As Goes Venus, So Goes the Earth?

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In his latest New York Times op/ed, climate warrior Al Gore ominously wonders if humanity is transforming Earth's atmosphere into that of Venus. He warns:

Consider this tale of two planets. Earth and Venus are almost exactly the same size, and have almost exactly the same amount of carbon. The difference is that most of the carbon on Earth is in the ground — having been deposited there by various forms of life over the last 600 million years — and most of the carbon on Venus is in the atmosphere.

As a result, while the average temperature on Earth is a pleasant 59 degrees, the average temperature on Venus is 867 degrees. True, Venus is closer to the Sun than we are, but the fault is not in our star; Venus is three times hotter on average than Mercury, which is right next to the Sun. It's the carbon dioxide.

Scientific critic-at-large, Russell Seitz suggests that the former Vice-President is exaggerating. To wit:

Sounds scary.  But is the prospect of Earth falling prey to a Venereal meltdown "cosmic in scale " atmospheric science, or popcorn movie hype ? His last performance left millions in terror of a  20 foot sea level rise within decades, unless Al's allowed to scare his way back into the White House.

The data suggest he's at it again. Having no kind of atmosphere, Mercury has no legitimate place in his analogy–It literally exists in a vacuum. Not Venus– its massive gas mantle exerts pressure enough to crush a submarine hull.

It's equal to 3000 feet of sea water, and presents a concentration  of CO2 over two thousand times higher than the  Earth's atmosphere contains. Little wonder the bottom of that alien abyss simmers above the melting point of lead. Yet even beneath the mother of all Greenhouse blankets, the temperature of Venus' clouds falls below human body temperature as the pressure approaches that on the surface of the Earth. …

If fuel reserves wereinfinite, it  would take two million years of todays conspicuous coal and oil consumption to realize Al's fears.

Whole Al Gore op/ed here. Seitz' complete acid critique of the Gore op/ed here. Seitz' review of An Inconvenient Truth here (subcription required, alas). My review of the movie here

Disclosure: The folks at Greenpeace's Exxonsecrets website have this to say about me. My views on man-made climate change have changed. It's been three years–perhaps Greenpeace could update it. 

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  1. You know, I’ve been critical of the practice of arguing against AGW claims by tossing out factoids about other planets.

    But when Al Gore brings up Venus? Damn, he’s inviting it!

    Carry on.

  2. (To be clear, I wasn’t accusing Ron of tossing around out of context factoids about other planets, but I’ve seen it happen, and it annoys me. But when Al Gore talks about other planets, he’s inviting that sort of thing.)

  3. Gore doesn’t say, or even remotely suggest, that we are going to turn the Earth’s atmosphere into Venus’s. He says that Venus is much hotter because it has much more carbon in the atmoshpere – a true statement – that we are putting more carbon in our atmoshpere – a true statement – and that doing so is making the earth warmer – a true statement.

    What exactly is the problem?

    My views on man-made climate change have changed.

    Yes, they have. You wrote a book called “Global Warming and Other Eco-Scams,” in which you accused Al Gore of indefensible environmental hysteria and bad science for saying that global warming was even happening.

  4. You’d think someone at the times would know that Mercury has no atmosphere, like the moon.
    I wonder if, like the moon, where only one side always faces the earh, the same side always faces the sun, making the dark side very cold.
    Amazing, how can anyone listen to that dumb shit Al Gore after a statement like that, flaunting his ignorance?
    A reminder, when Al testified before Congress he was supposed to submit his testimoney in 48 hours before. He asked for a 24 hour waver. Was granted that. Did NOT turn it in.
    He handed copies of his testimoney either just AFTER he finished testifying or not at all.
    What a pathetic creep.

  5. Gore doesn’t say, or even remotely suggest, that we are going to turn the Earth’s atmosphere into Venus’s. He says that Venus is much hotter because it has much more carbon in the atmoshpere – a true statement – that we are putting more carbon in our atmoshpere – a true statement – and that doing so is making the earth warmer – a true statement.

    This bears repeating, and now the only question is how Reason’s “science correspondent” can get away with being so blatanly dishonest about what Gore is saying.

  6. Eco-Scams?!

    [mean message about Mr. Bailey typed in but the deleted]

    Eco-Scams?! Did he realy call a book that?

  7. I wonder if, like the moon, where only one side always faces the earh, the same side always faces the sun, making the dark side very cold.

    That was the subject of the sci-fi writer Larry Niven’s first sold story, “The Coldest Place.” It turns out that Mercury does rotate, albeit very slowly. This link goes into some detail about the rotation period of Mercury and its relation to its revolution around the Sun.

    Seitz is an interesting commenter. My dictionary gets quite the workout reading him and his blog. I think he pops in Hit & Run from time to time.

  8. You’d think someone at the times would know that Mercury has no atmosphere, like the moon.
    I wonder if, like the moon, where only one side always faces the earh, the same side always faces the sun, making the dark side very cold.

    Mercury does rotate on its’ axis, but very slowly: one “day” on Mercury – sunrise to sunset – is about 180 Earth days.

    Venus also rotates very slowly relative to Earth – a day on Venus is equal to 240 Earth days, and is actually longer than a Venusian year, which is about 224 earth days. This continuous exposure of one face to the sun also has a lot to do with the extrememly high temperatures on Venus.

  9. Dan T and joe,

    You guys need some refreshers in highschool science eh? PV=nRT, remember? Gore is suggesting that Venus is that hot because of all the CO2 in the air. Where as its hot because of the immense pressure of the atmosphere. In places where pressure drops to Earth like levels, the heat is not nearly as intense. But, no no, continue to absorb the scare-‘science’Gore spews, dont let facts get in your way.

