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Don't Worry About Global Warming, Say 16 Scientists in the WSJ 1367

Posted by timothy
from the no-true-scotsman dept.
An anonymous reader writes "According to an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, there's 'no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to 'decarbonize' the world's economy'. From the article: 'The lack of warming for more than a decade—indeed, the smaller-than-predicted warming over the 22 years since the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) began issuing projections—suggests that computer models have greatly exaggerated how much warming additional CO2 can cause. Faced with this embarrassment, those promoting alarm have shifted their drumbeat from warming to weather extremes, to enable anything unusual that happens in our chaotic climate to be ascribed to CO2. The fact is that CO2 is not a pollutant. CO2 is a colorless and odorless gas, exhaled at high concentrations by each of us, and a key component of the biosphere's life cycle.'"
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Don't Worry About Global Warming, Say 16 Scientists in the WSJ

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 28, 2012 @06:38PM (#38851947)

    No action will be taken anyway.

  • by wasabu (1502975) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @06:39PM (#38851957)
    Or another false flag?
  • They found 16? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 28, 2012 @06:39PM (#38851959)
    I see your 16, and raise you 16,000.
  • by mozumder (178398) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @06:42PM (#38851985)

    But instead, was published in a right-wing newspaper.

    The global-warming deniers obviously have no evidence, because if they did, they'd publish it in a science journal.

    What exactly are these right-wingers trying to hide? Their corporate oil-industry donors?

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @06:43PM (#38851987) Journal
    Here is the sentence I would choose as the thesis of their article:

    Speaking for many scientists and engineers who have looked carefully and independently at the science of climate, we have a message to any candidate for public office: There is no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to "decarbonize" the world's economy. Even if one accepts the inflated climate forecasts of the IPCC, aggressive greenhouse-gas control policies are not justified economically.

    Actually that's two sentences. The first is the one I would choose as the thesis, and the second one to back it up. I don't know if there is much evidence they are wrong on that point.

  • by microcars (708223) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @06:43PM (#38851989) Homepage

    say 16 Doctors*,
    "you're just going to die anyways."

    *not necessarily medical doctors"

  • by Xanny (2500844) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @06:44PM (#38851999)

    Average global temperatures are up 4c in the last century, 2c in the last decade, and it is more severe near the poles. Coastal water levels have risen by a few inches in the last decade.

    Not doing anything possible to stop the planet from heating up until we get a runaway greenhouse effect is what is insane, especially when all we have to do is not even "that" hard - just stop burning fossil fuels that are just large amounts of carbon locked up in a solid as opposed to being in the atmosphere.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 28, 2012 @06:47PM (#38852015)

    The fact that water is not a pollutant. It's a colorless and odorless liquid, consumed and expelled in high volumes by each of us, and a key component of the biosphere's lifecycle.

    And therefore we should disable all flood and tsunami advanced warning systems.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 28, 2012 @06:47PM (#38852019)

    You will die without it. You will also suffer greatly if you have too much of it. Urine is natural. Do you want to swim in it? Poop is natural. Do you want to live in it?

    Lots of things are natural, the concentrations are what matter. I don't need to read the flaming article if the summary is going to quote such moronic and specious reasoning.

    It's like the wags who try to get people worked up with some flippant story about Dihydrogen Monoxide being a toxin, only to reveal it's water. Well, la-de-dah, but I happen to live somewhere we spent quite a few millions to stop flooding, so you know what? I'm going to regulate the stuff and be happy with interrupting that part of the natural process.

  • by RichMan (8097) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @06:48PM (#38852023)

    Think about how much a can of fuel weighs. Think how many of those you put into your car in a year. Think how many cars are out there. How many trucks delivering food. All that weight, all that fuel goes into the air and converts oxygen into CO2 as it goes. That is a lot of mass of CO2 that is being added to the air that was not 100 years.

    We know stuff we dump in the environment comes back to us. Lead, Ozone, Mercury, these are chemicals we have dumped into the air in the past and found they were affecting us. So we know our outputs can affect the global condition.

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdo ... org minus author> on Saturday January 28, 2012 @06:48PM (#38852029)

    This reads, unfortunately, like a WSJ op-ed, with lots of polemic, and relatively little science. Have the 16 scientists in question written up a more sober whitepaper that I could read? I'd actually be interested in reading their analysis, if there were a version with more data and less rhetoric about "those promoting alarm", drumbeats, and CO2 being colorless.

  • That's unusual? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 28, 2012 @06:51PM (#38852053)

    Average global temperatures are up 4c in the last century, 2c in the last decade, and it is more severe near the poles. Coastal water levels have risen by a few inches in the last decade.

    Average temperatures were quite a bit warmer and changed more dramatically in the middle ages. Greenland was not named sarcastically. Britain once produced wine. Find the connection between politics, power tax and lies.

