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View Diary: Not Nuclear, Again (142 comments)

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  •  First of all, let's make this post the main (0+ / 0-)

    thread for our discussion so it doesn't get so confusing with all the branching that's been happening. Fine by you?

    I'm referring to the long term trend that has occurred rapidly within a century that is a consensus among climate scientists as caused by human activity. Human activity can explain the warming that's been seen and no other factors are seen that would.

    I never said that we could safely predict what would happen in the future. A few posts ago I was describing terms in percentages. We don't know how bad climate change will be. There are many possibilities, but Venus is a distinct possibility, especially if we go business as usual. Even if we through out the Venus outcome we are still likely to see huge flooding, droughts, storms, and famine, costing possibly billions of lives. The risk of doing nothing far outweighs the risk of taking action.

    •  I guess we're in circles at this point (0+ / 0-)

      A statement like "the risk of doing nothing far outweighs the risk of taking action" is pretty meaningless. It depends on what risks you're talking about. We know the dangers of nuclear power, in terms of mining, accidents, proliferation and storage. We're learning about the risks associated with carbon sequestration. We know the costs that will be associated with something like cap and trade in terms of higher energy prices.

      None of those things would be considered by progressives or environmentalists outside of a context of climate change being the greatest threat to the Earth at present. I'm not convinced that the risks of climate change are greater than the risks and costs associated with the abovementioned activities.

      If you want to talk about conservation, renewables, reforestation, etc., then of course, those things are good ideas. But they're good ideas whether we're concerned about climate change or not, and the costs have to be balanced against other environmental and social priorities unrelated to climate change.

      Your opinion is that no risk or cost is too great to bear if it will somehow help in the fight against climate change. I think you have to weigh each side based on what we know and can know at present, and go from there.

      •  I'm saying no cost is to high to bare (0+ / 0-)

        because the costs are hardly high. If the costs to completely eliminating the threat of climate change were say to get rid of all our modern day technology and return to the stone age or some outrageous scenario like that, I would say we shouldn't go all the way, because that would likely cost more lives than climate change with limited CO2 reduction action would kill, but that's not what the costs are. The great depression is an exaggeration. The costs are likely to be more on the lines of 1-2% of world GDP.

        As to the threat of climate change, let's establish what you consider a fair percentage for disaster. Even though the Venus scenario is absolutely a possibility, we can throw it out for the sake of argument. There is a consensus among climate scientists that we will go through significant warming over the next 100 years which will lead to huge storms, drought, floods, etc. killing and displacing billions. Can we establish for this discussion the odds of at least a 50% of 1 billion people dying due to climate change? Once we establish this, we can go from there to a cost benefit analysis.

        •  Um . . . I hate to break it to you (0+ / 0-)

          but 500 million people are going to die before their time was up over the next 100 years no matter what we do. It's called life on Earth.

          I don't know what the odds are that 500 million people will die because of climate change over the next 100 years. There are two many variables. Are we talking about triggering a new period of glaciation? Desertification? Acidification? Rising sea levels? Can we discount benefits from new agricultural areas that might open up in Siberia, Canada, and Antarctica?

          I'm glad that you acknowledge that there's a point at which we've begun to cause more suffering by fighting climate change that we would avoid.

          For the sake of argument, however, OK, let's say that there's a 1% chance that 500 million more people will die specifically due to climate change than will get to live because of the same changes.

          How much do you think it would cost to successfully return the climate to neutral in terms of greenhouse gas levels and on what basis to you make that estimate. I've heard 2% of world GDP, but I've not seen any analysis of how that number translates into reduced GHG's?

          •  1% chance of 500 million deaths (0+ / 0-)

            is far too small. There are already 25,000,000 climate refugees so we could already have beaten the average deaths in your scenario.I mentioned 50% chance of 1 billion as a low estimate; there's little use arguing over 1% chance of 500,000,000 when there is no reason to believe that's even close to what we're talking about. If these were the odds, I would not be that concerned about climate change.

            Our you saying these are the highest odds you give climate change for causing death, even though there is a scientific consensus that far worse things will happen? You really think there is a 99% chance that you are right and the experts in the field are all wrong?

            Also when I talk about climate change deaths I mean deaths caused by climate change, not those who would die naturally.

            •  The experts in the field are in consensus (0+ / 0-)

              that the earth has warmed and that greenhouse gases may have played a role in it. I've sees no consensus about what, if anything, should be done about it.

              You wanted to have a discussion about relative costs/risks and asked me to throw out a number so I did.

              I still have no explanation from you for the current cool trend, or past ones, and I have no mechanism by which spending 2% of world GDP will translate into a stable climate.

              It doesn't affect my argument to say that the climate is in fact warming and we are playing a role in it. The question is can or should we do anything about it.

              •  There absolutely is a consensus that we need (0+ / 0-)

                to reduce greenhouse gases. There is not a consensus on how much needs to be reduced to prevent what consequences, but a good goal is to get carbon below 350 Parts Per Million, Hansen's estimate. This would likely keep warming under 2C in this Century.

                I didn't want you to throw out a number, I wanted you to give a reasonable estimate with backing. I backed up my 1,000,000,000 deaths 50% estimate by naming the consequences most climate scientists predict will happen and the fact that there is a scientific consensus that we are warming the planet. In fact, this justifies a far larger percentage and far more deaths, but as I mentioned earlier I am reducing for the sake of argument. If you want to increase your death estimate for the sake of argument that's fine, but don't reduce it because you are taking the side that it is not worth a 1-2% loss of GDP (what it would cost to replace fossil fuel infrastructure, re-forest, etc.) . So what do you think is a reasonable death count and percentage considering the scientific consensus? If you could back this up, that would be most helpful.

                As for your questions I'll answer them again. There is no cooling trend (look at the most recent video I posted for more details) the past brief leveling off can be explained, and GDP can be spent to replace fossil fuel infrastructure with non-carbon energy.

                •  That's as circular as you can possibly get (0+ / 0-)

                  My question:

                  I still have no explanation from you for the current cool trend, or past ones,

                  Your answer:

                  the past brief leveling off can be explained,

                  Now, I'll show you how a question could be answered.

                  So what do you think is a reasonable death count and percentage considering the scientific consensus? If you could back this up, that would be most helpful.

                  Let's take first the question of the probability of catastrophic climate change considering the current state of the science. I'll start with one Dr. John Theon's recent statements on the current state of climate change research. Before we do however I'm sure that you probably don't want to read what Dr. Theon has to say because he might be a questionable source, a kook climate denier with no professional basis on which to make his conclusions.

                  So first his biography:

                  John S. Theon Education: B.S. Aero. Engr. (1953-57); Aerodynamicist, Douglas Aircraft Co. (1957-58); As USAF Reserve Officer (1958-60),B.S. Meteorology (1959); Served as Weather Officer 1959-60; M.S, Meteorology (1960-62); NASA Research Scientist, Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (1962-74); Head Meteorology Branch, GSFC (1974-76); Asst. Chief, Lab. for Atmos. Sciences, GSFC (1977-78);  Program Scientist, NASA Global Weather Research Program, NASA Hq. (1978-82); Chief, Atmospheric Dynamics & Radiation Branch NASA Hq., (1982-91); Ph.D.,  Engr. Science & Mech.: course of study and dissertation in atmos. science (1983-85); Chief, Atmospheric Dynamics, Radiation, & Hydrology Branch, NASA Hq. (1991-93); Chief, Climate Processes Research Program, NASA Hq. (1993-94); Senior Scientist, Mission to Planet Earth Office, NASA Hq. (1994-95); Science Consultant, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (1995-99); Science Consultant  Orbital Sciences Corp. (1996-97) and NASA Jet Propulsion Lab., (1997-99).      

                  http://epw.senate.gov/...