  10. Gore doesn’t say, or even remotely suggest, that we are going to turn the Earth’s atmosphere into Venus’s.

    What color is the sky on planet Gore? It’s amazing the way Goreians (Goreites? Goredons?) unconditional love inspires “he didn’t say what he said”. Like when they insist he didn’t claim to have invented the internet in one breath, and then claim that he actually did invent the internet in the next.

  11. joe: You wrote a book called “Global Warming and Other Eco-Scams,” in which you accused Al Gore of indefensible environmental hysteria and bad science for saying that global warming was even happening.

    Actually, joe, not that you care, but the book to which you refer (and which you have not read) does not mention Gore in the context of global warming at all. The chapter on global warming by climatologist John Christy doesn’t mention Gore. I should also mention that that chapter (which I note again you have evidently not bothered to read) starts in its very first line by acknowledging that adding CO2 to the atmosphere is increasing global average temperatures. Christy still does not think that this is a major problem, I now do.

    Dan T.: Dishonest?! Of course, criticizing environmental “saints” such as Gore is now beyond the pale of decent conversation, but if you can’t recognize a rhetorical scare tactic when it’s deployed by Gore, then that’s your problem.

  12. But is the prospect of Earth falling prey to a Venereal meltdown “cosmic in scale ” atmospheric science, or popcorn movie hype ?

    [insert venereal disease joke here]

  13. gore’s statement is an intentionally misleading comparison of apples and oranges. there never was any life on venus to decay into carbon. venus’s CO2-heavy atmosphere (150x as dense as earth’s) has resulted from massive volcanic expulsion of gas, way more expulsion of gas than on earth. whether or not the CO2 we are adding to our atmosphere increases the temperature a degree or two, there is no conceivable way our atmosphere could ever come close to resembling venus’s, so this is nothing but a red herring.

    joe’s little logical syllogism is downright laughable. one might as well say (1) elephants weigh a lot because they eat a lot of food, (2) i am eating more food, and (3) eating more food is making me weigh more. does statement (1) have any relevance whatsoever to the other two statements? no. then what is its purpose? merely to scare stupid people into thinking they are going to weigh as much as an elephant.

  14. Al, Al, Al,

    I imagine that John Kerry would be a worse public face for this issue, but Al needs to hire some “no” men to keep him in line.

    Everyone realizes that Al is trying to use an over-simplified analogy to make a point, but he just steps into his critics sights with this kind of talk. He should realize that he has everyone’s attention and stick to policy proposals from here on out. That’s where the real work needs to be done.

  15. Dan T.: Dishonest?! Of course, criticizing environmental “saints” such as Gore is now beyond the pale of decent conversation, but if you can’t recognize a rhetorical scare tactic when it’s deployed by Gore, then that’s your problem.

    Come on, Ron, we both know that Al Gore was not suggesting that Earth was going to turn into Venus. He was illustrating that carbon in the atmosphere contributes to a warm atmosphere.

  16. Gore doesn’t say, or even remotely suggest, that we are going to turn the Earth’s atmosphere into Venus’s.

    Riiiiight. He was just making cocktail party conversation. Earth and Venus have the same amount of carbon! Whodathunkit?

    And when Clint Eastwood, playing Dirty Harry, told the perp that he was using a .357 magnum, which was the most powerful handgun in the world and would blow a hole clean through you, he wasn’t saying any such thing.

    I mean, there could have been a bullet left. Or not. Who knew?

  17. jimmy,
    “Does statement (1) have any relevance whatsoever to the other two statements? No. Then what is its purpose? Merely to scare stupid people into thinking they are going to weigh as much as an elephant.”

    Welcome to advertizing, my good man.

  18. Gore does state that global warming will “endanger the habitability of the planet for human civilization,” and nowhere says “now, we won’t get as hot as Venus, but…”

    Essentially, Al Gore just trolled the NYT.

    That being said, Gore is wrong that simply limiting our carbon emissions (ever hear of a teleconference, Al? I hear iChat is really good for that) will solve the problem. We need a technological solution to go beyond sequestration of new carbon being released to sequestration of carbon currently in the atmosphere if we are to return the climate to 1990 in anything approaching a generational time frame.

    So the solution isn’t hairshirt asceticism, but technological innovation. Yet nowhere in his op-ed does he call for it.

  19. Dan T.
    “Come on, Ron, we both know that Al Gore was not suggesting that Earth was going to turn into Venus. He was illustrating that carbon in the atmosphere contributes to a warm atmosphere.”

    OK Dan, but what about all the volcanos? If they keep erupting and expanding the size of the Earth, well then we might end up with a stronger gravity field. Mars had a lot of volcanos and it’s a dead planet. Saturn has a stronger gravity field than Earth.

    So there.

  20. I should clarify that he calls for technological innovation, but only in the service of cutting new emissions, not sequestration of current atmospheric carbon.

  21. wsdave
    “OK Dan, but what about all the volcanos? If they keep erupting and expanding the size of the Earth, well then we might end up with a stronger gravity field. Mars had a lot of volcanos and it’s a dead planet. Saturn has a stronger gravity field than Earth.”

    Wait. Its mass not volume that causes gravity, and whether or not magma cooling into rock expands, contracts, or remains at the same density, the total mass will remain the same. The earth isn’t gaining mass when a volcano erupts, mass is simply moved from one place to another.

  22. I should clarify that he calls for technological innovation, but only in the service of cutting new emissions, not sequestration of current atmospheric carbon.

    One thing that we tend to forget is that:

    Every gram of carbon that has ever been burned from a fossil fuel was once contained in the atmosphere of the Earth. Plants built their mass from it, animals ate the plants, died, and their bodies were converted via geological processes into the solid carbon found in coal, natural gas, and crude oil.

