Weather And Climate

Yep, many places sure had a cold winter this year. In case you’re wondering what it means, the answer is not much.

Local, short term changes in the outside environment are called weather. Humans don’t have much influence on weather because our kind of influence builds up slowly and usually averages out across the entire planet. One exception is when we dry out local weather by cutting down forests, but let’s set that aside for now. Climate is the larger-scale, longer term trend. Climate influences a given day’s weather to some degree but much more directly controls, for example, what kind of plants and animals can live in your area, growth/shrinkage of marginal zone glaciers, sea level and so on.

Me: That seems like an easy enough point. I really don’t understand why I have to explain it every time an online wingnut has to shovel his driveway.
H.L. Mencken’s ghost: Never argue with a man whose job depends on not being convinced.
Me. Yeah, fine, but the point has been beaten into the ground. Surely most people would have picked up the distinction up by now.
H.L. Mencken’s ghost: Kid, you’re sharp as a two by four. < floats off to haunt Nedra Pickler*>

The world has seen some extraordinary winter conditions in both hemispheres over the past year: snow in Johannesburg last June and in Baghdad in January, Arctic sea ice returning with a vengeance after a record retreat last summer, paralyzing blizzards in China, and a sharp drop in the globe’s average temperature.

It is no wonder that some scientists, opinion writers, political operatives and other people who challenge warnings about dangerous human-caused global warming have jumped on this as a teachable moment.

Damn you, Mencken.

Look, this doesn’t have to be difficult. If you don’t want to believe loony fringe partisans like George H.W. Bush’s IPCC, check it out for yourself. Most people with a backyard and a reference library can hunt down local phenomena that respond to climate rather than weather. If there is a nearby stream fed by alpine glaciers or snowpack, it will run higher in spring and lower in late summer if snow melts sooner in the year and more precipitation falls as rain. Learn which day of the year local flowering plants bloom and when pollinating insects start to appear. Find out what plants and animals have territories that end just to the south of you or at a slightly lower elevation. Put out a birdfeeder and note when migratory species start appearing. Are there any marginal zone glaciers in your area?** Permafrost? Ask an old fart whether they’ve changed. There is a reason why gardening enthusiasts and climate denialists have non-overlapping Venn circles.

I expect that this will once an for all stop denialists from crying OMFG warming is a h0ax! every time snow gets in the way of a cheetos run. Then again I am a bit slow.

***

(*) One of many good reasons to pick on Pickler.
(**) Antarcticans can sit this one out; the East Antarctic Ice Sheet will thaw approximately never.

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140 replies
  1. 1
    Incertus says:

    Was there supposed to be a link to some Nedra-y goodness?

    I’ve seen the climate change denialists popping up again recently, and it has occurred to me that they’re on about the same intellectually shaky ground as young earth creationists, so I tend to treat them with the same level of disdain.

  2. 2
    JGabriel says:

    Arctic sea ice returning with a vengeance

    Everytime I see this particular talking point, I’m astounded by the dishonesty of it. Yes, of course the Arctic sea ice returned: IT’S FUCKING WINTER, YOU MORONS!

    The problem is that it’s returning in a younger, weaker, less compressed, and *warmer* form that will melt even more quickly and agressively next summer.

    Sorry, I’m ranting to people who already know and understand this. My apologies.

    .

  3. 3
    Ari says:

    To be fair, every time we start to get consecutive 90+ degree days here Boston in July, someone (sometimes me!) will inevitably make some comment linking that to global warming. Must be a human nature thing.

  4. 4
    JGabriel says:

    On another environmental note, Darksyde at DKos is highlighting news that bat populations are collapsing in the Northeast. First the bees, then the bats. I suspect the birds will be next.

    Which makes one wonder, will these guys finally stop denying the extent of our environmental problems when even the canary in the coalmine is no longer metaphorical? Or will they just flip from denying there’s a problem to denying it can be fixed – because it’s all too late now anyhow? Arrrgh!

    .

  5. 5
    Incertus says:

    Or will they just flip from denying there’s a problem to denying it can be fixed – because it’s all too late now anyhow?

    Isn’t that basically what King George the Lesser did about 6 years ago when he acknowledged that global warming was actually occurring? And then he tried to spin it into a good thing because it will lengthen growing seasons in some parts of the world?

  6. 6
    tBone says:

    Which makes one wonder, will these guys finally stop denying the extent of our environmental problems when even the canary in the coalmine is no longer metaphorical?

    Our best intelligence suggests that canary was gassed by the Iranians. And the Arctic sea ice is being melted by their nuclear reactors. Clearly we have to bomb them or the Islamoecofascists win.

  7. 7
    JGabriel says:

    While this is pure speculation, I think the only reason Bush acknowledged global warming was because someone at the State Department probably told him that it was better to bee seen doing nothing on the issue because he was a greedy, hypocritical evil fuck, rather than to be see as a stupid one.

    Seems like the easiest way to manipulate his insecurities, anyway.

  8. 8
    Delia says:

    One of the great refutations of the problematic nature of global warming occurred a couple of years ago in the letters to the editor section of the Eugene Register-Guard. One of the local wingers disclosed an experiment which, he said, proved that the melting of glaciers would not cause sea levels to rise. See, you take an empty pickle jar. You fill it with water and add ice. Then you mark where the water level on the jar is. Then you go off and let the ice melt. Then you note where the water level is now and notice that it’s exactly the same as before!!!! PROVING: that melting ice caps will not raise sea levels and drown coastal cities. The wingnut was awfully proud of himself.

    Five days later the paper published a whole page full of letters refuting the loony in the most scathing terms imaginable, all of them pointing out that the melting glaciers rest upon land, not water, and that therefore the winger’s analogy was ludicrous and sea levels will rise and coastal cities will drown.

  9. 9
    Birdzilla says:

    Al Gore is a egotistical hypotcrit and a liar his idiotic notion of global warming is being blown all to bits and his two undeserved awards should be taken away

  10. 10
    empty says:

    Or will they just flip from denying there’s a problem to denying it can be fixed – because it’s all too late now anyhow?

    I think the current meme is that there is Global warming but it is not due to human activity. So nothing we can do to prevent it either.

  11. 11
    jake says:

    Me: That seems like an easy enough point. I really don’t understand why I have to explain it anew every time an online wingnut has to shovel his driveway.

    Because the wingnut is also a dumbass.

    Surely you must know that 98% of the wingies scoff at GCC because it is an issue associated with LeftoFascists.

    [Russert Style Hypothetical ahead]

    If St. Ron had championed the environment (I said it was a hypothetical), those clowns would be screaming about The War Against Trees and bragging about how they wipe their ass with their hand to save paper.

  12. 12
    jake says:

    If there is a nearby stream fed by alpine glaciers or snowpack, it will run higher in spring and lower in late summer if snow melts sooner in the year and more precipitation falls as rain…

    And these are all very good ideas but you’re preaching to the choir and you’ll never reach the fRight. The natural environment of the fRightened Keyboardist is as far from outdoors as possible (see, Mom’s Basement) because outdoors contains scary things like the pollen and the sun and the Islahomobamafascists. You’ll see them checking the level of the local streams after Bush admits he’s a lying bastard with the Sidam touch.

  13. 13
    hilzoy says:

    You’d think they would remember about weather vs. climate, given how many of them trot out this very distinction when the weather is unseasonably warm…

  14. 14
    myiq2xu says:

    Climate is what we expect.

    Weather is what we get.

  15. 15
    srv says:

    The liberal destruction of the traditional family unit has now spread to the insect world. Not surprising at all bees are

    Is Obama pro Climate Change, or against it?

  16. 16
    Mike D. says:

    If you haven’t read Michael Crichton’s _State of Fear_ you really should, even — especially — if you think he’s an apologist tool and a shitty writer of internally inconsistent movie scripts disguised as thick paperback technothrillers.

    The heroes are a bunch of lawyers chasing dimbulb eco-terrorists funded by a media/special interest complex mired in personal conflicts between Pissy Dr. No and Pissy Goldfinger, and only the Ivy League Double-Ph.D. NKVD can wander the Earth armed, perform harsh citizens’ arrests and summary executions at will, and employ their pro-Homeland paramilitary training to stop the blackguards… or CAN THEY? Footnotes and actual peer-reviewed science galore — this is what what Doughy Pantload and Knuckles Coulter wish they could crank out in their wettest dreams. It’s fookin’ brilliant. And the meta drips from every page, leaving the floor pocked with craters belching Rovian j’accuse-back-atcha vitriol; wear hazmat gear while reading. It’s the Schreckonomicon.

    For real, tear yourself away from gay-hating preachers and Vegas odds on Texahiosylvania, and READ IT. Climate doubletalk is coming like $2/liter gasoline, and you can get in on the ground floor of the Orwellian goodness to come. If you weren’t paying attention to PNAC when it first broke big and shameless, now’s your chance to observe the life cycle of intellectually dishonest boosterism from the beginning.

    (“Gee, the Idealistic Young Lawyer thought, all these graphs, these buzzwords, the inability of scientists to produce a log of every subatomic interaction in the world each millisecond since the Deluge… could ‘global warming’ be a load of crap? No, he corrected himself hastily, of course not. But the people trying to kill him had _something_ to hide….”)

  17. 17
    Farhad says:

    This is the problem with calling this whole thing “Global Warming”, it presents a totally different understanding in most people. Creating the strange understanding people possess of what this all entails. “Climate Change” is better but still not 100% correct.

    I believe there is an effect we are having on the climate, but it will be slow to register until the problem is far gone. One of the best examples is the oxygen dead zones forming on the east coast I believe.

  18. 18
    josephdietrich says:

    See also Barry Ritholtz: Global Warming Denialists: We Suck at Math Also!

