Is the Global Warming Hype Killing Environmentalism?

Cross posted from Coyote Blog:

Of late, I have been getting the strongest sense that the global warming hysteria is sucking all the oxygen out of the rest of the environmental movement.  Quick, what is the last environment-related article you read that didn’t mention global warming?

Here is an example:  I give a lot of my charity money to groups like The Nature Conservancy, because I personally value preservation of unique areas and habitats and I don’t sit around waiting for the government to do it for me.  But it has become almost impossible of late to drum up enthusiasm from contributors for such causes, unless the land can be labeled a carbon-sink or something.  In fact, the global warming hysteria has really been a disaster for private land conservation because it has caused politicians to subsidize ethanol.  This subsidy is bringing much more wild land into cultivation in this country and has been the single biggest driver for deforestation in the Amazon over the last decade. 

Or take China.  China’s cities are an unhealthy mess.  But focus on global warming has led environmentalists to take the position with China they have to stop coal combustion and growth in auto-miles entirely.  This is a non-starter.  There is no WAY they are going to do this.  But it is much more achievable to start getting China focused on a Clean-Air-Act type of attack on vehicle and coal plant emissions of real pollutants like SO2.   China could be made much more healthy, as the US has done over the last 30-60 years, but instead of working with China to get healthier, the focus is on getting them to shut down their growth altogether.

The UPI published a survey of people’s environmental priorities:

  1. drinking water
  2. pollution of rivers, lakes, and ecosystems
  3. smog
  4. forest preservation
  5. acid rain
  6. tropical rain forests
  7. national parks
  8. greenhouse emissions
  9. ozone layer
  10. nature around "my" home
  11. urban sprawl
  12. extinction.

I feel like #1 is overblown based on a lot of media scare stories, but most of the top 6 or 7 would all be things I would rank well above global warming fears as well.  There are still real issues to be dealt with in these areas which can have far more of a positive impact on health and quality of living than CO2 abatement, but they are being suffocated by global warming hype.

This is Pretty Priceless

I am sorry posting has been light of late, but in the mean time, this is priceless (via Tom Nelson);

“Sir David King, not realizing he had been ambushed, launched into his usual exaggerated, alarmist presentation (he actually knows remarkably little about the science of climate, and makes an ass of himself every time he opens his mouth on the subject). The six sceptics heard him politely until one of them, who told me the story, could contain himself no longer. When Sir David said that the snows of Kilimanjaro were melting because of “global warming”, my informant pointed out that, in the 30 years since satellite monitoring of the summit had begun, temperature had at no instant risen above –1.6°C, and had averaged –7°C (Molg et al., 2003); that the region around the mountain had cooled throughout the period (Cullen, 2006); that the recession of the glacier had begun in the 1880s, long before any anthropogenic influence (Robinson, Robinson & Soon, 2007); and that the reason for the long-established recession of the Furtwangler glacier at the summit was ablation caused by the desiccation of the atmosphere owing to the regional cooling. It had nothing to do with global warming.”

Sir David King, embarrassed at having been caught out, said he had never been so insulted in all his life. He flounced out of the meeting, followed by the rest of the British delegation. To Dr. Ilarionov, two conclusions were evident: first, that the supporters of the “consensus” position had based their argument on known scientific falsehoods and were accordingly unable to argue against the well-informed sceptics; secondly, that, as he put it at the time, the British Government were behaving like old-style imperialists. The breakdown in relations between the UK and Russia began at that moment.”

… Or It Could Mean Nothing

Kevin Drum wrote:

CLIMATE CHANGE UPDATE….The Wilkins ice shelf is collapsing:

A chunk of Antarctic ice about seven times the size of Manhattan suddenly collapsed, putting an even greater portion of glacial ice at risk, scientists said Tuesday.

….British Antarctic Survey scientist David Vaughan attributed the melting to rising sea temperature due to global warming.

….Vaughan had predicted the Wilkins shelf would collapse about 15 years from now.

