Global Warming Now 24/7 at Climate Debate Daily

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Denis Dutton, who teaches philosphy at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand and founded the wonderful Arts & Letters Daily, co-created the new Climate Debate Daily. Its mission:

Climate Debate Daily is intended to deepen our understanding of disputes over climate change and the human contribution to it. The site links to scientific articles, news stories, economic studies, polemics, historical articles, PR releases, editorials, feature commentaries, and blog entries. The main column on the left includes arguments and evidence generally in support of the IPCC position on the reality of signficant anthropogenic global warming. The right-hand column includes material skeptical of the IPCC position and the notion that anthropogenic global warming represents a genuine threat to humanity.

Many sites on the Internet, including some of those listed at the far left of the page, take firm views for or against the threat of anthropogenic global warming. As a matter of editorial policy, Climate Debate Daily maintains a studied neutrality, allowing each side to present its most powerful and persuasive case. Our object is to allow readers to form their own judgments based on the best available information.

Climate Debate Daily will offer new material toward the tops of its main columns most days of the week. Occasionally, the page may remain unchanged over a day or two. Items in the columns will also be reordered now and again, to keep what are in the editors' estimation more important items on the page for longer periods. Many links, especially those to news periodicals, have limited shelf life, and we urge readers to save or print out contributions they regard as important.

There are plenty of sites that take the climate-change-is-catastrophic approach and others that claim climate-change-is-not-such-a-big deal. Now you can get it all at one handy site.

Check out Climate Debate Daily here.

NEXT: Fly the Fleshy Skies

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. I’m paranoid! No I’m not! I’m paranoid! No I’m not!

  2. There is a debate on this? But the “science has spoken”. Isn’t that kind of like the oral at Delphi? How dare these people. They must be funded by the oil industry.

  3. Oracle at Delphi

  4. Here’s the top of the right column…

    Essays and research challenging the view that the world warming that began around 1880 is caused by human activity, that it poses a serious threat, or that the vagaries of earth’s climate are within human control.

    Those three positions could all be true, but it might still be better to spend no significant wealth in fighting global warming if that wealth is better invested in making humanity wealthier in the future.

    If I may suggest a fix…

    …or that the vagaries of earth’s climate are within human control or worth the opportunity cost to repair.

  5. There is a debate on this?

    There’s a debate on evolution, too. There are lots of debates.

  6. That’s quite the Freudian slip, John.

  7. Yes joe, we’re all better off not questioning the orthodoxy.

    Maybe if prominent AGW proponents didn’t take debate cues from Torquemada, there might be less skepticism.

  8. Ah, “the orthodoxy.”

    I’ve never seen so many different terms made up to replace “what most scientists have concluded” before the window closed on global warming denial.

    But hey, a reference to religion! Really hitting those talking points.

  9. Oh, and go ahead and question all you want, JW.

    Putting the argument for and against the IPCC/scientific consensus position side-by-side is not something the IPCC needs to be afraid of.

  10. Isn’t that kind of like the oral at Delphi?

    So that explains the long lines at the temple.

  11. Joe, when you play a dick, it makes me not want to agree with you.

  12. Part of me wants to see global climate catastrophe. I like surprises.

    Oh, wait.

  13. I’ve never seen so many different terms made up to replace “what most scientists have concluded” before the window closed on global warming denial.

    The worst type of denialist is the one who denies that he could possibly be wrong.

    Unlike you, my mind remains open. Skeptical to the bleatings and interpretations of lifetime-tenured bureaucrats, but open.

    Because, gosh, wouldn’t it be cool if the world *didn’t* end as predicted and we didn’t throw all those valuable and useful resources away for nothing?

  14. Every time I read a post on H&R about global warming, it makes me recall having to explain to a friend about why people from Cato were in a documentary he was watching supporting the dumbest, most retarded arguments against global warming (please don’t ask me to reproduce the documentary or remember the arguments… I just remember the instance)

    I ask you all, now, to please not make me rehash these memories by spewing senseless garbage just because you think if global warming was real it would mean that you had to do something about it on a federal/international level.

    So far so good, though.
    Thanks.

  15. Not a single one of those scientists who agree with the alleged “consensus” is actually capable of proving the theory to be true.

  16. Seems like a good thing to me.
    But what do I know?

  17. Because, gosh, wouldn’t it be cool if the world *didn’t* end as predicted and we didn’t throw all those valuable and useful resources away for nothing?

    So you’re letting your policy preferences influence your opinion of the science.

    Good to see you get that out there right at the beginning.

    Here’s the deal: the scientists aren’t making this up, there is a deep and broad agreement among them, and how convenient or inconvenient you consider that for your political program doesn’t matter.

    BTWs, falsely insisting that a point has not been proven is just as biased and closed-minded as falsely insisting that a point has been proven. Simply taking the “I don’t know” position is not an innoculation against bias.

  18. Let’s just assume for a moment, global warming is the result of human production. What are some libertarian solutions? I assume no one here besides joe wants to involve the government, so what would we propose?

  19. Yes, yes, I know, we’re all going to die and only our confession of faith in our lord and savior Al will save us from the apocalypse to come.

    Tell you what, if the world ends and we all die horribly, I owe you a Coke.

