Clouding Up Man-Made Global Warming

Final dispatch from the International Conference on Climate Change in New York

March 9, New York—The participants at the final lunch of the International Climate Change Conference in New York were in a celebratory and pugnacious mood. On the one hand, these skeptics feel beleaguered—who would not?—from their antagonists constantly comparing them to Holocaust "deniers" and calling for them to be tried for "high crimes against humanity and nature." On the other hand, they are cheered by recent polls indicating public skepticism of the claims of imminent catastrophe made by climate "alarmists." In a January Pew Research Center poll, global warming came in dead last on a list of issues of concern to Americans.

At the luncheon, retired NASA climatologist John Theon rose to lament the fact that he hadn't fired James Hansen, the head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and an ardent advocate of the idea that man-made global warming is a catastrophe in the making. The audience burst into applause when Theon called Hansen an "embarrassment." In 1988, Hansen launched global warming as a public policy issue in his testimony before a congressional committee. Theon admitted that he actually couldn't have fired Hansen, who had powerful political protectors, most notably then-Senator and later Vice President Al Gore. So had Theon tried to do it, it's much more likely that he himself would have been out on the street rather than Hansen.

Theon told the audience that while he remained silent on the issue of global warming when he retired from NASA, he now felt he needed to speak out. "This whole thing is a fraud," said Theon. "We need to educate the public about what we're going to get into unless we stop this nonsense." The nonsense being the deleterious effect that carbon rationing would have on economic growth and jobs.

Next up was Christopher Monckton, a former advisor to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Monckton delivered a high energy stem-winder mocking global warming "bedwetters" and praising the conference participants for their courage in opposing the activists' global warming juggernaut.

Aside from these celebrations, scientific presentations figured heavily in the discussions. One particularly interesting session on the third day of the conference looked at how clouds behave in computer climate models and in nature. Climatologists acknowledge that clouds represent the biggest uncertainty about the future course of global warming. University of Alabama, Huntsville, climatologist Roy Spencer talked about his recent research into how the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) may affect cloudiness and thus global average temperatures. Clouds greatly affect how much sunlight hits the earth and how much heat leaves it. While the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) doesn't say so directly, "it magically assumes that clouds remain the same now and forever," claimed Spencer.

In Spencer's view, climate modelers have gotten the effect of clouds on temperature backward. "When low cloud cover is observed to decrease with warming, is the cloud change the result of the warming, or is the warming the result of the cloud change?" he asked. The behavior of clouds is particularly significant, Spencer argued, because a 1 percent change in clouds could account for all of the shifts in climate over the past 2000 years.

To get an idea of the direction of causality, Spencer and his colleagues at the University of Alabama compared climate model outputs with recent satellite data. What they found is that clouds control warming (and cooling for that matter) rather than the reverse. It is generally agreed that a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by itself would boost global temperatures by about 1 degree Fahrenheit. But the climate models all find that this increase in temperature sets off a positive feedback loop in which the atmosphere holds more water vapor which boosts temperatures further. According to the IPCC's latest report, this process could increase global average temperatures by between 2 and 11 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100.

Obviously, it makes a big difference if the temperature falls in the lower or higher end of that range. Spencer's recent research suggests that clouds are not a positive feedback, but actually operate to moderate temperature increases. If he is right, those results imply that future warming will be only about 1 degree Fahrenheit by the end of this century.

But what changes cloudiness? One well-known climatic phenomenon is the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. The North Pacific switches between two different states every 30 years or so. In the positive phase the waters are warmer and tend to warm North America and reduce rainfall. In the cool phase, temperatures fall and precipitation increases. Interestingly, when the waters are cooler, more upwelling occurs which provides more food for salmon and other fish. In addition, lower land temperatures and more precipitation make it easier for salmon to migrate inland to lay their eggs. Former Oregon state climatologist George Taylor found exactly this pattern. Salmon runs were low until the late 1990s when the PDO flipped from a warm phase to a cool phase. They rose shortly thereafter.

Members of the man-made global warming fraternity cite the fact that snowpack and precipitation declined in Washington and Oregon in the last part of the 20th century as evidence for global warming. However, Taylor argued that if one took the precipitation patterns back to the beginning of the 20th century, it becomes clear that there is a pattern in which higher precipitation and snowpack are associated with the cool phase of the PDO and reduced precipitation and snowpack correlate with the warm phase. Considering all of the data, Taylor basically found no trend in snowpack levels in the Pacific Northwest.

