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  1. Rodney Dangerfield is schoolyard-humor outrage? Did you perhaps mean Don Rickles?

    Comment by Allen Varney — 9 Mar 2009 @ 6:38 PM

  2. I think the advice you offer so freely to others you should consider for yourself. This blog is no more tolerant than any other internet venue, being largely a magnet for those who happen to share the same largely congenital worldview of what they perceive the world to be.

    “Birds of a feather flock together.”
    Cervantes

    [Response: Each blog will have a certain appeal to a certain community and there is nothing inherently wrong with that. What we are discussing above is conduct, not audiences. But while this might be inevitable, it does not have to devolve into a dialogue of the deaf, and doesn't if certain proprieties are maintained. - gavin]

    Comment by John A. Davison — 9 Mar 2009 @ 6:43 PM

  3. This is invaluable, and so true in every respect. My attempts to enlighten my local op-ed writers, not to mention the G. Wills of the world, have been a frustrating endeavor. All of the various negative ‘debate’ techniques you mention have been drudged up as though they were serious argumentation. One op-ed writer even averred that he had never been very good at science, and thus wasn’t too inclined to read a site like RealClimate. Hard to get someone like that to investigate reality when they make such a claim. I never, ever got any response from Inhofe’s office, even a negative one. Truth be told, America has a particularly lousy scientific grounding, and an awful lot of other agendas that find science (at least if it isn’t leading to making cell phones or similar ilk) threatening.

    Comment by Steve Missal — 9 Mar 2009 @ 6:53 PM

  4. Recognize that humor is far more effective than outrage.

    Effective at what? Solving problems?

    Sorry, nope. Outrage solves problems. Humor just illuminates them.

    I always suggest a two step approach, humor first, then outrage.

    It works every time.

    Comment by Thomas Lee Elifritz — 9 Mar 2009 @ 6:59 PM

  5. John A. Davison (2) — I’ll say we are mostly reality-based here and many indeed understand one or another aspect of climatology.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 9 Mar 2009 @ 6:59 PM

  6. I think I would add:

    Keep your posts short In this day and age people want sound bites not sermons.

    Cheers, Alastair.

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 9 Mar 2009 @ 7:05 PM

  7. Thanks so much

    By “young” I presume you mean early to the endeavor of blogging, rather than age. I am a 59 year old rookie blogger and I think I have broken every rule. Nice to have it spelled out.

    Excellent advice and I thank you. Makes me feel young still.

    Comment by Richard Pauli — 9 Mar 2009 @ 7:10 PM

  8. Thanks for the advice!

    I’ve had my own climate blog going for a year or so and I’m at the ~250 hits a day mark (which are probably mostly one click and X out viewers) but I get decent feedback elsewhere. Being just a student, it’s a good start I suppose, but mostly a great learning experience…not only getting “my name out there” but familiarizing myself with the political, propaganda, and other scientific views which always pop up. I hear something new quite often but am never surprised anymore. It’s also a great way to gather my own thoughts on the subject and figure out how to express them in a convincing but accurate manner.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 9 Mar 2009 @ 7:49 PM

  9. @2 World views are acquired rather than congenital.
    Some posters are more congenial than others, certainly.

    Comment by Adrian Midgley — 9 Mar 2009 @ 7:55 PM

  10. Very sound advice. On my blog once people realized I was not denying global warming some of the responses became very strawman and sometimes downright nasty, but they did pass.

    Comment by jcbmack — 9 Mar 2009 @ 8:00 PM

  11. Nice summary of the minefield those of us must cross to converse rationally.

    I am a TV meteorologist and my assistants are generally college students wanting to pursue degrees in meteorology.

    Two years ago I received an email from a former show producer who was working towards his PhD in meteorology. He called my attention to the forum of a competing TV meteorologist who had a large and faithful following of mainly young men.

    In his forum the weatherman frequently, to the point of absurdity, used phrases like “liberal lying scientists” when describing the apolitical work of scientists reporting results that supported an anthropogenic component to global warming.

    I decided to take him on, not on the science, but on the example he was setting for his young audience. By example he was teaching the “screaming and yelling” method of communication.

    The particular forum topic I unwittingly became part of was Eric the Red and “Greenland was green”. I had no intention of discussing the science, only the example someone of high visibility and influence should set for a young audience.

    To the essay above I would like to add the time consuming inconvenience of being sucked into the irrational morass of dogmatic denial.

    After weeks of carefully researching and writing numerous replies and citing the most up-to-date research I was frustrated by my opponent’s yelling and screaming (via email in all caps).

    Finally I was awarded a few positive comments by his faithful followers when I repeatedly ask him how 10,000 feet of ice accumulated in Greenland in 1000 years.

    After weeks of saying little more than, “he called it Greenland because Greenland was green” because four of his forum members admitted I had a point and asked my opponent to explain it his unresearched reply was, ‘I didn’t say all of it was green.”

    At that point with more than 100 hours invested I just dropped out.

    Comment by Steve Horstmeyer — 9 Mar 2009 @ 8:02 PM

  12. John Davison, Sorry, but I don’t see much point in being tolerant of those who are in denial of the evidence–whether that evidence is in favor of anthropogenic causation of climate change or of evolution. The community at this site is driven by a desire to learn about a crucial issue–climate change–and benefits from the attention of folks who study climate for a living. If learning is not your goal, you’ll probably be happier elsewhere.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 9 Mar 2009 @ 8:03 PM

  13. Re TLE at #4:

    In the case of a certain potty peer, I’ve tried humour, now I’m going for outrage.

    Comment by Gareth — 9 Mar 2009 @ 8:21 PM

  14. I agree with Thomas L. E. on outrage (if it’s done the right way).
    Thanks by the way for this, it’s helping with my one.

    Tim M
    Heresy Snowboarding

    Comment by Tim — 9 Mar 2009 @ 8:38 PM

  15. Young, who you calling young? :-) If you took the average age of the climate bloggers I’ve been hanging out with my guess would be mid-40s…

    But good advice. Are you going to credit Michael Tobis with the Mamet quote, or did you come up with that one independently? It’s a great one, no doubt about that.

    [Response: I'm pretty sure that Mamet gets the credit, but I think we both noticed how apropos it is when we read it in Harpers. - gavin]

    Comment by Arthur Smith — 9 Mar 2009 @ 9:07 PM

  16. Wow – perfect timing. I just launched my own blog this weekend (www.easterbrook.ca/steve), aimed at documenting my journey into the interdisciplinary world of software engineering and climate change. Let’s see how many rules I can break in my next few posts…

    captcha: storm $2-million
    (I think these are the two possible destinations for my blog…)

    Comment by Steve — 9 Mar 2009 @ 9:59 PM

  17. I love this advice. Who wrote it? It’s great and hope it gets spread around the net, too. Very very good ideas. Yes.

    I wrote a virtual graduation speech to the class of 2099, for use NOW as a PR wake up call tool, for those who still need waking up, NOT ANYONE HERE OF COURSE,

    http://www.desmogblog.com/global-warning-graduation-speech-class-2099

    and DeSmogBlog was kind enough to blog on the speech and take a look here: Reax from top people in the field ranged from “It’s prophetic, I fear” … to….

    “We will know by 2030 whether this boat heads in the right direction or not. If no one is decreasing fossil fuels by then, its an automatic ride with the tipping points gaining momentum.”

    “That’s an excellent commencement speech — better than almost all the ones i’ve ever heard”… — said a well-known environmentalist and climate activist, author and speaker

    When asked what comment or message he would like to give to students graduating today, 2009 or in future years, 2010, 2011 and 2012, etc, Dr Jesse Ausubel, quoted in the speech, in a very central part of the speech, said: “My message is this: ‘The Earth should stop smoking’ just as individuals
    should stop smoking tobacco. All this combustion of carbon is
    bad for planetary health of our planet Earth.”

    A noted climate research and climate modeller, tops in his field, told me in a private email: “Danny, you asked for my reaction to that imaginary speech? Prophetic, I fear….”

    Comment by Danny Bloom — 9 Mar 2009 @ 10:32 PM

  18. Everything is politics in todays world and vested interests seeks to expose every weakness or magnify/amplify every error or even worse it invokes counter argument. Talk radio stations thrive on topics that require debate as does the media in general, when it comes to climate change, the science itself is sometimes debated but only in a loose political context full of vitriol and spite a lot of the time. Why is this ?

    So lets face up to the facts of climate change. It seemingly undermines the western way of life, requires us to not know our future, sees us as not having come up with or neglected energy sources other than those based on fossil fuels which makes everyone look stupid or worse greedy and short sighted including politicians, energy companies. lobbyists, scientists, environmentalists and strategists for we have little in the way of keeping our life styles but we stil sell the message.

    During the second world war the USA used up over 1/3rd of its oil reserves but carried the day (thank you) but it was then that it was known that oil was everything and hence 60 years on it still is. Roosevelt did the deal with the Sauds (Saudi Arabia) to keep it flowing and deal in dollars and hence the USA is entrenched in this substance and totally reliant on it to the tune of 20 million barrels a day. Its entire post WW2 outlook and foreign policy even has been about it.

    All of a sudden along comes climate change and fortells of a possible future that is bleak for the entire world and that is what is causing the problem of turning it all around. An empire does not turn easily and even though Europe seemingly is starting to turn it is nothing compared to the USA for it has spilled its mantra to China and India and demand for black gold grows.

    So for anyone blogging they just possibly come over as naive, silly, adolesent and need slapping down whatever why it takes. This site has more mettle than most for it is manned for those with knowledge of the subject far above most other people and has held its own. Good job but as yet no emissions controls and no alternative energy to curb fossil fuel usage even a little bit except for a recession.

    Here is hoping.

    Comment by pete best — 10 Mar 2009 @ 5:23 AM

  19. How about not overly censoring (Under guise of “moderation”) well thought, polite & accurate comment that disagree with your blog’s position?
    Not evading answering or ignoring such questions?
    Not entitling threads “Stupid is and stupid does” (Just as an example drawn at random) And insulting those who hold views opposite to your own?

    [Response: Ok, this is a typical example of the kind of comment that adds nothing to any conversation. Trivial accusations of ad hom arguments that you demonstrate by finding a title that is not to be found on our site at all - who is being insulting here?. There are plenty of comments that are polite and accurate disagreements with our points. But comments that simply dredge up nonsense that someone has cut and pasted in order to vent are just not interesting. Comments that accuse as of bad faith, fraud and dishonesty are not ways to move forward any conversation - how can you have a dialog with people who don't believe a word you say? We choose to try and create a space for genuine conversation, which means weeding out the trolls and the noise. This is an imperfect process, but the alternative is a free-for-all that quickly deteriorates into a food fight. There are plenty of places to indulge in that kind of crap. There are only a few places where it's not and we are not embarrassed to try to make this site one of them. Finally, stating that someone's argument is bad, or logically incoherent, or internally contradictory or simply irrelevant is not 'insulting' people we disagree with - it is simply stating the case. If you have any real examples (as opposed to simply making some up) then let us know and we will endeavor to fix things. - gavin]

    Comment by Adam Gallon — 10 Mar 2009 @ 5:25 AM

  20. Thanks for the advice.

    But give it to everyone, not just the ‘young ones’.
    We’re generally pretty onto it as far as net-ettiquette goes, and quite professional too.

    See the international (but mostly US) youth climate movement blog at http://itsgettinghotinhere.org

    Second most popular climate blog in the world, after Grist.

    [Response: The 'young' part of the title is just a reference to a common title (see here for instance). It should not be taken to imply that 'older' bloggers are not in need of advice. - gavin]

    Comment by Anna C Keenan — 10 Mar 2009 @ 5:37 AM

  21. Adam Gallon, hard as it may be for you to believe this, most people come here to learn. And when you’ve got people posting the same discredited idiocy they posted 2 years ago, it’s sometimes kind of hard to discern that their learning curve has a positive slope. We do not owe politeness to willful ignorance. We do not owe politeness to denial of the facts. What is owed is the science as we know it, and that includes correcting those who misrepresent the science either willfully or unknowingly. The contributors and moderators of this site do that admirably.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Mar 2009 @ 7:54 AM

  22. As a neophyte climate blogger, this is certainly advise to take to heart!

    Its always interesting to see how things get twisted as they pass though the
    blogosphere. For example, a rather farcical argument (and later proof!) on
    my part with Lucia that Leprechauns showed a better correlation with 20th
    century temperatures than cosmic rays somehow turned into this gem:
    http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/2009/01/leprechaun%E2%80%99s-cause-global-warming/

    Then again, there are moments when you finally find common ground on an
    issue with a well-spoken but stubborn skeptic you have been arguing with in
    the past (for example, on Will’s misleading sea ice claim:
    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2009/what-george-will-meant-why-its-wrong/)
    that can make your day.

    I do have to agree with John Davison that climate blogs are often a bit too
    insular, and echo chambers like WUWT or Climate Progress often seem a bit
    dull. Part of that relates to the fact that climate science is not
    particularly conducive to amateur efforts (compared to, say, astronomy).
    There is also the concern among blogging scientists that what they say will
    be taken out of context or used inappropriately, which is why you wouldn’t
    see the type of frank discussions that happen in Global Change (see
    http://groups.google.com/group/globalchange/browse_thread/thread/727f46078d69c68f,
    for example) on RealClimate that often.

    Comment by Zeke Hausfather — 10 Mar 2009 @ 7:57 AM

  23. Re #19,
    RealClimate’s malevolent censorship was shockingly exposed long ago by the Orwellian incident wherein a post was submitted on Christmas eve and failed to appear on the site until the following afternoon. Gavin, with his usual cunning, hid behind the flimsy excuse that RC staff were preoccupied with other matters on Christmas morning.

    Comment by spilgard — 10 Mar 2009 @ 8:15 AM

  24. It would be interesting to hear what other people have to say about the linked paper, how science makes environmental controversies worse by Sarewitz.

    I first read this a few years ago but my feelings for it have not changed. First of all how would it be possible to do what is suggested when people like Spencer uses his title for authority trying to promote science that does not exists or at least only exists in the margin. Secondly take for example the tobacco scandal where science where misused. It started when scientists recognised that smoking gave a higher chance to get cancer. Then the industry spin started… not doing science here would only let the industry have a higher degree of freedom to chose their own science. And what should a scientist that does health research label himself as? I think that saving life is important, who would not agree with that?

    Minimizing climate sensitivity uncertainty should not stop just because the results can be used in different ways. I mean just because we can not decide how much a life in Africa should be worth in an economic model or weather we should act on behalf of saving endangered species or just so future generations can chose for them self if they want climate change or if it purely is down to economic development scenarios we should not slow down? Stating that uncertainty not is a valid reason to not act is not necessarily linked with science? And it is possible that the uncertainty on economic impacts from a global warming is uncertain and needs further investigation but that we know it will trouble the developing world especially they who live in the costal areas. So who then should take a brake and who decides what area of research should be labelled in what way… I see no end to the spinning…

    I do think that a better way to get around this is to understand that science will change, it is a good method but can be twisted. So get some sort of more objective media that can be put on some official wall of shame… I do not know why the difference between Scandinavia and the US looks so big… size might be most important… education and media? Who knows…

    What a mess this became :) well it is fitting… after all it is abut the climate debate… Have I completely misunderstood the article?

    Comment by Magnus Westerstrand — 10 Mar 2009 @ 8:26 AM

  25. Good stuff here, Gavin. I am sending others a link to it.

    Burgy

    Comment by John Burgeson — 10 Mar 2009 @ 8:45 AM

  26. “Part of that relates to the fact that climate science is not particularly conducive to amateur efforts (compared to, say, astronomy).”

    Uhm, there’s plenty of opportunity. Chirping baby birds in mid-Feb? That’s a bit early. And something that is as obviously observable to the man-in-the-street as a bright comet.

    Problem is, there’s plenty of money to lose if climate change is mostly anthropogenic in origin. So there’s lobbying. Which politicises and brings out polemic in refutation. And for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction that acts on different bodies.

    There’s also a lot of personal need for disbelief. God Wouldn’t Do That, for example. I Want My Four-By-Four for another. I Hate EcoNazis. And so on.

    It isn’t that people can’t have input, it’s that the need for some sections to shout it down and the money available to fund obfuscation mean that the ordinary person can’t get on with it at a level needed to avoid the half-truths and old-wives-tales on the denialist.

    For the pro-side, they can’t refute these elements because doing so requires knowing more.

    For the anti-side (where this is genuine), the reams of information, counter, and so on require a much greater investment to work out whether you’re right in thinking it all wrong.

    For the truly undecided, there’s TOO MUCH information. And to tell the difference between muck and brass takes a greater investment in time and effort than they can afford.

    The denialists don’t need to win, they just need to throw enough midden-content about to slow down acceptance. They don’t need to prove their case, just ensure the case for the pro side is left sitting in a puddle of misinformation indistinguishable from good information.

    NOTE: this also ruins the chance of genuine issue with AGW hidden in a midden full of codswallop and finding, assessing and inclusion of this genuine issue is harder to start, if it even gets that far. Which is less likely because there are so many repeats of the old chestnuts and demands for unnecessary work that inclusion of the true nuggets of real information in the anti- side is nigh impossible: there are only 24 hours in a day.

    Comment by Mark — 10 Mar 2009 @ 8:56 AM

  27. Re: the section “Don’t expect the world to be fair”

    Can i point out that having a solid position that is reasonably unified can be an advantage if you want to attack rather than defend.

    I realise that scientists may need to continually defend “a coherent set of ideas” but us non-scientists are free to attack the “mutually contradictory inconsistent arguments”.

    I have done it successfully a number of times, resulting in silence in many cases. Once you have found the weakness, you just keep pounding the same point of weakness and because the opponent wants the last word, they have no choice but to back off.

    OK it isn’t science, but then a lot of the time you aren’t dealing with scientists.

    Comment by Paul — 10 Mar 2009 @ 9:19 AM

  28. #19 “Stupid is as stupid does” is a thread over at Tamino’s “Open Mind”, as Adam should know and Ray definitely knows!

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/12/31/stupid-is-as-stupid-does/

    I would characterize RC as preaching to its own choir, as does any blog, but decidedly getting into the science as well as the politics. That this blog does not suffer [who it perceives to be] fools easily is to its credit, and even more to its credit, I believe, is its disinclination to support any and all arguments “on its side”. Gore and Hansen, for example, when at their [edit] worst, don’t do well here.

    Comment by wmanny — 10 Mar 2009 @ 9:22 AM

  29. Is the following assertion true? It seems phoney to me.

    “James Hansen, the notorious NASA astronomer who has urged that global warming skeptics face a Nuremberg-style trial for crimes against humanity, in 1971 warned of a coming deadly ice age,… .”

    jb

    [Response: Good call. None of the assertions in that sentence are true. Hansen is not an astronomer. He has called for accountability of fossil fuel company executives for promoting junk contrarian science, that they should have known was junk, in order to advance their business interests. He has never said that skeptics in general should be put on trial. In the early 1970s worked on calculations of the properties of aerosols. He has never written anything warning of a 'coming deadly ice age'. This reference is probably to the Rasool and Schneider 1971 paper, which he was not an author on, and which in any case does not warn of a coming deadly ice age either. - gavin]

    Comment by John Burgeson — 10 Mar 2009 @ 9:32 AM

  30. mark wrote: “For the truly undecided, there’s TOO MUCH information. And to tell the difference between muck and brass takes a greater investment in time and effort than they can afford.”

    Luckily, the bulk of denialist posters will do some of the winnowing work themselves by the (poor) quality of their argumentation. I think the number of those who really understand the issues yet deny the science is pretty small, and the result is a lot of denialist posters who are pretty clearly clueless–”clearly”, even to those who don’t have the background themselves to understand every nuance.

    It is often possible to effectively refute the nonsense without sucking up all your time by simply highlighting the contradictory and the rhetorical, and by providing good information (or, better, access to same.) (I also think it is important to be clear about whether you are attempting to convince someone or simply to counter their propaganda.)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 10 Mar 2009 @ 9:41 AM

  31. The main thing I’d add is this pointer:
    http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html

    That is excellent advice to beginners about how to ask good questions.

    This bit from the very end is also helpful:

    How To Answer Questions in a Helpful Way

    Be gentle. Problem-related stress can make people seem rude or stupid even when they’re not.

    Reply to a first offender off-line. There is no need of public humiliation for someone who may have made an honest mistake. A real newbie may not know how to search archives or where the FAQ is stored or posted.

    If you don’t know for sure, say so! A wrong but authoritative-sounding answer is worse than none at all. Don’t point anyone down a wrong path simply because it’s fun to sound like an expert. Be humble and honest; set a good example for both the querent and your peers.

    If you can’t help, don’t hinder. Don’t make jokes about procedures that could trash the user’s setup — the poor sap might interpret these as instructions.

    Ask probing questions to elicit more details. If you’re good at this, the querent will learn something — and so might you. Try to turn the bad question into a good one; remember we were all newbies once.

    While muttering RTFM is sometimes justified when replying to someone who is just a lazy slob, a pointer to documentation (even if it’s just a suggestion to google for a key phrase) is better.

    If you’re going to answer the question at all, give good value. Don’t suggest kludgy workarounds when somebody is using the wrong tool or approach. Suggest good tools. Reframe the question.

    Help your community learn from the question. When you field a good question, ask yourself “How would the relevant documentation or FAQ have to change so that nobody has to answer this again?” Then send a patch to the document maintainer.

    If you did research to answer the question, demonstrate your skills rather than writing as though you pulled the answer out of your butt.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Mar 2009 @ 10:10 AM

  32. Other excellent advice on basic good practice here:
    http://www.calblog.com/archives/002593.html
    as endorsed here:
    http://www.someareboojums.org/blog/?page_id=11

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Mar 2009 @ 10:37 AM

  33. Can RC take the chance to do some peer review:

    “Good news! Fred Singer and NIPCC will soon publish the main (”real”) report on climate change. The report is now available for peer-review. Those interested should contact Joseph Bast at Heartland, jbast@heartland.org

    http://www.theclimatescam.com/2009/03/10/nipcc-report-on-its-way/

    [Response: Ooooh.... Can't wait! Let's see how many of the people who criticised the IPCC or the CCSP summaries for allegedly being written before the main reports step forward to make the same points now (maybe someone could make a list?). But maybe it's still premature - the current evidence that such a thing exists is about as solid as a photo of the Loch Ness Monster. - gavin]

    Comment by Pete K — 10 Mar 2009 @ 10:37 AM

  34. From an article published by the The Guardian UK, June 23, 2008,

    “CEOs of fossil energy companies know what they are doing and are aware of long-term consequences of continued business as usual. In my opinion, these CEOs should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/jun/23/climatechange.carbonemissions

    Jim Norvell

    Comment by Jim Norvell — 10 Mar 2009 @ 11:09 AM

  35. re Kevin #30, the problem is that you STILL have to read it. And assess it, even if it only takes five seconds to go “nah, that’s obviously bullshit”. And that five seconds multiplied 100 times means it takes 10 minutes to winnow out just the obvious ones.

    That’s more time to merely learn what’s NOT going on. Learning what’s going on takes more time on that.

    Comment by Mark — 10 Mar 2009 @ 11:10 AM

  36. Naive question — How do you respond to someone offline? I don’t see any email addresses anywhere.

    Burgy (hossradbourne@gmail.com)

    Comment by John Burgeson — 10 Mar 2009 @ 11:15 AM

  37. Mark #26. Your post is befuddling. But I would like to just point out, there’s a lot of money to be lost if it’s NOT AGW. Again to imply that skeptics are solely tied to industry (particularly fossil fuels and related fields) is misleading and not to mention wrong.

    And in reality, there’s been as much “wrong” science published over the years as “right” science. (Easiest examples are the hundreds of contradictory medical studies that get published year after year.) Just because a scientific journal accepts something to publish doesn’t make it “right.” Science is an evolutionary concept and in all honesty, those who feel AGW exists and we’re heading for disaster should be glad there are “deniers” (skeptics) looking at things as it should force you to either improve your research or analysis.

    [Response: You confound all criticism with useful criticism. People who continue to claim that the CO2 rise is of natural origin or that the planet has not warmed in recent decades or that CO2 is not a significant greenhouse gas add absolutely nothing to the science and only noise to the discussion. Skepticism, practised well, is immensely useful and good scientists have to be masters at it. Conflating that with the daily grind of talking points that pass for discussion at Heartland for instance is as valid as comparing the Hubble telescope to "Twinkle Twinkle little star". - gavin]

    Comment by Andy — 10 Mar 2009 @ 11:20 AM

  38. Re: ‘don’t assume that the context in which you are speaking is immediately obvious to casual readers.‘, one example of what not to do is your immediately preceding, Feb 28, post [‘What George Will should have written . . ‘] which assumed that your readers had heard of Will and had been paying attention to him, so that no context was required.

    [Response: Kind of a fair point (though we did link to the columns and the wider response). But I think it is useful to assume some background – otherwise you can never get past the basics. But more generally, we could certainly do more to be gentler on the novice reader. – gavin

    Comment by Chris Squire [UK] — 10 Mar 2009 @ 11:30 AM

  39. Since I took this thread as being, as it’s title says, “Advice for a young climate blogger”, my comments may not apply to anything that’s appeared on this site at all.
    The blog that many of my comments apply to has been correctly identified by someone.
    I’ve seen rudeness directed at posters on all types of Blog, pro-AGW, anti-AGW, cycling, wargames and other, rudeness to the level of profanity for that matter.
    Likewise, editting, deleting of posts for no good (IMHO)reason.
    Thus, my comments are general.
    One good one would be, if you’re setting up a new blog, on any subject, make it original. Is their room for an original blog on the subject of climate? Looking at the list to the right here, add in missing ones like WUWT, CA, AV, the 2 Pielke’s (? Spelling) etc, etc and it’s a crowded field, even for the varied spectrum of views.
    Oh, good spam blocker here, that stuff’s a bane on any website!

    Comment by Adam Gallon — 10 Mar 2009 @ 11:44 AM

  40. mark, you are right (and I can hear my wife moaning, “You’re not on RealClimate AGAIN, are you?”)

    However, most of the “casual uninformed” don’t, and won’t, seek to sort it all out. They will form their opinion based on the newsthreads they happen to read. Yet they are the ones most needful to convince. I think there are some efficiencies possible in responding online in that kind of situation, and that’s what I was writing about.

    There’s a greater burden–as you describe–on thee and me, since we are choosing to participate actively.

    Hope that clarifies what I meant.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 10 Mar 2009 @ 11:47 AM

  41. John Burgeson #36: Not naive at all. It’s rarely possible for a blog owner to “reply to first offenders off-line” because typically you don’t have any contact information. This is really more applicable to membership-type forums than to blogs.

    Comment by Chris Dunford — 10 Mar 2009 @ 11:54 AM

  42. Coincidentally(?), Pielke, Jr.’s “Prometheus” has put up a thread on the topic.

    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/clive-hamilton-on-blogs-discourse-5044

    Comment by wmanny — 10 Mar 2009 @ 12:17 PM

  43. “But I would like to just point out, there’s a lot of money to be lost if it’s NOT AGW.”

    There isn’t. There’s a lot of money to go ELSEWHERE if AGW isn’t right.

    Heck, if anything, there’s a lot of money to lose if scientists and everyone else all agreed AGW was happening and then went on to do something about it. Why get a grant to prove what everyone already things is proven? There’s no money in proving the earth is round any more.

    There’s money to be lost if what we DO to combat/reverse/reduce AGW and *do it wrong* because of a misunderstanding, but that’s where GENUINE skepticism comes in. Someone to point out where you could be wrong, show how that could happen and help to produce a better description. “IT AIN’T HAPPENING” isn’t that.

    But not burning fossil fuels will hurt the fossil fuel industry. And they make a LOT of money. What’s the average turnover each year in “street price” of oil alone in the amounts of 20Gt of oil extracted? TRILLIONS. Maybe QUADRILLIONS.

    Much more than governments spend on weather forecasting IN ITS ENTIRETY. And climate is the cheaper section of it, much smaller than observing in how much money is involved.

    So on one side you have maybe tens of millions, even hundreds of millions of pounds, most of which will be spent anyway if AGW isn’t happening.

    On the other side, a multi-trillion-pound industry that will lose most of it if AGW is happening.

    Who has most to lose? Who would make the biggest fight? Who has the biggest reason to scream loudest to make their side “right”?

    Fossil fuels.

    Comment by Mark — 10 Mar 2009 @ 12:30 PM

  44. Andy 37 said:

    “Again to imply that skeptics are solely tied to industry (particularly fossil fuels and related fields) is misleading and not to mention wrong.”

    Depends what you mean by ‘industry’. I have come across a trawler owner that is a skeptic. But after the encounter i realised his views were based on work experience and dealing with weather out at sea, combined with skepticism about over-fishing.

    Anyone that runs a business would prefer not to change. It takes a lot of guts to change. eg. it takes many years to become an organic farmer.

    So in reality most skeptics are tied to ‘industry’.

    Comment by Paul — 10 Mar 2009 @ 12:45 PM

  45. For John Burgerson and Chris — you can always post a reply asking a new and awkward commenter to contact you (use something like http://www.sneakemail.com — then you can turn off that address before the spammers get it). Then hold further problem posts til they get in touch. That’s a wacko filter method too.

    Many many blog tools do require an email address (as RC does, not for publication but for the hosts). If your software doesn’t, it at least records an IP address. That can help catch people trying to confuse things by using names recently used by other people. Google “troll faq” and study this if you don’t have long experience in newsgroups. The same tricks are played and naive bloggers can get taken for a long interesting ride.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Mar 2009 @ 12:53 PM

  46. The whole thing jsut because I started a blog? *lol*

    Seriously, thanks for advice!

    :) Georg

    Comment by Georg — 10 Mar 2009 @ 1:00 PM

  47. Gavin, please don’t take me for an idiot who doesn’t understand the difference in skepticism. In reading several blogs on this topic, you can see that even the notable skeptics (including several affiliated with Heartland) don’t deny that and they’ll correct those idiots that say those things. My point was to those people on this site that just because someone is skeptical or disagrees does NOT mean they’re “wrong” They may have a valid reason as to why and to dismiss a skeptical point of view simply because it doesn’t conform to your own view is bad science. Science shouldn’t be about sides and winning or losing(it really really shouldn’t).

    And Mark #42…again implying a fossil fuel connection as the sole reason for the skeptics is incorrect. See how little they actually contribute any more to climate science, as they themselves no longer want to be accused of “rigging” the science.

    Comment by Andy — 10 Mar 2009 @ 1:24 PM

  48. Great Post from the group!!!

    I would add some things I’ve found along the way.

    Be careful posting on blogs where the denialist can control the argument. btw, I’m not saying that a blogger should not have some control freedom to keep an debate relevant, but when it is used to hinder the debate or eliminate opposing relevant views and context, it is sad.

    I post on other blogs once in a while to see how they are arguing. In one case, the blogger kept throwing links at me that he was pasting out of a denialist site.

    http://z4.invisionfree.com/Popular_Technology/index.php?showtopic=2050

    This is a bludgeoning with irrelevance technique and can eat up your time.

    In the end, when I posed an attribution question that he could not answer, he did not post my question and proceeded to post to final posts that made it look like I gave up and he won the argument.

    http://redstatetime.blogspot.com/2009/01/amazing-story-behind-global-warming.html

    His arguing style is generally to use red herrings and straw man technique, as well as facts out of context. He claims to be a conservative and probably my biggest fault was saying he was a liberal, as in liberal with the truth. It is challenging not to attack an ideal when it is part of the background for the argument, but it should be avoided and I learn from my own mistakes.

    It is also noteworthy to understand the length of deception in the denialist blogosphere. They even make up their own charts that are not based on reality.

    In his blog, he references a site (see first link above) that is loaded with media stories and tired old regurgitated arguments, as well as science out of context. That was where he would cut and paste his claims from.

    Perfect example of context destruction of a real quote, the denial site says:

    QUOTE (American Geophysical Union – 2007)

    “With such projections, there are many sources of scientific uncertainty…”

    But the sentence is cut off? Why? Here is the actual text, not cut off:

    “With such projections, there are many sources of scientific uncertainty, but none are known that could make the impact of climate change inconsequential. Given the uncertainty in climate projections, there can be surprises that may cause more dramatic disruptions than anticipated from the most probable model projections.”

    From this we can see clearly the tactics used to remove relevant context to claim AGW is unfounded.

    It is hard to believe, but that is what they are doing. I am personally amazed that they don’t read the actual relevant context while the are in the process of destroying the truth and say, ‘wow, we are really destroying the truth’.

    Hard to fathom.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 10 Mar 2009 @ 1:52 PM

  49. #37 Andy

    You are missing an important point imo. Scientists are the most skeptical breed already. They go for peer review but the next best test is peer response. And peer response does not usually get much press. If a bit of science is not relevant it just fades out into the past.

    #47 Andy

    It’s not about opinions, it is about contextually relevant science that is considerate of the big picture. Scientists are conservative by nature/training. Good scientists are very conservative and very considerate.

    You say it shouldn’t be about sides but what is your context? Do you mean sides of liberals/conservatives, or believers vs. non-believers, or do you mean sides as in relevant understanding vs. irrelevant understanding. Because if it’s the later, then yes, it’s about sides; if it’s the former, then no, it’s not about politics or beliefs.

    On the other hand, reasoning needs to be applied and that is where policy making comes in based on relevant understanding.

    As to the fossil fuel connection, it’s rather obvious on a reasonable basis alone. I was in Europe a couple years ago and spoke with a person related to the fossil fuel industry. That person ‘generally’ confirmed for me that their position was that the industry wanted to keep things confused while they figured out how to make money with alternatives. That is still in process.

    It’s an evolution with agenda attached. Sure they are getting in line with the debate as they learn more about how to gain advantage. That’s the way the world works, generally speaking. As to those not connected with fossil fuels that are arguing AGW is not real, that’s mainly because they don’t have enough of the relevant context yet. Once one gets there, it is illuminating.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 10 Mar 2009 @ 2:16 PM

  50. Thanks for the advice!
    Thank you for your excelent job, I´m forn Spain and mi blog is in spanish http://calentamientoglobalclima.org 100 hit/hour in 2008
    I read all your execelent post and I’m reading now “The Long Thaw” from David Archer.
    Sorry for mi english.

    Comment by José Larios — 10 Mar 2009 @ 2:41 PM

  51. You could also have written, “don’t censor on your blog as you then get and give a totally blinkered view. You will soon find bloggers think you are unable to adequately argue your point of view”

    [Response: Oh please. To paraphrase Goldwater: "Moderation in the pursuit of a high signal-to-noise ratio is no vice". - gavin]

    Comment by Ian — 10 Mar 2009 @ 2:52 PM

  52. Since nothing gets posted any more on the Antarctic warming is robust thread, would it be in the spirit of this thread to ask what is the reply to Ryan O? Is he correct and the Antarctic warming not robust?

    [Response: The warming is robust. It does not change qualitatively if you increase the number of eigen-modes used. - gavin]

    Comment by Vernon — 10 Mar 2009 @ 3:36 PM

  53. I am a long-time reader of RC that has only recently posted anything and I have a few thoughts I would like to share. Hopefully these are taken as constructive because they are intended that way.
    .
    I have chosen not to post in the past because the atmosphere produced by some of the contributors can be quite hostile at times, which is at odds with some of the very salient points Gavin made. A recurring theme is that most who disagree with the certainty of the IPCC’s predictions, or who express doubts about the accuracy of models, or who question that the magnitude of AGW is subject to considerable uncertainty are excoriated, called denialists, said to be in the pay of Big Oil, said to be unscientific, said to be ignorant, and any number of similar terms (see #18 and #21 above). They are cast as individuals who, through deception or ignorance, are actively subverting attempts to minimize man’s impact on the environment.
    .
    While this is true of some, it is not true of all.
    .
    I am skeptical of the IPCC’s predictions. I am skeptical of the accuracy of model impacts. I am skeptical of the accuracy of the surface temperature record.
    .
    Yet I still believe that AGW is real and I strongly support action to reduce the impact of man’s influence on the environment and I have for years.
    .
    I do not get my skepticism from news reports or spin doctors. My skepticism arises from reading papers (including IPCC reports) and doing my own investigation/replication. I apply this same skepticism to not only the IPCC and worse scenarios, but also to scenarios claiming the 20th century temperature rise is not man-made. I feel that articles like George Will’s recent exposition about sea ice are misleading. They indicate a lack of integrity and obscure, rather than clarify, the science. On the other hand, I feel the same way about people like Al Gore.
    .
    While I would agree with you that the level of myopia and illogic among the true denialists is remarkable, I would also point out that a similar level of myopia and illogic exists on the other side of the AGW debate as well. Some individuals displaying those characteristics post here, and do so frequently. The most irritating (and untrue) posts ascribe motivations to those questioning a point that cannot possibly be known. Some of this is happening in this thread right now. #49 has a discussion with a fossil fuel representative in Europe who “generally” confirms a notion of the industry’s intent and the proceeds to imply that categorically skeptics feed from the same pot.
    .
    I agree wholeheartedly with your statement about not trivially accusing scientists of fraud or misconduct. However, this cuts both ways. Simply because a scientist is associated with an organization that has (or is) taking money from the fossil fuel industry does not mean the scientist is unethical any more than the scientist who is associated with an organization that receives money from companies that have a large financial interest in policies related to reducing the magnitude of AGW. It is logically inconsistent to claim a conflict of interest in one and not the other.
    .
    Moreover, I feel the statement should really be extended to include non-scientists (or scientists from other fields who have an interest in climate science) as well. There are frequent defamatory accusations of ill-intent (or accusations of ignorance/stupidity) from posters toward those displaying skepticism.
    .
    I have read RC for a long time. I may not post frequently, but I still consider RC a good source of information and I wish you continued success. I think there are things that can be done to improve RC, but at the end of the day, it is your blog, not mine, and your methods have merited you good success. While my post is seems to be concerned primarily with the negatives, I would be remiss if I did not state that I enjoy reading RC and will continue to do so.
    .
    To Gavin specifically, I would also like to thank you for taking the time to respond to the questions/statements I have made in my past posts.

    Comment by Ryan O — 10 Mar 2009 @ 3:55 PM

  54. how about : be aware that for at least half the population, the scientific world is a foreign country they have never visited.

    For example, multiple surveys in the US have shown that at least 30% of the population do not know that the earth revolves around the sun and takes one year to do so. And yet when people ask questions here about the history of the climate, they get a discussion of Milankovitch cycles.
    Not sure what can actually be done about this, other than being aware that many people commenting probably haven’t understood a word you wrote, and this is not because they are lazy or stupid but because they lack the science basics required to understand.
    Maybe “start here” could have a link to a junior high science text.

    This is, in my view, a fundamental problem with the internet – it encourages very shallow learning. It is very easy to find lots of stuff you think you understand, and consequently to think that you know about a topic, without ever doing the hard work required to actually understand properly.
    Of course, scientific ignorance predates the internet. But the internet seems to have given rise to an explosion in the number of people ignorant of their ignorance.

    Comment by david — 10 Mar 2009 @ 5:44 PM

  55. “A recurring theme is that most who disagree with the certainty of the IPCC’s predictions, or who express doubts about the accuracy of models, or who …”

    Hmm.

    And a recurring meme is that a tiger will eat and kill any animal if catches when hungry.

    Or another recurring meme is that anyone who starts off about how the lizard overlords of earth have impregnated our women to take over the universe are considered mad.

    Ever thought that maybe the “meme” you notice happens because it generally works?

    You know, like a sweeping generalisation. Not always true, but true often enough to be useful.

    Comment by Mark — 10 Mar 2009 @ 6:09 PM

  56. #53 Ryan O

    I disagree with IPCC also, but that’s because they are properly conservative for the most part (It’s a Swiss thing). But my statement needs more context. I agree that they need to be the most conservative ‘science of scale’, to provide a stable foundation upon which to build assessment and consensus. I see the problems in various conflicting assessments, and the IPCC, but again context and relevance. IPCC is a slow process and large, takes time and a lot of discussion, and vetting. Other relevant science institutions are doing relevant work that will take time to make the rounds and get into the IPCC assessments.

    Here’s a fun example of where the IPCC is right and wrong (probably, if you get my meaning): I both agree and disagree with IPCC on seal level assessments. IPCC is conservative and has a low assessment of SLR at this time, but the leading edge of the understanding is up to 2 meters already. So, as always, context is key.

    I don’t know about you, but I say unscientific things all the time. It’s not evil, but context again is key. My opinion may be good or bad but the relevant science is the main point of discussion in RC. Framing that in other contexts occurs quite often though. People do discuss what the implications may be. Through this process we will all learn more about what it all means.

    You are addressing what is ‘true’. But that is a ‘general’ statement. What are your specific issues and contexts? The context of your statement is ‘general’ in nature. What precisely don’t you like about IPCC assessments and what science do you have to refute the assessments?

    I don’t think your frame on Al Gore is contextually relevant. It’s not about Al Gore, it’s about was he accurate, or even ‘generally’. RC has lots of great info on the movie.

    I am a skeptic, if you ask my wife or anyone that knows me, I am very skeptical of what I hear. I place more trust in sources that have exhibited integrity over time and less in those that have not, or that I don’t know. I like to dig and learn though as time allows. I admit I have come to trust Gavin and the RC team quite a lot.

    You state:

    The most irritating (and untrue) posts ascribe motivations to those questioning a point that cannot possibly be known. Some of this is happening in this thread right now. #49 has a discussion with a fossil fuel representative in Europe who “generally” confirms…

    Maybe I’m wrong, but by implication you seem to be stating that my statement is untrue? If so, on what basis? You were not there.

    I am not implying that categorically skeptics feed from the same pot. I am implying that for profit businesses in the fossil fuel industry like to make profits and would like to continue making profits.

    I do not think everyone that is a skeptic is getting a paycheck from the oil industry. If there are any left still receiving money (which is possible if not still likely in some cases), they are becoming fewer and further between as we progress through time and become better educated on the issues at hand.

    I think people just don’t have enough context to understand climate and attribution yet. I still think corporation that are for profit still like to make profit.

    Climate and the politics are complex to be sure. It really is all about context.

    I too enjoy RC, I remember when I first found this sight and was excited to see scientists that arguing the science, not the supposition, in the AGW debate.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 10 Mar 2009 @ 6:13 PM

  57. “And Mark #42…again implying a fossil fuel connection as the sole reason for the skeptics is incorrect.”

    Well have another read of #26 again, Andy.

    But monetary gain cannot be part of someone’s rationale when their rationale is “God Wouldn’t Do That To Me”. Or “I Hate EcoNazis”. For those, it isn’t the money, it’s the message they don’t want.

    But that many others don’t work in Big Oil doesn’t stop Big Oil having trillions of pounds of revenue at stake here. Does it.

    Heck, it isn’t all pro-AGW work in climatology.

    I don’t. I work in IT. So the grant money for professors and doctors of climatology doesn’t matter to me.

    But you never mentioned that one, did you.

    Comment by Mark — 10 Mar 2009 @ 6:15 PM

  58. Thanks, that’s great. I would agree with someone who suggested it is possible for the nonexpert like myself to look at the inconsistencies and check references. I’ve found a number of common snarkisms that are easily called out. Some of my opponents have actually given up in disgust.

    Comment by Susan — 10 Mar 2009 @ 6:42 PM

  59. ATTN: Gavin!

    FWIW

    We old folks (i.e., >60 years of age) would be greatly appreciative if the posters at all blogs would break their long posts into easily readable paragraphs of ca 6-8 lines and limit them to ca 10 lines. Otherwise the post becomes too difficult to read. If the paragraph is too long, I usually read the first few lines and skip the rest of it.

    For example, I would break Gavin’s long answer at #19 in to shorter paragraphs as follows:

    Ok, this is a typical example of the kind of comment that adds nothing to any conversation. Trivial accusations of ad hom arguments that you demonstrate by finding a title that is not to be found on our site at all – who is being insulting here?.

    There are plenty of comments that are polite and accurate disagreements with our points. But comments that simply dredge up nonsense that someone has cut and pasted in order to vent are just not interesting. Comments that accuse as (us) of bad faith, fraud and dishonesty are not ways to move forward any conversation – how can you have a dialog with people who don’t believe a word you say?

    We choose to try and create a space for genuine conversation, which means weeding out the trolls and the noise. This is an imperfect process, but the alternative is a free-for-all that quickly deteriorates into a food fight. There are plenty of places to indulge in that kind of crap. There are only a few places where it’s not and we are not embarrassed to try to make this site one of them.

    Finally, stating that someone’s argument is bad, or logically incoherent, or internally contradictory or simply irrelevant is not ‘insulting’ people we disagree with – it is simply stating the case. If you have any real examples (as opposed to simply making some up) then let us know and we will endeavor to fix things. – gavin]

    Isn’t the above much easier to read and understand?

    Comment by Harold Pierce Jr — 10 Mar 2009 @ 7:03 PM

  60. Surprisingly the cold food chain appears to be going through Anthony Watts. If you work your way back through technorati he has a direct line to pajama media (now in default) and National Review. Eli suspects he worked hard at that.

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 10 Mar 2009 @ 8:37 PM

  61. I read this from the CERES SITE:

    http://asd-www.larc.nasa.gov/ceres/brochure/sci_priorities.html

    ” Radiation and clouds strongly influence our weather and climate. For example, low, thick clouds reflect incoming solar radiation back to space causing cooling. High clouds trap outgoing infrared radiation and produce greenhouse warming. The Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE), which was launched on multiple satellite in the mid 1980s, and now the EOS CERES instruments, are providing critical data on the effect of clouds on climate. The data indicate that clouds have an overall net cooling effect on the Earth (i.e., negative net cloud forcing in the figure below). The largest negative cloud forcing is found over the storm tracks at high-to-middle latitudes in the summer hemisphere. The most extreme values occur over marine areas, since the contrast in albedo between clear and cloudy conditions is greatest over oceans. In the tropics, the longwave and shortwave cloud forcings nearly cancel; therefore clouds have neither a heating nor cooling effect in these areas. Much more information is needed about clouds and radiation and their role in climate change. The largest uncertainty in climate prediction models is how to determine the radiative and physical properties of clouds. CERES observations will contribute to improving the scientific understanding of the mechanisms and factors that determine long-term climate variations and trends.

    What is your opinion on this? There are some recent analyses on water vapor at high altitudes that suggest that the relative humidity at alritude is decreasing with increasing CO2 which also gives a negative feedback.

    Jim Norvell

    [Response: CERES is definitely a step forward. But you are a little confused about the "recent analysis" - first off, decreasing relative humidity might still mean increasing specific humidity and thus water vapour would remain a positive feedback (though of a slightly smaller magnitude that anticipated). However, the analysis you are referring to is very partial - the results are not the same if you look at any of the other re-analysis products, and there is plently of reasons to discount trends in these products in the first place - changes in instrumentation, data sources among them. Bottom line is that there is a lot of good evidence that water vapour feedback is positive - See Sherwood and Dessler's recent commentary for instance. - gavin]

    Comment by Jim Norvell — 10 Mar 2009 @ 8:52 PM

  62. ” For example, low, thick clouds reflect incoming solar radiation back to space causing cooling. High clouds trap outgoing infrared radiation and produce greenhouse warming. ”

    … … how nice that they dimish the positive water feedback, but what happens to water vapour in a higher temperature? Does it get higher or lower?

    Nothing new on the blog, though had an idea of a short story located in the Holocene climatic optimum, it has as of yet, no punchline.

    Comment by jyyh — 10 Mar 2009 @ 11:41 PM

  63. Jim Norvell wrote in 61:

    In the tropics, the longwave and shortwave cloud forcings nearly cancel; therefore clouds have neither a heating nor cooling effect in these areas.

    Interestingly, this is the same area where we see what is referred to as a “super greenhouse effect” where under clear skies at temperatures above 25 C thermal backradiation increases more rapidly than surface emission.

    Please see:

    At sea surface temperatures (SSTs) larger than 300 Kelvin, the clear sky water vapor greenhouse effect was found to increase with SST at a rate of 13 to 15 watts per square meter per Kelvin. Satellite measurements of infrared radiances and SSTs indicate that almost 52 percent of the tropical oceans between 20 N and 20 S are affected during all seasons….

    Satellite studies (8–10) have found that for clear skies and SSTs above 298 K, the spatial variation of Ga with SST, dGa/d(SST), exceeds the rate of increase of sea surface emission, ds(SST)4/d(SST) = 4σ(SST)3. For a tropical SST of 300 K, 4σ(SST)3 ~ 6.1 W m-2 K-1. This effect, termed the “super greenhouse effect” (11), occurs in both hemispheres during all seasons. It is also observed for interannual variations of Ga with SST during the El Nino in the tropical Pacific (12). Observations in the tropical Atlantic ocean (11) show that the clear sky downwelling infrared flux incident on the surface (Fa-) also increases faster than the surface emission with increasing SST. The net result is further warming of the surface, which in turn induces additional heating of the atmosphere column above.