  19. 19
    Person of Choler says:

    Farhad is correct, we should replace the term “Global Warming” with “Global Climate Change” so as to avoid confusion among the masses when the occasional cold spell sets in. The news media always cover any unusual or destructive weather anywhere in the world. In cases like this winter’s severity in parts of China, such coverage has given the Weather Enemy opportunities to sow doubts in the minds of the People about our correctness and sincerity. Since we cannot yet control what the media do or do not report, we must pre-neutralize such reporting. Simply say “Climate Change” and everybody will understand everything.

  20. 20
    SGEW says:

    . . . they’re on about the same intellectually shaky ground as young earth creationists

    To be fair, (a few) IPCC deniers do have (some) evidentiary grounds for questioning (certain aspects of) global warming. Their evidentiary grounds are, in fact, baseless and incorrect (and being debunked daily), but some scientists who doubt particular details in the anthropogenic theory do have certain (weak) findings they can point to in order to claim authority: very much unlike young earth creationists, who wouldn’t understand reproducible results if they bit them on the eye.

    Both camps (anthropogenic climate change deniers and young earth creationists) are scientifically wrong, but at least (some) climate change deniers are actually, you know, scientists who admit they’re wrong when faced with facts.

    (Okay, not Roy Spencer, I’ll give you that. His findings were completely debunked and he now writes pro-“intelligent design” articles, but I’d like to think that most scientists (even if they deny the climatology consensus) have some scientific integrity left).

    If you haven’t read Michael Crichton’s State of Fear you really should . . .

    This recommendation should come with a health warning: State of Fear may cause drowsiness, a lingering taste of bullshit in your mouth, and spontaneous retardation. See, e.g., Sen. Inhofe.

  21. 21
    AkaDad says:

    This is the problem with calling this whole thing “Global Warming”, it presents a totally different understanding in most people.

    I concur. I think we should start calling it Global or Planetary Destabilization. Or something like that.

  22. 22
    SGEW says:

    A lot of environmental groups are using the phrase “Global Climate Chaos” now, to counteract the whole “Climate Change” wishy-washiness.

    By the way: “Climate Change” (instead of “Global Warming”) is a phrase pushed by Republican strategist Frank Luntz to tone down the debate. Think “Death Tax” or “Culture of Life.”

  23. 23
    D-Chance. says:

    So can someone point to me the time in history when the earth’s climate was NOT changing? A time when we had absolute parity, the “perfect” balance?

    And, please, provide links. I’d be truly interested in this period of paradise when the earth magically stopped evolving, when the sun was a constant, when tectonic plates ceased shifting, when the planet found a perfect balance on its rotational axis, when it found an orbit that kept it in an exactly revolutionary path year after year without variance, when volcanoes ceased activity, land masses didn’t sink or rise, when… well, I guess some people aren’t happy until they’ve managed to scare themselves shitless AND blame it all on da eebil white d00dz, who needz mo’ taxin’ to save us all.

  24. 24
    calipygian says:

    The only possible explanaton for Freeper logic is that they hate, hate, HATE their children.

    Only explanatino that makes sense.

  25. 25
    SGEW says:

    The only possible explanaton for Freeper logic is that they hate, hate, HATE their children.

    Naw. I think a better explanation is that they have an ESCAPE CAPSULE that will rescue them when the whole planet goes into the shitter.

    This is why I was so satisfied when Pres. W. Bush pushed for manned exploration of space and a colony on Mars. It all makes sense now!

  26. 26
    calipygian says:

    Farhad is correct, we should replace the term “Global Warming” with “Global Climate Change” so as to avoid confusion among the masses when the occasional cold spell sets in.

    And not just the occasional cold snap. If models are correct and warming causes a huge load of fresh water to dump into the North Atlantic, disrupting the Gulf Stream and interupting the Atlantic Heat Conveyor, England gets shit loads of snow in the winter and Northern Russia basically becomes uninhabitable because of the cold.

    Watch wingnut heads expload the first time London gets a foot of snow and it is attributed to global warming.

    Ditto the Great Lakes region of the Northeast. More snow because cold winds pick up more moisture off an unfrozen lake surface and Watertown, NY, is buried in snow until August because of “global warming”.

  27. 27
    SGEW says:

    So can someone point to me the time in history when the earth’s climate was NOT changing? A time when we had absolute parity, the “perfect” balance?

    Not the point at all. Not even a straw man.

    The point is that the climate is changing very quickly (geologically speaking), and that human activity is heavily influencing it.

    Yes, the climate has changed dramatically throughout the Earth’s lifespan. When it does, it sucks for the organisms who are around at the time. What is so different now is that humans are a big, glaring, influential factor in the change and that (this is important) something can be done about it.

    The debate (there is a debate) is about what to do about it, NOT whether or not it is happening, or whether or not human activity is a cause.

  28. 28
    RSA says:

    What I find interesting about the global climate change deniers is how often they refer to the work of TV weathermen to bolster their arguments. Yeah, right. When I want to support a claim about evolutionary influences on human psychology, I look to see what Dr. Phil has said lately.

  29. 29
    Tim F. says:

    So can someone point to me the time in history when the earth’s climate was NOT changing? A time when we had absolute parity, the “perfect” balance?

    Yes, I can. For the last 10,000 years or so climate has kept at a fairly constant level that proved to be very friendly to human civilization. For reasons that I hope should be obvious humans should take some time to think before pushing that system out of equilibrium.

  30. 30
    SGEW says:

    For the last 10,000 years or so climate has kept at a fairly constant level that proved to be very friendly to human civilization.

    Oh noes! You’ve given him an opportunity to be a shill for the “Little Ice Age” “theory”! Look out!

  31. 31
    cmoreNC says:
  32. 32
    cmoreNC says:

    JGabriel Says:
    Which makes one wonder, will these guys finally stop denying the extent of our environmental problems when even the canary in the coalmine is no longer metaphorical? Or will they just flip from denying there’s a problem to denying it can be fixed – because it’s all too late now anyhow? Arrrgh!

    Actually, their response so far has amounted to:
    1) The scientific proof for global warming is still uncertain BUT:
    2) Just in case it’s true, global warming will actually prove to be more beneficial than harmful.”

  33. 33
    postmodernprimate says:

    I predict continued increases in the total volume of atmospheric stoopid.

    Also, a conservative will stake out a climate scientist on a ski vacation and use the photos to discredit himself.

  34. 34
    Tim F. says:

    Denier: What about the little ice age!

    Me: That was not a global phenomenon.

    Denier: But everyone thought that we were in danger of an ice age in the 70’s.

    Me: Who? Cite some actual scientists. 1970’s climate modeling software was about as sophisticated as the little chip that keeps your Ford Festiva from going over 105 miles per hour and yet most experts still had a fairly accurate grasp of CO2 and warming. Hell, Arrhenius got it right exactly 100 years ago.

    Denier: What about the sun!

    Me: What about it? None of the many people who study the sun have seen any activity that fits our warming trend. If you think that you can do better then by all means pick up a helioscope on ebay and get at it.

    Denier: Global warming proponents just want to stifle business and national autonomy under a New World Order UN government.

    Me. Appeal to unacceptable consequences only looks like an argument to people who never studied logic.

  35. 35
    Dread says:

    I expect that this will once an for all stop denialists from crying OMFG warming is a h0ax! every time snow gets in the way of a cheetos run. Then again I am a bit slow.

    As long as I don’t have to hear “ZOMG! Global Warming! Run!” every time we get a hurricane or a week of unseasonably warm weather.

  36. 36
    jake says:

    Farhad is correct, we should replace the term “Global Warming” with “Global Climate Change” so as to avoid confusion among the masses when the occasional cold spell sets in.

    True, but the masses will also hear “See! They were wrong about global warming and of course the climate is changing!” Often from the same people who didn’t blink when Creationism was rebranded as Intelligent Design.

    I think most people “get it” now. If you’re waiting for someone like Flush Limpbags to admit there’s no such thing as GCC so stop driving that gas guzzler … bring a good book.

    A much better approach is to tie measures that are good for the environment to $$. Want to save on your electric bill? Buy energy efficient products. Want to save on your gas bill? Take public transport or car pool. You don’t even need to get into the science and by moving away from talk about the science, you cut off the goons who get their pay checks from Shell.

  37. 37
    SGEW says:

    Denier: But everyone thought that we were in danger of an ice age in the 70’s.

    Here’s a recent article in USA Today (a hotbed of liberal group-think) about the debunking of the 1970’s “global cooling” consensus: link.

    Not that it matters to a hardcore denier, but there ya go.

    . . . the goons who get their pay checks from Shell

    Actually, it’s ExxonMobil who doles out the cash for this stuff, not so much Shell. Royal Dutch Shell is the company with the human rights abuses; XOM is the company who denies science. (I know, I know, it’s hard to carefully delineate the outrage sometimes, but accuracy is important).

  38. 38
    RSA says:

    1970’s climate modeling software was about as sophisticated as the little chip that keeps your Ford Festiva from going over 105 miles per hour

    I am going to steal this analogy for other purposes. Nice.

  39. 39
    cmoreNC says:

    Eventually, in fact within a very short time on a geological time scale (like within the next 1500 to 10,000 years), we WILL have a very severe, long-lasting ice age. But first, we’ll have a period of global warming until we exhaust fossil fuels over the next 200 to 500 years, and then afterward it will take the atmosphere another several hundred to thousand years to scrub the excess CO2 out, provided we don’t go over some “trip point” that will delay the ice age out to more like 20,000 years before things get back in sync.

    If you really want a global warming nightmare scenario to keep you awake at nights about the grandchildren of your grandchildren of your grandchildren..(and so on quite a few iterations)…the gradually increasing luminosity of the sun over the next billion or so years guarantees that most of earth will turn dinosaur-age tropical by about 500 million years from now, and over the next 500 million years the planet will progressivly transform into an intensely hot desert as the oceans begin evaporating and the atmosphere literally becomes a steambath and eventually earth loses its water. In the long run, earth becomes in its own way, just as inhospitable to life as Venus and Mars are today.

