RealClimate logo


Unforced variations: August 2013

Filed under: — group @ 1 August 2013

This month’s open thread.

Since there are two main topics (Advocacy and Methane bombs) buzzing around the blogo-twitter-sphere this week, perhaps those are our starters for ten… (Feel free to populate the comments with links to various commentaries – we will chime in as we find time).


450 Responses to “Unforced variations: August 2013”

  1. 1
    KatyD says:

    Your Advocacy link isn’t working

    [Response: Fixed. thanks - gavin]

  2. 2
    Shelama says:

    What to make of stuff like this?…

    http://www.climatedepot.com/2013/07/30/1122-record-cold-temps-in-the-u-s-in-one-week/

    [Response: You see it for the cherry-picking it is. For reference, hot and cold records in the US since 1/1/2010 and 1/1/2013 are as follows:

    Daily Record Highs Daily Record Lows Monthly Record Highs Monthly Record Lows All-Time Record Highs All-Time Record Lows Daily Record High Minimums Daily Record Low Maximums
    Since 1/1/10 87,545 34,473 4,619 1,205 697 74 100,591 49,153
    Since 1/1/13 6,967 9,132 236 375 31 9 10,551 10,554

    - gavin]

  3. 3
    T. Becker says:

    Although neither scientist nor politician I understand Tamsin Edwards’ point of view. But as a citizen I highly prefer a broad channel of communication between both groups in these times, which I can only detect if there is some kind of overlapping e.g. politician talking science and vice versa. If instead of an overlapping there is a hole, I assume it will be quickly filled by lobbyists venting the ‘facts’. So both groups should learn to communicate directly and in the public. It would surely help if more scientists get elected as MPs.

  4. 4
    Radge Havers says:

    Advocacy

    Stoat said some stuff:
    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2013/08/01/two-opinion-pieces-or-three-if-you-count-james-but-thats-four-if-you-count-me-oh-hang-on-ill-come-in-again/

    My 2 cents, it’s a fine line, but if it’s not unreasonable for firemen to advocate for smoke detectors and fire prevention, why not let people know that they need to WAKE UP!

  5. 5
    Shelama says:

    #2… Thanks Gavin.

    I guess I was wondering if there might be any reason to attribute any of it to changes in the speed and the meander of the jetstream or to blocking patterns?

    Or is cherry picking from simple weather all one needs?

  6. 6
    Radge Havers says:

    Or would advocacy be well dealt with from a process perspective? I don’t suppose climatologists have an organization comparable to the AMA that can issue broad guidelines and recommendations for treating sick planets…

    Poking around, I found this intriguing notion. A local government project that provided a system to protect scientists with a firewall while giving them a channel for recommendations:

    http://www.pima.gov/cmo/sdcp/reports%5Cd10%5C020RES.PDF

    Of course, I suppose there will always be legions of orcs attempting to swarm anything that isn’t constructed under, and evaluated through, the ideologically pure Economic Eye of Sauron.

  7. 7
    patrick says:

    Wow! Tamsin Edwards has put a lot on the table. When I was looking at that feed I failed to imagine what a masterful writer and advocate (of impartiality) she is.

    She’s fair and she’s fair to Gavin. His advice–to state one’s preferences to avoid accusations of having a hidden agenda–is excellent. Plus it avoids letting someone else do it, and botch it, for you. You will be used one way or another by even apt journalists and editors, or by the miscomm between them.

    Jeremy Grantham: run, don’t walk, to (the University of) Nottingham and see Prof. Ted Cocking. Run!

  8. 8
    Chris Colose says:

    My own response to the methane issue here.

  9. 9
    CumuloNumbskull says:

    Gavin. I’d like to request a comment on the recent article in the Guardian as you’re named in it.

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2013/jul/31/artic-methane-catastrophe-empirical-evidence

  10. 10
    Susan Anderson says:

    Shelama,

    It is useful to keep in mind that ClimateDepot was created by Marc Morano, whoh started as a Limbaugh staffer, masterminded the Swiftboat attacks on Kerry, and then was the power behind the throne during Inhofe’s tenure as head of Senate Environment.

