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Daily Kos interview

Filed under: — group @ 20 January 2006

A brief welcome to anyone coming over from Daily Kos today. Three of us (Mike, Gavin and Stefan) are interviewed by DarkSyde on climate change, this site and walking the line between science and politics. To find something specific, check out the Highlights on the side bar, the index, or use the search bar above.

50 Responses to “Daily Kos interview”

  1. 1
    JustAHouseWife says:

    Oh I see. A web blog solely created to debunk and discredit the opinion on human induced global warming as it represented in the book “The State Of Fear” written by Dr. Michael Crichton, who in his numerous speeches on this subject, states over and over that science should have nothing to do with politics and visa versa, creates an alliance with one of the most far left political bash fest blogs found the world wide web.

    Keep up the good work!
    And I would bet my house you won’t post this comment unless I dare you. I am a regular old house wife from the good old state of California, who has been following this issue of GW and it’s mis-use (as in my children’s classes at school) for a few years now.

    [Response: Solely to combat Michael Crichton? Hardly. The low level of understanding on this issue in much of what passes for public discourse is a much bigger target than just his (admittedly egregious) example. We’ve been interviewed my many different media organisations – of which DKos is just one – and if anyone else asks we’ll talk to them too. (Oh, and just to show good will, I even corrected your spelling). – gavin]

  2. 2
    noblejoanie says:

    I was recently in California and overheard a restaurant conversation (perhaps it was JustAHouseWife). It was hard not to.The diners were loudly citing to Crichton’s book, had it in hand, in fact, to refute the trained, scientific community’s consensus on climate change.

    The fact they couldn’t seem to grasp was the rate of change. Looking across geological time and comparing temperatures doesn’t begin to account for the consequences of similar changes in a couple hundred years.

    I can only wonder if these same folks worry about reconstituted dinosaurs being loosed in their neighborhoods.

  3. 3
    dreadpirateshawn says:

    So – Dr Michael Crichton, with an anthropology degree and a medical degree and full time writer status, is to be trusted on climate-related science? While those trained in studying the climate are dismissed purely because a leftist blog respects their scientific rigor?


    I just want to thank you for providing internet access to all of this research, and let you know that many of us still hold to Galileo:
    “Long experience has taught me this about the status of mankind with regard to matters requiring thought: the less people know and understand about them, the more positively they attempt to argue concerning them, while on the other hand to know and understand a multitude of things renders men cautious in passing judgment upon anything new.”

    Or, even better – “It is surely harmful to souls to make it a heresy to believe what is proved.”

    So it goes.

  4. 4
    Lynn Vincentnathan says:

    RE #1, I know is must be hard for mothers to contemplate the possibility that what (most) scientists say about GW is true. I’m a woman without children, but always longed for them. I feel my reductions in GHGs & other environmental harms are sort of a way to give life & health to other people’s children. But in my various interactions, it seems many mothers are more resistant to the idea of GW than people without children. I also found in a survey I did that those living in areas most vulnerable to GW & its effects (such as flooding) are also less likely to believe GW is happening. I suppose once flooded, they can’t contenance the thought it will happen again, or be even worse in the future.

    With men it’s probably those most tied in economically to a high GHG economy (perhaps having stocks in oil, etc) who are most adverse to acknowledging GW. It occurred to me that Michael Crichton is very very rich. He’d have to have much of his money invested. Whether it be in oil or property or whatever, those investment most likely will be affected negatively by the effects of GW and/or its mitigation. This might be a factor in his dismissal of AGW.

    I can only offer you my strategy. I’m no scientist, so I figure it this way: if the scientists are wrong & there’s no GW (or negative effects) and I do things to combat GW, then no harm done and I save money (see below). However, if the scientists are right and people fail to reduce their GHGs but keep on increasing them, then not only will people suffer from GW effects (which might eventually entail massive extinction), but also from other harms (local pollution, acid rain, resource depletion, military costs/dangers), and loss of money due to inefficiency & lack of conservation.

    So, staring in 1990, I reduced my GHGs by 1/3 to 1/2 through energy/water/resource conservation & efficiency, saving us a lot of money, without lowering our living standard. (My husband even got a brighter light over the stove for his cooking, when we switched from a 40 watt incandescent to a 15 watt CF bulb.) Then after moving to Texas, we went on Green Mountain Energy 100% wind power, and moved close to work. Our electricity did cost us about $5 more per month the first couple of years, but now it is $1 per month less. We find pleasure in gardening, so we don’t have as much desire to drive over to the gulf or on other excursions. I’m now trying to talk my husband into a hybrid, and hoping they come out with a plug-in hybrid soon (then I can drive on wind power).

    GW is not merely a political/power issue (I agree that everything to do with humans does have a power component). It’s more broadly a life issue. And it’s for all people & persuassions, blue, red, green… As an environmentalist, I’m a bit perturbed when people relegate doing something about GW to the few environmentalists, as if it’s a charity of our choice, while they help with other charities.

    Pope John Paul II (1990) has said GW is the responsibility of everyone to solve, and the U.S. Catholic Bishops (2001) have stated that prudence requires that we work to mitigate GW, even if we do not think the science is in on it. (I, for one, do think the science has been in on it for 10 years now; I’ve been following it in science journals.)

