Shut Up, They Explained

Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and John D. Rockefeller (D- W.Va.) can write a mean letter. Witness this note to the CEO of ExxonMobil, in which they accuse ExxonMobil of all manner of global warming debate-related misdeeds, and none too subtly tell the company to shut the hell up:

In light of the adverse impacts still resulting from your corporations activities, we must request that ExxonMobil end any further financial assistance or other support to groups or individuals whose public advocacy has contributed to the small, but unfortunately effective, climate change denial myth.

And this:

This climate change denial confederacy has exerted an influence out of all proportion to its size or relative scientific credibility. Through relentless pressure on the media to present the issue "objectively," and by challenging the consensus on climate change science by misstating both the nature of what "consensus" means and what this particular consensus is, ExxonMobil and its allies have confused the public and given cover to a few senior elected and appointed government officials whose positions and opinions enable them to damage U.S. credibility abroad.

Read the Wall Street Journal's scathing editorial on the letter here.

Read the whole letter here.

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  • ||

    Katherine Mangu-Ward : Ron Bailey :: Mary Rosh : John Lott?

  • ||

    Iron Law of Congressional Science:

    Science + Congress = Stupidity

  • ed||

    I love it.

    First, the setup: Allow us to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your first year as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the ExxonMobil Corporation....you will have the ability and responsibility to lead ExxonMobil toward its rightful place as a good corporate and global citizen.

    Then, the guilt-by-association: ExxonMobil and its partners in denial have manufactured controversy, sown doubt, and impeded progress with strategies all-too reminiscent of those used by the tobacco industry for so many years.

    Then, the veiled threat: In light of the adverse impacts still resulting from your corporations activities, we must request that ExxonMobil end any further financial assistance or other support to groups or individuals whose public advocacy has contributed to the small, but unfortunately effective, climate change denial myth.

    Bipartisanism at its finest.

  • Sam Franklin||

    I can still remember when there used to be an Exxon and a Mobil. Now it is a single company.

  • ||

    God Snowe is a disgrace. How long before disputing global warming is deemed "hate speech"?

  • ||

    The WSJ editorial was a fun read. It's too bad they blunted the impact by going after "environmentalists" and all the problems that exist only in the minds of environmentalists, like famine (huh? Sally Struthers, the envirofascist?). They admit that global warming is occuring, they just disagree with the solution. 10 years ago, the energy industry refused to admit that global warming existed. The enviros forced some truth (perhaps an irrelevant truth after the science is all in). The WSJ took a brilliant piece of analysis and Coultered it up a little, burning a little of the ol' wing wax in the process.

  • ||

    In the Senators' letter, I counted 17 usages of the terms climate change "denier" or "denial."

    Do you think that they were trying to link global warming skeptics to Holocaust deniers? But no, senators would not be so crass and insensitive.

  • ||

    "On the one hand, the Senators say that everyone agrees on the facts and consequences of climate change. But at the same time they are so afraid of debate that they want Exxon to stop financing a doughty band of dissenters who can barely get their name in the paper."

    IF these exxon funded dissenters, who really have no trouble getting their name in Rupert Murdoch's print, and/or the WSJ OpEd page could find one, just one current peer reviewed science article really challenging the consensus view of Anthropogenic Climate Change, I'd give the climate deniers an inch. So far there has been been only one (not current) challenge that I know of, and that was Lindzen's notional Iris Effect...now not even supported by its author.

    Mostly now they just changed their tune to challenge Catastrophic Abthropogenic Climate Change. And even then not in peer reviewed journals.

    One might claim that working climatologists were being silenced by lefties in the upper managment, and thus perfectly prevent publishing peered papers... If so the BBC would really like to tlak to these people:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6196804.stm

  • ||

    Wow, they wrote a letter. I'm hiding out in the mountains--the dictatorship is coming!

    Maybe I'm just unimpressed because I largely agree with the letter. Climate change is, if not a fact, a hugely likely probability. To the extent ExxonMobil is funding reports denying it, they are doing the world a disservice. Nothing wrong with strongly urging them to stop.

    It reminds me of the cigarette companies' longstanding denial of the link between smoking and lung cancer.

  • Larry A||

    Katherine Mangu-Ward : Ron Bailey :: Mary Rosh : John Lott?

    McCain-Feingold : Political speech :: Snowe-Rockefeller : Issue advocacy

    Yeah, I know. That's just one of those silly slippery-slope arguments. First Amendment, RIP.

  • ||

    I think is very nice of Ms. Mangu-Ward to go public with her support of junk science.

    How dare those Senators call out Exxon-Mobile for funding and disseminating junk science? Everyone knows the marketplace of ideas works best when saturated by media campaigns designed to spread objectively false information.

    Q: How much has the Reason Foundation received from Exxon-Mobile, or Exxon-Mobile affiliates, in the past decade?

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Great stuff. Me? I'm a Senator Denier. Like Mark Twain, I deny that Senators have any intelligence....

    Suppose you were an idiot. Then suppose you were a member of CONgress. But I repeat myself.

    Paraphrased to be sure--because I'm too lazy too look at my quote list and cut and paste.

  • ||

    Sam-Hec,

    If climatologists would ever do anything but talk to each other, then perhaps their "peer reviewed" papers might carry more weight. Like perhaps let statisticians review their work.

    http://energycommerce.house.gov/108/home/07142006_Wegman_fact_sheet.pdf

    Background: On June 23, 2005, following reports of a dispute surrounding two key historical temperature studies prominently used in the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2001 assessment report, the Energy and Commerce Committee wrote the three authors of the studies, the IPCC, and the National Science Foundation for information relating to the use of the studies by IPCC. The studies in question, by Dr. Michael Mann, et al, formed the basis for the IPCC assessment's conclusion that the increase in 20thcentury Northern Hemisphere temperatures is "likely to have been the largest of any century during the past 1,000 years" and that the "1990s was the warmest decade and 1998 the warmest year" of the millennium.Questions about the reliability of the Mann studies were of interest because they raised policy-relevant questions concerning the objectivity of the IPCC and its reliance upon and "promotional" use of the studies' 'hockey stick' shaped historical temperature reconstruction. Following receipt of the letter responses, committee staff informally sought advice from independent statisticians to determine how best to assess the statistical information submitted. Dr. Edward Wegman, a prominent statistics professor at George Mason University who is chair of the National Academy of Sciences' (NAS) Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics, agreed to independently assess the data on a pro bono basis. Wegman is also a board member of the American Statistical Association. About the Wegman committee: Dr. Wegman assembled a committee of statisticians, including Dr. David Scott of RiceUniversity and Dr. Yasmin Said of The Johns Hopkins University. Also contributing were Denise Reeves of MITRE Corp. and John T. Rigsby of the Naval Surface Warfare Center. All worked independent of the committee, pro bono, at the direction of Wegman. In the course of Wegman's work, he also discussed and presented to other statisticians on aspects of his analysis, including the Board of the American Statistical Association.- more - Chairman, R-Texas
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Page 2
    U.S. HOUSE COMMITTEE ONENERGY AND COMMERCE PRESS OFFICE, (202) 225-5735,HTTP://ENERGYCOMMERCE.HOUSE.GOVAmong the panel's findings and recommendations: • Mann et al., misused certain statistical methods in their studies, which inappropriately produce hockey stick shapes in the temperature history. Wegman's analysis concludes that Mann's work cannot support claim that the1990s were the warmest decade of the millennium. Report: "Our committee believes that the assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade in a millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year in a millennium cannot be supported by the MBH98/99 analysis. As mentioned earlier in our background section, tree ring proxies are typically calibrated to remove low frequency variations. The cycle of Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age that was widely recognized in 1990 has disappeared from the MBH98/99 analyses, thus making possible the hottest decade/hottest year claim. However, the methodology of MBH98/99 suppresses this low frequency information. The paucity of data in the more remote past makes the hottest-in-a-millennium claims essentially unverifiable." • A social network analysis revealed that the small community of paleoclimate researchers appear to review each other's work, and reuse many of the same data sets, which calls into question the independence of peer-review and temperature reconstructions. Report: "It is clear that many of the proxies are re-used in most of the papers. It is not surprising thatthe papers would obtain similar results and so cannot really claim to be independent verifications." • Although the researchers rely heavily on statistical methods, they do not seem to be interacting with the statistical community. Report: "As statisticians, we were struck by the isolation of communities such as the paleoclimate community that rely heavily on statistical methods, yet do not seem to be interacting with the mainstream statistical community. The public policy implications of this debate are financially staggering and yet apparently no independent statistical expertise was sought or used." • Authors of policy-related science assessments should not assess their own work. Report: "Especially when massive amounts of public monies and human lives are at stake, academic work should have a more intense level of scrutiny and review. It is especially the case that authors of policy-related documents like the IPCC report, Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis, should not be the same people as those that constructed the academic papers."• Policy-related climate science should have a more intense level of scrutiny and review involving statisticians. Federal research should involve interdisciplinary teams to avoid narrowly focused discipline research. Report: "With clinical trials for drugs and devices to be approved for human use by the FDA, reviewand consultation with statisticians is expected. Indeed, it is standard practice to include statisticians in the application-for-approval process. We judge this to be a good policy when public health andalso when substantial amounts of monies are involved, for example, when there are major policy decisions to be made based on statistical assessments. In such cases, evaluation by statisticians should be standard practice. This evaluation phase should be a mandatory part of all grant applications and funded accordingly."• Federal research should emphasize fundamental understanding of the mechanisms of climate change, and should focus on interdisciplinary teams to avoid narrowly focused discipline research. Report: "While the paleoclimate reconstruction has gathered much publicity because it reinforces a policy agenda, it does not provide insight and understanding of the physical mechanisms of climate change… What is needed is deeper understanding of the physical mechanisms of climate change."

