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Global Warming Debunked? 1120

Posted by kdawson
from the concensus-or-what? dept.
limbicsystem writes, "I'm a scientist. I like Al Gore. I donate to the Sierra club, I bicycle everywhere and I eat granola. And I just read a very convincing article in the UK Telegraph that makes me think that the 'scientific consensus' on global warming is more than a little shaky. Now IANACS (I am not a climate scientist). And the Telegraph is notoriously reactionary. Can anyone out there go through this piece and tell me why it might be wrong? Because it seems to be solid, well researched, and somewhat damning of a host of authorities (the UN, the editors of Nature, the Canadian Government) who seem to have picked a side in the global warming debate without looking at the evidence." The author of the Telegraph piece is Christopher Monckton, a retired journalist and former policy advisor to Margaret Thatcher.
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Global Warming Debunked?

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  • by aliscool (597862) * on Monday November 06, 2006 @03:14PM (#16740077)
    "Can anyone out there go through this piece and tell me why it might be wrong?"

    This is /. buddy, what you'll get is a bunch of reasons why its right or wrong from people that didn't read the article.
    • by FhnuZoag (875558) on Monday November 06, 2006 @03:33PM (#16740419)
      A bunch of errors leap up from a random scan.

      Hansen's testimony to congress: Hansen presented three graphs, giving three possible scenarios of future events. The 0.3 (in fact, 0.45 C) claim comes from Scenario A.

      http://www.cato.org/testimony/images/pm072998a.gif [cato.org]

      But the fact that it is called Scenario A is because there are also scenario B and C. A is a 'business as usual' scenario, involving exponential growth in emissions. What happened since 1988 was nothing like that. If anything, industrialisation declined in the West, creating a situation closer to B and C - moderate controls to emissions.

      http://www.giss.nasa.gov/edu/gwdebate/00fig1.gif [nasa.gov]

      It's not like this is secret information. NASA itself has discussed this.

      The objective was to illustrate the broad range of possibilities in the ignorance of how forcings would actually develop. The extreme scenarios (A with fast growth and no volcanos, and C with terminated growth of greenhouse gases) were meant to bracket plausible rates of change.


      By quoting this assertion, the author of this article has shown that he is either deliberately deceptive, or has not looked at all of the evidence. Don't listen to the regurgitated rants of this non-expert.
      • So many lies. (Score:5, Informative)

        by FhnuZoag (875558) on Monday November 06, 2006 @03:52PM (#16740869)
        Let's carry on debunking this debunkation, then.

        First, the UN implies that carbon dioxide ended the last four ice ages. It displays two 450,000-year graphs: a sawtooth curve of temperature and a sawtooth of airborne CO2 that's scaled to look similar. Usually, similar curves are superimposed for comparison.


        Yes, but where did the UN actually say that CO2 ended the ice ages? How is the author reading their minds? Such a view would certainly be contrary to must of mainstream science, of course, so where's the evidence that the author isn't setting up a strawman?

        The Co2 graphs show the reliability of ice core CO2 data as a proxy for finding out historical temperature levels, and also the potential for positive feedback effects if temperatures rise. They give an idea as to the sensitivity of the situation to perturbations.

        They gave one technique for reconstructing pre-thermometer temperature 390 times more weight than any other (but didn't say so).


        So how does the author know, then?

        They used a computer model to draw the graph from the data, but scientists later found that the model almost always drew hockey-sticks even if they fed in random, electronic "red noise".


        This is pure and simply a lie. It's a lie, because all of these critics have ever show is the tendency for hockey sticks in PV01. But PV01 is a certain statistical consequence that is not the same as the actual reconstruction. Studies searching for the hockey stick tendency in the full reconstruction have come up with nothing, because there are other components in the full reconstruction that cancel out the first term.

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/graphics/2006/11/0 5/nwarm05.gif [telegraph.co.uk]

        This graph is comparing apples to oranges. The top graph is a global temperature anomaly graph. The bottom is the temperature of a relatively small continent, dominated by a warm ocean current. One is a average data over the world, and the other is strongly affected by local effects - such as the medieval warm period. The top graph is what global warming is talking about. The bottom graph is not relevant to the debate at all.

        You don't need computer models to "find" lambda. Its value is given by a century-old law, derived experimentally by a Slovenian professor and proved by his Austrian student (who later committed suicide when his scientific compatriots refused to believe in atoms). The Stefan-Boltzmann law, not mentioned once in the UN's 2001 report, is as central to the thermodynamics of climate as Einstein's later equation is to astrophysics.


