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March 22, 2012

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"Global warming is real. We need to deal with it. Now."

--Well then, don't buy a Volt. Don't buy anything that takes energy to make it. Why do you keep buying all these new cars, scooters and gadgets?

tucson, take a look at a Leaf or Volt window sticker. The Leaf sticker shows zero carbon emissions. That's the car we're driving now, super-green. The Volt is less green, but still much more carbon efficient than regular gas cars.

My wife and I realize that our efforts are a drop; in the bucket compared to what needs to be done to reduce human-caused global warming. But every drop counts. I want to be able to live with myself, to look at my granddaughter as she grows up and say, "We tried to leave you with an Earth worth living in."

Unfortunately, lots of people aren't getting that message.

By the way, do you realize how energy efficient a scooter is? Mine gets over 40 mpg; it requires much less materials to make than a big clunky car. Scooters are a great way to get around, environmentally. Fun, also. Green doesn't mean "gloom." The Volt is a fun car to drive, as is the Leaf.

I agree, if more people switched to Leafs, Volts and scooters there would be alot less carbon emissions. It would also mean alot less demand for fossil fuels and the price of gas would be reduced. That would leave more cheap gas for me and my big beautiful and safe Chevy Suburban. Wahoo!

cheers

I disagree. With 7 billion people on the planet all wanting, to some degree, consumer items such as cars, TVs, appliances, gadgets, this and that, and all the rest, there is no stopping the momentum of this civilization, imo.

Like an illness with no cure such as the common cold it has to run its course. Consumerism isn't going to stop and consumerism means consumption of energy and the production of its byproduct, carbon emissions.

I am not saying we may as well throw up our hands and say "buy baby buy", but in order to stop the carbon emissions of civilization, the entire business paradigm of producing goods to make a profit to earn a living will have to be curtailed. I don't see that happening until humanity self- destructs.

Even global warming "activists" such as Blogger Brian continue to consume products of industrial manufacture. While his intentions may be good, upon close analysis, he does not "walk the walk". He "talks the talk". Whether it is a Volt or a Hummer they are both manufactured products that demand great amounts of energy and resources to produce them. For that reason they are going to cost a lot of money that people will have to earn via production of some other manufactured product and so on and so on.

The only answer would be to return to our roots of simple subsistence living as native peoples of ages past lived (a few still do), leaving only minor traces in their wake in the form of arrowheads and the like. These people lived without the huge environmental impact humans do today.

The problem is that with so many humans on the planet, there is not enough land and resources to support 7 billion people living a sustainable hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

Even in that lifestyle it is thought that Pleistocene hunters may have over-hunted a few species of megafauna to the brink of extinction.

I'm afraid humans are too smart for their own good.

By the way Brian, I read your rebuttal to the Eric Bolling piece on the Volt. You may be correct, but in light of the above, I don't think the Volt accomplishes much.

tucson, good points. In my reply to you I focused on the environmental plus side of our lifestyle. You correctly pointed out the negatives.

I've read that the greenist way to live is in an apartment in a big city, like New York. Yet my wife and I live on ten acres in the country, six miles from the Salem city limits, where we shop, recreate, and such.

So, yes, it would be better if we, along with the rest of the planet, lived more simply, with less stuff.

In my first marriage, my wife, kid, and I visited Fiji. We stayed in a remote resort where there wasn't much to do. I remember one day a bunch of us American and Australian tourists were talking with a beautiful Fijian girl who worked there.

Someone asked her if she wanted to go to the United States. I still remember her immediate answer: "Why? Why would I want to go to a place where all you do is work hard, buy stuff, and die?"

There was silence in the group. I thought, "Yes, why?" If the US lifestyle is so great, why have we come to Fiji for a vacation? Why would someone give up the relaxed, healthy, simple life the girl had on Fiji for our stressful, must-buy culture?

A psychological researcher once determined that certain Fijians and other south sea islanders were the happiest people on earth despite an average annual per capita income at the time of $50.

I am in agreement with tucson on this matter (actually most matters, but that is an irrelevant digression).

Yes, global warming is an inconvenient truth. But an even more inconvenient truth is that nothing can be done about it.

