Revealed: A New Cause of Global Warming

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Howard "Extreme" Mortman runs some of the feedback to the Competitive Enterprise Institute's global warming ads:

Here are samples of some of the "fan" mail the CEI received:

"You sick lying soulless ignorant son's of bitch's! Selling out that kid in your commercials future for a few more dollars. You can expect an especially large amount of warming in your future…IN HELL!"

"This ad is so stupid as to be humorous. Had I not seen it on your website I would ahve thought it was produced by The Onion or the cast of Saturday Night Live. Will you next run ads saying the earth is flat? Please, keep running it!" [from an assistant District Attorney in Wisconsin]

"Just saw this. It is embarrassing. CEI's credibility is taking a big hit here. What's next: Your Friend Nicotine? Please remove me from your press lists." [from a reporter working for a major California newspaper]

"someone should put each and every one of you in an enclosed garage with the car running and see how much you love the air." [from a staffer working for a major national political party]

"You are conscious and wilful liars. The rest of the world sees what you are doing and will not forgive your greed. I invoke the law of three on you, as individuals and as an entity." [from an official in a foreign government]

Mortman concludes, "Forget about warming around the globe–let's worry about these folks getting hot under the collar!" Whole thing here.

Watch the ads here. Reason's Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey, the first Warren Brookes Fellow in Environmental Journalism at CEI, gave the ads–and Al Gore's docutrauma An Inconvenient Truth–two thumbs-down here.

NEXT: O'Reilly on Weed

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  1. There is that famous statement about how if people don’t believe in God, they will believe in anything. Well, people don’t believe in God so much anymore and a lot of them believe in “global warming” as a way for man to be punished for his sins. People make fun of evangelicals, often times for good reason, but these folks seem every bit or more unhinged than the most strident sinners in the hands of an angry God evangelical.

  2. Mortman concludes, “Forget about warming around the globe–let’s worry about these folks getting hot under the collar!”

    Hyuk hyuk hyuk. Oh, that probably slew them at the Friends of Smog convention.

    You know what I hate about all the naysayers? It’s not like the science can be disproved, but it’s inconsequential if they are right. I can posit the spiritual wonders of the Holy Space Goat and his prophet (me), but if you don’t agree to convert, well, I guess nothing will happen to you (in this lifetime). Likewise, if Mortman and Bailey are correct, well, another Chicken Little theory out the window. But if they are wrong, and just cannot prove or disprove global warming theories…then by the time we see the effects of warming it will be far, far too late to reverse the trend.

    So, Ron, what are you prepared to say if it becomes obvious global warming is ocurring, and cannot be reversed? “So long Cape Cod”??

  3. Before self-destructing , CEI might have have Googled first.

    Fred Smith’s intrepid ‘ CO2. Some call it pollution,. We call it life .”Ad Men would have found this entry under “CO2 Lethality”

    Guidelines For Use Of Carbon Dioxide For Rodent Euthanasia

    STANFORD UNIVERSITY
    The Administrative Panel on Laboratory Animal Care (A-PLAC)

    DIRECTIONS: Review the following material. Keep copies of guidelines with applicable protocols. You may find it helpful to post a copy of these guidelines in your laboratory.

    WARNING : CO2 is fatal to humans at concentrations exceeding 15%: Training : Investigators must ensure that all individuals responsible for administering CO2 euthanasia are appropriately qualified and monitored, and that they adhere to IACUC-approved protocols and institutional policies

  4. One of the comments reprinted:

    someone should put each and every one of you in an enclosed garage with the car running and see how much you love the air. [from a staffer working for a major national political party]

    Carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide… hey, what’s the difference?

  5. I wasn’t aware that the atmosphere was approaching a 15% concentration of CO2…

    Of course, you could make the same argument about that major killer of humans, dihydrogen monoxide.

  6. well well …trotting this dead horse out for a beating again I see.

    Here are the clubs to do that with:

    Real Climatologists pick the CEI ads to pieces:
    http://tinyurl.com/ltb9w

    FactCheck does it’s thing:
    http://www.factcheck.org/article395.html

    Ronald, with friends like CEI, you don’t need enemies.

  7. ?Likewise, if Mortman and Bailey are correct, well, another Chicken Little theory out the window.?

