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The Climate May Be Changing, but the IPCC Remains the Same

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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ipcc-first-session-in-1988

The first session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 1988. Courtesy of IPCC.

By 2021, climate scientists should be 99 percent certain that climate change is our fault—up from 95 percent certain presently and a mere 90 percent certain all the way back in 2007. This conclusion of the leaked draft of the forthcoming assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) begs the question: Is any of that certainty changing anything?

A survey of greenhouse gas emissions suggests not. This spring atmospheric concentrations way up atop Mauna Loa on Hawaii touched 400 parts per million for the first time in millennia—and human emissions of CO2 reached another all-time record last year, despite an IPCC that has been patiently working since 1988.

This latest IPCC magnum opus isn’t designed to tell you anything you don’t know if you’ve been paying an iota of attention to the problem of climate change. The global warming of surface temperatures has just as good of a chance of being not that bad (plus 1 degree Celsius this century) or terrifyingly bad (plus 5 degrees C by 2100), with something in the middle, as always, most likely. Sea level rise is going to be worse than previously predicted, because previous predictions didn’t include the meltdown of Greenland’s ice sheet—and drowned coasts are going to be with us for a very long time, as will more acidic oceans.

Nor is this onslaught of facts likely to change a single mind, for that better social science is needed. But the IPCC report isn’t designed to, rather it’s designed to present the consensus, and therefore conservative, position of Science and Society on climate change—and it does an admirable job of that. Too bad scientists are more worried than they can usefully admit in an IPCC document, and society (meaning governments) just don’t seem to give a damn. I can’t wait to see how Saudi Arabia, Canada, the U.S. and China, among other nation-states, attempt to tweak this leaked draft at the end of September in Stockholm. In case you missed it, progress toward a global deal to combat climate change is presently on hiatus, working ever so slowly to arrive at a deal that can be sealed in 2015 and that would take effect in 2020—just in time for the next IPCC report.

In the end there is one thing modern society can be quite sure of: we are setting the thermostat for millennia. Some of the CO2 emitted today from fossil fuels will still be wafting around the atmosphere blocking in heat thousands of years from now. The conversation we should be having is about what kind of planet we want over the long term, not whether or not climate change is happening (it is) or who is to blame (we are). It’s like a game of Clue where the central mystery has been solved, and yet the pieces keep moving around the board in an endless round. I, for one, suggest we get a clue and start speeding the implementation of the technologies and techniques that could combat climate change.

About the Author: David Biello is the associate editor for environment and energy at Scientific American. Follow on Twitter @dbiello.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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  1. 1. M Tucker 6:34 pm 08/20/2013

    “I, for one, suggest we get a clue and start speeding the implementation of the technologies and techniques that could combat climate change.”

    Yeah, me too!

    But we will get more of the same. Half of the US does not like the solution. It seems like about half of the population of the largest fossil fuel consuming nations don’t like the solution. I know the fossil fuel corporations don’t like the solution. So we will get no solution.

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  2. 2. bsoetoro 6:42 pm 08/20/2013

    From the picture of the First climate change panel I can see that nothing but World Renouned Scientists are on the panel—BS!!!!

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  3. 3. Conser Vit 7:36 pm 08/20/2013

    @bsoetoro
    Please don’t post if you have nothing intelligent to add.

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  4. 4. kewl_caver 7:57 pm 08/20/2013

    A great start would be to implement some of the “free energy” technologies that have been around for decades and longer. But I am sure the big oil companies will not allow this to happen, just like they have successfuly blocked them in the past.

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  5. 5. sault 8:26 pm 08/20/2013

    No viable “free energy” devices exist currently. It is all on completely theoretical grounds and anybody trying to tell you differently is a con artists more interested in taking your money than generating electricity.

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  6. 6. Vincentrj 9:13 pm 08/20/2013

    The social problems could be huge if CO2 rises really are a serious threat. There are so many problems in the world which the wealthy, developed nations haven’t fixed, despite having the resources to be able to fix them, such as:
    (1) A billion people who can’t get enough food.
    (2) Many more than a billion people who live in inadequate housing exposed to natural floods and storms that are expected to occur on a fairly regular basis irrespective of climate change.
    (3) Inadequate dams for both flood mitigation purposes during times of heavy rain, and storage of water in times of drought.
    (4) Inadequate medical facilities in so many parts of the world.

    What does not seem to be appreciated by those who are advocating a rapid change to renewable energy are the fundamental laws of physics as they relate to economics. The printing of money seems to create the illusion that we can create energy from nothing.

    The reality is, whatever projects we embark upon are limited by our energy supplies. A billion dollars spent on a solar or wind generated power station is a billion dollars that is NOT spent on providing housing and food for a community of vulnerable and starving people, or is a billion dollars that is NOT spent on a much needed dam in an area subject to droughts, or is a billion dollars that is NOT spent on building roads and hospitals in an undeveloped country.

    Furthermore, if governments were to legislate to force companies to make a transition to building clean energy power plants which turn out to be more expensive methods of producing power than conventional fossil fuel, then we inevitably have fewer resources available to fix the problems of the world, and fewer resources to satisfy our insatiable demad for luxury goods and services.

    This illustrates another law of physics about which many folks seem to be in a state of denial. Our prosperity, as a whole, and on average, is directly and inextricably linked to the true cost of energy.

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  7. 7. Owl905 9:23 pm 08/20/2013

    @Vincentrj – Your babble on about ‘the fundamental laws of physics as they relate to economics’ is nonsense. It’s the elementary school equation of a or b when they may or may not be exclusionary or even in competition. You’ve also arranged the board in a static pattern at a point in time. Neither are fundamental laws of physics.
    More content and less philosophy would be helpful.

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  8. 8. Conser Vit 11:13 pm 08/20/2013

    @Vincentrj
    If you are digging yourself into a hole, the first rule is “stop digging”. Continuing our “once in a billion year” exploitation of fossil fuel will cost one or more orders of magnitude in terms of climate disasters including wild fires, loss of crops due to drought, extreme storm events, sea level rise, etc. compared to the cost of moving to renewable energy. The financial cost is the $20 trillion or so of carbon resources that must remain in the ground. The real cost is the lives and property of people affected by these changes – not to mention the effect on many species that are not capable of adapting.

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  9. 9. Bryant H 2:04 am 08/21/2013

    The real issue is about what we can do. The developing world need energy sources. The developed world wants more of everything. We need good sources of energy for everyone.

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  10. 10. Vincentrj 5:47 am 08/21/2013

    “If you are digging yourself into a hole, the first rule is “stop digging”.”

    Conser Vit,
    Absolutely! But I don’t find myself in a hole. I look from side to side and I see no hole. Just beautiful blue sky.