John Maynard Keynes pretty much summed up the whole deal when he astutely observed: in the long run, we're all dead.

On Daily Kos today I came across this quote from Michael Mann. Nice explanation of the relationship between global warming and local weather.
----------------
What does that mean? Climatologist Michael Mann put it like this yesterday, "I'm often getting asked 'the crazy warmth this winter and spring, is it climate change or just weather'? The answer I tell them is that it's both; weather is the random rolls of the dice. But global warming and climate change is loading the dice. And that's part of why we're rolling so many sixes lately."

Brian, step into the wayback machine.

Your thesis in Dec. 2008 was: “Global warming is global, not local.” http://hinessight.blogs.com/hinessight/2008/12/global-warming-is-global-not-local.html

Your thesis today is, “Crazy March weather points to global warming.” And you justify this position because, “…most of the rest of the United States has been extremely warm.” Never mind that most of the rest of the globe’s northern hemisphere (Europe, Asia and Alaska) was bitterly cold during winter 2011-12.

Not once in the post above do you reference the rest of the globe outside North America before drawing your conclusion that “Global warming is real.” Yet just over three years ago you lectured to so-called deniers, “What happens one year in one part of the world has no scientific significance.”

Debunking your global warming posts usually takes more ink than this, Brian. This time it looks like you've debunked yourself.

DJ, you're not doing the homework that I keep giving you. Which is: stop getting your unscientific climate change information from Fox News, and start reading Climate Progress every day, like I do.

Then you'd be up to date on the latest scientific research and analyses, which are showing that global climate change is having an increasing impact on weather patterns. Here's some homework for you to read:
http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2012/03/26/451605/nature-strong-evidence-manmade-unprecedented-heat-rainfall-extremes-causing-intense-human-suffering/

http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2012/03/25/451347/must-read-trenberth-how-to-relate-climate-extremes-to-climate-change/

Some excerpts from the second Climate Progress post:

"The answer to the oft-asked question of whether an event is caused by climate change is that it is the wrong question. All weather events are affected by climate change because the environment in which they occur is warmer and moister than it used to be….

The air is on average warmer and moister than it was prior to about 1970 and in turn has likely led to a 5–10 % effect on precipitation and storms that is greatly amplified in extremes. The warm moist air is readily advected onto land and caught up in weather systems as part of the hydrological cycle, where it contributes to more intense precipitation events that are widely observed to be occurring.

...The climate has changed; global warming is unequivocal (IPCC 2007) and human activities have undoubtedly changed the composition of the atmosphere and produced warming. Moreover there is no other plausible explanation for the warming. The human-induced changes are inherently multi-decadal and provide a warmer and moister environment for most weather events, even in the presence of large natural variability."

Quick, Brian! Change the subject!

But first, please explain why you believe your 2008 thesis “Global warming is global, not local” no longer matters for winter 2012.

After all, these are your words back then: “You'd think this would be obvious to anyone with half a brain. But anti-scientific right-wingers don't seem to be operating with a full cranium when it comes to global warming.”

You’ve painted yourself in a box here, Brian. Either you believe your 2008 thesis still holds true, making your argument in the 2012 post above just an unscientific rambling…

-OR-

…you believe your 2008 thesis no longer holds true, putting you at odds with scientists on both sides of the AGW debate.

So, Brian, which is it? Is your standard for anyone “with half a brain” in 2008 too high for you today? By your definition, that makes you an “anti-scientific left-winger.”

DJ, I just started reading "The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science-- and Reality."
http://www.amazon.com/The-Republican-Brain-Science-Science--/dp/1118094514/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1332959949&sr=1-1

If you read the book, you'd probably find quite a few reminders of yourself in it. For example, the part I read last night talks about how liberals are more open to new information and fresh perspectives than conservatives are.

After all, "conservatism" has something to do with "conserve" -- keeping things as they are, rather than changing.

So this helps explain why you find it astounding, perhaps even morally wrong, that I could change my mind between 2008 and 2012 as more information about the effects of global warming are known by climatologists, and additional scientific research on the relation between global climate and local weather is published.

In the past four years, more and more extreme weather events have occurred. Global warming was obvious back in 2008; now it's super obvious.

