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Science

Consensus on Global Warming 1200

Posted by michael
from the heads-buried-in-the-sand dept.
FredFnord writes "Well, here's an interesting one: the fine folks at Science Magazine have done an analysis of the last ten years' published scientific articles (articles from crank or non-peer-reviewed publications were not counted) on the subject of global climate change. The results themselves are interesting, but the most remarkable part was that, of the 928 papers they found, 75% accepted that global warming was caused by human activities, either explicitly or implicitly. 25% made no mention either way. And not a single paper asserted otherwise." JamesBell submits this article by a geologist which suggests that the Earth is in serious, imminent, unavoidable danger.
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Consensus on Global Warming

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @05:53PM (#11024293)
    Mars Emerging from Ice Age, Data Suggest
    By SPACE.com
    posted: 03:00 pm ET
    08 December 2003

    Scientists have suspected in recent years that Mars might be undergoing some sort of global warming. New data points to the possibility it is emerging from an ice age.

    full story at http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/mars_ice-age _031208.html [space.com]
  • I'll be dead... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DogDude (805747) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @06:00PM (#11024419) Homepage
    I'll be dead by the time any of this happens. What incentive is there for me to really care? Honestly? I know it's a problem, but how do you get people to care about it, when 1. They'll be dead by the time this happens and 2. There are more pressing concerns to deal with (bills, life, etc.)?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @06:01PM (#11024434)
    As consumers, we can do much to support the environment. The latest annual study by the Union of Concerned Scientists concludes that Honda produces the most environmentally friendly car [yahoo.com]. If we care about the environment, we should buy only vehicles made by Honda.

    Despite all the hoopla, the USA is not the greatest danger to the environment. We Americans are making steady progress. Note that Honda is technically an American automobile company since Honda does more than 50% of its manufacturing in the USA.

    The greatest threat to the environment is China [phrusa.org]. The Chinese have been overwhelmingly burning coal. Coal horribly pollutes the environment and unloads tons of radioactive material into the air [pushback.com].

    Given the current rate of pollution in China, once it reaches Singapore's level of economic development, the level of pollution in China will exceed that in the USA. India is equally horrible.

  • by mveloso (325617) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @06:03PM (#11024463)
    I just read an interview with Michael Crichton about the chicken little behaviors. it was a promo for his book, State of Fear.

    The article started off with an ominous warning about climate change from the 1970s about...global cooling. The article title was "Let's stop scaring ourselves."

    The link below doesn't work yet.

    http://archive.parade.com/2004/1205/1205_stop_sc ar ing.html

    Another amusing article by him is "Aliens Cause Global Warming"

    http://www.ccfassociation.org/crichton2.htm

    I'm sure scientists today have learned lots of lessons from the mistakes of scientists of yesteryear. Right.
  • by jludwig (691215) * on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @06:04PM (#11024482) Homepage
    How about books that argue against global warming, do those count?

    http://www.lomborg.com/books.htm [lomborg.com] Or any of the following reviews or responses in Nature and Science?

    http://www.lomborg.com/critique.htm [lomborg.com]

    Oh right, those don't count because refuting environmental destruction claims isn't politically correct! Look, I don't agree with much of what Bjorn says, but the point is he compiled some statistics, came to some conclusions, and was then ostracized by the political machine for being "irresponsible" for advocating what a very liberal Euro nation dubbed "wreckless science". The critique of his science (that wasn't much of that) was second to the smear campaign leveled against him for being irresponsible. His work didn't "count" I guess in however cooked up his stupid statistic also.

    This is the same thing John Stewart was talking about during his CNN Crossfire talk, we're so right or left now we can't have an honest debate about real issues, which we really need. No papers are published because its career death because a very liberal academia has decided anyone going against this trend is scum, without even looking at the science. Nature would not accept a paper from someone that claimed otherwise, but this is a debate we really need to have folks.

