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  1. It would be unbelievable that someone would deliberately choose to wreck their reputation like this; except he’s not alone in doing so. He seems to have reached new depths compared to others who’ve ruined any reputation they had (like the much more modest unachiever, Plimer).

    Comment by Sou — 28 Apr 2010 @ 3:21 AM

  2. It looks like Ian Plimer may not find winning the
    “most mistakes in a single book” Oscar
    quite so easy after all.

    Comment by Geoff Russell — 28 Apr 2010 @ 3:37 AM

  3. Brain Sussman, a meteorologist/radio host in the Bay Area, has recently released a book that, which seems to be similar to what Allegre tries to imply in his, bluntly calls all climate scientist Marxist that are working to redistribute the wealth of the world. When did things change from name-calling the science to name-calling the scientist?

    Comment by j. favors — 28 Apr 2010 @ 3:47 AM

  4. Apologies for asking an off-topic question, although related to climate science.. I see Barton Paul Levenson on this site from time to time – does anyone know how to get in touch with him, his website doesn’t have contact details (maybe deliberately) and I wanted to quiz him about his CO2 saturation article – http://bartonpaullevenson.com/Saturation.html – which doesn’t seem quite right, but it could be my mistake. Nothing wrong with the explanation or physics, more the usefulness/validity of the model. All in the cause of making a good “Part Eight – Saturation” for the http://scienceofdoom.com CO2 series.

    Comment by ScienceofDoom — 28 Apr 2010 @ 3:49 AM

  5. Just wanted to point out that :
    – while Stephane Foucart debunked the Allegre book, the debunking book you mentioned was written by Sylvestre Huet (who obviously is at war against Allegre). Just a minor error :)

    [Response: thanks. The html was mixed up. It should be clearer now. – gavin]

    – when Sylvestre Huet began to blow up the Allegre’s lies and errors, he asked Allegre for a comment. The answer ? “My book is a politics essay, and not a science book – so the errors pointed out are not important” (apocryphal traduction, I can try and translate his whole answer if RC wishes).
    So we have a man, selling his book full of outright LIES (the hand-drawn figures distording real scientist works in order to prove his claims are quite clear about that : it was not an accidental error) because of his scientific renown. When scientific errors are pointed out in the “science” he uses, he discards them because … “it’s political” ? So, he is free to switch at will from the scientist to the politician, and on top of that he states that it’s not important if politicians lie ?
    When I saw that he answered, I was not hoping that much. A lot of “Sylvestre Huet is intenting a court case in witchcraft against me”, a bit of “Galileo was right”, lots of “I was deliberately misunderstood”. But saying flatly that politicians can outright lie without consequences ?

    (on a side note, did you know that Allegre is against AGW but promotes CCS “because it’s important not to pollute ? Quite strange : CO2 in itself is not a pollutant, it’s his IR absorption band as well as the time it needs to go back in the biosphere/aquasphere which is problematic. He surely knows that. We cannot understand his positions …
    unless we know that “his” geochemistry laboratory got funds by Schlumberger to study CCS. And Courtillot (the infamous “skeptic”) belongs to the scientific commitee for the Total CCS experiment in southern France. Joys of funding :] )

    Comment by bratisla — 28 Apr 2010 @ 3:57 AM

  6. If it weren’t for Allègre’s apparent sincerity, this would have all the hallmarks of a spoof.

    ScienceofDoom: remove the “/Saturation.html” bit of the aforementioned address to take you to his home page and then use the e-mail link provided.

    Comment by P. Lewis — 28 Apr 2010 @ 4:09 AM

  7. sorry, forgot to put some links to back up my claims (all in french, my apologies):
    – the official IPGP (the institute Allegre led) page for CCS : http://www.ipgp.fr/pages/020203.php
    http://www.total.com/MEDIAS/MEDIAS_INFOS/2212/FR/lacq-dossier-concertation-partie3-pilote.pdf?PHPSESSID=7ef43c32e44c7698b673a26e7c47a0a0 page 47 : enters Courtillot

    To be clear, they have every right to get money from industrials to fund researchs, I do not contest that. It’s just quite amusing to see them doing a salto backflip to try and justify themselves instead of saying “well we get money and we do the job” :]

    Comment by bratisla — 28 Apr 2010 @ 4:11 AM

  8. I think the French muppet satire referred to is more likely to be based on ‘Spitting Image’, a UK production of the 1980s.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spitting_Image#Similar_shows_elsewhere

    Sorry for being pedantic, but I am British!

    Comment by The Ville — 28 Apr 2010 @ 4:14 AM

  9. Thank you for this post. I was weighing whether I should buy this book to analyze it but now I guess not, enough qualified people have done this painful job. However, you might destroy Allègre’s work as much as you can, take his arguments one by one, people will still appreciate him and buy his work. Simply because he’s saying what ppl want to hear first, and then because he is like David fighting Goliath. And French like rebels. In addition this guy is quite good at “debating” either on TV or radio: when he gets rebutted he starts screaming, moving all around etc… Which is far from a scientific way of convincing your opponents but a very good one to convince the audience. So basically, you cannot “debate” against him: he’ll be right, won’t acknowledge his errors, insult you and will make plain wrong claims live if necessary to save his skin.
    Now it’s the media’s turn to demolish his reputation. Scientists have analyzed and criticized his work, all the tools are there, readily available for any journalist to attack him. Let’s see if it happens.

    Comment by Julien — 28 Apr 2010 @ 4:17 AM

  10. Great stuff. At least Plimer can spell. Even if he sometimes writes incoherently. I like the irony of accusing everyone who disagrees with you as a Stalinist. Doesn’t Allègre know what Stalin did to Soviet science? Then again, is he even aware that he is the one demanding that reality bend to ideology?

    If this is the best the denial movement can do, you have to wonder why people are so taken in by this stuff. It’s not as if the fossil fuel business lacks resources; if there really was a sound alternative theory, they could fund developing it out of 1% of a day’s profits.

    Meanwhile I’ve been playing with numbers on AMSU-A and 1999-2009 (the longest period with whole years of data) has a strong positive trend, 4.8K per century. 2010 looks like a real warm year. I’ve done an analysis on the the year up to 25 April, and the trend is 6K / century.

    Whatever happened to the old UAH has the only sound temperature record meme?

    ScienceofDoom #4: go to BPL’s main page and you’ll find an email address.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 28 Apr 2010 @ 4:38 AM

  11. Is he deliberately misspelling names in order to avoid people googling them?

    Comment by JS — 28 Apr 2010 @ 4:52 AM

  12. @11: If so, he’ll probably find that Google is cleverer than he is.

    Comment by Tom — 28 Apr 2010 @ 4:58 AM

  13. JS, he gets the year wrong and the journal name wrong just in case you figure out the proper spelling of the person’s name too..!

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 28 Apr 2010 @ 5:01 AM

  14. Google might have a spot of bother with “Professor Tech”

    Comment by quokka — 28 Apr 2010 @ 5:02 AM

  15. Ok, besides the made up graphics, the numerous technical gaffes, the widespread misspellings, and the complete lack of any understanding of the underlining physical processes involved in climate science, what did you think of the book?

    :)

    Comment by Robert Murphy — 28 Apr 2010 @ 5:03 AM

  16. The use of “Stalinist” as an insult makes more sense in context: when Allegre was a minister, he was in the cabinet of a guy who reportedly got into politics through a Trotskyite cult. There’s an ancient feud between Stalinists and Trotskyites and the French intelligentsia loves Marxists feuds. Allegre may call people Marxists in public but, when he speaks to another French intellectual, he accuses him of being the wrong kind of Marxist instead. And since none of this has any relevance to climate science or denialism, I guess the implication is that Huet is picking on Allegre’s book as part of some kind of Marxist sectarian feud. Bizzare.

    Comment by Anonymous Coward — 28 Apr 2010 @ 5:11 AM

  17. There is nothing new about Allegre’s behavior. For the past 30 years his riposte to a challenge has always been to puff himself up and pretend that identification of an error in his work was a personal attack. A classic pufferfish.

    Comment by Mitch Lyle — 28 Apr 2010 @ 5:15 AM

  18. #10 You said, “If this is the best the denial movement can do…” and here’s incidental evidence that it is. An avowedly open-minded non-scientist set himself to see whether ‘warmists’ or ‘denialists’ were right. He consulted the ‘best’ denialists he could find, worldwide – including Lindzen, Plimer and Bob Carter – and the nearest bunch of mainstream climate scientists he could find, who happened to be mainly on the staff of a NZ university, i.e. good people, I’m sure, but not world leaders. The latter won hands-down. The book? ‘Poles Apart’ by Morgan and McCrystal, 2009.

    Comment by MalcolmT — 28 Apr 2010 @ 5:22 AM

  19. #5 Thanks for the additional details. I am interested in having more details about Allègre’s answer to Huet (“My book is a politics essay, and not a science book – so the errors pointed out are not important” ). Do you have a link to the full story?

    Comment by Julien — 28 Apr 2010 @ 5:31 AM

  20. Julien (#19),
    Click on “post by Huet” link (fourth paragraph).

    Comment by Anonymous Coward — 28 Apr 2010 @ 5:52 AM

  21. @Georg
    how well is his book selling? What is the reaction amoung the french public?
    In short, do people other than climate scientist and regular visitors to real
    climate understand that its all bunk?

    Comment by Martin — 28 Apr 2010 @ 6:05 AM

  22. Shame on the publisher. Was there no editor to do even the most basic fact-checking or spell-checking?

    Comment by John P — 28 Apr 2010 @ 6:46 AM

  23. @martin 21
    it’s a best-seller (for France). more than 130 000 copies sold by now, I guess.
    Though it doesn’t mean every reader agrees with him.

    Comment by ICE — 28 Apr 2010 @ 7:18 AM

  24. Thanks Georg, to make known our “dear” Allègre to our american friends.
    Maybe this will console them or, at least, laugh.
    I think we can propose another gate to denialists (it seems that they like this word):
    the Allègregate.

    Comment by meteor — 28 Apr 2010 @ 7:21 AM

  25. Too technical. GW understanding by the public is descending (polls have it going from around 50% supportive of science, down to 34% today).

    In post #9 Julien says; “Now it’s the media’s turn to demolish his reputation. Scientists have analyzed and criticized his work, all the tools are there, readily available for any journalist to attack him. Let’s see if it happens.”

    The media is not remotely capable of presenting these facts to the general public. For real science to gain a better foothold on the debate someone must arrive who can distill and present the BS.

    Comment by William Freimuth — 28 Apr 2010 @ 7:54 AM

  26. ScienceofDoom (4): I can be contacted at

    levenson1960@gmail.com

    or

    readermail1960@gmail.com

    BTW, my web site (http://BartonPaulLevenson.com) lists ways to get in touch with me and find out about me through email, FaceBook, Twitter, and Wikipedia.

    -BPL

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 28 Apr 2010 @ 7:59 AM

  27. bratisla (7),

    Merci pour les liens. Ils sont tres interessant. Au sujet de M. Allegre, est-il un idiot, fou, ou simplement un mal?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 28 Apr 2010 @ 8:07 AM

  28. Robert Murphy (15),

    But aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 28 Apr 2010 @ 8:09 AM

  29. “The phase relation between CO2 and temperatures in the Antarctic ice cores is a frequent source of confusion….Thus the leads and lags involved doesn’t have any impact on climate sensitivity calculations”

    Calling analyzing the leads and lags of parameters on temperatures as irrelevant and using this information as “illogical” doesn’t seem to wash with me. Given the forcings are anything but settled, this statement seems unjustified.

    This article would read better if it didn’t lead with a bunch of information on spelling, this only shows sloppy writing, which is on par with sloppy record keeping on temperature data, I don’t care about either, unless it is material.

    It seems most of the erroneous data the reviewer refers to initially are simply valid disagreements on interpretation of data, and not making stuff up. That’s the way it reads, based on conditional phrasing such as “Depending a bit how you weight”, “frequent source of confusion”, “at least yet”, etc.

    [Response: You have no problem with inventing the next hundred years of tree ring data? Or recognising the difference between zero and 20%? And you wonder why your critiques don’t have credibility? – gavin]

    Comment by Tom S — 28 Apr 2010 @ 8:14 AM

  30. Allègre had hand-drawn a continuation of tree-ring data from Hakan Grudd to show cooling over the 21st Century

    Faking the decline?

    Comment by Richard C — 28 Apr 2010 @ 8:25 AM

  31. Very Much Off Topic, but for some lighter reading and beautiful images visit @ http://www.brockmann-consult.de/CloudStructures/index.htm

    Comment by jyyh — 28 Apr 2010 @ 8:34 AM

  32. Is it legal in France to publish a book full of lies? I am no fan of the British libel laws, but…

    Comment by Elmar Veerman — 28 Apr 2010 @ 8:35 AM

  33. Just a little point. If my memory is good, when C.allégre was minister of education and research, he still kept a position in the Institut de Physique du Globe. at that time he still used to be last author of many articles from IPG. even if many dopubted of his real contribution. That gives an interesting light to his claims again Jim Hansen.
    Thank you for this public health work.

    Comment by François — 28 Apr 2010 @ 8:37 AM

  34. A few years ago at AGU, I was wandering around a reception held by the paleoceanography/paleoclimate group when Allegre came up to me, literally dragging another guy by the coat sleeve. He said to the guy something to the effect of “Here, this is Ruddiman, you need to find out the important work he has done”. The guy he was dragging turned out to be the new minister of science in France. At the time, I was pleased with the recognition of my hypothesis. Later, I found out that I shouldn’t have been.

    Comment by Bill Ruddiman — 28 Apr 2010 @ 8:46 AM

  35. Not only has this book been a best seller, but it has worried the supporters of AGW in France. Some 410 of them wrote to the Minister of Science, asking for funds for some sort of counter campaign in the French media. The response of the Minister was to direct the French National Academy of Sciences to hold a “debat” on AGW before October 2010. The Academy is said to be enthusiastic on the idea.

    Comment by Jim Cripwell — 28 Apr 2010 @ 8:53 AM

  36. For someone like Allegre, you need to discuss the science at a level that a curious five-year old child could understand… a challenge, that.

    For the CO2 and glacial response lag, one way to go is to take a freezer full of food, and turn off the power – now, explain to the child that this like being at glacial maximum. Smell the freezer – not much outgassing yet.

    Come back in a few days and smell the freezer again – phew! As the ice melts, the gases rise – and in the case of the planet, when those gases enter the atmosphere, they increase the radiative energy at the planet’s surface.

    As far as Allegre’s support for CCS, well… first, let’s try the technical approach:

    New Report Finds Carbon Capture & Sequestration “Profoundly Non-Feasible”

    Here’s the full study(pdf):
    Sequestering carbon dioxide in a closed underground volume, JPetroleum Science&Engineering,
    Ehlig-Economides & Economides

    Published reports on the potential for sequestration fail to address the necessity of storing CO2 in a closed system. Our calculations suggest that the volume of liquid or supercritical CO2 to be disposed cannot exceed more than about 1% of pore space. This will require from 5 to 20 times more underground reservoir volume than has been envisioned by many, and it renders geologic sequestration of CO2 a profoundly non-feasible option for the management of CO2 emissions.

    Hmmm… calculations? What kind of calculations?

    Material balance modeling shows that CO2 injection in the liquid stage (larger mass) obeys an analog of the single phase, liquid material balance, long-established in the petroleum industry for forecasting undersaturated oil recovery. The total volume that can be stored is a function of the initial reservoir pressure, the fracturing pressure of the formation or an adjoining layer, and CO2 and water compressibility and mobility values.

    Ah! The same calculations that engineers use in enhanced CO2-assisted recovery from older fields.

    Further, published injection rates, based on displacement mechanisms assuming open aquifer conditions are totally erroneous because they fail to reconcile the fundamental difference between steady state, where the injection rate is constant, and pseudo-steady state where the injection rate will undergo exponential decline if the injection pressure exceeds an allowable value. A limited aquifer indicates a far larger number of required injection wells for a given mass of CO2 to be sequestered and/or a far larger reservoir volume than the former.

    And the CCS proponents just pulled numbers out of the air, without doing any realistic calculations!

    CCS – the last refuge of a scoundrel, indeed.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 28 Apr 2010 @ 9:07 AM

  37. @3: “…bluntly calls all climate scientist Marxist that are working to redistribute the wealth of the world. When did things change from name-calling the science to name-calling the scientist?”

    The issue of “what to do” about AGW is related to climate modeling (as you have to use models to predict what a certain change would do), but really, most of the proposed solutions to global warming are just terrible, inefficient, or contradictory. 30% of all our CO2 is produced by cars, 40% by the power industry, 10% by concrete plants, and 20% by all other categories. Any solution that, say, reduces CO2 emissions in the “other” category by 10% while ignoring the other sectors will have a very minor impact on CO2 emissions (-2%), while often costing ridiculous amounts of money to implement.

    Likewise, some solutions, like Kyoto, are so terribly bad that it appalls me that anyone would stand behind it. “Well, at least they’re doing *something*!” is not a good excuse.

    Comment by Shaka — 28 Apr 2010 @ 9:09 AM

  38. #Commentary by Georg Hoffmann say:
    >>>He continues:
    ”It is due to water vapour, and water vapour alone, that the mean temperature at the Earth surface is +15°C and not -18°C”.
    This again is plain wrong.<<<
    The claim is in principle correct as the “climate” on the moon shows, with a temperature difference between day and night of about 300°C.

    [Response: I think you’ll find there is more than water vapour that is different between the moon’s and the Earth’s climate. – gavin]

    Comment by ArndB — 28 Apr 2010 @ 9:11 AM

  39. What is disturbing and inexplicable to me, as a former isotope geochemist and thus in the same field as Allegre, is that he was one of the top people in that field for a couple of decades. He won (copied from Wikipedia):
    the Crafoord Prize for geology in 1986, along with Gerald J. Wasserburg;
    the Wollaston Medal of the Geological Society of London;
    the Golden Medal of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique

    He is also a member of the French Academy of Sciences, elected on 6 November 1995, and the NAS (foreign associate). This is no ordinary scientist.

    Not only is it inexplicable, it is frightening that someone who exemplified good science can not only reject science when they choose, but scorn and deride honest scientists. We see the same thing with Harrison Schmitt, Dyson, and Lindzen. I have lived through two scientific revolutions in the earth sciences–continental drift/plate tectonics and meteorite impact as a geologic force–and nothing remotely like this went on in those cases.

    Does anyone understand why they do it?

    Comment by Jim — 28 Apr 2010 @ 9:23 AM

  40. “while often costing ridiculous amounts of money to implement.”

    Proof, please.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 28 Apr 2010 @ 9:25 AM

  41. Thanks MalcolmT for the pointer to “Poles Apart” – added to my input queue, looks very interesting.

    There has been a strong response from French scientists to Allegre’s craziness and to the “climate-gate” line of thinking.
    climat 400 scientifiques signent contre Claude Allegre
    (Sorry to omit the proper accents – I really must learn what keystrokes I’m supposed to use for these.) It was initiated by a group of top French climatologists: Valerie Masson-Delmotte (LSCE) – Edouard Bard (College de France / CEREGE) – Francois-Marie Bréon (LSCE) – Christophe Cassou (CERFACS) – Jerome Chappellaz (LGGE) – Georg Hoffmann (LSCE) – Catherine Jeandel (LEGOS) – Jean Jouzel (LSCE) – Bernard Legras (LMD) – Herve Le Treut (IPSL) – Bernard Pouyaud (IRD) – Dominique Raynaud (LGGE) – Philippe Rogel (CERFACS)

    The linked page provides the text of the scientists’ appeal, describes the process of their formulating the letter, and links to a full list of the over 400 signers, as well as to specific complaints about Allegre from Louise Sime, Hakan Grudd, and to five sites carrying debunking of various flaws in Allegre’s book.

    The statement is quite forceful and blunt. In describing the lead-up to issuing the appeal, the page states [as translated by Google, reasonably accurately to my eye, except I fixed “make the round back” to “turn their backs” for “faire le dos rond”]:

    The debate was fierce. Some climatologists, including leaders, wanted to [turn their backs]. Do not “advertise it”. Do not suggest “that we are against debate.” But, finally, the huge anger of hundreds of researchers, revolted by the lies repeated by Claude Allegre, prevailed.

    This is just the kind of response from scientists that is required when this kind of egregious anti-science gains prominence.

    I’ve been collecting a list of similar statements from scientists. Just this winter, there have been strong re-affirmations of mainstream climate science: one from over 1700 UK scientists, one from 848 Canadian scientists (organized by WWF Canada), one from 50 Dutch scientists, and one from over 2000 U.S. scientists and economists (organized by UCS). I’ve got links to each of these as well as numerous earlier statements on this page:

    http://www.eecg.utoronto.ca/~prall/climate/list_sources.html

    Jim Prall
    Toronto, Canada

    Comment by Jim Prall — 28 Apr 2010 @ 9:42 AM

  42. I wonder if perhaps Allègre is neurologically impaired.

    Comment by The Raven — 28 Apr 2010 @ 9:44 AM

  43. “In politics stupidity is not a handicap”.

    Napoleon Bonaparte

    Comment by Steve Missal — 28 Apr 2010 @ 9:46 AM

  44. “The media is not remotely capable of presenting these facts to the general public.”

    Huet is a journalist working for a proeminent French daily.

    Given Huet’s relationship with France’s “Stalinist” Communist Party, I assume their fairly proeminent daily will also present his views to the public.

    Comment by Anonymous Coward — 28 Apr 2010 @ 9:46 AM

  45. I must confess that I am a bit disappointed about the recent choices of discussion subjects here at RealClimate. After a longlasting (2 weeks) thread about CRU inquiries, the new subject is a book from a French non-expert who apparently has problems in spelling all names correctly (well, who is ‘sans-faute’?).
    If this site is really focusing on climate science, then we could perhaps discuss the recent article by S. Allison et al. in Nature Geoscience, which concludes that in response to increasing temperature there is a decrease of CO2 released from soil microbes. So these microbes are not producing a positive feedback to rising global temperatures, as was predicted in the models sofar. It seems to me that in view of the large contribution of soil microbes to total CO2 emission, this finding may have important consequences. Link: http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/ngeo846.html

    Comment by wilt — 28 Apr 2010 @ 9:47 AM

  46. “This is just the kind of response from scientists that is required when this kind of egregious anti-science gains prominence.”

    I forget the source of the quote, but here it is:

    All that is required for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 28 Apr 2010 @ 10:04 AM

  47. Thanks, Georg, for your touch of humour.
    For those who are interested, you can find the French climate scientists call on the following web site : sites.google.com/site/appelclimat/ (in French). It also includes a specific response to many false points in Allegre’s book (pdf document, 63 pages, in French) as well as a list of denigration against climate scientists (including their control on scientific journals distorting the peer review process!). Valerie Masson-Delmotte, LSCE.

    Comment by Valerie Masson-Delmotte — 28 Apr 2010 @ 10:13 AM

  48. 29 Tom S says:
    28 April 2010 at 8:14 AM

    “This article would read better if it didn’t lead with a bunch of information on spelling, this only shows sloppy writing, which is on par with sloppy record keeping on temperature data, I don’t care about either, unless it is material.”

    If it was just a case of nitpicking the odd spelling error that slipped past the editors, spelling might be irrelevent. However, when such errors are chronic and to the point that every, or nearly every proper name of a climate scientist is misspelled (and apparently one even invented), it is relevent because it call the thoroughness and accuracy of the writer into question. Those names were easily checked in any number of ways, from a five-second Google search to Allegre looking at the spelling on the scientists own work in a journal. That he could not be bothered to do so, not once but repeatedly… if he can’t be bothered to even get easily verifiable names right, how can you be sure he bothered to do anything rigorous AT ALL in the rest of the book?

    Comment by Witgren — 28 Apr 2010 @ 10:22 AM

  49. Sorry, the link I gave to the French letter did not come through. Here it is again:

    http://sciences.blogs.liberation.fr/home/2010/04/climat-400-scientifiques-signent-contre-claude-all%25C3%25A8gre.html

    By the way, I wonder if Allegre’s “Dr. Tech” could have been his attempt to spell Simon Tett?

    Also I noticed that the Dutch letter that had 50 original signers now has 193 Dutch and 84 foreign signers.

    – Jim

    Comment by Jim Prall — 28 Apr 2010 @ 10:35 AM

  50. Further to Witgren’s point, wasn’t all that brouhaha about the Himalaya glaciers based on a typo too?

    Is Tom S now saying that that was not a problem after all?

    Isn’t one of the “issues” denialists have with the IPCC reports are a few errors out of thousands of facts?

    But when it’s thousands of errors out of about that many facts, suddenly, it’s not a problem?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 28 Apr 2010 @ 10:38 AM

  51. Allegre may be an idiot. However, no matter how much his arguments are sliced, diced, falsified and demolished, the mere existence of such a book is a victory for the so-called-skeptics because it adds to the exponential growth of BS about climate change. The truth appears to be drowning in oceans of this BS. because any and all information about climate change is treated more or less equally by sensationalist mainstream media, and a general public that knows little about how science is pursued, let alone the technical details of climate change.

    As a professor, I have found that even science students get to the end of their degrees without necessarily understandding how science is done. I still get 4th year science majors who talk about setting out to “prove a hypothesis”. Such folks migth well be a receptive audience to Allegre’s creative graphical manipulations.

    Comment by Andy Park — 28 Apr 2010 @ 10:40 AM

  52. @38: I’m very interested in this question. As a philosopher, I’m all too familiar with the standard range of skeptical maneuvers, which allow anyone to pretend to be paying attention to arguments and evidence without ever actually conceding any point s/he doesn’t want to concede. Normally, though, this kind of behaviour is ironic sport, not part of serious debate; of course for philosophers it’s a starting point for exploring ideas about rationality and evidence.

    The psychological literature on motivated belief shows that reported beliefs do shift when motives for a belief are introduced. But those shifts are relatively small– they don’t provide a credible model for the kind of ‘living in another world’ we’re looking at in the case of AGW denial.

    So I’m inclined to a more sociological model: confidence in our reliability develops as we learn that our own reports and beliefs match those of others we regard as reliable/ authoritative. This accounts for the acquisition of confidence in our everyday observational reports: as we grow up, we learn that we can reliably make reports (about objects’ colours, position etc.) that others agree with. So we come to take agreement as a proxy for reliability. The existence of an established community (including elements in the popular press, multiple web-sites etc.) in which AGW-denial is accepted enables individual deniers to become extremely confident about their views.

    Building a community like this can involve feedback between motivated individuals, artificial inducements (propaganda/ deliberate funding and publicity for the expression of such views regardless of the evidence), and sociological factors (paranoia about scientists’ motives and political views, pre-established doubts in social conservative circles about science related to issues like evolution and environmental issues).

    Individuals like Allegre– people who have shown real competence in the sciences, but nevertheless display gross incompetence and overconfidence on a particular topic (and tend to make wild accusations of dishonesty and incompetence against others)– are an interesting side-bar here. Success (i.e. experiencing agreement from others– especially on initially contested issues) breeds confidence. And some individuals seem more subject than others to the delusion that their competence and authority in one area translates automatically to others (F. Dyson strikes me as an example). Sadly, others are also taken in by this pseudo-authority– so that MDs who doubt evolution, and weather reporters who doubt global warming, are cited as authorities by other members of the denial community… Cherry-picking and selective skepticism are essential to maintaining/defending such a community, and these are reinforced by accusations of dishonesty and bizarre conspiracy claims directed against contrary sources.

    But at this level there’s enough symmetry that it’s difficult to persuade someone that they’re aligned with the wrong community. The real, underlying asymmetry (I think) emerges when you look for indications of independent cross-checks (which are central to justifying confidence in ordinary observations) and depth of argumentation (which side stops responding and begins to merely repeat itself in debate). A very interesting phenomenon– not to mention scary, whenever the issues involved have real importance…

    Sorry for the long post– I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently.

    Comment by Bryson Brown — 28 Apr 2010 @ 11:09 AM

  53. Andy,
    First, Allegre is not an idiot. Actually, he appears to be the sort of scientist I’ve run into previously who relies on intuition almost entirely and can rarely be bothered to do the math. Such scientists can be very effective within their own expertise, and they tend to be so hyperkinetic that they get a lot done. However, in unfamiliar fields they often make ludicrous blunders. Often they simply cannot understand that their intuition has failed them.

    And while I agree that most graduates don’t understand the scientific method (hell, most practicing scientists don’t understand it in all its subtleties), I don’t think the truth is in danger of drowning unless we stop asking nature questions. Allegre and the other denialists are effective because they are telling us what we want to hear–that everything is going to be all right. We’d all love to just get on with our lives and our careers, knowing that our progeny will have a world that is as livable as our own. Nature keeps telling us otherwise. And she will keep telling us otherwise–occasionally raising the volume–until we listen. Now it may be that we listen too late to avoid the worst consequences. If so, it will be because we CHOSE to listen to comforting lies rather than the truth. This is a litmus test of human intelligence and honesty. Unfortunately, it is only sensitive to the mean rather than the upper 10%.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 28 Apr 2010 @ 11:11 AM

  54. Ah, I was wondering where this letter to the Japan Times declaring that Les Academie des Sciences had disputed the “scientific consensus” was coming from – obviously from Claude Allègre, in his role as ‘Les Academie des Sciences’!

    (No need to dispute the letter – I’ve done so <a href="http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/rc20100214a5.html"already)

    Comment by Eamon — 28 Apr 2010 @ 11:13 AM

  55. Gavin: feel free to delete:
    Even “better” reasoning I heard 3 days ago: “GW can’t happen because it isn’t predicted in the Bible.”
    :) :)
    Laughing Out Loud!

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 28 Apr 2010 @ 11:15 AM

  56. Nice post. This is kind of information we’ll need to get on sites like RC + all the other good articles :)

    Now I will be prepared for skeptical claims that “Allegre former one of the most eminent figures in science communication in France, Academie de Sciences member”, has written a “good” book where he shows a “proof” that the science is all fraud. Now I can be on guard for those claim, thanks.

    But it should be some kind a responsibility for those who publish books, not to publish fraud like those (just for the money presumably). Maybe it should be (if it isn’t already) some kind of regulations for what kind of fraud is allowed to publish, at least if it is done as some kind of the sciencelitterature. There’s almost no way of refuting these claims for the readers which has bought the book and haven’t a clue that the claims are build on a fabrication of data and “facts”.

    Comment by Svatli — 28 Apr 2010 @ 11:21 AM

  57. Re: 29 Tom S says:
    “This article would read better if it didn’t lead with a bunch of information on spelling, this only shows sloppy writing, which is on par with sloppy record keeping on temperature data, I don’t care about either, unless it is material.”

    Tom: 1) Please read Wiltgren’s reply carefully in 48.
    2) Think about Allegre’s glib dismissal of factual errors as not important in the context of debate about such an important topic.
    3) Think about how public policy is often driven by general attitudes from bottom up in such debates, and if the masses can be convinced that scientists are liars and fools, then, despite the extraordinarily foolish consequences, those who decide policy will bend to the will of the denialists (the politicians, after all, have to be re-elected…except in some countries)
    4) Current debates about climate change have been hijacked by skillful propagandists, and apparently Allegre has joined their ranks, albeit the reason for this is opaque. I would not even hazard a guess; his motives, as stated…’political’, fly in the face of his background and scientific pedigree. Strange, yet even such people can be co-opted….

    [edit – such comparisons are not useful, even if you state your point clearly. Sorry]

    This is so crucial to understand and act upon that it bears lengthy reflection. Yes, I too would love more scientific posts (re: Wilt’s comment), yet the times demand that those who love knowledge must also put on the boxing gloves and engage.
    Hopefully, some day, we will see integrity resume its proper place in solving the pressing and potentially life-threatening issue of climate change and all that that entails. Right now, we must call out those who wish to leave the world of integrity in the shadows. Uncomfortable, but necessary.

    Comment by Steve Missal — 28 Apr 2010 @ 11:26 AM

  58. Wilt:

    “If this site is really focusing on climate science, then we could perhaps discuss the recent article by S. Allison et al. in Nature Geoscience, which concludes that in response to increasing temperature there is a decrease of CO2 released from soil microbes”

    http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/ngeo846.html

    From the abstract:

    “We conclude that the soil-carbon response to climate warming depends on the efficiency of soil microbes in using carbon.”

    You are not even trying.

    Comment by Rocco — 28 Apr 2010 @ 11:36 AM

  59. Are you sure Allènde isn’t joking? How much was Alegra paid by the fossil fuel industry? Clide Allègre may be cashing in to secure his old age.

    World News Now [ABC night] is also ramping up the anti-nuclear propaganda. Which means the coal industry is scared. Which means RC is having a devastating effect. Let’s keep up the good work! Launch another article or comment!

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 28 Apr 2010 @ 11:47 AM

  60. One amusing point – Robert Murdoch Family Trust and the Saudi Royals (the primary owners of FOX News and the Wall Street Journal) are doing extensive PR work to promote Allegre and his cohort. The Saudis also were working overtime to undermine the Copenhagen conference – their typical role at such events. Why? They don’t want their biggest addict, the United States, to stop importing their sour crude – that’s simple enough.

    I took a look at Claude J. Allegre’s previous work… He also claims that Kilimanjaro’s loss of ice is unrelated to the atmospheric increases in persistent gases like CO2, CH4, N2O, CFCs, (and the associated water vapor feedback increase), as modified by aerosol injections.

    Compare that to the most recent paper by Thompson et al. on Kilimanjaro (2009 PNAS) The basic issue is this:

    The areal extent of Kilimanjaro’s ice cover has decreased 85% from 12.06 km2 in 1912 to 1.85 km2 in 2007. Linear extrapolation of ice extent to the time axis [1912 to 2007, R2=0.98; Fig. 2 Inset] suggests that the glaciers will disappear from the summit of Kibo in 2022.

    The cause? Here’s one widely circulated press report from 2007:

    (Reuters) – The snows of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania have been diminishing for more than a century but probably not due to global warming, researchers report [in the 2007 July-August edition of American Scientist magazine]…”It is certainly possible that the icecap has come and gone many times over hundreds of thousands of years,” Mote, a climatologist, said in a statement.

    The rebuttal from Thompson et al. 2009:

    For example, Kilimanjaro’s NIF[nothern ice field] has persisted for at least 11,700 years, and

    Comment by Ike Solem — 28 Apr 2010 @ 11:48 AM

  61. Here are direct links to pdfs (in French) debunking Allègre and Courtillot .

    I wonder what the French for “whack-a-mole” is? Frapper-la-taupe probably makes no sense at all.

    Comment by Andy S — 28 Apr 2010 @ 11:52 AM

  62. When compared to the lessened solation/volcanic debris in the Stratosphere induced ‘Little Ice Age’ I have NO DOUBT that the Climate, in 1000 CE, was considerably warmer than it was in the Middle Ages!
    And then there is, of course, the fact that – were it NOT for Anthro-forcing – we’d be slowly slipping onto a ‘New Ice Age’ at this point in time; as that could also account for this ‘annomily’.
    And I – a mere ‘lay-polymath’ – took this crap down that far after reading just the FIRST half this (once again) Fine Item!
    Reminds me of something I once had on a Poster when I was a Teenager – “Great Spirits will always encounter Violent Opposition from MEDIOCRE Minds!”
    Who said THAT? A man who PUBLISHED before he got a Doctorate! (My DREAM).

    Comment by James Staples — 28 Apr 2010 @ 11:55 AM

  63. Poor detective work on “Professor Tech”. I have located the real guy:

    http://www.myspace.com/slick_fitty

    Note mood: “Distressed”. Well, no wonder.

    Comment by ChrisD — 28 Apr 2010 @ 11:59 AM

  64. Oh boy. I’d figured the French class I took in high school would eventually enable me to escape the insanity of the anglophile world. I guess that’s not the case.

    Comment by Elias — 28 Apr 2010 @ 12:04 PM

  65. Regarding “Professor Tech”, it will be interesting and quite amusing to see which of the American news media (e.g. Fox) and anti-science op-ed writers/politicians (e.g. George Will, Sarah Palin, etc.) , refer to or quote “Professor Tech”!

    Comment by Dan — 28 Apr 2010 @ 12:25 PM

  66. Thanks for the edit. You’re correct. Perhaps in some other forum.

    Ultimately, what confounds me is why there is currently such an vociferous attack on science. Reading the denialist case is like encountering a man who’s leg is on fire, and when you point this dire situation out to him, refuses to acknowledge same, and counter-accuses you of verbal mischief!

    Comment by Steve Missal — 28 Apr 2010 @ 12:28 PM

  67. Ray, not a scientific quibble, to be sure, but when you say “Allegre and the other denialists are effective because they are telling us what we want to hear – that everything is going to be all right,” I would disagree. It has not been my experience that people only want to hear that everything is going to be all right. The world would be a pretty dull place if it were not also inhabited by its doomsayers, people who spend their lives, rightly or wrongly, wringing their hands about any number of Armageddons. As you always remind us, it’s only the science. That science can by misconstrued by Pollyannas and Chicken Littles alike and is unaffected by either.

    Comment by Walter Manny — 28 Apr 2010 @ 12:34 PM

  68. “And then there is, of course, the fact that – were it NOT for Anthro-forcing – we’d be slowly slipping onto a ‘New Ice Age’ at this point in time;”

    As long as “at this point in time” means “within the next 10,000 years”.

    Just a bummer that avoiding that will flood 80% of people’s homes and most of the largest cities in the world.

    Still, as long as you get your shares, Andy.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 28 Apr 2010 @ 12:52 PM

  69. James.

    Oops

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 28 Apr 2010 @ 12:54 PM

  70. Ike Solem (#60) and others may be interested in a Nature article (2009) on the Kilimanjaro icecap and the role of natural variability in precipitation. The authors observed that the monsoon rainfall varied at 11,500 year intervals. During the very dry period around 12,000 years ago, Kilimanjaro was ice-free. At the start of the Holocene there was locally an extreme amount of precipitation and an icecap was formed. So, natural variability determined by solar insolation and precipitation patterns significantly effects the amount of ice on the Kilimanjaro. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v462/n7273/abs/nature08520.html

    Comment by wilt — 28 Apr 2010 @ 12:58 PM

  71. @Jim #39: Does anyone understand why they do it?

    Politics.

    In my opinion, there is common trend among many in the ‘tear down climate science’ camp which arises from their fear of the economic and political consequences of the political reactions that could follow from a wide spread acceptance that AGW is real and could have significant costs to future generation. Because they fear the politics, they fight the science. In short, their political ideologies override their scientific integrity.

    OTOH, you will notice that there are many among the more scientifically literate in the anti-AGW camp that are often satisfied to raise doubt about AGW without actual claiming that it false – since doubt itself is often sufficient to slow political action.

    Obviously Allègre isn’t one of the more nuanced.

    Now let me say a word in their defense:

    Politics is often used as a dirty word; I don’t use it here in that sense. Those that are motivated to attack the science because of politics often do so because they fear the cure worse than the disease. They fear that carbon taxes or carbon trading will hurt the economy worse than the actual damage caused by AGW. I think that this is a debatable point. I would welcome a situation where the actual discussion revolved around “How much damage will be done by AGW?” and “How much will mitigation cost?” and “How much will prevention cost?”. But I believe that too many believe that they are better served by denying everything (AGW is a hoax! You can’t trust any climate science!), then by allowing AGW and moving on to the discussion of costs and mitigation.

