Your Beliefs About Global Warming Are Irrelevent

This letter appeared in today’s Mobile Press-Register, and it raises a few questions about the science and politics behind the so-called global warming “debate”.  I’ll present it in it’s entirety, and will then address some specific issues.

Global warming claim a ‘hoodwink’

Nancy Pelosi, in addition to being speaker of the House, has apparently become a climate change expert. Her proclamation that global warming is an undeniable fact is bold, authoritative and for the most part correct, except that human activity cannot be proven to be its cause.

Blaming a warming Earth on humankind has become the mantra of liberal, left-leaning politicians on both sides of the aisle in Washington. A Jan. 21 letter to the Press-Register (“Environmental battle is about control”) by Kenneth D. Slade of Theodore hit the nail squarely on the head when he said it’s about seeking political control over our lives and livelihoods.

I believe that global warming is the biggest hoodwink in our present time, and I have expressed this view to the Press-Register in recent months. I’ve said that warming on a global scale is part of a natural cycle that has happened over and over again, and that it must be respected and planned for. It should not become a scare tactic used by politicians and environmentalists to gain control of our lives.

The “climate experts” that have been cited by syndicated columnist Tom Teepen and politician Al Gore in this newspaper are always anonymous and never brought into debate with climate experts who see things differently. Mr. Slade is correct when he says that the eco-left is trying to make a power grab. What’s going on now is beginning to smell like the McCarthy era in the 1950s, and it scares me.

Look for many more global warming declarations and propaganda from the Democrats and the eco-left as we progress toward the 2008 elections. We’re going to be buried under an avalanche of it. Tell a big lie often enough and it stands a chance of being believed.

In the meantime, look for liberal Democrats, with Nancy Pelosi leading the way, to begin sponsoring anti-global warming bills, with each in turn increasing regulations on “greenhouse gases” and auto and manufacturing emissions, which go to the very heart and soul of our nation’s manufacturing economy.

I believe Democrats are willing to play a high-risk game with global climate change in their quest to control the things we produce and what we, as a “free people,” can do in America.

And I do believe that liberal Democrats would sell out our country to a higher world authority if they thought it would give them the power they truly desire to have. In doing so, they are playing a dangerous game with our democracy and our lives.

THOMAS L. M.

Fairhope, AL

Now, Let’s look at some of the specific claims in this letter, and I’ll demonstrate why they are either misleading or just plain false.

Nancy Pelosi, in addition to being speaker of the House, has apparently become a climate change expert. Her proclamation that global warming is an undeniable fact is bold, authoritative and for the most part correct, except that human activity cannot be proven to be its cause.

Here the claim is that human activity cannot be proven to be the cause of Global Warming.  That is entirely true, since science is an inductive process of discovering truth via discrete observations and hypothesis testing.  In fact – science can never prove anything, although science is particularly good at disproving false claims. 

The author implies that human activity is not the cause of global warming, and through this, makes two assumptions: that Global Warming is real (which I personally agree with, though it’s generally poor form to contradict the thesis of your essay in its opening paragraph), and that there is just a single cause or Global Warming.  This is misleading, and paints an overly simplistic picture of the available data. 

It is more accurate to claim that, on average, surface temperatures are indeed rising around the world, and that human activity, specifically the emissions of so-called “green house gases” are playing an increasing role in this temperature increase.

Blaming a warming Earth on humankind has become the mantra of liberal, left-leaning politicians on both sides of the aisle in Washington. A Jan. 21 letter to the Press-Register (“Environmental battle is about control”) by K. D. S. of Theodore hit the nail squarely on the head when he said it’s about seeking political control over our lives and livelihoods.

Here there are several misleading claims.  First, the author claims there are, “left-leaning politicians on both sides of the aisle in Washington”, which is only 51% accurate since the November elections.  Second, the author claims that these politicians have a mantra, and that mantra is “blame warming on humankind.”  Finally, the author claims that another letter writer, K.D.S. of Theodore, Alabama was correct is his assertion that those who intone this mantra have a desire to seek control over our lives and livelihoods.  Since we have already clearly demonstrated that the first claim is, at best, barely more than half-true, then my guess is that the other two claims that flow from it are somewhat less true.  In the absence of any corroborating evidence, we would be best served by assuming these claims are simply false, and ignore them altogether.

I believe that global warming is the biggest hoodwink in our present time, and I have expressed this view to the Press-Register in recent months. I’ve said that warming on a global scale is part of a natural cycle that has happened over and over again, and that it must be respected and planned for. It should not become a scare tactic used by politicians and environmentalists to gain control of our lives.

The misleading claim here us that global warming is actually part of a natural cycle.  The basis of this claim is the authors belief that politicians (presumably the left-leaning, ones chanting the mantra above) are trying to “hoodwink” us.  The claim is misleading because warming and cooling periods are indeed seen throughout history.  Recent evidence, however, indicates that, natural fluctuations were responsible for most temperature changes through the first half of the 20th century, but since the latter half of the 20th century, we have moved outside the bounds of normal, natural temperature fluctuations.

As to Thomas’ belief that, “global warming is the biggest hoodwink in our present time”, I would humbly submit that the original case for war in Iraq might be a hoodwink on par with any in history.

The “climate experts” that have been cited by syndicated columnist Tom Teepen and politician Al Gore in this newspaper are always anonymous and never brought into debate with climate experts who see things differently. Mr. S. is correct when he says that the eco-left is trying to make a power grab. What’s going on now is beginning to smell like the McCarthy era in the 1950s, and it scares me.

Here’s the crux of Thomas L. M.‘s argument – he disagrees with the position taken by syndicated columnist Tom Teepen, and former US Vice President Al Gore, and claims that they cite “climate experts” but do not reveal their identities, nor have them debate climate experts (sans quotations, signifying greater credibility) who see things differently.
This is not entirely true.  First, neither Teepen nor Gore are scientists, so they’re not actually required to outline their sources.  Their central claim, that the vast majority of environmental scientists have concluded that the data for Global Warming is compelling, and that human activity is, at least in part, responsible for this trend is well documented – even within various agencies of the US government.  For example, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies has several recent, informative articles on global warming (here).  In addition, the National Climate Data Center Has a Global Warming FAQ that refutes Thomas’ arguments, as does the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  Further, a recent article by Science Magazine reviewed 928 peer reviewed articles on global climate change, and concluded that 75% agreed with the consensus view that human activity is responsible for most of the warming seen in the past 50 years.  The remaining 25% did not take any stance on the issue, and the article stated, “Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position.” 

