When skepticism becomes heresy

In a great Newsbusters piece, Matthew Sheffield reports something you will definitely not see in your local newspaper.

A United Nations scientist has refused the Nobel prize that he (as part of the IPCC) is supposed to share with Al Gore, and for the most damning possible reason.

The scientist (IPCC member John R. Christy) claims that the prize was based on a misunderstanding of science:

Has the global warming alarmism movement hit its apex? Maybe so. In recent weeks, we've seen a resurgence of hard scientists who have come out strongly against the warm-mongers, the latest of which is Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change member John R. Christy who in an editorial in today's Wall Street Journal tells the world that not only does he not believe no one's proven humans cause global warming, he's refusing his "share" of the Nobel Peace Prize that he was awarded because it was based on a misunderstanding of science.
Sheffield quotes from Christy's piece in the Wall Street Journal which explains further:
I've had a lot of fun recently with my tiny (and unofficial) slice of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But, though I was one of thousands of IPCC participants, I don't think I will add "0.0001 Nobel Laureate" to my resume.

The other half of the prize was awarded to former Vice President Al Gore, whose carbon footprint would stomp my neighborhood flat.....

[...]

It is my turn to cringe when I hear overstated-confidence from those who describe the projected evolution of global weather patterns over the next 100 years, especially when I consider how difficult it is to accurately predict that system's behavior over the next five days.

Mother Nature simply operates at a level of complexity that is, at this point, beyond the mastery of mere mortals (such as scientists) and the tools available to us. As my high-school physics teacher admonished us in those we-shall-conquer-the-world-with-a-slide-rule days, "Begin all of your scientific pronouncements with 'At our present level of ignorance, we think we know . . .'"

I haven't seen that type of climate humility lately. Rather I see jump-to-conclusions advocates and, unfortunately, some scientists who see in every weather anomaly the specter of a global-warming apocalypse. Explaining each successive phenomenon as a result of human action gives them comfort and an easy answer.

What Christy has done amounts to high treason, if not outright apostasy.

Fortunately, the global warming alarmists don't issue fatwas or behead people, so I think he won't suffer the extreme penalty.

I admire him for his skepticism.

But I'm old enough to remember when skepticism was considered an integral part of science. And the idea of heresy was thought of in religious terms (and medieval ones at that).

Considering the resurgence of the heresy meme via newly invented morality in so many areas (dog ownership as a new "evil" comes to mind), I sometimes wonder about something.

Do humans need heresy? Is it possible that there is a deep-seated human need to regard certain views as heresy? I wouldn't go so far as to suggest that there might be a heresy gene, but it seems to occupy a stubborn emotional niche, especially for those who believe in collective thinking, and it is not going away. I realize that people want definitive answers to unknowable questions as well as questions which are over their heads. But what is it that drives intelligent people to want such definite answers so badly that they must label dissenting views as heretical, immoral, and downright evil?

I wish I knew.

UPDATE: My thanks to Matthew Sheffield for linking this post!

UPDATE: Wow. My thanks to Glenn Reynolds for linking this post, and a warm welcome to all.

I appreciate the comments.

posted by Eric on 11.01.07 at 10:44 AM










Comments

test

test   ·  November 1, 2007 3:34 PM

I've often looked at the current state of liberalism and wondered a similar thing. Often, whether it be hatred of bush or belief in Universal Health Care or climate change, the left seems to adopt an level of doctrinal purity normally reserved only for religion.

Combine that with the increasingly secular nature of the left and it begs the question; Is the human NEED for religion being filled by political ideology on the left?

To disagree about health care or gay marriage or climate change not only makes you wrong but evil, someone to be despised and shunned. Any conflicting evidence is shouted down instead of debated. People even do this:

-A well-established tree very close to the Maldivian shoreline and only inches above sea level was recently uprooted by Australian environmentalists anxious to destroy this visible proof that sea level cannot have risen very far.-

Does that seem more like a scientific reaction of a religious one? I'd compare it to Muslims destroying buddha statues in southern Asia.

