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Scientists Respond to Gore on Global Warming 1496

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the climatologist-pit-fighting dept.
ArthurDent writes "For quite a while global warming has been presented in the public forum as a universally accepted scientific reality. However, in the light of Al Gore's new film An Inconvenient Truth many climate experts are stepping forward and pointing out that there is no conclusive evidence to support global warming as a phenomenon, much less any particular cause of it."
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Scientists Respond to Gore on Global Warming

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  • by IntelliAdmin (941633) * on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @05:40PM (#15535369) Homepage
    Wow. This is a bold line from the article:

    Carter does not pull his punches about Gore's activism, "The man is an embarrassment to US science and its many fine practitioners, a lot of whom know (but feel unable to state publicly) that his propaganda crusade is mostly based on junk science"

    Strangely enough this is from a website that is sporting anti-bush t-shirts, buttons, and bumper stickers

    Windows Admin Tools [intelliadmin.com]
    • by thefirelane (586885) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @05:42PM (#15535396)
      Strangely enough this is from a website that is sporting anti-bush t-shirts, buttons, and bumper stickers

      Wait a minute, are you telling me someone can be for truth and against Bush?! We'll see what Bill O'reilly has to say about that!
    • by mustafap (452510) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @05:45PM (#15535418) Homepage
      >an embarrassment to US science

      As opposed to world science?
      • by Ahnteis (746045) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @07:07PM (#15536089)
        Why would AL GORE be an embarassment to scientists NOT in the U.S.? If they don't agree, they just point and say "silly Americans!".
      • by r00t (33219) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @09:12PM (#15536769) Journal
        This is about the US climate, not the world climate.

        I'm sure you've heard that we can use carbon nanotubes to build a space elevator. That's just one thin ribbon going up to space. We can build it wider, all the way around the US, so that we don't have to share our tropical climate with places like Sweden (go bork yourself) and North Korea.

        We'll probably split the Atlantic down the middle and go two thirds the way across the Pacific. As a bonus, I think there will be at least a 50% drop in Mexicans climbing over the border.
    • by eln (21727) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @05:45PM (#15535419) Homepage
      This really makes no sense: a lot of whom know (but feel unable to state publicly) that his propaganda crusade is mostly based on junk science

      What? If they are scientists, and they "know" something, then surely they must have some very solid scientific evidence for their assertion, and thus should feel comfortable publishing it in a scientific journal. I'm always skeptical of claims that hundreds or thousands of supposedly respectable scientists hold a non-mainstream view but can't express it because some shadowy cabal is forcing them to stay quiet.

      If they have solid scientific evidence to refute the solid scientific evidence in support of global warming, then they should publish it. If they don't, then as scientists they should know better than to spout off without any proof of their claims.
      • by gardyloo (512791) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @05:57PM (#15535531)
        From the grandparent: This really makes no sense: a lot of whom know (but feel unable to state publicly) that his propaganda crusade is mostly based on junk science

        From the parent:
        I'm always skeptical of claims that hundreds or thousands of supposedly respectable scientists hold a non-mainstream view but can't express it because some shadowy cabal is forcing them to stay quiet.

        From me: There's a lot of difference between publishing (which is what very many scientists do) in reputable journals, and stating things publicly. There shouldn't be. But even people with open access to journals can pick and choose about which evidence to support. Just because one faction is outspoken and has flashy "evidence" to support a view, and another faction has supposedly solid evidence to support a contrary view but stays relatively quiet does not mean, unfortunately, that the better evidence will win. It means that people will hear the loud, flashy stuff, and (for the people who have a sense of curiosity, but perhaps not a driving need to delve into the literature on their own) just wonder why the other side hasn't said much: Gosh, perhaps the flashy, outspoken side IS right. Why haven't I heard much from the contrary viewpoints?
        • by why-is-it (318134) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @06:24PM (#15535768) Homepage Journal
          From me: There's a lot of difference between publishing (which is what very many scientists do) in reputable journals, and stating things publicly.

          So why not publish the dissenting findings in a reputable, peer-reviewed journal? If there are sufficient grounds to question the research that has been published thus far, I would expect that it would not be difficult to promote a dissenting work.

          Heck, Phillipe Rushton [wikipedia.org] still gets published from time-to-time, and his research has been widely discredited. This suggests that the relative popularity and/or merit of your findings does not appear to have much influence on whether (or not) you get published,

          So, if the case for global warming is as weak as some of these folks claim, why have they not published rebuttals or counter-claims?

          • by el_cepi (732737) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @08:23PM (#15536537)
            Have you take a look of the researchers interviewed academic career? Here is the list of them. In my opinion none of them are very impressive, and nore in global warming.

            Tim Patterson http://http-server.carleton.ca/~tpatters/publicati ons/2002_04.html [carleton.ca]

            Bob Carter http://www.es.jcu.edu.au/research/msgbs.html [jcu.edu.au]

            Timothy Ball http://www.envirotruth.org/drball.cfm [envirotruth.org]

            Boris Winterhalter http://www.kolumbus.fi/boris.winterhalter/papers.h tm [kolumbus.fi]

            Wibjörn Karlén http://www.misu.su.se/research/reconstruction_nh.h tml [misu.su.se] Look the graphic of the papaer

            Dick Morgan http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=Dick+Morg an+site%3Aexeter.ac.uk&btnG=Search [google.com]He don't even have a page on Exeter

            I think they are a sample of the unqualified scientist the article talks about.
            • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @11:45PM (#15537517) Homepage Journal
              Of the hundreds of comments attached to this story, yours is by far the most insightful and informative. I disagree with your polite "none very impressive", and think you're wrong about "none in global warming" and "unqualified scientist". That panel is composed of professional Greenhouse deniers. They are "impressive" and "qualified" to testify before a Canadian fake "Conservative" government that's hired by polluters to protect Canada's giant fossil fuel exports to the US (our #1 supplier). And probably dreams of a "warm Canada" their vast real estate holdings can finally cash in on as people "migrate" from uninhabitable regions to the south, while finally getting a year-round passage between East and West hemispheres across the Arctic.

