Heated Hurricanes Again

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On the vexed questions about global warming and hurricanes, hurricane maven William Gray makes some very interesting observations in an interview in this month's Discover.

Discover: With last year's hurricane season so active, and this year's looking like it will be, won't people say it's evidence of global warming?

G: The Atlantic has had more of these storms in the least 10 years or so, but in other ocean basins, activity is slightly down. Why would that be so if this is climate change? The Atlantic is a special basin? The number of major storms in the Atlantic also went way down from the middle 1960s to the middle '90s, when greenhouse gases were going up.

Gray also has some pointed things to say about how government funding for climate research gets divvied up nowadays.

Discover: Why is there scientific support for the idea [of man-made global warming]?

G: So many people have a vested interest in this global-warming thing-all these big labs and research and stuff. The idea is to frighten the public, to get money to study it more. Now that the cold war is over, we have to generate a common enemy to support science, and what better common enemy for the globe than greenhouse gases?

Discover: Are your funding problems due in part to your views?

G: I can't be sure, but I think that's a lot of the reason. I have been around 50 years, so my views on this are well known. I had NOAA [National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration] money for 30 some years, and then when the Clinton administration came in and Gore started directing some of the environmental stuff, I was cut off. I couldn't get any NOAA money. They turned down 13 straight proposals from me.

Whole thing here.

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  1. joe or M1EK. Which one gets here first?….

  2. I was just about to ask that myself, Herman.

  3. You see, he says he’s skeptical of global warming because he gets some money from an insurance corporation, and they’re all in their corporate buildings being all corporationy and stuff.

  4. No no no, Tim, not BIG enough. You have to accuse this guy of being in the hip pocket of BIG OIL and the EVIL power companies who makes billions in green greasy capitalist PROFITS deliberating polluting the ecology, killing endangered species, and not freeing Mumia.

    Of, course, environmentalists have no ulterior motives at all for their efforts. Nope, none at all. πŸ˜‰

  5. If man-made global warming is happening, and
    if this warming causes more hurricanes,
    then the Democratic Party should be cranking out as much CO2 and methane as it possibly can.

    Why? Simple: hurricanes hit red states harder than blue states; if they get strong enough, all the people in the red states will be wiped out.

    An anonymous source informs me that Howard Dean recently purchased a small fleet of SUVs for this reason.

  6. Old people are computer illiterate. They simply can’t understand supercomputer modeling. Now all the young’uns with the models…they got it goin’ on.

  7. You guys are being sarcastic, but if you’re going to accuse pro-global-warming scientists of bias, how can you dismiss the bias of the anti-global-warmings scientists as well?

    I’m a global warming skeptic myself, but when people’s opinions on the empirical question (“is global warming happening and/or bad”) seem to correlate perfectly with their opinions on the normative question (“is more government regulation of industry good or bad”), I tend to think there’s a whole lot of rationalizing going on on both sides.

  8. “The number of major storms in the Atlantic also went way down from the middle 1960s to the middle ’90s, when greenhouse gases were going up.”

    The problem with this is that the greenhouse gases effect on global temperature is known to contain a significant lag. The global temperature in part of that period was actually DROPPING, as a matter of fact.

    If he wanted to correlate average global temperatures with number of hurricanes, he’d have had a better shot at making his case.

    Of course, the people here at Reason are hungry for any excuse to discredit climate change, good or bad, so none of this will matter. The truth has a statist bias in this case.

  9. You guys are being sarcastic, but if you’re going to accuse pro-global-warming scientists of bias, how can you dismiss the bias of the anti-global-warmings scientists as well?

    I think most members of this forum will openly recognize bias on both sides of the debate. The root of the issue is that this healthy skepticism leads us to thumb our noses at the “something must be done” crowd.

  10. “Of, course, environmentalists have no ulterior motives at all for their efforts. Nope, none at all. ;)”

    Yeah, and those scientists who kept finding more and more evidence for the link between smoking and lung cancer? They were just as much in the pocket of the massive anti-cancer machine as the pro-smoking guys were for the tobacco companies.

    False equation. Give me a freaking break. Your ideology is making you stupid.

  11. MP,

    “I think most members of this forum will openly recognize bias on both sides of the debate. The root of the issue is that this healthy skepticism leads us to thumb our noses at the “something must be done” crowd.”

    The problem is that 99% of credible climatologists are speaking on one side of this issue, and most of the remaining 1% are funded by think tanks which have ideological reasons for wanting their studies to come out a certain way. In the countries where the oil companies don’t hold much sway, there ISN’T any debate.

    You guys can continue to ignore this, but it reinforces my impression that y’all are nothing but a bunch of Republicans who want to smoke pot now and again.

  12. Oh, and one more thing before I get back to work, keep in mind that Gray is a meteorologist, not a climatologist. So “his colleagues” are the guys y’all love to make fun of for not being able to predict the weather five days out, NOT the guys who are studying climate.

  13. 1960s to the middle ’90… The global temperature in part of that period was actually DROPPING, as a matter of fact.

    OK, that’s an interesting claim to me. I’m familiar with the time-lag argument, but I’m also used to global warming proponents claiming that temperatures rose in that time period…

  14. Nearly all of my colleagues who have been around 40 or 50 years are skeptical as hell about this whole global-warming thing.

    Just a bunch of stupid, senile, old people. Right M1EK?

    And are you disputing his assertion that there is no significant upward trend in global hurricane activity?

  15. How many of those climatologists are looking for and/or totally dependent upon government money, as Gray states?

    My fave quotes:

    There was a lot of global warming in the 1930s and 40s, and then there was a slight global cooling from the middle 40s to the early 70s. And there has been warming since the middle 70s, especially in the last 10 years. But this is natural, due to ocean circulation changes and other factors. It is not human induced.

    and

    Nearly all of my colleagues who have been around 40 or 50 years are skeptical as hell about this whole global-warming thing. But no one asks us. If you don’ know anything about how the atmosphere functions, you will of course say, ‘Look, greenhouse gases are going up, the globe is warming, they must be related.’ Well, just because there are two associations, changing with the same sign, doesn’t mean that one is causing the other.

