Sep 21 2017

New Wrinkle in the Climate Debate

nuclear plantNo matter what happens, it’s part of the conspiracy, at least in the perspective of the conspiracy theorist.

But let’s back up a bit. We talking about scientists trying to understand climate change, and specifically the effects of released carbon into the atmosphere. There are a few layers to this question, which is predictably complex.

The first layer is quite basic – sunlight heats up the earth, which radiates some of that heat back out into space as infrared radiation. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reflects some of these infrared photons back down to the Earth, trapping some of that heat. This is commonly known as the greenhouse effect, and hence CO2 as a greenhouse gas. The more CO2 there is in the atmosphere the greater this effect, and the warmer the planet.

The far trickier part, however, is to predict exactly how much warming will occur in response to a certain increase in CO2 in the atmosphere. To answer this question climatologists develop complex climate models, which have to consider all the natural variables that affect climate. They then compare the predictions of these models to what has happened and what does happen, and then tweak them.

IPCC ModelsThe result is not a precise prediction but a range of possible outcomes with a degree of certainty. This is standard procedure in any science dealing with complex systems. You can see in this graph the various models used by the IPCC and the range of possibilities with error bars. All predict warming, and odds are that some average of the various models is the most likely outcome.

A recent study addresses this very issue, and is getting a lot of attention because it favors the lower end of the range of possible outcomes. Published in Nature Geoscience, the authors looked at recent global temperatures and adjusted the climate models to account for this data. When they ran their adjusted models forward they found that the amount of warming will be lower than the average IPCC estimate.

They also calculate how much carbon dioxide the world can emit before we will cross the 1.5°C threshold of warming above pre-industrial levels. That threshold was chosen because that is the goal of the Paris Climate deal, to limit warming to 1.5°C in order to prevent some of the worst outcomes of climate change. With their new models they found that the world could emit three times as much additional CO2 than predicted by previous models before crossing 1.5°C warming. This would make achieving the Paris goal still very difficult, but not impossible. (Some feel the goal was impossible according to other climate models.)

This new study, however, is going through the meat-grinder of analysis by other experts. Critics argue that the authors used a period of time for their analysis, around the turn of the millennium, that was characterized by a flattening of global warming due to other natural climate trends. These other trends obscured the warming due to CO2 release. Further, during this time there was more CO2 going into the ground and the oceans, again hiding the true effect of CO2 release, but this carbon is now in the carbon cycle and will have long term effects on the climate.

In short, they argue that the authors new model is hopelessly flawed, and underestimates warming because they relied on an unusual period of time in the record where other natural trends obscured the real effects of CO2 release.

The authors, however, push back, arguing that they accounted for these factors, which were only minor players in their climate model.

I have no idea who is correct. The experts will have to hash this out, and likely there will need to be further studies and replications to come to a consensus. But keep in mind, this debate is not about whether or not anthropogenic global warming is happening, just about the degree. And all the climatologists involved agree that it is significant and will be bad.

But of course this situation is ripe for exploitation by denialists. This is one of their core strategies – interpret disagreements among scientists about details as if it calls into doubt the more basic points of agreement. Which animal evolved from which? Perhaps evolution did not happen at all. Were five or six million Jews killed in the holocaust? Perhaps the real answer is zero. Will there be 1.5 or 2.0 degrees of warming by the end of the century? Perhaps there won’t be any at all.

Even more interesting is the response of Roy Spencer, one of the few holdout climatologists who denies global warming. He sees this debate all as a deliberate conspiracy.

I suspect there have been years of discussions in e-cigarette vapor-filled back rooms where Empire leaders have been discussing how the increasing disparity between models and observations should be handled. The resulting new paper is part of a grand scheme that Population Bomb author Paul Ehrlich perfected decades ago. I believe the new narrative taking shape is this: “yes, we were wrong, but only in the timing of the coming global warming disaster. It is still going to happen… but now we have time to fix it, before it really, really is too late.”

