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Earth Science

97% of Climate Science Papers Agree Global Warming Is Man-made 1105

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-it-was-cold-outside-yesterday dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A meta-study published yesterday looked at over 12,000 peer-reviewed papers on climate science that appeared in journals between 1991 and 2011. The papers were evaluated and categorized by how they implicitly or explicitly endorsed humans as a contributing cause of global warming. The meta-study found that an overwhelming 97.1% of the papers that took a stance endorsed human-cause global warming. They also asked the 1,200 of the scientists involved in the research to self-evaluate their own studies, with nearly identical results. In the interest of transparency, the meta-study results were published in an open access journal, and the researchers set up a website so that anybody can check their results. From the article: '... a memo from communications strategist Frank Luntz leaked in 2002 advised Republicans, "Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly. Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate." This campaign has been successful. A 2012 poll from U.S. Pew Research Center found less than half of Americans thought scientists agreed humans were causing global warming. The media has assisted in this public misconception, with most climate stories "balanced" with a "skeptic" perspective. However, this results in making the 2–3% seem like 50%. In trying to achieve "balance," the media has actually created a very unbalanced perception of reality. As a result, people believe scientists are still split about what's causing global warming, and therefore there is not nearly enough public support or motivation to solve the problem.'"
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97% of Climate Science Papers Agree Global Warming Is Man-made

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  • Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Friday May 17, 2013 @10:19AM (#43751863) Homepage Journal
    Too bad the scientific method is no match for the stick-your-fingers-in-your-ears-and-yell-la-la-la-la-la method.
  • by zero.kalvin (1231372) on Friday May 17, 2013 @10:20AM (#43751873)
    But saying that 97% of climate science papers agree on it does not validate it.
  • Publication bias (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Friday May 17, 2013 @10:22AM (#43751915)

    Without regard to whether or not anthropogenic climate change is real: Which papers get published are largely a function of who's on the editorial board of each publication. If those boards are stacked with people holding a particular position, they tend to publish only papers which agree with that position.

  • by tompaulco (629533) on Friday May 17, 2013 @10:24AM (#43751961) Homepage Journal
    I think they mean 97% of scientists agree that some amount of global warming is caused by mankind.The amount that is caused by humans may be some or even most, but I don't think anyone could argue that it is ALL caused by mankind.
  • by GodInHell (258915) on Friday May 17, 2013 @10:25AM (#43751987) Homepage
    The problem is that science . . . as a scholarly field as opposed to the practice of science . . . has no way to deal with the idea that a significant percentage of our leaders are in willful denial of the sound science. The reality of the research is defeated by their ideology.

    This is not new (ask Gallileo) but it is new for the U.S.

    I think we're just fucked.
  • Re:In 1490's (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TheCarp (96830) <sjc@carpane[ ]et ['t.n' in gap]> on Friday May 17, 2013 @10:31AM (#43752053) Homepage

    > Most scientists believed the earth was flat. In the mid 1800's 99% of leading scientists did not
    > believe in microbes. Louis Pasteur did. Consensus is meaningless.

    Not true. By the 1490s, it had already been pretty well established that the earth was round. It was the uneducated masses and official church dogma that this was not true, and this created a climate where openly saying the earth was round was not exactly a safe position to take.

    So while it may not have been en vogue to say the earth was round, privately, amongst those who did study the issue, it was allready known.

  • by hsthompson69 (1674722) on Friday May 17, 2013 @10:31AM (#43752063)

    ...that reject AGW than there are that blame humans for most (>50%) of agw.

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2013/on-the-consensus/ [rankexploits.com]

    "The only time an abstract is rated as saying how much humans contribute to global warming is if it mentions:

    that human activity is a dominant influence or has caused most of recent climate change (>50%).

    If we use the system’s search feature for abstracts that meet this requirement, we get 65 results. That is 65, out of the 12,000+ examined abstracts. Not only is that value incredibly small, it is smaller than another value listed in the paper:

    Reject AGW 0.7% (78)

    Remembering AGW stands for anthropogenic global warming, or global warming caused by humans, take a minute to let that sink in. This study done by John Cook and others, praised by the President of the United States, found more scientific publications whose abstracts reject global warming than say humans are primarily to blame for it."

    Boy, warmists are really bad at math!

  • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Friday May 17, 2013 @10:37AM (#43752143) Homepage Journal

    That's true, plus being published doesn't mean being truthful [gizmodo.com].

    Throw in the politicization of science and its funding (i.e. if 97% of funding goes to "pro-agw" scientists, these results would be expected, or vice-versa), and it's hard to draw any real-world conclusions through popular vote of journal-published papers. Add in the asymmetric risk to the wealthiest parts of the world and the politics gets even more dubious.