    At some point, you have to wonder about this stuff. Not every skeptic is a nutcase and not every climatologist is pure defender of science. They want money and success and tenure just like everyone else and are certainly suceptable to "group think".

  • ||

    Maybe I'm just unimpressed because I largely agree with the letter. Climate change is, if not a fact, a hugely likely probability. To the extent ExxonMobil is funding reports denying it, they are doing the world a disservice. Nothing wrong with strongly urging them to stop.

    That does make sense to me - I just find myself uncomfortable with the idea of politicians telling anyone to stop political advocacy that the politicians disagree with. What does this get followed up with?

    We'll have to wait and see.

  • ||

    Q: How much has the Reason Foundation received from Exxon-Mobile, or Exxon-Mobile affiliates, in the past decade?

    Or more to the point, how much have Snowe and Rockefeller missed out on? ;)

  • ||

    Let's compare the balance of forces: on one side, CEI; on the other, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Sierra Club, Environmental Defense, the U.N. and EU, Hollywood, Al Gore, and every politically correct journalist in the country.

    First, CEI is hardly alone on their side. Alligned with them are...

    * The Heritage Foundation
    * Fox News
    * The CATO Institute
    * George C. Marshall Institute
    * Tech Central Station Science Foundation
    * American Enterprise Institute
    * National Center for Policy Analysis
    * Independent Institute, Fraser Institute
    * Advancement of Sound Science Coalition
    * International Policy Network
    * Most of the Republican party

    and countless other organizations.

    As for "every politically correct journalist in the country... well, all I've got to say about that is what used to be a slam against people afraid of offending others, is now it's a pathetic slam by Right Wing writers who are afraid to acknowledge that they can be just as PC on the right as the folks they're accusing.

    And the Global Warming skeptics have plenty of big media on their side including virtually every right-wing talk radio boob, National Review, Michael Crichton and others.

    On the whole, a defensive, disingenuous piece.

  • ||

    "I just find myself uncomfortable with the idea of politicians telling anyone to stop political advocacy that the politicians disagree with. What does this get followed up with?"

    Diagree with the orthadoxy and a couple of Senators show up at your door telling you that you might want to stop questioning things or you never know what might happen to you and your company and oh by the way here is a list of approved areas of speech you might want to take up. Yeah, that is free speech allright.

  • ||

    "And the Global Warming skeptics have plenty of big media on their side including virtually every right-wing talk radio boob, National Review, Michael Crichton and others.

    On the whole, a defensive, disingenuous piece."


    Yeah Madpad, so why not just get the government involved and get all of those people you mentioned silenced? Like I said above, how long before questioning global warming is considered "hate speech".

  • Jesse Jackson||

    Shakedown? You call that a shakedown? Rookies!

  • ||

    WSJ picked a great day to run that editorial, it is frickin' freezing here! On Friday everyone was sweatin' and climate change would have rung a lot more true.

  • ||

    Whoah there, John...notch down the hyperbole a little.

    Yeah Madpad, so why not just get the government involved and get all of those people you mentioned silenced?

    I never said or indicated that so why are you going there? I'm only pointing out that lying in the service of your cause is still lying. CEI is NOT alone in this fight and it's a flat lie for WSJ to assert that it is.

    Like I said above, how long before questioning global warming is considered "hate speech".

    Probably a hell of a long time.

  • ed||

    How dare those Senators call out Exxon-Mobile

    Joe, what makes that letter vile and repulsive is not so much the Senators' request that Exxon-Mobil cease to exercise its First Amendment rights, but the veiled threat of political reprisal if they don't.

  • ||

    Is this the same Sen. Snowe who wrote to L.L. Bean and all the other tourist attractions in Maine urging them to stop advertising and trying to entice people to drive and fly to Maine on needless, energy-wasteful vacations?

  • ||

    Fair enough madpad. I will be the first to admit that there are a lot of skeptics out there and it is not just CEI. My apologies.

  • ||

    John,
    Climatologists have been talking to people outside their cicrcle. That is what places like RealCLimate is about. Whom had a thing or two to say about the Wegman Report.

    http://tinyurl.com/zhkjt

    ie...it didn't matter worth spit. (and statistical climatology is already a well established field btw)

  • ||

    ...what makes that letter vile and repulsive...(is) the veiled threat of political reprisal if they don't.

    Yes...that is vile and repulsive. But in reality I don't see Sens. Snowe and Rockefeller as commanding enough clout to make that one happen.

    The politics are simple...gas prices are a combination of market forces and politics. If the current Democratic majorities don't want to wind up being the Jimmy Carters of the new millenium and being blamed for high fuel prices, there's only so far they're likely to push an anti-oil company offensive.

  • ||

    We're cool, john...you're passionate about the issue. Passion is always cool. I just think the fight about the issue - let alone the issue itself - is way overblown.

  • ||

    Denying still isn't the same as lying if you truly believe global warming as its stated now is too simplistic a model. In the end we'll end up doing what the majority believes, but that doesn't mean the disbelieving minority needs to shut up or else, even if what they're saying makes no sense to the majority. What if Homeland Security wrote to Reason and strenously objected to Reason's continuing disagreement on the drug war on the basis that everybody already knows drugs destroy lives and thus must be eliminated. Denying a side of an argument a place at the table is a coward's tactic.

  • ||

    Sam_hec,

    I have stopped trusting Climatolgists. They are not scientists anymore. They have too much invested in catostrophic global warming. They went from a nothing field to celbrities in 10 years over global warming. They will never give that up. The global tempature could drop 5 degrees next year and they would tell us how it is the product of global warming.

    Beyond that fact, even if it is true, I have yet to see a cure that is not worse than the disease. I would be the first one to sign up for more inovative and drivable electric cars and a real commitment to nuclear power, but there are good reasons to do that beyond global warming. The last thing I would sign up for is some multinational impositition of global socialism in the name of stopping warming. Unfortunately, since most adtivists and politicians involved are watermelons (green on the outside red on the inside) that is what we are going to get if we are not careful.

  • ||

    Denying still isn't the same as lying...

    Lost_In_Translation, I don't know if this is in response to my statement about WSJ 'lying' or not but I'll respond.

    To be clear...I am not accusing anyone of lying because of a difference of opinion about climate change.

    My accusation of lying in the WSJ editorial was solely based on their assertion that CEI was the only player on the skeptic's side. That is a flat falsehood.

  • ||

    John,
    if you actually bothered to read RealClimate, you'd see that they are not catastrophists at all. Yeah they are worried, but within cautious reasoning.

    It's the sensationalist media and the enviorweenies which pull out all the stops. Well, them and Exxon.

  • ||

    John writes: "Beyond that fact, even if it is true, I have yet to see a cure that is not worse than the disease."

    What are you, French? Do you always give up so easy?

  • ed||

    If the current Democratic majorities don't want to wind up being the Jimmy Carters of the new millenium and being blamed for high fuel prices, there's only so far they're likely to push an anti-oil company offensive.

    This sentiment assumes that politicians (and their constituents) are capable of learning from past mistakes. History proves the opposite is true.

  • ||

    mad,

    I was responding more to Joe and Brian who assert that Exxonmobil is spreading "false information" and doing the world a "disservice" respectively. Alternative predictions and opinion is neither false no contributing to the downfall of society. To the extent that scientific methods are being abused, I do not know, but I could believe that tomorrow all global warming effects will magically dissappear and not be lying if proved wrong tomorrow. My argument would likely be torn apart, but I can still say it and should not be silenced by being accused of lying.

  • ||

    Personally I find the politicizing of the issue so vile, so heinous, that I really have a hard time coming to conclusions on the matter. The global warming side has lots of charts and graphs, but I have a hard time placing confidence in people who can't make accurate predictions past 7 days from now explaining, with near religious certainty, that our seas will rise and the earth is doomed. It's especially the religious certainty part, the summary dismissal of opposing theories as "junk science", as joe so unceremoniously dubs it, that rankles me. Frankly, on an issue with so much obvious weight (the future of our planet), I'd think everyone would welcome the chance to be proven wrong. All sides should accept any challenge to the theories, and not resort to appeals to the gallery that such-and-such a theory should be rejected for the crime of being *gasp* NOT OF THE CONSENSUS VIEW. But hey, call me contrarian.

  • ||

    John,

    I am reposting my 'Cure' (a work in slow progress) which I think will be better that the 'disease' of unmitigated climate change. I often post it here on these Hit'n Run climate discussions in hopes that some of you will make it better and spread it about. Yeah It needs work, and it won't please everyone.

    (Begin...)

    I don't like too many regulations, as the climate change future will require flexibility with which to adapt to the coming changes. Regulations get in the way.

The best start is to stop providing corporate welfare to the fossil fuel companies. In the U.S. this is peanuts at $15 billion a year in various monies and protections, but even doing away with that is an important signal to industry. Elsewhere, this would be harder, as fuels are often directly subsidized.

