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

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:11PM (#18318345) Journal
    If he's trying to clear his name, he's doing a bad job of it.

    I found an article by him [canadafreepress.com] in which I hoped to hear his logic and reasoning against global warming.

    He claims it is just a natural cycle. That he's seen two of these in his career and he'll see one more before he dies. If his "death threat" was someone saying that he won't see temperature returning to normal before he dies, I don't think it was a death threat.

    I can't find a formal report of his research but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. If this is his argument, he leaves out a lot of things that need to be explained to me before I let it go. Like, why are polar bears suddenly on the endangered species list? What's happening to all the snow on the tops of mountains? Where are the ice glaciers (with ice that has been around for thousands if not millions of years) going? What is his retort to the CO2 levels being their highest ever--even after looking at ice core samples?

    His article only mentions a professor from MIT but not what his criticisms are.

    If their work is being derided, I want to know what their work is. I'm a skeptic also, if these people are being published in newspapers, you would think that they wouldn't waste their time on death threats and counter-counter-criticisms but would instead try to get the truths they have been finding in their research out to the public. If you're conducting good science that, in and of itself, will clear your name in the end.

    The more I search for information on Timothy Ball, the more he seems like he's playing just as dirty as the people he's fighting. Check out his lawsuit [sourcewatch.org] for a journal publishing a letter. I feel we're not hearing the full story here.

    When I'm at work and I enter situations in which someone is decrying someone else and vice versa, I just present everyone with facts. If I had done research and I received death threats, I would submit to major newspapers two things: my research published with permission to reprint it & the death threats in their original form. Nothing could boost my efforts to get the truth out there more. The fact that I see a PhD and scientist spending more time saying his life is in danger than presenting me with his findings tells me a lot about what his motives are.

    He was published, I guess in Ecological Complexity [elsevier.com] which I do not have access to. If anyone has papers from his work, I would love to see it--otherwise I'm going to tune this soap opera out as emotional noise in what should be a stoic process.

    Question everything. Question both sides. And if you have something that is true, present it. I'm not calling him a liar, I just can't call him anything right now because all I can find are stories about who called who what.
  • by hmbcarol (937668) on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:21PM (#18318529)
    It's indisputable the Earth is warming. People differ as to why. Answers range from natural cycles to human activity. Perhaps it's both.

    I would ask what ended the ice age 10,000 years ago? There used to be ice MILES thick over much of Europe and the US northeast. The few hundred thousand people on Earth at the time had no technology more advanced than a camp fire. What ended that ice age? Clearly the earth has warmed because of non-human causes.

    That said, it does not matter why it's warming. Our house is burning and people are bickering over it being arson or lightning. If we don't do something about it the climate will continue to change and probably not in a good way. The vast number of people live where they do because they have food/water available to them there.

    This is not about "fault" or people's "guilt" that we've ruined eden. It's about deciding we are gonna do something about it even if that means trying to compensate for a "natural" progression caused by the earths orbit or the sun, etc. This may mean altering our technology to reduce CO2 to make up for more solar activity or doing other more imaginative things.
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AlanS2002 (580378) <sanderal2@hotmail.CHEETAHcom minus cat> on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:25PM (#18318595) Homepage
    "I really wish we could de-politicize the whole process"

    If the process was de-politicized something would of probably been done about global worming 10 - 15 years ago, however due to lobbying from very wealthy interest groups it's only now that something is starting to be done about it.
  • He's not alone (Score:5, Interesting)

    by slashkitty (21637) on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:27PM (#18318641) Homepage
    The Great Global Warming Swindle

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=9005566792 811497638&hl=en [google.com]

    It covers both the politicization of the issue, and many scientific facts ignored by global warming films.

  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:1, Interesting)

    by LibertineR (591918) on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:28PM (#18318655)
    All you need to do, is a Lexus-Nexus search.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    We humans cant fix TRAFFIC for fuck's sake! I tend to think the Earth can and will do what it will do without consulting us.

  • by rlp (11898) on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:30PM (#18318689)
    > the particular science that shows that carbon dioxide absorbs in the IR
    > where O2 doesn't isn't reallly up for debate. You can show it with mathematics
    > or with IR spectroscopy. It's some of the most solid science that there is.

    Of course so does water vapor. Therefore we must ban dihydrogen monoxide.
  • by slackmaster2000 (820067) on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:30PM (#18318701)
    Somebody denied that C02 is a greenhouse gas?

    Straw man.
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:34PM (#18318757) Homepage Journal
    Which is why "global warming" is on it's way out and "global climate change" is on it's way in. But the inability to predict the changes has nothing to do with changes currently observed OR whether or not it was caused by mankind.

