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Panner
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Delphi wrote:

As for what to do about it, Cap and Trade is simply the best proposal so far (IMO) for getting people to slow down doing the thing that is causing the now agreed-upon (at least among scientists) problem. If your young mind has some creative new idea for how to accomplish that, then by all means you should put it forth.


All this talk of the science being settled is nice, but the main question, "Should we change our behavior?" is not settled, scientifically or otherwise. Human society isn't about reducing carbon emissions after all. There's a reason we burn fossil fuels. Keep in mind that an alternate strategy "do nothing" may well be the better approach to carbon emission reduction.
Panner
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Palin attempted to trademark her name (and her daughter's, Bristol). The application was refused on a technicality, the patent office "wants more information" (which could just be a signature from each of the Palins).

Anyway, it appears that Palin's trademark would cover two areas:

The application for “Sarah Palin” has two classes of commercial service for which her name would be trademarked. The first is for “information about political elections” and “providing a website featuring information about political issues” and the second is for “educational and entertainment services … providing motivational speaking services in the field of politics, culture, business and values.”


Sounds like Palin is positioning herself as a pundit for election commentary and the fairly profitable speaking engagements that many ex-politicians engage in.

Based on this new (at least to me) information, I decided to sell a small amount of PALIN.RUN.PRES.DEC11. I see this as an indication that Palin has considered other options than running (supporting evidence for ranthambhore, I'd say), but I wouldn't treat it as more than that, given that she hasn't announced she isn't running. A trademark on her name might adversely affect her chances of winning, but I wouldn't know. It at best is an oddity that wouldn't help her, I think.

I am out of 2012.REP.NOM.PALIN as well, but that was for different reasons.
Delphi
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Panner wrote: All this talk of the science being settled is nice, but the main question, "Should we change our behavior?" is not settled, scientifically or otherwise. Human society isn't about reducing carbon emissions after all. There's a reason we burn fossil fuels. Keep in mind that an alternate strategy "do nothing" may well be the better approach to carbon emission reduction.


Not to nitpick but the question "should we change our behavior" is most definitely settled in the scientific community. (Hopefully you are familiar with the National Academies of Sciences and what it represents in the scientific community in the U.S. )

http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=05192010

As part of its most comprehensive study of climate change to date, the National Research Council today issued three reports emphasizing why the U.S. should act now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and develop a national strategy to adapt to the inevitable impacts of climate change. The reports by the Research Council, the operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering, are part of a congressionally requested suite of five studies known as America's Climate Choices.


Domer
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Regarding your earlier reply, I don't think I've moved the goalposts at all, I just think you have to been too fast to respond. Let me crystallize my position: the Earth has warmed over the past X number of years, granted. Carbon is a greenhouse gas, granted. Mankind is probably responsible for some or most of the change in climate, granted. I would also pointedly agree with the consensus that we do not have a grasp on either (1) what extent mankind is responsible know nor (2) what exact effect carbon is having versus other global changes brought about by mankind (i.e. we've deforested quite a bit, and that removes carbon sinks from the environment). I would also point out, but not stress, that even the IPCC leaves the window open that the increase in temperature may be entirely due to natural causes. IIRC they are only confident on the 90-95% scale.

NOW, where I fervently disagree with the IPCC is on (1) that we have evidence needed to conclude with any degree of certainty that the current temperature is unprecedented on the millennial scale and (2) that the climate models will predict the future with any degree of accuracy.

On the first point, I do not agree with what the reconstructions are telling us. Why? Numerous reasons. (1) They are far too incestuous to pass any rigorous test; they rely far too much on the same proxies, and in fact, if you would look at the spaghetti graph in Chapter 6 of AR4, you will see the same authors/coauthors again and again. These oft-repeated contributors are what is derisively known as The Team....Michael Pann, Phil Jones, and Keith Briffa on the paleoclimate side. Gavin Schmidt as the RC mouthpiece/attack dog. (2) The proxies fall apart during the modern era. Ones that do not fall apart tend to have highly suspect methodologies over the past 50 years (for instance, Briffa 2000 uses an INCREDIBLY low sample size, almost as if cherry-picked, and ignores regions nearby in order to match the temperature increase -- this was covered extensively by Steve). And finally, (3) there is too much disagreement with historical and anthropological findings.

On climate models, we simply do have any method with which to test the hypothesis that the temperature will rise by, say, 6 degrees C over the next 90 years. We can look at the temperature trend over the last 10 years (the year 2000 is the baseline for AR4 predictions) and see what we're already behind the predictions by a statistically significant margin. We can similarly examine the sea level rise figures (published quarterly by University of Colorado) and see that they are not accelerating. To the contrary, they are decelerating by a slight margin (and the fact that sea levels are rising BY ITSELF is not that indicative of anything since we are technically in an interglacial period).

