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I am a columnist for my high school paper, and this issue we are doing a story on global warming and whether or not it is a viable threat to human existence. I have gotten into numerous debates with the writers about it, because they say that it IS a real threat, and that humans should do something about it. I argue that raising taxes, placing regulations on the automobile industry, and getting the government involved is the wrong idea. I also hold that if global warming is in fact a real threat, then humans should act not out of a sense of responsibility socially, but out of self interest, meaning that we should only do something about it for the sake of continuing human existence on earth. A. has global warming even been proved to be having an affect on the planet as of yet? And B, if it is, what should we as humans do about it, if anything? If someone could give me some ideas, I'm having a bad case of writer's block so it would help.

Perhaps it is a real threat but also if you do some research on the planets weather changes through the centuries it shows that earth goes through tremendous changes every certain amount of years.I don't remmember exactly how many years in between but if i remmember correctly its some 20 thousand years or so that pretty big changes have taken place. On the other hand maybe humans are also partly responsible for the deterioration of the planet. It seems to me that we should be more concerned with the deterioration of the human spirit and mind because this is where the roots of the real problem lie. The state of our world is a reflection of the inner turmoil and conflict humans are feeling. There is much fear in the world about everything, from living to dying ,to what will become of you tomorrow etc.etc.Peoples lifes are based on fear.So how could one make them care about anything if their whole foundation is fear-based. Perhaps thats where one should begin. But thats a journey many know not where to begin.

Also true self interest is being socially responsible.I dont think one could separate this.If something is of true benefit to one it benefits the many. Humanity must first find the source of its ignorance and all problems will begin to solve. To inspire another to live better from within is the best one could do. You as a writer can inspire others to think, to ponder, to question themselves. Like a farmer planting seeds, so you plant seeds of thought.And this can create big changes. But big changes will not happen if it doesnt happen first within. And I guess a few good laws wont hurt!

Edited by kublakan
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Meh. I'm still hoping I can get you to do two things: 1. consider how ridiculous the proposition that "20% of all greenhouse emissions on Earth come from cows belching and farting" is. 2. As

Any appeal to peer-reviewed climate science papers is now immediately suspect. We all know the closed circle of AGW advocates was approving each other's papers and black-balling dissent. Here

Kabana, Firstly, you did not address my point, which was: you think scientists are easily fooled, but you think they ought to decide what our laws should be. More importantly, as pointed out

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Billionaire Richard Branson has offered a $25 million prize for anyone who can remove at least a billion tons of carbon dioxide a year from the Earth's atmosphere. Needless to say, this is an effort to combat global warming. The winner of the award must devise a plan to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere without creating adverse effects. The first $5 million would be paid up front, and the remainder of the money would be paid only after the program had worked successfully for 10 years.

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You are avoiding the question. My point is NOT whether CO2 has anything to do with global warming. My point is that Ice Core Data allows us to see that there is more CO2 now then there has been in the past 650,000,000 years. (Because we measure the ammount of CO2 in the atmosphere and compare it to what has been captured, and low and behold, there is a significant difference.)
Actually, one of the links Inspector provided (the one I left in the quoted-text above) does address your point by showing a graph that is at odds with Gore's Ice-Core graph. It does not answer the point, merely addresses Gore's graph by showing one of its own. Nothing in either tells us why we should believe one graph over the other.

When it comes to estimates about what the temperature was 1000 or more years ago, the various graphs from various scientists differ quite a bit as well, just as these CO2 ones differ.

Since there is no way to measure temps from years ago, scientists measure things that they think would have been (at least partly) caused by those temperature changes (so-called "proxies"). This is a perfectly valid approach. However, the approach does raise some issues:

  • what exactly is the relationship between the proxy (e.g. distance between two rings) and thing being measured (e.g. temperature). With many proxies, there is scientific debate about the method of going from the proxy meausrement to the inferred measurement. Different scientists want to use different equations
  • how to handle different results from a particular site (e.g. 4 trees where one shows a history different from the others). Taking a mean of all is often not the right approach, because when confronted with the data it may strike you that that tree is different in some other way that was not accounted for before (e.g. it's position and orientation on the site). There are scientific debates on how best to account for these variations and extract the "signal" from this.
  • When trying to combine data across sites, how does one combine it? For instance if there are three ice-core samples in one area and 5 from another about a mile away, should one take a mean of all 8 or should one take the mean for each site and then compute a mean across the two sites? (For some proxies, using different methods has been shown to yield quite different results)
  • The issue above is compounded when one is speaking of data from sites all over the world (as in tree-ring cases). How does one combine the data to really arrive at a global picture, particularly when the data from different hemispheres and from far-away sites in the same hemisphere show vastly different patterns. Is a mean meaningful? Should the statistical technique of "principal component analysis" be used, and if so what should be the different weights assigned to each site?
  • The issues are further compounded when one tries to combine different proxies. For instance the tree-ring proxies tell a different story from the ice-core proxies. So, how to combine them?

The question, then is: what is the nature of the "deniers" objections? It seems clear to me that the popular ones, many of whom are scientists themselves, are not calling for scepticism (as in "we can never know the truth"); rather they are raising questions about methodology.

If anyone here wants to understand the nature of the objections, a good site is one called ClimateAudit.Org, that has a mission of auditing scientific studies that claim global-warming is taking place. Nobody who is not a scientist will be able to make a judgement about which formula to use or what weighting will best portray the causal connections. However, it is worthwhile to get a flavor of the types of objections. There is a single paper that acts as a good introduction to the objections. It is titled "What is the Hockey Stick debate about?" by Ross McKitrick. I suggest that anyone who is sceptical about Global Warming ought to at least view the brief Al Gore video that was linked to above, and better still view "An Inconvenient Truth". On the other hand, anyone who thinks the "sceptics" are fools, should read McKitricks essay and also check out the ClimateAudit.org site.

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I couldn't find a link to the research quoted in this article (printed in the Daily Mail on Feb 13th 2007) so I'll have to type it in -

"The Open Univeristy's Science of climate programme provides graphs showing the way carbon dioxide concentration changes in the atmosphere and the resulting change in mean global temperature (mgt) over a period of 170,000 years.

The information is derived not from dodgy computer simulations but from obsrevable facts- from leaf fossils, tree cores and ice core-samples taken in Arctic and Antarctic ice fields.

Plotted as graphs, they show a close correlation between carbon dioxide quantity (parts per million by volume [ppm(vol)] in the atmosphere and the change in average global temperature.

Over a period of about 135,000 years, the mgt runs from -6c at 192 ppm(vol) of carbon dioxide to +2c at 312 ppm(vol), corresponding to a wolrd mainly covered in ice to one with rampant vegetation. About 150,000 years ago there was little or no vegetation to use up the carbon dioxide and it, therefore, increased.

The world's temperature takes about 2,000 to 4,000 years to catch up with the carbon dioxide change causing it. For the next 10,000 to 12,000 years, carbon dioxide and temperature rise to 315 ppm(vol), by which time the mgt stands at +2c and vegetation is rampant, rapidly using up the carbon dioxide for it's growth. Eventually, this results in a fall in carbon dioxide concentration with the mgt falling back down, over the next 125,000 years to -6c, with the vegetation being killed off by the cold, so starting a new cycle.

Humanity's contribution to the carbon dioxide cycle is so small that human action has very little to do with it. Global warming is controlled by vegetation growth or decline. it is not controlled by mankind.

G.E. Miller "

I was quite surprised to see this article in a national newspaper here in the UK as we are being bombarded by the press in the papers, and on the T.V. about the horrors to come that we humans have created and will suffer unless we 'Do something' to mend our evil ways. Hence we now pay a punishment tax to fly on planes from the UK and may soon be punished for driving alone, with no passengers, and also taxed more heavily on our property if we don't use energy-saving bulbs and other devices. It's such a shame that no-one in the media will openly contradict the offcial dogma of all parties in the government about the new religion of 'Green' but feel they must put conflicting views on page 63 of a neswpaper or on a second-rate channel late at night.

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Even the "observable facts" they mention are proxies. To get from the proxies to temperature requires a "mini-model".