  40. 40
    DaMav says:

    Oh come quickly and see the starlings huddling together twittering anxiously and seeking to build each others courage back up as their most precious theory about how we need to sabotage the economic engine of civilization is torn asunder by the reality of the recent temperature drop. They sense that all their fear mongering about environmental doom may be headed for the humiliation of becoming laughingstock of the century, an new version of the Piltdown Man.

    Why is it that whenever some fapping idiot finds a polar bear “stranded” on an ice flow somewhere, the picture is distributed throughout the world as “proof” of manmade global warming, but when whole subcontinents are locked in record setting cold this is dismissed as merely local conditions? Global warming is real, anthropogenic global warming is a synthetic creation designed to induce panic in the masses and profits to those selling the magical lens of vision and the snake oil cure. The illusion of having the playing field ceded to the hucksters and the gullible are rapidly dying an icy death on the frozen ground of reality. Those shivers you feel spreading across the Earth merely raise the question: How many data points off your theoretical path can you explain away before waking up and realizing the orthodox church of AGW was wrong, and Gallileo was right?

  41. 41
    Tim F. says:

    Hey DaMav, genius, I already wrote your comment for you.

  42. 42
    Kirby says:

    Here’s my problem with the whole debate. I can’t take either side seriously. It’s become a political debate with the expected insults that come with politics. Is it even possible anymore to have a scientific discussion of climate change without it turning to school ground name-calling? Probably not.

    But until such a day. I’m tuning out.

  43. 43
    Andrew says:

    In the long run, earth becomes in its own way, just as inhospitable to life as Venus and Mars are today.

    Mars, bitches!

  44. 44
    Tim F. says:

    Is it even possible anymore to have a scientific discussion of climate change without it turning to school ground name-calling?

    Nor evolution. I guess we should give up and stop teaching it.

  45. 45
    calipygian says:

    Wow DaMav! You are just like William F Buckley – only retardeder.

  46. 46
    dakimba says:

    In a complex system exhibiting 1/f noise, where does “weather” stop and “climate” begin?

  47. 47
    SGEW says:

    Why is it that whenever some fapping idiot finds a polar bear “stranded” on an ice flow somewhere, the picture is distributed throughout the world as “proof” of manmade global warming . . . ?

    Fair point. Megafauna in danger (particularly cute megafauna in danger) provide powerful, emotionally touching images. Much more so than, say, sea cucumbers. These sorts of images are often used in furtherance of particular talking points (e.g., Save the Whales, or Stop Global Warming, or Fur Is Murder, or whatever), that very well might have little to do with the factual basis of the photographs (for instance, I’ve read that polar bears are in far more immediate danger from pollution and overfishing than they are from global warming).

    However;

    . . . their most precious theory about how we need to sabotage the economic engine of civilization is torn asunder by the reality of the recent temperature drop . . . .

    . . . the humiliation of becoming laughingstock of the century, an new version of the Piltdown Man.

    . . . anthropogenic global warming is a synthetic creation designed to induce panic in the masses and profits to those selling the magical lens of vision and the snake oil cure.

    . . . waking up and realizing the orthodox church of AGW was wrong, and Gallileo (sic) was right?

    You’re spoofing, right?

  48. 48
    Kirby says:

    Point taken. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m not getting much science from either side. Just scare tactics and insults. I don’t know if either side deserves to be taken seriously.

  49. 49
    SGEW says:

    I’m not getting much science from either side.

    Hey Kirby, let me shill my favorite science site about global warming to you. It has tons of science, is written for laymen and scientists alike, and is filled with more hyperlinks to actual research than I could ever get through.

    The Discovery of Global Warming.

    Sorry for all the gratuitous linking, everyone.

  50. 50
    Kirby says:

    Thanks. I’ll check it out.

  51. 51
    Tim F. says:

    Kirby, it might help to add some context to my perspective. I am a reasercher with relevant degrees in both evolution (bachelor’s) and climate (Master’s, oceanography). My posts come from a scientific perspective because I know the relevant scientists personally. To a lesser degree, having since moved on to cell biology, I am one of them. It is especially weird for you to claim a dearth of science when practically every one of my many posts on climate contains hard science. This very post even presents science in its purest form: don’t don’t take anybody’s word for it, but instead make a hypothesis and test it yourself.

    My short patience for deniers is also far from a kneejerk reaction. Look at it this way, as a scientist I have to defend my models and knock down others’ on a daily basis, and yet somehow we all manage to (mostly) interact like professionals. The difference is that both sides act like professionals.

    Not one of the many times that I have personally engaged with some brighter lights in both the anti-evolution and anti-climate movement did I get the impression that the person was arguing in good faith. Having a training in elementary logic just makes it that much more painful. It is hardly my first instinct to treat deniers like mendicants and fools, but after long effort on their part I am forced to oblige.

  52. 52
    SGEW says:

    Not one of the many times that I have personally engaged with some brighter lights in both the anti-evolution and anti-climate movement did I get the impression that the person was arguing in good faith.

    Really? Is that qualified by anti-climate “movement”? There are several meteorologists (curiously, mostly Canadian, Scottish or Australian meteorologists: I’ve often wondered if there was a connection) who appear to be arguing against AGW in good faith. They might be terribly wrong (they’re also all rather, um, senior in age), but I have the impression that they really, really believe their own theories, often based on their own, personal weather data.

    Anti-evolution folk have absolutely no scientific standing, and cannot, therefore, argue in good faith (scientifically speaking).

  53. 53
    tBone says:

    Point taken. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m not getting much science from either side. Just scare tactics and insults. I don’t know if either side deserves to be taken seriously.

    I see DougJ is still trying to perfect the centrist spoof.

  54. 54
    JWeidner says:

    Keep on it Tim. I always enjoy reading your posts on scientific subjects. The climate change posts are always particularly good.

  55. 55
    Laertes says:

    It’s funny. The people who best understand global warming have the most reason to be afraid, but in these arguments it’s always the deniers who reek of flop-sweat and urine.

    The savage bitterness, the sneering contempt, the belligerent and desperate “get a brain morans” denial, the clumsy attempts at sarcasm…it all indicates a terrified speaker.

    One is led to wonder if they think we’re taking a vote on this, and if enough people just believe the right thing, the problem will go away.

  56. 56
    Brachiator says:

    Since we cannot yet control what the media do or do not report, we must pre-neutralize such reporting. Simply say “Climate Change” and everybody will understand everything.

    I always wonder who exactly, are “we” here? I also wonder exactly why it is that “we” are EVER supposed to “control” the media?

    This is the kind of thing that makes some of the global climate change crowd look like intolerant, inflexible goons hawking ideology, not science.

    So can someone point to me the time in history when the earth’s climate was NOT changing? A time when we had absolute parity, the “perfect” balance?

    Yes, I can. For the last 10,000 years or so climate has kept at a fairly constant level that proved to be very friendly to human civilization. For reasons that I hope should be obvious humans should take some time to think before pushing that system out of equilibrium.

    I am not a climate change denier, but the idea that the climate of the last 10,000 years represents some sort of equilibrium that must be – or even can be – maintained, is absurd.

    Equally absurd is the notion that climate is supposed to be friendly to human civilization. While I have a personal interest in wanting to stick around and seeing my descendants flourish, there is nothing grounded in science that even remotely guarantees this.

    Similarly, I am suspicious of claims that global climate change must equal global climate catastrophe.

    … the gradually increasing luminosity of the sun over the next billion or so years guarantees that most of earth will turn dinosaur-age tropical by about 500 million years from now…

    For some reason, this does not worry me at all.

    Denier: What about the little ice age!
    Me: That was not a global phenomenon.

    While the impact of the LIA in the Northern hemisphere is well documented, there is evidence of wider impact, e.g., studies indicating that “the LIA is easily distinguished in the Quelccaya Ice Cap (Peruvian Andes, South America).”

    There are even some claims that there was anthropogenic influence on the LIA. Go figure. Noting that this is only a starting point, not the best or last word, Wikipedia has a good discussion of this: Little Ice Age.

    Denier: But everyone thought that we were in danger of an ice age in the 70’s.
    Me: Who? Cite some actual scientists. 1970’s climate modeling software was about as sophisticated as the little chip that keeps your Ford Festiva from going over 105 miles per hour and yet most experts still had a fairly accurate grasp of CO2 and warming.

    Sophistication does not equal either accuracy or correctness.

    SGEW’s link to the USA today article is instructive. Part of the issue was not simply the adequacy of models, but the hypotheses about the causes of observed weather patterns:

    “The temperature records we had at the time showed a very sharp cooling from the mid-’40s to the mid-’70s,” Michaels says. “And scientists attempted to explain that as a consequence of the pollution that was preventing solar radiation from reaching the surface.

    “At the time, scientists thought the cooling effect of pollution was greater than the warming effect of carbon dioxide,” Michaels adds. “They were attempting to explain the dramatic cooling of the ’70s.”

    Denier: What about the sun!
    Denier: Global warming proponents just want to stifle business and national autonomy under a New World Order UN government.

    I agree with your debunking of these points. However, any proposed solutions to global climate change are a tough sell if these proposals could be perceived as a lowering of most people’s standard of living, or that appears to be a huge re-direction of tax dollars without an equally significant payoff.

  57. 57
    jrg says:

    This very post even presents science in its purest form: don’t don’t take anybody’s word for it, but instead make a hypothesis and test it yourself.

    Yes, but you’re talking about a group of people who believe that the hypothesis is “Liberals push awareness of global climate change because they hate industry”, and the test is “when liberals call into the radio show, if they agree with the hypothesis, then liberals are straight-up communists. If the liberal callers do not agree with the hypothesis, they they are lying, and are therefore insidious, liberal communists”.

