub-IQ base with a few comments about “ivory tower snobs”, “elitists” and a side helping of “and this nigger Muslim president is from KENYA!”]

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        • So you just feel you can rewrite anyone’s comment?

          Fish you, you sneetches with no stars upon thars!
          [Note: Second line changed from “fuck you, you dishonest asshole.”- Big Brother]

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          • I don’t think that that’s what he’s saying as much as pointing out that statements that do nothing but communicate group membership have the potential to tar other members of the group and your comments have reached that potential.

            It is usually better to let the folks on the right write comments that result in others nodding and saying “yep, I knew all of those people were like that”.

            For my part, I think you’re doing a great job and am only disappointed that you don’t spend more time talking about the hidden motivations of the people who don’t agree with you.

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            • Freddy (the other one) said it best:

              “The most perfidious way of harming a cause consists of defending it deliberately with faulty arguments.”

              This makes me suspect that J Stewart is really one of those conservative types who is doing everything he can to discredit a particular flavor of ultrapartisanship.

              This nagging suspicion makes reading these posts much less fun.

              (Additionally: you ought to be kinder to North. If you are a liberal, he is one of the liberals you should wish for more of and is a person you should not be alienating. If you are conservative, you’re doing a bang-up job except you’re selling it a little too hard. Maybe be funnier?)

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              • I am puzzled as well. I certainly didn’t rewrite the comment. Although I do have that power, I would never use it.

                Are we talking about comment 3, at 10:17AM? And did it say “fuck you, you dishonest asshole”?

                If the answers to both are yes, then the proper remedy is deletion, not rewriting.

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                • Okay, sorry gang! I was just gonna delete the posts, but when someone comes in yelling and screaming about “fuck you retarded assholes!” it’s sometimes tempting to get funny with them. It’s the Margaret Dumont principle: angry, self-serious people make good targets for pranks. In the future, I’ll just delete the more foul and abusive stuff.

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                    • I propose that whenever someone writes a comment that really, truly deserves to get them banned, the first warning should come in the form of a limerick commenting in some way on the original offense.

                      Others are free to write as well, in the same form, by way of seconding the motion.

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                    • Jason, can I volunteer to be among the thought police who’ll police comments…it’s always been a dream of mine (The Lives of Others, comes to mind.) If not I’m going to apply to airport security so I can feel people up!

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                    • I think that, in a shared space, the idea that there be a “you must follow the following rules” is not necessarily indicative of totalitarianism.

                      Well, it would depend on the rules, I suppose.

                      Rules that say “comments that contain little content other than telling a commenter that s/he is an asshole and should fuck themselves” are in a different space than “you should limit yourself to the following points of view” kind of rules.

                      I mean, if there was a paragraph or three of analysis of something dealing with climate change theory then we’d have something else entirely.

                      What we *DO* have is a guy who spits vitriol without giving any other content… and, worse than that, his vitriol is mundane. It regresses us to the mean.

                      Now, I know. The whole “but libertarians are supposed to have sex with free speech!” counter-argument does have a bit of a point but I’d make the comparison instead to a restaurant and/or bar that says “no smoking”. Any given restaurant/bar has every right to say this… the problem comes when restaurants/bars tell other restaurants/bars that they can’t allow smoking either.

                      Given that nothing is being done (or would be done) to prevent J Stewart from vomiting his bile in a restaurant where such would be welcomed, I don’t see the problem with saying “this is a non-puking establishment”.

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                    • In a League of his own there came J Stew,
                      At once both so old and so J-new,
                      He thought he was chaste,
                      but his words were replaced,
                      Because all the could write was just J-doo.

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                    • Jason, can I volunteer to be among the thought police who’ll police comments…it’s always been a dream of mine (The Lives of Others, comes to mind.) If not I’m going to apply to airport security so I can feel people up!

                      Aww, Bob! I thought you were with me on the whole “private property” thing. In which League is a private property, and the owners can do as they please.

                      Turns out even you are a commie-dem, and you’d rather live in East Germany. Will wonders never cease?

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                    • There once was dude with a tude
                      He was base, ignorant and rude
                      The Right he did diss
                      Vinegar and piss
                      Is how I would describe his mood

                      Limericks consist of five anapaestic lines.
                      Lines 1, 2, and 5 of Limericks have seven to ten syllables and rhyme with one another.
                      Lines 3 and 4 of Limericks have five to seven syllables and also rhyme with each other.

                      There once was a commenter named J Stew
                      Who was a little bit left of a Che coup
                      his posts demanded re-write
                      ’cause his intellectual height
                      From the top to the ground was: Toupee, shoe

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                    • Yes, I know, but I like to break the rules and it seemd to fit. It had been a while since I’ve attempted a limerick — they are fun. When I wrote poetry, I wrote free verse because the strict form-style didn’t work with me.

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                    • Truth is, I stopped commenting at Front Porch Republic essentially because one of the ‘editors’ there started to delete my comments without the courtesy of telling me. These are not the type of people I would prefer to engage in dialogue.
                      The League with all it’s libruls, libertarians, and other exascerbating ideologists have, until now, engaged in discussions of politics, philosophy, and religion in an ‘open’ manner. Please don’t fish with the ‘comment’ threads. If you don’t approve of someone, tell them so, and ban them.

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                    • Bob, seriously, let it go. I pulled a fairly stupid prank that I thought was both obvious and funny. It went over really badly. I’ve said three of four times now that I sure won’t do that again. This isn’t reflective of the site’s stance towards offensive speech.

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                  • “I was just gonna delete the posts, but when someone comes in yelling and screaming about “fuck you retarded assholes!” it’s sometimes tempting to get funny with them.”

                    I think that’s one of those temptations you need to resist. If you think that a comment is genuinely not in accordance with MinTruth guidelines, then delete it. “disemvoweling” or editing makes you look like Pee-Wee Herman singsonging “I know you are but what am iiiiiii?”

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  3. Part of the problem is that the retardicans and the pee tardier nutjobs are mostly young-earth creationists and gaptoothed, inbred idiots whose response to anyone with a high school diploma is “yer usin funny werdz nerd, we don’t like yur type round deze partz.”

    And that’s who the fox news, rush limbaugh, and current republican party “frontrunner” crowd are pandering to. The type who a few years ago (and again lately in the south) were on the “dem brown people iz takin ur jerbz” kick.

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    • J, I’m guessing you’re new around here. Welcome. As one of the resident regulars (and a fellow lefty) a word or two of advice. Terms like “retaerdicans” and “pee tardier” lower the discourse and as such are frowned on by the regulars and posters here (on both sides of the left/right divide). As a liberal I feel personally that our own causes and ideologies are cheapened when fellow lefties use such inflammatory and content free slurs.
      In summary, knock it off brutha or at least try and come up with insults that are more clever and more civil (yes that is possible, in fact the two often go together); you’re embarrassing us lefties here!

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          • Except, people could still agree on the broader facts.

            And if they did, climate change might become one of the things we can do something about.

            So why is there disagreement on the broader facts?

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            • Hey, I live in a one-car family, we keep the house warm in the summer and cool in the winter, we recycle, we use low-flow showerheads, and we have recent appliances that do that whole “energy star” thing.

              My problem with the “broader facts” is that, many times, I am engaged in an argument with people who do not do many of the above things but go on and on and on about how important the environment is.

              Reminds me of Haggard.

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              • Two issues: whether the global is warming, and once that fact is understood what actions a person might take to ameliorate it.

                The second one depends on a recognition of the first. I don’t understand why accusations of hypocrisy by AGW realists are relevant to the issue of whether AGW is real. But it also doesn’t get at why there is no broad consensus on the basic facts. Surely if someone were to tell me that the reason they refused to believe in AGW is because lefty-environazi-AGWers drive two cars and leave the lights on, I’d question their sanity.

                It’s Haggardland, after all.

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                • I made no accusations of hypocrisy.

                  What I would do is make accusations of public declarations of group membership.

                  If the planet is not important enough for you to simplify your life a little, it’s difficult for me to take your public affirmations of how important the planet is to you as much more than communication.

                  I’m not going to tell you to stop, of course. Just telling you why I don’t find the public statements interesting enough for me to change my life. More, I mean.

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                  • If the planet is not important enough for you to simplify your life a little, it’s difficult for me to take your public affirmations of how important the planet is to you as much more than communication.

                    Yeah, I get that. Demonstrating the commitment with actions adds weight to the words. No doubt.

                    I was wondering about something a little different: why (not for you personally) there isn’t a broader agreement on the general facts in play. Why the AGW realists/denialists fall into two camps with no overlap or agreement whatsoever. Your suggestion was that it reduces to affirmations of group identity in the face of an intractable problem.

                    It seems to me that puts the cart before the horse: the problem is intractable because of group identity affirmations based on differing types of justifications for group membership.

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                    • Well, let’s look at, say, Nuclear Power.

                      This is fairly clean energy (much, much cleaner than clean coal or other fossil fuels) and pebble bed reactors (for example) provide much safer critical failures than other models.

                      Nuclear power is not on the table in so-called “serious” discussions of Green Energy.

                      This alone tells me that it’s about something else. I’m not particularly interested in participating in that something else.

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                    • Rufus, the cost isn’t the main problem. The reality is that we NEED MORE LIGHT (Farscape, obv.). So what’s the solution? Coal? Algae-bio-fuel? Hydro-power?

                      I guess I’m saying that by convention our economy and lifestyle needs requires lots of energy to sustain itself. How is that cost prioritized? Current reality suggests that bio-fuels aren’t up to the task. Coal with scrubbers isn’t either (or at least long term).

                      Something’s gotta give.

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                    • Rufus I’ll allow your point on Nuclear power but we should keep in mind that a significant portion of nuclear plants build times is regulatory rather than practical. As for expense the sad fact remains that in terms of cost per KwH nuclear loses out only to fossil fuels and hydro. Renewable energies and solar remain more costly and less capable of providing baseload energy.

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                    • Physicist here. We have about 200 years of nuclear power, at current usage. Quadruple the power consumption, and you get 50 years. WE NEED THOSE YEARS, to solve the dust issue in Arizona, or to develop better batteries, etc. And a fusion reactor (we have the specs! thank the navy!).

                      I know some people who work politics on the left, and the Professional Class isn’t the same thing as the Crazy Green Hippies (Obama represents the professional class taking its place at the Democratic table, fwiw). One recognizes that nuclear power is needed. The other says “eww… that’s a bad thing” — for no sane reason, that I can figure.

                      No car here, use public transportation (and zipcar). Buy local and organic produce (organic by accident, their strategic sense is better than the other ones, so I get fresher produce).

                      But there really isn’t much hypocrisy in saying “I want the incentives to be rigged so that we get cleaner power and stop sending people to hospitals with air pollution” and not spending more yourself. Because most Americans can’t afford to spend more than they already do.

                      33% of Americans have $1000 in the bank. For the rest, a car accident, a health care bill, any housing situation, means dipping into the retirement account.

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                    • Rufus, buy some LED lightbulbs. we’re talking 5W bulbs. THEY ARE AWESOME! Look for ’em at “reasonable” costs in five years.

                      See? people don’t bother to clue you in on the $50 lightbulbs, because they don’t know about them yet.

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  4. But while it’s true that the GOP has been estranged from Teddy Roosevelt’s spirit of transcendental conservation for very long indeed

    Perhaps because 29% of the land area of the United States is under the management of four federal agencies, there are people who do not feel the need to be ‘spirited’ about ‘conservation’.

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    • I suppose that’s possible, but barely. Seems to me that those who express opposition to efforts to address environmental concerns in the public policy are motivated by a desire to see a thriving, expanding economy rather than resentment about the extent of Federal landholdings. YMMV.

      By the way, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to see a thriving, expanding economy. I rather like thriving, expanding economies myself.

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    • , There’s a reason folks from the west view federal land “ownership” in a different light than folks from the east. Study this map. I don’t really care what New York says about federal land, they certainly didn’t give up much of their OWN to the common weal.

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      • Eh; most of the land that’s federal came late to the union. Stands to reason there would be more of it unoccupied and available.

        I have a hard time taking, “It’s Utah’s land, isn’t it?” seriously.

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        • I personally don’t mind all that much that large swaths of the west are federal land in comparison to the east (though I think we take it overboard sometimes). It does annoy me somewhat that the PILT payments are treated like Red State Welfare (You may call it Yellowstone National Park, but it looks like pork to me!).

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        • I was almost sure I was awake when I typed the link, always possible that I wasn’t tho. Here’s a good graphic.

          , my point is those voters in the east are rather sanguine about “our” land when they’ve crapped all over “their” land. But as long as Frank can claim the Taunton river in Fall River is a “wild and scenic river”, well only those who’ve actually been there get the joke.

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          • > my point is those voters in the east are
            > rather sanguine about “our” land when
            > they’ve crapped all over “their” land.

            That’s a fair point.

            Redistribution of federal land! We’ll open up the West if we can reclaim the East. Eminent domain!

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  5. My friend’s uncle is making a documentary right now called “A Fierce Green Fire”. which discusses how environmentalism was originally a conservative idea: http://www.afiercegreenfire.com/

    Personally, and I think a lot of libertarians and conservatives share this view, my problem with the climate change discussion and global warming is not a problem with the science – it’s a problem with the dumb, same-old same-old liberal solutions to the problems suggested by the science. This dumb liberal universal solvent here is: corporations running out of control? We need more government to keep them in line! As if corporations and government are the only two entities in the entire human world. And then of course, you set in motion an absurd revolving door of regulatory capture and abuse. It’s almost as if the “more government” people and the corporate people are the same…

    Why don’t we just hold CEOs and shareholders criminally liable for environmental damage and stop the double standard?

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    • Wouldn’t that be “more government” to decide what constitutes environmental damage?

      Aside from the fact that THE DAMAGE WOULD ALREADY BE DONE and the CEO’s and asshole retardicans who ordered it would just declare their companies bankrupt and laugh all the way to the bank on a nice ride of stock options and golden parachute clauses. Kinda like they did when the retardicans ruined the economy by deregulating the financial markets, giving us enron, worldcom, the 2007 bush market crash, and the usual giant retardican middle finger to the middle class.

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  6. Why don’t we hold Commissar Barry responsible for pissing away $4.7 Trillion dollars, bankrupting the US, and causing 17% unemployment?

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    • I think we should, Bob. It’s his economy now and he is the architect of significant features of the Federal government’s spending habits right now.

      Where you and I depart is that I’m far from convinced that had we had McCain instead of Obama, things would be materially different.

