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The Flipping Point (global warming conversion of skeptic Michael Shermer)
Scientific American ^ | June 2006 | Michael Shermer

Posted on 05/25/2006 9:02:16 AM PDT by cogitator

The Flipping Point

How the evidence for anthropogenic global warming has converged to cause this environmental skeptic to make a cognitive flip

By Michael Shermer

In 2001 Cambridge University Press published Bjørn Lomborg's book The Skeptical Environmentalist, which I thought was a perfect debate topic for the Skeptics Society public lecture series at the California Institute of Technology. The problem was that all the top environmental organizations refused to participate. "There is no debate," one spokesperson told me. "We don't want to dignify that book," another said. One leading environmentalist warned me that my reputation would be irreparably harmed if I went through with it. So of course I did.

My experience is symptomatic of deep problems that have long plagued the environmental movement. Activists who vandalize Hummer dealerships and destroy logging equipment are criminal ecoterrorists. Environmental groups who cry doom and gloom to keep donations flowing only hurt their credibility. As an undergraduate in the 1970s, I learned (and believed) that by the 1990s overpopulation would lead to worldwide starvation and the exhaustion of key minerals, metals and oil, predictions that failed utterly. Politics polluted the science and made me an environmental skeptic.

Nevertheless, data trump politics, and a convergence of evidence from numerous sources has led me to make a cognitive switch on the subject of anthropogenic global warming. My attention was piqued on February 8 when 86 leading evangelical Christians--the last cohort I expected to get on the environmental bandwagon--issued the Evangelical Climate Initiative calling for "national legislation requiring sufficient economy-wide reductions" in carbon emissions.

Then I attended the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference in Monterey, Calif., where former vice president Al Gore delivered the single finest summation of the evidence for global warming I have ever heard, based on the recent documentary film about his work in this area, An Inconvenient Truth. The striking before-and-after photographs showing the disappearance of glaciers around the world shocked me out of my doubting stance.

Four books eventually brought me to the flipping point. Archaeologist Brian Fagan's The Long Summer (Basic, 2004) explicates how civilization is the gift of a temporary period of mild climate. Geographer Jared Diamond's Collapse (Penguin Group, 2005) demonstrates how natural and human-caused environmental catastrophes led to the collapse of civilizations. Journalist Elizabeth Kolbert's Field Notes from a Catastrophe (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2006) is a page-turning account of her journeys around the world with environmental scientists who are documenting species extinction and climate change unmistakably linked to human action. And biologist Tim Flannery's The Weather Makers (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2006) reveals how he went from being a skeptical environmentalist to a believing activist as incontrovertible data linking the increase of carbon dioxide to global warming accumulated in the past decade.

It is a matter of the Goldilocks phenomenon. In the last ice age, CO2 levels were 180 parts per million (ppm)--too cold. Between the agricultural revolution and the industrial revolution, levels rose to 280 ppm--just right. Today levels are at 380 ppm and are projected to reach 450 to 550 by the end of the century--too warm. Like a kettle of water that transforms from liquid to steam when it changes from 99 to 100 degrees Celsius, the environment itself is about to make a CO2-driven flip.

According to Flannery, even if we reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by 70 percent by 2050, average global temperatures will increase between two and nine degrees by 2100. This rise could lead to the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet, which the March 24 issue of Science reports is already shrinking at a rate of 224 ±41 cubic kilometers a year, double the rate measured in 1996 (Los Angeles uses one cubic kilometer of water a year). If it and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet melt, sea levels will rise five to 10 meters, displacing half a billion inhabitants.

Because of the complexity of the problem, environmental skepticism was once tenable. No longer. It is time to flip from skepticism to activism.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Government
KEYWORDS: change; climate; co2; emissions; globalwarming; gore; movie; skeptic; warming
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Shermer has organized a conference taking place June 2-4 on climate change.

The Environmental Wars

"Why are we still debating climate change? How soon will we hit peak oil supply? When politics mix with science, what is being brewed? Join speakers from the left & the right, from the lab & the field, from industry & advocacy, as we air the ongoing debate about whether human activity is actually changing the climate of the planet.

