400 scientists deny the importance of global heating

Yesterday, global heating denier-in-chief Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma released a list of 400 scientists from around the world who deny that global heating is occurring, that it’s as bad as the prevailing theories say it is, that we can do anything about it, or some combination thereof. In addition to the list of names are explanatory statements from each of the scientists and a description of who the scientist is and thus why we should listen to him or her.

As someone who’s studied this issue in some depth, I’m glad to see that this list has been put together. Because it means that nearly every scientific argument that needs to be answered using data, theory, and modeling is collected into a single place. It’s one-stop shopping for global heating denier claims.

I’ve skimmed the list and claims (with 400 “scientists”, their positions, and their statements, a quick skim is all I can manage in a few minutes), and there are few claims that I haven’t seen before and that haven’t been addressed, to one level or another, in scientific literature. I’ve even addressed many of the claims already (and will address more over the next few months) at Anti-global heating claims – a reasonably thorough debunking. But the most interesting thing I found during my skim was this: many of the scientists are no more qualified to say that global heating is bunk than I am to say it’s real.

Seriously – why do general astronomers (solar and cosmic-ray experts excluded) have any special knowledge of climatology? Just because Sir Patrick Moore is famous doesn’t mean he’s right, or worth listening to on an area far outside his field. Similarly, agricultural scientist Dr. Norman Borlaug has no more detailed knowledge of climatology than anyone else who has read the papers and has a good understanding of the scientific method. Social scientists and agricultural experts may be able to claim that they know better what the effects of global heating will be on society or agriculture, but they have no special expertise in climatology. And so there’s no reason, beyond celebrity or a soap box in most of their cases, that they should be listened to any more than Al Gore, Professor Michael Mann (one of the climate scientists associated with the IPCC and RealClimate.org), or even myself. Quite the opposite, in fact, especially in the case of Prof. Mann.

Even engineers signed on to the list of global heating deniers. Does anyone want to put up a list where professors and engineers with little to no special climatology, geology, chemistry, or climate-related training but who have examined the evidence and found it compelling can add their names and make statements like those Inhofe collected? Any bets how long it would take to exceed 4,000 (10x the length of Inhofe’s list) scientists, professors, engineers, etc.?

I’ll dive much deeper into the list of scientists to understand the various general claims over the next few weeks, but others have already begun the process of diving into individual claims and addressing other points made by Inhofe. Please check out their sites below.

Inhofian Reporting: Peerless work?
Inhofe’s latest windmill
Climate Consensus “busted”?

48 replies »

  1. Global Heating is often compared to a religion. I now see why.

    Personally, I find the list compelling.

  2. Specifically, the “consensus” about anthropogenic climate change entails the following:

    1) the climate is undergoing a pronounced warming trend beyond the range of natural variability;
    2) the major cause of most of the observed warming is rising levels of the greenhouse gas CO2;
    3) the rise in CO2 is the result of burning fossil fuels;
    4) if CO2 continues to rise over the next century, the warming will continue; and
    5) a climate change of the projected magnitude over this time frame represents potential danger to human welfare and the environment.

    These conclusions have been explicitly endorsed by …

    Academia Brasiliera de Ciências (Bazil)
    Royal Society of Canada
    Chinese Academy of Sciences
    Academié des Sciences (France)
    Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina (Germany)
    Indian National Science Academy
    Accademia dei Lincei (Italy)
    Science Council of Japan
    Russian Academy of Sciences
    Royal Society (United Kingdom)
    National Academy of Sciences (United States of America)
    Australian Academy of Sciences
    Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Sciences and the Arts
    Caribbean Academy of Sciences
    Indonesian Academy of Sciences
    Royal Irish Academy
    Academy of Sciences Malaysia
    Academy Council of the Royal Society of New Zealand
    Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

    In addition to these national academies, the following institutions specializing in climate, atmosphere, ocean, and/or earth sciences have endorsed these conclusions:

    NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS)
    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
    National Academy of Sciences (NAS)
    State of the Canadian Cryosphere (SOCC)
    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
    Royal Society of the United Kingdom (RS)
    American Geophysical Union (AGU)
    American Institute of Physics (AIP)
    National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
    American Meteorological Society (AMS)
    Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS)

    I’ll take this “consensus” over the 400 “scientists” handpicked by Sen Inhofe for his minority skeptics report

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  4. Elaine – I’m curious about your comment. Why do you feel that the list is compelling, and why do you feel my post should be likened to “global heating” faith?

    I’ve studied the science a great deal and find that the science itself is more compelling than a list of 400 people who do not. Why should that be likened to religion?

  5. Nah, I won’t do one scientist per Carboholic, although that’s not necessarily a bad idea. I’m thinking of collecting all their arguments and addressing them in my big debunking post one by one. The people/groups tied to people like Steve Milloy of DemandDebate.com will be lambasted as such (and I’ve already found one – in the first 4 scientists).

  6. Go get ’em! Trash those turkeys who don’t know a damn thing about the climate or anything else they’re talking about.

    I mean, come on! Even engineers! Can you believe it? Can you believe my name is in there, and I am an engineer, and Ithe reason is that the mathematical modeling of carbon dioxide’s influence in the atmosphere applied by IPCC (TAR and AR4) cannot be supported over a range of about 30 ppm?