    Anything from that sources should be checked with utmost rigor.

  11. 11
    Susan Anderson says:

    I appreciate Stoat and Annan on this one, but would add that it is all too familiar to be attacked by people incited by clever manipulators who are happy to have scientists accusing each other of “own goal”.

    The situation is best understood by those studying the real world, and if those studies reveal a situation requiring some strong language, I’m all for it, the most effective strong language that can be found.

    (typos, aargh)

  12. 12
    Susan Anderson says:

    “Quantifying the Influence of Climate on Human Conflict”
    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2013/07/31/science.1235367.abstract

    A rapidly growing body of research examines whether human conflict can be affected by climatic changes. Drawing from archaeology, criminology, economics, geography, history, political science, and psychology, we assemble and analyze the 60 most rigorous quantitative studies and document, for the first time, a remarkable convergence of results. We find strong causal evidence linking climatic events to human conflict across a range of spatial and temporal scales and across all major regions of the world. The magnitude of climate’s influence is substantial: for each 1 standard deviation (1σ) change in climate toward warmer temperatures or more extreme rainfall, median estimates indicate that the frequency of interpersonal violence rises 4% and the frequency of intergroup conflict rises 14%. Because locations throughout the inhabited world are expected to warm 2 to 4σ by 2050, amplified rates of human conflict could represent a large and critical impact of anthropogenic climate change.

    Covered in multiple venues, of which this is one:
    http://www.climatecentral.org/news/a-warmer-world-likely-to-be-a-more-violent-world-study-shows-16299

  13. 13
    Doug says:

    # 5 I have wondered something related to what you are asking Shelama. That is, if the polar jet stream is meandering more now, and will continue to do so in the future, would that impact global temperature measurements? How?

  14. 14
    Doug says:

    # 5 Shelama, You do realize that Climate Depot is a denier site right?

  15. 15
    Doug says:

    Gavin,

    I just wanted to say I followed your tweets regarding the Guardian story, and read the link you provided to the Skeptical Science post from Chris Colose. Thank you for that. I was able to convince somebody today who was very worried that we were on the brink of an Arctic methane emergency, that he probably doesn’t have too much to worry about at the present time in that regard. Thanks for this site, and for all of the outreach you and the other scientists do. You are having an impact!

  16. 16
    patrick says:

    If you want to put yourself on the line, you don’t have to get arrested, you can just do something like this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpLHUt2ZpV0

    It’s on the cli-sci-com thread but I think it belongs here too, on advocacy.

    Thank you Cynthia Hopkins for your total and exceptional Arctic rapport. Not everyone can make herself “a metaphor for my species, the human race.”

    There’s Hopkins and there’s Hansen–and there’s every level of engagement besides. Take your time. The mission to earth dawns slowly. It’s like the Venus effect: you know, the perspective one gets from studying planetary atmospheres–which Hansen brought to the study of this planet.

    I found Gavin’s talk on the cli-sci-com thread (and tweets since) very helpful to sort it out, which includes sorting out ‘advocacy.’

    Here’s something forward-looking (September IPCC) which he referenced in a tweet:

    http://www.noiseofthecrowd.com/the-climate-debate-has-gone-wrong-this-year-that-can-change/

    Here’s a fresh non-partisan poll on what under-35 voters think about it, more or less:

    http://climatecrocks.com/2013/07/25/poll-to-young-voters-climate-deniers-just-plumb-crazy/#more-15628

    This isn’t about a party or vote to me. It’s about what time it is.

  17. 17
    L. Hamilton says:

    New surveys find almost 90% believe that Arctic warming will affect the weather where they live, and 59% think such effects will be “major.” Unexpectedly, that percentage rises if the survey interview happens on an unseasonably warm *or cool* day, unscientifically mirroring the scientific discussion of extremes.