    Direct radiometric observations of the water vapor greenhouse effect over the equatorial Pacific Ocean
    F.P.J. Valero, W.D. Collins, P. Pilewskie, A. Bucholtz, and P.J. Flatau
    Science, 274(5307), 1773-1776, 21 March 1997

    *

    Gavin inlined:

    Bottom line is that there is a lot of good evidence that water vapour feedback is positive – See Sherwood and Dessler’s recent commentary for instance.

    The following is subscription only, but it is the article that Gavin was refering to, and there is an mp3 interview that is open access:

    ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE: A Matter of Humidity
    Andrew E. Dessler and Steven C. Sherwood
    Science 323 (5917), 1020-1 (20 Feb 2009)
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/323/5917/1020/DC1

    *

    Incidentally, I would recommend people checking out the following:

    What if relative humidity was not constant?
    Chris Colose, March 5, 2009 at 4:04 pm
    http://chriscolose.wordpress.com/2009/03/05/what-if-relative-humidity-was-not-constant/

    Chris Colose makes a number of the same points that Dessler and Sherwood make (e.g., that water vapor feedback has to be strongly positive if we are to make sense of paleoclimate data, or for that matter the cooling effect of volcanoes) but is responding to Paltridge.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 11 Mar 2009 @ 1:14 AM

  64. Jim Norvell, (61)

    You’re probably referring to the recent Paltridge et al. paper. Their abstract is very confusing in terms of the claim that decreased relative humidity necessitates a negative feedback. It doesn’t as I go over here.

    Using the Re-analysis for long-term humidity trends is pretty dicey. For instance Soden et al 2005 state “Although an international network of weather balloons has carried water vapor sensors for more than half a century, changes in instrumentation and poor calibration make such sensors unsuitable for detecting trends in upper tropospheric water vapor (27). Similarly, global reanalysis products also suffer from spurious variability and trends related to changes in data quality and data coverage (24).”

    Comment by Chris Colose — 11 Mar 2009 @ 1:29 AM

  65. Re 60

    “Cold food chain,” Eli?

    Don’t you think that nowadays the skeptics believe in heating up their late night snacks in the microwave just like everybody else?

    Oops! I forgot…

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 11 Mar 2009 @ 2:44 AM

  66. It’s all excellent advice, but I think really all bloggers should do their own thing. Present what they think is important, and find their own voice, or else they will be like clones of each other. And politeness and modesty (I paraphrase)? You seem to be advising us to speak softly but not carry a big stick. Well, not much of that on the Right these last few decades, and they managed to remake the world in their own image, and prevent action on climate change for the last 2 decades. We need to aim high and be tough.

    Oh and #8 – How on Earth does a small new blog generate 250 hits a day? I reckon my http://www.blognow.com.au/mrpickwick/ is pretty good, on climate change perhaps especially, but I can’t get anything near that after 5 years of working very hard at it. Some advice would be appreciated if any of you can call in and have a look some time.

    Comment by David Horton — 11 Mar 2009 @ 3:33 AM

  67. José,

    ¡Su Ingles esta muy mejor que mi Español! Pero esta “my blog,” “my English,” con un ‘y.’

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 11 Mar 2009 @ 5:26 AM

  68. I consider myself a moderate on the lizard overlord issue. They are, of course, impregnating our women. But this is not done in order to rule the universe. It is simply part of their culture to impregnate females of other intelligent species.

    There has been obfuscation and denial on both sides of this issue. It is not only the defenders of the reality orthodoxy who have been reviled and suppressed. Indeed, there has been much censorship and denigration directed at those of us who are skeptical of reality. Truth, as always, lies somewhere in the middle.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 11 Mar 2009 @ 5:38 AM

  69. Gavin, thank you for your comment in #53 but that does not address the issue raised by Ryan O, namely that the warming for the peninsula is being smeared across the rest of the continent due to not using enough PC. Your point that additional PCs injected artifacts I accept, so does not Ryan O’s position stand? That this methodology is not robust enough?

    “The fact is that the number of retained PCs above two doesn’t impact the long term trends (for instance, for the AWS reconstruction the trends in the mean are -0.08, 0.15, 0.14, 0.16, 0.13 deg C/dec for k=1,2,3,4,5).” – Gavin

    .

    This makes no statement on where those trends occur – which is how this latest discussion started. The aggregate measurement is similar. The geographic distribution of those trends may not be. I haven’t run it myself, but I’d be willing to bet that the geographic distribution changes significantly as higher-order PCs are included. -Ryan O

    I infer from this discussion that there is significant warming on the AP but the methodology is smearing the warming in a true but misleading manner.

    Am I not understanding this?

    [Response: You are not understanding this. The overall trends for WAIS or Antarctica as a whole are not very sensitive to the number of modes used. - gavin]

    Comment by Vernon — 11 Mar 2009 @ 6:17 AM

  70. Gavin:

    1. Put me first on “the list”. I am critical of the IPCC releasing short statements befor the longer work and I also think Singer-penned faux IPCC documents from the Heartland soire are the hight of silliness.

    [edit - just for fun]

    Comment by ApolytonGP — 11 Mar 2009 @ 6:58 AM

  71. OT: I posted three responses to comments at Accu-weather.com yesterday, talking about global warming. Guess how many are present today? If you guessed “less than one,” you’re right!

    It’s easy to convince people of your message if you only let them hear one side of the argument.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 11 Mar 2009 @ 7:20 AM

  72. I love reading this site. Its very refreshing. I grew up around scientists, so I know they’re a quarrelsome, contentious lot. Whether they’re still as hard drinking is in dispute. So I’ll read, but I don’t know that I want to argue. I like the fact that everybody here dosen’t want to scream if they hear the phrase “glacial wave” or “Younger Dryas” just ONE more time. So I might at least ask a few questions like; “Why are we so confident the methane hydrates just off the Russian Arctic coasts are stable again? or (and this will really get them going)-”I think its quite probable that there are remains from cities 12-15 thousand yrs. old scattered across the floor of the Mediterranean due to glacial waves. What does the scientific reader community think? Stuff bound to get me in trouble. But if you enjoy thinking about the finer points of chaos and turbulence as it relates to global weather phenomenon, this is a nice place to come. Sometimes I stand on an especially clear ancient beach from Lake Erie’s past and I imagine a two mile wall of dusty ice rising where the lake is now. Now thats interesting. My husband finds the whole concept of paleoclimatology about as interesting as watching paint dry. He is a very smart guy, he says “why don’t you go bug the people at real climate with the whirl pools off Greenland?” I should listen to him. We could use more humor, definitely. My experience teaches me that the scientific community is a hot bed of closet punners. Just let go y’all! Whooppee! I’m off to clean my fish tanks and ponder the scaler effects of local weather formations on a global model.

    Comment by Lis Jessie — 11 Mar 2009 @ 7:45 AM

  73. RE #66 – How on Earth does a small new blog generate 250 hits a day?

    It doesn’t, those days are long gone unless of course you can bring a pre-existing following such as in the case of RC. However I know how you can get several hundered comments and countless ‘hits’ in a single day and perhaps build such a following if you are so inclined. Simply post your stories to major sites and be patient. Not long ago I posted this story and it was accepted to the front page of slashdot.

    Including a link to your own blog would be considered bad form but if you have a free account you can put a link to your blog in your ‘sig’. There is nothing stopping you from commenting on your own story as this rather long journal entry adressed to a skeptical physicist demontrates. I don’t post stories very often but I have a 10% success rate which I reckon isn’t too bad when you look at their “firehose”, it helps to be a bit contraversial, particularly in the headline, but as the RC article suggests it can be hard not to say something that people can jump all over, especially if your trying to grab attention.

    I’m a computer scientist, (since before the web), I don’t have a blog but have had a long interest in climate science and started posting on slashdot in the late 90′s. If you look at the comments to my story in the link you will see the trolls and flamers in all their glory but use the threshold bar to set the view to see only comments scoring 4 and above instead of -1 and above. It paints a different picture of a reasonably intelligent conversation. ( note: slashdot is user moderated but it’s a general geek site, I wouldn’t recommend that for RC )

    There is some great advice in this article, I have posted some 4500 comments to slashdot the majority of them related to climate change and the pendulum has definitely swung in the favour of reason over the last 8-9yrs. But something else has happened, I’m a better writer, I have sharper more succinct arguments that are more often modded up than down, I have learnt a great deal along the way and was overjoyed when RC came into being because of the wealth of info it provides.

    And yeah, I have been targeted by trolls and astro-turfers, I have also made a fool of myself on more than one occasion but people who claim they haven’t made a fool of themselves haven’t learned anything. I agree with RC’s advice, if you can look at yourself in the mirror and still claim intellectual honesty, wear those coordinated attacks like medals.

    One last bit of advise I would add, it’s pointless and even counter productive posting to the psuedo-skeptics site (eg: freerepublic), it only increase their hit count and thus justifies their existance to financial/political backers. Much better to find a ‘skeptic’ in the wild where they are “cut of from the herd” so to speak, challenge their ideas of what skepticisim actually means and give them some leeway to vent, you might be pleasantly suprised by the turn-around but more often than not you won’t. Even if nobody listens to you, sticking with it and practising your own self-skepticisim in all subjects you write and think about can be very rewarding in it’s own right.

    Finally I’d like to point to two pages of humourous advice that has absolutely nothing to do with climate but everything to do with the theme of the fine article.

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 11 Mar 2009 @ 8:46 AM

  74. A quick question. Is it possible to post pictures here as part of a post?

    John

    [Response: yes. just use < img src= ... > tags. - gavin]

    Comment by John Burgeson — 11 Mar 2009 @ 8:48 AM

  75. Speaking of correcting one’s mistakes: I screwed up the link to my bushfire story, all you can see are the comments here ’tis

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 11 Mar 2009 @ 9:11 AM

  76. Harold Pierce is right about this:
    > We old folks (i.e., >60 years of age) would be greatly appreciative
    > if the posters at all blogs would break their long posts into easily
    > readable paragraphs of ca 6-8 lines and limit them to ca 10 lines.
    > Otherwise the post becomes too difficult to read.
    I’ve asked the same myself in the past.

    Finish a thought, hit Enter.
    Hit Enter again.
    Start another thought.

    Seriously.

    Seriously, kids, if you had any idea just how bad an older person’s vision, and contrast sensitivity, and night vision can become without losing that driver’s license, you’d never drive at night again, realizing that we do. You’re just blur in the glare to us on the highway, most of the time. Yellow line? Ha. Left blur, glare, right blur, we know you’re in there somewhere …

    Same problem can happen with your ideas on the screen.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Mar 2009 @ 9:23 AM

  77. Re: John P. Rossman
    .
    You quote me:

    The most irritating (and untrue) posts ascribe motivations to those questioning a point that cannot possibly be known. Some of this is happening in this thread right now. #49 has a discussion with a fossil fuel representative in Europe who “generally” confirms…

    .
    And then say:

    Maybe I’m wrong, but by implication you seem to be stating that my statement is untrue? If so, on what basis? You were not there.

    .
    This can be resolved by using the full quote from me:

    The most irritating (and untrue) posts ascribe motivations to those questioning a point that cannot possibly be known. Some of this is happening in this thread right now. #49 has a discussion with a fossil fuel representative in Europe who “generally” confirms a notion of the industry’s intent and then proceeds to imply that categorically skeptics feed from the same pot.

    .
    I took no issue with your statement. The issue was with the implications in the words that followed. These words were in response to Andy, #47, who said:
    .

    And Mark #42…again implying a fossil fuel connection as the sole reason for the skeptics is incorrect. See how little they actually contribute any more to climate science, as they themselves no longer want to be accused of “rigging” the science.

    .
    Your response:

    As to the fossil fuel connection, it’s rather obvious on a reasonable basis alone. I was in Europe a couple years ago and spoke with a person related to the fossil fuel industry. That person ‘generally’ confirmed for me that their position was that the industry wanted to keep things confused while they figured out how to make money with alternatives. That is still in process.

    .
    I added the emphasis.
    .
    In the following paragraph, you state that those who are not part of the fossil fuel campaign are ignorant of the true facts.
    .

    It’s an evolution with agenda attached. Sure they are getting in line with the debate as they learn more about how to gain advantage. That’s the way the world works, generally speaking. As to those not connected with fossil fuels that are arguing AGW is not real, that’s mainly because they don’t have enough of the relevant context yet. Once one gets there, it is illuminating.

    .
    QED.

    Comment by Ryan O — 11 Mar 2009 @ 9:57 AM

  78. “Truth, as always, lies somewhere in the middle.”

    Mind you, I like a quote I read on someone’s sig:

    Some say the sun rises in the West. Some say it rises in the East. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle”.

    Does the sun rise in the North or South?

    PS the problem with sarcasm on the internet, you can never be certain whether they’re really being serious.

    You humans…

    Comment by Mark — 11 Mar 2009 @ 10:30 AM

  79. > cities 12-15 thousand yrs. old scattered across the floor of the
    > Mediterranean

    No, but in the Black Sea, rather more recently: http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=Black+Sea+flood (click “recent” to limit search)
    There’s wonderful archeology coming out of this area

    (The Mediterranean has been dry at times, but not so recently)

    > due to glacial waves

    No idea what that means; look at the science on rising sea levels:

    http://www.geotimes.org/oct06/feature_Geocatastrophes.html
    “… In his classic 1983 book The Mediterranean Was a Desert, geoscientist Ken Hsu paints a dramatic picture of a “deep, dry, hot hellhole,” some 3 kilometers below global sea-level. … 7.2 million to 5.3 million years ago.

    According to Hsu and his colleagues Maria Bianca Cita and Bill Ryan, the crisis ended suddenly, with the Atlantic pouring through the Straits of Gibraltar as a giant waterfall …. The Hsu-Cita-Ryan model has since passed into folklore, widely regarded as the most dramatic example of sea-level change in the geologic record….”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Mar 2009 @ 10:41 AM

  80. Most importantly I’d hope the new blogger would follow the many examples here and always eschew obfuscation.

    Comment by Joe Hunkins — 11 Mar 2009 @ 10:52 AM

  81. Just wondering about the clouds …

    On satellite images taken in the visible bands, the clouds appear white as there is strong backscatter of the incoming solar radiation. This is frequently mentioned.

    On corresponding IR imagery, the clouds appear white because there is a relatively low level of outgoing radiation energy, clouds having nearly always much lower temperature than the ground below. This is seldom (if ever) mentioned in the discussion groups.

    Somewhat peculiar logic in the displays: High energy level seen by the satellite sensor in the visible band is shown as white, but in the IR band a high energy level is shown as black.

    Backscatter in the visible band only works in the daytime, but the IR effect is there both day and night. At first sight it is not at all obvious that the overall impact of clouds is a cooling of the ground surface.

    Coldest nights are the cloudless nights, and this is due to efficient ground surface radiation cooling.

    Comment by Pekka Kostamo — 11 Mar 2009 @ 11:11 AM

  82. An indirect argument against clouds being a net negative forcing: the geological record. Global warming would have been seriously inhibited in the past and we’d never have come out of glaciation.

    Comment by duBois — 11 Mar 2009 @ 11:12 AM

  83. Pekka Kostamo wrote in 80:

    On corresponding IR imagery, the clouds appear white because there is a relatively low level of outgoing radiation energy, clouds having nearly always much lower temperature than the ground below. This is seldom (if ever) mentioned in the discussion groups.

    All clouds have a cloud-associated greenhouse effect. In infrared they are fairly close to being blackbodies, so this greenhouse effect is fairly strong. However, they also tend to have a high albedo. So the question is, “Which effect wins out? The high albedo that scatters solar radiation before it can be absorbed by the earth during the day or the cloud-associated greenhouse effect that works day and night?”

    For particular types of clouds the answer depends upon their characteristics, e.g., their thickness. Generally speaking? Difficult to say. However, when duBois states that clouds are a net negative forcing I would be hesitant to accept the statement in no small part because clouds are a feedback, like water vapor, not a forcing. The consensus (to the extent that there exists a consensus) is that in net clouds are probably a slightly negative feedback, if I remember correctly.

    However, pretty much all the evidence points to water vapor being a strong positive feedback since water vapor is a greenhouse gas (clouds on the other hand consist of suspended water droplets) and globally relative humidity appear remain roughly constant, doubling with every 10 °C. For water vapor to be a negative feedback, not only would relative have to decrease with temperature, but so would specific humidity.

    The forcing for carbon dioxide is roughly 1.2 °C per doubling. The climate sensitivity per doubling of carbon dioxide (which is the sum of the forcing and all the feedbacks, including ice, snow, vegetation and aerosols and even depends upon the size and positions of the continents) is likely between 2 °C and 4.5 °C with the most likely value being around 3 °C. However, the probability distribution for climate sensitivity would also appear to have a long tail such that higher values are more like than lower values (just 2 °C is 1 °C below 3 °C but 4.5 °C is 1.5 °C above 3 °C.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 11 Mar 2009 @ 12:32 PM

  84. Pekka, this may help explain why satellite imagery looks different.
    http://landsat.gsfc.nasa.gov/education/compositor/

    New digital images offer choices about which band to display in which color or grayscale level.

    Astronomers have long preferred negative images:

    Digitizing Tutorial – Page 2 of 7 – Belt of Venus
    Many amateur astronomers prefer to view astronomical images as negatives to better see faint details. I have noticed the usefulness of this myself … …
    http://www.perezmedia.net/beltofvenus/archives/000453.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Mar 2009 @ 12:35 PM

  85. Hank Roberts wrote in 75:

    Seriously, kids, if you had any idea just how bad an older person’s vision, and contrast sensitivity, and night vision can become without losing that driver’s license, you’d never drive at night again, realizing that we do. You’re just blur in the glare to us on the highway, most of the time. Yellow line? Ha. Left blur, glare, right blur, we know you’re in there somewhere …

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I would expect the biggest problem for old eyes is actually with the lines. The text is blurry which strains the eyes, but this results in the eyes more likely wandering, and therefore the reader is more likely to lose their place among the lines of a long paragraph.

    (I suspect it will help the young remember if they have a better idea of what is actually going on.)

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 11 Mar 2009 @ 12:44 PM

  86. and further to Tim’s #84 post, there are these things called “Assistive technologies”. OK, so they’re only really prevalent in applications on Linux (where you have an open format and API to write your AT against, unlike the closed NDA requiring MSOffice or inscrutable ActiveX), but you can still change your fonts. This is WHY HTML isn’t a typesetting language. It is information and context. Presentation can go hang: the browser/user defines that.

    Though to hear about what some websites do to “maintain the eXPerience”, you’d think otherwise…

    Comment by Mark — 11 Mar 2009 @ 1:17 PM

  87. #61 Jim Norvell

    I’m not totally up on this but in a conversation at Scripps last fall, a friend mentioned to me that the relative humidity remains approximately around 80% (if I am recalling accurately) while the water vapor is increasing.

    As to the negative albedo of clouds, the one thing that is missing from the negative albedo cloud argument is that it has been warmer in the past. That, at least is indicative that a warming planet will not increase negative cloud albedo sufficiently to counter the warming imposed. But that is a gross oversimplification.

    I’m not a scientist so I can only look at this form an analytical perspective and watch as the data and modeling comes in, but I think it may be reasonable to assume based on paleo that the negative will not outweigh the positive. Looking forward to the science on that one as it develops.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 11 Mar 2009 @ 1:18 PM

  88. #76 Ryan O

    Right, generally.

    So for clarification, can you speak plainly for me. You are stating that what I said about my conversation with a fossil fuel representative is not true? A simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ will suffice, I have little appreciation for plausible deniability and more respect for those that get right to the point without even a semblance of grammatical obfuscation. Your placement of the word “Some” leaves room for ambiguity (as in “Some of this is happening in this thread right now.”) I’d prefer it if you just called me a liar, so it is clear for all. However, if you are going to call me a liar, please state your full legal name and where I can reach you.

    On your final point though you are incorrectly translating my words.

    - I am not trying to say, or imply, as you state “that those who are not part of the fossil fuel campaign are ignorant of the true facts.”

    - I am trying to say that people, as I stated, “don’t have enough of the relevant context yet.”

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 11 Mar 2009 @ 1:36 PM

  89. Timothy, readability is a complicated subject in itself. Human visual change with age is also variable.

    (Also each browser gives some control, each user needs to tweak for readability personally.)

    Printers learned much since 1439 that helps people read and understand (fonts, kerning, line spacing, white space, margins, indents, paragraph spacing, and much else). Printers made the writer’s ability to organize thinking appear on the page.

    Stream-of-consciousness typing misses all that help.

    We take the knowledge printers learned for granted, until we try to read something unformatted.

    Shortest summary is: to help people to read and understand each idea, set it apart as a paragraph.

    Search “online readability” for much, much more.

    Remember too color vision differs: http://snook.ca/technical/colour_contrast/colour.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Mar 2009 @ 1:39 PM

  90. A quick question. Is it possible to post pictures here as part of a post?

    John

    [Response: yes. just use "" tags. - gavin]

    I’m obviously missing something.

    Can you give me an example of the syntax?

    Thanks

    Burgy

    [Response: This is an example <img src="http://www.wow-europe.com/shared/wow-com/images/news/2005-05/testrealm-icon.jpg" > will give . Size it using 'width="20%" ' or similar inside the tags. - gavin]

    Comment by John Burgeson — 11 Mar 2009 @ 1:40 PM

  91. Re: Dessler and Sherwood 2009 – this article is available at http://geotest.tamu.edu/userfiles/216/dessler09.pdf

    Re: Those of us in the 60+ crowd having difficulty with long paragraphs. Timothy (# 84) suggests “The text is blurry which strains the eyes, but this results in the eyes more likely wandering, and therefore the reader is more likely to lose their place among the lines of a long paragraph.”

    That may well be the case, but I often fail to make it all the way through comments with long paragraphs because the writer’s thoughts are blurry, which strains my patience, resulting in my likely wandering to the next comment in hopes that I’ll find greater clarity of thought and expression.

    Comment by Rick Brown — 11 Mar 2009 @ 1:54 PM

  92. Barton Paul Levenson (70) — That site sometimes sends posts into the bit bucket; that’s not intensional. Also, sometimes it takes up to three days for comments to appear, that being some weekends.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 11 Mar 2009 @ 2:41 PM

  93. However, when duBois states that clouds are a net negative forcing

    Actually, I was arguing that clouds were a net positive forcing. If clouds were a negative forcing we’d never have come out of glaciation since an increase in temps would increase cloud cover which would lower temps. Etc.

    I would never make it as a blogger since I obviously don’t make myself clear. Sorry.

    Comment by duBois — 11 Mar 2009 @ 3:09 PM

  94. Hi,
    This is probably not the right place to post this, but I found this somewhere (actually on a chess website). Please realise that these are not my words and I do not agree with it. Here is the quote:

    “To quote but one contrarian (Roy Spencer, the first I found at hand, and not one with whom I necessarily agree): [...] there are a number of different opinions on what controls changes in the climate system. For instance, I now believe that most of the warming in the last 100 years was due to natural cloud variations caused by the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. I will be presenting evidence for that on Tuesday morning, along with new evidence that the climate system is much less sensitive than the alarmists claim it is. The talk to which he refers is part of the 2009 International Conference on Climate Change, also pejoratively known as the largest “denier” confab extant. I have no great desire to enumerate various others who find the suggestions of Hansen and the Hadley Centre to be hyperbolic, so I hope the above is sufficient to adumbrate my dispute with your claim of unanimity.

    As an aside, cloud modelling (past, present, and future) is probably the most difficult component in atmospheric models currently, and the assumptions therein can often determine whether one should expect positive or negative feedback from other effects. While no one would dispute that increased gas concentrations should imply higher temperatures, the pre-feedback effect is logarithmic, and even there one finds disagreement over the so-called “climate sensitivity” parameter to be used in the models.”

    What do you think about these claims?
    Best, Will

    Comment by Will Denayer — 11 Mar 2009 @ 3:20 PM

  95. Thanks, Dave. I do get a bit paranoid at times. My apologies to Accu-weather.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 11 Mar 2009 @ 3:20 PM

  96. I am one of the colleagues Burgy mentioned in his post. I asked a question about Scafetta and West’s work a couple weeks ago. Thanks for the links to the interactions with Scafetta. I’m not going to respond before I’ve read some more of the relevant references, but when I do I’d like to know a bit more about how to post on this blog. For example, can I start a new topic? To date I’ve just responded to topics already listed, and I haven’t been able to find any other means of posting, but there’s not always a good fit. Thanks.

    Comment by Bill Hamilton — 11 Mar 2009 @ 3:33 PM

  97. David B Benson wrote in 91:

    Barton Paul Levenson (70) — That site sometimes sends posts into the bit bucket; that’s not intensional. Also, sometimes it takes up to three days for comments to appear, that being some weekends.

    I don’t know about the AccuWeather blog, but earlier this week at Real Climate I made a fairly long comment at 9 March 2009 at 8:41 PM (344 in “What George Will should have written”) then made a much shorter comment at 9 March 2009 at 10:15 PM (89 in “Its wrong to wish on space hardware”) and the short comment appeared almost immediately. The short comment showed up almost immediately, but the long comment took until the next morning.

    I have noticed this pattern before. However, the longer posts show up at the correct position (according to the datetime stamp) in the sequence of comments. But if a fair number of short posts show up at the same time, you may have a little difficulty finding it since the shorter posts will be closer to the bottom.

    *

    Captcha fortune cookie seems oddly appropriate:
    reply 31)Evening

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 11 Mar 2009 @ 3:41 PM

  98. You left out the most important points!

    1) Use reliable references. In science blogging, this matters a lot – and not just any published nonsense, you have to know the research landscape, meaning you’ll need to be at least familiar with all the sections of the last IPCC report, and have some idea as to why it is now viewed as a conservative estimate of future changes.

    If you’ve never researched the scientific literature, then you have a steep learning curve ahead of you. For a potentially helpful example, let’s ask a bloggable question: is there a link between global warming, California drought, and California wildfires?

    First, don’t go to the newspapers and blogs for your primary information – do what science journalists do, and check the press releases. Important studies also show up in Science and Nature, often with helpful news articles, but access is limited. Also, science press releases are “embargoed” – employees of major press outlets get to see them first, bloggers have to wait.

    There are a number of web sites that tally up press releases and repost them verbatim. For example, sciencedaily.com has a lot of press releases on file – but these are not edited or fact-checked, just compiled. To post a meaningful article on such a press release, you have to know the background. For example, take this one:

    Wildfires: Why California Should Consider Australia’s ‘Prepare, Stay And Defend’ Policy, ScienceDaily (Mar. 11, 2009)

    Over the past several years, scientists from UC Berkeley’s Center for Fire Research and Outreach have been collaborating with colleagues from Australia to study best practices in an effort to reduce the loss of life and property from wildfires. Their report on what lessons U.S. wildfire management officials can learn from Australia is scheduled for publication today (Thursday, Feb. 26) in the open-access journal Environmental Research Letters.

    A quick search for the article and the authors turns up the following blog on Australia’s wildfires and the article in question:

    http://firecenter.berkeley.edu/blog/

    So what caused this colossal inferno? In pointing to arson as the cause of these fires, we miss the overall significance of the fire dynamics that gave rise to this event. While arson is a lamentable and criminal source of ignition, with relative humidity and fuel moisture at below four percent, a lit cigarette or a spark thrown off by a moving vehicle could have caused similar wildland fires. Where there are people, there are always sources of ignition — what fire scientists call the “human-ignition component.” The larger issue at stake here is what gave rise to such extreme fire weather.

    Australian fire scientists say that this area of Victoria has experienced between five and 30 years of drought (depending on if you are counting by successive years or overall water balances), the worst in perhaps 1000 years. Some, perhaps rightly, blame global climate change for what is known as the “Big Dry.” Diminishing rainfall, increased temperatures, and increased atmospheric instability all lead to higher fire danger.

    So, that’s a blog about the research paper, more clearly written than any newspaper article on the fires, most of which emphasize arson and ignore global warming. (Also follows all the suggested blogging rules)

    There are dozens of other papers that use the three lines of evidence available to climate scientists – computer models, real-time data and paleoclimate evidence – to show a link between global warming, drought and increased wildfires in the world’s subtropical regions. The discussion is now mostly about how to respond or adapt to the situation, which is pretty dire, with almost $1 billion in fire losses in California in 2008 – and what about this year?

    If there is an opposing argument, be sure to include it and discuss it. For example, what are we to make of this sciencedaily press release from NASA:

    Oscillation Rules As The Pacific Cools

    ScienceDaily (Dec. 12, 2008) — The latest image of sea-surface height measurements from the U.S./French Jason-1 oceanography satellite shows the Pacific Ocean remains locked in a strong, cool phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, a large, long-lived pattern of climate variability in the Pacific associated with a general cooling of Pacific waters. The image also confirms that El Niño and La Niña remain absent from the tropical Pacific.”

    The gist there is that the drought could be due to a cool phase of the PDO – or is it due to La Nina? Complicated question – but this other press release from NASA might help sort it out:

    http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/2008_temps.html

    The year-to-year variations on the ever-increasing temperature trend (graph at link above) are best explained by El Nino/La Nina cycles plus global warming – but the overall trend is pretty obvious.

    Note that the areas of most rapid warming are the northern polar regions and the Antarctic peninsula, which fits with models of global warming. That also coincides with the expansion of the subtropical dry zones, due to changes in atmospheric circulation brought on by the warming atmosphere. There are a lot of references on that, and here is an example:

    Expansion of the Hadley cell under global warming, Lu et. al , GFDL/NOAA Princeton 2007 (pdf)

    Consistent weakening and poleward expansion of the Hadley circulation are diagnosed in climate change simulations of the IPCC AR4 project. Associated with this widening is a concomitant poleward expansion of the subtropical dry zone.

    That’s the easily understandable part, followed by a lot of jargon. Your job is then to translate that into easily understandable English, which has happily already been done for us:

    http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~dargan/summaries/flc07.html

    Discussion: One of the most consistent responses of climate models to global warming is a widening of the Hadley circulation. Since the downward branch of the Hadley cell is associated with many of the largest deserts on Earth, the poleward expansion of the Hadley cell also means a poleward expansion of the dry zones. In climate models, the poleward expansion of the Hadley cell is closely linked with the predicted drought in the Southwest US, the Mediterranean, and other locations in similar latitude bands.

    So, you might then be able to conclude that, A) current data shows the worst long-term drought situation on record, emphasize long-term, and B) numerical physical climate models predict this to happen based on expansion of the Hadley circulation cells, and C) There are examples of drought regimes brought on across the region due to much smaller climate forcings than the current fossil CO2 forcing, which seems to indicate that climate may be more sensitive to forcing than the IPCC estimated.

    So, now you’ve written your blog, based on references, you have something to mail to journalists who write articles about California and Australian drought and wildfires while ignoring the fact of global warming – at least, they won’t be able to claim ignorance any longer – but that will only be true if you include a good list of references, presented in an accessible manner.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 11 Mar 2009 @ 4:18 PM

  99. Re: John P. Reisman (#87):
    .
    You are aware of the straw man technique, no? If not, I would recommend this reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man .
    .
    In this case, the straw man is your accusation that I called you a liar. I did nothing of the sort. I did not say or imply that your conversation with the fossil fuel representative was a fabrication. I have no reason to doubt your statement. Furthermore, whether the conversation actually happened is irrelevant to my point.
    .
    By setting up this straw man, you are attempting to avoid the real issue, which is that individuals showing skepticism are routinely dismissed as having been bought/influenced by the fossil fuel industry with zero corroborating evidence. That is what I accused you of doing. To confirm, let us review what I said [take 3]:

    The most irritating (and untrue) posts ascribe motivations to those questioning a point that cannot possibly be known. Some of this is happening in this thread right now. #49 has a discussion with a fossil fuel representative in Europe who “generally” confirms a notion of the industry’s intent and then proceeds to imply that categorically skeptics feed from the same pot.

    .
    To avoid any “semblance of grammatical obfuscation”, let us restate this in simpler terms:
    .
    1. It irritates me when people ascribe motives to others when they cannot possibly know what the motives are.
    .
    2. The activity described in #1 is occurring in some posts in this thread.
    .
    3. As an example, #49 has a conversation with a fossil fuel representative and concludes that the skeptics are motivated by what the fossil fuel industry wants.
    .
    Please note that in both the original quote and the restatement, I accepted your conversation with the fossil fuel representative as fact.
    .
    Just to be complete, I note that the accusation of “grammatical obfuscation” is nonsensical. This apparently means that you believe I have somehow obscured the meaning of my post through clever use of punctuation and non-standard sentence structure, in which case I would refer you this helpful online text: http://papyr.com/hypertextbooks/grammar/ .
    .
    Lastly, you choose to invoke an inverse straw man technique on your own argument, which is more commonly known as the True Scotsman fallacy. The success of this depends upon you quoting yourself out of context:
    .

    I am trying to say that people, as I stated, “don’t have enough of the relevant context yet.”

    .
    Similar, but not the same as:
    .

    It’s an evolution with agenda attached. Sure they are getting in line with the debate as they learn more about how to gain advantage. That’s the way the world works, generally speaking. As to those not connected with fossil fuels that are arguing AGW is not real, that’s mainly because they don’t have enough of the relevant context yet. Once one gets there, it is illuminating.

    .
    The latter (full) quote clearly indicates that you are talking about skeptics who are not connected to fossil fuels. You state that if they had “enough of the relevant context” that they would relinquish their skepticism. If we are to make the reasonable assumption that this “relevant context” is provided by scientific facts – facts that these skeptics do not have enough of – then this is identical to stating that skeptics unconnected with fossil fuels are ignorant of these facts. Ergo, my statement stands.
    .
    If, however, the “relevant context” is not provided by scientific facts then the “relevant context” refers to matters of opinion and belief. Matters of opinion and belief do not provide a scientific reason for skeptics to relinquish their skepticism. The statement is still superficially true in that if they were to change their beliefs they would no longer be skeptical, but the reasoning is now circular.
    .
    I await your clarification.

    Comment by Ryan O — 11 Mar 2009 @ 4:23 PM

  100. Gavin, I think you have hit upon the primary problem. From what I have read, there is no good data to support either a positive or negative feedback from additional CO2 and how it affects water vapor feedback at high altitudes. We are trying to predict something like a 0.1 degree temperature change per decade and the noise level in the data is greater than that. I am not willing to expend large quantities of money to combat something that is not that well defined. However if you want to change the subject to becoming energy independent then you have my support.

    Jim N

    [Response: Where do you get that? There are plenty of bits of evidence for positive water vapour feedback. See Sherwood And Dessler linked above. - gavin]

    Comment by Jim Norvell — 11 Mar 2009 @ 5:16 PM

  101. I had written in 82:

    However, when duBois states that clouds are a net negative forcing…

    duBois responded in 92:

    Actually, I was arguing that clouds were a net positive forcing.

    You are right — I was already thinking of the fact that we believe that clouds are on the whole a somewhat negative feedback.

    If clouds were a negative forcing we’d never have come out of glaciation since an increase in temps would increase cloud cover which would lower temps. Etc.

    There are other feedbacks — ice and water vapor for example — as I pointed out in my comment.

    I would never make it as a blogger since I obviously don’t make myself clear. Sorry.

    I have made several mistakes today — and you just pointed out one of them. Mistakes are part of the learning process — and it is a large part of how science works.

    Participate here. Learn. Then write posts at your own blog if you are so inclined — but try to go over your posts a little more carefully than I apparently go over my comments.;-)

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 11 Mar 2009 @ 5:55 PM

  102. Can’t recall on which thread the questiion of the warming/cooling due to variations in TSI over the solar sunspot cycle cam up, but a fairly recent study by Tung & Camp, over the last 50 years of data,(Geophysical Research Letters, DOI: 10.1029/2007GL030207) puts it at an (to me astoundingly high) 0.2 K.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 11 Mar 2009 @ 6:04 PM

  103. Forgive me for multiple posts — I can’t tell whether the post dialog is being received by you. My question is: Is there any way to start a new topic? To date all I’ve been able to figure out is how to respond to an existing post. It would also be helpful if you would post information on what I should expect when I post: How do I know my post was received?

    Comment by Bill Hamilton — 11 Mar 2009 @ 7:32 PM

  104. Bill Hamilton (101) — No way here for you to start a new topic. When you send your post you ought to see it with a statement that it is awaiting moderation. At least, I do using Firefox.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 11 Mar 2009 @ 8:28 PM

  105. > skeptics are motivated by what the fossil fuel industry wants.

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=%22Western+Fuels%22+lobbying

    Other search terms will occur to anyone looking for more information.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Mar 2009 @ 9:45 PM

  106. “Group”, (before I get to the comments), an impressive and insightful post.

    Comment by Rod B — 11 Mar 2009 @ 10:28 PM

  107. Hank @104: Let me first of all say I’m on “your side” but throwing scholar searches around where people will just look at the number of hits may take someone’s eye out. Especially when you practically dare them to come up with what will be seen as counter examples such as IPCC lobbying. See rules 3 & 5 in the article. ;)

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 12 Mar 2009 @ 4:16 AM

  108. RE #102, #103; I also seem to be having trouble seeing the message today (using IE 6.02).

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 12 Mar 2009 @ 4:31 AM

  109. RC editors: testing with FF

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 12 Mar 2009 @ 5:16 AM

  110. RC editors, nope FF 3.0.7 has the smae problem – refresh doesn’t help either. However I can now seem my posts 106, 107 & 108.

    Capctha fourtune cookie; “confusion have” :)

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 12 Mar 2009 @ 5:20 AM

  111. Will,

    The Pacific Decadal Oscillation is an oscillation, not a trend — it returns to the mean. Spencer doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 12 Mar 2009 @ 5:30 AM

  112. Anyone can Blog, its all too easy and words are easy too. Ranting and raving is easy as well but talking seriously about the subject of climate and its related subject energy is done by many already and hence yours needs to stand out and get listed somehow because a google search will turn up nothing but everyones elses.

    So you need to write about the things that really matter and why we are potentially in the predicament we are. Lets take a look at some of the issues that really seem to get the deniers screaming.

    CONSENSUS: For some reason the deniers think that scientists work alone and are always looking to disprove everything rather than prove anything therefore the idea of a consensus is fraudulent because science does not work like that. Unfortunately I doubt that science works like that, it probably works both ways, individually and collectively, proof and falsity. Science does not march to the next theory funeral by funeral, it is more complex than that, far more and the laws of thermodynamics are a consensus, Evolution is a consensus as well (although originally devised by one man), relativity also and lets not mention quantum physics for it is too awesome for my laymans mortal hand to do it any justice.

    The other big issues relate to the time it going to take for us all to die from it as an issue (too long for a lot of us to care and for the rest of us we are too young to know any different and cars and aeroplanes are fun), what zero carbon energy alternatives are there that are cost effective and efficient enough to replace fossil fuels without upsetting the political and economics of the day is another big one.

    Stuff like that.

    Comment by pete best — 12 Mar 2009 @ 5:34 AM

  113. This post has some excellent advice. I recently began a climate related blog myself and consider all the items you brought up very important.

    In consideration of your first comment about ‘honesty’, I think it is also important to be transparent. We all have biases and it is important not to behave as if we don’t, but to that end ANY blogger should do their best to support their position with ‘truth’ and ‘fact’.

    I believe it is also essential to source as clearly as possible the basis for any post. I find too often that people write as if they are making statements based on some knowledge, when in reality it may just be their opinion. Or it might be the case it is something they learned in school or over time in their field of research, but forget that folks reading about the topic for the first time or with less base knowledge may not have that same basic understanding. So if in doubt and not meant to be just opinion, provide a source even on some basic concepts.

    Lastly – I think it is important to realize it actually takes lots of time to do it well (kudos to RealClimate on that front). It was not until started blogging that I realized how much time compiling a good post took, much less all the work involved in following comments in a site as busy as yours.

    Comment by MJ — 12 Mar 2009 @ 6:24 AM

  114. “CONSENSUS”

    How about, instead:

    REPEATABILITY

    If someone else can independently repeat your work and get the same result, then there’s something to look at.

    If LOTS of someone elses can repeat your work, then there is a truth being shown.

    Just because lots of people have to get the same result DOES NOT mean it is consensus. It’s far more than that. It’s that anyone can get the same results.

    It’s REPEATABLE.

    Consensus can mean that everyone has agreed. And that is what denialists are trying to insinuate by using “consensus”.

    Comment by Mark — 12 Mar 2009 @ 7:18 AM

  115. RE #111
    An easy to grasp non-specific example of consenus is “the textbook”.

    I prefer “psuedo-skeptic” to “denier”, it helps to clarify what skeptcisim means. You are banging you’re head against the proverbial wall if you don’t sort that one out early.

    Appeal to your protaganists claim of skepticisim and point out a genuine skeptic is first and foremost self-skeptical…

    Political bias in the IPCC? – Ask yourself why 300 odd nations representing the entire spectrum of politics all support it – is Al Gore really that charismatic?

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 12 Mar 2009 @ 8:19 AM

  116. Mark wrote in 113:

    “CONSENSUS”

    How about, instead:

    REPEATABILITY…

    I agree that repeatability is important. However I myself distinguish between a mere consensus and scientific one. In my view, a scientific consensus is evidence based, a result of the interdependence between scientific disciplines that exists as a result of the division cognitive labor between them — as was identified by Duhem’s Thesis, but tacit under normal circumstances. Unfortunately current circumstances aren’t normal.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 12 Mar 2009 @ 9:06 AM

  117. Re #113/114, Got a few spare Earths lying around the repeat the experiment with then? Climate science is not a repeatable science is it. I am sure that Co2/methane/NO etc being a GHG has been demonstrated in the lab repeatably but many other asepects of AGW use measurements (temperatures, precipitation etc) and models (determining cause and effect) in order to predict and forcast future trends but not single events.

    Therefore unless you have a valid alternative scientific hypothosis and a valid experiement or data to differentiate yours from the others (orthodoxy) then denial is a worthless scientific term, it belongs in psychological space and politics.

    Comment by pete best — 12 Mar 2009 @ 9:12 AM

  118. Although tangental to the discussion, since the issue of repeatability came, the following may be of interest.

    *

    Repeatability and the “Dichotomy” Between Historical and Observational Sciences

    You might hear practitioners of “historical sciences” refer to their science as “historical,” or practitioners of “observational sciences” refer to their science as “observational,” where one is able to “control the variables” in the observational sciences and experiments are more or less repeatable, but while the distinction has some utility in terms of the division of cognitive labor between “historical” and “observational” sciences, it is by no means a dichotomy, and to treat it as such is proof of the dishonesty or ignorance of the speaker.

    For an example of where it gets applied, you might look at:

    Edwin C. Allison Center for Historical Science http://www.geology.sdsu.edu/facilities/allisonctr/

    … a center which is devoted to the “historical sciences” of “paleontology, paleoclimatology, geochemistry, sedimentology and organismal biology.”

    Outside of the lingo of specialized disciplines, there are usually only two sets of occasions in which I hear of the distinction itself: one is when the distinction is being applied only in order to demonstrate that it is not a dichotomy or even particularly helpful, and the other is when creationists use it to try to argue that evolutionary biology isn’t hard science, or that for example, the soft historical science of evolution might argue for life having a natural origin, but hard observational science demonstrates otherwise.

    It has a basis in the philosophy of science, but this is of little more than historical value, much like reading Descartes in a standard philosophy course. For one thing, there is no hardfast dichotomy between observational and historical science: all science is a continuum.

    *

    Difference branches of science use both “observational” (by which the speaker actually means “controlled experimental”) procedures and historical methods: for example, while evolutionary biology might be thought of as essentially historical, we can observe how viruses and bacteria mutate into new species and even affect their environment so as to bring about this change, and may occasionally observe speciation at the multicellular level, particularly in plants, such as the creation of species through an active process of hibridization or polyploidy.

    Likewise, astronomy would seem to be “observational” insofar as we “observe” stars and galaxies, but it generally cannot be performed in a lab, we are usually unable to set up experiments where we control the variables and thus manipulate the object of study, and what we are actually observing is what took place thirteen billion years ago or eight minutes ago in the case of the sun. So in this sense, it would it seem to be historical. But is it?

    At one point the moon was something we could simply observe from a distance — but now it is a place we can visit, we send probes places like Titan or Europa. Moreover, when one says that “observational sciences” make predictions in the sense that they are with regard to future events, these are oftentimes passive in the sense that one does not control the variables as one might in a lab. Furthermore, even historical sciences using “historical” methods make predictions of a sort: postdictions where they predict things which will be found.

    *

    Finally, one should point out that even the term “observational science” is itself fairly misleading, at least to a novice. “Observation” is normally thought of as being passive, but in this context it is being used to refer to active methods rather than passive methods of study, suggesting what is in fact the opposite of what it is intended to imply.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 12 Mar 2009 @ 9:35 AM

  119. Tim #115 “However I myself distinguish between a mere consensus and scientific one. ”

    Aye, but denialists don’t.

    They use consensus and mean merely that everyone has agreed (much like everyone in the Catholic Priesthood has a consensus that God created the universe). Or that there’s a consensus that kids today aren’t respectful any more.

    And therefore “repeatability” is the same thing as scientific consensus but without that “we don’t HAVE to prove it, just all agree it is so” that is available in “consensus”.

    Comment by Mark — 12 Mar 2009 @ 10:25 AM

  120. My advice for young climate bloggers from Chanhassen, MN is to please disregard the recent comment at the Chanhassen Villager website (repeated below):

    … “The world’s largest-ever gathering of global warming skeptics assembled in New York City from March 8 to March 10 to confront the issue, “Global warming: Was it ever really a crisis?” About 800 scientists, economists, legislators, policy activists, and media representatives reportedly attended the second International Conference on Climate Change at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel.
    For more information, go to http://www.heartland.org/events/NewYork09/proceedings.html
    Submitted by FAdams on March 12, 2009 – 9:36am.”

    http://www.chanvillager.com/news/schools/climate-change-open-discussion-minnetonka-101#comment-1814


    Instead, please read about the work by real climate scientists at realclimate.org.

    Comment by Pat Neuman — 12 Mar 2009 @ 10:32 AM

  121. Funnily enough the term denier is not a scientific one, it is one used in normal discourse to describe what could probably be whipped up into a phsychological diagnosis. I personally use it for someone who denies either that the earth is warming, or that we are responsible for much of it, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

    Comment by guthrie — 12 Mar 2009 @ 10:36 AM

  122. I think there is a lot of misunderstanding of the concept of scientific consensus. Scientists never sit down and lay out a consensus. Rather, it is just that some ideas/concepts/techniques are too useful to do without. That is, you simply can’t understand the phenomenon without those ideas. This is the way it works whether you are talking the consensus model of Earth’s climate or the standard model of particle physics.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Mar 2009 @ 11:24 AM

  123. Re #114: The IPCC does indeed include scientists from a wide range of countries. My website has a complete list of the 619 authors of AR4 wg1, with links to their homepage and stats on how widely cited they are; I show sources from 41 different countries on AR4 wg1.

    The exact count is subject to some ambiguities about people born in country A, schooled in country B, now working in country C – there’s some brain drain to the top sites in the US and Europe. The point is that “government funding bias to promote AGW hysteria” seems unlikely to exist across so many different countries, even if you could believe in such an idea in one place. For the U.S., the evidence runs the opposite way, that the Bush White House worked hard to slant the outcome toward “no problem / undecided / just keep studying this”

    My listing also demonstrates that the most highly cited authors are more likely to have served on the IPCC, and also more likely to have signed one or more “activist” declarations such as the 2007 Bali Climate Declaration, the 2008 Union of Concerned Scientists call to action, or the 2003 “State of Climate Science” letter to Congress.

    Conversely, those who signed the “skeptics” declarations such as the 1995 Leipzig Declaration through the 2008 Manhattan Declaration fall very disproportionately toward the bottom of the rankings, among the least-cited or never published names.

    The site is linked on my name above; the URL is:

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

    Comment by Jim Prall — 12 Mar 2009 @ 11:54 AM

  124. Minor correction, BPL:

    “Will, The Pacific Decadal Oscillation is an oscillation, not a trend — it returns to the mean. Spencer doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

    It’s not an oscillation like a mass on a spring, but rather a wobble or a fluctuation. Sea surface temperature has a large effect on atmosphere-ocean heat exchanges, and warm sea surfaces evaporate more water as well as raising the air temperature, an effect with consequences in the Arctic as well as the equatorial and subtropical Pacific.