    Not exactly true. If folks buy into the carbon dioxide/mean global temperature link, legitimate or not, there is only one solution; a mandatory reduction in energy consumption. Really the only way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions for now and the near future. Lower energy consumption will necessarily result in lower production. This may only mean a bit fewer extravagances for us, but for the folks getting buy on a couple bucks a day it would be catastrophic. It cuts two ways. There really is no ?better safe than sorry? here. Folk will suffer either way, that is, if nothing is done and the global warming crowd is right, or something is done and they are wrong.

  8. Even if these ads are scientifically bullshit (which I’m in no way qualified to assess), they do make a point that is often lost in the global warming debate- cut backs in co2 emissions means we can’t produce as much as we do now. This in turn has consequences on human well being that could be even more severe than sea level rises, etc. depending on how much we’re planning on cutting back

  9. Pleae please please pleae please pleae please please please please please please please keep running the ads, CEI.

    Pretty please?

    “It can’t be pollution, because we expel it” is the type of argument that will cause even the dullest tool in the shed to realize how dishonest global warming deniers are.

    But I gotta love the Michelle Malkin technique of printing your hate mail to draw attention away from your own perfidity and idiocy.

    This is going to be even more fun that watching you get stuffed on Social Security.

  10. “Lower energy consumption will necessarily result in lower production.”

    Everyone knows that you can’t reduce energy consumption without harming the economy.

    Just like everyone knows that reducing NOx emissions will be so expensive that people will pay for credits.

    And just like everybody knows that requiring seatbelts in cars will destroy the American automobile industry…by 1975.

    Bunch chicken little, you denialists are. Oh no, the world’s going to end if I have to be more energy efficient!

  11. Zardoz:

    I’m sure that Ron will have his own response but, once again, people not familiar with the workings of the scientific method should be careful when criticising scientists. In general, science says that we should NOT ACT unless the evidence is pretty conclusive. It is not – you even say so. That said, to act pre-emptively without justification is just as wrong as not acting despite evidence that indicates that action is warranted.

    During Viet Nam, chopper pilots were being shot in the ass (yes – in the ass) while in their seats flying over the bad guys. The Army came up with an ingenius material that could be used in the seat cushion and planned to retorfit the helicopters. However, one government agency, the Surgeon General, would not approve the development of the material in question as there was some concern that material was carcinogenic. It never breeched that obstacle and, as a result, pilots paid a price for the remainder of the war. The material: kevlar. Apparently, lead poinsoning was preferable to some slight chance that the sitter might die of some disease years down the road.

    By acting without supporting evidence, many soldiers were wounded, sometimes fatally. The kevlar-cancer link was never established and, as you probably know, kevlar is widely used today. The DDT/malaria story is an even more pathetic case study of what happens when we act on our Chicken Little instincts. We’re talking millions of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars lost. You should check that out and see if you still want to stick with your “just in case” motivation.

  12. “In general, science says that we should NOT ACT unless the evidence is pretty conclusive. It is not – you even say so. That said, to act pre-emptively without justification is just as wrong as not acting despite evidence that indicates that action is warranted.”

    a. just where is that rule?

    b. Almost all the climatologists I hear about seem convinced that, while there a number of minor details to resolve, it is quite conclusive that humans are rapidly warming the climate with our CO2. If you have a ‘List oF steves’ from climatologists (and related disciplines), which says otherwise, let me know.

  13. joe:

    The problem seems to lie in the amount of reduction required to make an impact on temperatures. We aren’t talking about seatbelts here. At least, not according to the models I’ve seen.

  14. If folks buy into the carbon dioxide/mean global temperature link, legitimate or not, there is only one solution; a mandatory reduction in energy consumption

    As has been pointed out, increased efficiency and alternative sources are also potential solutions.

    But even though GW itself may be settled science, there is no consensus that we can actually affect it to any meaningful degree, in time to prevent whatever catastrophe awaits.

    Sit back and enjoy the show, folks. You will end long before the world does.

  15. ?Bunch chicken little, you denialists are. Oh no, the world’s going to end if I have to be more energy efficient!?

    joe, simple efficiency wont even scratch the surface. You really have no clue.

    ?I largly disagree. Changes in energy usage yes, such as switching to nuclear power instead of relying on Coal for instance.?

    Perhaps nuclear, but I don?t see any other viable alternatives. And you know, I don?t think nuclear is really ?viable?. Can you imagine the obstacles to a wholesale replacement of industrial energy consumptions from hydrocarbons with nuclear?