  • by tverbeek (457094) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @06:54PM (#38852083) Homepage

    Which is the more credible source for scientific analysis: reports written in terms of physics, and published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal; or an opinion piece written in terms of politics and economics, and published in the house organ of the financial-commodities-trading industry?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:01PM (#38852137)

    RTFA. Someone actually tried that, then they got fired. Hell, I wouldn't do it if it meant not having a job when there's not an equally good one waiting for me in some other place, and that's in spite of the fact that I don't buy into this global warming stuff.

    I don't recall anyone getting fired for conducting an experiment that seemed to show that neutrinos can travel faster than light(which is not something I believe most scientists would have considered possible). But when it comes to global warming, advocate it or lose your job. Firing someone because they disagree with you isn't scientific. There's a human element to this.

  • by diamondmagic (877411) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:01PM (#38852139) Homepage

    But it does not logically follow that we must do something about it.

    If you want to find out how much CO2 a car releases, you ask an engineer. If you want to find out how much the CO2 will impact weather patterns as a whole, you ask a climatologist. But if you want to find out how to balance the two, you can't ask either, you have to ask an economist: http://www.ted.com/talks/bjorn_lomborg_sets_global_priorities.html [ted.com]

  • by rolfwind (528248) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:02PM (#38852145)

    To add my single data point.... I lived in my area my whole life.... the whole winter it was unseasonably warm except for maybe 7 or so days. We're talking late April/October temperatures. One of the days it was cold, it snowed on Halloween, and we never used to get snow before New Years/Christmas. Freakish.

    It used to be a mild area with no significant weather of any type. And the last 5 years was so much the opposite. Previous two winters we got so much more snow dumped on us than usual (this year almost nothing), every week more and more of it. High winds at certain times of the year. Blistering summers where the grass is parched now.

    I know I'm a single data point in a short amount of time, but compared to what it was like growing up, it feels like a real change has been taking place.

  • Just remember.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SwedishChef (69313) <craig.networkessentials@net> on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:03PM (#38852165) Homepage Journal

    The same guy who owns the WSJ owns Fox News.

  • by repetty (260322) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:07PM (#38852197) Homepage

    Quote: "The fact is that CO2 is not a pollutant. CO2 is a colorless and odorless gas, exhaled at high concentrations by each of us, and a key component of the biosphere's life cycle."

    Looks like someone found George W. Bush's notes.

  • by JabrTheHut (640719) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:08PM (#38852219)
    I'm willing to concede that the clear majority of scientists, who do believe in man-made global climate change, may be wrong. We just don't know yet. But I'm not going to believe that a geneticist or an engineer know more about climate change and climate change modelling than those who have been studying it for 30+ years now.

    I wonder why they signed it? They aren't subject matter experts.

    The fact is that CO2 is not a pollutant. CO2 is a colorless and odorless gas, exhaled at high concentrations by each of us, and a key component of the biosphere's life cycle.

    CO2 levels in the atmosphere are the highest for 450,000 years. There's been a steep rise since the 1950s, from 315ppm to 370ppm (parts per million). And, in case the WSJ has forgotten, we can't breathe CO2. Too little and too much oxygen will kill us. Too much CO2 would eventually lead to too little oxygen, among other things.

    Oh well, maybe we'll start burning fossil fuels to create enough energy to split off oxygen from water and sell it in supermarkets, resulting in even less oxygen available. Oh, and we need oxygen to burn fossil fuels, so eventually we all lose...

  • by AddisonW (2318666) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:08PM (#38852225)
  • by cr_nucleus (518205) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:12PM (#38852247)

    ...aggressive greenhouse-gas control policies are not justified economically.

    The key word here is "economically".

    Of course it makes no economical sense to do that.
    That's because we're not trying to solve an economical problem.

    You could also add that there's no economical reason to have children and you would certainly be right while totally missing the point.

  • by RichMan (8097) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:13PM (#38852259)

    > These people in theory, are breathing harding, hence making more CO2... only one solution...

    You are correct. The cows we factory farm have a measurable impact on methane emissions. Methane is much worse than CO2.
    Population crash due to self pollution and death or exhaustion of resources is an often observed trait. If we don't take control, it will just happen.

    Termite mounds can die from self heating if they are not properly ventilated. To much population is bad.

  • by RightwingNutjob (1302813) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:14PM (#38852267)
    I haven't spent a career studying weather and climate and such, but I do know enough about thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, and numerical analysis to be really suspicious of claims of causality for CO2. One cursory look at something like http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2010/04/19/radiative-physics-yes-co2-does-create-warming/ [wordpress.com], Fig 4, tell me that water, ozone, N2O, etc add up to a hell of a lot more absorption of IR from the earth's surface when you consider that the planet is NOT a uniform sphere at 250 kelvin and when you remember that the concentrations of H2O and the like trump the concentrations of atmospheric CO2 by orders of magnitude.

    That's one gut reaction, informed by pictures and not calculations.

