"The Most Important Number in the World"

Ronald Bailey's first dispatch from the Copenhagen climate conference

Copenhagen, December 14—"The most important number in the world," Mohamed Nasheed, president of the Maldive Islands, told an audience of hundreds of climate activists in downtown Copenhagen, "is 350." Why 350? That's the threshold for parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that will cause dangerous anthropogenic interference with the world's climate, according to Goddard Institute for Space Studies climatologist James Hansen. Hansen outlines his reasoning for a 350 parts per million (ppm) threshold in his new book, Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity.

In brief, Hansen argues that carbon dioxide above that level will so increase global temperatures that the melting of the vast ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica will become inevitable. This could eventually mean sea level increases of a meter or more per decade. In addition, the temperature differences between polar seas cooled by melting ice and subtropical seas warmed by greenhouse gases will produce monster storms that could ravage the inland areas.

Hansen's troubling vision of a world climatically out of whack provoked environmentalist Bill McKibben to create a new global organization, 350.org. It launched a campaign to limiting the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 ppm on October 24, with 5,200 events in 181 countries. Unfortunately, I missed most of Nasheed's speech today at the 350.org rally, which took place at the Klimaforum—a self-styled "alternative" or "people's" summit—due to some amazing United Nations organizational incompetence.

I spent the day waiting with thousands of others in subfreezing cold to try to get into the proper building to obtain credentials for the official United Nations Climate Change Conference. I clocked about five hours in line while my housemate, in town representing a Colorado NGO, waited 10.5 hours and was also turned away. The conference chaos makes one wonder how anyone expects the U.N. to run the world's climate if it can't manage a queue?

But even as reporters and advocates shivered outside, the show went on. There are various negotiating texts for possible political declarations that will be issued at the end of the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP-15) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Nasheed asserted that he and many other developing nations are pushing to have the limit 350 ppm carbon dioxide included as an official goal for an eventual legally binding global treaty.

There is one particularly interesting wrinkle in this goal: It aims to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide to levels below what is already in the atmosphere. Pre-industrial levels were around 280 ppm, but today's atmosphere contains 387 ppm and is rising at about 2 ppm annually. Just to give you a sense of what achieving the 350 ppm goal would involve, Hansen argues that it requires the banning of all coal mining and burning in developed countries by 2020.

More from the Copenhagen climate change tomorrow, hopefully from somewhere indoors.

Ronald Bailey is Reason's science correspondent. He will be filing dispatches from Copenhagen all week.

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  • Nipplemancer||

    slightly OT:
    i just noticed "New! Explore impact of climate change on Google Earth" on google's homepage. whiskey tango foxtrot?

  • ||

    I like how the first sentence after you click on it is "the potential effects of climate change."

    O RLY?

  • ||

    Hahaha, I just looked again and I saw that "His Greenness" Arnold Schwartzenegger is one of the narrators.

    Goofballs...

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    The How are We Going to Fuck the Developed Nations Conference, you mean?

  • Zeb||

    But they are working really hard to fuck everyone.

  • Al Gore||

    I can attest to that!

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    I think you mean "rape everyone."

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    This goes beyond mere rape.

  • ||

    So they want to take us back to the horse and buggy age so they can allegedly change the atmospheric content by 0.01% (100 parts per million)?

  • EJ||

    do we get to go back to the horse and buggy notion of the interstate commerce clause?

  • SIV||

    Let's go for 400ppm!
    In FIVE years! We can do better than a paltry 2ppm per year.

  • db||

    There is one particularly interesting wrinkle in this goal: It aims to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide to levels below what is already in the atmosphere. Pre-industrial levels were around 280 ppm, but today's atmosphere contains 387 ppm and is rising at about 2 ppm annually. Just to give you a sense of what achieving the 350 ppm goal would involve, Hansen argues that it requires the banning of all coal mining and burning in developed countries by 2020.

    "The polar bears, Daddy." -- this is the level of debate that is deemed appropriate by the climate consensus that will require the sacrifice of human lives and progress at the altar of voodoo science.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    "The polar bears, Daddy."


    Polar bears can go extinct for all I care.

  • ||

    Fuck polar bears. But can we save the Tunas? They're delicious!

  • Jordan||

    When I get home, I'm going to turn on every single electrical appliance I own in honor of James Cameron Hansen.

  • Morris||

    Ronald Bailey should brave the hard work of getting a fucking science degree.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Elitist.

  • ||

    As if one needs a degree to smell the bullshit.

  • ||

    He can have mine. It isn't worth anything.

  • ||

    Bailey, Mcintyre, et all - no specific climate degree then STFU.

    Gore, Hollywood pundits, et all - no specific climate degree then wonderful point.

