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Science Technology

Climatologists Wager on Global Warming 591

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the dollars-for-degrees dept.
coflow writes "The Guardian is carrying a story about a $10,000 bet that a pair of Russian scientists have entered with British climate expert James Annan. According to the article, the Russians believe the world will be cooler in 10 years. "If the temperature drops Dr Annan will stump up the $10,000 (now equivalent to about £5,800) in 2018. If the Earth continues to warm, the money will go the other way.""
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Climatologists Wager on Global Warming

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  • Oh Goody! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ImaLamer (260199) <john@lamar.gmail@com> on Saturday August 20, 2005 @07:39PM (#13364023) Homepage Journal
    Global warming means nothing more than a bet!

    Cooler or warmer, if we are the ones doing it then we are all fsck'd.
  • So.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hawkeye_82 (845771) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @07:46PM (#13364061) Journal
    .....who gets the money if the climate stays the same?
  • by slickwillie (34689) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @07:49PM (#13364069)
    $10,000 will be worth about $1.98 in today's dollars, due to the coming hyperinflation.
  • by pin_gween (870994) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @07:52PM (#13364087)
    we could use some global warming in northern Ohio...winters can get pretty nasty

    You know, you do live in America and you ARE free to move south where it's warmer
  • by DevanJedi (892762) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @07:52PM (#13364089) Homepage Journal
    Even if that happens, warming in the short term should still occur; and maybe even in the long term. I can't say I'm an expert in global warming, but I would imagine that even if everyone stopped emitting greenhouse gases today, what's already out there is already out there.
  • on what grounds? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 20, 2005 @08:05PM (#13364142)
    The IPCC is as close to consensus as you get, and they attribute global warming significantly to carbon emissions, and carbon emissions such as carbon dioxide and methane are known greenhouse gases in that the laws of physics dictate their behavior.

    Or would you have us believe that for some reason it just so happens to be overwhelmed by other factors than carbon emissions?

    If industry PR consultants had a plausible method by which anything other than carbon emissions would be causing global warming I'd be interested in so far as that we shouldn't be contributing further to global warming since, regardless of the primary method of global warming (which you can believe differently all you want), greenhouse gases will _still_ cause earth to warm on a global scale.

    Furthermore, you claim Kyoto is "just a bad plan" without reason. If it's such a bad plan, surely you have some reason to think that which you can state publicly.

    So, what's your plausible alternative warming mechanism, to save face?
  • by joebutton (788717) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @08:13PM (#13364174)
    "In May, during BBC Radio 4's Today programme, the environmental activist and Guardian columnist George Monbiot challenged Myron Ebell, a climate sceptic at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, in Washington DC, to a £5,000 bet. Mr Ebell declined, saying he had four children to put through university and did not want to take risks."- In other words, Monbiot flat out chickened out.

    Those are indeed other words. In fact they're words with a completely different meaning to the previous ones.

  • by zogger (617870) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @08:31PM (#13364233) Homepage Journal
    guess I'd wager on a still occurring warming trend in those time frames. Reason is because the arctic in general has started melting, increasing the albedo effect, along with last weeks notice of the huge methane releases that have started in the siberian tundra. Another reason is that the oceans have been seriously degraded in the amount of carbon they can absorb. Warming and cooling are cyclical, but in this cycle it is headed towards warming. Man's contributions are just that, no less and no more.



    We *are* releasing a ton of gasses, much more than can be reabsorbed, and two giant economies, india and china, are just the past few years really bumping up the volume on what they burn.



    So combine that with the aforementioned geophysical realities, and it looks like more warming coming to me. How long it will last I don't know because of political wildcards. All you can do is guess, but there's only enough oil for some countries to have a robust middle class, not enough for all nations. Anyone can do the math there, it's not that hidden or weird or debateable any longer. There is x-amount projected global demand, with y amount proven reserves/refinery capacity, etc. They aren't the same number and x is a lot larger. That and other strategic minerals, etc. We just *may* have a tremendous global warfare period over natural resources and availability (some contend it has started already),and if this happens, the amount of fires started (call them megafires, as in regional sized) and resultant release of even more gasses plus extra heat that will get trapped WILL be catastrophic. and large wars have started over much less than large nations economic survival.

    I think it pays to remember that "leaders" in these various very large nations by and large tend to be *quite mad*. I am pointing in all directions right now, no favorites. You cannot predict what they might do or how things might spiral out of control.



