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What Climate Wars Did To Science


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http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/what-the-climate-wars-did-to-science.aspx

A great read from a former Climate Alarmist.  It's a long article but well worth reading.

"For much of my life I have been a science writer. That means I eavesdrop on what’s going on in laboratories so I can tell interesting stories. It’s analogous to the way art critics write about art, but with a difference: we “science critics” rarely criticise. If we think a scientific paper is dumb, we just ignore it. There’s too much good stuff coming out of science to waste time knocking the bad stuff.

Sure, we occasionally take a swipe at pseudoscience—homeopathy, astrology, claims that genetically modified food causes cancer, and so on. But the great thing about science is that it’s self-correcting. The good drives out the bad, because experiments get replicated and hypotheses put to the test. So a really bad idea cannot survive long in science.

Or so I used to think. Now, thanks largely to climate science, I have changed my mind. It turns out bad ideas can persist in science for decades, and surrounded by myrmidons of furious defenders they can turn into intolerant dogmas."

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http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/what-the-climate-wars-did-to-science.aspx

A great read from a former Climate Alarmist.  It's a long article but well worth reading.

"For much of my life I have been a science writer. That means I eavesdrop on what’s going on in laboratories so I can tell interesting stories. It’s analogous to the way art critics write about art, but with a difference: we “science critics” rarely criticise. If we think a scientific paper is dumb, we just ignore it. There’s too much good stuff coming out of science to waste time knocking the bad stuff.

Sure, we occasionally take a swipe at pseudoscience—homeopathy, astrology, claims that genetically modified food causes cancer, and so on. But the great thing about science is that it’s self-correcting. The good drives out the bad, because experiments get replicated and hypotheses put to the test. So a really bad idea cannot survive long in science.

Or so I used to think. Now, thanks largely to climate science, I have changed my mind. It turns out bad ideas can persist in science for decades, and surrounded by myrmidons of furious defenders they can turn into intolerant dogmas."

I guess the problem with the climate machine is that it is very very complex with a lot of variables and impossible to "perform an experiment".  Probably the first thing Science should come to grips with is how do you measure the average temperature of the earth?  If someone tells you the earth is warming how is that measured.  Sounds simple but not if you think about awhile. So I view the arguments about climate change just like the the ones on how the Universe came into being and how it works.  Someone once told me there are three kind of information (data); thing you know and know you know; things you don't know and know you don't know;  and things you don't know and don't know you don't know.  It is this last category of information that cause disasters.  There is hope however as we once believed the earth was flat and we were the center of the Universe.  Good to know we can learn.

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1. I wouldn't consider Matt Ridley a "former climate alarmist"

2. He has money invested in fracking so there is sure to be quite a bit of bias there.

Good to know.   I glanced through his rambling article and it was an utter waste of my time.  For every article like this one, I bet there are many more opposing view articles with scientific, and proven data to back up.

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Yes, it's undeniable what is happening, and there is a strong correlation tying it to the pollution we've dumped into the environment. However, it's not technically "proven". Climate science is still very crude. It's better than any counter argument presented thus far, but still very crude.
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Sometimes, this stuff is just common sense.

Look at the weather around the country and the world, and trends.

Lots of violent, irregular weather trending...

I am not a scientist so I can't prove or disprove whether global warming is real or that it is a result of our use of fossil fuels but you're way too smart to just assume because there's been a relatively very short term (based on the age of the planet) and minor uptrend in the temperature that it's due to the use of fossil fuels.

How are the temperatures measured?  I can place thermometers in different places throughout my house and yard to provide verifiable data that states my house is warmer or cooler than my wife wants it to be.   How do we know with certainty that the planets temperature isn't cyclical and that at some point the average temperature will drop on its own?

On Long Island we've gone 710 days without breaking 90 degrees and experienced our warmest temperatures between 2010 - 2013, so based on local temperatures one could argue (based on trend) that it's not warming but cooling.

