Democrats and Republicans increasingly divided over global warming

Apr 19, 2011

Despite the growing scientific consensus that global warming is real, Americans have become increasingly polarized on the environmental problem, according to a first-of-its-kind study led by a Michigan State University researcher.

The gap between Democrats and Republicans who believe global warming is happening increased 30 percent between 2001 and 2010 – a "depressing" trend that's essentially keeping meaningful national energy policies from being considered, argues sociologist Aaron M. McCright.

"Instead of a public debate about different policies to deal with global warming, a significant percentage of the American public is still debating the science," said McCright, MSU associate professor and primary investigator on the study. "As a result, we're failing to significantly address one of the most serious problems of our time."

The study is featured in the spring issue of the research journal Sociological Quarterly, online now.

McCright and Riley E. Dunlap of Oklahoma State University analyzed 10 years of data from Gallup's environmental poll, making the study the first of its kind to use multiple years of data. The Gallup poll, conducted annually, consists of a nationally representative telephone survey of at least 1,000 people.

According to the MSU-led study, people on the right of the political spectrum increasingly deny the existence of global warming, while people on the left generally believe in global warming more now than they did 10 years ago. Among other things, the study found:

  • Of those who identify as Republicans, about 49 percent said in the 2001 Gallup survey that they believe the effects of global warming have already begun – a number that dropped to 29 percent in 2010. Meanwhile, the percentage of Democrats who believe global warming has already begun increased from about 60 in 2001 to 70 in 2010. All told, the gap between these "believers" in the two parties increased from 11 percent in 2001 to 41 percent in 2010.
  • A similar trend held for people who identify as either conservative or liberal. When it came to believing that global warming has already begun, the gap between conservatives and liberals increased from about 18 percent in 2001 to 44 percent in 2010.
  • Among liberals and Democrats, having a college degree increases the likelihood of reporting beliefs consistent with the scientific consensus. Yet, among conservatives and Republicans, having a college degree often decreases the likelihood of reporting such beliefs.
According to McCright, these results are consistent with the prevailing theory that explains how political polarization occurs in the general public. "In the last few decades political elites have become polarized on climate change. This has driven the political divide on this topic within the American public, as regular citizens have taken cues from ideological and party leaders they trust."

McCright said the process has been magnified over the past decade by the emergence of media outlets where citizens can seek out news and ideas that reinforce their values and beliefs. He said citizens at either end of the political spectrum can get daily information – albeit very different information – on that further strengthens their opposing beliefs about what is real.

"Unfortunately, this is not a recipe for promoting a civil, science-based discussion on this very serious ," McCright said. "Like with the national discussion on health care, we don't even agree on what the basic facts are."

This political polarization on climate change is not likely to go away in the near future, he added.

"Many Republican Party leaders have moved further to the right since the 2008 presidential election. We've also seen attacks on climate science by Tea Party activists. It seems like climate change denial has become something of a litmus test for Republican candidates," McCright said.

"This continued elite polarization on climate change means that the general public will likely remain politically divided on for a while."

Explore further: Climate rhetoric faces devil in the detail at Lima talks

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

American opinion cools on global warming

Jan 27, 2010

Public concern about global warming has dropped sharply since the fall of 2008, according to a national survey released today by researchers at Yale and George Mason universities.

Recommended for you

Gold rush an ecological disaster for Peruvian Amazon

20 hours ago

A lush expanse of Amazon rainforest known as the "Mother of God" is steadily being destroyed in Peru, with the jungle giving way to mercury-filled tailing ponds used to extract the gold hidden underground.

Australia out of step with new climate momentum

22 hours ago

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who rose to power in large part by opposing a tax on greenhouse gas emissions, is finding his country isolated like never before on climate change as the U.S., China ...

User comments : 114

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Doug_Huffman
2 / 5 (23) Apr 19, 2011
Academics still debate 'science' while claiming to be scientists practicing expert science. If it ain't simply falsifiable then it ain't science. Their climate change natural history is not science it is history! AGW is Hari Seldon's future history.

3432682
2.6 / 5 (28) Apr 19, 2011
Global warming is politics, not science. There are dozens of predictions made by AGW advocates. It is time to create a scorecard and evaluate the predictions, and thus the theory. I find zero predictions have come true. The theory is therefore false. That's science.
ryggesogn2
2.5 / 5 (30) Apr 19, 2011
The divide more the result of what democrats want to DO to 'fix' the problem.
When the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, all problems look like nails. Democrats are big govt socialists and that is how they want to 'fix' the problem, more taxes, more govt control.
Given that the democrats will exploit issues to expand the size and scope of govt, and that their main cheerleader, Al Gore has profited from the 'consensus', the opposition has reason to be skeptical.
The democrats need to read the story of the boy who cried wolf.
Dobbin
3.4 / 5 (18) Apr 19, 2011
This article is more telling politically than scientifically. In science the consensus is often wrong. The fact that this article laments that there is still disagreement shows an ideological stance.
FrankHerbert
3.3 / 5 (22) Apr 19, 2011
Ryggesogn2, what about the boy that cried wolf over WMD?
Thrasymachus
4 / 5 (22) Apr 19, 2011
Democrats and Republicans are increasingly divided on everything. All it takes is a Democrat to say he likes, agrees with, or wants to look at something for a Republican to say that thing is evil, irrelevant, or just outright lies and that the Democrat is a communist, socialist, fascist, homo-loving, sleeper-foreign agent for even considering that thing, even if the Republican did the same thing first.
Paljor
2.1 / 5 (19) Apr 19, 2011
For those of you who don't believe PROVE with conclusive evidence that the world is not warming up and for those that believe PROVE with conclusive evidence that WE are reponsible. geez am I the only adult here?
zevkirsh
2.1 / 5 (21) Apr 19, 2011
both parties are doing the bidding of the banks by spending money to distract people from the real problem. the ENVIRONMENT WILL BE FINE. if the economy breaks down because of a financial panic we won't be fine.

the idea that the government is going to fix global warming ASSUMING IT EXISTS AND CAN BE FIXED is a joke, the government can't stop itself from going broke how is it going to stop the planet? this is a total snow job. focus of the real problem, solvency of the u.s. and the destruction of the dollar.
PinkElephant
3.9 / 5 (22) Apr 19, 2011
@zevkirsh,

You must be one of those people who can't walk and chew bubblegum at the same time.
the ENVIRONMENT WILL BE FINE
Oh great, now that we have such bulletproof assurance from none other than zevkirsh, we can all rest easy: science be damned.
RBakken
2.4 / 5 (13) Apr 19, 2011
There's no debating the scientific fact that the troposphere warms up, the stratosphere cools off, reducing Ozone, and causing further warming.

There's nothing to debate here people, except that we need to put tighter regulations on what chemicals warm our troposphere. And if the politicians don't have enough education to understand those "big" words, then ask a scientist who does.
PinkElephant
4.5 / 5 (8) Apr 19, 2011
reducing Ozone, and causing further warming
Just FYI: reduction of Ozone causes cooling, not "further warming" (Ozone is a potent greenhouse gas.)
ryggesogn2
3.1 / 5 (19) Apr 19, 2011
I was just reading Hayek's Road to Serfdom and he discusses this situation. How the collectivists must control science and stamp out debate.
How any new science must conform to party lines. Just like AGW research.
The collectivists (democrats) are playing true to form.
Hayek wrote the book decades ago, but he could have written it today about the same people that even use the same propaganda.
Quite predictive.
Noumenon
4.1 / 5 (64) Apr 20, 2011
@zevkirsh,

You must be one of those people who can't walk and chew bubblegum at the same time.


I think you misunderstand his point. A government that is incompetent to the extent of nearing bankruptcy as a result of a collectivistic and entitlement mentality,... can't possibly control the weather.

AGW as presented by the left, is all about redistribution of wealth and social engineering. AGW is nothing but a trogen horse for left wing agenda. The reason there is a gap between conservatives and democrats wrt this issue is on account of respective principals of the role of government.

The science itself, is speculative, untestble, and politically motivated. It is a mushy science based on questionable data and wild baseless projections. It is light-years from being exacting like physics.