    I would be very very interested in finding out if significant research has been done into the actual conditions of the planet’s climate during the earlier period when most of the C in fossil fuels was contained in the atmosphere as CO2.

    (This assumes, of course, the incorrectness of the hypothesis that CO2 absorbed in oceans is solidified as carbonate ion by organisms, the shells and skeletons of which are subsumed into the earth’s crust at subduction points and recycled under intense temperature and pressure as hydrocarbons.)

  23. It might have behooved Seitz to empahize million rather than two

  24. This is one of my favorite areas to read libertarians. When it comes to Global Warming, they have been in sync with about the same % of qualified Phd’s as Holocaust Deniers, suggesting we should dismiss the 90%+ number of experts who say this is a problem, at least until it becomes impossible to make such a claim (intellectually), where you switch to these little pot-shots at folks that were right the whole time you were wrong…I’d like Bailey to say, once and for all, “Al Gore was very correct about the negative effects of our contributions to global warming, where for years I was horribly wrong. Now Al Gore says x, while I think y.”

  25. And when Clint Eastwood, playing Dirty Harry, told the perp that he was using a .357 magnum, which was the most powerful handgun in the world…

    And when Clint Eastwood, playing Dirty Harry, told the perp that he was using a .357 .44 magnum, which was the most powerful handgun in the world…

    Too much time playing with guns.

    The difference is that most of the carbon on Earth is in the ground – having been deposited there by various forms of life over the last 600 million years – and most of the carbon on Venus is in the atmosphere. As a result, while the average temperature on Earth is a pleasant 59 degrees, the average temperature on Venus is 867 degrees.

    So if 600 million years ago was before living things had sequesteredd carbon, and if most of the carbon was in the atmosphere, and if the difference is carbon dioxide, then the temperature on Earth must have been 867 degrees like it is today on Venus. So how did life get started to sequester the carbon underground and reduce the temperature to 59 degrees?

    I know! I know! Intelligent design?

  26. Gosh Ken, you’re RIGHT.

    historical event with many eyewitnesses = scientific theory of a chaotic system.

    If the Gore fetishists could provide us with a list of all other things Al has or will say that are above examination and/or criticism, it would save everyone a lot of time.

  27. I cannot fathom how anyone on the planet besides Tipper, out of a sense of spousal obligation, takes al Gore seriously.

    That the global economic and political command and control the environmental movement seeks does not set off a sea of red flags and deafening cacophony of alarm sirens in a libertarian forum such as this is dumfounding.

    Wake up folks – the greatest threat to your liberty does not fall under the acronym GOP but rather AGW.

  28. Ken – quick question.

    What caused the LAST Global Warming period (the one that produced temperatures equal or greater than the current and forecast future temperatures)? It was about 125,000,000 years ago and pre-dated man (and SUVs) by a few years?

    CB

  29. Poor, simple, JW, my sheep farming friend! May your herd never run loose on you!
    Where Gore agrees with 90% of the experts on these issues, he is probaby more correct than internet posters waving their wikipedia “evidence” or journalistic writers like Bailey who make their living skewing things in a pro-commerce way…

  30. Oh, JOY, Cracker Boy has graced us with his environmental expertise!!!!
    Just curious as to why you would think the scientific consensus on this issue is wrong, but your ideologically preferred opinion is correct??? I like Bailey, but he is no expert on this issue (does he have a PhD.?) and works for a think tank where he would be fired for radical disagreement from the “cause.” I’m supposed to defer to you and his opinions on this???????????

  31. It’s been awhile, and there seems to be so many new faces… (And remember kids, I don’t care if Al is right or wrong, I’m offend by the constant proclamations of his infallibility.)

    The Gorean Creed

    We believe in Global Warming
    the Sea-Raiser, the All-Powerful,
    maker of tsunami and hurricane,
    of all that is, seen and unseen.

    We believe in one Cause, The Activities of Man,
    the lowest of all creatures,
    except the ones that are brown,
    Gasses from Coal, Recycling from Blight,
    true Cause from true Gasoline,
    made, not begotten,
    of Driving when One Could Walk;
    through Man all pollutions were made.

    For us and for our salvation
    Gore came down from heaven,
    was incarnate of the Holy Nader
    and the Virgin Chomsky
    and became truly political.
    For our sake he was un-elected
    under Pontius Harris;
    he suffered defeat and was retired.
    On the third year he rose again
    in accordance with the Documentatrians;
    he ascended into Hollywood
    and is seated at the right hand
    of the Film Executives.
    He will come again in glory
    to judge the polluting and the recycling,
    and his kingdom will have a biodegradable end.

    We believe in Global Warming, the Destroyer,
    and the taker of life,
    who proceeds from the Car and the Industry,
    who with the Suburbs and the Factory Farm
    is worshiped and glorified,
    by the prophets of GREED.
    We believe in the scientists who agree with us and our beliefs.
    We accept the starvation of Billions,
    for the forgiveness of environmental sins.
    We look for the return to subsistence farming,
    and the whole grain life of the world to come.

    Amen.

  32. Gee, Ken, maybe, you could address the idiotic inconsistencies in Gore’s latest message, as described in this article and thread. Or maybe you can add nothing of value to the conversation and ask Ron Bailey to appologize again.

  33. Ken – I’ll take that as an “I don’t know what caused THAT one, but I know THIS one is caused by man”.

    Thanks everybody. You’ve been a great audience. I’m here all week. Don’t forget to tip the waitstaff.

    CB

  34. The part about Venus’ atmospheric pressure being higher than that of earth is interesting, but what causes the higher pressure? Venus is close to Earth in mass, I think.