                  In a written email submitted to the United States Senate, Dr. Theon summarizes his bio as it related to climate research as follows:

                  As Chief of several NASA Hq. Programs (1982-94), an SES position, I was responsible for all weather and climate research in the entire agency, including the research work by James Hansen, Roy Spencer, Joanne Simpson, and several hundred other scientists at NASA field centers, in academia, and in the private sector who worked on climate research. This required a thorough understanding of the state of the science. I have kept up with climate  science since retiring by reading books and journal articles . . .  

                  http://epw.senate.gov/...

                  This is what he says about what we know about climate change:

                  My own belief concerning anthropogenic climate change is that the models do not realistically simulate the climate system because there are many very important sub-grid scale processes that the models either replicate poorly or completely omit. Furthermore, some scientists have manipulated the observed data to justify their model results. In doing so, they neither explain what they have modified in the observations, nor explain how they did it. They have resisted making their work transparent so that it can be replicated independently by other scientists. This is clearly contrary to how science should be done. Thus there is no rational justification for using climate model forecasts to determine public policy.  

                  http://epw.senate.gov/...

                   

                  So, I could say there's a one one percent chance that the Earth will experience significant climate change and you could say there's a 100% percent chance. As a species we simply don't know enough at present to say who is closer to the truth.

                  But even assuming that there will be some significant degree of climate change, that is not to say that it will catastrophic. On that point I'll give you Michael Griffin, the former Director of NASA:

                  I have no doubt that global -- that a trend of global warming exists. I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with. To assume that it is a problem is to assume that the state of earth's climate today is the optimal climate, the best climate that we could have or ever have had and that we need to take steps to make sure that it doesn't change.

                  First of all, I don't think it's within the power of human beings to assure that the climate does not change, as millions of years of history have shown, and second of all, I guess I would ask which human beings - where and when - are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular climate that we have right here today, right now is the best climate for all other human beings. I think that's a rather arrogant position for people to take.

                  http://www.spacedaily.com/...

                  So we don't know that the climate will change significantly, and we don't know whether any such change would be catastrophic for us as a species. You could say that 7 billion will die and I could say that it would be a net positive because fewer people would freeze and we'd have longer growing seasons and we'd repopulate Antarctica. Again, we don't know.

                  So, yes, I will stick with there being a 1% chance of catastrophic climate change.

                  Finally, your response to my question about how 2% of GDP will bring about a stable climate, you responded:

                  GDP can be spent to replace fossil fuel infrastructure with non-carbon energy.

                  First of all that is internally inconsistent. If you replaced "infrastructure" with "energy", you would have nothing. I assume that you meant replace fissil fuel infrastructure with non-carbon energy infrastructure.

                  On that point, I would think that it shouldn't be difficult to produce a couple of basic numbers:

                  1. How many PPM of CO2 would it take to stabilize the climate.
                  1. How much of the energy load would have to shift from carbon-based to non-carbon based in order to achieve that level of PPM.
                  1. How much it will cost to achieve that energy load without making energy more expensive for people who can't afford it.
                  •  First of all when I said the leveling off can be (0+ / 0-)

                    explained, I was referencing the explanation I had given just a few posts ago. I assume you still remembered that.

                    Second off it took only the first result on google to find out problems with the scientist James Inhofe cites:
                    http://scienceblogs.com/...

                    Also in regards to his claims, that climate modeling is unreliable. Climate modeling is not the basis of why we know the earth's climate is warming and it is caused by humans. It is a useful tool but it has its limitations.

                    Next it's funny that you site that quote by an appointee of the anti-science Bush administration, because that quote was used in Hansen's recent book as an example of ridiculous anti-science crap coming from the Bush administration. Griffin shows his ignorance of climate science here. Change is bad because species living on earth are adapted to the current climate. If the climate changes drastically and quickly, species will die and we will face consequences. If we had evolved and established civilization in a world a few degrees hotter, that would be fine, but we didn't and such warming will cause major problems.

                    Yes I had a typo and forgot to add infrastructure. That only disqualifies my argument in the same way that a hacked email about tree rings disqualifies climate science. Anyway, lets try not to nitpick and keep this friendly (:

                    •  Well I didn't harp on the typo, clearly (0+ / 0-)

                      Further back in the thread we established that abrupt climate changes are nothing new, right? The last one was probably 5000 years ago and definitely 10-12,000 years ago. Clearly we not only survived, but thrived after the one 12,000 years ago, given that that date also marks the beginning of modern civilization.

                      I know that the argument is that we were more adaptable back then because we were not urbanized, etc., and that makes no sense to me. If anything, our technological capabilities make us vastly more adaptable than we have ever been. Humans probably separated out from apes more than 4 million years ago. There was no ice on the planet then. We survived the onset of the current ice age and then probably hundreds if not thousands of abrupt climate changes in the years since. Humans live in every single climate on the planet, from the coldest places at the poles and in mountains, to the most humid and tropical, to blast furnace dry deserts -- and based on the archeological record, we have been doing so for quite some time.

                      The google link didn't have anything particularly devastating about Theon. But again, he's just speaking about the degree to which we are certain about what we know about climate change.

                      The point is that there may be factors that we don't yet understand. You cited some possible factors above, but the fact is that the science is not settled on that. We don't know conclusively what "naturally" brings on ice ages, or causes them to end, or glaciations and interglacials, or shorter warmer and cooler periods. I challenge you to find a reputable scientist that asserts that they are certain about the causes of ice ages and glaciation or even decades-long patterns. You cited a theory for the 40's to the 70's period that seems plausible, but is by no means universally accepted. Changes in the Earth's orbit have also been cited as a possible cause. But you've cited nothing for the current period and, most importantly, you can't cite anything about the bigger picture changes having to do with glaciation.

                      I guess I'd ask, Can you at least confirm that there have to be other factors at play because the climate has changed drastically and abruptly in the past long before the first humanoid ever walked the Earth?

                      I will give you one thing though, you're determined. I think this is the longest sub-thread I've ever participated in. That's got to count for something! :<)</p>

                      •  Actually abrupt climate change has caused humans (0+ / 0-)

                        problems in the past. The human race has gone through bottlenecks in which only a small amount of humans survive. Climate change is one of the theories behind bottlenecks. Abrupt climate change doesn't have to kill the entire human race to do damage. Sure modern technology will make the human race more likely to survive. I would be surprised if we all died, unless we do nothing to fight off the Venus scenario.  Just because we are better at survival as a species does not mean we will lose fewer lives. On the contrary, we will lose more lives because there are 7,000,000,000 people on this planet, far more than in the past, and the population is rising. If for example glaciers were to disappear now, that would cut off water for around a billion people who depend on the water now. Don't mistake lack of demise with lack of consequences.

                        I have never made my case on certainty. Climate change is an uncertain science. We do know the earth is warming, fast. We don't know exactly how fast or exactly what the effects will be. This does not decrease the danger at all. We do know what we need to do to solve the problem, stop burning greenhouse gasses. So given the scientific consensus that we are warming and heading for consequences such as flooding, drought, famine, etc. What do you think is a fair life loss value and chance this will happen, and why?

                        •  No matter what we do there will be (0+ / 0-)

                          flooding, drought and famine. There have always been flooding, drought and famine. There's no consensus that we are warming. There's consensus that we have warmed, that we are now cooling, and that it's likely that we will continue warming.

                          I guess your fundamental argument is that it's likely that significantly more people will die from flooding, drought and famine if we continue to produce (not "burn", by the way, but I assume that's another typo . . . ) greenhouse gases than if we don't.

                          What do I think a fair life loss value for that would be? I have no idea, actually. What chance to I think this will happen? Again, I have no idea. My fundamental point is that it doesn't appear to be the case that we know enough about how the climate system works to do things that we wouldn't otherwise do.