    My thought is that we're facing backlash based on 30 years of bad predictions- with nobody noticing the logic of "hey, maybe we SHOULD reduce pollution for other reasons", or "maybe we should capitalize on all the extra CO2 in the atmosphere and provide us with some nice large lumber-grade bamboo forests for building materials in the mean time".
  • Educate us (Score:5, Interesting)

    by benhocking (724439) <benjaminhocking@y[ ]o.com ['aho' in gap]> on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:38PM (#18318861) Homepage Journal

    Find one by an actual climatologist and not by an author who has also warned us about the "summer of the shark". The truth is that during this global cooling scare manufactured by Time and Newsweek, real scientists were already doing research on global warming.

    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.

    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.

    It's the height of ignorance to believe otherwise. If you don't trust environmentalists, perhaps you'll believe what Lindzen [opinionjournal.com] himself has said:

    At some level, [that there is clear evidence of human influences on the climate system] has never been widely contested.
  • Believe it. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by d3ac0n (715594) on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:40PM (#18318913)
    This is the kind of crap that has been going on for the last 5 years or longer.

    If you don't believe him, all you have to do is to look back at ANY Slashdot article on global warming in the last 5 years to see an incredible amount of vitriol and hate directed at those like myself who are highly skeptical of "Global Warming" as a man-made phenomena.

    We are called "Deniers", fools, idiots, trolls, tools, apologists for "big oil", ignorant, and any number of insults that you can imagine. Our intelligence is derided, our ability to research and think critically is questioned and our honesty is doubted. We are treated much like those who "insult Islam" are treated by Muslims. With disrespect, derision, and hatred. That some of the eco-religious would choose to "take it to the next level" with death threats is NOT SURPRISING AT ALL.

    There are many many scientists, not funded by big-oil, who seriously doubt or outright disagree with the conclusion reached by a few high-profile scientists in regards to the veracity of man-made global warming. Many of them have signed on to a petition that states:

    There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.


    You can see the petition online here: http://www.oism.org/pproject/s33p37.htm [oism.org]

    and a scientific abstract that further explains their position here: http://www.oism.org/pproject/s33p36.htm [oism.org]

    Their science is sound, and after doing my due-diligence I agree with them. I will not be shouted down by eco-religious fanatics or ideological thugs, and neither will these scientists.
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:4, Interesting)

    by malsdavis (542216) on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:43PM (#18318981)
    I think the article is intending to mislead.

    I've also read up on some of the reports by this "scientist" and many are anything but scientific. Scientists criticise other scientists all the time for this.

    The only difference here seems to be that the issue is a politically sensitive one.
  • I understand him. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DeeDob (966086) on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:49PM (#18319099)
    Coming from an ecology based formation at the university, i have learned some principles of ecological research.

    The first thing that needs to be understood is that ecology "scientists" need funding for their research (which is more often than not government-funded).

    They NEED their research to make an impact in order to receive further funding for more research.

    In ecology, you never have an "absolute numerical value" to your results. You will obtain a "range" of values, the minimal of that range being the "best-case scenario" and the maximum "the worst-case scenario".

    Now in a research, you always "summarize" your results in the intro and/or in the conclusion of your report. In ecology, the "summary" always ONLY include the worst case scenarios.
    Remember that they need to create an impact. Saying "all is normal" won't grant them further funding for additional researchs. In a sense, it even put their work as "useless".

    It's the reason why today, we are hearing a lot less about the "ozone layer". In the 80s and early 90s, the problem was on the news everywhere all the time. Now we barelly even hear about it. See, the ozone layer is currently slowly re-building according to other researchs. Scientists gave the worst case scenario and what has been observed by others comes down to the fact that the problem wasn't as big as observed.

    I strongly suspect the same thing with the green-house effect and rising temperatures. When a day is anormaly high (even if not even record-breaking) or if there are a higher number of typhoons and tornados (even if not record breaking) media are quick to "blame it on rising temperatures".
    It's the ecological disaster of the decade... it's shocking... it's what the media wants, it's what the reserchers want as it's basically a ticket to funding.

    Now comes another researcher that looks at it from a different perspective and comes to the conclusion that the worst case scenario is improbable and tends on the other side of the spectrum, where the "problem" is actually normal climate variation in the long term.
    His views contradict the majority of other reserchers and invalidates some of what they are saying.
    If they can't discredit his methodology, they'll discredit his research itself. Fail that, they will discredit the researcher himself.

    I've read multiple catastrophe-scenarios over a number of ecological studies.

    - In the 80s, i've read that if we continued to cut down trees at the speed we were doing, that no more trees would exist on the planet by 2010. It won't be the case.
    - I've read in older studies that no petrolum would exist in the world by 2005. It was not the case.
    - I've read that California would dissapear by 2000 from earthquakes. Did not happen.
    - I've read that New York will be submerged by rising sea water by 2020. I doubt it will be the case.

