Global Warming 101 – a short reading list for everyone

Confused by the media’s coverage of man-made global warming? (a.k.a. anthropogenic global warming or AGW.)

Are we warming or are we cooling? Is climate change simply a result of natural variability or is it really man-made? Is the science to be trusted?

Scientific advances have made global warming well understood. Global warming is the existential threat of our time – greater I say, than even the threat of nuclear holocaust. We have only a few years to understand the enormity of the crisis and successfully act, so that our children might avoid the worst effects in the following decades. Yet doubts linger for many and are even growing in some.

Therefore ignorance of the subject should not be excused. This post attempts to provide a short list of resources that clearly and succinctly explain global warming.

Please read what you can. Pass a link to this post on to those you suspect have questions or doubts about it – express your concerns and ask them to read too.

GLOBAL WARMING 101 – A READING LIST:

The Basic Scientific Understanding:

Basic Fossil Fuel Facts – an indispensable condensed explanation, at the end of a letter addressed to Governor Gibbons of Nevada by Jim Hansen. (It starts on page 5, but the letter is very good too.)

Climate Code Red: The case for a sustainability emergency – a great summary of the science up to the start of this year, giving the crisis the urgency it deserves.

Understanding and Attributing Climate Change – IPCC makes the case. (See also Dire Predictions in Books below.)

Detecting and Attributing External Influences on the Climate System: A Review of Recent Advances – Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Assessing key vulnerabilities and the risk from climate change – the IPCC’s take on what’s at stake.

The Effects of Climate Change on Agriculture, Land Resources, Water Resources, and Biodiversity, Executive Summary – U.S. Dept of Agriculture

Global Warming Fact & Our Future – National Academy of Sciences covers almost every angle in a great interactive website.

Special Report: Climate Change – covers the crisis from many angles.

The Science Behind the Science and Why it can be trusted:

Scientists Explain How They Attribute Climate-Change Data – A Wall Street Journal article shows why the science can be trusted.

Models ‘key to climate forecasts’ – BBC’s examination of our most powerful tool in understanding global warming.

Addressing Doubt:

Climate change: A guide for the perplexed – a great “round-up of the most common climate myths and misconceptions”.

Skeptical Science: Examining the science of global warming skepticism

How to Talk to a Global Warming Sceptic – and stop them in their tracks.

How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic
– Grist’s rundown is great help too.

The Denial Industry – George Monbiot’s eye opening account of the origin of the concerted network opposing legitimate climate science. Think Big Tobacco.

MORE READING

Best Global Warming Blogs:

Climate Progress
Real Climate
Gristmill

Related Websites:

Climatic Research Unit
Hadley Center for Climate Prediction
Jim Hansen
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Snow and Ice Data Center
Climate Ark
NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

Books:

With Speed and Violence: Why Scientists Fear Tipping Points in Climate Change by Fred Pearce – The best A to Z treatment I’ve read.
Dire Predictions – Understanding Global Warming by Michael E. Mann and Lee R. Kump – The best explanation of the IPCC findings anywhere.
Hell and High Water: Global Warming–the Solution and the Politics–and What We Should Do by Joseph Romm
The Discovery of Global Warming by Spencer R. Weart
Censoring Science: Inside the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Surprising Truth About Global Warming by Mark Bowen
Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning by George Monbiot, Matthew Prescott
The Atlas of Climate Change: Mapping the World’s Greatest Challenge by Kristin Dow, Thomas E. Downing
The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis and the Fate of Humanity by James Lovelock, Crispin Tickell

And Now Action:
Okay, enough reading! Armed with the facts, go out and fight for our children’s future – change our personal, political and public lives. A comprehensive place to start is right here, at my blog: Checklist Toward Zero Carbon. Download it, edit it, make it your own, and pass it on.

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40 Responses to “Global Warming 101 – a short reading list for everyone”

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  6. Richad Mercer Says:

    I would add to the list of books

    “The Heat Is On” by Ross Gelbspan

    Series of article on “Core Climate Solutions” by Joseph Romm
    http://climateprogress.org/2008/10/22/an-introduction-to-the-core-climate-solutions/

    Read the Google Plan
    and
    Repower America’s Plan

    Pickens plan has serious flaws. For one thing The priority is the phasing out coal plants, not gas plants.
    And secondly, it is a far more efficient use of NG to burn it in power plants and make electricity than it is to burn it in cars. Thirdly, wind isn’t a god match for replacing gas plants. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t build wind power and HVDC transmission. Solar thermal (CSP) with heat storage in the southwest can replace coal base load plants.
    It’s not intermittent. Can be designed to run all night.
    See the link at Climate Progress above.

    Sorry to be off topic (again). I’m saying this about CSP because the public is unaware of it. And it may be our most important renewable energy source.

  7. Richad Mercer Says:

    I see the discussion about science and proof and theory an interesting one. I have maybe a different viewpoint.

    I’m not a scientist but I know this much. Science makes models. A model is not the thing in itself. It is very close approximation of reality, the closer it is, the more valid.
    People fall into confusion when they conflate validity with truth. If it works, it’s valid. That’s all we should ask of it.

    We don’t know what gravity is but we use it everyday.
    We know what it does. We call it a force. Yet when metaphysics posits the idea of a “force” it’s laughed at.
    And it’s forces work and are valid, but in a different way.

    The difference is that in metaphysics it’s understood to be an analogy.

    To call it truth gets us in trouble as we are seeing with the skeptic argument that “there is no proof”.
    It’s ironic that so much of our world view is based on reductionist scientific thinking. And that is what is now getting us in trouble with how the public thinks about the issue of AGW, and why it seems so plausable when someone says- “but there’s no proof”. It’s also why people tend to not understand the concept of symbiosis in nature. They don’t get that we are interdependently linked to all that is.
    When the world is just “stuff”, who cares what we do to it?