    Actually I’m an engineering physicist. Did you know, that it took an engineer to point out that the model of carrbon dioxide’s influence on water that IPCC was using was actually the same as the (transformed) equation for the gain of a simple feedback amplifier? That, as a matter of fact, made it easy to demonstrate that the equilibrium climate change sensitivity parameter (to the doubling of CO2 concentration) that IPCC was using was 3-7 times smaller (lreduced from climate data) than reported by IPCC.

    The whole thing is not well represented as a first order response anyway.

    There are probably a lot of names in there who you will come back and tell the world:
    ” … many of the scientists are no more qualified to say that global heating is bunk than I am to say it’s real. ”

    and if you walk your talk, you won’t say it’s real!!!!!

  7. De Bunk – Since I don’t know of the exact detail you’re talking about, I’m not going to try and address it here. But thus far I’ve seen lots of details that raise questions and demand further research, but none that counter the overall conclusion of the IPCC et al. If you’d care to provide links to data where your specific issue is discussed, I’ll happily read up on it and see if, as a fellow engineer, I feel it holds water.

    Believe it or not, given the fact that I’ve been collecting the scientific arguments that address every scientifically valid concern, I do consider myself qualified enough to comment, just as you consider yourself (and Inhofe considered you) qualified enough to comment. But my point is that, if you created a list of scientists, engineers, etc. who had done significant reading and research like you and your fellows have, the list in support for the IPCC would be much, much longer than 400 names.

    This doesn’t negate the individual criticisms of global heating made by the various individuals on the list, but it does negate the claim that Inhofe makes, namely that the list blows apart the scientific consensus on global heating.

    Inhofe is using you for political hay and misrepresenting many of the positions of the people on the list – doesn’t that offend you?

  8. Firstly, i am not here to deny global heating…warming…climate change…whatever it may be called.

    What bothers me is the concrete nature of the assertions. Chaos theory arose from attempts at long range weather forecasting because scientists found out that it was almost impossible to get right. The difficulty arose from not being able to factor in every variable…many couldn’t even be known. Common sense is enough to tell most people that we can’t forecast the weather very well, as forecasts are often wrong. But now we are being told that we can forecast climate, which is the sum of weather, decades into the future. I can’t help but ask, “What about the butterflies?”

    This relates to Mr. Gore’s assertions that the “debate is over” and all the “data is in”. He does well by pointing out that it is not Mr. Gore, but science that is telling us to clean up our mess; however, the above quotes are the most unscientific statements i have ever heard. Science is a process. The idea that detracting scientists should be ‘debunked’ does the environmental movement no good. (i think that this is what Elaine is getting at)

    If Relativity is still a ‘theory’, i do not want to hear that Global Warming is an indisputable fact. Then again, i’ve come to the conclusion that Global Warming is a giant distraction from cleaning up our mess, because the mess is actually the sum of many smaller messes. Those smaller messes are solvable, but they appear intractable all balled up into this giant message of doom.

  9. Jackpine:

    Okay, let me turn this around. I think we get what science is, how it works, etc. I think we get that science just about never reaches “certainty.”

    Are you suggesting that we shouldn’t act on a huge preponderance of scientific evidence because we can’t be certain? Can we not act until we get certainty?

    If you aren’t saying that, then how much consensus do we need to act on our findings? You appear to be suggesting that we don’t know enough to act yet, and your invocation of the Principle of Sensitivity to Initial Conditions seems designed to introduce even an even greater bias against activity.

    So maybe I’m just wondering – what are you REALLY saying?

  10. This is just argument from authority on both sides. “Our scientists are better than yours.” “We have more scientists.” Actual evidence can be adduced supporting both sides of the question. It helps neither side to point to consensus since consensus only means that lots of people agree: it proves nothing. The use of prejudicial terms like “debunk” and “deniers” is little more than name-calling.

    Yes, these are rhetorical flourishes. And yes, consensus is useful in establishing that there is significant evidence informing your position. The trouble with using such rhetoric is that the evidence is not quite as conclusive as the rhetoric.

  11. Okay, slenderdog. You do a nice job of, I think, suggesting that we can never know anything so long as there is some level of disagreement.

    So let’s turn this around. We have a proposition on the table regarding global heating. How do YOU think we can arrive at a reliable answer?

  12. Mr. Angliss, Since you’re proud to call yourself an engineer, and gracious enough to respond to me without arrogance, I’ll answer the issues you raise here.

    Mr. Inhofe is not “using” me for anything, Mr. Angiss. I am the individual who has taken the time to explain my views to Mr. Inhofe, who considered my views worthy enough to put in a compilation. I did this because I do not believe that there is any valid evidence that humans have influenced the global climate whatsoever, and furthermore, after considerable analysis, I convinced myself, that humans lack the capacity to influence the global climate even if they wanted to.

    The overall basis for this conclusion is, human capacity for energy transformation on a daily or annual basis is some ten to one hundred millionth of the energy coming from the Sun that is not immediately reflected back to space (say a third of the total energy striking the Earth at any time). That solar energy, and all it influences here on Earth, is what in fact controls the global climate.

    My interest in examinining all of this, is my very limited ablity to influence the governments and the people of the world, so as not to make decisions or impose restrictions that will be far more detrimental than any possible benefits these restrictions were intended to bring about.

