Banner
    South Dakota Exempted From Laws Of Science
    By Patrick Lockerby | April 5th 2010 12:48 AM | 97 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Patrick

    Retired engineer, 60+ years young. Computer builder and programmer. Linguist specialising in language acquisition and computational linguistics....

    View Patrick's Profile
    South Dakota Exempted From Laws of Science


    The South Dakota Legislature thinks that scientific laws are made up by people to suit agendas.
    Accordingly, they have invented some agendist stuff to make a political declaration that climate change is a myth.  Presumably, any of the good citizens of Dakota who believe this science nonsense about photographic records of ice melting must be deluded.

    Now, why does the sub-text remind me of the creationist / I.D. agenda?

    Is this what students are learning in South Dakota?

    How deluded will the voters be come election time?

    -----------------------------

    State of South Dakota 
    EIGHTY-FIFTH SESSION
    LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY, 2010 

    363R0643       HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION   NO.  1009 


    Introduced by:    Representatives Kopp, Bolin, Brunner, Cronin, Curd, Feickert, Gosch, Greenfield, Hamiel, Hoffman, Hunt, Iron Cloud III, Jensen, Juhnke, Kirkeby, Lange, Lederman, Moser, Novstrup (David), Olson (Betty), Olson (Ryan), Pitts, Putnam, Rausch, Russell, Schlekeway, Sly, Steele, Tidemann, Turbiville, Van Gerpen, Verchio, and Wink and Senators Brown, Abdallah, Bradford, Haverly, Maher, and Schmidt
     

            A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION, Calling for balanced teaching of global warming in the public schools of South Dakota.
        WHEREAS, the earth has been cooling for the last eight years despite small increases in anthropogenic carbon dioxide; and
        WHEREAS, there is no evidence of atmospheric warming in the troposphere where the majority of warming would be taking place; and
        WHEREAS, historical climatological data shows without question the earth has gone through trends where the climate was much warmer than in our present age. The Climatic Optimum and Little Climatic Optimum are two examples. During the Little Climatic Optimum, Erik the Red settled Greenland where they farmed and raised dairy cattle. Today, ninety percent of Greenland is covered by massive ice sheets, in many places more than two miles thick; and
        WHEREAS, the polar ice cap is subject to shifting warm water currents and the break-up of ice by high wind events. Many oceanographers believe this to be the major cause of melting polar ice, not atmospheric warming; and
        WHEREAS, carbon dioxide is not a pollutant but rather a highly beneficial ingredient for all plant life on earth. Many scientists refer to carbon dioxide as "the gas of life"; and
        WHEREAS, more than 31,000 American scientists collectively signed a petition to President Obama stating: "There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, or methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the earth's atmosphere and disruption of the earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide will produce many beneficial effects on the natural plant and animal environments of the earth":
        NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the House of Representatives of the Eighty-fifth Legislature of the State of South Dakota, the Senate concurring therein, that the South Dakota Legislature urges that instruction in the public schools relating to global warming include the following:
                (1)    That global warming is a scientific theory rather than a proven fact;
                (2)    That there are a variety of climatological, meteorological, astrological, thermological, cosmological, and ecological dynamics that can effect world weather phenomena and that the significance and interrelativity of these factors is largely speculative; and
                (3)    That the debate on global warming has subsumed political and philosophical viewpoints which have complicated and prejudiced the scientific investigation of global warming phenomena; and
        BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Legislature urges that all instruction on the theory of global warming be appropriate to the age and academic development of the student and to the prevailing classroom circumstances.

    Source:

    http://legis.state.sd.us/sessions/2010/Bill.aspx?File=HCR1009P.htm


    --------------------------------------------------------
    Here is what students are learning in North Dakota

    http://www2.und.edu/our/news/story.php?id=2970

    http://www.dakotacollege.edu/pdf/40th%20Annual%20Earth%20Day%20Agenda.pdf

    Note on copyright:

    I claim fair use on the grounds that the written form of legislation must be accessible to the public at large, else it is secret - and hence tyrannical - legislation.

    Comments

    Gerhard Adam
    Well, who would've thought that you could simply legislate science.  There should be one other step that occurs in conjunction with this resolution.  The Federal government should pass a resolution that South Dakota will receive no aid in the event of consequences from AGW.  Since they can legislate scientific conclusions, then perhaps they can legislate their own financing as well.
    Mundus vult decipi
    logicman
    Since they can legislate scientific conclusions, then perhaps they can legislate their own financing as well.
    WHEREAS, money is just bits of paper;

    NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the house will purchase a printing press against the contingency above cited by the honorable and learned gentleman.
    Gerhard Adam
    Reminds me of Douglas Adam's bit in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy where the Golgafrinchans had adopted leaves as their means of currency after Ford Prefect commented on how "money doesn't grow on trees".
    Mundus vult decipi
    logicman
    Addendum:

    WHEREAS, I just can't let this gem pass by unnoticed;
    NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that my readers should please take careful note of the term bolded hereunder:
    " ... there are a variety of climatological, meteorological, astrological, thermological, cosmological, and ecological dynamics that can effect world weather phenomena and that the significance and interrelativity of these factors is largely speculative; ... "
    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Legislature really ought to be taught some basic understanding of science, such as the founding principle of science;

    WHEREAS, you can't just make stuff up, subject to the following:

    CAVEAT:

    WHEREAS you can invent a whole pail of garbage on April 1st.
    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Legislature really ought to be taught some basic understanding of science, such as the founding principle of science;

    I suggest this advice is given to both parties in this debate. Science is the persuit of truth with no other agenda, Hypothesise, test and re evaluate based on results. I'm not a scientist just a pleb, but I do at least understand this.

    logicman
    I suggest this advice is given to both parties in this debate. Science is the persuit of truth with no other agenda, Hypothesise, test and re evaluate based on results. I'm not a scientist just a pleb, but I do at least understand this.

    Jay: yes, there are agendists on both sides of the debate, but they are few in number.  I strive hard to be objective, so as not to swell the ranks of 'warmist agendists'.
    You beat me to it, Mr. Lockerby!

    I was really hoping they would spell out exactly what the GW data from astrology are.

    CJE
    That global warming is a scientific theory rather than a proven fact

    Really, South Dakota? Really? At least define your terms correctly.
    For "That global warming is a scientific theory rather than a proven fact"

    Please read "That anthropogenic global warming is a scientific theory rather than a proven fact"
    but I now believe that it should read "That anthropogenic global climate change is a scientific theory rather than a proven fact"

    Hope that covers it!

    logicman
    "That anthropogenic global climate change is a scientific theory rather than a proven fact"

    whereas howsoever nevertheless notwithstanding;
    it is the least complex theory which explains the most observations, a bit like 'the fairies did it' but harder to understand and therefore harder to teach at university level;
    thereforefivesix:
    be it adopted by this legislature that Occam's Razor is not, as heretoformerly believed by this legislature, an instrument of cruel and unusual punishment.
    Becky Jungbauer
    That the sun will come up tomorrow is a theory, not a proven fact...sheesh, you'd think these idiots would at least get their scientific terminology down if they're going to rail against it. Then again, maybe that's the problem.
    CJE
    If they could have avoided references to astrology and correctly defined "hypothesis" (I think that's the word they were looking for), their skeptical stance might not look so ridiculous.

     
    logicman
    Thanks CJE and Becky

    Yes!  Astrology can really influence the climate. 
    These clever politicians believe it, so it must be true!

    Excuse me while I bang my head against the keyboard.