Spencer argued that switches in the PDO can account for about 75 percent of recent global warming. If this is true, the computer climate models are substantially overestimating future global warming, which means that the earth is likely to stay cooler than it has been for the next 20 to 30 years.

Is it a coincidence that global temperature increases flattened out at nearly the same time that the PDO flipped into its cool phase? If it turns out not to be a coincidence, then the International Climate Change Conference participants will really have something to celebrate—and so will the rest of us.

On Monday, Bailey walked among the climate change skeptics and reported on talks given by Czech Republic and European Union president Vaclav Klaus and MIT climatologist Richard Lindzen. Read about it here.

Yesterday, Bailey reported that a warmer world is a richer world; that global warming is not causing diseases to spread; and that hurricanes are not becoming stronger or more numerous. Read all about it here.

Ronald Bailey is Reason magazine's science correspondent. His book Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution is now available from Prometheus Books.

Bonus video from the conference: MIT's Richard Lindzen on global warming alarmists and the politicization of science:

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  • mallet diction||

    I got excited.
    I thought this read

    "Ron Bailey's Final Dispatch on Climate Change...from the International Conference"

    But no.

    I await exciting entrenchment talks forthwith.

  • FINAL DISPATCH||

    CLOUDS...EVERYWHERE...
    OMG THEY'RE MOVING...
    SEND ALL TEH MONEY

  • Lefiti||

    Ron Baily has a B.A. in economics.

  • Jordan||

    Ron Baily has a B.A. in economics.



    Good thing he cites articles by climatologists when discussing climatology then, instead of citing his own work. Next logical fallacy, please.

  • Lefiti||

    It's not a fucking logical falacy, you sniveling cretin. It's just a fact. Draw your own conclusions, moron.

  • This Roy Spencer?||

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/05/how-to-cook-a-graph-in-three-easy-lessons/

  • WasteLand||

    Should've saved it for today. But how could I have known? So here's the rerun

    WasteLand | March 11, 2009, 9:08am | #

    From Wikipedia:

    Feedback effects due to clouds are an area of ongoing research. Seen from below, clouds emit infrared radiation back to the surface, and so exert a warming effect; seen from above, clouds reflect sunlight and emit infrared radiation to space, and so exert a cooling effect. Whether the net effect is warming or cooling depends on details such as the type and altitude of the cloud, details that have been difficult to represent in climate models.

    And from Joni (a Canadian):

    Ive looked at clouds from both sides now
    From up and down, and still somehow
    Its cloud illusions I recall
    I really don't know clouds at all

  • HammeredHead||

    Conclusion - Global warming is nothing more than scare tactics from political hacks who hate freedom.

  • Jordan||

    It's not a fucking logical falacy, you sniveling cretin. It's just a fact. Draw your own conclusions, moron.



    Yes, clearly you were just informing us of a fact and not implying that Ron isn't qualified to discuss global warming. Why haven't you informed us of Matt or Nick's education yet? Don't keep us in suspense now.

  • Lefiti\'s Mom||

    It's not a fucking logical falacy, you sniveling cretin. It's just a fact. Draw your own conclusions, moron.

    Oh, come on. Be a man. Stand by your troll.

  • WasteLand||

    Mr. Bailey interprets science into economics. That is the gist of this entire piece: "Now that we have the science, what do we do with it taking into account scarcity."

    That is the problem with scientists leaving their expertise to make economic proclamations. Or in the case of Mr. Gore, a lawyer by trade (and ghostwritten author), never having any expertise in anything, just a fat fuck with a prude for a wife, who inherited a political future from his daddy.

    Now Mr. Bailey maybe wrong in his measure of the severe consequences of Global Warning. But I think he is essentially correct in understanding that scientific understanding is clipping along infinitely faster than our move to the climatological point-of-no-return.