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I wish Global Warming would make an appearance in central Ohio. I played golf this morning and froze my ass off, as I forgot to bring a jacket, on July 15th!!!

Today marked the 33rd consecutive day that the "daily high temperature" failed to reach the "average high temperature."  Today we barely broke 70 degrees, and the average high is 85.

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How long have we been recording temperatures? Anything we think we know is based on such a small amount of time compared to the millions of years our planet has been around. Science as we know it is less then 100 years old. Hospitals didnt start using antiseptic til less then 100 years ago. But we know how the world works?
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How long have we been recording temperatures? Anything we think we know is based on such a small amount of time compared to the millions of years our planet has been around. Science as we know it is less then 100 years old. Hospitals didnt start using antiseptic til less then 100 years ago. But we know how the world works?

Not only do we not have historical data beyond 165 years (surface temperature reading began in 1850) but the six major institutions for measuring surface temperatures differ in their findings because their methods for handling gaps between weather stations differ.

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How long have we been recording temperatures? Anything we think we know is based on such a small amount of time compared to the millions of years our planet has been around. Science as we know it is less then 100 years old. Hospitals didnt start using antiseptic til less then 100 years ago. But we know how the world works?

Kind of a straw man argument. Ice cores provide thousands of years worth of data, but people with "confirmation bias" just disregard the science. The world could be underwater and guys will say "this doesn't prove anything". It's amazing how the human brain works when it comes to "confirmation bias", kind of like how a golfer demos irons and claims their favorite brand "feels" the best. Ice cores are cylinders of ice drilled out of an ice sheet or glacier. Most ice core records come from Antarctica and Greenland, and the longest ice cores extend to 3km in depth. The oldest continuous ice core records to date extend 123,000 years in Greenland and 800,000 years in Antarctica. Ice cores contain information about past temperature, and about many other aspects of the environment. Crucially, the ice encloses small bubbles of air that contain a sample of the atmosphere – from these it is possible to measure directly the past concentration of gases (including carbon dioxide and methane) in the atmosphere.

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr. Desmond

Sometimes, this stuff is just common sense.

Look at the weather around the country and the world, and trends.

Lots of violent, irregular weather trending...

I am not a scientist so I can't prove or disprove whether global warming is real or that it is a result of our use of fossil fuels but you're way too smart to just assume because there's been a relatively very short term (based on the age of the planet) and minor uptrend in the temperature that it's due to the use of fossil fuels.

How are the temperatures measured?  I can place thermometers in different places throughout my house and yard to provide verifiable data that states my house is warmer or cooler than my wife wants it to be.   How do we know with certainty that the planets temperature isn't cyclical and that at some point the average temperature will drop on its own?

On Long Island we've gone 710 days without breaking 90 degrees and experienced our warmest temperatures between 2010 - 2013, so based on local temperatures one could argue (based on trend) that it's not warming but cooling.

You're mistaking local phenomenon with the entire global effect.

While I agree that the debate will rage on, how would you or @jsgolfer explain the rapid melting of the ice packs in both the North and South poles? NASA, NOAA and other global weather collection systems have documented rise in temperatures of the air, water and also a rise in sea level. The data is there and the measuring devices accurate. The cause is what is debated. Is this a natural sun cycle? Is this a result of increased CO2 from human activity? Volcanic activity? Aliens shining a giant magnifying glass on us?

But all of this is a pointless debate because unless you are the Koch Brothers, we all know that pollution is bad for us? Correct? Giant smog clouds in LA and Beijing cannot be good for anyone living there. Right? Trash, oil, toxic chemicals in our water supply and oceans are not helping us, are they?  In West Virginia, a chemical company spilled into a river creating havoc. Can't be good, can it? BP creates a giant oil spill in the Gulf damaging the area and fisheries. They get an $18B fine, but it barely touches their profits. It will take decades for the area to recover even with our help.  Is that good?