                          I can accept that at present the science is such that we can say that it's likely that some bad things will happen if we continue to burn greenhouse gases, and from my perspective, that presents a good enough argument to further reinforce the arguments to do those things that we ought to do anyways for other reasons such as: forest protection/re-forestation; investments in renewable energy; investments in public transportation and alternative fuels; etc.

                          But I don't think the science is such that we should do those things that we wouldn't otherwise do, absent a concern about global warming such as: building nuclear power plants; carbon sequestration; "cap and trade" schemes.

                          •  We are not cooling (0+ / 0-)

                            I have provided data and a couple videos showing you this; it's time to retire that claim.

                            As for our main question, the calculus of what action to take, let's go off on a sidetrack for a second. Replace climate with meteor. If there was a 50% chance we would be hit by a meteor in the next 100 years that would cause a billion people to die, but it would require a loss of GDP 1-2% now to make sure we were prepared for it, would you advocate we sacrifice that GDP?

                          •  What are you doing with the Phil Jones quote? (0+ / 0-)

                            Is he not credible? Is he wrong? What are you saying. I'm quoting a scientist who is as strongly associated with AGW as anyone out there, and he says there's been cooling from 2002 to the present. If you won't acknowledge that then you're just straight up not willing to deal with the facts.

                            Either acknowledge current cooling or tell me why Phil Jones is not credible.

                            In any event, if you don't want to acknowledge him, clearly you acknowledge that there has been abrupt climate change before humans ever got here. What were the mechanisms? Do you even acknowledge any climate change mechanisms other AGW? Can you explain how the earth got into and out of ice ages prior to the evolution of human beings? If you refuse to do this, again then you are just straight up not willing to deal with facts.

                            With regards to your question, it would also depend on the chances that we could avoid it if we spent 1-2% of GDP. I think given the current state of our technological capacity, you would have to say that there would be very little chance that we could fend off a major meteor strike (though I suppose Bruce Willis did pull it off in a movie!). If there was a 50% chance that we were all going to die, but only a 1% chance that spending 1-2% of GDP to avoid it, no I don't think it would be a good investment.

                            I will say, however, that I would be more comfortable in general doing things about meteor strikes that we wouldn't do otherwise, because the predictability of a meteor strike is much higher than the predictability of weather and the climate. We know what we know about the Earth's trajectory through space much better than than we know about how and why the climate changes. You for example seem fairly knowledgeable about climate change, yet refuse to even think about what might cause the Earth's climate to change besides AGW. I've probably asked just for an acknowledgment that there are such factors a dozen times in this thread, yet not once have you done so.

                            So, I'll ask again -- what causes ice ages on Earth to begin, and to end?

                            Incidentally, I'd also ask, why do you think humanity would do worse if we weren't in an ice age, anyways? We first developed as a species when the Earth was not in an ice age, and far more of us live in the temperate and tropical zones in the arctic zones.

                          •  Again just spend two seconds (0+ / 0-)

                            googling and you find that this was cherry picking his statement.
                            http://www.ucsusa.org/...

                            The earth gets into ice ages and out of them because of feedback effects. For example, when ice starts to increase, more light is reflected and it gets cooler and cooler. After a while, greenhouse gasses began to build up, and that starts to melt ice, and it gets warmer and warmer again.

                            Here's a good link on chaos in the climate system:
                            http://www.grist.org/...

                            As a general rule, why don't you try googling the denialist claims really quickly and checking this very useful website before posting a claim:
                            http://www.grist.org/...
                            Chances are the answer will appear quickly and you'll learn more in the process. It only takes five minutes to check your facts, and it will make this conversation go a lot smoother without having to quiz me on every climate skeptic claim. If you can't find anything, than maybe it has some merit, but please check the above site and google first.

                            Back to our cost benefit analysis, it sounds like you have no problem with the idea of hedging our bets against risks, right? So if we had to spend 1-2% of GDP to reduce the 1,000,000,000 death percentage from 50% to 10% would you do this? Let's forget about the cause; that doesn't matter for this scenario.

                          •  You're not serious (0+ / 0-)

                            You just aren't. You put up links that don't support what you're saying. Phil Jones statement was not "cherry-picked". The trend form 1995 to the present is warming, the trend from 2002 to the present is cooling, neither at a level of "significance". But whether you call it cooling or just leveling off, you still refuse to give an answer as to why.

                            Then you respond to the issue about how we go into and out of ice ages with a link countering the idea that climate change is fundamentally chaotic. I never said it was, in fact my specific question is what are the natural mechanisms for climate change.

                            How can you blame something on "feedback" effects? Feed "-back" implies an initial mechanism. If you say "when ice increases", well that begs the question, "why does the ice increase?" I don't think it's fundamentally chaotic, but do you? Does ice just randomly start to increase?

                            To respond to your question (even though you don't seem to be willing to respond to mine), yes, I would spend 1-2% of GDP to reduce the chances of 1 billion people dying unnecessarily.

                          •  Again we are not cooling! (0+ / 0-)

                            Take two seconds to google before you post your arguments please! You can select a stretch of a couple years and find a slight cooling trend but that is because it's such a short period it is meaningless. You can select more few year periods that show a warming trend and if you look at it over decades we are warming. There is no debate; we are warming; we are causing it; cherry picking a couple years from 2002-2007 or whatever your period is proves absolutely nothing and you could have figured that out from the multitude of links that I pointed to mentioning that, or by googling it yourself. So please stop claiming that your cherry picked results that don't even include last year, the hottest or second hottest year on record depending on the source, means anything. The fact is there are el nino cycles random variations, volcano eruptions, and all shorts of effects on climate. Around 1/6 years will be cooler than average even in this hottest of decades on record. Can you please stop talking about a few years of leveling off/cooling which I have explained and provided many links explaining. I'm not going to keep finding a new link every time you bring up the same debunked denialist claim. If you have a question about "cooling" go look specifically at the two videos I posted and this article on the site I just mentioned:
                            http://www.grist.org/...
                            By the way, what are you trying to prove by bringing up "global cooling" again and again. You say you aren't a denialist, but this is a classic denialist claim and I see no other purpose to it but to try and deny global warming. So if you're not denying global warming, what is the purpose of this argument?

                            Ice ages come in semi-regular cycles; some of the causes are from earth's orbits, but I'm not an expert. If you want to know more about ice ages, please look it up yourself, the information is out there. Google is your friend.

                            So now that we have established you would reduce GDP in the face of uncertainty, why wouldn't you do it for climate? What makes climate so different?

                          •  So eight years is not enough of a period (0+ / 0-)

                            to establish a trend, but 30 years is? When the Earth's been here for 4.5 billion years? Eight or thirty or even 100 years are "blinks of an eye" for a planet is 4.5 billion years old and has cold spells, i.e. ice ages, that have in the past lasted up to 300 million years long.

                            Ice ages do not come in "semi-regular cycles". If so, please tell me the period. There have been five ice ages in the history of earth that we know about, and we're in the fifth. They do not come once every billion years, they've been quite irregular. Even their lengths have been irregular -- from I think 20 to 300 million years.

                            If you have information contrary to the above paragraph, please provide it. I believe it to be a non-controversial scientific consensus.

                            I can obviously Google ice ages myself, and I have. I'm asking you because if you look into the causes of ice ages, you will see that there are major factors at work, factors that have nothing to do with human activity.

                            There is the position of the continents. Some believe that ice ages form when the continents shift into a position such that there are major land masses in the arctic regions. Glaciers need a land mass to get established, then move into water from there. No land mass, no glaciers and the earth stays warm. For most of Earth's history, both poles have been watery.

                            That's just one explanation. You mention orbits, but I think that only applies to shorter warming and cooling cycles. Orbital periods of all sorts are way shorter than the billions of years that Earth gone continuously ice free.

