Hi, I just wanted to ask why Bill Nye seems to be criticized so harshly. I admit I am a bit biased in that I am a big Bill Nye fan who loved watching his ‘Science Guy’ show in grade school. I learned alot of things from his show, and gained a much strengthened passion for science at an early age, thanks to his brilliant parody music videos and ‘way cool’ home experiments, which more than once almost set our kitchen on fire.
Although I understand he is not a climatologist (nor am I) He is at least an intelligent and learned figure in discussing the basic issue of global warming that people need to hear with an authoritative air.
I thought he did a great job in debating with slow-talking Lindzen and he was spot on with the science and rebuttling the many overused contrarian arguments that Linzden, the Oklahoma senator and the skeptic weatherman threw out there. He also offered good insight into alternative energy sources and currently available energy-efficient appliances such as LED lights and proposed the idea of third world nations developing and modernizing by leaping forward to efficient and environmentally friendly means of technology.
I do not understand why he deserved to be called “the underprepared science guy” after his well-done delivery of useful and accurate global warming information and opinion. I think you guys owe Bill Nye the Science Guy a cup of coffee and an apology.
Secondly, if you think that special on CNN was falsely balanced, you should watch Fox News every time they talk about Global Warming. They like to get just two contrarian figures up there with Cavuto or Gibson and it’s often just a three-way yak fest of agreeing on how global warming isn’t real. Sheesh!
Id agree with RC on this one after reading the transcript. Nye started off the conversation with Gulf Stream shut down. If he wanted to argue the importance with circulation shutdown, he should have stuck to the thermohaline hypothesis. To go from “freshening” to “Gulf Stream shutdown” is leaving a huge gap and Lindzen definitely took advantage of that, and Nye was ill-prepared because he didnt see that coming.
About the unblanace in CNN (re:3) – I think what they are trying to say is that CNN is obviously more balanced than Fox News (and in my opinion, CNN and NBC are drifting right) but the “liberal media” argument is still prevailing, especially with Bill OReilly’s “war on NBC” or whatever they’re calling it now.
Glad you commented on this. I just caught the tail end of the CNN show but was appalled that there wasn’t a climate expert to counter Lindzen. Basically, Lindzen implied there was no science involved with the IPCC findings and Nye was not prepared to counter that. He also did not seem to know that the IPCC has raised their probability level that GW is caused by man. He tried to bet a cup of coffee on whether or not the probability was in the high 90s but Lindzen implied we won’t know anything until May when the report is published.
Also, I hated one of King’s last comments that Lindzen should know since he is from MIT, as if that settles everything.
Also, the lady from the weather channel did a pretty good job but not sure she is a climate scientist.
All in all, I think CNN did a disservice to the public on this and King is too uninfomed to realize how badly his producers screwed this up.
We finally seem to be getting some traction on this issue with the new congress and the rather extremely warm winter we have had. Too bad that CNN seems to have its head up its ass.
By the way, maybe it’s just my browser (Firefox) but I hate this comments section. I am unable to increase the size of these tiny little letters I have to read. Is their a solution for this?
It seems to me that Heidi Cullen should have been the one debating Lindzen, rather than Nye. I can see why Lindzen might think that the Gulf Stream and gyre circulation are part of the thermohaline circulation because many textbooks actually treat them together. So I would have to disagree with Lindzen that he was presenting textbook material, and he was really just using that material to duck the telling argument Nye had already made about the thermohaline circulation.
Went back and read the transcript. I was wrong about the bet, which was about temperature resolution, not probability of man made warming. It clearly looks like Nye is owed a bottle of very expensive scotch.
It wasn’t so much that Nye was wrong, it’s that he didn’t appear very confident debating Lindzen.
I missed it. Is Lindzen still saying that water vapor accounts for 98 % of the greenhouse effect? I’m curious. Also what’s the current state of his ‘iris effect’ idea?
Where did he get that 98 % idea from, anyway?
With respect to the whitehouse, I checked their search engine as well. “Global Climate Change” gives lots of hits, “Global Warming” gives only one (a denial of anthropogenic climate change). But you’ve got your phrases mixed up (check your post) which is why the search engine returned nothing. You searched “issue of global warming” but you should have searched “Issue of Global Climate Change”.
I’m all for trashing this administration but only when it is deserved! I’m obviously using a bit of hyperbole. . .
[Response: You are missing the point. There are plenty of things on the site that mention global warming, you just aren’t able to search for them. -gavin]
Re #5: The comments link after the posts brings up a separate window that cannot be made full-screen in IE either. To get the comments full-screen, either click on the “more” link at the left bottom of the posts that are long enough to have jumps (i.e., short posts like this one don’t have them), or just scroll back up to the top and click on the post title. If the comments text is still too small (and actually I can’t see a difference in mine), your browser has settings to change font size. Possibly it’s set to show smaller text in pop-up windows only.
I believe global warming is Bill Nye’s new bread and butter. We will see him more on the lecture circuit, and I will predict he will have the first show dedicated to global warming. Human induced climate change will prove to be a lucrative business for some, though as Nye gets up to speed with the topic he will bring it to America’s consciousness. He does have a point with the comparative observations of our neighbor planets Mars and Venus, and humans really should take note. In the meantime, it is now February and the winter really hasn’t come here to Pennsylvania. Anyways I am rooting for Bill Nye to be the new spokesman to get the word out.