Essentially he thinks that the climate change “Empire” is worried that people will think there is no point to trying to mitigate climate change because it is already too late. Therefore, imperial disinformation officers decided in secret to soften the predictions so that it is just barely possible to avoid the bad outcomes of climate change if we act right now.

If anyone had any doubts that Roy Spencer is a kook, rather than a serious climate scientist with reasonable objections to the consensus, this article should put those doubts to rest.

This is an excellent example of how the conspiracy narrative is bullet-proof. No matter what happens, even the normal course of scientific debate, it is part of the grand conspiracy.

I certainly hope that these new lower predictions are closer to the truth, but will have to go with whatever the evidence and consensus of expert opinion based on that evidence says. At the end of the day, there is uncertainty in the climate models. There has always been uncertainty, and I don’t think anyone ever argued otherwise. The error bars have always been there. Even the IPCC’s latest report gave their predictions 95% probability, which means a 1 in 20 chance they are wrong.

But we often have to make decisions with imperfect information, which means we have to play the odds. Given the range of predictions and the levels of consensus, it seems reasonable to make policy based upon an average of the various models as probably being close to the actual outcome. Further, as I and others have argued many times before, there are many win-wins that we can do to mitigate CO2 release without making any sacrifices. In fact, they are good ideas even if you don’t believe in global warming.

Replace those incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs – it will save you time and money. For many people going solar will reduce their electricity bill. As a nation we need to update our energy grid anyway, so let’s do it now. Developing grid storage will also be a huge benefit to the stability of the grid and the efficiency of our energy production. And reducing pollution will save billions of dollars in health care costs.

Going to clean renewable energy and an updated infrastructure is a no-brainer. It’s a win-win – it’s not a sacrifice at all, just a good investment. And if we avoid the worst outcomes of global warming at the same time, that’s the icing on the cake.

 

25 responses so far

25 thoughts on “New Wrinkle in the Climate Debate”

  1. Ivan Grozny says:

    “Going to clean renewable energy and an updated infrastructure is a no-brainer. It’s a win-win – it’s not a sacrifice at all, just a good investment.”

    First, how do you know that it is a “good investment”? Because people in the government say so? And what “going to clean renewable energy” means? If it means not interfering with private companies who want to go into “clean” energy business, that’s fine. But, if it means – gigantic subsidies and taxes to prop up financially bankrupt renewable schemes, endless rounds of corporate welfare for failing solar and wind industries (as it is most often understood by the proponents of this idea) then it is a huge waste of resources. It is not a win win. At all.

    Second, it seems now that you came very close to admitting openly what I have been claiming all along: “climate change” is just a convenient excuse: if for whatever reason it becomes politically embarrassing or difficult to defend it you will find another. Or even better. you don’t need any theory at all! This whole climate change Armageddon thing we were scaring everyone about may be pure bullshit, but our preferred energy policy is still a win-win.

    “If anyone had any doubts that Roy Spencer is a kook, rather than a serious climate scientist with reasonable objections to the consensus, this article should put those doubts to rest.”

    Roy Spencer is one of the leading climate scientists in the world, with dozens of papers published in leading journals, the guy who perfected the system of satellite monitoring of climate and got a NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal for this contribution. And you are a medical doctor blissfully ignorant about climate science.

    And what is now “consensus”? The authors of this new Nature Geo-science paper (and dozens of others publishing lower climate sensitivity studies in the last 6-7 years you are unfamiliar with) are much closer to Spencer in what they claim scientifically than to what you think by “consensus”.

  2. Ivan – thank you for so nicely demonstrating my central thesis – to a conspiracy theorist, all evidence is consistent with the conspiracy. To a denialist, the normal process of science is always a reason for denial. To address some of your absurd strawmen:

    To your first point, it simply means prioritizing our energy investments in technology that has a future, and that will reap benefits such as energy independence, less pollution, and reduced health-care costs. Your straw men about propping up failing companies is a nice talking point, but does not reflect what is being proposed.