    For a decent compilation of such wobbles and their role in North American drought, see this site:

    http://oceanworld.tamu.edu/resources/oceanography-book/oceananddrought.html

    Notice that those are mostly crude correlations unsupported by detailed models, by the way, but they do appear to account for a lot of the year-to-year variability that climate models miss. The physical basis of the oscillation mechanisms remain highly uncertain, with ENSO being the best understood – meaning that fluctuation (wobble) is probably a more accurate term.

    However, the rising pace of global warming is leading to subtropical drying via Hadley cell expansion, even as the positive water vapor feedback is kicking in – but under hot continental interior conditions, that water vapor is likely to be clear-sky water vapor – but figuring out the scale of the ENSO influence on atmospheric water vapor and temperature is a very tricky topic, see here for more:

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2008/2007JD009247.shtml

    So, why bother blogging about climate? Well, it’s mostly to counter the dishonest spin put out by institution like the Heritage Institute, which can be seen, for example, in Andy Revkin’s NYTimes blog comments by people like Don Easterbrook, an “editor’s selection”.

    http://community.nytimes.com/blogs/comments/dotearth/2009/03/11/no-doubt-about-energy-gap.html?permid=60#comment60

    But that isn’t the whole story—take a look at the attached satellite image of March 9, 2009 and compare it to the satellite image of June, 2008. Notice that cool water in the Pacific that extends from the equator all the way up the west coast of North America into the Gulf of Alaska is still firmly entrenched. This is the cool water phase of the PDO and it isn’t going to change for at least 2-3 decades (at least it never has in the past) and it is unaffected by atmospheric CO2 as shown by the three PDO switches this century that occurred before atmospheric CO2 increased significantly. What this means is that no matter what the cause of global warming and cooling, we cannot escape the conclusion that the Earth is in for global cooling for the next 2-3 decades.

    Well, that’s blatant nonsense, as explained. However, since I’d already written comment #97, I didn’t have to write the whole thing over again, RC provides a convenient link, so I was able to post this in response, with a link back to RC.

    http://community.nytimes.com/blogs/comments/dotearth/2009/03/11/no-doubt-about-energy-gap.html?permid=62#comment62

    There you go: how to use blogs and comment sections to get your message across. How did I learn about this approach? Simple – I just watched what the PR experts hired by the American Petroleum Institute do – but instead of linking to bogus PR sites set up by industry lobbyists, I always try to link to the primary literature or to good reviews of it – and that’s an effective strategy, because people really do like clear scientific explanations more than emotive spin.

    In other words, respect the intelligence of your readers – there’s no need to dumb everything down.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 12 Mar 2009 @ 12:11 PM

  125. #98 Ryan O

    Thank you for your clarification.

    I must admit that it looked as if you were potentially accusing me of being “untrue”. It is not inaccurate to see that the paragraph infers or insinuates such a possibility by association.

    Your post #53 says you believe AGW is real and you bring up a few points about IPCC predictions, accuracy of models, magnitude of AGW and say you mention excoriation… but this really is a straw man argument. It has nothing to do with relevant understanding of the science in context.

    You are building up the argument of ‘hey, look at those that say those that doubt AGW are told they are ignorant or excoriated and called denialists and cast as individuals who, through deception or ignorance, are actively subverting attempts to minimize man’s impact on the environment. Then you say you are skeptical of IPCC’s predictions and accuracy of model impacts and skeptical of the accuracy of the surface temperature record.

    I think it would be difficult not to see this as a straw-man type argument, but I am absolutely giving you the benefit of the doubt. I do not believe in any way shape or form that you are trying to be purposefully deceptive in any manner of your points. Aspects of your argument, though likely inadvertently, can be interpreted as a red herring in the sense that it uses statements like “Yet I still believe that AGW is real and I strongly support action to reduce the impact of man’s influence on the environment and I have for years.” But I don’t believe you intend it as a red herring. Sometimes red herrings happen simply because of the perspective of the assertion or question.

    For clarity, I do not know your motives, but I am assuming based on what I have read that you are still learning, as are we all. Please don’t get me wrong, I don’t think you are being deceptive. I think you are basing your concerns on your current perspective, and you doubt the IPCC, models, temp record and projected impacts, as stated.

    As to your assertions that I have presented a strawman argument, or an inverse strawman with a Scotsman on top (kinky); that is not my intention in any way shape or form.

    For clarification: “skeptics who are not (directly) connected to fossil fuels”, if that helps. I believe it reasonable to assume indirect connections (see below in this post).

    I am not quoting myself out of context. You translated my words incorrectly. I meant what I said, that people “don’t have enough of the relevant context yet” to understand this global warming event, it’s cause, and its’ potential, generally speaking.

    I must admit, “it irritates me when people ascribe motives to others when they cannot possibly know what the motives are.” I am having trouble with your ‘reaching’ by trying to tie what I said about people not having relevant context to your statement “then this is identical to stating that skeptics unconnected with fossil fuels are ignorant of these facts”. That is not a fair assessment of the statement itself. I did not say they were ignorant, those were your words ‘ascribing motive’ into my words.

    My words were, regarding this context:

    “As to those not connected with fossil fuels that are arguing AGW is not real, that’s mainly because they don’t have enough of the relevant context yet.”

    However, in support of what I think might be your point, generally speaking, many are naive of the relevant understanding of AGW and many are ignorant of the science, by definition, including myself. I seriously doubt that I will ever not lack knowledge or comprehension of some things specified. I can only keep learning more as time allows.

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ignorant

    Again, my point is that having ‘scientific facts’ is not the ‘end all be all’ unless you have relevant context. As I have stated elsewhere, anyone can prove the earth is flat if they limit the scope of their view sufficiently. And I do think some would even go so far as to ignore the factual relevant science for whatever reason, or lack of reason they might possess, foster, or embrace.

    While you are standing by your statement, I think it is a weak stance. The (full) quote does little to add to your point, as it pertains to my point. Connection to fossil fuel, or no (direct) connection to fossil fuel does not change the relevance of the statement “don’t have enough of the relevant context yet.” as it applies to both groups. Hope that helps clarify.

    You also state in your clarification:

    1. It irritates me when people ascribe motives to others when they cannot possibly know what the motives are.

    If that irritates you, does it also irritate you when people misinterpret statements and ascribe motive? Like you do in

    3. As an example, #49 has a conversation with a fossil fuel representative and concludes that the skeptics are motivated by what the fossil fuel industry wants.

    I am not saying, and did not say that skeptics are motivated by what the fossil fuel industry wants. That is simply you ‘ascribing motive’ into what I said.

    Again, my statement was: “those not connected with fossil fuels that are arguing AGW is not real, that’s mainly because they don’t have enough of the relevant context yet”. You simply ascribed a new motive to what I said. But why would you do that? You already stated, it irritates you when people do that?

    Generally speaking, ascribing groups and motive is not improper as such motive is evident in groups. Ever been to a church, or a football game, a political convention, or a climate denial conference in New York? You don’t need to know individual motives, but to recognize that groups can and do have motives, generally speaking. And no, I am not saying that completely overrides individual motive intermingled in cognitive equative thought.

    I do mean that relevant context should be related to scientific facts and/or relevant reasoning related to relevant scientific understanding. Again, facts can be very deceiving when not in relevant context.

    I have a few questions for you:

    1. Do you believe that oil companies have a profit motive for their actions?

    2. Or do you think they are more altruistic in nature?

    and if you do think they are interested in, or even motivated by profit,

    3. do you have difficulty in connecting the potential connection between said profit, and obfuscation in matters of climate change?

    Hank made a point in #104 that has relevance in my opinion, even though it might take someone’s eye out ;) . There are actually lobbyists out their lobbying (yes, on both sides re. #106), and the arguments I hear often are regurgitation’s of what the lobbyists are stating. Hence education regarding the relevant scientific facts and understanding in context is important.

    Can you reasonably deny such connections both in potential and factual? Generally speaking, it is more than plausible and reasonable to assume that the fossil fuel industry, the lobbyists, the message promoted, the denialist web sites, and the regurgitated propaganda are connected in one, or more ways.

    I had a talk with a particular mayor about global warming and he regurgitated the standard RNC rhetoric (which I have a copy of). Precise phrases and arguments right out of the RNC publication on how to make your political stand on ‘climate change’ (they have been advised not to use the term ‘global warming’ due to it’s more inflammatory recognition). When I speak with denialists, they often say things that are boilerplate stuff from denial websites. Are you trying to get the point across that these are not connected in any way?

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 12 Mar 2009 @ 12:24 PM

  126. Re#116
    Pete, I don’t have any spare Earth’s lying around my workshop, so I suggest you enquire elsewhere.

    Repeatability: Do you ever take the advise of a doctor? Do you demand they perform experiments on a Pete Best clone before handing you a script for antibiotics? Do you swallow said anti-biotics in the expectation they will probably save your life?

    Certainty of predictions: No amount of experimentation, theory, philosophy or anything else you can think of will make it a certainty the sun will rise tomorrow but it’s a bet I’m willing to take.

    Computer models: Surely someone with such intimate knowledge of computer models realises the computer chips they are using to post would be impossible to design without the use of computer models.

    Science is a MODEL of the Universe based on two minimalistic articles of FAITH that roughly stated are:

    1. The real world exists even if I don’t.
    2. Other beings inhabit said real world with whom I can compare my observations.

    It seems that our observations are currently contradictory since I do not see where I have claimed anything about predicting single events?

    I do agree with one thing you say, “denial is a worthless scientific term”. However again my observation clashes with yours because I don’t see where I claimed it was otherwise?

    My use of the term psuedo-skeptic is directly aimed at those who’s phycological makeup allows their politics, religion, hip pocket nerve, etc to define their science. Is not countering that worldview what much of the advise in the article is about?

    Just in case you missed it. My whole point was that it’s no use babbling about this experiment or that result to the man in the street unless he first understands the meaning of skepticisim and why the philosphy of science is unique.

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 12 Mar 2009 @ 12:48 PM

  127. Re #122
    Jim, nice work, I can see a good deal of effort has gone into it and have bookmarked it.

    Something I hear more and more these days is that the IPCC scientists are “in it for the money”. I have seen some of the comments from the IPCC authors here and recognise they get nada in the way of remuneration.

    I had a quick sniff around the IPCC site and found their total expenditure for 2007 was about $US5.5 million, even taking the argument at face value says that’s a little over $2K each when divided amoung 2500 scientists – way to get rich huh?

    To do so much with so little is an increadible achievement but it would be nice to see a succinct page on the IPCC site spelling this out in better detail and thanking the authors/contributors for donating their time and effort.

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 12 Mar 2009 @ 1:08 PM

  128. pete best wrote in 116:

    Re #113/115, Got a few spare Earths lying around the repeat the experiment with then? Climate science is not a repeatable science is it. I am sure that Co2/methane/NO etc being a GHG has been demonstrated in the lab repeatably but many other asepects of AGW use measurements (temperatures, precipitation etc) and models (determining cause and effect) in order to predict and forcast future trends but not single events.

    Agreed, climatology (and evolutionary biology for that matter) are typically not repeatable, although both have some elements of repeatability. And as such, I would say that “repeatability” (to varying degrees) is important but not essential.

    Please see my “comment” 117 on repeatability and the distinction between historical and observational sciences.

    Then again, in a certain sense, no experiment is completely repeatable insofar as any experiment must necessarily take place at given time and place which will necessarily be different from any attempt to “repeat” it, and thus there is always the possibility that certain unknown factors will be involved that are unique to that experiment. But I believe this is in part what you were suggesting (at least with respect to climatology) when you spoke of predicting future trends rather than single events.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 12 Mar 2009 @ 1:31 PM

  129. Consensus statements are made by scientific groups routinely on matters that affect the public.

    Public Health is one example:

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&lr=&safe=off&scoring=r&q=consensus+statement+public+health+climate

    Climate change: the public health response
    H Frumkin, J Hess, G Luber, J Malilay, M McGeehin – American Journal of Public Health, 2008 – Am Public Health Assoc
    … There is scientific consensus that the global climate is … et al., begin with a statement
    that prima … attention to climate change: “Public health should address …
    Cited by 12

    Climate change and human health: present and future risks – ►who.int [PDF]
    AJ McMichael, RE Woodruff, S Hales – The Lancet, 2006
    … There is near unanimous scientific consensus that the rising … conditions and by the robustness of public health defences. …
    Cited by 490

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Mar 2009 @ 1:31 PM

  130. Ray Ladbury wrote in 121:

    I think there is a lot of misunderstanding of the concept of scientific consensus. Scientists never sit down and lay out a consensus. Rather, it is just that some ideas/concepts/techniques are too useful to do without. That is, you simply can’t understand the phenomenon without those ideas. This is the way it works whether you are talking the consensus model of Earth’s climate or the standard model of particle physics.

    Agreed. In fact this is something that I treat in a bit more detail in the comment I linked to under “scientific consensus” in comment 115 above.

    Here is perhaps the most relevant excerpt:

    Likewise, the more broadly integrative theories will rely upon the conclusions in a wide variety of disciplines, implications in a wide variety of of disciplines and have explanatory power in a wide variety of disciplines. At the same time, modern science requires a large division of cognitive labor. It is divided into fields, disciplines, sub-disciplines and sub-sub-disciplines. Few people can achieve any real expertise in more than a handful or so areas…

    As such, experts throughout the scientific endeavor generally have to rely upon points that are at least tacitly dependent upon a form of scientific consensus — whether they are aware of this or not. Its unavoidable.

    But at the same time, it generally isn’t something which they have to be all that aware of – precisely because the principles which have become part of the well-established consensus are well-established. We generally become self-consciously aware of expert consensus and the need for it only at the interface between the scientific community and the broader community in which it is embedded.

    Comment 155 to post “BBC contrarian top 10″

    However, I also argue that in addition to being largely tacit, a scientific consensus is also evidence based. (For more on this please follow the link immediately above.)

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 12 Mar 2009 @ 1:54 PM

  131. John (#124): I have no further interest in playing a Derrida deconstructionist game, especially with someone who claims

    I am not saying, and did not say that skeptics are motivated by what the fossil fuel industry wants. That is simply you ‘ascribing motive’ into what I said.

    and then proceeds to write a 7-paragraphs exposition explaining how the wants of the fossil fuel industry provide motive for skeptics.

    Comment by Ryan O — 12 Mar 2009 @ 2:08 PM

  132. So, what should a young blogger say about today’s headline news:
    Increased Number Think Global Warming Is “Exaggerated”:
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/116590/Increased-Number-Think-Global-Warming-Exaggerated.aspx

    It would appear as if the American public is increasingly becoming less concerned about how serious AGW is or will be.

    Is this the result of science reporting (or the lack of it?) Perhaps the influence of bloggers (WUWT?)

    Comment by SamWeiss — 12 Mar 2009 @ 2:14 PM

  133. RC/Gavin,

    The Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen has ended today and I’m amazed it’s barely had a mention on here.

    The Guardian and The Indy have have been reporting on some of the issues, but would it be possible to post a summary of the current state of the science from this conference for the layperson?

    Thanks in advance.

    [Response: Stefan was there, maybe he can provide a summary when he gets back. Also check out Eli Kintisch at ScienceInsider. - gavin]

    Comment by Abi — 12 Mar 2009 @ 2:38 PM

  134. Pete Best says:

    “Re #113/115, Got a few spare Earths lying around the repeat the experiment with then? Climate science is not a repeatable science is it.”

    The science that drives Climatology IS repeatable.

    Go on, get a large enclosed area, a thermometer, lots of CO2 and a powerful lamp

    You’ll find out, like arrhenius did, that CO2 is a greenhouse gas.

    The physics that goes into the calculations being done by the models simulating climate are likewise repeatable.

    Who needs a third earth to monkey around with?

    Comment by Mark — 12 Mar 2009 @ 2:42 PM

  135. On readability: I’m a few years into my first pair of bifocals, and I
    probably need an upgrade. I agree that short paragraphs are best.

    Those facing eye strain should try Firefox (or IE 7), then hit
    Control-Plus key repeatedly. This will increase the text size, without
    limit. (In IE 6 there are only two steps of text text zoom available.)

    Zooming the text can foul up more complex sites with multi-column
    layouts, so be ready to hit Control-Minus to restore sanity if you
    navigate to such a site (each window can have its own “text zoom
    level”).

    My one gripe with the RC site design is that the style sheet or
    whatever makes the text quite rough when I zoom it greatly in this way
    in IE7 (on XP sp3). Character spacing goes all wonky, with some
    letters colliding and other pairs so far apart they look like unwanted
    word breaks.

    I just tried this in Firefox 3.0.6, and I thought I remembered having
    similar font trouble there, but it looks great in FF.

    I’d really appreciate if the keeper of the RC site design could try
    this out, see it happen in your IE7, and then tweak the style sheet or
    whatever to allow zoomed text to stay properly spaced. But check that
    it keeps Firefox happy too.

    Also re #97: “I Like Ike” – great post! Way to lead by example! You
    made my morning.

    - Jim

    [Response: Unfortunately, I don't use IE - but if someone does, and they know their way around a style sheet - feel free to suggest any tweaks... - gavin]

    Comment by Jim Prall — 12 Mar 2009 @ 3:00 PM

  136. Jim Prall, #135. You can make IE use its own fonts and this may work better than using the ones from the site (they may give a family of fonts that don’t have the size you want, so it picks another font that IS the right size, or uses a different size).

    That ought to fix your problems (though you may have to change some other settings about what fonts IE will use, since they may not have the font sizes you need either.

    Comment by Mark — 12 Mar 2009 @ 3:27 PM

  137. Re: Mark’s comment 131

    Pete Best wrote in 117:

    Re #113/115, Got a few spare Earths lying around the repeat the experiment with then? Climate science is not a repeatable science is it.

    Mark responds in 131:

    The science that drives Climatology IS repeatable.

    Go on, get a large enclosed area, a thermometer, lots of CO2 and a powerful lamp

    You’ll find out, like arrhenius did, that CO2 is a greenhouse gas.

    Mark, actually Pete Best makes the same point in the comment you are responding to.

    Please see:

    I am sure that Co2/methane/NO etc being a GHG has been demonstrated in the lab repeatably…

    Comment 117

    *
    Mark continues in 131:

    The physics that goes into the calculations being done by the models simulating climate are likewise repeatable.

    It would be strictly repeatable to the extent that it is deterministic and one starts with the same exact conditions one will end up with the same results. However, if the model is at all interesting (like the weather), then it will be a chaotic system and over time a small variation may be amplified until it affects the entire system — and as such, one learns very little from identical runs.

    As a consequence of the complexity of interaction, it becomes extraordinarily difficult to identify the form of causation applicable to the system as a whole (e.g., what is responsible for the near constancy of the global average of relative humidity). As such, we appear to be better off with ensembles of runs with a given model (or ensemble of models) and looking at the distribution — or what he referred to as trends — after a suitable length of time.

    I believe this is what Pete is referring to when he states:

    … but many other asepects of AGW use measurements (temperatures, precipitation etc) and models (determining cause and effect) in order to predict and forcast future trends but not single events.

    Comment 117

    However, I would make another point: we actually learn very little about a given model if all we do is repeat the same run with exactly the same initial conditions. Moreover, I am not particulary interested in how a climate model behaves except insofar as it is presumably good at modelling the climate system. But the climate system itself is, at any given point in time, unique — and will include causal factors which are not included in a given model, factors which may or may not be significant in terms of the evolution of the climate system. And the more factors models take into account, the more complicated they become, tending towards the complexity of the climate system — which is itself beyond the comprehension of any individual human mind.

    Which is why it makes sense for him to ask rhetorically whether or not you have a “few spare Earths,” which incidentally would have to be identical to our own and subject to deterministic causation for strict repeatability to apply.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 12 Mar 2009 @ 3:51 PM

  138. re #135 – I think the problem may lie in the fact that the site uses both a screen and print style sheet.

    Gavin – I did a quick look and the style for instance at the beginning of the actual post is called “storycontent” and it only exists in the print style sheet. My speculation (and that is all this is) is that this causes the conflict with the IE zoom. Of course this helps making printing the post easier and they are changing the zoom function further in IE8. Here are a couple of posts about how the funcion works in both from Microsoft:
    IE7 – http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2006/02/07/526805.aspx
    IE8 – http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2008/03/25/internet-explorer-8-and-adaptive-zoom.aspx

    Comment by MJ — 12 Mar 2009 @ 4:01 PM

  139. Ike Solem (post 124): Thank you. I very much appreciate your explanation. I really enjoy this site. I learn a lot from you people. I am a philosopher working in a politics dept. these days. I am interested in political decision-making concerning climate change and in solutions. I have no expertise in climatology or physics, so sometimes it is hard for me, but you people help – thanks again.

    Comment by Will Denayer — 12 Mar 2009 @ 4:22 PM

  140. I second the call for a summary of the Copenhagen meet. I read Eric Rignot in a NYTimes article stating that ice loss from Greenland was 2/3 due to ice export (sliding and calving) and 1/3 due to melt. All of the ice loss from Antarctica was export. A link to the presentation would be nice.

    I seem to recall that the rate of ice loss in Greenland has increased 250% and from Antarctica by 59% in the last decade. Is there more news on the GRAVIS front ?

    Comment by sidd — 12 Mar 2009 @ 4:27 PM

  141. Tim, this “However, if the model is at all interesting (like the weather), then it will be a chaotic system and over time a small variation may be amplified until it affects the entire system”

    Is true, but that isn’t science behind climate science, is it.

    And you are completely wrong here:

    “and as such, one learns very little from identical runs.”

    Nope. Have you heart of a chaos theory term called “an attractor”?

    You learn A LOT from repeated identical runs. Sensitivity to the accuracy of the inputs, which leads to the determination of how well you can predict your chaotic system when it’s in certain realms.

    Next time you look at, say, the Lorentz attractor, have a look at the lines. See how in some places the lines are close together. If your system is in this mode, you can change the system DRASTICALLY with a small change. See how in some places the lines are far, far apart. Here you can predict with good accuracy for a long time where the system will be, even if your measurements aren’t as perfect as you’d like.

    You can learn a lot from rerunning.

    If that’s a bit big for some, how about this: you can determine whether your coin is fair or not by repeatedly tossing the coin. The more times you toss (repeating the EXACT SAME experiment) the better determination of the accuracy of the fairness of that coin.

    Learn nothing? Only before Chaos was investigated. That’s Victorian thinking.

    Comment by Mark — 12 Mar 2009 @ 5:38 PM

  142. It remains my conviction that the primary cause of the delay in runaway global warming resides in the buffering effect provided by the conversion of ice to water. How else can we explain how both poles can be losing frozen water without a simultaneous increase in global temperature? Sooner or later the “tipping point” will occur with disastrous consequences.

    If this hypothesis is without merit, perhaps someone here will explain why. Since this has yet to occur you can be certain I will persist with it.

    Comment by John A. Davison — 12 Mar 2009 @ 6:10 PM

  143. Re Sidd’s comment 140

    (200) From the NYT

    Previous computer models missed ice slipping into the ocean

    According to Rignot, the scientific community is now more fully aware that ice sliding into the ocean — as opposed to ice melting — plays a preponderant role in ice-cap evolution. “Ice is slipping into the ocean at a rapid rate, a phenomenon that was not correctly incorporated into previous models,” said Ringot.

    “In Greenland, we estimate that two-thirds of the cause of the glaciers’ disappearance is accelerated ice slide, while the remaining third of the cause is ice melting. In the Antarctic, the cause is 100 percent ice slide, and the speed-up there is exponential.”

    Researchers: Sea Levels May Rise Faster Than Expected
    By JEAN-MARIE MACABREY, ClimateWire
    Published: March 11, 2009
    http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2009/03/11/11climatewire-researchers-warn-that-sea-levels-will-rise-m-10080.html

    (2006) Greenland

    The loss of ice from Greenland doubled between 1996 and 2005, as its glaciers flowed faster into the ocean in response …

    PR Newswire, Feb 16, 2006
    http://www.accessmylibrary.com/premium/0286/0286-12724312.html

    (2009) West Antarctica
    One model’s projections for West Antarctic Ice Sheet:

    Rare good news, caveated: A British scientist says his model shows that previous thinking that 3°C of warming is sufficient to melt the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is wrong; he puts the figure at 8°C.

    MARCH 12, 2009
    Quick Hits From Copenhagen
    http://blogs.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/

    (2008) Antarctica:

    n all, snowfall and ice loss in East Antarctica have about equaled out over the past 10 years, leaving that part of the continent unchanged in terms of total ice. But in West Antarctica, the ice loss has increased by 59 percent over the past decade to about 132 billion metric tons a year, while the yearly loss along the peninsula has increased by 140 percent to 60 billion metric tons. Because the ice being lost is generally near the bottom of glaciers, the glacier moves faster into the water and thins further, as a result. Rignot said there has been evidence of ice loss going back as far as 40 years.

    Escalating Ice Loss Found in Antarctica
    Sheets Melting in an Area Once Thought to Be Unaffected by Global Warming
    By Marc Kaufman, Washington Post Staff Writer
    Monday, January 14, 2008; A01
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/13/AR2008011302753_pf.html

    (2009) … but more recently:

    Until recently it was only the fragile Antarctic Peninsula that juts up from West Antarctica, which was considered vulnerable to global warming. The peninsula is warming more rapidly than much of the rest of the world with temperatures rising 2.5 degrees in the past 50 years and ice loss increasing 140 per cent in the past decade.

    Poles apart but warming greater than thought
    Marian Wilkinson Environment Editor
    February 27, 2009
    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/global-warming/poles-apart-but-warming-greater-than-thought-20090226-8j9g.html

    *

    On another front, further calculations have been done regarding Siberian permafrost…

    Using computer models and measurements from Siberia, Ciais and his colleagues predicted a fifth of the carbon could be released by 2200, once soil temperatures reached about 8C higher than today’s levels. A global average increase in air temperatures of 2C would mean significantly higher temperatures in the Arctic, and Ciais warned that a few unusually hot years could see soil temperatures reach the 8C threshhold.

    Global warming may trigger carbon ‘time bomb’, scientist warns
    Billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide and methane could be released from thawing Arctic soils, says climate researcher
    Tuesday 10 March 2009 18.26 GMT
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/mar/10/climate-change-copenhagen

    (2009) … and the Amazon:

    LONDON: A new research has predicted that global warming will have a devastating effect on the Amazon rainforest, shrinking it by 85 percent if there is a rise of 4 degree Celsius in the temperature.

    Amazon could shrink by 85% due to warming
    12 Mar 2009, 1552 hrs IST, ANI
    http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Earth/Global-Warming/Amazon_could_shrink_by_85_due_to_warming/articleshow/4255837.cms

    (2009) … and deaths due to global warming:

    COPENHAGEN: Around 150,000 deaths now occur in low-income countries each year due to climate change that causes crop failure and malnutrition, diarrhoea, malaria and flooding, says the World Health Organisation (WHO).

    Warming killing 150,000 more people in poor countries: WHO
    12 Mar 2009, 2019 hrs IST, IANS
    http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Earth/Global-Warming/Warming_killing_150000_more_people_in_poor_countries_WHO/articleshow/4256933.cms

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 12 Mar 2009 @ 6:19 PM

  144. Ironically, the maligned blogger you mention in the article also has a pretty good article with advice for young bloggers.

    http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2007/03/why-truth-is-losing-ground.html

    [Response: No surprise. Michael has a lot of useful stuff to say. He's been in this game since the early days of usenet. - gavin]

    Comment by Bryce — 12 Mar 2009 @ 6:31 PM

  145. So how should a blogger handle statements by the press, which are stupid.

    I just ran across a Yale Environment 360 interview with Elizabeth Kolbert, a climate change reporter with the New Yorker, where she says:

    http://www.e360.yale.edu/content/feature.msp?id=2130

    “I mean, Freeman Dyson has done a tremendous amount of damage saying, “I don’t believe models. We can’t model this.” Well, we actually can model
    it very accurately, it turns out. And we’re talking about very fundamental science. It’s not a very complicated science.”

    Should we ignore such imbecilic statements of how simple the science is? Is that the message we want to give the public? Someone should tell this woman to look at the scientific blogs out there, so that she realizes how complex it is to model the climate.

    [edit]

    Anne

    [Response: Kolbert has done a tremendous job bringing this to the public and understands the issues extremely well. Her "Field Notes from a Catastrophe" is probably the best pop. sci. intro to the issue out there. Her statement is not 'imbecilic' - the basic science is very simple and something that the public doesn't grasp well. And yes, she understands how hard it is to model the details - read chapter 5 of her book. You have picked the absolutely worst target here. - gavin]

    Comment by Anne — 12 Mar 2009 @ 7:10 PM

  146. I don’t recall seeing this posted previously, so I thought I would bring it to the attention of RC readers- it is a CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Co.) podcast about military preparations for war resulting from political strife caused by global warming:

    http://podcast.cbc.ca/mp3/ideas_20090119_10989.mp3

    Other CBC podcasts on global warming (and other topics) are indexed at:

    http://www.podcastdirectory.com/podcasts/33624

    “Global warming is moving much more quickly than scientists thought it would. Even if the biggest current and prospective emitters – the United States, China and India -were to slam on the brakes today, the earth would continue to heat up for decades. At best, we may be able to slow things down and deal with the consequences, without social and political breakdown. Gwynne Dyer examines several radical short- and medium-term measures now being considered—all of them controversial…”

    Comment by Chuck Booth — 12 Mar 2009 @ 7:23 PM

  147. Re: #123

    Jim Prall,

    Great website!

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

    One thing that contrarians seem to be good at is getting their message out despite being on the fringe. Here are a few things I’ve noticed:

    - I recognize almost all the names of the small group of contrarians (all of the 18 who are in the top 500). Their names are constantly repeated/recycled in the press to the point where they are practically celebrities. When the press strives for “balance”, there aren’t many contrarians to choose from. I can’t say the same about most of those who have signed an “activist” statement, nor most others on the list. Most of them don’t really stand out in a crowd.

    - Some of those in part of the “Deniers” series aren’t really deniers. William Nordhaus, for instance, believes global warming is quite serious, but seems to be critical of the Kyoto Protocol, arguing instead in favor of an international carbon tax.

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/21811

    Others, like Hans von Storch, is on both the Deniers series and the Inhofe list. There are many other examples of these kinds of distortions.

    - You make a distinction between “activist” statements and “skeptic” statements. To me, someone who is trying to influence policy to stop emissions reductions is just as much of an activist as someone who is trying to urge governments to reduce emissions. “Skeptic”, on the other hand, is a bit more redundant. All scientists are skeptics, so it doesn’t say much. Are skeptics skeptical of their views and the views of other skeptics?

    Comment by MarkB — 12 Mar 2009 @ 7:40 PM

  148. Re #125, #104

    John: You’re right, I (deliberately) missed Hank’s context. I was looking at how easily the list of papers could be misrepresented by a myopic (ie: one eyed) protaganist. The problem with discussing lobbying is that “everyone does it”, it’s difficult to convince people that any particular lobbying effort is coordinated and deliberately fraudulent, especially if they are the victims of such fraud. IMHO it’s better to be specific and attack individual fraudsters such as Andrew Bolt and even then I think it’s best to present the evidence for fraud not as an accusation but as a question. eg: I’m not sure why he select that line but if you look at what X actually says…

    In my (limited) experience it’s just as constructive to talk about standard Gore rhetoric as it to talk about standard RNC rhetoric even though anything more than a glance at Hank’s and my lists will show they actually say pretty much the same thing (ie: certain FF companies have deliberately obfuscated the facts)..

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 12 Mar 2009 @ 8:03 PM

  149. John Davison, Please do the math. The ice lost to melting represents a tiny fraction of the solar energy incident on the region. You can also sink energy in a variety of other places–deep in the oceans, for instance. As Hank says, you can look this stuff up–or at the very least, calculate it.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Mar 2009 @ 8:14 PM

  150. One thing to consider is that the blogosphere allows entry by anyone, and some people hold quite scary views. A few months ago I had an extended, polite, reasonable discussion with a denier, and felt I was making headway, when out of the blue he sent me a really horribly racist diatribe that had nothing to do with any part of the discussion. I broke it off because there are some people–quite a few, apparently–who are really a long way out there…

    Comment by Douglas — 12 Mar 2009 @ 8:34 PM

  151. > How else can we explain how both poles can be losing
    > frozen water without a simultaneous increase in global
    > temperature? Sooner or later the “tipping point”…

    The total volume of water in the oceans is enormous compared to the total amount of ice, and the water is mixing far faster than the ice is melting because most of the ice buried deep in other ice, not exposed to temperature change. You can work this out for yourself.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Mar 2009 @ 8:44 PM

  152. Mark wrote in 131:

    The physics that goes into the calculations being done by the models simulating climate are likewise repeatable.

    I wrote in 137:

    It would be strictly repeatable to the extent that it is deterministic and one starts with the same exact conditions one will end up with the same results. However, if the model is at all interesting (like the weather), then it will be a chaotic system and over time a small variation may be amplified until it affects the entire system — and as such, one learns very little from identical runs.

    Mark responded in 141:

    Is true, but that isn’t science behind climate science, is it.

    Not with the individual, exactly identical runs that as a matter of causal necessity result from the same exact initial conditions.

    But then again, I referred to ensembles where the initial conditions would be different.
    *

    Mark continued in 141:

    And you are completely wrong here:

    “and as such, one learns very little from identical runs.”

    Think about it: if the runs are exactly identical, with the same exact number of digits with the same exact values (representing the exact same initial conditions) being performed on an identical machine with identical code (resulting in the same exact “physics”), then yes, the results will be identical. In fact this is what is implied by your statement in 131 quoted above.
    *

    Mark continued in 141:

    Nope. Have you heart of a chaos theory term called “an attractor”?

    You learn A LOT from repeated identical runs. Sensitivity to the accuracy of the inputs, which leads to the determination of how well you can predict your chaotic system when it’s in certain realms.

    You mean like the Lorenz attractor through which Lorenz discovered the butterfly effect.

    Alright, consider:

    The butterfly Effect

    In 1960, Edward Lorenz was creating weather systems in his computer. As a mathematician in a meteorologist’s clothing, Lorenz knew that the best he could do was to recreate, only approximately, the atmospheric dynamics occurring in nature. Coupling that limitation with the primitive computing power he had available, Lorenz constructed a bare-bones simulation of Rayleigh-Benard convection—much like a cup of coffee being heated from beneath—with just three differential equations. His graphics output consisted of letters and numbers printed sequentially on a text printer. Wavy strings of printed characters served as contiguous points plotting airflows and such. At one point, Lorenz wanted to get a closer look at a particularly interesting weather pattern. So, in order to cut short the computation time, he carefully typed in a sequence of numbers obtained from the computer’s previous output. The computer churned out a pattern that soon bore no resemblance to the region of interest.

    Lorenz quickly realized that the increasing deviations were due to the difference in the number of digits stored by the computer during its calculations and the reduced number of digits he input. (To save space, the computer printout listed only three digits beyond the decimal point rather than the six digits stored internally.) It was clear that slight differences between actual and measured atmospheric parameters, such as barometric pressure, temperature, wind speed, wind direction, and humidity, were unavoidable. Based on this limitation and on the observed discrepancies in his mini-weather simulation, Lorenz soon concluded that highly accurate, long-term weather forecasting, his primary interest, was impossible. And so, with little or no fanfare, the science of chaos was born! Eventually, Lorenz submitted an article on his discovery of chaos to the Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences.

    http://www.viewsfromscience.com/documents/webpages/chaos_p3.html

    (emphasis added)

    The rounding of six digits to three. Not the same inital conditions.
    *

    Mark continued in 141:

    Next time you look at, say, the Lorentz attractor, have a look at the lines. See how in some places the lines are close together. If your system is in this mode, you can change the system DRASTICALLY with a small change.

    Yes, a small change. Not the same initial conditions.

    So if we fed in the same exact numbers and used strictly deterministic calculations the results would be exactly the same.
    *

    Mark continued in 141:

    Next time you look at, say, the Lorentz attractor, have a look at the lines. See how in some places the lines are close together. If your system is in this mode, you can change the system DRASTICALLY with a small change. See how in some places the lines are far, far apart. Here you can predict with good accuracy for a long time where the system will be, even if your measurements aren’t as perfect as you’d like.

    As I put it in the comment that you were responding to(137):

    However, if the model is at all interesting (like the weather), then it will be a chaotic system and over time a small variation may be amplified until it affects the entire system…

    *

    Mark continued in 141:

    You can learn a lot from rerunning.

    Not with the same exact initial conditions — if you are using the same deterministic computer. This is afterall what we mean by deterministic.

    As I stated immediately after my brief quote from Pete that directly followed the one sentence fragment you chose to quote:

    However, I would make another point: we actually learn very little about a given model if all we do is repeat the same run with exactly the same initial conditions.

    *

    Mark continued in 141:

    If that’s a bit big for some, how about this: you can determine whether your coin is fair or not by repeatedly tossing the coin. The more times you toss (repeating the EXACT SAME experiment) the better determination of the accuracy of the fairness of that coin.

    You will not be repeating the “EXACT SAME” experiment because the initial conditions will always be different. The currents of air will be different. The force, start position, direction and angle with which you toss the coin will be different. (A bit different from a series of computer simulations in which you feed the computer the same exact numbers with the same precision for the initial conditions each time.) As I understand it, though, you don’t have to worry about quantum fluctuations, at least with a coin toss.
    *

    Mark continued in 141:

    Learn nothing? Only before Chaos was investigated. That’s Victorian thinking.

    And at this point I have analyzed your entire post — as opposed to a single sentence fragment.

    Mark, you are a great deal brighter than this. Much brighter.

    *

    Captcha fortune cookie:
    reduction Clear

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 12 Mar 2009 @ 9:42 PM

  153. RE: #135 Jim Prall’s comment about display in Internet Explorer:

    Gavin,

    Verdana scales better when zoomed in Internet Explorer. I can give you the code for implementing a conditional css style for IE if you like.

    While we are at it, I can help you make the header look a little more stylish and less clunky. I’ve made a version of the header graphic which is shorter with clearer text. I can also help you to make the main page links look better and take up less space. Especially since it appears that the site runs on EE?

    [Response: That sounds great. Email to contrib - at- realclimate.org with more details. Probably showing my ignorance, but I have no idea what "EE" is..... - gavin]

    Comment by Craig Allen — 12 Mar 2009 @ 10:15 PM

  154. …Mark and Timothy. You guys should get together for beers to finish hammering this out. Very interesting exchange though, but better suited to channel 39 (UFC).

    Comment by Rando — 12 Mar 2009 @ 10:57 PM

  155. Are you people ready for some more nonsense?
    This ‘discussion’ (see below please) can be found at:
    http://rybkaforum.net/cgi-bin/rybkaforum/topic_show.pl?tid=9559

    Rybka is a chess engine, people discuss everything including climate change at this site.

    The author of the message below is a certain Turbojuice, who, according to someone else, has quite a reputation in attacking climatologists.
    I agree that, in itself, this is not so interesting (and I apologise if this is boring to you), but he goes on and on about it and no one knows how to counter him, so the drawing people to his side.

    [edit - this is not the appropriate place to simply cut and paste rubbish]

    Another poster gave Spencer’s CV which sounds quite impressive. Etc.
    Best, Will

    Comment by Will Denayer — 13 Mar 2009 @ 12:25 AM

  156. [Sorry Gavin, I accidentally posted this on the wrong thread.]

    #131 Ryan O

    Our discussion illustrates a problem in the debate that I have noticed in others. You seem to be comfortable making statements that are vague, contradictory, incorrect, without context, or even hypocritical and then saying well, if your going to do a critical deconstruction of what I am saying, then I don’t want to engage.

    So it’s okay for you to make statements and deconstruct what I said, but it’s not okay the other way around. If you don’t like your words being deconstructed, don’t write them in a blog well known for debate and discussion, and don’t ascribe motives to others, while stating that it irritates you when people do that.

    The fact is you mistranslated my words.

    Your direct and vague statements do not make sense as applied (imo), which I believe I clearly pointed out. Now you have no further interest in discussion.

    If you will not admit your own mistakes, or your clearly illustrated hypocrisy, then there is no good reason for further discussion.

    I will not ascribe a motive to your stance, but I will say that it seems you prefer things to be left in the air, generally speaking, rather than resolved, based on what I have read in your statements; just as you remain “skeptical of the IPCC’s predictions”, “the accuracy of model impacts”, “the accuracy of the temperature record” without giving relevant context of why, and on what basis.

    Proper context will get you relevance, I’m sure your understanding will increase in time, as will mine.

    Best,
    John

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 13 Mar 2009 @ 1:03 AM

  157. RE #142

    John, if I’m not mistaken I think the answer has something to do with the fact(?) there is no temprature change associated with the phase change from ice to water. I also think that somewhat ironically, manmade areosols are the most important “buffer” at the moment because the capacity to cool (negative forcing) has change in line with the increase in GHG (positive forcing) for it to act as a “buffer”. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong on either count, I realise “buffer” and “capacity” are not really appropriate words for what I’m trying to say.

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 13 Mar 2009 @ 2:25 AM

  158. Tim, don’t be dumb.

    ” you can change the system DRASTICALLY with a small change.

    Yes, a small change. Not the same initial conditions.”

    What is the difference between a change and a change in the initial conditions?

    the model isn’t starting from the big bang, you know, so it’s ALREADY sitting partway through the system, the mode of which you have measured in your initial conditions.

    Learn nothing? Seems that’s all *you* have managed.

    Comment by Mark — 13 Mar 2009 @ 3:42 AM

  159. Rando wrote in 154:

    …Mark and Timothy. You guys should get together for beers to finish hammering this out. Very interesting exchange though, but better suited to channel 39 (UFC).

    Wrong continents, I believe. I live in Seattle, and I have a hunch he might read the Scotsman. (Excellent paper: pro-science, and the editor can’t stand creationism.) Besides, I have high triglycerides and take lamictal for a bipolar condition, and neither mixes well with alcohol.

    However, we both believe that repeatability is important, but obviously it isn’t applicable to chaotic systems to the extent that the initial conditions of a system is unrepeatable, however small the difference between it and other systems so long as a difference exists. So perhaps he can have a beer and then a Guinness Stout for me — which happens to be my favorite beer.

    Anyway, he can have the last word if he chooses. However, here are links to a few posts of mine that might be worth reading, and which I mentioned above, but weren’t directly part of my argument with him.

    I am including them because they are somewhat important elements in the philosophy of science, and in my view, part of the defense of climatology as a branch of science.

    Please see:
    Scientific Consensus (comment in thread of different post)
    Duhem’s Thesis (comment in thread of different post)
    Repeatability and the “Dichotomy” Between Historical and Observational Sciences (comment in the thread of this post)

    *

    Captcha fortune cookie:
    Whitehouse beer

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 13 Mar 2009 @ 6:08 AM

  160. “I have a hunch he might read the Scotsman.”

    Nah, I don’t read newspapers.

    They *used* to do news. Now they do sensationalism.

    Like one Calvin and Hobbes cartoon, you can tell the in-depth articles because they have a full-page pictures beside them.

    Comment by Mark — 13 Mar 2009 @ 7:28 AM

  161. PS I Love Guiness.

    It doesn’t Love Me, though. Maybe too much sulphur compounds in it.

    But as the Macc Lads said, you are what you drink, and I’m a bitter man…

    Comment by Mark — 13 Mar 2009 @ 7:32 AM

  162. Re Chuck Booth @146, actually I have mentioned CBC’s 3-part podcast of Gwynne Dyer’s Climate Wars before.
    http://www.podcastdirectory.com/podcasts/33624

    It is essentially a compressed presentation of Dyer’s book of the same title, which I am just finishing.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 13 Mar 2009 @ 8:09 AM

  163. to #156 – John, your exchange with Ryan is an interesting one which seems to rest on an interpretation of the phrase:

    “As to those not connected with fossil fuels that are arguing AGW is not real, that’s mainly because they don’t have enough of the relevant context yet.”

    That’s a broad statement, though not one which I would interpret to mean that all skeptics are the same if only because it is unclear to me what you mean by “not real”. I’m not sure there’s a lot of debate about whether AGW is real – there is, of course, quite a bit of debate about how much warming is attributable, how much is predictable, what is the degree and even [lately] the sign of feedback, and how much is dangerous. “Relevant context” is also a bit vague – one would have expected you to write “relevant facts” – so perhaps you would be willing to be more precise?

    Walter Manny

    Comment by wmanny — 13 Mar 2009 @ 9:07 AM

  164. A childhood hero of mine the completely mad, Julius Sumner Miller has something to say about models, and somewhat tangentialy (elsewhere in the clip) the relevance of repeatability once you have found a good one.

    “A proper understanding of the affairs of nature lies in the mathematics which describes it, because words are very weak!”

    Unlike any other TV educator I have ever seen he was never perturbed by his demonstrations that frequently didn’t work out. Rather than editing it out he would point it out and say “Experiments never fail! It is I who have failed to set the proper conditions for nature to cooperate”. There are quite a few (to my mind humourous and infromative) clips of him on youtube, great stuff from a great man.

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 13 Mar 2009 @ 9:37 AM

  165. Since Hansen does believe that UHI matters and Jones does not, do these new studies prove that Hansen was right and Jones wrong? If so, does this mean additional work needs to be done for UHI off-set since the study of Northern China shows that position within the UHI matters?

    Gutierrez, et. al. (2008) Urban Heat Island effect from Satellite Remote Sensing and Land Surface Modeling

    Urban heat island (UHI) was traditionally examined using WMO 2m surface air temperatures. Such effect was considered as significant at night, namely, a nighttime phenomenon. Using the recently available satellite remote sensing data from NASA MODIS, we find that UHI can also be identified from surface skin temperature and that the daytime UHI is more evident than the nighttime UHI. Furthermore, the regional climate model simulations reveal that the albedo reduction in urbanization area contributes the most for the daytime UHI.

    Zhang et. al. (2008,) The relationship between remotely-sensed surface parameters and urban heat islands in the USA

    The amplitude of the urban heat island is remarkably asymmetric: it is larger during summer where it reaches 4.3 oC, while during winter the excess heat due to urbanization is only 1.3 oC. In desert environments we find that the LST response to ISA is bowl-shaped. Zones with moderate ISA are cooler than the surrounding desert but as ISA increases above 75% the LST becomes more like the non-urban desert fringe. These observational results are in line with previous studies and indicate an increase in the urban heat island amplitude with increase in city size that is consistent among cities across a broad climatic range.

    Ren et. al. (2008) Urbanization Effects on Observed Surface Air Temperature Trends in North China

    The contribution of urban warming to total annual mean surface air temperature change as estimated with the national basic/reference station dataset reaches 37.9%. It is therefore obvious that, in the current regional average surface air temperature series in north China, or probably in the country as a whole, there still remain large effects from urban warming. The urban warming bias for the regional average temperature anomaly series is corrected. After that, the increasing rate of the regional annual mean temperature is brought down from 0.29°C (10 yr)−1 to 0.18°C (10 yr)−1, and the total change in temperature approaches 0.72°C for the period analyzed.

    I do not want to imply that Jones ignores UHI only that CRU does not adjust for UHI. Well, actually, I cannot find any organization other than GISS adjusting for UHI.

    Comment by Vernon — 13 Mar 2009 @ 1:21 PM

  166. With a hat tip to:
    http://warner.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/12/better-and-brighter/

    This is worth contemplating:
    http://www.susanjacoby.com/

    —–excerpt follows——-

    Combining historical analysis with contemporary observation, Susan Jacoby dissects a culture at odds with America’s heritage of Enlightenment reason and with modern knowledge and science. With mordant wit, the author offers an unsparing indictment of the ways in which dumbness has been defined downward throughout American society—on the political right and the left. America’s endemic anti-intellectual tendencies have been exacerbated by a new species of semiconscious anti-rationalism, feeding on and fed by a popular culture of video images and unremitting noise that leaves no room for contemplation or logic.

    The book surveys an anti-rational landscape extending from reality TV and “infantainment” videos for babies to a pseudo-intellectual universe of “junk thought.” This vast kingdom of junk thought reaches from semiliterate blogs of all political persuasions to institutions of so-called higher education that offer courses in “fat studies” and horror films but do not require students to obtain a thorough grounding in American and world history, science, and literature. Throughout our culture, disdain for logic and evidence is fostered by the infotainment media from television to the Web; aggressive anti-rational religious fundamentalism; poor public education; the intense politicization of intellectuals themselves.

    Finally, the author argues that anti-rational government is not the product of a Machiavellian plot by “Washington” but is the inevitable result of “an overarching crisis of memory and knowledge” that has left many ordinary citizens and their elected representatives without the intellectual tools needed for sound public decision-making. The real question is not why politicians have lied to the public but why the public was so receptive and so passive ….