    Comment by Ron Broberg — 28 Apr 2010 @ 12:59 PM

  72. Oops, that got cut off:

    The rebuttal from Thompson et al. 2009:

    For example, Kilimanjaro’s NIF (northern ice field) has persisted for at least 11,700 years, and

    Comment by Ike Solem — 28 Apr 2010 @ 1:06 PM

  73. Here is some more debunking in Le Monde :

    http://tinyurl.com/yhdo2xz

    really incredible…

    Comment by Armando — 28 Apr 2010 @ 1:12 PM

  74. So much for the myth that bad (climate) science is limited to a few American denialists that either work for the fossil fuel industry or (American) conservatives that are philosophically opposed to regulation.

    It would appear that there is at least one other motivation for spouting bad science. Money in French science circles? French conservatives opposed to regulation?

    I think he is a willful senior with enough of a reputation to get stuff published without editing. The fact that it is a good seller confirms the publisher’s decision to publish without editing. Good sales means that C. A. can get more stuff published regardless of what we say here. In fact, the factual book on AGW that we would like, might not bring in as much revenue. In short, C. A. is crazy like an old fox, and getting paid for it.

    Comment by Aaron Lewis — 28 Apr 2010 @ 1:16 PM

  75. Response to Rocco (#58), here are some more relevant lines from the abstract: “Here we explore these mechanisms using a microbial-enzyme model to simulate the responses of soil carbon to warming by 5 °C. We find that declines in microbial biomass and degradative enzymes can explain the observed attenuation of soil-carbon emissions in response to warming. Specifically, reduced carbon-use efficiency limits the biomass of microbial decomposers and mitigates the loss of soil carbon.”
    I provide the link here again so that you (and others interested) can read the WHOLE abstract: http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/ngeo846.html

    From the abstract:

    Comment by wilt — 28 Apr 2010 @ 1:20 PM

  76. @38:

    The claim [that water vapour alone influences temperature] is in principle correct as the “climate” on the moon shows, with a temperature difference between day and night of about 300°C.

    Well that just completely wrecked my basic understanding of temperature influences on other planets. Now I need to find a book on planetary/solar system science which explains how this is so. Wish me luck.

    [Response: Well,you could try Principles of Planetary Climate, available in December from Cambridge University Press. In Chapter 3 there, I explain that atmospheres have many effects besides the greenhouse effect — something that was well understood by people studying the temperature of the Moon a hundred years ago. One of those effects is to transport heat and even out geographic and diural variations. The “high temperature” misleadingly quoted for the Moon by #36 is just at the subsolar point (the actual number there is more like 100C). The night side falls to something like -100C, and the average temperature a half meter below the surface would be more like 255K — just what the Earth would have without the atmosphere. It’s all physics, and it’s all understood. Commenter #36 is a shameless obfuscator. –raypierre]

    Comment by Mike of Oz — 28 Apr 2010 @ 1:59 PM

  77. 46. Completely Fed Up says:
    28 April 2010 at 10:04 AM

    I forget the source of the quote, but here it is:
    All that is required for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

    That would be Edmund Burke speaking — ironically enough, I suppose — on the French Revolution. The quote itself has never been properly cited, so it is possible the attribution is in essence an urban legend.

    Comment by Gary Herstein — 28 Apr 2010 @ 2:11 PM

  78. 37, Shaka: The issue of “what to do” about AGW is related to climate modeling (as you have to use models to predict what a certain change would do), but really, most of the proposed solutions to global warming are just terrible, inefficient, or contradictory. 30% of all our CO2 is produced by cars, 40% by the power industry, 10% by concrete plants, and 20% by all other categories. Any solution that, say, reduces CO2 emissions in the “other” category by 10% while ignoring the other sectors will have a very minor impact on CO2 emissions (-2%), while often costing ridiculous amounts of money to implement.

    I think that you might be behind on technology development. Solar, wind and biofuels are becoming more productive and cheaper while oil and coal are becoming more expensive and are finite. We may already be at the peak productive capacity for oil, because worldwide production has been nearly constant over the last 5 years despite a great increase in price; coal is becoming more expensive because of increased demand from China and because of increased demand that the noxious by-products be cleaned from the exhaust gas. What you call “ridiculous amounts of money to implement” may right now still favor fossil fuels (or may not), but changes in the ridiculous amounts of money are moving in the direction of favoring renewables.

    New technologies are frequently presented at web pages called Energy-Daily and Brave New Climate:

    http://www.energy-daily.com/

    http://bravenewclimate.com/

    Limits on oil are presented at The Oil Drum:

    http://www.theoildrum.com/

    I share your disdain for the Kyoto Treaty and I disdained the Copenhagen Summit, but limits to fossil fuels and the availability of alternatives are worthy of consideration.

    There is a lot in common between preventing AGW and building the next generations of energy economies.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 28 Apr 2010 @ 2:43 PM

  79. re: #39, #52, #59, #79 on motivations
    I have no idea what motivates Allegre, and I always counsel people to avoid the “paid by Exxon” oversimplification, which as best as I can tell, is true only for a relative handful of people.

    But if people want to think about motivations, please take a look at CCC @ DeSmogBlog, specifically Figures 2.6 and 2.5, which catalog the various reasons I’ve seen for climate science, and do a cross-product of them with organizations and individuals. There are nearly 30 more-or-less distinct reasons in 5 categories, although some occur together often.

    Think of these reasons as atoms, and a molecule is a combination of them. However, here sometimes to be isomers as well, where the molecular composition is the same, but the order is different. Different people may acquire the same set of reasons, but in different order. Certainly, some combinations seem to occur frequently, but he certainly does not seem part of the USA-dominated (well, K-street-dominated :-)) think tank machinery.

    Somebody more familiar than I with Allegre might peruse this list and suggest plausible combinations.

    Comment by John Mashey — 28 Apr 2010 @ 3:05 PM

  80. “So much for the myth that bad (climate) science is limited to a few American denialists that either work for the fossil fuel industry or (American) conservatives that are philosophically opposed to regulation.”

    Keep you Aaaron, kid.

    Practice martyrdom much?

    PS have a check over here:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/04/claude-allegre-the-climate-imposter/comment-page-2/#comment-172661

    “The Saudis also were working overtime to undermine the Copenhagen conference – their typical role at such events”

    Hey, look everyone! It’s not the US so therefore stop saying denialism is wrong!!!

    Your complaint is rather like any complaint when the EU biffs a US corporation for breaking the law:

    “The EU is just trying to take money from a US corporation”

    (forgetting that the EU ding EU companies far more and that these “US” corporations incorporate in the Maldives to avoid US taxes, so are hardly US corporations).

    Drop the victim act, and deal with the issues.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 28 Apr 2010 @ 3:10 PM

  81. “Those that are motivated to attack the science because of politics often do so because they fear the cure worse than the disease.”

    Fear is the mind killer.
    Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.
    I will face my fear.
    I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
    And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
    Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
    Only I will remain.

    Alternatively, and somewhat appropriately: fear is the path to the dark side.

    Have any significant portion of these fearful looked to see if their fears are justified? Look at the “Obama Death Panels” and the “Get Government Out Of My Medicare” scares that the teabaggers were TERRIFIED was in the healthcare bill.

    Did any of them see whether their fear was justified?

    No.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 28 Apr 2010 @ 3:16 PM

  82. “I would welcome a situation where the actual discussion revolved around “How much damage will be done by AGW?” and “How much will mitigation cost?” and “How much will prevention cost?”

    That situation passed us by years ago:

    http://www.occ.gov.uk/activities/stern.htm

    Oct 2006.

    Did they move?

    Hell no. See here:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/04/second-cru-inquiry-reports/comment-page-25/#comment-172690

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 28 Apr 2010 @ 3:19 PM

  83. “The claim [that water vapour alone influences temperature] is in principle correct”

    Well, since there’s no water vapour but there’s also no CO2, how does the moon prove that water vapour alone influences temperature?

    After all, there’s no CO2 and the day/night temperature difference is about 270K, therefore CO2 must be the only influence.

    Right?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 28 Apr 2010 @ 3:21 PM

  84. Just wonderful! A truly timely subject matter in this post! Thanks!

    Comment by Jacob Mack — 28 Apr 2010 @ 3:26 PM

  85. Sou @ 1: “He seems to have reached new depths compared to others who’ve ruined any reputation they had (like the much more modest unachiever, Plimer).”

    Emeritus syndrome again?

    Comment by Adam R. — 28 Apr 2010 @ 3:37 PM

  86. Only one -political- positive view of looking at this thing: by hitting them in the ***** it will increase communication by real scientist about the real state of science, thus (probably, in the long run) increasing public awareness. So maybe he is a good politician after all? ;)

    Comment by Al — 28 Apr 2010 @ 3:48 PM

  87. I think Georg Hoffmann should have told the readers that Allègre’s book is in fact an interview by journalist Dominique de Montvalon. So it is quite different from a scientific publication. The figures are hand-drawn by design, and really you should not expect great accuracy here. I read the book some weeks ago (it reads well), but was also often annoyed by the misspellings and the some how naive questions of the journalist.
    Allègre speaks like he looks: without diplomacy, right from the heart.As such every single sentence should not be weighed as a scientific finding. Vincent Courtillot (another well known French climate realist) is much more soft-spoken, and his last book is more on volcanoes than on climate. This did not hinder more than 600 (yes the number is well up) of French “climatologists” (I didn’t know there were so many)to ask their minister of research (V. Prégresse) for censorship. This is in my opinion a step too far. Ok for criticizing Allègre (and Courtillot), even for pouring ridicule on them, but asking for censorship is not a sign neither of healthy self-confidence nor of good democratic manners.

    [Response: I love the way that any criticism of obvious nonsense is suddenly a plea for censorship – would you rather the other climate scientists on the letter censor themselves? Neither the fact that Allegre ‘speaks from the heart’ nor ‘good democratic manners’ excuse the appalling contempt for the truth in evidence in this book. How can you defend this? – gavin]

    Comment by Francis Massen — 28 Apr 2010 @ 4:18 PM

  88. Re: 53 Ray Ladbury

    Thanks for an explanation of what might motivate a scientist to be so wrong. “Unable to comprehend that their intuition has failed”, it really makes sense.

    In reading rebukes to climate sceptics, what most interests me is the motive. The way they are wrong is usually simple, and boring. The interesting part is figuring out what makes them tick.

    Comment by Aleks T — 28 Apr 2010 @ 4:21 PM

  89. I rarely respond to CFU but …

    “So much for the myth that bad (climate) science is limited to a few American denialists that either work for the fossil fuel industry or (American) conservatives that are philosophically opposed to regulation.”

    “The Saudis also were working overtime to undermine the Copenhagen conference – their typical role at such events”

    Hey, look everyone! It’s not the US so therefore stop saying denialism is wrong!!!

    Your complaint is rather like any complaint when the EU biffs a US corporation for breaking the law:

    “The EU is just trying to take money from a US corporation”

    I do believe that if you were to read for comprehension you’d understand the first poster wasn’t making either point you claim.

    I happen to share the poster’s sentiment – I wish rabid denialism *were* restricted to a few rabid anti-science american ultra-conservatives. If it were true, we’d only have one opponent in one country to fight.

    But it’s not. Allegre apparently is a fixture on french talk radio (is french talk radio as bad as our talk radio? tell me it’s not so, please!). Oz is chock-full of whack-a-doodle science deniers. England had not-Lord Monckton.

    Go ahead and misrepresent my post, too, wihle ripping me a new one…

    Comment by dhogaza — 28 Apr 2010 @ 4:37 PM

  90. Edward Greisch (55) — “God gave Noah the rainbow sign; no more water but the fire next time”.

    Completely Fed Up — No chance of a stade (massive ice sheets) for at least 20,000 years. (IPCC AR4 states 30,000 years.)

    Comment by David B. Benson — 28 Apr 2010 @ 4:39 PM

  91. Walter Manny@67, Doomsayer is not a word I would use to describe any scientist that I know. Many climate scientists today spend their days trying to find ways of circumventing catastrophe. The only way doing science makes any sense whatsoever is if you assume that human civilization continues for a good long time. Otherwise why dedicate a decade to learn a field and then work long hours the rest of your life to understand your field of study.

    Yes, they are doomsayers. No, that doesn’t explain why scientists are convinced we face a serious threat. I would urge you, Walter, to put aside the cozy categorizations you have placed us in and look anew at the evidence.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 28 Apr 2010 @ 5:01 PM

  92. I just finished the book ” L’imposteur, c’est lui – Réponse à Claude Allègre ” ( He is the faker – Response to C.A. ). Very good book , well documented, taking each assertion of the former French minister and scientifically demonstrating the intentional distortion or misleading introduced. I wish an English translation is available soon. My fear is that this book will not sell as well as Allègre’s.. Too bad..

    Comment by Thierry — 28 Apr 2010 @ 5:31 PM

  93. Just forgot to mention the author of ” L’imposteur, c’est lui – Réponse à Claude Allègre ” : Sylvestre Huet , journalist covering scientific topics at the LIBERATION Frencg paper.

    Comment by Thierry — 28 Apr 2010 @ 5:37 PM

  94. WILT: “Here we explore these mechanisms using a microbial-enzyme model to simulate the responses of soil carbon to warming by 5°C.”

    Have you read the entire paper? Does it say what happens at other temperatures(?) because if the microbes taper off at 5C, we’re already screwed. Does it give robust examples of how all microbes react to those temperatures? Can you show the models that this study would effect with any negative feedback effects as Watts so proudly pronounces in his lead on his “science” blog?

    Comment by Grypo — 28 Apr 2010 @ 6:23 PM

  95. I must admit that as sick and sad as it is, I did get more than a few laughs out of reading this article.


    A Climate Minute The Greenhouse EffectHistory of Climate ScienceArctic Ice Melt


    Our best chance for a better future ‘Fee & Dividend’
    Understand the delay and costs of Cap and Trade
    http://www.climatelobby.com/fee-and-dividend/
    Sign the Petition!
    http://www.climatelobby.com

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 Apr 2010 @ 6:30 PM

  96. #39 Jim

    There must be mitigating factors. Maybe too many divorces and he needed cash? Gambling debts. Looking to buy a new house? Wants’ to travel more? Has converted to a new religion called Megalomaniaism that worships the self?

    It is much easier to make money selling books that say AGW is not happening due to the zealous nature of the rather vehement crowd that by all evidence posted and printed or otherwise promulgated reveals a religious adoration for any opinion that opposes the reality of this global warming event.

    Heck, I’d bet that if I wanted to make some cash, I could write a book right now that says AGW is all bunk, and probably make some decent bank.


    A Climate Minute The Greenhouse EffectHistory of Climate ScienceArctic Ice Melt


    Our best chance for a better future ‘Fee & Dividend’
    Understand the delay and costs of Cap and Trade
    http://www.climatelobby.com/fee-and-dividend/
    Sign the Petition!
    http://www.climatelobby.com

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 Apr 2010 @ 6:31 PM

  97. #45 wilt
    #70 wilt

    Context will get you relevance.


    A Climate Minute The Greenhouse EffectHistory of Climate ScienceArctic Ice Melt


    Our best chance for a better future ‘Fee & Dividend’
    Understand the delay and costs of Cap and Trade
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    Sign the Petition!
    http://www.climatelobby.com

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 Apr 2010 @ 6:34 PM

  98. #76 Mike of Oz

    I’ll get right to work on writing a book relying solely on my opinions to satisfy your need. Can you tell me what you would like the conclusion to be?


    A Climate Minute The Greenhouse EffectHistory of Climate ScienceArctic Ice Melt


    Our best chance for a better future ‘Fee & Dividend’
    Understand the delay and costs of Cap and Trade
    http://www.climatelobby.com/fee-and-dividend/
    Sign the Petition!
    http://www.climatelobby.com

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 Apr 2010 @ 6:39 PM

  99. #76 Mike of Oz

    . . . and how much you are willing to pay for the conclusion?

    :)


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 Apr 2010 @ 6:41 PM

  100. Sadly, I was a post-doc with Claude Allegre while he still was sane and eminent scientist. Now I think he is doing anything to get attention. In a way I´m glad now that while I was there the mass-spectrometer I was supposed to use was broken down and in the end I got no publication (which would have included his name) out o my stay in his labf. Now I´m glad!

    Comment by Kristín Vala Ragnarsdóttir — 28 Apr 2010 @ 7:46 PM

  101. wilt (75):

    Yeah, that’s what had me wondering – why would somebody misrepresent a paper, and then link to it? But anyway, now that it’s got corrected, there is no reason to continue on this (off)topic.

    Comment by Rocco — 28 Apr 2010 @ 8:28 PM

  102. #88–

    Don’t forget Canada. My “home and native land”–home, too, of M & M, Tim Ball & the “Friends of Science,” among others.

    :-(

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 28 Apr 2010 @ 9:26 PM

  103. It’s a pity to see such a senior and experienced scientist loses scientific mind. Unfortunately, Allegre is not the only case.

    I guess the major motivation is to recover applause by preaching masses rather than by showing new scientific discoveries.

    “Politics” often sounds dirty, but is still needed when some measures against AGW are negotiated and implemented. RC is for me an OASIS where scientific mind is kept.

    Comment by MR SH — 28 Apr 2010 @ 9:48 PM

  104. Hmmm… let’s try this again – there was some strange formatting in there…

    Thompson et al. on Kilimanjaro

    “For example, Kilimanjaro’s NIF has persisted for at least 11,700 years, and 4,200 years ago a widespread drought lasting 300 years was insufficient to remove the NIF, where the drought is recorded by a 30-mm-thick dust layer. Finally, the upper 65 cm of the NIF core 3 contains clear evidence of surface melting that does not appear elsewhere in the 49-m core containing the 11,700 year history. Hence, the climatological conditions currently driving the loss of Kilimanjaro’s ice fields are clearly unique within an 11,700-year perspective.”

    So – @wilt – the claim that recent “natural variability” led to the loss of Kilimanjaro’s ice is pretty unsubstantiated, despite the 2006 claims of Cullen et al. & the more recent ones of CJ Allegre. Also, that data is from a single site – so extrapolating it to the entire region is quite a stretch. The recent tree ring work from the region (327 sites) is of much greater interest, I’d say: http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100422/full/news.2010.196.html

    In other news, Energy Secretary Chu appeared before the House Appropriations Committee’s energy and water subcommittee on energy policy – he was stumping for coal carbon capture:

    Barriers to CCS deployment must be addressed. While CCS technology available today is costly, the technical potential for CCS is considerable. As America’s Energy Future states: “Coal-fired plants with carbon capture (CCS) could provide as much as 1200 TWh of electricity per year by 2035 through repowering and retrofits of existing plants and as much as 1800 TWh per year by 2035 through new plant construction. In combination, the entire existing coal power fleet could be replaced by CCS coal power by 2035.

    No such program exists for solar development, and Secretary Chu barely mentioned solar – although he also championed nuclear plant financing:

    In FY 2011, the Department is requesting an additional $36 billion in lo-an guarantee authority for nuclear power. With this authority and the $18.5 billion in existing authority, DOE estimates we could support 6 to 9 new reactors in the next few years.

    No such guarantees have gone through for similar scale wind or solar projects, however – and backing coal and nuclear while ignoring wind and solar is not the right direction to take, and will in fact be both ecologically and economically disastrous in the long run.

    @CFU, if you would bother to read “The Carbon War” by Jeremy Leggett you’d understand my comments about the role that Saudis have played at global climate conferences, time and time again. They were of course working with groups like the Global Climate Coalition, the Western Fuels Association, and so on – but as a government rather than an NGO, they could pull certain stunts the NGOs couldn’t. Note also that hissing at and misrepresenting people’s comments isn’t really helping your cause, whatever that may be.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 28 Apr 2010 @ 10:05 PM

  105. Wilt, assuming the study holds up, which GCMs already assume strong positive feedback from soil carbon? If the papers you cite actually change the bigger picture, with regard to the global cryosphere or the mainstream climate projections, I’m sure RC will have some separate analysis from their previous material on carbon and Kili.

    Comment by Ryan T — 28 Apr 2010 @ 10:29 PM

  106. in 89
    David B. Benson says:
    Completely Fed Up — No chance of a stade (massive ice sheets) for at least 20,000 years. (IPCC AR4 states 30,000 years.)

    Bill Ruddiman (Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum: How Humans Took Control of Climate) made a compelling case that humanity avoided a glacial by inventing agriculture and adding C02 and methane to the atmosphere. Another way of stating this is that humanity cut the link between the glacial-interglacial cycle and the Milankovitch cycle.
    If this is true and, further, that there is no longer a link, then why would we expect a future connection between the Milankovitch cycle and the return of the ice?
    Perhaps instead of being so sure that this won’t happen any time soon we should be looking closer at the end of the Eemian…

    Comment by Ken Pite — 28 Apr 2010 @ 10:40 PM

  107. It is interesting to note that both Claude Allègre and Vincent Courtillot, while being climate skeptics, promote CO2 sequestration. I think the reason for this contradiction is that CO2 sequestration is a hot topic in the earth sciences and that they both have leading positions in the earth sciences. My theory is that whether they are in favour or not of the process, their position requires them to support the process.

    As mentionned in @36 by Ike Solem, CO2 sequestration is far from being established as a reliable method of storing CO2. Several questions and problems still remain in modelling for example the diffusion and dispersion of the liquid CO2 into the brine since this process occurs over a few meters at the front between the liquids during injection while the reservoirs can be hundreds of kilometers in size which requires parameterizations of the diffusion process within the large blocks used in the numerical analysis. The heterogeneity of the reservoir can lead to uneven displacement of the liquid CO2 due to fingering, the liquid CO2 can migrate over long periods of time. The permeability of the aquifer which controls the rate at which the CO2 can be injected is difficult to measure on a large scale without drilling several observation wells. Modelling the migration of the liquid CO2 by gravity over a thousand years is a challenge. The aquifer can fracture if the pressure is too high. The integrity of the cement used to prevent gases and liquids from migrating between the formation and the well casing can deteriorate with time leading to CO2 leakage.

    Even if the process was successful, the power generating capacity of a coal power plant would have to be 20% to 30% greater simply to capture the CO2 and inject it downhole. In a world where we have almost exhausted 50% of the conventional (light oil) I think CO2 sequestration is a waste of money (but remains a fascinating problem for researchers). By focusing on the HYPOTHETICAL problem of global warming instead of the REAL problem of diminishing ECONOMICAL energy we are reducing our efforts in finding ECONOMICAL renewable energies for the future which is the real challenge.

    Comment by RaymondT — 28 Apr 2010 @ 11:54 PM

  108. Okay, I’m late to the party and preaching to the choir, but so what?

    Forget the pedigree, the fact he’s French (which in the USA is a credibility multiplier, as we admire Europeans as much as we revile them), forget the outrageous statements and weak tea refuting of the science.

    At this point Europe is on an energy track that isn’t going to change. France isn’t suddenly going to dismantle nuclear plants in favor of coal fired ones, as an example.

    In the USA, the same is true. The push and pull of political discourse in regards to energy and CO2 has its own dynamic and really isn’t going to be pushed or pulled by a book.

    Heck, Jones, Hansen, etc., could go to the floor of the UN in front of the general counsel and announce they made it all up on a bet to see if the world’s leaders would bite on it (with Linden paying the five dollars) and the debate and policy train would go on as if they hadn’t said a word.

    No, I’m not saying any such thing happened! I believe they have worked in good faith and due dilligence, and have met the confidence level on Global Warming research to warrant action.

    Those that refuse to believe we’re a forcing agent in climate will continue to refuse to believe.

    Those who believe we are will continue to believe.

    Those that are unsure will remain unsure, uncaring, or look one deeper at the science (in equal measure).

    Tempest in a teapot, very keen and interesting to scientists but ho-hum to the rest of us, particularly in the USA.

    Comment by Frank Giger — 29 Apr 2010 @ 12:17 AM

  109. @ John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation)

    I’m speaking somewhat out of turn, not being a moderator or more than a semi-regular here, but your 8 line signature with bolded headers is distracting and annoying, especially when stacked back-to-back in multiple posts, especially when used in replies that are shorter than you sig.

    Do you think you could limit your advertisement to once per thread and not put the whole signature on every comment? I know that it would make your comments easier to read for me.

    Thank you for considering this request.

    Comment by Ron Broberg — 29 Apr 2010 @ 12:22 AM

  110. 103 Ike Solem: “backing coal and nuclear while ignoring wind and solar is not the right direction to take, and will in fact be both ecologically and economically disastrous in the long run” is false.
    “backing coal while ignoring wind, nuclear and solar is not the right direction to take, and will in fact be both ecologically and economically disastrous in the long run” is true.
    You have fallen for coal company propaganda about nuclear.

    What exactly do you fear about nuclear power?

    Read: “Power to Save the World; The Truth About Nuclear Energy” by Gwyneth Cravens, 2007 Finally a truthful book about nuclear power. This book is very easy to read and understand.
    Read: “ENVIRONMENTALISTS FOR NUCLEAR ENERGY”
    book: http://www.comby.org/livres/livresen.htm
    See: http://clearnuclear.blogspot.com
    We have 30,000 years worth of nuclear fuel if we breed, recycle, and extract from seawater.
    Coal contains Uranium, Arsenic, Thorium, …… See:
    http://www.ornl.gov/ORNLReview/rev26-34/text/coalmain.html

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 29 Apr 2010 @ 1:18 AM

  111. Ryan T (#104) asked: “Wilt, assuming the study holds up, which GCMs already assume strong positive feedback from soil carbon?” and a similar question came from Grypo (#93).
    The authors of the Nature Geoscience article write in the first sentence of their abstract:
    “Most ecosystem models predict that climate warming will stimulate microbial decomposition of soil carbon, producing a positive feedback to rising global temperatures.”
    The main conclusion from their article is then summarized as follows:
    “Here we explore these mechanisms using a microbial-enzyme model to simulate the responses of soil carbon to warming by 5 ° C. We find that declines in microbial biomass and degradative enzymes can explain the observed attenuation of soil-carbon emissions in response to warming. Specifically, reduced carbon-use efficiency limits the biomass of microbial decomposers and mitigates the loss of soil carbon.” http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/ngeo846.html

    Comment by wilt — 29 Apr 2010 @ 1:21 AM

  112. re: #105 See Chapter 12 “Orbits, CO2 and the Next Ice Age” in the excellent general-audience book by David Archer, “The Long Thaw – How Humans Are Changing the Next 100,000 Years of Earth’s Climate.” (2009).

    More CO2 doesn’t break the Milankovitch cycle at all, but it does shift the trigger point at which the ice starts advancing again.

    “If mankind ultimately burns 2000 GTon C (this is about the business-as-usual forecast for the coming century), then it looks as though climate will avoid glaciation in 50 millennia as well, waiting until the next period of cool summers 130 millennia from now.”

    You really want to see the charts and whole chapter.

    But it’s really like sea level rise. Regardless of the sea level, tides will still happen, but the sea level helps determine whether a given place gets wet at high tide or not.

    In any case, I think (Gavin?) had pointed out some while ago, that likely generate enough SF6 to fend off another ice age, given it is a much stronger GHG, i.e., 32K X larger than CO2 over 500-year period, with a much longer lifetime. Now, if there were only a geoengineering approach that worked as well going the other way.

    Comment by John Mashey — 29 Apr 2010 @ 1:36 AM

  113. Allegre’s book is a shame for every scientist , beginning with himself. But it is also a problem for the whole community, because Allegre is a recognized scientist, has directed one of the most prestigious institute of geophysics in the world, and has been awarded by prestigious prizes and medals. So in a sense, this questions the whole process of scientific evaluation. Although he hasn’t really published on climate, he published a large number of refereed papers in his discipline. So how can you explain to the public that either he was very serious in his job but gave up all scientific honesty when leaving it, or that the scientific community gave so much recognizing to such an unreliable guy ? The readers of his book are not scientists : they don’t care about references to papers they will never access, they don’t know what “anomaly” really means, they just see that it is written by a high level, internationally awarded scientist. And he contradicts people who claim that their work is validated by international recognition. That is a problem, by any side you take it.

    And it reveals a fundamental problem in climate science. The problem is that this science is NOT characterized by a very high level of accuracy of the theories, a very high level of the quality of data (including agreement between independent measurements), or a very high level of agreement between models and observations – all normal standards in science. I don’t mean that it is very bad on these criteria (although some claim it) i’m saying that nobody can seriously claim that it is “very good” – it is as best acceptable.The only “very high” levels in this science are a very high level of political and ideological contributions to the debate, a very high level of personal attacks, a very high level of intrusion of non-scientists or non specia_lists in the discussion, including blogs. This is not a good point for a science – and Allegre’s book is a good illustration to what can happen in this case.

    Comment by Gilles — 29 Apr 2010 @ 2:27 AM

  114. Sequestering CO2: Please warn me where they are going to do this CO2 sequestering so that I can make sure that I and my relatives don’t live near there. They will give up the sequestering idea as soon as they kill a million people with a CO2 leak. The only right thing to do with coal is to leave it in the ground as it is.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 29 Apr 2010 @ 2:30 AM

  115. “Sadly, I was a post-doc with Claude Allegre while he still was sane and eminent scientist. Now I think he is doing anything to get attention.”

    Maybe Claude is doing a David Bellamy.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 29 Apr 2010 @ 2:41 AM

  116. RE # 76, #38
    Good luck, and kindly don’t get confused. It is all about physics, and water is what matters, which the #Commentary by Georg Hoffmann regarded: “ …plain wrong” (see # 38 my previous comment, with Re: # Cavin: that there is “more than water vapour that is different between the moon’s and the Earth’s climate”, was not the point.)
    The main difference between moon and earth temperature is water, not only as vapour, but also by the presents of the oceans.
    __about 86 % of the evaporation is from the oceans, over land the evaporation is only 14%.
    ___Water vapor in the atmosphere is closely tied to global temperatures.
    ___ The residence time for water vapor in the atmosphere is about seven days.
    ___Night temperature and during winter season at higher latitude is modest due to heat supply by the oceans.
    GAVIN: I know there is more to be taken into account to understand climate, but due to the huge impact of water and the oceans, it would be fair to define : CLIMATE is the continuation of the oceans by other means (water & heat), as suggested in 1992 , Letter to the Editor, NATURE 1992, “Climate Change”, Vol. 360, p. 292; http://www.whatisclimate.com/1992-nature.html
    # 76 >> raypierre<< You are right, 300°C is not correct; the figures are: Mean surface temperature (day)107°C ; Mean surface temperature (night) -153°C, = 260°C.

    Comment by ArndB — 29 Apr 2010 @ 2:57 AM

  117. Arnd, it would be just as fair to claim climate is the continuation of the sun. Or nearly as completely, the continuation of the CO2. Or sulphate aerosols.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 29 Apr 2010 @ 3:27 AM

  118. “And it reveals a fundamental problem in climate science. The problem is that this science is NOT characterized by a very high level of accuracy of the theories, ”

    I think you mean “climate science DENIAL”.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 29 Apr 2010 @ 3:29 AM

  119. Gilles (#113), nice try. But a shoddy polemic by a non-climate scientist against the consensus view in climate science does not by any logic suggest that there is some systematic problem in climate science.

    Comment by CM — 29 Apr 2010 @ 4:21 AM

  120. Gilles #113: you assert that climate science is somehow substandard. What’s your evidence for that?

    The latest domino to fall: check out what’s happening to the AMSU-A data set. The years from 1999 to 2009 have a trend of almost 5°C per century. A short period, but it covers much of the time that we’ve been in a deep solar minimum. What other explanation do you have?

    Sign my pro-science petition here: http://www.petitiononline.com/clim4tr/petition.html

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 29 Apr 2010 @ 5:30 AM

  121. “…And you wonder why you critiques don’t have credibility? – gavin]”

    Gavin,
    It is either “…you critics don’t have credibility?” or
    “…your critiques don’t have credibility?”.

    Since we are talking about proper language.

    Regards

    Comment by Anand — 29 Apr 2010 @ 5:42 AM

  122. 113 Gilles

    So what’s your point Gilles? That all scientists are to blame for the likes of Allegre (and Plimer, and any scientist touting the denialist memes)?

    A book is not a peer reviewed scientific publication so how does it question “the whole process of scientific evaluation”?

    “And it reveals a fundamental problem in climate science. The problem is that this science is NOT characterized by a very high level of accuracy of the theories, ”
    CFU has a pith reply at 118. If only “climate science denial” had ANY predicitve theories at all.
    As usual, this is a denialist type assertion from Gilles that has no scientifically credible support. I presume you mean “accuracy of the foresight and hindsight of the theory”? Highly accurate compared with the lack of any theory from the anti-science denialist community.
    Do you not see how your post is shot through with illogical non sequiters and is very transparent in actually supporting the denialist anti-science message?
    “The readers of his book are not scientists : they don’t care about references to papers they will never access, they don’t know what “anomaly” really means, they just see that it is written by a high level, internationally awarded scientist.And he contradicts people who claim that their work is validated by international recognition.”
    Clearly you are non-scientist so thanks for telling us how you approach climate science.
    “That is a problem, by any side you take it.”
    It’s indeed a problem for all of us if no climate disruption mitigating action is implemented urgently. Is that the problem you are referring to? Are you saying that you do recognise that we need to urgently and dramatically reduce fossil fuel combustion? That there’s a high risk of catastrophic climate disruption if we don’t?

    The vast majority of genuine scientists will see through the BS and that’s why you find very few of them supporting denialism.

    “And it reveals a fundamental problem in climate science. The problem is that this science is NOT characterized by a very high level of accuracy of the theories, ”

    Comment by Hugh Laue — 29 Apr 2010 @ 6:37 AM

  123. @BPL about his question for my opinion on Allegre’s behaviour : for having met people working with him, I would venture that
    1) he’s strongly believing in “man can model the nature as his own will” as a philosophical stance. Therefore he cannot accept nature’s payback, just as he couldn’t accept that asbetos was a threat which has to be dealt with removal. I think that’s another reason why he is promoting CCS : he gets money from it, but it’s also well fitting in his anthropocentric vision.
    2) he may be well believing excess CO2 is not a problem, and as such does everything to promote his views. even by saying lies “the end justifies the means”
    3) on a more practical ground, he’s an attention whore. He’s old, his research is behind him, he won’t be able to enter the government anymore – in order to get attention, he has to defend extremist positions. He found a way with CO2 – that could have been something else …

    Comment by bratisla — 29 Apr 2010 @ 7:15 AM

  124. Wilt #111
    In order to really make an argument from that study you will need to actually read it. Knowing happens at each modeled temperature is important. Look at these two lines from the abstract:
    “Here we explore these mechanisms using a microbial-enzyme model to simulate the responses of soil carbon to warming by 5 °C.”
    At 5C, we are well beyond the 3C most likely anomaly and beyond the 4.5C high end of IPCC estimates for CO2 doubling.
    “However, microbial adaptation or a change in microbial communities could lead to an upward adjustment of the efficiency of carbon use, counteracting the decline in microbial biomass and accelerating soil-carbon loss.”
    Not exactly the savior that the denialist blogs are looking for. Maybe some good news, but not a “game changer” or a “negative feedback”.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/04/28/new-ground-truth-microbiotic-negative-feedback/

    Comment by Grypo — 29 Apr 2010 @ 7:21 AM

  125. ArndB @116, if not for CO2 in the atmosphere there would be very little H2O in the atmosphere as the ocean would frozen over, cutting off evaporation and leaving only sublimation.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 29 Apr 2010 @ 8:29 AM

  126. # 17 Completely Fed Up says: 29 April 2010 at 3:27 AM
    >>>>>>Arnd, it would be just as fair to claim climate is the continuation of the sun. Or nearly as completely, the continuation of the CO2. Or sulphate aerosols.<<<<<<

    Nice, as nice as the Lorenz’s butterfly setting in motion the tornado in the US Midwest. Of course, the sun is the ultimate driver, but does not make “weather”, for which water is needed. The sun is highly stable and sun spots can be traced in temperature variation, but the sun does not generate hurricanes and depression, no fog, etc. etc. and presumable has never “initiated” ‘climate change’ ( but who knows).
    The physical superiority of the oceans is overwhelming:
    ___the average temperatures of the oceans is below 4°C,
    ___only a very thin ocean surface layer at lower latitude regions have more than 10°C,
    ___the oceans hold 1000 times more water than the atmosphere,
    ___The atmospheric vapour is completely exchanged every seven days.
    ___ The upper 3m of the ocean surface layer has the same heat capacity as the entire troposphere (the lower 10’000 m of the atmosphere). Hence the heat required to raise the temperature of the troposphere by 1ºC can be obtained from cooling the upper 3m of water by the same amount.
    What I am saying is that the oceans are highly dominating atmospheric behaviour, which rectifies to say CLIMATE is the continuation of the oceans, which WMO defines (as the layman ): Climate as average weather, and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change has not define ‘climate’ at all, discussed in detail at: http://www.whatisclimate.com/

    After all, better a definition explaining something, than a meaningless definition, or not a definition at all.

    Comment by ArndB — 29 Apr 2010 @ 8:36 AM

  127. Re: wilt #45

    I noted that paper mentioned on WUWT, and am also waiting for a good discussion somewhere. Quote from WUWT “This could be a game changer”. We’ve heard that one before, but clearly this is significant paper if it challenges the paradigm in a constructive way.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/04/28/new-ground-truth-microbiotic-negative-feedback/

    [Response: Oh dear. WUWT doesn’t even know what ‘negative feedback’ means. The research is about how strong a positive feedback the soil carbon pool will provide. The results seem to show an initial strong positive feedback and then relaxing back to neutral over time. Given that the net carbon cycle feedback ranges from 20 ppmv to 200 ppmv by 2100 (Friedlingstein et al) at 2100, this would support a net feedback at the lower end (which is good news) – but note this is still a positive feedback (as it must be from the glacial/interglacial results). See Frank et al (2010) (discussed here). – gavin]

    Comment by Toby — 29 Apr 2010 @ 9:15 AM

  128. #112 John Mashey
    The point I’m making (trying to make) is that because humanity, through agriculture, stopped/postponed a glacial, the likelihood exists that the next glacial will occur due to humanity’s actions, not through a return to the patterns of the past.
    At the end of the Eemian the global temperature seems to have been a degree or two warmer than now and half of the Greenland Ice Sheet had melted. Then the snow began to fall in northern Canada until eventually the Laurentide Ice Sheet was perhaps 5 miles thick at this centre point and had squeezed out as far as the Rocky Mountains to the west, New York to the south, Newfoundland to the east and who knows how far north.
    Global temperatures seem well on their way to equalling those at the end of the Eemian. Is there not a possibility that global weather systems could shift to the point that the oceans are “boiled off” in the tropics, the water vapour spun off towards the poles and deposited as snow/ice under 24/7/365 cloud cover at a few places? In short the extra heat trapped by greenhouse gases may initiate, intensify and accelerate a glacial rather than postpone it.
    ps. I haven’t read “The Long Thaw” but I did watch with great interest David Archer’s 23 episode video lecture series based on the book.

