Ron Bailey's Got Live If You Want It!

|

bailey.jpg

Reason Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey will be on PBS' Newshour tonight, discussing global warming. For local station info, go here. For Ron's column on Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," go here. And for his column on why "we're all global warmers now," go here.

Buy Ron's great book, Liberation Biology, here.

And while you're at it, why don't you just subscribe to Reason already?

Update: Transcript and audio online here.

NEXT: Rounding Up Criminals Is Hard. Let's Try Kids.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Ron Bailey is probably a PBS stockholder…

    *evil grin*

  2. Well, I “heart” libertarian transhumanists, whether or not Movable Type wants to acknowledge the fact.

  3. From Ron Bailey’s critique of Gore movie: “as a recent convert to the view that humanity is contributing significantly to the current increase in average global temperatures..”

    Translation: people no longer believe me when I tell bald-faced lies denying what has been the consensus among real scientists for more than a decade, so I can now better serve the agenda of the corporations that fund the Competitive Enterprise Institute by warning against acting “drastically.”

  4. Eric,

    Contrary to popular belief, you don’t get to pick who qualify as “real scientists”. While I wouldn’t touch the CEI with a ten-foot pole, there are plenty of non-quack climatologists who question both GW and AGW.

  5. Lots of people make assumtions about the motivations of others based entirely upon their own biased assumptions.

    Who knows what the reality is? I only know the few things I can objectively and with certainty know, the rest is what someone else tells me, which gives me very little certainty.

  6. Translation: people no longer believe me when I tell bald-faced lies denying what has been the consensus among real scientists for more than a decade, so I can now better serve the agenda of the corporations that fund the Competitive Enterprise Institute by warning against acting “drastically.”

    You make it sound like there’s no difference between skepticism and crimes against humanity.

    I’ve got tons more respect for someone who changes his public opinion in a public forum for reasons he puts out there in public than I do for someone who goes along with the consensus of “real scientists” for more than a decade.

  7. Ken,

    So pretty everyone who got the question right a decade ago is unworthy of your respect?

    Exactly how long should I have held out against the mountain of evidence as it grew?

  8. Learn to look into the camera, Bailey.

    Also, I judge books by their cover, and if the cover to Lib Biol is any indication, it’s a book full of lies as big as the lie that DNA has a left-handed helix.

  9. I didn’t throw the towel in much before Bailey. …and I didn’t say that people right for years are undeserving of respect.

    But there’s room for skepticism until the facts dictate otherwise. Scientific progress is dick without skepticism–is it not?

    Changing your mind because you reevaluated the facts isn’t a bad thing. …and when you do it in public, it’s a freakin’ virtue. Ever changed your mind, joe?

  10. Ken,

    I’ve changed my mind on gun control over the past few years, going from a strong supporter to the skeptical side of neutral.

    I’ve retroactively come to support the 1991 Gulf War. (Maybe we shouldn’t give peace a chance when a big country invades a little country so they can steal its stuff.)

    I have a lot of respect for skeptics, Ken. So much so, that I don’t like seeing what I consider to be an honorific exploited by politically-motived denialists. I never saw Bailey or other global warming deniers in the conservative media express skepticism when it came to, quote unquote, the heroic outsiders who dared to stand up to Big Climatology. Denying one side of a story wholesale when it that side is based on an inconvenient truth isn’t skepticism; it’s either delusional, or it’s dishonest.

  11. Here’s my question about Ron Bailey:

    Would you hit that?

  12. I don’t know what’s in Ron Bailey’s heart, but I don’t remember seeing him deny one side of the story wholesale. I remember seeing skepticism, and I remember there being legitimate room for it.

    …and I’ve changed my mind before too. I changed it about our efforts in Central America during the Cold War. Largely because of some reading I did because of some comments you and somebody else posted on this site. The facts didn’t change, but my perception of them did. I don’t think that means I was being dishonest before.

  13. Actually. PBS dropped the feed from Ron , whose head only got to talk for the last 2 minutes. The first 8 spanned the spectrum from The New Yorker to the New Republic. The bad feed was something of a mercy as
    no one brought up the hit or myth title of his CEI book.

    It doesn’t seem fair to drag a mostly biotech guy into the climate modeling arena with two lions anyway.