Today, Canada's National Post, ran another article in its series profiling so-called "GW-deniers". It does seem that the GW wave is at its height and the reaction is building. It's quite possible that if it can be fought and held at bay for another few years, it will dissipate.

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Bob,

I am about halfway through your paper, and let me say, thank you for posting that.

The only education I have had on global warming was an environmental class taught by a professor who is convinced of man's large contributions to the climate change... oh yeah, and Gore's movie, if you can really call that education.

Anyways, while taking his class, I was aware that there is a debate going on and that other scientists had said that there was no such "consensus" on the facts, but some of the evidence the professor had presented from his research was pretty clear.

For example, his huge thing was how humans create 6 billion (he always emphasized how much this was) tons of CO2 per year, and the millions of tons of methane produced by humans, as well.

What he DIDNT do was provide some CONTEXT. It would have been nice to know that human CO2 emissions only account for 4% of the total emissions. And that ruminants are included in some of the calculations! (I had heard the CO2 thing a few times before that, actually, but this just goes to show how the guy was leaving some crucial data out)

Anyways, I just wanted to say thanks, this report is really well-done, and I can't wait to finish reading it.

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Via Google alerts, here's a university-paper write-up about an event sponsored by the Objectivism club at NYU. The topic was Global warming.

...Willie Soon of the Center for Science and Public Policy said that gas emissions are not a significant factor in the overall phenomenon of global warming. He suggested that the sun plays a much bigger role.

...

Steven Milloy, another panelist, also said he doesn't believe that the main cause of global warming is human-produced carbon dioxide emissions.

...

Peter Schwartz, from the Ayn Rand Institute, also spoke, commenting on the moral issues behind global warming.

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I was there. I especially enjoyed Dr. Willie Soon's comments. He says he began noticing the politicized pseudo-science on global warming about 15 years ago. He kept his mouth shut about it and focused on his research until a couple years ago, when he couldn't take it any more. He became so profoundly exasperated by dishonest pseudo-science among many "scientists" out there, that he began to speak out. As for credentials, he is an astrophysicist at the Solar and Stellar Physics Division of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. I personally cannot validate his scientific statements about the role of the sun in heating up the earth (and Mars apparently), but it makes a lot of sense to me.

I also get the impression that it takes a lot of courage for him to speak up like that. He reiterated at the beginning of his talk that his views were his own and do not represent the views of the institution he works for. I bet that by speaking up he faces the real risk of not getting research grants. It is courage like his that defeats irrational ideas, even if it seems that everyone in the world is advocating them. After hearing the talk, I feel a little more confident that the global warming hysteria may die before too severe economic damage is done from implementation of rules limiting carbon dioxide emissions.

Edited by Galileo Blogs
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I was there. I especially enjoyed Dr. Willie Soon's comments. He says he began noticing the politicized pseudo-science on global warming about 15 years ago. He kept his mouth shut about it and focused on his research until a couple years ago, when he couldn't take it any more. He became so profoundly exasperated by dishonest pseudo-science among many "scientists" out there, that he began to speak out. As for credentials, he is an astrophysicist at the Solar and Stellar Physics Division of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. I personally cannot validate his scientific statements about the role of the sun in heating up the earth (and Mars apparently), but it makes a lot of sense to me.

I also get the impression that it takes a lot of courage for him to speak up like that. He reiterated at the beginning of his talk that his views were his own and do not represent the views of the institution he works for. I bet that by speaking up he faces the real risk of not getting research grants. It is courage like his that defeats irrational ideas, even if it seems that everyone in the world is advocating them. After hearing the talk, I feel a little more confident that the global warming hysteria may die before too severe economic damage is done from implementation of rules limiting carbon dioxide emissions.

Will Soon is one of the scientists who wrote up the paper for the Oregon Petition here. Note his name at the top of the paper, along with Sallie Baliunas, both of whom are astrophysicists and work at the Smithsonian.

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Alright, I finally got around to finishing it.

The second half was just as good as the first.

I particularly like the point you stressed about the floating ice caps not affecting sea levels... how do people generally get away with their claims that if these floating ice caps were to melt, the Earth would be flooded?