    Chris Mooney writes a lively account of these findings:
    http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2013/07/arctic-weather-jet-stream-polling

    Paper itself, in International Journal of Climatology:
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/joc.3796/abstract

  18. 18
    JBL says:

    Re #10, #14(Susan Anderson, Doug): since it’s so rare to find this phrase correctly used, I wanted to point out that your posts are classic ad hominems. This is not to say that they are wrong (indeed, Morano is a terrible and unreliable source for information about the world), but they are not helpful to anyone’s understanding of anything. (By contrast, Gavin’s short remark pointing out that these numbers are carefully cherry-picked actually conveys interesting information, and helps one realize how numbers like Morano’s can come about.)

  19. 19
    Gordon McGrew says:

    First Denialist?

    Dr. Robert E. Wilson, president of the Pan American Petroleum and Transport Company, who reports this result in Industrial and Engineering Chemistry, also notes that the fears of those people who shudder at the “greatly” increased carbon dioxide content of the air which is produced by modern industrial activity, are unfounded. If all the carbon dioxide dumped into the atmosphere in the last 50 years had not been removed by returning the elements involved to the Earth in some form or other, the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere would have increased only two-thousandths of one percent in that time from 0.03 to 0.032 percent.

    - THE CARBON DIOXIDE CONTENT OF THE AIR Science Supplement JULY 30, 1937, page 7

    I wonder if 0.04 percent now unequivocally qualifies as “greatly”?

  20. 20
    Susan Anderson says:

    Thanks JBL. Gavin indeed is better at providing actual resources and being patient. However, with industrial-strength daily rebunking it is important that people consider the source. They should also learn to check for themselves rather than selectively believing sciencey-looking stuff. Once they’ve taken the trouble to look it up, they will be less ready to believe it the next time it pops up (which will be soon). With searching, they should also be aware that the search engine studies them and provides them first with the information they think the customer wants and is a “fair and balanced” (by which I mean anything but) source, often clustering the fake skeptic universe at the top of the page. Looking for scientific organizations is a great help, but consider the impact of a name like Principia Scientific which hosts some odd material, to put it mildly. I have a lifetime of exposure to extraordinary scientists but most people know very little about how scientists think and work, so a science “look” impresses them. The self-respect needed to push through and accept one’s own lack of knowledge without quitting should be nurtured – which is partly your point, I agree.

    I see this information pushed out every day in multiple locations, and not everyone can find the exact rebuttal or post it (in this case, Gavin formatted it in a neat way as well). Morano’s history is a fact as well, and can give a reasonable reader an indicator of the line of country so they won’t stop with the plausible looking argument but check the source.

    This is a small piece of the argument about how to bring real science out in front of the smothering cloud of false information that crowds it out everywhere you look, without losing integrity.

  21. 21
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Hmm. JBL, Agreed that posts 10 and 14 are attacking the source rather than the content. However, given the track record of the source, should we use a term other than ad hominem? Perhaps ad douch-nozzle?

  22. 22
    patrick says:

    #18 Those are just ad curricula. Comment 10 gives relevant detail and says: Anything there should be checked with utmost rigor. That’s helpful. I found it informative, pointed, brief, tame, not offensive. Ditto on 14.

  23. 23
    Vr says:

    @JBL, I think you’re confused about what an ad hominem argument is, at least as to how it relates to fallacies in argumentation. (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem for a reasonable summary) In sort: an argument attacking a person’s credibility is not fallacious if the past actions, conflicting interests, or revealed motives are relevant to the argument. For example if someone whose been convicted in the past of check kiting is being accused of insurance fraud, that persons prior criminal record is surely relevant. It would not be sufficient evidence in and of itself, of course, and its weight in the matter would need to be evaluated (how long ago was it, how many parties were were there to the crime, how many counts where there over what period of time, etc), but in no circumstances would bringing up the charge with respect to a subsequent allegation of fraud of be considered engaging in an ad hominem, fallacious argument.

    If on the other-hand, one uses Michael Moore’s obesity in an attempt to predispose a reader unfavorably toward him and with no effort to link that physical characteristic with argument: that would be an ad hominem attack. In fact it’s not always clear whether an attack is ad hominem or not at face value. (If Moore were arguing for more government regulation of the food industry, for example, one might make the case that his obesity implies a lack of willpower for which he’s attempting to substitute the exercise of government power. Even though such an argument might be unconvincing, it’s not necessarily an ad hominem.)