    “Continuing our “once in a billion year” exploitation of fossil fuel will cost one or more orders of magnitude in terms of climate disasters including wild fires, loss of crops due to drought, extreme storm events, sea level rise, etc. compared to the cost of moving to renewable energy.”

    Maybe. That’s not certain. What is certain is that those who are living in dire poverty don’t give a stuff. And why should they? Things can’t get much worse for them, unless somebody starts using food to produce biofuels, or raises the cost of energy by introducing clean energy, which makes things even worse for them.

    I have no objection at all to all nations moving as quickly as possible in getting all their energy requirements from clean, renewable sources, as long as I don’t have to pay more than my fair share for the increased costs of energy that would almost certainly result.

    I would also think it fair that all those who are near the poverty line should not have to pay anything, and all those who are considered to be well-off and wealthy should bear the greatest portion of that transitional cost.

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  11. 11. Vincentrj 6:25 am 08/21/2013

    “More content and less philosophy would be helpful.”

    Owl905,
    And more content from you explaining why what I’ve written is not clear or not correct would be helpful.

    When I use the term ‘fundamental laws of Physics’, I’m referring in a general way to commonsense principles that the discipline of Physics would embrace. All projects of all descriptions require energy, and that energy cannot be spent twice. The expenditure of such energy also takes place at a particular point in time.

    All problems require energy to solve. Energy spent in tackling climate change is energy which is not spent tackling other problems.

    Part of the difficulty is that politics and economics are very good at hiding the cost. Tell people what the real cost is, and have a referendum. That’s democracy.
    What! We don’t really know what the true cost will be? Well, I am surprised. :)

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  12. 12. Scienceisnotagenda 9:01 am 08/21/2013

    Bureaucratic BS. The cult of global warming is getting sillier and sillier. Drink the purple Kool Ade or perish.

    The trend is humans have never known less war, famine, disease. The world has never been safer for humans.

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  13. 13. sault 9:39 am 08/21/2013

    Scienceisnotagenda, (hehe…snot…)

    Maybe you chose the right name because you DEFINITELY aren’t interested in science based on what you post!

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  14. 14. sault 9:49 am 08/21/2013

    Vincent,

    Well, since we’ve used fossil fuels for around 90% of our energy needs for decades and this hasn’t solved the developing world’s problems yet, you either / or assertions concerning renewable energy are patently false. And since coal pollution causes between $100B and $500B in YEARLY damages to the US economy, we’d actually SAVE a lot of money switching to clean energy sources:

    http://pubs.aeaweb.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1257/aer.101.5.1649

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1749-6632.2010.05890.x/full

    However, coal companies are allowed to offload these costs onto the rest of us, so they show up on our health insurance bills and they lower our paychecks due to lower worker productivity and lifespan instead of in the price of coal itself.

    If we minimized these “negative externalities” with tight pollution controls and effective regulation, then the energy industry would be more inclined to build renewable energy. And if we started charging a modest carbon tax to cover the current and future costs of climate change, then the market would choose to build even more clean energy.

    Nobody is seriously saying that we should bulldoze all the coal plants tomorrow. But as long as we let polluters off the hook for their pollution and force everybody else to pay for their mess, things aren’t fair and the market gets the wrong signals. Correct this (and remove fossil fuel subsidies while you’re at it) and a fair, transparent market will decide what the best energy sources are.

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  15. 15. evosburgh 9:58 am 08/21/2013

    If you can tell me what year (plus or minus 1) that the following quote was published then you get a gold star:

    ‘Leaders in climatology and economics are in agreement that a climatic change is taking place and that is has already caused major economic problems throughout the world.’

    Guess what: smart people already knew that the climate was changing in 197* (yes that is a hint) and that it had, and still has, the potential to cause massive economic problems. No matter what the cadre at the IPCC (who seem more interested in preserving their positions of influence through smear campaigns of anyone who dare contradict them than actually doing science) have to say on what mankind is doing with or without our influence the period of relative climate stability that we have been enjoying is going to come to an end and all hell is going to break loose for the highly evolved monkies.

    Really, what I have to read, even in this article, is that once the models (which are just about useless) results diverge from reality that those measurements are not really all that important in the overall scheme even though they were used as the main sales point to get everyone on board. This is what happens when scientists get too far ahead of their work, and out of their depth and present results that are nowhere near complete. I have seen this same thing numerous times in my professional career and it is exactly this reason that I do not present preliminary results. Even when I have done my level best to get to a solution, which includes the reasonable range of error(s), I am still a bit uneasy that I may have overlooked something.

    Really this whole debate is a monumental waste of time and money … maybe we will all get put out of our misery by a rogue asteroid first. At least someone is probably getting rich off of this nonsense.

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  16. 16. Scienceisnotagenda 10:42 am 08/21/2013

    Evosburgh…this is why social and political agenda does not mix with science. The IPCC is trying ‘to sell’ an idea.

    How does one sell?….either reward system or doom and gloom. Accept or perish.

    The reality is that what’s a negative for the environment doesn’t impact humans that much. We can thrive in concrete cities in the heat of Brisbane or the cold of Ottawa. Deserts or rainforests. Near the seas or far inland. The doom and gloom scenarios do nothing to convince people of anything because they have little credibility. Humans are and will continue to do fine…one day we may do fine in a completely artificial environment such as space.

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  17. 17. ErnestPayne 2:38 pm 08/21/2013

    The harper government of Canada can tweak it any way they want. Fortunately they have all the credibility of a snake oil salesman.

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  18. 18. anglinacrown 5:19 pm 08/21/2013

    my best friend’s aunt makes $66/hr on the computer. She has been without work for 10 months but last month her pay was $18406 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read more on this site…..WWW.ℛush64.COℳ

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  19. 19. evosburgh 11:03 pm 08/21/2013

    14. Sault

    I agree remove all subsidies and let the market decide. According to the EIA renewables get about 50 times the subsidy, per kwh, that fossil fuels receive. I am not so sure everyone is going to be willing to pay 50 times their current power bill but I would love to see our elected officials, both sides of the aisle (which as far as I can tell are really just one large corrupt group), sell that one to the people.

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  20. 20. MARCHER 11:27 pm 08/21/2013

    @19

    Or, alternatively, we could take the advice of virtually all researchers in climatology and numerous other fields, acknowledge the myriad negative externalities caused by fossil fuels and require that we people pay the actual price for them; rather than the artificially low one currently set by a market that refuses to acknowledge this.