                            Of course volcanism and meteors are other alternative theories.

                            What's the point of all of this? The point is that if you call yourself 100% sure that we're all going to die of global warming if current trends persist, but then acknowledge having zero idea of what the alternative explanations for abrupt climate change might be and have been in the past, then you are talking completely out of your ass.

                            The more I think about, I'm really starting to wonder why we care at all if all of the glaciers melt. For four billion out of the Earth's 4.5 billion years of existence, it's been ice free. Apparently, that's a more stable version of the Earth's climate, with fewer shifts and fewer temperature extremes between the poles and the equator. There is a whole continent completely unpopulated and encased in ice, and huge parts of North America, Europe and Asia are too cold for agriculture.

                            Would I trade New York and Miami for Antarctica? Maybe so.

                            The difference in climate is that I'm nowhere near 50% certain that we're all going to die unless we start firing up nuclear power plants and burying carbon dioxide, and I'm nowhere near certain that doing so would reduce those chances.

                          •  We have not been cooling/leveling off for 8 years (0+ / 0-)

                            Last year was the warmest/2nd warmest on record. As the second video I posted explained, you can take a few year periods to so any warming or cooling trend you want. Warming on the other hand has been going on for over a century, with a leveling off for a bit mid-century likely due to aerosols. The reason there is a scientific consensus this is human caused (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/2/12/22181/6397) is because we know greenhouse emissions are a positive climate forcing that raises temperature, from physics, not from climate trends. We also know the climate is warming. If humans were not warming the climate, two major variables would have to be accounted for. We would have to know what natural force caused this warming, and there is nothing we know about that would have. We would also have to know why the greenhouse caused warming isn't presenting itself. It is the simpler explanation that there is no mysterious natural warming force and our warming is not being hidden by some other natural force.
                            Also for the record, are you or are you not denying that humans are raising the temperature of the climate?

                            5 ice ages? Perhaps you are thinking of Snowball earths, or more accurately Slushball earths, in which almost all the earth was covered by ice. We have only had a few of those and we are certainly not in one now. On the other hand, ice ages happen all the time. An ice age allowed Siberians to cross into North America over ten thousand years ago on a land bridge. That land bridge is now gone and we are out of that ice age. It's fine that you don't know everything about ice ages; everyone has something to learn, but please don't accuse me of talking out of my ass when you make assertions such as only 5 ice ages without knowledge of the facts.

                            When did I say there was a 100% we would all die? I've been dealing with probabilities of less than 100% for my arguments during this entire discussion. Hansen, one highly regarded climate scientist, claimed that he is dead certaint that we will have a runaway greenhouse effect if we continue to burn fossil fuels without any attempt to reduce emissions and burn other fossil fuels such as tar sands. Perhaps that's what you are referring to. He is on the upper end of predictions so perhaps he is wrong and the chances are not as high as he predicts. Nevertheless, I would put considerable weight in his predictions.

                            I know there have been other causes of abrupt climate change in the past, such as the permian extinction which was also likely caused by rising greenhouse gasses, and immense volcanic eruptions in Siberia at the time. Right now we do not have any reason to believe this current warming is a natural occurrence as we know of no natural forcing occuring at this time that would do this. We do know of the human forcing, our greenhouse gas emissions.

                            As per your claim that warming could be good (please check the site first next time);
                            http://www.grist.org/...

                            Now back to the probabilities. So are you saying that you believe there is more than a 50% chance that the vast majority of scientific organizations are wrong on climate change and we will not see major change that could cost billions of lives? If so, why do you think it is not just possible, but likely the experts have this so wrong.

                          •  Wow (0+ / 0-)

                            You display an extreme level of ignorance about ice ages.

                            5 ice ages? Perhaps you are thinking of Snowball earths, or more accurately Slushball earths, in which almost all the earth was covered by ice. We have only had a few of those and we are certainly not in one now. On the other hand, ice ages happen all the time.

                            An ice age allowed Siberians to cross into North America over ten thousand years ago on a land bridge.

                            That land bridge is now gone and we are out of that ice age. It's fine that you don't know everything about ice ages; everyone has something to learn, but please don't accuse me of talking out of my ass when you make assertions such as only 5 ice ages without knowledge of the facts.

                            Truly shocking, actually, considering the degree to which you claim knowledge of climate. Wiki is the first hit on google for "ice age":

                            There have been at least five major ice ages in the Earth's past. Outside these ages, the Earth seems to have been ice-free even in high latitudes.[citation needed]

                            Rocks from the earliest well established ice age, called the Huronian, formed around 2.4 to 2.1 Ga (billion) years ago during the early Proterozoic Eon.

                            The next well-documented ice age, and probably the most severe of the last billion years, occurred from 850 to 630 million years ago (the Cryogenian period) and may have produced a Snowball Earth in which glacial ice sheets reached the equator,[27] possibly being ended by the accumulation of greenhouse gases such as CO2 produced by volcanoes.

                            A minor ice age, the Andean-Saharan, occurred from 460 to 430 million years ago, during the Late Ordovician and the Silurian period.

                            The Karoo Ice Age occurred from 360 to 260 million years ago. It is named after the glacial tills found in the Karoo region of South Africa where evidence for this ice age was first clearly identified.

                            The current ice age, the Pliocene-Quaternary glaciation, started about 2.58 million years ago during the late Pliocene when the spread of ice sheets in the Northern Hemisphere began.

                            http://en.wikipedia.org/...

                            See, we learn something new everyday. But I must say that you seem awfully sure of your climate science knowledge for a person who didn't even know until just now that we are currently in an ice age. That is so basic.

                            What you are referring to as "ice ages" is actually the process of advancing and retreating of glaciers within a given ice age.

                            Within the ice ages (or at least within the last one), more temperate and more severe periods occur. The colder periods are called glacial periods, the warmer periods interglacials.

                            Again, we need look no further than wiki:

                            Glacials are characterized by cooler and drier climates over most of the Earth and large land and sea ice masses extending outward from the poles. Mountain glaciers in otherwise unglaciated areas extend to lower elevations due to a lower snow line. Sea levels drop due to the removal of large volumes of water above sea level in the icecaps. There is evidence that ocean circulation patterns are disrupted by glaciations. Since the Earth has significant continental glaciation in the Arctic and Antarctic, we are currently in a glacial minimum of a glaciation. Such a period between glacial maxima is known as an interglacial.

                            The Earth has been in an interglacial period known as the Holocene for more than 11,000 years.

                            http://en.wikipedia.org/...

                            Again, isn't education fun? Note the coincidence between the end of the last glacial period and the rise of modern civilization 10-12,000 years ago.

                            I appreciate you're giving me one forcing method for getting out of an ice age, but you still haven't given one for getting into one.

                            Back to your denial of Phil Jones statement. Should I repost the quote? At the very least it's a leveling off, but technically, it's a cooling. Regardless of which, I'd like to know what you think the cause of it is? Please do not say "random fluctuations", because I could just as easily say the same for any period of warming that you want.

                            But yes, I do accept that human activity has probably caused some global warming. What I do not accept is that our activities are ultimately going to trump the natural processes that have been at work, or that we won't be able to adapt to whatever a new climate develops, or that the things that we would have to do in order to stop it aren't worse than the worst things that will happen if we don't.

                            WRT your question re: I think the experts don't know what they don't know. The universe is vast, time is vast -- we know very little about it all.