  20. “Here’s the deal: the scientists aren’t making this up,”

    Neither you nor they can prove that they aren’t doing exactly that.

  21. … why people from Cato were in a documentary he was watching supporting the dumbest, most retarded arguments against global warming …

    I know what you mean. I’d have been more upset about Pilon’s pro-domestic spying piece the other day, but Cato’s dumb global warming arguments made me realize years ago that I could no longer simply point people to Cato and tell them, “What Cato said.”

  22. Uh, yeah, repeatedly using words with religious connotations to describe conforming one’s opinion to the best scientific evidence doesn’t actually make that evidence less credible.

    Just yourself.

  23. From the back cover of Ron Bailey’s book “Global Warming and Other Eco Myths: How the Environmental Movement Uses False Science to Scare Us to Death”:

    “A stunning riposte to the eco-alarmists. Beyond debunking environmentalist scare mongering, Global Warming and Other Eco-Myths is the clearest explanation in print of the promise that eco-friendly technology offers to the human race. A must read for anyone who wants to know how we can build a healthy world environment for our children and grandchildren.” Denis Dutton, editor of Arts & Letters Daily on the Web and professor, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

    Gee, Ron Bailey forgot to mention which side of the debate Dutton was on.

  24. Mine, Tim. Mine. (evil laugh)

  25. So you’re letting your policy preferences influence your opinion of the science.

    No, I’m letting experience guide my acceptance of what people say. Unless there is some guy in TJ known for removing bias for cheap, I’m betting that there might a group or 2 that you might have trouble taking at face value.

    I’m also looking at the AGW crowd and how they react to opposing opinions and viewpoints. By and large, they’re not acting like people with the science of their side. More like folks with a hankerin’ for a good burning.

  26. Nick –
    Seeing as no libertarian solution (i.e. do nothing) will ever take place, I find it easier to think in terms of what we would steer toward. On this site a carbon tax has been supported, and I know other libertarians who would be ok with a cap-and-trade system.

    If it were up to me, we wouldn’t be subsizing that things that emit CO2, methane (subsidizing feed for cattle, etc.), but I don’t have enough information about what the end-balance of those emissions would be when all is said and done to really know what the actual result would be.

    Personally, I’d go for some combination of the two, since it’s silly to tax something they subsidize.

  27. Maybe instead of looking at the speakers, you should look at the evidence.

  28. It shouldn’t be about which “crowd” you like better.

  29. please excuse my typos, i’m only about 60% here today

  30. Maybe instead of looking at the speakers, you should look at the evidence.

    I like to look at *all* the data. When the mob is screaming something about burning the witch, my hunch is that they’re missing something, despite how overwhelming their evidence is that she’s a witch.

  31. Two questions:

    Who says that a warmer world isn’t a better world?

    If humans can’t control the weather what makes you think they can control the climate?

  32. This libertarian will simply move northwest, to higher ground. That is, I would if were still here in 1000 years when sea levels will be what–3″ higher? As it is I think I’ll stay put and let the people of 3008 worry about it.

  33. Oracle at Delphi

    This is a close one, but I’m calling R.C.’z Rule on John.

    Let’s just assume for a moment, global warming is the result of human production. What are some libertarian solutions? I assume no one here besides joe wants to involve the government, so what would we propose?

    Start buying inland real estate?

  34. Incidentally, I think there should be three columns.

    In the middle is the IPCC consensus. On the right, as before, are those who don’t think it’s that bad.

    But much media and political discussion on global warming is dominated by those who think that the IPCC position is too conservative. A column should be added on the left to contain the wackos among the global warming proselytizers.

  35. Here’s an example of why I remain a skeptic.

    I looked at item #12 in the left column, which complained that skeptics are ‘misinterpeting’ the temperature graphs. The authors of this paper then show their graph which begins in 1980 (which follows a period of cooling they thus conveniently ignore) and give an analysis based on 8-year trends. (Why 8 year trends? No explanation is given; this thus appears ad hoc, and therefore unscientific). They then admit that the warming trend is nearly equivalent to the statistical deviation, and provide no analysis or discussion regarding the significance of this.

    Having complained that the ‘skeptics’ are comparing data from different timetables, the authors provide a paper that does exactly the same thing.

  36. RC Dean, that was my initial thought but since over 1/3 of the world’s population lives in coastal areas, and the flooding is gonna come hard and fast (if Greenland and the West Antarctic ice shelf continue rapid melting), that’s 2 billion people heading inland encroaching on 4 billion people pretty darn quick. And, we still need farmland for food, so I think then we can pretty much kiss our asses goodbye. My question was more about stopping the rapid sea rise, rather than coping. Not to mention the expected inland droughts due to fresh water shortages…

    But, eh, I guess libertarians would just bitch about what politicians did or did not do rather than lead the way in preventing doom.

    I think we’re totally fucked. I think billions will die. Even if it’s not man made (I think is is) this will all still happen and we’ll be back to small nomadic groups of people wandering around following any surviving animals looking for water. We’ve allowed ourselves to be dominated by the gods we’ve created and the slef-proclaimed kings that pay lip service to them. Fuck us. Maybe we deserve to start over from scratch.