    Jeff

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @06:05PM (#11024502)
    I'm not really surprised. Hell, I've witnessed it myself! I don't have the statistics, but I hope someone can bring them up - the average temperature in Finland has rised [I]dramatically[/I] in recent years. We don't even have decent winters here in southern Finland anymore. Please, if you can dig up some statistics, give us a link! This is interesting!
  • I call bullcrap... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by wayward_son (146338) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @06:09PM (#11024557)
    Sea level has constantly fluctuated in the geological past: its highest recorded level was in the Cretaceous Period, some 80 million years ago, when CO2 levels were considerably higher than at present, and ice-caps were virtually absent from the earth. Then, sea level stood at least 200 metres higher than today, with most of the UK being submerged.

    If global warming is truly human caused, how could sea levels have been highest during the Cretaceous Period, millions of years before mankind?

    Couldn't this be part of a natural cycle? If so, I doubt that humans can do much of anything either way about global climate change.

  • Re: I'll be dead... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @06:11PM (#11024602)


    > I'll be dead by the time any of this happens.

    Given the sudden onset and continued acceleration of the Arctic meltdown, I'm not so sure about that anymore.

  • by Scarblac (122480) <slashdot@gerlich.nl> on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @06:13PM (#11024620) Homepage

    I agree with you that Kyoto will probably not do all that much; however, it is a start. The point of Kyoto is that it is intended to lead to a stricter treaty after Kyoto's goals have been met in 2010 (fat chance, but anything is better than nothing).

    Of course, if the US wants to propose a much stricter treaty that will cut back their output to something more in line with what the rest of the world does per capita so that actually might be significant, the rest of the world would welcome that!

    That said, I guess I mostly agree with the second FA, which explains that we're mostly fucked, probably within our lifetime.

  • by radinator (805064) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @06:13PM (#11024621)
    "Unfair is one nation producing over 25% of global CO2 emissions ..."

    "...and produce 31% of the worlds output." Conveniently, you forgot this part. Seems a common oversight.
  • Re:Great (Score:3, Interesting)

    by daveschroeder (516195) * on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @06:14PM (#11024649)
    The US isn't being unfairly singled out in any of the articles posted.

    No, but it will be in most of the replies to this article.

    What is unremarkable about that?

    You just took two unrelated things I said and strung them together.

    What's not remarkable is the idea that experts consider human activity related to global warming. The article insinuates that there is serious, credible opposition to this idea. There isn't. There may be disagreements on degrees of impact, but everyone agrees human activity is a contributing factor at some level.

    The idea that China and India (and other major greenhouse contributors) should be brought to task is fine. As a US citizen, however, I am primarily concerned with what my country can do to help, not in deflecting blame. Surely, we would be in a better position to apply pressure to other countries in this regard, were we at the forefront of C02 emmissions reduction?

    Indeed. And frankly, we can do this without ratifying Kyoto in its current state, with no timetables or hard deadlines for compliance of developing nations, that might harm our economy. We ARE a signatory to Kyoto, by the way.
  • Re:Great (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @06:15PM (#11024655)
    The Bush Administration rejects the Kyoto protocols

    True. But even if Bush were all over Kyoto, Congress would never ratify it. It's a non-starter. If you can sell it to Congress, then maybe you can finger-point at Bush.

    As one of the world's most advanced nations, it's our responsibility to do everything within our power to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, starting in our own country.

    Great! Let's start building the nuclear power plants now. And let's fund development of hydrogen as an infrastructure fuel for cars and such.

    Oh, wow! By extreme coincidence, the Bush administration is in favor of both [energy.gov] of those things.

    Given your position on Kyoto, I assume you are in favor as well? If not, start 'splainin'.
  • by jstanforth (446672) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @06:28PM (#11024852) Homepage
    Interesting conclusions, and they seem entirely valid. One thing I was wondering just last week, though: Astronomers point to a period of reduced solar activity (sunspots, flares, etc.) about four hundred years ago and say that this accounts for a "mini-Ice Age" experienced in Europe at the time. That is, without the flares sending huge amounts of radiation towards earth as they normally do, the quiet period on the sun lowered our temperatures significantly during that 80-100 year period (in the 1600s). No one is quite sure why that happened, nor can they predict when it might happen again, though at least a couple people have suggested something like a 400-year cycle, which would be some point in the next decade.