  • ||

    So they want to take us back to the horse and buggy age so they can allegedly change the atmospheric content by 0.01% (100 parts per million)?

    Har, changing something by a hundred parts per million is a change of one-ten-thousandth...or 0.0001. The crisis is even WORSE than we thought!

  • ||

    0.0001 = 0.01%

    That is all.

  • ||

    Percentage conversions suck, that is all...

  • ||

    Percentage conversions suck, "100" it is, that is all...

  • ||

    Caption Contest!

    "Here we are at the top floor of the UN finally signing something. Boy, those oceans rise fast, don't they?"

  • Warty||

  • LiterateDog||

    What I love is the conveniently round number. Not 347 not 354, but exactly 350. How wonderful that, after much number-crunching in this exacting science, such a pleasingly round number was the "correct" answer.

  • Colon Bowell||

    If you I told you that my wife finds me "pleasingly round" would you believe it?

  • Eric Cartman||

    Hey! I'm not fat... I'm festively plump.

  • ||

    "In brief, Hansen argues that carbon dioxide above that level will so increase global temperatures that the melting of the vast ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica will become inevitable. This could eventually mean sea level increases of a meter or more per decade."

    Uh, huh. In 1989, he made this prediction:
    "I went over to the window with him and looked out on Broadway in New York City and said, “If what you’re saying about the greenhouse effect is true, is anything going to look different down there in 20 years?” He looked for a while and was quiet and didn’t say anything for a couple seconds. Then he said, “Well, there will be more traffic.” I, of course, didn’t think he heard the question right. Then he explained, “The West Side Highway [which runs along the Hudson River] will be under water. And there will be tape across the windows across the street because of high winds. And the same birds won’t be there. The trees in the median strip will change.” Then he said, “There will be more police cars.” Why? “Well, you know what happens to crime when the heat goes up.”

    Any good predictions? I haven't seen any.

  • Chad||

    Unfortunately (for denialists and humanity), his scientific predictions are much more accurate. He nailed Pinatubo.

  • Mike Laursen||

    I wasn't aware that scientists claimed to be able to predict volcano eruptions.

  • Chad||

    He got the year wrong, but the effects right.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Is it hard to figure out the effects of a volcano?

  • ||

    It seems pretty easy to quantify their output of dust and gases, but we still can't quantify what effect it will have on the climate.

    All comes back to those pesky models and simple impossibility of Perfect Prediction.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    "I think...there's gonna be some lava flowing. Probably in the area surrounding the volcano. Yeah."

  • ||

    Please.

    Send him to Randi to collect his million.

  • Chad||

    He got the year wrong, but the effects right.

  • ||

    Chad, you really really REALLY NEEEEEEED to believe in your collegiate religion don't you. Psychologically. Emotionally. Spiritually.

    But why? How does one become such a dogma spouting robot?

    Maybe you were raised by your mommy to be a scared, obeisant little man-child?

    Maybe your daddy wasn't much to speak of, and now you love to follow the right authority figure, preferably a big husky, lusty surrogate father.

    You hated when your love daddy lost that election to that rich boy, didn't you?

  • Hang||

    Chad, every time you post on here, the C02 you're releasing kills a polar bear. You'd better take a vow of silence.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    And if he has a dog or cat, the carbon footprint necessary to feed and care for that poor animal is just as huge - in Chadspeak, of course.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Unfortunately (for denialists and humanity), his scientific predictions are much more accurate. He nailed Pinatubo.


    And how was that above prediction unscientific?

    Hell, he is predicting that the oceans will boil away due to present-day global warming.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    Boil away? If that's the case, maybe the boiling will mitigate the rise in sea levels? We're saved!

  • Paul||

    I clocked about 5 hours in line while my housemate, in town representing a Colorado NGO, waited 10.5 hours and was also turned away. The conference chaos makes one wonder how anyone expects the U.N. to run the world's climate if it can't manage a queue?

    This is what the world will look like when the U.N. runs everything.

  • ||

    You would think freezing one's ass off for 5 hours would make one have the epiphany that warmer just might be better.

    And yet I bet none of those clowns got the unintended point.

  • LarryA||

    The clowns that were freezing weren't the ones that need to get the point.

  • ||

    The cold temps were pretty much preaching to the choir.

  • DMC||

    To Ronald Bailey:
    Did Hansen provide well reasoned arguments with supporting data that all could review or did he, as usual, make outlandish claims with no supporting data or arguments. These are the kinds of answers that a good reporter provides.

  • Chad||

    Hansen is a profilic publisher, and all his data and code is pubically available. You got a beef with it?

  • Mike Laursen||

    Please provide reference where data and code related to the 350 ppm prediction is available.

  • ||

    I guess chad's google toolbar broke.

    My attempt to look it up just resulted in book reviews and "buy now" links. Maybe you have to buy the book to get his URL.