        From wikipedia:
        The Stefan-Boltzmann law, also known as Stefan's law, states that the total energy radiated per unit surface area of a black body in unit time (known variously as the black-body irradiance, energy flux density, radiant flux, or the emissive power), j*, is directly proportional to the fourth power of the black body's thermodynamic temperature T (also called absolute temperature):


        Stefan Boltzmann applies to a perfect blackbody. The Earth is not a perfect blackbody. In fact, not alot of things are. Doesn't it seem wrong to say that energy exposure always raises temperature to the same degree regardless of the object?

        And so on and so forth.
        • Re:So many lies. (Score:5, Informative)

          by The_Wilschon (782534) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:40PM (#16742077) Homepage
          Stefan Boltzmann applies to a perfect blackbody. The Earth is not a perfect blackbody. In fact, not alot of things are. Doesn't it seem wrong to say that energy exposure always raises temperature to the same degree regardless of the object?
          IAAPhysicist, and I can tell you that the Stefan-Boltzmann law applies quite well to an awful lot of things, even though they are not perfect blackbodies. For a perfect blackbody, the Stefan-Boltzmann law is exactly right. For most other things, it is a quite good approximation. The earth is far closer to a perfect blackbody than you might expect.
          • Re:So many lies. (Score:5, Informative)

            by icensnow (932196) on Monday November 06, 2006 @08:55PM (#16746211)
            The earth is far closer to a perfect blackbody than you might expect.
            IAAClimatologist, and the earth-atmosphere-clouds system is not a surface and follows the Stefan-Boltzmann blackbody law quite poorly. That's why we have a greenhouse effect. Usually, we parameterize outgoing longwave flux in a way that the sensitivity to temperature is about half of what S-B predicts. A reference to which I cannot provide a link without (c) violations: Bintanja, R., 1996: The parameterization of shortwave and longwave radiative fluxes for use in zonally averaged climate models. J. Climate, 9, 439-454
        • Re:So many lies. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by electroniceric (468976) on Monday November 06, 2006 @05:38PM (#16743355)
          As a someone with some graduate education in oceanography, I have a pretty direct interest in this, and I think you've hit on something very important. When Mann's paper came out, I was still skeptical about the anthropogenic nature of warming for several reasons. One was that I felt the uncertainties on many estimations were still rather large. For example, the lack of understanding on whether the ocean is presently a net source or net sink of carbon was a pretty big hole in the carbon budget. I don't think that one has been thoroughly resolved, but there's been progress.

          Mann's original "hockey stick" paper is another such example. The criticism and counter-criticism of Mann's paper is a great example of good science in action. Van Storch and the other Canadian guys (McKitrick and McIntyre, one a geophysicist with an oil exploration company, and the other an economist) raised reasonable criticism about the type of noise fed in, and how the medieval warm period was treated. Others (e.g. http://web.mit.edu/~phuybers/www/Hockey/Huybers_Co mment.pdf [mit.edu]), including Mann wrote counter-criticism, Von Storch et all wrote counter-coutner-criticisms, etc., and notwithstanding the cute quote in this Monckton guy's PDF about "CENSORED_DATA", Mann's finding still looks to be an important one. Now models are models and not measured events, but the use of those findings was a pretty big step in modeling future climate change based on paleological proxy data. There are only a few credible scientists among this climate-change denier lot, and they themselves are pretty old guard (e.g. Richard Lindzen, William Gray).

          For myself, the process around Mann's result did a lot to convince me that in fact the was certainty that humans are an important driver of the observed warming.
        • More debunkation. (Score:5, Informative)

          by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Monday November 06, 2006 @06:15PM (#16744009)
          You started well, so I'll just stick to what I know.

          * Monckton mentions that there is a direct correlation between number of sunspots and grain prices falling, attributing it to the fact that more sunspots mean that the sun is hotter. Actually, that's wrong. Sunspots are cooler regions on the surface of the sun (3800 K vs 5400K on the rest of the surface), which means that the sun is actually radiating *less* energy in the visible and infrared spectrum. So his entire point completely falls apart with this basic item of astrophysics.

          * Monckton categorically states that the temperature of the oceans has decreased, without using sources. From what I know though, temperatures have increased. Can't find a bullet proof link for it (was looking for NOAA timelines, but no luck), but you can use coral-reef die-offs as a good proxy. There was also a lot of hubbub when people tried to tie the increase in surface temperature of the Gulf of Mexico to the increased strength and number of Hurricanes that hit the US coast.

          These are the two things that I categorically to be false. As for the rest of his arguments, they lack the data support I would expect from a debunking report. For example, why exactly did the ICCP remove the old temperature graph that showed in extreme fashion the warm and cold periods of the middle-ages? Besides, the temperature differences are still there - they are just not as blatant as before. There are also his 10 points which he thinks needs to be proven for Global Climate Change to be true, and what he thinks of them. Point 1 is a nice straw man, as someone pointed out already. Point 3 is another one, as people aren't arguing that the sun doesn't influence temperatures. They are arguing that the sun is less important than greenhouse gases. For the other points, I can give him the benefit of the doubt, even though all have significant problems with their wordings and his assessment of them.

