Harryhammer's Blog

A go-to destination for a variety of posts and waterfront photos

Patrick Michaels is a Buffoon

I have an idea that might help solve the global warming crisis.

All of the top scientific organizations in the world should band together, take up a collection, and hire Bill Nye the Science Guy as their spokesperson.

Perhaps he can do for the NAS what Charlton Heston did for the NRA?

Honestly, who could possibly not trust the Science Guy?

Believe it or not, there actually is one such person and his name is Patrick Michaels, one of the more infamous global warming deniers. He’s a member of the Cato Institute, so chances are he’s representing their best interests, similar to the way an attorney represents a client.

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Cato_Institute

In the global warming/climate change case, think of public opinion as the jury, the world’s worst polluters as the defendant, and Patrick Michaels as one of their many lawyers. His job is to cloud the issue, muddy the waters, and create doubt in the minds of the public.

Whatever the case, the man is a buffoon.

Are we honestly expected to believe that Patrick Michaels is right while 97% of the scientific experts who specialize in the field are wrong?

Judge for yourself:

Bill Nye and Patrick Michaels go head to head on CNN:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffgj6Deni_Y

The most significant revelation to come from all those hacked emails is that we now know that the most published and peer-reviewed climate change specialists in the world think that Michaels is an idiot.

Just about every scientific organization in the world other than a few oil and coal related geology groups are in agreement about the science.

There have been plenty of surveys conducted to evaluate the scientific opinion on global warming. Here are a few links to some of the more recent ones:

http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf

http://coast.gkss.de/staff/storch/pdf/CliSci2008.pdf

http://www.usnews.com/articles/news/national/2008/04/23/survey-tracks-scientists-growing-climate-concern.html

The most recent poll was done by Peter Doran and Maggie Kendall Zimmerman at Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago.

A summary from the survey states that:

It seems that the debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely nonexistent among those who understand the nuances and scientific basis of long-term climate processes.

40 Responses to “Patrick Michaels is a Buffoon”

  1. dancingczars

    I would be happy to debate this with you point by point. Like Al Gore you are gutless, don’t have the science and are absolutely clueless to the role that CO2 plays in cyclical climate change. Bring it you have been challenged. Doubtless you will post. But we both know you are so behind the curve on this topic you won’t step up to the plate.

    Reply
  2. Nullius in Verba

    “while 97% of the scientific experts who specialize in the field are wrong?”

    Which survey did you get that from?

    Argument from authority is a fallacy, so it doesn’t tell you anything about the truth of global warming, but I did think the question was interesting for it’s own sake, so I checked it out. I had a look at this survey.
    http://blogs.nature.com/climatefeedback/2007/08/climate_scientists_views_on_cl_1.html

    The study has its problems, but then they all do.

    I’ve heard these claims of overwhelming consensus many times – but two things I notice are that none of them appear to quote independent surveys or polls to back the numbers up, and the numbers vary – from 90% to more than 99.9%. Where do the numbers and claims come from?

    As one scientist said, “It won’t be easy to dismiss out of hand as the math appears to be correct theoretically”. But we can try.

    Reply
  3. citizenschallenge

    dancingczars // April 6, 2010 at 11:56 pm | Reply

    I would be happy to debate this with you point by point. Like Al Gore you are gutless, don’t have the science and are absolutely clueless to the role that CO2 plays in cyclical climate change.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~
    Mr Czars – My Question: Are you just another contrarian blow hard who disappears when one is willing to take them up on their brag, point by point?
    I’ve been looking for a AGW contrarian willing to actually debate what they so easily trumpet!
    But, they keep disappearing when actually expected to produce serious arguments!

    Come on over and visit the Center for Inquire’s website – http://www.centerforinquiry.net/forums/.
    Tell me why you believe AGW is a big hoax – I’m waiting.
    peterm

    Reply
  4. harryhammer

    Here are some of the more recent surveys:

    Doran, Peter T.; Maggie Kendall Zimmerman (January 20, 2009). “Examining the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change”. EOS 90 (3): 22–23. doi:10.1029/2009EO030002. http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf.

    ^ Bray, Dennis; von Storch, Hans (2009). “A Survey of the Perspectives of Climate Scientists Concerning Climate Science and Climate Change”. http://coast.gkss.de/staff/storch/pdf/CliSci2008.pdf

    ^ Lavelle, Marianne (2008-04-23). “Survey Tracks Scientists’ Growing Climate Concern”. U.S. News & World Report. http://www.usnews.com/articles/news/national/2008/04/23/survey-tracks-scientists-growing-climate-concern.html. Retrieved 2010-01-20.

    Reply
  5. siddhartha

    To the deniers:

    To even categorize this as a debate is mind-numbingly stupid. THERE IS NO DEBATE. Conservatives have created doubt when 99% of the people in the know all agree. There is nothing controversial by any stretch of the imagination. You are being duped by spin shows looking for ratings.

    To pause and debate about the causes is like looking at the repair manual to your car while it is speeding into a wall and the brakes just failed. The Earth is getting warmer. This is bad. We can do something about it. So, pull up the damn parking brake, throw it into reverse, and ask questions once you are in the clear!

    Reply
  6. Gary Williams

    Actually, as someone who became fascinated at the lengths conservatives will go to continue their beliefs regarding war, terrorism, the economy, etc. etc. , their gullibility over AGW merely adds one more chapter in a rapidly growing body of empirical evidence showing that authoritarians [= conservatives] are motivated by several cognitive disabilities that compel them to dismiss anything that might cause them to reasess prior beliefs. Dr. Altemeyer’s “The Authoritarians” explains them quite well here: http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

    And Oklahoma Corrections Branch has this up at their website: “Conservatism is not the doctrine of the intellectual elite or of the more intelligent segments of the population, but the reverse. By every measure available to us, conservative beliefs are found most frequently among the uniformed, the poorly educated, and the less intelligent” (p. 38).McClosky, H. Conservatism and Personality. American Political Science Review, 52, 27-45.
    “It appears that conservatism has pathological dimensions manifested in violence and distorted psycho-sexual development” (Boshier, 1983, p. 159). This is supported by a study conducted by Walker, Rowe, and Quincey (1993) in which there was a direct correlation between authoritarianism and sexually aggressive behavior. An investigation done by Muehlenhard (1988) revealed that rape justification and aggression toward subordinate individuals was much higher in traditional (conservative personality) than non-traditional personalities.”

    Or DHS’s counter-terrorism panel: “Analyzing political conservatism integrates theories of personality (authoritarianism,
    dogmatism) , epistemic and existential needs for closure,
    terror management and ideological rationalizations for social dominance and system justifications. A meta-analysis (88 samples, 12 countries, 22,818 cases) confirms that several psychological variables predict political conservatism: death anxiety (weighted mean r  .50); fears of system instability (.47); dogmatism–intolerance of ambiguity (.34); openness to experience (–.32); uncertainty tolerance (–.27); needs for order, structure, and closure(.26); integrative complexity (–.20); fear of threat and loss (.18); and self-esteem (–.09). The core ideology of conservatism stresses resistance to change and justification of inequality and is motivated by needs to manage uncertainty and threat.”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    IOW they have problems of a sort that renders them incapable of sorting out what is self-delusion, rhetoric, or the truth. They’ve invented myths that conveniently allow them to dismiss evidence by claiming a liberal takeover of the sciences, newsrooms, and anywhere else people normally turn for the facts. If they weren’t so destructive they’d be more something to pity.

    Reply
  7. harryhammer

    Great comment. I think your analysis is spot on.

    If anything, the “radical right” are even weirder than you’re suggesting.

    An outstanding liberal investigative journalist named Max Blumenthal spent about 6 years studying and hanging out with the radical evangelical movement and wrote a book about it.

    In Republican Gommorrah: Inside the Movement That Shattered the Party, Blumenthal sets out to explain how in his view a “culture of personal crisis” has defined the American “radical right”.

    He says his book is inspired by the work of psychologist Erich Fromm, who asserted that the fear of freedom propels anxiety-ridden people into authoritarian settings.

    If you haven’t seen this already, you’re going to love it because it confirms just about everything that you’ve said:

    http://fora.tv/2009/09/29/Republican_Gomorrah_Max_Blumenthal

    I look forward to your comments.

    Reply
    • Gary Williams

      Thanks for the compliment – and the links. Yes, I’ve had Republican Gomorrah suggested to me several times now as a “must read”. But unfortunately I haven’t yet had the time or opportunity to pick it up a “hard” copy (I don’t like reading anything with length online. In fact, “The Authoritarians” is by far the longest).

      It seems to that the last time somebody mentioned ‘Gomorrah’ to me, it was in combination with John Dean’s (of Watergate infamy) “Conservatives Without Conscience”. Here too, just as Blumenthal does with Fromm, Dean used Altemeyer’s research to explain, in his words, “how America was going to the devil”.

      So if Blumenthal’s book is anywhere near as good as Dean’s highly recommended read is, then I really should set aside a few days for them both.

      Btw. I see Altemeyer now has new comments on his “Authoritarians” webpage, including an extended commentary on the Tea Party movement. For a relatively quick read, it too was very interesting. It also can be found here: http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

      Reply
  8. Hurahura

    It seems intuitively obvious that intelligence would play a role too, although hard data are a little thin on the ground. The beautiful paper by Deary et al (Psychological Science 19, 1-6 (2008), PMID: 18181782) however has incontrovertible data on the subject.

    Here is the abstract: “We examined the prospective association between general intelligence (g) at age 10 and liberal and antitraditional social attitudes at age 30 in a large (N= 7,070), representative sample of the British population born in 1970. Statistical analyses identified a general latent trait underlying attitudes that are antiracist, pro-working women, socially liberal, and trusting in the democratic political system. There was a strong association between higher g at age 10 and more liberal and antitraditional attitudes at age 30; this association was mediated partly via educational qualifications, but not at all via occupational social class. Very similar results were obtained for men and women. People in less professional occupations-and whose parents had been in less professional occupations-were less trusting of the democratic political system. This study confirms social attitudes as a major, novel field of adult human activity that is related to childhood intelligence differences.”