Next end subsidies and many regulations in the agricultural industries; not all, but these things prevent the freemarket development of biofuels. And the subsidies do hurt the development of other developing nations; and if they don't develop, we may likely get pulled into nasty expensive wars that would otherwise be avoided; this would be due to panic response to climate change s they did not/could not prepare for. On that note, helping to end corruption in foreign lands would help them be willing to prepare.

Third, don't require consumers/producers to be more efficient/use renewables etc.; but do require that our governments to be effectively carbon-neutral. We need is real leadership with a critical mass of demand and supply. The purchasing power of our governments can provide this.

Lastly, it is more or less the right of governments to control their borders. So simply require that all persons, products, and possibly services crossing borders be effectively carbon neutral via a carbon-tariff. This will boost local economies, at the expense of the global. But it will not destroy civilization.

All the above is not anti-capitalist at all, and provides a balanced solution to our near term climate issues. (it could use some improving though)

    (...End)
    oddly and sadly almost noone here comments on. Maybe that's a good sign. (shrugs)

  • R C Dean||

    Climate change is, if not a fact, a hugely likely probability.

    The climate's always changing, and in fact always has been.

    The rhetorical move away from "global warming", which has at least some semantic content and can be falsified or verified, to "climate change", which has zero semantic content and cannot be falsified or verified, strikes me as an odd way to reflect your absolute confidence in science showing the earth is getting warmer.

    Setting that aside, though, the question isn't "is the climate changing", or even "are we in a warming trend". The climate always changes, and half the time the change is a warming. The question should be "what distinguishes the current warming trend from those of the past."

    I'm still waiting for a non-faith-based answer to that one.

  • ||

    Given that we've known for 200 years that the pre-industrial level of CO2 causes a pre-industrial greenhouse effect of about 14 deg C, it's up to "skeptics" to explain why a further 35% increase in greenhouse gases WON'T lead to significant warming. Do they believe in the laws of physics?

  • Guy Montag||

    Is the next letter going to accuse the CEO of being an Anti-Dentite and advocating special schools for Dentists?

  • ||

    "The global warming side has lots of charts and graphs, but I have a hard time placing confidence in people who can't make accurate predictions past 7 days from now explaining, with near religious certainty, that our seas will rise and the earth is doomed."

    Ah you confuse Meteorology with Climatology. Not the same.

  • ||

    Actually David it was John Tyndall in 1859 who discovered the heat-opacity of CO2. Tha's less than 200 years.

  • ||

    Ed...good point. The erstwhile Republican majority being a solid example.

    Lost, can't disagree with you argument on it's face...you're very correct.

    But if you're at all suspicious of the Global Warming adherants, why wouldn't a skeptic (that's a multi-billion dollar industry that donates large sums of money to other skeptics AND is heavily politically connected) make you equally suspicious?

  • ||

    So the Earth stays exactly the same for millions of years and when it starts to change its because of man. Interesting concept.
    Not very plausible but what a great chance to make people feel guilty, shut up dissent, control both science and politics and finally get a chance to tax the air we breath.

  • ||

    "'climate change', which has zero semantic content"

    Sorry, this doesn't pass the smell test. Climate change is just as descriptive as global warming is. Both have semantic content in that the people who believe humans are at fault tend to use global warming and the people who believe that humans have nothing to do with it call it climate change. Both are politically charged. Sorry. Even if the current warming trend is 100% indistinguishable from previous warming trends, it is still a warming trend, thereby making it both global warming and climate change.

  • ||

    This sentiment assumes that politicians (and their constituents) are capable of learning from past mistakes. History proves the opposite is true.

    Absolutely. And as an example, some Democrats are talking about bringing up the Assault Weapons Ban again.

  • ||

    How dare those Senators call out Exxon-Mobile for funding and disseminating junk science?

    "That's a real nice oil company you got there. Be a shame if something happened to it."

    The more vile and desparate the pro-AGWers get, the more I'm convinced they have no legs to stand on.

  • fyodor||

    "what distinguishes the current warming trend from those of the past?"

    Not being a True Believer, I'm being somewhat of a devil's advocate here, but I would say two potential differences that could effect the environment would be that it's much faster and will reach a higher (warmer) level. Also, to the extent that it's manmade and hurts people, then that would matter in its own right entirely aside from whether this warming trend is different from previous ones.

  • ||

    Given that we've known for 200 years that the pre-industrial level of CO2 causes a pre-industrial greenhouse effect of about 14 deg C, it's up to "skeptics" to explain why a further 35% increase in greenhouse gases WON'T lead to significant warming. Do they believe in the laws of physics?

    If the earth's climate were a completely closed system and if the concentration of CO2 were the only variable, then you would expect to see a proportional increase in temperatures.

    But if the wild variations in climate over the past 100,000 years have been due to non-CO2 factors such as changes in the earth's orbit or solar intensity, then spending trillions of dollars to reduce the atmospheric CO2 concentration is a complete waste of money.

    If you're going to ask me to radically change my lifestyle, I'm going to demand some solid proof that it's going to be worth the cost.

  • Guy Montag||

    Any solution to global warming that ignores the use of melon oil is just supporting big oil.

  • ||

    The best start is to stop providing corporate welfare to the fossil fuel companies. In the U.S. this is peanuts at $15 billion a year in various monies and protections, but even doing away with that is an important signal to industry. Elsewhere, this would be harder, as fuels are often directly subsidized.

    i totally agree. Government subsidies for fuel are out of control.

    Third, don't require consumers/producers to be more efficient/use renewables etc.; but do require that our governments to be effectively carbon-neutral. We need is real leadership with a critical mass of demand and supply. The purchasing power of our governments can provide this.

    i need more detail to understand this

    Lastly, it is more or less the right of governments to control their borders. So simply require that all persons, products, and possibly services crossing borders be effectively carbon neutral via a carbon-tariff. This will boost local economies, at the expense of the global. But it will not destroy civilization.

    not sure how you implement this on anyone other than truckers

  • ||

    There is not threat of "political reprisal" anywhere in the letter, unless you count this:

    "A study to be released in November by an American scientific group will expose ExxonMobil as the primary funder of no fewer than 29 climate change denial front groups in 2004 alone. Besides a shared goal, these groups often featured common staffs and board members. The study will estimate that ExxonMobil has spent more than $19 million since the late 1990s on a strategy of "information laundering," or enabling a small number of professional skeptics working through scientific-sounding organizations to funnel their viewpoints through non-peer-reviewed websites such as Tech Central Station."

    That's the extent of the threat - that the public will be given information about their campaign. Not exactly Kristalnacht.

  • ||

    Wow, the dead-enders really don't care what the facts are.

  • ed||

    Given the rational (as opposed to Gore-like dire) predictions of the tangible results of the warming period, we humans have plenty of time to prepare. It's not like I'm going to wake up tomorrow with ocean waves lapping at my door. So I cannot get all worked up over a 1/2 degree Celcius increase in air temperature over 100 years.

    All the "experts" predicted another potentially disastrous hurricane season this past season. Turns out not a single one hit the continental U.S. "Oops, didn't see that El Nino thing. My bad."

    So the future apocalypse is based on flawed computer models, and we have plenty of time to prepare anyway. Move away from the beach. Stock up on canned goods. Make sure you have plenty of extra batteries. And a rifle.

  • ||

    Sam-Hec: Just one article? How about "On global forces of nature driving the Earth's climate. Are humans involved?" in Environmental Geology at URL: http://www.springerlink.com/content/t341350850360302/
    From the article:

    The global warming observed during the latest 150 years is just a short episode in
    the geologic history. The current global warming is most likely a combined effect of
    increased solar and tectonic activities and cannot be attributed to the increased
    anthropogenic impact on the atmosphere. Humans may be responsible for less than 0.01°C
    (of approximately 0.56°C (1°F) total average atmospheric heating during the last century...
    Any attempts to mitigate undesirable climatic changes using restrictive regulations are
    condemned to failure, because the global natural forces are at least 4-5 orders of
    magnitude greater than available human controls.
    --L.F. Khilyuk and G.V. Chilingar, Environmental Geology, August 2006

    Remember you asked for just one peer-reviewed article.

    An interesting gloss on the Environmental Geology article by some "climate change deniers" can be found at URL: http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/200336/12/01/are-humans-involved-in-global-warming/

    joe, joe, joe: Take a look again at my column "The Confessions of an Alleged ExxonMobil Whore" and you'll see that I told you and the rest of the world that ExxonMobil has donated around $250,000 since 2000. The company's latest contribution was $20,000 last January. See URL: http://www.reason.com/news/show/36811.html

    All: I may have changed my mind recently (based on my best judgement of the balance of the evidence), but there is a legitimate scientific debate over the human contribution to global warming.

  • ||

    Got the RDF cranked way up there today, eh joe?

    Honestly, you aren't really that naive are you? I suppose this falls on the "our bastard" side of things.

  • ||

    joe, why don't they expose all groups that "information launder". Oh wait, that would mean the Trial Lawyers of America would have to show who they funnel all their moneies to.

  • ed||

    Joe, if you don't see that letter as a veiled threat, you are living in a fantasy world. They are not merely suggesting compliance. That letter has the imprimatur of the U.S. Senate, and all the power of coercion behind it.

