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Earth Stats The Media Science Politics

Global-Warming Skepticism Hits 6-Year High 846

Posted by timothy
from the could-be-they're-most-skeptical-of-overcertainty dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Chris Mooney writes at Mother Jones that a new study, from the Yale and George Mason University research teams on climate change communication, shows a 7-percentage-point increase in the proportion of Americans who say they do not believe that global warming is happening. And that's just since the spring of 2013. The number of deniers is now 23 percent; back at the start of last year, it was 16 percent (PDF). The obvious question is, what happened over the last year to produce more climate denial? The answer may lie in the so-called global warming "pause"—the misleading idea that global warming has slowed down or stopped over the the past 15 years or so. This claim was used by climate skeptics, to great effect, in their quest to undermine the release of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fifth Assessment Report in September 2013—precisely during the time period that is in question in the latest study. "The notion of a global warming "pause" is, at best, the result of statistical cherry-picking," writes Mooney. " It relies on starting with a very hot year (1998) and then examining a relatively short time period (say, 15 years), to suggest that global warming has slowed down or stopped during this particular stretch of time." Put these numbers back into a broader context and the overall warming trend remains clear. "If you shift just 2 years earlier, so use 1996-2010 instead of 1998-2012, the trend is 0.14 C per decade, so slightly greater than the long-term trend," explains Drew Shindell, a climate scientist at NASA who was heavily involved in producing the IPCC report. This is why climate scientists generally don't seize on 15 year periods and make a big thing about them. "Journalists take heed: Your coverage has consequences. All those media outlets who trumpeted the global warming "pause" may now be partly responsible for a documented decrease in Americans' scientific understanding.""
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Global-Warming Skepticism Hits 6-Year High

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 20, 2014 @09:09AM (#46012363)

    If the climate scientists have a model that accurately predicted the past 16 years then we can talk about the future.

    Until then the predictions of gloom and doom are about as believable as the heavens-gate cult.

    • by Alain Williams (2972) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Monday January 20, 2014 @09:34AM (#46012537) Homepage

      The best models that they have are ones that have as part of them global warming. Can you point us at other models that have produced better predictions ?

      No, I thought not ... so let us go with the best models that we have, even if they do have flaws.

      • by E++99 (880734) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:49AM (#46013963) Homepage

        If the best models are worthless and have not made any good predictions, should we really "go with them" just because they are the best?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:18AM (#46013525)

      And until someone can show me a model that can predict 15 coin tosses in a row, I'm not going to believe that a tossed coin will come up heads 50% of the time!

    • by Truth_Quark (219407) on Monday January 20, 2014 @07:54PM (#46019501) Journal

      If the climate scientists have a model that accurately predicted the past 16 years then we can talk about the future.

      There are no models that did prediction 16 years ago. The Hadley Centre's had DePreSys predicts a decade, but that only came online in 2007, not 1997.

      So your requirement for talking about the future is set at impossible.

      That is stupid and dangerous. Talking about the future is both sensible and important.

      Until then the predictions of gloom and doom are about as believable as the heavens-gate cult.

      0.8C temperature rise over the past 100 years, all in a spatial and temporal distribution that matches the CO2 greenhouse effect.
      Measured energy imbalance at the top of the atmosphere, demonstrating warming.
      Continued sea level rise, demonstrating energy absorbance, either my melting ice sheets or my warming oceans, and thermal expansion.
      Extinction pressure on many ecosystems because of changing rainfall, temperature, and phenological changes.

      And you claim these observations are from predictions as believable as heavens-gate cult, because the last 16 years, the warming trend has only been about 0.05C per decade [woodfortrees.org].
      Much like the "pauses" in warming in 1978, 1987, 1997 and 2003 [skepticalscience.com]?

      I don't think you've thought this through.

  • by tpstigers (1075021) on Monday January 20, 2014 @09:20AM (#46012421)
    because it's cold at my house.
    • by fatphil (181876)
      +1 Insightful (I do have a bunch left, but I'd rather comment)

      This is the problem with these surveys, they're asking people who are unqualified to make judgements what they "reckon". [ cue http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQnd5ilKx2Y .] Would we show these people MR scans, and ask them if a malignent growth is happening? Their reckons are frankly little more than a distraction.