  14. Look, if libertarian science reporters have been reluctant to believe the evidence it’s because they’re very harsh and demanding skeptics. They want more data. They want more analysis. They want all of the alternative explanations considered. They know better than to trust something without very, very, thorough proof. They won’t fall for…what’s that? Wacky speculation about transhumanism? COOL!!!!

  15. I never saw Bailey or other global warming deniers in the conservative media express skepticism when it came to, quote unquote, the heroic outsiders who dared to stand up to Big Climatology. Denying one side of a story wholesale when it that side is based on an inconvenient truth isn’t skepticism; it’s either delusional, or it’s dishonest.

    I agree — Bailey should have been more skeptical of the skeptics and their skepticism.

    And then, just to be on the safe side, he also should have been skeptical of the skeptics who were skeptical of the skeptics.

    In fact, I would think prudence dictates that we take it at least one step further, and be skeptical of the skeptics of the skeptics of the skeptics.

    And congratulations on your farsightedness, joe. You rolled a seven, so you might as well let it ride.

    Me, I’m taking the position that global temperatures will start to drop in 2015. It’s true that there isn’t much evidence to support that yet, and some “skeptics” might think I’m being premature in making such a forecast. But I’m sticking to my guns, and if 2015 does end up being cooler, I can tell you all that I told you so.

  16. Well, call me a fool, but I’m still skeptical. I’m still not impressed by the science. I don’t think we fully understand the reasons why the climate is warming (but I do believe that it is warming–I vote for the sun). Nonetheless, I’m all for building a crapload of nuclear reactors to generate lots of electricity for next-gen electric cars. Technological progress is good even if you don’t have a reason (such as possible global disasters).

    I second Stevo’s prediction. There has to be another ice age eventually, doesn’t there?

  17. I don’t understand why longtime skeptics are changing their minds. The studies hat had been claiming to show with a lot of confidence the temperature record going back a thousand years have been discredited. The whole field is going to have to start over a new way.

  18. One of the reasons I was reluctant to accept global warming was because the policies being put forward to address the problem seemed likely to hurt the economy.

    …before I go in for chemotherapy, I want to make damn sure I’ve got cancer.

    I’m still not convinced that some of the remedies being put forward aren’t worse than the disease. If regulating carbon dioxide emissions becomes a proxy for central planning, can someone assure me first that global warming is worse than central planning?

  19. I’m with Ken Shultz. To quote a comment I made in April of last year…

    In order to require political action, the climate change issue needs to satisfy a whole chain of conditions:

    1. Anthropogenic climate change must be proven real.

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

    3. It must have a significant impact on humanity.

    4. The negative impacts on humanity must be greater than the positive impacts.

    5. The costs of directly addressing climate change must be less than the costs it imposes on humanity or the costs required to otherwise mitigate the consequences. And note that when you impose a cost today to mitigate something a century from now, you are betting against an exponential.

    The principal problem with global warming advocates is that they think they have condition 1 nailed, and that that gives them the authority to foist worthlessly destructive schemes like Kyoto on humanity.

  20. Ken’s last comment pointed out one of the problems of getting on track to find solutions. To paraphrase, he said he was reluctant to accept global warming BECAUSE the suggested policies might hurt the economy. Forgive me, but that’s not good reasoning. If the evidence shows that global warming is real (come on, regardless of skepticism the preponderance of evidence supports that conclusion), then we need to look for solutions. If those suggested already might cause too much economic pain, then we need to look for other solutions, not pretend that the problem doesn’t exist.

  21. I was just delighted they saw fit to have what appeared to be a liberal, a conservative, and a libertarian. I can’t swear that was intentional on their part, but I suspect it was.

    That definitely qualifies as progress, someone in the MSM thinks there are more than two sides on the major issues.

    I think it sucked that Bailey didn’t get more air time due to “technical difficulties” though. In the little time he had he added something to the discussion I’ve never heard in the MSM before. Namely the awesome power of compounded GDP growth. We can solve an awful lot of problems 100 years from now if we don’t kill the economy today to pacify the envirohystericalists.

  22. To paraphrase, he said he was reluctant to accept global warming BECAUSE the suggested policies might hurt the economy. Forgive me, but that’s not good reasoning.

    Kyoto was up for consideration before the jury came back on global warming. That’s not the way I wanted it to be–that’s the way it was. Signing on to a treaty like that, with all the economic pain it was likely to bring, before we (or I) knew for certain there was a problem…

    I’m not saying I’ve never put the cart before the horse, but, at the time, weighing the merits of global warming arguments within the context of Kyoto made sense. Indeed, as Mike pointed out, the jury’s still out on whether the benefits of Kyoto would justify the costs to our economy. Maybe it would have been more accurate to say I was reluctant to accept policy prescriptions before all the facts were in.