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        • “we all know it is Bush’s fault”

          How much of the deficit was from the Afghan and Iraqi wars being put on the books? Bush’s fault. How much from the BUSH tax cuts? Bush’s fault.

          And remind me again of the “pushback against ‘Barry'”….

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      • Burt, my fellow interlocutor, I didn’t vote for or support the heroic McCain. As a clear thinking Paleocon I voted Constitutional Party.
        With that said I don’t think the confused senator from Az would spend $700 big ones on union thugs, failed faux energy systems, and other re-distribution schemes grounded on political affiliations, do you?

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    • You mean starting from the fact that he didn’t “piss away $4.7 trillion dollars”, he was handed a crappy, rigged budget from Chimpy and decided NOT to try to hide the cost of Chimpy’s wars and the Retardican “deregulation” disaster off the books?

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      • Mr. Stewart, don’t listen to Northie, he’s trying to give liburls a good name. I like your style, dude, keep up it up!
        Listen, I’m kinda with you on the “Bush’s fault’ thing you lefties have goin’ for ya, keep that up too!
        I thought you’d really be upset with my 17% unemployment figure? I’m glad you’re with me, it’s a lot higher than those bootlicking MSM types are saying..maybe you have some friends outta work?
        Hey, welcome aboard, we another commie-dem here at the League.
        (“Chimpy Wars,” loved that one!)

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  7. To use an old cliché: it’s the economy, stupid. People, understandably, are going to be rather skeptical of dealing with a problem that has not yet occurred (and may not occur within their lifetime) through means which quite possibly could exacerbate the pain of the catastrophe with us here-and-now.

    I don’t know about this explanation. The present economy has something to do with it, and the economy in general more so, but as right-wing skepticism of anthropogenic climate change can be traced back to before our contemporary financial woes, today’s troubled economy doesn’t fully explain the skepticism.

    My guess: this skepticism of the clear scientific consensus is largely the product of ideological antagonism toward those who promote traditionally left-wing sounding solutions to the crisis, an antagonism that’s fueled by the trusted ideological authorities who depict the idea of climate change as a passageway for fundamental and foundational political, social, and economic change, change that would destroy the country. In sum, it mostly comes down to distrusting scientific authorities on the basis of the say-so of trusted ideological authorities.

    (I say “say-so” because, let’s face it, the vast majority of people with a position on climate change one way or another couldn’t even begin to explain the rationale of their position. We defer to the experts, scientific or ideological.)

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    • The ‘clear scientific consensus’ does not include, among others, Richard Lindzen, who may be the country’s most eminent meteorologist. And, yes, some of us noticed the stench emanating from the University of East Anglia. Some of us recall Carl Sagan trafficking in global cooling scenarios in prestigious peer-reviewed publications. Some of us recall the popular writings of Paul Ehrlich. Some of us just might figure that eschatology is a cultural constant and people engaged in promoting the authority of their occupational guild is as well.

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      • Re: Lindzen

        Also, “Carl Sagan global cooling Paul Ehrlich eschatology occupational guild” checks off a few of the things that get mentioned frequently by conservative ideological and media sources. In response to a comment saying “it mostly comes down to distrusting scientific authorities on the basis of the say-so of trusted ideological authorities”, this perhaps says more than you were meaning it to.

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      • I’d like to point out that meteorologists are in a rather disreputably seen science, have zero training in actually evaluating trends on the basis of a decade or longer, and generally are wrong more often than right anyways.

        Calling upon the authority of someone who “may be the country’s most eminent meteorologist” is rather akin to asking “the country’s most eminent trash collector” how to solve a societal littering problem. There’s no skillset overlap to acknowledge and so his opinion isn’t worth any more than anyone else’s.

        Moral of the story: beware of Appeals To Authority, consult your Baloney Detection Kit, and go from there.

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        • , Dude, pretending Lindzen is a meteorologist like the toothy blondes on TV is a grave mistake. Long before someone named Mann pretended to be a climatologist, Lindzen had already written the textbooks. You don’t become the Sloan professor of ANYTHING at MIT if you’re just a trash collector. I’m reasonably certain you don’t have the pedigree to even shine his shoes.

          Like any who /dare/ to challenge the status quo, his name has been dragged through the slime and the mud full Alinsky style by the left-leaning smear merchants using AGW to further their own ends, real science be damned.

          But this is group-think. You want to be a lefty, you MUST believe in certain things and AGW is close to the top of the list. The right has to believe the left is wrong, so best to disagree with them across the board too.

          Remember the /theory/ doesn’t just say the earth is warming, it says humans are the primary cause. Unfortunately as Lindzen (and hundreds of other brave souls) have said, the models haven’t been right yet and the theory has a ton of holes in it. Science is not settled by consensus, it is settled by PROOF. There was a “consensus” of 100’s of scientists who said Einstein was all wet. Who was right?

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          • Like any who /dare/ to challenge the status quo, his name has been dragged through the slime and the mud full Alinsky style by the left-leaning smear merchants using AGW to further their own ends, real science be damned.

            You mean, Lindzen is a corporate lackey who’s been paid off by Big Business to put out his Tobacco Institute Denialiasm.

            Your turn.

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            • You forgot to mention that he’s a baby killer. No wait, that GAINS points with the left doesn’t it?

              Unfortunately for Lindzen, he keeps producing accurate scientific assessments, keeps getting published in peer reviewed publications (difficult given the “team’s” well-documented censorship methods), and keeps beating the “the emperor (AGW) is wearing no clothes” drum. What can your side do, but use ad hominem attacks against him?

              For instance I could pick on your hero Albert just call me Einstein Gore but that would be shooting fish in a barrel. P.S. unlike others, I gave you the most balanced article on Gore’s BS that I could find, virtually all the others that google’d up were far less generous to your patron saint.

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              • Lindzen is producing results that challenge the current model. Sure. That’s actually good science, we like that.

                What Lindzen isn’t doing is proposing an alternative model that explains observations (yes, I know, you think all the observations are false, but we already went around that maypole). He’s not offering a competing theory, he’s pointing out that there’s errors in the current one.

                Well, we’d expect there to be errors in the current one, so that’s not exactly a surprise.

                We *know* that the Sun isn’t suddenly sending more heat our way. That’s an easy one to measure. We have no plausible reason to suspect that the core of the Earth is suddenly heating up. And yet we have temperature variations that are trending upwards.

                Yes, again, I grant that you don’t like CRU’s temperature assessments and you think they’re all based on that (which, I still don’t see, but again, okay).

                Does this mean that when other measurements come in (as they will, even with NASA flubbing Glory), you will revisit your belief, Ward?

                When GEOSS goes online in or about 2015, will you accept that as an authoritative measurement?

                Before we go any farther down the rabbit hole on climate science, what’s your standard of proof? What would it take to convince you that you’re wrong?

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                • What Lindzen isn’t doing is proposing an alternative model. Reminds me almost word for word of the discussion in atheism where the atheist is required to offer an alternative theory. That argument was roundly booed as I recall.

                  1) Lindzen isn’t required to propose an alternate theory to explain what isn’t happening is he?
                  2) You’ve never resolved the issues that were opened by the climategate emails, and have been beaten to death elsewhere including the island heat effect (against siting regulations) where temp stations can be found. Not to mention that once Watts sent out the word that he wanted pictures of temp stations, the IPCC governments responded by REFUSING to divulge where said locations were on the basis of NATIONAL SECURITY! You can of course defend that tactic on purely scientific grounds no?

                  Not only is CRU doing questionable “interpolation” of temperature records, but when called on it, they DESTROYED the source records so no one could see what they had done or how. You don’t “see it” because you aren’t being given the opportunity. You’re a math major, remember that part in math where you’re required to show your work? Apparently the “team” is given a pass on that but not of course any dissenter, no they must submit to full rectal exams.

                  Given that Lindzen is going against the (literally) party line it is no wonder that peer reviewed articles can suddenly blossom that challenge his methodologies. Also as I proved beyond any shadow of doubt in our previous discussion, when the peer review process is BROKEN and when challengers to the “faith” are required to submit to 100 pages of responses for an 8 page paper – well Mike Schilling thinks that’s perfectly fair of course, unless and until it should happen to anything he actually APPROVES of, then as they say the shoe is on the other foot and I hope to God it pinches him more than a little.

                  But prejudice is a funny thing. Once you’ve made up your mind, you aren’t allowed to see the flaws in your logic, there lies cognitive dissonance. Better to keep pretending the king is wearing clothes and scream loudly at any who dare to deny it.

                  Does the climate change? Absolutely! In fact AT NO TIME IN THE HISTORY OF THE PLANET HAS IT NOT CHANGED. Can puny humankind effect change on so massive a scale? The honest jury is out on that, but the political jury has already made up its own puny mind. Remember and let’s be perfectly clear on this, the argument isn’t whether the earth’s climate is changing the argument is whether HUMANS are causing it.

                  For the billionth time, this isn’t science this is politics.

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                  • Ward, I’ll note that you wrote an awful lot but didn’t answer the most important question I put in the comment to which you were replying.

                    Before we go any farther down the rabbit hole on climate science, what’s your standard of proof? What would it take to convince you that you’re wrong?

                    > Reminds me almost word for
                    > word of the discussion in atheism
                    > where the atheist is required to
                    > offer an alternative theory.

                    There is a reason why that requirement doesn’t mean the same thing in a philosophical debate as it does in other areas, Ward.

                    > 2) You’ve never resolved the
                    > issues that were opened by
                    > the climategate emails, and
                    > have been beaten to death
                    > elsewhere

                    I’m not entirely certain which issues you’re talking about, specifically. There’s been lots of “beating to death” about CRU done elsewhere, granted. There’s also been a lot of *defense* of CRU done elsewhere, too.

                    Again, if you have no standard by which to change your mind, I don’t see this being a productive line of inquiry.

                    > Not to mention that once Watts
                    > sent out the word that he wanted
                    > pictures of temp stations, the
                    > IPCC governments responded
                    > by REFUSING to divulge where
                    > said locations were on the basis
                    > of NATIONAL SECURITY!

                    Ward, this is not particularly compelling evidence of conspiracy. Let’s go back to Occam for a second. What makes more sense: that a large group of governments all want to hide something (again, I’m not really clear on *why* they would want to hide this something – what do governments have to gain by ginning up a fake AGW theory isn’t clear)… or that bureaucrats just want people who bother them to eff off? Have you *ever* filed a FOIA request? How many of these things get any sort of response?

                    > You can of course defend that
                    > tactic on purely scientific grounds no?

                    Of course not. However, it doesn’t seem to me to be a case where a *scientific* defense is necessary. You’re asking why paper pushers don’t act like scientists. Well, that’s not a very interesting question, is it?

                    > Not only is CRU doing questionable
                    > “interpolation” of temperature
                    > records, but when called on it,
                    > they DESTROYED the source
                    > records so no one could see what
                    > they had done or how.

                    Okay, we ran around this maypole before, but I’ll do one more lap.

                    Correcting a data set by normalizing it is actually good scientific procedure. Yes, it is possible for nefariousness to creep into the process, here, I’ll grant you that. However, it’s also *very, very* common to discard old data when you’re done with it.

                    CRU didn’t keep the original data because they had no particular need to do so, as the original source data is still available from the original sources. Yes, you’ve pointed at the fact that the NOAA currently gives the interpreted data set out as its normalized data set. *IF* the data set is reasonable to use, this would be *normal* practice, not evidence of nefariousness.

                    CRU’s data set is currently being analyzed by this project. So far, they have testified that their results, using methodologies which are supposed to answer the criticisms you list here, do not significantly vary from the CRU interpreted data set.

                    So I ask you again, Ward. What would it take to convince you that you are likely wrong? If the Berkeley Earth project results in a data set that corresponds reasonably to the CRU set, will that satisfy you? If the GEOSS program, when online, verifies global mean temperature is going up, will that satisfy you?

                    If it won’t, then will anything satisfy you?

                    > Can puny humankind effect change
                    > on so massive a scale? The honest
                    > jury is out on that

                    No, it’s not, this is a silly stance.

                    Humankind has reworked most of the land biosphere towards its own use. We’ve eliminated millions of species (most of which are good riddance, by the way) and basically reworked a solid portion of the landmass on three of the continents to support human-beneficial agriculture over a wild ecosystem.

                    We’ve terraformed the earth over the last 10,000 years, and there are damn few places left on it that don’t bear the stamp of human progress. Which I’m perfectly fine with, I’m no Gaia-worshipper.

                    > but the political jury has already
                    > made up its own puny mind.

                    Really? Then why is it that there are only two candidates in one of the two major political parties who ascribe to AGW?

                    From downthread:

                    > Even the simplest experiments
                    > are ignored, yet other non-
                    > climate scientists have done
                    > them including starting with
                    > inert gasses and building up
                    > the 382 ppm co2 by injecting
                    > just that amount into the
                    > apparatus. They’ve gone
                    > further and accurately
                    > measured the IR captured
                    > therein. Their results have
                    > differed quite a bit from the
                    > published models, but of
                    > course they cannot get
                    > published even though they
                    > ARE following the scientific
                    > method.

                    Publishing a basic chemistry lab in a major journal would be remarkable. There are also readily accessible explanations as to why this isn’t a great method for providing counterfactuals.

                    To be fair, I haven’t offered my own criteria for shifting my own acceptance of AGW as a theory. So here, I’ll offer you mine.

                    (a) If Berkeley comes up with radically different interpretations than CRU, and Berkeley’s interpretations lead to different models, then I’m on board with revising.

                    (b) If global ice sheets get bigger, the trend in Arctic or Antarctic ice presence reverses suddenly, I’m on board with revising.

                    (c) If GEOSS, after it comes online, begins to produce wildly unexpected results, I’m on board with revising.

                    (d) If competing models that are less conservative inputs than IPCC come up with more conservative results, then I’d be all on board with revisiting.

                    Here’s the thing, Ward. When I see an anti-AGW argument, it typically takes me about 20 minutes to track down an explanation from what (ought to be) a reliable source that explains why the anti-AGW argument has holes in it. I have never, not ever, not once, had anyone back down from the presented counter-argument. Nobody who is an anti-AGW person ever says, “Gee, okay, that pokes a hole in what I thought.”

                    Instead, they bring up another point. And then I go off and search and pretty easily find a counter-argument to *that* point. And instead of saying, “Hm, that’s two of my points that have been incorrect, maybe I ought to revisit the source of these points as being reliable”, they bring up a third point.

                    And then, three months later, they bring the first two points back up again in another conversation, as if they’ve forgotten that we’ve already covered that ground.