          In short, he might not be a shill - but there are enough problems in his "debunkation" to make me doubt the sincerity of his approach and his intentions. This might still be ok, if there weren't some massive errors in some of his arguments, which completely invalidate the points he is trying to make. As a result, I'm filing this under "waiting without bated breath to be properly ripped apart by people who know more".

          Quite frankly, one reason I'm confident that we are in the beginning of Global Climate Change is that the only counter-arguments I see are poorly thought out, rife with personal attacks, lack data and make lots of statements without supporting data. If a group arguing for a position sounds like a bunch of idiots, I tend to take the opposite view.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            Monckton mentions that there is a direct correlation between number of sunspots and grain prices falling, attributing it to the fact that more sunspots mean that the sun is hotter. Actually, that's wrong. Sunspots are cooler regions on the surface of the sun (3800 K vs 5400K on the rest of the surface), which means that the sun is actually radiating *less* energy in the visible and infrared spectrum. So his entire point completely falls apart with this basic item of astrophysics.

            This is incorrect. Sunspots
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by d34thm0nk3y (653414)
      Luckily, his references link gives a nice summary of his core arguments:
      His stances follow the sentence, my counters are bold

      ALL TEN of the propositions listed below must be proven true if the climate-change "consensus" is to be proven true False!!!!!. The first article considers the first six of the listed propositions and draws the conclusions shown. The second article will consider the remaining four propositions. Proposition Conclusion

      1. That the debate is over and all credible climate scientists are
  • probably but (Score:5, Insightful)

    by east coast (590680) on Monday November 06, 2006 @03:14PM (#16740079)
    From the blurb: Can anyone out there go through this piece and tell me why it might be wrong?

    I'm sure we got a couple thousand people here who will tell you why it's wrong... the question is; are they right?

    I'm afraid that you're probably going to get a lot of shoddy answers to a legitimate question here.
    • by minus_273 (174041)
      having just read the article, it is actually very well done.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bman08 (239376)
      Without a control planet or two and a few billion years for testing, you're not going to get science that satisfies the flat earth crowd and their petrochemical bankrollers. Even then they're going to take cynical pokes at the methodology of the tests and a lot of smart people with good intentions are gonna be left scratching their heads. The fact is, these climate scientists are doing what they can with the information they have. It's not easily testable, let alone repeatable... so yeah, it's bad scienc
    • by Wah (30840) on Monday November 06, 2006 @03:40PM (#16740577) Homepage Journal
      "When men have ceased to believe in Christianity, it is not that they will believe in nothing. They will believe
      in anything." - G.K. Chesterton.


      There ya go. From his preface. People believe in climate change because they have lost their faith.

      If that's not his argument...why is this one of the first things he says?

      Also, he cites the concept that all climate scientists are saying there's a problem so they'll keep their jobs...before he gets to any actual numbers.

      Then he says this...
      The snows of Kilimanjaro have been receding. So have the glaciers in Glacier National Park,
      Washington State, and many other (though not all) mountain glaciers in temperate or equatorial
      latitudes. However, very nearly all of the world's 160,000+ glaciers (this surprisingly large figure is
      from the UN's 2001 report) have never been visited by humankind or measured in detail. They are on
      the high, central plateaux Antarctica and Greenland. The great majority are not melting. They are
      growing.
      This is not true.

      Then he says.
      I conclude that the rise in temperatures since 1900 has been far from uniform globally. Overall,
      temperatures may have risen at only three-quarters of the rate assumed by the UN in its 2001 report. As
      will be seen later, even a small discrepancy between the UN's assumed 0.6C and the true 20th-century
      increase in temperature has a significant effect on the calibration of climate-projecting models, and
      hence on the magnitude of their projections of future climate.
      Which is a classic mistake of mistaking weather for climate..and local for global.

      Then he says it's not greenhouse gases...but the sun that is getting hotter.
      I conclude that the Sun is very likely to have contributed rather more to the past century's warm period than the UN has assumed, and that assumptions about the contribution of greenhouse gases to warming should be revised downward accordingly.
      So, uh, it's not even that it's "global warming" that has been debunked...it's that the U.N. is wrong about what is causing it.

      (yes, the headline is wrong).

      Then he goes into the calculations...none of which is data he personally gathered (because if he did, that would be he is a climate scientist...which would mean he couldn't be trusted...as he would then be being paid to study the climate).

      So...yea..that's why it's wrong.
      • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Monday November 06, 2006 @03:49PM (#16740777) Homepage Journal
        If there wasn't such a huge incentive for industry to fund research that "debunks" the theory of global warming, I might be a little more willing to listen. But the fact is, you've got researchers on one side, and believe me, there's absolutely no upside to telling Americans that dumping tons of pollutants into the atmosphere is going to have a bad effect, so researchers on one side who are going where the data takes them and researchers on the other who are paid handsomely to find out that there's absolutely no problem with spewing ever-growing quantities of hydrocarbons into the atmosphere.