If only we could get them to believe in something less destructive like Christianity.

Moron Pundit   ·  November 1, 2007 4:13 PM

I think "heresy gene" isn't far off. "Heretic-invention strategy of group selection" is probably more like it. It works like a gene, and it might even be one, or more likely several.

Being opposed to both religion and politics -- much more so to the latter; religion is at least a partial good, while politics is a total evil -- to

Is the human NEED for religion being filled by political ideology on the left?

I'd say that the near-universal human need to invent heretics (whose heresies are only window dressing) finds its outlet in both religion and politics -- much more so in the latter. It may even be the definition of politics.

I'd prefer to be wrong about this. It never seems like I am.

guy on internet   ·  November 1, 2007 5:38 PM

guy on internet: HERETIC!

I disagree with you, and since it never seems that I am wrong, you must not only be wrong, but evilly wrong!

That's just so much more fun than saying, "You know, you just might have a point."

Perhaps it is not so much a gene seeking heresy, but a gene insisting that we are correct and anyone who disagrees must be disavowed, which leads quickly to the more sinister charge of heresy.

mrsizer   ·  November 1, 2007 10:02 PM

As an athiest, I fear the left's 'organized' religion, far more than a minute of silence.

Perhaps the next time the moment of silence comes up for debate, students can be offerred the chance to think about glaciers melting, devastating hurricances, and drowning polar bears.

mark   ·  November 1, 2007 10:07 PM

A salute to Dr. John Christy, an honest man!
Dr. Christy has long been a sceptic of Anthopogenic Global Warming (AGW), but he is an eminent climate researcher and, as such, is on the IPCC.

He has been punished by ostracism and ad hominem attacks from the climate scientists who are convinced that AGW is real, real, real.

He has done satellite readings of upper atmospheric temperatures that do not align with the expectations of the AGW believers. Oops! He was also one of the first to point out the effect of cities and urban development on average surface temperatures recorded at meteorology stations.(They get warmer.) Oops again!

Of course the fact that he is also a devout Christian has caused some heartburn among AGW proponents.

Jimmy J.   ·  November 1, 2007 10:28 PM

Alarmist leftists make easy targets, but it's a little more difficult to dismiss the consensus opinion of the IPCC scientists, who have calculated a 90% probability that human activity has contributed to global warming. This means there is a 10% probability that John Christy is correct. It also might suggest that about 10% of the IPCC scientists agree with him. What is 100% certain is that the opinions of the naysaying pundits will receive equal time in the media- not just their 10%.

The IPCC consensus is also shared by the National Academy of Sciences, the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Leftists all?

I should also

Glen   ·  November 1, 2007 10:35 PM

Glen,

Show me the calculation.

As in peer reviewed paper with open data and open code.

The 90% probability is fabrication. Unless you mean that there is a 90% probability that man's effect through CO2 emission is between .01 deg C per century and zero. I'd accept such a guess. Why? It is unmeasurable.

What do you call it when scientists make up numbers?

Scientific fraud.

Consensus is for politics. In science it only takes one.

M. Simon   ·  November 1, 2007 10:44 PM

Pish-posh, stuff, and nonsense. The scientific method killed the old religion. Now the new religion is killing the scientific method. Long live the new religion!

Anonymous   ·  November 1, 2007 10:45 PM

Pish-posh, stuff, and nonsense. The scientific method killed the old religion. Now the new religion is killing the scientific method. Long live the new religion!

David Govett   ·  November 1, 2007 10:46 PM

90% probablility of what, exactly? That the human contribution to warming is somewhere between .0001 degree and .5 degree? The 90% number is so vaguely worded as to be meaningless. The only purpose of the number is to give ideologues a definitive sounding number to use to attempt to bamboozle people.

