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10/16/2009
‘WHY DON’T YOU PASS THE TIME BY WRITING ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING?’

TCM just had The Manchurian Candidate on the other night. No, not the Bush bashing, anti-capitalist version. The real one that was made in 1962 and featured really good actors like Laurence Harvey, the lovely Janet Leigh, Frank Sinatra, Angela Landsbury and a particularly good performance by character actor John McGiver as Senator Jordan.

No sense in holding back anything. If you haven’t seen it, shame on you. It is truly one of the finest cold war movies made and one of the best political thrillers of all time. The plot revolves around Korean War vet Raymond Shaw who won a Medal of Honor for saving his company during the war. It turns out, however, that all is not as it appears to be. Shaw and his company were actually captured by the Commies and, through a combination of drugs and psycho-therapy, turned Raymond (played in brilliant understated fashion by Harvey) into the “perfect assassin” - defined as a “mechanism” programmed to kill and not remember anything before or afterwards.

Twists abound as Raymond’s mother (Landsbury was nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal) and step father (James Gregory) - portraying virulent, McCarthy-like anti-Communists - turn out to be Soviet agents who want to use Raymond to kill the party nominee at the convention and sweep the step father into power. Raymond’’s love-hate relationship with his mother includes incest (only hinted at in the film). The “trigger” that hypnotizes Raymond and gets him into his assassin mode is the phrase, “Why not pass the time by playing a little Solitaire?” When a red queen comes up, he gets his orders and goes out to kill.

The scene where we first learn of Raymond’s mother’s true nature as a Communist agent is perhaps one of the greatest screen surprises in history. As she turns to her son and utters the trigger phrase, the entire plot is revealed. Up until that time, the audience was led to believe that she was a strong anti-Communist crusader. There was no inkling whatsoever that she was anything except what she appeared to be. Absolutely unforgettable.

It may have been Ike himself who said that the Communists couldn’t have done any better at destroying the country than creating Joe McCarthy and letting him loose upon America.

The reason for this rather lengthy digression is that if you haven’t heard, today is “Blog Action Day” on global warming. It is a day when lots and lots of bloggers who don’t know any better - and even admit that fact - are posting about the dangers of “Climate Change” or whatever the global warming religionists are calling their quest to radically alter the world’s economy these days.

These kinds of mass activities trigger those who have been brainwashed - either in school or through popular media - into believing that not only is climate change a huge problem that we must solve NOW, but that even questioning some of the conclusions drawn by some scientists is akin to heresy.

I doubt whether there will be a lot of bloggers who actually question the scientific basis for climate change. In truth, I am not necessarily doing that myself. What I question are the motivations of those who are relentlessly pushing the global warming agenda, and their solutions which may or may not bring down CO2 levels, but will almost certainly enrich many advocates and see power - real power to control our lives - devolve into the hands of international bureaucrats.

So, like poor Raymond Shaw, these bloggers are unconsciously doing the bidding of people who do not have their interests at heart. And if we allow them success in their efforts, it would be catastrophic to the idea of the free market and free people.

Readers of this site know that I have taken an agnostic approach to global warming, granting that it may, in fact be happening but that the idea that the science has been so overwhelmingly proven that no counter argument is possible is a crock of baseless nonsense.

I think that reducing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses is probably not a bad idea at all but the draconian levels to which the UN and the Obama administration wish to reduce them and the speed that reduction will be mandated would destroy western economies. If things are as bad as the global warming supporters are saying, it is probably too late to do anything anyway - unless we simply called a halt to all economic activity that contributes to excess carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere.

Since the strongest advocates of this policy would benefit financially (or aggrandize enormous power unto themselves), I can’t help but be concerned that the driving force behind Climate Change treaties and laws is not related to saving the planet but rather the economic and personal benefits that would accrue to the advocates, as well as protecting the reputations of scientists who have invested enormous personal capital into global warming living up to expectations.

Climate models have largely been debunked by meteorologists who point out that there are just too many variables to feed into the computer -even supercomputers - to come up with anything approaching accuracy.