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Mar 2009 @ 1:36 PM

  167. Current cooling factors include a prolonged solar minimum and ABC (Atmospheric Brown CLud, brown fug which comes all across the Pacfic from Asia). Maybe so-called ocean oscillations play a part, but ice melt is too insignificant to mention.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 13 Mar 2009 @ 1:53 PM

  168. Hank (164), I could quibble with some of the degree and maybe the implication that this applies exclusively to the U.S (though she didn’t actually say that…), but I think there is much truth and insight in what you reported.

    Comment by Rod B — 13 Mar 2009 @ 2:42 PM

  169. @Will…if you have an account with the Rybka forum, send Turbojuice over to chessninja.com/boards, and look for the global warming thread.

    http://www.chessninja.com/boards/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=124082&page=123

    Two of the main posters, Ken and Spock, both in the sciences it seems, did a lot of the rebuttals (123 pages worth so far). Things are pretty quiet there now so maybe they’d be happy to have Turbojuice liven things up a bit.

    Comment by Daniel J. Andrews — 13 Mar 2009 @ 3:27 PM

  170. Off Topic
    Can anyone show me where (or if) this website’s claims have been addressed somewhere?:
    http://www.warwickhughes.com/hoyt/scorecard.htm Some “skeptic” shotgunned a thread with it.

    Comment by wildlifer — 13 Mar 2009 @ 3:28 PM

  171. @145

    Gavin-

    Thank you for that. She has done amazing work and really deserves to be commended. There is a documentary on ocean acidification inspired by her New Yorker piece (“The Darkening Sea”) called A Sea Change that debuts tomorrow (3/14/09) at the Washington DC Environmental Film Festival.

    Comment by thingsbreak — 13 Mar 2009 @ 4:22 PM

  172. re melting ice and global “not” warming – I plugged a number for the current energy imbalance due to GHGs (2.8e22 joules/year) into a spreadsheet and calculated the amount of ice it would melt, and compared it to the annual arctic melt (~9e6 km2 at an assumed thickness of 3 meters) and found that would account for ~30% of the energy; not enough to account for a big lag in warming, but not an insignificant portion of the energy budget either(it would be good for someone else to do the same calculations – I’ve been known to misplace a decimal point in the past). The other ice melting in antarctica, greenland, and glaciers is a much smaller contribution. I’m aware that there are gross simplifications in this “back of the envelope” calculation; not all the energy contributing to ice melting is this years insolation, but some comes from stored heat in the oceans; not all the heat given off by freezing the arctic ice in the winter gets radiated into space, albedo changes probably are important, more evaporation from more open water and condensation/latent heat transport to other regions likely has an effect, and so on. An interesting question is where is the energy not melting ice going? My SWAG is mostly it’s being absorbed by cooler ocean surface waters brought about by ENSO, PDO, and some of the other alphabet soup of internal climate variations. I also wonder how much hotter would the Sahara have to be to radiate an extra 1e22 joules over the course of a year? My knowledge of physics isn’t good enough to let me calculate this. Any takers? area is 4.62e6km^2, and assume it’s a black body at thermal radiation wavelengths.

    Comment by Brian dodge — 13 Mar 2009 @ 6:03 PM

  173. Hank, nice post especially the question at the end. My take is that critical thinking is a skill that is taught rather than inherited. Humans in general don’t like to be told how to think and this leaves them wide open for others to subtley tell them what to think.

    Ignoring Palin, I think politicians in general are smart people who recognise this and often act dumb for Machevalian reasons, in general they are more interested in herding people than enlightening them, although this often changes when they retire and are no longer constrained by the ballot box.

    As far as I can tell a strong science based public service is the only effective counterweight that has ever done much to temper that behaviour but we are constantly told “govenrment beuracrats” are oxygen thieves.

    The debate over wether modern media should entertain or enlighten goes back to Edison vs the Lumier(sic?) brothers. I think we need a bit of both and I would put the biting satire of people such as Carlin and Colbert under the heading of infotainment but definitely not “junk-thought” (which in itself is a bit of an oxymoron).

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 13 Mar 2009 @ 6:09 PM

  174. Gavin, This concerns post 155. I decided to post an excerpt here (the one you deleted) after some thinking because this thread is about advice for a blogger, and so it seems to fit in as it deals with internet wars. I also find it interesting to see that some people will use the most crooked arguments, data, pictures and everything they can find to deny the existence of climate change. It’s also interested to notice that the other participants lack the technical expertise – after all, they are not climatologists – to fight back and to these deniers are winning a propaganda battle hands down. I find all of these very sad. Please take a look: http://rybkaforum.net/cgi-bin/rybkaforum/topic_show.pl?tid=9559
    Best, Will

    Comment by Will Denayer — 13 Mar 2009 @ 7:01 PM

  175. Re: Disappearing ice as a buffer:

    John/Brian, I think the “buffer” is only the average anual anomoly not the entire 9M km2 melt that happens every year. As the good proffesor states the phase change of one gram of ice into one gram of water requires 80 calories (1cal ~= 4.18j).

    Here’s the back of my envolope.

    The average rate of september ice loss is a bit over 10%/yr
    Recent september minimums are 4-5M km2 (say 5)
    Assume 3 meter thickness.
    0.5M km2 X 0.003Km = 1500Km3.

    1 gram ice = 1.1cm3, 1500km3 = 1.35×10^18 grams of ice to water.

    Which gives about 4.5×10^18Kj, given your forcing figure of 2.8e22 joules/year I find the ice to water buffer absorbs about 0.00016% of the GHG forcing without raising the temprature.

    I too am bad with decimal points so it’s probably somewhere in between our figures, can anyone point to a real answer?

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 13 Mar 2009 @ 7:18 PM

  176. Heh, I can see an error already…

    4.5×10^18Kj, given your forcing figure of 2.8e22 joules/year, that makes it 16%.

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 13 Mar 2009 @ 7:24 PM

  177. You know, I think there are some flaws with this advice, just on the grounds that no climate denialist blog would ever follow any of that advice – yet the climate denialists have been remarkably effective in maintaining doubt among the general public. Why is this? They follow none of the suggested rules – indeed, quite the opposite. So, here is a revised list.

    “Be honest to yourself and your readers.”

    Response: Telling people to be honest is usually not a good place to begin – you’re implying that they are dishonest and need to be reminded of the need for honesty. Also, just because you honestly believe something to be true, that doesn’t mean it is – and we really can’t afford any more honest mistakes based on fervent beliefs – instead, strive for scientific accuracy and clarity. That will be appreciated by your readers.

    “Know that there are people who will misrepresent you.”

    Response: Yes. Don’t be thin-skinned or thick-skinned.

    “In the specific world of climate-related blogs there are a number of conduits by which misrepresentations gain wider currency.”

    Response: Yes, the fossil fuel lobby’s echo chamber.

    “Be aware that the impact that you have might be very different from the impact that you think you should have.”

    Response: I wouldn’t worry about that – just stick to the reliable facts, IPCC reports, peer-reviewed journal articles. You have to have a little faith that people, once they get reliable information, will make logical decisions. If they refuse to do so, well, then, defame away.

    “Don’t expect the world to be fair.”

    Response: How patronizing. I expect reporters to accurately report scientific discoveries and facts – I’m not sure if that’s fair or not. Is it fair to harass reporters who repeatedly obfuscate details? Is it fair to target banks who get bailouts from the federal government while also helping to finance denialist front groups? Maybe not – maybe it’s not fair to blame some poor reporter for policies set by their corporate and editorial board – but then, life really isn’t fair, is it? Laws and regulations, however – we can certainly expect and demand that they be fair, can’t we?

    “Don’t let completely unfounded critiques bother you.”

    Response: If those critiques are being fed to the American public by the leading media organizations, than it should definitely bother you.

    “Don’t defame people. This should go without saying, but trivially accusing scientists of dishonesty, theft, academic malpractice and fraud pretty much rules you out of serious conversation.”

    Response: Trivially, sure. However, you left out “of being fellow travelers” – like all the scientists who quietly follow the funding allocations, switching their interests to the politically safe areas of research in the Bayh-Dole dominated U.S. academic system – which does not include renewable energy research. Second, for scientists who misrepresent facts repeatedly, defamation (based on scientific facts) is needed – or would you rather Lindzen still dominated the discussion? He’s now claiming all climate scientists are inspired by Nazi eugenics, by the way – so much for the WWII rule.

    Fundamental changes at the DOE will be needed to really develop more renewable energy technology.

    and Renewable energy is disruptive technology.

    “Correct mistakes. Again, it should go without saying that maintaining integrity requires that errors of fact be corrected as soon as possible.”

    Response: 100% agreement. Stephen Hawking said the same thing, by the way.

    “Realize that although you speak for yourself, if you take mainstream positions, you will be perceived as speaking for the whole climate science community.”

    Response: Scientists are not sheep (or shouldn’t be) – no one speaks for the whole climate community. Second, the climate science community doesn’t really seem to be better informed on renewable energy issues than the pharmaceutical science community – I like what Hansen has to say on climate, but his comments on energy make me wince.

    Avoid using language that can easily be misquoted.

    Response: It seems that any scientist can be misquoted and have their statements cherry-picked and taken out of context, and that’s going to be true unless you stick to neat one-liners, the way politicians do. You won’t have much luck explaining anything that way. For an recent example of cherry-picking, see this:

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/13/scientist-warming-could-cut-population-to-1-billion/

    “Don’t use any WWII metaphors. Ever.”

    Response: Not true. One useful WWII metaphor regards the business relationships between fascist regimes and American oil and auto companies – the oil companies did business with the Nazis up until the outbreak of WWII, and even after – not because of ideology, but because they wanted the sales. These companies put profitability first, which is to be expected – and that’s why we need government regulations (which were also passed in 1942, I think – the “Trading with the enemy act”). In fact, WWII was mostly about oil, on both the Japanese and German sides – it’s an interesting topic. It’s a useful metaphor for the behavior of fossil fuel interests, but perhaps not for climate change.

    “If you get noticed by the propagandists, wear that attention like a badge of honor. You will be in very good company.”

    Response: It’s not about you or your honor or the company you keep – it’s about accurate discussion of scientific results, period. “It’s not about you” is what Stewart said to Kramer, by the way.

    “Recognize that humor is far more effective than outrage. But try and rise above the level of the schoolyard. Think Jon Stewart rather than Rodney Dangerfield.”

    Response: Did you see Jon Stewart and CNBC? I think Jon Stewart was displaying outrage – and it was quite effective – but he had backed it up with a whole lot of evidence, hadn’t he? Trivial and ignorant outrage is what is damaging.

    To sum up, it is best to begin with politeness and decorum, but if you make the information available repeatedly, and it is ignored in favor of fossil fuel lobby talking points, than outrage is probably the most effective response – but only with all your evidence in hand. If they ask to see the evidence, go back to being polite and informative.

    That’s really the more effective strategy. However, most people won’t read your blog, most likely – but a whole lot of people read the comment sections of sites like RealClimate (hint, hint). You get free, hassle-free hosting and decent comment moderation as well – comment moderation is the real problem, I could never do it myself – so, three cheers for RC!

    Comment by Ike Solem — 13 Mar 2009 @ 8:48 PM

  178. Re #174.

    Will, I had to register just to take a look, I had no intention of commenting. I found most of the comments near the top are over a month old. Aside from the loaded question that kicks off the forum and the Tweedledee and Tweedledum routine that follows between “turbojuice1122″ and “Alan”, there a lot of other comments that have pointed to sound information.

    I think the “Don’t let completely unfounded critiques bother you” rule in the article applies here. I also think you don’t want to be accused of trying to start your own astroturf campaign (which btw I’m not accusing you of doing).

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 13 Mar 2009 @ 9:17 PM

  179. Re #177

    Ike, two points on your intro: “You know, I think there are some flaws with this advice, just on the grounds that no climate denialist blog would ever follow any of that advice – yet the climate denialists have been remarkably effective in maintaining doubt among the general public. Why is this? They follow none of the suggested rules – indeed, quite the opposite.”

    1. You assume the psuedo-skeptics are winning the propoganda war and will continue to do so. Not my experience over the last decade and also not the way things worked out for another similar campaign in recent history, ie: “tabacco scientists”.

    2. The means of the psuedo-skeptics do not justify ANY political ends no matter how justified the outrage is.

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 13 Mar 2009 @ 10:27 PM

  180. Ooops, my bad. you’re correct Alan, I should have plugged in just the anomaly, which means that any signal is getting buried in the noise.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 14 Mar 2009 @ 1:11 AM

  181. To pseudo-skeptics and others:

    It has come to my attention that Mt. Redoubt, an active Alaskan Volcano, at this time is spewing approximately 10,000 TONS of CO2 per day into the atmosphere; however, I have not asked for the Temperature Data.

    To Gavin and the rest: Congratulations to RealClimates posting of this Article. I’m somewhat quite impressed with the professionalism and desire to respectfully debate both sides of the issue.

    HATS OFF…..

    Comment by ehmoran — 14 Mar 2009 @ 3:16 AM

  182. Since I am now sure this will not appear, let me say that I am very disappointed that you will not respond to my hypothesis that it is the melting of polar and glacial ice that is the major cause of the delay in global warming. This is just to set the record straight. History has a way of straightening these matters out. I will see to that.

    Sincerely,

    John A. Davison

    jadavison.wordpress.com

    Comment by John A. Davison — 14 Mar 2009 @ 5:05 AM

  183. wildlifer,

    The “predictions” shot down in the table are bogus. Nobody said the 20th century would warm 1.1-3.3 K from greenhouse gases. That’s the warming you would get a) eventually, and b) without factoring in negative forcings such as aerosols.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 14 Mar 2009 @ 5:58 AM

  184. Re: #177

    Dear Ike,

    You are doing a fantastic job on DE. Thank you so much! I can’t keep up with it — you know the science so much better. I just put the hammer down where I see the meme creep.

    My blog gets about 500-600 pages views per day, depending on what I post there, but I very rarely write my own posts. (So far, the blog has received over 76,000 page views.)

    I view my blog as a source of useful information that ordinary people are desperately trying to find.

    I try to find articles that illustrate for non-scientists the results of recently published research articles.

    Then, I also generally post the abstract of that research article.

    I also include the links back to the sites where I lifted the articles.

    I do not receive that many comments, but when a nutcase does show up, I just delete them. I don’t spend time on them.

    I don’t post articles about penquins or polar bears or whales unless a reader specifically requests it.

    I do not post dramatic or hysterical articles.

    However, on occasion, I will post the more gossipy disputes and even put my two bits in — after all, my readers and I are only human.

    Gavin, this was a great post — it brought a lot of bloggers out of the woodwork and now I so many more great sources — thanks so much!

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 14 Mar 2009 @ 7:26 AM

  185. RE #182 by John A Davidson.

    John, what are you complaining about? Brian and myself were both interested enough to post on your idea and you have ignored those posts. Sure our numbers are a bit screwed up but we both figure it’s insignifigant(less than 1%).

    Why don’t you get a calculator and have a go for yourself, there is enough data in our posts to work it out. If you still think your on to something then tell us what it is and why you think we are wrong.

    After all that is how science works…

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 14 Mar 2009 @ 10:59 AM

  186. Has anyone here a comment on BEYOND FOSSIL FOOLS by Joseph Shuster?

    Shuster lays out a roadmap to Energy Independence by 2040, depending primarily on nuclear plants.

    It does not appear (to me) to be a persuasive argument but I’m willing to hear people who might think otherwise.

    I just wrote a short essay on the energy issue as it might appear in the year 2100 for the Rico Bugle. It is on my website at

    http://www.burgy.50megs.com/what.htm

    I am not entirely satisfied with it; I invite comments.

    Burgy

    Comment by John Burgeson — 14 Mar 2009 @ 11:15 AM

  187. RE #180

    Brian, I wouldn’t expect anything in the way of a reponse from John A Davidson. I went to his blog and posted a message prompting him to look at our comments. I then read some of his comments on his own blog, here is a short quote to give you an idea…

    “Keep the pressure on Myers and Dawkins too. They are both on the verge of nervous breakdowns. Trust me.”

    Anyway, it was still an interesting excercise.

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 14 Mar 2009 @ 12:13 PM

  188. John, re energy independence/nuclear, you might compare that to this;
    http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/03/10/total-energy-independence-in-12-years/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Mar 2009 @ 12:15 PM

  189. To no. 186. Dear Mr. Burgeson, I did not read Shuster’s book, but I took a look at your text. IMO it is a good text, but not very detailed. I am opposed to all talk concerning energy independence, as I think it is a dangerous illusion. An interesting book is Robert Bruce, 2008, The Dangerous Illusions of ‘Energy Indepedence’, NY, Public Affairs. I have big problems with this text, esp. with his recommendations, but his part on EI is on the mark. One book that I find really excellent is David Strahan, 2007, The Last Oil Shock, London, Murray. For a discussion on nuclear energy, go to the rocky mountains website, as there is some very useful information to be found there. There is also a discussing going on about nuclear energy on the website of Mark Lynas (author of Six Degrees). He is very much pro nuclear – IMO he is dead wrong.

    Comment by Will Denayer — 14 Mar 2009 @ 1:48 PM

  190. One d: Google “John+A+Davison”+internet+blogger
    long famous on the intertubes

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Mar 2009 @ 2:24 PM

  191. Anyone aware of a blog where alarmists and denialists are conversing in polite manner, using facts and scientific arguments only and not getting to personal attacks? To finally, finally, uncover the truth about this whole warming issue.

    Your blog is not bad information-wise but it is really biased on the alarmist side.

    [Response: Unfortunately, so is the real world. - gavin]

    Comment by Joe — 14 Mar 2009 @ 6:13 PM

  192. Back to the original topic – generally good advice.

    I offer a wish for a blogging software feature/methodology that would improve the long-term usefulness of blog threads.

    OBSERVATION: even in a good, well-moderated blog like RC, it is very easy for threads to get filled with junk that has little to do with the original topic. (In many blogs, this is totally out of control.)

    a) Sometimes that is OK, as interesting connections get made.
    b) Sometimes a bunch of long-debunked dumb things get inserted.
    c) Sometimes, people post “Not even wrong” comments, or in some cases, appear to post things that derail the original topic, particularly as the thread grows.

    d) BUT OFTEN, this dilutes the useful threads with a lot of irrelevancies, that at best should be in other threads. As a result, if someone wants to read a thread later, the Internet version of Gresham’s Law applies, and bad info has driven out good, or at least diluted it so much that it’s painful to read.

    I strongly suspect that this is sometimes done on purpose, or if not on purpose, some people are natural complexifiers and can’t help making side-tracks. Filling threads with junk is a good way to discourage people from reading.

    e) Obviously good/bad are judgements of the moderator(s), and reasonable people can disagree. But, since a moderator makes judgement calls already, this seems like it would be a useful option.

    SUGGESTION FOR BLOGGING SOFTWARE FOR MODERATED BLOGS

    1) Have an an easy way to make a “shadow thread” for a thread. [Or use an standing open thread.]

    2) A moderator should have a simple command that:
    a) Puts the post into the shadow thread, adding an auto-inserted link back the placeholder b) in main thread.

    b) Creates a post in the main thread that has one line:

    ###. PERSON moved to

    Hence, anyone can still try posting what they want, but the S/N ratio of the main thread might well improve substantially.

    In addition, it would take less time to recognize posters who actually ask useful questions or contribute something, and ones that seem to go off into irrelevancies.

    ===
    Note: this comes somewhat from watching some USENET newsgroups that once had very high S/N ratios badly degrade, and from watching blogs appear to go through a similar evolution, even with the best of will.

    Comment by John Mashey — 14 Mar 2009 @ 6:45 PM

  193. Joe, it’s kind of hard for denialists to use facts and scientific arguments since the facts and the science don’t exactly support their beliefs.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 14 Mar 2009 @ 7:04 PM

  194. John Mashey, yes yes.
    Got a programmer in mind? If so please open a tip jar or something.
    This tool you describe so well would solve many problems.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Mar 2009 @ 8:09 PM

  195. #191 Joe

    You wouldn’t happen to be aware of a family that doesn’t squabble, or perhaps a government that doesn’t argue ;)

    Seriously, you are saying this site is biased on the alarmist side. If you can give me a good reason not to be concerned, I’d appreciate it.

    Thanks,
    John

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 14 Mar 2009 @ 8:15 PM

  196. Haven’t had a chance to read all the comments, but here’s one thing that I think everyone would find useful. The most useful course I ever took in my life was in Officers Training School many years ago in wartime, where we were required to analyze a situation and then issue the necessary orders to the various groups under our command. Once you did that, it was the enjoyable job of all the other students to deliberately misinterpret your orders any way they could. And you couldn’t make any excuses; if they misinterpreted you, it was because you did not express yourself clearly and precisely enough. You did not want some of your men to get killed because nthey misunderstood your orders. This will not work when you’re dealing with really dishonest people, but you just ignore them, or forcefully point out their dishonesty. But don’t confuse ignorance and miseducation with dishonesty; a common mistake is to assume the other person knows as much as you do. Put yourself in his/her place, and pretend you are just as ignorant as you think they are. You can actually have fun getting someone to criticise your writing in a friendly way.

    Comment by Richard Vineski — 14 Mar 2009 @ 8:52 PM

  197. Re #193:
    This reminds me of something from 2006.

    Comment by spilgard — 14 Mar 2009 @ 9:59 PM

  198. > if they misinterpreted you, it was because you did
    > not express yourself clearly and precisely enough

    Or they were a mole working for the opposition, to misinterpret directions so your side would fail, of course. There are people
    in politics who do that. Listen to AM radio.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Mar 2009 @ 11:17 PM

  199. What I was getting at was that maybe someplace there might be a thorough analysis of the whole warming issue w/o politics, personal issues etc etc, and with the arguments of alarmists and denialists carefully taken into account. This is probably naive thinking, the discussion seems to be completely political.

    I called you alarmists because I think that you heat up easily if someone is in disagreement (yes, that happens to me too), and because all your articles seem to point to the same direction, which is that the doom will come (and maybe it will)

    Comment by Joe — 15 Mar 2009 @ 3:51 AM

  200. Ray Ladbury #149

    You ask me “to do the math” without providing the data. Personally, I do not believe that variations in solar output have ever had anything much to do with climate change. Neither does Tim Flannery. I stand by my hypothesis that it is the continued melting of polar and contnental ice that is countering the warming resulting from atmospheric water vapor, CO2, methane and other anthropogenic molecules. The major unknown is what fraction of that depleting ice reserve will no longer be sufficient to counter the greenhouse effect. Surely no one is questioning that our ice reserves are diminishing are they? I am sure not. I have discussed this with a model experiment on my weblog and elsewhere. I regard my explanation as sound science.

    I will not be deterred by “do the math.” Thank you very much.

    Comment by John A. Davison — 15 Mar 2009 @ 4:55 AM

  201. Hank, a good example is slashdot.org. Take a look at thier moderation scheme and their threading/threshold options. It also means registered users but you can post as “anaonomous coward”.

    I am a commercial developer, but not your developer. ;)

    Slashdot is where I post most and I’ve been posting there for ~8yrs. They are a knowlageable if somewhat opinionated crowd. I pay a (per/1000 page view) subscription because I want to and they don’t hassle me if I stop and start paying. It’s the only thing I pay to subscibe to on the net after 20yrs of working with it.

    If RC were to start a similar donation scheme for some programmers, admin, whatever to improve and maintain the readability/indexing of site then I would happily subscribe to such a scheme.

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 15 Mar 2009 @ 5:49 AM

  202. Oh and most people who work/study at an institution would probably be aware of blackboard or similar programs, I haven’t used them but they sound similar.

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 15 Mar 2009 @ 5:59 AM

  203. John A Davidson: “I will not be deterred by “do the math.” Thank you very much.”

    Well, do the maths.

    It’s a basic tool of scientists to do the maths in a back-of-the-envelope calculation to see if your hypothesis has anything going for it.

    I would also point to this article:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/7943906.stm

    and say that if you TRY to do something, even if you fail, when you do find the answer, it stays remembered longer.

    And stop feeling entitled.

    Comment by Mark — 15 Mar 2009 @ 6:15 AM

  204. Joe Says: “What I was getting at was that maybe someplace there might be a thorough analysis of the whole warming issue w/o politics, personal issues etc etc, and with the arguments of alarmists and denialists carefully taken into account. This is probably naive thinking, the discussion seems to be completely political.”

    There is. IPCC reports and the published papers in reputable journals.

    There is a LOT of money to be lost by even minor mitigation of AGW and so, since the facts aren’t on the side of “do nothing, it’s not a problem”, they must polarise opinion, make it all “us” and “them” and demonise, muddy waters and muckrake. Or, in other words, use politics. In order to get their way.

    Comment by Mark — 15 Mar 2009 @ 6:17 AM

  205. One last suggestion on the site: If it were me (and it’s not) I would start by adding free user accounts (that don’t do much except wrap the existing mailing feature) to gauge interest. 200-300 comments on each story is a sizable following, active accounts would also give you a better metric of public interest….that I’m sure you could use somehow…

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 15 Mar 2009 @ 6:21 AM

  206. John Davison, try this:
    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2008/12/17/2-trillion-tons-of-polar-ice-lost-in-5-years-and-melting-is-accelerating/

    Whew! That was tough. I had to type 5 words or so into Google and then go all the way down to, oh, the first or second entry. Now, ya wanna do the math, or do you want me to provide the heat of fusion. Oh, ok. It’s 333.55 Joules per gram. How about now, or should I draw you a map?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 15 Mar 2009 @ 7:18 AM

  207. #191 Joe,

    “Anyone aware of a blog where alarmists and denialists are conversing in polite manner, using facts and scientific arguments only and not getting to personal attacks?”

    I have not found one — disinterested exchanges occur occasionally here, but generally speaking I would say dissent is not welcomed. I would say the same is true on rival blogs such as CA and Watts Up, where so-called alarmist dissenters are also routinely sneered at by the resident majority. A useful analogy, perhaps, would be to try to inch towards “the truth” by reading the NYT and WSJ editorials side by side, or [back in the day] the National Review and New Republic. In any event, it is only human to overstate the case when attempting to convince those who do not share your views and to be impatient with those who do not come along — blogs and their moderators are only human.

    Comment by wmanny — 15 Mar 2009 @ 9:09 AM

  208. re: #194, #201
    I don’t think this is a standalone tool, but rather something that one would want integrated into the various blogging systems. Of course, perhaps some may be structured so that it would be an easy independent addon.

    re: anonymous coward & similar such things
    Actually, I don’t think that (or the default use of “Anonymous” in some blogs) is a good feature. I hate threads that have a bunch of people all posting as the same name. People posting with given-names alone are marginally better, but not much, especially if they are common ones. I have no problem with someone wanting to not reveal the :, but if the is commonly used by numerous people, it is makes it makes it very hard to build a reputation attached to that handle.

    Anyway, if I were a blogger, I’d encourage:
    real names
    consistent, differentiable pseudonyms (like tamino or eli rabett)

    and discourage
    simple given names (like Bill or Joe) in favor of
    Bill xxxx or Joe abc

    and really discourage
    “anonymous” default shared by anyone

    Comment by John Mashey — 15 Mar 2009 @ 10:31 AM

  209. #199 Joe

    Try this one:

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths

    I put together this resource so that people can have a one stop shop to see and share the links on the basic science and myths/arguments. I think a lot of discussions are about the science but I don’t think politics can be avoided on this issue since doing something about it requires government involvement.

    Also, its not a blog, it’s just a resource. RealClimate, in my opinion is the best place for discourse of the science and is, generally more polite than others I’ve seen Plus, it’s run by scientists that work in the field daily, so it’s not an armchair review or side seat driving.

    We don’t have an alarmist section on the OSS site but that sort of intertwines with the denialist side. However it raises an interesting point. What are ‘alarmist points’? Maybe I can reasonably address that.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 15 Mar 2009 @ 10:58 AM

  210. A useful analogy, perhaps, would be to try to inch towards “the truth” by reading the NYT and WSJ editorials side by side, or [back in the day] the National Review and New Republic

    Yeah, science vs. pseudo-science represents two equally valid opinions …

    Comment by dhogaza — 15 Mar 2009 @ 11:23 AM

  211. Re: Mashey’s suggestion of two threads — strongly moderated and shadow moderated

    As I see it, one problem with the shadow moderated is that if someone is trying to monitor both threads with an eye as to how one relates to the other, not only will links between the two threads be required (both ways, since whatever gets posted rather than sent to the bit-bucket will be in one or the other but not both), but to follow the full conversation (including the tangents) will require jumping back and forth between the two threads. A different approach would be to have strongly moderated vs. lightly moderated, where anything that doesn’t get sent to the bit-bucket appears in the lightly moderated, but only some of the lightly moderated shows up in the strongly moderated.

    No cross-links would be required. But rather than having two check boxes for inclusion (on the moderator’s side) and bit bucket (as I presume things currently are) you would have three check boxes: both threads (strongly moderated and lightly moderated), lightly moderated and bit bucket.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 15 Mar 2009 @ 11:57 AM

  212. PS to my comment above which was a response to John Mashey’s 192

    The jumping back and forth between strongly moderated and shadow moderated (as opposed to strongly moderated and lightly moderated) would be a problem for me at least inasmuch as I would reload the entire web page of whichever one I was jumping to every time I jumped. This could also be a problem on the server end as it could easily involve many more web page requests. But strongly moderated vs. weakly moderated would suffer no such problem.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 15 Mar 2009 @ 12:07 PM

  213. If someone would just give me the killfile tools of a mature newsreader like ‘nn’ (ability to kill posts in various ways and kill followups to them) — it’d suffice.

    That’s moderation by the reader, not by the host.

    Host moderation — the host having the ability to dink any comment out of the main thread into the shadow thread — is nice in theory but easy to overwhelm. Even assuming the host preemptively dinked all posts about Hobbyhorse by Rider into the shadow thread, Foo’s friends would come along.

    Look at Pharyngula’s method: some listed are fans of regulars.
    The effort involved must be astonishing to keep this working. He gets most of the regulars. If he shared his list it’d likely help others.

    “Pharyngula : Killfile Dungeon What gets people put into the Pharyngula killfile dungeon? This is a list of annoyances; it usually takes more than one incident …
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/plonk.php

    Keeping a killfile working also took a lot of work when I was using ‘rn’ or ‘nn’ daily and would take weeks to bring up to full usefulness if I started reading news again — something like that with a shared blocklist field to let people collaborate, like Spamcop does, might be useful.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Mar 2009 @ 1:09 PM

  214. Mr. John Davidson:
    Re: ice melting

    I recommend: Hansen et al., “Earths Energy Imbalance: Confirmations and Implications,” Science, v308, pp1431-1435
    available at

    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abstracts/2005/Hansen_etal_1.html

    The figure for imbalance is 0.85+/-.15 W/sq. m.

    In the supporting material, Table S1 reveals that the heavyweight heat storage is all in the ocean. The next largest player is the heat of fusion of ice sheets.

    Mass loss from Greenland and Antarctica is estimated to produce 1mm/yr of sea level rise. From that table, we see that this would be equivalent to 0.09 W/sq. m. , about a tenth of the total.

    Where is the rest going ? I venture that it is going into the deep ocean, which seems really the only place one can dump fluxes of this magnitude.

    Melting all the sea ice in the world in one year is equivalent to one and a half times the current imbalance.

    Comment by sidd — 15 Mar 2009 @ 1:22 PM

  215. Mark, #

    It is Davison, not Davidson.

    Ray Ladbury, #206

    I have used the heat of fusion. You insist on the mechanical equivelent of heat. What is the difference? There isn’t any.

    The only problem I was addressing is why global temperatures have not increased more than they have. I submit that the ONLY reason they haven’t is the reason I proposed. Now if my explanation is already widely accepted by the Climate Science community, why have I not encountered it in the literature? More important, how can there be any one in the scientific world anywhere who is so out of touch with reality as to question that we are headed for certain disaster and possibly species extinction?

    Global warming is not a subject for conjecture or even much discussion. It is a certainty and the greatest crisis ever faced by humankind, a crisis we created in a little over than 200 years. Now you folks go right back to arguing about a phenomenon I regard as settled science, go right back to denigrating anyone who offers a strong opinion, go right back to wasting your time. I am through wasting mine here.

    As I say on my global warming thread on my weblog -

    “Mankind fiddled while earth burned.”

    You are welcome to discuss these matters on my weblog. Alan of Oz, using another alias, showed up loaded with insult which prevented his being heard.

    Comment by John A. Davison — 15 Mar 2009 @ 2:48 PM

  216. Useful knowledge for new climate bloggers (free registration required)
    http://jbiol.com/content/8/3/24

    It’s about teaching students how to review science papers.

    Brief excerpt follows; see the whole article, link above.

    —–excerpt—-

    The majority of our collective publications, and hence scientific progress, comes from incremental insights in which the context is provided by the ongoing struggle to resolve a number of outstanding questions in a field. A series of papers, often from different labs over a span of several years, will add up to the solution to one or several questions. Each publication was timely when published, but may be wrong in some of the details of interpretation – the focus in the discussion may have dealt primarily with the most popular model, missing the chance to ‘redesign’ that model to better fit all of the data. None of these papers is a complete answer: the new insights will eventually be summarized in a short review article weaving the incremental threads of data into one story that becomes the new paradigm, at least for a while.

    Taking a phrase from the current US political scene, these experimentally solid papers are “timely, targeted, and temporary”. That is, they address unanswered issues that are on the minds of those in the field, they target specific issues amenable to experimental or theoretical resolution, and in some ways their impact is temporary, because subsequent papers using the emerging insights and new methodologies will supersede these solid papers. Yet these solid papers are the foundation for progress most of the time.

    Students are trained to be pit bulls in finding even the tiniest faults in great papers. Nearly all the truly remarkable papers we teach contain a few ‘typographical’ errors such as reference to the incorrect panel of a figure or a small mistake in a large table or the wrong initials for an author in the reference list. These errors do not detract from the impact of the work, but instruct students to be vigilant in that even the deservedly famous can make mistakes. This insight may even inspire some students to use spell-checker and other automated tools to eliminate such errors. Similarly, the papers with fatal flaws, particularly those in which a critical control is simply missing, are highly instructive. These papers highlight the dangerous ‘snow globe world’ of belief in a particular theory – a world circumscribed to consider only those things within view – and even then only when obscured by snow. It’s instructive to point out that the meaning of ‘belief’ is to accept as true in the absence of facts. The papers with fatal flaws help students appreciate that maintaining skepticism about current interpretations is essential for progress….
    —-end excerpt—–

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Mar 2009 @ 3:23 PM

  217. #215 John A. Davison

    In case you look in here again. I am not knowledgeable in the specifics of what you are discussing. I think one point may be that there are many components in climate inertia and you seem to be focusing on only one, generally speaking? Or am I wrong?

    The oceanic thermal inertia, the additional CO2 forcing and CO2 atmospheric lifetime and absorption rates in the ocean probably have a lot to do with framing the argument in a way it makes sense and models well.

    I doubt that the current rate of warming is limited only to ice melt into the oceans, and I think that may be what some are trying to point out. I think the fact that we are in a solar minimum period at least explains -0.2W/m2 of the speed, but certainly there are other factors in natural variability, which are not tracked as well in the longer term climate assessments.

    Anyone care to make sense out of what I’m trying to say :)

    best,
    John P. Reisman

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 15 Mar 2009 @ 4:22 PM

  218. JAD “The only problem I was addressing is why global temperatures have not increased more than they have. I submit that the ONLY reason they haven’t is the reason I proposed.”

    A problem maybe stemming from a monotheistic society. There Can Be Only One.

    That was great for the beginnings of science. After all, if there’s Only One God, it must be possible to see how They work. If there are a couple of hundred, that’s a lot less amenable to investigation.

    However, you have fallen maybe into the huge pit of wrong-thinking that this singular reasoning has sitting right under your nose.

    And given that you are not willing to do the maths (the language of science), maybe you’re wrong but don’t know it and THAT is why it doesn’t appear in papers.

    I mean, if you’re wrong, only one person is wrong. If you’re right, then hundreds are wrong.

    Which is more likely?

    And without having done the maths (and appearing to be completely immune to the necessities of the maths isn’t helping your case of correctness, BTW) you don’t actually have anything more than a theory. No meat. Just bones of the idea.

    Comment by Mark — 15 Mar 2009 @ 4:50 PM

  219. John A. Davison (215) — From
    http://www.amath.washington.edu/people/faculty/tung/publications.html

    obtain

    K.K. Tung and C.D. Camp; 2008: “Solar Cycle Warming at the Earth’s Surface in NCEP and ERA-40 data: A linear Discriminant Analysis” Journal of Geophysical Research, 113, D05114, doi:10.1029/2007JD009164.

    C.D. Camp and K.K. Tung; 2007: “Surface Warming by the Solar Cycle as Revealed the Composite Mean Difference Projection” Geophysical Research Letters, 34, L14703, doi:10.1029/2007GL030207.

    These two papers show that the temperature variation between solar minimum and maximum of a solar cycle is about 0.2K. We are currently in a prolonged solar minimum. Maybe right now we also have La Nina going?

    Comment by David B. Benson — 15 Mar 2009 @ 5:50 PM

  220. Mr. Davison,

    I apologize for misspelling your name earlier.

    Comment by sidd — 15 Mar 2009 @ 6:12 PM

  221. John Davison, OK, let’s step through it. Two trillion tonnes of ice melted in 5 years, with every gram taking 333.55 J to melt @0 degrees. I make that at:

    6.66E20 J

    Insolation at Earth’s surface is about 1000 W/square-meter. Earth’s radius is about 6365 km, so Earth intercepts ~1.27E17 J/s. In 5 years, that’s ~2E25 J. So the amoung of energy that went into melting the ice is .0033%. That is the math.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 15 Mar 2009 @ 6:36 PM

  222. Re #221.

    Insolation too small by factor of 4, so melting energy ratio is around .000833%

    >> Surface Area of Sphere = *Four* pi*R^2

    Comment by Brian Brademeyer — 15 Mar 2009 @ 9:43 PM

  223. Re #222,

    My Bad; cross-sectional area should be used. No factor of 4. Nevermind.

    Comment by Brian Brademeyer — 15 Mar 2009 @ 9:46 PM

  224. Ray Ladbury Says (15 March 2009 at 6:36 PM)

    “Insolation at Earth’s surface is about 1000 W/square-meter.”

    Err… I’m not claiming to be an expert, but isn’t total insolation energy the wrong number to use? Absent AGW, the Earth should be in thermal equilibrium, with all the incoming energy re-radiated to space, no? So the figure you want to use for the energy hypothertically going to melt ice is some fraction of the imbalance caused by adding extra CO2 to the atmosphere.

    I’m sure one of the real climate scientists can give us a number for the imbalance, but I’m pretty sure it’d have to be some small fraction of total insolation, so maybe comparable to ice melt energy?

    Comment by James — 15 Mar 2009 @ 10:41 PM

  225. Re: multiple threads and such

    I don’t much care about the mechanism, but if a blog is moderated, it must gave an Accept function, so it ought to be able to have a variant that puts OT posts somewhere else, with zero additional effort. It’s already a lot of work to do all this, and the last thing I’d want I’d to add more work.

    As for killfiles, my problem is that even dome of my favorite posters just can’t seem to resist, sometimes, following some OT tangent.

    Comment by John Mashey — 16 Mar 2009 @ 1:09 AM

  226. Brian Brademeyer, you aren’t taking into account the Cosine dependence of the radiation. If you do, you’ll see the factor of 4 goes away. Put another way, Earth only intercepts sunlight according to the solid angle it subtends–and that is the same solid angle as a disk with the same radius.

    James, My goal was not to do an exhaustive calculation, merely to show that the ice melting is negligible. Given the 5 zeros in front of the first significant figure, I think this shows that. If you want to do it as a proportion of CO2 forcing, fine. Lop off 3 zeros (order of magnitude) and now we’re of order a few percent. It doesn’t alter the result: Ice ain’t gonna cut it. Variations in ocean circulation, cloud cover and a variety of other factors are more than adequate to do so. It’s called natural variability.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 16 Mar 2009 @ 7:18 AM

  227. Hank Roberts Says:
    14 March 2009 at 12:15 PM
    John, re energy independence/nuclear, you might compare that to this;
    http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/03/10/total-energy-independence-in-12-years/

    Thanks, Hank. I will check that out.

    Will Denayer Says:
    14 March 2009 at 1:48 PM
    To no. 186. Dear Mr. Burgeson, I did not read Shuster’s book, but I took a look at your text. IMO it is a good text, but not very detailed.

    Yes, I agree. I am space-limited in the Bugle. A lot got cut from my earliest draft.

    Will continues:

    I am opposed to all talk concerning energy independence, as I think it is a dangerous illusion. An interesting book is Robert Bruce, 2008, The Dangerous Illusions of ‘Energy Indepedence’, NY, Public Affairs. I have big problems with this text, esp. with his recommendations, but his part on EI is on the mark. One book that I find really excellent is David Strahan, 2007, The Last Oil Shock, London, Murray. For a discussion on nuclear energy, go to the rocky mountains website, as there is some very useful information to be found there. There is also a discussing going on about nuclear energy on the website of Mark Lynas (author of Six Degrees). He is very much pro nuclear – IMO he is dead wrong.

    “All talk?” I’m unclear on what you mean here. Perhaps you mean that the US cannot solve the problems unilaterally – with that I will agree. I’ll have a go at the sources you mention. Thanks.

    Burgy

    Comment by John Burgeson — 16 Mar 2009 @ 10:09 AM

  228. Aside for new bloggers: often you can learn much about how the politics works by watching other issues in play, this is a good example:
    http://scienceblogs.com/mikethemadbiologist/2009/03/kristof_on_mrsa_good_but_there.php

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Mar 2009 @ 10:12 AM

  229. John Burgeson wrote: “I am opposed to all talk concerning energy independence, as I think it is a dangerous illusion.”

    According to a November 2008 study by the Institute For Local Self-Reliance, “at least half of the fifty states could meet all their internal energy needs from renewable energy generated inside their borders, and the vast majority could meet a significant percentage. And these estimates may well be conservative.”

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 16 Mar 2009 @ 11:06 AM

  230. Ray, #266. A simpler way to say it is that the sun sees the earth as a disk. And so the light power intercepted is the size of that disk.

    But there’s more ground to spread it over because the ground is round, so the ground gets 1/4 the light per unit area of itself that the sun sees itself radiating to it.

    Surface area of a circle: pi r squared

    Surface area of a sphere: 4 pi r squared

    Remember, the dark side doesn’t get any light but the ground that is in there now is moving into the light.

    Comment by Mark — 16 Mar 2009 @ 11:44 AM

  231. John (#215), per Ray(#221):

    6.66E20 J over 5 years (158 million seconds) is an average sink of 4.22 trillion watts.

    Over the 509 trillion square meters of the earth’s surface (6365 km radius), this is an average negative forcing of:

    0.0083 W/m2

    Comment by Brian Brademeyer — 16 Mar 2009 @ 1:40 PM

  232. Good:

    “… It’s hard to say when scientists realised that policy makers were not always going to make the best decisions regarding science funding, but a safe bet would be somewhere before 3000 BC. In the intervening 5000 years, not a lot has changed in how well scientists, politicians and the public really understand each other…. If you’re going to communicate science effectively, there are a few pitfalls you should avoid ….”

    Hank Campbell. The Pitfalls and Perils of Communicating Science
    Communicating Astronomy To The Public (CAPJournal)
    V1 Number 2 , 22-23 (2008)
    http://www.capjournal.org/issues/02/02_22.pdf
    He’s at Nature’s scientificblogging.com, his home page is here:
    http://network.nature.com/people/hank/profile

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Mar 2009 @ 2:00 PM

  233. I just want to say how much I appreciate it when you folks show the math in context. I am not knowledgeable in this area and to see it laid out and discussed helps.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 16 Mar 2009 @ 3:42 PM

  234. In 229, Secularanimist attributes to me a quotation from someone else. I did not write that, I was questioning it.

    But back to the main story.

    My geophysicist friend, Glenn Morton, has written a not too long post on his blog which indicates to him that the temperature data being collected is suspect. His article on this can be seen at http://themigrantmind.blogspot.com/
    and it was this data, shown to me three weeks ago at a private meeting, that caught my interest. As an AGW / IPCC advocate, I had no reasonable response to his thesis.

    I am hardly going to abandon my current position on AGW (which in large measure is that of the IPCC and the keepers of RealClimate). But I have to admit that I have no explanation for what Glenn has found except the one which says the temperature data is fatally flawed.

    Glenn chose to post on his own blog because there he can easily show graphics; he has asked me to link to it here, and I have done so. I simply do not have the technical expertise in weather patterns and such to evaluate Glenn’s claims fairly.

    Thanks for looking at this.

    Burgy

    Comment by John Burgeson — 16 Mar 2009 @ 4:01 PM

  235. John Burgeson Says (16 March 2009 at 4:01 PM):

    “My geophysicist friend, Glenn Morton, has written a not too long post on his blog which indicates to him that the temperature data being collected is suspect.”

    What he (like a lot of others in the “it ain’t happening” camp) apparently fails to appreciate is that the temperature data has next to nothing to do with AGW theory. That’s simply a prediction based on the physics of CO2 plus the continuing record of its increase in the atmosphere. It’s like jumping off a cliff: physics lets you predict the outcome before you hit the bottom. Examining temperature data is akin to doing an autopsy on the remains.

    Comment by James — 16 Mar 2009 @ 4:55 PM

  236. John Burgeson:

    Your “geophysicist” friend I’m afraid, has no idea what he’s talking about. There’ve been tons of this kind of argument, thoroughly demolished long ago. As a first cut critique, just look at the terms he uses: “The raw truth” (as if he’s nailed the essential problem–nobody noticed or worked on these issues before him); “AGW hysteriacs” (pretty unbiased term there, don’t you think); “the raw data is crap”, etc.

    Ask your friend one simple question: Are global temperature trends over the last century determined from the spatial variance between unadjusted values from close pairs of weather stations, or the TEMPORAL TREND OF A GLOBAL SET OF WEATHER STATIONS OVER THAT TIME? (Take a wild guess).

    If your friend truly thinks that “when the climatologists ‘fix’ this [highly deviant temperature readings], they are merely guessing at what the temperature of one or the other town is” he only proves that he has not read anything on the extensive quality control issues performed on the instrumental temperature record in the United States. Period. Google and read anything on the topic by Tom Karl at the NCDC.

    Migrant mind or vacant mind?

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 16 Mar 2009 @ 5:31 PM

  237. You folks don’t even agree with one another so why should I take your various “maths” seriously? I stand by my intuitive conviction that it is the thermal buffering of melting ice that delays runaway global warming. The only unknown is exactly when residual melting ice is no longer sufficient to counter the global warming created by atmospheric CO2, CH4 and te oher man made products of an industrial society. I am delighted that Ray Ladbury has dismissed my ideas out of hand. It is not my first experience with such matters. I have yet to propose an hypothesis that did not prove to have substantial merit

    As usual,

    I am content with my position.

    Comment by John A. Davison — 16 Mar 2009 @ 6:02 PM

  238. I had no reasonable response to his thesis

    You could ask him why the satellite trend data shows pretty much the same trend as the “fatally flawed” GISS product.

    You could also step back, think a moment, and ask yourself “if climate science was really as bad as he claims, wouldn’t working scientists have noticed at some point over the last 20 years?”. You might consider that just possibly the scientists working with this admittedly imperfect temperature record are 1) aware of its imperfection 2) aren’t merely “guessing” when they correct for problems and 3) aren’t idiots.

    Comment by dhogaza — 16 Mar 2009 @ 6:10 PM

  239. Burgie, I can only conclude that your friend Glenn is kind of a dim bulb. First, we are not talking about absolute temperatures, but rather temperature anomalies. Good lord, just look at the weather report–you’ll have a range of temperatures even in a single metro area. That is why you have to look at time series of data–comparing the same location to the same location so that you can correct for microclimate. Ever go for a walk on a hot day and then walk into the woods. Notice that the temperature can drop up to 10 degrees C. That’s microclimate.

    What is more, there is plenty of evidence for climate change beyond mean global temperature rise–melting ice caps, melting glaciers, shorter winters, a cooling stratosphere. Glenn has an idee fixe’ and is looking for “evidence” to support–the opposite of science.

    Should you talk to your good buddy, tell him to learn what “climate” means. Right now, he’s nothing but a weather-watcher.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 16 Mar 2009 @ 6:25 PM

  240. John Davison,
    Your intuitive conviction that it is the thermal buffering of melting ice that delays runaway global warming is similar to the intuitive conviction of others that it is undersea volcanoes melting the ice in that they won’t do the maths either.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 16 Mar 2009 @ 6:47 PM

  241. #234 John Burgeson

    From what I can tell, it’s still a cherry pick, no matter how he wants to characterize it. It simply does not make sense to take temps from ‘some’ stations in America and say that means something, when the subject is ‘global’ warming.