    It would be great if in humble fashion we could all come together on this & solve it, then live happily ever after. I’m glad RealClimate scientists are being asked to spread their knowledge about GW in other venues. I’d hope some more conservative blogs & media would also ask for their knowledge; I don’t know why they seem to be more resistant to the idea of GW, except maybe the wealth issue.

    In any case, we should not blame or criticize the messengers (scientists) for bearing bad news. I skimmed over their Kos interview & it didn’t advocate any particular political agenda or policy, though they did sort of complain about politicians trying to railroad science, a very legitimate complaint.

  5. 5
    Jo Calder says:

    Re: #1 Err, Gavin: you mispelled “it’s” in the top blurb for this piece. Want to go back and correct it?

    Cheers, — Jo Calder

  6. 6
    Jo Calder says:

    Re #5 — Sorry, that’s in the top blurb for “Atlantic circulation change summary”. Well, we all make mistakes, don’t we?

    Cheers, — Jo Calder

    [Response: Indeed. -gavin]

  7. 7
    grundt says:

    ….Patience, that’s what we need.
    Not only JustaHouse Wives but also lots of people who have studied a lot of whatever(including some “climate scientists”), have such points of view. I think there is more than the Pareto’s rule of 80% of world population who thinks nothing is happening and no matter how much we destroy, things are going better.
    Please, Gavin, correct my mistakes, because I am not good enough in English.
    Best regards to you, admired and respected RealClimate people.

  8. 8
    Coby says:

    Re JustAHouseWife

    Since when is “being interviewed by” equivalent to “creating an alliance with”?? Similarily, it is hard to imagine why one would look at this site and conclude it was “solely created to debunk and discredit [Micheal Crichton]”. I think given his prominence in this debate (testifying before the US Senate!?!) he unfortunatley can’t be ignored, but a couple of posts out of many many dozens can hardly be called devotion.

  9. 9
    Kenneth Blumenfeld says:

    Well these comments are off to a fresh start!

    I, for one, am glad you guys did the interview. I have commented before on my beliefs about the role scientists should play in the public sphere. For frequent visitors to this site, there obviously was not any new information, but ostensibly the interview was done to broaden your scope a bit, rather than to inform your same-old audience. I am glad you did it; DK gets a lot of traffic, and I imagine the overlap between here and there is pretty small.

    I still think a debate (either public, or online) between some member of the hockey team and McIntyre would serve an important public need. A few years back Michaels debated Hansen, and I once saw a “panel discussion” (a debate in disguise) featuring Ben Santer and Richard Lindzen–fantastic. It can be done without caving to the “opposition.”

  10. 10
    DarkSyde says:

    You think Wife is a little off, I have someone called The Lumo sniping at me now for conspiring with the ‘commie climate cabal’ …

    BTW, the only one who the RC fellas created an ‘alliance with’ for lack of a better term, is me. And I’m probably not representative of the average Kossack politically. I’m more of a centrist, I’ve just been motivated to become active based on what I feel are sufficient reasons.

  11. 11
    Dano says:

    Hi grundt:

    That’s actually part of Dano’s 80:20 rule you’re quoting, including: 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people, 80% of the wealth is held by 20% of the people, 20% of the people are rational 80% of the time, etc.

    Oh, also: 80% of the disinformation is spread by 20% of the contrascientists [that’s the fun part: tracing back the parrotted/recycled talking points to the source].

    And what Kenneth Blumenfeld said.

    There’s nothing wrong with increasing the number of people who hear the information, so why not go to a place that has the most traffic and active comments? Why, I’m sure one of the most far right political bash fest blogs found the world wide web would enable comments after RC has an e-panel discussion there, right? Reg’lur housewives debating the information in comments, right?



  12. 12
    grundt says:

    Nice to hear from you again, Dano
    I didn’t know you were a reincarnation of V. Pareto.(bad joke)
    You, Dano Pareto, are completely right.
    And, regarding house wives, in case someone feels offended… I know by sure many of them are far more capable that lots of professionals.
    I find this blog very important for all of us. A pity most of the time I cannot read it.
    Best Regards,

  13. 13
    joel Hammer says:

    I think Michael Crichton is at least as qualified as Al Gore to an opinion on global warming. Al Gore was a lousy science student and never could have gotten into medical school.

    Now Al Gore travels the country talking about climate science, I am told.

    [Response:Michael Crichton’s or Al Gore’s qualifications are not really relevant. We haven’t criticised him because he’s a medical doctor, but because he is wrong. If Al Gore was as wrong we’d criticise him as well. – gavin]

  14. 14
    Ken says:

    Re “walking the line between science and politics” science should be apolitical, but if science cannot inform political decisions it’s not of much use.

    SR states in the Daily Kos, “we can stabilize CO2 concentration around 450 ppm if we gradually reduce global emissions by about half until 2050 … That would allow us to meet the policy target of the European Union, which is stopping global warming at 2 ºC above preindustrial.” A paper published in Energy Policy (online) yesterday (“Europe’s long-term climate target: A critical evaluation“) states “The European Commission … adopted a stringent long-term target for climate policy, namely that the global mean temperature should not rise more than 2 ºC above pre-industrial times. This target is supported by rather thin arguments, based on inadequate methods, sloppy reasoning, and selective citation from a very narrow set of studies. … Overall, the 2 ºC target of the EU seems unfounded.”. Unfortunately, the author gives no indication of what target would be founded. From a climate science perspective, can you provide any specific guidance on this question?