  • ||

    Exactly, for some damned reason Bailey provides no context or analysis, or even fuckin' personal opinion pulled out of his ass about the number Hansen pulled out of his.

    Reason may have well saved the $$ and reprinted the official press release.

    Sheesh.

  • ||

    Did Hansen provide well reasoned arguments with supporting data that all could review or did he, as usual, make outlandish claims with no supporting data or arguments. These are the kinds of answers that a good reporter provides.

    I've wondered about the closed walls around the data maintained by the Warmers over the years. If the powers-that-be (paging Al Gore) really wanted to hone the precision of these global simulations, and bring more computing power to bear on them, why don't they GPL the basic algorithms and do a branch tree open-source thing where everyone can check out the "kernel" (the algorithms deemed "essential" by the Warmers or whomever) and mod it as they wish, and then let other researchers run the code? You could also run a distributed "cloud" program to crunch the numbers (think folding@home, SETI@home, etc.) so folks who are bona-fide interested in the subject can pitch in? Its really a much more progressive, sophisticated way of crunching crazy amounts of data involving scientific questions. Any ideas?

  • ||

    I'm guessing the models and the data wouldn't stand up to scrutiny.

  • Neu Mejican||

    the closed walls around the data

    This wall?

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/data-sources/

    Scrutinize away.

  • ||

    NM,
    Thoughts on the quote from Hansen back in '89 (see above)? You're a pretty bright guy and I am curious on your take on the doomsayers?

  • Neu Mejican||

    Doomsayers are a drag. Whether they are predicting doom from climate or doom from attempts to mitigate AGW. Many overstate the likely harms of AGW, but they are real and significant (primarily in displacing people due to flooding of lowlands and disruptions in water supplies for communities that rely on glacial sources).

    That said, it is the economic doomsayers that are working on pure belief, rather than data. The worst-case scenarios from rapid warming are pretty ugly. The doomsayers who think a moderate tax on carbon-based fuels will collapse the modern economy on the other hand are just talking out of their ass.

  • Chad||

    No matter how many times you show these people that virtually all the data is, and has been, publically available for years, they just won't except it. That is how you know they are deniers, not "skeptics".

  • Mike Laursen||

    Dude, the raw data is not "the data". We also need to see the model source code and a complete explanation of how data was "cleaned up".

  • Neu Mejican||

    Those are all available.
    Are you just lazy?

  • Auld American||

    No they're not. Are you one of Chad's sock puppets?

  • Neu Mejican||

    Start your search for what you want here

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/data-sources/

  • Mike Laursen||

    At least in the case of CRU, these things are not available, and one of the core points of the scandal is that it looks like nobody at CRU is even capable of explaining how their enhanced data was produced from the raw data.

  • Hang||

    Actually, we take GREAT exception to your bullshit, greentard. No matter how many times we reveal to everyone that you know you're full of shit, you just keep pulling more random shit out of your ass and pretending it's the same thing as real data, real proof, and real science. That's how we know you're one of your death cult's liars, not a true believer.

  • ||

    Open sourcing would be a good propaganda tool but it would be useless for ensuring code quality. They should do it because it probably convince a large number of clueless skeptics.

    The real truth is that there is no real point in even creating these models. Running the models in the first place is a fools exercise and only a moron would ever think anything like this is ever going to work. Gavin Schmidt is a moron. The best thing would be to not even bother with the climate models because they are inherently garbage. This is just obvious to any pragmatic computer modeler.

    I doubt we will have any useless computer models for at least a hundred years and when we do they will be far more sophisticated then anything we can possibly imagine.

  • Neu Mejican||

    I had a long conversation with a family member that helped develop a lot of the computational tools used to model physical processes on a computer. He did this work while working at Sandia National Labs (starting in the 1960's - They modeled things like nuclear explosions and plane crashes with a high degree of precision). He found the computer modeling being done in climate science unconvincing until about 2000. At that point, after reviewing what they were doing, he felt they had managed to solve a lot of the problems and demonstrate sufficiently skilled models to make the predictions/claims that they were making.

    It is important to note that the predictions come with confidence intervals and if we run these models (particularly multi-model runs) with pre-1990 data and run them until the present date and then compare those runs to the recorded temperatures since 1990, the observations stay within the margins of error of the model predictions.

    So, I am not sure we will need to wait a hundred years to get models with better precision (narrower error bars) as the current models seem to be up to the task of answering the broad questions related to AGW (e.g., is industrial C02 driving warming beyond what would be expected by natural variability).

  • ||

    At that point, after reviewing what they were doing, he felt they had managed to solve a lot of the problems and demonstrate sufficiently skilled models to make the predictions/claims that they were making.