    Comment by Ken Donald Pite — 29 Apr 2010 @ 9:17 AM

  129. Wow, Gilles@113, that’s quite a load of horse puckey even coming from you!

    Dude, do you think that William Shockley coming out with his racist theories was a problem for semiconductor physics?

    And your characterization of climate science having “low standards” simply shows that you are either ignorant or mendacious. It also illustrates how little you understand the scientific method. What matters in science is the strength of the evidence. By any standard you choose to apply, anthropogenic causation of the current warming epoch is established at better than 90% confidence. Want to falsify it? Find a theory that explains Earth’s climate better and doesn’t imply that dumping CO2 into the atmosphere. That is how the game is played. Anything else is pudknocking.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 29 Apr 2010 @ 9:30 AM

  130. “Of course, the sun is the ultimate driver, but does not make “weather”, for which water is needed.”

    Jupiter has weather.

    Not much in the way of water.

    Similarly for Venus and Titan.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 29 Apr 2010 @ 9:33 AM

  131. Grypo (#124), you are right that of course it is conceivable that microbes would adapt to rising temperature by increasing their efficiency. So far, however, this has not been observed. Once again, I quote from the abstract of the Nature Geoscience article: “Although field experiments document an initial increase in the loss of CO2 from soils in response to warming, in line with these predictions, the carbon dioxide loss from soils tends to decline to control levels within a few years.”
    http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/ngeo846.html

    Remarkably, a completely different study that was recently discussed in the Guardian, also suggests that the supposedly positive feedback (increase of CO2 release from the soil at higher temperatures) is either very low or absent: “In 2005 it was reported in the science journal Nature that over the past 25 years 100m tonnes of carbon dioxide had been released by the soil of England and Wales. The figure cancelled out all emissions cuts in the UK since 1990. However, a national survey of the soils of Great Britain, funded by the department for environment food and rural affairs, claims to have found no net loss of carbon over approximately the same period.”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/mar/07/carbon-dioxide-global-warming-soil

    Comment by wilt — 29 Apr 2010 @ 10:11 AM

  132. Ken Donald Pite @129, David Archer’s lecture videos are based on his book Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast, not his book The Long Thaw: How Humans Are Changing the Next 100,000 Years of Earth’s Climate.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 29 Apr 2010 @ 10:13 AM

  133. #104 Ike, according to recent news reports, ancient wood timbers were found above the 4000m elevation on Mt. Ararat. This was discovered by a group of Chinese & Turkish explorers. The given reason the timbers were preserved, was due to being well above today’s 3900m snow line. Assuming these were timbers from Noah’s Ark, we can now add the Noah Warm Period to global climatic history.

    Comment by J. Bob — 29 Apr 2010 @ 10:13 AM

  134. Re #128–

    Here’s what an actual study says about the end of the Eemian interglacial:

    http://www.mad.zmaw.de/fileadmin/extern/projects/deklim_eem_kaspar.pdf

    Condensed version:

    “Orbital forcings did it.”

    (Elapsed search-and-paste time: enough to eat 1 piece of toast.)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 29 Apr 2010 @ 10:17 AM

  135. Frank Gigner, you’re misrepresenting the facts on European energy policy:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4357238.stm

    We want to follow a path towards a sustainable energy supply, for the protection of the global climate, the conservation of finite resources and for the sake of future generations… In Germany this is known as the ‘Energiewende’ – the transformation of our energy system. Nuclear power is not needed to achieve this. Quite the contrary: technically speaking, this base-load relic of the past is standing in the way of flexible and intelligent electricity production.

    Consider also the high economic and ecological cost of uranium mining and processing, including poisoning of solar and water supplies, particularly in developing nations (See the issues with the Tuareg peoples in Mali & Niger: Niger, French uranium (Areva) and the Tuareg.

    Here’s what the Tuareg have to say about the French energy system:

    “Areva’s charity is pollution, some of which will always remain with us. Areva is committing a crime here. They take the water, and trees and plants disappear as a result. There is no life. And what for? For your energy.”

    So, that’s your French energy plan – and what about the day-to-day operational costs? A nuclear power plant is just a glorified boiler for steam generation, and needs more cooling water than any other energy system. Just about every summer now, due to ever-more-common heat waves, France has to shut down a large chunk of power generation and buy coal-fired electricity from abroad. Inland nuclear power plants make no sense at all as water supplies grow increasingly tight, do they? If you think this just France’s problem, think again: Georgia just had to do the same thing.

    That’s the front end and the operating costs – and what about the back end? Here you have a stream of waste which is impossible to securely dispose of – and the U.S. government isn’t exactly being transparent about the total amount. EIA seems to have data from 1998, 2002 – and nothing since. How they actually “count” the weight of hot fuel rods is also up for question – but current figures are 2,200 tons per year, not counting the far greater quantities of low-level waste also generated in processing.

    Who is going to pay for the disposal? We’ve already seen the nuclear utilities like Exelon trying to sell off their old plants to shell companies with no assets – which will then go bankrupt, leaving the mess in the public’s lap. Then, you have the decommissioning costs for nuclear power plants (old reactor cores), and the increased risk of accidents as nuclear powers plants grow older.

    Finally, you have the Chernobyl factor and the Enron factor to take into account – frankly, I just don’t trust Wall Street speculators to safely manage nuclear power and nuclear waste (and keep in mind, that if the 9/11 hijackers had flown their planes into the Hudson River reactors, 35 miles upwind of New York City, the entire region would now be largely uninhabitable, as in the regions downwind of Chernobyl).

    Compared to large-scale wind and solar coupled to energy storage and distribution systems (which do exist), both “clean” coal and nuclear are simply idiotic.

    So, why on earth is Obama putting up some $40 billion in government guarantees for more nuclear plants, while refusing to do so for wind and solar systems? I’d take a look at some of Obama’s top donors, like the giant law firm Skadden Arps, noted for assisting with nuclear power and coal power deals, or his relationship with Exelon, Axelrod and Emmanuel if you want the answer.

    Obama’s energy plan is, to be blunt, a plan for economic and ecological disaster – as was Sarah Palin’s.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 29 Apr 2010 @ 10:19 AM

  136. Gilles wrote: “The problem is that this science is NOT characterized by a very high level of accuracy of the theories, a very high level of the quality of data (including agreement between independent measurements), or a very high level of agreement between models and observations – all normal standards in science.”

    All of those assertions are blatantly false. As has been repeatedly shown to you.

    Really, what is the point of repeatedly posting sweeping, general, derogatory statements about climate science, which you know to be false, which every regular reader of these comment pages knows to be false, and which you know they know are false?

    Are you so desperate for attention that you are willing to publicly embarrass yourself in such a fashion to get it?

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 29 Apr 2010 @ 11:26 AM

  137. Ray, thanks for the response, and I don’t think you missed my point, but just to be sure, I am not talking about scientists as doomsayers, just as you were not talking about scientists as the “us” who are inclined to buy Allegre’s line (at least I don’t think you were). I am merely pointing out that there are optimists and pessimists in the audience, and that it is a factor, hardly the only factor, in what individuals and groups come to believe, especially in a debate such as this one, where both sides are claiming dire outcomes.

    Allegre will win converts he does not deserve if they are inclined towards good news, just as Gore will win, has won, some who are inclined towards bad news. In other words the “we” I think you are talking about wants to hear what it wants to hear, on either side. The less than fully informed, shall we say.

    Comment by Walter Manny — 29 Apr 2010 @ 11:31 AM

  138. Wilt,
    Are you aware that this study is discussing the amount of positive feedback? Not negative feedback. And that it has an initial large feedback before settling back into one that is at the lower end of net feedbacks and that the experiment raises temperature models at 5C? I’m unsure of what exactly your point is in highlighting this study besides showing possible good news by the time it’s too late. See Gavin’s comment #127.

    Comment by Grypo — 29 Apr 2010 @ 11:37 AM

  139. RE #127 (Gavin comment):

    Gavin,

    I must be misunderstanding Allison et al.’s Table 1 which lists the total 30-yr change to the soil organic carbon pool under various cases of their model. In several cases, the total change is positive, which, to me indicates a positive feedback between temperature increase and SOC pool size. Since a positive change in the SOC pool represents an increased CO2 sink, presumable this is a negative feedback on atmospheric CO2 levels. The SOC curve in Allison et al.’s Figure 2 provides more evidence of a possible negative feedback between temperatures and atmospheric CO2 governed by soil respiration processes. While there may be a positive feedback in the short term as microbial respiration initially increases with temperature, in the longer term, as microbial biomass declines, under some model scenarios the soils become a CO2 sink (even in net).

    Obviously, Allison et al. say that there is still a lot more work that needs to be done, but I don’t read their paper as ruling out a negative feedback in the long run (which is how you seem to read it).

    -Chip

    Comment by Chip Knappenberger — 29 Apr 2010 @ 11:40 AM

  140. RaymondT (107): By focusing on the HYPOTHETICAL problem of global warming

    BPL: Which part of “temperatures have risen for 160 years and areas in drought have increased 150% since 1970″ do you not understand? This isn’t hypothetical. It’s measured.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 29 Apr 2010 @ 12:15 PM

  141. EG (110): What exactly do you fear about nuclear power?

    BPL: Putting money into the costliest and slowest to deploy energy sources, plus making fissiles available to terrorists. Not to mention the occasional Chernobyl.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 29 Apr 2010 @ 12:18 PM

  142. @J. Bob #133

    #104 Ike, according to recent news reports, ancient wood timbers were found above the 4000m elevation on Mt. Ararat. This was discovered by a group of Chinese & Turkish explorers. The given reason the timbers were preserved, was due to being well above today’s 3900m snow line. Assuming these were timbers from Noah’s Ark, we can now add the Noah Warm Period to global climatic history.

    Not even a good try, dude. Debunked as yet another hoax in a long line of Mt. Ararat/ark hoaxes:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/04/latest_ark_finding_is_a_fake.php

    Unless that post of yours was a Poe? My first impression upon reading it was: “Wait… no one can be that gullible, can they?”. And BTW, for there to be a ‘Noah Warm Period’, there would have to be a Noah first. We do science here, not interpretations of ancient goat herder myths.

    Comment by Steve in Dublin — 29 Apr 2010 @ 1:00 PM

  143. One hasn’t really been paying attention if one doesn’t understand that “facts”, are so 20th century. Ideology trumps facts hands down in the media circus ring where public opinion is molded, and what passes for debate, takes place.

    Increasingly our society isn’t interested in “science”, and the scientific method of intellectual enquiry, because science is asking some very inconvenient questions about the nature of our way of life; like, is it really not so much a way of of life, but really, death?

    I’m thinking specifically here about the global “genocide” which is being inflicted on so many different species.

    The reason so many charlatans, like Lomborg and his ilk, are so successful and influential, is precisely because they don’t give a damn about science and are perfectly prepared to prostitute themselves in the interests of the wealthy and powerful, who regard rationality and science as a threat to the established socio-economic order.

    Comment by Michael K — 29 Apr 2010 @ 1:01 PM

  144. Shouldn’t RealClimate get into the regular habit of nominating a candidate for the Ig Noble price? Allègre seems a strong contender this year, as his work on future tree rings does not merely break new ground in dendroclimatology, it creates a whole new field of study in search of a name. (What’s the opposite of paleo- in Greek?)

    Comment by CM — 29 Apr 2010 @ 1:11 PM

  145. re 142:

    oelap?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 29 Apr 2010 @ 1:31 PM

  146. Michael K wrote: “… the wealthy and powerful, who regard rationality and science as a threat to the established socio-economic order.”

    I don’t think that “the wealthy and powerful” categorically or particularly regard “rationality and science” as “a threat to the established socio-economic order.”

    I think that the findings of climate science regarding AGW represent a particular and specific “threat” to a particular part of the “established socio-economic order”, namely the almost unimaginable profits of the fossil fuel corporations.

    ExxonMobil alone rakes in over 100 million dollars per day in profit from the continued use of fossil fuels.

    And ExxonMobil absolutely depends on and invests huge amounts of money in “rationality and science”. Extracting and refining oil is a highly technical and scientific undertaking that depends on “rationality and science” for its existence. You can’t do it, and you certainly can’t make several tens of billions of dollars a year in profit from it, without “rationality and science”.

    What ExxonMobil regards as a “threat” is simply the findings of one particular scientific discipline, findings which are, shall we say, “inconvenient” for their plans to continue making billions of dollars in profit over several more decades of business-as-usual consumption of their products.

    When ExxonMobil funds the denialists, it’s not because they are “anti-science”. It’s because they are greedy.

    If some sort of religious movement appeared and started preaching against the use of fossil fuels on purely religious grounds having nothing to do with science, ExxonMobil would probably fund “skeptical” theologians to attack that religion as heresy.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 29 Apr 2010 @ 1:36 PM

  147. Perhaps Claude Allègre is just another concerned global citizen ;-)

    http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/04/28/climate-change-ipcc-noconsensus/

    EXCLUSIVE: Citizen’s Group Plans Extensive Audit of U.N. Climate Report

    By Gene J. Koprowski

    – FOXNews.com

    A leading global warming skeptic recruited a group of concerned citizens to fact-check the sources referenced in the U.N.’s latest climate-change bible — and gave the report an “F.” Now she’s planning the nail in the coffin: a comprehensive audit of the entire report.

    Give it up climate scientists the eulogy has been given. You are going to be audited, be afraid, be very afraid. The IUCCH (International Union of Concerned Conservative Housewives) is going to do the audit. There is no way you will come out of this with your reputations intact.

    Comment by Fred Magyar — 29 Apr 2010 @ 1:40 PM

  148. re: #132 David Archer’s lecture videos are based on his book Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast, not his book The Long Thaw: How Humans Are Changing the Next 100,000 Years of Earth’s Climate.
    Thank you, Jim, for that correction.

    Comment by Ken Donald Pite — 29 Apr 2010 @ 2:05 PM

  149. RE #135–

    I tend to agree with your larger point here, Ike, that there are often under-appreciated problems WRT nuclear power generation. (I specifically take issue with those who advocate attempting to use nuclear power as the future “mainstay” to the exclusion of renewables–which I’ve seen a fair amount of lately.)

    However, in the interests of strict accuracy, the shutdown due to elevated river temps–though very likely to be repeated in the future, IMO–occurred in Alabama, not Georgia, and happened in 2007, not recently. (In fact, the Southeast has been pretty cool during the current El Nino, contrary to the elevated global numbers. I ought to know, I’m a Canadian living in the Atlanta area.)

    Georgia happenings in the nuclear news recently would be the approval of, count ‘em, two new reactors–the first new nuclear construction in the US in decades, IIRC.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/17/business/energy-environment/17nukes.html

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 29 Apr 2010 @ 2:06 PM

  150. 135 Ike Solem:
    “ecological cost of uranium mining” WRONG: The ecological cost of uranium mining is the lowest there is: See:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In-situ_leach
    In-situ leaching (ISL), also called in-situ recovery (ISR) or
    solution mining, is a process of recovering minerals such as
    copper and uranium through boreholes drilled into the deposit.
    The process initially involves drilling of holes into the ore deposit.
    Explosive or hydraulic fracturing may be used to create open
    pathways in the deposit for solution to penetrate. Leaching
    solution is pumped into the deposit where it makes contact with
    the ore. The solution bearing the dissolved ore content is then
    pumped to the surface and processed. This process allows the
    extraction of metals and salts from an ore body without the need
    for conventional mining involving drill-and-blast, open-cut or
    underground mining.

    Also note that the amount of U235 required is 1 part in 100 Million compared to the amount of coal for the same energy. Multiply by 0.7% and you get that the coal mine has to be about 1 Million times as large as the uranium mine.

    “needs more cooling water than any other energy system” WRONG.
    Nuclear power plants can be air cooled, requiring ZERO water. Water cooling is convenient, NOT required.

    “stream of waste which is impossible to securely dispose of” WRONG
    There is no such thing as nuclear waste. It is spent fuel that needs to be recycled and put back into a reactor. If you use a Generation 4 reactor, the fuel is all consumed inside the reactor in the first place.

    “decommissioning costs” Nonsense again. Recyclable stainless steel should not be wasted.

    “the Chernobyl factor” Does not apply in the United States. Our reactors have containment buildings. Our reactors are not unstable. 4th Generation reactors CANNOT melt down NO MATTER WHAT.

    “I just don’t trust Wall Street speculators” Neither do I. That is why we have federal regulators.

    “that if the 9/11 hijackers had flown their planes into the Hudson River reactors, 35 miles upwind of New York City, the entire region would now be largely uninhabitable”
    ABSOLUTE NONSENSE!!! If the 9/11 hijackers had flown their planes into the Hudson River reactors, they would have accomplished NOTHING except the destruction of the airplanes. They would not have released radiation. They would not even have punctured the containment building. If they did puncture the containment building, so what? The core is still contained in a stainless steel vessel 5 inches thick. The containment building is 39 inches thick of the strongest concrete with so much steel reinforcement it is amazing they got any concrete in.

    “Compared to large-scale wind and solar coupled to energy storage and distribution systems (which do exist), both “clean” coal and nuclear are simply idiotic.” WRONG!!!!!!
    Truth: Compared to NUCLEAR , both “clean” coal and large-scale wind and solar coupled to energy storage and distribution systems are simply pie in the sky.

    “if you want the answer”, do the math. You are reciting coal industry propaganda. You may be paid by the coal industry, or your emotions have been hijacked by the coal industry propaganda over the past half century. Everything you said is wrong. Coal has killed over two hundred thousand Americans and is still doing so. Power reactors do NOT make Plutonium239 that is needed for bombs. Power reactors make Plutonium240. It takes a very special reactor to make Pu239.

    Every time you dis nuclear, you are working for the coal industry and shooting yourself in the foot. What the coal companies know that most people don’t:

    As long as you keep messing around with wind, solar, geothermal and wave power, the coal industry is safe. There is no way wind, solar, geothermal and wave power can replace coal, and they know it. Hydrogen fusion could, if it worked. Hydrogen fusion has been “hopeful” for half a century so far. I don’t expect that to change any time soon.

    If you quit being afraid of nuclear, the coal industry is doomed. Every time you argue in favor of wind, solar, geothermal and wave power, or against nuclear, King Coal is happy. ONLY nuclear power can put coal out of business. Nuclear power HAS put coal out of business in France. France uses 30 year old American technology. So here is the deal: Keep being afraid of all things nuclear and die either when [not if] civilization collapses or when H2S comes out of the ocean and Homo “Sapiens” goes extinct. OR: Get over your paranoia and kick the coal habit and live. Which do you choose? I put quotation marks around “Sapiens” because it is not clear that most “people” have enough brains to avoid extinction when it is clearly predicted and the safe path has been pointed out. Nuclear is the safe path and we have factory built nuclear power plants now. A nuclear power plant can be installed in weeks. See:
    http://www.hyperionpowergeneration.com

    Pretend the year is 1850 and your doctor has just given you a choice: Amputate your leg or you die tomorrow. Anesthetics have not been invented. Will you have your leg off sir?
    Your psychological pain is imaginary, not real. Get over it and live. Don’t get over it and your grandchildren die.
    Nuclear power ends global warming and the human race lives.
    No nuclear power causes the coal industry cash flow to continue to be $100 Billion per year in the US and Homo Sap goes extinct. The choice is yours, unfortunately.

    Ike Solem: YOU are working for the coal industry whether you know it or not. My guess is that you are a coal industry shill. Nuclear power makes LESS CO2 THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE OF ELECTRICITY. Therefore, Nuclear power is the way to STOP GLOBAL WARMING.

    Ike Solem’s energy plan is, to be blunt, a plan for ecological disaster – as was Sarah Palin’s.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 29 Apr 2010 @ 2:15 PM

  151. Ike, my point was that this book will have zero impact on policy, either in Europe or in the USA.

    Indeed, I think the policy momentum is so great that nothing is able to really alter it.

    Comment by Frank Giger — 29 Apr 2010 @ 2:37 PM

  152. “Ike Solem: YOU are working for the coal industry whether you know it or not.”

    Nope.

    Unless he’s saying “we have to use coal”, he’s not.

    ‘cos it could be “don’t use nuclear” also means “use less energy” (therefore you can CLOSE coal power stations) and also means “use more renewables” (therefore you don’t need coal power stations).

    But you’re working for the nuclear industry.

    And we know it.

    PS when you come out with BS like “Nuclear power makes LESS CO2 THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE OF ELECTRICITY.” you’re not only working for nuclear industry, you’re also working to dumb down the entire human race.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 29 Apr 2010 @ 2:37 PM

  153. Grypo (#137) asked me several questions related to a discussion about CO2 release from the soil. I will try to answer them one at a time.
    “Wilt, are you aware that this study is discussing the amount of positive feedback? Not negative feedback”
    Both studies that I mentioned before (#131) basically suggest that there is hardly any positive feedback upon increasing the temperature. I have not claimed that there would be negative feedback
    “And that it has an initial large feedback before settling back into one that is at the lower end of net feedbacks”. Once again, read the abstract of the Nature Geoscience article (that is the least you can do when starting a discussion on this subject): “ .. the carbon dioxide loss from soils tends to decline to control levels within a few years.” So that is not ‘lower end of net feedbacks’, but: decline to control levels.
    “ … and that the experiment raises temperature models at 5C?”
    Are you suggesting that a 5 degrees temperature rise induces a strong decrease in the microbes’ efficiency to release CO2 but a 3 degrees rise would induce a strong increase?? Well, almost everything is possible (especially when you believe hard enough) but if you know anything about biochemistry and microbes you will realise that this is very unlikely.
    “ I’m unsure of what exactly your point is in highlighting this study”. Essentially the study casts serious doubt whether there really is a substantial positive feedback from soil carbon. This has previously been assumed to be the case (see for instance the Guardian article discussed before #131).

    Comment by wilt — 29 Apr 2010 @ 2:39 PM

  154. It is simply a rushed editing job to get the book on the shelves before the Crisis cools. His sin is not letting the publishers push his release prematurely.

    Comment by Ed — 29 Apr 2010 @ 2:57 PM

  155. “I don’t think that “the wealthy and powerful” categorically or particularly regard “rationality and science” as “a threat to the established socio-economic order.””

    However, there’s a lot of manipulative wealthy and powerful. And the more educated you are, the easier it is for the educated and powerful to manipulate you.

    See, for example, Rush Limbaugh’s assertion that you should leave high school. Why? It doesn’t make sense. Nowadays if you don’t go to college, you’re going to be flipping burgers.

    See also the new hype over “Unschooling”. “My kids will pick up a book on chemistry if they need to learn it to go to college”…?

    Assuredly it’s not a LARGE fraction of the rich and powerful who hate education (of “lesser” people), but there’s a big hate-on for “the elitists” (see Sarah Palin and her supporters positively *revelling* in their lack of knowledge because “she’s not an elite, she’s just like us…”) and a lot of manipulation that would not work if the people they were preaching to were a little more educated (which helps you learn to educate yourself).

    And there’s not a huge call for the rich and powerful to actively push for education.

    So a small fraction of powerful people (who have easy access to a widely available public pulpit) are heard trying to shove anti-education on to a population. A much, much smaller fraction of powerful people saying it’s important to get educated. And a majority who aren’t saying anything.

    Well, you don’t know when someone is not saying something.

    So the *appearance* is a vast majority of rich and powerful moving against education.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 29 Apr 2010 @ 2:59 PM

  156. On the size of a solar power plant for replacing 100% of the world’s current power needs, I just did a small calculation. Someone had said that such an undertaking would be the largest engineering feat undertaken by man.

    But if you have a look at the size of the US Highways *alone* you already looking at 75,000km x 50m or a rough square of 75kmx50km.

    Not including smaller roads, the cities or any other country.

    Just the highways of the US.

    But nobody complains that the highway system is a huge engineering feat…

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 29 Apr 2010 @ 3:30 PM

  157. (146) “International Union of Concerned Conservative Housewives”

    Wow. So somebody decides to do the reading, and her reward is a sexist slap in the face? How’d this one sneak past the moderators?

    Comment by Walter Manny — 29 Apr 2010 @ 3:37 PM

  158. @154 (29 April 2010 at 2:59 PM)

    I try hard not to respond to CFU…

    But in this case…

    Nice post CFU.

    Comment by arch stanton — 29 Apr 2010 @ 3:47 PM

  159. “Gilles wrote: “The problem is that this science is NOT characterized by a very high level of accuracy of the theories, a very high level of the quality of data (including agreement between independent measurements), or a very high level of agreement between models and observations – all normal standards in science.”

    All of those assertions are blatantly false.”

    aree you considering that estimating a sensitivity between “2 and 5 °C” is a high level of accuracy ? that proxy reconstructions and temperature measurements offer a very high quality of data and a great homogeneity of results ? that models are very precisely confirmed, compared with other fields of science ?

    I mean, I don’t blame climate science of dealing with a complex and ill-understood object. But your defense is obviously more motivated by politics than by scientific judgement -,just illustrating what I said.

    Comment by Gilles — 29 Apr 2010 @ 3:49 PM

  160. Edward Greisch wrote to Ike Solem: “My guess is that you are a coal industry shill.”

    Edward, you “guess” that Ike Solem — who writes forcefully, eloquently, substantively, repeatedly and often enough to sometimes annoy people — AGAINST coal, and AGAINST bogus “clean coal” and CCS projects that support the continued use of coal — is “a coal industry shill”?

    No, actually you don’t “guess” any such thing. You are just copying and pasting the same mechanical, verbatim, boilerplate insult that you fling at anyone and everyone who disagrees with you on the merits of nuclear power.

    You should be ashamed of yourself and you owe Ike Solem a public apology.

    As for your pro-nuclear ranting, it’s just silly. You say that “large-scale wind and solar coupled to energy storage and distribution systems are simply pie in the sky” when in fact such systems are already coming online, and when in fact wind accounts for most of the new electricity generating capacity being built in the USA today, and utility-scale concentrating solar (both thermal and PV) is attracting huge investment and is poised for explosive growth. Meanwhile you tout “4th Generation” nuclear reactors as “THE” solution when in fact no such things even exist, let alone have a proven track record of being built and operated at scale.

    You are rejecting mature and powerful technologies that are already being deployed all over the world — and are in fact the fastest growing new sources of energy in the world — as “pie in the sky”, and instead you embrace technologies that are little more than science fiction.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 29 Apr 2010 @ 4:05 PM

  161. Lest we forget, the land of biodynamic winemaking has also produced a Nobel laureate in Chemistry who went on to self publish a qhole book on the biological transmutation of iron into manganese.

    Comment by Russell Seitz — 29 Apr 2010 @ 4:25 PM

  162. Wilt,
    “I have not claimed that there would be negative feedback”
    I know, you said,
    “It seems to me that in view of the large contribution of soil microbes to total CO2 emission, this finding may have important consequences”

    “So that is not ‘lower end of net feedbacks’, but: decline to control levels.”
    So are claiming that the initial rise in carbon release does not effect the net feedback? If so, Why?

    “Are you suggesting that a 5 degrees temperature rise induces a strong decrease in the microbes’ efficiency to release CO2 but a 3 degrees rise would induce a strong increase?”
    No, I’m not saying that at all. I’m suggesting that knowing what happens at the upper limit used, as stated in an abstract tells us very little about what happens before that increase and what the net feedback will be. Which is why I asked you if you read the whole study.

    “Essentially the study casts serious doubt whether there really is a substantial positive feedback from soil carbon”
    Yes, it is rather specific to that claim and may or may not behave the same in other types of microbes, ie. permafrost, etc. The absence of soil microbes not causing a “tipping point” does not preclude the danger of CO2 and does not in any way cancel out the carbon being introduced in toe atmosphere from humans. That is my point, really. And you should go read that gamma study post that Gavin linked to on #127.

    Comment by Grypo — 29 Apr 2010 @ 4:26 PM

  163. arch, ta.

    But was there any point to “I resist responding to cfu”?

    What did it add?

    f all.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 29 Apr 2010 @ 4:30 PM

  164. basically, do or do not. There is no try.

    Hell, I’ve answered people who 99% of the time I disagree with when I agree with them. But I just agree with them.

    I don’t point out (except here, and only as an example of this message) that I normally disagree with them, but…

    Why? Because when you agree with someone after that, it’s rather like giving someone who is hungry a sandwich you picked up off the floor.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 29 Apr 2010 @ 4:33 PM

  165. Ken Pite (106) — W.F. Ruddiman’s early anthopogenic influences on climate hypothesis appears sound to me; his “Plows, Plagues and Petoleum” was the first book on climate I read and I still find the general thrust correct. However, subsequent work on the nature of orbital forcing shows that even without any antthropogenic influences the next attempt at a stade is not for another 20,000+ years. The Holocene is a long interglacial, rather like that during MIS 11 and so Ruddiman’s postulated “ice age” needs to be replaced by “cold interval”. How cold? Well, somewhat colder than during LIA but not cold enough for the massive northern ice sheets to begin the reform (except maybe some in Northern Canada).

    In any case, that future will not come to pass due to the massive amounts of excess CO2 added to the atmosphere by human activities. These might well be enough so that the next attempt at a stade fails and so the next possible time is 50,000 years from now.

    In the meantime we have quite a serious and immediate problem; too much CO2 with more on its way.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 29 Apr 2010 @ 4:33 PM

  166. “There is no way wind, solar, geothermal and wave power can replace coal, and they know it. ”

    They probably do.

    However, what they don’t know is they’re wrong.

    What do YOU know, Eddie?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 29 Apr 2010 @ 4:43 PM

  167. Well, I’m not a shill for coal or nuclear power companies, but I still think we’re gonna need on-demand power supplies. Wind and solar won’t get us there alone; we need a backstop for when the statistical noise of night and low winds happen against the average.

    I’ll definately thow a vote behind nuclear power. It is far safer than the naysayers would say.

    On nuclear, however, someone commented about re-processing nuclear fuel, and I’m gonna throw a flag on the field.

    It can be done. It makes sense. It is both effective and efficient. It will never be done by the USA or European countries.

    Reprocessing nuclear fuel rods for power uses is dual use, as it also makes for fine nuclear weapons fuel. NPT becomes moot the second we reprocess fuel for civilian power, as it will provide cover for every nation that does the same.

    Which brings us to the real objection for nuclear power. I’ve not met a single person that wasn’t strongly against nuclear power that wasn’t an anti-nuke nut. Real “Day After Tommorrow” loving sign holder types.

    Can we leave Sarah Palin out of this, btw? Don’t mistake anti-elitism for anti-education stances. It makes one look like one who reads bumper stickers instead of books.

    Comment by Frank Giger — 29 Apr 2010 @ 5:25 PM

  168. Gavin says: “WUWT doesn’t even know what ‘negative feedback’ means.”

    What is the standard definition of negative feedback related to climate? Would it act something like a thermostat? Could it (or does it) cause a detectable oscillation signature?

    Comment by sam — 29 Apr 2010 @ 6:22 PM

  169. “Game Changer!” declares a global warming contrarian. WUWT reminds me of someone declaring “Game Changer” when their basketball team, down by 30 in the 4th quarter, gets a pity call from an official after someone flops, and makes one of two free throws.

    Comment by MarkB — 29 Apr 2010 @ 6:55 PM

  170. @76. Thanks for the extra info Raypierre, and that’s an excellent reference I’ll chase up.

    Of course, I figured the “moon” comment was ridiculous anyway. My response was somewhat tongue-in-cheek! Though it’s getting very difficult to tell which “sceptical” arguments one should take seriously. ;)

    Comment by Mike of Oz — 29 Apr 2010 @ 7:25 PM

  171. Good post, CFU.

    Education is revolutionary.

    ———

    “… Whatever wisdom constituently is, it is like a seedless plant; it may be reared when it appears, but it cannot be voluntarily produced. There is always a sufficiency somewhere in the general mass of society for all purposes; but with respect to the parts of society, it is continually changing its place. It rises in one to-day, in another to-morrow, and has most probably visited in rotation every family of the earth, and again withdrawn.

    “As this is in the order of nature, the order of government must necessarily follow it, or government will, as we see it does, degenerate into ignorance.

    ” … by giving to genius a fair and universal chance; … by collecting wisdom from where it can be found.

    “… As it is to the advantage of society that the whole of its faculties should be employed, the construction of government ought to be such as to bring forward, by a quiet and regular operation, all that extent of capacity which never fails to appear in revolutions.”
    —————————————–

    Tom Paine, The Rights of Man
    http://www.ushistory.org/Paine/rights/c2-03.htm

    Why is there no statue of Tom Paine in Washington DC?
    http://www.nellbrinkley.net/tompaine.htm

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Apr 2010 @ 7:31 PM

  172. If you think of this book as a sort-of inverse “An Inconvenient Truth” it might make more sense. Neither are meant to be science, they are designed to win over Jo Public

    Comment by Keith — 29 Apr 2010 @ 7:46 PM

  173. Sam, A negative feedback is something that works to increase energy loss as you add energy to the system. The best example is outgoing IR radiation–as you add energy, temperature increases, and the blackbody radiation increases as the 4th power of the temperature. This is the chief negative feedback. Think of it as sources and sinks–if a source gets bigger, it causes a sink to also increase. Make sense?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 29 Apr 2010 @ 8:03 PM

  174. sam (168) — Negative feedback in climatology is the same negative feedback used in other sciences and engineering. Radiation out to space is an example.

    There are various atmospheric and oceanic oscillations. I suppose ENSO might be considered to be the result of a negative feedback, but at least one component of ENSO is a North Pacfic Kevin/Rossby wave and usually studied via the appropriate wave equations.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 29 Apr 2010 @ 8:15 PM

  175. Edward Greisch #150: In-situ leaching results in exactly how much pollution? What does it do to the groundwater? What you don’t mention is the volume of potentially toxic chemicals (sulfuric acid etc.) you have to pump into the ground to do the extraction, and where those chemicals go afterwards (noting not only uranium will dissolve in the leachate).

    Nuclear is only an option if you go to technologies not yet deployed commercially; the uranium fuel cycle is too inefficient, and we’ll burn through all the known reserves pretty fast if we go to a much higher fraction of power generated by nuclear.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 29 Apr 2010 @ 8:38 PM

  176. 152 Completely Fed Up: Reference: “Power to Save the World; The Truth About Nuclear Energy” by Gwyneth Cravens, 2007 Finally a truthful book about nuclear
    power.

    Page 13 has a chart of greenhouse gas emissions from electricity production. Nuclear power produces less greenhouse gas [CO2] than any other source, including coal, natural gas, hydro, solar and wind. Building wind turbines and towers also involve industrial processes such as concrete and steel making.

    Wind turbines produce a total of 58 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour.

    Nuclear power plants produce a total of 30 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour, the lowest.

    Coal plants produce the most, between 966 and 1306 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour.

    Solar power produces between 100 and 280 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour.

    Hydro power produces 240 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour.

    Natural gas produces between 439 and 688 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour.

    Remember the total is the sum of direct emissions from burning fuel and indirect emissions from the life cycle, which means the industrial processes required to build it. Again, nuclear comes in the lowest. Nuclear would produce even less CO2 per kilowatt hour if the safety were lowered to the same level as other sources
    of electricity. Switching from coal to nuclear is a 97% reduction in electricity’s 40% of our CO2 output.

    Page 17: Coal kills 24000 Americans and 400000 Chinese every year. Nuclear has killed ZERO Americans total. Hydro has killed 1000 Americans and hundreds of thousands of Chinese.

    And YES Ike is working for the coal industry because he is trying to say nuclear is dangerous. Nuclear power is the safest kind, bar none, for everybody. Ike has been misled by coal industry propaganda.

    Deaths per terrawatt year [twy] for energy industries, including Chernobyl. terra=mega mega [There are zero sources of energy that cause zero deaths, but not having the electricity causes the far more deaths because not having electricity is a form of poverty.]

    fuel……… ……..fatalities… …..who……… …….deaths per twy
    coal……… ………6400…… ……workers……….. ………342
    natural gas….. ..1200…… …..workers and public… …85
    hydro…….. …….4000….. …….public………… …………883
    nuclear…….. ………31…… ……workers………… ………….8

    Nuclear power is proven to be the safest. Source: “The Revenge of Gaia” by James Lovelock page 102. As you can see, psychological problems are preventing the wider use of nuclear power. Chernobyl is included.

    I have no connection with the nuclear power industry. I have never had any connection with the nuclear power industry. I am not being paid by anyone to say this. My sole motive is to avoid death in the collapse of civilization and to avoid
    extinction due to global warming.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 29 Apr 2010 @ 8:39 PM

  177. RE: Comment by Keith — 29 April 2010 @ 7:46 PM:

    You say- “If you think of this book as a sort-of inverse “An Inconvenient Truth” it might make more sense.”

    Allègre and Gore may have both been trying to influence public opinion, but Gore pretty much got the science correct. This is not an insignificant difference.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 29 Apr 2010 @ 9:05 PM

  178. Another comment on positive and negative feedback:

    There is some confusion about this concept because of what one thinks of as positive or negative in the driver. A positive feedback enhances a “driving force” whether it is “positive” or “negative” in some sense. Thus, CO2 is a positive feedback to Milankovitch cycle warming, as an ice age is ending, because it outgases from the warming ocean and the greenhouse effect causes more warming. It is also a positive feedback to Milankovitch cycle cooling when it dissolves more readily in cooling oceans and enhances cooling because of a reduced greenhouse effect.

    Negative feedbacks are just the inverse of this in that they oppose, instead of enhancing, the “driving force” regardless of the perceived direction of this force. There may be feedback mechanisms that can be both positive and negative relative to a forcing, but I can’t readily think of one. Perhaps someone here can enlighten me.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 29 Apr 2010 @ 9:32 PM

  179. The National Post’s Financial Post (a Canadian newspaper infested with denialists which is now being sued for libel by Andrew Weaver) had an article by Lawrence Solomon on April 3, 2010 stating that the National Academy of France is going to have an official debate on climate change next October, with Allegre.

    http://network.nationalpost.com/NP/blogs/fpcomment/archive/2010/04/03/lawrence-solomon-france-to-hold-official-debate-on-climate-change.aspx

    Aroudn April 3, I googled quite a bit looking for more information about it when it was newly published, but there was nothing about this debate on any English-language websites, except for a few blogs which linked to Solomon’s piece.

    Is an official debate really to be held?

    [Response: Google Masson-Delmotte and you’ll get links to where she debates Allegre. It’s all in French, but you don’t have to know much French to know she won the debate.–eric]

    Comment by Holly Stick — 29 Apr 2010 @ 9:47 PM

  180. Steve – Gore pretty much got the science correct – surely you jest

    [Response: Actually, Gore pretty much got the science correct. Comparing Gore and Allegre is like comparing well,.. Gore and Allegre. No contest.–eric]

    Comment by Keith — 29 Apr 2010 @ 9:48 PM

  181. Re 114 Edward Greisch – at least two proposed ways of sequestering CO2 would not risk such catastrophic releases at all.

    1. biochar

    2. carbonate mineral production

    Which is not to say that they are necessarily good solutions; I suspect one or both would be good solutions at least up to a point where they are limited by resources or compete too much with other demands for resources, etc.