In anycase, NOTHING WILL BE DONE ABOUT IT,.. because free-capitalistic nations are NOT going to go socialistic and tank economies on the tiny chance that we can control the global weather.
farmerpat42
2.8 / 5 (13) Apr 20, 2011
The issue was nailed squarely by @3432682. Predictions from 20 years ago have been disproven (Glaciers were supposed to have totally melted by 2005 according to Captain Planet ;) ). There is a lot of hype about the immediacy, but only speculation to base policy decisions on. For a field of study that has only gained prominence in the last 30 years, WHY are dissenting opinions so readilly dismissed? I think that's the real kicker - much of (the leftist) academics and the leftist public dismiss anyone questioning human-caused global warming as wrong and ignorant; they refuse to have a reasoned discussion about it. There are other (natural and more powerful) factors that are not accounted for in the dominant AGW-affirming models (eg: sunspots, volcanism).

I can't speak for all conservatives out there - but the issue to me is more the lack of proof that humans are the cause and the resources to do something about it. Even if the US banned carbon emissions totally - what about China?
Noumenon
4.2 / 5 (62) Apr 20, 2011
"It seems like climate change denial has become something of a litmus test for Republican candidates," McCright said


McCright,... you're an idiot or a propagandist. It is very difficult to untangle AGW from left-wing agenda,... so clearly this leaves free-market conservative capitalists out in the cold. Instead of trying to make the case that republicans must play to the "ignorant tea-party denier" base,... perhaps you could have mentioned that every existing proposed solution to AGW is 100% counter to conservative ideals.

There should have been TWO debates, 1) is AGW believed to be a significant risk by BOTH liberal scientists and conservative scientists in relative equal numbers? 2) If so this implies scientists are not themselves biased,.. and so the next debte would be about the political form of the solution; one within the existing framework of free-market capitalsm,.. or one based on redistribution and social engineering.
Noumenon
4.3 / 5 (59) Apr 20, 2011
,.... how about doing a statistical "study" of the political afiliation of climates scientists themselves, i.e. what % are conservative and what % are liberal. Obviously if 90% are left-wing,... this has as much bearing as whether republicans are being pressured by "deniers".

PinkElephant
3.3 / 5 (16) Apr 20, 2011
How any new science must conform to party lines. Just like AGW research.
So, uh... which party are you talking about, again?
nearing bankruptcy as a result of a collectivistic and entitlement mentality
Is that why, really? Not free trade, not petrodollar, not Wall Street instigated and sustained boosterism of financial sector and service economy in lieu of productive enterprise? Who owns the government and sets its policy: the mythical "collectivist", or Wall Street?
AGW as presented by the left, is all about redistribution of wealth and social engineering.
AGW is both theoretically and empirically scientific. Why do you blame others for your own ignorance of the relevant science, and your own inability of separating scientific issues from policy issues?
The science itself, is speculative, untestble, and politically motivated.
BS. (And politically motivated BS, at that.)
control the global weather
CLIMATE, not weather; stop destabilizing, not control.
PinkElephant
3.2 / 5 (13) Apr 20, 2011
@farmerpat42,
WHY are dissenting opinions so readilly dismissed
When they are obviously grounded in ignorance of empirical facts or lack of theoretical comprehension, they are easy to dismiss.
There are other (natural and more powerful) factors that are not accounted for in the dominant AGW-affirming models (eg: sunspots, volcanism).
Wrong, wrong, and wrong. Did I mention ignorance? (Or did you?)
the issue to me is more the lack of proof that humans are the cause and the resources to do something about it
Which is it: the first, or the second? If the first, you haven't see the proof (which is sufficient, and continuing to mount) -- because you don't wish to see it. If the second, how do you figure?
Even if the US banned carbon emissions totally - what about China?
Ban? The purpose of making C emissions expensive, is to SPUR DEVELOPMENT OF ALTERNATIVES. Once alternatives mature, there won't be a NEED for any bans -- either in U.S., or in China.
PinkElephant
3.5 / 5 (13) Apr 20, 2011
@Noumenon,
every existing proposed solution to AGW is 100% counter to conservative ideals
Help me out here: since when is natural conservation not a conservative ideal?
is AGW believed to be a significant risk by BOTH liberal scientists and conservative scientists in relative equal numbers?
WTF? This isn't political science, and it's not a matter of opinion. The laws of hydrodynamics, radiation, and heat transfer are not subject to political tilt. And no single "skeptic" has ever come up with a realistic climate model that managed to replicate recent climate history without confirming AGW.
the next debte would be about the political form of the solution; one within the existing framework of free-market capitalsm
We HAD that already. Carbon Tax vs. Carbon Credits. Carbon Credit Markets (the FREE-MARKET CAPITALIST proposal) won -- thanks to REPUBLICAN insistence.
PinkElephant
3.9 / 5 (14) Apr 20, 2011
how about doing a statistical "study" of the political afiliation of climates scientists themselves
"A [2009 Pew Research] survey of more than 2,500 scientists, conducted in collaboration with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)..."

52% - Liberal
35% - Independent
9% - Conservative

55% - Democrat
32% - Independent
6% - Republican

http://people-pre...c-media/

NOTE: these were NOT just climate scientists. This spans ALL TYPES of science. So now, let's hear you dispute everything from Evolution to Big Bang to Nanotechnology as a liberal/socialist/collectivist conspiracy of the treasonous un-American radical left. Or is it only climate science in particular that gives you that "conservative" hard-on?
joanai
1.3 / 5 (8) Apr 20, 2011
2+2=? Mathematicians say: 4. Democrats say: 5. Republicans say: 3. Other americans say: Who does care?
Noumenon
4.1 / 5 (63) Apr 20, 2011
PinkE, if you don't recognize that AGW IS about redistribution of wealth, and socialistic agenda,.. YOU are the one ignorant. It's even admitted openly now,...

"...developed countries have basically expropriated the atmosphere of the world community. But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the worlds wealth by climate policy. Obviously, the owners of coal and oil will not be enthusiastic about this. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole..." - Ottmar Edenhofer (UN-IPCC)
Noumenon
4.1 / 5 (63) Apr 20, 2011
@PinkE,
Science is about making predictions of future events based on theoretical models, AND empirically verifying those predictions. Climate science has failed to live up to that standard, so therefore it has not earned the respect or trust of enough people to justify left-wing-tinkering with already unstable economies.

WRT calling people ignorant about AGW, ....since 99.9999% of people are not climate scientists, it's a meaningless truism to make that claim, ...and does not equate to saying climate science is not susceptible to error.

I could claim as a charlatan medicine man, ...you're ignorant on account of not being knowledgeable as such, so therefore you should submit to me and believe me even though the burden of proof lies with this science that has a poor or non-existent track record.
Noumenon
4.2 / 5 (62) Apr 20, 2011
@ PinkE,

The other more exacting sciences you mentioned have earned respect on account of technology making use of them, and lives being saved and extended on account of them. Climate science so far has failed predictions, and propaganda calling people ignorant as the above article attempted, and claiming a consensus even though a consensus does not equate to proof.

The purpose of making C emissions expensive, is to SPUR DEVELOPMENT OF ALTERNATIVES. Once alternatives mature, there won't be a NEED for any bans -- either in U.S., or in China.


Artificially tinkering with already unstable economies, by naive socialists button-pushers is exactly the wrong way to go, and is far more dangerous than nature being nature.

I'm all for carbon emission reductions, IF it's done in accord with existing free-market capitalism, NO ad-hoc social engineering. This means alternatives must compete on a level playing field with coal/oil, and NO massive redistribution of wealth.
looseyarn
1 / 5 (3) Apr 20, 2011
Oops, sorry, my comment is on wrong category. Reposted at political opinions.
farmerpat42
2.7 / 5 (12) Apr 20, 2011
@PinkElephant
Your thinly veiled ad hominem attacks are unwelcome.

To the point though, which you haven't addressed: how can 'climate scientists' credibly claim the brink for action is now given their track record of predictions?