From June 2–4, 2006, the Environmental Wars conference will host scientists, writers, environmentalists, and thinkers from all points along the environmental spectrum at the California Institute of Technology for questions, answers, and opinions.

Speakers list:

Special Guests: John Stossel, Michael Crichton

Speakers: Gregory Arnold, Jonathan Adler, David Baltimore, Gregory Benford, Brian Fagan, David Goodstein, Paul MacCready, Chris Mooney, Donald Prothero, Tapio Schneider

Could be fun. Crichton should have a few things to say!

1 posted on 05/25/2006 9:02:20 AM PDT by cogitator
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To: DaveLoneRanger

ping


2 posted on 05/25/2006 9:03:41 AM PDT by cogitator
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To: cogitator

Bump.


3 posted on 05/25/2006 9:03:46 AM PDT by Rocko (Post No Bills)
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To: cogitator
I have become less of a skeptic than I used to be. I think its safe to say I am on the fence at the moment. I think it would be prudent to switch to Nuclear energy as fast as possible. Dealing with nuclear waste is trivial compared to what might have to be dealt with if the advocates are right.

Doesn't mean I dont think the greenies aren't exaggerating, but what the heck, going Nuclear is a pretty conservative cause, and it can help solve the problem of global warming, assuming there is one. Its a win/win.

4 posted on 05/25/2006 9:09:26 AM PDT by Paradox (Removing all Doubt since 1998!)
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To: cogitator

There is an interesting connection between the opening sentences where the author was warned and the closing ones where he now obligingly stands in line.


5 posted on 05/25/2006 9:09:49 AM PDT by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: cogitator

Oh, his epiphany at the evangelists' hands was also poignant.


6 posted on 05/25/2006 9:10:43 AM PDT by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: cogitator
"It is a matter of the Goldilocks phenomenon. In the last ice age, CO2 levels were 180 parts per million (ppm)--too cold. Between the agricultural revolution and the industrial revolution, levels rose to 280 ppm--just right. Today levels are at 380 ppm and are projected to reach 450 to 550 by the end of the century--too warm. Like a kettle of water that transforms from liquid to steam when it changes from 99 to 100 degrees Celsius, the environment itself is about to make a CO2-driven flip."

Absolute bullshit. The CO2 level has been FAR HIGHER than 550 ppm, and yet global temperatures weren't signficantly higher. The dinosaurs seemed to thrive during the period.

Oh what basis is this moron deciding that 550 ppm is "too warm".

7 posted on 05/25/2006 9:11:39 AM PDT by Wonder Warthog (The Hog of Steel-NRA)
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To: cogitator
According to Flannery, even if we reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by 70 percent by 2050, average global temperatures will increase between two and nine degrees by 2100. ... If it and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet melt, sea levels will rise five to 10 meters, displacing half a billion inhabitants.

Oh my GOD! I only have 95 years to find a new apartment!! Quickly, let's destroy the economy so that over the next 95 years, the coastline doesn't change!! That way, instead of moving half a billion people, we can just starve them to death!

8 posted on 05/25/2006 9:12:20 AM PDT by wizardoz
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To: cogitator

The same people who believe in global warming also, for the most part, believe that we're soon going to run out of fossil fuels. So, even if it's true, it's only a temporary problem, right?


9 posted on 05/25/2006 9:13:14 AM PDT by Steely Tom
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To: Paradox

There are those who have considered that general warming results in increased CO2 but no real studies that I have heard of.


10 posted on 05/25/2006 9:13:28 AM PDT by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: cogitator
Then I attended the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference in Monterey, Calif., where former vice president Al Gore delivered the single finest summation of the evidence for global warming I have ever heard, based on the recent documentary film about his work in this area, An Inconvenient Truth.

Now, this is certainly evidence that proves something beyond a doubt.

11 posted on 05/25/2006 9:13:38 AM PDT by DrDavid (Is this a rhetorical question?)
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To: Paradox
I think it would be prudent to switch to Nuclear energy as fast as possible.

So do I. Nuclear for electricity, ethanol and hybrids for vehicles.