    Likewise, pointing out that various players in the climate debate have conflicting interests and long histories of intellectual dishonesty is not engaging in ad hominem attack. Such a line of argumentation is not sufficient, as mentioned above, to prove them wrong. But depending on the egregiousness of their past actions, it’s certainly sufficient grounds to not take such people seriously and exclude them from the list of serious participants of the debate.

  24. 24

    On ad homs: yes, they are logically fallacious and should have no place in rigorous debate, or something that tries to approximate it. When you say “My opponent is an idiot, therefore I don’t have to consider his argument,” you go beyond the bounds.

    But there’s a fine line between ‘ad hom’ and ‘credential check.’ And nobody’s reading time is infinite. So, saying “This guy is known to be an idiot, therefore I will choose to consider other, more reliable sources before I waste my time reading him,” might just be the smart thing to do.

  25. 25

    This is an interview with a Dr Horch, in Germany. I am not sure what to make of it. He does not deny global warming; he does say that it is unlikely to come on us swiftly and that we have 30 years or so to prepare for it. http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/interview-hans-von-storch-on-problems-with-climate-change-models-a-906721.html

  26. 26
    JBL says:

    It’s been a long time since I’ve read the general comments here (usually I stick to the posts and the comments with responses from our hosts), so perhaps this serves me right for wandering into an open thread, but:

    The responses to my comment, particularly Vr’s, are rather frustrating. No one needs to explain to me who Morano is and why he’s a terrible source of information — this is obvious to anyone who spends five minutes looking into his background, certainly was known and obvious to me, and probably was obvious to Shelama. But, Shelama didn’t ask about Morano’s credentials, Shelama asked about a particular post containing a particular piece of data. As far as I can tell, there is nothing wrong with this data (i.e., it is true that there were so many cold records and so many hot records set in the US in the week in question). Given this fact, talking about Morano’s competence or honesty or whatever is to utterly, completely miss the point. If Morano presents a piece of *correct* data and you say, “Well, you know that Morano, can’t trust a word he says,” then you end up looking like a complete fool. (Because, after all, the data *really is* correct!)

    The question is what this piece of data means, or as Shelama put it, “what to make of it.” Knowing that Morano is unreliable is not at all helpful for answering this question. Moreover, focusing on ad hominems (Vr aside, I hope everyone can recognize that e.g. if Doug’s post doesn’t count as an ad hominem argument then nothing possibly ever could) when there is an actual legitimate question on the floor just increases the noise-to-signal ratio. If I want to read people dismissing data (or expertise, etc.) out-of-hand, I’ll go read the comments at WUWT, thank you very much.

    (Apologies to Doug and Susan Anderson for the piling on.)

  27. 27
    Susan Anderson says:

    Please return to science. we get it …

  28. 28
    poster says:

    Off topic Watts has another fossil fuel funded poll up which can be found here https://t.co/EBGqrL7J1u

  29. 29
    Meow says:

    @JBL (26): An ad hom (as others have already pointed out) is an argument that dismisses a person’s views based upon some personal characteristic that has no logical connection to those views’ validity.

    Noting that a given site is a “denier site” is not an ad hom, since it dismisses the site’s climate views upon the basis that they’re not science-based, as opposed to dismissing them because, say, the author is overweight or a Klingon.

    CAPTCHA: ectsNoto received

  30. 30
    patrick says:

    #26 Thank you very much. If you “go read” those comments you will be in ad hominem nation–in addition to their “dismissing data” and expertise. Ditto the other place. They lead with the reptilian brain in order to have the impression of thought, it seems to me.

    Comments 10 and 14 are not ad hominems to me, certainly not classics. If that’s as good as they get, we’re golden. They are plain-speak about what’s going on, I think.

    Comment 10 helped me right away because I won’t give the site cit. a single click–nor the one you mention. I’ve had my lifetime quota of wot’s-their-names reptilian brain pumps.

    I would like to see a bit of the kind of linguistic precision applied here that your site admirably applies in other matters. And I like origami.