    So intelligent children do grow up to be liberal minded adults. A necessary corollary of course is that less intelligent children grow up to be more conservative adults. QED.

    It’s a paper well worth reading in full. I’d appreciate tips on any other material along the same lines as I am very interested in the links between IQ/g and political liberalism/conservatism. There appears to have been an almost suspicious lack of study of this seemingly obvious topic. Conspiracy theories anyone?

    Reply
  9. Endivio Roquefort I

    I too find the suggested links between authoritarianism and “cognitive defects” (a charmingly euphemistic phrase) compelling. However, in the Climate Change debate it so happens that it’s the warmists who are wearing the jackboots right now, or at least that’s how it strikes me. Let me put it this way (sometimes an analogy helps to clean the muck away from the Bleedin’ Obvious):

    A UK government one day announces via a Press Conference that there is an imminent threat of nuclear attack from Iran, and recommends that everyone with a garden should build a fallout shelter there. Prefab bunker manufacturers start to show healthy profits; however, some hold out and refuse to dig up their flower beds. A few months on, politicians and pundits start to appear red-faced on TV, screaming that the non-bunker-builders are “Denialists” and selfish to boot, since the bunkers they are failing to build could have served to house residents of high-rise blocks in the event of attack. To which the Denialists reply: “excuse me, but could you please show us some dramatic, compelling evidence that this imminent nuclear attack is for real? We would like some more evidence, especially since we can’t help noticing that many members of the current government have shares in prefab bunker manufacturing concerns” “Sorry, National Security, secret Intelligence, murky uranium deals in Africa, James Bond, blah, blah” comes the sniffy response. “Take it from us, the threat is real. Yours not to reason why. Yours but to do as you are told. The Science Is Settled.” The Denialists take no notice. Finally, the government decides to pass a law making it compulsory for all garden owners to build a bunker at their own expense, or go to jail…

    At this point, who would you say is acting in an “authoritarian” manner? The people who are happy to use coercion, limiting the freedom of others to make their own calculations and act in accordance with their own conclusions? Or those who, without denying the possibility of danger, and without denying others the right to take whatever steps they feel necessary on their own account, nevertheless insist that coercion “for the good of all” requires a considerable degree more certainty, honesty and transparency than has been shown so far?

    And if you don’t like analogies, remember that not long ago “the Science Was Settled” regarding the presence of WMDs in Iraq and the concomitant need for many, esp. North Americans, to renounce a large part of their traditional freedoms?

    Reply
  10. harryhammer

    I like analogies as much as anyone else, however, yours is a little off the mark and I’ll explain why.

    With respect to the Iraq war, I was against it from the beginning as were about 90% of the people around the world including experts like Hans Blix, Richard Clark, and Joseph Wilson.

    In contrast, the Bush Administration, the British government, and just about every white evangelical Christian leader in America were eager for war and not listening to reason. Just like now, conservatives everywhere showed little or no respect for the opinions of experts.

    You suggested that the science on WMD’s was settled, which it was. However, the important point to note here is that the science was settled on the opposite of what conservatives everywhere were claiming to be true. In fact, Hans Blix’s statements about the Iraq WMD program directly contradicted the claims of the George W. Bush administration, and attracted a great deal of criticism from supporters of the invasion.

    In an interview on BBC TV on 8 February 2004, Dr. Blix accused the US and British governments of dramatizing the threat of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, in order to strengthen the case for the 2003 war against the regime of Saddam Hussein.

    With respect to how this ties in with climate change and global warming:

    In case you didn’t notice, there was a government-industry revolving door between the Bush administration and Exxon Mobil and these arrangements were fraught with conflicts of interest.

    Have you ever heard of Philip A. Cooney?

    Cooney currently works for Exxon Mobil. He served as chief of staff of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, an institution that shapes much of America’s environmental policy, from 2001 to 2005.

    Cooney is a lawyer and holds a bachelors degree in economics. Prior to working at the White House, he was a “climate team leader” and lobbyist with the American Petroleum Institute.

    In June 2005, Cooney was criticized for radically changing a number of 2002 and 2003 official reports on climate change, despite his lack of scientific expertise.

    The New York Times reported that,

    “In a section on the need for research into how warming might change water availability and flooding, he crossed out a paragraph describing the projected reduction of mountain glaciers and snowpack. His note in the margins explained that this was ‘straying from research strategy into speculative findings/musings.'”

    In a lengthy memo Rick S. Piltz, a former senior associate in the Climate Change Science Program, revealed that U.S. government climate research reports had been edited by Cooney, to emphasize doubts about climate change. According to Piltz’s memo Cooney changed one 2002 document to “create an enhanced sense of scientific uncertainty about climate change and its implications.”

    In March of 2005 Piltz resigned and subsequently contacted the Government Accountability Project, a whistleblower protection organization. A White House spokeswoman, Michele St. Martin, told the New York Times that Cooney would not be available to speak to reporters after Piltz’s memo was released. “He’s not a cleared spokesman,” she said of Cooney. Myron Ebell from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, defended the editing as necessary for “consistency.”

    Do you remember Scott McClellan?

    McCellan was the man who served as White House Press Secretary from 2003 until 2006 under President George W. Bush.

    McClellan, defended Cooney’s role in editing scientific reports on climate change. McClellan sought to downplay Cooney’s role in editing the reports insisting that all reports were reviewed by an inter-agency task-force involving 15 agencies. McClellan also sought to invoke the credibility of the National Academy of Sciences as having endorsed one of the reports cited in the Piltz’s statement, not that they would have known of Cooney’s watering down of what it stated. Challenged on whether Cooney had any scientific credentials, McClellan at first defended him: “And he’s one of the policy people involved in that process, and someone who’s very familiar with the issues relating to climate change and the environment.”

    “Because of his work lobbying for the oil industry?,” a journalist asked. McClellan decided it was time to retreat to safer ground. “I’ll be glad to get you his background, Terry,” he said.

    Two days after the New York Times reported on Piltz’s revelations Cooney resigned.

    In an editorial the Minneapolis Star-Tribune noted that while much of the coverage had focused on Cooeny’s editing efforts “less attention has settled on his collaboration with Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute in making these revisions.”

    The following day Exxon Mobil confirmed that it had hired Cooney but declined to provide details of his new job, which he started in Autumn 2005.

    The kicker in all this is that McClellan resigned because his conscience was bothering him, so he decided to come clean about the deception he was actively involved in.

    This is what McClellan said:

    “The most powerful leader in the world had called upon me to speak on his behalf and help restore credibility he lost amid the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So I stood at the White house briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby.”

    “There was one problem. It was not true.”

    “I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice President, the President’s chief of staff, and the President himself.”

    Reply
  11. Endivio Roquefort I

    Thank you for that detailed and informative briefing on two of the Bush administration’s many feet of clay. None of it is in the least surprising. However, I can’t help thinking you’ve missed the point of my previous comment.

    You write: “You suggested that the science on WMD’s was settled, which it was. However, the important point to note here is that the science was settled on the opposite of what conservatives everywhere were claiming to be true. In fact, Hans Blix’s statements about the Iraq WMD program directly contradicted the claims of the George W. Bush administration, and attracted a great deal of criticism from supporters of the invasion.”

    The way I remember it, Blix at no time denied the possibility that Saddam was hiding WMDs. He simply pointed out that he had not been able to find any, and yes, as you say, timidly suggested that the threat might have been overdramatised. For that he was ridiculed by the conservative media. Contrary to your suggestion, there was not, and by the nature of things, never could be any “science”, let alone of the “settled” variety (assuming such a thing exists) that completely ruled out the possibility of Saddam having some dirty weapons up his sleeve. But that isn’t the point. The point is that the conservative media (which in the US and UK means most of the media) were at that time telling us that the science WAS settled. We were asked to accept that the politicians had conclusive evidence of those WMDs, and that for various security reasons only a part of this evidence could be made public. If you did not perform the necessary act of faith in these politicians, some of whom evidently had a lot to gain from war and invasion, you were the wickedest kind of individual: selfish, cowardly, an appeaser, a traitor, a fifth-columnist. You were also irrational, since according to the pundits, “nearly all the experts agreed” that those WMDs were probably there, and only a redneck would ignore such a marvellous body of experts.

    Does this not remind you of something?

    To my mind, only a fool believes something because he is told that “all” (or “97% of”) the experts “agree” on it, UNLESS it is something so uncontentious that no one has any good reason to lie about it. Only a sheep accepts the need to make sacrifices and to give up previously enjoyed freedoms in order to avoid a threat whose reality he has not been able to convince himself of. And I am not sure what the correct name would be for someone who is willing to make sacrifices by proxy, say, to condemn emerging third world countries to poverty and stagnation for the sake of his own peace of mind.

    That is why I find it a bit rich that your readers accuse AGW sceptics (who come in a variety of flavours, some conservative, some considerably less so) of “authoritarianism”. You have neglected to address my point that the authoritarianism is, rather obviously, all the other way, whether it’s carbon capping or just old Monblot in the Guardian suggesting that Denial be criminalised. Sceptics are not telling anyone, as far as I can see, that they HAVE to disbelieve, or that they CAN’T or SHOULDN’T take whatever action they feel necessary to address the threat of climate change – on their own account. All we’re saying is: please leave the rest of us out of your lemming-like mass hysteria. Is that “authoritarian”?

    To put it another way: let’s see who gets jailed first. Does that sound like a fair test?

    Reply
    • Gary Williams

      To point out what should be obvious, you are comparing apples and oranges by comparing what is said by scientists in contrast to politicians or political pundits.
      Unlike the typical authoritarian who listens /only/ to their own percieved authorities on a given matter and who are btw, rarely scientists but rather the very pundits and radio talk-show hosts you yourself dismiss, the rest of us listen to a wide variety of sources and weigh them accordingly. And lo and behold, wouldn’t you know it, but scientists usually get the highest marks on science matters! -especially those who do not appear to be affiliated with an industry posing a conflict of interest in the matter.
      And clearly, overwhelmingly, and thoroughly, those scientists tell us that AGW is a fact and no longer in question.