    There is a great amount of fear in the world that fossil fuel use will lead to great harm because of the carbon dioxide. I don’t take it lightly to put my dilligent and however limited efforts into attempts to dispell those fears. The burdens and the harships put on those least alble to withstand economic burden in developed nations by attempts to control fuel use, are unjustifiable.

    The attempts to limit the possible development of poorer nations past the struggling existence of a hunter-gatherer tribe is, as far as I am concerned, a crime against humanity.

    I don’t believe that such scientific authorities as IPCC arrived at conclusions or recommendations with ill will, bias, or subjectivity. I simply believe that a considerable amount of analysis was misinterpreted or applied in such ways as to magnify the possible effects of a miniscule influence on the global climate because the influence presented itself, in their analysis, incorrectly in relation to other influences – both human and natural of origin.

    We all support what our reason has led us to conclude, regardless of what others conclude. Some people have made no conclusion about the global climate, some are convinced that catastrophe in inevitable – and some like me are convinced that climate catastrophe from carbon dioxide anyway is impossible. My position on this does not make me a favorite of some – indeed it makes me a target to many and as I perceive your initial approach to this, I was in fact a target that posed little challenge for you to dispatch.

    Perhaps I don’t even need to report that the only “reward” I have come to receive for my efforts has been abuse and condemnation from a few, and allthough I’ll never receive any monetary or other compensation (or as others have placed their trust in me, never will) –

    my determination to speak out what my reason has concluded is incontrovertable will not allow me to be silent.

    There’s a forthcoming compendium on the analysis that examines IPCC approach to atmospheric modeling. For the determination of the climate sensitivity parameter from empirical data, see Schwartz on the global heat capacity and time constant. R Lindzen has used the engineering approach, to interpret IRIS and other phenomena

  13. Brian: I assume you’re already at work on this, but do we have any way of knowing what percentage of the people Inhofe has lined up have been published in peer-reviewed journals? And how many times, and in what journals? And how many of them have been subsequently cited by other published peer-reviewed articles?

  14. … and Brian, don’t forget to include in your tally, the cross-references to the von Storch enlightenment of the validity of Dr Mann’s demonstration that any model of exponential growth in time, will, over a suffient period of time, in fact present itself as exponential growth.

    Thanks, Brian.

  15. I read the supporters and detractors of the thesis here both quibbling over what and which scientists (and engineers) perceive sufficient data to conclude…and so forth. Meanwhile, us little folk merely operate devices known as newspapers, and sure enough, right there on the front page is plenty of news about the radical climatic transformation of the Earth’s surface due to global warming RIGHT NOW. The effects are, as predicted, being felt at the latitudinal extremities of the planet to the most dramatic effect. The Larsen Ice Shelf has vanished. It looked permanent enough a century ago to be named after an intrepid explorer and now it’s seawater. The Arctic Ice Pack is swiftly following suit, and the Inuit villages along the coastline are being inundated by the rising sea.

    When the world’s coral reefs die off completely in 20-30 years die to the One Degree rise in oceanic temperature that will kill them off, I expect not to hear a peep from De Bunk and his like – no entreaties for forgiveness for the lethally faulty advice they give us today. And even if they were to admit “we was wrong”, it’ll be after we’ve said our farewells to the reefs and hence a bit after-the-fact.

  16. I find it faintly disturbing that so-called “men of science” deny that humanity has had any impact on the climate and ecosphere of our planet.
    Maybe if they just stepped outside their closed in, locked down labs, many financially supported by the petro-chemical giants who carress and fund them and the deluded sock-puppets like Inhofe, perhap they may get a different perspective.
    Then again, seeing the amount of outrageous spinning and self-immolatory stupidity of Milloy and Co, I guess they wouldn’t see squat.
    I guess Engineer DeBunk probably would have claimed that automobiles had no effect on those hazy California smogs of the late 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.
    No, that was just a natural occurance, nothing we did to create it, and nothing we can do to diminish it…………..

    Frustrating nit-picking while Rome burns.

  17. It looks awful – the drama horifying, the peril imminent, and the catatrophe inescapable.

    It is a collection of snapshots – of a global village where one area is controlling a fire, another a flood, and another a riot – whereas the rest of it, which you are not looking at, is quite all right as it has been for hundreds of years

  18. RE #12 – I have a fundamental problem with a number of statements you’re making here, but here’s the kicker for me:

    I simply believe that a considerable amount of analysis was misinterpreted or applied in such ways as to magnify the possible effects of a miniscule influence on the global climate because the influence presented itself, in their analysis, incorrectly in relation to other influences – both human and natural of origin.

    What you’re essentially suggesting here is that thousands of scientists all have the same blinders on, are all afflicted by the same level of groupthink, and that the peer review process, as imperfect as it is, is fundamentally incapable of producing quality climate science. That’s a major claim that, in many respects, attacks the foundations of modern science. Do you have proof of this?

    I did this because I do not believe that there is any valid evidence that humans have influenced the global climate whatsoever, and furthermore, after considerable analysis, I convinced myself, that humans lack the capacity to influence the global climate even if they wanted to.