      I tend to think at best, just for a SWAG, we have to go on past planetary history. We usually wind up with major wars fought by major powers with whatever the major weapons of that time period were. It has eventually always happened. I see nothing that convinces me todays humans are any better than yesterdays humans in that regard. So the combination of lame hoomannz and natural cyclical warming trends should indicate for the next generation or more we will have _more warming_.

  • by ccmay (116316) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @08:37PM (#13364259)
    Actually, there's another question besides who is actually paying. How much extra they paid the "scientists" under the table (beyond the wager itself)?

    Do you mean the pro-warming scientists or the anti-warming scientists?

    Grants from the Sierra Club spend just as well as grants from Exxon, and carry the same risk of biasing a scientist to report what he thinks his patron wants to hear.

    I'd be interested in an analysis of the source of funds for climate scientists. How much is coming from the evil corporations, how much from scaremongering environmentalists, and how much from supposedly apolitical government agencies?

    Also, you must not underestimate the power of peer review and tenure decisions to bias scientific research. The academic world is tough on people who undermine articles of "progressive" faith.

    -ccm

  • by arminw (717974) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @08:39PM (#13364267)
    ....scientists who see multiple cause for global warming,....

    Climate goes in cycles, like so many things in nature. Human written records attest to warmer as well as cooler times. I too think that natural causes, such as the variation in solar output have much more effect than mankind putting back some carbon atoms into the atmosphere that were there ages ago when the fossils and fossil fuels were buried in the ground. The carbon in the fossil fuels must have at some point been available to the living creatures that converted the sunshine of ancient times into plant and animal matter. One or more sudden burials of many of those living organisms made the fossils and the fossil fuels. Today no fossils are being made, since upon death living organisms are reduced to their basic constituents by the micro-organisms of decay.
  • Re:I'm sorry. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NemosomeN (670035) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @08:46PM (#13364297) Journal
    I'm sorry.
    But ./ you are no longer my homepage.

    Interesting how you were still afraid to risk your karma on that statement.
  • by Space cowboy (13680) * on Saturday August 20, 2005 @08:49PM (#13364301) Journal
    For Gods sake, the Sahara desert was once a swamp. Had that change happened in the last 100 years people like you would be crying "end of the world".
    You're dead right there - if immense regions of the world started to catastrophically change in environmental terms, it would indeed be cause for significant alarm.

    The problem is that we don't know what it is that we ought to be watching out for (we only have trends), and we don't know what the risks are (because there are no scientific results we can draw on in living memory). So, we estimate.

    The risk of something (anything) happening is not the probability of it happening, it's the probability of the event happening, multiplied by the consequences. We do have a fairly well-agreed definition of the consequences - there are many ice-cores, strata readings, magnetic effects etc. that show the earth can hit a 'tipping point', and snap to a new environmental mode - in some cases in as little as 50 years. Scientists on both sides of the debate agree with the tipping-point hypothesis, what is not agreed then is the probability of it happening. This is the contention.

    I don't know of any extreme of weather where man battles and wins. The destructive power of nature is truly awesome - in the traditional rather than the watered-down Californian meaning. In my opinion, if there is doubt over the probabilities, we ought to be minimising the risk *anyway*, and that means trying to combat global warming (in as much as we are capable of it). Burying our head in the sands is sort of like sitting, waiting for the tidal wave to hit, rather than running to high-ground to try and stay alive. And just as foolish.

    Simon.
  • by Brian Stretch (5304) * on Saturday August 20, 2005 @09:13PM (#13364390)
    "kyoto a bad plan" => american

    Well, yeah. If Kyoto were a serious plan it'd include China, India, Brazil, etc., but it doesn't. It also just happens to be that America, with its relatively low population density combined with having the most developed economy has the highest per capita energy needs. If you wanted to knock the American economy down a peg or two then convincing us that Kyoto is a good idea is a good way to do it. But first you have to convince us that the global warming and cooling trends that have been happening since the beginning of recorded history are changing due to some man-made influence.

    And the enviromentalists won't let us build nuclear power plants to replace coal-fired ones, which is sheer idiocy. President Bush is working on fixing that.