                    Yes, it’s theoretically possible that there is actually a global scientific conspiracy to sell me this pony. That does not jibe, at all, with my experience with scientists, who are generally an irascible lot and like to beat each other up, metaphorically. I simply do not see what the benefit is of such a conspiracy, except some very fuzzy Gaia-worship and I don’t know very many Gaia-worshipping type scientists. Certainly not enough to explain the prevalence of opinion.

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                    • Applying corrections to a data set to deal with noise and erroneous results is fine.

                      Telling people that you won’t show them the original data is not.

                      Telling people that you can’t show them the original data because you lost it makes you look like an idiot.

                      Telling people that you can’t show them the data because you lost it but that the corrected data is fine anyway because you totally did the corrections right and anyone who wants to check your math is either an idiot or an oil-industry shill is…questionable.

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                    • > Telling people that you won’t
                      > show them the original data
                      > is not.

                      The original data is available. This is what the Berkeley project is actually using to reconstruct the CRU dataset.

                      Indeed, you can get this directly from CRU now.

                      I imagine compiling this was a giant headache.

                      > Telling people that you can’t
                      > show them the original data
                      > because you lost it makes
                      > you look like an idiot.

                      Do you know *how badly* I wish people around here would throw away old data *more* often, not less?

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                    • , my standard of proof hasn’t moved. Has yours? This is trivial, setup an experiment and have anyone who wants to replicate said experiment. Now do I HAVE to kick your ass and show you that the “climate” scientists have REFUSED to share their code AGAIN? You’re being purposely obtuse on this and I respect your intelligence. Look around lose the rose colored glasses and see what is being hidden. You’re not refuting anything, the NEW climate industrial complex which has its own agenda is playing you for a patsy and you’re suckered right into it. This is an IQ test and you’re not doing as well as you should.

                      I’ve shown you scientists hiding then destroying data, I’ve shown you scientists circumventing the peer review process, I’ve shown that those same scientists have a monetary reward for continuing the status quo ala Kirk below who has done an excellent job of identifying all the suspicious behavior in the same post. You want to close your eyes to that because you work at a research college collecting said grants go ahead. While you’re at it, close your eyes to all the rest the left is doing, upping the ante on gitmo and the rest, its all good, you’re a lefty and therefore they can do no wrong. Keep it up, right up until they slide the handcuffs on you. Me? I’m digging in my heels and saying enough is enough.

                      We just had a warming spell in the US. We also had cities like Seattle with record cold at the same time. What is the AVERAGE of that? Do the math properly across the whole WORLD and the average says the temp did not MOVE. Do the math wrong and you have the AGW mess all over again. Yes, there are valid reasons to play with the source numbers, but the invalid reasons are to play with the numbers to support YOUR case and not the facts. You keep ignoring this. I’m not going to carry your water for you on this you haven’t shown me jack diddly that changes the reality here. You can’t address Climategate, you can’t address Realclimate censoring responses and throwing all of Hug’s analysis away because it is “an inconvenient truth” against their story. Nope there is something fishy in Denmark and only holding your nose gets you past it. But you’re welcome to do that by all means, a rose is a rose after all.

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                    • > My standard of proof hasn’t moved.

                      That’s great. You still haven’t told me what it is.

                      Tell me, Ward. What event/events/publications/research/instrumentation will change your mind? Anything?

                      Put up or we’re done on this topic; I’ll gladly engage you elsewhere but this is fruitless otherwise. Call your shot and tell me when you will say, “Oh, Jesus H., I was wrong.” Because right now you’ve drawn no line. Which leaves you free to change your mind on what’s “good enough for proof” when the next piece of evidence comes out. And the next. And the next. It’s infinite regress, turtles all the way. Xeno can’t prove anything, because each time something comes out, you just pick up your bag and move halfway the distance to the goal, and there’s no Planck’s length on this field to break your strategy.

                      > Now do I HAVE to kick your
                      > ass and show you that the
                      > “climate” scientists have
                      > REFUSED to share their
                      > code AGAIN?

                      Violence solves nothing, dude. But sure, give me a link. An actual link… to a report, making a claim. Don’t worry about it getting caught in moderation. And when I find something that refutes the claims made in your link, and I give you *that* link, will you then agree that your link’s claim is flawed? Because if you won’t, then again, we’re not going anywhere. You don’t get to say, “Oh, *that* scientist is in on the gag. But mine isn’t.” You have to either come up with a consistent yardstick or we can’t even duke it out on the evidence… because yours will always count, and mine never will.

                      You have something you regard as evidence. If I find something that contests it, you can’t ignore it. You wanna hammer out ground rules for what qualifies as credible links beforehand, we can do that too.

                      > The NEW climate industrial
                      > complex which has its own
                      > agenda is playing you for a
                      > patsy and you’re suckered
                      > right into it.

                      You’re going to have to lay this out for me in detail, Ward. What is this new climate industrial complex? Who are the players? Where do they spend their money? What do they hope to gain? No more mysterious “they”, Ward. Give me company names. Tie me links to congresscritters.

                      And then explain to me how this conspiracy flourishes in a world where ExxonMobile, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, China National Petroleum, BP, Sinopec, State Grid, Total, and Conoco Phillips are all in the top 25 biggest companies in the world – all dependent on natural gas, oil, or coal. As are Toyota, General Motors, Daimler, and Volkswagen… which all are tied directly to petroleum. As are Wal-Mart and Japan Post Holdings, for cheap shipping. Shoot, dude, on Fortune’s 2011 top companies list we’ve got three five in the top 20 that don’t depend upon industrialized petroleum directly: AXA (insurance, #14), Fannie Mae (hah!, #15), ING (#17), Glencore International (#18), and Berkshire Hathaway (#19).

                      And Berkshire & Glencore both have a lot of dependencies on existing commodities or industry, so they almost count, too.

                      These companies are very large, and very invested (in most cases, critically so) in the existing power generation capabilities of the human species, and they have lots of really smart business guys working there.

                      So how is it that they’re so fishing stupid that they’re losing out to this new climate-industrial-complex? Who are these shadowy uber-conspiracists and why did they bother tackling all these companies by investing in a nefarious 30+ year conspiracy?

                      If they’re that goddamn brilliant, *they would just have taken over the boards at all these companies in the last thirty years*.

                      This is exactly the line of reasoning I get from anti-vaxxers who point at how much money Glaxo makes off of a vaccine and say, “See! That’s a ton of money! That’s why they’re doing this!” And then I point out the fact that the unregulated, non-medical, largely woo vitamin and supplement market is ten times bigger, and that they could easily just make homeopathic remedies without government interference or oversight and make a shitpile more money. And then the antivaxxer just says, “You can’t see the evidence in front of your face,” which goggles my goddamn mind.

                      > You want to close your eyes to
                      > that because you work at a
                      > research college collecting said
                      > grants go ahead.

                      You’ve got to make up your mind, Ward. Am I smart enough to avoid this trap, or not? Am I self-interested enough to let this affect my judgment, or not? Make the call, dude. Don’t insinuate. Call me a chump or drop this line of subtle accusation – is it possible that I assess this issue on good faith, or not?

                      And for the record, my current position relies (almost) not one whit on research grant money, and the research grant money that does flow into my department has nothing whatsoever to do with climate research, so if you’re going to accuse me of being a stooge or a dipstick, at least accuse me of being a dipstick about computer science research.

                      > While you’re at it, close your
                      > eyes to all the rest the left is
                      > doing, upping the ante on gitmo
                      > and the rest, its all good, you’re
                      > a lefty and therefore they can
                      > do no wrong.

                      You’re either not reading this blog regularly, or you really don’t understand my political leanings in the slightest… or you’ve decided that I *must* be a liberal in hiding because there’s just no other way I could fall for this scheme otherwise.

                      Not sure which.

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          • Science is not settled by consensus, it is settled by PROOF.

            This is just a mistake. Empirical questions are settled by a preponderance of evidence supporting conclusion X over Y or any other alternative. A preponderance of evidence isn’t either ‘a proof’, or ‘proof’ in any senses of those words.

            Insofar as a theory is supported by the evidence at the explanatory/predictive level, it gains support by concensus within the scientific community itself.

            The central problem I see in the denialist’s argument is that no one in the scientific community believes that complex systems like climate and weather patterns can be explained with the same degree of certainty that (for example) gravity is explained by the warping of space-time, or biological evolution is explained by genetics. The standard the denialist holds the scientific community to isn’t one that scientists – as a community – accept.

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              • The hypothesis states that “AGW, caused principally by human CO2 emissions, has been the primary cause of past warming and that it represents a serious potential threat” has yet to be validated by empirical data. It has yet to successfully withstand falsification attempts. Therefore, Patrick, it is still an “uncorroborated hypothesis”, with a considerable amount of “uncertainty” in its supporting science.

                We may as well be discussing string theory. A neat idea, but until we can construct a meaningful experimental construct to validate (or invalidate) it, we are left with a neat idea, nothing else.

                Now I’ve seen Physicists who built experimental apparati to investigate components of the AGW theory. You won’t see them published in the climate journals for exactly the reasons I showed before in the climategate emails. The “team” won’t allow it, will threaten (again) to boycott the magazines etc. The only difference today is they are considerably smarter about deleting old emails, just like companies post Enron do a better job of deleting incriminating records now. Doesn’t mean they aren’t committing fraud etc. just getting better about not getting caught.

                I’ve proven the “team” has an agenda, I’ve proven the “team” has lied, I’ve proven the “team” has manipulated the data and they refuse to follow basic tenets of scientific practice including documentation of ALL work and sharing of data and methods so OTHER scientists can replicate same. But they refuse, because they don’t want “denialists” to have access and poke holes in their pet theories.

                What will it take to convince me these guys are on the up and up? Remediation of all of the above would be a great start, but we haven’t seen any of that have we?

                I’m more than happy to drop the entire discussion however, this isn’t really interesting to me anymore, and if I wanted to blog about it, there are substantially superior mediums (excepting of course Realclimate where intelligent opposing posts are quickly deleted and where published authors whose work is being criticized aren’t allowed to respond either).

                If they have nothing to hide, why continuously engage in this behavior? You can’t answer that, or won’t.

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                • I wasn’t aware climate scientists are schemers on the level of Lex Luthor, Gordon Gekko, and Bernie Madoff combined.

                  But of course, since climate change deniers don’t have any facts on their side, you attack the messenger. Can’t change the facts, so you attack the character of the person presenting them.

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                  • Gee, let me guess Jess. You’ve never read a SINGLE climategate email have you? I could post them here, but then you’d have cognitive dissonance and have to drink your headache away. Best to stay with your coolaid, no hangover.
                    Here’s another site you won’t click on, but it has PLENTY that you can’t refute with snarky lines.

                    Your post at the bottom neatly shows your TRUE colors, which has nothing whatsoever to do with science and everything to do with points 2 and 8 of this post

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                    • ClimateGate was and is an overblown story hyped up by climate change denialists because it’s one thing they can hold on to up against the mountain of evidence and say, “look! Some scientists did thing x, y, and l I don’t actually understand, but Fox News and the American Petroleum Institute helpfully told me it’s proof climate change isn’t happening!”

                      As for your link, get back to me when that site’s web design has evolved past 1997.

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                • …Enron’s entire scheme was unraveled by a bunch of college students.
                  …The lead paint thingy was unraveled by one physicist who by gum knew what lead oxide looks like.
                  If you are alleging that corporations are failing to disclose their business model to investors, you will find that this would make you a lot of money in court.

                  Which is why your comment is false, naturally. Because neither you nor anyone else is suing corporations.

                  Corporations continue to post statements for investors (read Walmarts, it documents the demise of the middle class, as part of the explanation as to why it’s not making as much money as it used to).

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            • Look, when your lead cheerleader is a non-scientist AND a politician AND a member of a political party that leans hard to the left it doesn’t take rocket “science” to realize that the opposing political party will disagree. That’s what the OP here says, and it makes perfect sense. All the rest is window dressing.

              below in his own blogs readily admits that the scientists he knows are largely left-leaning so they will have that bias, just like in electronics. If you don’t understand bias in circuits, look it up.

              Pat also mentions that mathematics isn’t science, and goes on to say, Compare this to Science, where instead you have a theory, which you attempt to prove or disprove by running experiments, gathering data, and analyzing the data in the context of what is considered to be the body of knowledge in your particular field. Science is the iterative process of trying to explain observable data using propositions that enable you to expand your capabilities to predict the outcomes of future events.

              But notice what he DOESN’T say when he’s talking about “climate” science: In science, you observe reality, make notes, and draw conclusions. I repeat that here for emphasis, observe reality, make notes, draw conclusions. What is missing? The definition is correct above for SCIENCE as the recognized “scientific method”. What Pat subconsciously did talking about “climate” science was identify what THEY are doing, which is NOT the scientific method. The methodology is flawed. Even the simplest experiments are ignored, yet other non-climate scientists have done them including starting with inert gasses and building up the 382 ppm co2 by injecting just that amount into the apparatus. They’ve gone further and accurately measured the IR captured therein. Their results have differed quite a bit from the published models, but of course they cannot get published even though they ARE following the scientific method.

              The climate scientists ignore this and only use computer models, models by the way which have continually FAILED at producing propositions that “enable you to expand your capabilities to predict the outcomes of future events”. They even use those same models (which have NEVER BEEN RIGHT) to “debunk” people like Lindzen, a kind of circular logic that would be laughable if it were applied to say, your medical care. Of course the “Patient’ they’d like to operate on is the entire planet and the entire world economy.

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            • “Empirical questions are settled by a preponderance of evidence supporting conclusion X over Y or any other alternative.”

              Yeah, like the preponderance of evidence that F = ma. Or the preponderance of evidence that the universal gravitational constant is both universal and constant. Or the preponderance of evidence that radioactive decay is inherent to the atom and is not moderated by any outside influences.

              “The central problem I see in the denialist’s argument is that no one in the scientific community believes that complex systems like climate and weather patterns can be explained with the same degree of certainty that (for example) gravity is explained by the warping of space-time, or biological evolution is explained by genetics.”

              I think if you’re going to make claims about the philosophical underpinnings of science then you should have more than a Discover magazine-level understanding of the debates over the nature of gravity or the chemical-level processes of evolution. Both of these are far from settled (gravity in particular has some serious arguments about it; see the whole “dark matter” imbroglio, for starters.)

              PS these kinds of discussions are so predictable. “The science conclusively proves that AGW is real!” “Actually it doesn’t, here’s some reasons why.” “Well, the scientific method never claims to conclusively prove things…” It would be funny, at least if people weren’t saying that we needed to tax ourselves into nonexistence over it.