    Ah| th==at"s betTer|




    logicman
    Word of the day: thermological.

    of or pertaining to thermography, the medical study of thermographs for diagnostic purposes.



    Or did they mean thermodynamics? 

    Nah!  Too complex - they'd never understand the rules against making perpetual motion machines.
    logicman
    While I am grateful to be picked up by Reddit, there is a comment that needs to be addressed:

    TeenagersDownvoteMe says, in response to DMc720:

    Thank you for posting the text. You're right--nowhere does it use the word "myth". Instead, it points out that the discussion has long been politicized and is influenced by philosophical viewpoints.

    The blogger seems to either have a problem with reading comprehension, or has himself politicized the issue.

    DMc720 posted only part of the text, from "NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED" to the end of what I quoted above.

    To TeenagersDownvoteMe:

    A response from a linguist:

    please read the entire text before accusing me of having a lack of reading comprehension or of having politicised the issue.  It is the legislature of South Dakota that has chosen to politicise the fact of global warming by the use of terms such as 'astrology' and 'thermography' as inputs to the global climate system, thus demonstrating either an ignorance of science or an ignorance of the English language.

    Nowhere in my article do I use the term 'myth'.  That term was used not by me but by Reddit's maxwellhill, and I have no quarrel with the term as used by maxwellhill

    quote:
    WTF?!! South Dakota Exempted From Laws Of Science: South Dakota Legislature has made a political declaration that climate change is a myth
    The title of my article is quite simply "South Dakota Exempted From Laws Of Science".

    Edit:  My apologies.  I did use the word 'myth' at the start of my article.  I expressed my own opinion thereby.  However, the wording "South Dakota Legislature has made a political declaration that climate change is a myth" does not appear anywhere in my article.
    I live in South Dakota. I do not agree with what legislature is doing. I apologize. This state really feels like it knows what it's saying. Oh, the sadness of this state.

    logicman
    Cassandra: you have nothing to apologise for.  The South Dakota educational institutes are doing their bit for climate science, and then some! 

    I am sure that when these politicians sought office they did not say "Vote for me and I'll do my best to stop schools teaching that wierdo science stuff when they should be teaching kids astrology and thermography 'n stuff like sort of like er ... ya know?"
    South Dakota has declared itself exempt from the laws of junk science.

    logicman
    South Dakota has declared itself exempt from the laws of science.
    Typo corrected free of charge.  :-)
    The point is that this legislation is not happening in a vacuum. Climate is a politicalized, polarized issue (and I blame both sides for letting it become such). Really, this development should surprise no one.

    Seriously people, this is a huge freakin' mess. And it's not making it any better by pointing at the other side and laughing.

    The public is quickly losing faith in the scientific enterprise *as a whole*, because of this politicalization of one branch of science. Don't fuck this up for the rest of us please, climate scientists.

    CJE
    Patrick, would you be as irritated with the resolution if its authors had avoided the blunders in basic terminology?
    Statistically speaking, if they had any grasp of the terminology they would be less likely to reach such ignorant legislative conclusions. It would still be offensive, but I question whether the meme would arise or sustain itself as easily.

    CJE
    Your implication seems to be that their rejection of the prevailing view on global warming is the cause of their scientific ignorance. I don't quite buy that.
    logicman
    Patrick, would you be as irritated with the resolution if its authors had avoided the blunders in basic terminology?

    But of course. 

    the earth has been cooling for the last eight years despite small increases in anthropogenic carbon dioxide
    Patently false on two counts.

    there is no evidence of atmospheric warming in the troposphere
    Unmitigated garbage.

    historical climatological data shows without question the earth has gone through trends ...
    Without question?  So they accept reconstructions of proxy data from the past, but reject the more recent and more accurate records from direct observation?  Oh yes - some of those trends were extinction events.

    the polar ice cap is subject to shifting warm water currents and the
    break-up of ice by high wind events. Many oceanographers believe this
    to be the major cause of melting polar ice, not atmospheric warming; ...
    See my most recent article: Arctic News Or Science Abuse? for a counter to that rubbish.

    carbon dioxide is not a pollutant
    Oh, please!  Semantics? Any molecule whatsoever may be described as a pollutant if it places some form of life in jeopardy.  Many papers have been published on the threat to marine organisms of excess CO2.

    more than 31,000 American scientists collectively signed a petition to
    President Obama stating: "There is no convincing scientific evidence
    that ...
    Climate scientists?  There is no convincing scientific evidence that a petition has any effect whatsoever on the laws of physics.

    global warming is a scientific theory rather than a proven fact
    The effect on humans of gravity is also a scientific theory, so for balance, how about some levity in the schools.

    That the debate on global warming has subsumed political and
    philosophical viewpoints which have complicated and prejudiced the
    scientific investigation of global warming phenomena
    So: they are arguing that just because agendists have turned climate science into a political issue "and prejudiced the
    scientific investigation of global warming phenomena", therefore we should be teaching how to continue to politicise the science?

    If they are complaining against the politicisation of "the
    scientific investigation of global warming phenomena" then by implication they are accepting the reality of global warming.  But they, in the same document, insist:"the earth has been cooling for the last eight years".  They want it both ways.

    Calling for balanced teaching of [ anything not in the Bible ] in the public schools ...

    Much of the style and wording of the document could be a cut-and-paste from similar such gems on creationism/I.D.   This should surprise nobody.  Creationists are anti-science.

     ... higher concentrations of CO2 may be, in part, a result of warmer temperatures. The oceans have much more CO2 than the atmosphere, and when the oceans warm up, the CO2 escapes into the atmosphere. (We see a similar effect when we see gas bubbling out of a glass of warm Coke.)
    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v3/n4/global-warming
    This is drivel whose only saving grace is that it is diluted with bunkum blended with balderdash.

    Glad I don't live in South Dakota...there were many reasons not to now this tops the damn list why you shouldn't live in South Dakota.

    You state that they assert "climate change is a myth". Could you show me where, in the text of their resolution, that they propose that idea? Instead of knee-jerk reactions, maybe some of the commentators could read the text? The resolution, to my reading, is trying to point out that alternative viewpoints around AGW exist (i.e. there is not consensus), and that educators should promote critical thinking instead of political doctrine. Maybe we should be responding to that instead of the straw man argument you have shaped in your blog. They are "Calling for balanced teaching of global warming in the public schools". String them up!
    I do agree that the inclusion of astrological events is unfortunate, but was likely in error and could easily be amended out.

    logicman
    You state that they assert "climate change is a myth".
    No I don't. 

    I am not putting words into their mouths. I, not they, make the assertion: I assert that they have invented some agendist stuff to make a political declaration that climate change is a myth.

    That assertion is based on my reading and understanding their arguments, the gist of which is that climate change isn't real.  Now, if a thing isn't real, but lots of people claim it is, then it is either an illusion, or a myth.  I chose to use the word 'myth'.

