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We must conclude, therefore, that attempts to control CO2 emissions are ineffective and pointless.

– but very costly.


So why do it?

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15 Comments in 8 threads.»

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Comment by Craig R. Harmon
2007-12-21 11:05:03

Oh, and Paul, it’s entirely possible that Bush ordered 9/11. :^)

Comment by Paul Watson
2007-12-22 10:19:11

I didn’t say impossible, just at the extremely high end of unlikely. Even I don’t think Bush is that much of a demented Machiavellian sociopath. ;-)

Back to the models: You are correct that the current set of anthropogenic climate models do not match the environment as it stands. However, the models that do not include anthropogenic climate change are even further away from the reality. Thus, even though they do not perfectly match reality and therefor have some holes to be worked on, they do better job than those that don’t include anthropogenic climate change.

So I choose to use the models that match closest to the reality. That is the anthropogenic climate change models.

If you want to disagree with the solution, knock yourself out. There we can have a good constructive discussion as one single solution is not likely to work very well, so pulling ideas from all over is just common sense (yes, even conservative ideas. ;-) ). But don’t try to argue there is no global warming, because the models where there isn’t fare badly in the comparison.

Comment by Craig R. Harmon
2007-12-22 13:26:07


And if I were an economist, (I can balance my cheque book…most of the time…with fair accuracy…) but, alas, I’m not. :^(

As for models, perhaps the model that actually does match present conditions will be something entirely different. Something not thought of yet.

Anyway, I fear I’ve about reached the limits of my arguments here. I can always count on you to jump in on any of my posts about global climate change to challenge me and I appreciate it. I’m not here at BIO! to pontificate…well, um…not always; I’m here to learn, to think through my positions with all y’all (Southern American Americanism) as a check on my thinking so thanks for the help.

Comment by Paul Watson
2007-12-23 06:49:15

Honestly, I’m not trying to get on your case about this, or any of the other subjects where we have, shall we say, interesting discussions. And I appreciate the contributions (even when they’re wrong ;-) ).

You are probably correct that there is something we’ve not thought of yet that will improve/radically alter the models. However, until someone wins the Nobel Prize for finding it, it makes most sense to me to base science policy on the best science available, even if it’s flawed, rather than do nothing in the face of it while waiting for perfection to arrive, which seems to be your argument.

However, as you want to stop arguing on this for now (as we both know we’ll do the same dance the next time this comes up), I’ll shut up.

Toodle pip and all that. (Blatantly false and stereotypical Hollywood Britishism)

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Comment by Liberal Jarhead Subscribed to comments via email
2007-12-20 17:36:28

Seems to me that given the disastrous consequences of global warming, like sea levels rising enough to swamp coastal cities all over the world, droughts in some croplands and flooding in other places, and increases in the frequency and intensity of hurricanes and tornadoes, it makes sense to do anything we can to slow it down regardless of quibbles about whether or how much we are contributing to it (and the overwhelming majority of the scientists studying it say not only that the only models that match observed events are those that factor in human activity, but also that the models are now appearing too conservative and it’s moving faster than they thought possible a few years ago). A good rule in this area, as it was in the “debate” about whether smoking contributes to cancer, is to follow the money. When you note that the scientists arguing against global warming are mostly funded by industries whose short-term profits would be hurt by regulations to curtail it, and those who argue for it have nothing in particular to gain except maybe a world their kids and grandkids can live in, that’s telling. As Upton Sinclair said, “It’s difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

There are many actions we can take to reduce the amount of CO2 and methane we release into the atmosphere, to slow down or reverse deforestation and the die-off of ocean plant life that processes CO2 into oxygen and sequestered carbon. Many of those same actions will also give us cleaner air to breathe, reduce our dependence on foreign fossil fuels, and generate a lot of excellent high-tech jobs in some now-depressed areas in this country.

Who would benefit from an aggressive multifaceted effort to reduce global warming? Farmers, the people who would get those high-tech jobs - typically in renewable energy industries including wind, solar, geothermal, tidal, and hydroelectric; energy consumers; anyone affected by national security; and anyone who likes to breathe. Who is benefited by the status quo? The multinational oil and coal based energy corporations and their stockholders, and the politicians whose campaigns they help finance.