    Maybe we should stick to actual science and let the chips fall where they may. Phlogiston was once very popular, but so is Relativity. Theories, predictions, observation, refinement - repeat as needed until the theory and observations reach equilibrium. In the meantime, I'll try not to use my TomTom to get to the Anti-Relativity conference.

  • by CajunArson (465943) on Friday May 17, 2013 @10:37AM (#43752163) Journal

    Do those 97% of papers all predict the same effects of the man-made global warming?
    And are those predicted effects of man-made global warming actually observed in real data that occurred *after* the predictions were made?

    Once again, we go back to the standard process of: Weather event X occurs. (where, for example, X is a cool and wet spring that just happened in the midwest).
    X is either:
    1. PREDICTED BY GLOBAL WARMING MODELS!*
                * Which model? There are so many to choose from and "global warming" can mean everything from "it will never snow in Europe again! We will have malaria and jungle diseases covering Norway!" to "Europe will be covered in glaciers because the Atlantic currents will fail!"
    OR:
    2. SO WHAT IF IT WASN'T PREDICTED! THAT'S JUST LOCAL WEATHER NOT THE CLIMATE!*

                * But don't worry, if it gets hot this summer or if there's a mild winter somewhere, that will be proof of global warming and not "just the weather". You see, it's a one-way street where global warming is always right.

  • by godrik (1287354) on Friday May 17, 2013 @10:38AM (#43752173)

    What you say is definitively true. But that is not the point of the article, the point is to verify that the vast majority of experts believes (base don their study) that global warming is man made. Yet everybody you talk to tends to say to "experts are still debating". Well, with these numbers they are not still debating, they are pretty much convinced.

    Yet, they might be wrong. But policies have to be made based on experts opinion. And that opinion is not properly represented in the media.

  • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Friday May 17, 2013 @10:38AM (#43752175)
    Strawman argument: no one is saying the studies are valid because there's a consensus about it. They're valid based on the science IN those studies. What the consensus means is that we are idiots to not invest in trying to avoid it. Perhaps it would have been foolish to start heavily taxing coal and oil back in the 70's or 80's, as climate change may have proven to be a false hypothesis, but now it's foolish not to. Or at least extraordinarily selfish and short-sighted.
  • Re:Yeah... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bondsbw (888959) on Friday May 17, 2013 @10:39AM (#43752191)

    And this goes for both sides.

    One side says that global warming exists and is manmade. They go too far and decide that your personal car and incandescent lights are solely to blame. You are selfish and should give back to society and the government for your misdeeds.

    One side looks at that stance as foolish. But they go to far and reject global warming completely in an effort to distance themselves from their political opponents. And then when shown results that contradict their position, they say that it isn't manmade.

    If you ignore the politics and let the science do the talking, you might actually get somewhere.

  • by bunratty (545641) on Friday May 17, 2013 @10:40AM (#43752197)
    Right, you can never validate a hypothesis in science. You can only fail to falsify it. In other words, no one can seem to come up with another good explanation for the warming we've observed, so we've failed to falsify the idea that it's due to carbon dioxide emissions, a hypothesis first proposed in 1896 [wikipedia.org]. That doesn't mean it's the truth, but I sure know which way I'd bet!
  • by macbeth66 (204889) on Friday May 17, 2013 @10:43AM (#43752241)

    Publications that go against the accepted dogma of the day, are generally rejected and can cause death to the career of the author. Contrary opinions have to be snuck in and couched in vague wordings. I suspect this is also true with global warming research.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday May 17, 2013 @10:44AM (#43752265) Journal

    Proof is for mathematics and liquor. Science provides the best explanation based on current data, and there best explanation at the moment is that CO2 emissions from manmade sources are a major cause of observed climate change.

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by alen (225700) on Friday May 17, 2013 @10:45AM (#43752273)

    at some point 97% of geologists believed plate tectonics was false
    at some point 97% of scientists didn't believe that dino's became birds or believed that they were just the slow and lumbering lizards like in 60's movies

    almost every major scientific advance has been made by a few "rogue" scientists advocating rogue theories which at one time have been dismissed by most scientists in the field

  • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Friday May 17, 2013 @10:45AM (#43752277)
    Without regard to whether or not gravity is real, almost all physicists are INCREDIBLY biased in favor of gravity.