    Really? Do you deny that human activity has the ability to kill thousands of square miles of ocean due to red tides? Do you deny that human activity has the ability to slaughter entire species into extinction or near extinction, including the vast majority of oceanic food fish? Do you deny that human beings have the ability to poison entire river ecosystems, or to effectively drain a major river (the Colorado) of all its water, or to change the local climate across tens of thousands of square miles known as cities? All of these qualify as established facts independent of global heating. So, given that we have hunted species into extinction, we are rapidly depleting the oceans of their fishes to feed our population, we have torn entire mountains down to the ground, we have poisoned entire rivers, and we have turned tens of thousands of square miles of ocean into dead zones, it is impossible to deny the possibility that human interference could alter climate. These anecdotal examples are not proof or data, of course, but a single example of the global impact of human activity is sufficient to negate your certainty.

    Similarly, a single example of scientific data where human activity has been shown to impact the climate of an entire region negates your point that humans couldn’t impact climate – if there’s even a single example of where it happens, then your argument falls back to “humans are impacting the climate but not as much as the sun.” Unfortunately for your argument, there’s at least one example I can think of – the effect of contrails on the mean daily temperature over North America on 9/11 and the days immediately following. Check this link for a news article about the research. The gist of it is that jet contrails behave exactly as cirrus clouds, and the net effect of the contrails cooled North America by between 3 and 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Given that jet contrails are global in nature (jets fly nearly everywhere) and have been such since probably the 1980s if not earlier, the fact that the contrails have effectively cooled the planet by an estimated 3-5 degrees F over that entire time means that humans have fundamentally altered the climate in at least one way for several decades. Ergo, your conclusion that humanity couldn’t alter climate in any way is wrong.

    If you’d like to alter your conclusion, that’s fine. But until you can disprove the facts or disprove the contrail data that I just listed, I’m afraid that altering your conclusion is the only solution you have.

    Finally, you’re right that the combined thermal output of humanity is negligible in comparison to the effects of the sun. But if humanity can affect albedo (via contrails or other methods) by some amount greater than 0.2% (the estimated amount of increase in solar output since the Maunder Minimum), then our impact on climate is greater than the impact of the sun – we changed the albedo, therefore we had the impact.

  19. You write: “…human capacity for energy transformation on a daily or annual basis is some ten to one hundred millionth of the energy coming from the Sun that is not immediately reflected back to space (say a third of the total energy striking the Earth at any time). That solar energy, and all it influences here on Earth, is what in fact controls the global climate.”

    I believe that this is precisely the point; the point is not that humans are out-heating the sun, but that human activity has made the atmosphere less protective a filtering system, thus allowing the sun’s immense energy to reach Earth. Is this not the argument ?

    – Jerry Wechsler / NYC

  20. Slammy – lots of them, actually. I’ve only gone through the first 4 authors thus far, but the sheer number of climate scientists means that a lot of them have been peer reviewed. That doesn’t mean that they’ve been peer reviewed regarding global heating science, only that they’ve likely been reviewed in climatology in some way.

    I’ll be cranking out details for all 400 eventually, however.

  21. The list of climate science deniers is similar to the lists that creationists put together of evolution deniers who are supposedly scientists.
    To demonstrate the absurdity and meaningless of compiling a list of people by name with an opinion (as if science were best decided by voting), take a look at the following. The National Center for Science Education put together a similar list of people who support evolution, but restricted it ONLY to people named Steve (in honor of the late Stephen Jay Gould). With over 822 names on this sampling, the proportional indication would be the equivalent of over 82,000 scientists who support evolution.
    When you study the 400 climate deniers’ names and qualifications, you willl see the same problems (and probably even some of the same names) as with the evolution deniers. But it is meaningless to be impressed by 400 names, when a fair comparison would be to 82,000 people instead. So the 400 deniers list is simply pathetic.
    And yes, my Ph.D. is in the physical sciences, and I have done research in academia and industry (as well as product development and process improvement).
    Dr. Bruce

  22. Yes, Mr Angliss, I agree with you entirely that it is possible to control the climate – in fact to control the weather on a daily bais – and humans do this every day – with development. This is local and regional and the influences persist about as wide as the development itself.

    Changing the landscape in many ways, influences the local habitat for what lives there and climate and Heaven knows it can be for the better or for the worse.

    Yes unfortunately large fish kills and infestations and a whole lot of other bad things have been done by people.

    But the point is, that over sufficient amount of time, that the climate in Pittsburgh, say, is spring summer fall winter, with average seasonal rainfalls and sun and snow, and the climate in Santiago Chile, say, goes from cold and dry to hot and dryer, within very small margiins of humidity and temperature variations, and climatic variations have persisted for centuries, whereas in a certain sense climates have remained the same. All human pollution and atom bombs and strip malls and McDonald’s and SUV driving we can (mis)use won’t change these patterns – on an average and on a decadal and century basis. (Within millennia they will change and we know they will because we have knowledge oif the various epochs of the Earth’s history.)

    The influences of jets in the sky, as mysterious as it is to fathom, persist longer than the jet stream but not by much, for the (photo)chemistry of the atmosphere returns it back to the way it was pretty fast. (a discussion for another day maybe)

    You know as well as I do that I’m not advocating going out and dumping barrels of oil in th ocean then setting them afire to see of we can prove a point.

    But you also know that its’s nice to sit in a warm place and have something to eat and have a computer to play with and not have to worry about cholera. My point is, everybody ought to have such a right …

    Everyone with a viewpoiint wishes, they could convert other people to the same viewpoint they have. After a while perhaps we come to respect difference of viewpoints when we know we aren’t t going to turn someone around. And I completely understand how people, even those we don’t know personally, can engender viscerally, negative reactions in people. Albert G is one such person for me – but my wife has stopped my tirades about him – pointing out that he is just a human too and wants for the betterment of others.

