Friday, June 23, 2006

Afterword

The National Academy of Sciences reported that the recent warmth is unprecedented for at least the last 400 years; that average global surface temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere rose about 1 degree during the 20th century; and that human activities are responsible for much of the recent warming.

The Academy reported a high level of confidence that the last few decades of the 20th century were warmer than any comparable period in the last 400 years.

I think it’s worth our while to examine that landmark statement. It appears that around 1606 it was as warm as it is now (most likely driven by CO2 emissions from scores of 600 HP oxen teams). But wait a minute. CO2 concentrations were not so great back then, and yet the temperature was “high” like it is today. But if it was high then, and is only now high again, guess what had to happen in the intervening time period. Can you guess?

OK, liberals have trouble with math so I will tell you. The global temperature DECREASED, it went DOWN (for the folks in Rio Linda) during the "Little Ice Age.” From Wikipedia: During the period 1645–1715, right in the middle of the Little Ice Age, solar activity as seen in
sunspots was extremely low, with some years having no sunspots at all. This period of low sunspot activity is known as the Maunder Minimum. Throughout the Little Ice Age, the world also experienced heightened volcanic activity. When a volcano erupts, its ash reaches high into the atmosphere and can spread to cover the whole earth. This ash cloud blocks out some of the incoming solar radiation, leading to worldwide cooling that can last up to two years after an eruption. Let’s see, less sun, lower temperature. Got it?

Interestingly, most temperature-time graphs used by the hysterics start around 1850, just after the Little Ice Age, when the warming of the interglacial period resumed its normal course. And guess what? It warmed right up to the level it was before the Little Ice Age. Amazing!

Anyway, I was finished with this silliness (“Last Words on Global Warming,” 6/20/06) but, like the capo in the Godfather, Every time I try to get out, they drag me back in. By “they” I mean my faithful readers. I want to thank Mel, Gary, Tex, Vic and a couple of Anonys for comments that drag me right back in.

Mel derided my ridiculous accusations that this issue is primarily a “leftist based historical notion. Hysterical, Mel, not historical. Mel said: Global warming is likely to cause major disruptions to our environment and the livability of much of the planet. What to do about it is a very complex question. Obviously, we have to substantially reduce the carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels. Using alternate energy sources such as nuclear, wind, and solar is one component of the solution. And major increases in gas mileage of our vehicles.

Gary said I’m still left with the question Bill wants me to confront, what to do, specifically, given my science-based belief in global warming. Of course, the “specifically” is a trap. And if I should have the temerity to advocate a $1 a gallon rebatable tax on gas, strong emission controls and alternative energy sources, well, forget it.

Tex offered these solutions: We should grab Kyoto and support it, accepting that, at the moment, it's a largely symbolic move. Also establish higher automobile mileage standards, tougher emissions regulations for automobiles, diesel engines and industry. The U.S. car industry is on its knees because it HASN'T embraced these principles.

Thanks, guys, for your advice: Increased gasoline taxes, higher mileage standards, tougher emissions regulations on industry and alternative energy sources. And drive the last nail into the auto industry coffin. It appears that California is going to try out this policy. Let’s see how it goes.

Oh, and embrace Kyoto, though it is largely symbolic. No Tex, Kyoto is dead, killed off by the Europeans who had no chance to meet their targets, and the likelihood of a successor of that nonsensical type is somewhere between zero and nada. Unfortunately, like a zombie, Kyoto is still roaming the globe scaring the children.

The Bush administration has warned that the proposed emissions controls would cost 5 million American jobs. Do you hear that Arnie? You might remember that the Clinton Senate voted 99-0 to reject Kyoto, so Bush is only continuing their good policy. Thank the Lord the adults are in charge.