    The part about Mercury is a red herring, it was just an illustration of the fact that Venus’ closeness to the sun does not account for its being that much hotter than Earth.

    db-
    “I would be very very interested in finding out if significant research has been done into the actual conditions of the planet’s climate during the earlier period when most of the C in fossil fuels was contained in the atmosphere as CO2.”

    Maybe there were more plants around to convert it into oxygen, storing the carbon inside their cells?

  35. Ah, CB and Val, are you admitting that you rblind partisanship kept you, as Bailey, from seeing what was there to most experts? But of course you are neither experts, are you? You wait to see what your think tanks tell you…When the HVAC or plumber comes to your house do you say “hey, I am a conservative tool, and as such I decry your expertise on this subject and ask you to fix it thusly…”

  36. Ken–Shhhh. The grownups are talking.

    Now, where’s that troll filter?

  37. Uh Ken. I asked a question. What do you think caused the last globally hot period?

    You seem to be looking past that, uh, inconvenient truth, when assuming that the current warming is man made.

    Don’t answer, Ken, if you don’t want to. I’ve got a pretty good idea that, with you, it’s not about the truth.

    CB

  38. Ken
    you can have my co2 offsets when you pry them from my cold dead fingers…

  39. Mark–

    That’s what I’m getting at. However, before it was contained in plant tissue (which my above comment may be misread to exclude as a raw material for fossil fuels), it was most likely contained in the atmosphere as CO2 which plants later absorbed to create their carbonaceous tissue.

  40. Mark–

    The higher pressure is due to the fact that the atmosphere of Venus is physically thicker (in depth, not viscosity) than Earth’s. Proportionately more of Venus’s mass is in the form of gaseous atmosphere than solid body. At the deeper realms of the atmosphere it is more highly compressed relative to Earth’s.

  41. Ken is right – basically, global warming denial has become a sort of religion for libertarians. I guess it has to be that way, since global warming might lead to – gasp! – government regulations. Which we all know is the worst thing in the universe.

    You guys are like creationists in the way you deny science.

  42. From Gore’s article…

    But should countries with one-fifth our gross domestic product – countries that contributed almost nothing in the past to the creation of this crisis – really carry the same load as the United States?

    This is yet another brazen distortion that Gore and others continually make. If atmospheric levels of CO2 were frozen at today’s levels, there would be no crisis and no catastrophe: The temperature in 2100 would be 1?F higher than that today.

    It may be fair in some sense to argue that the richer countries should carry of the burden than developing countries. But blaming you today for the effect on the models of your grandchildren in 2050 is simply a lie.

  43. Uh Ken. I asked a question. What do you think caused the last globally hot period?

    What is the argument here, exactly? Is this provocative question meant to imply that if the “last globally hot period” was not man-made then that stands as a reason against the notion that the current warming is man-made? If so, does that strike you as a sound argument? If my last sunburn was caused by the sun, does that mean that my current sunburn was caused by the sun even though I was in an indoor tanning salon when it happened?

    That global warming can be caused by natural forces does not mean that the current warming trend is not caused or greatly exacerbated by human causes.

  44. Ron,
    You are more useful to the anti-human, anti growth, pro socialist Greenies as a bogeyman.

    Your profile will remain unchanged.

  45. Dan, not all of us are like that.

  46. Gore doesn’t say, or even remotely suggest, that we are going to turn the Earth’s atmosphere into Venus’s. He says that Venus is much hotter because it has much more carbon in the atmoshpere – a true statement – that we are putting more carbon in our atmoshpere – a true statement – and that doing so is making the earth warmer – a true statement.

    By the way, I want to add my voice to those who say that, while Gore is telling the truth about Venus, his intension is clearly to get the proles to believe a lie.

    It is identical to his movie’s inclusion of the effect of the rising sea level on the coastline of the US without mentioning that that rise won’t happen for 300-1000 years. It is simply a gambit to tell part of the truth while letting the emotions of the observer fill in the blanks to infer imminent catastrophe.

  47. Dan, not all of us are like that.

    Yes, and I am a little guilty of generalizing. My apologies.

  48. while Gore is telling the truth about Venus, his intension is clearly to get the proles to believe a lie.

    intension
    2. The act of becoming intense or more intense; intensification.

    Is there in typos no beauty?

  49. Global warming is a hoax by the left to establish control over the masses now that socialism has failed. Global cooling actually what we will be facing in 40 years.

  50. The fool, the meddling idiot! As though his ape’s brain could contain the secrets of the Krell!

  51. Besides Dan, we could as well talk about liberal refusals to acknowledge research that points to evolved or genetically determined behavioral responses versus environmental causes, or we could talk about the fetish for organic food with no recognition of the additional habitat destruction it requires, or the liberal fascination with “alternative” (i.e., non-science-based) medicine.

    Everybody’s got confirmation bias. It’s hard-wired, not socially constructed, right? 😉

  52. Ron: your falsehoods about DDT and malaria are still stock in the “Carson killed millions” industry. When are you going to update THAT?

  53. “Where Gore agrees with 90% of the experts on these issues,”

    I want to see a list of all the experts of the world, a reason why they are considered an expert, and then a disposition on what it is they agree on before I ever believe this thrown around stat pulled out of thin air. Are you sure it isn’t really 89%? or does 90% just sound better. Why not say 95%, it sure sounds more impressive.

  54. plunge,

    Please speak up, I can’t hear you over the deafening sound of birds outside my office.

  55. “Global cooling actually what we will be facing in 40 years.”

    What is your source for this?

  56. “It is identical to his movie’s inclusion of the effect of the rising sea level on the coastline of the US without mentioning that that rise won’t happen for 300-1000 years. It is simply a gambit to tell part of the truth while letting the emotions of the observer fill in the blanks to infer imminent catastrophe.”

    Gore is on record as saying he will exaggerate to get peoples’ attention.

