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Earth Science

Climategate's Final Days 872

Posted by kdawson
from the miami-vice-violated-no-research-norms dept.
The Bad Astronomer writes "Climategate may be on its way out. An investigatory committee at Pennsylvania State University has formally cleared climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann of any scientific misconduct. Mann was central in the so-called Climategate scandal, where illegally leaked emails were purported to indicate examples of scientists trying to cover up any lack of global warming in their data. This finding by the committee (PDF) is another in a series of independent investigations that have all concluded that no misconduct has occurred."
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Climategate's Final Days

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  • We All Wish (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@gmFREEBSDail.com minus bsd> on Friday July 02, 2010 @11:52AM (#32774296) Journal
    Yeah Right

    Climategate's Final Days

    Bullshit. If you think this means it's over, you're not familiar with the debate.

    Immediately following Climategate Nature [nature.com] released an editorial saying no controversy found in the e-mails. That didn't seem to matter at all.

    The more respected global warming papers have been published and accepted in peer reviewed journals. Point out any global warming denialist papers that have done the same. I think the most you'll find are papers that suggest global change could result in positive things in some areas. I don't know of any saying that climate change is not happening.

    Your fundamental problem in arguing with a person who denies global warming is that they use erroneous logic. They find one uncertainty or minor flaw in a study and suddenly volumes of studies -- even those unrelated -- can be thrown out and dismissed. If it isn't in Mann's research, if it isn't in the East Anglian e-mails, it's somewhere else. You just have to face that logic and move on past them. Oh, and for future articles, Bad Astronomer, using cute otter lolcats to fire back at your opponents [discovermagazine.com] isn't exactly the hallmark of a logically sound debate. It's little more than an ad hominem attack.

    If you think this is the 'final days' of this mess, you are sadly mistaken. Not until first world countries find it hard to get by will the majority of them step up and realize it. The election of Virginia State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli shows you got a whole state who would like to sweep this inconvenience under the rug and want you to stop trying to hinder their economy with your "research and science."

  • by Nimey (114278) on Friday July 02, 2010 @11:55AM (#32774340) Homepage Journal

    One can never satisfy a conspiracy theorist.

  • Re:We All Wish (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 02, 2010 @11:55AM (#32774348)

    Global warming denial is like creationism, it's based on blind faith and its supporters will never give up.

  • It won't matter (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Nadaka (224565) on Friday July 02, 2010 @11:57AM (#32774396)

    These are the same kind of people still insisting that Obama has not proven he is an American citizen because they do not have his birth certificate in their hands, that there isn't an unbroken documented chain of custody for that document and having its validity is sworn by Jesus himself.

  • by GreyWolf3000 (468618) on Friday July 02, 2010 @11:58AM (#32774404) Journal

    ... of course those stuffy liberal academic types at Penn St. cleared him. They're liberals! They're protecting their own!

  • Uh... no issues? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:01PM (#32774464)
    I seem to recall that
    1.there were emails clearly indicating that they were politically involved, ie they'd exagerate to scare people. Hardly a scientific attitude
    2.there was some pretty perverted data analysis to get to "expected results"

    There's no denying there are climate changes going around. But
    1.calling it man-made is complete speculation at the current point(yes it is, there's correlation at best, no proof of causality)
    2.calling it warming is kind of fucked up since it's warming in some places, and cooling in others
    3.no proof either that anything we do can change anything about it.


    Oh and there is a non negligible part of the climate scientific community that *disagrees* with how things are being presented.
  • Climategate? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mr.Fork (633378) <edward.j.reddy@g m a i l . c om> on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:01PM (#32774476) Journal
    How about they study pollution and find a way to stop the billions of tonnes of garbage that still get dumped into our landfills and seas every year? Won't pollution and deforestation will kill and harm us a whole lot more than a few simple degree changes in our atmosphere?

    I'm sorry, but isn't getting sick with dieases like cancer from a contaminated environment deserving more funding for research than climate research? Why are they getting all that attention and research dollars? Are we being played into fools to keep on looking up at the sky at the weather instead of the ground we're standing on and the quality of air we breath?
  • by maillemaker (924053) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:03PM (#32774514)

    As far as the lay public is concerned, the damage has already been done. They were already convinced that these were a bunch of self-serving interests promoting their cause, and the leaked emails affirmed it for them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:08PM (#32774616)

    It's not a conspiracy theory. It's an orthogonality problem. If you have a Medieval Warming Period (MWP) -- then temperatures *aren't* unprecedented and become mathematically decoupled from CO2. Mann's "Hockeystick" graph erased the MWP -- problem is, the approach is worthless, and while Mann may believe it (again not conspiracy theory), it isn't true. Thus we still have the MWP (and the RWP, the Minoan, and the Holocene optimum) -- all of which were warmer than today and none of which had AGW contributions.

    A challenge to the geeks at slashdot -- read "HARRY_README.txt". If you believe a single thing that comes out of CRU after that, I've got a bridge to sell.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:08PM (#32774618)

    News at 11.

    Hardly an independent panel. And really, they did say he was incorrect to not have real statisticians working on the results - which invalidates much of the published work.

    You can say he was cleared, but that's only of purposeful intent to mislead - what the report is basically dancing around is that he misled through poor application of scientific principals. And isn't that what really matters here, that the scientific method is carefully applied instead of fitting data to a pre-concieved conclusion?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:08PM (#32774624)

    The real problem was never the leaked emails (as bad as the leaked emails look). The real problem was (and still is) that no one who doesn't 100% believe in anthropogenic climate change can get access to the data. If you can't get access to the data, you can't analyze the results. If no one but the proponents can look at the data, then it's not science. It's a religion. Worship global warming and you will get access. Doubt and you will be denied. That's not science, and the results shouldn't be treated as such.

  • by OzPeter (195038) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:08PM (#32774626)

    The VA State Attorney General still has his own investigation (which TFA mentions) which is supposed to root out Mann's monetary fraud when he was at UVa. Yet this is the same AG who claims his own anti-Healthcare lawsuit [timesdispatch.com] against the Federal government won't cost the state more than the $350 filing fee. Somehow I don't think that he gets the irony of this situation.

    And yes I do realize that this comment is more fitting for Craigslist than /.

  • Re:Climategate? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by linumax (910946) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:09PM (#32774642)
    Because we have too few researchers and can only focus on one area at a time?!
  • Re:We All Wish (Score:4, Insightful)

    by norminator (784674) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:09PM (#32774644)

    Your fundamental problem in arguing with a person who denies global warming is that they use erroneous logic. They find one uncertainty or minor flaw in a study and suddenly volumes of studies -- even those unrelated -- can be thrown out and dismissed.

    Not to mention you have right-wing pundits who don't understand*** the science, the statistics, or the processes involved, and when something like "Climategate" comes along, they don't understand the context or what the "scandal" really is. Suddenly everyone is a scientist and they can all understand things they've never even been interested in studying before.

    And the sad thing is, people who believe everything these people say (like my mom and several of my neighbors), go out and forcefully repeat it all anytime something tangentially related comes up in a conversation.

    ***Most likely, they could understand, but they choose not so they can deny the facts and get away with it.

  • Re:We All Wish (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:11PM (#32774678) Journal
    I'm guessing that this will end "climategate" about as well as further scientific research has managed to shut up the mercury-militia/autism-antivaxers.

    This is to say, not at all.
  • Re:We All Wish (Score:5, Insightful)

    by abigor (540274) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:14PM (#32774738)

    It's weird how people think they can add to a debate with experts while being absolute non-experts themselves.

    Tell me, can you apply some of your good old common-sense reasoning to the search for the Higgs boson? How about helping out with the search for the proof of the Riemann Hypothesis? At the very least, you should be able to look over the existing efforts and put forth some of your "just can't see" wisdom to filter out the dead-end proofs.

    If you can't apply your aw-shucks logic to these problems, then why do you think climate science is any different?

  • Re:We All Wish (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:15PM (#32774754) Homepage

    Like I always tell people when it comes to global warming:

    Believe that we are the only thing impacting the climate is fucking stupid. At the same time, believing that we aren't having any impact at all is just as stupid.

    I never understood why it's so hard to find other people who don't subscribe to one extreme or the other when it comes to climate change.

  • Re:We All Wish (Score:5, Insightful)

    by schon (31600) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:17PM (#32774774)

    The earth has been both hotter and cooler than it is now.