RE: #5 I get a full screen view of the comments by right-clicking the “Comments” link and opening in a new window in IE/FF, or a new tab in FF. RE: the whitewashhouse.gov site, they probably have Frank Luntz running the lexicon show there; if so, “warming” is taboo. He focused grouped “climate change” and found it to be less scary than “warming.” “Words That Mislead.” Bill Nye? A bit out of his lane, I’d say. At least Larry didn’t use Jessica Simpson.
There was never a real debate on Larry King last night, only idea jabs flying all over the place, without any knock out, but I suspect Lindzen will regret predicting that it will be colder in 5 years. I am certain that even him, the ever so staunch contrarian, will be convinced about AGW 2 minutes before Boston gets flooded. Let the weather do the convincing, may be even weathermen will “get it” after everyone else went to higher ground.
In comment 10 Pat asks where Lindzen gets 98% of greenhouse effect from water vapor. Several sources are possible: For example, Prof. Robert H Essenhigh, Ohio State U., noted in his letter (published in the Wall Street Journal 10/10/00) that he ran the numbers for nine years teaching the course: “Air Pollution From Combustion Sources”, and found that “the water averages out as 97% of the thermal trapping, with a top limit of 99%, with carbon dioxide as the balance of 1 to 3%. In other words, the carbon dioxide is less than the ‘noise’ in the variations in the water.”
This is on point because he is directly speaking of “thermal trapping”, by his adding: “What is now needed is recognition of the futility of trying to control global warming by reduction of carbon dioxide (the Kyoto Protocol Objective) by fuel switching or carbon sequestration, to say nothing of the economic damage by pointless diversion of resources to those ends.”
In fact, 3 years earlier “Too Much Hot Air” was a feature article in Newsweek, and noted: “Water vapor accounts for some 98% of the warming, without which the Earth would be 61 degrees Fahrenheit colder.” (Pg.49 of issue dated 10/20/97) But, obviously no one would rely on anything like Newsweek, when that result is consistently verifiable by actual observation, such as carried out by Prof. Essenhigh.
[Response: Lindzen used this ‘98%’ number back in 1991 at least (in a review of the first IPCC report). I have looked high and low for a source in the literature and never found one. If you do the numbers, it never comes anywhere close – see here. -gavin]
Comment by Donald B Hagler — 1 Feb 2007 @ 10:07 PM
I thought Bill Nye sounded like he was just reciting talking points; I suspect he was. And the weather channel gal just sounded shrill from overconfidence. Lindzen (truth of disclosure — my man) clearly had it over the others but somehow managed to come off as a buffoon a time or two. In all of their defense, however, all of the cable news network producers push for shrieking over learned discourse from their guests — though Larry King probably less than the others.
re Fox Cable News (truth again — my network) For the record I recall O’Reily issuing a rant in support of AGW; but that was some time ago and my memory might be fuzzy… Pavlov-like criticism are frankly silly. For my money, they far and away present the best hourly/prime news shows (cable and broadcast), well, 2nd best, behind McNeil on PBS.
My neighbors are as hard to convince as George Bush, maybe harder. My neighbors would live in Texas rather than Illinois if they could. Since increases in rainfall are predicted, that would indicate that more rather than less corn will grow. Since the growth of corn is a function of degrees multiplied by days, they think that global warming should double the harvest. They have no use for polar bears or any other organism that people don’t eat. They aren’t interested in whatever might happen after they die.
How do you convince people like my neighbors?
When is someone going to nail Lindzen to the wall on the “no warming in the past 8 years” claim? I mean, some people who use that line may honestly believe it, but someone of the caliber of Lindzen saying it just strikes me as outright intellectual dishonesty (which I am using here as a euphomism for “lying”). I can’t honestly believe that you can get a PhD in meteorology and a professorship at MIT without understanding the most basic concepts of how you deal (and do not deal) with noisy data.
A poor discussion of the science is how it seemed, with a few caveats. Heidi Cullen seemed to do the best job.
Larry King opened up by raising the issue of the Arctic, which was followed up on by Heidi Cullen, although there was no mention of high-altitude glacier melt in the tropical and temperate zones – and these are important issues, as they bear out predictions made decades ago about where the warming would first be most evident.
Larry King also mentioned heat waves, which fits into the general topic of climate variability; Heidi Cullen mentioned the issue – and no one brought up the issue of more intense coastal flooding and drying continental interiors and what that combination could mean for current agricultural production. Lindzen seemed to avoid any mention of increased climate variability – no surprises there.
After that, there was the minor goof by Bill Nye; he started mentioning changes in ocean circulation but then made a minor error in getting into a discussion of what drives the Gulf Stream, which Richard Lindzen then pounced on and spent the rest of the program attacking – the issue might have been better framed as a decrease in the deep water formation off of Greenland.
Bill Nye could have raised many issues with Lindzen, such as whether Lindzen still believes that GCM’s have too much lateral atmospheric transport of heat and moisture, or that some dynamic behavior of the atmosphere will cause it to cool off rapidly by shedding heat to space at the top of the atmosphere.
There was little discussion of the melting rates of the Greenland Ice Sheet, or of the future behavior of Antarctica, or of how much heat was being stored in the ocean (topics full of uncertainty, but, as Drew Shindell pointed out in the House hearings, uncertainty cuts in both directions – and it would have been nice to see even a brief discussion of uncertainty and risk, particularly from the economists present – for example, a discussion of how insurance companies are currently treating coastal property…)
One of Lindzen’s last comments was “I’m saying that we have seen a rate of temperature change that is not outside the range of what the climate does by itself.” What’s odd about the long-standing climate contrarians is how they happily contradict themselves from one sentence to the next; I assume he is basing that statement on paleoclimate records, which he then goes on to attack for having to low resolution to be useful???