I believe these are serious deficiencies in the science. The bottom line is that I do not believe we have the evidence that the current warming is unprecedented in the past few hundred years nor do we have anything close to conclusive evidence that anything besides mild warming is ahead of us. Before we make trillion dollar changes to energy policies throughout the world and potentially cripple our economies, we need to prove that the changes are necessary. The precautionary principle simply does not suffice.

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Panner
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Delphi wrote:
Panner wrote: All this talk of the science being settled is nice, but the main question, "Should we change our behavior?" is not settled, scientifically or otherwise. Human society isn't about reducing carbon emissions after all. There's a reason we burn fossil fuels. Keep in mind that an alternate strategy "do nothing" may well be the better approach to carbon emission reduction.


Not to nitpick but the question "should we change our behavior" is most definitely settled in the scientific community.


I glanced through the NRC report. The assertion is fundamentally based on the claim that the US can radically reduce carbon emissions while simultaneously continue to grow the economy. That might be so, but there is no discussion of how much growth is sacrificed for carbon emission reduction. In other words, the cost isn't discussed. For example:

Acting to reduce GHG emissions in any of these areas will entail costs as well as benefits, but it is difficult to estimate overall economic impacts over time frames spanning decades. While different model projections suggest a range of possible impacts, all recent studies indicate that gross domestic product (GDP) continues to increase substantially over time. Studies also clearly indicate that the ultimate cost of GHG emission reduction efforts depends upon successful technology innovation (Figure S.3).


This is a quote from the summary, but I expect more from such a report. Where's the science? No references, just a bland assertion that "all recent studies" indicate they don't need to worry about costs.

Oil consumption, which is one of the things that would have to be heavily curtailed by a stern carbon emission reduction, can be indirectly studied by looking at oil prices. There have been two times in history when oil prices were above $100 per barrel in inflation-adjusted 2010 dollars in 1979 and 2007. Each time was followed within a year by a US recession. That indicates to me a significant connection between US economic activity and the availability of oil for transportation and other purposes.

Carbon emission reductions would do similar things not just to oil, but also any fossil fuel burning. I think it highly unrealistic and, of course, unscientific to fail to discuss the long term decline in economic growth from carbon emission reduction. It doesn't matter who published the report. If the report doesn't take into account the cost of carbon emission reduction, then the conclusion which Delphi quoted is not valid, scientifically or otherwise.

Anyway, I only wanted to continue this detour to note that my original observation still holds.
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Ah, well, we could argue this till kingdom come and I don't think it would make any difference. You, Panner and Domer, are both intelligent people whose posts here I have respected over the years. But - unless you are holding out on me with personal info which is ultimately none of my business - you are not climate scientists. You may be to some degree versed in statistics and basic science - skills which are translatable across disciplinary boundaries - but that is only one prerequisite for having an "authoritative opinion" that should have the arrogance to claim precedence over that of the scientific community. You could even spend some time reading a few papers (or, as too often is more the case these days, reading selected excerpts from selected papers posted on blogs that have a biased agenda), and that still wouldn't get you a fraction of the way toward having an opinion that should weigh as much as that of a climatologist who's had more applicable advanced education and has had their head in the data and literature full time for many years.

It is a bit like me and a group of my non-biologist friends wanting the world to cease its public vaccination programs because we, in our Grand Fervent Amateur Wisdom, have grandeloquently decided that "we're not convinced" that viruses cause disease. I appreciate that you've read through some of the literature (maybe) and that you're basically bright people. But imagine if we put wide-reaching medical decisions that affect billions of people up to a public vote when the science community was already convinced of the answer. Picture how patently absurd you would find that.

I understand that I'm exaggerating your positions slightly and that you both basically agree with the consensus on the root of the problem, in kind if not degree. But the bottom line is that the most respected scientific body in the U.S. (not to mention every other major international scientific body) has explicitly concluded that we need to slow down our burning of greenhouse gases or we are headed for catastrophe. They don't really say how - and that is up for debate. But if you're against Cap and Trade, you'd better have an alternative for slowing down our forcing of this, or you are ignoring the advice of humankind's scientific establishment.

Domer -

Scientists are still not sure what percent of the driving force GHG emissions are, but they're pretty much in agreement that it is THE major factor. To what precision would that determination need to be nailed down before you would be satisfied that perhaps turning the intensity down on that driver might be a good idea? And in terms of certainty, if 90-95% isn't enough then I imagine 98% won't be enough for you either. I hope you are aware that 100% certainty never happens in science. Any meds you or a loved one are taken were approved by the FDA because (typically) a meta-analysis of studies showed that it is 95% certain that they are safe (and more effective than the alternative). If you're waiting for 100% you will by definition be standing on the sidelines of humankind's greatest challenge of this century.