  16. I was hit by two of the four (or was it five?) hurricanes to strike Florida last year, and whether (alleged) global warming caused the winds to blow at 130 MPH instead of 127 MPH mattered little to me. All I know is it was the middle of summer in south Florida, I lost my electricity for 10 days and it was friggin’ HOT.
    Anyhow, I blame the Clintons.

  17. MIEK: The cigarette lung cancer canard is tired. Give it a rest. Just for amusement’s sake you might find it interesting that way back when in the 1950s and 60s one of the chief opponents to the link between cigarettes and lung cancer was Dr. Wilhelm Hueper. Who? Hueper has head of environmental cancer research at NIH. See URL: http://www.nih.gov/news/NIH-Record/05_05_98/story01.htm

    BTW, so it’s OK for “climatologists” to pronounce on hurricane patterns, while mere “meteorologists” who actually study them can’t point out that the data don’t support the “climatologists” claims?

  18. Why can’t this shrill ideologue make his case without playing some kind of “follow the money” game?

    I guess he just can’t address his detractors’ arguments directly.

  19. E1EK,
    In order to support your statement that 99% of climatologists are speaking on one side of this issue and to not look like your ideology is making you stupid, why not list all the climatologists in the world,and put a check mark next to those speaking on one side of this issue. or is this stat just a given in your ideology that needs no supporting evidence.

  20. hmmm

    You don’t understand the distinction. You see, part of the definition of a “climatologist” is someone who agrees with the IPCC line on global warming. Anyone who is skeptical cannot be a climatologist.

  21. Speaking of which, know what the difference between a climatologist and a meteorologist is?

    Meteorologists who make wrong predictions get fired.

  22. This William Gray fellow is just another one of those loser libertarians who blames the government for all his problems.

    Who the hell has even heard of a hurricane “expert” operating out of Colorado??? There must be some religious right/libertarian think tank funded by the oil companies out there.

    Please tell me when a REAL scientist expresses skepticism for global warming, rather than all these nutjob professors.

  23. M1EK:

    1) 99%, huh? That’s an impressive number, and one I’d love to see some links for.

    2) Meteorologists can’t predict the weather! Ahaha! That’s hilarious the way you totally debunked meteorology with a total non sequitur. Man, you really stuck it to those meteorologists.

    I worked at Major Weather Company. They had no particular vested interest in being global warming boosters. They were not in the pocket of Big Oil or Big Cheese or Big Balls or whatever. They were mostly in the business of putting other people in *their* pockets.

    And the smart and experienced meteorologists there all said the same thing. ‘Global warming is not a significant factor in [that year’s particularly nasty] hurricane season.’

    They weren’t all claiming that GW isn’t happening; just that it wasn’t particularly related to the hurricane season, El Nino, or the prevalence of midriff shirts among the overweight.

    But I guess they were just meteorologists (LOL STUPID METEOROLOGISTS) and didn’t know any better.

    I feel like the point of the interview bits is not ‘GW is bunk’ but rather ‘Why wouldn’t we fund respected researchers who are arguing the other side of a not-settled-by-any-means debate?’

    If GW is so damn obvious, dangerous, and Needs Action Now, surely it can withstand the scrutiny of one meteorologist’s research (LOL METEOROLOGIST).

  24. Why can’t this shrill ideologue make his case without playing some kind of “follow the money” game?

    M1EK or Gray?

  25. I dunno, this “hurricanes follow the auto emissions” sounds an awful lot like “rain follows the plow”.

  26. M1EK,

    “The problem is that 99% of credible climatologists are speaking on one side of this issue, and most of the remaining 1% are funded by think tanks which have ideological reasons for wanting their studies to come out a certain way. In the countries where the oil companies don’t hold much sway, there ISN’T any debate.”

    I do not know if you are old enough to remember the “Energy Crises” of the 70’s and early-80’s but there was an even greater degree of scientific and political consensus back then that oil was physical scarce and would grow even scarcer in the future. The NAS and other scientific organs produced reams of studies supporting this view. Every national government bought into the idea. Anyone who didn’t believe in the permanent physical shortage of oil was denounced as either a crank or a shrill for the oil companies (even though the oil companies bought into the idea as well).

    Everybody believed in the Energy Crisis and everybody was dead wrong. A minor change in US tax policy in ’81 led to increased oil production within the US that caused oil prices to crash 3 years later. The entire “crises” had been caused by governments interfering in the freemarket for oil. A vast scientific and political mythology that had controlled the world for over ten years ended within a few months. Oil prices (adjusted for inflation) have even today still not reached the levels they did in 1980.

    The moral to this story: Just because you see scientist, economist, politicians and talking-heads across the board all parroting the same line doesn’t have any bearing on whether they are correct or not.

    Each generation seems struck by its own popular delusions. I strongly suspect that global warming is ours.

  27. “2) Meteorologists can’t predict the weather! Ahaha! That’s hilarious the way you totally debunked meteorology with a total non sequitur.”

    Dude, that was a reference to one of the GW deniers’ favorite sound-bites, i.e.:

    “I’ll believe they can predict the climate when they can predict the weather five days out”.

  28. Any of you who challenge the “99% of climatologists” figure:

    1. That’s just people studying climatology, not people who agree with GW

    2. See this study: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/306/5702/1686#

    3. If you still don’t buy it, you’re not worth my time. Goodbye.

  29. I don’t understand why libertarians seem to convert into magical thinking on environmental issues: “We don’t want it to be a problem, therefore, it must not be one.”

    I sat down and did the math one day. A static analysis says that tripling the CO2 concentration in the air will increase the greenhouse effect by about 5%-8%, and that total temperature will increase by 8F. The proof of burden is thus to demonstrate that global warming will NOT occur, not that it will.

    You can be sure that insurance companies have computed the odds of increased storm activities for different levels of warming. (Swiss Re and German Re fund such research, in fact.)

    So whether or not the modest increases in temperature to date have led to more large storms, there is no question that the predicted warming 50 years from now *WILL* lead to more large storms.

    That said, I’m all for more nuclear power, especially like this, ahem, government funded research:
    http://www.caesar.umd.edu/

    Sure, environmentalists go overboard attacking DDT root and branch. But libertarians go overboard defending it. (Agricultural use doesn’t even work more than 20 years anyway. That’s a different issue from smallscale use around the house.)