It's an crisis that has been poised as a near-term issue for decades, without any of the significant impacts that were predicted actually occuring. Instead, 10 years ago 'Global Warming' turned into 'Climate Change' to address the potential varied impact. The issues have shifted totally from a hole in the ozone layer (has this been seriously discussed/researched in 15 years?) to greenhouse gas emissions. The moving, mutable target is what strikes at my heart as a conservative - it's sensationalism and special-interest at its best. The charts have changed, the studies have presented different results (though consensus is that "it's bad").

Noumenon
4.1 / 5 (62) Apr 20, 2011
"According to the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), global surface temperature increased by 0.74 ± 0.18 °C during the 20th century 1906-2005.

The rate of warming over the last half of that period was almost double that for the period as a whole (0.13 ± 0.03 °C per decade, versus 0.07 °C ± 0.02 °C per decade). "

This is their problem. No reasonable person believes these people have such a handle on global temperature that they can rationally issue cataclysmic warnings based on an increase in temperature of six-one-hundredths-of-one degree celsius !!!!

It is very reasonable to question not only the speculation of causes, but also the very notion that a) average global temperature is truely known to the accuracy of a few hundredths of one degree claimed, and b) that an "average global temperature" even means anything wrt future climate, or is even possible to pin down.
Noumenon
4.2 / 5 (62) Apr 20, 2011
,... and when it's a matter of a minuscule few tenths of one degree over the course of an entire decade, one has to seriously question whether some other possible unknown effect caused it, like a hippo passing gas in Madagascar. What the AGW faithful call deniers and ignorant, seems more like rational skeptics to me.

It's how one chooses to spin the data. To a disinterested rational person 1.33 *f variation over a one-hundred year period seems almost miraculously stable.
farmerpat42
2.2 / 5 (10) Apr 20, 2011
More to the point of the article: modern conservatives are generally more skeptical and unaccepting of unproven theories (esspecially when the policy application has a liberty-limiting impact). Leftists are generally more gungho about trying to be the saviors and are willing to take risks with other's money in a longshot to fix a problem.

There are a few things to note, directly related to the survey/article:
1) Just because someone is against climate based policy does not mean they are ignorant (to any scale) of whatever science exists. They just may not choose to prioritize it enough to act on it.
2) Republicans are generally more mature, I wonder if the decline in the 'belief of GW impact' is an indication of a jaded mindset? It's been in the news for several decades where as the generally younger Democrats have only delt with it for a few years of their adult life. (see above false predictions)
3) Even with the party-gap, 30% of Democrats don't believe GW has taken effect.
farmerpat42
2.1 / 5 (7) Apr 20, 2011
More to the point of the article: modern conservatives are generally more skeptical and unaccepting of unproven theories (esspecially when the policy application has a liberty-limiting impact). Leftists are generally more gungho about trying to be the saviors and are willing to take risks with other's money in a longshot to fix a problem.

There are a few things to note, directly related to the survey/article:
1) Just because someone is against climate based policy does not mean they are ignorant (to any scale) of whatever science exists. They just may not choose to prioritize it enough to act on it.
2) Republicans are generally more mature, I wonder if the decline in the 'belief of GW impact' is an indication of a jaded mindset? It's been in the news for several decades where as the generally younger Democrats have only delt with it for a few years of their adult life. (see above false predictions)
3) Even with the party-gap, 30% of Democrats don't believe GW has taken effect.
farmerpat42
3.5 / 5 (8) Apr 20, 2011
Sorry for the double post...

Where are the 30% of Democrats getting their skepticism regarding AGW then? It's not just 'Republican koolaid' at the article would want you to believe...
MikeyK
2.8 / 5 (11) Apr 20, 2011
It's a shame when blatant agenda driven deniers attempt to take over a scientific forum with their usual mix of falsehoods and ignorance.
Go back to creationists websites or worship at the font of the holy Wattite's, leave the scientific forums for us that want to enjoy scientific discussions and learn more about the world around us.
The quote from farmerpat (like a cow pat?) says it all "
modern conservatives are generally more skeptical and unaccepting of unproven theories (esspecially when the policy application has a liberty-limiting impact).

Does that include gravity, darwinism........
GSwift7
3.9 / 5 (7) Apr 20, 2011
Once again I see selective vagueness here.

What I mean is that most of the terms are too vague. I would like to see the exact wording of the questions to which the above stated responses apply. For example, if you ask people a question like "do you believe in climate change" the answers can vary wildly based on how the respondents read the question, and what meaning they give the phrase "climat change". Some people will take this phrase to mean climate change caused by CO2. Others may take it litterally to mean any change in the Earth's climate over all of time.

For any kind of meaningfull discussion about where opinions stand, amongst any group of people, such as scientists, polititians or the general public, you need to make sure that you are asking the questions in a way that ensures you are getting an answer to the question you intended to ask.

If the questions are too vague, then anyone who has a good understanding should be confused about how to answer them.
GSwift7
3.9 / 5 (7) Apr 20, 2011
continued:

As with tests and quizes given in schools, the results of a poll can sometimes be evidence that the questions were faulty in some way, thereby giving results that are not representative of what you were seeking to measure.

Reviewing the results of a poll without being able to see the EXACT wording of the questions is dangerous. Combining multiple polls on the same subject, but where the questions are worded differently is also dangerous.

As always, I suggest strong caution when reviewing poll results and keep in mind the basic limitations of polls about any topic.

Is it possible, that changes in the answers over time could represent a change in the wording of the questions over time? Could increased polarization be the result of increasingly pointed questions as issues become more clearly defined?
GSwift7
3.9 / 5 (7) Apr 20, 2011
Note: I'm trying to keep my discussion points totally neutral about which side is right or wrong. I'm just talking about the science of polling and offering thoughts about what I think whenever I read poll results on any topic.
Modernmystic
2.7 / 5 (12) Apr 20, 2011
I don't care if it's real or not the proposed solutions are beyond idiotic.

For you believers I suggest you watch "Cool It" By Bjorn. You want to REALLY solve the problem it's in that documentary. If you want to continue to make this a political issue to change the socio-economic landscape by all means continue to do what you're doing...lemme know how that works out for you all...

What do you call someone who keeps doing the same thing over and over and expects different results?
PinkElephant
3 / 5 (10) Apr 20, 2011
@Noumenon,
PinkE, if you don't recognize that AGW IS about redistribution of wealth, and socialistic agenda,.. YOU are the one ignorant. ... "one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the worlds wealth by climate policy."
It's not ABOUT redistribution of wealth. Any such redistribution is a SIDE-EFFECT of climate policy, as opposed to being the impetus. Obviously, fossil fuel interests lose out, as well they should. That's the "redistribution" being talked about in your quote.
Science is about making predictions of future events based on theoretical models, AND empirically verifying those predictions.
So, cosmology isn't science? Natural history isn't science? Geology? Astrophysics? What about computer science? Neuroscience? Ecology? Genetics? Climate Science?
Climate science has failed to live up to that standard
What standard? Most predictions stemming from climate science are still decades (if not centuries) from coming due!
PinkElephant
3 / 5 (10) Apr 20, 2011
ctd.
the burden of proof lies with this science that has a poor or non-existent track record
What would you know about its track record, if you freely admit wholesale ignorance of the field?
Climate science so far has failed predictions
Pray tell, what predictions has it failed, and how did it fail them?
alternatives must compete on a level playing field with coal/oil, and NO massive redistribution of wealth
What is "a level playing field" if coal/oil get to externalize the costs of environmental degradation (including CO2 emissions), without explicitly including those costs in the price of product? What is "a level playing field" when at least half of U.S. annual military budget is in some form devoted to maintaining access to oil?
cataclysmic warnings based on an increase in temperature of six-one-hundredths-of-one degree celsius
That increase is PER DECADE, and it's now double that, getting progressively larger every year. And it's CUMULATIVE over time.
GSwift7
3.7 / 5 (9) Apr 20, 2011
What standard?


I find it informative to read opposing web sites and compare the analysis between them.

For example, it is quite often the case that there will be a running fight between web sites like wattsupwiththat and realclimate. I really enjoy it when they get into arguments and each side posts their views on their own site. By comparing and evaluating each of them you begin to get a much more clear picture about how strong the arguments are on each side.