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  21. 21. Vincentrj 7:25 am 08/22/2013

    “Well, since we’ve used fossil fuels for around 90% of our energy needs for decades and this hasn’t solved the developing world’s problems yet, you either / or assertions concerning renewable energy are patently false. And since coal pollution causes between $100B and $500B in YEARLY damages to the US economy, we’d actually SAVE a lot of money switching to clean energy sources:”

    Sault,
    I see that logic is not your strong point. To solve problems we need energy, the appropriate skills and the motivation to solve the problems. A new dam, house, road or medical centre doesn’t care one whit what the source of the energy was, to fire the kiln or melt the tar or fuel the equipment used in the construction. Electricity is electricity. Your energy-saving lamp shines just as bright whether the electricity was generated from the burning of coal, or from the rotation of a wind mill.

    What people do care about is the COST of energy, and it is this cost that influences our motivation to solve any particular problem. If the cost is too high, we lose motivation and the problem remains unfixed.

    However, you’ve done well, Sault, in providing a link to a study which attempts to quantify the external health and environmental costs associated with various industries which use fossil fuels. I would never defend anyone who pollutes the environment with noxious sulphur and nitrous oxides, and dumps toxic chemicals into the rivers and oceans. These things happen as a result of slack legislation. If the most economical solution were to replace coal and diesel with solar, wind, and hydro-electricity etc, I would be all for it. I look forward to the day I can buy an all-electric car for the same price as an equivalent petrol-driven car.

    But it seems to me there are a couple of points here which you may have overlooked. Modern coal-fired power plants of the Ultra-SuperCritical variety, do not pollute the atmosphere. Secondly, if one wishes to put a monetary value on the damage caused by coal-fired power stations, one should also offset that estimated cost of that damage with a similar calculation for the benefits of increased agricultural production resulting from increased concentrations of atmospheric CO2.

    The evidence seems clear that increased levels of CO2 not only stimulate increased crop growth but also allow the crops to to utilize water more efficiently, and to tolerate warmer weather better.

    The following link provides some general information, including a graph which shows the increased growth enhancement of crops (on average) in relation to increased CO2 levels above the present level.
    http://www.plantsneedco2.org/html/PositiveEffectsOfCO2OnAgriculture2.pdf

    What I see in that graph, on page 73, is that an increase of approximately 150ppm of CO2 produces about a 20% increase in crop growth. The difference between pre-industrial CO2 levels of 250ppm and current levels of 400ppm is 150ppm, so it is reasonable to estimate that our current levels of crop growth are at least 20% greater than they would have been if we had pre-industrial levels of atmospheric CO2. Call it 25% greater since the graph is not linear.

    Doing a rough back-of-the-envelope calculation using a current value of $300 billion for the annual crops and livestock production of the USA, the value of that production without the 25% growth enhancement due to the increase of 150ppm of CO2 since the beginning of the industrial revolution, would be $240 billion per annum.

    Now, according to the information that you have provided, Sault, the external damage cause by coal-fired power stations is $53.4 billion per year, which is slightly less than the benefits to agricultural production, of increased CO2 levels.

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  22. 22. sault 10:59 am 08/22/2013

    Sorry, but bogus propaganda from fossil fuel companies claiming that CO2 increases agricultural production is NOT valid evidence. CO2 is not the limiting factor in agricultural production. Why do we irrigate and spray pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers all over the place? This is because crops need a variety of inputs to be more productive and CO2 ISN’T the limiting factor. If it were, farmers could just idle their tractors in their fields to “fertilize” their crops with CO2 instead of spraying chemicals on them all the time. Seriously, you trust info from fossil fuel companies telling you this nonsense when they have a HUGE financial incentive to lie and postpone action to reduce climate change?

    But if you want to talk about impacts to agriculture, what about the damage caused by droughts, floods and storms that are more intense and more likely due to climate change? And you totally didn’t even read the abstracts of the papers I linked to. The LOWER BOUND of damages from coal power was $100B a year and could be as high as $500B. Neither of these figures include damages from climate change though! So $100B is probably WAY too low.

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  23. 23. KiwiBuzz 4:33 pm 08/22/2013

    Three points.

    The 95% confidence is an opinion, and what evidence is there to back it up? Certainly not the climate models that have spectacularly failed to predict the climate. If you look on Dr Roy Spencer’s website you will see that 73 climate models all failed to predict the lack of warming that we have experienced over the last 17 years. This proves that the models are worthless. On top of that, the IPCC happily agrees that there are a huge uncertainties in major factors.

    It is nonsense to suggest that carbon dioxide does not promote agricultural growth. I have done work for a large commercial greenhouse that spends USD1 million per year burning gas to produce carbon dioxide to enhance growth by 40%. If it did not work, they would not do it.

    If, for some reason, you want to limit carbon dioxide increase, then the obvious solutions are nuclear power that has never killed anyone in the Western world and changing from coal to gas generation. Both of which, the believers in dangerous man-made global warming oppose stridently.

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  24. 24. DrJehr1 6:00 pm 08/22/2013

    To KiwiBuzz; You are misinformed. Climate models are not meant to predict the weather. They are meant to predict the average long term change in the climate. There may be years where the weather is warmer than average and years where it is cooler. Whether years are above or below the average is inconsequential, and does not invalidate a climate model. The last 17 years have been warmer than the entire preceding century. The 13 years since the millennial were hotter than 99 years out of 100 of the last century. Only one year in the 1990′s kept it from being 100%.

    Gas releases CO2 and is not a solution to the problem. It only looks good when compared to coal. As for nuclear power, there are valid objections which come from people at all ends of the political spectrum. No one may have died in a nuclear accident here in the US but people have died elsewhere. Simply being a westerner doesn’t provide safety. The Japanese reactors were built by western companies. Japan will be spending billions to clean up that disaster. Personally, I believe that nuclear power can be used safely and will end up as part of the solution, but I understand those who feel nuclear is too dangerous. A carbon tax which fully reflects all the hidden costs of burning carbon containing fuels, including pollution and global warming, would allow the market to solve the problem. That would be enough if we could also get rid of the subsidies given to oil coal and gas, and allow the market to work.

    Your claim that a company, whose name you neglected to mention, burns gas solely to generate CO2 to obtain a 40% increase in growth is difficult to believe. There are cheaper ways to add CO2 and although a 40% increase is growth is theoretically possible, it strains credulity that the value added solely by the increased growth rate would justify the cost of the gas. Maybe you worked in a greenhouse which needed to be heated and the CO2 was a welcome byproduct? Please post the name so we can verify your claims. BTW; that’s the way science works. People report, and others verify, usually repeatedly. Only when verified does something become fact.

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  25. 25. Crasher 6:50 pm 08/22/2013

    Our greed and stupidity are leaving a steaming mess for future generations. Guess we will go down in history as the most selfish generations ever. The sad part is that there is much that could be done to slow and eventually stop this massive change to the environment. Pity the desire for extreme wealth has got in the way.

