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Denial Is Not a River in Egypt

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I’ve grown accustomed to it over the years. I’ve never been fully convinced that Global Warming was really happening, and I’ve never concealed my opinions to that effect. As a result, I’ve been called any number of derogatory epithets, leading off with “denier,” a throwback to the Germans (and a few others) who steadfastly refused to believe that the Third Reich was systematically eliminating Jews, gays, and other human beings they considered undesirable. But questioning GW is markedly different from denying the Holocaust; there are solid, massive amounts of evidence, including eyewitness accounts, to document Hitler’s Final Solution.

Global Warming, on the other hand, is supported by far less real, tangible evidence, and much of the theory hangs on the predictions of computer models, which in most sciences are a useful tool, but because they can and do tend to be imprecise, only on a theoretical level. Indeed, one such model, Michael Mann’s infamous “Hockey Stick” graph proved to be so distanced from reality as to become a world wide laughingstock. And, of course, we GW deniers aren’t denying (and thus excusing) genocide. As I said, there’s a difference.

But the real difference lies in the reality of what has been transpiring in Earth’s atmosphere. For 15 years, nearly the past two decades, the atmosphere has not warmed, even though carbon dioxide released into it is increasing; an estimated 100 billion tons of CO2 were added to the atmosphere between 2000 and 2010.

Now, before all you true believers rise en masse to crucify me, let me assure you that it is not my intention to flat-out deny the possibility of GW. Just as I believe there is not enough good evidence to confirm its existence beyond the shadow of a doubt, so too, one cannot at this point say, “That’s it, folks, move on; nothing to see here,” like a cop at an accident scene. What does seem to be happening, however, is that there is now, on the part of some scientists, a modicum of doubt, at least as to the potential severity of the GW phenomenon; a doubt that, for many of these scientists and government officials, did not exist until now. Concurrent with the emergence of that doubt, we are now seeing some of the scientists themselves taking a second look at their computer models and other data, seeking explanations for what at the moment, are puzzling anomalies that are not congruent with much of the thinking until now. Even NASA’s James Hansen, one of the chief standard bearers for Global Warming theory, has observed publicly, “The five-year mean global temperature has been flat for a decade.”

The question of what is actually going on is centered on what the scientists term, “Climate Sensitivity,” which, as its name implies, simply refers to how much (or how little) the climate will react to changes in CO2 levels over time. According to the UK’s venerable conservative (in the American sense) journal, The Economist,

This is usually defined as how much hotter the Earth will get for each doubling of CO2 concentrations. So-called equilibrium sensitivity, the commonest measure, refers to the temperature rise after allowing all feedback mechanisms to work (but without accounting for changes in vegetation and ice sheets).

The rule of thumb for the effect that CO2 has on the atmosphere’s temperature has been that each doubling of the amount of absorbed carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will result in roughly a 1 degree Celsius rise in its temperature. There are, however, other variables which complicate this theory. As The Economist notes, these variables complicate predictions for two reasons:

One is that rising CO2 levels directly influence phenomena such as the amount of water vapour (also a greenhouse gas) and clouds that amplify or diminish the temperature rise. This affects equilibrium sensitivity directly, meaning doubling carbon concentrations would produce more than a 1°C rise in temperature. The second is that other things, such as adding soot and other aerosols to the atmosphere, add to or subtract from the effect of CO2. All serious climate scientists agree on these two lines of reasoning. But they disagree on the size of the change that is predicted.

It’s worth noting that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), acknowledged as the orthodox expert on the subject, has set its standard for the above change at 3 degrees Celsius.

And now, as a result of the flat lining of global warming over the past decade-plus, scientists have returned to their data, looking for explanations for this anomalous behavior on the part of the atmosphere; new predictions have emerged, which vary significantly. A team of researchers at the University of Oslo has proposed that a doubling of CO2 will produce an increase in temperature of only 1.2-2,9 degrees with a likely number at 1.9 degrees. The group ascribes a 90 percent probability to that figure, but their work has not yet been peer reviewed. A scientist by the name of Julia Hargreaves at the Research Institute for Global Change in Yokohama, Japan, offers a range of 0.5-4.0°C, with a mean of 2.3°C.

Another factor complicating the accuracy of scientist’s predictions is the computer models themselves. Always a factor in casting doubt in the minds of doubters, usually for the reason that the models are only as good as the data put into them (known as GIGO–Garbage In, Garbage Out — in programmer circles), the computer models now are so numerous that they are divided into two categories. The first of these, known as General Circulation Models (GCMs) use a bottom-up model, relying on enormous amounts of data to predict changes. Based as they are on terabytes of data, their proponents point to the complexity comprehensiveness of these models as positive. However, this type of model does not work with real time numbers; they plot long term activity by the use of simulations rather than real figures.

The second category of computer models, known as energy balance models, are simpler and work from a top-down framework. This group, by virtue of its basic setup, is over-simplified and thus not believed to be as accurate as the GCMs. For obvious reasons, scientists are searching anew for other data and sources to supplant the data-rich but largely hypothetical computer models. Other problems which could be contributory to the apparent discrepancy between predictions and reality, include the presence of aerosols (including soot) in the atmosphere. Though aerosols are universally believed to be harmful, the ability to measure them accurately and base predictions on the measurements is only just reaching the necessary accuracy levels.

There are a number of theories being postulated for why the model predictions have been so far off target; some blame lack of in-depth knowledge on the effects various element have on the atmosphere, while others blame the technology, noting that we can’t yet measure ocean temperatures to the degree necessary for accurate work, especially at extreme depths. Even natural (as opposed to man-made) factors are now being considered as having a greater effect on the atmosphere than previously thought.

One of the results of the lack of recent warming can only be good; it appears to be encouraging a much wider-ranging dialogue, not only among scientists, but between governments and legislative bodies as well. As more and more comprehensive data is collected and presented, we will all benefit from the results.

It’s also worth noting that, as the UK’s Financial Post points out, “According to a Pew report released earlier this month, among Americans global warming ranks last among 21 public policy priorities that the government should deal with. European polls show similar results. “

And who knows? We “deniers” may turn out to be right after all.

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About Clavos

Raised in Mexico by American parents, Clavos is proudly bi-cultural, and considers both Spanish and English as his native languages. A lifelong boating enthusiast, Clavos lives aboard his ancient trawler, Second Act, in Coconut Grove, Florida and enjoys cruising the Bahamas and Florida Keys from that base. When not dealing with the never-ending maintenance issues inherent in ancient trawlers, Clavos sells yachts to finance his boat habit, but his real love (after boating, of course) is writing and editing; a craft he has practiced at Blogcritics since 2006.
  • Dr Dreadful

    I hope you do turn out to be right, Clav, but my reading of the available evidence doesn’t give me cause for optimism.

    Although you qualify the assertion by saying that “much of” AGW theory is based on models, you then perpetuate the myth that models are the only thing it is based on.

    This is as untrue as the claim that Mann’s hockey stick has been debunked. It hasn’t. It’s been not only replicated by other models but also confirmed by real-world observations.

    So it should, but unfortunately doesn’t, go without saying that claims that model predictions have failed to predict real-world measurements are not true.

    Can you find models that missed the mark? Of course you can, but focusing on only those models is no more helpful than selecting those few cases where someone has survived a 100 mph car crash and asserting that 100 mph is a safe speed at which to drive.

    And as I’m sure I and others have pointed out on these threads many times before, claims of a relative lack of warming over the last 15 years (which are also wrong) should be taken more as an exercise in cherry-picking (thanks to a strong El Niño, 1998 was an exceptionally warm year) than proof that global warming has stopped, or was never happening in the first place.

    It’s a bit like saying, in the second week of July, “Gee, it’s only 80 degrees today. It was 85 this time last week. That means summer’s over.”

    One last thing. Natural factors haven’t ever been ignored or played down in the development of AGW theory. Here’s the thing, though. If you remove the influence of CO2 (which all but the most hardened sceptics concede has increased dramatically in concentration due to human emissions), there is no other factor that can account for the observed rise in temperatures.

    As Sherlock Holmes was fond of saying…

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    For 15 years, nearly the past two decades, the atmosphere has not warmed, even though carbon dioxide released into it is increasing; an estimated 100 billion tons of CO2 were added to the atmosphere between 2000 and 2010. (boldface mine)

    REALLY? Perhaps you should actually check what the numbers really show from NASA, from NOAA, and another from NASA Earth Observatory.

    So seeing how the earth’s atmosphere HAS warmed in direct contradiction to what you claimed, what then are you going to say led to that warming? I know what your answer’s going to be – you’ve used that answer before – so I guess we’ll prepare for that debate once more.

    And one more thing – your quote by James Hansen: “The five-year mean global temperature has been flat for a decade.” When I Googled that phrase, I saw the quote in the Economist and then a whole lot of quotes on climate-science-denial pages using that quote as ‘proof’ that AGW is some kind of hoax. But none of those AGW-denial pages seemed to pay attention to the rest of Economist’s article which pointed out that yes, AGW is real and still proceeding, if not to the immediate degree that had been believed. Funny how the denialists like yourself never seem to pay attention to the context of articles when they use quotes like that….

  • pablo

    For Chicken (Contrarian) Little:

    Antarctic ice sheet melt ‘not that unusual’, latest ice core shows Warm slushy spells like the 1990s have happened before

    Man made Global Warming due to carbon dioxide was created by the Club of Rome and the Rothschilds as a way to usher in Global Government.

    The Genesis of Man Made Global Warming

    I wonder what you think about Agenda 21 Glenn. Actually I don’t wonder at all.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Actually I don’t wonder at all.

    About anything, apparently.

  • pablo

    “Actually I don’t wonder at all.

    About anything, apparently.”

    Quoted for truth, the admission of a closed mind. Thanks Glenn.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Hey pablo –

    Didja hear the latest? The Club of Rome and the Rothschilds planned and carried out the bombing of the Boston Marathon! It’s a conspiracy, I tell ya! Better go check it out so you can tell the world before it’s too late!

    *shakes head and gets back to work*

  • pablo

    No Glenn the conspiracy was hatched way back when you were in school, on how to create sheople, and it worked very very well.

  • pablo

    And of course you have no comment on the “Antarctic ice sheet melt ‘not that unusual’, latest ice core shows Warm slushy spells like the 1990s have happened before” article Glenn, how utterly typical of you.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Um, pablo –

    Looking at #8, if you’d kept up with the research as much as you seem to think you have, you’d know that while there have been “warm slushy spells” before, none of them occurred as quickly as this one has. From CNN:

    Global warming has propelled Earth’s climate from one of its coldest decades since the last ice age to one of its hottest — in just one century.
    A heat spike like this has never happened before, at least not in the last 11,300 years, said climatologist Shaun Marcott, who worked on a new study on global temperatures going back that far.
    “If any period in time had a sustained temperature change similar to what we have today, we would have certainly seen that in our record,” he said. It is a good indicator of just how fast man-made climate change has progressed.
    A century is a very short period of time for such a spike.
    It’s supposed to be cold. The Earth was very cold at the turn of the 20th century. The decade from 1900 to 1909 was colder than 95% of the last 11,300 years, the study found.
    Fast forward to the turn of the 21st century, and the opposite occurs. Between 2000 and 2009, it was hotter than about 75% of the last 11,300 years.
    If not for man-made influences, the Earth would be in a very cold phase right now and getting even colder, according the joint study by Oregon State University and Harvard University.

