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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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  • 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 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 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.
  • 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 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]
  • by binarybum (468664) on Monday November 06, 2006 @03:30PM (#16740367) Homepage
    but surely there are a lot of corporations and oil companies and the like that would certainly like to see research stating, "nothing to see here, move along." I imagine there is some decent funding to be found in the private sector for this kind of research.
  • 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:My Two Cents (Score:4, Insightful)

    by UbuntuDupe (970646) on Monday November 06, 2006 @03:32PM (#16740401) Journal
    If you're a scientist, why not give them the raw data & your conclusions?

    Good point. What I'd like to see is a place where I can download the state-of-the-art models. That is, I want to be able to review their code, all assumptions going into the model, all justifications for the assumptions, and all historical evidence so I can replicate the predictions myself.

    Since this is science, that information *should* be publicly available somewhere.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

    Er, another way to phrase that is, "we made a bunch of sh** up." I'm shaking my head right now. That's EXACTLY what says! "Ignorance of how forcings would actually developed." Hell, I can give you "extreme" scenerios that would "bracket" plausible rates of change without knowing a damn thing!

    Note that the article in question actually quotes NUMBERS and SCIENCE, versus the typical, "W-w-w-well, what if THE SKY STARTED FALLING!!! WE NEED TO TAKE ACTION JUST IN CASE!!!!"

  • Re:My Two Cents (Score:2, Insightful)

    by polar red (215081) on Monday November 06, 2006 @03:45PM (#16740661)
    make a choice:
    1/ we wait until we see whether the earth warms up and take action ... OOPS TOO LATE.
    2/ we take the prudent side and try to cut emissions ... not much happens, nobody knows whether a chance would have occurred
  • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@b[ ].org ['eau' in gap]> on Monday November 06, 2006 @03:45PM (#16740671)
    > 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.

    Exactly. I don't have the time to duplicate all that research and work and neither do 99.99% of people who are still responsible for voting. Most of us do what I do and apply some simple rules of thumb.

    Judge the people making the doomesday claim. That includes the pointy headed scientists AND the supporters.

    Global Warming fails this test for me. Look at the track record of the so called 'scientists' pushing the theory. Mostly the same bunch of misfits and freaks we have seen behind most of the othe missuses of science in 20th Century. Same bunch of environmentalist whack jobs, Alar scaremongers, Nuclear Freeze supporters, Fat Nazis, etc. And this time they are making the most extrodinary claims and demanding unprecedented upheavals in the world's economic and political systems on the flimisest of evidence.

    Now we get to the political supporters of GW theory. An almost perfect mapping between belief in GW theory with non belief in both individual Freedom and representive forms of government. It seems impossible to believe in GW and a Free market, personal liberty or property rights. Given a choice of a slightly warmer and Free world vs a Gaian utipia with a population groaning in the chains of marxist despots I say screw the environment.

  • 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?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06, 2006 @03:50PM (#16740825)
    My question exactly as well.

    I consider myself environmentally conscious and have a reputation around the office as being the token enviro-nazi. But I will never understand why environmentalists in general are so violently opposed to nuclear power. It has the smallest environmental footprint. It is the most efficient way to produce power for an ever growing population.

    Sure it has its nasty side (the waste - safety isn't nearly the concern it once was) but every means of producing energy does. I've always seen nuclear power as being the lesser of the available evils. Sure I'd love to see all power generated come from purely renewable sources but that is more dream than reality. If we built a nuclear plant and shut down the equivalent capacity in coal or natural gas we'd be MUCH better off.
  • by KeensMustard (655606) on Monday November 06, 2006 @03:55PM (#16740963)
    That site is called junkscience, and it is. We've seen this before, when a major problem becomes evident, a certain proportion of people simply cannot cope with the scale of the problem, nor what is required as a response to the problem. For example, when science revealed that smoking causes lung cancer, many people with a lot to lose denied it - some people still justify smoking to themselves. Despite (almost total) consensus in the scientific and medical community, they refuse to acknowledge the harm they caused to themselves by smoking (albeit unknowingly), and consequently the harm they continue to do. The same principles apply to denying global warming: it's frightening to have come to the end of our credit spree of fossil fuel usage, it's frightening to consider that we have damaged the environment in a way that dwarfs whatever achievements we had thought we had made. So, frightened, we deny, deny, deny.