        Who you gonna believe?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Sure, but global warming has the benefit of giving a moral edge to telling China to quit building power stations and growing their economy...
        • by dlt074 (548126) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:25PM (#16741681)
          "there's absolutely no upside to telling Americans that dumping tons of pollutants into the atmosphere is going to have a bad effect"

          sure there is! it's called government grants. funding every year.

          don't be so naive.
             
        • by HappySqurriel (1010623) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:38PM (#16742025)
          there's absolutely no upside to telling Americans that dumping tons of pollutants into the atmosphere is going to have a bad effect

          I would actually disagree with this because (for the most part) we have a gigantic media circus that works by making sure everyone is too afraid to not watch the news (or read the newspaper) that will make you "famous" if you play into their fears; this strategy has existed for decades with the world being on the "brink of destruction" whether the threat was from Nuclear Weapons or Global Warming. Rational voices are usually silenced in favour of more radical messages to increase ratings and readership.

          Now, there have been several pieces of evidence that bring into question the conclusion that "Humans are causing global warming" that have not been brought to public attention because they're in a field that requires much stronger proof than climate science does. The most damaging piece of evidence I have seen is that the cycles of heating and cooling are directly related to sunspot activity (the greater the sunspot activity the warmer the earth is) even though the irradiant energy arriving from the sun to the earth doesn't change; currently the sun is at a historic high for sunspot activity (historic from studying it for ~400 years). Even though we see this relationship (which could explain global warming) it can not be published until we understand why it would influence the temperature of the earth; is the electromagnetic energy from the sunspots doing something to the atmosphere that allows the irradiant energy to reach the earth more effectively?

          Have you ever heard of the connection between sunspots and global temperature? Was this because the science isn't strong enough or because it is a more moderate explanation of global warming?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by c6gunner (950153)
          I see you've never looked at the budgets for groups like Greenpeace, etc. Research that backs up the idea that Global Warming is man made actually has more potential to generate funding than the opposite. Why? Because it can be used to guilt-trip citizens and government into throwing fistfuls of money both at the problem and (thanks to Kyoto) at the third world. As such, it's not only lucrative for certain organizations, but also achieves the aims of the "wealth-redistribution" crowd. If you don't thin
  • by eko33 (982179)

    I would like to point out TFA says nothing about Linux or Microsoft and I am confused.

    Also, the graphs would be a lot sweeter if they were replaced with pictures of robots... or lasers.

  • After reading the article, it sounds like this is a case of some fanatics in power over exaggerating the effects of global warming. But you won't be able to convince people until the average yearly temperature about the world has passed the previously recorded high temperature. Then some more people will believe and then some more and maybe it will be too late. If we steadily head upwards of 0.1C per ten years, it will get there though. I guess only time will tell.

    Statistics & empirical evidenc
  • Song and Dance show (Score:3, Interesting)

    by suso (153703) * on Monday November 06, 2006 @03:17PM (#16740137) Homepage Journal
    I think the biggest problem with the whole climate change debate, is that the common man can't easily do all the research to come to their own good conclusion. So they have to believe whoever in the media has the best song and dance show. This is the case with a lot of things though so there you go.
    • Nope (Score:4, Insightful)

      by njdj (458173) on Monday November 06, 2006 @03:58PM (#16741043)

      So they have to believe whoever in the media has the best song and dance show.

      The media nowadays will publish whatever sells more advertising. That means: whatever sounds most sensational. Forecasting climate catastrophe sounds pretty sensational. It attracts more readers, generates more controversy, and (most important!) sells more advertising. So the media will go for it.

      You not only don't have to "believe whoever in the media has the best song and dance show"; you're an idiot if you do.

      You can look at the prediction track record of the people who are quoted. And understanding Monckton's criticisms is not rocket science. He says the graphs produced by the global-warming doomsayers in 2001 suppress the medieval warm period. By golly, he's right. The graph makes it look as though the current warming is exceptional, but it isn't. Fluctuations happen. The warming between 1000 and about 1400 AD was more than the current warming, and it's mentioned in many historical sources (e.g. Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]) and has been confirmed by many studies. You don't need calculus to understand stuff like this.

      It is prudent to be alert to risks of changing the climate. Modest measures to reduce our gross waste of fossil fuels would be sensible. For example, if the US raised its gasoline taxes to European levels, Americans might be less inclined to buy SUVs. But extreme and costly measures seem foolish.