    Still, being reluctant to accept the facts doesn’t mean I didn’t accept them. I was reluctant to accept what we did at Abu Gharib too, but the facts are the facts despite my feelings about them. …and just as I accepted that we did what we did at Abu Gharib, so I accepted the facts of global warming.

  23. Thoreau, you’ve harped on the theme of Bailey being slow to accept GW, but being very interested in cutting edge medical research. What is your point? Being a skeptic does not preclude interest in new research, even if it is “out there.”

    Most scientists are very interested in the latest findings in their fields, but are skeptical until sufficient evidence comes in. What is sufficient is, of course, in the eyes of the beholder. All people have prejudices, data allows us to overcome those prejudices. That is WHY science works.

    For a variety of reasons I found most low altitude atmospheric data suspect, but was quickly convinced when ocean data showed warming. Does that make me an unreasonable skeptic?

    I am also fascinated by the evidence for dark energy, even though no one seems to have much of a clue how it is possible. Does that make me a nut job?

    Are these truly incompatible, as you seem to be saying with your pokes at Bailey? He is very interested in medical improvements to humans, what is your problem with that? What are YOUR prejudices?

  24. Stuart, there’s a difference between curiosity and enthusiasm.

    As a practicing scientist, I tend to be very skeptical even of the things that I’m working on: I’m fascinated by them, I think there’s a lot of potential there, but I’m also keenly aware of the obstacles. I temper my enthusiasm with informed skepticism, to the point where I’m probably more likely to get carried away with enthusiasm for somebody else’s pet project rather than my own pet project. That’s been the case in every cutting-edge area of scientific research that I’ve ever been involved in: Quantum computing, photonic bandgap materials, nanoscience, imaging beyond the diffraction limit, and anti-angiogenic therapy. All of these are hot subjects with lots of potential and considerable hype, yet working in these fields has made me realize how far we have to go. (Quantum computing, which I worked on for about 6 months and collaborated on one paper, has gone a considerable way since the time when I was involved.)

    So I figure that if a person is really immersing himself in a field then he’ll learn enough to become a little more sober. If somebody doesn’t become sober about a subject that he claims to be following very closely, then I have to wonder how well he’s understanding the science.

    And when that same person remains intensely skeptical about certain other subjects, and when the differential enthusiasm and skepticism just happen to coincide with proclivities and sympathies that are common among libertarians, well, it raises certain questions.

    Still, I give Ron Bailey credit for two important things:

    1) He has changed his mind on a big issue and admitted so publicly.

    2) He comes here to interact with his critics.

    Despite my differences of opinion with him, I respect him for those two very significant things.

  25. I don’t know if Ron’s previous position was unconditional, if so THAT was his error.
    I was skeptical, and still am, about the WHOLE AGW spiel, but my skepticism was, and is, conditional on the validity of the information.
    It would be most unusual to have NO climate trend one way or the other. The available information is that life on earth has always impacted climate, first in reducing the early atmosphere into something that supports life as we know it.
    As Michaels has pointed out, the temperature trends are not mysterious, just take past past (long term) trends and impose a straight line to see where it’s going. The climate has always varied and life has always adapted.

    Remember the caution from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy: DON’T PANIC!

  26. Stevo, you flatter me.

    There was nothing even the slightest bit farsighted or remarkable about realizing where the science was headed ten years ago, or recognizing that it had gotten there five years ago.

    The difference between myself and “skeptics” isn’t that I have any particular insight or gift, but that I wasn’t actively trying not to believe the evidence.

  27. Thoreau, out of curiousity, what are the certain questions? Mr. Bailey is a libertarian science journalist writing for a libertarian magazine. His prejudices seem to match with other libertarians.

    Next thing you know, we will discover that many physicists think they are smarter than everybody else and can rationally figure out how to solve every problem. (I say that with nothing but respect and admiration, I am an ex-physicist who found engineering more lucrative at a point in my life where lucre was very important.)

    Joe, science doesn’t head anywhere, it follows the data. Skepticism is what makes it work. I’m not sure if I follow your statements, but you seem to be saying that you didn’t understand the science well enough before to be skeptical, but in the end were correct. Therefore everybody who was skeptical was delusional or dishonest.