In any case, the current rate of CO2 buildup in the atmosphere is something like 20-30X greater than anything seen in the ice cores – and this seemed to be one of the glaring omissions in the debate.
It would have been good to see a discussion of the rate of fossil fuel CO2 emissions to the atmosphere and of the rate of CO2 increase in the atmosphere, and of what the relationship between those two rates was and how it might change in the future.
There was also no mention of the funding cuts in the climate satellite and ocean data collection programs. Pretty poor overall.
I don’t understand why Heidi Cullen didn’t speak up? All she could say was the science is solid, which Lindzen harped on for it’s lack of specific evidence. Cullen was horrible, Nye looked foolish. And the viewer walks away thinking, “if global warming is caused by humans, not one of the experts said anything to convince me…”
“Scientists and economists have been offered $10,000 each by a lobby group funded by one of the world’s largest oil companies to undermine a major climate change report due to be published today. Letters sent by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), an ExxonMobil-funded thinktank with close links to the Bush administration, offered the payments for articles that emphasise the shortcomings of a report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). “…”The letters, sent to scientists in Britain, the US and elsewhere, attack the UN’s panel as “resistant to reasonable criticism and dissent and prone to summary conclusions that are poorly supported by the analytical work” and ask for essays that “thoughtfully explore the limitations of climate model outputs”. Climate scientists described the move yesterday as an attempt to cast doubt over the “overwhelming scientific evidence” on global warming. “It’s a desperate attempt by an organisation who wants to distort science for their own political aims,” said David Viner of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.”…
Comment by BarbieDoll Moment — 2 Feb 2007 @ 12:17 AM
My new anti-Crichton global warming novel, “Warm front” is in a competition at Warm Front. The prize is a meager publishing contract with Simon & Schuster. While I link my synopsis, the firstchapter competition is only based on first impressions on the first 2000 words of prose fiction. The book is dedicated to the climate scientists here at Realclimate. May they rule in fiction as in science. I invite readers here to register and vote.
Thanks. Crichton really put a kink my craw. Someone had to get even.
The smugness and matter-of-fact tone of climate scientists on human-caused global warming in the face of the mind-blowing complexity of global climate science is only proof that this movement is a new religion in the early stages of foundation. Repeatedly invoking “Katrina” in conjunction with this argument is case-in-point.
New Orleans has been in great danger of a direct hit from a powerful hurricane since Teddy Roosevelt was complaining about rain spoiling his duck hunt. To hear that category 4 hurricane repeatedly placed at the forefront of so many global warming smackdowns is only evidence of a weak argument, questionable science, political grandstanding and blatent fearmongering. The scientific method that I was taught in high school would indicate that the earliest predictions made by the man-made warming hypothesis be the first tested for accuracy, since in order for an hypothesis to be considered a theory, there must be predictability in the science. And so satellites and weather balloons must detect lower atmosphere warming in advance of ground warming. Even this site admits as much.
At least the new report admits the train can’t be stopped. Will miracles never cease. Now, let’s here you admit that nitrogen is a bigger problem per cubic foot and eliminating such is much more likely to starve the world.
In fact, where is the connection between pure, mathematical science and the moral stance you are taking?
Comment by Edward A. Barkley — 2 Feb 2007 @ 1:35 AM
I just tried a search for “global warming” on the whitehouse.gov search engine and got 4665 (or something) responses – so much for the cover-up
[Response: No you didn’t – you searched without the quotes – William]
The quick-n-dirty dailyKos diary I posted a few hours ago (linked from my name below) based on blog coverage of the whitehouse.gov search oddities has unearthed some plausible alternative theories in reader comments, and I’m now backing (pending further evidence) the hypothesis that the search engine uses tags/categories rather than fulltext. No if we only had plausible alternative theories to anthropogenic global climate crisis.
Thanks for the CNN synopsis, I hadn’t gtten to see it yet.
As for ice core resolution, we have published records from Law Dome that give approximately monthly time-series for the last ~700 years. For non-diffusive species like sea-salts, this is a genuine reflection of the temporal resolution. For water isotopes the resolution, because of diffusion, is maybe reduced to a season rather than a month. At lower accumulation sites, the diffusion problem really starts to reduce isotope resolution even if the physical sampling is many-per-year.
For trapped air, the resolution depends upon the diffusive age spread at the depth bubbles close off and the rapidity of seal-off by progressive burial. At best, a decade or two at very high accumulation sites like eastern Law Dome (DE08).
For non-gas species resolution is ultimately limited by the number of resolvable deposition events per year, which we think at Law Dome is around 20-30. Some studies claim 50+ samples per year, but this has to be considered in the context of diffusion and precipitation frequency at the site.
However you cut it, sounds like Nye is owed something!
“The letters were sent by Kenneth Green, a visiting scholar at AEI, who confirmed that the organisation had approached scientists, economists and policy analysts to write articles for an independent review that would highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the IPCC report.”
Kenneth Green wrote this blurb on the issue: Clouds of Global-Warming Hysteria: Finally starting to lift?