    And then I'd have you check the air quality in China, which is a lot worse than it is in America. As they get wealthier I expect that situation to improve (they'll have the resources to deal with such quality-of-life issues), but why isn't anyone pressuring the ChiComs to abide by the Kyoto protocols and clean up their neighborhood now?
  • by donscarletti (569232) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @09:14PM (#13364393)
    You're darn well right. Imagine if we got it all wrong. What if we thought that the world was getting warmer from greenhouse gasses so we reduced carbon emissions when that wasn't even needed. God help us then. Our descendants would all look up at our clear, pristine skies, free from pollution and shake their fists, cursing those maniacs in the early 21st century responsible for cleaning it up and weep for the days where we couldn't see the stars around large cities. Imagine if the hysteria that global warming caused spilled over and caused people to clean up waterways, or reduce other emissions like sulfur dioxide. Imagine a world with clear rivers and no acid rain as well. That's what those crazy eco-nuts would have us reduced to.

    The worst thing about the Kyoto protocol is the harm it could cause if it all went wrong. We have so much to loose because of it.

  • Doomed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fredistheking (464407) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @09:29PM (#13364447)
    Have we in the left boiled down to blaming Bush for everything? Unfortunately this view doesn't win votes against Bush. As long as there is no credible opponent and vision we are doomed.
  • by geek (5680) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @09:31PM (#13364450) Homepage
    Sky rocketing markets, wars over energy rights, mass unemployment and rioting as a result of that unemployment. Yes we have a tremendous amount to lose if we're wrong. Not to mention how freaking stupid we would look to future generations for believing something so remarkable without any real proof.
  • by NanoGator (522640) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @09:48PM (#13364506) Homepage Journal
    "You've responded to a very simple point by attempting to redefine "global warming", completely changing the subject, and making baseless assumptions about my views. Good job."

    He responded by pointing out your 'fact' is not a fact. He kicked your butt, and your 'rebuttal' was completely free of any information that would invalidate his point. Good job.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 20, 2005 @10:06PM (#13364560)
    Global climate change is no longer the subject of science, but of politics. The data was in a long time ago, but people continue to ignore it in favor of their own agenda. Climate changes have been documented at various points in the earth's history for various reasons. Instead of using this data to predict future trends, environmental groups use it to further a socialist agenda and industry groups use it to further a complete deregulation agenda. All the research in the world won't matter at this point, so might as well just resort to placing bets. It's no more stupid than the pontificating that's going on right now between everyone involved in the area of global climate change.
  • by learn fast (824724) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @10:32PM (#13364629)
    Did you notice how this part:

    "For some reason he could never comprehend, people were inclined to believe the very worst about anything and everything; they were immune to contrary evidence just as if they'd been medically vaccinated against the force of fact. Furthermore, there seemed to be a bizarre reverse-Cassandra effect operating in the universe: whereas the mythical Cassandra spoke the awful truth and was not believed, these days "experts" spoke awful falsehoods, and they were believed. Repeatedly being wrong actually seemed to be an advantage, conferring some sort of puzzling magic glow upon the speaker."

    is not scientific? Rather, it's just subjective and made up? Really, what's the difference between this impression of his and reading tea leaves?
  • by RayBender (525745) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @10:46PM (#13364666) Homepage
    I thought I'd never say that. It's interesting how mainstream media has declared that a majority of scientists say global warming is real and directly tied into carbon emissions.

    That might be because that is in fact the consesnus of a majority of published peer reviewed papers [realclimate.org] in the ltterature.

    It's pretty clear that the evidence is there - if you have an open mind.

    I have no trouble accepting that carbon emissions could cause warming, however the evidence isn't there yet.

    Just what would you require as evidence - a personal note from God? I can list some of the studies indicating a link, but I honestly doubt I could ever convince you...

    I have several friends in climatology, geology and astronomy who shake their heads everytime a new panic prediction is released.

    And I have many friends in geology and climatology, and I am an astronomer, and I have to say that while the "panic announcements" may not be very likely, I think some of them are more likely than the scenarios presented by the contrarians. Case in point - the West Antarctic ice sheet may not melt this decade, but some time in the next century (given no limits on CO2) it will melt. When it does, that's 10 meters of sea level rise right there. I'll probably be dead, but my children might not be.

    They're scientists who see multiple cause for global warming, man being only one of them.

    Man being the one we can control, and the largest one, at the present time.

    The "better something than nothing" crowd loses traction with me when it comes to Kyoto. It's just a bad plan.