14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess this was to be expected. In spite of the best scientific evidence, Bill thinks he knows better than National Academy of Sciences, NASA, NOAA, USGS. It's hard to imagine just exactly what evidence global warming skeptics would accept before changing their opinion. I suspect there is none. Much like the intelligent design folks (of which Bill is one), this pathological skepticism is not really skepticism at all. It is denialism masquerading as real skepticism. It's purpose is not find the truth, but to obfuscate to the point of absurdity, and when it is obvious to everyone that the earth is not flat, it is a way to save face when one has blogged relentlessly on this topic for so long. I feel sorry for Bill and the ever dwindling number of genuinely smart people who have been sucked in by idenity/tribal ideology and can't or won't accept the truth even when it is delivered on a silver platter. Such people have such an "us vs them" attitude that it is no longer possible to have a rational discussion. Climate science is way too complicated for novices to really understand. We must trust our "experts" and make tough decisions based on their best knowledge. Global warming skeptics will be in the textbooks a hundred years from now, and they will be rendered the equivalent of heliocentrists. History will see them for what they are, people unwilling to adapt to the changes we are facing.

7:35 PM  
Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

"The devil is in the details."

I think Kyoto is definately not the way to go, it is dangerous.

If we can "start" to "try" to solve this with a low cost, non-outside interference method, and the emmisions go down and the Warming continues, then we may very well see if our "very best minds" were correct or not.

I still remain skeptical about some of the claims, but as I said, if it dosen't cost much and we don't have to turn over our soverignty to an outside watchdog then why not?

It is still good to have opposing voices and we should never ridicule a minority opinion, as that is when we will stop progressing.

Ying and Yang. We must have opposition in all things or we will cease to learn.

We cannot know hot without cold, up without down, left without right, and most important force without freedom.

Where many conservative disagree with the suggested methods is because there is a fantastic concept that says "necessity is the mother of invention."

And if we can just hold on to our disappearing "free market", someone will find a way to turn a problem into an opportunity to make a buck.

And the conservatives are also tired of hearing from the left that "we must do with less" as if the only solution to all problems is to fix it by moving backwards to do it.

For example:
Carpool, instead of having the convience of your own car.

Don't drill in Anwar, because some Moose may have to move his home a few miles away.

Don't build a Dam, because some wormbeetle may have to be moved.

Don't build Nuke plants because some beuracrat in Russia made a mistake.

Don't wear fur because some fox may loose his life....

But it is OK to kill a baby that is one minute from birth.

Lets not say that we "must" give up anything to solve probems. We can fix any problem and still have a better life in every way and not have to "freeze in the dark."


FAR.

6:58 AM  
Blogger gary daily said...

Global warming is a settled issue among scientists, but Bill and the public get no help from the fourth estate on this. Friday night on CNN Wolf Blitzer, following the well worn path of all TV news-as-entertainment production practices {see Neil Postman’s _Entertaining Ourselves to Death_], presents a story on global warming and ends it with a bland, unsupported, statement about these findings “being part of a debate that will probably be going on for a long time.”

Here’s Jim Hansen, Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Adjunct Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University's Earth Institute, on this kind of irresponsible mindlessness:

“I used to spread the blame [for the failure to grasp the science of global warming] uniformly until, when I was about to appear on public television, the producer informed me that the program "must" also include a "contrarian" who would take issue with claims of global warming. Presenting such a view, he told me, was a common practice in commercial television as well as radio and newspapers. Supporters of public TV or advertisers, with their own special interests, require "balance" as a price for their continued financial support. Gore's book reveals that while more than half of the recent newspaper articles on climate change have given equal weight to such contrarian views, virtually none of the scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals have questioned the consensus that emissions from human activities cause global warming. As a result, even when the scientific evidence is clear, technical nit-picking by contrarians leaves the public with the false impression that there is still great scientific uncertainty about the reality and causes of climate change.”

I pile this onto the mountain of scientific facts every informed citizen on global warming should be aware of and is not. Of course, this is all a part of a larger problem.

Bush’s resistance to the science of global warming is representative of how Bush has governed for six years. When the science or data do not fit their ideological imperative, conservatives are quick to support their ideology with contrarian half-truths, specious exaggerations, and personal attacks. And then walk away from the fray with a haughty, “Case closed.”