    There are a lot of ideas or theories that, if you ignore reality, the relevant fields are incredibly biased towards or against. Bias doesn't mean incorrect, and the "reality" of a theory matters a lot. At least, to most researchers. Less so for paid shills for, say, the fossil fuel industry.
  • by Grashnak (1003791) on Friday May 17, 2013 @10:48AM (#43752337)

    Nice strawman there. C02 warming that leads "to the destruction of life on earth' is not exactly the primary concern of most scientists.

    There are a hell of a lot of really bad things that can result from C02 warming that don't involve the destruction of life on earth.

  • by zzsmirkzz (974536) on Friday May 17, 2013 @10:50AM (#43752369)

    the point is to verify that the vast majority of experts believes (base don their study) that global warming is man made.

    Is entirely man-made or man contributed to it? Those are two very different statements. If we only contribute that suggests that it's going to happen no matter what we do, the best we could hope for is to delay the inevitable. Given the history of the planet, I think this is the more likely scenario and we would be better off spending our energy figuring out how, as a species, to survive it when it inevitably happens.

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JackieBrown (987087) <dbroome@gmail.com> on Friday May 17, 2013 @10:51AM (#43752389)

    I think the real debate is what the consequences are from global warming. Most skeptics I know don't doubt that we impact out world. The questions we have is how large an impact that really is and whether the earth can adapt to it (without wiping us out.)

    It doesn't help that the extremest on the global warming side keep giving dire apocalyptic warnings with near timelines that keep turning out false (or not anywhere near as dire as the predictions where told to us.)

  • by SirGarlon (845873) on Friday May 17, 2013 @10:53AM (#43752407)

    97% almost exactly the portion of biologists who believe in evolution according to one survey [metafilter.com]. The Slashdot community seems perfectly ready to accept evolution as fact, yet anthropogenic global warming remains "controversial."

    So you say publication bias, and I say confirmation bias.

    Theories, predictions, observation, refinement - repeat as needed until the theory and observations reach equilibrium.

    I think the point is: that has already happened. 97% concurrence among researches is about as close to objective truth as we can get in the postmodern world.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 17, 2013 @11:00AM (#43752487)

    Secondly, they don't all believe in the same god.
    Thirdly, they don't have any evidence of their god being real.

    Indeed in all ways noted, the deniers (such as yourself) are more like the priests.

    97% of deniers believe AGW is a fraud.
    They don't believe in the same reason for that being true. And they have no evidence of their personal belief in their stated reason for it being a fraud.

  • Meanless (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pubwvj (1045960) on Friday May 17, 2013 @11:02AM (#43752525)

    Unfortunately, voting is not science. 99% of scientist used to say that "the Earth was flat", that "the Earth was the center of the Universe", that... All proved wrong.

    I'm not arguing one way or the other on global warming but rather that having agreement is not a good metric.

    By the way, I'm not a global warming skeptic. In fact, I'm pro-warming, it's better than the alternative of global cooling!

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 17, 2013 @11:04AM (#43752555)

    And this goes for both sides.

    One side says that global warming exists and is manmade. They go too far and decide that your personal car and incandescent lights are solely to blame. You are selfish and should give back to society and the government for your misdeeds.

    One side looks at that stance as foolish. But they go to far and reject global warming completely in an effort to distance themselves from their political opponents. And then when shown results that contradict their position, they say that it isn't manmade.

    If you ignore the politics and let the science do the talking, you might actually get somewhere.

    One of your complaints is accurate. The other is not.

    No serious person concerned about human impact on global warming thinks your incandescent lights are primarily to blame, let alone solely to blame. Same with cars. There's a recognition of a host of concerns, including the power used for the lights, the petroleum extract for the car, and all sorts of other industrial processes.

    Solely, even primarily, are just exaggerations and misrepresentations on your part. Maybe you should try a little less politics in your rhetoric.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 17, 2013 @11:07AM (#43752589)

    And why don't more people on this thread realize this? Everyone is saying "97% of scientists agree" when really, 2/3 of scientists didn't even take a position!

  • by Typical Slashdotter (2848579) on Friday May 17, 2013 @11:07AM (#43752593)
    In other news, only a minority of physics papers agree that conservation of energy is real. The rest don't even mention it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 17, 2013 @11:08AM (#43752599)

    I find your lack of understanding of the philosophy and method of science disturbing.

    In science, one can very rarely, if ever, "prove it irrefutably". One makes hypotheses to explain observations. The hypotheses must make testable predictions. The longer an hypothesis stands against scrutiny, and the more its predictions are verified, and the more new evidence is discovered which fits into the hypothesis, the more accepted it is considered.