    How’s that quote from Shakespeare go? The world is a far more …..than your philosophers …. have dreamed of

    I love science, don’t get me wrong. For me the discussion about evolution vs. creationism is moronic. Both sides are working from a model of God, that they either believe exists or doesn’t exist that is a concept that is infinitely too small. God is too big to fit inside any Religion. God is infinity. Infinite. Alpha & Omega Nothing and Everything
    And the concepts of science have an infinite amount of knowledge to gather. So you guys won’t be hurting for work. : -)

    Cheers

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  9. JohnnyRook Says:

    Hi Ken,

    Thanks for this reading list. I’m always looking for sources that I may have missed.

    I’ll be back.

  10. kenlevenson Says:

    Rich,

    Finally have some time to reply…

    I’m happy to leave motivations aside – I’d simply note that Real Climate is a blog. And the IPCC and National Academy of Sciences are non-partisan organizations. What remotely equivalent scientific organizations have questioned the fundamentals of AGW?

    You say: “There is no proof in the climate record that this is the case. Even Al Gore said so.”

    Fist off I must say that this obsession over Al Gore is really weird. AGW doesn’t start nor end with Al Gore. I really don’t give a damn about what Al Gore may be saying. It’s the science – as you’ve said – that matters.

    Anyway, it’s another red herring argument. “Proof” is a mathematical principal, and therefore not applicable in this scientific realm. Is there proof of Special or General Theories of Relativity? Tell me where it’s been proven that light is both a wave and a particle – how could it be!!!! ;) I don’t think there is “proof”. Our reliance on Einstein’s theories rests on their predictive quality – that they’ve been tested. Certainly not proof, right? Likewise with AGW.

    Then you say, “In front of Congress saying, under questioning by Sen. Inhofe, he [Al Gore] admitted that his infamous graph in An Inconvenient Truth was a misrepresentation.”
    Could you point me to a transcript of this exchange? I’ve never heard of Gore disavowing the “hockey stick graph”. Again, no matter, Gore could be a complete lunatic for all I care. The fact is that the “hockey stick graph” is not a misrepresentation and very clearly and starkly illustrates the predicament we’re in. In fact, at the request of (a Republican controlled) congress, the U.S. Academy of Sciences investigated the graph and in 2006 concluded it was valid. (To maintain your line of argument regarding this you’d need to assume a worldwide conspiracy that makes Joe McCarthy’s paranoia look like child’s play.)

    You say, “Historically, increases in carbon dioxide have followed temperature increases, not preceded them. I am not aware of any legitimate scientist who disputes this historical relationship.”
    That’s simply because there is no reason to dispute it. This fact fits perfectly well in AGW. (Rich, why bother with such weak stuff?)
    There has been and will always be natural variation and the cycles of cooling and warming are very well documented. The fact that CO2 rises following temperature historically simply means CO2 wasn’t the trigger for warming. CO2 rise was a feedback that then accelerated the warming. The trigger has been linked, for the historic cycles, to the variations in the earth’s orbit – but you knew that…

    Today, the trigger is not the earth’s orbit but our industrialization. As CO2 rises the warming will accelerate just as it did historically – but at a supercharged pace. We are not only literally pouring gasoline on the fire, we’re pumping it with steroids. We are facing a warming/melting/climate change curve that is far, far, far outside any natural cycle.

    After throwing the hockey stick overboard you claim: “Accordingly, all we’re left with is modeling.”
    Well no, we’re not just left with modeling – there is a ton of real world data being collected at every moment.

    Then you say, “And, you should understand that carbon dioxide has a very small overall effect on planetary temperature. Climate models have to take into account scores of inputs, and – at the end of the day – the biggest greenhouse gas effect comes from water vapor in the atmosphere, not carbon dioxide. I’ve posted a simplified illustration of the various forces at work on my blog.http://trzupek.wordpress.com/earth-energy-budget-an-example/ This was produced by researchers about 10 years ago (I’ve been working on this for a loooonng time). Don’t worry about the actual numbers, but I think it’s a nice graphic example of just some of the issues that modelers have to deal with. It’s very difficult (impossible in my view) to explain significant climate change on the basis of direct carbon dioxide forcing. (Ie; carbon dioxide directly “retains” enough heat to make a difference). You’ll have a hard time finding a legitimate alarmist who would make such a claim today. Simply put, the more carbon dioxide you put in the atmosphere, the less effect it has. Instead, it’s all about “feedback” – that there is just enough carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to increase the evaporation of water just enough, and it’s the extra water in the atmosphere that ultimately causes the problem.”

    Which makes me ask: are you really a scientist? CO2 is directly responsible for about 20% of the greenhouse effect – hardly an insignificant amount. In addition, water vapor while proportionally much bigger isn’t the driving factor because it’s essentially been in balance. The carbon cycle had been in balance too. And it is industrialization that has thrown the carbon cycle out of balance and hence the greenhouse effect out of balance and hence our current global warming problem. Yes it is very complicated. And its complexity means computer models are essential to fully understanding what is going on. (For some reason the same folks who have no problem getting on a plane produced entirely from computer modeling all of a sudden claim that the use of computer models invalidates AGW. It’s bizarre.) And because it is very complicated you show a complete disingenuousness in trying to clarify things by offering your “illustration of the forces at work”. I look at the graph and say, “so what”, it isn’t relevant to a whether AGW is valid or not. Your graph is just another red herring. It’s one red herring after another.

    To pull out a statement again for emphasis, you say, “Simply put, the more carbon dioxide you put in the atmosphere, the less effect it has.”
    You are either completely ignorant of the science or you’re a fool or you’re lying. In any of the three you should really have a greater sense of shame. Are you stating that a 385ppm world has no real difference from a 1000ppm world? Some would call that an immoral position at this point.
    Or are you saying somehow that if we disengage feedbacks from the CO2 levels, the rise doesn’t matter? Is that how you keep a morally tenable argument? Bizarre. Kinda like saying it wasn’t the fact that the room filled up with water that killed the man, it was that the water filling his lungs – obviously unrelated events and the death couldn’t have been avoided if you hadn’t filled the room with water in the first place – of course not! How silly of me to presume a causal relationship!
    And it’s strange to hear you then link feedbacks in the next breath to water vapor, saying water vapor is ultimately what causes the problem. Problem is, water vapor IS NOT the problem – not yet anyway. Down the road it could have a huge and nasty effect.