    “As long as you keep messing around with wind, solar, geothermal and wave power, the coal industry is safe. There is no way wind, solar, geothermal and wave power can replace coal, and they know it.”

    I didn’t have the time just now to review the entirety of your exchange with Ike; I disagree with Ike about whether or not certain policies will be effective; I am ambivalent about nuclear power, which is in part because I don’t know as much about it compared to what I know about solar power, etc. Maybe nuclear power could do most of the heavy lifting. But solar and wind, and continued use of present hydroelectric power, and geothermal and ‘smart’ biofuel (not so much corn ethanol – more along the lines of peanut shells, used coffee grounds, used napkins, banana peels, spoiled and damaged crops and food, sewage, manure, algae…) – these at least combined can do a lot; solar in particular has much promise – I mean realistic promise. Coal and oil and ultimately, natural gas, can be and will be and must be larely replaced by some combination of these.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 29 Apr 2010 @ 9:50 PM

  182. @ 172: Another absurd claim of symmetry. Gore’s work was not perfect, but it did a very good job of setting out the state of the science. Allegre’s approach is to ignore and distort the science. Both do aim at public advocacy– but one is a serious effort at public education, while the other is dishonest and deceptive.

    Comment by Bryson Brown — 29 Apr 2010 @ 10:00 PM

  183. OT, feel free to delete…
    Edward G (55)

    Even “better” reasoning I heard 3 days ago: “GW can’t happen because it isn’t predicted in the Bible.”
    :) :)
    Laughing Out Loud!

    Sure it’s predicted. See the book of Revelation–lots of the troubles there would result from global warming. ;) I had someone say a similar thing to me a year back so I went through Revelation and mostly tongue-in-cheek showed how it was ‘predicting’ global warming.

    Comment by Daniel J. Andrews — 29 Apr 2010 @ 10:01 PM

  184. To Barton Paul Levenson says:
    29 April 2010 at 12:15 PM
    RaymondT (107): By focusing on the HYPOTHETICAL problem of global warming

    BPL: Which part of “temperatures have risen for 160 years and areas in drought have increased 150% since 1970″ do you not understand? This isn’t hypothetical. It’s measured.

    Droughts are very much affected by multi-decadal oscillations in ocean temperature. The real question to ask is how have the areas in drought increased in the last 160 years where multi-decadal effects are less important ? How reliable are the drought measurements 160 years ago ?

    Comment by RaymondT — 29 Apr 2010 @ 10:40 PM

  185. Hey, CFU made an unitentional reference to something I wrote in another thread in post #156 – that getting us onto solar and wind is comparable in scope to the interstate system.

    And it is. And should be discussed in such terms.

    (btw, loads of people complain about the Interstate system’s routing and environmental impact)

    Steve, the feedback you’re looking for might be the heat on a tire as it relates to traction. There are lots of factors that determine a tire’s traction – contact surface area, composition of rubber, etc., but one of the biggest is heat. NASCAR drivers don’t do the snakey track on the pace lap just to be part of the in crowd – they’re putting friction on them to warm the rubber. Warm tires grip better than cold ones, as the rubber is softer and ‘stickier.’ However, it the tire gets too hot, the tire begins to loose traction as the rubber becomes so soft it begins to shed.

    What’s the sweet spot of heat forcing (positive versus negative) for a tire? Guys make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year figuring it out. Crew chiefs monitor temps by computerized sensors on practice runs and work out air pressures to the psi and the tire for best traction versus durability for the race.

    Comment by Frank Giger — 29 Apr 2010 @ 10:54 PM

  186. Edward Greisch, your “4th Generation reactors” are fantasy-ware. They don’t yet exist, so like the next military devices they have all desirable characteristics – like the F35 fighter that was going to be affordable, stealthy, effective, reliable, but has gone massibely up in price, down in effectiveness, and delayed in delivery.

    You mix up real data and industry talking points into propaganda.

    E.g. The Hyperion Small Modular Reactor is currently only a concept. Its a small non-4th generation reactor (25MW – one 40th of the output of the coal power plants near my home city), so “A nuclear power plant can be installed in weeks” is theoretically true, but doubly deceptive. A big question for this sort of reactor is “what will it cost for the second refueling in 20 years” since it is return to manufacturer.

    “the coal mine has to be about 1 Million times as large as the uranium mine” ignores the quality of the ore base – coal can be quite thick, shallow seams of near pure coal ; Uraniam ore bodies can be so diffuse as to require In-situ leaching.

    Decommissioning costs are real – stuff is radioactive after years of exposure to neutron fluxes. Even the cooling water is radioactive. Recycling the physical material is an insignificant saving.

    Chernobyl factor – you’re right, except that building safe nuclear power plants takes special skills, materials and techniques- even the Finns mucked up the concrete for a new plant – fourtunately their inspectors were skilled and not corrupt. I dread to think how the Chinese quality management works. That’s why things like the Small Modular Reactor are a good idea – keep the safety critical pieces localised in a place with the necessary expertise and commitment to quality.

    I want nuclear as a part of the solution. Coal must be wound back and CCS is also vapourware. I don’t think we should buy the vapourware or ignore the future costs.

    [Response: Please, please, please – can we have one thread that doesn’t discuss nuclear power? I am deleting all further posts on this. Everyone, please stay on topic. – gavin]

    Comment by davidp — 29 Apr 2010 @ 11:17 PM

  187. Sam asks “What is the standard definition of negative feedback related to climate? Would it act something like a thermostat? Could it (or does it) cause a detectable oscillation signature?”

    CO_2 leads to a warmer atmosphere. A warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor. Since water vapor is a greenhousegas, that leads to an even warmer atmosphere, ad infinitum. So water vapor porvides a positive feedback to CO_2 induced warming.

    In some circumstances a positive feedback feedback can lead to oscillation. But that is not necessary. In the above example, there is no oscillation, just an increase in the total warming.

    Comment by Leonard Evens — 30 Apr 2010 @ 12:28 AM

  188. # 168, Sam

    The term “feedback” in climate science can take on different meanings, depending on whether you’re talking about a carbon feedback or a radiative feedback. Generally when you see the terms used in discussions of radiative forcing, feedback, sensitivity, etc the term “feedback” is used to refer to those things which amplify or dampen the Planck response to a perturbation of the Earth’s energy balance. For a planet that cools as a blackbody and no feedbacks acting (e.g., we ignore the dependence of albedo on temperature), the sensitivity parameter is inversely proportional to the third power of the emission temperature of the planet (see my post on this here). You can see in the post that in a no-feedback scenario, you get about 1/4 of a degree C change in temperature per 1 W/m2 forcing (so about a degree for the 4 W/m2 that a doubling of CO2 gives you). The climate system would be said to be dominated by positive feedbacks if the actual temperature change were greater than this ~ 1 degree C/2xCO2 value, and negative feedbacks if the resultant temperature change was less than 1 degree C/2xCO2 (note that the CO2 itself is irrelevant, the response is to the radiative forcing and temperature change, so one can equally apply this idea to changes in solar irradiance or volcanic eruptions).

    In the carbon cycle feedback case, positive and negative feedbacks can refer to the drawdown/amplification of CO2 concentration relative to some initial change in temperature. Thus in a global warming scenario, this would be positive if the CO2 concentration in the air went up faster than just what you would expect from anthropogenic release, say if the oceans or terrestrial biosphere became a better net source. I’m not sure this distinction is heavily appreciated, but it’s one reason why you can use a benchmark like “by a doubling of CO2″ instead of a time benchmark like “by 2100.” The latter includes all the uncertainty in socio-economic evolution (how emissions will change in time), whether CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is enhanced or reduced in the coming century by natural processes in addition to the anthropogenic input, as well as the actual sensitivity of the planet (the change in temperature per unit radiative forcing). However, by specifying a set CO2 concentration (e.g., the first doubling), you’re only dealing with the last uncertainty, because you’re not longer asking how you got to that value.

    I think in the engineering sense of the word, or at least in some other fields, the term “feedback” might mean that an initial change in CO2 led to further increases in CO2 (pos feedback) or reduction in CO2 back to the initial concentration (neg feedback). This isn’t really what it means in climate science, generally because very little in the feedback world cares about the CO2 change itself, but rather the temperature change that comes from that CO2.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 30 Apr 2010 @ 1:29 AM

  189. #109 Ron Broberg

    I understand your concern. However, the only reason I write in RC is to help educate people, that might be misled, about the critical reality of human caused global warming. Otherwise I would not post here.

    So, while I understand that periodic machine gun fire might look annoying to you, and possibly others that are regulars here. My hope is that the signature will give more people access to what I see as the most important petition on the planet, along with the one minute videos, which are designed to instruct.

    If Fee & Dividend is not quickly adopted, I believe we can expect a more rapid degradation of the economic system and consequent loss of standards of living and quality of life, worldwide, along with increased stressors on multiple global resource economies that will domino, amplify, and accelerate magnitudes, as well as diminish capacity to recover any and all such capacities without severe ramifications to the human population and the capability of maintaining, or retrieving capacity for civilized society. Rapid action on the other hand gives us at least a better chance.

    Being that the current estimate at the UN, on our current course of action (BAU) for dead and dying humans is 1.8 billion by 2080, which is quite possibly, or even likely, a conservative estimate, I believe there is an onus of responsibility for all that are reasonably informed on the reality of this global warming event and its very real potentials to unwind the progress of the last century, is to do all that is possible in raising awareness. So while I understand your frustration, I will not remove the signature. I have however tried to make it easier to look at. Otherwise, if it does continue to bother you, please feel free to ignore it.

    PS Irritating as it may be to some, I encourage everyone that agrees with ‘Fee & Dividend’ to include it in every post they make, everywhere they can, as often as possible, including in their emails. We are going to need a lot more than a hundred signatures to let policy makers know that we need this policy.


    A Climate Minute The Greenhouse EffectHistory of Climate ScienceArctic Ice Melt


    ‘Fee & Dividend’ Our best chance for a better future – climatelobby.com
    Learn the Issue & Sign the Petition

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 30 Apr 2010 @ 1:30 AM

  190. So I spend quite a bit of time wandering around “complexity science” circles trying to find anything I can simplify.

    In the last week, I have been on a climate science kick. Here is a post on the fat-tail on CO2 residence time:
    http://mobjectivist.blogspot.com/2010/04/fat-tail-in-co2-persistence.html

    And a few days before that, I posted on cloud ice crystal size distributions:
    http://mobjectivist.blogspot.com/2010/04/dispersive-and-non-dispersive-growth-in.html

    Nothing peer reviewed but it’s really entertaining thinking about this stuff and trying to simplify it!

    Comment by Web Hub Tel — 30 Apr 2010 @ 1:39 AM

  191. Keith,

    > If you think of this book as a sort-of inverse “An Inconvenient Truth”
    > it might make more sense.

    Gore tells an inconvenient truth.
    Allègre tells the inverse: a convenient untruth.

    Yes, that does make sense.

    Comment by CM — 30 Apr 2010 @ 2:05 AM

  192. “How reliable are the drought measurements 160 years ago ?”

    Pretty good, since irrigation was less advanced and farming more important. People cared more about these things 160 years ago and wrote them down.

    Comment by Completeley Fed Up — 30 Apr 2010 @ 2:52 AM

  193. Ray #173,

    ” increase energy loss as you add energy to the system”

    Great way to explain that. Blackbody radiation energy increasing with temp is something I hadn’t thought of as a causing a negative feedback. (or the effective equivalent of it anyway). I personally visualize feedbacks mostly in the electronic sense but I think that only has a limited usefulness when trying to apply this to climate. Or maybe it’s just me.

    Comment by Sam — 30 Apr 2010 @ 3:01 AM

  194. “aree you considering that estimating a sensitivity between “2 and 5 °C” is a high level of accuracy ? ”

    Are you saying that between 2 and 5 is too innaccurate to make policy decisions?

    Because 2C per doubling is still a catastrophe under BAU.

    Comment by Completeley Fed Up — 30 Apr 2010 @ 3:02 AM

  195. ” Gore pretty much got the science correct”

    Oh boy. Really?! I watched his movie, and I have to say that his 3d animation of the polar bear drowning [edit–you want to provide some serious points of rebuttal, go ahead. sliming Al Gore won’t cut it]

    Comment by Sam — 30 Apr 2010 @ 3:19 AM

  196. Chris Colose #188

    “I think in the engineering sense of the word, or at least in some other fields, the term “feedback” might mean that an initial change in CO2 led to further increases in CO2 (pos feedback) or reduction in CO2 back to the initial concentration (neg feedback). This isn’t really what it means in climate science, generally because very little in the feedback world cares about the CO2 change itself, but rather the temperature change that comes from that CO2.”

    Funny but this is the exact problem I had when I was thinking about this at first. Took me a little while to remember that you have define exactly what the input and output are before thinking about anything else! Best to draw a diagram sometimes.

    Typing on Ipad btw is not ideal…..

    Comment by Sam — 30 Apr 2010 @ 3:35 AM

  197. This, and certain other anti-AGW books I’ve seen, reminds me of a short story I once read (sorry, can’t remember the title nor the author): A UFO skeptic writes a book about his meeting with an alien visitor (from Venus I think) as a hoax intended to demonstrate just how gullible UFO believers are. He fills it with patent nonsense from end to end (one nice touch was how the aliens report flying around in their cities with backpacks filled with helium, highly compressed for lift). He even puts in an acrostic spelling out that this book is a fraud. The UFO milieu laps it up, and he is made the keynote speaker at a big convention of theirs, where he plans to reveal all and watch them get egg all over their faces.

    You have to wonder if this is Allègre’s game too…

    But then it would probably backfire. In the short story, the audience refuses to believe that the alien visit was a hoax, even though he tells them he made it up. They are able to rationalize away every clue he’s left in the book. All he has achieved is to add another alien visit to their belief structure.

    Comment by CM — 30 Apr 2010 @ 3:44 AM

  198. Sam,the feedback in electronics is similar. If you’ve ever done recording, you know that often the recording engineer will add carefully controlled feedback to a particular signal. The thing to remember is that infinite series are stable as long as each successive term in the series converges to zero rapidly enough–that is, you get a finite factor of amplification.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 30 Apr 2010 @ 4:05 AM

  199. “what did it add?”

    -’nuff said.

    Comment by arch stanton — 30 Apr 2010 @ 4:20 AM

  200. EG 150: Ike Solem: YOU are working for the coal industry whether you know it or not. My guess is that you are a coal industry shill.

    BPL: Crap! Ike Solem has been the toughest critic of the coal industry on this blog, which you’d know if you’d been reading carefully. Your “it has to be either coal or nuclear” is just wrong, always has been wrong, always will be wrong.

    EG: Nuclear power makes LESS CO2 THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE OF ELECTRICITY.

    BPL: Wind? Solar? Geothermal? I tend to doubt they make MORE CO2 than nuclear. Nuclear, if nothing else, gives off a lot of CO2 when all that concrete sets. Then there’s the fossil fuels used in mining and transportation of fuel. You don’t need either process for wind, solar, or geo.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 30 Apr 2010 @ 5:01 AM

  201. CFU :“aree you considering that estimating a sensitivity between “2 and 5 °C” is a high level of accuracy ? ”

    Are you saying that between 2 and 5 is too innaccurate to make policy decisions?

    Because 2C per doubling is still a catastrophe under BAU.”

    yes, because “BAU” is not a scientific assertion at all – it is just a “what if ” scenario and there is no serious reason to think it is realistic – actually it is not a scenario at all because it says nothing about the effects of resource depletion on business, even done as usual. So it cannot be really used for policy decisions – and the current vacuous state of the climate policy is just an experimental proof of this. Second, you just confirmed that the debate around climate science is dominated by its political implications, not by its scientific level.

    Comment by Gilles — 30 Apr 2010 @ 5:01 AM

  202. EG 176: Nuclear has killed ZERO Americans total.

    BPL: No matter how many times you repeat this, it remains a lie. What’s more, you know it’s a lie, since I’ve posted references to the contrary here before.

    Here it is one more time:

    http://bartonpaullevenson.com/NukeAccidents.html

    I count 15 Americans known dead from nuclear power. That may be less than from coal, but it is not “ZERO.” And that total doesn’t count the people that have died from the many, many “unplanned releases” of radioactive material.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 30 Apr 2010 @ 5:11 AM

  203. As it is pertinent to the kind of mindset that people like Allegre seem to have, I just thought I would repeat here a post I put up in WUWT where I perennially fight a losing battle trying to convince the unconvinceable:

    I am definitely on a “losing wicket” at WUWT (as we say in England) because the way the average poster’s mind on that blog seems to work as follows:
    1. The temperature records are false so it is probably not warming
    2. Even if it is proved the earth is warming it is not very much because positive feedback is exaggerated
    3. Even if it is proved that the temperatures are rising as fast as predicted, there is no proof that it is caused by CO2. It is all natural, and therefore there is nothing we can do about it.
    4. Even if it is proved that temperatures are rising and that it is caused by CO2, global warming is good for man rather than bad.

    In other words it appears to be possible to hold 4 very different positions on the argument simultaneously. It is very difficult to pin down anybody there on what they actually think is true.

    Point 3 is hauled out to trump anybody pointing out pro AGW evidence. It is impossible to completely counter point 3 because of course there are natural variabilities in the Earth’s climate and it is very difficult to prove the change is not natural because it is almost impossible to prove a negative.

    All I can do is repeat the “fingerprints” of greenhouse gas forced temperature rises that make it different to naturally forced temperature rises.
    – more warming at higher than lower latitudes
    – more warming during the night than during the day
    – more warming in the troposphere than the stratosphere (and in the case of CO2 the stratosphere can cool while the troposphere is warming).
    All these effects are currently being seen.

    Individually, there are other possible causes for each of these effects, however the chances of all of them having alternative causes is pretty low, and taken together they make a pretty compelling case for greenhouse gas forced warming.

    Natural forcings tend to affect all temperatures roughly equally, high and low latitudes, night and day, upper and lower atmosphere.

    I have even seen an article on WUWT that said that the above “fingerprints” are all good anyway – a few warm nights and a warmer Arctic can’t harm can they? And this was from a guy who vociferously argues elsewhere that AGW is not happening! Now either it isn’t happening, or it is happening and it is good – you cannot honestly hold both views at the same time.

    However if somebody is absolutely determined not to agree with the scientific evidence of AGW then it is very difficult to persuade them otherwise. It is a bit like trying to turn a Democrat into a Republican or vice versa. Occasionally it does happen – but it is a rare event.

    I started out as a sceptic as that is my general disposition. But I have gradually over the last couple of years, after reading the science, come to the view that AGW is a real threat. Mind you I was always a “floating voter” and open minded. Many of those at WUWT have resolutely closed minds.

    I still have my issues with “alarmism” (particularly in the media and politics) and the over-attribution of every natural anomaly to global warming. However I think the weight of scientific evidence that AGW is happening is compelling if you look at it as a whole and are not prepared to hold four conflicting views simultaneously.

    Comment by Matthew L — 30 Apr 2010 @ 6:15 AM

  204. 175 Philip Machanick:

    Indeed many other ore minerals will dissolve in, say, sulphuric acid, but groundwater is unlikely to be a problem if the ore is so massive that it has to be cracked to allow circulation, and of course full recovery must be the aim of economic mining. It is worth noting that ore sulphates will yield sulphuric acid on roasting so the acid is recyclable, and of course the other metals recovered at the same time can add to the profits. I suspect that you were showing a knee-jerk reaction.

    Comment by Brian Carter — 30 Apr 2010 @ 6:59 AM

  205. #180–

    Well, the National Academy of Science said that AIT got the science mostly right, IIRC. (Curiously, I couldn’t find a really specific link on that, though I found a few that confirmed the basic fact.)

    However, the Texas state climatologist, John W. Nielson-Gammon, submitted this report on AIT to GeoJournal back in 2007:

    http://geotest.tamu.edu/userfiles/222/ait.pdf

    His take is critical, but grants somewhat grudging approval (as I read it at least):

    “The movie An Inconvenient Truth is a powerful portrayal of global warming and
    its impacts. The main scientific argument presented in the movie is for the most part
    consistent with the weight of scientific evidence,
    but with some of the main points
    needing updating, correction, or qualification. The detailed argument relies almost
    entirely on past and current evidence and neglects almost all information that can be
    gained from computer models, perhaps because such information would be difficult for a
    lay audience to grasp, believe, or connect with emotionally. This places an undue weight
    on current events as signs of ongoing climate change. . .”

    (From the abstract.)

    Even the most critical reading of this puts AIT orders of magnitude (OK, OK, that’s a metaphor) above the Allegre book we’re discussing on this thread.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 30 Apr 2010 @ 7:41 AM

  206. “aree you considering that estimating a sensitivity between “2 and 5 °C” is a high level of accuracy ?” – Gilles

    Are you really ignorant of the distinction between accuracy and precision? If not, you are being deliberately deceitful.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 30 Apr 2010 @ 7:49 AM

  207. Regarding: #90, 106, 128, and 165: Rohling and colleagues published a paper in EPSL early this year showing that the true stage 11 interglacial (with sea level as high as today) lasted less than 10,000 years, not the 26,000 years claimed by the EPICA group and by Broecker and Stocker. Rohling et al also show that those papers completely misaligned that interglacial and the current one. Their abstract concludes: “…the end of Holocene conditions might have been expected 2.0-2.5 ky ago”. So — as I have been saying in print since 2005, stage 11 does not contradict my claim that a new glaciation is overdue, and in fact it supports it.

    Comment by Bill Ruddiman — 30 Apr 2010 @ 8:06 AM

  208. “yes, because “BAU” is not a scientific assertion at all ”

    How is it not a scientific assertion?

    Does business as normally conducted now not produce lots of CO2 from burning fossil fuels and other anthropogenic sources of greenhouse gasses?

    And if you can prove business doesn’t do this, this is still a scientific assertion.

    Or are you using the Bill Gates Defence (“it depends what you mean by “is””)?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 30 Apr 2010 @ 8:43 AM

  209. “BPL: Wind? Solar? Geothermal? I tend to doubt they make MORE CO2 than nuclear. Nuclear, if nothing else, gives off a lot of CO2 when all that concrete sets.”

    Also, how do you mine the uranium? How do you move the uranium from the place where it’s mined to the processing plant? How do you power the processing? How do you get it to the power station? How do you get the waste out? …

    Lots of transport, lots of power, wasted just to produce nuclear energy and currently most of these produce CO2.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 30 Apr 2010 @ 8:47 AM

  210. ““what did it add?”

    -’nuff said.”

    Well, not really. Because if it didn’t actually add anything (you didn’t say it added anything, though you had the chance and took it to NOT say it added anything), it would actually be MORE than enough said. As in you could have said less and THAT would be ’nuff said.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 30 Apr 2010 @ 8:48 AM

  211. BR 207: stage 11 does not contradict my claim that a new glaciation is overdue, and in fact it supports it.

    BPL: Orbital mechanics doesn’t. Milankovic Cycles aren’t something we have to guess it. Orbital mechanics has been a very, very precise branch of astronomy since the 19th century. The next stade is in 20,000 years, not “overdue.” And it will be a shallow one. The one after that is 50,000 years from now.

    Can you do matrix math? If so, you can calculate where the Milankovic cycles will be at any given time, millions of years into the past or future.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 30 Apr 2010 @ 9:20 AM

  212. Thanks Bill Ruddiman; here’s that cite and a newer one apparently related — grist for a whole new thread I hope! Another good example of how science grows at the interesting ends wherever they go.

    Rohling, E.J., et al., Comparison between Holocene and Marine Isotope Stage-11 sea-level histories. Earth and Planetary Science Letters

    http://www.soes.soton.ac.uk/staff/ejr/Rohling-papers/2010-Rohling%20et%20al%20MIS11%20EPSL.pdf

    Interesting ‘related’ link:
    http://www.physorg.com/news189778550.html (press release from UCSB):

    Links between eccentricity forcing and the 100,000-year glacial cycle
    http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v3/n5/abs/ngeo828.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Apr 2010 @ 9:30 AM

  213. re:201 “and the current vacuous state of the climate policy is just an experimental proof of this.”

    Adjectives aren’t science. They aren’t even argument.

    Elsewhere you complain about the quality of the data in climate science, and you don’t provide a critique of what you mean by quality. It sounds suspiciously like you equate “quality” with the number of decimals.

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 30 Apr 2010 @ 9:42 AM

  214. Steve in Dublin, the post was meant to be, as we say on this side of the pond, “tongue in cheek”, or not taken seriously.

    However your response would indicate a definite lack of scientific analysis. That is, one makes use of ALL relevant information in searching for the “truth”. Those “goat herd myths” (i.e. Icelandic/Scandinavian sagas, the Bible, or Epic of Gilgamesh), overlay a body of real information. These include Viking settlements in Newfoundland, or the pre-Ur flood discovered by archaeologist Sir Charles Wooley.

    Many of these old chronicles are getting a 2nd look as we get more climate info from these earlier times. In fact these old epics, or sagas, by their cadence, preserve informative accuracy. Similar to the error detect and correction methods used in Internet “packets”.

    So Steve, beware of the “ancient goat herd curse”, where the fleas of a 1000 goats enter your brain. Then you will beseech St. Brendan and the spirit of Old Bushmills, to banish the fleas, purge your ignorance of Science, and sweeten your tongue.

    Comment by J. Bob — 30 Apr 2010 @ 9:45 AM

  215. A classic definition of system feed back is:
    if the output of the systems increases the input, it’s positive
    if the output of the system decreases the input it’s negative.

    Comment by J. Bob — 30 Apr 2010 @ 9:49 AM

  216. “The next stade is in 20,000 years, not “overdue.” And it will be a shallow one. The one after that is 50,000 years from now”

    And if the ice age happens early, that would point to a higher climate sensitivity to a change in the energy balance.

    This doesn’t seem to bother those wanting to make out everything is hunkey-dorey.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 30 Apr 2010 @ 9:52 AM

  217. #159 Gilles (and responses to your “And it reveals a fundamental problem in climate science. The problem is that this science is NOT characterized by a very high level of accuracy of the theories, ” by my post #122 and Secular/Animist #136).

    “aree you considering that estimating a sensitivity between “2 and 5 °C” is a high level of accuracy ?”

    Of course it is – as shown by hindsight modelling of the observed warming trend. Accuracy is always relative, never absolute. Why, therefore, compare climate theory accuracy (accuracy of what anyway?) to other fields of science and create a false sense of uncertainty – compare apples with apples.
    As I said before, compared with the lack of ANY alternative theory with ANY predictive value the level of accuracy in AGW is — well — infinite.
    Again YOU demonstrate a lack of understanding of climate science in particular and science in general.
    Playing political speak again.

    Comment by Hugh Laue — 30 Apr 2010 @ 9:54 AM

  218. “I still have my issues with “alarmism” (particularly in the media and politics) and the over-attribution of every natural anomaly to global warming”

    You’ll note that this is done mostly in editorial phrasing in media.

    Likewise, they’ll fluff up over-confidence in a statement that *could* possibly be construed as showing AGW is false.

    Controversy, like [edit-lets keep it clean!], sells newspapers.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 30 Apr 2010 @ 10:20 AM

  219. J’accuse le manque de comparer! Again and again, contrarians, even French ones, lack expertise, experience, actual field work tactile learning. Hansen et al. with the help of computers predict correctly world global temperatures going on for 20 years. Et Monsieur Allegre? Destroys the very essence of correct science, which is , recognizing successful theories from the failed ones. From there he is lost in the pseudo scientific wilderness world, which as it seems has a great deal of followers, book buyers, tour attendees, TV appearances. In essence fame. Plait-il d’etre un buffon fameux? I recognize the allure, the noose of fame, tantalizing and yet never quenched for no one dares exactness more
    than those who despise it.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 30 Apr 2010 @ 10:37 AM

  220. Kevin McKinney (205), the National Academy of Science assessed Gore’s movie?? Can you verify that? That’s a bigger waste of my taxpayer money than some military toilet seats!

    Comment by Rod B — 30 Apr 2010 @ 10:49 AM

  221. #181: CSS by carbonate mineral production
    If I understand correctly, this is exactly the line Vincent Courtillot and co-workers are exploring (in their research for a faster way to do that carbonation). As a former speleologists this form of CSS makes me more comfortable than injecting liquefied CO2 into the underground (even if this will be done at depths I never risk caving into :-)

    Comment by Francis Massen — 30 Apr 2010 @ 10:50 AM

  222. RE: Sam #168 – how is the term feedback used in climate studies?

    You may find it helpful to look at G. Roe 2009. Feedbacks, Timescales,
    and Seeing Red. Annu. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci. 2009. 37:93–115

    Available here http://earthweb.ess.washington.edu/roe/Publications/Roe_FeedbacksRev_08.pdf

    Comment by Rick Brown — 30 Apr 2010 @ 11:13 AM

  223. ““yes, because “BAU” is not a scientific assertion at all ”

    How is it not a scientific assertion?

    Does business as normally conducted now not produce lots of CO2 from burning fossil fuels and other anthropogenic sources of greenhouse gasses?”

    a-) What do you call “business” ? were the communist economies during the Soviet empire also “business”? because they were burning a lot of hydrocarbons – much more per unit GDP than western ones actually.
    b-) considering the change in the society for 100 years, I don’t think that “as usual” refers to a precise situation.
    Nick Gott : if you want to enter semantic discussions, GCM predictions are neither accurate, nor precise.

    Comment by Gilles — 30 Apr 2010 @ 11:22 AM

  224. On the microbe issue. There is a line in the third paragraph from the end of the press release which states:

    “But if microbes manage to adapt to the warmth – for instance, through increased enzyme activity – emissions could intensify.”

    My money is on evolution, especially for microbes which can adapt with amazing speed.

    Comment by Rattus Norvegicus — 30 Apr 2010 @ 11:34 AM

  225. Regarding the alignment of MIS11 and Holocene, there are several options depending if you consider that the main driver of past climate changes is precession or obliquity. This is discusssed in http://www.clim-past.net/2/145/2006/cp-2-145-2006.pdf.
    Note that MIS11 is not a good analogue of the present day orbital context because of a different phase between obliquity and precession.
    MIS19 (800 000 years ago) is a closer orbital analogue, albeit occurring with a weaker obliquity amplitude.
    Valerie.

    Comment by Valerie Masson-Delmotte — 30 Apr 2010 @ 12:05 PM

  226. click through for the whole paper, but it’s worthwhile looking at a bit more from the abstract; they’re talking about how different (or not) MIS-11 was, and whether its differences are sufficient to assume the Holocene would go longer than otherwise might be expected, or not:

    “… . Comparison of the ends of MIS-11 and the Holocene based on timings relative to their respective maxima in mean 21 June insolation at 65°N suggests that the end of Holocene conditions might have been expected 2.0–2.5ky ago. Instead, interglacial conditions have continued, with CO2, temperature, and sea level remaining high or increasing. This apparent discrepancy highlights the need to consider that: (a) comparisons may need to focus on other orbital control indices, in which case the discrepancy can vanish; and/or (b) the feedback mechanisms that dominate the planetary energy balance may have become decoupled from insolation during the past 2 millennia.”

    The ‘shifting baselines’ work reminds us that the whole biological side of the carbon cycle — trophic balance, disappearance of top predators — had gone way out of whack before science even started. So what the early scientists found wasn’t a baseline, it was already a trend in progress.. Look at Jeremy Jackson’s work at Scripps. By the time science _began_ we’d already drastically changed life on the planet, far more than we realized. Many people don’t know about this yet, it’s rather new news in science.

    A reminder that the science isn’t, erm, settled, or it wouldn’t be science. Complications surprise.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Apr 2010 @ 12:26 PM

  227. Matthew L says: 30 April 2010 at 6:15 AM

    1. The temperature records are false so it is probably not warming

    Ask rejectionists and they’ll tell you any record leading to an otherwise inescapable and inconvenient conclusion is false. All data, all observational methods, even much of what we thought we knew of physics, if they’re somehow related to climate they have in common the strange coincidence of being flawed in the same direction. Odds-defying, sure, but you -have- to believe it. If you don’t, you have to believe something else and that surely won’t do.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 30 Apr 2010 @ 12:56 PM

  228. There are limits to the orbital analogies between the current and past interglacials. The alignemnts of Holocene and MIS11 depend on the orbital target (obliquity or precession). In fact, MIS11 is not a good orbital analog because it has a different phasing between obliquity and precession than the current interglacial. The other close analogue can be found earlier (MIS19, 800 000 years ago) but at that time the magnitude of obliquity variations were smaller.
    The limits to aligning the Holocene and MIS11 are discussed in Masson-Delmotte et al Climate of the Past 2006, available online at : http://www.clim-past.net/2/145/2006/cp-2-145-2006.html

    Valérie.

    Comment by Valerie Masson-Delmotte — 30 Apr 2010 @ 1:02 PM

  229. This discussion on recent research into public argument seems useful in the context of Professor Allègre.

    How to win friends and crush your enemies into the dust

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 30 Apr 2010 @ 1:11 PM

  230. Edward Greisch wrote: “I have no connection with the nuclear power industry.”

    I’ll take your word on that.

    Meanwhile, you still owe a public apology for calling Ike Solem a “coal industry shill”.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 30 Apr 2010 @ 1:30 PM

  231. “a-) What do you call “business” ?”

    What everyone else calls business.

    Yup, gullible is going for the insanity plea.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 30 Apr 2010 @ 1:54 PM

  232. “214
    J. Bob says:
    30 April 2010 at 9:45 AM

    Steve in Dublin, the post was meant to be, as we say on this side of the pond, “tongue in cheek”, or not taken seriously. ”

    Ah, so J Bob shouldn’t be taken seriously.

    Got it.

    Everyone! When J Bob says something, its meant to be stupid, so we should ignore him.

    M’kay.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 30 Apr 2010 @ 1:59 PM

  233. I’ve found people to be very impressed with numbers, stats, equations, & graphs. That makes the climate denial urban legends all that more believable, esp for those searching for some way to deny climate change.

    I actually stumbled on that (dare I say) trick by accident. I was preparing for a town council meeting on whether or not to have a recycling center some 15 years ago. I thought it best to memorize some stats that I could use (I forget what they were, but they were valid stats to my recollection). When I got up to speak, I spit out the stats, and it’s like I bowled the audience and aldermen over with them. Wow, the power of stats. These could have been bogus stats, and they would have been bowled over just the same.

    It’s sort of like “please don’t make me take a stat or science course, I believe you.”

    Like when I was hauled in by the IRS 30 yrs ago, and they wanted to have proof of our house price. I had the big box with me brimming full of receipts. I dumped in on the IRS officer’s desk, and said, “We built our own home.” She pushed the pile back toward me, waving it away, and said, “I believe you.” And to think we could have given some bogus price, or at least just roughly estimated instead of spending hours calculating it…

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 30 Apr 2010 @ 2:41 PM

  234. Gavin’s topical comments are well taken – so let’s take a look at how various media outlets are giving a megaphone to Allegre’s unsupported claims:

    The Wall Street Journal, Bret Stephens, Apr 26 2010: “In France, a book titled “L’imposture climatique” is a runaway bestseller: Its author, Claude Allegre, is one of the country’s most acclaimed scientists and a former minister of education…”

    The French government itself, May 27 2009 via Fox News: “Sarkozy wants to bring Claude Allegre, a former advocate of the theory of man-made climate change who now says global warming is not really caused by human activity, into his cabinet to head the super-ministry of industry and innovation.”

    Daily Telegraph, Oct 13 2007: “A sour note was sounded by a leading French climate skeptic, former education minister and award-winning geochemist Claude Allegre. He brushed off today’s announcement as ‘a political gimmick’ and said climatology ‘is not a discipline, it doesn’t exist.'”

    People may be perplexed by this – but let me explain something about academics. You can generally find stubborn old contrarians in the nether regions of every Earth science department who refuse to accept new ideas – plate tectonics had its share of diehard naysayers, and you can still find those who refuse to accept the existence of an asteroid impact at the K-T boundary. The difference, however, is that these people are usually gently tolerated as well as roundly ignored by their peers. They’re never called on by science journalists or given media platforms on PBS NOVA or Discovery science programs – or invited to advise government bodies on science policy.

    The reason the Allegre crowd is atypical is that various fossil fuel PR groups have made efforts to develop ‘a body of media experts’ intended to give oil and coal interests a ‘independent third-party voice’ for use in their efforts to manipulate public opinion on climate and energy issues. These methods have been in use ever since the global warming issue was first raised in the early 1980s, and have been exposed time and time again – try this article, for example:

    Industrial group plans to battle climate treaty, Apr 26 1998 NYT

    Among their ideas is a campaign to recruit a cadre of scientists who share the industry’s views of climate science and to train them in public relations so they can help convince journalists, politicians and the public that the risk of global warming is too uncertain…

    More recently, the major U.S. media organizations, whose primary investors are dependent on fossil fuel cash flows, have apparently instituted a policy of firing reporters who offer unbiased assessments of global warming – seen most spectacularly in CNN’s firing of its entire science, technology and environment staff – after they ran an accurate series of articles on the ecological effects of global warming in the Arctic.

    “We want to integrate environmental, science and technology reporting into the general editorial structure rather than have a stand alone unit,” said CNN spokesperson Barbara Levin.

    Translation: “We want to be able to spike stories that upset our owners.” Why? Well, CNN is a TimeWarner subsidiary, and Time Warners investors all have major holdings in the coal, oil, and natural gas sectors. Notice, thus, that if automobiles and electric utilities shift to non-fossil fuel energy sources, these large investors will have to abandon their fossil fuel holdings, and that would also mean an end to coal mining and oil & gas drilling. Take just one example of personal interest, State Street Corporation, which manages many California pension funds, has $1.2 billion in Time Warner. The sum of holdings in Exxon, Chevron, Conoco, Peabody Coal, and Southern Co. alone comes to $24.36 billion.

    The solution? Perhaps an independent media is important enough to require new rules for media organizations – such as tenured positions for editors and reporters, or allowing the media employees to actually elect their bosses from among their own ranks?

    Notice, however, that the Stone Age did not end due to a shortage of stones – better technologies came along – even if they were occasionally suppressed by the vested interests of their day.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 30 Apr 2010 @ 2:56 PM

  235. #220–Actually, Rod, I was not able to confirm that, as I mentioned in the original post. Quite possibly I’m mistaken–perhaps confusing Gore’s reception by NAS with a formal assessment?

    But either way, it probably didn’t cost you as taxpayer:

    “Since 1863, the nation’s leaders have often turned to the National Academies for advice on the scientific and technological issues that frequently pervade policy decisions. Most of the institution’s science policy and technical work is conducted by its operating arm, the National Research Council, created expressly for this purpose. These non-profit organizations provide a public service by working outside the framework of government to ensure independent advice on matters of science, technology, and medicine. They enlist committees of the nation’s top scientists, engineers, and other experts, all of whom volunteer their time to study specific concerns.”

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 30 Apr 2010 @ 3:06 PM

  236. RE “Hansen presumably can’t be bothered to deal with this kind of accusation, but Allègre’s claim is almost certainly libelous.”

    I don’t know about legal matters but I’m wondering if other people, like an org, could sue him for libel against the various persons he lambasts. I’d be willing to contribute to such a lawsuit. Maybe a class action lawsuit.