It's still true, as one the links I shared in a previous comment says, that many factors influence local weather events. But now scientists are concluding that ALL weather on Earth is being influenced to some extent by a steadily warming Earth, which can hold more moisture, and is prone to more extreme weather events.

Learning is a wonderful thing. Flexibility and openness to fresh facts is a wonderful thing. At least to liberals/progressives. Not so much for conservatives, as Mooney explains in his book.

Brian, you’re proposing that I, “find it astounding, perhaps even morally wrong, that (you) could change (your) mind between 2008 and 2012”??

Quite to the contrary. I think you’ll believe just about anyone or anything one day (or year) and an entirely different person or thing another day – all the while failing to see the contradiction between the arguments you make based on those changing beliefs. In order for one to truly change their mind they have to understand that what they believe today contradicts what they said yesterday. When it comes to global climate relationships and cause-effect I don’t think you do. At least not on a level greater than parroting the latest Joe Romm article or the latest book you’ve read.

Case in point, in your 2008 piece you laud AGW true-believer David Appell as the apparent voice of reason against two “deniers” on some talk show. (http://hinessight.blogs.com/hinessight/2008/12/global-warming-is-global-not-local.html) But what does David Appell think about your thesis that, “Crazy March weather points to global warming” and your parroting of the supposed link between climate change and weather extremes?

Have a read of these excerpts by David from just days ago:

- Anyway it's certainly been a warm March in the U.S., but conveniently McKibben doesn't mention that the rest of the globe has had a fairly cold winter (Dec-Feb). Globally, UAH measured the lower troposphere to rank 19th out of 34 years; the USA48 ranking was 4th (last year it was 26th). UAH's trend for USA48 over their 34-year record is 0.21 ± 0.04 C/decade. That's worrisome enough, and it’s what really he ought to cite, but I guess it's not scary enough and he needs to take advantage of a heat wave while it’s here. (EXACTLY WHAT YOU’RE DOING, Brian…David Appell is criticizing YOU)

- McKibben does this a lot, like with last year's Hurricane Irene, which he attributed to warm water off the east coast. Yet the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season had a near normal number of major hurricanes, with an above average number of tropical storms with a near normal number of major hurricanes.

- Now he sticks to the US heat wave, with no mention of the recent deep freeze in eastern Europe. (AGAIN, EXACTLY WHAT YOU’RE DOING, Brian…David Appell is criticizing YOU)

- And if you want to cherry pick, Arctic sea ice is currently at it highest extent in several years.

http://davidappell.blogspot.com/2012/03/bill-mcfibben-on-weirdest-weather.html

If Republican brains are so homogeneous and closed off from reality, Brian, why is it that I agree with an AGW true-believer like Appell in this case while you're the one at odds with him? Is Appell a Republican double agent? A Big Oil operative perhaps?

DJ, since you have a "Republican brain," you have an unusually strong commitment to preserving your unscientific point of view, regardless of the evidence. Like I said before, get Chris Mooney's new book about the science of why people like you deny science. You'll learn a lot about yourself.

Until you and other conservatives come to grips with reality, you're going to be ineffective in trying to change reality. And you're going to contribute to a horrible division in this country between people who accept scientific truths, and those who don't.

We can disagree about what to do with a real situation. But if those with a "Republican brain" refuse to even acknowledge that reality, policy discussions are stuck, with the conservative side mired in the muck of Fantasy Land.

Read this plea from a Republican meteorologist to start getting real about what is really happening to the Earth's climate.
http://bit.ly/GZpxkD

And take this quote from Mooney to heart.
-----------------
"Science. This is the area I care about most deeply, and the denial here is particularly intense. In a nationally representative survey released just as I was finishing this book -- many prior surveys have found similar things -- only 18 percent of Republicans and Tea Party members accepted the scientific consensus that global warming is caused by humans, and only 45 and 43 percent (respectively) accepted human evolution.

In other words, political conservatives have placed themselves in direct conflict with modern scientific knowledge, which shows beyond serious question that global warming is real and caused by humans, and evolution is real and the cause of humans. If you don't accept either claim, you cannot possibly understand the world or our place in it.