I'm still curious why you think your two disagreements with the IPCC in your 2nd paragraph are relevant to the question of what to do. We could discover that it had been 10 degrees warmer at some point a thousand years ago, and if we knew WHY and we knew that those conditions were not present today, we would still be able to discern that we are warming the planet to our detriment today with the factors we are injecting today. Today's warming DEFINITELY is not unprecedented - the earth was once a molten ball of rock where no life could survive. That's not relevant to the issue either. We have a window here for life on earth, and we are doing our best to squelch that window, and we know how we are doing it. That really is enough.

Also, having perfect models would be wonderful. How does the lack of them change the fact that we KNOW we are raising the temperature dangerously with what we are doing? We do know that we need to lower CO2 to about 350 ppm to stay reasonably in equilibrium. This is rough and I'm sure off somewhat, but we definitely know we need to head in that direction. Should we wait until we know that it is actually 340 or 360 or 380 or 330 while we merrily go on pushing it toward 500 or 600? If you were barrelling down the highway toward a stopped traffic jam, and your spouse nevously said, "hey you better slow down" I am pretty sure you would not them "no, not yet, not till I'm done mentally calculating the exact rate of deceleration required here; I don't want to put unnecessary wear on the brakes."

In deriding "The Team", you basically have Steve McIntyre on your side and that's about it. I don't believe he's even a climate scientist but rather a statistician. I understand that he did contribute a correction on some narrow part of that team's work years ago, for which he deserves credit. But disparaging all the work of that team based on only his attacks is kind of a week stool to stand on.

Regarding "hypothesis testing", you are correct. We simply do not have a spare earth around to do experiments on. It's a shame, isn't it. But am I to infer then that if we detected a large K/T-Boundary class asteroid headed toward the earth, and one faction wanted to send up a warhead to try to disintegrate it, that you would insist that we shouldn't do something because we do not have definitive proof that the asteroid strike would do severe damage? After all, that warhead would cost money. Taxing people to create it might hurt the economy, right? I've worked in peer-reviewed science and taught statistics. I appreciate the sanctity of hypothesis-driven research. Sometimes you don't have that luxury, unforutnately. Not for empirical testing, at least. And I don't particularly want to wait around to see empirical results for the "control case" of doing nothing here. Not when the world's best scientists are virtually certain what will happen. So I guess we fundamentally disagree on the applicability of the precautionary principle here.
Domer
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You far too reliant on a fallacious argument, namely an appeal to authority. From Wikipedia...

Argument from authority (also known as appeal to authority) is a fallacy of defective induction, where it is argued that a statement is correct because the statement is made by a person or source that is commonly regarded as authoritative. The most general structure of this argument is:

Source A says that p is true.
Source A is authoritative.
Therefore, p is true.


Just because climate scientists say something is true does not make it infallible. And MORE IMPORTANTLY, climate scientists are not statisticians. They don't have a leg to stand on to put a rubber stamp on statistical modeling for the climate 90 years from now.

As far as your support of Cap and Trade, that legislation was an abomination no matter which side of the aisle you were on. The most scathing criticism of Cap and Trade actually came from James Hansen. He's the most alarmist of the alarmists. And Cap and Trade does not address the elephants in the room: India and China. If they're going to continue accelerating their carbon production at a rapid pace, what the US isn't going to matter much.

As far as why the reconstructions matter (enough to devote an entire chapter of the IPCC report to it), if it was warmer in 1200 AD than it is now (or even will be in 50 years), then we don't exactly have a lot to worry about as far as harming the planet.

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Delphi
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No offense Domer but reaching for the fallacy of appealling to authority here seems desperate. Of course climate scientists (who are an amalgam of many disciplines, and most of them have a pretty rigorous statistical backgrounds - it sounds like you haven't read many climate papers) are not gods. They are simply collectively the most knowlegeable humans on earth on this subject. By that same logic we should take with a grain of salt what medical researchers say on medical issues, and instead let people vote on whether H1N1 truly causes the "swine flu". After all every Tom Dick and Harry can have an equally useful opinion on it; perhaps we should put it to a vote. We can use that vote (instead of the consensus opinion of doctors) to base the decision on whether to include it in next year's vaccine. After all, everybody's opinion counts.

Well I'm sure we've beaten this subject to death to no avail. Sounds like we're all pretty entrenched. Time will tell, and hopefully the learning won't be too painful.
Panner
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Delphi wrote:

But the bottom line is that the most respected scientific body in the U.S. (not to mention every other major international scientific body) has explicitly concluded that we need to slow down our burning of greenhouse gases or we are headed for catastrophe. They don't really say how - and that is up for debate.


