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Global Warming debate

Filed under: — gavin @ 12 March 2007 - (Türkçe)

Along with Richard Somerville (UC San Diego) and Brenda Ekwurzel (Union of Concerned Scientists), I’ll be appearing at a debate on Wednesday (March 14th) about whether Global Warming is a crisis (or not). That might have gone without notice (like most of my public talks), except that our opponents are Michael Crichton, Richard Lindzen and Philip Stott. The preliminary position statements (from me and from Philip Stott) are available on the ABCnews site. It’s sold out, but the proceedings will be broadcast on NPR (for instance, WNYC 820 AM on Friday, March 23, 2007 at 2PM) and there will be a podcast (though I don’t know if it will stream live). There’s an online poll as well for what that’s worth.

I’m quite looking forward to this, but I have to admit to conflicting thoughts. Does participating help perpetuate the idea that global warming per se is still up for debate? Is this kind of rhetorical jousting useful for clarifying issues of science that most people there will only superficially grasp? Can this be entertaining and educational? Or does it just validate the least serious opposition? Is it simply a waste of time that would be better spent blogging? ;)

I’d be interested in any thoughts people might have.


225 Responses to “Global Warming debate”

  1. 151
    Ron Tuckwell says:

    I have just read an article in the Sydney Morning Herald by William Broad, entitled “Scientists have Inconvenient News for Gore”.
    It makes a number of claims of inaccuracy and “deceit”.
    Scientists mentioned are Dr Robert Carter of James Cook University, Queensland, Australia; and Emeritus Professor (Geology) Don Easterbrook of Western Washington University; Roy Spencer, a climatologist at the University of Alabama, Huntsville; and Kevin Vranes, a climatologist at the Centre for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado.
    What is “Real Climate’s” position on the Al Gore Documentary?

    [Response: We discuss the article here. - gavin]

  2. 152
    OK says:

    CONservatives tend to do “popular” debates by which I mean they cynically appeal to the “common” masses with a lot of “common sense” arguements. As an example, look at (the recently incarcerated) Kent Hovind. In such debates the “winner” is the speaker who is the most charismatic – it usually doesn’t matter where the actual truth lies. Which is why Hovind seemed to “win” most of his debates, at least in the public opinion. He rarely stayed on one point for long but bounced around too fast for his opponent to catch up. And he had quick, polished ‘sound byte’ type answers for every conceivable question.

    If this is about trying to win over public opinion I’d suggest that you could do well by refraining from very technical points and language and stick to the big evidences (e.g. melting glaciers etc.). And bring along some big colorful charts or other media. But be prepared for some dirty tricks too (global cooling, claims of censorship etc.). You might bring up the fossil fuel funding for the skeptics http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_controversy#Funding_for_opponents and the fact that some skeptics are beginning to agree with the the fact of AGW http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_controversy#The_evolving_position_of_some_skeptics And don’t leave your technical notes at home (just in case). As it will be televised, there’s a chance that they will have been coached in debating technique by a professional. They’ll probably try to get you to contradict yourself or lose your cool too, so don’t.

    Scientists probably should be doing this kind of thing more often. But they need to brush up on their debating skills.

  3. 153
    OK says:

    Also keep in mind one of their favorite tactics (creationists love this one) – bring up some prior mistake or other on the science or the fact that not everything is perfectly understood yet and then use that bit of uncertainty as a wedge to try to discredit the entire argument.

  4. 154
    OK says:

    Oh and what’s with the title of this debate, “Global Warming Is Not a Crisis”? Shouldn’t it have been “Is Global Warming a Crisis”?

  5. 155
    BarbieDoll Moment says:

    Well you are certainly receiving many replies, but I agree with
    the postings that highlight the gist of the debate: crisis or not.

    Yea or nay, does one feel that global warming is a crisis.

    A point I haven’t seen made is the fact that why would one wait
    till the situation had reached a crisis point to act?

    That’s a rationale approach like one waiting till one has full blown cancer and it is spreading till they decide to approach their physician and seek out the mitigation and treatment options; and THEN one still has to undertake the treatment plan to deal with cancer.