    There IS a problem with rising temperatures. The problem however is NOT what you are led to beleive by ecologists.

    The lesson i've learned when listening to ecologists and catastrophe scenarios is:
    Take their numbers, divide by 3 to 4, make an approximation of what the REAL problem is.

    The lack of drinkable water in some countries (even the U.S. is lacking in some of it's regions) is a more urgent problem than rising temperatures. But it isn't as popular, hence it does not bring enough money...

    Think about it,
    Specialists in hydrology, climatology, ecology, oceanology, geology and almost all the other "...gy" discipline can gain funding if their researchs include "rising temperatures" in them.

    Conclusion,
    I don't know anything about this particular researcher or his studies. But he has raised an interesting point: you CAN be placed aside, discredited and have your funding CUT if you go against the ideas of the majority of other researchers.
  • by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:52PM (#18319161)

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


    No, they're not.

    The evidence for this is overwhelming.

    No, it's not, in fact most of it is correlative which is why you get terminology like relying on global "fingerprints," as in it's just an assumption based two things that look like they could be affecting each other but haven't been proven to with any direct evidence.
  • by Serveert (102805) on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:52PM (#18319169)
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Tim_Bal l [sourcewatch.org]

    Dr. Timothy Ball is Chairman and Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Natural Resources Stewardship Project (NRSP). [1] Two of the three directors of the NRSP - Timothy Egan and Julio Lagos - are executives with the PR and lobbying company, the High Park Group (HPG). [2] Both HPG and Egan and Lagos work for energy industry clients and companies on energy policy. [3]

    Ball is a Canadian climate change skeptic and was previously a "scientific advisor" to the oil industry-backed organization, Friends of Science. [4] Ball is a member of the Board of Research Advisors of the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, a Canadian free-market think tank which is predominantly funded by foundations and corporations. [5]


    The links to PR companies is what bothers me. PR companies have studied and refined group psychology for decades, centuries even if you look at how it evolved from greek study of rhetoric, and it has even gotten us into wars like the 1st gulf war ( http://www.prwatch.org/books/tsigfy10.html [prwatch.org] ). They make Hitler's propaganda team look ineffecient in comparison. Stalin would be envious of them. Having observed PR campaigns for decades, this is a very high level and well funded campaign. I see their tactic - attacking global warming advocates as emotional and vindictive. Basically taking the science out of global warming and turning themselves into victims, because everyone likes a victim. I wish I wasn't so skeptical and negative but having seen PR companies in action, this has all the hallmarks of a PR campaign. The best PR goes unnoticed, it's not obvious to those uniniatied in PR tactics, but it is most definitely happening.

    I personally only want to see peer reviewed data, nothing else matters. The PR companies want to take this to the people rather than to the journals.
  • Where's the science? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Phat_Tony (661117) on Monday March 12, 2007 @12:59PM (#18319273)
    Given the vitriol I've witnessed, I have no doubt that people doing work that might contradict greenhouse-gas driven anthropogenic global warming receive all sorts of threats and probably funding problems. Surely anyone who put their name out there as an anthropogenic global warming critic is going to receive threats from loonies, and surely there are at least some anthropogenic global warming critics who's research is being de-funded, but that doesn't mean the two are related. Their research could be being de-funded because it's bad research.

    It seems to me that anyone who wants to be civil about the debate over global warming (rather than taking up arms in a useless flame-war) needs to look at one thing; peer-reviewed scientific literature.

    Likewise, to make the case regarding political bias affecting research into global warming, what one needs to look at is submitted papers and grant proposals. Let's not hear one side complain about how they're being repressed; let's see evidence of repression. Do you have a history of quality research, and had your quality grant proposal rejected because the research you proposed could contradict the theory of anthropogenic global warming? If so, put the information out there for people to judge. Did you submit a quality research paper to journals, only to have it rejected due to political bias, not the quality of the paper? Put it out there. The laymen might not be able to evaluate all this on their own, but there are still plenty of unbiased scientists and organizations that would review these cases carefully if these claims were advanced with appropriate evidence.

    Is research being suppressed? I don't know, it wouldn't surprise me either way, given how politicized this topic is. But if they want to make a case for it, the thing that they need that's been lacking so far is substantial evidence.
  • 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.