Is business so important that we just allow them to continue with their current practices? Should we just keep being short sighted and only focus on the next quarter?  I'm not sure how old you are, but I am 55. Boston is so much cleaner now than when I was a kid. We rarely have any smog days like we did back in the 1970s. We can swim in the Charles River again. It is all because of local and national regulations to curb bad practices. Conservatives screamed that it would kill the area economically. It did the opposite. Boston is thriving.

I want the rest of the world to thrive too. BTW, I have a Masters in Chemical Engineering, so I am very capable at understanding scientific studies.

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While I agree that the debate will rage on, how would you or @jsgolfer explain the rapid melting of the ice packs in both the North and South poles? NASA, NOAA and other global weather collection systems have documented rise in temperatures of the air, water and also a rise in sea level. The data is there and the measuring devices accurate. The cause is what is debated. Is this a natural sun cycle? Is this a result of increased CO2 from human activity? Volcanic activity? Aliens shining a giant magnifying glass on us?

I lean more towards natural event, along with minor warming from CO2. Which to me is better than a colder world? I will disagree that the measuring devices are accurate everywhere.  Temperature stations are sited in awful locations, conveniently accessed but not in places which don’t have bias. And they are old and do not get repairs often.  Not sure the National Snow & Ice Data Center agree with your assessment of the sea ice loss at both poles.

http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

Sea ice extent in Antarctica averaged 14.93 million square kilometers (5.76 million square miles), the third highest June extent in the satellite record. Extent was slightly greater than the 1981 to 2010 average almost everywhere around the continent. The high amount of sea ice in the eastern Weddell and Ross seas is consistent with the pattern observed for the past several months.

Satellite data show unusually extensive sea ice growth along the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Arctic sea ice extent for June 2015 averaged 11.0 million square kilometers (4.24 million square miles), the third lowest June extent in the satellite record. This is 920,000 square kilometers (355,200 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 long-term average of 11.89 million square kilometers (4.59 million square miles) and 150,000 square kilometers (58,000 square miles) above the record low for the month observed in 2010.

A total of 1.61 million square kilometers (622,000 square miles) of ice was lost through the month, slightly slower than the 1981 to 2010 average rate of decline of 1.69 million

But all of this is a pointless debate because unless you are the Koch Brothers, we all know that pollution is bad for us? Correct? Giant smog clouds in LA and Beijing cannot be good for anyone living there. Right? Trash, oil, toxic chemicals in our water supply and oceans are not helping us, are they?  In West Virginia, a chemical company spilled into a river creating havoc. Can't be good, can it? BP creates a giant oil spill in the Gulf damaging the area and fisheries. They get an $18B fine, but it barely touches their profits. It will take decades for the area to recover even with our help.  Is that good?

Why does not believing that mankind is sending us to Armageddon have to do with being OK with pollution, where do I say that  Please find a quote somewhere that indicates I’m OK with that? I've worked in the environmental field all my professional life.  I've designed water and wastewater treatment systems to minimize the impact to the environment.

None of those companies were trying to do that, at least IMHO, why would they.  $18B seems like a lot of money to me, I’m sure the shareholders wouldn’t think that is insignificant.   All of those spills were accidents, they were not deliberate actions.

Is business so important that we just allow them to continue with their current practices? Should we just keep being short sighted and only focus on the next quarter?  I'm not sure how old you are, but I am 55. Boston is so much cleaner now than when I was a kid. We rarely have any smog days like we did back in the 1970s. We can swim in the Charles River again. It is all because of local and national regulations to curb bad practices. Conservatives screamed that it would kill the area economically. It did the opposite. Boston is thriving.