  15. 15
    pete best says:

    Ah yes cimate science and climate skepticism. Let us see, has science in fact proven human made climate change ? As an example hee in the UK the BBC had a weeks long news item going on Antartica and what was happenning there in relation to climate change. Concentrating almost entire on the ROSS ICE shelf/peninsula it dared to state that scientists here had formed a complete climate picture of the last 800,000 years and told us that at no time during this time had CO2 levels been as high as they are now and that this at least in part (although I know not what part, 5 %, 10 % etc that was) humans were responsible for the melting that is happenning there.

    This is hardly proof positive of relentless climate change to come and the perils it may pose in the future. Now I see that we have the the notion of Sudden or Abrupt climate change to think about and that the planet is absorbing around 1W per sqr meter or yard more than it is radiating which is significant apparantly in climate terms.

    With all of this new evidence coming online it can become overwhelming for people to make sense of it all. Climate scientists try their best to explain it to us but they too are sometimes confused in part because relating this knowledge to a largely unscientific public is difficult especially as this subject is very difficult to explain in simple terms due to its complexity and its reliance on computer models that are refuted by sceptics at every turn.

    If we take the thermohaline conveyor belt system that runs world wide and relies on factors such as the salinity of the seas (its salitness) and buoyancy, evaporation, temperature, precipitation, the wind and CO2 and water vapour levels in order to explain its working then we can see that the complex interplay of factors makes accurate prediction difficult even with state of the art computer climate models.

    Climate science needs a smoking gun to make everyone sit up and notice but we hope that we do not see it.

  16. 16
    Karl Sanchez says:

    As one from the “social sciences” side of the spectrum, I’d like to share a commonsensical: Absolutely any position taken on any topic is a position, even if it’s stated that the position is no position. In other words, stating you have no agenda is in itself an agenda. Politics are inescapable. This is no different from the truism: “No matter where you go, there you are.”

    I do have a query or two. How much influence did the establishment of the Panamanian Isthmus have on ice age cycles? Do you agree with Lovelock that the biota regulates global temperature?

    [Response: But ‘positions’ in this sense do not have to be partisan, nor do they need to be directed towards any specific policy and that is the principle distinction we are trying to make.

    People have looked at the closing of the Panama Isthmus and it’s always been an attractive candidate for the onset of the ice ages, however, I think the latest work has cast some doubt on the timing and so it remains a little uncertain.
    Biota clearly has an effect on climate (through emissions of CO2, VOCs, DMS, methane etc., through the effect on albedo, evapo-transpiration, surface roughness etc.), but whether climate is ‘regulated’ in the Gaian sense is a little more difficult to say. If anything, you could make a strong case that the ice age variations were actually amplified by biological effects – so it might depend on what your time scales were. – gavin]

  17. 17
    alex says:

    Re: 16, I think Gavin’s reply is mostly correct but slightly misleading. Gavin’s final point about the relevance of time scales is pretty important, especially in relation to biology. Whether or not the biological pump merely amplifies climate variability or if it is a forcing mechanism of climate change is not entirely clear to scientists. Certainly, Milankovitch forcing accounts for glacial cycle variability, but this does not imply that biological effects are simply amplifiers of climate. Although I agree with Gavin’s response, I felt he short-changed the scope of biological forcing in climate change… of course I study phytoplankton and export flux so I may have a “position” on this issue. Also, as a regular reader of both DKos and RC, I had fun reading the interview this morning.

  18. 18

    Speaking of Lovelock, I am hoping someone can speak to his recent book that seems to say that warming is already on a self amplifying curve that is unstoppable. He predicts imminent disaster in this century with no hope of turning it around. Although I am convinced the warming is happening, I am, naturally, hoping there is another view of the time frame.

    [Response: I haven’t seen the book but I read his piece in the Independent; see this for my take; and JA was even less complimentary – William]

  19. 19
    pete best says:

    One aspect of climate change which may have a impact sooner rather than later is the availability of water. I wonder what climate scientists say about this one.

  20. 20
    JustAHouseWife says:

    Hello! This site did not even “do business” until State of Fear came out and or the hockey stick was debunked. You owe your “success” to those two facts only. If the opposite were true, if there was no book, and everyone believed the IPCC and the hockey stick, would you have anything to talk about? Oh to be so certain!

    Climate scientists …hmmm. Science requires experimental controls – something not found in a collection of statistics about an open system.  Did I fail to mention my husband is an environmental scientist, with a masters in environmental geology? How come there are no geologists on these so called consensus panals? And BTW I don’t believe there is a consensus, no one does except maybe people online or in the media, or in the political arena. I believe there are people who have a political agenda, and they have people with science backgrounds in their mists, and they claim consensus. (it’s clear here in the comments directed toward me. Insults to my intelligence, wealth, and oil all mentioned; same old signs, and same old mantra)

    In real science, everything that can possibly be done to eliminate other causes are eliminated.

    If you say 650,000 yrs ago CO2 consentrations were lower! I can ask, So how come the ice on the planet melted away many times since then, if CO2 consentrations were lower, and CO2 is the cause now? Explain why the ice melted many times in the past. (I’ve been reading this site for a long time, and you never hear a peep about the past, unless it’s to debunk a paper, and how many comments get “no approval”???)