Models predicting CO2 levels in the atmosphere are a little different. Those have also proved to be wildly inaccurate, but that is probably a result of our not modeling correctly due to our own ignorance. The more failures in prediction in this case, the more we learn. As Edison said about the lightbulb, he didn’t have a thousand failures, he discovered a thousand ways how not to make a lighbulb. I am much more hopeful that they can get CO2 models much better at predicting future levels than I am of scientists modeling the weather 100 years from now.

That said, the global warming literature that I’ve read (and been able to understand) is very dependent on predicting how that excess carbon dioxide will act once its in the upper atmosphere. Far from being settled, this is an open question with still much debate in the scientific community.

Do we look at the example of the planet Venus? What we’ve discovered there is quite chilling. It seems that a sort of feedback loop can get started and once CO2 levels reach a certain point, the atmospheric processes that block sunlight and trap heat reinforces itself and it become irreversible. No one knows when that point will be reached on planet Earth. Some believe we are very close now. Others think we have a few centuries as long as we begin now to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

The facts are clear; there is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere now than there was a hundred years ago - quite a bit more. A likely villain is us. But the proof that it is anthropomorphic is not iron clad - not by a long shot. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t start reducing our CO2 output. But it does mean that attacking capitalist economies in order to get them to reduce CO2 emissions to 1992 levels is absurd.

What I want is science and sanity in public policy - not quasi-religious pronouncements about the “end” of debate or the belief that every hot day signals the end of mankind.

And I would remind my skeptical friends that 11 years of cooling temperatures, or a thickening of Arctic ice does not “debunk” the entire theory. That’s as nonsensical as anything uttered by Al Gore, who would point to a warm spell during the 1990’s as proof that global warming is “real.”

Climate change is upon us. It has been changing for the last 20,000 years and will continue to change forever. That is the nature of our earth and denying it is silly. Over the last 20,000 years - the end of the last ice age - temps have warmed relatively quickly over a century or even a few decades. And then we have had periods for a thousand years or more where the earth cools. Such an interstitial may have killed off Neanderthals in Europe and led to the rise of modern humans.

The point is simple; we don’t know enough to be proposing what the UN is going to talk seriously about in Copenhagen in December. That is, an extraordinary intervention in the private economies of nation states in the name of “climate change:”

A United Nations document on “climate change” that will be distributed to a major environmental conclave next week envisions a huge reordering of the world economy, likely involving trillions of dollars in wealth transfer, millions of job losses and gains, new taxes, industrial relocations, new tariffs and subsidies, and complicated payments for greenhouse gas abatement schemes and carbon taxes — all under the supervision of the world body.

Those and other results are blandly discussed in a discretely worded United Nations “information note” on potential consequences of the measures that industrialized countries will likely have to take to implement the Copenhagen Accord, the successor to the Kyoto Treaty, after it is negotiated and signed by December 2009. The Obama administration has said it supports the treaty process if, in the words of a U.S. State Department spokesman, it can come up with an “effective framework” for dealing with global warming.

Would a treaty that contained provisions that challenged American sovereignty like that get through the Senate? Who knows. I wouldn’t put anything past President Obama or that crew in the Senate when it came to defending American interests in the international arena relating to either climate change or nuclear weapons. One would hope that reason would rule the day and we won’t have to worry about it.

By: Rick Moran at 11:12 am
14 Responses to “‘WHY DON’T YOU PASS THE TIME BY WRITING ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING?’”
  1. 1
    steve Said:
    11:37 am 

    Rick

    Please check this site out.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/

    This Gentleman is a true Climate scientist. He gives the best unbiased raw information. Please check out more than one entry. Review at least the the last two months of entries and you will be hooked.

    Steve

  2. 2
    Modulo Myself Said:
    1:23 pm 

    Climate models have largely been debunked by meteorologists who point out that there are just too many variables to feed into the computer -even supercomputers - to come up with anything approaching accuracy.

    What you linked is not remotely a debunking. It was actually an affirmation of current climate modeling.

    Ugh - you’re right. Wrong link. Don’t have time right now to search for what I was looking for but will correct it later.

    ed.