Comment by Paul Watson
2007-12-20 08:16:27

I didn’t say the thousands of reviews were on the same data. I said that as another peer-reviewed study (mentioned but not cited in the article) came to precisely the opposite conclusion the bold statements highlighted in the article are unwarranted. They might well be able to come to no other conclusion. But other scientists did.
And again I ask, given that you have several thousand experts on one side and several tens on the other, why do people keep insisting the tens are more likely to be right?
And as to consensus, there’s a very eminent geologist who believes Noah’s flood was literal and the Earth is 6000 years old. Does that mean there’s no consensus on the age of the Earth either? Of course not. Just because a small number of people disagree, does not mean there isn’t consensus. Or do we have to wait for the Flat Earth Society to come on board to accept the world is round?

Comment by Craig R. Harmon
2007-12-20 18:03:15

I recall a certain scientist. He conjectured that microbes, too small to be seen without a microscope, could kill and, indeed, were killing people by the millions. They, the most respected scientists at the most renowned academies, scoffed. They laughed. They produced learned and peer reviewed articles in the most respected scientific journals contending that he was wrong but Dr. Ehrlich [It is possible I’m confusing Dr. Paul Ehrlich, who did work with isolating spirochetes that cause syphilis with Louis Pasteur, one of the founders of microbiology] was right and they were all wrong. Consensus of opinion by scientists, I’m afraid, means nothing vis a vis truth.

Comment by Paul Watson
2007-12-21 04:57:30

This is true. However, that means George Bush deliberately odrered planes to fly into the World Trade Centre. After all, there’s a consensus that he didn’t but a tiny minority of people know the truth. I think we both agree on the unlikelyness of that last statement being true.
The science may be wrong, but until it is proven wrong we have to make decisions on the best science available. That is that there is anthreopogenic global ewarming and it is a serious problem. If you have a hundred people giving you advice, would you ignore the 99 to agree with the one lone dissenter, because in terms of climate change, those who say there is no significant anthropogenic climate change are an even smaller proportion. This is what I don’t understand. Yes, the science might be wrong. All science might be wrong. But until someone actually proves that, it’s sane policy to go with the vast majority of scientists. Or should doctors not tell people to stop smoking as there are still people who deny that smoking is linked to cancer and the science isn’t 100% proven?

Comment by Craig R. Harmon
2007-12-21 11:03:49

So how does one (anyone) prove anything in climate prediction. We’re living the one and only the experiment. Nobody knows how it will turn out until it turns out. So we’re stuck with models.

Show me models that can predict present conditions (not a tough thing, one would think, since, well, they ARE present conditions after all, all they have to do is go and look what those conditions are and account for them) and that still won’t prove that the model will predict future conditions. All it will prove is that they’ve come up with a model that, rightly or wrongly managed to account for present conditions. But if your model is wrong about present conditions, it’s never going to convince me that its future predictions are correct.

Then there’s all those economists that think that, even if all that the standard model predicts is true, attempting to do what Kyoto wants to do (reduce CO2 output to some ridiculously low percentage of the 1990 output) will cost more than doing nothing in that regard and simply dealing with and adjusting to the changes that will come. So even if you’re right about what’s coming, your method of dealing with it makes no sense to me.

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Comment by Paul Watson
2007-12-20 04:55:27

And what makes this report right and the thousands of peer-reviewed studies that conclude exactly the opposite wrong?
If someone else taking the same data, as the report mentions, comes to exactly the opposite conclusion, I’m rather sceptical that this is not an ideologically driven report.

Comment by Craig R. Harmon
2007-12-20 05:04:57

Well, one, this report is on a peer reviewed study, too. Two, I don’t know that those thousands of other peer reviewed studies did, indeed, look at the same data. Three, every month or so I read a report of a peer reviewed study that calls climate models into question. Not just a little into question but wildly into question. Into “They don’t know what the hell they’re talking about” question. In this case, models absolutely demand one thing and the reality is exactly the opposite of what those models demand.

So who’s right? Until I get my doctorate and do about 30 years of post-doc work in the field of climate change, how the heck should I know?

What I do know is that that much trumpeted “consensus” that anthropogenic contributions add significantly to the warming is a bunch of horse-hockey. I don’t know who’s right. What I know is that the reasoning here seems pretty convincing. I. e., if your models don’t even predict present conditions, I have no confidence that they predict future conditions.

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