    However, I did not use the word 'myth' in my title.  The wording "South Dakota Legislature has made a political declaration that climate change is a myth" does not appear anywhere in my article.  Those words made their first appearance on Reddit.
    The problem is that there is not hardly any dissention among climate scientists that AGW exists. To insist that "both sides deserve equal treatment" is preposterous. You don't give equal weight to scientific conclusions and mindless nonsense. We don't spend equal time discussing the fact that many people insist that the world is flat and those that assert that the Earth is more sphericial in shape. Some ideas deserve more treatment, even to the exclusion of the crackpot theories. I don't kids being taught that supernatural sky fairies created the Grand Canyon 5,000 years ago, when there is a perfectly accepted theory that explains how the Grand Canyon was formed over millions of years. It's not a 50/50 proposition. One idea is absurd and the other has actual evidence.

    logicman
    "The problem is that there is not hardly any dissention among climate scientists that AGW exists."?!
    Where did you get that?! The "scientist" Al Gore, the corrupt commission at UN, the "poll" among these 10,000 American scientists where no one was safe to contradict the official line and endorsment for a fear not to get into troubles, or the cheater "scientists" in England? The list of "exempted from science" is indeed much longer and excluding much more significant participants from this list is the ultimate proof for the author's bias.
    Frankly, it doesn't matter who said what. Unlike the law of gravity case there is galore of hard facts contradicting AGW fundamental assumptions. Therefore, it cannot be a theory - it's just one mere hypothesis on a very shaky ground. Just answer two points:
    1. What is the effectiveness and concentration of CO2 vs. that of water vapors in Earth's atmosphere, i.e. which is the dominating greenhouse gas?
    2. How the authors of this AGW distinguish whether solar activity, CO2, or water vapors is the leading cause for climat variations and which are rather result from the variation?
    Perhaps is better to stop quoting and start thinking by yourself.

    logicman
    1. What is the effectiveness and concentration of CO2 vs. that of water vapors in Earth's atmosphere, i.e. which is the dominating greenhouse gas?

    If you could, by some process, take all of the H2O out of the atmosphere it would be back to roughly the same level in about 2 days.  If we could somehow double the number of green organisms on earth so as to double the uptake of CO2 it would take about 10 years to reduce the CO2 to about 1960s levels, but only if we stopped using fossil fuels entirely.  CO2 has the effect of trapping heat radiation which would otherwise be lost to space.  The rise in temperature causes a greater uptake of H2O into the atmosphere, thus amplifying the effects of CO2.

    In comparing CO2 with H2O it is vital to remember that CO2 is a driver or forcer of warming.  H2O increases are a result of warming which work to amplify the warming.

    With those caveats, here are approximate figures.
    H2O - 36 to72%
    CO2 -  9 to 26%

    2. How the authors of this AGW distinguish whether solar activity, CO2, or water vapors is the leading cause for climat variations and which are rather result from the variation?

    Language is strange.  'Author' way back in about 1600 to 1700 used to mean 'originator'.  Everyone who uses fossil fuels is an 'originator' of AGW.  If you mean the authors of the theory then I would have to take a few hours to walk you through the history of the science of AGW.

    In brief:
    If solar variation was the primary driver of climate change then we would be in a little ice age.  The solar power reaching the earth's surface is at an extreme low.

    For a given level of solar power, water vapor can only reach a limited level of concentration in the atmosphere before it must fall as rain.  An exception arises when gases like CO2, CH4 etc. cause the global average temperature to rise beyond what it would be if the sun alone was responsible.  Excess H2O then enters the atmosphere until a point is reached at which evaporation and precipitation are equal, averaged across the globe.  The global average temperature then stabilises at this new equilibrium point.  At least, it would do if the CO2 and CH4 levels didn't keep increasing.

    Perhaps is better to stop quoting and start thinking by yourself.
    I do think for myself.  That is why I thoroughly investigate when people start quoting 'facts' at me.  What I point blank refuse to do on ethical grounds is to think for others.  All I can do is to point them in the direction of good science.  If they choose not to believe in global warming, fine.

    But the planet doesn't care what humans believe.  It doesn't read agendist political BS.  It just keeps on warming.
    "In comparing CO2 with H2O it is vital to remember that CO2 is a driver or forcer of warming."
    To remember?! From what? Where is the undisputable facts based evidence for that?
    "If they choose not to believe in global warming, fine."
    Believe?! Is that really some new religion as many suggest? Do you really think and compare the evidences presented by BOTH sides of the debate or just believe? Check for example http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100130063706AAo2fdo and the links there, there's a lot to think about. The only place for "believe" in science are the undisputable axiomatic fundamentals of any sience, like the law of energy preservation in physics. Do you claim this one to be of such type?
    "It just keeps on warming."
    Again, where are the hard, unbiased facts, particularly after so many evidences recently surfaced about the data manipulated by the England's "scientists"? Or, this is another AGW axiom?

    logicman
    where are the hard, unbiased facts, particularly after so many evidences recently surfaced about the data manipulated by the England's "scientists"?
    Re: data supposedly manipulated by English scentists, they have been cleared of manipulation, or do you get your news only from denier sites ?
    UEA CRU Scientists Cleared Of Malpractice Allegations
    The Mother Of Inquiries: Parliamentary CRU Report

    Re: data actually manipulated by global warming deniers - see:

    Nonsense On Ice
    How To Sell A Broken Hockey Stick

    Yahoo answers is not a good source for science facts.  There are agendists there who will click the 'abuse' button collectively.  Yahoo doesn't investigate claims of abuse.  They just ban the person complained of.  Hardly a forum for free and fair discussion.

    Having examined both sides of the debate on global warming I find more rational argument lies with the climate experts than with people who think that a snowflake on their windowsill is proof that global warming is a scam.

    I am also watching the Arctic sea ice disappearing.  Fast.  The hard unbiased facts will be self-evident to everyone on earth soon enough.  At that time I will be glad not to be in a denier's shoes.

    You can find a lot of climate oriented articles here
    http://www.scientificblogging.com/chatter_box
    Gerhard Adam
    ... that educators should promote critical thinking instead of political doctrine ...


    Oh please, you know very well that isn't their intent.  Legislators have never concerned themselves with critical thinking and this issue most certainly isn't the one that is going to create it in schools.

    The net effect is to simply take a captive audience (students) and ensure that they get a diluted view of events based on the political perspectives of the legislators.  Nobody pays any attention to what is normally taught in school and to suggest that the legislators have suddenly grown a conscience or have become concerned about "critical thinking" is ridiculous.

    The legislators made their position excrutiatingly clear by emphasizing that it is "only a theory" which demonstrates their ignorance of science, and their desire to meddle in things for which they have no knowledge.

    In particular, where it is truly disingenuous is in offering "explanations" for what is occurring, knowing full well that they are the least qualified body to make such assertions.  They aren't representing a skeptical position, they want to use the power of the legislative branch to compel a particular viewpoint.  As demonstrated by the terminology used in this piece ... they are morons.

    Mundus vult decipi
    If there were conclusive proof, either way, this wouldn't matter. The snark of the author is not lost on me, but only dilutes the point that I think you're trying to make.
    In addition, if you actually read the bill, it says "urges." There is no requirement.
    So instead of making hyperbolic claims of "legislating science," increase your own literacy and see that some (potentially misguided) people are just trying to make sure both sides of an issue that has no proven right answer.

    Gerhard Adam
    ... if you actually read the bill, it says "urges." There is no requirement.
    Oh pardon me.  I didn't realize that the legislators were simply wasting taxpayer dollars to create a document to "urge" the educators to be a bit more diligent.  Perhaps they can urge people to get the oil changed on their cars regularly... or perhaps urge people to quit smoking.

    The language doesn't matter.  What matters is that this is NOT a political issue suitable to the legislature and they've intentionally aggravated the situation by introducing their worthless opinions.

    Lest my position isn't clear ... unless this is a matter of law, nobody gives a damn what these nitwit's opinion is.
    Mundus vult decipi
    You lack an understanding of basic scientific principles. There is not "conclusive proof" for anything in science except mathematical formulas and even then that happens only where certain assumptions are accepted on their face as true.