All the usual caveats apply. However, this is one more data point suggesting that global warming may be happening faster than our current models predict, not slower.

I responded in the comments section:

A few observations.

  • Global temperatures have been flat for 8-10 years, after being up substantially the decade previously.
  • Recent ocean measurement work as reported on NPR show ocean temps. over last 5-6 years to be flat to slightly down
  • 98% of Antarctica has cooled over the last decades and has built up ice pack — 2% has warmed (in the Antarctic Peninsula). I will leave it to the reader to guess where Al Gore sent his cameras
  • In August 2007, or about a half year ago, sea ice extent around Antarctica was the largest ever recorded (since measured by satellites in 1979). So, within the last 6-8 months, Antarctica had record sea ice buildup.

Given this backdrop, it is astounding that one could interpret the collapse of an ice sheet that happened faster than one scientist predicted as "accelerating global warming." I can’t think of any mechanism where the behavior of an ice shelf would be a more sensitive measure of the pace of global temperature change than would be the direct measurement of air and sea temperatures themselves.

There are two ways to interpret this ice sheet collapse that are far more "reality-based"

One, the collapse is a result of the fairly well-known and relatively isolated local/regional warming in the Antarctic Peninsula (where I believe this shelf is located). In other words, it signals a local phenomenon rather than a global one, or

Two, the scientist who originally predicted the date of the ice shelf collapse made an incorrect prediction. There is no particular loss of face in this – after all, such events are part of cycles that last long enough that, in many cases, we have not been able to observe even one entire cycle with modern tools. It would be the height of hubris to say that we understand and forecast these decadal and even longer cycles and events well enough to declare that deviation from forecast must represent a change in nature rather than our own poor understanding.

Update:  More here via Q&O

More on Climate Feedback

On a number of occasions, I have emphasized that the key scientific hypothesis that drives catastrophic warming forecasts is not greenhouse gas theory, but is the theory that the climate is dominated by strong positive feedbacks:

The catastrophe comes, not from a mere 1 degree of warming, but from the multiplication for this warming 3,4,5 times or more by hypothesized positive feedback effects in the climate.   Greenhouse gas theory gives us warming numbers we might not even be able to find amidst the natural variations of our climate;  it is the theory of strong positive climate feedback that gives us the apocalypse.

So when I read the interview with Jennifer Marohasy, I was focused less on the discussion of how world temperatures seemed sort of flat over the last 10 years  (I have little patience with climate alarmists focusing on short periods of time to "prove" a long term climate trend, so I try not to fall in the same trap).  What was really interesting to me was this:

The [NASA Aqua] satellite was only launched in 2002 and it enabled the collection of data, not just on temperature but also on cloud formation and water vapour. What all the climate models suggest is that, when you’ve got warming from additional carbon dioxide, this will result in increased water vapour, so you’re going to get a positive feedback. That’s what the models have been indicating. What this great data from the NASA Aqua satellite … (is) actually showing is just the opposite, that with a little bit of warming, weather processes are compensating, so they’re actually limiting the greenhouse effect and you’re getting a negative rather than a positive feedback."

Up to this point, climate scientists who argued for strong positive feedback have relied mainly on numbers from hundreds of thousands of years ago, of which our understanding is quite imperfect.  I have long argued that more recent, higher quality data over the last 50-100 years seems to point to feedback that is at best zero and probably negative [also see video here and here].  Now we have better data from the satellite NASA launched in part to test the strong positive feedback hypothesis that in fact feedback may be negative.  This means that instead of multiplying a climate sensitivity of 1 (from CO2 alone) to numbers of 3 or more with feedback, as the IPCC argued, a climate sensitivity of 1 from CO2 may actually be reduced to a net sensitivity well less than 1.  This would imply warming from CO2 over the next century of less than 1C, an amount likely lost in the noise of natural variations and hardly catastrophic.