  • ||

    For those who wish to continue to accuse their opponents of bad faith, you might also consider these comments from Mike Hulme, Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research (who is certainly cannot be accused of being a "climate change denier") below:

    "Do images of climate-related chaos distort the scientific truth? Climate change is a reality, and science confirms that human activities are heavily implicated in this change.

    But over the last few years a new environmental phenomenon has been constructed in this country - the phenomenon of "catastrophic" climate change.

    It seems that mere "climate change" was not going to be bad enough, and so now it must be "catastrophic" to be worthy of attention.

    The increasing use of this pejorative term - and its bedfellow qualifiers "chaotic", "irreversible", "rapid" - has altered the public discourse around climate change.

    This discourse is now characterised by phrases such as "climate change is worse than we thought", that we are approaching "irreversible tipping in the Earth's climate", and that we are "at the point of no return".

    I have found myself increasingly chastised by climate change campaigners when my public statements and lectures on climate change have not satisfied their thirst for environmental drama and exaggerated rhetoric.

    It seems that it is we, the professional climate scientists, who are now the (catastrophe) sceptics. How the wheel turns."

    Complete article at URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6115644.stm

  • uncle sam||

    The climate catastrophe propounders seem to always resort to ad hominem against skeptics rather than just saying "here is the data supporting our conclusion".

    The skeptics get their money from corporations, therefore we must not listen to them.

  • ||

    Let's not forget cases of intimidation against those whe dare question the AGW orthodoxy that Prof Richard Lindzen has documented:

    "Earlier this year, Texas Rep. Joe Barton issued letters to paleoclimatologist Michael Mann and some of his co-authors seeking the details behind a taxpayer-funded analysis that claimed the 1990s were likely the warmest decade and 1998 the warmest year in the last millennium. Mr. Barton's concern was based on the fact that the IPCC had singled out Mr. Mann's work as a means to encourage policy makers to take action. And they did so before his work could be replicated and tested--a task made difficult because Mr. Mann, a key IPCC author, had refused to release the details for analysis. The scientific community's defense of Mr. Mann was, nonetheless, immediate and harsh. The president of the National Academy of Sciences--as well as the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union--formally protested, saying that Rep. Barton's singling out of a scientist's work smacked of intimidation.

    All of which starkly contrasts to the silence of the scientific community when anti-alarmists were in the crosshairs of then-Sen. Al Gore. In 1992, he ran two congressional hearings during which he tried to bully dissenting scientists, including myself, into changing our views and supporting his climate alarmism. Nor did the scientific community complain when Mr. Gore, as vice president, tried to enlist Ted Koppel in a witch hunt to discredit anti-alarmist scientists--a request that Mr. Koppel deemed publicly inappropriate. And they were mum when subsequent articles and books by Ross Gelbspan libelously labeled scientists who differed with Mr. Gore as stooges of the fossil-fuel industry."

    http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110008220

  • Chris||

    I find it interesting that the people who have been influenced by ExxonMobil's lobbying efforts are actually complaining to ExxonMobil about the effectiveness of the lobbying efforts.

  • ||

    I'm somewhat agnostic on the Global Warming/Climate Change issue but I'll re-ask a question I asked earlier...If everyone's motives are suspect, why choose to believe the oil companies over a whole lot of peer-reviewed and credible scientists?

    It's one thing to oppose regulation efforts to control causes global warming on libertarian principles. That I'd at least understand.

    But there seems to be a real visceral anti-scientific bent to some of these arguments. It's as if the more libertarian posters are lumping scientists in with inviro-whackos and attacking the science solely because it concerns itelf with environmental issues.

    To point out that the name of this board is Reason...that approach is not resonable.

    I've noticed this before in many communities but never so frustratingly as this one.

    I'm averse to groups misusing science to push forward a false Global Warming argument. But I'm equally distrustful of groups who dismiss science for little reason beyond that it disagrees with their agenda.

  • ||

    joe, joe, joe: Take a look again at my column "The Confessions of an Alleged ExxonMobil Whore" and you'll see that I told you and the rest of the world that ExxonMobil has donated around $250,000 since 2000. The company's latest contribution was $20,000 last January.

    Incidentally, Ron, just want you to know that I haven't seen a penny of that money, and I've been denying Catastrophic Global Warming with the best of 'em.

    If I'm going to be a shill for Ron Bailey, then I'd like to be a well-paid shill. ;-)

  • ||

    madpad,

    We're not proposing one thing or another in this thread. We're merely pointing out the audacity and disgusting intent of this letter sent out by Sen's Snowe and Rockefeller

  • ||

    Easy thought experiment:

    Imagine this were an open letter by a couple of Republican congressmen to a major gun-control group and/or various lawyers pursuing bogus cases against gun manufacturers.

    Who would be howling in indignation at that point, who would approve, who would have no change in opinion?

  • uncle sam||

    Let us have the government solve the global warming problem. After all this is the agency that brought us peace on earth and an end to poverty.

  • ||

    I can still remember when there used to be an Exxon and a Mobil. Now it is a single company.

    I can remember when Exxon was Esso, but I cannot remember when they were Standard Oil of New Jersey and New York, respectively.

  • ||

    Does rioting in the streets and burning cars in protest count as a howl of indignation?

  • ||

    It's not an anti-science bent that puts a lot of people off of Global Warming adherents, it's the religious like zeal.

    They're like the old cartoon of the guy standing on a corner with a sandwich board that says the "End is Nigh!" screaming that only they can save us from the horrors to come.

    There are legitimate skeptics out there that aren't tools of the oil industry or Fox News, and there are legitimate scientists who are GW proponents who are not puppets of the "vast Enviromental-socialist conspiracy". But their sound debate is often drowned out by the shirll screams of the political left and right.

    The Earth will survive. GW may happen or other environmental factors may adjust to prevent it. And if it does happen, mankind will adjust, and life will go on.

  • ||

    Chris...that's a point of view I can really get behind.

  • ||

    "i need more detail to understand this"

    requiring the government apparatus to be 'Carbon-Neutral' means that they will either buy up carbon credits to meet the goal, or restructure their activities to produce no CO2...(beyond inimical breathing of course) or some combination thereof. What this does is it supports a minimum industry base among contractors, realestate agents, technicians etc such theat they will seek out the necessary knowledge base. As such the technolgies are fully mainstream. Conversely try asking your average realestate agent about getting a 'Net-Zero Energy Home'; blank stares ensue.

    not sure how you implement this on anyone other than truckers

    Trucking is big business, but this is partly why I am asking for development ideas. But that said, calculating fuel usage, and thus CO2 emmitted is fairly easy. Sites like www.carbonfund.org, and www.terrapass.com help calculate such for travellers and home energy usage. My local energy provider PG&E, with each bill, shows how much of my energy comes from fossils and so forth. Combine the two factors for each region and each products' energy usage, shipment method etc. and generate a carbon conditional tarrif. The proceeds go to supporting carbon abatement and recovery. Proactive participants who use only non-fossil energy of course pay no tarrif. When all is carbon neutral, the tarrif is self deleting.

    Both these ideas don't have to be 100% implemented at once. Even starting at a small percentage, rising over the years, would be enough to generate a positive signal, and minimize climate change.

  • ||

    "And the Global Warming skeptics have plenty of big media on their side including virtually every right-wing talk radio boob,"

    Are you saying that Bill O'Rielly -- who acknowledges global warming -- isn't a right-wing talk radio boob or are you just writing out of your ass?

  • Russell||

    Here's my November 3 WSJ Europe op-ed on science censosorship prefiguring today's lead editorial in the US edition

    NULLIUS IN VERBA

    In 1663, a group of savants formed a London club to discuss "useful knowledge." John Milton's "Areopagitica" was very much on the minds of those early scientists, for it warned that Puritan control of the press could turn into state control of thought. Dissent could get you killed in Restoration England, at sword's point if gentlemen took umbrage, or on the gallows if it traduced royal policy or Holy Writ. So they were mighty relieved when King Charles II agreed to join them, for, with such a patron, Fellows of the Royal Society would not fear for their necks or purses when speaking truth to power or questioning authority-at least not until today.

    The Royal Society's view of the conflict between authority and evidence is made clear by its motto. Nullius in Verba is Latin shorthand for what Harry Truman meant when he said "I'm from Missouri. Show me." It's a notion the full quote from Horace-- Nullius addictus judicare in verba magestri expands into the gold standard of object- ivity: "Not compelled to swear to any master's words."

    In political terms that translates into :don't let policy proceed from mere perceptions of authority. Abroad, the Royal Society shares the outrage of American scientists at pious politicians seeking to constrain stem cell research funding. But at home the Royal Society seems bent on stopping research at odds with the environmental agenda of the Labor Party.

    Old Labour's hoariest political stratagem, class warfare, collapsed along with communism a generation ago. In that implosion's aftermath, the environment has become New Labour's communitarian fallback excuse for justifying societal intervention. The Royal Society has been a Whig institution since Darwin's day, encompassing a dynasty of left-wing science popularizers going back to J.B.S. Haldane and Bertrand Russell. Now it is trying to establish itself as a virtual Leviathan in the world of Green politics by extending the political correctness of Tony Blair's nanny state into the scientific realm.Its latest outburst is an Orwellian call to defund scientific inquiry instead of defending it.