    No, be honest. You just spent most of your post arguing against human responsibility for GW; you can't seriously claim that you just have a problem with how Kyoto implements greenhouse reductions, and that you'd support some other mechanism. I didn't hear you say "GW is real, but we should go with voluntary reductions" or something to that effect. You claim that GW is either due to natural causes, or just not real.

  • by Alex P Keaton in da (882660) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @11:01PM (#13364712) Homepage
    You said it man-
    Global Climate Change. One of the biggest misnomers of all time is Global Warming. It allows ingrates to say "we had 10 feet of snow in July, it can't be Global Warming!"
    The "It isn't global warming" idiots will shiver to death during an ice age caused by global climate change and say "{if only we had used more cfcs!"
  • it's the speed (Score:2, Insightful)

    by zogger (617870) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @11:26PM (#13364792) Homepage Journal
    The rate of change is what is more important in this scenario. Both polar regions tell the tale. It has dramatically sped up just in the past few years, it is not very gradual any longer. And it is a double whammy in those areas, once the ground areas switch from brilliant white reflect the heat ice and snow, to open exposed dark rock that absorbs the heat, it further increases the rate of radical change, ie, more ice melts right there. It goes faster and faster then. I was just an hour ago reading about greenlands massive glaciers, biologists and geologists are freaking out, they are melting so rapidly there that they keep finding new plants, etc growing, where just a few years ago it was totally barren. The problem is, if the polar regions radically melt, it slows or stops ocean thermal currents, which tend to make the 'moderate' climate areas where most humans live-moderate. If the gulf stream slows more from the arctic dumping melted icewater into it, it will make northern europe wicked cold, and cause the southern US to become unbearably hot and probably cause droughts followed by an increase in super hurricanes from the gulf regions not being able to shed excess heat.

    this would just *suck*

        If these changes were to take 1000 years (joe random big number), swell, we can gradually adapt to it, I wouldn't see any large problems with it,but if it takes a decade or two (joe random very small number) to drastically alter the climate, I doubt it will be pleasant. Unfortunately, the academic articles that have come out semi recently point to a profound and fast rate of change in both polar regions. This is just raw data, it is not disputable either. The rest of the planet is bound to follow.

    The second and tangential part of the whole greenhouse gas debate is only partly of interest to global warming, but is primarily a health issue. The planet is becoming more urbanised, and urban areas become little micro climates and tend to trap poisonous gasses *right there*. I live rural and you can see it and smell it when you aren't used to it, whenever I am forced to go into atlanta it stinks and the air is foul, it is poisonous really, and THAT is 99% man made,and I doubt you'd get much in the way of scientific support to dispute that. If for only that reason alone, we should be pushing for alternatives to petroleum products and coal whenever possible, either replacements, more efficient use (dropping demand and burning cleaner) or by reducing the needs (better designed buildings with triple the insulation for example, etc).
  • by geek (5680) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @11:27PM (#13364796) Homepage
    Even a 1% pull back on the market would be drastic and a major setback to a great many people and nations as a whole. I'm done arguing the point with you. I'm afraid common sense and rationality went out the window when you put on the tin foil hat.
  • by RayBender (525745) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @11:34PM (#13364815) Homepage
    t's just not true - the belief that the majority of climate researchers agree that humanity is to blame for the rise in global temperatures is also 'hotly' debated.

    So a joint statment by 11 national academies of science [nationalacademies.org] (including the U.S.), or the IPCC doesn't represent a consensus? It's not just a matter of counting abstracts. Keep in mind you can never get every self-proclaimed scientist to agree on everything - so there will always be a few contrarian voices that you can dig up (with enough money), but the overwhelming majority of climate scientists hold the view that human greenhouse gas emissions are causing climate change.

  • by nwbvt (768631) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @11:49PM (#13364865)
    You do realize that just because a majority of people believe one thing does not make it true, right? At one point in time, most people believed the world was only a few thousand years old. At another point in time people thought time was absolute. At another, people thought atoms consisted of a proton with electrons orbiting around it.