Marohasy: "That’s right … These findings actually aren’t being disputed by the meteorological community. They’re having trouble digesting the findings, they’re acknowledging the findings, they’re acknowledging that the data from NASA’s Aqua satellite is not how the models predict, and I think they’re about to recognise that the models really do need to be overhauled and that when they are overhauled they will probably show greatly reduced future warming projected as a consequence of carbon dioxide."

I am Sure That This Will Get “Fixed”

From NPR:

Some 3,000 scientific robots that are plying the ocean have sent home a puzzling message. These diving instruments suggest that the oceans have not warmed up at all over the past four or five years. That could mean global warming has taken a breather. Or it could mean scientists aren’t quite understanding what their robots are telling them.

Of course it could also mean that the global warming theories are wrong, but far be it for NPR to jump that far based on real data.  The article is fairly hilarious in that it gets quotes from people on every possible explanation for this phenomenon except that we might be misinterpreting the reason for recent atmospheric warming.  In fact the only thing the quoted scientists can agree on is that this new data has nothing to say about the accuracy of global warming theories:

Trenberth and Willis agree that a few mild years have no effect on the long-term trend of global warming. But they say there are still things to learn about how our planet copes with the heat.

My prediction is that they will hand this data over to James Hansen and he will make some adjustments and homogenizations, and then they will hand it off to Michael Mann for some of his statistical magic, and suddenly the world’s oceans will have warmed a LOT over the last 5 years.  Don’t laugh, it has happened before.

By the way, it is kind of funny to search for "NPR ocean temperatures" because the first result is this:

In Florida, the effects of global warming are evident several feet below the ocean’s surface. Marine scientists say warming ocean temperatures are taking a toll on North America’s only coral reef—an underwater ecosystem just off Florida’s Atlantic Coast. At a reef that stretches from Palm Beach through the Florida Keys, rising temperatures have led to an increase in what scientists call "coral bleaching."

Hmm, but the oceans were cooling during this study, apparently. In fact, it is interesting in retrospect that the authors of the coral bleaching study presented absolutely no data on ocean temperatures – it was just OK to assume the ocean was warming because everyone believed it to be.  This is what happens when a consensus is declared that no one is allowed to challenge – assumptions get made without actually checking the facts.

Unit Conversion Problem

From the Galvin Institute, as quoted by Lynne Kiesling, power market analyst extraodinaire:

Power plants generate as much pollution as they do electricity

How does one do this unit conversion?  This is one of those happy little statements everyone lets slide or nods their head at sagely that in fact turn out to be completely assinine.

Spreading Peanut Butter

NASA’s GISS claims to have a statistical methodology to identify and remove urban biases.  After dealving into the numbers, it looks more like they are not removing urban biases, but spreading their effect around multiple stations like peanut butter.  My kids have a theory that I will not notice the fact they have not eaten their [fill in the blank] food if they spread it around the plant in a thin layer rather than leaving it in a single pile.  This seems to be NASA’s theory on urban measurement biases.  In addition, the GISS statistical methodology seems to be finding an unusual number of stations with a cooling bias, meaning that for some reason the instruments are actually less urbanized than say 50 years ago.

Steve McIntyre digs into some of these issues:

In my previous post, I calculated the total number of positive and negative NASA adjustments. Based on present information, I see no basis on which anything other than a very small proportion of negative urban adjustments can be assigned to anything other than “false local adjustments”. Perhaps there are a few incidents of vegetative cooling resulting in a true physically-based urban cooling event, but surely this would need to be proved by NASA, if that’s their position. Right now, as a first cut, let’s estimate that 95% of all negative urban adjustments in the ROW are not due to “true urban” effects i.e. about 1052 out of 1108 are due to “false local adjustments”….

If the purpose of NASA adjustments was to do station history homogenizations (a la USHCN), then this wouldn’t matter. But the purpose of the NASA adjustments was to adjust for the “true urban” effect”. On this basis, one can only conclude that the NASA adjustment method is likely to be completely ineffective in achieving its stated goal. As other readers have observed (and anticipated), it appears highly likely that, instead of accomplishing an adjustment for the “true urban effect”, in many, if not most cases, the NASA adjustment does little except coerce the results of one poorly documented station to results from other equally poorly documented stations, with negligible improvement to the quality of whatever “signal” may be in the data.