    If you are so concerned about corporate welfare, you should at least mention the roughly $2.3 billion per year of subsidies to oil and gas. http://insideenergy.org/2016/11/04/ie-questions-how-does-the-government-subsidize-oil-and-gas/

    But perhaps even more important, there is an estimated $200 billion subsidy to the fossil fuel industry by letting them externalize the cost of emitting carbon. That is some massive corporate welfare.
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/ucenergy/2017/02/01/the-200-billion-fossil-fuel-subsidy-youve-never-heard-of/#57fa5786652b

    And, as I actually wrote (rather than your fevered delusions), we already need to upgrade the grid. How about take those oil subsidies and use them to do that. https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/plugged-in/the-u-s-power-grid-is-in-need-of-a-technology-upgrade/

    But your second point is priceless, really demonstrating how anything can be a conspiracy. You see, if someone says that we need to invest in clean energy because of climate change, that is all a conspiracy to support clean energy. And if they say we should do the things we know we need to do anyway, that’s also a conspiracy, to support clean energy through the back door.

    What you failed to do, for obvious reasons, is address my actual points. Polluting energy causes negative health outcomes and costs an estimated $100 billion dollars a year. Reducing pollution is a good thing, not a conspiracy. Pointing that out is not admitting anything, just pointing to a clear and relevant fact. I also don’t know anyone who thinks it is a good thing that we are dependent on foreign oil, or that regimes like Putin’s are propped up by the price of oil. How much money is all that costing us? Hard to calculate.

    Further, solar and wind are rapidly becoming cost effective. In many locations, solar is a cheaper source of electricity than fossil fuel based. This is also steadily improving. This is the energy of the future – we should embrace it.

    Regarding Spencer, I would point out that Linus Pauling was also a kook when it came to orthomolecular medicine. Citing past credentials does not impress. The fact is, he is an outlier. And that article was pure conspiracy nonsense. It is what it is.

    And I guess it should not be surprising that you doubled down on the gambit of – hey, scientists disagree as to the degree of warming, so perhaps the whole thing is a hoax.

    Nicely done.

  3. bend says:

    Steve, you’re right on 19/20ths here. One issue that often bothers me when discussed is energy independence. It is a hypothetical that has inspired the “drill, baby, drill” crowd no less than the renewables crowd. But it is neither possible nor desirable. Fossil fuel advocates say, “let’s develop our abundant mineral resources so we won’t have to rely on foreign imports.” But the oil, gas, and coal markets are global and we’ll not want to forbid American companies from participation unless your idea of “energy independence” is what Venezuela’s doing. Renewables, likewise, will not give us independence from global economic realities. Materials for solar cells and batteries will continue to come from China. Wind farms require a lot of steel, which more like than not will come from overseas. Intellectual property, no less important than raw materials, is spread over the globe. None of this is bad or even a minor problem. When it comes to development and deployment of low-carbon energy, interdependence means global cooperation, which means efficiency. I just wish people would stop talking about “energy independence” as if it were a worthy and obtainable goal. It’s neither.

  4. Max_B says:

    I’m not bothered about the CO2 issues, but some of the other issues mentioned in the article seem to have some validity, and who doesn’t want to save energy on their energy bills if there is no other negative impact from doing so.

    But we’re in a long period of transition, and some of the stuff that we’re being asked to do here in the UK is backfiring, hopefully more experience will eventually get building regs etc and other things right. No point having legislation to demand double glazed glass units, if the site fitting of the windows is miserable and not enforced, or filling cavity walls with the wrong materials that later have to be removed. Insulating roofs incorrectly leading to damp and rot problems that require full roof replacements, or fitting heat exchangers that cost more to maintain mould & bacteria free, than they save… etc.