    Finally, I am curious to know what libertarian thought is on issues like oysters in Delaware Bay. Surely there are property rights violated when oyster beds are decimated by pollution?

  30. isildur,

    I myself don’t necessarily believe that any one season’s hurricane activity can be attributed to GW (far too many variables), but I was responding to Gray’s claim that climate change wasn’t anthropgenic at all. (He made this claim and then said that most of ‘his colleagues’ supported it).

  31. Climate models are only as good as the data fed into the and the relations assumed in them. Past models have not modelled past climate very well, and more recent ones have noticeably reduced the range of temperature increase that may be expected, to about 2 to 4 degrees F (down from 10 to 12 degrees not that many years ago). The drop in temperature from the late 1940’s to early 1970’s is a big strike against man made global warming, as it fell in the middle of rapid industrial growth in less developed countries. The climate naturally varies, and man’s activities may not be the dominant input.

  32. Pollution doesn’t infringe on property rights because pollution happens where there are no property rights.

  33. Making predictions about the climate is actually easier than forecasting the weather, just as predicting what % of craps throws will be 7s each night is easier than predicting what the next five throws will be.

  34. See this study: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/306/5702/1686

    Why are you, as someone who rails on anyone presenting non peer-reviewed studies, submitting to us for review a non-peer reviewed study as valid evidence of consensus?

  35. but i ever so wanted to be worth it! i did! i did!

  36. “Pollution doesn’t infringe on property rights because pollution happens where there are no property rights.”

    huh?

    you’re jumping into the Coase Theroem, externalities, and free riding and other wonderful things.

    it can. i’m not sure of the oysterbed example (not assigned but affected by polution which in turn affects the harvest) is a good example of property rights, but it is within the realm of the negative externalities arguments.

  37. I like the word “maven.” It doesn’t get used enough.

  38. Why can’t this shrill ideologue make his case without playing some kind of “follow the money” game?

    I guess he just can’t address his detractors’ arguments directly.

    Looks like the Clinton administration didn’t want him to address the issue at all.

  39. “Why are you, as someone who rails on anyone presenting non peer-reviewed studies, submitting to us for review a non-peer reviewed study as valid evidence of consensus?”

    What the hell are you talking about?

    http://www.chriscmooney.com/blog.asp?Id=1781

    “I stand by my work, which was published in a peer-reviewed refereed journal–indeed, one of the leading peer reviewed scientific journals in the world. If Mr Peiser has something that he thinks contributes to the discussion, then he should do the same–submit it for peer review, rather than trying to have the issue adjudicated in the mass media.”

  40. I don’t understand why libertarians seem to convert into magical thinking on environmental issues: “We don’t want it to be a problem, therefore, it must not be one.”

    I’ve speculated on this before. You’ve heard the old saying, “When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail?” Well, for hard-core libertarians (as opposed to “lite” libertarians like myself), every single problem can be solved by either the free market or by rugged individualism. But IF man-made global warming is real, it can’t be solved by the free market or rugged individuals; it will take some sort of collective effort.

    A problem that the free market can’t solve is therefore a problem that doesn’t exist.

  41. “Looks like the Clinton administration didn’t want him to address the issue at all.”

    Yes, Don, and every time you got a C, it was because the Lesbian of Color professor wanted to stick it to The Man.

  42. What the hell are you talking about?

    Sorry. I misread the footnotes in the Science article.

  43. The proof of burden is thus to demonstrate that global warming will NOT occur, not that it will.

    This is plain wrong. If you want political action without resistance, the proof of burden is to demonstrate that:

    1. Anthropogenic global warming is real.

    2. It is significant and outside the bounds of normal climate variation.

    3. It has a significant impact on humanity.

    4. The negative impacts on humanity are greater than the positive impacts.

    5. The costs of directly addressing global warming are less than the costs it imposes on humanity or the costs required to otherwise mitigate the consequences.

    This is not primarily a debate over whether global warming will occur. It’s a debate over whether governments should be given powers to do something about it. That is why libertarians appear so resistant. And rightfully so.

  44. Living at over 10,000 feet in Colorado, I just wish that global warming would hurry up and manifest itself in some form that was actually noticeable (so I don’t have to buy a new set of snow tires this fall), rather than just appearing with such nuanced subtlety that it might as well not even exist. If it does.

  45. Finally, I am curious to know what libertarian thought is on issues like oysters in Delaware Bay. Surely there are property rights violated when oyster beds are decimated by pollution?

    I don’t know anything about that specific issue, but it sounds like a tragedy of the commons issue. In those type of situations, libertarians propose market oriented responses. These are responses where a regulatory body sets of a marketplace consisting of tradeable quotas, pollution credits, etc. The regulatory body is responsible for general oversight and controlling the boundaries of the marketplace. The participants are responsible for looking after their own property rights.

  46. “This is not primarily a debate over whether global warming will occur. It’s a debate over whether governments should be given powers to do something about it. That is why libertarians appear so resistant.”

    This would be a rational response if the first reaction of so many of the hard libertarians wasn’t to grasp so tightly to the denier ‘science’.

    Oh, and, if there weren’t so many things that could be done to reduce carbon emissions which weren’t good ideas for other reasons as well.

  47. Yes, Don, and every time you got a C, it was because the Lesbian of Color professor wanted to stick it to The Man.

    Joe, I never had Lesbian of Color professors; I majored in physics and electrical engineering, and consequently had few lefty professors, and I so aced their classes they would have had no justification for a bad grade.

    And Joe, it looks as if Gray gets an A+ for his work. Maybe some day we will be able to grade the GW supporters.

  48. My thoughts on global warming:

    1) As a kid growing up in the 70’s, I experienced several severe winters and I remember people saying we where possibly experiencing global cooling and were due for another ice age.

    2) I am too lazy to look it up, but hasn’t there been research saying the sun is burning brighter? Even if solar output only increases a fraction of a percent, that is a lot more energy headed towards mother earth.

    3) The 80’s, 90’s, and 00’s do appear to be warmer. But, is due to human influence, increased solar output, or a natural part of a long term weather cycle?