    Is someone who currently believes the sun is responsible for a significant portion of global warming delusional or dishonest?

  28. No, Stuart. I, and more importantly, the actual scientists who know the issues best, did follow the data, and did understand it enough to come to the right conclusion.

    Between global warming and Iraqi WMDs, I’m getting pretty damn sick of people telling me that my ability to come to the right conclusion before they did proves that I was going about it wrong.

    “Is someone who currently believes the sun is responsible for a significant portion of global warming delusional or dishonest?” Those who claim that human activity is NOT responsible for a significant party of global warming are misinformed or dishonest. No one is saying that there are no possible other causes.

    Face it, now that the theory that the sun became much more powerful during the exact period of greenhouse gas buildup was occuring is being demolished, the next Ronald Bailey will come out with another theory – it’s the earth’s core! It’s the orbit of Pluto! It’s the erosion of the Himalayas! – that will cause all of you skeptics to scratch your heads, and say he must absolutely not even think of doing anything until this incredibly important question is settled once and for all. And then the next one. And then the next one, just like you’ve been doing all along.

    It’s a transparent game, just like Intelligent Design, and I’m not going to pretend that the people willing to be duped by it are demonstrating responsible scientific skepticism.

  29. When he’s not commenting about the war, Ron Bailey is tops.

  30. Stuart-

    The question is whether Reason‘s coverage of science, technology, medicine, and the environment is driven more by ideology than data.

    Here’s the thing about ideology, skepticism, and science: Selective application of skepticism is fine if we’re talking about policy rather than science. Consider these assertions:

    1) Molecule X causes cancer.
    2) Molecule Y kills tumors.
    3) Molecule X should be banned.
    4) Molecule Y should not be regulated.

    The first two statements should be regarded with equal skepticism: We want more data. We want to see the results replicated by an independent group. We want the data tested by a different statistical method. We want the data examined to see if it is also consistent with an alternative hypothesis. And so forth.

    This equal skepticism should be the same whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Independent, Perotista, Objectivist, whatever the hell you are.

    The third and fourth statements, however, might be evaluated in light of ideology, since they are policy prescriptions rather than observations about the natural world. If one is a libertarian, then naturally a call for banning molecule X will meet with skepticism, if not outright dismissal, while a call for allowing people to buy and sell molecule Y will be met with great sympathy.

    I expect libertarians to take a libertarian approach to policy, and I expect Reason to take a reasoned approach to questions about the natural world.

    Thought experiment: Imagine that a study comes out purporting to find that smoking marijuana increases the odds of coming down with some nasty disease. Let’s even suppose that the data is pretty solid, and the study is soon replicated and supported by other lines of inquiry. The drug warriors take this as proof that prohibition is necessary.

    What’s the best approach for a libertarian publication to take?

    I would expect the libertarian publication to be open to the possibility that the data is correct, but suggest that prohibition is the worst way to deal with the negative effects of marijuana. I might even excuse a bit of lingering skepticism about the data.

    I would be disappointed if a libertarian publication’s strategy on the issue mostly involved harping on every remaining open question concerning the data. And I would be especially disappointed if the same libertarian publication gave uncritical coverage to, say, questionable claims made concerning alternative medicine.

  31. Ken says ‘the jury is still out’, interestingly:
    http://tinyurl.com/lqnvo

    guess who’s going to be reviewing the whole mess?

    Teh Supreme Court!

  32. People have all kinds of beliefs. Whether any of their beliefs is an accurate reflection of reality says nothing about how they came to those beliefs. A lot of people seem to acquire their beliefs osmotically, without critical evaluation of the relevant information. This is a very haphazard way of building ones internal model of the outside world. On occasion, a particular belief may, in fact, have some correspondence to reality. This does not validate their manner of acquiring beliefs.

    Being a skeptic does not mean that one has an opposing belief, but rather, that one realizes that there exists in the world all manner of misconceptions about reality, particularly in the popular wisdoms.

  33. I give Mike P’s rules a big “Hell, Yeah!”

    One question the anthropogenic climate change cultists never answer is this: “What % of climate change can be traced to human activity?” If it isn’t a significant number, the question of what behavior we change, and how, is moot.

    C’mon. Give us a ballpark figure.