Now, this is also where the author takes a cheap shot at the “eco-left” by conflating and equating their goals and methods with those of Joseph McCarthy.  While the eco-left most likely has its own agenda, it’s not likely that it’s anything like that of the infamous Republican Senator from the great State of Wisconsin.

Look for many more global warming declarations and propaganda from the Democrats and the eco-left as we progress toward the 2008 elections. We’re going to be buried under an avalanche of it. Tell a big lie often enough and it stands a chance of being believed.

Here’s where the author tugs at your heart strings.  Be afraid of the scary, tree hugging Democrats.  They want to take your job away and bury you under an avalanche of propaganda.

Ironically, the part where he says, “Tell a big lie often enough and it stands a chance of being believed”, is actually true.

In the meantime, look for liberal Democrats, with Nancy Pelosi leading the way, to begin sponsoring anti-global warming bills, with each in turn increasing regulations on “greenhouse gases” and auto and manufacturing emissions, which go to the very heart and soul of our nation’s manufacturing economy.

Again, the suspenseful theme music plays in the background as liberals start to rise from the political netherworld of near complete powerlessness, and Nancy Pelosi leads the way toward the utter destruction of Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie, and Chevrolet.

I believe Democrats are willing to play a high-risk game with global climate change in their quest to control the things we produce and what we, as a “free people,” can do in America.

Thomas, I appreciate your fear.  Your government has been telling you for years to fear change, and to fear your Democratic neighbors.  You’ve been played, however, since Democratic Americans are at least equal to Republican Americans in all things.

And I do believe that liberal Democrats would sell out our country to a higher world authority if they thought it would give them the power they truly desire to have. In doing so, they are playing a dangerous game with our democracy and our lives.

THOMAS L. M.

Fairhope, AL

OK – here’s where Thomas goes for the big finish.  Not only are evil Democratic Americans out to “hoodwink” the good Republican Americans, but they’re actually trying to subvert the very core of our democracy.  Up until the last couple paragraph, this actually seemed like a reasonable, though naive and poorly executed, argument that global warming is a myth.  Instead, as we see Thomas’ scientific argument collapse,  he relies more and more heavily on the Democratic bogeyman, claiming that the Democratic Party is somehow un-American and against workers.

More importantly, about one half of Thomas’ arguments are based on his belief, and his agreement with someone else’s beliefs.  If we were discussing a religious point, then this might add strength and credibility to his case.  Since, however, he’s arguing what is essentially a scientific point – about the existence of global warming and the role human activity plays in it – his beliefs are beside the point.  They’re irrelevant, and simply cloud the issue at hand.  Science, my friends, isn’t a democracy.  There are certainly debates among experts, often about subtle nuances of various theories.  In many cases, there isn’t any such thing as a “fair and balanced” view.  Beliefs aren’t particularly valuable.  Science is about evidence, and global warming is one of those cases in which the vast majority of the evidence is irrefutable – it exists, and we are playing an increasing role in it. 

Please, don’t simply take my word – I’m no climate expert. Instead, look at the evidence yourself. It’s all over the place for anyone who cares to read it.

120 thoughts on “Your Beliefs About Global Warming Are Irrelevent

  1. I can’t get over how much the arguments of global warming deniers sound like those of creationists/IDiots. Substitute “blaming human activity” with “destroying God” and “radical environmentalists” with “secular liberals” and the structure of the arguments appear almost identical.

  2. In the meantime, look for liberal Democrats, with Nancy Pelosi leading the way, to begin sponsoring anti-global warming bills, with each in turn increasing regulations on “greenhouse gases” and auto and manufacturing emissions, which go to the very heart and soul of our nation’s manufacturing economy.

    Um … why the heck is “greenhouse gasses” in “scare quotes,” given that CO2 is a known … well … greenhouse gas for, oh, quite a number of decades?

  3. Global warming debate is all a big waste of time. If somebody truely believes or disbelieves something, then they will continue to argue back-n-forth until the end of time.

  4. As Michael said, Moloch, “look at the evidence yourself. It’s all over the place for anyone who cares to read it.”

    Beliefs can change, especially when you expose yourself to relevant, unbiased information. If, after having perused it, you still maintain your ill-advised beliefs then you are just being hard-headed for the hell of it.

  5. “ill-advised beliefs” Not from my point of view. I have examined the so-called “unbiased information” and I have determined Global warming is on a much too large scale (Both physical and time) to be proven reliably.

  6. Nice post, Michael.  All this talk about the environmentalists wanting to “gain control of our lives” makes me wonder:  what kind of control?  What’s in it for them?  Somehow, I fail to see how getting all of us to reduce our impact on the planet is the kind of “control” that we need to worry about.  What worries me more is the control exercised by those who are making money from the destruction of the environment, and don’t want to change that.  I don’t have the figures, but I suspect that polluting is somewhat more lucrative for industry than environmental responsibility, at least in the short run.  That alone should make us a bit critical about the objectivity of anti-environmentalist claims.

    I believe that free-market economies have amply demonstrated their superiority to state-controlled economies in many ways (I spent a fair amount of time in various East Bloc countries, and the malaise was palpable).  Without some oversight, however, greed gets the upper hand (human beings being human) and destruction ensues, because greed tends to be self-centered and shortsighted.

    What we need is a balance of laissez-faire and oversight, whether governmental or otherwise.  Of course, this has been an issue ever since we started to govern ourselves.  And it will always be a point of contention, because there’s no position on the political spectrum that’s perfectly logically defensible (just like religion!).  But it’s become especially urgent, now that we have the means to do really nasty damage to ourselves and the rest of our living planet, to consider our options seriously, and take action quickly.  Staying the course, while comfortable and profitable to many of us, will not be appreciated by our grandchildren.