12 posted on 05/25/2006 9:14:49 AM PDT by cogitator
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To: cogitator
where former vice president Al Gore delivered the single finest summation of the evidence

That's all fine and good, but did Gore cite any controlling legal authority? ;)

13 posted on 05/25/2006 9:15:04 AM PDT by proud American in Canada (Come on, Gary, act! (I finally saw Team America and am still laughing))
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To: cogitator
I learned (and believed) that by the 1990s overpopulation would lead to worldwide starvation and the exhaustion of key minerals, metals and oil, predictions that failed utterly. Politics polluted the science and made me an environmental skeptic.

Nevertheless, data trump politics...

He should have stopped here...

14 posted on 05/25/2006 9:15:15 AM PDT by GOPJ (Real trolls are brief, insulting, and at the top of threads.)
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To: Wonder Warthog

He's servimg his "time out" in the local orchid grower's greenhouse where the ppm averages 1100.


15 posted on 05/25/2006 9:15:34 AM PDT by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: Old Professer
There is an interesting connection between the opening sentences where the author was warned and the closing ones where he now obligingly stands in line.

Maybe he actually thought about it and means what he says.

16 posted on 05/25/2006 9:15:42 AM PDT by cogitator
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To: Paradox
No big surprises. The problem is that the "Conservatives" have ignored the evidence so long, that they don't have much standing to point out problems with most of the proposed solutions. "Kyoto" wasn't a solution. Nuclear power is helpful.

It's been fun to watch. First the Conservatives claimed "no warming" then "warming near cities only" then "warming but due to the sun" then "it's good for you" then "oak, but so what?" The trouble is that the Left misuses science (and the Right rejects it.)

It was interesting to hear about 25 years ago from climatologist that "global warming results are only being opposed by the Religious Right."
17 posted on 05/25/2006 9:15:48 AM PDT by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch ist der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: cogitator
So do I. Nuclear for electricity, ethanol and hybrids for vehicles.

The electricity from Nuclear can be used to generate hydrogen if necessary as well. I don't know why this isn't a more urgent issue. We need a Nuclear Now! Campaign..

18 posted on 05/25/2006 9:16:15 AM PDT by Paradox (Removing all Doubt since 1998!)
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To: Wonder Warthog
Oh what basis is this moron deciding that 550 ppm is "too warm".

If you read the whole thing, Brian Fagan's book and perhaps Diamond's might interest you. The basis for the 180-280 ppm window is the Vostok ice core data going back 640,000 years when CO2 was never out of that range (and it encompassed the full glacial-interglacial climate range).

Climate in prior epochs is not directly comparable to the modern (Pleistocene/Holocene) climate era.

19 posted on 05/25/2006 9:18:01 AM PDT by cogitator
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To: cogitator

Let's admit one truth, if these predictions of doom and gloom were made to play out in our lifetime none of the crisis mongers would dare bet their own farm.


20 posted on 05/25/2006 9:18:12 AM PDT by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: cogitator

The world ran out of coal a few years after WWII. Remember? Book em Dano. Pure scam/B.S.!!! Are these turds being lead to acceptance of world-wide genocide to "save' the earth???


21 posted on 05/25/2006 9:19:33 AM PDT by Waco
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To: Steely Tom
So, even if it's true, it's only a temporary problem, right?

Even such noted climate scientists as James Hansen believe that technology and the economics of energy will go a long way toward determing the future climate trajectory. But I think that the time has come to accelerate things that might help slow down the increase in atmospheric CO2, like converting to biofuels (ethanol, biodiesel, etc.)

22 posted on 05/25/2006 9:20:11 AM PDT by cogitator
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To: cogitator

He cites Jared Diamond's "Collapse". That should suffice to show he isn't a serious thinker.

Oh wait...he also says, "My attention was piqued on February 8 when 86 leading evangelical Christians--the last cohort I expected to get on the environmental bandwagon--issued the Evangelical Climate Initiative calling for "national legislation requiring sufficient economy-wide reductions" in carbon emissions."

Ah yes, those climatological experts, "86 leading evangelical Christians". So why am I not convinced?


23 posted on 05/25/2006 9:20:20 AM PDT by Mr Rogers
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To: cogitator

Chart, please.