              Just look at their actual resumes, of course not quoted by "Canada's Fastest Growing Independent News Source", probably also funded by the Canadian Greenhouse industry and their global Murdoch partners.

              Tim Patterson [carleton.ca] is a geologist, not a climate scientist - exactly the kind of scientist the BS article excludes to fake its conclusion that most Greenhouse scientists aren't qualified.
              Boris Winterhalter [kolumbus.fi] is also a geologist, not a climatologist.
              Geologists mostly work for the oil business, which is where most of the money for the entire science comes from, their peers who review, their "next gig pool".

              Bob Carter [jcu.edu.au] doesn't even rate a page at his tiny Australian department where he's just an "Adjunct" professor.
              Timothy Ball [envirotruth.org]'s "EnviroTruth" org is a division of the National Center for Public Policy Research, an front for Exxon Greenhouse denial [sourcewatch.org] propaganda and other Vast RightWing Conspiracy [google.com] players.
              Wibjörn Karlén [misu.su.se]'s research supports Gore, but he signs the BS letter anyway.
              Dick Morgan doesn't have an Exeter page, nor does he have [google.com]">any recorded association [slashdot.org] with the World Meteorological Association, so he has no credentials whatsoever, apart from lying.

              These people are professional Greenhouse deniers. That Canadian panel and its Canadian tabloid (an obvious rightwing rag, just looking at its front page) are cheap fronts for the polluters responsible for the Greenhouse. They're not even trying to hide it more than a couple of googles and clicks deep, they hate us so much. And judging from the hundreds of posts in this story falling for it, we are that stupid.
          • by Ogemaniac (841129) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @09:17PM (#15536794)
            articles. Rather, it is challenging Gore's (and the political left's in general) interpretations.

            I am a scientist, though not climatologist. I feel that the data is all but certain that the atmosphere has warmed about 1C in the last one hundred years. I think virtually all of my colleagues agree with this. As for the cause of global warming, things are far murkier. Since we don't have hundreds of earths where we can run nice reproducible tests in order to study what variables matter and what do not, we can NEVER provide conclusive evidence for cause. That being said, the data is still fairly solid that we are most of the problem. The current consensus from the ICC implies something like "there is a 90% chance that human activity is the primary cause of the observed global warming". I think this is fair, given the data. Certainly, a 90% chance of a problem is enough to justify the consideration of preventative action.

            Some GW skeptics claim that since the earth's temperature has been all over the place in the past, some "natural" phenomena could have caused the warming. While this is possible, they should be able to point out what this "natural phenomena" is. So far, none of the logical possibilities have panned out. For example, there is slight evidence that solar radiation may have increased, but nowhere near enough to explain the observed warming. Changes in orbit, which have largely driven the ice ages, have not occured. If it is NOT CO2 and other greenhouse gases, it must be some other cause. If it is, we should be able to measure it. What is it? The skeptics fail to point out plausible alternatives. If the alternatives are not plausible, it is logical to conclude that it is the greenhouse effect. Hence the ICC's 90% odds.

            The left, however, vastly exaggerates any data supporting the existence of GW or its dangers. Any talk of "tipping points" or blaming Katrina on GW, for example, are either entirely unsupported by the data or extremely premature. At worst, without GW Katrina would have been a weak Cat 4 instead of a strong one. GW did not "create" Katrina, though it is possible that it made her slightly worse.

            Another problem with the left is that they ignore economics. When the economists crunch the numbers, they often find that even assuming GW is real, adaption is simply the cheaper option as compared to prevention. To put it simply, doing anything about GW that would actually make a difference could be far more expensive than it is worth. It may be easier to build some flood walls than buy a zillion solar panels, for example. I rarely find that the left is even willing to engage in this debate, probably because they are on very weak footing there.
            • by gardyloo (512791) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @10:33PM (#15537135)
              Aw... it was not until I was 3/4 of the way through your comment that I realized "GW" stood for "Global Warming" and not our president. I was getting pretty excited thinking that he might not exist, or at least that people were arguing how to blame Katrina on him. Hmph.
            • by cmholm (69081) <cmholmNO@SPAMmauiholm.org> on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @10:50PM (#15537225) Homepage Journal
              It may be easier to build some flood walls than buy a zillion solar panels, for example.

              Boy, now there's a statement begging to get ripped apart by a 20 to 50 year cost of money analysis. Unless the contractor, municipality, state, or national government makes sure the flood walls cost less by building to what they want it to cost, rather than what's needed to work, even a few hundred miles of dikes can get rather pricey. The Netherlands is densely populated enough that it's cost effective to do them right. Given the geography and political culture in the US, it would be a political necessity to - in future hindsight - fuck it up.

              What it boils down to is that it's the oil and coal extractors and the coal fired power companies that will really have their nuts in a vice over the expense of prevention. They would prefer to continue offloading the effect of their current business practice by spreading the cost of adjustment over the entire economy.

              If you'll excuse the broad brush, fuck 'em.

            • by snowwrestler (896305) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @12:33AM (#15537743)
              From the side of economics and policy. When economists and policymakers talk about the "cost" of fighting global warming, what they are actually calculating and referring to are the burdens placed on existing industries, as they exist today. They have a much harder time with two other aspects of the economy, though: very long-term costs (such as environmentally-driven health factors), and innovation that creates or radically transforms new industries. The former is just too difficult to estimate with any reliability, and the latter represents a "wall" of future change through which current knowledge and analysis cannot penetrate.