    The wrong dear Brutus is not in the data but in our frame. You’re right: “The question is what this piece of data _means_.” An adequate frame was given at #2, which stands in for the rest of the science from there. If there weren’t temperature weeks like this, that would be a real problem. The weather’s just great where I am, almost perfect.

    And the guy waving this factoid, it means nothing to him except a chance to jam the conversation–because he lives on it, for whatever reason. He’s picking the shameful-easy fruit. Speaking for me.

    I think it’s a good idea to take people on their own terms. He’s monkey-wrenching. The End.

    The correct response to the bit of public data he waves, as data, without valid context, is “Well, duh.”

  31. 31
    Hank Roberts says:

    > a Dr Horch, in Germany
    op.cit. (spell his name as he does –> search finds prior mentions of him)

  32. 32
    Thomas says:

    I’ve seen a few references recently (I don’t have any of them), to a paper claiming
    that we could sequester a great deal of CO2 by planting “forests” in deserts. They
    seemed to make a pretty strong claim, that the rate of CO2 removal could be close
    to th world’s current emissions.
    Aside from the practicality of the proposal (water), and the rather strong claims
    about carbon removal, I have doubts that the other climate impacts of a successful
    program would be entirely benign. Currently deserts increase the global albedo, and
    extra water vapor acts as a greenhouse gas. Also dust derives from deserts are an
    important source of trace minerals for many ocean and land ecosystems.
    Has, anyone here, seen the study, and want to comment?

  33. 33
    Susan Anderson says:

    (you might suspect me of shilling for sympathy here and you would not be 100% wrong …) I’ve been doing regular (self-imposed) duty for years trying to point past Morano’s twin at DotEarth, one wmar. There isn’t anything I don’t know about the tactics such a person will use (and there are few mistakes in trying to be honest I haven’t made, making myself quite vulnerable in the process).

    Telling me that using shortcuts is ad hominem don’t make no nevermind to me. I’m interested in getting the truth out, by the quickest possible method, so people will get their self respect back, think for themselves, using their “lying” senses, and act as the community of humankind they were born to be. (You can’t get anywhere with a solid surface of facile reversals of meaning ready to exploit each new thing you say, you just have to ignore it and move on with another truthful building block.)

    This is also why I don’t care much about the exact facts on methane, but rather on people keeping an open mind and respecting the people in the field. It’s also why I don’t care much about Tamsin’s lecturing those who are willing to use any means available to wake people up.

  34. 34
    David B. Benson says:

    I don’t know about how many readers of comments here on Real Climate are first timers or other measures of newness to matters climatological. But please, assume there are some. Reminds about Morano and others of that ilk from time to time is entirely appropriate.

    [The reCAPCHA oracle appears to agree, entoning commence FZVACT.]

  35. 35
    Thomas Lee Elifritz says:

    Excuse me, but Morano is a vicious paid attack dog, and deserves whatever derision at whatever level anyone and muster or stomach, thank you. That includes whatever insidious ad homs anyone can think of, this is an individual that deserves no better. If your skin is that thin, find another catastrophe to advocate. Thanks in advance.

  36. 36
    doug says:

    JBL,

    One more comment on this subject and then we can all go back to getting a life, okay? I just find it a little amusing that you chose to double down on calling my comment an ad hominem attack, even after you were given the wiki definition of what the term means! Yeah, perhaps you shouldn’t come back and wade into the dangerous waters of unforced variation comments from us rabble. It’s safer just reading what the climate scientists have to say.

  37. 37
    owl905 says:

    There’s another old issue back in the headlines – one near and dear to RC – the Younger Dryas.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23536567
    The actual research is interesting – a layer in the GISP2 core shows a platinum (not iridium) spike, and the shape of the spike fits with a high atmosphere ring depositing in a two-decade clearing. The YD debate is real science – a mini KT-type controversy. If you’re looking for a place that doesn’t care for ET answers … you’re already here.