    There is no "conclusive proof" for Einstein's Theory of Relativity, but millions of scientists and physicists find the theory to be a useful model. It is falsifiable and its results are repeatable and useful. Sure there are crackpots that don't believe that Einstein's Theory of Relativity is true, but we shouldn't teach our kids that "both sides" deserve equal weight and treatment in our classrooms.

    logicman
    Politicians have no right to argue the pros and cons of climate science if, by their published works they demonstrate a lack of knowledge of the scientific method.

    Agencies such as NOAA, IPCC and many hundreds of others were set up specifically to inform the world's non-scientist politicians about climate issues.  If they would rather be informed by their own prejudice and ignorance, so be it.  Just make sure the voters know about it.
    CJE
    If they are complaining against the politicisation of "the
    scientific investigation of global warming phenomena" then by implication they are accepting the reality of global warming. But they, in the same document, insist:"the earth has been cooling for the last eight years". They want it both ways.

    Insulting backwards politicians is a hobby of mine, but this isn't fair, in my opinion. An issue can be both exaggerated and politicized; don't both those qualities usually go together anyway? And I don't think denying that the earth has warmed in the last eight years is the same as denying all global warming.
    logicman
    I don't think denying that the earth has warmed in the last eight years is the same as denying all global warming.
    CJE: you and I can say that, but people who argue from non scientific ideas take the '8 year cooling' idea and disseminate it around the web as X says so, so it must be true.  It then gets expanded into an unqualified 'cooling'.

    Anyone who can be made to believe that the earth has been cooling for the last eight years despite all evidence to the contrary is primed1 for acceptance of the whole denier crock.

    1 - primed in the psychological sense, as in prepared by a manipulation, brainwashed, deliberately set up to be uncritical of even the most outrageous lies.
    Ignoring for a moment the silliness of the whole notion that anyone should legislate away science, or invoke astrology to support their arguments, how would you address the less silly sounding initial points used to justify it?

    "WHEREAS, the earth has been cooling for the last eight years despite small increases in anthropogenic carbon dioxide; and
    WHEREAS, there is no evidence of atmospheric warming in the troposphere where the majority of warming would be taking place; and
    WHEREAS, historical climatological data shows without question the earth has gone through trends where the climate was much warmer than in our present age. The Climatic Optimum and Little Climatic Optimum are two examples. During the Little Climatic Optimum, Erik the Red settled Greenland where they farmed and raised dairy cattle. Today, ninety percent of Greenland is covered by massive ice sheets, in many places more than two miles thick; and
    WHEREAS, the polar ice cap is subject to shifting warm water currents and the break-up of ice by high wind events. Many oceanographers believe this to be the major cause of melting polar ice, not atmospheric warming; and

    WHEREAS, more than 31,000 American scientists collectively signed a petition to President Obama stating: "There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, or methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the earth's atmosphere and disruption of the earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide will produce many beneficial effects on the natural plant and animal environments of the earth":

    Cheers

    logicman
    Paul: I already addressed most of your points in this comment: Link


    There are people who keep putting up the same tired arguments that have been debunked over and over.  The document cited above refers to many of the same points - as does the reporter of this opinion piece, Bret Stephens :
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB2000142405270230401740457516557384595891...
    He still thinks the Arctic ice is recovering.  I should award him a headache of the day icepack.

    The Arctic is in dire straits: Arctic News Or Science Abuse?



    Hi Patrick -you did respond to the points, but did not really address them all (unless I was looking in the wrong place?)

    Certainly some of them are silly - basing a belief on a petition of 31,000 scientists in one camp is just as silly as basing it on a declared consensus in the other camp - yet all scientists I have spoken to (including one climate scientist) seem to adopt to the consensus mostly BECAUSE it is perceived as the consensus - closely followed by rejection of the scepticism of deniers due to "tactics" of the deniers, and/or "big oil" being behind it all.

    The almost universal adoption of positions on social rather than scientific grounds rather disturbs me & makes me instinctively reluctant to just toe the AGW line.

    If I understand correctly, alarm over global C02 & warming is based on very complex mathematical modelling - where it is attempted to link physical effects that may be demonstrable in isolation (eg that certain gasses cause green house warming when certain conditions are met), but that are nearly impossible to verify as a system given the enormous complexity and very small amount of comprehensive historical data available for all parameters (a few hundred years at best, and for isolated locations only) - and in fact the scientific process to date is that the model is continually tweaked to curve fit new evidence, rather than being found intrinsically reliable from first principles .. As you know, it is always possible to introduce a new term to an equation to curve fit data better - without there being any intrinsic correlation of the model to physical reality.

    The main objection "justifying" that legislation that interests me is the reference to climate having been very much warmer in the past, and ice being very much less thick or prevalent than now, even in relatively recent history.

    I have read about sea level rises in the order of many meters over only a few hundred years in the last few hundred thousand years - and other articles implying rapid climate change is nothing new. Also graphs showing CO2 rises following rather than leading temperature rises in the geologic record. etc etc (can try to find citations if you have not already read these same things)

    Yes I understand that there is a viscous circle, where warmer temperatures release more CO2 from permafrost etc, and C02 acts as a greenhouse gas to increase temperatures - but if these graphs are correct, other causes would seem to initiate the warming cycle - whatever assumptions are built in to current climate models.

    It bothers me that I am not finding a detached scientific dialogue anywhere online where both sides actually engage constructively with each other, point by point on just the evidence, and the analysis of it . People seem to prefer not to acknowledge or explain each other's evidence very well, and prefer to cite seemingly conflicting evidence of their own instead.

    And so terribly quickly, personal motives for disagreeing are almost always introduced - and on that basis, I can remain nothing other than sceptical....claim not yet proved (to me at least) beyond reasonable doubt

    Paul, could you describe the viscosity of the circle, please? Show your work. Thank you.

    logicman
    describe the viscosity of the circle
    Well, that is obviously a trick question.

    The viscocity of a circle is identical to the hypotenuse of a banana, but only at room temperature.  As every schoolboy knows, the hypotenuse of a banana varies inversely with the Reynolds number of the temperature expressed in degrees Calvin.

    Stellare
    LOL - my kind of argument, Patrick. Hilarious.
    Bente Lilja Bye is the author of Lilja - A bouquet of stories about the Earth
    logicman
    Glad you liked it, Bente.  :-)
    Now, attack me with that loganberry!

    logicman
    Paul: I'm sorry I haven't time to repond to all points.  Perhaps I should have posted this article with a critical analysis.  I have written a number of climate themed articles here and continue to do so.  My series Understanding Climate is intended to answer many questions about climate science by demonstrating in lay terms how all of the bits of the incredibly complex global climate system interact.  I shall soon be writing on hypsometry the 'missing ingredient' in climate science as generally taught.

    I also write the occasional analysis of anything particularly egregious which someone has written in order to score political points.

    I never write anything here that I know or believe to be false, unless it is posted as self-evident humor or it is April 1st.
    America can win the war against the climate.

    This one we can win.

    Oh dear. I was almost sure I was reading a satirical post (and absolutely sure after the "astrological") till I clicked on the link.

    Does anyone care what happens in S Dakota?

    logicman
    Does anyone care what happens in S Dakota?
    I do, which is why I posted this.  I live in the global village, and the citizens of S. Dakota are my friends and neighbors.

    That crazy piece of anti-science legislative chicanery was fairly widely circulated in the blogosphere, but it needs reporting in the South Dakota media.

    Did the legislators hold a media event to publicise their efforts on behalf of the people who elected them?  Not that I know of.

    Secret legislation is the first step to tyranny.

    Shout it loud to the world, say I, when politicians do such things as this.
    Patrick,

    The ID/Creationist arguments resemble the anti-warming arguments because the same people are coming up with both of them.