    No, it's not, in fact most of it is correlative which is why you get terminology like relying on global "fingerprints," as in it's just an assumption based two things that look like they could be affecting each other but haven't been proven to with any direct evidence.
    Back in the 60's - when the correlational evidence was being masked by particulates - the evidence was already mounting. The underlying science is really quite simple. Because of the sheer number of feedback (positive and negative) systems it is really hard to determine the magnitude of the effect, but the existence is not in doubt, and nor is the fact that it is the dominant factor in our current climate change.
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:2, Interesting)

    by AshtangiMan (684031) on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:04PM (#18319363)
    The "I think its probably just a natural cycle" is specious at best. Based on what evidence? The evidence suggests that while there was a natural cycle of carbon, where we are now is unprecidented, very outside of the natural cycle. I do think it is reasonable to think that taking carbon that has been sequestered for millions of years and spewing it into a very tiny volume of atmosphere (relative to the volume of the earth) can change its makeup, and I have done enough (though limited) work in a lab to know that the concept of a "tipping point" is well established (think titration). Notice that I use subjective quallifiers too, but I then explain (or at least allude to it) the evidence that I am looking at.

    I have yet to see the anti anthropogenic arguments couched in any way that is meant to clarify, create a dialog, inspire critical analysis, or otherwise lend to the body of knowledge. This causes frustration, which leads to the reactions you note, and it is purposeful.

    If you carefully laid out an argument as to why the earth is round, backed up with observations that suggested that it could very well be round and met with remarks of "I think its probably flat" I think you might feel a bit frustrated because that ends the dialog. If however the remark was "I think its probably flat because . . . " and then heard a list of reasons based in similiar kinds of observation it might lead to a conversation which would enlighten both.

  • by Matteo522 (996602) on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:13PM (#18319551)
    Morals are relative. Some people may die if we do nothing and allow global warming to continue (assuming that man-made global warming is in fact the dominant factor). But remember that "doing something" means curbing and possibly scaling back development, which has its own moral implications as well.

    While you can probably live by using less electricity and using public transportation, tell starving African villagers than they are not entitled to burn the oil and coal in their own country. For every person who could die from "global warming flooding" or whatever, there's another person who will die from starvation due to scaling back development or, if they're lucky enough to eat, from breathing in pollutants caused by cooking their food indoors with fire because they have no electricity.

    There's a romanticism involved with "going back to being one with nature" or living a more peasant-like life. Explain that to those actually living it.

  • Causality 1:

    CO2 absorbs infrared radiation.
    Do you deny that?

    Causality 2:

    Absorbing infrared radiation leads to an increased thermal equilibrium.
    Do you deny that?

    (Implied) Causality 3:

    We have increased the CO2 concentration by 100 ppmv.
    Do you deny that?

    Where is this "correlation" that you're describing? I'm talking causes.

    I'm really tired of back seat scientists. Skepticism is good, and I'd argue that skepticism is even better when everyone seems to follow one view. The skeptics may not be right, but they are necessary to keep everyone honest. If you do not understand that, you have no right to comment.

    Do a google search on "Ben Hocking". I'm not a back seat scientist. I might not be that credentialed, but I do have an MS in astrophysics, a Masters of Computer Science and I will soon have a Ph.D. in CS. I've also published several articles in Journal of Neuroscience and have written two grant proposals to the NIH. What are your credentials?

    Skeptics are great - they look for the truth. Pseudo-skeptics who only look to prove their preconceived ideas or try to make themselves look smart give real skeptics a bad name.

  • by Chacham (981) on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:17PM (#18319609) Homepage Journal
    You know, things like claiming that the word "denier" is a holocaust reference.

    He never said such a thing. The exact quote from the article is:

    I can tolerate being called a sceptic because all scientists should be sceptics, but then they started calling us deniers, with all the connotations of the Holocaust.


    All the connotations of. The word denier (when refering to those who deny) is uncommon, as is usually used as a strong term.

    Anyway, the word itself, to many, does indeed carry sucha reference. Just now i googled denier, and the second line (first entry, first sub-entry) was a Holocaust reference in Wikipedia.

    IMNSHO, a denier, when referring to one who denies, is nearly always predicated with what is being denied. On its own, however, it would refer to a famous topic that has famous incidents of deniers. One such case, and to many nearly the only case, would be the Holocaust.
  • by DeadChobi (740395) <DeadChobi@noSPam.gmail.com> on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:25PM (#18319783)
    Color me skeptical, but I don't think you're entirely accurate. I've been skeptical in global warming posts on Slashdot before, and there's usually at least one guy who suggests that I'm in denial and that it's people like me who are going to destroy the planet. I'm interested in the truth, and I'm not above listening to someone who suggests that this is part of a natural cycle. Think of our mean temperature like the angle of a pendulum. As we add more CO2 to the air it acts to drive the pendulum of temperature. That is not what is in question. What is in question is the extent of the driving.

    That is where I'm skeptical, but I usually get accused of ignoring the whole issue. Thankfully I haven't been referred to in the same light as a holocaust denier.