    Since all climate change deniers are liberals, and all liberals are communists, it follows that anyone who is concerned about global warming is a communist. Q.E.D.

    It’s getting harder and harder to deny GW, however. The next step, I think, is to set the right expectations (the Earth is going to continue warming for at least the next 40 years, even if fossil fuel use stopped tomorrow), and work with right(ish) conservation groups like Ducks Unlimited to push for tighter government regulations.

    It’s unfortunate that something so dangerous is being treated as a partisan issue, but it is. Hunters and fishermen are the new beachhead for political progress on this issue.

  58. 58

    […] But, hey, just remember that when it gets cool or cold, it can only be weather. When the most minor of things shows a higher temp, it is climate. Because us damned skeptics of human made climate change are just wrong in seizing on, ya know, cold weather. […]

  59. 59
    jrg says:

    s/”Since all climate change deniers are liberals”/”Since all that acknowledge climate change are liberals”/;

  60. 60

    Global Warming Today: Energy Saving Day Fails. Snortworthingly!

    Heh heh heh Energy Saving Day was a flop, its organiser admitted last night after the National Grid confirmed that across Britain energy use went up by just over one per cent. The day, which began at dusk on Wednesday…

  61. 61
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Hunters and fishermen are the new beachhead for political progress on this issue.

    Won’t happen. Based on an up-close-and-personal look at the politics of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, they’ll get sidetracked or coopted by the they’re going-to-take-your-guns nuts and all-land-use-regulation-is-a-commie-plot extremists.

  62. 62
    Chris Johnson says:

    The bottom line isn’t that global warming means everything gets serenely hotter and all the climate areas sedately shift to new places.

    Global warming means more ENERGY in the climate system. This means weather becomes more VIOLENT.

    There’s opportunity in this as well- extra-tough windmills? Invest in thermal technologies and weatherproofing tech?

    There’s also shitloads of danger in it, because violent weather is literally a force of nature. Civilization can stand consistent shifts in temperature to whatever you like but an awful lot of civilization isn’t designed to withstand ‘perfect storms’, and remember this is an increasing process so think perfect storm * 10. Will your house, your electrical grid, your roads stand 3 feet of snow? How about 30? Will they stand 80 mile an hour winds? Okay, how about 240?

    I love the prospect of space exploration but it seems to me the most likely outcome is that we’re going to end up on an alien planet with really dramatic conditions, and that planet will be Earth.

  63. 63
    les says:

    While I get some of the deniers–they don’t understand science, they don’t get the difference between weather and climate, they’re too lazy and stupid to tell the difference between paid shills and actual scientists, they buy authoritarian bullshit on a regular basis–the fucking idiots poncing about and whining “oh they’re all so uncivil, I won’t listen to anyone” really chap my ass. The information is out there and easy to find–use your goddamn brain, ’cause if you don’t think this is the most important issue of your whiney life, your kids will curse you for it.

  64. 64
    DaMav says:

    There needs to be a stratification of beliefs to have a rational discussion.

    Level 1 – Is their Global Warming?
    Almost everyone believes this to be the case. There were glaciers covering much of northern North America extending into Ohio etc. Now they are gone. End of discussion.

    Level 2 – Is it increasing over the past hundred years?
    Almost certainly, notwithstanding the global cooling scare of the 70s.

    Level 3 – Is the increase significantly related to human activity?
    Possibly, further research needed. By all means let’s do it and find out. Nobody should be against well thought out, meticulously conducted, scientific research. Or the debate that generally follows it.

    Level 4 – If Level 3, then is it “bad” for humans?
    Possibly, and rarely addressed objectively. There would be a huge increase in available, useable land mass in northern climates, balanced by a loss of some islands assuming the sea level rises, and coastal lands. There is no reason we can’t adapt to this gradual change, the scare scenarios nothwithstanding. Carbon producing fuel consumption should decline as less warming is needed to meet human needs in the frigid north. People enjoy air conditioning in the summer, but rarely need it to survive. In the coldest north, heat is a necessity.

    Level 5 – If level 4 is yes, what can we do about it?
    There is almost no agreement at all here and an awful lot of people (pun intended) running around in circles stamping their feet demanding we “do something”. The situation is ripe for exploitation by demagogues (Mr. Gore comes to mind), charlatan scientists pushing grant consuming research projects (a minority, but not an insignificant one), and politicians pushing personal power.
    Given the time scales involved, it is quite possible that a highly technological solution might be found from shields to moderate sunlight falling on the earth to chemical treatments to promote plant growth. Remember, a hundred years ago it was common knowledge among even leading thinkers that commercial air flight was absurd.
    The problem with unnecessarily restraining economic activity is that it powers technological invention and application. We might actually be killing a potential large scale solution by cutting back on growth.
    Then there are the cottage industries soon to turn into bonanzas — NGOs peddling “solutions”, legions of lawyers seeking “reparations” from nations for the sin of carbon production, traders in “carbon credits” that have already been found to be rife with fraud. This will quickly become a multitrillion dollar industry.

    Given this state of affairs, is it any wonder that some of us might ask for better quality data, better models and projections, and more basic consideration of consequences and options? If this makes us “deniers”, and brings the opproprobrium of the true believers, so be it. I don’t claim to be any more expert than Al Gore on the science of global warming, but I do know that the world has seen many of these “utter disaster on the horizon” belief systems come and go from the time of Malthus and probably before. We ought to learn from experience to be cautious about joining the stampede.

  65. 65
    DougJ says:

    I love the “is it bad for humans” question? Made general enough, it become debatable. But given that many of the world’s business and financial centers — as well much of the world’s most valuable real estate — could be flooded, it’s clear that rising sea levels would be catastrophic for the world economy.

    The wingers always yak about how bad reducing carbon emissions would be for the economy — well how fucking bad will it be for the economy when Wall St. is under 20 feet of water?

  66. 66
    DaMav says:

    There needs to be a stratification of beliefs to have a rational discussion.

    Level 1 – Is there Global Warming?
    Almost everyone believes this to be the case. There were glaciers covering much of northern North America extending into Ohio etc. Now they are gone. End of discussion.

    Level 2 – Is it increasing over the past hundred years?
    Almost certainly, notwithstanding the global cooling scare of the 70s.

    Level 3 – Is the increase significantly related to human activity?
    Possibly, further research needed. By all means let’s do it and find out. Nobody should be against well thought out, meticulously conducted, scientific research. Or the debate that generally follows it.

    Level 4 – If Level 3, then is it “bad” for humans?
    Possibly, and rarely addressed objectively. There would be a huge increase in available, useable land mass in northern climates, balanced by a loss of some islands assuming the sea level rises, and coastal lands. There is no reason we can’t adapt to this gradual change, the scare scenarios nothwithstanding. Carbon producing fuel consumption should decline as less warming is needed to meet human needs in the frigid north. People enjoy air conditioning in the summer, but rarely need it to survive. In the coldest north, heat is a necessity.

    Level 5 – If level 4 is yes, what can we do about it?
    There is almost no agreement at all here and an awful lot of people (pun intended) running around in circles stamping their feet demanding we “do something”. The situation is ripe for exploitation by demagogues (Mr. Gore comes to mind), charlatan scientists pushing grant consuming research projects (a minority, but not an insignificant one), and politicians pushing personal power.
    Given the time scales involved, it is quite possible that a highly technological solution might be found from shields to moderate sunlight falling on the earth to chemical treatments to promote plant growth. Remember, a hundred years ago it was common knowledge among even leading thinkers that commercial air flight was absurd.
    The problem with unnecessarily restraining economic activity is that it powers technological invention and application. We might actually be killing a potential large scale solution by cutting back on growth.
    Then there are the cottage industries soon to turn into bonanzas — NGOs peddling “solutions”, legions of lawyers seeking “reparations” from nations for the sin of carbon production, traders in “carbon credits” that have already been found to be rife with fraud. This will quickly become a multitrillion dollar industry.

    Given this state of affairs, is it any wonder that some of us might ask for better quality data, better models and projections, and more basic consideration of consequences and options? If this makes us “deniers”, and brings the opproprobrium of the true believers, so be it. I don’t claim to be any more expert than Al Gore on the science of global warming, but I do know that the world has seen many of these “utter disaster on the horizon” belief systems come and go from the time of Malthus and probably before. We ought to learn from experience to be cautious about joining the stampede.

  67. 67
    DougJ says:

    I also love hearing these morons talk about models and scientific research. Good God, where did these people come from?

    Were people this dumb before television?

  68. 68
    DougJ says:

    Why is it that whenever some fapping idiot

    Also, classic winger stuff: using some strange variant of the word “fucking”. They think that’s somehow highbrow or refined. I don’t get it.

  69. 69
    tBone says:

    Also, classic winger stuff: using some strange variant of the word “fucking”.

    Actually, fapping refers to masturbation.

    Carry on.

  70. 70
    SGEW says:

    Level 3 – Is the increase significantly related to human activity?

    You have to let this one go, DaMav. There are only a very small handful of scientists left who don’t accept this (compared to literally thousands who do). Really. I don’t know what anyone can do to convince you of this, tho’.

    Level 4 – If Level 3, then is it “bad” for humans?
    Possibly, and rarely addressed objectively.There would be a huge increase in available, useable land mass in northern climates, balanced by a loss of some islands assuming the sea level rises, and coastal lands.

    Human well-being is not a global average. Perhaps people will be able to grow wheat in the Yukon*, and that would be “good” for Canada, but that doesn’t “balance out” the suffering AGW will cause. All models (yes, objective models) predict disastrous consequences for large groups of people, particularly those who are already in an untenable position (e.g., Bangladesh, sub-Saharan Africa, etc.). Wheat prices going down in North America will be very thin comfort to them.