    Additionally, I would point out that the natural
    toxicological sinks are our soils, water, and the atmosphere, and so on.

    I am not going to go into a whole toxicologically theme here but
    the gist of it is that we are not only approaching limits on the available sinks, but the rate at which the sinks can degrade the material that is being sunk into them.

    There is systemic carrying and rate processing capacity built into our biosystem.

    At what point does one let the sink fill up with CO2; and at higher and more rapid pace in the future due to the projections of higher global energy demand increases due to second and third world countries, and growing populations?

    When is it feasible to either decrease the amount being sunk into
    the sinks, and or to find a way, or an additional place or method to store/accelerate the degrading process of the CO2 and or other
    controllable greenhouse gases?

    That line of thinking, is fairly straightforward, and grounded in toxicology and the field of risk management, and easy enough for a layperson to understand and relate to if the analogy was made with everyday examples of sinks and their sources.

    For example: does one wait until the room fills with smoke before
    they open the door and let it out?

    Does one wait until the smell of seaping gas overwhelms one before they
    use dispersion methods of aeration to break down the ratio of the volume? Or does one wait till the levels are so high that they are forced to vacate the vicinity, forcing one to relocate to other premises?

    { sarcasm: here we come Mars :) }

    Everyone knows that if you paint or use cleaning chemicals
    that one needs to provide plenty of ventilation so the
    fumes do not build up to toxic levels in a confined space causing chemical lung injuries and so on.

    This would be a very simple angle and would provide some easy everyday analogies to make or use, IMO.

    But really, in the end, it does not make logical or rational sense
    to approach a problem after it has reached a crisis point.

    ANY PROBLEM…… not to mention the ocean lag time we are dealing with here.

    However, all of that being said, that is our historic norm for the government; their risk management approaches tied to the economic feasibility of acting or not acting based upon x expendable lives weighed against the cost of action and the economic prosperity of the U.S.

    So I’d ask these guys…..or throw it out there

    Who, what, and where is expendable in their opinion…

    and of course, WHY?

  6. 156
    Mike says:

    RE#85
    A correctly balanced debate would be 2-3 (whatever) climate contrarians/sceptics/deniers versus 2000 climatologists. The debaters would outnumber the audience!

    We criticise Crichton but he has something that climatologists don’t. Fame.

    As the debate moves from science to the big bad world of politics, misinformed people and TV (Go for it Gavin) it’s good PR if there are climatologists who get some reflected fame and are recognisible to the public.
    A quick way to fame like buying Chelsea or Man Utd.

    Keep up the good work

    Mike

  7. 157
    Dick Veldkamp says:

    It is worrying that about 50% of the poll voters agree that there is NO climate crisis. However in my experience people who think this are usually uninformed, rather than having reached their position after looking at the facts.

    I agree with #79 that it is hard to see how such a debate can be “won”, and it is a serious drawback that the impression is given that there IS a controversy.

    Still, what the heck, why not have this debate? Future historians might very well describe what is happening now as: ‘In 2007, when climate scientist Gavin Schmidt debated Michael Crichton in IQ-squared, the debate on AGW was essentially already over with only a few contrarions holding out, By this time, the European Union had decided to reduce greenhouse gas emission by 20% in 2020, and the UK had plans to reduce with 60% by 2050.

  8. 158
    Dan says:

    re: 142. “Secondly, for the record, though different from the consensus revisionary history, Iraq absolutely and unequivocally had WMDs (also a higher probability than AGW ); we have tapes and bodies.”"

    Sigh. I knew this was coming. That is patently, utterly false. Please do not make up “facts” to try to prove a point, politically or about denying aspects of global warming. No, WMDs were never found. And the CIA said they would not be. That was ignored. Stop listening to Fox (supposed) News, ad nauseum, for opinions about Iraq or global warming.

  9. 159
    Mike says:

    Gavin,

    My attempts to discuss GW with my colleagues suggest what not to do.

    Be open wide mouthed at ridiculous assertions.
    Allow your emotions to get the better of you.
    Point at the nearest computer screen and babble “it’s all answered on Realclimate.org”.
    Have a migraine 10 minutes later.