              As such it is important to remain skeptical of the claims of the burdens related to fighting global warming. Regulatory and environmental constraints can harm existing industries, but they can also spur the development of new technologies and new industries, and thereby spur overall economic growth.

              The real economic question is one of the pace of change. Large public companies concerned with quarterly earnings and stock price have a deep interest in managing the pace and nature of change, and they spend a lot of money in Washington and the states and the media in an attempt to do so. It is very difficult for large companies to change their business model; often impossible. They will expend huge capital to prevent or delay change that would require them to do so. Whereas disruptive, smaller companies--the great American entrepreneurs--prefer to move quickly in the market, innovating and growing as fast as they can.

              Some corporations manage change very well. You can probably name some of them right off the top of your head--they're the ones who were advertising their "green" technologies on TV a year or two ago. Toyota, Honda, GE, BP, etc. There is proof around us, right now, that moving to a more energy-efficient society is economically beneficial. The companies leading the way are experiencing growth.

              The left often gets caught up in the global social and scientific arguments--the "best" reasons for doing something. And, there is an underlying element of conservatism to much environmentalism--a desire for natural things to remain the way they are, or a desire for a return to the "good old days" of living in harmony with nature. Like most conservatism it is based as much on wishful thinking and emotion as it is on clear logic.

              As a result they miss the tremendous economic argument FOR beginning a response to global warming. And they often miss the glaring precedents for government action. A great one is the mandated move to digital TV over the air. Here is a situation where the government identified a precious resource and regulated to enforce its conservation and more efficient use. Is anyone expecting this to cripple the TV industries? No of course not--everyone is going to have to buy new TV equipment (broadcast and consumer), and it represents an opportunity to design upsells--DVRs and HDTV. It's a classic example of government regulation spurring economic growth through innovation and transformation.
            • This article is not challenging peer-reviewed articles. Rather, it is challenging Gore's (and the political left's in general) interpretations.

              Ohh? So why is the first part of the article about pointing out that only a very small fraction of [Gore's "majority of scientists"] actually work in the climate field?

              Silly me, it's to discredit peer-reviewed articles based on who wrote them, not to challenge them on the content.

              Funny is, the first guy he quotes as a "one of hundreds of highly qualified non-governmental, non-industry, non-lobby group climate experts" is actually "a palaeontologist, stratigrapher and marine geologist." [cos.com] So his qualifacations as a climateologist (as opposed to the very large fraction" of "Gore's scientists") is basically that he agrees with him.

          • by HangingChad (677530) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @09:52PM (#15536942) Homepage
            If there are sufficient grounds to question the research that has been published thus far, I would expect that it would not be difficult to promote a dissenting work.

            If you're dissenting opinion was financed by Exxon and the oil lobby, I can guarantee it will get published. Not only that but it will get picked up by the popular press because Exxon's PR firm will be working their press contacts for ink.

            You can buy any kind of research results you want if you have enough money. I used to see tobacco companies do it all the time when I was in contract research. You'll be able to buy some really big name scientists and get the conclusions you want. They'll justify the intellectual prostitution by telling themselves that the research they do with the money they get will out-weigh the evil of promoting a position paid for by oil money, or tobacco money or Monsanto or whoever is funding your research center.

            Big corporate money is corrupting our government, our research institutions, and our media. Half the fluff pieces you see on the news were produced by some industry group. Probably 90% of the articles you read in trade rags are influenced by an advertiser or their PR firm, it's really getting to the point you can't believe anything you read.

      • by Becquerel (645675) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @06:01PM (#15535562) Journal

        If they have solid scientific evidence to refute the solid scientific evidence in support of global warming, then they should publish it. If they don't, then as scientists they should know better than to spout off without any proof of their claims.

        Absolutely. I attended a lecture at the Tyndall centre, Manchester a few weeks ago. In a room full of climate change experts, in the UK centre for climate change research, nobody was even remotely sceptical about the realism of Global Warming.

        In fact, the point that shocked me most was that some of them were quite content that it was already too late to mitagate the effects, by a token reduction in our emissions. Argueing that the global strategy should be to prepare for the change that will happen rather than waste money trying to stop it!

        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @06:12PM (#15535667)
          Absolutely. I attended a lecture at the Tyndall centre, Manchester a few weeks ago. In a room full of climate change experts, in the UK centre for climate change research, nobody was even remotely sceptical about the realism of Global Warming.

          Without going into my opinion on this matter at all... have you listened to yourself?

          You went to a room filled with "climate change experts." By this very definition, you're talking about people who believe in global warming ("climate change"). And then it's supposed to mean something that none of them is skeptical about global warming?

          So, I went to church last week and was in a room with a bunch of experts on religion. None were remotely skeptical about God. Therefore, he must be real.

          Right?
      • by sterno (16320) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @06:24PM (#15535766) Homepage
        A telling statistic about this is in Gore's movie. They did a random sample of scientific peer reviewed papers on global warming. Of 932 samples, ZERO disagreed with the conclusion that global warming was happening and was man made. On the other hand 56% of the articles on the subject they randomly surveyed said the jury was still out.

        This is the long standing problem in the media of false equivalency. They take any issue and assume that there are two sides and that both sides have similar standing. So if 932 peer reviewed scientific papers say that global warming is happening and humans are causing it, and there's 932 articles written by crackpots and industry lobbyists saying the opposite, the media treat this as being two equivlanet sides of an issue. It makes good copy, but it's incredibly desceptive.
    • by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @06:41PM (#15535897) Homepage Journal
      I decided to pull this story from Technocrat.net, because of the author attribution. He works for a paid political PR firm. Then, Slashdot ran it :-)

      I've my own doubts about global warming, but it does seem that the "con" side are often folks who are paid to have those opinions.