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              • DensityDuck said, with sarcasm:


                “Empirical questions are settled by a preponderance of evidence supporting conclusion X over Y or any other alternative.”

                Yeah, like the preponderance of evidence that F = ma. Or the preponderance of evidence that the universal gravitational constant is both universal and constant. Or the preponderance of evidence that radioactive decay is inherent to the atom and is not moderated by any outside influences.

                Oddly, every single one of these has been — and is being — tested and retested to ever more exacting standards, because the greater weight of evidence in their favor is never enough to rule out all possible previously unknown exceptions — things like gravity waves, variations in the fine structure constant, or other exotic physical phenomena. That’s how science works, even for supposedly untouchable physical laws.

                What I find remarkable about this entire thread so far is that nothing — not one thing — has been said to demolish the original claim, namely that there exists a scientific consensus in favor of AGW:

                –One dissenting scientist, however qualified or talented, does not mean lack of consensus. Even a few wouldn’t be enough. Consensus is the opinion of a substantial majority, and that’s exactly what AGW has.

                –Some various things not well explained by current climate models does not mean lack of consensus, either. They’re red herrings, and irrelevant to the proposition at hand.

                –My own (or anyone else’s) relative lack of scientific knowledge doesn’t mean anything at all about scientific consensus. Nor does my opinion mean anything in either direction, because it’s not the opinion of a scientist.

                And that’s about all I’ve seen so far from the naysayers. Not very impressive, and I’m glad I’m not with you, because you folks are really not doing well here.

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                • “DensityDuck said, with sarcasm: ”

                  Oh, whip me, spank me, ‘coz I’m sarcastic.

                  The “consensus” discussion invariably goes like this:

                  “There’s an overwhelming consensus!”

                  “No, here’s a bunch of people who disagree.”

                  “Well they’re not really scientists! There’s an overwhelming consensus among scientists!

                  “Here’s a bunch of scientists who disagree.”

                  “Well they aren’t the right kind of scientists! There’s an overwhelming consensus among climate scientists!”

                  “Here’s some climatologists who disagree.”

                  “They’re just oil-industry stooges! There’s an overwhelming consensus among true Scotsmen–I mean, university-based climate scientists! And nobody has shown that there isn’t.

                  ****

                  >>>”Empirical questions are settled by a preponderance of evidence supporting conclusion X over Y or any other alternative.”

                  >>”Yeah, like the preponderance of evidence that F = ma. Or the preponderance of evidence that the universal gravitational constant is both universal and constant. Or the preponderance of evidence that radioactive decay is inherent to the atom and is not moderated by any outside influences.”

                  >”Oddly, every single one of these has been — and is being — tested and retested to ever more exacting standards, because the greater weight of evidence in their favor…”

                  There’s a reason I chose those three examples of “overwhelming scientific consensus” that turned out not to be the case. Newtonian mechanics have been quite famously disproven, and recent evidence suggests that the rate of radioactive decay is influenced by solar neutrino flux (whereas up until a few years ago everyone would have told you it was an immutable constant.)

                  “Some various things not well explained by current climate models does not mean lack of consensus, either. They’re red herrings, and irrelevant to the proposition at hand.”

                  I want your life, for just one day, where I can ignore things that are wrong with my plan because they’re just red herrings irrelevant to the proposition at hand. That’ll work real well when I go into the bank and try to withdraw four hundred thousand dollars in cash. After all, there’s an overwhelming consensus that I’ve got that much money, and nobody can show evidence that can prove me wrong, and anyone who tries is probably just working for the bank (which has a vested interest in maintaining the fiction that I’ve only got twelve dollars and forty-two cents in my checking account.)

                  “My own (or anyone else’s) relative lack of scientific knowledge doesn’t mean anything at all about scientific consensus.”

                  So let me get this straight. If I follow the advice of financial professionals, and educated (and experienced) economists, then I’m an idiot.

                  But if I follow the advice of climate professionals, and educated (and experienced) climatologists, then I’m doing the right thing.

                  I guess the deciding factor is What Jason Kuznicki Knows Stuff About.

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                  • in short: yes. because if your economists and “finance professionals” could prove their case in a court of law, they would make a bundle of money. The fact that they are not in the court of law, right now, suing Wall Street, is profound evidence that they are spouting nonsense.

                    Also, the fact that Wall Street doesn’t like getting sued — and yet is on the side of AGW, even though they can afford to hire the best of the best, is yet more evidence that AGW does exist.

                    AGW models are falsifiable. In fact, many of them have proved to be too conservative, vis a vis the changes we have seen in actual data.

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                  • Yes! I do find it both more important and more plausible that ordinary folk should have a firm grasp of personal finance, in preference to refuting whatever alternate science DensityDuck wants to browbeat them about.

                    If you follow the advice of financial professionals, you are still unlikely to beat the market. Any honest financial professional will tell you this. And if you can’t balance your checking account every month, you’re still going to be screwed, no matter which financial advisor you have.

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                    • That should make you rich as Croesus by this time, Bob.

                      *That’s* why you’re here. You’re sitting on a pile of gold, chuckling about all the suckers in the modern economy, and this is idle amusement, right?

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                    • > i know finance professionals
                      > who routinely beat the market.
                      > it isn’t THAT hard.

                      Hrm; I seem to recall seeing some sort of analysis wherein random samplings of finance professionals beat the market… not at all, over time. In fact, they did basically about as well as dumping all your dough in the S&P 500 index and calling it a day.

                      It’s certainly possible that any one individual could do better, especially in the short run. I’m not so certain that any given financial planner can do equally well at all states of the market, though.

                      Taken over a lifetime of working the market, it’s demonstrably difficult for anybody to be outside the norm. There’s not that many Warren Buffets out there. It only takes a couple of missteps to wipe out a decade of steady growth.

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                    • Pat,
                      not only do I know someone significantly more intelligent/well-read than your average financial professional, he also likes to play with shorting, and other weird esoteric shit.
                      Not saying he doesn’t take losses, just that a few big plays fix a whole lotta losses.
                      Sides, if you’re still in the small investing game, you’re probably winning [da fools went broke trusting the republicans.]

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                  • There’s a reason I chose those three examples of “overwhelming scientific consensus” that turned out not to be the case. Newtonian mechanics have been quite famously disproven…

                    But look, when Newtonian mechanics was replaced with Relativity, gravity wasn’t discarded as a left-leaning myth! The evidence by which the theory is tested remained the same for both theories.

                    You’re confusing the evidence justifying a theory with the correct explanatory account of the evidence.

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                  • Newtonian mechanics have been quite famously disproven.

                    You should read a physics textbook. Newtonian mechanics haven’t been disproven (proof, by the way, is for mathematicians and logicians). They’ve been shown to be special cases of Einstonian mechanics that operate at speeds not approaching c (roughly). In other words, your example kind of undermines your point.

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                    • Nah, it doesn’t undermine his point, really.

                      There’s “proof” and then there’s “proof”… and what the common man means by proof isn’t either of those things, really.

                      It’s shorthand.

                      And while your reframing is actually accurate and correct, I think it’s fair to say that Newton wasn’t writing up his book based upon the idea that it was a special case of anything: he was writing up his stuff on the idea that it was the *general* case. In that sense, you can definitely say that Newtonian mechanics has been disproven as the general mechanism which explains motion and the interaction of objects in the universe.

                      But I quibble. Ignore me.

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                    • What does undermine his point, tho, is that on his view, disproving a theory entails somehow rejecting the evidence upon which the old theory was based.

                      That’s just a mistake. The evidence is what it is, and as more comes in, theories evolve, get refined, and often replaced. But the one constant is the evidence: whether it be directly observable or statistically correlated.

                      I really don’t understand what DD is talking about when he uses the analogy of of Newton/Einstein as an example demonstrating that ‘the evidence’ is subject to dispute.

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                    • > What does undermine his point,
                      > tho, is that on his view,
                      > disproving a theory entails
                      > somehow rejecting the evidence
                      > upon which the old theory was
                      > based.

                      Ah, yes.

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                    • Patrick, what I think undermines his point is that Newtonian mechanics are still true, they’re just true in a limited way, and have been subsumed under a larger theory. If we apply his analogy, then, what we get is that AGW is true, but under a larger theory of climate change. Which, you know, is sort of what we have.

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                    • Newtonian mechanics are as “true” as trapezoidal integration. i.e. they’re not, but we still use them, because the results are inexact but generally close enough to be useful (and it’s a lot easier than doing it the theoretically-correct way.)

                      My point–which everyone seems to intentionally avoid discussing–is that up until the beginning of the 20th century, Newtonian mechanics wasn’t just a useful approximation; it was the law. Force equalled mass times acceleration, and all of those three values were constant, and you could determine a particle’s position and velocity to arbitrary degrees of precision. These were settled matters, with hundreds of years of experimental evidence backing them up. Anyone who suggested different was a crazy idiot.

                      So I’d think you’d forgive someone who says “hey, the error bars on your curve are larger than the reported change, maybe we should take another look at this before we all kill ourselves to save the world.”

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                    • Density, your point, which we’ve all discussed, is silly. Yeah, Newtonian mechanics were taken to be a theory of everything, and now they’re known to be simply a part of a more general theory of everything (Newtonian mechanics are true, just not for everything). Your basic point seems to be that scientists can be wrong. Duh! Now, what does that have to do with the data?

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                    • >i>My point–which everyone seems to intentionally avoid discussing–is that up until the beginning of the 20th century, Newtonian mechanics wasn’t just a useful approximation; it was the law.

                      Everyone gets your point. It’s an epistemic one about how to best explain the evidence. But here’s the problem, which Patrick outlined very clearly earlier in the thread: insofar as you grant the evidence but dispute the theory which accounts for it, you have to provide a better explanatory account of the existing evidence.

                      Insofar as you reject the evidence, then you’ve moved the discussion away from the realm of science to politics, ideological agendas and conspiracy theories.

                      But you can’t have it both ways.

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                    • “[I]nsofar as you grant the evidence but dispute the theory which accounts for it, you have to provide a better explanatory account of the existing evidence. ”

                      Why?

                      Why is “you’re making a positive claim and you haven’t provided sufficient evidence or valid reasoning to support it” not a complete criticism of an argument?

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                    • Science is not philosophy.

                      If you accept that the current instrumentation and measurement approaches are legitimate (and yes, I get that you might not, but we’re not talking about that right now), then we have an observed temperature increase.

                      There are potential theories that can account for a temperature increase. One, we’re getting more solar input from big daddy Sol (this has been discounted). Two, the core of the Earth is exotherming more from some sort of internal reaction (this has been discounted). Three, the makeup of the atmosphere is changing the heat retention capabilities of the Earth.

                      I’m open to a fourth, if you’ve got one.

                      If you don’t, then you’re stuck. Your new observation that doesn’t seem to fit the theory may in fact have some cause that can be incorporated into the theory. Maybe CO2 rising causes more cloud formation that increases the albedo of the earth and more sunlight is reflected. Hm, is that plausible? Can we incorporate it in the theory? (Yes, actually, they’ve done that).

                      But if you can’t say, “Something else is causing this”, then you’re stuck with the theory we have, or modifying the theory we have, or “God did it.”

                      You don’t get to pull the God card in science.

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                    • In point of fact there’ve been many criticisms of the “evidence”. People have found things to question regarding the interpretation, the analysis, the modeling, and even the collection itself.

                      I mean, when your error bars are big enough to reverse the change entirely, then you’d better be ready for some hard questions about your numbers. And when your answer is “fuck you I’m a climate scientist”, it doesn’t inspire confidence.

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    • My guess: this skepticism of the clear scientific consensus is largely the product of ideological antagonism toward those who promote traditionally left-wing sounding solutions to the crisis

      But cap & trade, the solution actually promoted by Democrats, is a fundamentally conservative, market-based solution: we have a scarce resource (in this case, emissions) so we put a cap on it; create a level playing field for exchanging the resource along with strong, protected contracts; and let the market converge to equilibrium. That’s why Gingrich and Pawlenty were for it before they were against it. So it’s not that the proposed solutions to global-warming are hated because they are traditionally left-wing, they are hated simply because the left-wing supports them.

      My opinion is if you want to see the effect of moneyed interests in politics look no further than global warming. PNAS puts out some great science, but they don’t have anywhere near the marketing of ExxonMobil.

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      • It’s cute how you think that calling something a “market-based solution” means that people will automatically like it.

        The Soviet Union had markets, and its government was obsessed with economics.

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        • … tried and TESTED was the CONSERVATIVE WAY of doign things. George HW Bush did these “market based solutions” and lookee here… NO MORE ACID RAIN.

          … gee, you’d think it was a GOOD IDEA THAT WORKED, wouldn’t cha?

          Unless you were republican.

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        • , that’s a pretty un-charitable read of what I said. My point was not about weather people “automatically” like the policy, but weather their support/condemnation is grounded in consistency.

          I think it’s quite clear that after a decade of calling for a market-based solution to the problem of emissions, mainstream conservatives immediately did a 180 once such a solution had a chance of being passed; Pawlenty being a particularly embarrassing example of this kind of pandering. What changed, if it was neither the proposed solution nor the scientific consensus? Democrats got behind it.

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          • In fairness, it was a stupid idea when they thought of it in the first place.

            But it was a new enough idea that the shine hadn’t come off yet.

            I’m pretty sure that it is a reasonable position to take that somebody who comes up with a new idea might also discover, in their attempts to make it non-squishy and formal and turn it into policy… that it just won’t work to solve the problem.

            I think this is giving a lot of credit to politicos in general that they probably don’t deserve, granted. But it’s a reasonable position to take.

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  8. Elias:

    “The piece goes on to do an admirable job acknowledging the places where the theory of climate change is just that (theory); and how the scientific community has, as of late, often hurt its own cause with unfortunate lapses of tact or wanderings into hyperbole. ”

    Sorry but your attempt to excuse some of the out right lies, distortions of fact and academic intimidation by some folks in the scientific community is pathetic. If the lefties insist that we have to re-order our society to combat global warning I don think it is too much to ask that folks get their facts straight first. If Al Bore can’t fact check his own propaganda piece why should anyone listen to him?

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  9. Independent, just bought a car that gets 19mpg highway. Its BS, global warming then climate change. Gore is a hypocrite, the science is all half assed and its garbage. If you for one minute think that “oh how can you say that, what about future generations”. Well I think I have seen the Socialist agenda when it comes to the Economy, spending us into oblivion and screwing our future generation… Thanks Lib’s and Socialist…

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  10. I believe that most of the GOP rejects the idea of global warming for a majority of reasons. Obviously, some people just reject the idea all together because it’s easier for them to believe that it isn’t true. However, I also feel that some reject the idea because they feel they should. Republicans are notoriously known for being skeptical against the whole global warming issue since it has arisen. Some may just continue to stick to the idea than to admit they’re wrong. However, I understand why they may not completely accept/agree with the idea. A theory is still a theory. Even with evidence, a theory could always be proven wrong. Although, this does not completely excuse those who completely turn down the idea without even looking at the evidence.