  57. “That global warming can be caused by natural forces does not mean that the current warming trend is not caused or greatly exacerbated by human causes.”

    Yes, man is probably influencing some of the rise in temperature, but the question is how much and is it all that serious? I’m looking forward to Bjorn Lomborg’s book coming out in early September. He believes that some of the warming is caused by man, but believes it’s highly exaggerated. The name of the book is “Cool It”.

  58. joe asked ( 11:12am )
    “Gore … says that Venus is much hotter because it has much more carbon in the atmoshpere – a true statement – that we are putting more carbon in our atmoshpere – a true statement – and that doing so is making the earth warmer – a true statement.

    What exactly is the problem?”

    The problem Joe , is that you evidently did not read the Adamant article before commenting.

    Had you, you would find that there is two million times or more CO2 trapping heat on Venus than Earth.

    I for one think it naughty of Mr.Gore to stretch the limits of scientific analogy by six orders of magnitude in the case of atmospheric radiative forcing on Venus , and very poor form indeed for him to drag in Mercury , where the air is literally a billion times thinner than here.

    Six orders of magnitude here, nine orders of magnitude there- when you goa factor of a million beyond billions of billions, somebody on late night TV is likely to notice, and The Times _does_ come live from New York.

    Russell Seitz

  59. You may want to take a look at my recent reporting on confirmation biases.

    plunge: With regard to Carson, I don’t believe that I have anything to apologize for. Please read my review of Silent Spring at 40. You will note that I blame Carson’s intellectual descendants aka environmental alarmists for the DDT/malaria debacle. Relevant passage:

    Meanwhile, Carson’s disciples have managed to persuade many poor countries to stop using DDT against mosquitoes. The result has been an enormous increase in the number of people dying of malaria each year. Today malaria infects between 300 million and 500 million people annually, killing as many 2.7 million of them. Anti-DDT activists who tried to have the new U.N. treaty on persistent organic pollutants totally ban DDT have stepped back recently from their ideological campaign, conceding that poor countries should be able to use DDT to control malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

    So 40 years after the publication of Silent Spring, the legacy of Rachel Carson is more troubling than her admirers will acknowledge. The book did point to problems that had not been adequately addressed, such as the effects of DDT on some wildlife. And given the state of the science at the time she wrote, one might even make the case that Carson’s concerns about the effects of synthetic chemicals on human health were not completely unwarranted. Along with other researchers, she was simply ignorant of the facts. But after four decades in which tens of billions of dollars have been wasted chasing imaginary risks without measurably improving American health, her intellectual descendants don’t have the same excuse.

  60. Russell,

    Show me where Gore said that Earth was going to turn into Venus. Go ahead, quote it. I’ll even tell you how to use the italics tags, if you’d like.

    What’s that? He didn’t? Oh.

    So…you were saying?

  61. “Where Gore agrees with 90% of the experts on these issues, he is probaby more correct than internet posters waving their wikipedia “evidence” or journalistic writers like Bailey who make their living skewing things in a pro-commerce way…”

    90% of climatologists don’t agree with his gross exaggerations, only that man has contributed to some of the warming.

  62. You’re still lying, Ron.

    You know damn well that the Carson-inspired ban on the agricultural use of DDT is the only reason it remains useful in protecting human populations today. You know damn well that it was the advocacy of Carson and those inspired her than prevented its ability to fight malaria from being destroyed by the breeding of DDT-resistant mosquitoes, as it did in Sri Lanka.

    And you still write this shit, and the gullible ideologues eat it up.

  63. “Go ahead, quote it. I’ll even tell you how to use the italics tags, if you’d like.”

    Who needs italics, Joe ? Al’s argument barely needs ellipsis to make it perfectly clear –

    “Consider this… Earth and Venus .. have almost exactly the same amount of carbon…and most of the carbon on Venus is in the atmosphere…As a result, while the average temperature on Earth is a pleasant 59 degrees, the average temperature on Venus is 867 degrees… It’s the carbon dioxide.”

    Q.E.D

  64. Consider this tale of two planets. Earth and Venus are almost exactly the same size, and have almost exactly the same amount of carbon. The difference is that most of the carbon on Earth is in the ground – having been deposited there by various forms of life over the last 600 million years – and most of the carbon on Venus is in the atmosphere.

    As a result, while the average temperature on Earth is a pleasant 59 degrees, the average temperature on Venus is 867 degrees. True, Venus is closer to the Sun than we are, but the fault is not in our star; Venus is three times hotter on average than Mercury, which is right next to the Sun. It’s the carbon dioxide.

    Uh, he says the difference between our planets is that one has its carbon in the air and the other has it in the ground. He says we are taking carbon out of the ground and putting it in the air. If he’s not drawing an equivalence, what is he doing?

    We may have our differences but I’ve never considered or called you a moron. If he’s not telling us we are turning Earth into Venus in that passage, then you must have some sort of magic Mormon stones that allow you to translate the passage out of plain English and into a special Gore language.

  65. Vaclav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic on Global warming:

    As someone who lived under communism for most of his life, I feel obliged to say that I see the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity now in ambitious environmentalism, not in communism. This ideology wants to replace the free and spontaneous evolution of mankind by a sort of central (now global) planning.

    The environmentalists ask for immediate political action because they do not believe in the long-term positive impact of economic growth and ignore both the technological progress that future generations will undoubtedly enjoy, and the proven fact that the higher the wealth of society, the higher is the quality of the environment. They are Malthusian pessimists.

    Column here: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/9deb730a-19ca-11dc-99c5-000b5df10621.html

  66. Russell,

    I’m still waiting for the part where Gore said the Earth was going to turn into Venus.