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  26. 26. Vincentrj 8:03 pm 08/22/2013

    “Sorry, but bogus propaganda from fossil fuel companies claiming that CO2 increases agricultural production is NOT valid evidence. CO2 is not the limiting factor in agricultural production.”

    Absolutely! I would never accept without question anything that sounded like propoganda from any source, whether it be a consortium of fossil fuel companies, or a clique of well-paid scientists with comfortable jobs claiming to be certain about complex matters that do not lend themselves to verification.

    I’m only concerned with facts, Sault. You seem confused about the role of CO2 in plant growth. You claim it is not the limiting factor. I agree it is not the ONLY limiting factor, obviously, but it certainly is a limiting factor, just as water is a limiting factor. No CO2, no plant growth. It doesn’t matter how much water and fertilizers you have, if there’s no CO2 there’s no plant growth.

    I’m surprised you don’t already know this.
    Perhaps you are not aware of this fact because CO2 is spread fairly evenly throughout the atmosphere, unlike water on land. If you imagine an area of land without CO2 in the atmosphere, it would become a desert, just as an area of land without water becomes a desert.

    “But if you want to talk about impacts to agriculture, what about the damage caused by droughts, floods and storms that are more intense and more likely due to climate change?”

    I only deal with facts, Sault. Firstly, there’s no conclusive evidence that the intensity or frequency of droughts and floods has been increasing with rising CO2 levels. Secondly, droughts and floods have always occurred in the past, irrespective of anthropogenic CO2 emissions, and to protect ourselves and our farm production from such floods and droughts requires a massive expenditure of energy to build dams. Rising energy costs make it less likely that such dams will be built.

    “And you totally didn’t even read the abstracts of the papers I linked to.”

    Of course I did, but to read the full article one has to be a subscriber. Also, I didn’t see any of the figures you quoted in the abstract. As I’ve mentioned before, most of the environmental damage that has been caused by coal-fired power stations has resulted from slack legislation and old-fashioned power stations without emission controls and proper waste disposal. There should be no need to throw out the baby with the bath water.

    The situation in China is a glaring example of the effects of uncontrolled emisions in cities like Beijing. However, if you want to put a price tag on the damage from such emissions in China, then you should also include the benefits of all the low-cost goods that China has produced during the past few decades.

    China is now one of the few countries building Ultra Supercritical coal-fired power plants, as well as embarking upon renewable energy projects. Energy is the key to everything. If we limit our sources of energy, we limit what we can do.

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  27. 27. KiwiBuzz 8:14 pm 08/22/2013

    Dr Jehr:
    Climate is long term weather. If the models were any good, they would have predicted the lack of warming.

    The fact that the last few years have been hotter than any in the last century demonstrates that we are coming out of the Little ice age and does not disprove the thesis that warming has stopped. When you get to the top of a wave, you are no longer going upwards.

    Hydropower schemes that everyone regards as safe, have killed hundreds of thousands of people. And they are impossible to decommission. (I am a very experienced hydropower engineer.)

    You obviously know little about modern greenhouse technology. http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/00-077.htm

    The company was New Zealand greenhouses. There are thousands like them around the world

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  28. 28. dashley3 10:32 pm 08/22/2013

    The Bottom Line.
    It’s easy to blame somebody else for climate change, but the bottom line is that we are all responsible, you and I, for global warming; especially here in America where we used three times the world average of carbon.

    Do you know what your carbon footprint is? And how to cut it to one third? Add full solar panels to your house; replace all your windows with R10 Windows; install a geothermal heating and cooling system; and buy a Chevy Volt or Tesla S and you get close to two thirds reduction.

    Of course, this would cost you $30,000-$130,000 (if you bought that Tesla,) but it would pay itself off in 20 years and help to save the planet.

    And just imagine the number of jobs we could create if we did that; Unemployment were dropped to zero.

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  29. 29. sault 12:07 am 08/23/2013

    evo,

    Putting subsidies in terms of kWh generated is GUARANTEED to make newer forms of energy look bad and make older, established technologies look better by comparison. Anybody who knows what they’re talking about would not make this glaring error. Besides, all that “50x subsidies per kWh” that renewable energy supposedly gets is cranked out by fossil fuel apologists, so the negative externalities of their employer’s products are not included in those calculations.

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  30. 30. rkipling 12:53 am 08/23/2013

    Here is a link to an energy story the site editors seem to be trying to bury. It isn’t shown in the Latest Stories or the Energy and Sustainability topic.

    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/the-curious-wavefunction/2013/08/22/nuclear-vs-renewables-a-tale-of-disparities/#comment-2055

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  31. 31. delspace 2:34 am 08/23/2013

    Apparently what is lost here is the costs of sea level rising. The melting of Greenland ice sheets will add 20 ft to the current sea level. What will be the cost of that to the world’s sea side cities? Add the eventual melting of south pole ice sheets and you get 200-300 feet of sea level rise. Now every coastal city will be eliminated world wide! The rate of change for these events is largely unknown and the predictions used so far turn out to not use the mechanisms that nature actually follows. The major problem with consensus science is that the actual rate at which these climate changes will occur has so far been grossly under estimated. If we get to an exponential rate of climate changes, these will persist for many thousands of years and the costs will be hundreds of trillions of dollars in todays infrastructure costs. You need to stop worrying about trivial increases in energy costs of fossil vs renewables vs nuclear and see that the eventual endpoint will be much worse than any solution costs.

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  32. 32. scwarren 3:17 am 08/23/2013

    There is little chance of reducing global CO2 emissions because China, India and other high growth rate economies simply can’t deliver reductions. But surely all is not lost. We can, for a few $’00,000,000 or less, arrange to deliver about 5% of our sulfur emissions at an altitude of 70000 ft where they will form thin clouds that reflect sunlight and compensate for the greenhouse effect. They last only a short time so it should be (mechanically at least) easy to tune the quantities until CO2 emissions fall, as they will do in around 25-50 years, thanks to measures introduced by the EU, the USA and China to reduce them. The problem is less that we lacked the will to reduce emissions but that the pace of change required was too high. Now we’re at risk form the puritans who think the engineering approach is somehow “unethical” or even “immoral” and reducing energy use to sustainable levels (whatever that means) must be the only way.

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  33. 33. scwarren 3:22 am 08/23/2013

    Of course this won’t help ocean acidification but what to do? Half a loaf or no bread?

