Is Global Warming Solar Induced?

There is some news making the rounds that Earth is not the only planet experiencing global warming. Mars, for example, possibly appears to be getting a bit warmer, as are Jupiter, Neptune’s moon Triton, and even Pluto.

Could this mean that global warming is caused by the Sun and not man’s pollution?

I am certainly seeing global warming deniers and others taking this information and running with it (like here, for example, or here, and on Benny Peiser’s CCNet on March 7, 2007, though I don’t have a link for that). However, let’s take a skeptical approach shall we?

First off, I want to make a very big point here: the changes in the Earth due to global warming, while real, are somewhat subtle. Yet the Earth gets most of its heat from the Sun, so if the Sun were the cause, we’d expect the effects of warming to be much stronger on Earth than any outer planets. So any really strong signal of global warming on outer planets like Jupiter or especially Pluto, if real, are very unlikely to be due to the Sun.

Second, what I am seeing in these arguments is a very dangerous practice called "cherry picking"; selectively picking out data that support your argument and ignoring contrary evidence. It certainly looks interesting that Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Triton, and Pluto are warming, and if that’s all you heard then it seems logical to think maybe the Sun is the cause. But they aren’t the only objects in the solar system. What about Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Uranus… and if you include Triton to support your case, you’d better also take a good look at the nearly 100 other sizable moons in the solar system. Are they warming too?

I have heard nothing about them in these arguments, and I suspect it’s because there’s not much to say. If they are not warming, then deniers won’t mention them, and scientists won’t report it because there is nothing to report ("News flash: Phobos still the same temperature!" is unlikely to get into Planetary Science journals). However, I can’t say that with conviction, because the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Any planetary scientists reading this blog entry, please contact me. I’m interested in hearing more.

Third, if you actually read the articles about the specific cases of planetary warming to which I linked above, you see that they all have separate explanations:

Mars: To start, is Mars even warming globally at all? Perhaps not — it might be a local effect. And if it is global, there already is an idea of why that might be happening: it would be due to periodic changes in its orbit, called Milankovitch cycles. The Earth has them too, and they do affect our climate. And the guy who is proposing that the Sun is warming Mars doesn’t think CO>2 is a greenhouse gas. I think his science is a little suspect. His reasoning is certainly specious– he says if Mars and Earth are both warming, it must be due to the Sun. As I point out above, that is clearly not necessarily the case. Even if this martian warming turns out to be true, it may just be a natural effect of the shape of the orbit of Mars.

Jupiter: The evidence for Jupiter’s global warming is nothing of the sort. It is evidence that there are warm

spots, with storms rising to the tops of the clouds. This may just be a local effect, and not global. Jupiter’s atmosphere is fiendishly complex, and not well understood. If you’ve ever looked at the planet through a telescope, you can clearly see thick horizontal bands across the disk; these are enormous wind patterns that dwarf the Earth. A few years ago, one of the dark bands >disappeared completely. For reasons unknown to this day, it sank a bit in the atmosphere, and opaque clouds covered it up. I saw it many times through my ‘scope, and it was bizarre. Then, after a while, it reappeared, just like that. My point: any claims about Jupiter’s atmosphere when it comes to global warming must be approached very carefully. We don’t understand the dynamics of that system.

Also, Jupiter’s atmospheric physics is dominated by the internal heat of the planet, and not by the heat from the Sun. So even if the Sun did heat up somehow, the effect on Jupiter would probably be a lot less dramatic than here on Earth.

Triton: With Triton, Neptune’s moon, it says in the very article quoted that Triton is approaching an extreme summer season, due to the tilt of its orbit. This happens every few centuries. So the Sun can be constantly chugging away, and Triton would warm up anyhow. Mind you, Neptune’s orbit is 165 years long, so we haven’t even observed it for a full orbit since the invention of modern detectors capable of giving us good data. Therefore it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish between factors like the Sun warming up Triton anomalously, or just the usual changes in the moon due to seasons.

Pluto: As for tiny Pluto, its dynamics are very poorly understood. What we do see is that its atmosphere appears to be thicker than expected right now. Pluto doesn’t have much of an air blanket, and it changes over the course of Pluto’s orbit as the tiny iceball approaches and recedes from the Sun. Pluto reached perihelion, the closest point in its orbit to the Sun, in 1989, and is slowly drawing away again. You might think its atmosphere would start freezing out, getting thinner. But that’s not happening; it’s getting quite a bit thicker.

However, this is not totally unexpected. Changes are not instantaneous, and it may take a while for things to thaw. It’s possible that only now are gases frozen on Pluto’s surface starting to evaporate. It’s a weird planet, tipped way over (Earth is tilted 23 degrees, while Pluto is canted at 122), and the orbit is highly elliptical and tilted, too. You expect weird stuff from it, and a delay in the thawing is not all that surprising.

Plus, let’s think about this: Pluto is more than 30 times farther away from the Sun than the Earth is. If the Sun were warming up enough to affect Pluto at that vast distance, it would blowtorch the Earth. If the effects of Earth’s global warming are subtle enough to argue about at all, then it’s safe to assume the changes on Pluto are completely irrelevant to the argument.

So where does that leave us? When I look at all of this, I see a handful of the 100 large solar system bodies showing some evidence of local warming (Jupiter’s spot), some evidence of systemic warming with known causes that are a lot more likely than the Sun heating up (like well-understood orbital variations), and some evidence that any warming experienced by these bodies is possibly being exaggerated in the reporting.

I also see cherry-picking, with no mention of the other planets and moons in the solar system.

And what of the Sun? Is it possible that the Earth’s warming is caused by our nearest star?

Of course it’s possible. There are links to the Sun’s behavior and Earth’s climate (look up the Maunder minimum for some interesting reading), and it would be foolish to simply deny this. However, this is a vastly complex and difficult system to understand, and simply claiming "Yes it’s due to the Sun" or "No it’s not due to the Sun" is certainly naive.

But we do have some facts:

1) The Earth is getting warmer.

2) We are dumping more CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

3) A little greenhouse effect is a good thing (otherwise the average temperature of the Earth would be below the freezing point of water). Too much, however, is Venus.

4) Some of this global warming is due to human causes. This is fact. The question is, how much?

5) There are political and ideological ramifications of global warming, and a lot of people — politicians, in fact — have a lot at stake and are known to twist science to meet their needs.

With all of these facts lined up, it’s clear that the one thing we need to do is be very, very careful when someone comes in and makes a broad, sweeping statement about global warming’s cause, especially when they have ulterior motives for saying what they do. This may sound like an ad hominem, but we have seen, over and over, how science gets abused these past few years by those in power. A jaundiced eye is critical in science, and a little skepticism — or in this case, a lot — is a good thing.

Fire image courtesy of Mars and Jupiter images from Hubble.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Astronomy, Debunking, Piece of mind, Politics, Science, Skepticism ADVERTISEMENT

Comments (209)

Links to this Post

  1. The Strata-Sphere » Blog Archive » Now How Did All That CO2 Get To Mars? | April 30, 2007
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  1. Christian Burnham

    Don’t know about you, but I think I’m getting ‘ear-lobal warming’ from all these deniers.

    Their pattern seems to be a) GW doesn’t exist, then b) We now admit that it exists , but it’s not man-made, then c) OK, so it exists and it’s man-made, but it’s too late to do anything about it.

    April 29, 2007 at 9:05 pm
  2. Max Fagin

    I’ve always been hesitant to judge temperature data from other planetary bodies. I certainly don’t think that we have enough data from Earth yet, so acting based on data from another planet seems a big risky.

    Still, I completely agree with you BA. Scientific caution is always a good thing, and it ss especially needed in the discussion of global climate change.

    People on both sides of the debate, (Sorry, wrong wording.) People of all wavelengths of the spectrum tend to appeal to emotions rather than good solid science. For examples, see “An Inconvenient Truth” and “The Great Global Warming Swindle.” No one seems to be able to tell a complete and honest story.

    I also especially like your list of facts that you include whenever global warming comes up. They summarize the issue nicely, while still leaving plenty of room for new ideas and information.

    And I always enjoy it when Global Warming is discussed on the BA forums. I know that it’s led to some of the most engaging discussion of Global Warming I have ever had online!

    April 29, 2007 at 9:08 pm
  3. Tim G

    Here are articles that tend to quantify things a bit more. The variations in solar output have almost certainly affected earth’s temperature, but they cannot account for the majority of the recent global warming.

    Duke report

    April 29, 2007 at 10:37 pm
  4. Lab Lemming

    Phil, you’ve left out a vital piece of data:

    Direct satellite observations of the sun’s luminosity.

    Afterall, why bother with proxies like Pluto and Triton when we can directly measure the energy output of the sun?

    April 29, 2007 at 11:06 pm
  5. csrster


    One issue there is that any solar effect on the Earth may be due to something very indirect – e.g. the claim that changes in the solar magnetic field lead to changes in the interplanetary magnetic field leading to changes in the flux of cosmic rays leading to changes in cloud nucleation leading to changes in climate.

    However you are right in that such effects would not affect other planets in the same way as the Earth – e.g. I doubt cloud nucleation is an important factor in the martian climate.

    April 29, 2007 at 11:17 pm
  6. retroflex

    You’ve now hurt my brain by reminding it of the utter freakiness of Jupiter’s cloud bands.

    April 30, 2007 at 12:43 am
  7. PK

    Thanks Phil, for another great post. I do want to add, though, that GW is not only denied by politicians and CEOs from big (oil) corporations. Lots of normal people buy into these lies because it is the position of the politicians they vote for, and rather than checking it out for themselves, they will go with th opinion of their “group”. This is also true for people who position themselves on the opposite (in this case liberal) side of the political spectrum, who are susceptible to the idea that GW is real and man-made. It just happens that the liberals have science on their side…

    So the left is right, and the right is wrong. How’s that for newspeak!

    April 30, 2007 at 2:18 am
  8. NOYB


    Proponents of anthropogenic global warming are just as guilty of “cherry picking.” Correlation to man-made carbon dioxide and warming is based on a small sample of temperature records. They have also “conveniently” discounted the medieval warm period (1000-1400 C.E.) in their analysis (see Mann’s Broken Hockey Stick

    April 30, 2007 at 2:34 am
  9. Kullat Nunu

    “This isn’t a scientific paper, it’s absolutely awful,” said Professor Phil Jones, director of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK.

    ( )

    April 30, 2007 at 3:29 am
  10. Donnie B.

    Three comments, BA:

    You didn’t point out that Earth has Milankovich cycles as well, and in our case they are presently trending toward a colder Earth. This indicates that whatever is warming the Earth’s climate is a strong enough effect to overcome the Earth’s orbital variations.

    Another thing that’s been mentioned about Mars: its surface is currently darker than it has been in the recent past. This also changes its temperature due to more effective absorption of solar energy. (The change in albedo is thought to be due to differences in distribution of light-colored sand vs. darker underlying material.)

    I take issue with your arguments about the way changes in solar output would affect the inner vs. outer planets. It seems to me that a given increase in solar output would result in a proportional increase in insolation, no matter where you are in the system. For Jupiter, of course, the effect would be less noticable since much of the energy driving its atmosphere comes from internal heat. But for Pluto there’s no such effect, which makes it respond more like the Earth to insolation changes. Even though Pluto gets a lot less solar energy, the delta would be the same so its forced temperature would change accordingly. Am I way off base here?

    April 30, 2007 at 3:32 am
  11. bassmanpete

    Donnie B said:

    You didn’t point out that Earth has Milankovich cycles as well, and in our case they are presently trending toward a colder Earth.

    The BA said:

    And if it is global, there already is an idea of why that might be happening: it would be due to periodic changes in its orbit, called Milankovitch cycles. The Earth has them too, and they do affect our climate.

    April 30, 2007 at 4:19 am
  12. jrkeller


    Let me start of with I believe that the warming trend we are seeing is primarily a man made porblem. However, to believe that only the “right is wrong” one needs to read this interview by Al Gore,



    There’s a lot of debate right now over the best way to communicate about global warming and get people motivated. Do you scare people or give them hope? What’s the right mix?

    Answer (Gore)

    I think the answer to that depends on where your audience’s head is. In the United States of America, unfortunately we still live in a bubble of unreality. And the Category 5 denial is an enormous obstacle to any discussion of solutions. Nobody is interested in solutions if they don’t think there’s a problem. Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis.

    Over time that mix will change. As the country comes to more accept the reality of the crisis, there’s going to be much more receptivity to a full-blown discussion of the solutions.


    “Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis. ”

    Basically lying about the facts and admitting it doesn’t help his cause.

    April 30, 2007 at 4:52 am
  13. Max Fagin

    I’m sure many of you have seen this, but for those of you who haven’t:

    PZ and Randi both commented on this, but it seems like Al Gore might not be above pandering to creationists.

    He put some new material into his slide show that talks about human population over time and mentions Adam and Eve’s ‘appearance’ 200,000 years ago. Obviously, this doesn’t say anything about the validity of his arguments, but it does say that he might be in the global warming debate for votes more then for science.

    April 30, 2007 at 6:07 am
  14. DennyMo

    Even if one doesn’t drink the koolaid on global warming, there are plenty of “local” reasons one should favor and support pollution reduction. Smog, low-level ozone (ethanol, anyone?), acid rain, drinking water, etc. are all adversely affected by carbon-fuel-based energy transfer: if caring about the planet their kids and grandkids will have to live in is “too abstract” for someone, they should at least be able to get excited about breathing air and drinking water that doesn’t give them cancer or any number of other maladies.

    April 30, 2007 at 6:15 am
  15. John Porrit

    Lemmings all. Mutual academic backslapping all round. Make you feel better does it? People like you shut down debate as soon as you refer to those who disagree with you as deniers. Flat earthers all I feel just swallowing recieved opinion unquestionally. What a great waste of intellectual talent.

    April 30, 2007 at 6:18 am
  16. MKJones

    Hmm. If science induced it, then science can fix it right?

    I read about a project to feed certain ‘dead’ areas of the oceans with ‘Iron’ or ‘Urea’ this would cause a huge blooming of algae which would, in time, ‘suck up’ a hell of a lot of the excess Carbon in the air.

    To me, it seems like a simple un-destructive experiment.

    April 30, 2007 at 6:23 am
  17. John Oliver

    Phil’s reminder that without the greenhouse gases, Earth would be below 0 C and hence potentially ice covered made me think of the newly discovered Glese 581c. It is estimated to lie between 0C and 40C. If it has an atmosphere with greenhouse gases could it not be closer to Venus than Earth and hence less likely to be a comfortable site for ‘life as we know it’?

    April 30, 2007 at 6:30 am
  18. Damien

    John, what exactly are you trying to say?

    April 30, 2007 at 6:37 am
  19. Elwood Herring

    A favourite quote of mine from Robert Heinlein:

    “What are the facts? Again and again and again – what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what ‘the stars foretell,’ avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable ‘verdict of history’ – what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your only clue. Get the facts!”

    … And if I dare be so bold as to add a caveat to that: “Make sure said facts are totally free from any bias!”

    April 30, 2007 at 7:02 am
  20. LovleAnjel

    “I read about a project to feed certain ‘dead’ areas of the oceans with ‘Iron’ or ‘Urea’ this would cause a huge blooming of algae which would, in time, ’suck up’ a hell of a lot of the excess Carbon in the air.”

    There are no “dead areas” in the oceans. Iron fertilizing the oceans will not sequester as much carbon as people would like, but in fact would cause eutrophication in the pelagic zone. The algal blooms suck up oxygen as well as carbon, very adversely affecting the critters that live there. Check out what farm runoff from the Mississippi has done to the waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

    April 30, 2007 at 7:07 am
  21. Joe Kalash

    MKJones was wondering about using iron to suck up carbon dioxide. Sadly, this approach doesn’t seem to work.

    From “The Effects of Iron Fertilization on Carbon Sequestration in the Southern Ocean” by Ken O. Buesseler in

    Science 16 April 2004

    Vol. 304. no. 5669, pp. 414 – 417:

    Also, with a Csequestered:Feadded ratio of 3.3 x 103 (molar ratio; export at 250 m; fluxes through day 28), it is difficult to see how ocean iron fertilization with such a low Csequestered:Feadded export efficiency would easily scale up to solve our larger global C imbalance problems.

    If you are a subscriber to Science, you can pick up the entire article. If not, you can do a Google search for “Southern Ocean Iron Experiment”, which was the name of the experiment (AKA SOFeX)

    April 30, 2007 at 7:08 am
  22. Bee

    Thanks for that summary about the planets atmospheres, this was really helpful for my understanding of these claims!

    Regarding scaring people and Global Warming, see also

    Global Warming

    Answer (Gore)

    I think the answer to that depends on where your audience’s head is. In the United States of America, unfortunately we still live in a bubble of unreality. And the Category 5 denial is an enormous obstacle to any discussion of solutions. Nobody is interested in solutions if they don’t think there’s a problem. Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis.

    Instead of scaring people with a global warming apocalypse, how about he would start scaring them with energy scarcity. There’s no doubt we are facing a rapid change, and its going to be a tough one.



    April 30, 2007 at 7:23 am
  23. DrFlimmer

    Mankind is guilty of global warming, how much is not the question, we must do as much as we can everywhere to slow it down. We can’t turn it around any more. The only way to do that is to go “back to the roots” without any industry which is not possible any more.

    I’m not sure if it is an effect of a climate change but the weather here in Germany is running riot: The Winter was no real winter at all and the whole country did not get any drops of rain for over a month. I cannot remember a year that I have seen something like that!

    If this is going on in the future then we do have a clue!

    April 30, 2007 at 7:30 am
  24. PsyberDave

    This months Skeptical Inquirer features an article by a NASA scientist who specifically says that global warming is not due to changes in solar output.

    April 30, 2007 at 7:38 am
  25. Frank Ch. Eigler

    BA, could you clarify something?

    > First off, I want to make a very big point here: the changes in the Earth due to

    > global warming, while real, are somewhat subtle. Yet the Earth gets most of its

    > heat from the Sun, so if the Sun were the cause, we’d expect the effects of

    > warming to be much stronger on Earth than any outer planets.

    That doesn’t seem obvious to me. Say the sun increased its output of whatever

    form of radiation helps heat us by 1-2%. Would that 1-2% increase not translate

    a similarly proportioned linear effect, no matter whether it’s Pluto or Earth?

    In other words, 1-2% extra sun juice transmitted would translate to 1-2% extra

    sun juice received, either on Mercury or on Pluto, no?

    April 30, 2007 at 8:23 am
  26. AJStrata

    I would say that those of us who have seen no solid evidence the current warming is human activity driven (yes, it is getting warmer that has never been an issue to me) I find it heartening to see all the calls for an end to wild speculation and to take time to find out what is going on. Too bad those calling for Kyoto do not heed that advice. And I appreciate the fact that these are compex systems and no concusions can be drawn from the data.

    Again, those who lambast us who do not buy into the human-driven global warming hype have the same points – this is not like our understanding of gravity. The mechanism for the warming is completely theoretical and faces a broad spectrum of conflicting and opposing data.

    I especially took heart with the acknowledgement that solar warming cannot be determined to exist or not exist! Finally someone is admitting what we do not know – and doing it honestly. We don’t know if CO2 is the driving force or not. It could be because it is a greenhouse gas. But it may not be since it appears from the geological record to be a product of warming, not a precursor.

    But I and many others welcome the admission we don’t know the source(s) of the warming and the driving force. So we therefore don’t know the best answer to adapt. If the driving mechansim is CO2 production Kyoto might help. If it is not CO2 production Kyoto won’t do a thing. Humanity deserves solid, hard scientific information to make our strategic plans – not Hollywood-Political hype.

    The fact is there are scientists on all sides with conflicting views and reasonable data and theories to back them up. But they are conjecture. Well educated conjecture – but still only conjecture. Good post and comments though – very refreshing.

    April 30, 2007 at 8:33 am
  27. SharkByte

    I think we spend entirely to much time trying to pin everything on one source. I read right here on this very website that the earth has warmed up roughly 2 degrees in the last 100 years. Correspondingly, the sun has gotten roughly 2% brighter. We have recorded Mars to have gotten roughly 1.8% warmer if I remember the artical properly. The sun more then likely is part of the cause of global warming. You also cannot discount the fact that humans are dumping green house gases into the atmosphere like there is no tomorrow. We are a huge part of the problem. I really don’t see how there is any doubt of that. I remember reading an artical a long time ago that said if you look back throught he fossil record you could see where the earth’s temperature veritions wen’t off from where they should be and it falls right about the same time period where humans started clearing fields for farming. We have been effecting the earths climate for much longer then just since we’ve been driving cars. There are enough paved roads just in the continental US to completely pave the state of Ohio. All of that concrete even has a small part if warming the earth. I am far from being an environmentalist but even I can admit that we have a serious problem that needs to be adressed. I just don’t agree with the way most groups address it by assigning the blame to one thing…

    April 30, 2007 at 8:35 am
  28. Skeptico

    Incidentally, here’s RealClimate on Global warming on Mars?

    April 30, 2007 at 8:41 am
  29. hale_bopp

    The NPR show Intelligence Squared U.S. recently did a debate. Proposition: GLobal Warming is Not a Crisis. You can listen to the whole show at

    I heard the broadcast version last week, but haven’t listened to the unedited debate.

    April 30, 2007 at 9:08 am
  30. Michael

    I note that I am supposed to be skeptical only of the ‘deniers’. Do you seriously think Al Gore and the politicians of the IPCC have no agenda but the truth?

    April 30, 2007 at 9:17 am
  31. Dulouz

    NOYB says:

    “Proponents of anthropogenic global warming are just as guilty of “cherry picking.” Correlation to man-made carbon dioxide and warming is based on a small sample of temperature records. They have also “conveniently” discounted the medieval warm period (1000-1400 C.E.) in their analysis (see Mann’s Broken Hockey Stick”

    Good point. How do people explain this warming centuries before the Industrial Revolution?

    Also, what about the “Little Ice Age” that created temperatures so cold that People skated on the River Thames as it froze completely over? Again centuries before the Industrial Revolution.,,1974489,00.html

    April 30, 2007 at 9:46 am
  32. Stark


    I’ve not seen anyone tell anyone else what to be skeptical of around here.

    Do note however that skepticism usually ceases in the face of overwhelming evidence.

    The evidence supports, overwhelmingly as the BA has pointed out time and again, that global warming IS happening. It also supports that human activity is a part of it. The questions that remain are many and varied but chief among them would have to be : How much of global warminng is caused by humans (and therefore controllable by humans)? the jury is out on this one and will be for quite some time… right now the evidence that is being gathered points toward an answer of “a lot” but that could change tomorrow. That’s the great thing about science… it doesn’t claim to have an answer before it really does have an answer! Unlike politicians and talking heads.

    As for Gore and the IPCC having an agenda…absolutely. Gore most definitely overhyped things in his movie – he intended to do so. He drew some conclusion that are shakey with the current state of evidence. So what? The idea of his movie was to get the average person thionking about things – talking about the issue. Yes, we know which side of the issue he stands on and he has a bias – no doubt about it. None of that changes the fact that the basic science he relied on was sound and accurate. Yes, he overstated things (sometime by a large margin) but the basic info was there and correct. I pesronally disagree with his choice in going over the top with his presentation but you have to admit – it got results: people are talking about the issue more than ever.

    Skepticism in all things is healthy… skepticism in spite of overwhelming evidence is just willfull ignorance.

    April 30, 2007 at 9:47 am
  33. DrFlimmer


    Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to me that you want to wait until we have a proof. But climate changes slow compared to our fast moving and rapidly changing world. If we just go on and do what we do now, we will see “a proof” in (let’s say) 20 yrs, because then we are able to recognize that the fast increase in the average temperature must have been man-made. But the effects in 20yrs are made today and what we do in the next 20yrs will effect the climate AND us in maybe 30 or 40yrs.

    I am not a climatologist and I don’t have a “proof”, of course. But I thank the possibility is worrying enaugh, isn’t it? And this possibility that we can harm ourselves is a big reason for me to do something that the worst-case-szenario will not occure.

    And doing something for our environment is something we can do all the time, it doesn’t matter if it is necessary or not!

    April 30, 2007 at 10:07 am
  34. Mantra

    This biggest issue is the definition of temperature:

    A 2C rise on earth may or may not mean the same thing as a 2C rise on mars simply due to differences in atmospheric heat capacity, differences in cosine-corrected surface area and finally differences in solar orbital distance. I’ haven’t seen any of these calculations or discussion. Without them it’s meaningless to conclude anything.

    Saying “See, they’re both 2C increase so global warning is all solar” is exactly the same as saying “See, both those women are wearing yellow dresses so that proves they bought them from the same store”. No it doesn’t prove anything. It’s possibly true but more likely a coincidence!

    Temperature is a statistical mean of an energy distribution. It depends on the material composition of the measured media and the amount of energy in the media. Temperature is very easily misleading – the same temperature pasta sauce and ceramic pizza stone have radically different abilities to burn your skin because of the differences in heat capacity (and by physical implication, radically different amounts of energy actually stored in the material).

    You need to compare the total incident solar energy (corrected for orbital distance, different incident area and cosine rule) and throw in a heat capacity to even begin to know if having the same 2C on both planets means anything at all. Strictly it’s stupid to compare by temperature anyway – energy and energy distribution across the globe (earth or martian) is better and more accurate.

    I do I think someone should calculation but without it, the entire supposition about temperature and global warming is the worst type of analysis – random, irrational cherry picking which doesn’t even have the appearance of rational cause-and-effect.

    JC on stick: this is basic high school physics folks!

    April 30, 2007 at 10:52 am
  35. eewolf

    From AJStrata at this blog

    Speaking of the BA’s blog article:

    “His claim is almost 3rd grade in scientific depth of understanding the forces at work here.”

    “But he does have an aptly named site!”

    From AJStrata in a post on this site:

    “Good post and comments though – very refreshing.”

    April 30, 2007 at 10:58 am
  36. The Bad Astronomer

    eewolf, thanks for the link. While I’m flattered that the writer of the strata-sphere blog thinks I am “young”, I find his other remarks fairly unsurprising. His claim that water is a thermal conductor is precisely wrong; it’s an insulator. It takes a long time to heat up or cool; it’s a thermal heat sink.

    Like a lot of the GW deniers on Digg who have been commenting on my post, he hasn’t read it clearly. He is also making quite a few excuses, like Mercury not having an atmosphere. Whaaaa? The point here is that if the Sun is causing GW, then all the other planets should be heating up. That makes Mercury fair game (and I’ll note that the atmosphere of Mars is far too thin to support a greenhouse effect that would have similar effect on Mars as it does on Earth).

    Also, he says that other planets make great controls (which is not true at all– we cannot control them, and they are incredibly complicated system on their own– they are good comparison cases, but not controls) but then ignores all the other planets and moons. His claims about the outer planets is just wrong.

    Sigh. This sort of thing is the precise reason I wrote this article in the first place. Remember to read these essays with a grain of salt folk. You don’t know what agenda the writer has. Mine is clear enough- a scientific and unbiased assessment of the actual facts, with no hysteria, no histrionics, and a very skeptical but not dismissive attitude. I suspect you’ll find that to be a rare commodity in this arguments.

    April 30, 2007 at 11:10 am
  37. Michael

    “… and a very skeptical but not dismissive attitude.”

    Not dismissive? Unless you clarify who you mean by ‘deniers’ – which it appears to me to be anyone who is skeptical of AGW – I think you are showing a very dismissive attitude. Calling people who disagree with you names (and PLEASE don’t pretend the term ‘global warmer denier’ doesn’t have a very intended negative connotation) is pretty dismissive in my book.

    April 30, 2007 at 11:17 am
  38. The Bad Astronomer

    Of course it’s dismissive. Global warming is a fact. People who deny it are wrong. Many people who were denying it until recently have switched bandwagons and now admit it’s real, but are downplaying or manipulating the facts to downplay human involvement. This is just such a case. From what i have read, what we see happening on the other planets has little or nothing to do with what’s going with the Earth, but many people are using this data to cast doubt on anthropocentric GW. They are not being skeptical, they are playing into their own agenda. This is clear form the reaction I am getting, which is not thoughtful and skeptical, but tinged with vitriol.

    My point, once again, is to look at the actual data, the actual facts, and not try to spin it. This includes calling spin when I see it. Well, I see it, and I’m calling it.

    April 30, 2007 at 11:26 am
  39. AJStrata

    Dr Flimmer,

    Interesting question. Do I want proof or rock solid evidence? Let’s get the stipulations out of the way so as to not be distracted. The temperature is rising and has been centuries. The earth has seen these temps before millions of times in our 4 billion year history. Man’s capacity to influence temps are limited to the last 200 years or so…

    OK. Yes, I want solid proof on the amount of impact humanity has on the warming. If it is 50% of the effect and CO2 driven then Kyoto may help. If it is 10% of the effect (which is more plausible, but but not proven) then Kyoto will do nothing. I liken it to bleeding a patient in the Middle Ages because it was thought to release the poisons. In fact it weakened the patient’s ability to fibght back against infections. You have to know what you are fighting. That is why surgeons don’t just start slicing away at patients in emergency rooms until vitals and tests and labs and images are ready so they know WHAT to do.

    Panicking is not the answer. BTW, CO2 is keeping the planet from its natural state of being much colder. So one does not want to screw up on the verge of a cooling trend and then push the climate into a deep ice age.


    yes, the discussion in the threads was a lot better than the ridiculous post above. BA should have stuck with “we don’t know” instead of assuming only those of us who want solid proof are “deniers”. If you read my posts I never once said GW was not happening – just the opposite. Finally, maybe you should put he entire “3rd grade” in context since it was aimed at only one of BA’s assumptions. Or is it beyond your graps to be complete and open? I see a master Cherry Picker at work in your selection…..

    Too funny.

    April 30, 2007 at 11:29 am
  40. eewolf


    You did say it was a good “

    post and comments”, not just comments.

    I posted a link to your article so that people could read it themselves. I just (cherry) picked out two lines that I thought were strikingly different from your post here. I encourage everyone to read your complete blog post.

    There is also a striking difference in both delivery and content between the BA’s article and yours.

    April 30, 2007 at 11:45 am
  41. AJStrata

    BA, Check your science again. Water conducts heat very rapidly – especially compare to rock, atmospheres and the vacuum of space (which was my point). Conduction and retention are two different mechanisms. And I did say water was a heat sink – which is why it moderates the energy effect hitting us. It can soak up a lot of solar energy and it does. Can you claim otherwise?

    Also, I am not a GWE denier -which if you read my site you would know, and thus is why I thought you young. To be so ignorant of the obvious I was hoping I could lay down to youth. Saldy not.

    I am laughing at your confusion over Mercury! Is it not true the earth’s ground temperature has not moved a bit? Is it not true the Martian Ice Cap issue is due to the atmoshpere and not the ground temperature? I thought you might find that a bit uncomfortable. It only takes small energy changes to adjust the greenhouse effects on Earth, but it would be indistinguishable in the ground temperatures.

    You mixed two different things (atmospheric temps and ground temps) and now are back pedaling. OK, fine. But your denier charge is lame. The other systems DO make great controls, otherwise NASA should defund every single dime being spent on planetary and deep space science which CLAIMS to be unlocking the creation of Earth and processes here on Earth. You know damn well all NASA Space Science is geared to understanding the processes here.

    So don’t tell me we cannot look at the Moon, without its atmosphere, and then use it as a control example to understand how an atmosphere and oceans and an active core changed the evolution of Earth. Or how we can look at Mars and its lack of a Magnetic Field to understand how our magnetic field effects us. We use these planets as control examples in everything NASA does.

    What is amazing is your situational excuses. I bet you have a least a dozen articles where you claimed we could look at something in space and extrapolate some new understanding to things here on Earth. And the minute someone else does it, but ends up disagreeing with you, you avoid the debate and use names like “Denier”. I answered your questions. Which is a lot more than you can muster.

    April 30, 2007 at 11:46 am
  42. AJStrata


    Fair enough. I wrote my post first, then read the discussion and saw rays of hope. So I moderated my comments and tried to inject some peace making. Oh well, sue me for trying!

    And yes, BA and I are different people with different NASA and Science experiences. BA is a theoretician, I am a technically savvy, science addicted business man. What is not in dispute is BA will not get any bye’s from me on this issue. Since he posted me as a “denier” when I wasn’t I thought I was being quite reasonable. “Denier” is a quite a charge – almost like being called a scientific plagerists! BA should have known better and he probably would have if he was a bit older and wiser.

    Still, we are at the same place. Those claiming warming is driven buy human activity have no scientific proof that withstands scrutiny or predictions. In fact, the only thing they have demonstrated since the late 1980’s is their climate models suck. If they had generated those kinds of results on medical treatments or human safety issues they would have been sued for malpractice. Their accuracy is worse than the targetting of Mars Observer on its final Orbital Insertion (MO was lost at Mars).

    You need to put things in context with other science. The Man-Made GW claims have had to continously cut back their Warming predictions over the last 20 years as all their dire warnings never came to fruition. In Science these are called failures. Only in the media would someone call these facts (from experts no doubt). When a GW warming model accurately predicts the climate over the next 3-5 years I will be the first to jump on the bandwagon and call to support their results and conclusions. But don’t call me a “denier” when all I have seen is two decades of hype and an unbroken string of failed predictions.

    Geez, you simply pulling some numbers out of a hat would have had better predictive value!

    April 30, 2007 at 12:12 pm
  43. Ed in PA

    My goodness, so much anger! I take issue with a person’s integrity, if they make a statement of “you avoid the debate and use names like ‘Denier'”, trying to make an argument that the BA has resorted to namecalling.

    This very shortly after describing a Science Professor with words like:

    3rd Grade in Science Depth…


    I am laughing at your confusion…

    These kinds of comments make you appear like someone backed into a logical corner, or someone that’s been kicked around too often verbally, and cannot handle the dialog. It reads like you easily lose your temper and speak only with emotion, not any real appreciation of the earth or environment.

    April 30, 2007 at 12:19 pm
  44. MarshallDog

    Ed in PA,

    What’s even better is AJ’s self-title of technically savvy, science addicted business man. Of course we should listen to him, rather than listen to the blatherings of a lowly theoretician.

    April 30, 2007 at 12:29 pm
  45. Michael

    Using the term ‘denier’ IS name calling. Please don’t pretend to be so naive as to not understand the intentional link to ‘Holocaust Deniers’. Especially considering the other rhetoric from the extreme believers (calling for ‘Nuremburg trials’ for disbelievers). I find it extremely patronizing and insulting that I am not allowed to be an AGW skeptic; oh, no, I’m a denier. Doesn’t matter a bit how much I know about the subject, how closely I have followed the science, or, least of all, WHY I’m not a believer. It’s just an article of faith that a non-believer is a denier.

    And please don’t tell me how I can’t be a skeptic because the ‘facts’ are so overwhelming. Just tell me I’m too ignorant to understand, because that’s essentially what you’re saying.

    April 30, 2007 at 12:30 pm
  46. phonon

    I don’t get the use of the word “summer” wrt to Triton and global warming. “Summer” is not a global phenomenon. Could someone elaborate and explain to me what I’m not getting?

    April 30, 2007 at 12:45 pm
  47. Stark


    Perhpas you need to invest a bit more time in reading the information available before you decide to be a GW skeptic – the scientific consensus is that it is real. The sicientific question left is exactly how much of GW is AGW.

    You seem to be an intelligent person and I have no doubt that you are capable of grasping the science involved – but if you are denying the existance of GW you are clearly not well versed in the science pertaining to the issue.

    As for getting so offended at the word denier… well, I’m not sure where that comes from. In this case it is the word that fits. Denier : A person who refuses to recognize or aknowledge factual information. The folks who qualify as deniers in this debate are those who insist, against all of the evidence, that GW is happening at all. There are many. Do you have another word that fits? Skeptic doesn’t as a skeptic will accept a factually supported statement (ie. GW is occuring.).

    Feel free to be skeptical of AGW – after all the jury is still out on how much impact we have on GW. It’s possible, though admittedly unlikely, the answer could be zero.

    April 30, 2007 at 12:56 pm
  48. Brant D

    crtl+F: “stratosphere” not found

    This is incredible. The most solid piece of evidence that global warming is caused by greenhouse gases is stratospheric trends coupled with tropospheric trends, and yet out of 40+ posts of discussing evidence about global warming, this is not mentioned. Okay, here we go:

    A sun-induced global warming trend would cause a temperature rise in the stratosphere. This occurs because the stratosphere is warmed largely by absorption of UV radiation from O2 and O3. If the sun’s temperature increased, this would a) shift the sun’s spectrum further into the shorter wavelengths, and b) raise the intensity of all wavelengths. So there would be more UV for the stratosphere to absorb. This would create a net imbalance in the stratosphere’s energy budget: more energy would be coming in than going out. The natural response would be for the stratosphere to warm until it radiates enough to match the increased solar input. Thus, the stratosphere would warm if the sun was increasing its output significantly.

    A greenhouse gas-induced warming would cool the stratosphere. Greenhouse gases operate by reducing the surface’s ability to cool radiatively, and so increasing greenhouse gas concentrations would reduce outgoing IR from the troposphere. In turn, there would be less IR from below for the stratosphere to absorb, and this would create a net imbalance in the stratosphere’s energy budget. The stratosphere would have to cool to restore equilibrium. So for a greenhouse gas-induced cooling, the stratosphere would get colder.

    These are theoretical predictions. What do observations show? The stratosphere is cooling, something around 0.5K/decade. It should not be doing this if the sun was significantly driving global warming. Three other possible causes would be aerosol concentration changes, an extremely strong water vapor feedback signal, or cloud cover changes. There is no evidence that aerosol concentrations are changing any more than volcanic activity is. The latter two are highly debated in current atmospheric science, but there is no strong signal either way to be found, at least not nearly as strong as the carbon dioxide signal. And we know where that carbon is coming from…

    So if you want strong observational evidence that carbon dioxide is having a significant effect, here it is. If someone tells you there is no observational evidence that global warming is anthropogenic, now you know why they are wrong. I guarantee you’ll never hear this on CNN. You won’t hear global warming deniers mention it, either, because they can’t answer to this. The most I’ve seen is some nitpicking about statistical analysis methods, but they never came close to debasing the foundation.

    “Global mean temperature” is a single number. A single number can only contain so much information. There are other ways to measure climate change. Don’t forget that.

    April 30, 2007 at 12:59 pm
  49. MarshallDog


    I would surmise that the “summer” they are refering to on Triton is a natrual cycle where the temperature of the moon rises slightly due to the amount of sunlight one hemisphere (the “southern” one) receives at a point in it’s orbit. The use of the word “summer” here is just to relate the fact that the global tempurature of the moon is warmer in this period than usual.

    The Earth may experience a similar type of “summer”, since it’s orbit is not circular around the sun. I’ve never heard it referenced, but I would assume that at perihelion, the global tempurature of the Earth is higher than at aphelion, thus creating a “global summer” season. Sure doesn’t feel that way up here in New England!

    April 30, 2007 at 1:04 pm
  50. Kullat Nunu

    I fully support BA, good posts.

    What is “rock solid evidence”? If we wait until the symptoms of warming are visible everywhere it will be too late to act. There is consensus among the climate science community that global warming occurs and the primary cause is CO2 released by humans. That is evidence solid enough for me. The amount of warming and the effects it cause are under discussion, but that is irrelevant. The question is, “how much it hurts”?

    BTW, global warming caused by Sun warms all atmospheric layers. Greenhouse effect warms only the lowest layer (troposphere) and cools the upper layers. Guess what is happening in the stratosphere?

    I find it incredibly stupid not to do anything. Why? Hundreds of millions if not billions of people live in areas that may become unhabitable. Imagine that they will lose their livelihood, homes, even lives because of we the rich culprits decided to do nothing. It is our responsibility to left a livable planet for future generations. “Let them sort out the problem” is definitely not the answer.

    OK, let’s imagine the utopistic possibility that all this talk of global warming has been only unnecessary alarmism. We still have to act! Oil consumption is skyrocketing but at the same time oil production is staggering. Oil-based economy will soon become unprofitable. Coal is out of question because it is so polluting. The longer we wait the harder the end will come. It is too late to start to develop alternative energy when oil is running out (or becomes economically infeasible).

    So, we are given no choice but to curb greenhouse gases.

    April 30, 2007 at 1:13 pm
  51. Kullat Nunu

    crtl+F: “stratosphere” not found

    You typed too fast… 😉

    What comes to the climate change at Triton, we know practically nothing about it. Prior to Voyager 2 flyby, the only thing we knew that Triton has some sort of atmosphere. If I recall correctly (probably not), the global warming claim is based on a stellar occultation where Triton’s atmosphere was observed to have expanded. The point is that our understanding of that moon is extremely limited.

    April 30, 2007 at 1:24 pm
  52. Stark

    Perihelion and aphelion DO have an effect on temperature – a very minute one but it’s there nonetheless. Axial tilt plays a much greater role in the whole winter summer cycle though. While the earth’s orbit is not round it’s not particaluarly elliptical either – with a mean eccentricity of, if memory serves, around .028. In practical terms it means the earth is about 147.5 million kilometers from the sun at perihelion and 152.6 and aphelion – which doesn’t actually amount to very much difference in the scheme of things.

    The whole relation of orbital cycles (axial tilt, precession, orbital path, etc.) to climate are called Milankovitch cycles. Wikipedia has a pretty decent primer on the topic at

    April 30, 2007 at 1:27 pm
  53. Neil

    Being an extremely skeptical person who is still following the gw debate and looking at the evidence, I figured I would follow the link to ajstrata’s post and see what evidence or argument he presented.

    Wow. If that is what passes for science, logic or debate in right wing circles, no wonder they crave patriarchal religion and murderous authoritarianism so desparately. Big scary world and all.

    My summary:

    Three paragraphs of nutjob “Liberal Media” rant sprinkled with misuse of statistics and gross ignorance of our Solar System. Conclusion: Kyoto supporters are fanatics, and it won’t help a bit anyway!!!

    Update: personal shot at someone who disagrees!(How very republican of you, ajstrata!)

    Five more paragraphs of name-calling, back-pedaling, and disputing some of his own evidence without even realizing it. Second conclusion: Bad Astronomer Suxxhaha!!!

    Great stuff, really. You really opened my eyes, Ajstrata! I’m so glad my country’s future is in the hands of brilliant critical thinkers like yourself!

    Now go home and take your fleas with you!

    April 30, 2007 at 1:34 pm
  54. Maldoror

    Ah, the Nazis have entered the discussion. Hurray!

    Unfortunately, this discussion ceased to be about science roughly halfway through, despite the liberal (!) use of jargon. It is about political group think, where convictions supersede reality. I cannot believe that the emotional response of AJStrata is induced by differing over scientific facts. It rather seems to me that it is caused by the suppressed realization that his world view needs a serious adjustment.

    Just snoop around on his blog to find out what his agenda is. It will not be a surprise.

    April 30, 2007 at 1:35 pm
  55. The Bad Astronomer

    Michael, it was never my intention to link GW deniers with Holocaust deniers. Wow, that’s quite an accusation! It’s a good term, in that they are people who deny GW. I am specifically calling out people who deny it outright, not those who doubt it, or are skeptical. Hence the term.

    Now, if other people infer that’s what I mean, and this looks to distract from the actual debate of facts, I’ll be happy to call them something else as a group. But I won’t let any noise swamp the signal here.

    April 30, 2007 at 1:37 pm
  56. Ivan Nightsky

    Associating GW deniers with Holocaust deniers never crossed my mind. Just for the record. The debate is far too emotional. I wonder why that is?

    April 30, 2007 at 2:44 pm
  57. Michael J

    First off BA, I would like to point out that I added a J to my post name to differentiate myself from the other Michael on here. Second I would like to say that I know it’s difficult to make a science post about GW without having some people try to give AD HOMINEM attacks.

    I have some questions to AJStrata. Can you bring up exact numbers and give a step by step calculation of exactly how much cloud nucleation, vegetation, liquid water, etc. decrease any warming from the sun? Do you realize that the energy density drop by the square of the distance and absorbtion depends on surface area illuminated? That means that the suns intensity at Mars is less than half the intesity here. It also means that since Mars has a quarter of the surface area of Earths, Earth gets 8 times the total solar energy that Mars gets. Anything farther out would get less and less.

    April 30, 2007 at 2:59 pm
  58. Brant D

    The global warming “debate”? I think the reason why so many people become so passionate about global warming is at least partly quite intuitive: global warming has huge implications for human civilization. It raises some serious and uncomfortable questions about who we are and how we treat our planet. And unlike previous environmental issues, global warming is worldwide in nature, so “out of sight, out of mind” won’t work this time around. And unlike other global problems, like ozone depletion, there is no apparent technological quick-fix for making it go away. Fossil fuels are currently the heart of the world’s great economies, so we can’t simply dump them like we could, say, an insignificant industrial cleanser. So because of these issues, some people seem to think they can just wish the problem away and move on with it. That’s the best reason I can think of why people with no immediate invested interest in the debate would jump into it with such emotion.

    April 30, 2007 at 3:02 pm
  59. Michael

    Phil, I will give the benefit of the doubt that you don’t use ‘denier’ to try to equate your opponents to the David Irvings of the world, but it’s pretty obvious that some people do (the same folks who talk about ‘Nuremburg trials’ for ‘deniers).

    I am not a GW Denier, not even a GW skeptic. But I do have very serious doubts about AGW. And let’s face it; that’s what the debate is about. For proponents of AGW to constantly refer to it as ‘global warming’ only and then turn around and call anyone with a question a ‘GW denier’ is disingenous at best. It’s a great way to make your opponent look ignorant, but it doesn’t advance the debate. I think to have any sort of civil and scientific debate we need to be exact in our terminology. That’s why I always use AGW. Before we can agree to disagree we at least have to agree what it is we disagree about!

    April 30, 2007 at 3:18 pm
  60. DenverAstro

    Wow, this is fascinating. This has to be the most emotional exchange I have yet seen on this blog. I’ll tell you what I think. If the proponents of GW are right and we change our lifestyles to slow it down, we have helped save our planet. If wrong however, there is still no harm done. Americans in particular are excessive enery hogs and I can say that because I am one. It wouldn’t hurt the average overweight American to walk to the store once in a while or bike to work. Personally, Im making a change this year. I own a Chevy Trailblazer and I own a 3/4 ton van that has been converted into a capmer/mobile observatory. Neither of these vehicles do very well on gasoline conservation. So, since I am old and chubby, Im going to buy a 49cc scooter soon to commute to work on. I’ll probably be killed in the first week by some crazed immigrant from California but what the hell, Im doing my part. :o)

    By the way, I have heard numerous times that the vast majority of the scientific community now supports that GW is happening and that mankind is the most significant contributor to this effect. I think the people who are the most ardent nay-sayers are simply resistant to change. They dont want to drive a Honda instead of their humongous Dodge Ram. That is a very American thing, dont you all agree? Europeans are a much older and perhaps wiser culture than Americans. Might it not be a good idea to listen to our elders? :o)

    I know, Im ignorant and uneducated. Im also an athiest liberal. So shoot me…

    April 30, 2007 at 4:32 pm
  61. SharkByte

    DenverAstro, have you ever tried to put an 11 inch telescope, tripod, mount, lenses, battery packs, observing chair, laptop and all the other junk I take with me when I go observing into the back of a honda. Add in the girl I’m taking out stargazing and a cooler full of drinks then consider that the best dark sky site around here is on top of a ridge overlooking the pacific ocean where you need 4 wheel drive to get there (above SLC-6 on Vandenberg AFB if you’re familier with the area) and you’ll see that us stargazers NEED trucks that get ten miles to the dinosaur… LOL However, in 2009 Toyota is supposed to have a hybrid version of every vehicle they make. I’ll be trading in my Tacoma for a new Hybrid Tacoma as soon as they hit the streets:)

    April 30, 2007 at 5:53 pm
  62. PhysTeacher

    SharkByte – duely noted need for a big vehicle! I think Denver makes a good point about the benefits of reducing/eliminating combustion – which are expansive even without regard to AGW. Most Americans, however, don’t need to lug anything more intense than groceries and a few passengers (on occasion). For you Shark, a vehicle to match your needs. Unfortunately, those who purchase very large vehicles without need endarger others by both pollutive means, and by inertial means (more massive vehicles usually ‘win’ in an accident :) )

    April 30, 2007 at 6:14 pm
  63. SharkByte

    PhysTeacher – I agree with you completely. I’m an Air Force member and work on the ICBM test launch program at Vandenberg AFB. Quite often when we’re prepping for a launch the enviro-nuts will set up camp at the main gate to protest ICBM’s, rocket launches in general or any of a number of other environmental causes. Martin Sheen was even arrested at our main gate a few years ago while protesting! :) It never ceases to amaze me how many Hummers, Expedition’s and Navigator’s these armchair environmentalists drive and not a one of them looks like it has ever been off pavement. I drive a truck because I haul massive amounts of gear around and I have to be able to pull my classic project car on a trailer. The greater majority of the SUV’s on the road are there because they are status symbols. Like I said before, I’m no environmentalist. However I’ve driven through L.A. in the heat of summer and if L.A. traffic jams aren’t proof that we need to do something about Polution in general then proof does not exist… lol

    April 30, 2007 at 6:28 pm
  64. Michael

    DenverAstro – Sorry to disappoint you, but I drive a Sentra.

    As for ‘no harm done’, how do you know that? In a world where millions go to bed hungry (or so I’ve been told for years and years), we are rushing to turn our food supply into ‘green’ fuel. The price of corn futures is skyrocketing, which will make all food more costly. Not just for me and you, but for people all over the world that can’t afford it. If we devote trillions of dollars to fighting AGW, how many of those dollars won’t be available for improving infrastructure, providing clean water, fighting disease? When we start limiting power plant emissions – a major source of CO2 – how many people will die in summer heat waves with not enough power to run air conditioners?

    My point is nothing is without cost. To blithely declare ‘no harm done’ is naive at best.

    April 30, 2007 at 6:35 pm
  65. Tom

    I agree with your five facts, but using terms such as “global warming deniers” calls into question someone’s scientific objectivity.

    There’s plenty of room for debate on this question or questions. The less passion (and certainty) on either side, the better.

    I’m taking my own steps to decrease carbon, and I think that society’s getting away from fossil fuels is a great idea, but I don’t buy anyone’s propaganda.

    April 30, 2007 at 7:08 pm
  66. Brant D

    Unfortunately, it’s hard to take self-proclaimed global warming “skeptics” seriously when they pull out such vapid “arguments” like citing warming on distant moons while dodging much harder evidence like that stratosphere thing I mentioned. If they were actually skeptical, they would actually confront the core of the science itself instead of continually redressing discredited hypotheses or appealing to the general public’s inexperience to create a false sense of controversy. That’s denialism in a nutshell. I hate to put them on par with creationists or various conspiracy theorists, but many of their tactics come really close to the ones used by the world’s nutjobs. If it sounds like a duck…

    But you have to understand that “denialist” is a label usually applied to those people who should know better. People like Lindzen and Singer and even politicians like Inhofe. It doesn’t refer to the general public, a large part of which has fallen victim to a systematic and vile misinformation machine.

    As for debate, just make sure you know what needs debating. Attribution of global warming is a questioned already answered with high certainty. The debate is over a) the magnitude and rate of future warming, b) relationships between global warming and regional climate changes, and c) how to best address global warming (with only the latter involving politics). Unless you have new evidence, debating over global warming’s cause is beating a dead horse.

    April 30, 2007 at 7:39 pm
  67. Hogwash

    To deny is not necessarily to be in denial. In fact, look it up in Webster’s and you’ll see the first definition is “to declare untrue.”

    I would speculate, though I don’t know, that the reason only select planets have been discussed is that we only have data from a select few places based on the satellites we’ve been able to whiz by. I think this whole discussion serves to show that we don’t know everything. In fact, we don’t know a lot.

    Why has this debate declared over? Even evolution, the most controversial and debated scientific theory ever didn’t just come out and declare a winner. Over several decades more and more evidence came about leaving virtually no question that evolution is the way life came about and changed on this planet. Even then, no side came out and declared victory. And evidence still pours in to support the theory. In science, most theories aren’t declared true or untrue, they are supported or unsupported. So why have a bunch of scientist now banded together to claim that the debate is over? When the field of study is still relatively new? Why can’t we (they) continue to seek out evidence?

    Well some people are. And they are ridiculed for doing it because it goes against “the consensus”. The simple fact that there is a consensus, in my opinion, points to the possibility of ulterior motives. Especially when their expressed main purpose is to guide policy makers into action. Think about it, its the International Panel on Climate Change, their conclusions were a foregone conclusion from the word go.

    I think what many deniers are denying is the crisis status of GW. There are still serious debates out there on AGW. They also deny its a crisis because the term crisis lends itself to panic, which often leads hasty action. And hasty action can have serious detrimental effects on individual life, liberty, property and the environment. And as long as there are people out there, who know more about science than most of the world, are saying “Hey wait…., ” and “What about….,” and “I have different conclusions….,” I’m going to be more than skeptical.

    April 30, 2007 at 7:47 pm
  68. The Bad Astronomer

    OK, I’ve finally had a chance to read through these comments. They are… interesting.

    First off, to those of you who are asking about Al Gore: I never mentioned him in my post. Not once. This post was not about people who are promoting anthropocentric GW, it is about people who argue against it. Well, about people who dismiss it. I’m fine with arguing either way, as long as it’s factually based. As it happens, I agree with Gore on many things, and strongly disagree with him on others (his creationist pandering is galling). But he’s irrelevant to this argument, except where I talk about agenda-driven dismissal. That goes either way, though I assert that in recent times, the far right dominates.

    AJStrata: in this comment you say water is a good conductor. Compared to air and vacuum it is, of course (to some degree, conductivity is a function of density), but it looks to me (cite) that it is worse than many solids you might find lying around. Given that land masses give up their heat so easily at night, while water is much slower, this indicates to me that water is a worse conductor. If I am wrong, then please show me where and how, because I do find this sort of thing interesting (don’t even get me started on chrome and infrared emissivity).

    I don’t see where I am backpedaling anywhere, either. I say that the martian atmosphere is much thinner than Earth’s, so the greenhouse effect is much smaller. Also, it’s understood that the martian albedo is decreasing (I discovered this after I posted, unfortunately) so we have other sources for any warming on Mars. Honestly, I don’t understand your point about Mars in that comment. Can you clarify it please?

    I also think you very much misunderstood one of my points. I never said studying other planets was a waste of time. What an odd interpretation! I said clearly that they are not controls, they are comparisons. Those are very different things. Studying them is incredibly useful, and I wish we had a hundred times as much money to do so. But a control is a subject over which you control the variables, and for Mars that simply is not true. If Mars warms up, cools off, or spins away and does a jig, we cannot simply say “The Earth does the same thing and therefore it’s the same cause.” If we had a planet exactly like Earth, but at Mars’s distance from the Sun, that would be a control. But Mars is very different, and therefore any comparisons must be done very carefully.

    I’ll note that I should have been more careful in my phrasing about deniers. I said “… deniers and others…” and then had a link to your site. I was not trying to say you were a GWD, but I can see the inference there. My apologies.

    April 30, 2007 at 8:04 pm
  69. The Bad Astronomer

    Frank: yes, if the Sun increased its output by 1%, then every planet would receive 1% more energy.

    But we’re starting with the amount of temperature increase on Pluto and working it backward to the Sun. So if Pluto warms up a little, then the percent increase is very large (because it’s already so cold). Working backwards, that means a big increase in the Sun’s output, and a corresponding increase here on Earth.

    I asked Alan Stern, head of the New Horizons mission to Pluto, about this specifically, and he told me that the amount of increase in Pluto’s atmosphere is orders of magnitude (one OofM is a factor of 10x) too big to be accounted for by the Sun. So using Pluto to say that the Sun is warming is silly. Any warming on Pluto must be due to something local.

    My whole point is that I am hearing deniers (email, mostly) who are using this “evidence”, and I wanted people to know that in these cases, using other planets as evidence that GW here on Earth is not manmade is fallacious. These cases are not evidence of that.

    April 30, 2007 at 8:10 pm
  70. Olive

    Please, let’s not conflate thermal conductivity and heat capacity. Water has high values of both compared to gases and loose-packed solids. It has lowish thermal conductivity but still pretty high heat capacity by mass compared to metals. Water is a fabulously good conductor, in the sense that if you surrounded your electronics in distilled water, they would probably be pretty happy until they rusted. It’s also a fabulous heat sink, in the sense that it takes a huge quantity of energy to increase its temperature.

    AJStrata is trying to catch you on your language- water is a great conductor compared to soil, not so much compared to rock. Fluids transmit heat extra-specially well because they can also use convection, which isn’t reflected in a chart of still properties, so a mass of water might have heat-transfer properties in excess of rock if it’s circulating well.

    Water in large bodies heats and cools slowly from the combined powers of a high thermal conductivity and a high heat capacity: you have to expend a ton of energy to heat it, and you have to heat all of it because it’s going to keep circulating and conducting that energy. Soil has low values of each, so it undergoes pretty big fluctuations that are very shallow.

    On topic- even if I thought there was much uncertainty on human factors in global warming, 1) we’re going to run out of oil some day, and I don’t want me or my great-great-great-great grandchildren to get stuck in a world facing famine at the end of oil-based fertilizers or a sudden failure of the extensive plastics and transportation industries. 2) I’m pretty sure we’ve figured out how to make the earth hotter, but we’re in some trouble if we have to figure out how to make it colder, so let’s try to err on the side of the one we can fix?

    Of course, these social policy notions are moving the goalposts in a thread debating whether or not the planets make a good metric for global warming.

    I bet a model for warming on Mars is easier to build than one for Earth.

    April 30, 2007 at 9:07 pm
  71. Buzz Parsec

    Olive – No oceans! Mars has got to be much easier to model than Earth!

    April 30, 2007 at 11:17 pm
  72. Tim G

    Perhaps “dismisser” should have replaced “denier”, but it’s too late.

    The denialism blog is up.

    April 30, 2007 at 11:20 pm
  73. Lab Lemming


    My opinion on a cosmic ray talk given as a scientific seminar last year is here:

    Note that my post refers exclusively to the content of his talk, and not all the meta-babble surrounding personalities, inferred agendas or anything like that.

    May 1, 2007 at 5:50 am
  74. Thanny

    jrkeller wrote:


    >“Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to >have an over-representation of factual presentations >on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up

    >the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and >how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis. ”

    >Basically lying about the facts and admitting it doesn’t >help his cause.

    You’re either quite deliberately misrepresenting what Gore said, or you have difficulty parsing English sentences.

    He’s clearly saying that in the US he devotes more time in his slide show to “factual presentations on how dangerous [global warming] is” versus proposed solutions to the problem.

    He’s not lying about the facts. He’s presenting more of them, because in his audience are people like you, who are being bombarded by deniers of the facts on almost a daily basis.

    The more I see from global warming deniers, the more apropos it seems to compare them to Holocaust deniers and evolution deniers. Which is a shame, because a somewhat significant minority of them have other views that show they should definitely know better.

    May 1, 2007 at 6:04 am
  75. John B. Sandlin

    Obviously we should take into consideration all the probes we’ve sent to these other bodies. We may be causing warming there, too!

    The debate is too complex to unequivocally say whether our global warming is man made. But that’s sure the way to bet.


    May 1, 2007 at 6:55 am
  76. Sean O

    I think this is a great article. If nothing else, it discusses the science of what is going on rather than the politics. I wrote about this article on my site We need to have more scientific discussions and few political conversations.

    May 1, 2007 at 6:58 am
  77. Just Al

    Michael said: As for ‘no harm done’, how do you know that? In a world where millions go to bed hungry (or so I’ve been told for years and years), we are rushing to turn our food supply into ‘green’ fuel. The price of corn futures is skyrocketing, which will make all food more costly. Not just for me and you, but for people all over the world that can’t afford it.

    The fact of the matter is, in most places that really need it, they can’t afford it at this time anyway, not from us. We have an extremely high cost-to-produce factor, as well as shipping, so it is far more economical to produce locally than it is for us to supply it.

    Then there’s part two: Corn is only one food crop, of which there are many, most of which remain unaffected by ethanol production or demands.

    Then part three: Ethanol demand actually produces more research into more efficient methods and practices, which generally results in lower costs all around. It also can be handled in far more areas, and with far more competition and far less monopolizing, than petroleum.

    And yes, part four: Global Warming will kill a lot more people than any efforts to prevent it. Food shortages will be worldwide and unpreventable, and no amount of infrastructure will curtail the eradication of production areas. Food shortages lead to warfare and power struggles, malnutrition, health issues, disease, and on and on. We see this quite clearly right now, and should need no further threats or consequences to want to address it with our vast resources in this country (and any other that offers so many leisure time options).

    Michael: If we devote trillions of dollars to fighting AGW, how many of those dollars won’t be available for improving infrastructure, providing clean water, fighting disease?

    The same amount that is unavailable now because it’s lining the pockets of oil execs. In case you missed it, petroleum is one of those highly lucrative fields, you know? A couple of quick Google searches will confirm that for you if you actually need it (you know, that “facts” part). My suggestion would be that US government stop bailing out big businesses with greedy infrastructures and simply make them responsible for their own wastes. Sure, go ahead, raise prices, and spur even more research into alternative energy. Free market works both ways.

    The key to this part, of course, is to stop swallowing empty political rhetoric that ultimately comes from PAC contributions out of Big Oil, and start holding the politicians to the fire. And that requires knowing your stuff and calling them on it. Politicians like the contributions to push oil-friendly legislature, but they only get those while they’re in office. That makes it our responsibility.

    And then, of course, we may stop spending trillions of dollars trying to maintain a destabilized region around our biggest oil revenue competitors, out there in the mideast. Think how much useful money would become available then.

    Michael: When we start limiting power plant emissions – a major source of CO2 – how many people will die in summer heat waves with not enough power to run air conditioners?

    You’re supposed to say, “Think of the children! Won’t somebody think of the children?”

    Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from power plants has very little affect on energy production – it mostly changes costs. Right at the moment, I have very little sympathy for Big Oil, which posts record profits even in times of national crisis (remember Katrina?) and has the highest paid employees, virtually the world over. A bachelor’s degree in petroleum geology can net you $80K straight out of school, with signing bonuses. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone more capable of affording clean up efforts.

    And again, alternative energy means more available energy, not less, and more competitive prices as well. That means fewer people dying in heat waves.

    Reducing greenhouse emissions isn’t just up to the big companies, either – the individual consumer also plays a part. And this part should also include more demand for energy-efficient consumer goods. It should include pressure to make your own city “green” – biodiesel city service vehicles, efficient buildings, public transportation access, and proper planning. And again, that stretches the available energy. Yes, lots of these options cost more, which is the primary wail of both consumers and city planners. Done properly, this is more than recouped in lower operating costs over the life of the project or item. What that takes is the ability to look past the end of one’s nose, do a little math, and moreover, be motivated to do so.

    So, um, yes, there is a vast benefit to reducing greenhouse emissions, regardless of whether AGW actually exists or not. And yes, there’s harm as well, primarily to the fat cats – which is a species that can go extinct without anyone fretting about it, I suspect.

    May 1, 2007 at 7:05 am
  78. jrkeller


    You are right on with,

    We need to have more scientific discussions and few political conversations.

    If I were President, one of the first things I’d do would be to convience some sort of scientific conference of climatologists to discuss GW and try to determine what we know, what we don’t know and possible solutions.

    May 1, 2007 at 7:14 am
  79. jrkeller


    Nice ad hominem. I know exactly what Al Gore is saying. It’s OK to exaggerate the facts to get a discussion going and I in my book that’s a lie.

    Exaggeration of the potential outcomes has been a huge problem for anything related to the climate which in turn limits our government’s political will to act on it. For example, in the 1970’s the next ice age was around the corner, in the late 1980s, we had the coming global doom of global warming in the next twenty years and it didn’t happen and now one of the leading advocates of AGW stating,

    “Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis. ”

    Look at this from the point of view of the average person. They wrong 35 years ago, they were wrong 20 years ago, and they are probably wrong again, especially since Al Gore admits to over-representation of factual presentations.

    May 1, 2007 at 7:46 am
  80. Rtachner

    One thing for certain: If you want a Federal grant insert Humans Cause Global Warming in the header and the politicians will drown you with money.

    May 1, 2007 at 8:15 am
  81. Anonymous

    On the subject of denial:

    “Mankind is guilty of global warming, how much is not the question, we must do as much as we can everywhere to slow it down. We can’t turn it around any more. The only way to do that is to go “back to the roots” without any industry which is not possible any more.”–DrFlimmer

    Only one example, but the sentiment is nearly universal. Why is the end of industry not possible? Just because you wish it were so? Industrial civilization is inherently unsustainable, based as it is on depleting resources in the name of economic growth. Its collapse is not merely possible, but inevitable. Hybrid vehicles? Alternative fuels? Reduced power plant emissions? Denial, denial, and denial. Clever humans aren’t inventing their way out of this mess. Have a nice die-off :)

    May 1, 2007 at 9:09 am
  82. TheBlackCat

    Please not the old “ice age” story. That was a very tentative prediction by a small minority of climatologist. AGW is the strong consensus of pretty much the entire climatology community. Equating the two is ludicrous.

    Second, Al Gore is a politician, not a scientist. Please do not take exaggeration by one politician and use that to dismiss the scientific consensus and the scientific community. What Gore does or what Gore thinks is appropriate has absolutely nothing to do with the conclusions drawn by the scientific community.

    Bringing him up in the first place is nothing more than an ad hominem. If you have a problem with AGW, then show us how the evidence people have cited here, like stratospheric cooling, is wrong. Al Gore is not global warming. Even if he completely and totally fabricated his movie, which he didn’t, it wouldn’t affect whether AGW is right or wrong in the slightest. So please don’t mention him again, some random politician is totally irrelevant to an evidence-based discussion. Criticize the evidence, if you can, that is all that matters.

    May 1, 2007 at 11:00 am
  83. Irishman

    Anonymous, the vast majority of the population of industrialized nations are happy with their standard of living, or want a better one. Most people would not be happy being Amish, living on kerosene lamps and horse-drawn buggies. If you’re using the internet (like to post on this blog), then you can’t possibly be serious about giving up industrial civilization. Industry also does such fun things and pharmaceuticals, health care equipment, and the like. A modern hospital would be non-existent without modern industry.

    Thanny, I don’t think it is jrkeller’s inability to parse English sentences, I think it is Al Gore’s inability to construct a clear one. Your interpretation is certainly one interpretation of what he meant. It may even be the one he meant. But jrkeller’s interpretation is equally supportable. What does “overreppresentation” mean? In context to what?

    May 1, 2007 at 11:04 am
  84. Anonymous

    See, denial so bad that Irishman cannot–or will not–grasp the plain meaning of the words in front of his face. What part of “Industrial civilization is inherently unsustainable” does Irishman not understand? The collapse will happen, regardless of what anyone wants.

    May 1, 2007 at 12:23 pm
  85. TheBlackCat

    Anonymous, I would like to see the evidence supporting this conclusion. It is true that many resources we currently depend on are non-renewable right now. But that is at least partly due to economic constraints. We do not currently recycle as much as we should because the economic benefit from doing so is not currently that major. If we start running out of certain resources prices of those resources will rise. In some cases that could lead to increased emphasis on recycling of previously used resources. That might include, if necessary, raiding garbage dumps and such. In other cases it may lead to a shift towards more renewable resources or to other resources that are not depleted. It may even lead to the exploitation of unconventional sources of these materials. They may not be as easy and inexpensive to produce as non-renewable resources, but that will change as it becomes more expensive and more difficult to obtain depleted non-renewable resources. All these strategies have been used in the past when resources essential to a society have been depleted. In fact these sorts of moments often lead to major growth in a society as they are forced out of a period of stasis into a period of exploration and/or technological and scientific innovation. For instance the mass death of naturally-growing cereals during a local climate change after the last ice age is thought to have prompted the invention of agriculture. The depletion of tin necessary to make bronze lead to a massive period of exploration in the bronze age in search of new resources and, ultimately, the use of iron. Lack of conventional building materials routinely leads to innovative use of local materials for construction.

    What you are basically asserting is that there are certain resources that are absolutely essential to our society and will never be replaced by alternatives and will never be able to be recycled in sufficient amounts to sustain our society. I would like you to tell us specifically what these resources are and why you are convinced no way around their depletion will be found despite the fact that it will become economically beneficial to do so.

    May 1, 2007 at 1:00 pm
  86. Thanny

    From jrkeller:



    >Nice ad hominem. I know exactly what Al Gore is saying.

    >It’s OK to exaggerate the facts to get a discussion

    >going and I in my book that’s a lie.

    Ad hominem? This from a guy who’s attacking Al Gore, as if it’s an argument against the reality of global warming.

    It’s not an attack on you by me to point out the fact that you’re either intentionally lying about what Gore said, or simply can’t understand it.

    He’s not saying that he exaggerates facts about the impact of global warming.

    What he’s saying is that he devotes more time

    to expounding these facts in his US slide show,

    rather than devoting that time to discussion

    about possible solutions.

    That is, the facts of global warming’s impact are over-represented (not distorted or altered) in his show, compared with possible solutions to the problem.

    You’ve now had it explained to you at least twice what his quotation means when properly parsed.

    So stop lying about what Al Gore has said and start addressing the facts themselves, if only to avoid being a hypocrite for crying “ad hominem”.

    May 1, 2007 at 1:14 pm
  87. Wayne


    I dont know if this has already been posted but an explanation for the warming on Mars was posted in New Scientist a couple of weeks back. Apparently the 0.5c warming since 1970 can be explained by dust strorms on the planet blowing dust and changing the surface colour and therefore its albedo.

    May 1, 2007 at 3:16 pm
  88. SLC

    It’s rather interesting reading the denialist comments on this blog. The general tenor reads very much like the HIV/AIDs denialists over at Tara Smiths’ blog (links below) and the evolution denialists. That is to say that the denialists rarely offer reliable scientific support in favor of their claims. They offer instead criticisms of the scientific consensus, mainly to the effect that said consensus doesn’t explain everything that is observed, or perhaps that there are alternate explanations, no matter how absurd. A fuller examination of denialism may be seen at a new blog over at the Scienceblog corral (link below). Another facet of the denialist literature is a smear campaign against people who agree with the consensus, e.g. the smear campaign against Al Gore being run by morons like Glenn Beck on CNN and Kevin Hannity on the fascist new channel.

    It’s also interesting that denialist ofter are found denying several scientific consensuses. Thus, the Discovery Institute includes not only evolution denialists but also HIV/AIDS denialists and more recently global climate change denialists. Like they say, birds of a feather flock together.

    May 1, 2007 at 4:11 pm
  89. Dan

    What does this have to do with Gore?

    Wierdo rightwingers want to politicize something very simple.

    please link state and arguemtn and leave it it at that. if someone says something that doesn’t make sense point it out with a counter argument.

    May 1, 2007 at 5:22 pm
  90. Dan

    Also When did they stop calling it the Greenhouse Effect? Is tha too British?

    May 1, 2007 at 5:32 pm
  91. TheBlackCat

    The problem with the “greenhouse effect” is that there is always a greenhouse effect. Lucky too or the oceans would be frozen solid. What we are dealing with is an increase in the greenhouse effect leading to an increase in average global temperature (although not necessarily an increase in temperature at a given location at a given point in time, the climate is more complicated than that). So “global warming” and, even better, “climate change” are better terms. Climate change makes more explicit the fact that not all place will warm up even though they still will likely see a major impact on their local weather.

    May 1, 2007 at 6:45 pm
  92. Twizzler

    lets remember that the vast majority of deniers also believe the earth is less than 6,000 years old, adam and eve truly existed, evolution is a farce and the second coming is less than 2 years away.

    When you start with that framework trying to explain even a minor construct is nearly impossible

    May 1, 2007 at 7:16 pm
  93. Hogwash

    Nobody in these comments has said anything about Adam and Eve or the earth being 6,000 years old. If you can’t argue a point, then don’t take the easy way out and try to align the opinion of those who disagree with you to who believe in creationism. Next time why don’t you just say, “Oh yeah! Well, you’re stupid.”

    May 1, 2007 at 10:04 pm
  94. myshkin

    About ad-hominem attacks

    Ok, so I get why scientists and other logical people tend to dismiss the denialists:

    The only consistent thing about their stance is that they are NOT going to change the way they live and the way they make money. They’re willing to keep changing their position as more data comes in as long is it doesn’t interfere with their worth or status (refer to the first post in this thread).

    Additionally, the denialist “experts” are largely funded by corporations with huge interest in keeping up business as usual.

    What I don’t get is dismissal of the scientific community by denialists.

    Okay, so Al Gore is a politician with ulterior motives. I can buy that.

    But what possible reason would the scientific community have for its support the thesis that AWG is highly likely? Nobody is going to get famous by agreeing with the consensus of their peers, so I doubt they’re doing it for the glory. As far as I know there is no huge economic incentive.

    The fact that the consensus has grown slowly and steadily over the last twenty years is evidence that this is not a knee jerk or trendy reaction on the part of climate scientists, but the result of doing, what else, SCIENCE.

    The idea that this is somehow the result of erroneous groupthink- ie. medieval bleeding etc.- dismisses the fact that the scientific method was developed exactly to avoid those kind of mistakes from happening again. Scientists are by their nature skeptics.

    So, denialists, tell me, exactly why are the scientists lying to us?

    I know why you are.

    May 1, 2007 at 10:26 pm
  95. Worm TN

    “As for ‘no harm done’, how do you know that? In a world where millions go to bed hungry (or so I’ve been told for years and years), we are rushing to turn our food supply into ‘green’ fuel. The price of corn futures is skyrocketing, which will make all food more costly. Not just for me and you, but for people all over the world that can’t afford it. If we devote trillions of dollars to fighting AGW, how many of those dollars won’t be available for improving infrastructure, providing clean water, fighting disease? When we start limiting power plant emissions – a major source of CO2 – how many people will die in summer heat waves with not enough power to run air conditioners?”


    I love this argument. The only thing wrong with it is that it is that it is nothing more than a scare tactic. How is that? Well here in the United States our government pays farmers not to raise crops and crops rot in the silos because there is more than can be used.

    Instead of turning our farms into shopping malls, super Wal-Mart’s, and subdivisions our country need to start looking at corn, sugarcane, switch grass and anything else that can be grown to use as fuel. These are renewable resources that have limits yes, but they are not limits like those fossil fuel have.

    If globally we begin to grow our way out of this fossil fuel addiction, then there will be more than enough for food and fuel. The main reason there is not currently enough to go around is because it is not profitable. Growing crops for food makes a profit, but it is not comparable to the profit of big oil. If farming was as profitable as the oil industry more people would farm and more crops would be available, which would in turn create enough for food and fuel production.

    Look at the United States if every available acre was used to grow crops for food and fuel would there still be a shortage and how much of a shortage would there be? Knowing that some of the money we spend for oil goes into the pockets of terrorist makes me more determined than ever to figure out ways to wean our county off of the tit of big oil and find alternatives. I for one would rather support farmers than terrorist.

    We are trying to figure out hydrogen fuel at the moment but the estimates are that we are at least 20 to 30 years away from the solution. For the sake of our planet and our security why not turn to E85 (which is 85% Ethanol and 15% gas) until that time. Find away to grow enough for our fuel consumption and food needs would be a much better solution than sticking our heads in the sand and waiting for fossil fuels to run out.

    Not to mention that raising large enough crops for both would also reduce CO2 and help with the GW problem 😉

    May 2, 2007 at 4:39 am
  96. Luboš Motl

    Dear Phil, your text is extremely weak and biased, indeed. You haven’t found a single coherent argument – you just attempt to attack the data in the most obvious ways that everyone who has seen at least 2 hours of astronomy courses could make without making any research whatsoever. Your unbalanced approach to these questions couldn’t be more obvious. Too bad that idiotic left-wing political ideologies started to pollute sciences such as astronomy.

    The trends on these other planets are indisputable. They moreover depend on the location, but so do changes on Earth. The punch line is that there is no truly qualitative difference between these planets and moons on one side and Earth on other side. All these celestial bodies exhibit natural variations that are both local as well as global and the only real difrerences are quantitative ones – and speculatively, whether the humans’ influence on the terrestrial climate can already be disentangled from the natural background. Whoever wants to deny that the different bodies show and should show qualitatively analogous behavior is a crackpot.

    Moreover, the warming sign of the changes on most of these bodies is extremely suggestive. I don’t think that it proves that the “culprit” is the Sun or cosmic rays but it would be dishonest to pretend that there is no good case for this hypothesis here. At any rate, it reminds us that the natural climate change exists, it always existed, and exists on all celestial bodies with any dynamical structure.

    May 2, 2007 at 6:12 am
  97. TheBlackCat

    LuboÅ¡ Motl, we don’t see qualitatively analogous behavior. Only 2 or 3 of the hundreds of large bodies in the solar system are warming. And there are easy explanations for 2 of the 3 cases.

    May 2, 2007 at 7:16 am
  98. Lubos Motl

    Dear TheBlackCat,

    let me just mention that what you right is in direct contradiction with the blog owner’s equally unjustified rants. He wrote that “We don’t understand the dynamics of that system [Jupiter].” What “easy explanations” of Jupiter’s global warming do you exactly have in mind?

    I insist that who thinks or expects that planets with internal dynamics don’t exhibit qualitatively analogous behavior – which includes natural variability – is a pre-Copernicus kind of crackpot, the same kind of blinded and stupid people who prosecuted Galileo Galilei and burned Giordano Bruno at stake.



    May 2, 2007 at 7:32 am
  99. Irishman

    Anonymous, it’s not denial. I misunderstood the intent of your remark. Probably because you referred to DrFlimmer. DrFlimmer’s remark was about selecting to return to a lower state of technology use. Sorry, that won’t happen, and that was the intent of my remark. Your remark appears to be that the End of the World will one day happen. Okay, but until then, we’re going to continue to use our innovation to find solutions to the problems of resource depletion. By the way, what’s your solution to the problem?

    Thanny, I don’t believe jrkeller attacked the reality of AGW. Rather, he criticised the attitude that he thought was expressed by the remark that Al Gore was willing to exaggerate and lie to get attention for the issue. Now maybe that’s not what Al Gore meant by his remark, but criticisms of Al Gore’s presentation have shown a tendency to exaggeration. And it is a not-uncommon practice for Environmentalists to exaggerate the dangers in order to build hype, which is the point that jrkeller is criticizing. That is ultimately detrimental to the cause when repeated warnings turn out to be false. It’s the “Boy Who Cried Wolf” syndrome.

    May 2, 2007 at 8:44 am
  100. SLC

    Perhaps another slant on the issue would add something constructive to he discussion. Attached is a like to a post by Ed Brayton. Mr. Braytons’ point is that, even if global climate change is 100% wrong, several of the measures being proposed are worthwhile for other reasons.

    Re Lubos Motl

    Mr. Motl doesn’t help his cause by trumpeting tonights’ program by the extreme right wing racist Glenn Beck on his blog.

    May 2, 2007 at 9:05 am
  101. Kullat Nunu

    LuboÅ¡, who’s ranting?

    “Indisputable”? What studies show that Jupiter is experiencing global warming? Pluto and Triton are warming (i.e. their atmospheres seem to have expanded). That can be explained by seasonal effects. Mars may be also warming. I’d like to see the evidence that Jupiter is warming globally.

    There is no evidence of global warming on Venus, Saturn, Titan, Uranus, or Neptune. Why not?

    And what about Solar System bodies without atmospheres?

    Where is the evidence that the Sun is hotter than a few decades ago?

    What about the cooling in Earth’s stratosphere which cannot be explained by changes in the Sun?

    Why CO2 released by humans cannot be the main cause of global warming on Earth?

    May 2, 2007 at 9:19 am
  102. eewolf

    Lubos Motl,

    BlackCat did not mention Jupiter. He said 2 of 3 had other explanations. And those are outlined with links in the BA’s article. And other comments include more information and links for warming on Mars.

    And you

    insist on the Galileo Gambit while accusing others of ranting?

    May 2, 2007 at 10:03 am
  103. Lubos Motl

    Dear SLC, Glenn Beck is a mainstream right-leaning host at a mainstream, left-leaning TV station called CNN. I have nothing substantial against him. If you care, I guess that his program tonight at 7 pm and 9 pm and midnight, Eastern Time, will be the #1 or #2 program on cable news.

    Mixing the reasons must be done carefully. If a person thinks that the global warming justification is scientifically flawed, if you allow me to believe this assumption, do you agree that any other policy that is adopted should be fully justifiable by something else? If I have a policy whose expected benefits are 10% of costs because of one reason, and other benefits are 10%, it still doesn’t add up to 100% which means that the policy is a waste of money.

    What you’re trying to do is to create fog that will stop people from calculating costs and benefits rationally, but you won’t certainly stop me from doing that.

    Kullat Nunu: Dozens of studies about the global warming on these bodies are linked e.g. at this page

    Please kindly look at it first. You’re also wrong that there is no trend observed on the other planets. For example your list includes Neptune – Lockwood et al. just published in Geophysical Research Letters

    an analysis that shows that the brightness fluctuations on Neptune are visually correlated with temperature trends on Earth.

    Venus has a massive greenhouse effect and it’s just hard to observe changes in this hot environment near the Sun.

    I repeat again, I don’t think that the observations, while suggestive, prove that the reason is the Sun. It could be cosmic rays or something else. Obviously, the planets with atmospheres will have more internal dynamics and variability. I am just saying that it’s absolutely obvious, both from theoretical and experimental perspective, that there is natural variability at all possible timescales and all possible planets whenever there is complex dynamics, and natural variability should always be the first thing that one considers whenever he studies climate dynamics unless he is a crank.

    Half of your questions have very clear answers, half of them don’t. Not sure what you mean by this chaotic mishmash except for making it impossible to make a serious discussion. Can’t you really focus on a single question at a time instead of jumping chaotically whenever you’re proved wrong?

    CO2 is unlikely to be an important driver of the climate for example because there exists not a single observation among millions of observations we have that would indicate that CO2 is important. That contrasts with other effects that are proven almost beyond doubt – such as outgassing via the Vostok ice data, or the cosmic-temperature link with the 140 million year periodicity. Shouldn’t you be offering positive evidence for an extraordinary statement instead of asking others to provide you with negative evidence, anyway?

    Concerning the solar theories, it’s not just about the temperature. It’s about solar magnetic fields screening cosmic rays etc. Evidence that the solar coronal magnetic fields has doubled in the last 100 years is e.g. in Lockwood et al.

    Cooling of stratosphere is explained by any mechanism of absorption closer to the surface, e.g. by changes of albedo, and is certainly far from proving the greenhouse effect.

    I hope that I have answered all your questions.

    All of you alarmists just don’t like the conclusions – a new kind of evidence that man-made GW is bunk – and you’re therefore hysterically attacking any evidence that has the capacity to show that your religion is based on flawed science. You’re just like the creationists who don’t like any consistency checks of the evolution of DNA of species and other things. It’s completely isomorphic.



    May 2, 2007 at 10:47 am
  104. Brant D

    Ah, Luboš. I wanted to see you in the ring at some point. Now, I have one question for you:

    Given stratospheric cooling on Earth (which I described in an earlier post), how do you support your claim of strong observational evidence of solar warming on other planets when such evidence is not found on our own planet?

    May 2, 2007 at 11:39 am
  105. Rtachner

    After reading these posts, I think some political pundits are correct to assert that GW has become a religion. If the facts are so clear either way why would there be a debate– and I seriously doubt that those who beat either tribal drum will accept contrary facts– because after all their mind is made up.

    What is worse I see this on a scientific forum—what ever happened to critical thinking? I doubt the universe or earth physics care what we think or which political correct view we have.

    May 2, 2007 at 11:46 am
  106. Kullat Nunu

    If the facts are so clear either way why would there be a debate…

    That should be obvious. Many people are afraid that reducing greenhouse gases result in loss of income, especially among the fossil fuel industry. This debate has ceased to be scientific. Those who argue against it are usually not scientists and if they are, only a few of them are climate experts.

    What we should do is to figure out how the change will affect us, and how to counter it. I am not an optimist and I think that even if the warming brings some positive effects, like bearable winters here where I live, the net effect will be strongly negative because Earth’s ecosystems and human societies have adapted to current climate. On many regions ecosystems and humans already live near the “edge”. You don’t need to change rain patterns a lot in order to cause a terrible loss of life.

    May 2, 2007 at 1:02 pm
  107. Michael J

    In short, there are people that don’t want to listen to the facts. GW is not a political issue. Over 2,000 scientists from 150 different countries agree that the Earth is warming significantly, and that humans have caused at least some of that. The true scientific debate is really about how much. I find it interesting that the far majority of people that refuse to believe people have any effect on global temperatures are from the U.S. and Canada (just take a look at some of the websites dedicated to refuting AGW).

    May 2, 2007 at 1:31 pm
  108. Rtachner

    Science should not be based on a majority view and opinions. E=MC^2 is a majority view of scientist as well as the Big Bang, but that does not mean that they are absolute? Global Warming is much more in its infancy of our scientific understanding as to the cause(s).

    I am very skepticle of popular causes. Especially when it becomes to the political level it has become today. I agree that common sense tells us to be considerate of the environment and our habitat– that has always been a given. There are a lot of question with few answers. I don’t believe the sky is falling and that we have time to understand the causes.

    Why would one be expected to invest vast resources into a problem and not know what the causes of the problem is? That could end up with unintended consequeces that may be worse. I don’t consider that very smart.

    May 2, 2007 at 2:45 pm
  109. SLC

    Re Lubos Motl

    If Mr. Motls’ statement that Glenn Beck is a mainstream conservative is true, this means that mainstream conservatives are a pack of racists. Every night, Mr. Beck has at least one segment inveighing against immigrants (Mr. Motl, as an immigrant from the Czech Republic, should take care as to who he gets in bed with) in the most racist tones imaginable.

    May 2, 2007 at 3:12 pm
  110. Brant D

    Rtachner: I discussed one of the reasons why we know humans are greatly influencing the climate (the bit about the stratosphere). If you have reservations about accepting the scientific mainstream position on global warming, then you might be interested in addressing the proposed evidence. There indeed are questions without answers currently, but it doesn’t help you or anyone else if you don’t know what answers we already have.

    May 2, 2007 at 3:33 pm
  111. SLC

    For the information of interested parties, there is a new blog up which refutes the lies of many of the climate change deniers. Mr. Motl, of course, will denounce this blog as a part of a left wing conspiracy, undoubtedly funded by the Illuminati and the Masons.

    May 2, 2007 at 4:21 pm
  112. Michael

    Amazing. By reading these posts I have discovered that I drive a Hummer, live the high life off my oil profits and I’m a creationist! Thanks for filling me in. Here I was laboring under the misconception that my car is a Sentra, that I make zero dollars from oil, and that I believed in evolution on 4 billion year old earth. But obviously none of things could be true, because I’m a ‘denier’.

    Trying to have a rational discussion about AGW is like arguing with a creationist, only they don’t usually start out with name-calling. My personal favorite was being accused of scare tactics. Apparently it’s a-okay for Gore to talk about 23 foot sea level increases but mention the fact that corn futures are going up and up and it’s a scare tactic. Beautiful. I guess if you’re on the righteous side anything goes….

    May 2, 2007 at 4:51 pm
  113. Rtachner

    Well Brant D, I have found many counter arguments and it IS a political issue that has gone mad. I don’t profess to be a climatologist but I don’t jump because some politician wants to fortify his ego by making me do so.

    Saying that, It seems reasonable to replace coal and fossil fuel power generating plants with nuclear plants. France is doing that, so whay can’t we? It would make sense even if we were not to address a GW issue. There are a lot of solutions that can be implemented without the hysteria and costs associated with it.

    The ones who think the sky is falling are quick on hysteria and short on solutions, but long on tax funded studies and other questionable and most likely uneccessary costs.

    May 3, 2007 at 6:42 am
  114. Kullat Nunu

    Michael: Amazing. By reading these posts I have discovered that I drive a Hummer, live the high life off my oil profits and I’m a creationist! Thanks for filling me in.

    Rtachner: Well Brant D, I have found many counter arguments and it IS a political issue that has gone mad. I don’t profess to be a climatologist but I don’t jump because some politician wants to fortify his ego by making me do so.

    Cool. Instead of hearing well-argued claims against anthropogenic global warming (AGW) answers are like these.

    Nobody is claiming that you’re profiting from oil. The fossil fuel industry and their allies are seeding the media with results from questionable “studies” to make the issue look much more controversial than it actually is. Combined with the general lack of interest in changing energy-consuming habits this results in more people who are ready to question AGW.

    Even if you’re a denier it doesn’t make you a creationist. Like it has been said several times before, a denier is someone who refuse to accept the evidence. Calling people who question AGW “skeptics” gives them “undeserved honor” because they don’t base their opinion on facts and are therefore not true skeptics on this matter.

    It is perfectly right and absolutely necessary to be critical. Way too often media exaggerates and misinterprets GW studies. That is really harmful and may result in the “crying wolf” effect.

    Still, I am seriously interested hearing of reputable studies which dispute AGW.

    BTW, claiming that “Al Gore says AGW is true, therefore AGW is false” is a typical ad hominem fallacy. Let’s not discuss about him or posters, but only the global warming. Please?

    May 3, 2007 at 8:11 am
  115. Worm TN

    “Amazing. By reading these posts I have discovered that I drive a Hummer, live the high life off my oil profits and I’m a creationist! Thanks for filling me in. Here I was laboring under the misconception that my car is a Sentra, that I make zero dollars from oil, and that I believed in evolution on 4 billion year old earth. But obviously none of things could be true, because I’m a ‘denier’.

    Trying to have a rational discussion about AGW is like arguing with a creationist, only they don’t usually start out with name-calling. My personal favorite was being accused of scare tactics. Apparently it’s a-okay for Gore to talk about 23 foot sea level increases but mention the fact that corn futures are going up and up and it’s a scare tactic. Beautiful. I guess if you’re on the righteous side anything goes….”


    Maybe the reason why everyone distorts what you are is because you distort everything that people respond to you about.

    I never said that you made any money off of oil. I did say that the whole not enough crops for food and fuel was a scare tactic and it is. I never said it was ok for Gore to scare people. Corn is not the only green fuel source, and maybe the true reason corn futures are going up is a simple thing like less people are farming. That was the whole point of my argument, which I see you failed to grasp.

    The whole argument is based on current production of crops. It is as trumped up as the rest of this Administration assertions on pretty much everything. America will do nothing until something bites it in the ass. The only preemptive thing we have done lately is invade Iraq and we see how the whole accomplished mission is going there.

    With the man made effect we have ice cores that we can go back million and millions of years back and plot data. We have historic data that people have recorded. We also understand our planet. We don’t understand it completely, but given that fact how can we compare that to planets we have never set foot on and have very little understanding of.

    If the solar system is heating up and that is the cause of our current warming trend then how do you prove it? How do you find a time line and past evidence to make your point? How do you base your facts on systems that no one really understands?

    At this date in time we have a majority of scientist who agree that this phenomenon is man made. Technology got us into it and technology can get us out of it. If it later turns out to be wrong what was the harm done?

    Fast forward to the future;

    America used it agriculture resources to end its dependence on foreign oil that supports terrorist. The need for new technology caused a need scientific revolution in America causing us to catch up and surpass to the rest of the world in education. The need to produce these technologies caused a new industrial revolution in America creating more jobs. The lose of jobs from the oil industry to new fuels was hardly felt because the new jobs that were created were filled by those workers. The planet is in better shape because world wide people started taking care of mother earth. The new agriculture boom might very well end world hunger. The Middle East might become peaceable because of less foreign intrusion, but that is hopeful thinking.

    Oh, I almost forgot the losers, big oil takes a hit and there quarterly profits never again see the record breaking profits that they were making during the rein of the Bush Administration. There CEO’s no longer are able to retire with 500 million dollar retirement packages. I know it was horrible but they soldered on with the measly 50 million dollar packages.

    May 3, 2007 at 8:18 am
  116. Brant D

    Rtachner: Have you found a counterargument for stratospheric activity? It is one of the strongest observational evidences that greenhouse gases are changing the world’s climate. I know that contrarians throw up plenty of questionable responses to the less certain aspects of climate science, but in my years of interest in the topic, I have never seen a head-to-head argument presented against the central pillars of mainstream science’s positions other than attacking the surface temperature record (which was eventually resolved).

    As for solutions, I don’t want to spend a lot of time addressing that point just yet. I will just say that my assessment of the spread of solution-creating is a) climate and environmental scientists have plenty of solutions to offer, and often bicker with each other as to which is the best one, b) the typical modern liberal has no solution other than raise taxes, tell everyone else what to do, and vote Democrat, c) the typical conservative has no solution at all other than vote Republican (“business as usual” is not a solution), d) the major corporations are divided between pretending nothing is wrong and taking baby steps towards modest solutions – in a time when we should have worked up a good pace, and e) the radicals want to use global warming to enslave humanity (nothing new here). The fact is that there are plenty of solutions (including nuclear if that’s what it takes), but most people are too absorbed in their own personal affairs and worldviews to give most of them a good shake.

    May 3, 2007 at 11:33 am
  117. Rtachner

    Brant D– you confirmed my observation that we have digressed Climate Science to the political arena. I have no argument either way and like I said one can simply cruise the web and find any argument they like tp support their belief system. I am not smart enough to know what is causing the Warming trend of the day– for it could get colder decades to come for all I know.

    It could be those methane emitting insects-. I seen a paper 15 years ago in Science News explaining that termites emit a large quantity of methane which is 6 times more lethal than CO2 for causing a warming effect. Then I saw another paper disputing that because one should consider all insects and animals. Then I saw another paper claming that the earth core nuclear generator is heating the oceans more rapidly as time goes on. Then I seen another paper delineating how the earth’s changes in tilt and magnet pole shift are become a larger problem. Then I saw another paper claiming how sun spot cycles correlate with earths temperature cycles. Then I saw another paper delineating how volcano’s are a bigger problem than man because man only contributes less than 5% to the earths climate. Then I saw another paper showing that man is the culprit because we are over populated on this planet. And so forth and so forth.

    I wonder how many more papers we are going to get because the government is willing to throw money to those who make the strongest case that man is a horrible polluter and global warmer. It is beginning to look like those who want to do real science are not going to get the federal grants. At least that is what I am hearing at NASA and NOAA.

    So you are not willing to address solutions to resolve your theory that man is doing the planet in. Why not implement solutions like Nuclear Energy which will go a long way towards reducing CO2 today– it seems like an easy solution that we could do right now. Could it be the environment lobby has been do us a disservice over the years by influencing the government not to build more reactors?

    So you tell me who is right about this and why it is not become the politics de jour. One thing for sure is the earth would be 30deg colder if we did not have our present atmosphere which has a trace gas called CO2– with water vapor being the largest contributor to GW—according to a NASA paper I seen several years ago. Does that mean we should refute Hydrogen Fuel Cells they give off water vapor?

    May 3, 2007 at 3:50 pm
  118. Brant D

    Well, I think your way of viewing the subject might be why you see the topic as so political. If you don’t know much about how the atmosphere works, then you won’t be able to spot a bad argument. In that case, of course all papers will seem equally credible. I don’t think there is any way for you to resolve it without consulting politics unless you are willing to sit down and learn about climate science. I can give you references if you want to learn how the atmosphere works, or I can explain it directly, but I am afraid I am not the person dragging politics into this discussion.

    I don’t want to address solutions at the moment because that is an entirely different topic, and we have not finished the topic of how we know global warming is anthropogenic, not because I have no solutions. And my thoughts on resolving the issue have nothing to do with what the environmental lobby or Al Gore or anyone else says. If it matters, I think Carter made a bad mistake in stifling breeder reactor research and implementation (to answer your question), but that has nothing to do with the reality of anthropogenic global warming.

    That is a pretty serious accusation you make that the global warming contrarians are the only scientists who want to do “real science”. Have you any evidence to back it up? What I hear from NASA and NOAA is that many of their Earth observation projects are experiencing some serious cuts in funding right now. That affects everyone across the board, regardless of their stance on global warming. Furthermore, who in the global warming issue is winning big currently? Richard Lindzen or Kevin Trenberth? Michael Crichton or Michael Mann? Which names do you recognize? The road to fame and glory in science rests in shaking the current paradigm, not agreeing with theory already established. That’s why funding for climate research is already stretched thin, with every researcher trying hard to get his/her little niche in the field recognized. Climate science is not the field to enter if you want lots of grant money and recognition. It’s a baseless claim that there is some grand conspiracy to deny all the grant money from scientists who would dare challenge climate dogma, or whatever.

    As for fuel cells, orders of magnitude are important. Carbon dioxide is such a potent greenhouse gas because it lingers in the atmosphere for so long. Build-ups do not go away easily – it takes over a century for the average CO2 molecule to be eaten by a plant or the ocean. Water vapor is a potent greenhouse gas because there is so much of it. Anomalies in water vapor concentration linger for only a couple of weeks at most, which gives water vapor no chance to build up and change climate. So the only way to alter climate through water vapor would be to create a huge new continual source on par with the tropical oceans. Irrigation doesn’t come close, so I doubt a few piddling emissions from fuel cells are going to do the trick. Remember that burning hydrocarbons already creates anthropogenic water vapor emissions as well.

    May 3, 2007 at 5:15 pm
  119. Rtachner

    Brant D — You may not be making this a political issue, but the politicians are not I. The issue of understanding GW is far beyond the discipline of a single discipline like Climatology and is multidiscipline that includes Planetary Science, Atmospheric Science, Cosmetology Science, Earth Science, Astronomy and etc. I doubt that you understand GW any better than I do.

    It is interesting that you will not address solutions like nuclear power plants; while it is an obvious solution, they would greatly reduce fossil fuel emissions–not to mention a great reduction of oil dependence. Could it be that you are against Nuclear power and want to drive us nuts with complaining about and issue that is not very well settled in science. BTY what make you think fuel cells are insignificant in the future. A lot of research is going on to make that a significant energy source in the future. Water vapor does go away rapidly while it is cleansing the air as rain at times. Then we have the pesky stuff called humidity that lingers much longer– and keeps coming back because of the sun’s effect on water and plants. NASA thinks it is the number one green house gas—It you disagree with that then take it up with them.

    If you think consensus of Scientist is important, then our demise will be from Nuclear Bombs, so it seems like we should be addressing privatization of WMD’s as the biggest threat to our environment while we understand GW a little better.

    May 4, 2007 at 7:11 am
  120. ghenton

    I confess I did not read every last reply but did not notice this issue. I have not seen anywhere in the GW debate any reference to volcanic eruptions as contributors. I do not understand everything about them, but I do know they emit huge quantities of gases that are not good for us or our environment. I would suspect that some or maybe most of those would be “greenhouse” contributors. As I watch the news and Discovery and other science programs examining the tremendous power of these systems, I see pollution that may possibly equal an entire industrialized country’s output for months being emitted in a single outburst.

    I know there are several continuous eruption volcanoes that have been present for decades. And it seems I am seeing monthly reports of the latest volcanic disaster around the world. I do not know if those emissions are quantified or even estimated but just look at the pictures. Have you ever seen an entire city emitting as much as a single volcanic eruption?

    So, I guess my speculation is; If all of us quit emitting pollution today, would that even be a significant portion of the total emitted by these world wide natural polluters? How much heat, formerly trapped beneath the insulating soil, is being transferred to the atomosphere and oceans (which then re-emit to the atmosphere)? Is the increase in volcanic activity due to the warming of the Earth’s core? How did humans affect the core? Did the Sun affect the core?

    Core temperature may have increased and not shown as a resultant crust/soil temperature increase because of the insulation effect of the crust.

    I believe humans are contributing a lot. But even “a lot” may only barely reach significance.

    So, I agree we should minimize pollution with a goal of zero as an ideal. But I am very uncertain that we can have any affect no matter what we do. And if we do start moving things in a “corrective” direction, how can we stop the monster we created before we freeze ourselves to death?

    May 4, 2007 at 10:32 am
  121. Kullat Nunu

    Has volcanism increased globally recently? Like earthquakes, it may be an illusion created by media in the sense volcanic eruptions may more often reported.

    Even if it has, volcanic eruptions often decrease global temperatures because of the aerosols they release. The last major eruption (Pinatubo) decreased global temperatures a fraction of a degree for a couple of years.

    Currently we have no technology to efficiently remove CO2 from the atmosphere. The most pressing issue is to find ways to limit further CO2 emissions.

    Unfortunately, nuclear may not be as good source of energy as some hope it would be. Safety and nuclear waste issues aside, nuclear power is far from CO2-free because of uranium mining and fuel processing which are done by using fossil fuels. Furthermore, uranium is currently produced less than it is consumed and its price is skyrocketing. New nuclear plants will not make the situation better. And finally, there is the potential danger of nuclear proliferation.

    May 4, 2007 at 4:14 pm
  122. Rtachner

    Nuclear energy does have risks, but if I listen to the GW caused by humans hysteria, it is magnitudes less than the GW they claim to be present and future. Besides the only one who has had an actual disaster is Russia. Could it be because of their disregard to the safety standards we and other countries have adopted? We had a near disaster in Pennsylvania 20+ years ago because of human error that has long since been resolved– but that did not become a real disaster because of robust saftey standarns then in effect.

    The Nuclear waste is an issue that Russia has agreed to store for us if we like:-) Of course they would charge a fee to do so. Or we could use our existing and proposed sites that have become a political red herring by Senator Reid.

    The use of energy to process Uranium is insignificant compared to the bennefit. Also Nuclear plants do not need abundant need water for cooling while liquid metals do a fine job on many in-service reactors today.

    Menwhile other countries are embraceing and implementing that technology in a realistic manner.

    To me, Nuclear energy is another area that has become needlessly political. Those who are against it usually have an political reason to be so. I have no axe to grind for Nuclear, but I have spend many years working on submarines that use it, and I don’t think there are the boogy men in the closet that some dissenters believe to be. In fact there have been several submarines that have sunk and broken up on the sea floor with reactors that are not and will not be a risk to sea life or us– they are being closely monitored.

    May 5, 2007 at 3:06 pm
  123. Robin

    I’m a little late to the party, and I don’t want to get in the middle of an argument, but I’m just wondering… Is there any evidence that any of the planets or moons are cooling? Or is everything staying the same or getting hotter? If something were cooling down would that contradict the sun argument? Or would it just be irrelevant?

    May 6, 2007 at 1:21 pm
  124. Maurizio Morabito

    Has anybody else noticed the following:

    Temperature of terrestrial air compressed from 288k/1,000mbar to 90,000mbar:


    Temperature on Venus surface (~90,000 mbar): 735K

    Has this got any meaning? Is Venus’s temperature really caused by CO2 as a greenhouse gas, or by the fact that there is so much of it?

    May 8, 2007 at 2:07 pm
  125. Rtachner

    Here is what a Climatologist thinks about GW caused by man:

    “Man’s contribution to the greenhouse gases was so small we couldn’t change the climate if we tried, he maintained.

    “We’re all going to survive this. It’s all going to be a joke in five years,” he said.

    A combination of misinterpreted and misguided science, media hype, and political spin had created the current hysteria and it was time to put a stop to it.

    “It is time to attack the myth of global warming,” he said.

    Water vapour was responsible for 95 per cent of the greenhouse effect, an effect which was vital to keep the world warm, he explained.

    “If we didn’t have the greenhouse effect the planet would be at minus 18 deg C but because we do have the greenhouse effect it is plus 15 deg C, all the time.”

    The other greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen dioxide, and various others including CFCs, contributed only five per cent of the effect, carbon dioxide being by far the greatest contributor at 3.6 per cent.

    However, carbon dioxide as a result of man’s activities was only 3.2 per cent of that, hence only 0.12 per cent of the greenhouse gases in total. Human-related methane, nitrogen dioxide and CFCs etc made similarly minuscule contributions to the effect: 0.066, 0.047 and 0.046 per cent respectively.

    “That ought to be the end of the argument, there and then,” he said.

    “We couldn’t do it (change the climate) even if we wanted to because water vapour dominates.”

    Yet the Greens continued to use phrases such as “The planet is groaning under the weight of CO2” and Government policies were about to hit industries such as farming, he warned.

    “The Greens are really going to go after you because you put out 49 per cent of the countries emissions. Does anybody ask 49 per cent of what? Does anybody know how small that number is?

    “It’s become a witch-hunt; a Salem witch-hunt,” he said. “

    May 19, 2007 at 11:49 am
  126. Stephen Huff

    Skepticism carried too far can become just as much a matter of religious fanaticism as any other belief system. Skeptics get their jollies by mocking any and all new discoveries. It is a conditioned response, and Skeptics have been more responsible for the repression or delay of scientific discoveries in the last two hundred years than organized Religion.

    Organized Religion largely lost its power to suppress modern scientific work a few centuries back, but Scientolatry, the worship of established scientific doctrine eagerly took over that job when people stopped paying much attention to the Pope.

    Pretty much anyone who establishes a personal hobby or goal of debunking everything new or different from the properly established dogma of accepted authority is a religious nutcase of one variety or another.

    Phil properly points out the problem with cherry picking scientific evidence. He points out that we do not have the evidence we need from all the planets. This is a good point. Of course, the climatologists promoting the idea that the Greedy US is the prime cause of climate change have a religious/political agenda of their own, and they cherry pick in all their work, and their models assume that solar output is a constant.

    Phil then goes on to explain away all the observed warming on other bodies in the solar system by saying well we can explain this one this way, we can explain this one that way, we can explain this one another way, and so forth. This of course, violates Occams razor. Occams razor demands that we find the simplest explanation for phenomena and not multiply hypotheses to explain away the evidence.

    Phils makes a completely irrelevant point by saying that since Pluto is farther away from the sun than Earth, it would not be warming as much as earth. I now of no evidence that it is, just that it is warming at the same time.

    Phil then makes the point that we are not getting data on all the planets and major moons in the solar system showing global warming. This, of course, ignores the fact that we do not actually have space vehicles close enough to all the planets and major moons in the solar system to provide us with that data.

    In summary. Phil makes one good point about cherry picking then flies off into rhetoric and nonsense.

    He also ignores major recent discoveries in solar cycles. These include tracing solar cycles for 1500 years using beryllium levels in the polar ice caps. The Maunder Minimum and its correlation with the minor ice age in the middle ages. These discoveries have shown that solar activity has been going up for the past few hundred years and is due to drop in about 20 years.

    Men like him are one of my pet peeves. They get advanced degrees and then act like the theologians of the Catholic Church, defending their dogma from a position of authority, with fancy talk and a quick shuffle dance.

    5. Is Global Warming Solar or Man-made?

    The vested interests on both sides of the argument between the “greenhouse” party and the “solar warming” party are obvious. Scientifically, the meteorologists, climatologists, and atmospheric physicists, who were responsible for “discovering” the human contribution to the terrestrial greenhouse effect, have been the most consistent champions of its importance, while the solar physics community, and especially those interested in solar-terrestrial relations, have increasingly stressed the possible importance of the long-term variations of the solar constant as the chief cause of climate change. Both communities tend to take the change for granted, and to neglect any purely statistical or chaotic effects which could lead to excursions of the Earth’s surface temperature during periods of a couple of decades, without requiring a secular change either in the solar constant or in atmospheric transparency. In addition, the debate is conditioned by more powerful vested-interest groups. The oil industry in all its guises would obviously like to believe, and would like the public to believe, that greenhouse warming has been greatly exaggerated, and exploits any genuine scientific differences to undermine the credibility of the climatologists. Solar physics has been losing ground steadily compared with other branches of astrophysics during the past few decades, and many of its practicioners have seen solar climate change as a chance to move into an area where funding may be more assured. These aspirations are of course legitimate, and there is indeed much work to be done in the field, but one should be aware of the political background to this delicate issue, and not fall into the trap of using possible solar warming as an excuse for delay in reducing man-made emissions of greenhouse gases. Whatever the magnitude of the effects of these in the long term, there is no doubt that their concentration has increased dramatically in the past 30 years, and that for many reasons this is not a desirable path to follow.

    I am not personally opposed to reasonable measures to lower carbon emissions. The fanaticism and sillyness of the global warming people irritates me. If solar heating cycle ends and we find ourselves going into a long period of global cooling, it may be only man made carbon in the atmosphere which prevents another mini ice age.

    May 24, 2007 at 10:51 pm
  127. The Bad Astronomer

    Steven, I don’t have time to go over everything you said right now, but I will note that the point about Pluto is not irrelevant at all; in fact, it’s crucial. If the Sun were causing global warming on Pluto, then the effects on Earth would be far larger. Pluto is about 35 times farther away from the Sun, so any solar effect on it would be 35×35 = about 1000 times stronger on Earth.

    May 28, 2007 at 8:47 am
  128. Jarod McCarty

    I may not be anywhere near qualified to be able to prove anyone wrong here (As I’m only a Freshman), but I do think I can jump in and say something here. I would have to disagree on Steven’s comment about Phil’s point being completely irrelevant to the subject. What Phil had said is completely related to his point, but, I don’t understand how the effects that Pluto is having would make the proposed related effects 1000x worse on Earth. As you have said, and I quote: “Pluto is more than 30 times farther away from the Sun than the Earth is.” Yet in your reply to Steven, you say 35x farther away. I would like to know what you mean by the distance away. If I’m not mistaken, which I most likely am, Pluto has a very elliptical orbit? Knowing this, wouldn’t the distance constantly change? Also if it takes Pluto 248 years to orbit the Sun, how can we disprove or approve of any information saying that Pluto is having a Global Warming, or any other thing such as that. I’m not sure if some of this does make any sense, but I am supposed to be doing a Persuasive Speech trying to disapprove Global Warming. Also, Phil since this is part of my project, I would like to know if I can interview you.

    May 28, 2007 at 1:31 pm
  129. Tim Z

    Completely irrelevant but perhaps interesting:

    Strange visual effect: While reading the paragraph just above the Hubble image of Jupiter, it constantly appears to be receding in something like a closed loop video.

    May 30, 2007 at 5:23 pm
  130. Clair

    Any warming on Pluto must be due to something local.

    It’s the Gamalons!

    I am sorry; I couldn’t help myself or the conversation by adding anything productive.

    June 6, 2007 at 11:10 am
  131. John Powell

    I don’t know if we can prevent global warming, but it is happenening. Consequences may be more or less severe than the alarmists predict. However I believe that if we do the things that the alarmists want us to do, then we will save lives and improve the quality of life for everyone on this planet. We’ll do this by moving populations away from flooding coastlines, by moving food production from areas favored by the current climate to areas favored by future climate (and/or putting food production under glass) and reducing harmful emissions from power, transport and food producing infrastructure.

    June 7, 2007 at 8:59 am
  132. Bart

    I don’t disagree that Global Warming exist and that it’s most likely manmade, I do disagree with your bit of “cherrypicking” at the end. If you’re going to accuse others of using select facts while discarding others, then don’t do it yourself. =)

    July 2, 2007 at 7:54 am
  133. Thos Weatherby

    In general the other planets and moons are warming up. Why don’t we talk about the other “bodies”. Simple, we haven’t been monitoring their surface temperatures. There is evidence that we may be going through a global cooling. High temperatures have peaked 8 years ago. (about the time the solar sunspots peaked) If you really want to know what is happening with our climate, I would suggest reading Robert Felix’s book. He explains more accurately what we are experiencing with our weather.

    Our influence on heating up the atmosphere is minimal. Have an open mind. The real problem may be worse than this global warming scare.


    Dept. of Planetary Studies

    Cornell University

    July 3, 2007 at 9:49 am
  134. brandon

    more heat is trapped by water vapors than CO2..little tidbit. spitting would have the same effect as doubling the CO2 level.

    July 9, 2007 at 11:42 pm
  135. Mark

    Sorry, but you are cherry picking as well, as are all of the pro-man-induced global warming advocates. CO2 may indeed be a greenhouse gas, but the 800 year lag between temperatures and CO2 levels leaves many questions of just what causes what. Current scientific research on clouds (and the effect of cosmic rays on cloud creation) faces being shouted down as heresy. We live in strange times when scientists would attack scientists for wanting to practice science, but that is exactly what is happening.

    What kind of scientist tries to prevent research which may disprove his own? Are scientists more concerned with personal egos than increasing the world’s knowledge? It would seem so.

    As for calling skeptics, “deniers” (a loaded term which equates them with Holocaust deniers), I would say the real fascists in this debate are the “Consensus Nazis”, scientists who believe all the science is in, and there is no need for any further science (an anathema to all that is science). I prefer to compare them to the pigs in Orwell’s Animal Farm, as they believe “Some science is more equal than other science.”

    It has become an unfortunate world where scientists actively try to destroy the careers of those who’s research threatens their own, and when faced with questions they don’t like, simply do not answer the question.

    July 11, 2007 at 9:19 am
  136. Plognark

    Boy is this a tricky issue.

    Not the science part, that’s pretty clear. I’m not even going to say what I think about this just so people won’t dismiss what I’m saying out of hand.

    What I mean separating the facts from the bloviating and ranting and accusations of bias and ulterior motives and every other way of politely saying you think the other side is full of evil idiots.

    How’s a layman supposed to get anything out of a debate like this? The entire subject is drowned out by static. It seems like most people just throw in with whatever ‘side’ the political party they already adhere to chooses.

    July 12, 2007 at 11:33 am
  137. Medvedovski

    It is possible. I read that newton calculated that in 50 years or so, the world would end. They found astronomic diagrams in log of hi in a Museum that was opened ( they would have before if it wasn’t so fragile) and It could be he studied the earth’s rotation, since the earth orbits on a slanted oval, also tilted on it’s side by the poles, posdibly this causing a rise in heat.

    It is proven pollution causes the earth to heat up, but it shouldn’d be going so fast. If we keap polluting at this rate, and no problems happen fron newtons doom theory then we humans won’t die of pollution, especially with the limits in place so trees can get the carbon dioxide.

    July 13, 2007 at 11:43 am
  138. Medvedovski

    It is possible. I read that newton calculated that in 50 years or so, the world would end. They found astronomic diagrams in log of hi in a Museum that was opened ( they would have before if it wasn’t so fragile) and It could be he studied the earth’s rotation, since the earth orbits on a slanted oval, also tilted on it’s side by the poles, posdibly this causing a rise in heat.

    It is proven pollution causes the earth to heat up, but it shouldn’d be going so fast. If we keap polluting at this rate, and no problems happen fron newtons doom theory then we humans won’t die of pollution, especially with the limits in place so trees can get the carbon dioxide.

    July 13, 2007 at 11:43 am
  139. Medvedovski

    If you think about this the Global warming idea could be a scam for people to get taxed extra, only because the government can’t manage their already large budget. Al Gore believed in the global freezing idea before this, then in his movie says his teacher and he thought of global warming before both global warming and freezing ideas came to life. He was using it as a face for his election. people involved in the industries of accounting for oil companies will be taxed, not just the oil companies themselves.

    July 13, 2007 at 11:51 am
  140. amy

    I agree, and i think if you want he proof, I suggest you watch the Great Global Warming Swindle.

    Nice Work


    July 18, 2007 at 8:49 pm
  141. Nick

    The real question to be asked or discussed about is why is this big hoax is being perpetuated ?

    Think about it the next time you look up to the stars . We are so small in this universe and we still don’t so much and yet we believe all

    bad word deleted by The Bad Astronomer around us without first checking the facts .

    To all those who believe Humans are responsible for global warming ,you want the truth then look for it . Don’t follow the ignorant masses , wake up and make you own conclusion .

    Remember the Matrix “It’s the question, Neo. It’s the question that drives us. It’s the question that brought you here. The answer is out there, and it’s looking for you, and it will find you if you want it to….

    August 10, 2007 at 6:25 am
  142. Mike Alexander

    Oe of my pet peeves is how global warming deniers present information in a misleading fashion. For example the poster Steven Huff has obviously read some of the “solar” deniers and been influenced by them.

    The solar thesis uses the well-established direct effect of solar brightness plus a hypothesized indirect solar effect (mediated through cosmic rays) to argue for a much large effect of solar activity on global temperature. You see the direct effects of solar brighteness on temperature are quite small, perhaps 0.1 C over the solar cycle and about the same (or less) since the Maunder minimum in the early 17th century. The cosmic ray hypothesis boosts the strength of the solar impact 5-10-fold. making 0.5 to 1.0 C of the potential temperature rise since the Maunder minimum due to solar effects. This strength allows solar effects to explain some to most of the warming since the start of the industrial revolution, instead of a trivial portion as the standard view holds.

    This is the background. Now the way solar deniers present this as follows: (1) the sun today is the most active its been in at least 1000 years (2) temperature today is at the highest level of the last 1000 years (3) greater solar activity in known to cause higher temperature.

    They leave it to the reader to draw the conclusion–the sun must be causing global warming.

    Now what I wrote is correct, the sun IS at its most active in 1000 years. But what I didn’t point out was that the sun as been at this level for half a century. That is, compared to 50 years ago, the sun is NOT at a higher level–its at the same (or slightly lower) level.

    But if they said that, then you wouldn’t conclude that the sun (which hasn’t changed in 50 years) cannot be responsible for warming that occurred over the last 30 years and that perhaps greenhouse gases (which have risen at their fastest rate over the least 30 years) might be.

    So now they resort to saying, look! Triton is warming, Mars is warming, it must be the Sun. They don’t look at what the *Sun* itself is doing because we can’t *see* it doing anything. Instead they point at indirect evidence of a warming sun to posit that the sun *must* be doing *something* to be warming those planets (and by implication the Earth too). So global warming isn’t due to human activity, but n-rays* from the sun!


    Note to Mr. Huff, in my website I explicitly use the Svensmark model so popular with deniers to model global warming since 1850. I learned most of what I know about global warming from skeptics like Monckton Shaviv, Svensmark and others. I am technically trained (PhD in chemical engineering) and so I corrected errors where I found them and proceeded. Nevertheless, the cosmic ray mechanism so popular with skeptics plays a prominent and important role in my simple model. Unlike any of the skeptics I have read, I actually took their material and ran with it, assuming they wee 100% right. Even doing that what comes out is that *recent* warming (since the 1970’s) is *almost certainly* due to rising greenhouse gases.

    None of the skeptics have actually *used* there science to make predictions because they know that it would simply reinforce the consensus opinion. Instead they drop misleading hints that in my opinion border on dishonesty.

    Check the model out for yourself

    email comments to [email protected]

    August 12, 2007 at 3:41 pm
  143. Barton Paul Levenson

    To the comment that the correlation between carbon dioxide and warming doesn’t hold up because the sample size is too small — global warming theory didn’t come about from analyzing a correlation between CO2 and temperature. It’s radiation physics, from the fact (first discovered by John Tyndal from laboratory work in 1859) that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. If you put more CO2 into a planet’s atmosphere, you must get a warmer surface, all else being equal. The correlation in the climate data is only confirmation.

    Informed people might honestly disagree about how much of the present warming is anthropogenic and how fast it is proceeding. (My own answers would be “almost all of it” and “pretty darn fast.”) But to question that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas at all is scientifically illiterate.

    August 26, 2007 at 3:47 pm
  144. Jason Gilliam

    What’s interesting to me is that the whole Global Warming argument (real or imagined, human or natural) is put forth with the sole intent of persuading people to be more conservation minded about energy consumption. Yet we are not the ones that need persuading. The corporations and governments that deny us access to many cutting edge alternative energy technologies are the ones that need persuading.

    Why can’t I buy an SUV that runs on ethanol? Or a new house that has a built in solar power system? Why are there still incandescent bulbs on the shelves at local stores?

    The answer is simple: corporate elite GREED!

    If global warming were a lie and oil and coal were clean burning fuels I would still support alternatives to promote healthy competition in the energy industry and reduce geopolitical tensions. So for me the global warming argument, while powerful, is still unnecessary to justify a future alternative energy vision when all other factors are considered.

    This goal of unseating the fossil fuel industry from power will never be achieved until we break the back of the global elites’ government sponsored monopoly capitalist system and replace it with true free market capitalism. This is where our time and energy should be spent, not arguing over scientific data.

    September 7, 2007 at 12:02 am
  145. Medvedovski

    People who say that global warming is only astonomy are wrong. It is pollution and the sun. The truth is that the money in taxes we pay to stop global warming go toward paying the war bill. What should be done is use the money to plant a few trees, it will slow down global warming. The sun is getting more active because it is aging. Our sun is Billions of years old. What are we going to do in a thousand or so years when it implodes. We’ll be dead but the rest of species won’t. Do we want to plunge our decendantws into a inevitable doom? also, the pollution isn’t the only thing to worry about. the world is filled with to much garbage, and all the nations can’t agree to leave each other alone. we also don’t have a large population. who knows maby the world won’t be ruled by humans by then…

    September 7, 2007 at 12:51 pm
  146. Ronald

    1) Of course there is global warming we came out of a mini ice age. It was warmer during the 1000-1300s (Greenland grew wheat during this time and england made wines). The real evidence we have is that the world is warmest that it has been in 400 years. The real argument has always been how much is caused by man.

    2) Global warming predictions are based off of highly innacurate models. In my field a model within 30% is considered acceptable and in some cases within 100% is considered good. If the best weather modeling can only reasonably forecast the effect of an ice storm at a county level out to 36 hours then I am very wary of a model that claims to move out to 10 let alone 100 years. Is the model good at forecasting or is it fudged each time new data comes in to make it fit? This is a huge difference.

    Climate models paramatize a large number of variables and then use large areas on the planet then let their models run. Also variables can be tweaked to give huge variations in the results. Can I mimic the results is very different from can I forecast the climate? And believe me I have a hard time calibrating models for watersheds within 20% as do most engineers.

    3) There is a lot of money to claim global warming. Newpapers use sensationalism and scientists use it to garner funding. People are willing to fund doomsday scenarios and of course more data is wanted. However, when I start seeing lots of different sciences saying “The effect of global warming will have to be examined for my field” I begin to get suspicious that they aren’t hunting for money.

    4). I haven’t found any conclusive studies (they may exist, but I havent seen them) on exactly what happens when you change the amount of carbon dioxide at the levels we have recorded for a “normal atmospheric mix”.

    All others things being held equal You think by putting the CO2 to 500ppm from 200ppm with a constant solar radiance that you would see X amount of change in degrees. I have seen people use models or very old data from the 1800s, but I think if global warming is so important we would get definitive repeatable numbers from lab experiments so we could base our models properly.

    5) Most global warming is that the cool temperatures are less severe. So if the winters are milder and the summers remain roughly the same then this is very different than if we have a more extreme world without less global warming (IE compare living to texas vs. NY rather than living in texas vs. living in hawaii).

    6) Is the cost to “stop or minimize” human induced global warming cheaper than adapting to it? Is it cheaper to build dikes, levees, hurricane evacuation plans or it is better to drastically reduce our standard of living? Most models try to show a devestating scenario and raise alarms. You really consider the fact you deal with more climate change by moving from the north to the south or vice versa than you would for the proposed climate change. Also much of this points to raising taxes to stop global warming when a better use of money would be to help third world countries with their infrastructure to adapt to it (it would be much less also).

    8) Dismissal of good science is bad policy because it disagrees with your beliefs. A lot of scientists are silenced, bullied or ridiculed if their findings contradict the “conventional ways of thinking”. I notice it with global warming, heliocentric earth, evolution, etc. Science is not consensus based, it is fact based with independently repeatable verifiable results.

    9) Our satellite data is less than 40 years old and our commonly used CO2 data is less than 50 years old. Ice cores have problems and many CO2 pieces of data by scientists before 1959 are ignored. We have much less data about presatellite times so it is hard to extrapolate beyond this point (same can be said about temperatures, etc).

    10) Science is about skepticism. Anyone who is not skeptical of global warming, evolution, etc is not educated, but rather believes in dogma. Check the facts, find out the bias (everyone has a bias) of the author, who funds it, statistical significance and the repeatability of their results. Then make up your mind and always leave room to absorb new information that may contradict your currently held beliefs.

    As for myself I think there is a lot of misinformation and exaggeration by the AGW group. The more I learn about the academic article reviews, models, the more I distrust the mantra that physical scientists/engineers are absolutely sure in AGW.

    September 18, 2007 at 10:26 pm
  147. suggestionofdoom

    I think that we should work on alternative energies, not because of global warming but because we will run out of fossil fuels. If we keap using them at this rate we will run out. we (at the rate we have now) have enough oil and gas for another 15 – 25 years and coal for 12 – 15 years after oil and gas runs out (we’ll use way more when the oil runs out

    September 23, 2007 at 8:53 am
  148. Barton Paul Levenson

    The argument that the Sun is causing global warming fails for four major reasons.

    1. The Sun hasn’t gotten noticeably brighter in 50 years. We’ve been measuring it from satellites like Nimbus-7 and the Solar Maximum Mission. If solar output has been flat for the past 50 years, it’s hard to see how it could have caused the sharp upturn in warming of the last 30 years.

    2. Increased sunlight would heat the stratosphere first. But the stratosphere is cooling, as predicted by the climate modelers on the basis of rising greenhouse gases.

    3. Increased sunlight would heat the equator more than the poles (Lambert’s cosine law). Instead we see “polar amplification,” another thing predicted by the climate modelers.

    4. Increased sunlight would increase daytime temperatures more than nighttime temperatures (duh!). But nighttime temperatures have risen more, which is consistent with an atmosphere of increased IR opacity holding in surface warmth better.

    In short, folks, it ain’t the sun.

    September 26, 2007 at 3:24 pm
  149. John A Shannon

    Regarding climate modelers, many, if not most of the modelers will admit that their capabilities to predict the “past” are excellent. Predicting the future is only as good as the modelers’ capabilities to apply the results of past events to future events whose initial and boundary conditions match those of the past. Put simply, many climate modelers. i.e., predictors of the future, are highly dependent on data from past events to “tweak” their models in oder to achieve results that come anywhere near agreeing with event data.

    October 19, 2007 at 4:14 pm
  150. Marty Kay Zee

    Regardless of cause, the dramatic retreat of the polar and other subarctic glaciers prove that the earth is warming. Regardless of public opinion, the continued dumping of vast amounts of byproduct trace gases into the atmosphere can do no good. Economically, our dependence on unfriendly foreign oil is not sustainable. So what are we arguing about?

    Those are facts, not beliefs.

    October 22, 2007 at 9:07 pm
  151. Dr. Josef Wilkens

    Here’s what NASA has to say on the topic of global warming. I’ll take the opinion of NASA over idiot bloggers any day of the week:

    Truth is, one natural event, such as a volcano eruption, has more impact on the planet in a matter of hours than mankind has had in his entire existance. I’m all for recycling, conserving, and not wasting resources, especially if it screws over the Arabs, but I’m not going to piss my pants over it like some silly schoolgirl.

    Global warming hysteria is the modern day equivalent of a rain dance. You can do it if you like, but it’s not going to actually solve anything.

    November 6, 2007 at 11:05 am
  152. Mark Schaffer

    I wonder what kind of doctor Josef Wilkens is or if he really is one? Apparently Josef Wilkens doesn’t realize that the paper he refers to is over 4 years old and not by NASA. Real climate does a nice job of explaining in multiple postings why cosmic radiation is wrong as an explanation for warming. Go to their main site and type in “cosmic radiation” and spend a few hours with real climatologists.

    Volcanic eruptions do have an immediate effect on climate, if they are large enough. They cool the climate as Mt. Pinatubo did in the early 1990’s.

    The rest of what this “doctor” has to say is more rant than not.

    November 8, 2007 at 6:34 pm
  153. Terry

    Barton Paul Levinson, Did you get your information from Al Gore or the pseudo scientists that call themselves climatoligists.

    The sun’s intensity has increased. Unfortunately the sun’s changes in intensity were said to be irrelevent by climatoligists that are pursuing AWG. It didn’t fit into their models.

    There are many problems with the climatoligists models and due to contrary belief I don’t believe that I have seen one that made a correct prediction.

    If increased sunlight would heat the stratosphere first and then the underlying layers. Does that mean that the stratosphere will be warmer than the ground? That seems to be the logic you are using.

    Obviously in your little world increased sunlight would only heat the equator but have no effect on atmospheric circulation patterns. I seem to think it would.

    I would like an explanation on how IR opacity only works in one direction. It is allowed in but can’t escape.

    There are some very real problems trying to model the Earth’s atmosphere as a blackbody radiator. That works on the Sun where the temperature is over 5000 K but not on Earth where the temperature is 300 K and less. In the current models the Earth outperforms the Sun! If man is responsible for this we have the answer to all of our energy needs.

    Amazingly to explain the stratoshere cooling the models were changed to be a blackbody cavity, so the radiation is held in the lower portions of the atmosphere. Unfortunately, if you consider random scattering how is the percentage of radiation emitted away from Earth reflected back?

    In short if the current models supporting AWG are by some bizarre miracle correct then a lot of Physics and Engineering books will have to be rewritten and we will have to realize that a lot of the machines we have built didn’t really work but were only illusions.

    Luckily the probability of the current climate models being correct is about the same as finding faces on Mars.

    I’m sure that man’s pollution doesn’t help the Earth, but there are many other variables that are being completely ignored. Most of these concern the Sun and radiation from the Sun that reaches the Earth. None of which involve man’s activities.

    November 20, 2007 at 12:01 pm
  154. Mark Schaffer


    The article that started this thread of discussion debunks most of what you say. The IPCC has extensive peer reviewed evidence addressing why the current rapid warming is not explained by the sun. All you have to do is go read the reports at the IPCC site. But I doubt you will do so.

    November 20, 2007 at 4:04 pm
  155. Guillermo

    Dear Phil,

    Congratulations on the interesting blog. I would like to know what you think about the recent comments of Robert F. Kennedy. He said that those who disagree with the consensus opinion on the subject (which as you know is that it is true and action must be taken) are “fascists” and “traitors” and should be treated as such. The penalty for treason is imprisonment or death.

    What do you think about that? Should people who say that they do not believe in the AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) hypothesis be imprisoned or executed?

    Keep up the good work on the blog!



    November 25, 2007 at 12:23 pm
  156. Øyvind


    You could not grow wheat in Greenland in the period 1000-1300.

    The sagas said the only the richest farms managed to grow barley , and then only every second year or so.

    Also the sagas said that you could not land on the east coast of Greenland

    due to ice at any time of the year.



    December 3, 2007 at 1:14 am
  157. L Miller

    Terry, people have been measuring the suns intensity accurately using satellites for the last 40 years and it’s intensity hasn’t increased in that time. Proxy data goes back considerably further, but doesn’t suggest any significant trend since the mid 50’s. This is documented in numerous peer reviewed papers.

    As far as I know there is only a single peer reviewed paper in the last decade suggesting solar activity could be having an impact and it’s based on the speculation that cosmic rays could somehow be having an effect even though no one has purposed any viable mechanism for them to do so.

    The largest source if uncertainty in climate models comes from not knowing what future CO2 and aerosol levels will be. When fed somewhat accurate results for these, even the models in use back in the 80’s were able to accurately predict today’s temperature. Today’s models are based on a far superior understanding of the physics involved and can be expected to be accurate even further into the future.

    Sunlight must pass through the upper atmosphere before it hits the ground, and some of it is absorbed along the way. This means if the sun gets warmer, so does the upper atmosphere. Why you think this should imply the upper atmosphere needs to be warmer then sea level I have no idea. It’s non-sequitur your statement simply does not follow from the point being made.

    IR opacity does not work only in one direction, but this is totally irrelevant. The suns energy does not arrive at the earth in the form of IR, it comes in the form of visible light, which passes through CO2 without a problem. Once it hits the ground however, it is remitted as long wave IR which does not pass through CO2 the way visible light does. If the same amount of energy is coming in the form of visible light, and less IR can escape basic thermodynamics will tell you temperatures must increase.

    While the earth isn’t a perfect blackbody it’s close enough and the difference is well enough understood that it isn’t an issue. I’m uncertain as to why you think temperature means Stephan-Boltzmann doesn’t apply.

    Perhaps you can go into detail on what engineering textbooks you think would need to be re-written if thermodynamics turns out to be wrong? As things stand now the basic laboratory science is as follows:

    Most energy from the sun arrives in the form of visible light (measurable)

    CO2 allows visible light to pass unimpeded (measurable)

    Most energy exiting the earth leaves in the form of long wave IR (measurable)

    CO2 absorbs IR in these wavelengths and releases the energy in the form of vibration (measurable)

    Humans have been releasing large amounts of CO2 (documented in fossil fuel production records and measurable in the form of isotope differences)

    Unless you are willing to disavow Thermodynamics this means the effect must be to increase the Earths temperature climate models simply give us a better idea of how much. As it turns out the sensitivity to CO2 seen in climate models is in complete agreement with historic CO2 levels.

    Nearly 100% of the peer reviewed science on the subject that takes a position says that the earth is getting warmer and humans are the primary cause of late 20th century warming. I don’t know why you seem to think that peer reviewed science is pseudo-science while unpublished political blogging is “the real science” but you are wrong. So far there isn’t a single viable theory to explain why CO2 should not have the warming effect mathematics says it should and there are hundreds of peer reviewed papers backing up the fact that it does indeed have a warming effect.

    December 7, 2007 at 1:29 pm
  158. Isidore

    The issue is a scientific one, based on observations. As individuals we can each study the evidence to post-doctoral level. Or, if we do not have the talent or time the next best thing is to rely on the consensus of those who have studied the matter in depth. If you were ill would you trust a fellow Digger, blogger or someone who studied medicine for many years? If one maverick doctor disagrees with the consensus would you trust your life to them or the majority opinion?

    Who are the real experts? Is there enough evidence for them to come to a consensus conclusion? National Science Academies would be a good place to start.

    The National Scientific Academies of the following countries issued this statement in support of the IPCC

    “The work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) represents the consensus of the international scientific community on climate change science. We recognise IPCC as the world’s most reliable source of information on climate change and its causes, and we endorse its method of achieving this consensus. Despite increasing consensus on the science underpinning predictions of global climate change, doubts have been expressed recently about the need to mitigate the risks posed by global climate change. We do not consider such doubts justified.”

    National Academy of Sciences (US),

    Royal Society (United Kingdom),

    Chinese Academy of Sciences,

    Science Council of Japan,

    Russian Academy of Sciences,

    Academia Brasiliera de Ciências (Brazil),

    Royal Society of Canada,

    Académie des Sciences (France),

    Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina (Germany),

    Indian National Science Academy,

    Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei (Italy),

    Australian Academy of Sciences,

    Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Sciences and the Arts,

    Caribbean Academy of Sciences,

    Indonesian Academy of Sciences,

    Royal Irish Academy,

    Academy of Sciences Malaysia,

    Academy Council of the Royal Society of New Zealand,

    Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. … (2001) … (2005)

    For the comments of other scientific bodies

    The scientific evidence and consensus is with the IPCC. Just as the scientific evidence and consensus is for evolution.

    No one on the IPCC doubts that there are cycles and natural factors. The question is whether the global warming observed since the mid 1970’s has a significant human cause. The IPCC says yes with 90% certainty.

    Sir David Attenborough was once a climate skeptic, believing that it can all be explained by natural causes and cycles. He changed his mind, this is why

    UK Government’s Meteorological Office debunking of climate-change-denial myths

    New Scientist magazine addressing the main skeptic claims

    Oxford University intro to climate

    NASA intro to climate

    This is like the tobacco industry funding their shills. Who should we trust mainstream science or big business shills?

    December 26, 2007 at 1:33 pm
  159. Krishnaraj Rao

    Below, I outline an idea for bringing irresponsible manufacturers to heel for promoting products that pollute. Please consider it.

    There is an important social principle that is currently being violated by many manufacturing activities: the principle that, while engaged in a profit-making activity, one must not leave a mess behind for the rest of society to clean up.

    This principle is understood in a societal context as common decency, but is continually breached in our economy to such an extent that nobody even objects!

    The easiest example is that of mineral water and soft-drink manufacturers, who sell a product that results in a consumer who usually discards a non-biodegradable PET bottle into the environment in an unregulated manner.

    We should mobilize citizens to demand legislation that every manufacturer must repurchase/collect and recycle as many tonnes of raw material as he uses on a week-by-week basis. For example, if a mineral-water manufacturer uses ten tonnes of plastics per week to manufacture bottles, he MUST buy back ten tonnes of plastic scrap and safely recycle it. The same goes for automobile manufacturers, who must buy back that many tonnes of metals, plastics, glass etc. every week, and find ways to recycle them. The cost may be met by raising the market price of their product… but the responsibility to make the recycling activity happen MUST be fixed on the manufacturer of every product.

    The same goes for manufacturers of tyres, batteries, plastic goods, newspapers, clothes, chemicals, auto-lubricant oils, etc. The list is long.

    And if this makes some manufacturing and marketing processes unviable, it means that their economic activity was unviable in the first place, and was sustainable only by passing on hidden costs to the environment, to society, to consumers etc !

    Many industrial activities are environmentally and socially subsidized to keep them economically profitable. Let us lobby governments to knock off that subsidy and see how many activities remain sustainable!

    I propose peaceful demonstrations to remedy this

    Small groups of citizens shall collect the branded packaging material of various manufacturers from the environment, and delivering them in large bundles every week to their corporate offices. It belongs to them, right? So let them have it back!

    A peaceful demonstration like this, sustained over some weeks, would make a powerful statement. I think this will make a powerful media impact as well… and thereby, an impact on the consciousness of people.

    What say? I would appreciate your detailed responses to this idea.

    Warm Regards

    Krishnaraj Rao

    Member, Global Warming Committee

    Indian Merchants’ Chamber

    Founding Member, Children of the Earth

    January 2, 2008 at 5:02 am
  160. Jay Free

    The answer to all this is very simple. First, it is a “convenient” truth that the Earth is warming for the people profiting from Global Warming, look at the members or money that is funding it, there is definitely another objective for them besides environmental protection. That being said its of course sensible to have a clean more environmentally holistic solutions for healthier living, that should not be argued. What should be of concern is the people heading this “Green” movement, not the grassroots people but those of the elite. The call to save the environment is a convenient way to give them more control, money and power. Look at how much in spent in war and wasteful use in first world nations, if the situation is so dire, why do we hear rhetoric from our leaders on the status of war rather than that of our environment? If the situation is so dire, why in the US toying with the inefficient ideas of ethanol or carbon tax, while the technology for viable renewable energy sources has been back shelved since the days of Tesla? We should make our world a clean healthier place but not by the dictations of politicians. Who would you trust more a scientist bringing you this information or a politician. The exact same people who wreaked havoc on this world are now telling us they have the solution and it means taxing its citizens and gaining more control. The globe is warming from both solar and man made efforts but lets the independent scientists dictate solutions not the New World Order of Bilderberg Groups and their like. While we busy ourselves arguing a mute point, we are being fleeced dry financially and enviromentally.

    January 9, 2008 at 12:18 am
  161. Paige

    I’m no scientist or scholar or have any kind of mensa-level intellect. In fact, I’m 13 years old. However, after reading some of your comments (I decided not to read them all after seeing how long the scroll bar was >>) I feel I need to post.

    I only found this website because I’m *trying* to do my geography homework, which is on wind power. But whatever.

    What I was just wondering, is, have any of you guys heard about the giant mirrors? Yeah, I know, it sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Well, apparently, an idea that someone had was to place gigantic sun reflecting mirros in orbit around the earth. Now, aside from how much this would cost, how the hell do they propose to get them UP THERE? It’d mean building super-massive-and-yes-I-do-mean-massive-bigger-than-now rockets, then finding a material that you could glue/strap the mirros onto the rockets with, and that wouldn’t fry up on exiting and re-entering the atmosphere.

    As for the hype about man-made-vs-natural, I have only one thing to say:

    WHY IS THERE A DEBATE?? Surely politicians/scientists etc have more to worry about? Like running a country, or finding cures for cancer, for example. It’s happening! Does it really matter why? The fact is, we need to slow it down. Right? *Please don’t yell at me with big sciency words I won’t understand about that last remark!!*

    I propose that we make a cloning device and clone albert einstein, issac newton, and stephen hawking. (I know Stephen isn’t dead, but it wouldn’t hurt to have two of him.) If anyone can think of a way to reduce global warming, it’s these guys, right?

    Finally, I’d just like to say that, even though you did confuse me sometimes with all the sciency stuff….(no, I’m not that dumb, I just didn’t know what some of the words mean. 13, year 9) at least you guys seem to know what your talking about. Unlike some *people* I could mention, who seem to think it’s alright to watch global warming happening, rather than actually crack on and come up with a plausable solution….*cough*Labour*cough*lib dems*cough*tories*cough*

    However….really finally this time. I think I do have a solution. *Again, please don’t yell at me!*

    White is a very reflective colour. What would happen if we painted all new buildings white? And went around wearing white all the time?

    Tee hee. Okay, I admit it. That was a bad idea. :?o

    February 14, 2008 at 8:10 am
  162. s1mplex

    Jay Free:

    …look at the members or money that is funding it, there is definitely another objective for them besides environmental protection.

    Please explain what this has to do with the following comment, by Isadora:

    February 27, 2008 at 7:46 am
  163. Rene Descartes

    Stephen Huff wrote:

    “This of course, violates Occams razor. Occams razor demands that we find the simplest explanation for phenomena and not multiply hypotheses to explain away the evidence.”

    You misunderstand Occam’s razor. Firstly, it is not some immutable law of science (like the 2nd law of Thermodynamics) that if violated demonstrates the absurdity of the hypothesis. What it does basically say is that if current theories are adequate to explain the observed phenomena then attempting to invoke new hypotheses are PROBABLY unnecessary. In this case, the factors affecting planetary temperatures are complex involving something that is constant for all (solar luminosity) and many other variable factors (solar distance, atmospheric constitution, albedo, orbital parameters, inclination etc). If all (or most) solar system constituents were experiencing the same phenomenon, then a common cause is probably likely. When some are, but others aren’t, then one looks at the other factors and in the cases noted here, these factors are the most likely explanation.

    Before Galileo hypothesised, and Newton subsequently explained, the phenomena of inertia, then Occam’s razor would have led people to confirm the sun went round the earth, and needed to invent all sorts of complexity to explain planetary motion. Once Galileo and Newton could explain why we did not feel motion, then the simplest explanation was that the earth goes round the sun.

    At present, the manmade CO2 theory is adequate and robust enough to explain the observed climate change. Other factors are also involved but do not on their own, or collectively, explain the evidence.

    June 10, 2008 at 12:57 pm
  164. michelle

    Earth gets warmer… then it gets colder. Been going of for millions of years. Will go on after everyone alive today is gone and forgotten. We may be contributing to the effect but it is a natural cyclic occurrence. We can not stop it any more than we can stop a hurricane or a flood. We can try to minimize the damage but we can not stop it.

    June 17, 2008 at 3:39 pm
  165. areej

    do you who created that image above?

    July 3, 2008 at 11:22 am
  166. Peter Young

    I don’t understand why Mr. Keller, jr, would interpret Gore’s statement as anything other than what was in the statement. Mr. Keller “knows exactly what Al Gore is saying,” so I guess he can ignore the actual words of the statement.

    As I read it, Mr. Gore said until there is an acceptance of the facts, the facts will need to be presented. After that, the concentration will shift to addressing solutions. I’m not sure, though I suspect, how Mr. Keller interprets, “it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is,” as saying the facts will be changed. The statement deals with presentations; with the need for presentations providing the facts about global warming in an attempt to get acceptance. Nothing to do with exagerating the facts, but only with exagerating the number of factual presentations. Then, and only then, will there be acceptance for discussions of solutions.

    I guess it’s hard to hear what another has to say if you already “know” what they’ve said.

    July 14, 2008 at 12:33 pm
  167. D.Grissm

    WE HAVE PROBLEM . I wish it was not so BUT WE do all the conspiracies theories . Look at the energy need to warm the outer planets TO MUCH to come from sun . Where from you look you might find some amasing thing . I PRAY THAT WE AT ALL WE KNOW ,

    December 17, 2008 at 5:00 am
  168. andIfeelfine333

    It’s Nibiru!!!! The destroyer has come back! Think about it. The government is putting out disinformation. We are not the ones doing this. Planet X is. Hahaha.

    December 19, 2008 at 10:12 am
  169. Katie DeSellier

    This doesn’t help me on my project, but it is interesting.

    January 10, 2009 at 8:24 am
  170. Katie DeSellier

    What is Nebiru?

    January 10, 2009 at 8:25 am
  171. DaNews

    The Argument on Climate change is not one of will it happen but rather one of, is it possible that it could happen. It is like when you buy insurance for your car you don’t buy it because you think that you are going to get into an accident but you buy it because there is a possibility that you may get into an accident.

    And this is the principal of risk management.

    The majority of people involved in researching Anthropogenic Climate Change are in agreement that there is a certain element of risk. Most of the arguments today centers around how high that risk is. There is credible evidence today that the climate has changed abruptly in the past. What is not clear is what caused these changes.

    There are several theory’s that could be plausible for those shifts. i.e. Volcanic activity , abrupt changes in the thermohaline current and possibly meteoric impacts.

    However today there is an alarming increase in CO2 concentration as measured from the start of the industrial revolution. And as you know CO2 is a greenhouse gas. What is not quite clear is what kind of impact this will have on the climate. There are several theory’s on that.

    (1) A substantial melting of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets and will cause a devastating rise in sea level flooding all low lying areas. New York, LA, Florida, New Orleans, The Netherlands, parts of England, France, India and many more.

    (2) The introduction of these huge amounts of fresh water now land locked in the Antarctic and Greenland could disrupt the Termohaline Ocean current and start a new ice age.

    (3) And then maybe none of these things will ever come to pass (I am hoping for this)

    So then what should we do?

    Well we could do nothing and hope for the best.

    Or we could take action and maybe avoid some of the worst projections.

    However if we chose to do nothing and the worst of the Projections come to pass then we are going to experience a catastrophe on a global scale that would make world war 2 look like a walk in the park.

    So now the question is this what is the likelihood of sudden climate change?

    Well that depends on who you talk to and can range from 0% to 100%.

    Most of the 0% percent is from a few scientists and mostly politicized news stations.

    The same can be said for those that belong in the 100% group

    So it is possible that it is somewhere in the middle say 50%

    But for the sake of argument lets say that number is 20% or even 10 %

    So now lets use my earlier argument

    Would you refuse to buy car insurance if you knew there was a 10% chance that you could get into an accident. Or would you not make sure your child was seated securely if you knew that there was a 10% chance you could get in to an accident. I know you could say that you would not drive if the odds where that bad. But that would amount to the same thing as taking significant action towards stopping global climate change.

    Are you willing to risk your kids or grand kids future with odds like that??

    Most of the Data for judging in how high that risk is should be scrutinized for political ideology’s. Reason for that is when you take a look at all the news stations for instance.

    MSNBC has a Democratic Agenda

    FOX has a Republican Agenda

    NBC has a Democratic Agenda.

    All these news stations can not be trusted to give you a true account on the scientific issues. Yes and that would include Olberman, O’reilly, Hannity, Beck, Rachel Madow, the Ed show and the list goes on. Because they all politicize the issue of Climate change.

    Personally I was not happy when All Gore injected himself into this debate. Because he politicized the whole debate to a much greater extend. And he has in my opinion questionable motives for doing so.

    This is why (somewhat unfortunate) the only places you can go to and get peer reviewed data is from *** or NAS. All the data there has been Peer reviewed world wide meaning criticized to death changed peer reviewed again and then hopefully published.

    For myself as a scientist I can see there is a problem that most likely needs to be addressed. From a perspective of Risk Management I in fact say that we don’t have a choice but to act now. But I also say this, you don’t have to believe me do your own research and create your own risk assessment.

    May 13, 2009 at 1:57 pm
  172. Richard W

    Sorry, I meant to say there are climate scientists on both sides of the anthropogenic global warming debate. Nobody denies global warming, but there are literally thousands of impartial scientists who debate the fact that humans are causing it.

    May 15, 2009 at 6:14 pm
  173. Dylan Leggo

    Anyone claiming certainty of anything in this on a point-by-point, or this-point or that-point basis is also guilty of delusion and cherry picking.

    Solar behaviour, weather prediction, geological activity and hurricane patterns are just a handful of the known systems that we have only the barest (our best) grasp on. Drawing any solid conclusion from the data we have is akin to making precise extrapolations on a theory we’ve only heard rumours on or a single report we have only second hand account of.

    None of those systems, thought to play a role in climate, is understood with any real predictability beyond the most obvious basis. We recognize some of the patterns in each, yet still don’t recognize how they all will work together in combination with what we don’t know to give us reliable medium and long-term predections. We compound these error rate when we attempt to overlap the patterns, essentially multiplying the rate of error. We do this using each field we apply to the equation and then multiply the error rate out over a time scale that basically no single component can predict on and actually believe the result can be MORE predictable?

    It is more akin to faith, not science, to believe that this sort of mathematical adventure could be reliable. If that were the case, we could eventually build perfect weather predicting systems based on those of the set of ‘old wives tales’ that bear only ‘grains’ of truth. Or, that we could fix a leaky water main merely by multiplying its length.

    September 27, 2009 at 6:15 am
  174. Solas

    I think its all mute. if in fact we are causing it 100% the fact of the matter is at our current technology lvl we can’t afford to fix it. it would require us to regress to a nearly primitive pre-industrial state (across the globe not just the US) and even then it would take 50 years to see an effect. alternately it would require a leap in energy technologies of almost 50 years before we could convert to a 100% clean energy grid (again globally not just in the US), the costs of which in man power, raw goods and processing are impossible. and as others have pointed out that’s still a big assumption to make. the vast majority of the scientific community still think of even basic concepts like gravity under old and rapidly outdated formulas. theirs proof coming out of observatories in Germany as well as us naval observatories that gravity is not instantaneous as previously conceived under Newtonian physics but act at the speed of light more in line with an einsteinian universe. and that the theory of lunar-solar progression is also a misunderstood system and that in fact our solar system is apart of a larger system of stars and that or local system of stars imparts small yet significant gravitational, magnetic and electromagnetic forces upon at predictable intervals. Even though the data supporting this revolutionary idea is far more well documented and in fact astrological data that supports this theory dates back to ancient Egypt. the scientific community is slow to adopt such a change if theirs no societal pressure to do so. however in contrast as we are seeing enough societal pressure can turn corollary evidence such as the temperature data and carbon data from a selected range into scientific fact pointing to a single conclusion, normally this is known as pseudo-science. In science, the burden of proof rests on those making a claim, not on the critic. “Pseudoscientific” arguments may neglect this principle and demand that skeptics demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that a claim (e.g. an assertion regarding the efficacy of a novel therapeutic technique) is false. It is essentially impossible to prove a universal negative, so this tactic incorrectly places the burden of proof on the skeptic rather than the claimant. personally i think everyone would benefit from a more complete and larger view of the issues, as much as people don’t like to put a price tag on the environment the simple fact is as fragile as our environment is our economy is just as fragile, and a collapse of our economy is far more likely than a Venusian like environment on earth. the recent carbon cap bill is set to cost the average American 100$ annually in direct energy costs increases alone, add to that the increase cost of goods and services and you have a significant burden to a already beleaguered economy, and thats only one carbon bill we all know that many more are to come before this is over. and since our economic and technological prowess is solely responsible for more than 75% of our population we’ve got to ask ourselves: “is it worth risking 3 out of 4 of our family members lives to pursue that happy feeling you get when you denounce big oil and embrace the green bandwagon?”

    October 29, 2009 at 8:11 am
  175. noguy

    Solar induced global warming bad science? Clearly, I must be older than everyone else here who has commented. I can specifically recall sitting in my middle school science class in the 1960’s and my science teacher reading us a NASA article about how solar activity will increase over the next 50 to 100 causing the earth’s temperatures to increase. Keep in mind there was no such thing as “man caused” global warming “theoritsts.” In fact, no one from any side of the table was talking about “global warming” back then.

    So, can anyone intelligently explain to me how is that during the “pre-global warming chicken little” era scientists were writing about the future of increased solar activity and now, all of a sudden, those scientific reports are incorrect?????? Mind you, when scientists back in teh 60’s spoke of future increased solar activity, they weren’t rebutting any other scientific opinion – they weren’t trying to persuade public opinion.

    And now we learn of how Al Gore has controlling interest in firm that the current government administration would contract with to administrate the “CO2 mitigation.” This would make hundreds of millions of dollars for the Gore owned company through commissions. Huh, goes to prove what my father taught me as a boy – “dig deep enough and you will always learn that money is the root motive behind all things.” Turns out this just a big money-making scam by Al Gore.

    February 14, 2010 at 10:34 pm
  176. Messier Tidy Upper

    Click on my name for a link to the Peter Sinclair “Crock of the Week” Utube debunking of this “other planets are warming” line.

    August 21, 2010 at 1:36 am
  177. John Wright

    Climate Change from Space (Article written for Mensa members not all of who are scientists)

    Mars Global Surveyor studied the surface of Mars from 1999 to 2006, four Martian years, this coincided with a five and a half year rise in solar activity reaching the Solar Cycle peak in 2002. During a Solar Cycle maximum the Sun irradiates 0.1 percent more energy than at a Solar Cycle minimum, for Mars this means an increase in Global temperature of 0.21 Kelvin in three Martian years. At Perihelion Mars receives 44 percent (6.8 percent for Earth) more radiation than at Aphelion as the orbit of Mars is almost six times more eccentric than Earths. Mercury is the only planet to have a more eccentric orbit than Mars. Perihelion occurs during the Southern Summer and ever since the 1830s it has been noted that during warming periods a dark band appears around the periphery of the shrinking polar cap, and with dust storms being more common during this period, this has decreased the Martian Albedo from 0.16 to 0.15 and increased the Martian Global temperature by 0.65 Kelvin. This has also caused more frozen CO2 to melt and turn into gas than usual for three Southern Summers in a row. With 95 percent of the Martian atmosphere made up of CO2 (0.038 percent on Earth) and only 0.03 percent Water vapour (1 percent on Earth). CO2 induced Global Warming is almost an irrelevance for Mars as it is for the Earth, as the CO2 has already absorbed most of the radiation available for absorption. The Warming on Mars raises the average surface temperature by 3 Kelvin to 210 Kelvin from 207 Kelvin. Both Planets can cool much faster than they can warm up, so Mars with almost a 100 percent transparent dry CO2 Atmosphere and without the problems with feedback (other than dust storms) from Water Vapour, Clouds, Oceans or an Atmospheric Mass 2,600 times that of CO2. Then Mars is the perfect example to use to test the theory of CO2 warming on Earth. The Black Body Temperature of Mars is 81.5 percent that of the Earth. The surface has a 7 millibar CO2 atmosphere (0.39 millibar CO2 atmosphere on Earth). So the equivalent 7 millibar CO2 Atmosphere on Earth would produce a temperature of 3.68 Kelvin. If you deduct the 0.24 Kelvin increase for a doubling of CO2, four times you get 2.72 Kelvin for a 0.4375 millibar Atmosphere. This makes 2.7 Kelvin for a 0.39 millibar Atmosphere. The 2.7 Kelvin includes, 1.2 Kelvin for CO2 absorption only, plus half of the 1.5 Kelvin that CO2 absorption shares with Water vapour. Confirming that the CO2 induced Warming on Earth is about 2 Kelvin, and also four times weaker than on Mars. Confirming the irrelevance of its ability to increase Global temperature much more, even with significant increases in Carbon Dioxide. Man made CO2 is natural CO2 which has been fossilised for millions of years and does not have the Carbon-14 Isotope. Levels of this Isotope show that 4 percent or 15ppm of the increase in CO2 in over 100 years is due to Man & 85ppm due to Nature, this is also confirmed by the ratio of Carbon-12 to Carbon-13 in the Atmosphere. All evidence in Ice core data and direct measurements point to changes in the temperature causing the changes in CO2 levels as on Mars, this increase being due to the 0.76 Kelvin increase in Global Atmospheric temperature over the last 200 year bounce back from the Little Ice Age. But ice core data shows that this is mainly due to the 800 year lag in the changes in deep ocean CO2 levels after the Medieval Warm Period, the ocean contains 93.5 percent of the Earths CO2. The increase has added only 0.1 Kelvin to the 2 Kelvin that CO2 gives to the Warming of the Earths Surface Temperature. This means that man-made CO2 has only increased the Global temperature by 0.015 Kelvin. The Solar Cycle Amplitude and more importantly the Solar Cycle Length and the Forbush Effect being responsible for the further 0.66 Kelvin increase. The largest effect on Climate Change is the Length of the Solar Cycle, short Solar Cycles cause a warming and long Solar Cycles cause a cooling. Between 1913 and 1996, only one of eight Solar Cycles was longer than the mean Solar Cycle length of 11.04 years. The last of these was the shortest Solar Cycle for more than 200 years. Short Solar Cycles cause a decrease in cosmic rays when Solar activity is high, decreasing cloud cover and leading to the enhancement of Global Warming on the Earth, a 1 percent decrease in cosmic rays causes a 0.13 Kelvin increase in Global temperature. This is called the Forbush effect and is caused by coronal mass ejections which are ten times more common during Solar maximum and have a ten day period that can be predicted four days before the event. This is carried by the solar wind to the Earth on the Suns magnetic field lines.

    A study of Luna Earthshine shows that the Albedo of the Earth decreased from 0.32 in 1985 to 0.29 in 1997 showing a 6.5 percent decrease in cloud cover. The Earths Albedo has since increased to 0.31 showing that 69 percent of solar energy is absorbed, 50 percent by the Surface, 19 percent by the Atmosphere (13.3 percent by Water Vapour, 1.6 percent by Carbon Dioxide and 4.1 percent by Dust, Ozone, Nitrous-Oxide, Methane and other gases). In the last hundred years the Earths Albedo has been as high as 0.44 and as low as 0.29 with an average of 0.36. The Albedo effects the North more than the South because the land snow zone for the south is mainly in the sea.

    Weather from the Sun was first postulated two hundred years ago when William Herschel tried to prove the price of grain was inversely correlated with the sunspot number, which was subsequently proven, the sunspot number being low during the Dalton Minimum (1790-1820) at the end of the Little Ice Age. The sunspot number was close to zero during the earlier Maunder Minimum (1645-1715) during the coldest part of the Little Ice Age, this is also confirmed by tree rings formed at sunspot minimum which have a higher amount of carbon-14 due to the Forbush Effect. The enhancing effects of the Albedo changes on the Earth and Mars would more than explain Global Warming on both Planets and would explain why the cause of Global Warming on other Planets is not that definite other than the finding that the changes in the brightness of Neptune correlate with the changes in the Earths Global Surface Temperature. When the Earths temperature increased, the Atmospheric Water Vapour content increased, but if this increase had been due to CO2 then the Tropospheric temperature would have increased at twice the rate of the Surface temperature increase. This did not happen. Over half of all Solar radiation is absorbed by the Earths Oceans which are almost 300 times the mass of the Earths Atmosphere. This helps to regulate the effects of the changes in the Earths climate which then responds to these changes after a five year lag. Global Warming peaked in 1998 and ended with the following Solar Cycle peak, followed by strong observational evidence that the ocean has been cooling since 2003, and that the increase in Atmospheric Methane has ended. So it seems quite clear that Climate Change is ruled by the Sun. The speed of the centre of the sun relative to the centre of mass of the solar system determines the length of the solar cycle, this in turn is caused by the orbits of the Planets, this means that short term Climate Change can be predicted. There are also long-term future causes of Climate Change in Astronomy. The inclination of Mars varies between 35 degrees and 14 degrees over a period of 50,000 years while that of the Earth only varies between 22.1 degrees and 24.1 degrees over a period of 41,000 years, both planets are at the half way point, Mars at 25.19 degrees and the Earth at 23.44 degrees. This cycle and other changes in planetary axis and orbit produce Ice ages every 100,000 years, in periods when more ice is exposed to the Sun heightening the Albedo, which causes the cooling. The Galactic Orbit of the Solar System every 240 million years produces Ice Age Epochs every 120 million years which are caused by the Sun passing through the Galactic spiral arms increasing the level of cosmic rays and therefore cloudiness, we are at present in an ice age epoch caused by our presence in the Orion armlet.

    But the Final Global Warming Terror will be when the Sun turns into a Red Giant. In one billion years time the Oceans will be boiling and in five billion years time the Earth will be eaten up by the Sun, leaving Mars as the most inner Planet of the Solar System. The information above comes from many sources such as The Guinness Book of Astronomy Facts and Feats by Sir Patrick Moore, Encyclopaedia Britannica but mainly from Scientific papers found on Google Scholar.

    October 20, 2010 at 7:01 pm
  178. Carl Sagan

    When Phil Plait states: “In other words, if the Sun were behind global warming, we wouldn’t be able to see it on Mars at all. But we do. Therefore global warming is not solar induced, either on Earth or on Mars,” he’s absolutely right because the source of the problem is not in our solar system, but approaching it.

    May 23, 2011 at 11:14 am
  179. chip

    global warmings not human caused…get over it…its either natural, or solar

    June 18, 2011 at 11:51 am
  180. Randolph Ortlieb

    AGW theory has failed to explain the many instances of recorded prehistoric global warming without any human CO2. If the climate warmed without humans in the past, why wouldn’t it continue doing so now, and in the future? Work on this puzzle and let me know, thanks :-)

    September 10, 2011 at 2:38 pm
  181. MRBeyer

    If the temperature of the earth is increasing then the overall temperature of surface water is increasing. If surface water temperature increases, worldwide humidity levels increase. Increased humidity levels increase precipitation levels. Increased precipitation decreases dust and large molecule pollutants in the air. These can all be checked. Here is what has been found.

    Surface water temperatures in some areas are up. Globally the average is not shown to have varied as much as predicted by global warming. Worldwide humidity levels are within norms (not up or down). Precipitation levels are not up. Dust and large molecule pollutants are remaining the same. Scientists are confused by this difference from global warming forecasts.

    Further, the most documented glacier melt from Icelandic glaciers is being represented linearly rather than cubicly. It makes the melt appear to be accelerated by global warming. However the cubic volume of melt may actually be down when surface and volumetric variations are taken into account. With the information being tossed around in news articles it is hard to tell.

    October 25, 2011 at 1:58 pm
  182. Michael Nilsen

    Obsession over Al Gore is a sure sign of a right-wing global warming denier. They can’t help it.

    March 21, 2012 at 11:19 am
  183. Erik Sivertsen

    I have to admit.I didn’t sit here and read all the replies,but how are we supposed to believe scientists when they were busted lying in their emails aka “Climate-Gate”.

    I believe we should strive for alternative fuels and energy such as Andre Rossi’s cold fusion.An energy that creates energy and heat without carbon.Unfortunately,the change can’t be made overnight.In regards to windmills.I got the impression that they would be a waste of money unless they are at least 2,000 feet above sea level from an article I read in “Popular Science”. So perhaps they should be only built on top of mountains?In that article it said scientists were actually very close in creating large balloons that could easily be floated to 2000 and would be considerably cheaper than windmills to gain energy from.I found the article very intriguing.Unfortunately,I left it for another co-worker to read and someone else stole or I would be able to tell everyone what issue that was in. Hopefully one day we can perfect solar energy and gain access to dark energy someday.

    September 11, 2012 at 5:02 pm
  184. Jay Hendon

    I’m an AGW agnostic; I’m not a climatologist nor any other type of scientist, but there are some things about the subject of AGW that make we wonder:

    1) when offered a $500,000 prize to anyone who could prove in a scientific manner that GW was man-made, there were few entries and no prize winners, despite the claims at the time that proof of AGW was “overwhelming”. I scoured the web for allegations the contest was rigged and saw none.

    2) It seems unlikely that computer models can accurately model our climate. I’ve seen programs that state that chaos theory originated with atmospheric computer models which became less stable with more data, thus the “butterfly effect”. I’ve also read that the climate models that forecast future warming can’t accurately “back cast” known climate patterns.

    3) I’ve read that even should all nations follow the Kyoto Protocol the amount of future cooling predicted by the IPCC is very little – .2C or something like that.

    4) Many AGW advocates attempt to persuade me that scientific consensus supports AGW. That makes me skeptical on two counts: A) there is reason for this layman to believe the consensus is either non-existent or at least overstated for reasons of both peer pressure and/or intimidation by journals, fear of not getting research funding, especially from political sources and B) science calls for evidence, not consensus; the history of science is full of examples because Initial consensus has often been wrong; germ theory, tectonic plates and Einstein’s theory of relativity readily come to mind. Had the first attempts to prove Einstein correct about the bending of star light during a solar eclipse not failed, they would have initially proved Einstein wrong, for he had made an error in his calculations; it isn’t always easy to determine facts to a scientific certainty.

    5) When I try to evaluate some of the arguments related to AGW, such as Michael Mann’s hockey stick calculations and the versus the unfavorable assessment of those calculations made by a couple of Canadians, I don’t observe the practice of science, I see bickering, obfuscation, name-calling and bullying. Even this post may exhibit name-calling by using the term “deniers” which I’ve read is an attempt to slander those with whom you disagree by associating them to holocaust deniers.

    6) I have, until recently, held scientists and the scientific method in high regard, but this politically partisan fighting over AGW has been very disillusioning for me and I see all too much similarity to the name-calling and disreputable practices taking place in another arena – that between those who advocate creation “science” and evolutionary biologists. As hard as it is to believe, that quarrel is considerably less nasty than that between AGW advocates and “deniers”.

    Source :

    Is global warming solar induced?
    All fossil fuels must be BANNED within 40 years to keep global warming beneath safe levels, scientists claim
    Is global warming really slowing down?
    Climate change: How could artificial photosynthesis contribute to limiting global warming?
    Global Temperatures: What Is Really Happening?
    What Causes Global Warming?
    Air pollution means global warming more catastrophic: new research
    Is global warming in a hiatus?
    Is Global Warming Solar Induced?
    Record-breaking ocean temperatures point to trends of global warming