    Then after some more computer smashing you say, “Now we have some climatologists claiming they can accurately predict a temperature variation of 0.5 K, which is an accuracy of less than +/- 0.2 %, for an entire planet. That’s one hell of a model! These guys have done an excellent job of adjusting their models to fit the data. But actual predictions? Not so much.”
    Are you just making up stuff at this point? (It’s mighty scientific of you to say “0.5 K” but really, wouldn’t .5 C or .9 F work too?) Having said that, I’ve read quite allot about AGW at this point and I’ve never, never, never seen a projected warming scenario study conclusion state the likely warming temperatures with any greater certainty than a few degrees Celsius. Of course any particular computer run will give you a particular number. So what? They average different scenarios and get average numbers with a range of probability. To suggest otherwise is another red herring.

    Finally you say, “I’ll close with a question for you. Suppose, just for a moment, that global warming is indeed natural. Just suspend disbelief. Suppose it’s entirely natural and there’s nothing we can do about it. In that case, instead of spending tens of trillions of dollars in our resources to fix an unfixable problem, you would surely agree that it would make sense to prepare for those changes – just as it would make sense to prepare for a new ice age. And, if – just IF – that was the case, isn’t that worth knowing too?”
    I have no idea what you mean by the last sentence. The scientists are not “pushing” AGW. They get paid whether the earth is cooling or heating. We want to know what the earth is doing period – heating, cooling, steady-state, whatever. But the fact is the earth is warming at a rate never before recorded as a result of our fossil fuel based consumer driven industrial society. That’s not a value judgment, that’s a fact.

    Another fact is that adaptation will cost many, many, many times what mitigation could ever cost. Moving our industrial economies from fossil fuel to renewable, zero carbon alternatives can even be a money maker and an engine of growth. Adaptation will leave us far poorer and insecure. When do we decide to move coastal cities inland? When food becomes ever scarcer how do we keep weaker nations from failing. The instability guaranteed by an adaptation driven approach will make the Dark Ages look like a picnic.

    The threat to our civilization posed by AGW is far greater than that ever posed by Soviet nukes – and therefore the seriousness and depth of our approach to AGW should surpass our Cold War efforts.

    So Rich in conclusion, while you think the case for AGW is weak – your counter argument is so very much weaker as to be practically non-existent. It’s one red herring after another. You guys are like the scientists doing back-flips of twisted logic to dispel Galileo or Darwin. Don’t you think it’s time to stop playing games – you have 4 children, I have 1 child. I think our children will forgive us if we make a cleaner, healthier planet – I’d wager they’ll even thank us. But if we allow CO2 to go over 450ppm I’m equally sure our children will condemn us for condemning them to a world of utter misery.

    The choice is ours.

  11. kenlevenson Says:

    Hey Rich,

    Sorry for delay in getting your post up – just a crazy day with work yesterday. Getting to things now.

    I appreciate your post and I’ll do my best here to knock it down! ;)

    But I’ve got another tough day ahead – hope to have a few minutes this evening to respond…so please check back tomorrow.

    – Ken

  12. trzupek Says:

    Ken,

    First of all, I apologize for the ad hominem attack. It was uncalled for, and you have indeed been diligent about encouraging comments. My erroneous accusation was based on my own failure to correctly post a thought on your blog. (Senility is approaching rapidly – but having four kids will do that to you…)

    Now on to the topics at hand, in the spirit of civilized discourse.

    There are a couple of matters that are, to me, as a scientist, irrelevant. One is motivation. It doesn’t matter, to me, whether an organization is funded by Exxon-Mobil, or by Greenpeace. I’m interested in the research and its validity. Dismissing research on the basis of funding is not a compelling argument in my mind. I could point out Real Climate’s ties to Environmental Media Services, for example. Nobody would call EMS an organization without an agenda. You can track their funding here:

    http://www.activistcash.com/organization_financials_full.cfm/oid/110

    To be fair, the boys at Real Climate have always denied that EMS has any influence on them at all, much as the Fraser Institute denies the charge that they are in the pocket of big oil. We could talk motivations all day, and where will it get us? Unfortunately, the “real scientists” at Real Climate often (but no, not always) take this tack, dismissing guys like Ross McKitrick and Roy Spencer out of hand, and are often insulting about it. I don’t know Spencer, but I do have talked with McKitrick and I’ll tell ya – a nicer, more even keeled guy you wouldn’t want to meet. He’s not a nut. He’s not pushing an agenda. He, like I, is simply working to have a meaningful scientific discussion.

    Enough on motivations. Let’s talk science. The other issue that is off topic is the question of whether the climate is changing or not. (Ohmigod, you’re thinking – how can you say that!) Because the climate is always changing. When I said – quite correctly – that computer modeling is the only “proof” we have for AGW, you pointed me back to sites that talk about global warming. OK. But global warming is not AGW. I assume that you accept the fact that the climate has changed in the past without man’s influence. (We have had a few ice ages, we have had significant warming during the middle ages, etc.) So let’s work on this point, the only point that matters: is man causing this particular period of climate change?

    There is no proof in the climate record that this is the case. Even Al Gore said so. In front of Congress saying, under questioning by Sen. Inhofe, he admitted that his infamous graph in An Inconvenient Truth was a misrepresentation. Historically, increases in carbon dioxide have followed temperature increases, not preceded them. I am not aware of any legitimate scientist who disputes this historical relationship.