    I’m doing what is financially sensible as increased tax’s inevitably change my behavior. That said, I’m trying to put some limits on my exposure to LED’s. I’m sat in front of a LED monitor at work all day, with LED office lighting. LED headlights too and from work, an LED computer monitor at home, and an LED TV. But I’ve drawn the line at LED lighting at home, still use some alternative low energy lighting for mood lighting, but it’s halogen for all my main lighting. Otherwise, on some days during winter in the UK, I’d be getting 18 hours constant exposure to LED light. Just being cautious with my eyesight.

  5. JoeMamma says:

    @bend

    You’re technically correct when you assert that energy independence != economic independence, but I think you’re glossing over the dictatorial elephants in the room, starting with Saudi Arabia.

    Energy independence doesn’t mean that we’re now at liberty to go full-on isolationism, but it absolutely does means that we are less subject to the whims of dictatorships around the world that don’t share our interests or values and I think most reasonable people would agree that we’d rather buy steel from China than oil from Saudi Arabia (I realize we get the vast majority of our foreign oil from Canada, but global market yada yada). Those geopolitical advantages are massive and difficult to overstate.

  6. MosBen says:

    Steve, something that I’ve been thinking about as various parts of the country are ravaged by natural disasters is that whatever the drawbacks of solar and wind power, and they are real, having a distributed grid of power production makes the whole grid system more resilient. Concentrating our energy production infrastructure, whether refineries or power plants, in individual, large structures just means that the grid relying on them is vulnerable if they get damaged. If most of our energy production is distributed among millions of roofs and wind farms it becomes much easier for the system to recover after damage to a single geographic area.

    And from a national security standpoint, such infrastructure concentrations are just targets for attacks intended to disrupt our energy system. How can a terrorist disrupt our energy production if most of it is distributed in millions of solar panels and wind turbines?

  7. hardnose says:

    Whatever the United States, and the other advanced democracies, decide to do, matters much less than what happens in China, India, African nations, etc. And we have no control over them. All those billions of people want to drive cars, and they will as soon as they can afford to.

    Even if their cars are powered by gerbils and have windmills on top, they will create enormous amounts of pollution.

    And they will all want computers, and all the other things that create pollution when they are manufactured and when they are discarded.

    The United States has no control over the world population. And it does not discourage industrialization — just the opposite.

    Therefore, the whole climate change debate is mostly nonsense. You like the illusion of having control over this.

  8. bachfiend says:

    Hardnose,

    Yeah, right, if someone else wants to commit suicide, then we ought to do the same?

    The point of the paper in ‘Nature Geoscience’ is that we may have more time to decarbonise the world’s economy (may, not definitely will), giving the developing countries the opportunity to industrialise before having to mitigate. It will mean that they’ll have to build more renewable energy supplies than coal power plants.

  9. tb29607 says:

    I recently convinced my most hard core climate denialist friend to purchase solar shingles for his home. He still disputes AGW but agrees that fossil fuels have a finite future and that renewables result in cleaner air and water which he is in favor of. I am in the process of purchasing the same solar shingles. I believe that promoting this type of personal activity will prove far more effective than other broad based strategies which have become to politicized.

  10. We cannot control other countries, but we can show leadership. Also, if we help develop the technology so that it is cost-effective, than everyone will want it. China, btw, is leading the world in investments in renewable energy.

    bend – I agree with what you say. It is more that oil largely comes form unstable dictatorships who profit from the world price of oil. If we reduce demand that will reduce the global price of oil and starve these regimes.

    I also agree rare earths are a problem. We need to consider where we are going to source nuclear material and material for renewables. Developing tech that uses abundant materials we don’t have to source from China would also be great.

  11. Nidwin says:

    The real issue, world-wide, is that there’s not enough $,€,£ invested in Odic field, Chi-Ki and subtile energy fields research. The moment we’ll finaly be able to tap into those energy fields we’ll resolve all the problems on our planet. (sorry, couldn’t help it)

    Even if we succeed to limit the global rise to 2 – 2.5C end of the century there’s still the question how long the changes will last before reverting to pre-industrial situations and what changes won’t revert and will become permanent for ten to hundred thousands of Years.