  3. 3
    mannning Said:
    1:27 pm 

    The most sensible scientific book I have found is:
    “Climate of Extremes”, by PhD climatologists Patrich J. kichaels and Robert C. Balling, Jr. Their conclusions support your post quite nicely.

  4. 4
    Foobarista Said:
    2:09 pm 

    I’m an AGW skeptic, but I actually think a number of the things AGW weenies want to do make sense, but their apocalyptic rhetoric is blowing up in their face. Whether they like it or not, they’re proposing a massive political project that would be equivalent to a world war in the level of mobilization they claim is needed.

    And as with real wars without an “end in sight”, people will get tired of the project fairly quickly, especially if the only thing we hear is “we’re not doing enough, more, more, more”. (And it won’t help if celebrity AGW “fighters” are jetting from their mansions to AGW conferences in places like Bali.)

    Finally, if AGW is scientifically disproven, as it may be in the next few years - and there’s plenty of cracks already - the “good” stuff from the AGW effort may be tossed out with the bad, along with a general discrediting of environmental science in the eyes of the public for many years.

    I don’t think it can ever be “disproven.” There’s more CO2 in the atmosphere than there was 100 years ago - about twice as much. Going back a couple of million years, there’s never been a spike that pronounced. The problem, is that no one really knows what it means for climate. We can assume the worst but even if we did that, there is little cause to make this massive transfer of wealth and destruction of whole sectors of economies. Done rationally, and gradually, the same effect could be achieved without upsetting the applecart.

    ed.

  5. 5
    Foobarista Said:
    2:20 pm 

    Actually, there’s even some argument that the CO2 spike is due to the oceans warming and releasing the CO2, and not human effects - in other words, the CO2 spike may be an effect of oceanic warming after the Maunder Minimum/Little Ice Age and not a cause, and “just happened” to coincide with industrialization.

    There’s a lot of weak links in the AGW chain, and where the CO2 came from is one of them.

    But even if AGW can’t be scientifically disproven, it can definitely be politically disproven by a few cold winters, which would amount to much the same thing.

  6. 6
    obamathered Said:
    2:32 pm 

    This will be as non-partisan and non-ideological as is humanly possible.

    I attended and graduated from a top tier law school in the Eighties. Although quite conservative, I believe(d) environmental conservation to be a consistent with my beliefs. I joined the Environmental Law Society, and in addition to distinguished environmental law professors, climatologists, ecologists, demographers, biologists, and other PhDs were regular participants. My last attendance was after a member challenged the student president with the seeming non-sequitur about the environmental movement’s failure to challenge capitalism. The president responded that the movement was geared that way, and most members, faculty, and visitors nodded in assent. Until that moment, there was no hint that was the direction of this particular organization. Sure, there were cost/benefit disagreements about how to protect the environment, but the subtext never was obvious or even voiced until that day. Remember, this was more than two decades ago.

    Excuse the anecdote, but it will tie up.

    I also was a global warming and/or climate change agnostic, more prone to belief earlier than I am now. People on both sides claim a certainty that doesn’t exist. I began to grow more skeptical as it emerged some data used to model had been speculative at best, and skewed at worst, to achieve the desired result, i.e., to “prove” the existence of manmade climate change/global warming.

    My disbelief grew when I ran into the same student president described above. He now is an attorney and works in the Office of General Counsel for a major federal department and that is as far as I will go in identification. The Kyoto Treaty had just been rejected by the United States Senate by a margin of 98-2, I believe. I asked this man why China and India had been exempted from Kyoto. He responded, and this is not an exaggeration, that poorer countries need the opportunity to achieve the same wealth as Western democracies. His rationale had absolutely nothing to do with the environment. This proves nothing but does indicate motive.

    I strongly suspect the United States Senate will not pass Cap and Trade due largely to the number of Democratic members from industrial states that would be absolutely devastated by it. But if it does pass, there is no doubt whatsoever in my mind it will have absolutely nothing to do with the environment and everything to do with socialism in the sense of leveling the playing field between the West and the Third World. Greenhouse emissions will continue to rise, the United States will be a second-rate economy, and as a result will have little influence to exert on the new worst offenders.