Ask those same scientists what percentage of them believe that we will see a sea level rise of more than a few inches over the next century.

yorick   ·  November 1, 2007 10:46 PM

This is why I'm letting my subscription to Scientific American. It's become too unscientific.

AST   ·  November 1, 2007 10:48 PM


Heresy is a political phenomenon mostly. It results from the certitude of being ignorant of universal human ignorance in general and one's own ignorance in particular.

But then again, I could be completely wrong.

yours/
peter.

peter jackson   ·  November 1, 2007 11:18 PM

If you want to know what is really behind the whole global warming fad, check out Maurice Strong: the author of the Kyoto protocol, senior advisor to Kofi Annan, and neck-deep in the Oil-For-Food scandal. The more you know about this one man pulling the strings from behind the curtain, the more sinister the entire business becomes.

Ed Minchau   ·  November 1, 2007 11:20 PM

The meaning of 90% probability is that the amount of temperature variance explained by the regression of greenhouse gas level vs. temperature change has only a 10% chance of occurring by chance. This is typically done using an F-test on the r-squared statistic.

The regressions are based on terrestial measurements of gas levels and temperatures where available, but also on measurements from ice cores to obtain historical data for several tens of thousands of years.

The regression model predicts that the excess (human-generated)gas levels will add an additional 3 degrees C of warming by 2080, if present trends continue. The glacial melting,permafrost melting, northward migrations of species, earlier springs, etc. that we're currently observing are due to the 0.5C increase over the last century, so 3 more degrees is a big deal.

Some references:

J. J. McCarthy et al., Eds., Climate Change 2001: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability (Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, 2001).
National Academy of Sciences Committee on the Science of Climate Change, Climate Change Science: An Analysis of Some Key Questions (National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 2001).

American Meteorological Society, Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc. 84, 508 (2003).
American Geophysical Union, Eos 84 (51), 574 (2003).

also see:
www.ourplanet.com/aaas/pages/atmos02.html.

I have more if you need them.


Glen   ·  November 1, 2007 11:26 PM

It is not a matter of temperature variation occurring by CHANCE vs. manmade. It is a matter of the CAUSE of temperature variation. There are a number of potential CAUSES of temperature variation OTHER than manmade. Include solar radiation, which has a much stronger correlation than CO2.

Curt   ·  November 1, 2007 11:37 PM

Ever want to see an atheist have a stroke? Simply suggest that their willingness to immediately believe anything told them by anyone labeled "scientist" is no different from blind adhesion to a religion. Pop some popcorn beforehand, so you can properly enjoy the reaction.

AM Edition   ·  November 1, 2007 11:49 PM

"A well-established tree very close to the Maldivian shoreline and only inches above sea level was recently uprooted by Australian environmentalists anxious to destroy this visible proof that sea level cannot have risen very far."

If the facts do not conform to the theory, then they must be eliminated. That tree was a fact that refused to conform.

An inconvenient truth, you might even call it.

Pat   ·  November 1, 2007 11:52 PM

'...who have calculated a 90% probability that human activity has contributed to global warming'

(chuckle,giggle,snort) Jeez, even children know when you're faking a number, you should avoid round figures and make sure you add a couple of decimal points. College students who have taken statistics know a regression is only as good as your model and, even then, it means little without specifying a 95% or 99% confidence interval.

Bart   ·  November 2, 2007 12:12 AM

Curt, is it really entertaining to see someone momentarily look at you like you're an idiot and then decide the only polite and charitable thing to do is to pretend you didn't say something embarrassingly stupid?

Warmongering Lunatic   ·  November 2, 2007 12:14 AM

My apologies, Curt.

AM Edition, redirect the question to you.

Warmongering Lunatic   ·  November 2, 2007 12:16 AM

I know zero about the technical issues involved here. However, as a native Tennessean, I know a great deal about Al Gore. Trust me when I tell you that this guy does not represent the Second Coming. If he swears it's true then, just on general principles, I'm prepared to bet the ranch that it's not. Not a very 'scientific' approach, perhaps, but it has always served me well to champion whatever side Al opposed.