    Global warming is an extremely emotionally charged issue for a lot of people because of the impact it will have on our future if we do nothing and it turns out the driving from the CO2 results in us cooking the civilization off the face of the planet.
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ajs (35943) <ajsNO@SPAMajs.com> on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:28PM (#18319857) Homepage Journal

    Now that the stakes are so high [...]
    Are they? What stakes?

    I mean that quite seriously. If we're to reduce the rhetoric and move forward, we have to stop relying on fear and TALK rationally and plainly.

    The UN predicts several centimeters of raised sea-level over the coming century. That's what you're concerned about? What? The fact that fertile growing regions might shift north by a few hundred miles? The fact that a few new shipping lanes might be opened up? The fact that Tundra wildlife might explode? What, exactly are the stakes? I'm not sure warming is a good thing, but I'm also not convinced that it's the cataclysmic event that we're being told by some.

    WHAT are these stakes? Al Gore's alarmist fears of Florida disappearing under the waves? Honestly, I like Al Gore. I voted for Al Gore because I watched his career in the 80s and 90s and was hugely thankful for the work that he did (and later took undeserved heat for) in building the Internet in the 80s. But, on this I think he's done an issue that he clearly cares about a disservice.
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:4, Interesting)

    by inviolet (797804) <slashdot@@@ideasmatter...org> on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:29PM (#18319873) 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.

    Ultimately, the switch to non-petroleum energy will reduce the effective GDP by that 10-25% figure (or maybe even more), probably via inflation.

    Our GDP is about 13 trillion dollars a year. So we're talking *massive* amounts of resources. Perhaps it makes you feel virtuous to declare that you perceive the need for others to expend such resources... 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; for example, a warmer planet will enliven a great deal of otherwise useless tundra.

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

    by N3WBI3 (595976) on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:30PM (#18319881) Homepage
    Wish I had mod points, this sums it up pretty nicely. There are enough skeptics out there (on man made Global Warming) that they should not be labelled kooks but we can all Agree Pollution is pretty bad! I am very much a fan of alternaitve fuels for dozens of reasons but Golbal Warming is not in the top 5 because frankly A guy who could not pass geology in college (Al Gore) does not hold alot of wieght to me. Lets talk about how alternative renewable fuels could reduce global conflict, correct health issues caused by pollutents, improve our quality of life, make our lifestyles more sustainable, and leave a better planet to the following generations. Lets fund the hell out of WindFarms, Solar Energy, Wave Energy (Ocean), Hydrogen, BioFuels based on areas we can agree on.
  • by theodicey (662941) on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:40PM (#18320065)
    Landsea is the only one of your sources under 65. I think he's a credible scientist, but he only works on hurricanes and isn't skeptical about the overall phenomenon of global warming. Even if he's 100% right, the other impacts of global warming (sea level rise, drought, famine) are worse.

    The fact that you're bringing out Seitz, who was completely senile by the time the oil companies were putting his name on press releases [wikipedia.org], discredits you completely.

    Lindzen thinks that the earth's climate is warming with 98% certainty. He would only take a 50-1 bet against it. [wikipedia.org]

    Tim Ball has never worked on climate change, has no quantitative ability, and is basically obsolete. He sues his critics for telling the truth about him. [scienceblogs.com]

    Is that the best you can do? Your denialist sources suck.
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mikael (484) on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:41PM (#18320097)
    If the suggestion is that the Sun has changed energy output by a small amount, then wouldn't this show up in the energy output logs of the solar panels of orbiting satellites (particularly those in geostationary orbits). At least this should up the effect of sunspot activity (if there are any satellites that are in service for over 20 years).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:44PM (#18320159)
    Just one? I'll bite.

    Dr. David Legates, and a paper he published with Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas, "Estimation and representation of long-term (>40 year) trends of Northern-Hemisphere-gridded surface temperature: A note of caution"

    Dr. Legates is also the Delaware State Climatologist, and, unlike Michael Mann, actually has a degree in climatology. Also, before anyone brings up politics, Dr. Legates is a registered democrat, and was appointed to the state climatologist position by a democratic governor, who is now fairly upset that he isn't towing the party line on this particular issue. And lastly, all allegations of him receiving funding from oil companies are unsubstantiated.

    Furthermore, for a guy who seems to have a lot of science degrees, you seem to have some problems with simple logic. I'm trying to understand how you went from a quote that says human-made factors should have an effect on climate to the proclamation that "They are in almost complete agreement that it is primarily anthropogenic in nature". I mean, we know what CO2 does as a participating media in radiation problems. That doesn't mean we know that it drives the process.
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rucs_hack (784150) on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:45PM (#18320185)
    Much of what is collected is dumped. In the UK we 'export' it to vast mounds of plastic crap in china and third world countries. This is shameful, and exists solely because of the current fashion of enforced recycling. In the US a large percentage of 'recyclables' are still dumped.