    4) If global warming did happend, wouldn’t it be at least partially a good thing? Think of how much more food could be grown in Canada and Siberia?

  49. You forgot #6, Mike P: that the harms of the problem will accrue mainly to wealthy individuals and multinational corporations, and the benefits of the solution will accrue mainly to them as well.

    That’s pretty much the only way anthing gets done without resistance. But you know what? Fuck the resistance. The window’s closed.

  50. Yes, Global Warming is a good thing. For example, it will expand the growing range for tobacco, which cures acne.

  51. “1) As a kid growing up in the 70’s, I experienced several severe winters and I remember people saying we where possibly experiencing global cooling and were due for another ice age.”

    No NO NO NO NO!

    http://mustelid.blogspot.com/2005/02/global-cooling-again.html

  52. This would be a rational response if the first reaction of so many of the hard libertarians wasn’t to grasp so tightly to the denier ‘science’.

    As opposed to the grasping done by leftists on the GW scare ‘science’?

    Oh, and, if there weren’t so many things that could be done to reduce carbon emissions which weren’t good ideas for other reasons as well.

    MikeP’s list was pretty good. Unless this reduction in emissions provides benifits that outweight the costs, why bother?

  53. The REAL cause of global warming, of course, has nothing to do with CO2, methane, whatever. It is caused by all the over-heated rhetoric which seems to come with this issue. I plead guilty to having contributed some of that heat myself, which is why I will be calming down after this post. I need to prepare an explanation of why the pope’s personal coat of arms does not mean he’s a racist, anyway.

    One thing which has struck me, though, and I mean this as a serious question, is why some of the heat exists at all. Why do those who believe in this crisis, like say M1EK, expend so much energy? If 99% of the experts really do agree, then why is it so pressing to convert, discredit, or silence that tiny 1%? Are they really that much of a threat?

    Just curious. No point here.

    Now, back to explaining that unfortunate coat of arms….

  54. “If 99% of the experts really do agree, then why is it so pressing to convert, discredit, or silence that tiny 1%?”

    Because the Bush Administration uses guys like you to make the PUBLIC think there’s still disagreement in the scientific community on this issue.

  55. M1EK,

    I read the link you provided. It taught me a few things:

    * Associations and professional organizations agree on global warming. Contra: Associations and professional organizations that have a vested financial and influential interest in GW being Really Bad agree that GW is Really Bad.

    * Papers published in journals all agree on global warming. Contra: Journals that have a vested financial and influential interest in GW being Really Bad tend to publish papers that argue that GW is Really Bad.

    * In general, everyone agrees that human activity can cause GW. But less apparent is agreement that GW is Super Duper Bad and needs to be addressed by crippling the world’s economy Right Now.

    * I also learned that the number ‘99%’ did, in fact, come from where I thought it did: out of your ass.

    Anyway, the question isn’t ‘can human activity increase atmospheric temperature’, because simple physics tells us that it can, and that it can do so faster than heat can be radiated away.

    The question is ‘Should we stop all progress, halt technological development, and impose crippling economic restraints globally to curtail global warming? Or is it actually something we can, you know, live with?’

    On that question, I suspect that your pulled-from-the-behind ‘99% consensus’ number is much, much farther from being accurate.

  56. “MikeP’s list was pretty good. Unless this reduction in emissions provides benifits that outweight the costs, why bother?”

    I certainly don’t trust him or you to assess costs, since you seem like hard-core libertarians, and in my experience their answer to the issue of the externalities involved in emissions is to claim that the evil government is the worst polluter. So no, I think I’ll still ‘bother’.

  57. “The question is ‘Should we stop all progress, halt technological development, and impose crippling economic restraints globally to curtail global warming?”

    Thanks, Rush.

    Reducing emissions does not imply any of those things.

  58. You forgot #6, Mike P: that the harms of the problem will accrue mainly to wealthy individuals and multinational corporations, and the benefits of the solution will accrue mainly to them as well.

    joe, that is yet another excellent reason to do everything we can to keep this whole issue out of the political realm. Public choice theory, as well as all of history, tells us who most benefits from politically decided and enforced solutions.

  59. That’s pretty much the only way anthing gets done without resistance. But you know what? Fuck the resistance. The window’s closed.

    Joe, Janet Reno isn’t covering your ass anymore. You really don’t want resistance.


    No NO NO NO NO!

    http://mustelid.blogspot.com/2005/02/global-cooling-again.html

    It appears that the popular press hyped cooling back then just as it does man made GW now.

  60. Have you *read* any of the economic analyses of Kyoto? Or was Kyoto an environmentalist target dummy intended to get the issue out in the open?

    Maybe *you* don’t think that stopping the world’s economy in its tracks is the right answer. But your fellow travelers certainly do. I’ve seen that very position argued for many, many times: humanity will kill the earth, and we should revert to a pre-technological level of subsistence so as not to do so.

    Personally, I’m baffled at the resistance to nuclear power I see from many of these same fellow-travelers. But I’m a believer in the power of smart humans to solve problems with better tools, which I guess makes me an anti-Luddite.

  61. I certainly don’t trust him or you to assess costs, since you seem like hard-core libertarians, and in my experience their answer to the issue of the externalities involved in emissions is to claim that the evil government is the worst polluter. So no, I think I’ll still ‘bother’.

    Strawman. Neither of us claimed to have assesed those costs.

    Reducing emissions does not imply any of those things.

    The cost / benifit analysis to back that claim up?

  62. “Maybe *you* don’t think that stopping the world’s economy in its tracks”

    Again, thanks, Rush. Reducing emissions does not imply “stopping the world’s economy in its tracks”.

    OH, WAIT. I forgot that when we reduced emissions of those compounds which led to acid rain, that our economy collapsed. And when we stopped emitting most CFCs. That collapse sucked too. And, of course, there was the time when we phased out lead in gasoline, and all automobile production ceased.

  63. ‘Should we stop all progress, halt technological development, and impose crippling economic restraints globally to curtail global warming?’

    Not only will reducing greenhouse emissions stop all progress, halt technological development, and impose crippling economic constraints, but if we mandate the installation of seat belts, there will be no autmobile manufacturing in the United States by 1975.