      However, as someone who is critical about how a lot of the most public-facing science that is being done in this field (insert rants a
      • by tpstigers (1075021) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:44AM (#46013885)

        Actually, science has been pretty clear about this. If there is any question, it's not whether global warming exists but whether humans are responsible for it.

        What's really happening is that global warming - like evolution - is no longer a scientific argument, but a political one. These questions are no longer being asked in the arenas of logic and reason. In those arenas the questions have already been answered. In the political arena, however, "science" isn't governed by logic and reason.

  • by jellomizer (103300) on Monday January 20, 2014 @09:21AM (#46012443)

    Why do people choose to misinterpret global warming? Because they are stress out from the endless guilt trip on everything they do.
    The issue is everything we do has some sort of trade off. But it feels like we are being judge for every choice we make.
    Do you use reusable grocery bags? Then you better be sure that you clean them good enough, otherwise you could get sick from the germs.
    Do you use new plastic bag? Then here is this documentary about a sea torturous who dies from eating your plastic bag that you threw away.
    How about if you stick with good old paper? Your Cold/Frozen food creates condensation and break the bag and you waste all this food.

    How about the car you drive?
    A hybrid, which needs more green house gasses to build.
    A small, car which cannot carry enough people and good thus needing an extra car.
    A medium sized car, which gives off more carbon, and yet still doesn't fit everything you need.
    A large car/Suv/Truck you can carry what you need however a lot of time you just polluting gas.

    Do you cut down that large tree in you back yard? If so you can prevent it from falling on your house, if not it can suck up so much more carbon?

    Don't even get me on, food choices....
    We do want to do good, however there are so many tradeoffs we need to think about, and with science showing us more, it overwhelms us, and in essence paralyzes us. So we choose what science we choose to follow and what we choose to disregard as a coping mechanism.
    It is emotional, it isn't about being stupid, of ill informed, it is just about being emotional on your choice.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 20, 2014 @10:02AM (#46012757)

      People are under the erroneous impression that they are giving up something good. They feel guilty because they have been conned by the marketers. Fell guilty about trying to live more ecologically? Congratulations! You are a sucker! Big corps WANT you to be stubborn and keep buying their shit and sucking the money out of YOUR wallet.

      Big cars? Look on the road. How many people actually fill them up? They are mostly single drivers - maybe two.

      Food? We've been brainwashed into thinking eating what we evolved to eat (vegetables, fruits, nuts, a very small amounts of meat - which is optional) as being depriving. The big junk food makers have conned us into thinking that green salad is tasteless and we need a shit load of salt and grease. I've changed my tastes back to where they should be and I find prepared foods - pretty much anything that I don't cook - to be too salty and too greasy.

      Grocery bags? Whatever. I do all of them. I reuse the plastic bags - they're great for picking up dog poop when you walking it.

      AND -this part I LOVE - living ecologically saves money (use less expensive gas, cook healthier meals, medical costs go down, dont' get suckered by big corp America) AND it sticks it to the man!

      No sir! The green and crunchy people have shown me that I can loose weight while eating as much as I like, reduce healthcare expenses (lost weight, better LDL/HDL ratio: 1.0 Baby!, and less stress on the knees and other joints), help local farmers - they grow awesome stuff, save on gasoline, and more money in MY pocket - all because I'm living like an eco-"whackjob" as Neil Boortz used to say.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by leptogenesis (1305483)
      Let me get this straight. You're saying that when people research and consider the negative consequences of their actions, and then attempt to minimize them, they're being irrational? That it's impossible for people to consider these negative consequences without getting paralyzed, and, therefore, that nobody should research the negative consequences of their actions, and everyone should act purely selfishly? That's a great strawman; I know many altruistic people, and none are that stupid.