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  11. Reasons to be skeptical of AGW.

    1) It offers cheap heroism to the media’s prime demographic, young people with money. These people aren’t going to join the military, but everyone wants to feel that they’re “making a difference,” so the media will always side with AGW believers just to please that demo.

    2) It offers cheap heroism to the left, who like the above would never join the military (they would never lift a finger to defend “Amerika”) but they do get off on “saving the planet.” So, the media will pander to that group just to please them.

    3) It gives the media something cheap, easy, and safe to cover.

    4) It lends the field of climatology (if there is such a thing) a certain immediacy and importance. No AGW, then your science is just interesting, not important–and not worthy of grant money.

    5) Some “climatologists” (sorry to use the quote marks, but until someone proves these people are scientists I’m not willing to lend them that level of respect) have been caught “lying for a good cause.” When a few get caught, it suggests others are lying as well but not getting caught.

    6) Everything is proof of AGW, and nothing is a disproof of it. Four hurricanes in one year in FL proves AGW exists, lack of any since is proof of nothing. Thinner ice at the edges of Greenland proves AGW, thicker ice at the center is not a disproof. Thinner ice on the eastern half of Antarctica is proof of AGW, thicker ice in the western half is not a disproof.

    7) Natural warming and cooling in the past have far outstripped anything suggested by AGW theories. NYC was covered in a half-mile thick sheet of ice. The Sahara used to be a jungle. The Earth’s oceans were once an anoxic stew almost incapable of supporting life. Volcanoes once produced so much CO2 that reduced the human race was reduced down to about 40 breeding females. Yet an infinitesimal change now in CO2 levels–a fraction of a thousandth of one percent– is not only detectable, and not due to natural processes like volcanoes, but proof of AGW.

    8) There’s money to be made in AGW. And unlike oil and coal, which will always make money regardless, industries profiting from AGW depend on it 100%. No AGW, then all those wind-turbine and solar panel companies go out of business. Period.

    9) When someone gets attacked merely for being skeptical about AGW, it should be setting off everyone’s b.s. detectors. But it’s not. It suggests that the entire orthodoxy, and its believers, are so shaky in their convictions and proof that it’s all being held together by sheer willpower

    Now, maybe AGW is happening. But the above are some of my reasons for being skeptical about the whole thing.

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    • AGW is the best kind of religion: one that can point to actual, real-world evidence proving that the Devil exists.

      Well, that is, with sufficient interpretation it proves that the Devil exists. You have to have faith and think about things in the proper non-Evil way to see how the proof works. But it’s there. Believe me. After all, I’m a scientist.

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      • 5) Some “climatologists” (sorry to use the quote marks, but until someone proves these people are scientists I’m not willing to lend them that level of respect) have been caught “lying for a good cause.” When a few get caught, it suggests others are lying as well but not getting caught.

        Who? Where?

        Also, I note that none of your reasons are about the science.

        And Density, seriously? You’re using pithy remarks to argue against a wealth of data? Sure, science is about interpreting data, but you know how you test interpretations? By whether they work. And unfortunately, ACW works better than any other interpretation. Does that mean it could turn out to be wrong? Sure, though the warming itself is a fact, not an interpretation (future warming is an extrapolation, which is a sort of interpretation). Does that mean that we shouldn’t do anything about it? Obviously not.

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        • “You’re using pithy remarks to argue against a wealth of data? ”

          There was a wealth of data that the Sun revolved around the Earth. Then that crazy radical Copernicus went and punked the whole scientific institution.

          “Sure, science is about interpreting data, but you know how you test interpretations? By whether they work. And unfortunately, ACW works better than any other interpretation.”

          AGW is a theory constructed to fit the facts. It’s a curve fit. And the thing about curve fits is that they work great as long as you’re inside them. Past the end they get wonky. (You may remember, for example, how everyone in 1998 predicted that the stock market was going to keep going up forever.)

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          • Thank you! Yes, of course it is a curve fit. and yes, extrapolation is always more of a chancy thing than interpolation.

            Now let’s cut the chaff, and start smoking some beans. Unless you can give compelling evidence why the AGW models have a systematic error to them, you must perforce admit that they Might Be too conservative (and that we will see MORE warming than they expect). There are websites out there (by reputable scientists) that explore this case.

            However, let me give you one more thing: What harm does it do, to switch to green energy now, not later? We’re past peak oil, anywhichway, we gotta get green sooner or later, here. And America’s always been best at science. Why not do a dash of Keynes where it will help?

            … or do you really want to go the geoengineering route, and see if we can get just the right number of nuclear explosions to cool off the atmosphere without going into nuclear winter.

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            • I thought I was in your killfile.

              “Unless you can give compelling evidence why the AGW models have a systematic error to them…”

              You say this as though there haven’t been people doing exactly that for the entire century thus far. I guess you might not have heard of Stephen McIntyre and all the rest. (eagerly awaits the No True Scot argument.)

              “What harm does it do, to switch to green energy now, not later? ”

              The same harm it does to suggest that everyone in America stop eating until the average American weight goes down forty pounds. Are there overweight people? Sure! Is the problem shared by everyone to the same degree? No. And is a starvation diet imposed by the government on the entire country really the appropriate solution?

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              • [my killfile is something I regularly review.]
                I await your response to the relatively conservative argument that cap and trade worked with Acid Rain.

                DensityDuck, when I smell a rat, I smell a rat. And every single one of those folks was/is paid for by Exxon. I call ’em cheerleaders. Trust me, if it was a reputable theory, someone out there would not be accepting Exxon’s money.

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                • I don’t have a problem with the notion of “cap and trade”. I also don’t think that because a tool worked in one situation it’s automatically the best way to fix everything. A hammer works great for driving nails, but that doesn’t mean you can use it to spread paint or prune a rosebush.

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                  • … and this is the relatively sane answer. The acid test for whether someone’s a troll is that they’ll recognize truth for what it is.
                    Cap and Trade, as it stood with the Democrats, would just be “special-interest” cutouts, for about 80% of it.
                    Which isn’t the point of a market-based solution at all.

                    What would you like to do, if you’ll grant the assumption that global warming is indeed occuring, and that we NEED TO DO SOMETHING to keep Earth within acceptable tolerances for livability?

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                    • If we NEED to DO SOMETHING, then I’d say we should be encouraging uptake of nuclear power, particularly by developing economies like China, India, and various countries in the Middle East.

                      Actually, we should be doing this anyway, whether we NEED to DO SOMETHING or not.

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                    • what continues to puzzle me is why nuclear power? It’s inherently dangerous, as regulated in the united states, or apparently as regulated in Japan (where their regs were substantially more solid).

                      I’d think a conservative would recognize economies of scale, and why a nascent technology like solar/hydro might benefit from some early investment.

                      But hell, I put my money where my mouth is.

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                    • > What continues to puzzle me
                      > is why nuclear power?

                      You need base power generation. Solar and wind are too variable. Conceivably you could provide this with tidal, but that’s a long way off.

                      > It’s inherently dangerous, as
                      > regulated in the united states,
                      > or apparently as regulated in
                      > Japan (where their regs
                      > were substantially more solid).

                      We can argue about the regulatory environment, sure.

                      Yes, it’s stupid that we allow nuclear power plants to keep spent fuel rods on campus. Well, that’s what Yucca Mountain was supposed to be for. And (IMO) it was shut down for completely spurious reasons. Well, except for the “it helps keep Harry Reid in his seat” reasons, which aren’t spurious but they aren’t compelling.

                      We have the capability to make nuclear reactors that are significantly safer than existing models. We just haven’t built any here in the U.S. for quite some time.

                      Japan’s nuclear energy company has been yelled at for years for breaking the rules, FWIW. If anything, Japan’s nuclear regulatory agency is a poster child for really bad regulatory capture (worse than the MMS).

                      Now, you could argue that this is going to be an insoluable problem, and that any attempt to improve nuclear regulations would be subject to capture and thus any new nuclear plant strategy is doomed to failure.

                      But that would be something that might challenge one’s belief in regulatory oversight, more generally.

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                    • FWIW, Elias, I’m very sympathetic to the nuclear regulatory capture argument. It’s a more credible long term safety problem than the engineering.

                      There are several new reactor designs that literally fail safe. They break themselves (permanently), granted, which is a huge economic problem for ROI. Which worries me when you have to have a watchdog agency.

                      When your choices are “knowingly break a multibillion dollar installation” or “maybe have a meltdown/blowout/rig explosion”, people make bad safety decisions.

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                    • Patrick,
                      The alternative to base power generation is one HELL of a lot of batteries. Which We Are Working On. We’ll get it licked (and Volt and company are doing a damn good job of financing…)

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                    • Batteries are hard.

                      I’m not convinced that chemical batteries aren’t going to shift the problem into another problem domain.

                      Although, genetically engineered tree batteries could make me revisit batteries as a solution.

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                • , You’re not up to speed. Exxon is in FAVOR of cap and trade. They stand to make additional $Billions from it as do the rest of the climate/industrial complex. Add Duke Energy, GE and others to the mix, I don’t have the time nor inclination to create an exhaustive list here. That was the CIC that I was referring to in the post to Patrick.

                  Al Gore has made over $200M so far, he’s screaming BS at Aspen because his net worth has recently halved as his investors realize he isn’t the horse they can ride to additional billions.

                  Last time I should have to say this, with Stew gone you’re all intelligent people. THIS IS ALL ABOUT POLITICS AND NOT ABOUT SCIENCE.

                  Had there never been POLITICIAN Al Gore, this could have remained science and could have been hammered out. Instead, the magnifying glass PREMATURELY was focused on something that was still “getting worked out”. Then we had the worst kinds of “curve fitting” as the “team” scrambled to make the data match their models (it doesn’t). So instead we have satellite data that completely disagreed, so they “adjusted” the satellite and blamed it on orbit decay. Unfortunately if you study their corrections, that satellite should have burned up already, ie they had to overstate the “orbit decay” to make up for the temperature “correction”.

                  Then there are the ice core “corrections”, the tree ring “corrections”, the missing temperature data “corrections”, the interpolation “corrections”, the statistical “corrections” (from CRU who don’t have a SINGLE statistician on staff), refusal to divulge source code and source data, etc.

                  Now I ask all you cheerleaders if the DATA is wrong, how are we to fit a THEORY to it?

                  Einstein came up with E=MC^2 because he was studying the work of Michelson-Morley. Realize, until those experiments, the CONSENSUS believed there was something called the aether! Michelson, like any TRUE scientist setup an EXPERIMENT (several in fact) and followed the DATA, instead of following the “climate science” method of FORCING the data to follow the theory.

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                  • … see, the Michelson-Morely and Einstein argument is actually relevant, as opposed to the Newtonian mechanics argument.

                    … that said, You Can’t Find systematic twisting of science, on a large scale in any scientific field. You can find a scientist whose errorbars are way way too small for his equipment (electronic charge expt). You can find people who failed to look backwards (atom expt.). And you can find people who screwed up an equation, and bollixed up an entire field for a while (that’s quantum physics. some grad student wrote a utility and mixed up a negative sign).

                    You appear to be alleging both the last one, and some variant of “they’re trying to mislead us!!!”

                    By the time OzoneMan decided to do a movie, the science was well established. The models are constantly changing, and are getting better. This does not mean that they are OFF THAT MUCH. Maybe in the 80’s when he ran for president, there was something else.

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                    • , er, I didn’t make the Newtonian argument.

                      “You Can’t Find”. er, yest I can. The IPCC reports have been shown to be ultimately controlled by no more than 30 people. They can be called, “the team”. The “team” HAS an agenda and like YOU Kim believes in doing dishonest things to further that agenda.

                      Now, how dare I accuse YOU of dishonesty? Simple, down below here YOU tell Jaybird to register Republican to DISHONESTLY vote for the candidate you hate the most in the primary (then of course switch sides in the main election supposedly). This is honest on what planet? I don’t care if Rush says to do it on the other side Rush is WRONG too! Wrong is wrong, you can rationalize all you want but the ethics here is completely clear, to anyone with any semblance of honesty.

                      Your point about OzoneMan is lost on me. Could you let me in on who that is?

                      My personal opinion on Ozone (and something I researched at the time in college) was that the CFC “scare” was suspiciously coincident with the expiration of DuPont’s patents on the production of freon. Not to worry, Dow and DuPont have excellent intellectual property positions in the (much more expensive) replacements. The ozone industrial complex did very well for itself already. Don’t imagine for a second that the air conditioning and appliance industries weren’t on board with this agenda.

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                    • wardsmith,
                      I find no dishonesty in finding the closest thing to an honest election, and voting for the candidate in that election that you would like to hold office.

                      Rush was suggesting the opposite — vote for someone you hate, because then the guy you like would be more likely to win.

                      If I participate in an election, and vote for the person I want to win the general, I am still playing fairly. Besides, I continue to believe that party identification is for chumps.

                      Wardsmith, you are undoubtedly unfamiliar with the concept of a metaanalysis. There are far more than 30 climatologists in America — and some of them even have degrees! Fancy that, eh?

                      OzoneMan == Gore. You’re not familiar with him running for president in the 80’s?

                      … you seem smarter than the avg. troll, so I’ll throw you a softball. Who killed JFK?

                      [the fact that Exxon is fleeing the gas distro business is common knowledge, and does nothing to undermine research conducted circa 2004 or so.]

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                    • , now you’re going to pretend you didn’t write this I’m guessing the usual places you troll have a substantially lower collective IQ to try and get away with crap like this.

                      The 2007 IPCC summary report listed 52 authors and I can show you that many of them were of the same group. I previously did this elsewhere for Patrick rather conclusively via a different method (showing research papers that were cross-linked (ie referred to each other) and/or were written by the same authors). In math this is called cross tabulating.

                      Then there is climate researcher Cliff Mass who not only critiques the climategate emails but also points to his own personal experience. And he’s a SUPPORTER of AGW, albeit not with sufficient intensity.

                      Just like all Lefty’s if you’re not lefty you get eaten by the rest.

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                    • wardsmith, I am actively defending the idea I propounded above. I shall continue to do so.
                      But allow me to digress a little — is your native dialect AAVE, or others where a double negative merely intensifies into more negative? Because I hasten to assure you that voting against the person you like the least is a perfectly valid way of assigning priorities within an elective framework. The fact that I am advocating choosing the most competitive election, is merely asking you to find the place where your vote will count the most.

