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Sunday, August 26, 2012


Bill Fleming

Let's throw this one in the hopper and get your read. Thanks for your attention in advance, KB.

Bill Fleming

Also related to your post is the marvelous book, "Thinking Fast and Slow." If you've not read it, let me give it my highest endorsement. Put it on the top of your list. I'm 2/3 of the way through and the experience has been transformative. Kind of a "Thanks, I needed that" rush every 10 pages or so.



Donald Pay

The problem here is that Ridley looks at things from a vastly different scale than scientific study done by climate modeling have to be looked at. Hypotheis testing is done all the time on specific aspects that go into climate models. How various layers of the atmosphere act and interact, how chemical reactions in various layers of the ocean are affected by temperature, CO2, acidity, etc., etc. are mostly accomplished through hypothesis testing. But modeling of climate and climate change over time involves putting together various fields of study. It is a vastly complicated endeavor that has to take the best, if not always perfect, and most accepted knowledge from vastly different disciplines. There are arguments about how various parts of the model interact, and these are also subject to testing.

Then the output of the models are tested against predictions. Since these are usually long-term predictions, it is difficult to test them against future data, so data sets (hopefully independent of the sets used to develop the model) have to be used to try to "predict" past events. It is not a perfect situation, but there is no other way to do this science.

In the 1970s I worked on a project collecting data to test and refine a model of eutrophication in lakes. I always thought the modelers were just curve fitting, but over the years such predictive models have improved, and they've proved very useful in suggesting key drivers of eutrophication in many lakes, and what inputs (phosphorus in many instances) should be controlled for maximum benefit.

There will always be a tension between the scientists who work at a smaller scale and those who model at higher scales. Such was and is the case with all models, including the ones that the petroleum and uranium industry depend on to predict impacts to groundwater and production from their wells.

Stan Gibilisco

In my opinion, the people who want to expand government will latch onto any excuse for raising taxes or creating new taxes, so that they can get new revenue. Climate change offers a good option (carbon tax, gasoline tax, mileage tax, etc.).

I doubt that these big-government advocates really give more than one-quarter or, at the most, one-third of a hoot about the environment, climate, or welfare of the planet. They just want revenue. Period.

That said, I do believe that climate change is taking place, and I do believe that humans are contributing to it. As for whether that in itself is good or bad or indifferent, however, I cannot say. And as for what we can actually do about it ... I fear little to nothing.

And I cannot prove that my beliefs in fact represent reality. That task belongs to objective scientists, who can work without pressure from politicians, special interest groups, corporations, or any other force besides truth-seeking.


Who are these critics of "global alarmism" of which you speak? My understanding is Richard Muller--who you fail to identify as a former global warming critic--was the last climate scientist of any standing to dispute anthropologic global warming and, by extension, the need to institute policies to counter it. Does his conversion not pretty much end the so-called debate?

Donald Pay

Interesting that you point out what you claim to be the political motivations of climate scientists, but never state the obvious—the skeptics, mostly non-scientists or scientists not actively doing research in any field related to climate, are funded by the fossil fuel industry, and supported by right-wing think tanks/blogosphere and public relations firms.

In my lifetime I've seen this pattern repeated over many major issues—the biologic effects of ionizing radiation, the health impacts of cigarettes, the impacts of DDT and other pesticides on wildlife and human health, the health impacts of agent orange on veterans and Vietnamese, chlorofluorocarbon impacts on the ozone layer, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions causing acid rain, fine particulate emissions causing respiratory problems. The deniers have a huge industry set up to create political hurdles and cast doubt on credible science. In every case, the deniers have been wrong. In every case the scientists were proven right. In every case people died because the deniers created regulatory delays. The people that do this and who pump this sort of pap to mislead people are murderers.

Ken Blanchard

A.I.: You crave an end to the debate. That is not an attitude friendly to science, as Ridley has shown.

Ken Blanchard

Donald: I do state the obvious and confirm it repeatedly by subjecting myself to the critique. Both sides have constructed enormous industries on the basis of their views. Whatever the motives of either side may be, dissent is good.

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