This does not imply that the NASA adjustment introduces trends into the data – it doesn’t. The criticism is more that any expectation of using this methodology to adjust for urban effect appears to be compromised by the overwhelming noise in station histories. Needless to say, the problems are exacerbated by what appears to be poor craftsmanship on NASA’s part – pervasive use of obsolete station versions, many of which have not been updated since 1989 or 1990(!), and use of population data that is obsolete (perhaps 1980 vintage) and known to be inaccurate.

This is the second part of this post, where Mcintyre first quantified the number of the "nreverse" urban bias adjustments:

negative urban adjustments are not an exotic situation. In the ROW, there are almost the same number of negative adjustments as positive adjustments. In the U.S., there are about 50% more positive adjustments as negative adjustments – again a noticeable difference to the ROW. Some commenters on my Peruvian post seemed to think that negative urban adjustments were an oddball and very anomalous situation. In fact, that’s not the case, negative adjustments are nearly as common as positive adjustments.

The Catastrophe Comes from Feedback

I am going to be out enjoying some snow skiing this week, but I will leave you with a thought that was a prominent part of this video

The catastrophe that Al Gore and others prophesy as a result of greenhouse gasses is actually not, even by their admission, a direct result of greenhouse gas emissions.  Even the IPCC believes that warming directly resulting from manmade CO2 emissions is on the order of 1 degree C for a doubling of CO2 levels in the atmosphere (and many think it to be less). 

The catastrophe comes, not from a mere 1 degree of warming, but from the multiplication for this warming 3,4,5 times or more by hypothesized positive feedback effects in the climate.   Greenhouse gas theory gives us warming numbers we might not even be able to find amidst the natural variations of our climate;  it is the theory of strong positive climate feedback that gives us the apocalypse.

So, In a large sense, the proposition that we face environmental Armageddon due to CO2 rests not on greenhouse gas theory, which is pretty well understood, but on the theory that our climate system is dominated by strong positive feedbacks.  This theory of positive feedback is almost never discussed publicly, in part because it is far shakier and less understood than greenhouse gas theory.  In fact, it is very probable that we have the sign, much less the magnitude, of major feedback effects wrong.  But if we are considering legislation to gut our economies in order to avoid a hypothesized climate catastrophe, we should be spending a lot more time putting scrutiny on this theory of positive feedback, rather than just greenhouse gas theory.

Tom Nelson quotes an email from S. Fred Singer that states my position well:

I believe a fair statement is that the GH [greenhouse] effect of CO2 etc must exist (after all, CO2 is a GH gas and is increasing) but we cannot detect it in the record of temp patterns.

So we must conclude that its contribution to climate change is swamped by natural changes.

Why do models suggest a much larger effect? Because they all incorporate a positive feedback from WV [water vapor], which in actuality is more likely to be negative. Empirical evidence is beginning to support this explanation.

My Answer to Andrew Revkin

Andrew Revkin asks:

"A question for climate skeptics: I presume you agree there’s at least a chance you could be wrong, just as you assert those pointing to a clearcut climate apocalypse have little basis for their claims. On that front, I’d be curious to know what you’d propose as a backup plan if the climate’s sensitivity to CO2 turns out to be higher than you think?"

We are not talking about one potential disaster but two:  Potential Disaster #1 is some sort of climate apocalypse from CO2-caused warming.  Potential Disaster #2 is an economic apocalypse via contracting economies and drastically reduced energy consumption that result from aggresive CO2 abatement programs.

In all but the most dire climate forecasts, the economic disaster from aggressive CO2 abatement is at least as large in terms of its contribution to human misery as any hypothesized climate disaster from not abating CO2. 