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  34. 34. Dr. Strangelove 3:39 am 08/23/2013

    Mr. Biello,
    IPCC can shout doomsday until their faces turn blue, governments will just ignore them and continue happily burning fossil fuels. Politicians are practical people. They will not do something drastic and unpopular such as banning fossil fuels, until the sea is already creeping into coastal cities. Then they will build dikes because it’s too late to cut back CO2 and stop global warming.

    It’s not as crazy as you might think. Politicians play it safe. Go for adaptation when disaster strikes. Why risk painful prevention? They would look foolish if China continues its merry ways and doomsday didn’t come. But they will look like a hero helping victims when disaster strikes.

    Besides, the Kyoto protocol is a farce. Compliance with the protocol will do little to mitigate global warming. Such protocols are lip service. Games that governments play to show they are doing something without really doing anything.

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  35. 35. Vincentrj 4:26 am 08/23/2013

    “Apparently what is lost here is the costs of sea level rising. The melting of Greenland ice sheets will add 20 ft to the current sea level.”

    Delspace,
    You forgot to mention WHEN it is expected that sea level will rise by 20 ft. Sea levels have been rising steadily for the past 20,000 years. They’ve risen by by an estimated 120 metres during that period. What’s new?

    If we take a rate of 4mm rise per year, on average, it will take 1500 years for the sea to rise by 20 ft. There are already parts of Holland that are over 20ft below sea level and are successfully protected by dikes. It takes energy to build dikes. Approximately 27 percent of the entire country of The Netherlands is below sea level and is home to 60% of the population. This situation didn’t occur as a result of anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

    It would be very foolish if we were to spend trillions of dollars in a vain attempt to control global warming, thinking that we can use CO2 levels as some sort of control knob, only to find out later, say in 50 years time, that the climate is warming and sea levels rising due to other, natural causes.

    It would be far more sensible for the local governments in charge of cities located by the coast to set up a ‘future fund’. A small portion of the property taxes and rates could be set aside each year. If it becomes clear at some point in the future that sea levels are rising dangerously, FOR WHATEVER REASON, then that ‘future fund’ could be used to build dikes to protect the city.

    Link to this
  36. 36. JohnCaro 7:36 am 08/23/2013

    I have a suggestion: Paint your roof white.I did. It saved me more than 50% on my power bill and I did not have to wait for a law to be passed. You don’t even have to believe in global warming,it works for everybody. IT SAVES MONEY. I would like to see more solutions and less talk about what the government should do. The government won,t act. They have already been told what to do by the fossil fuel lobby. If you decide to do this go to your hardware store and ask for a good white roof paint,it should cost less than $90.00 for 5 Gallons. Make sure that it will have at least 3 days to dry as these paints will wash off in rain if not cured. Does anyone else have a solution they can share? It would help more than the “debate” that I see on these sites.

    Link to this
  37. 37. Vincentrj 9:31 am 08/23/2013

    “Does anyone else have a solution they can share? It would help more than the “debate” that I see on these sites.”

    Absolutely! Learn from history. Whenever you consider buying a house, find out the history of flooding and hurricanes in the area. If the house is not situated above the level of previous floods going back 100 years or more, don’t buy it, unless you are prepared to do serious modification, such as raising the house on higher piers, which is not practicable if the house is a brick house on a concrete slab.
    If the area is subject to occasional hurricanes or cyclones, make sure it is built to withstand such cyclones, or at least make sure there is a ‘strong’ room, such as a bathroom or cellar which can withstand the worst of storms.
    Such measures should be normal, commonsense procedures, regardless of any concerns about climate change.

    Link to this
  38. 38. delspace 10:03 am 08/23/2013

    What’s new??? We don’t have 20,000 years and a naturally caused ice age ending! The current CO2 forcing is ~ 100 times larger than the earth’s orbital forcing that cause the ice ages to come and go. We currently should have been cooling for the last 2000 years and adding snow mass to the arctic. Cutting the world’s forests has stopped that, and more recently we have dumped another 140 ppm of CO2 into the atmosphere, which will persist for centuries, not 25 – 50 years. That’s what new!

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  39. 39. Postman1 3:53 pm 08/23/2013

    @delspace- You’ve learned the warmist talking points by rote and can recite them verbatim. Bravo.

    Link to this
  40. 40. Postman1 4:01 pm 08/23/2013

    @delspace- Just like reciting your rosary isn’t it? High priest sault of the ‘church of global warming’ will likely nod in your direction in approval. Perhaps the minor priests, marcher, owl, and crasher will send you good wishes on the breeze, but they’ll need to pry their lips off sault’s posterior to do so. They may even let you join their choir and sing praises to Gore and Mann. I predict you will go places.

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  41. 41. MARCHER 7:56 pm 08/23/2013

    @40Postman1,

    The only religious movement on this site is from you and your fellow acolytes in the Holy Church of Denialism.

    Name one single credible scientific institution on the planet who accepts the denialist position.

    Better yet, show me a single paper by Saint Watts of tin foil on the subject of climate change that has not been laughed out of peer review.

    I predict you cannot do this, and as such, you will simply put on your tin foil hat, say fifty praise Watts and scream “I’m a Denier!”. To the applause of your fellow acolytes.

    Link to this
  42. 42. MARCHER 8:00 pm 08/23/2013

    @21 VInce,

    You need to brush up on your talking points. The whole C02 is just plant food meme has already been debunked. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2009/oct/07/plantsneedco2org/plantsneedco2org-claim-carbon-dioxide-not-pollutan/

    As Rob Jackson, a professor of global environmental change and biology at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment points out “”Is carbon dioxide good for plants? The narrow answer is yes,” said Jackson. “But I think it’s misleading to say that, if CO 2 is good for plants, it’s good for the environment. … It’s kind of like saying that steroids are good for people — they build bone and muscle — but they also have other effects.”

    In short, the graph you link to blatantly misleads readers regarding the effects of CO2.

    Apparently, reality is not your strong point.

    Link to this
  43. 43. L1995 8:28 pm 08/23/2013

    @Postman1,

    Take something for the paranoid delusions and then get back to us.

    Link to this
  44. 44. Postman1 10:34 pm 08/23/2013

    Thanks, so much, to marcher, for putting words in my mouth and proving my previous comment correct. High priest saultobot will likely give you brownie points. There really is no need to supply links to support words which you attribute to me.

    Link to this
  45. 45. MARCHER 10:42 pm 08/23/2013

    Never but a single word in your mouth, every post you write screams your denialism.

    Perhaps if you double down on your none sense then your fellow tin foil hat enthusiasts Shoshin and Carlyle will sing your praises to Saint Watts. If you’re really lucky, he will bestow upon you the greatest honor any denialist can know and “elevate” one of your moronic comments to the level of a blog post.

    This is, of course, the closest deniers ever get to a peer reviewed publication.