      But the simple matter is, you can do your own research on the matter. It occured to me that the people I should be asking are those who live up north and should be witnessing it with their own two eyes. So I went looking for the extended screaming matches you can readily find in the WaPo et al between those who believe scientists on science matters ….. and those who don’t -deniers IOW.
      I looked for them on news websites in Alaska, the Yukon, and northern B.C., but I simply could not find these debates anywhere. Why? The obvious answer is that for those who can use their own eyes to see the effects of global warming, there is no debate to be had.

      Incidentally, it is this very reason that I now belive that Sarah Palin quit her job as governor of Alaska. It was a calculated decision she made after looking carefully at the belief system of her core followers, the vast majority of whom live below the 49th and so are left to believe the words of their own SDO leadership rather than the scientists whom they are told are all in the pocket of Al Gore or some guy gambling on the future of solar cells, althewhile blithely ignoring the fact that Tim Ball and crew have long taken money from Exxon, BP, or whoever else offers them a chance to get ahead in this cruel “dog eat dog” world. Unfortunately on that matter, what they fail to realize is that the world that would be far and away less hostile but for their own belief that that is “just the way it is”. But I digress.

      Reply
  12. Gary Williams

    And before you reply that you said it was “experts” who are saying the science was settled on both matters, no..it was politicians who said that experts were clear about the science. That you overlooked this major factor speaks to your own authoritarianism in the face of what is being said via the airwaves or in newsprint, modes of media that impart a sense of authority to words that there mere presence there does not justify. What are they saying and what credentials do they have to speak on such matters, why are they saying it, and what – if any – are their conflicts of interest should be the determinants of ones authority, not their political or religious affiliations……which seem to be the /only/ determinants that matter to conservatives.

    Reply
  13. Endivio Roquefort I

    Yet still my point is danced around: it appears to be a scary one. It wasn’t meant to be – more of a quibble, really. Anyway. I’m sorry, but the normal definition of “authoritarian” is not “someone who pays too much fawning attention to politicians and pundits”. Such a person would be better described as gullible, or manipulable. An authoritarian is one who uses various forms of coercion, including violence and verbal abuse, to promote blind submission to authority – generally, his own. So my question was: who is doing that here? Not the scientists, you say. Well, OK. Then who? The politicians and pundits, surely – and mostly, those on your side of the debate. That’s why I mentioned them: not because they’re authorities in any godgiven sense, but because /they think they are/, and treat us as if they were, and worse, insist on “regulating” us in accordance with their own readings and interpretations of the available “science” – rather than letting us regulate /ourselves/, individually, in accordance with /our own readings/ of the same. Regardless of the science, we can’t just ignore the politicians, however much we despise them, for the simple reason that they have the power, and won’t let us ignore them. And I’m afraid that right now the politicians are happy as a pig in shit with global warming “science”, and the power they feel this affords them to interfere in business and commerce and make tidy little fortunes on the side.

    I’m glad to read “But the simple matter is, you can do your own research on the matter”. I agree entirely that this is the only sensible approach. If only the politicians would say the same and leave it at that, rather than trying to impose their prejudices on the rest of us! For the record, I am not a scientist (“obviously”, yes, the predictable riposte), and have no vested interest in either side of the debate (I’m a humble teacher in Ecuador living on $100pw, hardly Big Oil), but I’ve tried my best to follow the arguments on both sides, and have come to the provisional conclusion that while there is certainly evidence for climate change, most of the matters regarded as “settled” by the politicians are anything but, and the real scientists are usually the first to admit this.

    Reply
    • Gary Williams

      FYI, Dr. Robert Altemeyer, considered the world’s leading authority on the subject, having studied them specifically for several decades now, refining with empirical observations exactly who and what they are, states it thusly: “the RWA is characterized by (a) “a high degree of
      submission to the authorities who are perceived to be established
      and legitimate”; (b) “a general aggressiveness, directed against
      various persons, which is perceived to be sanctioned by established
      authorities”; and (c) “a high degree of adherence to the social
      conventions which are perceived to be endorsed by society”. From this definition you can clearly see the persons in the Milgram experiments who went on to “shock” persons they were told to do so merely because they were being ordered to do so by someone they held as an authority on the subject at hand – a teaching task in this case.

      Reply
      • Gary Williams

        I seem to have left out an important word when referencing the Milgram experiments on obedience.

        The revised sentence should read: “From this definition you can clearly see the persons in the Milgram experiments who went on to “shock” persons *to death* merely because they were being told to do so by someone they held as an authority…”.

        And once again, I draw your attention to another giant in the field who said that “neither conceptually nor empirically does there appear to be any grounds for distinguishing authoritarianism and conservative personality – except that the former may be regarded as a somewhat more particular case of the latter” Wilson, G. (1973). The Psychology of Conservatism. New York: Academic Press.

  14. harryhammer

    You write:

    “The way I remember it, Blix at no time denied the possibility that Saddam was hiding WMDs. He simply pointed out that he had not been able to find any, and yes, as you say, timidly suggested that the threat might have been overdramatised. For that he was ridiculed by the conservative media.”

    This is the way I remember it:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/2966639.stm

    Reply
    • Gary Williams

      Fascinating to read contemporary accounts of the Bush administrations quest to deceive on this issue as well, isn’t it? And as a matter of fact, it was the way this very deception developed, one that I (and most other liberals) suspected to be taking place, that first grabbed my interest in looking to see how it was that so many people could remain blinded to what was going on. I wanted to find out who it was that in many cases were even making excuses for Bush minus his own encouragement. It was after he himself finally admitted there were no WMDs found and yet so many conservatives were still claiming that he had, that I fully realised there had to be a psychological phenomenon at work here.

      Being a biologist/natural historian (mycologist specifically) it was only after I started looking at politics from a motivational perspective that I ran across all the work done since WWll and Theodor Adorno’s early efforts to discover why conservatives do the many odd things that they clearly do…the false beliefs and cognitive strategies employed to keep believing them that are not seen (for the most part) among MOTR, left, liberal, even communist-leaning folks.

      Incidentally, like Hurahura above, one of the biggest mysteries to me is how little is commonly known or reported by the media about the findings of this reasearch. It absolutely kills me to read through comments by conservatives continually saying things about themselves and liberals that researchers have repeatedly shown to be 180* from the truth of the matter. The fact is that intelligence and education both have a liberal bias. Period.
      But you will rarely see this in mainstream media; I think possibly due a fear by editors that revealing such will alienate a substantial portion of their buying audience. After all, look what happened when DHS dared to say that there was a likelihood of right-wing violence being perpetrated by soldiers returning from Iraq. They’re still lying to each other about the reason for DHS having stated the obvious! thing

      Mr. Roquefort continues to chide us about ignoring the issue of which side is being militant in pushing our point of view. Our mistake was only in assuming that we all, when confronted with empirical evidence of something either existing or not existing, will adopt the demonstrated POV. He is exasperated that we don’t think he should be able to have a choice over whether or not it is true. Speaking for myself at least, he’s right! I do *not* think a person has a choice over whether or not to believe something that is empirically demonstratable. And especially not something that has even a minuscule potential of spiraling out of control and devastating all life completely. What he seems to be saying is that he has a choice or not whether to believe a truck is barrelling down the street straight at him.
      If it were only him, I would say “stand there, then!” and let this be a case of natural selection in action. But it is not just him…it is all of our kids, grandkids, and their kids too being threatened by the conservative compulsion to maintain the status quo, ‘business as usual’ world they prefer to believe in. That a school teacher could be so dismissive of empiricism I fnd especially troubling.

      Reply
  15. Endivio Roquefort I

    “Dr. Robert Altemeyer, considered the world’s leading authority on the subject (…) states (…) : “the RWA is characterized by (a) “a high degree of
    submission to the authorities who are perceived to be established
    and legitimate”…

    This is priceless. Thanks for the chuckle.

    ” The fact is that intelligence and education both have a liberal bias. Period. ”

    You may have figured out that I don’t see myself as a conservative (though I could be deceiving myself of course) and therefore shouldn’t have a problem with this statement, especially as it is reinforced by my own observations. However, I do. It’s an epistemological problem and has to do with the definition of “fact”. You guys seem to like that word a lot. I can almost see the thumping on the table that punctuates it every time it comes. The suppressed aggression. The slight raising of the voice: “AGW is fact. FACT. Get it now, buddy?” And yet you also pay lipservice to the views of scientists, most of whom would I am sure agree with me that if the word means anything at all in science, it means merely “the current state of our knowledge”. If Creationism does not deserve a place on the school curriculum and Darwinism does, that’s not because Darwinian theory has the status of immutable Fact, settled for all time, but because it is currently the best theory on offer to explain, well, practically everything we point it at, whereas Creationism explains precisely nothing at all. That’s why I find some of the attitudes expressed here suspect. True scientists welcome scepticism. They thrive on it. As a teacher, I tell my students that there is no such thing as a stupid question: stupidity means precisely not asking questions. Yet the hostility shown towards anyone who questions your orthodoxy is what induced me to comment here in the first place. And trying to write off all challengers with the childish ad-hominem of “authoritarians” especially fails to impress.

    Your final paragraph, GW (seem to be missing an A there), is simple misrepresentation, since my whole point is that like it or not, there is no uniformity among scientists regarding the nature, extent or likely consequences of GW (the other one). I haven’t the time to go into details but I’m sure you know what I am referring to. All the models are based on assumptions and scenarios that you can pick and choose from with, at present, considerable freedom, since we don’t have enough knowledge of all the relevant variables. The truck barrelling down the road is only one such scenario, an extreme one. I guess the concept of risk management is relevant here. Personally I don’t believe that “even a minuscule” chance of something happening automatically justifies extreme counter measures, every time. I don’t barricade myself in my home and live on roast cockroaches because the murder rate is high in my district. My point is that each person should be free to assess the risks for himself or herself, and take whatever action is appropriate. I think the global “market of choices” can be trusted to provide an optimal solution to the question of how to respond to the current, extremely limited, data on climate change, without the need for interference from politicians.