      • Re:Nope (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Crispy Critters (226798) on Monday November 06, 2006 @05:49PM (#16743569)
        "The warming between 1000 and about 1400 AD was more than the current warming,"

        Really? Let's look at the Wikipedia pages, as you suggest. "The Medieval Warm Period (MWP) or Medieval Climate Optimum was a time of unusually warm climate in Europe,"

        Whoa. Wait a minute. What were those last two words? "in Europe" So anyone can read Monckton's article, do a little outside reading, and see that he is trying to argue that local climate variation disproves claims of global warming. Does that mean his conclusions must be wrong? Of course not. But, by golly, it sure sounds like he is more concerned about convincing his readers than he is about creating a valid argument.

  • by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Monday November 06, 2006 @03:17PM (#16740141) Homepage Journal
    The answer to global warming is *very* simple, and *very* well known. We just need to plant massive amounts of biomass to soak up all the excess carbon. We just need to turn the United States into a temperate rain forest- with enough variety to ensure tree survival and food production from the rain forest itself. Lock up that carbon in wood- and then use the wood to build houses- locking up the carbon for decades, maybe centuries...
    • by Adelbert (873575)
      When biomass dies, it either rots or is burnt.

      If it decays, the bacteria feeding on it release the carbon stored in the trees/plants/whatever in the form of CO2.

      If it is burnt, the carbon in the biomass is oxidized, and released in the form of CO2.

      As much as I'd like the answer to Global Warming to be as simple as planting a few trees, it really isn't. Tree planting has its place, but isn't nearly as effective as reduction in man-made CO2 levels.
      • When biomass dies, it either rots or is burnt.

        Yes, which then goes to feed more biomass- the idea is to match our logrithmic curve of carbon production with a logrithmic curve of biomass creation.

        As much as I'd like the answer to Global Warming to be as simple as planting a few trees, it really isn't. Tree planting has its place, but isn't nearly as effective as reduction in man-made CO2 levels.

        Actually, if you could just replace the area lost in the Brazilian rain forest in the last 3 years, you'd do more than 20 Kyoto Accords put together. Trees are *extremely* efficient in this, and some trees that we've found that grow here in America can survive up to 20 centuries if taken care of.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chris Burke (6130)
      I find your signature to be incorrect. The first example that sprang to mind was the Michelson-Morley experiment, designed to prove whether the Luminiferous Ether existed as the medium through which light travelled. The experimentors were quite biased in favor of the ether's existence, and continued to experiment in order to find it. Despite running many experiments with many devices designed to eliminate sources of error that might hide the ether's existence, they never measured an effect larger than th
  • by DragonWriter (970822) on Monday November 06, 2006 @03:19PM (#16740165)
    ...but I don't look to newspapers for serious scientific research, I look to peer-reviewed scientific journals. But, that aside, the accusations in the article all seem to be things (relative role of solar forcing, the "medieval warm period", etc.) that have been discussed and dealt-with repeatedly in the literature, both as to their accuracy and their impact, there doesn't seem to be anything, on the first impression, new here.
    • by Mateo_LeFou (859634) on Monday November 06, 2006 @03:42PM (#16740601) Homepage
      ..which is generally pretty levelheaded:

      "Sir Nicholas may well err on the gloomy side. And it is certainly impossible to predict precisely what effect climate change will have had on the world economy in a century's time. But neither point invalidates Sir Nicholas's central perception -- that governments should act not on the basis of the likeliest outcome from climate change but on the risk of something really catastrophic..."
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Shivetya (243324)
      I am not a scientist either and I used to rely on peer reviewed scientific journals. Yet sometime in the 80s they took a change for the worse. Suddenly it became apparent that making claims that always required further research were more important than coming up with sound judgement. I think computer modeling has opened a new door where self perpetuating studies and "sciences" can breed like rats. In a subject with very few absolutes (the weather) this is actually very easy. Throw out some sensational
  • by Petersko (564140) on Monday November 06, 2006 @03:19PM (#16740169)
    Give me any conclusion on a topic involving a really complex process, and I'll find a way to poke a bunch of holes in it. I'll examine the process of investigation and nit-pick it to death, because no process is complete or fault-free. If necessary, I'll just go to the core assumptions and attack their validity. Easy enough.

    Since none of the conclusions can be "proven", all we can do is go with our "best guess". In this case, the general concensus among scientists in the field is our best guess.
    • by spencerogden (49254) <spencer@spencerogden.com> on Monday November 06, 2006 @03:57PM (#16741005) Homepage
      Except that in this case, the general consensus is usually based on worst case projections and copious amounts of rounding up. For instance a 1% annual growth in atmospheric CO2 is commonly used in projections, like the Stern report. The problem is that the actual rate is more like 0.35%. Now maybe it will double in the next 50 years to 0.70%, but that is still far different from saying CO2 will grow at 1% from today on. It grossly exaggerates the CO2 concentrations we'll be looking at in 100 years.