Ever since the debate broke out over climate change, the world’s attention has been riveted on computer-driven horror stories and the positively silly idea of establishing global-weather control by actively managing the atmosphere’s greenhouse-gas emissions. This focus has gathered up a lethal coalition of people with diverse motivations for promoting it. I call it a lethal coalition because, for nearly 20 years, this coalition has killed off any attempt to look at climate change through a rational lens…
No discussion of any science, just a fossil fuel think tank-funded rant. See exxonsecrets.org for more details.
Dianne, try doing a search with “climate change” in quotes; you get 628 references; with “global warming” in quotes you get 1 reference, which contains this bizzare quote: “…many Flemish and Dutch artists, like Pieter Brueghel and Hendrick Avercamp, depicted severe Little Ice Age winters in their paintings…” (that was under the heading, “Vikings enjoy Greenland beaches” – ??)
As far as a cover-up, wouldn’t that include things like pressuring government scientists not to use the words “global warming” or “Kyoto protocol”, having their statements vetted by political appointees, and removing funding from climate data collection (satellite and ocean sensor) programs?
Its funny how it takes a raft of scientists and diplomots etc to write a single so called definitive report on the state of the earths climate when it never takes this much effort for anything else scientific. This year the LHC goes online at CERN (particle physics), it is the most complex machine ever devised by humans but I doubt it took a massive UN report to make it so !!??
Climate Change appears to frighten everyone in Government as it is slated to be un american for one and anti progress for two (which it might well be in the long run) but all of this wrangling and obfuscation by governments etc does not mean that at some point it is not going to become a serious issue but hey do what, by then new fuels and clean technology will save the day.
Does anyone really know what a massive problem AGW is going to be. Drop off in levels of fossil fuels will only mitigate the rise in usage and population growth by 2050 it would seem. Where are the viable alternatives to Oil, Gas and Coal, where is the infrastructure and how much of it needs to be replaced to carry new feuls and energy.
In the USA where all this is seemingly being played out (EU 27 already acknowledges the science and wants to act to a certain degree even though its citizens only use 1/2 the fuels of the average US citizen) they have massive leeway to slash CO2 output and energy usage but where is the political will except for California perhaps? I guess that the rest of the world has trouble understanding the USA in many ways – its politics, its attitude to the rest of the world and its science. Are scientists and science not respected in the USA I wonder ?
Here’s four initial stories on the IPCC. Notice that those coming out of Europe, don’t go into the hurricane/climate change “controversy.” Is this because Europeans have enough grasp of physics that they can understand how adding more energy into a system through warmer sea surface temperatures would cause hurricanes to grow stronger?
Or is it maybe that Europeans don’t have a made-for-media team of contrarians such as the National Hurricane Center?
Sorry – but n o t h i n g has been “blocked” from the White House search engine. Didn’t you notice the %22 signs in the URL given on that blogger site??? Remove them from the URL in your browser and you’ll see more than 4,000 results for “global warming” – including a lot, of course, where both words appear without connection.
[Response: They are double quote marks, so that you get the phrase, not all of the individual instances of each word. – gavin]
I have not checked the White House site, nor do I intend to, but I hope they do temporarily block certain search terms. It’s pretty clear with the full-court media press that’s going on Re: the SPM release tomorrow that people are going to be interested. Has it crossed your mind that they might preemptively attempt to keep the server from crashing ? People have other issues on their mind, such as Iraq, tax policy, housing, education, etc. Why should the whole site go down b/c 50,000 people decide to log on at once and search for the President’s take on AGW. We all know what you’ll find if you read one of his speeches. What can they hide ? A little less paranoia, please…
[[In comment 10 Pat asks where Lindzen gets 98% of greenhouse effect from water vapor. Several sources are possible: For example, Prof. Robert H Essenhigh, Ohio State U., noted in his letter (published in the Wall Street Journal 10/10/00) that he ran the numbers for nine years teaching the course: “Air Pollution From Combustion Sources”, and found that “the water averages out as 97% of the thermal trapping, with a top limit of 99%, with carbon dioxide as the balance of 1 to 3%. In other words, the carbon dioxide is less than the ‘noise’ in the variations in the water.” ]]
RealClimate has covered Essenhigh’s bogus calculations before (Gavin — link?). He is making the mistake critics of global warming made in the 1930s — concentrating on saturation at low levels and ignoring the fact that absorption also takes place in higher levels and you have to account for the whole atmosphere. In fact CO2 accounts for 26% of the clear-sky greenhouse warming on Earth, not 1-3%. (Link?)
[[Its funny how it takes a raft of scientists and diplomots etc to write a single so called definitive report on the state of the earths climate when it never takes this much effort for anything else scientific.]]
That’s because there isn’t a huge big-business/government effort to confuse and distort the science when it comes to evolutionary biology, celestial mechanics or the theory of relativity.
The “%22″ signs (which represent quotation marks) are simply because I’m searching for the exact phrase “global warming” rather than the presence of both terms “global” and “warming”. It is the former search that fails so spectacularly and curiously.
Can you find any other exact phrase search that shows a similar discrepancy between google and the whitehouse.gov search engine?
I would say the IPCC is going a little soft. There’s no proxy graph in the Summary, with temperature graphs going back to only 1850. They mention the liklihood that temperature now is the highest in 1300 years, but seem to over-qualify this with fluff about uncertainties. I don’t know whose been twisting their arm. The proxy data is one of the strongest arguments for the dire conclusions.
Re 33. It’s more likely due to the fact that hurricanes hardly ever happen.
Is there any way to pull this discussion into a global forum rather than the discussion of a television programme and personalities most of us non US people have never heard of?
