Why is there a "controversy" about Global Warming, and why is there none about "Terrorism"?
For starters, it's hard to make a defensible argument for terrorism. Any "controversy" is usually concocted from the AGW side trying to avoid defending their positions.
My question is: From a risk management point of view, shouldn't it be the other way 'round?
If one is going to do a risk management assessment properly, one must enumerate the risks, enumerate the benefits, enumerate the costs, figure the impact of any mitigation and figure the probability of the event in the first place (and this list is just off the top of my head - I'm sure there's a couple more that I am forgetting). Your example is a very poor example - Terrorism IS NOT a imagined problem - there are several buildings missing from NYC and several large passenger planes destroyed just from 9/11. Contrast that with Global Warming, where it's not clear it's even a bad thing - warmer climates mean that plants are better off and people freeze to death less often. There seems to be less violent storms. Why would you do risk management on something that is beneficial? Plus your simplistic scenario leaves out the cost of the mitigation. When "doing something" means you are forcing the poor of the world to live with the cost of higher energy prices (ie, higher food costs), one really has to question the motivation of the ones proposing these ideas (and if you don't think this is a the case, just look at what the production of ethanol and the diversion of corn to make this "green" fuel have caused).
Also high cost, but climate changes can be mitigated to the point where only little/no damage has to be suffered.
Excuse me? There is no reasonable mitigation strategy that I've seen where the results of the mitigation would stop AGW.
The latter can literally cost millions of lives with coastal areas becoming uninhabitable for decades, if not forever, with storms causing damages in the billions and unforeseeable effects to agriculture and nature (and of course tourism, but I guess that's the least of our concerns then). And we're not talking about some brown bodies being killed, that could well be millions of AMERICANS dead, so the usual "Anyone outside the US doesn't count as human to the US" won't apply.
And what SCIENCE are you basing this off of?! Look at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Current_sea_level_rise where it says that the rise in sea level between 1870-2004 is 7.7 INCHES. Yes. Like millions have died from the 7.7 inches that has already happened. Good Grief. Statements like what you said is why I'm saying that you can replace "Global Warming" with "The Angry God" in many of the AGW arguments without changing any of the meaning, since there are no facts to back them up.
Yet we pump billions into the defense against terrorism, but we keep bickering on whether or not Global Warming may or may not happen. Anyone able to explain the sense in that?
If you are trying to compare a real problem (terrorism) to something you aren't even sure exists or not, you aren't making an apples to apples comparison. I would change the question and ask you, "well, we *KNOW* that asteroidd hit the Earth and that this has very, very bad effects. Why are we spending so much time worrying about global warming than we do about that?"
Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
Once-through (also known as open-loop) cooling refers to cooling systems in which water is withdrawn from a source, circulated through heat exchangers, and then returned to a surface-water body. Large amounts of water are needed for once-through cooling, but consumptive use is a small percentage of the total withdrawn (Solley and others, 1998).
and a little later:
The Eastern States (see division line in figure 12) accounted for 84 percent of total thermoelectric withdrawals.
So, in essence, the areas that have water issues uses water more wisely. The ones that have more water than they know what to do with, splurges. Yet another "problem" that doesn't really exist.
But. in reality, there's no difference between the two. To those who think wikileaks are terrorists, you guys are nuts. However, they are in no doubt engaged in plain and simple espionage. They are spies plain and simple, thus they should be treated as such. No worse, no better.
As to those who think secrets are bad, please go to whatever organization you work for and get them to have payroll information for all employees public or at minimum use facebook as your personal notebook/diary/logbook (and don't self-censure).
And, to those who think US diplomacy does no good, think of what kept India from attacking Pakistan when Mumbai attack happened (unless you think that that action would be a good thing).
Ok, I see what your gripe is. Yeh, by "plateau" I didn't mean tens of thousands of years of relatively flat temperatures. Just that we should be maxed out about now.