    I have to wonder which “higher world authority” the Democrats and the eco-left want to sell us out to- the U.N. perhaps?  Or our grandchildren?

  7. I have examined the so-called “unbiased information” and I have determined …

    Mol, you’ve examined sweet fuck all.
    You have soaked up shit that agrees with other shit in ya fuckin shit-for-brains and then you ‘determined’ your truth cos you had your truth alla time – it just sits like a spider and waits for ‘new’ shit to compound it and ‘expand’ upon it – you NEVER think about stuff that challenges you to change your point of view.
    That is NOT you.
    Don’t try to bullshit a bullshitter, man – there’s no way you can HONESTLY use the ‘I have examined the so-called “unbiased information” and I have determined …’ blah blah sentence.

    All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing:

    Kid, you ain’t even good people.
    You’re a one-eyed-jack (I just made it up – we’ll see how it flows).
    Nah, not the Marlon Brando type – I’m talkin circa 1970 Vietnam War Oz fodder type.
    We had a saying: the Oz army is made up of 90% jack nashos [jack = I’m alright, Jack – Fuck you. Nashos = National Serviceman = ME] and 10% disillusioned regs [Regular Army]
    So what I really said was: you’re an unchangeable, I’m-alright-Jack-fuck-you kinda man person [I use that term lightly].  wink

  8. A detailed look at the economics of climate change is the 600- page Stern Review Report, commissioned by the U.K. government under the auspices of Sir Nicholas Stern, former chief economist of the World Bank.  I haven’t got very far into it, but here’s an interesting piece of rhetoric from Stern, which goes along with what I said about free markets: “Climate change presents a unique challenge for economics: it is the greatest and widest-ranging market failure ever seen.”

    Of course, the World Bank is a hotbed of ecoterrorist influence…

  9. Right on, Sadie.  Change a few of the words and they sound like Holocaust deniers, or fundies whining about evolution.  Or like the captain of the Titanic. 

    “We batter the Earth as if we had someplace else to go”
    – Ann Druryan

  10. Economics of climate change are not as unfavorable to industry as some would make it out to be.  In fact there is plenty of green technology companies could capitalize on if they wanted to.

    US automakers cannot sell their vehicles in China due to emission standards.  And right now China is trying to sell cars.

    People are really asking for electric cars right now in the US.  In fact, Phoenix Motors, had a 75 car pre-sale to raise eyebrows about their sweet rides.  They sold out in 4 hours.  Most of the sales going to cities and townships.

    After they get their crash test results back they plan to make another 400-500, and they expect to quickly sell out of those.

    US automakers could sell and manufacture electric cars.  People want them.  They just choose to make crappier gas guzzlers instead.  And make terrible looking hybrid cars.  Why not make a sweet looking electric car like Tesla or Phoenix Motors?

    Solar and wind technology is going to sky-rocket in the next 5 years, but companies are still slow to jump on that technology.

    The list goes on and on and on.  Point I am making…  what is the rationale for not going green?

  11. (continues chanting) “But… going green would disrupt our economy!!!”

    Right.  Not like coastal flooding, xenomigration of agricultural pests, increased third-world destabilization, and possibly long-term runaway hydrogen sulfide content of the atmosphere.

    “We’ll be up to our necks in owls and out of a job!”
    – George HW Bush

  12. Sadie: Substitute “blaming human activity” with “destroying God” and “radical environmentalists” with “secular liberals” and the structure of the arguments appear almost identical.

    Exactly – not much new in the arguments from those who deny scientific evidence based on their belief. These arguments go back to the Flat Earthers and Geocentrists.

    Moloch: If somebody truely [sic] believes or disbelieves something, then they will continue to argue back-n-forth until the end of time.

    Yup – you’ve grasped my point exactly.  Your beliefs about scientific evidence are irrelevant.

    Moloch: I have examined the so-called “unbiased information” and I have determined Global warming is on a much too large scale (Both physical and time) to be proven reliably.

    I’ve posted a couple of my references from NASA, NOAA, NCDC, EPA, and Science Magazine that refute your claim.  Would you care to post yours, or should we just take your word on this?  There is certainly disagreement in the literature about global warming, but as of 2004 exactly zero percent of that disagreement came from credible, peer-reviewed, scientific sources.  Instead, the “debate”, such as it is, has been driven by policy makers and media pundits, all of whom have interests in manipulating your belief system and maintaining the status quo.  To me, that smells less like science, and more like the politicization of science.

    Prove me wrong.

  13. Webs: They just choose to make crappier gas guzzlers instead.  And make terrible looking hybrid cars.

    I had a real forehead slapping moment after reading that.  I never really put together the reason for why the hybrids produced look the way they do.  I guess it maybe should be obvious, considering that the auto industry has resisted changes on this level for a very long time.  It’s an ingenious move I guess on their part, to make the hybrids, which they don’t really want to sell anyway, ugly little things, reminiscent of notoriously crappy compact cars of yesteryear (anybody here ever own a Ford Escort or Chevy Chevette?  Oh, those were the days.) 

    Taking this line of thought too far will put Detroit and the Oil industry into a government conspiracy, but it definitely makes sense that they would design their hybrids to not be very eye-pleasing, especially since their bread and butter is still the full on gas guzzler market.  It kinda smells like the oil industries lame attempts to make themselves look good by adding a small amount of ethanol to gas, so when you go to the pump, you can say, “oh look, they really do care!”

  14. Yup, and the other thing that pissed me off, that I forgot to mention was that until a recent move by Toyota, all the hybrids were also pretty expensive.  People look at the hybrid and have a hard time justifying the cost of the hybrid for the better gas mileage.

    But Toyota, thankfully,  came out with the Yaris.  Now people can get a 60mpg hybrid for $11,000 – $13,500.  Pretty damn affordable… and they look friggin sweet!!

  15. Is there a new hybrid Yaris?  Toyota’s website says gas engine, 35mpg.  Its main attraction seems to be that it is cheap to buy (and if everyone drove a 35+ mpg car, we could tell the Ay-rabs what to do with their oil)

    Stock Corolla gets something like 40mpg, not bad for a good-sized 4-door with the best reliability record in the industry.  That’s before you even get to hybrid-land.