VERY FEW PEOPLE are open-minded enough to give each side equal oportunity to make their case and then try to fairly evaluate the validity of thier points. It also takes a lot of digging to fact-check what they claim, so the average person probably just doesn't have the time to really be fair. At some point, as the above article seems to suggest, you just have to decide which sources you "feel" are "most" correct, "most" of the time. I think that's where most people are today in regard to how they seek out info.
PinkElephant
2.8 / 5 (9) Apr 20, 2011
ctd.
question not only the speculation of causes
It's way beyond speculation. It's empirically derived and supported theory.
average global temperature is truely known to the accuracy of a few hundredths of one degree claimed
Irrelevant, since the "hundredths of one degree" you're talking about is a SLOPE of a LINE fitted to many decades of data. If you knew anything at all about linear regression, you'd understand that even very slight trends can be reliably detected amid a large population of measurements, despite huge uncertainties in individual measurements.
"average global temperature" even means anything wrt future climate...
It is a metric of the overall system. That's why it's more accurate to say AGCC rather than AGW. However, this metric is not meaningless.
...or is even possible to pin down
And why should it not be? Have you even bothered to look how that's done? Or do you prefer ignorance?
GSwift7
3.7 / 5 (12) Apr 20, 2011
Pray tell, what predictions has it failed, and how did it fail them?


Try reading at least one web site that has an opposing view. There are false predictions revealed all the time. Usually it's more like an exaggeration rather than a completely false prediction, but milage may vary.

here's the latest amended prediction due to failure of the prediction to materialize:

http://wattsupwit...attempt/

Kilamanjaro ice cap is another example of a kinda big mistake.

Temperatures in the upper troposphere in the tropics is a puzzle. Sea level rise isn't following predictions. Worldwide precipitation appears to have increased despite predictions to the contrary, now amended to predict what is actually happening.

Differences between early IPCC reports and the most recent 4th AR show many examples of predictions that didn't come true and so have been modified.
PinkElephant
2.8 / 5 (11) Apr 20, 2011
@farmerpat42,
how can 'climate scientists' credibly claim the brink for action is now given their track record of predictions?
What predictions? What track record?
It's an crisis that has been poised as a near-term issue for decades, without any of the significant impacts that were predicted actually occuring.
The impacts are NOT predicted to be near-term. The issue IS near-term, because what we do now is GUARANTEED to reverberate for decades and centuries to come. The climate has a big lag factor built into it: just like a heavy locomotive, it takes a long time to get going, but once it's going at full speed, it's very hard to stop.
The issues have shifted totally from a hole in the ozone layer (has this been seriously discussed/researched in 15 years?) to greenhouse gas emissions.
These are two completely SEPARATE and INDEPENDENT issues. Nothing has shifted. Both are valid. At least do the bare minimum and look them up on Wikipedia... (but you won't, will you?)
PinkElephant
2.8 / 5 (9) Apr 20, 2011
@GSwift7,
here's the latest amended prediction due to failure of the prediction to materialize:
How is this a prediction of CLIMATE science? Seems like an economic/social science issue.
GSwift7
3.4 / 5 (8) Apr 20, 2011
If you knew anything at all about linear regression, you'd understand that even very slight trends can be reliably detected amid a large population of measurements, despite huge uncertainties in individual measurements


No arguement there, though homogenation methods differ and mileage may vary.

The climate has a big lag factor built into it: just like a heavy locomotive, it takes a long time to get going, but once it's going at full speed, it's very hard to stop


I can site quotations from people like Gavin Schmidt and Mike Mann that disagree with that claim. Need I bother, or can you find them on your own? There is a dichotomy between climate response rate/lag time and climate sensitivity, so be carefull what you wish for there. You can't have it both ways.
GSwift7
3.6 / 5 (9) Apr 20, 2011
How is this a prediction of CLIMATE science? Seems like an economic/social science issue


Okay, so WHY did they think 50 million people would need to flee? They said that rising sea levels, drought, and extreme weather would be causing people to move. That's a climate science issue. Since those things haven't happened to the extent they predicted the people are not moving yet. I think you probably had a good point above when you suggested that the time frame is too short to tell. Personally, I think there's a good chance that people will move in large numbers due to climate changes over the next century. It was probably silly when the UN tried to exagerate the urgency by making a 10 year prediction for that to happen. The 2020 prediction is probably equally silly.
gwargh
1.6 / 5 (8) Apr 20, 2011
It's how one chooses to spin the data. To a disinterested rational person 1.33 *f variation over a one-hundred year period seems almost miraculously stable.

If that person knows nothing about non-linear dynamics, sure. Look at fractional differences in main parameters of any dynamical system, and you'll find that it's far more than stable. I have yet to meet an AGW denier who had any real understanding of the models climate predictions are based off of, or even a basic understanding of what a dynamic system is.
PinkElephant
2.7 / 5 (7) Apr 20, 2011
I can site quotations from people like Gavin Schmidt and Mike Mann that disagree with that claim. Need I bother
Yes, you do. Please go right ahead.
There is a dichotomy between climate response rate/lag time and climate sensitivity
There is no dichotomy. These two concepts are quite independent of each other.
They said that rising sea levels, drought, and extreme weather would be causing people to move. That's a climate science issue.
No, it's a socioeconomic projection. Those same people may well end up staying in place, and receiving massive amounts of international aid instead. In the meantime, various climate events will continue putting stress on crops across the world, sustaining a rise in food prices, and decreasing availability of food to the world's poor. This, again, happens regardless of whether those affected move or stay where they are.
GSwift7
3.5 / 5 (11) Apr 20, 2011
I have yet to meet an AGW denier who had any real understanding of the models climate predictions are based off of, or even a basic understanding of what a dynamic system is


Does Bob Tisdale qualify as someone who understands the models and dynamic systems?

http://wattsupwit...-part-2/

The above post examines correlation between models and observations. It's a pretty good analysis regardless of which side you place yourself on.
gwargh
1.6 / 5 (7) Apr 20, 2011
Not really. Don't get me wrong, he clearly did a lot of work on the datasets, but he himself doesn't really seem to get the models (several times he says he's not sure what a particular data set is composed of, but uses every variant just to be safe), he's just pointing out where they don't fit (and even then, he has no real statistical analysis).
Furthermore, almost all of his blog is pointing out that the models fail at determining specific parts SST rises. Mind you, he's ignoring any land temperature changes, as well as the fact that the global average fits the models remarkably well.
Again, he has some decent points, but he hardly seems like he understands the models, and instead just has a lot of graphs with different averages.
Perhaps the particular posts I'm looking at simply lack any mathematical analysis beyond linear trends, but that's precisely my point about dynamics: the climate is NOT a linear system, reducing it to such doesn't work well, or at all.
MikeyK
3 / 5 (10) Apr 20, 2011
Can someone tell me why in a SCIENTIFIC forum someone keeps using Watts webshite as sources? If you want cherry pickin' go to the Wattites site, if you want REAL science...don't!
PinkElephant
3.5 / 5 (8) Apr 20, 2011
The real thing to notice about Tisdale's blog and general approach, is that he now focuses on fine details of the models.

This is in concordance with the overall state of climate science: the coarsely-resolved global dynamics are already understood well enough. However, as you zoom down to the fine turbulence of regional and local circulation, the models become a lot less accurate. That's also where the bulk of ongoing refinement is directed.

So lack of precise correspondence between the fine details of current-generation models vs. measurements is not much of an argument against validity of climate science. It's like arguing that since we can't computationally predict the exact number, types, and positions of every cell in a given individual's body at a certain precise age, that therefore all of our our understanding of human genetics, gestation, and development must be invalid.