    I wish you and Dr S my very best for this Holiday Season and a wonderful New Year. Thanks.


  23. BA:

    Some evidence was shown by this scientist and the world had a new science based faith…

    He wrote about the ‘religious feel’ that the Man Made Global Heating Gospels have gained since before the BBC took the ‘evidence’ to heart here in the UK.

    Heretic Extraordinaire having once been a believer has for a while now been an enemy of the Cardinal who currently is questioning the integrity of the 400 (yet further heretical increases from the previously counted 60). Amongst the illustrious 400 are the Cardinal’s co-recipients of the Nobel Prize.

    The Cardinal’s clergy of course are the officially endorsed/ordained scientists who in turn receive money from environmental groups and foundations so it can hardly be said that they occupy the stage of objective honesty in the various narratives to be found.

    I, of course, have a lot of time for Astronomers and the
    Eccentric One Off who is respected by Institutions and a source of inspiration to those who look to the skies.

    …but your posts are always excellent and get into the guts of the science available. I have no idea who is right or who is wrong. If my coding goes pear shape on this post…please delete.

    Thanks. 🙂

  24. I know I said I was going home and would shut up for now – I did neglect to answer a question directed to me – why do so many people disagree with me that the IPCC analysis magnifies (or exaggerates) the the influence of CO2 on the global cllimate? These are very good experts and they ought to know what is right and what’s not.

    What gives us any faith in the remarks of a heretic or lunatic out there claiming otherwise?

    Good questions and I would find anyone making statements against a lot of exellent authority to be dubious. I think the climate models used by most of the (except for one that I know of) GSM that IPCC rely on, apply about the same CO2 analysis. My interpretation of the possibility of error is this: Co2 and water overlap a lot of their spectrum, as you know. I believe the CO2 models (tacitly) assume that CO2 alone can absorb at some of the long wavelengths (say 15-20 micrometers) that are associated with Earth’s radiation to space (at night). I think this is exaggerating the influence of CO2 because I think the absorption of wavelengths associated with the Earth approaching equilibrium at night is already accounted for by water – thus giving CO2 an (enhanced) ability to warm the atmosphere that isn’t there.; the accumulated effects of this being (possibly) exaggerated global warming.

    This looks like it ought to be a simple yes/no question that we could dispense with right away, unfortunately it isn’t so simple.

    In (possible?) defense of my position I note that spectroscopic studies don’t seem support the idea that the IPCC analysis is correct (as far as I know and I might well be wrong). The experimental studies are difficult to interpret though – because the CO2 and water mixtures studiied are dilute in CO2 and the potential errors of interpretation of the IR spectra are large.

    Secondly, as you know, the IPCC applied the theory to predict climate over he years 1970-2000 -and came up with global warming that was some 2/3 in excess of what what observed. This, they say, was the (happy) result of sulphate aerosols.

    All I can say is, if that is true, then why didn’t the same aerosol cause a big descrepency in the satellite temperature data, which would certainly influence the IR measurements in the same way? (It is not as easy as I make it out to be here because the wavelenth range is different)

    I guess I left a lot of issues open here, I wish we could resolve them right away.

    I think if CO2 did what IPCC says it could we’d have seen the results in the history of the climate in the Earth a long time ago. I think also we would see optical properties of the atmosphere differently …

    If only llife were longer. I have to go show my wife she means more than my ranting!


  25. “I have to go show my wife she means more than my ranting! ”

    I should think so too. 🙂

    …now how do I stop huband and offspring constantly knocking on the door for attention. 😉

  26. I Think many are forgeting a few things here as far as GLOBAL WARMING.
    (1) there are at least three other Planets in our solar system going through the same climate changes as us. Mars is one and venus another.( please check the astrologist reports on this for proof) BY the way, There are no humans there.
    (2). There was a mini Ice age lasting aproximately 100 Years that didn’t end untill around 1913. In greenland. Supposedly the main factor in the destruction of the vikings who setted colonies in Greenland. They are the ones who NAMED greenland. Who was to blame then on co2 gasses?
    (3). The ice caps may be melting at twice the normal rate however they are rebuilding at twice the rate also. Documented PROOF of this has been shown and pictured in time lapsed photo’s.
    (4). for you youger people, The snow and ice in the northern part of the USA use to be a normal patern during winter. I drove through it on many occations in my 30 years of trucking.
    (5). It is a KNOWN fact that aproximately every 2,000 years or so there are major changes to this planet that alter the way we do things. HMMM !

    I believe we are keepers of this planet and need to take care of it. I also know that the natural order of things is beyond mans control. Maybe we should be aware of things happening and accept those things without buying into scare tactics politicians use in the efforts to atract money for special projects.
    Relax people, GOD is in control, not man…

  27. What I really dislike is when any climatologist believes they can predict the future with 100% certainty. These same scientists then slam astrologers for making the same claim- yet really both have just about the same certainty of success. If indeed the world is 4.5 billion years old and we’ve only had accurate global weather data since the late 1970s- what is that 30 years worth of data really worth over the grand scale of things? Let’s be generous and give the scientists 1 million years worth of daily data…what is that as a percent of 4.5 billion? Any other branch of science making claims on so little data would get laughed out of the lab.
    I work in the museum and nature center grants and contracts business. I can tell you that it’s all about competing for $$ via doom. I call it “Chickenlittlism”- everyone’s proposal crying doom and gloom with each center’s biozone, each area’s wetland, each culture, each one’s everything in dire straights…all heading for certain and immediate destruction. These grant writes are really all competing for funding and all needing to sound more threatened than the other. It’s depressing and most is simply exaggeration.
    When I was a kid in the ’60s…the world was supposed to cool…now it’s supposed to heat.
    I got news for you…it may do both and most likely will……..remember….it’s a PLANET.