  37. Joe,

    I don’t have an issue with scientists who think the climate is a-warmin’ and try to extrapolate likely consequences (both good and ill) that might arise from this.

    I don’t really even have much of a problem with scientists who think there’s enough data/evidence to link the climate warming with us driving our Hummers and usin’ incandescent lights.

    I do have a problem with those who take those mild scientifically based claims and then add outright lies or hype up things exponentially so that the earth will flood, the seas will burn, dogs and cats will live together, etc, and we will all die at the hands of Gaia unless we agree to do whatever they say we should do.

  38. I think we’re totally fucked. I think billions will die. Even if it’s not man made (I think is is) this will all still happen and we’ll be back to small nomadic groups of people wandering around following any surviving animals looking for water. We’ve allowed ourselves to be dominated by the gods we’ve created and the slef-proclaimed kings that pay lip service to them. Fuck us. Maybe we deserve to start over from scratch.

    Once again, I wish I could post images here. This definitely deserves the jerk-off gesture.

  39. Virgil, it’s my understanding (and granted they’ve done a shitty job explaining this) that the cooling period in the middle of the 20th century is due to the cycle. It gets warm, then cold, then warm, then cold. This is natural. The industrial revolution kicked the warm up a notch before the cold cycle followed as it normally would. Then the current warm cycle is kicked up another notch above that, and we may very likely get another cold cycle to catch our breath and the deniers can say “I told you so.”

    Then, the following warming cycle will have been emboldened by the deniers victory and subsequent lack of action. The current cycle may not be the warming cycle that breaks the whole system, but the next one very likely could be. (This one could be it, though.) The ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica can handle some warming but not extended warming of a couple higher degrees. The ice melts too quickly before getting replenished in the cold season. So, the sun melts it further any time there is darker ground exposed for longer periods instead of white snow and ice which reflects it. The ice melts into the sea and the sea retains heat from the sun and thus the whole warming excelerates. It is an exponential exceleration not a linear one. We’re fucked.

    Maybe we’re past the point of no return already.

  40. the earth will flood, the seas will burn, dogs and cats will live together, etc, and we will all die at the hands of Gaia

    Sounds good to me.

  41. There is no such thing as an “expert” in any subject on this earth where the veracity of the claim being made cannot be unequivacly quantified as being 100% accurate by measurement in the physical world.

    Anything not proven with absolute definitiveness is not proven at all.

    The man-made global warming theorists can’t do so.

  42. Warty, I think we’re fucked because people are irrational, not because it’s an impossibility to live with a warming earth. It is our nature to overreact and then trust someone to make it all better. Hell, most of the people will think God or the Devil is trying to destroy us and thus we will destroy ourselves.

    Do I think global warming is real, yes, I do. Do I think we could do something to manage things and not have such a catastrophe. You and I might be able to, and the other smart people in this room, but 6 billion scared people? No, I have no hope for that scenario and that is why we’re fucked.

  43. If my relatives of the future will have gills, that would be way cool.

  44. i have 2 reasons for being skeptical.

    1.) Liberals are the driving force. Whenever liberals take up a cause i become skeptical (or worse).

    2.) Ockham’s Razor.

  45. Nick –
    can I share a boat with you? ๐Ÿ™‚

  46. since over 1/3 of the world’s population lives in coastal areas, and the flooding is gonna come hard and fast (if Greenland and the West Antarctic ice shelf continue rapid melting), that’s 2 billion people heading inland encroaching on 4 billion people pretty darn quick bidding up house prices.

    Point made.

  47. “that’s 2 billion people heading inland encroaching on 4 billion people pretty darn quick bidding up house prices.

    Point made.”

    …or bringing their fear and weapons with them and not giving a shit about property rights.

    I really need to learn HTML. Sorry guys.

  48. Reinmoose, we’re already on Rainbow Puppy Island* with the perimeter well defended. The grill still works. ๐Ÿ™‚

    *volcanic island – lava adds land providing us with some room to grow, and fertile, too.

  49. Tim Lambert: Tim, Tim, Tim, there you go again. Imagining conspiracies that don’t exist. I did suppose you and others who visit the site can read. Dutton tells you right on his site that he’s skeptical–no secrets at all. Climate Debate Daily even hosts a link to your stuff at Deltoid.

  50. Wait, is Rainbow Puppy Island the libertarian island where land ownership was decided at random after the most fertile ground was sectioned off all in one parcel? And we were discussing fish and watermelon and brewing things? Or is this someplace different?

  51. Rainbow Puppy Island was the island we set up in protest to that hypothetical one that would never happen because libertarians aren’t that stupid. RPI has the grilled fish and beer, yes. I think it was you, me, P Brooks…I forget who else.

  52. oh, good. I am happy to be on such an island.

    Do you think it’s as big as Oahu? That would be a good size.

  53. I thought Rainbow Puppy Island was the one where topless Czech women feed me steak and beer and massage my feet.

  54. Nick,
    There has been evidence that the cooling in the 1950s was due to sulfur pollution from the post-War expansion. Remember acid rain? They established a cap-and-trade system to reduce sulfur pollution and have largely succeeded here in the West (China is having serious problems now). This sulfur pollution would have increased the energy reflected into space. There is other evidence that a long term decrease in solar output might have started during this period and is only now starting to seriously effect the climate.