    And from the U.S. Geologic Survey, via NBC News:

    The mid-Pliocene was about as warm as climate models predict it will be by 2100, or about 3.6 degrees F (2 degrees C) above current global mean temperatures, the Geological Survey said.
    Sea levels were as much as 70 feet higher than they are now. Florida would have been a narrow strip instead of a broad peninsula, Washington, D.C., might have offered oceanfront views and much of Bangladesh would have been under water. Greenland, now covered in melting glaciers, had forests growing on its northern slope.
    Animals and plants would have looked familiar to 21st century eyes, as newly formed grasslands attracted long-legged grazers. The dinosaurs were long gone, and the mountains were basically built. Two-footed ancestors of homo sapiens probably walked the Earth.
    Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere were between 350 and 400 parts per million (that is, between 350 and 400 carbon dioxide molecules for every million molecules of air), said Pagani, who called the estimates “a pretty good ballpark figure.”
    Today, the carbon dioxide concentration is similar. An April 5 reading at Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory was over 394 parts per million. This figure has climbed from less than 320 ppm in 1960 and could be over 450 ppm by 2100

    pablo, on the one hand you’ve got a bunch of politicos and a few scientists saying Global Warming’s a myth. On the other hand, you’ve got 98% of the world’s climatologists and the vast majority of the rest of the world’s scientist telling you that their research shows that anthorpogenic global warming is real.

    In addition to all the other differences (such as the climatologists being the ones who know more than anyone else about the subject), the climatologists would LOVE to be wrong. Your boys – the poltiicos and the few scientists who disagree with the rest of the educated world – would LOVE to be right.

    So you’re betting the planet, pablo – who are you going to believe? The ones who would love to be right about what they believe, who say that GW is no big deal, nothing to worry about? Or the ones who would love to be wrong about what their research shows, that this is something that will adversely affect all of human civilization?

  • Clav

    From the UK’s Financial Post, in a piece written by Lawrence Solomon and published April 12:

    “The other common reason for believing in the existence of a scientific consensus was a widely reported survey that showed 97% of scientists believe in global warming. That number came from an online survey of 10,257 earth scientists conducted by two researchers who for various reasons decided to disqualify all but 77 of the 3146 who responded. The 77 accepted had unknown qualifications; a PhD or even a Master’s degree was not required for inclusion in the survey. Of those 77, 75 thought humans contributed to climate change; the ratio 75 over 77 yields the 97% figure. Another study also brandished a 97% figure, this one produced not by a scientist but by a computer administrator doing Google Scholar searches.”

  • Clav

    And there are several billion people on Earth who are convinced there is a god without a single shred of evidence to support that bizarre fantasy.

  • pablo

    You are quite wrong about the climatologists wanting to be wrong Glenn, they know who butters their bread.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    That must be one hell of a data base you’ve got there, Clav.

  • roger nowosielski

    @11

    Truly, though, I don’t see what has one thing got to do with another. Can’t we stick to climate-gate without bringing God into the picture?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    I think that decision would have to go through Christopher Rose.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    But I could give it a whirl.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    pablo –

    No, the climatologists want to be wrong. If the climatologists are right, then think about all the things that are going to go badly – it will displace many millions of people and force them to move inland over the generations, and our weather is going to get significantly worse – there will be significantly more destruction – indeed, we’re already seeing it.

    NOW, pablo, why would the climatologists want to be right? You think they’re happy that there will be more displacement, death, and destruction?

    What about you? Would you willingly lie about the possibility of death and destruction if there were more money in it for you?

    No?

    Then if you have enough integrity that the extra money isn’t worth the lie, why would you assume that 98% of the climatologists in the world would lie? They’re not hurting for money – they’re PhD’s and can always find a job.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    A better measure of professional opinion on the subject is to look at published climate science papers to see how many of them accept the consensus, whereupon one finds that not a single one rejects it.

    If one must resort to shows of hands, there are several other surveys of climate scientists besides the one looked at by Solomon, for example this one, which found around 95% of climate scientists agree with AGW theory, or this one [paywall], which came up with more like 97-98%.

    Personally I’m the sort of bloke who likes to look at the evidence rather than appeal to authority: still, to use one of the analogies of which I’m so inordinately fond, if 100 fire investigators examine the smoking embers of my home and 98 of them tell me they reckon it was arson, I’d be inclined to consider the possibility that some bastard set fire to my house.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    What are we going to do to minimize whatever negative impact industrialization is having on the environment?

    Even if industrialization is not directly responsible for a rising temperature trend that may or may not exist, air and water quality are very poor, at even unsustainable levels, in some parts of the world. Even in the US, there are days when people with respiratory problems are advised to stay inside.

    If the industrialized countries where pollution levels are highest are exempt from corrective measures — and these are likely to be expensive — that other industrialized nations are willing to take, then there’s something fishy going on.

    And there probably will be something fishy going on, countries/companies trying to take advantage of the sacrifices others are willing to make, but it’s still imperative that the changes be made. Companies run by people with the long view (and supported by ethical consumers willing to pay higher prices) will do what it takes to run cleaner. There will probably have to be radical changes in the way we design our communities and get around.

    The changes that improve air quality will very likely reverse any man-made contribution to global warming that might exist.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    I think it’s time to get started.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    if 100 fire investigators examine the smoking embers of my home and 98 of them tell me they reckon it was arson, I’d be inclined to consider the possibility that some bastard set fire to my house.

    But in pablo’s world, that just means that those 98 fire investigators were just trying to keep their job. None of them would have been honest, but all of them had just been rubber-stamping findings just to stay employed.

    In other words, a PhD. climatologist can’t be honest unless his conclusions are what pablo thinks the conclusions should be.

  • pablo

    I did not say Climatologists want to be right, what I was suggesting is that many of them are skewing the evidence so that they continue to get funding, if there is no crisis, there is no dough, or are you really that dense Glenn?

  • pablo

    Irene,

    I am fully aware of the effects that industrialization has wreaked on the world, and it is a shame and a crisis. The effects are everywhere, from pollution, acid rain, deforestation, and the list goes on and on.

  • Clav

    Truly, though, I don’t see what has one thing got to do with another.

    Simple, Roger. Glenn, as he always does, was trying to say that because 98% (his numbers) of scientists say GW is real, it must be. Apart from the citation I posted showing that the actual number is far smaller than Glenn’s 98%, I was attempting to show that although literally billions (Catholics alone number 1.2 billion worldwide) of people believe in a mythical entity they call “god,” there is still no hard evidence of his/her existence.

    In other words the number of believers, no matter how impressive, is not proof of the veracity of the belief.

    But you knew all that.

  • yort

    it’s likely that we’ll eat the polluted pudding of GW well before Sophia let’s god out of time-out to prove himself a Him worthy of adoration

    so – prudence dictates a move to high ground and a (sail)boat

  • Clav

    The problem with the move to high ground is that said ground is accessible to almost anyone else, Shoeman.

    The sailboat at least significantly limits the number of competitors capable of reaching your sanctuary (provided one chooses it judiciously).

  • yort

    …I think I saw a really long movie about that once

    which inspired us here at Acme Aquatics to develop a process of genetic modification allowing us to systemically introduce gills into the population

    we’ve had some set backs at the patent office but hope to bring the product to market in a timely fashon

  • yort

    …and proving that the job of a Rep is never done I would be remiss if I failed use this opportunity to mention Acme Carbonic’s new personalized Carbon Catcher [in assorted colors] – (again patent pending and pending)

  • roger nowosielski

    @ 26

    So you do go along with Calvin’s notion of the elect.

    There’s still some hope we’ll make a good Protestant out of you!

  • Clav

    :)

  • Dr Dreadful

    I did not say Climatologists want to be right, what I was suggesting is that many of them are skewing the evidence so that they continue to get funding

    Pablo, Glenn’s already made the point that follows in different terms in his #21, but it bears repeating. What your suggestion doesn’t consider is why climatologists would be so dramatically more prone to fudge numbers than members of any other profession.

    Generally speaking, people with employment want their employment to continue. Yet only a small minority resorts to unethical behaviour to achieve that end. Most people decide that the best way to keep their jobs is to be good at them.

    And besides, the climate isn’t going to magically go away if AGW theory is disproven. There will still be climate to study.

    Daft.

  • Clav

    Daft it is, Doc.

    Which leads one to wonder why some of the “scientists” have resorted to chicanery, data hiding, lying, etc. I refer, of course, to the improprieties found in the stolen emails. The accounts I read of these purported to be reproducing the contents of those emails verbatim.

    Of course, those who so purported were also the people who stole the emails, so an argument can be made that they were criminals with a bent for criminal behavior, which of course would make lying child’s play to them.

    Whereas the scientists all are honest, thrifty, brave, clean, reverent — Scouts of sorts.

  • roger nowosielski

    The point Glenn was pressing, however, was that all of ‘em were PhDs, which, to my mind, is beside the point — unless the point was (a) that PhD’s, as a class, are essentially “more honest”;
    (b) they they could always find another job;
    (c) they’re scientists, so they can’t be wrong;

    Or, all of the above, of course.

    I know, I know, this is not really very relevant, except that:

    So many rather extraneous points are being habitually brought into the table — in order to what? bludgeon one’s opponent into an agreement or submission, makes no difference what — that it often is difficult to follow the discussion and stay on point (as evidenced, say, by Pablo here having “wandered off”).

  • roger nowosielski

    Clav, just posted mine; must be thinking serendipitously here.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Clav, the only improprieties in the Climategate emails were some rude and imprudent things said among the scientists concerned about the people who’d been harassing them and accusing them of lying and committing fraud. I’m pretty sure that if someone accused you without foundation of being a crook and that your boat selling business was a criminal racket, you’d have some choice things to say about them as well.

    The “chicanery” and “data hiding” just turned out to be discussions of standard statistical techniques used to interpret models and datasets. You do, of course, know that multiple independent investigations all exonerated those concerned of any wrongdoing.

    And yes, I have in my time read investigative reports that were whitewashes, but the Climategate ones didn’t, for me, fit that pattern.