    Accordingly, all we’re left with is modeling. And, you should understand that carbon dioxide has a very small overall effect on planetary temperature. Climate models have to take into account scores of inputs, and – at the end of the day – the biggest greenhouse gas effect comes from water vapor in the atmosphere, not carbon dioxide. I’ve posted a simplified illustration of the various forces at work on my blog:

    http://trzupek.wordpress.com/earth-energy-budget-an-example/

    This was produced by researchers about 10 years ago (I’ve been working on this for a loooonng time). Don’t worry about the actual numbers, but I think it’s a nice graphic example of just some of the issues that modelers have to deal with.

    It’s very difficult (impossible in my view) to explain significant climate change on the basis of direct carbon dioxide forcing. (Ie; carbon dioxide directly “retains” enough heat to make a difference). You’ll have a hard time finding a legitimate alarmist who would make such a claim today. Simply put, the more carbon dioxide you put in the atmosphere, the less effect it has. Instead, it’s all about “feedback” – that there is just enough carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to increase the evaporation of water just enough, and it’s the extra water in the atmosphere that ultimately causes the problem.

    For feedback to work, water vapor has to end up in the upper atmosphere. Spencer’s work (dismissed by Real Climate – of course!) suggests that most of the water – whether evaporation is caused by solar flux or, possibly, carbon dioxide, ends up in the lower atmosphere, where it actually has a cooling effect.

    Now the alarmists are having none of these arguments. They spend a great deal of time adjusting their models to fit the data, and then announce: “See! My model works!” Seriously. As a dispersion modeler, I can tell you that I can get a model to sing any tune I want. I can get a model to sing an aria that would make Pavarotti weep. And that’s a simple dispersion model (like AERMOD, for example). Those kinds of atmospheric models have been refined for over thirty years, are much simpler and the best they can do is +/- 1 %. (And we know this because we can get actual pollution data in real time).

    Now we have some climatologists claiming they can accurately predict a temperature variation of 0.5 K, which is an accuracy of less than +/- 0.2 %, for an entire planet. That’s one hell of a model! These guys have done an excellent job of adjusting their models to fit the data. But actual predictions? Not so much.

    Ken, I understand that you sincerely believe that this issue is settled. I do not. And I’m understand that you sincerely believe that scientists on the “other side” are mostly getting paid off by Exxon-Mobil, or – alternately – are the modern day equivalents of Flat-Earth nuts. There are plenty of us out there who are both accomplished, sane and independent and who find the case for AGW extremely weak.

    I’ll close with a question for you. Suppose, just for a moment, that global warming is indeed natural. Just suspend disbelief. Suppose it’s entirely natural and there’s nothing we can do about it. In that case, instead of spending tens of trillions of dollars in our resources to fix an unfixable problem, you would surely agree that it would make sense to prepare for those changes – just as it would make sense to prepare for a new ice age. And, if – just IF – that was the case, isn’t that worth knowing too?

    Thanks for the time, and thanks for allowing a variety of opinions. We may disagree on this topic, but you strike me as a gentleman, and – in this day and age – that’s increasingly rare.

    Cheers,

    Rich

  13. kenlevenson Says:

    Rich,

    Finally, just to return to your original question: “Why are you so afraid of the contrary opinion?”

    I think it’s pretty clear that I’m not afraid of contrary opinion as evidenced by the fact that I’ve not deleted a single comment or link by anyone.

    Cheers.

  14. kenlevenson Says:

    Oops, meant to mention Dr. Roy Spencer. See this post:
    http://climateprogress.org/2008/05/22/should-you-believe-anything-john-christy-or-roy-spencer-say/

    And “The Great Global Warming Swindle” :
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Global_Warming_Swindle

    It’s hack, dishonest science at it’s root – driven by politics and ideology.

    Why is it that scientists who understand AGW come from all political persuasions and most are completely apolitical while those opposing AGW are universally conservative/libertarian folks backed by conservative/libertarian “think tanks”?

    You can protest all you want about unfairness but as long as you are feeding me/us propaganda, we’re not going to get anything scientifically useful from it. And if there is no sustenance why bother?

  15. kenlevenson Says:

    Rich,

    I don’t include the those”reports” for the same reason I don’t want “creation science” taught in our schools – because they’re fundamentally unscientific, and pure propaganda.

    Independent Summary for Policy Makers. I will link to it right here:
    http://realclimate.org/FraserAnnotated.pdf
    (Clearly annotated by the good scientists at Real Climate.)
    You do realize that the Fraser Institute doesn’t have much credibility on the issue as it it funded by ExxonMobil?

    Interestingly, that report and other deniers criticisms revolve around the IPCC being a political process and not a fundamentally scientific one in the end. I would wholeheartedly agree – but you know the result of the political process was for the IPCC to UNDERSTATE THE PROBLEM, not overstate it. It was watered down by the likes of Bush, China, Russia and others.

    AGW is not religion and there is a great deal of debate about the specifics of it. Is gravitation a religion? Is quantum mechanics a religion? Is their reality a negation of disagreement, debate or unknowns?

    You make the false choice (a political one, not a scientific one) that to know something to be true, you must miraculously know EVERYTHING about it. We know black holes exist – yet we know very little about them. On the other hand we know a great deal about AGW. Yes AGW exists and yes there is much to learn about AGW – these are not mutually exclusive thoughts.

    You say AGW is religion. You are projecting.

    When you say AGW is based on modeling alone – you are either lying or are utterly uninformed on the subject. There has been a tremendous about of observable, measurable data collected. Just spend a few minutes on the NOAA, or National Snow and Ice Data Center or the Hadley Center websites.

    Because all the computer models use observed, measured data, what you seem to be saying is that computer models are illegitimate period. You know they don’t even build prototype planes anymore? They go right from computer modeling to manufacture to flying. That’s one example in a multitude of how computer models are used very effectively and honestly today. For you to deny the proper role of computer models in climate science is simply propaganda.

    Ultimately it’s clear that for you, and the others who have written “in opposition” to AGW – it’s more about the fear of “being told” that we must live within the earth’s capacity. The horror, the horror.