                          •  We clearly are talking about different ice ages (0+ / 0-)

                            I was talking about the ice ages that cycle, i.e. the one that ended over 10,000 years ago, and would start again soon if it were not for humans. You were talking about a prolonged period of cooling ice age for millions of years. I apologize for accusing you of not knowing what you were talking about when you were talking about something entirely different that I thought you were. The briefer ice ages that I was talking about are often referred to as ice ages. Hansen himself refers to these as ice ages within his book, Storms of my Grandchildren. So clearly the issue here was misunderstanding of terms. I know that we are in a cooler period, and that it was a lot hotter 50 million years ago. And clearly you know that we have gone in and out of smaller ice ages. We differed over terms and it was wrong of me to assume ignorance rather than that we were each speaking about ice ages differently, I should have followed my own advice and googled to see what 5 ice ages referred to, so again I apologize for that. I hope you will do the same.

                            These are not completely random fluctuations, but have to do with aspects such as el nino. And again, last year was the warmest/2nd warmest year on record so by any measure of time we haven't been cooling.  Phil Jones does not doubt climate science or that we are warming. He was merely stating that there was not a significant trend within one small period, which is true. If 100 years looked like that, than there wouldn't be a scientific consensus that we are warming.

                            Again there is a reason that 100 years is different than 10 years. The biggest being the el nino cycle which has a lot to do with difference between years in a short time span. This is why 1998 was so hot, a year denialists claim we have been cooling since. The el nino cycle balances out fairly well over a period of 100 years. looking at these 100 years climate scientists have reached a consensus that we are warming. Reports such as IPCC predict we will increase several degrees Celsius over the next century. Before we go on with assessing probabilities and death tolls, can we agree that without major action we are likely to raise the temperature by at least 3 (a value on the light side of estimates) degrees within the next century?

                          •  It's not just "terminology" (0+ / 0-)

                            If we're talking about major climate shifts and you do not even realize that we are currently in an ice age, then what are you really talking about. It's like you're arguing that the light switch is going to switch to on to off, but you don't even know whether the lights are currently on or not. How can you have a discussion on that basis?

                            And it's not just terminology because you still refuse to address the question of who it is that the current ice age came to be. We know that El Nino has absolutely nothing to do with it because the period of the ice age phenomenon is many, many times longer than the period of El Nino. So, the question remains, how did we get into the current ice age, the one that began 2.5 million years ago? Maybe you don't want to answer that question because the obvious next question once you answer that, is, why is AGW a more powerful actor on Earth's climate than whatever forced our climate into an ice age 2.5 million years ago.

                            I agree that El Ninos probably do play a role in the minor fluctuations that appear to occur in the 7-10 year time frame. I've seen more people attribute the cycle at that scale to sunspot cycles which roughly correspond to the amount of solar energy that enters the Earth's atmosphere. Which leads me to what has to be the first suspect in terms of alternative explanations for the warming and cooling of the climate: variations in solar energy.

                            So let's talk Maunder Minimum:

                            The Maunder minimum is the name given to a period of extreme solar inactivity that occurred between 1645 and 1710. Of particular interest is that this period of inactivity corresponds closely to one of the coldest periods of the so-called "Little Ice Age" in Europe, a time of long, cold winters that caused severe hardships in the pre-industrial revolution world. This has led scientists to extensively study the possible influences of solar activity on terrestrial climate, as well as examine other stars for evidence of activity cycle behavior similar to the Sun's.

                            . . .

                            For reasons not yet understood, the solar cycle operated at a greatly reduced amplitude during that time. Evidence suggests it did not cease entirely, but the sunspot number—an index representing the total level of sunspot activity at a given time—during the late 1600s was reduced by a factor of 10-20 from its typical value during "normal" cycles.

                            . . .

                            The existence of the Maunder minimum is interesting on purely astrophysical grounds, because it suggests that the regular rise and fall of sunspots observed from 1715 all the way through to the present day may not be a permanent, or even typical, aspect of solar behavior. It is possible to create a rough reconstruction of the sunspot record prior to the invention of the telescope, using indirect indicators of solar activity, and there is evidence for other Maunder minimum-like periods intermittently from about A.D. 1250 through 1715. The solar cycle as observed today, is therefore not the state in which the Sun spends all—or even most—of its time. Having only observed one Maunder minimum, we have no idea whether the Sun spends 10%, 50%, or 90% of its time in such a state.

                            Even the "normal" 11-year cycle seems to have longer-term behavior. Different cycles have different strengths, with some of them showing more sunspot activity than others. The strengths of the cycle peaks seem to follow a roughly 80-year period of very strong cycles, slightly weaker ones, then back to stronger ones, and so forth. With detailed sunspot records extending only a few hundred years, it is difficult to confirm or disprove this hypothesis. Combined with evidence for multiple periods of nearly complete inactivity, it becomes impossible to say whether the solar activity cycle, so extensively studied in the last 30 years, is normality or an aberration.

                            http://science.jrank.org/...

                            So, again, I ask you to consider the cause of the current ice age.

                            WRT your question about 3 degrees Celsius, again, I will say that I believe that we lack the ability to accurately predict whether the Earth's temperature is going to rise or fall in the coming years.

                          •  Yeah it is terminology (0+ / 0-)

                            As I already explained, the briefer periods of extended ice coverage for thousands of years are often called ice ages. If your goal here is to pull facts off of wikipedia and try and quiz me, who has a limited understanding of climate science, on terminology and therefore prove that climate change isn't real, than this discussion is useless. However, if our goal here is to come up with a good probability and death estimate and then do a cost benefit analysis using it, we shouldn't get into arguments over petty things like terminology.

                            I'll say right now I don't know much about ice ages and their causes but from what Hansen has said in his book, forcings that cause ice ages take a while to work and over a short time period don't compare to forcings caused by humans. If we wanted to see a forcing that would outweigh what we are doing now, we would need huge volcanic eruptions or something of the like, like the ones that caused the permian extinction for one. There's no reason to believe something like that will happen in the next century and we shouldn't count on it.

                            No the sun is not the cause:
                            http://www.grist.org/...

                            Again, I never said 100% I said likely. Since as I have said many times, there is a consensus that the earth will warm by several degrees within the next century, can you agree that it is more likely than not we will see over 3 degrees of warming without action?  Or are you saying climate scientists are all full of shit and it's the oil companies that are the real experts here?

                          •  OK (0+ / 0-)

                            me, who has a limited understanding of climate science

                            I don't know much about ice ages and their causes

                            I'm not trying to win the argument based on sophistry, but I would suggest that you study paleoclimatology a little bit with an open mind. Your citation of Hansen re: the cause of ice ages (why by the way is as questionable a source as anyone out there) has already been destroyed and acknowledged by you as such further up in the thread. Again abrupt climate changes are all over the record.

                            It would not take a huge volcanic eruption. A Maunder minimum if you even read my last comment is a period of low solar activity. We had a pretty good one a few hundred years ago. The New York Harbor froze solid allowing people to walk from Manhattan to Staten Island. There is in fact some evidence that we may be entering another extended period of solar inactivity, which by the way, could be even more devastating the projected global warming.

                            Again, I will respond to your question that I don't believe that we know enough about climate to say that there's a better than 50% chance that the climate will warm by 3 degrees or more. The oil companies are no more opposed to climate change legislation than the drug companies are opposed to HCR. They have lots of lobbyists and they'll make out in either case.

                          •  Hansen is a perfectly reliable source (0+ / 0-)

                            He's a leading climate scientist who has been called to testify before congress  on climate change and heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. You can't get more reliable than Hansen.

                            Yes we had a little ice age a few hundred years ago, but remember that wasn't a huge drop in temperature that was needed to freeze the New York Harbor. Climate change will completely eclipse that:
                            http://commons.wikimedia.org/...

                            We won't go into another ice age because of solar inactivity because forcings that normally cause glacial periods are too slow to compete with human forcings. In fact, the sun has contributed a slight negative forcing over the last few decades but as would be expected, the greenhouse gasses are much stronger:
                            http://www.skepticalscience.com/...