    I've read the article. The same old debunked myths: Medieval Warm Period? Debunked [noaa.gov].

    Variations in the output of the Sun? Debunked [aip.org].

    It's all a left wing myth perpetrated by the UN to set up a World Government? - Left as a exercise for the reader.

  • 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.

  • by pixelpusher220 (529617) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:00PM (#16741095)
    That was my exact thought. However good or bad the *numbers* might be, it's rather hard to refute the fact that the Arctic ice cap is something like 40% smaller than 50 years ago (and yes I'm making those specific numbers up) linky [nasa.gov].

    And while most of the "it's a bad thing crowd" is probably overreacting somewhat...the consequences of *not* overreacting if indeed it's true are pretty scary.


  • Re:Three Points (Score:3, Insightful)

    by linuxwrangler (582055) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:02PM (#16741147)
    1) Galileo invented the thermometer in 1593. I don't trust any temperature data for dates prior to 1593.

    Point #1 makes about as much sense as saying "the camera was invented in the 1800's so I don't believe in dinosaurs. The global temperature data over time comes from a multitude of different proxies of temperature that have been preserved in geologic records just like ancient critters have been preserved as fossils.

    I haven't seen much (actually I haven't seen any) argument that the historical temperature records are unreliable.

    The real issues are the extent to which humans are responsible for climate change, the likely effects of such change, and whether climate change is a self-limiting/correcting or unstable-runaway process.

  • Re:Three Points (Score:3, Insightful)

    by killjoe (766577) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:04PM (#16741191)
    "Galileo invented the thermometer in 1593.
    I don't trust any temperature data for dates prior to 1593."

    really? So you completely disavow any conclusions about tempratures from ice cores then.

    "Isn't global warming better than another ice age?"

    To the earth it's neutral. Just another season in the flow of time. To the humans just as bad if not worse.

    "You know Al Gore's movie, where they show the glacier photos, before and after?
    Are the before and after both from the same season?"

    Al Gore is a liberal commie, pinko, fag, granola, green nazi. He wants to destroy the western world and wants to institute a one world govt (TM). Don't believe anything he says. Also don't listen to the scientists, they are all liars (except the ones that say there is no global warming of course).

  • by the_duke_of_hazzard (603473) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:09PM (#16741317)
    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 Petersko (564140) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:12PM (#16741377)
    All of the topics you mention seem to be areas where the unnecessary complexity was eventually discarded, to reveal a simple core truth. E=MC*2 is wonderfully, beautifully simple - that's its elegance.

    Climatology is fundamentally different. It's a field, affected by huge numbers of variables. It's unlikely that you will be able to condense the problem down to a fundamental conclusion like "global warming IS manmade". Even if it becomes a devastating fact of life, and it wipes most of the life off of the planet, we still won't be able to definitively state that we caused it.

    Of your original list, the 'Evolutionary Process" conclusion on "Origin and Differentiation of Biological Life" seems the most appropriate. Despite what we know of the process, we cannot definitively state the "Origin" of biological life.
  • +1 Insightful (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tmasssey (546878) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:13PM (#16741417) Homepage Journal

    Why is it that "Faith in religion is BAAAADDD!!!" but "Faith in science is GOOOOODDD!!!" around here?

    And for the record, real faith is *not* blind belief in *spite* of evidence. It is belief in something that has not *yet* been proven, but most everything *else* related to that subject *has* been proven. Hebrews 11:1 [watchtower.org].

  • Here's my question (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:16PM (#16741481)
    Why does global warming have to either be universally accepted or flat-out debunked? Why can't it just be in a state of "still gathering research to find out exactly what's going on?"

    Oh, right, because people attach politics to everything. Bastards.
  • 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.