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                    • , I made an error when I said “for” the candidate you hate most. Obviously that wouldn’t work, I’d started to type in a different direction, changed windows to ACTUALLY GET SOME WORK DONE (Dang it) and continued on without proofing (again). My logic is consistent when you substitute “hate” for “like the least” given the change. You seemed to have understood my drift regardless of my mistake since your reply understood your ethical dilemma. You’re now going to try and tell me that EVEN THOUGH YOU SWITCHED PARTIES only for the primary, you are to quote yourself REALLY “voting for the candidate in that election that you would like to hold office.” That means you are REALLY a Republican after all? To quote Al Gore “BULLSHIT”!

                      No that wasn’t what you were suggesting and Rush wasn’t suggesting what I’d accidentally written. The method being used UNETHICALLY by BOTH sides is to go into the primary and SCREW UP the chances of the candidate that OTHERWISE should have a chance of winning to go onto the general election. Pretending anything else is just that, a pretense.

                      Meantime, because there is no reply option below our posts anymore and hitting the reply above the response is getting too tricky I’m going to wait until another OP to continue this, or we move it below.

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                    • ward, I’d vote for the person who I consider sanest, with the best ideas, and the best backers. This is a good policy in any election.

                      Anything else is strawmanning.

                      If I choose to participate in a choice between A and B, and I choose B because it tastes best, that does not compel me to choose B in the general election. If I use the same criterion as above, and wind up choosing C, I am not being twofaced. I am applying a consistent metric to improve the chances that a good candidate that I like will get elected.

                      In short, I’d rather see B run against C, than have a vote between C and D, because B is so much of a better alternative than A.

                      Am I saying that I’d vote for someone just to screw up their party’s chance of getting elected? HELL NO.

                      I reserve the right to vote against Saudi Arabia, on general principle. If you think that me voting in a primary in order to register my dissent with foreign countries trying to take over our elected officials… I’m not Paul O’Neil, I won’t call you a traitor. But boy does it make me wonder…

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                  • Ward, I agree with you this is largely a political football (see my comment 329 below, et. al.)

                    I believe that the Left is waving this flag around without intending to tackle the problem, much in the same way that Right candidates talk about ending abortion while knowing full well they’re never going to actually take the steps needed to solve the problem.

                    I agree with Jaybird; as a cultural phenomena it’s much more about signaling than anything else.

                    I agree with Mike, if he ever jumps in and says it on this thread (which he hasn’t, and that’s surprising, because this is a thread where it is appropriate): the native statism of the Left is going to stink up the conversation on this topic.

                    That doesn’t mean the science is wrong. Again, here in this last comment, you made a few assertions (with no reference).

                    “So instead we have satellite data that completely disagreed, so they “adjusted” the satellite and blamed it on orbit decay.”

                    “Then there are the ice core “corrections”, the tree ring “corrections”, the missing temperature data “corrections”, the interpolation “corrections”, the statistical “corrections””

                    Corrections, if done correctly, are correct. Throwing scare tags about them isn’t making them incorrect. You and Tom are both offering lots of unsubstantiated, very thinly (or, not thinly at all) veiled accusations.

                    But you’re still not answering my questions: what does it take to change your mind, and how does your conspiracy theory have legs?

                    “Had there never been POLITICIAN Al Gore, this could have remained science and could have been hammered out.”

                    Al Gore, for all his faults, did not invent global warming as a scientific theory. Al Gore choosing to make this a poster child for his post-political career is Al Gore’s decision.

                    The Left accepting it as political flag waving might be a reason to criticize the Left for being silly, just like it might be a reason to criticize the Right for trumping all their Family Values stuff when that has nothing to do with their ability to govern. Even if they actually held to it.

                    But you’ve gone into serious transference mode on this issue.

                    As has the entire GOP. If they actually pulled out the numbers I mention below, and talked about funding science research rather than trying to put a band-aid on the problem with cap and trade (or just flat-out denying that the problem exists), we would be much further along to possibly finding a solution.

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                    • Hey, thanks!

                      Since I don’t regularly attribute myself to either side, it’s always nice to see someone from either branch nod their head when I start talking.

                      Because usually they’re all yelling at me for a bunch of other reasons.

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                    • That was supposed to say, if you’re not lefty ENOUGH, but I bracketed it instead and the browser must have thought it was a meta tag.

                      Here’s one link on the diurnal adjustment. It would take me a few more minutes to find the others but I can only make two links without getting stuck in moderation.

                      Re conspiracy theory, plz see links to Kim above. Those links also have links. Likewise you ALREADY agreed with me in our ‘changing minds’ discussion that there were a suspicious number of co-referenced papers, which I proved in one database search as I recall. Certain names pop up with astonishing regularity, Hansen, Mann, Jones, Trenberth, in fact the usual suspects from the Climategate emails. You don’t see a pattern? How’d you pass math?

                      Now i KNOW you are logical, and I know you’re intelligent or I wouldn’t waste my time talking with you. Your points down below about global trillions spent are spot on. You understand the scale of the problem and you understand the futility of the “solution” proffered and yet you continue to buy the basic premise, even though it is on shaky ground and getting shakier by the minute.

                      The reason $300B won’t begin to fix this is because the administration is going to give it to their “aligned” friends who don’t understand thermodynamics. Look how much has already been spent (and wasted) on biofuels. Were you aware the net return on a dollar invested in biofuels is -.99? You’d be better off buying lottery tickets. And Obama just doubled down with another $20B two weeks ago.

                      Even Star Trek warp drives need dilithium crystals.

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                    • ward,
                      I believe you calculate the dollars a bit differently if you look at using spent veggie oil instead of corn. And I sincerely doubt you’ve managed to get statistics out of Brazil — do you even speak Portugese?
                      You give a dollar, you get back a penny sounds significantly worse than the lottery. Something that bad would be out of business.

                      Even without a book, I can smell a skunk.

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                    • > Here’s one link on the diurnal
                      > adjustment.

                      Okay, so there’s a published paper in a reputable science journal. And your point is that it’s fake?

                      You’re going to have to back that up.

                      > Re conspiracy theory, plz see
                      > links to Kim above. Those
                      > links also have links.

                      That’s a rabbit hole, Ward. I don’t want to investigate your climate conspiracy belief. I don’t want to start dredging up every possible page on those links of links and hold it up to the light and say, “This one? This one? What about this one?” That’s exhausting. I want *you* to make *your* case as to this conspiracy (again, taking into account the conditions on the ground, and explain to me how this model convinces you.

                      Yes, I know you’re convinced. But unless/until you tell me what it is, exactly, that has convinced you and what it will take, exactly, to convince you to believe otherwise (which, ahem, you still haven’t done), I don’t see us going anywhere constructive. Although I’m liable to get very pissed off.

                      > Certain names pop up with
                      > astonishing regularity, Hansen,
                      > Mann, Jones, Trenberth, in
                      > fact the usual suspects from
                      > the Climategate emails. You
                      > don’t see a pattern?

                      If you go looking for a pattern, you can probably find one. Jesus, that Einstein guy was cited by a lot of people! He single-handedly faked out the entire physics establishment!

                      Or maybe he was just correct, so people cited him.

                      I haven’t done a full-bore lit review of climate science. I really doubt that you have, either. I don’t know that anyone’s frequency in citations is unusual, relative to any other field.

                      > Your points down below about
                      > global trillions spent are spot on.

                      Thank you.

                      > You understand the scale of
                      > the problem and you
                      > understand the futility of the
                      > “solution” proffered

                      I’d like to think so.

                      > and yet you continue to buy
                      > the basic premise, even though
                      > it is on shaky ground and
                      > getting shakier by the minute.

                      See, Ward, you’ve lost me again.

                      Because I don’t work backwards. The fact that someone looks at some theory and comes up with a bad solution seems (to you) to provide some sort of confirmatory factors that make you think the theory is bad.

                      Whereas I just say, “Gee, I didn’t get there from here. I don’t think you’re thinking this through,” to the people with the bad solution.

                      Again, please to be explaining, how is it that I’m clever enough to have figured out the major structural flaws of the proposed solution on the one hand, but I’m so fishing stupid I’m falling for a giant con on the other? Also, given that I’m hardly a genius, explain everybody else that has fallen for this giant con… which includes oodles and oodles of geniuses.

                      I’ve noticed now that on some of those pages you’ve linked to Richard Muller is now referred to as a “Warmist”.

                      This is the same Richard Muller that lefty blogs have been calling an apologist for the Koch brothers for a while.

                      And he’s still verifying CRU’s work. But, he’s an industry shill! Or is he?

                      Hey, maybe the “Al Gore is fat and the Koch Brothers want to destroy the world” crowd are both burying their heads in partisan bullshit?

                      > The reason $300B won’t begin
                      > to fix this is because the
                      > administration is going to give
                      > it to their “aligned” friends
                      > who don’t understand
                      > thermodynamics.

                      This is flatly not how the NSF works.

                      This is one case where I do know something about which I speak. NSF grant writing is a pain in the butt, and it is inefficient, and bureaucratic, and in many ways a legacy of our science publishing methodology and the way our academic institutions work. And there’s plenty to criticize in there, granted.

                      But it’s not a “give blank checks out to people who agree with the current administration” program. Not even close.

                      Now, you can argue that if we just did a giveaway program they might throw money at biofuel (which, by the way, I think is a stupid solution). I’m skeptical that the entire $300 billion would go to waste.

                      Sure, probably $30-$50 of it would go to scientific bridges to nowhere. That’s fairly common – if you dump money in a pot and then empty the pot, a bunch of it is going to spill on the floor. That happened with the Manhattan and Apollo Projects, for crying out loud.

                      But we might get something out of the other end. We’re certainly not going to get anything out the other end with cap and trade.

                      And even that $30-$50 blown billion might produce interesting offshoot technologies.

                      You can never know what people will find useful, or what they’ll use it for, until it’s out there for people to use.

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          • More pith, no substance. Your point seems to be science is sometimes wrong, so when it disagrees with my ideology, I shouldn’t accept it. That’s just stupid.

            And I understand curve fitting. I do it a lot. I’m the first to complain when someone goes beyond the data. However, when the models converge, even when they come from different data sources, and when the data continues to fit the predictions as it comes in, it’s time to start accepting that, without a better interpretation (better in that it predicts the data better), what we have is a pretty damn strong case. And that’s what we have in climate change.

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            • “[W]hen the data continues to fit the predictions as it comes in…”

              Except when it doesn’t, as the past few years of below-average cold temperatures show. Unless you’re arguing that one temperature station for all of Sibera outweighs the several dozen across the continental United States.

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                • 1970-1980: “Global cooling is a reality. It’s already causing severe ecological damage and represents a direct threat to humanity in our lifetime. Fortunately we can stop it if we institute huge fees penalizing emissions by American and European countries.”

                  1990-2000: “Global warming is a reality. It’s already causing severe ecological damage and represents a direct threat to humanity in our lifetime. Fortunately we can stop it if we institute huge fees penalizing emissions by American and European countries.”

                  2000-2011: “Global climate change is a reality. It’s already causing severe ecological damage and represents a direct threat to humanity in our lifetime. Fortunately we can stop it if we institute huge fees penalizing emissions by American and European countries.”

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                  • 1970-1980, as per journals and not alarmists: Humph. Soot in the atmosphere makes cold. If we quadruple what we’re producing now, we might see global cooling. Hey Policy Makers: Don’t Do That!
                    [yes, this was seriously what the literature said.]
                    2000-2011: or you could just let Pakistan and India go to nuclear war… along with Israel and Iran. And hope we don’t get the numbers wrong. Ain’t geoengineering fun?

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                    • Except that people did claim that global cooling was happening, and was going to continue happening. They pointed to charts of temperatures and highlighted the bit at the end where the line curved sharply downward.

                      I could point you to some sources, but then you’d just start crying about how no true Scot would make a claim like that.

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                    • People have an awfully convenient definition of “consensus”, in that sometimes it has to be everyone in the entire world and sometimes it just has to be six or seven guys who all work in the same building.

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              • DensityDuck,
                Hmph. From where I stand, America’s winters have been getting substantially warmer, and every other continent has been having substantially warmer years over the past few. I argue not that one temp station in Siberia outweighs several dozen in the United States, but that the stations in Africa, Europe and Asia combined outweigh the local anomaly present in the United States, which is mainly present during the summer.

                http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Global-News/2010/0707/Global-heat-wave-hits-US-reignites-climate-change-debate

                Oh, right, it’s sea ice that’s ahead of schedule, and causing substantial revisions in models.

                Remember, more blizzards in february is a sign of global warming.

                The falsifiable-ness of current models is that stable climate is Certainly Not global warming. As is evidence that the world is cooling (the spread of cold weather species further south would be a strong indication of this. As stated before, animals are fleeing the tropics, as the tropics get hotter year by year. And yea, that’s one hell of a huge meta-analysis.)

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    • I don’t have a problem with skepticism, but it’s probably good to have better reasons for it than “I don’t like liberals, rich kids, wind turbine manufacturers, and climatologists, so I’m sure not agreeing with them.”

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    • … I’d like you to talk with Markos about the left not being willing to join the military. Hell, I’ve worked for the military, for goodness sakes! (and did more for the military working in a college than I would on the front lines, where I’m not allowed to go, anyhow.)

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        • … we showed Muppets videos to College students (among other things — that in particular was a memory experiment). Jesus, it’s published research, you can look it up. The military, for its part, probably saw the creation of robotic soldiers as the endgoal. You Know DARPA, always gotta give them the big picture…

          …best friends? Dear, that implies that I have friends. You don’t qualify.

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            • Coyote laughs at himself, as much as others.
              There is a certain subset of conservatives who do not understand humor as I (or most comedians) do. Instead, they consider “jokes” to be herding devices, used to constrain behavior — the archetypical example is “can’t you take a joke?” [said after the herding behavior, of course].
              … and this is why conservative comedians aren’t funny.

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  12. At times like this, I like to look at what the free market has to say! Like, say, Wall Street. Which is buying a suspicious amount of property in Cleveland, of all places… You’d think they were expecting New York to be submerged or something…

    Or, look at Insurance Companies, who are no longer insuring against hurricanes in large portions of the gulf coast.

    If it was economically viable, they’d still be insuring…

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  13. The test of whether DensityDuck has his head firmly wedged up his ass or not, is whether he will actually acknowledge that Cap and Trade worked for HW Bush.
    It’s fine to make arguments that “This is Not That Situation”, but to deny facts on the ground? That’s turning trollward.