    ?Almost all the climatologists I hear about seem convinced that, while there a number of minor details to resolve, it is quite conclusive that humans are rapidly warming the climate with our CO2.?

    And they could all be wrong. History is replete with mistaken scientific consensus. We have the experimental crowd with conclusive evidence of a general correlation of atmospheric carbon concentration and mean global temperature, and we have the modeling crowd claiming the link to causation. The question is really how far are we willing to go on this perceived link. I?m skeptical of the modeling community for many good reasons. I think a bit more is needed than a few climate models that nominally agree.

  16. Climate more complicated than anyone (especially warming/not warming enthusiasts) willing to admit, film at 11.

  17. When I was in grade school I was taught that CO2 emissions would lead to a world that looked even worse than this by the time I was an adult. My teachers told me that I’d have to move to a higher elevation to survive. (I’m pretty sure they were even more confused than the people who developed the propaganda… errr.. curriculum since we were at an elevation of 695′.) Even now Al Gore admits that he is exaggerating since he thinks its important that people be scared.

    The problem is not nearly as extreme as some people predicted (I recently lived in Houston, and it hadn’t been submerged yet) but the dictatorial solutions are the same. People say that we need to “stop global warming” but the reality is that it’s a much more nuanced problem. Some level of global warming is acceptable. I mean, would you rather live post-industrial revolution or pre-industrial revolution where the temperature is slightly lower? (The only people who would choose the latter are those who believe they were kings or queens in a previous life.)

  18. Hooray for Timothy, the *only* one to make any damn sense in this whole thread!

  19. I’m generally indifferent to these arguments, but I gotta say this line was f u n n y:

    You can expect an especially large amount of warming in your future…IN HELL!”

  20. BOTH SIDES BAD. ARRRRR. AL GORE AS BAD AS CEI. GRRRRR. BOTH SIDES BAD. HURRRRR. KERRY WORSE.

  21. # mount /dev/tongue /cheek

    I don’t understand the whole global warming problem. The worst possible case scenario is that it is self correcting. CO2 exceeds 20% of the atmosphere, humans become extinct, CO2 is no longer generated by humans, no problem. Best possible case scenario, the planet gets warmer, the planet gets cooler, the planet gets warmer, rinse, repeat, no problem. If they really want to fix the alleged problem, don’t let people breed.

    # umount /dev/tongue

  22. “Bunch chicken little, you denialists are. Oh no, the world’s going to end if I have to be more energy efficient!”
    Ironic coming from the guy crying “Oh no, the world’s going to end if we DON’T become more energy efficient.”

  23. “It can’t be pollution, because we expel it” is the type of argument that will cause even the dullest tool in the shed to realize how dishonest global warming deniers are.

    The current global warming is caused by two things, neither of them influenced by humans.

    1. The earth’s ever-moving molten iron core is slowing down in anticipation of reversing. When it does, the magnetic poles will be reversed. This happens from time to time.

    2. There has been a marked increase in solar storm activity. Normally, the magnetic field produced by the earth’s molten core prevents the bulk of the solar discharge from hitting the earth, but since the core has nearly come to a halt, it no longer protects us.

    You kids need to watch more TV

    Source for both: PBS (probably Nova)

  24. The problem with the whole “we will just get more efficient and use less energy and not have to cut our standard of living” bullshit is that energy efficiency leads to lower marginal cost of energy and greater demand and use of energy and greater growth. True, you may not have to lower current levels of consumption but you certainly have to forgo growth that you would have otherwise had. There is just no way around that. This fact is of course what appeals to the global warming alarmists. There is a real religious fanaticism about people like Al Gore. Read between the lines and you see that they don’t care whether or not reducing emissions will actually stop warming. What matters to them is that we must pay for our sinful consumptive lifestyles.

    This fanaticism has totally corrupted the climatologists into making increasingly alarmist and unsubstantiated claims. It doesn’t get you grants or on NPR or CNN to say that we are just not sure or that solar radiation could be some of the cause of warming or that the warming that is going to happen is not going to have that much of an effect on the human environment. You get grants, tenure and TV and the like by talking about doomsday scenarios and tipping points and human extinction. Scientists are human and just as susceptible to tell us what they think we want to hear as any other professionals, especially in a field as complex and unknowable as the earth’s climate.