    Link to this
  46. 46. Vincentrj 11:35 pm 08/23/2013

    “You need to brush up on your talking points. The whole C02 is just plant food meme has already been debunked. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2009/oct/07/plantsneedco2org/plantsneedco2org-claim-carbon-dioxide-not-pollutan/

    Marcher,
    I think you need to brush up on your reading skills. The article you link to, does not refute the fact that CO2 is good for plants. The article does not deny that at all.

    What is claimed is that the increased Co2 that produces increased plant growth MAY cause certain environment problems, such as increased insect population and increased droughts due to warming.

    The reason why I am an AGW skeptic is because I have gradually discovered over the years that those who claim to believe in AGW and its terrible consequences, seem unable to distinguish between fact and possibility.

    However, that is not to say that such people have no talent. They may be deficient in logical thinking, but they are very talented at confusing and conflating separate issues, such as calling CO2 a pollutant because it is associated with other noxious gases, such as CO, NO2 and SO2, which clearly are pollutants.

    How can such people be a reliable source of information?

    If you can link to any body of reliable research which proves that increased levels of CO2 do not produce increased plant growth, or that the Roman and Medieval warming periods did not exist and are a sham promoted by the fossil fuel lobbyists, then please do so. I’m prepared to assess all reasonable points of view, if they are supported by hard facts and evidence.

    I’m persuaded by known facts and logical argument. I think it’s a reasonable point to make that our CO2 emissions MAY result in a future climate being slightly warmer than it otherwise would be without our CO2 emissions, because I accept that CO2 is a greenhouse gas.

    Whether or not a slightly warmer climate is a bad thing or a good thing is open to debate.

    What does not seem reasonable to me are claims by certain people that all the various, complex and even chaotic causes of climate change are so thoroughly understood that ‘science’ can assert with 95% probability that the current warming is due entirely to our CO2 emissions, particularly when such people seem to be in a state of denial even about the existence of, or the global extent of, the RWP and the MWP.

    Link to this
  47. 47. MARCHER 12:13 am 08/24/2013

    @46,

    Vince, from your comment it is clearly you who needs to brush up on your reading skills.

    You claim: “What is claimed is that the increased Co2 that produces increased plant growth MAY cause certain environment problem.”

    Is that why the article says “While carbon dioxide is good for plants, increased amounts of it in our atmosphere will have auxiliary effects that are decidedly bad for ecosystems.”?

    Perhaps you are fuzzy on the difference between the word “may”, which you use, and “will” which the article uses.

    The article points out to the numerous problems CO2 is causing and will continue to cause in our ecosystem, which will have negative effects on plants and animals alike.

    You seem to think plants, or anything else for that matter, exist in a vacuum. When we know CO2 has decidedly negative effects on our ecosystem, it is absurd to say plants will be doing just fine, or even better.

    The article points to numerous studies that have shown the negative effects of CO2 on our ecosystem, you are simply choosing to deny them. The key word being deny, as opposed to being skeptical.

    Similarly, you engage in the type of obfuscation you rail against, claiming most researchers “assert with 95% probability that the current warming is due entirely to our CO2 emissions, particularly when such people seem to be in a state of denial even about the existence of, or the global extent of, the RWP and the MWP.”

    In fact, most researchers assert with 95% probability that current warming is primarily due to human activities. CO2 is not viewed as the sole cause, and I know of not a single researcher who is in denial about RWP or MWP. Numerous peer reviewed articles discuss this at length.

    The only person here making the above claims is you.

    As for known facts, here are a few: No scientific institution of national or international standing denies the reality of AGW, the number of actual climatologists who deny the reality of AGW is next to nonexistent and the number of peer reviewed articles that deny the reality of AGW is similarly close to nil.

    Like most people here, I am not a climatologist, and as such I look at peer reviewed papers published by credible experts and the advice of relevant scientific institutions on this issue.

    If you have actual evidence that an iron clad, lead proof conspiracy involving thousands of individuals involved in climatology research actually exists, I am willing to listen.

    Otherwise the gist of your comment is nothing more than: “I am not a trained climatologist and I have no background in this field, but I have decided I know better than the people who are.”

    As such, the only relevant question is whether you take the same view of oncologists and their claim that smoking increases the risk of cancer?

    Link to this
  48. 48. MARCHER 1:18 am 08/24/2013

    @46,

    I’m heading out for the night, just wanted to add this “there is very little dispute in the scientific community, especially among climate specialists, on whether climate change is primarily caused by natural or man-made forces. The overwhelming majority of scientists polled feel that human activity is the primary driver of climate change. Also, based on scientific studies by the IPCC and others, global warming over the past 50 years has been primarily driven by human activity.” http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/aug/14/tim-pawlenty/do-scientists-disagree-about-global-warming/

    The article links to numerous studies affirming this, pretty obvious fact.

    Like most deniers, you insist you are skeptical of the views held by the overwhelming majority of qualified researchers based on denier talking points and poorly constructed straw man arguments.

    As such, while you insist you are reasonable, the evidence clearly shows you to be anything but reasonable.

    Have a good weekend.

    Link to this
  49. 49. Vincentrj 4:06 am 08/24/2013

    Thank you for confirming my point, Marcher, that the AGW proponents seem confused about certainty and probability.

    It’s true that the article you referred to does state as follows: “While carbon dioxide is good for plants, increased amounts of it in our atmosphere will have auxiliary effects that are DECIDEDLY bad for ecosystems.”

    However, the article also gives an example of these decidedly bad effects. I quote exactly word for word:

    “For example, Jackson’s research shows that with higher carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere we would see more wood growth, but that there MAY also be more pests due to higher temperatures, and longer droughts due to more evaporation.”

    So what we have here, rephrasing for the sake of clarity, is that Jackson’s research shows that with higher CO2 concentrations we would see more wood growth. Can we interpret this as meaning ‘decidedly’ more wood growth, or does decision and certainty apply only to bad effects?

    Quote from Marcher: “As for known facts, here are a few: No scientific institution of national or international standing denies the reality of AGW, the number of actual climatologists who deny the reality of AGW is next to nonexistent and the number of peer reviewed articles that deny the reality of AGW is similarly close to nil.”

    And quite right too. I’ve never met anyone who denies that AGW is a reality. It can be scientifically verified that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. The dispute is about the significance and the degree of that warming, considering all the many complex reactions and interactions that result from any slight change in just one factor in the composition of the atmosphere, and considering all the unknowns, uncertainties and margins of error in measurements etc, including the unreliability of computer modelling of such complex systems.

    The funding of billions of dollars annually from various governements, and the jobs of thousands of climatologists, are dependent upon the alarm about AGW being maintained. This situation in itself creates a bias.