  12. weegreenblobbie says:

    typo in 2nd paragraph, I think “We’re talking about …” was meant.

  13. Ivan Grozny says:

    “If you are so concerned about corporate welfare, you should at least mention the roughly $2.3 billion per year of subsidies to oil and gas. http://insideenergy.org/2016/11/04/ie-questions-how-does-the-government-subsidize-oil-and-gas/

    By all means, let’s abolsih them all. But bear in mind, oil and gas subisides are 5-6 times smaller than solar and wind

    “But perhaps even more important, there is an estimated $200 billion subsidy to the fossil fuel industry by letting them externalize the cost of emitting carbon. That is some massive corporate welfare.
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/ucenergy/2017/02/01/the-200-billion-fossil-fuel-subsidy-youve-never-heard-of/#57fa5786652b

    Aha, of course – Orwell. Not taxing is the same as subsidizing. And “carbon costs” could be from minus infinity to plus infinity, depending on million variables, scientific and philosophical (starting from climate sensitivity itself, which just got downgraded by a factor of 2 which will probably eliminate all “carbon costs” anyway.

    “Polluting energy causes negative health outcomes and costs an estimated $100 billion dollars a year.”

    Who estimated this, how and how twice reduced climate sensitivity affects this estimate? Btw you did not mention this “argument” at all in your post

    “Further, solar and wind are rapidly becoming cost effective. In many locations, solar is a cheaper source of electricity than fossil fuel based. This is also steadily improving. This is the energy of the future – we should embrace it.”

    You may or may not be right. I don’t know. I only know that if you are right, then gigantic corporate welfare for solar and wind is not necessary. Nobody prevents you to “embrace them”. Invest in solar and wind companies if you prefer so. Just don’t force me to “embrace” them as a taxpayer. Deal?

    “Regarding Spencer, I would point out that Linus Pauling was also a kook when it came to orthomolecular medicine. Citing past credentials does not impress. The fact is, he is an outlier.”

    The very article from Nature Geo-science by those two politically approved scientists that you cited perfectly aligns with Spencer’s findings: IPCC climate models overstate warming and climate sensitivity. And that basic finding is not outlier anymore. It is so only for people like you who are uninformed about climate science and don’t know that virtually all observational sensitivity studies from the last 6-7 years show that IPCC models overestimate warming by a factor of 2. You are just not paying attention to the relevant information and continue to peddle ignorant political slogans.

    “And I guess it should not be surprising that you doubled down on the gambit of – hey, scientists disagree as to the degree of warming, so perhaps the whole thing is a hoax.

    another nice expression of your utter ignorance on this issue. The debate in climate science has never been whether CO2 causes warming. It has always been “how much”? Most recent estimates are in line with what the likes of Spencer, Christy, Lindzen and Singer were claiming for years. Now more and more “consensus”, slowly and reluctantly admit that models overestimate the warming, likely significantly.

  14. bachfiend says:

    Ivan the Terrible,

    You did read at least the abstract for the article in ‘Nature Geoscience’, didn’t you? The abstract is available online, even if the full article is behind a paywall.

    The final sentences read: ‘Hence, limiting warming to 1.5 degrees C is not yet a geophysical impossibility, but is likely to require delivery on strengthened pledges for 2030 followed by challenging deep and rapid mitigation. Strengthening near-term emissions reductions would hedge against a high climate response or subsequent reduction rates proving economically, technically or politically unfeasible’.

    I’ll summarise it for you:

    The authors admit that they could be wrong. Climate sensitivity could be greater. Mitigation of CO2 emissions is still necessary, at greater than current rates. The earlier mitigation is carried out, the better.

    All you’re doing is cherry picking authorities you think support your own personal preferences. Even if, as in this case, they don’t.

  15. MosBen says:

    From a public policy standpoint tax breaks are equivalent to direct subsidy. It’s a different political issue, but otherwise they’re really the same thing.