    How could your family member "review what they were doing" when the "they" don't release their code and lose their data sets?

  • Chad||

    Virtually all of the data has been released, and no data is gone, only HADCRU's copy. You can go buy it the same place they did.

    http://mediamatters.org/research/200912010030

    Any paper published in the last few years is utterly loaded with raw data and code in the supplements.

  • ||

    What about the computer code?

  • Chad||

    All of NASA's is available. Rent a supercomputer and you can run it yourself. HADCRU has released most everything that they hadn't already since the scandal broke. If there is some tiny little tidbit somewhere, so what? You are missing the forest for a weed.

  • ||

    Been digging around NOAA for awhile. Looks like the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory is the place for climate change stuff, which is here: http://data1.gfdl.noaa.gov/.

    From what I can tell, I can register and then get documentation and all kinds of data outputs from the respective models, and their "runs" to average it out. No raw data, definitely no computer code...not even the algorithms, anywhere. Nice.

    Rent a supercomputer? They don't even say what kind of computer they are using (x86? Power Architecture? This shit matters, especially with floating-point-precision issues between the two architectures when doing calculations over time).

    At this nifty link: http://www-pcmdi.llnl.gov/ipcc/about_ipcc.php I can find the beginnings of reckoning all the hordes of data from the modelers together for IPCC 5. It reminds me of a giant middle-management Six Sigmathon where the primary goal is managing the data, as much as understanding it.

    And then I get a little zinger from you (Chad) about missing forests for weeds because I am actually curious about data and code when it comes to computer models. Nice.

  • ||

    Ah, replying to myself...found the GISS code for NASA. They are apparently going to run a shiny new implementation on a huge new 4000 processor Core i7. This FAQ is fascinating, and provides some interesting illumination on the precision floating-point issue I outlined above and its implications for non-binary (i.e. non whole integers) on Nehalem cores...great wonky stuff here kids...

    http://www.giss.nasa.gov/tools/modelE/FAQ.html#Q1_1

  • Coal||

    MEDIA MATTERS!?

    Chad, anybody who refers us to those Soros-funded fucksticks immediately loses the argument. Media Matters has never spoken an honest word.

  • ||

    When they can predict the FUTURE for 5 years straight, starting NOW -- no cheating! -- then they have a model of the climate.

    Anybody can play around with a stupid computer toy, running "experiment" after "experiment" about the climate from the past to the present, and throwing away all the runs that don't look like what already happened... and then giving a margin of error to fudge the rest of it... thereby leaving the impression that the models are actually predictive.

    This is classic confirmation bias. Math fishing.

    You really have to be retarded to believe these models have a margin of error lower than 1 degree.

    And you would be equally retarded to think global temperatures extrapolated from limited data collection stations padded out with uncomfirmable proxy sets have any specificity.

    The science is speculative. The math is dubious. The statistical methods are fudging. The models are toys. And you are a robot clown schmuck for believing your media programmers.

  • JW||

    I've seen parts of the code and portions of it are basically hard coded to show warming. You could plug in random data and get a graph showing warming in the late 20th century.

    The other shoe hasn't even dropped yet. When NASA/GISS is forced to release its data after years of stonewalling I'll have the popcorn ready.

  • ||

    What data is Goddard hiding? I found the code for the new model simulator.

    Its interesting architecture as they've now built it so Warmers can plug modules in and out of the code set, so they can update their own Private Idaho "kernel" like I alluded to above - yet the individual Private Idahos never have to check it in an open branch for code review like in LINUX world. Hence the need for conferences and the IPCC where they can argue in a political format about the output and not how they arrived at it. There's my ethical issue with the process. But let's dig in the code...

    Holy ancient zeros and ones Batman, they're using legacy FORTRAN code from the eighties (I am guessing Cray YMP stuff, i.e. RISC 1.0!) in bits of Big Sim 2009 or whatever they call it! They still use FORTRAN now...that's some wonky shit right there. It is the government, I'm surprised they're not even more in legacy land with COBOL or something. It also makes sense because porting that thing over to a modern language would be an Epic task with no press releases. It also makes sense because a lot of this stuff seems to be run out of Lawrence Livermore, a thermonuclear weapons lab full of ancient FORTRAN geekery and skills for Thermonuke Sim circa 1959 (and Thermonuke Sim has been TOTALLY WRONG BY ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE on predicting fusion conditions in pellets for every laser Livermore has built since the mid-seventies...not the best reference there, it also was responsible for critical design flaw of W76's radiation case making it to production...that's another, darker story though).

    But the evolution-over-time and differing architectures (RISC vs. CISC is a big one there) presents all kinds of interesting problems to a programmer regardless of the legacy FORTRAN world this code lives in.