Bush has set this style of public discourse for his supporters to follow. And the informed opposition is dismissed because, as the Kings of Spin disparagingly say of them: Bush is direct and his critics are bogged down in nuance. It sounds good, but “direct” turns out to be narrow tunnel vision and “nuance,” the constructive recognition of complexity in this world of fallible human beings, is, to the nation’s detriment, deserted

If there is one thing that is common to all narrow ideologues, left as well as right, it is in the phrase of the day: Staying on message. Karl Rove has made a career out of this simplistic tactic, Fox News has vaulted in the ratings using a slick version of it, and the Republican Party plans to hold their majorities in Congress with the monotonous drumbeat of their echo chamber slogans: “Stay the course.” “When Iraq steps up, we will step down.” “Tax cuts.” “Save the flag.”

But it may be that the American people are about to distinguish between style and substance. Unfortunately, six years of anti-intellectualism, incompetence and arrogance have taken a toll that we as a nation will be paying for far into the future.

9:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Thank the Lord the adults are in charge".

"Adult" in this context sounds like the seedy section in a video store!

So what have the "adults" been doing in recent weeks, since we know they don't think about global warming?

Well..... there's gay-bashing by futile constitutional amendment, which of course went nowhere. However, it was important to say "Hey wingnuts, we're still here".

Then, there was immigration, until it became clear that poor old lame-duck George couldn't persuade any of the rottweilers in the House not to criminalize 11 million immigrants.

And then (of course) there's that pesky war, which just keeps getting worse. So what do they do? They wheel out liar-in-chief Cheney to reiterate his "in the last throes" speech and tell us how good things really are in Iraq. To top it off, he also advised us that he and George are on track to halve the deficit in the next 2 years.

Adults? Give me a break. Now even Schwarzenegger's telling these guys to stick it!

12:55 PM  
Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

gary,

Each side has it's style...

Abortion becomes "Pro Choice"

Sodomy becomes "Just two people in love"

Protection of Marriage becomes "Gay Bashing."

The conservatives are not by themselves in this "syle" over substance. Each side understands the value of "Marketing Slogans" and to not admit that is disingenuous.

There are two sides to every issue, otherwise it would not be an issue and to pretend that only the one side has all the answers has been called arrogant, condesending and patronizing regardless of which side is saying it.

If we are ever going to survive as a nation we had better wake up and realize that both sides have legit concerns and that the answer is often not so simple to discern.

Take the Patriot Act. Most of the provisions in it are fine with most people, but it has some real "step over the line" provisions in it that make many including me cringe.

It is usually where it is having to choose between two competing values. Security versus Freedom, Rights of the mother versus Rights of the baby, etc.

Gary, what you just said is part of the rhetoric that gets us to not want to take serious the other side because it sounds to much like...."What's wrong with the other side, can't they see the obvious?"

If people believe that, then they have a closed mind.

FAR.

1:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

FAR,
If we use your post-modern logic, then there are two legitmate sides to everything. Are there legitimate sides when it comes to racism or anti-semitism? How about Holocaust revisionism? How about whether we actually landed on the moon or is it truly a hoax? You keep bringing this issue up, and I must say it is a weak argument. To just say everytime something is proven that there is a legitimate debate on the other side is a tiresome exercise in futility. Global warming is one such issue in which the use of this argument is starting to sound pathological.

1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah FAR,some things are black and white, like the Holocaust for instance(although, knowing you, I'm sure you could point me to some obscure website where this is challenged). There are some issues, like gravity, that are black and white. Certainly you would agree?

7:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Only Morals and ethics are black and white"
Slavery used to be justified on moral grounds, and it was definition based. Is slavery moral? Oh , that's right it 's not. It's a moral code that changed over time. Morals are not so black and white as you would suggest.

10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill,
Read the graph that was included in the LA Times article!! It clearly shows that in the period of 1645 to 1715, the temperature decreased by only about 0.2 degree Centigrade. You call that a "Little Ice Age"? It also clearly shows that the present period is much hotter than any other period for the last 1,000 years (hockey stick curve). Your comments regarding the data is absolutely incorrect!