    Reply
  16. harryhammer

    It’s starting to sound like you would rather be talking about theology than science.

    At this point I need to ask, how old do you think the earth is?

    It’s not about whether or not AGW is currently known to be an absolute fact. It’s about the probability that AGW could be an absolute fact, given what the experts in the field of climate science have to say on the subject.

    According to the vast majority of published, peer-reviewed scientific experts in the field of climate science the probability that AGW is an absolute fact is very high.

    Surely, even the most ardent denier couldn’t possibly insist that there is zero chance of these experts being right?

    Having said that, what do you think is the probability that these experts are right and the that the deniers are wrong?

    While you are pondering that percentage, think about the fact that to all intents and purposes every scientist in the world, that isn’t a psychopath, honestly and truly wishes that the probability of AGW being a fact were zero. Yet despite that, they work hard to prevent things like faith and wishful thinking from clouding their scientific opinions.

    Reply
  17. harryhammer

    Endivio, I just wanted to add that I appreciate your comments and welcome you to continue to share your thoughts on my site.

    I’m sure we will both benefit from the exchange of ideas.

    Thanks.

    Reply
  18. Gary Williams

    It may interest you both to know that Dr. Altemeyer himself was just over here taking a look at what has been said. He left a few comments and criticisms about what he saw over on his own website (posted above). 🙂

    Reply
  19. Gary Williams

    I now see that a grey whale has mystreriously appeared off the coast of Israel, this hundreds of years after they were hunted to extinction in the Atlantic Ocean. How it got there is being attributed directly to the opening, for the first time in known history, of the no-longer-fabled Northwest Passage. The ice has melted so far up that whales, that of course need to surface for air and which they cannot do if its the ocean is covered with ice, are now able to traverse the entire arctic above Canada. Having found itself in the Atlantic, t just kept on going across to the Mediterranean.

    Coupled with this event is what’s been happening with the fishing fleet that has been fishing off of Greenland for hundreds of years. Suddenly in the few years they’ve been catching fish species no one has ever seen in that area and at that depth. The report I read said it was 25 new species that have suddenly appeared, no doubt due the change in water temperature which has forced either their food source or themselves to seek more suitable water temperatures.

    Now, I realize none of these things would be noticable or would effect life down in S. America. But that doesn’t mean that we here in Canada should also remain oblivious to what’s happening here on our own doorstep. If Mr. Endivio Roquefort* can explain these anomalies in some fashion other than the obvious, I’d love to hear about it.

    * endives and cheese? Your parents gourmet cooks by any chance? 😉

    Reply
  20. Jim W

    The discussion is all quite interesting, here are some facts to chew on: As far as the Earth is concerned, “climate” does not exist; it is a man-made convention to summarize the general weather that may be experienced. The Earth experiences weather which has and continues to evolve over time; sometimes hot, sometimes cold. Sometimes for a long time, some times for a short time. This is known, provable, and incontrovertible. The principal driver of Earth’s weather is the Sun. The Sun is increasing in diameter and temperature and will do so to the point that the Earth is burned to a cinder or engulfed. The behavior of the Sun is known, provable, and incontrovertible. The expected result upon the Earth is highly probably, but not a fact as it hasn’t happened yet. We will have to wait a billion years or so. In terms of Green House Gas, the most prevalent GHG is water vapor, i.e. humidity. It makes up about 4% of the atmosphere – this, of course, is known, provable, and incontrovertible. A trace GHG is CO2, it makes up around .03 % of the atmosphere. This is known, provable, and incontrovertible. Therefore, about 99+% of the GHG in the Earths atmosphere is water vapor. Of the CO2 in the atmosphere, between 3% and 4% of that is due to the activities of man, the rest is due to “nature” doing its thing as it has for eons. Following the math, about 96% of the CO2 in the atmosphere would be there whether or not mankind was on the planet. The same with the water vapor. If I were to accept the concept of AGW I would have to accept that an increase to mankind’s contribution of .0012% of GHG would change the planet’s weather beyond the other natural affects that contribute 99.9988% of the GHG. If you piss in the ocean, does it get warmer, well yeah, but not very much! Do you see why I am a skeptic. I am engineer who has been working in the field on energy conservation for the US Navy for about 10 years. I’ve been paid good money by the US government to figure this stuff out. Which generates more CO2 per hour, a US Destroyer or Air Force 1 – AF1 @ 15 tons – the Destroyer has the same number and type of engines but it can cruise around on one engine.

    Reply
  21. harryhammer

    Jim, being an engineer yourself, perhaps you might appreciate the following joint statements:

    Engineers Australia (The Institution of Engineers Australia)

    “Engineers Australia believes that Australia must act swiftly and proactively in line with global expectations to address climate change as an economic, social and environmental risk… We believe that addressing the costs of atmospheric emissions will lead to increasing our competitive advantage by minimising risks and creating new economic opportunities. Engineers Australia believes the Australian Government should ratify the Kyoto Protocol.”

    Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand

    In October 2001, the Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ) published an Informatory Note entitled “Climate Change and the greenhouse effect”:

    Human activities have increased the concentration of these atmospheric greenhouse gases, and although the changes are relatively small, the equilibrium maintained by the atmosphere is delicate, and so the effect of these changes is significant. The world’s most important greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide, a by-product of the burning of fossil fuels. Since the time of the Industrial Revolution about 200 years ago, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased from about 280 parts per million to 370 parts per million, an increase of around 30%.

    On the basis of available data, climate scientists are now projecting an average global temperature rise over this century of 2.0 to 4.5°C. This compared with 0.6°C over the previous century – about a 500% increase… This could lead to changing, and for all emissions scenarios more unpredictable, weather patterns around the world, less frost days, more extreme events (droughts and storm or flood disasters), and warmer sea temperatures and melting glaciers causing sea levels to rise.

    … Professional engineers commonly deal with risk, and frequently have to make judgments based on incomplete data. The available evidence suggests very strongly that human activities have already begun to make significant changes to the earth’s climate, and that the longterm risk of delaying action is greater than the cost of avoiding/minimising the risk.

    International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences

    In 2007, the International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences (CAETS) issued a Statement on Environment and Sustainable Growth:

    As reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), most of the observed global warming since the mid-20th century is very likely due to human-produced emission of greenhouse gases and this warming will continue unabated if present anthropogenic emissions continue or, worse, expand without control.

    CAETS, therefore, endorses the many recent calls to decrease and control greenhouse gas emissions to an acceptable level as quickly as possible.

    As a matter of fact, since 2001, 32 national science academies have come together to issue joint declarations confirming anthropogenic global warming, and urging the nations of the world to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. The signatories of these statements have been the national science academies:

    * of Australia,
    * of Belgium,
    * of Brazil,
    * of Cameroon,
    * Royal Society of Canada,
    * of the Caribbean,
    * of China,
    * Institut de France,
    * of Ghana,
    * Leopoldina of Germany,
    * of Indonesia,
    * of Ireland,
    * Accademia nazionale delle scienze of Italy,
    * of India,
    * of Japan,
    * of Kenya,
    * of Madagascar,
    * of Malaysia,
    * of Mexico,
    * of Nigeria,
    * Royal Society of New Zealand,
    * Russian Academy of Sciences,
    * of Senegal,
    * of South Africa,
    * of Sudan,
    * Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences,
    * of Tanzania,
    * of Turkey,
    * of Uganda,
    * The Royal Society of the United Kingdom,
    * of the United States,
    * of Zambia,
    * and of Zimbabwe.

    The list goes on and on. Read NASA’s statement. Check out every reputable scientific organization in the world and read what they have to say on the subject. Find out what the highest IQ’s in the world think.

    Scientific opinion on climate change is clearly identifiable. It’s given by an amalgamation of reports produced by scientific bodies, of both national and international standing, and by surveys of the opinions of climate scientists from everywhere, including the United States. It’s true that it doesn’t include the personal views of individual scientists.

    Nevertheless, as of today, no scientific body of national or international standing agrees with you.

    Reply
  22. Jim W

    DAMN your right!!!! I concede the point entirely. Clearly maintaining or increasing mankind’s annual contribution of .0012% of GHG to the atmosphere will take the planet over the edge and into the abyss. I apologize for letting my science get in the way of politics. With scientific OPINION Clearly against my FACTS, I must concede.

    However, you FACTUALLY point out that:
    “Human activities have increased the concentration of these atmospheric greenhouse gases, and although the changes are relatively small, the equilibrium maintained by the atmosphere is delicate, and so the effect of these changes is significant. The world’s most important greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide, a by-product of the burning of fossil fuels. Since the time of the Industrial Revolution about 200 years ago, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased from about 280 parts per million to 370 parts per million, an increase of around 30%.”

    May I point out that the cited increase of 90 parts per million ppm is an OVERALL increase in Earth’s GHG of about .00009 %. We’re talking about the 5th decimal place here. The Water Vapor in the atmosphere – The predominate GHG that keeps the planet from being a SNOW WORLD is about 40,000 ppm. Gee, 40,000 vs 90, or 40,000 vs 370. Are you kidding? I cannot help it if the “experts” don’t do the math. There’s so much damn politics connected with getting grants for GHG studies it’s crazy. By the way – the UN reported this:
    “Cancún has done its job. The beacon of hope has been reignited and faith in the multilateral climate change process to deliver results has been restored,” said UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres. ((http://www.un.org/wcm/content/site/climatechange/gateway))
    HOPE and FAITH!!! OMG, they are admitting it is a RELIGION. Science and Engineering are my job, not my religion. When I pray it is for rational thought, not to get a GHG grant or study. The work I have been asked to do in this area is the most nauseating because people are focused on this issue with an irrational fixation on the WRONG THINGS. I abhor pollution and I abhor waste – these are reasons for looking at emissions, but CO2 is not a pollutant – it is part of the natural cycle. It is important to keep our plants growing and thriving. Just because a judge or a congressman THINKS it’s a pollutant doesn’t make it so. Let’s get a grip! Look at the UN study – they IGNORE 99.9% of the GHG (water vapor) and focus on .03% and then on the 4% of THAT (mankind’s CO2 contribution) BECAUSE THEY CAN TAX IT. NOBODY WOULD PAY A TAX FOR WATER VAPOR!!! But CO2, now you can TAX that! DUH!!!
    I don’t care if no “scientific body of national or international standing agrees” with me, I stand with Einstein and Galileo on the FACTS, and, in science, unlike Politics, FACTS RULE! Prove that the FACTS I cited are WRONG…

    Reply
  23. harryhammer

    Jim, I suggest you keep praying for rational thought.