    Oh, and thoreau can’t be trusted `cause he’s in the pay of the gubmint. 🙂

    Kevin

  34. kevrob-

    If I have my way, once I’m a faculty member I’ll be jockeying for industrial grants. (I have a project that I think a few companies would be interested in.)

    So then I’ll be untrustworthy because I’m in the employ of the corporations, in their corporation buildings, doing their corporation thing and getting all the money.

    And when I move into academic administration, I’ll be untrustworthy because I’m in the employ of those academic leftists, not to mention the money that the college gets from football.

    Basically, you should never, ever, ever trust me.

  35. Kevrob,

    You need to define a timeframe for your question, because if allowed to pick one’s own, a snarky bastard could easily answer “All of it.”

    In my case I would define the time period of 1900-2000, and would answer roughly half (maybe more), with the natural half originatinging from the mild but sustained increase in Solar energy during the first half of the 20th Century (which has since levelled off.).

  36. sam:

    OK, your ballpark number is 50%. What have you got to back that up? No fair saying, “half of it is due to solar variablility, so the rest must be us.”

    I’m keeping my eye on that sneaky thoreau.

    Kevin

  37. kev,
    This graph:
    http://www.mps.mpg.de/en/projekte/sun-climate/
    shows what I mean by the suns output over the past century.

    And this shows other forcings:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Climate_Change_Attribution.png

    on the last one, the solar section looks a little different from the one in the first link because the first measures energy in W/m^2 and the second shows measures of solar forcing in degrees centigrade, this latter likely includes the changes in Insolation at the Earth’s surface, whereas the former literally just measures the Sun’s energy independently from changes in the Earth’s heat retention properties.

  38. sam:

    Obviously we can fight ACC by setting off more volcanoes. 🙂

    Kevin

  39. volcanic methane and soot would be a problem…

    but did I at least minially answer your question? (even if you don’t agree…)

    Also sci-fi author Gregory Benford is on record as having suggested releasing powerful reflective aerosols into the air to help cool things….probably easier than getting Volcanos to go off on demand…it’s not like they are porn stars.

    The scientists at http://www.realclimate.org don’t much care for the idea, as it is better to simply stop “rocking the boat” instead of trying to” counter-rock the boat”. I’ll get the article later when I have time.

  40. sam:

    I give you credit for being the first ACC advocate I’ve ever seen provide a prima facie explanation of how much climate change can be laid at the feet of us humans.

    I’m still skeptical of the computer modeling. There’s no way a layman like me can judge whether the models are trustworthy, and too many of the advocates are just watermelons. (Green on the outside, red on the inside.)

    Kevin

  41. A question which never occurred to me before, to ask global-warming deniers: can you think of a scenario wherein radically increasing the percentage of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere does not lead to greater retention of heat by said atmosphere? How does this work, do you think?

  42. kevrob,
    Here is that geo-engineering article I promised:
    http://tinyurl.com/fbqh4

    Make of it what you will.

  43. Jennifer – Saturation and negative feedbacks. Anyway that’s not what the debate is about. Everyone agrees that increases in CO2 should lead to increases in heat. The question is if increases from the current (very low) levels is a drop in the bucket or measurable and substantial. The science there is much cloudier than MSM would lead you to believe.

  44. The question is if increases from the current (very low) levels is a drop in the bucket or measurable and substantial. The science there is much cloudier than MSM would lead you to believe.

    Atmospheric CO2 samples from ancient ice cores drilled in Greenland show that the levels did rise quite a bit (considering what a tiny amount of CO2 we had to start with).

    But I’d say that IS what the debate is about; even though the majority of mainstream scientists (at least the ones not paid by coal companies, oil companies and other businesses with a vested interest in denying global warming) say GW is real, there are those who keep insisting that no, it isn’t. So I would like to know how they figure the temperature stays the same even though the levels of greenhouse gases have been increasing.

    We’ve been pumping ever-increasing amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere since the late 1800s; how does this NOT result in warmer temperatures, do you figure? And will this continue to NOT result in warmer temperatures no matter how much CO2 we add to the mix?

  45. Jen the “Exxon paid disinfo” meme that AGW supporters use makes them sound like perpetual motion machine scammers. Exxon doesn’t pay as many people as some people would like to think. And even if Exxon does pay someone, a better flaw in their work than that should be found to discount their work.

    Now AGW supporters who get money from the carbon credit lobby, their work should be discounted on that basis alone, no?