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      • Incentives distort, as a famous science fiction writer once said. If we rig incentives, we can create a regulatory climate where cheating is non-optimal. And if there’s something that corporations are good at, it’s optimizing profit.
        As to other countries cheating? The ones with the most incentive to “cheat” are the developing/dying Southern nations — which are the ones with the least amount of strictures being put on them.
        I believe that grabbing Europe/US/Japan is about half of the total emissions profile. If we halve that emissions, we done did some good, at least!
        And, I believe, with a bit more angel-investing out of the gov’t, we can create fusion reactors, and other green energy that will reduce the world’s dependence on dirty energy. When it becomes cheaper (seen as costing less in terms of lives, as well as power-cost directly), the South will switch over to green energy.

        But, that implies that we get green energy working at all. I see no reason that we shouldn’t restrict dirty energy consumption in precisely the places that have the easiest time designing/building green energy solutions (most machinery works best in England/NE US.)

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        • “I believe, with a bit more angel-investing out of the gov’t, we can create fusion reactors…”

          Because, as we all know, fusion power is only about twenty years away (and has been for the last fifty years.)

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          • we have the specs, you can thank the navy for that. Do you sincerely think it takes 20 years to build a prototype? Hell it didn’t take that long to get fission running, once we dumped a shit-ton of money towards it.

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            • We’ve got fusion reactors running. They don’t generate more power than it takes to run them, and nobody’s really sure how to change that. People have ideas for things that might work, the same way that people have ideas for a flying car that might work and a heavy-lift rocket that might work and various cures for cancer that might work.

              We were right on the brink of practical fusion power in the seventies. And in the eighties, and the nineties, and the early 2000s.

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        • Kim:

          “I believe that grabbing Europe/US/Japan is about half of the total emissions profile. If we halve that emissions, we done did some good, at least!”

          Clearly you aren’t aware that China overtook the US in being the largest emitter of CO2 in 06/07 but still they get off without being asked to do anything to fix the problem.

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  14. Climate observations and predictions:
    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1710
    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1441
    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1427

    In rough numbers, I’d consider the global warming hypothesis falsified if the American Southwest and much of the Middle East had record rainfall and bumper crops for the next ten years, alongside cooling in the Arctic and in the oceans in general.
    If you talked to any AGW-proponent in the sciences, I’d figure they would say the same — and most of them would get rather sparkly eyed with “here’s what I’d change about my model — this parameter would need tweaking, etc.”

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  15. Pity the republicans.They can’t listen to the free market. They can’t listen to the military (the biggest issue for national security this century will be Global Warming — and that’s not just Clarke, the military has a whole agency for looking at weather-related security issues, and they’re about as worried as the secret service folks are about Obama).

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      • … wars are fought fundamentally for economic reasons (because nothing else justifies the ridiculous expense and loss of lives). Global Warming, with the attendant devastation that comes along for the ride, will cause mass emigration. That may not be something that the country accepting immigrants is happy with.

        Seriously. If the sealevel rises 50 feet, we lose florida. And Billions of homes, and places where people live.

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  16. The academy has so politicized AGW, to the point of attacking its enemies and cheating the data, that it’s difficult if not impossible to sort out the question.

    I’m not biting on the whitewash of the Warmist crimes against science and dissident scientists. No, I’m not going to ignore all that and look behind door #2 instead. As of yet. Penn State and East Anglia and Al Gore must first pay for their crimes against truth.

    And I’m not qualified to evaluate the remaining evidence, I’m a civilian. Any “civilian” who’s thoroughly convinced either way is doing so on faith and ideology. And that’s the fact, Jack. I’ve seen how the dissidents are attacked and delegitimized.

    I certainly oppose ruining an already wrecked economy with fixes that are speculative at best. There are a few things like the

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montreal_Protocol

    that weren’t economy-wrecking, and although the CFC/ozone layer link wasn’t absolute, doing something was well worth a try. I’m not an absolutist on these things, but to use an elephant gun on what may be a mosquito is something I’m not ready for at this economic moment. Caring for the environment is something we do when we have some spare cash. Even China, now that they’re off the economic mat, is getting greener.

    Neither do I—nor any libertarian worth his salt—support creating an artificial economy of trading theoretical green credits, nor distorting the market to make renewables cost-effective by jacking up the price of other energy sources and subsidizing the inefficient ones. We could invest trillions in renewables technology infrastructure [and have invested billions] that may be a joke in 5-10-20 years, along the lines of outfitting the nation with Commodore 64s in 1982.

    [And this isn’t even getting into the “green jobs” debacle that even the NYT admits.]

    The problem, as are most of our political problems, one of epistemology. Until the Warmers play it straight [and I don’t deny they may be right], they have only themselves to blame for skepticism for their claims and alarms. And especially their prescriptions.

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    • The academy has so politicized AGW, to the point of attacking its enemies and cheating the data, that it’s difficult if not impossible to sort out the question.

      Can you point to the examples of politicization by the academy and cheating the data? Attacking the enemies I’d like to see also, assuming you don’t mean on blogs.

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      • No thx, Chris. I had my say and it’s quite clear. The Warmists have themselves to blame for not convincing people of their case with their cheating and attacking. The political problem is epistemological; I personally have expressed only an agnosticism on the science, and prudential arguments against pissing away trillions and creating an artificial “cap” economy at this point.

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        • I have a hard time believing that “the Warmists have themselves to blame for not convincing people.” Particularly when they’ve convinced virtually everyone except for Republican politicians and party loyalists.

          Look at libertarians, just for example. Ron Bailey? Pat Michaels? Bjorn Lomborg? All have been convinced, if not of the political solutions on offer, then at least of the scientific reality of AGW.

          To say that AGW proponents have more work to do raises an important question: Is it even conceivable that the work could be done? I sort of doubt it. Republican politicians and party loyalists are the very same people still pushing creationism, too.

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          • Bjorn Lomborg is fine for the purposes of my comment, Jason. As for creationism and the rest, it’s a bit more complicated.

            And yes, the Warmists have cheated the argument numerous times. Perhaps they didn’t need to cheat or be so bloodthirsty toward their skeptics, but there you have it. I’m speaking of the epistemological problem, and as they have the burden of proof, they undermined their own cause.

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            • The epistemological problem has been solved, even for the vast majority of skeptics who did not also happen to be Republican politicians or their partisans in the United States.

              I can’t logically rule out that the Republicans know something the climate scientists have missed, but if so, they are the ones with a problem convincing people. As in, anyone else at all.

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              • Acknowledged infra, Jason: mosquito/elephant gun is the core question. I’m not fronting. Neither am I interested in defending any absolute POV.

                But a mere one degree C is closer to “no global warming” than the fifty-foot rise in sea level that one leftish commenter asserted here today. People are silly all the way ’round.

                And the Warmists did cheat, and do bear the burden of proof, esp after the “global cooling” riff last century. They have much to make up for in the eyes of a rightfully skeptical public.

                For me, they’re going to have to do a lot better before I’m in favor of wrecking the economy even more. And creating an artificial market—an artificial economy—for green credits seems unsound to me.

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                • > And the Warmists did cheat, and
                  > do bear the burden of proof, esp
                  > after the “global cooling” riff
                  > last century.

                  Tom, global cooling was not a dominant scientific theory. There were a couple of papers that got print that never drew any further support, because no other new studies had supporting conclusions.

                  The fact that the media went crazy about a couple of papers says more about scientific publications in the context of the media than anything else.

                  There simply was no common support for a “global cooling” theory.

                  This is something you can verify for yourself with about 20 minutes and a web browser, if you accept science blogging as authoritative source. If you don’t, you can verify it yourself again by logging into a good research library and searching for papers that mention “global cooling”.

                  If you can’t or won’t do either of those two things, you’ll have to explain to me what it is you’ll accept as evidence rebutting this idea that there ever *was* a commonly accepted global cooling theory.

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            • Even a link or two would suffice, by the way. I already know that the links are going to be to right wing sites, because when you get mired in these discussions, that’s where you look, but I’ll take anything: show me evidence of cheating. I’d be particularly impressed by evidence that the scientists are the ones doing the cheating.

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              • Jason, are you really telling me you’re unaware of all this stuff done to death in countless other fora? Are you saying you give Penn State, East Anglia and Al Gore a clean bill of health?

                Let’s start there before I play fly to the spider, OK? Good faith and all that.

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                • I am saying I would like you to explain to me what you found convincing. I know that a wide variety of different charges have been made against climate scientists. Much of this strikes me as throwing spaghetti on the wall and seeing what sticks. I’d like to know what you think actually stuck, and we can go from there.

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                  • Mexican standoff then. You commit first, Jason, good faith and all that. I’ve seen this done to death all over the internet and recreating it here serves no purpose.

                    The thrust of my post isn’t about that anyway. You and Chris can play with each other. Should either of you address the actual thrust of my comment, I’ll be happy to engage.

                    [And after my history with each of you, where I have not returned fire when fired upon, playing the “good faith” card here isn’t really warranted, gentlemen. I’m not in the mood to play Charlie Brown and the football again; my good faith has not been requited. I hope you understand.]

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                    • Well Tom, I see you’re not going to give me even one example. I’ll be charitable and assume that this really is because you’re in a huff about our intellectual dishonesty or complete partisan blindness (strange, since Jason is a libertarian and I’m, well, something different entirely), and not because you don’t have any examples to give.

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                    • I don’t understand why you are being coy here. If you are convinced of something, you should be happy to share it. The attitude you display here is not one I associate with firm conviction.

                      If you are making an allegation, then the burden of proof falls with you. Please tell me what you find convincing, because I am uncertain of it. The worst you can do is leave me unconvinced, which I am right now. And your coyness only makes you look ridiculous to any fence-sitters out there.

                      What is it that convinces you that the world’s climate scientists are overwhelmingly dishonest? I’m sure the fence-sitters at least would like to know. Even if you have given up all hope of convincing me, or Chris.

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                    • Well, Chris, if neither you nor Jason will vouch for Al Gore’s movie, you’ve allowed my point.

                      As for the rest of my content, there’s plenty there to discuss, Commodore 64, the green jobs debacle, an artificial market for theoretical credits, whathaveyou, that’s a lot more relevant than rehearsing this well-worn internet script.

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                  • Jeeze, I’ll bite.
                    How’s this?

                    Of course Patrick has all the respect in the world for those pillars of society, no not lawyers but Scientists!. Too bad they’re less honest than… LAWYERS!! Journalists didn’t do so well in the same study, sorry EC

                    I’d do another couple of dozen links but don’t want to end up in moderator purgatory again.

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                    • > How’s this?

                      Well, according to this, this is a case of a news institution re-reporting an unsubstantiated blog report instead of actually interviewing the source in question, who apparently disagrees that he ever said any such thing.

                      Certainly, the glacier bit should not have been in there. I’ve read consolidated financial statements that include things that shouldn’t be in there, that doesn’t mean the company didn’t make any money.

                      The IPCC standards for including science in the report are at that link. We can argue about those if you like.

                      Regarding the tax thing, I imagine there’s a major correlation between “I didn’t (honestly) know that this was considered taxable income” and some percentage of that tax under-reporting. Jeeze, dude, have you ever met these guys? Some of them literally can’t remember what they had for breakfast.

                      This doesn’t excuse mis-reporting their income, but it says very little about their underlying honesty as a whole, less about their underlying honesty as people in general, and nothing whatsoever about their integrity in their field.

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                    • I’ll note that the next category of tax “cheats” in line includes cops and firemen. Indeed, the top ten includes… ah… most jobs that aren’t lawyers, accountants, or CEOs.

                      I’d kind of expect those three brackets to have better tax reporting. It’s kinda a integral part of their job.

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            • Tom, my first thought was that you were referring to the leaked emails, but I don’t recall any actual evidence of cheating there. I recall some denialists screaming that “hiding the decline” meant cheating, but it didn’t. So, as Jason says, I am asking in good faith.

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          • “The examples are out there (points at the horizon).

            Along with the truth. The Truth Is Out There. Go walkabout and you’ll find it, like I did. It’s not about the sights and the smells and what you see, it’s about the journey.”

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            • The PatC-Scott epistemological war illustrates why I declined one with JasonK and Chris. It’s a waste of fishing time.

              My point was simply that the Warmists have blown their chance with the public with their conduct, demeanor, and tactics—and Al Gore’s gross exaggerations didn’t help matters. Skeptic Pat Michaels of Cato:

              http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/the-shocking-truth-the-scientific-american-poll-on-climate-change/

              Scientific American has run a poll of its readers on climate change. Remember that SciAm has been shilling for the climate apocalypse for years, publishing a particularly vicious series of attacks on Denmark’s Bjorn Lomborg’s Skeptical Environmentalist. The magazine also featured NASA’s James Hansen and his outlandish claims on sea-level rise. Hansen has stated, under oath in a deposition, that a twenty foot rise is quite possible within the next 89 years; oddly, he has failed to note that in 1988 he predicted that the West Side Highway in Manhattan would go permanently under water in twenty years.

              SciAm probably expected a lot of people would agree with the key statement in their poll that the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is “an effective group of government representatives and other experts.”

              Hardly. As of this morning, only 16% of the 6655 respondents agreed. 84%—that is not a typo—described the IPCC as “a corrupt organization, prone to groupthink, with a political agenda.”

              The poll also asks “What should we do about climate change?” 69% say “nothing, we are powerless to stop it.” When asked about policy options, an astonishingly low 7% support cap-and-trade, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives in June, 2009, and cost approximately two dozen congressmen their seats.

              The real killer is question “What is causing climate change?” For this one, multiple answers are allowed. 26% said greenhouse gases from human activity, 32% solar variation, and 78% “natural processes.” (In reality all three are causes of climate change.)

              And finally, “How much would you be willing to pay to forestall the risk of catastrophic climate change?” 80% of the respondents said “nothing.”

              Remember that this comes from what is hardly a random sample. Scientific American is a reliably statist publication and therefore appeals to a readership that is skewed to the left of the political center. This poll demonstrates that virtually everyone now acknowledges that the UN has corrupted climate science, that climate change is impossible to stop, and that futile attempts like cap-and-trade do nothing but waste money and burn political capital, things that Cato’s scholars have been saying for years.

              [Bold face mine. If you’ve lost SciAm readers, you’ve lost. And yes, the poll is self-selecting. More epistemology war. So it goes.]

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              • Scientific American has some issues with that piece.

