Friday, February 18, 2011

climate conversation for safe keeping

In hindsight, I wish I had captured many of the climate-related discussions I've engaged in. Some, like a column by an editor of a industrial automation trade journal went missing; others lose their revealing comments; and others I just lose the link.

Here, I've captured the online comments made when my local paper ran this article on the efforts of a lobby to promote an energy tax in California:

The comments below reveal common attitudes in the resistance to addressing climate change. I'm posting them for the purpose of keeping them. Later, I may try to condense and summarize them. The comments are listed from the most recent to the earliest, a formatting choice of the newspaper, which I think is intended to promote comments by hiding when certain ideas have already been stated. In other words, later commenters are less likely to see what has already been said, so they are more likely to repeat but in their own words.


arrg said on: February 2, 2011, 9:14 am
Independent: By the way, I wasn't put up to this by a science teacher, but I recently was invited by a science teacher to speaker to her class about planetary climate vis-a-vis it's foundation in astronomy. And the kids got it. I was peppered with questions about what is the normal range of atmospheric CO2, what parts of earth receive the most insolation, what temperatures are possible... It's a sin to deny our children information they'll need to deal with our mess. Let me know when you get a similar opportunity to present.


arrg said on: February 2, 2011, 9:05 am

Independent: regarding your confusion between climate sensitivity and inertia, consider an oven. Try this in your kitchen: turn your oven on to 450 degrees. Does it reach 450 right away? No. It takes time. There is a lag. There is a much larger lag in the global climate system. A doubling of greenhouse gases creates an energy imbalance of 4 watts per square meter. This extra heat is partly absorbed by the oceans, so we don't see it as an immediate rise in temperature; it also goes to destabilizing icesheets, which again, we don't see as a rise in temperature. The system will reach an equilibrium at a higher temperature. This takes time and there's inertia involved. But inertia cuts both ways. It protects from seeing an immediate effect, but slowness in which it occurs means it also be painfully slow to undo. Once the planet is a warmer place, we're committed to that for some time. Inertia.

Sandycb273 said on: February 2, 2011, 8:49 am

Independent. Your last post is also factually incorrect. You don't understand either the concept of climate sensitivity or inertia in surface air temperatures as a result of the long time it takes to propagate warming through the oceans. You also clearly are confused about what it is the IPCC does ( hint: they don't 'do' science but rather summarize the work of the world's scientists studying the relevant processes). Further, you're attempting to attack by piecemeal a huge cross-disciplinary scientific question--and doing a very poor job. If you have political or economic criticisms of how to address or not address climate change as a society, perhaps those are areas where your opinion--like everyone else's--is qualified.

Independent said on: February 2, 2011, 6:55 am

Oh my, looks like some left wing environut science teacher had all his or her kiddies do a job on this article. But reality can be stranger then political fiction. NOAA published mean atmospheric carbon dioxide for the years 2002-2007. They were 372.39; 374.94; 376.76; 378.78 ; 380.90 and; 382.67 ppmv . Now using the formulas touted by the global warmest we should have had a temperature rise from 4.75 °C in 2002 up to 5.21 °C in 2007 for a total increment of about 30 °C.  Now that obviously did not happen, did it. Due to this IPCC's touted 1.5-6 °C atmospheric warming for a doubling of carbon dioxide has been refuted and readjusted to a small 0.005-0.02 °C for a doubling of pre-Industrial atmospheric carbon dioxide.
"Silence Dogood" said on: February 1, 2011, 9:14 pm

'ccl'… what a bunch of sophists!

IsThisTurner said on: February 1, 2011, 8:50 pm

Although I'm sure all of the comments listed here have been submitted by experts in climate science who are obviously so very well informed, as evidenced by the absolute certainty of their statements, I thought I'd suggest an insightful book (though certainly you've all read it since you're such avid and studious professionals). "Merchants of Doubt" by Dr. Naomi Oreskes - Enjoy!