    The Royal Society's senior manager for policy communication, Bob Ward, has tried to browbeat Exxon Mobil into blacklisting 39 groups whose inconvenient dissent casts doubt on the policy agenda shared by the Society and the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change. A letter from Mr. Ward to Exxon leaked to The Guardian reveals that he wants those he deems to have "misrepresented the science of climate change" put on a Do Not Fund List because "[t]he next IPCC report gives people the final push that they need to take action and we can't have people trying to undermine it." In other words, stop gainsaying the science that Green foundations are paying good money to advertise.

    The source of political contention is less the science in the IPCC's indigestibly erudite 4,000-page reports than their translation into vivid Green rhetoric by the bureaucratic masters of the U.N. Environmental Program (UNEP). Those floridly political "executive summaries" have driven everything from the Kyoto Treaty to EU regulation of refrigerators.

    Those who aspire to New Labour's science establishment may feel compelled to swear by such words, lest they end up blackballed from the other London club frequented by the Society's last president , the House of Lords. Lord May owes his peerage to faithful service as Tony Blair's chief science adviser, and echoing Foreign (and past Environment) Minister Margaret Beckett's repetition of whatever Green publicists air. The laboratory cash flow of the honorable Eco-Lord's pals will also swell if the Royal Society can empower UNEP by silencing disloyal whispers that no one knows how to forecast climate 344 years hence.

    And silence them it will-protracted scientific controversy about global systems models is tedious, and the authoritarian backroom boys at the Royal Society understandably intend to end it. Mr. Blair's "Yes, Minister" nanny state scorns free speech. True, some of the contrarian organizations on the blacklist are no great loss to science because they are run by registered lobbyists. But their reluctance to acknowledge climate change is no excuse for freezing out freedom of scientific inquiry.

    The Royal Society must choose between its motto and using other people's purse strings to throttle dissent-if the motto goes, it must abdicate its divine right to pontificate as well. If it persists in toying with censorship, it deserves to be privatized for seeking to subjugate the Republic of Science to the words of its political masters.

    If it wants to reinvent itself as a Green PR firm, fine-let the private foundations pushing the UNEP foot the bill. Perhaps they can underwrite the hostile takeover of scientific independence by selling Royal Society Fellowships, just as New Labour does peerages , for payments in cash or political kind. But what about the clubhouse?

    Lord May & Co.'s palatial premises overlooking St. James's Park should of course revert to the crown, whence the late Society's grace and favor so long flowed. Her Majesty's government may want to turn it into condos, like the former Royal Mint, as advertising firms already in the business of selling science would pay handsomely for such a prestigious address, and diehards bent on imposing technical literacy on Parliament (or Congress) can still be locked safely away in its commodious wine cellar. Few in government will notice their absence, because fashionable as talk of politicized science may be, it cannot fairly be said to exist until both sides have some inkling of what it is they are trying to politicize.

    No one compelled Thomas Jefferson to swear "eternal hostility to every form of tyranny over the mind of man." If the recent history of science has anything to teach, it is that there is no place in a free society for a self-appointed Central Committee of Scientific Truth. Until the Royal Society comes to grips with the Enlightenment, its baroque motto deserves a rest.

    there's a followup on my blog-- Adamant.typepad.com/seitz

  • ||

    "Passion is always cool."

    Not if you're on the receiving end of a pogrom.

  • ||

    The science of every age is not anchored in fact, but rather its absence.

    - Albert Einstein 1879-1955

  • ||

    "Given that we've known for 200 years that ..."

    200 years ago John Dalton was formulating his atomic theory of matter, a short decade or two after the founding of chemistry as a science. No one has shown that CO2 causes global warming. Mean global temperatures are increasing and folks believe that recent CO2 emissions are responsible. There are three important pieces to the puzzle. First, it has been demonstrated with reasonable accuracy that mean global temperatures are increasing. Second, this mean global temperature increase seems to have a significant correlation with atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Last, computer models indicate CO2 actually causes a general increase in mean global temperatures. Absent that last bit all you have is a significant correlation, of which there are innumerable sets of examples with no casual relationship; diaper rash and highway repair, or incidents of rape and ice cream sales, for example.

    What really burns my ass are the scientific illiterates (David and joe are some fine examples) willing to brand any skepticism or dissent as "junk science". I've read the published peer reviewed manuscripts of these climate modelers. I'm in a very good position to judge the rigor of their 'experiments' and veracity of the conclusions. And I'm skeptical. Like the climate modelers, I model complex dynamical physical phenomena. However, unlike them, my models are grounded in well understood experimentally verifiable theory that has stood more than a century of severe scrutiny. But, even considering the superior standing of the models I work with, I can't image suggesting public policy based on the findings. These models are just toys; they are necessarily filled with severe approximations and buckets of parameters (many empirically motivated). Hardly inspires confidence, let alone hubris.

  • ed||

    Imagine this were an open letter by a couple of Republican congressmen...

    Abuse of power is abuse of power, regardless of the political affiliation. By the way, the letter was bipartisan.

  • Guy Montag||

    pigwiggle,

    As convincing as you are, I am still going to the safe side and switching to steam power. Need to brush up on my welding skills. I hear that welding for high-pressure applications is different that for body work.

    Hoping it does not change the look of my stock hybrid 1972 Rallye Charger too much.

  • brooke||

    Madpad,

    I have an answer to your question--I come to certain issues because I'm a libertarian and oppose regulation generally. Then I find it useful to look at the research that is used to support pro-regulatory positions. I won't pretend to be a statistician, but I'm pretty well versed in the basic concepts--and I'm constantly appalled by government funded research.

    I haven't looked that closely at global warming--I don't much care for the environment. But if the falsification, manipulation, and misrepresentation of the actual data in government funded climatology are ANYWHERE NEAR as bad as they are in government funded research on things like secondhand smoke, I'm not worried in the least.

  • ||

    From George Carlin:

    We're so self-important. So self-important. Everybody's going to save something now. "Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save those snails." And the greatest arrogance of all: save the planet. What? Are these fucking people kidding me? Save the planet, we don't even know how to take care of ourselves yet. We haven't learned how to care for one another, we're gonna save the fucking planet?

    I'm getting tired of that shit. Tired of that shit. I'm tired of fucking Earth Day, I'm tired of these self-righteous environmentalists, these white, bourgeois liberals who think the only thing wrong with this country is there aren't enough bicycle paths. People trying to make the world save for their Volvos. Besides, environmentalists don't give a shit about the planet. They don't care about the planet. Not in the abstract they don't. Not in the abstract they don't. You know what they're interested in? A clean place to live. Their own habitat. They're worried that some day in the future, they might be personally inconvenienced. Narrow, unenlightened self-interest doesn't impress me.

    Besides, there is nothing wrong with the planet. Nothing wrong with the planet. The planet is fine. The PEOPLE are fucked. Difference. Difference. The planet is fine. Compared to the people, the planet is doing great. Been here four and a half billion years. Did you ever think about the arithmetic? The planet has been here four and a half billion years. We've been here, what, a hundred thousand? Maybe two hundred thousand? And we've only been engaged in heavy industry for a little over two hundred years. Two hundred years versus four and a half billion. And we have the CONCEIT to think that somehow we're a threat? That somehow we're gonna put in jeopardy this beautiful little blue-green ball that's just a-floatin' around the sun?

    The planet has been through a lot worse than us. Been through all kinds of things worse than us. Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles...hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worlwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages...And we think some plastic bags, and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference? The planet...the planet...the planet isn't going anywhere. WE ARE!

    We're going away. Pack your shit, folks. We're going away. And we won't leave much of a trace, either. Thank God for that. Maybe a little styrofoam. Maybe. A little styrofoam. The planet'll be here and we'll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake. An evolutionary cul-de-sac. The planet'll shake us off like a bad case of fleas. A surface nuisance.

    You wanna know how the planet's doing? Ask those people at Pompeii, who are frozen into position from volcanic ash, how the planet's doing. You wanna know if the planet's all right, ask those people in Mexico City or Armenia or a hundred other places buried under thousands of tons of earthquake rubble, if they feel like a threat to the planet this week. Or how about those people in Kilowaia, Hawaii, who built their homes right next to an active volcano, and then wonder why they have lava in the living room.

    The planet will be here for a long, long, LONG time after we're gone, and it will heal itself, it will cleanse itself, 'cause that's what it does. It's a self-correcting system. The air and the water will recover, the earth will be renewed, and if it's true that plastic is not degradable, well, the planet will simply incorporate plastic into a new pardigm: the earth plus plastic. The earth doesn't share our prejudice towards plastic. Plastic came out of the earth. The earth probably sees plastic as just another one of its children. Could be the only reason the earth allowed us to be spawned from it in the first place. It wanted plastic for itself. Didn't know how to make it. Needed us. Could be the answer to our age-old egocentric philosophical question, "Why are we here?" Plastic...asshole.

    So, the plastic is here, our job is done, we can be phased out now. And I think that's begun. Don't you think that's already started? I think, to be fair, the planet sees us as a mild threat. Something to be dealt with. And the planet can defend itself in an organized, collective way, the way a beehive or an ant colony can. A collective defense mechanism. The planet will think of something. What would you do if you were the planet? How would you defend yourself against this troublesome, pesky species? Let's see... Viruses. Viruses might be good. They seem vulnerable to viruses. And, uh...viruses are tricky, always mutating and forming new strains whenever a vaccine is developed. Perhaps, this first virus could be one that compromises the immune system of these creatures. Perhaps a human immunodeficiency virus, making them vulnerable to all sorts of other diseases and infections that might come along. And maybe it could be spread sexually, making them a little reluctant to engage in the act of reproduction.