    Also, you say "else the first scientist to come along with better proof than yours will knock the whole house of cards down". My ignorant friend, this is exactly what science is. Exactly. If this were not the case it would not be science. At some point an accepted hypothesis becomes Theory, which is to say that if some contradictory observation were to be verified, it would necessitate a world-view-changing paradigm shift. Think, for example, of the revolution from Newtonian physics to General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics; an important thing to note is that the previous Theory was not even disproved - only its boundaries of accurate description of reality more rigorously defined.

    That 97% of the body of published climate science finds in favour of the man-made global warming hypothesis, but none of the 3% against has yet managed to present verified disproof means it is only those ignorant of science that would disagree simply on the grounds of personal comfort.

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by joh (27088) on Friday May 17, 2013 @11:09AM (#43752607)

    I think the real debate is what the consequences are from global warming. Most skeptics I know don't doubt that we impact out world. The questions we have is how large an impact that really is and whether the earth can adapt to it (without wiping us out.)

    It doesn't help that the extremest on the global warming side keep giving dire apocalyptic warnings with near timelines that keep turning out false (or not anywhere near as dire as the predictions where told to us.)

    NOBODY is saying this is going to wipe us out. Really. It's just going to be really costly, wrecking havoc with economies and ecosystems and causing migrations, wars and collapsing economies here and there.

    All this jumping around by saying "It's not happening!", then "It's happening, but it's not caused by us!" and then "It's happening and it's caused by us but we won't be wiped out, so let's just pretend it isn't happening anyway!", but NEVER saying "OK, it's happening and it's going to be really troublesome but since it is caused by us we luckily can try to limit it by what we do!" is really strange.

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by serviscope_minor (664417) on Friday May 17, 2013 @11:12AM (#43752647) Journal

    almost every major scientific advance has been made by a few "rogue" scientists advocating rogue theories which at one time have been dismissed by most scientists in the field

    On the other hand, some people are still banging on about the luminiferous aether.

    Just because the majority have been wrong in the past about some topics doesn't in any relate to the current one. I'd wager that in most cases where people disagree with the majority, the disagreers are wrong.

    Remember: you're going with some heavy selection bias picking the few counter examples. For every one of them, there have been a thousand lunatics who were completely and utterly wrong.

  • by joh (27088) on Friday May 17, 2013 @11:12AM (#43752653)

    On the other hand if 97% of climate science papers would agree on climate change NOT happening, this would be it. Case closed. Nobody would ever talk about it again.

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kythe (4779) on Friday May 17, 2013 @11:13AM (#43752663)
    While I'm sure someone, somewhere, has said incandescent lights and cars are solely to blame for global warming, attributing that to one of the "two sides" in the debate is going to require a little more evidence than your say-so.
  • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kythe (4779) on Friday May 17, 2013 @11:15AM (#43752685)
    This point (also made upthread) conflates belief uninformed by studies, with peer-reviewed studies, which is the topic of this post. I'd expect technical folks, programmers included, to understand the scientific method a little better than that.
  • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by atriusofbricia (686672) on Friday May 17, 2013 @11:19AM (#43752761) Journal

    What's funny is we routinely see news articles where farmers are talked to and almost without exception they all say climate change is real and if you don't believe it, ask a farmer. Considering the conservative nature of most farmers, one would highly doubt they would be saying such things if they didn't believe it.

    Yeah, but you're forgetting the selection bias of the media who generally whole heartily believe in anthropocentric global warming. They are far less likely to put a farmer on that says that climate change might be happening but he doesn't believe humans are the cause.

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by IWannaBeAnAC (653701) on Friday May 17, 2013 @11:22AM (#43752797)

    That isn't very accurate. At some point 97% of geologists had never heard of plate techtonics. Once the theory was proposed there was, of course, some opposition because it was so different to what was previously believed. But once geologists properly evaluated the evidence, almost every geologist took it on board.

    Similarly, once the idea that birds evolved from dinosaurs became widely known, it didn't take all that long for scientists to take a good objective look at the evidence and rewrite the textbooks.

    There is no comparison to climate change because the "for" and "against" theories have been known for 30+ years by now. So far no one has managed to find any convincing evidence against global warming, and at this point the basic theory is so well established it is inconceivable that anyone ever will. You might argue about the magnitude of the problem, and whether some other effect might mask the warming (which is true anyway, eg I don't think anyone really knows why the deep ocean has been warming faster than expected, and somewhat masking surface warming). But there isn't going to be a "smoking gun" that disproves the basic notions, not any more than there will ever be a "smoking gun" that disproves Newton's theory of gravity. That doesn't mean that the theories won't get refined (eg, general relativity can be seen as a refinement of Newtonian gravity).