  • Re:probably but (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HanClinto (621615) <hanclinto@PLANCK ... minus physicist> on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:17PM (#16741501)
    This actually happens, as the increase in temperature causing ground soil to give up more C02. This is why it is an accelerating trend. That trend ends at Venus.

    The trend ends at Venus? According to the article, it already reversed once, and that was shortly after the Middle Ages.

    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.

    So historically speaking, it doesn't look like it's necessarily a self-perpetuating time-bomb -- it sounds like it's happened before, and it can happen again.

  • by Chris Burke (6130) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:17PM (#16741505) Homepage
    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 their experimental error, and were thus unable to conclude that the ether existed.

    Everyone has a bias, but not everyone allows their bias to cloud their scientific judgement, or cause them to make false claims. Human beings are perfectly capable of admitting they are wrong, even if we all may be reluctant to do so to varying degrees.

    I think this is an important point to make in an article about global warming, because many have decided that since all scientists are fallable and biased and their results thus possibly wrong, it is okay to pick whatever scientist you prefer as they are all equal.
  • by Cybrex (156654) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:19PM (#16741553)
    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 right between two different climate patterns actually harms the applicability of your observations to a world-wide scale.

    2) If global warming *is* happening then it's generally agreed that the rate of warming is about 0.1 degrees per decade across the planet, or a 0.3 degree increase over the 30 years you describe.

    I'm not trying to tear you down here at all, and I don't claim to have any insight whatsoever into the validity or lack thereof of global warming, but it's easy to find individual situations to support either side, which is part of the reason why the debate is so choked with bad data.
  • Re:+1 Insightful (Score:4, Insightful)

    by WilliamSChips (793741) <full@infinity.gmail@com> on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:21PM (#16741591) Journal
    Because science adheres to the method of changing when new evidence comes out. This is not an attribute of religion. The end of the Christian Bible pretty much goes like this: "Anybody who changes this will not be going to Heaven."
  • by 'nother poster (700681) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:22PM (#16741619)
    And the consequences of over reacting in the other direction could be just as scary. Instaed of cooking like Venus we freeze like Mars. Maybe we are hastening our doom no matter what we do. The science on both sides looks questionable. Big gaps in data and lots of assumptions based on their emotional baggage. I'll just keep waiting until someone comes out with a model that is accurate for a few years and they can explain why it is.

  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:40PM (#16742091)
    >it's OK for science to be wrong. It's happened time and time again and it'll happen again
    So, you're saying if we wholesale give in to "science this, buy into to some analysis that says it's all over in 30 or 40 years, radically restructure our society and make sweeping changing costing billions(if not trillions) of dollars and twenty years down the road the scientific community says, "Oops, we were wrong," that's OK? What am I missing here?
  • by logicnazi (169418) <logicnazi@gREDHATmail.com minus distro> on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:41PM (#16742129) Homepage
    You clearly have a political agenda.

    I mean you don't believe one can have a basis for conditional statements. So scientists who don't know if a serious earthquake is going to happen in California during the next 10 years shouldn't tell us where it is likely to be if it happens or what is a good evacuation plan if an earthquake happens.

    The only reason your child molester example works out is because the accusation makes so many people emotional they stop being able to think. Moreover, if you both said "If Joe is a child molester" and then you said "But if Joe isn't a child molester" you would avert much of the bias.

    Sure if this guy had given only one scenario and perfected it with if it might be misleading but that isn't what he did. Don't take the idiotic position that it is misleading to inform people of conditional certainty and explain what will happen in various situations.