                            Yeah oil companies are opposed to cap and trade:
                            http://articles.sfgate.com/...

                            Again this boils down to what the experts are saying. I can present data and you can present data on climate, but we are both novices. There is a scientific consensus that we will continue to warm over the next century. Why do you think the scientists who study this issue should not be trusted to make an accurate prediction?

                          •  Because there are scientists on both (0+ / 0-)

                            sides of the debate, and the scientists on the "alarmist" side of the debate have a vested interest in things being alarming because that justified funding for their research.

                            It's simply not true that glacial periods are slow. We do have to go back over things that you've already acknowledged further up in this epic thread. The climatological records clearly show that some major climate changes have occurred in just a "few years".

                            Yes, it's entirely possible that GHG could be a stronger influence than the sun, but that's essentially what this whole debate is about. We haven't seen what a extended 60-70 year period of decreased solar activity looks like since the 1645-1715 period. We may see one shortly, so the proof will be "in the pudding" so to speak.

                            Hansen is of course controversial. There've been fully public controversial rows around his activities. There's no question of there. Not saying he's not credible, but he's definitely controversial.

                          •  There is no serious debate in the scientific (0+ / 0-)

                            community. I'll bring up the chart again: http://www.dailykos.com/...

                            Also it seems absurd to me to assume that the vast majority of scientists are making up the threat of climate change because of research funding, but the huge amounts of fossil fuel funding have no effect whatsoever. If there was a scientific consensus that a meteor was approaching, would you think they were being alarmist to get research funding?

                            When there is really rapid global temperature change of several degrees Celsius as would come about with human caused climate change, there is catastrophe. Just look at the Permian extinction, which was likely caused by rapid temperature increases. 90% of species died because of it. Yes global rapid climate change has happened before, but no it's not trivial.

                            Feedback effects wouldn't have a chance to take effect because of Human made greenhouse gasses. So warming would continue, just a bit slower than otherwise.

                            Sure Hansen is controversial because most of the country denies human caused global warming and he has called for major action to address it, not because he's not reliable as a source.

                          •  So, we're back at the beginning (0+ / 0-)

                            "There's a scientific consensus. Goddammit, THERE'S A SCIENTIFIC CONSENSUS!!! NO "SERIOUS" SCIENTIST DOUBTS IT!!!"

                            How can I argue with that? Do I have a Ph.D. in climatology?

                            If you're serious about really having an open and honest dialogue and not just shouting me down with "The experts all agree, who the fuck are you!", then please spend thirty minutes of your life reading through the following link that gives a professional, documented, referenced, alternative opinion:

                            http://www.friendsofscience.org/...

                            Then we can maybe have a discussion about actual substantive things as opposed to just a "my experts are better than yours" pissing match. If you have any intellectual curiosity at all I promise it'll be a fun ride!

                          •  I disagree (0+ / 0-)

                            when we are dealing with an issue like climate change it is best to trust those who have studied the issue. For example, If you had a tumor, wouldn't you trust a Neurosurgeon on what's best for you instead of taking seriously the claims of some new age woo peddler advocating 10000000X diluted solutions to deal with what they claim are bad spirits? That's what we have here in climate change. We have a problem, a strong warming trend(tumor). We have our climate scientists who understand the physics of climate change and are in an almost total agreement that we are going through human caused climate change(Neurosurgeons). Last but not least we have our denialists like Inhofe and groups funded by energy companies(woo peddlers). In both scenarios, we should take the advice of those who know what they're doing.

                            As for your source, it's funded by the oil industry
                            http://sourcewatch.org/...
                            I don't understand how you think scientists are incredibly biased but those funded by the oil industry are perfectly neutral.

                            As for the actual claims, it's just a bunch of debunked crap that's been part of the denialist's talking points for years such global cooling (there isn't any) Sunspot activity (that's not the cause and doesn't line up with warming) and warming of other planets such as Mars and Pluto (Again there isn't evidence of such warming)
                            http://mind.ofdan.ca/...
                            http://www.grist.org/...

                            A quick side note on other planets warming. Don't you think its strange that denialists are so sure that other planets are warming when we know much less about them, but are convinced that scientists can't even tell when our own planet is warming?

                          •  I don't trust any particular source over another (0+ / 0-)

                            I think the Friends of Science site presents a lot of points that haven't been refuted. Just saying, "not true!" does not in my opinion count as a refutation.

                            You can't possibly deny that solar activity has nothing to do with the Earth's climate. Clearly solar activity is the main determinant of the climate. You also cannot possibly deny that solar activity varies. We can literally see eruptions of solar energy as they burst out of the sun's surface. The only question is the relative importance of solar variation versus greenhouse gases emissions. That you dismiss it out of hand indicates a lack of seriousness to actually confront the issues.

                            You also cannot deny that there has been global cooling in the past. You still haven't given me an explanation for how we got into the current ice age, and being that you are arguing that you know how we are going to get out of it, it's hard to take you seriously on that point as well.

                            WRT other planets, I would agree, it seems mighty speculative at this point to take temperature readings from other planets, but that also goes to show just how little we really know about the universe around us.

                          •  Really, no sources are better than each other? (0+ / 0-)

                            So a creationist who claims the eye is too complex to evolve is just as credible as evolutionary biologists, who say that it's not and has evolved many times before?

                            I'm not just saying not true. All of the arguments I mentioned I have provided sources last post disproving, and I have already stated the fallacy of several way back in this discussion. I don't see why I have to copy and paste paragraphs from the websites I site or restate my arguments for the 100th time. I trust you can click on a link and go back and read my previous statements.

                            When did I say solar activity had no effect on climate? I said it was negligible compared to human caused global warming.

                            What does my knowledge of ice ages have to do with the validity of human caused climate change? Also here you go; a link that popped up in two seconds on google:
                            http://culter.colorado.edu:1030/...
                            If you're trying to claim because solar energy causes ice ages, it will cause an ice age next century or something like that, than look at my previous statements where I have already told you that this would be overshadowed by greenhouse gasses and we are therefore certainly not about to go into a glaciation cycle.

                          •  I actually don't believe the science (0+ / 0-)

                            indicates that solar activity causes ice ages. There seem to be a number of potential causes, but one of the more important is the presence of land masses in the arctic regions. Ice forms of course much easier on land masses, so it sets in the motion the process of glaciation which itself cools the climate. Right now we're probably in a bit of an unstable ice age because one pole has all land and another has none.

                            Volcanic activity has been given as both a way into (because of reduced solar radiation) and out of (because of CO2) ice ages. The rising and falling of plateaus such as in Tibet is given as another possible reason -- when Tibet rose high enough to support year round ice, that causes an immense amount of radiation to reflect back into space, thereby cooling the climate.

                            Of course meteors . . .

                            You don't seem to want to even entertain the possibility that any one of those factors could be more important than greenhouse gases in determining the climate on Earth. I think that's an absurd position to take because it's very likely that they have been so in the past. We've had the onset of ice ages in the distant past when CO2 was many times what it is now.

                            When you say something like "we are therefore certainly not about to go into a glaciation cycle" you just display your ignorance. First of all, if you think anything about glaciation falls within the boundaries of "certainty", then you just aren't really considering the issues. But even more importantly, even according to "your side", global warming may trigger glaciation by shutting down the flow of warm water to the arctic region.

                            So, let's see where we are:

                            1. You don't know that we're in an ice age;
                            1. You don't know how we got into this ice age;
                            1. You don't know how many ice ages we've experienced on Earth;
                            1. You don't know the difference between an ice age and glaciation;
                            1. You don't know that global warming could trigger glaciation, even though it's actually a theory put forward by "your side" of the debate;
                            1. You don't know that we're currently in a cooling period even though one of the two principle agw scientists has already comfirmed this
                            1. You don't why we're in a period of relative cooling/leveling off even though the answer is out there for anyone interested to look (solar cycles).