    I'd be interested to see polling numbers on the percentage of creationists who are also anti-warmists, and vice versa. As I've yet to meet an IDer/creationist who WASN'T also an anti-warmist (anecdotal, I know), my guess would be that astonishingly close to 100% of people who believe in creation/ID also do not believe the evidence that the earth is warming. I'd assume the vice versa is probably a bit lower, but the correlation would be undeniable.

    The strange thing is, the creation/ID stance is based upon a religious belief, but global warming has nothing to do with it, so why would there be such a high correlation? I guess because the more fervently "religious" representatives are Republican? The connection still doesn't make sense to me...

    logicman
    Adam: you raise some interesting points.

    May I refer you to some answersingenesis ?  Does any of their egregiousness look familiar?
    Amateur Astronomer
    South Dakota is far above sea level with a rather cool dry climate.

    If global warming did occur, the local climate would benefit from warmer wetter conditions, with the added benefit that a lot of the unpopular people would be under the new sea level.

    Real estate prices would rise quickly with a disadvantage that a lot of the buyers would be survivors from the coastal areas.

    If you look at it from a regional point of view, it becomes apparent why the global warming studies got so much resistance.

    On the other hand the marginal ice research teams in Antarctica have gone to a lot of trouble to avoid disclosing how much heat their camps add to the melting ice. By one report there are 250 nuclear power plants warming up the region enough to melt the marginal ice and tilt the worlds energy balance toward rapid warming. By another report the only nuclear power plant in Antarctica has been decommissioned (after melting 300 square miles of ice shelf with it's discharge of hot water). A third report contains the advertisement of a new type of portable nuclear power plant that can be moved quickly to a new location closer to the work site, and farther from public view. The new type is reported to be so safe that it doesn't need to be discussed in public.

    If South Dakota is called upon to justify it's opinions, then we might see a lot more in the news about marginal ice and nuclear power.
    logicman
    South Dakota is far above sea level with a rather cool dry climate.

    Jerry: climate change is a global thing. Rising sea levels mean expanding sea area - in turn affecting precipitation rates.

    Prairie and plateau - prime candidates for soil erosion from flash floods, which wouldn't do those dams any good at all.  Or the farms.

    How many Dakotans want to actually live in the mountains rather than just enjoy their natural beauty?
    Thanks for the link, Patrick. I found a few gems, but I am having a lot of trouble deciding whether to laugh, or clothe myself in sackcloth, weeping and gnashing my teeth:

    "Although many people may think otherwise, all of us have assumptions (beliefs) that influence how we look at the facts. If a scientist believes in billions of years of earth history, he will assume, for example, that polar ice needed hundreds of thousands of years to build up over two miles in depth. Scientists who believe in the biblical account of Noah’s Flood, on the other hand, believe the ice must have appeared shortly after the Flood. Depending on their assumptions, equally skilled scientists can reach very different conclusions."

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v3/n4/global-warming

    Gerhard Adam
    Scientists who believe in the biblical account of Noah’s Flood, on the other hand, believe the ice must have appeared shortly after the Flood. Depending on their assumptions, equally skilled scientists can reach very different conclusions."

    Oh I get it...!  The joke is that someone can be called a skilled scientist while ignoring all the science. 

    There are no different conclusions, there is only science and what can be demonstrated by the predictability of theories.  There is no one that can claim being a scientist and believe the rubbish of the young Earth crowd.
    Mundus vult decipi
    logicman
    Gerhard: you beat me to the punch.  I just hate that. ;-)

    Depending on their assumptions, equally skilled scientists can reach very different conclusions."
    Whilst I agree with the statement, it cannot be legitimately applied to a controversy between a person with a solid grounding in scientific logic and a Bible-interpreting non-linguist literalist pedantic agendist.

    Adam: yes, some real gems. :-)
    logicman
    Scientists who believe in the biblical account of Noah’s Flood, on the other hand, believe the ice must have appeared shortly after the Flood.

    A gem!  So, we take a literal account of the flood. 

    Right - no dry land anywhere.  Now, land absorbs less heat than oceans.  Land also loses heat at night faster than oceans.  So - that adds up to a very basic physics 101 cause of global warming. which causes more GHG H2O in the atmosphere.  Which causes more warming.

    Shortly after that, the ice appears. 

    Yes, that would make sense.

    But not to a scientist.
    I'm with you, Gerhard. But I think a quote from later on the same page I just linked to exemplifies the reasons why I do not want these types of people legislating ANYTHING that might have far-reaching ramifications for us and future generations:

    "God’s Word tells us about a “new heaven and a new earth” that He is planning for His people, free of sin and the Curse. Our current environmental problems are serious and worth further thought and action, but the Bible puts all such issues into proper perspective. While we need to behave wisely in the fleeting moments we have on this earth, a much greater change is coming, one that should modify our behavior—the “global warming” described in 2 Peter 3:10. “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.” "

    I worry about the self-fulfillment of this prophecy. Letting folks with these types of beliefs make decisions on climate legislation (or ANY legislation that has far-reaching ramifications through future generations) is sheer lunacy.

    Gerhard Adam

    I agree completely.  I have always had concerns about people that thought nothing of destroying our species in the belief of some future "reward". 

    Fortunately I'm also cynical enough to believe that the majority of these people can't stomach the idea of actually dying, so while we may be forced to listen to such nonsense, it isn't likely that they will actually act on it (except by inserting their opinions regardless of how unwelcome).

    Mundus vult decipi
    Love the cynicism, Gerhard. Aside from being a driving force for many a great comedian, there is also no better feeling than one's own cynical hypothesis proven true. The problem in this particular case, however, is that there really is no immediate threat of death, and if and when that becomes an actual looming threat, it's going to be a bit too late in the game. So I do not think that will have any effect on the climate problem.

    Gerhard Adam
    So I do not think that will have any effect on the climate problem.
    I would agree with this too.  My problem with climate change is not the problem, but whether there really are any solutions.  In my view, to claim a solution requires far more knowledge of the problem than I think we really have.  While it's one thing to extrapolate possible outcomes from a model, it's quite another to have confidence in a proposed solution. 

    At present, I'm not convinced that if we implemented every proposed solution that we actually know what the effect would be.  Systems like the climate are far too complex to lend themselves to simple "on/off" kinds of approaches and yet, invariably that's what we have.
    Mundus vult decipi
    If not my queries, I would love to see the objections far more articulately raised by this local (New Zealand) scientist , (who was apparently a contributor to IPCC) resolved: http://www.gauntlet.co.nz/Stories/2_02.htm or http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=3477

    Why am I only finding people preaching from opposing pulpits?

    Cheers

    logicman
    OK, Paul, here goes.

    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=3477
    So, I am a climate realist because the available evidence indicates that climate change is predominantly, if not entirely, natural. It occurs mostly in response to variations in solar heating of the oceans,
    OK. Stop right there.  The Sun is at about the coolest it has been for decades, see e.g. Low Solar Activity Won't Slow Climate Change,  If the sun is the major cause of climate change we should right now be in a cooling phase.  We aren't.  When an argument commences with a spurious comment like that I stop reading.  Why should I waste my time?  Ok then, just for you:
    I was an invited reviewer for a chapter dealing with the economic impact of sea level rise on small island nations.
    This guy is an economist.  Judging from his opening statement about the sun he doesn't 'get' climate science.  Enough said.



    http://www.gauntlet.co.nz/Stories/2_02.htm
    This is a classic.  It is an attack on climate science based on the idea that if Mann's 'hockey stick' can be shown to be flawed, then the whole climate change idea is an agendist pack of lies.