    The second gut reaction comes from experience trying to predict the future with uncertain models and noisy, incomplete data. Before I believe the global warming alarmists claims, I need to understand the uncertainty propagations in their predictions given the noise statistics of their data collection efforts to date. This is subtle and delicate math that most people don't know how to do, and the certitude with which the alarmists and their cheerleaders make their pronouncements lead me to suspect they don't know how to do it well either. Climategate's "Harry Readme" file furthers that suspicion.

    The last and most subjective objection I have is that the people screaming loudest for decarbonization tend to do so in a way that makes it hard for me to distinguish what they are saying from
    "blah blah blah Socialism Is Great blah blah blah I get to ride in private jets but you have to ride a bike to work and turn down your thermostat in the winter blah blah blah"
  • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:15PM (#38852281)

    but local anomalies can occur

    Basically: weather != climate

  • Don't Worry (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MarkvW (1037596) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:16PM (#38852283)

    Don't worry. The global warming deniers are slowly buying the high ground.

  • Re:That's unusual? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jo_ham (604554) <joham999 @ g m a i l.com> on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:16PM (#38852285)

    Greenland was not named sarcastically, it was named so people would want to go there.

  • by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmhNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:17PM (#38852297) Journal

    I think that says it all. What surprises me most is that the top denialist "scientists" dug up an old, easily disproven, barroom-grade argument ("No *atmospheric* warning in the last decade or two! IT'S A HOAX!") as their primary argument. It's like the response doesn't even matter, and they know it.

  • by matchhead650 (1680550) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:19PM (#38852317)
    1998 and 2001 are not in the past decade, just FYI
  • @RupertMurdoch (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Eth1csGrad1ent (1175557) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:20PM (#38852335)

    The problem with this is The Wall Street Journal is now just another rag spewing the opinions of its owner, Rupert Murdoch.

    And Rupert Murdoch's climate change skepticism and his willingness to push this agenda through his news empire through conservative fanboys and other stories is long documented. A simple google search on Rupert Murdoch climate change [google.com] shows just how ridiculous it is to put your faith in any climate change story from a News Corp, News International or News Limited organisation - even if they're right.

    In fact Rupert Murdoch's fanboys [news.com.au] have done such an excellent job of muddying the waters and inciting mindless division that its almost impossible now to have a constructive debate on the topic. Which was always the intention IMO. Arguments sell newspapers.

  • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999 @ g m a i l.com> on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:22PM (#38852351)

    Tell me, if you burn a gallon of gasoline in an engine, where do you think the products of the reaction go?

    You have liquid hydrocarbons and oxygen and you react them in a chamber. Then you empty that chamber and fill it with new reactants. Do that repeatedly until you have no gasoline left. Where are the products of this reaction?

    Where does all the mass go? I mean, I assume your car doesn't have a waste tank you have to empty every time you fill your car with fuel.

  • by oldhack (1037484) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:23PM (#38852357)

    You misguided sheep were the ones playing "appeal to authority" nonsense compounding it with "truth through popularity".

    And now you're accusing WSJ of bias instead of going after those who actually wrote and signed the editorial.

    Worse thing is, though, as nerdy and one-sided as the slashdot readers tend to be (as I am), they pride themselves for cutting through the misdirections when it comes to science/technology, but throw in climate/"environment", it's no better than university literature/ethnic studies depts.

  • by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:29PM (#38852427)

    It makes a number of key points that have been left out of the public debate.

    There is no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to "decarbonize" the world's economy. Even if one accepts the inflated climate forecasts of the IPCC, aggressive greenhouse-gas control policies are not justified economically.

    That's right, climate scientists are generally not keen to study economic effects, which means they are not any more qualified than anyone else to propose economic solutions. Most economists believe eliminating carbon emissions today would be disastrous, well beyond the scale of that climate scientists have predicted.

    If elected officials feel compelled to "do something" about climate, we recommend supporting the excellent scientists who are increasing our understanding of climate with well-designed instruments on satellites, in the oceans and on land, and in the analysis of observational data. The better we understand climate, the better we can cope with its ever-changing nature, which has complicated human life throughout history. However, much of the huge private and government investment in climate is badly in need of critical review.

    Even though we've learned a lot about the climate in the last 30 years, we still know next to nothing about it. We shouldn't be accepting the results essentially heuristic computer models as rock solid predictions for the future, and we should still be working to understand the climate better first and foremost.

    I would like to add that improving the water infrastructure in most of the world would go a long way toward mitigating the effects of global warming, and that it's something that is badly needed today in any case. So if they wan't to put money into that, that would probably be ok too.

  • Re:Wrong take (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FrangoAssado (561740) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:32PM (#38852449)

    The thing that always annoyed be about the global warming fear mongering is that it puts focus on something that, as the article noted, is not ACTUALLY a pollutant.

    That would be relevant if the discussion about carbon dioxide had anything to do with pollution. Nice way to muddy the waters, though.