  • jrshipley||

    Feedbacks like how increased CO2 forcing will impact cloud cover are rather difficult problems to solve. The climatologists could be erring in underestimating the negative feedbacks from human caused positive forcing. On the other hand, they could be underestimating the positive feedbacks. I read something about how methane released from thawing tundra could really accelerate warming. I read also that the IPCC numbers on estimated sea level rise are being estimated upwards. It could be not as bad as predicted. On the other hand it could be worse. I sort of thought that Reason was not of the knee-jerk anti-ecology sort of libertarian publication, but all I ever see from you guys is articles of the "it could be not as bad" type. The biggest public subsidy on earth right now is free atmospheric waste disposal. The libertarian position is to eliminate public subsidies and let the market work its magic right? So why are you shilling for the so-called "skeptics" about the costs to the public of this subsidy? Talk about welfare. Polluters should pay.

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    It's not a fucking logical falacy, you sniveling cretin. It's just a fact. Draw your own conclusions.
    Sincerely,
    moron.


    Fixed it for you, Lefiti!

  • WasteLand||

    Wise men say, only fools rush in.-Elvis (on climate change)

    Wow! That ad hom on Gore was cathartic. I think he is such a huge mass of bullshit that he actually gravitationally draws that out of people.

    But seriously, I think he is a serious piece of cognitive dissonance in an otherwise serious debate. Anyone concerned with climate change should distance themselves from his disingenuousness.

  • tarran||

    The libertarian position is to eliminate public subsidies and let the market work its magic right?



    Nope, the libertarian position is not to harm people who are innocent of wrongdoing.

    Now, if you are going to accuse a guy of rape, you had better have some proof that the guy committed the crime. A preponderance of evidence is not sufficient.

    In the case of climate change, there is not even a preponderance of evidence. I still have not seen a convincing case made that the human race can
    a) control the climate enough to limit the Earth's climate to a particular band
    b) suffer significant harm from plausible changes in climate that cannot be handled by a free society.

    Honestly, the guys calling for Carbon Cap and Trade etc strike me as making similar arguments to the guys who were certain the Duke Lacross players must have raped hosestrippers, because that's what athletes at privileged school do to the poor and downtrodden.

  • tarran||

    er "raped those strippers" I mean.

    Crap!

  • ||

    Lefiti,

    Why do you lefties get so snotty when someone pokes a hole in your balloons? You obviously were trying to discredit Bailey, and Jordan called you on it. You lost, go cope.

    -jcr

  • ||

    Conclusion - Global warming is nothing more than scare tactics from political hacks who hate freedom.

    Well, global warming may or may not be a problem, but it's true that it's being used as the latest ostensible emergency that requires us to hand over all power to the UN.

    I'm waiting for China and India to tell the lefties in no uncertain terms that they refuse to abort their developing economies just because a pack of pampered western liberals have their panties in a bunch.

    -jcr

  • ||

    tarran:

    er "raped those strippers" I mean.

    Thanks. I was trying to figure out what hose strippers are.

  • ||

    The biggest public subsidy on earth right now is free atmospheric waste disposal. The libertarian position is to eliminate public subsidies and let the market work its magic right? So why are you shilling for the so-called "skeptics" about the costs to the public of this subsidy? Talk about welfare. Polluters should pay.

    How exactly is individuals and corporations emitting carbon dioxide -- the stuff that plants "breathe", like humans breath oxygen -- a "public subsidy"? How, exactly, are our taxes being used to facilitate this release of a substance crucial for the survival of plants?

    Do you even know what a fucking subsidy is?

    Or a pollutant?

  • Grif||

    "Conclusion - Global warming is nothing more than scare tactics from political hacks who hate freedom."

    Yes. The global warmists hate us for our freedoms.

  • Armando||

    "hosestrippers"

    No. You are spot on. They wish to strip men of their hoses.

  • Lefiti||

    Ideologues cherry pick their science like they cherry pick all other kinds of evidence. You stupid fucks are interested only in whatever doesn't make you have to think. Assholes.

  • Grif||

    "Well, global warming may or may not be a problem, but it's true that it's being used as the latest ostensible emergency that requires us to hand over all power to the UN."

    But isn't that what the founders wanted? To wrest control from Great Britain in order to hand it over to a world body?

  • Grif||

    "Ideologues cherry pick their science like they cherry pick all other kinds of evidence. You stupid fucks are interested only in whatever doesn't make you have to think. Assholes."

    Project here often, sailor?

  • ||

    it's true that it's being used as the latest ostensible emergency that requires us to hand over all power to the UN.