    I also suggest that you study what the physicists of the world have learned and written about global warming, climate change, and the earth’s natural carbon cycle. You can’t simply dismiss them ALL with the wave of a hand. They exist, they are real, they have studied the “FACTS” in much greater detail than you or I ever will, and they all very strongly disagree with you.

    Next you’ll be telling Stephen Hawking, or someone of that caliber, that THE SUN WARMS THE EARTH as if such a thought never crossed their minds.

    Do you not realize how absurdly insulting that is?

    The American Institute of Physics was founded in 1931. It formally incorporated in 1932 consisting of five, original, “member-societies”, and a total of 4,000 members. A new set of “member-societies” was added beginning in the mid 1960s. The AIP has been publishing scientific journals for almost 80 years.

    Here are some of the AIP’s member societies:

    * Acoustical Society of America
    * American Association of Physicists in Medicine
    * American Association of Physics Teachers
    * American Astronomical Society
    * American Crystallographic Association
    * American Geophysical Union
    * American Physical Society
    * AVS: Science & Technology of Materials, Interfaces, and Processing
    * Optical Society of America
    * The Society of Rheology

    Affiliated societies

    * American Assoc for the Advancement of Science Section on Physics
    * American Chemical Society, Division of Physical Chemistry
    * American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
    * American Meteorological Society
    * American Nuclear Society
    * American Society of Civil Engineers
    * ASM International: The Materials Information Society
    * Astronomical Society of the Pacific
    * Biomedical Engineering Society
    * Council on Undergraduate Research, Physics & Astronomy Division
    * The Electrochemical Society
    * Geological Society of America
    * IEEE Nuclear & Plasma Sciences Society
    * International Association of Mathematical Physics
    * International Union of Crystallography
    * JCPDS: The International Centre for Diffraction Data
    * Laser Institute of America
    * Materials Research Society
    * Microscopy Society of America
    * The National Society of Black Physicists
    * The Polymer Processing Society
    * Society for Applied Spectroscopy
    * SPIE: The International Society for Optical Engineering

    List of Publications

    * Applied Physics Letters
    * Biomicrofluidics
    * History of Physics Newsletter, AIP Center for History of Physics
    * Journal of Applied Physics
    * Journal of Chemical Physics
    * Journal of Mathematical Physics
    * Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy
    * Journal of Physical & Chemical Reference Data
    * Chaos
    * Low Temperature Physics
    * Physics of Fluids
    * Physics of Plasmas
    * Physics Today (magazine)
    * Review of Scientific Instruments

    Your words:

    “I don’t care if no “scientific body of national or international standing agrees” with me, I stand with Einstein and Galileo on the FACTS, and, in science, unlike Politics, FACTS RULE! Prove that the FACTS I cited are WRONG…”

    It is a FACT that they ALL disagree with you.

    It is also a FACT that you have a problem with scientists on account of your religious views. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    Personally, I think if Einstein and Galileo were alive today, you’d be arguing with them too. You’d be accusing them of lying for grant money or calling them socialists or communists or something equally odd and insulting. Honestly, at the rate you’re going soon you’ll be accusing your mama of lying for grant money.

    And as far as your own precious money is concerned, and since theology is obviously a subject that interests you, I suggest you go back and re-read the book of Luke:

    An extremely rich ruler once asked Jesus what it takes to be good:

    “And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’ ” And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

    Americans enjoy some of the lowest income tax rates in the world, so why are you constantly crying about taxes?

    Most of the world’s highest tax rates are found in western European nations.

    Finland, for example, has the fourth highest tax rate in the world. Yet, despite this FACT, Finland’s overall economy is very strong. Unemployment currently sits at 6.8%. Additionally, Finland’s $36,320 GDP per capita ranks 20th on the International Monetary Fund’s list. The CIA Fact book likewise states that Finland has “a highly industrialized, largely free-market economy.”

    Back to carbon:

    Jim, carbon is to the earth much like what calories are to people. Although multiple factors can account for weight gain, the basic cause is an excess of energy intake over energy expenditure.

    One regular saltine cracker has 24.4 calories. It doesn’t seem like much, however, excess energy intake equivalent to one cracker a day will add up to about 2.5 lbs of weight gain in a year.

    Much like the measly interest being added to your savings account; the carbon we are adding to the atmosphere may not seem like much, but, it all adds up.

    Since 1956 Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO) has been monitoring and collecting data relating to atmospheric change, and is known especially for the continuous monitoring of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), which is sometimes referred to as the Keeling Curve. The observatory is under the Earth System Research Laboratory which is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

    The latest observation of CO2 concentrations from MLO can be found at web sites along with data from other sites, and trends at Mauna Loa. You can compare what they have to say on this subject and compare it to the other sites in the global monitoring network.

    On the following site you will find a simplified version of the earth’s carbon cycle where you can see how human CO2 emissions compare to natural CO2 emissions:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/

    Reply
  24. Jim W

    I hope you don’t think that it is a “scientific” fact that I don’t agree with the “experts” you cite. It is a fact but, please, it is not the type of facts I’m focused on. The facts that are important are the physical results that can be directly observed. This is stronger stuff that what can be inferred. For example, there is more corn being cultivated and the population of the planet has increased therefore growing corn means more people will be born. These are independent facts that have no relation on each other.
    I don’t approach engineering or physics from a religious point of view HOWEVER it seems that there is a religious fervor among the AGW and Climate Change crew. You should understand my distinction about AGW and Climate Change: First, Climate Change is a human invention, the planet has weather and weather is affected by geological and solar behaviors. The planet will heat up and it will cool down independently from man’s influences as it already has for eons. Second, the basis of AGW is that mankind has caused a change in the “climate” (i.e. the current belief is heating, the previous belief was cooling, circa 1970). To accept this as a “fact” one must accept that a potentially man-caused increase in overall GHG of .0012% has more of an effect upon the earth’s temperature than the other 99.9988% of the Naturally Occurring GHG. We’re talking about a hair on a flea’s butt directing the behavior of the dog!
    You refer to the carbon we are adding to the atmosphere, if you pull out your high school science book and refer to the Carbon Cycle, you will learn that vegetation requires carbon in the form of CO2 to thrive. Carbon is, in fact, moving into and out of the atmosphere continuously with imbalances driving adjustments. In the distant past CO2 was a significant portion of the atmosphere. At other times, the O2 level was higher than it is now. Mankind was not the driver for these changes, it happened as part of the evolution of the planet. I think it’s a great idea to monitor the change in CO2, as well as O2, N2, H2O and the other gasses in the atmosphere. It may give us important clues about where the planet is going. There should be no question in your mind that 99.9988% of GHG in the atmosphere has an effect on the planet’s weather, my observation is that .0012% isn’t the driver and I don’t see how has a greater effect than the rest and is the significant factor.
    As far as crackers and calories, I walk about 10 miles a week because I live close enough to my employer, by my choice, to do so. I drive infrequently and I have invested in Canadian oil production for part of my retirement because the current US energy policy is dumb and the Canadians are smart enough to extract their oil and sell it at a profit to the US. Canada, by the way has more oil than the proven reserves of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Iraq combined. Despite the political rhetoric of energy Luddites in the US, the US has more oil than Canada according to the U.S. Geological Survey (i.e. about 2 trillion bbls). Unfortunately, the politicians don’t refer to the U.S. Geological Survey nor are they aware that 99.9988% of all GHG is Naturally present.
    I looked at the suggested web site and it seems to explain and describe the carbon cycle as a deterministic system – I would take issue as this would ignore the stochastic influences, such as Mount Tambora’s eruption of 1815, for example, which caused a worldwide catastrophe in 1816. The eruption occurred during a time of an apparent solar minimum (coincidently, a recent situation we are “enjoying”, as well) and significantly lower earth’s temperature worldwide. People froze to death in “summer”. The effects have been mostly attributed to dust in the atmosphere (a template for a nuclear winter) however we really don’t know what all was happening with respect to the atmosphere (more CO2, NOs, SOs, etc) and solar behavior because we were not smart enough or had the technology to observe. The point is that most of what the IPCC and other point to are their educated guesses – none of the computer models currently used by the IPCC scientist have predicted the weather any better than the Farmer’s Almanac (if that well – my opinion). We had feet of snow in Washington last year (not much global warming for me) and we’re looking at almost as much snow this year (Atlanta is socked in today). So if you ask me about Climate Change – yup, I’m there, the weather is always changing, it’s evolutionary, but AGW, that .0012% isn’t swaying me. Tell me how the flea’s butt hair drives the dog because I’m not seeing it.
    By the way, my employer pays me to design ships for the Navy and develop energy conservation technology – I’m a “green” guy but that doesn’t mean that I suspend logic for ideology. Engineer’s work in a hard science, dollars & cents world. I can offer opinions but it’s what can be proven that matters. You cannot tell me that .0012% matters, just ignore the rest because we cannot control (tax) it. It all matters or none does.