      Most sane pe
      • by bunratty (545641)
        I think the poster is saying that when people do not minimize the negative consequences of their actions, but instead deny that their actions have negative consequences, they are being irrational. An example is when an alcoholic keeps drinking and rationalizing his or her behavior to avoid guilt. It's easier to deny the problem exists than to deal with the problem.
    • by gnasher719 (869701) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:03AM (#46013355)

      How about the car you drive?
      A hybrid, which needs more green house gasses to build.
      A small, car which cannot carry enough people and good thus needing an extra car.
      A medium sized car, which gives off more carbon, and yet still doesn't fit everything you need.
      A large car/Suv/Truck you can carry what you need however a lot of time you just polluting gas.

      That truck can't carry your stuff when you move home (well, not when _I_ move home), so why don't you buy a removal lorry?

      Seriously, in the last ten years I have once or twice hired a minibus, shared with others, once hired a white van to transport a treadmill, once had to ask a friend with a white van to transport a garden shed, and once hired a 7.5 ton lorry when I bought a complete new home office on eBay. Buying a large car for these rare situations is ridiculous.

    • by bunratty (545641)
      And the guilt isn't even necessary. When I look at the ways to reduce greenhouse has emissions [ucsusa.org], I don't see a single item that calls for self sacrifice.
    • by dasunt (249686) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:14AM (#46013485)

      We do want to do good, however there are so many tradeoffs we need to think about, and with science showing us more, it overwhelms us, and in essence paralyzes us. So we choose what science we choose to follow and what we choose to disregard as a coping mechanism. It is emotional, it isn't about being stupid, of ill informed, it is just about being emotional on your choice.

      I'm going with being stupid, emotional, and ill informed, plus I'm throwing in lazy. Look at your examples - grocery bags: Use the reusable ones, wash the damn produce once you take it out of the bag, and use reusable containers for other food. Grab the small car. Last time we used a van, it was for camping a year ago with friends, and they supplied a van they rarely used. Last time we needed a truck, we borrowed it, for yard work. We could have just as easily rented them, and it would be easier than trying to convince ourselves that we need a car, a van, and a truck. And cheaper! That large tree? If it needs to come down, it needs to come down. If not, it can stay. As for food, some of the best food for us tends to be food we make from scratch - which tends to take up less space, weigh less, and is easier to transport and store than eating out all the time or buying premade food. And don't give us the BS about time - there's plenty of easy one pot meals that only require a bare hint of foresight and setting a timer on the stove once it starts cooking.

      People are stuck in their habits, and they are trying to justify those habits, for the most part. It's amazing. Frugality and being environmental often goes hand in hand. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Arrange your life in such a way that trips can by done by foot, bike or bus. Preplan a bit. It's a time saver, cheaper, and healthier.

      So, personal story time: We live in a small house, ridiculously small by American standards. It's cheaper to live there (and less CO2!). Plus, the yard is just big enough for our hobbies, and nothing more, so we can get by with just a shovel and a manual push mower - which gives us more exercise, while being cheaper (and less CO2 than a gasoline mower and a snowblower). We're on bus lines, which means we don't need two vehicles. Ideally, we'd need zero and rent an hour car when needed - I think we're close to that point now. We're now both on bus routes to work - one bus each, no transfers. Pretty damn nice. The house is small enough that we don't have the urge to pack it with junk, which is, once again, cheaper. And since we don't have a house packed with toys, we have the urge to head out more (ideally on foot or bike), which contributes to our health. Oh, and we tend to cook from scratch which is, once again, cheaper.

      We've upped our income significantly quite recently since my better half got her second degree, and a job, and someone told her that we now could now afford to buy a larger home. The idea caused us to laugh. We already could afford more, but we're already saving money, and we'd rather save more for better things down the road (and early retirement). Why get caught up in the rat race where everyone is convincing everyone else that their wasteful lifestyles are needed? We figured it out - we have the good life. And unlike so many people, our debt is minimal, gets quickly paid off for the most part, and we aren't living from paycheck to paycheck. If we need something, we can get it without worrying too much about the price. But we both realize that we don't need a lot of things. And that's benefiting us while benefiting the environment as well.

    • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:21AM (#46013559)

      I believe at the turn of the 19th century, your sentiment was called "turn of the century ennui". So many new things, so many changes, and almost all of them with some negative downside. Electricity? The devil's magic that had none of the charm of real fire. Cars? Toys for the rich that just destroyed good jobs. Etc. To some extent, you're in good company: feeling overwhelmed by change is nothing new. The trick is to do change right. Here, let me help you:

      Do you use reusable grocery bags? Then you better be sure that you clean them good enough, otherwise you could get sick from the germs.