  16. Rich Trzupek Says:

    Ah son,

    Why are you so afraid of the contrary opinion? Why do you not point out that there are plenty of qualified scientists (like your humble correspondent) who believe that carbon dioxide is an extremely minor contributor to climate change? You could publish links to the Independent Summary for Policy Makers, prepared by IPCC scientists who dispute the faulty notion that “2500 scientists agree” that man can influence planetary temperatures. You could reference “The Great Global Warming Swindle”. You could look to the work of Dr. Roy Spencer, who has analyzed NASA satellite data and has concluded that the central AGW concept of “feedback” is nonsense.

    Instead, you choose to ignore any educated opinion that might cast doubt on what is effectively your new religion. You instead choose to publish only those opinions that you can easily dismiss, much as the medieval papacy dealt with Galileo.

    I am sorry that you have chosen this course. Modern AGW theory is based on modeling, and modeling alone, and your assertion that the models have been verified defies not only common sense, but (for this modeler) it defies the actual evidence produced by the IPCC committees themselves. (This assumes that you have taken the time to examine the actual data, rather than the skewed executive summaries produced by IPCC’s politically-driven publicists). You seem like a good fellow. I hope that, sometime in the future, when the rest of the world is laughing off AGW theory, much as we now roll our collective eyes over Y2K, you will be able to realize that a resonant message does not equate to good science.

    Cheers,

    Rich Trzupek

  17. kenlevenson Says:

    Braden,

    Actually, the computer models have been verified – by successfully reproducing our climate history and by predicting the near future. The actual data collected now jives with the models’ predictions. And when they don’t, they fine tune the models further and further so that they will. You’re obviously not doing your reading Braden! ;)

    You are also deeply confused about carbon footprints and our lives. We can have thoroughly modern comfortable lives – we just must stop being pigs. Again, please, do yourself a favor and read-up a bit….

    Al Gore, Al Gore, Al Gore, Al Gore?……Are you secretly in love with Al Gore?

    And yes, I do give myself belly laughs at the thought of my daughter and her children living in a world devastated by our society’s idiotic stubbornness….it’s a laugh a minute.

  18. Braden Says:

    Scientifically illiterate junk? You mean like global warming…I mean climate change is based on REAL, solid scientifically backed up evidence?

    Need I remind you this entire global warming … I mean climate change fiasco is based on computer models which cannot be verified.

    There’s your junk science, sir.

    But …

    If you’re so serious, then why don’t you set the ultimate of examples? That’s right, sell your house, all your cars, and everything possible linked to products which create a “carbon footprint.”

    You people talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk. Why? You expect others to do it for you, just like Al Gore.

    You’re quite the laughable bunch if I do say so myself.

  19. kenlevenson Says:

    Braden,

    Again you link to scientifically illiterate junk.

    As for Krauthammer’s op-ed that your link references and then proceeds to dance of a lunatic cliff – please see the following two posts for a dance (of reason) on it:

    http://climateprogress.org/2008/05/30/krauthammers-strange-denier-talk-points-part-1-newtons-laws-were-overthrown/

    and

    http://climateprogress.org/2008/06/01/fha-why-does-the-post-let-conservative-columnists-make-up-climate-facts/

  20. kenlevenson Says:

    Hey Tom,

    On the uncertainties, while I’m quite confident, based on the science, that “business as usual” is a path to certain catastrophe and that we have the power to change how we make and consume energy, I’m willing to fall back on Pascal’s wager: “Even though the existence of God cannot be determined through reason, a person should “wager” as though God exists, because so living has potentially everything to gain, and certainly nothing to lose.” The cost of ridding ourselves of fossil fuels is negligible and should be quite profitable and results in a better world for future generations in it’s own right. So acting is a winning proposition. On the other hand, not acting runs the very real risk of ending civilization as we know it. I think to risk that future for future generations just because it’s inconvenient for some now or doesn’t seem to fit the ideology of others is sublimely selfish of us.

    It’s the fact that now, through ice cores and a tremendous amount of other data recently collected that we much more clearly know what happened over the earth’s 4.5 billion year history regarding cooling and heating and the make up of the atmosphere etc… and therefore why what is happening now different, is not “natural”.

    I don’t think environmentalists think we’re all powerful – we simply have the power to decide how we are going to produce and consume energy and consequently avoid the catastrophe we have so far set ourselves toward making.

    As for god, I refer back to Pascal!

    Best,
    Ken

  21. kenlevenson Says:

    Suicidalking22,

    The idea that if a “body” is supporting something, that it means all of its members unanimously support it is ludicris. No one would ever pretend such a thing. There are always voices of dissent – that’s the nature of the human condition I guess…. You’re throwing out another straw man argument.

    On the other hand if you are a scientist in disagreement please stand up and be counted. Please, what is your name and what “body” are you a member of that doesn’t represent your views? Just curious.

    You say: “I personally know and work with disagree with the anthropocentric global warming scenarios, and believe, rather, that global warming is neither alarming, nor catastrophic, nor, for that matter, avoidable.”
    To which I say, we all choose the company we keep.

    As for your link of support – I go back to my initial rebuttal, the point is never to achieve unanimity. And for those interested in a serious take on the Senate report linked to by Suicidalking22 see: http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/12/20/climate-consensus-busted/

    You then rage governments running peoples lives vs. individuals.

    I’m not sure why you introduce, what certainly seems to be your personal obsession with “government”? What does the relative goodness or badness of government have to do with whether AGW to real or not? You clearly betray your ideologically driven approach to science with your rant. I imagine very bad science coming from such an approach.
    Can we please leave ideological arguments out of this?

    Then you can’t resist throwing out the another straw man – the benefits of industrialization. I’ve got a secret, NO ONE SERIOUSLY DISPUTES THE BENEFITS OF INDUSTRIALIZATION. It is a crowing achievement of human civilization. The benefits abound.

    What is in dispute is whether, industrial societies based on fossil fuels, will also be our undoing. Industry can be seen as just another tool – it depends on how you use it that makes it good or bad, not the thing itself.