Any model is a simplification; to judge its value one must focus on the model's INTENDED domain.
GSwift7
3.2 / 5 (9) Apr 20, 2011
Yes, you do. Please go right ahead


Okay:

http://www.skepti...ect.html

See the section with the heading "The Thermal Inertia of the Oceans"

They cite a Mike Mann paper that states: "the time required for 60% of global warming to take place in response to increased emissions to be in the range of 25 to 50 years"

p.s. to mikeyk: is that reference more to your liking than watts' webshite? I have told you that I read multiple sites, from BOTH sides. The reason I rarely link to the pro-AGW sites is that you guys already read them and you know most of what they say. The part you rarely see is the other side of the coin, where "sometimes", the skeptics have some good points. If it makes you uncomfortable hearing opinions contrary to your own then maybe your position isn't a strong one?
MikeyK
2.5 / 5 (8) Apr 20, 2011
GSwift7- you're not kidding anyone!
GSwift7
2.9 / 5 (9) Apr 20, 2011
No, it's a socioeconomic projection. Those same people may well end up staying in place, and receiving massive amounts of international aid instead. In the meantime, various climate events will continue putting stress on crops across the world, sustaining a rise in food prices, and decreasing availability of food to the world's poor. This, again, happens regardless of whether those affected move or stay where they are


Yeah, but the UN said that it was supposed to have started already, and that it should be severe enough that we should have already seen 50 million refugees. One would assume that the UN would include the effects of socio-economic factors such as aid, but that's a non-factor because IPCC summits that have attempted to gather funding for climate relief funding, such as Copenhagen and Bali have failed to generate any climate relief funds, so it there had been any climate disaster as predicted, then there would be refugees.
GSwift7
2.8 / 5 (10) Apr 20, 2011
GSwift7- you're not kidding anyone!


I'm neutral on the subject. I think both sides exagerate and lie often. Comparing realclimate and watts when they get into a good argument shows that to be true.

If you trust either of them then you are a fool.
ryggesogn2
2.1 / 5 (14) Apr 20, 2011
f it makes you uncomfortable hearing opinions contrary to your own then maybe your position isn't a strong one?

That was the observation Hayek made about how the NAZIs and Soviets related to science.
Party-line first, science, if it supported the party line.

In "For the Love of Physics", the author notes that 4% of the universe is matter and energy, the rest is 'dark' matter and energy. So in the current state of physics, no one know what makes up 96% of the universe, but AGWites KNOW what the temperature of the planet will be in 10 years?
PinkElephant
3.5 / 5 (8) Apr 20, 2011
"the time required for 60% of global warming to take place in response to increased emissions to be in the range of 25 to 50 years"
And this contradicts what I've previously stated, how? This means what we experience today is equivalent to only 60% of the ultimate equilibrium that will be brought about by anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations as they were back in the 1970's. The BULK of man-made greenhouse gas emissions has accrued SINCE THEN. At today's levels, we won't see the equivalent 60% of equilibrium conditions until 2050 or so. And full equilibrium at TODAY's levels might not be approached until 2100 or later. Yet TODAY's levels isn't what we're going to end up with, since we continue to pollute away -- in ever greater volumes with each passing year -- like there's no tomorrow.
PinkElephant
3.3 / 5 (11) Apr 20, 2011
but the UN said that it was supposed to have started already, and that it should be severe enough that we should have already seen 50 million refugees
One more time: this isn't climate science. This is economics and social science, and policy.

And where policy-making is concerned, the UN may well be justified in assuming the worst-possible scenario (on the principle of "hope for the best, prepare for the worst".) Just like we don't design our bridges for the lightest possible traffic and wind conditions, and we don't design our buildings to withstand the smallest possible earthquake.

But I'm not personally privy to their thought processes, nor versed in their documentation thereof, so take my musings in this regard for what they're worth.

I'll note though, that the recent string of uprisings in the Arab world (and to a lesser extent, throughout the third world) was precipitated by escalating food and commodity prices...
MikeyK
2.8 / 5 (11) Apr 21, 2011
Sorry GSwift7 I should rephrase...You're not kidding anyone...except yourself.
Watt's used the same trick when he started. I know as I was a 'regular' commentator on his posts back then. He used exactly the same argument of not presenting evidence of AGW as that is done by other websites so he was presenting the other side of the coin. Balderdash.
Creationists like to use that argument as well but what is the point of 'debating' science when one side picks the cherry, muddies the water, and ignores the scientific evidence anyway!
Don't confuse real scientific debate with the well orchestrated and funded pseudoscience fed out by Wattites and creationists.
Skeptic_Heretic
3.7 / 5 (6) Apr 21, 2011
In "For the Love of Physics", the author notes that 4% of the universe is matter and energy, the rest is 'dark' matter and energy. So in the current state of physics, no one know what makes up 96% of the universe, but AGWites KNOW what the temperature of the planet will be in 10 years?
And these are related how?

We don't know if there will be a massive CME in the next 10 years, but we know for certain that the sun will eventually become a red giant. As usual, you're talking shit.
GSwift7
3.3 / 5 (6) Apr 22, 2011
Watt's used the same trick when he started. I know as I was a 'regular' commentator on his posts back then. He used exactly the same argument of not presenting evidence of AGW as that is done by other websites so he was presenting the other side of the coin. Balderdash.
Creationists like to use that argument as well but what is the point of 'debating' science when one side picks the cherry


Almost all of the sites that I link to are actually pro-agw, as skeptic heritic will surely confirm. I usually link to NOAA, NCDC, IPCC, NASA, ESA, CRU, CU Boulder, etc. I linked to Watts here because it seemed relevant to the original discussion about polarization and the way people seem to be becoming more selective about where they get their information. I was pointing out that many of the people who comment here, especially the ones with the strongest opinions, tend to follow that pattern, which confirms what the authors above observed in the research. It's a nice illustration I think
Skeptic_Heretic
4.3 / 5 (6) Apr 22, 2011
Almost all of the sites that I link to are actually pro-agw, as skeptic heritic will surely confirm. I usually link to NOAA, NCDC, IPCC, NASA, ESA, CRU, CU Boulder, etc
No one is pro-agw. Kinda like the whole 'pro-abortion'. There's no one who will say they want and love AGW, other than maybe that idiot state Senator in Minnesota. Other than that, gswift typically references the scientific literature, not the political garbage.
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (11) Apr 22, 2011
In "For the Love of Physics", the author notes that 4% of the universe is matter and energy, the rest is 'dark' matter and energy. So in the current state of physics, no one know what makes up 96% of the universe, but AGWites KNOW what the temperature of the planet will be in 10 years?
And these are related how?

We don't know if there will be a massive CME in the next 10 years, but we know for certain that the sun will eventually become a red giant. As usual, you're talking shit.

"Know for certain"?
How will you verify that? Do you have a time machine?
Modernmystic
3 / 5 (8) Apr 22, 2011
"Know for certain"?
How will you verify that? Do you have a time machine?


Nah, he's got a brain....

Can he know for CERTAIN...well I suppose aliens could come and drop some sci-fi "red matter" in the sun and implode it or maybe we'll somehow engineer it in a way that it won't, but yeah I'm about 99.99999999999999999999999999999999% sure it's going to be a Red Giant eventually.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (7) Apr 22, 2011
"Know for certain"?
How will you verify that? Do you have a time machine?


Nah, he's got a brain....

Can he know for CERTAIN...well I suppose aliens could come and drop some sci-fi "red matter" in the sun and implode it or maybe we'll somehow engineer it in a way that it won't, but yeah I'm about 99.99999999999999999999999999999999% sure it's going to be a Red Giant eventually.