      It's not really poking holes when you say, "How about we use average estimate instead of the doubling the worst case estimates". If you run the projections on average, or even plain worst case scenario numbers, you don't get a scary story. Even taking the UN's worst case scenario, you get a temp increase of like 7 c over the next 100 years, and that pretty much assumes that we make no progress in alternative energy, which seems pretty pessimistic.
  • Not too surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Alcimedes (398213) on Monday November 06, 2006 @03:21PM (#16740197)
    Granted I haven't had a chance to read the entire article yet, but it sounds like it's in line with what the climate scientists at my University have been saying for a while. Two things actually.

    The first is that funding shapes science whether you want it to or not. If the general consensus is that global warming is happening, you're much more likely to get funded if you decide to do research on "why global warming is going on" or "what are the major contributors to global warming" etc. However, if you were to submit a proposal along the lines of "what if any effect has global warming had on climate change", good luck.

    Therefore there's going to be a lot of science out there saying "Yes, global warming is happening and is the reason for climate change!", since that's what pays the bills, gets you published, and gets you invited to all sorts of posh international conventions on global warming. No one wants to invite the guy/gal that says "yes it's happening but it's not the cause, or certainly not the only cause behind global climate change".

    Just my two cents. Keep and open mind, even when reading "science". At the end of the day scientists are human beings too, they have to pay the bills, report to a boss, have a reputation among their peers. Science is rarely about pure facts. The facts usually need to be teased out of the agenda, aggrandizing and ego of those doing the work.
  • by Pink Tinkletini (978889) on Monday November 06, 2006 @03:22PM (#16740221) Homepage
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! *snort*

    Oh, I kill me. I really do.
  • by lawpoop (604919) on Monday November 06, 2006 @03:24PM (#16740261) Homepage Journal
    This is the very first paragraph:

    " Last week, Gordon Brown and his chief economist both said global warming was the worst "market failure" ever. That loaded soundbite suggests that the "climate-change" scare is less about saving the planet than, in Jacques Chirac's chilling phrase, "creating world government". This week and next, I'll reveal how politicians, scientists and bureaucrats contrived a threat of Biblical floods, droughts, plagues, and extinctions worthier of St John the Divine than of science." [Emphasis mine]

    OK, so not only is the American right-wing co-opting Evangelical Christians and 'values voters' to take away our civil liberties and conduct mass surveillance on the American public, but now hippies, greenies, and environmental scientists are also going to take away our freedoms by reducing greenhouse emissions, raising vehicle fuel efficiency, and sequestering carbon!?

    Man, things are getting really weird when people on both sides of the aisle are starting to agree with Alex Jones.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Monday November 06, 2006 @03:25PM (#16740285) Journal
    Any fool can ask a profound question that takes a wise man decades to answer. [This chinese proverb is distributed to you under GPL V2.0]
  • I think I'd give this article a bit more credibility if the author wasn't so dead set on demonstrating global warming was evidence of a UN conspiracy to take over the world.

    Even if global warming does turn out to be wrong, there are *plenty* of ways for scientists to reach an incorrect consensus without resorting to black helicopters and secret cabals.

    It's really annoying that politics has become so wrapped up in both sides of what should be a purely scientific issue.

    I'll leave reviews of the science in the
  • by smooth wombat (796938) on Monday November 06, 2006 @03:31PM (#16740393) Homepage Journal
    whether global warming is happening. We know it is. We're recording it as it happens.

    What is the issue is is this a natural process, a man-made process or a combination?

    While we have evidence that warming and cooling cycles have happened in the past, this is the first time (that we know of) that the cycle has been recorded by man. If nothing else, it behooves us to study this phenomenon as critically as possible and determine if we are influencing things by our activities.

    So no, global warming is not debunked. It is real and it is happening. The real question is why.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Russ Nelson (33911)
      What is the issue is is this a natural process, a man-made process or a combination?

      Why is that the issue? Are we looking to assign blame? Or should we be more interested in what to do about it? Cheaper to reduce it or cheaper to deal with the results? Or should we just ask more rhetorical questions? Anybody know for sure?
  • Your Premise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Monday November 06, 2006 @03:32PM (#16740407)

    ...And I just read a very convincing article in the UK Telegraph that makes me think that the 'scientific consensus' on global warming is more than a little shaky. Now IANACS (I am not a climate scientist). And the Telegraph is notoriously reactionary. Can anyone out there go through this piece and tell me why it might be wrong?

    The article referenced goes through several studies and papers and points out poor methodologies and statistical analysis that is likely fraudulent. From this you can conclude, these studies are possibly flawed. So where does that leave you? Can you logically conclude from this that global warming is not occurring or even not occurring faster than any time in the past? Of course not. Discrediting a study does not prove the opposite of that study is true. It simply provides you a reason to place more weight on other, more credible, studies.