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by polar red (215081) on Friday May 17, 2013 @11:22AM (#43752799)

    ah, on nuclear power:
    The science of nuclear power is settled: it works.
    the technology and implementation by engineers, managers, contractors and other people on the other hand is an entirely different matter

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 17, 2013 @11:26AM (#43752855)

    Are you wilfully ignoring the fact that it is the acceptance of man-made global warming which has *grown* to 97% acceptance? It's not currently being overturned by 3% - those 3% are the ones which haven't accepted it yet. Would you argue that the few remaining geocentrists are in the process of overturning the 99.99% agreement with current cosmological theory? Don't be so fucking stupid.

  • by jythie (914043) on Friday May 17, 2013 @11:27AM (#43752873)
    Conversely, discounting the majority of scientific finding because it does not match what a particular group wants does not mean they are right. It does however mean that they have to provide better models then the majority.

    Put another way, in science, the majority usually IS right, and there is a well established method for showing otherwise. Thus using majority opinion as an indicator of correctness, while not infallible, is generally pretty good. If nothing else the probability of 3% allowing political belief to influence their conclusions is greater then 97% doing so.
  • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Daetrin (576516) on Friday May 17, 2013 @11:28AM (#43752897)
    The problem with that argument is that the 97% that were wrong didn't do studies and publish papers to support their view, because clearly if they'd done the actual science relating to the issue they would have discovered they were wrong. They just pooh-poohed the claims of the 3%, disparaged them in correspondence, and argued that their studies were flawed without providing any kind of evidence to prove it.

    In other words, they acted just like all the anti-AGW people are acting right now.

    There were scientists who believed the continents were static, but there were not thousands of papers "proving" that was true. There were scientists who didn't believe in microorganisms, but there were not thousands of papers "proving" they don't exist. There were scientists who believed in the aether, but there were not thousands of papers "proving" it existed.

    In every case of this nature the anti-AGW try to cite, a large number of scientists assumed that something was true when it was not. Then some rebel got up and said "i think it works in some different manner!" and caught a lot of flak for it, which is unfortunate but part of the human condition. However despite the arguments and entrenched positions and pride and stubbornness, when actual science started being done the truth came out. In all the cases once papers started being published the vast majority of them supported the viewpoint that we have not generally come to conclude is the correct one. Microorganisms exist, the continents do move, and there is no aether.

    The anti-AGW people seem to be arguing that this is the sole case in history where as more and more science has been done, more and more scientists have apparently faked their results in order to support mistaken beliefs. In some cases they argue that it's because they're being funded by "pro-AGW" bodies, in particular governments, when the corporations who are firmly anti-AGW have far deeper pockets and have actually been caught funding scientists to promote certain views.

    In short, it's good to have an open mind, but not so open that your brain falls out. When new ideas come out it doesn't hurt to question them, but the anti-AGW people long since passed the point of reasonable doubts being aired and moved into denialism and conspiracy theories.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 17, 2013 @11:36AM (#43753035)

    97.1% of the abstracts that take a stance on AGW endorse it. Abstracts that don't take a stance either way don't provide any relevant data here.

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Friday May 17, 2013 @11:39AM (#43753079) Journal

    I'm not worried about nature, the planet, or other species. If humans keep releasing CO2 into the atmosphere, humans are going to suffer. It's not that humans are evil, it's that they're stupidly walking into their own near-extinction.

  • by tbannist (230135) on Friday May 17, 2013 @11:40AM (#43753105)
    97% of scientists agree that global warming has the best and strongest proof. Now what?
  • by stenvar (2789879) on Friday May 17, 2013 @11:41AM (#43753107)

    Yes, a lot of climatologists agree that there is a modest increase in global temperatures.

    That in no way qualifies them to make statements or predictions about economics, agriculture, land use, or politics, and they certainly have no right to dictate to the rest of us how we make tradeoffs between current and future consumption.

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by IRWolfie- (1148617) on Friday May 17, 2013 @11:42AM (#43753121)
    at some point 97% of climatologists didn't believe in global warming, and now they do. Did you see what I did there.
  • by kenaaker (774785) on Friday May 17, 2013 @11:42AM (#43753139)
    Prove it. Provide a corroborated list of documented instances of research proposals being turned down.

    Anecdotes that you read someplace on the interwebs do not qualify as evidence.

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sydneyfong (410107) on Friday May 17, 2013 @11:51AM (#43753299) Homepage Journal

    A counter example is, well, a counter example.

    In case you don't know what it is, a counter example is a way to show that the original point was not as rigorous as it purports to be, by demonstrating a case that the claim does not hold.

    The original (implicit) claim is that when 97% of scientists agree on something, it must be right. The GP provides a counter example. In doing so, he does not claim that his example is representative of the vast majority of similar cases.