    I mean he did exactly the same thing as the impartial analysis in all our voting guides do, lay out what happens in different scenarios.
  • Re:Your Premise (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:42PM (#16742167)
    And please note: the author never states that global warming is not happening. In fact, he states at the very beginning that the only consensus is that it is happening. His thesis, rather, is that anthropogenic causes are being exaggerated for political benefit. Period. Everything else either elobarates on or extrapolates from the point.
  • by c6gunner (950153) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:49PM (#16742313)
    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 think that BOTH sides of the Global Warming debate are heavily politicized and biased, you're sadly mistaken. By your logic, you shouldn't trust the research of either side.
  • Re:Three Points (Score:3, Insightful)

    by brandido (612020) on Monday November 06, 2006 @05:34PM (#16743279) Homepage Journal
    Are you serious? Please tell me this is a humorous comment and I am missing the punchline, because I cannot otherwise believe that such a non-insightful, non-critically thinking misinformed comment got rated a 5 on slashdot. The parent comment is anti-science, based on false dichotomies, and false information. I don't normally flame, but this is ridiculous - please go ahead and mod me down as long as you mod the parent down as well!
    1) Galileo invented the thermometer in 1593. I don't trust any temperature data for dates prior to 1593.
    They can extrapolate the temperatures based an various bits of information found in glacier ice. Its called science by some, research by others - you might want to give it a try sometime. I assume you also don't trust that any of our history from before the video camera is true since you can't watch the video with your own eyes? There are many things that can not be measured directly, but can be inferred, including such things as I.Q. - think about it.
    12) Isn't global warming better than another ice age?
    That is like saying why should I stop smoking when colon cancer is worse than lung cancer - it is a false dichotomy, as the choice is not between ice age and global warming, but rather a choice between sustainable resource utilization or burying our heads in the sand until our butts are burning.
    3) You know Al Gore's movie, where they show the glacier photos, before and after? Are the before and after both from the same season? Because the glaciers change size seasonally. Did Al Gore show winter 1980 vs. summer 2005?
    Watch the f***cking movie. Until you do so, your critique of it is pointless. The shown changes were not normal seasonal changes, they were sudden massive changes in previously stable glaciers. If you had bothered to watch the movie before trying to debunk it, you might have saved some yourself some embarrassment. Unf***ing believable that this would get a 5.
  • 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.
  • by Petersko (564140) on Monday November 06, 2006 @05:48PM (#16743543)
    Poking valid holes in good science shouldn't be very easy. If your theories can have holes poked in them with little things like "facts" and "statistics", then maybe you should go back to the drawing board.

    Poking holes is perfectly fine. It's part of the scientific process.

    The basics of Newtonian physics are far less complex and much more testable than are the basics of climatology. Therein is the problem. I said I can poke tons of holes in the methodologies involved in making conclusions about complex systems. That doesn't mean I'll prove it wrong. I'll just seem to make the results seem untrustworthy, even if they are completely correct.

    When somebody claims to be debunking global warming, it bothers me a bit just because there has been such a vast amount of work done in the field. The author will generally do what I said - cherry-pick some items to call into question, and ignore lots of other research examples that reached similar conclusions. They can have a point with respect to the cases they mention, and still be completely wrong overall.
  • 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 pixelpusher220 (529617) on Monday November 06, 2006 @05:54PM (#16743641)
    I'll go with the assumption that putting massive amounts of anything (C02) into a relatively stable equation probably isn't a good thing. Does the earth go through cycles? sure, but thinking we aren't influencing the direction of things is just folly.

    So reducing our effect on the environment is probably a better plan than waiting till we find out it's too friggin late to do anything about it.


  • by letxa2000 (215841) on Monday November 06, 2006 @06:03PM (#16743831)
    What sage advice. "Go read one side of the story and draw your own conclusion." I can't believe you're actually proud of the conclusion you've drawn, whatever that conclusion might be.
  • 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.

  • by HiThere (15173) * <{ten.knilhtrae} {ta} {nsxihselrahc}> on Monday November 06, 2006 @06:31PM (#16744269)
    Actually, at the time he discovered it there was a belt on land near the coast that wasn't covered with ice. The Vikings had farms there for nearly a century (more? less?) before it got too cold for the crops to survive. It was never "hospitable", but it was endurable. For farmers, who supplemented their farming with fishing. Later this colony got frozen out.