      Or as an alternative, don't use it to transport broken eggs, loose lettuce, freshly ground meat or fish in a newspaper. If you use reusable bags for dry or at least properly sealed goods (which is about 95% of anybody's groceries these days) and compostable plastic bags for every thing, you're golden without changing anything.

      Do you use new plastic bag? Then here is this documentary about a sea torturous who dies from eating your plastic bag that you threw away.

      Well, yes. It's fine if one person tosses a plastic bag once. If millions do it multiple times every day, you're going to affect your own environment. In short: don't shit where you live. Which is all of earth, now.

      How about if you stick with good old paper? Your Cold/Frozen food creates condensation and break the bag and you waste all this food.

      Not sure whether this is hyperbole or not, but.... if you leave your paper bag out long enough that your frozen food creates so much condensation it breaks the bag, you're either using paper bags designed for holding a lunch sandwich, or your frozen food melted and it needs to be tossed anyway. Not to mention that even if the bag breaks, the food isn't wasted. Unless, of course, you carry frozen fish straight in the bag, in which case... you're still doing it wrong.

      A hybrid, which needs more green house gasses to build.

      You're referring to a widely debunked study that assumed many wrong things, the most egregious though being that Prius owners replace their cars every 6 years or so, and Hummer drivers replace theirs every 20 years. Stay up to date with your research, or at least read the stuff you're quoting.

      A small, car which cannot carry enough people and good thus needing an extra car.
      A medium sized car, which gives off more carbon, and yet still doesn't fit everything you need.
      A large car/Suv/Truck you can carry what you need however a lot of time you just polluting gas.

      Your needs analysis needs updating. 95% of traffic is done with 1-4 people in the car and a few groceries in the back. Even a Yaris can comfortably fit 5 large people and groceries or small luggage. I can count on one hand the times where I needed more than that in the last 5 years. And then, there were plenty of alternatives (like renting a truck). The fact that I have a sedan has little to do with needs and much more with wants. Most people don't understand the difference, sadly.

      We do want to do good, however there are so many tradeoffs we need to think about, and with science showing us more, it overwhelms us, and in essence paralyzes us. So we choose what science we choose to follow and what we choose to disregard as a coping mechanism.
      It is emotional, it isn't about being stupid, of ill informed, it is just about being emotional on your choice.

      Well, I can't disagree with that. However, making an emotional choice doesn't excuse you from the consequences of that choice. Especially if you were told and taught about the other alternatives, and you still went with your emotional choice "just because it's too complicated". Not knowing about what you do is one thing. Willfully ignoring it is an entirely different matter.

  • by Traciatim (1856872) on Monday January 20, 2014 @09:33AM (#46012525)
    Of course, if you cherry pick 1996-2012 you can get a small trend line... but if you start in 1996 (instead of 1998 like the article states, as most skeptics avoid that since it's such an easy counter-point) you have no statistically significant warming 17 years. Benjamin Santer in http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2011JD016263/abstract [wiley.com] declared that "Our results show that temperature records of at least 17 years in length are required for identifying human effects on global-mean tropospheric temperature."

    Translated, it essentially means that if there is no significant warming for 17 year periods we need to start searching for the real causes and not just sink money in to finding more human causes to blame.

    Then you add in that the sun goes in to a lull and suddenly we have no more warming and a huge number of record colds being recorded in the northern hemisphere yet the alarmist have been shouting it from the rooftops that changes in the sun are too small to affect climate citing the TSI changes rather than the changes in different frequencies (which are quite large). http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-25771510 [bbc.co.uk]

    Maybe instead of people having a decrease of scientific understanding they are just waking up to the facts and as they learn more they realize the alarmists are hand waving ninnies.
  • This question came up on slashdot a few weeks ago, regarding surveys showing ten percent fewer people expressed belief in evolution. http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=4612831&cid=45824039 [slashdot.org] than 6 years ago. An anonymous coward noted:

    "As an expression of commitment to the tribe, professing a false belief is way more powerful than a true belief. It bind the community closer, because they've demonstrated their willingness to suppress their own reason for the group. The sillier the belief, the better, of course."