    Link to this
  50. 50. L1995 11:00 am 08/24/2013

    @49,

    Thanks for demonstrating that you are in fact a denier, rather than a skeptic.

    When you claim “The funding of billions of dollars annually from various governements, and the jobs of thousands of climatologists, are dependent upon the alarm about AGW being maintained. This situation in itself creates a bias.”

    You prove that you are not in fact skeptical of the overwhelming evidence presented regarding AGW; you have simply chosen to deny the reality of the situation.

    The idea that thousands of climatologists have simply been engaged in a conspiracy to phony up evidence for decades is beyond ludicrous.

    Especially when the funding of billions of dollars has been poured by the fossil fuel industry into denying the clear scientific consensus on the issue. Logically, if climatologists were the greedy liars you believe them to be, it would make sense for a sizable number of climatologists to simply sell their integrity in exchange for the significant monetary award offered by those who wish to deny reality to protect their profits.

    As such, you cannot logically conclude that climatologists have been intentionally lying about AGW in order to make money, since they stand to make plenty by shilling for fossil fuel funded think tanks.

    Perhaps you meant the government is somehow threatening or intimidating researchers into silence?

    Again, this is ridiculous. No evidence exists to substantiate this claim. In fact, if you bother to research this issue, you would find that numerous elected Republicans have deliberately used their positions to harass and intimidate climatologists at the behest of their donors from the fossil fuel industry.

    Marcher is absolutely right to equate your denialism to that of a person denying the dangers of smoking.

    After all, the funding of billions of dollars annually from various governments and the jobs of thousands of medical researchers are dependent upon the alarm about the dangers of smoking being maintained. By your logic, this situation in itself creates a bias.

    In summary, you cherry pick examples from the articles being cited, make ludicrous straw man arguments and then simply declare (based on no evidence) that a bias must exist.

    These are the actions of a denier, not a skeptic.

    Well, I have better things to do with my weekend. Feel free to post something justifying your denialism and tell yourself you won because I can’t be bothered to reply.

    Link to this
  51. 51. Vincentrj 8:33 pm 08/24/2013

    “You prove that you are not in fact skeptical of the overwhelming evidence presented regarding AGW; you have simply chosen to deny the reality of the situation.
    The idea that thousands of climatologists have simply been engaged in a conspiracy to phony up evidence for decades is beyond ludicrous.”

    L1995
    I haven’t SIMPLY chosen any position. I’ve examined all points of view in the light of my understanding of the scientific method and the history of science, and to the best of my ability and time constraints. Every point I make has a rational basis.

    For example, I understand from the history of science that there has always been a consensus of opinion on any issue, and that such consensus has usually proved to be either completely or partially wrong as time goes by, especially when the issue is extremely complex, as is our climate. I therefore do not place complete faith in the fact there is a consensus of opinion on a particular issue, especially when such issue is beyond the standard verification and falsification procedures of best-practice science, due to long the time periods involved and the reliance upon computer modelling for predictions.

    Unlike you, I understand the dinstinction between bias and conspiracy. Bias is a human trait that most scientists share with non-scientists. It’s an extremely important issue that all scientists have to confront. People are often unaware of their biases. Conspiracy, on the other hand is a deliberate act.

    From L1995: “Well, I have better things to do with my weekend. Feel free to post something justifying your denialism and tell yourself you won because I can’t be bothered to reply.”

    Of course you do. You can’t be bothered, whereas I am very concerned about the issue, the way the science has been presented to the public, and the likelihood of a huge waste of resources taking place in a futile attempt to combat an uncertain risk.

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  52. 52. sault 1:11 pm 08/25/2013

    Vincent,

    You aren’t even paying attention. How many of these papers have you actually read?

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=climate+change&btnG=&as_sdt=1%2C5&as_sdtp=

    There are over 2 MILLION scientific papers about climate change, so you should have AT LEAST read one or two by now if you expect to be taken seriously. And even if you’ve read any of them, it looks like you didn’t really understand them.

    Link to this
  53. 53. L1995 12:58 am 08/26/2013

    @51,

    This has to be one of the most absurd self-justifications I have ever read.

    “For example, I understand from the history of science that there has always been a consensus of opinion on any issue, and that such consensus has usually proved to be either completely or partially wrong as time goes by, especially when the issue is extremely complex, as is our climate. I therefore do not place complete faith in the fact there is a consensus of opinion on a particular issue.”

    By your ridiculous logic, you should refuse to accept the scientific consensus on the dangers of smoking, drinking and a dozen other issues. Since, as you say, scientists have been wrong before.

    You have the same basis, and the same reason to believe that virtually every medical researcher is guilty of the bias you choose to believe climatologists possess.

    “Of course you do. You can’t be bothered, whereas I am very concerned about the issue, the way the science has been presented to the public, and the likelihood of a huge waste of resources taking place in a futile attempt to combat an uncertain risk.”

    Yes, I am sure every climatologist in the field has read your absurd rants and is deeply and profoundly shaken by the fact that an anonymous commenter on a science website refuses to accept the validity of their findings.

    I hope you sleep well knowing that your posts have done made such a “contribution” to the research in this field. How very civic minded of you.

    It always amazes me that deniers like you endlessly accuse researchers of hubris, and yet believing anonymous comments from people with names like Captain Zap are actually doing something to further the conversation among credible researchers.

    Thanks for the laugh.

    Link to this
  54. 54. bongobimbo 8:43 am 08/26/2013

    Thanks to all who recognize the imminent danger–and the primary CAUSE–of global scorching. I first wrote about it, tentatively, in 1969. Since “change” is a nebbish word, and “warming” sounds toasty, I prefer to use the term “global scorching”, originated by Rabbi Waskow of the Shalom Center. This brilliant man is a leader of East Coast U.S. efforts to combat the most heinous manifestations of stupidity and selfishness in human history, those who deny the complicity of the super-rich oligarchy who have taken free will from their passive followers, which some call “sheeple”. I can only wonder what the rich multi-billionaires are doing to protect their own grandchildren. Massive underground bunkers–the ultimate in gated communities?

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  55. 55. Vincentrj 10:18 am 08/26/2013

    “You aren’t even paying attention. How many of these papers have you actually read?”

    Sault,
    You’ve missed the point entirely. No-one, however clever, has the time to read all the papers written on the subject of climate change, and unless one is an expert in the particular disciplines which are involved in a particular aspect of research, it might also be difficult to determine if there are any mistaken assumptions and/or flaws in methodology.

    Many members of the public, and scientific illiterates in general, probably don’t appreciate there are about 30 or more highly specialised disciplines involved in the science of Climate Change, and each of these disciplines requires years of training.