      Bruce

    • by cryptochrome (303529) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @07:14PM (#15536130) Journal
      This article was pulled straight from the headlines of the Drudge Report, which should have tipped you off. He's notorious for linking to only right-wing-skewed news services [wikipedia.org], and here he's tapping an obscure Canadian newspaper. Gee, I wonder which way its politics lean? You should have done your homework...

      There is only one other article [canadafreepress.com] by Tom Harris at CFP, but I found another at National Post [canada.com], both attacking climate change. Canada Free Press [wikipedia.org] and National Post [wikipedia.org] are both conservative newspapers, particularly the latter. According to the byline, Tom Harris is mechanical engineer and Ottawa Director of High Park Group. And what is the High Park Group [highparkgroup.com], seeing as how their web page say absolutely nothing of substance? Why it's an industry shill [stikeman.com].


      Mr. Egan is president of the High Park Group, a public policy consulting firm that focuses largely on energy issues out of its offices in Toronto and Ottawa. He is retained by the Canadian Electricity Association on a range of issues, including U.S. advocacy (monitoring the U.S. Congress and Administration on issues of interest to the Canadian electricity industry).


      Dig a little deeper and you'll find this [sierraclub.ca] from way back in 2002. It has quite a bit more to say.

      If you know more say so.

      Of course, articles about "scientists" refuting global warming are a dime a dozen, and go against the plain fact that the vast majority of climate scientists are firmly convinced of its existence.

      And for the record when I looked at the article before it was running an ad pushing Condaleeza Rice for president... in a Canadian newspaper no less.
  • by lecithin (745575) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @05:40PM (#15535372)
    Announcer:
    And now, a message from the President of the United States.

    President Al Gore:
    Good evening, my fellow Americans.

    In 2000 when you overwhelmingly made the decision to elect me as your 43rd president, I knew the road ahead would be difficult. We have accomplished so much yet challenges lie ahead.

    In the last 6 years we have been able to stop global warming. No one could have predicted the negative results of this. Glaciers that once were melting are now on the attack.

    As you know, these renegade glaciers have already captured parts of upper Michigan and northern Maine, but I assure you: we will not let the glaciers win.

    Right now, in the 2nd week of May 2006, we are facing perhaps the worst gas crisis in history.

    We have way too much gasoline. Gas is down to $0.19 a gallon and the oil companies are hurting.

    I know that I am partly to blame by insisting that cars run on trash.

    I am therefore proposing a federal bailout to our oil companies because - hey if it were the other way around, you know the oil companies would help us.

    On a positive note, we worked hard to save Welfare, fix Social Security and of course provide the free universal health care we all enjoy today.

    But all this came at a high cost. As I speak, the gigantic national budget surplus is down to a perilously low $11 trillion dollars.

    And don't get any ideas. That money is staying in the very successful lockbox. We're not touching it.

    Of course, we could give economic aid to China, or lend money to the Saudis... again.

    But right now we're already so loved by everyone in the world that American tourists can't even go over to Europe anymore... without getting hugged.

    There are some of you that want to spend our money on some made-up war. To you I say: what part of "lockbox" don't you understand?

    What if there's a hurricane or a tornado? Unlikely I know because of the Anti-Hurricane and Tornado Machine I was instrumental in helping to develop.

    But... what if? What if the scientists are right and one of those giant glaciers hits Boston? That's why we have the lockbox!

    As for immigration, solving that came at a heavy cost, and I personally regret the loss of California. However, the new Mexifornian economy is strong and el Presidente Schwarznegger is doing a great job.

    There have been some setbacks. Unfortunately, the confirmation process for Supreme Court Justice Michael Moore was bitter and devisive. However, I could not be more proud of how the House and Senate pulled together to confirm the nomination of Chief Justice George Clooney.

    Baseball, our national passtime, still lies under the shadow of steroid accusations. But I have faith in baseball commissioner George W. Bush when he says, "We will find the steroid users if we have to tap every phone in America!"

    In 2001 when I came into office, our national security was the most important issue. The threat of terrorism was real.

    Who knew that six years later, Afghanistan would be the most popular Spring Break destination? Or that Six Flags Tehran is the fastest growing amusement park in the Middle East?

    And the scariest thing we Americans have to fear is ... Live From New York, its Saturday Night!
  • by bombadier_beetle (871107) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @05:41PM (#15535379)
    ... is that it inspired one of the worst novels I've ever read, Michael Crichton's State of Fear.
  • As a rule of thumb (Score:3, Informative)

    by PIPBoy3000 (619296) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @05:41PM (#15535381)
    I don't consider any site that has over 50% of the page content taken by ads as an authority in the matter. Especially dancing cursors. Yuck.
  • It's "The Buzz" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Himring (646324) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @05:43PM (#15535403) Homepage Journal
    I found it interesting a bit back when it was reported the ice caps were diminishing on Mars due to its own "global warming." When a scientific issue becomes politically charged it is the most vulnerable to misconstrued notions. Perhaps scientists should leave politics to politians (which they mostly do) and, indeed, politicians should leave science where it belongs too. There are plenty of other reasons to want to end the usage of fossil fuels without mentioning global warming. Mr. Gore, please stick to what's sure and not what's "the buzz"....
  • by Solder Fumes (797270) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @05:43PM (#15535407)
    As long as certain groups stand to profit, and as long as certain people might look like idiots if proven wrong, the debate on this topic will never end. I'm talking about people on either side of the issue. The tough part is that global warming is difficult to prove either positively or negatively, so it's a prime vehicle for unrelated agendas.

    We'll know in a thousand years.
  • by rthille (8526) <.web-slashdot. .at. .rangat.org.> on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @05:45PM (#15535420) Homepage Journal
    _And_ I hope we don't do anything about it.

    Just so we can get rid of Florida. Serve them right for 2000...