    SugarFree,

    Uh, he says the difference between our planets is that one has its carbon in the air and the other has it in the ground. He says we are taking carbon out of the ground and putting it in the air.

    Once again, the part where he says that we are doing so to the degree necessary to turn the Earth into Venus is…?

    The man made an obvious and irrefutable point about the existence of the greenhouse effect. It takes some pretty special magic stones to read that statement as suggesting that we are going to achieve Venus-like levels of either temperature or CO2 levels.

    The greenhouse effect exists. Deal with it.

  67. joe–I’m worried for you now, so I’m going to offer you some advice:

    When a mafioso tells you what a nice [insert item here] you have and what a shame it would be if something happened to it, he’s making a threat to your property.

    I wouldn’t want to you to get caught up in some kind of Ned Flanders moment and thank the gentleman for his praise and concern.

  68. “the 90%+ number of experts who say this is a problem”

    I believe the 90% may believe that man has contributed to warming or that CO2 has contributed to warming, but do 90% really believe it will be a major problem? Some may even believe on net, it will be beneficial in producing more vegetation.

  69. “Earth and Venus .. have almost exactly the same amount of carbon…and most of the carbon on Venus is in the atmosphere…As a result, while the average temperature on Earth is a pleasant 59 degrees, the average temperature on Venus is 867 degrees… It’s the carbon dioxide.””

    So distance from the sun is not important when it comes to average temperatures?

  70. I still think it’s more like 73% or so. Not sure why, just sounds more reasonable, I’m going for reasonable over impressive. I am 100% sure that no one has bothered to actually query every expert after determining what constitutes an expert, has published that query and its findings, and has had others scrutinize the parameters of the queury, such as what defines an expert. I think 95% of the people who use the 90% number just made it up. In other words, they are spewing bullshit.

  71. JW,

    Ah, I see.

    If you go into this with the assumption that Gore is equivalent to a mafioso, then it becomes reasonable to read “…and that’s what the Earth will be like” into his statement.

  72. How deep is the denialism?

    Some people can’t even admit that there is a consensus among climate scientists.

    That’s pretty freaking delusional.

  73. Then why bring up Venus at all? Couldn’t have been to scare people, right? After all there are no other example of the greenhouse effect on Earth, right? Except maybe, I don’t know… GREENHOUSES?

    It’s a scare tactic plain and simple. He’s doing exactly what Bailey is saying he’s doing. Why not just say you have no problem with his wild hyperbole than try to take words out of his mouth?

  74. Let’s all stop the fussin’ and feudin’ and agree that moving to renewable and environmentally friendly energy sources is a good idea for many reasons, whether or not you are a skeptic about how serious the problem of man-made global warming is. Can I get a high five?

  75. “Some people can’t even admit that there is a consensus among climate scientists.”

    What is the consensus? There is a consensus that CO2 is contributing to global warming and that man is partially responsible. Is there a consensus on how serious it is?

  76. “Then why bring up Venus at all?”

    Uh, because he was making a point about carbon in the atmosphere causing heating, and Vensus is an example of carbon in the atmosphere causing heating. Greenhouses don’t operate via airborne carbon.

    This has been another episode of incredibly simple answers to ridiculously easy question.

    than try to take words out of his mouth

    The words weren’t in his mouth. You’re just buying an absurd spin on his words because you want so very much to believe he’s wrong.

  77. Rattlesnake Jake,

    There is a consensus that it is serious, serious enough that we should start doing something.

    Exactly how serious is a subject of debate, but there is virtually no one with a degree higher than a BA in Earth Science who agrees with, for example, the “Green Earth Society’s” argument that global warming is a good thing.

  78. “Let’s all stop the fussin’ and feudin’ and agree that moving to renewable and environmentally friendly energy sources is a good idea for many reasons, whether or not you are a skeptic about how serious the problem of man-made global warming is.”

    As long as it’s not coerced on us. I will accept nothing more than tax break incentives.

  79. Look , Joe , if Al wanted to be taken seriously by scientists at large he’d have to

    1. Do some dimensional analysis every time he wrote a new Op-ed

    2. Present his numbers up front before even looking for analogies

    The trouble is that the numbers are not very sexy– care to run for president on the ” Three microwatts per square meter per day per day is too damn much radiative forcing inflation !” ticket?

    I’d have to consider voting for you if you did .

  80. Russell,

    Gore isn’t trying to impress scientists.

    He’s trying to present science to the general public.

    And he’s doing so in a remarkably successful manner, as demonstrated by the coordinated media campaign being waged by those who don’t like the implications of science on their political preferences and bottom lines.

  81. I’m doing this on the fly, so excuse me …

    I’ve skimmed the thread pretty fast, so maybe I missed it, but has anyone yet mentioned that another significant factor in the higher temperature of Venus is that because Venus is closer to the Sun it therefore receives HIGHER LEVELS OF INSOLATION (solar energy)? And that this boiled off whatever liquid water that Venus may have had in its early history? And this basically shut down plate tectonics (the movement of the “continental” plates — water in the crust acts as a lubricant that contributes to this movement) which tends to bury carbon on the surface deep as plates subduct beneath each other? So that Venus doesn’t have the same carbon cycle as Earth, which has liquid water, and life that takes carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and brings it down where it can be buried via subduction? An therefore on Venus, the carbon dioxide tends to stay in the atmosphere?

    So it’s a little misleading to say that the difference between Earth and Venus is that Venus has a lot more CO2 in its atmosphere and that “the fault is not in our star.” The CO2 does create a greenhouse effect — Venus is a lot hotter on the average than it would be without an atmosphere — but the fact that it is nearer the Sun is the reason it has the thick blanketing CO2-rich atmosphere in the first place.