  28. I think this post is why I just cannot get enough of S & R. Going to have to come back and read it all again.

  29. What I really dislike is when any climatologist believes they can predict the future with 100% certainty.

    None of the climatologists that I know of make this claim – that’s why they error bar everything in the data, state conclusions in terms of probabilities instead of certainties, etc. Science progresses and in the process changes. This progress is part of why the IPCC estimated 90% likelihood that people are the dominant cause in AR4 instead of 60% in the TAR – that’s still a 10% chance that the scientists are wrong. The question becomes when the percentage chance of major problems rises high enough that national governments decide to act. I totally understand waiting at the 60% mark, but at 90%? If not now, when there’s only a 1 in 10 chance the climate scientists are wrong, when? 95%? 99%? That is, however, a policy decision based on cost/benefit analyses, not a scientific debate.

    So, let’s laugh cosmology out of the lab because we’ve only been taking data for the last 30 years or so and they’re strongly model based (it’s hard to run controlled experiments on the entire universe, after all), never mind that the dataset they’re looking into is ~13 billion years old. Let’s laugh at plate tectonics because it’s a brand new theory, never mind that it is the only explanation that really fits the facts of where volcanoes and earthquakes occur – it was first proposed in 1915 and given it’s first real hard data in 1947. The science of the greenhouse effect goes back to 1896, when it was first proposed.

    The data used by climate scientists goes back to the Permian, if not farther, and the branch of climatology that studies that data is called paleoclimatology. Paleoclimatologists use what are called proxies to measure the temperature, amount of CO2 in the air, etc, and those proxies are reasonably well understood (although not perfectly). Whether scientists have 30 years or over 200 depends on what you consider data – the British Empire actually has temperature measurements from around the globe starting in the mid to late 1800s. In addition, you can correlate satellite data, global temperature measurements, and various proxies to extend the data back thousands, even hundreds of thousands of years. And this is what glacial ice records (both the ice and the air bubbles trapped therein), tree rings, oceanic sediments, even geologic formations are good for.

    Finally, we don’t need 4.5 billion years of data – the earth has been in its most recent main cycle (the Pleistocene) for the last 2 million years. The problem is that the orbital mechanics of the Earth don’t necessarily support a transition back the warmer periods that occurred over the last billion years – this is a point of debate among scientists, and it’s one of the reasons that there are error bars and probabilities attached to climate scientists’ conclusions.

  30. Truckin-up – Ok, let’s go point by paraphrased point.

    1: “There are three other planets heating up.” – There are approximately 177 known major bodies in our solar system that could be affected by solar output. We’ve seen three besides Earth (and Venus is not among them so far as I’ve heard – they’re Mars, Jupiter, and Pluto) that appear to be heating up – that’s 2.25% of the entire solar system, not a good bet. Mars looks to be an albedo change at the moment, Jupiter’s heating is guesswork based on increased storm activity, and we’ve got no clue about Pluto (although the Orbital Express spacecraft on its way to Pluto to gather data on a flyby). So sure, maybe it’s solar output. Maybe, like the ice ages here on the Earth, some unknown event triggered a small change that then built up into the bigger change. But simply put, there is no scientific way at this time to connect the temperatures of other planets to the temperature of our own. There may be in the future, but right now it’s all wild-ass guesses when it comes to how other planets operate.
    2: “Mini-ice age” – If you mean that Greenland is just warming up to what it used to be, that’s false. There are glacial cores from Greenland that dispute this assertion – Greenland ice is melting at a rate of 59 cubic miles of ice per year, and there every indication that the recent heating has caused glaciers to melt that haven’t melted in hundreds of thousands of years.
    3: “ice-caps rebuilding at 2x rate of melt – see photos” Photos give you a snapshot of a single location. If multiple photos are available over multiple locations, then maybe it means something. Alas, in this case it doesn’t. According to satellite measurements (which are WAY more sensitive than a camera – they can detect minute changes in gravity, representing minute changes in the mass – ice – between the satellite and the center of the earth), Greenland is losing 59 cubic miles of ice per year, and the loss increased 250% between measurement periods. The same satellites show that the Antarctic ice cap is losing 36 cubic miles of ice per year.
    5: “2000 year cycle changes everything” – before the end of the last ice age, when temperatures and CO2 were much lower, there appears to have been an 1800 year cycle. That cycle a) wasn’t always about 1800 years – it sometimes had gaps as large as 10,000 years, and b) has not been obviously present in the temperature and climate data for something like 12,000 years. This means that whatever the cycle is (and there is much more ongoing research into this topic, as well there needs to be), it’s easily swamped by other factors. Whether an increase in anthropogenic CO2 is one of those factors is a fair question, and one I expect to see researched a great deal. Regardless, though, just because there might have been a cycle 1500-2400 years ago doesn’t mean that there will or won’t be one now, nor does it mean that any possible cycle matters this time.