    From my reading I have little doubt that global warming is occurring. Just look in peer reviewed journals and other credible sources. It may not be as dramatic as some would like, and the dramatic, but ill-concieved, doomsday scenarios painted by the popular media are entertainment, not fact. The truth is, there are very real indications of climactic problems, which will probably be gradual, but may be practically irreversible by the time they are apparent to skeptics.

    Just be careful of your sources and pay attention. Both industrial concerns and people working for government grant dollars have incentive to obtain particular results. Look for peer reviewed results from experiments and observations that have been repeated by numerous scientific studies. Be cautious of interpretations of this data by the popular media, who are more interested in selling ads than presenting the truth.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by LoverOfJoy (820058)
      It's not just that the article goes through several studies and papers pointing out poor methodology. Bad science is often done by mistakes and may sometimes slip through the peer review process. But this talks about UN claims and people actively trying to cover up information. FTA: "A major person working in the area of climate change and global warming sent me an astonishing email that said: 'We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period.' "

      To me this article isn't so much about whether global warming
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        To me this article isn't so much about whether global warming is occurring or not but how politics has gotten involved in this field and has affected the science that gets reported in places like the UN where policy decisions are made.

        I guess I have a different world view than you do. I assume all studies are motivated by politics or cash and from what I've experienced of the scientific fields, this is not far from the truth. Researchers outright lie all the time to get grant money or more corporate fund

  • by MetricT (128876) on Monday November 06, 2006 @03:34PM (#16740447) Homepage
    Just from observing here in Tennessee, when I was young (30 years ago) I remember getting 4-5 good snows every winter. Now you're lucky if you see 1 good snow every other winter.

    Tennessee is right on the border between "gets a ton of snow" and "no snow at all". So small differences in temperature are exaggerated.

    The question is, is global warming man-made, or some sort of natural cycle, ala El Nino or something else we don't know about. I'd lean toward the latter.
    • Unfortunately your personal experience does not add meaningful data to the debate, though that's a very, very common misconception. In fact, I hear scientists use anecdotal evidence to support global warming theory on a regular basis.

      Two reasons:
      1) Global warming is about the average temperature of the entire planet from year to year. There's so much normal variation and so many local weather cycles that observations from a single location are statistically insignificant. Your statement that Tennessee is ri
  • by JLavezzo (161308) on Monday November 06, 2006 @03:35PM (#16740465) Homepage
    Dear Submitter,

    The reason the article seems correct and insightful is because of the limited scope. It doesn't take issue with the scientific consensus on global climate change, just with the recent report issued by the UN.

    Oddly, though, instead of just pointing out why this report is wrong, it concludes that since the report is poorly written, then that proves there is no climate catastrophe.

    I've actually come across other criticisms of the "hockey stick" graph that used it as a starting point for a discussion on good science vs. bureaucracy and the disadvantages of pegging all your arguments on a single "visual". (the biggest disadvantage? disprove the "visual" and that disproves your whole argument). Unfortunately that's not what we've got in this UK Telegraph article.
  • by GeekDork (194851) on Monday November 06, 2006 @03:37PM (#16740489)

    Without reading TFA:

    It doesn't matter whether man-made warming is real. It does get warmer, and the other riders of the apocalypse, namely storm, water and drought, are riding in in its wake. And oh, will they ever bring along the biblical set. With this in mind, it is our (as in mankind's) responsibility as a whole, to at least minimise our part in it, however small it may be. It is a fact that the enormous quantities of pollutants we release need to go somewhere, and that they do something, wherever they go. Those effects pose an incalculable risk to life on the planet.

    So, no matter what lobbyists from either side of the fence may say, ignoring the problem (which is pretty real) is, as always, not the way to go. Governments and individuals are denying the greenhouse effect on various pretenses, which may even be valid in some ways. But when looking at The Big Picture, everyone who has not taken the short bus with the leaky exhaust, will clearly see a not so pleasant future that we may avoid by doing something, but that will definitely make life a lot less pleasant in the forseeable future if ignored.

    I, personally, just hope that I will have a gun handy the day it gets too bad.

  • predicting chaos (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sadtrev (61519) on Monday November 06, 2006 @03:37PM (#16740499) Homepage
    The consensus is about as strong as that of evolutionary biologists' view of evolution i.e. they agree on the general premise but disagree on the details. They haven't developme models that can fully account for observed phenomena, and they take different sets of sweeping assumptions to be able to come up with a manageable model.

    If you think about it the whole premise of any prediction is gouing to be wrong: "If we carry on as we're going now..." is not possible. China is industrialising. The price of oil will react to its scarcity. The percieved importance of rainforest is increasing as it becomes scarcer. Regional climatic shifts like what started the 1997 Indonesian smog will become more (or maybe less) common as ocean currents shift.