The evidence suggests that many conservatives today just don't."

This is hilarious. Brian thinks I, "have an unusually strong commitment to preserving your unscientific point of view, regardless of the evidence." This from the guy who wrote, "Crazy March weather points to global warming" one week ago and can't now bring himself to discuss that topic in light of the scientific evidence I pointed out above with the help of David Appell.

Brian, rather than try to understand the Republican brain (clearly you're making no headway) you should put down Mooney's book and read your post and the comments since above. Maybe in doing so you'll take a step past your own deep denial and learn a little something about your own brain instead.

By the way, Brian, it's equally hilarious how you stereotype that all conservatives are glued to Fox News. How many times do I have to tell you I don't waste my time with Fox News? Nor am I willing to pay good money to receive the channel. You on the other hand can't seem to shut up about Fox. Admit it Brain, you're like a holy roller railing against porn, all the while unable to take your eyes off it.

DJ, it's good to hear that you don't watch Fox News. I don't either. I just link to videos from Fox News from time to time. So you're wrong that I can't keep my eyes off of Fox.

Along with your attitude toward global warming. I will be happy to stop making critical remarks about your "Republican brain" when you simply say...

"I accept the scientific consensus that the Earth is warming, and humans are the cause through emissions of greenhouse gases."

Then we could spend our blog commenting time more fruitfully, discussing how the world should respond to global warming. Like Mooney says, it just isn't possible for me to take anyone seriously on this subject who has his/her head hidden in the anti-science sand.

[Note to readers: DJ is a habitual science denier. He spreads untruths in this comment, as he often does. Actually, the consensus of climate scientists is that humans are indeed warming the Earth through the release of greenhouse gases, and this is a serious danger to both the planet and humanity.

Check out Skeptical Science and Climate Progress for reams of evidence that back up this fact. I'll publish untruths in a blog comment, but no longer will I allow global warming lies to appear without their lying'ness being pointed out. -- Blogger Brian]

Brian, like many scaremongers you're misrepresenting the debate and the so-called consensus.

Scientists on both sides of the AGW debate acknowledge that CO2 (manmade or otherwise) is a greenhouse gas. That's where the consensus ends.

Most AGW skeptics believe GHG’s warm the earth to some extent. But unlike alarmists they question the degree of GHG contribution to warming as well as the theoretical 3X positive feedback required for GHG warming to become catastrophic. It’s not enough to say ‘AGW’ anymore…alarmists are talking about CAWG, ‘Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming.’

Alarmists know without the ‘C’ the public pays them no mind. Thus they crank up the alarmism – most recently by trying to link warming to extreme weather events as you do above.

Tornadoes are a perfect example. But what does NOAA say about tornado frequency in their March 2012 update?

“With increased national Doppler radar coverage [introduced between 1992 and 1997], increasing population, and greater attention to tornado reporting, there has been an increase in the number of tornado reports over the past several decades. This can create a misleading appearance of an increasing trend in tornado frequency. The bar chart below indicates there has been little trend in the frequency of the strongest tornadoes over the past 55 years.”

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/severeweather/tornadoes.html

Even the IPCC is cautious to link climate and extreme weather in a new 2012 report with statements such as:

“While there is evidence that increases in greenhouse gases have likely caused changes in some types of extremes, there is no simple answer to the question of whether the climate, in general, has become more or less extreme.”

“There is medium evidence and high agreement that long-term trends in normalized (property damage) losses have not been attributed to natural or anthropogenic climate change.”

“The statement about the absence of trends in impacts attributable to natural or anthropogenic climate change holds for tropical and extratropical storms and tornados.”

“The absence of an attributable climate change signal in losses also holds for flood losses.”

http://www.ipcc-wg2.gov/SREX/images/uploads/SREX-All_FINAL.pdf

Both NOAA and the IPCC completely undermine your thesis in the above post and comments, Brian. NOAA and the IPCC...aren't those supposed to be the sources YOU reference for support? Not when alarmism is more important than the evidence I guess.