SoCalGuy said on: February 1, 2011, 7:13 pm

Con no more should rename his handle to "Con extraordinnaire"; What a bunch of bunk. First, he writes at 5:43, referring to my earlier post, "His criticism is that all science is couched in terms exactly the same as all investigators use to allow for new information--" Tricky, but the weasel words are "new information" and that's exactly my point. These scientists couch their "new information" in disclaimers because they try to sell their "new information" as "fact." It's so dishonest it's maddening. And besides, I didn't use the term "new information" in my post, those are weasel con's words. Second, comparing science with the trying of a legal case is simply absurd. Lawyers try facts and float theories in a theater devoid of absolutes. Science, on the other hand is supposed to be absolutes premised on provable and reproducable results from theories. No comparison at all. But his coup de grace is this nugget in his 5:27 post; "...even on the tiniest chance that human caused increased carbon dioxide is a threat to future generations, isn't the rational CONSERVATIVE thing to do, to try to do something about a huge potential problem?" Ay, yes, the true test of the socialist mentality; "even if there is the tiniest chance that what I - knower of all things and con extraordinnaire when I'm just a wee bit sure - believe is true, shouldn't YOU fall in lockstep and do what I say?" Uh, no.

con no more said on: February 1, 2011, 5:43 pm

The post by SoCalGuy on February 1, 2011 at 5:21 pm shows that he has been fooled by the anti fact group. His criticism is that all science is couched in terms exactly the same as all investigators use to allow for new information--"evidence suggests" "believed to be" etc.
Let's think back to the OJ Simpson trial for double murder. How was that evidence given in court? Do you remember? The blood evidence "leads us to believe" that OJ Simpson killed Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. OJ's actions in the white Ford Bronco 'suggest' a guilty conscience. Etc.
All scientific papers, all crime detective work, indeed virtually all rational observations are written in this way.
tks said on: February 1, 2011, 5:27 pm


Spain's unemployments is 20.3%, shocking, but not nearly as shocking as the 60% you reported, and the green job initiative has not been implicated.

Hyperbole is not becoming.


I'm sure that today the midwest is disappointed to realize that the global warming predictions of extreme weather and increased precipitation in the midwest and northeast were accurate.


Oil is heavily subsidized, so, yes, the small subsidies to green energy would be a step toward a level playing field. Though it probably wouldn't be necessary if we paid the "true cost" of coal and oil.

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con no more said on: February 1, 2011, 5:27 pm

There is nothing wrong with the hockey stick graph showing extreme atmospheric warming in last hundred years. It has been confirmed yet again by two more INDEPENDENT methods--change in temperature dependent formanifera species fossils in arctic ocean sediment cores and the changes in magnesium levels in shells.
All methods of analysis point to unprecedented and unnatural warming in last 2000 years, but especially in the last 100 years--the hockey stick graph.
Repeating the distortions and deceptions of those with a profit motive to employ liars for hire as "opinion makers" to create scientific sounding false 'facts' that an uniformed public might fall for, does not change actual, measurable, repeatedly proven facts that exist independent of the profit motive.
Come on Limbaugh listeners and Fox viewers, even on the tiniest chance that human caused increased carbon dioxide is a threat to future generations, isn't the rational CONSERVATIVE thing to do, to try to do something about a huge potential problem?

SoCalGuy said on: February 1, 2011, 5:21 pm

When I read scientific journal after scientific journal publish as gospel research papers replete with disclaimers such as "scientists now believe," "the evidence suggests," "findings indicate that such and such might," "new evidence overturns what scientists once believed," and on and on, the conclusion is that much of global warming science remains based in theory not fact.
"Facts" are not couched in disclaimers, "theories" are; "Believe", "suggests," etc., are disclaimers, not factual statements. The fact that scientists themselves are split in their agreement/disagreement, and shroud their research findings in perpetual disclaimers, this itself holds true that global warming is not fact, mere theory.
To the die-hard disciples who insist the science is infallable, despite the above argument, and who despite making otherwise strong points about less pollution, energy self-sufficiency, etc., riddle me this; why won't the enviro-nazis let us build the most energy-efficient, clean fuel available - nuclear energy? If nuclear energy is the cleanest fuel available, let's build the infrastructure. It would solve all the woes you cite plus provide energy to desalinate our oceans for fresh water