    Yes, that's exactly the kind of erroneous logic eldavojohn was talking about. Thank you for providing such a good example.

    the global warming nuts haven't really provided much evidence

    Climate scientists have provided volumes of evidence. Just because you don't like the fact that it proves you wrong, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

  • Re:We All Wish (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:17PM (#32774788)

    In other news, BP's internal investigation turned up no evidence that BP was in any way at fault for the Deep Horizon oil spill.

  • Re:We All Wish (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Joce640k (829181) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:20PM (#32774846) Homepage

    I'm sure the newspapers and TV stations will be all over it. The headlines tomorrow will be nothing but apologies for dragging him through the mud for months on end and how the climatologists are right after all.

  • by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:21PM (#32774852) Homepage

    The earth has been both hotter and cooler than it is now.

    That is correct... but irrelevant to the question.

    Anthropogenic global warming is not instead of natural variations-- it is in addition to natural variations. Natural variations don't suddenly vanish now that we add carbon dioxide to the air.

    ...I'm all for taking better care of the planet, but the global warming nuts haven't really provided much evidence and they're the ones making the allegations.

    The way I see things, if you make a bunch of claims, the burden of proof is ON YOU... not the people you're speaking to.

    By "global warming nuts," you apparently mean "the scientists who actually study the problem."

    By "the burden of proof is on you" you apparently mean "...to prove the correctness of scientific results to people who aren't willing to take any effort to look at the actual science, but will believe any criticism with no skepticism whatsoever."

    There is a lot of science... this is not made up. (And it dates to way before Al Gore, who's not a scientist.) Have you actually read, for a start, the IPCC Fourth Assessment Working Group I Report on Physical Science Basis of Climate Science [www.ipcc.ch]? What? No? Because you already read in a blog somewhere that it's a hoax, so you don't need to read it?

    So, uh, if you won't actually read the evidence, how can any possible amount of evidence convince you?

  • by amiga3D (567632) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:23PM (#32774922)
    Yes...openess will always allow dissent and that is not allowed. I believe that the earth is warming and also that man has contributed to the warming trend. Having said that I find the nutiness on the side of climate change to be as bad as that against. I find it strange that the "enlightened" believers in science can see the ridiculous behavior on the side of the deniers and ignore that same kind of behavior in their own camp. I've heard some of the most ridiculous claims by climate change advocates about how we're all going to be dead in a decade or two, how we'll see the oceans rise to cover almost all the land masses and other extreme nonsense. Yes the earth is warming, yes we should try to alter how we do things to reduce our contribution to the warming, No we don't have to destroy our entire way of life to do it. It's not the facts I reject, it's the extremism that says I have to give up my quality of life or we'll all die.
  • Re:We All Wish (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Myopic (18616) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:25PM (#32774938)

    Wait, who have you ever heard say that humans are the only thing affecting climate? I have literally never ever heard that, except perhaps from deniers mis-characterizing their opponents.

  • Re:We All Wish (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:26PM (#32774954)

    I never understood why it's so hard to find other people who don't subscribe to one extreme or the other when it comes to climate change.

    As somebody who agrees with you completely:

    It's because we're not the ones yelling at the top of our lungs, and we're driven away from the debate by people on both sides, who scream at us for being morons who can't understand the 'simple thing' they're shouting.

  • by techvet (918701) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:26PM (#32774964)
    Mann gets millions from NSF and Penn State doesn't want that to stop. What a shock they exonerated him! Once again, the scientific community shows that when it all comes down to feasting on taxpayer money, they don't let the truth get in the way. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704541004575010931344004278.html?mod=rss_opinion_main [wsj.com]
  • Re:We All Wish (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy@@@gmail...com> on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:28PM (#32775016)

    They find one uncertainty or minor flaw in a study and suddenly volumes of studies -- even those unrelated -- can be thrown out and dismissed.

    Tellingly, the same tactic is used by Creationists to try and discredit Evolution.

  • by vadim_t (324782) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:29PM (#32775018) Homepage

    There is absolutely no way that humans are the only reason for climate change. Truly believing that we have doomed the Earth is ignorant at best, and fucking stupid at worst.

    So?

    That being said, there is absolutely no way that humans haven't affected things somehow. We may not be causing the planet to implode, but that doesn't mean our actions have had zero effects. I point you in the direction of the Gulf if you need proof of that.

    Ok, good...

    To sum it up: We aren't dooming the planet, but we aren't blameless either. Why is it so hard for people to understand that our actions affect the planet, but aren't necessarily wrecking it? I leave you with a quote:

    Citation needed. And the conclusion doesn't follow. Just because birds ocassionally shit into the pool, and kids ocassionally pee into it doesn't mean you can empty a septic tank into it, then claim that the former two things mean it's not your fault it's a cesspool now.

    "The planet is fine; the people are fucked." -George Carlin

    Good quote, but doesn't favour your position. It's precisely what worries me. The planet will keep on existing, life will survive and even thrive in the most poisonous environments. [wikipedia.org] But just because some bacteria can live in such conditions doesn't mean I can, or even if I can find a way it doesn't mean it's going to be pleasant. And I'd rather have a pleasant life.

  • by CheshireCatCO (185193) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:29PM (#32775030) Homepage

    And if the NSF discovers that Mann was committing fraud and Penn State did nothing... what do you think the NSF will do to not just Mann's funding, but everyone else's at Penn State? It's in Penn State's best interest to be extra careful over allegations of fraud (especially very public ones that the NSF is certainly aware of), not try to wave it away.

    Your conspiracy theory, while I'm sure it lets you ignore contrary evidence well, doesn't make any sense.

  • Re:Climategate? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:30PM (#32775048)

    cause the consequences of that are liable to kill you the old fashioned way - through starvation and violence.

    You couldn't make it up. This is the classic scare-mongering that us "denialists" are complaining about. Very few of us don't believe that humans are having *any* effect on the environment, but neither do most climate scientists believe the human effect is massive. The massive effects supposedly will come from the earth's feedback systems. This is the point that never seems to be adequately explained. The feedback systems involved in the earth are extremely complicated, and we still don't have a clear idea about which are positive and which are negative.

    As someone who studied complex dynamic systems, I can tell you that even with the ability to make changes and test things in a real system, it's extremely difficult to make an accurate model that can be used to adequately predict the real model's response to stimuli. And these climate scientists have no way to experimentally test their models, no way to change variables in the real system. All they have is an extremely limited set of observations on which to make their predictions, the political response to which will impact (and is impacting) billions of people around the world.

  • Re:We All Wish (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oldspewey (1303305) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:31PM (#32775060)

    "Refuting" your statements? You make it sound as if you presented a series of sound, rational arguments that demand a point-by-point rebuttal.

    What you did in actuality was to toss around a few smug insults and then go on to deny the existence of the reams or peer-supported research that exist on this issue.

    You don't deserve a refutation. You deserve to be sent to the corner and made to wear a pointy hat.

  • by FauxPasIII (75900) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:31PM (#32775074)

    People on the right (not necessarily applying that label to you, mind) seem really hung up on the question of whether human action is causing global warming (those that are able to get past arguing over whether it's even happening, that is).

    I'm not as interested in that question, frankly. The way I look at it is this: every single homo sapien that lives or has ever lived has been on this one planet. As far as we've been able to tell, homo sapiens is the only "intelligent" life that's ever evolved anywhere, certainly in local space. I'm of the mind that that's fairly important and worth preserving. And this planet is the only one we know of that can support homo sapien life on some of it's surface some of the time, and even then we're on a climactic knife-edge. A little bit of change in any direction and we have reasonable concerns that the whole semi-stable equilibrium we're in will skew off wildly. It looks like that's what happened on Mars, and there's no reason to assume it can't happen here.

    Taking all that in mind, until we have a way to live and thrive off-planet, we absolutely have to do what we can to keep this planet healthy, where healthy is defined as "able to support a large human population". If Earth winds up looking like Mars, knowing the planet is just going through a normal geological cycle that we didn't cause is not much comfort. Not that there will be any complex life anywhere in the Sol system to mourn us.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:34PM (#32775126)

    The more respected global warming papers have been published and accepted in peer reviewed journals.

    Whose panels were controlled by the Warmists.

    That was a big part of the controversy, that serious scientific articles were being prevented from being published by excerting control over the acceptance panels of said "peer reviewed journals". And that was really the worst part, because that's when it stopped being science and started being a cult. Real science accepts debate on an issue without demonizing anyone for asking questions.

    If you don't think there's any demonizing going on then I invite you to read any post on Slashdot talking about "Denialists" (the term is of course demonization as well, so you can see the root of the problem).