  38. 38
    jrshipley says:

    This paper is being hyped by the usual suspects. It’s behind a paywall but I found a liberated PDF on a website devoted to denying human influence on climate. I found parts of the analysis fishy and would like expert opinion to confirm my suspicions:

    http://multi-science.metapress.com/content/8266p3740v0rnm77/

  39. 39
    JCH says:

    Street cred is all about why we commonly use the ad hominem. They’re imperfect, but highly efficient when it comes to wielding power.

    We all know in the arena of “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” no lawyer would ever take the ad-hominem cutoff. Unh-uh.

  40. 40

    #32–Interesting question. I can’t offer anything remotely authoritative, but I’d note that at the global level, evaporative effects are ~3x larger than reflection in removing heat from the surface:

    http://www.srh.noaa.gov/jetstream/atmos/energy_balance.htm

    So it seems quite possible to me that the afforestation you’re talking about might result in net cooling as the increased evapotranspiration would be considerably greater than the increased absorption.

  41. 41
    Mal Adapted says:

    As others have pointed out, it’s not ad hominem to observe that a denier’s reasoning is motivated by conflict of interest:

    Conflict of Interest: Where a source seeks to convince by a claim of authority or by personal observation, identification of conflicts of interest are not ad hominem – it is generally well accepted that an “authority” needs to be objective and impartial, and that an audience can only evaluate information from a source if they know about conflicts of interest that may affect the objectivity of the source. Identification of a conflict of interest is appropriate, and concealment of a conflict of interest is a problem.

    Susan’s comment @10 is appropriate, and to the benefit of any lurkers who aren’t acquainted with that denier site.

  42. 42
    Flakmeister says:

    I have to chuckle about the debate over ad homs…

    Now, RC is a repectable site with intellectual integrity, I very rarely see ad hom type ripostes that were not earned; i.e. the person has made a statement that demonstrates that they are a fool or a liar. Here you have the facts and audience on the right side of the debate. Aside from the brave troll that wanders in every now and typically leaves with their tail between their legs, you don’t get much nasty dissent..

    Now, perhaps unfortunately, there are other sites where the climate is not so amenable to any form of measured discussion. I frequent one such site, Zerohedge.com, where I delightfully take on all comers about the merits of the anthropogenic nature of changing climate…

    Imagine now, what it would be like to be completely outnumbered arguing the AGW case with a mob. The fact that the site is basically unmoderated (you have to really push the limits to get censored, e.g. holocaust denial) works both ways, you can get your message out but you will take abuse. The payback comes when you can combine the correct rebuttal to some flawed argument while delivering a withering ad hom attack connected to their flawed argument. That is the only way you get credibility.

    Over the past year, I have been successful to the point where the “silent majority” is slowly emerging, safe in the knowledge that they will not be bullied. While it is always better to take the high ground, in the trenches you must demonstrate that you will not be cowed…

    Hopefully with time the only places deniers will not be called out and made to look foolish will be their havens like WUWT. Make no mistake, these people are nasty and the only way to shut them up is to public humiliate them through a combination of correct science and shame. They will not be converted through reason, they can only be silenced through fear of being made to look foolish…

    I would be remiss if I did not say that without sites like RC, SkS and Open Mind, defending AGW would be impossible…

    —-

    Back to the topic at hand: #10, while being worded in a less than flattering way is not an ad hom, it borders on the “guilt by association” fallacy, but even then that is pushing it. I give it a thumbs up but it would only play to an RC type crowd…

    #14 is hardly an ad hom either..

    Now something to the effect of

    “Only a shill or disigenuous sack of xxxx to would compute a trend that way. It only shows that you’re a XXXXing narcissist Libtard that someone should slip a XXXX over their head and XXXX some sense into”

    Anyway, you get the idea… :)

  43. 43
    Dave123 says:

    @38- The “paper” appears in Energy and Environment- which is a giveaway that something is wrong with it:

    http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2011/04/energy-and-environment-900-papers

    @ 40 Once you evaporate water the heat is part of the earth’s climate system, and will need to be lost as part of the outgoing longwave IR radiation. Reflection via albedo sends the energy directly back into outer space.

    btw- I’m getting very consistent rejection by reCaptcha and I’m not that blind this morning