  • roger nowosielski

    We’re interrupting our regular programming in the interest of the following public service announcement.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Simple, Roger. Glenn, as he always does, was trying to say that because 98% (his numbers) of scientists say GW is real, it must be. Apart from the citation I posted showing that the actual number is far smaller than Glenn’s 98%

    It’s interesting that you posted this AFTER Doc provided a reference that showed 97-98% of climate scientists saying GW is real, another one that showed 95% agreement, and another one that included this statement:

    The 928 papers[on global warming] were divided into six categories: explicit endorsement of the consensus position, evaluation of impacts, mitigation proposals, methods, paleoclimate analysis, and rejection of the consensus position. Of all the papers, 75% fell into the first three categories, either explicitly or implicitly accepting the consensus view; 25% dealt with methods or paleoclimate, taking no position on current anthropogenic climate change. Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position. (boldface mine)

    “None…disagreed”. Hm. That sounds almost like “100% agreed”. I’m sure there’s some nuances, some differing opinions on the degree of AGW in there, but it sure seems that not a single one of the climate scientists who authored those studies disagreed that AGW is real.

    Now seeing as how you posted your comment that “the actual number is far smaller than Glenn’s 98%” AFTER Doc made the comment that included the above references, how are you going to justify your comment against what Doc clearly showed were the ‘actual numbers’?

  • Clav

    @#37:

    I don’t have to, Glenn, because neither you nor (most surprisingly) Doc noticed that his second citation is the exact same one that Solomon discusses in my comment #10, and both citations involve a polling sample of 75-77 people..

    Doc’s first citation is a little more convincing, if for no other reason than that it involves more papers investigated. However, I disagree with Doc’s conclusion that 100% of the papers endorsed GW; what I saw before the 100% number was that 75% endorsed, the rest (25%) did not directly address the issue. Here is the cut-and-paste version:

    Of all the papers, 75% fell into the first three categories, either explicitly or implicitly accepting the consensus view; 25% dealt with methods or paleoclimate, taking no position on current anthropogenic climate change. Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position. (emphasis added)

    Doc’s third citation involved paying to see the actual numbers, and I’m just impecunious marina trash; I can’t afford that, so I never saw the numbers, only the generalizations at the beginning..

  • roger nowosielski

    [… a step above the trailer park kind?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    So, does anyone have anything to say about the idea that measures taken to address pollution (which we don’t all agree is there) will also address global warming (which we can’t)? Is that an oversimplification?

    Isn’t the ultimate goal of those trying to educate people about man-made global warming to get the changes made? Seems to me if you work with the pro-environment buy-in from the “deniers” that you already have, you could be using your pro-environmental energies more effectively.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    dang…pollution (which we DO all agree is there) will also address global warming (which we don’t all agree is there).

  • Dr Dreadful

    Clav, you are correct about my second citation. I didn’t realize it was the same paper because the authors are stated as Doran and Zimmerman, whereas Solomon identified Zimmerman as the sole author.

    In the case of the first, I did not conclude that 100% of the papers endorsed AGW theory: I merely reported the authors’ finding that none dissented from it.

    This is an important distinction. If AGW theory is inaccurate or downright wrong, where is the evidence and why aren’t people publishing about it?

  • Dr Dreadful

    P.S. I’ve sometimes found it possible to evade paywalls by using Google Scholar. Quite often, scientific papers are reproduced on college websites around the world and the reproducers don’t always bother to insist that people pay for the privilege of reading them. I’ll see if I can dig that one up somewhere.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Success! Here you go.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Irene @ #40:

    Since industrial pollution produces CO2 in large quantities, and since CO2 has been known for a century and a half to be a greenhouse gas, and since it is the specific isotope of carbon produced by combusting fossil fuels that has been measured as increasing in its atmospheric concentration, and since the Earth is observed to be warming, and since removing CO2 from the models leaves no other factor that can account for the observed warming, then the answer to your question is yes, measures taken to address pollution, specifically to reduce CO2 emissions, will have a mitigating effect on global warming.

    That may be the longest sentence I’ve ever written on BC, and I do love my long sentences. All that time spent with my nose buried in the pages of Dickens must be rubbing off.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    If AGW theory is inaccurate or downright wrong, where is the evidence and why aren’t people publishing about it?

    But wouldn’t that be requiring Clavos to prove a negative?

  • Dr Dreadful

    No, it would just be requiring him to produce the research.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos #38 –

    Y’know, I really don’t mind so much when you point out the flaws in my arguments, because you usually make obvious sense when you do.

    Thanks – I appreciate it.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena Irene Athena

    Thankyou, Dr. D. I enjoy the long sentences in which you agree with me. :)

  • roger nowosielski

    Length of the sentence notwithstanding (and I know I shouldn’t be talking), I was hoping for a substantial, earthshaking agreement. Instead, all I find is adherence to plain common sense.

    How disappointing!

  • Clav

    Isn’t it in common sense that most agreements (at least the ones that work) are rooted?

    Hm?

  • roger nowosielski

    Tongue-in-cheek —

    I was shooting for Dreadful’s conversion or something of that nature, ha ha!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Rog –

    I was shooting for Dreadful’s conversion or something of that nature, ha ha!

    Rhetoric control means typing with both hands….

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Well, Clav, I hope it all works out. I don’t know which side is going to extend the olive branch so that progress can be made, but I hope it happens soon.

    As the smog on the western coast of the United States acts as catalyst to another spectacular sunset…the world rolls toward another new day. Stay hopeful.

  • Doug Hunter

    Good post, Clav. I see it’s got bogged down in the comments by the usual nonsense… politics, polls, appeals to authority (granted, it is in the politics section). For the purposes of the 97% poll even I’d have to agree. CO2 does warm the environment, man has contributed CO2, warming is happening, guess I’m part of the 97% as well.

    Anyways, being a layperson follower of this issue for quite some time, I imagine the plateau in warming is linked to the negative PDO (Pacific Decadal Oscillation). The PDO was negative in the period 1940’s to 1970’s when we had a similiar flatline or mild decline in the temperature (and the famous warning of a coming ice age), then positive from the mid 70’s to early 2000’s I believe when we had the recent warming spell that got us all in a tizzy. I think what we have is a gentle upward trend in temperature with some longer cycles, such as the PDO superimposed which can mask the true changes for decades at a time.

    I have already went through the scientific portion of the debate with Doc previously, actual measurements to this point do not indicate catastrophic changes are in the works. It’s not clear that there’s a trend in desertification, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc., etc. The biggest effects (and where most of the “global” warming has taken place is in the Arctic where the temperature has gone us a few degrees and summer sea ice has been reduced greatly for a few weeks in September. For some strange reason Sea Ice in the Antarctic has been growing to record levels at the same time. I wouldn’t be shocked if they discovered some ocean circulation that was to blame bringing warm waters to the Arctic with less warmth circulating to the South.

    I think the benefits of having energy to maintain civilization more than make up for the mild warming, wetting, and greening of the planet (the improvements to the biosphere by having additional plant food available in the air are already measureble) that will result. Scientists took a period where the usual CO2 warming was coinciding with some cyclical upswings (such as a positive PDO) and projected that the acceleration would continue… they were wrong. If they cut down their forecast, the sensitivity Clavos mentioned, for warming to about half or less than what they’re projecting it is then they’ll hit closer to reality in the future and just maybe I won’t have to be a ‘denier’ afterall.

    As for the danger to the environment from the mild warming, I see real issues we can be sure of staring us in the face today. If 9″ of sea level rise given 100 years advanced notice is something modern humans (who’ve dealt with 400 foot of sea level rise in the last 10-12000 years) can’t handle intelligently maybe we simply don’t deserve to survive. As for having a mildly warmer, wetter, greener planet flush with cheap energy and growth…. well, I guess it’s not for everyone. Perhaps we should give up industrialization, return to our caves, and let the earth slink back into our regularly scheduled roughly 100,000 years of ice age we are due for.

  • Doug Hunter

    A note on my last comment, the first sentence of the last paragraph is not clear. My point was supposed to be that mild changes over multiple decades or century long scales, such as the projected 9″ of sea level rise this century should take a back seat to tangible real world problems… pollution, poverty, famine, etc. As homework, if your country is undertaking or has undertaken some regulations, taxes, cap and trade, etc. you should look up what effect it is expected to have on CO2 output, how that effects the global output and further run it through the climate models to see how long you could delay warming or how much you could adjust the earth’s thermostat.

    I know the US EPA did just such a thing. Having the EPA regulate carbon would cost $78 billion annually and result in one 100th of a degree offset to global warming by 2100… that equates to $700 trillion dollars per degree to avert global warming…. and you wonder why I’m skeptical of government action!

    The proposals up to this point are more money and power grabs than actual effective buffers to warming… let’s me know where their minds are at.

    Could we not put $700 trillion to better use solving hunger, poverty, homelessness, cancer, etc. etc?

    If you’re wondering where I got my numbers from the EPA check the Federal Register 75 25495

  • Clav

    Doug, thanks. You make an excellent point when you say that it’s not clear for most of the world (the Arctic is an exception) that there exists a trend as predicted by the computer models. While I agree computer models are and should be a valuable tool (in other sciences as well as climatology), it seems to me that too many of the individuals involved in climate research seem to have accepted the predictions of the models in toto, and sort of taken an attitude of, “Well, that’s it; that’s what’s going to happen, now we need to start mitigating.”

    Then the pols get involved (can you say Al Gore?), and the whole thing seems to focus on stopping warming, no matter what it takes, how much it costs and what economic damage it will do. Companies with no or little track record have huge amounts of money thrown at them by the government, and because no one did the simple due diligence any savvy private investor would routinely do, the money is wasted when the projects, or even the companies themselves, fail.

    And through it all, the pols, as always, make out. Gore is one of the biggest individual polluters in the US (enormous house, travels in a private jet, etc.), and yet he’s getting significantly rich preying on the gullibility (and panic) of government managers who are facing pressure on all sides to “fix” what we don’t even know for sure is a real threat yet.

    I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised; I’ve always though the federal government to be one of the most inept entities on Earth.

  • Doug Hunter

    Doc and Glenn, of course scientists agreeing is a feather in the cap of your argument, but I would like to note the history of politicization of science. Of course society has no vested interest in the mating habits of the spotted tree frog (unless they enjoy mating under the footprint of a planned development of course), but many times science has met up with politics and been pushed the wrong way at least temporarily. Genetic research is one area that springs to mind. Not many Soviet papers countered Lysenkoism. China now leads research in Genetics and intelligence as we find it too controversial to do here.

    Either way, suppression of opposing research or trumpeting false research, governments have a long history of influencing science even outside the built in weaknesses and prejudices of the researchers themselves. Call me anti-science if you wish, but I don’t hold people with advanced degrees to be infallible and think they get a good many things wrong, even published peer reviewed research, today.

  • Dr Dreadful

    For some strange reason Sea Ice in the Antarctic has been growing to record levels at the same time. I wouldn’t be shocked if they discovered some ocean circulation that was to blame bringing warm waters to the Arctic with less warmth circulating to the South.

    Nothing as elaborate as that, Doug. The sea ice is being generated by Antarctica itself. Accelerated melting from ice shelves is depositing cold water at the surface which is insulating it from the warmer water beneath, facilitating the formation of sea ice in autumn and winter.

    [My link takes you to a preview, but you can access the complete paper if you copy and paste the title, search for it in Google Scholar, then click on the PDF link to the right of the first hit.]