    So the interesting question will be: How will our human-generated global warming (which they didn't have during the Maunder minimum four hundred years ago) affect the climate if temperatures already drop due to lower solar activity? Just something random (and hopefully interesting) to contemplate.
  • by oobob (715122) * on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @06:41PM (#11025071)
    Those are the kind of comments I figured this article would end. If you read the article, it mentions the strong correllation* between increasing amounts of methane and C02 and periods of warming on the earth. Usually, some dumbass comes on and starts talking about how the dataset isn't big enough to form conclusions, forgetting that the form and details of physical structures often betray their development (not so much in this case, all I see is someone recklessly assuming that scientists assume). The earth left us clues, and that's what these scientists are looking at. Never mind that their descriptions of the natural world are overwhelmingly accurate; never mind that your life would crumble apart if the collected claims of scientists, which all of us base our lives around, turned out to be false. Scientists don't get wild ass ideas about why something's happening and then try to fit the world to their view, unlike certain other denominational groups that seem to be guiding much of this narrow-thinking inside the US. If you want to believe some wild bullshit dogma apart from the evidence, go ahead, but quit saying that everybody else's methods stink like your own.

    I dislike reading slashdot and other filter site articles on global warming because of the large number of people who would rail on ONE OR TWO specific conclusions scientists make. I've never had a chance to directly speak with such a person, but I would draw them out like this.

    Contrarian: The data-set is too small! We can't know!

    Me: The earth betrays its history. Dinosaur bones, man.

    Contrarian: But the earth goes through periods of warming all the time!

    Me: Yes. Scientists told you that. And now they're telling you that fossil fuels do it too.

    Contrarian: I don't see how they could make a conclusion on so little data!

    Me (this part depends entirely on the contrarian not being a climatologist by trade, as is always the case): Well, you should review the data!

    Contrarian: I should! And then I'll have the best ideas and arguments about the marxist fiction of global warming! I'll reason through the process, eliminate bias, and use a process of inductive observation...

    Me: Right! And then other people can ask you for your educated opinion! And you'd be....a scientist.

    That's what scientists are. They're the professionals. They're the ones who've READ THE FUCKING BOOKS. I like to point this out, because most of us here are arguing about shit we have no interest or training in. YOUR SHREWD POINT IS NOT A COUNTEREXAMPLE TO YEARS AND LIVES DEVOTED TO RESEARCH. SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT IT. You don't know about all the reasons why global warming exists BECAUSE YOU HAVE NOT READ ENOUGH TO UNDERSTAND THEM OR EVEN HAVE HEARD OF THEM. Scientists can be wrong, but you have to explain why; you can't do this unless you understand the field. So, please, enlighten us!

    *I understand that correllation is not causation, but evidence like this, coupled with the melting of the glaciers and increased output of fossil fuel, and the concensus of the scientific community, the burden of proof is now on the naysayers. Most scientific results depend upon correllation, as cause and effect is a sticky relationship to (feasbly) pin down.
  • by michaelpoltorak (834453) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @06:44PM (#11025128)
    Much of the debate is centred around Michael Mann's hockey stick hypothesis. It suggests that the earth's temperature indeed was significantly higher during the last century than in the last one thousand years. Hence the hockey stick image [asininity.com].
    UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recognises this image as conventional wisdom.
    However, there is scientific evidence that Mann's estimates could be wrong: See Breaking the Hockey Stick [ncpa.org], suggesting that global warming may be a natural phenomena.
  • by WhiplashII (542766) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @06:53PM (#11025268) Homepage Journal
    Personally, I still say that reguardless of global warming it is better to continue on and deal with problems as they arise. If we throw away our technology, as some would seem to prefer, and we are wrong - we die, because we have insuficient resources to live in a rapidly changing world. On the other hand, if we keep expanding our capabilities and resources, we can survive anything that comes through our resources. Even if we have to leave Earth!

    As a concrete example of this - the article talks about the sea level, and how a possible change of 20 meters will destroy hundreds of millions of homes, start wars, etc. OK, possibly, if we didn't do anything. But what do you want to bet that New York would pay the Dutch for there expertise in building walls to keep water out?

    These problems have solutions! Building water walls around every human city would be cheaper than a sudden switch of power sources.