    This type of data presentation goes to the earth is flat argument. If one limits the scope of ones view sufficiently, one can prove based on that view that the earth is flat.

    He is talking about the weather, not climate.

    http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/noaa-n/climate/climate_weather.html

    The idea that variability is abnormal even in close proximity is, imo, bizarre.

    Example 1: I live in Big Bear Lake, when I’m not elsewhere. The temperature at my place is always colder than the station that reports to the world which is only a couple miles away. The difference, usually around 10C.

    That is a big difference! I have always assumed it’s at least in part because I have a cheap thermometer and it’s wrong (but I don’t know because I’m to cheap to go buy another one to compare).

    In Big Bear we have 4 distinct micro-climates (according to our local weather guy). I almost always get more snow where I live, than the rest of the valley. So I am assuming that it really is, at least a bit colder where I live. Sometimes it snows where I am and not in town. So while I’m pretty sure I have a lousy thermometer, I’m also pretty sure it’s colder where I live than it is just 2 to 3 miles away whether toward Bear Lake, or Bear City.

    Example 2: One year we had 7 inches of rain in an hour (microburst) at the airport. We called a group of pilots and told them to come take care of their planes and they laughed from their cell phones because it was sunny and blue skies from their point of view (only 3.5 miles from the airfield). $9,400 damage to my Honda from going underwater.

    My point is micro-climate variations can have consistency over time on a regional bases and also have dramatic variation… but that is local weather, not global climate.

    I think his site is a great example of why GCM’s are so critically important.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 16 Mar 2009 @ 8:34 PM

  242. #237 John A. Davison

    I’m not a math guy, but let’s take a look at two of your points:

    “I stand by my intuitive conviction”

    ‘Intuitive conviction’ is not the most reliable indicator on the planet.

    “The only unknown is exactly when residual melting ice is no longer sufficient to counter the global warming created by atmospheric CO2, CH4 and te oher man made products of an industrial society.”

    There are a lot more unknowns than that; and while ice melt is at least a factor, it really does seem logical, dare I say reasonable to see that it is a small negative forcing going against a much larger positive forcing. The confounding factor is experiential, i.e. ‘intuitive conviction’.

    I have heard a lot of people claim that we have a colder winter, so global warming is over. That is their ‘intuitive conviction’. Should we believe them?

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 16 Mar 2009 @ 8:45 PM

  243. Joe says: “Your blog is not bad information-wise but it is really biased on the alarmist side.”

    I think it is rather restrained myself. Do you find commentaries on RC of ideas of the US West possibly having to evacuate its population due to drought, of a possible “mass dying” in Africa, of potential evacuations of US seaboard cities, of a mass extinction event (non-human species), of possible social chaos, of a world economic melt down, of possibilities of mass terrorism born of desperation and revenge, of mass climate refugee evacuations, of possibliities of famines, etc.?

    No.

    I don’t endorse any of the above…It’s just some examples.

    RC commentators have, in my experience, literally urged restraint when posters or others push the edge of the science toward alarmism.

    There is lots of alarmist material that they could use…but they don’t.

    I hardly think RC is alarmist…compared to what is out there…in the errrr… world.

    Comment by Richard Ordway — 16 Mar 2009 @ 10:23 PM

  244. Mr Davison writes, at 6:02 pm on the 16th of March:

    “I stand by my intuitive conviction…”

    I have had intuitive convictions, they were often completely in error, and sometimes, to quote Pauli, they were not even wrong. I do urge you to read the reference that I posted and carefully work out the numbers for yourself.

    “When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge of it is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely, in your thoughts, advanced it to the stage of science.”
    Lord Kelvin.

    He was sometimes wrong too, but never for lack of calculation.

    sidd

    Comment by sidd — 16 Mar 2009 @ 10:40 PM

  245. James (235), your statement, “…temperature data has next to nothing to do with AGW theory.”, is incredibly astounding.

    Comment by Rod B — 17 Mar 2009 @ 1:11 AM

  246. “You folks don’t even agree with one another so why should I take your various “maths” seriously?”

    Is that why you won’t “do” maths? Because you can then say that you aren’t wrong?

    And do you think that maybe the people who model this may, unlike bloggers on a log, may have worked it out correctly?

    I suppose since people can’t agree whether Barak Obama is going to be a good president or not means you don’t believe in the presidency…

    Comment by Mark — 17 Mar 2009 @ 5:06 AM

  247. “…temperature data has next to nothing to do with AGW theory.”

    is correct.

    The AGW theory is based on TWO facts:

    1) CO2 is a greenhouse gas
    2) We humans are releasing a lot of CO2

    That’s it.

    The *consequence* of these two facts are that global temperatures will generally increase and much of this recent change is anthropogenic (caused by humans).

    It’s a ***RESULT*** of AGW, not the cause.

    Comment by Mark — 17 Mar 2009 @ 6:16 AM

  248. dhogaza Says:
    16 March 2009 at 6:10 PM

    “You could ask him why the satellite trend data shows pretty much the same trend as the “fatally flawed” GISS product.
    You could also step back, think a moment, and ask yourself “if climate science was really as bad as he claims, wouldn’t working scientists have noticed at some point over the last 20 years?”. You might consider that just possibly the scientists working with this admittedly imperfect temperature record are 1) aware of its imperfection 2) aren’t merely “guessing” when they correct for problems and 3) aren’t idiots.”

    It is on the basis of those past two arguments that I continue to be personally supportive of the IPCC conclusions.

    None the less, the data charts Glenn presents seem to be counter-intuitive. Are they to you? Or are such variations simply part of the mess we call weather? My guess is that they are.
    —————
    John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) Says:
    16 March 2009 at 8:34 PM

    “From what I can tell, it’s still a cherry pick, no matter how he wants to characterize it. It simply does not make sense to take temps from ’some’ stations in America and say that means something, when the subject is ‘global’ warming.”

    His thesis is that the data he has looked at has too much variability to be correct. I think he is wrong, but the degree of variability does seem (to me) to be more substantial than I’d expect.

    Knowing Glenn as I do, I do not believe he has “cherry-picked.”

    Thanks for the responses.

    Burgy

    Comment by John Burgeson — 17 Mar 2009 @ 9:14 AM

  249. “Knowing Glenn as I do, I do not believe he has “cherry-picked.””

    But you could be wrong.

    Forget who he is. Look at the data. Look at what the data CAN tell you, not what you’ve been told it tells you.

    If I wanted to find the weather of the UK in July, would I take the readings off the top of the BBC building? No? Then how? And why not?

    And why is it “fixing” in “scare quotes” when you decide not to take an anomolous source and use it as your baseline for what is happening ***in general***?

    Try this:

    Take an ordinary dice. Six sides.

    Now roll the dice 10 times and note the numbers in order.

    Roll the dice 10 times again.

    Now take the difference in order between the two lists of numbers.

    Will that difference tell you ANYTHING?

    Nope.

    So why does taking temperature differences between two towns tell you anything?

    This individual has taken some figures and tried to make out they are important.

    They aren’t.

    Any more than the length of noses in the Mid-West US has something to do with the hours of sunshine they receive.

    Comment by Mark — 17 Mar 2009 @ 10:30 AM

  250. His thesis is that the data he has looked at has too much variability to be correct.

    Data isn’t ever ‘correct’.

    You need to entirely rethink your fundamentals.

    Comment by Thomas Lee Elifritz — 17 Mar 2009 @ 10:36 AM

  251. None the less, the data charts Glenn presents seem to be counter-intuitive. Are they to you? Or are such variations simply part of the mess we call weather? My guess is that they are.

    Someone above gave some examples of extreme variability in microclimate.

    I have another example – rainfall in Portland, Oregon varies by about a factor of two depending where in the city you put your rain gauge. The current water year figures vary from 12″ to 24″, looking at an online summary of rain gauge data monitored for Portland.

    Now, I don’t think that temperature in the city varies widely other than by altitude, but I’m not surprised to learn of such variability elsewhere. I do know that here in Portland, if I drive north about 15 miles to Sauvie Island on a rain showery spring or fall day, there’s a good chance I’m going to get a decent amount of sun and more warmth than downtown. Both at sea level. I suppose if I cared enough I could track down whether there’s data available to quantify that, but thus far I only care enough to jump in my car a few days in spring and fall and take advantage (good birding, too…).

    As I’m sure you know, arguments from personal incredulity opposing evolution are bread-and-butter within the Creationist world. Your friend’s arguments against the temperature data are to a large extent no different.

    Comment by dhogaza — 17 Mar 2009 @ 10:53 AM

  252. Responding to John Burgeson in 234, Ray Ladbury wrote in 239:

    First, we are not talking about absolute temperatures, but rather temperature anomalies. Good lord, just look at the weather report–you’ll have a range of temperatures even in a single metro area. That is why you have to look at time series of data–comparing the same location to the same location so that you can correct for microclimate. Ever go for a walk on a hot day and then walk into the woods. Notice that the temperature can drop up to 10 degrees C. That’s microclimate.

    I didn’t grasp just how important this point was when I first encountered it more than a year ago, so I hope no one minds if I expand on it a little.

    While annual temperatures can differ by several degrees even in close proximity to one-another, temperature anomalies tend to be strongly correlated at distances as great as a thousand or more kilometers apart. As such, while the annual average temperature will be strongly sensative to where one chooses to place a thermometer even over distances of a few meters, so that error bars on average temperature for a given region will be quite wide, average annual temperature anomalies won’t be anywhere near as dependent upon position, and consequently the temperature anomaly can be known with a far greater degree of accuracy. The same applies to height. The average annual temperature that one gets from a thermometer will often be strongly dependent upon how high the thermometer is from the surface, but temperature anomalies will generally be far less sensative.

    Since different thermometers over a wide area will measure similar temperature anomalies relative to a given base year, we can also reduce the uncertainty by constructing an average of the temperature anomaly for that region rather than an average of the temperature itself. Since the temperature anomalies will be similar for that region, by the law of large numbers, the average anomaly for the region will generally be known with greater and greater accuracy with the more points one includes in a representative sample, e.g., with a range of uncertainty roughly proportional to the inverse of the square root of the number of points — assuming (currently for the sake of argument) a Bell distribution.

    This is what makes so much of climatology possible. When we say that a doubling of carbon dioxide will raise the global average annual temperature by so many degrees, this also implies that the average annual temperature anomaly will increase by the same number of degrees. But while the average annual temperature is almost meaningless, we can speak quite meaningfully about the average annual temperature anomaly.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 17 Mar 2009 @ 10:56 AM

  253. Rod B Says (17 March 2009 at 1:11 AM):

    “James (235), your statement, “…temperature data has next to nothing to do with AGW theory.”, is incredibly astounding.”

    Why, thank you (blushes modestly). But most insights are astounding, or should be. I don’t claim this one is particularly great, and it’s certainly not original to me, but if you bother to think about it you might come to understand more about AGW, and perhaps even something about science in general.

    You, like a lot of people who go on about temperature records, are taking what I might call a forensic approach. Like a CSI team confronted with a corpse, you’re trying to figure out what caused the death. (Or for a better analogy, trying to prove that the corpse isn’t dead after all.) AGW theory is more like the eyewitness who saw Mr. Sapiens empty a vial of slow-acting poison into the soup that’s being eaten with every sign of enjoyment. The denialists at the table may argue that they feel fine so far, but how much is that worth?

    Comment by James — 17 Mar 2009 @ 12:35 PM

  254. dited to bypass the specia.list spam-catcher

    John Burgeson wrote in 248:

    Knowing Glenn as I do, I do not believe he has “cherry-picked.”

    I have little reason to doubt you.

    However, he also states:

    The data is the raw, unedited data. I prefer this kind of data because there is no bias in it except what is in the raw data. I obtained this data from www. CO2 science .org which offers the researcher the actual raw data, untouched by other humans who might or might not have biases.

    Frankly, CO2 Science has something of a history. It is the newsletter for the “Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide & Global Change.”

    And here is some background on that organization:

    Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide & Global Change

    The Center claims to “disseminate factual reports and sound commentary on new developments in the world-wide scientific quest to determine the climactic and biological consequences of the ongoing rise in the air’s CO2 content.” The Center is led by two brothers, Craig and Keith Idso. Their father, Sherwood Idso, is affiliated with the Greening Earth Society; the Center also shares a board member (Sylvan Wittwer) with GES. Both Idso brothers have been on the Western Fuels payroll at one time or another.

    Spin: Increased levels of CO2 will help plants, and that’s good.

    Funding: The Center is extremely secr.etive of its funding sources, stating that it is their policy not to divulge it funders. There is evidence for a strong connection to the Greening Earth Society (ergo Western Fuels Association).

    Affiliated Individuals: Craig Idso, Keith Idso, Sylvan Wittwer

    UCSUSA: Global Warming Skeptic Organizations
    http://www.ususa.org/…html

    (continued)

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 17 Mar 2009 @ 12:57 PM

  255. (continued from above)

    From SourceWatch:

    Craig Idso (also referred to as Craig D. Idso) is the Chairman of the Board, founder and former President of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, an Arizona-based global warming skeptics group that has been funded in part by ExxonMobil. Craig is the son of Sherwood B. Idso, the founder of the Center, and the brother of Keith E. Idso, the Center’s Vice President.

    SourceWatch: Craig Idso
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Craig_Idso

    Looking further:

    In a recently published report at EthicsDaily.com titled “Signers of Environmental Statement Funded by ExxonMobil,” Brian Kaylor — a communications spec.ialist with the Bap.tist General Convention of Missouri who also runs a blog called For God’s Sake Shut Up! — revealed that among the signers of the ISA report are eight “whose six organizations have received a total of $2.32 million in donations from ExxonMobil over the last three years.” In 2005 ExxonMobil gave $715,000 “to organizations with signers of the ISA document”: ….

    [#3] Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change; $25,000; President Sherwood B. Idso and Chairman Craig D. Idso.

    Bill Berkowitz, August 29, 2006
    Global Warming brouhaha heating up among conservative evange.licals
    Signers of Interf.aith Stewardship Alliance report received $2.3 million from ExxonMobil
    http://www.mediatransparency.org/story.php?storyID=144

    (continued)

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 17 Mar 2009 @ 12:59 PM

  256. (continued)

    The statement that they signed was:

    An Open Letter to the Signers of
    “Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action” and Others Concerned About Global Warming
    by Various Authors
    InterfaithStewardship.org
    July 25, 2006
    http://web .archive org/web/20060830215116/http://www.interfaithstewardship.org/pages/article.php?&id=160

    The Interfaith Stewardship itself is heavily ideological, with ties to dominion theology and specifically Howard Ahmanson, the reconstructionist billionaire recluse who heavily financed the Disco.very Institute, Intelligent Design and much of the reli.gious right.

    In contrast, here are lists of organizations and credited scientists (with relevant expertise) who have generally endorsed the IPCC’s views on global warming:

    The Consensus on Global Warming:
    From Science to Industry & Reli.gion
    http://logicalscience.com/consensus/consensusD1.htm

    Do you think that the Idso bothers might involve themselves in cherry-picking? Generally speaking, how would you expect them to compare to the IPCC or the scientific organizations which support its views? Would they be less ideological than the scientific organizations that generally endorsed the views of the IPCC?

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 17 Mar 2009 @ 1:03 PM

  257. John A. Davison writes:

    I stand by my intuitive conviction that it is the thermal buffering of melting ice that delays runaway global warming.

    What evidence or calculation would make you change your mind?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 17 Mar 2009 @ 1:13 PM

  258. Rod B #245 >> … incredibly astounding.

    Surface temperatures are not the only place that additional heat can go. The world ocean has a mass 252 times greater than the atmosphere*, so air surface temperatures are a poor measure of the total temperature trend in the ocean-atmosphere system.

    AGW theory says humans are releasing fossil carbon into the atmosphere, primarily as CO2 which is a greenhouse gas, that *must* lead to a warming of the ocean-atmosphere system.

    Failure to confirm this with surface temperature data doesn’t “disprove” AGW, it only points you to look elsewhere for the “missing” heat energy.

    —————————
    Wikipedia: mass of atmosphere = 5.148 million GT, volume of world ocean = 1300 million cu.km, and for water, 1 GT = 1 cu.km at reference conditions.

    1300 / 5.148 = 252

    Comment by Brian Brademeyer — 17 Mar 2009 @ 1:16 PM

  259. Mark (247), Huh? Let’s see, if AGWarming theory has nothing to do with temperature, why don’t they call it ACI for Anthro CO2 Increasing theory?? That would totally cover your definition.

    Comment by Rod B — 17 Mar 2009 @ 1:56 PM

  260. James (253), I made no assertion on the quality or meaning or relevance of the temperature recordings. If some readings at first point to say, global cooling, I’d suggest your scientific reply (were there one) would be to address noisy variability, short term variations, statistical insignificance, etc., as others have done routinely. To respond instead that temperatures have nothing to do with AGW is prima facie asinine.

    Comment by Rod B — 17 Mar 2009 @ 2:25 PM

  261. Huh? Let’s see, if AGWarming theory has nothing to do with temperature, why don’t they call it ACI for Anthro CO2 Increasing theory?? That would totally cover your definition.

    The original comment had to do with temperature data, not “temperature”. Given that early AGW theory preceded any effort to measure global temperatures and therefore the existence of relevant temperature data, I would think the statement that AGW theory doesn’t depend on temperature data is blindingly obvious. AGW didn’t result from warming being observed and there being a need to explain it. AGW arose from physics, and temperature data is nothing more than supporting evidence, and not the only supporting evidence …

    Comment by dhogaza — 17 Mar 2009 @ 2:31 PM

  262. Hi

    I am just starting out in this sector.

    Thank you for the advice which is given in this blog story. I appreciate your views and advice.

    I will be sure to keep these in mind when writing on my blog about climate.

    It is a very sensitive issues which needs to be addressed truthfully, but at the same time having a different views and prespectives put across.

    Taking into consideration what others have said, as well as repecting their opinions for information.

    Stacey

    Comment by Stacey Spencer — 17 Mar 2009 @ 3:36 PM

  263. Mark at 249 with the dice roll analogy:

    Expanding to the T data, you could have two nearby locations with a correlation of zero and, if the lack of correspondence was due to spatial variability of the weather physics involved, then relative to a temporal trend and its causes, it wouldn’t matter in the least. The real issue is the degree to which the recorded differences are due to measurement error at one or both locations, which would necessarily affect either the accuracy or the precision of any temporal trend estimate(s).

    What John Burgeson’s friend doesn’t understand, is that it is possible to make data-based judgements on the likelihood that the observed historical data contain measurement errors versus being a reflection of spatial variability, using modern weather spatial covariance information. And from there to correct the historical instrumental record accordingly. That’s what quality control of the historical record is based on. The point is that measurement error is often identifiable and addressable, using valid statistical techniques. It’s not a spatial variability issue, and it’s not climate scientists making up data to cover up for bad thermometers. It’s a controlled application of the knowledge of spatial patterns to legitimately correct bad data.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 17 Mar 2009 @ 4:03 PM

  264. re: 263.

    Aye, but you need (REALLY NEED) to know your onions with the maths.

    Something the proposition in the paper hasn’t bothered itself with.

    Comment by Mark — 17 Mar 2009 @ 6:06 PM

  265. “Mark (247), Huh? Let’s see, if AGWarming theory has nothing to do with temperature, why don’t they call it ACI for Anthro CO2 Increasing theory?? That would totally cover your definition.”

    The theory of evolution by the survival of the fittest isn’t dependent on the evolution. It’s and explanation of WHY the evolution is happening.

    That it is happening is a fact.

    The theory is giving a reason for these facts.

    AGW ***theory*** is those two simple statements.

    the raise in temperature is a ***result*** from those two simple statements.

    The correlation between the model made from the theory of AGW and what is really happening isn’t the AGW theory, it’s the proof of it.

    But you think what you will. None so deaf as will not hear.

    Comment by Mark — 17 Mar 2009 @ 6:09 PM

  266. “re: 263. Aye, but you need (REALLY NEED) to know your onions with the maths.
    Something the proposition in the paper hasn’t bothered itself with.”

    Par for the course on bothering with the onions thing.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 17 Mar 2009 @ 9:12 PM

  267. John Reisman [125]:
    You seem to be really hung up on people being ‘out of context’ , as evidenced in your responses to RyanO’s very balanced and reasonable posts, and to my posts on the George Will topic—and your own website.
    Judging from the extremely condescending and preaching tone you took with me in your reply to my questions re realities and limitations of the alternative renewable technologies for replacement of coal..….you [ and some others on this blog], seem to want to make it off limits to discuss what mitigation impacts mean to ordinary Americans ….and Australians, in my case.
    You and others seem to be affronted by talk of it.
    My questions [ unanswered by you ] are just questions, not opinions—legitimate questions, since decisions made now on mitigation, seriously affect all of our lives and those of our children for the foreseeable future.
    You seem to think unquestioning acquiescence without debate is the only defensible way .
    Whether or not there’s an adherence in the scientific and political community to ‘post-normal science’ is most certainly relevant when momentous decisions are being made on the strength of a proclaimed and much-promoted scientific consensus.
    The people whose lives could be changed forever, have a democratic right to know if the science informing decision-making has been coloured by Mike Hulme’s advice that scientists ‘trade [normal] truth for influence’, so that they will ‘remain listened to…to bear influence on policy’.
    I don’t need, by the way, your condescending ‘help’ to ‘explain’ the difference between social science and natural science.
    You rail against other people raising ‘straw men’ , but you do it yourself all the time.
    I didn’t say scientists recommend that people cut down trees….but I did say that people who are cutting them down might think it’s OK to go on doing so, since the AGW side dismisses and ridicules [ as happens to me here], the notion that the destruction of huge tracts of forest in the time frame of this modern warming, and their replacement with concrete, buildings, roads, airports, and all sorts of urban development….. might have the double whammy effect of removing the sinks and raising the surface temperature.
    In your link to the Coleman article, you appear to misrepresent Coleman on his statements on catalytic converters etc ,infinitely more than he or anyone else ever misrepresents you.
    He didn’t claim that catalytic converters reduced CO2—or even imply it.
    You can say my questions are ‘silly’…doesn’t worry me.
    I know…and I’m sure you must know …that the questions on the limitations of present renewable technology has to be dealt with.
    You cite the UN as an entity we should trust…but some of us are only too well aware of how rarely the UN gets things right….and how many people have died waiting for UN help.
    It seems that, according to you , my courage , integrity and honour must be questionable if I don’t have the ‘right’ reasons [ ie those you approve of] for using a blog name….if my reason doesn’t pass your test…..and that’s offensive.
    If you find my use of a blog name ‘distressful’, then you’re just too easily distressed.
    I will certainly continue to use a blog name….and though it’s definitely not your business—the reason I do so, is so that my comments don’t give my children any problems.
    So I guess, in your scheme of things, I stand indicted.
    You may be right that unstable countries will use thorium reactors—but you could be wrong too…they may opt not to….. if they want weapons material .
    Re your request for evidence of your certainty….
    The statement, ‘We are already past very certain’ , sounds like certainty to me.

    Comment by truth — 17 Mar 2009 @ 9:39 PM

  268. Mark, dhogaza: Aaah, so it’s temperature “data”, not temperature that has nothing to do with AGW. I’ll have to dig out my old microscope to check out the substantive difference there. But then Mark says that evolution has nothing to do with evolution theory; don’t you mean evolution data?? (Though you’ve morphed the very clear ‘nothing to do with’ with the more slippery ‘doesn’t depend on’ – whatever that means in the fundamental scheme of things.)

    Maybe I’m dense. But wouldn’t the proof of AGW theory be (drum roll)… temperature increases?? And if the temperature increases, the temperature data will….. what?

    The statement in question was a gross misstatement. But, on the other hand, it could be a simple overstatement for effect: still not correct but not a really big deal either. Your defense to the death of it, however, is quite curious.

    A friendly tip: if you have any interest in convincing the masses, don’t try to refute common Freshman understanding and logic with either arcane pedantic PhD-level definition twisting, or a fast soft shoe. Don’t start a speech with, “Ladies and gentlemen, the first thing to know is that global warming has nothing to do with temperature.” I would suggest.

    Comment by Rod B — 18 Mar 2009 @ 12:39 AM

  269. #257

    Barton Paul Levinson asks me “What evidence or calculation would make you change your mind?”

    I answer -If I am wrong the future will prove I was wrong.

    [edit]

    Comment by John A. Davison — 18 Mar 2009 @ 9:18 AM

  270. I have lost count of the number of times skeptics/denialists continue to refer to the supposed need for “proof” of AGW after it has been pointed out to those same people numerous times that “proof” is a mathematical concept. And that science does not work that way but via the scientific method. It speaks volumes that skeptics/denialists continue to repeat the “proof” strawman and apparently fail to undertake the effort to learn about the scientific method involved in AGW research. Furthermore, that vigorous “debate” re: AGW has occurred continually through peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences such as the AGU among many others.

    Comment by Dan — 18 Mar 2009 @ 9:38 AM

  271. Wow, the ironically named “truth” takes over 600 words to say we need to consider the impacts of climate mitigation for “average” Aussies and Americans. Such wordiness is all the more remarkable since I don’t know of anybody who is saying otherwise.
    In the short term, of course, energy prices will have to rise. I would suggest, however that this is merely revoking a “subsidy” that hides the true cost of energy from the consumer. Since energy demand is to an extent, elastic, and since we hope consumers are rational agents, the hope is that energy demand would fall. I and others have cited recent case studies where energy consumption decreased 30% or more without grievous loss of living standard. In the longer term, renewable energy resources will come on line to replace fossil sources, and energy prices will again fall. I don’t see any reason why the ultimate result would not be a net improvement in living standards for the majority of global population. What is more, we are already at Peak Oil, and Peak Coal is at most decades away. These changes are needed in any case. Now we just need to accelerate them.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 18 Mar 2009 @ 9:50 AM

  272. RodB misses the window again: “Mark, dhogaza: Aaah, so it’s temperature “data”, not temperature that has nothing to do with AGW. ”

    Nope, AGW theory is an explanation of why temperatures will rise as a result of our exhaust of CO2. As you can see if you look back at the late 19th Century where there were papers explaining that CO2 production in the Industrial Revolution could produce athropogenically produced increased global temperatures.

    You’ll notice that they didn’t have the temperature figures of 1970 to work with at that time…

    Comment by Mark — 18 Mar 2009 @ 11:55 AM

  273. PS “Maybe I’m dense. But wouldn’t the proof of AGW theory be (drum roll)… temperature increases?? ”

    That doesn’t mean AGW ***relies*** on temperature increases, any more than natural selection requires evolution in species to occur. Natural selection is *sufficient* to explain the variety and similarities of species.

    Comment by Mark — 18 Mar 2009 @ 11:57 AM

  274. Rod B Says (18 March 2009 at 12:39 AM):

    “Maybe I’m dense. But wouldn’t the proof of AGW theory be (drum roll)… temperature increases?? And if the temperature increases, the temperature data will….. what?”

    Well, you’re getting warmer :-) As stated, the temperature data has nothing to do with the formation of the theory. It’s one of many lines of evidence which can be used to show that predictions from the theory are correct.

    So we have the theory, and we have many lines of evidence – glacier retreat, arctic ice melting, earlier bloom times, poleward range extensions, and more – that match the predictions from theory. The temperature data matches the predictions as well, but some people want to “audit” the data, adjust it so that they can claim it doesn’t show a warming trend, and then claim that the adjusted data invalidates the theory.

    I admit to not having more than basic college statistics, so I can’t offer an informed opinion on those audits. However, I can do a bit of trimming with Occam’s Razor. Start with N lines of evidence that match predictions from theory. After the auditors do their work, there are N-1. Even presuming the auditors have no particular axe to grind, what’s more likely: that the N-1 are wrong, or that the auditors are?

    Of course if any one of the many lines of evidence differers markedly from others, it needs to be looked at. Professional statisticians here & elsewhere have done just that, and have pointed out (as far as I understand them) exactly where and why the auditors’ methods are in error.

    Comment by James — 18 Mar 2009 @ 12:53 PM

  275. Truth wrote: “. . .the AGW side dismisses and ridicules [ as happens to me here], the notion that the destruction of huge tracts of forest in the time frame of this modern warming, and their replacement with concrete, buildings, roads, airports, and all sorts of urban development….. might have the double whammy effect of removing the sinks and raising the surface temperature.”

    Huh? Who here would argue that the UHI effect doesn’t exist, or that deforestation doesn’t release CO2? No-one that I can think of. This comment seems right out of an alternate reality.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 18 Mar 2009 @ 12:56 PM

  276. “…the AGW side dismisses and ridicules [ as happens to me here], the notion that the destruction of huge tracts of forest in the time frame of this modern warming, and their replacement with concrete, buildings, roads, airports, and all sorts of urban development….. might have the double whammy effect of removing the sinks and raising the surface temperature.”

    Hardly. Rely on the science, not the loudest voices in the shouting match.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 18 Mar 2009 @ 1:13 PM

  277. James wrote in 274:

    I admit to not having more than basic college statistics, so I can’t offer an informed opinion on those audits. However, I can do a bit of trimming with Occam’s Razor. Start with N lines of evidence that match predictions from theory. After the auditors do their work, there are N-1. Even presuming the auditors have no particular axe to grind, what’s more likely: that the N-1 are wrong, or that the auditors are?

    I suppose you think that the likelihood that a given scientific conclusion is wrong decreases as an exponential function of the number of lines of evidence.

    That only works for members of the reality-based community. For denialists its the other way around. Knock out any one line of evidence and you’ve knocked out the conclusion — at least until someone else brings up the other lines of evidence. But then you can ignore them, go home, come back tomorrow and start afresh.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 18 Mar 2009 @ 2:19 PM

  278. #267 truth

    Irony is pretty ironic. I’m sorry you thought I was condescending but that was not my intention. My goal was to help you understand some things you seem to misconstrue. Your inability to be even reasonably accurate is expressed in your inability to quote yourself, let alone me.

    The reason I am hung up on ‘context’ is because it is so critically important to understanding… well… everything.

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/context
    1 : the parts of a discourse that surround a word or passage and can throw light on its meaning
    2 : the interrelated conditions in which something exists or occurs : environment

    You consistently misrepresent the position of others and then attack the misrepresentation, and spin your message to attempt to make it sound as if they are wrong and you are right. This is fallacious (there is another term for it, maybe you can guess).

    RealClimate is about discussing the science. It sometimes wanders into science and policy; you seem to be avoiding the science. You don’t seem to know about relevant studies, pertaining to the subject you opine upon; that show that mitigation is reasonably expected to have economic benefits in both the short and long term. Certainly there will be some up front costs, but nothing in comparison to AIG and the goofs of corporate world.

    You apparently don’t understand that not doing anything about AGW will be economically devastating for many species on earth.

    I’m not sure you are capable of understanding all these things since you can’t even see the contextual relevance of something as simple as what Coleman was inferring about CO2 and catalytic converters.

    1. Cars/factories filling air with all sorts of pollutants
    2. valid serious concern about health consequences of this pollution
    3. government set new environmental standards
    4. scientists and engineers came to the rescue
    5. new fuels, computer controlled engines, catalytic converters
    6. by mid 70′s cars were no longer big time polluters, emitting only some carbon dioxide (hence the inference established by previous conditions)

    It was a carefully word crafted paragraph in which an inference is visible. You can technically say that Coleman did not specifically state that catalytic converters reduce CO2, but you can not state as a matter of fact that the inference does not exist. When you add that to his stated bias “global warming is a scam”. You have a stronger case for the inference. You have a statement, you have a motive; you have means; you have reasonable cause for an inference.

    If people ridicule you here in RC there must be a reason. Get your arguments in context and with relevance and you will see the ridicule diminish.

    BTW, in case you had not noticed, I’m still hung up on context :)

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 18 Mar 2009 @ 4:54 PM

  279. Re #269 and other posts by John A Davidson.

    “You are welcome to discuss these matters on my weblog. Alan of Oz, using another alias, showed up loaded with insult which prevented his being heard.”

    Insult? – No john, like the people here who are misunderstanding your innocent questions, you have misunderstood my innocent advise.

    Alias == Anonymous Coward? – No John, as a computer scientist I assure you that I do know how to hide my online identity if I so desire. The fact that you could connect my post to “Alan of Oz” does not imply you figured anything out, it in fact indicates I pointed out who I was on your blog. Also note that I later posted my thoughts to Brian about what I found at your blog at #187.

    And please John consider me a freind, I do not have a manipulators black heart. I only came to your blog to post because I thought I was helping you by pointing out you were not “seeing” the answers posted.

    Now if you don’t think proffesional help will curb the (IMHO) “sociopathic tendencies” you so proudly display in your blog then fine. Some people need to learn the hard way you know, nervous breakdown’s, climbing bell towers, that kind of thing.

    Either way please don’t take my well-meaning suggestions as insults. I’m just trying to help you get to the root of your problems.

    Just for the sake of completeness, I belive you are complaining about a comment that I left in response to what I quoted above in #187. IIRC it went something like this: “That’s pretty sick mate, you should seek help before you climb a bell tower and start shooting”. Now I’m not a mental health proffesional but I stand by that general diagnosis, please feel free to get a second opinion.

    Oh and welcome to the future where you’re hypothesis and intentions have been falsified and exposed respectively. I for one no longer need to examine either until you come up with more detailed evidence than what I already have.

    [Response: This discussion is done. No more from anyone please. - gavin]

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 18 Mar 2009 @ 10:20 PM

  280. Oh, please. Not here. Almost anywhere but here. Google is your friend-finder, if you’re hunting a playmate. But please, not here.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Mar 2009 @ 11:04 PM

  281. Gavin, thanks for allowing me to reply to the accusation.

    Hank I know where you are coming from but this article was about advise to bloggers and if you read all the comments you will see some of that advise at work.

    I’m also happy to admit I should have spotted #2 earlier. Again I think user moderation would help filter my noise while still retaining the content.

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 19 Mar 2009 @ 1:49 AM

  282. OT: An excellent new climate literacy brochure (“Climate Literacy: The Essential Principles of Climate Science) from NOAA, EPA, AAAS, NCAR, UCAR, AMS, DOD, NSTA and others) is now available at:
    http://climate.noaa.gov/index.jsp?pg=/education/edu_index.jsp&edu=literacy

    It does a great job summarizing information in a clear, concise manner for all ages.

    [Response: Thanks. I have added it to our 'Start Here' resources. - gavin]

    Comment by Dan — 19 Mar 2009 @ 8:10 AM

  283. Another item of advice could be added: “Don’t blame ‘the democratic process’ when your policy recommendations are not adopted. It will make you appear childish and petulant.” For any young bloggers who are also drawing a government paycheck, the advice could be amended to read: “REALLY don’t blame the democratic process.”

    [Response: Is this with reference to anything real? - gavin]

    Comment by Leighton — 19 Mar 2009 @ 9:35 AM

  284. [Response: Is this with reference to anything real? - gavin]

    I think he’s talking about how the denialosphere are getting their panties in a bunch because policy changes aren’t going their way and Leighton wants them to stop being crybabies.

    Comment by Mark — 19 Mar 2009 @ 11:02 AM

  285. Gavin asked: “Is this with reference to anything real?”

    Leighton’s comment (currently #283, stamped 3/19 9:35am) refers to a statement by NASA climate scientist James Hansen. As reported by The Guardian/UK, Hansen is in the UK this week to participate in peaceful demonstrations calling for a moratorium on construction of new coal-fired power plants:

    James Hansen, a climate modeller with Nasa, told the Guardian today that corporate lobbying has undermined democratic attempts to curb carbon pollution. “The democratic process doesn’t quite seem to be working,” he said.

    Speaking on the eve of joining a protest against the headquarters of power firm E.ON in Coventry, Hansen said: “The first action that people should take is to use the democratic process. What is frustrating people, me included, is that democratic action affects elections but what we get then from political leaders is greenwash.

    “The democratic process is supposed to be one person one vote, but it turns out that money is talking louder than the votes. So, I’m not surprised that people are getting frustrated. I think that peaceful demonstration is not out of order, because we’re running out of time.”

    Hansen is not “blaming the democratic process” as commenter Leighton suggests. Hansen is expressing the view that the democratic process has been ineffective at addressing climate change because it has been “undermined” by corporate lobbying.

    Whether or not one agrees with Hansen on this point, there is certainly nothing “childish and petulant” about his complaint. And Leighton’s comment is a blatant misrepresentation of what Hansen said. Hansen is not faulting the democratic process itself — he is saying that the democratic process has not been permitted to work because it has been subverted by fossil fuel industry money.

    So, Leighton by his example has indeed provided some helpful advice for young climate bloggers: “Don’t blatantly distort and misrepresent what someone says, to make it appear they said the opposite of what they actually said. It will make you appear stupid and dishonest.”

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 19 Mar 2009 @ 11:14 AM

  286. #283 Leighton

    You have constructed a classic straw man argument.

    That is not appropriate.

    #285 SecularAnimist

    Thank you for spotting that! It’s terrible that people continue to not only misquote people but to take their words and spin them into a twisted mangled mess and then present that as if it represents some manner of truth is just sad.

    Leighton may or may not have done this intentionally, but if it was intentional, and Gavin had taken the bait, it would have been all over the denial blogoshere. Saying that Gavin Schmidt disagrees with Jim Hansen in as many twisted contexts they could spin off of it.

    I certainly hope that was not the intention of Leighton???

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 19 Mar 2009 @ 12:45 PM

  287. In response to the question (#286), my intention was to suggest that Hansen sounds childish and petulant when he says (assuming the quote is accurate), “The democratic process doesn’t quite seem to be working.” And, honestly, the criticism (#285) that what he really meant to say was that “the democratic process has not been permitted to work because it has been subverted by fossil fuel industry money” is even sillier. Sometimes you folks parody yourselves.

    [Response: Hmmm... so your opinion is that governance today in the US is a pure and unsullied representation of the people's will? I'll have to think about that. - gavin]

    Comment by Leighton — 19 Mar 2009 @ 2:19 PM

  288. Remember how strongly we believe that what’s happened in our short experience is the way things just naturally are. An example that interacts dismally with climate change, from economics:

    “… The deepest belief of the modern economist is that the economy is a self-stabilizing system. This means that, even if nothing is done, normal rates of employment and production will someday return. Practically all modern economists believe this, often without thinking much about it. (Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said it reflexively in a major speech in London in January: “The global economy will recover.” He did not say how he knew.) ….”

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2009/0903.galbraith.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Mar 2009 @ 2:38 PM

  289. Leighton wrote: “… the criticism (#285) that what he really meant to say was that ‘the democratic process has not been permitted to work because it has been subverted by fossil fuel industry money’ is even sillier.”

    Here are Hansen’s actual words, as quoted by The Guardian, from their recorded interview with him:

    “The democratic process doesn’t quite seem to be working. The first action that people should take is to use the democratic process. What is frustrating people, me included, is that democratic action affects elections but what we get then from political leaders is greenwash. The democratic process is supposed to be one person one vote, but it turns out that money is talking louder than the votes. So, I’m not surprised that people are getting frustrated.”

    Hansen says that the democratic process is not working because “money is talking louder than the votes”. He is very clearly saying, in very plain language, that the democratic process has been subverted by money. That’s not what he “meant to say”. That’s what he did say.

    With all due respect, Leighton, you are either a deliberate liar, or you are negligently and recklessly repeating lies that have been spoon-fed to you by others.

    You can see what Hansen actually said on The Guardian’s website, which I linked to above. You can see that your representation of it is blatantly and maliciously false. If you are an honest person, who was unfortunately deceived by others about Hansen’s words, then you will acknowledge that you were wrong, and hopefully you will tell whoever disinformed you that they are peddling falsehoods.

    On the other hand, if you are a deliberate liar out to smear Hansen, then you are wasting your time on this site. In Ditto-Head circles, it may be that one can “get over” by smearing people with misrepresentations and falsehoods that are pleasing to the prejudices of other Ditto-Heads. It doesn’t work here.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 19 Mar 2009 @ 3:31 PM

  290. Re: 289. Getting Hanson’s actual words makes all the difference.

    Lifting a few from those words is the tactic that gave our friends at the Young Earth zoo a lot of milage before they were roundly chastized for it. Although they still use it from time to time. As do the folks at Heartland.

    Thanks, secularanimist. Whoever you are.

    Burgy

    Comment by John Burgeson — 19 Mar 2009 @ 4:13 PM

  291. #287 Leighton Smith

    Are you in fact Leighton Smith? If so why didn’t you post your full name? If your in the media, you have no reason to hide your identity.

    If it’s you, this makes your posts more nefarious. You are deliberately fishing for things to sell to the parrots in your market base, to support the views you opine upon, in order to support your market for advertising revenue.

    It’s important to be honest. But that may not be how you pay your bills. You may be ignorant now of the science of climate change, but when you do wake up and see the relevant facts in context and realize just how expensive your delaying tactics are going to be and how challenging to those that have little defense against climate change that is not natural cycle… I wonder how well you will sleep at night.

    On air weekday mornings on NewstalkZB
    http://www.leightonsmith.co.nz/

    http://talk.thinkingmatters.org.nz/2008/global-warming-a-new-religion/

    Is truth one of your listeners?

    BTW, I noticed you posted Coleman’s piece on “The Amazing Story Behind the Global Warming Scam”

    Try reading this:

    http://www.uscentrist.org/about/issues/environment/john_coleman/the-amazing-story-behind-the-global-warming-scam

    It is important to actually use and in fact use to the optimal capacity our ability to reason on an issue of this magnitude and importance. You are in the media, if that is you, and if you have ethics you actually have an ethical responsibility to tell the truth, not the truth you pick that makes you the most money.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 19 Mar 2009 @ 4:45 PM

  292. Gavin asks, “so your opinion is that governance today in the US is a pure and unsullied representation of the people’s will?” Boy, talk about your straw men! If that is what he thinks the democratic process is supposed to be, he is both more naive and less well educated than I think is actually the case.

    As for SecularAnimist’s latest foray into ad hominem argument (#289), I wasn’t smearing Hansen but criticizing his quoted comments as petulant. Hansen may not understand this (I suspect he does) but democratic processes are expected to allow various interests and viewpoints to have their say. I still don’t read the quoted comments as saying that the democratic process “has not been permitted to work. I read them as saying “The democratic process doesn’t quite seem to be working” because his views and recommendations haven’t to date prevailed. Blaming that on “money” (he did not say “fossil fuel industry money,” which of course would have been even sillier) has a nice populist ring to it but it is scarcely what anyone could call an analysis.

    And I stand by my comment that it doesn’t at all suit a public servant in this country to criticize “the democratic process” as such, let alone to express support for action outside the democratic process as in the quotes attributed to him today.

    [Response: Silly me. There I was thinking that 'democracy' had something to do with the will of the people. Your implicit definition of democracy as "one lobbyist, ten votes" is much more sensible. Or perhaps you are of a Panglossian persuasion? Whatever the government actually does or doesn't do, it must be the best outcome in this, the best of all possible worlds? - gavin]

    Comment by Leighton — 19 Mar 2009 @ 4:57 PM

  293. #287 Leighton Smith

    If that is you… and even if it’s not you, the same basic principles apply since you are engaged in the debate.

    Your intention in your post “was to suggest that Hansen sounds childish and petulant when he says (assuming the quote is accurate), “The democratic process doesn’t quite seem to be working.”

    If you are Leighton Smith, and you are in the media, then wouldn’t you check the quote first before spouting off with a bunch of garbage?

    [edit - please stay polite]

    Order of precedence: Engage brain, then mouth.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 19 Mar 2009 @ 5:04 PM

  294. Mr. Reisman (## 291, 293) I feel obliged to rescue Leighton Smith’s reputation by assuring you that I am not he.

    [edit]

    Comment by Leighton — 19 Mar 2009 @ 7:26 PM

  295. So, Leighton, lies, distortion, character assassination–all in a days work in a democracy, eh? Just following in the footsteps of other great democratic politicians like Geobels, Stalin…

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 19 Mar 2009 @ 8:20 PM

  296. “Gavin asks, “so your opinion is that governance today in the US is a pure and unsullied representation of the people’s will?” Boy, talk about your straw men! If that is what he thinks the democratic process is supposed to be, he is both more naive and less well educated than I think is actually the case.”

    Right, the guy who is the LEAD AUTHOR on a recent publication (http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2006/2006_Schmidt_etal_1.pdf) describing and analyzing one of the most COMPREHENSIVE AND COMPLEX PIECES OF SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE EVER KNOWN TO MANKIND, is not well educated, because he takes exception to your bizarre definition of “democracy”. Gotcha.

    ________________________________________________

    “Hansen may not understand this (I suspect he does) but democratic processes are expected to allow various interests and viewpoints to have their say.”

    You mean like, the urban poor who are most at risk of heat-wave related illnesses and death? They sit right next to the Exxon lobbyists at the capitol don’t they?

    _______________________________________________

    “Blaming that on “money” (he did not say “fossil fuel industry money,” which of course would have been even sillier) has a nice populist ring to it but it is scarcely what anyone could call an analysis.”

    Oh of course, that would have been extremely silly and outrageous, to think that the fossil fuel industry and their money is somehow involved here.

    _____________________________________________________

    “And I stand by my comment that it doesn’t at all suit a public servant in this country to criticize “the democratic process” as such, let alone to express support for action outside the democratic process as in the quotes attributed to him today.”

    Can’t be criticizing the “democratic process” now can we? America, love it or leave it by God!!!

    Thanks for your wonderful insights Leighton my man!!

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 19 Mar 2009 @ 8:20 PM

  297. If it was intentional, it will usually be explained at great length, and they’ll be wearing the t-shirt.
    http://www.offworlddesigns.com/images/PRODUCT/icon/291.jpg

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Mar 2009 @ 8:22 PM

  298. Did anyone see this already?
    Surely, the deniers deny, but the insurance industry does not agree:

    http://www.motherjones.com/riff/2009/03/could-climate-change-bring-down-insurers

    Best, Will

    Comment by Will Denayer — 19 Mar 2009 @ 8:30 PM

  299. #294 Leighton

    I was curious but even if you are not Leighton Smith, the general principles apply. We need to keep learning quickly and sharing the contextually relevant science on this issue.

    I think that Dr. Hansens statement regarding the function of that democracy in the aforementioned quote is appropriate and realistic in its concern.

    You stated: “I wasn’t smearing Hansen but criticizing his quoted comments as petulant.”

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/petulant
    1 : insolent or rude in speech or behavior
    2 : characterized by temporary or capricious ill humor : peevish

    The words in question:

    “The democratic process doesn’t quite seem to be working. The first action that people should take is to use the democratic process. What is frustrating people, me included, is that democratic action affects elections but what we get then from political leaders is greenwash. The democratic process is supposed to be one person one vote, but it turns out that money is talking louder than the votes. So, I’m not surprised that people are getting frustrated.”

    Where is the insolent, rude speech or behavior and/or the capricious ill humor in the statement?

    Maybe he didn’t say ‘fossil fuel industry money’ but so what? The fact is that ‘fossil fuel industry money’ has been involved in shaping the debate and that delays needed policy action as well as relevant understanding. You just look at the institutes like Heartland, etc. and look at the checks they have been given from the fossil fuel industry. That is not in dispute.

    You are stretching to say he is criticizing the democratic process, more than stretching, you are taking a giant leap imo. My read is that he is criticizing corruptive influences that impose upon governance and policy. Maybe you should read it again.

    BTW, to say

    “And I stand by my comment that it doesn’t at all suit a public servant in this country to criticize “the democratic process” as such, let alone to express support for action outside the democratic process as in the quotes attributed to him today.”

    is to say an American citizen should not criticize it’s government if they work for the government (which means working for the people). That is silly, one of the best features of being an American is the right to conscientiously object. To be against that right is to be against the very right of freedom of speech and even against the capacity of democracy of which that freedom imbues.

    Don’t you think your being hypocritical when you say an American citizen should not participate in freedom of speech? It sounds as if you are speaking against democracy and the freedoms, and constitution, which is designed to protect said rights. Think about it.

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 19 Mar 2009 @ 8:57 PM

  300. Hansen is proposing a worldwide moratorium on new coal power stations, which is what he should be doing given what he believes. It is an overstatement, sure, to deride the democratic process and blame the money opposing “his” money, but overstatement is the lingua franca of activists.

    It could hardly be argued that the American people just voted in hopes of a coal moratorium, though I am sure a few did. In a recession perceived by many to be a borderline depression, though, more coal plants are going to be built.

    Comment by wmanny — 20 Mar 2009 @ 8:46 AM

  301. Walter Manny says, “In a recession perceived by many to be a borderline depression, though, more coal plants are going to be built.”