    Keep up the good work

    Mike

  10. 160

    Richard Ordway’s suggestion is a very good one. Definitely prepare by shadow debates beforehand, with friends playing the part of deniers. I’m kicking myself for not suggesting that myself.

  11. 161
    Wadard says:

    At least the popular sceptic meme, that the views in An Inconvenient Truth are those of an ex-politician and not those of an expert, won’t grow legs in Michael Crichton’s presence.

  12. 162
    Wadard says:

    The motion being debated is Global warming is not a crisis.

    Global warming is not a crisis, global warming is the crisis.

    You are for the motion so all you need to do to win is demonstrate that if we don’t change our behaviour then global warming will cause climate change and environmental, ecological, food-security, national security and health crises.

  13. 163
    Jeff Harvey says:

    Gavin,

    I (a senior scientist in population ecology) debated two well-known sceptics (Hans Labohm, Simon Rozendaal) over here in The Netherlands a couple of years ago, just as I had debated Bjorn Lomborg in 2002. In my view, its a good and a bad thing at the same time to debate these people. In the climate change debate, I was teamed with an actual climate scientist (Koos Verbeek). The problem in both debates is that by appearing it does give the impression that the opposition have something useful to say, which I think is a serious mistake: in my view these people for the most part are distorting or misinterpreting science in support of a political or other agenda. I feel that, by debating any sceptics (or ‘delusionists’ as John Quiggen more appropriately calls them), we do legitimize them by suggesting that they may have something useful to say (which I don’t think they do). The media courts controversy because it sells; consensus doesn’t. Furthermore, the mainstream media is muddying the waters by endlessly promoting what I refer to as “a” and “d” – adaptation and denial – largely because most mainstream sources are either owned by large corporations or depend on them for advertising revenue. Many – though not all – large corporations are promoting ‘business-as-usual’ in fear of lost profits if regulations are implemented limiting greenouse gas emissions. Therefore, they are more than happy to see the water ‘muddied’ in an attempt to mislead the public into believing that the science is far from settled. So long as the public think the debate is equally balanced, they will not support any kinds of measures, however moderate, that they fear will threaten their lifestyles. In my opinion, this has been the agenda of the anti-environmental lobby from day 1: the sceptics know that they will never win the scientific argument but they inflate the scientific uncertainties so as to create doubt. Its worked in a range of policy areas and its their current trump card in the climate change debate.

    I wish you all of the best luck in your debate. When I debated Lomborg, I gave him a very hard time and feel that my arguments, which emphasized his data cherry-picking, misquoting of scientists, and failure to understand important concepts in science resonated with the audience. In the climate change debate, I feel that Labohm in particular came out with some frankly bizarre arguments that actually undermined him. One thing is for certain: as more empirical evidence comes in, the sceptics are going to become even more desperate in peddling their denial.

  14. 164
    Jerry says:

    Argument by analogy. Climate change is difficult to understand because it is huge, silent, and on human timescales, slow. Just like diseases, for example, diabetes and cancer.

    There is a diagnosis for the planet, and it’s not favorable going into the next century.

    The debate title, “Is Global Wrming a Crisis?” is not an invitation to discuss the science, but to discuss the response to the science. Whether it is a crisis or not depends on whether one chooses to make it a crisis.

    Following the medical analogy, patients tend to have better outcomes in treatment when the disease is managed aggressively and early. And yes, chemotherapy causes patients hair to fall out and other highly undesirable side effects.

    Decide a strategy, practice your tactics. Good luck.

  15. 165
    John L. McCormick says:

    RE # 148:

    [If you can provide rational and convincing answers to those issues you will win the debate.]

    Gavin, you have all the rational and convincing answers to win the debate.

    But, you have a far more important task.

    Win the audience!

    And, I hope you will take a moment to go off script and appeal to the parents of the world to protect their childrens future.