                            Yes, somehow I'm the one who doesn't know what the hell I'm talking about?

                          •  Meteors and massive volcanism would certainly (0+ / 0-)

                            effect our climate despite human activity, but those are not even remotely likely events to happen any time soon. Differences in solar activity and the like will not.

                            Please stop purposely misrepresenting what I am saying by saying that I think greenhouse gasses are always the most important effect on climate. If we were in a debate in front of an audience, tactics such as these might help you win the audience, but the purpose here is to have a thoughtful discussion not hurl insults and misrepresentations at your opponent. If your goal is to piss me off than that is a fine tactic to achieve this goal, but not if your goal is to get closer to the truth. If your goal is to piss me off, we might as well stop this discussion now.

                            Yes Northern Europe could become cooler because of climate change. In Hansen's book he says this will not move Northern Europe into an ice age, but will cool it relative to the rest of the globe. I'm not sure if there is a scientific consensus on this matter. Certainly though, climate change is not moving us into global glaciation.

                            For the last time we were talking about different ice ages. The periods that persist for thousands of years such as those that let Native Americans into North America are often called ice ages. Hansen himself calls them ice ages in his book.  Looking at wikipedia for a few mintues hardly makes you an expert at climate terminology and able to judge people of their ignorance. Yes I know we have been cooling for about 50 million years when greenhouse gasses were much higher than they are today. Hansen discusses this for a period in his book. A good read if you actually want to know more about climate science.

                            As I have mentioned time and time again we are not cooling; and I have given you numerous sources, It is amazing that you try to trot out my acceptance of the scientific consensus as ignorance, and back this up with cherry picked quotes and debunked articles from groups funded by oil companies.

                            I specifically want to address your last point in detail. The charts you yourself have brought to the discussion showed the sun spot cycle completely diverging from temperature in the last decade or so, but I guess I'm just ignorant of the magical solar cycles that explain everything.

                            Now before we continue this discussion, can we agree to be respectful and not hurl insults and misrepresent each other and try to look into the facts. If you're not wiling to do that we can stop now and save us both some time.

                          •  OK, I wasn't trying to insult you (0+ / 0-)

                            And I do apologize if it came off that way. But it's frustrating to me that you refuse acknowledge the existence of almost every well-established scientific theory relating to climate change other than AGW.

                            The discussion that we could have as educated and open-minded adults would be that there are a number of potential climate change forcing factors, any number of which could be at work at any given time in the Earth's history. The only thing that is extremely unlikely is that only one of those factors is at work at the present time. We would both acknowledge that while there are certainly multiple factors at work, they will have varying degrees of influence both at any one time, and over time and then we could proceed to discuss the relative strength of each potential factor and begin to make some kind of an estimate about the probability that AGW will end up being the most important factor.

                            Then we could proceed to consider the positives and negatives of various kinds of climate change, the role that climate change has played in human development in the past, and the development of civilization, and the technological capacity of human beings to adapt to probable changes looming.

                            Then we could proceed to discuss what it would take to stop AGW, whether that's even politically possible given the current state of international institutions, and what the costs would be relative to other economic, environmental and social priorities, and relative to the costs of adapting.

                            It's my belief that at the end of that we would decide that there is enough of a probability of catastrophic, costly climate change to do those things that are good ideas in and of themselves even outside of climate change concerns, but that we don't know enough about climate science to do those things that we would only do if there's a concern about climate change.

                            But instead of all of that we have to keep looping around with a discussion that essentially boils down to "my experts are better than yours", which to me is not really a discussion between you and me, but more of a proxy pissing match between people will axes to grind.

                            But back to your comment, again, to at least get on the same page. The current ice age is not 50 million years old, it's 2.5 million. And the Earth hasn't been cooling for that whole time, it dropped precipitously at that time, and has warmed and cooled within a generally cool cycle ever since.

                            With respect to your last point, I think that the science says that sunspots have an effect on climate, but there are other factors as well. Sunspot activity hit a low-point in the 2008-2009 period. The latter part of 2009 to the present has warmed considerably because of the El Nino that began last summer. The leveling off of the 2002-2009 period generally corresponds with the decline in solar activity over the same period.

                          •  Again I am not denying other forcings I (0+ / 0-)

                            don't know where you would get this. I am saying that greenhouse gas emissions are by far the dominant forcing today.

                            In terms of experts; this isn't a case of each of us trotting out experts. One side, those who accept human caused climate change, has almost all the experts. I would say that counts for a lot. If you say this is meaningless, than would you also say evolutionary biologists' opinions count just as much as those of creationists like Ken Ham when discussing evolution?

                            I didn't say we were in an ice age since 50 million years ago, I said we have cooled since peak temperatures 50 million years ago, at least peak temperatures for the last 65 million years or so.  2.5 million years ago was about when the Northern hemisphere developed ice sheets.

                            It is not just the last 8 years that sunspot activity has decreased; look at this link I posted earlier again:
                            http://mind.ofdan.ca/...

                            One important think to keep in mind is climate scientists know climate change is happening from more than comparisons between temperature data and greenhouse emissions. We know the physics behind greenhouse gasses. An increase in greenhouse gases will be a positive forcing on climate. Let's pretend for the sake of argument that sunspots did line up well with the temperature data; you would still have to explain where the greenhouse gas forcing is? Why isn't it presenting itself?

                          •  Sunspot activity goes in approximately (0+ / 0-)

                            11 year cycles of waxing and waning. We've mapped out 23 solar cycles going back hundreds of years. The peak of the cycle varies, sometimes stronger, sometimes weaker. So, to say "it is not just the last 8 years that sunspot activity has decreased" makes no sense. The link you posted has nothing to do with solar cycles. The current solar minimum (the period of inactivity at the end of one cycle and the beginning of the next) is the longest and most inactive that we've seen for a very long time. That has contributing to a cooling off or leveling off of the climate in the 2002-2009 period. It's expected that the solar activity will increase in the next 3-4 years, so we can expect temperatures to rise again. The 25th cycle (the next following this one) is projected to be even slower, so the next solar minimum in about 11-12 years will likely see a real strong cool off.

                            I do believe that the greenhouse gases are an additional forcing factor along with solar activity, and most likely a variety of other factors, so yes it is presenting itself. The question is how much of a factor will it be?

                          •  The link I was citing was about sun spots (0+ / 0-)

                            and you have to scroll down a little bit to get to that part. I agree with you that solar cycles have an effect on climate. And now that I think about it, It was probably misleading of me to say that greenhouse gasses overwhelm solar influences. That implies that the sun has no effect but, what I meant to get at was that we will continue to warm regardless. Solar activity can cause more or less warming by a bit for different cycles, but there is no way it's going to prevent us from warming several degrees Celsius next century.

                            Solar cycles and sun spots however have nothing at all to do with the long term warming we are seeing this century. That is all greenhouse gasses. Here's a really good video that I'm sorry I didn't bring up earlier. I had forgotten about his episode on the sun and how good it was. I took another look at I believe it addresses all of your concerns. I think this should put to bed the idea that the sun is driving climate change:
                            http://www.youtube.com/...
                            I encourage you to check out the facts he sites and post any rebuttals you know of, but I think that video should pretty much clear things up as far as the sun is concerned. Sorry it isn't embedded; for some reason the embedded link isn't working right.

                          •  Interesting video (0+ / 0-)

                            I'm not going to as I said before play expert pissing match with you, but I'll say what I thought watching the video:

                            If you'll give me that global temperatures and sunspot activity were in fact very closely related through all of Earth's history until 30 years ago, and the video appears to, I'll take that.

                            This would negate this sentence that you wrote:

                            Solar cycles and sun spots however have nothing at all to do with the long term warming we are seeing this century. That is all greenhouse gasses.