    Level 5 – If level 4 is yes, what can we do about it?

    Precisely. We are at level 5. This is where the discussion should begin. Capice?

    . . . the world has seen many of these “utter disaster on the horizon” belief systems come and go from the time of Malthus and probably before.

    Incorrect, actually. There have been many, many dire “‘disaster on the horizon’ “belief systems” before, but that’s the thing: there has never before been a scientific consensus about any of them! Malthus was discredited – through science! The “new ice age” theory was discredited – through science! The various “meteor of doom” ideas were discredited – through science!

    So as soon as the global warming consensus is discredited (through science!, mind you), I’m on board with your concerns. Untill then, tho’, not so much.

    *Not really, actually. Sorry, Canucks.

  71. 71
    DaMav says:

    a classic work on the burning terminology controversy ;-)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjvRwVGQwLE

  72. 72
    jrg says:

    The situation is ripe for exploitation by demagogues (Mr. Gore comes to mind), charlatan scientists pushing grant consuming research projects (a minority, but not an insignificant one), and politicians pushing personal power.

    Oh, O.K. Can we have a discussion about climate change that does not involve trolling and/or demagoging over Al Gore?

    If the right does not want Gore in the discussion, why is it that they bring him up every time GW is mentioned?

  73. 73
    DougJ says:

    All right, you’re a good sport, DaMav. I’ll tone down the rhetoric.

  74. 74
    DaMav says:

    @SGEW
    Thanks for a thoughtful response. I appreciate your point of view, I just don’t share it.

    Just a couple responses; then I’ll stop beating the horse.

    In the worst case scenario, the most valuable property will just move inland with the beaches, not disappear. One of the problems in the modeling I’ve seen is that they assume it vanishes as a total loss. Actually the appreciation of the value of the new beachfront will make the net loss of the old negligible. In fact, from what I have seen, the amount of beach front might actually increase, resulting in a net gain in total property value, especially if those burgeoning wheat farms in the north are included.

    Malthus actually had a good point; it’s just that people latched on to it and hyped it into predictions of imminent mass starvation. What discredited those people was not science per se, but empirical evidence — the mass global starvation just flat out didn’t happen in the time frame predicted. But Malthus’ underlying point about geometric vs linear growth still has some validity today. That was the science, not the hype.

    My prediction, which I realize you will not buy, is that much the same will happen with Anthropogenic Global Warming. The climate will jump around for the next hundred years, humans will adapt, and the impact will be far from catastrophic for humans. There will be winners and losers, as has always been the case. But the knowledge we gain from doing the research will be valuable in other applications and eventually even very long term in climate control and terraforming other planets. Therefore I strongly support the research being done on all sides of the issue.

    If I’m wrong your great great great grandkids can come after mine. I’m off to work.

  75. 75
    4tehlulz says:

    >>The climate will jump around for the next hundred years, humans will adapt, and the impact will be far from catastrophic for humans.

    This only works if you ignore water wars, famines, large-scale population movements, and economic upheaval that result.

    Hard fail.

  76. 76
    TenguPhule says:

    So can someone point to me the time in history when the earth’s climate was NOT changing? A time when we had absolute parity, the “perfect” balance?

    You’re living in one right now.

    Human history has been one big relatively stable climate zone.

    You won’t survive very long if this changes.

    Neither will anyone else.

  77. 77
    TenguPhule says:

    The climate will jump around for the next hundred years, humans will adapt, and the impact will be far from catastrophic for humans.

    Only if you’re a fucking idiot.

    If I’m wrong your great great great grandkids can come after mine.

    No, given the acceleration of the destablization, you might be old and grey but you’ll probably still be here when the starving angry hordes need a source of meat.

  78. 78
    TenguPhule says:

    There would be a huge increase in available, useable land mass in northern climates, balanced by a loss of some islands assuming the sea level rises, and coastal lands. There is no reason we can’t adapt to this gradual change, the scare scenarios nothwithstanding.

    Teh stupid, it burns.

    ‘Available, useable land mass’. Do you even know what you’re saying? Our farming system is not something you can just transplant up to Canada just because the snow melted without any consquences. Disease, Famine and ecological nightmare come to mind.

    And do you fucking realize just HOW MANY PEOPLE live in those ‘coastal areas’ you so casually mention?

  79. 79

    Tim F. says:

    Local, short term changes in the outside environment are called weather.

    But the NY Times piece he’s referring to says:

    The world has seen some extraordinary winter conditions in both hemispheres over the past year: snow in Johannesburg last June and in Baghdad in January, Arctic sea ice returning with a vengeance after a record retreat last summer, paralyzing blizzards in China, and a sharp drop in the globe’s average temperature.

    “Local”, eh? Learn to read.

  80. 80
    MJ says:

    If global temperatures stopped rising ten years ago is that weather or climate?

    Denier: What about the little ice age!

    Me: That was not a global phenomenon.

    But is was:

    Climatic and human consequences of the Little Ice Age are best documented in western Europe. Therefore, some climatologists have concluded naively that this climatic episode was a regional anomaly, not of worldwide significance. This point of view is contradicted strongly by evidence from glaciers in tropical mountain locations. The Quelccaya ice cap in the Andes Mountains of southern Peru is one such site. Ice cores provide direct physical evidence for colder climate… link

    And some think we might be heading for another little ice age.

    http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/2011

  81. 81
    jcricket says:

    Tim F is right on when he says the GW deniers are like the creationists. In the nearly 20 years since I became aware there was even a controversy about this (i.e. I started reading USENET’s talk.origins newsgroup) the facts supporting evolutionary theory have grown exponentially, and yet the creationists have grown louder and more pronounced.

    There’s no point in engaging them personally in debate, but I 100% support the way things like the Dover case proceeded. Evolutionary biologists and climate scientists would do well to continue to keep up the political pressure, produce good literature debunking the debunkers, etc. Just not on a personal scale – with the exception of not letting any contests go uncontested.

    It’s like the 50 state strategy for Dems – We need to start making sure science shows up, well prepared, for all the debates.

  82. 82
    jcricket says:

    And do you fucking realize just HOW MANY PEOPLE live in those ‘coastal areas’ you so casually mention?

    Remember that’s just the effete elite snobs busy mounting fifth columns. They’re not “real Americans” anyway. Real Americans are the other 99% (I think that’s the right number) that vote Republican, are evangelical Christians, live in rural areas and drive giant SUVs. We can afford to lose those people. There’s a reason they call it the “heartland” buddy!

    Oh wait, it’s not 99% of people in that situation? The coasts contain nearly 100 million people and generate 3/4 of the GDP or more? Shoot.

  83. 83
    jcricket says:

    those people are the coastal elite snobs. We can afford to lose them. Wouldn’t want anyone thinking we could afford to lose all the Red Staters, who make our economy grow and contribute more to the government than they get back.

    At least I think those are the facts.

  84. 84
    dbrown says:

    First: Thanks to all of you for not using that incorrect and disproven term “Green House” effect! Thank you!
    Yes, the Earth is warming and that means deserts will get bigger, area’s that get too little water one year will get vast floods the next. Area’s that get normal amounts of water per year will, alas, see most of the rain at the wrong times in too large amounts and growing food will be made more difficult everywere.
    Climate change is bad news for everyone – the millions displaced, that strave, live in countries that are breaking apart, and the wallets of all of us who will pay more as food prices continue to climb; ignoring possible peak oil (no, that isn’t here yet but I’m affraid it is comming just in time to make our lives interesting along with warming.)
    Yet the too stupid will also fight to the end to support their false beliefs (hopefully that isn’t me … yet.)

  85. 85
    JGabriel says:

    AkaDad:

    I think we should start calling it Global or Planetary Destabilization.

    I agree. Global Climate Destabilization sounds pretty accurate, in fact.

    .

  86. 86
    JGabriel says:

    Brachiator:

    However, any proposed solutions to global climate change are a tough sell if these proposals could be perceived as a lowering of most people’s standard of living, or that appears to be a huge re-direction of tax dollars without an equally significant payoff.

    Somehow, I’ve never understood the argument that funding research into, for instance, solar energy will lower our standard of living. Worst case scenario is that, even if Global Climate Destabilization does not occur, we would use less gas and oil, and have lower bills.

    Which is a good thing, given that we are going to run out of oil someday, anyway.

  87. 87
    bains says:

    Wow… another insulting and logically impaired post. What a surprise.

    So this year’s record cold temperatures, and record polar ice fields, and record snow falls are just weather driven quirks. By that logic (which I think is correct), then recent record temperature highs, and record ice field depletions are also quirks.

    It is the climate trend that we need to focus upon. Good idea Tim. But if it is the trend, then shouldn’t we look beyond the past 200 years (IPCC research is overwhelmingly based upon the past 200 years). Ought we not look to when CO2 ‘contamination’ was 1000 ppm as a guide to understand how our present 390 ppm may mitigate our climate? Perhaps looking to when 200 ppm affected our climate is appropriate?

    But no says Tim, the NYTimes, and the rest of the AGW supplicants. TEMPERATURES UP, ICE FIELDS DOWN, TORNADOS, AND HURRICANES… MUST BE (Frasier: GWBush’s war, Cole: Terry Schiavo, Andrew Sullivan: Marriage Amendment) ANTHROPOGENIC GLOBAL WARMING!

    But now were are scolded told temperatures down, ice fields up… just weather.

    You all are such a hacks.

  88. 88
    Ed Drone says:

    explanatino

    And a new sub-atomic particle is discovered!

    Perhaps the discovery will provide the power to fight global warming!

    Ed

  89. 89
    chopper says:

    If global temperatures stopped rising ten years ago is that weather or climate?

    first off, global temperatures didn’t stop rising ten years ago.

    second, it isn’t wise to assume that a drop in global temperatures equates to “global warming is over”, or you would have said the same thing in the 40’s, 1960, 1973, 1983 and 1990. wow, global warming sure seems to ‘end’ a lot.