  16. 166
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Gavin,
    One serious issue you will face is that human beings are not good at judging risk–particularly when the consequences of the risk are far-removed in time. There is a tendency to think that if the consequences will not manifest for a century, we can wait 90 years to address the issue. This works well when the threats in one’s environment are predominantly things like lions, elephants, snakes… It tends not to work well for systems with substantial inertia or whose trends are nonlinear–e.g. climate change, smoking and cancer, obesity related disorders. The issues raised above comparing climate related risks to those arising from a terrorist attack are a good example. The risks (cost times probability of occurrence) are greater for climate change than they are for terrorism–probably even terrorism with WMD. However, terrorism is what people worry about.
    One way to counter this might be to emphasize the inertia of the system–that if we don’t start making serious inroads to diminish ghg, our children and grandchildren may live through the horror of watching adverse impacts of climate change and be unable to do ANYTHING about it–rather like watching two oil tankers collide once it’s too late to turn them.
    The other thing I think you can count on is that they will bring up the “opportunity cost” argument–that dealing with climate change will prevent us from addressing “real” problems. The counter to this, is that our track record of addressing problems of hunger, poverty, pollution, etc. is piss poor in any case, and to point out that the fact that growth of energy use is most rapid in the developing world means that these problems are coupled to those of climate change. We cannot deal with climate change without also addressing these problems.

    Good luck. You have an unfair advantage in that truth is on your side, and when truth is your only tactic, those who oppose you do so with inferior weapons.

  17. 167
    J.S. McIntyre says:

    I would suggest that you find a way early on in the debate, particularly if the issue of consensus comes up, to make a similar point to the one Lawrence Krauss made while debating Intelligent Design proponents in Ohio with Ken Miller.

    Observe that the consensus on Global Warming is a solid one, so large that your place in the debate could have been taken by any number of climatologists who would echo what you had to say here, and that if this were to have been a representative debate, than a fair representation would have been to have over a thousand climatologists on the Global Warming side for every single, legitimate “skeptic” on the other side. You could take it further by pointing out that the opposing panel had to find a science-fiction author who has no expertise in the subject in order to round out their number.

    Whatever you do – and to echo what others have said here – the debate is going to be about rhetoric, just as we’ve seen with the Evolution/Creationism issue. They are not so much interested in “winning” in the sense of carrying the day so much as creating the perception that their side has credible arguments, that they have “competing” theories.

  18. 168
    Alexander Ac says:

    The results of the debate are
    54.76% of the audience think the GW is not a crisis and 41.94% just the opposite.
    Is it good or bad result?
    For me, as an european it is bad result, but this debate was in America, to it is probably good result ;-)

    [Response: Online polls are notorious lame since there is no check on people voting twice (or more). So they say more about the time each sides' supporters have to waste. - gavin]

  19. 169
    P. Lewis says:

    Re #167 by J.S. McIntyre

    You could take it further by pointing out that the opposing panel had to find a science-fiction author who has no expertise in the subject in order to round out their number.

    I understand the sentiment, and the temptation to do it, but this would be wrong IMHO. This is a thinly veiled ad hominem. You must just state your position, point out any untruths and logical fallacies in your opponents’ positions and let the inexpert dig their own holes (but by all means help them as much as possible with their digging). Granted, this will be a tall order when one’s opponents are well versed in the media.

  20. 170
    OK says:

    They will try to create doubt and then might say something like “in court cases reasonable doubt is enough to throw out a verdict, how much more need to be CERTAIN when dealing with the economies of the world?”. To which you might say science is as certain as it can be about this issue with the evidence we have – which is pretty certain. But nothing is ever %100 certain in science. You might also point out the the title of he debate is wrong since there is no real debate among climate reseachers. They will probably also try to steer the debate toward trivial uncertainties and stay there, don’t let them control the debate.

    The analogy to cancer given above is a good one. At what point is it a crisis, when it is just one lump or when it has spread throughout the body and all hope is gone. The old wise saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is so true.

    By the way, it’s a given that the opposition is also reading these comments for a heads up on what you might say. Reagan won the Presidency in part because his compatriots stole the debate notes of Jimmy Carter which is why R looked so cool up there with his smile and his “there you go again!” to a flustered Carter.

    “In a 1983 book, Gambling with History, Time correspondent Laurence Barrett revealed that Reagan campaign aides “filched” (stole) President Carter’s briefing papers to help prepare Reagan for the 1980 debate. Chief of Staff James Baker would later say that Reagan’s campaign manager William Casey was the thief.” http://www.geocities.com/thereaganyears/1980election

    Just relax and stay flexible.