I’m surprised nobody took the bait and responded to your defense Fox News’ climate science reporting, where you state, “Pavlov-like criticism are frankly silly.”
There is nothing Pavlovian in criticizing Fox News’ coverage of this topic. Their “fair and balanced” documentary on the topic was a skeptics’ love-fest. The fact that this was expected and predictable, and that the channel is repugnant and anathema to anyone interested in liberal-minded environmental policy does not change it.
Do I have a Pavlovian reaction to the sound of Brit Hume’s voice? Yes I do. But I’m still capable of a “fair and balanced” analysis of his words.
Thanks a lot but it was a bit too fast for me. some questions remain:
For non-diffusive species like sea-salts, this is a genuine reflection of the temporal resolution.
I have no idea what it means. I thought we were talking about Greenland and Antarctic ice cores.
For water isotopes the resolution, because of diffusion, is maybe reduced to a season rather than a month.
Why a season, not 10 years? Or a 100? How well do we understand the diffusion over such large time scales? Same question for trapped air: I guess it’s even more prone to diffuse.
Apart from the temporal resolution. If you look at water isotopes, is the origin of the air mass that deposited the precip important or not? Say tropical vs. midlatitude. If it is, how do we deal with the lack of this information?
In the interests of sci… well, as an afterthought, I thought a comparison might be in order. You can work out the percentage differences yourselves and gauge whether there is any significance to the differences. I just make the observation:
“global warming” picks up 1, cf. 66,600,000 in Google
global +warming picks up 1649, cf. 74,500,000 in Google
global warming picks up 4665, cf. 77,000,000 in Google
“global climate change” picks up 230, cf. 917,000 in Google
Re #33 “Here’s four initial stories on the IPCC. Notice that those coming out of Europe, don’t go into the hurricane/climate change “controversy.” Is this because Europeans have enough grasp of physics that they can understand how adding more energy into a system through warmer sea surface temperatures would cause hurricanes to grow stronger?
Or is it maybe that Europeans don’t have a made-for-media team of contrarians such as the National Hurricane Center?”
Could be because we don’t get hurricanes in Europe! (We do sometimes get the tail ends of them, at much lower wind speeds.)
Maybe we in the USA have some common sense left and we know better than to listen to pseudo-scientists? Maybe we in the USA know that 0.5% of all of the CO2 produced in the world that humans produce has no meaning in the scheme of things? Maybe we in the USA are really more sophisticated than European decadent losers that have no faith and believe only in so called “science”? There is no consensus for the global warming in scientific society and you can take to the bank.
Dianne Fristrom (#27): I think you’re confused. Note that we are talking about searches for the phrase “global warming”. You searched for documents that contain the words “global” and “warming” which is a different animal. I am seeing the same results as described in the original post; they haven’t fixed this.
re: 50. Maybe we also know that broad ad hominem comments (“European decadent losers thst have no faith…”) are a very strong indicator of burying one’s head in the sand, a complete lack knowledge of the scientific process, a lack of knowledge of basic climate science and physics, and not understanding what consensus means? ;-)
Donald B Hagler quoted Prof. Robert H Essenhigh, Ohio State U: “… What is now needed is recognition of the futility of trying to control global warming by reduction of carbon dioxide (the Kyoto Protocol Objective) by fuel switching or carbon sequestration, to say nothing of the economic damage by pointless diversion of resources to those ends.”
It is important to realize that the “economic damage” that Professor Essenhigh refers to is actually the transfer of wealth from the fossil fuel industry to other industrial sectors.
Yesterday, Exxon-Mobil reported $39.5 billion in profits for 2006, the biggest profit ever recorded for a US corporation, surpassing the previous record of $36.13 billion — which was set by Exxon-Mobil in 2005. That is approximately $4.5 million per hour in profits. Exxon-Mobil’s revenue for 2006 was $377.64 billion, again surpassing the previous record revenue of $370.68 billion that Exxon-Mobil reported for the previous year.
Exxon-Mobil produces about three percent of the world’s oil.
Exxon-Mobil does not want the “economic damage” that would result from losing any of that revenue to conservation, efficiency, or other energy sources.
For everyone else, however, measures to reduce fossil fuel use through conservation, efficiency and a migration to clean, renewable energy sources are an enormous economic opportunity — indeed, potentially a new industrial revolution that will not only address anthropogenic global warming but will benefit humanity in many other ways as well.
I don’t think the Whitehouse.gov search engine flaw is deliberate. Other exact phrase search terms fail to return as many results as a site specific Google search would. Try “faith based” and “Iraqi freedom”. Note the Whitehouse search is case sensitive whereas Google’s is not. “Global Warming” (note the capitalisation) returns over a hundred documents.
The search engine at the White House site is weird.
If I search in quotes “global warming”– all lower case– I get 1 document. If I search “Global Warming” with the capitals, I get 102 documents. Bush’s June 2001 speech comes up first.
The “Tips for better results” suggests using correct case. Notice that searching ‘president bush’ gives different results from “President Bush”. So I guess ‘the explanation’ could be related to capitalizing letters.
FWIW, I think making default searches case sensitive is a bit silly and just makes searching more difficult most of the time.
I am aware of the apples and pears angle, which is why the numbers of themselves are not particularly important. The percentages, which I (still) leave to the reader may (or may not) be instructive. But that wasn’t really the issue. I was making a sort of political comment (obviously too well hidden), along the lines of “the rest of the world appears to be out of step with the WH”, at least as far as Google is concerned.