    I say that for industrial society to continue its greatness it must shift ASAP to non-fossil fuel sources.

    A few final things for you to think about:

    I’m not an “environmentalist”, I’m a “humanist”. (Your obsession with environmentalists is your own – please leave me out of it.)

    You say: “Electricity is displacing fossil fuel in everything from microwaves, to electric trains, to lasers.”
    You do understand that most of our electricity is generated from fossil fuels, right? Your statement is so fundamentally confused, I’m not even sure what you mean to say….

    You say: “At our current state of technology, no conceivable mix of solar, wave, or wind power can meet even a quarter the demand for energy.”
    This is simply wrong or self-selectively wrong. We can certainly reduce CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050 with existing technology or that which will roll out as part of the technological progression we’ve lived through. For one scenario that gets us there see: http://climateprogress.org/2008/04/22/is-450-ppm-or-less-politically-possible-part-2-the-solution/

    The Global 2000 report is a red herring at this point….as you say the species predictions were “made up”. The projections at this point going forward are based on much improved climate modeling based on a tremendous amount of data collected in the intervening years. And while highly variable the predictions now have a range of: bad, very bad, and very, very bad. There is no good news and no reason to be sanguine.

    Finally, while technology is capable of great things to put our faith in a technological breakthrough to save ourselves – is to consign to the planet a similar fate of saying to a chain smoking 40 year old with children, “no worries, you just keep on smoking, because 1) it’s not conclusive that smoking causes cancer and 2) even if you get cancer, by then, there will be the technology to “fix it”.” Seems a fools promise to me.

    Why not just kick the fossil fuel habit the way any responsible person with children would kick the tobacco habit? Wouldn’t that be the conservative thing to do?

    Finally you say: “And technology flourishes best under systems of freedom, certainly not more government laws, legislations, and bureaucratic red (and green) tape.”

    You do realize irony that most of the technological innovation our economy depends on and that you presumably speak of, were gestated in government funded programs for WWII, the space race, and other cold war military objectives.

    I’m not saying government is the answer nor am I saying it’s the enemy.

    We as individuals have a role to play and the our communities have a role to play. Our communities include our neighborhoods, our towns, our states, and our nations.

    But you seem to see everything through the prism of “government is the root of all evil”. Sounds crippling to me.

  22. Braden Says:

    Read the following. Commentary it may be, but chock full of facts it is.

    You people don’t even realize it, but you are members of a religion based on completely unverifiable computer models. You do know that, right?

    http://wap.foxnews.proteus.com/index.php?page=content&contentId=2054119&contentPage=-1

  23. schafft Says:

    Yes. Thanks, Ken. I think kids should be taught the facts. But when the facts become blurred with ideology, I get concerned. I’m worried we are propagandizing rather than teaching them facts.

    As you’ve propably guessed I’m an AGW skeptic–not so much in the fact that human activity has produced greenhouse gases that has caused a measurable increase in global temperatures–that much I think we can agree on. But the extent of that rise in temperature, the effect of that rise, and what we should do about it are very much open to debate.

    Even though I have a fairly strong background in science (my degree is in geology), I find it tedious to read much of the scientific literature on AGW. Frankly, I don’t understand it all too well. And the effort it would take to master the subject seems to me a fulltime job. It’s just not where my interests lie. So, I choose to be somewhat ignorant.

    Suicidalking22 in the last post summed up many of my concerns far better than I could. I would only add that my geology background trained me to think of planet earth as an ancient, powerful, and enduring entity. Climate change has been the norm in its 4.5 billion year history, and humans are flighty, transient, and largely impotent against this enourmous terrestrial engine.

    Yeah, I know the AGW concern is really about human survival not the earth, which will continue on regardless. But humans are also resillient and adaptable.

    Sometimes I think that environmentalists harbor a perverted conceit. On the one hand they see Earth as Gaia, a godess and on the other, they see mankind as all powerful over her–able to change and damage her on his selfish whim.

    If so, then we are worshiping a very wimpy god indeed.

    best,

    Tom

  24. suicidalking22 Says:

    It’s extraordinarily misleading on your part to speak of “scientific bodies” without reference to the individual scientists who compose those bodies — specifically, I’m talking about the fact that many, many, many of us as individual scientist strongly disagree with the positions taken by our respective scientific organizations (i.e “bodies”) — and this most certainly includes the IPCC itself. And yet because we work for them, we’re automatically included, whether we like it or not, among their “official” statements, which are without exception politically motivated.

    I’m not speaking hyperbolically when I tell you that the majority of scientists and engineers I personally know and work with disagree with the anthropocentric global warming scenarios, and believe, rather, that global warming is neither alarming, nor catastrophic, nor, for that matter, avoidable. If you doubt what I say, please scroll down the following link and read the actual words of some of these scientific men and women:

    http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Minority.SenateReport

    Also, please include it among your above-list of recommended reading, for equity’s sake, if for no other reason.

    It’s worth noting furthermore that in all of world history, government bureaucrats have never proved themselves more capable of running the individual’s life than the individual herself — on the contrary, in fact: centralized governments have brought more bloodshed and more misery to humans than any other single thing, and I’m afraid history is incontrovertible upon this point.

    In addition to that, we should never forget either that prior to industrialization, which is really what’s at issue here, average life-expectancies were between 33.75 and 39.54 years.

    Prior to industrialization sanitation was virtually non-existent, so that things like bubonic plague epidemics devastated Europe several times. Also, cholera, dysentery, typhoid, small pox, syphilis, diphtheria, polio, influenza, and countless other diseases ran unchecked, wiping out millions and millions.

    Prior to industrialization, medicine wasn’t even in its infancy, and the (industrial) discovery of these invisible entities called “germs” was unheard of.

    Prior to industrialization, infant mortality was over fifty percent, and children who did survive were very often sold into indentured servitude because parents couldn’t afford to keep them.