    Damn chicken littles.

  64. “It appears that the popular press hyped cooling back then just as it does man made GW now.”

    Don, Brian Courts is going to get mad at me, but you deserve it:

    You’re a freaking liar. Please stop posting immediately.

  65. isuldur doesn’t know what “sustainable development” means, has never heard of the Rio Conference, and doesn’t intend to learn. Environmentalists are human hating commies, and that’s all he needs to know.

  66. Yup, the popular press came out with some doozies about the Ice Age in the 70s.

    Which is pretty much the same thing as the broad and growing consensus about Global Warming today.

    You know, Time Magazine, the National Academy of Sciences – six of one, half dozen of the other.

    I even heard there was an Ice Age novel. With boobies!

  67. ” but if we mandate the installation of seat belts, there will be no autmobile manufacturing in the United States by 1975.”
    πŸ™‚
    and leaded gasoline.

    don’t ferget (sic) that one πŸ™‚

    ready to duck and throwing this up from “From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.”

    http://www.answers.com/topic/global-cooling
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_cooling

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/
    20ctrend.htm#L_0338

    “However in the popular press the possibility of cooling was reported generally without the caveats present in the scientific reports.

    The term “global cooling” did not become attached to concerns about an impending glacial period until after the term “global warming” was popularized. In the 1970s the compilation of records to produce hemispheric, or global, temperature records had just begun.”
    ***

    The one that even the CATO institute has to answer better is the “human-caused global warming doesn’t exist. but if it did, it’d be ‘good'”.

    even though i’m rather skeptical of the sky-is-falling doomsayers, i’m even more skeptical of that claim.

    and if this site, http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html, is a krappy site, so be it.

  68. Thanks, joe and M1EK, for reminding me why it’s useless to talk about the environment with environmentalists.

    Between ‘Again, thanks, Rush.’ and ‘Environmentalists are human hating commies’ you’ve both demonstrated your inability to have a discussion without reverting to bullshit logical fallacies.

    “Oh noes you don’t agree with me therefore you must be stupid” doesn’t really fly. I see a lot of people posting coherent arguments (which may or may not be true, but are at least coherent) and I see the two of you posting what is, essentially, ‘You who disagree are idiots.’

    If I wasn’t already pretty sure that environmentalism is basically flaky, and people who profess to be environmentalists should be kept far away from the instruments of public policy, you’ve both done wonders to ensure that I would believe that.

    To briefly address your points (and I say ‘briefly’ because it’s clear there’s little reason to bother when you’re going to respond with ‘lol ur an idiot’):

    I did not argue that there were no ways to mitigate global warming and/or pollution. Or even that there were no ways that didn’t promise to cause catastrophic economic harm.

    What I did argue is that the front-man for the environmental public policy brigade, Kyoto, would in fact cause catastrophic economic harm, while not actually doing anything to stop global warming.

    I also argued that there are many in the hard-left (and not-so-hard-left; I’m looking at you, Sierra Club) environmental movement who are essentially Luddites and will not be happy with any solution that is less than total reversal of all human impact on the world.

    Given those two points, it makes sense to take a hard look at public policy science, and to fund opposing viewpoints. When you take a conclusion as a given, and fund only those studies which support that conclusion, you can very quickly create a consensus, and act on that consensus in ways that are not actually productive.

    We believe this to be true of industry-sponsored science, where the industry has an economic stake in the outcome of the science. Why don’t we also believe it of government-sponsored science, where the government has an influential stake in the outcome of the science?

    But I realize I’m wasting my time here, because you’re not prepared to respond to those who disagree with anything more reasonable than ‘you are stupid’.

  69. The problem with this is that the greenhouse gases effect on global temperature is known to contain a significant lag. The global temperature in part of that period was actually DROPPING, as a matter of fact.

    I was completely unaware that there was a body of research going far enough back on greenhouse gasses to determine if they were a lagging, leading, or current indicator. This fascinates me if scientists have done this without resorting to crystal balls. I’d love to continue this convo after work, but Tim Cavanaugh never returns any of my emails asking to have my home ip address unbanned.

  70. smug articles like these don’t help the one side in this argument, either.

    (Joe – you need a global cooling novel with bobbies so you can see the extent of the cooling, grin)

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/
    A20998-2004Dec22.html

    and, trying to throw more info in here:

    http://www.med.harvard.edu/chge/qrsummer02/
    rind.htm

    this one will make the other side sit up and scream…
    http://www.kn4lf.com/kn4lf42.htm
    *this site actually should make EVERYONE cringe… I’m surprised that he’s not a regular on “Coast to Coast AM”
    (i love the disclaimer at the bottom of the page – we need to invite this guy to a weekend in vegas…)
    cheers,
    drf

  71. mac,

    “I don’t understand why libertarians seem to convert into magical thinking on environmental issues:”

    I think the problem for libertarians is that environmental issues are used in modern era as war was used in the 19th century i.e. as a means of rationalizing the increasing power of the state. Instead of justifying state power on the basis of threatening foreigners we now justify increased state power on the basis of invisible environmental threats in politically distant future.

    Libertarians view increased state power as inherently dangerous and requiring a firm justification. Libertarians will not grant more power to the state “just in case.” Even if there is a real problem granting power to the state to try to fix it might result in more harm than good.

    Most people who believe fervently in global warming have the exact opposite belief in government power. They believe that government power is usually better than the freemarket. They will support giving the state more power “just in case” because they don’t see any harm resulting if they are wrong.

    The Energy Crisis, though it was a illusion, nevertheless killed millions throughout the world by triggering famines, depressions and outright wars. Granting the state sufficient power to address the most dire of the global warming scenarios means granting enough power to the state to wreck the global economy if used incompentently. Moreover, such power, once entrenched, might be difficult to devolve even if the problem is fixed. It behooves us to make absolutely sure our science is on firm foundations before we empower the state to address the issue.

  72. AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming)proponents have not made the case for their claims.

    No one of any sensibility denies climate change. Climate is continuously changing. For the past 600+ million years, the global average temperatures have varied between two extremes of +12?C and +22?C with a mean of +17?C. Much of the time the average temp has been above the mean.
    We are currently leaving a period of below mean averages.