    Well, that's a poetic note. And it's a start. And I can dream, can't I? See I don't worry about the little things: bees, trees, whales, snails. I think we're part of a greater wisdom than we will ever understand. A higher order. Call it what you want. Know what I call it? The Big Electron. The Big Electron...whoooa. Whoooa. Whoooa. It doesn't punish, it doesn't reward, it doesn't judge at all. It just is. And so are we. For a little while.

  • ||

    Are you saying that Bill O'Rielly -- who acknowledges global warming -- isn't a right-wing talk radio boob or are you just writing out of your ass?

    No...I said virtually every right wing talk radio boob. This allows for some exceptions, of which Bill O'Rielly obviously is in this case.

    So...please feel free to kiss the part of my anatomy you feel I'm writing out of.

  • ||

    "Imagine this were an open letter by a couple of Republican congressmen..."

    Abuse of power is abuse of power, regardless of the political affiliation. By the way, the letter was bipartisan.


    That's the point, Ed. Pay attention.

  • ||

    I guess Ron Bailey will be short another paycheck and Exxonsecrets will have to remove him from thier list.

    Okay, now I will go read through the comments to see how many others said this exact same thing.

  • ||

    Ron Bailey said:
    "Sam-Hec: Just one article? How about "On global forces of nature driving the Earth's climate. Are humans involved?"
    okey I found a non $30 version of the article...after much hunting:
    http://schwinger.harvard.edu/~motl/usc-climate.html

    And more importantly, its rebuttal:
    http://schwinger.harvard.edu/~motl/usc-rebuttal.html
    conclusion:
    "It is astonishing that the paper of Khilyuk and Chilingar (2006) (as well as Khilyuk and Chilingar 2004, for that matter) could pass the review process of a seemingly serious journal such as Environmental Geology. Such failures of this process, which is supposed to guarantee the quality of published literature, are likely to damage the reputation of this journal."

    Not all 'peer Review' is perfect...it just means someone on the gjournal looked at it and decided it was 'plausible'. And that goes for both sides. Got anything else?

    (I gotta go pee now...)

  • ||

    A study to be released in November by an American scientific group will expose ExxonMobil as the primary funder of no fewer than 29 climate change denial front groups in 2004 alone.
    Since when is it a scientist's job (I assume that is who comprises an American scientific group) to research the funding sources and publication locations of alternate theories?

    Perhaps I am a bit naive but I thought that scientists proposed theories and then tested them. Whether the outcome was in line with the theory was of little consequence as the theory is fluid and open to review. So, either these "denial" theories are valid and testable or they are not, who cares where they are published?

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Climate change?

    I'm pretty delighted that we don't have to shovel a billion tons of horse shit off the city streets any more. You don't have to deal with the heat generated by decaying fecal matter, the attendant stench, filth, flies, and disease. See, I worked the heat (warming) part into it too.

    I'm also happy to not live in my dad's era when if it didn't snow for a few days all the snow in the city turned black from coal dust & smoke.

    Show of hands. Who can tell the class why the snow ain't black with the remnants of coal that was dug out of the ground in Senator John D's home state any more?

    Wait, it's those rotten Pee Effers at Exxon Mobil selling us gasoline for our cars. And we are slaves and drones controlled by big oil and forced to drive our cars and use our light switches while the planet heats up like a terrarium left out in the afternoon sun.

    Oh, and when Olympia starts walking home to Maine from DC, I'll figure she's serious about global warming.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    I know somebody is going to ding me for it so let's get it over with. Using light switches in the next sentence is probably too obscure so the sentence should have read.....

    .....selling us gasoline for our cars and heating oil, natural gas, and propane for our furnaces.

  • ||

    Carbon neutral?

    And here I thought all along that the Earth was carbon neutral.

  • ||

    TWC--I'd settle for the "horse she rode in on" if that meant that imperious reprobate of a senator never returned.

    *And* she cleans up the horse shit.

  • ||

    And the Earth will continue to be carbon neutral...

    ...but human civilization is more susceptible to climate related imbalances, just ask the Atlaneans and Lemurians.

  • ||

    Sam,

    Are we referring to fictional civilizations or something else?

  • ||

    Actually, the part I liked best came just after the quote madpad used in his 1:13 post.

    madpad quoted:

    "Let's compare the balance of forces: on one side, CEI; on the other, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Sierra Club, Environmental Defense, the U.N. and EU, Hollywood, Al Gore, and every politically correct journalist in the country."

    The very next sentence was:

    "We'll grant that's a fair intellectual fight."

    That was a two pointer.

  • ||

    Lost,

    Yes.

  • ||

    ...but human civilization is more susceptible to climate related imbalances, just ask the Atlaneans and Lemurians.

    Well, the Atlantians have some kick-ass Ancient technology we could probably use to offset any warming. All we need now is a functioning ZPM.

    And the Lemurians...weren't they defeated by the Howler Monkeys?

  • ||

    JW,

    Yes.


    No!


    Wait!

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Areson, nice, I missed that. It was definitely a two pointer.

    JW, horse she rode in on. LOL. I almost, not quite, spit some liquid out of my nose. Good thing it's not wine thirty yet.

  • ||

    Re: "Scientific consensus"

    The jury is still out. I lean to global warming is real, (Ice age 20 Kyear ago, not now) possibly increased by man this century, (Neat hypothesis, I'm waiting for it to get promoted to theory).

    Two words of warning here before you get on any bandwagon, String Theory.

  • ||

    I think its important that we encourage global warming because that is the scenario that is most likely to lead to a sustainable post-apocalyptic Road-Warrior/Planet-of-the-Apes-like future.

    All Hail Lord Humongous! Warrior of the Wasteland and Ayatollah of Rock-n-Rolla!

  • ||

    Aresen...definitely a two-pointer

  • ||

    pigwiggle

    It is good to read skeptics that have a reason for their doubt. It is rare, however, with this topic for that to be the case.

    FWIW, my father has spent his career modeling complex physical systems since the early days of computer modeling and has been skeptical of the climate models until recently. He now feels there is enough converging evidence from the various types of modeling (all leading to similar conclusions) that he thinks they are probably correct, at least in broad strokes.

    An important point regarding the broad strokes is that the consequences on the margin of those strokes look pretty bad. Recent work on the causes of the periodic mass extinctions throughout geologic history point to CO2 driven global warming being the most common culprit due to anoxia in the oceans when the globe heats up.

    Scientific American has a nifty article on the idea...

    http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa006&colID=1&articleID=00037A5D-A938-150E-A93883414B7F0000

    "But the most critical factor seems to have been the oceans. Heating makes it harder for water to absorb oxygen from the atmosphere; thus, if ancient volcanism raised CO2 and lowered the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere, and global warming made it more difficult for the remaining oxygen to penetrate the oceans, conditions would have become amenable for the deep-sea anaerobic bacteria to generate massive upwellings of H2S. Oxygen-breathing ocean life would have been hit first and hardest, whereas the photosynthetic green and purple H2S-consuming bacteria would have been able to thrive at the surface of the anoxic ocean. As the H2S gas choked creatures on land and eroded the planet's protective shield, virtually no form of life on the earth was safe.

    Kump's hypothesis of planetary killing provides a link between marine and terrestrial extinctions at the end of the Permian and explains how volcanism and increased CO2 could have triggered both. It also resolves strange findings of sulfur at all end Permian sites. A poisoned ocean and atmosphere would account for the very slow recovery of life after that mass extinction as well.

    Finally, this proposed sequence of events pertains not only to the end of the Permian. A minor extinction at the end of the Paleocene epoch 54 million years ago was already--presciently--attributed to an interval of oceanic anoxia somehow triggered by short-term global warming. Biomarkers and geologic evidence of anoxic oceans suggest that is also what may have occurred at the end Triassic, middle Cretaceous and late Devonian, making such extreme greenhouse-effect extinctions possibly a recurring phenomenon in the earth's history.

    Most troubling, however, is the question of whether our species has anything to fear from this mechanism in the future: If it happened before, could it happen again? Although estimates of the rates at which carbon dioxide entered the atmosphere during each of the ancient extinctions are still uncertain, the ultimate levels at which the mass deaths took place are known. The so-called thermal extinction at the end of the Paleocene began when atmospheric CO2 was just under 1,000 parts per million (ppm). At the end of the Triassic, CO2 was just above 1,000 ppm. Today with CO2 around 385 ppm, it seems we are still safe. But with atmospheric carbon climbing at an annual rate of 2 ppm and expected to accelerate to 3 ppm, levels could approach 900 ppm by the end of the next century, and conditions that bring about the beginnings of ocean anoxia may be in place. How soon after that could there be a new greenhouse extinction? That is something our society should never find out."

  • ||

    A side point about the policy implications...

    The things that should be done to address greenhouse gases are good for the economy, not bad, so why would anyone want to oppose them...