And what makes you it's "maxed out"? Just visually looking (you have to look at the raw numbers to get an exact amount), the trough to peak time for the previous cycles exceeds the current trough to current time. My TARDIS is broken. Is yours working?
It is not an assumption, rather what a truckload of research has been pointing to. But if you prefer let's say it's dark and it looks like it might be a gun, but you're not sure. The analogy is still fine.
I'm tired of people saying there's "a truckload of research". Cite references. You can't have an intelligent discussion without knowing what the basis of the opinion is. Back to your anaogy, I presume you are saying that CO2 is a gun. I know guns can easily kill. Show me a reference where it says were are going to release enough CO2 to be toxic. The dark example I agree is much better.
That's pretty much the same thing as saying the gun isn't loaded. Or that it might actually be pointed at your foot and not your head. Put that in if you like. The analogy still works.
If only works if you are trying to get me to react without thinking. Let's change your analogy to this: You are in a dark room and you have the gun, and you see something coming towards you. Do you shoot? Much harder to answer, isn't it?
However you are making a false dichotomy: solve the climate problem or help the poor. Any action we are able to take now on climate will help improve our options in the future should the dangerous effects of AGW prove to be true. And furthermore, significantly rising sea levels and changing weather will probably have a much greater adverse effect on the poor and disadvantaged than anyone else. So not doing anything to stop GW may also end up being equivalent to hurting the poor.
You have not examined the effect of the politics from the issue much, have you? We've already seen limiting of cheaper, combustion generators to push more limited solar ones (yes, it's renewable, the it doesn't work at night and is far more costly). If you want an egregious ( unrelated to AGW ) example (but same 'logic'), the EU obstructed US GM (genetically modified) corn to Somalia under famine conditions. If the EU cared that much, they should have just offered to grind it up into cornmeal. Another one would be the effect of banning DDT and malaria. Millions of lives were needlessly lost. The poor will be the ones who will mostly suffer.
So you're advocating ignoring a known threat just because there might be other unknown threats? That just seems silly.
No. I'm saying (for example) if soot is what is causing a bulk of the glacial melting you are worried about, you should concentrate on soot.
I totally agree with you there. You'll note that I made no suggestions about what policy actions to take. I merely said we need to take the threat seriously. But I believe there is much we can do without sending global economies to the brink of disaster. As the science evolves we must be prepared to react. But doing nothing now is a poor choice. We at least need to invest heavily in green energy, so that we'll have something reliable we can switch to.
The sane non-AGW sites say exactly that. You don't need AGW to argue that it's a bad thing to send B$s to unstable parts of the world. You don't need cap-and-trade to push economical light technology or better insulation. AGW is just a distraction.
Oh, ok, you mean ignoring feedbacks. Yeh, 1 deg C is probably about right for that. But that's not a very interesting number.
Precisely. That's why scare tactics need to be used.
The important thing is with all the feedbacks. You should really read Hansen's book Storms of My Grandchildren. Or if you're really hard core I think it's also in his paper "Target CO2" that I linked to before. There he walks through an argument for deriving climate sensitivity using nothing but the paleo-climate data we have. The result of that was I think about 2 degrees C, maybe 3. I've not seen any refutations of the soundness of this argument. If you know of any I'd like to know about it. The point is it corroborates the mean prediction of the models using a completely different method, based solely on inference from historical evidence. It does not rely on knowing how the climate works in any detail at all.
The fundamental problem I have with that logic is that it makes an assumption that the gas level is the main cause the temperature rise in the first place. Let's modify your argument a little to show why you have to be skeptical. Let's replace CO2 with a much stronger GHG - H2O. If there was a way to graph water vapor vs temperature at certain sites, you will probably see a BETTER correlation than CO2 (or do we not believe in relative humidity?). Does this mean you are scientifically sound in projecting increases in water level to temperature over the long term?
Yep, you're right. It wasn't. That isn't the point. The point is that if GHGs can raise temperatures then they could push us up to Eemian-level temps. If you don't believe GHGs have the potential to raise temperatures, then we're going to go around in a circle on this one.