    The big human CO2 outputs really started in the 1940s. The warming trend started in the 1700s. So there is something going on other than CO2 induced warming. We don’t really have a good handle on what’s the range of variability in the climate.

  46. The big human CO2 outputs really started in the 1940s. The warming trend started in the 1700s. So there is something going on other than CO2 induced warming. We don’t really have a good handle on what’s the range of variability in the climate.

    Yes, temperatures have been going up since the end of the Little Ice gae, possibly due to the decrease in volcanic activity after that time. But that doesn’t answer my question–how have we been able to dump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere without causing any additional greenhouse effect, and can we do so indefinitely or will there come a point where we need to reduce how much extra CO2 we remove from the ground and pump into the atmosphere?

  47. gae = “Age.” Yikes, I think I need to eat something.

  48. Jen there isn’t an answer. We just don’t have a formula for how the climate works. People would like to think that we do but we don’t.

  49. Denying one side of a story wholesale when it that side is based on an inconvenient truth isn’t skepticism; it’s either delusional, or it’s dishonest.

    umm when glaciers melt and stumps of trees are found that died from the cold less then a 1000 years ago it is possible to come to a conclusion that natural causes can warm the earth to temperatures above those that exist today.

  50. Johnl,
    we have had such a formula since 1896:
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/timeline.htm
    maybe not a good one at that point, but a formula we had.

  51. They know better than to trust something without very, very, thorough proof.

    Well they no better then to trust polititions using fear of dooms day as an excuse for massive expenditures and massive centraliszed regulation of the economy…

  52. Me, I’m taking the position that global temperatures will start to drop in 2015. It’s true that there isn’t much evidence to support that yet, and some “skeptics” might think I’m being premature in making such a forecast. But I’m sticking to my guns, and if 2015 does end up being cooler, I can tell you all that I told you so.

    hitch your star…this is actually intersting…not that i think Stevo is right but that he, like Ron, is hitching his skeptisism on a particlar unanswered question…Ron had his on the fauled up satalight data, stevo has his on his gut feeling about 2015.

    I put mine on the non-robustness of the Ipcc 2000 report that relied so heavely on mann’s 1998 multi-prixy study…

    It is my opinion that the AGW folks link between co2 and rising temps rely on the unpresedented nature of current temp trends…if those trends do in the futer gain robustness in proof i will drop my skeptisism.

  53. how have we been able to dump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere without causing any additional greenhouse effect,

    quiz of the day:

    Which one of these gases is a greenhouse gas?

    A) Water vapor
    B) CO2
    C) Oxygen
    D) Nitrogen
    E) Argon
    F) all of the above

    Answer F

    What percent of earths atmosphere is composed of C02?

    answer: .035%

    If water vapor is a greenhouse gas and higher temperatures increase water vapor consentrations then why hasn’t a natural run away green house effect super heated the earth?

    answer: No one knows but it is assumed that there are still as yet unexplained cooling effects that prevent this.

  54. “it is possible to come to a conclusion that natural causes can warm the earth to temperatures above those that exist today.”

    but it is necessry for the skeptics to come up with both an alternative theory to explain the current warming, which is not necessarily natural; and show how the prevailing theory completely fails to explain the current warming.

    in the first part, skpeptics have some vague idea that some natural force or other is somehow acting up, an in truth during the first half the 20th centurym the sun did warm up …a little bit. This is actually included in the current models, but in no way appears to overwhelm the influence of CO2 and other Greenhouse gasses.

    In the second part, as I already linked to above, there has been a century of research on the warming influnece of CO2; no sceptic has been able to show that the whole body of knowledge is in any significant state of error. What is said is that CO2 is such a small part oif the atmosphere that an increase shouldn’t have any significant effect at all.

    In this respect there is a misunderstanding of the basic feedbacks involved. As you can see here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth%27s_atmosphere
    The vast majority of the atmosphere is Nitrogen and Oxygen, almost totally permeable (99%) to radiations from the sun and the earth’s reflections thereof. Of the 1% that affects anything, CO2 is 3.5% at 381 ppmv; a more powerful gas is CH4 (methane) at 1.745 ppmv, 0.01745%; Ozone, makes up 0.0 to 0.07 of the atmosphere, depending on region, ie the Northern Hemisphere industries sustain Ozone in the air above it; chlorofluorocarbons are also notable; the most powerful gas is watervapor, around almost 99% of the gasses which affect the globes temperature, and is the strongest at affecting heat. It is important to note that while 99% of the Earth’s gasses don’t trap the Sun’s heat, 70% of the Earth’s surface does. Water vapor generates 36% of the greenhouse effect, but C02 is 12%. So on the face of things it would seem that the critics have a point, that altering Co2 would have little effect on Warming…

    The thing they miss, sometimes it seems deliberately, is that water vapor imbalances have a residence time of under a week.