24 posted on 05/25/2006 9:21:06 AM PDT by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: Old Professer
There is an interesting connection between the opening sentences where the author was warned and the closing ones where he now obligingly stands in line.

There is something unsettling about a person so ignorant and naive as to make this statement, specially with a subject that no one can make any certain statements about...

In the last ice age, CO2 levels were 180 parts per million (ppm)--too cold. Between the agricultural revolution and the industrial revolution, levels rose to 280 ppm--just right. Today levels are at 380 ppm and are projected to reach 450 to 550 by the end of the century--too warm.

He lost me right there. Anyone who expects a static climate after a 6-billion year history of constant changes, is too stupid to take seriously.

25 posted on 05/25/2006 9:22:23 AM PDT by Publius6961 (Multiculturalism is the white flag of a dying country)
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To: wizardoz
According to Flannery, even if we reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by 70 percent by 2050, average global temperatures will increase between two and nine degrees by 2100. ... If it and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet melt, sea levels will rise five to 10 meters, displacing half a billion inhabitants.

According to me, Flannery is an ass.

26 posted on 05/25/2006 9:23:57 AM PDT by John Valentine
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To: cogitator

Well I'm impressed - NOT!! Where's the barf alert!

Let's see, he got his mind changed by the Evangelical Christians (I wonder if he now believes in Intelligent Design also), Algore (the inventor of the internet), an archaelogist, a journalist, and a biologist - all objective climate experts, I'm sure...

And who the hell is Shermer and why should I care what he thinks??

Anyway, looks like their anxiety should be significantly eased by the fact that they also believe we're finally (to their great delight) reaching "peak oil".


27 posted on 05/25/2006 9:25:04 AM PDT by aquila48
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To: cogitator
A bit more on this guy...

"Dr. Michael Shermer, the publisher of Skeptic Magazine and author of the bestseller Why People Believe Weird Things, isn't just skeptical about pseudoscience, junk history, and the paranormal. He's apparently also skeptical about government, since he's a libertarian.

Shermer made his political beliefs clear in the November 2004 issue of Reason magazine. While discussing who he planned to support in the presidential election, Shermer said, "I'm a libertarian" -- albeit one who planned to vote for Democrat John Kerry because "Bush's foreign policy is making the world more dangerous and more precarious..."

28 posted on 05/25/2006 9:25:57 AM PDT by Mr Rogers
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To: Old Professer
Let's admit one truth, if these predictions of doom and gloom were made to play out in our lifetime none of the crisis mongers would dare bet their own farm.

Part of the problem is the climate system's own inertia; it may be that only now are we starting to see definable and recognizable changes. The majority of the more severe effects probably won't happen while I'm alive. However, I'm concerned enough (and hopefully informed enough) about this issue to think that my children and my grandchildren will be experiencing some of these more severe effects, and that bothers me. I also am concerned that there will be significantly less wildlife (globally) and coral reefs -- that the things they see now in aquariums and zoos and know that these animals and environments still are "in the world" may be drastically changed (even gone) by the time that they reach adulthood.

29 posted on 05/25/2006 9:26:41 AM PDT by cogitator
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To: Old Professer
Chart, please.

Of what?

30 posted on 05/25/2006 9:27:14 AM PDT by cogitator
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To: cogitator

If we don't burn the crude oil in the supply stream there will be no profit motive in maintaining the infrastructure and it will be shut down to preserve economic stability; if allowed to atrophy it will be lost as a backup strategy and we will be in a new crisis of supply as our demand for alternative fuels outpaces our accessibility and there will be hundreds of stories written about the "Sludge Belt" where old oil fields are slowly turning to tar pits.


31 posted on 05/25/2006 9:27:56 AM PDT by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: cogitator
If you read the whole thing, Brian Fagan's book and perhaps Diamond's might interest you. The basis for the 180-280 ppm window is the Vostok ice core data going back 640,000 years when CO2 was never out of that range (and it encompassed the full glacial-interglacial climate range).

Although I consider myself literate in most of the sciences, I must defer to the experts-without-an-agenda on this.