Moral: if you want to find out about “global warming”, don’t go to the WH. But most of us know that anyway. ;-)
Maybe we in the USA are really more sophisticated than European decadent losers that have no faith and believe only in so called “science”.
Or maybe a large fraction of American population consists of undereducated people who believe that just because they own a computer they are qualified to share their bright ideas with the rest of the world.
Re #25, great Michael. I also read about another anti-Crichton novel, FEAR OF STATE, but don’t remember the source.
Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 2 Feb 2007 @ 12:31 PM
Concerning #2. Years ago I documented 20 serious errors in a single half-hour Bill Nye program on momentum. For example, he completley confused energy and momentum at least once and also confused ineria with momentum. He may look exciting to the viewer, but, as a physics teacher, I can’t help being concerned about what people “learn” from watching his program.
Inside quote marks all lower caps does not find everthing relevant. You need to capitalize in whatever way the database happens to recognize.
That said, it looks like some of the difficulties in finding “global warming” may be due to the search tool wanting to see “Global Warming”. Why it wants to see the two words in the phrase beginning with caps, I do not know. Clearly, the WH search engines is not up to Google’s standards.
[[Maybe we in the USA have some common sense left and we know better than to listen to pseudo-scientists? Maybe we in the USA know that 0.5% of all of the CO2 produced in the world that humans produce has no meaning in the scheme of things? Maybe we in the USA are really more sophisticated than European decadent losers that have no faith and believe only in so called “science”? There is no consensus for the global warming in scientific society and you can take to the bank. ]]
1. Humans have raised the ambient level of CO2 in the atmosphere more than 36% since 1750.
2. Believing in the “science” is the proper thing to do when studying a scientific issue.
3. There is a consensus that global warming is happening and that it’s anthropogenic.
Re #37: Actually, there is a large effort to distort and confuse the science of evolutionary biology. It’s called “intelligent design” and has been aptly called “creationism in a cheap tuxedo”. Certainly, this effort does not originate from big business/government, but the current president has supported the teaching of intelligent design.
Lindzen’s comment is a little misleading, that 2000 year resolution is not adequate to pick up spikes like the current CO2 spike because it’s not the sampling interval that’s important but the length of time that the sample represents. If several centuries of CO2 are collapsed into one reading, it is obvious that a blip like the current one will be missed.
The answer is not to point to more recent higher resolution cores (with shorter sample times), because the IPCC report says 650,000 years so must include low resolution cores. The correct answer is to show that natural mechanisms cannot produce a blip like the one that will be missed in the older cores.
Re: 62 Clearly, the WH search engines is not up to Google’s standards.
Also “no child” finds many documents related to Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” initiative, but “child left” finds nothing. It only works when you capitalise the first letter of each word. So only certain choice lowercase strings will match exactly, such as “issue of global” but “global warming” unfortunately is not one of them.
Re LINDZEN â?? NYE: Darth Vader jousts Mr. Rogers with rhetorical tricks. Lindzen KNEW Nye was talking about the thermohaline conveyor & confusing it with the Gulf Stream (as I did, before learning the distinction here on RC). Lindzen could have politely pointed out that mistake, then continued with discussion about Nye’s real meaning. (Though, as I understand it, a shut down of the THC may not be so dire for the North as depicted in DAY AFTER TOMORROW, due to the warming that would offset the cooling to some extent. So maybe it’s better to focus on how melted glaciers, droughts, floods, & pests will wreck havoc with agriculture.)
Re MORRIS: Couldn’t they find an expert? Maybe someone like Stern, or one of his colleagues?
Re INHOFE: Reducing GHGs by Kyotoâ??s meager stipulations will cost a family $2,750 a year?? What are they doing, burning dollar bills in their fireplace? Kyoto only says we have to reduce, but does NOT say how we should do that. We can do it stupidly and burn money (itâ??s a biofuel, coming from trees), or we can do it smartly & save money (as Boxer pointed out). So Mr & Mrs Notsosmart & the little Notsosmarts burn $2,750 a year in the fireplace, while Mr & Mrs Smart next door spend $2,750 and buy a SunFrost refrigerator ($2,650), a low-flow showerhead ($6), CF bulbs & other energy saving devices ($94), have these pay for themselves (the frig in 12 years, the others in less than a year) in savings (electricity, hot water, & less food spoilage), then go on to save money each year that helps put those 2 Smart kids through college (at least pay for their books and pizza). In fact if GW were a hoax, itâ??d be a great one that would really help us get on a better economic track.
Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 2 Feb 2007 @ 5:39 PM
In comment 36, Barton Paul Levenson asserts: “In fact CO2 accounts for 26% of the clear-sky greenhouse warming on Earth, not 1-3%.”
Where, exactly, can the empirical, reproducible, real-life evidence supporting 26% be found?
Re 72: Tom, it’s just an oddly designed search tool. Do experiments on the phrase “the assessments required under the No Child Left Behind Act”. You’ll get equally screwy hit/miss results by varying capitalization, picking fragments and whatnot.
The empirical evidence that CO2 causes substantial climate warming can be found, first of all, in the fact that the Earth isn’t frozen over, though water vapor has a good deal to do with that as well, and second, in the thousands of peer-reviewed studies and books about radiative transfer and climatology and global warming that have come out in the past 110 years or so.