    Reply
  25. Jim W

    It seems pretty clear that no facts or a logical examination of them will sway you from your steadfast belief in AGW and Climate Change. So, that being the case, let’s approach the “problem” you perceive with elevated CO2 as an engineer would. First off, I don’t put a lot of credence in the proposed “green” alternatives – not because they don’t work (although some, like “electric cars” or “hydrogen economy” are flat out dumb) but rather because they are not cost competitive or meet the same requirements as their hydrocarbon fueled alternatives. For me, hydrocarbon fuel is an elegant engineering solution. This is because the principal byproducts of combustion are water and plant food (i.e. CO2). Who doesn’t want more water? Who doesn’t want more plant food (because many of us actually eat plants)? Your worry, however, is that there is too much plant food. The solution, therefore, is simple. Grow more plants. Rather than wringing their hands and flying about having meetings, if governments were SERIOUS about “fixing” the GHG problem then they would be focusing their energies on expanding the world’s forests. Terraform the Sahara desert, plant more trees (i.e. hydrocarbon fuel). Some “green” organizations convince folks to “offset” their carbon footprint with trees, they have stumbled on the right idea albeit I think that most of these are really scams. But if governments focused on replacing the trees we’ve lost world-wide then 2 things would happen: 1) they would generate revenue, 2) they would “avert” this GHG “crisis”. In my home town, the only department that makes money is the one that plants trees to protect the water shed. The downside is that you cannot tax folks, if that is your interest, or force them to bend to your will, if that is your interest. But, if the objective is to actually reduce the CO2 in the atmosphere then, problem solved. The political question you need to ask yourself is “with such a simple and elegant solution available, why are the government types asking for higher taxes and restrictive regulations when the solution does not require them?” My answer is that most politicians are not engineers or problem solvers. They “do” government because they “know” government. QED. Here’s a question for you, how many trees have you planted or will now plant to address the problem you are concerned about?

    Reply
  26. harryhammer

    Jim, your commentary on “green” alternatives is baseless.

    Given that NASCAR is the 2nd most viewed sport in America and given that you are an American Army Engineer, I assume that you know a little bit about cars. Undoubtedly, your stack of car enthusiast magazines is bigger than mine.

    That said, in case you didn’t hear the news, the experts at Road and Track and Car and Driver magazines just attended the recent LA Auto Show and unanimously voted “flat out dumb” as the Car of the Year . I am talking about the GM’s new 2011 Chevy Volt.

    Don’t be afraid Jim, it’s just a car. It won’t hurt you. It won’t shatter your American dream or bring on the apocalypse. It has windows, wheels, brakes and a body just like any other car.

    However, I do admit that the Volt is not for everyone.

    For example:

    • If noise is one of your top priorities then the Chevy Volt is definitely not the car for you.

    The Chevy Volt is an extremely quiet car. If you’re the kind of guy who prefers a car that makes listening to the radio a challenge, I would recommend that you stay away from the Volt as well as the luxury or near-luxury class cars because they tend to be quieter.

    ConsumerReports.org tests for noise on each and every model. Of the 128 cars and trucks tested from the 2005 and 2006 model years, only five received an excellent noise rating. These are the Audi A6, Cadillac DTS, Lexus GS300 and RX Hybrid, and the Toyota Avalon. As-tested prices range from about $33,000 for the Avalon XLS to $52,000 for the GS300 AWD.

    By comparison, the suggested retail price for the 2011 Chevrolet Volt starts at US$40,280 excluding any charges, taxes or any incentives. Qualified buyers are eligible for a US$7,500 U.S. federal tax credit and additional incentives are available in some locations. The Volt is also available through a lease program with a monthly payment of US$350 for 36 months, with US$2,500 due at lease signing, and with an option to buy at the end of the lease.

    Incidentally, the United States has what’s known as an ‘SUV subsidy‘ which allows small-business owners to deduct up to $25,000 of the cost of a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of over 6,000 pounds (2,700 kg) from their income for income tax calculation. Small-business owners may deduct $10,610 of the cost of a passenger automobile. This provides a slight tax incentive for businesses to purchase larger / commercial vehicles, such as SUVs, which is criticized on environmental grounds. However, the cost of both SUVs and automobiles is fully deductible over future years using normal depreciation. In previous years, this deduction reached $120,000 and was the subject of much criticism.

    CR’s top picks, in terms of a quiet ride, are the Honda Accord, Acura TL, Infiniti M35, Honda Odyssey, Honda Ridgeline, Toyota Highlander Hybrid and Toyota Prius.

    But, if you truly have your heart set on owning an exceptionally noisy vehicle, I would recommend the Pontiac Solstice, or better yet, a Harley Davidson.

    • If you enjoy regular and frequent trips to the gas station then the Chevy Volt is certainly not the car for you.

    According to GM, the Chevy Volt’s average all-electric range with fully charged batteries is roughly 40 miles (64 km), a distance longer than the daily commute for 75% of Americans.

    The average miles driven per American is a little over 12,000 miles each year = 1,000 miles each month = 231 miles each week

    = 33 miles per day.

    According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the official all-electric range is 35 miles (56 km) based on the agency’s five-cycle tests using varying driving conditions and climate controls. Once the battery is depleted and the gasoline engine kicks in, the total range is 379 miles (610 km) according to EPA tests.

    Considering an energy consumption of 36 kWh per 100 miles (810 kJ/km) and a conversion factor of 33.7 kW-hr of electricity being the energy equivalent of a gallon of gasoline, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officially rated the Volt’s combined fuel economy at 93 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent (mpg-e) (2.5 L gasoline equivalent/100 km; 112 mpg-imp gasoline equivalent) in all-electric mode, and 37 mpg-US (6.4 L/100 km; 44 mpg-imp) in gas-only mode, for an overall combined fuel economy rating of 60 mpg-US (3.9 L/100 km; 72 mpg-imp).

    EPA also included in the Volt’s fuel economy label a table showing fuel economy and electricity consumed for five different scenarios: 30, 45, 60 and 75 miles (121 km) driven between a full charge, and a never charge scenario. This information was included in order to make the consumers aware of the variability of the fuel economy outcome depending on miles driven between charges. Under the gas-only scenario (never charge), the 37 mpg-US (6.4 L/100 km; 44 mpg-imp) figure results from 35 mpg-US (6.7 L/100 km; 42 mpg-imp) city and 40 mpg-US (5.9 L/100 km; 48 mpg-imp) highway.

    • If you enjoy regular trips to the mechanic’s shop then the Chevy Volt is positively not the car for you.

    The electrical system (battery, motor, and associated electronics) does not require scheduled maintenance. Also, due to the effects of regenerative braking, brake systems on these vehicles typically last longer than on conventional vehicles.

    However, because hybrid electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles have internal combustion engines, maintenance requirements are similar to that of conventional vehicles. I figure that’s why GM left these needless extras in. I say this because GM’s EV1 (cars they crushed) had a range of 201 miles on a single charge.

    For the full story read:

    The Edison of Our Age

    https://harryhammer.wordpress.com/2010/09/09/the-edison-of-our-age/

    The EV1’s discontinuation remains controversial, with electric car enthusiasts, environmental interest groups and former EV1 lessees accusing GM of self-sabotaging its electric car program to avoid potential losses in spare parts sales, while also blaming the oil industry for conspiring to keep electric cars off the road.

    The point is:

    All-electric vehicles typically require less maintenance than conventional vehicles because:

    * The battery, motor, and associated electronics require no regular maintenance

    * There are no fluids to change aside from brake fluid

    * Brake wear is significantly reduced due to regenerative braking

    * There are far fewer moving parts compared to a conventional gasoline engine.

    Ask yourself why all top notch golf courses use electric golf carts?

    Ask yourself why Wal-Mart is installing solar panels to another 30 of its stores in California and Arizona?

    Better yet, ask any cab driver what they think of the Prius?

    Reply
  27. Jim W

    Harry,
    I work for the US Navy, not Army, and I design ships (those big gray things floating in the water). The reason that electric cars are dumb is that they require a power station to charge them. Unless the power station is hydro electric the power comes from either a nuke reactor or a steam plant (coal, oil, natural gas). The majority of electric power in the US and the world is from burning hydrocarbon fuel. The best thermodynamic efficiency you can possibly get from a conventionally steam (that’s optimizing EVERYTHING) is maybe 40% and that is REALLY pushing it (nuke plants are less efficient – not as much superheated steam – it’s an engineering thing). The best efficiency you might get from an electric motor is about 90% so the resulting efficiency is .9 *.4 = .36 for an electric charge from the “wall”. If you are trying to limit green house gas (your climate change objective) all you have done is shift the CO2 from your tailpipe to the hydrocarbon burning power station. So, explain to me how an electric car helps. Sure it’s quiet and cute but if you’re worried about GHG it’s not helping you and may be actually making things worse. Understand?

    Now, subsidized electric cars – don’t get me started on that waste of tax payer money. And then there’s what to do with the flipping battery when you’re done with the car. Enviro-hazard – and you think CO2 is bad? Trees consume CO2, nickel-lithium is a whole other bear altogether. Your car critique really doesn’t interest me – I walk to work, everyday. I can walk to a Costco. I invest in oil stocks and equipment so that the other guy who drives puts money in my pocket. System optimization – it is a beautiful thing.

    Reply
    • Jay Alt

      Why would anyone want to build an inefficient conventional coal plant? Not when combined-cycle plants with heat used for industrial or district heating can approach 80% efficiency.
      .
      But that doesn’t address your point directly. But a 2007 study by EPRI and NRDC does. They found that electric vehicles are so efficient that even when charged by electricity from coal plants, their use reduces overall emissions significantly. The study also found that utilities have plenty of night generating capacity to allow switchover a large part of the US auto fleet to electric, without adding more power stations. Meanwhile we gradually cleanup the generation system by adding clean power and closing the dirtiest power stations.

      http://articles.latimes.com/2007/jul/20/business/fi-hybrid20

      Reply
  28. harryhammer

    Why don’t you buy some shares in BAE?

    That way you can cheer every time a cluster bomb goes off.

    By the way, it sounds like you design ships for the Navy in your wildest dreams.

    Climate change is undeniably on the United States Navy’s radar, so why isn’t it on yours?

    What makes you so much smarter than your commanders/superiors?

    Are they ALL lying for grant money too?

    From the official website of the U.S. Navy:

    From Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command Public Affairs

    ATLANTA, Ga. (NNS) — The director of the U.S. Navy’s Task Force Climate Change (TFCC) said the earth is truly experiencing a climate change and the Navy needs to be prepared for potential impacts on its mission areas.