    I guess the problem with this story is that it's neither here nor there. Statements that 97% people believe in can be true (usually) or can be false (rarely). But given that we actually have evidence and data, why should we try to ascertain the truth by looking at what other people believe?

    It's like having a headline "97% people believe the world is round" -- yeah it's probably true, but if you really want to know the truth badly enough, you don't ask around for personal belief statistics, you try to go around the world to see whether you can get back to the original spot.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 17, 2013 @11:52AM (#43753319)

    I think you might be on to something. For example, it's basically impossible for those studying the Stork Theory of Reproduction to gain any government funding. Same problem with those looking into the Green Cheese Theory of The Moon. Obviously this mere fact invalidates biology and cosmology.

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by demonlapin (527802) on Friday May 17, 2013 @11:53AM (#43753339) Homepage Journal
    It's caricature, not satire.

    Have you ever tried to have a conversation about environmental topics with a non-scientifically-literate Green? It's a religion for a lot of them. Sure, they'll say they just believe the science, but they don't even know what it says, and they mostly get a pass because they agree with the basic thrust of the scientific consensus. The problem is that those are the people who actually go out and make people not believe in global warming - because they're fanatics who go into a shrieking rage when anyone disagrees with them or even questions them on minor points, which rather makes the whole thing sound like poorly-defended bullshit regardless of how good the actual scientific evidence is.

    A simple example, though on a slightly different topic. Go ask the average "environmentally conscious" person why Styrofoam is supposed to be a bad thing. They'll probably tell you that it takes up too much space in landfills. The US has plenty of landfill space, and Styrofoam is as close to inert as we can come up with. I'd happily live on top of a former Styrofoam dump. No, the reason that Styrofoam was originally considered bad - the reason we were supposed to stop using it - was that it was blown into foam with CFC's. That hasn't been the case for ages, but you still see places that think it's green to use paper instead of Styrofoam cups, even though Styrofoam is a better insulator and requires much less energy to make and transport.
  • Re:Yeah... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by IRWolfie- (1148617) on Friday May 17, 2013 @12:10PM (#43753567)
    That comment you link to is nonsensical, it claims there wasn't a "I do know: This paper has nothing to say about AGW." option, and yet there was, the neutral option. This is just pedantry to try and pick holes into something ideologically unpleasant. The majority of climatologists don't agree with denialists; get over it.
  • Re:Yeah... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by lgw (121541) on Friday May 17, 2013 @12:12PM (#43753599) Journal

    We're talking about a problem that has many consequences if militant steps were taken right now to solve it

    What a load of crap. It has yet to be show that the cost of ignoring man-made warming is higher than the cost of avoiding it. All I see is a lot of people who really, really like power and forcing others to live a certain way jumping on a convenient bandwagon.

    The climate will change regardless. We're due for the glaciers to come back any century now. For sure a bit of rising oceans is better than most of Europe, Russia, and Canada lost under the glaciers.

    Even just starting down the road toward reducing carbon emission in a real way would require complete changes in economic and social policies, and would probably mean the introduction of totalitarian government intervention to some degree

    That's the truth! And since I value freedom more than minimizing economic costs, I think we'd all be better off if we stopped giving the power-mongers and wannabee dictators more excuses.

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PapayaSF (721268) on Friday May 17, 2013 @12:13PM (#43753609) Journal

    That means American personal cars and homes produce between 1/4 and 1/5 of the world's CO2 emissions.

    That can't be correct. Total human emissions of CO2 only account for about 3% of the world's CO2 emissions, so do you mean that American cars and homes account for between 1/4 and 1/5 of that 3%?

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lgw (121541) on Friday May 17, 2013 @12:14PM (#43753623) Journal

    Nothing is more expensive than something run by the government at "zero cost".

  • by tbannist (230135) on Friday May 17, 2013 @12:17PM (#43753651)

    If man had something to do with it, and our activity is essentially increasing exponentially with new humans being born all the time (and China kicking industrial action into high gear), then wouldn't the impact on climate also be exponential?

    No, actually. CO2 concentrations increase temperature logarithmicly, so while population is increasing at a decreasing exponential rate (expected to hit 0% growth this century), the higher the concentration of CO2 goes, the less warming each addition ppm actualy contributes.

    Human activity has been increasing, yet the whole warming thing STALLED 17 years ago.

    You math is off, the warming trend is flat if (and only if) you take start from the fall of 1997, and that's 16 years currently. However, that's a cherry-picked start date and there are problems [skepticalscience.com] with choosing your data to make a particular point. more generally,you can always draw flat trend lines on noisy data regardless of whether the overall trend is up, down or constant.