  • by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh AT gmail DOT com> on Monday January 20, 2014 @09:36AM (#46012567) Journal

    Too bad this wasn't linked in TFS:

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/news/recent-pause-in-warming [metoffice.gov.uk]

  • by Vermonter (2683811) on Monday January 20, 2014 @09:55AM (#46012699)
    This is an incorrect statement. Americans (and honestly, the general public worldwide) never had a great understanding of climate (or any) science. Many people who accept global warming are just as scientifically illiterate as those who reject it. Just because you are right about something doesn't mean understand it.
    • But at least the ones that accept it have the good sense to defer to experts.

      The one thing people need to know about science is that you don't have to take the word of any one experiment or any one person. It's very much like medicine in that way. By all means, get a second opinion. And a third. But if 99 doctors tell you that you have a tumour and one doctor says that it's psychosomatic, the rational choice is to trust the 99 doctors.

      Nearly everyone with training says that it's us. I've got just enough schooling in climate science from University to follow some of the actual science, as opposed to the science that gets reported in the media. I can't do the work myself, but I can read enough to tell you that I'm convinced by the models and empirical evidence rather than just the bluster and anecdotal evidence.

      But it would be really great if the people that deny that it's happening could stop blocking what we need to do to fix the problem for their own selfish reasons.

  • by Quinn_Inuit (760445) <Quinn_Inuit&yahoo,com> on Monday January 20, 2014 @09:55AM (#46012701)
    I understand that one can't just cherry-pick a period of low temperature growth and claim "LOL n0 w4rmZ!", but when the period picked runs through the present, I think it's reasonable to start asking when it becomes long enough to force a re-evaluation of the relevant theories. I'm not claiming that it's long enough now, but I'm curious if anyone knows at what point a failure condition is triggered in the major relevant documents, e.g. the IPCC AR4 or 5.
    • by Sockatume (732728)

      Basically you can project forwards or backwards with your model's error bars, and see if your observations pop out of that range. As it stands we're within, but near the bottom of, the expected range of temperatures for this time.

    • by phantomfive (622387) on Monday January 20, 2014 @01:04PM (#46014961) Journal
      It's not major theories that will need to change, it is the details. We know that CO2 warms the earth, and we know CO2 is being added to the atmosphere.

      The question is how much, and it's still an open question (there's no scientific consensus on how much). The estimates range from .9 degrees to 7 degrees for a doubling of CO2 (the warming effect grows logarithmically, so each subsequent doubling has the same effect as the previous). CO2 by itself will only give around .9 degrees, but there are hypothesized feedbacks that could amplify the effect of the CO2. Some of those hypothesized feedbacks are a lot more doubtful than others, but the point of the computer models is to understand the interplay between the various feedbacks.
  • by benjfowler (239527) on Monday January 20, 2014 @10:00AM (#46012747)

    Saw this doing the rounds today:

    'The Death of Expertise'

    The basic problem, is because the Internet has convinced dumb and ignorant people that their uninformed bullshit opinions stand on the same ground as those of people who have been studying the subject for decades. It stems from the metastatisation of the retards' confusion of democracy with "equal air-time for ignorance":

    Today, any assertion of expertise produces an explosion of anger from certain quarters of the American public, who immediately complain that such claims are nothing more than fallacious “appeals to authority,” sure signs of dreadful “elitism,” and an obvious effort to use credentials to stifle the dialogue required by a “real” democracy.