    OK, Walter, ‘splain me this statement. First, in a recession/depression, demand for energy and other resources decreases, n’est ce pas? So why are we building more coal-fired plants? If you don’t buy Keynes, power plants should either cut back or close down if things get bad enough. If you do buy Keynes, why the hell should we be building coal-fired plants rather than investing in renewables?

    CO2 threatens to change the climate on which agriculture and much else necessary for civilization depend. It is not an overstatement to suggest maybe building more CO2 factories might not be wise. Moreover, it is not an overstatement to suggest that organizations that pay to disseminate lies and cover up good science might be subverting the truth, the understanding of which is a prerequisite for democracy.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 20 Mar 2009 @ 9:57 AM

  302. It could hardly be argued that the American people just voted in hopes of a coal moratorium, though I am sure a few did. In a recession perceived by many to be a borderline depression, though, more coal plants are going to be built.

    What an odd statement. One of President Obama’s chief campaign points regarded increases in clean energy. People voted for just that.

    As for the recession, if there’s stimulus in coal, there’s an equal stimulus in other sources of energy. It would be an ideal time, in the current downturn in energy use, to invest in more modern infrastructure. While there’s a little slack in the system.

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 20 Mar 2009 @ 11:01 AM

  303. http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/treder20090319/

    The Psychology of Climate Change

    Mike Treder

    Ethical Technology

    Posted: Mar 19, 2009

    Academics at Britain’s first conference on the psychology of climate change argued that the greatest obstacles to action are not technical, economic or political—they are the denial strategies that we adopt to protect ourselves from unwelcome information.

    Is there a “psychology of climate change”? According to this article from The Guardian, there is.

    Two points that leapt out at me from the linked article:

    Dr Myanna Lahsen, a cultural anthropologist at the University of Colorado, has speci alised (word split because of spam blocker) in understanding how professional scientists, some of them with highly respected careers, turn climate sceptic. She found the largest common factor was a shared sense that they had personally lost prestige and authority as the result of campaigns by liberals and environmentalists.

    One academic study of 192 sceptic books and reports found that 92% were directly associated with right wing free market think tanks. It concluded that the denial of climate change had been deliberately constructed “as a tactic of an elite-driven counter-movement designed to combat environmentalism”.

    Then again since Psychologists have a self admitted bias against conservatives one has to wonder, at least a little, about the effects of liberal bias on this particular analysis.
    For a bit of enlightenment see Jonathan Haidt’s lecture.
    http://thesciencenetwork.org/programs/beyond-belief-enlightenment-2-0/jonathan-haidt

    Comment by Fernando Magyar — 20 Mar 2009 @ 11:07 AM

  304. Without getting directly into the fight, but just to clarify: democratic “one man one vote” in our system specifically applies to electing representatives (and even here only in part) and specifically and very purposely, by our founding fathers for clear good cause, does NOT apply to setting policy.

    Comment by Rod B — 20 Mar 2009 @ 12:04 PM

  305. More coal fired plants being built. Whether we like it or not, it seems that globally speaking, coal is the way…

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/1223/p01s04-sten.html

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/11/business/worldbusiness/11chinacoal.html

    Comment by Joe — 20 Mar 2009 @ 3:01 PM

  306. > setting policy

    It’s all in how you handle the details.
    Here’s an interesting idea:

    “… post on the Internet all requests by lobbyists who want to talk to any member of his administration about particular projects that would involve using the money from the Economic Recovery Act.

    All requests must be in writing, and details from meetings between Obama’s administration and lobbyists about stimulus projects also will be posted online …”

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29793439/

    The lobbyists are identifiable
    http://www.publicintegrity.org/investigations/climate_change/articles/entry/1180/
    so their employers will now be able to check the website and find out if they’re actually doing their job. This may be refreshing.
    http://www.publicintegrity.org/investigations/climate_change/articles/entry/%201171/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 Mar 2009 @ 3:40 PM

  307. re. 301, 302

    Ray, I’m not saying that more coal plants should be built, just that they will be. They are an affordable source of energy, perhaps a perceived job creator, and the Sierra Club can only do so much. Europe, as you know, has been engaged in a coal feast. The latest Gallup poll, if it is to be trusted, is not a good leading indicator for fewer coal plants being built.

    And Jeffrey, while it is true that Obama voters wanted clean energy among other things (it not being a single-issue campaign) I don’t know that he promised a coal moratorium or that a majority of voters were interested in one. He had to win coal states such as PA, remember.

    Comment by wmanny — 20 Mar 2009 @ 3:53 PM

  308. wmanny (306), in a campaign interview Obama explicitly said that his cap and trade or tax plan would make it impossible for new coal-fired power plants to be in business. ‘They could open’ he said, ‘but they will surely go bankrupt.’ He further implied that current coal plants did not have a secure future, whatever that means. The status of coal plants planned or under construction but not yet running is unclear — though Obama’s desire is. Sounds pretty much like a moratorium to me.

    Comment by Rod B — 20 Mar 2009 @ 4:50 PM

  309. With regard to wmanny’s comments, unfortunately both Obama and his Secretary of Energy Steven Chu have “clean coal” — which does not exist and is an obscene lie, given the monstrous environmental damage caused by every step of the coal fuel cycle from mining through emissions.

    And worse, Steven Chu during his Senate confirmation hearing supported building more coal-fired power plants without carbon capture and sequestration technology, which of course also does not exist and is unlikely to exist for decades if ever.

    This, I think, is what James Hansen referred to recently as “greenwashing” and a failure of the democratic process.

    I would add that I was also very disappointed by Chu’s statements to a Congressional committee in which he supported expediting hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies for the construction of new nuclear power plants, which will do nothing to reduce CO2 emissions within the necessary time frame, and will have enormous opportunity costs. Every dollar wasted on expanding nuclear power is a dollar that would be far, far more effectively spent on efficiency and renewables.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 20 Mar 2009 @ 4:51 PM

  310. Regarding Coleman’s ‘work’ (Re 296 – “The Amazing Story Behind the Global Warming Scam”) – I started writing a rebuttal. It’s over 84 pages long now (with appendices). Don’t know what to do with it. Some parts need fact checking (details of chapter 10 of IPCC AR4 WGI) but I’m very confident of the big picture points.

    Solar cells are an ideal investment!

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 20 Mar 2009 @ 7:11 PM

  311. I have tried to be good, really I have. Do you think I have succeeded here http://www.blognow.com.au/mrpickwick/131143/Wham_Bam_Climate_Spam.html ? I worry I might have just been a little bit unkind to denialists. Wouldn’t want them to lose “prestige and authority” (no 303).

    Comment by David Horton — 20 Mar 2009 @ 8:43 PM

  312. Just an idea about the G&T paper.

    Is it possible that it is a deliberate hoax — akin to Sokal’s paper of 20 years ago? Some terms used in it (gratuously) seem to indicate it may be.

    Burgy

    Comment by John Burgeson — 21 Mar 2009 @ 9:31 AM

  313. Is it possible that it is a deliberate hoax — akin to Sokal’s paper of 20 years ago? Some terms used in it (gratuously) seem to indicate it may be.

    It was available online before publication, and (as I’m sure is no surprise to you) you’re not the first to ask the question. Quite some time ago. Everything I’ve read indicates that the paper is believed to be genuine.

    Comment by dhogaza — 21 Mar 2009 @ 1:13 PM

  314. #287 Leighton Says:

    In response to the question (#286), my intention was to suggest that Hansen sounds childish and petulant when he says (assuming the quote is accurate), “The democratic process doesn’t quite seem to be working….subverted by fossil fuel industry money”

    I’ve been around publishing science for 13 years. I’ve witnessed events as Hansen describes. It has interfered with many scientist’s work and resulted in a severe lack of evidence getting to the public that the public/USA needed to make health, monetary and economic decisions.

    Comment by Richard Ordway — 21 Mar 2009 @ 6:48 PM

  315. > assuming
    Assuming a lot besides accuracy, like context and tone of voice.
    > childish and petulant
    Remember most of the emotional tone perceived by people reading ASCII is projection, which isn’t conveyed by text so has to be supplied.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 21 Mar 2009 @ 9:50 PM

  316. Leighton, how many people died from the misinformation and muddying by lobbiests for the tobacco industry? People that could have changed their life and stopped (or never taken up) smoking if they had been given the information then available WITHOUT the lobbying hiding it.

    Now if *I* were to give out some medical cure that actually contained something toxic and sat on, paid off, or rubbished anything that told someone about it, I would be in jail for it.

    And think about what would have happened if someone were found to have stuffed ballot boxes 20 years ago. They would have been done for treason (it would at LEAST be on the claims against them). But Diebold has more money than any human and their acknowldged misapplication of programming in their voting machines not only isn’t seeing them arrested but hasn’t even gotten money back for the purchase of the defective by design machines.

    Comment by Mark — 22 Mar 2009 @ 4:28 AM

  317. The ‘democratic’ process has been working very well for the purposes of the populist message of the AGW consensus politicians [ but not for real democracy]—the AGW election campaigning certainly manages to change governments, and proponents do get their preferred candidates into power [ as happened in Australia, with Al Gore’s intervention ]—and in the US with Obama.
    But the reason that it works is that the voters are , in the main, deliberately kept uninformed about the alternative views and scientists, by a mainstream media that’s almost 100% promoting the consensus.
    Here in Australia, about 90% of respondents want an Emissions Trading Scheme and want it right now—-but when asked if they knew what an ETS entailed, almost the same numbers said they hadn’t a clue.
    They just know it’s what is expected of them if they want to be seen as saviours of the planet.
    What Hansen seems to be bemoaning is the fact that, once elected, the candidates who had the approval of the AGW consensus side can no longer ignore reality in the form of the real and competitive world of trade , export income, citizens’ livelihoods , inflation and the limitations of the renewable technologies.
    Regarding the latter[ limitations of renewables], the problems are spelt out by Nate Lewis of Cal Tech, , when he details the enormity of what would have to be done between now and 2050, to achieve the emission cuts aspired to—if nuclear, 10000 reactors built every second day , starting right now, would provide less than half what’s needed—-if wind, one million wind turbines would provide a fraction of the energy required, but even that only if viable electricity storage for dispatch on demand were available, and it’s not——if solar, one million roofs covered with solar panels every day from now to 2050 would provide less than half the requirement—and would need solar electricity storage technology not yet devised.
    Added to that, a new family of super-conductors has to be discovered for efficient transmission.
    Is he wrong?
    Surely these are the realities faced by Obama , Chu and other leaders, when they have to try to fulfil rash promises that seduced voters in election campaigns—and hence James Hansen’s frustrations with their back-pedalling.
    But surely he must know about the scientific limitations, if not about the economic realities.

    Comment by truth — 22 Mar 2009 @ 9:05 AM

  318. 317 untruth, the USA has been under the control of a staunchly denialist crowd for eight years. They left the country in a dismal condition. It’s been two whole months since Obama took office, and he hasn’t back-peddled on AGW. You’re making stuff up.

    Comment by RichardC — 22 Mar 2009 @ 9:27 AM

  319. 5000 nuke reactors a day for 40 years, really? I had no idea. Better get started on it eh?

    Cry us an ocean about how hard change will be, embellished with the necessary imaginary “facts” truth. Let us know when you want to discuss the reality of the earth’s climate system.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 22 Mar 2009 @ 9:29 AM

  320. > he details the enormity of what would have to be done

    “enormity” is exactly the right word for what you’re spouting.

    Ten thousand reactors built every second day between now and 2050, you claim?

    Citation needed.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 22 Mar 2009 @ 10:58 AM

  321. Maybe this will help:
    http://wpcomics.washingtonpost.com/feature/09/03/22/nq090322.gif

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 22 Mar 2009 @ 11:00 AM

  322. New from NOAA:

    Climate Literacy: The Essential Principles of Climate Science
    http://www.noaa.gov/climateliteracy.html
    and
    http://www.climatescience.gov.
    It is also being distributed to teachers attending the National Science Teachers Association meeting this week in New Orleans.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 22 Mar 2009 @ 11:20 AM

  323. One has to wonder why the untruth keeps banging their head against the wall expecting a different outcome from actual reality.

    BTW, good article in the current National Geographic on the futile state of agriculture in New South Wales and South Australia.

    Imagine, growing rice and cotton in that dry land.
    What were they thinking?

    Comment by Jim Eager — 22 Mar 2009 @ 11:45 AM

  324. Re 317:
    “that the voters are , in the main, deliberately kept uninformed about the alternative views and scientists, by a mainstream media that’s almost 100% promoting the consensus.”

    They are also kept in the dark about the alternative views on the Moon landings, biological evolution, … but is that really a problem? – it is not as if free speech has been banned; that information is fortunately (arguing against it helps educate about it) and unfortunately (can be a waste of time, effort, and money, and misleading half truths and outright falsehoods have won some people over) out there and available. Furthermore, consider what happens in school; we do not waste time debating endlessly whether water vapor condenses into clouds or whether nuclear reactions in the air produce water vapor out of nitrogen; we do not waste time going into detail regarding whether or not the Earth is round or revolves around the sun.

    “Regarding the latter[ limitations of renewables], the problems are spelt out by Nate Lewis of Cal Tech,”

    “10000 reactors built every second day , starting right now, would provide less than half what’s needed”

    That seems a bit over the top; about 100 nuclear reactors in the U.S. supply about 20% of U.S. electricity; 8% of all U.S. energy in fuel equivalent. (Do you really mean that the number of reactors increases by about 1,800,000 each year, that the world would have over 72,000,000 nuclear reactors by 2050, supplying an average power of roughly 250 GW (roughly 8% U.S. fuel equivalent power consumption)* 720,000 = 180,000 TW fuel equivalent – that this would be less than half, rather than thousands of times, the global power consumption by 2050, on the order of 40 TW fuel equivalent – 4 times the present energy consumption?!)

    …”if wind, one million wind turbines would provide a fraction of the energy required, but even that only if viable electricity storage for dispatch on demand were available, and it’s not”…”one million roofs covered with solar panels every day from now to 2050 would provide less than half the requirement—and would need solar electricity storage technology not yet devised.”…”
    Added to that, a new family of super-conductors has to be discovered for efficient transmission.”…

    First, improving power transmission efficiency would help even with reducing pollution from conventional sources. Leaving transmission nearly as is simply means that the same amount of renewable power is necessary to replace whatever amount of fossil fuels is not added or is cut – except that inverters are necessary to convert solar cells’ power to AC electricity (about 90 % or 95 % efficient and definitely affordable for large-scale operations at least – wheras for small scale operations, higher inverter losses, if necessary, might be partly compensated by the weighted-average reduced transmission losses) – new DC transmission lines can be built running across the country that would have low resistance without need of superconductors.

    Second, not all solar need be on roofs, and the more expensive solar power (solar cells, as opposed to perhaps water heaters and skylights/windows) do not belong in some neighborhoods where there are many tall trees, depending on the layout… An efficiency of 15 % conversion to electricity (waste heat can heat water, etc, so the total solar power used could replace more than that amount of electricity from fossil fuels) under typical annual average insolation on the cells (remember that tilting the cells can increase this from the horizontal area values) of 200 W/m2, supplies 30 W/m2; Total U.S energy in electrical equivalent (although you can’t actually replace all uses of fuel with their electrical equivalents, although in some cases you could replace fuel with less than their electrical equivalents (heat pumps)) electrical power is about 1.2 TW, about 1,200,000 MW/300 million people = 4,000 W/person, divided by 30 W/m2 yields about 133 square meters per person. Replacing only electrical energy usage, about 1,600 W/person, 53 square meters. Global 40 TW fuel equivalent is about 8 TW electricity, 8TW/9Gp (Shorthand for billion people) ~ 900 W/person, 30 square meters. Potential hot water/winter heating bonus! If typical urban/suburban population density 3,000 people/km2 then area per person is about 333 m2, 10 % of area is roofs (rough guesstimates – alter results accordingly when more accurate information is found): 33 square meters per person – in horizontal projection. If half of roof is angled equatorward at 30 degree angle – well you get the idea; half of all electricity could be supplied by rooftop solar power. But that might not even be the best use of solar cell technology – some fraction, along with solar thermal power, could be in large scale power plants in solar-rich regions. And what of transmission costs to solar-poor regions? Solar poor regions need not get all electricity from solar power!

    In general, smaller spatial scale temporal variability can be made up for partly by short-distance transmissions. Wind is often available at night and is in many places strongest in the darker seasons. Most energy is used during the day. Hydroelectric reservoirs, as well as biomass, geothermal, fossil fuels, and nuclear power, can be controlled to balance out temporal variability in solar, wind, wave, tides. If solar provides 70%, wind,waves,currents,tides provide 5 %, geothermal 5 %, biomass 5 %, hydroelectric 5 %, nuclear 5 %, then we only need fossil fuels for 5 %. The total can be reduced (from what it otherwise would be based on population growth and reduction of poverty) by increasing efficiency – oh, there is much room for that! If there are remaining peaks in solar power supply in time, those could be redirected to energy inputs in C s

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 22 Mar 2009 @ 12:31 PM

  325. 320 Hank, I’ll do a little search on that. Nukes are 16% of the world’s electricity and there are 439 reactors. at 10,000 reactors a day, 100% of the world’s electrical output could be built in 0.27 days. For ALL the world’s energy needs, it would take 0.7 days, assuming we built average-sized reactors.

    Comment by RichardC — 22 Mar 2009 @ 1:29 PM

  326. Re “…if nuclear, 10000 reactors built every second day , starting right now, would provide less than half what’s needed…”

    I think someone really needs to do some arithmetic here. There are about 100 operating nuclear reactors in the US, which generate roughly 20% of the electricity. Simple arithmetic suggests that to generate it all from nuclear would require 400 new reactors, or about 10 per year between now and 2050. And of course existing hydro & geothermal, and new wind, solar, or what have you would reduce that number, as would increases in energy efficiency.

    As to whether a nuclear conversion program would be technically possible, the French managed to convert most of their electric generation to nuclear in about 35 years: http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf40.html

    Comment by James — 22 Mar 2009 @ 1:52 PM

  327. “truth” wrote in 317:

    What Hansen seems to be bemoaning is the fact that, once elected, the candidates who had the approval of the AGW consensus side can no longer ignore reality in the form of the real and competitive world of trade , export income, citizens’ livelihoods , inflation and the limitations of the renewable technologies.

    Regarding the latter[ limitations of renewables], the problems are spelt out by Nate Lewis of Cal Tech, , when he details the enormity of what would have to be done between now and 2050, to achieve the emission cuts aspired to—if nuclear, 10000 reactors built every second day, starting right now, would provide less than half what’s needed–…

    Hank Roberts wrote in 320:

    “enormity” is exactly the right word for what you’re spouting.

    Ten thousand reactors built every second day between now and 2050, you claim?

    Citation needed.

    I found what he was recalling, but it isn’t exactly as he remembered it:

    Lewis’s numbers show the enormous challenge we face. The world used 14 trillion watts (14 terawatts) of power in 2006. Assuming minimal population growth (to 9 billion people), slow economic growth (1.6 percent a year, practically recession level) and—this is key—unprecedented energy efficiency (improvements of 500 percent relative to current U.S. levels, worldwide), it will use 28 terawatts in 2050. (In a business-as-usual scenario, we would need 45 terawatts.) Simple physics shows that in order to keep CO2 to 450 ppm, 26.5 of those terawatts must be zero-carbon. That’s a lot of solar, wind, hydro, biofuels and nuclear, especially since renewables kicked in a measly 0.2 terawatts in 2006 and nuclear provided 0.9 terawatts. Are you a fan of nuclear? To get 10 terawatts, less than half of what we’ll need in 2050, Lewis calculates, we’d have to build 10,000 reactors, or one every other day starting now. Do you like wind? If you use…

    We Can’t Get There From Here
    Political will and a price on CO2 won’t be enough to bring about low-carbon energy sources.
    Published Mar 14, 2009
    http://www.newsweek.com/id/189293

    I also found it in the PDF:

    • Nuclear (fission and fusion)
    • 10 TW = 10,000 new 1 GW reactors
    • i.e., a new reactor every other day for the next 50 years

    Powering the Planet
    Nathan S. Lewis, California Institute of Technology
    http://nsl.caltech.edu/files/energy.pdf

    … although for me at least the text was invisible until I copied and pasted it into Notepad.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 22 Mar 2009 @ 2:26 PM

  328. Is 20 Terawatts of renewable energy by 2050 doable?

    I am going to consider one “solar energy” possibility…

    Tera means 1012

    Solar can get about 100 watts per m2

    Therefore we are speaking of 1011 m2 per terawatt, or 104 sq km2 per terawatt.

    or ~2×105 km2 for all the world’s energy needs by 2050.

    The area of California is 411,048 km2. So we are talking about half the area of California, more or less.

    But how much would this cost?

    Assuming a $1 per m2, 2×1011, or 200 billion US dollars. In fifty years. Of course there will be replacement costs.

    Now how realistic is $1 per m2?

    Well, here is one possibility:

    Talk of the Nation, August 22, 2008 · Developers have created flexible sheets of ‘nanoantennas’ that could aid in getting energy from solar energy or from other heat sources. The sheets could harvest up to 80 percent of the infrared light that falls upon them and the researchers say the material could cost just pennies a [square] yard.

    Nano Heating
    Talk of the Nation, August 22, 2008
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=93872974

    This is going off infrared radiation, not visible light. Works day and night, summer and winter, sunny or overcast.

    Seems doable.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 22 Mar 2009 @ 3:06 PM

  329. Yep. That’s why I said ‘citation needed’ – it’s an utter waste of time in a science forum to reply to second-hand copypaste of stuff read somewhere else and pasted without understanding or citation.

    Paying attention to copypaste is a waste — why soak up an inordinate amount of time responding to this stuff?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 22 Mar 2009 @ 3:40 PM

  330. Here’s Newsweek, making that claim:
    http://www.newsweek.com/id/189293?tid=relatedcl

    Here’s lots more copypaste:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=10000+reactors+every+other+day

    That’s the lesson for new bloggers, in my opinion. Get sources.
    Find out why people believe them. Deal with the source, not the second-hand opinion posted.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 22 Mar 2009 @ 3:44 PM

  331. CORRECTION to 328

    In the fourth line I wrote:

    Therefore we are speaking of 1011 m2 per terawatt, or 104 km2 per terawatt.

    … but that should have been 1010 m2. It appears to have been a typo as it did not affect the rest of my calculations. One other problem — I gave us fifty years, but it should have been forty. However, these are all round figures — so I don’t think that bit matters.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 22 Mar 2009 @ 4:32 PM

  332. Well, I can’t find the reference, but I recall reading an estimate that, from all non-food sources, humans globally consumed about 420 exajoules in 2006 CE.

    So I opine the energy needs are considerably largely than in the comments I just read. (A reasonable estimate for 2050 CE is 800 exajoules.)

    Comment by David B. Benson — 22 Mar 2009 @ 4:50 PM

  333. Re: 328. Sorry to respond to a thread ‘splinter’…but in a talk I attended this morning, the speaker diplayed an overhead projection of a (still very) frozen local lake with the sun nestled half-way on the horizon…could have been sun-rise or set for all I know, however, it did dawn on me how much the sun is largely under-rated for a number of things. What you’ve presented is quite interesting. I wonder what a few years of market driven R&D would do to improvements in efficiency and afford-ability in solar industry products. The ‘science’ does seem to be advancing quickly.

    Comment by rando — 22 Mar 2009 @ 5:05 PM

  334. Re 328 – I’ve been a bit skeptical of the nanoantenna idea – not that it couldn’t work with solar radiation, but the idea that it could do anything useful at night just doesn’t seem physically possible. To the extent that the nanoantennas are able to absorb the wavelengths of terrestrial IR (LW radiation, mostly longer than 4 microns) as opposed to solar IR (mostly shorter than 4 microns), they will also be able to emit the same amount of IR radiation, if they are the same temperature as the IR source (says the second law of thermodynamics). Otherwise, the nanoantennas would have to be kept cooler than there surroundings to work at night. With sufficient moisture and cloud cover, they might produce some energy under an night-time inversion (which is not so likely under sufficient moisture and cloud cover) – or else they could be floated on cold ocean currents in the subtropics, or flown on kites higher in the atmosphere looking down at the surface, etc…

    I think it’s just as well to focus on nanoantennas that convert solar IR to electricity. Solar thermal (mechanical heat engines, thermoelectric, thermophotovoltaic) can be stored as molten salt (or hot rock if combined with a geothermal plant), etc…

    Price: see my comments 229,236 at:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/03/olympian-efforts-to-control-pollution/langswitch_lang/de

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 22 Mar 2009 @ 5:07 PM

  335. Re 328 continued – if the efficiency of a sheet is anywhere above 1%, if it costs only $1 per square meter, then I don’t think people would be dissappointed at all just because it doesn’t work at night (although for land use and copper wire reasons, we may want a bit more than 1% efficiency).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 22 Mar 2009 @ 5:25 PM

  336. PS in case anybody was wondering –

    Commercially available solar cells generally range from 10 to 20 % efficiency. A number of natural surfaces have albedos in the same range, so the local climatological effect of the albedo of solar power plants may be near zero. At most (except maybe for some high efficiency concentrating devices that reflect all diffuse light in otherwise dark surfaces, and solar power devices that have to be cleared of snow) it would be on the order of the energy supplied, and actual energy usage is puny in comparison to the energy budgets of the climate system regionally and globally.

    Concentrating mirrors can focus direct solar rays onto conversion devices but lose the diffuse light. Under cloud cover, some of that diffuse light is reflected again off the clouds, enhancing the energy supply of flat panels in the same area.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 22 Mar 2009 @ 5:33 PM

  337. From the lead post ” Climate science is perceived to have political, economic and ethical implications.”

    Not only perceived but actually does have consequences in these disciplines.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 22 Mar 2009 @ 5:44 PM

  338. Re 332 – 420 EJ per year is about 13.31 TW.
    A few years ago, the U.S. used 100 EJ per year, just over 3 TW.

    These are fuel equivalents. For electrical power, 1 EJ of solar or other renewable electricity replaces about 2.5 EJ of fuel.

    800 EJ per year is about 25.35 TW. (PS a small matter, but I’m averaging over leap years).

    I wonder if those nanoantenna sheets have a high albedo in shorter solar wavelengths.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 22 Mar 2009 @ 5:45 PM

  339. timothy, people developing new materials are always promoting themselves with talk of what might be possible using something related to their technology at some point in the future. Very few of these claims actually come off.
    The current price of Solar panels is more like $4 per watt (give or take a factor of 2), or $400 for your square meter.
    So at current prices we are talking more like 200 billion every 2 months (i.e. about as much as the current amount spent globally on weapons…).

    Comment by david — 22 Mar 2009 @ 5:45 PM

  340. Patrick 027 wrote in 334

    Re 328 – I’ve been a bit skeptical of the nanoantenna idea – not that it couldn’t work with solar radiation, but the idea that it could do anything useful at night just doesn’t seem physically possible.

    I remember wondering the same thing myself — then assuming that there was simply something I didn’t understand. The experiments they performed were at a higher temperature — and that may have had something to do with it. Likewise, I do remember their saying that the same thing might be done with visible light — in which case sunlight has the Planckian temperature of the surface of the sun — and given the temperature differential between that and the and the Maxwellian temperature of the earth’s surface can of course be used to perform work. Hey — free energy!

    In any case, I just now checked a variety of forums to see if anyone had an answer. None to be found — and at least one arguing that the problem would be with the rectifier. So I have gone ahead and written the tech contact for the project. In all fairness to them, I haven’t seen any of their people mention converting the thermal radiation from the earth into electricity — but numerous people (myself included) have made that leap.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 22 Mar 2009 @ 6:46 PM

  341. Can you guys shift to saying why and how this stuff matters to the new climate blogger? How you take a statement, do the research, and write it up in a coherent way so it adds something of longterm value?

    Like you were the blogger instead of the commenter? What’s useful?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 22 Mar 2009 @ 7:35 PM

  342. Re “Assuming minimal population growth (to 9 billion people), slow economic growth (1.6 percent a year, practically recession level) and—this is key—unprecedented energy efficiency (improvements of 500 percent relative to current U.S. levels, worldwide), it will use 28 terawatts in 2050.”

    Well, there’s your problem. It’s not in supplying existing power demand, it’s setting up unsustainable future growth levels. The world can’t support 9 billion people, or a compounded economic growth that implies a parallel growth in energy consumption.

    The most obvious fallacy: if it’s impossible to build non-fossil fuel generation to meet this projected need, then how is it going to be possible to build the same amount of fossil fueled generation? Even ignoring questions of diminishing reserves of oil & coal, it takes roughly as much effort to build a GWatt of coal-fired generation as it does nuclear, solar, or wind. The task is of the same magnitude, whatever path is taken.

    Comment by James — 22 Mar 2009 @ 7:37 PM

  343. [Trivial correction]

    Re: #215

    I have used the heat of fusion. You [Ray]insist on the mechanical equivelent of heat. What is the difference? There isn’t any.

    Answer: A factor of about 80.

    (Ray’s value of 334 joules/gm for latent heat of fusion of ice was correct.)

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 22 Mar 2009 @ 7:48 PM

  344. re: my suggestion in #192

    This thread is a good example of why I wished for some mechanism like that

    Does anyone want to propose:

    a) The fraction of posts that are clearly on the original topic.
    b) Those that might be.
    c) And those that would just get in the road of somebody who actually wanted to be a new climate blogger?

    Comment by John Mashey — 23 Mar 2009 @ 12:49 AM

  345. Correction—I abjectly apologise to you all , and especially to Nate Lewis , whose quote I mangled by leaving out the word ‘one’.
    Is he wrong about the difficulty of all this though?
    If so, can you point out how the required energy will be provided more easily than he says?
    He was pointing out that focus on the near-term goals like cutting 20% of emissions by 2020, diverts too much attention from the research that’s required to bring about the massive breakthroughs that would be needed to meet the 2050 goals.
    Surely this is a debate that needs to be had, before economies and lives are damaged for no good result.

    Comment by truth — 23 Mar 2009 @ 2:56 AM

  346. david wrote in 339:

    Timothy, people developing new materials are always promoting themselves with talk of what might be possible using something related to their technology at some point in the future. Very few of these claims actually come off.

    We only need one.

    david wrote in 339:

    The current price of Solar panels is more like $4 per watt (give or take a factor of 2), or $400 for your square meter.

    So at current prices we are talking more like 200 billion every 2 months (i.e. about as much as the current amount spent globally on weapons…)

    That is current prices — times approximately a factor of two.

    Here is something different…

    Until energy from the sun can beat energy from coal at the marketplace, solar will remain a niche player, adorning the rooftops of those who care more for their green reputation than for their bottom lines. Enter Nanosolar, a San Jose-based start-up that manufactures thin-film solar panels. Unlike the bulky silicon panels that dominate the solar market, Nanosolar thin-film technology is light and extremely cheap to make. The key is the manufacturing process: while silicon panels need to be baked in batches, Nanosolar’s thin-film panels roll off the assembly line, as if from a printing press.

    Time’s Best Inventions of 2008
    25. Thin-Film Solar Panels
    http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1852747_1854195_1854153,00.html

    That is a little closer to market than nanoantenna sheets. Not waiting on nano-rectifiers.

    There will be breakthroughs. And the biggest technological break-throughs will come with solar.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 23 Mar 2009 @ 2:59 AM

  347. Here is someone who has reached market with solar at less than a dollar per watt:

    The company said that during the fourth quarter of last year, the manufacturing cost for its solar modules stood at 98 cents per watt, taking it below the $1 per watt mark for the first time.

    Mike Ahearn, chief executive at the company, hailed the achievement as a ” milestone in the solar industry’s evolution towards providing truly sustainable energy solutions”, adding that it provided evidence that solar manufacturers could prosper in the long term even as government subsidies are reduced.

    First Solar said it was confident that plans to more than double its production capacity through 2009 to more than one gigawatt would allow it to reduce costs further to a point where energy from solar panels can undercut that from natural gas and coal.

    First Solar reaches “dollar per watt milestone”
    Thin-film solar manufacturer claims to have produced modules at cost of 98 cents a watt
    BusinessGreen.com staff, BusinessGreen, 25 Feb 2009
    http://www.businessgreen.com/business-green/news/2237250/first-solar-reaches-dollar-per

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 23 Mar 2009 @ 3:09 AM

  348. Less Trivial

    Re #143 and Kintisch (see #133)

    Should bloggers and educationists play down the most alarming but least certain?

    This seems to me to be one of the most important issues. Some people when told that they only have a short lease of life left go into psychological denial , others decide that they might as well throw every caution to the winds and have a good time. Too many warnings of the type that it is “may already be too late” can lead to heightened disbelief or inaction.

    There are also valid arguments on the opposite side. There is evidence that many people think that they can safely brush the AR4 under the carpet, they half believe it and half believe the deniers. They can point to the politicians who claim to accept its conclusions and feel reassured by this alone, and conclude that the problem will somehow be sorted. Perhaps a bit of shock therapy is necessary? I don’t include exaggeration or sloppy reporting.

    Then there is the technical question of dealing with low risk but high cost. The bankers chose the option of ignoring such risks altogether. But not the structural engineers. The designer of the tallest building described how he had to take into account risks of earthquakes which might occur once in 2,500 years. Is our experiment with fossil fuels designed with that degree of care? One final point, some of our buildings (in Europe) are many hundreds of years old , so is our culture. Five hundred or even a thousand years does not seem that long. Why do so many warnings stop in the year 2100 when we already know that the melting (for example) and the CO2 will continue for long after that date?

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 23 Mar 2009 @ 5:16 AM

  349. Advice to new young bloggers

    Don’t bother to report on nano-heating that works off earthshine. Carnot would be turning in his grave.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 23 Mar 2009 @ 7:45 AM

  350. Re #192 & 344

    John – the point you raise is one of interest to me. However, I think the good news for a new blogger is that this is generally not a problem in the beginning as it is unlikely that they will have many folks commenting on their posts. I have high hopes that someone out there right now is working on intelligent software to help solve this problem in that ‘on topic’ comments would be highlighted.

    I do think a new blogger should ponder what they might do should their blog be successful enough to get the level of comments for instance found here on RC. Policies up front will make it easier to manage should it become a problem.

    Comment by MJ — 23 Mar 2009 @ 8:32 AM

  351. Wow, “truth” actually brings up a relevant point and not just a “talking point” for Australia’s badly mangled tories:

    “He was pointing out that focus on the near-term goals like cutting 20% of emissions by 2020, diverts too much attention from the research that’s required to bring about the massive breakthroughs that would be needed to meet the 2050 goals.”

    Answer: No. This is a false dichotomy. The emphasis on the 2020 goals is needed so that we can buy time and avoid turning points that render the 2050 goals meaningless. The era of false dichotomies is over. We can’t ignore one critical need for the sake of meeting another. Conservation and rapid technological advancement are both prerequisites for development of a sustainable economy and the preservation of human civilization.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 23 Mar 2009 @ 9:24 AM

  352. John (344)

    I’m with you 100%. However, even with that mechanism, Gavin or someone still has to wade through responses and make the call as to which bin to throw it into. It would be an improvement for sure, but the best solution is for certain readers not to clog up the pipes with off topic comments, and others not to respond to them.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 23 Mar 2009 @ 9:39 AM

  353. One last try for ‘truth’ to pay attention:

    What source are you quoting? Why do you consider it reliable? Have you looked at the primary, the original, source? Or are you just quoting some second or third hand excerpt of part of his presentation?

    I found it for you and posted the link. Did you read it?

    Do you recognize this quote from Lewis?
    —-excerpt follows—-
    Summary
    • Need for Additional Primary Energy is Apparent
    • Case for Significant (Daunting?) Carbon-Free Energy Seems
    Plausible (Imperative?)
    Scientific/Technological Challenges
    • Energy efficiency: energy security and environmental security
    • Coal/sequestration; nuclear/breeders; Cheap Solar Fuel
    Inexpensive conversion systems, effective storage systems
    Policy Challenges
    • Is Failure an Option?
    • Will there be the needed commitment? In the remaining time?

    Observations of Climate Change
    Evaporation & rainfall are increasing;
    • More of the rainfall is occurring in downpours
    • Corals are bleaching
    • Glaciers are retreating
    • Sea ice is shrinking
    • Sea level is rising
    • Wildfires are increasing
    • Storm & flood damages are much larger ….
    —-end excerpt—-
    That’s from the PDF by Lewis that I linked above, and it’s just one of Lewis’s presentations, maybe the one you got your tidbit from, maybe not.

    It’s up to _you_ to identify _your_ source.

    Don’t throw trash in here and insist it’s up to the other readers to sort it out for you.
    We’re just readers here like you, and we’ve got plenty of homework.

    He says nothing to support your claim that his piece calls for “a debate that needs to be had, before economies and lives are damaged for no good result.” He’s entirely clear the damage is happening.

    If you want good information, go to the original source.
    If you care to tell us the truth, tell us who you’re quoting and where you’re getting the little biased bit from Lewis’s work that you’re presenting as though it were supporting your argument.

    This is the most tiresome, time-wasting, and annoying thing about people who come banging their personal political drum and claiming someone prominent and competent supports their position — but deceptively, on the base of second-hand or third-hand fragmentary quotes out of context.

    Shape up. Find the original source of what you think you know.
    Read it and check the footnotes and look at papers that cite it.
    Learn to question the PR for yourself.

    And cite where and how you find what you claim you’re quoting.
    If it’s from WTF or some other blogger, so be it, but _cite_ it.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Mar 2009 @ 10:13 AM

  354. hi!
    im just reading through some of the articles you have on your site as i have an essay due on global warming. however in the title it mentions phoney science and how global warming could be seen as a hoax (which i totally dont believe). the only thing is i havent heard of “phoney science” to do with global warming. i was wondering if you could point me in the right direction of where i would find evidence to this global warming “phoney science”??

    thanks!

    Comment by holly — 23 Mar 2009 @ 11:00 AM

  355. Hank asserts: “One last try for ‘truth’ to pay attention:”

    I’m afraid you’re not getting it Hank. THE TRUTH is that AGW is a lie. Anything that says it isn’t a lie is not THE TRUTH. Any papers not promoting THE TRUTH is a conspiracy to subvert THE TRUTH and the lack of any scientific paper showing THE TRUTH is not because THE TRUTH is wrong, but because there is a conspiracy against THE TRUTH.

    If you want an example of what truth hears from you, watch “The Simpsons” episode where Santa’s Little Helper has to go to dog obedience classes. truth is SLH.

    Once again The Oracle has it: shrug reckoning.

    Comment by Mark — 23 Mar 2009 @ 11:00 AM

  356. truth Says (23 March 2009 at 2:56 AM):

    “Surely this is a debate that needs to be had, before economies and lives are damaged for no good result.”

    The problem is that you’re assuming your conclusion – that economies & lives will be damaged by reducing CO2 emissions – without (so far as I have noticed) providing any scrap of evidence that this will actually be the case. Absent such evidence, you’re just using scare tactics.

    Comment by James — 23 Mar 2009 @ 11:23 AM

  357. re: 352 Jim
    1) If someone is moderating a blog, they’ll already be taking a quick look at each post anyway.

    2) But, more importantly, consider the following behavioral effect:

    a) Some blogs don’t really moderate, and much intemperate junk can appear.

    b) Some, of which John Quiggin is a good example, have an explicit policy, he enforces that policy, and the observed result is a fairly temperate level of discourse.

    c) Now, I would speculate (I don’t have the data) that when one first emplaces such a policy, that one may have to take action frequently, but after a while, if people break the rules, and their posts just never show up, I suspect they stop … in which case the enforcement overhead should go down.

    This speculation is at least consistent with other effects. For example, when people park, do they put coins in the meter? Maybe, maybe not, but if their experience tells them that if they don’t, the chances of a fine are ~100%, they do.

    In any case: PUBLISH A CLEAR DISCUSSION POLICY, whatever it is.

    === OK that was on-topic, but since all this discussion of Nate Lewis is getting through:

    I heard him talk at Stanford a few months ago, and he gave a very interesting talk, accorded by many as one of the most exciting in a good symposium, although it has a long way to go.

    Lewis at GCEP.

    Read p.53, p.52, p.12, and then the details.

    Also useful is his Caltech website.

    Comment by John Mashey — 23 Mar 2009 @ 11:31 AM

  358. commenter ‘truth’ wrote in #317: “… voters are, in the main, deliberately kept uninformed about the alternative views and scientists, by a mainstream media that’s almost 100% promoting the consensus.”

    Like most of what you post here, that is far from the truth. Indeed it is pretty much the polar opposite of the truth.

    The reality is that the so-called “mainstream” mass media from which most voters get most of their information has given inordinate coverage to the denialists, including those that are rather blatantly funded by ExxonMobil and other fossil fuel corporations, presenting their “views” (and sometimes their outright falsehoods) as equivalent to the overwhelming consensus of the world’s scientific community. Until very recently, every “mainstream media” article about new developments in the science of climate change was “balanced” with the views of some lunatic fringe fraud or crank casting doubt on whether global warming is even really happening or whether human activities are the cause.

    Your comment amounts to whining that the media occasionally reports the actual facts about actual science that you obstinately refuse to accept.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 23 Mar 2009 @ 11:36 AM

  359. Thank you John Mashey, for additional good cites and for pointing within it exactly where to look. Good example of how-to.

    For “truth” — seriously. Cite your source, tell us why you consider it reliable, and show us you know how to check what you read on blogs. Credibility follows.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Mar 2009 @ 12:28 PM

  360. To the list of “advices” to the Young Climate Blogger, add

    “Offer something worth coming back for”.

    RC brings me back with reportage on newly published
    climate science and paleoclimatology work.
    The quality of the discussions, however variable,
    is a bonus. It’s fun to learn from well-articulated argument.

    Comment by Jerry — 23 Mar 2009 @ 12:46 PM

  361. Adding my own thoughts to John Mashey’s (356) regarding moderation…

    As far as moderation policy goes, there are different points in the discussion. Early on you want things to remain on topic. Maybe the first 200 comments. If you have a guest poster you may want things to remain on topic for longer. But one thing you do not want to have happen is keep things on topic beyond the point at which everyone has run out of things to say. You need to keep your audience between posts. So I would recommend stricter moderation early on, but more lax moderation later in the game.

    Now obviously there is some tension between this approach and what John Mashey had to say. What he wrote might be taken to at least suggest that the level of moderation must be constant. But what I would suggest is that it must be rational, and by rational I mean in the appropriate ratio where “appropriate” is determined by context.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 23 Mar 2009 @ 12:47 PM

  362. SecularAnimist wrote in 357:

    commenter ‘truth’ wrote in #317: “… voters are, in the main, deliberately kept uninformed about the alternative views and scientists, by a mainstream media that’s almost 100% promoting the consensus.”

    Like most of what you post here, that is far from the truth. Indeed it is pretty much the polar opposite of the truth.

    The following might help make sense of it all…

    “War is peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.”
    – George Orwell, 1984

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 23 Mar 2009 @ 12:55 PM

  363. John and Hank, Actually, I think that many commenters (not all) could self police and would be happy to flag their posts as being off-topic. This might assist the blogger in such decisions.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 23 Mar 2009 @ 12:55 PM

  364. truth wrote in 345:

    Surely this is a debate that needs to be had, before economies and lives are damaged for no good result.

    James wrote in 355

    The problem is that you’re assuming your conclusion – that economies & lives will be damaged by reducing CO2 emissions – without (so far as I have noticed) providing any scrap of evidence that this will actually be the case. Absent such evidence, you’re just using scare tactics.

    I would like to add to this.

    We also know that continuing CO2 emissions will cause a great deal of damage. The scientific debate over this is largely over. It took place in the scientific journals over the past several decades — although it reaches back as far as the late 1800s.

    What are left are merely the details. Whether business as usual raises the sea level one meter or two meters this century, whether the glaciers of the Himalayas will be gone by 2030 or 2050, whether the US Southwest will face severe drought or more intense flooding and when, how quickly we will destroy the oceans simply due to rising PH levels, and how many hundreds of millions will face severe drought and famine by the late 2090s, and how strong positive feedback from the carbon cycle will be when it kicks in.

    Why is it that you insist upon only taking into account the presumed costs of renewables, not the costs of of fossil fuels — where coal has twice the emissions of oil per unit of energy and tar sands has three times the emissions? Why not the costs to our world due to our remaining dependent on fossil fuels? And what of the fact that fossil fuels exist in a limited supply and that increasing hunger for energy must necessarily exceed that supply at some point, and with population growth and the rising living standards of the third world, sooner rather than later?

    Being so close to Peak Oil — which we seem to have passed in 2005 but if not will soon pass, we are at a branching point. We can invest in the infrastructure that will make us dependent upon other fossil fuels or we can invest in renewables. If we invest in fossil fuels, not only are there the consequences to our world that result from higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the acidification of our oceans, but given the diminishing supply and growing demand, we will necessarily face higher and higher prices. What will be the cost to our economies of this? And what of the wars that will be fought over such limited resources? They have already begun.

    And regarding renewables, I have already pointed out one approach to solar energy which is currently competitive with coal (347). Do you choose to ignore this? And what of the economies of scale which will result from the more widespread use of renewables? Sure — I am looking for breakthroughs and investments in further research and development, but there will always be more breakthroughs to be had. We are at a branching point. Action can no longer be postponed.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 23 Mar 2009 @ 1:44 PM

  365. Patrick 027 (338) — Thank you.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 23 Mar 2009 @ 1:57 PM

  366. CORRECTION

    In the third paragraph of 363:

    What are left are merely the details…. whether the US Southwest will face severe drought or more intense flooding and when, …

    … “US Southwest” should have been “US Southeast.” I am used to having the South at the bottom of the map and the East on the right, but I have been focusing on the North Pacific Gyre Oscillation, the North Pacific Oscillation, and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation recently (but neither the Arctic Oscillation nor the North Atlantic Oscillation) over at Tamino’s and on my own and was looking at the map with the North at the bottom (where I was viewing the map) rather than at the top as I am used to seeing things.
    *
    Captcha fortune cookie:
    “Restaurants Diego”

    I remember being at a bar in Diego Garcia — more or less in the middle of the Pacific Ocean where El Nino Southern Oscillations are strongest. Actually it was more of a bar than a restaurant, come to think of it…

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 23 Mar 2009 @ 3:43 PM

  367. re: #361
    yes, that seemed within “e) Obviously good/bad are judgements of the moderator(s), and reasonable people can disagree.”

    Where I have problems is when a *long* blog thread has turned into multiple conversations, most of which have departed far from the original topic. This can work OK in blogs/newsgroups that do nesting or attach replies to specific comments, so that OT comment chains are easily recognizable.

    Examples: DeSmogBlog, The Oil Drum, and the latter has a nice +/- button per post that collapses/expands not only the post, but also its dependent posts.

    Of course, that style also burns screen space, and can get a bit irksome with deep indents for long chains, but it does help in reading complex discussions. One could wish both of those examples numbered comments as well, but that’s awkward with nested schemes.

    This is not to argue for any particular scheme, just the observation that:

    a) Some discussions may be fun while they’re going on, but could disappear shortly thereafter with little loss. This is not necessarily bad.

    b) On the other hand, some discussions (not just the original post) are well worth keeping for future use by non-participants, and there, high S/N Ratios seem helpful.

    For old-timers, this is a little like the use of the APL language, sometimes accused of being a write-only language, as it could be wonderfully expressive, but sometimes nearly-incomprehensible to someone reading it later.

    Comment by John Mashey — 23 Mar 2009 @ 11:19 PM

  368. I think we spend in the U.S. about $300 billion/year on electricity, or at least on that order of magnitude (U.S. energy fuel equivalent total is about 3 TW – rounding to 3 TW (~ 95 EJ/yr, ~ 26 trillion kWh/yr), about 40% of that – 1.2 TW (~ 38 EJ/yr, ~ 11 trillion kWh/yr) goes to electricity generation which is about 40% efficient, producing about 0.48 TW electric power (~ 15 EJ/yr, ~ 4.2 trillion kWh/yr). If the electricity costs about 7 cents per kWh, that’s about $295 billion/year. Now, a few years ago the total fuel equivalent was around 100 EJ/yr, so there’s some fudge factor there, but it should be close.

    For an average of 200 W/m2 insolation on the panels, solar power from solar cells will cost $20/W for a price of $4/peak W (solar cell prices are generally given for electric power produced at 1000 W/m2 solar power; I’m assuming the fill factor is close enough to 1 for power to be nearly proportional to incident power; this won’t quite be true because solar cells tend to become less efficient with reduced sunlight (with some exceptions?) and the mix of wavelengths will vary near sunset and sunrise, although the majority of power will be available when the sun is higher in the sky anyway…). This not including some balance-of-system (mounting, inverters, … tracking, concentrators, batteries, new power lines, where applicable).