RE #26, please don’t confuse scientists with environmentalists. Scientists use ulta-scientific caution (avoiding false positives, avoid making wrong claims, to the hilt); they say we cannot attribute single events, such as Katrina, to global warming, though there seems to be a general patterns (fitting expectation) that hurricanes around the world are becoming more intense, though this is not accepted with the same 90%+ certainty as GW itself. Thus scientists are just one step shy of skeptics.
Now, as an environmentalist (& not ashamed to admit so), I am more focused on avoiding false negatives, avoiding a do-nothing stance as a problem rages on. Of course, GW enhanced Katrina; I have not doubt about it, and Hurricane Andrew in 1992. If a doctor told a patient he wouldn’t remove his/her lump because it’s only 94% certain to be cancerous, would that person patiently wait a couple of years until it’s 95% certain for the surgery? I’m on the far extreme of “we’re looking right down the barrel of extreme catastrophe,” and I for one am going to conscientiously turn off lights not in use and do a hundred other things to reduce my GHGs & inspire others to do likewise.
So if you want to criticize anyone for worrying about GW, look to the environmentalists. We’re the one’s on the extreme side of righteousness; we are the ones (many of us) who have a religious reverence for life, etc.
Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 4 Feb 2007 @ 11:32 PM
The 94% cancerous lump analogy is beautiful, yet even scientists get lumps removed without knowing their origins, perhaps the real fear is everyone has a big lump they all want to remove at the same time and the’re worried they’ll get left on some surgical waiting list, suffering economically etc etc while others get treated. State of Fear indeed, security and lifestyle changed in one foul swoop
Re #77, and some scientists also gamble in Las Vegas (but that’s only with money, not their reputation). The beauty of solving GW, is that there will not a lot of chaos (except the collision of shopping carts as people stock up on CF bulbs & other energy/resource conservation/efficiency products).
In fact, it would lead to a greater claim, since people will be spending more time at home with their families, rather than hot-rodding around on the freeways. In fact, if they move close to work, they may not even take the freeway, except to see the opera twice a year in the big city. And that also means less road repair, less taxes. Also, if people are walking & cycling more, and staying at home more, that mean less crime. And walking and cycling are good for the health, so less medical bills. And they are good for the spirit, so less grumpiness, a happier world. And all these GHG reduction measures also reduce other environmental problems (further reducing health costs), and other problems, like shipping oil from elsewhere, oil spills, wars….
Could be GW was the best thing that ever happened to us, if we really start addressing it full speed ahead, and we avert reaching that runaway tipping point of no return.
Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 5 Feb 2007 @ 12:39 PM
Lynn, your comment:
[Could be GW was the best thing that ever happened to us, if we really start addressing it full speed ahead, and we avert reaching that runaway tipping point of no return.]
cannot go unchallenged.
You are betting the future on the — if — part of your comment without reflecting on the fact that much is happening to the planet systems NOW and the IPCC SPM tells us there is a lot of heat locked into the planet heat sinks.
How can we be better off, in any possible way, with AGW?
Comment by John L. McCormick — 5 Feb 2007 @ 1:19 PM
Re #79: I think you misunderstood the post. It’s not that AGW in itself is any sort of good, it’s rather that the changes to lifestyles that attempts to deal with AGW will require might be a good thing.
I think this point is quite important: hard as it is for some of us to understand, a lot of people seem to be very attached to their consumerist lifestyle, to the point that their major reason for denying AGW is that if it was real, it might force them to change that lifestyle. That means that one of the prerequisites for meaningful change needs to be some basic value changes.
RE # 80, No, James. I read the comment for what it said.
Tell me where the banked heat in the planets heat sinks will be good for anyone; especially, given what we and some are experiencing today.
I realize Lynn is a very stong advocate for changing consumer lifestyles. Maybe there is a more appropriate way for her to say that?
Comment by John L. McCormick — 5 Feb 2007 @ 2:13 PM
Re #75 from Barton Paul Levenson: Thank you for your cite to the computer model study.
You go on to claim “thousands” of sources with empirical evidence that “co2 causes substantial climate warming”. OK, probably hyperbole. But help all of us out here, and just ID one. Maybe your favorite.
The operative words are “causes” and “empirical”. Important, because you take issue with Prof. Essenhigh’s nine years of hands-on experments with consistent rusults proving exactly the opposite of your claim–with co2’s thermal trapping at only 1 to 3% (as noted in Comment # 18). And those tiny numbers include, of necessity, naturally occurring co2, which no one can control. With water vapor making up the average 97% thermal trapping remainder.
(this comment is essentially a repost of what I earlier wrote and which was published on-site yesterday, Sunday, but evidently was lost due to technical problems noted at the top of this web page)
Oops, correction, _here_ is _how_ I found that; looking here will find some at least of his publications. His basic focus is on …. well, you decide.
I _think_ the link above is to the source of that percentage estimate people have been wondering about. It appears to be the product of logical thinking, or handwaving, unless there’s a calculation somewhere else.
We’ve been through this Essenhigh stuff before. The guy is treating the whole atmosphere as if it were a slab of uniform density and pressure. It isn’t Absorption takes place at altitudes where the pressure varies from 1 to 0 times surface pressure, and at each level the absorption properties are significantly different. And CO2 is more important than water vapor at higher altitudes, because H2O has a very shallow scale height — about 2 km, compared to 8 km for the atmosphere in general. Essenhigh doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I’m sure he’s a competent chemist, but he doesn’t seem to understand atmosphere physics.