It is not known why sun spots were recently at a minimum, but you know for certain the sun will become a red giant.
This is a more accurate phrasing:
"From observations of numerous other stars which appear to be similar to our Sun, it is anticipated that the Sun will eventually move upward and to the right of its current position on the main sequence and enter a red giant phase. The final stage of our Sun is anticipated to be as a white dwarf. . "
http://hyperphysi...gia.html
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (10) Apr 22, 2011
"According to Joel Garreau, professor of law, culture and values at the Sandra Day OConnor College of Law at Arizona State University, a religion is characterized by a distinction between sacred and profane objects; a moral code; feelings of awe, mystery and guilt; adoration in the presence of sacred objects and during rituals; a worldview that includes a notion of where the individual fits; and a cohesive social group of the likeminded. Environmentalism, Garreau concluded in an article last year, fits this definition of religion very well."
As University of Alabama law professor Andrew Morris and co-author Benjamin Cramer ask in a pioneering 2009 article, Disestablishing Environmentalism, published in the journal Environmental Law, how can we reconcile the character of environmentalism as an actual religion with the constitutional principle of separation of church and state?"
http://dailycalle...eligion/
PinkElephant
4.4 / 5 (7) Apr 22, 2011
It is not known why sun spots were recently at a minimum
Not known for certain, but there are some pretty good ideas:

http://www.physor...243.html
http://www.physor...ery.html
but you know for certain the sun will become a red giant.
Nobody can predict the exact trajectory of all the embers from a campfire. Anyone can be certain that the campfire will eventually burn out.
a religion is characterized by...
He left out the most important and universal part: irrational belief in magic, miracles, and supernatural entities, and in mystical rituals (such as prayer) designed to invoke or manipulate these things.
MikeyK
3.4 / 5 (5) Apr 23, 2011
...maybe you can add Astrology to the list. One of the consequences of the Wattites has been the confusion added to the 'debate' of AGW. here the South Dakota Legislature actually want to teach children that astrology is one of the causes of global warming! ht___tp://legis.state.sd.us/sessions/2010/Bill.aspx?File=HCR1009P.htm
Let this be a lesson to those misguided fools that believe using the denialists sources is harmless and of no real consequences......it is...and boy are the creationists enjoying it and waiting..
Skeptic_Heretic
4 / 5 (8) Apr 23, 2011
Environmental Law, how can we reconcile the character of environmentalism as an actual religion with the constitutional principle of separation of church and state?"
Environmentalism isn't a religion. As I've said many times, it always comes down to religion with you. You should probably work on this.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (10) Apr 23, 2011
"Christianity in Lord of the Rings: Would Easter fly on Middle Earth?"
http://www.physor...firstCmt
"Religion continues to impact voter decision, study finds"
http://www.physor...firstCmt

It always comes down to religion with Physorg.
FrankHerbert
2.7 / 5 (11) Apr 23, 2011
Does anyone else find it funny that evangelicals actually use religion as a pejorative when they are discussing things that aren't religions but they want to discredit (e.g. "environmentalism is a religion, marxism is a religion, etc")?

So a religious person, when wanting to discredit an idea, hurls the epithet religion at that non religious idea. This says a lot of things, about the person, the religion he comes from, the idea in question, etc, but I think it says much more about religion in general. It's all nonsense, and even the believers know this deep down.
ryggesogn2
1.8 / 5 (15) Apr 23, 2011
Those who practice the religion of environmentalism typically claim to be atheists and say they base ALL their decisions on observable facts.
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (11) Apr 23, 2011
The faithful should be stewards of the environment:
"The virtue of prudence should lead us all to do more to reduce destructive man-made effects on the environment, with an eye toward improving the overall health of the air, water, and land that sustains us. De-carbonizing the economy, over time and in an orderly fashion, without wrecking economic life that likewise sustains us, is the reasonable way to do that. A strong market economy that creates the sort of wealth that can lead to practicable and affordable energy alternatives, free of the waste, abuse and cronyism that accompany government subsidies, will get us to a cleaner future faster than more expert management from Washington, the UN, or the WCC."
http://www.acton....arth-day
Jimee
2.9 / 5 (8) Apr 23, 2011
Republican and right wing liars will destroy the world as we know it. By the way, Ayn Rand was a pathological liar and sociopath. That is who the Right is following. Koch roaches and their ilk must be exterminated to save our earth.
FrankHerbert
2.6 / 5 (11) Apr 23, 2011
Koch roaches, lmao
Skeptic_Heretic
3.7 / 5 (6) Apr 23, 2011
Those who practice the religion of environmentalism typically claim to be atheists and say they base ALL their decisions on observable facts.
And when challenged they can demonstrate these observations which means it isn't faith, it's fact.
The faithful should be stewards of the environment
Yes, just as much as children should be the stewards of nuclear reactors.

If you don't recognize it on first read, that is sarcasm.

When someone assumes that a deity will clean up their mess for them at some point in time if they simply believe it will happen, that is a recipie for disaster.
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (9) Apr 23, 2011
Koch roaches and their ilk must be exterminated to save our earth.

What intolerant 'liberals'!
And all Frank can do is laugh about advocating murder.
SemiNerd
3 / 5 (4) Apr 24, 2011
This article is more telling politically than scientifically. In science the consensus is often wrong. The fact that this article laments that there is still disagreement shows an ideological stance.

Actually, the consensus is usually correct. New data generally shifts the consensus incrementally.

While its true that several times in the history of science there has been earth shattering discoveries that result in the consensus being completely changed, nearly every time this happens there really isn't a consensus at all, and that those discoveries or new ideas usually emerge at times when a large number of alternate theories are competing for attention. And these types of complete overhauls are happening less and less.
SemiNerd
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 24, 2011
At the end of the day through, it doesn't really matter what the consensus is. There is such an overwhelming quantity of hard evidence that global warming is real no appeal to authority need be made. Theories are verified when they make specific predictions and those predictions occur in the real world. The following predictions have been made and verified by dozens if not hundreds of case studies:

1) The global temperature is rising exactly as predicted by the models.
2) Sea levels are rising.
3) Spring comes earlier and fall starts later all over the world.
4) The ranges of most species are moving to higher latitudes. This has been measured in insects, mammals, birds, etc.
5) The oceans are getting more acidic.

All of these things are happening very close to what the climate models predict. One worry is that most models predict LESS change than is actually happening.
eachus
2.5 / 5 (6) Apr 24, 2011
There have been periods when CO2 levels were much higher than today--but temperatures were not. On the other hand, homo sapiens sapiens has never had to deal with CO2 levels as high as they are now. You might be willing to accept a slightly higher death rate among the elderly, but I just celebrated my 65th birthday.

So I think there is a very strong argument for controlling (and eventually reducing) CO2 levels than global warming.

Having established that, the reason people tend to split on party lines about AGW has to do with the people who tend to be in each party. Democrats tend to be convinced by appeals to authority, while Republicans want to see the evidence for themselves. Since just about every model which predicts AGW fails to match reality, they need to be thrown out and restarted.

Incidentally there was an article here yesterday about diffuse sunlight in cloudy skies. That may not be the magic bullet, but something involving clouds is wrong in current AGW models.
ryggesogn2
1.9 / 5 (13) Apr 24, 2011
The global temperature is rising exactly as predicted by the models.

"In 2005, the United Nations Environment Programme predicted that climate change would create 50 million climate refugees by 2010. These people, it was said, would flee a range of disasters including sea level rise, increases in the numbers and severity of hurricanes, and disruption to food production."
http://asiancorre...efugees/

All of these things are happening very close to what the climate models predict.

I don't believe you.
FrankHerbert
2.8 / 5 (9) Apr 24, 2011

Democrats tend to be convinced by appeals to authority, while Republicans want to see the evidence for themselves.


Strike that, reverse it.
ryggesogn2
2.2 / 5 (13) Apr 24, 2011
Democrats tend to be convinced by appeals to emotion.

That has been their MO since the early '70s.

What do they choose for symbols? A panda and now WWF is running polar bear adds that are not supported by data.

Emotion.

Recall the Indian with a tear running down his cheek?
ryggesogn2
2 / 5 (12) Apr 24, 2011
And don't forget the fear mongering predictions by Al Gore that have not come to pass. Emotion.
Skeptic_Heretic
3.4 / 5 (5) Apr 24, 2011
"In 2005, the United Nations Environment Programme predicted that climate change would create 50 million climate refugees by 2010. These people, it was said, would flee a range of disasters including sea level rise, increases in the numbers and severity of hurricanes, and disruption to food production."
Bangladesh: 25 million refugees displaced by monsoon events and coastal flooding, but, your source is lying.

Here's the evidence: http://www.grida....700.aspx
Linked as the source for the article you linked.