  • by bonch (38532) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @07:10PM (#11025537)
    Just as much could be said about the Clinton Administration (with regards to both environmentalism and "business cronies"). Clinton did not even bother submitting Kyoto for ratification. Just saying--I'd hate to see a valid discussion turn into a political debate.

    I see this happen sometimes in DMCA articles. People forget that the DMCA came into being on Clinton's watch. Singling out Bush is bad because it distracts discussion of the real facts of the issue.
  • by Cally (10873) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @07:21PM (#11025658) Homepage
    I've been getting gincreasingly despondent reading climate change stories on Slashdot over the last few years, seeing well-established science ridiculed and ignored by people apparently intelligent enough to know better. In particular I see the same tired old straw man arguments, deliberate canards, propaganda, misinterpretion and plain ol' ignorance trotted out again and again. No doubt the comments here are full of the same nonsense - see below for my working list of tired attempts to refute rationality.

    After the most recent Slashdot story I actually steeled myself to do something about it. I re-read the whole story at Threshold 2 to gather UIDs of people who might help. The idea is to build a list of myths and authoritative answers to them. For example, the old line that the sun's getting hotter, and that this explains global warming, comes up over & over again. Many, very patient! and knowledgable people posted to that story with excellent refutations of such nonsense.

    I'm going to put my plaintext mail address in this comment, that's how serious I am about this! You can even help if you believe that Climate Change is hippie nonsense trotted out by pseudo scientists who just want more funding!!

    What I am looking for:

    • A list of skeptical objections to the hypothesis that human CO2 emissions are changing the climate, and that this is a bad thing. I don't really mind how loopy or paraniod your objections are: whatever reason you use to claim that it's nonsense, let me know so I can add it to the list.
    • More importantly - people who can help prepare authoritative, rational refutations of these assertions.

    If you have violent objections to the idea that global warming is a bad thing, please email me at the address below describing why you think this. As you will see if you hit 'see the rest of this comment', the existing list - which were collected from a single Slashdot story - is already pretty long, so this isn't so vital.

    If you can help knock down such gibberish- if you have posted with a calm, well-argued and ideally knowledgable or carefully referenced refutation of a wild claim - please email me and make yourself known; I will get in touch in the next few days.

    If you want to subscribe me to lots of spam lists, don't bother; Gmail are very good at spam filtering, you'll get yourself blacklisted when I hit 'report spam' and you won't be helping your cause one little bit.

    If you can help, mail me at:

    username: imipak; domain (at): gmail.com

    Here's the list I collected from the last Slashdot climate change story, only a few days ago, about "why anthropogenic climate change is a myth". Read it and weep.

    • We only have temperature records for the last few hundred years.
    • The sun is getting hotter.
    • Climate change == global warming - great! It's too cold where I am!
    • Climate change is pseudo-science
    • Climate change is just a theory - we should wait until it's proven before taking action
    • Climate scientists deliberately falsify and/or manufacture fake data to support the theory, because otherwise they wouldn't get grants for further research.
    • Climate science is skewed by unconcious assumptions that climate change is anthropomorphic
    • Climate change is a conspiracy by the UN or the French or Europeans or Chinese to hurt the USA
    • Volcanoes emit more CO2 than humans (several variants on this one - eg more than all humans ever, this year, etc)
    • For every scientist who predicts global warming doom and gloom, you will find as many who say that it isn't happening, or that human activity isn't a significant factor.
    • we are barely 10,000 years out of our last one, and may still be warming FROM it? 10,000 years are mere seconds in geologic time.
    • the Earth has sustained worse temperature fluxations. (variants: in human history / last 10,000 years / lifetime of the planet)
    • Cows produce methane!
  • by kellman (8394) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @07:39PM (#11025918) Journal
    Very well said.

    Like you, I'm not convinced either way right now, but I believe in treating the environment well.

    What makes me the most irritated though is the fact that human caused global warming is the assumption going into every one of these studies. Isn't that the point of studying the environment? Doesn't that contradict the scientific process? Why has the entire scientific community bought into this when we can't even acurately predict the weather more than 48 hours out?