    If you think about it, this seems to imply that the Greenland had just been warmer than it currently is, and that it was starting to freeze up again when Eric discovered it. The ice has stopped migrating to the sea, but hadn't yet expanded to cover the shore again. (I could be wrong, perhaps there is currently a strip around the edge of Greenland that's suitable for raising rye or some such. It wouldn't need to be anything a modern farmer would find attractive.)

  • by Freexe (717562) * <serrkr@tznvy.pbz> on Monday November 06, 2006 @07:09PM (#16744877) Homepage
    Imagine we are in a cooling cycle and all this CO2 we are pumping out holds off another ice age.

    Not something I believe, but still possible. I personally think we should try and reduce pollution not only to minimize the effect in either direction to give us a chance for science to catch up, but also because I like clean air and fresh produce.

    The bigger problem IMHO is over population combined with some kind of a cure to aging, Kim Stanly Robinson's Red Mars scares me the most.
  • Re:So many lies. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tuzo (928271) on Monday November 06, 2006 @07:26PM (#16745097)
    IMO, we need to act as though we could be making a significant influence on the climate, because we can't seem to figure out if we are or are not. There ARE other benefits to acting this way: lower energy needs (wants) and perhaps even better energy flexibility, ie. independence on "foreign oil".

    My point of view is that there may be some benefits. However, the main effect of curbing emissions will be a lowering of the standard of living for everyone. That is assuming that everyone complies -- which won't happen. When the choice presented is between some emissions or poverty I think most people in the developing world will choose some emissions.

    When these types of talks come up I am reminded that the majority of the history of the human race is a struggle -- a struggle against nature and it is only relatively recently that we have made such incredible advances that allow us to have the time and means to even discuss these topics. For most who debate these topics, this is merely a political exercise or an excuse to have a debate but for many others (who are not even involved) these are issues of life and death.
  • Re:So many lies. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ahertz (68721) <ahertz@yahoo.com> on Monday November 06, 2006 @07:57PM (#16745497)
    Sorry, I was a bit obtuse. Cheny's "One Percent Doctrine" comes from this quote of his:
    If there's a 1% chance that Pakistani scientists are helping al-Qaeda build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response. It's not about our analysis ... It's about our response.

    That is, if you think there's a 1% chance that [really bad thing] will happen, you should take it as a given when deciding what to do about it. I just find it really interesting that the group who want to over-react to the threat of terrorism and the group who want to over-react to the threat of global warming tend to violently disagree on the other's issues, while using the same logic.

    I agree that, all other things being equal, reduced emissions are a good thing. And things are already moving in that direction, thanks in no small part to economic pressure from rising energy costs. But the costs from the government reduced emissions would be enormous -- both from an economic standpoint, and a philosophical cost in reduced freedom. Ironically, not unlike the cost in freedom coming from the war on terror.

    I realize the parallel isn't exact, and, like I said, I'm not trying to troll. Just thinking out loud.
  • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Monday November 06, 2006 @08:10PM (#16745637)
    Nah, we'll just use all the aluminum we can conveniently get our hands on to put up a giant solar sunshade. Oh, and seed the oceans with massive amounts of iron powder to encourage algae to grow. There's no way those could have any bad effects if we turn out to be wrong about global warming....
  • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Monday November 06, 2006 @08:14PM (#16745687)
    You know that reducing carbon dioxide emissions won't make the slightest difference to how clean the air is? And it will probably have a negative effect on how much fresh produce is available to you?
  • Re:Three Points (Score:3, Insightful)