Enjoy being hung by your own inability to read, once again.
ryggesogn2
2.2 / 5 (13) Apr 24, 2011
"There is no statistical evidence that the frequency of flooding in Bangladesh has increased during the 20th century. "
http://www.eureka...2106.php

"Little distinction is made between what we know,
what we think we know or what we want to believe, contributing substantially to the general confusion surrounding the effects of forests on major floods."
"This capacity of the media, coupled with journalists
penchant for sensationalising news events particularly disasters can easily lead people to conclude that floods are occurring more frequently and with greater severity than in the past. Scientific evidence, however, does not support such conclusions."
http://www.fao.or...42f3.pdf
This must be a different branch of the UN.
toyo
2.6 / 5 (5) Apr 24, 2011
The last Working Group 1 IPCC report Technical Summary TS 6.1 cites (in part) the following "Key Uncertainties".
The full range of processes leading to modification of
cloud properties by aerosols is not well understood and
the magnitudes of associated indirect radiative effects are
poorly determined.
The causes of, and radiative forcing due to stratospheric
water vapour changes are not well quantified.
The geographical distribution and time evolution of the
radiative forcing due to changes in aerosols during the
20th century are not well characterised.

So, forget "skeptics", "deniers" etc. That is religious nonsense,
There are enough uncertainties there to prove we don't know enough to produce century-long predictions. Scientists all agree that aerosols and cloud cover issues are key to climate predictions, and we simply have no certainty about modelling these effects.
Anyone that says the science is "settled" is either ignorant or dishonest!
So let's stop all this name calling..
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (11) Apr 24, 2011
Anyone that says the science is "settled" is either ignorant or dishonest!

Of course.

"Once science has to serve, not truth, but the interests of a class, a community, or a state, the sole task of argument and discussion is to vindicate and to spread still further the beliefs by which the whole life of the community is directed. As the NAZI minister of justice has explained, the question which every new scientific theory must ask itself is: "Do I serve the National Socialism for the greatest benefit of all?"
Road to Serfdom, Hayek, p.178, 1944.

Skeptic_Heretic
3.4 / 5 (5) Apr 24, 2011
There are enough uncertainties there to prove we don't know enough to produce century-long predictions. Scientists all agree that aerosols and cloud cover issues are key to climate predictions, and we simply have no certainty about modelling these effects.
They're called deniers because they haven't continued reading beyond that point, and they're denying the existence of another 15 years worth of research on the topic. We did a lot in those 15 years to quantify the effects of various unknown aspects of the models.
"There is no statistical evidence that the frequency of flooding in Bangladesh has increased during the 20th century. "
An offseason monsoon in 2009 probably wouldn't have been included in a research paper from 2005 using a dataset that concluded in 2000.
This must be a different branch of the UN.
You must assume we have time travel as well.
pubwvj
2.4 / 5 (5) Apr 24, 2011
And their both missing the point. The real issue is not warming - it has been warmer and cooler in the past. The real issue is pollution. These people who jet around the world to conferences about global warming are the cause of the problem, not the solution at all. Stay home. Use the net to communicate. Make personal differences every day. Turning a light out for one hour on Earth Day is a sham.

Besides, warmer is better. You want a real disaster? Try another ice age, even a mini-ice age. That is what causes extinctions and disaster.
eachus
1.2 / 5 (5) Apr 24, 2011
There have been periods when CO2 levels were much higher than today--but temperatures were not. On the other hand, homo sapiens sapiens has never had to deal with CO2 levels as high as they are now. You might be willing to accept a slightly higher death rate among the elderly, but I just celebrated my 65th birthday.

So I think there is a very strong argument for controlling (and eventually reducing) CO2 levels than global warming.

Having established that, the reason people tend to split on party lines about AGW has to do with the people who tend to be in each party. Democrats tend to be convinced by appeals to authority, while Republicans want to see the evidence for themselves. Since just about every model which predicts AGW fails to match reality, they need to be thrown out and restarted.

Incidentally there was an article here yesterday about diffuse sunlight in cloudy skies. That may not be the magic bullet, but something involving clouds is wrong in current AGW models.
FrankHerbert
2.5 / 5 (8) Apr 24, 2011

Democrats tend to be convinced by appeals to authority, while Republicans want to see the evidence for themselves.


Strike that, reverse it.
toyo
1 / 5 (5) Apr 24, 2011
There are enough uncertainties there to prove we don't know enough to produce century-long predictions. Scientists all agree that aerosols and cloud cover issues are key to climate predictions, and we simply have no certainty about modelling these effects.
They're called deniers because they haven't continued reading beyond that point, and they're denying the existence of another 15 years worth of research on the topic. We did a lot in those 15 years to quantify the effects of various unknown aspects of the models.

???? 15 years????
I was quoting from the FOURTH IPCC report, dated 2007.

Last time I looked it was 2011....

In any case are you saying "we" (I love that royal plural...) are now certain of the effects of aerosols and can predict cloud cover as well as its effects?

Well, come to think of it, if you're living 11 years into the future you MIGHT have more information than we, poor mortals...
eachus
1 / 5 (1) Apr 24, 2011
Sorry about the double post, sometimes the posting hangs, you repost, and both versions eventually show up.

When you first saw the hockey stick chart by Michael Mann, what was your first thought? Mine was "Where is the Medieval Warm Period?" (Followed by "And what happened to the Little Ice Age?")

(Two of) my fields of expertise is non-parametric statistics and time series analysis (TSA). Don't worry if you never studied either. It's just that I am always on the lookout for someone using non-parametric statistics (statistics that don't assume a normal distribution) in novel ways, and elegant use of TSA.

When I first saw the hockey stick it was not yet infamous. And seeing two pieces of what I thought (and still think) are settled science thrown out, I wanted to see how it was done. (As everyone knows by now, it was done with smoke and mirrors.) If anyone had asked a reputable statistician to review the paper, the rejection would have been quick and loud. But they didn't.
eachus
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 24, 2011
This is the article I referenced which may start making sense out of climate models: http://www.physor...rgy.html

Decades ago when the EOS was new, MITRE (where I worked) was supporting NASA on the data processing and modeling parts of the system. I was asked why existing climate models didn't work. That answer was easy--the current satellites produced good information on the temperature (and opaqueness) of the cloud tops, but that data didn't help model how much sunlight reached the ground, and more important, the temperature of the cloud bottoms that reflected infrared mattered a lot.

Twenty years or so later, the available data is much better, but the models have yet to improve in their predictive effects. That may change next week or next year, but for now "No one knows," is unfortunately the true answer. People quoting a simple one-dimensional model with no clouds as "settled science" obviously have an agenda.
PinkElephant
4 / 5 (4) Apr 24, 2011
@toyo,
are you saying "we" (I love that royal plural...) are now certain of the effects of aerosols and can predict cloud cover as well as its effects
You're missing the main problem. CO2 stays in circulation for centuries. Aerosols are short-lived. CO2 concentrations in atmosphere continue to increase. Aerosol concentrations are destined to decrease due to pollution control advancements. You are missing the forest for the trees. Take the long view, and consider the state of the climate several decades ahead. After all, that's where the IPCC projections focus, as well.

@eachus,
If anyone had asked a reputable statistician to review the paper, the rejection would have been quick and loud
Not that malarkey again... Here, why don't you bring yourself up to date a bit:

http://www.ncbi.n...mcentrez

http://www.ncbi.n...mcentrez
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (9) Apr 24, 2011
CO2 concentrations in atmosphere continue to increase.

So?
toyo
1 / 5 (5) Apr 24, 2011
Answer the question... Pink Elephant, Skeptic Heretic, or whatever you call yourself.
And stop putting up references to studies that purport to be "reputable" when they don't refute the issues that are being discussed?
The "http://www.ncbi.n...mcentrez and http://www.ncbi.n...mcentrez" quotes
DO NOT make a valid argument.
For example: "We compare reconstructions based on the two distinct methods discussed above, the CPS approach and the RegEM-based EIV estimation procedure. Both methods have been tested and validated with long-term forced coupled model simulations (20, 32)." AND they're quoting Mann here, by the way...

Theories based on proxies 'tested' via models?
Why am I not moved by the infallible science here?

You have NOT responded to eachus's challenge for statistical significance.
Look again, if you're genuinely trying to make a point.
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (3) Apr 24, 2011
CO2 concentrations in atmosphere continue to increase.
So?
So, even IF there is any net negative forcing due to aerosols (and that's still debatable), its importance RELATIVE TO the positive forcing due to greenhouse gases is bound to strongly diminish. Which makes the whole "aerosol uncertainty" argument a red herring.
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (4) Apr 24, 2011
AND they're quoting Mann here, by the way...
You're daft. They aren't "quoting Mann", they are recent papers co-authored BY Mann, and they specifically address the criticisms from the 2006 reviews.
Theories based on proxies 'tested' via models? Why am I not moved by the infallible science here?
You're not moved because you haven't understood what you've read. Proxies are THE ONLY way to reconstruct temperatures prior to availability of instrumental records. If you don't know what a temperature proxy is, you've got some serious reading to do; I suggest you start with Wikipedia for easily-digestable layman-level content.