    And yes, I did use the term "Warmist", because if demonization is OK one way then you have to accept a bi-directional flow until you work to stamp out such terms on both sides.

  • Re:We All Wish (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rpresser (610529) <rpresser@gmail . c om> on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:35PM (#32775152) Homepage

    He was mistaking using the term "peer review" when he should have said "scientific advancement."

    "Peer review" is exactly that: a review of a paper by your peers, who should know as much as you do about the subject and can find the mistakes you've missed.

    "Scientific advancement" does indeed require independent reproduction of experiments.

  • by Crazy Taco (1083423) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:36PM (#32775172)

    I think the most you'll find are papers that suggest global change could result in positive things in some areas. I don't know of any saying that climate change is not happening.

    That's because that's not what the debate is about. The Earth's climate is ALWAYS changing, as everyone well knows. Examining ice cores, fossils, geologic record, etc, prove that the Earth's climate is never steady and has always been changing. In fact, it has been both much warmer and much colder than today at various times in history.

    The people you bash as "deniers" are actually not denying climate change, but are instead debating the following points that you seem to be ignoring. They argue that:

    1. Climate change is happening, but the primary source of the change is not necessarily human activity. A common argument is that the sun is the main driver of the change.
    2. Climate change is happening, but it may not longer be global warming. In other words, a lot of temperature data shows that we have flat-lined or cooled since 1998, though industrial output increased, especially in China. Some worry that with the absence of sunspots, we may be looking at the beginning of a new Maunder minimum, which could lead to another mini-ice age. I think a lot of people, including politicians, are starting to notice this point, because if you look at the late 90's the debate was all about the crisis of global warming, but now they've suddenly changed the name to "climate change" instead.
    3. Climate change is happening, but considering that the climate has always changed, it is no reason to shutter our industries and destroy our economies. And it is also not a reason to give the government more control of our lives.

    So you are right that the debate isn't over, but not for the reasons you describe. The debate will continue because people like you don't understand what the debate is about (you seem to think it's about whether or not climate change is happening), and because people like you are making a crisis out of nothing. If man-made global warming is happening, is that a crisis? It may be, if it can be proven that human activity is truly the primary cause. But is climate change in and of itself a crisis? Given that it always changes back and forth, I would say definitely not. Should we shut down our economies and destroy our industry just because the climate is changing, just like it always has? Definitely not! It's just something life has to adapt to. But as long as people like you continue to stick their heads in the sand and scream that change that always happens is "a crisis", and as long as you refuse to see what the debate is actually about, then people like me will keep fighting to educate you.

    Main Point: We don't argue that climate change isn't happening, and if that's what you think the debate is about then you are completely wrong.

  • Re:It won't matter (Score:2, Insightful)

    by medcalf (68293) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:36PM (#32775178) Homepage

    I cannot tell you how much I hate this line of argument. "People who believe X must therefore believe Y. We all know Y is a crock; therefore people who believe X believe crocks; therefore X is a crock." It's completely illogical, and at least two argumentative fallacies into the bargain.

    As far as CAGW goes, there is a fundamental chain of proofs that have to occur before it can be taken as reasonably proven. These start with the claim that the Earth is warming and end with the claim that therefore catastrophe will result. (Well, and more frequently these then pass on from that to claims that if we undertake to destroy the economy in a particular way, the catastrophe will be prevented or attenuated.) The very first claim, that the Earth is warming, is actually suspect because of instrumentation problems [surfacestations.org], but is likely true as we have been coming out of the Little Ice Age that ended in about 1850. That this warming, if indeed it exists, is unprecedented, is almost certainly false [physicalgeography.net]. The CAGW claims just get shakier from there.

    Now, I have no problem with the thought that CAGW might be true, and that if so we should act. However, it is an extraordinary claim, and extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. So far, the CAGW proponents have not provided us with even ordinary evidence, particularly given that all of their predictions to date (that is, those whose end dates have already passed) have been dramatically wrong, that much of their evidence has been irreproducible (and thus, in a scientific sense, not evidence at all) and that their obvious bad will and career politics (as exhibited in the climategate emails) is of the kind that tends to suppress contrary evidence even if it is stronger than the "consensus" view pushed by the CAGW proponents.

    In other words, CAGW may be true, but it is not obviously true, has not been shown to be reasonably likely to be true, and is as likely to be utterly false. And on this basis, the CAGW proponents wish to destroy the world's economy, immiserating hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people.

  • Throwback (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:38PM (#32775202)

    It's weird how people think they can add to a debate with experts while being absolute non-experts themselves.

    It's even more weird how some people claim you must be an "expert" in something in the days when anyone can educate themselves in anything if they chose to apply themselves seriously enough.

    In this golden age of education where a degree in one subject does not necessarily mean you know more about a subject than someone who simply has been studying it longer than you, it seems rather quant to complain about lack of credentials.

    After all, many people arguing against the mainstream AGW ideas were people with greater statistical understanding than the supposed "experts" (and that is part of what the study concluded as well, that they had a poor grasp of real statistics - something the rest of us were trying to tell you after looking at the code released along with the emails).

  • Re:We All Wish (Score:3, Insightful)

    by quickOnTheUptake (1450889) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:39PM (#32775220)
    GP clearly doesn't know what 'peer reviewed' means. But he did get the scientific method right. So s/peer reviewed/scientific confirmation/g. And I think that is sufficient to sustain his point.
  • Re:We All Wish (Score:2, Insightful)

    by logjon (1411219) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:39PM (#32775224)
    All guns are always loaded.
  • All policy makers (Score:1, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:40PM (#32775252)

    Wait, who have you ever heard say that humans are the only thing affecting climate?

    Anyone who has ever said that expensive changes in industry will result in significant change in global warming. So, basically any policy maker, and pretty much every single person at those AGW global summits.

  • Re:We All Wish (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Chris Burke (6130) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:41PM (#32775276) Homepage

    Believe that we are the only thing impacting the climate is fucking stupid.

    Nobody relevant believes that. Even the most basic presentation of climate science is of studying natural climate change and establishing humanity's role within it.

    I never understood why it's so hard to find other people who don't subscribe to one extreme or the other when it comes to climate change.

    I don't believe for a second it's hard to find those people. In a town where I'm surrounded by drama-loving enviro-hippies, I rarely find anyone who is anywhere close to the "only human activity matters" extreme.

    People in the "human activity can't change the global climate, it's all natural" extreme, however...

  • Re:We All Wish (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pilgrim23 (716938) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:42PM (#32775314)
    The emails the emails everyone is all over the emails. Look at the data and the CLISTS he uses to manipulate it. I did. I saw loops that went out and nab a separate file and shoot the numbers from it into the middle of a generated graph to "smooth" it. and that was the LEAST suspicious thing I noticed. To this day I have seen little if any discussion of the data files and code contained in FOIA2009.zip Everyone is so into tattler TV that they read the nasty things people say (emails). What about what they...DO??
  • Re:We All Wish (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:43PM (#32775330) Homepage

    The same my step-dad taught me when I was a child, and something that both my fiancee and I still adhere to when cleaning our own firearms.

    That being said, honestly truly believing a gun can just "go off" even when unloaded is...well, that's just special.

  • Exactly right (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:43PM (#32775334)

    I never understood why it's so hard to find other people who don't subscribe to one extreme or the other when it comes to climate change.

    Because people are inherently unsatisfied with the answer "we don't know, and cannot know".

    And at the higher levels, because trillions of dollars are at stake going either direction. It pushes the rhetoric and arguments to one side or the other - by necessity, since the tendency is for each side to engage in greater and greater bombast until those of us in the middle have a hard time being heard as neutral without being cast to one side or the other, because all people know is either extreme.

  • There are a couple of lefties at work who keep insisting that any and all climate change currently happening is due to our actions.

    Poor bastards. Those two idiots have been swelled into a veritable army of "global warming catastrophists". Love this debate...
  • Re:We All Wish (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bonch (38532) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:46PM (#32775398)

    For every uninformed church-going conservative, there's an uninformed liberal who watched Al Gore's movie, believes everything in it without question, and thinks all changes in climate are due to human activity while ignoring the biggest producer of greenhouse gases--the earth itself. To them, if it gets too hot, it's global warming. If it gets too cold, it's global warming. They've set up the debate so that they can't lose, and they ignore any and all criticism of their data.

    The real problem is that these same people use the guilt to try to shame people into accepting higher taxes and other government programs.

  • Re:We All Wish (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jim Robinson Jr. (853390) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:48PM (#32775444)

    As someone who is not in favor of the chicken-little approach to climate change, I would like to comment on this. I speak for no one but myself and would be happy to find errors in logic.