    In fact, there are various graphs produced by various teams from various datasets and using various modelling algorithms.  The fact that they all show much the same history and much the same recent trend tells me that the broad picture of man-made warming is correct.  Quite apart from that, I have my own theories about global warming which I hope to publish here in due course.  Regardless of GHG levels and relying on historic records of fuel use, my own methods predict a geometric trend in climate change.

    Tree rings.  I would say 'that old chestnut', but its the wrong species. :-)
    Tree rings are only laid during the growing season, not the whole year, and so they tell us little or nothing about annual climate...
    Annual rings are not just measured in inches or millimeters.  They capture isotopes. Although the atmosphere may be treated as a mixture of well mixed gases for simplification, from moment to moment and from place to place the mixture can vary substantially.  There is a substantial inertia in atmospheric mixing such that isotopic ratios from a single season can stand as a good proxy for the whole year in the relevant region.
    Tree rings do not record night temperatures since photosynthesis only occurs in the daytime. Yet winter and night temperatures are an essential component of what we understand by the concept `annual mean temperature'.
    Again - only valid for a naive assumption that dendrochronologists only use inches and millimeters.
    All a tree ring can tell us is whether the combined micro-environmental conditions during the growing season were favourable to tree growth or not. This is because tree rings are influenced by numerous factors other than temperature, such as rainfall, sunlight, cloudiness, pests, competition, forest fires, soil nutrients, frosts and snow duration.  Thus they are not even a good daytime temperature proxy for the few months of the growing season.
    The author thinks that dendrochronologist must be stupid people who don't know about these things.  In fact they not only allow for these factors but many otherswhich the author does not mention: e.g. slope, drainage, soil Ph variation, soil erosion, rock strata (affecting root penetration), prevailing wind direction and strength (affects temperature related factors), and many more that I cannot recall as I type these words.
    Other proxies such as isotopes in coral, ice, minerals and sediments are vastly superior.
    The author has heard of isotopes.  So why are isotopes ok to mention for corals but not for trees?

    The coral, ice cores, sediment cores, stalactites, stalagmites and many other proxies all point to one strong conclusion:  the planet is warming.  The mauna Kea observatory continues to track ever rising CO2 emissions.

    Direct measurements of current temperatures and current CO2 - direct, no proxies - confirm daily that CO2 levels and temperatures are rising in lock-step at an alarming rate not seen in the proxy records (note plural) for perhaps 100,000 years.

    independent evidence, from ice cores and sea sediments for instance, suggest the last time the planet approached this degree of warmth was during the interglacial period preceding the last ice age over 100,000 years ago. It might even be hotter now than it has been for at least a million years.
    Source: update to 'Climate myths: The 'hockey stick' graph has been proven wrong'.
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11646-climate-myths-the-hockey-sti...
    Thank you!

    This guy is does not seem to be an economist though - He is among other things an Oceanographer. His scientific credentials here: http://sci.waikato.ac.nz/staff/erth/delange.

    His central thrust seems to be that the behaviour and importance of oceans is not adequately or correctly taken into account by current climate models,

    He also seems to be saying that we indeed are in a short term cooling phase in response to lower solar activity, as evidenced by falling global sea temperatures, and dropping sea levels.

    logicman
    There is thermohaline circulation oceanography, satellite instrument type oceanography, chemistry, biology etc., etc.  This guy is a coastal oceanographer, amongst other things.  But his input to the IPCC was on the economic impacts on small nations of sea level rise.  He is not amongst the ranks of climatologists who gave inputs to the consensus views on climate science.  Perhaps he is a bit miffed by that?

    But why would he talk of falling sea levels?
    Over the past century, global sea level has risen by 10–25 cm, and is in line with the rise in relative sea level at New Zealand’s main ports of +1.7 mm yr –1. What has become very clear is the need to better understand interannual (year-to-year) and decadal variability in sea-level, as these larger signals of the order of 5–15 cm in annual-mean sea level have a significant “flow-on” effect on the long-term trend in sea level.
    Bell, R. G., Goring, D. G.&de Lange, W. P. (2000). Sea-level
    change and storm surges in the context of climate change. IPENZ
    Transactions, 27(1), 1- 10.
    Stellare
    Of course we see regional falling sea level! :-) When we talk about sea level rise we talk global and average, not necessarily regional or local. Change of sea level will not be evenly distributed.

    In Norway for instance, post glacial rebound compensate for sea level rise. The land is rising and thus some places sea level might be falling - relatively speaking.

    In Venice they seem to get double up though. Both subsiding land and rising sea. And so on.

    Absolute global sea level is however rising faster than earlier. In Portland Ocean Science meeting we got the result from 17 years of satellite altimetry confirming an acceleration of sea level rise; appx 3 mm per year versus less than 2 mm per year earlier.

    But, those who talk about falling sea level might be right. It all depends. :-)

    More on the topic Climate Change and Sea Level Forecasting.
    Bente Lilja Bye is the author of Lilja - A bouquet of stories about the Earth
    Interesting! - figured the falling sea level thing would be contentious, but if this same de Lange co authored the report you just cited in 2000, as well as in 2009 claiming overall global falls over the previous 10 years, I guess this might relate to the decadal variability in sea temperatures he describes as being among the larger signals which have a significant flow on effect in long term sea level trend?
    I guess measurement of the total 10-25cm rise over last century he describes could be seriously impacted by exactly when in the relevant decadal & annual cycle the starting & ending sea levels are measured?

    His input on an IPCC economic report might have been to address the science behind it?

    Amateur Astronomer
    There should be no doubt that putting carbon dioxide into the air warns up the Earth. I've never seen a serious argument against that. Arguments tend to center on the value of scientific studies. In the environmental field the standards of accuracy have never been up to par with the expectations of other science. Consequently the environmental sciences tend to pay wages that are about half of what other sciences pay.

    In research claims of new discoveries for most of science the standard of proof is 95% chance of being right, and is a fairly difficult standard to meet, but is routinely accepted as an obligation by the scientists who are making the claims. The rules change when the claims impact human health or safety. Then the rule is 99.5 % chance of being right, and the person who says it isn't dangerous is expected to bear the burden of proof. These standards are not published anywhere, but are practiced everywhere and are not disputed by anyone in any field of science.

    To make a claim of environmental damage, the researcher only has to establish a 0.5% chance of being right, and that can easily be done by not collecting enough data. A lot of environmental work far exceeds the minimum requirement and comes closer to bearing the burden of proof, at least at the 95% probability level, because of the quality of people who work on it. Quite a lot of other environmental science does not bear a burden of proof, and has no intention of meeting a stricter standard. So we have good science and bad science mixed together, with no way to tell them apart, and with no objections from the scientific community. In the case of global warming doubtful accuracy of data has delayed public policy a lot longer than it should.

    Global warming is not in dispute by any serious scientific group. The value of environmental data is in doubt.

    For those people who argue against global warming, they are expected to bear the burden of proof, and at the 99.5% probability of being correct. None of the comments on this article have come close to meeting that standard.
    logicman
    Jerry:  one of the biggest problems in science communication is that the general public just doesn't get statistical likelihood.

    As you say, 95% is a figure generally used.  So when a measure doesn't quite reach that high a standard, the ethical scientist will say that his results are not statistically significant.  However, a climate scientist needs to pick his words very carefully or they will be used as 'proof' that not reaching 95% means the opposite conclusion is 100% true.

    The deniersphere has widely reported Phil Jones as agreeing that the climate has been cooling since 2002, or 1995, depending who is raising the issue and how agendist they are.