    And Exxon doesn't have a whiff of a motive to deceive on this issue.

    Jesus what a bunch of paranoid, ignorant tin-foil hat wearing crybabies.

  • ||

    You know the U.N. is one of the primary reasons none of you has had to donate your corpse to World War 3. Why don't you all move to Texas where Chuck Norris can be your president and secede and live in your little gun-totin' wilderness utopia and leave the rest of us to deal with the realities and challenges of the modern world?

  • ||

    Ron, that's pretty much what Roy had to say last year- why don't you follow him to the next AGU meeting and report on the reception the neo-iris effect receives , and what impact it has in terms of citation.

    The point is that , forget dark mutterings about the MSM and the modeling mafiosi, if Roy's paradox is the real deal, he will be thoroughly lionized by our free mae=rekt brethren at Cargill, and Archer Daniels Midland , because such the foreknowledge such a feedback would connote would move the bean and belly markets mightily.

    When they send a Gulfstream to collect him from Huntsville, we skeptics will bow to the true faith.

  • Jordan||

    You know the U.N. is one of the primary reasons none of you has had to donate your corpse to World War 3.



    That's a mighty bold claim. Evidence?

    Why don't you all move to Texas where Chuck Norris can be your president and secede and live in your little gun-totin' wilderness utopia and leave the rest of us to deal with the realities and challenges of the modern world?



    Do you get an agricultural subsidy for tossing that much straw around?

  • ||

    Wikipedia on the scientific consensus

    "With the release of the revised statement by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists in 2007, no remaining scientific body of national or international standing is known to reject the basic findings of human influence on recent climate change."

  • ||

    Ron,

    See:

    http://climate.gi.alaska.edu/ClimTrends/Change/TempChange.html

    and

    http://climate.gi.alaska.edu/ClimTrends/Change/7708Change.html

    The effect of the PDO switch is evident in the first graph. The second graph shows that since the switch the trend is flat to down over that time (and this despite observed UHI at the worst-case station). And this (Alaska) is supposedly the AGW canary in a coal mine.

    Friends of Catastrophic AGW typically say, "The temperature in Alaska has risen more than three degrees since 1949!" If they are unbiased observers, they'll point out that it all happened in the '70s. If they don't point it out, I figure we're listening to someone with an agenda and write off pretty much everything else they have to say. Their next line is often, "Temperatures in Alaska are rising faster than anywhere in the U.S.!" which, as you can see, is other than the whole truth.

  • ||

    Tony,

    On yesterday's thread, you made the absurd claim that...

    I think the consensus is that if we don't do something now, it won't be possible to do something in the future.



    Got a Wikipedia link to back that up?

  • economist||

    "You know the U.N. is one of the primary reasons none of you has had to donate your corpse to World War 3."

    What a load of bs. At the very best, the U.N. is a group of ineffectual clods who sit around and bicker. At the best.

    "Why don't you all move to Texas where Chuck Norris can be your president and secede and live in your little gun-totin' wilderness utopia and leave the rest of us to deal with the realities and challenges of the modern world?"
    I've got a better idea, o channeler of the concerned observer. Why don't you move to Canada, and have your own nice little socialist society where everyone is a vegetarian and rides public transit to work. Since Canada is much less densely populated, this offer is a lot more generous than your offer of Texas.

  • ||

    My posts are trrrrollerific!

  • economist||

    If Tony were smarter, he could be the new joe. He has that same smarmy, condescending tone in all of his posts.

  • economist||

    As it is, all he can do is be a slightly more intelligent version of Edweirdo.

  • ||

    Here's an article:

    Global Warming is Irreversible

    If we continue with business as usual for even a few more decades, she says, those emissions could be enough to create permanent dust-bowl conditions in the U.S. Southwest and around the Mediterranean.

    "The sea level rise is a much slower thing, so it will take a long time to happen, but we will lock into it, based on the peak level of [carbon dioxide] we reach in this century," Solomon says.

  • ||

    My posts are trrrrollerific!

    I'm about this close to pulling a Joe and departing these shores. None of you appear to understand what logical fallacies actually are or the definition of a troll.

  • ||

    I think the consensus is that if we don't do something now, it won't be possible to do something in the future.