    For instance, the potential stinkers with floating point (RISC single-point precision migrated to modern x86 CISC+RISC-Frankenstein double precision i7 Cores) creeping in there is epic. Debugging that pig is going to take a couple thousand simulations (just to compare the data with legacy FORTRAN output on old silicon to make sure there's no value "drift" over the centuries in their sim) to guarantee accurate output over time. One of the biggest things they're trying to tackle in Big Sim 2010 is to insure that juicing one value doesn't break something somewhere else...hence the modular-three-logical-files-one-COM approach they're pretty proud of.

    And to the non-geeks out there, this shit matters...especially with systems that run irrational integer stuff (like timelines...calendars don't play math well for binary output...goddamn legacy Babylonians and their sexagesimals!). One of the biggest "secrets" of the modern computer today is that they are crappy at math with precision...no shit, look it up. The high-profile gaffes from this kind of stuff are epic. Process errors are so significant in these types of things. NASA themselves lost a whole quarter-billion-dollar Mars probe because the probe's contractor was using English units and NASA's JPL lab were using metric...I can't make shit like that up. No one's immune from it, and a data set this huge makes the potential error list compared to planetary probe (three-body problem) trajectory stuff look cute.

    In every day computations precision like this doesn't matter. But when you run a looped series using a differential equation comprised of feedbacks derived on the previous run's output (like, you know, a global weather simulator) over a couple thousand years and more...the minuscule error can add up and up over the execution range into a Problem.

    Microsoft Excel spreadsheet code is full of bizarro tricks to avoid bad output from forms that need to track to dates. Crazy shit. This is why I am interested in the code and its output data. When the output claimed is a sub-integer (.16 Celsius/per decade, for instance) tracked over an irrational range (like a calendar, thousands of times over) you see where I begin wondering about the code.

    For instance, from what I can see so far they actually use a sexagesimal mess for the timeline and then correct for it in the code as it runs instead of just running the days as a whole integer value (I can see why they do it...days don't track as integers to seasons or years because there isn't exactly 365 days in a year, so it screws with pretty chart output without running an operator on the data after you pull it which is a big problem for Power Pointing visual learners like the Al Gores of the world). Don't even get into long-term operators like axial precession of the earth over that time and IT'S multiple on the calendar, which something tells me is not conveniently year-based.

    I can see why the "juiciest" bits of Climategate IMO are the programmer's code comments...that poor bastard. But its fascinating stuff. C'mon Warmers...let's go code digging! This is getting fun!

  • JW||

    GISS has failed to respond to multiple FOIA requests. It initially looked as if the CEI was about to sue NASA over this but it appears congress has intervened.

    "Washington, D.C.—Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Science and Space, and Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, sent a letter today to the Inspector General of NASA requesting an investigation into NASA’s apparent obstruction of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. The FOIA requests seek NASA’s temperature record and agency emails concerning changes agency researchers made to the temperature record in 2007."

    http://epw.senate.gov/public/i.....550d05c3a2

    The single/double precision issue has factored into the use of GPUs for scientific computing. GPUs offer enormous potential but currently have drawbacks such as single precision that limit their use. Intel and nVidia will soon have gpu/cpu hybrids available, though I'm willing to bet we're still another generation or two away from having the best of both worlds on a single die.

  • ||

    Ya, GPU's are basically giant math co-processors (remember those?) for floating point. Thinking along those lines makes me wonder if the original Big Sim was running on SGI machines in IRIX world...they were all over the Government contracts back in the day, especially at the bomb labs where a lot of this expertise resides. The old MIPS chips in those SGI's kicked ass at floating point, its one of the big reasons why SGI's were running 12-bit x 3 RGB color when everyone else was in VGA land.

    What also got me thinking about this stuff is those GPU's, they can crunch the Warmer spells way faster than the CPU. Distributed cloud program for GPU's? It'd be pimp...

  • Neu Mejican||

    There ya go.
    See folks...this is how you would begin to build a counter argument. The next step would be to create your won redo, fix the problems you see and run the numbers again to show that their results really do result from the errors that this analysis leads the Zeitgeist to think MIGHT BE occurring.

    Then other people will pick apart your code and your results and around it will go and we will move forward to a more accurate picture.

  • Neu Mejican||

    won = own

  • ||

    Your statement above illustrates how much more effective an open-source approach would be in honing these models. It really is something that should be implemented by the IPCC in lieu of their little-groups-conference process.

  • ||

    Sexagesimals.

    Sign me up! Hooray for the Babylonians!

    It's not some sort of mega-orgy?....awwwww, never mind.

  • Neu Mejican||

    When they can predict the FUTURE for 5 years straight, starting NOW -- no cheating! -- then they have a model of the climate.

    That sounds more like a model of WEATHER than climate. They are not trying to model weather.