    Keeping with GP's line of thought: "Don't pay attention to fear mongering about smoking. You'll be far better of if you focus on your problems with cholesterol and sugar, which cause real harm to your health", say 16 doctors*

    * not necessarily medical doctors

  • by mevets (322601) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:33PM (#38852453)

    Given the bullshit the authors are pushing, I think it is likely they have had more than a sniff.
    These template arguments are so pathetic that you sometimes wonder if it isn't better to just club them to death than sort through the charade.
    The Prime Minister of Canada used the same CO2 isn't a pollutant bullshit. Canada is a failed Oil Producing nation in the worst sense of the word.

  • by crutchy (1949900) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:35PM (#38852463)
    maybe its not the weather that is out of whack, but our expectation of it.

    maybe the seasons have decided they don't want to conform any more to the three monthly slots we've allocated for them.
  • by stdarg (456557) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:47PM (#38852539)

    Global warming supporters lose a lot of credibility when they turn a blind eye to these situations. When there's a string of severe winter storms, you see reports about how this is really global warming. When you see a hot winter, you don't get "Calm down, this is a fluke", you just get silence.

    Keep in mind the global warming predictions are things like "1 degree Celsius in 20 years", not "January 2013 will be 50 degrees hotter than normal!!!!!"

  • by AmazingRuss (555076) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:47PM (#38852545)

    ... since we are incapable of reducing CO2 production.

    We're doubling the population every 40 years. If humans are causing global warming with CO2 production, it's just going to get worse, unless we get our breeding under control. That isn't going to happen, as will be proven by the replies to this. There will be variations on:

    * The population is actually declining!
    * Why do you hate babies?
    * Malthus said we'd all be starving by now, but we're just fine, therefore we can make as many people as we want.
    * Breeding is a human right! ... among other things.

    Maybe we'll we can cut per capita C02 production, but the population growth will overrun it.

  • by Cute Fuzzy Bunny (2234232) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:48PM (#38852551)

    Its not easy for them to do so. I think it starts off in the brain as "Some liberals said this, so it must be wrong". The brain then has to wash all of this actual data and supported information until anything that rejects the "some liberals said this, so it must be wrong" thesis. At that point, with a considerable absence of most of the original data and the presence of a fair sized can of bullshit, you can assuredly feel that this global warming stuff is all crap.

    The folks that go through this process have absolutely no idea how our global climate works, and neither do the people supplying them with their own set of facts. In fact, I'd go so far out on a limb as to say that 95% of them just dont care one way or the other, but them there librals need someone to tell them off.

  • Re:Wrong take (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Third Position (1725934) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:52PM (#38852585)

    And what problems do we still have today that we were having in 1912? What knowledge did those people have that would have allowed them to solve or prevent the problems we're having in 2012? A pollution control program in 1912 would have amounted to cleaning horse shit out of the streets.

    Yes, I do plan on letting future generations solve their own problems, because neither you nor I nor anyone else is competent to know what sort of a world those people will be living in, and what kind of problems they'll be experiencing.

    Clue: there's no such thing as a 100 year old problem. Issues which were pressing matters 100 years ago are irrelevant to us now, and issues which are relevant to us now will be of no consequence to people 100 years from now. Think about it.

  • Other Essay (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hambone_p (410812) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @08:02PM (#38852643)

    From this article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/petergleick/2012/01/27/remarkable-editorial-bias-on-climate-science-at-the-wall-street-journal/ [forbes.com]
    "But the most amazing and telling evidence of the bias of the Wall Street Journal in this field is the fact that 255 members of the United States National Academy of Sciences wrote a comparable (but scientifically accurate) essay on the realities of climate change and on the need for improved and serious public debate around the issue, offered it to the Wall Street Journal, and were turned down."

  • by Gibgezr (2025238) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @08:02PM (#38852649)

    Like I said, I believe in climate change. Did you actually read what I wrote? I'm sure their arguments are invalid; the point is, the rebuttal letter did not actually rebut any of the arguments, it just ignored them. No wonder the WSJ didn't bother printing it; I wonder why Science did. We would all have been better served by a letter that actually deigned to debate the issues, one that proved the point. Right?

  • by epine (68316) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @08:04PM (#38852671)

    Of course it makes no economical sense to do that.
    That's because we're not trying to solve an economical problem.

    You've completely failed to grasp the scale of the actions proposed. The large sums of money sloshing around in the middle mediate one form of harm (climate) against another (e.g. setback of the fight against world poverty). Decreasing world economic growth rate to mitigate environmental changes due to the carbon economy will have severe impacts on many populations, most likely the least fortunate.

    At this scale, all problems are economic problems.

  • by PRMan (959735) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @08:11PM (#38852725)
    When scientists start appealing to popularity instead of arguments, you may want to reconsider what they're saying...
  • by inglorion_on_the_net (1965514) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @08:17PM (#38852757) Homepage

    The key word here is "economically".

    Of course it makes no economical sense to do that.
    That's because we're not trying to solve an economical problem.