    At $20/W, replacing 0.48 TW of electric power will cost $9.6 trillion. BUT over 40 years, that’s $240 billion/year. (Cell lifetimes will generally be long – some degradation along the way, so energy equivalent to 60 years at rated power might actually take 70 or 80 years of service to produce.)

    Now imagine if the price per peak W drops to $2, or $1.

    Running out of resources?

    With so much electricity to be generated, multiple kinds of solar technology, including a variety of solar cells, can be introduced into the market without losing mass market advantages for each – some may find their own niches (rooftop residential vs rooftop commercial vs large scale desert installation; also, different places with different mineral resources – although transportation costs should be minimal for the devices compared to lifetime output). Deploying multiple technologies reduces the problem of limited resources for producing any one kind (although for the energy produced, it may be possible to mine such metals as Zn and Cu, etc, from common rocks and still come out way ahead in energy profit; I’m a bit more concerned about the availability of Te – see my comments (229,236) at http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/03/olympian-efforts-to-control-pollution/langswitch_lang/sp
    - SUCH AS:
    Various combinations of: polycrystalline Si, polycrystalline Si with light trapping (total internal reflection reduces necessary thickness of photovoltaic material, thus boosting efficiency, reducing internal resistance and electron-hole recombination for given level of crystal lattice perfection and substance purity – or allowing greater dopant concentration to reduce resistivity?? – and giving a higher fill factor ??), amorphous Si, CdTe, GaInAs concentrator devices, CIGS, (V,Ti,Mn,Fe,Co,Ni,Cu,Zn,Ce,Nb,Y,Zr…)x(O,S,Se,Te…)y, camphoric (or other?) soot (yes, you read that correctly) or more ‘exotic’ forms of C (nanotubes and fullerence, thin film diamond?), semiconducting polymers, photosensitizing dyes/pigments/nanoparticles, nanostructures producing multiple electron-hole pairs, nanopatterned cells (the antenna idea brought up earlier), photonic structures, multijunction cells, nanoporous cells, bulk heterojunctions, folded p-n junctions, interpenetrating electrodes, buried electrodes, electrolytes, spheral cells (a lot of Si beads), spectrum splitting geometric concentrators, luminescent concentrators (doubling as windows, skylights, greenhouse roofing…), single or double axis tracking, solar concentrating with mechanical heat engines or thermophotovoltaic cells (perhaps that’s what the antenna idea was tested for, regarding high temperatures) or thermoelectric cells (also imagine drawing power from thermocouples attached between dark pavement and/or sewer pipes and snow drifts in winter), made by chemical vapor deposition, freezing from melt, precipitation from solution (sol-gel – nanoparticles for nanoporosity to produce interpenetrating n,p type networks), electrochemical process (grow dendrite forms?), X-ray lithography for large scale nanopatterning…? – taking advantage of crystal habits as a function of conditions, eutectic phase transitions and other self-organizing habits of some mixtures (imagine mixtures of limited mutual solid solubility that dope each other p and n type…)…)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 23 Mar 2009 @ 11:35 PM

  369. John Mashey wrote in 367:

    This is not to argue for any particular scheme, just the observation that:

    a) Some discussions may be fun while they’re going on, but could disappear shortly thereafter with little loss. This is not necessarily bad.

    b) On the other hand, some discussions (not just the original post) are well worth keeping for future use by non-participants, and there, high S/N Ratios seem helpful.

    I know that I often find the search function rather helpful — in which case it doesn’t matter quite so much which discussion a given topic comes up in. You use the search function to find the web page, then you use the browser’s find to find the that part of the discussion which mentions the topic. And that helps if I want to look up what someone else said, find a few links, or use part of one of my earlier formulations that I am especially happy with — although there is something to be said for forcing oneself to formulate things anew each time as this exercises one’s memory and understanding.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 24 Mar 2009 @ 12:07 AM

  370. John Mashey wrote in 367:

    re: #361
    yes, that seemed within “e) Obviously good/bad are judgements of the moderator(s), and reasonable people can disagree.”

    When I stated in 361:

    Now obviously there is some tension between this approach and what John Mashey had to say. What he wrote might be taken to at least suggest that the level of moderation must be constant.

    … I didn’t mean to suggest that there was a contradiction between your approach and mine, but only that there was “a tension” or what might appear to be a conflict between the two — as the following from 357:

    c) Now, I would speculate (I don’t have the data) that when one first emplaces such a policy, that one may have to take action frequently, but after a while, if people break the rules, and their posts just never show up, I suspect they stop … in which case the enforcement overhead should go down.

    This speculation is at least consistent with other effects. For example, when people park, do they put coins in the meter? Maybe, maybe not, but if their experience tells them that if they don’t, the chances of a fine are ~100%, they do.

    In any case: PUBLISH A CLEAR DISCUSSION POLICY, whatever it is.

    … might suggest a constancy of approach that did not take into account the different stages of a discussion.

    You were emphasizing clarity and consistency, I emphasized a certain flexibility, but in truth you need both and the ability to balance the two. And I believe neither of us disagrees.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 24 Mar 2009 @ 1:11 AM

  371. re: 370 Timothy
    Oh, I don’t think we particularly disagree.
    There was no implication of constancy of approach in the sense you mean.

    Here’s a possible policy:
    “Anything I think is off-topic goes to the shadow thread”.

    here’s another:
    “OT posts goes to the shadow thread unless I think they’re interesting anyway, and that may change during the discussion. By looking at past threads, you may get some idea of my effective behavior.”

    and another:
    “Even if OT, if it gets repetitive or overly wordy, I’ll move it.”

    As you may guess, I have some familiarity with using computers to search for things … but remember, this thread was supposed to be advice for young bloggers. Good discussions are attractors. Having to search around to wade through too many diversions is not an attractor. Anyone who does a blog can pick where they want to be. Without naming any, I just observe that I’ve given up on some blogs because the S/N Ratio has degraded too far, just as it did with some USENET newsgroups that used to have excellent discussions.

    Comment by John Mashey — 24 Mar 2009 @ 11:11 AM

  372. Timothy Chase[364]:
    Even if you’re right about the damage from the increase in CO2, the huge amounts of funding needed to solve the very large problems with renewables, will only come out of healthy, prosperous economies, will they not?
    You quote the accusations of ‘scare tactics’ directed at me from James regarding damage to economies—but isn’t the whole aim of emissions trading schemes to make carbon much more expensive than it is now—thereby making coal-fired electricity much more expensive than it is now—thereby making everything manufactured, and every service much more expensive than they now are?
    Obama certainly claimed that ‘electricity prices will soar’. Does he think most other prices won’t then soar ?
    With such huge rises in prices of almost everything, won’t those inflated prices precipitate a need for increases in wages—followed by business either scaling back or going offshore to low-wage countries, both contingencies causing increased unemployment, as is already happening in Australia, with the prospect of the ETS about to begin in 2010 ?
    Inflation and slowdown in business and manufacturing and mining are certainly damaging impacts for an economy.
    You would probably say that there’ll be compensation for increased prices, but here, that’s only intended for lower socio-economic groups, leaving middle-income earners to fend for themselves in an inflationary and consequently high interest rate , low growth economy.
    So how could a price increase on everything not have an economic effect?
    The usual reply on this blog is that there’ll be lots of jobs in renewables, but how will governments and industry fund the enormous research needed to solve the energy storage problem , the problems of the costly materials involved in solar generation, and the problems with huge losses in the distribution of electricity, if our present recessions are exacerbated by self-inflicted impacts of an ETS or equivalent?
    You talk about economies of scale with renewables, but from what I’ve read, that’s exactly what will be sacrificed, if there’s a mix of renewable technologies.
    You say the debate is over—that it was dealt with in the journals over recent decades.
    Could it be that incidents like the following , have something to do with what many of us [ whether the true believers like it or not] perceive to be a shut-out of any dissenting science—
    [----‘ the paper[ submitted to the Journal of Climate], was knocked back. This largely because of an unbelievably vitriolic and indeed rather hysterical, review from someone who let slip that “ the only object I can see for this paper is for the authors to get something in the peer-reviewed literature which the ignorant can cite as supporting lower climate sensitivity than the standard IPCC range”.’ ]
    How often does such petulance and bias prevent publication?
    The paper was published subsequently by another journal.
    That sounds more like fragility and post-normal science, than an objective peer review process.
    It’s the cost of ditching coal for renewables before renewables are anywhere near up to the job of providing base load power that I think is mad.
    I agree with the sensible mitigation measures like reforestation on a huge scale, sustainable building, encouragement of personal cuts in emissions via energy efficient appliances, vehicles etc—as much conservation as can possibly be done—but why are you so anxious to risk economies that are already damaged, when people like Nathan Lewis say that focus on the near-term targets is a distraction from the big solar research goals that are vital for base load power provision ?
    Are you saying that solar power is going to be ready to take up the slack, if funding dries up for coal-fired power stations, if some people on this blog have their way and coal –fired power is demonised , to the extent that it’s on death row as an industry?
    You talk about the limited supply of fossil fuels, but according to Nathan Lewis, there’s enough coal in reserve for [ I think] 2000 years—for an awfully long time, anyway—he cites Germany’s use of coal when oil ran out in WW2.
    The business as usual thing really is a straw man—most who are sceptical about AGW still want sensible mitigation and adaptation—and copious funding for research.
    I would like to think that , eventually , solar power could be our main energy source, if global warming is the problem you think it is, but just claiming it’s ready to go won’t make it so.

    Comment by truth — 25 Mar 2009 @ 8:53 AM

  373. truth, I will let others respond to other portions of your post. However, your description of the journal review process is, I think, not so damning on the face of it as you perceive it to be.

    I can’t comment on subjective adjectives, such as “vitriolic” or “hysterical,” but what I hear in the quoted criticism “the only object I can see for this paper is for the authors to get something in the peer-reviewed literature,” is a potentially valid criticism–ie., that the paper does not really seek to advance the science. Such concerns do inhibit publication all the time, and yes, assessing them is subjective to a degree–irreducibly so, since questions not only of fact but of value are involved.

    Getting published isn’t that easy, and isn’t meant to be. Generally, quite a bit of persistence is involved.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 25 Mar 2009 @ 9:35 AM

  374. truth wrote: “… Are you saying that solar power is going to be ready to take up the slack, if funding dries up for coal-fired power stations …”

    Yes, solar power is ready. That’s why major utilities are investing in both photovoltaics and concentrating solar thermal power plants today.

    You really should educate yourself about what is really happening with the wind and solar industries today. Even with the poor economy and the credit crunch, which have hit the wind and solar industries just as they have hit other industries, both technologies are growing rapidly.

    If you are going to discuss the potential of wind and solar, you ought to know what you are talking about. And you don’t.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 25 Mar 2009 @ 10:19 AM

  375. Based on comment 372, It has become clear that the person named “truth” has a poor understanding of the scientific method. Peer-review has been discussed extensively here. There was actually a thorough discussion by the moderator regarding the fact that peer-review is not perfect but it certainly has worked as a cornerstone of science for ages, Peer Review: A Necessary But Not Sufficient Condition, at http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=109. (Not) “truth” has also provided support for the last two sentences at my comment at http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=656#comment-114491. There is also an excellent comment re: peer-review and the scientific method at http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=656#comment-113915.

    Comment by Dan — 25 Mar 2009 @ 10:36 AM

  376. > truth … coal

    Ocean pH. Duh.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Mar 2009 @ 10:54 AM

  377. #366 Timothy Chase:

    I remember being at a bar in Diego Garcia — more or less in the middle of the Pacific Ocean where El Nino Southern Oscillations are strongest.

    Eh, Diego Garcia, AKA The Rock, is located in the Indian ocean…

    Some days just are like that ;-)

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 25 Mar 2009 @ 11:14 AM

  378. truth, how many off topic book chapters are you planning to write in this thread?

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 25 Mar 2009 @ 11:23 AM

  379. Untruth wrote @372: “but isn’t the whole aim of emissions trading schemes to make carbon much more expensive than it is now—thereby making coal-fired electricity much more expensive than it is now—thereby making everything manufactured, and every service much more expensive than they now are?”

    No, in short.

    The whole aim of emissions trading or a carbon tax is to make carbon more expensive than it is now by including its external costs in its price—thereby making coal-fired electricity and petroleum fuels more expensive than they are now—thereby making renewably generated electricity and alternatives to petroleum fuels more competitive then they are now, and thus spur research and investment in them.

    Since you got something that basic so wrong I didn’t bother reading your post any further.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 25 Mar 2009 @ 12:04 PM

  380. “truth” wrote in 372 (25 March 2009 at 8:53 AM) in response to 364 (23 March 2009 at 1:44 PM):

    You quote the accusations of ‘scare tactics’ directed at me from James regarding damage to economies—but isn’t the whole aim of emissions trading schemes to make carbon much more expensive than it is now—thereby making coal-fired electricity much more expensive than it is now—thereby making everything manufactured, and every service much more expensive than they now are?

    Hardly. Currently the costs associated with coal-fired electricity are far more expensive — but these costs are externalized such that those who benefit — in the present generation — are not those who bear the costs — in the present and future generations. Carbon taxes and carbon trading approaches are attempts to make businesses and consumers bear the true cost of carbon — such that they will reduce their carbon use and the costs to others.
    *

    “truth” continues:

    Obama certainly claimed that ‘electricity prices will soar’. Does he think most other prices won’t then soar ?

    Where did he make this claim?
    *

    “truth” continues:

    With such huge rises in prices of almost everything, won’t those inflated prices precipitate a need for increases in wages—followed by business either scaling back or going offshore to low-wage countries, both contingencies causing increased unemployment, as is already happening in Australia, with the prospect of the ETS about to begin in 2010 ?

    Why should it involve generally higher prices — assuming (for example that it is carbon neutral?

    Consider Jim Hansen’s approach:

    Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies, is one of the leading voices for a carbon tax to address climate change, rather than backing the more widely used cap-and-trade approach. In his plan, Hansen recommends levying a rising tax on fossil fuels and redistributing 100 percent of the proceeds to taxpayers – a “tax and dividend” approach [PDF].

    Hansen to Obama: Support a Carbon Tax
    Ben Block
    December 15, 2008 3:39 PM
    http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/009194.html

    *

    “truth” continues:

    You would probably say that there’ll be compensation for increased prices, but here, that’s only intended for lower socio-economic groups, leaving middle-income earners to fend for themselves in an inflationary and consequently high interest rate , low growth economy.

    Maybe if by “middle class” you mean anyone making $250,000 or above per year. Otherwise where is your evidence?
    *

    “truth” continues:

    The usual reply on this blog is that there’ll be lots of jobs in renewables…

    Wind already seems to be doing rather well in terms of job creation…

    Here’s a talking point in the green jobs debate: The wind industry now employs more people than coal mining in the United States.

    Wind industry jobs jumped to 85,000 in 2008, a 70% increase from the previous year, according to a report released Tuesday from the American Wind Energy Association. In contrast, the coal industry mining employs about 81,000 workers. (Those figures are from a 2007 U.S. Department of Energy report but coal employment has remained steady in recent years though it’s down by nearly 50% since 1986.) Wind industry employment includes 13,000 manufacturing jobs concentrated in regions of the country hard hit by the deindustrialization of the past two decades.

    JANUARY 28, 2009, 11:27 AM
    Wind jobs outstrip coal mining
    http://greenwombat.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2009/01/28/wind-jobs-outstrip-the-coal-industry

    … relative to coal.

    And interestingly, wind also seems to be doing rather well…

    Another sign that wind power is no longer a niche green energy play: Wind accounted for 42% of all new electricity generation installed last year in the U.S. Power, literally, is shifting from the east to west, to the wind belt of the Midwest, west Texas and the West Coast. Texas continues to lead the country, with 7,116 megawatts of wind capacity but Iowa in 2008 overtook California for the No. 2 spot, with 2,790 megawatts of wind generation. Other new wind powers include Oregon, Minnesota, Colorado and Washington state.

    ibid.

    … as a percentage of all new electricity.
    *

    “truth” continues:

    … the problems of the costly materials involved in solar generation

    I have done the homework on solar and wind, I will let you do the homework on this:

    … but how will governments and industry fund the enormous research needed to solve the energy storage problem

    … but I will let you know beforehand that there are a wide variety of technologies.

    As I have already pointed out, the costs of solar appears to be coming down:

    The company said that during the fourth quarter of last year, the manufacturing cost for its solar modules stood at 98 cents per watt, taking it below the $1 per watt mark for the first time.
    Mike Ahearn, chief executive at the company, hailed the achievement as a “milestone in the solar industry’s evolution towards providing truly sustainable energy solutions”, adding that it provided evidence that solar manufacturers could prosper in the long term even as government subsidies are reduced.

    First Solar said it was confident that plans to more than double its production capacity through 2009 to more than one gigawatt would allow it to reduce costs further to a point where energy from solar panels can undercut that from natural gas and coal.

    First Solar reaches “dollar per watt milestone”
    Thin-film solar manufacturer claims to have produced modules at cost of 98 cents a watt
    BusinessGreen.com staff, BusinessGreen, 25 Feb 2009
    http://www.businessgreen.com/business-green/news/2237250/first-solar-reaches-dollar-per

    … and they say that doubling the production at their company will make their product competitive with coal.
    *

    “truth” continues:

    … and the problems with huge losses in the distribution of electricity, if our present recessions are exacerbated by self-inflicted impacts of an ETS or equivalent?

    Costs come down when you are talking of High Voltage Direct Current:

    The trouble with most renewable energy is that you can’t put the fuel in a ship and take it to where you want the power. Unlike oil or gas or coal, you can’t transport the hot sunshine from Africa to Britain, or the North Sea wind to Italy.

    But backers of a new European super-grid say the next best thing is to move the electricity across continents using a new generation of high-voltage direct-current cables (HVDC) that leak far less electricity than conventional alternative-current pylons.

    December 12, 2008 3:26 PM
    Green ‘super-grid’ could let Europe harness African Sun
    http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2008/12/plans-for-a-super-grid-across.html

    … and this is what the plans for a grid are suppose to achieve for the United States.
    *

    “truth” continues:

    You talk about economies of scale with renewables, but from what I’ve read, that’s exactly what will be sacrificed, if there’s a mix of renewable technologies.

    Not if a doubling of capacity is all that is required to achieve an economy of scale that is competitive with coal. (See above.) And the fact that wind power expanded more rapidly than coal in 2008 suggests that it is already competitive.
    *

    “truth” continues:

    You say the debate is over—that it was dealt with in the journals over recent decades.
    Could it be that incidents like the following , have something to do with what many of us [ whether the true believers like it or not] perceive to be a shut-out of any dissenting science….

    Give us the cites. Tell us which article it was so that we can judge it for ourselves. Otherwise I personally can only conclude that it is the usual crackpottery published in such industrial rags as Energy and Environment.
    *

    “truth” continues:

    You talk about the limited supply of fossil fuels, but according to Nathan Lewis, there’s enough coal in reserve for [ I think] 2000 years—for an awfully long time, …

    What use do you think we have for your cites when you confuse the figures of 10,000 at 1 every other day with 10,000 every other day and you still aren’t able to provide the cites?

    *
    “truth” continues:

    … anyway—he cites Germany’s use of coal when oil ran out in WW2.

    I have mentioned the fact that Germany switched to synthetic oil made from coal — which would roughly double the carbon emissions per unit of energy:

    Robert Williams, a senior research scientist at Princeton, said “it’s a step backward” to operate a plant like Rentech’s without capturing the carbon. “It almost doubles the emission rate,” he said.

    Search for New Oil Sources Leads to Processed Coal
    By MATTHEW L. WALD, July 5, 2006
    http://zfacts.com/p/420.html

    *

    “truth” continues:

    The business as usual thing really is a straw man—most who are sceptical about AGW still want sensible mitigation and adaptation—and copious funding for research.

    I suppose you think that they are considering synthetic oil at nearly twice the emissions and…

    “We don’t want to spend taxpayer dollars on fuels that make global warming worse,” said Eugene, Ore., Mayor Kitty Piercy, who submitted the resolution.

    “Tarsands oil emits up to three times the greenhouse gases in the production process per barrel as convention oil production. Our cities are asking for environmentally sustainable energy and not fuels from dirty sources such as tarsands.”

    U.S. mayors join call for ban on oilsands-based gasoline
    Monday, June 23, 2008
    http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2008/06/23/us-mayors-oilsands.html

    … tarsands at up to three times the emissions proof of their concern.
    *

    “truth” continues:

    I would like to think that, eventually, solar power could be our main energy source, if global warming is the problem you think it is, but just claiming it’s ready to go won’t make it so.

    I others provide cites. I and others provide links and exact quotes. You give us claims and occasionally mention names without so much as a mangled reference — and when we do look up your claims we find that you greatly misunderstood your sources. Who should people believe, “truth”?

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 25 Mar 2009 @ 2:16 PM

  381. The ironically named “truth” accuses scientists of being peevish.

    Look, my time is valuable to me. I value my colleagues’ time similarly, so when I receive an absolute turd of a paper for me to review, I don’t feel I am under any obligation to be nice. And when the object of the paper is to obfuscate rather than clarify, pray, why should I be bound by niceties?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Mar 2009 @ 2:23 PM

  382. Two corrections to 380:

    Why should it involve generally higher prices — assuming (for example that it is carbon neutral?

    “Carbon neutral” should have been “revenue neutral.” However, the the quoted passage which immediately follows discusses Hansen’s “revenue neutral” suggestion, so there shouldn’t be (much) confusion.
    *

    I closed 380 with the paragraph:

    I [and] others provide cites. I and others provide links and exact quotes. You give us claims and occasionally mention names without so much as a mangled reference — and when we do look up your claims we find that you greatly misunderstood your sources. Who should people believe, “truth”?

    Of course there is no one individual who you should believe, not Pat Michaels, not Jim Hansen. If you can’t afford to invest your time in becoming an expert, then you should have measured trust in the scientific consensus. However, I believe that you should take much more seriously someone who provides cites, quotes and links than someone who simply issues claims — particularly when they involve the existence of a conspiracy involving tens or hundreds of thousands of papers, hundreds of scientists and all major scientific organizations that have taken a position on the existence and seriousness of anthropogenic global warming.
    *

    My apologies for the haste of my earlier response — I was in a rush to get somewhere. I probably should have waited.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 25 Mar 2009 @ 4:50 PM

  383. Martin Vermeer wrote in 377

    Eh, Diego Garcia, AKA The Rock, is located in the Indian ocean…

    Some days just are like that

    YouRight…

    I mostly remember it was close to the equator, shellback initiation when we crossed the equator, and the heat of the engine room. That and shaking hands with a crab, climbing a tree and getting a coconut that wasn’t quite ripe, the warning about a big shark near the shore, the odd footprint-like shape of the island and its lagoon, the Long Island ice teas, and, well, the rest of it is more of a blur. Can’t even remember at this point whether it came before or after Comoros and Madagascar. Oh well, it has been a while.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 25 Mar 2009 @ 5:03 PM

  384. “truth” writes:

    isn’t the whole aim of emissions trading schemes to make carbon much more expensive than it is now—thereby making coal-fired electricity much more expensive than it is now—thereby making everything manufactured, and every service much more expensive than they now are?

    Fallacy of composition. Making one good or service more expensive does not mean all other goods and services will be more expensive. In fact, one would expect their prices to decrease slightly if the money supply remains at the same level and velocity doesn’t change.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 25 Mar 2009 @ 5:15 PM

  385. Jim Eager: [ 379]
    I think you knew I was focusing on the on-costs from an ETS in answer to the questions directed at me about the economic impacts, but you couldn’t resist pretending otherwise for your own agenda—– to allow yourself to avoid addressing the impact issue.
    I would think you would all know that the reason the carbon would be made more expensive one way or another, was in order to make renewables more price-competitive—but my point was the impact of that.

    Barton Paul Levenson: [ 384]
    More expensive input costs for manufacturers and service providers are passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices—-that’s always been so—-competition might mitigate some of the rises, but the pricing would still be at a higher level.
    When it comes to exports, products from countries with an ETS or with a more stringent one, will find many of their exports priced out of the market, with product from countries unaffected by an ETS winning market share.
    Export economies will be very negatively affected by that—-and renewable research is going to need help in funding , from healthy economies.

    Kevin McKinney [373]
    Why did you leave out the last part of the quote—the part that says—-‘which the ignorant can cite as supporting lower climate sensitivity than the standard IPCC range’?
    Does that sound objective to you?

    Secular Animist [374]
    When you say solar power is ready, are you saying it’s ready to provide base load power?
    Would Steven Chu say that, do you think?
    Does the following quote reported in Environment News Service on March 12 2009, from Department of Interior Secretary Salazar, indicate that?
    ‘The Department of the Interior will continue to “responsibly” develop oil and gas resources on public lands’
    And ‘In the last six weeks, we have had five major oil and gas lease sales offshore, netting more than $32million in revenue for taxpayers’.
    Do you claim that the solar storage problem is solved—that there’s solar storage technology ready for deployment in the next few years?
    If so, why the excitement over the MIT announcement in recent days of very early research results on the possible basis for a storage solution—one that has already raised doubts among other scientists, not the least by a former mentor of the researcher?
    Have the problems of expense and availability of materials for solar energy been solved—and the HVDC problems of switching etc—and the nervousness in Europe of using HVDC over long distances that would be required for linking renewable sources , for power-sharing between European nations—the worries about energy security, national security and economic security?

    Comment by truth — 25 Mar 2009 @ 9:18 PM

  386. Kevin McKinney 373

    Although “Truth” has left the study unnamed, he is speaking of:

    Paltridge, G., Arking, A., and M. Pook Trends in middle- and upper-level tropospheric humidity from NCEP reanalysis data, Theoretical and Applied Climatology DOI

    … which was quite ably analyzed in:

    What if relative humidity was not constant?
    March 5, 2009 at 4:04 pm
    http://chriscolose.wordpress.com/2009/03/05/what-if-relative-humidity-was-not-constant/

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 25 Mar 2009 @ 11:01 PM

  387. “truth” –

    PART I:
    free markets are not perfect, and I do not worship them, but I like them, I think they are useful, there is a logic and grace to the concept. Setting aside that the energy market and agricultural markets, etc, are not even free today (there are a number of stupid subsidies and tariffs in the U.S., at least), emissions from fossil fuel combustion, cement production, deforestation, cows and rice paddies, landfills, etc, have a public cost – an externality.

    PART II (just to make you think – skip to PART III if you want):
    As in evolution, free markets tend towards local optima, and kinks in supply and demand curves can create traps – although unlike evolution, the timescale to evaluate profitability is not set and short term barriers to evolution may vanish in long-term perspectives (and if not, then it was not possible to cross the barrier in the first place – ecological succession can only follow various paths depending on extant species and climate and minerals and so forth, though ecology will shape evolution, climate, soils, etc.), but public policies can also affect the kinetic barriers toward more stable thermodynamic conditions (pardon the mixed metaphor) (Prime example – drive on left or right side of the road – also example of how decisions have moral and economic value through the situations and choices they give to other decision makers, and an example of how the value of one thing is affected by other things, which is related to – when small decisions are made, they can be made with the approximation that the basic state of the system is unchanged (as with linearizations of weak amplitude waves in fluid dynamics), whereas when large decisions are made, there can be nonlinearities; there can be multiple equilibria, etc, … and maximizing the enjoyment of food is accomplished by planning for different meals, because different things go together or not, and if one cannot rely on a next meal, they may just have the same favorite over an over again, which may be momentarily enjoyable but not as much as a variety over time (depending on an individual’s tastes) – and so on, the value of additional vitamin C in a diet, while depending on how much vitamin C has already been consumed (marginal utility), also depends on other foods (it has no use if one has already died of starvation) – there can be either decreasing or increasing returns),
    and government policies and programs themselves have costs (potential for corruption (depending on how programs are designed and what they are for) and thus the need for an enlightenned electorate to monitor government performance) and benifits (of externality regulation and fraud regulation, etc, (protection of rights), organization (to avoid negative sum games (competitive fertility, in some cases, can be ameliorated with social security (or the religious analogue of it – ancestor worship vs _____)), work through kinks in supply/demand curves, to increase profitability in the broadest sense)) and profitability
    –(as with the distribution of resources to decision making, based on expected importance of consequence and need of information, time, etc, some level of approximation has the cost of innaccuracy that may be outweighed by the benifit of efficiency, effectiveness)–(economic in a strict sense or profit in a more total measure of value (moral, aesthetic (apatite, aspiration, happiness, beauty), etc, … where economic value comes from, as it is determined by desires of people interacting with each other through other resources and interacting with other resources etc… with the total economy extending throughout all behavior, from choice of direction in train of thought, to investments in self, investments in and earnings from social capital, ecosystem services, etc.)–, and at least urban planning surely has it’s benifits, as does regulation of negative sum games, and protection of rights (in themselves of value with costs and benifits – costs of less than optimal behavior, benifits related to the inability to determine what optimal behavior is in all situations from a third non-omniscient person vantage point, the value of freedom itself, the value of having a margin of error, reduced legal costs) A. is economic regulation, for surely money could be made in theft and murder, and B. can extend to such things as regulation of pollution; or otherwise civil suits could be used and privatization of the commons could be used alternatively to avoid tragedies of said commons, but might it be more efficient for zoning laws and regulating use of commons, up to a point and in some cases, both for feasability (time travelling lawyers are not necessary if people plan for future legal costs and behave accordingly, however, … cost of infrastructure for toll roads down to the level of residential streets, inefficiency in traffic, although the later has been alleviated by technological advancements; how would the owner of wetlands charge per view of migrating birds?) and aesthetics (the value of nature is partly dependent on it’s being natural – also of scientific value; also the feeling of freedom of having public property, of having some allowance of fair use in copyright laws (also of value to social dynamics and consequences for elections?))(PS what is natural? – humans are natural, so anthropogenic global warming is natural (a climate feedback operating on several time scales), but human behavior is natural – if we have a government, that’s natural; if we regulate emissions, that’s natural – should we prevent the next ice age 50,000 years from now or let it run it’s course (comment 68 here: http://www.skepticalscience.com/Is-Antarctic-ice-melting-or-growing.html ) – it’s natural either way, I guess, but scientific and aesthetic value (live in interesting times – pluses and minuses, also applies to present day situation – but is the Holocene so boring; we haven’t ‘explored’ all of it yet, really, and it has variety, and it’s hard to get back into a geologic time division once one has left, and anyway, rapidity of change and uncertainty of outcome are sources of costs in themselves) in living through an ice age (or global warming) vs food value of having arable land…, — but of course, including the government as part of the total system, there is still the problem of evolution through the profitability landscape (analogous to fitness landscape in evolution – which, for a given allele, depends on the rest of the genotype, the environmental factors in phenotypic plasticity and with which the phenotype interacts, including other individuals of same species (frequency dependent selection, sexual selection, effect of learned behavioral patterns of a group (culture) etc.) and other species, and coevolution occurs among many things at many levels), that short-time frame valleys cannot be crossed if it is not removed when in the long-term view, as long as current availability of potential investment in the future allows; – the difference in deciding whether or not to enact some public policy or program is essentially a decision whether or not to choose some path on the total profitability landscape (which may be longer-term than can be viewed (other than as a pipe dream) by smaller-scale planners in the private sector) – rules of thumb may advise for or against some paths based on patterns in actual costs and benifits, but ideological opposal can be a ‘kinetic barrier’ to a ‘thermodynamic equilibrium’, while ideological support for any and all measures is also inadvisable, of course…
    meanwhile, there is also the problem of negotiating power (possible theoretical justification of progressive taxation; also justification for some regulation, for big business can become the tyrranical power, though there is also the risk of big business harnessing big government – as in stupid agricultural policies) … and the mysteries of my comment 200 at http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/03/olympian-efforts-to-control-pollution/langswitch_lang/de

    PART III:

    But set all of that aside. The free market cannot optimize when there is an externality; the externality takes away the necessary price signal in order for the information processor (free market as computer model of itself, as everything is) to find the answer, and for the learning algorithm to learn the best lesson, and thus for the evolving system to climb higher on the profit landscape. It just makes sense (when benifits (magnitude of the issue) outweigh costs (bureacracy, etc, if it is required)) to enforce some internalization of the public cost back into the transaction that produces it (as far as fossil fuels are concerned, this can be as simple as a sales tax on fossil fuels by C content (minus that which goes into materials, except for those materials that will at some point be incinerated, etc.). Sure, without proportional regulation of land use, farming practices, etc, one could end up driving deforestation in order to supply biofuels. But it doesn’t have to be that way. (Revenues: energy, efficiency, agriculture (cows, rice emissions) and sequestration (including land-use) R&D and incentives, cuts in other taxes, equal per capita pay-out (“cap-and-divident”, James Hansen), adaptation R&D (farming) and compensation (but in such a way as to avoid moral hazard – for example, encourage farmers to make most of changes rather than paying them to do inefficient things (also should be done even without climate change, and so on with FEMA), aid to poor in initial adjustment to new energy pricing patterns, population growth reduction initiatives (family planning resources, education)

    International issues? 1. ideally, a global tax rate and distribution of revenue. 2. in absence of that, cap-and-trade, with international trading market – must be near or at 100% auction, or else it could just turn into a status-quo protection. 3. Or have coutries contribute to international fund according to their emissions (incentive for domestic policies as above), and if they do, they can recieve revenue for purposes as stated above ((sharing) technological advancements (with other countries) would be rewarded, etc. As would something analogous to CDM from Kyoto – but better formulated to avoid perverse incentives – the reason for this is that we want developing countries to progress, for their good and ours, but for their good and ours, to progress cleanly and efficiently; there is an opportunity to start off with better infrastructure to begin with (rather than remodel the home later, instead of building efficiency and solar roofing into the initial design) – but that opportunity could be wasted if they can not afford it initially.)

    …and also consider
    comments 187,317,322 (policy) and 225,229,236,254 (energy, mainly solar cells) at the same site referenced above, and also:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/08/are-geologists-different/langswitch_lang/sw
    (in particular, 251 (what is optimal climate), and 257 (climate change), 265 and 267 (policies), and (solutions): 266, 268 (has erroneous claim about $700 billion being just form imports), 271, 273, 285 (NOTE LINKS))

    and

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/08/friday-round-up/langswitch_lang/sw
    (in particular, 86 (last 5 paragraphs pertaining to policies, economics), and (all about policy and economics)(NOTE LINKS): 132, 138, and 141).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 25 Mar 2009 @ 11:45 PM

  388. forget to put in PART II above:

    (and I would like to know Ayn Rand’s definitions of ‘rational’, ‘self’, and ‘interest’ – (don’t forget the ‘metarational’ (honestly, she probably was aware of that – I don’t really disagree with her on everything, some of it makes good sense); ‘self’ changes over time unless you consider your full life history into the future, and ‘self’ can be dissected to isolate ‘self’ up to a point until it dissolves away, and ‘self’ is not a pre-ordained entity but evolves over time as forces initiate and act on it and then it acts on itself and those forces (the value of being ‘one’s self’ vs being well-adjusted, etc.); interest – some people like being heros, some people enjoy giving, some people care about what is thought of them after they die, etc… (not that Rand was not aware of those things either – well, I’m not sure, I haven’t truly studied her work (only 24 hours in the day)).

    Re 385 – we need a healthy economy so as to have resources to invest in clean energy, etc. Okay (sort of – we still pay for a lot of things right now in the U.S.). But how do we allocate resources to that purpose, especially in the absence of a policy to internalize the public costs of emissions? Where does public funding come from?

    A tax (or something with that effect) on fossil C emissions as CO2 (and other emissions, or their sources, etc.), by raising the prices along the supply-demand chains, shifts demand more toward efficiency and clean energy, etc. The prices their go up as well as a result, but that draws in investment to increase supply in those markets, mitigating the price rise over time, and driving R&D to make it better and more affordable into the future (and maybe someday we’ll be selling solar cells to India and Africa (too late to sell to China?)).

    Trade issues could be handled by an international organization(s) (WTO – not that I’m a fan) so that in response to international variations in emissions policies, some proportionate tariff response can be implemented with the understanding of it’s justification and avoidance of spiralling into a trade war. However, there must be some allowance for developing countries to have a bit more time before having to play by the same rules. See previous comment.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 26 Mar 2009 @ 12:01 AM

  389. “truth” writes:

    More expensive input costs for manufacturers and service providers are passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices—-that’s always been so—-competition might mitigate some of the rises, but the pricing would still be at a higher level.

    Aren’t you assuming the demand curve is straight up and down? And you still haven’t addressed the fact that increasing the cost of one commodity doesn’t necessarily increase the cost of other commodities.

    Captcha: “lowest Marks”

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 26 Mar 2009 @ 5:39 AM

  390. Cutting back on emissions costs?
    http://weblog.infoworld.com/sustainableit/archives/2009/03/pc_power_manage_2.html

    Comment by Mark — 26 Mar 2009 @ 5:57 AM

  391. Patrick27

    Comment _numbers_ change in forum software. You’re pointing to changeable numbers. This breaks over time.

    Point to the HTML code behind the date. View Source.

    Please, at the very least, hit a carriage return in betwen thoughts.

    Your stuff may be excellent. But it’s unreadable as you type it stream-of-thought style unformatted, not easily findable since you’re dropping it off-topic, hard to follow as you’re dropping chunks interspersed in other conversations, and unreliable because you’re not using cites that will work.

    Aside from that, carry on …. fun to watch anyhow.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Mar 2009 @ 10:00 AM

  392. Patrick 027 Re 387 Part II

    Early on in college I took a course in Modern Philosophy and wrote a twenty page term paper on Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. This was about twice as long as his recommended upper limit.

    I had not divided the paper into parts or sections and the professor refused to read it because it was “too long.” I then broke it up into parts and sections but made no other changes. He loved the paper, even asking me how long I had been taking philosophy.

    *

    But how do you break things up assuming you didn’t divide it into sections in the first place?

    Well, another time a friend of mine (at least at the time) wanted to take a speech of his and post it at the online version of his glossy monthly. It consisted of one long string of paragraphs.

    I read it backwards, reading each sentence forwards, but reading the sentences in reverse order. This brought into bold relief the transitions between different topics so that I could break things up into sections. Then I gave each section its own title based upon its content.

    Afterwards I was able to group sections together based upon their content into parts, trying to keep things to no more than five sections in each part. Then I gave each part its own title — striving for something poetic in each case. At that point I was able to more clearly understand what he was aiming for and had accomplished with that speech.

    I gave the speech a title: In the Revolution’s Twilight. (It was about the failure of an earlier New Zealand free market “revolution” and the need for a newer one based upon a more solid foundation.) Then I presented my friend with his speech. He absolutely loved it. I would even dare to say that he had a much deeper appreciation for his own work.

    *

    It helps to have breaks in your text. It helps to divide things into smaller paragraphs, into sections and into parts. There are fairly severe limits on how much the human mind can take in for the first time. Then it needs to pause, reflect upon what it has read and digest the various ideas so that it can see the relationships between them.

    Only afterwards is it able to treat the whole as a larger unit and later repeat the process of integrating similar units into still larger units. We do not have the synoptic vision of a god that can take everything in within the first glance.

    The fact that you see things as so related, so integrated that you take it all in a single stream of consciousness says something rather remarkable about how much thought you have given to your subjects and how well you understand them. Help us to see and understand them too by recognizing the limitations on what we can understand for the first time at any given time.

    *

    Captcha fortune cookie:
    Mohammed stress

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 26 Mar 2009 @ 10:47 AM

  393. Re 391,392 – thanks for the feedback. (It’s kind’a funny, there have been times I’ve found myself reading something backwards just for the case of reading it – usually that happens when I don’t start with the intention of reading in full.)

    I really didn’t intend “PART II” to be a coherent set of arguments but rather a very very compressed mention of them, perhaps just to stimulate thought in the reader; I expect an initial response of “What the?”. (And it was getting late…)

    In some of the links I do have those ideas (or some of them) more delinneated and elaborated in coherent arguments (especially in the links in the last three comments in 387 (25 March 2009 at 11:45 PM ) above (and tangentially related, a link to discussion on evolution in the link within a “Forecast Earth” comment in a blog I refered to in one of the linkes in one of those last three comments).

    If I had my own blog (interesting – full circle back to original topic) I’d probably go through and repost all previous comments of mine (that are worthwhile) with some logical order.

    (PS – comment numbers – I tend to figure that they become hardenned into place in the older blogs and older parts of blogs. I realize though that I did also refer to a few rather recent comments).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 26 Mar 2009 @ 2:08 PM

  394. Timothy Chase [380]
    Obama made the statement ‘under my plan, electricity rates will necessarily skyrocket’ to a journalist on the San Francisco Chronicle.
    The statement and video were widely released only in the last week or so of the campaign.
    He seems to contradict himself in parts of his reply to the questions, but you can see him actually saying it all on the video [ actually audio with his picture up there] at
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0Px4ccLQ-w
    and at other sites as well.
    As I said in another post, electricity cost is an input in everything that’s made and every service that’s provided, so businesses will do what they always do and pass on at least a large part of the extra cost to consumers.
    The fact that it’s revenue neutral for the government overall, doesn’t mean some consumers won’t be bearing the extra cost.
    In Hansen’s plan, someone will be paying that tax he recommends , and they’ll be passing it on to consumers.
    He seems to favour the ‘food miles’ issue, with his remarks about UK exports—but what about your US exports to far-flung countries?
    Does the US not need or want that huge amount of export income?
    What will it do to your economy, if he has his way and the food miles/energy issue freezes up world trade?
    Some African farmers have invested everything they have and gone into debt to plant organic crops that Europeans encouraged them to plant with the promise of big markets in Europe.
    Now, they’re worried about losing everything due to the food miles issue.
    How is it possible that we can all go back to buying everything locally, and making stuff only for our own local domestic markets?
    That would be a recipe for trouble on a huge scale—surely.
    If you think it would work, I’d be very interested to know how—-without a giant global bureaucracy and strict and arbitrary political control that is.
    If we had a giant global democracy coordinating such trade, who would be running it, and how would it not be tied up in disputes and haggling—and lobbying ?
    I didn’t say ‘middle class’—I said ‘middle income’.
    Wind power that’s deployed now is working because the base load power is provided by coal.
    I don’t believe it’s working anywhere without that back-up.
    Denmark is usually mentioned as an example of wind power working, but it’s only viable because Denmark has neighbouring countries [ Germany, Sweden and Norway], ready to supply hydro power, and nuclear and coal-fired power for when the intermittent wind lets them down.
    In the link you gave me re wind power for the US, did you not notice that most of the turbines and other technology is imported from Europe, so many of the jobs will go to Europe—[ ‘The US wind industry is dominated by European wind developers and turbine makers’.]
    HVDC still has problems to overcome with switching and overload capacity, and European countries are apparently worried about potential national security and energy security problems with HVDC and the co-dependency involved—especially with their recent problems with threats to the reliability of gas supplies from Russia.
    http://conradiator.wordpress.com/2008/11/25/desert-power/
    No—I don’t think ‘they are considering synthetic oil’.
    Your last paragraph must be from someone who never ever makes a typo or any other mistake, is it?
    Well, congratulations on your exalted status .
    Many of my comments are from material I’ve read some time ago, not today or yesterday, so I haven’t got the links at hand—and I notice your snide admonitions don’t apply if it’s someone who agrees with you.
    You can believe them or not—doesn’t worry me.
    The venomous responses on this site to an alternative view is a real eye-opener—looks as though only ‘yes’ people are to be treated like human beings—the worst possible advice to a young blogger—-good for you —be very proud.

    Comment by truth — 26 Mar 2009 @ 7:11 PM

  395. “Truth” disingenuous comments have really set an all-time low with with “Obama made the statement ‘under my plan, electricity rates will necessarily skyrocket’ to a journalist on the San Francisco Chronicle. The statement and video were widely released only in the last week or so of the campaign. He seems to contradict himself in parts of his reply to the questions, but you can see him actually saying it all on the video [ actually audio with his picture up there] at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0Px4ccLQ-w and at other sites as well.”

    If he had any sense of objectivity instead of simply regurgitating what others told him to think he would know that the quote he refers to was solely in the context of *new* coal plants that did not address CO2 emissions. Period. That was made quite clear at the time. The only ones who did not make it clear were the Rushs, Drudges, Hannitys, Catos, and Climate Audits of the world. It is no small coincidence that the You Tube link he provides is an anti-Obama post as well.

    It speaks volumes about “truth” that he posted disingenuous comments that others have fed him, without applying any skepticism to the what he was told/read. It is intellectually lazy to simply regurgitate was others tell you simply because that is what you want to believe.

    “Truth’s” post are the *true* eye opener with regards to the blatant anti-science beliefs held by denialists. He should be proud of making such grossly embarrassing comments on a subject he knows so little about. He reflects the height of arrogance to assume that he knows something that literally every professional climate science organization/society in the world (e.g. NSF, RMS, EPA, NOAA, DOD, AAAS, AGU, etc.) and peer-reviewed climate science journal does not. What an embarrassment his comments have become. It is obvious he does not even understand the definition of the word “truth”. Seriously.

    Comment by Dan — 26 Mar 2009 @ 7:52 PM

  396. “truth” wrote in 394:

    Timothy Chase [380]
    Obama made the statement “under my plan, electricity rates will necessarily skyrocket” to a journalist on the San Francisco Chronicle.

    The statement and video were widely released only in the last week or so of the campaign.

    He seems to contradict himself in parts of his reply to the questions, but you can see him actually saying it all on the video [ actually audio with his picture up there] at
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0Px4ccLQ-w
    and at other sites as well.

    You see, it is possible for you to use exact quotes, even if they are only fragmentary sentences — and to provide links to your sources. However, I think what you have been aiming at these last couple of posts are “gotcha” moments where you don’t provide your sources, people call you on it and then you are able to provide your sources and show that you have used exact albeit fragmentary quotes.
    *
    I have made a transcription of Obama’s exact words with repetitions and blemishes as exact as I could. I will post the rest of my response separately as I live in Seattle and my wife has nearly finished preparing a late dinner. I have broken it up and given times in case anyone wants to make exact references or check what has been said. The whole audio — at least with respect to what Obama says regarding coal and energy — is as follows….

    [0:25] I’ve already — I’ve already done it. You know — I voted against the Clear Skies bill. In fact I was the deciding vote, despite the fact that the fact that I’m a coal state and that half my state thought that I had thoroughly betrayed them because I think clean air is critical and global warming is critical

    [0:46] But this notion of no coal is I think an illusion. Because the fact of the matter is that right now we are getting a lot of our energy from coal and china’s building a coal powered plant once a week.

    [1:04] So what we have to do then is figure out how can we use coal without emitting greenhouse gases and carbon and how can we sequester carbon and capture it if we can’t then we are still going to be working on alternatives…
    [interruption]

    [1:29] Let me sort of describe my overall policy. I mean what I have said is that we will put in place a cap and trade in place that is more that is as aggressive if not more aggressive than anybody’s out there. That is the first call for a 100% option on the cap and trade system. which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gases that is emitted would be charged to the polluter.

    [1:56] That will create a market in which whatever technologies are out there that are being presented whatever power plants are being built that they would have to meet the rigors of that market and the ratched down caps that are placed that are imposed every year.

    [2:22] So if someone wants to build a coal powered plant they can, its just that it will bankrupt them because they are going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that is being emitted.

    [2:25] That will also generate billions of dollars that we can invest in solar wind biodiesal and other alternative energy approaches.

    [2:35] The only thing that I have said with respect to coal — I haven’t been some coal booster — what I have said is that for us to take cozal off the table as a ideological matter as opposed to saying if tech allows us to use coal in a clean way we should persue it — that I think is the right approach. The same thing with respect to nuclear.

    [3:04] Right now we don’t know how to store nuclear waste wisely and we don’t know how to deal with some of the safety issues that remain and so its wildly expensive to persue nuclear energy.

    [3:18] But I tell you what: if we could figure out how to store it safely then I think that most of us would say that that might be a pretty good deal. The point is that if we set rigorous standards for the allowable emissions then we can allow the market determine and technology and entrepeneurs to persue whats the best approach to take as opposed to say from the outset here are the winners that we’re picking um and maybe we pick wrong and maybe we pick right.

    [3:54] That requires mobilizing a citizenry, that requires them understanding what is at stake. And climate change is a great example. When I was asked earlier about the issue of coal.

    [4:12] You know, under my plan of a cap and trade system electricity rates would necesssarily skyrocket even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad because I’m capping greenhouse gases coal power plants, you know natural gas you name it what ever the plants were they would necessarily have to retrofit their operations.