  55. There is no such thing as an “expert” in any subject on this earth where the veracity of the claim being made cannot be unequivacly quantified as being 100% accurate by measurement in the physical world.

    That could have been penned by a dumbass creationist.

  56. The current cycle may not be the warming cycle that breaks the whole system, but the next one very likely could be. (This one could be it, though.) The ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica can handle some warming but not extended warming of a couple higher degrees.

    See? This is why the Climate Debate Daily format should be three columns. The IPCC estimate for ice sheet collapse is 1000 years. Nick’s learned estimate is the next warming cycle — unless, of course, it’s this one.

    There are positions on the pro-do-something side every bit as wacky as the wackiest on the anti-do-something side.

  57. That could have been penned by a dumbass creationist.

    It was. Gil denies evolution, too. And on the same grounds.

  58. The IPCC estimate for ice sheet collapse is 1000 years.

    That was in the last report; since then, it has been established that ice loss in Greenland is accelerating faster than the estimates they used to come up with the 1000 year figure.

  59. Gilbert Martin,

    Anything not proven with absolute definitiveness is not proven at all.

    Can you prove that is always true?

    MikeP,

    Yes, there are two ends to the continuum. And there is the assessment over time of the IPCC’s earlier predictions. These all go in one direction…the IPCC predictions are overly conservative. This is not a surprising result given the process they use. They are likely to get conservative predictions out of their process.

    Now, what is needed is a website for those on the extreme ends of the debate to yell at each other without disturbing those who want to have a reasoned discussion.

    Let’s just assume for a moment, global warming is the result of human production. What are some libertarian solutions? I assume no one here besides joe wants to involve the government, so what would we propose?

    I will again link to these guys, cuz I think they are the best game in town.

    http://www.rmi.org/

  60. I note this about the linked site:

    Essays and research supporting the idea that global warming poses a clear threat to humanity, that it is largely caused by human activity, and that solutions to the problems of climate change lie within human reach.

    Versus

    Essays and research challenging the view that the world warming that began around 1880 is caused by human activity, that it poses a serious threat, or that the vagaries of earth’s climate are within human control.

    Conjunction junction what’s your function?

  61. That was in the last report; since then, it has been established that ice loss in Greenland is accelerating faster than the estimates they used to come up with the 1000 year figure.

    I have heard this plenty in the popular media, but I haven’t tracked down any source. Do you have a pointer? And do you recall the rate?

    By the way, is “it has been established” stronger or weaker than “deep and broad agreement among”?

  62. A quick breeze to the debate site.

    It sucks.
    No search tools.

    That is all.

  63. joe: “Maybe instead of looking at the speakers, you should look at the evidence.”

    I have. It’s weak. The case was stronger in ’88 than it is now. It has been very strange watching the “consensus” move toward certainty while the evidence moves toward uncertainty. You are a layman in the field of modeling physical processes. I am not. The models are junk, and in any other field they would be laughed at.

    The truth is that you lack the expertise to evaluate the evidence, even as an educated layman. Your posts at H+R have shown that you don’t have a lot of background when it comes to the natural sciences, and that you have none when it comes to the relevant mathematics (though you do like to pick up terms like “nonlinear system” and use them in ways that show that you completely misunderstand them). This is why you are bleating on about evolution and this imaginary consensus of yours.

    Newsflash: some people who urge caution and a healthy skepticism are not knuckle-draggers. Many are a lot better qualified than you are, and many are better qualified to address certain important points than any climate scientist is likely to be.

    At any rate, you are the last person who ought to complain about arguments from authority on this subject.

  64. nonesuch

    Please, for those others of us who do modeling of complex systems, elaborate on the specific problems you see with the climate models.

  65. From the BBC summary…

    This would amount to a contribution to global sea level rise from Greenland of about half a millimetre (0.02 inches) each year.

    I.e., 2 inches per 100 years — 20 in 1000.

    This does not substantiate joe’s claim.

  66. MikeP,

    You are conflating Sea Level Rise Rate during the current period with estimates of when the Ice Sheet collapses.

    They are related, but not the same thing.

    I think the figures you want are an increase of about 3 fold from the previous estimate of ice-loss.

    So if the original rate = 1000 years to collapse…then, simplified, we would be looking at collapse in 333 years…no?

  67. From the report

    A more recent study (2) based on satellite interferometry suggested that ice loss has been accelerating in recent years and was near -224 T 41 km3/year in 2005, significantly larger than the estimate (-80 T 12 km3/year) from airborne laser altimetry measurements (between 1997 and 2003), and also significantly larger than the estimate (-91 T 31 km3/year) from satellite interferometry observations in 1996

  68. It is, of course, more complicated than all that…but the 1000 year estimate is overly conservative when compared to the data collected.

    As are more IPCC projections.

  69. For completeness,

    The report estimate:

    then our GRACE estimate of Greenland ice mass rate is about -234 T 24 km3/year.

  70. I just noticed…
    The pdf + or – copies as T.

    so that is 80 +/- 12
    and 224 +/- 41
    and 234 +/- 24

  71. So if the original rate = 1000 years to collapse…then, simplified, we would be looking at collapse in 333 years…no?

    No.