    Prior to industrialization, there was no such thing as birth control or electricity or running water or reliable heat or reliable transportation or sewage systems or, in many cases, potable water.

    Prior to industrialization, fires could not be put out easily and therefore “small” fires often decimated whole cities. What we now consider minor disasters were not so minor then.

    Prior to industrialization, life revolved entirely around bare subsistence: “custom” and “tradition” dominated the individual, and autonomy and freedom were nearly unheard of.

    Worst of all, the human mind prior to industrialization was shackled to superstition and ignorance of the natural world. Industrialization freed the human mind to pursue knowledge.

    A few final things to consider when considering this issue and your panicked call to immediate governmental action:

    Environmentalism, as Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace, recently noted, is “repackaged Marxism.” It is nothing more and nothing less. As such, it is simply the latest in that endless line of assaults upon the rights of the individual, including, most crucially, the individual’s inalienable right to private property, which environmentalism, like Marxism, is explicitly opposed to.

    Quoting Peter Huber and Mark Mills, authors of The Bottomless Well,: “Most of what people think they know about energy is so very wrong that their convictions, heartfelt though they may be, lie beyond logical contradiction or refutation….What most of us think about energy supply is wrong. Energy supplies are unlimited; it is energetic order that’s scarce, and the order in energy that’s expensive. Supplies do not ultimately depend on the addition of reserves, the development of new fuels, or the husbanding of known resources. Energy begets more energy; tomorrow’s supply is determined by today’s consumption. The more energy we seize and use, the more adept we become at finding and seizing still more.

    “What most of us think about energy demand is even more wrong. Our main use of energy isn’t lighting, locomotion, or cooling; what we use energy for, mainly, is to extract, refine, process, and purify energy itself. And the more efficient we become at refining energy in this way, the more we want to use the final product. Thus, more efficient engines, motors, lights, and cars lead to more energy consumption, not less.”

    Fossil fuels are being replaced steadily, and have been for thirty years or more. The reason has nothing to do with green politics or government interventions, but rather technological advances. Electricity is displacing fossil fuel in everything from microwaves, to electric trains, to lasers. Electricity is the energy of our immediate future. (See Electricity in the American Economy: Agent of Technological Progress, Sam H. Schurr et al. Greenwood, 1990.)

    Developments in science and technology—and not lobby groups or litigation, not government subsidies or regulations, certainly not returning to a more “simplified” way of life—are what bring about cleaner, safer environments. Wealth brings new technologies. Wealth brings cleaner food and water. Wealth brings longer life.

    Which is why underdeveloped countries (where, incidentally, fewer people drive cars) are more polluted, use dirtier, less efficient fuels, and destroy more woods and wetlands than industrial countries.

    Underdeveloped countries are incontrovertibly closer to the much-romanticized, much-touted “simplified” way of life that environmentalists recommend. And far, far fewer corporations exist in these poverty-stricken, disease-stricken, third-world nations.

    Economics play an incalculable role in the quality of the environment, despite what the greens have told you. Wealth brings cleaner environments. The poorer the country, the more polluted the country.

    At our current state of technology, no conceivable mix of solar, wave, or wind power can meet even a quarter the demand for energy. Demand for energy can never be curbed, just as demand for drugs can never be curbed, not by all the right-wing laws, litigation, and legislation imaginable, and for the exact same reasons.

    With regard to your species extinction comment, it reminds me of the Global 2000 report, which predicted that “at least 500,000 to 600,000 species” would become extinct in the next twenty years was. That was in 1980, and it was fear-mongering of the same sort you’re propagating here. Of course, we now know, that the Global 2000 report was not only totally inaccurate, but had absolutely no factual basis to begin with. It was pure guess work, with a very specific agenda.

    In the 4-billion year history of the planet earth, species have always come into and gone out of existence. In fact, of all the species that have ever existed on planet earth, 99 percent are now extinct, and over 99 percent of those extinctions took place before the evolution of humans.

    The existing data on the observed rates of species extinction are fatuously incongruous with all conservationist claims, as even the sympathetic World Conservation Monitoring Center recently conceded. Quoting their words: “In fact, these and other data indicate that the number of recorded extinctions for both plants and animals is very small….” (Heygood and Stuart, p. 93.)

    Finally, I would ask you to remember that it’s technology that’s gotten us to this point; it’s only technology that can get us beyond. And technology flourishes best under systems of freedom, certainly not more government laws, legislations, and bureaucratic red (and green) tape.

  25. kenlevenson Says:

    Tom,
    Fair enough, bad analogy….. Let me shift gears: it should not be allowed or tolerated the way illiteracy isn’t allowed or tolerated. Does that mean authoritarianism? I don’t think so. Of course the schools must teach all this stuff to children but illiterate adults are not rounded up and taught to read forcibly. At the same time, there is a sense that reading and writing is such a fundamental skill that we cannot excuse it or allow illiteracy. We must teach the illiterate to read and write and we must teach the ignorant of AGW about it. It’s that fundamental. Does that make sense?
    – Ken

  26. kenlevenson Says:

    Braden,
    I ignore your celeb nonsense – because they’re your hang-up, not mine. I don’t pay much attention to them.

    Actually if you read any real science AGW is base on a tremendous amount of evidence. There is sooooo much evidence that even our dim president doesn’t deny it any more – and he’s in a state of denial about a great deal.

    For your last straw man. The choice is not between a cave or our current wasteful lives. We can live quite modern, comfortable lives that are sustainable and put the earth into balance – we just need to make it a priority. Bush’s own EPA stated that the climate bill would only cost 1% growth over 30 or so years. The cost of doing nothing is practically incalculable.

    And I am making steps everyday to make my life more sustainable. Our house is powered, through Con Edison, from wind power, I eat much less meat, we drive only when we must, we turn the lights off when we’re not in the room. And I support public officials who will act responsibly about energy policy and climate change. It isn’t that difficult really. You can start by reading the Checklist to the right of this blog’s screen.

    Rather than ranting about politics why don’t you read the science?