  • by JohnWilliams (781097) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @05:45PM (#15535424) Homepage Journal
    From the story: "For quite a while global warming has been presented in the public forum as a universally accepted scientific reality." This is plainly not true. For as long as the global warming issue has been in the public consciousness, it has been referred to as "the global warming debate". There has always been strong opinion and evidence on both sides of this issue. Where have you been, Arthur Dent?
  • Amazed! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@beauTOKYO.org minus city> on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @05:46PM (#15535428)
    This sort of dissent has existed for years, ignored by 'all right thinking people', but out there. Looks like Gore's movie has goaded a few of the dissenters to go on the record and risk destroying their careers. Gotta salute the poor brave but doomed bastards.

    But what I'm amazed at is Slashdot actually accepting a dissenting opinion as an actual article submission instead of this being posted as a reply to a glowing review of the film.

    For another whack at Gore's credibility try this one:

    http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MDE3ZTkyOWYxY TEzYmUwZmQ0ZjNmOTViM2Q1ZWM5ODA= [nationalreview.com]
  • by goMac2500 (741295) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @05:46PM (#15535430)
    Why Exxon Mobile of course!

    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/personfactsheet.p hp?id=1134 [exxonsecrets.org]

    The website he writes for also did a great piece on how McDonalds was good for you, after they took a bunch of cash from McDonalds.
    • by RugRat (323562) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @06:03PM (#15535580)
      The "article" is not an article, but a press release written by an employee of a public affairs company.

      "Tom Harris is mechanical engineer and Ottawa Director of High Park Group, a public affairs and public policy company."

      How this made the front page of ./, I have no idea. Oh, wait.
    • right. credibility (Score:5, Informative)

      by conJunk (779958) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @06:04PM (#15535591)

      a quick google for the researcher the article focuses on [google.com] shows that he doesn't publish. his main credits are online opinion pieces, and the closes thing to a publication i found (the second page of the google) is a .doc file on his labratory's webspace

      if anyone can find anything peer-reviewed by this guy, i'd be keen to see it

    • by harvardian (140312) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @06:08PM (#15535630)
      Would you rather trust a professor who is on Exxon's payroll, or Science magazine (one of the most respected academic journals in the world)? Because here's what Science magazine has to say about the debate:

      http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/306/570 2/1686 [sciencemag.org]

      Some corporations whose revenues might be adversely affected by controls on carbon dioxide emissions have also alleged major uncertainties in the science (2). Such statements suggest that there might be substantive disagreement in the scientific community about the reality of anthropogenic climate change. This is not the case.

      Some people would consider Prof. Carter to be an organ of said corporations.

      Of course it's entirely possible that Prof. Carter is correct, as the Science article points out. But in light of the evidence, I'm inclined to think that this is a FUD campaign rather than a sound argument from a trusted authority.
  • Paid Off (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @05:46PM (#15535434)
    As was pointed out in the Digg discussion, Bob Carter gets his funding from Exxon...

    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/personfactsheet.p hp?id=1134 [exxonsecrets.org]
  • by ChrisRijk (1818) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @05:48PM (#15535453)
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006 /05/al-gores-movie/ [realclimate.org]

    How well does the film handle the science? Admirably, I thought. It is remarkably up to date, with reference to some of the very latest research. Discussion of recent changes in Antarctica and Greenland are expertly laid out. He also does a very good job in talking about the relationship between sea surface temperature and hurricane intensity. As one might expect, he uses the Katrina disaster to underscore the point that climate change may have serious impacts on society, but he doesn't highlight the connection any more than is appropriate.

    There's lots more in the actual article.

    And this is the guy who wrote the above entry:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004 /12/eric-steig/ [realclimate.org]

    Eric Steig is an isotope geochemist at the University of Washington in Seattle. His primary research interest is use of ice core records to document climate variability in the past. He also works on the geological history of ice sheets, on ice sheet dynamics, on statistical climate analysis, and on atmospheric chemistry.
  • by ThinkFr33ly (902481) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @05:48PM (#15535457)
    ... that of a huge sample of 900+ *peer reviewed* papers about climate change, 0 contested that it was occuring or that it was a result of humans.

    It would be almost impossible to say that no scientist disagreed with these claims. There will always be somebody. There are still some "scientists" who claim that the Sun revolves around the earth because of their positions in whatever religious institutions they belong to.

    If they want to contest the points in his movie, that's obviously fine... but also let them publish their claims in a peer reviewed journal so that people smarter than most of us can judge them.
  • That boat has sailed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pq (42856) <rfc2324&yahoo,com> on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @05:50PM (#15535467) Homepage
    It is too late for this argument; global warming is here. Salon is running a great series called Reports from a Warming Planet [salon.com]. They provide a free daypass - please read a couple of the reports, at least.

    I'm sure I'll hear that the plural of anecdote is not data, that it is too expensive to fix, that we should throw up our hands and accept things. Global warming is not happening; and even if it is, we didn't do it; and so what if we did, so what - we should write off Bangladesh [sepiamutiny.com], forget the polar bears, and be happy to grow wheat in Canada instead. Sure. But please, read some of these stories [salon.com].

  • by ewg (158266) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @05:52PM (#15535486)
    This website hosting this article is just not very credible. It uses popup windows and hosts ads for dubious anti-aging products and precious metals investments.