    Is this a relevant point, with Gore somewhat hyping the presence of C02 in the atmosphere as the crucial difference between Earth and Venus, or am I just being stupidly pedantic?

  82. Question: Is Venus warmer because it has more carbon in the atmosphere or does it have more carbon in the atmosphere because it’s warmer?

  83. As an engineer, and a member of the general public, I prefer Russell’s approach. Just give me the damn numbers and let me draw my own conclusion.

  84. joe,

    To make a point about atmospheric carbon, Gore brings up a planet with severe greenhouse effect from atmospheric carbon and were not supposed to believe he’s drawing a conclusion about the Earth? Yes, were the ones that are delusional

    You talk out of both sides of your mouth so well, you should be a circus act.

  85. Hmm…
    yeah Russel and Ronald; what I am getting from the Al Gore paragraph is that he is (badly) illustrating the effects of CO2 in the atmopshere. He is technically inccorect on a niggling details level, but he IS NOT predicting the Earth will turn into a Venus. And FTR, no current climatoloogical model (of Earth ) of any extreme supports the notion.

    BTW Mars’ %95 CO2 atmosphere would have been a technically more accurate comparison, but much less illustrative.

    Deus,
    re: Vaclav statement. as an environmentally concerned individual I do not regard a centralized global planned economy as being the solution to our environmental woes; indeed I think it would make them worse. Immediate action on reducing and reversing CO2 emmissions is needed, but so are actions on increasing freedom and wealth. We don’t need Big Government? to do both.

  86. I think bananarama said it best..

    She’s got it
    Yeah, baby, she’s got it
    I’m your Venus, I’m your fire
    At your desire

  87. If you go into this with the assumption that Gore is equivalent to a mafioso, then it becomes reasonable to read “…and that’s what the Earth will be like” into his statement.

    No, you just seemed to be having trouble reading between the lines and was hung up on literal statements. I just didn’t want you to be lamenting the consequences of your inference skills, should you find yourself in that sort of situation.

    Just because he didn’t say he would burn your store down….

  88. Sam hec

    My piece addresses the obvious conservation of mass problem presented by Gore’s invocation of Venus , but thanks for reminding us that the Martian analogy is the least preposterous of a very gonzo lot.

    I expect Al will plug it in next time around.

  89. He’s trying to present science to the general public.

    Hmmm, I don’t remember Mr. Wizard using dubious and wildly apocolyptic polemics to frighten the villagers.

  90. JW,

    Then you didn’t watching the same episodes I did. [shudder]

  91. Question: Is Venus warmer because it has more carbon in the atmosphere or does it have more carbon in the atmosphere because it’s warmer?

    Yes.

  92. StevoDarkly said:
    Is this a relevant point, with Gore somewhat hyping the presence of C02 in the atmosphere as the crucial difference between Earth and Venus, or am I just being stupidly pedantic?

    thanks, this and above is what I meant by Gore being incorrect on a niggling details level. Venus while illustrative, is not very good technical comaprison.

    As for Polls of what sientists think, there is a good wiki covering the basics: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change

  93. “Question: Is Venus warmer because it has more carbon in the atmosphere or does it have more carbon in the atmosphere because it’s warmer?”

    “Yes.”

    I believe what was asked is, “what caused what first, did the CO2 cause the heat first or did the heat cause the CO2 first?

  94. Actually, according to Wikipedia H20 was the initial warming agent on Venus. That makes some sense, what with water being such a potent greenhouse gas.

  95. “I believe what was asked is, “what caused what first, did the CO2 cause the heat first or did the heat cause the CO2 first?”

    The answer is still “Yes”. Probably… CO2 gas maintains and accelerates the planetary climate heating process. This is true anywhere in the universe. Venus is still a smaller planet, and couldn’t have much water to begin with; it has a higher surface area to volume ratio; and it has a slower spin which would affect mantle movements. So it is not entirely clear to me if Venus ever had plate techtonics necessasary to be lubricated by water anyway (and with which to cycle carbonic rocks), even if there was enough water. One theory of Venus has it that the planet completely resurfaces itself every now and again in one big cataclysm, so the first time around, *POOF* …no more water, or maybe Venus collided with another planetary body (doubtful), and as mentioned, H2O is powerful a greenhouse gas if there is enough other forcings to get it going.

    It’s not a good technical comparison, but it is still a good illustrative comparison. And one would really have to simply love to hate Al Gore to turn this comparison into a mafioso style veiled threat.

    I guess I just don’t hate Al enough.

  96. “As for Polls of what sientists think, there is a good wiki covering the basics: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change

    At that site, it is noted that the American Association of State Climatologists believe that man is contributing to the climate, but point out how hard it is to make predictions of climate change decades ahead of time. This is what I mean when I say there is no 100% consensus on how serious a problem this is. Some may point out that there are lots more organizations who do think it is a serious problem. Does this mean that science should be democratically determined? Remember, there was once a small minority of one that believed in continental drift. The majority isn’t always right.

  97. ” This is what I mean when I say there is no 100% consensus on how serious a problem this is.”
    I thought they were discussing 90-95% range..

  98. Commenting on the areas of Venus’ atmosphere with equal pressure to that on Earth being close to Earth’s temperature is silly. Temperature and pressure are interdependent quantities in a gas. If you change one, you change the other.

    PV = nRT => P/(RT) = n/V

    R is a constant, so if P is the same in the two places and T is similar, all you’re saying is that the number of molecules per unit volume is similar. So, places in Venus’ atmosphere and Earth’s atmosphere that have the same pressures have similar molar densities. That has nothing to do with the greenhouse effect.

  99. joe: You wrote a book called “Global Warming and Other Eco-Scams,” in which you accused Al Gore of indefensible environmental hysteria and bad science for saying that global warming was even happening.