    And BTW I do care about the earth, and our impact on it. Another thing you fail to understand when speaking to someone who does not accept your conclusions to a theory. You make that assumption and add it to your evidence that I am wrong. Michael Crichton included. Real scientists do not speak that way to each other.


  21. 21
    Coby says:

    Hi JustAHouseWife,

    Since you have so many basic questions, I highly recommend reading from here: it covers all the climate change issues in a very well organized top-down approach that allows you to read as much or as little detail as you choose. I recommend at least reading the Summary for Policy Makers or the Introductions/Summaries of each of the chapters, you will find that most if not all of the questions you have have been addressed. For example, your question about attribution, you could read here:

    If you say 650,000 yrs ago CO2 consentrations were lower! I can ask, So how come the ice on the planet melted away many times since then, if CO2 consentrations were lower, and CO2 is the cause now? Explain why the ice melted many times in the past.

    In specific answer to the question above, the glacial cycles are thought to have been driven by changes in the orbit and tilt of the earth according to Milankovich cycles and other well measured and predictable variations. These small forcings resulted in GHG changes that amplified the otherwise small effects there would have been. RealClimate did discuss some aspects of that here.

    CO2 did go up and down over this time period quite alot (hence the additional evidence that CO2 does influence temperature) but to say “it was lower 650K years ago” is not quite the whole picture. It has never been as high today at any time in at least the last 650K years

    Regarding your general post, it is hard to know who you are responding to or what specifically your complaints are, you use so many generalities and broad-brush characterizations of so many different issues. While I am not saying this is your intention, the usual effect of such postings is only to entrench positions and inflame the discussion, it is not conducive to learning or understanding anything. I would note regarding your insinuations about censorship that your comments do make it on to this site despite a rather condescending and antagonistic tone so perhaps you should take that as reassurance and try a different tact?

    [If] everyone believed the IPCC and the hockey stick, would you have anything to talk about?

    Probably not (I am just a commenter, I can’t speak for the site authors), but I’m not sure what this is supposed to prove. The site is a reaction to disinformation, were there none there would be nothing to react to.

    it’s clear here in the comments directed toward me. Insults to my intelligence, wealth, and oil all mentioned; same old signs, and same old mantra

    Since I can’t see that in any of the posts here, I can only say I hope you do not get that from my comments, this or previous, there is no such intention.

  22. 22
    Richard Simons says:

    With reference to Michael Crichton’s expertise in science, I have given an extract of one of his other books to undergraduate students to see if they could spot the five blunders on the one page. These days, I am very cautious about accepting anything he says.

  23. 23
    Hank Roberts says:

    Ms. Housewife, I too wondered what basis you had for your questions, and I tried Google, searching for some long direct quotes from your postings.

    Google found only one source for each of several long quoted strings that I fed it — each of them was found only on this one web page:

    Are you reading other sources, and do you find that one reliable? (Of course I realize that may be your page, or he may be quoting you from something Google doesn’t find — all I can do is ask your sources.)

  24. 24
    mungagungadin says:

    I’ve been working for four years to establish truly off-grid green housing.

    The biggest block to this process is not interest, it is legal. Here and there a “cob” home, or “strawbale” thing is erected by a university or ascetic family, but they do not mention in the reporting that said structure is not passable in the code of any county in this country. At any time, an inspector could shut them down, and throw them out. In the most severe example I know of personally, a man and his family erected an earth-bermed home (mostly buried) on land they owned. The building was complete when a forest ranger spoted it. He was given the choice of removing every single stick in it (complete with digging out the foundation) or having the county do it, and charge him $25,000. This is just an example of the stupidity.

    However, why am I writing? A lot of this thread had to do with the KIND of person who would “live green” versus those who … don’t care? I’ve just completed most of the market analysis for my project so I’m in the unique position to TELL YOU. In a survey (some written, some phoned) of more than 2 thousand respondents in four states here are the results:
    the group MOST likely to respond “I would sell my current home to acquire an off-grid green home” were, in order from highest to lowest: Mormons, Catholics, Baptists, non-religious, Lutherans. Mormons were way off the chart, by the way. Ironically, all three of the highest were likely to pick TWO as a feeling of dread about global warming (on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 in low and 10 is high).

    For those who didn’t get what I just wrote, let me summarize this: the people MOST likely to actually ACT on the choice of moving into a green home are the Christians. However, they are least likely to be appealed to for the idea by discussing Global Warming. When given the opportunity to discuss their reasons, they will most often list 1) to respect the Creations of God 2) to raise my children in a way that they are welcome in the world (despite population strain) 3) for the benefit of self-sufficiency.

    So, folks. If you want to get the MOST people who are MOST interested to live green, stop singing “global warming” and sing “show honor to God by being careful with His creations.”
    Just thought you ought to know.

    PS: by the way, they wouldn’t touch environmentalists with a ten foot pole. They are tired of being called nazis for eating dinner, having children, or getting married.

  25. 25
    Hank Roberts says:

    Wow, what country are you posting from? I’d hate to be in a country that doesn’t allow straw bale construction anywhere at all.

    Can you push your government to look into adopting United States codes?

    Straw bale construction can be built to meet current earthquake, fire, and energy requirements — because of that, it’s specifically being supported by new building codes as they are developed in many states.