    I think this is something that can be argued about, too. It sort of depends on what you include in your definition of economics. Is it about how much money the large corporations make? Is it about the gross domestic product? GDP per capita? Adjusted for inflation? Does it go beyond money - do we include things like having food on your plate? Perhaps average quality of life? Do we try to factor in externalities, e.g. effects on other countries or other generations?

    I think there is no question that both taking measures or not taking measures to reduce COâ emissions will have _some_ effect under any reasonable definition of economics. But people like to pit the economy against the environment, and I think that is doing the world a disservice. They interact, and it's not one or the other. It's entirely possible that they would go hand in hand. Numerous green tech companies are likely to agree with me. Some people save money on their cars now that they don't have to put in as much gasoline.

    In other instances, you may have to choose between more money and something else. I think that is an entirely economical issue. Even if you choose something else, that's entirely within the realm of economics. You're optimizing for something, and that something doesn't have to be money.

    So, I would argue that we _are_ trying to solve an economical problem. We are concerned about the environment and what effects our activities may have on our future quality of life. We are trying to factor that into the big economic equation, and trying to figure out if we will get the best results with laissez-faire or with some sort of regulation. I think that we will find that (1) it is impossible to figure out exactly where the optimum is, but also (2) it won't be completely laissez-faire and it won't be completely puppet strings, either, and (3) there will be some terrible ideas, some brilliant ideas, and a lot of incremental improvements.

  • by Ichijo (607641) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @08:27PM (#38852815) Homepage Journal

    Even if one accepts the inflated climate forecasts of the IPCC, aggressive greenhouse-gas control policies are not justified economically.

    If carbon emissions have a nonzero cost, and if negative externalities are a type of market failure, then Markets 101 tells us that raising the price of gasoline by the environmental cost of carbon is entirely justified. And because our children and grandchildren will have to live with the environmental consequences, let's take the revenue and pay down the debt to give them one less thing to worry about.

  • by alexandre_ganso (1227152) <surak@surak.eti.br> on Saturday January 28, 2012 @08:49PM (#38852989)

    I believe in climate change, personally

    Please, do not BELIEVE in anything. Question, prove, discover, argue!

    Believing is being controlled. It has been like that forever. Be it religion, the government or whatever.

  • They are the press (Score:5, Insightful)

    by symbolset (646467) * on Saturday January 28, 2012 @08:49PM (#38852997) Journal
    Once upon a time (very long ago) the purpose of the press was to tell us what was going on in the world. Now the purpose of the press is to align us with their goals. It's a sad thing to see. Thank goodness for the Internet where we can get a vast array of biased viewpoints instead of just one.
  • by geekmux (1040042) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @08:53PM (#38853029)

    Think about how much a can of fuel weighs. Think how many of those you put into your car in a year. Think how many cars are out there. How many trucks delivering food. All that weight, all that fuel goes into the air and converts oxygen into CO2 as it goes. That is a lot of mass of CO2 that is being added to the air that was not 100 years.

    Think about nature. Think about how many active volcanoes there are on the planet. Think about how much control we have over all of them, or more to the point, lack of control to slow or stop ANY activity volcanoes naturally do. Now think about the amount of CO2 that gets dumped into the atmosphere with every eruption. Now try and remember that this kind of activity has been going on for tens of thousands of years now, not the last 100.

    Now try and convince me that we humans are somehow MORE of a factor than nature when it comes to CO2 emissions, or even have a relevant impact. Don't get me wrong, I see the need for sensible emissions policies, but lining peoples pockets with sensationalist bullshit needs to come to an end.

    We know stuff we dump in the environment comes back to us. Lead, Ozone, Mercury, these are chemicals we have dumped into the air in the past and found they were affecting us. So we know our outputs can affect the global condition.

    You're trying to compare CO2 to actual chemicals that man has considerably modified from its natural state to create real toxins. No one should question lead or mercury dumping, but we still have every right to question what has been a natural occurrence that has been going on long before we started driving around Hummers.

  • by jc42 (318812) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @08:55PM (#38853045) Homepage Journal

    But if you really want to reduce C02, just stop cutting down trees in south america and asia. Stop buying solid wood furniture and tables.

    Actually, that's one of the common examples that doesn't really work very well. Wood that's turned into furniture is carbon that isn't returned to the atmosphere; it's kept out of circulation for the long term. Granted, there are scraps to dispose of, but woodworkers (and furniture factories) try hard to minimize the scrap, because good wood is expensive (and getting more so).

    We do live in a house with a fireplace, but right now it's blocked by a sofa and a coffee table, so we're not burning much wood in it. ;-)

    What we really should do is persuade people to buy good quality furniture that won't be discarded after a decade or two. World-wide, people need a lot of furniture, and all of it that's made of wood represents CO2 that's taken out of the atmosphere for as long as the furniture lasts.