"have the potential" means nothing in a scientific context. An meteor has the potential to crash on your head. Does this mean you should bury yourself in a buncker? We are back to the cost/benefit analysis again.
I don't think there's a need to make a distinction when we're talking about a period of a few thousand years. My understanding is that ocean temps and atmospheric temps reach equilibrium on the scale of hundreds of years.
This is my opinion - I don't think it's useful in comparing local trends with very long term data. Too many factors change to make useful comparisons. However, historical data, like models, might be used to get some insight into what is currently going on. You can't say just because A caused B in the past in a complex system, that A will cause B in the future with any degree of certainty. But you can say that it's worthwhile to look at A and B.
Sure ok. The net gain is the only thing that really matters in the end. That's what I thought we were talking about.
I thought we were talking about the science. The net can only be gotten after the fact, so not certain what you are trying to get at here.
That's your prerogative. Personally, I find that rather small list of mistakes encouraging given the intense amount of scrutiny the document is getting. Wake me up if you get to the point where a significant fraction of the thousands of pages in the document is proven wrong, and not just a smattering not-so-consequential statements.
Let's take this to a different, less emotional arena. Let's say we have a DNA lab, and it has been shown to get requests mixed up, have very sloppy record keeping, and has workers with prejudice against insert-an-ethnic-here. How much confidence am I supposed to give a result of this particular lab about DNA evidence of an insert-your-ethnic defendant? Arguing that DNA science is flawed is not required to question the result. Your argument is that since DNA science is sound, the results are valid. I don't think I'm unreasonable in thinking otherwise in this particular circumstance.
I'll refer you to the Hansen book and paper once again here as one argument I'm aware of that is relatively straightforward and doesn't rely on computer models.
I'm always amazed in how much certainty people give to things. You are talking about a time period two orders of magnitude older than the vostok ice core record. If you think that is more significant than sunspot count or land clearing, well, you're welcome to your opinion.
Well, unfortunately the analog to that "single flight" in this case is sitting and waiting to see what happens to our planet.
or focus on more pressing issues (poverty, real human effect on the environment (clear cutting, strip mining...).
We won't get another chance if it turns out that whoops! those AGW guys were right after all. So your analogy is flawed because the planet is not something that we can practically run controlled experiments on.
. The "next ice age" guys were silenced when the world got warmer (which, Jim Hansen apparently was one). If the sunspot people are right (so far, it's looking pretty good), we should be going into a cold cycle. Luckily(?) we had relatively high sunpot numbers in the last 30 years, and well as near century lows so its effect should more pronounced to make quantifying its effect much easier.
In fact your analogy is a pretty frightening one. I believe there were many test flights prior to the Bell X-1 that disintegrated when they broke the sound barrier, before engineers learned the trick to withstanding the supersonic-shock.
Frightening in which way? Human history is filled with mistaken beliefs about science causing death (look at the history of X-rays). I was looking for a single event example to refute your statement.
But ok, yeh, I agree evidence sound enough to invalidate a critical assumption is "all that is required" to invalidate a theory. The problem is anti-AGW folks haven't come up with it yet. The problem is that in a science where you can't do controlled experiments on the system in question it's damn hard to come up with "sound enough" evidence. The evidence against is at least as uncertain as the evidence for.
Time-out. You are are now using a religious argument - "Just because you can't disprove what I believe, my belief must true." Science doesn't work that way. "The debate is over" is hardly a phrase one would use if the amount of for/against evidence is anywhere near each other. As for not being able to do controlled experiments, that's just a cop out. At minimum, you can improve the accuracy of your monitoring equipment, make certain that your other evidence isn't influenced by other factors, and do a reasonble job of quantifying the error. That is how science is done.
But even if true, it still leaves a significant fraction of the problem as human-caused
First, it's not clear there even IS a problem. Please stop saying it as if that is a certainty. If we get into your TARDIS, go back into the dust bowl years, you can make the same AGW argument as today. Fast forward 80 years. Your CO2 levels is as predicted. Temperatures have gone up as you predicted. Was it a problem?