    Recycling is mostly makework. The profits come from the lavish grants that are provided, and avoidance of penalties for not instituting it.

    Melting plastic to re-use costs as much, if not more energy then creating it in the first place. Paper has been a renewable resource for *decades*. There is no need to recycle it, and the chemicals used to clean it also have to be produced, using more raw materials to do a job that doesn't need to be done.We also have no need whatsoever to recycle glass, none. It costs as much to recycle as produce in the first place, and we are in no danger of running out of sand...
    Lastly, it is an outright lie that large landfill is bad for the environment.

    Recycling probably produces more harm to the environment then not recycling at all. The only exception is Tin, which is useful as a recycled product.

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

    by AlanS2002 (580378) <sanderal2@hotmail.CHEETAHcom minus cat> on Monday March 12, 2007 @01:54PM (#18320361) Homepage
    I don't see how using less fossil fuels could possibly make climate change accelerate. It just doesn't fit with anything we know about CO2 affects on heat absorption as against Oxygens or Nitrogens. You can always say, 'well we might learn different in the future', which could be true. However, an acceleration in global temperatures has coincided with massive use of fossil fuels in modern history, not vice versa.
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:4, Interesting)

    by LurkerXXX (667952) on Monday March 12, 2007 @02:01PM (#18320505)
    As for your financial analysis, also remember that right now a large chunk of money is flying out of the US, EU, etc, to other countries to buy those fossil fuels. If we get renewable energy sources cranked up within our own countries, that chunk that we can keep in-house will add considerably to that GDP.

    Any of those three is, right now, a crapshoot; for example, a warmer planet will enliven a great deal of otherwise useless tundra.

    Scientists working in the field for years and years have put a lot of thought into the variables in the 'crapshoot'. We know that snow on the tundra reflects a lot more incoming radiation than the desert which will be created in the warmer climates. Thus increasing heating further. There is a lot more science behind the 'crapshoot' than you are giving credit for.

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

    by tsalaroth (798327) <tsal@arikel.net> on Monday March 12, 2007 @02:03PM (#18320545) Homepage Journal
    The funny thing is, modern coal-burning technologies burn coal far cleaner than any petroleum-burning processes for power generation.

    Why are we still using oil for power generation in the US? I know not every state is, but a great deal of them do.
  • by angst_ridden_hipster (23104) on Monday March 12, 2007 @02:13PM (#18320715) Homepage Journal
    OK, I'll bite.

    They deny the truth.

    Scientists don't tend to use words like "truth" for theories that are not readily shown by experimental evidence. And sometimes even when they can be.

    For example, general relativity can be experimentally demonstrated in a range of contexts. Most scientists believe that the theory is accurate, but there are still a lot who wouldn't use the word "true," simply because it may not be true on all scales, or it may turn out that GR is a good description of one area of a larger theory (e.g., Newtonian mechanics aren't strictly "true" -- but they're a damn fine approximation in most contexts). You still see some interesting discussion on this stuff in the dark matter debate, although the GR/dark matter side is increasingly looking like it's going to win out on this one.

    Your divisive and dismissive language ("pseudo-skeptics") doesn't actually get us anywhere. Setting yourself up as judge over which skepticism is warranted and which is not a scientific approach -- this is the model of a Religion, where there is acceptable dogma and unacceptable dogma. Show me the errors in their logic or explain why their experiments are inaccurate, don't call them names.

    Disclaimer: I am a scientist by training, even if I don't work as one now. I am an environmentalist. I'm a skeptic. I've seen evidence that supports the theory that there is global warming. I haven't seen compelling evidence in either direction on the anthropogenic question. Having done computer modeling of physical systems, I don't have deep trust of computer models of chaotic systems.
  • by rhodes777 (723318) on Monday March 12, 2007 @02:30PM (#18321053)
    Apparently the guy from MIT in this documentary is suing Channel 4 (the English station who broadcast this program) because he says he was misrepresented and quoted completely out of context:

    http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,20 31455,00.html [guardian.co.uk]
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:2, Interesting)

    by asilentthing (786630) on Monday March 12, 2007 @02:31PM (#18321059) Homepage
    I do agree. Responsibility is not valued highly today -- I still wonder if more and more regulation will cure human disregard. I don't think it will. But arguments go on and on, till we get to the conclusion that something must be done no matter what. And the most proactive solution is what becomes culturally acceptable. I think the deeper problem rests with us relying on just anyone's "facts" or "science". The more I research this on both sides I still stay a "skeptic" -- though that's highly subjective word on either side. Ignorance and rash belief are what make these sorts of issues emotionally-charged, I believe. I would personally rather be the skeptic who has come to conclusions logically (I mean - if this is real science, global warming's apparent causes can never come to true "consensus" in a real scientific community lest it cease being just that) than believing the hype blindly. If I'm wrong, awesome. I'll admit it and move on (just because I don't think global warming is real doesn't mean I am not responsible with resources, etc.).
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 14CharUsername (972311) on Monday March 12, 2007 @02:40PM (#18321191)
    Actually a major point many people miss about the oil exporting countries is that most of the wealth is concentrated in the hands of very few people. These people are the Saudi royal family, some sheiks, sultans, etc. And what do these people spend their money on? Luxuries like expensive cars, palaces all over the world and whatever is left over gets invested. And what do they invest in? Western corporations.