What irks most reasonable people is that you social engineers don't want to practice what you preach. You live in your mansions, drive your hummers and fly all over the world telling the minions of the land to cut back, pay more taxes and suck it up. Here's an idea; why not take your socialist act to countries with 700 million, a billion and more population and tell them to cut their fossil fuel use. Oh that's right, that's not your agenda... your agenda is to bankrupt your own country while redistributing "carbon taxes" in an effort to appear a good global neighbor.
Until the science of global warming gets 100% support from within its own institution - let alone from a force fed public - go pound sand.

tks said on: February 1, 2011, 5:12 pm

Thank you to the NC Times for writing about this group. Groups like the CCL should be applauded for their efforts to improve the lives of the rest of us. It's nice to see that there are people who volunteer their time and expertise to make a positive impact. More people should follow their lead: educate themselves and actively improve their community, even when their community fails to provide any support or respect.

liberalsvacuum said on: February 1, 2011, 4:38 pm

See how spain is handling their 'green' initiative and green jobs, 60pct unemployment and bankruptcy of a country

liberalsvacuum said on: February 1, 2011, 4:33 pm

Go nuclear and stick this 'clean energy' tax where it belongs - in the trash.

Of this world said on: February 1, 2011, 4:32 pm

What Alex? Thousands of climate scientists and you're fixated with Al Gore? What was it like riding the short yellow bus to school?

Alex said on: February 1, 2011, 3:57 pm

OMG! The eco-disciples are at it again with their snake-oil science. Gore has no knowledge of science or nature. He is just the voice box for bleeding heart liberal kooks like Of-This-World who want to digress our society back to the stone age.

Of this world said on: February 1, 2011, 2:31 pm

Astonishing the number of anti-science idiots here who disrespect thousands of climate scientists. These same people are quick to believe in the supernatural for answers and beleive the talking heads paid by Big Oil. As if the future of the earth is a 'liberal' thing. No wonder this great country is in decline.

Sandycb273 said on: February 1, 2011, 1:57 pm

To GarandFan and Independent:
You both seem interested in paleoclimatic reconstructions from the past millennia. There are great resources to learn more about this so you don't continue to misrepresent the work of scientists. I suggest, which has a post from 2005 called 'A Dummies Guide to the latest 'Hockey Stick' controversy,' which does a good job of explaining the principal components analysis relevant to these types of reconstruction. Please don't take offense at the title--it's a good primer for anyone. Other than that, they also have links to many other reconstructions (FYI Dr. Mann is not the only scientist to work on this stuff).

Weatherman said on: February 1, 2011, 1:38 pm

New clean energy ideas? You don't invent science, you make it work. The Manhatten project didn't invent anything, they took proven science and made it work. The crazy idea the enviro whackos have that some new science will suddenly appear is laughable if it were not hurting the poor so much. You want clean energy? Build 30 nuke plants in the state right now. THAT is science.

Independently Logical said on: February 1, 2011, 1:12 pm

Thank you NC Times for taking the issue of climate change seriously and speaking with a group who clearly has relevant real world ideas. The idea of a fee AND dividend approach will help generate new clean energy ideas and investments take foot in the market place, while protecting the consumer from price changes. Additionally, it is possible for individual households to benefit financially from this plan by conserving on their own. We all know the best place to create change is in the pocketbook; this plan creates an incentive to make the necessary changes. Thank you CCL for your well thought plan.