    (OTOH, studies have shown that a good portion of the atmosphere's CO2 - and about 1/3 of the methane - comes from termites. So try to keep the little critters out of your local wooden artifacts, OK? ;-)

  • by gtall (79522) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @08:56PM (#38853049)

    If the ice caps over LAND melt, it is a disaster. Over water the result is 0.

  • by RichMan (8097) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @09:02PM (#38853109)

    > Think about nature. Think about how many active volcanoes there are on the planet.
    > Now try and convince me that we humans are somehow MORE of a factor than nature when it comes to CO2 emissions

    -- volcanoes emit 200 million tons a year.
    - the global fossil fuel CO2 emissions for 2003 tipped the scales at 26.8 billion tonnes.

    Care to reverse you position ?

    Look at the facts. Human CO2 is more than 100x that of volcanic CO2.
    Humans are a very significant impact on the atmospheric composition.

  • Re:They found 16? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by superwiz (655733) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @09:15PM (#38853193) Journal
    That's not how science works. Reality is there to be discovered. Reality is not there to be voted into office.
  • by gtall (79522) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @09:21PM (#38853239)

    A hoax? From the scientific community? Maybe you could lay off the magic mushrooms for a bit.

    I'm a scientist. We live or die by how well our theories explain the natural world. You seem to be suggesting that there's a cabal of scientists who are for various reasons trumpeting "the hoax" for precisely what? Our reward system would make any of us fabulously rich if only we could conclusively prove man-made warming is wrong. It hasn't happened.

    And that's the rub. Can anyone conclusively prove that we aren't forcing the world to warm? But that only leads to the real point. If we do not know, why should we conduct an experiment for which there's no turning back?

    This somewhat reminds me, and here I'm betraying my own bias, of the controversy over smoking. Does it cause lung cancer or not? It took years and many "scientists" on the take form the tobacco industry to swear it didn't before it was finally resolved. And it wasn't resolved within the scientific community (they were adamant that it did), it was resolved when the public finally decided whom to believe.

    So we have the current debate? It will not be resolved by scientists, per se. Most have already decided. It will be resolved by the public and what they can see with their own eyes. But then if we have turned the world into one with a runaway greenhouse effect, does it matter? Do you feel lucky? Should we wager the planet on, "Gee, I don't think it could happen" when most scientists are telling you it could?

  • by pseudofrog (570061) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @09:49PM (#38853441)
    Let's "inject a bit of reality" and admit that being odorless and colorless is not relevant to the question of whether it's causing global warming.
  • by uvajed_ekil (914487) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @09:50PM (#38853443)
    The WSJ is all about business, and caters to big business, so of course they say there is nothing to worry about and we should keep burning fossils fuels like mad. Continue business as usual, so the rich can keep getting richer! Afterall, even if all this "science" baloney turns out to be true, the fat cats will have enough wealth to be able to deal with it. They don't care about Vietnam, Brazil, The Philipines, or isolated islanders now, and they won't have to care about them in the future if those places are ruined for their poor residents, who will continue to be poor and largely irrelevant. It is in the interest of the WSJ to deny the threat of climate change, whether it is real or not.
  • by rubycodez (864176) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @09:54PM (#38853479)
    yes, action was taken. Tens of billions of euros worth of carbon tax and trade scams, with several billion euros worth of known fraud already.
  • by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @10:03PM (#38853529) Journal
    I don't know, people have been talking about weird weather for as long as I've been alive. They've been talking about it as long as my grandmother has been alive.

    I suspect that the natural cyclical variations in weather are longer than the human lifespan, and thus for any given human, he will always be seeing weird weather. Once I looked up the annual rainfall for my region, and the years it was 'normal' were much fewer than the years that were 'strange.'
  • by speederaser (473477) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @11:04PM (#38853895)

    I'm not sure you understand that the Science letter was NOT a rebuttal; it pre-dated the WSJ article. In fact, the WSJ saw the Science letter (and rejected publishing it) before they published their editorial, so in effect the editorial was a quasi-rebuttal of the Science letter.

  • by axx (1000412) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @11:26PM (#38853991) Homepage

    I can hardly believe you folks are still seriously using Farhenheit.

    I mean, the power of social norm and all, but really, Farhenheit? What's next, miles? Stones?

  • by incer (1071224) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @12:29AM (#38854305)
    Yeah, I know your position is desperate, but seriously, Celsius can't be rounded? And EVERYONE knows that body temperature is around 36C, that -10C is freaking cold and so on.... And if you want to play games, c'mon, water freezing at 32F? Boiling at 212F?
    There's a reason the whole world uses Celsius.
  • by hairyfish (1653411) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @12:53AM (#38854427)

    Fahrenheit makes excellent sense for what most people use air temperature to refer to: human comfort.

    Don't even try to rationalise it. You use Fahrenheit for the same reason I use Celsius, because that's what we've always done.

    The Celcius equivs are harder to remember: 37.777...., -17.77..., -12.22...