    We *know* through geological records that this planet has undergone many changes in climate, including ice, flood, fire, drought, etc. Scientists *think* - based on the limited evidence available - that greenhouse gasses are the culprit. This time. Scientists also *know* that mankind, through industry and machinery, produces greenhouse gasses. Therefore mankind must be the cause. It's been a long time since I took logic, but as I see this as a questionable conclusion at best.

    Assuming the information I have read is correct, greenhouse gasses are caused by nature far more than man. I can't find the reference, but recall a study published last year that showed the bovine population - both dairy and meat - producing more greenhouse gasses than all of mankind. So... do we eat less beef and drink less milk?

    I believe that we have a responsibility to be good stewards of our environment, and as such should take reasonable precautions to protect our planet. However, let's not confuse that with the 'sky is falling' mantra. It may very well be, but when we speak in a geological time frame even as short as man's sojourn on this planet... there is simply insufficient evidence to be certain. That does not absolve us from responsibility as stewards, but it should temper our responses.

    My conclusions:

    1. Anyone who claims that the climate is not changing is lying to themselves.
    2. Anyone who claims that they can prove WHY the climate is changing is lying to the rest of us.
    3. Anyone who claims to have a solution is trying to sell you snake oil.

    Regarding the OP, I sincerely hope that this issue isn't over. This is a debate that should continue.

    Cheers

  • Re:We All Wish (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:49PM (#32775472)

    Just a minute:
    No skeptic is claiming that humans have no effect on the climate. Skeptics are working from a scientific point of view - they admit that the evidence for CO2 being a greenhouse gas is overwhelming and that pumping lots of it into the atmosphere will have an effect, an effect as the IPCC says of about 1 degree of warming.
    There may be a minority of vocal idiots who deny all science, but they're a minority, not the majority of skeptics.

    The skeptic is (justifiably) skeptical about the _unproven_ claims of a positive feedback which will cause runaway warming.

    Climate models are not sufficient proof - they are retrofitted to fit past data and cannot be shown to produce accurate results. We simply do not know enough about the climate.
    They also criticize some of the studies done which purport to show that recent warming is unprecedented, which it is one of the main arguments of climate catastrophists - it seems not to be the case.
    Add in some very bad mathematics which in which data gets divorced from its physical meaning, questions over the way data is gathered and the effectiveness or spending billions on trying to prevent change (at the cost of other programs which will definitely help people here and now and their descendents) and we should be skeptical.

    Of course, it is easy to paint skeptics as right wing conservative nutjobs who are all in the pay of big oil (despite big oil benefiting from climate change legislation) and who have no interest in science. That is why all those scientists (from other disciplins) have signed petitions in support of Mann and friends - because that's what they've been told, not because they've examined the evidence themselves.

  • Re:We All Wish (Score:5, Insightful)

    by causality (777677) on Friday July 02, 2010 @12:52PM (#32775532)

    All guns are always loaded.

    That reminds me of when a friend of mine had just cleaned his 1911 .45 and it was lying on the table. I asked him if I could see it and he said "sure, it's unloaded." I said "yes, it is loaded and there's one in the chamber, too." He smiled at that. Now, it really was unloaded and I inspected the chamber to verify it was empty. The point is even after doing that I still treated it as though it were loaded and cocked, keeping my fingers away from the trigger and pointing it in safe directions only. It's not so much a matter of whether or not it was likely to discharge as it clearly wasn't going to; it's about having a healthy respect for the power of such a device and treating it with a certain discipline. Doing otherwise is how foolish and tragic accidents happen.

  • by lusiphur69 (455824) on Friday July 02, 2010 @01:11PM (#32775876) Homepage

    On a 'science' website - this gets modded 'Insightful'? Scientists are a little clique of conspiracists set on imposing their politics and energy ethics on the poor old USA.

    Wow. Good luck with the future, you've clearly lost your minds.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday July 02, 2010 @01:11PM (#32775878)

    Here's a starting point [guardian.co.uk] for you.

    More damagingly, he added in an email to Mann with the subject line "HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL": "I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin [Trenberth] and I will keep them out somehow - even if we have to redefine what the peer review literature is!

    This has, rightly, become one of the most famous of the emails. And for once, it means what it seems to mean"

    Or, you could just try using google.

    Funny how we have to keep re-posting links to the actual emails when all you have to do is claim it's all a lie and a fantasy.

  • Re:We All Wish (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Have Brain Will Rent (1031664) on Friday July 02, 2010 @01:13PM (#32775914)

    Not to mention you have right-wing pundits who don't understand*** the science, the statistics, or the processes involved, and when something like "Climategate" comes along, they don't understand the context or what the "scandal" really is. Suddenly everyone is a scientist and they can all understand things they've never even been interested in studying before.

    Absolutely! Not only that but you have left-wing pundits who don't understand the science, the statistics, or the processes involved, and ... Suddenly everyone is a scientist and they can all understand things they've never even been interested in studying before.

    And the sad thing is, people who believe everything these people say (like my mom and several of my neighbors), go out and forcefully repeat it all anytime something tangentially related comes up in a conversation.

    I find it absolutely believable, and sad, and generally human nature, that your mom and your neighbours go out and forcefully repeat it all anytime something tangentially related comes up in a conversation. I bet it works exactly the same with those people who are sceptical of global warming too! Oh wait... those were the people you were railing against... hmmm see your statements apply equally as well to 99.999% of the people in the "other" camp too.

    Or is it ok for people to mindlessly repeat "facts" just as long as they are the same things you take as facts?

  • Re:We All Wish (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rei (128717) on Friday July 02, 2010 @01:14PM (#32775926) Homepage

    If the entire remaining 5% is strictly from man, I just can't see that being a significant contributor to the speeding of this natural process.

    Take a barrel full of water. Every minute, add a gallon of water and remove a gallon of water (plus or minus a tablespoon). Now repeat the same experiment, but this time, add a gallon plus a cup and only remove a gallon. Note what happens with the barrel's water level.

    Natural sources are very closely matched with natural sinks. And it's not just because "the world keeps itself in balance" or any new-agey thing like that which ascribes an almost conscious effort on the part of the planet to maintain the status quo. Volcanoes and other "old carbon" sources have a very small impact on planetary carbon, excepting extremely severe eruptions. It's a fraction of a percent of the of the carbon added to the atmosphere. Almost all carbon added to the system naturally comes from decaying organic matter. But that organic matter was created from the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or oceans. So *of course* they're going to match up; it's a nearly 1:1 relationship.

    That's not what you care about. You don't care about things decaying the same amount that CO2 was taken out of the system, because obviously that's not going to change anything. To counter significant new CO2 inputs that are *not* balanced by carbon sinks, you must increase the planet's rate of sequestration, to trap more of the carbon taken from the atmosphere. While lots of carbon cycles in and out of the atmosphere from photosynthesis and decay (most of that 95% figure), the planet has a (comparably) very slow rate of removing carbon from the atmosphere and oceans for geological timescales -- only enough to roughly cancel out volcanoes and other proportionally very small "old carbon" sources. Unfortunately, the studies done thusfar show that the rate of natural sinks' carbon sequestration ability is declining, not rising, as our planet warms and our CO2 concentrations rise. In the long term, life may adapt in a manner to be able to use and sequester more CO2 (see the PETM below), but that's geological timescales.

    Finally, I always like to mention to the AGW folks that 10,000 years ago the place where I live was completely covered by a glacier. I'm very glad for global warming, because where I live is now a beautiful region inhabited by a multitude of species both migratory and permanent.

    The last glacial maximum peaked 20,000 years ago at about 8-9C lower average planetary temperature than today. That's a rate change of one degree per ~2350 years. We're currently increasing at about 1 degree per 40 years. Notice the difference? The last glacial was not anywhere close to what we're currently experiencing. The closest natural analogy we have is the PETM [wikipedia.org], 55.8mya, where a huge natural influx of CO2 and methane caused a rapid planetary temperature spike. The sudden climate change altered the world so much that we give the new era a different name -- the Eocene. Also, take a lesson from the last glacial about the power of a few degrees temperature change on ice coverage, sea levels, etc. The planet's climate has a lot of inertia, but inertia doesn't hold you off forever.

    If you're trying to say "a warmer world is a better world", that depends. Certainly in the long-term, warm eras have tended to be more biodiverse and biomass-rich than cold ones. But we're talking geological timescales here. Transitions between climates, in the sort of timescales humans care about, are full of extinction and hardship for life. And cities and cultures don't just get up and move to areas that have been made newly "better" from areas that have been made newly "worse". Infrastructure is largely fixed in place. You can't just haul roads and skyscrapers en masse from the Florida Keys to Saskatchewan.