  • Doug Hunter

    #59 The poles are quite far apart, I’d suggest the ocean current perhaps more effecting the Arctic.

    That’s a reasonable explanation for the Antarctic. Also sounds like a nice negative feedback as sea ice reflects light and keeps the atmosphere cool. I wonder what the long term status and cycles are for that? I never disputed we were experiencing some level of warming regardless of cause. What about this tiny percentage of melt of Antarctica (even models show it will take thousands of years to melt even with generous heapings of CO2 warming added) scares you into thinking it’s a good idea to spend $700 Trillion per degree to counteract it? I don’t see the scare factor and personally think the ice age that would naturally be due us would be a worse outcome.

  • Doug Hunter

    Again Doc, I’m not a thermometer skeptic. I don’t disagree that we’ve experienced some warming… I think it’s overblown and I don’t see anything in the science that points to an actual catastrophe. I also don’t think they understand the natural cycles of the planet very well and there is an ongoing effort to paper over and minimize previous changes. Things such as the little ice age, the medieval and roman warm periods that were well established when climate science wasn’t political are now being minimized in favor of ‘unprecedented’ warming from CO2. The chart in Clavos article says it all, global temperatures are off the bottom of the 95% confidence interval set as recently as 2007. That means one of two things, there’s a 5% chance this is simply an anomaly and their theory holds and there’s a 95% chance they fucked up somewhere, thought they knew more than they did, and let their hubris get the best of them. You can continue to argue the 5% if you want, I’ll take the 95% odds they overplayed their hand which is what I have been saying all along.

  • Dr Dreadful

    What about this tiny percentage of melt of Antarctica (even models show it will take thousands of years to melt even with generous heapings of CO2 warming added) scares you into thinking it’s a good idea to spend $700 Trillion per degree to counteract it?

    I didn’t say or imply anything of the kind, Doug. Your question is a bit like saying, “What about the shock wave from the bullet that’s just been discharged from that pistol scares you into thinking you might be about to die?”

    I’m concerned about the global effects of warming, of which Antarctic ice melt is only a part.

    And I’d like to take some time to look into this $700 trillion per degree thing of yours. It sounds like a bit of a crock to me.

  • roger nowosielski

    “. . . I would like to note the history of politicization of science.” #58

    Now you speak like a post-modernist, Doug, not to mention that the sociology of science, a discipline in its own right, would tend to agree with you.

  • Dr Dreadful

    I would like to note the history of politicization of science.

    Anything can be politicized: that doesn’t automatically invalidate it. For example, the Holocaust (or rumours of it) was politicized in the US as a way of mustering support for America entering WWII. Was it wrong to do so?

    Of course society has no vested interest in the mating habits of the spotted tree frog

    How about ducks?

    many times science has met up with politics and been pushed the wrong way at least temporarily.

    Exactly, Doug. Temporarily. Science has built-in falsifiability. Anyone can come along and attempt to disprove any scientific finding or theory. Efforts to do so in the case of AGW are so far deeply flawed, unconvincing, and/or themselves politicized.

    Not many Soviet papers countered Lysenkoism.

    It was hardly the case that Lysenkoism came to prominence in an atmosphere of free inquiry. Come now.

    China now leads research in Genetics and intelligence as we find it too controversial to do here.

    We’re fortunate that the same is not yet true of climate science.

    Call me anti-science if you wish, but I don’t hold people with advanced degrees to be infallible and think they get a good many things wrong, even published peer reviewed research, today.

    See above. Like I said, science is falsifiable and self-correcting…

  • Doug Hunter

    #62

    I’ll help you out. From the link I already posted, the EPA’s own calculations show regulation to only effect climate by .006-.015 of a degree by 2100. 1/100th of a degree is a reasonable estimate. All that remains is multiplying times 100 to get a full degree of warming times the amount spent with 90 years of regulation. It’s 90 times 100 times the annual cost which has been widely reported in the government (but vanishingly hard to find the original source)- to be $78 billion per year. For such a major regulatory burden that doesn’t sound completely out of the ballpark.

    $78 billion annually times 90 years (to get our hundredth of a degree saving) times 100 to equal a full degree = $702 Trillion

    Seems awful stupid… which is what I think about most proposed carbon legislation. I’m sure someones done the calculations on Australia’s carbon tax already (ignoring the fact that they ship gobs of coal to China anyways).

    On second thought, I looked it up myself, Australia contributes just over 1.3% of global emissions. Someone has indeed already done the calculations for me, if they completely shut down all CO2 emitting instantly they would slow the growth in temperature by .015 degree by 2050. I suspect their carbon tax hasn’t been quite that ‘successful’ thusfar (but it sure did fill the politician’s purse and provide them something to buy votes with) I hope they’re satisfied with their higher bills and lower standard of living going forward in the knowledge that what they’ve done will achieve absolutely nothing(or right next to it). Personally, I’m not into the whole pointless sacrifice thing but to each they’re own.

  • Doug Hunter

    “Science has built-in falsifiability.”

    Which is why Clavos article was accompanied by a chart comparing the 2007 IPCC model predictions with actual measurements and measurements tailing off the bottom end of the 95% confidence estimate. If you want to just ignore that and say the theory is sound anyway then you’re the one making it non falsifiable, it’s no longer science to you it’s dogma. Am I now the one defending science and you the denier? lol.

  • Dr Dreadful

    I also don’t think they understand the natural cycles of the planet very well

    Why don’t you think that?

    and there is an ongoing effort to paper over and minimize previous changes. Things such as the little ice age, the medieval and roman warm periods that were well established when climate science wasn’t political are now being minimized in favor of ‘unprecedented’ warming from CO2.

    Skeptics often talk as if climate just changes all by itself, simply because it feels like it. This is of course silly: something, whether it be solar cycles, volcanic activity, changes in ocean currents or whatever, makes the climate change. The Little Ice Age, the Medieval Warm Period (which was regional, BTW, not global) and other such events are irrelevant to the question of what’s causing the Earth to warm now. And as I noted a few comments back, other potential explanations for the current warming have been examined, and found not to be consistent with observations.

    The chart in Clavos article says it all, global temperatures are off the bottom of the 95% confidence interval set as recently as 2007.

    Clav’s chart doesn’t show that, nor does it tell the whole story, nor is there reason for complacency even if the rise in temperatures is currently not as high as predicted.

    That means one of two things, there’s a 5% chance this is simply an anomaly and their theory holds and there’s a 95% chance they fucked up somewhere

    That’s not what a 95% confidence interval means, and I suspect you know that.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Which is why Clavos article was accompanied by a chart comparing the 2007 IPCC model predictions with actual measurements

    As a point of order, the IPCC wasn’t the source for that chart. The actual author, Ed Hawkins, provides some context here.

  • Doug Hunter1

    #68

    But they had a very similiar chart that I linked to you before in the draft IPCC report that was circulating. The fact remains their projections were shit, you can dress it up any way you like. Many of their other predictions of catastrophe whether it is hurricanes or desertification or sea level rise have and will continue to be shown as bullshit as well and I’m certain they’ll have an excuse…. I don’t expect they’ll admit they were wrong at any particular point but I suspect the understanding of the climate will morph over time until it is unrecognizable compared to what we have now.

    #67 “Why don’t you think that?”

    The same reason they couldn’t/ can barely hit the mark being at or below 95% of their model ‘confidence’ with temperature projections after only 5 or 6 years. If they understood natural cycles their models would likely have predicted this. I think they’re overconfident in their knowledge and the facts back that up.

    “Skeptics often talk as if climate just changes all by itself, simply because it feels like it.”

    And scientists try and simplify a massively complex system of global climate into a simplistic correlation with a minor trace gas.. equally stupid. You mention deep ocean heat. Do you have any idea the heat storage capacity of the deep ocean? If heat is able to escape to the ocean deep it could hide warming for centuries or millenia. The oceans have about 1000 times the heat capacity of the atmosphere. Again, a thousandth of a degree of ocean temperature change requires the same heat as 1 degree of atmosphere change… that’s great news and just another reason I’m not at all afraid of mild CO2 induced warming.

  • Dr Dreadful

    And scientists try and simplify a massively complex system of global climate into a simplistic correlation with a minor trace gas

    Bullshit. I’ve pointed out time and again, including at least twice on this thread, that many other factors besides CO2 are considered.

  • Doug Hunter

    #70

    You opened the can of low blow generalizations against skeptics, don’t try an feign indignation now. Scientists obviously didn’t lend enough credence to natural factors influencing air temps or they wouldn’t have said with 95% confidence that it would have warmed more than it has since 2007.

  • Dr Dreadful

    You opened the can of low blow generalizations against skeptics

    That wasn’t a low blow generalization. It spoke to your invocation of the LIA, the RWP and the MWP as examples of climate phenomena allegedly not factored into AGW theory. Whatever caused those events did not cause the current warming. They are therefore red herrings.

  • Doug Hunter1

    “It spoke to your invocation of the LIA, the RWP and the MWP as examples of climate phenomena allegedly not factored into AGW theory.”

    My allegation is much more conspiratorial than that, a core group of scientists found ways to explain away or minimize those periods in order to make natural variations seem less prevalent and CO2 as a more important factor… in the direction of having CO2 as the primary driver of climate.

    They knew the answer they wanted before they even started their research. They got confirmation bias, shoddy research, and hockey sticks.

    You don’t have to believe me, read the first paragraphs of very first research I found linked from wikipedia (before you accuse me of cherrypicking) ‘debunking’ the medieval warm period and judge for yourself:

    Climate in Medieval Time
    Raymond S. Bradley, Malcolm K. Hughes, Henry F. Diaz* Science Volume 302 17 Oct 2003

    First Paragraph:

    “Climate in Medieval time is often said
    to have been as warm as, or warmer
    than, it is “today.” Such a statement
    might seem innocuous. But for those opposed to action on global warming, it has
    become a cause célèbre: If it was warmer
    in Medieval time than it is today, it could
    not have been due to fossil fuel consumption. This (so the argument goes) would
    demonstrate that warming in the 20th century may have been just another natural
    fluctuation that does not warrant political
    action to curb fossil fuel use”

    Now, does this sound like an unbiased observer solely interested in medieval climate or does it sound like an advocate looking to confirm a point they already believed and prove those dang skeptics wrong? Look hard enough at a chaotic system and you see what you want to see.

    They minimized natural variations that caused the MWP, the LIA, even the 1930’s dust bowl got cooler. They minimized natural variation too much and it bit them in the ass.