(or at least with no better explanation than AGW).
This is not science. Besides, one should always be VERY cautious about initial theories as they are usually far off the mark. This is just an observation, but is far more wise than believing as fact the first theory that comes along.
And it doesn't even really rule out AGW as the cause for increased water vapor. Obvious feedback mechanism would be: CO2 heats us up, causing greater ocean evaporation, giving higher water vapor concentrations. The finding doesn't close the book on AGW by any means. But just the same it is not a finding to ignore. Follow-up work is certainly needed.
a) your explanation just ignores that water vapor is a much better GHG than CO2. b) I never said "it closes any book". However, as the number of other causes goes up, obviously, the CO2 contribution (and significance) goes down.
Well beyond sea-level rises, there are the potential problems with mass extinctions of species we depend on.
Human development and how it is done are far more a problem than CO2 will ever be.
In terms of const-benefit, significantly rising shorelines (like the few meters they were in the Eemian) would probably cost us more than just trillions to deal with. But that's a guess. I don't know what the actual cost would be of moving every person and city who lives within 1m of sea-level. If you know any figures, I'd be interested to know.
One could probably try, but not sure if that is productive. Parts of the Netherlands are under sea level - they didn't move. Even if AGW is proven to be completely false, that doesn't mean that water levels won't rise. If it rises, it rises. We will just have to cope. BTW, combining your next comment to this one:
So, why isn't the converse just as valid?
I forgot to address this adequately. The converse is not logically valid from a risk management perspective. Say an automobile manufacturer discovers that 5% of its accelerator pedals are affected by some potentially fatal defect, and you own one of their cars. That implies that the overwhelming odds (95%) are that your car is not among those affected. Do you think most people would say "That's ok, Manufacturer, you don't need to do a recall, we know that each of us is not very likely to have this problem"?
Ok. I'll bite. Let's use your example. In this case, Floormats = CO2. So, you panic and make hasty recall, swap out floormats and patch the accellerator. Did that recall fix the problem? So, in your rush to address the problem, you a) destroyed the company's repuation b) cost $$$ in needless repairs c) put people at risk by saying you solved a problem that you really haven't. Swift. I have a phrase that I have to recite way too often: "Fix the problem, not the symptom"
snipped out ratio logic
Human beings are very poor at predicting in the long term. One can speculate all you want. I'm not sure that's too productive. I prefer to think about more pressing issues than what the temperature will be in 2100, like looking at the graph of fresh water vs population, and the energy use vs population. But each person makes his own priorities.....
The other peculiar thing here is that regardless of whether you believe in GW, getting ourselves weaned off oil is a good thing that would have benefits of its own.
100% in agreement.
Obligatory xkcd ref.
Well, if you want to disregard what the Wegman Report says, that's up to you.
The cheaper ones tend to report *cooler* temperatures than the more expensive, standalone sensors. So the "urban" stations actually show *less* global warming if averaged in a naive approach.
This is only true if there are no adjustments made to the temperature reading AND the "cooler" temperature is greater than the heating effect. If these aren't true, then obviously it would depend on the amount of the adjustment and amount of error in the reading.
2) There's a *lot* more than 4 stations in most regions which have correlated temperature anomalies. In the US, generally dozens.
You know very well that the # wasn't significant in the argument. It's fine to eliminate grossly incorrect readings this way. It's another thing entirely to adjust a good reading because the surrounding stations have more error.
3) The heat island effect *is* cancelled algorithmically, and this is verified by, among other things, comparing calm and windy days.
You have a remarkable confidence that this algorithm is very accurate. You can read the conclusion of here and see there are reasons to believe there are deficiencies in the algorithm. Even comparing calm/windy days will be influenced by the location of the unit (walls close by) and topological influences.
For something that is supposedly "validated", we are seeing an awful lot of instances of incorrect usage.
Yes, by people like Watts.