When were the vostok cores gathered and for what purpose?
Aren't these the ones that were demonstrated to be totally useless because they were not specifically gathered to measure gases with the proper safeguards to prevent almost certain contamination?

As I recall, a rspected member of the Russian Academy of Sciences wrote a comprehensive analysis on this subject.

32 posted on 05/25/2006 9:28:38 AM PDT by Publius6961 (Multiculturalism is the white flag of a dying country)
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To: Publius6961
Anyone who expects a static climate after a 6-billion year history of constant changes, is too stupid to take seriously.

Anybody who doesn't understand that the last 10,000 years have been an unusually stable global climate (as underscored by Fagan's book) isn't really taking the issue seriously.

33 posted on 05/25/2006 9:28:40 AM PDT by cogitator
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To: cogitator
What a dopey article. He speaks of the need for hard scientific data, then gets his mind changed by Al Gore, Jared Diamond, and 86 evangelical Christians! Next he'll consult the Psychic Friends Network.

The planet certainly appears to be getting warmer. It's always either getting warmer or colder. Part of the debate is whether getting warmer is good or bad for civilization. But the larger part of the debate is whether human activity is the major, or even a minor, cause for the current trend.

He doesn't address these debates, so what exactly is his flipping point?

34 posted on 05/25/2006 9:29:08 AM PDT by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: aquila48
And who the hell is Shermer and why should I care what he thinks??

See post 28.

35 posted on 05/25/2006 9:29:56 AM PDT by cogitator
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To: Publius6961
Global warming advocates expect us to believe that the earth is young? Why else would they use such a small window of data? The earth is millions of years old but these lunatics are are using a small data set in purposely get the results they want. This is hardly science. Anyone who ever took a statistics or QA class can see the error in this methodology

And people wonder why scientists aren't taken seriously. If this type of numerical slight-of-hand happens in the business world people end up in jail (Enron). Scientists are quickly becoming prostitutes to whichever interest will fund them.
36 posted on 05/25/2006 9:30:40 AM PDT by Minus_The_Bear
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To: Old Professer

Regarding crude oil: I happen to think it's a pretty valuable resource (plastics!), and we shouldn't be just burning it.


37 posted on 05/25/2006 9:31:03 AM PDT by cogitator
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To: cogitator

The average temperature of the earth has not warmed over the past 8 years.


38 posted on 05/25/2006 9:32:25 AM PDT by MonroeDNA (God created evolution. Man created your book.)
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To: cogitator
I also am concerned that there will be significantly less wildlife (globally) and coral reefs -- that the things they see now in aquariums and zoos and know that these animals and environments still are "in the world" may be drastically changed (even gone) by the time that they reach adulthood.

Personally, I'm not willing to drive the world into an economic malaise so that someday my grandkids can see a coral reef on vacation.

39 posted on 05/25/2006 9:32:55 AM PDT by wizardoz
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To: Publius6961
When were the vostok cores gathered and for what purpose?

Research, I believe.

Aren't these the ones that were demonstrated to be totally useless because they were not specifically gathered to measure gases with the proper safeguards to prevent almost certain contamination?

I believe that a few threads ago you posted me a "research" paper on the validity of the Vostok ice core data. I don't know if I posted back to you a massive, comprehensive refutation of it. If you can find the link again, I can do the search I did then, and post the refutation back to you.

The bottom line is that the "attack" on the Vostok ice core data is baseless.

40 posted on 05/25/2006 9:34:11 AM PDT by cogitator
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To: cogitator
But I think that the time has come to accelerate things that might help slow down the increase in atmospheric CO2, like converting to biofuels (ethanol, biodiesel, etc.)

That presumes a lot.
I am a long way from accepting the passive role of "... just state conclusions that were all already accepted as self-evident by her audience."

There is nothing self evident about either anthropogenic CO2 or accepting the ability of man to affect the climate trajectory and its underlying causes, one way or the other...

41 posted on 05/25/2006 9:36:28 AM PDT by Publius6961 (Multiculturalism is the white flag of a dying country)
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To: MonroeDNA
The average temperature of the earth has not warmed over the past 8 years.

Boy, if I ever hear this one again...