    The stakes are very high. It is not just a question of well if alarmists are right and do nothing the world ends and if they are wrong and we do something have lost nothing. If the alarmists are wrong and we could end up letting a bunch of crackpot fanatics do real damage to our economy and way of life and the way of life of billions of people around the world. It is easy for us to sit in the US fat dumb and happy and think that its no big deal to spend a few percentage points of global growth on the big what if. Try saying the same thing in Africa where global growth is the only hope for rising out of gut wrenching poverty.

    Frankly, it is not global warming that scares me, it is the alarmists who scare the hell out of me. If you really believe the real crackpot stuff about tipping points and that the earth’s climate is about to be forever ruined in the next few years, what means is not justified to prevent that end? Combine that belief with a good dose of self loathing western guilt and smug moralism and it becomes a pretty dangerous brew. One need only look at the letters sent to the CEI over a few innocuous and imminently reasonable commercials to see the kind of mindset this creates.

  25. George Carlin’s “The Planet Is Fine”

    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.

  26. George Carlin’s “The Planet Is Fine”

    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.

  27. Please don’t remove an old widow’s posting, even if it is just a long cut-n-paste job. Thanks, sonny.

    – The Widow White

  28. b. Almost all the climatologists I hear about seem convinced that, while there a number of minor details to resolve, it is quite conclusive that humans are rapidly warming the climate with our CO2. If you have a ‘List oF steves’ from climatologists (and related disciplines), which says otherwise, let me know.

    Cause effect.

    The climate is warming. It was warming prior to CO2 production via humans. CO2 levels are increasing.

    Scareologists say: Humans are causing global warming.

    Real scientists are saying: The climate is warming, we don’t know to what extent, if any, humans are causing that. We don’t really understand how climate works in the first place.

  29. “Real scientists are saying: The climate is warming, we don’t know to what extent, if any, humans are causing that. We don’t really understand how climate works in the first place.”

    Those real scientists are quickly being run out of the profession in favor of the alarmists. Look at the latest demands for the firing of the head of NOAA because he has the nerve to actually say that there has yet to be a proven link between global warming and more intense hurricanes. These are truly dark times in which we live.

  30. So sick of the enviroweenie religion being shoved down our throats.

    Who says we don’t have a state religion? Just spend some time in a public school “science” class and observe the religious indoctrination that goes on:

    “Humans are destroying the earth.”
    “We must turn off the lights to save the planet.”
    “Solar energy is the future.”
    “We are causing a new wave of mass extinctions.”
    “The Amazon rainforest will be completely gone in 20 years.”

    Paugh.

  31. Pleae please please pleae please pleae please please please please please please please we need some liberal snarkiness to counterbalance all these anti-enviro posts. That’ll change they minds, uh huh!

  32. Here’s want I want to know…. why do we think global warming will be bad?
    It could be great… lots more vacation spots, longer growing seasons.
    Also, why is global warming protrayed as the whole Earth turning into a desert? The freakin plant is 2/3 water, just where do you think its all going to go once things warm up? Rainstorms, people! Besides if I remember right the greatest deserts existed during the ice age.

  33. Besides if I remember right the greatest deserts existed during the ice age.

    Wow. You have a good memory. Everything before 7000BC is just a blur to me.

  34. “Everything before 7000BC is just a blur to me.”

    That’s because the earth was only created in 6000 BC.

  35. As has been pointed out, increased efficiency and alternative sources are also potential solutions.

    For the most part, marginal reductions in the input costs of energy (via increased efficiency, for example) get eat eaten up by increased consumption. Absent some truly order-of-magnitude technological breakthroughs (which will render the whole problem moot anyway), efficiency won’t reduce man-made CO2 production enough to matter anytime soon.

    Alternative sourcing is, of course, the only and ultimate solution to man-made CO2 production. However, no one has yet identified alternative energy sources that can be economically deployed in the immediate future.

    So the statement that any meaningful reductions in CO2 production can only come in the near to mid future at the cost of reductions in energy use, and therefore reductions in economic well-being, is perfectly true.

  36. Global warming is caused by political government.

  37. I haven’t seen the movie yet. I expect it mixes a lot of solid science with some exaggeration.

    I did see the trailer, however, and there was a line flashed on the screen in giants letters — something like: “Have We Betrayed The Planet?!”

    Come on, now! Betrayal is a pretty heavy accusation to be throwing around. Our economy, and associated energy infrastructure, evolved over decades. We were more ignorant then; we’re more becoming more informed now. Sure let’s take measures to decrease greenhouse gases if we must, but I refuse to participate in the guiltfest.