    It was like all those Nobel laureates signing that protest letter to Bush. Tell me how a Nuclear Physicist is an authority on global warming? He's just going along with the scientific party line and not actually contributing anything to the understanding of the environment.
  • by ArsSineArtificio (150115) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @07:51PM (#11026054) Homepage
    Every time W calls it "nucular" (and he usualy does)

    I think he always pronounces it "nucular" in public addresses. "Nucular" is an incorrect but very common pronounciation of "nuclear"; as this dictionary entry [reference.com] explains, it's common because so many other terms (circular, spectacular, molecular, ocular, vascular) end with a "-ular" sound, whereas "-lear" is comparatively unfamiliar.

    An analogous word would be "minuscule", very commonly misspelled as "miniscule", because so many familiar words begin with "mini-".

  • that's pretty. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by vena (318873) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @08:43PM (#11026749)
    By asking this question you raise doubt about the quality of the work without actually presenting evidence that only a minority of the scientists do serious work on this. But if you are driving an SUV a statement like that might seem insightful even though it's completely void of information.

    what wonderfully circular logic. don't question an article for its lack of information, as doing so is devoid of information. wow.
  • by kellman (8394) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:03PM (#11026969) Journal
    But what he is talking about is scientific assumptions not based on scientific evidence or where the evidence is insufficient to prove any point at all.

    Many other people have done Einstein's equations and arrived at the same result. Many other people have measured the distance to the sun and arrived at the same conclusion.

    People were dismissing pellagra as being related to malnutrition, yet they were not using the scientific method to dispute Goldberger, just their guess that it must be a germ. Not only that but even worse, they were prejudiced that it must be a germ because they didn't want to have to make social changes for some medical epidemic.

    Same as today where the scientists are saying "It must be the humans!" because humans are Bad for the Earth(tm) when there is not near enough evidence to in any way conclusively state that.

    "Because that's what the consensus tells him."
    And what has the consensus told you?
  • by kilpo1 (569779) <kilpatmsNO@SPAMspeakeasy.net> on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @10:34PM (#11027756)
    Has the Northern Hemisphere been warming for at least the last 100 years? No question. But I would suggest that what is important is the *rate* of change -- the delta. Also important is the question: "How warm is warm?"
    Let me explain.
    Circa 900 AD or so, Eric the Red was tossed out of Iceland (he and his bunch were a tad too rowdy for the Norse already there) and began settling what was known as Greenland in the last century. At one time I used to think that Eric and his son Lief ran not only the first but arguably the greatest real estate scam in recorded history. But I was wrong. For nearly 200 years Norse settlements dotted the coasts of Greenland, some of them more than 100 miles *north* of the Arctic Circle. These Norse settlers were not fishermen; they were farmers and survived by growing wheat! Hard as it may be to believe, but 1000 years ago the coasts of Greenland were indeed green.

    So question Number One: How much warmer does it have to get before wheat can be grown and harvested on the west coast of Greenland north of the Arctic Circle?

    Sometime after 1100 AD these settlements were abandoned as the climate began to turn colder. By 1350 Europe was in the middle of a "mini-ice age." It was still plenty damn cold when Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

    Question Number Two: What was the rate of change as Europe cooled down from 1000 AD to 1350 AD? Is that delta smaller or larger than the one we are now experiencing?

    I would posit that if the delta of climatic change today is not significantly (in its statistical sense) greater than it was from 1000 AD - 1350 AD, then it is hard to argue that human activity is the *primary* cause of the change. After all, the current warming trend has been going on for more than 100 years now and I think we still have a ways to go before farmers are planting wheat at Godthab or Holsteinborg on the west coast of Greenland.
  • Re:In other news... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mr_Matt (225037) on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @12:40AM (#11028870)
    All scientists that I've met have, thus far, been human.

    Man, could I show you a thing or two, then... :)

    "Think twice about publishing your anti-global warming research because everyone disagrees with you."

    Again, you're not reading the literature. Plenty of people win their spurs from publishing theories that dispute anthropogenic climate changes, or by positing hypotheses that negate any warming that might occur. Google for the 'Iris Hypothesis' by Richard Lindzen - makes for great reading, and even better back-and-forth literature articles. FWIW, not even Lindzen out-and-out discounts global warming, but he obviously doesn't think much of it, and he's done just fine from publishing his research.