    The Earth's climate in the future is even more difficult to know because it consists of predictions of specific future events. With the previous examples we have physical evidence to look at. Here, the best we can do is look at previous data, make models, and make a guess as to what will happen. One hypothesis is that we will have runaway positive feedback which will work to warm the Earth's global climate. Another is that changes in the sun's sunspots will send the Earth less solar energy and will cool the climate (and if you RTFA, that is what the Russians were basing their predictions on). Another theory (if you believe cheesy Hollywood movies) is that the thermal conveyor will shutdown. There are dozens more, and plenty of other plausible (and not so plausible) theories we have not thought of. Betting on the results isn't too much different from betting on who wins a football game.

    The only thing we know for sure is that our planet's climate is very dynamic and depends on many factors.

  • by chris_sawtell (10326) on Saturday August 20, 2005 @11:50PM (#13364868) Journal
    whether or not the US population as a whole gets the message that burning Arab Juice is Un-American. I predict that they will and that successive US governments will make a considerable effort to reduce the amount of imported liquid hydrocarbon fuels. The main result will, thankfully, be a reduction in the rate of Global Warming. International Treaties == Nothing, [Patriot|National]ism == Everything.
  • by nwbvt (768631) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @12:00AM (#13364895)
    Yep, leave it to those Americans to oppose a plan which may delay global warming by a few years just because it will devestate their economy (and with it any chance to come up with a technological solution that might actually do something). Why couldn't they just go with a useless knee-jerk reaction to make all the other countries happy? Damn that free will of theirs, it will doom us all.
  • by killjoe (766577) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @12:04AM (#13364908)
    WOW, BRILLIANT!. You my friend are a genious!. You have thought of these things that no scientist ever even considered. Those scientists are obviously stupid and greedy. Too stupid to take into account things like the sun, loss of cloud cover and too greedy to be consider things like volcanoes and deepwater CO2. They are just riding around in their bentleys with their fat paychecks from the govt writing about how global warming is caused by human activity.

    You should be a scientist man. Truly you are able to think of things not one of climatologists has ever thought of.
  • by johnlcallaway (165670) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @12:05AM (#13364910)
    Or ... maybe, just maybe, because gasoline gets more expensive, people will find ways to use less. Like, oh, I don't know, since my monthly gas expenses went from $120 to over $200, I went out and bought a used 750cc motorcycle for my 23 mile commute. Now I'm spending $16 every three days instead of $30 during the week. And I know of a few people at work that are now car pooling, and two others that are thinking of selling their homes and moving closer.

    And to think all of this decreased consumption (almost 50% in my case) occured because the natural supply and demand drove prices up, not because of legislation.
  • by ivan256 (17499) * on Sunday August 21, 2005 @12:06AM (#13364914)
    the world's #1 greenhouse gas polluter continues to belch out 25% of the world's CO2

    And continues to produce 27% of the GWP [wikipedia.org] with it... Looks like we're making good use of that consumption.

    And Brazil! Brazil has 62% of the US's population, and 5% of the CO2 emissions.

    Interestingly Brazil has approximately 5% of the US's economic output level.

    It would seem that economic strength is directly tied ot energy consumption. It's a wonder that people who are held acountable for the US economy don't want anything to do with a treaty that would force a reduction in economic output, isn't it? And that's even before you take into account that the treaty doesn't take the growing economies that are the biggest threat to US economic dominance to the same standards. Maybe if the treaty allowed for the reduced energy output from fossil fuels to be replaced with the only known feasable source (nuclear) it would be a good idea, but it doesn't, and it isn't.

    Perhaps throwing yourself on your own sword is fashionable in Europe these days, but I'll pass, thanks.
  • If you wanted to knock the American economy down a peg or two then convincing us that Kyoto is a good idea is a good way to do it.

    Another good way to do it would be to leave America largely dependent on oil from Saudi Arabia, a country which may suffer a political and economic implosion [theatlantic.com] any day now. Or to continue to pour money into that country when there is no doubt that a lot of that money is being used to fund the very people who are trying to kill you.

    Global warming isn't the only reason to get off oil. If Kyoto will have that much of an impact on the economy, it's a good sign that something is already very wrong.

    Nuclear power, by the way, has experienced something of a renaissance with environmentalists, especially with recent innovations like the pebble bed reactor which are far more resistant to meltdown. The problem with nuclear reactors is that they're expensive.