This statement might be open to debate, but here is one that is not:  No matter which disaster is worse, what we know for sure is that the economic disaster is orders of magnitude more likely than the climate disaster.  Because if there is a 0-5-10% chance of a apocalyptic climate disaster from inaction on CO2, there is a near 100% chance that efforts that truly abate CO2 (current recommendations are to reduce it in 30 years by 80-100%) will result in an economic disaster which will cause untold human misery — particularly if alarmists refuse to accept nuclear as a viable abatement option.  We may actually not experience the disaster so much in the US — after all, as a nation we are quite rich.  But the disaster in terms of lost opportunity for the billions of people who for the first time in millenia have the chance to escape grinding starvation-level poverty will be absolute. 

This is what climate alarmists and their lapdogs in the press always fail to explain — in order to avoid a hypothesized climate disaster we have to set ourselves up for almost certain economic disaster.  And the only way that this might not happen is if some new technology, like solar energy panels that are two orders of magnitude cheaper, comes along to bail us out of this tradeoff.  But if that occurs, there is still little need for drastic action, since the market would adopt such a technology in seconds with or without a climate disaster looming.

Why Do We Only Look At Skeptic’s Money?

I would be happy to leave funding sources and related ad hominem attacks out of climate discourse completely, but, given these attacks seem to be an element of, oh say, 99% of all media articles on the topic, why is the scrutiny completely directed at skeptics?  Sure, ExxonMobil has probably spent a couple of million dollars funding skeptics.  But here is an example of $1.3 billion put behind the alarmist position.  And this is just one such example.  Gore just raised a $5 billion fund whose success or failure entirely depends on alarmists winning the political debate.  These are direct incentives powerful people now have to lobby the government for climate "action" of some sort, whether or not it makes sense, just as ADM lobbies Congress for corn ethanol subsidies that have been proven to make no sense environmentally or economically.

Great Description of the Climate Debate

Peter Foster via Tom Nelson:

The environmental movement has also been astonishingly successful in co-opting education systems, and highly skillful at exploiting universal psychological tendencies to social conformity and deference to "authority." The suggestion that climate change is primarily a "moral" problem has been a masterstroke, of which the masterstroker is Al Gore.

Invoking morality is a powerful weapon in shutting off debate. It employs the so-called "psychology of taboo" to place some claims — for example, that climate change may be natural, beneficial, or practically unstoppable — beyond the pale. Those who promote such notions must therefore be evil, or psychologically unbalanced, or in the pay of powerful corporations.

Invoking the authority of science and the democratic value of "consensus" are again both designed to cut off rational analysis. This leads to the strange phenomenon of the discussion of policy alternatives becoming delinked from likely results, as with the responses to Mr. Baird’s announcement this week. Thus the finer points of carbon taxation and/or cap-and-trade systems are debated with little or no concern about the fact that they will achieve little or nothing in terms of changing the global climate.

It is clear that American public opinion is an outlyer in this great march towards green socialism.  Often, climate alarmists ascribe this to America’s supposed disinterest in environmental issues.  But this argument does not stand up when one looks at the facts.  The US over the last 40 years has a much better environmental record than, say, the more pious Western Europe.  Our water and air are cleaner, our forests continue to expand, and the only reason Europe doesn’t discuss problems with endangered species as much as the US is because they have already killed all theirs. 

No, the real reason the US is an outlyer in opinion is that it does not have the culture of blind deference to public authority that Europe has, which has led Europeans into the hands of one authoritarian after another over the last centuries.  In 1808 it was Napolean; in 1908 it was the Kaiser, and later Lenin and Hitler; in 2008 it is Al Gore.

Quality Science

There once was a scientist who was testing a frog.  He said, "jump frog," and the frog jumped 8 feet.  He pulled out his handy scientific notebook and wrote "Frog, four legs, jumps 8 feet."

The scientist then cut off one of the frog’s legs.  "Jump frog," he said, and the frog jumped 6 feet.  He wrote in his book "Frog, cut off one leg, jumps 6 feet."