    AGW proponents, rather than prove their case with real evidence (rather than various flawed computer simulations) have engaged in a campaign to discredit rather than rebut skeptics.

    http://www.oism.org/pproject/s33p357.htm – petition signed by thousands expressing skepticism of AGW claims.

    http://www.kogagrove.org/sams/agw/agwframes.html – my own thoughts on the matter.

  73. oh mercy. this is even worse…

    http://rightwingnews.com/quotes/wacko.php

    the soundbites at the bottom of the page called “wrong again” – mein Gott. no doubt these “analyses” were used in convincing them of the WMDs, too. sheesh.

  74. AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) proponents have not made their case. Rather than respond to critics with bolstered evidence, they endeavor to descredit skeptics through ad hominem attacks.

    No one of any sensibility denies the fact of climate change. For the past 600+ million years, the global averge temperature has varied between the extremes of +12?C to +22?C and for much of that time has been above the mean of +17?C.

    Over 17,000 science professionals have signed a petition expressing skepticism of the AGW catastrophe scenario. http://www.oism.org/pproject/s33p357.htm

    My own thoughts on the matter: http://www.kogagrove.org/sams/agw/agwframes.html

  75. isildur whines that his feelings have been hurt.

    What you said, IN YOUR OWN WORDS, was:

    “Maybe *you* don’t think that stopping the world’s economy in its tracks is the right answer.”

    and

    “Should we stop all progress, halt technological development, and impose crippling economic restraints globally to curtail global warming?””

    Those are Rush Limbaugh tactics. I’m more than willing to call a spade a spade rather than waste my time debunking your crap.

  76. You’re a freaking liar. Please stop posting immediately.

    So, am I lying about the popular press hyping cooling, or am I lying about the popular press hyping GW? Or am I lying about both?

  77. Shannon,

    That’s a rational argument – one whose premise (that the Energy Crisis killed millions) I don’t agree with, but at least it’s presented without resorting to isildur-style frothing.

    The only problem is that there are easy ways to address emissions which DON’T result in any additional state power. Carbon taxes can be collected with the same infrastructure as (or simply replacing the) gasoline taxes, for instance. It would be, by far, the least intrusive way of reducing emissions – leading the market to figure out the exact method used (simply using government in a way most libertarians should support – to attempt to internalize externalities). It would be FAR less intrusive than CAFE, for instance.

    But I’m sure the suburban Republicans who infest this forum would hate that, because it would make filling up the SUV more expensive.

  78. Those are Rush Limbaugh tactics. I’m more than willing to call a spade a spade rather than waste my time debunking your crap.

    So, M1EK, what effect would Kyoto have on the US economy if we followed it? How much would it reduce GW?

  79. joe,

    If you have so much confidence in the NAS and other scientific and environmental institutions perhaps you can explain why we having this debate on global warming? If those institutions are so reliable in a politically charged atmosphere then we can’t be debating global warming caused by burning oil because back circa 1980 those same institutions all said that we would have long since run critically short of oil. The idea that we would be burning enough now to alter the climate must be ridiculous.

    If they were wrong then, why should we think they are right now?

  80. No one counters my claim that the sun may be shining brighter and may be at least partially responsible for the current warming trend?

  81. “So, am I lying about the popular press hyping cooling, or am I lying about the popular press hyping GW? Or am I lying about both?”

    In your implication that the two (and the hyping of each) are equivalent. So-called global cooling never made it to the scientific journals of the day, and was not (in most cases) supposed to be anthropogenic.

    I’ll use my favorite example again. I park my car on a steep uphill road in San Francisco. I go shopping. I come back. I turn on the car and release the parking brake.

    The car starts to roll downhill (backwards).

    I hit the gas pedal. The car stops rolling downhill and starts going uphill (forwards).

    According to Reason’s Gang Of Real Scientists, I’ve just managed to disprove the Theory of Gravity!

  82. allkurta,

    I suppose climatologists all over the world can expect a call from you momentarily letting them know about this huge hole in their models that none of them could possibly have conceived of.

    Oh, and don’t forget to tell them about the urban heat island effect. All^H^H^Hnone of their studies corrected for that either.

    There really ought to be a minimum standard of knowledge for even participating in these threads. Something along the lines of these:

    1. If you think the satellite readings don’t match ground observations or

    2. If you think they don’t correct for urban heat island effects or

    3. If you think they haven’t taken solar output into account or

    4. If you think the current models are unable to predict current climate when fed past data

    then you need to come out of your time capsule and leave 1992 behind.

  83. Don,

    I’ll answer your question if you can first answer this one: “Where did M1EK ever say anything about how good or bad the Kyoto agreement was?”

  84. M1EK,

    I see. You don’t need to spend time ‘debunking’ my ‘crap’. In other words, you’re all anger and no substance.

    You apparently didn’t even bother reading the rest of my post.

    You’re foaming at the mouth. People are ignoring you.

  85. The only problem is that there are easy ways to address emissions which DON’T result in any additional state power. Carbon taxes can be collected with the same infrastructure as (or simply replacing the) gasoline taxes, for instance.

    1) What if the best solution is a catalitic converter type thing in the exhaust system . . . a tax based upon gas consumption wouldn’t reward such a solution. Unless we added some additional level of .gov to provide rebates for the converter.

    2) If the taxes collected increase .gov revenue, it is surely increasing the power of the .gov. So your claim: “. . . DON’T result in any additional state power.” can’t be stated as a fact, and a highly unlikely one.

    3) How much of a reductin in GW can we expect?

  86. Oooh, oooh, I know:

    It was in your post @4:14, where you replied to me dismissively. In the post to which you replied, I mentioned Kyoto as the example of the kind of economically destructive proposal that the precautionary principle would lead us to.

    You dismissed the post in toto with an ad hominem attack. And thus, by implication, the point about Kyoto.

    Or did you actually just cherry-pick the bits of the post you felt like attacking, conveniently ignoring the rest?

    Nah. You wouldn’t do that. You’re a reasonable person.