  44. 44
    Hank Roberts says:

    define:”concern troll” may be useful, re discussion of the discussion; it’s the tactic used to get off topic and split up the people who are trying to accomplish something together in a conversation.
    ——-

    For jrshipley: you’re referring to

    Meteosat Derived Planetary Temperature Trend 1982-2006
    A Rosema, S Foppes, J van der Woerd
    - Energy & Environment, 2013 – Multi-Science

    “24 year of Meteosat hourly thermal infrared data have been used to study planetary surface temperature change. Thermal infrared radiation in the 10.5-12.5 mm spectral window is not affected by CO2 and only slightly by atmospheric water vapor. Satellite thermal infrared …”

    Cited by, er, nobody at all, not even once, per Google Scholar.

    You do know about this “Energy and Environment” and “Multi-Science” that publishes it? ‘oogle will help, if you don’t.

    Boring, basically.

  45. 45
    MARodger says:

    Thomas @32.

    I assume you are thinking of Becker et al 2012 (Abstract here.) The sequestration works out to about 500 tons carbon per sq km so it would take 20 million sq km (about the combined size of USA & Canada) to absorb a quantity equal to human emissions.
    The authors only claim that the there is “sufficient unused and marginal land … to reduce significantly the current upward trend in atmospheric CO2 levels” but to know what they mean by that you will require access to the full paper. I have seen talk of the Sahara desert (which is pretty big) and one billion hectares (half USA & Canada) that would ‘absorb a significant proportion of the CO2 added to the atmosphere since pre-industrial times’. Why this is not expressed in total emissions since pre-industrial times I know not. Reducing atmospheric CO2 will result in balancing emissions from the biosphere & oceans.

  46. 46
    Michael Sweet says:

    jrshipley,

    Your paper is published in Energy and Environment, a selective journal that publishes junk that deniers cannot get published in a real science journal. It is not peer reviewed, although the deniers like to say it is. It is generally not worth the time to read anything published in it. If this paper gets enough traction on the internet someone will write a post summarizing all the errors in it.

  47. 47
    Hank Roberts says:

    Tangentially, what’s the opposite of “ad hominem” — what is it called when someone says “he’s a nice guy” or “but we’re the good guys” as a defense of a criticism of a piece of work? I run into this most often when I criticize something from a nonscientist who’s trying rather too hard to be scary about something and going beyond the science. It’s not unique to the Internet, of course.

  48. 48
    patrick says:

    #47 Agreed. The fallacy of the logic lies in the fact that the issue or the question is avoided. Ditto, “He’s got a good heart.” But the ad hominem can be taken all the way to depersonalization and dehumanization–which is magnified by media. The Rwandan genocide was orchestrated live in real-time and out-loud on the radio. I am far over my lifetime quota of hearing that for-every-right-there’s-a-responsibilty–excepting the right to free speech.

  49. 49
    jrshipley says:

    I might have not communicated clearly because some people are addressing my comment as if I gave that paper any credence.

    I can see that it’s published in a shitty journal. Dialectically that’s not super useful, even if it is evidentially relevant. Even if, from the standpoint of sound social epistemology, “that’s not worth reading because the journal is crap” makes sense, you sort of have to address it if someone brings it up in a debate.

    I also read it and could list off a bunch of specific criticisms. But I’m not an expert and since it’s popping up in the usual places and is showing up in comment threads I’d like to have an expert opinion clearly and concisely stated. That would be useful to have.

    It sort of goes to the whole ad hom discussion in this thread. If someone is making an argument from authority citing this then pointing out that the journal is shitty does relevantly apply to that argument. However, if we’re to evaluate the arguments in the paper themselves then it actually is an ad hom to only say the journal is shitty. It would be nice to say “this paper’s analysis is shitty because XYZ and that’s why it’s in a shitty journal.”

  50. 50
    jrshipley says:

    After reading 46, nevermind my last comment. ” If this paper gets enough traction on the internet someone will write a post summarizing all the errors in it.” That’s what I was looking for, and I agree that the antecedent needs to be satisfied first.


Switch to our mobile site