    Collapse is by definition nonlinear. I have no idea whether a faster melt rate means faster collapse — certainly no idea that it is linear.

    If I may quote IPCC WG1 4AR chapter 10 “Global Climate Projections”…

    Ice sheet models are only beginning to capture such small-scale dynamical processes that involve complicated interactions with the glacier bed and the ocean at the perimeter of the ice sheet. Therefore, no quantitative information is available from the current generation of ice sheet models as to the likelihood or timing of such an event.

    So I think corrections consistent with the IPCC consensus cannot be applied to ice sheet collapse, only to melt rate. 2 inches per century to melt 21 feet of ice means 12,000 years. The words the IPCC WG1 uses are “many hundreds of years”. So they left themselves a nice range.

  72. MikeP,

    Of course it is non-linear.
    (that’s why I used all the qualifiers above)…

    But it is not melting 2 inches of ice per century.

    It is contributing 2 inches of water level to the ocean. A much different thing.

    The figure from Greenland is 234 cubic Kilometers per year…that is 23400 cubic kilometers per century.

    How quickly that gets to collapse I have no idea… but that rate is 3 times the rate IPCC used when the came up with “many hundreds of years.”

  73. So if joe’s claim is that it is melting faster than the IPCC prediction the answer is “yes it is, much faster…supporting joe’s claim”

  74. Neu Mejican:

    I’m not sure where to start- the problems with the GCMs are so great that criticizing a few aspects of them in a blog comment is like tucking into a whale with an oyster fork. But, OK… first, they can’t be validated over any reasonable period of time, and that’s a deal-killer right there. The models have failed to show skill over every time-frame we’ve been able to observe (well. except for the past, but… there are reasons that models are not exclusively validated against things that are known to the modelers). It is an act of faith to believe that they will show skill over longer periods.

    As much as people carp about predatory corporations, no one doing finite element work for an automobile maker would rely on a model that couldn’t be validated at all- they would never say “well, this model failed every test we were able to compare it with, but we believe that it will be accurate if averaged over the thousands of crashes that are bound to occur.”

    Another problem with the models is that they tend to model what is known much more accurately than they model what is unknown (and they are wizard at modeling other models). That should be a warning sign. If your model is accurate, given what you know, and turns out to be not at all accurate when it comes to what you don’t… that is a very serious problem.

    We don’t make physicians submit to double-blind protocols because we are “medical skeptics” – we do it because we are skeptical, and experience tells us we have to be to get reasonable results. Modelers should be more skeptical than anyone else- the potential for bias is greater in models than it is in physical experiments.

    The truth is that the models are wrong, and demonstrably so. We have not seen the warming in the troposphere that they predict, and that invalidates them. That doesn’t mean that increased CO2 levels will not change the climate. It just means that we don’t have a very good idea of how they will. The very specific predictions that joe is making are garbage.

    I recommend looking for Wally Broecker’s article named something like “When Glaciers Speak in Tongues”. Broecker is a proponent of AGW, and an eminent scientist. He is eminent enough to admit that, as of 2001, no human signal could be unambiguously be detected in the climate. He also says that he thinks that changing the composition of the atmosphere (and there is little doubt that we are doing that) is like poking a sleeping dragon with a stick. I agree, for reasons that are very politically incorrect to AGW proponents. But we have been doing that for 2000 years- there isn’t room here to get into why I think agriculture is actually a bigger influence on climate than carbon dioxide.

    In the medium term it will likely get colder- probably a lot colder. The climate modelers admit that they ignore natural forcings- they have to admit that, as it is the only way to reconcile the models with reality- i.e., some unknown forcing caused our models to be entirely wrong, but.. we are otherwise right. Well, everything we know about the recent past tells us it will likely get very cold again, soon. It would be too bad if we concentrated on CO2 instead of concentrating on wealth and adaptation.

  75. It is contributing 2 inches of water level to the ocean. A much different thing.

    Right. And if it all melted, it would contribute 21 feet of water level to the ocean. So I divided the two.

    We can do it your way, too…

    Total volume: 2.85 million km3
    Melt rate: 234 km3 per year

    Divide the two: 12,000.

  76. So if joe’s claim is that it is melting faster than the IPCC prediction the answer is “yes it is, much faster…supporting joe’s claim”

    Fair enough.

    But taking the wildly guessed 1000 years or “many hundreds of years” and saying it will now be a wildly guessed number much lower than that is dividing a wild guess by a wild guess.

    It is neither “established” nor is it “deep and broad agreement” and, therefore, belongs in the left column of three.

  77. Neu Mejican: “Now, what is needed is a website for those on the extreme ends of the debate to yell at each other without disturbing those who want to have a reasoned discussion.”

    I can’t help noticing that the right column is largely concerned with arguments about facts and that the left is largely concerned with ad hominem. Now- a lot of the people on the right column are such idiots that they cite “facts” that are easily refuted. Some are so stupid as to cite opinion as fact.

    But, by and large, the denialists come off a lot better- they are arguing science instead of screaming “Shut up! My fingers are in my ears, and I can’t hear you. When we gain power we will hang you for doubting us.” That may be an artifact of the selection process, of course.