    So really our dependence on oil isn't really transferring much overseas. It's just concentrating wealth into the hands of fewer people. Renewable energy sources would disperse wealth to many people across the country since you'd have to farm stuff for biodiesel and the construction of windmills would require a lot of labour. This means you're going to have to pay working class people instead of sending money off to rich sheiks who will invest it in our companies and build expensive resorts for our elite to stay at. You don't want to give people jobs at the expense of the wealthy elite do you? What are you a communist?
  • by angst_ridden_hipster (23104) on Monday March 12, 2007 @02:50PM (#18321351) Homepage Journal
    I would argue that there's also a logic problem that contributes to the rancor of the debate, which is that people who do not believe in anthropogenic GW are being asked to disprove the anthropogenic model.

    But, to your point, it's also absolutely true that there are fanatics (on both sides) who are not interested in science or evidence or anything other than beating up on the "enemy." There are elements of both the anthropogenic model and the non-anthropogenic model that naturally fit in with wider world-views that stand in conflict. Throw in people who stand to profit (on either side), and we get the morass we're in. Little wonder it has become a very emotional issue.

    Now the question is how do we get out of the swamp?
  • by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday March 12, 2007 @03:33PM (#18322045) Journal

    Kyoto alone talks about cutting the global economy by about a third
    Source, please? I've never seen economic impact statements with any kind of estimate that damaging for the Kyoto treaty. Time and again, we've seen pollution controls result in better economies, not worse -- despite dire predictions of the opposite.

    for an "improvement" predicted (even by its advocates) to be too small to measure.
    Huh? What advocates of the Kyoto Treaty have said that? Please cite a source, since everything I've read has predicted a measurable impact on global atmospheric CO2 levels.

    Even super-critical-of-Kyoto analyses [heritage.org] put the GDP impact in 2010 (if we had adopted under Clinton) at 400 Bn, which is less than a third of projected 2010 GDP... and that calculation uses a base gas price of $1.10, with a Kyoto impact of about 0.40... since the base gas price is slightly less than double the $1.10, we can expect the impact (in the worst-case-scenario, without technological discoveries and improvements) to be significantly lower than the $400 Bn.

    Furthermore, this 'study' totally ignores the economic positives associated with alternative source development -- it only looks at the negative impacts. Any wonder, since it was funded by the DoE, which is a stomping-ground for energy lobbyists?
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:3, Interesting)

    by syphax (189065) on Monday March 12, 2007 @03:43PM (#18322171) Journal

    Where to start....

    Oil went from $17 a barrel or so in 2002 to around $70 or so last summer (source [doe.gov]

    Let's think of an energy-intensive industry that's based primarily on oil. Let's say, airlines. By your logic, flight costs should have increased by 165% to 400+% in that time. I don't know about you, but I fly a lot for work, and I didn't see this. And it's not like airline prices aren't dynamic.

    And how you frame the argument...

    a) Sure looks like the science is continuing toward a done deal- do take the time to look into the 'it's all the sun' argument. Start with 'solar variation' and 'Attribution_of_recent_climate_change' at Wikipedia.

    b) If a), then b). The biosphere is pretty good at regulating things like CO2 level as long as it's not getting pushed too hard (see: status quo)

    c) Cooler planet? Who said anything about a cooler planet? The concern is to what degree the planet is hotter.

    If by 'enliven' tundra you mean melt it and release all the methane that's locked up in there (thereby enhancing warming), then I agree.

    My personal opinion is that reducing carbon intensity is a reasonable strategy that hedges our bets over climate uncertainty, and does not have to doom our economy. For example, in the US we can go a long way with energy conservation and efficiency, things that generally have a reasonable ROI. The US is currently 40th or so among countries in terms of emissions per unit GDP (and the difference is not attributable simply to industry mix, pop. density, etc.).

    Unfortunately, debate about global warming is driven so strongly (on both sides) by ideology, that discussion on forums like ./ is becoming a real PITA
  • by Spazmania (174582) on Monday March 12, 2007 @03:44PM (#18322177) Homepage
    a clear-cut list of factors from a group would be welcome.