    As for China, they aren't likely to do anything as long as their disregard for the environment and their labour gives them a competitive advantage. Because it isn't like a totalitarian regime is going to listen to the environmentalist lobby--they'll do whatever they can get away with. The only way to put pressure on them is to stop buying their goods. To spell it out for you, we would have to stop buying goods simply on the basis of cheap prices, and start considering the hidden costs. But too many large corporations cut costs by buying from countries that pay their people almost nothing and disregard the environment (Mexico is another example,) and the government looks the other way.

    So yeah, that's a good question: why isn't anyone pressuring the Chinese to clean up their neighborhood?
  • by WindBourne (631190) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @12:40AM (#13365023) Journal
    Yes, but most of the ppl who are credible AND have a fair amount of evidence are the ones who are sounding off on man made global warming. To make matters more interesting, the core groups research is moving from simple modeling to pointing to where to look. And when they look at those areas, the data is supporting it. IOW, the models are working

    In addition, every time some lunatic fringe group comes up with something to try and destroy the core researchers premises, they get shot down. Good example is the group from Texas, who had satellite evidence that temps were not changing. But once it was closely examined, it turned out that their work was shoddy. Basically, they had major flaws with the data and had not done their homework.

    Another example is the melting of glaciars by all areas, except at the extreme poles where they are growing; apparently with increasing temperature raises the humidity. At first, though, the none-global warming ppl used the polar glaciars as evidence to refute it.

    Yeah, there are LOTS of alternative theories running around. Just few of them have credible evidence. And the core groups have working models that are increasingly matching what is going on.
  • Kyoto is a bad plan because it is a consumer pays treaty, not a producer pays treaty. CO2 is tagged specifically by the consumers of the product, not the producers. This was done pretty much to screw the USA.

    Forget Bush, even Clinton wouldn't sign off on it without major changes.

    The right way to do Kyoto would be to charge those nations that export carbon fuels with the CO2, not the nations that import them. Thus, Saudi Arabia, Venezuala, Nigeria should get whacked with Kyoto charges, because they produce all the CO2. If those nations want to avoid Kyoto taxes, they should either sink all this CO2 they produce, or, make a more CO2 efficient energy system.
  • by nwbvt (768631) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @01:12AM (#13365119)
    "Yes, but most of the ppl who are credible AND have a fair amount of evidence are the ones who are sounding off on man made global warming."

    And once those who were the most credible and those who had a fair amount of evidence supporting them supported the idea that the Earth was a couple thousand years old, and thought time was absolute, and etc. Were you supposed to have a point?

    "In addition, every time some lunatic fringe group comes up with something to try and destroy the core researchers premises, they get shot down. Good example is the group from Texas, who had satellite evidence that temps were not changing. But once it was closely examined, it turned out that their work was shoddy. Basically, they had major flaws with the data and had not done their homework."

    One group in Texas is not every "lunatic fringe group" (aka someone who disagrees with you on something).

    "Another example is the melting of glaciars by all areas, except at the extreme poles where they are growing;"

    Well the vast majority of all glaciers are those on the South pole, so a small number of glaciers have been shrinking (as they have been doing since the end of the last ice age) while most have been growing. Thats potentially interesting, but not definitive proof of anything.

    "apparently with increasing temperature raises the humidity. At first, though, the none-global warming ppl used the polar glaciars as evidence to refute it."

    Yes, with the addition of new evidence, scientists had to modify the global warming hypothesis. Thats because unlike settled fact (under which you apparently try to classify global warming), scientific theories and hypotheses have to adjust as knowledge grows.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 21, 2005 @01:28AM (#13365165)
    Sierra Club makes grants that fund scientists?

    They don't really. Not in any significant amount. Compare the grants from foundations, not the Sierra Club, and then include the NSF and other governmental sources.

    Then compare that to corporations. Then you might have an honest measure of bias.
  • by Kafka_Canada (106443) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @02:04AM (#13365264)
    I don't know of any extreme of weather where man battles and wins.

    Then you completely fail to understand the basic nature of humanity. We've conquered pretty much every "unlivable" environment, and will continue to do so, making the environment more productive for our needs. Unlike you morons, I'd rather that humanity continue to manipulate the environment to serve its needs, as it's done for thousands of years, than that we force random suffering on ourselves (or I should say on others among us, since it's usually two different groups -- those who make dumb laws, and those who suffer) because of fear of the environment, like some dumb chimp. No, that's not right, even chimps make better use of the environment than idiot environmentalists do.