    by brandido (612020) on Monday November 06, 2006 @09:04PM (#16746307) Homepage Journal
    Too bad you blew your wad too quick and had to post twice. I will go ahead and combine them here for convenience.
    Hahaha. You think I'm still reading your posts? That's soooo cute.
    Ummm. Yes, I do think you are still reading my posts - in fact, I think you are responding to them. At least that is what I see on slashdot when I check my account - two responses from, surprise, surprise, YOU. Again, you might want to try that critical thinking course - would probably do you a world of good. And yes, I think that you are still reading, as your second comment, where you recommend I kill myself, pretty clearly shows that not are your responding, you are reacting. Now, whether or not you are reading the entirety of my comment is up for debate. However, it is somewhat irrelevant, as I think the majority of it would just go over your head.
    Hahaha.
    Glad you are still laughing, cause to me this is just sad.
    Seriously, get a real life. Try a competitive sport or something, its a lot more fun to "slap someone down" in real life, as opposed to the internet. Retard.
    Again, I have a real life - I am actually working at the job of my dreams. Doesn't mean that I can't take a few minutes to call a dumbass a dumbass.
    If this post makes you angry, don't reply - get therapy.
    I know this is your sig, but since you seem to have changed it based on my comments (that you aren't reading) I thought I should respond. The whole point of slashdot is to respond, whether you are angry, inspired, amused or saddened. That is why it is called an online "community" - you might want to look it up. And sorry to say, slashdot is known for flaming dumb comments - welcome to the party.

    On to the second comment

    People like you are a cancer on Slashdot.
    You take an inoffensive post about global warming and start a flame-war over it.
    You totally de-rail any sort of constructive discussion or transfer of useful information.
    Basically, you are less than worthless - you have a negative value for society.
    Do the world a favor and kill yourself.
    I mean it.

    Interesting that you would call me a cancer on slashdot - you are the one that started a conversation thread based on bad science (can't trust the temperature since it was before thermometers), bad logic (false dichotomy/strawman), and FUD (misleading statements about a movie you haven't even seen). What I consider a true cancer on slashdot is misinformed readers posting bullsh** on slashdot when they should know better and then getting kharma for it. I consider it an even bigger cancer to be unable or unwilling to back up you bullsh**, and instead resort to puerile insults and calls to suicide. Pathetic.

    Now I know you think I don't have a life, but I actually need to get back to mine (although I have a warm fuzzy in my heart knowing that I will probably start the day tomorrow with a dumbass comment from you to make me laugh). So, unless you want to try and address some of the valid points I made in my initial post (even if they were on the harsh side), I don't think there is much point in continuing to point out the errors in your ways. You could always get that feedback from a critical thinking course.

    P.S. The "I mean it" about me committing suicide was a nice touch - showed a certain level of sincerity, even if a bit juvenile.

  • Global warming (Score:2, Insightful)

    by poochNik (51956) on Monday November 06, 2006 @09:59PM (#16746855)
    One site to check is http://www.junkscience.com/ [junkscience.com] . I read a long time ago that if you run the climate predicting models backward they should predict the past (time's arrow being irrelevant here) but they don't. I also remember that one of the beginnings of chaos theory was based on finding that a weather model produced dramatically different results simply because of a very small change in one datum. "The butterfly flaps its wings . . ." etc. [see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterfly_effect%5D [wikipedia.org]. When economists can predict interest rates accurately, I may start believing that weather models are useful beyond a short period.
  • by DeadChobi (740395) <DeadChobi@noSPam.gmail.com> on Monday November 06, 2006 @10:03PM (#16746883)
    Well, if what the article submitter says is all factually correct, then there has been a large conspiracy to misinform and lie to the public about what is actually happening. Even if some of his numbers are unattributed or just plain wrong, there is a lot of evidence to support this. Hell, even if the "hockey stick" model combined with the omission of the warm period of the middle ages were taken as sole evidence, it would serve to suggest that there are greater forces at work.

    I, for one, would not dismiss the article out of hand. We simply do not know enough about what is going on to make an informed assertion. On the other hand, when the UN report suggested that lambda was .5c/W, while Stephen and Boltzmann calculated the constant to be .3c/W is pretty damning. If something is calculated and used in other instances, and is a significant part of everyday physics, why does it suddenly cease to be applicable when talking about global phenomena? If it is based on a physical law, and the article writer is as informed as he attempts to be, then the UN has been fudging data.