    We can (and probably will) argue ad nauseum about the relative importance of the historical CO2 and temperature records, sunspots, methane from the tundra, oceanic absorption etc. but the basic fact is that we're releasing huge amounts of pollutants into the atmosphere whilst destroying the ecosphere's long-established buffers. Whether the system is stable unstable, metastable or whatever is probably impossible to predict with certainty. I would rather err on the side of caution. Those with a vested interest with us carrying on as we are would rather we ignore the doomsayers until it's too late^W^Wscientifically proven.

  • A world in denial (Score:4, Interesting)

    by supersnail (106701) on Monday November 06, 2006 @03:39PM (#16740535)
    Every year the evidence for global warming gets more convincing.
    The scientific evidence just builds and builds.
    And when youve just gone through a summer in northern europe
    when the tempreture never went below 30c for 8 weeks who needs
    scientists.

    The really scary bit is this:
    The classic argument against global warming is that the climate
    has always varied wildly -- sometimes it gets warmer sometimes
    it gets colder, shit happens.
    However historians have been patiently examining all the cool
    spells and they all correlate to drop offs in human activity.
    The last really big dip in temperature happened just after the
    Black Death when approx. one third of humanity died.

  • by alex_guy_CA (748887) <{moc.tdlefneohcs} {ta} {xela}> on Monday November 06, 2006 @03:39PM (#16740539) Homepage
    I am a global warming believer. I personally have been concerened about the possibility of global warming since the 80's. A good site on the subject is http://gristmill.grist.org/skeptics [grist.org] It contains a complete listing of the articles in "How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic," a series by Coby Beck containing responses to the most common skeptical arguments on global warming. There are four separate taxonomies; arguments are divided by: * Stages of Denial, * Scientific Topics, * Types of Argument, and * Levels of Sophistication.
  • Wrong Questions (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Spittoon (64395) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:09PM (#16741321) Homepage
    I posted this in the "Snowball Earth" thread, but it applies here too.

    At the moment the question seems to be "Are humans having a serious negative impact on the global climate?" This is used to reinforce the status quo, right? It's not our fault, what we're doing isn't the problem, so why bother changing what we're doing?

    Shouldn't the questions be:

    "Is the climate changing?"
    "Is it changing in a way that will benefit humanity?"
    "If not, how do we manufacture the change we desire?"

    These questions should be framed with the idea that the climate is changing and will eventually wipe life as we know it off the face of the Earth. Eventually, something will replace all that biodiversity. But mankind won't be around to see it, so it behooves us as a species to guarantee our own survival by making sure the climate changes in a manner that allows us to continue to thrive.
  • by uncadonna (85026) <[mtobis] [at] [gmail.com]> on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:16PM (#16741485) Homepage Journal
    Tim Lambert has made a good start [scienceblogs.com] on this one.

    There's also some discussion of it on a recent thread at RealClimate [realclimate.org].

    Monckton's rant is just the usual background noise. It's not hard to make up a story by selecting evidence carefully. The hard job is finding a story that is consistent with all the evidence. While we eagerly await the fourth IPCC assessment, the third IPCC assessment [grida.no], the consensus of leading scientists in the relevant fields from 2001, is the best big picture we've got.

    What some gadfly has to say should always be given due consideration, not less, but certainly not more. In the present case, not much.

  • by Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) on Monday November 06, 2006 @06:07PM (#16743889) Homepage

    ... can somebody "debunk" the results from the EPICA ice cores? You know, the ones that record CO2 levels for at least the past 650 kYears, and conclude that current CO2 levels are nearly 2 times higher than they have ever been over the last 8 ice ages?

    And then there was another set of results that showed how CO2 levels and global temperature are very closely related.

    Before I'm willing to believe that global warming is bunk, somebody is going to have to convincingly refute the above evidence to the contrary.

  • My favorite passage (Score:3, Interesting)

    by _iris (92554) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @12:31PM (#16753719) Homepage
    "So to the scare. First, the UN implies that carbon dioxide ended the last four ice ages. It displays two 450,000-year graphs: a sawtooth curve of temperature and a sawtooth of airborne CO2 that's scaled to look similar. Usually, similar curves are superimposed for comparison. The UN didn't do that. If it had, the truth would have shown: the changes in temperature preceded the changes in CO2 levels."

    A "sawtooth" implies multiple rises and falls. That gives us a chicken and egg problem. Whether CO2 increases preceded temperature increases or the reverse is determined by which one rises first on the chart. The one to rise first is obviously determined by when the timeline starts. Until we can make the chart go back to the day God said "Let there be CO2", we can't really know which came first just from a chart.

    Personally I like the way that he criticizes the UN for not superimposing one graph over another while we fails to do the same.

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