    We've seen people bet against humanity any number of times -- Thomas Malthus, Paul Ehrlich, global cooling, global warming, coal shortage, oil shortage, water shortage, blah blah blah. Each and every time, humanity wins, and will continue to win, for the simple reason that humans are smarter than nature. It's really not a hard concept, and anyone who bets against humanity is a moron.
  • by cahiha (873942) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @02:45AM (#13365375)
    Sky rocketing markets, wars over energy rights, mass unemployment and rioting as a result of that unemployment

    Except that those prognostications are utterly wrong: a reduction in energy usage doesn't produce unemployment or result in wars or rioting. If anything at all, in increases employment, both in the development of more energy efficient technologies, and ultimately in the service sector (where automation is replaced with manual labor).

    Yes we have a tremendous amount to lose if we're wrong.

    No, we (as in "the people") only have to gain from lowered carbon emissions: we get a cleaner environment, less risk from global warming, reduced chance of conflict over energy, and more employment. Who stands to lose are the existing energy companies and manufacturers, who have a huge investment in old energy technologies and production methods; any change to the status quo threatens their business big time.
  • by misleb (129952) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @03:58AM (#13365523)
    The problem with waiting for "real proof" is that by then it is too late. I hardly think that anyone would look back on us as stupid if we played it safe with the environment. Also, I think you are highly exagerating the consequences of environmentalism. There was a time when businesses thought that they could not get by without cheap slave/child labor. But eventually it was outlawed to no ill effect. It was the right thing to do and the economy adapted. Then again, maybe we just moved the slave/child labor overseas...

    -matthew
  • by mpcooke3 (306161) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @05:10AM (#13365694) Homepage
    Entering into Kyoto and carbon trading agreements would not result in the collapse of corporate america and mass unemployment.

    This whole "I won't sign up to anything that results in the loss of a single american job" is just nonsense, the real reason Bush doesn't want to sign up is because of where he gets campaign funding from.

    Kyoto is very weak and is only a starting point but atleast it shows Europe is willing to admit there is a problem and start tackling it.

    Oil is a finite resource, prices will continue to rise it actually makes long term economic sense to start energy conservation, carbon trading and renewable schemes now. This is to avoid exactly the situation you are describing which is almost certain to happen later on if america continues to burn fossil fuels at it's current rate, regardless of the damage you are doing to the global enviroment.
  • by Malor (3658) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @06:59AM (#13365889) Journal
    Whoever modded you insightful should be shot. The first thing you say is true (that we've seen both warmer and colder temperatures over relatively short terms), but the rest is pretty much bunk.

    Did it ever occur to you that not all the carbon was in the atmosphere *at the same time*? And you seem to think there was some big 'magic' event that buried all those fossils and coal *all at once*? Clue: it wasn't a 'sudden burial'. It's not like ravening hordes of topsoil threw themselves screaming on the dinosaurs.

    Things in nature happen slowly, over thousands or millions of years. Our digging up huge quantities of carbon and dumping them into the atmosphere all at once, over a mere century or two is probably an event that's entirely unprecedented in the planet's history. How it will adapt is unknown, but it's entirely likely that we won't like it much; we are fond of stability, while being a profound destabilizing influence.

    And you say 'no fossils are being made now', which has got to be among the dumbest assertions I've heard recently. Here's another clue: right now, somewhere in the world, there's a corpse of a seagull that has been buried and is starting to fossilize. If there are intelligent beings in fifty million years, perhaps they'll discover a bizarre strata, deeply buried. If so, they'll eventually figure out that it's a great treasure, a landfill of the Ancients. And, perhaps, they'll realize that poor dead Jonathan is an ancestor of whatever flying scavengers they have at the time.

    The natural processes of the earth are slow. Just because they're happening too slowly for you to perceive in your own short lifetime doesn't mean they stopped.
  • by Alomex (148003) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @08:29AM (#13366029) Homepage
    We should keep in mind that there are good economic incentives built into the funding system for scientists to overstate their case. There are plenty of examples of this in action:

    (i) the advantages of a reusable Shuttle.

    (ii) the advantages of a Space station.

    (iii) the exaggerated AIDS risk, where the NIH kept on promising a million infected Americans every year, for nearly two decades, before it came true. This one has the distinction from the two above that fighting AIDS is a worthwhile cause that was not properly funded until alarmist statements were made.

    (iv) the risk of meteorites hitting earth.