    But democracy, as I wrote in an essay about C.S. Lewis and the Snowden affair, denotes a system of government, not an actual state of equality. It means that we enjoy equal rights versus the government, and in relation to each other. Having equal rights does not mean having equal talents, equal abilities, or equal knowledge. It assuredly does not mean that “everyone’s opinion about anything is as good as anyone else’s.” And yet, this is now enshrined as the credo of a fair number of people despite being obvious nonsense.

    http://thefederalist.com/2014/01/17/the-death-of-expertise/ [thefederalist.com]

  • The answer (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vikingpower (768921) <exercitussolusNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday January 20, 2014 @10:01AM (#46012755) Homepage Journal
    lies not in the so-called "global warming pause". It lies in the fact that most, if not all of the naysayers, are creationist, drill-baby-drill Americans. Sorry. I know - I am going to be modded down into oblivion. So what.
  • by geminidomino (614729) on Monday January 20, 2014 @10:08AM (#46012807) Journal

    responsible for a documented decrease in Americans' scientific understanding

    Oh, FFS. The core of "scientific understanding" is critical thinking and questioning presented "facts", the possession of which naturally results in skepticism when doing so invokes this sort of garbage. "Clearly anyone who doesn't blindly accept what we're saying, without question, doesn't understand science" isn't "science", it's dogma.

    I've still never had anyone offer me any reasonable answers to many of my legitimate questions on these "studies." e.g.:

    1. 1. Some studies claim to be based on as much as 1000 years of temperature data. Exactly how widespread, accurate and rigorous was temperature recording during the Dark Ages?
    2. 2. How, exactly, is 100, 200, or even 1000 years a suitable sample period in geological terms? It seems remarkably short-term.
    3. 3. Why is any study that doesn't rival "Young Earth Creationism" in Anthrocentrism derided and disregarded as "bad science"?
    4. 4. Is there anything to any of these studies that's *not* spawned of wanton use of extrapolation?

    Okay, admittedly #4 is more an expression of frustration. I'm not a geologist or meteorologist, so pointing me at the raw data doesn't tell me anything, but having it "translated" for my by "experts" has proven all but useless, since this "debate" still doesn't seem to have much to do with science as opposed to politicization of funding.

    Ideology and science are incompatible, whether it's about teaching schoolkids about evolution, or the world catching on fire. As it is now, I still don't know if global warming is a thing, if it's a human-caused thing, or if it's bullshit. All that's come out of this whole thing is that I pretty much don't care, since the way it's being handled is more like two schoolkids arguing over whether Batman can beat up Superman.

    • by Sockatume (732728) on Monday January 20, 2014 @10:30AM (#46012995)

      1) You reconstruct data from proxies. That lets you get back a lot further than 1000 years.
      2) Obviously this is why you do "1"
      3) It's hard to say, as there are few studies which actually claim global warming isn't happening. There are plenty of studies criticising methodologies and exactly what the end results are, lots of academic back-biting but there is a remarkable consistency across field and technique in the general conclusion that mean temperatures increase.
      4) It's observational science. The entire basis of empiricism depends on interpolation and extrapolation.

  • As an excuse (Score:4, Interesting)

    by angel'o'sphere (80593) on Monday January 20, 2014 @10:48AM (#46013171) Homepage Journal

    I think americans have it pretty difficult.
    Media works very differnt than in the rest of the world. There are much to many lobbies tying to "build opinions" in public.
    AND: the country is simply huge. You will always have a few areas in your country which is hit by global warming a bit more server and lots of areas where you don't really feel it.
    I guess in the "desert" states you don't really feel a difference. It might be slightly warmer over day than lets say 25 years ago, but well: it is just hot and dry, so what? And at night it is pretty cold, as always: so what?
    The west coast is dominated by a cold stream comming from the south, the effect of that stream is surely 50 times stronger than the current effects of CO2.
    The center of north america (both USA and Canada) is classic example for "continental climate". That means: regardless how hot the summers are: in winter it is damned cold! That means even if it is warmer on average, there will be an extreme winter every few years, depending how the jet stream situation over/around the north pole is.
    On top of that we have alternating (does not really alternate ... I simplified) El Ninjo and Al Ninja phenomens. Both phenomens my "sleep" for half a decade or longer and suddenly increase in strength (completely unrelated to the CO2 trend or any other trend).
    For some reason I never digged into the east cost is in winter pretty cold (considering that New York is on the same latitude as Rome - Italy) Colder than the equivalent latitude cities one the west. So New York has every few years a super Blizzard.