    To name just a few, we have, Climatology, Meteorology, Atmospheric dynamics, Atmospheric physics, Atmospheric chemistry, Solar physics, Historical climatology, Geophysics, Geochemistry, Geology, Soil Science, Oceanography, Glaciology, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoenvironmental reconstruction, Ecology, Synthetic biology, Biochemistry, Global change biology, Biogeography, Ecophysiology, Ecological genetics, Mathematics, Statistics and Computational analysis, Applied mathematics, Mathematical modelling, Computer science, Numerical modelling, Bayesian inference, Mathematical statistics, and Time series analysis.

    The conclusions and opinions, derived from evidence and data relevant to each of these disciplines, will have their own degree of uncertainty which can be compounded in proportion to the number of disciplines, when trying to reach an over all summation. A certain amount of bias selection amongst those millions of studies is inevitable.

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  56. 56. Vincentrj 10:23 am 08/26/2013

    From L1995: “By your ridiculous logic, you should refuse to accept the scientific consensus on the dangers of smoking, drinking and a dozen other issues. Since, as you say, scientists have been wrong before.”

    Wow! You guys are really good at missing essential points, aren’t you! You’ve got a real talent for it.

    The degree of certainty that smoking increases one’s risk of getting cancer is based on statistical evidence over a period of decades, which has resulted from an examination of the percentages, amongst those who have actually developed lung cancer, who smoke.

    Our climate changes very gradually. The time scales are much longer than the time it takes individuals to develop lung cancer, and warming and cooling periods have happened frequently in the past.

    We simply don’t have the means to test whether or not a modest increases in atmospheric CO2 is going to be harmful to one particular planet. We don’t have a few thousand planets available to study, which are very similar to the Earth in every respect but with different degrees of atmospheric CO2. Nor do we have a lifespan of several hundred years to study the effects of these various degrees of CO2 concentrations on the thousands of planets with identical suns to our own.

    However, since you’ve brought up the subject of the dangers of smoking, and since you seem very confused about the scientific method, I think you might benefit from the following study on the risks of cancer from smoking. http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/95/6/470.full

    Even with the much shorter time scales and the thousands of subjects to examine, the risk of any particular individual getting cancer from smoking is impossible to quantify.

    To quote:
    “The model was internally valid and well calibrated. Ten-year lung cancer risk varied greatly among participants in the CT study, from 15% for a 68-year-old man who has smoked two packs per day for 50 years and continues to smoke, to 0.8% for a 51-year-old woman who smoked one pack per day for 28 years before quitting 9 years earlier. Even among the subset of CT study participants who would be eligible for a clinical trial of cancer prevention, risk varied greatly.”

    Compare that with the 99% certainty from the IPCC that the current change in our climate is due to our CO2 emissions. It’s farcical. It’s not science.

    Link to this
  57. 57. L1995 10:38 am 08/26/2013

    Wow, you just get more desperate by the second. Thanks for showing, yet again, the inability of denialists to accept reality.

    Your entire argument hinges on the idea that the researchers in this field are either charlatans or liars.

    You basis for this belief is to shriek ” It’s farcical. It’s not science.”

    You have no evidence to support your argument. None.

    When you have something other than poking holes in other peoples work, let me know.

    Until then, you are just another denier who shrikes bias or conspiracy in the face of overwhelming evidence that you are wrong.

    Now go back to denying the facts and telling yourself how your blog posts are providing such immense benefit to the discussion held by actual researchers.

    I’m off to work.

    Link to this
  58. 58. Vincentrj 7:11 pm 08/26/2013

    “You have no evidence to support your argument. None.”

    I’ve just given you the evidence. It was you who raised the analogy with smoking. The facts are, despite the many studies on the issue of smoking over the years, despite the vast amounts of money spent on medical research over the years, despite the vast number of specialised disciplines involved in medicine, despite the the vast number of detailed records of indiviuals who have already developed lung cancer and who also smoke, WE ARE UNABLE TO PREDICT WITH ANY ACCURACY THE RISK OF ONE PARTTICULAR INDIVIDUAL GETTING CANCER AS A RESULT OF HIS SMOKING HABIT.

    The reason for this inability of medical science to quantify the precise risk, is because there are so many complex factors involved in a person’s susceptibility to getting cancer, including lifestyle, eating habits, exercise, genetic makeup, and family history.

    Likewise, the complexity of the Earth’s climate makes it even more difficult to predict with any accuracy what the effect will be in a hundred years time of increases in the very tiny proportions of just one greenhouse gas called CO2.

    The real danger to our planet is probably not from rising CO2 levels, but from large numbers of stupid people incessantly fighting wars in the Middle East and elsewhere, and large numbers of unthinking, scientifically illiterate members of the public who are only able to look at issues in terms of black and white, good or bad.

    This discussion is about the 90-99% certainty expressed in the IPCC reports over the years. Such figures are not scientific. They are deliberately designed as fodder for people like you, whom it is expected will be faithful soldiers in a battle against an imaginary foe, dutifully and unthinkingly slandering anyone who opposes your borrowed views.

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  59. 59. L1995 10:16 pm 08/26/2013

    No, you have given me evidence that medical researchers are sure, by any rational standard, that smoking does in fact increase peoples risk of developing certain forms of cancer.

    Just as climatologists are sure, by any rational standard, that AGW is very much a reality.

    Despite the many complex factors in both situations, the actual researchers in this field have arrived at a clear consensus on this issue.

    An actual skeptic would review this data and conclude that we should be have make a reasonable effort to mitigate the risks in regards to both issues.

    A denier like you will offer caps lock addled rants combined with tortured logic to justify your denialsim.

    Case in point, your absurd claims that the consensus on this issue is wrong because scientists have been wrong about things in the past or your equally inane claims that virtually every climatologist is baised. The latter based on no evidence whatsoever.

    An actual skeptic would be able to separate credible, peer reviewed studies, from moronic blog posts from deniers. Something you are also incapable of.

    Finally, a skeptic goes to a science site asking questions about issues they do not understand. A denier makes absurd rants about “biased scientists”, claiming the findings of the best researchers in the field are not science because they disagree with your beliefs.

    We live in a world of many dangers, one being scientifically illiterate deniers like yourself acting as fodder for fossil fuel industry lackeys seeking to deny the scientific consensus on this issue.

    Much as those who deny the harmful effects of tobacco work to deny the scientific consensus in this area.

    Link to this
  60. 60. rkipling 1:50 pm 09/12/2013

    An interesting study.

    http://www.see.ed.ac.uk/~shs/Climate%20change/Climate%20model%20results/over%20estimate.pdf

    Link to this

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