    Here's an article:

    If we continue with business as usual for even a few more decades, she says, those emissions could be enough to create permanent dust-bowl conditions in the U.S. Southwest and around the Mediterranean.

    And the difference between "now" and "a few more decades" eludes you?

    Furthermore, one article from NPR does not a consensus make, much less a scientific consensus.

  • economist||

    "I'm about this close to pulling a Joe and departing these shores."

    Fine. I don't think you'll be sorely missed. Given that your posts couldn't even manage post-election-joe quality, I don't think we'll suffer from the lack of your valuable input.

  • ||

    One article from [some less credible source than NPR] does not a consensus make, much less a scientific consensus.

    Fine. I don't think you'll be sorely missed.

    No doubt. I certainly don't bring my A-game to this particular place, because it's so not necessary.

  • ||

    One article from [some less credible source than NPR] does not a consensus make, much less a scientific consensus.

    What?

    I trust you don't think that I am claiming that the scientific consensus is that we don't have to do anything now.

    I claim that there is no scientific consensus for either such position. It takes a hell of a lot to form a scientific consensus. I think they have made their case for climate change: They may end up being wrong, but they do have consensus.

    But there is most certainly not consensus on policy action, e.g., doing something right now or not doing something right now. And even if there were, policy makers should be dreadfully careful making decisions based on it: After all, policy comprises many, many more realms than the science used to justify it, and the scientists are not experts in any of them.

  • ||

    But there is most certainly not consensus on policy action, e.g., doing something right now or not doing something right now.

    That's true. But we can't even get to a discussion of policy on this site because most of you deny the reality of AGW in the first place.

  • ||

    Okay. Here's my policy proposal: Do nothing except research the issue more.

    The US should stop all talk of carbon taxes or markets. California and its ilk should suspend all such measures.

    At Copenhagen this year, do nothing to extend Kyoto or build a new one. Use the global recession to save face if necessary.

    Reconvene in ten years and see where the science is.

  • Jordan||

    I'm about this close to pulling a Joe and departing these shores. None of you appear to understand what logical fallacies actually are or the definition of a troll.



    Sounds good, since your posts are usually just ad hominem rants, ala Lefiti.

  • Jordan||

    Along those lines, I'm not convinced that you and Lefiti aren't actually the same person.

  • aix42||

    ANy time consensus tips, too much 'no.its over, end of discussion' science keeps checkin

    Clouds? of course. maybe they correlate to carbon as we are always makin it. Moderation of temp makes sense, like a.. natural system. Plants light water ozone. Tell me the weather two months from now MF, before I place it all on 100 year projections

  • ||

    Here's my policy proposal: Do nothing except research the issue more.

    The bottom line is this:

    Wealth grows exponentially. CO2 emission grows linearly with wealth. Temperature grows sublinearly with CO2.

    It is unwise to bet against an exponential.

    And that is why environmental economic models of the future that employ any reasonable discount rate find that only the most modest measures to curb GHG emissions are economical in the long run. The policies they suggest are essentially fine-tuning the policy of doing nothing.

    I support the second best policy of doing nothing because I don't trust government enough to give it the power to fine-tune anything.

    Furthermore, future developments can only reduce the relationship between wealth and CO2 to a sublinear one. New energy technologies as they become economical will be less carbon intensive than current ones, and fossil fuel depletion will make carbon intensive technologies less economical as time goes by.

    And what of the scenario of the low probability catastrophe due to excess warming? That's when you cash in the insurance policy of high-gain geoengineering in response to the catastrophe, if and when it becomes necessary.

  • JB||

    One big issue is the computer models.

    They put garbage in (bad data from awful places), and leave out gigantic variables like solar impact and cloud cover. What comes out is total garbage and unreliable. It's not science at all.

    If you want more info on bad input data, start with this blog entry (even the paint on temperature screens matters and that is about the least of their problems):
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/01/14/a-typical-day-in-the-stevenson-screen-paint-test/

  • Tony\'s Mom||

    But we can't even get to a discussion of policy on this site because most of you deny the reality of AGW in the first place.

    That's so joe-like. If you were sincerely interested in an intelligent conversation with libertarians here, you'd acknowledge that you are conversing with individuals with different views, and seek out the ones who make reasonable comments. Instead, you're trolling for the most unreasonable debate partner you can find.