Kudos to John Christy for standing up and being counted!

highcotton   ·  November 2, 2007 12:44 AM

One can't be an atheist if one cannot spell atheist.

Loren   ·  November 2, 2007 1:13 AM

In California our governor has signed into law a rapid and aggressive reduction in carbon emissions starting in 2010. At least 130 people have been hired so far to man a new state bureaucracy. The costs are estimated to be hundreds of billions at minimum. While we debate the issue of global warming, the bad guys are marching forward imposing economic dislocations and engaging in profiteering of staggering proportions.

brad   ·  November 2, 2007 1:48 AM

who have calculated a 90% probability that human activity has contributed to global warming. This means there is a 10% probability that John Christy is correct.

It's a mortal lock, babeeeeeeeee!!!! Send me your credit card number and I'll send you 3 more winners next week!!!!! Act now!!!!

bandit   ·  November 2, 2007 7:33 AM
The meaning of 90% probability is that the amount of temperature variance explained by the regression of greenhouse gas level vs. temperature change has only a 10% chance of occurring by chance. This is typically done using an F-test on the r-squared statistic.

If the only candidate causes are a) anthropogenic global warming caused by combustion byproducts b) random trend in the data, you've created a false dichotomy, as noted by others here. It's dishonest. If, on the other hand, you've managed to reject all other hypotheses with high confidence, show me.

When your rallying flag is the error-ridden An Inconvenient Truth, you really need to rethink.

What do you call it when your model forecasts have been drastically rescaled over a relatively short period of time? Oh, yeah: back to the drawing board.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. Been there, done that, got the friggin' teeshirt.

Slartibartfast   ·  November 2, 2007 7:37 AM

I first want to say I agree whole-heartedly, and that civil discourse and rationality has gone out the window with regards to global warming.

Then I want the mirror:
It's nearly as bad as the "heresy" of challenging foreign policy and being immediately labeled an appeaser and unpatriotic.

alt_cognito   ·  November 2, 2007 8:49 AM

What I find extremely funny is that there are people who call themselves 'scientists' who can say that 'there's a 90% chance that human activity has contributed to global warming". That's ludicrous.

If there is global warming, there is a 100% certainty that human activity has contributed to it.

Likewise, there is a 100% certainty that amoebic activity has contributed to it.

And a 100% certainty that salt has contributed to it.

We are all part of the same system--the global ecology.

It's a sciency-sounding phrase that has no effect. Like Rush's 'everyone who has ever eaten carrots has died--or will die', true, but so?

jack   ·  November 2, 2007 8:53 AM

"Then I want the mirror:
It's nearly as bad as the "heresy" of challenging foreign policy and being immediately labeled an appeaser and unpatriotic."

This is only reserved for those who actively wish for us to lose (especially for political gain).

Tom   ·  November 2, 2007 9:29 AM

Didn't you see the movie? We *have* to cast off our blinders, unite as a planet, and defeat ManBearPig before he devours us all!

jm   ·  November 2, 2007 9:55 AM

Science can handle skepticism. What is not appropriate is a magnification and distortion of these molehills of skepticism into mountains of a full-blown opposing view.
Case in point: Christy, one of thousands of IIPC scientists, who actually has no individual claim to a piece of the award, renounces the piece he does not have and ends up with a article in the wall street journal. Did he earn it through science or achievement? No, he earned it simply by being a contrarian. And partisans like you all, who care not a bit who he is or why he takes this position, will lift him on your shoulders and carry him all over the square.