Proof by Innuendo. There's science for you. Are you actually trying to argue that algorithms are better than calibration?
er, ok. These graphs tell me the world is warmer than it was than the Little Ice Age. If you assume all this is due to CO2 (ie there is no solar forcing), one would expect and
2) Since when do you trust Phil Jones?
I don't trust EITHER side in this debate. I note that it is more significant if a proponent of AGW says there's no warming just as if a detractor of AGW says that there is warming.
3) Phil Jones is one climate scientist among several thousand. He is not the god of climate science.
Please. Saying he's just one climate scientist is like saying Joe Biden is just another government employee. It's being disingenuous. It would be much more difficult to make the AGW case if you took his work out of the picture.
4) Wrong. Jones says that there is a +0.12C warming trend for that time, but it's not long enough to be statistically significant. And he's right.
Sorry. I stand corrected. It was for the period Jan 2002-present with the -.12C.
It's idiotic how so many people keep trying to read trends into a couple years of extremely noisy data.
I have NO idea what YOU consider a trend when I wrote the question which is why I asked. Forgive me for not being psychic. Jones uses the word "trend" to talk about Jan 2002- (see question C) so it's not terribly out of the question to think some people think ~10 years of data a trend.
El Nino in particular adds a *lot* of short-term noise. The "-0.12 trend" is for 2002 to present, which is an even shorter time period and even less statistically significant -- as Jones points out.
No disagreement here. But, in the same vane, there's no supporting evidence for GW in those times either.
1) Which is why you *algorithmically eliminiate bad stations*.
Not having the algorithm documented or the code published means that no independent observer can assess whether what is being done to the data is reasonable or not. And, since we're on Slashdot, it would be like saying "We have a proprietary algorithm. Trust us. We did it right and there are no bugs." Possibly one person might believe that line here.
The problem is that you criticize them when you think that they're using said stations, but also criticize them when they mathematically eliminate them. It's a no-win situation that you're trying to put them in.
What are you talking about? The only thing I said was that the algorithm induces error if you throw out stations who's ONLY 'fault' is that it doesn't agree with its peers (since the peers might be influenced by urban heating). I *never* said never use things that are affected by urban heating. I did say that adjustments made to these induce more error if you don't consider local site specific circumstances. What is unreasonable about this?
2) The "bad" stations tend to show *less* warming than the good stations. So "whoops" on your part.
Again, what are you talking about? I've never used "good" or "bad" to refer to any stations, so I have no idea which stations you consider "good" or "bad". I would consider "bad" to be a station that is significantly affected by urban heating within range of a local, site-specific thermal source, since it is impossible to adjust the measurement without characterizing the site-specific thermal source. Again, what is unreasonable about this?
1) The urban heat island effect is algorithmically cancelled, and the cancellation verified by, among other things, comparing windy days to calm days.
"It's M-a-g-i-c. Trust us." - a wonderful way for science to work. And obviously, if the station is in a wind-shielded location, this algorithm will start failing.
2) There exists a closely monitored "reference network" for a reason, you know.
closely monitored by whom? and how? Have you ever heard the phrase "who polices the police" and do you know why instruments like the FOIA exists?
Yes the earth is coming out of an ice age so we would expect to be at a plateau about now.
and what leads you to this conclusion? which dataset are we using here?
Temps reconstructed from ice cores. See Hansen's book or just about any serious book or site on global warming.
Ok. So we are looking at this. Only plateaus I see are at the bottom end of the cycle. The temperature spikes, then decays. We are currently at a spike. Please show me on the graph why we should be in a plateau.
You have a gun pointed at your head. Person A shows you evidence it is loaded. Person B shows you evidence it is not. If you value your life, you better be absolutely sure Person B is correct before you let someone pull the trigger. If you aren't absolutely sure, then you best not pull that trigger until you are.