    There's something seriously wrong with the international community when a worldwide organization permits its scientists to fudge data.
  • Re:So many lies. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by icensnow (932196) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @12:05AM (#16747963)
    You are correct for surfaces, reasonably thin atmospheric layers, pieces of clouds, and so on. You also get my point that the law can't be applied to a complicated, layered structure like our atmosphere, because the net result of all those small S-B blackbody and graybody fluxes from small layers does not necessarily lead to a net blackbody result when looking at earth from outside the planet. What is not easy for a nonspecialist to deduce from the original article (TFA in /.-speak) is that the 'lambda' being attacked is a sensitivity parameter based on whole-planetary considerations. The author of the article is asserting that you can throw away the detailed climate model and calculate lambda from Stefan-Boltzmann, and that is emphatically wrong. You can model it using very complicated radiative-convective models or you can estimate it from satellite data, but you can't pull it easily out of the blackbody equation.
  • by evilviper (135110) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @12:37AM (#16748173) Journal
    So reducing our effect on the environment is probably a better plan

    Not if doing so is a massive economic hardship... Money very directly correlates to people's lives. Think of all the money it would cost to seriously reduce CO2 emissions, and imagine if we spent it on eliminating poverty, or other charitable works instead...

    a better plan than waiting till we find out it's too friggin late to do anything about it.

    It is NEVER "too late" to do something about ANYTHING.

    That this statement is used about global warming all the time just raises the bullshit meter for me. It's clearly a fear tactic, with no basis in reality.

    There are NUMEROUS (easy and cheap, in fact) ways to REVERSE global warming, no matter how much CO2 there is.
  • Re:So many lies. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tuzo (928271) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @12:55AM (#16748295)
    You can't possibly know this.

    I think you've hit upon the crux of the entire debate. :)
  • by Thomas Miconi (85282) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @05:01AM (#16749485)
    On the other hand, when the UN report suggested that lambda was .5c/W, while Stephen and Boltzmann calculated the constant to be .3c/W is pretty damning. If something is calculated and used in other instances, and is a significant part of everyday physics, why does it suddenly cease to be applicable when talking about global phenomena?

    How about "because the Earth is not in thermodynamic equilibrium ?"

    This bit was precisely what put me off the article. Apparently Mr Monckton (a journalist) is convinced that no climate scientist ever heard about Boltzmann's constant, or any thermodynamics for that matter. And apparently there are people (like you) who are ready to believe that.

    This /. discussion does a good job to debunk the rest of TFA, but considering the amount of gullibility in the general public (which you so obligedly illustrated) I guess that a strongly worded reply from the folks at the Royal Society (or some similar institution) is in order.
  • by budgenator (254554) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @06:40AM (#16749901) Journal
    You know the Vikings used to have farms on Greenland, now it's pretty much all permafrost. That means that thing were much warmers back in the 1400's.
  • by benhocking (724439) <benjaminhockingNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @09:04AM (#16750751) Homepage Journal
    Let's see, on one hand we have an article that is full of utter nonsense. (Right, you expect me to believe - without any references - that the Chinese sailed the Arctic in 1421 and didn't find any ice?) On the other hand, we have NASA [nasa.gov]. I hope you'll forgive me if I choose to believe NASA over a bunch of loons who like to invent their own facts.
  • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @10:32AM (#16751777) Homepage
    We do however have a good idea of the effects that carbon emission restrictions will have on the global economy

    We do, huh? Funny, because I don't recall anyone attempting this in the past, so I fail to see why you're so sure.

    I would argue that enforced emission reductions would simply open new economic opportunities for companies providing solutions to lower emissions or increase energy efficiency. It would also reduce costs for existing companies, thanks to reduced energy expenditures.

    Oh, and as an aside, the idea that economists are on any more solid ground than climatologists is, frankly, laughable. Both involve analysis of chaotic systems with many many variables. And at least climatologists apply the scientific method to their studies.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 09, 2006 @10:55AM (#16786245)
    Yes, sure. researchers tell the public that there is a global warming, even when their facts says there isn't. And the reason why they tell you this, is because of government funding. The White House spends millions of dollars to convince the public that there is indeed a problem with global warming, and they demand that the researchers that are paid by them confirm this.
    Oh wait... who is in the White House?

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