As for "models" in this context, they're saying that the analysis methods (CPS and EIV) have been shown to produce correct results based on simulated data produced by models -- that is the analysis methods themselves are valid.
You have NOT responded to eachus's challenge for statistical significance.
That's the WHOLE POINT of that (2008) paper.
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (11) Apr 24, 2011
Analysis methods were shown to produce correct results based upon simulated data produced by models.
That validates the analysis methods?
How?

The first step for modeling is to verify the model. That is does the model function as designed.
The second step is validation. Does the model output match the real world it is attempting to model.
The final step is accreditation. I suspect we won't have to worry about this step for quite sometime for GCMs.
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (4) Apr 24, 2011
That validates the analysis methods?
How?
Example: use a computer model to generate a population of random samples from a Gaussian distribution. Then, test a given analysis method to see if, when fed that data, it correctly identifies the nature of the distribution, and adequately calculates its various momenta.
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (11) Apr 24, 2011
That validates the analysis methods?
How?
Example: use a computer model to generate a population of random samples from a Gaussian distribution. Then, test a given analysis method to see if, when fed that data, it correctly identifies the nature of the distribution, and adequately calculates its various momenta.

That verifies a model. It does not validate that the model reflects real world data.
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (4) Apr 24, 2011
That verifies a model.
That does not verify any model. It verifies a method of analysis.
Skeptic_Heretic
4 / 5 (4) Apr 25, 2011
They're called deniers because they haven't continued reading beyond that point, and they're denying the existence of another 15 years worth of research on the topic. We did a lot in those 15 years to quantify the effects of various unknown aspects of the models.
???? 15 years????
Yes, 15 years. Did you read the date on the modeling papers?
I was quoting from the FOURTH IPCC report, dated 2007.
Which isn't a peer reviewed research paper on modeling, it is an assessment of models created up through 1997. Did you actually read it in it's entirety or did you copy paste from Watt's site?
Last time I looked it was 2011
Good for you.
In any case are you saying "we" (I love that royal plural...) are now certain of the effects of aerosols and can predict cloud cover as well as its effects?
No, you have shown you have an inability to read, we have reduced the uncertainty and better quantified those results. Reading is fundamental.
GSwift7
3 / 5 (4) Apr 25, 2011
on the monsoon season:

http://articles.t...iability

and this:

http://southasia....-monsoon

There are plenty of peer reviewed studies which say exactly the opposite, so somebody must be wrong.
GSwift7
3.4 / 5 (5) Apr 25, 2011
As for state of the art in climate modeling, the Department of Energy - Office of Science - Atmospheric Systems Research department (the people who do their modeling) have a blanket statement last updated Jan 2010:

http://www.sc.doe...Plan.pdf

climate models are uncertain how to represent the complex aerosol lifecycle in the atmosphere


and

clouds are a large source of uncertainty in climate
models


Those are both from the Executive summary, paragraph 1.
GSwift7
3 / 5 (4) Apr 25, 2011
From page 7, paragraph 4 of my previous linked source from the DoE:

Uncertainties in GCM projections of the increase in global mean temperature for a prescribed increase in carbon dioxide (which contribute to the gray error bars on the right side of Figure 2) are quite large, and have not appreciably changed from values derived two decades ago.


So, as far as Skeptic's usual complaint that the IPCC hasn't done anything recently, the DoE seems to think that's irrelevant. I agree, based on all the seemingly conflicting research available on the topic.

It's not like I'm quoting something from Watts here. If you don't like the DoE, then NASA says about the same thing, and so does NCDC. Advances in the past 20 years aren't a big deal. In fact quite a bit of the new observations, such as those from the A-train, seem to confuse the issues further rather than clear anything up. it's like every time we look, the problem just gets more complicated than we thought it was before.
PinkElephant
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 25, 2011
seem to confuse the issues further rather than clear anything up
You've adequately described your function here with respect to AGCC.

Those uncertainties you complain about in the DoE brochure, peg the range of temperatures by 2100 due to the A2, worst-case emissions scenario (which we are currently EXCEEDING), at between approximately 2 and 5 degrees C (Figure 2, page 6.)

So yes, by all means let's insert our heads between our legs and hope, pray, and wish real hard that reality lands us at 2 rather than 5 (or more) -- so that future generations don't curse us all TOO harshly.

And that's before considering what I've already said above: that aerosols are short-lived in the atmosphere, whereas CO2 is not -- and therefore the relative importance of aerosols is destined to diminish into insignificance with continued (and exponentially growing) greenhouse gas emissions.
eachus
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 26, 2011
Sigh! I guess I wasn't clear enough. Mann thinks that it is reasonable to apply the "assumption of normality" to his proxy data. But the proxy data is expected to fit global temperature data--which is known not to be normally distributed. Even if the proxy data IS normally distributed, the proper tests to use are non-parametric statistics.

And while I am on the subject, Mann doesn't seem to get the concept of goodness-of-fit tests. See his comments on single-sided vs. double-sided in http://www.ncbi.n...mcentrez The criticism was that he should have used a K-S (Kolmogorov-Smirnov) test to determine if his proxies--for the years where global temperature data is available--show the same distribution. (They don't.) As part of his answer he includes some Matlab code which assumes normality. Sigh! Again.
GSwift7
3.9 / 5 (7) Apr 26, 2011
pink's response to me quoting the department of energy:

You've adequately described your function here


a personal attack

worst-case emissions scenario


fearmongering

hope, pray, and wish real hard... so that future generations don't curse us


an emotional appeal

and therefore the relative importance of aerosols is destined to diminish into insignificance


If that's a real theory, rather than something you just made up, then I'd sure like to see a credible source for that claim.

Besides, the temperature doesn't seem to be cooperating with any of those model predictions for the past 10 years. It could be a fluke of natural variation, or it could mean that the models are wrong, or maybe a little of both? Same goes for sea level.

As for our children hating us, I guess that depends on where they live, doesn't it? As climate changes, some areas always benefit and others are harmed. There's time to learn more and observe.
GSwift7
3.5 / 5 (8) Apr 26, 2011
additionally:

importance of aerosols is destined to diminish into insignificance


okay, if you want to talk about diminishing returns, I'd love to. How about the diminishing forcing caused by increased CO2 as the absorption spectrum of CO2 gets saturated. CO2 follows a roughly logarithmic patter as levels increase, so any given increase in the amount of CO2 become less and less significant as concentrations approach spectral saturation. See the following paper from the University of East Anglia, Section 2.2, starting with the last sentence of paragraph 1.
GSwift7
3.7 / 5 (6) Apr 26, 2011
One more One more thing:

The half life or earosols depends on a number of factors. Average aerosols in the lower troposphere have a half life of around 7 days because they get "rained out" of the atmosphere. Aerosols in the upper troposphere and stratosphere have a much long half life, as demonstrated by powerfull volcanos and nuclear tests that project aerosols very high into the atmosphere. Partical size and composition is aslo a factor and all of these factors vary according to local conditions. Aerosols in a dry region will last much longer, even in the lower troposphere, though the net effect of of aerosolos in wet versus dry regions also varies. You are vastly over-simplifying the subject to make it sound like I'm trying to confuse the subject. As I said above; every time we peel back a layer of the aerosol onion we find another layer underneath.
GSwift7
3.3 / 5 (7) Apr 26, 2011
Ooops, I forgot to post the link to the UofEA research paper. Here it is:

http://web.viu.ca...2009.pdf

It says the last update was August 2009, so it's fairly recent.

Here's a quote:

"The logarithmic relationship means that the sensitivity of RF to CO2 (W/m2 pp/m) is inversely related to the concentration of CO2"

(Note: RF = Radiative Forcing)

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.