That analogy has so many biases it isn't even funny. First, you assume that it is a fact that it is dangerous (a gun). Second, you assume that the bullet has enough propellant to kill you. Third, you assume there is no consequence for not allowing the trigger to be pulled (and if don't think that carbon limits won't hurt the poor of the world, you should go count the # of Indians and Chinese that were lifted from poverty in the last 20 years). Fourth and finally, you assume that it's that gun and not some other thing behind your head that you aren't looking at because you are so fixated on the gun that might to kill you.
The point being that the evidence that GW is insignificant really needs to completely overwhelm the evidence that it is, and it's just not doing that yet.
But we don't live in a perfect world. If you drive, you risk getting into a fatal accident. If you walk, you risk tripping and breaking your neck. An asteroid can crash into the planet and wipe out all of humanity. That view is perfectly fine if there is no cost in making the decision. Once there is a cost, then cost/benefit comes into play. You can hold that the danger merits keeping billions of people in poverty. My opinion is that that is immoral, but it is just that, an opinion.
If the climate is so complex, how could a "straightforward calculation" be expected to give you anything other than a very gross ballpark figure?
That's the whole point of the article. In short, CO2's GHG component can at most account for ~1degC because that's how much heat GHG can trap as a GHG. This is solid science. To get more than that, you have to add some other process other than simple GHG warming. That's not to say such a process doesn't exist, just as there might be a process that lessens the net CO2 warming. I don't think anyone will say we know all or even most of the processes that make up our climate.
1) Temps in the Eemian were about that much higher than now, yet sea levels were several meters higher. We don't know the cause for sure,
well, given that CO2 was lower then (if you go by the ice cores), it culprit wasn't CO2....
but a good guess would seem to be that the higher temps caused ice caps and glaciers to melt.
er, so the Earth was warmer in the past. No argument there. Though if you are trying to say it's the atmospheric temperature that caused this melting (as opposed to warmer the sea temperatures), I think there's lots of room for dispute.
2) 1 degree is on the low end of current predictions.
Not from just GHG warming. The IPCC adds a positive feedback to get >=2degC.
That's the IPCC AR4 conclusion. If you know anything about climate science, I would assume you'd have heard of it and be aware of its major conclusions.
Ok. This the same report that predicted the Himalayan glaciers disappearing by 2035, claimed the Dutch were 55% below sea level (the real number is 20), destroyed the notion of peer review , misrepresented economic loss data, used skewed data and had its executive summary blasted by a Hansen colleague. Forgive me if I think that document is irreparably biased and flawed.
But none of these are smoking guns that "disprove" the mass of evidence indicating that CO2 & GHGs are warming us up.
I have never said GHG doesn't have a warming effect. Arguing otherwise is stupid. However, I've seen no solid evidence (plenty of theories one way or another) that it is significant beyond the 1.2 degC. If you do (other than "the IPCC said so", which I don't consider evidence, unless you can show a paper), I'd love to see it.
A handful of contrary findings does not somehow instantly cancel out three decades of increasingly clear evidence* saying otherwise.
This is NOT how science works. There were decades of "clear evidence" that man can't exceed the sound barrier. This was disproven in a single flight. All that is ever required is evidence that is sound enough to invalidate a critical assumption of a theory.
what's your point? One scientist finding evidence that "water vapor is responsible for at least a third of the average temperature increase since the early 1990s" is again not the smoking gun you apparently think it is.
I don't know what your hangup about smoking guns are. When one of the main proponents of AGW says the reason why he thinks it's man-made is because we currently have no other explanation (see question H) showing a significant alternate heating method can only critically undermine the argument for AGW (since the only reason it was AGW in the first place was because there was no other explanation).
I want the anti-GW argument to be ROCK solid before I'm willing to just dismiss offhand the evidence that we are going to irreversibly make earth inhospitable to humans.
So, why isn't the converse just as valid? I want to see ROCK solid evidence that there is a significant problem before diverting trillions of $/yen/euros. BTW, it is not realistically possible to release enough CO2 to make the Earth inhospitable to humans. A rising shoreline (assuming it happens at all) will only cause displacement. People can and will move.
Don't compare floating point numbers solely for equality.