    See e.g., http://www.rmi.org/

    "far from being costly, protecting the climate is actually good for the economy. Greenhouse-gas emissions are simply the byproduct of the uneconomically wasteful use of resources. The obvious solution, then, is increased efficiency. Being more efficient not only reduces emissions, it also saves money and increases economic competitiveness. In fact, it doesn't even matter whether global warming is happening or not, because the most effective climate-protection measures are things we should be doing for economic reasons anyhow.

    RMI's approach to climate therefore focuses on market-based, profitable measures to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Since most emissions are linked to energy use, our climate work is closely allied with our efforts to promote energy efficiency."

  • ||

    R C Dean, I prefer the term 'climate change' since it encompasses hypotheticals such as England freezing after freshwater runoff from Greenland stifles the Atlantic current.

    http://www.worldwatch.org/node/4726

    You can't falsify it by pointing to one spot on the globe and saying, "See? Colder." That's a feature.

    The problem isn't a monotonically increasing temperature, which by itself, given the number of degrees commonly bandied about, would hardly be significant: less clothes; more AC. Climate change is really about the coincident problems: Rising sea levels, altered rainfall, and impacts to the biosphere.

  • ||

    RMI's approach to climate therefore focuses on market-based, profitable measures to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Since most emissions are linked to energy use, our climate work is closely allied with our efforts to promote energy efficiency."

    And for-profit companies aren't doing this already because...I'm guessing there are any number of reasons why not, cost to capture this effeciency over the status quo being the chief among them.

    But, you raise a good point just the same. If you want people to change, give them a *reason* to change, other than the usual doom n' gloom; the public has already tuned that out.

    Make it worth their while. People aren't stupid, just naturally self-interested.

    Add value. Not sticks.

  • ||

    Let us have the government solve the global warming problem. After all this is the agency that brought us peace on earth and an end to poverty.

    uncle same wins the thread.

  • ||

    D'oh. Sam.

    ...

  • ||

    We're so fucking tribal. It is so bloody depressing.

    _____________________________

    No one "knows" what will happen by 2050 or 2075; people are "betting" on what will happen. "Good betting" should be based on informed judgments, etc., but we should keep in mind that it is still a "bet."

  • ||

    How dare those Senators call out Exxon-Mobile for funding and disseminating junk science?

    I think i like it when corporations fund junk science...it is much better then when government uses my tax dolors to fund it...Anyone notice that Mann's hockey stick was funded by our taxes.

    We're so fucking tribal. It is so bloody depressing.

    Actually I credit tribalism for the few liberties I still have....what are you hoping for statism to deliver us?

  • ||

    joshua corning,

    Say I agree with you. Say I state that in tribalism, community cohesion, etc. one can find freedom. What does that say about the non-member? About the "oddball" member of the tribe? In other words, tribalism is hardly an unblemished virtue.

  • ||

    joshua corning,

    And of course tribes have been known to kill each other over "ideas" and "ideology" - not "ideas" in the sense that a person weighs and adopts ideas, but ideas in the sense of a community's sense of "rigntness," or a community's sense of a "proper community."

  • Paul||

    Imagine this were an open letter by a couple of Republican congressmen to a major gun-control group and/or various lawyers pursuing bogus cases against gun manufacturers.

    Eric, this analogy would work, except that gun-control groups would never falsify data to make their point.

  • ||

    Senators threatening Exxon -- a BAD thing.

    Senators threatening to eliminate Exxon's tax breaks and subsidies -- hmmm:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061130/ap_on_bi_ge/exxon_mobil_ceo.

    The WSJ forgets to tie poor little Exxon into the Luntz memo, and into the Bush/Cheney strategy to deliberately spin uncertainty, cleanse scientific reporting and to flog the fear of enviros.

  • ||

    Ron Bailey mentions an article by Khilyuk1 and Chilingar - whom to date have not even been cited on RealClimate - that somehow made it through peer-review. Ron, did you notice that the article was strongly criticized in a report later published by the same journal? Here are a few quotes:

    "The scope of the paper is very broad, covering topics such as the Earth's radiation balance, the influence of changing orbital parameters on insolation, the entire history of the Earth's degassing and the composition of the atmosphere, the internal heat sources of the Earth, the role of the ocean and microbial activities in the climate system, and the temperature history of the last millennia. The hypotheses put forward by Khilyuk and Chilingar (2006) on these topics are not only unusual, but unfortunately in many points misleading, inconsistent, or even plainly wrong ...."

    "If the authors think that theories of anthropogenic global warming are junk science, they should themselves adhere to higher scientific standards, e.g., by citing the relevant literature in the fields they cover, but they fail to do so. Some of their major conclusions are simply unsupported allegations, e.g., when they claim that "the major causes of currently observed global warming are: rising solar irradiation and increasing tectonic activity"."

    "It is astonishing that the paper of Khilyuk and Chilingar (2006) (as well as Khilyuk and Chilingar 2004, for that matter) could pass the review process of a seemingly serious journal such as Environmental Geology. Such failures of this process, which is supposed to guarantee the quality of published literature, are likely to damage the reputation of this journal."

    A copy of the original article can be seen here: http://schwinger.harvard.edu/~motl/usc-climate.html

    Someone else blogs about it here: http://n3xus6.blogspot.com/2006/12/denialist-hopes-dashed.html.

    With the attention it is getting from Ron, and knee-jerk skeptics like Andrew Bolt, JF Beck and Pat Michaels, I suppose it will get a thorough debunking soon.

    Ron, it's disappointing that you didn't try to provide any balance while referring to this work.

  • ||

    Ron, is that the same Mike Hulme who said "the worldwide scientific community has spoken with a loud and powerful voice that there are dangers ahead that are real, serious and potentially universal. No society, no politician and no Government can ignore this voice. I believe that precautionary action is fully warranted."?

    And is that the same Tyndall Center that issued a press release in February which refers to "abrupt climate changes", warns that we are "running out of road on decision making", and concludes that "potential climate change could be much greater and avoidance of dangerous climate change even harder than currently projected"?

    http://www.tyndall.ac.uk/media/press_releases/pr45.pdf

    Hulme's comment was more thoroughly discussed at RP Jr's blog: http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/archives/climate_change/000977mike_hulme_on_the_cl.html

    I see that Sam-Hec beat me to my previous comment on Khilyuk and Chilingar; hope the extra detail was useful.

  • ||

    Yes...thanks.

  • ||

    I didn't realize that the rebuttal was from within the same journal...it's not opbvious...and it was way past my bed-time...

    This places a big bad mark on an otherwise peer-reviewd article. Ron Bailey does provide a URL to a World Climate Report article about the Chilingar piece, which says at the end:
    "The debate on climate change is never boring, the debate is full of surprises, and anyone claiming the debate is over is simply dismissing a significant number of papers that appear regularly in the major journals. "

    So supposedly there are other recent debate-worthy peer reviewed articles on this subject; but this other author doesn't provide any names nor links to as much.

    Maybe Ron will suprise us with more.

  • ||

    All Hail Lord Humongous! Warrior of the Wasteland and Ayatollah of Rock-n-Rolla!

    Be still, my Mighty Wez.

  • ||

    And how many of you were saying "naaah, nothing in the smoking==lung cancer connection." And believing all those wonderful pieces of PR that the tobacco companies were putting out?

    Also, this isn't a case where if we're wrong, we have another planet to go to. Chew on that, guys.

    Sometimes I think Libertarians are nothing more than 21 year old geek hackers playing at Mad Max. That one's life would be nasty, brutish, and short in such an environment doesn't seem to have occured to them.

  • ||

    Grumpy Realist
    I believe you must be looking for the AARP web site.

  • R C Dean||

    Also, this isn't a case where if we're wrong, we have another planet to go to. Chew on that, guys.

    Geebus, Grumpy. Even the worst case scenarios hardly render the planet uninhabitable (unless you go with the highly speculative poisoned ocean scenario).

    Global warming hardly results in a Mad Max style apocalypse, because its so freaking slow. Worst case, we have a hundred years to move some population centers inland. Sounds to me more like an investment opportunity than the wrath of God.

  • ||

    "Geebus, Grumpy. Even the worst case scenarios hardly render the planet uninhabitable (unless you go with the highly speculative poisoned ocean scenario).

    Global warming hardly results in a Mad Max style apocalypse, because its so freaking slow. Worst case, we have a hundred years to move some population centers inland. Sounds to me more like an investment opportunity than the wrath of God."


    I agree with the first, but disagree with the second.

    Climate change has been geologically known recent times to be as rapid as ten years in time. It might not be that case soon, but it can't be dismissed out of hand. FWIW, the IPCC 2001 report delibertaely excluded such considerations for the sake of simplicity. After the March 2002 breakup of the Larssen B ice shelf, there is growing concern about such risks. These concerns are still not likely to be inthe next IPCC report , again for simplicity. I have come across one article where a galcialogist was quoted as suggesting that in 30-40 years we may be looking at a ten foot rise in average sea levels due to exactly such mechanisms. That's jsut one guy, so I won't buy into it just yet. But neither can I ignore it. The mechanism revolves around Moulins (vertical water channels in the ice) drilling into the iceshelves and destablizing their bases, some of which are landed below sealevel, whcih can thus suddenly find themselves displacing the mass of the iceshelves, instead of sitting on rock.

  • ||

    "FWIW, my father has spent his career modeling complex physical systems since the early days of computer modeling and has been skeptical of the climate models until recently."

    Oh, I agree that these folks may very well be right. We just need a reasonable balance that weighs policy implications against the true veracity of the evidence and models. This is very, very unlikely.