  • Doug Hunter

    One last post Doc then I’ll get off of it for awhile and let the anomalies fall as they may. It’s been enjoyable watching the core climate change community argue out one side of their mouth that GW never slowed down and out the other that they’ve now found the missing heat (that explains the nonexistent slowdown) locked away as thousandths of a degree Kelvin in the deep ocean. I’ll just ignore my skepticism regarding their actual ability to measure to thousandths of a degree and extrapolate over an area the size of the world’s oceans, ignore the concept that this warming might have been in the pipeline from the previous burst of temperature change, etc, etc and accept it on it’s face. Even then, it’s great news. Heat in the deep ocean is not contributing to the water vapor feedback loop that is part of the core of global warming theory, it’s not creating hurricanes, it’s not causing desertification, or floods, or droughts, or whatever other bad things heat in the atmosphere is supposed to cause. Not only does this mean that nature has an massive effective heat sink to balance out excess air temperature with storage capacity that will not be full until we run out of fossil fuels it also means that the climate sensitivity itself is lower as heat in the bottom of the ocean does not trigger the required water vapor feedbacks so not only is a good share of the warming taken out of the main portion of the biosphere there is less warming overall.

    I do look forward to finding out however, the explanation of the existential threat that the change from 277.154 Kelvin to 277.162 Kelvin (or whatever the amount is) in water 700 meters below the ocean surface poses to humanity… I’m sure it’ll be coming in 3-2-1 (and it’s worse than we thought!).

    On a final note, here are a couple of recent papers reflecting the lower sensitivity to doubling of CO2, a key number in this debate. The IPCC I believe has estimated a range of 2.0 to 4.9 degrees in it’s last assessment. Two recent papers published this year have medians/modes below 2.0 outside the low end of the IPCC estimate. My layman swag would be a sensitivity of somewhere around 1.0-1.2 degrees. Like I said, when climate science finally adjusts down to what I believe (and stops the scaremongering and hyperbole) I’ll cease to be a skeptic.

    An objective Bayesian, improved approach for applying optimal fingerprint techniques to estimate climate sensitivity estimated sensitivity mode and median at 1.6 degrees.

    Observational estimate of climate sensitivity from changes in the rate of ocean heat uptake and comparison to CMIP5 models has 1.98 median sensitivity and eyeballing the graph looks to be 1.8 or so mode.

    They’re getting closer, I suppose if sensitivity is cut in half then it will take twice as many dollars to prevent a degree of warming… does that put us up to $1.4 quadrillion? Those poor people paying taxes in Aussieland for nothing… oh well, you get what you vote for.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Doug, you can hardly think that a Science article published in 2003 was the first ever response to claims of the MWP having parallels to the current warming. The IPCC discussed it in its First Assessment Report in 1990, and in every report since. If you look through those subsequent reports and review the accumulated research into the period, you find an elevating level of certainty that it is an apples to oranges comparison.

    So the claim about the MWP has been around for at least 23 years and probably much longer. It’s been examined and found to have no merit. Yet, like many other debunked claims about AGW (Clav reproduces several of them in his article), it keeps coming back again and again.

    Let’s go off into analogy land again. (You are permitted an eye roll at this point, but bear with me.) Say your wife has asked you to change the sheets on the bed. You do so. She then comes home and complains that you didn’t change the sheets. So you show her the made bed and the old dirty sheets in the laundry hamper and invite her to examine the new sheets to confirm that they look, feel and smell fresh and clean. Yet after all that, she continues to accuse you of not doing what she asked. Would you not, in that case, start to feel at least a little exasperated?

    And in that context, if you detect a tone of irritation in that preamble (I don’t), isn’t it at least understandable?

  • Doug Hunter

    #75

    That was the first link I clicked, probably not earliest study done.

    Exasperated? I was reading a GW article this morning on one of the liberal sites and multiple people were seriously debating in the comments what percentage of the generation born today would not make it to age 40 because of global warming. Their attack dogs are showing videos of skeptics blowing up to schoolchildren, they’ve equated skepticism to holocaust denial and implied that people like me are essentially complicit in the coming climate genocide. They take billions and soon to be trillions from the global population and tilt it at windmills… poor little scientists. I know one thing though, if you’re going to be exasperated, stamp your foot take people hard earned wealth while scaring the shit out of some people to the point they don’t even believe their own US born children will live to see adulthood because of a few ppm CO2 you better damn well know what you’re talking about. You have 20 years and billions of dollars, the world’s best climate minds and powerful computers crunching down your model projections better hit reality within the 90% constraints for at least a few years… they couldn’t do that. They can pout all they want, time and time again their predictions have proven to be overestimates likely because they have the core sensitivity to CO2 too high. It’s not a case of making the bed and no one believing you it’s shitting the bed and everyone smelling it.

    To the other point, it’s not particularly the tone of the preamble that is the issue, it’s the point of it. It makes clear the purpose of the study was to show that the medieval warm period was not global to counter skeptical arguments. There is plenty of evidence one way or the other as far as this is concerned and you can pick whatever data you want to support your assertion. When you go in with a closed mind, the likely results already determined towards a specific outcome then surprise, surprise you just happen to turn over the rocks that uncover what you want. The problem is you tend to tiptoe over those you’re not so sure you want to see. In short, it’s easier to find things you’re looking for than to find things you’re not looking for. A scientist researching the MWP should be trying to find the truth about the MWP not gathering the ammunition to support his preconceived notion on a separate cause. That leads to bad science.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Exasperated? I was reading a GW article this morning on one of the liberal sites

    LOL. Reading comments on blog sites is probably not the best way of gauging the consensus on a topic. I imagine you probably were exasperated… ;-)

    To the other point, it’s not particularly the tone of the preamble that is the issue, it’s the point of it. It makes clear the purpose of the study was to show that the medieval warm period was not global to counter skeptical arguments.

    I find your surprise that an article should have a purpose curious.

    There is plenty of evidence one way or the other as far as this is concerned and you can pick whatever data you want to support your assertion.

    But as far as I can tell this is not what the Science article does, if it is what you want to pursue as an exemplar. Following the introductory paragraph we’ve already discussed, the structure of the article is as follows:

    – 1 paragraph identifying criteria to be examined in order to assess the arguments for the MWP
    – 3 paragraphs outlining the history of early research into the MWP (or MWE – Medieval Warm Epoch – as the article terms it), stressing that these studies considered only Europe and were not global in scope
    – 2 paragraphs discussing other research into the MWE and highlighting its paucity, particularly in light of the fact that the period is ill-defined in terms of both time and geography. The suggestion is made that this is what has given rise to the popular notion that the anomaly was global
    – 1 paragraph of conclusions to be drawn from the available data, namely that the period does seem to have been warmer than those immediately preceding and succeeding it
    – 2 paragraphs presenting and analyzing possible causes of the MWE, including solar activity and volcanism
    – 2 paragraphs noting evidence for other anomolous events during that period, and suggesting the possibility that strong El Niño and/or La Niña events may explain the observed set of phenomena
    – a concluding paragraph pointing out that although the MWE was warm it was still not as warm as the current epoch

    The final sentence is this:

    “However, more climate records are required to explain the likely causes for climate variations over the last millennium and to fully understand natural climate variability, which will certainly accompany future anthropogenic effects on climate.”

    That doesn’t read to me like someone with preconceived notions or who considers the question absolutely settled.

  • pablo

    From the conspiracy site Reuters. I am sure our resident experts in the sky is falling Glenn and Dread can explain, thank god! Perhaps they should be renamed Chicken Little one and Chicken Little two. :)

    Climate scientists struggle to explain warming slowdown

  • Clav

    Your link is a compelling narrative from a credible source, Pablo.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Uncharacteristic of Pablo. :-)

    While Reuters is still a credible source (except when it says something one doesn’t like ;-) ), it should be noted that it is an indirect source.

    For all those shouting that climate scientists have some sort of agenda or are covering up the “lack of warming”, please pay attention to where Reuters is getting its information from.

  • pablo

    Well being as Reuters is owned by the Rothschilds, I wouldn’t exactly call it credible but I do try. :)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    You stated that for nearly the past two decades the atmosphere has not warmed. In comment #2 I gave three references showing quite the opposite. Here’s a global about two-thirds down this page showing “the difference in surface temperature in 2006 compared to the average from 1951 to 1980. Most of the globe is anomalously warm, with the greatest temperature increases in the Arctic Ocean, Antarctic Peninsula, and central Asia.” If global warming were not happening, then you’d see about as much blue as red on that map.

    And one more thing – your quote by James Hansen: “The five-year mean global temperature has been flat for a decade.” I thought you may have taken it out of context…and you certainly did. If you’d read the rest of Hansen’s statement, you would have seen his summary:

    A slower growth rate of the net climate forcing may have contributed to the standstill of global temperature in the past decade, but it cannot explain the standstill, because it is known that the planet has been out of energy balance, more energy coming in from the sun than energy being radiated to space. The planetary energy imbalance is due largely to the increase of climate forcings in prior decades and the great thermal inertia of the ocean. The more important factor in the standstill is probably unforced dynamical variability, essentially climatic “noise”.
    If solar irradiance were the dominant drive of climate change that most global warming contrarians believe, then a global cooling trend might be expected.
    ….the continuing planetary energy imbalance and the rapid increase of CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use assure that global warming will continue on decadal time scales. Our interpretation of the larger role of unforced variability in temperature change of the past decade, suggests that global temperature will rise significantly in the next few years as the tropics moves inevitably into the next El Nino phase.
    The one major wild card in projections of future climate change is the unmeasured climate forcing due to aerosol changes and their effects on clouds.
    The “climate dice” are now sufficiently loaded that an observant person should notice that unusually warm seasons are occurring much more frequently than they did a few decades earlier.
    (boldface mine)

    The factor of the aerosols to which Hansen refers are discussed more in-depth in the earlier link I used in this comment.

    And looking at your article again, I have to wonder if you really understand the purpose of models. Remember how I’ve told you before the problems with expecting perfection? The fact that we don’t have a perfectly accurate model yet in no way shows that AGW does or does not exist. It’s the observations of temperatures around the globe that show us that GW is indeed happening (despite what you, and it’s the dual factors of worldwide human pollution and the utter lack of any other apparent factors of sufficient significance that leads us to put the “A” in AGW.

    – We know for a demonstrated fact that every gallon of gasoline burned results in 20-point-something pounds of CO2 pumped into the atmosphere, and

    – We know that there are over a half billion cars in the world today.

    – We also know that in the distant past, periods of global warming have always been accompanied by certain by a higher-than-normal CO2 level.

    – We know that each of those cases were accompanied by a natural event that pumped gigatonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, and

    – We know of no such natural event today.

    – We know that the observed pattern of warming does not seem to be affected by the 11-year solar cycle.

    Global Warming is quite real, and while I wouldn’t compare Global Warming denialists to those who didn’t want to believe what was happening in Nazi Germany, I certainly would compare such people to creationists who don’t want to believe that the earth is actually billions of years old. Listing a few scientists who deny AGW – which you did in comment #30 under this article – isn’t any different from listing a few scientists who accept creationism. Instead, look at the data, the long-term and short-term trends, the moving averages. When you actually look at the wealth of data available, you shouldn’t need any scientist at all to tell you that GW is quite real.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Global Warming is quite real, and while I wouldn’t compare Global Warming denialists to those who didn’t want to believe what was happening in Nazi Germany, I certainly would compare such people to creationists who don’t want to believe that the earth is actually billions of years old.