I’ll be 51 in a couple of months, again where did I say I was against local/state/federal regulations.  I think we’ve gone overboard on regulations, where just because you can measure something, doesn’t mean it will be bad for you.  I don’t know if you’ve ever had to get a permit on anything, but I will tell you it is a huge drag on the cost of doing business (and time drag). So although most people may not see this, the cost of doing business in the current regulatory environment is extremely costly (and the consumer pays for it in the end, whether it really applies or not to the project at hand).   I would venture to say that complying with regulations adds 20% to all my projects and makes all my projects take much longer to get built and at times becomes a hindrance to getting anything done

I want the rest of the world to thrive too. BTW, I have a Masters in Chemical Engineering, so I am very capable at understanding scientific studies.

And for the rest of the world to thrive they need clean water and proper sanitation and cheap power.  And cheap power comes from carbon at this time. Wind farms and solar panels are to inefficient to really make a dent anywhere. So unless someone comes up with a better idea, you can’t get the third world countries to where we are without cheap power which comes from coal or oil.

You don't have to have an engineering degree or be a climate scientist to understand scientific studies, unlike others I wouldn't disparage anyone's opinion on the issue.  I might try to persuade you to take a more in-depth look rather than listening to a PhD climate Scientist who has a bias, or me who has other thoughts.  But th e consensus that is reported, is not really as strong as one might believe.

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Quote:

Originally Posted by boogielicious

While I agree that the debate will rage on, how would you or @jsgolfer explain the rapid melting of the ice packs in both the North and South poles? NASA, NOAA and other global weather collection systems have documented rise in temperatures of the air, water and also a rise in sea level. The data is there and the measuring devices accurate. The cause is what is debated. Is this a natural sun cycle? Is this a result of increased CO2 from human activity? Volcanic activity? Aliens shining a giant magnifying glass on us?

I lean more towards natural event, along with minor warming from CO2. Which to me is better than a colder world? I will disagree that the measuring devices are accurate everywhere.  Temperature stations are sited in awful locations, conveniently accessed but not in places which don’t have bias. And they are old and do not get repairs often.  Not sure the National Snow & Ice Data Center agree with your assessment of the sea ice loss at both poles.

http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

Sea ice extent in Antarctica averaged 14.93 million square kilometers (5.76 million square miles), the third highest June extent in the satellite record. Extent was slightly greater than the 1981 to 2010 average almost everywhere around the continent. The high amount of sea ice in the eastern Weddell and Ross seas is consistent with the pattern observed for the past several months.

Satellite data show unusually extensive sea ice growth along the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Arctic sea ice extent for June 2015 averaged 11.0 million square kilometers (4.24 million square miles), the third lowest June extent in the satellite record. This is 920,000 square kilometers (355,200 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 long-term average of 11.89 million square kilometers (4.59 million square miles) and 150,000 square kilometers (58,000 square miles) above the record low for the month observed in 2010.

A total of 1.61 million square kilometers (622,000 square miles) of ice was lost through the month, slightly slower than the 1981 to 2010 average rate of decline of 1.69 million

Quote:

Originally Posted by boogielicious

But all of this is a pointless debate because unless you are the Koch Brothers, we all know that pollution is bad for us? Correct? Giant smog clouds in LA and Beijing cannot be good for anyone living there. Right? Trash, oil, toxic chemicals in our water supply and oceans are not helping us, are they?  In West Virginia, a chemical company spilled into a river creating havoc. Can't be good, can it? BP creates a giant oil spill in the Gulf damaging the area and fisheries. They get an $18B fine, but it barely touches their profits. It will take decades for the area to recover even with our help.  Is that good?

Why does not believing that mankind is sending us to Armageddon have to do with being OK with pollution, where do I say that  Please find a quote somewhere that indicates I’m OK with that? I've worked in the environmental field all my professional life.  I've designed water and wastewater treatment systems to minimize the impact to the environment.

None of those companies were trying to do that, at least IMHO, why would they.  $18B seems like a lot of money to me, I’m sure the shareholders wouldn’t think that is insignificant.   All of those spills were accidents, they were not deliberate actions.

