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Monday, February 15, 2010


"Climate changes are proven fact" says Kerry Emanuel, Director of the Program in Atmospheres, Oceans, and Climate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He says it in today's edition of The Boston Globe.  Here is where he makes his point:
But when the dust settles, what we are left with is the evidence. And, in spite of all its complexity and uncertainties, we should not lose track of the simple fact that theory, actual observations of the planet, and complex models - however imperfect each is in isolation - all point to ongoing, potentially dangerous human alteration of climate.
On the other hand, The Daily Mail, a British Tabloid, has this headline:  "Climategate U-turn as scientist at centre of row admits: There has been no global warming since 1995".  The piece is by Mr Jonathan Petre and was previously updated at 5:12 PM on 14th February 2010 when I linked to it.  The key point is that Professor Phil Jones was not just a messy bookkeeper, but that he is not as confident about AGW as he used to be:
Professor Jones also conceded the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now – suggesting global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon.

And he said that for the past 15 years there has been no ‘statistically significant’ warming.
oh oh...

Here are a series of Q&As with Professor Phil Jones done by the BBC.

Back to the first article linked above, from Director Kerry Emanuel, we have this final paragraph:
We have never before dealt with a problem that threatens not us, but our distant descendants. The philosophical, scientific, and political issues are unquestionably tough. We might begin by mustering the courage to confront the problem of climate change in an honest and open way.
The first sentence is a bit of purple prose and can be ignored, except to note that if there is AGW there is a very long term problem we are looking at.  He is darn tootin' that the problems are tough.  And, we all need the courage to confront the issues, especially the climate scientists, whose whole story is currently in a cocked hat.

I admit to being a skeptic about those who were claiming the sky is falling, and have been since then Senator Al Gore denied what he had written in his book Earth in the Balance.  With AGW now being seriously challenged, and starting to show cracks in the foundation, I am still a skeptic, but this time a skeptic who is not ready to throw out the questions about what should we be doing if there really is global warming.

But, first, I want to know what the science really says.  The best way to put it is that I don't want "experts" telling me that I should just sit down and listen.  I want to be talked to, as an adult.

Regards  —  Cliff


Craig H said...

I find people who prefer to deny measured glacial retreat and coincidental ocean rise to be especially dangerous and--I'll say it--stupid. We can debate what's causing it all day long, (and we SHOULD, because the ultimate consequences are dire either way), but to stubbornly reject simple and obvious measurements of things that any reasonable human being can and are seeing is to be the worst sort of idiot. (Yes, Sarah, I'm a hater). They measure ocean levels now via satellite altimeters, (you can see the results at places like, and the glaciers you can visit yourself ANY TIME. (I have seen quite a few, and it's not only informative, but also a lot of fun--and tell the folks in Buenos Aires I said Hi! when you land).

It's especially vexing that this has become an American party-political issue, as so many people stop thinking, assuming they ever could, the moment the D's and R's come out. (Yes, Sarah, I am a hater). The fact that ocean levels are measurably rising (yes, FACT) should get us into some very interesting postulates and theories. One we've heard a lot about is man-made greenhouse gas emission. There ought to be a LOT more, and I'm looking forward to reading more.

Until then, color me concerned, and happy to pursue alternative energy sources because it's also good national economic, energy and defense policy. (Why R's can't get behind it on those terms is well beyond me, and, yes, Sarah, I'm a hater).

Renee said...

I'm all for being more energy efficient, reducing waste, and being good stewards of the environment. I'm more then willing to do my part. What I'm against is population control, it's not the # of persons it's the consumption of any particular individual.

jthomas said...

Your wrote:

"But, first, I want to know what the science really says. The best way to put it is that I don't want "experts" telling me that I should just sit down and listen. I want to be talked to, as an adult."