    Indeed. I've said this in discussions on the subject before, but it bears repeating: If vehicle emissions are 30% of the problem and power plant emissions are another 30% then its worth the investment to switch to nuclear power and electric cars. But what if they're 3% each and the solar wind interactions due to the Earth's falling magnetic field is responsible for 60% of the warming? If that was the case then changing our driving habits wouldn't make a whit of difference; we'd need to find some way to counteract the sun-related heating instead.

    We owe it to ourselves and to the people we're asking to change their lifestyles to narrow down the possible causes in to the specific causes with their respective rates so that we ENGINEERS can develop reasonable solutions.

    Let me put it another way. I accept the theory if evolution. Its not particularly good science but its the only science that explains where we came from; every other explanation is either untestable or has been disproven.

    Nevertheless, if you told me that we needed to invest a trillion dollars in changes to prevent the evolution of the superbug that must be coming, I'd laugh you right out of the room. It doesn't warrant serious consideration. You want a hundred million to set up the CDC, okay, but don't sit there and tell me with a straight face that we have to reinvent society because something as flimsy as the theory of evolution predicts the emergence of a superbug.
  • Re:I Don't Buy It (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Monday March 12, 2007 @03:51PM (#18322281)
    Costs are very relative.

    For example:
    http://www.aau.edu/aau/MasseyCharts.pdf [aau.edu]

    an experienced PHD earned under $20,000 in 1950.
    an experienced PHD earned about $33,000 in 1960.
    an experienced PHD earned about $40,000 in 1970.

    In all three cases, they were earning VERY good money.

    From
    http://www.fiftiesweb.com/pop/prices-1950.htm [fiftiesweb.com]
    House: $14,500
    Average income: $3,216
    Ford car: $1339-$2262
    Philco model 1403 TV: $199
    Admiral "home entertainment" TV system: $549.50
    12" records: $4.85
    10" records: $2.85
    Milk: $.82
    Gas: $.20
    Bread $.14
    Postage stamp: $.03
    Pumpkins : $.02 cents a lb
    Campbell's Pork & Beans - (2) 1 lb. cans: $.25
    Sirloin steak: $.77 lb
    Kraft Mayonnaise - quart jar: $.62.

    ----
    So in 1950, they could afford a typical house on a single years earnings, and a typical car on 1/9th of their income.

    ----
    If energy went up 25% and everything (including salaries) went up 25%, it would be a net wash.

    ---
    So it only matters if something doesn't go up.

    Cars are about the same price as they were in 1950.
    The average person earns $40,000 today.
    A cheap car is $12,000->$14000 with tt&l or about 1/3 of salary.
    A cheap car then was $1,339 ir about a third of their annual salary.

    ---
    Basically income is up from $3,300 to $40,000 (or about 12x).
    Anything that hasn't increased in price by 12x has gotten cheaper.
    So gas should be $2.40. Hmm. looks on target.
    A Top of the line TV should be about $6,000. Looks about right. Maybe TV's are even cheaper.
    Campbells pork & beans should be $3.00. I think they are about $1.80. So a bargain (tho in 1950 you were getting much healthier, REAL, unhormoned, antibiotic'd meat... so maybe we should compare it to organic foods)
    ---

    And our houses are bigger (My 1955 house is tiny compared to my friends 2002 house).

    ---
    Inflation will get you bad if you retire and don't leave about a third of your money in equities.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 12, 2007 @08:22PM (#18326043)
    I'm a geologist (a scientist that studies the earth, mostly as very ancient history). Sea level rises and falls naturally over a range of 400-600 ft. Right now it's close to the typical maximum. However, most of North America has been under water at various times in the past. Humans didn't even exist then. There's lots of scientific literature to contradict the anthropogenic assumption about global warming, but it doesn't seem fashionable for people to read or reference it.

    Most of the easily recoverable resources of the earth have been squandered. That is a compelling argument for conservation, not just of fossil fuels, but of everything. The biggest argument to my mind against the burning of petroleum is not global warming, but the need for plastic feedstock. Without modern manufacturing we will all live in the fourth world.

    Global warming is probably natural. Wasting more resources fighting nature is foolish.

    Of course, what do I know? I just spent 12 years in college trying to figure out what I didn't know.

    rhb

  • by IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @11:12AM (#18363411) Homepage Journal
    The fad term "global warming" is applied to al the evil things mankind does to the environment.

    Does the earth go through cyclic changes in temperature? Absolutrely.

    Is it the end of the world as ascribed by the eco people? Of course not (and that's why I call GW BS)

    And there was an interesting study I heard on the radio that the glariers melting were a natural part of offsetting the rise in temps, that occur naturally.

    The point is, GW is NOT hard accept fact, but that doesn't mean we (mankind) can't help do something to offset the effects

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