  16. tder2012 says:

    “Going to clean renewable energy and an updated infrastructure is a no-brainer. It’s a win-win – it’s not a sacrifice at all, just a good investment”. It will be very challenging to do this, agreed we must reduce CO2 emissions quickly, but at the same time need to meet sufficient energy demands. “Electricity decarbonization – How’s that working out?” (When reading the following, keep in mind International Energy Agency states global electricity needs to be below 100 grams CO2 emitted per kilowatt-hour, spoiler alert, still well above 500, minimal change since 1990) http://www.catf.us/blogs/ahead/2017/09/22/electricity-decarbonization-hows-that-working-out/

    As for meeting sufficient energy demand, this chart says it all https://fi9hi8t504-flywheel.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/Figure-1-LF.png

  17. BillyJoe7 says:

    For those interested in the facts as opposed to the spin by climate deniers such as Ivan “climate denier” Grozny, and the usual suspect journalists and media outlets, here is one of many links:

    https://www.carbonbrief.org/factcheck-climate-models-have-not-exaggerated-global-warming

    “the authors of the paper are comparing 2015 observations to a 2020 subset of model estimates…A more straightforward comparison to determine how well models and observations agree would be to look at what both observations and models predict during the same time period…Using the same approach as Millar et al to compare 2015 observations with 2015 model results, the difference shrinks…from 0.3C down to 0.17C”

    “the analysis only looks at one dataset…the Met Office Hadley Centre’s HadCRUT…If the Cowtan and Way dataset were used in the analysis, the difference between observations and models in 2015 would be reduced to 0.11C. If the Berkeley Earth dataset were used, the difference would only be 0.01C….the HadCRUT dataset excludes large areas of the Arctic and does more limited infilling of areas with missing data”

    “The models used in the paper generate an estimated air temperature slightly above the Earth’s surface for the entire planet. However…[other] researchers have produced blended model outputs, which combine air temperatures over land with surface water temperatures over the ocean to mirror the way temperatures are actually measured. These model outputs show about 0.08C less warming in 2015 than models that simply use the surface air temperatures globally”

    In conclusion…

    “The paper’s real focus is on carbon budgets and carbon cycle accuracy, rather than model/observation comparisons of the warming associated with increased atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, and their results have little bearing on our understanding of climate sensitivity”

    As opposed to Ivan “climate denier” Grozny who thinks the paper is about climate sensitivity.

  18. BillyJoe7 says:

    The following is a response by the actual authors of the paper to how certain media outlets misinterpreted their paper:

    “A number of media reports have asserted that our recent study in Nature Geoscience indicates that global temperatures are not rising as fast as predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and hence that action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is no longer urgent.

    Both assertions are false.

    Our results are entirely in line with the IPCC’s 2013 prediction that temperatures in the 2020s would be 0.9-1.3 degrees above pre-industrial (See figures 2c and 3a of our article which show the IPCC prediction, our projections, and temperatures of recent years).

    What we have done is to update the implications for the amount of carbon dioxide we can still emit while expecting global temperatures to remain below the Paris Climate Agreement goal of 1.5 degrees. We find that, to likely meet the Paris goal, emission reductions would need to begin immediately and reach zero in less than 40 years’ time.

    While that is not geophysically impossible, to suggest that this means that measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are now unnecessary is clearly false”

  19. BillyJoe7 says:

    From another climate scientist:

    http://www.climate-lab-book.ac.uk/2017/are-the-models-running-too-hot/

    Answer: NO, THEY ARE NOT.

    The focus of this short article is a graph depicting the difference between MODELS v OBSERVATIONS.

    The MODELS necessarily had to make assumptions about future “radiative forcings” and “climate variability”. When the actual observed values of these two parameters are substituted for the assumed values, the average prediction of the models moves from the light blue line down to the dark blue line in the graph.