  31. Dr. Slammy,

    I am not suggesting that we should do nothing until some sort of incontrovertible proof is provided. Nor do i think that some broad, general consensus must be met as a precondition for acting on environmental concerns. My point was that i often hear global warming arguments based on science (which, in my opinion is sound…if not perfect, which i do not expect) followed by statements like “all the data is in” and “the debate is over”. I believe that the one following the other undercuts the sound science.

    Nor do i think that we must be capable of accounting for each flap of a butterfly’s wings before we can/should act. I do think that we must keep in mind that we are not so all knowing as we would like to think. We tend to believe that we are special — above and removed from nature — based on our brains. This thought pattern got us into the mess we are currently in. When i hear talk about humans destroying the Earth, or life on Earth, i cannot help but hear a slightly different manifestation of the same thought process that got us into this mess in the first place. We don’t have that power, as much as we would like to think that we do.

    And, no, i do not think that we should do nothing. Pure commonsense tells us that we will eat, drink, and breathe whatever we put into the environment. This is about self-preservation as much as anything.

    We have a great deal to do, and much of it would actually generate more wealth as opposed to being some great sacrifice. The public oracles of the environmental movement don’t talk about decentralizing power generation; they speak of a future time when giant wind/solar farms will simply replace our current method of generation. We sometimes hear calls to eat more locally, but those are rarely followed by pressure on Congress to increase the ability of small farmers (particularly livestock) to bring their product to market. (a small cattle farmer must RFID chip every head, the feedlot only 1-100; the small farmer cannot slaughter their own cattle, the cattle must be shipped to an industrial abattoir before being shipped back to the local market)

    I am very much for doing something. But debunking scientists who disagree is not doing something. Cutting your personal energy usage, or switching to small scale renewables is something. Growing as much of your own food as you can is doing something. (And you’d be surprised how much you can grow, even indoors during a Northern winter. I choose to make the trade-off to operate HO T5 fluorescent lamps in order to have leafy greens, dwarf tomatoes, and dwarf cucumbers growing hydroponically rather than driving to the grocery store to purchase shipped produce.) Paying more to support local farmers who sell you real food is doing something. Not patronizing the big box energy hogs shilling cheap crap manufactured without environmental constraints and shipped under subsidy to be purchased on credit is doing something. S&R’s using a dark background in the web design is doing something.

    I’m trying to express that the solutions we seek will not be found in trying to solve a problem with the thinking that created it. So long as we attempt to maintain the economic orders that got us here, we’ll have a very difficult time changing much of anything. Natural Capitalism is an idea whose time has come, though it should have arrived long ago. What we need to do is learn from nature, to make our process mimic ecological process. Nothing is wasted by nature; most of our problems stem from waste.

    What we need to do is treat the disease, not the symptoms. Global warming is a symptom.

    Alexi Koltowicz

  32. Brian, FYI it’s clear that the Milankovitch cycles could not have caused the “drop” into the Pleistocene climate regime. During the Phanerozoic (the last half-billion years or so), the large-scale long-term climate shifts can be pegged to the various effects of plate tectonics, with the steadily brightening sun as a background factor. The effect of Milankovitch cycles is only obvious during times when the climate is cold enough for them to trigger extensive glaciations (and IIRC that they did so during prior major glaciations is speculative due to the lack of sufficient geologic records). During the Phanerozoic such times have been rare — there has been permanent ice for maybe only 20% of the period (something of a guess since it’s hard to find traces of small icecaps), and this is only the third major glacial period. The last one was about 300 million years ago.

    Of course the obvious conclusion from all of this is that it will take very little anthropogenic warming to kick us right out of the Pleistocene, and indeed the warming we’ve already committed to may well be enough. On the plus side, no worries about another glaciation. On the other plus side, money will be made via glass-bottom boat tours of our former coastal cities. We certainly don’t need to worry about any minor intervening disruptions, right?

  33. Your note about LA smog – broght back memories of visiting the area in 1970, looking down into the valley – and northeastern LA was invisible under a pollution cloud.

    The pollution cloud of course the result of a photochemical smog created by automobile emissions; incomplete combusiton of hydocarbons leading to things like acrolein, which in turn reacts wtih other pollution like NOx to create PAN and other pollution. (the most persistent pollution being ozone).

    Emission standards on cars eliminated a lot of it (But there is a chance of bringing some pollution back by using alcohol in fuel, because alcohol burns at a lower temperature and the incomplete combustion forms aldehydes.)

    The LA basin suffers a periodic temperature inversion problem. Cool air off the Pacific displaces warm air off the Continent, creating a cool under warm layer that can’t dissipate because cool air doesn’t rise. The air just stays there too long – like unwelcome guests.

    White man and his gasoline powered pollution machine didn’t create the geographic problem of course – just ask the Tongva who lived there a thousand years ago and periodically had to leave the place because of massive pollution arising from campfire smoke.