Independently Logical said on: February 1, 2011, 1:12 pm

Thank you NC Times for taking the issue of climate change seriously and speaking with a group who clearly has relevant real world ideas. The idea of a fee AND dividend approach will help generate new clean energy ideas and investments take foot in the market place, while protecting the consumer from price changes. Additionally, it is possible for individual households to benefit financially from this plan by conserving on their own. We all know the best place to create change is in the pocketbook; this plan creates an incentive to make the necessary changes. Thank you CCL for your well thought plan.

jimispapa said on: February 1, 2011, 12:23 pm

Jobs Please! Kick the green out with the progessive liberals who ruined the business climate of California. Just what we want to increase the cost of living is a tax or fee no one can afford

arrg said on: February 1, 2011, 11:43 am


I don't understand multivariate regression and other techniques used by Mann, Bradley, Hughes, and my hypthesis is that you don't either. Recall that the National Academy of Sciences (whose standards for scientific discourse are higher than mine and even yours) reviewed MBH and found no fundamental flaws that overturn their result. Your need to debunk the hockey stick would have some relevance if you could show that a single scientific body relied solely on it. You can't. It is the preponderance of evidence (including several temperature recontructions by different researchers) that convinces the scientific community of the reality that we are initiating a global climate change that entails great risk.

A good place to learn about the Hockeystick is at the National Academy of Sciences website. Do a google search on "nas review mann, bradley hughes"; look for the site

Buford T. Pittfellow said on: February 1, 2011, 11:22 am

Who cares what these people think?

Why in the world should we be listening to the coal lobby?
Or any other lobby for that fact?

Independent said on: February 1, 2011, 11:19 am

Derek: Mann is Mr. Hockey stick.

His hockey stick, or should I say hokey stick, pattern is used to push his now questionable GLOBAL WARMING THEORY.

Derek said on: February 1, 2011, 10:59 am

Independent wrote: "Mann needed to show he was right so he ignored a different data set of 34 tree cores from the same area that showed no dramatic warming in recent history, and WARMER temperatures in the middle ages."
I don't think you understand the word "global" in the term "global warming".

Citizen6 wrote: "The point is NOT to increase tax burdens but to incentivize more sustainable solutions."

No, social engineering is not the answer. Better to correct the market failures and then let the market sort it out.

Citizen6 said on: February 1, 2011, 10:22 am

Thank you, CCL, for speaking the truth and offering a constructive solution. The point is NOT to increase tax burdens but to incentivize more sustainable solutions. If you are using cleaner energy you wouldn't pay as much; if you are more energy efficient, you would benefit, not pay. We need to put the rewards on things we want more of (healthier economy, cleaner energy, more stable climate system) and tax the things we want less of (air pollution, Middle East oil dependence, energy brownouts, and waste). I'm amazed Bilbray supports this, but I'm very glad to hear it.

Independent said on: February 1, 2011, 10:21 am

Businesses are leaving California because high taxes and intense regulation damage their ability to compete.

Boeing moved hundreds of jobs from Long Beach to Oklahoma City, why, so it can become more affordable to the government.

Northrup Grumman also moved from Los Angeles to Virginia because of tax and Environut regulations.

What other operations have moved due to regulatory madness in California?

Boat building, data centers, electronic game design ,online services, solar panel manufacturing, nutritional supplements, software development, medical research, computer R&D, aerospace components and assembly, and on and on the list goes.

Independent said on: February 1, 2011, 10:07 am

Mann used selected tree-ring data to prove that air temperatures had been stable for 900 years, then soared off the charts in the 20th century.
Mann had to somehow make the Medieval Warm Period (about A.D. 800 to 1400) and the Little Ice Age (A.D. 1600 to 1850) disappear.
He graphed data from trees on the Yamal Peninsula in Siberia.

Here he carefully selected just 12 trees from the 252 cores in the CRU's Yamal data set.
Mann needed to show he was right so he ignored a different data set of 34 tree cores from the same area that showed no dramatic warming in recent history, and WARMER temperatures in the middle ages.
Obviously he did not include the conflicting data set.