    Here’s a link, try showing your government how this can be done:

    The US Department of Energy has been pushing it for a decade, here for example:

    Even stranger — you say that in your country you have”Forest Rangers” administering county building codes on private property? What branch of what government do these Forest Rangers work for?

    Strange world we live in!

  26. 26
    LynnB says:

    Too much carbon dioxide and not enough oxygen is the problem. Trees (forests) “fix” carbon dioxide, and seaweed produces 90% of the earth’s oxygen. Slashing and burning rainforests for the raising of cattle for beef is the originating culprit. Massive releases of carbon dioxide(from dying & burning trees), nitrous oxide (from cow manure) running into the ocean kill seaweed.

    What kind of “policy” nonsense are your proposing?

    Easy solution: Quit eating McDonalds Hamburgers. Do you “really” need “Big-Brother Government” to arrest you for eating Big Macs? Just stop eating the junk.

    Problem solves naturally. You know, as in nature!!??

  27. 27
    LynnB says:

    Why do we need a law against eating Big Macs? Just quit eating Big Macs and they won’t slash and burn rainforests to raise cattle that cause toxic runoff that kills seaweed, the producer of 90% of the earth’s oxygen.

    You want the cops to jail us for eating Big Macs, huh? That’s the solution, you know.

    But, maybe you don’t want the REAL solution.

  28. 28
    Jack says:

    While I am a strong supporter of RealClimate and its role in countering the skeptical “arguments” against global warming and climate change, in my view the DarkSyde Daily Kos interview is a bit too one-sided when it comes to the Hockey Stick itself. To say that the criticism of the Hockey Stick has been “completely discredited” seriously overstates the case. In this public forum I will state that those of you doing paleoclimate proxy studies had better — quickly — improve your data handling methodology, your archiving, and the statistics you publish. While it is admirable to defend the high ground (which I believe you possess), it is not admirable to ignore (and at times disparage) valid scientific criticism. I hope that my internal disquietude over this issue will be eased over the coming year by an improved tenor of scientific conduct.

    [Response: You need to distinguish the criticism of the scientific results (which have been debunked – see here, or here), from more general criticisms of ‘scientific practice’. There is not yet a perfect system for archiving raw data – something that has very little to do with the hockeystick issue since MBH only used publically available data themselves, and it is only recently that advances in multi-proxy methodologies have made the issue more relevant in the field. Valid scientific criticism is always to be welcomed; inappropriate personalisation and baseless accusations are not. – gavin]

  29. 29
    SteveF says:

    Am I the only one expecting to hear the esteemed housewife say, ‘yeah, but if evolution is true, why are there still monkeys?’

  30. 30
    Lynn Vincentnathan says:

    Re #15, I think climate science very simple in its basics: A natural greenhouse effect keeps us 30 degrees warmer & makes life as we know it viable. Add more GHGs, get more warmth. Now it’s up to the contrarians to prove AGW is not happening, and to do so at the 95% confidence level, before I start leaving on lights not it use. Ah, heck, I think I’ll turn them off anyway, even if the conclusively disprove AGW!

  31. 31
    Pianoguy says:

    Re #20, JustAHouseWife:

    “Hello! This site did not even “do business” until State of Fear came out and or the hockey stick was debunked. You owe your ‘success’ to those two facts only.”

    You appear too certain of your conclusion. Remember, as is stated at “Correlation does not show cause and effect.”

    Re #24, mungagungadin:

    Possibly not a big deal, but whether Mormons are Christians is hotly debated in the Christian community. Among Evangelicals, the answer is usually “no.”

    [Response: And I can assure you (and her) that Crichton played no role in the planning and organising for this website – we started thinking about this in August 2004, and launched on Dec 10. Crichton’s book came out the following friday, and just seemed a perfect chance to show what we were trying to do. Pure coincidence as it happens. PS. denominantional defintions are way off topic! – gavin]

  32. 32
    mungagungadin says:

    #25 Hank Roberts
    While all you list is really interesting and nice, the fact that many facets of our system have been recommending strawbale et al for years does not mean that any of those recommendations have born fruit. The ICC, or International Code Council “creates” the codes that our counties individually base their legal code upon. There is no county to my knowledge in the United States that has yet approved strawbale (though I’m not really hip on that, my focus is cob) for legal construction/construction permit/inspection/development by builders. This is why you don’t see strawbale sub-divisions going up.
    As for the gov’t official who spotted the bermed home, I cannot be sure what type of official it was. The whole incident was related to me by the distraught man. The issue was that he had not obtained a building permit for his home (in Wisconsin, by the way) because he knew he couldn’t obtain a building permit for it anyway (it would not pass inspection) and so it was suspected of being built for drug-creation purposes. Inviting the county officials within and demonstrating that it was not for drug purposes was not considered good enough. The home did not pass code, was not legally built, was not legally defensible and was ordered dismantled.
    AS for that last comment putting Christian dhimmitude status on Catholics and Mormons…. really classy.

  33. 33
    Don Baccus says:

    There is no county to my knowledge in the United States that has yet approved strawbale (though I’m not really hip on that, my focus is cob) for legal construction/construction permit/inspection/development by builders.

    I know for a fact you can do it in Oregon. One couple I know had their housewarming Memorial Day and their project was not the first to be permitted and inspected by the county they live in. Portland has building codes for strawbale, a couple I know recently bought a lot and are going to build their strawbale house this year.

  34. 34
    Hank Roberts says:

    >Code Council…

    Who tells you this stuff? Seriously, what are your sources? If the people telling you these things won’t point to sources, remember — trolls don’t footnote.
    Want the International Code Council’s evolving standards for straw bale construction? They are no secret — you can check this stuff for yourself. It’s not hard. You need to, because someone’s been fooling you with wrong info.

    Here, use this in Google and see for yourself:

    +”International Code Council” +”straw bale” +codes

    How does this relate to climate? Well, look up

    +”electron capture detector” +”chlorofluorocarbon” +”convention”

    — read some of the first ten results, and you will see how codes get written dealing with the whole atmosphere.

    Whether building codes or pollution codes, codes get written because people see trouble happening and want to reduce the damage, not just today but for people who’ll live with the consequences of what’s done today.

    Building code inspectors are there to protect the housing stock for the people who’ll live in it later on and have to live with what got built.

    Yes, there are people trying to use the codes to do bad things — for example, whoever’s been giving you bad information about the International Code Council.

    You can check what you’re being told — and not repeat misinformation.

    You can find out why codes exist. Don’t trust what you’re being told by people unless they can point you to sources, then check both what they point to and what you can find out for yourself.

    For codes, for example, look at the pictures here:

    For codes for cob construction, try this:
    +”building code” +”cob construction” +”fire safety”

    Look at the first hit that gets you — it’s a Wiley PDF.
    Here, I’ll snip a bit from the HTML version Google shows, the index:

    Cob. See also Cob construction; -Oregon – cob
    drying and bonding, 141
    mixing, 135-139
    plastering, 258
    trimming and shaping, 141
    Cobber’s Companion: How to Build Your Own Earthen Home (Smith), 123, 368
    Cob construction, 117-149
    building codes for, 131-132
    connections in, 142-145
    design considerations for, 124-132
    environmental benefits of, 123-124
    future trends in, 148-149
    history of, 118-120
    in hybrid buildings, 129-130, 149
    methods of, 133-146
    modernization and revival of, 120-121
    research on, 147-148

    See? Not so hard to check what people tell you.

    “Trust, but verify.” — R. Reagan

  35. 35
    Dano says:

    Re: #32:

    are you saying in your comment that there are no strawbale homes in this country, or are you saying that there is no uniform code under IBC/UBC that allows for easy permit approval? You certainly can’t be saying the former, so you must be saying the latter, which indicates a confusion between code approval and permit approval – you can get permit approval without code existing. Lastly, you’ll want to ask yourself why the BIA or MBA hasn’t endorsed bale construction. It certainly isn’t because of lack of interest.



  36. 36
    Stephen Berg says:

    Re: #1 and others,

    Most climate skeptics these days, with rare exceptions like the Pielkes and others, whine and complain about not being taken seriously or that their views are being suppressed. In reality, they are wrong, should not and cannot be taken seriously, and their views must be suppressed because they can influence those without a solid foundation in the climate sciences (or any sciences for that matter).

    Climate skeptics (or ‘contrarians’) complain that their views are in the minority like a Galileo and that they try to attract sympathy from the general public. In reality, climate scientists (those who believe climate change is happening and is primarily the fault of humans) were those Galileos a few decades ago. Since then, their research and conclusions have reached the overwhelming majority of climate scientists and have led them to conclude that climate change is happening and is primarily the fault of humans. It is the climate skeptic who refuses to listen to reason, proper scientific procedure, and common sense and stubbornly maintains their opinion without scientific backing, rather with flawed research.

    (By the way, by ‘climate skeptic’, I refer to most, but not all. Again, the Pielkes and others do not belong, since they actually do some respectable work.)

  37. 37
    Dano says:

    I disagree slightly with Stephen, in that the septics’ views shouldn’t be suppressed – rather, they should be addressed and then debunked (I agree with everything else in his excellent comment). Suppressing their obfuscation, dissembling and mendacity implies they say something that is inconvenient and thus should be hidden. Debunking their obfuscatory, dissembling and mendacious arguments is a much better tactic.

    Of course, the problem is the level of sophistication of the issue and the attention level of the public; the rhetoric the septics use appeals to emotion, which packs a more powerful wallop than Enlightenment principles.



  38. 38
    nanny_govt_sucks says:

    “There is not yet a perfect system for archiving raw data”

    How hard is it to save files in a folder on a hard drive or on an FTP server?

    Why would any system have to be “perfect” as opposed to just “usable”?

    [Response: For even a halfway decent system (as opposed to the ad hoc archiving that occurs now), you want data to be citable, permanently locatable, always attached to metadata, correctable and ideally seen as valid publications in their own right. Current efforts at NCDC etc., while useful are neither comprehensive nor up-to-date. You might want to read Bryan Lawrence’s multiple blog entries on the subject to realise how complicated this really is. – gavin]

  39. 39
    mungagungadin says:

    Dear Hank (34).

    I’m sorry, [ad hom deleted] Just because things are written and done does not mean they are legal. All the cob construction all over the country, including the work done by Ianto Evans, Micahel Smith, Cedar Rose, Eisenburg, Kate Repson, Tim Owen Kennedy and so forth has no legal standing for the work they do. The more purist folks have the greater problem, seeking for the cob to be load-bearing (which it is, but that is a harder argument to make). I spent part of this evening discussing this problem with one of the ICC’s application experts, Mick Horescko (562) 699-0543x 3289, who recommended to me a person (retired) who has the ability to make the equivalency argument for cob construction. I contacted this expert, James Amrhein, and no, since he’s retired and heading up his own life I will not give you his home phone number. But again, call the ICC directly, instead of googling articles about people who WISH things were so.

    [Response: I have no clue why this discussion is here, or why people are so worked up about it, but please remain civil. -gavin]

  40. 40
    Coby says:

    re “Halfway decent system” for data archive

    I would think you would also need a versioning system as well with all the access controls that go with it.

  41. 41
    PHEaston says:

    Re No. 36 regarding ‘skeptics’: “their views must be suppressed because they can influence those without a solid foundation in the climate sciences (or any sciences for that matter).”

    Such a statement has nothing to do with science, little to do with the stated aims of this site, and is contrarian to the principals of scientific debate. I am a working scientist and strongly support environmental protection. Though not a ‘climate scientist’, I understand the scientific process. I have followed all sides of the arguemnts over several years, but remain of the view that: while there is sufficient evidence to be concerned about the potential risks of CO2 emissions, the case remains unproven. This may irritate you. I am irritated by the arguments that every extreme weather event or hot-spell is further evidence of AGW (while ignoring the cold spells). However, I would not dream of opressing opposing views. On a related point, it is also wrong to assume that acting on AGW is risk free. It will mean more ‘risky’ nuclear power, covering our countryside with wind farms (with all the environmental impact they have), and a risk of diverting attention and funds from 100% proven problems such as the millions who die each year of poor drinking water, malaria and Aids. In fact, what would be interesting to see on this site is a debate about what the likely risks (of acting on AGW theory) are and to what degree we are preared to accept them.

  42. 42
    Dano says:

    RE #41:

    If I may, the implied condition in the solutioning assumes that we will have a society that continues on its present consumption path. This may or may not be correct, but having ecological training IMHO I cannot see how the present trajectory can continue.

    But to expand upon your discussion and list, other responsible actions to take [irrespective of energy sources] include vastly increasing efficiencies of our transport and spaces that are microclimatically controlled via energy consumption, lessening the separation of our live/work spaces, enabling our built environment to promote non-motorized transportation, gaining efficiencies in other areas thus lowering our overall energy dependency, and perhaps most important, having our economy start counting both externalities and benefits provided by ecosystems to have an honest accounting of our actions – this way, we can have a discourse in a common language, with (more) complete knowledge. Plus, the externalities avoided by taking the actions I outline above have benefits beyond simple anthropogenic climate change amelioration.

    The public health issues you describe also do not have solutions that lie solely in the scientific arena – f’r instance, providing drinking water to poor people requires political solutions and redistribution of capital to help eliminate inequities created by the human condition.

    The overarching issue here is that we have a principled debate on these issues, and the role of contrascientists must be acknowledged and dealt with. An important purpose of websites that attempt to clarify issues is to ensure there is principled debate, and I agree with you that suppressing voices – even if dishonest – doesn’t help. In fact, in my view, it is better to allow those voices in order to expose the purpose behind them. Which would be principled. Democracy is messy and at times it is much simpler and more efficient to eliminate sources of disagreement, but it is not more democratic to do so.



  43. 43
    Coby says:

    re #41

    while there is sufficient evidence to be concerned about the potential risks of CO2 emissions, the case remains unproven

    May I enquire as to what you would consider “proof”? I guess I would also need to know exactly what you are thinking of when you say “potential risks”. Is it because you are not yet convinced that the temperature is rising, or that it is because of CO2 emissions, or that this is be bad thing? I do not wish to berate you for your opinion, I sincerely would like to know, and I have asked this of numerous people of sci.environment but rarely get an answer of any kind.

    On a related point, it is also wrong to assume that acting on AGW is risk free. It will mean more ‘risky’ nuclear power, covering our countryside with wind farms (with all the environmental impact they have), and a risk of diverting attention and funds from 100% proven problems such as the millions who die each year of poor drinking water, malaria and Aids

    I agree with the first part of this, there will definately be risks and hardships associated with new infrastructure, a new “learning curve” for industries etc. BUT! if you acknowledge that fossil fuels will run out one way or another, then much of those pains are inevitable anyway, so it can only be a boon to make this transistion sooner rather than later. I know we have centuries of coal deposits, but for those parts of the economy running on oil this transition is coming this century and perhaps, as a species, it is time to consider the future even if it is several centuries away.

    Regarding the second part of the above quote, why is it that funds for developing alternative energy must come directly from the budget for combating AIDS and providing clean drinking water? Ignoring the fact that the Pentagon loses more money than we spend on AIDS and drinking water and famine relief etc etc, imagine how much military spending could be freed up if we did not require the oil resources of countries like Khazakstan and Indonesia.

    I understand you only said we “risk” diverting money, but this is a standard attack on climate change mitigation actions, so I am making my point more to this pervasive canard than to your more reasonably presented version of it.

  44. 44
    Richard Ordway says:

    Re. comment #1.

    “A web blog solely created to debunk and discredit the opinion on human induced global warming as written by Dr. Michael Crichton, who in his numerous speeches on this subject, states over and over that science should have nothing to do with politics and visa versa”

    I personally think it is sad (and dangerous) to see how big oil, coal and gas has manipulated peoples’ opinions like hers.

    I have to deal with the big oil coal and gas lobby manipulating the public perception (paying off unethical scientists to print junk science in non-peer-reviewed journals (where you can print anything), using industry-paid websites to attack scientists personally, presenting non-peer-reviewed evidence as fact, etc.) every day in my job at a national peer-reviewed government-sponsored scientific research laboratory.

    I challenge you, mam…or anyone else, to look in a recent long-established peer-reviewed journal such as Science, Nature, Geophysical Letters, etc. and see ANYWHERE now an article that can scientifically defend itself, that global warming (climate change) is not going on and that we humans are not at least partially responsible for it by burning oil, coal and gas.

    …and yes, a dissenting one was printed by Richard Lindzen in Geophysical Research Letters, 26 June, 2001, Vol 82, No 3. pp. 417-432 and yes, his evidence did not stand up under the scientific process.


  45. 45
    Stephen Berg says:

    An excellent cartoon by the Exxpose Exxon campaign:

  46. 46
  47. 47
    Mike Carney says:

    re #38
    The idea that archiving is too difficult to have been done and still hasn’t been done for some studies under discussion here is not credible. Sure you can find fault with simple systems and more bells and whistles can be added like citability. That is obsuring the main purpose which is publicly available, repeatable results. Large open source software projects have been doing this for years. I can download and build Linux from source which is a substantial dataset and build process. I don’t have to understand the intricacies of the build process and I don’t have to understand all the algorithms used in the operating system. But I can start with the raw source (or data) and produce a complex output, the same output as everyone else. I should be able to do the same with any climate study with only rare exceptions. I can trust the output of the Linux build because I know millions of others are looking at the same input, using the same process, getting the same output. With a black box climate study I am left with “trust me”. Trust me because it is peer reviewed (yet another opaque process). With open source you don’t have to trust the creator because the result is repeatable and the process is visible — virtues of the scientific process. Quoting, Torvalds: “So, while I personally have always opted for trying to be in a position where people really have no reason to distrust my motivation and actions, in the end I actually think that the real trust comes from the fact that it doesn’t matter if people trust me (or any other open source developer) or not.” The same is true of the authors of climate studies. Trust comes naturally to an open process.

  48. 48
    JustAHouseWife says:

    “Personally think it is sad (and dangerous) to see how big oil, coal and gas has manipulated peoples’ opinions like hers.”

    No one has manipulated my opinion.

    Why are there no geologists on these climate panels? I asked that question a long time ago here.

    And Gavin if you continue to censor my replies keep in mind I have directed several scientists to you site to observe your practices.

    All the comments thus far only prove my original comment here.

    [Response: Comments are moderated according to our comment policy to try and a) keep things focussed, b) maintain a certain level of decorum and c) keep unnecessary personalisations and ad homs out of the scientific debate. If you stick to the science you’ll be fine, if you prefer to flame, you might be happier on sci.env. – gavin]

    [Response: Re sci.env… yes, come on in if you think you’re hard enough (sorry; and of course *here* we have higher standards). Re geologists: well, to be somewhat flippant, geologists study rocks, which don’t have much to do with climate change. To be less flippant, there *are* areas of geology that are relevant: ocean sediment cores for example. Which is presumably why the IPCC TAR contributors list for the observed variability chapter lists some people with Geological type affiliations – William]

  49. 49

    Re #26 “Too much carbon dioxide and not enough oxygen is the problem. Trees (forests) “fix” carbon dioxide, and seaweed produces 90% of the earth’s oxygen.”

    I think the last phrase, at least, is incorrect. As I remember, more oxygen per unit surface area is produced on land than in water, to the tune of 2-4 to one (mole or volume basis). There’s a lot of O2 from the ocean because there’s a lot of ocean, 70.8% of the surface according to geographers. But most of the ocean is a biological desert.

  50. 50
    JustAHouseWife says:

    “Re geologists: well, to be somewhat flippant, geologists study rocks, which don’t have much to do with climate change. To be less flippant, there *are* areas of geology that are relevant: ocean sediment cores for example. Which is presumably why the IPCC TAR contributors list for the observed variability chapter lists some people with Geological type affiliations” William.

    The GISS states thus in their mission statement:

    “Study of past climate change on Earth and of other planetary atmospheres serves as a useful tool in assessing our general understanding of the atmosphere and its evolution”

    Who do you think does all the paleo-climate studies? Geology is the study of the earth. There are environmental geologists, paleo-climate geologists, and geologists who can and do study whole other planets.

    How do you do study past climate without looking at geological evidence? Do you know that mountains and or rocks store and release heat into the atmosphere?

    Do you know they just found a huge methane deposit off the coast of Los Angeles? This discovery wasn’t published in any climate change magazine, it was published in a GEOLOGY magazine.

    Something is very wrong here.

    [Response: What is wrong? Many people at GISS have geology backgrounds (Mark Chandler, Linda Sohl, Vivien Gornitz, Allegra LeGrande etc.), many have math backgrounds, some come from engineering and some from planetary science or meterology. I’m sure that the broad make-up of backgrounds at GISS is mirrored at NCAR or the Hadley Centre… – gavin]