    It rains out when there is too much.

    Ozone generates 3% of the Greenhouse effect, but lasts hardly at all…the only reason it is significant is that we keep pumping o3 into the air.

    Whereas C02 imbalances have a residence time of centuries. It doesn’t rain out… or otherwise disappear easily. It continues to keep things warm. Most importantly, it keeps watervapor warm generating a feedback loop which keeps more watervapor warm until an equilibrium is reached.

    What this means is much like the relationship between your foot and the engine in your car. Your foot is nowhere near as powerful as the engine in your car. But the car isn’t going anywhere without your foot pressing the gas pedal. CO2 is the global ‘lead foot on the gas pedal’. You remove the ‘foot’ and the water vapor ‘engine’ cools and the global ‘car’ cools. Add too much ‘foot’ and the ‘engine’ risks overheating and/or ‘crashing’ the ‘car’.

  55. Joshua,
    Where are Oxygen (o2) and Nitrogen listed as greenhouse gasses? I can find no credible source which shows what % effect they have…if any.

  56. The atmosphere is made up of “greenhouse gases” that is what makes life here possible. Jen: thanks for proving Larry Summers right… you go grrl.

    Temps go up and down for lottsa reasons. Maybe CO2 is one of many drivers (maybe it’s just a follower), my quess is that water vapor is much more significant along with the change in albedo from land alterations, esp in cities and ag lands and the sun. The sun might have some effect on temperature. Maybe there should be a study on it, along with the increasing canibalism among polar bears. They are getting the ID morons to buy into it with studies showing that impure thoughts and homosexuality increase with increasing temperatures… just look at the tropics and all of them savages that Maggie Mead banged so long ago.

    It’s all very complicated and no one knows what the heck all of the data means. NO ONE. Then you have Gore getting the classic Pavlov response from the oh so mod and stoopid nihilistic boomers and their vile spawn to believe the sky is falling. The media has been running globo swarming stories every summer for the past 10 years and all schools make it the #1 environmental bandwagon.

    You so-called libertarians who likely arnt real libertarians (you know the kind who right ther own paycheques) should figure out that globosmarming is the latest tack of the commiepinko control your farts from cradle to grave nannystate worthless lying pukes.

    All while urban and ag kids grow up with more pollution damage and lets not start on Africa. Thats right, keep afrika poor with a high turnover and the world will be safe for hemp sarongs and soy macchiados.

    Can anyone spot the self-involved bedwetters?

  57. Horst,
    you are this >.< close to having Godwins Law invoked upon thee.

  58. .< close to having Godwins Law invoked.

    (stupid tags)

  59. ARGH!!!

    Godwins Law is almost applicable to your comment. Just change ‘commiepinko’ to the other N word, and it’s end of conversation time.

  60. We just don’t have a formula for how the climate works. People would like to think that we do but we don’t.

    And yet you can still state that the majority of scientists who believe in manmade global warming are wrong? But you can’t explain why–you can just say “they’re wrong, I know this because climate is complicated. We don’t know how it works, but I know that I’m right and the scientists are wrong. But I can’t explain why.”

  61. If water vapor is a greenhouse gas and higher temperatures increase water vapor consentrations then why hasn’t a natural run away green house effect super heated the earth?

    answer: No one knows but it is assumed that there are still as yet unexplained cooling effects that prevent this.

    The unexplained cooling effect is actually explained. It is called “global dimming” and while I am by no means an expert, it is basically an increase in cloud cover and cloud albedo that has resulted in a net increase in albedo and corresponding net decrease in insolation at ground level (insolation measured directly by photovoltaic cells, and indirectly by pan-evaporation readings). The measured global dimming over the past few decades has a great deal to do with increased particulate emmisions on a global scale, and may have significantly masked the effects of greenhouse warming. Absent the increased albedo due to particulate influence on cloud formation, the greenhouse effect might have increased global temperatures significantly more than they have.