    My 1968 Fiat 124G 4-door got 35mpg on the highway, incidentally.  It was roomy and comfortable, handled GREAT (Italian), had 4-wheel disc brakes, and had a huge trunk.  I have so little sympathy for American car makers whining about how they can’t meet gas mileage requirements.

  16. TB: anybody here ever own a Ford Escort or Chevy Chevette

    Ooh – bad memories.  When in high school, my older sister had a Chevy Chevette – and her boyfriend had a Corvette.  Guess which “Vette” I got to take to the prom.  Also, the first car I ever owned was an 84 Escort.  I don’t know which was a bigger piece of shit.

    TB: It kinda smells like the oil industries lame attempts to make themselves look good by adding a small amount of ethanol to gas, so when you go to the pump, you can say, “oh look, they really do care!”

    Heh – corn ethanol at that.  That’s like adding a scrap of lettuce on top of a Hardy’s Thick Burger and saying it’s a salad.

    Hey Webs – just want to go on record as giving you your props for your recent post on global warming.  That inspired me quite a bit.

  17. Thanks Peacock!

    Is there a new hybrid Yaris?  Toyota’s website says gas engine, 35mpg.  Its main attraction seems to be that it is cheap to buy (and if everyone drove a 35+ mpg car, we could tell the Ay-rabs what to do with their oil)

    My bad.  The Yaris Hybrid was a concept car that Toyota had at the 2006 Chicago Auto Show.  I didn’t realize it till right now.  Which is kinda a bummer, because if it was a production car it would really make hybrids insanely affordable.  At the auto show I remember the MPG were 61 for highway and 50 something for the city.

    Now imagine turning the Yaris hybrid into a plug in hybrid or a serial hybrid…  Damn that would be one hell of an efficient car!

  18. The thing is, you don’t have to say “Damn those humans!” to be concerned with global warming or think it’s probably a good thing to do something about it.

    Now, I don’t think it’s going to be the sort of crack open the sky and rain down thunder “event” that some purists seem to read from the data, but simple economics says it’s going to both enhance (want to build levies and dikes? I imagine that you’re going into the right business) and hinder trade, and trade is what’s really going to be the problem. Because any disruption in trade funks up our ability to react to changing circumstances, because with enough money you can do all the things you might have to do to react to, slow down, or even reverse global warming – no matter what the cause.

    I think the cause is irrelevant, because the solutions are what we need and not finger wagging. I mean, if it’s all of our gasoline engines out there then that’s great, because in a hundred years we’ll all be out of gas and things will get cold again and the world will be panicking about it snowing in Chicago once more and having enough ice breakers.

    Causes are for scientists. To the man on the street, it doesn’t matter what’s up with that global warming thing as long as someone’s got a fix for it.

    But, I agree, this guy’s an ass for trying to handwave at Democrats as some sort of underlying cause. Worse, he’s a bad Republican – because there are plenty of opportunities for Big Business lurking in the corners of Global Warming if they’d just take their fingers out of their asses and stop claiming someone else was trying to fuck them. Republicans are responsible for nearly 100% of their own mess these days, and if they’d not been such lying, corrupt, evil people they wouldn’t be in the sad political pickle of having to rely on Fundamentalist Abortion Clinic Bombers and NASCAR fans as their base.

  19. I had a real forehead slapping moment after reading that.  I never really put together the reason for why the hybrids produced look the way they do.  I guess it maybe should be obvious, considering that the auto industry has resisted changes on this level for a very long time.  It’s an ingenious move I guess on their part, to make the hybrids, which they don’t really want to sell anyway, ugly little things, reminiscent of notoriously crappy compact cars of yesteryear (anybody here ever own a Ford Escort or Chevy Chevette?  Oh, those were the days.)

    I don’t think the hybrids look all that bad nor do I think the automotive companies don’t really want to sell then. Toyota has a waiting list for their Prius and the Ford Escape Hybrid looks pretty much like it’s non-hybrid sibling.

  20. I think some of them look as though the auto manufacturers thought, “Hey, we got a new idea with a car.  So lets give it a futuristic look.”  Some of them look like a spaceship to me.

    Just design me a hybrid that looks like a normal car like Toyota did with the hybrid camary.  Or Honda with the Accord hybrid.  I don’t need nothing fancy.

  21. MisterMook: I think the cause is irrelevant, because the solutions are what we need and not finger wagging.

    I would probably agree with that if I believed that climate scientists were really looking to assign blame rather than to uncover the causes as a means toward finding solutions that have a reasonable likelihood of actually working.

    I mean, if it’s all of our gasoline engines out there then that’s great, because in a hundred years we’ll all be out of gas and things will get cold again …

    From what I’ve been reading, this is a common misconception.  Simply halting emissions of greenhouse gases won’t necessarily reverse the warming trend – especially if we wait too long.

  22. I wonder what form the pressure took- Possibly funding cuts, organisations (I’ll lump government into that category) tend to pay research when they want a certain result. In that kind of situation youre left with little choice but to change job, put up (+ lose credibility), or publish abroad, and after all the training that precedes research that’s gotta be a bitter pill.

  23. Well I haven’t been on in a while and seeing some of the stuff being thrown on this thread, I should probably inform you of some interesting points.  The focal is of which:

    Global warming has happened on this planet before and it ISN’T pretty

    Everyone knows about how the dinosaurs died out right?  The asteroid that can crashing down and obliterating the world as they knew it.  However what about the other 4 major extinctions.  The end ot the Ordovician period, the close of the Devonain period and the “Great Dying” at the end of the Permian period (10% of ocean dwellers and 30% of terrestrial lifeforms survived that one), all couldn’t be caused by space billards!  If they were then a thin layer of iridium (common in extraterrestrial materials but rare on earth) would be found in each strata, not just the cretaceous extinction.  Something else caused the extinctions.  Something that we are adovocating against today…dum dum duh!

    Geologists and organic chemists analysed the ancient rock strata in search of chemical fossils or “bio markers”.  These markers are tough organic compounds that don’t decay and instead are fossilized in sedimentary rock.  Hence it is possible to discover the activity of microbes by looking for specific compounds, such as lipids that survive the fossilization process.