Christy's problem is not that he is a heretic. It is that he is acting like a crass opportunitist. And scientists' repeated effort to advise the rest of us of the virtually complete agreement on climate change is not designed to quash skepticism, but to communicate to the rest of us that those few voices against climate change are in a miniscule minority, in spite of the fact that those voices have been nurtured, financed, cultivated and financed by the right.

sophie brown   ·  November 2, 2007 10:36 AM

should say:

in spite of the fact that those voices have been nurtured, financed, cultivated and amplified by the right.

sophie brown   ·  November 2, 2007 10:39 AM

Christy's "heresy" illustrates the conflict between the scientific and political aspects of "climate change". From a scientific perspective, anthropogenic global warming is a hypothesis that must be tested by research and open debate. From a political perspective, it is a tool for advancing certain policies and must therefore be protected from research and open debate. It provides a pretext for higher taxation, greater regulation of industry, and greater state control over the individual. It also creates many lucrative career opportunities for bureaucrats, lobbyists and activists.

So there are now a great many influential people who have a vested interest in the global warming hypothesis being true. Anyone who challenges the climate change orthodoxy threatens to derail their gravy train. Some environmentalists are like religious zealots but I think that a lot of the hostility toward "deniers" is ultimately motivated by self-interest. I'm not suggesting that it is all cynical or calculated, although some of it may be. It's more that there are a lot of people in the politico-media complex who don't want to hear anything that questions the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis because they have so much invested in it.

Andrew Zalotocky   ·  November 2, 2007 10:42 AM

People!! I'm super-duper seriel here!! ManBearPig is real!!

jeff   ·  November 2, 2007 10:46 AM

Andrew, I think this argument is pure projection. There are vested interests here, with a lot to lose if the US ever were to join the civilized world and confront the reality of climate change. But it's not the handful of underpaid lobbyists and activists and bureaucrats. Its industry and all its backers in government who have fixed assers committed to the status quo that are distorting the global warming discussion. Lobbyists and activists are opportunistic and can easily shift to the next big issue of the day. Big Oil is a lot less able to adapt and change.

sophie brown   ·  November 2, 2007 10:57 AM

Oo, a helping of vague conspiracy theory on the side! Just what the thread needed...

Peregrine John   ·  November 2, 2007 11:09 AM

With regard to the question of the 'need' for heresy, when I see the way that the red/green axis seems to be unable to regard its opponents as anything other than evil incarnate, I am reminded of Eric Hoffer's line from The True Believer: "Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil."

David Gillies   ·  November 2, 2007 11:38 AM

Sophie, let's assume you are right (a position I don't believe) and not only is human contribution to global warming of overriding significance, but we have the ability to completely reverse it. Please demonstrate to me that the climate we are experiencing today is the "right" climate for the earth forever. In the past temperatures have been higher. In fact, England was once a verdant land renoun for their quality wine. There is far more land in extreme northern latitudes (e.g. Canada, Siberia, northern Europe) that today experience prolonged winters. Why would it be "bad" for these lands to not have an extended growing season and a greater variety of crops?

If one assumes that humans are significantly affecting the global climate and can, by action or inaction, determine the degree and nature of the effect (again, not a premise I agree with, but one I'm willing to concede for purposes of this argument), then the next logicical questin is "what do we want the global climate to be?" Why does the global climate of November 2, 2007 have any inherent benefit over any other?

submandave   ·  November 2, 2007 11:46 AM

Ed Minchau,
The quantity that is missing from the 90% swag is this BY HOW MUCH have humans contributed to GW? All of it, 1% of it? Both possibilities are included in the range of possibilities that add up to 90%. Which is why, no matter how many irrelevant characters you type into your post, you haven't answered the question. My bet is you have never even thought about it.

A more interesting number would be the probability that humans have contributed to half of the warming we have seen since the LIA. Or even half of the warming we have seen since 1980.

What is the confidence in the 3C prediction? Are you claiming that it is the same 90%, or are you indulging in bait and switch rhetoric?

yorick   ·  November 2, 2007 11:49 AM

I like sophie's answer.

The truth of a proposition can absolutely be determined by the politics of the person espousing it.