    At no time in human history have scientists had so much influence on politics as global warming scientists do today.

    Yeah, because everybody signed that Kyoto Accord and put it into action, right? C'mon - your statement is ludicrous and you know it. Scientists have little influence on politics unless they've found a way to blow people up.

    So why the hell did Science publish this silly article that proves nothing?

    To sell ads, maybe? To encourage further discussion from the scientists that suspect that global warming is hooey but haven't found proof yet? To keep the thing interesting? Scientists read dozens of new articles every month, and a little light entertainment is sometimes just what the doctor ordered. :)

    We already know that climate change occurs independent of human activity. Or are we to believe that the climate was static until we humans started messing things up?

    No, no, no, read that carefully now. What I said was no paper has been published which posits that climate change is (as in, is now) independent of human activity. Certainly before humans existed, climate change was independent of human activity. The global warming debate boils down to whether or not this is still the case. Stop playing semantics.

    Althought right now we aren't really discussing global warming but whether every scientist agrees with it.

    Again, that's not what the Science article says. I know plenty of scientists who are skeptical about anthropogenic climate change (I myself have reservations about the magnitude of any human impact) but, that doesn't mean that we don't agree that global warming is a possibility. Why? Because nobody's proven otherwise. Neither do we necessarily believe that global warming must exist (which is what you think the Science article claims) because again, nobody's demonstrated the link past a first-order radiative affect.

    The average scientific reader of Slashdot? Hahaha.

    You should have gleaned this by now, but I mean what I write when I write it, because I try to write carefully. I didn't say the average scientific reader of Slashdot, I said the average scientific Slashdot reader. The former puts the emphasis on 'reader of Slashdot' while the latter puts the emphasis on 'scientific'. There's plenty of scientists who read Slashdot, and more often than not, we wonder why we even bother when we read the comments. No doubt some other scientist is out there rolling their eyes at my charging at windmills, but hey, this is what I do after a few whiskey sours. :) But laugh if you will.

    Anyways, this is a tempest in a teapot - the Science article merely states that there exists a scientific consensus that global warming hasn't been disproven. Perhaps their angle is suspect, but nothing else, and I wouldn't get all hot and bothered about it if I were you. :)
  • Re:In other news... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by letxa2000 (215841) on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @12:45AM (#11028919)
    In the meantime the instrumental record has been corrected for this effect. There's no longer any doubt about warming.

    Incorrect.

    "The best microwave sounding unit estimate of average global temperature change in the lower troposphere for 1979-98 is an increase of 0.06C per decade. The error associated with this estimate is ±0.11C. " (Source [csiro.au]) In other words, the temperature change could be as much as +0.17C per decade or it could be as little as -0.05C per decade! Even "corrected" for instrument readings the satellite record is showing virtually no significant warming and may even be showing cooling. That, to me, is doubt.

    What was the conclusion from a panel that analyzed the difference between the surface and instrument record? According to the same link they determined that the increase in surface temperature is real (which wasn't the question but I guess they felt it necessary to reaffirm their position), that even though the highly accurate satellites disagree that this does not invalidate the surface record (interesting conclusion), that adjustments to satellite data have reduced the difference between the two records but there is still serious discrepancy, and finally came up with a "possible" explanation that lets both the satellite record and the surface record be right without reconciling the two. Basically they said that maybe the troposhere warmed slower than the surface. So rather than reject the surface record as inaccurate they basically raised a hypothetical possibility of why the satellite record doesn't agree. Or, perhaps, they should have considered the very real possibility that the surface record is just wrong.

    In any case, most weather doesn't happen on the surface of the earth but a little bit higher. For questions of analyzing global warming the satellite record is still the better choice of datasets. Of course you still don't see much mention of that in the literature because it doesn't allow for as much scaremongering and, if the error is on the lower side of the data point, actually invalidates global warming over what has been often called the "hottest decade" in recent history.