  21. 171
    ebw says:

    Gavin,

    First, good luck! Second, remember the “lock box” and how attempts to simplify complex policy analysis can go awry. Third, more good luck!

  22. 172
    Rod B. says:

    Wallace’s advice (150) is not perfect but the best I’ve seen so far for offering pragmatic help, as opposed to most others which want Galvin to 1) shout some cutsey remark, 2) portray someone else’s agenda, or 3) slay some dragons — all of which make folks feel better but lose debates.

  23. 173
    Rod B. says:

    re 158: Sorry, Dan, but the common (and your) revisionist history is what’s looney. You’ve never seen the pictures and records of gassing Kurds or Iranians?

    [edited--this is not the place for discussions of the Iraq war, Rumsfeld, or anything else of that sort. we'll delete any additional such off-topic discussions, without regard to viewpoint]

  24. 174
    Ben H. says:

    >170 posts on this thread in 40 hours, not including those moderated-out. Any guesses how much CO2 all your PCs are pumping into the atmosphere in a year? They can’t all be solar powered.

  25. 175
    J.S. McIntyre says:

    re: 169 by P. Lewis.

    I agree that on the face of it this could be termed ad hominem. If this were Gregory Benford or David Brin, or even the late Robert Heinlein, who demonstrated his respect for the scientific process in the manner in which he conducted himself and wrote his stories, I would have no argument with you.

    At the same time, one point that the general public seems to not “get” is a large number of these people who conduct themselves as “authorities” on climate science are anything but (and, as the late Carl Sagan pointed out in his essay on the Art of Baloney Detection, there are no authorities, only experts). There is such a dearth of climatologists on the GW Skeptic side that this becomes a valid point, particularly when you understand Crichton’s work – an by extension of many of these people who continually appear to misrepresent the science – in context to the issue.

  26. 176
    Rod B. says:

    re 166 [...our track record of addressing problems of hunger, poverty, pollution, etc. is piss poor in any case...]

    A minor point: there might be a grain of truth in the absolute. But relatively, we have done far more than anyone, anywhere, anytime.

  27. 177
    Ben H. says:

    RE#146,

    I think your calculation is out � here�s mine:

    6.4 * 10^9 tonnes = 6.4 * 10^15 grams Carbon

    6.4 / 12 (atomic weight of Carbon) = 0.5333 * 10^15 moles

    Multiply by 22.4 litres/mole (if CO2 is an ideal gas � it ain�t, but who cares ?)

    = 0.5333 * 22.4 * 10^14 litres

    = 11.95 * 10^14 litres

    1 cubic km = 10^12 litres

    Therefore, 11.95 * 10^14 litres = 1195 cubic km. CO2

    Can�t think of a better place for it than right on top of Orange County, to be frank.

  28. 178
    interested observer says:

    The question for debate is whether global warming is a crisis, and you are arguing for the side that holds that global warming is indeed a crisis. I assume you have taken that side because you believe it to be true. The general commentary on this blog seems to be in support of the view that the evidence for your side of the argument is clear, incontrovertible, beyond question, and essentially beyond debate. I am mystified by the fact that you would have any reticence at all about participating in a debate where your opponents presumably could not have a shred of evidence to support their position.

  29. 179
    David Graves says:

    You should be aware that Stott asserts some things about the Earth’s history that are just flat-out wrong. I asked a biologist friend about Stott’s notion that the rainforests of the Amazon are 12-16,000 years old. First, my friend expressed incredulity,(the real figure is believed to be orders of magnitude longer) then he made some rude remarks that I will not repeat. Point is, Stott is on the fringe, and gets a hearing only because some elements in the “debate” wish to put him forward to muddle the issues.

  30. 180
    Rod B. says:

    re 173 – Moderators: Can’t much argue with your edit. I did think my analogy of Rumsfeld’s smoking gun versus action against AGW was on point… though it took a long long way to get there.

  31. 181
    Dan says:

    re: 173. It will be interesting to hear during the global warming debate if the denialist camp resorts to your similar, defensive ad hominem attacks when similarly the data, facts and evidence simply do not support their claims. Ad homs are a primary sign of a lost debate and a lack of critical analysis/thinking. Which is also a reflection of a lack of understanding of the scientific method and how science works.