    Were you lying when you claimed to know what I said (see above) about Gore in my book Global Warming and Other Eco-Myths, or were you just making up stuff that you thought would draw people’s attention to a problem that worries you, or both?

  100. Were you[joe] lying…
    joe rarely if ever says anything that’s factually correct.

    I seriously wonder why anyone would give a hoot what Al[pha] Gore claims to think about any subject at all. Why? Anyone other than joe got an answer?

  101. Why is this worthy of comment? Al Gore notes that Venus has lots of CO2, and is hotter than hell, and that one fact is related to the other.

    He then goes on to suggest that we, as Venus’ orbital neighbor, should take note of this fact and pay attention to our own carbon budget.

    None of this is controversial in the slightest. Ron, if you left the AGW-denial club, why do you keep taking potshots at Gore? And if you must take them, why not challenge his actual argument, rather than the little planetological commentary he uses to introduce his Op-Ed, trying to add some freshness to the same gloomy article he’s written dozens of times now?

  102. Ron Bailey – do YOU believe that the current episode of global warming is man made? If so, how do YOU explain the last one? (And the 4 prior to that?)

    CB

  103. DannyK: I keep taking “potshots” at Gore because he exaggerates scientific information and thus tries to stampede people into taking certain drastic policy steps. After Gore exaggerates the impending danger he asserts: “This is not a political issue. This is a moral issue….”

    Man-made global warming is a political, economic and technical issue. It’s about tradeoffs. Claiming something is a “moral issue” is an attempt to declare that there are no tradeoffs. As Gore indeed says, “it is a question of right versus wrong.”

    As for my views on what to do AGW, they are pretty extensively laid out here.

    You may also want to read what some economists who have been studying global warming for years have to say about it. See William Nordhaus review of the Stern Review here and an article about Robert Mendelsohn’s researh on the economics of climate change here.

    I wish the former VP would read some economics too.

  104. http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/306/5702/1686
    “Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position.”
    It’s tiresome to have to cite things like this. I guess JW and his ilk will soon ask for “proof” that the sky is often blue…
    Joe, be easy on Ron, he has to make a living. If the guy wrote “mans efforts are dangerously polluting the environment and the government should do something” he’d lose his job and they might get someone like Mike Moynihan or some other Bachelors Degree bearing intern to write the “science” articles.

  105. Let me suggest that one should get one’s science from scientists, one’s economics from economists, and one’s common sense from one’s grandparents. Unless Al is your grandfather, he shouldn’t be your go-to guy. He’s not even a good go-between.

  106. crimethink noted July 3, 2007, 5:26pm | #
    Commenting on the areas of Venus’ atmosphere with equal pressure to that on Earth being close to Earth’s temperature is silly.[since]

    PV = nRT => P/(RT) = n/V

    … if P is the same in the two places and T is similar, all you’re saying is that the number of molecules per unit volume is similar. That has nothing to do with the greenhouse effect.”

    Your thermodynamic point has merit, but the IR optical depth is also n dependent-

    Thanks for reminding us that the first few centimeters of Venus atmosphere contain as many CO2 molecules as the whole column on this planet. I’ve tried to refine the edit in progress accordingly.

  107. Like joe and Al Gore, trolls leave lots of innuendo in their posts and then defend them with autistic literalism, so much so that they don’t appear to know the difference. The difference is in the switch between innuendo in attack and literalism in defense.

  108. Ken,
    “Joe, be easy on Ron, he has to make a living. If the guy wrote “mans efforts are dangerously polluting the environment and the government should do something” he’d lose his job and they might get someone like Mike Moynihan or some other Bachelors Degree bearing intern to write the “science” articles.”

    So how come when I write the TRUTH (that is: The average consumer in the world doesn’t actually give a shit about GW, and CERTAINLY not if it cost them anything or is inconvenient, regardless of what Al Gore says), how come nobody pays me the Al Gore bucks?

  109. Wow.

    Might be the worst thread ever on H&R.

    This summer seems to be the summer of superficial attacks on leftish boogie men.

    Moore, Gore,

    bore 😐

  110. “Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position.”

    Here is a comment I made on Nature magazine’s “Climate Feedback” blog:

    Eduardo Zorita writes, “This is in my opinion a very interesting, and at the same time somewhat troubling, comment by one of the leading climate scientist.”

    I think Dr. Trenberth’s opinion, while being unquestionably correct (“There are no predictions by the IPCC at all”) is far more than “somewhat troubling.”

    In my opinion, the fact that “there are no predictions by the IPCC at all” constitutes scientific fraud. Specifically, as I have written on my blog:

    “The IPCC Third Assessment Report’s (TAR’s) projections for methane atmospheric concentrations, carbon dioxide emissions and atmospheric concentrations, and resultant temperature increases constitute the greatest fraud in the history of environmental science.”

    Further, I would be happy to engage in a scientific debate with anyone who thinks otherwise.

    I would be happy to debate this matter here on Nature’s Climate Feedback blog (where presumably the writers and editors of Nature think otherwise), on Scientific American’s blog (where the writers and editors clearly think otherwise), at the Real Climate blog (where the authors presumably think otherwise), at the Prometheus blog (if they’re interested, and are not afraid of the consequences of the public seeing that the scientific emperor has no clothes), at my blog, or anywhere else.

    So far, I am shocked–shocked!–to find no takers. 🙂

  111. I will tell you what the problem is. Al Gore ignores the fact that Mars’ atmosphere is 95 percent carbon dioxide (Google: “carbon+dioxide”+++”Martian+atmosphere”)but it’s average temperature is -81 degrees F. If he is going to claim that the heat on Venus has nothing to do with the sun and everything to do with carbon dioxide, then this fact about Mars completely destroys his argument.

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