1998 was an El Nino year, and El Nino years are years with higher-than-average global warmth. The next year was a La Nina year, and it was colder. In the ensuing years, the global temperature anomaly has been between the 1998 record and the 1999 subsequent minimum, and (with variability), the years have gotten warmer -- to the point that 2005 was almost as warm (some analyses indicate "as warm") as 1998, without an El Nino event. This last datum indicates that the warming trend is still ongoing.

42 posted on 05/25/2006 9:37:54 AM PDT by cogitator
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To: cogitator

I don't read Skeptic Magazine - and given this article on how he arrives at conclusions, I ain't about to start. I would expect more convincing stuff from Art Bell!


43 posted on 05/25/2006 9:39:33 AM PDT by aquila48
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To: Doctor Stochastic

I've been following this debate from the start and I have yet to see a single convincing fact, theory or argument in support of "global warming".

Every argument and theory I have seen has been nothing but notional fantasy and conjecture. Most of it is mathematically flawed and illogical. Basically, every global warming argument I have seen without exception has been based on extrapolation way beyond the data. Worse, the extrapolation does not merely assume present conditions into the future, but worse, none of the data on which the extrapolations are based is statistically significant. The extrapolations are worse than guesses. They are more akin to witchery.

This stuff is pure poison.


44 posted on 05/25/2006 9:39:34 AM PDT by John Valentine
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To: cogitator

And I'm concerned that we don't have enough confidence in our children to deal with problems when they occur without us nitwits posturing as though only we have the secrets of the universe and once we pass the world will be bereft.

Remember the Ecosphere? We actually thought we could recreate a mini-atmosphere and make it balance; the CO2 levels went berserk and it was years after they were forced to shut this bizarre exercise in sophomoric sequestration before the principals admitted what every heating and air-conditioning company in the area already knew, which was they had been pumping fresh air in to "slow" the disaster that was obvious to all involved.

The irony is that as they left the building and it began to be disassembled they remained convinced that with just a tweak here and a twist there the whole enterprise would have led the way to a better and more beneficial world.

Arrogance and hubris have no bounds.


45 posted on 05/25/2006 9:40:38 AM PDT by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: wizardoz
Personally, I'm not willing to drive the world into an economic malaise so that someday my grandkids can see a coral reef on vacation.

The global (or U.S.) economy does not have to suffer; in fact, I think recent events indicate that our dependence on foreign oil and the tightness of energy supplies is far more important to economic health. There are measures that can certainly be taken that can reduce our dependence on foreign oil, increase the "robustness" and flexibility of the economy's energy sector without inducing an economic crisis or downturn.

And if we don't do something (or somethings) serious about energy, economic malaise might be wished for as a best-case scenario.

46 posted on 05/25/2006 9:41:12 AM PDT by cogitator
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To: cogitator

640,000 years of static CO2 levels.


47 posted on 05/25/2006 9:41:28 AM PDT by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: cogitator
But I think that the time has come to accelerate things that might help slow down the increase in atmospheric CO2, like converting to biofuels (ethanol, biodiesel, etc.)

I think this is reasonable. I also think technology will bail us out of this one if necessary. Speaking of biofuels, I think this is a great "conservative" cause. What better issue than something that would help domestify our energy needs, and also help the American farmer? Conservatives and most freepers are missing the boat, we can jump on this issue, cautiously and conservatively.

48 posted on 05/25/2006 9:42:04 AM PDT by Paradox (Removing all Doubt since 1998!)
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To: cogitator

And anyone who expects that man can maintain a fortuitous circumstance by dint of will and fumbling is a fool.


49 posted on 05/25/2006 9:43:24 AM PDT by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: cogitator
Anybody who doesn't understand that the last 10,000 years have been an unusually stable global climate (as underscored by Fagan's book) isn't really taking the issue seriously.

Only if you believe that the earth is 6000 years old.

Do you have a grasp of what 6 billion years is?

What percentage is 10,000 of 6 billion?
On what basis can the last 10,000 years be deemed more critically important to the debate than the previous 5,999,990,000?
Because you happen to be here?
What?

50 posted on 05/25/2006 9:45:07 AM PDT by Publius6961 (Multiculturalism is the white flag of a dying country)
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