                From the editor’s blog, presumably from someone with access to the site’s back end:

                For that 80 percent figure, I’m guessing Gilder relied on a poll that we created for an October 2010 article on Judith Curry. Question number 3 in particular asked visitors, “What is causing climate change?” The poll results show that 77.8 percent responded “natural processes”; only 26.4 percent picked “greenhouse gases from human activity.”

                Ignore for the moment that this poll was not scientific (nor was it meant to be) and that it was open to all who have access to the Internet, not just to our subscribers, as Gilder implied. (emphasis Pat’s)

                Rather, the big problem was that the poll was skewed by visitors who clicked over from the well-known climate denier site, Watts Up With That? Run by Anthony Watts, the site created a web page urging users to take the poll.

                It sure worked. Our traffic statistics from October 25, when the poll went live, to November 1 (the latest for which we have data on referrals) indicate that 30.5 percent of page views (about 4,000) of the poll came from Watts Up. The next highest referrer at 16 percent was a Canadian blog site smalldeadanimals.com; it consists of an eclectic mix of posts and comments, and if I had to guess, I would say its users leaned toward the climate denier side based on a few comments I saw. Meanwhile, on the other side of the climate debate, Joe Romm?’s Climate Progress drove just 2.9 percent and was the third highest referrer.

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              • Yes, it is self-selecting. If you think climate change is a massive conspiracy of scientists, Al Gore, and Goldman Sachs to steal money, then of course you’re going to reply to a mail-in survey. On the other hand, people who shrug and go, “yeah, it’s happening” and then move on with their life? They might send in the survey when they get the time.

                It’s as much a scientific poll as those pop-ups telling me I might win a 500 dollar gift card if I give my opinion of Sarah Palin.

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                  • You realize that Pat Michaels isn’t a “skeptic” about AGW, right? He believes it’s happening, just not to the degree that Al Gore does, and not to the degree that would warrant most of the policy initiatives offered to counter it.

                    But I guess I’m not worthy to discuss with you, because I dared to ask you for sources. (Seriously who argues this way? “Show me a source, please, I’d like to review it.” “No, you’re too mean, and you hurt my feelings!”)

                    You argue like a girl, Tom. And I’m well aware, alas, that I’m insulting girls when I say that.

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                • To be fair to Tom, he’s linking to what ought to be a somewhat reputable source. His source is using bad (very, very bad) methodology, and misrepresenting it using shorthand to make it seem like it is a normal study.

                  This is overwhelmingly what I find when I follow the anti-AGW links down the rabbit hole.

                  That’s why I ask for links.

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            • Re: the first point.

              As I pointed out up at #293, the IPCC standards for including stuff in their report are here. If you don’t think those standards are reasonable, then take issue with the standards.

              From your first link: The IPCC report states that “up to 40 percent of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation”

              But it has now been revealed that the claim was based on a WWF study…

              I’m not certain what’s wrong with the WWF study. The Fox news report mentions “up to 40 percent of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation” as a problematic statement.

              Why is it problematic? If the WWF study does indeed talk about precipitation levels and deforestation, the fact that it also talks about fires (or even that it was written primarily about fires) isn’t exactly a problem, is it?

              Or is it? Why? You’ll forgive me, it’s 60+ pages and I’m not going to read the whole thing and try to figure out why it may be considered a bad reference. Maybe it is, but it should be spelled out why.

              On the second, I’m not sure that putting a single bad reference (intentionally or no) in a grant application is quite the smoking gun you might think it is. It’s a grant application – note, they don’t talk about the entire application here, but one line in an abstract. It’s not an actual study. Most people are far more sloppy about their grant applications than they are about their research. Without seeing the entire grant application, and what was said in the whole thing, we don’t even know how much of this claim is relevant to the actual application.

              Grant abstracts are like resumes. They get you past HR and possibly to an interview. People put lots of stuff in their resume to get past HR that they downplay in the interview.

              Now, again, you can argue that this ought to be changed for all sorts of reasons, but this is only very tangentially related to the topic at hand.

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                • Okay.

                  Please clarify this standard, Ward. Who is a disinterested party?

                  (You still haven’t explained why these people would gin up fake science to support their gravy train when there are dozens of other bigger gravy trains around. But I digress).

                  By this standard, would we indeed discard anything the WWF has to say as possibly tainted?

                  Also… hm. Well, everybody other than… who, Ward?

                  Who funds noconsensus.org? Who pays for Pielke’s site?

                  If non-scientific institutions have no place in contributing to the discussion, then we’re back to journal literature?

                  If not, where?

                  Who are your experts, Ward? What is your criteria?

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                    • I have now lost all my mind. The thread has succeeded in defeating me.

                      Dude, if we cannot agree on a standard of evidence, we’re done here.

                      If we cannot agree on a standard of evaluating expert testimony, we’re done here.

                      If we cannot agree on a standard of evaluating bias, we’re done here.

                      You realize that I’ve already linked twice to the IPCC published standard for including information in their report, and solicited feedback on that standard, as to whether or not it is to be considered appropriate or not?

                      That’s what *their* standard was.

                      I don’t *fucking know* what your standard is. You’re trying to compete in an argument without following the rules or even proposing your own. Cut it out.

                      I’m now (415 comments into this thread) tired of asking. I don’t know what your complaint is, regarding this particular bit of data, except, “these people might be biased”.

                      Well, sure. I readily admit anybody might be fucking biased on any topic. Duh. Without some sort of standard, this reductos down to the toilet. We might as well start arguing about whether or not induction is a valid method of inquiry.

                      Without you proposing how we judge bias, I have no idea how to apply “these people might be biased” to any. Single. Piece. Of evidence. On. Either. Side.

                      Which leaves anyone on either side of the argument to willy-nilly discard any bit of evidence, for either side, just because we haven’t agreed on a standard. My evidence counts. Yours doesn’t. Because of fluffy shit I’m pulling out of my ass at random… which in my experience of dealing with this particular issue highly correlates to “This guy agrees with me, so he’s okay. That ones don’t, so they’re biased!”

                      This is a very tired game. If you disagree with the IPCC standard, tell me what is fucking wrong with it. I might even agree.

                      However.

                      If you actually stake out a goddamn position on bias, I expect you to stand and die on it. That means if you’re going to pull this card, I get to pull it too. And I submit, to the general public, that your entire basis for rejection of AGW comes down to testimony or evidence that you believe is credible, but that cannot stand up to any actual quantification of your own standard of bias or expertise.

                      In other words, I’m pretty sure you can’t throw out any credible basis for measuring expertise or evidence that is going to exclude the arguments for AGW and include the people that Ward keeps linking to in support of anti-AGW.

                      Whereas there already are existing, commonly held standards for evaluating expertise and evidence that *include* the arguments for AGW and *exclude* the arguments against.

                      Hell, maybe they’re wrong. But that’s what we’ve been using for a while now to measure expertise and evidence in science. If you’ve got something better, put it on the table.

                      If this is not where you want to go, fine. Now we’re not in science land. We’re in faith territory. You can believe it on faith, you’re entitled.

                      I’m not interested in going there. Take it up with somebody else.

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                    • The pro-AGW side claims that bias and funding source doesn’t matter? That’s a first.

                      “Which leaves anyone on either side of the argument to willy-nilly discard any bit of evidence, for either side, just because we haven’t agreed on a standard. ”

                      No it doesn’t. What it means is that we have to consider the evidence and the methods on their own merits, rather than just saying “you should listen to him, he’s a scientist!”

                      But if you honestly consider Argument From Authority persuasive and valid, then I guess there’s not much more I can say.

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                    • Let me mention this last. Then I’m even done trying to get the last word in edgewise. You can go on with your bad self and call yourself the winner.

                      An “Argument from Authority” is a fallacy when the Authority is in fact not an Authority.

                      Otherwise, it’s not a fishing fallacy, aiight?

                      I swear. Don’t trust me and my knowledge of logic. Look it up.

                      > What it means is that we
                      > have to consider the evidence
                      > and the methods on their
                      > own merits, rather than
                      > just saying “you should listen
                      > to him, he’s a scientist!”

                      Another false dichotomy. You’re getting better at these around this week. The situation simply does not reduce to those two options, DD.

                      It’s not about blind trust, and it’s not about everybody being an expert. The first is stupid, and the second is hilariously naive.

                      There is an audit process, in place, to validate science. It has flaws. It still works pretty well, despite the flaws. Kinda like democracy: it’s ain’t perfect, but nobody has come up with a better model yet.

                      I submit that it is very unlikely that you are capable of evaluating the evidence and methods in a field like climatology. I’m marginally capable of looking at the math. Not much else, myself.

                      Hell, maybe you are. Point me at something that shows that you are a credible expert. Point me at something that *you wrote* that shows you understand this topic better than I do. If I can’t grok it, I can punt it to someone who can.

                      Without it, I reject your claim that you have any grounds whatsoever to evaluate this evidence on your own.

                      Put John Preskill and Steven Hawking in a room and let them duke it out. 99.999%+ of the other people on the planet will have no idea what the two guys are talking about.

                      Zero.

                      Most people in today’s science sphere are simply not competent to judge what methods of investigation are appropriate in other fields. You know why? Because they’re not in the field.

                      There is a reason you need years of additional education and research training to get a Ph.D. If you don’t understand the instrumentation, and the methodology, and the existing frameworks in the field, you are very likely unable to meaningfully contribute to the field.

                      There are exceptions to this rule. There are exceptions to peer-review. There are problems with peer-review.

                      All granted.

                      Nothing that the anti-AGW crowd has said leads me to believe that they are any part of these exceptions. They make arguments. Their arguments are show to be limited. They don’t ever come back and say, “Hm, you’re right, that’s a hole in my methodology”. They don’t offer refined models of their own.

                      People who support anti-AGW complain about bias. And then they point me at someone who has characteristics that correlate more highly with bias than the original thing they’re complaining about.

                      This makes no sense.

                      I’m a good enough practitioner of security and audit to pick that out, at least.

                      People who support anti-AGW point me at things that are supposed to be the killer thing that refutes the whole discipline of climate science. Look at this, it shows how effed up and wrong they are! And then I go out and find, reasonably quickly, yet another case of a scientist explaining, patiently, why this bit of anti-AGW lore is just flat wrong.

                      And when I come back, nobody says, “Hm, my experts are wrong.” Nobody says, “Hm, I guess I’m not qualified to evaluate this, after all”.

                      Instead, they start screaming about a global conspiracy and how I’m just an idiot.

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    • I can’t speak for anyone else who believes the science of AGW, but for myself I can say honestly that it turns out that the planet is not warming, that the warming is not do to anthropogenic causes, that the trend will not continue (or even reverse), or any other empirical reality that contradicts my current beliefs on the subject, I will be perfectly willing to accept them. In fact, if it turns out that the planet is not warming, I’ll be quite happy. I think American conservatives have, by and large, shown quite clearly that no amount of data is going to sway them. I wonder who, then, has politicized the issue.

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  17. What’s “Mexican” in Yiddish?

    Anyway, I’m narcissistic enough to throw my take on the whole AGW thing out there.

    There is a scientific consensus on AGW.
    This scientific consensus has been internalized by a large segment of the population to a degree that other scientific consensuses have not been internalized (see, for example, genetically modified foods or pebble bed reactors).
    AGW has, so far, resulted in a handful of good things and a handful of bad things. Longer growing seasons, for example. (Nothing the planet hasn’t seen before.)
    If AGW continues at the rate it has been growing in the last, oh, 40 years, we’re going to move from “mixed bag territory” into “pretty much only bad” territory.
    There are a number of lifestyle changes associated with reversing AGW. Some of them are easy to do. Some of them are difficult.

    Now, I don’t know that AGW will continue at the rate it has been growing for the last 40 years. I’ve heard arguments for why it will and arguments for why it won’t. I’ve heard arguments for how we’re at the tail end of a warm period in between Ice Ages (and, indeed, was raised to believe that Global Cooling was what I had to look forward to as an adult). Folks seemed just as certain about the future back then.

    I wonder about stuff… not limited to the following list but it covers the big ones:
    I wonder at the extent that the scientific consensus has been internalized by the left on this topic. There’s room for principled disagreement on other stuff where there is consensus… why not on this?
    Many of the folks who argue loudest on behalf of doing something about AGW have not personally adopted some of the lifestyle changes associated with reversing AGW. This seems to be irrelevant to many of the folks who have internalized the scientific consensus.

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    • What sends me up the wall is that the things we’re supposed to do to stop Global Climate Change are the same things we were supposed to do to stop Global Warming, which were the same things we were supposed to do to stop Global Cooling. And somehow it’s only America and Western Europe that have to do these things, never anywhere else. China is already producing more carbon emissions than anywhere else on the planet, and they’ve got nowhere to go but up, and yet somehow it’s America’s responsibility to tax the shit out of everything. The 21st-century White Man’s Burden.

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      • The new definition of leadership : “We’ll do the right thing as soon as every other country does!”

        Because guess what, even if global climate change is a conspiracy cooked up by scientists, Al Gore, and George Soros, it’s still a good thing in the long-term to stop using so much carbon and use more renewable.

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        • I have noticed a weird dynamic with this, though.

          I have a litany of things that my wife and I do to be Green. I explain that it seems odd that (person) or (other person) has not similarly simplified. I get accused of the “Al Gore Is Fat” argument and it’s pointed out how the Earth is Important and how this is bigger than the little things that hipsters do to recycle Mexican Coke bottles or whatever.

          Which is fair enough.

          On a worldwide level, we start talking about developing countries and China’s emissions or India’s or Russia’s pollution issues, whatever. It gets pointed out to me that it’s important that we do what we can do and we don’t have the right to impose on others (but we should do everything we can to inspire China/India/Etc).

          This seems odd to me.

          Like it’s not about what the conversation purports to be about.

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          • Because we can’t control China’s or India’s domestic policy when it comes to pollution control. We can control ours as a nation. It’s the same reason why say, a conservative can ask for the US to drop it’s tax levels without waiting for Sweden to drop theirs first. :)

            Yes, it is a global problem, but until there’s one-world government or there is a worldwide treaty on climate change, each nation will have to control climate change in it’s own way.

            I don’t think that’s too complicated of an idea.

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            • > Yes, it is a global problem, but until there’s
              > one-world government or there is a
              > worldwide treaty on climate change, each
              > nation will have to control climate
              > change in it’s own way.

              This is why, barring a major technological revolution in power generation, nothing is going to get done on this score.

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              • we’re working on it! Give us some damn money to build that nuclear fusion reactor! The navy already did the specs, all we need is the blasted prototype! And we’re working on the batteries (thanks GM!).

                But all the science is bleeding out of America… because nobody wants to get shot in church.

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