  • jester||

    Libertarians are by their very nature non-consensus people.

    They don't like military consensus which says we need a War on Terror to keep Islamo-fascists from ruling the world.

    They don't like economic consensus that there must be a massive debt-creating bailout.

    They don't like the law-enforcement consensus that the Drug War is necessary else everyone and his grandma will become loadies.

    They don't like the music critic consensus that Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen or any other cheeseball New Jersey act that isn't on the Matador label are something that matter.

    Consensus is Nonsensus!

    Libertarians are not anti-science. Au contraire, mon frere. Libertarians are suspect of any body that attempts to squelch out dissenting opinion. Peer-reviewed journals are great, but scientific orthodoxy is not. Science is not about orthodoxy, it is about weeding out bad science.

    I personally like Hit&Run because I can be sleazy, lazy, drunk, funny, moronic, bigoted, sexist, non-sensical and I don't have to worry about exile.

    Tony, if you must go into self-exile, so be it. You're always welcome to come back. If you've felt ganged up on, it is because, well, Tony, because we love you. You want to change us, but we love your pathetic world-view you. We love you just the way you are.

    Don't go changin'

    Big Kiss

  • jester||

    Forgot one:


    They don't like the Lonewacko consensus that brown people with hair-nets from somewhere else are going to steal our jobs with switch-blades and then steal our language with tacos de lengua con pico-de-gallo.

    Para nuestros lectores de hablahispana:

    Lonewacko= Lon-huaco o sea

    Conspiracion de la Linea Anaranjada

  • ||

    And Exxon doesn't have a whiff of a motive to deceive on this issue.

    It seems to have missed your notice that Exxon, like many other corporate behemoths, is jumping on the AGW bandwagon and trying to get their share of the "green energy" pork.

    -jcr

  • jester||

    Exxon has had big name actors play dolphins in its commercials since the Exxon-Valdez.

    Alec Baldwin almost won a dolphie (Academy of Anthropomorphic Arts) but was bested by that neophyte child-actor in 'Whale Rider'.

    Go NZ! Go!

  • Full Nelson||

    The Grass is always greener (and more potent) on Willie Nelson's tour bus.

    Love you Willie (even though too much of the stuff has turned you into a freaking truther!)

    Here's to the new improved Green Movement!

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "You know the U.N. is one of the primary reasons none of you has had to donate your corpse to World War 3."

    No, that would be the United States military in general and the nuclear weapons programs in particular.

    The U.N had nothing to do with it.

  • ||

    Hi Russell: Yes, but Spencer's research has now been published and several other people (like George Taylor) have been looking at the PDO. Have you read the paper yet?

  • ||

    "Ideologues cherry pick their science like they cherry pick all other kinds of evidence. You stupid fucks are interested only in whatever doesn't make you have to think. Assholes."

    No friggin kidding, they are all retards. I still can't get over your genius statements that skeptics are in the tank of ExxonMobile and haven't had peer reviewed papers published. How long has this debate been taking place and not one person has yet spouted such insight? If only someone in the media would pick up these delicious points that put the dummy skeptics right where they belong.

  • ||

    The big energy companies are all on board with carbon cap and trade...especially if they are granted loads of carbon permits which they can sell to suckers.

  • Sierra Club Activist||

    We are now in the belly of your beast. Do not move. Such action could unleash a parody of myself on the next South Park season.

  • jester||

    Hey Jeff,

    Leave cherries alone. The crop is immoral if not illegal.

    Sorry that it is some sexual inadequacy that afflicts you when you have seen your most pencil-dicked room-mate (yes you dared to look, only to swear the nunnery was for you.)

    Be honest you cunt.

    Sorry, all apologies

    Not possible, cheers, god bless,

    go on. forget I saaid anything.



    0

  • DannyK||

    Again, it would be nice if Ron Bailey, usually a good reporter, wouldn't just transcribe these arguments.

    I honestly don't know about clouds, but Spencer's conclusion that clouds will be a negative feedback that totally offsets climate change sounds pretty fishy to me. I wouldn't bet the house on this guy being right. What if the negative feedback isn't strong enough? Or what if most of the new clouds are high clouds, which actually warm the planet?

    The only people totally reassured by this kind of thing are people who weren't worried in the first place.