    Here is what he actually said, taken from 'Q&A: Professor Phil Jones',
    13 February 2010.
    B - Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming

    Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.

    C - Do you agree that from January 2002 to the present there has been statistically significant global cooling?

    No. This period is even shorter than 1995-2009. The trend this time is negative (-0.12C per decade), but this trend is not statistically significant.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8511670.stm
    Hi, as far as I knew the quibbles weren't over whether the earth had been warming as an overall trend (though I am sure deniers would happily jump on any reports that it isn't), but exactly WHY it has been warming, and whether warming (localised coolings notwithstanding) could not be equally consistent with non anthropogenic causes...?

    logicman
    All natural causes of warming added together fail to account for the trend of temperatures since about 1850 - 1860.

    That trend in temperatures correlates very closely to measures of isotopes from fossil fuel use and to economic records of fossil fuel use.

    The Keeling curve shows global annual cycles of uptake and emmisions of CO2.  It is growing because natural CO2 sinks self-evidently are not keeping pace with CO2 production.  When the CO2 from volcanos is discounted, the remaining excess CO2 matches the temperature trend and fossil fuel consumption trends.  The CO2 rising trend is human induced.

    CO2 is indisputably a gas which increases general global temperatures by a radiative mechanism.  It is simpler, but not accurate, to call it a greenhouse gas.  Greenhouses heat air in an enclosed space, reducing heat losses which would otherwise occur through convection.  CO2 'does its thing' through radiation, not convection.

    Data from many scientific areas continually accumulates to show the reality of global warming.
    Flowers bloom early, in general, due to climate change:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/7560235/Plants-flower-five-da...
    so that in specific instances, flowers that bloom late in exceptionally cold weather can be disadvantaged by early growers.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/7551907/Bluebells-to-be-three...


    I am entirely unsurprised that scientists generally agree about CO2 being the primary driver of anthropogenic global warming.  It is impossible that  nearly 7 billion people can live on such a small planet as ours without having at least some impact on their own biosphere.  Not only are such impacts well documented, but many are readily visible in satellite images.

    Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth. - Arthur Conan Doyle, Sr.
    Stellare
    ...That trend in temperatures correlates very closely to measures of isotopes from fossil fuel use and to economic records of fossil fuel use...

    A correlation is not enough to prove causes of global warming. And this is the essence of the scientific debate. In the complex Earth system it is hard to prove what causes what since there are so many factors and they are linked in so many different ways.

    ..impossible that  nearly 7 billion people can live on such a small planet as ours without having at least some impact on their own biosphere...

    I would not use the word impossible, but I agree that it is likely that the shear number of people would have an impact on our Earth system - as opposed to earlier (just a few hundred years back actually) when we were so few on this planet.

    Satellite images do show how we make great scars on the surface of this planet. That is human re-engineering, I'd say. So a good guess would be that this activity would also affect the climate. (Rain forest, Aral sea...)

    Global warming is observed. We should not be afraid of being open about the uncertainties connected to our knowledge of the Earth system though.

    I think it is stupid to burn all those fossils for a number of reasons - the (most likely) effect on climate being one.
    Bente Lilja Bye is the author of Lilja - A bouquet of stories about the Earth
    Stellare
    I could not believe my own eyes when I spotted astrology in the legislative text.

    It brings back memories from my student days when I simply had to avoid saying what I was doing - studying astronomy - in social settings. All I got back was : oh, you study astrology! At the time it was a sure bet to make me furious and like I said I simply stopped telling anyone what I was doing. I wanted to have a good time too. :-)

    Now, I find it more amusing. I'm not sure if it is a good or a bad thing...

    But astrology and global warming?! Come on!

    Great article, Patrick. And a pretty interesting commentary string here it is too. :-)
    Bente Lilja Bye is the author of Lilja - A bouquet of stories about the Earth
    Stellare
    The fact that global warming is concluded based on measurements (not a theory or hypothesis) made by several independent groups, is the basis for the consensus and as such very different from Earth models that tells us how the Earth will react to or handle this heating.

    The current Earth models (including climate models) are educated hypothesis one could say, that can be confirmed or corrected based on actual measurements. These models are uncertain and thus difficult to use as a decision tool.

    However, they are not useless. Adapting to the changes in climate that global warming will cause must include making our society more resilient. In other words, be prepared for multiple scenarios.

    The insurance companies has been in this business for ages. It shouldn't be too hard to combine their knowledge with science and come up with good climate mitigation solutions. At least it will bring us forward.

    Global warming is indisputable. What causes it and how the Earth system reacts to it can be debated and is so in the science community (Outside the general public's reach as they normally use language that cannot be appreciated by non-experts and that is necessarily so due to the complexity of the matter. This debate is fundamentally different than the public debate which is more colored by politics than science).
    Bente Lilja Bye is the author of Lilja - A bouquet of stories about the Earth
    logicman
    Bente: the trouble with words is that they insist on wriggling around.  Not until you open the box can you tell if Schrodinger's cat was a furry feline or 9 lashes with a single rope handle.

    Tell people you're a linguist and they expect you to spel prefectly.

    Tell people you study geodesy and they think of Homer.

    Tell people you study Homer and they think of the Simpsons.

    Confused ?
    Stellare
    Yes :-)
    Bente Lilja Bye is the author of Lilja - A bouquet of stories about the Earth
    Amateur Astronomer

    Readers should realize that South Dakota has large coal reserves, but also a big investment in ethanol from corn. I work in both fields.

    In this case the coal interests have won.

    The legislation works against the corn and ethanol interest.

    So it might not be a final solution.

    logicman
    2 comments deleted at poster's request - in case anyone was wondering.

    I don't indulge in censorship.

    I am reminded of an earlier attempt to legislate an inconvenient fact, in this case the value of pi. Here is an account, adapted (and shortened) from The Straight Dope, a website run by Cecil Adams.
    “It happened in Indiana. Although the attempt to legislate pi was ultimately unsuccessful, it did come pretty close. In 1897 Representative T.I. Record of Posen county introduced House Bill #246 in the Indiana House of Representatives. The bill, based on the work of a physician and amateur mathematician named Edward J. Goodwin (Edwin in some accounts), suggests not one but three numbers for pi, among them 3.2...
    Just as people today have a hard time accepting the idea that the speed of light is the speed limit of the universe, Goodwin and Record apparently couldn't handle the fact that pi was not a rational number. "Since the rule in present use fails to work ..., it should be discarded as wholly wanting and misleading in the practical applications," the bill declared.
    Bill #246 was initially sent to the Committee on Swamp Lands. The committee deliberated gravely on the question, decided it was not the appropriate body to consider such a measure and turned it over to the Committee on Education. The latter committee gave the bill a "pass" recommendation and sent it on to the full House, which approved it unanimously, 67 to 0.”

    logicman
    Dave: thank you for pointing me to this gem.

    I managed to track down a pdf containing the full wording.  It is a wonderful piece of history.

    Pi as a round number? No problem?
    Trisect an angle?           ditto.
    Square the circle?  Easy Peasy.

    http://www.agecon.purdue.edu/crd/localgov/Topics/Materials/Pi_Edington_H...

    http://www.agecon.purdue.edu/crd/localgov/second%20level%20pages/indiana...
    Why doesn't this article mention that the politicians want astrology (horoscopes, zodiacs, signs etc) to be taught in science class? I think it would be outrageously funny if science teachers actually heeded this law and started teaching it!

    (the U.S. is in a fast downward spiral)

    logicman
    Why doesn't this article mention that the politicians want astrology (horoscopes, zodiacs, signs etc) to be taught in science class?

    I deliberately refrained from giving my analysis.  ( Truth be told, it's hard to write an analysis when you keep falling about laughing. )

    I hoped that the article would stand alone as a topic worthy of discussion.  It did, and then some.  The references to astrology and thermography have been picked up in the comments.

    I am informed that the legislators amended the words.  Fine. But why not put a new link on their own web page so that anyone can go straight to the latest version?  As I write this there is no fresh link.  The web page remains as I found it - warts and all:

    http://legis.state.sd.us/sessions/2010/Bill.aspx?File=HCR1009P.htm
    I've only prayed once in my life, and that was for god to make my enemies look foolish - god answered my prayer.
    Voltaire

    I thought global warming was just another denomination of climate change. The difference between faith in God and faith in climate change is that one is beautiful, powerful, loving, merciful and kind; and the other spells doom. When science becomes the darkness that justifies the sins of the wicked, by denying God's ubiquitous existence, ultimate authority and omniscient power, the only thing that changes is the ability to see Truth. Regardless of whether people affirm or deny God's existence, both positions are based on faith, because neither can furnish proof.
    Climate change is the religion of godless perverts, rebellious feminists and condemned liberals. Whether or not people believe Truth, Truth remains Truth. There is One Truth. Everything else is wrong. In the end you will be in either Heaven or Hell, period. If you don't believe in Hell now, you will when you get there!

    logicman
    I see that someone has been studying propaganda at the feet of Christopher Monckton, former member of a panel of journalists in the Downing Street press room;  Christopher Monckton, propagandist in the Falklands war; Christopher Monckton, proven liar.

    Climate change is the religion of godless perverts, rebellious feminists and condemned liberals.
    Ouch!  Anonymous, are you not familiar with the concept truth?

    Denial of human contamination of this planet by a person who claims to believe in God is proof in and of itself that the person's claim to believe in God is false.  There are many injunctions in the Bible requiring care for this planet.

    Denial of the possibility that Earth can be modified by human actions is denial of belief in truths expressed by the prophets Isiaah and Ezekiel - prophets of all Judaic religions, prophets recognised and greatly respected by genuine followers of Jesus of Nazareth and genuine followers of the prophet Mohammed.

    Is it not good enough for you to feed on the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture; and to drink of clear water, that you must foul the rest with your feet?
    Ezekiel 34:18

    The earth mourns and withers,
    the earth languishes and withers;
    the heavens languish together with the earth.
    The earth lies polluted under its inhabitants.
    ...
    Isaiah 24:4,5
    Since when, generations of "more enlightened" and "more civilized" people have made the problem much worse.

    But wait!  Religion has no place in science.  The possibility that humans are damaging our planet's climate has only been studied as a formal branch of science since 1868, so we can forget all about what people many people believe


    All of this Weird World Weather may be just coincidence.

    Shouldn't we wait until all the facts are in before making hasty political decisions?
    "godless perverts, rebellious feminists and condemned liberals"
    Wasn't it Mark Twain who said if given the choice he'd rather go to hell - the climate is better in heaven but the company is infinitely better in hell (or words to that effect).

    Gerhard Adam
    Climate change is the religion of godless perverts, rebellious feminists and condemned liberals. Whether or not people believe
    What an incredibly stupid thing to say.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Since carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, clearly what we must do is to outlaw greenhouses.

    logicman

    Since carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, clearly what we must do is to
    outlaw greenhouses.


    Kudos, Bill K.
    Amateur Astronomer

    Dear Anonymous, you wrote

    “Climate change is the religion of godless perverts, rebellious feminists and condemned liberals.”

    I’m none of the things you denounced, but I still believe in climate change. So you will need to denounce a larger group of people, or reconsider your conclusions about climate.

    You seem to have missed a message from the prophet Zarathustra in the Avesta from about 750 BC. It said the world will be destroyed by ice, and only a 1000 people will survive in a refuge at the South Pole constructed by Yima. Actually Jimmy Carter built the refuge as a permanent research station.

    Woops, I quoted the wrong prophet!  The popular view is global warming.

    Then you might have missed the prophecy in Daniel, Mathew, or John. It’s a vision of fire and brimstone in the earth, sulfur dioxide in the air, and Wormwood insecticide poisoning the water.  It said everything in the oceans will die, and earth will be melted by fervent heat. Does that sound like climate change?

    Patrick is struggling with a less extreme case of climate change, but still a gradual warming of the earth and seas. It isn’t an academic exercise. A lot of people have vested interests in the public policies that result from this issue. My professional experience includes coal, petroleum, natural gas, synthetic fuels, and alternative energy sources, but also disaster prevention from dangerous materials. So I am right in the middle of the debate. It’s not a proper debate, we just argue about the facts.

    All of the scientific data in this argument has been tampered with, or manipulated in one way or another. So the public really has no way to be sure which claims are correct.

    The most accurate report I am aware of comes from the management programs in the ethanol fuel industry.  It says there is only enough biomass in the world to replace 15% of the petroleum fuel we use. That really means we vent 7 times as much carbon dioxide as all the living plants on land and sea can consume. The excess goes to increase the acidity in sea water.

    Acidity is a scientific measurement that is easy to do, and hard to falsify or argue against. It acts like antifreeze to melt the polar ice. A lot of environmental arguments get very complicated, and people get emotional about the economics involved, but the increasing acidity is not complicated or mysterious.  People who want to join in the discussion are invited to disclose their own economic interest in the public policies.

    The message I get from Patrick’s articles is that the climate is changing a bit more quickly now than it was a few years ago, but not yet at the rate described in ancient prophecies. I didn’t find a remedy in Patrick’s articles. There are practical remedies available like the ones Denmark, Brazil, and a few other countries have already accomplished. Those options expire if the remedies are delayed too long. When the trumpet sounds, then it’s too late.

    logicman
    Hi Jerry!

    Thanks for your input.

    I have been formulating ideas for remedies since I went to Pakistan in 1978 to see for myself how people there live, to learn something about Pakistan's constitution, law and politics, to visit seats of learning and to visit irrigation and flood control sites.

    I simply don't believe that anyone will listen to my advice on remedial action until something globally dreadful happens.  Unless of course, I come to the attention of politicians as someone who may possibly know one or two things about science.  But to come to their attention I would have to do something notable like predicting and reporting a major event before the internet's most popular climate scientist: Anthony Watts.
    "During the Little Climatic Optimum, Erik the Red settled Greenland where they farmed and raised dairy cattle. Today, ninety percent of Greenland is covered by massive ice sheets, in many places more than two miles thick"
    This makes it sound like they settled the entire island. The eastern and western settlements of the Norse were rather small, and most of Greenland was covered in ice then too. The major trade goods of the Greenland Norse was Narwhal ivory and furs. The barns in which they kept these cattle had walls 2 meters thick; winters in Greenland in Eric's time were incredibly harsh and became progressively worse. Read Jared Diamond's book 'Collapse' to get some idea of the conditions in Greenland during Eric's time. And, by the way, most climatologists think that conditions in Greenland today are close to what they were when Eric settled. I know the deniers will say 'AHA no SUV's in Eric's time' but facts are facts. The reason I am convinced of AGM is the speed of the temperature rise in concert with the increase of atmospheric CO2 since the beginning of the industrial revolution.

    I think that the apparent compulsion of the AGW denialist campers to cast scientific practices and the knowledge gained therefrom as some kind of religion, albeit a false one, is indicative of a deeply ingrained inability to separate reality from ignorant fantasy.