  87. I object to the term “freaking liar” when everyone know the proper usage is “lying liar who tells lies”.

  88. “There really ought to be a minimum standard of knowledge for even participating in these threads.”

    Don’t know about that, but there most certainly should be a minimum standard of courtesy.

  89. In your implication that the two (and the hyping of each) are equivalent. So-called global cooling never made it to the scientific journals of the day, and was not (in most cases) supposed to be anthropogenic.

    It never made it in any scientific journal?

  90. There is still much to be learned about climate.
    Why wasn’t there a cooling runaway when glaciers covered large portions of the continent?
    What role do clouds play in climate variation?
    etc.

  91. I’ll answer your question if you can first answer this one: “Where did M1EK ever say anything about how good or bad the Kyoto agreement was?”

    So, M1EK, do you think your carbon tax idea will have less economic impact and more GW impact than Kyoto? Or do you have some other, smarter ideas?

    And why haven’t you comunicated these ideas to Al Gore?

  92. “I see. You don’t need to spend time ‘debunking’ my ‘crap’.”

    Correct. I also won’t waste any time proving that the Earth isn’t flat, and that the Sun doesn’t revolve around the Earth.

    Don, yes, a carbon tax would work better than the Kyoto accords. But the Bushies don’t want either one; at least Gore could have been convinced to go the right way. And your cat-converter idea is unlikely to be true, but if so, rebates can easily be applied in a case like that.

    JMoore: No courtesy for those who breach the courtesy wall first. If you can find a case where I’ve attacked somebody personally _first_, let me know so I can apologize.

    Good night, y’all.

  93. You’re absolutely right. My (insane, outmoded, obviously bullshit) argument that perhaps maybe we should not be denying funds to researchers based on our belief that all possible questions have already been answered… is *just* like a flat earth argument.

    And my (ridiculous, patently false, possibly evil) idea that economic consequences are important, and should also be part of any OMG GW DISASTER debate… that’s exactly like the belief that the sun revolves around the earth.

    How could I have been so blind before this day? I mean, the ease with which you’ve taken apart my arguments with a comparison to flat-earthers… it’s startling!

    Did you read *anything* I wrote here today? ANYTHING at ALL? Because it’s pretty clear you have this idea that I’m arguing GW does not exist.

    Which I have not said — not even once.

    Could you do me a favor: the next time you’re tempted to reply to one of my posts, please read the post? Not the first few words, not the first line, but the whole post.

    I read yours, after all. Because leaping to conclusions makes one look like an idiot.

  94. “JMoore: No courtesy for those who breach the courtesy wall first. If you can find a case where I’ve attacked somebody personally _first_, let me know so I can apologize.”

    The final quote below belies the noble courtesy wall statement above.

    “Curious,

    Nice try, crackpot.

    Kahn,

    I trust the climatologists a hell of a lot more than I trust you. You are, like it or not, about as qualified on climatology in general as Spencer is on evolution.

    Comment by: M1EK at August 10, 2005 01:07 PM

    “Seriously, did y’all totally zone out during the 1950s through the 1970s with tobacco or what?

    Comment by: M1EK at August 9, 2005 04:13 PM

    John,

    You’re spouting stuff that’s five to ten years out of date – you need an update to your playbook. Please, stop, you’re embarassing yourself.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=94
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/
    http://www.trump.net.au/~greenhou/home.html

    for starters.

    Comment by: M1EK at August 9, 2005 04:26 PM”

    “Are you really this dense? A 10% change in the earth’s climate which occurs over a short geological timeframe could and almost surely WOULD reduce the carrying capacity of the globe by far more than 10%. Think ice age.

    Comment by: M1EK at August 10, 2005 03:18 PM”

    “JMoore,

    “When a computer model can tell me whether I will need an umbrella six days from now with greater than 50% accuracy, I will start listening to its predictions for half a century in the future.”

    You betray a stunning ignorance of the distinction between global climate and local weather. Please go get some education, quickly.

    Comment by: M1EK at August 10, 2005 03:35 PM”

    “Pollard,

    It’s not difficult to discern what pretty much every climatologist not in the pay of the Exxon guys is saying. You’re nothing but a lousy liar if you’re trying to assert that the science about GW isn’t settled to the degree that they pretty much all think something needs to be done.

    And no, I won’t waste civility on liars.

    Comment by: M1EK at August 10, 2005 05:40 PM”

  95. “No courtesy for those who breach the courtesy wall first. If you can find a case where I’ve attacked somebody personally _first_, let me know so I can apologize.”

    Ummm…I think statements about how “people here at Reason are hungry for any excuse to discredit climate change” and “y’all are nothing but a bunch of Republicans who want to smoke pot now and again” probably qualify as breaches of courtesy. The fact that they weren’t directed _personally_ at a single individual seems pretty damn irrelevant; if anything, yours are worse since you manage to insult everyone here with one simple post. (Incidentally, the former insult may have been directed just at Reason staff; it wasn’t clear. The “y’all” in the latter quote was directed broadly at the whole board, or at least anyone on the board who expresses any disagreement with M1EK.)

    I’m even in rough agreement with the occasional factual non-rant you post here (at least I’m a lot closer to your camp than to the folks you’re arguing with), but each time I read one of your posts I want to buy a Hummer and drive over an open-pit mine full of baby seals. Brian Courts was right. You and Gary Gunnels should go off somewhere so you can continue your playground discourse, and the majority of posters can continue with their relatively civilzed discussion.

    Come to think of it, are you the latest reincarnation of Gary-Jean-Gunnels-Bart?

  96. Handbrake

    Remind me never to try to fudge records when you’re around πŸ™‚

    And thanks.

  97. alkurta:

    global warming might result in increased desertification, reducing the area of arable land available for growing crops. if that is the case, then global warming wouldn’t be good, even if it extended the growing season, or made high latitude areas have more growing season. those benefits possibly would be offset by the detriments I just mentioned. also, increased temperature would likely lead to increased evaporation, making farming more difficult, as well as leading to reduced water availability for people.