Weatherman said on: February 1, 2011, 9:10 am

Just what the homeless and unemployed need in CA, more taxes to pay. The left are bent upon destroying the state. Not a Biz in the state not at least reviewing moving out now. Try collecting your taxes then democrats.

arrg said on: February 1, 2011, 8:59 am

Garandfan: I don't think you understand the Medieval warm period. Can you show that it represents a global temperature change of more that 0.5 deg C? Can you show that it was global and not regional? There are north-south see-saw mechanisms that disrupt heat exchange between the southern and northern hemispheres. These can cool one hemisphere while warming the other. A look at the GISP2, Vostok, and EPICA temperature reconstructions show the medieval warming period, as well as the little ice age, to be very subtle events compared to the global scope of doubled and quadrupled atmospheric CO2 levels. Regarding the East Anglia emails, can you show that they disprove any of the science? CRU's datasets look pretty much like NOAA's and NASA's. Are they all corrupt? If someone stole your private information, I would consider you the victim. If that information where taken out of context and paraded before an ignorant mob as proof of the mob's belief in a conspiracy, I'd still defend you. If a close look at the emails revealed nothing, again, I would defend you and castigate the perpetrators of the theft. Ethically, you're on the wrong side.


Avianwatcher said on: February 1, 2011, 8:28 am

Just for fun let's ask the people of the mid west and east how they feel about what "global warming" is doing to!

GarandFan said on: February 1, 2011, 8:20 am

con no more - then explain the "medieval warming period", since you are so enamored of "facts". You forgot to drag out your hockey stick diagram. Ooops! That was a bit of fiction as well, wasn't it? Maybe you can explain the East Anglia emails - you remember, "the dog ate my data". Why not trot on up to the Northeast and explain 'global warming' to them right about now? Better yet, regale us with all those Monster Hurricanes that were going to follow Katrina.

BigBadJohn said on: February 1, 2011, 8:05 am

There's an old adage that if you tax something you get less of it. Too bad we can't tax these environmental pretenders whose only tangible motive is to destroy the economy.

arrg said on: February 1, 2011, 8:04 am

Con no more: it is so refreshing to read your comments and to know that someone here knows the state of the science. We are committed to a global change greater than anything humanity has experienced in the past 10,000 years, and without drastic cuts in our emmissions, we'll get a total temperature change comparable to an ice age (but in the warmer direction). The Earth will survive, but the agriculture needed to support 7 billion inhabitants is threatened. Global climate is a recipe for famine.
Others: every credible scientific society on the planet agrees on the points made by Con No More. Zaphod, Speciallist, Garandfan: name a single peer-reviewed science journal that you've read. Or, just name any peer-reviewed science journal, whether you've read it or not.

GarandFan said on: February 1, 2011, 7:40 am

Reading this article leads me to believe I've followed Alice into the rabbit hole. Talk about "jabberwocky". A 'fee' (aka tax) will be added to the cost of fossil fuel. This will raise the price on everything. But not to worry, this 'fee' will be returned to the consumer in the form of a 'dividend' - less of course the amount necessary to run the huge bureaucracy needed to run it. Somehow the bureaucracy will determine the amount apportioned to each family (aka income redistribution). Green energy will now be 'competitive'. Huh? How? It's being subsidized! That's not competition. But again, not to worry. Green energy producers will find ways to reduce their costs. Oh? Where's the incentive to reduce costs? They've got a protected price structure in their favor. Obviously the Climate Clowns didn't learn anything when they were going to 'save us money' by deregulating the electricity market. We all know how well that turned out. I've got the feeling that somewhere, George Orwell is laughing his head off.

con no more said on: February 1, 2011, 7:37 am

I see we have a couple of posts by our friends who have been fooled by FOXnotNews and/or been lied to by Limbaugh.
Denial of facts does not make global warming go away.
(1)Carbon dioxide is increasing at an alarming rate in our atmosphere.

(2)Carbon Dioxide causes green house warming.

(3)Carbon dioxide is the natural thermostat that increases the atmospheric amount of other green house gases (water vapor, methane) as it increases in the atmosphere.

(4)The extra heat retained in our atmosphere by these extra green house gases make storms more severe and crop failures more likely.

(5)The increased carbon dioxide in our atmosphere can be traced directly to humans burning of 200 million year old fossil carbon by the isotopic signatures of the carbon in the atmospheric carbon dioxide.