    That was when I made myself a target in Nam. I still like the putting myself in the position of being a target

    – Engineer DeBunk

  34. Well, engineer DeBunk, the smog wasn’t JUST in the San Diego area, was it ?
    It was human enhancement to a naturally occuring climatalogical situation, much as human-enhanced pollution and terra-forming has taken the natural cycles of the heating and cooling of the Earth and boosted it way beyond any natural process.
    We helped to cure smog in all the major industrialised Western nations by thinking about what we were doing, and by enforcing people-over-profits legislation in some cases, against much wailing and gnashing of teeth from the lobbyists and their masters. Do you seriously think we are worse off since ?
    And do you seriously not think that maybe the vast percentage of all the planets foremost minds may actually be on the right track, and that far from destroying industry and developement ( and the wealth generated for a tiny few..) we may actually contribute to granting Humanity a better future, for everyone ? Indeed, a future !

    As an engineer, you know perfectly well what a 3 degree rise in mean temperature would do to all life on the planet…..

  35. The design changes in internal combustion engines (mostly achieved through continual understanding of the physics and chemistry of combustion), improved not just the pollution – but the fuel economy of vehicles as well.

    Sure that R&D was legislated – but hardly led to the economic hardship of industrial companies.

    Quite the contrary.

    But in the process of combustion, at the peak of efficiency of fuel use, we reach the end of the free energy ladder (free energy is a technical term of thermodynamics, describing the maximum work available from a process)

    and we arrive at carbon dioxide from the fuel. All the legislation on Earth can’t change that. And if we want the car, or whatever it is that uses fuel, we get the carbon dioxide whether we don’t like excess corporate profit or we do.

    I won’t dipute the drastic results of a three degree increase of average temperature of the atmosphere.

    Excepting in the case of fiction writers and motion picture producers, who create drama for entertainment, the scenario won’t occur because there is no way for it to do so.

    Atmospheric concentration of CO2 cannot exceed about 1000 ppm before it equilibrates with the ocean. And all the carbon there is, accessible within the troposphere, cannot destabilise the carbonate equilibrium of the ocean water.

    I don’t make remarks without considerable effort to assure myself of the validity of it … I hope we inspire further discussion, to the benefit and welfare of the world, what the word “danger” means in relation to carbon dioxide and its appearance because of human presence here on this wonderful, Earth

  36. A fair question, Brian. I could give you lots of examples – but the usual objections, ‘this stuff is the usual Steve Miloy/CO2 “Science” (haha)/Glen Beck/Rush Limbaugh trash we already know’ – so that proves nothing.

    So I’m digging in to locate some sources that you would find reliable.

    I assume you have read the IPCC TAR – and I don’t mean the “summary for policy makers.” I really think many parts are very good and are forthright in their assessment of model prediction. For example, Chapter 8, Model Evaluation is a good overview of the strengths and limitations of the GCM the IPCC relies on. Working from their basis for climate change, I ask myself, is there any baiss for a scenario, such as a large temperature rise, what are the conditions for it, and are any such drastic conditions consistent with model predictions of historical climate?

    My reading of it – is no – meaniing that conditions to identify large climatic variations in the past, were not found. Such conditions should be quite apparent, I would think.

    Anyway, I am still looking for sources you or others would not point to and say, that is tainted. More to follow

  37. Did you mean TAR, or AR4? AR4 has significantly improved the models over the TAR, although I’ll admit that I’ve spent a lot more time reading the paleoclimate sections than the modeling sections. And I avoid the summary for policymakers like the plague unless I need to explain what the IPCC means by “highly likely” or similar “calibrated language.”

    The reliability issue is why I try to go back to root sources when I can instead of relying on RealClimate.org or the IPCC AR4 – too many skeptics feel RealClimate is biased and believe that the IPCC doesn’t represent the latest science, both of which are true to some extent. However, both can be excellent sources of links back to the original information, especially the IPCC lists of references. Hugely useful, since the AR4 WG1 report has all the footnotes for where they got all the data for their conclusions.

  38. The 4AR did have some gaps related to the model logic that were mentioned explicitly by TAR. I will refer to 4AR if you prefer.

    I have had the same sense of RealClimate, and have felt their position to be a foregone conclusion. However I sense they have become more balanced and have begu looking at evidence that contrdicts any of their assertions

  39. Unable to produce a reference that you find acceptable. So it looks like I’ll have to get to work

    Let me ask (or pose) something: What would it take to have you be convinced enough, so that, you would write, here, in your own articles, “this demonstrates to me, that we, as a global community, don’t really need to worry about CO2 right now. This certainly doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t continually strive to develop the most efficient, cleanest, and envronmentally approprrate technology and solutions that we can. We should constantly work to clean up old messes too and make the environment as good as new. . But worrying about carbon dioxide in the atmosphere wouldn’t be the best use of our time and talent right now.”

    What would you need to see published? Where? Any restrictions placed on whom? It is assumed the publication(s) would only be done to deliver a message – and certainly not to advance anyone’s individual interests or profits.

    This is serious, and maybe there is no complete answer for you. But your readers would, I am sure, assume your conviction and reputation for thought and knowledge was enough to inspire them to consider following you.

    I hope I’m not putting undue burden on you for your effort, and I hope you don’t regard this question as my idle thinking.

    Maybe the question is posed incorrectly for you to answer – and you find yourself empty handed too – to put an answer

  40. empty – I think I’d need to see a preponderance of evidence coming from peer-reviewed material starting to trend away from “CO2 is causing global heating” toward “CO2 isn’t causing global heating.” That’s something that would happen only with literally years of publications, improved models, more data from more sources, etc.