    That's because they're not the equivalents that a Celsius using person would use. 0 is freezing, 10 is cool, 20 is nice, 30 is hot, 40 is unbearable, 100 is the boiling point of water. Not so hard if you open your mind a little bit...

  • by microbox (704317) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @01:40AM (#38854665)

    No amount of hand waving changes the fact that they push a political agenda.

    Yeah... all truths are socially constructed, there is no difference between education and indoctrination, and no such thing as erudite disinterested investigation.

    I happen to be one of those scientists -- and this nonsense about the NAS being political is just a typical ploy a partisan political position that is devoid of content.

    This is from Lifton's famous book on thought reform in communist China:

    The language of the totalist environment is characterized by the thought-terminating cliché. The most far-reaching and complex of human problems are compressed into brief, highly reductive, definitive-sounding phrases, easily memorized and easily expressed. These become the start and finish of any ideological analysis.

    You have suggested that every organisation is as objective as any other. (It is your opening statement.) This supposedly profound statement makes a mockery of a basic and nuanced continuum between ideologically polarised organisations (e.g.: a political advocacy group) and a loose nit association of professional scientists, using facts to compete for mind-share with their peers.

    I'm guessing you are politically right, and opposed to totalitarian socialism. Way to go with the thought-terminating cliché!!!

  • by FPhlyer (14433) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @01:45AM (#38854701) Homepage

    Climate fluctuations over the course of a single decade, or a single person's lifetime does not allow for enough data to seriously consider the question of Global Warming/Global Cooling/Climate Change. We, as a species, have only been accurately recording global temperatures since around 1850. This record itself is not sufficient for providing a true picture of Earth's changing climate. For this we must resort to Paleoclimatology.

    Anecdotal evidence in the form of "this winter has been really warm" is totally unhelpful. Where I live this year has been pretty warm... but last year was one of the coldest that I can remember since I've lived here. Both statements are true, but neither of them indicates either a global or regional trend.

    Climate change is very real. The Earth's climate has changed dramatically over it's 5.5 billion (6,000?) year history. Change is inevitable whether it is caused by humans or other natural processes. What we as a species must decide is whether or not we want to affect that change in a way that benefits humanity or if we want to allow these processes, whether natural or man-created, to determine the fate of our species. I for one support the global engineering of climate to benefit humanity and preserve as many other species as we can in order to sustain nurture our species to create a better tomorrow.

  • by FPhlyer (14433) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @02:07AM (#38854797) Homepage

    One possibility is that global temperatures have been cooler than the norm for the past several thousand years and whatever caused that global cooling trend has now corrected itself and Earth's temperatures are returning to more normalized levels that were experienced around 5-10 thousand years ago.

    What we should be debating is not Climate Change but Climate Engineering: engineering Earth's climate to be most beneficial to humanity and other species as we and they exist today. We should focus on maintaining the climate to which we have become accustomed rather than being puppets of either natural or man-made climate variation.

  • by tombeard (126886) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @02:17AM (#38854833)

    I don't remember ever reading of The Theory of Climatic Stability. Maybe I was inattentive, but when did it stabilize? I recall the earth has been a hot dry desert and a frozen iceball and that CO2 has changed from 0.02% to 0.2%, and oxygen from nothing to poisoning off all existing life above water. Am I to understand it actually stabilized in ~1800 and any change since then is my bad?

  • by DG (989) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @02:52AM (#38854985) Homepage Journal

    Au contraire, mon ami.

    When Europe came out of the Little Ice Age, temperatures warmed up even faster than what has been observed lately.

    Look, when it comes to the whole "Global Warming" thing, I'm an agnostic. I have no dog in the fight; no ox of mine will be gored one way or the other. I am perfectly willing to be convinced either way, and I'm equally skeptical of both sides.

    It is not lost on me, for example, that the big oil companies and other major industrial emitters tend to be on the side - by which I mean "fund" - the studies that argue strongest for the "it ain't happening" side. That's as you'd expect; that the short term profit motive and general bad behavior of these sorts of organizations would motivate them to attempt to refute and deny any soi-disant "inconvenient truths".

    But on the other hand, the "it's happening and it's all human activity" side is RIFE with corruption, falsified studies, poor models, groupthink, and generally shitty behavior too. Some of this we can chalk up to normal primate "Gorillas in the Mist" social (bad) behavior - but certainly not ALL of it. Not even MOST of it.

    If the case for man-made global warming was so compelling, there would be no need for all these shenanigans. The science should be able to stand on its own. And yet, it clearly does not.

    There are aspects of the "reduce the carbon" movement that I can fully support. Fuel efficiency, for example (energy efficiency in general for that matter) is a great idea on its own merits. We really don't know what the fossil fuel supply reserves really are, and anything that conserves fuel is ultimately a good thing. The same thing with protecting forest areas and reforestation/greening in general (green roofs and the like) These measures all have compelling arguments for them without playing the global warming bugaboo.

    But as it sits right now, all the arm-waving and Strongly Worded Claims aren't doing anything to address the problems that people like myself have with the underlying science. The case is not at all made.