Actually they don't say that. They say that they've done a cost/benefit analysis, ignored the cost of carbon emission reduction, and concluded that we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Looking through the claimed effects, I don't see the catastrophe either. They do mention the usual global warming related predictions (somewhat warmer temperature, more "extreme" weather, dryer climate in the interior of the US, modest sea level rise, etc). Those aren't catastrophes. In other words, the same sort of problems and exaggerations that environmentalists have been glossing over for years, but now we see it in the "most respected scientific body".
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It seems that you have calmed down a bit. I will ask again, would you care to recommend a starting point for cap'n'trade skeptics with a basic knowledge of science and the specific issue? Most of us are aware of the dynamic between CO2 and heat trapping, ice melting/reflection, sea level increases, solar cycles etc. I am giving you an opportunity to add something to my 2011 reading list, and I am most certainly a man of my word.

Happy intrading!
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It's a fallacy for a reason. You cannot rebut an argument by simply saying that 'well XYZ says its so therefore you are wrong.'

As far as how many papers I've read, you made a poor assumption. I've probably read more climate papers than everyone posting in this thread combined (by a factor of more than 1). Speaking of fallacies, constructing an argument based on an assumption isn't particularly useful either.

As far as 'time will tell', as I said, we're already a decade into the AR4 climate projections. At this point, we should begin an assessment of their viability (which I can't imagine coming back positive as ENSO - and ENSO alone - seems to be the overriding factor in change over that time period).

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Domer
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charles in charge, read The Climate Fix
Delphi
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Domer wrote: charles in charge, read The Climate Fix


Ah, we're back to a conspiracy stance then. Again I submit that you're a moving target Domer. It sounds like part of you realizes that a hoax that big would be next to impossible to pull off through two decades of peer-reviewed publications (have you ever worked in science?), but the other part of you just can't stand it that you were once on the wrong side of this one(?). Perhaps I'm wrong.

And regarding the authority fallacy... really, pretending you know something that climate science doesn't, and then not telling all of humanity, is downright sociopathic. Out with it! You are starving us all of your special knowledge, and on such an incredibly important issue. If you've some analysis that renders their consensus position wrong, whether on some limited issue like MWP reconstructions, or the overall picture, you owe it to humanity to publish it so that the field can alter its understanding and benefit.


And Charles - if you're serious, I suggest you go back and read the textbook you were supposed to in the class you mentioned. Assuming it's a recent edition, textbooks are generally a very good summary of the science regardless of the field. Shockingly, climate change is not the one exception to that rule.

Beyond that... you can find a hundred books on Amazon on the subject, and pick the one that reinforces the point of view you want reinforced. Or, you could follow the actual science by going to the library and keeping up with peer-reviewed journals like Science, Nature or EOS (if they have that). I would recommend the library route (subscriptions are pricey). Good luck to you.
Domer
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Delphi wrote:
Domer wrote: charles in charge, read The Climate Fix

Ah, we're back to a conspiracy stance then. Again I submit that you're a moving target Domer. It sounds like part of you realizes that a hoax that big would be next to impossible to pull off through two decades of peer-reviewed publications (have you ever worked in science?), but the other part of you just can't stand it that you were once on the wrong side of this one(?). Perhaps I'm wrong.

And regarding the authority fallacy... really, pretending you know something that climate science doesn't, and then not telling all of humanity, is downright sociopathic. Out with it! You are starving us all of your special knowledge, and on such an incredibly important issue. If you've some analysis that renders their consensus position wrong, whether on some limited issue like MWP reconstructions, or the overall picture, you owe it to humanity to publish it so that the field can alter its understanding and benefit.


I am guessing by your response that you have absolutely no clue who Roger Pielke Jr. is. And by absolutely no clue, I mean absolutely...no...clue, because he is by no stretch of the imagination a climate skeptic, as you have just laughably implied. That'd be like you calling Revkin a climate skeptic! That's probably another name you're unfamiliar with (but will probably now punch into Google and claim you know him).

Look, it has become apparent in this thread that your knowledge on this topic is limited, perhaps even incredibly limited, because you seem to be reliant on all of these terrible crutches (ad hom, appeals to authority, grossly wrong assumptions, etc.) You also seem to be rushing to hit the reply button when you'd be well-served to at least PRETEND you're up to date on it with a little googling. Perhaps instead of attempting to lecture other people about things like 'they haven't read enough climate science papers' or 'read Science, Nature, or EOS' (lol...), you can instead divert your energy into researching the topic for yourself and extending your knowledge beyond RC talking points and globs of copy-pasta from Wikipedia.

The Climate Fix is a perfectly fine book that will appeal to both skeptics and non-skeptics alike.

As to your second paragraph, I have no clue what you are ranting about. The falsifiability (or lack thereof) of climate models? That'd be my guess, but I don't know.

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charles_in_charge
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My glance at Amazon last night revealed that the main thrust of "The Climate Fix" is the viability of various solutions politically. One could be forgiven for reading the title and assuming it was describing a "fix", as in a big lie.... if that person was shooting from the hip.

Thanks for the rec Domer.
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