  90. 90
    DougJ says:

    Wow… another insulting and logically impaired post. What a surprise.

    Did I write that? I can’t tell because I can’t see the IP address. Could you check, John?

  91. 91
    Tim F. says:

    In the worst case scenario, the most valuable property will just move inland with the beaches, not disappear.

    If that is what you consider a “worst case scenario” then you must fail to understand the meaning of the words worst, case and scenario.

  92. 92
    Delia says:

    those people are the coastal elite snobs. We can afford to lose them. Wouldn’t want anyone thinking we could afford to lose all the Red Staters, who make our economy grow and contribute more to the government than they get back.

    At least I think those are the facts.

    Not counting Houston, of course.

  93. 93
    Tim F. says:

    Brachiator, you’ll forgive me for regarding your points beside this as nitpicking:

    I am not a climate change denier, but the idea that the climate of the last 10,000 years represents some sort of equilibrium that must be – or even can be – maintained, is absurd.

    Equally absurd is the notion that climate is supposed to be friendly to human civilization. While I have a personal interest in wanting to stick around and seeing my descendants flourish, there is nothing grounded in science that even remotely guarantees this.

    Similarly, I am suspicious of claims that global climate change must equal global climate catastrophe.

    (end quote…FYWP)

    Here we go again with the libertarian fallacy. That is my term for the misconception that a system will go on working after you take away the fundamental supports that make it work. You, for example, think that six billion people will be fed no matter what happens to the global climate. I don’t blame you for making the mistake; most people don’t understand that civilization flourished over the last 10,000 years because we could count on a stable climate to reliably grow food. When local climate became unfavorable for food production, civilizations collapsed.

    The world is one civilization now. Or did you think that you could get on just fine without goods shipped from China, oil from the mideast and Venezuela and raw materials from all over, particularly Africa? Sorry to break it to you but you can’t. I like to call climate change “global loss of food productivity” because that is easily the most meaningful change with respect to human civilization. Billions of people won’t starve peacefully.

    When the usual wingnuts yammer about the social costs of dealing with climate change I want to laugh in their face. Wait until you see the costs of not dealing with it.

  94. 94
    TenguPhule says:

    So this year’s record cold temperatures, and record polar ice fields, and record snow falls are just weather driven quirks.

    Shorter bains: I don’t understand the meaning of instability.

    That ‘record cold’ is not replenishing the caps and glaciers that are being LOST as each spring and summer get longer and warmer.

    We’ve gotten along as a species because the climate has been fairly stable for our reign.

    When the temp begins spiking at both ends as the climate shifts from one pole to the other…you have a big fucking problem.

  95. 95
    TenguPhule says:

    However, any proposed solutions to global climate change are a tough sell if these proposals could be perceived as a lowering of most people’s standard of living, or that appears to be a huge re-direction of tax dollars without an equally significant payoff.

    Would you prefer less electronic gadgets in your life or being stuck on a grill to be roasted to a turn by starving people?

    Those are your options. You can help try and stop the fucking disaster or you can be meat for the survivors.

  96. 96
    TenguPhule says:

    I don’t blame you for making the mistake; most people don’t understand that civilization flourished over the last 10,000 years because we could count on a stable climate to reliably grow food.

    Real Americans know that food comes from the supermarket which is in turn supplied by cheap Mexicans who illegally come into America to wage jihad on White Folk’s jobs!

  97. 97
    TenguPhule says:

    If global temperatures stopped rising ten years ago is that weather or climate?

    Shorter MJ: I believe that a marine geologist is qualified to tell me about climate. Especially one who believes excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a GOOD thing.

  98. 98
    Tim F. says:

    There are few surer bets in science than that a marine geologist has oil money behind him. I’m telling you this as somebody who has studied under marine geologists. Find an actual climatologist and get back to me.

  99. 99
    demimondian says:

    Um, folks? There’s a much simpler way to debunk the claim that this year has been exceptionally cold.

    Look at the West Coast, particularly the Pacific Northwest. We’re in the middle of a very wet, but extraordinarily warm, winter. If the population in the US were not concentrated on the East Coast, in fact, this wouldn’t be seen as a cold winter at all; if it weren’t that you folks keep dominating the news cycles, in fact, we wouldn’t even be aware that the weather’s been bad there.

    So you’re responding to the anthropic principle, not even argument by anecdote.

  100. 100
    Birdzilla says:

    So much for all this global warming poppycock AL GORE is a big time liar he should be made to return those undeserved awards and GLOBAL WARMING is a big time fruad and all out lie

  101. 101
    bains says:

    Shorter bains: I don’t understand the meaning of instability.

    Shorter TenguPhule: I don’t care about science – I’ve got a political agenda!!!

  102. 102
    MJ says:

    TenguPhule, chopper and Tim see the global temperatures used by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the UK’s Met Office and the IPCC.

  103. 103
    bains says:

    There are few surer bets in science than that a marine geologist has oil money behind him.

    Or perhaps an ex-Vice President that has millions invested in selling carbon credits. You will, of course, refuse to see that similarity.
    Hack.

  104. 104
    Delia says:
    There are few surer bets in science than that a marine geologist has oil money behind him.

    Or perhaps an ex-Vice President that has millions invested in selling carbon credits. You will, of course, refuse to see that similarity.
    Hack.

    Oh yes, there’s billions, BILLIONS to be made in carbon credit futures. Buying, selling the little buggers. Now that the housing market has tanked we should all buy stock in carbon credits. The only thing is, we must be sure to sell before the general public catches on to the scam.

  105. 105
    TenguPhule says:

    bains says: I’ve got a political agenda

    Yes, we know. Now kindly explain why the caps and glaciers that people use for water are shrinking.

    Also please look up instability.

  106. 106
    TenguPhule says:

    Shorter MJ: I do not know how to fucking Wiki

    Do you have room for a little more crow to join that foot?

  107. 107
    TenguPhule says:

    Or perhaps an ex-Vice President that has millions invested in selling carbon credits. You will, of course, refuse to see that similarity.

    Or maybe bains is just a stupid little troll who doesn’t comprehend that destabilizing the system that we live in is a FUCKING BAD IDEA.

  108. 108
    jcricket says:

    We’re in the middle of a very wet, but extraordinarily warm, winter

    February hasn’t even been that wet, though. So therefore climate change is a liberal myth.

    In fact, last summer was mild too. Makes climate change a double liberal atheist myth.

  109. 109
    demimondian says:

    Ironically, though, the fact that my roses budded far too early this year, and that I now need to do in January the maintenance I used to do around Valentine’s day *is* evidence for global climate change. In our latitude, Spring is coming noticeably earlier than it has on record.

    Of course, that’s just anecdotal. Never mind that Tim F. raised exactly that kind of observation as the kind of broad evidence which does support warming…

  110. 110
    chopper says:

    Or perhaps an ex-Vice President that has millions invested in selling carbon credits. You will, of course, refuse to see that similarity.

    that would be a real nice argument if tim was basing anything at all on what al gore says.

  111. 111
    Brachiator says:
    Level 4 – If Level 3, then is it “bad” for humans?
    Possibly, and rarely addressed objectively.There would be a huge increase in available, useable land mass in northern climates, balanced by a loss of some islands assuming the sea level rises, and coastal lands.

    Human well-being is not a global average. Perhaps people will be able to grow wheat in the Yukon*, and that would be “good” for Canada, but that doesn’t “balance out” the suffering AGW will cause.

    If the additional wheat grown ends up as exports to areas where people are malnourished, there might be a net increase in human well-being. It might also become easier to extract mineral resources from areas that previously were frozen over.

    All models (yes, objective models) predict disastrous consequences for large groups of people, particularly those who are already in an untenable position (e.g., Bangladesh, sub-Saharan Africa, etc.). Wheat prices going down in North America will be very thin comfort to them.

    These models never account for human ingenuity, and always presume a passive reaction to the effects of climate change. On the other hand, much of Bangladesh, and adjacent areas of India will always be vulnerable to monsoons and droughts without regard to the impact of global climate change. There is the tragic possibility that these areas might not be amenable to human habitation.

    The situation with respect to sub-Saharan Africa is equally complex. Spending billions to combat the effects of global climate change does nothing to mitigate the current suffering in these parts of Africa that are due to disease, lack of health and general social infrastructure, and the lack of food.

    So can someone point to me the time in history when the earth’s climate was NOT changing? A time when we had absolute parity, the “perfect” balance?

    You’re living in one right now.

    Human history has been one big relatively stable climate zone.

    Huh? You may have a narrow view of the time frame of human history.

    Human Evolution has been marked by having to react and adapt to climate change. For example,

    By three million years ago, the world of Lucy and Australopithecus afarensis had vanished. Hidden forces were transforming the Earth’s climate, with devastating consequences for the African landscape.

    Temperatures in Africa plummeted and the air became stripped of moisture. Humid woodland shrivelled away, leaving wide belts of open terrain in its place….

    Paranthropus boisei would eventually pay for being a specialist in a changing world. Despite its successful way of exploiting the savannah, boisei became a footnote in human prehistory. They were driven to extinction, probably by an intense period of cooling and drying caused by the Ice Age. By remaining adaptable, early Homo ensured that when the world changed, they changed with it. But by two million years ago, a new species of Homo was evolving – one that would expand its horizons beyond the confines of Africa.

    The fuller story here: Food for thought – 3 million years ago

    There is evidence for other catastrophic climate changes more recently (150,00 and 70,000) years ago that may have reduced human population to as few as 10,000 individuals.

    Oxygen isotope data suggests that between 190,000 and 130,000 years ago – a period known as ‘oxygen isotope stage 06’ – Africa was drained of moisture and became a parched wasteland, with little to sustain populations of modern humans….