  38. In general, science says that we should NOT ACT unless the evidence is pretty conclusive. It is not – you even say so.

    I do?? Where? I actually believe the evidence is quite conclusive, as most climatologists believe increased greenhouse gases raise the earth’s temperature.

    I’m not sure where the kevlar=cancer argument figures in here. It made for interesting reading, though.

  39. Besides if I remember right the greatest deserts existed during the ice age.

    Huh? In the Sahara, surely a “great desert”, geologists have found dried riverbeds dating to before 12,000 BC where water hasn’t flowed since, plus plant and animal remains that indicate grasslands over much of northern Africa until ca. 8000 BC. It’s also very probable, based on skeletal remains, that the ancestors of the Nilotic peoples (“ancient” Egyptians, as opposed to Semites) arrived in Egypt from the western part of that continent about then–another indication that these people migrated because their grasslands were drying up, right when the last ice age was ending.

  40. Everyone knows that desert areas are static and always exist at the same latitudes over 100’s of millenia. Also, all deserts are blazing hot (the Antarctic is NOT considered a polar desert – nosiree).

  41. Timon,

    assuming you weren’t being sarcastic:

    The sahara was once covered in seas….with whales in it.

    Australia was once covered with trees.

  42. I know, I know — the extreme alarmists are pretty amusing. And no, we don’t really understand if there’s any direct link between Hurricane Katrina and the stuff we’re putting into the sky.

    But we know this much:

    1. As far as we can tell from ice samples, tree rings, fossils and so forth, the rate of change in the earth’s atmosphere is a lot faster now that it was in any record we can find.

    2. CO2 acts as a greenhouse gas. (If it didn’t, this planet would be mighty cold.)

    3. We’re putting up a lot of CO2, and it’s increasing rapidly in the atmosphere.

    It’s not too hard to connect the dots.

    There is some legitimate skepticism, and Joel Achenbach teased it out in his great piece in the Post Magazine last week. Yes, several “skeptics” hung themselves with their own words. But there are some people who are doing legitimate research to test the earth’s capacity to compensate for our emissions.

    Is it too hard to get people to go about this with some intellectual honesty?

  43. “But if they are wrong, and just cannot prove or disprove global warming theories…then by the time we see the effects of warming it will be far, far too late to reverse the trend.”

    Why do you think that? I can think of many ways to reverse many effects of warming:

    1) Ocean iron fertilization could be used to pull enough CO2 out of the atmosphere to stabilize or even lower CO2 levels.

    2) Floating reflective material in the oceans, especially around the equator, could reflect enough sunlight away from the earth to lower the earth’s temperature.

    3) Using nuclear-powered snow-making machines could rebuild the polar icecaps.

    4) A system to reduce the strength of hurricanes, such as by covering fairly large sections of the ocean with plastic, could reduce the strength of hurricanes to levels below what they have ever been.

    5) Cold water pumped from the deeper ocean could preserve reefs, if the reefs are threatened by water that is too warm.

    6) Etc.

  44. “Perhaps nuclear, but I don?t see any other viable alternatives. And you know, I don?t think nuclear is really ?viable?. Can you imagine the obstacles to a wholesale replacement of industrial energy consumptions from hydrocarbons with nuclear?”

    Nuclear fission, or nuclear fusion?

    I’ve taken some preliminary looks at nuclear fusion, and there are some alternatives to tokamak fusion that look very impressive. To me, anyway.

    I’m particularly impressed with dense plasma focus fusion.

    Alternative s to tokamak fusion

    I could easily see the majority of the world’s energy converting over to dense plasma focus fusion within a couple decades of commercial demonstration, provided the cost is at least a factor of two less than conventional electrical generation (e.g. with natural gas, coal, and fission).

  45. Jason Ligon, if you’re still here,

    “The problem seems to lie in the amount of reduction required to make an impact on temperatures. We aren’t talking about seatbelts here. At least, not according to the models I’ve seen.”

    No, we’re not. But keep two things in mind; no one realistically expects greenhouse gas output to be severely cut back at anything like the timeline that seatbelts were introduced. And second, the initial cost-benefit measures are sure to improve over current assumptions as the investments in capital and effort are made. The costs and emissions reductions calculated to occur under Kyoto, for example, are the equivalent of the $100 million invested by a drug company to create the first pill.

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