  • Re:We All Wish (Score:1, Insightful)

    by paeanblack (191171) on Friday July 02, 2010 @01:14PM (#32775934)

    Global warming denial is like creationism, it's based on blind faith and its supporters will never give up.

    And the assumption that the Earth has some type of natural temperature from which is it not supposed to deviate, what is that belief based on?

  • by CheshireCatCO (185193) on Friday July 02, 2010 @01:18PM (#32775986) Homepage

    I started to worry about your credibility when you started claimed that scientists (I am one) are all about Gaia. Nearly all of us think it's fringe nonsense.

    If you haven't bought into the Gaia hypothesis and are the least bit sceptical about anthropogenic climate change the surest way to a failing grade is to try to discuss this with a professor.

    While I won't say that no professors ever lowered a grade over something so dubious, I will note that at virtually every school this is a firing offense and therefore happens rarely. This doesn't stop people like yourself from claiming academic bullying though. (Seldom do you guys ever seem to come up with examples, and never anything that would show a systematic wave of suppression going on.)

  • Re:Throwback (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rei (128717) on Friday July 02, 2010 @01:20PM (#32776038) Homepage

    Right. The journal "Nature" doesn't understand statistics. And neither do all of the scientific review boards looking into this.

    As for "code", do you even know what the "code" you were looking at was from and where it is used, if at all?

  • Re:We All Wish (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jo_ham (604554) <joham999@@@gmail...com> on Friday July 02, 2010 @01:22PM (#32776064)

    *always* treat a weapon as if it is loaded, that's just common sense. Always treat blanks as if they were live ammo. Never assume a weapon is safe.

  • Re:We All Wish (Score:3, Insightful)

    by theaveng (1243528) on Friday July 02, 2010 @01:28PM (#32776152)

    then why do you think climate science is any different?

    Because climate science is more akin to the psychological sciences. Mostly conjecture, due to its still-primitive nature, and the near-impossibility of arranging controlled experiments (we don't have duplicate earths). Their disciplines barely rise above the level of primitive Greek physics (you throw a ball in the air, it will probably fall back down, but we have no idea know how fast it will be moving).

  • Do you? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday July 02, 2010 @01:35PM (#32776294)

    As for "code", do you even know what the "code" you were looking at was from and where it is used, if at all?

    No. Do you?

    I know the code had flaws, and some code that was basically making up data to massage the output into a desired form.

    So neither of us know which graphs this code may or may not have been used in. But if the code was never used, why was it written? And why is it OK for YOU to blindly assume it was not used in published results?

    The core of the problem is that because they would not let outside people audit the code and data used to make the graphs, we CANNOT KNOW if that code was used or not. And that is really the worst thing of all. That is the thing that makes what they were doing Not Science. I don't know if that code was used or not but I know as a result of seeing it I cannot trust the graphs they produced without seeing the data and code used to derive them - which they will not produce themselves.

  • by david_thornley (598059) on Friday July 02, 2010 @01:35PM (#32776300)

    In which case, all you have to show is that (a) one of those papers was a serious scientific article, and (b) it wasn't in fact published. IIRC, both of those papers were published, although I don't remember where. I have no idea whether they were serious scientific papers or prejudiced hack jobs.

    If an authority in a field says that a certain paper is nonsense, it's wise to consider the possibility that it actually is.

  • Re:We All Wish (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ashridah (72567) on Friday July 02, 2010 @01:38PM (#32776378)

    Right. Which is why we can totally find references to researchers blocking climate change skeptics from publishing in all of those emails that got leaked, amirite?

    Oh, wait. I'm not? There's no reference to them blocking things at all in their personal emails? You'd think you'd at least find some reference to it, wouldn't you... UNLESS THE RELEASE OF THE EMAILS WAS A CONSPIRACY DESIGNED TO HIDE ANOTHER CONSPIRACY!
    [dun-dun-dun!!!!!!!!]

    Or, you know, you could grow the fuck up. The fame one would gain from publishing sound papers showing that everything is A-OK and discrediting a whole bunch of scientists at their own game would be monumental. The problem is, there's nothing to show that climate science isn't right about the changing climate.

    See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nnVQ2fROOg [youtube.com] -- this is interesting commentary on the issue (with references, it's not just blind commentary)

  • Re:We All Wish (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fishexe (168879) on Friday July 02, 2010 @01:51PM (#32776636) Homepage

    Granted, these are the same people who think an unloaded gun is just as dangerous as a loaded gun, so...

    Well, failing to drop either one will get you shot by the police, so....

  • Independent (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 02, 2010 @01:52PM (#32776640)

    A university investigating itself is not "independent". BP investigating itself would not be "independent". Some government functionary group of scared for their jobs or worse bureaucrats, investigating a potentially explosive revelation of some government involvement with a "terrorist" attack, is not an "independent investigation".

    We are running an article below on how scientists don't get it, have no clue on how to talk to "the people". This article another example of their arrogance and idiocy combined into "talking down" to people to prove a rather dubious point that they didn't screw up, when in fact *they did* screw up and are continuing their whitewash because enough people now have seen through their BS.

    The so called science is tainted, you need to scrap it, start over, admit to the reality everyone sees now, and take wall street bailout number 3 "cap and trade" right off the table in the beginning, just take that out of the equation and stop with the fairy tale it has nothing to do with it, or people will not believe a thing you say anymore. Global warming alarmists are "in the pockets" of the wall street crooks on this, irrefutable fact, whether they realize it or not. H1N1 is another science hoax that got pushed so a few could make millions/billions off of contrived hysteria. Yes, it was a bad flu, but actually milder than "normal" flu which never gets that sort of attention and scare mongering thrown at it.

    Should we go towards cleaner energy sources, and stuff like electric cars and so on? Sure, great idea. but not because of this tainted junk science. There are any number of other more legitimate reasons for those moves. Scare mongering and outright threats and planning on more taxes and fees for people so a few billionaires, washed out has been politicians, and entrenched energy cartels can get richer and a few ethically challenged academics can get some larger grants and dick measuring papers published in those expensive elitist closed off journals are not good reasons.

  • haha...the money (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 02, 2010 @01:52PM (#32776656)

    Okay, if I were to follow the money as you'd suggest, I'd wind up at the front door of Big Oil. Thanks. Now I know what drives the denier camp.

  • by Gadget_Guy (627405) * on Friday July 02, 2010 @01:59PM (#32776782)

    Have YOU looked into the problems with said report? Because science doesn't stop with one report .

    But the IPCC report isn't just one report. It is actually a meta study that summarizes all the other reports out there. So if you find a problem with one of the reports that is cited by the IPCC then you can just ignore that and look at all the rest.

    The problems that have been found with the IPCC reports have not changed the findings because they are such a tiny proportion of the referred works. And none of the problems have been with the actual science that underlies climate change (which is what the Working Group 1 Report is all about). The original poster is correct: the science still stands.

  • Re:We All Wish (Score:2, Insightful)

    by md65536 (670240) on Friday July 02, 2010 @02:06PM (#32776866)

    "A couple lefties at work" are hardly an authority on the topic. They sound as misinformed at the righties in the AGW debates. Unfortunately the misinformed righties who keep insisting that man has no impact on any and all climate change are treating themselves as authorities. People who want to believe the extremists (in either direction) will accept them as authorities, which is a dangerous situation.

    It's easy to find people who aren't extremists... most people aren't. Moderates tend not to spend as much time and vocal energy debating it as extremists do, so if you only look at who's doing the talking, you're more likely to find extremists.

  • by rgviza (1303161) on Friday July 02, 2010 @02:06PM (#32776870)

    This still doesn't change the fact that the AGW argument is supported by insufficient evidence and flawed computer models. Much of North America and Europe used to be covered in glaciers, and they were gone before man existed. GW was happening long before fossil fuels were dug out of the ground.

    There's actual hard evidence of this. AGW is a scam to guilt people into spending money on "Green" technology utilizing a naturally occurring phenomena that was already in full swing before man existed.

    I drive a small fuel efficient car, use CFL's and generally do what all the granola munching, tree hugging liberal rabid AGW alarmists do. Mainly because pollution is dirty, it stinks, and burning a lot of gas is a waste of money. Those are all good enough reasons to me. I don't need Al Gore to make up a reason for me to do it.