    There may also have been other bottlenecks that contributed to the small amount of genetic diversity we see in modern humans. Professor Stanley Ambrose of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign believes that the eruption of the volcano Toba in Sumatra roughly 70,000 years ago was responsible for a volcanic winter that caused an instant ice age.

    The large amount of sulphur thrown up into the atmosphere by the eruption reflected sunlight away causing temperatures around the world to plummet. Temperatures in Africa may have fallen by as much as 9°C, creating a freeze that lasted 1,400 years.

    The fuller story can be found here: The new batch – 150,000 years ago

    Some posters want to concentrate on the thin sliver of very recent time when large civilization began to emerge, but this is just cherry-picking the data.

    I love the “is it bad for humans” question? Made general enough, it become debatable. But given that many of the world’s business and financial centers—as well much of the world’s most valuable real estate—could be flooded, it’s clear that rising sea levels would be catastrophic for the world economy.

    Since even in a worst-case scenario, this flooding would not happen at once, or even over 40 days and 40 nights, this would be a challenge, but not a catastrophe. People would have ample opportunity to relocate. Business would go on, and billions would be made selling valuable real estate in newly sunny places like Buffalo.

    Global climate change is probably real, and probably should be dealt with in some way. But the insistence that we will face a global catastrophe is an over-reaction based on the need of some people to define the way things are now as the way that things are always supposed to be.

    JGabriel Says:

    Brachiator:

    However, any proposed solutions to global climate change are a tough sell if these proposals could be perceived as a lowering of most people’s standard of living, or that appears to be a huge re-direction of tax dollars without an equally significant payoff.

    Somehow, I’ve never understood the argument that funding research into, for instance, solar energy will lower our standard of living. Worst case scenario is that, even if Global Climate Destabilization does not occur, we would use less gas and oil, and have lower bills.

    Solar energy is less efficient and more expensive than most in-place energy-generation methods. There is also the misconception that alternative energy proposals are also always good solutions to global warming.

    Worse, there are some activists who accept science to get to global warming, but then abandon all science and common sense and insist that we should spend every available dollar to save the planet. I am in favor of reasonable solutions, but so far they seem to be in short supply.

  112. 112
    demimondian says:

    Nonsense, brachiator. You’re burying the critical point: “large scale civilization emerged” because we entered a relatively long, relatively stable climatic interval. That it’s short in geological time is irrelevant.

    Global climate change *is* real. There’s no remaining plausible denial of that. It *is* anthropogenic, and it *is* largely driven by the CO2 emitted in the exhaust plumes of engines and plants which consume fossil fuel.

    We don’t know what its large scale effects will be — but we know that the Pollyanna interpretation is likely to be false. You talk of warming releasing farm land in Canada and Siberia — have you looked at those regions on a globe? They’re nowhere near as large as you think; the Mercator projection you’re used to looking at makes Canada seem much larger than it is. Moreover, due to total sunshine in the winter, those regions *can not* produce two crops a season — day length drops too fast in the fall and rises too fast in the spring. The areas you’re talking about are quite dry; if they weren’t, their winters would be ameliorated by maritime effects.

    You get the picture — you’re being given the third generation of lies by a political organization which is trying to protect its profits for a while longer, confident that its members will be able to keep those profits in the future. Tim and I recognize the tactics of the tobacco companies on smoking, and the tactics of a variety of other similar PR campaigns.

    What we know is that things will change, and that all the optimistic scenarios are easy to reject. That means that the pessimistic ones are far more likely — and they are grim indeed.

  113. 113
    MJ says:

    TenguPhule the great thing about Wiki is that ANYBODY can edit it. Try this Prof from MIT.

    http://www.ecoworld.com/home/articles2.cfm?tid=451

  114. 114
    demimondian says:

    Try this Prof from MIT.

    If you insist:, I will — but he doesn’t really strengthen your case much, as he’s long since been quite thoroughly refuted by the scientific community.

  115. 115
    DougJ says:

    Why do the wingers write such long posts?

    I do find the sociology of these people fascinating.

  116. 116
    ThymeZone says:

    You guys need a nice photo of sweet weather and the view from a mountain right in the middle of a huge city.

    I’m down there somewhere. Toward the middle right.

  117. 117
    demimondian says:

    No, TZ, I don’t need a picture of beautiful weather. FDDD can’t tolerate heat, so I ain’t ever moving down there, at least not so long as she lives.

  118. 118
    TenguPhule says:

    MJ says:Try this Prof from MIT.

    Lindzen charged “oil and coal interests $2,500 a day for his consulting services; [and] his 1991 trip to testify before a Senate committee was paid for by Western Fuels and a speech he wrote, entitled ‘Global Warming: the Origin and Nature of Alleged Scientific Consensus,’ was underwritten by OPEC.

    Next!

  119. 119
    DougJ says:

    Have you got a picture with better resolution? I can’t quite make out what kind of countertops you have.

  120. 120
    ThymeZone says:

    I can’t quite make out what kind of countertops you have.

    As one persona to another, I have whatever kind of countertops you want me to have.

    Solid gold? Ivory? Virgin granite? Formica? Butcher block? Marble? Just name it.

  121. 121
    TenguPhule says:

    If the additional wheat grown ends up as exports to areas where people are malnourished, there might be a net increase in human well-being.

    Additional wheat? That won’t even cover the amount of arable land LOST. And that doesn’t even take into account what happens to weather patterns as in *Rain*.

    These models never account for human ingenuity, and always presume a passive reaction to the effects of climate change. On the other hand, much of Bangladesh, and adjacent areas of India will always be vulnerable to monsoons and droughts without regard to the impact of global climate change. There is the tragic possibility that these areas might not be amenable to human habitation.

    Shorter Brachiator: I see nothing wrong with a major nation packing nukes being rendered unfit for human life. Let them pick up their own bootstraps!

    The situation with respect to sub-Saharan Africa is equally complex. Spending billions to combat the effects of global climate change does nothing to mitigate the current suffering in these parts of Africa that are due to disease, lack of health and general social infrastructure, and the lack of food.

    Shorter Brachiator: Africa has all these problems already. One more won’t hurt.

    Some posters want to concentrate on the thin sliver of very recent time when large civilization began to emerge, but this is just cherry-picking the data.

    Without this ‘sliver’, we wouldn’t be where we are. This is the stable climate you asked for, you don’t want to see what happens when the thing starts moving up and down.

    Since even in a worst-case scenario, this flooding would not happen at once, or even over 40 days and 40 nights, this would be a challenge, but not a catastrophe. People would have ample opportunity to relocate. Business would go on, and billions would be made selling valuable real estate in newly sunny places like Buffalo.

    Repeating Tim, you have no idea what worst, case or scenerio mean.

    Brachiator, the worse case scenerio is we all die. The entire human race, wiped out.

    Global climate change is probably real, and probably should be dealt with in some way. But the insistence that we will face a global catastrophe is an over-reaction based on the need of some people to define the way things are now as the way that things are always supposed to be.

    Said the captain of the Titanic.

    The thing is, this has the potential to snowball, one effect acting like a domino on many others. That’s the fucking problem. One bad summer or winter that disrupts global food supplies would throw the world into a tizzy, but we’d recover.

    But if that happens again and again, year after year, then all your calm ‘we can adapt’ go into the crapper. People will fight for resources. Nations will go to war.

    And that doesn’t even take into account superstorms, disease outbreaks, pests and parasites and all the other assorted nasties that warmer areas bring.

  122. 122
    TenguPhule says:

    That means that the pessimistic ones are far more likely—and they are grim indeed.

    Personally I hope the methane clouds of death scenerio is too pessimistic. I’d like humanity’s end to be a little dignified then getting wiped out by the planet farting us away.

  123. 123
    Punchy says:

    Every fucking year, the same dance. A cold winter brings the deniers out in full-force. Then, after Consecutive Day #19 of +100F days in July in Houston, a few of them write articles explaining that they’ve switched sides. Then Jan. rolls around and they switch back.

    And I love the Neil Boortz Excuse — “the sun is x% (fill in any value for x you dream up) warmer!”. As if they have the equipment for measuring this in their bathroom. Hacks.

  124. 124
    Punchy says:

    Shorter bains: I know climate change, bitches! See, when my Cheetos get moist, I know it’s raining.

  125. 125
    DougJ says:

    Personally I hope the methane clouds of death scenerio is too pessimistic.

    Before we get all sticky crotched about this, let’s try to be rational about this.

    Level 1 – Is their a methane cloud of death right now?
    No, not as far as we can tell.

    Level 2 – Has the likelihood of a methane cloud of death enveloping the planet increased over the past hundred years?

    Probably.

    Level 3 – Is this increased likelihood related to human activity?
    Possibly, further research needed. By all means let’s do it and find out. Nobody should be against well thought out, meticulously conducted, scientific research. Or the debate that generally follows it.

    Level 4 – If Level 3, then is the methane cloud of death “bad” for humans?
    Possibly, and rarely addressed objectively. Most humans would die but those who remained would have much greater access to natural resources like fresh water and arable land. It depends on whether or not you’re in the majority that is killed or not. And on whether you regard the sacrifice of your own life and that of your loved ones as worthwhile, given the increased quality of life for the survivors.

  126. 126
    Brachiator says:

    Here we go again with the libertarian fallacy. That is my term for the misconception that a system will go on working after you take away the fundamental supports that make it work.

    I’m not a libertarian. Never been a libertarian. Probably never will be a libertarian. “libertarian fallacy” aside, your notion of “systems” and “fundamental supports” is interesting (do you expand on it anywhere that can be linked?), but is more special pleading than it is science.

    You, for example, think that six billion people will be fed no matter what happens to the global climate.