    Now I’ve taken on a new fight, against anti-environmentalism & climate denialism in the Catholic Church ( http://catholicecology.wordpress.com ), which is really interesting, because popes and bishops have been admonishing people to mitigate climate change for over 20 years. So the Catholic denialists (many linked to orgs funded by Exxon & Koch Industries) have to be careful not to go against the magesterium (teachings) of the Church (tho they do that too).

    So what do they mainly do is mount broad-brush red herring attacks (witch hunts :)) on environmentalists in general for being neopagan-pantheist-anti-human-atheists. To them that is the real problem, much more serious than environmental problems. Unfortunately the popes have addressed dangers such environmentalism (such as considering people the scum of the earth) in their environmental writings, so these Catholic anti-environmentalists are not so much violating the letter of the teachings, as much as the spirit of them.

    I wish I could sue them in the name of slandering all environmentalists, but the most I can do is expose their devious fallacies, red herrings, and strawmen.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 30 Apr 2010 @ 3:18 PM

  237. Ike Solem wrote: “… the Stone Age did not end due to a shortage of stones …”

    Actually, in a sense, the Stone Age never ended.

    We still use plenty of stone today — in fact we probably use more stone in a year than all of humanity used throughout the entire “Stone Age”.

    The use of stone was not a threat to the survival of the human species such that a complete and rapid phase-out of stone was required, as is the case with fossil fuels.

    It would be nice if we could just wait for advances in the development, deployment and cost of alternative energy technologies to bring about a “natural” market-driven transition from a fossil-fuel energy economy to one based on harvesting an abundant, endless supply of free wind and solar energy. And I am inclined to think that such a “natural” transition might happen a lot faster than most people think, in spite of fossil fuel industry obstruction.

    But even so, I think that still would not be fast enough to avoid horrific consequences from AGW, hence the need for strong government policies to aggressively accelerate the phase-out of fossil fuels and speed the development & deployment of renewables … unless perhaps the parapsychologists make some breakthrough in applied retrocausality so we can start the “natural” transition 30 years ago.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 30 Apr 2010 @ 4:23 PM

  238. Re #212: This is not the first time someone on RC has suggested an updated piece on the current state of the early anthropogenic hypothesis. I am willing to do one later this year, after several articles now in review go online (assuming that Gavin et al think that it appropriate). There have been several very important new developments in this debate.

    Re #225: I fully agree with Valerie that stage 11 is not a good analog to stage 1 and have made that very point several times in my recent papers. But that does not in any way contradict my conclusion that the former ‘type example’ of a long interglacial is no longer valid.

    Re #228: I also fully agree with Valerie that interglacial stage 19 is a better insolation analog to the current interglacial because the tilt/precession alignments are nearly identical. But I see this as yet more support for the early anthropogenic hypothesis. Stage 19 was another short (<10,000 year) interglacial, which means this one should be at an end. And CO2 and CH4 values were headed downwards during the interval in stage 19 that can be unequivocally aligned with the (anomalous = anthropogenic) gas increases of the last several thousand years. Those GHG decreases in stage 19 are consistent with what the hypothesis predicted should have occurred during this one.

    Re #211: Barton, you may want to take a little time off from your 24/7 posting on RC to read what I have published on orbital issues and also to check what Rohling et al said). Orbital changes are integral to my hypothesis and to Rohling's analysis.

    Side note but on topic — a 4/28/10 World Climate Report favorably cited a recent paper by my Wisconsin colleagues and me about how much colder it would be today without early agricultural or industrial-era GHG's. I would have though that Pat Michaels was too clever to fall into "Bill's Trojan horse trap", but I guess not. The trap: if you accept the conclusions of model analyses from Ruddiman and his Wisconsin colleagues, you are also acknowledging the validity of mainstream model estimates of climate sensitivity. Michaels now joins not just Claude Allegre but also Benny Peiser and Fred Singer. After apparently recognizing the actual contents of the Trojan horse, Peiser and SInger abruptly stopped referring to the issue. Anyway, I hope all RC members will join me in welcoming Pat Michaels to the mainstream view on global warming, however briefly.

    Comment by Bill Ruddiman — 30 Apr 2010 @ 4:53 PM

  239. Chris Colose (188) — As I understand it, near equilibrium adding CO2 lead to more CO2 via

    Added CO2 –> warming ocean
    Warming ocean —> outgases CO2

    So just considering the CO2 (orelse just the temperature), there is an amplifying feedback with an s-plane system transfer function of

    T(s) = 1/(1 – k/(s+b)) = (s+b)/(s + (b-k))

    for suitable constants k and b. The impulse response (to a delta function) in the time domain is
    T(t) = k.exp(-(b-k)t)
    for b greater than k; the system is unstable for b less than k.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 30 Apr 2010 @ 4:56 PM

  240. Lynn V says: “I don’t know about legal matters but I’m wondering if other people, like an org, could sue him for libel against the various persons he lambasts. I’d be willing to contribute to such a lawsuit. Maybe a class action lawsuit.”

    http://www.desmogblog.com/climate-scientist-sues-national-post

    Dr. Andrew Weaver, one of the most respected climate scientists in Canada and one of the best climate modellers in the world, has launched a libel suit against the National Post newspaper and its publisher, editors and three writer: Terence Corcoran, Peter Foster and Kevin Libin.

    The 48-page Statement of Claim (download the PDF version here) sets out a National Post pattern of reporting critical and erroneous material about Weaver and, in recent times, refusing to retract or correct when inaccuracies are brought to the paper’s attention. An obvious example was an allegation that Weaver had (or was about to) quit his Nobel-winning role in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – an allegation Weaver dismissed out of hand.

    I actually do not think this is the right approach, since libel laws can also be abused by vested fossil fuel interests (very typical in Britain, for example). For example, do I have to put up with a libel lawsuit from Accuweather’s Joe Bastardi – or George Will – because I claimed they were either completely ignorant of basic scientific facts – or blatantly dishonest? Claude Allegre can likewise say what he wants – it’s called free speech – and yes, he’s free to display his ignorannt vitriolic nonsense to the world. Sue him? Why not just point out the inconsistencies in his arguments?

    I’d push instead for the independence of reporters and editors, and for special rules for all media organizations that ban ownership by holding companies and require long-tern contracts for editors and reporters – essentially, something like a tenure system for media. Why? Look into the CNN firing of the entire science & technology team – along with six executive producers – and you’ll see why some kind of reform is needed.

    I’d also suggest a more democratic system in media companies, in which in-house elections for CEOs are held – as they are in the better academic institutes (Chancellors instead of CEOs, perhaps?).

    Accurate information is the bottom line – and external control by vested fossil fuel interests will only result in disinformation and worse.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 30 Apr 2010 @ 5:50 PM

  241. Bill Ruddiman (238) — Well stated, thanks.

    I take it that the issue of whether there is currently a skipped start into a stade due solely to anthropogenic influences or whether the particular pattern of Milankovitch cycles suffice to explain the skipped descent is still not completely settled. We have “Astronomical calculations show that 65N summer insolation should increase gradually over the next 25,000 years, and that no 65N summer insolation declines sufficient to cause an ice age are expected in the next 50,000 – 100,000 years ( Hollan 2000, Berger 2002).” from
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/milankovitch.html

    Comment by David B. Benson — 30 Apr 2010 @ 7:13 PM

  242. #122

    The vast majority of genuine scientists will see through the BS

    I’m not sure. The validity of the above remark depends on another doubtful proposition i.e that most scientists are well informed outside their own specialty. I know several exceptions and the mechanism is obvious, that they owe a part of their success to a single minded determination to concentrate intensely on a narrow area connected with their work.

    Most sensible professionals in this position keep a modest silence when in foreign territory , but some compensate by substituting prejudice for knowledge. This further restricts their reading so as to amplify their ignorance, a form of positive feedback. Its a pity that people like Allegre and Plimer can’t be subjected to a public examination to check their knowledge of the subject which they like to attack.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 30 Apr 2010 @ 7:14 PM

  243. David Benson (239),

    This may very well be the case, but as I pointed out, the additional CO2 rise is not from the CO2…it’s from some change in the climate regime that the initial radiative forcing from CO2 caused. This is where one needs to be careful in identifying what exactly a “feedback” means in the atmospheric science sense. Perhaps the root cause of the extra CO2 is warming ocean waters and decreasing solubility (this does not turn out to be the biggest factor over glacial-interglacial transitions, and is partially offset by salinity effects), or perhaps a shift in the westerlies and changed upwelling in the ocean (see the Sigman and Boyle paper) for a review of various mechanisms of CO2 change over the glacia-interglacial transitions and my post on the topic here and the associated paper from Bob Anderson). There is really no strict physical mandate that a warming world must be associated with higher CO2 levels (in the sense there is a physical mandate that higher CO2 must lead to a warmer world in the absence of other negative forcings), but it does tend to be the case on timescales shorter than silicate-weathering dominance.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 30 Apr 2010 @ 7:15 PM

  244. Chris Colose (243) — I ind it a superior explanation for beginners to start directly with the idea that CO2 in the atmosphere leads to more CO2 in the atmosphere and then fill in some of the details later.

    The remainder of your comment was enlightening to me. Thank you.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 30 Apr 2010 @ 7:56 PM

  245. 202 Barton Paul Levenson: You included military and foreign uses of nuclear in your list of deaths due to things nuclear. You included incidents that were strictly concerned with bomb making and people fooling around with bomb parts. No fair counting foreign and military with US civilian power. I see 6 deaths from steam explosions possibly linked to commercial power reactors in the US in your confused list. Since steam explosions can and do happen in coal fired power plants, there are zero deaths of Americans that are directly attributable to the fact of nuclear power in your list. Steam explosions have always happened in all kinds of steam engines, especially wood and coal fired steam engines.
    The release of heavy hydrogen, such as at 3 mile island, poses ZERO hazard to people because hydrogen and helium are so light that they go straight up and leave the Earth forever. Earth has insufficient gravity to hold any isotope of hydrogen or helium. The maximum allowed exposure to the public from a nuclear power plant is 15 millirem/year. A coal fired power plant routinely gives you 100 to 400 times that: 1500 to 6000 millirems/year.

    Reference: “Power to Save the World; The Truth About Nuclear Energy” by Gwyneth Cravens, 2007
    Page 98: There is a table of millirems per year from the natural background in a list of inhabited places.
    Chernobyl: 490 millirem/year [natural + accidental]
    Guarapari, Brazil: 3700 millirem/year
    Tamil Nadu, India: 5300 millirem/year
    Ramsar, Iran: 8900 to 13200 millirem/year
    Zero excess cancer deaths are recorded. All are natural except for Chernobyl.

    See:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Background_radiation
    This is a long article referencing some UN documents on natural background radiation.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 30 Apr 2010 @ 8:21 PM

  246. Re 244 David B. Benson – Well I can understand that it can be tricky for beginners, but actually

    Starting before climate response – additions to or subtractions from C anywhere within the ocean+atmosphere+biomass+soil tend to get redistributed, on various timescales (longest for the deep ocean), with rapid responses between the atmosphere and ocean limited by the supply of ions and slow oceanic overturning.

    With the climate response – short to long term – changes in biomass and soil, CO2 solubility in water (temperature and salinity dependence), changes in oceanic circulation and photosynthesis within the ocean (PS if C sinks down into the ocean into water masses that take longer to resurface, then oceanic C will tend to increase; if upwelling water contains more dissolved CO3(-2), then it can take more CO2 from the air (in a reaction that produces bicarbonate ions), maybe some other things…

    very long term – changes in climate tend (depending on alignment of precipitation and topography and mineral types) to cause a negative feedback (via chemical weathering and subsequent supply of ions to the ocean) such that a warmer climate tends to pull CO2 out of the air faster – this stabilizes the CO2 level (allowing a finite change in CO2 and climate, as opposed to continual change in one direction) in response to changes in geologic CO2 emissions, and offers a negative feedback to other forced climate changes; however, glaciations can in some ways increase the chemical weathering (by supplying greater surface area of material that can be chemically weathered in warmer conditions found downstream, or perhaps during interglacials within a generally cold period (?), or during glaciations due to lowered sea level); changes in climate may also affect geologic emission via weathering of rocks containing C, and climate, geography, and evolution will affect organic C burial.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 30 Apr 2010 @ 8:44 PM

  247. My question is this:

    Do those speaking against Climate science and data actually know they are wrong, or do they believe they are right simply because they don’t have the depth of understanding needed to see that they are lacking information and skill in the area of Climate Science?

    Related to this question, I have to wonder about the Geologists and to a lesser extent the engineers that keep putting themselves forward as Climate Experts, or at least seeing the “errors” in Climate Science, missing what seems to me to be simple errors in their own statements. Are they unable to understand that experts in another field, just may know more about what they are doing in that specific area than someone from a different discipline?

    I think it is clear that most “regular” people are coming to the same conclusion, and that the Climate “Debate” is being won by those with actual data, not just rhetoric.

    Comment by Dale Power — 30 Apr 2010 @ 9:11 PM

  248. @RC

    I appreciate all of the work you guys put into debunking this sort of nonsense, but you really should get back to highlighting some of papers and findings that are coming out right now.

    Comment by Elias — 30 Apr 2010 @ 9:26 PM

  249. Ruddiman ” Anyway, I hope all RC members will join me in welcoming Pat Michaels to the mainstream view on global warming, however briefly.”

    Very funny! I’ll welcome him with you.

    Comment by Philippe Chantreau — 30 Apr 2010 @ 9:28 PM

  250. Right now is an ideal time to call our senators and say: “Look how dangerous those fossil fuels are! Pass a strong climate bill now! We have just had 2 coal mine disasters and an oil mine disaster. The coal mine disasters killed 29 plus 2 coal miners and the oil mine disaster killed 11 oil miners and created an environmental disaster that will cost us umpteen jobs and who knows how much wildlife.” Instead, you are wasting time dissing the cheap easy option that can maintain our lifestyle and cut our CO2 emissions by 39%. That cheap easy option is nuclear power. [Yes it is! Yes we can!] Some of you are acting like fossil fuel stockholders. Quit acting like fossil fuel stockholders and act like climate scientists.

    We won’t have another opportunity this “good” to get a strong climate bill until an agricultural disaster happens. That is an “opportunity” we would rather not have to “need.”

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 1 May 2010 @ 12:08 AM

  251. “CFU /“a-) What do you call “business” ?” What everyone else calls business.”

    As often, you fully confirm what i’m saying. Words that everyone says in the all-day life are very rarely coinciding with scientific definitions.

    Comment by Gilles — 1 May 2010 @ 2:48 AM

  252. “I actually do not think this is the right approach, since libel laws can also be abused by vested fossil fuel interests ”

    The vested FF interests already abuse the libel laws.

    AND they’re getting away with slandering and libelling the scientists.

    While there are no consequences to lying, they’ll lie more and more.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 1 May 2010 @ 2:59 AM

  253. BR 211: Barton, you may want to take a little time off from your 24/7 posting on RC

    BPL: I take perhaps an hour a day to go through three climate blogs including RC. You might want to take a little time off from your 24/7 advocacy of your own pet theory to learn the matrix equations governing the Milankovic cycles and actually calculate a few. If you’d like I’ll write a program to do it for you–in Fortran so you can understand the code.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 1 May 2010 @ 5:38 AM

  254. #122 I think you’re right – one may be a “genuine scientist” in a particular field and a AGW theory denialist, as we see with Allegre, Plimer et al.
    Therefore, instead of
    “The vast majority of genuine scientists will see through the BS”
    let’s say “Any scientist with a credible track record of peer reviewed publications AND that has not abandoned scientific integrity will ignore or reject climate change denialism as anti-science”.
    Or perhaps “The vast majority of competent scientists (credible track record of peer reviewed publications) that have not abandoned scientific integrity will not be seduced by climate change denialist rhetoric”.

    In my view a competent scientist with scientific integrity would approach evaluating a theory outside their field of expertise by first researching as to what the mainstream view is. For climate science the IPCC has done that for AGW theory (and for the impact of the projected consequences), supported by statements from major professional scientific associations. And all the supporting evidence is referenced and can be explored to whatever depth one is competent to do so.
    In other words, any scientist that embraces the denialist agenda has abandoned scientific integrity and has lost the right to be called a scientist, no matter how illustrious his/her track record was before.
    “AGW denialist scientist” is thus an oxymoron.
    And once integrity is abandoned any right to be trusted is abandoned. Rehabilitation is always possible, but it’s much easier to lose trust than gain it.
    Allegre, Plimer and their ilk need to be held accountable for their lies by the scientific community – the scientifically illiterate public is not competent to do it.
    Professiona sceintists are being challenged by this anti-science onslaught and we need to see statements from the professional societies not just supporting the IPCC but actively exposing the likes of Allegre, etc. Where they are still members of a professional society such membership should be terminated – publicly. I’m sure it’s a condition of membership of all such societies to behave in an ethical way and such behaviour is clearly unethical.

    Comment by Hugh Laue — 1 May 2010 @ 6:27 AM

  255. This discussion of CO_2 feedbacks is interesting but we have a multi-feedback scenario. If anything warms the air, to keep relative humidity constant, absolute humidity rises, causing further warming since water vapour is also a greenhouse gas. Then there’s also ice albedo and clouds. For those new to this, the start here link at the top of this page leads to a lot of pointers.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 1 May 2010 @ 6:56 AM

  256. Bill Ruddiman, Since Pat M. is just entering a treatment program for climate denialism, perhaps we should stick to first name and initial of last name. It’s OK, Pat. Feel the pain and let it go.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 1 May 2010 @ 7:43 AM

  257. Dale Power asks, “Do those speaking against Climate science and data actually know they are wrong, or do they believe they are right simply because they don’t have the depth of understanding needed to see that they are lacking information and skill in the area of Climate Science?”

    Dale, you should check out what John Mashey has written about the thirty-onederful flavors of climate denailist. Some scientists simply believe that their expertise knows no bounds–these are usually guys who are “intuitive” in their approach and disdain actually “doing the math” (e.g. Allegre, Motl). Some simply can’t be bothered to learn enough of the science for it to make sense to them–and since it threatens future progress in their little subfield as more effort is directed at mitigation, they’ll latch onto any argument that sounds convincing. I think that there are also a lot of technological optimists out there, who feel sure that we’ll find a magic bullet to deal with the consequences even if they are wrong, so they don’t bother too much with the subject (folks like Dyson). Finally, there are a few otherwise knowledgeable scientists who are convinced that somehow there will be some magic negative feedback that saves our tuckuses. These are people like Lindzen and Spencer, who have fallen in love with negative feedback and the idea of a “stable” climate despite all the contrary evidence.

    I don’t include folks like Singer among the scientists. They’ll believe anything you pay them to believe.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 1 May 2010 @ 8:02 AM

  258. Re: 239 and others
    I want to clarify why the ocean is a negative feedback on CO2 even though it warms as CO2 increases. To understand why, you have to know that it is the equilibrium ratio of CO2 in the water compared to air that changes with temperature, not absolute CO2 in the water. Therefore, as the air CO2 doubles, the water CO2 will increase but not quite double due to the warming, but it will remain a sink to increasing atmospheric CO2.

    Comment by Jim D — 1 May 2010 @ 11:31 AM

  259. Ray Ladbury says: “….despite all the contrary evidence.” Such as? If there was a strong positive feedback we most CERTAINLY would have seen it raise its ugly head by now.

    Comment by Mike M — 1 May 2010 @ 11:34 AM

  260. (239) David B. Benson

    ”  Added CO2 –> warming ocean
    Warming ocean —> outgases CO2″

    This will get me screamed at loudly for being a climate “birther”, but what if the warming ocean itself is the sole or primary cause of the increase in atmospheric CO2?  What if our planet is an overpowering CO2 sink and releaser.  Yes I have read about the evidence of isotope ratio changes… but just because anthropogenic CO2 is being introduced into the earth system, doesn’t mean that our contribution is controlling of the airborne concentration.  I guess there would be a way to disprove this theory….  If we looked at another airborne gas (which humans do not emit) and adjusted for solubility curves and then looked at it’s historical concentrations…. If it’s trends mimicked the trends of CO2 — especially in the last 150 years — wouldn’t that be really strong evidence that humans do not effect atmospheric CO2 levels?     

    Comment by Sam — 1 May 2010 @ 1:40 PM

  261. Ray @ 257:

    I think you’re doing a gross disservice to people who actually seem to have actual clues. The GCMs still don’t include clouds, and despite mentioning the exponential nature of absolute humidity with respect to temperature numerous times, no one here has bothered to say “Yeah, we don’t know what that’s going to do”. If the same standard that’s applied to GCRs is applied to “we don’t know what clouds will do to GCMs”, GCMs should be tossed out as well.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 1 May 2010 @ 1:50 PM

  262. Barton Paul Levenson (253) — Surely the orbital forcings have been calculated and somewhere there is even a good graphic for these. I’ve used Figure 3 in Archer & Ganpolski’s “Moveable Triger” paper. That paper clearly marks the Holocene as predicted to last a long time and seems to indicate that the current 65N insolaion isn’t low enough to trigger a stade even with excess CO2, but certainly right on the endge.

    Possibly there is another paper which works this out in more detail?

    Comment by David B. Benson — 1 May 2010 @ 2:37 PM

  263. @240 Ike Solem

    Andrew Weaver’s lawsuit is not so much about the science as about allegedly false claims that he had said or done certain things.

    http://www.desmogblog.com/climate-scientist-sues-national-post

    I would say they were not just misinterpreting the science, they were attacking his integrity. I think they will either have to apologize or have to pay.

    Comment by Holly Stick — 1 May 2010 @ 2:41 PM

  264. “I appreciate all of the work you guys put into debunking this sort of nonsense, but you really should get back to highlighting some of papers and findings that are coming out right now. – Comment by Elias”

    Yes, I notice that there is less of that kind of work on realclimate as of late. Here’s one example of some more recent research, however:

    Khalil & Rasmussen (2010) Climate-induced feedbacks for the global cycles of methane and nitrous oxide, Tellus B v41B p559

    …In the future, as the earth warms from increasing levels of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and other trace gases, these feedbacks may produce more and more methane and nitrous oxide. Melting of the upper layers of permafrost in the high arctic could add still more methane and nitrous oxide to the atmosphere. The combination of the response of wetlands and permafrost may add as much or more methane and nitrous oxide to the atmosphere as expected from the increasing anthropogenic sources. Since adding methane is about 20 times more effective in increasing global temperatures as adding equal amounts of carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide is perhaps more than 200 times as effective, even small increases in the emissions of these gases could be amplified into large effects on the earth’s temperature and climate….

    They essentially try to estimate the sensitivity of these carbon/nitrogen cycle feedbacks based on historical records of small-scale cooling events. The sensitivity of the global temperature to atmospheric forcing from greenhouse gases is pretty well established, but the natural carbon & nitrogen cycle sensitivity to temperature changes? That’s an important question for any long-term climate projections.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 1 May 2010 @ 3:02 PM

  265. #247 Dale Power

    Mostly they say things like NASA’s data is wrong, which they can’t quantify with anything other than something they heard or read on the internet that is not established science. Other times, they simply misunderstand the contexts, such as look it was cold this winter, therefore global warming can’t be real.

    Context will get you relevance.

    For the most part they do not have sufficient knowledge to even understand the context to get to the relevance.

    I hear it all the time, “I’m and engineer and I know that models can be wrong”.

    It’s has become a religious meme/mantra but it has nothing to do with the relevant contexts.


    A Climate Minute The Greenhouse EffectHistory of Climate ScienceArctic Ice Melt

    ‘Fee & Dividend’ Our best chance for a better future – climatelobby.com
    Learn the Issue & Sign the Petition

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 1 May 2010 @ 3:40 PM

  266. General on the Nuclear Issue

    – No. 4th gen. is not ready yet.
    – Yes. more 2nd gen. plants increase certain risks that may not be palatable in the long term.

    I would caution those that are hardcore advocates of 2nd gen. nuclear to consider the following national/international security issues:

    How is it possible to guarantee the safety of nuclear waste for generations to come, say in 100 years, 1,000 years, 10,000 years, 100,000 years (time needs dependent on material)?

    Answer: It is not.

    Unless you can guarantee that nuclear storage containers and locations will not be subject to unanticipated potentials such as storage unit and container deterioration of systems that have been deemed safe for ‘the future’ are already experiencing problems); or tectonic or volcanic issues, then there is reasonably no safe storage that is economically feasible.

    We are in a situation that by all reasoned security assessments indicate that there is high risk of not only the breakdown of the resource and monetary economies, but that this leads to the inevitable consequences of the breakdown of governance.

    In such instance as governance breakdown the security of nuclear materials is no longer an issue because there is none. If there is not security for these materials, then it is no longer an issue, it is a problematic reality.

    Climate, Peak Oil.

    These two alone are on a collision course that is untenable but now inevitable. Add to that the dysfunction of the economic system we are operating on and you have a catastrophic potential that can not be ignored without straining the credibility of any such ignorance.

    All in all, it is readily apparent that 2nd gen. nuclear is a more expensive and dangerous option than rapid development of 4th gen. systems.


    A Climate Minute The Greenhouse EffectHistory of Climate ScienceArctic Ice Melt

    ‘Fee & Dividend’ Our best chance for a better future – climatelobby.com
    Learn the Issue & Sign the Petition

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 1 May 2010 @ 5:04 PM

  267. Sam (260) — Up until humans began burning fossil fuels the oceans were indeed a primary agent for changing atmospheric CO2. There are many good web sites whch explain the carbon cycle.

    While there weere some early effects of farming (for which read climatolgist W.F. Ruddiman’s popuar “Plows, Plagues and Petroleum”) it wasn’t until the industrial revolution that CO2 levels began to significantly depart from the natural cycling of the past (at least) 650,000 years. For the past 13 decades, read
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/03/unforced-variations-3/comment-page-12/#comment-168530
    and for more depth, study Tol, R.S.J. and A.F. de Vos (1998), ‘A Bayesian Statistical Analysis of the Enhanced Greenhouse Effect’, Climatic Change, 38, 87-112.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 1 May 2010 @ 5:15 PM

  268. Well, Holly Stick, isn’t the lawsuit itself an attack on the National Post’s integrity? So should they now counter-sue, because their integrity has been attacked?

    For example, CNN should then be able to sue me for pointing out that their firing of their entire science staff had nothing to do with any financial concerns, but was simply done so that they could prevent accurate stories about global warming, Arctic ice melt and the ecological impacts from reaching the public? To me, that says that CNN has no integrity when it comes to reporting on science in general and global warming in particular. Based on this sequence of events – O’Brien’s team runs a series of accurate reports on global warming, and then the whole team is fired – I’m claiming that CNN has forsaken journalistic integrity.

    Should they be able to sue me for making that claim on a public forum? What do you think about CNN’s decision?

    Comment by Ike Solem — 1 May 2010 @ 6:23 PM

  269. Sam @260: “what if the warming ocean itself is the sole or primary cause of the increase in atmospheric CO2?”

    Then how would you explain the fact that the amount of dissolved CO2 in the ocean is also increasing, which is lowering the pH of seawater?

    Sam: “Yes I have read about the evidence of isotope ratio changes…”

    And what about the isotope ratio evidence do you find lacking?

    How about the simple balance sheet analysis:
    We know how much fossil carbon we are burning each year in the left column, and we know how much atmospheric CO2 increases each year in the right column. From this we know that we are emitting roughly twice as much fossil carbon as is accumulating in the atmosphere each year.
    That means the biosphere and ocean has to absorb 100% of all CO2 from natural sources, plus roughly half of what we emit.

    Sam: “If we looked at another airborne gas (which humans do not emit)…”

    We do look at other airborne gases. Methane and nitrous oxide have also increased, the former by ~150%, the latter by ~15%, while CFCs and other man-made greenhouse gases did not even exist naturally.

    We have also been measuring a very small but steady decrease in the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere — exactly what we would expect to see from the combustion of many gigatonnes of fossil carbon.

    Sam, there are areas of our understanding of human influence on climate are not at all certain. That we are the source of the increase in CO2 is definitely not one of them.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 1 May 2010 @ 7:31 PM

  270. FCH@261, I think your characterization of the state of the models is somewhat unfair. Yes, clouds remain an uncertainty. However, the evidence to data suggests that it will be a small net positive feedback, and quite independent of what clouds do in the models, we know very well that CO2 sensitivity is 3 degrees per doubling. It is not as if the models are all there is to climate science. Those hoping for a miraculous negative feedback to save us do so against the evidence rather than because of it.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 1 May 2010 @ 7:40 PM

  271. RE- Comment by Jim D — 1 May 2010 @ 11:31 AM:

    Please explain. I understand that warmer water will dissolve less CO2, but his means that more remains in the air to cause more warming. Where is the negative feedback and what is negative to what?

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 1 May 2010 @ 7:44 PM

  272. Sam, we know that the carbon entering the atmosphere is enriched in the isotope C-12 relative to C-13. This means it must come from a fossil source. Moreover, only about half of the carbon we’ve emitted has wound up in the atmosphere. The rest has gone into–you guessed it–the oceans, where it is causing the water to acidify, yet another threat.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 1 May 2010 @ 7:49 PM

  273. Mike M., as a start, you can put down our existence as proof of positive feedback. If there were no positive feedback, you wouldn’t get 33 degrees of warming, and Earth would be a snowball.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 1 May 2010 @ 7:51 PM

  274. Hugh Laue #254

    Allegre, Plimer and their ilk need to be held accountable for their lies by the scientific community – the scientifically illiterate public is not competent to do it.

    How would you propose to do that? This site and others like Deltoid already do a good job of taking this stuff apart. Aside from that, you are left with the mass media, who have repeatedly failed at their job, and the option of an academic misconduct case against the worst miscreants.

    Plimer claims association with two universities in Australia, Adelaide and Melbourne, who you’d think would be jealous of their reputation. I have a research position at University of Queensland and was told to keep my head down when accusing some bunch soliciting money from the public of being a scam, because UQ has a policy of not commenting as a member of the academic community outside your area of speciality. This was a knee-jerk reaction on receiving a lawyer’s letter, but I was annoyed that UQ has such a low threshold for silencing their employees. Plimer apparently is immune from this, or UQ is unique in this respect. I complained to Melbourne and Adelaiade about his conduct, and Melbourne said they could do nothing because he’s emeritus (retired), and Adelaide’s response was:

    The University acknowledges that individual staff members may express their
    opinions or interpretation of scientific data and research in their area of
    expertise. The University feels that this issue, which may be perceived as
    controversial, is an accepted part of the freedom of debate in higher
    education.

    You may argue that Plimer is operating closer to his field of expertise than I was (a scam purporting to be a means of accessing UN projects for an annual membership is something I would have guessed any professional should feel entitled to expose and anyway I didn’t use my academic affiliation in so arguing to the public — see if you can spot my contribution here). But what of the accusations against Mann and Jones that to me were prima facia vacuous?

    There are two standards at play here. Academics can prattle in the public arena to their heart’s content until they offend someone who can launch a big harassment campaign or pay lawyers to write a threatening letter. Then all pretence of academic freedom and supporting freedom of speech disappears.

    So good luck with taking on this issue as one of academic misconduct.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 1 May 2010 @ 7:55 PM

  275. Re #260

    The suggestion that the rise in CO2 is not anthropogenic is a kind of finger-print which distinguishes extremist contrarians, such as Plimer, from the rest.There are a sufficient independent lines of evidence for your thought experiment to be redundant. (It would not be rigorous anyway).

    Your comment is based on a zombie argument which was killed by Revelle and Keeling but has been udergoing a bogus revival in the denialosphere.

    It could have been the case, that all or most of the human produced CO2 might have been removed e.g. by the oceans. It hasn’t happened. Just as Revelle predicted in the 1950’s only some of it goes that way (about half); and as you say the isotopic measurements reinforce that conclusion.

    It could have been the case that the rise in atmospheric CO2 is caused by the warming of the oceans, but it hasn’t, at least not yet,as shown by the direction of the flux of CO2 i.e. into the oceans causing the acid ocean effect.

    It could have the case that human CO2 has gone into a sink and been replaced by some more CO2. This would involve a weird combination of negative feedback opposing human alteration of the atmospheric CO2 cancelled by a natural CO2 rise. Have you heard of Occam’s razor? What sink would do that?

    It could have been the case that the conservation of matter does not hold for CO2 but the evidence for that is still to be discovered.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 1 May 2010 @ 8:03 PM

  276. Re- Comment by Sam — 1 May 2010 @ 1:40 PM:

    Further on ocean CO2- The amount dissolved in the ocean is easily measured and it is increasing, not outgassing, so your proposed mechanism cannot be in play. As the ocean warms it could reach a temperature where it will outgass, but if this happens we are really up the creek without a paddle. The ocean taking up CO2 when it is cold, and then outgassing when it warms, has been elaborated mostly for very large excursions of temperature on long time scales, such as during the phases of the ice ages. As a home brewer I am very familiar with the relationship between temperature and carbonation level from a practical standpoint.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 1 May 2010 @ 8:12 PM

  277. I’m a little lost here…wasn’t this supposed to be about Allegre? So far, a couple of surmises…that he is a sloppy scientist, hence grabs at quick generalizations or somesuch, or is looking merely to make a dollar and is therefore just cynical, but I’m not seeing really anything convincing. I’m wondering if anyone has a deeper read on the guy; has he in the past wandered off the road like this? Is there some stressor in his recent life that has generated this book? Or, what? I’d love to hear a bit of reparte on this, although I love the other debates. But…Allegre…

    Comment by Steve Missal — 1 May 2010 @ 8:26 PM

  278. “So the Gods have sent us another warning that humans need to set aside the greed of the corporate elite and start thinking about the well being of all of life. ”
    from:
    http://blogs.alternet.org/grantlawrence/2010/04/27/disaster-oil-spill-another-warning-from-the-gods/
    So there you have your “warning-from-the-gods.” The Gulf of Mexico oil leak has been deemed the “sign” that “we” have been waiting for By Grant Lawrence. Let’s make the best of it and call our senators on Monday and ask that all coal fired power plants be converted to non-fossil fuel by the end of 2015. A list of factory manufacturable reactors is available at:
    http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf33.html

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 1 May 2010 @ 8:40 PM

  279. Sam, (#260), you provide a wonderful example of how many media organizations distort science and pervert the words of reputable scientists. I’m guessing you might have picked up your blurb from watching Britain’s Channel 4 Mockumentary on global warming, perhaps?

    Notably, that program interviewed the very reputable oceanographer Carl Wunsch, snipped the interview up into sound bites, rearranged those sound bites, and tried to make it look like Prof. Wunsch was claiming that global warming was due to, yes, the cause that you claim. Let’s take a look at the relevant section of his response:

    http://ocean.mit.edu/~cwunsch/papersonline/channel4response

    …What we now have is an out-and-out propaganda piece, in which there is not even a gesture toward balance or explanation of why many of the extended inferences drawn in the film are not widely accepted by the scientific community. There are so many examples, it’s hard to know where to begin, so I will cite only one: a speaker asserts, as is true, that carbon dioxide is only a small fraction of the atmospheric mass. The viewer is left to infer that means it couldn’t really matter. But even a beginning meteorology student could tell you that the relative masses of gases are irrelevant to their effects on radiative balance. A director not intending to produce pure propaganda would have tried to eliminate that piece of disinformation.

    As noted, this is a widespread problem in major media organizations today – CNN being another example. Here’s the bit you may be referencing, Sam:

    An example where my own discussion was grossly distorted by context: I am shown explaining that a warming ocean could expel more carbon dioxide than it absorbs — thus exacerbating the greenhouse gas buildup in the atmosphere and hence worrisome. It was used in the film, through its context, to imply that CO2 is all natural, coming from the ocean, and that therefore the human element is irrelevant. This use of my remarks, which are literally what I said, comes close to fraud.

    Do you understand how you may have been fooled into swallowing some slick propaganda, Sam?

    I also think this is a good way to deal with this kind of media distortion – write a response, and bring it to the attention of those media outlets, and go on other news programs to defend yourself – for example, here are some further interview statements from Prof. Wunsch on the Australia Broadcasting Corporation:

    CARL WUNSCH: There are a number of issues. There’s one point in the film where I was attempting to explain that the ocean contains a very large amount of carbon dioxide that is there naturally. It’s one of the great reservoirs of carbon dioxide in the world. And what I was trying to explain was that if you make the ocean warmer, as one likely would do under a global warming scenario, that much of that carbon dioxide now resident in the ocean could be released into the atmosphere with very serious effects.

    It was put into the film in such a way, in the context that it was put to have me saying that, “Well, carbon dioxide occurs naturally in the ocean and so whatever is going on is all natural,” which in some sense turned my point on its head. Or if you like, completely removing the main point, which is while the carbon dioxide in the ocean is primarily there naturally, having it expelled through warming is not necessarily natural.

    All that was lost in the film as broadcast.

    In the end, Channel 4 was clearly shown to be the guilty party, correct?

    Comment by Ike Solem — 1 May 2010 @ 8:46 PM

  280. @176 – “The Revenge of Gaia” by James Lovelock is, sadly, full of errors and bias. Lovelock believes that nuclear power will provide a solution because (IMO) nuclear power companies treated him with respect; he rejects windpower farms because they would make his beloved local moors look ugly; he thinks mankind will be reduced to ‘a few breeding pairs’ in the Arctic (presumably living on boats!) if we don’t do something to stop AGW; and he (quite seriously) advocates the creation of a new world religion, Gaia worship, to motivate us to change. I can’t give page numbers because I threw my copy away very soon after reading it ( ‘a few breeding pairs’ stuck in my mind, for obvious reasons). Few books about climate – indeed, few books of any kind – have disappointed me as much as this one.

    Comment by MalcolmT — 1 May 2010 @ 8:50 PM

  281. #260 Sam

    It’s easy Sam. For your hypothesis to hold water, all you need to do is show that the billions of tons of extra CO2 (that above 300ppm) in the atmosphere is a part of the natural cycle in the past say, 5 million years.

    In other words at what point in time did all that stuff you are talking about in your post raise atmospheric CO2 above 300ppm in the last 5 million years?

    And while you are contemplating that, you will also need to explain where all the CO2 from the fossil fuels that have been burned (a quantifiable amount) since the beginning of the industrial age went, since you are hypothesizing that it is all, or even mostly, natural?

    – Did it magically jump into outer-space?
    – Did aliens hover a giant vacuum cleaner above our atmosphere and suck it up to fuel their amazing CO2 burning rocket engines?
    – If so, why does our military command and NASA not detect their ships, or are you also assuming these ships are cloaked using Romulan technology?

    Your opinions obviously raise some interesting questions. Maybe that is why you are afraid to post your real name? Heck, I guess I can’t blame you. If I were to post such stupid ideas, I would not want anyone to know who I was either.

    But I don’t hide. Only people like you.