    I don’t know about that, Glenn. Nobody’s going to die, lose their livelihood or be forced into refugee status if creationists get their way. (Well, not unless it facilitates the spread of some deadly pandemic because there’s no-one trained to trace the evolution of the virus or bacterium responsible.) Whereas if climate change contrarians get their way and are wrong, these things will happen. (Well, they’re going to happen anyway, but they’ll happen on a much larger scale if no action is taken.)

  • John Lake

    I wrote this up the other day, but decided against using it. I am one who considers global warming a fraud. At one point some politicians were planning on changing the text-books of all America’s students, present and future, to include the global warming issue. A lot of money can be made when school books are changed.
    As to Creationism, I might be due for some small epiphany there. As humans, it perplexes us no end that there are things we just can’t understand. I tend to believe the mathematicians behind the big bang, and the varying theories of today probably place the horse before the cart. First they develop an idea, and then they work up the math to support it. Big Bangs coming from a non-existent non-point, bringing forth a temperature from absolute zero, and all the matter and energy in the universe, even if it’s a cyclic thing, just seems unlikely. In the same manner, a conscious creator (and we must define conscious) is unlikely. But it all had to start somewhere. We’ll never really know.
    So here’s what I was thinking early last week about global warming.
    Fish in the ocean swim with the current, they don’t buck the tides. If indeed the Earth’s atmosphere is in a constant, though gradual state of change, the rational thing for us, the inhabitants, to do is to move with it. It’s a large planet, and a grand universe, and we have little hope of stopping the natural changes and fluctuations that produce change.
    At one point the planet was covered with a thick sheet of ice. At another point, the continents were joined. At times the atmosphere would never have tolerated our fragile life forms. Change is constant, and inevitable.
    So if the coastlines are altering, the flora and fauna evolving, then we must consider ourselves fortunate that our existence will continue, at least for the next few thousand years.
    The world’s leading governments would like nothing more than to invest billions to halt the natural changes to the global environment. Here, another chance for weathered politicians to move the money from the ordinary citizens of the world, to their own bottomless pockets.
    Remember, as the temperature at the planetary poles increases, huge icebergs are released to move with the tides and currents to less frigid, more central locations. These icebergs, much like the ice in our martinis, cool the oceans and the air, and maintain a balance. It is the natural order of things.
    Electric vehicles will make a difference, and the regulation of fossil fuels will aid too. There is no need to “invest” in the prevention of global warming.
    Again, we won’t be able to change the current. Our only hope is to swim with it.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    I briefly considered rebutting John’s comment, but then I decided I’d just have a laugh at it instead.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    As to Creationism, I might be due for some small epiphany there. As humans, it perplexes us no end that there are things we just can’t understand. I tend to believe the mathematicians behind the big bang, and the varying theories of today probably place the horse before the cart. First they develop an idea, and then they work up the math to support it. Big Bangs coming from a non-existent non-point, bringing forth a temperature from absolute zero, and all the matter and energy in the universe, even if it’s a cyclic thing, just seems unlikely. In the same manner, a conscious creator (and we must define conscious) is unlikely. But it all had to start somewhere. We’ll never really know.

    John, I refuse to believe there’s anything not female that I can’t understand. The science behind climate change is well understood – the only problem is the sheer amount of data and variables involved. As I said, it’s not rocket science. We’ve had no asteroid strikes, no supervolcano eruptions, no unusual actions by the sun outside its normal cycle. The higher temperatures don’t just happen, John – so what’s causing the relatively sudden spike in temps around the world? Are you really going to pretend that our adding gigatonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere every year isn’t going to have any effect?

  • John Lake

    One quick thing: the recent asteroid strikes occurred at least in part because many of the asteroids in or around the “belt” have had their previously regular courses changed by large solar flares. One reported flare that thankfully didn’t discharge toward Earth would have engulfed our petty planet.
    The asteroids fell in Russia, California, and other places. Some may not have been seen or reported.
    One might research the work of Ivan Yarkovsky, who died in 1902. He studied the force caused on a body in space by anisotropic emissions of thermal photons. “Yarkovsky noted that the diurnal heating of a rotating object in space would cause it to experience a force that, while tiny, could lead to large long-term effects in the orbits of small bodies, especially meteoroids and small asteroids.”

  • John Lake

    #86 Glenn, your suggestion that God is female has been done before. In addition, there was a period when it was fashionable to declare, “God is dead!”

  • John Lake

    I should take this opportunity to plug my article here at BC, Published June 11, 2010, at 10:14 pm,
    The Sun About to Waken

  • yort

    dunno Dreadful #83…creationism has been associated with considerable mayhem and running amok over the centuries – don’t see why that would change now

  • yort

    …they’ll happen on a much larger scale if no action is taken.

    do we know this?

    if so let’s pretend again amongst ourselves that nuclear power is a rational alternative energy source…in for a penny in for a pound I say

    hmm…I wonder if it would make a difference if rich folk joined the poor who conscientiously fast in the dark at least a few days a week

    …and of course we’d best curb human procreation

    problem solved in short order

  • Doug Hunter

    #91 do we know this?

    No. It’s just as likely that the mild warming effects make a better climate than a worse one. Evidence shows so far we are likely to have a mildly warmer, wetter, and greener planet due to increased CO2. We are also scheduled to have another 100,000 years of Ice Age with mile high glaciers coming down into the US and reworking the great lakes, I think that would be more hazardous to humanity than the alternative, but that just me the lowly layman. It’s awful tempting for politicians to scare the populace with a boogeyman and as always there are tons of chicken little’s ready to lap up every word.

    #86

    Glenn, you do understand that the ocean has 1000 times the heat capacity of the atmosphere and is generally around 4 degrees Celsius? (what this means is that if the ocean were to uniformly cool by only a tenth of a degree celsius and that heat were magically dumped in the atmosphere it would be above the boiling point of water) Looked at another way, the ocean could absorb 1000 degrees of atmospheric CO2 heating by only raising it’s temperature from 4C to 5C. Plenty of climate change can be due to chaotic ocean current and patterns that shift over time. More cold deep 4 degree water coming to the surface means a cooler planet, less means a warmer one.

    And also, for all your bluster about billions of cars and gigatons of carbon…. all that work of all the factories and all the SUV’s contributes only 4% to the natural carbon cycle, yes good old planet earth manages to belch out approximately 25 times as much carbon as we do annually (ours has thrown it temporarily out of balance of course, but nature will adjust and put it back in shortly)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    John –

    #86 Glenn, your suggestion that God is female has been done before. In addition, there was a period when it was fashionable to declare, “God is dead!”

    I did not at all suggest that God is female – I’ve never suggested such, especially given that I pray unto our Father every day. I simply said that I don’t believe that there’s nothing not female that I can’t understand…and I think that most husbands might agree that women are generally beyond our capacities to understand.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    What a comedy of errors!

    Glenn didn’t suggest god was female, but there is much he doesn’t understand and it is simply sexist to say that women are beyond understanding.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    …sigh…

    Chris, let’s stay on topic, please. This has less to do with the nature of God than about Global Warming and – in a sort-of sidebar between John and myself – the eternal mystery that is the distaff gender.

    Remember, it’s me and not you who’s supposed to be distracting with all sorts of off-topic arguments, so leave that to me, okay?

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    How does commenting on comments take the debate off subject?

    You’re like two doddery old guys both completely missing the point whilst squabbling over who is right. The answer, of course, is neither of you.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doug –

    1. You provided zero references.

    2. If the ocean is no problem, perhaps you should educate yourself on the rate of the sea level rise…but we can all move away from the coast, I guess. Much more worrisome is the rate of increasing ocean acidification, because anyone who takes care of fish tanks will tell you that yes, you’ve got to watch the pH of the water very closely to keep the fish alive. What’s the single biggest factor in increasing the acidification of the ocean? CO2. And when – when – the fish stocks collapse due to said acidification, what happens to those who depend upon the sea for their food?

    3. AGAIN, Doug – every single gallon of gasoline that is burned puts 20-point-something pounds of CO2 into the air. But what’s changed from five hundred years ago? There’s a huge additional (and constantly-increasing) amount of CO2 being introduced to Earth’s carbon cycle that was never there before…AND the earth’s ability to absorb that CO2 has been significantly diminished by deforestation – because in case you haven’t noticed, there’s a LOT fewer trees than there once were.

    How can you even conceive that our Earth’s ecosystem can stay in equilibrium even though we add literal gigatons of CO2 to the atmosphere every single year while at the same time diminishing the Earth’s ability to absorb said CO2 by engaging in massive deforestation?

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Plenty of climate change can be due to chaotic ocean current and patterns that shift over time. More cold deep 4 degree water coming to the surface means a cooler planet, less means a warmer one.

    And where’s your evidence that the oceans are doing any of this right now?

  • Clav

    In the April-May issue of Scientific American, in an article titled, “Why We Cheat,” authors Ferric C. Fang and Arturo Casadevall offer this interesting insight:

    In 2005 sociologist Brian Martinson of the HealthPartners Research Foundation in Bloomington, Minn., and his colleagues reported that one third of scientists confessed to engaging in questionable research practices during the previous three years. (Emphasis added)

    Just sayin’…

  • Dr Dreadful

    Did Dr (Mr?) Martinson dig further and ascertain how much of this questionable research actually got published?

    Just askin’…

  • Clav

    Though certainly not irrelevant, Doc, your question is beside the point; that these scientists engaged in questionable practices opens the door to such behavior occurring in any lab at any given time, published or not.

    I’m not surprised to hear this; practically all of humanity cheats on something. Some more than others.

    Unlike some folks, I don’t set scientists up on a pedestal; they’re just people, and some of them can be downright evil (just like other, less exalted people); Mengele and others who gave their services to the Nazis readily come to mind, as well as those who toiled on the atomic bomb, whomever invented mustard gas, etc.

    Just people.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Clav, it is because scientists are just people that the scientific method, and later the peer review process, were developed.

    Most dodgy research will be spotted by other scientists and either won’t make it past peer review or won’t make it into the submitted paper in the first place, and any that does sneak through will almost certainly be discredited sooner or later as other scientists scrutinize it and try to reproduce the results.

    A famous example is that of the now defrocked Andrew Wakefield, a British M.D. whose 1998 paper published in The Lancet, purporting to show a link between vaccines and autism, was later retracted by that august journal after he was found to have fudged, altered and in some cases made up his data to get the result he wanted.

  • zingzing

    “In the April-May issue of Scientific American, in an article titled, “Why We Cheat,” authors Ferric C. Fang and Arturo Casadevall offer this interesting insight…”

    of course, there’s a one-in-three chance that they’re just making it up. unless you’re just choosing which science to believe… still, i’d bet that if one of your colleagues came up to you and asked “are you and have you always been perfectly honest in everything that you do here,” you’d nitpick your past til you found something that fits the idea of “questionable.” everything’s questionable.