  98. jf:

    historical atmospheric composition is often estimated by taking ice cores. I assumed you’re alluding to our ignorance of atmospheric composition before modern monitoring devices were in place.

    see this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_core

  99. I am reminded of the frog that was put in a pot of boiling water. He immediately jumped out. Another frog was put in cool water and the temperature was slowly turned up. He cooked to death. Any questions?

  100. J wins my prize for best comment of the thread with this.

    “each time I read one of your posts I want to buy a Hummer and drive over an open-pit mine full of baby seals.”

    That is very clever and quite the mental image.

    Cheers,

    TJIT

  101. Yes – why do you hate me?

  102. Biologist,

    But wouldn’t global warming also put more water into the biosphere with the melting of glaciers thereby possibly making some now dry areas wetter?

    The operative word in your post is ‘might’.

    Also, wouldn’t more CO2 in the atmosphere foster plant growth? And wouldn’t this growth become a carbon sink?

  103. M1EK,

    “one whose premise (that the Energy Crisis killed millions) I don’t agree with, “

    The economic effects of the various oil shocks did kill millions. Poverty kills and high oil prices caused a lot of poverty. For example, the sudden spikes in oil prices in 73-74 destroyed much of the agriculture of sub-sahara africa which had been industrialized in green revolution of the 60’s. This led to several famines, desertfication and numerous wars over the next decade. Both the Falklands war and the Indonesian invasion of East Timor were both driven in part by a desire to seize offshore oil fields. Arguably, high oil prices kept the Soviet Union alive a good ten years longer. The death spiral of the USSR began in 84 when oil prices crashed wiping out 75% of the Soviets foreign exchange. Virtually, every conflict or economic crises of the era had its roots in the oil crises.

    I don’t think they actually teach much about the energy crises these days but at the time the supposed oil shortage underlay every economic, environmental and national security decision. As a science geek, a forensic debater and as someone living in oil country, I was absolutely saturated in details of the crises. I believed absolutely in the physical scarcity of oil because all science journals and all the political sources believed it too. Had you told me in 1980 that the big transportation debate in 2005 would be over SUVs I would have considered you delusional. Then suddenly, in my Freshman year in college, the entire crises just evaporated. The local economy collapsed and gasoline became cheaper than distilled water.

    The energy crises taught me that it is very possible for major scientific and political institutions to be caught up in mass shared delusion. Now I see that the same political segments and some of the same scientist who told me that oil was always going to be in short supply are the same people pushing global warming. Why should I trust them?

    Your belief that proposed solutions like a carbon tax would not increase the power of the state are in my opinion naive. To significantly reduce emissions, such taxes would have to bring in tens, if not hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue a year. How would those revenues be spent? Would the political class be willing to part with such windfall even if the problem abated? Its not a trivial concern.

    Carbon emitting fuels are the backbone of the entire planetary economy. Creating artificial shortages via taxation will cause severe economic dislocation much as occurred in the 70’s. People will be poorer because they will consume less energy. People who are already the poorest will be hurt the worst.

    Don’t fall for the myth that global warming is caused by SUVs or other forms of luxury consumption. Most of the C02 generated in the world is used for creating the necessities of life. If we increase energy cost we will increase the cost of those necessities. That means that some people will go without things that they need and otherwise might have gotten. Those people won’t be rich Republicans.

  104. Shannon Love,

    I too remember the energy crisis of the mid to late 70’s.

    Weren’t we supposed run out of oil around the year 2000?

  105. Weren’t we supposed run out of oil around the year 2000?

    If we do, that would solve the GW problem, right?

  106. Don, yes, a carbon tax would work better than the Kyoto accords.

    Any analysis to back that up?

    But the Bushies don’t want either one; at least Gore could have been convinced to go the right way.

    Gore supported Kyoto–pretty much makes him unfit to be Pres just by that fact. Given that state of the science that I’ve seen, I much prefer Bush’s approach.

    And your cat-converter idea is unlikely to be true, but if so, rebates can easily be applied in a case like that.

    It may or may not be unlikely, but it is possible. Yet once the government sets out on a new tax, it doesn’t really matter what makes sense anymore. For one thing, if the tax happens first, the market has no incentive to invent the “cat-converter”. Someone would have to invent it with little incentive, and then market the idea to congress so that they would back a rebate. The rebate would be just another corporate welfare program, of course, and additional legislation and government intrusion.

    And of course, taxing carbon would bring in lots of money to the government, all the while impacting the economy. Or perhaps it would impact the economy so much that it overall reduces money to the government.

    How many degrees F per year would this carbon tax “save”, anyway?

  107. “Ummm…I think statements about how “people here at Reason are hungry for any excuse to discredit climate change” and “y’all are nothing but a bunch of Republicans who want to smoke pot now and again” probably qualify as breaches of courtesy.”

    I don’t view that as a personal attack; but rather as a factual statement followed by some mild hyperbole. Jennifer and others have made comments similar to the first statement.

  108. The only reason I need an SUV is because the Nanny State has made it impossible for my family of 6 to legally go out to eat in the same car. In the good old days, before Joe took over, the baby would ride in Grandpa’s lap and we could have gotten twice the gas milage. Therefore, if SUVs are causing GW, it’s all Joe’s fault.
    We can also thank him for seatbelt check points, morphing the Nanny State into the Police State..

  109. Here’s irrefutable proof that GW doesn’t exist and/or isn’t caused by human activity and/or isn’t a problem requiring a solution: Hillary, McCain and Lieberman agree that it does exist, that it’s caused by human activity, and that it’s a problem which requires a solution.

    http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20050818/ap_on_go_co/climate_change_alaska_2
    “Fresh from a trip to Barrow, America’s northernmost city, McCain [along with Hillary and Lieberman] said anecdotes from Alaskans and residents of the Yukon Territory confirm scientific evidence of global warming.”

    And a 93 year-old woman said fish had bumps on them! The Honorable Senators need look no further.

    “…each time I read one of your posts I want to buy a Hummer and drive over an open-pit mine full of baby seals.”

    Dynamiting spotted owls is more sporting.

  110. Hands raised, elbows fixed. hands down.
    Two marks for JMoore.
    Awaiting apology.
    Moreover, we have proof positive of how certain Environmentalists, as do certain Oil Company Hacks, lack balls, cherry pick data, and distort.

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