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 1 May 2010 @ 8:59 PM

  282. Ray, if you believe that ‘positive feedback’ is why the earth is the temperature that it is then you are apparently confusing ‘positive feedback’ with insulation. The earth at times was ~10C warmer than now. If there was a net positive feedback, (per that being foisted on us as ‘proven climate science’), then the temperature would have just kept increasing and never had come back down again ever. It never did that; it was always very stable for the last 400 million years, never varying much more than about 14C even though continents moved around, killer asteroids hit the planet, massive volcanic eruptions occurred and CO2 concentration was even well over 10X what it is now. Stability is the earmark of a system with a strong NEGATIVE feedback, (like a thermostat). Net positive feedback would mean we either get cold and stay cold or we get hot and stay hot – forever, (notwithstanding some dramatic intervening event). Such does NOT describe the geologic history of our climate and, as Dr. Lindzen points out, water vapor appears to be a net negative feedback element to explain why it is so stable. A thumb nail sketch of one specific negative feedback: a warmer surface will evaporate more water and a warmer lower atmosphere will hold more water vapor, which is lighter than air and rises, which then creates more clouds that then reflects more sunlight thus cooling things down on the surface. That describes a negative feedback system. If water vapor did not rise and condense at altitude we’d probably be as hot as Venus. We are a water planet and water appears to be the main driver of our climate – certainly not CO2.

    Comment by Mike M — 1 May 2010 @ 9:07 PM

  283. 266 John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation): ” safety of nuclear waste”

    As I told you before, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS NUCLEAR WASTE. IT IS RECYCLABLE FUEL THAT IS BEING WASTED.

    We don’t recycle nuclear fuel because it is valuable and people steal it. The place it went that it wasn’t supposed to go to was Israel. This happened in a small town near Pittsburgh, PA circa 1970. A company called Numec was in the business of reprocessing nuclear fuel. I almost took a job there, designing a nuclear battery for a heart pacemaker. [A nuclear battery would have the advantage of lasting many times as long as any other battery, eliminating many surgeries to replace batteries.] Numec did NOT have a reactor. Numec “lost” half a ton of spent fuel. It wound up in Israel. The Israelis have fueled their nuclear power plants by stealing nuclear “waste.” It could work for any other country, such as Iran or the United States.
    It is only when you don’t have access to nuclear “waste” that you have to do the difficult process of enriching uranium.
    Numec is no longer in business. Terrorists can’t compete with Mossad and Israeli dual citizens who are CEOs of companies like Numec. Israeli nuclear weapons are exact duplicates of American nuclear weapons. All persons who were “born of Jewish mothers” are citizens of Israel regardless of any other fact. Since the US can’t and shouldn’t discriminate, the reprocessing of nuclear fuel in the US stopped. That was the only politically possible solution at that time, given that private corporations did the reprocessing. My solution would be to reprocess the fuel at a Government Owned Government Operated [GOGO] facility. At a GOGO plant, bureaucracy and the multiplicity of ethnicity and religion would disable the transportation of uranium to Israel or to any unauthorized place. Nothing heavier than a secret would get out.

    NOTE: THE SOURCE OF “FUEL” FOR THE HEART PACEMAKER BATTERY WAS SPENT REACTOR FUEL. Nuclear heart pacemakers were sold and implanted in living human heart patients, but they were expensive. Other uses for radioactive elements from spent fuel: cancer treatment, such as radioactive “grains” to put in your cancerous prostate.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 1 May 2010 @ 9:20 PM

  284. Geoff Wexler says: “The suggestion that the rise in CO2 is not anthropogenic is a kind of finger-print which distinguishes extremist contrarians …”

    Is it impossible for a given isotope of carbon in CO2 from us to be absorbed by a plant then re-released when it decomposes? It would seem to me that whatever CO2 is currently in the atmosphere right now being absorbed by plants is going to recycle the fastest. Is that a bad assumption?

    Comment by Mike M — 1 May 2010 @ 9:38 PM

  285. 209 Completely Fed Up: The numbers I gave are accurate. You forgot to consider the concrete required to build a dam, make a foundation for a wind turbine, how many wind turbines are required and so on. When you add it all up, nuclear produces the least CO2 PER KILOWATT HOUR. Remember that nuclear produces a lot of power from a few pounds of U23, it is all in one place, and it works 24/7. Power transmission line loss is even less than for wind because the nuclear power plant can be conveniently located next door to the user. Yes, I would want to live next door to a nuclear power plant.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 1 May 2010 @ 9:38 PM

  286. Ray Ladbury: “Sam, we know that the carbon entering the atmosphere is enriched in the isotope C-12 relative to C-13. This means it must come from a fossil source.”

    I think it only means it probably comes from an organic source, i.e. not the oceans or volcanoes. A fair amount comes from deforestation and other land use changes.

    Comment by NoPreview NoName — 1 May 2010 @ 9:40 PM

  287. As the saying goes, there are no stupid questions – just stupid answers.

    Sam said(160):
    If we looked at another airborne gas (which humans do not emit) and adjusted for solubility curves and then looked at it’s historical concentrations…. If it’s trends mimicked the trends of CO2 — especially in the last 150 years — wouldn’t that be really strong evidence that humans do not effect atmospheric CO2 levels?

    Well comparing some other gas concentration sounds like an interesting idea to me Sam. It seems people like John P. Reisman didn’t actually spend a moment to consider it and instead favored a knee-jerk reaction along with the typical ad hominem attack:

    “If I were to post such stupid ideas, I would not want anyone to know who I was either.”

    Comment by Mike M — 1 May 2010 @ 9:52 PM

  288. 230 SecularAnimist: Ike Solem owes nuclear power an apology and an endorsement.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 1 May 2010 @ 10:04 PM

  289. Re: 271 Steve.
    What I mean by the ocean being a negative feedback on CO2 increasing is that it means the atmosphere ends up with less CO2 than it would without the ocean. When water vapor is considered too, then the ocean would be a source of positive feedback on greenhouse gases, but I was just arguing in terms of the CO2 budget, not temperature or greenhouse gases.

    Comment by Jim D — 1 May 2010 @ 11:12 PM

  290. RE: 261 FCH
    Of course GCMs include clouds. If they didn’t, the missing albedo would play havoc with their global energy budget, and the current climate couldn’t even be simulated to within 15 degrees. Whoever gave you that information, you need to go back and correct them.

    Comment by Jim D — 1 May 2010 @ 11:23 PM

  291. Mike M, your water vapor feedback claims have actually been experimentally debunked – but how, you’re thinking, can you do global-scale experiments in climate science?

    Well, on June 15, 1991, Pinatubo discharged an estimated 15 million tons of sulfur into the upper atmosphere, and that cooled the planet (via reflection) a few degrees for a few years. How did the water vapor respond in that case?

    Here’s something on it from 1992:

    11 January 1992 by Jeff Hecht, New Scientist

    The Earth is likely to cool substantially over the next three years because of material injected into the upper atmosphere when Mount Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines last June, according to an American atmospheric scientist. He says the cooling will be an ‘acid test’ for climate models which predict global warming

    Yes, the atmosphere dried out as a result, showing that water vapor responded as the climate models were predicting, and several heavily cited papers on the topic were published in Science (Soden et al, etc.), a fact you’re conveniently ignoring – so, your “thumbnail sketch” is more like an Aesop’s fable – how the elephant got its nose, ever heard that one?

    Lindzen, contemptibly, refused to acknowledge any of this and kept repeating his “stable equilibrium” PR line – much as Lysenko did (all genetics is nonsense!), and Lindzen was likewise feted by various political interests who liked his ideological stance, even if they didn’t understand the science…

    However, if you want a readable introduction to the topic and a list of references, here you go:

    http://climate.envsci.rutgers.edu/pdf/VEAChapter1_Robocknew.pdf

    Tedious repetition of thoroughly debunked claims – that’s a typical propaganda technique, isn’t it?

    Comment by Ike Solem — 2 May 2010 @ 12:08 AM

  292. Mike M, positive feedbacks do not need to run away. You can demonstrate that for yourself with a spreadsheet by following the instructions I gave in a comment on SkepticalScience.com.

    Comment by Tom Dayton — 2 May 2010 @ 12:17 AM

  293. #282 Mike M

    Wow, what a surprise, another mysterious anonymous person saying silly things about climate, showing off how much he does not know. Bowling us over with your red herring arguments and you thinking that you are impressive?

    Context is key.

    “it was always very stable for the last 400 million years”

    Stable compared to what? Modern industrial age? Climate of the holocene? Pluto?

    Paleo climate has a lot of factors, some understood and some not. Your point?

    Ray knows a hell of a lot more about this than you do though. You might consider other factors involved such as different tectonic plate configuration, a different atmospheric concentration s based on different types of events on different time scales.

    Did you notice that earth settled down in to a relatively stable range bound climate between warm periods and ice ages? Based on Milankovitch cycles?

    As to feedbacks, it is certainly reasonable to see that feedbacks are likely involved, both positive and negative. Relative stability based on thermal equilibrium due to varied states in orbital forcings combined with feedbacks are part of the system.

    Though magnitudes are not fully understood, the orbital cycles move us in one direction or another and the earth system feedsback amplitudinal changes based on the forcing directions until a new relative thermal equilibrium is reached based on the total influences of all forcings.

    So, while runaway feedbacks are possible to the limits of the forcings applied, it is understandable that positive does not mean continual positive forever, or negative forever. The climate/earth interactions are inter-dynamic, as are all systems with in the scope of their own given limitations.

    Not so hard to understand really. It’s kinda Newtonian, action reaction, balance. Centrifugal vs. centripetal, dynamic equilibrium, etc.

    In other words, there are lots of intervening events in a dynamic system. Remember, context is key.

    Dr. Lindzen may belittle the effect but is he comparing earth to Jupiter? He tends to say and use irrelevant examples when discussing earth climate which he does not seem to understand has a particular relevance to the human race. I’ve heard some of his more ridiculous statements and in my opinion, he is seriously deluded, or well paid to continue to mislead people regarding the relevance of this particular warming event.

    I really don’t think he was walking around during the peak warming of the Permian, or during the Cambrian explosion, or when T-rex was walking around wishing he could find a juicy Lindzen walking around for a nice aperitivo before dinner.

    So what do you think he is really saying when he says earth’s climate is stable?

    Besides, if Lindzen is right about the Iris Effect, then how has the temperature ever been warmer than the holocene?

    Hmmmm. . . quite a head scratcher.

    Context is key.


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 2 May 2010 @ 12:17 AM

  294. #282–

    Handwaving “proves” that water is “the main driver of our climate.”

    And yet the best efforts to quantify all relevant physics in GCMs still reproduce past climate quite well.

    Hmm–handwaving, or mathematics?

    Tough call.

    Putting that aside, I must say that the idea that temperature variation appears to be limited to “only” 14C is not particularly comforting.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 2 May 2010 @ 12:55 AM

  295. I’m not sure that this is the right place to post this but the Arctic and Antarctic category on this website seems to be closed to further comments or questions.

    I need an estimate for the total amount of ice in the world today. The clearest estimate I’ve found on the net dates from 2005 and says that at that time there was a total of about 30 million cubic kilometers of ice.

    What do you think? Is this still a reasonable estimate?

    Comment by Hunt Janin — 2 May 2010 @ 2:43 AM

  296. What a horrible situation in the gulf. Truly frightening.

    Environmentalists have been warning about just such a disaster for decades now. But few people really listened to them. We should have made the change to safer and lower profile alternatives a long time ago. Funny that that rig was supposedly “state of the art”. All those assurances of safety, kind of like those we hear all the time from another prominent energy industry.

    Oh, and of course Halliburton, Cheney’s old digs are involved.

    Comment by Ron R. — 2 May 2010 @ 3:05 AM

  297. MM 259: ay Ladbury says: “….despite all the contrary evidence.” Such as? If there was a strong positive feedback we most CERTAINLY would have seen it raise its ugly head by now.

    BPL: Google “Clausius-Clapeyron relation.”

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 2 May 2010 @ 3:55 AM

  298. Sam 260: what if the warming ocean itself is the sole or primary cause of the increase in atmospheric CO2? What if our planet is an overpowering CO2 sink and releaser. Yes I have read about the evidence of isotope ratio changes… but just because anthropogenic CO2 is being introduced into the earth system, doesn’t mean that our contribution is controlling of the airborne concentration.

    BPL: The new carbon dioxide’s isotope ratio matches that in fossil fuels, not that in the ocean. Period.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 2 May 2010 @ 3:56 AM

  299. Furry 261: The GCMs still don’t include clouds

    BPL: There have been clouds in RCMs since at least 1964 and I’m pretty damn sure GCMs include them as well. Where in the world did you get the idea that GCMs leave out clouds?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 2 May 2010 @ 3:57 AM

  300. MM 282: If there was a net positive feedback, (per that being foisted on us as ‘proven climate science’), then the temperature would have just kept increasing and never had come back down again ever.

    BPL: Wrong. It’s a converging series, not a diverging series. Do you understand the difference between an infinite series like

    1 + 1 + 1 + 1….

    and

    1 + 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8…

    ?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 2 May 2010 @ 4:06 AM

  301. #250 Ed – Discussions of nuclear power are supposed to be OT, but since you post anyway, I hope the monitors will allow this brief rebuttal.

    Stop stating that nuclear power is cheap. It may be safe, it may be low carbon, but it is in no way cheap.

    The most current estimates in the US for large scale nuclear power plants are $5-8k per KW. Fuel prices are rising rapidly and are likely to increase another five-fold after 2015, when the supply from Russian reprocessing of nuclear weapons runs out.

    In contrast, onshore wind farms are costing less than $2k/KW and the offshore Cape Wind project is projected at just over $4k/KW- with zero fuel costs. It will be online by 2012 – nearly a decade before any new nuclear power plants.

    I have written my senator and congressman about nuclear power. I am not against federal subsidies for NP, per se, but NO federal subsidies or financing should be provided without full public disclosure of all costs. Toshiba declaring cost projections “proprietary” is absolutely unacceptable.

    Comment by JiminMpls — 2 May 2010 @ 5:55 AM

  302. Mike M said (282):

    “If there was a net positive feedback, (per that being foisted on us as ‘proven climate science’), then the temperature would have just kept increasing and never had come back down again ever.”

    Positive feedback in no way implies a runaway effect. There is a limiting factor factor involved in the Earth system (mainly the Stefan–Boltzmann law). As Wiki put it:

    “Within climate, it is important to remember that a positive feedback subsystem never acts in isolation, but is always embedded within the overall climate system, which itself is always subject to one very powerful negative feedback, the Stefan–Boltzmann law: that emitted radiation rises with the fourth power of temperature. Hence, on earth the gain of the overall system is always less than one, stopping the system from suffering runaway effects. While there may have been periods of time such as the exit from an ice age where the gain was greater than one, this has not lasted long enough for extreme effects such as the evaporation of the oceans as is believed to have happened on Venus.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Positive_feedback

    Comment by Robert Murphy — 2 May 2010 @ 6:09 AM

  303. On a slightly different tack, has anyone calculated the possible additional methane and other light crude gases that will enter the atmosphere from the Gulf oil spill. Because of the hot temperatures of the Gulf Coast and the compostion of a “light Gulf crude”, I would think that a significant amount of the spill will just evaporate, leaving the heavier crude components behind. That evaporation will increase atmospheric greenhouse gases but will it be significant in any way even if the spill continues for months. BP has hinted that the pool of crude spilling into the Gulf may be in the millions of barrels.

    Also, what will be the affect of the crude cover on the evaporation of sea water along the northern Gulf during this summer season? I would guess that evaporation of sea water would be restricted by the oil and that would raise the Gulf water temperature until a new balance were achieved. Would this warmer water be fuel for tropical cyclone formation? Any thoughts?

    Thanks.

    Comment by MikeTabony — 2 May 2010 @ 6:18 AM

  304. Mike M., You are confusing positive feedback with runaway warming. They are different. Go back and review infinite series, they converge as long as the terms converge more rapidly than 1/x:

    http://www.math.unh.edu/~jjp/radius/radius.html

    As to the rest of your post, it is every bit as confused as you picture of positive feedback. Why not learn the actual science rather than argue against a straw man. Do you really think several thousand climate scientists are so stupid as to overlook a divergent feedback in their model?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 May 2010 @ 7:05 AM

  305. Sorry Mike M,
    it is you who don’t understand positive feedback. It does not mean runaway feedback, it just means increasing an effect. Do the arithmetic of a 10% positive feedback. the limit of the series is 1 and 1/9th. The negative feedback is the the hotter it gets, the more is radiated away.
    Regards,
    Robert

    Comment by Robert D — 2 May 2010 @ 7:30 AM

  306. #re 302

    Re: Stefan Boltzmann & feedback gains greater than 1. I have my doubts about that Wikipedia entry, but am too busy to think and read about it properly now.(Its not hard).

    While the conclusion may be true for the Earth, I doubt that it has to be true . The W. entry is a bit confused and even contradictory. The reason is that there are two approaches which are not clearly distinguished, one refers only to temperature, the other to energy balance. Whether you consider the SB equation as a contribution to negative feedback is mainly a matter of definition.

    Someone has mentioned that clouds introduce uncertainty. Raypierre has pointed out that this could have led to runaway although there may have been some unrealistic boundary conditions involved; please don’t tell me that Raypierre does not know about SB ! I think I saw this is in the draft to his forthcoming book (I don’t have it now). Fortunately clouds and the other boundary conditions are understood , well enough to rule out that particular mechanism for the Earth. If my memory is right , then this is one more piece of evidence that the contrarians are closer to the doom mongers than they would be prepared to admit. This applies e.g. to the person who came here with the idea that climate models don’t include the clouds.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 2 May 2010 @ 9:11 AM

  307. Geoff,

    That’s what I get for relying on wiki for something a little over my head. :) Fortunately, the main conclusion is the same: positive feedbacks don’t imply runaway feedbacks.

    Comment by Robert Murphy — 2 May 2010 @ 9:34 AM

  308. #247 Dale, it is also possible that engineers and geologists have to deal with real problems on a daily basis, and are not so much worried about getting a paper published. And as such, they have been “burned” enough to look beyond the hype, to the real state of a situation.

    #283 Edward, if I remember correctly, one of those nuclear pacemakers was put on a plane and flew to Moscow. It was then placed inside one of those who reviewed the parades in Red Square.

    Comment by J. Bob — 2 May 2010 @ 10:35 AM

  309. Solar and wind and photosynthetic fuels – from hydrogen and methanol to algal biofuel and sugarcane ethanol – are true renewables. Uranium is a fossil fuel, coal is a fossil fuel, oil is a fossil fuel, natural gas is a fossil fuel. The extraction costs are very high – witness the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the devastated tar sands, the toxic uranium mine tailings. Water and air pollution are inevitable.

    Now – Ed G. – With nuclear power plants, the hidden costs are immense – they require massive amounts of cooling water, they’re dependent on uranium availability, and the waste disposal costs and decommissioning costs are likewise gigantic. It’s not cutting-edge technology, it’s archaic 1950s technology – just massive steam boilers heated by the decomposition of uranium into a bunch of really nasty daughter products that create permanent headaches for their local communities. If it wasn’t for the giant subsidies, they’d never have been built. Obama is pushing for the $40 billion credit line for nuclear power because no sane investor would commit to it otherwise – and then you have the Price-Anderson liability limitation act which protects investors from having to pay for a Chernobyl event.

    So, yes, like the past government’s energy plan, the current government’s energy plan is a recipe for ecological and economic disaster – from Georgia’ nuclear plans to Canada’s tar sand plans to the offshore oil drilling fiasco that’s threatening to wipe out the Gulf of Mexico’s ecosystem, and with it the fishing industry, the tourism industry, and a whole lot of marine life.

    I’m not sure why Ed G. is ignoring these issues – maybe’s it’s because he doesn’t have a response to those points? In addition, trying to frame it as “coal vs. nuclear” is nonsense – the biggest coal utilities are often the biggest nuclear utilities, and the holding companies have interests in coal mining, uranium mining, oil drilling, natural gas drilling, as well as in the utilities that consume those fossil fuels. Constellation, Exelon, Southern, Entergy – here’s a sample:

    Entery CEO says coal is the answer to global warming, May 2009 (Entergy operates ten nuclear power plants)

    Exelon Joins Illinois ‘Clean-Coal’ Demonstration Plant (Exelon operates twelve nuclear power plants, including Zion and Three Mile Island)

    Obama’s Southern Company Play: How Much Nuclear Plant for $14.5 Billion, 80% Federally Guaranteed?” (Southern currently runs a system which is 70% coal, 15% nuclear)

    Constellation Energy Commodities Group (A Warren Buffet acquisition) (Constellation produces 44.2% from nuclear, 28.3% from coal, 13.0% from oil, 8.7% from natural gas)

    Now, none of these large utilities or energy holding companies has a plan for going to 30% solar, 30% wind or anything like that – even though the technology already exists to make this transition. Why? From the perspective of a shareholder who owns Southern, Exelon, and Entergy stock as well as coal mines & coal railroads, as well as oil & gas companies – the last thing they want to see is their utilities undermine all their other interests by tapping energy sources – like the sun and the wind – that cannot be easily converted to marketable commodities.
    The same goes for the transportation sector – oil refineries and automobile companies, for example. Electric cars from Ford? There go Exxon’s profits. Is a shareholder with $10 billion in Exxon and $1 billion in Ford going to be happy with a Ford CEO who pushes for electric vehicles? I don’t think so!

    That’s why there’s so much opposition to renewable energy portfolio standards (Southern is the major lobbying force in Washington on energy), feed-in tariffs for solar and wind producers, and the elimination of subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear. However, if you want a real renewable energy-based power system, you have to overcome these vested interests in the nuclear, oil, coal and gas sectors – and they know perfectly well that once renewables take off, people won’t want their dirty old technologies any more – so they have to make sure that renewables are undermined – and they enlist politicians and media outlets to assist them.

    Right, Ed?

    Comment by Ike Solem — 2 May 2010 @ 11:40 AM

  310. RE- Comment by Jim D — 1 May 2010 @ 11:12 PM:

    My confusion comes from my (perhaps incorrect) understanding that a specific component of a system changing toward equilibrium is not normally considered to be a feedback. Thus, I didn’t think that CO2 being transferred from the atmosphere to the ocean toward equilibrium, or heat loss from the atmosphere to space toward equilibrium, were considered to be negative feedbacks in the context of climate science.

    As long as I understand the interactions of the different mechanisms I am a happy camper, but perhaps one of the physicists here would clarify definitions.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 2 May 2010 @ 11:48 AM

  311. It was nice of RC to debunk Allegre in detail, but you don’t need to get much further after the first few whoppers.

    It’s pretty obvious what the deal is. The man is crazy.

    Comment by mike Roddy — 2 May 2010 @ 11:49 AM

  312. RE-Comment by J. Bob — 2 May 2010 @ 10:35 AM:

    You say- “it is also possible that engineers and geologists have to deal with real problems on a daily basis, and are not so much worried about getting a paper published. And as such, they have been “burned” enough to look beyond the hype, to the real state of a situation.”

    I am curious to know what “hype” in the climate science literature has “burned” engineers and geologists, and how their work is any less demanding than that of scientists.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 2 May 2010 @ 11:56 AM

  313. “Is it impossible for a given isotope of carbon in CO2 from us to be absorbed by a plant then re-released when it decomposes? It would seem to me that whatever CO2 is currently in the atmosphere right now being absorbed by plants is going to recycle the fastest. Is that a bad assumption?”

    Mike M, does that say anything about how Geoff’s point is incorrect?

    No.

    No it doesn’t.

    Because that recycling doesn’t stop it having been an increase that we humans produced.

    Then again, since your maths is so terrible, who could expect your logic to be no better?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 2 May 2010 @ 12:06 PM

  314. EG 285: Yes, I would want to live next door to a nuclear power plant.

    BPL: Better you than me.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 2 May 2010 @ 12:49 PM

  315. Dr. Hoffman refers to Allègre’s insulation from facts as dividing by zero. Another way of characterizing it is “circular reasoning,” which is a classic feature of conspiracy theories. It goes like this:

    1. All evidence against the conspiracy is false because all the people supplying it are in on the conspiracy.

    2. The conspiracy theory is true because all evidence against it is false.

    Comment by Richard Palm — 2 May 2010 @ 1:13 PM

  316. (269) Jim Eager

    “And what about the isotope ratio evidence do you find lacking?”

    Quite frankly it just looks…. flimsy. I mentioned a way to perhaps disprove the theory, but it got no notice. There has to be a way to test this…

    Mike M. posted above about this being a water planet. Isn’t he right? The heat capacity of the a first ten meters of ocean water is probably more then the entire atmosphere! I think the longterm stability or volatility of the atmosphere is really a property of the oceans… not the atmosphere itself.

    Not to mention the oceans probably have 50-100x as much total CO2 (carbonate ions included). It’s no secret that gas solubility varies with temperature (and pressure) so take that concept and look at our oceans…. They are not 2 dimensional or homogenous in temperature and they are not static. The idea that oscillations like PDO could have a dominating effect on CO2 levels is not that crazy. If that lets man off the hook, isn’t that a good thing? The amount of amount CO2 exchanged yearly between the the ocean and atmosphere probably totally dwarfs our contribution — like a CO2 stock market. Anything that perturbs this exchange could lead to changing air CO2 level, correct?

    Do I think it’s especially likely that man is not causing an increase in atmospheric CO2? No. But co-incindences happen all the time and if you don’t test your theories or designs you are setting yourself up for failure.

    [edit]

    [Response: This has been tested over and over again – which is why people have found all sorts of supporting evidence – 14C, 13C, O2 changes, mass budgets for the biosphere and ocean, paleo evidence etc. You are wasting your time challenging the anthropogenic rise in CO2. Science progesses by moving on to more interesting questions as the evidence comes in, it does not continually spend time discussing things which are basically settled and for which no new information has come up since. – gavin]

    Comment by sam — 2 May 2010 @ 2:09 PM

  317. Steve Fish (#312) said:

    I didn’t think that CO2 being transferred from the atmosphere to the ocean toward equilibrium, or heat loss from the atmosphere to space toward equilibrium, were considered to be negative feedbacks in the context of climate science.

    Me neither, but I’m just another lay reader. This may not be an important point, but I hate using words wrong, so clarifications are welcome.

    IPCC AR4 offers this definition of “climate feedback”:

    An interaction mechanism between processes in the climate system is called a climate feedback when the result of an initial process triggers changes in a second process that in turn influences the initial one. A positive feedback intensifies the original process, and a negative feedback reduces it.

    …and appears to agree with your intuition, as far as the ocean is concerned:

    With respect to atmospheric pCO2 alone, the inorganic carbon system of the ocean reacts in two ways: (1) seawater re-equilibrates, buffering a significant amount of CO2 from the atmosphere depending on the water volume exposed to equilibration; and (2) the Revelle factor increases with pCO2 (positive feedback; Figure 7.11). […] While the first [process] is generally considered as a system response, the latter is a feedback process. (WG1, 7.4.3.2, emphasis added)

    Comment by CM — 2 May 2010 @ 2:17 PM

  318. #287 Mike M

    Check the spectra absorption and isotope signatures.

    BTW, look up ad hominem. Attacking an idea from a person is not the same as attacking the person.

    Also, in Sam’s post #260 he says he has read about the isotope ratio changes but the says something else could have done it? One really needs a more definite attribution other than “what if”.

    Besides the ratio changes, you and Sam might want to check into this:

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/human-caused
    http://www.scienceinschool.org/2008/issue8/climate/

    You might think I’m being inappropriate, but I make mistakes too, plenty, but when I catch myself or someone else points out that I missed something. I correct it.

    I can call myself an idiot, even thought that is ad hominem (against myself), because I know I’m not incredibly knowledgeable on all the wondrous depth of understanding in multiple fields of science. And as I have stated in the past, I really don’t know that much in the world of knowledge.

    Think about this. Einstein said imagination is more important than knowledge. Think about his context.

    I think open mindedness is more important than intelligence, but think about the context. High intelligence can be trumped by an open mind.

    I’m not hung up on any theory, but substance is what gives me ground upon which to see that a foundation has been laid.

    If you want to crack that foundation, you really do need substance, not ‘what it’. Otherwise you are merely hypothesizing, which is sort of the scientific equivalent of daydreaming. Not that that is bad either, just that daydreams do not shake the foundations of science, whereas substance can.


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 2 May 2010 @ 2:30 PM

  319. Mike M — A positive feedback means a feedback which amplifies the effect of the input, irrespective of whethr the input is rising or falling. If the feedback is less than unity, we have a gain of

    1 + f + f^2 + f^3 + … = 1/(1-f)

    The water vapor feedback is of this form, approximately doubling the original input, called a forcing in climatology. So in that case f is close to 1/2.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 2 May 2010 @ 3:13 PM

  320. #283 Edward Greisch

    Your recycling point is well taken, but that is not what is happening right now either.

    My concern at this time is that we have serious waste costs, that don’t seem to be built in to the cost of the energy source. We also have some containment problems and those will have associated costs, possibly not just monetary, as those costs could leak into the bio economies.

    My main point, that I am trying to make is that we have other considerations that really do deserve serious thought.


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 2 May 2010 @ 3:21 PM

  321. #312 Steve, slow down and re-read the item. Never equated “burned” engineer and geologists with climate “science”, nor said one is more demanding then the other, but there are differences in the outcome of their work.

    But you could wander over to http://scienceofdoom.com/ .
    They have an interesting item on non-linearity, and the atmosphere:
    “The Strange Case of Stratospheric Water Vapor, Non-linearities and Groceries”
    It gives a good discussion of how complex this beast is.

    Comment by J. Bob — 2 May 2010 @ 3:39 PM

  322. JiminMpls:

    Do you have any evidence for these figures you quote? Any source at all?

    And to what do these figures apply? Obviously they are not global. Studies have shown that globally, nuclear power is competitive with coal, and significantly cheaper than current wind generation.

    “It’s expensive” is really one of the silliest arguments made against nuclear power. You didn’t make that argument against wind when wind was ridiculously expensive, did you? I don’t hear you making that argument against solar power, either – even though currently it is painfully expensive.

    Obviously nuclear power is expensive. Obviously it is cheap enough to be competitive in the many regions of the world where nuclear power has a significant market share.

    The US is not the entire world.

    BPL:

    It disgusts me that every time nuclear power comes up, you repeat the same lies. Isn’t that one of the hallmarks of a denier? You said “I count 15 Americans known dead from nuclear power.” This is a LIE. You know it is not true, since you compiled the list yourself, and you can presumably read. Yes, I have lost patience with you and your double standards.

    Even if your lie was true (it isn’t, obviously) 15 deaths in over 50 years is an incredible safety record when compared with other forms of power.

    Summary of Wind Turbine Incidents (December 2008):
    • 41 Worker Fatalities, 16 Public- Includes falling from turbine towers and transporting turbines on the highway.
    • 39 Incidents of Blade Failure- Failed blades have been known to travel over a quarter mile, killing any unfortunate bystanders within its path of destruction.
    • 110 Incidents of Fire- When a wind turbine fire occurs, local fire departments can do little but watch due to the 30-story height of these turbine units. The falling debris are then carried across the distance and cause new fires.
    • 60 Incidents of Structural Failure- As turbines become more prevalent, these breakages will become more common in public areas, thereby causing more deaths and dismemberment’s from falling debris.
    • 24 incidents of “hurling ice”- Ice forms on these giant blades and is reportedly hurled at deathly speeds in all directions. Author reports that some 880 ice incidents of this nature have occurred over Germany’s 13-years of harnessing wind power.

    Source: Treehugger

    Please note: despite the death rate, we must continue with adding as much wind power to the grid as we possibly can. Have you seen the fatalities from coal?

    Comment by Didactylos — 2 May 2010 @ 3:51 PM

  323. Re: 310 Steve
    Maybe it is semantics, but I consider that when there is a forcing, e.g. man-made release of CO2 into the atmosphere, there is a potential of a response that may be proportional to the forcing. To me, that response is a feedback.

    [Response: This is definitely a possible confusion. The response to a radiative forcing is only a feedback if it ‘feeds back’ into the radiation calculation. For instance, a change in CO2 that changes temperature which impacts ice cream sales is simply a response – not a feedback. But a change in CO2 that impacts water evaporation and thus the amount of water vapour in the air which also affects the radiation is a feedback. – gavin]

    Comment by Jim D — 2 May 2010 @ 4:24 PM

  324. John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) (281), I may be missing the main point here, but there have been many times in paleoclimate history where CO2 GREATLY exceeded 300ppm. Don’t recall if it was within last 5 million years though.

    Comment by Rod B — 2 May 2010 @ 4:38 PM

  325. Another member of the denialist club. “Nearly on topic”

    The X industry’s annual turnover is several billion dollars and it has no plans to downsize. Thus in advance of the new US guidelines articles have appeared in the New York Times and elsewhere claiming that the evidence for reducing X is not clear-cut.

    This controversy is fake. The evidence for X reduction is clear and consistent. Most of the “contradictory research” comes from a very small number of scientists , most of whom are linked to the X industry. However it takes skill to spot misinformation and subterfuge. And so the confusion is successfully promulgated.

    X is my notation. In to-day’s article it stands for salt. It actually belongs to an ever widening set which includes,asbestos, CFC’s ,DDT (I think), tobacco and of course CO2.

    http://www.allbusiness.com/medicine-health/diseases-disorders-cardiovascular/14376672-1.html

    The actual quote comes below the pay wall. Sorry but at least the New Scientist is easy to find.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 2 May 2010 @ 6:05 PM

  326. #324 Rod B

    Yes, that is why I constrained the time to 5 million. Though I must admit I should have said one million, I’m not real up on Pliocene CO2 concentrations, so my mistake. Although I believe my general contextual point was appropriate regarding the post I was responding too.

    There are many reasons in the distant past where CO2 has been higher than 300ppm as evidenced in the paleo records.

    But context is key. The system seems to have literally settled down into our current range over about the last 7 million years coming out of the Eocene.

    Plate tectonic positions were different. The heat flow in the oceans were different at least as far back as 3 million years ago because the Atlantic and Pacific were sharing more.

    Context is key. We are talking about, not just the cycles of the recent million years, but more importantly the modern infrastructure of both the Holocene as well as the industrial age in context to the human society.

    Radiative changes this powerful will have impacts on the capacity pertaining to current infrastructure and resource capacity. That is what is so different and why we need to understand the potentials. It’s the context.


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 2 May 2010 @ 6:22 PM

  327. Correction to my last comment.

    Re:Paywall.Please ignore or delete last two lines.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 2 May 2010 @ 6:35 PM

  328. JBob,
    Your reference is utterly clueless–as could be anticipated by the fact that he quites “The American Thinker.”

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 May 2010 @ 6:38 PM

  329. Sam@316, You claim that the isotopic evidence seems “flimsy,” and yet you do not elaborate, cite any evidence or even a convincing mechanism.

    Fact: Humans have emitted about twice as much CO2 as is represented by the increased CO2 in the atmosphere.

    Fact: The decreasing ratio of C-13 to C-12 indicates a fossil source of CO2 is largely responsible for the increase.

    Fact: Fossil fuels are by far the largest source of increasing fossil carbon.

    If you choose to ignore those facts, you are in denail. Period.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 2 May 2010 @ 6:46 PM

  330. #322 Didact

    Hmmmm…interesting. The applications for new nuclear power plants USED TO BE readily available on the NRC site. They are no longer there – at least I can’t find them.

    Yet another example of the true costs of new nuclear power plant being hidden from the public.

    Comment by JiminMpls — 2 May 2010 @ 6:56 PM

  331. I found the Turkey Point application. See 1A-1 for cost projections.

    Now see page 1A-1 for Southern Power’s Vogtle plant for estimated construction costs. Here you’ll find:

    “The estimated total construction cost for VEGP Units 3 and 4 is considered proprietary
    information and was provided with Revision 0 of the COL application under separate
    cover (Reference SNC letter AR-08-0436, dated March 28, 2008).”

    Really sweet, considering US taxpayers have already shelled out $3 billion in subsidies and another $8 bill in lo-an guarantees.

    http://adamswebsearch2.nrc.gov/idmws/doccontent.dll?library=PU_ADAMS^PBNTAD01&ID=093580166

    But I’ve cited the actual applications many times before on RC. Some people just choose to remain misinformed because it suits their political agenda.

    Comment by JiminMpls — 2 May 2010 @ 7:10 PM

  332. Steve Fish and CM regarding “I didn’t think that . . . heat loss from the atmosphere to space toward equilibrium, were considered to be negative feedbacks in the context of climate science.”

    I don’t generally recommend relying on me as a source for such things, but I find:

    It is also worth mentioning that what even counts as a feedback depends on the definition of the reference system. For example, the Stefan-Boltzman relation is often described as a negative climate feedback acting to regulate temperature anomalies. In fact, for a blackbody planet, which is the simplest imaginable reference system for the climate that is still meaningful, the Stefan-Boltzman relation is part of the reference system and therefore not a feedback at all. These are not semantic or esoteric issues—the quantitative intercomparison of different feedbacks can be done only when the reference system is defined and held constant.

    on p. 111 in Roe, G. 2009. Feedbacks, Timescales, and Seeing Red. Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences 37: 93-115.

    Available here http://earthweb.ess.washington.edu/roe/Publications/Roe_FeedbacksRev_08.pdf

    Comment by Rick Brown — 2 May 2010 @ 7:15 PM

  333. I still think there could be some unknown process that is changing the isotope ratio…  The change is really slight.  The basic argument about the CO2 isotope proof is that plant based CO2, (which includes CO2 from fossil fuels) is increasing in the atmosphere. Plant based CO2 has a different C12/C13 ratio and this in turn changes the C12/C13 ratio in the air.  So it seems like plants (the living kind) could have a part in this isotope change no?  What If through our massive agriculture, deforestation, and planting of different trees and grasses we have introduced plants that have a different CO2 metabolisms?  Could that shift the ratio?

    http://homepage.mac.com/uriarte/carbon13.html

    http://www.biology-online.org/biology-forum/about459.html

    Comment by Sam — 2 May 2010 @ 7:24 PM

  334. RE- Comment by J. Bob — 2 May 2010 @ 3:39 PM:

    OK, I very slowly re-read the posts and found the following. Dale Powers (30 April 2010 @ 9:11 PM) was wondering why geologists and some engineers don’t seem to understand that they make simple errors while speculating outside of their area of expertise. You responded (2 May 2010 @ 10:35 AM) that because they have to deal with real problems, apparently unlike climate scientists, and have been “burned,” look beyond “hype” and have come to a real understanding (also apparently unlike climate scientists). So I repeat, how have they been “burned” and what “hype” have they looked beyond? I suggest that you slow down and re-read what you have said.

    You suggested that I check out a site where there is no indication of expertise in climate science that states in its “About this blog” section that some “aspects of current Climate Science have become more like a faith.” Do you agree with this? If so, please explain which aspects are like a faith? Please be specific.

    Methinks that you are exhibiting the same kind of Allègre thinking that this whole thread is about. Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 2 May 2010 @ 7:33 PM

  335. 310 JiminMpls: You are wrong. Nuclear is the cheapest per kilowatt HOUR over 40 years. That is not the same as original equipment cost.

    Reference: “Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy”, by B. Comby
    English edition, 2001, 345 pp. (soft cover), 38 Euros
    TNR Editions, 266 avenue Daumesnil, 75012 Paris, France;
    ISBN 2-914190-02-6
    ORDER FROM THIS PLACE ONLY: http://www.comby.org/livres/livresen.htm
    You will not find it elsewhere.
    According to Comby, nuclear is 30% cheaper than the second cheapest, which is coal.