    What was discovered was that there were high concentrations of biomarkers for photosynthetic green sulfur bacteria.  These bacteria are anarobes that convert the toxic gas H2S into sulfur, requiring sunlight to do so.  Their presence in even shallow water suggests that the ocean converted to a pre-oxigenated state and that most of the ocean was filled with anarobic bacteria producing H2S at the ocean floor.  In our ocean today there is a line in the ocean that separates the H2S regions from the oxygenated regions, called the chemocline.  Typically this is balenced with photosynthetic green sulfur bacteria helping to keep levels low.  Calculations by geoscientists Lee R. Kump and Michael A. Arthur of Pennsylvania State University have shown that if oxygen levels drop in the oceans, conditions begin to favor the deep-sea anaerobic bacteria which proliferate and produce greater amounts of hydrogen sulfide.  In their models, if the deepwater H2S concentrations were to increaes beyond a critical threshold during such an interval of oceanic anoxia, then the chemocline separating the H2S rich deepwaters from oxygenated surface water would have floated up to the top abruptly.  The result would be great bubbles of toxic H2S gas erupting into the atmosphere, at 2000 times the amount given off by volcanoes.

    So what does this H2S do?  I’ll save you the trouble.  This stuff is down right toxic.  At 800 ppm, about 50% of people who would be exposed would be dead in five minutes.  It causes a host of nasty symptoms at lower concentrations and any higher and most will be dead.  The high densities of green sulfur bacteria markers suggest that there was massive production of H2S, filling the atmosphere with toxic fumes.  Add to that that H2S decays the Ozone layer rapidly and you get high radiations treatments for the world too.

    It was also noticed that before each of these major extinctions there was massive volcanic activity.  This results in massive production of CO2 and methane gas, causing rapid global warming.  Right before the mass extinctions, carbon isotope dating confirmed C02 concentrations skyrocketed and stayed heavy form hundreds of thousands of years to a few million give or take.

    So what does rapid global warming have to do with H2S “killing off the world”?  Higher temperatures make it harder for water to absorb oxygen, thus the remaining oxygen that wasn’t consumed in volcanic eruptions would find it difficult to be absorbed into the ocean.  This would make the ocean more favourable to H2S anarobes and start production of massive amounts of H2S.  As the H2S kills off life, less oxygen is produced from plant life and the world sufficates back into a age where the most complex lifeform is microscopic.  These same characteristics were found to be consistant with all major extinctions except the dinosaurs.  History repeats itself eh?

    Currently we are at 385 ppm for CO2 concentrations.  The closest extinction where “killer global warmnig” happened was just under 1000 ppm.  Yet with atmospheric carbon climbing at an annual rate of 2 ppm and expected to accelerate to 3 ppm, levels could approach the danger levels of 900 ppm by the end of the next century and then this all could happen.

    So global warming has happened before and life has suffered a long and hard reboot to get back on track.  Earth itself has killed off more life then any other force out there.  If anyone states that global warming has no effect, give them the final stages of the “disease”.  It is a prognosis that may make nuclear winter seem cheery.

    If anyone says that I’m bluffing, read the paper yourself.  It is in the October 2006 edition of Scientific American on pg. 64 by Peter D. Ward.

    For Moloch class proof see

    Massive release of Hydrogen Sulfide to the Surface Ocean and Atmosphere during intervals of Oceanic Anoxia, Lee R. Kump, Alexander Pavlov and Michael A. Arthur in Geology, vol 33, No. 5, pages 397-400; may 2005.

    Rivers in Time; The Search for Clues to Earth’s mass Extinctions.  Peter D. Ward. Columbia Universtiy Press, 2002.

    Photic Zone Euxinia during the Permian-Triassic Superanoxic Event.  Kliti Grice et al. In Science, vol 307, pages 706-709; Feb 3, 2005.

    In case nobody saw this, I’ll just politely remind people about it.  Global warming is part of the “natural cycle”, one that isn’t very bright of a future.  I laugh everytime one of these nutjobs start.  The ecologists I know are pulling their hair out with these guys.  Most are really depressed about how little governments care about their work and are trying to find solutions to every angle.  Now many are working on quick fixes to “save” the environment at the last minute.  The best solution so far looks like to fill the atmosphere with pure calcium, raining calcium carbonate down from the heavens.  This would require VERY signifficant amounts of calcium and can only stall the problem however what can you do when you are called a quack by the general population.

    Also they don’t like you knowing that ethanol fuels have a higher octane number then the most premium gas you can buy.  Produces less carbon dioxide and a better fuel overall!

    The problem is that these think tanks “spin” things too much.  You want credible scientists, I can hand you boat loads of names.  You want research on it, which volume would you prefer first?  You think it is liberals, I’ll show you some eco-businessmen who are making the industry work.  Gosh the scientific ignorance of people is utterly staggering!  To think that Carl Sagan was complaining in 1997 about inadaquete scientific understanding, look at now!

  24. raining calcium carbonate down from the heavens

    gosh, everyone chocking on chalkdust
    Could try a solar mirror – a satelite in space with a big mirror to reflect away the most intense light of the sun, or at least use it as solar energy to power itself and other functions like communications
    I will remind everyone the importance of plankton in fixing CO2 into carbonates in the ocean. I don’t know what they use as a base because CO2 would otherwise acidify the water, so you need something entering the water to take away that acidity.

  25. I mean to make the carbonate from carbonic acid, which forms in the ocean when CO2 reacts with water
    CO2+H20—>H2CO2 (carbonic acid)
    Then you need deprotonation
    H2CO2 +2base—> CO22- + 2HBase+
    So in order for plankton to make carbonate from carbonic acid as they do now, they need a source of base entering into the ocean. It’s possible that this is by oxidising Ca to CaO (+2 ox state) and using O- to do the deprotonation, but that depends on having Ca metal around, and note that the metal won’t disolve in a 0 oxidation state

    The pure Ca metal +CO2 doesn’t directly require base because protons aren’t involved but you still need Ca(0). The Ca(0) would be a nucleophile, nucleophiles are also basic to some extent themselves.