12:32 PM  
Anonymous anon from the Sharks site said...

FAR saidIt is still good to have opposing voices and we should never ridicule a minority opinion, as that is when we will stop progressing.

I agree with that, the thing is you don't seem to realize you are in the minority on topics like global warming, Iraq war, Intelligent design etc.

You still have not answered whether you think humans are the cause of most of the warming. You just talk Kyoto. Have you changed your mind?


BILL-You twisted the report and talk about 1606 being as hot as it is now and then you ramble.
Bill said I think it’s worth our while to examine that landmark statement. It appears that around 1606 it was as warm as it is now (most likely driven by CO2 emissions from scores of 600 HP......


What the panel said was 'Warmth is unprecedented for at least the last 400 years'..

...It has been 2,000 years and possibly much longer since Earth has run such a fever...


the nation's premier science policy body on Thursday voiced a "high level of confidence" that Earth is the hottest it has been in at least 400 years, and possibly even the last 2,000 years.


I guess the MSM, NASA etc are the liberals that have trouble with math.

So Bill says

OK, liberals have trouble with math so I will...

Thanks for the lesson.

7:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just gotta say, nothing short of Jesus himself telling Bill and the rest of the wingnuts that global warming is occuring will change their minds. These guys get all their talking points from conservative think tanks written by non-scientists for the most part. If they actually need to find a scientist, they find some dude from Russia. This is not about what is true, but what the conservatives and their tribe (with help from the oil industry) have been told to believe is true. To them, this is not about anything other than the latest struggle in cultural dominance. The conservatives genuinely conceive of global warming and a myriad other enviromental issues through the prism of their cultural/political identity. They believe that global warming is some kind of left-wing conspiracy, God knows for what purpose! The only thing that matters is that it is an issue which will require change. Conservatism is by definition to change, it's whole goal is "conserve" traditional values and ideas. These guys are hardwired to blow off scientists if it smacks of the pot-smoking "liberal scientists" who've taken over our universities. They like science only if it confirms what they already believe. History has shown that in the modern world conservatives always operate in a hostile environment because things change so rapdily. Taking global warming seriously would require huge changes, and they don't like that. Understandable, but it underscores why it is impossible to have a reasoned discussion with right wing ideologues on this subject....it's not about facts or reality, it'a about "conserving" their ideology at the expense of their intellectual integrity. I sense a little exasperation on this board with people who for the life of them can't understand why educated people on the right could be so blind. If you understand the above, your blood pressure will go down. Just remember, can't argue with these dudes.

8:02 PM  
Anonymous STS ANON said...

FAR you can not formulate a "scientific" theory and then as you said -study the info and try to make the results match your desired outcome.

You can hypothesize and try to match your desired outcome and over time it may become a theory.

A scientific theory has been tested and tested and always holds up. The first time a theory does not hold up to testing it is no longer a theory.


Scientific Laws, Hypotheses, and Theories


FAR said-
Some believe that the left wants to have everyone believe that people only get ahead by stepping on others...

So, it is only natural for the right to think that the left has ulterior motives behid their push to make us less consumptive.



That is sad people think that way.

2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The above commentator underscores why it is becoming apparent that we must trust the experts on most scientific issues. Scientists aren't perfect, but what FAR's comment shows is that the ordinary layman simply cannot fully comprehend the science. Regurgiating alternative theories from "think-tanks" confuses people, and reveals a basic ignorance about how scientific knowledge is obtained. Trying to belittle the math skills of "liberal" who actually trust the science by spouting misinformation about the "Maunder Minimum" serves not only to reveal Bill's lack of climate science expertise, but shows how the denialists will use anything in their arsenal to keep the "debate" open. There is no more debate.

2:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some legitimate scientists do believe that solar variation contibutes to global warming, but they are in the extreme minority. One researcher looking at this is named Willie Soon, who just so happens to be a well funded skeptic
http://tinyurl.com/f56f8
Here's some better info
http://tinyurl.com/kdezg

7:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home