Quote:

Originally Posted by boogielicious

Is business so important that we just allow them to continue with their current practices? Should we just keep being short sighted and only focus on the next quarter?  I'm not sure how old you are, but I am 55. Boston is so much cleaner now than when I was a kid. We rarely have any smog days like we did back in the 1970s. We can swim in the Charles River again. It is all because of local and national regulations to curb bad practices. Conservatives screamed that it would kill the area economically. It did the opposite. Boston is thriving.

I’ll be 51 in a couple of months, again where did I say I was against local/state/federal regulations.  I think we’ve gone overboard on regulations, where just because you can measure something, doesn’t mean it will be bad for you.  I don’t know if you’ve ever had to get a permit on anything, but I will tell you it is a huge drag on the cost of doing business (and time drag). So although most people may not see this, the cost of doing business in the current regulatory environment is extremely costly (and the consumer pays for it in the end, whether it really applies or not to the project at hand).   I would venture to say that complying with regulations adds 20% to all my projects and makes all my projects take much longer to get built and at times becomes a hindrance to getting anything done

Quote:

Originally Posted by boogielicious

I want the rest of the world to thrive too. BTW, I have a Masters in Chemical Engineering, so I am very capable at understanding scientific studies.

And for the rest of the world to thrive they need clean water and proper sanitation and cheap power.  And cheap power comes from carbon at this time. Wind farms and solar panels are to inefficient to really make a dent anywhere. So unless someone comes up with a better idea, you can’t get the third world countries to where we are without cheap power which comes from coal or oil.

You don't have to have an engineering degree or be a climate scientist to understand scientific studies, unlike others I wouldn't disparage anyone's opinion on the issue.  I might try to persuade you to take a more in-depth look rather than listening to a PhD climate Scientist who has a bias, or me who has other thoughts.  But the consensus that is reported, is not really as strong as one might believe.

Jerry, the questions were rhetorical and not necessarily directed at you but in general at the skeptics. I don't agree with their "do nothing at this time" mentality.

As for permits, we have to deal with the DEM and EPA for emissions and water, so yes I know it is complicated. But as for cost, it's part of doing business and we are going to pass it on the the customers. I'm sure your company does too. Customers will accept it because they know it's for the greater good. May of our trade customers actually demand it now (companies like Walmart, etc. are very conscious of it).

Now if you want to talk about improving the efficiency of regulations, that is a different subject. Bottom line is most companies will do the least that is required and even less if they feel they won't get caught. People who call for deregulation put a great deal of trust in the private industry to do the right thing. I think they underestimate the power of greed. They may not intentionally do bad things, but their lack of internal oversight creates the problems.

As for the ice packs, I've read studies that counter what you have presented in almost every category. Add the that the loss of glacier ice that has been seen dramatically across the globe and it is obvious that we are losing ice. CO2 trapped in the ice is just adding to the problem. I browse the NASA and NOAA and other sites and keep up with their study results. And no, I have not read Al Gore's book.

For the rest of the world, cheap is nice, but in the long run it will cost far more. I do not want to wait for them to catch up. My company does a lot for clean water in third world countries and many times it is free to them. We also hold our production sites to US standards for emissions, waste and water globally.

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Kind of a straw man argument.

Ice cores provide thousands of years worth of data, but people with "confirmation bias" just disregard the science. The world could be underwater and guys will say "this doesn't prove anything". It's amazing how the human brain works when it comes to "confirmation bias", kind of like how a golfer demos irons and claims their favorite brand "feels" the best.

Even with ice cores you still have to make pretty liberal assumptions on what the exact climate was like. There might be other factors we do not know about that don't leave data in the ice cores.

I am not dismissing the data. The data is the data, but interpreting the data is the key. At best they might have a decent hunch as to what climate close to being. A hunch is not definitive answers. Can we say the world was warmer, probably. Can we say by how much, not sure. There is always a good amount of variance. To assume we know exactly what the climate was by taking ice samples from one area in the world is highly short sited.