  26. Webs: I think some of them look as though the auto manufacturers thought, “Hey, we got a new idea with a car.  So lets give it a futuristic look.” Some of them look like a spaceship to me.

    Just design me a hybrid that looks like a normal car like Toyota did with the hybrid camary.  Or Honda with the Accord hybrid.  I don’t need nothing fancy.

    Actually, the Prius likely is the best selling, highest demand hybrid because it looks futuristic.  There’s been hybrid Civics, Accords, and Escapes for years, but none have generated the hype and demand of the Prius.

    Until gas becomes even more expensive, nobody will be buying hybrids because they make economic sense.  A Honda Civic Hybrid sells for about $4000 more than a Civic LX, and $4000 would buy a lot of gas.  The Hybrid gets 49mpg city, the LX 30mpg city.  Driving 15000 strictly city miles a year (more than most people do) at $3/gal would cost $1500 in the LX, and $918 in the Hybrid, so it’d take close to 7 years to recoup the cost of the Hybrid, and most people sell their newly purchased cars by then.

    Neither concern for the environment or economics are currently the main factor in buying a Prius, or any hybrid for that matter.  It’s environmental bragging rights through buying a car.  Given how much energy it takes to manufacture a new car, it would be considerably more environmentally friendly to purchase a used compact car like a Corolla or Civic.

  27. I should rephrase my comment
    Using Carbonate as a base to deprotonate Carbonic acid (protonated carbonate) only transfers protons from one carbonate to another, that’s all you’re doing. Adding carbonate will buffer the solution and push up pH but carbonate raining from the sky isn’t our current source of base. The Ca(0) + CO2 you suggested to make the carbonate ultimately needs a source of Ca(0). While no bronsted bases are used as no protons are transferred, Ca(0) qualifies as a lewis base because it’s a nucleophile in this reaction, and it’s the source of that which is of concern. Either way we are essentially adding a lewis base to the ocean to counter the CO2 dissolving in it (a lewis acid).

    p.s. bronsted acids/bases also qualify as lewis acid/bases, its just a more specific grouping which only looks at proton transfer and is hence incomplete

  28.  

    I mean, if it’s all of our gasoline engines out there then that’s great, because in a hundred years we’ll all be out of gas and things will get cold again …

    From what I’ve been reading, this is a common misconception.  Simply halting emissions of greenhouse gases won’t necessarily reverse the warming trend – especially if we wait too long.

    Which is why I said “if”, which probably should have been emboldened somehow for lazy readers determined to find offense at something I said I suppose.

    The fact remains, whatever the cause, the solution is the key. Hell, even if it were all a clever ruse as the man in the article claims solving the problem would still be the key – even if it were only addressing “those things which lead people to erroneously conclude that there is global warming occurring.”

    I would probably agree with that if I believed that climate scientists were really looking to assign blame rather than to uncover the causes as a means toward finding solutions that have a reasonable likelihood of actually working.

    It doesn’t matter if scientists don’t wag fingers, once non-scientists start making it into political platforms and stomps someone’s assigning blame. That’s how politics work, because nothing spontaneously happens in the world of politics without liability occurring. Personally I think it’s something of from the laziness of people confusing the legal theories behind liability with political science, and the creepy inbreeding of law and political science majors.

    And it’s really the issue that I’m talking about too: It’s cheaper politically to assign blame than to propose solutions, because blame is hardly ever so incredibly low that you can’t assign some to someone for something, while a solution to a problem that doesn’t work very easily comes back and bites you on your ass.

  29. Until gas becomes even more expensive, nobody will be buying hybrids because they make economic sense.

    This is indeed the problem, Benior.  As long as gas is not paying for the damage it does to the environment, through a CO2 tax or whatever, it will be cheaper to pollute, until we get cheaper hybrids- or cheaper hydrogen, fuel cell, or electric cars.  But if people were forced to pay what it costs to have the CO2 they emit removed from the atmosphere, hybrids would suddenly look a lot better.

    Neither concern for the environment or economics are currently the main factor in buying a Prius, or any hybrid for that matter.  It’s environmental bragging rights through buying a car.

    I personally don’t give a fig why people buy hybrids.  If they want to brag, it’s no skin off my nose, although bragging rights should be reserved, imho, for those whose net CO2 balance is nil or lower- none of us qualify.  What matters is that the CO2 emissions are reduced, and hybrids, while not the summum bonum, are a step along the way.

    Given how much energy it takes to manufacture a new car, it would be considerably more environmentally friendly to purchase a used compact car like a Corolla or Civic.

    While I don’t know the figures (anyone have a source for how much CO2 it costs to make a car?) I suspect you’re right, if the choice is between buying a new car or buying a used car.  However, this is comparing apples and onions.  Of course, it’s most likely eco-friendlier, ceteris paribus, to buy a used car than a new one.  But it’s friendlier still to buy a motorcycle, or a bicycle, or take public transportation.  The fact is, if someone must buy a new car, a hybrid will produce less CO2 than a conventional car.

  30. MisterMook: Which is why I said “if”, which probably should have been emboldened somehow for lazy readers determined to find offense at something I said I suppose.

    I certainly didn’t take offense to your first statement, I just pointed out (and you apparently agreed) that it’s probably false.  On the other hand, calling me a lazy reader determined to find offense in something you said has me thinking I should read more of what you say so I can become properly offended.  Of course, that would entail reading, and that’s hard.  zzzz

    The fact remains, whatever the cause, the solution is the key.

    Agreed – finding solution(s) is more valuable than finding the cause(s).  My additional claim is that without knowing the causes, no solution is really possible.  You said earlier that the “causes are irrelevant,” and that “causes are for scientists”, and you then argue about the realities of politics and assignment of blame versus proposing unworkable solutions.  I’m not disputing your take on politics, and I think the direct implication of your statement is that we could potentially find both a scientific and political solution to this in the absence of verified knowledge about the causes.  That’s the part I disagree with. 