    But look at this: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/connelly/323181_joel11.html

    What do you think of that column?

  78. On the whole Greenland ice sheet collapse thing.

    Didn’t Greenland used to be a lot warmer than it is now? You know, Vikings growing grapes and all that. How old are these ice sheets that we are so worried about?

  79. “So if joe’s claim is that…”

    Let’s remember that joe has also claimed that Monarch butterflies subsist mainly on corn. And that he used that “fact” as the foundation of an argument that spanned many comments. So… you might want to verify his claims from now on.

  80. Dennis has a problem, Ron: scientifically sane and readable contrarian articles are not coming out at a rate of one a day. Sure, puff pieces are being manufactured faster than that, but science?

  81. “On the whole Greenland ice sheet collapse thing.

    Didn’t Greenland used to be a lot warmer than it is now? You know, Vikings growing grapes and all that. How old are these ice sheets that we are so worried about?”

    About 100,000 years ago yeah.

    Vinland. VINland. Greenland only had slightly more livable land during the Viking times than now.

    100,000 years or so ago there were still some icecaps on the Greenland archipeligo, and the global temperature was about 5c warmer. If the warming is arrived at slowly there shouldn’t be a ‘sudden collapse’ of the ice sheet. Greenland’s icebase is 300 meters below sealevel due to pressure from above. If the warming happens too quickly that base won’t recover before sections of the ice sheet disintegrate quickly (see Larson B iceshelf) allowing seawater to displace what’s left, flooding the base, resulting in some rather turbulent global sea levels as the ex-icesheet base sorts itself out. That’s the one aspect of Greenland which is worth worrying about. But even with gradual warmings, there have been epidsodes of rapid sea level change.

    I’d worry more about extreme droughts and heat waves…beach property is over-rated anyway. (remember Port Royal!)

    Spending the funds (1% or so of todays wealth) to deal with global warming will cost a hell of alot of future potential wealth (20-30x todays total wealth 100 years from now). But it is a mistake to think that this wealth someohow disappears. What is purchased with that investment is a very valuable Global Climate Control system. A worthy purchase IMO; which may then upgrade to a genuine Weather Control System. The trick is to keep governments from f*king it up.

  82. p.s.
    As long as there is Land in the Polar regions, there will be Ice Caps…that is unless we nuke them in a fit of ‘wouldn’t it be so c00l if..’ syndrome.

  83. What is purchased with that investment is a very valuable Global Climate Control system. A worthy purchase IMO; which may then upgrade to a genuine Weather Control System.

    I’d think the exact opposite is true. If the funds are not spent to keep global warming at bay naturally, and if it turns out that global warming is such a bad thing a few decades from now that geoengineering is the proper response, then you will have a genuine Global Climate Control system.

    If you spend the funds to forestall global warming, then you presumably buy yourself an automatically stable climate. Not only does the climate not need a control system: It may not be worth either the risk or the opportunity cost to the (relatively) poorer humanity a century hence to buy the control system.

  84. “I’d think the exact opposite is true. If the funds are not spent to keep global warming at bay naturally, and if it turns out that global warming is such a bad thing a few decades from now that geoengineering is the proper response, then you will have a genuine Global Climate Control system.”

    What you are saying is the same as saying it is ok to leave the Refrigerator Door Open to Cool down one’s house in response to the Warming from leaving the Oven on with the Door Open.

    The corollary is that we continue say…to give market protections to fossil fuel companies (part of the open oven); and you want geoengineering (the open fridge) on top of that?

    “If you spend the funds to forestall global warming, then you presumably buy yourself an automatically stable climate. Not only does the climate not need a control system: It may not be worth either the risk or the opportunity cost to the (relatively) poorer humanity a century hence to buy the control system.

    Under natural conditions there is no guarantee of a stable climate, so that is not ‘automatically bought’. CO2 should be regarded as a tool to this purpose, to be brought in when appropriate (about 20,000 years hence)

    The climate does not need a control system; that is inimical. But if our civilization is survive and prosper a stable climate is a very valuable thing. Weather control is more so, and we can’t get there until we control the climate. These are worth the economic risk; and separate from that, we will still be far richer than today anyway.

  85. What you are saying is the same as saying it is ok to leave the Refrigerator Door Open to Cool down one’s house in response to the Warming from leaving the Oven on with the Door Open.

    I was not advocating a race to get to the point that geoengineering is required. I was saying that, if you want a truly controllable climate system, geoengineering is the way to get it. The allow-GW future is both more likely to need to develop geoengineering and be better able to afford it than the prevent-GW future.

    These are worth the economic risk;

    But perhaps not the climate risk. If the climate is doing fine, I see no reason to put its control either in the hands of engineers or — even worse — the competing special interests of the political policymakers of the planet.

    and separate from that, we will still be far richer than today anyway.

    When I said “the (relatively) poorer humanity a century hence,” I was comparing them to the humanity a century hence that didn’t spend on global warming mitigation. I agree they both will be far richer than today.

  86. What a fragile, delicate planet we live on that always needs saving. Ten years ago it was hysterical screams and pleading for money to save the rainforest. Before that it was global cooling and now it is global warming.