  • Re:In other news... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gmknobl (669948) on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @01:18AM (#11029119) Journal

    Scientific debate is good but there are two possible reasons why something is in very high agreement:

    1. They are paid to give this opinion - as you suggest
    2. They are right

    The first option is unlikely, and in this instance, wrong! There are several noted studies that "show" that global warming is not really all that bad, is normal, or that there just isn't enough evidence to support it at this time. Unfortunately for them, these guys are the ones who really are paid for their opinions by oil companies and their subsidiaries. Google this to find what I'm talking about or attend a presidential press conference.

    However, funding for the ones mentioned in this study does come from many different sources for the people that are finding there is evidence that we are now in global warming. Again, Google if you want to find the different organizations involved.

    So, when you have an agreement on the meaning of given evidence from many sources that use good, sound, scientific reasoning to come to their results, you have what must be viewed as a high likelihood that the conclusions reached are correct.

    In other words, since it isn't essentially one source/industry paying for the results; since the opposing viewpoint is paid essentially by one industry and frequently is viewed by suspicion by the academic review process, the only option left with any high degree of certainty is...

    2 - They're coming to the same conclusion because that conclusion is correct!

    It helps that good science is impossed but I'm sure someone will point out how nearly unanimous scientific agreement has been wrong in the past. So I'll just say that it is highly likely but not certain that we are experiencing global warming / greenhouse effect right now.

    If you don't feel that's the case, go out and smoke a few gross of cigarettes for many years and find out if, indeed, cigarettes don't cause health problems such as cancer. Same type of argument exists there too.

  • Re:Lies (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dubl-u (51156) * <2523987012NO@SPAMpota.to> on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @02:09AM (#11029415)
    So in spite of the population increasing 47% and the Gross Domestic Product increasing by 254%, co2 emissions have only increased by 24%. That's a pretty good reduction by anyone's standards.

    Ah, ok, that's what he was talking about.

    Of course, that's not a reduction at all. It's an increase, and a substantial one. It's not like the atmosphere is going to say, "Good work guys, you got your per-person emissions down, so I guess I'll let some of this heat out. And hey, your GDP is up, so I'll cancel one of these hurricanes, too."

    And before we pat ourselves on the back too much about getting our emissions per unit of GDP down, we might ask how much of that is due to shipping most of our manufacturing to foreign countries. With a $600 billion trade defecit, a lot of the emissions we cause are actually going on somebody else's Kyoto tab.
  • Re:In other news... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by neuroinf (584577) on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @02:49AM (#11029646) Homepage
    Definitely worth a read: http://www.lomborg.com/ for a solid statistical analysis of environment trends. Also I don't think the mathematical analysis underlying the classic global warming curve stands up to analysis. Just because a whole lot of people believe something doesn't mean it is true.
  • by Jim_Callahan (831353) on Sunday December 12, 2004 @06:04AM (#11065251)
    Ok, if you put it that way, then I guess the duty comes out more on the lines of "know enough to judge who actually knows what they're doing". For instance, simple empirical test tell me that the 'expert' who tells me what the wether is going to be like tomorrow is unreliable at best, making his analyses useless. Likewise, I know that I can trust the guy who built my house on how to build houses, because my house hasn't fallen down yet. The ideal, the state to be achieved, is to be educated enough in the everything to be able to make that kind of call with everyone.

    Yeah, it's practically impossible. But I'm getting closer every day. And if I can't judge the reliability of my source, I just refrain from judging the analysis as well.

    In all honesty, you seem to do the same thing, you just have a more regular criterion for trusting people's judgement. If "it's their *job* to study it" then you accept. I guess that's more efficient than my way, but I'm going to hold off on adopting it, as it would force me to become a member of at least 100 different religious groups. After all, it's the *job* of a fundamentalist southern baptist preacher to tell me what god wants, but I'm still not entirely certain of his assessment that the world will be a better place if we burn out all the gays and non-whites.

    Just my 2 cents, eh.
  • Re:In other news... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by js7a (579872) <james@bovikBOHR.org minus physicist> on Monday December 13, 2004 @06:10AM (#11071017) Homepage Journal
    For questions of analyzing global warming the satellite record is still the better choice of datasets.

    Has it occured to you that the greenhouse gasses keep the heat trapped at the lower portion of the troposphere, away from the satellites?

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