M. Simon   ·  November 2, 2007 11:58 AM

"...if the US ever were to join the civilized world and confront the reality of climate change." -sophie b.

And which civilization IS confronting the reality of climate change? Anyone? Bueller?

And how do you define "civilization?" Bowing down before the shamans of anthropogenic climate change (based on shoddy methodology to back up a political agenda) does not strike me as particularly civilized--more like a bunch of tribalistic primitives locked into the narrow view that only their way of life is the correct one.

I believe in climate change. This planet has been through warm periods and cold periods. Iím grateful to be alive during one of the warm periods. Iíd like to see it stay warm. The day that we (humanity) start to control volcanic venting, plate tectonic activity, variations in solar energy output, oceanic currents and cow farts (methane) and water vapor content in the atmosphere, then I'll believe that anthropogenic causes are the MAIN reason for climate change, in lieu of natural planetary-dynamic causes to which man contributes a minor share.

When China, India and every country in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, South and Central America, Russia, the South Pacific and everywhere else other than a handful of countries in Europe that talk a great talk (but do little) become "civilized" by cutting energy use to .01% (neat trick if you can run civilization on no energy), THEN we'll take a look and see if there's any significant impact on the global climate.

Again, civilized like who? Learn some real history (both human and geologic), geography, geology, paleo-climatology, oceanography, cultural anthropology and psychology, poli-sci, engineering and medicine before making asinine claims concerning civilizations and climate change. Join the civilized world indeed. Maroon. -cp

cold pizza   ·  November 2, 2007 12:26 PM

But what is it that drives intelligent people to want such definite answers so badly that they must label dissenting views as heretical, immoral, and downright evil?

Probably the same thing that drives people to insist that evil or otherwise abberrant/irrational behaviors somehow stem from flaws in human nature instead of flaws in their ideas -- i.e. flawed ideas.

Seerak   ·  November 2, 2007 12:45 PM

"Is the human NEED for religion being filled by political ideology on the left?"

That's why it's called a "cult of personality." The left inevitably rallies around some populist leader, and quickly comes to view him/her as a literal God, to fill the void left by their militant atheism. Problem is, a mythological God won't tell you to butcher millions of people, except maybe with a flaming herring or something equally ludicrous. A human elevated to the status of God can not only tell people to commit genocide, he/she may even be rational enough to provide scientific-sounding reasons for doing so, and set up a functional, self-perpetuating organization to carry out the genocide, while demanding little more time, effort, or thought on the part of his/her worshippers than visiting the restroom.

Tatterdemalian   ·  November 2, 2007 12:49 PM


I realize how difficult it is to accept factual data on topics youíve already decided emotionally, but itís my problem that I continue to try, even though I was relatively happy as a child.

1)Curt is correct. Correlation is not causation. Thatís why the regressions of temperature change vs. greenhouse gas change are backed up by physical models that compute the radiation balances in the presence of atmospheric gases, as well as by other terrestrial measurements that are indicated from the from the model predictions. Thatís what the 900+ refereed journal papers on climate change over the past 20 years are about. (Not ONE of which has concluded that human-induced greenhouse gas is NOT a significant factor.) You can get started on your reading list here: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/306/5702/1686

2)Bart, I believe that the regression models assume linear correlation between gas levels and temperature- thatís standard practice.

3)There is indeed more than one thing that affects climate change. Solar radiation is a big one. But without some greenhouse warming, our planetís average surface temperature would settle out around -40C, instead of the current, balmy 20C. But there is getting to be too much of that.

4)The effect of the additional greenhouse gas (in addition to termites, volcanoes, cows, etc) is estimated to add another 3C to whatever else is going on, by 2080.