    Reference: “Power to Save the World; The Truth About Nuclear Energy” by Gwyneth Cravens, 2007 Page 211: “In 2005, the production cost of electricity:
    from nuclear power on average cost 1.72 cents per kilowatt-hour;
    from coal-fired plants 2.21;
    from natural gas 7.5,
    and from oil 8.09.
    American nuclear power reactors operated that year around the clock at about 90 percent capacity, whereas coal-fired plants operated at about 73 percent, hydroelectric plants at 29 percent, natural gas from 16 to 38 percent, wind at 27 percent, solar at 19 percent, and geothermal at 75 percent. … The costs per kilowatt hour for solar and wind are 600 or more times the cost for coal, and that is in sunny and windy places, respectively.”

    NOTE: Both Comby and Cravens included ALL life cycle costs.

    I did not start the nuclear thread. Somebody else did. It was another anti-nuclear person.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 2 May 2010 @ 8:29 PM

  336. 309 Ike Solem: You are completely WRONG. Gavin should have edited your first dissing of nuclear. How much is some coal company paying you to tell those lies? I have already covered/responded to all of them. There are ZERO costs that I have not included.

    Gavin: Please edit Ike Solem’s attempts to derail the discussion after this.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 2 May 2010 @ 8:35 PM

  337. 308 J. Bob: Thanks.

    320 John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) See:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Background_radiation

    322Didactylos: THANK YOU very much.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 2 May 2010 @ 8:46 PM

  338. @Sam, you haven’t responded to Carl Wunsch’s rebuttal of your Channel 4-inspired hypothesis – why not?

    CARL WUNSCH: There are a number of issues. There’s one point in the film where I was attempting to explain that the ocean contains a very large amount of carbon dioxide that is there naturally. It’s one of the great reservoirs of carbon dioxide in the world. And what I was trying to explain was that if you make the ocean warmer, as one likely would do under a global warming scenario, that much of that carbon dioxide now resident in the ocean could be released into the atmosphere with very serious effects.

    Carbon cycle feedbacks are in response to global warming – and one of the leading questions right now is this: What’s the carbon cycle sensitivity to a a given increase in global average temperature? On land, the problem is compounded by the fact that the carbon cycle is at least as sensitive to changes in precipitation and evaporation as it is to temperature – and there are complex ecological factors (insect life cycles in temperate forests, say) – but again, it’s all a response to increased atmospheric forcing.

    Edward Greisch – you have some record on realclimate, you know that? Really, now… wind and solar are hundreds of times more expensive than nuclear? That’s irrational… but it’s not exactly the only one.

    Edward Greich’s [edit] statement that Chernobyl killed only 52 people speaks for itself. Nuclear power is NOT cheaper, the French plants ARE old and in trouble, and, [edit] – Comment by Marion Delgado

    Most people in the U.S. are simply saying that no new power plants should be built – perhaps you should save your venom for the Germans – did you know that the Hun is actually trying to close down all the nuclear power plants in Germany? Yes, it’s terrible – I know – go get ‘em!

    @Holly Stick – No response on CNN’s decision to fire their entire science team, after they ran some unbiased articles on the ecological effects of Arctic ice melt? I think it demonstrates a serious lack of integrity at CNN.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 2 May 2010 @ 11:42 PM

  339. Sam, Sam, Sam (#333)… please sit back and look at yourself. Are you seriously proposing that the folks that were smart enough to develop these isotope techniques weren’t smart enough to think of this themselves? I’m not one for argument by authority, but don’t you feel you should at least yourself study the science a little before starting to play these mind games?

    Hint: there’s a third carbon isotope, C14. With fascinating properties…

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 3 May 2010 @ 12:55 AM

  340. Rick Brown (#332), thanks! Very helpful.

    Comment by CM — 3 May 2010 @ 2:23 AM

  341. Nukies and anti-nukies, the host asked you to drop the subject. No, it’s not good manners to continue holding forth about it as long as the host does not physically throw you out of the party.

    Edward Greisch (#336), you’re one of the people here most often responsible for derailing any discussion onto the nuclear issue. You have some nerve telling the moderators to edit others.

    Comment by CM — 3 May 2010 @ 2:48 AM

  342. #335 “Nuclear is the cheapest per kilowatt HOUR over 40 years.”
    and #336 “There are ZERO costs that I have not included.”

    All this debate over nuclear vs coal vs renewables as to which is “cheapest” seems to have become a shouting match because key assumptions assumptions are not being spelled out in order to make fair comparisons.
    In any business plan investors want to see, or at least have high confidence, that all the assumptions upon which the proposal is based have been validated AND that all critical issues that could affect the success of the business have been addressed AND that risks that could sink the business have been identified and mitigation plans to deal with those are in place.
    The financial model needs to include all of this, assumptions clearly stated. Then the investor can play with the model and see what will happen under various scenarios. Most investors are looking for a payback within 5 years and will determine the potential value of the business on its NPV at 10 years on the basis that the business is then closed and scrapped. Cradle to grave economics should be applied. Privatization of profits and socialization of costs, as happens presently, cannot be allowed to continue. Can we even use these old economic modelling tools that still assume unlimited growth? Scientifically we know that unlimited growth is unsustainable. Do we all hav ea common understanding of what we mean by unsustainable?
    So, 40 years is a long, long time to have any degree of confidence that one’s assumptions that far forward are realistic.
    So, unless all the assumptions are out in the open everything becomes opinion based on belief in one’s own chosen favored technology (for whatever reason)and for which there will be a tendency towards “confirmation bias” to select any “evidence” that supports it.
    For example: what do we assume regarding cost of CO2 emissions? If carbon tax with dividend (that seems to be the simplest, fairest and most viable approach to drive reduction in emissions) is legislated what will this cost look like projected into the future? How will this affect the relevant business models?
    The difficulty here is that the ECONOMICS, TECHNOLOGIES and thus business models of ENERGY generation businesses are not available for honest comparison and evaluation. This is very unlike climate science where confidence in the theory of climate change has been developed over years of research and publications in the peer reviewed literature, and is still being refined, AND, despite the unethical anti-science attempts by denialists to imply otherwise, has been conducted openly and transparently.
    Take note of what JiminMpls is saying at #330 and #331, especially “Yet another example of the true costs of new nuclear power plant being hidden from the public.”
    So this site is really not appropriate to discuss these issues, is it? But it is a very important that the public be involved and properly informed.
    So Edward, Ike, is there not some other place where this can be discussed? The subject matter is too complex to make any progress on a blog, isn’t it?
    Is there a way to set up a “credibility spectrum” (as Greg Craven did for climate science) for authorities in these areas? Business and political vested interests are massive in the energy field. Who do we believe and why?

    Comment by Hugh Laue — 3 May 2010 @ 3:33 AM

  343. “I still think there could be some unknown process that is changing the isotope ratio…”

    Yes, it could be the Centarum have built a jump gate near earth and this is affecting our carbon!!!!

    Sam, I think you’re nuts. If all you need to prove a point is think it’s right, then you are.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 3 May 2010 @ 3:45 AM

  344. “NOTE: Both Comby and Cravens included ALL life cycle costs.”

    Funny, because that’s not the cost the people actually running nuclear power stations are paying to produce it.

    You’d’ve thought they would know how much THEY are paying to produce, wouldn’t you.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 3 May 2010 @ 3:47 AM

  345. ““It’s expensive” is really one of the silliest arguments made against nuclear power. You didn’t make that argument against wind when wind was ridiculously expensive, did you?”

    Wind was expensive when it was still early and not considered useful for replacement.

    Now wind isn’t expensive and it is being considered for replacement.

    This is why that arguemnt wasn’t made: it didn’t apply.

    And if expense is a silly reason, then we can ignore cost.

    So we have nuclear power vs wind.

    Wind wins. There’s far far more wind power available than there is nuclear power available and wind doesn’t run out.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 3 May 2010 @ 3:53 AM

  346. Did 322: It disgusts me that every time nuclear power comes up, you repeat the same lies. Isn’t that one of the hallmarks of a denier? You said “I count 15 Americans known dead from nuclear power.” This is a LIE.

    BPL: By gosh, you’re right and I’m wrong! I miscounted. It’s only *** 14 *** deaths.

    Count with me, my mathematically educated friend:

    09/02/1944. Manhattan Project, Nevada, USA. Uranium enrichment device explosion and radiation release. 2 fatalities.

    08/21/1945. Manhattan Project, Nevada, USA. Hand pile assembly accident. 1 fatality.

    04/??/1946. Manhattan Project, Nevada, USA. Hand pile assembly accident. 1 fatality (8 workers contaminated).

    12/30/1958. Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, NM, USA. Criticality accident in plutonium recovery operation. 1 fatality.

    01/03/1961. National Reactor Testing Station SL-1 military research reactor, Arco, ID, USA. NRC attributes this to sabotage. 3 fatalities.

    07/27/1972. Surry Unit 2 commercial reactor, Virginia, USA. Steam explosion. 2 fatalities.

    12/09/1986. Surry Unit 2 commercial reactor, Virginia, USA. Steam explosion (again). 4 fatalities.

    2 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 2 + 4 = 14, by golly!

    Boy, is my face red. Clearly, EGs contention that “ZERO” Americans have died from nuclear power must be correct, since, as we all know, 14 = 0.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 3 May 2010 @ 4:40 AM

  347. EG: The costs per kilowatt hour for solar and wind are 600 or more times the cost for coal

    BPL: California costs for coal power are 10 cents per kWh. Apparently you maintain that the cost for wind and solar electricity is $60.00 per kWh.

    Of course, the cost for wind electricity there is 9 cents per kWh. So are you, instead, maintaining that the cost of coal electricity is 0.015 cent per kWh?

    Gosh, that’s… ELECTRICITY TOO CHEAP TO METER!!!

    [Explosion of ticker tape, band plays “Three Cheers for the Red White and Blue,” crowd goes wild]

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 3 May 2010 @ 4:49 AM

  348. “336
    Edward Greisch says:
    2 May 2010 at 8:35 PM

    309 Ike Solem: …How much is some coal company paying you to tell those lies? ”

    How much is GE’s nuclear arm paying you and didactylos to tell your lies and smear others with such transparent BS?
    If it’s not GE, please tell us which nuclear arm it is.

    Or do you work for the nuclear military?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 3 May 2010 @ 6:44 AM

  349. Hi Gavin

    the origin of the added 100 ppm of CO2 is not a problem for me.
    It is essentially anthropogenic (if we except maybe about 5-10 ppm from température?)
    But I have a problem with 14C isotope.
    I’s OK before nuclear weapons but is there a method to use this it with relative accuracy after the 60s-70s?

    Comment by meteor — 3 May 2010 @ 7:19 AM

  350. Sam@333,
    OK, let me see if I’ve got this straight: so there must be “some process” that is responsible for the temperature rise other than CO2–this, even though we know that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and warming was predicted nearly a century before it was observed. And there must be “some process” that is responsible for the increase in CO2 other than burning of fossil fuel–this, even though we know that humans have produced about twice as much CO2 as is needed to account for the atmospheric increase, and fossil fuels have the right isotopic signature and the oceans are acidifying as well….

    Sam, shouldn’t it tell you something when you have to try so hard to explain things and all you can come up with is–it must be something else, I know not what. Sam, sometimes you just have to believe what all the evidence is telling you. It’s part of being a responsible adult. It’s part of not being a clownshoe.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 3 May 2010 @ 7:44 AM

  351. “But I have a problem with 14C isotope.
    I’s OK before nuclear weapons but is there a method to use this it with relative accuracy after the 60s-70s?”

    Why is it OK before but not after?

    It’s not like we’ve actually blown up that much in the way of neutrons (that are required to change the isotopic signature of C14).

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 3 May 2010 @ 8:06 AM

  352. meteor, hi,

    There is a very nice graph on the Wikipedia page for radiocarbon dating that illustrates the effects of nuclear testing on 14C concentration (indeed, it almost doubled for a short period):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiocarbon_dating

    Even though the graph tails off at 1995, it looks to me that extrapolating forward, it would be back to its pre-testing level by around 2005 at the latest (given that atmospheric nuclear testing has ceased completely). In any case, whatever’s left is accounted for by calibration, which has different offsets for the northern and southern hemispheres.

    Steve Metzler (formerly Steve in Dublin)

    Comment by Steve Metzler — 3 May 2010 @ 10:00 AM

  353. Let’s try and get back on topic – take CJ Allegre’s “Snows of Kilimanjaro” – which some fossil fuel flack (Inhofe, I’m guessing) in the U.S. Senate conveniently translated into English and posted on the Senate Environmental & Public Works Committee website

    On October 17 [2006], the EPW Majority issued a press release, Decorated Scientist Defects From Belief in Global Warming – Caps Year of Vindication for Skeptics…

    Here’s what Allegre had to say then:

    The argument that builds upon the retreating white cap of Kilimanjaro seems implacable. The retreating white cap is observable, tangible. Indeed, but things are not as straightforward as they seem. The gradual retreat of the snows of Kilimanjaro is often imputed to local phenomena, the main one of these being desertification in East Africa. In a recent issue of Science magazine, French researchers have shown that this desertification was in a large measure due to tectonic activities responsible for the gradual uplift of the African continent, thereby inducing a reorganization of atmospheric circulation. Greenhouse effect plays no significant role in these processes.

    Yes – in the past century, there’s been explosive uplift in Africa, which is causing desertification, leading to the melting of Kilimanjaro icefields – has the man lost his mind? This is the guy that French president Sarkozy wanted to head his science&technology section?

    Now, let’s compare that to the reports by those who’ve actually done a lot of work on Kilimanjaro:

    In 2002, Thompson and his colleagues shocked the scientific community with their prediction that the ice fields capping the mountain would disappear between 2015 and 2020, the victims, at least in part, of global warming. Returning to his campus office last week, he admits that nothing has happened to alter that prediction.

    This falls into the general category of tropical warming trends (as opposed to polar and mid-latitude warming trends) – and there’s been some recent work on that:

    Clement et al. (2010) Climate change: Patterns of tropical warming, Nature Geosciences

    The effect of rising greenhouse-gas emissions on climate is not uniform across the globe. An analysis of the mechanisms behind model-projected changes in ocean temperature gives greater confidence in the pattern of tropical warming and its potential impacts.

    Figure 1: Sea surface temperature change over the twenty-first century, averaged over 22 climate models (mid-range scenario)

    The warming tropical oceans can lead to changes in monsoon patterns, and the overall temperature increase is undeniable – there is no cooling cycle, no “negative phase of the PDO” that will counteract this.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 3 May 2010 @ 10:09 AM

  354. #328 Ray, did you even read the item, and understand what non-linear effects are? Go back and read the simple example, and get some idea how complicated non-linear systems are. But then, how many real life non-linear models have you had to deal with?

    #334 Steve, let me put it another way for you. IF you have never been in a design process, there is something called “sign off”. That is, the engineer(s) put HIS signature on a document approving the design. In a number of cases, real lives can be involved if the design is wrong (i.e. rudder control servo on a aircraft). If the design was found to be faulty, in a crash, the engineer could be held liable, and all those in the chain that also “signed off”. Or in a much smaller case, a product might have to be recalled (“more modest burn”), but there are some significant consequences of “getting it wrong” vs putting out a journal item.

    Steve on your 2nd pt., I think you are confusing me with another post, I said nothing about “faith”. But the item I referenced might help in your understanding non-linear systems

    #301 JiminMpls, I’ve felt a lot safer inside the nuclear power plant at Prairie Island, then driving there from Mpls. International airport.

    Comment by J. Bob — 3 May 2010 @ 10:46 AM

  355. BPL @ 347:

    Those look to be retail power rates. Bulk coal power is typically in the $20 to $40 per megawatt-hour range for wholesale pricing. On top of that is profit, distribution expense, regulation expense, etc.

    The fact that you didn’t list all the other power sources — natural gas, oil, hydro, etc. — tells me that they definitely aren’t wholesale prices.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 3 May 2010 @ 11:12 AM

  356. BPL said “Count with me, my mathematically educated friend:”

    09/02/1944. Manhattan Project, Nevada, USA. Uranium enrichment device explosion and radiation release. 2 fatalities.

    NOT nuclear power.

    08/21/1945. Manhattan Project, Nevada, USA. Hand pile assembly accident. 1 fatality.

    NOT nuclear power.

    04/??/1946. Manhattan Project, Nevada, USA. Hand pile assembly accident. 1 fatality (8 workers contaminated).

    NOT nuclear power.

    12/30/1958. Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, NM, USA. Criticality accident in plutonium recovery operation. 1 fatality.

    NOT nuclear power.

    01/03/1961. National Reactor Testing Station SL-1 military research reactor, Arco, ID, USA. NRC attributes this to sabotage. 3 fatalities.

    Military nuclear power.

    07/27/1972. Surry Unit 2 commercial reactor, Virginia, USA. Steam explosion. 2 fatalities.

    NOT a radiation incident.

    12/09/1986. Surry Unit 2 commercial reactor, Virginia, USA. Steam explosion (again). 4 fatalities.

    NOT a radiation incident.

    So, if you want to take a strict accounting, you have 0 fatalities. If you want to stretch the definition of “nuclear power” a little, you get 2 fatalities. If, instead, you look at commercial nuclear power and consider non-radiation deaths, you get 6 deaths from steam explosions and an unspecified number during construction.

    BPL said “Boy, is my face red. Clearly, EGs contention that “ZERO” Americans have died from nuclear power must be correct”

    Exactly. Glad you agree. Or did I just do a hatchet job with your quote?

    No matter, evidently you are not reasonable on this subject, and neither is that CFU guy.

    The irony here is you completely fail to take into account the majority of nuclear power deaths, those arising during construction. But that would reveal just how ridiculous your whole argument is, wouldn’t it?

    Comment by Didactylos — 3 May 2010 @ 11:48 AM

  357. JBob,
    If you are expecting me to run screaming from a problem just because it involves nonlinearities, then I would suggest that you need to re-familiarize yourself with the graduate curriculum in physics. There are well developed techniques for dealing with nonlinearities. And guess what. They work. So, when I come across a blog post where someone whispers under his breath, “The system is nonlinear. Ooga, booga,” I just laugh.

    Thanks, Punkin, but I’ll stick to the peer-reviewed literature–you know, where they actually do deal with real-life nonlinear systems.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 3 May 2010 @ 11:57 AM

  358. RE- Comment by J. Bob — 3 May 2010 @ 10:46 AM:

    So you are just refusing to answer my questions. What kind of behavior is this? By the way, as I made quite clear, the climate science is faith bit is part of the statement of purpose of the scienceofdoom website you are recommending.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 3 May 2010 @ 12:12 PM

  359. RE- Comment by Rick Brown — 2 May 2010 @ 7:15 PM:

    Thanks for the reference. Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 3 May 2010 @ 12:38 PM

  360. Didactylos wrote: “So, if you want to take a strict accounting, you have 0 fatalities. If you want to stretch the definition of “nuclear power” a little, you get 2 fatalities. If, instead, you look at commercial nuclear power and consider non-radiation deaths, you get 6 deaths from steam explosions and an unspecified number during construction.”

    I notice there is no mention of cancer deaths attributable to uranium mining.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 3 May 2010 @ 12:53 PM

  361. “I notice there is no mention of cancer deaths attributable to uranium mining.”

    Or merely deaths to mining.

    It’s not like it’s magically safe if it’s uranium you’re hauling out of the ground as opposed to coal…

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 3 May 2010 @ 1:28 PM

  362. Sam@316 “Do I think it’s especially likely that man is not causing an increase in atmospheric CO2? No. But co-incindences happen all the time and if you don’t test your theories or designs you are setting yourself up for failure.”

    It never ceases to amaze me that people think that scientists don’t test their theories or know that co-incidences happen and consider the probability of observing a result happening by chance (e.g. statistical hypothesis testing). Most do little else! ;o)

    In this case the theory is easy to test and has been tested very extensively by a variety of means. Get the data on atmospheric CO2 and anthropogenic emissions (from fossil fuel use and land use changes) from the carbon dioxide information analysis center (http://cdiac.ornl.gov/) and you will find that the annual growth in atmospheric CO2 is always less than (on average about half) the level of anthropogenic emissions (although there is a lot of variation from one year to the next). This proves that the natural environment is a net sink and hence can’t be responsible for the rise.

    Gavin is correct to say that the anthropogenic origin of the post-industrial rise in CO2, however, the large exchange fluxes do mean that it is quite easy to come up with arguments to show that man is not responsible, that while apparently reasonable are nevertheless false. For instance

    “The amount of amount CO2 exchanged yearly between the the ocean and atmosphere probably totally dwarfs our contribution”

    Did you test your theory? ;o)

    That statement is absolutely true, but tells you nothing about the long term rise as it is the difference in total emissions and total uptake, rather than the total magnitude of the flux that matters.

    I guess the point is that there is little there left for the scientists to bother talking about, but there are plenty of intelligent members of the general public that don’t understand the issues or history, so questions like this are not going to go away.

    Comment by Dikran Marsupial — 3 May 2010 @ 1:43 PM

  363. Gee how I hate to bring this up, BUT:

    If you still have to write posts such as this in 2010 (AIT+4, I believe??), and then we have this news:

    UN: No comprehensive climate deal this year
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100503/ap_on_re_eu/climate

    …are we starting to understand what time it is?

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 3 May 2010 @ 2:16 PM

  364. @338 Ike Solem:

    I don’t know why you expect me to comment on this firing in 2008; I don’t watch CNN and don’t know much about it. Here in Canada we have our own problems with dishonest and inadequate media, and the reduction of good reporting by corporate owners pushing their own interests.

    Newspapers and probably TV stations have shrinking pools of reporters; and there are probably few that have time to learn enough to understand what they are writing about. It’s not just a problem with science reporting, but with any complicated issue.

    There’s some debate now about why rightwingers get more TV time. Their advantage may be that they are loud and entertaining; and in my opinion the leftwingers are hampered by respect for the truth and a general sense of decency.

    Comment by Holly Stick — 3 May 2010 @ 2:29 PM

  365. “Uranium enrichment device explosion and radiation release. 2 fatalities.

    NOT nuclear power.”

    Uh, don’t you have to enrich uranium for power stations?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 3 May 2010 @ 3:08 PM

  366. BPL, you’re going to stick to that wind power for 9c/kWhr in California until the cows come home, aren’t you?

    Comment by Rod B — 3 May 2010 @ 3:21 PM

  367. #337 Edward Greisch

    Are you predicting that we can predict the future solely based on the past?

    Quoting a wiki page on background radiation from human sources does not address the future risks.

    We are not recycling nuclear waste, we are storing it.

    No one can predict the costs and dangers of such storage in the future.

    My concerns, from a security perspective revolve around the economics, containment degradation, and potentials for materials to be used by terrorists.

    As you know, we have a little problem with global warming. The national security reports indicate that this is not healthy for maintaining functioning governments.

    It’s pretty simple.

    Terrorism: The risks are high that materials can end up in hands that will not recycle the material, but rather use such material for more nefarious means.

    Economics: handling costs are high and containment degradation potentials are already apparent in some instances. I can’t yet predict the future but expect further degradation, and if the national security reports are reasonable, expect economic, thus government breakdown of various levels over various time scales. We may not be able to afford to recycle the waste.

    You nor I, nor anyone else can guarantee we will be able to constrain these problems reasonably. I am not against nuclear power, I am for serious consideration of the consequences in relation to economic capacity to address potential problems.

    There are indications that thorium reactors resolve many of these problems. There are indications that in the end, thorium plants are cheaper to build and maintain. There are indications that thorium reactors have a smaller footprint.

    My advice to policy makers would be to immediately drive toward the thorium solution because form a risk reward ration analysis it is reasonable to see that the advantages and cost savings outweigh the risks and cost sof additional 2nd gen plants.

    Take the cost of a single 2nd gen plant and maybe, just maybe we would arrive and the 4th gen solution. I don’t think success is out of the realm of possibility here. We as a human race can be quite innovation when we focus on a problem.


    A Climate Minute The Greenhouse EffectHistory of Climate ScienceArctic Ice Melt

    ‘Fee & Dividend’ Our best chance for a better future – climatelobby.com
    Learn the Issue & Sign the Petition

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 3 May 2010 @ 3:24 PM

  368. Did 356: did I just do a hatchet job with your quote?

    BPL: No, you just defined your way out of the problem by excluding all the nuclear-related deaths that didn’t match some bizarrely narrow criterion. It reminds me of the way the nukies used to say “There has never been a civilian death from nuclear power in the US,” because they defined “civilian” to exclude power plant workers.

    Take your shameless industry shilling somewhere else. It’s a reasonable position that the dangers of nuclear are less than the dangers of coal. It is NOT a reasonable position that there are ZERO dangers. It’s reasonable to say nuclear hasn’t caused as many deaths as fossil fuels. It is NOT reasonable to say it has caused NO deaths. Quit lying by omission.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 3 May 2010 @ 4:16 PM

  369. RodB 366: BPL, you’re going to stick to that wind power for 9c/kWhr in California until the cows come home, aren’t you?

    BPL: Well, I’d prefer it to drop radically, of course.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 3 May 2010 @ 4:23 PM

  370. OT (shock!) but there doesn’t seem to be an active open thread.

    Who is the anonymous physicist pushing denial on kids?
    http://www.desmogblog.com/unnamed-physicist-sponsors-hardcore-global-warming-denial-high-schoolers

    Not to mention some of the other rot at DeSmog. Of course RC can’t deal with all of it and I will be happy to see more science here. But can’t knowledgeable commentors give DeSmog some love? Besides, I hope some of you can ID the physicist.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 3 May 2010 @ 6:01 PM

  371. CFU had this gem:

    “361.“I notice there is no mention of cancer deaths attributable to uranium mining.”

    Or merely deaths to mining.

    It’s not like it’s magically safe if it’s uranium you’re hauling out of the ground as opposed to coal…”

    Or getting cancer and dying from simply being out in the sun.

    Your magical pure, free engergy source is a killer, CFU.

    Shall we compare cancer deaths due to solar radiation against aluminum mining fatalities?

    Do you really want to go there?

    Comment by Frank Giger — 3 May 2010 @ 6:45 PM

  372. #357 Ray, Ray, no one ever said non-linear problems were impossible, so no “spinning”. However they are generally more difficult then constant coefficient linear differential equations. Nor do they lend themselves to nice, closed form solutions, which is where digital, and yes, even analog computers, offer insights into a system through modeling. This is especially true, in a system as complicated as the earth.
    Since it sounds like you are knowledgeable about non-linear systems, let me repeat my question above, how many non-linear systems have you had to develop, analyze and compare real data to? Remember, not just reading articles, but actually building them up from “scratch”, including numerical precision, and iteration methods and step size.

    #358 Steve, I answered your question. I assume you are capable of reading an article, digesting it, and coming to your own conclusion, without worrying so much about what the source is. Besides if you are that confident of your “faith”, then reading what the opposition has, should strengthen your “faith”, since your “faith” has been tested.

    Comment by J. Bob — 3 May 2010 @ 8:07 PM

  373. 370: no idea who funded it but I found the notion of a “3000 year old plot” that they mentioned in the video to be pretty interesting. I always thought de Cartes came up with the notion of Cartesian coordinates but apparently I was misinformed.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 3 May 2010 @ 8:40 PM

  374. > is there a method to use [C14] …

    Adjustment for the C14 spike
    http://www.google.com/search?q=C14+dating+atomic+fallout
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/Radioc.htm (the first link under Science in the right sidebar on each page of RC, a good place to begin)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 May 2010 @ 9:21 PM

  375. Public Input Sought on Adapting to Climate Change:
    Interim Report Released
    Comments due by mid-June

    In October 2009, an Executive Order http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103359267369&s=10289&e=0018BV5jRrTJdJcPVxi0425wXn7vaDaUZmszLAf9A6d6mCMGL4wsvx9d9WvK42kvtJe0JKXulFpBrtQv6ULkuW6lQ0igVPu9RqMba67VweMMA506Ue9WthhRRfoc0niqM2IGzyxCXcq4hVibwC3YBNnUzd10LDKsS_T08870hFA87b7NehH-uZ2jWyjHLemQET9LiR6mEaplVwQueLHP6-esxmh87mA29127nOUPex1HlDr8WbDGFJORCO4Gqtx4vl7Oh4ljpLvw1pI6WGqIwYSgqUKJZYco0Qpgx-5Pc74yNU= established an Inter-agency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force. The Task Force http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103359267369&s=10289&e=0018BV5jRrTJdIhhV4Wb1eHvuCCjswIzc4zQyYSh8N9LSLxlA_wtwF5CGr_-rTUKC7_1Oh2XQoOf7xOg-O3MojaBLBiN-ZqHXDIOowCMXUMVVK1cSYv4CGZ7g9S4zxz9GffYm4exkQBvpjfWIPcwir2GzmZpOWJJjZADG0vuyspvWMkSwfFfNvDOKejG2KkhD2M is developing Federal recommendations for adapting to climate change impacts both domestically and internationally.

    The final recommendations are due in October of this year and the Task Force is seeking public input.

    Interim Progress Report http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103359267369&s=10289&e=0018BV5jRrTJdK6W0NnKU722tKGuXy83JIHlTQZq_LnX-4QQ2AHfVaFd602JDMVfCW41Qv2ilMlvZhPxQLnePSWW-rwCLzCu8MSVpEQeLRZcxK3qVEZ2J23SsvcDwagNuFXZuCx2Lznvyv1sijZu3Vmd94gj0HDo38nPcbMjAmEQFyh-LXJ2eYhl2vVxM-aA757qICNK2397TwPOgPfm1NKkkeT3VfZp8y8l4-4gucswOzEJ1KXNSTCEQ==
    On March 16, 2010, the Task Force released an Interim Progress Report which outlines the Task Force’s progress to date and recommends key components to include in a national strategy on climate change adaptation. These six components include:
    1) Integration of Science into Adaptation Decisions and Policy
    2) Communications and Capacity-building
    3) Coordination and Collaboration
    4) Prioritization
    5) A Flexible Framework for Agencies
    6) Evaluation

    State stakeholders who have an understanding of climate change issues are especially encouraged to submit comments.

    The Interim Progress Report is available for 60 days of public comment. Submit your comment at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/initiatives/adaptation/submit

    The comment period will end in mid-June, 2010.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 3 May 2010 @ 9:44 PM

  376. @Holly Stick – energy and climate issues are not left/right issues, rather they are basic economic and ecological issues. Regardless of ideology, everyone needs food, water, light, heating, cooling, transportation, and hospitable living conditions free from infectious diseases, correct? Leftwingers and rightwingers are both worse than useless when it comes to replacing fossil fuels with renewables – they just don’t seem to do their homework.

    For example, “leftwingers” were happy when Obama announced an ARPA-E initiative to boost renewable energy technology (at least that’s what it sounded like). “Rightwingers” were happy when George W. Bush announced a “zero-emissions clean coal initiative” in what, 2002? What is actually going on here?

    Codexis Awarded ARPA-E Grant for Carbon Capture Clean Air Technology

    REDWOOD CITY, Calif., May 3 Codexis, Inc. (Nasdaq: CDXS) today announced that the company has been selected to receive up to a $4.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for development of innovative technology to remove carbon dioxide from coal-fired power plant emissions. This is the company’s first grant under the ARPA-E Recovery Act program. The grant supports development of biocatalysts for more efficient carbon capture from coal-fired power plants…

    The problem with coal combustion streams is that they’re very dirty, and that’s before you even capture any CO2. All that sulfur, arsenic, mercury and so on has to go somewhere – but it’s toxic waste, and there’s no good disposal system – look at the TVA ash spill, if you want an example. Even capturing all the CO2 from a pure stream of 10% CO2 in air is difficult enough, energy wise – and storage of all the captured CO2 is itself implausible. Three strikes, but it’s still sucking up billions in federal funding – and both the Bush and Obama Administrations have thrown their political weight behind the coal-to-gasoline plants, I mean the zero-emission coal gasification plants, haven’t they?

    Left-wing coal boosters and right-wing coal boosters – I suppose that with two wings, it’s easier to get the dirty coal bird off the ground? Is that how it works? We’re also seeing bipartisan support for Canadian tar sand imports… I’m not sure which is dirtier, coal-to-gasoline or tar sand-to-gasoline? Neck and neck?

    Another problem with ARPA-E is that the money only goes to private comapanies – and how are they selecting them? NSF and NIH grants are put through an independent peer review process, but the DOE selection? How does that work? Furthermore, who ends up controlling the patents generated with these taxpayer dollars?

    If you really want to build a globally competitive renewable energy research base in this country, first you need to finance public university R&D departments – which ARPA-E doesn’t do – so that you can build up a base of professors who will train graduate students in cutting edge technology & research. Most of those graduate students will end up in private industry – that’s the Silicon Valley model, from the 1970s onwards, and it was extremely successful.

    What you need, therefore, are renewable energy research divisions at major universities – solar, wind, photosynthetic fuels, energy storage & distribution, etc. – and they’ll need federal funding. Consider that university-based medical research institutes are widespread, and they’re funded by the NIH (some $30 billion a year, I believe) but the DOE, a highly politicized & privatized organization, refuses to make such funds available – unless you’re doing coal or nuclear research. Take a look at their most recent budget request, if you don’t believe me: http://www.cfo.doe.gov/budget/11budget/index.htm

    That’s why the science funding agencies need to be one step removed from the political circus – so that the fossil fuel and nuclear interests can’t set the research agendas by decree.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 3 May 2010 @ 9:44 PM

  377. RE- Comment by J. Bob — 3 May 2010 @ 8:07 PM:

    In fact, you have not answered any of my questions and are trying very hard to conflate the claims of your preferred website (scienceofdoom.com) that climate scientist’s are making faith based claims with what I have said. So please answer what critics of climate science have been “burned” by what “hype,” what truths have they been able to determine, and what is faith based in climate science.

    Besides learning more about climate science, one of my motivations for reading here is to study how the pseudoskeptics deliberately try to prevent any confidence in good scientific information. My interaction with J.Bob here is a prime example of how to employ web trolling in this cause. For anybody wishing to see how this troll works, here is the series of posts to look at. You can highlight the name and date/time below and hit CTRL + f to search for the posts, but I am also putting in post numbers even though they may change a little because of the way that this site enters posts.

    Comment by Dale Power — 30 April 2010 @ 9:11 PM
    #247. Dale asks why some professionals, who have the training that should help them to understand, instead make fantastic claims about climate science.

    Comment by J. Bob — 2 May 2010 @ 10:35 AM
    #308. J.Bob claims that, unlike climate scientists, some geologists and engineers “deal with real world problems” and “have been burned enough to look beyond the hype, to the real state.”

    Comment by Steve Fish — 2 May 2010 @ 11:56 AM
    #312. I ask for a factual explanation of the burned and hype claim.

    Comment by J. Bob — 2 May 2010 @ 3:39 PM
    #321. J.Bob ducks the question and recommends a pseudoscience website that claims that climate science is faith based.

    Comment by Steve Fish — 2 May 2010 @ 7:33 PM
    #334. I ask again for an explanation of “burned,” “hype,” and what in climate science is faith based.

    Comment by J. Bob — 3 May 2010 @ 10:46 AM
    #354. J.Bob offers a bunch of unresponsive text intended to confuse.

    Comment by Steve Fish — 3 May 2010 @ 12:12 PM
    #358. I try to clarify and redirect the questions.

    Comment by J. Bob — 3 May 2010 @ 8:07 PM
    #372, J.Bob continues to try to avoid and confuse.

    I find these people to be fascinating. If you are interested in this denialist phenomenon, read through this sequence, if you haven’t already done so.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 3 May 2010 @ 10:33 PM

  378. Frank’s a wit (or halfway there): “Or getting cancer and dying from simply being out in the sun.”

    Yah, I’m afraid that you don’t work out under the sun. You work under a roof. The sun has a bit of a job getting through that.

    Frank, stop trying to be clever, you haven’t got the equipment.

    PS most solar caused cancers are from people sitting out in the sun deliberately to get tanned. I don’t know that many people who mine uranium on their summer holidays.

    But maybe you do, being so in to nuclear power, hmm?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 4 May 2010 @ 2:48 AM

  379. (339) Martin Vermeer,

    I am not trying to play “mind games”! Also if you or someone else would like to explain how C14 proves CO2 rise is due to humans, please go ahead.

    Comment by Sam — 4 May 2010 @ 2:59 AM

  380. (362) Dikran Marsupial,

    “That statement is absolutely true, but tells you nothing about the long term rise as it is the difference in total emissions and total uptake, rather than the total magnitude of the flux that matters.”

    Yes emissions and uptake are important, but couldn’t even a small alteration in the huge exchange of CO2 to and from the oceans perturb the overall level of CO2 in the air?

    Comment by Sam — 4 May 2010 @ 3:18 AM

  381. Frank Giger #371:

    Or getting cancer and dying from simply being out in the sun.

    Your magical pure, free engergy source is a killer, CFU

    As a mining advocate maybe you have difficulty knowing when you’re plumbing the depths but that’s really feeble. You don’t have to use solar power to suffer skin cancer. If no one used nuclear power, there would be no nuclear power-related fatalities.

    This is all a pretty pointless argument anyway. Stationary power is the easy problem to solve. Replacing oil-based mobile energy sources is a much harder problem.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 4 May 2010 @ 3:25 AM

  382. Frank Giger #371:

    Or getting cancer and dying from simply being out in the sun.

    Your magical pure, free engergy source is a killer, CFU

    As a mining advocate maybe you have difficulty knowing when you’re plumbing the depths but that’s really feeble. You don’t have to use solar power to suffer skin cancer. If no one used nuclear power, there would be no nuclear power-related fatalities.

    This is all a pretty pointless argument anyway. Stationary power is the easy problem to solve. Replacing oil-based mobile energy sources is a much harder problem.

    When an argument gets to the point where even the people I agree with are sounding silly it’s time to stop and move on.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 4 May 2010 @ 4:44 AM

  383. JBob, Your question is ill-posed. What do you mean by, “from scratch”. Under some interpretations, nearly every homework problem solved in a nonlinear methods class would count! Certainly 3D simulations of a heavy-ion strike to the drain of a transistor would count. The term “nonlinear” is tossed around by wannabes like you as if it should strike terror into our hearts. Physicists have been treating nonlinear systems since the 1600s. Difficult does not equate to impossible.

    Here’s a hint, JBob. You can keep screaming “nonlinear” and running around in circles until you collapse into a panting pile. You can claim that it’s impossible to understand climate because its “nonlinear”. Meanwhile, real scientists will be investingating the system, making sense of it and proving you wrong. I will leave it to you to decide which is the more productive activity.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 4 May 2010 @ 4:45 AM

  384. Is there any response to Watts story about METAR data?

    [Response: What exactly do you want? It is well known that databases are imperfect and that errors sometimes creep in. That’s why the people who look at these things do cross checks against nearby stations, perform homogeneity adjustments and look out for outliers. The METAR data aren’t what are used in the monthly data put together by GHCN, GISTEMP or HadCRUT so that specific problem is not relevant for any of the analyses we discuss here. Obviously it is a good thing to find errors in these data, and any errors that are spotted should be reported so they can be fixed, but these are not likely to matter very much to any large-scale analysis. – gavin]

    Comment by Jaydee — 4 May 2010 @ 6:01 AM

  385. Ike, #376–

    Among the budget tables you linked to, the summary table, at least, doesn’t seem to reflect your conclusion.