    I think the smart folks on the topic suggest trends on the 20 or 30 year range as the most robust in representing climate change (no one I have read would go below 12 or 13 year trends). Changes on shorter time scales don't really capture climate, they capture weather.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    The earth is believed to be, like, 800 billion years old or something, right? And you think 20-30 years is a really good timeframe for modeling what will happen with the climate in the long run? That's a bit like analyzing the makeup of one drop of water from the Pacific Ocean and then assuming the rest of the ocean is pretty much the same.

  • Neu Mejican||

    I am talking about the boundary between studying weather versus studying climate.

    Once you have moved beyond the decade long trends, you are in the realm of climate, but you are at the extreme end of the scale. Those who are asking for accuracy on the below decade level (or who are making claims to have predicted at that level) are not discussing climate, imho, but weather. The AGW hypothesis is about climate trends and the noise below the decade level is just that, noise, as far as the questions relevant to it.

    As for the age of the earth, well, you are off by a couple orders of magnitude.

  • ||

    I'm cool with that definition of weather vs. climate...makes sense. But when its anecdotally convenient (a new record high somewhere, for instance) the Warmers jump on a weather phenomena to juice up their argument. When its anecdotally inconvenient (new record low somewhere) the Warmers bust out the "its weather, not climate" schtick.

    I distinctly remember that with John Kerry and Al Gore at a Senate hearing back in winter of 2006. Algore had no problem thinking of weather and climate at that hearing (the cherry blossoms of D.C. bloomed early that year...GLOBAL WARMING!).

  • ||

    I think the smart folks on the topic suggest trends on the 20 or 30 year

    Right, so when you have a model that accurately predicts the next 30 years we will talk.

  • ||

    cool...maybe they could start turning those models onto predicting the weather 15 days out. There are hundreds of millions of dollars to be made in predicting weather in the US for just 15 days out...as of now, the best forecasters out there are only out-predicting my naive historical average predicitons for the 15 day forecast 50% of the time...in other words they are worthless. Natural gas demand has about a 98% correlation with degree day totals so there is a huge amount of money to be made with better 15 day forecasts, yet they don't exist.

    The track record of the predictions for long term weather look just as worthless...your genius "family member" is full of shit the models still suck.

  • ||

    "why don't they GPL the basic algorithms and do a branch tree open-source thing where everyone can check out the "kernel" (the algorithms deemed "essential" by the Warmers or whomever) and mod it as they wish, and then let other researchers run the code?"

    Yeah, and I bet you want to tell children that Santa Claus doesn't exist too, doncha you cruel bastard?

  • Attorney||

    Isn't Hansen the guy who was discredited even before Climategate?

  • Client||

    Yep.

  • Colin||

    It can't be too cold -- I just saw a video of Lord Monckton interviewing someone on the street wearing just a suit.

  • Johnny Longtorso||

    Human Blood May Hold the Secret to Clean Coal
    http://www.popsci.com/environm.....clean-coal

  • JW||

    The notion that 350 ppm is of any significance is absurd. CO2 levels are near all time lows.

    The CO2 level during the cretaceous was about 6 times the current level (1700 ppm). Yet the average temperature was only 4 degrees warmer.

  • Chad||

    And the entire biosphere, atmosphere, and arrangement of the continents was different.

    Apples and oranges...

  • ||

    THE ARRANGMENT OF THE CONTINENTS WERE DIFFERENT! I KNOW MY SCIENCE!!!

    (Continental Drift shown to have strong coupling with global temperatures.)

  • JW||

    Hardly apples and oranges.

    The Permian, Triassic, Jurassic as well as the Cretacious all experienced substantial fluctuations in CO2 level yet temperatures remained relatively constant despite CO2 levels being several times higher.

    The atmospheric composition only differed significantly in oxygen levels.

    So when exactly did CO2 gain this powerful warming ability?

  • Cars||

    Oh-ho! It's magic!
    That C02...
    (Don't you know it's magic?)

  • Fred||

    JW,

    Could you refer us to a source document for this claim regarding temperature and CO2 level during those early periods? Seems like if there is credible evidence of this claim you make, then the whole CO2 causing higher temperature would be pretty clearly dis-proven. I haven't heard this claim before, but it seems to be a critical point in the whole global warming question.

  • Fred||

    JW,

    Could you refer us to a source document for this claim regarding temperature and CO2 level during those early periods? Seems like if there is credible evidence of this claim you make, then the whole CO2 causing higher temperature would be pretty clearly dis-proven. I haven't heard this claim before, but it seems to be a critical point in the whole global warming question.

  • Special Pleader||

    But that's DIFFERENT!

    We weren't around to BITCH about it back then!

  • Michael Ejercito||

    And the entire biosphere, atmosphere, and arrangement of the continents was different.