    I'm all for a debate on global warming, but this source doesn't pass my personal credibility filter.
  • by 99luftballon (838486) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @05:53PM (#15535493)
    There's no conclusive proof that smoking causes cancer either, but there is strong evidence.
  • by Ryan C. (159039) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @05:54PM (#15535509)
    Exxon pays his salary. Here's another of his gems: Global warming is good for plants! [tcsdaily.com]

    It's funny how I get a hopeful feeling when I see that there may still be some credible debate on this topic. Sadly the truth really is inconvenient, and depressing.
  • by Ed Pegg (613755) <ed@mathpuzzle.com> on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @05:56PM (#15535522) Homepage
    Here is a chart of the Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere, going back to 1973.

    ftp://140.172.192.211/ccg/figures/co2_mm_obs.png [140.172.192.211]

    http://www.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccgg/insitu.html [noaa.gov]

    I consider myself a scientific conservative -- I don't want to find out what happens when CO2 hits the 430 ppm mark. Some people say that nothing bad will happen. They could be cataclysmically wrong.
  • CFP Bias (Score:5, Informative)

    by jjohnson (62583) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @05:57PM (#15535529) Homepage
    Be aware that the website hosting the article is a far-right broadsheet, the Canadian equivalent of Free Republic [freerepublic.com]. Their agenda is strongly anti-global-warming, which doesn't necessarily discredit the article, but does suggest that one should view it with the same scepticism as one views the recent 'ads' by the Competitive Enterprise Institute [cei.org].
  • Qualified response (Score:3, Insightful)

    by azav (469988) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @06:01PM (#15535560) Homepage Journal
    I'm a computer programmer but a formally trained Marine Biology major. In that, I took a season of Oceanography. What is IMPORTANT for the layman to understand here is that we have these cycles that one must understand FIRST. Every 10 years or so, there is a drying pattern in California that leads to drought. There are 10, 20, 50 and 100 year overlapping cycles of temperature, moisture, etc... cycling that happen everywhere in the world. Some areas have droughts every 10 years, some every 20. And sometimes, areas that have 100 year cycles and 10 year cycles overlap to be particularly worse. These time-scales are so large that 1 or three bad years do not definitely mean "OMG! Global warming is here!" It is very important for people to know that, especially when it is June and and already 100 degrees every day in Texas. There are also years where there are more hurricanes and hurricanes of greater severity as well as years with less.

    It would do everyone well to look up a book on Oceanography and read how the ocean affects climate. It's just one chapter. Hit your local library.

    Now, with that understanding under your belt, animal populations in the aquatic world (read: schools of fish) are fed by the ocean conveyor belt bring nutrient depleted hot water down to the bottom and causing the nutrient rich cold water to flow up. This feeds the krill and shrimp and plankton and they are eaten by bigger fish and so on. If this conveyor is stopped, all fisheries dependent upon it in the world are screwed and we don't know what will happen but it's most likely not good.

    Climate (hotness, moisture, rainfall) affects food growers the world over. If the climate patterns change, it will mostly be destabilizing to farmers and that is bad. Less food, rising prices.

    Everything we are doing to influence climate change builds up momentum towards that change. It may be slow but once it is started, it is hard to slow down and reverse. 1 degree difference in the entire ocean is a huge difference. Also, unlike us, water temperature in many parts of the ocean is constant to a few degrees. If it changes faster then the critters can handle, they die.

    Once you know the rules upon which the ocean works and how it creates climate, running fast and lose with stuff that might change it is hugely dangerous and irresponsible to take a chance on. More moist warm air in places it wasn't before means more tornados and hurricanes in places they haven't been before. More extreme weather in general. This means more insurance claims and that means higher insurance costs factored into the economy.

    Most of the times in America, we wait for disasters to happen before we spend enormous amounts off money and time to fix them. I don't want to be a betting man with our affect on the entire climate of the Earth. Calving icebergs the entire size of Rhode Island is not something normal. If we want Florida, New Orleans, Manhattan, Holland or those small islands in the pacific to be around in 50 years and have enough food to eat, I would not expect it to be if we (the US) and China (the largest emerging polluting market)do not take radical steps to curb global warming pollutants. It's that simple.
  • Questionable Source? (Score:5, Informative)

    by ndansmith (582590) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @06:01PM (#15535564)
    Bruce Perens pulled the same story over at Technocrat because the author is "from a paid political PR agency." link [technocrat.net]

    Read, but read with caution. The author is paid to have his opinion.
  • by twifosp (532320) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @06:12PM (#15535668)
    Why do we have to wait for 100% certainty before we act? While it is true that the theory of global warming is uncertain, that is a scientifically unfair statement to make. In order to scientifically validate the theory of global warming one hundred percent, it would have to be observed.


    There isn't any conclusive evidence for theories on how gravity propagates. We have theories; special relativity space-time warping, string/m-theory transmitting gravitons. However no one can explain with 100% certainty why gravity works. So the theory of gravity lacks certainty. But last I checked, if I were to jump, gravity from the Earth would cancel out my force and return me to the ground. So yup, Gravity still works despite not having certainty behind theory.


    According to the scientific process, we'll have to observe global warming in a biosphere before the theory will gain certainty. Last I checked we did not have a spare biosphere hanging around, or millions of years to test, or a spare Earth somewhere in orbit where we can conduct long term testing in order to satisfy the scientific method.


    I am all for the scientific process and honestly wish it were used in more cases in every day life. However, in some cases, especially in those studies that overlap the lifespan of scientists, I feel it is ok to act without certainty in cases where the speculative evidence supports the theory. Say it with me now: Supporting evidence in the case where no alternative evidence exists wins everytime. In other words, just like the theory of gravity, lack of 100% certainity does not make the opposite true.


    Despite whether or not global warming is a real phenomenon, not acting now would be like driving without auto or medical insurance. Sure, you might make it home safe, but you might also get hit by a drunk driver in a 4 ton truck with no insurance. Our laws require insurance for that reason. Why don't we start insuring the Earth with pre-emptive care?