He then proceeded to cut off another leg.  "Jump frog."  He measured and wrote in his book "Frog, cut off two legs, jumps 3 feet."

He then cut off another leg.  Again he said "jump frog," and the frog jumped one foot.  He wrote, "frog, three legs cut off, jumps 1 foot."

Finally, he cut off the last leg.  "Jump frog."  No response.  "Jump Frog!"  No movement.  So he pulled out his notebook at wrote, "cut off all four legs, frog goes deaf."

Which brings us to this story:  Drive your SUV, fish goes deaf.

HT: Tom Nelson  (the bad joke is all mine)

Weighting Sample Sites in Mann’s Hockey Stick

Posting has been light, because I have been very busy at work and because I just have not seen that much science of late that was interesting to report, and there is only so much of the political yada yada on the subject of climate I can stomach.

But I learned something the other day in this post by Steve McIntyre.  He as a nice way of cutting through all the BS about various statistical transforms that are used to create Mann’s hockey stick chart when he writes:

Whenever there is any discussion of principal components or some such multivariate methodology, readers should keep one thought firmly in their minds: at the end of the day – after the principal components, after the regression, after the re-scaling, after the expansion to gridcells and calculation of NH temperature – the entire procedure simply results in the assignment of weights to each proxy. This is a point that I chose to highlight and spend some time on in my Georgia Tech presentation. The results of any particular procedural option can be illustrated with the sort of map shown here – in which the weight of each site is indicated by the area of the dot on a world map. Variant MBH results largely depend on the weight assigned to Graybill bristlecone chronologies – which themselves have problems (e.g. Ababneh.)


In effect, while Mann used 50,60 proxy sets, just four determined about 90% of the answer.  Often, Mann has been challenged by historians who argue that the historical written record stands in opposition to his proxy work, since the historical record is clear about a Medieval warm period (where grapes were grown further north than they are today and Greenland was green) and a little ice age (where rivers froze that seldom froze before or since).  Mann has always responded that written records are limited to Europe and north Africa, while his hockey stick is global, but this chart tends to put the lie to that assertion.  And that is before we even discuss how bad trees are as thermometers.

Something I Have Been Saying for a While

While I am big proponent of the inherent superiority of satellite temperature measurement over surface temperature measurement (at least as currently practiced), I have argued for a while that the satellite and surface temperature measurement records seem to be converging, and in fact much of the difference in their readings is based on different base periods used to set the "zero" anomoly. 

I am happy to see Anthony Watt has done this analysis, and he does indeed find that, at least for the last 20 years or so, that the leading surface and satellite temperature measurement systems are showing about the same number for warming (though by theory I think the surface readings should be rising a bit slower, if greenhouse gasses are the true cause of the warming).  The other interesting conclusion is that the amount of warming over the last 20 years is very small, and over the last ten years is nothing.



This is interesting, but yet to be reproduced by others:

"Runaway greenhouse theories contradict energy balance equations," Miskolczi states.  Just as the theory of relativity sets an upper limit on velocity, his theory sets an upper limit on the greenhouse effect, a limit which prevents it from warming the Earth more than a certain amount.

How did modern researchers make such a mistake? They relied upon equations derived over 80 years ago, equations which left off one term from the final solution.

Miskolczi’s story reads like a book. Looking at a series of differential equations for the greenhouse effect, he noticed the solution — originally done in 1922 by Arthur Milne, but still used by climate researchers today — ignored boundary conditions by assuming an "infinitely thick" atmosphere. Similar assumptions are common when solving differential equations; they simplify the calculations and often result in a result that still very closely matches reality. But not always.

So Miskolczi re-derived the solution, this time using the proper boundary conditions for an atmosphere that is not infinite. His result included a new term, which acts as a negative feedback to counter the positive forcing. At low levels, the new term means a small difference … but as greenhouse gases rise, the negative feedback predominates, forcing values back down.

My scientific intuition has always rebelled at the thought of runaway positive feedback.