  27. Braden Says:

    “You either don’t understand basic definitions of scientific language or you’re medieval – which is it?”

    Global warming is not based on any scientific evidence! It’s all based on theory. There’s NO hardcore evidence. And I noticed you conveniently didn’t comment on the hypocrisy of those who expect the rest of us to change our life style, while people like Al Gore and Co. continue to live their status quo.

    You liberals love to use the term, “if you support the war in Iraq, then go enlist” line with me. Fine, in your face then. If you liberals support the idea of global warming so much, then step up and change your way of life. Give up every possible item in your life which is linked to oil. From your house, to your car, to all of your electronic items and everything in between. When it’s all said and done, you’ll end up living in a cave somewhere. You can’t do it, you won’t do it. So that said, you’re a hypocrite.

    End of discussion.

  28. schafft Says:

    Ken,

    Society deals with child abandonment by enacting laws to discourage and punish those who’d attempt to shirk their responsility. Those guilty have committed an act.

    You were saying that ignorance of AGW should not be excused or allowed. Ignorance is a thought (or, lack of one).

    Would you argue for laws about that? Maybe, you meant to say ignorance of AGW should be shameful?

    Respectfully,

    Tom

  29. kenlevenson Says:

    schafft,

    society doesn’t “excuse or allow” allot of things – it’s how it stays socially cohesive. For example, do we excuse people or allow people to abandon their children?

    Authoritarianism has nothing to do with it…..

    So I’m not sure what “the government” you mentioned has to do with anything other than your apparent paranoia.

  30. kenlevenson Says:

    Braden,
    Gravity is a theory – do you have a problem with gravity?
    Evolution is a theory – do you have a problem with evolution?

    You either don’t understand basic definitions of scientific language or you’re medieval – which is it?

  31. schafft Says:

    …”Therefore ignorance of the subject should not be excused or allowed.”

    Your words suggest to me that you have a rather authoritarian mindset.

    “excused or allowed” by whom pray tell? The government?

  32. Braden Says:

    Show me one solid piece of scientific evidence that supports the current global warming theory … keyword … theory. How do you explain the other planetary bodies of the solar system getting hotter? How do you explain the current cycle the sun is going through? How do you explain ice ages?

    C’mon man … And then we have Al Gore and the rest of his minions who expect all of us to change our lifestyle all the while Al and Co. don’t change theirs. Don’t you find that ironic these very same people who tell us to change our way of life won’t set the example themselves? And what is with Al Gore’s humongous investments in carbon credit companies? Has it become obvious to you yet that he’s in it to make money?

    And then we have all the Hollywood elitists who tell us global warming is real and that we need to change our lifestyles….John Travolta and Leonardo DiCaprio particularly come to mind …. and Travolta owns how many jet planes? And DiCaprio’s “carbon footprint” is how big?

    The hypocrisy of these very same people who fed you this global warming hoo-haw is absolutely astounding, and yet you people don’t have the common sense to see through it for the charade it is.

    And yet you tell me I’m the one who is confused. I guess our SUV’s on Jupiter and Mars really are making that big of a difference.

  33. kenlevenson Says:

    Braden,
    You are deeply confused. Please start reading!

  34. Braden Says:

    Global warming is complete junk science based on nothing more than theory.

    The planet Earth has gone through cycles long before any of us ever existed. By the way, what ever happened to the global cooling scare which was pushed in the 1970s?

  35. penandpaper2 Says:

    i don’t really understand the whole global warming thing so i bought this ebook Guide to Global Warming and it really helped :)

  36. kenlevenson Says:

    Paulidan,
    Yes, and we’re about to find the WMD any day now….and tobacco doesn’t cause cancer and really, the universe was created in 6 days pretty much as is…. thanks for your help – it’s all clear to me now. Thanks for the heads up.

  37. Paulidan Says:

    http://www.spaceweather.com

    Cycle 24 is still very late. If things keep up like this we could see the biggest cooling since the Dalton Minimum 200 years ago. The pathetic thing is that the alarmists were right the first time, we are actually heading into some serious cooling. roflz.

  38. theladymel Says:

    “We’re ostriches and the whole world is sand…”

    Thank you for the post, checklist. When I win the lottery and spontaneously graduate, I should have time to read all of that… :-) No, seriously. Thank you–as unpleasant as the idea of our world changing so harshly is, ignorance never accomplished much. Well, anything all that positive, anyway.

  39. kenlevenson Says:

    crthead,
    You’re projecting. Everything you’ve linked to is complete ideological nonsense. There is no credible scientific body in the world that disputes the underlying fundamentals of AGW. On the other hand, like the delusional, and ideological, who brought us the Iraq War, there are a fair number willing to dispute AGW on completely dishonest and fundamentally immoral grounds. If there is a debate – it’s as to whether we are facing 30% species extinction at this point or are we going to 70% species extinction: whether the coastal cities will need to be abandoned in our lifetimes or in our children’s lifetimes. What do you think the cost to society, and civilization for that matter, will be when we are forced to abandon the existing coasts? If we want to change course your phony, tobacco like, debate must end and let’s debate the real science. Good day.

  40. crthead Says:

    “Okay, enough reading! Armed with the facts, go out and fight for our children’s future” – or you could do like the Australian Broadcasting Co. is encouraging kids there to do – Their web site invites young children to take a “greenhouse gas quiz”, asking them “how big a pig are you?”. At the end of the quiz, the pig explodes, and ABC tells children at “what age you should die at so you don’t use more than your fair share of Earth’s resources!”

    Read it at The Register: Oz TV advises CO2-emitting children to die early

    Also, I just posted an article on my blog : Globalcoolingnews.com that talks about the article David Solway posted on Frontpagemagazine.com regarding he points out ” the trouble is that the “science” involved is highly debatable insofar as it has been commandeered by a political crusade whose underlying purposes are distressingly suspicious.”

    This as well as other reports that give people an objectionable opinion on the whole issues of Global Warming should be added to the list.

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