    DG

  • by turkeyfish (950384) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @03:25AM (#38855097)

    All they did was sign an editorial. It does even say how much they were paid or if they were paid.

    In any event, more importantly what these guys haven't provided is any kind of cogent explanation that if its not carbon dioxide that is heating the planet, then why on earth is virtually every single glacier on the planet that has been accurately measured for some time showing dramatic retreat. If the temperature were not getting warmer it would stand to reason that on average half the world's glaciers would be growing rather than melting and not only melting doing so at ever accelerating rates?

    The fact these 16 guys are silent on this point and have no evidence, whatsoever to explain this, only shows that this isn't little more than the deniers forming their final "Alamo defense". Keep in mind its not as if the Wall Street Journal is a peer reviewed publication.

  • by makomk (752139) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @06:01AM (#38855771) Journal

    It's not just "some liberals said this, so it must be wrong" - the current right-wing political ideology of so-called limited government in the US makes it impossible for them to actually do anything about global warming, so admitting that it exists would mean admitting their ideology was flawed.

  • by KeensMustard (655606) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @07:05AM (#38856045)

    When Europe came out of the Little Ice Age, temperatures warmed up even faster than what has been observed lately.

    And an event localised in the north atlantic tells us what, exactly, about an event that is global in scale, and caused by something completely different?

    Look, when it comes to the whole "Global Warming" thing, I'm an agnostic.

    Given that you are an agnostic ('no knowledge') I'm wondering how it is that you feel qualified to comment on the matter? If you have no knowledge in a given subject, does your opinion carry any weight?

    I have no dog in the fight; no ox of mine will be gored one way or the other. I am perfectly willing to be convinced either way, and I'm equally skeptical of both sides.

    Is that important?

    Why is it important?

    You seem to think that the fact that you are ignorant/unconvinced is representative of a failure. Whose failure is it? Whose job is it to convince you?

    I'd suggest that is is your job to research topics which you are interested in discussing, and when posting comments, post from a position of knowledge, not boasting of your ignorance.

  • by OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @07:58AM (#38856317) Homepage

    when Ruppert Murdoch is tried for crimes against humanity

    Arguments like this are 50% of the reason people "oppose" global warming. Seriously.

    Get a life.

  • by drolli (522659) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @08:47AM (#38856531) Journal

    (disclaimer: I am currently working on renewable Energies, so there may be a bias)

    They ask for more funding for analysing weather data. They explicitly say: "we want to understand it better, because we want to control it in a *reasonable* way and prepare for it *as it is needed*". What they say (and that is a point which should have been argued better, taken into account that they ask for more observations....) is: we have roughly 50 years more to change it.

    What they don't discuss is that the investment cycles in Energy Technologies are *incredibly long*. There is no energy technology which was ramped up from its invention to its massive use in less than 50 years (lets exclude civil nuclear reactors, which were a side product of building boms).

    So my opinion (as a physicist who is convinced that the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is a parameter of the system we should not meddle with too much and thinks that these scientist are affected by a bias to get more satellites) is: we wont change it rapidly on the short term anyway. Also there will be no big flood wave coming the next year. Instead of hyping electric/hybrid cars to be the salvation we should take the time (the next 20-30 years) and seriously develop the new (or old) technologies and combine them in the ideal way.

  • by DG (989) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @10:59AM (#38857219) Homepage Journal

    *facepalm*

    I am agnostic not because I am "ignorant", but because my analysis of the studies that I have read - many, many of them - arrives at the following conclusions:

    1. Neither case is particularly compelling; and

    2. Both cases are presented by people with vested interests and evidence of fraud, so neither side is particularly trustworthy.

    Thank you, by the way, for providing an example that proves my point. You regurgitate the groupthink, and instead of relying on science to make your argument for you, instead immediately go to an attack on the man, rather than the facts. This is the sort of behavior that makes me profoundly distrustful of the proponents of "global warming" as a postulate.

    DG

  • by BasilBrush (643681) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @02:01PM (#38858495)

    As I said, I'm from the UK, and I accept that the timing varied.

    OK,consider another example. Intelligent Design. There is no doubt that evolution is true. And yet the objective of the ID crowd is "to teach the controversy". To have evolution and creation debated in schools as if they were equal possibilities. Entertaining that ambition is counterproductive. Kids need to be taught evolution.

    AGW is no different. There is no doubt. And no succour should be given to the deniers by entertaining their desire to debate the same points they've been shown to be wrong on time and time again.

  • by iocat (572367) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @11:11PM (#38861405) Homepage Journal
    No offense, but... source?
  • by Walkingshark (711886) on Monday January 30, 2012 @06:35AM (#38863235) Homepage

    I guess it stings when people attack your religious beliefs, doesn't it?

    Considering the complete lack of credibility of the "scientists" who signed this letter, no. No, not really at all. This is more like bad comedy.

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