5)Iím sorry that I donít have the 90% confidence range for that number (or even the 87% confidence range, in deference to Bart.) Three degrees is the most probable, with 90% certainty that itís not zero degrees. (With Bartís knowledge of statistics, he should have remembered that the practice of stating confidence levels in terms of rounded-down numbers harkens back to the pre-computer days, when we had to look up our F and t- statistics in large tables. Now we could easily compute precise confidence levels for every regression but that seems a bit fussy.)

6)The planetís temperature will continue to cycle, as it has in the past, and some types of life will probably survive it. But for species that have built their lives around a certain kind of ecological niche (like us and our food supply) it will be pretty uncomfortable if it rapidly changes, e.g. within 100 years. Witness the high loss rates of species in past temperature swings, e.g. the Permian extinction. (But weíre too smart for that, right?)

Itís got to be tough to live in a world where the large majority of educated scientists have been bamboozled by a few conspiracists, and pressed into political service in support ofÖ.? (I may need a little help, here.)

Glen   ·  November 2, 2007 2:10 PM

Glen,

The atmosphere is not a greenhouse it is a heat pipe.

Even the AGW scientists will tell you that the heat pipe effects (clouds, rain, etc) are not well modeled.

You can regress all you want. Bad models are nothing to bet $100 trillion on.

M. Simon   ·  November 2, 2007 3:02 PM

There are vested interests here, with a lot to lose if the US ever were to join the civilized world and confront the reality of climate change.


By "confront the reality of climate change" do you mean "force drastically reduced CO2 emissions by government fiat"? If so, then you can count me (and everyone else in the country who cares about their life) as one of those "vested interests" who has "a lot to lose" in the resulting economic collapse.

Dana H.   ·  November 2, 2007 3:02 PM

I'm surprised noone has mentioned this:

"in today's Wall Street Journal, Christy tells the world that not only does he believe it's unproven that humans cause global warming, he's refusing his "share" of the Nobel Peace Prize"

This is from the NewsBusters piece and makes more sense than what is posted here:

"in today's Wall Street Journal tells the world that not only does he not believe no one's proven humans cause global warming, he's refusing his "share" of the Nobel Peace Prize"

It confused me so I had to look.

FYI.

Will Myers   ·  November 2, 2007 4:06 PM

90% probable that the number is not zero. Wow. Alarm the media. And you have no probability for your 3C prediction. Although you threw around the 90% number in your post, I guess hoping that it would rub off.

There are two large scale experiments in train right now that will settle this within a decade. Sunspots have gone to zero, and are predicted by some to go to LIA type numbers during the next couple of solar cycles.

CLOUD experiment is underway to experimentally verify the effects of cosmic rays on cloud formation.

If the CLOUD experiment comes back negative,and the Earth continues to warm (Sea Surface Temps and Troposphere temps as measured by satelites have leveled right about the time the Sun started to flag, near surface ocean temps have fallen)

If the warming that we have seen since the 80s continues under these conditions, I will change my mind.

Right now what we have is a bunch of socialists screaming that we have a problem and that socialism is the only solution.

Funny how everybody slags off the US on GHG. The US has reduced CO2 emissions more than most signatories of Kyoto, who are just buying their way out of it with carbon credits that are then invested, many times, in projects of dubious worth.

yorick   ·  November 2, 2007 4:22 PM

M.Simon- I think that most climate scientists understand modeling, data analysis, and reliability. Perhaps even better than you and I. That's why their conclusions are based on reinforcing data, and the statistical reliability of that data, rather than "just theory". The uncertainties you speak of (and that the scientists already know about) are captured in their confidence statistics.

There may well be other effects out there that nobody yet knows about, that will compensate for the higher gas levels. Or they might make the situation worse. As it stands, the best minds looking at the best data state that the best estimate of the greenhouse gas contribution to overall warming is an additional 3C by 2080.

Glen   ·  November 2, 2007 4:26 PM

"Rather I see jump-to-conclusions advocates and, unfortunately, some scientists who see in every weather anomaly the specter of a global-warming apocalypse."