No surprise, perhaps, that the coal industry’s so unwilling to deal with global warming as a concern, if he’s typical of the scientists writing about coal. Talk about ‘externalizing costs’ — I never realized that term could apply to science, but there’s an example. I notice he’s at Ohio State. I wonder what he and Lonnie Thompson find to say to each other at faculty parties?
Re #79, I did post #78 too quickly, and afterward regret saying we might be better off with AGW. Maybe a more thoughtful way of looking at it is:
(1) if AGW is happening, and we do nothing to solve it, we may be doomed.
(2) if AGW is happening, and we do all we can to solve it, we will still face a lot of problems.
(3) if AGW is not happening, and we do nothing to solve it, we will still have a lot of problems – financial, environmental, oil wars, other.
(4) if AGW is not happening, and we do everything to solve it, we will have a much better world than we have today.
#4 is the best scenario, and probably #3 is next (though it might be a toss up with #2, because #3 might could include nuclear wars to protect our oil supplies).
After a couple of years of continuing to increase out GHG emissions willy-nilly before starting to seriously reduce, say, by 2015, #3 (even with continued oil wars) will most likely be a lot better scenario than #2 started late.
This is just an intellectual exercise, something for the contrarians to consider. We’d have to be 99.9% sure AGW is not happening to even consider the “do nothing” route (though it still doesn’t make sense from many other perspectives).
However, I fully concur AGW is happening (and have since 1990, 5 years before the 1st AGW study reached 95% certainty), and I look at the worst case scenario of the IPCC as perhaps underestimating the dangers. I expect runaway warming (hysteresis, mass extinction akin to 55 mya & 251 mya, and mass human suffering), especially if we fail to drastically reduce our GHGs, starting yesterday.
Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 6 Feb 2007 @ 4:02 PM
Re: Gavin’s Response in #82: The letter in #18 was indeed the reference. I now learn (linked below) that Prof. Essenhigh had over “40 years experience of radiative modeling and testing the predicted behavior experimentally.” Following the reprint mentioned in #84, I find two detailed responses to the professor’s published doubt that co2 drives GW, followed by his extensive rebuttal to each (parts of which may also respond to criticism linked by Gavin in #18).
I am interested to know about the global temperature. How is it derived, and how accurately does it represent true global temperature, as determined by global thermal equilibrium?
Here in NSW Australia, our Weather Bureau maintains quality controlled reference climate stations (in stable local environments, away from urban influences). However, few of these stations has temperature records older than 1940. Older data is not reliable because of different screen designs, no screens in some cases and instrument inaccuracies. I have analysed quality temperature data from two stations in NSW from 1940 to 2006. The data does not show any marked warming beyond the observed statistical fluctuations. Maxima have been warm since the mid to late 1990’s, but nothing out of the ordinary. Given the short record (66 years), why cannot the recent warmth be part of a normal variation? In south-east Australia in particular, we have had El-Nino months (SIO < 0) dominate the last 10 years. Historically (since 1876) this may be unsual, but it is not unprecedented. Here, El Nino is associated with drought, giving positive maximum temperature anomalies and negative minimum temperature anomalies, which we have all had. So, I do not see conclusive evidence of AGW here, but if we don’t get some cool years very soon, I will have to admit the human cause.
[[Re: Gavin’s Response in #82: The letter in #18 was indeed the reference. I now learn (linked below) that Prof. Essenhigh had over “40 years experience of radiative modeling and testing the predicted behavior experimentally.” Following the reprint mentioned in #84, I find two detailed responses to the professor’s published doubt that co2 drives GW, followed by his extensive rebuttal to each (parts of which may also respond to criticism linked by Gavin in #18).]]
I think a lot of people here have read the old Chemical Innovation In Boxes for November and December 2001. I know I have. And Essenhigh is still doing the calculation wrong, and he still doesn’t understand atmosphere physics.
Combustion people need to know radiative transfer to model what goes on in blast furnaces and similar industrial environments. They do not need to know how the atmosphere is structured or how the climate works, and from Essenhigh’s statements, he clearly doesn’t understand either.
[[Given the short record (66 years), why cannot the recent warmth be part of a normal variation?]]
Because we have enough stations continuously manned outside Australia to go back 150 years, plus a wealth of proxies such as tree rings, ice cores, lake and ocean sediments, and the O18/O16 ratio in seashells. The temperature now is higher than it has been in 1300 years, and likely longer than that.
Re #90: “Given the short record (66 years), why cannot the recent warmth be part of a normal variation?”
Short answer is that it could. However, you’re doing something I see a lot of people do, which is assuming that we’ve noticed an increase in temperatures, and climate science has developed a “global warming caused by anthropogenic CO2″ theory in response. In fact, that’s exactly backwards: the theory (in an early version) was developed around 1900 by Arrhenius & others. It has been extended, based on the known, measured properties of CO2 and its increasing concentration in the atmosphere, which in turn is both measured and correlated to the known amounts of fossil fuel burned.
Another factor here is the lag time in the system: just as your house, for instance, takes a certain amount of time to warm up after you raise the thermostat setting, so too does the Earth take time to warm up, and since it’s pretty big, it takes a long time.
The bottom line is that the theory tells us that the Earth should be warming (and that there’s a lot more warming to come). When we see signs of warming, and we see many different ones from all over the world, we should take them as evidence supporting the theory. So yes, your own local warming in Australia might be part of normal climate variation, but if you consider all the warming signs all over the world, the chance that they’re all due to local variations seems pretty slim.