    “some of them can be downright evil… Mengele and others who gave their services to the Nazis readily come to mind, as well as those who toiled on the atomic bomb, whomever invented mustard gas, etc.”

    mengele was a madman and a torture-artist, whose “experiments,” as if he didn’t know what the end result would be, had very little practical or scientific purpose.

    the scientists who worked on the bomb protested its actual use. the control of atomic power has been of huge benefit to mankind (as well as a huge detriment). i don’t think you could call those men evil. i think you could call them foolish, and it’s pretty difficult to see people smart enough to create what they did being dumb enough not to see the end game. still, if they hadn’t, someone else would have. it’s hard to call someone evil just because they got somewhere first with the rest of the world right behind them.

    the french and the english developed mustard gas. so… i suppose karma did a number on that one.

  • Clav

    mengele was a madman and a torture-artist, whose “experiments,” as if he didn’t know what the end result would be, had very little practical or scientific purpose.

    OK, you’re right, he wasn’t evil or a scientist, just a physician, and they certainly don’t know shit about science.

    the scientists who worked on the bomb protested its actual use Oh well, as long as they protested it while they built it, they don’t count either.

    the french and the english developed mustard gas.

    Oh right; they’re europeans, no way they would be evil.

  • Zing zing

    “OK, you’re right, he wasn’t evil or a scientist, just a physician, and they certainly don’t know shit about science.”

    He was evil, but he didn’t give a shit about the scientific method. Which is what I said…

    “Oh well, as long as they protested it while they built it, they don’t count either.”

    I don’t know that they did. It was pretty much after they were done that they made any statements against it. Did you ignore the last two-thirds of what I wrote on purpose?

    “Oh right; they’re europeans, no way they would be evil.”

    The insinuation was… Oh, what’s the point?

    Science can and has been used for evil purposes, but your examples (other than mengele, who was just a quack) are examples of militaries using science to evil ends, which, I’ll agree, is a problem with science. Science has unleashed chemical, biological and atomic and nuclear weapons all during the 20th century. 90% of the other breakthroughs in those areas has been beneficial to mankind, and the technology those breakthroughs have created save, extend and better lives, which should not be ignored when making an argument for or against science.

    Such was the politics of the day, however, that those breakthroughs were bankrolled by the search for the ability to kill more efficiently. Now that we can destroy the earth 100 times over, I think we’ve reached the end point of that game and we can move on. Science is neither good nor bad, it’s just how we use it.

  • Cardinal Glick

    “All right, mistakes were made.”

  • DR Mengele

    You villainize me, but what about him? I love science!

  • STM

    Can’t disagree with any of this.

    My main worry in regard to this article is the photo of the author in a titfer.

  • STM

    The English aren’t Europeans, BTW.

    Europeans live on “the continent”.

    Most Poms hold this view.

    Doesn’t mean they aren’t evil, though.

    World HQ of Evil is at Twickenham.

  • Clav

    Stan,

    1. The titfer is one of my most valued possessions; as such, it is reserved for special occasions only; my author pic is not a special enough one.

    2. The Brits are entitled to their opinion, as are we.

    3. I hope all is well with you and yours, and that all of you are enjoying all the new things in your lives.

  • Dr Dreadful

    The titfer is one of my most valued possessions

    As it should be. Made from genuine croc leather, hand-wrestled to death by Stan himself when the beast crawled up his u-bend one day while he was trying to have some quiet time in the library.

  • S.T.M

    Lol.

    Mate, we DID have a story here recently in tropical Darwin about a pet python that escaped and re-emerged some days later up another bloke’s dunny (toilet).

    The poor bugger went to take a leak and lifted the lid to find a python’s head hissing upwards.

    Mind you, Darwin’s the kind of place where you might find a crocodile in your swimming pool, or a water buffalo cooling off in your backyard spa, so it’s not that shocking up there.

    Me, I’d have been on the next plane south.

    Good on ya Clav, and you do look rather smart in a decent titfer.

    Cheers boys, it’s 3.06am; I’m off for some zedds.

  • Clav

    Doc,

    I was buying your little dissertation until I came to the part where you spoke of Stan “trying to have some quiet time in the library,” whereupon your credibility was instantly defenestrated

  • Dr Dreadful

    Perhaps I should have put the word library in inverted commas.

  • S.T.M

    Imagine if you’d been half asleep in the middle of the night and sat on the bloody thing (the python, not the hat).

    Shit.

  • Clav

    Stan’s idea of a “quiet time” is sliding down the face of a 20 footer on Bondi Beach…

    Just sayin’

  • S.T.M

    Defenestrated? Stop using the thesaurus, you blokes.

  • Clav

    But I do get it now, Doc…

  • Dr Dreadful

    Thesaurus? It’s called a “book what tells you other words for things”.

    Call yourself a reporter? Crikes…

  • S.T.M

    They don’t get 20 footers at Bondi, Clav. Lucky if it gets to six foot there. That’s big enough for me.

    But down here in the southern middle bit, where I’ve decided to set up stumps, there’s plenty of 20 footers.

    Most of ‘em have laceratingly sharp teeth, though, and a dirty great fin in the middle of their backs, and they’re generally pretty hungry by the time they get to you, because getting to you means their eyesight isn’t that good and they’ve missed out on a nice seal or two for dinner.

  • Dr Dreadful

    And that’s just the haddock.

  • S.T.M

    I did get bitten by a spider a few weeks back though while I was cleaning out my pool filter. It must have been trapped in there for a while because it wasn’t real happy when latched onto my hand.

    Wasn’t too bad though … I only hallucinated for two days.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Stan –

    My wife went home for a little while earlier this year (I had to stay stateside)…and one night she killed one of the hand-sized spiders (with a machete, no less) that like to jump on you when you’re least expecting it, and the next day she chased down and chopped up a freakin’ cobra with a large kitchen knife! She chased it out of the outside kitchen and it crawled into a small pile of rocks in what passes for our back yard. She dug into the rocks and went all vegan Hannibal Lecter on it.

    Sure, it was small, a little less than a foot long, but she chased it down, dug it out of a pile of rocks, and killed a freakin’ cobra!

    This is my wife killing spiders and poisonous snakes with big knives…and she really doesn’t get why I tell her just how sexy that is, and why I bragged so much about it to our friends. I mean, Angelina Jolie might play tough in the movies, but this is real life….

  • S.T.M

    Lo.l My wife just screams and yells, “Quiiick. Aaaaah. Halp me. There’s a (insert your own nasty -snake/spider/toadfish/etc).”

    She can deal with snakes as she knows to walk away slowly and calmly but big, black or grey, spiders, not so much.

    Cheers mate

  • S. T. M

    BTW Clav, if you’ve still got that Aussie titfer handy, it’s Anzac Day here today (April 25), which means you can legitimately wear it all day from sunrise Thursday (your time). I saw plenty around town today. Not many WWII vets left now, and certainly no World War One vets. Plenty of your mob marching. Good to see all those of your age who put their lives at risk for their country getting due recognition. Not before time, either.

    Cheers champ

  • cindy

    Here is a pic for your wife STM.

    There was a spider…

  • :(
  • S. T. M

    Lol. Nice one Cindy. The one that got me wasn’t far off the size of that house. And like the house, it no longer exists.

  • S. T. M

    Sad and poignant song, too; thanks to whoever posted it. I love the Pogues, too. Cheers.

  • S. T. M

    You “two” are also up very early. Or late, whichever the case may be.

  • Clav

    Damn, that’s a sad song! I had never heard it before, but it sure brought back some long-buried memories. I’m thinking about all those names on the wall…

  • S. T. M

    Probably not a bad day to be thinking of them …

  • Clav

    Stan,

    You bet I still have the titfer! It’s one of my most treasured possessions; and I still want to meet the bloke who gave it to me.

    Anzac Day, huh? Tonight I’ll raise a glass to our Aussie friends in Nam. A fierce, brave lot; every man jack of them!

  • S. T. M

    They were pretty damn fierce getting on the squirt today at the street party outside my office, which followed the march.

    The bagpipes were just getting warmed up ahead of the mini rock concert when I arrived at work.

    The pipes are the missing link between noise and music.

  • Clav

    The pipes are the missing link between noise and music.

    QFT.

    A little of them goes a long way!

  • S.T.M

    Speaking of which, here’s another one for the boys: The Green Fields of France, a lament for a young British soldier killed in WWI, and an anthem for the futility of war.

  • Dr Dreadful

    [takes off metaphorical titfer]

    “The Green Fields of France”, composed by Scottish folk singer Eric Bogle, is probably the greatest anti-war song ever written.

    The Fureys’ version is the best and most nuanced IMO, although a group called The Men They Couldn’t Hang recorded one back in the 80s that did a great job of conveying the sense of anger and loss.

    Bogle emigrated to Australia more than 40 years ago and now lives down your way, Stan, just outside Adelaide.

    He also wrote one of the other all-time great anti-war songs, “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda”, about a soldier at the Battle of Gallipoli.

  • Clav

    He also wrote one of the other all-time great anti-war songs, “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda”, about a soldier at the Battle of Gallipoli.

    To which Cindy linked in # 127, above…

  • Dr Dreadful

    And of which I would have been aware if YouTube worked on this computer… :-)

  • roger nowosielski

    Quite unrelated to the intended topic of this thread, STM, but I just ran, inadvertently, (in John Lakes’s recent article’s comments thread of all places) into the following account of what’s presumably some kind of discrimination (racial, economic, you tell me) in the land of Oz:


    Homeless Kiwis, not vagrants or bums, denied help from the Australian state..”
    .

    What gives, STM? True or false?

    In any case, it does look as though the economic and other kinds of trouble I and troll have been alluding to on other threads are beginning to make their appearance in your neck of the woods.

    Say it ain’t so!

  • Dr Dreadful

    I have a strong suspicion there’s another side to that story, Rog, but let’s see if Stan knows more.

  • roger nowosielski

    Anyway, Dreadful, the following seems to be a nice, concise account of the New Zealanders.

  • S.T.M

    I’m not going to comment, except to say that Sydney is hardly an economically depressed place, and there’s a sh.tload of work to be had.

    You could work for one day as a casual labourer in Sydney – and like I say, there’s no shortage of jobs – and buy an airline ticket to NZ. Work for two and you’d get a return ticket and some spending money.

    I don’t buy it. Like Doc, I suspect there’s a bit more to it than meets the eye. What that is, I don’t know. Certainly the government has changed the laws recently regarding welfare eligibility.

    The unemployment rate remained under 5 per cent during the GFC, and is only just above that now, and that’s Australia wide.

    Out of all the state capitals, Sydney’s really the one place where anyone can get a job if they want, and one that pays reasonably well all things considered.

  • S.T.M

    It’s 3am – again – so this will be The Last Post for the night.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    No worries, Stanno, I fixed your duff link for you.

    Sweet dreams!

  • Clav

    For all the fallen — and I do mean all: Taps

  • Dr Dreadful

    I looked at a couple more links, and like Stan, quickly arrived at the realization that the Kiwis’ plight isn’t as straightforward as that blog post makes out.