    The global-warming finger is pointing at us evil humans because we are the cause of all evil on this earth and to “save” the planet…sigh…again, we evil humans are going to have to do without things that make our lives better and in many cases safer; not only that, but we will have to pay more taxes to people who are so much smarter and better than us and they have all the answers to make sure the planet is saved and the cirisis is over. For now. Of course, the people who do the taking and deciding will be exempt from any taxes and “drastic measures to reduce human impact on the planet.” They’re so much smarter, you see, so they deserve to be unfettered so they can do their jobs making sure we comply.

    I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if next decade it will be determined that the combined weight of humans on the planet is depressing the earth’s surface causing the core to heat up even more so all humans will be limited to 100 pounds of body weight. Anyone who weighs over 100 lbs will be taxed to pay for our burdening the earth with our precence. Naturally, foods that cause humans to fatten will be heavily taxed to provide a disincentive to put on body weight. Sadly, may will starve to death and die of disease prematurely from low body weight but that means less humans on the earth and so the earth’s core won’t be as hot so, as the saying goes, “the end justifies the means”: less people, less evil done to the planet.

    That is my understanding of environmentalism so pardon me if I don’t believe a word of this screaming baloney flying my way about global warming.

  87. MikeP,

    After I walked away from my computer, I realized what you meant. Too late in the afternoon apparently.

    Of course, as you already pointed out.
    Total volume: 2.85 million km3
    Melt rate: 234 km3 per year

    “Divide the two” is not the way you figure out the time since the melt rate is not constant, appears to be accelerating, and will increase as the glacier shrinks and the temperature increases at its current rate (C?ter?s paribus, of course)

    Nonesuch,
    Thanks for taking the time.
    Validation of any model is, of course, a long complex process. My father was involved in some of the original work on computer modeling of natural systems. He felt much as you do about the early computer climate models. He has recently come around to the opinion that many of the current models are much more adequate to the tasks they are being asked to accomplish. Precision is unlikely, but trends are not necessarily beyond them. There are ways to train models blind to the test data they will be validated on that attentuate of some of your concerns, but they will always be imperfect.

    I do find it interesting that you follow your discussion of how “we don’t know” what dumping lots of CO2 will do with a statement about how
    “it will likely get colder- probably a lot colder” in the medium term. On what do you base that? How is the basis of that prediction more precise than the models that say otherwise.

    I also notice that you say the modelers have to ignore natural forcing. I am skeptical of that claim.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/311/5764/1138

    Agriculture is one of the factors taken into account in many of the current climate models. No model I know of is dependent only on co2…land use, other inputs, natural forcing factors, known cyclical processes and the like are included in any of the reasonable models.

    What do you think of that column?

    Well, it depends on what the guy means by a “denier.” If someone is intentionally spreading false information on either side the deserve scorn. I see a bit of that going on on both sides of the debate. Lots of it based in ignorance, but some based on malice. The article seems to be targeting “deniers” whose actions can be construed as intentional and malicious.

    I don’t see a shortage of reasoned scientific questions about details of climate change. I don’t see any attempts to shut out legitimate climate research that challenges the mainstream paragdigms (at least not any more so than in any other field). The fact that climate science is such a interdisciplinary field makes effective group-think harder to establish, imho.

    As for the proportion of ad hom vs. “science” arguments on the Debate website…I would have to do a larger survey, but given that the website hosts own work would fall on the right side of the page, I wouldn’t be surprised to find a bias in the articles he presents.

  88. And just to add my 2 cents on the melting glacier issue.

    It is not really sea level rise that will be the first important impact. It has more to do with availability of fresh water.

    c.f., http://meteora.ucsd.edu/~meyer/pdffiles/barnett_warmsnow.pdf

  89. Neu Mejican: “Validation of any model is, of course, a long complex process.”

    True, and one of my points is that that process cannot be applied to climate models over short periods. But,the point I am more interested in making is that the models have failed validation, but are still used. They have been invalidated, period, stop, etc. But they are still used… this is insane. This is my big problem with them- they have been shown to show no skill, but they are still used. In every other field we throw away models that lack predictive power. As a modeler, this makes me want to rip my hair out… if your model lacks predictive power, you discard it. That’s simple.

    I first got interested in AGW about 8 years ago- I got interested because of the models. I was initially what you might call a “default believer”. I figured that the scientists must be right. But I got interested because of a slashdot article about a massive Japanese super-computer meant to predict climate 1000 years into the future.. I was like “what the fuck?” Are there people so stupid that they believe this bullshit? I mean, these guys must have just wanted to build a big computer, and this is how they got the money to do it. As Ali G says, “respeck”.

    “I also notice that you say the modelers have to ignore natural forcing. I am skeptical of that claim.”

    Well, the alternative is to admit that the models lack skill. They have failed to predict anything at all, and the excuse that the modelers use is forcings not known at the time. I’m as skeptical of that claim as you are- I can’t believe they make it, but it is indisputably true that they do. There is no other way to reconcile the models with the climate. The models do not predict climate accurately- every prediction they make is wrong. How can you stand by them if you don’t assume outside forcings?

    As for my claim about cooling: I don’t know that things will cool, and I am willing to admit it. This makes me better than the warmenists ;). But, we are living in a warm period in an ice age. The historical record shows that there are natural forcings that tend to make the climate cold… Europe under ice cold.