By the way, James Hansen has claimed that he is being censored at NASA by the Bush Administration, and that the government should not interfere with scientists work.  So how did he react to this work?

NASA refused to release the results.  Miskolczi believes their motivation is simple.  "Money", he tells DailyTech.  Research that contradicts the view of an impending crisis jeopardizes funding, not only for his own atmosphere-monitoring project, but all climate-change research.  Currently, funding for climate research tops $5 billion per year.

Miskolczi resigned in protest, stating in his resignation letter, "Unfortunately my working relationship with my NASA supervisors eroded to a level that I am not able to tolerate.  My idea of the freedom of science cannot coexist with the recent NASA practice of handling new climate change related scientific results."

I argued a while back that Hansen should do the same if he thought he was being censored.  Certainly you do not have to convince this libertarian of the contradiction between a government agency and the concept of free scientific inquiry.

Inspecting the Sausage Factory

A very interesting discussion about the foibles of climate modelling.  Here is but a taste:

A major thrust of the debate was because Schlesinger had put the same data into the five models and each produced results that he claimed were meaningful. Somebody pointed out that the results differed considerably from model to model. For example, they differed by 180° in their predictions for large areas. Schlesinger’s reply was the models were not accurate for small regions. The person pointed out that the small regions were continental in their dimension. Much laughter at this point. Schlesinger then said the models were not quantitatively correct but they were qualitatively correct. When asked to explain what he meant he said well they all showed global warming with increased CO2. It was quickly pointed out that if you program them to have temperature increase with a CO2 increase (ceteris paribus) then that was an inevitable result of the programming not the reality. The noise volume increased at which point a bizarre incident occurred.

During Schlesinger’s presentation, titled, "Model projections of the Equilibrium and Transient Climatic Changes induced by Increased Atmospheric CO2" there were general rumblings in the audience about the nature and assertiveness of the presentation, something that I had come to know as normal for modelers. This erupted in the question period. However, prior to that there were strange noises coming from behind me. I did not want to look around based on my experience at english soccer matches. In the question period voices were raised and frustrations expressed about the inadequacy of the models. Suddenly at the height of the din a shoe flew upon to the platform from behind me. There was shocked silence and a strange voice said, "I didn’t have a towel." He then asked permission to go onto the platform. It turned out the strange noises were from the shoe thrower who had a voice box. He explained he had two Ph.Ds one in Atmospheric Physics and proceeded to put a formula on the blackboard. Schlesinger agreed it was the formula for the atmosphere at the basis of his models. The man then eliminated variables one at a time, each time having Schlesinger agree he eliminated them from the final model. The man then said what you have left no longer represents the atmosphere and any results from such as model were meaningless.

Asymmetry in Press Coverage

It would be perfectly acceptable to me to solely cover the science associated with global warming, rather than having dueling ad hominem attacks.  However, since as hominem attacks and press coverage based on funding sources has become a staple of at least one side of the climate debate, I must observe the following irony:  Scientists who receive $2 million from Exxon are tainted.  But Al Gore is not, despite the fact that his net worth has increased by at least $35 million, mostly from being paid to speak on global warming or from investing in companies whose value depends on the expectation of government action on global warming.

Either leave the money out of the discussion altogether (my preference) or at least be symmetrical in whose money is being investigated.

Warming and Civilization

I am taking a course in the history of the High Middle Ages in Europe, say between 1000AD and 1300.  One of the demographic drivers of the Middle Ages is the fact that population, while flat before 1000 and declining after 1300, actually doubled in Europe between 1000 and 1300.  One of the key drivers was a very warm period that caused agriculture to flourish.

The funny part was listening to the professor try to present this section to today’s audience.  He had to keep saying "I know you may find this hard to believe, but warming was very beneficial to European civilization."  It was clear the audience was so programmed to think warming=bad, that listeners had a hard time accepting the historical fact that warming created a boom, including a population boom, in Middle Age Europe.