[To repeat...Note to readers: DJ is a habitual science denier. He spreads untruths in this comment, as he often does. Actually, the consensus of climate scientists is that humans are indeed warming the Earth through the release of greenhouse gases, and this is a serious danger to both the planet and humanity. Check out Skeptical Science and Climate Progress for reams of evidence that back up this fact. I'll publish untruths in a blog comment, but no longer will I allow global warming lies to appear without their lying'ness being pointed out.

Check out the U.S. National Academies of Sciences report on climate change.
http://nas-sites.org/americasclimatechoices/sample-page/panel-reports/87-2/

Excerpt from summary:

"A strong, credible body of scientific evidence shows that climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems, concludes this panel report from the America’s Climate Choices suite of studies.

As decision makers respond to these risks, the nation’s scientific enterprise can contribute both by continuing to improve understanding of the causes and consequences of climate change, and by improving and expanding the options available to limit the magnitude of climate change and adapt to its impacts. To make this possible, the nation needs a comprehensive, integrated, and flexible climate change research enterprise that is closely linked with action-oriented programs at all levels."

This is the truth. Don't believe those who want the fossil fuel industry to continue polluting our one and only planet, while sucking up tax subsidies and making billions of dollars in profits.

-- Blogger Brian]

Brian, regarding your “Note to readers” inserted into my comment above…

A) Here’s my definition of the consensus: “Scientists on both sides of the AGW debate acknowledge that CO2 (manmade or otherwise) is a greenhouse gas. Most AGW skeptics believe GHG’s warm the earth to some extent."

B) Here’s your definition of the consensus: “Actually, the consensus of climate scientists is that humans are indeed warming the Earth through the release of greenhouse gases.”

Sounds like we’re saying basically the same thing…or do you mean something else but are afraid to use the word ‘catastrophic?’

If you are afraid I understand why. It’s a common tactic. In their response to this same question regarding consensus, your favorite site Skepticalscience.com is afraid to say ‘catastrophic’ as well. On their site they pose the following skeptic argument and response:

Skeptic Argument: “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide will, in the forseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere.”

Response: In the field of climate science, the consensus is unequivocal: human activities are causing climate change.

http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-scientific-consensus.htm

See how they answered an entirely different question? They used seven paragraphs to come to that conclusion and made no mention of the word ‘catastrophic’- as if it was never posed by the skeptics in the first place.

And that’s called a logical fallacy… "an error in reasoning that renders an argument logically invalid". Nice try though. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logical_fallacy

DJ, I guess you don't visit the New York Times or Statesman Journal, focusing instead on anti-science right-wing blogs. Try the mainstream media sometime.

The Statesman Journal requires a Facebook account. So you'd have to post under your real name if you want to leave a comment on the S-J web site. Comments are moderated, so certain comments won't appear if they violate the newspaper's policies.

I'm being liberal (no surprise). I'm just correcting your untruths so people aren't led astray by them, in the same way I'd say "Don't believe this!" if you were encouraging people to play Russian Roulette with a revolver. Global warming is real, and expert climatologists say there's a very high probability it will severely damage the planet. I'm not going to let you fool people into believing that doing nothing about global warming is safe.

On the New York Times web site, registration also is required (just not a Facebook account, I'm pretty sure). Comments also are moderated, under the policy, "Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive."

I'm posting your comment. I just find your comments about global warming to be abusive to the survival of humanity and the ability of the Earth to sustain Homo sapiens. So I'm being generous and allowing you to say what you want after people are warned that what you are saying is untrue. Hope this explains how this blog is just like the New York Times and our local newspaper! I'm cool! -- Blogger Brian]

Imagine the outrage if the New York Times or the Salem Statesman Journal began disrespecting readers by annotating the beginning of letters to the editor with an attack on the writer and inserting the paper’s slant or point of view, simply because the editors disagreed with the content or conclusions.

Would such an action say more about the letter writer or the editors?

How would readers describe the editorial staff? As controlling? Insecure? Lacking confidence? Condescending?

How would readers feel they were being viewed by the editors? As Lemmings? Uneducated? Lacking judgment? Unable to think independently?

You’re the editor here, Brian. Feel free to run your paper and treat your readers however you’d like.