    Folks in my position dare not publicly question the GW dogma. I apply for grants from the DOE using the threat of GW, I apply for faculty positions using GW as a kicker for my research proposals. To do otherwise would be a dead end for my career. (casts the scientific 'concensus' in a different light?) Unfortunately, academic and nationally funded research is completely dominated by the left. The dying environment and GW are a central tenet of their lefty religion. Take faculty applications, again. They all want some statement about, or pledge to diversity. I'm not convinced there is some intrinsic value in ethnic diversity. It's even more ridiculous in my field, which is dominated by foreign nationals.

    Maybe the GW doom-sayers are right, maybe their is always value in ethnic diversity, maybe not. But if you ask me in public, they are absolutely critical problems and I'm terribly concerned about both. And those heartless environment killing red-staters can go fuck themselves, until I get tenure that is.

  • ||

    "Worst case, we have a hundred years to move some population centers inland."

    Don't worry about food, folks! There's no chance screwing with the weather could possibly affect our food supply, since noted scientistist RC Dean has assured us that moving our dwellings is the worst-case.

  • ||

    Part of the problem I have with the Global Warming/Climate Change Evangelists is the almost religious certainty they bring to the "debate". In their view, any change in the climate is 1) unnatural, 2) apocalyptic, and 3) entirely humanity's fault.

    Furthermore, their obsession with carbon dioxide as the only significant source of climate change is myopic in the extreme. There are far more significant sources of climatic disturbance; for example, the Huckleberry Ridge eruption at Yellowstone some 2.1 mya was so large that some consider it to be trigger that set off the recurring ice ages which have been characteristic of the Quaternary period.

    But we don't have to go back then to see what a single large eruption can do to the climate. Tambora in 1815 ejected some 36 cubic miles of ash and sulfur dioxide which in turn eliminated the summer of 1816 in North America and Europe. And there are several volcanoes in the world that are capable of Tambora-sized eruptions today.

    Consider also that we still have no idea what caused the last ice age to start and stop; hell, we don't even know what caused the Little Ice Age that ended in 1850. There are several factors that determine whether the earth will warm or cool, and most are either poorly understood or completely unknown.

    In short, spending trillions of dollars to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide in an effort to "stabilize" the climate (if it ever was "stable" or if it even can be controlled) is somewhat akin to a homeowner on Florida's coast taking out an expensive insurance policy against rain damage but completely ignoring damage caused by wind, floods, and storm surge. It's shortsighted, wasteful, and downright stupid.

  • Deus ex Machina||

    I'm surprised that no one has commented about the irony of a Rockefeller trying to shame ExxonMobil (formerly Standard Oil). Perhaps John should give up part of his inheritance due to it being ill-gotten.

  • ed||

    the irony of a Rockefeller trying to shame ExxonMobil

    They're not called "limousine liberals" for nothing. Perhaps his vehicle runs on horse shit.

  • ||

    "Consider also that we still have no idea what caused the last ice age to start and stop; hell, we don't even know what caused the Little Ice Age that ended in 1850."

    Cpt. Holly,
    A brief perusal of Wikipedia reveals two major contirbutors to the LIA, and five major contibutors to the main line Ice Ages. While there are still discussions on the exact details of these elements, it would be incorrect ot say 'we have no idea'. Heck you even mention one in the previous paragraph.

    Furthermore, their obsession with carbon dioxide as the only significant source of climate change is myopic in the extreme.

    As of now, meaning the past 200 years, CO2 is the only known significant climate change factor which appears to be on the rise. All other known major factors are relatively flat. The other emmission related substances are so relatively temporary and so relatively small that they simply don't warrant the same attention. I do think they warrant some, as they are at least easier to fix, and there are other wreasons for fixing them, e.g. soot.

  • ||

    A brief perusal of Wikipedia reveals two major contirbutors to the LIA, and five major contibutors to the main line Ice Ages. While there are still discussions on the exact details of these elements, it would be incorrect ot say 'we have no idea'. Heck you even mention one in the previous paragraph.

    Semantic quibble. While I admit my words were hyperbolic, the basic point still stands: We still don't know exactly what caused the recent ice age, as the number of competing theories confirms. It could be due to all of them, or one of them, or various combinations of factors.

    But there is no hard-and-fast explanation, which means that we have no idea when the next ice age will happen (and that is not hyperbole).

    As of now, meaning the past 200 years, CO2 is the only known significant climate change factor which appears to be on the rise. All other known major factors are relatively flat. The other emmission related substances are so relatively temporary and so relatively small that they simply don't warrant the same attention. I do think they warrant some, as they are at least easier to fix, and there are other wreasons for fixing them, e.g. soot.

    How do you know a major increase in volcanic or sunspot activity isn't just around the corner? Truth is, CO2 concentration is about the only thing you can really measure -- the rest of it you're just guessing.

  • ||

    "But there is no hard-and-fast explanation, which means that we have no idea when the next ice age will happen (and that is not hyperbole)."

    I disagree; Milankovich cycles give a pretty good idea...and you comment is still hyperbole.

    "How do you know a major increase in volcanic or sunspot activity isn't just around the corner? "

    We don't, but that lack on knowledge doesn't magically erase the properties of greenhouse gasses.

    "Truth is, CO2 concentration is about the only thing you can really measure -- the rest of it you're just guessing."

    This is also hyperbole. You should rename yourself 'Captain Hyperbole'. Direct measurements of a wide variety of factors have been in progress for decades. Proxy data of many things gives us information on ages past.

  • ||

    the irony of a Rockefeller trying to shame ExxonMobil (formerly Standard Oil)

    You just beat me to it. Let's not forget that Jay Rockefeller's real name is John Davison Rockefeller IV - he is the direct patriarchal heir to the original John D., not some distant cousin 4 times removed. I guess his point is, "I got mine out of Standard/Esso/Exxon, now fuck the rest of you." Without Standard Oil maybe Jay would be some elementary school teacher in the Cleveland 'burbs.

  • ||

    I disagree; Milankovich cycles give a pretty good idea...and you comment is still hyperbole.

    Okay, I'll bite: When is the next ice age scheduled to start? Care to put money on it? And is it still on schedule, or is the increased CO2 in the atmosphere going to indefinitely postpone it?

    We don't, but that lack on knowledge doesn't magically erase the properties of greenhouse gasses.

    Neither do the properties of CO2 erase the very real effect of volcanic and sunspot activity. I've found that because such factors are inconvenient for global warming alarmists, they tend to ignore them altogether.

    This is also hyperbole. You should rename yourself 'Captain Hyperbole'. Direct measurements of a wide variety of factors have been in progress for decades. Proxy data of many things gives us information on ages past.

    Oh, please. "Proxy data" is another term for "educated guess". It might be right, it might not. Even the recent National Research Council report recognized that climate data older than 2,000 years was quite shaky.

    But whatever. I hereby declare this thread dead. I'm not coming back to it.

  • ||

    "Okay, I'll bite: When is the next ice age scheduled to start? Care to put money on it? And is it still on schedule, or is the increased CO2 in the atmosphere going to indefinitely postpone it?"

    Assuming no interference from a major vpolcano or meteor or galactic gas clouds etc. From the NOAA:
    Linky:
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/milankovitch.html

    "What does The Milankovitch Theory say about future climate change?
    Orbital changes occur over thousands of years, and the climate system may also take thousands of years to respond to orbital forcing. Theory suggests that the primary driver of ice ages is the total summer radiation received in northern latitude zones where major ice sheets have formed in the past, near 65 degrees north. Past ice ages correlate well to 65N summer insolation (Imbrie 1982). Astronomical calculations show that 65N summer insolation should increase gradually over the next 25,000 years, and that no 65N summer insolation declines sufficient to cause an ice age are expected in the next 50,000 - 100,000 years ( Hollan 2000, Berger 2002)."


    Which means it's expected to be reasonably warm for the next 50,000 years (baring interference). Figure it gets cold afterwards. there is no point in betting money on it.

    "Neither do the properties of CO2 erase the very real effect of volcanic and sunspot activity. I've found that because such factors are inconvenient for global warming alarmists, they tend to ignore them altogether."

    The implication throughout this thread was what 'climatologists' are saying. Generic Alarmists can always be ignored. Cliamtologists who are expressing alarm are not necessarily also 'Alarmists' (though there are some, Lovelock comes to mind). There is a difference. And climatologists do take into account volcanos and sunspots etc.

    "Oh, please. "Proxy data" is another term for "educated guess". It might be right, it might not."

    Some proxies are better than others, and none are indefinately useful; wine production in England for instance is just stupid as a proxy. 'Shaky' does not mean useless.

  • omar||

    hi eric can u read this

  • Eric||

    Yeah I can read this. If u look to ur right, u'll see a sexy beast.

  • omar||

    i think your wrong i see a ungly ass beast, what looks like my ass

  • Eric||

    Ur ass must look pretty good then if u say that. ha aha ha
    Kiss my brown ass

  • omar||

    may be i will if you bend your knees, while your down there you could do me a favor. suck it

  • Eric||

    Suck what? All there is, is pubicla hairs. (bitch slap)

  • omar||

    you are a sick bastard, i don't what to fight anymore, because u hurt my feelings. suck my brown hairy balls. no never mind your mom already did

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