    Oceanographer and Navigator of the Navy and TFCC Director Rear Adm. David Titley made his remarks as part of a panel discussion on environmental security and climate change at the annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society in Atlanta last month.

    The Task Force makes recommendations to Navy leadership regarding policy, strategy, force structure and investments relating to climate change. Of immediate interest is the Navy’s investment in observation and prediction capabilities.

    Titley said the rate of global warming has not slowed, and the long term trend is rising. The Arctic is among the areas seeing the greatest impact from climate change, with sea ice coverage during summer months steadily diminishing, and the ice is thinner when the Arctic Ocean freezes again in the winter.

    Titley said the ice volume has declined and is not coming back.

    “We’re really seeing a tremendous change in the Arctic,” he said, adding that the “new” normal for the Arctic is to be not completely frozen all year.

    The implications are significant for the Navy’s fixed assets as well as operations and potential operations, and Navy leadership will have to decide how to respond.

    For instance, a sea-level rise of two meters can cause the Navy to evaluate which of its bases will be viable, and additionally queries whether or not the Navy should operate ice-hardened ships in an ice-diminished arctic, even though ice-hardened ships cost more to build and to operate.

    Consequently, Titley said, the Navy is interested in reducing its carbon-based energy output by 50 percent by 2020.

    Task Force Climate Change recently released its Arctic Roadmap, which guides Navy policy, investment, action and public discussion regarding the Arctic. Another roadmap for the broader issue of global climate change will subsequently be developed.

    The Navy also works with inter agency and international partners to assess changes in the Arctic and to prevent conflict that might result from the change.

    For more news from Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, visit:

    http://www.navy.mil/local/cnmoc/.

    Furthermore, you are ignoring solar energy as if it doesn’t exist. Stanford Ovshinsky, is currently working on a 1 gigawatt solar power plant that he says will produce energy for the first time at lower cost, actually, than coal.

    Doesn’t that make you happy?

    Anything that has a carbon footprint can be replaced by solar. There is no pollution at all. No climate changing gases. No war over oil.

    Your ship is sinking, as is your credibility.

    I’ll get back to you on the math.

    Reply
  29. Jim W

    Solar power – for ships, yeah, right. Let’s go back to sails! Wind power for ships, what a concept, and proven too after thousands of years of experience.
    Since you like to refer to web sites, here’s one for you:
    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-04-12/spanish-solar-panel-trade-group-calls-for-fraud-investigation.html (Spanish Solar-Panel Trade Group Calls for Fraud Investigation)
    The Spanish are out in front on solar – their solar plants are so efficient that they generate electricity at night! Wow, that’s engineering if ever I’ve seen it. If you want to explore large-footprint solar then search on OTEC. Low efficiency, big investment, technology on the edge – the company I work for has been involved, off and on, with this concept for 30 years. Even with BHO it’s not going anywhere. Just because it works, just because it’s elegant, just because it costs the same or less (we think) than a conventional plant doesn’t mean it will make it out of the lab. Example: how you doing with your betamax video tapes?
    Look, it comes down to this, politicians are pushing the AGW agenda but the problem is, and has been, that the Facts don’t back it up. Instead of looking for a web site that bolsters your belief, use what God gave you and think about it. How, possibly, can a .0012% increase in GHG CAUSE warming and not cause plants to gobble it up? Why are the governments that cry about the problem not doing anything constructive (i.e. increasing the planet’s foliage to “consume” the terrible CO2) that is easy and cost effective? Is the climate changing – of course it is because the Earth weather is not a static system, it is affected by many variables and mankind is but a small one. The planet will continue to warm overall until it starts to cool again – just like the last dozen or hundred times before. My bet is with geophysical history. The planet has alternating warm and cool periods – its been going on for eons. I have been searching for credible data concerning AGW and I haven’t found it. What I have found is flawed science or worse, fabricated “science”. I am skeptical, I need to see proof, not opinion. If you are a scientist and afraid to share your data that bolsters your theory then you are a charlatan. Climate-gate! “I’ll destroy the data before I’ll share it”. That’s politics not science. Can you image Newton, Einstein, Edison, or any scientist of stature saying such a thing? Not me!
    Just because the Navy is studying the changes in weather doesn’t mean that the Navy accepts the concept of AGW. The Navy plans for contingencies; weather changes and its affects are contingencies. The Navy probably has a plan for attacking Canada and Mexico but it doesn’t mean that they are going to do it anytime soon. The reason the Navy wants to reduce their hydrocarbon fuel usage isn’t because of carbon, it’s because of COST. The Navy could eliminate much of their vessel related carbon footprint by going nuclear and, for carriers, they have. Why? Because 1 gallon of hydrocarbon fuel will only take a carrier about 10 inches at 30 knots. An equal weight in uranium will take it MUCH farther. The reason all of the Navy’s capital ships aren’t nuclear? Politics! The reason nuclear is back on the table: cost of hydrocarbon fuel and its cost variability.
    I have been tasked, by the Navy, to develop concepts for saving fuel to extend the range of ships and reduce cost. I have been tasked, by the Navy, to determine the fuel cost of hydrocarbon powered ships as compared to nuclear ships. I am considered an expert in my field by other engineers working in naval design. I have a body of technical work that bolsters my expertise in this area. I am accepted by my peers as an expert because I have proven the concepts I have proposed at sea onboard working warships. I publish my reports and submit the data and results for review and analysis by others. No secrets. No hiding bad results. The facts speak for themselves. Navy managers know my background and seek me out. The AGW guys aren’t in the meetings.

    Reply
  30. harryhammer

    You’re betting on geophysical history?

    I’m betting on the American Geophysical Union (AGU).

    I’m betting on the people who write the books that you’d have to study if you were ever to pursue and satisfactorily complete even a single course in geophysics.

    I’m betting on the scientific organization that publishes several scientific periodicals, including eighteen peer-reviewed research journals, most notably the Journal of Geophysical Research and Geophysical Research Letters.

    I’m betting on the overwhelming consensus of the 58,287 scientists that belong to the AGU, some of which have I.Q.’s comparable to and even higher than that of an Albert Einstein or an Isaac Newton.

    The AGU was established over 90 years ago, and for more than 50 years has operated as an unincorporated affiliate of the National Academy of Sciences.

    These aren’t “NOBODIES.”

    The National Academy of Science is like the Supreme Court of science. They represent the best scientists that a nation has to offer.

    It should also ease your mind that the American Geophysical Union is a non-profit organization and inter-disciplinary.

    Disseminating scientific information is what they do.

    The subject of geophysics includes the shape of the Earth, its gravitational and magnetic fields, the dynamics of the Earth as a whole and of its component parts, the Earth’s internal structure, composition and tectonics, the generation of magmas, volcanism and rock formation, the hydrological cycle including snow and ice, all aspects of the oceans, the atmosphere, ionosphere, magnetosphere and solar-terrestrial relations, and analogous problems associated with the Moon and other planets.

    Geophysics is also applied to societal needs, such as mineral resources, mitigation of natural hazards and environmental protection. Geophysical survey data are used to analyze potential petroleum reservoirs and mineral deposits, to locate groundwater, to locate archaeological finds, to find the thicknesses of glaciers and soils, and for environmental remediation.

    As preconditions to becoming a Nominated AGU Fellow, an applicant must be considered exceptional by his peers, and he must also have previously made a brilliant scientific contribution to mankind.

    Comparing a Schmuck like Patrick Michaels to a Nominated AGU Fellow is kind of like comparing a kid who does oil changes at your local Jiffy Lube to Jimmy Johnston’s head mechanic.

    Jim, the opinions of the top AGU scientists are important.

    The AGU recently issued a position statement on climate change.

    This is how it begins:

    The Earth’s climate is now clearly out of balance and is warming. Many components of the climate system–including the temperatures of the atmosphere, land and ocean, the extent of sea ice and mountain glaciers, the sea level, the distribution of precipitation, and the length of seasons–are now changing at rates and in patterns that are not natural and are best explained by the increased atmospheric abundances of greenhouse gases and aerosols generated by human activity during the 20th century.

    I suggest you read the rest of it.

    Reply
  31. harryhammer

    Jim, as I said earlier, your commentary is baseless.

    To begin with, you need to stop pretending like you give a damn about the environmental impact of electric car batteries, or anything else, for that matter. Next you’ll be spouting off about how wind turbines are “flat out dumb” on account of they kill “much” birds and make “many” noise. Keep up the charade and your conservative brethren might start mistaking you for a legitimate tree-huger.

    Furthermore, if you truly cared about the environmental impact of anything at all, you’d be livid over the devastating oil spills that have been occurring. There have been at least 20 major oil spills to date. By major, I mean 30,000 US gallons or more. That equates to about 100,000 tons of oil. Additionally, the list of substantial oil spills other than these is as long as your arm.

    In the most recent spill in the Gulf of Mexico 200 million US gallons of crude oil poured into the ocean.

    I suppose you could toss old electric car batteries into the ocean for the next 100 years and it wouldn’t match the damage caused by one such blowout?

    Speaking of oil spills:

    Do you remember the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska?

    About 38,000 people were negatively affected by that event, and a jury found Exxon guilty and awarded $287 million in compensatory damages and $5 billion in punitive damages to the plaintiffs.

    That spill happened 22 years ago.

    Exxon responded by hiring a team of lawyers which endlessly appealed both the charges and amount. They spent about $600 million in legal fees, and eventually had the award reduced to about 1/10th of the original.

    That final appeal took place 2 years ago.

    Exxon managed to do this despite the fact that according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as of 2010, approximately 26,000 gallons of Valdez crude oil remains in Alaska’s sand and soil.

    Additionally, aside from the tally of dead wildlife, all of the volunteers who helped to clean up that spill are now sick, dead, or dying. That’s right, all of them. CNN reported that the average life expectancy of the dead Valdez volunteers was 51 years. Most died from various forms of cancer and lung problems associated with breathing in the fumes that emanate from the toxic sludge that you like to refer to as an “elegant engineering solution.”