As for the National Academy of Sciences... thank you, Brian, for citing an example of what I said goes on in the climate industry (“Alarmists know without the ‘C’ the public pays them no mind. Thus they crank up the alarmism…”).

The NAS knows without elevated alarmism that a fiscally stretched government is less likely to fund their vision of “…a comprehensive, integrated, and flexible climate change research enterprise that is closely linked with action-oriented programs at all levels." Without alarmism they know they’ll never be elevated to, “…a single federal entity or program (with) AUTHORITY and RESOURCES…”.

Note, too, that the NAS report you cite, Brian, is repackaged regurgitation actually funded by NOAA and completed back in 2010. Repeat, 2010. That’s the very same NOAA that found no link between climate and weather extremes in March 2012. The very same NOAA that you still fail to acknowledge undermines your original thesis in your post and comments above. Why are you running from NOAA and IPCC 2012 findings while clinging to NAS 2010 findings?

http://www.scribd.com/doc/44923217/Advancing-the-Science-of-Climate-Change-Report-in-Brief

In Summary: No, Brian, “Crazy March weather” DOES NOT “ point to global warming.” At least not according to the very latest 2012 evaluations by global warming advocates that you used to admire: David Appell, NOAA, and the IPCC. Input cited by you from the NAS is dated 2010, superseded by the 2012 conclusions of its study sponsor (NOAA), and thus does not measure up to your standards stated above (“the latest scientific research and analyses”).

[DJ, you continue to be wrong. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences has exactly the same position on climate change in 2011 as they've had in previous years. Read and weep (for your anti-science delusions being proved wrong, once again):
http://dels.nas.edu/Report/Americas-Climate-Choices/12781

The summary of findings for the 2011 NAS report starts off with:

"Climate change is occurring, is very likely caused primarily by the emission of greenhouse gases from human activities, and poses significant risks for a range of human and natural systems. Emissions continue to increase, which will result in further change and greater risks. In the judgment of this report's authoring committee, the environmental, economic, and humanitarian risks posed by climate change indicate a pressing need for substantial action to limit the magnitude of climate change and to prepare for adapting to its impacts."

Give it up. Accept the truth. -- Blogger Brian]

Brian, thank you for providing your readers with:
-Five new paragraphs of comment explaining your editorial style.
-Zero response explaining your cherry pick in favor of an old NAS report over new reports from NOAA and the IPCC.

Silence often points loudest to the truth. You're Holmes' 'dog that didn't bark.'

Notice then from the quotes you provided, Brian, that the NAS has backed off the degree of certainty that they express in their language:

2010: "...climate change...IS CAUSED largely by human activities..."

2011: "climate change...IS VERY LIKELY CAUSED primarily by the emission of greenhouse gases from human activities"

From "is" to "is very likely." What language will they use next year or ten years from now, 'most likely?' 'Somewhat likely?' 'Possibly?'

DJ, I'm about to post another of your anti-science comments, along with my truthful additions. I'm getting tired of having my blog being used for willful lies, so am going to ask you to include a link to your Facebook page along with any future comments.

As I note in the preface to the comment that will be published next:

"From now on I won't be publishing any more untruths from DJ until he sends me a link to his Facebook page, so this can be included with any future comments from him. Many blog services and newspapers (but not the one I use, unfortunately) are moving to require a Facebook login so real people are associated with their comments.

This is a good idea. If someone is going to obsessively keep posting lies about global warming on my blog, I and other readers of the blog deserve to know who that person is."

"Many blog services and newspapers (but not the one I use, unfortunately) are moving to require a Facebook login so real people are associated with their comments."

What? My facebook page is a complete fabrication, my name, my address, age everything are fiction. Newspapers want the behavioral information of the user, it matters not about the truth of the name and address.

And besides why would anyone post comments on the web and use their real name?

klem, you're violating the Facebook terms of service if you don't use your real identity. So if you have created a "fiction," your account is open to being disabled. See:

http://www.facebook.com/help/?page=121104481304395

I use my real name on the the web. Many people do. We aren't ashamed of what we say and are willing to stand behind our posts and comments.

I can understand why science-deniers want to hide in the shadows, because they're spreading lies about global warming, evolution, and such. But this isn't anything to be proud of.

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