    Indeed, there was more biodiversity.

  • ||

    Before each age's extinction event at least.

  • Chad||

    Ron: Coal is the enemy. We can probably "safely" burn most of the reasonably available natural gas and oil, if we just quit burning coal. Luckily, there are lots of alternatives.

  • ||

    People who complain are the enemy. People with big, dumb programmatic ideas and wounded egos are the enemy.

    The heroes are the engineers and entrepreneurs who will achieve the next level of clean tech that actually changes the world... assuming the world economy isn't fucked over by hordes of complainers, failures, and other programmed narcissistic twits.

  • Coal||

    Ron: Chad is the enemy. We can probably afford not to burn most of the abundantly available eco-fascists and pols, but we've just got to burn Chad. Unfortunately, there is no alternative.

  • ||

    Coal is dirtier than as far as general pollution goes than, say, natural gas -- although there has been very real progress in reducing it -- but are you claiming that burning coal releases more CO2 per joule or BTU of energy released?

    Perhaps its does, but the bumper sticker claims never seem to actually go there.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Coal is dirtier than as far as general pollution goes than, say, natural gas -- although there has been very real progress in reducing it -- but are you claiming that burning coal releases more CO2 per joule or BTU of energy released?


    One thing coal does not release is water vapor, which happens to be a potent greenhouse gas.

  • ||

    Burning hydrocarbons produces water vapor. HCO + O2 = H20 + CO2 or something like that. It's tough (impossible?) to oxidize hydrogen and NOT get water in the process.

    Plus, non-anthracite coals have significant water content (Upto 35% for lignite).

  • Chad (the totally real one!)||

    Again, anyone who understands first year chemistry would realize that water is in equilibrium with the ocean, and that any released by combustion (which is trivial relative to what is already there) will quickly fall back down as rain in order to re-establish the equilibrium.

    You keep making this argument, and it is absolutely and utterly scientifically incorrect. Are you dumb, or just that dishonest?

  • Al Gore||

    I plainly told you gullible bastards that the internal combustion engine is the worst threat to mankind.

    Of course, I'll still use them. Fuck you peasants, I'm keeping my limos.

  • ||

    Makes sense...the most important number goes with the most important tree in the world:
    YAD061. It is the Siberian tree that CRU climate-necromancer Keith Briffa cherry-picked out of hundreds to help create Gore's and the IPCC's hockey stick chart. See http://www.dinocrat.com/archiv.....in-infamy/

  • Johnny Longtorso||

    Inconvenient truth for Al Gore as his North Pole sums don't add up

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/t.....956783.ece

    There are many kinds of truth. Al Gore was poleaxed by an inconvenient one yesterday.

    The former US Vice-President, who became an unlikely figurehead for the green movement after narrating the Oscar-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth, became entangled in a new climate change “spin” row.

    Mr Gore, speaking at the Copenhagen climate change summit, stated the latest research showed that the Arctic could be completely ice-free in five years.

    In his speech, Mr Gore told the conference: “These figures are fresh. Some of the models suggest to Dr [Wieslav] Maslowski that there is a 75 per cent chance that the entire north polar ice cap, during the summer months, could be completely ice-free within five to seven years.”

    However, the climatologist whose work Mr Gore was relying upon dropped the former Vice-President in the water with an icy blast.

    “It’s unclear to me how this figure was arrived at,” Dr Maslowski said. “I would never try to estimate likelihood at anything as exact as this.”

    Mr Gore’s office later admitted that the 75 per cent figure was one used by Dr Maslowksi as a “ballpark figure” several years ago in a conversation with Mr Gore....

  • ||

    I heard Gore say the same bullshit in a CNN interview.

    Well, in five years we'll know. I wonder what will happen if there's still ice at the North Pole. Will Gore pay a price? I'm thinking, nope. His predictions will be conveniently "forgotten" and anybody who mentions it will be labeled a fringe lunatic.

  • Some dude||

    350 parts per million, the level of carbon in the atmosphere at which many fear climate disaster will strike.

    Many fear enclosed spaces. And the number 13.

  • ||

    350, why not 351? Fahrenheit 451 is a fabulous piece of fiction that is keeping many Bradbury offspring wealthy. These people and their idea have become laughable.

  • z||

    350ppm CO2 is it? No matter what happens with the other 50% of the greenhouse gases? I guess reducing methane doesn't involve getting the little people out of their cars or burning oil, so it's not an option.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    I guess reducing methane doesn't involve getting the little people out of their cars or burning oil, so it's not an option.


    Why no concern over the gaseous form of hydrogen oxide?

    It is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Most people discussing AGW use the term "greenhouse gasses" to make it clear that this goes beyond co2...that said, co2 seems to be the biggest player.