Dangit, Al Gore and the other Anthropogenic Climate Change disciples been using that Jump-To-Conlusions mat again. They need to stop watching Office Space.

On a serious note, it's good to see scientists are starting to stand up for what they think is right scientificly and not just toe the line. Regardless of what one thinks about Anthropogenic Climate Change.

Steven Potter   ·  November 2, 2007 4:42 PM

Yorick- The probability that the number is higher than 3C is 50%, as is the probability that it is lower. The probability that is zero is less than 10%.
From this, you can infer that the standard deviation is 2.3C. Which means that the most probable range (plus/minus 1 sigma) is between 0.7 and 5.3C, with 3 being right in the middle.

This range is between bad and real bad- the recent century was plus 0.5C, resulting in significant polar ice losses, northward species migration, permafrost melting, more disease vectors, etc. And good things(maybe) like earlier springs, but more bad things than good.

You're going to need a lot of clouds.

Glen   ·  November 2, 2007 5:06 PM

Glen,
There you go again conflating issues. The 90% confidence was the effect of AGW in the warming trend we have been in since the global LIA.

The original statement was that there is a 90% confidence that AGW is here. It is certainly possible, the 90% covers a lot of ground, from .0001C degree to .5C. It is a meaningless statement beyond saying that the IPCC is pretty sure they have the sign down.

There are lots of scientists who disagree with the 3C figure. I know that they are not "real scientists", even though they have PHDs and publish in peer reviewed journals, but they are there anyway.

There was a time when it was considered career suicide to support Wegner's theory of continental drift. The overwhelming consensus of geologists believed the theory to be absurd. This was not that long ago.

Yorick   ·  November 2, 2007 6:34 PM

One of several thousand people agrees with the others? He must be right!

When I saw the headers to this I thought it would be interesting -- one of three, one of five, one of ten.

One of several thousand is just hotdogging on the part of Christy, and disinformation on the part of the usual morons.

The handful of legit scientific global warming skeptics carry thousands of ideologues and industry flacks on their backs. They're mostly talkin loud and sayin nuthin.

John Emerson   ·  November 2, 2007 6:42 PM

"disagrees with all the others". We regret the error.

John Emerson   ·  November 2, 2007 6:43 PM

Yorick- I'll say it again. You're correct that a 90% confidence that global warming is affected by anthropogenic CO2 does not imply the magnitude of the effect.
It only tells you that it's somewhere between zero and infinity.

But when you also learn that the regression projections are for 3C warming, you then can calculate that there is a 75% chance that it's larger than 1.5C, 50% chance that it's larger than 3C, and etc. If you're playing smart poker, you have to worry about those odds. Especially if only 1C can cause havoc.

I'm not here to socialize y'all, but to dissuade you from dismissing good scientific data out of hand, because you don't like who else is promoting it. Truth sometimes arrives in distasteful packages.

Also because I get bored in retirement.

Glen   ·  November 2, 2007 10:21 PM

Remember when we had a few cold years in the 1970s and we were told that the majority of scientists believe human pollution was going to bring a new ice age? Remember right after hurricane Katrina when we were told that the majority of scientists believe that anthropogenic global warming was going to continue to bring more and more ferocious hurricanes?

Just because these boys keep crying "wolf!" doesn't mean there are no wolves, but damn it's hard to take them seriously when you examine their record so far.

Swen Swenson   ·  November 6, 2007 10:36 AM

I should add that it would also be easier to take these doom & gloomers seriously if it weren't for the fact that, no matter what the nature of the impending disaster, the solution is always to destroy the US economy.

Swen Swenson   ·  November 6, 2007 12:07 PM

thanks for the GREAT post! Very useful...

Whatever-ishere   ·  November 21, 2007 1:11 PM

Very interesting... as always! Cheers from Switzerland.

http://dogtrainingtipstricks.blogspot.com

Dog training   ·  November 22, 2007 12:01 PM

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