Also, I had never really looked at the graphs too closely -- I never noticed the 800 year lag between warming and CO2 emissions. That's a PRETTY important fact that is avoided at a public university environmental class...

Once again, Bob, thanks for posting this paper! It should be mandatory reading for high school science students...

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It's quite possible that if it can be fought and held at bay for another few years, it will dissipate.
The GW guys might well be overplaying their hand. The New York Times today (Mar 13th) is reporting on the reactions to Gore, from the scientific community. Difficult to predict how it will turn out: whether the whole GW thing end up being shrugged off as bogus, or whether the end-result be a conclusion like: "yes, it's hype, it exaggerates the problem, but the problem is real".

Hopefully Fox will air the "Swindle" video.

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I particularly like the point you stressed about the floating ice caps not affecting sea levels... how do people generally get away with their claims that if these floating ice caps were to melt, the Earth would be flooded?

What do you guys think of this quick experiment that claims that floating freshwater ice will cause sea-levels (saltwater) to rise? The principle here is that freshwater is not as dense as saltwater, freshwater actually has greater volume than an equivalent weight of saltwater.

Needless to say, there are still other factors that we must consider before we extrapolate a conclusion to the real-world scenario of melted floating icebergs.

I did not read Bob's paper yet, but I plan to.

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Check my current paper debunking human involvement in global warming here:

http://www.ncsail.org/ceilidh/attach/greenmenacesample.pdf

Lots of fun facts about what is really going on.

So I have read about half of this and I wish to offer some constructive feedback. Your report is decent but there are a few points that you should consider to make it better:

1.) Do not be so crude. It is difficult to take the content seriously if you repeatedly use phrases on the level of "tree poop" or "poop alcohols."

2.) Be more direct with your citations. Paranthetically listing many sources at the top of a paragraph is not very helpful to the reader.

3.) Be careful with some of your information and your generalizations. Here are a few specific examples of suggested corrections:

a.) As I suggested in a previous post, the argument concerning floating icebergs sounded incomplete. When a floating artic iceberg melts, will the resulting liquid have the same density as a sample of water from the various major oceans? This is an important point.

b.) You also say "citric acid molecule" when I believe you mean "citric acid cycle".

c.) You write "hydrocarbons (fats)" when hydrocarbons are not equivalent in essence to fats.

Anyway, the information in your writing seems to be generally good so I do not intend for my response to be entirely negative. Thank you for sharing this. I appreciate it.

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2.) Be more direct with your citations. Paranthetically listing many sources at the top of a paragraph is not very helpful to the reader.
I want to emphasize and amplify on this point. In order to be persuasive, there has to be a credible basis for any statement of fact. He (Bob Squarepants) makes a vast number of scientific claims, and don't provide any way for the reader to logically reduce this to the perceptual. He says that 186 billion tons of CO2 are released into the atmosphere annually. Really? Who says?! He says that "NOAA research estimates that 97% of atmospheric CO2 created each year is from natural sources". What research? I don't know of any such research. I think he's just making this up.

Well, no, I don't, but I do know that he is making statements of fact that he cannot possibly know from direct observation, and therefore he got these figures from someone else. Who? What person in what publication discovered these results? How am I supposed to check up on his claims, to be sure that the resport didn't actually say 18.6 billion tons? If these claims are actually made by people who know what they are talking about, they are useful for the argument. But we have no evidence that they are -- give us that evidence.

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According to this article, Global Warming theory is spreading to schools:

In South Burlington recently, a middle school math teacher used a portion of Al Gore’s documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” to illustrate linear equations
Should a teacher show students a story about Noah's ark, as a means of teaching them what even numbers mean? No, it is stupid to use fiction to teach something like that. At best, one misses the opportunity to relate the teaching to real life; at worst, the students might think that such a flood once happened, and a guy in a ship full of animals was the only one spared.

And, if that is not stupid enough, how about this:

In Montpelier earlier this year, Bill Burrell’s sixth-grade students testified before legislative committees about global warming and what Vermont can do about it.
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