    (v) the risks of overpopulation (see Malthus).

    (vi) the risks of shortages (see the Ehlrich-Simon wager).

    (vii) the benefits of the next $20B megasuperduper-cyclotron (still waiting for my muon toaster oven).

    (viii) the benefits of artificial intelligence.

    and on and on.

    The publicity seekers have been talking about global warming of several degrees C as a fact since the mid 1990s. Examining the literature the picture is different: global warning of just half a degree C was conclusively proven only a couple of years back.

    So to sum it up, the risks of global warming are overstated by the scientific press. Something to keep in mind is that tempering the claims of global warming does not mean completely ignoring them (like Dubya does today or Regan did with AIDS in his time).
  • by Lars T. (470328) <Lars.Traeger@goA ... l.com minus poet> on Sunday August 21, 2005 @11:40AM (#13366539) Journal
    The Modern Temperature Trend [aip.org]:
    It scarcely mattered what the Milankovitch orbital changes might do, wrote Murray Mitchell in 1972, since
    "man's intervention... would if anything tend to prolong the present interglacial." Human industry would prevent an advance of the ice by blanketing the Earth with CO2. A panel of top experts convened by the National Academy of Sciences in 1975 tentatively agreed with Mitchell. True, in recent years the temperature had been dropping (perhaps as part of some unknown "longer-period climatic oscillation"). Nevertheless, they thought CO2 "could conceivably" bring half a degree of warming by the end of the century.(27) The outspoken geochemist and oceanographer Wallace Broecker went farther. He suspected that there was indeed a natural cycle responsible for the cooling in recent decades, perhaps originating in cyclical changes on the Sun. If so, it was only temporarily canceling the greenhouse warming. Within a few decades that would climb past any natural cycle. "Are we on the brink of a pronounced global warming?" he asked.(28*)

    Meanwhile in 1975, two New Zealand scientists reported that while the Northern Hemisphere had been cooling over the past thirty years, their own region, and probably other parts of the Southern Hemisphere, had been warming.(29) There were too few weather stations in the vast unvisited southern oceans to be certain, but other studies tended to confirm it. The cooling since around 1940 had been observed mainly in northern latitudes. Perhaps cooling from industrial haze counteracted the greenhouse warming there? After all, the Northern Hemisphere was home to most of the world's industry. It was also home to most of the world's population, and as usual, people had been most impressed by the weather where they lived.(30*)

    If there had almost been a consensus in the early 1970s that the entire world was cooling, the consensus now broke down. Science journalists reported that climate scientists were openly divided, and those who expected warming were increasingly numerous. In an attempt to force scientists to agree on a useful answer, in 1977 the U.S. Department of Defense persuaded two dozen of the world's top climate experts to respond to a complicated survey. Their main conclusion was that scientific knowledge was meager and all predictions were unreliable. The panel was nearly equally divided among three opinions: some thought further cooling was likely, others suspected that moderate greenhouse warming would begin fairly soon, and most of the rest expected the climate would stay about the same at least for the next couple of decades. Only a few thought it probable that there would be considerable global warming by the year 2000 (which was what would in fact happen).

  • by RayBender (525745) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @12:04PM (#13366617) Homepage
    I've read reports that the sun is getting warmer and is causing the global warming.

    As near as the best science can tell (hence the "consensus"), the Sun is not causing the observed levels of global warming. For a full discussion, check out this link [realclimate.org].

  • by tigris (192178) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @03:06PM (#13367312)
    Nice try, but the treaty has never been submitted to the U.S. Senate for ratification. [wikipedia.org] Even if it had been, Democrats did not control the Senate [senate.gov] (which votes on treaties) in 1998, which is the earliest the Clinton Administration could have submitted the Protocol for ratification. (The Dems didn't control the House either [house.gov] for that matter.) The Republicans have held a majority in the Senate since the 104th Congress (elected in 1995) through the 106th Congress, with a tie for the 107th, and then back to full GOP control for the 108th and 109th. The failure of the Senate to ratify Kyoto cannot be laid at the feet of the Democratic Party. There's nothing the Clinton Administration could have done to ensure ratification of Kyoto - The Republican Senators would have committed harakiri before giving Clinton such a victory, particularly considering they were preparing to impeach him at the time.

Get hold of portable property. -- Charles Dickens, "Great Expectations"

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