  • by Myopic (18616) on Friday July 02, 2010 @02:06PM (#32776872)

    They didn't challenge the credibility of a scientist. To do that, they would do the difficult work of producing incongruous reproducible scientific results.

    Instead, they did the easy thing, which was to illegally hack into a computer system and leak private, misleading emails to a conspiracy-minded population of kooks ready to take individual words or phrases far out of context to reinforce their preconceived notions.

    But, like you said, if they had "challenged the credibility of a scientist or his research", then that would be fine.

  • by Albinoman (584294) on Friday July 02, 2010 @02:08PM (#32776904)

    I don't deny the Earth has shown some slight warming, warming which brings us nowhere near the levels that Earth has successfully endured in the past. I have concerns with CO2 being named as the scapegoat. I take issue with models being called science. Models are part of the hypothesis. Every other field of science requires a testable, and repeatable experiments. It's what makes science great, because it can weed out free energy nuts that power their cars with cold fusion and water. Evolution, for a long time, really was a hypothesis that fit the facts. It needed DNA to tie it all together and really put the last nail in the Creationist coffin. It appears that climate science is exempt from this requirement (a test of what the model concludes) before calling conclusions facts. The problem with the Warmers is that when a question is asked, the debate that follows is usually just a bunch of name calling. Two things separate science from religion. Science assumes a lack of knowledge or that the knowledge we currently have is incorrect. Religion assumes it is right. Science wants to be challenged by anyone, where religion demands it be challenged by no one. When you deny anyone's right to ask "why?", then you are spewing dogma.

    CO2 is rising, no doubt about that. My issue is that it only makes up about .04% of the atmosphere. Venus and Mars both have vastly higher amounts of CO2 compared to us (~95%). One planet is scorching hot, and the other is very cold (with some tolerably warm spots for our future explorers). Venus is fairly convincingly attributed to the Greenhouse Effect. Mars has an atmospheric CO2 content that by volume and mass is greater than Earths. Why is Mars not hot? Why does the greenhouse effect not slip out of control there? The odds of IR radiation striking a CO2 molecule on the way up on Earth is extremely small. If this weren't true, IR pictures of fields and cities would be blurred by the scattering caused by CO2. Increasing CO2 from .04% to .05% still keeps those odds extremely small. If it is absorbed, the CO2 with kick out a another IR photon, the whole idea of the Greenhouse Effect. To anything in the atmosphere, most directions lead to space. For me to accept a model, it must apply to Mars and Venus equally, without modifying constants. Yes that means the must account for all the variations, from deflection from our magnetic field of higher energy particles to atmospheric density to distance from the Sun. Without these factors, people are taking variables and assuming constants out of them. If you take a model for Earth and plug in all the same factors for Mars or any other planet into it, but are stuck with "we don't have that variable in this model" then your model is incomplete and inaccurate. That model should work anywhere, like all other physics does. If you want to convince me you've pegged the source of a less than %1 difference in temperature, then you better account for all these variables much wider than %1 difference.

    The Sun is the primary sources of heat on Earth, far outpacing every other source. Are there any direct recordings (not by tree ring proxy) of variations in luminosity over the same period of time? We are kept warm by it at 150 million kilometers away. Think of the vast amount of energy that has to be releasing to do that. Even slight variations would affect us. The Earth is a very good black body, like the other planets. By the math for black body radiation, the Earth is emitting around 10% more heat that it gets from the Sun, due to geothermal heat.

    I am seriously concerned that real ecological issues like pollution and conservation of resources have been hijacked by the invisible, marketable demon of CO2.

  • Re:We All Wish (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bryansix (761547) on Friday July 02, 2010 @02:10PM (#32776938) Homepage
    No, it's also a fallacy when they make the claim that the argument holds better because they are an authority/expert. The point is an argument has to hold up ON ITS OWN MERIT and not "Because I said so and I'm smarter then you".
  • by Chris Burke (6130) on Friday July 02, 2010 @02:13PM (#32776990) Homepage

    Anyone who has ever said that expensive changes in industry will result in significant change in global warming.

    Really? So by saying that changing human industry will affect global warming, that implies that only human industry affects global warming?

    Hey, my solution that includes HCL and H2SO4 is too acidic! I claim that if I decrease the amount of HCL, it will be less acidic. Ergo I am implying that H2SO4 does not affect the pH of the solution.

    Wow. Pojut complained about people at the two extremes, but what about people who think only the two extremes exist?

  • Re:It won't matter (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fishexe (168879) on Friday July 02, 2010 @02:15PM (#32777026) Homepage

    These start with the claim that the Earth is warming and end with the claim that therefore catastrophe will result. (Well, and more frequently these then pass on from that to claims that if we undertake to destroy the economy in a particular way, the catastrophe will be prevented or attenuated.)

    I like how you accuse one group of alarmism, and then go on immediately to blithely dismiss all manner of regulation as attempts "to destroy the economy". In other words, you start with the claim that some people are trying to regulate, "and end with the claim that therefore catastrophe will result." I'd say impending wholesale destruction of an economy is an extraordinary claim, and like you say, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. So where's your evidence that environmentalists are trying to destroy the economy? Where's your evidence that environmental regulations will even come close to destroying the economy if passed?

  • Re:We All Wish (Score:2, Insightful)

    by coaxial (28297) on Friday July 02, 2010 @02:19PM (#32777120) Homepage

    Your fundamental problem in arguing with a person who denies global warming is that they use erroneous logic. [...] Oh, and for future articles, Bad Astronomer, using cute otter lolcats to fire back at your opponents isn't exactly the hallmark of a logically sound debate. It's little more than an ad hominem attack.

    While an ad hominem attack has no place in a legitimate debate, but as you point out there is no actual debate here, since no amount of evidence or logic is ever enough to convince the deniers. So it's pretty hypocritical to complain that someone making a throwaway (and by your assessment insightful) joke at the end.

    Surely you realize that with all manufactured controversies, always responding to the allegations in a thoughtful and reasoned manner only further legitimizes the idea that there is a controversy, especially in a world where journalism has been replaced with stenography seeking out and presenting two sides (and only two sides) to every "issue" imaginable, in order to maintain access and foster an imagine of neutrality and respectability [nyu.edu]. They aren't liberal or conservative, they are aloof. We see it with climate change. We've also seen it with torture. From the 1930s to 2004, waterboarding was uniformly described as "torture" in the media, then it suddenly wasn't [harvard.edu]. What changed? The United States government started torturing people. Most damningly, waterboarding remained "torture" when done by non-Americans. When one's goal is simply to muddy the waters and sow confusion, being treated with respect is victory.

    Global warming deniers are no different from creationists, homeopathic healers, psychics, UFOlogists, believers in moon landing hoaxes, 9/11 truthers, birthers, and the like. They are illegitimate because the do not wish to face up to facts and arguments, but rather paint themselves as as persecuted martyr that brings the "truth."

  • by Myopic (18616) on Friday July 02, 2010 @02:21PM (#32777166)

    Actually that's exactly what the leaked data and source code do not show. That's why all these investigations have found no wrongdoing. In science, cherrypicking or fabricating data is wrongdoing, whereas merely being a couple degrees shy of completely transparent is imperfect but forgivable.

  • by dangitman (862676) on Friday July 02, 2010 @02:24PM (#32777210)

    The people you bash as "deniers" are actually not denying climate change, but are instead debating the following points that you seem to be ignoring.

    This is incorrect. Plenty of them still actually flat-out deny climate change as a phenomenon. The points you cite amount to little more than hand-waving attempts to distract from the real issues, and have only come up when they were confronted with undeniable evidence that climate change is happening at a rapid rate.

    The deniers are deniers of reality. That they change their arguments on a whim is standard practice for disingenuous people with an agenda. They are fully deserving of the title.

  • Re:We All Wish (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 02, 2010 @02:28PM (#32777296)

    I spent several hours reading the harry readme file. There were some very entertaining parts that point to extremely poor data quality and extensive use of Finnegan's fudge factor. One of the foundations of good science is repeatable results. If you produce a finding then someone else using your raw data and methodology should be able to repeat the result. One of the most vocal complaints about the CRU and GISS is that they will not release their raw data or their methodology. Jones has even stated that he doesn't have the raw data because it was deleted.

  • by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Friday July 02, 2010 @02:32PM (#32777392) Homepage

    GL: Have you actually read, for a start, the IPCC Fourth Assessment Working Group I Report on Physical Science Basis of Climate Science?

    SuperKendall: Yes. Have YOU looked into the problems [google.com] with said report?