  • Science Magazine (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Thad Boyd (880932) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @06:15PM (#15535687) Homepage
    Science Magazine analyzed a total of 928 peer-reviewed scientific papers on global warming between 1993 and 2003. Number that challenged the consensus that global warming is real and caused by human activity: zero. Scientists don't debate whether global warming is occurring, or even that it's caused by humans. Only politicians do.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @06:19PM (#15535721)
    Check out the Union of Concerned Scientist website. The Union's members are from varied fields of science, but many of its members are atmospheric scientists. The Union concludes that global warming is strongly support by available evidence. [ucsusa.org]http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/ [ucsusa.org]
  • by superdude72 (322167) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @06:42PM (#15535907)
    From the article:
    Carter is one of hundreds of highly qualified non-governmental, non-industry, non-lobby group climate experts who contest the hypothesis that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are causing significant global climate change.

    What a weaselly way of putting it. Here's what 30 seconds of Googling says about Professor Robert Carter: He's a member of the Institute for Public Affairs, a corporate-funded think tank.

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Bob_Car ter [sourcewatch.org]

    You see, he isn't working for the coal industry per se. He's working for a think tank that is funded by corporate donors that may or may not include the coal industry. See the difference?

    In piling up scientist after scientist while failing to refute Gore's arguments, this article is reminiscent of the Nazi propaganda pamphlet "100 Scientists Against Einstein." Einstein's response still applies: "If I were wrong, one would be enough."
  • by showka (982565) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @07:16PM (#15536144)
    The chief scientist mentioned is a guy named Bob Carter, so I thought I'd do a quick Google search to see if, just maybe, the majority of things he said were in dispute.

    Of course they were:

    http://rondam.blogspot.com/2006/04/global-warming- is-myth-not.html [blogspot.com]
    http://timlambert.org/category/science/bobcarter/ [timlambert.org]
    http://johnquiggin.com/index.php/archives/2005/04/ 18/duffy-and-carter-on-counterpoint/ [johnquiggin.com]

    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/personfactsheet.p hp?id=1134 [exxonsecrets.org]
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/orgfactsheet.php? id=112 [exxonsecrets.org]

    Furthermore, even though the FCP article tries to paint Carter as an independent, ExxonSecrets.org links him to "Tech Central Science Foundation or Tech Central Station". Here's what the site lists as their details:

    1133 21st St NW Suite M100 c/o Ralph R Brown Washington, DC 20036 Phone: 202-546-4242 Tech Central Science Foundation was formed in late November 2002 (Form 990). The Foundation appears to be a funding arm of the free-market news site, TechCentralStation.com.

    ExxonMobil gave the Foundation $95,000 in 2003 for "Climate Change Support." According to Guidestar.org, a nonprofit research tool, the Foundation had 2003 income of $150,000 and $110,903 in assets. The Foundation commissioned a study by Charles River Associates alleging that the costs of the McCain-Lieberman bill of 2003 would be a minimum of $350 annually per household through 2010, rising to $530 per household by 2020, and could rise to as high as $1,300 per year per household. Related information: Tech Central Station was launched in 1999 as "a cross between a journal of Internet opinion and a cyber think tank open to the public" (TCS news release). According to Washington Monthly, TCS is published by the DCI Group, 'a prominent Washington public affairs firm specializing in P.R., lobbying, and so-called 'Astroturf' organizing, generally on behalf of corporations, GOP politicians, and the occasional Third-World despot." TCS shares office space, staff and ownership with DCI Group. ('Meet the Press' Washington Monthly, December 2003. http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2003/031 2.confessore.html [washingtonmonthly.com]) Corporate funders of Tech Central Station include AT&T, Avue Technologies, The Coca-Cola Company, General Motors Corporation, Intel, McDonalds, Merck, Microsoft, Nasdaq, PhRMA, and Qualcomm (Tech Central Station website).


    The entire Canadian Free Press article loses credibility because of this line:

    No; Carter is one of hundreds of highly qualified non-governmental, non-industry, non-lobby group climate experts who contest the hypothesis that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are causing significant global climate change.


    A non-industry expert who works for a place that's paid for by Exxon.

    I can't believe this article got posted on the main page. I guess since Al Gore's in a movie, posting some already-been-written article quoting a few paid shills who say he's lying had to be done to keep things politically balanced. I personally think news links should only be posted if they actually represent reality.
  • by Qwavel (733416) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @07:22PM (#15536184)
    We all know that you can find any opinion on any topic on the internet and that you have to be more careful then ever about your sources. So, if slashdot is going to refer to articles on controversial issues, shouldn't it stick to sources that have some authority or respect?

    I wouldn't be surprised if Gore did go to far - few things are as certain as they are presented to us by either side. However, the article goes way too far and ignores the fact that the general concensus of the scientific community is in line with what Gore is saying.

    So, it makes me wonder what this strange website is? It is run out of my city (Toronto) and yet I've never heard of it. I don't see a bio of the author on the website, but I note that the two main authors involved in this website are from the Toronto Sun and Fox News. I don't need to say anthing about FOX, but you might not have heard of the Toronto Sun. It is a right wing tabloid, featuring girly pictures on page 2. You probably have one in your city, so you know what I mean.

  • by bobalu (1921) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @07:30PM (#15536240)
    I'd say it's pretty obvious where they're coming from. Slashdot's really going to hell. This is a sample from just their front page:

    "The images are slowly coalescing out of the smoke of the progressive anti-war campfires, the bonfires in New Jersey, where our Constitution and Ann Coulter's latest book are being consumed by the current purveyors of charitable lock-step liberalism, and from the super heated mind of Howard Dean, the showman extraordinaire and carpet gnawing Democratic spokesman deluxe."

    "Once again, the gay marriage issue has come before the Senate. And with no surprise, Senators motioned to strike down a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. What a sad state the Senate has become! It should have been a no-brainer to stand up in the defense of marriage! "

    'As the price of gasoline and the myriad products that utilize petroleum in their manufacture rises, Americans are going to ask why the Congress has resisted accessing the billions of barrels' worth of oil and natural gas in our offshore continental shelf. "

    "It's so darned funny and I am such a naïf. I thought it would take a day or two for the left to begin to down play the death of Zarqawi, one of the premier death dealers on the planet today, and a guy responsible for a litany of murder and mayhem among our troops--OUR TROOPS. You know, the guys everybody pledges to support even though the liberal cognoscenti and the progressive Nomenklatura all hate the war."