The problem is trying to communicate science in a hostile political environment. Dr. Emanuel, amongst most scientists, tries to stay out of the political fray and tries to communicate what they know and how and why they know it. He is already well known as an effective communicator of science to the public with his essay of three years ago, "Phaeton's Reins: The human hand in climate change,"

One can agree or disagree with the science but more often than not, climate scientists are attacked as political boobs, idiots, leftists, and every name in the book. (Just look at the comments to Emanuel's Boston Globe article today for a look at what climate scientists have to put up with.)

Does anyone think that such political attacks encourage students to pursue a career in the sciences?

Gore politicized the subject of climate change a quarter-century ago and the political Right insists on fighting the same political battle it did back then as if science does not matter and hasn't advanced in those intervening years. It's pathetic and harmful.

If you want to understand the science you have the ability to do so. If you want to know why Emanuel states what he does in a short editorial, find out.

ncrossland said...

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my. The convenient long term memory lapses of the American public are stupifying.

In the 60's, for those not on good drugs then, it was not global warming, but global freezing...ala....another ice age is coming soon. Of course, and curiously, the remedies to prevent it were surprising surprisingly identical to those solemnly prescribed today. Among the prominent "fixes" then was to implement new and more stringent government oversight and controls, administered of course by a new or expanded government agent.

In the 70's, for a time, freezing or heating was forgotten as the means of the world as we know it...or simply, the end. Instead, the proponents of doom pointed their bony fingers at man himself. We were procreating ourselves into doom, and the only thing that could save us from sure disaster is to limit population growth. Stanford University became famous for the husband and wife team who published "good science" advocating and justifying population control.

And here we are today, confronted by a new bogey man...and new cataclysmic end to the earth...all fomented by man.....but avoidable only through the heroic and repressive interventions of bigger, and bigger, and bigger government....until national governments can no longer be trusted....and then finally....political nirvana for the left, liberals, progressives...or whatever you call them......ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT.

Oh save us......from ourselves...and our government and the avarice of folks like Algore and big money like Goldman Sachs.

Of course

C R Krieger said...

J Thomas tells us:

"Dr. Emanuel, amongst most scientists, tries to stay out of the political fray and tries to communicate what they know and how and why they know it."

By my lights he can't help but be involved in politics, since politics is how we make decisions.  If there is climate change that will change our economic situation, and that is what is being suggested, then decisions have to be made about how we will cope with those changes.  Cue the economists.

It seems to me that we are being told it will be bad and that we will have to reverse it.  Here is where the whole AGW thing comes in.  If humans are causing the problem, then perhaps humans can reverse the trend.  If not, then we have to ask ourselves if adaptation is the more effective solution, rather than reversing C02 trends.  And, here is where Phil Jones and the Middle Ages issue comes in, and the question of what has been happening for the last dozen years.

And, being humans, we probably want to see the options available to us.

And, being humans, we should be helped to understand that if AGW is the problem, there is a debt due to those in low lying areas who are going to have their communities inundated by salt water.

Regards  —  Cliff

ncrossland said...

Strongly disagree....for the record.

One, if history is any valid guide, those who would "advise" us what is and isn't are to be trusted as much as we should have trusted Bernie Madoff and the Enron dream. Beware the wolf in the sheep's clothing with a high end label. People aspire to positions of power and influence because they want to sell their agenda, their perspective....their "science."

And with regard to "science," what incredible human arrogance that any of us mere mortals are capable of "settling" the science of this or that. We are pathetic. We don't even suspect, let alone "know" what we don't know. We leap to conclusions du jour and close our minds to any other possibility. Even Einstein's special theory has now been seriously called into question, but the very quantum physicists that his special theory gave rise to. The science is NEVER settled......mostly because "SCIENCE" is the art of never ending inquiry driven by insatiable curiosity and a refusal to accept "the final answer as final."

Finally, I suppose one might well argue that we "owe" folks who build and live on the coastal plain some sort of loss recovery. After all, in locations such as Fire Island, the belly of Long Island, the Cape, and other coastal regions, we have for time immemorial been building and then rebuilding the "humble" abodes of the aristocracy. For them, global warming....or any other phenomenon that might raise ocean a financial windfall for them.