    OTOH:
    o In Australia we have every year a new summer heat record.
    o In Europe not so much, but we have much more rain the last 5 - 10 years in summer.
    o In Europe the winters are absurd warm, with a few exceptions which had a bit more snow (but where still to warm in comparision of 30 years ago)
    o In Europe we have an increase of autumn and winter storms, this winter already 3 big ones (winter is just 4 weeks old, mind you)

  • by Theovon (109752) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:22AM (#46013585)

    I am by no means a global warming denier. It seems straightforward that human use of carbon-based fuels has massively increased CO2 in the atmosphere, a known greenhouse gas. This isn’t rocket science. Additionally, there are numerous other impacts we have on the environment, polluting natural resources, where we need to clean up our act.

    But the sappy, apocalyptic dogma is getting really old.

    My family and I went to Disney recently, and we spent one day at EPCOT. Tomorrowland isn’t what it was when I was a kid. Back then, it was cool stuff about how great technology will be in the future. Now, they appear to have run out forward-looking ideas, and the whole experience is up-your-nose enviromentalist brainwashing. We went there to have fun and instead got lectured. And this lecturing is happening everywhere, and it’s annoying. OK, I GET IT. I recycle, I professionally do research in areas involving improving energy efficiency, and I donate money to organizations that work on envronmental protection and political activism.

    This reminds me of this “common core” education program, which its original creators won’t sign off on, because it’s all become a load of crap. Instead of teaching kids math, science, language, and critical thinking, it’s all about instilling certain specific attitudes. And both the liberals and conservatives are trying to get their bullshit in there. Enviromental awareness is never about the environment. It’s about two warrning political parties trying to brainwash people into two different dogmas that further their agendas, most of which is to keep big businesses and the politicians themselves in power.

  • by BoRegardless (721219) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:34AM (#46013749)

    For all the "scientific" discussion about the topic in hand, few are still reminding the populace that no scientific theory has been able to predict the changes in total solar output & solar flares over any long period of time! This is an enormous hole in the knowledge needed to do predictions that mean anything.

    Solar output conditions dramatically alter the surface temperatures surprise (this winter notice the current so-called "solar maximum" with a "solar flare minimum" and the medieval Maunder minimum).

    Until you can accurately predict solar output over a century with some degree of proven accuracy, the climatologists are, well, just guessing.

    We need a mathematical model of how the Sun's engine works, but we simply do NOT HAVE IT.

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      Fortunately the sun's variability is (based on past data) reasonably limited over the kinds of timescales we want to study. So we have an idea how large an effect it could have, even though we can't predict it. (Incidentally, this isn't a "solar flare minimum" this winter. We're supposed to be at peak solar activity.)

      • by Vitriol+Angst (458300) on Monday January 20, 2014 @01:48PM (#46015495)

        No but BoRegardless point is that the SUN could be having large temperature swings, because he doesn't believe the climatologists and just imagines that the huge sun isn't very stable - without actually checking on this presumption. But he's not going to believe in the Global Warming regardless of whether he's proven wrong on this pet theory or not -- I'm just going to make that prediction right now, without the benefit of Google.

        Sorry but this pisses me off. These a-holes throwing stones at Climate Change don't bother to check that they've got about 9 excuses / theories of why the climatologists are ignorant -- and they can't be bothered to check that all of these suppositions have not only been proven wrong, but extremely stupid. Sun = Hot + Variable has been brought up about every year for the last 10. The "but Mars ice caps are melting" is due to follow next week. Rinse and repeat.

        When the sun heats up (as it is won't to do), it expands, as it expands, this reduces fusion and self-stabilizes the output. In longer term trends, the higher output causes more lighting and more ozone production and more EM reflecting atoms created in the upper atmosphere -- which is damn lucky because it prevents us from having wild temperatures swings. It does have an effect -- but we can look at various inputs and STILL SAY THERE IS TOO MUCH DAMN CO2 in the atmosphere.

        Our oceans are more acidic and our atmosphere has more CO2 than we've seen for about 75 million years. So WTF? Isn't that enough to say; "Houston, we may have a problem?" Without the Climatologists and just looking at measurements of air and water -- we should realize that Human activity has changed things and "we have a problem."

        Without Hollywood, we can't do anything about the sun, of course.

It seems that more and more mathematicians are using a new, high level language named "research student".

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