    If we allow politicos or pundits to throw out the science that links human behavior to global warming, then there’s no political necessity to change any of those behaviors.  In my mind – any real solution has to be couched within the context of – or at least have some relation to –  the causal factors that give rise to the original problem.  Since the best science available points to human activity as one of the causes, then human activity needs to factor in any proposed solution, assuming we want to resolve the situation.

    Much of this would normally be moot, if we lived in a rational world where the weight of scientific evidence had a timely impact over policy – especially here in the US.  Since that isn’t the world in which we live, and people – mainly in political and media arenas – still actively deny the causal agents involved in global warming, scientists still find themselves fighting to be heard regarding how this mess came about.  While that’s going on, I wouldn’t expect any solutions.

  31. The thing is, the idea that you have to know the cause to come up with a solution is false. I don’t have to know why it’s raining to get under a roof. Finding causes sometimes leads to solutions, but in general that’s only if it’s something that you really can fix by stopping something you’re already doing. But if the sea levels are rising and it’s getting hotter then really you don’t even need to know the words global warming to start coming up with possible fixes for the issue, at least as far as human beings are concerned. That’s ignoring the impact to the planet as a whole to some extent, but I think that focusing people’s attention to their prime real estate (their asses)generally works better than talking about numbers and generalities or even things outside their normal experience that may happen in the future.

    I like the hybrid solutions, because they’ve got all the good outcomes once they can be made a little cheaper. They don’t feel to tech progressives as if anyone’s asking them to “give up” anything, they’re not so foreign a concept that they require an enormous investment of learning or infrastructure, and they’re an incremental change (which I think is probably the best sort of change for anything but stopping a drug dependency).

    In my mind – any real solution has to be couched within the context of – or at least have some relation to – the causal factors that give rise to the original problem.

    And I think that the best solutions usually come by addressing problems that people see right now with the best opportunity for flowering into future resolutions. Part of the problem here in America is that our energy economy is still so cheap that almost any costs incurred are more expensive than the status quo. It’s hard for people to come up with solutions to problems that they don’t really see as problems except in the future abstract. On the other hand, we’re all pretty damned inventive and accommodating once there’s a crisis of some sort. So in the net result, I’m not enormously worried that we’re all going to drown and burn up into cinders. I’m not even going to bankrupt myself getting a new hybrid car right now. I’m going to support those sorts of gradual solutions and keep ignoring both the sky is falling and the it’s all your fault camps though, because either the problem will be gradual and we’ll all figure it out or it will be sudden and we won’t be around to worry about it much.

  32. The thing is, the idea that you have to know the cause to come up with a solution is false.

    Agreed.

    I don’t have to know why it’s raining to get under a roof.

    Also agreed – to the extent that this is a solution for the problem of getting wet.  If the problem is that it’s raining, then this isn’t really a solution, is it?

    And I think that the best solutions usually come by addressing problems that people see right now with the best opportunity for flowering into future resolutions.

    Best?  Maybe not.  It might be more accurate to say these are most likely to garner enough political support to actually be attempted on a large scale.  I agree that any “perfect” solution that’s never implemented isn’t as good as a band-aid that’s actually applied. 

    As someone that makes a living solving software problems, I find that it’s usually cheaper in the long run to spend the extra effort to identify root causes and eliminate them, rather than to patch the system and hope for the best.  On the other hand, I also have enough experience to know that your take on “flowering into future resolutions” is spot on with my preference of incremental refinement over “Big Bang” sorts of solutions.  Whether any of this even applies to the problems related to the climate is, obviously, open to debate.

    Interesting discussion though – thanks for making me think.

  33. If the problem is that it’s raining, then this isn’t really a solution, is it?

    Then I’d question what exactly it is about the rain that’s a problem if you don’t have to deal with it. I think an awful lot of the “problems” we invent in politics are a lot like “It’s raining, so it’s a problem” things, but whenever I hear one I’m always going “Sure, it’s unpleasant but can you really do anything about the rain?”

    Rephrasing the question into dealing with the consequences of rain though, and you get solutions. Sometimes that’s just the most effective way of dealing with the problem, especially on the short term. They might not be the best solutions, but I often find that once you get people addressing the things that they can deal with often means that eventually the larger, overall problem that’s been causing the issues in the first place is either dealt with or is irrelevant.

    Now I don’t know if that’s a proper way to deal with something as far-reaching as climate change, but obviously we’ve dealt with radical climate change in the past as a species and we all figured it out one way or the other enough that we generally wouldn’t expect it to be any other way. Maybe once we’ve gotten used to higher sea levels, gotten some new skin cancer treatments, and figured out that rain isn’t something to panic about unless it’s actually flooding your basement we’ll be better placed to understand how to incrementally change the weather back. Or maybe we won’t want to, or won’t need to, or people will be bitching about the entire notion because they’ve gotten used to deeper harbors and changed coast lines.

    I guess part of what I’m saying is that looking on change, even a radical, unexpected, and troublesome change as catastrophic mostly isn’t the sort of thing that gets things done. If the sky is falling and we’re all going to die then grab your ankles and take it like a man. On the other hand though, usually you can do something, even if you can’t stop what’s happening from occurring.

  34. Something that hasn’t had a mention here yet is the Permafrost.
    Here’s what Ian Sample, science correspondent, said August 11, 2005

    Siberia feels the heat. It’s a frozen peat bog the size of France and Germany combined, contains billions of tonnes of greenhouse gas and, for the first time since the ice age, it is melting.

    The permafrost is likely to take many decades at least to thaw, so the methane locked within it will not be released into the atmosphere in one burst, said Stephen Sitch, a climate scientist at the Met Office’s Hadley Centre in Exeter.

    But calculations by Dr Sitch and his colleagues show that even if methane seeped from the permafrost over the next 100 years, it would add around 700m tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere each year, roughly the same amount that is released annually from the world’s wetlands and agriculture.

    It would effectively double atmospheric levels of the gas, leading to a 10% to 25% increase in global warming, he said.

  35. I’d like to take a moment here to thank Mr. Peacock for his post, and more importantly, for all the links he provided that led me to a great deal of source material and several days worth of reading.

    I’m on record here at SEB as being a global warming skeptic.

    I’d like to denounce that position now.

