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Scientists Threatened For "Climate Denial" 1165

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the marching-to-the-beat-of-a-different-thermometer dept.
Forrest Kyle writes "A former professor of climatology at the University of Winnipeg has received multiple death threats for questioning the extent to which human activities are driving global warming. '"Western governments have pumped billions of dollars into careers and institutes and they feel threatened," said the professor. "I can tolerate being called a skeptic because all scientists should be skeptics, but then they started calling us deniers, with all the connotations of the Holocaust. That is an obscenity. It has got really nasty and personal." Richard Lindzen, the professor of Atmospheric Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology [...] recently claimed: "Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves labelled as industry stooges. Consequently, lies about climate change gain credence even when they fly in the face of the science."'"
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Scientists Threatened For "Climate Denial"

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  • by Seoulstriker (748895) on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:11PM (#18318359)
    This really begs the question: are the climate scientists who dissent really tools for corporations or are the climate scientists who advocate (consent to global warming caused by man) really tools for government/special interest groups?
  • by mikesimaska (660104) on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:12PM (#18318377)
    from the original article... " the theory of man-made global warming had become a "religion", forcing alternative explanations to be ignored. "
  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:14PM (#18318409) Homepage Journal
    Billions of people in Bangladesh, India and China will lose their homes and be forced to illegally migrate to other countries because of the climate "scientists" who deny global warming is happening.

    But that's the practical side of it.

    Ignore the hurricanes, tsunamis flooding Bangladesh, and the loss of island nations worldwide, if you must. But don't call your "belief" science.
  • by MarkPNeyer (729607) on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:19PM (#18318489)
    Saying "we will not debate this" accomplishes nothing. All science is up for debate. If the science is solid, it will withstand all criticisms, no matter how ludicrous.
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ajs (35943) <ajs AT ajs DOT com> on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:19PM (#18318501) Homepage Journal
    You don't have to buy anything, just walk up to a representative sample of people who think that global warming is anthropogenic and say, "actually I think it's probably just a natural cycle."

    The shock, hostility and downright hatred you will come across will very quickly render claims of death threats highly believable. Is this guy a jerk? Maybe. Is his science on-par? I have no clue. But, there is no denying the fact that this has become such an emotionally charged issue that climatology is probably the hardest field to do real science in today. I really wish we could de-politicize the whole process, but I fear that we would have had to start slowing this train about a decade ago in order to accomplish that feat.
  • Flat Earth Society (Score:3, Insightful)

    by krbvroc1 (725200) on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:20PM (#18318513)
    This raises the larger question...At what point do you stop funding the scientists investigating that the Earth is flat? At some point, the evidence becomes overwhelming and those who ignore it really are 'deniers'. I'm not sure about this particular scientist, but a lot of those skeptics are funded by the very corporations who have a vested interest in doing nothing. For how long was there a group of scientist who claimed that cigarette smoking could not be linked to any negative health effect data?
  • by CmdrGravy (645153) on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:30PM (#18318687) Homepage
    I'm afraid you're talking nonsense, people may be forced to migrate because of the effects of a global climate change but not because of scientists disagreeing with the popular scientific consenus.

    Scientists like this guy aren't denying that we are undergoing a climate change but they do disagree about the underlying cause of the change which is something they are perfectly entitled to do.

    Having watched the documentary mentioned in the article I have some sympathy with the viewpoint that this whole issue has been hijacked by a number of pressure groups and political associations which is leading to an overly emotional and hysterical treatment of the entire issue.

    Personally I am in two minds on the subject, I see a lot of people saying the case is comprehensively proven who want to decide what action we should now take and also a lot of people saying that the case isn't yet proven and there are a number of scientific arguments which still need to be overcome.

    What I would like is for the hysteria and the political posturing to stop and instead promote a more balanced approach to considering the scientific arguments.

    Even if global warming is largely due to human activities I don't believe and I have not seen any evidence to support the view that the effects are going to be anywhere near as catastrophic as is made out in various news reports and in the media, e.g. huge tidal waves towering over the Thames Barrier and destroying the City of London seem to me to be based more on a need for sensastional television than anything else.
  • The why become very important when it comes to "fixing" whatever the problem may be.

    If your house is on fire because your fuel oil tank is leaking and shorting out an electric line, water is probably a very bad solution, at least until you've turned off the power and done something to contain the oil.
  • by AlanS2002 (580378) <sanderal2@@@hotmail...com> on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:31PM (#18318707) Homepage
    people deriding them when they complain about 'both sides of the argument not being heard'. 'both sides of the argument being heard' implies that there is equal support/strength on both sides, which is simply not the case in this issue. The overwhelming consensus on this issue is that climate change is a phenomena brought about chiefly by societies burning of fossil fuels.
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:3, Insightful)

    by P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:32PM (#18318727) Journal
    Even if he is a POS shill for the fuel industry, does he deserve to have his life threatened? As an aside, I have seen way to many facets of weather lately blamed on global warming such as hurricanes. This is complete and utter bunk.
  • by ArcherB (796902) * on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:33PM (#18318731) Journal
    Ignore the hurricanes, tsunamis flooding Bangladesh, and the loss of island nations worldwide, if you must. But don't call your "belief" science.

    You just shot down your own argument.
    Hurricanes: Wasn't this last hurricane season supposed to be the worst in history due to global warming. How did that work out?
    Tsunamis: Are you saying that earthquakes are caused by global warming? Please! Stop blaming everything on GW. It just makes you look (more) stupid.
    Loss of nation states: Name one nation that is now underwater.
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stratjakt (596332) on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:33PM (#18318735) Journal
    TFA is more about the death threats he's recieved, and the general unwillingness to believe anything other than worst-case "day after tomorrow" type scenarios.

    I don't think any true climatologists have such a dim view - but the media does, and Al Gore does, and a large community of activists do. And those activists have the same mindset of those who murder doctors at abortion clinics, or assault people wearing fur coats.

    How are you going to have any sort of open discourse or intelligent discussion, or any sort of pursuit of the "truth" with such people involved?

    Believing something other than "mainstream science" these days has some nasty consequences. Science has sort of replaced religion to a lot of people, and people vehemently defend Darwin like a religious fundy would defend the Bible.

    I wonder if there are any true-life Galilleo's out there, muzzled and silent, who's name won't be known for centuries, when they're proven right?
  • The scientific community isn't saying that global warming isn't happening; they're just not agreeing about how it is being caused.
    Not true. They are in almost complete agreement that it is primarily anthropogenic in nature, and that greenhouse gases are the anthropogenic culprit. The evidence for this is overwhelming. Heck, even Lindzen [opinionjournal.com] says so:

    At some level, [that there is clear evidence of human influences on the climate system] has never been widely contested.

    While it [sort of] correlates to CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, it correlates to other things as well.
    Forget correlation. It's basic science. CO2 absorbs infrared radiation. Absorbing infrared radiation leads to an increased thermal equilibrium. We have increased the CO2 concentration by 100 ppmv. Over the last 800,000 years it has fluctuated between 180 ppmv (ice age) and 280 ppmv. It is now at 380 ppmv. Lest you argue that it could be the oceans releasing CO2 (people actually argue that), levels in the oceans are increasing too.

    But I do agree that there's just as much money to be made on the Green side of the fence as on the Exxon-Mobil side (or whatever).
    Really? You really believe that? On what basis do you make such a radical claim? What is the profit motive on the Green side of the fence and how does that come close to the profit motive on the ExxonMobil side of the fence? Luckily, ExxonMobil is gradually beginning to reconsider [cnn.com] its position.
  • by AtlanticCarbon (760109) on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:34PM (#18318765)
    ... it's that the dissent is being irresponsibly over-exaggerated and manipulated by certain parties (namely the Bush administration). It's somewhat similar to holocaust or evolution denials. It's not a problem, perhaps even healthy, that there is dissent. However, if decision-makers start cherry-picking oddball positions to further their policy (like the Bush administration on the environment or evolution and Iran on the holocaust) then you have a problem. The problem is with the decision-makers, not the various individuals expressing their thoughts.
  • by UbuntuDupe (970646) * on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:35PM (#18318779) Journal
    At what point do you stop funding the scientists investigating that the Earth is flat?

    When they stop making testable, correct, non-trivial predictions?
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sumdumass (711423) on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:35PM (#18318801) Journal
    What if what "was done about it" was the wrong thing? And what iof nothing needs to be done about it?
  • by moore.dustin (942289) on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:36PM (#18318811) Homepage
    Almost all of the skeptics or deniers only deny or are skeptical about the _cause_ of global warming, not the fact that the planet is indeed warming.

    Like many others areas of the world/media, /. likes to attack these same people for not seeing things their way. It is commonplace here to attack and mod down people who present other or counter evidence, no matter how valid it may be. The media has successfully nullified the scientific process when it comes to global warming. The media and political interests are causing global warming to be such a polarizing issue that any one person, or entity looking to present evidence counter to the what the media/politicians feed us, is going to think twice. The implications of publishing an article/paper counter to what many believe to be true are far reaching and could end your career [slashdot.org].

    All I hope for is that the scientific process can be saved from the media in the future when issues like this come up. By that I mean issues that demand action based on conclusive scientific evidence of a problem. We could all certainly be wrong about global warming and if you do not at least concede that, then you too, are contributing to the fall of one of, if not the most important advancement of our modern society, the scientific process. (Sanitation puts up a good fight for #1 :) )
  • by Seumas (6865) on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:36PM (#18318813)
    Science should be up for debate; not for sale.

    And forgive me if I don't take the skepticism over global warming seriously from the same crowd that believes people can rise from the dead and that while the massive scientific proof behind global warming is ludicrous and unreasonable, they're pretty sure that lesbians cause natural disasters.
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:4, Insightful)

    by spun (1352) <loverevolutionar ... minus physicist> on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:39PM (#18318905) Journal
    What money is there to be made on the green side? Where does the majority of research money in the world actually come from, people who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo, or those who have a vested interest in changing it?
  • by ElScorcho (115780) on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:43PM (#18318999)
    I'm not a climatologist, but I am a scientist, and some of these responses (and indeed, responses all over the place) are scaring me. Global warming is not the issue. There's a very clear trend of increasing global temperatures, you can check meteorological websites and see it. There's also a very clear trend of an increase in the CO2 levels in the atmosphere, even just since they started recording it, to say nothing of what it might have been 100 or 200 years ago.

    The argument is whether the global warming that we see in hard data is caused by humans. There's a correlation between rising CO2 and rising temperature, but as any Pastafarian can tell you, correlation does not equal causation. That's what people should be arguing about. We KNOW temperatures are increasing, what we don't know (and it's one of those things that might be impossible to prove, as so many things are in science) is whether these increases are caused by us. If they are, then we might possiblly be able to reverse them given reductions in CO2 output and carbon sequestering. If they aren't, then rising CO2 probably isn't helping and should still be reversed, and we might also look into other solutions for it.

    The Earth has cycled between hot and cold for its entire existence, and we don't know why. It might be life, it might be the planet's internal processes, it might be the Maunder Minimum.

    Anyone denying that the planet is heating is living with their head up their butt. Anyone denying that the heating is caused by humans is simply skeptical, and has good reason to be. Anyone convinced that the warming of the planet is caused by humans is too credulous and should always remember that science is falsifiable and therefore can never be certain.
  • by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:44PM (#18319005) Journal
    Actually, we've not "ruined Eden".

    What most people fundamentally miss, is concern at the current _extremely rapid_ climate change (it's not questioned that the climate is always changing for various reasons) is not concern about "saving the planet" by saving ourselves. Concern about whether humans are causing rapid climate change (which there are now mountains of evidence in favour of) is _self interest_. The Sun has another five or six billion years of main sequence, and if we act like bacteria in a petri dish - living in an unsustainable manner until either the environment no longer favours our species, or that the resources are used up - in that period of time, the Earth will shrug it off. 100 million years is nothing to the Earth.

    We are the first species who can actually predict the course of our actions, and actually stop the disaster from happening in the first place. Concern about this very rapid climate change is all about preserving our technological society. We only have one shot at at - the easy to get at resources are all now gone, so if this society collapses, there cannot be another industrial revolution (at least, not for 100 million years or so).

    So the choice is: live sustainably and save ourselves, or don't live sustainably, and doom civilization. The Earth doesn't care either way, the Earth will just shrug us off in what is the short term for the planet - if we doom ourselves, in a couple of hundred million years you'll have to dig for fossils to even tell that humans even existed.

    It's clear that we both need to adapt _AND_ we need to find a way to live sustainably. Even if it turns out to be entirely false that human emissions are the main factor in the rapidly changing climate (which is unlikely), resource exhaustion is still a future problem that must be tackled. Living sustainably will solve both problems, and it doesn't mean we all go back to an Edwardian lifestyle either if we engage our brains (and sadly, as a species, we act no more intelligently than bacteria on a petri dish). I think ultimately, if our society survives it'll be luck rather than good planning (luck - as in resources become increasingly scarce at a slow enough rate that the market can force the move to alternatives, at a speed which won't cause economic collapse).
  • by Yonder Way (603108) on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:47PM (#18319045)
    Scientists should be skeptical. It is only under much scrutiny and skepticism that the truth can be truly known. Petty tactics against skeptics only serve to make the more popular global warming theories appear as dogma rather than real science.
  • by Nutria (679911) on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:47PM (#18319055)
    Really? You really believe that? On what basis do you make such a radical claim?

    Grant money.

  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Retric (704075) on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:49PM (#18319103)
    What if they sky where to turn green?

    What if gravity where to stop working?

    What if ...?

    PS: Balancing green house gasses would do little harm to the US economy. We might go from spending ~3% of are GDP on fossil fuel to ~6% on renewable energy but over the long term it's a minor change.
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ambitwistor (1041236) on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:53PM (#18319183)

    I read an article that the Mars tempature has experance a simular increase as witnessed in our atmosphere.
    No. [realclimate.org]

    I remember in 1976 and 1977 when the winter was HARSH to say the lease the talk was of the comming ICE AGE.
    The people who claim that a harsh winter proves global cooling are just as silly as the people who think that a harsh summer proves global warming.

    More to the point, the scientific community was not claiming that harsh winters of 1976-1977 were evidence of global cooling.
  • Does he? Oh, yeah. He gets grant money from the NSF, NASA, and the DOE. Yeah, no grant money there.

    You get grant money for doing novel research - not for toeing the line. Anyone who thinks otherwise has never applied for a grant.

  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:56PM (#18319235) Journal

    It is the height of meglomania to suggest that human beings have a greater impact on the planet than that big-ass hot thing that comes over the horizon every morning.

    And it's the height of willful ignorance to not understand that the human impact on climate is caused by solar radiation -- it's the human effect on the impact of that solar radiation that leads to anthropogenic climate change.

    You will find articles dating back 20 years or more, with many articles devoted to the coming catastrophe of Global COOLING. They were all anticipating the new Ice Age.
    Are people still comparing pop sci global cooling [realclimate.org] with real sci global warming?

    Humans tend to think that the span of our lifetimes are significant, when in the scope of Universe, our lifespans, and indeed human life on this planet are nothing but a blip, a footnote, a grain of sand on the beach.
    Immaterial. The impact of global warming is still significant to mankind, in the midst of that 'blip'. The point you make is equivalent to saying that I shouldn't be concerned if my home is burning to the ground because I'm only one of several billion humans -- hogwash. To me, that home is important, just as to mankind, global warming is important, despite our insignificance in the big picture of the universe.

    I tend to think the Earth can and will do what it will do without consulting us.
    Get your head out of the sand, please. The Earth is not a sentient being, it is not some mystical entity that 'does what it wants' -- it is a collection of all the things on and in it, including us. And to think that we are not part of the Earth system, to think that we have no influence on global phenomena, is to deny human existence.
  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:58PM (#18319251) Journal
    I guess the problem really narrows down to whether it's fixable or not. If it's human-caused, or has a human component, then reducing emissions may slow the change down. If there's only a small human component, or none at all, then we're going to have to deal with the consequences. In fact, even if it's all human-caused, maybe we've gone beyond the point of no return, and our ability to impact climate change will be minimal.

    What strikes me, though, is that going to renewable forms of energy and curbing our appetite for fossil fuels are, regardless of climate, good things. We are contributing billions of dollars into unfriendly and unstable states in a region that has demonstrated itself not exactly to be a good friend to the West. Though we've gotten better in this part of the world, we're still dumping a lot of crap into the ecosphere.
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JonBuck (112195) on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:59PM (#18319271)
    Actually, it has become an emotional issue. We have people like James Lovelock and James Hansen saying we're doomed, Doomed, DOOMED! at the top of their lungs. When you drive people into a panic, they do not behave rationally. I've made some bad financial errors because I made an emotional purchase.

    Read this piece by Dr. Mike Hulme [bbc.co.uk], director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research:

    The language of catastrophe is not the language of science. It will not be visible in next year's global assessment from the world authority of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

    To state that climate change will be "catastrophic" hides a cascade of value-laden assumptions which do not emerge from empirical or theoretical science.

    Is any amount of climate change catastrophic? Catastrophic for whom, for where, and by when? What index is being used to measure the catastrophe?

    The language of fear and terror operates as an ever-weakening vehicle for effective communication or inducement for behavioural change.

    The language of politicians can be as strong as that of campaigners
    This has been seen in other areas of public health risk. Empirical work in relation to climate change communication and public perception shows that it operates here too.

    Framing climate change as an issue which evokes fear and personal stress becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. By "sexing it up" we exacerbate, through psychological amplifiers, the very risks we are trying to ward off.

    The careless (or conspiratorial?) translation of concern about Saddam Hussein's putative military threat into the case for WMD has had major geopolitical repercussions.

    We need to make sure the agents and agencies in our society which would seek to amplify climate change risks do not lead us down a similar counter-productive pathway.


    Don't panic.
  • by kabocox (199019) on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:02PM (#18319327)
    Stop with the " global warming is a political agenda driven conclusion" crapola like this. It's totally unacceptable. The mechanism for carbon dioxide IR trapping has been known since 1935 and it's not up for debate.

    It's statements like this that drives home how much global warming is a political agenda. It's totally unacceptable for scientists to have locked believes in a theory. They are supposed to constantly question, experiment and update their theories. After 2-3 decades they are only now somewhat certain that the Earth is in a heating tread. There is debate on the causes, and it may take another 2-3 decades to even start answering them. There are alot of folks that just want to say humans caused it now we should fix it. That may or may not be true. The only thing everyone seems to agree on is that we need more study.
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ambitwistor (1041236) on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:02PM (#18319337)

    You don't have to buy anything, just walk up to a representative sample of people who think that global warming is anthropogenic and say, "actually I think it's probably just a natural cycle."

    The shock, hostility and downright hatred you will come across will very quickly render claims of death threats highly believable.
    I don't think it's a "representative sample" you have in mind.

    There are extremists on both sides, who, unsurprisingly, are among the most vocal. Just look at the anti-AGW types who start screaming about dirty hippie globaloney-worshipping libtard Gorebots the instant the word "warming" leaves one's mouth.

    But, there is no denying the fact that this has become such an emotionally charged issue that climatology is probably the hardest field to do real science in today.
    Eh, the majority of the climatology community is probably fairly insulated from the political debate as far as their actual practice of science is concerned. It probably even remains true in general, with the exception of a relative handful of high profile scientists (e.g., the ones who end up testifying to Congress) and those who intentionally insert themselves into the political scene.

    It is, however, way over-politicized to the extent that none of the real scientific debates accurately trickle down to the public.
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:4, Insightful)

    by spun (1352) <loverevolutionar ... minus physicist> on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:04PM (#18319345) Journal
    Get a grip. Your first sentence makes my point for me. You try to insult me and belittle my position. Then you take a quote from me out of context and try to invoke Godwin. I said deniers as compared to skeptics. I have no problem with people who say, "We don't know." or "I'm not sure." I have a problem with people who actively deny the possibility and then toss around insults because they have no actual logical argument.
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Peter Trepan (572016) on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:04PM (#18319367)

    You don't have to buy anything, just walk up to a representative sample of people who think that global warming is anthropogenic and say, "actually I think it's probably just a natural cycle." [...] The shock, hostility and downright hatred you will come across will very quickly render claims of death threats highly believable.

    You'd get the same reaction if you said, "I think homosexuality is a conscious choice." Is it really? I'm not sure, but I know that it's in the best interest of religious conservatives for people to think so, and I know that religious conservatives vastly outnumber those with the means and motive to find out how orientation is determined. Therefore, when someone starts a conversation this way, I tend to start with the assumption that they're fundamentalists.

    I agree that it's a shame as far as getting real science done is concerned, but I wouldn't assume that the shocked and outraged parties aren't open minded. They're just acting like hyper-vigilant spam filters that send the occasional legitimate email to the junk drawer in order to successfully filter through mountians of garbage. If you want to convince them that you'll argue on an adult level, the burden of proof is unfortunately on you.

  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NETHED (258016) on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:06PM (#18319397) Homepage
    Correction. Legislation away embryonic stem cell research. You know, the ones that come from aborted fetuses. Its dirty truth about stem cell research. As a biochemist, I FULLY support stem cell research (hell I'll probably get my bread and butter from it eventually), but not embryonic stem cell research. The public is not being told the truth about the stem cell research they hold most dear and the legislators are using the collective ignorance of the public to drive elections. (look up Michael J Fox's political ads from 2006).

  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:5, Insightful)

    by misleb (129952) on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:07PM (#18319411)

    What if what "was done about it" was the wrong thing? And what iof nothing needs to be done about it?


    Depends on what was done about it, but I can't help thinking "better safe than sorry." When our greatgrandchildren look back on this time 100 years from now, I'd rather them laugh at our paranoia (or whatever you might call incorrect and alarmist views on climate change) than lament our complacency.

    That said, I don't think it is worth any kind of violent revolution or some such. That woudl certainly be something to lament.

    -matthew
  • by johnlcallaway (165670) on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:08PM (#18319441)
    Let's also not forget the science that showed exposure to sunlight caused skin cancer, and that we should all stop going out in the sun.

    Then they discovered that 'Whoops .... going out in the sun creates Vitamin D which PREVENTS other types of cancer. It's OK to go out, just don't get burned'.

    Or eggs. Remember the butter/margarine debate?? 'Don't eat butter, it's bad for you. Eat margarine instead' followed by 'Whoops ... me bad ... margarine is bad too. Eat butter just not too much'.

    Our scientists don't have a very good track record in predicting what will happen in complex systems when things change. Decreasing mercury and lead pollution was a good idea, dropping CO2 emissions is also a good idea.

    Just step back a minute, breathe, and do what is sane. I heard some groups demanding a 80% reduction in CO2 emissions in 25 years.

    Oh well...the democrats (along with the Hollywood bleeding hearts) are back in the US, I'm sure there will be plenty of overreaction to make up for the under reaction for the last 8 years.
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spun (1352) <loverevolutionar ... minus physicist> on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:09PM (#18319459) Journal
    I've seen idiots get alarmed about all kinds of things. I've seen people attack others and then claim to be with a group they have nothing to do with. I've seen otherwise rational individuals goaded into attacking people with taunts and insults. So yeah, by some definitions I've seen some emotional global arming alarmists. I've seen orders of magnitude more emotional global warming deniers, yet it's always the people who think we should do something about global warming that get called emotional. Maybe that is because caring about the environment is seen as weak, feminine, and emotional in many circles.
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:15PM (#18319589)
    You claim to be a biochemist, and you don't know that embryonic stem cells come from otherwise-thrown-away embryos created for IVF, and not from aborted fetuses?
  • by rlp (11898) on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:15PM (#18319595)
    Hypothesis: human produced CO2 is causing global warming.

    Fact: CO2 absorbs IR radiation from sun producing greenhouse effect.
    Fact: H2O vapor and methane also produce greenhouse effect to greater degree than CO2.
    Fact: Average temperature of Earth has been increasing in last 25 years.
    Fact: CO2 level in atmosphere has been increasing during same period.
    Fact: Humans produce CO2 by burning fossil fuels (and exhaling)

    In order to prove hypothesis, we must deal with the following assumptions:

    Assumption 1: Solar radiation has remained constant OR warming cannot be completely explained
    by changes in solar radiation

    Assumption 2: Atmospheric water content has remained constant or warming cannot be completely explained by changes in atmospheric water content.

    Assumption 3: Ditto for methane

    Assumption 4: Bulk of increased CO2 level cannot be accounted for by natural CO2 releases

    Once the assumptions are dealt with, we must also show that why temperature increases on other planets and temperature changes during the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age are irrelevant.

    So yes, CO2 aborbs IR. But no, the case is not closed.
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Frank T. Lofaro Jr. (142215) on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:19PM (#18319655) Homepage
    Global warming worries is so 1990's.

    We won't have get to the point where it will really matter, Peak Oil will come and we won't HAVE anything to burn to create greenhouse gases.

    Not that it would matter, when billions starve and get shot, bombed and nuked in the energy wars.

    (perhaps I'm just kidding, perhaps not).
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DogDude (805747) on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:21PM (#18319699) Homepage
    What truth? Embryonic stem cells are just by-products from abortions, from what I understand. What's the big deal about that? It's like when people get upset about pig and beef parts that we sell for dogs. Pigs aren't being raised and slaughtered for their ears... that's absurd... the ears are just the left-overs. Same thing for embryonic stem cells. People aren't getting knocked up to produce embryonic stem cells. These are unwanted pregnancies in the first place. There's no reason that tissue shouldn't be put to scientific use.
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AlanS2002 (580378) <sanderal2@@@hotmail...com> on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:22PM (#18319721) Homepage
    Then we've saved the fossil fuels from running out for a bit longer. If we are wrong, better that and look silly than be right and not doing anything in time. That would have to qualify the whole human species for a Darwin award.
  • "When dinosaurs walked the earth (about 70 to 130 million years ago), there was from five to ten times more CO2 in the atmosphere than today. The resulting abundant plant life allowed the huge creatures to thrive. . . . Based on nearly 800 scientific observations around the world, a doubling of CO2 from present levels would improve plant productivity on average by 32 percent across species."

    Human beings are neither dinasoars nor plants- we can't take the added CO2 concentration. So this is entirely irrelevant to keeping the earth's atmosphere in a state where human beings can survive.
  • by Keys1337 (1002612) on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:33PM (#18319939)
    I'm glad we established what the truth is, I wish people would just hurry up and declare what the truth is about everything so we can stop wasting time thinking about these things. But seriously, why shouldn't you challenge things that are considered the truth? If it is really true then it will stand on its own merits. I just think of all the ridiculous notions that have been considered "common sense" over the ages. I'm glad those thuths were challenged. As far as people getting angry. It has nothing to do with how much they know, it is how emotionally invested they have become. A top brain will get just as angry as a dim wit when the ideas they have invested much of their lives on get challenged and they feel vulnerable.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:36PM (#18319999)

    how can there be dissention in the pursuit of facts?
    Yes, it's ludicrous to suppose that two reasonable people could look at the same data and draw different conclusions from it, is it?
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:41PM (#18320089)
    Except the CO2 could be keeping us from an ice age and our paranoia could plunge us into one. Try feeding 6 billion people with large amounts of farm land covered in ice. The climate is really complex and needs to be fully understood before we try to start changing things.

  • by Shuh (13578) on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:42PM (#18320101) Journal
    It seems that any particular "science" does not exist for the politically-driven masses until someone makes a movie about it a la Al Gore. So with no further ado, I present the really inconvenient, inconvenient truth:

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=9005566792 811497638&q=The+Great+Global+Warming+Swindle [google.com]

    The movie was produced by the BBC4 and is titled "The Great Global Warming Swindle." It shows an honest, reasoned response to the Global Warming Scare on a point-by-point basis from scientists and at least one journalist. The scientists all have credentials out the whazoo and are recognized leaders and contributors in their respective fields. A few of them have their names on the IPCC report (the report the Warmingistas always cite) and one has even sued to have his name taken off the document.

    Particularly chilling (no pun intended) is the part that shows how the IPCC policy-wonks have redacted the IPCC report to remove comments from the scientists that explicitly state there is no proveable link between man-made CO2 and global warming.

    As a technical person, I have always suspected the "consensus" results "proving" man-made Global Warming have been primarily a political scam. For one thing, science rarely (if ever) deals in absolutes, and complex models always deal in probabilities rather than yes/no answers. Further, as an undergraduate engineer, I spent plenty of time in college science labs doing experiments to acquaint myself with the scientific method. Working in simple straight-forward conditions:
    1. Indoor lab,
    2. Properly calibrated equipment,
    3. One simple, universally-accepted equation,
    4. One single variable,
    we (me and all the other undergraduates) never got an exact match between the equations and the real world. There was always a fudge-factor. This experience has taught me that anyone who thinks scientists can model the entire world and get every equation and every theoretical assumption correct (down to a degree Celcius with no fudge-factor) is either ignorant or just a shill. They have the kind of faith that would put any religious bigot to shame.


  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fimbulvetr (598306) on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:42PM (#18320105)
    What about the massive amounts of money we're spending to protect our interests in our current energy sources? I.e. Money spent lobbying (for/against), by/for politicians re: fossil fuels? Or money spent to maintain military presence near/at the source of oil? No one ever seems to count that as money we're spending for fossil fuels.
  • by Ambitwistor (1041236) on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:42PM (#18320109)
    We cannot actually reduce the water vapor in the atmosphere directly, since that is determined by the global temperature via its saturation properties. If we want to reduce the greenhouse contribution of water vapor, we need to do that by reducing the global temperature, and the water vapor will re-equilibrate. We can, however, reduce CO2 emissions and consequently the global temperature.

    If we want to alter the course of global warming, it is necessary to do so through factors we can actually control. "Banning dihydrogen monoxide" is not a realistic solution even if it did work.
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:42PM (#18320115) Homepage Journal
    Yuh huh. If you want to elicit additional levels of anger, ask them if they're willing to do their part by not driving their Maibatsu Monstrosity and instead walking, biking or taking public transportation.

    If they didn't have the pitchforks and torches out before, that should just about do it.

  • by BlackGriffen (521856) on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:43PM (#18320141)
    If we keep on this fossil fueled path we're going to choke to death on our own smoke.
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vonhammer (992352) on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:44PM (#18320163)
    Don't put your faith in Peak Oil solving our CO2 problem. The US is the MidEast of the world's Coal reserves, with about 1/4 of the entire reserves in our country. Also, before we resort to burning coal for fuel, we have natural gas to run through. It won't reach Peak Gas (sounds ominous :-) ) until after Peak Oil. There's lots of carbon to throw into the atmosphere. We have to find a way to sequester this CO2.
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lars T. (470328) <Lars.TraegerNO@SPAMgooglemail.com> on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:51PM (#18320293) Journal

    PS: Balancing green house gasses would do little harm to the US economy. We might go from spending ~3% of are GDP on fossil fuel to ~6% on renewable energy but over the long term it's a minor change

    I know you pulled those figures out of your hat, but let's consider. If the cost of energy increases by 25%, that means the cost of everything increases by 10-25% (depending on what fraction of a widget is labor versus what fraction is materials). Everything.

    Yeah, if the price of energy rose by 25%, absolutely nobody would start thinking about using less energy for a change.
  • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:54PM (#18320359) Journal
    Depends on what was done about it, but I can't help thinking "better safe than sorry." When our greatgrandchildren look back on this time 100 years from now, I'd rather them laugh at our paranoia (or whatever you might call incorrect and alarmist views on climate change) than lament our complacency.

    How about them cursing you for having trashed the economy so their standard of living is far below that of your time - and no resources are available for solving whatever the REAL problems of their day are - while instituting a global totalitarian repression to accomplish the "better safe" goals?

    Kyoto alone talks about cutting the global economy by about a third for an "improvement" predicted (even by its advocates) to be too small to measure.

    What good is insurance if you spend so much on it that you have nothing left to live on? Don't you think you need to actually do enough research to have some confidence in the results before instituting such costly measures?

    Don't you think you should at LEAST get the models working to the point that they actually track the historic record of global temperature before taking draconian measures based on their predictions of the future?
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bluesman (104513) on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:54PM (#18320363) Homepage
    Christian fundamentalist: You should worship Jesus or you'll go to Hell.

    Atheist: But I don't believe that to be true.

    Christian fundamentalist: That doesn't matter. Hell is SO BAD that you should worship Jesus just in case. Better to be safe than sorry.

    Atheist: I'll take my chances.

    Christian fundamentalist: Well, I'll lobby the government to make you go to Church every Sunday, for your own good, because there so many of us that believe that Jesus is our savior, that it must be true.

    Notice anything familiar?

  • by Shadowlore (10860) on Monday March 12, 2007 @02:03PM (#18320539) Journal
    That said, it does not matter why it's warming.

    It does if you mean to change it.

    Put aside the whole "consensus" crap for a moment and think about this. Assume for sake of discussion the following:

    1) Earth is warming
    2) Mankind has had zero impact on it

    If you wish to make an impact, you have a large hurdle in that you've not been able to make any despite believing you have. If the warming is entirely natural, then all the changes you thought we had made to the climate did not happen and all of your science, models, theories about how to stop it are completely incorrect (as if they are now) and useful only as a list of "well this didn't make a difference". Useful, yes but not in the frame of making things different. You'd have a roughly equal chance of making it worse if you could impact it at all.

    Furthermore, if it is entirely natural, or that man's impact is statistically and demonstrably zero in effect, then where we should focus our efforts in coping with the natural cycle is in adjusting ourselves to the new climate.

    It also matters what the cause is in another area. If Mankind didn't cause it, then the political and moral force of a lot of environmental regulations are dropped in the crapper. It is one of the reasons I've been advocating making changes for reasons that have nothing to do with GW. There are plenty of non-GW caused changes we should be making that we do not. By tying nearly the whole of emissions control, fuel economy, and so forth to anthropogenic GW, the entire foundation could and would fall like a house of cards if/when it is determined that lo and behold we humans didn't do it. It's a dangerous position to build upon. Particularly since the anthropogenic part is not fully finished and certain. No, consensus does not mean correctness. As mentioned elsewhere, scientists have in the majority been completely wrong before.

    The cause of global warming is all theory, not fact. In science, theories must be falsifiable in order to stand a chance at validity. Where is the falsifiability of AGW? How does one prove humans did not cause GW? How does one prove that solar forcing, or orbital changes, or any other "natural" causes were no the source, at that a combination of them?

    In truth, we can't without experimentation. Models do not count. They are not proven accurate enough to even be considered as experimentation. This problem is taking hold in more places than climatology. Models and other computer simulations are not a valid substitute for confirmational experiments. So how does one conduct actual experiments? The same way we always have. But it does require more than hiring a programmer to make a program that takes your inputs and spits out an output according to a list of algorithms.

    It means building environments and validating the theories that make up the portions of the whole. It means taking these and integrating the portions into larger experiments. Yes, that means bigger laboratories and more "hard thought". But hey isn't this supposed to be important enough to justify that? If you can't build it up, you can't say you truly understand it.

    There has yet to be a single GW model that has been demonstrated to accurately model the past climate changes, let alone today's alleged ones. As such no model on climate today is valid evidence of anything other than programming and money being spent. Today's climate models are no more valid than a Simcity or Civlizations game is.

    I've been researching climate effects for a couple decades with the express desire to create a warming climate condition. The first model I played with was in the 1980's. The model can output pretty much what you want it to. Any halfway decent programmer knows that. They area gross simplification built upon a chosen set of rules. All of them. ANyone that tries to tell you otherwise is ignorant of the sheer complexity of our climate. Even small scale climates are non-trivial. If you want to make your model accurate you need to have a repeatable
  • by Dragonslicer (991472) on Monday March 12, 2007 @02:06PM (#18320583)
    I remember reading a paper back in the early 1990's about what happened in a small environment when the amount of carbon dioxide was increased. The atmospheric concentration didn't change, but the rate of plant growth increased rather dramatically. A great way of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere is to stop hacking down every forest we find.

    I think what bothers me the most about this whole debate is all the people that are looking for the cause of climate change, as if there can be only one. Some scientists predict that the average temperature will increase by 2 degrees (estimated for the sake of argument), and people start making claims about what's causing the increase of 2 degrees. It seems like nobody is considering the possibility that there's some factor causing an increase of 0.2 degrees, some other factor causing an increase of 0.1 degrees, maybe some feedback caused by the combination of the two causing an additional increase of 0.1 degrees, etc. Climate is a complex system, and if humans are having an impact on it, there's still nothing that says humans have to be the only thing having an impact.
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Profane MuthaFucka (574406) <busheatskok@gmail.com> on Monday March 12, 2007 @02:11PM (#18320669) Homepage Journal
    Do you mean that we should stop driving our cars because it's dumb to be changing the environment with our cars before we understand how it works?

    I agree.
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Retric (704075) on Monday March 12, 2007 @02:13PM (#18320699)
    Umm, if a 25% increase in energy costs = 10-25% increase in the cost of everything then energy costs are (10/25 % to 25/25 %) = 40 to 100% the cost of everything, which is just not the case. Feel free to look up fuel costs as a % of GDP. (If you don't believe these numbers feel free to look at the cost of land as a function of the cost of fossil fuels. Next look into the price of a good doctor / programmer as a function of energy cost's etc. Physical goods and services are no where near 100% of the US economy.)

    Fossil fuel energy costs are ~3% of the US GDP so a 25% increase in those energy costs would increase everything by .03 * .25 = 0.75%.

    Granted I have not run the numbers in a few years but converting all of the US electricity generation would to non CO2 sources would create a 30 - 65% premium over existing costs depending on location. See: http://www.stirlingenergy.com/solar_overview.htm [stirlingenergy.com] for a good example of such systems.

    Solar hot water heaters save money for most of the continental US. Granted not so much in Alaska.

    The only real issues is Cars / Jet's but there is enough of a buffer from heating and electric costs that even at 2.5x gas prices your only talking about 2x net energy costs. (Note your price at the pump is only about 50% raw fuel costs so (2.5x /2 + .5) = 1.75x at the pump or ~5.25$)

    PS: In time there will be no fossil fuel's left anywhere in the world so doing nothing is not really an option. Those economies' that are prepared for ever increasing costs of fossil fuels will do better in the long run.
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FauxPasIII (75900) on Monday March 12, 2007 @02:15PM (#18320749)
    > Notice anything familiar?

    Nope. You're describing an issue of individual freedom. The global warming debate is about how to regulate the commons, not imposing on an individual's freedom.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 12, 2007 @02:19PM (#18320841)
    Essentially, you went from this:

    At some level, [that there is clear evidence of human influences on the climate system] has never been widely contested.
    To this:

    They are in almost complete agreement that it is primarily anthropogenic in nature, and that greenhouse gases are the anthropogenic culprit.

    Now I don't know what kind of fancy science is involved in your degrees, given that I've but a humble MS in mechanical engineering (and only really specializing in the thermal/fluid sciences at that) but in engineering we try not to go from "clear evidence of human influences" to "complete agreement that it is primarily anthropogenic in nature".

    Why did I mention that article? Because it's one of Legate's many papers which disputes the claim that the evidence is anywhere close to overwhelming. Legates does not insist that the climate is not warming, nor does he insist that humans cannot be causing it. He simply disputes the idea that the jury is out. A longtime friend of mine is a climatology Ph.D student who works with Legates. He stays current with climatology literature out of necessity, and the state of the peer reviewed literature is nowhere near where you seem to think it is.

    And I neither know nor care why junkscience would host it, since I'm not particularly fond of herring. Especially red ones.

  • by BiggerBoat (690886) on Monday March 12, 2007 @02:24PM (#18320929)

    Not true. They are in almost complete agreement that it is primarily anthropogenic in nature

    No, they're not.

    Can you name one climatologist who disagrees with that statement? If they're not in almost complete agreement, that should be an easy request. Just name one, and provide an article they've written which backs up your assertion.

    I'll name one: Lindzen, your own cite [opinionjournal.com]. This is one of the things that bugs me about these arguments: "it is primarily anthropogenic in nature" and "there is clear evidence of human influences on the climate system" are simply not the same. That humans are having some influence on the warming trend that is going on should be news enough. It's this apparent need to "alarmize" it beyond the science that's got so many of us annoyed.
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:3, Insightful)

    by misleb (129952) on Monday March 12, 2007 @02:38PM (#18321163)
    I get it. You are alluding to Pascal's Wager, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal's_wager [wikipedia.org] , And applying it to politics.

    Actually, it did cross my mind, but after more thought, I came to the conclusion that it isn't relevant because climate change affects all of us. You going to hell or not does not affect anyone but you. It simply doesn't make any sense to legislate belief. It makes a lot of sense, however, to regulate human environmental impact. And in fact, such regulations have shown to be very successful in the past. Seriously, have you ever been to a county/city that has little or no environmental regulation? It is appalling.

    So, we have evidence that environmental regulations work without seriously hurting the economy in the long term... and evidence that humans are impacting the global climate. Seems like a fairly obvious call for action if I've ever seen one. Not that we should just stop researching climate change, of course.

    -matthew
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AlanS2002 (580378) <sanderal2@@@hotmail...com> on Monday March 12, 2007 @02:44PM (#18321247) Homepage
    Now, we know that increasing the Co2 levels increase plant growth. There are conflicting opinions to how much is ideal. So what if we remove all the Co2 and the plants go back to preindustrial production and we have a shortage of food?

    Stopping the use of fossil fuels will not remove CO2 from the atmosphere and it would no doubt take quite a while for the extra we've put in the atmosphere to be removed through natural mechanisms.
    I do understand what you're saying and I've thought it sometimes myself. I just don't think it's all that expectable that reducing our usage of fossil fuels would end up worse for us as against keeping on going the way we are.
  • by mrcparker (469158) on Monday March 12, 2007 @02:44PM (#18321263)
    You can not reverse a non-linear chaotic system. Whenever you hear someone say otherwise you can not win the argument because you are arguing with emotion.

  • Re:He's not alone (Score:5, Insightful)

    by srmalloy (263556) on Monday March 12, 2007 @02:50PM (#18321343) Homepage
    You have to admire some of the handwaves that the RealClimate [realclimate.org] article resorts to in order to preserve the global-warming doctrine. "Temperature leads CO2 by 800 years in the ice cores. Not quite as true as they said, but basically correct; however they misinterpret it. The way they said this you would have thought that T and CO2 are anti-correlated; but if you overlay the full 400/800 kyr of ice core record, you can't even see the lag because its so small." It's either true or it's not. The RealClimate site admits that the "Great Global Warming Swindle" statement is correct, but that when you look at the 800,000 year range of the ice cores, this lag is insignificant. Excuse me, but if you make the claim "X causes Y; just look at these graphs, where you see X and Y moving in similar patterns", then ignoring the fact that X happens after Y makes your entire claim invalid.

    If increasing CO2 levels cause increased global temperatures, then the historical record would show that the CO2 levels increased before the temperature rise. But the temperature rises actually occurred prior to the CO2 rise; making the claim that an effect is due to a cause that happened after the effect makes you look like an idiot. If the CO2 level changes mimic the temperature changes from 800 years earlier -- but not the current temperature changes -- over the measurement period, then it doesn't matter that the lag is 0.1% of the measurement range, then the CO2 level changes are not a cause of the temperature changes.
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ajs (35943) <ajs AT ajs DOT com> on Monday March 12, 2007 @02:54PM (#18321423) Homepage Journal

    "The UN predicts several centimeters of raised sea-level over the coming century. That's what you're concerned about?"


    Yep, there is where most people live. That means, it's where most people have everything they own. They may be able to escape, our economy, not.

    This is exactly what I fear in this sort of discussion... Do yourself a favor, go get a topographical map, and measure on it, from both the high and low tide marks, which are usually on the order of a METER apart, a "few centimeters" (that is, a small number, more than 3... say 10). Now, how much land on that topographical map is within your measurement.... go. Try it out. Oh, you'll find that most such maps are measured off in >1 meter increments....

    Yes, that's right. A rise in sea levels of 10cm would be very close to noise in the tidal fluctuation. It does mean that storm surges that didn't used to affect your beachfront-house might. It does mean that storm drains in some cities might be in trouble during storms. That's the extent of the concern. But just watch the news and they'll sing you any sort of dire prediction you like!

    Places like New Orleans and Amsterdam are in more trouble, though. Such places actually exist BELOW the water line, and constantly run the risk of flooding. They WILL be flooded someday, and a 10cm rise in oceans certainly puts them in greater immediate risk, so there's your imminent danger model. Just be clear that you're talking about specific problems, not "most people."

    "The fact that fertile growing regions might shift north by a few hundred miles?"


    Give me a single piece of evidence that says that increasing the temperature (but not solar power) increases the fertility of land (I can give you several examples of the contrary). Permanently frozen lands excluded.

    ,

    There are plenty of areas in the northern parts of North America, Asia and parts of Europe that aren't suitable for growing most crops because of the mean temperature, not the fertility of the land. When the temperatures go up, those areas WILL be suitable for growing (are now for heartier crops).

    I'm horribly ignorant of the fertility of the colder regions of South America, so I can't tell you anything about that.

    There is also the huge climate change, that will probably obsolet a lot of our housing investiment and take a lot of people lifes, the increase on wet of places that already have problems with it (that will probably be the most affected), and possible problems with the atmosphere (more tornadoes) and sea currents. Not to talk about the disruption that is already happenning at sea life.


    I don't think it is a good idea to gamble on that.

    Let's be specific. What lives will be taken, and how. Exactly. Cite examples. I'm not buying it.
  • by wealthychef (584778) on Monday March 12, 2007 @02:58PM (#18321479)
    That is not true. Just because something is non-linear and chaotic does not necessarily mean that you cannot restore it to state A once it's moved from state A to state B.
  • by BJZQ8 (644168) on Monday March 12, 2007 @03:00PM (#18321517) Homepage Journal
    I agree completely...we are so close to things like pervasive nanotech that it would be foolish to revert to 18th-century levels of industry. If we continue our current exponential growth levels, we will accomplish things like fusion, nanotech, etc. that will make hydrocarbons irrelevant, and global warming irrelevant as well. If we commit to the Kyoto path of reducing world economic levels, we will end up stagnating and declining as we never reach critical economic mass on such technologies.
  • How about them cursing you for having trashed the economy


    i find this notion fascinating -- I can't think of any other situation in which funneling research and development into more efficient and automated technology has resulted in anything other than economic progress. The entire western world is built on replacing the cheap, easy and obvious method of doing things with expensive but vastly more scalable and efficient technology.

    Outlawing child labor didn't result in an energy or manufacturing crisis, it resulted in a more educated society while causing all the industries that relied on child labor to invest in better tools that wound up being MORE effective and profitable.

    All that environmental concerns accomplish is to change the economic incentives so that the market has the motivation to cover the startup costs of technologies we know will be more productive in the long run anyways. Building more efficient and cleaner power plants and vehicles is a great idea that we know will benefit all aspects of the economy and society. So why not make it profitable for the market to move to that stage sooner rather than later?
  • by SideshowBob (82333) on Monday March 12, 2007 @03:08PM (#18321651)
    So you've decided that there isn't enough evidence to support anthropogenic climate change. Fine. I'm not going to try to change your mind. But what's the solution being presented by most GW proponents? Reduce carbon emissions. How? By reducing our consumption of fossil fuels.

      Can you think of *any* other benefits to reducing consumption of fossil fuels?

    - conservation is cheaper than consumption
    - reduce energy imports as a component of our trade imbalance
    - reduce money going to states known to support terrorism either officially or unofficially
    - provide incentives for alternative energy technology and production by American companies
    - reduce air pollution

    Is any (or all of them together) of those goals worth pursuing in its own right? Is there really any reason at all to be against reduction of dependence on fossil fuel energy *if you aren't in the fossil fuel industry*?
  • Re:Believe it. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Dragonslicer (991472) on Monday March 12, 2007 @03:29PM (#18321989)

    MOST scientists agree that humans have impacted the environment and are a major contributer to global climate change.
    I'll risk the flamebait and/or starting an off-topic argument and say this anyway. Most people also believe that God created the Earth in less than a week only 6,000 years ago. Most people believed Iraq had large-scale weapons and ordered terrorist attacks on the United States. Most people seem to believe that homosexual marriage will cause the complete disintegration of society. Most people believe that Windows is better than Linux, or even believe that Windows is the only operating system a computer can possibly have. As much as we might sometimes like to think we can, getting enough people to believe something doesn't necessarily make it the truth.
  • by ArhcAngel (247594) on Monday March 12, 2007 @03:34PM (#18322059)
    I put them in the same category as "Creation Scientists" and Flat Earthers.

    I seem to recall there was a time when the Round Earthers were the "nutjobs".

    What scares me is how so many posts (and the scientific community) froth at the mouth like rabid dogs at anyone who is skeptical. So a couple of colleagues disagree...C'est la vie. [wikipedia.org]
  • by nagora (177841) * on Monday March 12, 2007 @03:42PM (#18322165)
    "Professor" and "Phd" are not the same thing.
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Paradox (13555) on Monday March 12, 2007 @03:50PM (#18322263) Homepage Journal

    Yeah, if the price of energy rose by 25%, absolutely nobody would start thinking about using less energy for a change.


    Yeah. Because everyone has that option. My fossil fuel consumption is a direct function of my commute. Mass transit is not an option, because I'd also need a bike, and it'd be stolen almost immediately near the mass transit station. My energy consumption is relatively fixed. I have enough to run a laptop most of the time, and a bit extra for basic cooling and heating.

    Are you going to tell everyone with outdate consumer utilities (radio, television, refrigerator, etc.) to fuck off and buy newer, more efficient models? Even if they cannot afford them? Will you volunteer to sacrifice from your lifestyle to bring everyone else up to par? So much for universal health care and cheaper higher-level education, eh?

    You act like people are wantonly wasting energy left and right, with careless abandon. The real story is far grimmer. But when your only agenda is political tongue-lashing and grabs for yet more governmental power, I guess you can afford to discard reality. Americans are all so wasteful! Nevermind our industrialization is decreasing, and nevermind that global measures like Kyoto conveniently ignore countries like China that are rapidly becoming major impacts on the global ecological stage.

    Help us, Lars T. You're our only hope.
  • by paitre (32242) on Monday March 12, 2007 @04:02PM (#18322443) Journal
    When dealing with the past, we're almost always dealing with geologic time.
    The only reason we know about these super plumes is that plant life took -millions- of years to balance out the increased CO2 with O2.
    We're talking about plumes of C02 entering the atmosphere at a rate mankind couldn't even think of approaching, and doing it for hundreds, if not thousands, of years at a time.

    We have very little temporal granularity when we start talking about the far distant past. Hell, man, we don't have a lot of granularity for shit much past the 1700's (and for weather, the mid-late 1800's). Extrapolating climatic models when ~150 years of -hard-, -observed- data should be scaring the fuck out of ANY scientist involved in this entire debate. Yes, we have evidence of what the climate in certain parts of the world was kinda-sorta like upwards of 800k years ago, but we're still talking, what, not quite 2 -hundredths- of a percent of the time the planet has been around. In fact,we HAVE to rely on the fossil record because the ice sheets, even on Antarctica are, at most, 40 million years old. We're talking about a time, here, that's millions of years BEFORE the ice sheets began to form.

    150 years isn't even a blink in the eye of what true climate change is about - it might be the start of the synaptic signal telling the eye to blink.

    With that said - yes, the climate does appear to be changing. How much affect has man had on it, though, is the question. Frankly, I don't think we're affecting it nearly as much (nor as little) as either side would like us to believe. We ARE having some affect, I will not disagree here, but I do not think that we should jump into 'solutions' like Kyoto without -really- thinking hard about the effect it will have on the global economy for a very, very minimal "gain", that might not even exist in the first place.
  • by Leuf (918654) on Monday March 12, 2007 @04:07PM (#18322525)
    So let me get this straight. In response to a story about a scientist complaining that he's being compared to holocaust deniers for questioning global warming someone posts comparing him to a holocaust denier. This then gets modded +5 insightful? Way to prove the author's point slashdot!
  • by CmdrGravy (645153) on Monday March 12, 2007 @04:31PM (#18322917) Homepage
    First of all you have no idea at all what my present behaviour pattern is but assuming you are meaning to address the behaviour patterns of the average Britain then you will have to concede that our behaviour as a society changes constantly as a matter of course, It's hard for you to argue that we prefer to cling to some static behavioural pattern and need to invent excuses to justify this stasis. Look at the last 10 years, or the last 200 years and you will see that there is much more evidence of society changing than there is of it resisting change.

    Once again, if we are considering embarking on a programme which will effect a global change it seems to me that it is better to make sure we understand both the impact and the risks associated with either making those changes or not. Please explain what the problem is with this approach ?

    I am not arguing that global warming does not exist, neither is the scientist in the article and neither were any of the scientists taking part in the documentary mentioned in the article. We need to understand what is driving this change, how its likely to play out and the risks associated with it and we do not need to be pressured into premature and ill considered actions which may have negative impacts elsewhere.

    I think in general it's a good idea to take action yourself to live more efficiently, energy saving light bulbs, riding or cycling to work etc but these are actions we can take which are not going to have a impact elsewhere. What we need to be careful about is larger scale reactions which people suggest our governments should be taking.

    Actually, if you changed your behavior today, you would still have 20-40 years of continuing negative impacts. They would slow very gradually, and then, assuming the world's oceans and seas don't become too acidic to support sea life (fish, coral, etc), stop accelerating.
    I doubt you have any evidence at all to back this claim up with the level of specificity you are predicting.

    As I said I'm not ignoring anything whereas you seem to be ignoring everything you hear which you don't agree with.

  • by cephal0p0d (1052252) on Monday March 12, 2007 @06:18PM (#18324493) Homepage
    We need to shift off of fossil fuels anyway for strategic, economic, environmental, and geopolitical reasons: - De-funding terrorist petrostates - Neutering the Big Oil lobby - Removing the possibility of OPEC style embargo politics - Creation of a native energy industry increases GDP and keeps the money in-country - Expanding biofuel use eliminates the need to subsidize farms and farmers - Co2 from biofuel was in the air months prior, so no net CO2 gain. - Clean Coal tech such as emissions scrubbing and carbon sequestering has gotten to the point where it is viable as a greenish energy source, and the US has coal coming out its.. seams. - Nuclear has gotten a lot safer. Slowing/eliminating human inputs to climate change is just the cherry on the un-fossil sundae.
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rtechie (244489) on Monday March 12, 2007 @06:22PM (#18324561)
    but to me it seems a shakey bet to wager so much wealth on the chance that a) global warming is manmade, b) global warming is reversible by a change in our behavior, and c) we are better off with a cooler planet. Any of those three is, right now, a crapshoot;

    It's not a crap shoot.

    The current global warming trend is caused by human activity, primarily the use of fossil fuels. That is an absolute fact. It's about as well established as Newtonian physics at this point.

    And even if it weren't, what about acid raid, air pollution, the asthma epidemic, ground water contamination, oil spills, species destruction, etc. All problems caused by fossil fuels. Are you going to claim that acid rain doesn't exist? That air pollution hasn't caused an epidemic of asthma and other breathing problems?

    There are plenty of great reasons to reduce or eliminate use of fossil fuels besides global warming.

    for example, a warmer planet will enliven a great deal of otherwise useless tundra.

    Have you thought this through even a little bit? Have you considered what would happen to tropical areas (they're turning into deserts)? Or the devastation this will cause to global coastlines (where most people live)? The destruction of habitat that would lead to a (bigger) mass extinction? Climatological shifts tend to be what causes massive extinctions. If that's what we're seeing here it doesn't bode well for the future of the human race. Many people don't seem to grasp how closely the world is to the edge of mass starvation.
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bluesman (104513) on Monday March 12, 2007 @06:59PM (#18325123) Homepage
    My problem is not with environmental regulation in general, but with the logic that we must do something immediately because the consequences "might" be catastrophic if we don't.

    This isn't an argument, it's an absence of logic with an appeal to emotion.

    Any rational decision should take into account the benefit versus the cost, as well as the risk involved of making things worse inadvertently. Advocating any and all action without any cost/benefit analysis is irresponsible.

    Unfortunately this kind of rational analysis seems to be in short supply, which is why my eyes glaze over when I hear the words "climate change," because what usually follows is some vapid emotional appeal with plenty of whining and few viable alternative solutions offered.

    The biggest question I have is, what's the goal here? Is it to save human lives? There are far more effective ways than driving an electric car to do that. Saying "millions may starve" doesn't really impress me when millions starve today already. Why not fix that problem, which definitely exists, rather than one that might not be a problem at all?

  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ckedge (192996) on Monday March 12, 2007 @09:14PM (#18326545) Journal
    Caveat - I've never been a denier and I appreciate not using more resources than we have to. Hell I don't own a car. Now that it's more accepted fact that the recent warming is caused by us, the next question on my mind is - is it *really* a bad thing?

    Seriously!

    Have they *really* done a proper study comparing how much land will be rendered inarable as compared to how much more land will become arable? Have they factored in how easy it is for entire human populations to shift if there's an economic reason to move?

    Or have they just figured out what might happen to certain parts of land we currently use, and then scream the sky will fall?

    Have you ever looked at the 100 kiloyear cycle, where 10,000 years ago all of Canada was under a kilometer of ice? Ever heard of the Canadian Breadbasket? The massive wheat fields of western Canada? To be honest if human activity PREVENTS and BREAKS the 100 kiloyear cycle, I"M ALL FOR IT. I don't want to see all of Canada and all of Northern Europe and Russia covered with a 1km thick ice shield in 50,000 years. Do you?

    You know damn well everyone is merely afraid of "change". OOooooh evil evil change. God forbid the millions of people who live in Bangladesh should have to move. Oh wait, really we should already be moving them, considering how many die EVERY SINGLE FUCKING YEAR from flooding. So why haven't they been moved yet? OH WAIT - it's because there are political borders and the people in Western Canada and the Central USA would never ever ever let them in (repeat with every single other country in the entire fucking world.

    Maybe the first thing we should do is figure out how to get rid of:

      a) economic and social inequity

      b) removing political borders that prevent people from moving to nicer places where the weather is perfect for all of us all year round - as opposed to having to live in Bangladesh or Canada -- Yes fucking Canada! It's fucking cold here 75% of the time! Who the hell in their right mind would settle here unless they were being persecuted or fleeing poverty or searching for riches or cheap land in an agrarian world of the late 1800's?

    We're all modern now - there's no reason we can't all move down to and settle the northern fringes of South America where it's 15 deg C or more above all fricking year. Maybe we'll come up and vacation in Canada in July and August when it's 25/30/35 deg C here.
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Technician (215283) on Monday March 12, 2007 @11:28PM (#18327781)
    And what iof nothing needs to be done about it?

    From what I have been following recently, I think you are right on the money.

    It is like noticing 2 tire tracks on a path and noticing they are never more than 1 foot apart and concluding that what ever made the tracks had small wheels that are no more than 1 foot apart. Then assumptions are made regarding what direction they tarveled and such.

    When you look at the SAME data with the knowledge of a bicycle, you know the rear tire always points directly at the front tire. You also know the front tire is a fixed distance from the rear tire. Using that data, you can prove the distance is more that a foot apart between the tires by finding the distance the track of the rear wheel directly points to part of the path of the front wheel. Then you can with high accuracy tell which way the bicycle went as only one direction has the rear wheel pointing at the front wheel track at a fixed distance.

    The Inconvienent truth film pointed out quite well the track of the CO2 and the temprature is related, but the film ignored the fact temprature led the CO2 level, not followed it.

    A rise in temprature causes less CO2 to remain dissolved in the ocean. A drop in temprature causes more CO2 to be dissolved in the ocean.

    Another thing the film does is totaly ignore other indicators. Take a look at the history of the Mars polar ice cap. Hmm our polar ice cap follows the exact same pattern. Who on Mars is screwing up their weather? Maybe there is another factor and the political machine simply chooses to ignore the facts.

    Oh, Am I blowing smoke or is there data?

    It is here;
    For CO2 and temprature records;
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=9005566792 811497638&hl=en [google.com]
    For Polar Ice and Mars;
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/02/07 0228-mars-warming.html [nationalgeographic.com]
    A google search will bring up solar cycles in relation to Earth and Mars cycles for those who want the facts instead of the politics of the day.
  • by snowwrestler (896305) on Tuesday March 13, 2007 @01:59AM (#18328703)
    This the second post on this thread I've seen where you focus on the plants. It's stupid. For one thing, the world already produces enough food to feed every single human. The problems of starvation are problems of transportation and politics. The number one health problem throughout the world is not starvation, it is clean fresh water. CO2 does nothing to help that.

    Second, there is no causative correlation between biomass and biodiversity. Biomass increases in a single organism lifetime--you can grow a whole forest in 30 years. But they'll all be the same trees you planted. Biodiversity requires long periods of time to develop. If you're concerned about biodiversity, the only way to preserve it is to protect old ecosystems. Once again CO2 does nothing to help that.

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