(6)The major reason that our weather has not gone completely haywire yet is the huge carbon dioxide sink (or sponge) provided by ocean water that cover 2/3rds of this planet.

(7)The carbon dioxide absorbed in the ocean sink has been so vast that the acid levels of the ocean are changing with resultant massive death among sea life that relies on calcium carbonate shells (corals, oysters, and most important the "grass" of the sea, coccoliths at the base of the ocean food pyramid).

The above seven are verifiable facts. If you do not understand one of these facts, don't think that listening to a hired gun "opinion maker" on AM radio or FOXnotNews will change that fact. Lies don't change facts. Facts are facts.
The only question is what to do about the problem. Do we stop using fossil fuels cold turkey? Do we phase them out slowly? How slowly? What much phasing out can our economy bear and what is too much? These are the questions honest conservatives, moderates and liberals are asking.
Let's get to some solutions like discussing a carbon tax, cap and trade (originally a Republican idea!, slowing our use of fossil fuels by conservation, financing research into non fossil sources of energy, etc.

We need to be responsible. Think about our children's future. Don't just jump on the band wagon with the liars because they call themselves Republican or Conservative or even Christian. The liars are not really any of those. They are amoral. They will say whatever they are paid to say by those who find "morally challenged" opinion makers a convenient tool to provide political cover to hide behind while they get wealthy at the expense of our children.

Derek said on: February 1, 2011, 7:37 am

A carbon tax would internalize a negative externality of gasoline usage, making it easier for people to make rational choices. Correcting market failures is ALWAYS good for capitalism!

Yanqui said on: February 1, 2011, 7:15 am

Yeah, let's throw gas on the fire. We're not broke enough, especially in California. Let's go totally, radically liberal in our thought. Let's give China all the push and shove we can. They are not worried about Warming, only the liberals in the USA.

Independent said on: February 1, 2011, 6:08 am

A carbon fee on fossil fuels would not even the playing field for alternative energy sources, it would cripple our weak economy more then it is now ,and speed the transition to a depression.
We need technical answers that solve battery charge rates, capacity, and cost.
Once those hurdles are overcome, AND an inexpensive home charging system is developed to handle 2 to 4 cars per household along with the required grid capacity, then the market will drive change not your wishfull pie in the sky thinking.
Forcing expensive technology onto the masses will only push us into a depression, for if the US consumer has to be forced into capitulation what make you think the rest of the world can afford an overly expensive inadequate system.

speciallist said on: January 31, 2011, 11:54 pm

"People need to understand that the science is settled," she said.
These women are dangerous. If people take this crap seriously, we are Doomed.

ZaphodB said on: January 31, 2011, 11:25 pm

More bureaucracy, more taxes, and redirecting cash (with the bureaucrats taking a good chunk of it) to the pet projects of a single group, based on a Hypothesis that has failed multiple tests. NO THANKS.
Anthropogenic C02 Based Global warming is a Hypothesis, and the Scientific method is about experimental testing of hypotheses, which the AGW Hypothesis has failed in several cases, and therefore doesn't pass scientific muster on the basis that any disproof invalidates a Hypothesis, and requires that it be restated. Science is not about consensus. Copernicus showed the Ptolemaic universe was invalid when the consensus was that the Universe was heliocentric. A single disproof is all that is required, under the Scientific Method, for an entire theory to fall, yet we keep hearing AGW touted as fact despite multiple inconsistencies in its assumptions and predictions as measured against observed fact, not to mention clear omissions (atmospheric dust and cloud cover) in the models.
This state is in enough trouble as it is. What we need is LESS taxes, LESS bureaucracy, a lower cost of living and business (and energy, which is mostly carbon based, is a primary input to the cost of everything), before this state winds up bankrupt. Oh wait, it already is, thanks to decades of the left's half-baked ideas.
We need a lot less of the left's "do-good" and a lot more of unfettering those who actually DO SOMETHING.

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