    What’s even more sickening is that Exxon made well over $25 billion investing the $5 billion that they should have paid these people two decades ago.

    Back to batteries:

    Most industrial nickel is recycled on account of its high value and because it’s easily retrievable from scrap metal. If anything, the mining and processing of the various alternate metals used in electric car batteries does pose a threat to the environment, as do all mining operations. Nevertheless, I don’t see how burying whatever metal is not salvageable in a deep hole somewhere poses much of a problem. If worse comes to worse, I suppose we could store the old batteries next to the spent uranium rods.

    You also said a few things about solar that is flat out wrong.

    Firstly, it’s sunny Germany that leads the world in terms of installed solar photovoltaic capacity, not Spain. But, I like how you cherry-picked Spain to make your bogus point. If you’re looking for scandal you don’t have to go to Spain to find it. Just look in your own backyard.

    Does the name Enron ring any bells?

    Here are some other facts about solar energy that you probably aren’t aware of:

    • The largest photovoltaic (PV) power plant in the world is in sunny Canada.

    • Comparatively, the 2nd largest photovoltaic (PV) power plant in the world is in sunny Italy.

    • Comparatively, the 3rd largest photovoltaic (PV) power plant in the world is in sunny Germany.

    • The current market leader in solar panel efficiency (measured by energy conversion ratio) is SunPower, a San Jose based company. Sunpower’s cells have a conversion ratio of 24.2%, well above the market average of 12–18%.

    • Solar power now meets about 1.1 percent of Germany’s electricity demand; a share that some market analysts expect could reach 25 percent by 2050.

    • In 2009, the installed solar PV capacity of Germany was 9,799 MW.

    • Comparatively, the installed solar capacity of Spain was 3,386 MW.

    • Comparatively, the installed solar capacity of Japan was 2,633 MW.

    • Comparatively, the installed solar capacity of U.S. was 1,650 MW.

    • The world’s largest shipping line COSCO is planning to outfit their tankers with large solar-powered sails controlled by a computer that angles them for maximum wind and solar efficiency and the company claims that the sails will pay for themselves within four years. The sails are 30 meters long, covered with solar PV panels that will provide 5 percent of the ships’ electricity and will harness enough wind to reduce fuel costs by 20 to 40 percent.

    • Besides these commercial uses, the Solar Sailor concept has also attracted the interest of a US company, Unmanned Ocean Vehicles, which is developing marine drones that run exclusively on renewable energy: sun, wind and waves. These crew-less coastguard ships carry no fuel, no food and can remain at sea for at least two years.

    • A Swiss team of engineers built a solar powered plane that was able to remain aloft for a record 24 hours.

    • The world’s largest solar powered yacht was just unveiled in Germany. The world tour is intended to demonstrate the possibility for clean ocean transport, and to inspire other designers to start working in this direction. The solar array on this 60 ton mammoth eco-yacht provides five times more energy than the boat needs to run silently at its average speed of 8 knots.

    You briefly mentioned trees and how planting more of them might be a good idea. I agree. However, the problem is that most of your conservative brethren have been acting as if they would rather have an abortion than go against the wishes of the Society of American Foresters and a number of hunting and fishing advocacy groups.

    Have close look at Bush’s Healthy Forests Initiative if you don’t believe me. It essentially ignores the advice of scientists from everywhere, including conservation groups such as the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, The Wilderness Society, and the John Muir Project.

    Opponents of the plan point out that logging companies will be allowed to unnecessarily cut large diameter trees under a false pretense, while neglecting the greater issue of ladder fuels (such as brush and small trees) and possibly leaving debris that would add to extremely volatile ground fuels. Furthermore, forest fires occur naturally and are critical to the long-term survival of many forests, since many trees will only grow once they detect that a fire has occurred since this gives them access to sunlight.

    On electric cars and whether or not they will reduce the carbon footprint of the world:

    In Vancouver BC Canada we get most of our electricity from hydro electric power plants. As a matter of fact, Hydro power stations produce at least 50% of the entire electricity produced in 66 countries, and at least 90% of the electricity produced in 24 countries.

    Incidentally, the largest Hydro power station in the world is the Three Gorges project in China on Yang-Yang River. It has installed capacity of around 22,500 MW.

    Some rough math on the Chevy Volt:

    According to my last hydro bill, the rate I’m currently paying is 8.78 cents per kWh, at the high end.

    Let’s assume for the sake of argument that I’m a typical American driver:

    • I drive about 13, 670 miles per year.
    • I buy about 555 gallons of gas per year.
    • My car gets about 24.6 mpg; which equals the U.S. average (2004).

    In Canada, premium gas costs about $5 per U.S. gallon, on average:

    =$2775 per year on gasoline.

    Considering energy consumption of 36 kWh per 100 miles, at a cost of 8.78 cents per kWh:

    = $432 per year on clean hydro electricity.

    Assuming that the average life cycle of a car is about 15 years.

    $2775 – $432 = $2343
    $2343 x 15 = $35,145

    In Canada, you’ll save a minimum of $35,000 over the life of your Chevy Volt, and that’s if, and only if, gas prices do not rise a penny over the next 15 years. Chances are you’ll save much more.

    Proclaiming, the way you have, that electric cars are “flat out dumb” is kind of like declaring that putting insulation in the walls and attic of your house is “flat out dumb.”

    Reply
  32. harryhammer

    On fraud charges in Spain’s solar industry and hacked emails:

    First of all, it is a fact that vague and sometimes unsubstantiated accusations of fraud get into the press with relative frequency. It is also a fact that not all of these stories translate into a valid legal case.

    That said, I have no idea how the case in Spain turned out.

    Do you?

    I do, however, know exactly how the “Climategate” case turned out.

    They were absolved.

    As a matter of fact, there have been at least 4 separate independent inquiries that have looked into the case and reported on it.

    In November of 2009, thousands of emails and other documents were stolen from the University of East Anglia’s (UEA) Climatic Research Unit (CRU) and made public. Within a few days, nearly every conservative hack in America was trying to twist them into a worldwide, Al Gore, conspiracy.

    What followed was a series of independent inquiries:

    On March 31, 2010, the Science and Technology Select Committee inquiry reported that the emails and claims raised in the controversy did not challenge the scientific consensus that “global warming is happening and that it is induced by human activity“. They also said that they had seen no evidence to support claims that Jones had tampered with data or interfered with the peer-review process.

    On April 14, 2010, the Independent Science Assessment Panel published and concluded that the panel had seen “no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the Climatic Research Unit.” It found that the CRU’s work had been “carried out with integrity” and had used “fair and satisfactory” methods. The CRU was found to be “objective and dispassionate in their view of the data and their results, and there was no hint of tailoring results to a particular agenda.” Instead, “their sole aim was to establish as robust a record of temperatures in recent centuries as possible.”

    In July 2010, a British investigation commissioned by the UEA, chaired by Sir Muir Russell, announced and published in its final report that it had exonerated the scientists of manipulating their research to support preconceived ideas about global warming. The “rigour and honesty” of the scientists at the Climatic Research Unit were found not to be in doubt. The panel found that they did not subvert the peer review process to censor criticism as alleged, and that the key data needed to reproduce their findings was freely available to any “competent” researcher.

    A separate review by Penn State University into accusations against Michael E. Mann cleared him of any wrongdoing, concluding that “there is no substance” to the allegations against him.

    After the July 2010 reports, the New York Times referred to Climategate as a “manufactured controversy,” and expressed the hope that reports clearing the scientists “will receive as much circulation as the original, diversionary controversies,”.

    The Columbia Journalism Review criticized newspapers and magazines for failing to give prominent coverage to the findings of the review panels, and said that “readers need to understand that while there is plenty of room to improve the research and communications process, its fundamental tenets remain as solid as ever.”

    CNN media critic Howard Kurtz expressed similar sentiments.

    In June 2010 Newsweek called the controversy a “highly orchestrated, manufactured scandal.”

    Jim, you should apologize to those you’ve wrongly accused and stop spreading such disinformation?

    Reply
  33. harryhammer

    Here’s an important news update from the Guardian UK, Tuesday 25 January 2011:

    “Climate skeptic ‘misled Congress over funding from oil industry’

    Patrick Michaels, fellow at the Cato Institute, claimed 3% of his funding came from industry, later revealed that figure to be 40%

    Global warming skeptic Patrick J. Michaels Patrick Michaels is a climate change skeptic and senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank founded by Charles and David Koch, oil industry billionaires who also bankroll conservative Tea Party organizations.

    A leading climate skeptic patronized by the oil billionaire Koch brothers faced a potential investigation today on charges that he misled Congress on the extent of his funding from the oil industry.

    Patrick Michaels, a senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute, a think tank founded by Charles and David Koch to promote their libertarian, anti-government views, appeared before the house energy and commerce committee in February 2009.

    At the time, the committee was headed by the California Democrat Henry Waxman and Michaels was the only one in the line-up of witnesses to cast doubt on global warming, testifying that mainstream science had exaggerated the threat posed by climate change.

    Now, Waxman writes in a letter to the incoming committee chair, Fred Upton, it appears as if Michaels may have misled the committee. In 2009, Michaels said 3% of his $4.2m in financial support came from the oil and gas industry. But in an appearance on CNN in August last year, and in subsequent interviews, Michaels suggested that figure was 40%.

    “Michaels may have provided misleading information about the sources of his funding and his ties to industries opposed to regulation of emissions responsible for climate change,” Waxman writes in the letter, released on Monday.

    Waxman urged Upton to call on Michaels to clarify the sources of his funding, and to give a complete account of his funding sources to the committee.

    The request for an investigation is a turn on the Republicans, who have set out a long list of potential targets for scrutiny since their takeover of the house, starting with the Environmental Protection Agency.

    Michaels has also received direct funding from the Koch brothers. From their base in Wichita, Kansas, the Kochs control the largest privately held oil company in the US. They gained notoriety during the mid-term elections for bankrolling a leading, conservative Tea Party organization, Americans for Prosperity.

    But the Kochs have for years been funneling money to organizations which oppose government regulations and deny the existence of climate change.”

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: