January 23, 2007

But Dan says "There's not two sides to this story!"

As in "Frequent Commenter Dan." See this post's update.

In an article titled "Climate scientists feeling the heat:
As public debate deals in absolutes, some experts fear predictions 'have created a monster',"
the Houston Chronicle's Eric Berger notes that some climate scientists are wondering if all the dire warnings about global warming have gone too far.

Climate scientists might be expected to bask in the spotlight after their decades of toil. The general public now cares about greenhouse gases, and with a new Democratic-led Congress, federal action on climate change may be at hand.

Problem is, global warming may not have caused Hurricane Katrina, and last summer's heat waves were equaled and, in many cases, surpassed by heat in the 1930s.

In their efforts to capture the public's attention, then, have climate scientists oversold global warming? It's probably not a majority view, but a few climate scientists are beginning to question whether some dire predictions push the science too far.

"Some of us are wondering if we have created a monster," says Kevin Vranes, a climate scientist at the University of Colorado.

Vranes, who is not considered a global warming skeptic by his peers, came to this conclusion after attending an American Geophysical Union meeting last month. Vranes says he detected "tension" among scientists, notably because projections of the future climate carry uncertainties a point that hasn't been fully communicated to the public.

The science of climate change often is expressed publicly in unambiguous terms.

For example, Vranes "goes crazy" when he hears other climatologists utter things like what Ralph Cicerone said last summer:

"I think we understand the mechanisms of CO2 and climate better than we do of what causes lung cancer. ... In fact, it is fair to say that global warming may be the most carefully and fully studied scientific topic in human history."

The point is that, although there is a wide consensus that the earth is warming and that humans are contributing to that warming, can academics question/be skeptical of the doom sayers -- those who claim the earth will be irrevocably (for the worse) altered if humans do not cease virtually all release of greenhouse gasses? And, can people debate the degree to which humans are actually contributing to the warming?

Since fossil fuels are the biggest current contributor to global warming (via humans), keep in mind that said fuels are finite and the current supply is not supposed to last the century. Certainly, countries (especially industrialized ones) will be making the transition to alternative fuels long before this supply begins to dwindle. As a result, it is logical to assume that greenhouse gas levels will begin to level off and then decrease when this happens.

And I still haven't yet seen a decent reply to the question "What about all the screaming and yelling about global cooling a mere 30 years ago?" We were warned then of an impending Ice Age, for heaven's sake. Hey -- y'think the non-chalant attitude about greenhouse gas emissions may be partly the result of that global cooling scare 30 years ago? I mean, after all, what better way to prevent a global cooling catastrophe than to flood the atmosphere with greenhouse gasses?

Posted by Hube at January 23, 2007 07:39 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

I am not convinced it is occurring AND if is occurring, I have great doubts we can stop it. So I plan to invest in air conditioning stocks.

And why do the Dems seem to tackle tasks that can never really be deemed complete (i.e equitable wealth distribution, stop global warming, smart growth, adequate funding for educations, etc)?? Because they are whiners and will never be happy until they have made everyone as unhappy as they are.

Posted by: AJ Lynch at January 24, 2007 10:10 AM

And even if we could stop it, should we? As we're frequently reminded when it comes to species extinction, one small change in the environment can have serious repercussions elsewhere. Given all the natural processes we know are involved in global warming, would it be smart to try to reverse those not knowing the impact it might have elsewhere?

Decisions have many consequences, many of then indirect and unforeseeable.

Posted by: Paul Smith at January 24, 2007 11:54 AM

The case that the globe is warming can be made successfully. That humans are at "fault" is a lot shakier especially when you look at historical temperature trends (and their correlation to solar activity) over a significant period of time. Most environmentalists go back to WWII at best. When you examine truly historical trends that go back centuries, their arguments and horror stories all fall apart.

Posted by: Jeff the Baptist at January 24, 2007 01:41 PM

so if human fault is a lot shakier, explain why it is warmer in cities? is it because the sun shines brighter there? or maybe b/c of man? so if cities are warmer due to humans why wouldn't that also correlate to the planet itself and what man has done to it especially with the invention of the automobile and other energy demands from fossil fuels?

why is it so hard for people to believe that man has accelerated warming? Who else caused it? As if pollution would have just created itself if man never came along.

Did you know the planet is warming b/c Jesus is on his way?

Posted by: donviti at January 25, 2007 11:24 AM

why is it so hard for people to believe that man has accelerated warming?

It's not hard. Many, however, question how severe the overall effect is, and if it is "catastrophic" as the usual doomsayers claim.

Who else caused it? As if pollution would have just created itself if man never came along.

You really are thick. Like, you really have no idea how warming and cooling trends existed LOOOONG before man became [large-scale] industrialized? (And Jesus has absolutely nothing to do with it.)

Thanks once again for proving your namesake, dimwitty. And how.

Posted by: Hube at January 25, 2007 06:10 PM

One of your favorite criticisms of liberals is that they take a position held by the nutty right and attribute it to all conservatives. Yet you also enjoy doing this yourself, thereby responding to an argument that simply isn't the primary one. How many people, precisely, advocate a cessation of "virtually all" greenhouse gases? Nuts and absolutists. Those who don't respect our capitalist economy. The vast majority of Americans, scientists, etc., support cutting greenhouse gases, and say the government isn't doing enough on the environment. But what they want is simply more of an effort to compromise -- something that many socially responsible -- and damn rich -- corporations already doing.

Thanks for making such a big deal of me, Hube. I'm famous!!

Posted by: dan at January 25, 2007 07:16 PM

Also, since you failed to address this earlier, I'll rephrase using one of your more recent statements:

It's not hard. Many, however, question how severe the overall effect is, and if it is "catastrophic" as the usual doomsayers claim.

Ok... so ... why not cut down on them? They're doing something bad, to the air and to our health. Even if it's not "catastrophic." After all, Hube, there are a lot of things that may or may not ever be "catastrophic" on such a scale, yet that doesn't keep the United States from trying to stop them...

Anyway, I refer all further questions to the polar bears. According to the Bush Administration's latest grudging admission, you've got about 40 years until they're extinct, so get to your local Arctic ice floe while you still can!

Posted by: dan at January 25, 2007 07:27 PM

See my second-to-last paragraph, dan.

And you're right -- I overdid it w/the "virtually all" bit. I got caught up in the moment.

But the primary point of this post remains twofold: Your claim that "there isn't two sides" to this debate, and there still is no adequate retort (by you, or anyone else I've seen) for the all the doom-saying by the global cooling screamers 30 years ago.

Posted by: Hube at January 25, 2007 07:50 PM

Thanks for making such a big deal of me, Hube. I'm famous!!

In this case, more like "infamous."

Posted by: Hube at January 25, 2007 07:52 PM

How many people, precisely, advocate a cessation of "virtually all" greenhouse gases?

BTW, how many people say "there aren't two sides to this debate" when myriad responsible scientists believe otherwise? Are the people who say this "nuts and absolutists", dan? Those that don't respect responsible, respectful debate? Hmm?

I admitted my mistake using the phrase I did above, dan. Maybe you'll admit you made a mistake when you said "there aren't two sides to this debate." If not, I'm through responding to you on this or anything else, period. And don't say you based that statement on there "not being global warming at all" or some other such thing I never claimed in my original post. Not that you'd do something disingenuous like that .... yeah, right.

Posted by: Hube at January 25, 2007 08:53 PM