  32. 182
    Rod B. says:

    re 177: one piddly correction: it’s 22.4 liters at the surface — more volume high in the atmosphere. But… close enough, I guess .

  33. 183
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Re 167. The truly pernicious thing about Crichton’s position is that it uses the very consensus scientists reach on considering the evidence and tries to paint it as groupthink at best and conspiracy at worst. It is not clear to me whether Crichton is really so dim as to not understand the importance and validity of scientific consensus (defined as a broad agreement as to what the evidence supports), or whether he adopts the view because it strengthens his minority/crank position. Regardless, it is important that if we are to make an appeal to the authority of scientific consensus the audience understands precisely what that means and how it differs from 1)majority voting, 2)legal consensus of a jury and other types of consensus they may be familiar with.

  34. 184
    Phillip Shaw says:

    Gavin,

    I agree with the commentors above about the need to refrain from ad hominem comments, but I think that there is ‘wiggle room’. You can safely praise Crichton as a master of fiction, and say that his book State of Fear is just (almost) as realistic as Jurassic Park or Dan Brown’s book The DaVinci Code. Hard to complain about praise, however faint, and it shouldn’t hurt to remind the audience that Crichton makes his living by making things up.

    In any event, best of luck with the debate. I suspect it will be the first of many.

  35. 185
    hopp says:

    “Ad homs are a primary sign of a lost debate and a lack of critical analysis/thinking. Which is also a reflection of a lack of understanding of the scientific method and how science works.”

    Let’s be honest.

    I was shocked by the amount of personal attacks, and the general tone of speech towards the so called “denialists”. And I’m sure I’m not the only one. The holocaust denial comparison was the ultimate low, that was just very very sick, and the amount of people on here and elsewhere who seemed more than happy to repeat it was not a pretty sight… but it’s not just that. One person was character assassinated for being retired and old. Then claims of under table payments from oil/coal companies. These are ad homs of the worst sort. You should know that much about human psychology, that for the neutral observer, this type of very very arrogant behaviour is a big turn-off.

    The pre-cautionary point is valid and moral. Your cause is good. But it doesn’t look the good cause it is, if your speech and behaviour doesn’t reflect it. Some PR lessons wouldn’t go a miss. Serious advice.

  36. 186
    Kevin G says:

    Long ago I’ve had to debate dissenters about whether being more energy efficient was possible. Things that worked to my favor: Being honest, sincere, and polite, but also determined and confident in my statements. Be well informed, and support my statements (and refute others) with very solid, clear numbers. Numbers should include both absolutes and percents that frame the boundaries. Stay calm, confident, and utterly unshakable.

  37. 187
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Re:184 I can’t read Crichton. Ever since I got to the place in “The Andromeda Strain” where all the little alien bugs mutate in exactly the same way at the same time, I find myself counting up all the fundamental misunderstandings of science, and if I’ve gotten to >10 in the first chapter, I’m done.

    Gavin, an anecdote (that is supposedly true):
    A young man found himself sharing a train with the Secretary of the Interior for the Coolidge administration. Desperate to strike up a conversation, he scanned the horizon hoping for something to remark on. Alas, since the train was passing through Eastern Wyoming, there was little that was remarkable. Finally, he said, “Looks like those sheep have just been sheared,” hoping at least to impress the secretary with his keen powers of observation.
    The secretary regarded the pastoral scene a moment and then remarked, “Yeah…Yeah…on this side anyway.” Now that’s a true conservative!

  38. 188
    Rod B. says:

    re 181, et al: So, Dan, your stating I “make up facts” is a valid learned point; my stating you are revising history is an ad hom. Hmmm.

  39. 189
    Dan says:

    re: 188. Apparently you can not resist following the moderator’s admonition following post 173, I see, since your comment is in regards to the content in it. Yet you continue with the personal, misguided attacks. That speaks volumes. Hmmm, indeed! Thanks for reenforcing my comment 181!