  62. Jen the studies that proported to show that we can now tell +- 0.5 degrees what the world’s average temp was 100 years ago aren’t holding up well under scrutiny. If you are interested it’s fun watching that concensus melt away. Generally those studies have relied on using analysis of moisture stressed trees in the American West that are not proxies for their local temperature, and fall apart without them.

  63. I love how Horst followed a slam on women’s ability to understand science with the statement, “Temps go up and down for lottsa reasons.” Boo ya!

    Too bad there wasn’t an “i” in any of those words, dearie, you could have drawn a little heart with your sparkly pen.

  64. Oh, and Joshua, with respect to nitrogen and oxygen being greenhouse gasses, this is incorrect. A gas is termed a ‘greenhouse gas’ if it has a higher visible-transmission/thermal-transmission ratio than the N2-02 mix that dominates our atmosphere. They are not greenhouse gasses by definition. In any event, CO2, water vapor, ozone (O3, not O2), and methane are sooooo much better at trapping energy than N2 and O2 that even a small amount – even 0.035% – in any of their levels in an otherwise pure nitrogen-oxygen gas will greatly increase its opacity in the thermal bands. So when compared to real greenhouse gasses, N2 and O2 would never be considered greenhouse gasses. Argon’s greenhouse power is also negligible by comparison to the ‘real’ greenhouse gasses listed above.

    To quote from a Scientific American article:

    “Nitrogen, oxygen and argon together comprise more than 99 percent of the atmosphere. None of these three gases [significantly*] absorb either visible or infrared light; both types penetrate the entire atmosphere. It is as though, when it comes to the absorption and emission of light, the atmosphere?s three main components do not exist!”

    *I added the word “significantly” because while their permeability is very high in these spectral bands, it is not infinite.

    CO2, H2O, N2O, O3 and CH4, are all greenhouse gasses. Atmospheric nitrogen (N2), oxygen (O2), and argon are not.

  65. Just to complete my beliefs a little better, I am going to expound on one point. Earlier I wrote that the Earth’s surface captures a good deal of energy, some 70%. Most of this energy is more or less slowly released in some form or another, keeping the planet livable.

    That 70% is variable. If there is a notable reduction in temperature (from orbital, solar, or gasseous or other changes) then bright white ice sheets tend to form, reducing the amount of sunshine collected, making things colder still, until an equilibrium is reached. Often these ice sheets will form over water and stay for the winter, and more or less go away in the summer. If they form on land and stick around, this lowers sea levels. Most of the sunhshine the Earth collects is in the oceans, as water actually holds heat better than rock and soil. So when Ice Sheets form over land, the effect is twofold.

    Conversely, if there is an increase in temperatures for whatever reason, the ice sheets melt, reduing the earths birghtness. Over the oveans, this absorbs more sunlight, warming things further. And Ice over land that melts increases the area of dark ocean water, whichh absorbs even more sunshine. Until an equilibrium is reached.

    In terms of my automobile analogy, this is like linking the gas pedal to the brake, such that when the driver’s foot lets up on the gas, the brake is automatically engaged, slowing the car, instead of just drifting. Pressing the accelerator lets up on the brake. This means that even very small changes in any one of the several climate change factors can have very significant effects on the climate. If the Driver is too quick with the foot, the ride will be jerky; but if gentle enough it is manageable. The Driver BTW is the Earth’s ecosystem…not really an Earth Godess, just living things collectively responsive enough in a mindless mob kinda way to adapt and brake/accelerate as mostly needed.

    Due to Milankovich cycles, and changes in the Sun, the Road itself can be bumpy, and the Driver isn’t always able to respond perfectly, and so we have Ice Ages.

    What we have now is an opportunity to make the Driver better at adapting to changes in the Road. Or careen wildly out of control, like some drunken teenager in a poorly modded hotrod…which oddly reminds me of a certain rather cool Invader Zim episode.
    Q: “Why turn your home planet into a hotrod?”
    A: “It’s just so coool!”

  66. Joe:

    Yeah, ’cause h&r is such a serious forum, esp wrt science. i just luv how the piece and feifdom party has taken over reasoniods.

  67. well thankfully Horst is here to show us how to be serious. I am sure your well reasoned, facts supported things-to-say, with respect to this discussion, will be arriving shortly.

  68. well thankfully Horst is here to show us how to be serious. I am sure your well reasoned, facts supported things-to-say, with respect to this discussion, will be arriving shortly.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.