    For example:

    Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: 2,156,865 16,771,907 2,242,500 2,355,473 +112,973 +5.0%

    (The numbers are: FY ’09, FY ’09 “recovery” funding, FY ’10, FY ’11, ’10-’11 delta, and ’10-’11 % delta.)

    Contrast with:

    Subtotal, Fossil Energy Programs: 1,097,003 3,398,607 951,133 760,358 -190,775 -20.1%

    If I’m missing something here, please enlighten me.

    Link:

    http://www.cfo.doe.gov/budget/11budget/Content/Apprsum.pdf

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 4 May 2010 @ 7:52 AM

  386. “but couldn’t even a small alteration in the huge exchange of CO2 to and from the oceans perturb the overall level of CO2 in the air?”

    It could.

    But it isn’t.

    As shown by the atmospheric CO2 increasing.

    And it wouldn’t be a small alteration, it would be a huge alteration. Just because the Carbon cycle is even huger, doesn’t make the required alteration small.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 4 May 2010 @ 8:06 AM

  387. “Also if you or someone else would like to explain how C14 proves CO2 rise is due to humans, please go ahead.”

    Already tried several times with several people.

    You didn’t listen, though.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 4 May 2010 @ 8:06 AM

  388. Sam also has to account for the decline in oxygen mixing ratio due to combustion (google Ralph Keeling)

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 4 May 2010 @ 8:28 AM

  389. Sam #379, you could start here.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 4 May 2010 @ 8:52 AM

  390. Edward Greisch wrote to Ike Solem: “How much is some coal company paying you to tell those lies?”

    I respectfully suggest to the moderators, that repeatedly accusing another commenter of being a paid liar, without offering any evidence whatsoever that that commenter is either (1) paid by anyone to comment here or (2) has in fact “lied” at all, should be considered unacceptable.

    Edward, if you have evidence that someone is paying Ike Solem to post comments here, let’s see it.

    If you have evidence that Ike Solem is “lying” — i.e. deliberately posting what he knows to be falsehoods, as opposed to posting readily verifiable statements of fact, often documented with links to the original source, that happen to be “inconvenient” to your enthusiasm for nuclear power — then let’s see it.

    Otherwise, I respectfully suggest that you stop embarrassing yourself this way.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 4 May 2010 @ 9:56 AM

  391. @Sam #380. “but couldn’t even a small alteration in the huge exchange of CO2 to and from the oceans perturb the overall level of CO2 in the air?”

    Let me try, perhaps naively considering the previous posts.

    Because pCO2 in surface waters is increasing and pH is decreasing in the ocean, we know with about as much certainty as is possible that the net flux of CO2 is INTO the oceans from the atmosphere. This net movement is occurring despite the fact that warming of the ocean should have the opposite effect because warm water holds less CO2. The change in C-13/C-12 ratios in atmospheric CO2 also indicate that the increasing CO2 is coming from burnt or respired organic material produced by plants, and NOT from the dissolved inorganic carbon reservoirs in the ocean. Basically, the evidence for net flux of CO2 into the ocean is incontrovertible.

    Unwittingly, you touch on an issue of grave concern. The continued ability of the ocean to suck up 1/3 or more of the CO2 we emit is one of the things helping us out now and one of the main uncertainties about the future (perhaps at the expense of calcifying marine organisms!). Increased stratification, decreased ventiliation, greater surface warming, and lower pH all tend to reduce the ocean’s capacity to take up CO2. That would leave more of what we produce in the atmosphere. So, yes, we do worry about whether the net flux of CO2 into the oceans will change over time.

    Hope that helps.

    Comment by Stephen Baines — 4 May 2010 @ 9:57 AM

  392. “Sam also has to account for the decline in oxygen mixing ratio due to combustion (google Ralph Keeling)”

    Which would require the oceans to split the carbon out and let it go whilst keeping the oxygen locked up somewhere else.

    Maybe Abyss was a documentary..?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 4 May 2010 @ 10:17 AM

  393. From the interagency task force on adaptation to climate change:

    “The Task Force has found that climate change is affecting, and will continue to affect, nearly every aspect of our society and the environment. Some of the impacts are increased severity of floods, droughts, and heat waves, increased wildfires, and sea level rise. Climate change impacts are pervasive, wide-ranging and affect the core systems of our society: transportation, ecosystems, agriculture, business, infrastructure, water, and energy, among others. Climate change already is affecting the ability of Federal agencies to fulfill their missions.”

    Claude Allègre cannot explain the floods in Kentucky or any of the other incidents of “The rain moved” that happened over the past few years. Let’s start talking to people about floods and droughts.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 4 May 2010 @ 10:22 AM

  394. Folks, Sam is desperately grasping at straws. Any straw will do as long as it might let humans off the hook. It’s pointless to engage him further.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 4 May 2010 @ 11:38 AM

  395. Folks, Sam is desperately grasping at straws. Any straw will do as long as it might let humans off the hook. It’s pointless to engage him further.

    Agreed. Time to stop feeding this troll. He’s not reading anything we point him at, at least not for comprehension. Just keeps dragging up the same old already debunked points from denialist sites, or keeps JAQing off with stuff he makes up out of of his head.

    Comment by Steve Metzler — 4 May 2010 @ 12:06 PM

  396. Okay, so I’m the only one that took Sam’s question at face value… I confess, hopelessly naive. But if there’s anybody else wondering what’s the deal with 14C, it’s this: this unstable isotope is being continually produced in the atmosphere by cosmic ray bombardment, and gets incorporated into living plants.

    The atmospheric 13C/12C ratio tells us that the additional carbon found in the atmosphere — and going into the ocean — comes from plants, not volcanoes. What it doesn’t tell us is when those plants lived: recently — deforestation; or a long, long time ago — fossil fuels. Atmospheric 14C tells us this: recent plants still contain the 14C they absorbed from the atmosphere, and release it back on decay. In fossil fuels, the 14C decayed long ago (half-life 5730 years), so burning them doesn’t release any. That’s the story. The nuclear tests in the atmosphere starting late 1940s are an unfortunate complication.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 4 May 2010 @ 1:05 PM

  397. As a long time lurker, I was actually thinking of those invisible masses that are browsing rather than Sam the troll. (They are out there…I know they are.) And personally, I like it when someone grasps at straws and the whole hayloft falls on them. It’s good slapstick.

    But I will defer to wiser heads.

    Comment by Stephen Baines — 4 May 2010 @ 1:18 PM

  398. Martin, I did suggest Sam look at
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/Radioc.htm
    (don’t know if he did look at it or not, but it’s a good start)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 May 2010 @ 1:24 PM

  399. “Okay, so I’m the only one that took Sam’s question at face value… I confess, hopelessly naive”

    I think several people took his earlier questions at face value.

    Sam didn’t listen.

    Therefore they stopped taking his questions at face value.

    By Your Works Shall Ye Be Known.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 4 May 2010 @ 1:39 PM

  400. Stephen Baines @397, we engaged Sam, some of us specifically for the benefit of those lurking here to learn. It’s just that the teaching moment has passed and become the tiresome game of whack-a-mole with a wooden fence post.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 4 May 2010 @ 1:43 PM

  401. Just curious:- any examples of an error in the temperature record(s), found by climatologists, ‘that just crept in’, and that had the effect of diminishing (as opposed to increasing) the perceived warming trend?

    [Response: Sure. The neglect of time-of-observation biases in US station records for instance. Or the neglect of orbital decay in splicing together the MSU record. Both of these factors artificially decreased the trends. Of course, since fixing these problems increased the trends, we get accused of artificially enhancing them, but note that if the error goes the other way we are accused of making the original errors deliberately. Damned if we do… – gavin]

    Comment by ZZT — 4 May 2010 @ 1:50 PM

  402. Sam says: 2 May 2010 at 7:24 PM

    I still think there could be some unknown process that is changing the isotope ratio…

    That gosh-darned isotope ratio sure is inconvenient. Sort of a gob-stopper for a lot of otherwise pointless discussion so let’s imagine an “unknown process” that permits us to ignore it, just for the sake of conversation. Keeping the conversation going is absolutely key.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 4 May 2010 @ 2:04 PM

  403. This just in:

    We all know that arctic sea ice decline and global temperature rise peaked years ago and have now stopped, effectively falsifying manmade global warming.

    A little overlooked variable of climate has also peaked in defiance of so-called “scientists”. IPCC climate models predict that solar output should follow an 11 year cycle. According to this “theory”, solar activity should now be rising. And at first, probably by fluke, it appeared that was so. But now there’s just one problem: The solar cycle hasn’t increased for 3 months.

    Real science abandons a theory when observations disagree. The observations now disagree with the 11 year solar cycle, so all books claiming there is an 11 year solar cycle should be immediately burnt and the models thrown in the dustbin of history. That’s how science should work.

    More, with excellent graphical analysis using the latest auditing skilz:

    Falsification Of The 11 Year Solar Cycle

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 4 May 2010 @ 2:19 PM

  404. @Jim Eager says – “we engaged Sam, some of us specifically for the benefit of those lurking here to learn. It’s just that the teaching moment has passed and become the tiresome game of whack-a-mole with a wooden fence post.”

    I think it does outline one of the major current scientific issues – carbon cycle sensitivity to global warming. The general global temperature sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 is now pretty well established. Coupled ocean-atmosphere climate models have been tested fairly thoroughly for given CO2 profiles, but in contrast the carbon cycle response is a very active area of research.

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v463/n7280/abs/nature08769.html

    “carbon cycle” feedbacks “global warming”

    If you search Google Scholar for the above, 2010 only, you’ll get several hundred recent papers on the topic.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 4 May 2010 @ 2:38 PM

  405. Sam says: 2 May 2010 at 7:24 PM

    “I still think there could be some unknown process that is changing the isotope ratio…”

    That just means that there would have to be a second unknown process that cancels the effect of Sam’s “unknown process”, since we already have one that explains the observed changes.

    Comment by t_p_hamilton — 4 May 2010 @ 3:02 PM

  406. Thanks Gavin, I hadn’t heard of those examples. Which errors, caught by climatologists, had the effect of reducing the warming trend (after the errors were removed)?

    [Response: The ocean bucket correction, urban heating effects, erroneously large cooling signals in the stratosphere in radiosondes due to improvements in balloon technologies etc…. There are plenty of examples that go either way. They get corrected when they are understood regardless of the impact on the trend. – gavin]

    Comment by ZZT — 4 May 2010 @ 3:39 PM

  407. Sam,
    I would suggest to you that perhaps you should go back over your posts here and ask yourself:

    1)Does it maybe sound a trifle desperate?

    2)How scientific does it sound? (as in advancing a testable hypothesis, testing it and reporting the results. I don’t know how test for “anything but CO2″ or “there must be something”)

    Ask yourself if you’ve learned anything, or if perhaps your denial is getting in the way.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 4 May 2010 @ 3:40 PM

  408. I happen to be one of the ‘lurkers who learned’. Remember reading Crichton’s State of Fear about two years ago, and I uncritically lapped up the appendix. It all seemed like common sense. I now recognise it for what it was: an argument from authority which I didn’t see through because he is one of my favourite authors.

    IIRC (I don’t have the book to hand because I’m having my den redone and most of my books are packed away), he was going on at great lengths about how the UHI effect was skewing all the measurements. But I now know 2 things about that: it’s accounted for, and the U.S. is not the whole world.

    Oddly enough, it was Climategate that got me reading up on the science. Currently reading Spencer Weart’s The Discovery of Global Warming – A History from top to bottom. Fascinating stuff, and it was posters here that put me onto it.

    Sorry, I know that reads like a testimonial, but there you go.

    Comment by Steve Metzler — 4 May 2010 @ 4:20 PM

  409. repeatedly accusing another commenter of being a paid liar, without offering any evidence whatsoever that that commenter is either (1) paid by anyone to comment here or (2) has in fact “lied” at all, should be considered unacceptable.

    How else should we account for the deliberate and compulsive redistribution of known disinformation?

    Would you prefer we speculate about their mental health?

    [Response: No. Speculations about either are generally ad hom digressions that lead nowhere. The internet is full of people obviously willing to disinform on a voluntary basis on any topic you care to pick – and time spent trying to distinguish enthusiastic amateurs from dedicated professionals is time wasted. Simply providing links and counterarguments is more useful. Persistent derailers of threads can be dealt with by the moderators without having the conversation fall apart. – gavin]

    Comment by JM — 4 May 2010 @ 5:00 PM

  410. Ike @404, by all means lets discuss the latest science on carbon cycle sensitivity to global warming. But there’s no need to pander to the Sams of the world in the process or to let them redirect the conversation.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 4 May 2010 @ 5:53 PM

  411. Doug, thanks for the heads up on DenialDepot’s latest effort. Made my day. Dr Inferno just doesnt blog often enough – but I guess that is the price of quality.

    Comment by Phil Scadden — 4 May 2010 @ 6:15 PM

  412. Steve Metzler, Welcome back to reality. We missed you. ;-)

    Seriously, I doubt that you are the only person who winds up having the scales fall from your eyes as a result of “Climategate”. Indeed, the lesson I wish more people would take away is how science produces reliable understanding even when practiced by fallible humans (e.g. all of us). THAT is the truly remarkable thing.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 4 May 2010 @ 7:39 PM

  413. Sam 379: if you or someone else would like to explain how C14 proves CO2 rise is due to humans, please go ahead.

    BPL: 14C has a half-life of about 5,570 years. In the biosphere, it is constantly replenished by cosmic rays turning atmospheric 14N into 14C.

    But fossil fuels are around 300 million years old, so all the 14C in them has decayed away back to 14N.

    The new CO2 in the air is deficient in 14C as well as 13C. A plant source, plus great age, means fossil fuels. CO2 from the biosphere would have a normal complement of 14C.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 4 May 2010 @ 8:15 PM

  414. Doug Bostrom 403: ROFLMAO!!!

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 4 May 2010 @ 8:21 PM

  415. #403 Doug Bostrom

    Wow! a whole 3 month trend falsifies the 11.1 year average (9 to 13 year range) of the Schwabe cycle that has it’s origins in sunspot origins going back to Galileo. Those guys at denialdepot are obviously top scientists.

    I would like to add that it is a little cool yesterday where I live, therefore the hypothesis of human caused global warming is definitely falsified. The proof is in the short term observations. Global trend data over 30 years can not possibly override the temperature yesterday, or maybe tomorrow.


    A Climate Minute The Greenhouse EffectHistory of Climate ScienceArctic Ice Melt

    ‘Fee & Dividend’ Our best chance for a better future – climatelobby.com
    Learn the Issue & Sign the Petition

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 4 May 2010 @ 9:40 PM

  416. OT–but not, I suppose, as much as the falsification of the solar cycle!

    The April analysis from NIDC is out:

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

    Moreover, if you read right down to the bottom, you will find a link to a new near-realtime visualization of sea ice *volume*, brought to you by Dr. Zhang and the good folk at UW.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 4 May 2010 @ 11:35 PM

  417. JM:”How else should we account for the deliberate and compulsive redistribution of known disinformation? ”

    Hmm. Ike does seem to be able to back up his statements just as well as his detractors.

    How about asking after didactylos or EG about their compulsive redistribution of BS?

    Of course, as moderator pointed out, this leads nowhere. Not that you wanted to diss a pro nuke stance anyway, but if you did…

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 5 May 2010 @ 2:43 AM

  418. JM:”How else should we account for the deliberate and compulsive redistribution of known disinformation? ”

    Hmm. Ike does seem to be able to back up his statements just as well as his detractors.

    How about asking after didactylos or EG about their compulsive redistribution of BS?

    Of course, as moderator pointed out, this leads nowhere. Not that you wanted to diss a pro nuke stance anyway, but if you did.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 5 May 2010 @ 2:46 AM

  419. Sam, wanting something doesn’t make it real.
    http://xkcd.com/240/

    Comment by CM — 5 May 2010 @ 5:44 AM

  420. “Is there any response to Watts story about METAR data?

    [Response: … The METAR data aren’t what are used in the monthly data put together by GHCN, GISTEMP or HadCRUT so that specific problem is not relevant for any of the analyses we discuss here. … – gavin]”

    That was exactly what I was looking for many thanks. I generally try to avoid posting about this kind of stuff but a friend is a denier and bugs me about this kind of stuff. In general I can find knock downs on the web (he is a big fan of “its the sun”) but sometimes he comes up with something I can’t knock down in 5 or 10 mins with Google.

    Comment by Jaydee — 5 May 2010 @ 9:04 AM

  421. Jaydee says: 5 May 2010 at 9:04 AM

    …sometimes he comes up with something I can’t knock down in 5 or 10 mins with Google.

    John Cook at Skeptical Science maintains a marvelous (frightening?) list of links to various wishful thinking along with debunking tools, here:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/resources.php

    Readers are free to contribute.

    Also see “Arguments” page at SkS:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 5 May 2010 @ 11:27 AM

  422. Of course I was being facetious, Gavin. Ad hominem arguments miss the fundamental point of this non-debate: we’re not dealing with honest people. The sheer weight of failed “this is the end of AGW theory” hysterias is enough to convince any honest person that they’re being had, let alone that the nonsense comes from many of the same people who performed the same kind of work for big tobacco in the past.

    I guess it’s enough to point out, as with the latest nonsense from that idiot weatherman, that there’s no there there, but at long last there is no reason to dignify these people as interlocutors. They don’t believe this stuff themselves.

    Comment by JM — 5 May 2010 @ 12:12 PM

  423. #415 John P. Reisman

    I made a funky mistake

    “origins in sunspot origins”

    was supposed to be

    ‘origins in sunspot observations’


    A Climate Minute The Greenhouse EffectHistory of Climate ScienceArctic Ice Melt

    ‘Fee & Dividend’ Our best chance for a better future – climatelobby.com
    Learn the Issue & Sign the Petition

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 5 May 2010 @ 12:40 PM

  424. Allegre,Plimer, and Watts are self parodies, obviously emotionally and cognitively impaired.

    The key point is that Allegre is believed by a much smaller percentage of Frenchmen than their counterparts here.

    Scientists are going to have to address this, in the media and in our schools. It’s a function of corruptionN which will have to be assaulted head on.

    Comment by mike Roddy — 5 May 2010 @ 1:20 PM

  425. . . .and if the April NSIDC data is out, can the good Dr. Spencer be far behind?

    April UAH anomaly: .5 C. Continuing pretty toasty. . .

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 5 May 2010 @ 2:04 PM

  426. Kevin McKinney #425:

    . . .and if the April NSIDC data is out, can the good Dr. Spencer be far behind?

    April UAH anomaly: .5 C. Continuing pretty toasty. . .

    I’ve been watching AMSU-A for a while. The mean Jan-April anomaly 1999-2009 is trending at 5.8K per century. Super-toasty.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 6 May 2010 @ 4:31 AM

  427. Thank you for this, I also feel that RC is bogged down in the political arguments rather than discussing the science. I therefore invite RC contributors to your “enemy” site, WUWT, where we are having some very high-level astrophysics discussions on solar magnetism, sunspot activity, grand minima and other related topics. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/05/05/suns-magnetics-coming-alive-again/

    Comment by CRS — 8 May 2010 @ 2:30 PM

  428. CRS 427,

    I agree. And while you’re at it, why not invite some evolutionary biologists to visit Answers in Genesis?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 9 May 2010 @ 4:48 AM

  429. CRS says “I therefore invite RC contributors to your “enemy” site, WUWT, where we are having some very high-level astrophysics discussions on solar magnetism, sunspot activity, grand minima and other related topics.”

    I’m sorry, CRS, but most of us here are interested in actual science.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 9 May 2010 @ 6:53 AM

  430. From Climate Progress next to last [The URL causes spam rejection]:
    When the federal agency charged with supervising offshore oil and gas production proposed stricter oversight of safety procedures last year, citing 1,443 incidents and 41 deaths over eight years, the industry said the new rules were too confusing. The agency backed down even though its safety data showed “no discernible trend of improvement by industry.”

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 9 May 2010 @ 2:33 PM

  431. Long-term lurker, layperson, learner. I come here to relax from the argy-bargy elsewhere (especially DotEarth where I work at writing as well as I can and pointing out faux arguments – borrowing mightily where I can find good stuff, for which thanks be). I stole (with attribution) an early Ladbury comment and it was very popular (apologies if needed) about how nature will turn up the heat until we notice.

    I am saddened by the cut and thrust regarding Ike Solem. Ike Solem has been one of my favorites anywhere – almost always learn something from the hard work and literacy he puts in his comments (this is no exception) but I believe I’ve also occasionally picked up good stuff from Edward Greisch. How come everyone has to be a paid shill? Why waste (or poison) energy with these personal accusations?

    Thanks for all the to and fro on feedbacks. I think I understand a bit better, and also that Wikipedia, as I have found recently, continues to provide a good starting point as it evolves, as long as one remembers it can be flawed at times by its way of collecting and evolving information. A great thing!

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 9 May 2010 @ 5:29 PM

  432. Clicking on WUWT contributes to their “popularity”. Since it is almost never original the “high-level discussion” are dubious and suspect. I’ve heard lots from those who actually go there about how they are treated – I think the dividing by zero comment above captures the conspiracy stuff nicely. Nice try though.

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 9 May 2010 @ 5:37 PM

  433. Barton and Ray, you took the words out of my mouth- thanks.

    Comment by Mike Roddy — 10 May 2010 @ 1:05 PM

  434. Thank you for this critique of Claude Allegre’s new book, “The Climate Imposture.” I am dismayed to find that this book along with Roger Pilke Jr.’s “The Climate Fix,” and Dr. Roy Spencer’s “The Great Global Warming Blunder” are now a part of the climate science syllabus in many universities. This is a discouraging evolution. While open, contrarian debate is a part of healthy scientific method, there appears to be a growing movement to subvert the last 30 years of climate research. THIS I would suggest is where the real conspiracy lies. Attempting to undermine the hard works of the climate movement is an act of insouciant heresy that must be countered.

    Thank you George for pointing out Allegre’s misattention to detail that is mightily important to scientific study. In the end one must wonder how a leading scientist and politician such as Allegre could turn against majority opinion. Is he gone barmy or simply trying to make his already inflated reputation even larger?

    Comment by Tom Payne — 12 May 2010 @ 10:02 AM

  435. Viz: nuclear power…aside from the pros and cons of immediate safety issues, fatalities during, before et al construction, cost per KWH and so on, it occurs to me that one huge issue that is never discussed fully is the unpredictability of politics and general human behavior; these enormous power plants require strict maintenance and have byproducts that are eqully problematic, and humans in general have not been exactly the model of responsibility over the long haul, have they? Despite its short term appeal, my gut feeling is that we had best go for other means for energy production. Since we haven’t even addressed the increased destabilization of political stability through population increase (if there even is such a thing as stability politically) and all the resultant spinoff from that issue, I think just tossing nuclear power out as a quick and harmless solution to energy is premature, to say the least.

    Comment by wichitazen — 12 May 2010 @ 2:52 PM

  436. Re Phillip @ 426–

    Yes, it’s kind of amazing, actually, to see the lower trop so warm so consistently. I keep waiting for the drop to come. Eventually it will, of course; trop temps can be quite volatile. (Just think back to last May, when it was quite remarkably cool, IIRC.)

    But that decadal trend does merit “super-toasty,” all right.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 12 May 2010 @ 3:40 PM

  437. It is interesting that Allègre is one of the admired authors of one of the main Spanish “contrarians”. He is reccomended by this “local Watts”:

    http://antonuriarte.blogspot.com/2010/04/la-impostura-climatica.html

    http://antonuriarte.blogspot.com/2010/04/la-energia-nuclear-en-la-construccion.html

    Insults everywhere in this pages, too.

    Comment by SPC — 12 May 2010 @ 5:12 PM

  438. It would be very nice if you publish your reaction to the Hartwell Paper published yesterday. The Economist, Science, BBC News and the NYT have already commented. thanks

    Comment by Emc2 — 12 May 2010 @ 9:02 PM

  439. I was wondering (along with a couple others) if this book was really a serious attempt at denialism or whether it was something on the order of the Onion. I find it hard to believe that anyone would deliberately write something so transparently foolish if they were doing it seriously.

    Comment by Texas Aggie — 12 May 2010 @ 10:35 PM

  440. Texas, I think it’s a serious attempt to cash in on the morons. Since denialists have nothing of evidence on their side, they must receive and reproduce every contrarian argument possible, irresepective of how well presented or backed with evidence.

    This means the book will be accepted whatever it says, as long as it denies AGW.

    This makes such a denialist book easier to write: you don’t have to check your sources for a start. Also, any refusal of the content because of its inaccuracies is, for the denialist, merely proof that there’s something there that “the conspiracy” is trying to hide.

    So, therefore, to “Save The American Way Of Life”, the author must be recompensed for such work. So they buy the book to “get The Truth” out there.

    Monckton, Fred, Watts, et al are all also taking the easy gravy train.

    What? Do you think they are appearing at all these speeches “at cost”???

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 13 May 2010 @ 2:31 AM

  441. Another whacko on another thread (now closed) is another like old Claude here.

    This is what HE says:

    “I chose not to publish my greenhouse gas research, because it wasn’t worth the grief. I’ve heard the war stories of people who don’t agree with the your side of the story trying to get published.”

    See. It’s a conspiracy.

    If someone disagrees with his “work” then that’s just because they disagree WITH his work. It’s not actually possible (as far as his little rant above puts it: this could merely be playing to the denialist crowd, mind) to disagree with his work because it’s *wrong*. That’s actually IMPOSSIBLE. There is no right and wrong as far as this barnstack is concerned (same with Palin, Seitz, Watts, Monckton, Claude, et al), merely OPINIONS. Therefore when you claim their “opinion” wrong, then you’re being closed minded.

    Just like the governors who wanted to define pi as 3.

    Disagreement to that statement COULD NOT be because pi *isn’t* 3, but because the people DISAGREED WITH THE BIBLE.

    Same with Claude. Same with JRB.

    It’s all partisan because these idiots WILL NOT consider this to be anything other than partisanship. There IS NO objective reality for these fools.

    Its either their firmly held belief or they’re playing to the crowd that believe this.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 13 May 2010 @ 2:58 AM

  442. Emc2,
    I haven’t read the Hartwell paper, although I did read the Economist summary, thanks to Shirley over on the Solar thread. The main problem:
    Any approach has to be based on proper risk analysis, and the Hartwell Paper doesn’t bother to do such an analysis. Proper procedure:
    1)Identify the threat.
    2)Assess and bound the threat.
    3)Mitigate the threat using an effective strategy consistent with the risk it poses.
    4)Reassess as needed and repeat until risk is acceptable.

    When I speak of the threat, it is not sufficient to simply identify climate change as the threat–particularly if one is not proposing global strategies for dealing with it. The individual threats must each be identified:
    1)Threats to important crops
    2)Threats to health.
    3)Ocean Acidification
    4)Sea-level rise
    5)Aquifer salinization
    6)Increased drought
    7)Increased severe weather
    8)And so on.

    The problem is that people are painting with such broad strokes, that they are missing the individual threats–any one of which could have very severe consequences. The fundamental flaw of the Hartwell analysis is that there are so many individual threats, and it is so difficult to bound each one piecemeal, that a global strategy is arguably the most efficient–particularly given that our current energy infrastructure is unsustainable in any case.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 13 May 2010 @ 6:44 AM

  443. “It would be very nice if you publish your reaction to the Hartwell Paper published yesterday. The Economist, Science, BBC News and the NYT have already commented. thanks.”

    What did you think of the comments of The Economist, Science, BBC News and NTY?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 13 May 2010 @ 6:53 AM

  444. Ray (#442),

    I agree that Hartwell group’s approach is not based proper risk analysis but there’s a good reason for that. What they’re overtly doing instead is looking for a politically palatable way to address the problem. But if you look at their arguments (as reported by the Economist) more closely, it seems that their actual agenda is simply to argue against cuts in fossil fuel consumption and for development of new technologies. They come off as willing to grasp at any straw to justify BAU.
    For instance, one of their arguments is reportedly based on the assertion that fossil fuels can not provide for the needs of the global poor. But the unspoken assumption is that the global rich won’t cut their fossil fuel consumption… because if they did, there would be more than enough cheap fuels for everyone. A humanitarian policy such as Fee&Dividend would cut the rich’s consumption right now, addressing the needs of the poor and lowering global emissions. But the Hartwell group instead argues disingenuously that the humanitarian way is to wait for new technologies that would essentially deliver free energy in some distant future. So their conclusion (consumption cuts are not viable, politically) is actually assumed early in the reasoning.

    As an aside, I’d say the Hartwell group is unfortunately well within the mainstream in ignoring the risks of climate change. I found Matthews’s recent letter about emissions targets in Nature particularly striking in that respect.
    Sure, Hansen talks about the risks and advocates policies and metrics which takes them into account. But the mainstream seems to be purposefully looking the other way. Hansen may be wrong on many things… but I’d be more comfortable if mainstreamers addressed the issues he raises!

    Comment by Anonymous Coward — 13 May 2010 @ 1:50 PM

  445. #444–Perhaps the problem is another layer of denialism–a truly unconscious defense mechanism:

    “It would be just too awful to think about!”

    Maybe that’s partly why various militaries are thinking clearly about the issues global climate change will pose over the coming decades–their occupational subculture actually calls for examining the worst case first, and planning for it in a realistic fashion.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 13 May 2010 @ 3:27 PM

  446. Kevin & AC,
    Psychological research shows that humans do not have the ability to contemplate the really horrible for very long. Cigarette packages with pictures of diseased lungs, faces disfigured by mouth cancer, etc.–the pictures just get tuned out. Likewise the consequences of traffic accidents, which is why people still text while driving.

    We also do a really poor job of risk assessment–exaggerating potentially immediate risks–like the jerk tailgating you or terrorism–and failing to appreciate severe risks in the distance–like smoking-related illnesses and climate change.

    Of course, we’ve developed procedures to compensate for these shortcomings–scientific/probabilistic risk assessment–but they can and are circumvented by tobacco lobbyists, energy interests etc. Unfortunately, we’re up against human nature here, and if we don’t overcome our nature and adapt to the new realities, we won’t survive.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 13 May 2010 @ 8:01 PM

  447. The Science et Vie pop-sci monthly did a special report (March issue) on how much scientific certainty there is about various aspects of climate change. I just leafed quickly through it at the newsstand, curious to see if they were jumping on some revisionist bandwagon, but their scorecard looked fair enough to me.

    Is Allègre getting any traction in France? and with whom?

    Comment by CM — 14 May 2010 @ 6:43 AM

  448. “Is Allègre getting any traction in France? and with whom?”

    He’s probably still hot in his own sphere of expertise. He’s likely gaining only traction with the usual suspects with his “work” outside his sphere of expertise, and for the usual reasons: they’d like to ignore the problem.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 14 May 2010 @ 9:36 AM

  449. Ray (#446),
    When you talk about “human nature”, you’re not talking about the psychology of homo sapiens but about your political ideology.
    The psychology of addiction (however misunderstood) has little to do with climate change mitigation which would be a collective endeavour. However people deal with smoking, CFC emissions were dealt with. People were obviously able to contemplate the consequences and to act rationally. Yet most people have no notion of the rationale for CFC emissions cuts. There are professionals who are supposed to deal with this stuff on behalf of society. If they’re not doing their job then we need a new management and that’s the only thing that most people need to concern themselves with. The public needs to know who to trust when it comes to evaluating the management’s performance but it would be pointless for people to “contemplate the really horrible” all day.
    However flawed they are as individuals, those who attended the Cochabamba conference evidently had little trouble contemplating the risks and making the right call. We’re not up against “human nature” but, as you say, against entrenched economic interests. Unlike “human nature”, these interests have names and adresses and there are practical steps we could take to run them out of town. It’s hardly a new challenge. People have been running grifters out of town (or failing to in some instances) since Antiquity. What’s new are the stakes.

    Comment by Anonymous Coward — 14 May 2010 @ 10:42 AM

  450. “However people deal with smoking, CFC emissions were dealt with. People were obviously able to contemplate the consequences and to act rationally”

    Did you sleep through the 80’s? CFC’s were, compared to tobacco and AGW, peanuts, but there was a HUGE amount of backlash from manufacturers proclaiming doom and gloom if CFCs were changed to something else (the collapse of the white appliance industry was proposed as the INEVITABLE consequence!).

    But tobacco was as bad as AGW. They perfected the techniques of obstruction there, so the ruses are more directed this time around and there’s even more money at stake this time.

    These two had one thing in common: huge (nay, staggering) amounts of money being made by private industry.

    “There are professionals who are supposed to deal with this stuff on behalf of society. If they’re not doing their job then we need a new management”

    Yah, except that any attempt to do so gets you a brick through the window and death threats. Then voted out before you can enact.

    And that’s the ones who ARE trying to change things.

    “We’re not up against “human nature” but, as you say, against entrenched economic interests.”

    You’re right there, but that IS human nature: when you get rich enough, you do NOT have to live in the same world.

    When a Sony (?) exec found their daughter “pirating” music, did she get a $2.2Mil lawsuit thrown at her? No. Just a lecture and a promise not to do it again.

    Sony corp infecting PCs with viruses to “protect” their recording and committing copyright infringement on international scale? Pay $10 per offence. McKinnon logs into insecured MoD PCs and looks around, doing no damage: extradition and terrorist charges for him.

    Privilege means private law.

    And capitalism means money is power and the concentration of money means more money being concentrated.

    Privilege is the inevitable consequence.

    “People have been running grifters out of town (or failing to in some instances) since Antiquity.”

    And the rich and powerful have paid thugs to beat villagers who got uppity ever since heirachy extended beyond the village.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 14 May 2010 @ 11:13 AM

  451. We’re lucky that we don’t live in the days when coming up with a scientific theory that was inconvenient for powerful interests could get one burned at the stake. Nowadays the scientists involved only get roasted in the media.

    One thing that has occurred to me in debating those who fall for anti-science propaganda is that there is a need for public school science curricula to include more emphasis on the basic principles of the scientific method, and how one can go about figuring out what’s true and what isn’t when faced with media controversies about science. It seems to me that the number of people I encounter who have no clue about how to distinguish science from propaganda indicates a serious shortcoming in our educational system in that regard.

    Comment by Richard Palm — 19 May 2010 @ 5:10 AM

  452. RP 451: We’re lucky that we don’t live in the days when coming up with a scientific theory that was inconvenient for powerful interests could get one burned at the stake.

    BPL: When was that, exactly?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 20 May 2010 @ 4:54 AM

  453. BPL (#452),
    You might say that Giordano Bruno was no scientist but he came up with theories about the natural world which would later be tested empirically. He argued that stars were like our Sun for instance. He was burned at the stake in 1600 according to the Wikipedia.

    Comment by Anonymous Coward — 20 May 2010 @ 4:01 PM

  454. Well, they call theology “the queen of sciences,” IIRC. . .

    ;-)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 20 May 2010 @ 4:34 PM

  455. re 453, there was also a greek philosopher who stated

    1) that everything was made up of smaller indivisible objects (atoms)
    2) that the earth went round the sun
    3) that life started in the mud around the edges of the waters of the earth
    4) that the wind was a thin substance so thin that it was invisible, but still made of ordinary matter just like the earth and the water

    This was several hundred years BC.

    I’ll see if I can find his name.

    He wasn’t burned at the stake, mind. Just ousted by Plato and his gang of thugs centuries later.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 20 May 2010 @ 4:51 PM

  456. AC 453: You might say that Giordano Bruno was no scientist but he came up with theories about the natural world which would later be tested empirically. He argued that stars were like our Sun for instance. He was burned at the stake in 1600 according to the Wikipedia.

    BPL: Yes, and the main reason for that was his loudly-expressed position that the miracles of Jesus were tricks perpetrated by magic, that Jesus wasn’t God, and that there had been no virgin birth. They had him locked up for eight years trying to change his mind or at least get him to shut up in public, but since he was the bravely defiant sort, invincibly sticking to his principles and beliefs in the face of oppression, they finally gave up and killed his a$$. BTW, he was strangled with a garrote before being burned–a humane measure, believe it or not, or what passed for a humane measure in 1600, anyway.

    Bishop Nicolas of Cusa had published his belief that the stars were suns c. 1400, by the way, and had no trouble at all over it.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 20 May 2010 @ 7:26 PM

  457. AC 453: You might say that Giordano Bruno was no scientist but he came up with theories about the natural world which would later be tested empirically. He argued that stars were like our Sun for instance. He was burned at the stake in 1600 according to the Wikipedia.

    BPL: Yes, and the main reason for that was his loudly-expressed position that the miracles of Jesus were tricks perpetrated by magic, that Jesus wasn’t God, and that there had been no virgin birth. They had him locked up for eight years trying to change his mind or at least get him to shut up in public, but since he was the bravely defiant sort, invincibly sticking to his principles and beliefs in the face of oppression, they finally gave up and killed his a$$. BTW, he was strangled with a garrote before being burned–a humane measure, believe it or not, or what passed for a humane measure in 1600, anyway.

    Bishop Nicolas of Cusa had published his belief that the stars were suns c. 1400, by the way, and had no trouble at all over it.

    Comment by Bruce — 20 May 2010 @ 8:53 PM

  458. CFU, I believe you’d be thinking of Democritus:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democritus

    “The atoms of Democritus and Newton’s particles of light
    Are grains upon the Red Sea shore, where Israel’s tents do shine so bright.”

    –(Mis)quoted from William Blake

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 20 May 2010 @ 10:05 PM

  459. Hmm, evidently I got that right, except for the line division:

    http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/mock-on-mock-on-voltaire-rousseau/

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 20 May 2010 @ 10:10 PM

  460. Back in 1994, I sat across the dinner table from Claude Allègre, who arrived late. Sitting next to me was Carl Sagan. The minute that Allègre sat down, Sagan’s whole demeanor changed. He lit into Allègre in a way I’ve rarely seen before. It was all polite but very pointed. Sagan clearly felt that he had a duty to set Allègre straight on a matter concerning something Allègre had said about planetary atmospheres. I got the impression that it wasn’t the first time that Sagan had called him to task.

    Comment by William H. Calvin — 24 May 2010 @ 11:48 PM

  461. Are you suggesting that Allègre is continuing a semi-posthumous “scientific” blood feud with Sagan?

    Or that Allègre was a bit of a duffer back then?

    Or both?

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 25 May 2010 @ 7:39 AM

  462. Claude Allègre is alive and well and suing the French weekly “Politis”, which reminded us all, some time ago that he had made a few mistakes regarding the Soufrière volcano in Guadeloupe, in 1976; to make a long story short, he had decided that the whole population in the area should be evacuated (and they were), whilst an other expert (who happened to know the volcano quite well, but with a different academic background), was saying it did’t make sense.
    Here in France, Claude Allègres’s utterances are entertaining, but -apart from a couple of right-wing newspapers-, hardly anybody is convinced by his delirium.

    Comment by François Marchand — 25 May 2010 @ 4:51 PM

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