    Gadget Guy: [...] And none of the problems have been with the actual science that underlies climate change (which is what the Working Group 1 Report is all about). The original poster is correct: the science still stands.

    Wow, somebody who gets it. That's exactly right; I was citing the Working Group I Report-- The Physical Science Basis [www.ipcc.ch]-- because that is the one summarizing the basic science, which is what the deniers are denying. (And, as someone pointed out, it's a summary of the science, not the actual science. It references review articles that summarize real science, so it's a place to start learning about the science, not the place to end.)

    Moving on from this, there are very real questions such as, what are the effects? Is this bad? If so, how bad? What should we do about it, if anything? What are the effects of these possible actions we might take?

    Those are good questions; some of them are very hard questions, and they are worth a serious debate. But that serious debate has been short circuited, because there is a very loud contingent of deniers who basically shout down the very existence of the effect.

    The result is that, by denying the physics in the first place, the deniers have pretty much abandoned the actual debate to other extreme.

  • Re:We All Wish (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lgw (121541) on Friday July 02, 2010 @02:32PM (#32777398) Journal

    The Earth will easily compensate for any CO2 humans dump in the atmosphere - the question is how quickly is does so, and how high the spike can get. Even if we dumped all the CO2 in all the buried fossil fuels into the atmosphere this year, that would be just a blip in the rock cycle, corrected quickly in geological terms (in 10 million years you probably couldn't tell the difference, in 100 million you certainly couldn't).

    We actually have no idea what regulates the CO2 level in 100 k year cycles. Something causes temps and/or CO2 levels to drop abruptly every 100 k years or so (and apparantly it's dramatic, 10 degrees or so in just a couple decades), but no one knows what. Are we causing long-term warming, or just causing the thermostat to trigger sooner? No way to answer that yet. It's certain that the climate was not stable before man came along - we're messing with it, but we didn't make it unstable where it used to be stable.

    Technology allows population growth, but also leads to popultion shrinkage (world pop will likely peak at 10B). Technology allows us to clear forests, but eventually allows us to stop clearing forests (America has had significant growth in forested area in the past 50 years thanks to more productive farming). Technology will eventually make burning fossil fuels pointlessly expensive.

  • Re:We All Wish (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Curunir_wolf (588405) on Friday July 02, 2010 @02:38PM (#32777516) Homepage Journal

    Believe that we are the only thing impacting the climate is fucking stupid.

    Nobody relevant believes that.

    That's not even close to true. There are plenty of people that are quite "relevant" to policy changes, typically referred to as "swing voters" and there are those that encourage that belief, as long as it provides them with the votes to gain power.

    Ultimately, the plan is to justify a global scheme of wealth redistribution, with those at the very top with the most to gain. For the likes of Maurice Strong and Edmund de Rothschild, those ignorant voters with enough fear of change to cede authority is exactly the catalyst they need for their designs on greater wealth and power. They don't care how inaccurate the belief is.

    People in the "human activity can't change the global climate, it's all natural" extreme, however...

    I don't think there are any more people that think that way than there are that think changing to CFL bulbs and switching to a hybrid can control the climate. Considering the small affect that CO2 has on climate, coupled with the small affect that human activity has on CO2 concentrations, it would take an overwhelmingly dramatic and immediate shift in worldwide activity to even have a chance of making an impact on climate change. And that would cause more suffering and damage than the climate change itself. Better to make reasonable adjustments and spend our resources mitigating the eventual bad effects of climate change.

  • Re:We All Wish (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Curunir_wolf (588405) on Friday July 02, 2010 @02:46PM (#32777650) Homepage Journal
    As of right now:

    In all seriousness, can you at least post some reputable links refuting my statements.

    = -1: Flamebait

    You don't deserve a refutation. You deserve to be sent to the corner and made to wear a pointy hat.

    = +5 Insightful

    Not sure these moderations are really about the quality of the posts.

  • Re:We All Wish (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 02, 2010 @02:51PM (#32777754)

    People who are poor, uneducated, at their end of their rope and/or high on drugs kill people. But yes, giving them access to guns just makes matters worse, as does giving them to fearful suburbanites. The real solution is to keep people from being poor and desperate, and to help them get off drugs. Of course, that would be socialism: better to give them all guns and let them sort it out themselves, bystanders be dammed.

    Carrying a gun as a deterrent to crime is a uniquely, and stupidly, American solution, just like Medicare (both pre- and post-Obama), the plebiscite and a balkanized tax system. The whole rest of the western world is nowhere near as heavily armed, yet has less crime. Perhaps it has something to do with having a social safety net that mostly works, instead of punishing and/or outright criminalising the poor

  • I love how the fear-mongering anti-global warming folk say that we have to destroy our economies to prevent global warming. That's not the case. We need to get off of oil because it might run out sooner than we thought. Furthermore, getting off of fossil fuels would help America become independent of dictatorships and regimes we would rather stay away from.

    You seem fairly convinced that there's no big deal, and that all these scientists are making a problem out of nothing. Well, what are the consequences if you're wrong? Conservatives said we would be welcomed as liberators when we invaded Iraq. The opposite happened. Where are the men who got us into the war? They've all slinked away. If you're wrong about global warming, we might end up making Earth uninhabitable. Perhaps we should try to study this phenomenon and find ways to ameliorate greenhouse gases just to be safe. After all, it's not certain we'd have to destroy our economies to do this, as you seem to rely on without basis.

  • Re:We All Wish (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Curunir_wolf (588405) on Friday July 02, 2010 @03:03PM (#32777946) Homepage Journal

    while underemphasizing the past role of greenhouse gas concentrations in causing the Earth to warm.

    There is none. That is, there is no evidence that greenhouse gas concentrations have caused the earth to warm in the past. There are correlations between CO2 and warming, but they have been an increase in CO2 after a period of increased warming, not the other way around. Of course, it makes since that it can happen, there is just no evidence that it ever has.

    And if the climate is currently warming, and we can (and have) eliminated other possible causes for that change, then human produced greenhouse gasses are the most likely cause of our current warming.

    There is no way you can make the claim that every possible cause for warming except human produced greenhouse gasses have been eliminated. In fact, this is the essence of the real debate. We simply do not have the level of understanding of climate change that you seem to think we do. Human-released greenhouse gasses are, in fact, a small factor in the climate no matter how you look at it, based on our current understanding. And while it can be shown that human activity is correlative with recent temperature increases (depending on how that data is collected and interpreted), saying that all but the release of CO2 have been eliminated as causes is disingenuous, at best.

  • Re:We All Wish (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FatAlb3rt (533682) on Friday July 02, 2010 @03:14PM (#32778124) Homepage
    Take a barrel full of water. Every minute, add a gallon of water and remove a gallon of water (plus or minus a tablespoon). Now repeat the same experiment, but this time, add a gallon plus a cup and only remove a gallon. Note what happens with the barrel's water level.

    Sure, be let's not assume that our climate is simply a barrel full of water. How about a half-full Olympic pool? I think that's where the whole debate should be. We definitely have an effect, but how big is that pool?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 02, 2010 @03:45PM (#32778514)

    If man-made global warming is happening, is that a crisis? It may be, if it can be proven that human activity is truly the primary cause.

    If we work under the assumption that its a cause that means we're doing enough to influence the entire planetary ecological system. if thats the case, its cause for concern no matter if its the primary cause or not.

    But is climate change in and of itself a crisis? Given that it always changes back and forth, I would say definitely not.

    ::sigh:: If climate change involved ice ages and all that, then i don't care if the glaciers that crush houses (exaggeration) are gonna go away in a couple hundred years. Just because you believe that it all balances out over hundreds of years does NOT mean its not important and isn't a crisis. If that climate swing could wipe out humanity, i don't care if it'll eventually go back to being able to support us cause we'll all be dead.

    Should we shut down our economies and destroy our industry just because the climate is changing, just like it always has? Definitely not! It's just something life has to adapt to.

    Since when did anyone (who believed that global warming is something that we can possibly curtail because they believe its something that can destroy us) ever asked for either of those things? You're making a straw man argument. It's used as propaganda by those who can't make a reasoned out argument. No one ever said we need to destroy our industry and shut down the economy. Anyone will agree thats a bad thing but that doesn't mean they agree with you, yet you'll get a lot of dumb people to your side to puff up your numbers and make ya look good. Awesome idea. In any case, aside from that, making industry cleaner and more efficient would most likely lead to more money for everybody because whenever anything gets more efficient its good. And since pollution IS a problem (whether is causing global warming or not), it's always a good idea to try and curtail it.
     