    The truth is that the climate has always been unstable. It was so when we were little more than monkeys, and it is still so (and, alas, we are still little more than monkeys). I happen to think that it is much wiser to prepare for climate change than to try to avert it,

  90. Nonesuch,

    In every other field we throw away models that lack predictive power.

    If only…(c.f., economics, cognitive science, linguistics, string theory…)

    They have failed to predict anything at all, and the excuse that the modelers use is forcings not known at the time.

    You overstate, I think.

    But more importantly, if you are using the term “natural forcing” to mean “unexplained error” then you may be using too high a bar for predictive validity. All complex models have some unexplained error. Labeling that “natural forcing” and saying that they are ignoring seems unfair.

    What is the true/false prediction rate for these models? How wide do the confidence intervals need to be to be considered an accurate predcition? Is it better than chance? Is is moderately predictive? Highly predictive? Do they get most of the estimates right, but miss out on specific aspects? To say they miss every single prediction is hyperbole.

    It is not like there is an all or nothing criteria for accuracy in a complex model on the order of complexity that goes into these models.

    As for my claim about cooling: I don’t know that things will cool, and I am willing to admit it. This makes me better than the warmenists ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Give us a wink, sure, but I don’t know if you are any MORE willing to admit it than a typical warmanista.

  91. Neu says: “If only…(c.f., economics, cognitive science, linguistics, string theory…)”

    I am not able to argue about string theory. But I do argue about the models that linguists and cogsci (my background, btw) guys use. It’s one thing to be an expert- it’s another to extend your claims farther than you should.

    “Labeling that “natural forcing” and saying that they are ignoring seems unfair. ”

    It is not at all unfair. The models lack skill. This is a fact. They are not able to predict future climate. I would prefer to discard them on that basis- it is the modelers who choose to introduce “natural forcings”. You cannot accept the models if you do not accept the “unknown forcings”. Are you an idiot? This is very clear. The models lack skill.

    “Is is moderately predictive?” No. It is not. That’s the problem. The models are clearly not useful.

    Neu: “Give us a wink, sure”:

    Any time. You want me ;).

    I’d argue that we ought to plan for climate change- it will come, one way or another.

  92. Nonesuch,

    linguists and cogsci (my background, btw)

    Surely you are not saying that linguistic models have good predictive power.

    Or those in cognitive science…

    (although I like the work the Friston is doing).

    http://www.fil.ion.ucl.ac.uk/~karl/

  93. Standard operating procedure — we restrict our conceptualization of language to those things that our models can describe…if something doesn’t match the model, it is not language, it is something else (c.f. Chomsky for the first major example…)

    To be fair, some have recognized this problem and work hard to avoid it…but to claim that there are not some pretty long lived linguistic models that get elaborated despite having no validity or predictive power is just …well…silly.

    (my background, btw, linguistic and neurocognitive disorder)

  94. Nonesuch,

    They are not able to predict future climate.

    Again, you are using that term pretty fast and loose. How are you defining failure here?

    Natural forcing is to climate as zero marking is to morphology?

    ;^)

  95. Nonesuch,

    The problem I have with your claim is that you are lumping all of the climate models into the same basket and saying that they all fail completely.

    They don’t.
    Your claim is false on its face.
    They succeed to a degree, based on certain assumptions, and some are more useful than others. They are certainly as successful as models in other field that look at similarly complex phenomena…(language, cognition, intelligence, economics, reality, whatever).

    To claim that climate science is proceeding with less rigor than cogsci?

    hubris.

  96. They succeed to a degree, based on certain assumptions, and some are more useful than others.

    And you denigrate economic modeling? By the standard you just proclaimed econ gets a pass.

  97. regarding modeling, from a real-skeptics guide to climate-septics questions:
    http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2006/11/19/51921/827
    “Putting global surface temperatures aside, there are some other significant model predictions made and confirmed:

    *models predict that surface warming should be accompanied by cooling of the stratosphere, and this has indeed been observed;

    *models have long predicted warming of the lower, mid, and upper troposphere, even while satellite readings seemed to disagree — but it turns out the satellite analysis was full of errors and on correction, this warming has been observed;

    *models predict warming of ocean surface waters, as is now observed;

    *models predict an energy imbalance between incoming sunlight and outgoing infrared radiation, which has been detected;

    *models predict sharp and short-lived cooling of a few tenths of a degree in the event of large volcanic eruptions, and Mount Pinatubo confirmed this;

    * models predict an amplification of warming trends in the Arctic region, and this is indeed happening;

    *and finally, to get back to where we started, models predict continuing and accelerating warming of the surface, and so far they are correct.”
    links to eachpoint at the above URL.

  98. Juris Imprudent,

    And you denigrate economic modeling? By the standard you just proclaimed econ gets a pass.

    I am not sure I denigrated economic modeling.
    I said that all fields that attempt to model complex systems work with models that have pretty poor predictive power.

    Nonesuch was claiming that climate science was somehow different than other fields engaged in similarly complex modeling. I called shenanigans.

  99. More on glacial melting…evidence it is accelerating.

    http://www.nature.com/climate/2008/0802/full/climate.2008.8.html

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