    [4:43] That will cost money, they will pass it on to consumers. They–you can already — you can already see what the arguments are going to be during the general elections.

    [4:50] People will say, “Ah, Obama and Al Gore, these folks, they are going to destroy the economy. This is going to cost 8 trillion dollars” or whatever number their number is.

    [5:01] Um, if you can’t persuade the American people that yes there is going to be some increases in electricity rates on the front end but that over the long term because of a combinations of more efficient energy usage and changing lightbulbs and more efficient appliances but also technology improving how we can produce clean energy that the economy will benefit, if we can’t make that…

    [The audio ends at 5:33.]
    *
    Captcha fortune cookie:
    restraint onside

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 26 Mar 2009 @ 10:38 PM

  397. “truth” wrote in 394:

    Timothy Chase [380]
    Obama made the statement “under my plan, electricity rates will necessarily skyrocket” to a journalist on the San Francisco Chronicle.
    The statement and video were widely released only in the last week or so of the campaign.
    He seems to contradict himself in parts of his reply to the questions, but you can see him actually saying it all on the video [ actually audio with his picture up there] at
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0Px4ccLQ-w
    and at other sites as well.

    You see, it is possible for you to use exact quotes, even if they are only fragmentary sentences — and to provide links to your sources. However, I think what you have been aiming at these last couple of posts are “gotcha” moments where you don’t provide your sources, people call you on it and then you are able to provide your sources and show that you have used exact albeit fragmentary quotes.
    *
    I have made a transcription of Obama’s exact words with repetitions and blemishes as exact as I could. I will post the rest of my response separately as I live in Seattle and my wife has nearly finished preparing a late dinner. I have broken it up and given times in case anyone wants to make exact references or check what has been said. The whole audio — at least with respect to what Obama says regarding coal and energy — is as follows…
    [0:25] I’ve already — I’ve already done it. You know — I voted against the Clear Skies bill. In fact I was the deciding vote, despite the fact that the fact that I’m a coal state and that half my state thought that I had thoroughly betrayed them because I think clean air is critical and global warming is critical.
    [0:46] But this notion of no coal is I think an illusion. Because the fact of the matter is that right now we are getting a lot of our energy from coal and China’s building a coal powered plant once a week.
    [1:04] So what we have to do then is figure out how can we use coal without emitting greenhouse gases and carbon and how can we sequester carbon and capture it if we can’t then we are still going to be working on alternatives…
    [interruption]
    [1:29] Let me sort of describe my overall policy. I mean what I have said is that we will put in place a cap and trade in place that is more that is as aggressive if not more aggressive than anybody’s out there. That is the first call for a 100% option on the cap and trade system. Which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gases that is emitted would be charged to the polluter.
    [1:56] That will create a market in which whatever technologies are out there that are being presented whatever power plants are being built that they would have to meet the rigors of that market and the ratcheted down caps that are placed that are imposed every year.
    [2:22] So if someone wants to build a coal powered plant they can, its just that it will bankrupt them because they are going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that is being emitted.
    [2:25] That will also generate billions of dollars that we can invest in solar wind biodiesel and other alternative energy approaches.
    [2:35] The only thing that I have said with respect to coal — I haven’t been some coal booster — what I have said is that for us to take coal off the table as a ideological matter as opposed to saying if tech allows us to use coal in a clean way we should pursue it — that I think is the right approach. The same thing with respect to nuclear.
    [3:04] Right now we don’t know how to store nuclear waste wisely and we don’t know how to deal with some of the safety issues that remain and so its wildly expensive to pursue nuclear energy
    [3:18] But I tell you what: if we could figure out how to store it safely then I think that most of us would say that that might be a pretty good deal. The point is that if we set rigorous standards for the allowable emissions then we can allow the market determine and technology and entrepreneurs to pursue what’s the best approach to take as opposed to say from the outset here are the winners that we’re picking um and maybe we pick wrong and maybe we pick right.
    [3:54] That requires mobilizing a citizenry, that requires them understanding what is at stake. And climate change is a great example. When I was asked earlier about the issue of coal…
    [ 4:12] You know, under my plan of a cap and trade system electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad because I’m capping greenhouse gases coal power plants, you know natural gas you name it what ever the plants were they would necessarily have to retrofit their operations.
    [4:43] That will cost money, they will pass it on to consumers. They–you can already — you can already see what the arguments are going to be during the general elections.
    [4:50] People will say, “Ah, Obama and Al Gore, these folks, they are going to destroy the economy. This is going to cost 8 trillion dollars” or whatever number their number is.
    [5:01] Um, if you can’t persuade the American people that yes there is going to be some increases in electricity rates on the front end but that over the long term because of a combinations of more efficient energy usage and changing light bulbs and more efficient appliances but also technology improving how we can produce clean energy that the economy will benefit, if we can’t make that…
    [The audio ends at 5:33.]
    *
    Captcha fortune cookie:
    restraint onside

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 26 Mar 2009 @ 10:50 PM

  398. 395 – nice work.

    Re ‘truth’ 394:

    As I implied and stated outright above, I am not a worshipper of the free market, but I think it is a basically good idea.

    One thing I forgot to mention is that it is also problematic to change the rules in midcourse. Hence, the CO2,etc. tax rate should start low and then rise (PS initially, a high rate subsidy to clean energy and efficiency could be funded by a low rate tax; as the market shifts, the situation would eventually reverse). Hence, aid to poor people for whom energy may be a proportionately larger budget concern. Hence, some grace period allowed for developing countries. Hence, a grace period for organic food exports from Africa. (However, this must be balanced by the fact that people should have seen this coming (that’s my libertarian streak, I guess).)

    However, after all that, if some people are more adversely affected – free market logic suggests: well perhaps they should be. What are they doing to be more adversely affected? What choices might they make to better their own lot?

    Some people may, for reasons of pride, advocacy, and demonstration, go to extremes in some things, but generally, I don’t think we’ve (most of us?) been advocating strictly eat and buy local. I would guess that it is still more energy efficient as well as efficient in total value (including energy, labor, time, etc.) to get one’s oranges from Florida than from a Minnesota greenhouse. But there is likely a component to trade that would be shifted by climate policy incentives. And so be it.

    “‘The US wind industry is dominated by European wind developers and turbine makers’.”

    Free market suggests: Well, that’s our (U.S.) fault, isn’t it? What ever happened to personal responsibility? We’ve made our bed and now we’ll lie in it. Fortunately, there is much bed making yet to do.

    (Of course, you can argue that the markets have already been distorted by government policies; some of which are not very good. Well, that’s a problem in the market of governance, I guess. But my point still carries some weight.)

    Part of the problem is that people have gotten accustomed to some entitlements which are not truly deserved. And a number of people seem unable to be honest with themselves about what is and is not fair.

    Anyway, why can’t we reduce coal usage while allowing it to supply baseload until storage problems are better solved? And that doesn’t take away the mass market advantages of the replacements. The energy market is very very large and can support multiple mass markets. (Not that there are not real difficulties, but it is very annoying when somebody complains that a pizza cannot be made because the tomato sauce is still in the refrigerator. Just get it out of the refrigerator, for Pete’s sake!)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 26 Mar 2009 @ 11:13 PM

  399. Response to 394, Part I of II

    “truth” wrote in 394:

    Obama made the statement ‘under my plan, electricity rates will necessarily skyrocket’ to a journalist on the San Francisco Chronicle.

    Yes, he actually does use those exact words. I put the time at a little after 4:12 according to my transcription.
    *

    “truth” wrote in 394:

    The statement and video were widely released only in the last week or so of the campaign.
    He seems to contradict himself in parts of his reply to the questions…

    What do you mean by “contradict himself”?

    And what exactly does he mean by “skyrocket”?

    He also states at about 5:01, perhaps correcting himself a bit, “… if you can’t persuade the American people that yes there is going to be some increases in electricity rates on the front end…” (You should remember, this is not a prepared speech or even a comment in a blog but rather an extemporaneous response to a question from a reporter.)

    So does he mean that the price of electricity would increase by 400%? Does he mean 25%? He doesn’t say. But in either case, raising the prices on coal-generated electricity will result in businesses and people becoming more efficient in how they use coal-generated electricity, and it will result in their shifting away from coal to other sources of energy.

    Moreover, even at the current rate of production, one of the solar outfits I have mentioned would be able to compete with coal-generated electricity right now if coal cost 100% more than what it currently costs. However, they have also made the point that if they were to double their production they could compete with coal at the current price. (Please see my comment 347.)
    *

    “truth” wrote in 394:

    …but you can see him actually saying it all on the video [ actually audio with his picture up there] at
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0Px4ccLQ-w and at other sites as well.

    Why is there a still photo rather than actual video? And why that particular picture — with the cigarette hanging out of his mouth? Is this the result of some production by the Heritage Foundation with some sort of two-for-one deal where they are defending the fossil fuel industry while trying to promote the products of their old friends at Phillip Morris? No matter. But there are some suspicious pauses in the audio where you could hear a pin drop.
    *

    “truth” wrote in 394:

    As I said in another post, electricity cost is an input in everything that’s made and every service that’s provided, so businesses will do what they always do and pass on at least a large part of the extra cost to consumers.

    Yes, they will pass on part of the cost to consumers. But as I have said, I prefer Jim Hansen’s revenue neutral approach where consumers would get back the proceeds from any tax levied on fossil fuel. (As such I am more than a little suprised that you are still expecting me to talk about Obama’s cap-and-trade rather than Hansen’s tax-and-dividend.)

    Please see:

    Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies, is one of the leading voices for a carbon tax to address climate change, rather than backing the more widely used cap-and-trade approach. In his plan, Hansen recommends levying a rising tax on fossil fuels and redistributing 100 percent of the proceeds to taxpayers – a “tax and dividend” approach [PDF].

    Hansen to Obama: Support a Carbon Tax
    Ben Block
    December 15, 2008 3:39 PM
    http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/009194.html

    If they got back those proceeds they could spend them on the same fossil fuels as before — and they would even be somewhat ahead as the fossil fuel industry would pass on only part of the cost of the new taxes to consumers. But chances are they would spend those proceeds a little differently, particularly as alternate energy became more competitive.
    *

    “truth” wrote in 394:

    The fact that it’s revenue neutral for the government overall, doesn’t mean some consumers won’t be bearing the extra cost.

    It is true that we wouldn’t be able to exactly distribute the proceeds of the taxes as before, but as you have admitted, we aren’t speaking of consumers bearing “the extra cost,” only some of the extra cost. Therefore all consumers could still come out ahead once the proceeds were distributed.
    *
    “truth” wrote in 394:

    In Hansen’s plan, someone will be paying that tax he recommends, …

    The fossil fuel industry, I believe.
    *

    “truth” wrote in 394:

    and they’ll be passing it on to consumers.

    Part of it. And the consumers will be getting all the proceeds from the tax — so all of the consumers could come out ahead, and on the whole, consumers would generally come out ahead.
    *

    “truth” wrote in 394:

    He seems to favour the ‘food miles’ issue, with his remarks about UK exports…

    And this would seem to be a fairly unrelated topic.

    However, Jim Hansen states:

    Moving from fossil fuels to clean energy is challenging, yet transformative in ways that will be welcomed. Cheap, subsidized fossil fuels engendered bad habits. We import food from halfway around the world, for example, even with healthier products available from nearby fields. Local produce would be competitive if not for fossil fuel subsidies and the fact that climate change damages and costs, due to fossil fuels, are also borne by the public.

    Global Warming Twenty Years Later: Tipping Points Near
    James Hansen
    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/2008/TwentyYearsLater_20080623.pdf

    Now this does not immediately translate into “we should all buy only locally produced food.” He is against the fossil fuel subsides. And he apparently is also concerned with the fact that agribusiness produces food that is sometimes unhealthy. I know I am — particularly when we are speaking of various food-borne illnesses — the source of which is oftentimes almost impossible to trace as people become ill across the nation. Spinach. Peanuts. Beef. Chicken. We are seeing more of it nowadays. But maybe if we “beef-up” the EPA things will be a little different.

    But in any case, I myself would argue that judging where we should get our food simply based upon how far it had to travel is itself irrational. If our sole criteria is how much carbon dioxide gets produced per unit of food agribusiness with produce travelling across the country isn’t necessarily that bad — if 30,000 pounds travels in a truck at 5 mph and this cuts in half the distance that you have to travel at 30 mph to pick up a five of pounds of tomatoes. Assuming the truck travels 1000 miles and reduces the distance that you have to travel from two miles to one mile then things are already looking pretty good — and that is before you talk about some local farmer driving his produce to a farmer’s market.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 27 Mar 2009 @ 3:43 AM

  400. Response to 394, Part II of III

    “truth” wrote in 394:

    —but what about your US exports to far-flung countries?
    Does the US not need or want that huge amount of export income?
    What will it do to your economy, if he has his way and the food miles/energy issue freezes up world trade?

    Well, lets see, gross domestic product seems to have been 13,000 billion dollars in 2006.

    Please see:

    http://www.supportingevidence.com/Government/US_GDP_over_time.html

    US exports for that year were 1,037 billion dollars.

    Please see:

    http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba632

    Somehow I don’t think that the effects upon our exports should be our primary concern. And of course the dollar has become much cheaper in the past few years without drastically increasing our exports — so I don’t see that it would make that much of a difference. However, if the cost of living drops as the result of the proceeds from taxes on fossil fuel, I would imagine that this will reduce the cost of some of our products going overseas.

    Likewise, to the extent that the fossil fuel industry is taxed and much of it is outside of the United States — in countries that are less stable and may easily become quite hostile to US interests, it would appear that the taxes would in fact be tarrifs and would promote domestic alternate energy and jobs at home — while simultaneously making us less dependent upon unstable regions of the globe.
    *

    “truth” wrote in 394:

    Some African farmers have invested everything they have and gone into debt to plant organic crops that Europeans encouraged them to plant with the promise of big markets in Europe.
    Now, they’re worried about losing everything due to the food miles issue.

    I am sorry, but this red herring is a dead fish, pining for the fjords — or some such thing. The position that Hansen takes isn’t the position that you are arguing against — and even if it were it would be a separate issue from the revenue neutral tax-and-proceed.
    *

    “truth” wrote in 394:

    How is it possible that we can all go back to buying everything locally, and making stuff only for our own local domestic markets?
    That would be a recipe for trouble on a huge scale—surely.
    If you think it would work, I’d be very interested to know how—-without a giant global bureaucracy and strict and arbitrary political control that is.
    If we had a giant global democracy coordinating such trade, who would be running it, and how would it not be tied up in disputes and haggling—and lobbying ?

    Your red herring has suddenly become a school of red herring — no mean feat considering that it was dead to begin with.
    *

    “truth” wrote in 394:

    Wind power that’s deployed now is working because the base load power is provided by coal.

    Good reason to consider more than one alternate energy source, perhaps?

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 27 Mar 2009 @ 4:02 AM

  401. Response to 394, Part III of IV

    “truth” wrote in 394:

    HVDC still has problems to overcome with switching and overload capacity, and European countries are apparently worried about potential national security and energy security problems with HVDC and the co-dependency involved—especially with their recent problems with threats to the reliability of gas supplies from Russia.
    http://co nradiator .wordpress.com/2008/11/25/desert-power/

    And perhaps Europe should seek some alternate energy source to gas from Russia.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 27 Mar 2009 @ 4:23 AM

  402. Response to 394, Part IV of IV

    “truth” wrote in 394:

    No—I don’t think ‘they are considering synthetic oil’

    Please see:

    But the s.ynthetic fuel tech.nology faded away after the 1980s. That’s when Congr.ess passed the Energy Security Act, which bir.thed the Synthetic Fuels Corp. This corporation spent over $88 billion in government loa.ns and incentives, with the goal of creating two million barrels a day of synthetic oil within seven years.

    Synthetic Fuels: How Converting Coal to Oil Can Solve The Energy Crisis
    by F.loyd G. Brown, Adv.isory Pan.elist, Inv.estment U
    Wednesday, May 28, 2008: Issue #800
    http://www .inves.tmentu.com/IU.EL/2008/May/syn.thetic-fuels.html

    Of course shale and tar sands are worse in terms of an emissions to energy unit ratio.
    *

    “truth” wrote in 394:

    Your last paragraph must be from someone who never ever makes a typo or any other mistake, is it?
    Well, congratulations on your exalted status .
    Many of my comments are from material I’ve read some time ago, not today or yesterday, …

    Was it a typo or something you were misremembering?
    *

    “truth” wrote in 394:

    so I haven’t got the links at hand…

    Google.
    *

    “truth” wrote in 394:

    and I notice your snide admonitions don’t apply if it’s someone who agrees with you.

    Actually I try to correct those that I more typically agree with — otherwise I am leaving them easy prey and a target for denialists.
    *

    “truth” wrote in 394:

    You can believe them or not—doesn’t worry me.

    “Them” who — the scientists?
    *

    “truth” wrote in 394:

    The venomous responses on this site to an alternative view is a real eye-opener

    People who support science may take it somewhat personally when someone comes along and seems to accuse the entire scientific community of being engaged in a conspiracy.
    *

    “truth” wrote in 394:

    —looks as though only ‘yes’ people are to be treated like human beings…

    Better than ditto-heads, perhaps? In any case you will notice that we often disagree with one-another. And we are more than happy to correct one-another.

    For example, Ike Solem wrote earlier today:

    Timothy Chase: “One can easily argue that to a first approximation, forcing is forcing, whether it is solar or anthropogenic, and climate modes can be expected to respond to forcings in roughly the same manner regardless of the nature of those forcings.”

    Well, not really. Increases in solar forcing show up in the stratosphere as warming due to increased absorption by ozone, for example, while CO2 forcing results in a cooling stratosphere. Volcanic forcing dumps aerosols into the stratosphere, resulting in stratospheric warming but also in surface cooling due to reflection of sunlight back to space; thus Pinatubo had net cooling effect of roughly -4 Watts/m^2 (Robock et al. estimate -100 W/m^2 for a full scale nuclear war, as well).

    Comment 128, Post With all due respect

    Of course I might argue with him about whether or not the differences between different forcings were part of the “first approximation” or not, but I value his comment insofar as it makes people aware of the differences between solar and anthropogenic forcing — and this serves as further evidence for our role in the past century of global warming.
    *

    “truth” wrote in 394:

    —the worst possible advice to a young blogger —- good for you —- be very proud.

    Bloggers need to learn how to deal with trolls, ideologues and the occasional conspiracy nut. Yes, I believe we have set a good example.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 27 Mar 2009 @ 4:35 AM

  403. Timothy Chase – Well Done!

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 27 Mar 2009 @ 11:52 AM

  404. Comment on just an isolated minor piece: I take it then, when the electricity user complains that his bill just went from $150/month up to $300/mo, the power compny simply explains that, no, it didn’t really go up — just an accounting change to include externalities.

    Comment by Rod B — 27 Mar 2009 @ 1:54 PM

  405. Dang! Can’t pass it up. I think it total satire for Dan to completely (try to) turn around comments by Obama that are very clear and easy to understand and then accuse one who cites those clear comments as disingenuous. What part of “electricity rates will skyrocket [under my plan] is hard to understand??

    Comment by Rod B — 27 Mar 2009 @ 2:08 PM

  406. Rod B asks “What part of … is hard to understand??”

    Rod, the CONTEXT is what’s hard to understand.
    Can you find it?
    C’mon, make the effort. Look it up. You know how to find this stuff.

    This is not an official transcript, this is from listening to the audio file you can download at
    http://cdn.sfgate.com/blogs/sounds/sfgate/chroncast/2008/01/17/20080117-obama-interview.mp3

    Listen yourself or find the video at sfgate.

    Get the context for yourself.

    Migod, man, show some trace of the skepticism you claim to respect.

    “…. can you get the American people to say, ‘This is really important,’ and force their representatives to do the right thing? That requires mobilizing a citizenry. That requires them understanding what is at stake. Climate change is a great example…. I was asked earlier about the issue of coal …. Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket…. whatever the industry was, uh, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers…. if you can’t persuade the American people that yes, there is going to be some increase in electricity rates on the front end, but that over the long term …. we can produce clean energy, the economy would benefit, if we can’t make that argument persuasively enough,…. You’re not going to get that done.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Mar 2009 @ 3:04 PM

  407. Hank, I’ll cite Timothy C, who likely was pretty accurate in his Obama quotes, where Obama said, “…under my plan of a cap and trade system electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad…”. Actually it is what you cite, too. How far do I have to dig into the “context” before I find he didn’t really say that? I bet it takes pages and pages of digging and analysis. Or are you just counting on that tiny waffleing you cite later on? Or maybe as one (TC?) before said that it was extemporaneous so, KINGS-X — it doesn’t count!

    Comment by Rod B — 27 Mar 2009 @ 4:04 PM

  408. Wow, Rod. You obviously did not hear the entire interview in *context*. Listen before making asinine assumptions next time. And no, that link is not the entire interview. If you would take the time to do a little research, just a little for once Rod, you would find that what I wrote was precisely correct.

    I will wait for your apology but I know you do not have it in you to admit error. That has already been proven extensively on other occasions (hint: think EPA, Rod). Your one-sided skepticism has become pathetic, Rod. Sad.

    Comment by Dan — 27 Mar 2009 @ 4:19 PM

  409. Stimulus Funds sought for 345 MW Coal-fired Project in Texas

    Interesting news item re: stimulus funds, a power plant, and CO2 sequestration below. Unfortunately the end result of more fossil fuel (oil) seems self-defeating:

    Texas lawmakers are asking the Department of Energy to send up to $1.2 billion in stimulus funds to help build a $1.6 billion, 345 MW coal-fired power plant, proposed by Summit Power. The West Texas power plant would use carbon capture and sequestration technology, according to a report from The Dallas Morning News. As proposed, the Texas Clean Energy Project would inject carbon dioxide into nearby oil fields to enhance oil extraction. Summit also is asking the Texas Legislature to waive up to $100 million in state franchise taxes.

    Comment by Dan — 27 Mar 2009 @ 4:21 PM

  410. Patrick 027 wrote in 403:

    Timothy Chase – Well Done!

    Actually I made several mistakes. A little out of practice.

    However, when I “debate” someone, I would prefer not to get a “well done.” For one thing, the individual I am “debating” is probably feeling some shame at the time — which is actually good for them. But a “well done” for the person they were arguing against is likely to turn that shame into anger — at which point they are more likely to dig themselves in deeper into a hole that is already fairly deep.

    Additionally, we want Real Climate to be a place where the focus can be on the climatology — rather than having trollish individuals coming in here trying to pick arguments with the climatologists.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 28 Mar 2009 @ 7:27 AM

  411. Re 410 okay.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 28 Mar 2009 @ 12:09 PM

  412. Re 398: “Anyway, why can’t we reduce coal usage while allowing it to supply baseload until storage problems are better solved?”

    Furthermore, nuclear, hydroelectric, geothermal, biomass – all suitable for baseload power.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 29 Mar 2009 @ 1:12 PM

  413. This is certainly related to the main theme of this thread:

    “Visions of the Crash”:

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/loom/2009/03/25/visions-of-the-crash/

    Carl Zimmer’s thoughtful essay on science journalism and the rise of the bloggers.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 29 Mar 2009 @ 11:07 PM

  414. video of speech to class of 2099

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-wnrm2jE-E&feature=channel_page

    Comment by danny bloom — 30 Mar 2009 @ 10:41 PM

  415. Hank Roberts [353]
    You seem to be in the habit of accusing other people of practices that are yours and yours alone.
    I didn’t attribute that ‘debate’ remark to Nathan Lewis, as you accuse, at all—- I commented that he had said the focus on the 2020 targets was a distraction from the huge amount of research needed to meet the targets in 2050 —that’s all—then I remarked myself that we ought to be having a debate about that .
    You are misrepresenting me.
    And yes, I had read the source material—a heap of it.
    Your interrogations and arrogance in reprimanding others when you’re anything but blameless yourself is a bit of joke.
    Nowhere did I say Lewis was not on the AGW side—that’s your very own straw man.
    He has shown himself to be a bit lukewarm in a couple of instances though, eg ‘if we need such large amounts of carbon-free power…..’
    But mostly he seems to rely completely on the proxy results, and the observations by the IPCC and the consensus side.
    He says:
    ‘We do not know, except through climate
    models, what the implications of
    driving the atmospheric CO2 concentrations
    to any of these levels will be. There
    are about six major climate models, all differing
    from each other in detail. As scientists
    and engineers, we know, therefore,
    that in detail at least five of them must be
    wrong.’
    http://authors.library.caltech.edu/9302/1/LEWmrsb07.pdf

    He does say all the things you mention—no one said he didn’t—another of your straw men [ speaking euphemistically].
    My point was the point I’ve been making all along—– that I think there’s a shutdown of freedom of speech for scientists who have a dissenting view —– that this damages democracy, and endangers trust in and respect for science for the future—-that renewables are nowhere near ready to provide base load power , and we’re being led to think otherwise—-and precipitate introduction of an ETS will have a damaging effect on already faltering economies, making it much more difficult to fund expensive research into storage, new materials for solar technology, and the problems of HVDC.
    And he sees coal with CCS technology, and nuclear power, as necessary parts of the energy mix, which some here deny—-and Obama is curiously ambiguous about CCS in his statements.
    You seem to get a kick out of obnoxious remarks and lecturing others about links to sources etc, but some of your remarks are incomprehensible and some of your links are to obtuse and silly comic strips designed to insult.
    Doesn’t help your credibility much.

    Comment by truth — 31 Mar 2009 @ 8:28 AM

  416. To the ironically named “truth”: Last I looked, Hank’s credibility was doing just fine, thank you. Yours on the other hand,…

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 31 Mar 2009 @ 10:40 AM

  417. My point was the point I’ve been making all along—– that I think there’s a shutdown of freedom of speech for scientists who have a dissenting view

    Gosh, they’re all over the blogosphere. Look at watts up with that, right now! Guest posts by two scientists, Spencer and Lindzen, on the front page.

    They’re both somewhat full of it (Spencer more than Lindzen) but gee, if their freedom of speech has been shutdown, WTF are they doing there? Freeman Dyson just had his views published in the NY Times, and it’s been picked up in the press everywhere.

    You really do have a problem with matching beliefs to observations, don’t you?

    Comment by dhogaza — 31 Mar 2009 @ 11:18 AM

  418. Er, “truth” — read this again. You misread it.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/03/advice-for-a-young-climate-blogger/#comment-115619

    I wrote this:

    > [Lewis] says nothing to support your claim
    > that his piece calls for “a debate ….”)

    I didn’t “attribute that debate remark to Lewis. I attributed it to you, correctly. See

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/03/advice-for-a-young-climate-blogger/#comment-115591

    where you wrote in part

    “… Is he [Lewis] wrong …. He was pointing out …. Surely this is a debate that needs to be …”

    You attribute statements to Lewis without citing a source, then wrote “Surely …” as though his work gave your belief in delay and debate some credibility.

    Reading what he’s written, you’re wrong about that.
    Read more carefully. Cite sources. Check them.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 31 Mar 2009 @ 12:55 PM

  419. Let’s see how these words could have been misinterpreted or misunderstood, in the “new climate blogger” context (I’m new not-even-a-blogger, just a reader in a blog).

    I wrote:
    > your claim that his piece calls for “a debate …”

    “truth” misread that as though I’d written “called for” — that would have been attribution.

    Giving someone words they can misinterpret leaves one open for debating tactics. Cautionary.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 31 Mar 2009 @ 1:57 PM

  420. Hank Roberts[418, 419 etc ]
    Nothing in my ‘debate’ comment says that I ‘claim that his piece calls for a debate’.
    Lewis was seriously questioning the focus on 2020 targets, and saying they were a distraction from the huge effort required for the much more crucial 2050 targets, and I said that surely a debate on that 2020 focus [ which includes ETS and Cap and Trade], needs to be had.
    You should take your own silly advice.
    You are pretending that I was implying Lewis is a sceptic about the science, and that he questioned the focus on 2020 targets for that reason.
    I have done no such thing—and you also want it thought that the only reason I want that focus changed is because of my scepticism about the AGW consensus—-when you know very well that I have said that I think focus on ETS and Cap and Trade will damage the very economies that will fund the very expensive solar and other research that’s required—and will also very likely dampen any enthusiasm and trust in science and leaders , that the populations who will be expected to vote for the measures might now have .
    Do you believe the solar option is ready to provide base load—that the storage problem is solved—–and the HVDC does not have significant problems?
    Do you believe the research and political and funding attention should be squarely targeted on those problems—-or on token taxes ?

    Comment by truth — 31 Mar 2009 @ 10:52 PM

  421. 420 – why do you insist that solar power must be ready to provide baseload (or am I misinterpreting your statements) – this could eventually happen and maybe closer to reality than you realize or I know, but we can make truly enormous changes before requiring solar power to supply baseload. It’s not 100% all or nothing. I can improve my diet and still have some treats.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 1 Apr 2009 @ 9:52 PM

  422. Patrick 027, I don’t wish to speak for “truth” but I think he is saying that strong emphasis on current mitigation (e.g. cap and trade, which BTW is not an investment in science or technology per se) could significantly detract from the more important job of developing longer range solar and wind for power generation. Detract by diverting resources and by turning the populace negative toward the whole thing, like from the $80B/yr “cap and trade” tax on the drawing board. I don’t know if I agree 100%, but he does have a point. You can’t both diet and have treats if your treats are three pizzas a day. And the development of solar and wind to reliable maturity is not near as sanguine or a slam dunk that many profess it to be.

    To meet your objectives you still can do some current things, as Ray et al point out, but only to the level that doesn’t materially detract from the long term solutions.

    If I am misreading “truth’s” statement, I’m sure he will correct me.

    Comment by Rod B — 2 Apr 2009 @ 9:18 AM

  423. RodB, there’s more than one person working on this, you know.

    While Cap And Trade is being worked on by the WTO, RapidNewIndustryCo (plc) can work on refining the process for solar panel manufacture. Neither of these actions stop FunTown University Climatology Department from running a new model including a different way of handling cloud formation in climate runs.

    You CAN have a diet AND treats. Every advert for Slim Fast says so.

    Comment by Mark — 2 Apr 2009 @ 10:33 AM

  424. About the diet/treats analogy – suppose you used to put a whole three pads of butter (assume that’s a defined unit) on a baked potato. If you replace half of your baked potatos with baked sweet potatoes (I suggest slicing them into many thin cross sections perpendicular to the grain to mitigate the fibrous texture, if that’s a problem), and use 1.5 pads butter + equivalent amount of olive oil and some … chives and parsely, maybe with some basil or whatever you want – on your remaining baked potatos – well, that’s healthier, isn’t it? And you can still enjoy your meals. By the way, pizza can be healthy (try whole wheat crust). One way to improve one’s gustatory enjoyment to unhealthy nutrient excesses ratio (besides excercising) is to avoid eating a dessert that’s just good enough to enjoy, saving that room for something REALLY good, when it’s available. Etc.

    Why shouldn’t the funding of renewable energy and efficiency R&D, etc, come from a tax on emissions? It has to come from somewhere, and where is the market incentive if there is no emissions policy…

    Perhaps I’ve misunderstood the concept of ‘baseload’. My point is rooted in the facts that solar power is most available during the daytime, and most electrical energy consumption is during the day. Will they precisely match? No. But you don’t need to store much solar power until the peaks of solar power get toward the total usage at those moments (it’s before they actually reach it because power plants generally can’t just shut down and restart easily – but I am presuming they can vary their output significantly at the control of operators – am I wrong, and if so, isn’t that a problem with solutions available?) – and a significant percentage of the area under the total usage curve over a given day can be filled by solar power before that happens; short scale and then intermediate scale transmission will help levelize local spikes and valleys. Wind power tends to be stronger at night for taller turbines and also in many places is stronger in the winter, so it can partly complement solar power. Hydroelectric requires precipitation; except for cloudy droughts, solar power can fill in hyroelectric shortages (as well as desalinate seawater, pump water, etc, in dry sunny conditions). Biomass likewise requires water – although that may be seawater for some types; it can be stored and transported. Geothermal can turned up and down. And so on…

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 2 Apr 2009 @ 1:44 PM

  425. Patrick 027, sure you can diet and have some treats, as you can do some current mitigatin efforts and simultaneously do long-term research. It’s all just a matter of degree in the vein of no free lunch, or pays your money and takes your choice.

    The plan on the table does call for spending about 25% of the cap and trade tax on research and development. Good use for it. But the point was whether the populace, which you all are trying to win over, are going to be that thrilled over your taxing them at roughly three times the current federal gasoline tax.

    What you say about power distribution is basically correct. My (truth’s??) point is it is far far easier said than done. And fuel fed power plants can adjust their fuel use and dependent power output, as opposed to power alone, but not on a dime – more like over hours.

    Comment by Rod B — 3 Apr 2009 @ 1:15 PM

  426. A $100/ton of C emitted (as CO2) tax would add roughly:

    3, 1.8, 1.2 cents/kWh for electricity from coal, oil, and natural gas, respectively.

    It would add (if gasoline is 0.881 kg/L – it probably is a little different from that) almost 30 cents per gallon – not including energy usage in oil refining.

    There are several logical uses for revenue from such a tax (energy and efficiency R&D and subsidies, climate adaptation R&D and funding, farming R&D, cuts in other taxes, equal per capita rebate, C sequestration R&D and tax credit (the same rate as the emissions tax), ocean acidification mitigation, environmental programs, population growth mitigation programs…).

    I am concerned about people accepting and supporting a good climate policy but it is also important to me that the policy implemented is a logical and effective policy.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 3 Apr 2009 @ 11:48 PM

  427. Aside from some international complexities, the tax rate can start out low and be ramped up to some logical level over time. What is important in the intervening period is that people know clearly that there is such a plan; the free market mechanisms should react in anticipation of future costs by investment shifts from fossil fuels to clean energy and energy efficiency ahead of the actual tax rate that produces the necessary incentive.

    As total incentive = tax rate – subsidy for alternatives, for sake of illustration, one could imagine a constant revenue stream initially coming from a low tax rate on dirty energy with large market share to fund a large subsidy on clean energy and efficiency with small market shares; as the market shifts in response, the tax rate would increase while the subsidy is reduced. The tax rate would become highest when the usage of coal, etc, is small.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 3 Apr 2009 @ 11:58 PM

  428. Patrick 027, the question was what about the negative reaction of the populace to a carbon tax on them. I’m not sure if there is any good answer. But explaining to Joe Six-pack all of the wondrous things you are going to do with his money after you abscond with it has not been a particularly successful winning the heart and mind strategy – even if really wondrous.

    I didn’t get into the details, though what you calculate for taxes seems reasonable (from your point of view I must add for truth in skeptic advertising :-) ). I was just citing the $80B/yr. in the currently proposed federal budget starting about 2011 (if memory serves). It was a little less (~$50-60B) the first year or two. $20B was to go for climate warming science stuff, but was not delineated in the budget summary. $60B was to alleviate some of the disgruntled populace that we’re talking about as part of Obama’s redistribute the wealth program. I doubt we’ll see any significant market/investment reaction by then, and even so it’s not obvious that it would save Joe any money. Besides, Obama is counting on those bucks for stuff. ;-)

    Comment by Rod B — 4 Apr 2009 @ 6:26 PM

  429. “Besides, Obama is counting on those bucks for stuff.”

    In that case, much of the revenue could be seen as allowing for a ‘tax cut’ in other areas, in the sense of helping to reduce the deficit without raising taxes elsewhere. The issue I would then encourage Joe S.P. to look into is total government spending and taxes. That’s not to say I would agree with subsequent conclusions by Joe S.P. But we do waste money on some agricultural policies:

    Is the tariff on ethanol from Brazil necessary to protect rainforests? If not, I’d suggest phasing out.

    I’d also suggest phasing out, or at least reducing, the tax credit for home-grown ethanol from corn (that subsidy may make some sense from an energy-independence viewpoint, but not much from a climate policy viewpoint and for other environmental reasons as well as food supply issues; it may have been helpful as a stepping stone strategy to get the market used to concepts like ‘flex-fuel’, but the focus must now or soon shift to more efficient biomass methods that do not compete so much with food demand – crop residues, switchgrass and other perennials (include some wildflowers – power plants doubling as parks,wildlife sanctuaries?), food and related waste (banana peels, apple cores, used cooking oil, used coffee grounds, the paper used to line muffin tins and the crumbs that stick to them no matter how much you scrape it off with your fork, paper napkins), spoiled and damaged crops, sawdust, lawn clippings and raked leaves (processing might leave behind some environmentally friendly fertilizer while extracting energy?), sewage (might also be mined for some mineral resources?), algae (some can use seawater), lint (although lint can also be used to improve soil’s water-holding ability), bacterial batteries that run directly from sugar or whatever…(this has been demonstrated), etc.)

    There is also the problem that we arguably grow too much corn anyway – the problem with corn ethanol competing with food is not that their is less corn left for food and livestock feed, but that there is less productive land that could be used for something other than corn. I have read that feeding animals less corn could improve their health (less use of antibiotics on livestock, slower growth antibiotic resistance??) and improve the health of the meat (less omega-6 fatty acids, more omega-3 ??) – this depending on what replaces corn (I think it’s supposed to be grass) – there may be some trade off with flavor, depending on personal tastes; I’ve had milk from grass-fed cows and I liked it; I don’t know how it affects the flavors of cheese or beef. Of course, raising livestock on lands that support good feed crops but are not optimal for food would also be better for efficiency of land use with respect to food volume produced, as would be eating less animal products in general – especially from cattle (the food (meat) to feed ratio is a bit better for pork and fowl (don’t know about eggs), and fish – especially herbivorous fish (as opposed to fish and other seafood that eat other fish, etc. – aquaculture can reduce the productivity of natural fisheries when the ocean must be harvested to provide feed – there is also the problem of runoff from overfertilized farms (and aquaculture) causing dead zones in the oceans, so eating meat from cattle can actually reduce fish supplies. Mercury emissions from coal also diminishes the quality of fish.

    Meanwhile, there are better ways for farmers to handle changing weather on the seasonal-to-interannual scale. Openning biofuel markets for spoiled and damaged crops is one way to reduce weather-related losses (as well as some other losses). Another way is to have backup crops available if early enough in the growing season to make the change (when the soil is too wet to plant one crop, plant a different crop) – rather than just giving up in all such cases and then having to rely on government aid. On a related note, FEMA should be restructured to reduce perverse incentives; when a disaster occurs where it is more likely to occur, FEMA should offer the option of aiding moving. Private insurance ideally (not always in reality) should spread risk without encouraging too much risk taking by the way it calculates bills; FEMA could be partly funded by taxes similarly-structured by location-dependent risk (for whatever private insurance does not cover).

    (see “Against the Grain” by Richard Manning)

    Not that I generally trust politicians to do as they say, but Obama has mentioned changing our agricultural policies to reduce wasteful spending. I think he may have also mentioned something about reducing wasteful spending in the military budget (political intersests – the “military-industrial-congressional complex” (Eisenhower) – has shaped the pathways of production of equipment for political gain rather than efficiency; this also affects the type of equipment we may use).

    As long as we’re in this topic, it’s worth pointing out that the free market can waste money. Yes, there’s Freddie and Fannie, etc, but if the free market is so smart, why did it aid the housing bubble? Of course, some waste is inevitable in any system because people are not perfect, and besides corruption, risk is risk and we can only manage risk with decision making in the face of imperfect knowledge (resources are needed to gain knowledge and process it – it’s a cost-benifit in decision making). Then there’s the argument that government can’t create wealth. Surely the market incentives are different (voting and campaigning vs spending and selling; one is victim to propaganda but the other is victim to tricks as well), but 1. a good program is a good program. In the private sector, ultimately, somebody has to make decisions in order to try to be productive – it’s not all an automated process. Why can’t a public policy be judged on it’s merits? 2. the government provides services. As part of the economy, government taxing and spending interacts with other parts of the market – it can be for better and/or for worse. As one industry may metabolize and/or be catalized by another, so government policies may help economic productivity (the obvious: roads; also some planning provides predictability that reduces the risk management costs of the private sector (where should I build a house and how will neighbors property affect my house’s value?). 3. There is some value in having some things publically owned and managed or partially so (the best solution for tragedies of commons is not always the elimination of the commons, because a privately owned entity may not have the same value) and some things may be more efficiently done by government than the private sector.

    And it is permissable to deficit spend if it is an investment that will pay back sufficiently in time. (I also find it hard to take seriously the complaints about the burden we’re placing on future generations from some politicians whom I wouldn’t trust to do right by future generations.)

    Anyway, I am not a policy maker; I will argue what I think is best. I can only hope that the policies which get through the political process are not so mangled up as to make them too costly and ineffective for the benifit they would provide. As long as it’s not too imperfect, I will defend it to Joe S.P, and I will encourage Joe S.P. to raise objections about the mangling, but not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 5 Apr 2009 @ 1:17 PM

  430. Patrick 027 (429) — Sugercane is not grown in the tropical rain forest areas, but on the savanna to the south of the Amazon basin.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 5 Apr 2009 @ 2:52 PM

  431. “And fuel fed power plants can adjust their fuel use and dependent power output, as opposed to power alone, but not on a dime – more like over hours.”

    On a day with complete overcast except with 2 hours of full sun – assuming solar power devices that cannot use any diffuse light, and let’s suppose ideal conditions when the sun is out, and set aside scattering by the clear sky – this is a pulse of about 1000 W/m2 incident solar radiation, which is (depending on tilt of panels, climate) maybe 5 times the average power output of the solar power device.

    For solar power plants delivering an average of about 0.3 TW electric power (roughly 60% U.S. electric power consumption)**, this pulse would be 2 hours * 1.5 TW = 3 TWh = 3 billion kWh which is 3*3.6 = 10.8 billion MJ.

    If it took 2 hours for all stockpile-fed (includes hydroelectric) power plants to ramp up or down their power by an amount on the order of their capacity, then if solar power supplied an average of 0.3 TW, 10.8 billion MJ would be a worst-case storage requirement to smooth out the solar power pulse (similar logic applies to a solar power cut-off). Except it likely would never get so bad – … to be continued…

    **-I’ve gotten some conflicting numbers on U.S. energy figures from an Almanac…

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 5 Apr 2009 @ 6:00 PM

  432. Patrick 027, your post 429 is very good and quite helpful. I can quibble with bits and pieces of it, but as a whole I mostly agree completely. [Maybe interesting to point out that a free market capitalist system will most assuredly waste some money – by definition. Just not as much, theoretically, as other systems over the long haul.] It also fits nicely with RC, IMO. But if we’re still discussing convincing Joe S-P why it is good for him to relinquish his money, I can only surmise you haven’t done much of that. You’d be lucky to get past the middle of the first paragraph.

    Comment by Rod B — 5 Apr 2009 @ 9:16 PM

  433. “Except it likely would never get so bad” – small-scale cumulus convection takes some time to build up cloud cover. Large-scale cloud patterns move in a predictable way over time. A large fraction of a large nation’s solar power plants would be unlikely to suddenly have a pulse or dip simultaneously; the longer distances that electricity can be sent, the less the need for storage to spread such pulses and dips. What is the average distance between power generation and power consumption currently? I’m not sure. But on the smaller scale, a cloud mass might typically move (the component normal to it’s edge can be less than the actual cloud motion) on the order of 10 to 50 m/s (10 m/s ~= 22.37 mph). 30 m/s = 108 km/hr. So if solar power can be sent an average of about 108 km (67.1 mi) from outside cloud-cover to inside cloud cover, this can spread out a solar power pulse or cut-off on the order of an hour or two. – Actually, if the solar power plants are distributed well-enough, maybe three hours, because – if one uses speed of movement of the cloud edge as a constant to relate distance x to time t, solar power production graphed over t would be constant at S with a sharp drop to zero at t0 (assuming thick cloud, late or early in the day or year, and/or inability to use diffuse light); the spread of that change over three hours for consumption C(t) is a graph that starts rising from 0 at time t0-1.5 hours, rising to S at t0+1.5 hours. The net transfer of energy is from the triangle formed by S – C(t) ahead of the cloud (assuming cloud is advancing; the logic applies to the opposite case as well) to the triangle formed by C(t) behind the cloud edge. The distance between the centers of the triangles is 2/3 the length of each triangle, 1/3 the length of the two combined, which is 3 hours. The average transport of energy is thus only the distance covered by 1 hour of cloud motion, and the greatest distance is just 1.5 hours (from the cloud edge to 1.5 hours behind it, and from 1.5 hours ahead of the cloud edge to the cloud edge). Of course, concentration of solar power generation to specific sites will modify that picture.

    That aside, 10.8 billion MJ of storage actually allows an adjustment time of 4 hours for other power plants because 1/2 of a four-hour pulse can be consumed during that pulse if power plants adjust gradually during that time.

    Shorter-term changes require less storage, and longer term changes would be more easily adjusted-to by other power plants. The diurnal cycle is obviously quite predictable and involves gradual changes over hours. (In winter, energy production from other sources would peak in the morning and evening but might be somewhat elevated at noon relative to night; in late spring and early summer, the morning and evening peaks would be smaller, with pre-morning and post-evening peak valleys as the sun rises and sets earlier, and it might fall to near zero near noon sometimes. Of course this will vary by location and needs.)

    10.8 billion MJ is the energy stored by lifting 110 lakes, each of 100 square km area and 10 m depth, by 10 m (a volume of about 3.7 cubic meters per person). It may involve about 1/10 that volume if pumping water from Lake Ontario into Lake Erie (which would change water levels in the lakes by just 4 to 6 mm), or maybe 1/30 (for higher than present efficiency) or less if used to desalinate seawater rather than store energy for later use (on that note, it might also be redirected to carbon sequestration, etc.). It might involve perhaps 1/200 that volume of water if osmotic batteries (a long-shot given efficiency constraints) could be developed (reverse osmosis for storage, forward for release – I think salt can dissolve in water roughly 10 times it’s seawater concentration – alcohol as solute could achieve much higher energy density but I suppose an osmotic membrane might not work so well then?).

    (10.8 billion MJ is on the order of the electrical equivalent of 1/4000 total U.S. energy electrical equivalent (40% of fuel equivalent) usage in a year, or roughly the electricity produced from 25 million metric tons of coal (a bit over 80 kg/person).)

    Transport of electricity on the order of 60 miles is probably a better option than actual storage, although solar energy could also be stored in hydrogen or liquid fuel production (as that technology comes), or heat reservoirs for later thermophotovoltaci, thermoelectric, or mechanical heat engine conversion
    (See “A Solar Grand Plan
    By 2050 solar power could end U.S. dependence on foreign oil and slash greenhouse gas emissions”
    Ken Zweibel, James Mason, Vasilis Fthenakis
    http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=a-solar-grand-plan ). Solar power plants concievably could have some biofuel stockpiles on hand; some might work in tandem with geothermal power, etc.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 5 Apr 2009 @ 10:27 PM

  434. Re 430 – thanks. I suppose it might still be argued that displacement of crops in one region might put pressure on another (depending on where those displaced crops could be grown, and where the crops they displace could be grown, etc.). On the other hand, if we’re going to protect rain forests with tariffs, perhaps we should regulate beef imports from Brazil (yes, I know there’s average quality vs the ‘good stuff’ you get out for special occasions, but it still seems rather odd that the U.S. would import significant amounts of beef from anywhere.)

    Re 432 – thanks. Yes, among other things, I recognize the free market can work as a learning algorithm; ideally it will tend to perform better over time (except when novel situations arise, of course). There are some problems for which more efficient problem solving methods may exist, though (obviously we know 1+1=2 without checking how the Dow Jones is doing; of course, this type of knowledge and ability is what allows planning and managing within entities that are externally subject to free market forces – as evolution by trial and error has given rise to organisms that can solve equations and design computers.

    Ultimately climate policy is an investment in the future. There are some upfront costs, but they are in total less than the taxes that would be applied, because that revenue is not simply spent digging a useless hole and then filling it in —
    —(PS if government spending didn’t help get us out of the Great Depression, how did WWII, which was government spending? What if there were not a war and we had just built ships for the heck of it (as argued by a guest on a recent “Colber Report” episode)? Or was it just that a number of people were killed, thus reducing unemployment? – well I suppose the difference would be that people understood what war required; perhaps there was greater predictability? That has been one of my concerns with the bank policies, etc., lately (whereas the $700+ billion stimulus package is at least layed out in some way with some common themes so that it is comprehensible in the big picture – so far as I know), though they might seem more principled if I understood them more thoroughly; presumably banks would understand it). —
    — and also, the returns on that spending will not all wait until 50 years+ out; new energy infrastructure will start paying back as soon as it comes online, and will payback over decades; climate paybacks will take longer to appear but they will appear.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 5 Apr 2009 @ 10:57 PM

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