    The OBSERVATIONS are those of the HadCRUT dataset which are “biased”. The HadCRUT dataset is biased by the fact that it includes relatively few observations over the Arctic and also uses sea-surface temperatures over the ocean, whereas the model analysis uses simulated air temperatures everywhere. When the observations of this dataset are adjusted for this bias, the observations move from the light orange line up to the dark orange line (unfortunately, the colour of these two lines look much the same, at least in my browser)

    Making these three necessary adjustments in order to make a legitimate comparison, the MODELS and the OBSERVATIONS show a very similar warming trend.

    (Of course, if Ivan “climate denier” Grozky objects to these adjustments, he will simply be illustrating that he has no idea how science is done.)

  20. Pete A says:

    The fundamental issue, which is very rarely mentioned, is the simple logical and empirical fact that the units of the term “global climate” cannot be boiled down to [pun intended] degrees Celsius or kelvin, FFS!

    Buildings are not destroyed during a hurricane due to the temperature of the hurricane, they are destroyed by the vector forces imparted to the buildings by the wind and its water vapour content plus any debris that it contains.

    Discussing global climate change, in terms of the tiny average rate of change of global temperature with time, is as idiotic as would be discussing the cause of, and the cure to, saucepans [pans and pots] boiling over on the cooker in terms of the minuscule average temperature increase between the states of simmering and rapidly-boiling. The saucepan boils over not because the temperature increases, it boils over whenever its power input from the cooker exceeds its power output from thermal radiation plus the latent heat of evaporation alone: the excess power input is converted into vigorous kinetic energy — vigorous enough to result in the contents being ejected from the saucepan!

    Temperature is simply one of the many measurable and quantifiable side effects of a system. Temperature is never the cause of any effect. E.g., heating a flammable liquid to beyond its flashpoint temperature is very likely to result in ignition. But, the temperature didn’t cause the ignition; the cause was the sustained input of excess energy to the liquid: the power input to the liquid exceeded its power output for a period long enough for the liquid to gain sufficient excess energy to reach the point of self-ignition.

    I guess the reason why so many people fail to grasp even the most simple aspects of science is because they never learnt science and mathematics from first principles. Nearly everything which they believe that they understand is based in quicksand rather than the modern pillars of science and reason.

    Each and every person who cannot fully explain, from first principles, why saucepans and frying pans make a mess on their cooker, hasn’t a cat in hell’s chance of fathoming out whether it is the explainers, or the deniers, of anthropogenic climate change who should provide input to the long-term welfare of current and future generations of people, and other animals, who reside on our beautiful, perhaps unique, blue planet.

  21. Willy says:

    I would very much like to see a good television presentation–many hours long–featuring a discussion of the misconceptions about climate science and AGW. I don’t want it to be a debate, but I do want to hear the denier’s “side” and the rebuttals to it. I feel very comfortable (knowledgeable) discussing evolution with any layman denier. but I don’t have enough familiarity with the details of AGW to be able to hold up my end of a discussion or to deliver a sound rebuttal. I am reading Joseph Romm’s book now (“Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know”), but I would like a more “adversarial” format.

  22. bsoo says:

    This is a bit of an ad hominem, but I think these quotes do say something about Roy Spencer’s ability to separate science from ideology:
    “I came to the realization that intelligent design, as a theory of origins, is no more religious, and no less scientific, than evolutionism”
    “I finally became convinced that the theory of creation actually had a much better scientific basis than the theory of evolution”

  23. bachfiend says:

    bsoo,

    To this can be added that Roy Spencer is also a senior fellow of ‘the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation’, which hardly needs added explanation.

    Global warming denial often seems to be religiously motivated, as also appears to apply to Michael Egnor. Or it could mean that if you’re able to accept nonsense without difficulty, you’re also able to reject reason with similar lack of difficulty.

  24. Nidwin says:

    @bachfiend

    Do you mind if I quote you on this as a signature?

    ” If you’re able to accept nonsense without difficulty, you’re also able to reject reason with similar lack of difficulty. ”
    bachfiend

    I find this to the point and on the same level as the Bullshit asymmetry principle.

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