    The reading that Mr. Peacock has led me to has convinced me that climate change is indeed influenced greatly by man.

    However, I still think Al Gore is a bit of a wanker.

  36. I’m on record here at SEB as being a global warming skeptic.
    I’d like to denounce that position now.

    Bravo, KPG.  I’d like to think that I am just as willing to admit changing my mind, but I’m not so sure I can.  Takes guts.

    However, I still think Al Gore is a bit of a wanker.

    LOL Me too.  It lost him the election.  Given the choice between wanker and slimeball, Americans chose Bush.

  37. Yeah, well Clinton was a slimeball too but he seemed to do alright. Maybe if Bush had kept his slimeballness to snorting coke and driving drunk we’d all be doing fine still, just like we’d survive Cheney if the only people he we a danger to were hunting partners?

  38. Sorry about being off topic… hey KPG did you get those emails I sent you about your site?  And I am glad to hear you converted!

  39. KPG: I’d like to take a moment here to thank Mr. Peacock …

    Aw, come on, leave my dad out of this.  Seriously, though, thanks for the kind words.

    In all truth, Webs, and surprisingly, moloch, both deserve some credit as well.  Webs had recently posted about global warming, saying essentially that the deniers were essentially ass hats.  Of course, Moloch chimed in with his defense of his preferred head wear.  I didn’t want to simply engage him without some data, so I decided to start reading a bit about the issue.  I’m certainly no expert about this issue, but I know how to dig for information.  That’s some of what I found that I considered reliable.

    KPG: However, I still think Al Gore is a bit of a wanker.

    You think?  Al Gore is so boring that he could stand next to drying paint, and people would ask him to move so they could get a better view.  Funny thing is – more people voted for him in 2000 than W.

    Brian: I might have to cite you in a post I’m doing on the Global Warming Hoax blog tomorrow! =)

    That would be great – though I’d appreciate it if you’d cite the original post, and then read this in light of your post about the being no scientific consensus about this stuff.  There was a consensus in 2004, and with the latest IPCC report, it’s apparently still the case now.

    I’m going to be writing this week about the myth that science is supposed to somehow be fair and democratic.  It isn’t. Fair and balanced is for talking heads.  Science ought to go where the data takes us, and if you’re intellectually honest and capable of reading and comprehending the dry, sciency stuff, you’ll likely end up in the same general area.

  40. DoF: Oh, we all are, but who wants to admit to it?

    I’ll admit to the literal meaning at least grin
    If only I didn’t have to go to work…
    (actually I heard once there is such a job involving it – call it a kind of QA tester)

    For the non-literal meaning – people only see themselves and others within the limits of the maximum nice-ness they have been themselves, hence why asshats consider everyone else asshats, and why people who are near that maximum (even if it is a low one) consider themselves in a good light. Seems to be that if you’re beyond their maximum your motives could be wrongly explained using concepts that are below their maximum, hence when people try to judge what they shouldn’t be in the position to judge

    I think this idea of only seeing what’s below your maximum might be why people, including myself, look back on the past and consider myself an major asshat back then compared to the lesser asshat I am now. I think there is a general feeling though to always think that everything about their frame of mind in the past was worse than now, and that is not 100% true for anyone, negative events seem more memorable, and the years seem to fly because you forget the mundane.

  41. KPG: my email is webs05@gmail.com.  I am pretty sure I just replied to your email address.  I sent you another one just now with the subject:Your Website.  I would check the spam folder, I suspect I went there.

  42. In case there is any doubt amoung the petulent teenagers posting here (*cough* Moloch). I would refer you to the Inter-Governmental Conference on Climate Change.  Now, if you wish to prove them wrong, if you can prove them wrong, if you have the evidence to prove it wrong…

    DO NOT PUBLISH IT HERE

    Publish it as a peer reviewed article.  You’ll be rich and famous.

  43. To be fair, all one has to do to refute the IGC on Climate Change is pronounce politics. Which is what I was going on about in my vein of discussion on solutions: It doesn’t matter if people are causing global warming. It doesn’t even matter if there is global warming occurring. The idea that global warming might be occurring, and a great many people believe it to be occurring, is enough economic justification for acting as if it were occurring regardless of the details or facts on the matter.

    You can dispute the science all you want, but ignoring the economic pull of large scale consensus behavior among your fellow man is stupid behavior even if it’s only everyone else enamored of something you don’t believe yourself in. Furthermore, regardless of the causes for their decision, people are using global warming to push for the embrace of significant technological adoption and infrastructure reorientation. That kind of money should make even the most cynical Capitalist green with warm fuzzy feeling of government money to be lobbied for. And if 20 years down the line it turns out that the Global Warming folks were incorrect or even exaggerated, everyone would still benefit both in the long and short term from that sort of adoption and realignment.

    The strange thing about economics is that, as long as people have excess money to spend, spending money on anything is rarely a bad idea for the economy. Spending on revamping infrastructure though, that’s almost always a golden idea; and what we’re talking about when we say “Doing something about Global Warming” is revamping the power and transportation infrastructure of all the world’s industrialized economies.

    If we can do that without bankrupting ourselves, just the detail of re-examining and modernization would be beneficial regardless of any actual improvements designed or unintentionally beneficial to countering climate change.

  44. As long people who don’t know better or have a financial/convenience motive can cast the slightest shadow of a doubt on the thing they don’t want to hear, they will generally ignore it as long as it isn’t going to inconvienience them.

    Polititions might take notice if it affected their chances for election or threatening their livelihood or economy (ie crops), but because it’s effects will be years doen the line they won’t be in office then so they have no personal motive to really care much. The only real sway we have is to vote environment over economy to give them a motive

    Besides, a lot of the people who will be worst affected by global warming won’t be living in the contries contributing most to it, so they’re not really voters on this issue

    I wonder what the point will be when we know long-term survival of the species is unviable, when we get there, we might as well give up trying to slow the warming. Perhaps the running out of oil will prevent this, perhaps people will die off until equilibrium is reached and temperatures stabalise (too slow responding for that I think), no doubt when we do run out of oil, the choice between coal and nuclear for electricity becomes important.

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