  40. 190
    David B. Benson says:

    Re #179: David Graves — Your example shows just how complex matters actually are and how easily misunderstandings arise. While it does appear, from the evidence, that there has been a tropical rain forest in South America for a very long time, it has not always been centered on the Amazon River.

    In particular, at LGM about 20,000 years ago, it appears that only the northernmost part of South America possessed a tropical rain forest and the Amazon basin was largely savannah. So in one sense, stated that the Amazon rain forest has only existed for 16,000 years is approximately correct.

    Incidently, if sufficiently energetic, I believe I could point to evidence that only 12,000 years is far too young.

  41. 191
    OK says:

    Note the question is not “is Global Warming Real” but “Is Global Warming is a Crisis”. This presupposes that GW is real. Perhaps you should ask each one if they think that it is real? Might be interesting to see the range of answers. If they do accept it then you can score one for the AGW side with a comment like “good, we’re making progress here”. The moderator, Lehrer, should start by asking where the two sides agree – that might get the ball rolling.

    Maybe they will acknowledge its reality but just say that we need to just adapt to it. You might discover where their true sentiments lie if you ask them if they favor both mitigation and adaptation or just adaptation. The rightwing by far wants people to just adapt to future misery because that will not impinge upon oil co. profits now. If they say they favor adaptation then you can say “why I thought you didn’t accept global warming, so what would we be adapting to?”

    More on Stott here http://www.lobbywatch.org/profile1.asp?PrId=126
    http://www.simonbatterbury.net/pubs/stott.htm

  42. 192
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Re 188 and precedent. Gentlemen, while the forum may not be the place for the debate you find yourselves in, I do believe that you have put paid to the myth that all who are concerned with anthropogenic climate change are leftist ideologues. ;-)

  43. 193
    Ben.H says:

    RE #177,146 & 182:

    I seem to have dropped a power of ten somewhere in my calculation in #177 – the actual answer should be 11950 cubic km. And, as pointed out in #182, that would be at the surface. I’m sure somebody can find a suitably sized area other than Orange County which would effectively stretch all the way to space if you allow for the decreasing pressure and temperature with altitude. I’ll leave the maths to someone else…

  44. 194

    Finally a true debate! Just a start, good news, Cudoos to the news organization.

    I am not very good with people predictions, but will say that Lindzen will avoid his Climate Meteorology confusion mixing trick, and he will strictly try to undermine forecasting beyond 3 days. My arm chair advice to the Climate specialists is to be well versed in Climatology and Meteorology projection successes, there are many, which never get exposed to the light of day. Please link a webcast if possible..

  45. 195
    tamino says:

    So … how did it go?

  46. 196
    Wallace says:

    They will all readily admit that Global Warming is real, they will not admit that the climate is completely understood or that CO2 can be singled out as the smoking gun!
    They will all be in favour of environmently friendly cutbacks, who isn’t!
    They will attack the manner in which the science is being carried out, they may even compare it to a faith based religion.
    They will talk about proper double blind procedures needed to ensure unbiased science by seperating:
    funding, procedures, results and review

    Largely from reading many of their works they believe in human ingenuity and the fact that it may seem like we are going down this straight CO2 pathway for the next hundred years but that assumes no further advancement from a highly advancing species.

  47. 197
    Wallace says:

    opps, I guess the debate already happened. My fault I live in Hong Kong and got confused about the times.

  48. 198
    OK says:

    Well I was not able to hear the debate but noted that the contrarian side had a 4% lead over the science side in the poll. Don’t know what this means but it could mean no more than that the audience was stacked against the science side, something that rightwing debaters have been known to do quite often.

    Anyway I’ve no doubt but that Gavin and the others representing the science side performed well.

  49. 199

    While waiting for the NPR broadcast of the Great Debate , those with strong stomachs can pass the time by watching ” The Great Global Warming Swindle on Google TV-

    I wonder who’s footing the bandwidth bill ?

  50. 200
    Jason says:

    It looks like a big victory for the skeptics.

    The proposition was “Global warming is not a crisis”

    Before the debate audience members disagreed by nearly 2 to 1:
    57.32% to 29.88%

    After the debate a plurality of audience members agreed with the skeptics:
    46.22% to 42.22%


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