  • Chad (the totally real one!)||

    Fortuately, dihydrogen monoxide is in rapid equilibrium with the oceans, so its concentration in the atmosphere cannot rise unless the temperature has already risen and shifted the equilibrium. Therefore, DHM cannot force climate change, only amplify it. So as long as we don't force it...

    Errr....

  • LarryA||

    Why 350? That's the threshold for parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that will cause dangerous anthropogenic interference with the world's climate, according to Goddard Institute for Space Studies climatologist James Hansen.
    In brief, Hansen argues that carbon dioxide above that level will so increase global temperatures that the melting of the vast ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica will become inevitable.

    and
    There is one particularly interesting wrinkle in this goal: It aims to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide to levels below what is already in the atmosphere. Pre-industrial levels were around 280 ppm, but today's atmosphere contains 387 ppm and is rising at about 2 ppm annually.

    So we’re currently 37 ppm over the level where the icecaps are toast? Is there a wrong number somewhere, or did I miss the meltdown?

  • JW||

    Andersen Coopers head was blocking the view of the melting... but the shots of Mars' icecaps melting also were at least visible.

    The Sun could not be reached for comment.

  • Neu Mejican||

    I think you did miss the meltdown. It is currently underway. Takes a pretty good chunk of time to melt that much ice.

  • Ginko||

    Don't you people understand? The ruling class, such as they are, saw that all this danged technology and intertoobs were giving people even more freedom and self determination than ever before. Why, folks who came from families in the middle of nowhere (AKA flyover country) are becoming millionaires and even billionaires because of cleverness or determination. Fuck! They can't have that! The occasional Ross Perot or Bill Gates they can handle, but if it gets to be too common, or people start to get too much power in their hands, well, that's how Ideas get started, and that can only lead to one thing: the Old Money losing ever more influence.

    So they need to fuck this system in the ass until it bleeds to death. You think these people are just stupid or *that* blinded by ideology? These dog cock sucking miseryshits know *exactly* what they are doing. They laugh at you.

    You know who my heros of the month were? That idiot couple who faked their way into the Obama party. We need more folks like that, but some who bring in hidden cameras and microphones to record these civilization rapers when they have their guard down, and the masks come off. We need to reveal that lust and thirst for control and power to the light of day.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    +100

  • ||

    AGREED

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Here is a report from the Miami Herald.

    " A senior U.N. environmental official says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000. Coastal flooding and crop failures would create an exodus of "eco-refugees," threatening political chaos, said Noel Brown, director of the New York office of the United Nations U.N. Environment Program, or UNEP. He said governments have a 10-year window of opportunity to solve the... "

    A pretty inconvenient truth, isn't it?

  • ||

    I absolutely hate the climate debate. There is so much data and information that I will never be able to accurately comprehend without the help of scientists that I could never hope to make an accurate opinion of my own on the issue. Its frustrating that such a question, where a wrong answer fucks the world in one way or the other, is only answerable by scientists who cant seem to agree. Why are politicians having debates when it should be the scientists debating and peer reviewing until a real consensus is found?

    In the end, I have no idea whether or not AGW is real. I think it would be arrogant for me to have an opinion either way. I just wish the people who do have the credentials for a valid opinion would get their shit together and come up with an agreed upon, peer reviewed answer.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Here ya go.
    http://www.ipcc.ch/

  • ||

    Except IPCC doesn't do ANY research, peer-reviewed or otherwise. They just write reports based on what real researchers tell them. Good, trustworthy scientists, like the guys at CRU.

    Good try otherwise. Sorry Robbie, you're juts gonna have to wait for that Valid Scientific Methodology you've been dreaming of.

  • Neu Mejican||

    I just wish the people who do have the credentials for a valid opinion would get their shit together and come up with an agreed upon, peer reviewed answer.

    Wylie,

    If you can think of a better description for what the IPCC does than this, let me know...but to my ears that about sums up the IPCC process.

  • Ratko||

    Yesterday they told us the evidence points to intelligent design, and by that we could assume the hand of a creator was involved. No longer the primitive monkeys living in ignorance we were just a few years ago, we have evolved to understand the real world was designed with Intel Inside®.

    Does this mean that Al Gore is God? It would be evil to even imagine any of us could be qualified to even ask. We will be best served to wait until we are told, rather than risk more of thinking for ourselves that got us into this huge mess to begin with.

    What we do know is only those guilty of sin can deny the world is the computer model.

  • ||

    Lisa Simpson says (in the latest episode) that global warming can cause two extremems in temperatures (hot and cold)

    Is Lisa right?

  • abercrombie milano||

    My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I'm sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane.

  • nike shox||

    is good

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    This will help you in crisis. By dialing this number you can get information on phone (IOP) related to following topics and it is free service.
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