    You're arguments are so retarded that I'm scared by anybody who has ever accepted anything you had to say as education. Take a logics course and we can talk.

  • by FauxPasIII (75900) on Friday July 02, 2010 @04:02PM (#32778714)

    It is well known that Al gore has invested in carbon credit and other green-energy related companies.

    Great! Somebody needs to. That said, it seems like you're coming from a libertarian/laissez-faire capitalism viewpoint, but you have some problem with Al Gore investing in and profiting from companies that are moving the ball forward on sustainable technology? I'm a left liberal (shocking, I know) and I don't see a bit of a problem with Al Gore or anybody else profiting by supporting businesses that serve such an enormous benefit to society.

    You want to help the environment at all costs. Even if it means lying to the public.

    I expressed myself very poorly if I left anyone with the impression that I support or advocate lying to the public. I want to see the true, unvarnished results of all climate studies become common knowledge so we can all make educated policy/electoral decisions.

  • Re:We All Wish (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slimjim8094 (941042) <slashdot3@justconnected . n et> on Friday July 02, 2010 @04:14PM (#32778860)

    The thing is, only one of those sides is supported by scientific consensus. What do you think about left-wing pundits railing against creationists? They're not even evolutionary biologists!

  • Re:We All Wish (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Doomdark (136619) on Friday July 02, 2010 @04:25PM (#32779026) Homepage Journal
    The Earth will easily compensate for any CO2 humans dump in the atmosphere

    While true, I am more worried about exact road to said equilibrum. Ideally myself or at least my descendants would be here to see how it works out... but the thing is that while 3rd rock from the Sun can easily survive wildly fluctuating surface temperatures, homo sapiens as a species doesn't.

    Really, no one is worried about long-term heating, and few care about survival of most of species. I suspect cockroaches will do just fine with significantly higher temperatures, and yet it's of little consolation.

  • Re:We All Wish (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doomdark (136619) on Friday July 02, 2010 @04:59PM (#32779560) Homepage Journal
    Considering the small affect that CO2 has on climate, co

    Here we go again: after fighting strawmen for a while, you make a bold unsubstantiated claim. It is certainly NOT agreed that CO2 has only small effect, nor is that supported by any science. Rather, there is strong geo-historical evidence to suggest CO2 level has very strong correlation with surface and atmospheric temperatures, as well as credible theories explain causality from concentration to temperature.

    And hey, for good measure you attach this to goofball conspiracy theory. I think I need to attach your arguments as poster-child for kinds of bullshit climate change deniers use.

  • Re:We All Wish (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Chris Burke (6130) on Friday July 02, 2010 @07:01PM (#32781086) Homepage

    That's not even close to true. There are plenty of people that are quite "relevant" to policy changes, typically referred to as "swing voters" and there are those that encourage that belief, as long as it provides them with the votes to gain power.

    I was wondering how on earth you could believe that, but then I realized...

    I don't think there are any more people that think that way than there are that think changing to CFL bulbs and switching to a hybrid can control the climate.

    ...that you equate thinking that changing our behavior can impact the global climate is the same as thinking only our behavior impacts the climate.

    It's the same binary thinking as SuperKendall's post, where he too equated advocating for changing industry to reduce greenhouse gasses with saying only human industry was relevant to the climate.

    Nobody thinks only human activity affects the climate. Plenty of people think human activity does not affect the climate. The "two extremes" Pojut was talking about only exist because the "humans only" extreme was created as a strawman by those members of the "nature only" extreme who can only think in binary terms.

  • Re:We All Wish (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Asic Eng (193332) on Friday July 02, 2010 @08:00PM (#32781652)
    the average person has no way of determining what scientific consensus is on any issue.

    I don't think that's generally true, though admittedly it can be difficult depending on the issue. It's rather straightforward in this particular case: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change [wikipedia.org]

    There are 32 national science academies which have publicly and formally declared that they agree with the theory of anthropogenic global warming and have recommended that greenhouse gases be reduced. There is not one academy of sciences anywhere in the world which have stated that they disagree. That's a clear indicator of scientific consensus to put it mildly.

    Certainly your point about putting faith in people is correct. None of us is able to investigate every single issue all by themselves, so you do need to find people who you can trust. However trusting someone is not the same as trusting anyone. It makes sense to trust someone on a personal issue when you've known them for decades, and when you've always found them to be reliable and honest. Similarly science has an incredible track record when it comes to finding out the truth, the Royal Society has a great reputation as a scientific institution, academic degrees and respect of peers in the field are on average pretty good indicators of a person's capabilities.

    If you want to base political action on established science, then you need to act now. You'll never get a clearer indication than you already have. If you don't, then you need to base political action on something else - religion, fortune telling, gut feeling, wishful thinking or astrology don't seem good choices to me.

  • by astar (203020) <max.stalnaker@gmail.com> on Saturday July 03, 2010 @03:43PM (#32787638) Homepage

    I just go to say it.

    I was hearing some other doomsday scenario and recently googled a bit around a kind of volcanic event. Oh, it was associated with Obama's oil spill.

    About 70k years ago there was a big volcanic event in Indonesia. Seems it pretty well covered the planet in ash. Estimates of surviving human population range from 5k to 15k.

    A near extinction event for humans.

    Tell me about how your doomsday scenario is in fact an actual human extinction event coming on in the next 200 years.

    You seem to be a fine example of what the "deniers" complain about around fearmongering. Hmm, troll? Worse?

  • by Xyrus (755017) on Saturday July 03, 2010 @11:55PM (#32789912) Journal

    This still doesn't change the fact that the AGW argument is supported by insufficient evidence and flawed computer models.

    I assume you have the peer reviewed research and a full verified dissection of the computer models and flaws to back up this statement. What? You don't? Well how about something refuting the decades, actually over a century of climate research to the point that renders all current research invalid. You don't? The you must be a climatologist or performing doctorate level research in a related field that shows categorically that current research is all flawed. You aren't?

    Why am I not surprised. I can play the make believe game too. I can make believe that I am the world's premiere heart surgeon and declare that all doctors R DOIN IT RONG. Then I can post as proof a link to blog that may or may not be written by me or some half-baked scammer with proof that I am a l33t super doctor.

    But you know what? No matter how much I repeat that I'm am a super doctor, it doesn't make it true. No matter how many research articles I hold up and poke imaginary holes in, that doesn't mean I can perform a bypass operation. Basically, any idiot can make any claim they want. If it isn't peer-reviewed and backed up the expert community then it doesn't mean jack shit.

    There are legitimate skeptics out there, but none of them make the same idiotic claims you do.

    Much of North America and Europe used to be covered in glaciers, and they were gone before man existed.

    Actually, man existed when there were giant glaciers. We weren't very populous then and at one point almost went extinct. That being said, this has little relevance.

    GW was happening long before fossil fuels were dug out of the ground. There's actual hard evidence of this.

    Yeah, and your still missing the point. We have grown heavily dependent on our climate to survive. That climate is changing. There will be consequences.

    AGW is a scam to guilt people into spending money on "Green" technology utilizing a naturally occurring phenomena that was already in full swing before man existed.

    And this is modded insightful? Really slashdot?

    So let's see if I can follow this conspiracy. First, it has to be worldwide right? Ok, we got a bunch of climate scientists going over the evil plan to create a massive scientific fraud. First, they "guilt" everyone into buying green technology. Then...what? Exactly how does buying green technology bring the scientists evil plan into fruition? What evil purpose is fulfilled by getting the world to unwittingly buy green technology?

    Money? Almost all client research is funded by government grants and universities (and it really isn't much). So how does buying green technology get money into scientists pockets? Perhaps it's power then. But what power do scientists get from having people buy green technologies?

    Perhaps I'm just not being fucking insane enough. Maybe the government will embed mind control devices inside of green technology that will send subliminal messages and force you to where Castro T-Shirts, smoke pot, and become a baby-seal loving commie socialist liberal.

    Climate scientists are fully aware (much more so than you) of historical shifts in climate. They're also aware that such shifts in climate can have devastating effects on civilization. The climate is changing and scientists are trying to get a handle on how much it will change and what the potential consequences of that change will be.

    I drive a small fuel efficient car, use CFL's and generally do what all the granola munching, tree hugging liberal rabid AGW alarmists do. Mainly because pollution is dirty, it stinks, and burning a lot of gas is a waste of money. Those are all good enough reasons to me. I don't need Al Gore to make up a reason for me to do it.

    You can shove a hemp rope up your ass, tie it to a tree branch , and call

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