    Working with the homeless as I do, the issues faced by many of these New Zealanders – mental illness, depression, physical disability, drug and alcohol abuse – are all too familiar. I can all but guarantee you that none of these unfortunate people is living under a bridge for the sole reason that they lost their job.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Lines read out every year at the Festival of Remembrance in London’s Royal Albert Hall, from a poem by Laurence Binyon:

    They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
    Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
    At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
    We will remember them.

  • Clav

    Very nice verse, Doc. Interesting the poet focused on the upside (if that’s the right word) of dying young.

    And we do remember them…

  • Glenn Contrarian

    That’s one thing that all of us – whether Christian, Muslim, Hindu, or atheist, whether democratic, communist, totalitarian, or theologic – can agree upon: the sacrifice given by those that fell in the line of duty. We may with all proper justification condemn those who assigned that duty, but not those marched the endless miles to face the soul-searing horror that we are told by those who have been there is combat.

  • Doug Hunter

    “Working with the homeless as I do”

    That’s got to provide some insight. If you could dictate one policy change to improve society as it relates to the homeless what would it be?

    I’ll never struggle to remember some, I’ve taken the story of the greatest generation hook, line, and sinker. Have you ever been in the mountains on a cold night and stared up into the sky or grabbed a small telescope or binoculars and looked up at the available cosmos, nebulae with baby stars sucking the dust from billions of miles in every direction, billion year old stars in all phases of life that have barely changed since before life evolved on this plane, and then realized you only have an inkling of how far it is even to the other planets in our solar system and you can’t conceive of the distances/times involved in simply getting to the other objects in your field of view. Above all this you realize that everything you can see, far more than you could ever fathom is just one simple galaxy among hundreds of billions and you realize that you, your whole life, and everything you hold dear are just one infinitesimal small and insignificant blip in the face of the universe.

    I get a similiar feeling when I try to grasp the magnitude of WWII… awe for lack of a better word. The players… Hitler, Stalin, Churchill, Mussolinin, FDR, Eisenhower, Patton… were larger than life and remain household names to this day. It had the ultimate villain who locked much of the planet in a battle for survival, it had a scale of inhumanity, death, and destruction that simply boggles the mind. I have the utmost respect for anyone who lived through that time, soldier or not. They fought that battle, gave their blood, sweat, and tears then came back and built the world we live in today (even if they did spoil the boomers a little bit). My respect for soldiers and what burdens they bear springs from there and I feel that may be true for many in society. When that generation dies off completely I think the image of the soldier will begin to tarnish, not sure that’s all bad either.

  • Dr Dreadful

    If you could dictate one policy change to improve society as it relates to the homeless what would it be?

    That’s a really good question. I suppose my first thought would be that combating homelessness needs to be an absolute national priority.

    I think you, Doug, and indeed all but the most ardent libertarian would concede that a key part of the federal government’s prime constitutional mission is to provide for the general welfare, and that this would include making sure its people have access to basic human needs like food and shelter.

    A country that fails to feed its people is rightly looked upon with censure. The same should be true of a country that fails to house them.

  • Clav

    Well, Doc, you more than any among us here on BC have the best insight into housing those in need. Is it the truth that most of our attempts to do so over the past 100+ years have been more failure than success? And if so, why?

  • Dr Dreadful

    Largely because of a chronic failure to realize that homelessness is about more than just housing. A roof over one’s head is important, but people don’t become homeless in a vacuum: there is always something else going on.

    There’s not much point in finding someone a place to live if they can’t pay rent or can’t cope with the responsibilities that come with being a householder. They’ll be back on the street before you know it.

    In recent years, fortunately, there’s been a lot more recognition that housing for the chronically homeless has to go in tandem with providing the resources they need to be able to stay housed, whether it be mental health services, life skills coaching, helping them claim whatever benefits they qualify for, or what have you.

  • cindy

    The Pogues song wasn’t me, Clav. But I did like it.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Finland cut homelessness by sixty percent in twenty years…but I’m not sure that it would work here even if we were able to get the conservatives on board with it.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Re 150, If that is meant to refer to all wars, I wouldn’t agree with that.

  • Illuminatus Hussein O’Chavez

    Re 157 –

    You’re right – such a blanket pass is not called for. I’ll take the hit for that.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Sorry – #158’s mine – forgot to change my name back.

  • http://huttriverofnz.blog.co.uk peter petterson

    Just to comment on comments. The Australian Govt has decreed that any New Zealander who has come to Australia after 2001 is not entitled to any Govt assistance at ALL. No welfare benefits, no emergency assistance and no student loans to help people retrain – despite the fact they have been paying their full amount of local and federal taxes.Most of these people were in full time employment but when the economy went pear – shaped in about 2007, employers started laying off their staff. Those who couldn’t get new jobs thet were entitled to some form of social welfare assistance, except New Zealanders who came after 2001. What do these people do? Charities are limited in how they can help families. From what I have read of the situation is these now unemployed workers and their families, they could not afford to continue paying for their rental accomodation. There are some jobs around for some skilled workers’

    In NZ there is no discrimination over who can get assistance. If you are entitled to work in NZ, you are entitled to receive the same assistance as any other permanent resident or Kiwi citizen. It is a bit harder now for everybody.

  • roger nowosielski

    Thanks for responding, Peter.

    Please understand, I didn’t mean to drag you into the fray, but I think the issue you’ve raised is important enough to warrant a healthy exchange of opinions, even if it means radically diverse opinions.

  • http://huttriverofnz.blog.co.uk peter petterson

    Not at all Roger. The Australians need to justify their policies. Its not as if the Australian Government has offered every Kiwi involved a one-way ticket back to NZ. John key is as useless as tits on a bull anyway. If Helen Clark had still been the NZ Pm, Gillard would have had been eaten alive.

  • roger nowosielski

    I’m encouraged by the fact you’re sticking to your story, Peter, even though some of my compadres here might not appreciate my dogged persistence.

  • S.T.M

    OK, here’s what all the Americans need to realise in relation to this.

    The New Zealanders affected by this are not Aussie citizens. They are known as “indefinite temporaries”. Australia and NZ have had a no-visa deal for decades, but you now need a visa to become resident.

    The bizarre thing about this is that any of those long-term “indefinate temporaries” can walk in to immigration and apply for citizenship, to which they’re entitled. It also doesn’t deny them keeping their New Zealnd citizenship, as dual citizenship of both countries is allowed.

    The big problem is, it’s a one-way street.

    There are far more kiwis in Australia wanting welfare benefits than there are Aussies in NZ wanting the same thing.

    I do think it’s unfair, and I won’t be sucked into the old stereotypes about Kiwis getting on the dole in Australia, but I also think it’s a few kiwis, not a lot, who have been affected

  • S.T.M

    Also, the Australian and NZ governments are currently working together towards a solution of this issue.

    I agree with Peter, however, that it’s unfair – especially coming from a Labor government, but the this Labor government has lost its soul.

    However, having taken that step, given that we will likely have a conservative government for at least the next decade and a bit, it’s now unlikely to ever be reversed unless John Keys can somehow settle it with current Aussie PM Julia Gillard between now and the federal election September, because I wouldn’t imagine that a government under Tony Abbott will change it.

    I would say that in the case of the indefinite temporary residents from NZ, the Aussie government would be looking for some contribution from the NZ government in regard to welfare payments.

    I believe these laws affect 100,000 kiwis. However, most can resolve it by taking out Australian citizenship.

    I recognise that many have been working and paying taxes in Oz, but if they have some problem with taking citizenship, then they also ought to have some problem with taking welfare payments paid for by Australian taxpapers in Australia, where they have chosen to live, rather than their own country.

    The other thing is, many of those Kiwis now complaining entered Australia knowing that visa conditions stipulated that should they lose their jobs, they wouldn’t be entitled to welfare or student loans from the Australian state.

    However, Peter has ommitted to mention that the two governments are currently in talks aimed at resolving this issue.

    There is a major cost factor to the Australian government, rather than the NZ government. I believe the number of indefinite temporary visa holders from NZ could be as high as 150,000.

  • S.T.M

    And getting citizenship in Australia is a rather simple affair. You only need toi resident for two years, I believe.

  • S. T. M

    This issue was highlighted BTW during the Queensland natural disasters, when many Kiwis living and working here on temporary permanent visas discovered they were not eligible for the Australian government’s one-off disaster assistance payments.

    However, following talks between the NZ government and the Oz government, they were given the opportunity to apply and most received them. The NZ PM described the Aus giovernment’s attitude in this case as “quite generous”. It wasn’t automatic however, and the cases were considered on a case by case basis.

    The laws were changed in 2001, btw. Something, however, certainly needs to be done in relation to this entire issue and there now is at least a path to citizenship.

    It doesn’t surprise me, though, that the overspending Gillard is looking at any savings, despite the human cost.

    They recently took many single mothers (those with children over the age of 8) off the single-mothers’ pension and put them on the dole, ostensibly to encourage them to find work.

    In my view, it was about cost cutting and targeting the vulnerable, in a bid to balance the books after years of overspending.

    I’ve been a Labor voter, BTW, all my life – but I couldn’t vote for them again until they regain their soul – which is fightingfor the rights of ordinary working people, not in supporting bizarre and costly loony left schemes which happened for two reasons: the party is now run by a left elite of academics and chardonnay socialists, and because it didn’t win a majority at the last federal election, was forced into bed with the Greens, who aren’t green at all, and independents trying to pork barrel their own constituencies in return for their support in parliament.

    The Greens have been shown to be watermelons – green on the outside and red on the inside, and interested more in protest than government.

    I hope this issue Peter is talking about is resolved soon, as it really isn’t right.

    However, I do question that people can’t find work. There is plenty of work available, and I don’t believe Australia should be forking out for airfares to return Kiwis to NZ.

    Of course, none of that (my opinion) takes into consderation the personal circumstances of those in question, and why they might be able to find jobs, so maybe that is an area the Aus government should be looking at.

  • S. T. M

    Here is a full explanation of how it works.

    It is my understanding that state-funded hospital care under Medicare and access to aged and disability pensions are protected no matter the visa category.

    Still, it doesn’t make it fair, as access to permanent residency costs in the region two grand, which makes it tough if you don’t have job. A criminal record will likely stop you getting it, as will the type of job or skill you have.

  • roger nowosielski

    A very fair response, Stan. Not that it should matter, but my respect for you and yours has just doubled. If even to a degree you are a representative of the average Aussie citizen, kudos to you all.

  • pablo

    Hey Chicken Little, this one is for you.

    Climate scientists come to terms with the lack of global warming

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Roger Pielke, who is interviewed at the beginning of the article Pablo links to and inspired the headline, is a prominent climate change skeptic.

    As I’ve said before, it’s a bit like saying summer isn’t coming because today isn’t any hotter than yesterday.

  • pablo

    This was written for Chicken Little 1, not 2 Dread.

  • Dr Dreadful

    My bad, Pablo.

    And now I must bid you adieu, to foray back out into the snowdrift-clogged streets of San Diego in a forlorn search for more firewood.