  7. 7
    Jeremy G. Said:
    3:56 pm 

    If you have millions of cars running for decades all over the planet and combine that with the emissions of industry worldwide for the last century or so, to me it misses the point to then sit back and say something like, “We just don’t know if we’re even the culprit on these rising levels, much less what this means for our environment, so let’s not rock the boat.”

    Skepticism is good, but turning a blind eye? Not very practical.

    For quite some time we’ve been adding large amounts of chemicals and gasses to our atmosphere without also creating a mechanism to absorb them back into the environment. Just because the trash man takes the trash out every week doesn’t mean that trash is gone forever.

    I think if the United States could spend staggering amounts of money and human resources building our defenses around the mere *chance* the (then) Soviet Union might attack us, we ought to equal that effort now with regard to new technologies that reduce CO2 and other emissions, but on the much more plausible chance that one dire prediction or another of the climate models might be right.

    Is “attacking capitalist economies” the way to go to change things? No, I don’t think so. However I don’t think equating all forms of significant change as some sort of attack on the economy is valid either. That’s hyperbole, not compelling reasoning.

    I agree that it’s important to look very, very closely at who’s driving the debate because there’s certainly money to be made off of this issue. However I’m more concerned about disinformation, pseudoscience and fear getting in the way of good, solid science that needs to be disseminated to the public.

    Thank you Rick for taking the time to write about this subject.

    As I mention in the post, I support reducing carbon emissions - slowly, sensibly, and incorporating new technologies along the way that will ease the transition to an alternative fuels future. I also think it a matter of national security that we wean ourselves from foreign oil, although it is impossibly stupid to have the policy we have now of not drilling anywhere and everywhere that it is possible. It is entirely compatible to support drilling like mad and working like crazy to develop alternatives.

    The problem with proving humans responsible for the rise in CO2 is quite simple; transmutation of carbon molecules into other compounds before they reach the upper atmosphere. The models, as I mention, are way off target because we don’t understand this process very well. We are getting better and I think we will be more accurate in the near future. But what you believe - even though it makes perfect sense - cannot be proven in a scientific sense. Hence, the science is not “settled” on whether man causes climate change, although it is most certainly settled that CO2 levels have gone up dramatically.

    ed.

  8. 8
    Harry O Said:
    1:09 am 

    “11 years of cooling temperatures or a thickening of Artic Ice does not debunk the entire theory”

    “That’s as nonsensical as anything uttered by Al Gore”

    Are you sure, Rick, you want to stand by those statements? Anything????

  9. 9
    busboy33 Said:
    1:15 pm 

    You know a movie is good when it can scare the hell out of you without dramatic music, special effects, omnipresent darkness, “boo!” moments, or any other childish trick.

    Angely Lansbury’s monolouge (”you will be given a two-piece Soviet Army sniper rifle . . .”) is still one of the top 5 most terrifying things I’ve ever seen in a movie. I still get chills when I see it (and I can’t watch Murder She Wrote without an ever-present sense she’s about to get medevial on Tom Bosley’s ass). Damn, that woman can act.

  10. 10
    Steve WH Said:
    4:07 pm 

    Rick

    Here is a link to an article re climate models written by a physicist who has done modeling.

    http://www.quadrant.org.au/magazine/issue/2009/10/climate-modelling-nonsense

    I’m skeptical about CAGW but then again all people trained in science should be skeptical- even of their own results.

    And be careful of the Arctic/Antarctic. Most references regarding the ice extent/thickness are in reference to the satellite era. This era started at close to the greatest extent of the Arctic ice cycle. A reduction was to be expected. Also we have no comparable ice data with the Arctic in the 1930/40 when arctic temperatures were comparable to today’s. The St Roch, a small wooden RCMP ship transversed the NWP several times in the 1940s once by the most northernly route.

    Also the global sea ice is normal. The Antarctic sea ice being the highest in 30 years.

    It never has be explained to my satisfaction why the warming between ~1910 and 1940s was the same in rate and magnitude to that of ~1976 to 1998. (See climate4you.com for data) Some solar scientists say it could not be the sun. Maybe the current extended solar minimum will throw light on this. I think we will have a much better idea of the magnitude of AGW caused by CO2 in 5 to 10 years. I’m thinking it will be small to insignificant.

