Amherst, MA Presentation, March 7

I will be rolling out version 3.0 of my presentation on climate that has already been around the Internet and back a couple of times.  Called “Don’t Panic:  The Science of the Climate Skeptic Position”, it will be given at 7PM in the Pruyne Lecture Hall at Amherst College on March 7, 2013.  Come by if you are in the area.

Topics include:

  • What does it mean when people say “97% of scientists agree with global warming?”   This statement turns out to be substantially less powerful when one understands the propositions actually tested.
  • The greenhouse gas effect of CO2 is a fact (did I surprise you?) but it is a second, unproven theory of strong positive feedbacks in the climate that causes the hypothesized catastrophe.
  • The world has indeed warmed over the last century, but not enough to be consistent with catastrophic forecasts, and not all due to CO2
  • While good science is being done, the science behind knock-on effects of global warming (e.g. global warming causedSandy) is often non-existent or embarrassingly bad.  Too often, the media is extrapolating from single data points
  • The “precautionary principle” ignores real negative effects of carbon rationing, particularly in lesser developed countries.

Speaker Pledge

The tone of the global warming debate is often terrible (on both sides).  The speaker will assume those who disagree are persons of goodwill.   The speaker will not resort to ad hominem attacks or discussion of funding sources and motivations.

62 thoughts on “Amherst, MA Presentation, March 7”

  1. J Green – you are relying on the believe in the positive feedbacks amplifying the warming (as as many warmist believe – creating a nearly out of control warming spiral).
    If the theory of the positive feedbacks is true – then explain
    1) Why the positive feedbacks haven’t already kicked in
    2) what is to stop the positive feedbacks from a continued unstoppable warming spiral
    3) why didnt the positive feedbacks kick in during prior warming periods
    4) Since the positive feedbacks didnt kick in during the prior warming, is there some way for the positive feedbacks to differentiate from different causes of warming that tells them to remain dormant or to attack.

  2. joe_dallas
    Your point about runaway warming has bothered me for years. If a slight warming (due to CO2 or anything else) occurs, then with positive feedback there would indeed be out of control warming. Since this does not happen, something must be out of whack with the theory. If the AGW proponents now came back and said that their theories need to be revised, I would have no problem. It seems however that the more experience there is that shows the theory to be faulty, the more strident their insistance that they are right. If I had behaved this way during my engineering career, that career would have been short indeed.

  3. Jeffery Green
    There is a difference between an enviromentalist and an enviroloonie. I was a backpacker for forty years and treasure the environment. If you are truly interested in the environment, you would be interested in finding real solutions to our problems rather than marching around with a “repent – the end is near – we must do something even if it is absurd” sign.

  4. Jeffery Green
    I looked into the V2G scheme you seem to approve of. That idea is to hook up electric cars to the charger and put battery juice back into the grid as backup to wind or solar power. The figures work out as follows. Assuming 100 million cars with 15 KWH charges, and using Jan 2013 US electricity production figures, at 100% efficiency there would be 3.08 hours of backup. To accomplish this, every home must be equipped with the necessary facilties to convert DC to AC and transform the voltage to a high level to return it to the grid. What a magnificent idea! Who dreams up this sort of nonsense? Run some numbers, man! Let me know if I have made an error in my calcs.

  5. This is typical of the pie-in-the-sky “feel good” crap that underlies nearly all “alternative” energy schemes.

    And if you dare take a pencil to the numbers,and point out the fact that these schemes don’t work, you are immediately attacked as an evil “denialist” in the pay of Big Oil.

    Poor Jeffery is a typical well intentioned “useful idiot” to the cause. He could be dismissed as a well intentioned dufus except that he is part of a massive effort to dismantle the energy source that has propelled modern civilization, fossil fuels, and replace it with fairy dust.

  6. I think the real question in all of this should not be is the world getting warmer….it is. We are on the tail end of an ice age. It was not that long ago that most of N America was covered by very thick sheets of ice. Are humans contributing…probably yes, but we don’t know how much.

    Really, the more important question is “Should we be happy or sad about the earth getting warmer with or without that coupled by an increase in CO2?

    If you look at the recent history of the earth, there was a warming period in the MIddle Ages. People all over Northern Europe were prosperous with great abundance and great progress. That period was followed by an extended period of cooling…..we call that the “Dark Ages”. Food was scarce and people died.

    Going back millions of years, there were many periods where the earth was warmer and in many instances the natural CO2 level much higher than today. During those periods, the now fairly dry portions of the US were lush forests and wetlands as evidenced by the many rich coal and oil fields in the Central US. Certainly the oceans may rise a bit….maybe. Of course, plate tectonics might result in the continents actually increasing in relative elevation.

    We can’t predict the short term weather patterns and the climate change models have been a dismal failure. But, frankly, I don’t care if they are accurate or not. The benefits of a higher mean temperature and higher CO2 levels will likely result in increased farm yeild and be better in general for the worlds population.

    The doom sayers are always eager to promote inaction as the error. We don’t currently have the technology for renewable short of covering all of NM and AZ with solar cells….which would no doubt be fought tooth and nail by the environmental community. And, since the likely source of climate change, which has been happening for the last 10,000 years, is part of a natural cycle, we most certainly do not have the technology to turn down the sun’s cycles.

    Remember something is a theory until it can be proven by observation. So, all the global warming hype is only a theory at this point. I have a theory I will someday win the lottery. But, I would not change the world’s economy based on that theory.

    Good interview with Freeman Dyson.

    Oh, ya, credentials…..Engineering, Professor, Mensa…..
    BTW, you needn’t post lots of replies to this inasmuch as I am an infrequent visitor to this site.

  7. “The speaker will assume those who disagree are persons of
    goodwill. The speaker will not resort to ad hominem attacks or
    discussion of funding sources and motivations.”

    So his public persona is radically different from his blogging persona? Cool.

  8. Good to see the same old Ted. Hey Ted, have you bothered to tell any of this to all those younger engineers currently working on green energy? I’m betting not!

  9. Waldo:
    ALL the engineers I know agree with my calcs. Only the profs getting USG grants to study nonsense believe in this renewable energy crap. Are you a prof on the take by any chance?

  10. The reality is that technology has advanced in alternative energy over the last 10 years. It is now feasible that a combination of wind, solar and hydro storage could supply the entire domestic need for electricity. In reality, a slight supplement of natural gas powered electricity on the days where the whole country is cloudy and still and there are no areas where the sun is shining and the wind is blowing, on and offshore will be necessary. New solar panels coming out will be 67% more efficient than the panels we currently use. The jobs and domestic infrastructure necessary to build this decarbonized system will produce an era of economic expansion unseen since the 1950s.

  11. Jai John Mitchell:
    It is certainly true that the entire domestic need for electricity could be met by wind/solar and hydro storage. I pointed that out, with calcs, earlier. The problem is that ten times as much electical equipment and huge reservoirs would be required. If we are prepared to have many thousand dollars per month electric bill, no problem.
    In the same way, if cost is no object, we can make gasoline out of CO2. Amost anything is possible theoretically. Very few are feasible economically or engineering-wise. Put numbers on your schemes and it becomes clear.
    No matter how efficient solar panels become, they cannot generate more energy than reaches the earth’s surface. Your comment about a “slight supplement” of gas power on cloudy days is intersting. The capacity of such standby would need to be 100% of demand. The cost would be astronomical per unit of power generated. Imagine all that equipment standing idle most of the time. Again, ANYTHING is possible at a cost.

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