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Salgak1 (20136) <(salgak) (at) (speakeasy.net)> on Friday May 17, 2013 @12:24PM (#43753783) Homepage
    WHAT warming trend ?? The world temp has stabilized and DROPPED. And it appears we MAY be going into a Maunder-type Solar Minima. . .
  • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Holi (250190) on Friday May 17, 2013 @12:33PM (#43753907)

    Except medicare versus private insurance.

  • Ummmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday May 17, 2013 @12:34PM (#43753913)

    Gravity is not the best example. The reason is that we really DON'T understand gravity very well. We know that there is a force that we call gravity that causes objects to attract. However we don't have a solid idea how it actually works. We can't get it to unify with the other forces, there are indications that our best theory on it (general relativity) is incomplete and so on.

    The FACT of gravity, that objects attract or on a more human scale that shit falls down. We observe this all the time, there's not really a question that there is this force. However the THEORY of gravity, meaning the explanation for what it is and how it works, is something that is not solid.

    Now one can of course argue this to global warming as well. There is the fact that average global temperature has been rising, outside of known cycles. There is then the theory as to why, in particular that the primary or exclusive cause is increased atmospheric CO2 levels due to human emissions. One can accept the fact but argue the theory.

    Just saying, maybe pick a better example.

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Troed (102527) on Friday May 17, 2013 @12:52PM (#43754221) Homepage Journal

    If you consider "neutral" to be valid as "do not know" there's no 97% consensus to be had from the study.

    (If you're interested in facts. Not many are)

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) * <(mojo) (at) (world3.net)> on Friday May 17, 2013 @01:04PM (#43754369) Homepage

    Have you ever tried to have a conversation about environmental topics with a non-scientifically-literate Green?

    Nice straw man. I'll remember to use the non-scientifically-literate-anti-Green next time I need one.

    The US has plenty of landfill space, and Styrofoam is as close to inert as we can come up with.

    It's also thought to be carcinogenic by the EPA [highcountr...vation.org] and by the International [inchem.org]
    Agency for Research on Cancer.

    you still see places that think it's green to use paper instead of Styrofoam cups, even though Styrofoam is a better insulator and requires much less energy to make and transport.

    Styrofoam requires quite a few nasty chemicals [epa.gov] to manufacture and can't easily be recycled. It ends up in landfill where it won't decompose for a long, long time. Landfill sites cost money to montior to make sure they are not leaking anything problematic into the air or groundwater. While Styrofoam itself might not release any of those things it does take up space and thus leads us to create more sites, with more monitoring.

    On the other hand paper can be recycled fairly easily into things like disposable cups where quality and colour are not too important, so the cost of manufacture is amortized over many uses.

    So after all that railing against your straw man it turns out you are the one whose knowledge of the situation is lacking. Delicious.

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Friday May 17, 2013 @01:08PM (#43754417) Journal

    I can't believe that I have to explain to people here on ./ that putting more energy into a non-linear dynamic system will cause more extreme behavior of all types. We are experiencing more record highs AND record lows, more record droughts and more record rainfalls, which is exactly what you'd expect from a warming Earth.

  • by irenaeous (898337) on Friday May 17, 2013 @01:11PM (#43754463) Journal

    It seems to me that you have labeled this as a fallacy known as "appeal to belief" incorrectly. The 97% are not just anybody, but are papers from peer reviewed journals. These are authorities. The argument in this case is an appeal to authority [nizkor.org], but it is not a fallacious appeal because in this case, the ones claiming to be authorities in fact are so qualified.

    The study is just another case in point demonstrating the strong consensus among climate scientists that AGW is real.

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lgw (121541) on Friday May 17, 2013 @01:12PM (#43754485) Journal

    But not for the same quality of care. I think we do go overboard on expensive testing done only as a CYA for malpractice suits, which is certainly inefficient and wasteful, but it would be a mistake to think you get the same process in both countries. We do get more for our extra spend (and we fund a bunch of research that way), though we certainly don't get 2.5x more.

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Friday May 17, 2013 @01:17PM (#43754575)

    The US has plenty of landfill space,

    The US in general might have a lot of space, but most counties don't have the money to truck their crap from the coast to the middle of Iowa. As a result, a lot of landfills are indeed filled up, and landfill space is a significant issue. Just ask densely populated areas like the San Francisco bay or Miami what they do with their inert landfill - it's expensive, and they're constantly looking to reduce what gets put into landfills. Not because it's green, but because it's getting to be very expensive.

    Styrofoam is as close to inert as we can come up with. I'd happily live on top of a former Styrofoam dump.