    However it turns out, the important thing is to follow the scientific method. I will accept any evidence that does that - which is why some evidence is compelling and some is not.

    ed.

  11. 11
    Wry Mouth Said:
    7:11 pm 

    I did my part for “Blog Action Day,” or what-have-you: The Global Warming Crisis is real! Or, at least, there is a crisis — but it is one of usurpation of freedoms by the unelected elite… ;o/

    http://wrymouth.com/2009/10/16/holy-smokes-its-blog-action-day-on-global-warming-heres-my-contribution.aspx

  12. 12
    Steve WH Said:
    8:43 pm 

    “However it turns out, the important thing is to follow the scientific method. I will accept any evidence that does that - which is why some evidence is compelling and some is not.”

    This is my greatest concern regarding the hypothesis of CAGW. The scientific evidence is very weak. Yes, there has been a global warming trend since ~1750. Yes doubling CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere can theoretically increase surface temperatures by ~1.2 deg C all things being equal (they are not). The IPCC hypothesis depends on a water vapour feedback in the model runs to become “catastrophic”. There is no data that shows this is happening in any significant way. Richard Lindzen, an atmospheric physicist at MIT, has shown the the ERBE satellite’s data is in direct conflict with the IPCC models.

    Lindzen has stated that the empirical DATA from ERBE would kill the CAGW hypothesis dead if the climate science community were adhering to the scientific method. They are not - it is not about science anymore.

    As Lindzen said (paraphrasing) - the consensus was made before the science was done.

    We need to get back to the basics of the scientific method that has served us very well in the past. We need to step back, do good science and let the chips fall where they may.

    PS another look at the lack of science in paleoclimate is at climate audit.

    I agree

  13. 13
    TMLutas Said:
    12:02 pm 

    One of the things that utterly chills me about the global warming evidence gathered is the amount of funny science that seems to be attached to it.

    Experiments need to be checked and replicated far more often than they are. Such acts are to be supported, not resisted and the AGW community has a clear record of resisting checking efforts and supporting resisters.

    This resistance, this unwillingness to share code and share data is not consistent with the scientific method and not consistent with responsible use of the public’s money (most science of this type has at least some public money funding it). The cure is to politically force public science money to adhere to normal scientific practice and let the chips fall where they may.

  14. 14
    Otiose Said:
    4:39 pm 

    Rick you can rest your mind - carbon dioxide increases turning us into another Venus. Scientists (another bunch than those boosting for Gore) say that in Earth’s past for prolonged periods (as in millions of years) the carbon dioxide levels were as much as 12X the levels they are now.

    E.G.
    “The atmosphere’s composition during the Mesozoic was vastly different as well. Carbon dioxide levels were up to 12 times higher than today’s levels, and oxygen formed 32 to 35% of the atmosphere, as compared to 21% today.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinosaurs

    Basically the Earth is in a icy cold dry cycle that will pretty much continue until Antarctica moves off the South Pole - it’s locking up an awful lot of water as ice which if melted would raise the oceans and the level of water vapor (much more potent factor in warming the air than CO2). The planet is usually in an ice age and once in a great while for a very brief time it warms up - as it is now - before the temperatures drop and the glaciers form again covering much of the N American and Eurasian continents. The prime mover for the oscillation is probably the Sun.

    Good source - predating the formation of Gore’s religion:
    http://www.amazon.com/Ice-Ages-Solving-John-Imbrie/dp/0674440757/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1255905418&sr=1-2

    Very interesting. The earth was much warmer until relatively recently - until the Indian subcontinent began crashing back into Asia and started to push up the Himalayas. That mountain range altered the climate more than anything man has ever done. Until about 40 million years ago, even the northern hemisphere was tropical. Then the weathering of the Himalayas apparently altered the chemical makeup of the atmosphere.’

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/research/1281731.html

    The cycle of ice ages began and, it is only sheer chance that the rise of human civilization occurred during a rather unusually lengthy interstitial.

    ed.

    btw - giganticism in dinosaurs may be the result of that large percentage of oxygen - which is why there are no comparable land animals that size today.

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