  • mark||

    Gabe,
    Actually I believe the plan is that the carbon permits will be 100% auctioned. Companies will find ways to rent-seek anyway.

    I do not find that particularly remarkable. What I am amazed by is the overtness with which politicians such as Barbara Boxer talk about cap-and-trade as a mass social engineering program. It's really going to be designed as a transfer of wealth from high income to low income earners for no reason.

  • mark||

    Excuse me. There is a reason. Cap and trade will cut carbon output, making approximately 10 people happy. Then emitters will pass the cost onto consumers, making millions of people unhappy. Then, Barbara Boxer will help out all the unhappy lower income people, making less people unhappy. See? Makes perfect sense.

  • ||

    Ron:
    Saw the online version of S&B 2008 , but confess i haven't seen the hardcopy, which drew this properly skeptical response from Ray Pierrehumbert of U Chicago;

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/05/how-to-cook-a-graph-in-three-easy-lessons/#more-567

    The answer to the cause /effect question is of course yes, but an instrumental answer as to the impact on albedo and radiative forcing has yet to materialize-- I don't think Dick Lindzen will begrudge the funding it takes to answer it.

  • ||

    Ron- PS. You might ask Pierrehumbert for an update if Roy added anything new at the meeting .

  • Chad||

    The funniest thing is, so few of you right-wing dumb-@$$ denialist hacks are even smart enough to notice that you get essentially all of your arguments from a whopping two scientific sources (Lindzen and Spencer), one of whom is an ID supporter and the other who is much more agnostic on the issue than you make him out to be.

    Of course, there are hundreds or thousands of scientists on the other side of the aisle, but you would never notice that because of how the media feels forced to present both "sides" of an issue. The next time they bring on a denialist hack, they should bring fifty people on the other side, to get the balance right.

  • Chad||

    DannyK | March 12, 2009, 4:10pm | #

    Again, it would be nice if Ron Bailey, usually a good reporter, wouldn't just transcribe these arguments.

    I honestly don't know about clouds, but Spencer's conclusion that clouds will be a negative feedback that totally offsets climate change sounds pretty fishy to me. I wouldn't bet the house on this guy being right. What if the negative feedback isn't strong enough? Or what if most of the new clouds are high clouds, which actually warm the planet?


    Exactly, especially when we know for 100% sure that we have some awfully big positive feedbacks lurking out there, like the methane-hydrate time bomb buried underwater and under the permafrost in the Arctic, or the albedo effect as ice changes to land and water.

    Let's just pray that all the more difficult things that we can't model as well turn out to be big and negative...or we are @#$#@ed.

  • ||

    While I'm personally of the opinion that trying to cut emmissions is a misguided case of shutting the door after the horse is bolted, which will only serve to turn the clock back in many developing countries. (I think we should change our focus towards either removing excess C02 from the atmosphere or developing means of coping with climate change). I feel that too many people are willing to spurn alarmism in exchange for bias. Does it not slightly peturb you that these skeptic meets tend to be rather hansomely paid for by oil companies? Don't abandon one bad science just to jump onto another. Climate change is real, man has influence on it, not total influence but some. That doesn't mean we have to submit to Gore and the eco-mmunist brigade though.

  • mark||

    like the methane-hydrate time bomb buried underwater
    How would even a 10 degree increase in world temperatures cause the methane frozen at the bottom of the ocean to come out?

    and under the permafrost in the Arctic,
    This is already included in the models, I believe.

    or the albedo effect as ice changes to land and water.
    This is poorly understood and for all we know, higher temperatures could lead to more ice and more clouds.


  • ||

    Mr. Baily:

    I respecfully suggest that the major flaw in your article's logic, and probably your own entire perspective on global warming, is summed up in your statement that:

    "It is generally agreed that a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by itself would boost global temperatures by about 1 degree Fahrenheit."

    That is simply not true. What is generally agreed by every knowledgable person except Al Gore is that 400,000 years of ice core data clearly shows that CO2 increase LAGS temperature increase by roughly 600-800 years. Gore has publically admitted that he deliberately mis-represented this fact, claiming he was merely exercising "artisic freedom".

    If you will open you mind and spend a few minutes thinking through the implications of these facts, you might be able to improve your credibility considerably.

  • Scarpe Nike||

    is good

  • changqin||

    good

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