    Congratulations, you don't have to feed yourself from the land you live on. Not everyone is that lucky. It's also butt ugly to have styrofoam get into everything, and just stay there.

    No, the reason that Styrofoam was originally considered bad - the reason we were supposed to stop using it - was that it was blown into foam with CFC's.

    Yes, that was one of the original reasons. Now it's bad because it finds its way into the ocean, where it is ingested by all kinds of fish, birds and other critters and killing them off, because it just fills up their stomach. And considering how much we rely on a healthy ocean to feed a good chunk of the world's population, that's almost worse than the CFC issue. The fact that it is inert is a huge issue any place you try to have a healthy ecosystem, whether it is for farming, breeding or just generally we-like-nature purposes.

    even though Styrofoam is a better insulator and requires much less energy to make and transport.

    Citation needed. Air is actually a better insulator, and the reason why it's cheaper to have a little double-walled cardboard ring in cups.

    Every time I hear someone complain about how dumb green or environmentally conscious people are, I find someone who has even less of a clue, has a huge axe to grind and is an asshole about it.

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jgagnon (1663075) on Friday May 17, 2013 @02:24PM (#43755379)

    In today's climate, so to speak, media no longer wants to report the news, they want to make it.

  • by riverat1 (1048260) on Friday May 17, 2013 @02:41PM (#43755591)

    What you say is true however this study covers papers from the past 22 years since 1991. Given the controversy around the subject the fact that no one has been able to come up with a serious challenge to the dominant paradigm in climate science in all that time is telling. Any scientist who was able to come up with something that overturned current climate science would certainly cement their reputation in the annals of history.

  • by stenvar (2789879) on Friday May 17, 2013 @03:33PM (#43756155)

    "Vote for us, or coastal cities will get flooded, there will be mass starvation and wars, bankers will rob you blind, and gunmen will kill your children in mass shootings!"

    Yup, the politics of fear is our problem.

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TsuruchiBrian (2731979) on Friday May 17, 2013 @05:43PM (#43757829)

    Saying climate change is real because 97% of scientists agree is a classic appeal to authority. There is a good case to be made that it is a rational appeal to authority, but it is a not a logically or scientifically rigorous reason to believe something.

    If someone submitted a paper to a scientific journal claiming to have evidence of climate change, and the evidence was that 97% of climate scientists believed in climate change, this paper would be rejected.

    This kind of evidence may be good enough for everyday people, but it is not good enough for science.

    Also you have misused "non-sequitur". A non-sequitur is an argument that makes an inappropriate logical deduction. I think you must be thinking of straw man (which I also didn't do.

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AdamWill (604569) on Friday May 17, 2013 @07:07PM (#43758501) Homepage

    Right, this is one of the two things that irks me the most about this debate: how both sides tend to assume the 'environmentalist' side is some sort of happy-clappy kum-ba-ya singing Mother Earth thing.

    It's not. Well, you know, the nutty kum-ba-ya singing Mother Earth types think so, but we can safely ignore them. For sane people, global warming is not a problem for the globe. The earth's a big spinning ball of rock, it'll be a big spinning ball of rock practically forever, no matter whether the temperature goes up or down two or five or ten or fifty degrees. Plus, it's not conscious and doesn't have any feelings. The Earth is going to be just fine.

    Global warming is a problem for people. The most 'conservative' folks, those who think things are pretty good and we shouldn't mess with them too much and who pride themselves on being sensible and taking the long view, should be the most worried about global warming, for several reasons. One, a world which is five degrees warmer is a world that from a human perspective is massively different. You want your life to go on pretty much as before? You damn well don't want it to be ten degrees hotter than it was 100 years ago. Two, the longer we delay taking action, the more extreme and disruptive the action we wind up having to take is going to be. That alone is against 'conservative' principles, but the double whammy is that once that action becomes sufficiently extreme and disruptive, the only agencies that are practically capable of carrying it out will be national governments. You want a solution to global warming which doesn't involve massive, unilateral government action (and if you're a small-state conservative, surely you do!), you should be out in the streets right now to make sure it happens before it's not practical.

    The other thing that narks me off no end is people who seem to think Priority Number One should be 'the economy', and Priority Number Two should be the environment. Erk-err. Precisely the wrong way around. You can only have an economy in an environment. We can keep building coal-burning power plants and oil pipelines and everyone makes money in the very short term, but once the level of emissions and consequent global warming gets too high, the result will be an economic catastrophe as much as an environmental one. Really, if you want to be a hard-headed conservative pragmatist, the only reason an environmental catastrophe is a catastrophe at all is because it is inevitably also an economic catastrophe.

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