    Actually, I think that 30 billion or more can be fed. I’ve never had an over-population fetish. “No matter what happens to the global climate” is too broad. Some outrageous stuff could happen.

    I don’t blame you for making the mistake; most people don’t understand that civilization flourished over the last 10,000 years because we could count on a stable climate to reliably grow food. When local climate became unfavorable for food production, civilizations collapsed.

    Civilizations collapse for all kinds of reasons. New civilizations develop for all kinds of reasons. But if you are suggesting that we can not only combat global climate change, but we can also maintain some kind of optimal climate equilibrium required by civilization, then you are floating something that is 2 parts mysticism and 3 parts religion, with a dollop of science.

    I think I see what you are getting at, making a jump from the supposed vulnerability of civilizations to local climate change to the possible fragility of civilization to global climate change. Interesting argument, but very flawed.

    The world is one civilization now.

    Odd, then, that some activists are calling for the typical luddite play, i.e., de-industrialization, local food and goods production, and reduction of international air travel and shipping, etc.

    Or did you think that you could get on just fine without goods shipped from China…

    Nope. Not me. I find it an interesting twist on the whole global economy thing that we have in effect outsourced our pollution to China along with our former manufacturing base. And third world countries are becoming dumping grounds for toxic products that we discard, from TVs to computers to cast-off tankers. This is a sidebar to the discussion about global warming, but another problem that has to be addressed.

    I like to call climate change “global loss of food productivity” because that is easily the most meaningful change with respect to human civilization. Billions of people won’t starve peacefully.

    I don’t think that billions of people will starve at all.

    When the usual wingnuts yammer about the social costs of dealing with climate change I want to laugh in their face. Wait until you see the costs of not dealing with it.

    I’ll take that bet. Again, I recognize that global climate change is a serious issue. I just reject all this gloom and doom stuff. People who go on about the inevitable global catastrophe if we don’t save the planet are no different from the people who go on about the end of the world if we don’t all embrace the baby Jesus or whatever other bit of religion that they cling to. Some people have a need to be frightened. The world goes on anyway.

  127. 127
    Francis says:

    I’m a California water lawyer. California provides a staggering amount of food that humans eat. (Last I checked, a lot of food grown in the MidWest goes to animal feed.)

    If you want California to still grow lots of food, please send several billion dollars. Due to gcc, we need new on-stream dams, off-stream reservoirs, a peripheral canal around the Bay-Delta, and nuclear power plant so we can desalinate ocean water and engage in water swaps with the Colorado River states so we can grow more food in Imperial County.

    Why is it that the numbnuts who deny gcc also believe that if gcc exists the problems can be easily resolved? At 6 billion people, we are mining oil, groundwater, ocean fish and anadramous fish worldwide well in excess of replenishment rates. Many of these supplies have remaining lifespans in decades, not centuries. Developing solutions will cost really substantial amounts of money, if they can be found at all.

  128. 128
    TenguPhule says:

    Civilizations collapse for all kinds of reasons. New civilizations develop for all kinds of reasons.

    Brachiator Says: Shit Happens, as long as it happens to somebody else.

    But if you are suggesting that we can not only combat global climate change, but we can also maintain some kind of optimal climate equilibrium required by civilization, then you are floating something that is 2 parts mysticism and 3 parts religion, with a dollop of science.

    Not fucking up the environment to the point we all die is too much to ask?

    I just reject all this gloom and doom stuff. People who go on about the inevitable global catastrophe if we don’t save the planet are no different from the people who go on about the end of the world if we don’t all embrace the baby Jesus or whatever other bit of religion that they cling to.

    Shorter Brachiator: I won’t believe there’s a problem until the day comes when I suddenly find there’s nothing to eat in the supermarket because the harvest has been bad and no food is being shipped thanks to the unseasonal flooding and storms. At which point I will scream and bitch and moan that those damn liberals should have seen this coming and done something about it if they were so smart.

  129. 129
    TenguPhule says:

    The world goes on anyway. -Last words of every species before a mass extinction.

    Until it doesn’t. And then it’s too late.

  130. 130
    TenguPhule says:

    Why is it that the numbnuts who deny gcc also believe that if gcc exists the problems can be easily resolved?

    Because reality is as easy for them to redraw as an income statement.

  131. 131
    bains says:

    I’m a California water lawyer.

    I’m a Colorado water user – I kayak/raft all the major and most of minor rivers in my state (and many in your state as well). I hate dams. Yet I recognize their necessity. The front range (greater Denver et al) wants to dam up my back yard (I’m on the west side of the Continental divide) because NIMBY prevents them from doing so to themselves.

    You do have a water issue in California. And just like Colorado, the areas from which you could reasonably provide for yourselves are practically off limits. Major hydro-electric/water storage facilities in the San Gabriel/San Bernardinos? Yeah, that is as likely as daming up the Platte, Poudre, Clear Creek or Arkansas. Best to outsource the damage to us poor saps in sparsely populated mountain regions. (How is California’s battle going with Arizona and Nevada over rights on the Colorado river?)

    And tell me, why is it that those of us here in the high country are not obsessed with the weekly car washing that those in arid climates seem driven to? Solving California’s water problems is a great concern. A good part however, could be dealt with “in house”. Perhaps living with a dusty car could help mitigate your problems.

  132. 132
    SGEW says:

    Actually, I think that 30 billion or more can be fed.

    Wow. Really? Um . . . I think that there might be other things in your belief system that needs to be re-evaluated, beyond climatology science.

    People who go on about the inevitable global catastrophe if we don’t save the planet are no different from the people who go on about the end of the world if we don’t all embrace the baby Jesus or whatever other bit of religion that they cling to.

    Oh yeah, the Academy of Sciences is just buying into a sort of religious hysteria that has absolutely no basis in science or fact. Those scientists are just scare mongers who suck on the Jesus Juice, no different from those who find their answers from the Book of Revelation. Because, you know, all those end-time nuts have tons of peer reviewed research and international panels to back them up.

    Yeah. No different.

  133. 133
    demimondian says:

    Shorter bains: I’m a hack who put stereotypes ahead of reality. It’s all about NIMBY and weekly car washing, not about the simple fact that California will need to jump to nuclear desalination to support agriculture.

    Hey, bains, before you spout off, you might want to go look at the amount of water that goes to various targets. I think you’ll be surprised at the amount which goes to the Imperial Valley. That water has to come from somewhere, and it isn’t going to come from diminished snowpacks.

    If we started now, we could get solutions in place by the time the problem becomes critical. Since you denialists want to avoid any action (as that would force you and yours to take responsibility for the imminent disaster), that’s less and less likely.

  134. 134
    JGabriel says:

    Bains:

    So this year’s record cold temperatures, and record polar ice fields…

    There were no record cold temperatures, or record polar ice fields. 2007 was something like the sixth warmest year on record.

    It’s one thing to deny man-made causes of climate destabilization; it’s another to flat-out lie about the facts.

    When you start out with such claims, Bains, it’s not even worth arguing. It’s more valid to point out the lies and dismiss the rest on the basis of its counterfactual foundation.

    .

  135. 135
    ThymeZone says:

    At 6 billion people, we are mining oil, groundwater, ocean fish and anadramous fish worldwide well in excess of replenishment rates. Many of these supplies have remaining lifespans in decades, not centuries.

    Sure, but don’t forget the vast potential of Soylent Green.

  136. 136
    JGabriel says:

    Brachiator:

    These models never account for human ingenuity, and always presume a passive reaction to the effects of climate change.

    That’s correct. So stop blocking human ingenuity, get out its way, and support efforts to react to and ameliorate climate destabilization.

    I mean, that’s a pretty damned ironic argument to make, coming from someone who argues that we shouldn’t do anything but commission more studies.

    .

  137. 137
    JGabriel says:

    Brachiator:

    Solar energy is less efficient and more expensive than most in-place energy-generation methods. There is also the misconception that alternative energy proposals are also always good solutions to global warming.

    Which is more reason we need to focus research on making solar energy more efficient and cheaper to produce and install.

    That said, your point regarding ‘alternative’ energy proposals has some merit. In particular, biofuels, for instance, are pretty bad solution – they divert food resouces from a growing population, and continue to put CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

    Solar energy, along with supplemental (rather than primary or wide-scale) development of wind and geothermal sources is also warranted. I’d add hydro-electric sources, but we’ve probably already surpassed the damage/benefits ratio for that particular source.

    .

  138. 138
    JGabriel says:

    Brachiator:

    If the additional wheat grown ends up as exports to areas where people are malnourished, there might be a net increase in human well-being.

    What additonal wheat?

    Those subarctic areas can’t grow anywhere near the amounts of wheat (or other grains and produce) that will be displaced by drought conditions in the temperate zones. Subarctic areas like the Canadian Yukon and the Russian Tundra don’t get anywhere near as much sunlight, and the sunlight they do get is on a highly variable cycle (pretty damned dark for 6 months of the year).

    Your reasoning, Brachiator, is truly Panglossian.

    .

  139. 139
    Sock Puppet of the Great Satan says:

    “Ought we not look to when CO2 ‘contamination’ was 1000 ppm as a guide to understand how our present 390 ppm may mitigate our climate?”

    ‘Cept you don’t find 1,000 ppm in the past 800,000 years of the Vostok icecore. Think you have to go back to the Eocene (~37 million years ago) to find >1,000 ppm CO2. Y’know, about halfway to the dinosaurs.

  140. 140
    bains says:
    Bains: So this year’s record cold temperatures, and record polar ice fields…

    There were no record cold temperatures, or record polar ice fields. 2007 was something like the sixth warmest year on record.

    This year. This year, you know, like 2008. I can’t accuse you of being an idiot, because it is you that is flat out lying.

    It’s one thing to deny man-made causes of climate destabilization; it’s another to flat-out lie about the facts.

    You are right. Flat out lying disqualifies you.

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