Now if you want to talk about improving the efficiency of regulations, that is a different subject. Bottom line is most companies will do the least that is required and even less if they feel they won't get caught. People who call for deregulation put a great deal of trust in the private industry to do the right thing. I think they underestimate the power of greed. They may not intentionally do bad things, but their lack of internal oversight creates the problems.

From working with contractors who have to obey city regulations. Skirting by is the name of the game. In the end, if they can cut a few dollars here and there it adds up in the long run. There are a few companies that will actually be good business partners with the city and do the proper work or go above the typical standard work quality.

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Jerry, the questions were rhetorical and not necessarily directed at you but in general at the skeptics. I don't agree with their "do nothing at this time" mentality.

As for permits, we have to deal with the DEM and EPA for emissions and water, so yes I know it is complicated. But as for cost, it's part of doing business and we are going to pass it on the the customers. I'm sure your company does too. Customers will accept it because they know it's for the greater good. May of our trade customers actually demand it now (companies like Walmart, etc. are very conscious of it).

Now if you want to talk about improving the efficiency of regulations, that is a different subject. Bottom line is most companies will do the least that is required and even less if they feel they won't get caught. People who call for deregulation put a great deal of trust in the private industry to do the right thing. I think they underestimate the power of greed. They may not intentionally do bad things, but their lack of internal oversight creates the problems.

As for the ice packs, I've read studies that counter what you have presented in almost every category. Add the that the loss of glacier ice that has been seen dramatically across the globe and it is obvious that we are losing ice. CO2 trapped in the ice is just adding to the problem. I browse the NASA and NOAA and other sites and keep up with their study results. And no, I have not read Al Gore's book.

For the rest of the world, cheap is nice, but in the long run it will cost far more. I do not want to wait for them to catch up. My company does a lot for clean water in third world countries and many times it is free to them. We also hold our production sites to US standards for emissions, waste and water globally.

Not all customers accept it.  The larger companies of course love it, because it limits small businesses who can't afford to compete with Walmart, when the regulatory burden is high.  Not everything the government does is for the greater good.  they find a lot of non-problems that need solutions.

You can find counter stories to everything.  Guess it depends on how critical you want to look at each side of the argument.  Has the planet has warmed over the last century, absolutely, not as much as it should based on the models.  What I'm saying is that the warming isn't on the catastrophic level because the dire predictions are based on large positive feedbacks that no one can find.  So climate scientist have speculated they are in the deep ocean or the ice or who knows.  And besides you have to ask yourself, what is normal anyways. Just the stuff that has happened for recorded history?  And who decides what is normal?

Why do you say cheap power for other countries will cost more in the long run, seemed to do pretty well for the modernized world?  So they should stay in the dark ages unless we come up with some friendly environmental way to provide them with those things that we have?

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Even with ice cores you still have to make pretty liberal assumptions on what the exact climate was like. There might be other factors we do not know about that don't leave data in the ice cores.

I am not dismissing the data. The data is the data, but interpreting the data is the key. At best they might have a decent hunch as to what climate close to being. A hunch is not definitive answers. Can we say the world was warmer, probably. Can we say by how much, not sure. There is always a good amount of variance. To assume we know exactly what the climate was by taking ice samples from one area in the world is highly short sited.

From working with contractors who have to obey city regulations. Skirting by is the name of the game. In the end, if they can cut a few dollars here and there it adds up in the long run. There are a few companies that will actually be good business partners with the city and do the proper work or go above the typical standard work quality.

Agree on the ice core data.  As well as basing past temperatures on tree cone bristle data doesn't quite seem plausible to me, to be as accurate as they say.

As for contractor's I agree they all do as little as possible to comply, but I would guess that more would be willing to do better if they actually believed that what there were doing meant something other than a checked box on a form.  And that's the problem, we regulate everything to death and miss the big stuff.

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