    "Great rivers of destiny are churning just below the Electoral dam.

    It looks like the stage is being set for the next round of heartbreak for the Democrats, their quest for 15 seats in the House and their need to overthrow the Republicans in that charnel house of the Senate, should this, their greatest of all electoral endeavors, not pan out."
  • by npsimons (32752) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @07:45PM (#15536344) Homepage Journal
    Please change the title of this article from "Scientists Respond to Gore on Global Warming" to "Industry Shills Respond to Gore on Global Warming". Not that journalistic integrity has ever stopped you from running obviously wrong headlines before; I'm just trying to advise on how to maintain what little dignity you have left.
  • by Marrow (195242) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @07:51PM (#15536371)
    1. We need to have an energy source that is not based on localized supplies in the middle east (or elsewhere)
    2. The air around our population centers is polluted by fossil fuel consumption with serious health consequences
    3. Fossil fuels cannot be used for deep space travel or colonization which is necessary for survival of our species (eventually)
    4. Fossil fuels are poisonous to mine and refine and harm the workers in those industries and towns.
    5. Centralized control of energy sources leads to higher prices and a permanent "tax" on economic development and expansion
    6. Fossil fuels are poisonous to transport and have caused enormous damage to the marine ecology during spills
    7. Systems used to convert fossil fuels to energy are complicated and wear out quickly. They are expensive to produce and maintain
    8. Systems used to convert fossil fuels to energy create noise which causes problems in urban environments
    9. Fossil fuel "control" implies a loss of personal and national liberty

    Note that I am not saying that existing alternatives solve any of these problems.

    I am saying that there are significant costs/problems to the current energy systems.
    We have lived with these costs and written them off, but they are still there and still important.

    Its worth significant effort to solve these problems. The research to solve
    these problems will also likely benefit us in other areas.

    It would be far better to solve the problems than to continue to live in an
    unstable,poisonous,noisy world.

  • by HoneyBeeSpace (724189) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @08:21PM (#15536528) Homepage
    If you'd like to run your own NASA Global Climate Model (GCM) on your own computer, the EdGCM [columbia.edu] project has ported a GCM to Mac & Windows and wrapped it in a GUI so you can point-and-click your way around. Turn the sun down or add some nitrogen, whatever you want...

    Disclaimer: I'm a developer on the project.
  • by thomasgulch (755029) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @08:34PM (#15536593)
    Technocrat: "We ran a pointer to a global-warming-doubter story this morning. Here's the link. I decided to pull the story after reviewing the author attribution (he's from a paid political PR agency), and the venue's other coverage on this issue. Sorry."
  • by miscellaneous (14183) on Wednesday June 14, 2006 @08:58PM (#15536704) Homepage
    My initial reaction to this article is that it looks like propaganda. If you read each of the quotes from the scientist in it, you'll noticed that the qualifying adjectives around each of the stated facts in quotations minimize the importance of any observable facts that can't be denied, and the attributive verbs for the quotes are chosen to slant the reader's perception as well.

    Climate change experts, like most scientists, tend to be pretty circumspect with their public statements and avoid hyperbole, so the quotes calling Gore "pathetic" and "an embarrassment" are a red flag as well.

    Any "feature" article is going to have something of a slant--and there's nothing wrong with that--but the words in article seemed so consistently well-chosen that they seemed vetted by some PR flack versed in the art of using words to sell your opinions to stupid people.

    While that's not enough, in itself, to make me disregard the article, it did make me want to see what I could find out about this "Tom Harris" guy who wrote it. Turns out this guy has made something of a cottage industry out of "debunking" global warming, and in at least one case has co-written an article with the Patterson he quotes in this article. He doesn't disclose this fact, although, in fairness, it was written for a "journal" that, amazingly for 2006, has no web presence.

    Harris also wrote another article along the same lines as this one, entitled "The Gods Are Laughing", which you can find here:

    http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/s tory.html?id=d0235a70-33f1-45b3-803b-829b1b3542ef [canada.com]

    This one starts out with a lead paragraph that points out that *real* scientists disagree with "liberal arts graduate" Gore about global warming. More red flags here, because people with a good case to make generally don't have to resort to challenging the scientific credentials of their opponents.

    The fact that Gore has no PhD in climatology isn't really germane to the debate, although it seems to be a major focus of these pairs of articles. Although once certainly needs some advanced training to conduct climatology research, one would hope that you wouldn't need to go to school for eight years just to be able to read the conclusions section of a peer-reviewed paper. Else, what's the point of doing research, if your findings can only be conveyed to other scientist who are already working from 99.9% of the same knowledge base as you? And one certainly doesn't need a PhD to talk to climatologists and build a consensus view of their opinions.

    The director of the atmosphere and energy bits of the Sierra Club of Canada wrote a missive below that explains in more detail a few of the shady rhetorical tricks Harris uses, and which I have alluded to above:

    http://www.sierraclub.ca/national/postings/climate -skeptic-response.html [sierraclub.ca]

    Personally, I'm starting to lean toward the this-guy-is-a-shill theory, myself.
  • by davesag (140186) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @10:24AM (#15539726) Homepage
    Despite what the headline article claims, and what some posters here sadly believe, human induced planetary heating (global warming just sounds too benign) is real and there is broad consensus across the scientific community on that. sadly the exxon funded shills are paid good money to add layer upon layer of doubt upon this scientific consensus. Its all handled by the same PR people who worked for big tobacco a decade or two ago.

"The vast majority of successful major crimes against property are perpetrated by individuals abusing positions of trust." -- Lawrence Dalzell

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