                            Not true on two levels. One nobody says that anything about climate change is all greenhouse gases. Even the most diehard AGW alarmists acknowledges that there are other influences, the question is who strong. I've heard 85% being the figure at the upper end.

                            But more importantly, it puts the lie to your statement that the warming trend over the past century (I assume by "this" you mean the 20th, because again, even though you don't want to acknowledge it for the purposes of this conversation, your own head AGW scientist Phil Jones, has acknowledged that there is insignificant cooling in the 21st century so far) is entirely caused by greenhouse gases. The video acknowledges the validity of that graph in the period leading up to the 1970's. Fantastic. We can now have a good discussion that takes as a baseline that the Earth's climate changes are mostly determined by sunspot activity in the 4.5 billion years before 1980. This is progress.

                            So now we're talking about whether or not greenhouse gases could be the cause of the warming that occurred in the period 1980-2002. One answer is yes. The other option is to look for an alternative cause.

                            One alternative explanation is corrupted data.

                            There's corruption in the reported data, as it differs from the raw data.

                            http://wattsupwiththat.com/...

                            But more importantly, though I don't have time to go into it right now, there is the problem of the raw data itself, which of course has been destroyed . . .

                            From the link:

                            SCIENTISTS at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.

                            It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years.

                            The UEA’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) was forced to reveal the loss following requests for the data under Freedom of Information legislation.

                            The data were gathered from weather stations around the world and then adjusted to take account of variables in the way they were collected. The revised figures were kept, but the originals — stored on paper and magnetic tape — were dumped to save space when the CRU moved to a new building.

                            Then there's the problem that many of the cold-weather temperature gauges were abandoned in the 1970's. And on and on. But to tell the truth, having acknowledged that temperature changes prior to 1980 were mostly due to solar sunspot changes, and that temperatures after 2000 have cooled, there's really not that much to discuss. A twenty-year period of warming does not a global crisis make.

                          •  Um...what? (0+ / 0-)

                            When did I, or the video, say that sunspots had any relation to climate?  I just posted a video saying they don't; before 1980 and after 1980. Yes there is some correlation through 1980 of sunspots to temperature, but you are making radical jumps from correlation to causation. There is no reason to believe sunspots would cause temperature increases. The argument is not based on forcing but entirely on correlation. Even this correlation argument is weak, as it completely breaks down after 1980. Sunspots do just as good a job predicting Republican gains:
                            http://www.realclimate.org/...
                            In addition, the rest of the video completely blows the idea that the sun would be the cause out of the water. Changes that we would expect to see with the sun as the cause aren't appearing, but what we would expect if greenhouse gasses are the cause are. To come up with the idea that sunspots are the cause of global warming is to be looking in a biased matter for anything else that could possibly correlate with global warming besides green house gasses, not fact based assessment. That's not how science is done.

                            As for watts and so called corrupted data, He's just a weatherman full of shit:

                            Back to experts. Again, would you say evolutionary biologists are just as credible as creationists when discussing evolution?

                          •  Ahhh, correlation not causation? (0+ / 0-)

                            I'm shocked that you would even bring that argument into play here. I means seriously, man, what do you think the chances are that the sun's activity just randomly happens to correlate to temperatures on Earth, but has not causative effect?! I mean I can't believe I even have to type that. The sun's activity correlates to temperatures on Earth but there's no reason to think there's a causative effect?!!! I'm trying to not to delve back into insults here, but do you recognize how ridiculous that sounds? Is there some third cause that could affect both the sunspot activity and the Earth's climate? Are you arguing that greenhouse gases cause sunspots?

                            But the "correlation not causation" argument has been made with reference to CO2, and given that the CO2 warming mechanism is by definition a feedback-based system (i.e. CO2 amplifies solar energy), then it is in fact a reasonable question to ask as to which came first -- the increased solar variation or the increased CO2. One of the AGW skeptics' arguments is that in fact CO2 has over the millenia followed temporally variations in solar activity, as opposed to preceeding them.

                            No comment from you on the destroyed raw data?

                            I liked how your latest vid link talked about WMD alarmism being false, but somehow that's used to buttress the case because the "same people" told us about that who are now denying climate change. For the record I never believed that bullshit either, and I remember hearing the same kinds of arguments at the time about the "consensus" amongst the "experts" in the international intelligence community that there were WMD's, and how I needed to shut the fuck up because I had no basis on which to question them. Sound familiar?

                            WRT your question, no I wouldn't say evolutionary biologists are just as credible as creationists when discussing evolution, but I'll tell you what else . . . I also would've preferred that evolutionary biology stay the hell away from political affairs for most of its early history:

                            Blending social, intellectual, legal, medical, gender, and cultural history, Segregation's Science: Eugenics and Society in Virginia examines how eugenic theory and practice bolstered Virginia's various cultures of segregation--rich from poor, sick from well, able from disabled, male from female, and black from white and Native American. Famously articulated by Thomas Jefferson, ideas about biological inequalities among groups evolved throughout the nineteenth century. By the early twentieth century, proponents of eugenics--the "science" of racial improvement--melded evolutionary biology and incipient genetics with long-standing cultural racism. The resulting theories, taught to generations of Virginia high school, college, and medical students, became social policy as Virginia legislators passed eugenic marriage and sterilization statutes. The enforcement of these laws victimized men and women labeled "feebleminded," African Americans, and Native Americans for over forty years.

                            . . .

                            Of interest to historians, educators, biologists, physicians, and social workers, this study reminds readers that science is socially constructed; the syllogism "Science is objective; objective things are moral; therefore science is moral" remains as potentially dangerous and misleading today as it was in the past.

                            http://www.upress.virginia.edu/...

                          •  As I have been saying for while (0+ / 0-)

                            Changes in the sun are minimal compared to the forcings of greenhouse gasses and have nothing to do with the long term increases in temperature. I could site an article that I found mentioning how climate scientists have said that sun spots causing climate change is bull, but apparently to you climate scientists aren't a credible source on climate, at least they aren't unless their making some cherry pickable quote. For me, what climate scientists say is far more credible than what weathermen and organizations funded by oil companies have to say. Again; we could go on and on citing sources, but regardless of who is right; you and your weathermen, or me and my climate scientists, if neither of us accepts the other source as valid, than we aren't going to go anywhere here.

                            We know the CO2 came first because we know we have been pumping it into the atmosphere for hundreds of years.

                            I just gave you a video showing that the guy behind the data claim is full of shit, so what do you mean nothing about raw data?

                            I see you have leapt on one 2 second part of the video and ignored the rest. I think the video demolished any validity to the claim that the data is invalid in any way. So are you still standing by this claim?

                            I don't see how Bush and company hiding intelligence and lying to the world about WMD has any similarities between every prestigious scientific organization except for one, which is in the pocket of the fossil fuel industry acknowledging that we are causing climate change.

                            True, people can not always separate themselves from their biases, scientists included, and the culture we are in can have an effect on conclusions drawn. However, if you're talking about the least biased professionals, the only one I can think of less biased than qualified scientists are mathematicians.

                            If you can except biologists should be taken more seriously than creationists, why should the same not be true of climate scientists? What is the difference? Even if you don't accept climate scientists to be completely reliable, wouldn't you say their opinion adds weight to the debate? Wouldn't you at least agree that a consensus among climate scientists on a view on climate would make that view at least 50% likely to be correct?

                          •  Another patently wrong statement (0+ / 0-)

                            We know the CO2 came first because we know we have been pumping it into the atmosphere for hundreds of years.

                            Of course we have not being pumping CO2 into the atmosphere for hundreds of years. First of all, nobody thinks that AGW has been going on for hundreds of years. Second, the CO2 increases came about with the Industrial Revolution which was not hundreds of years ago.

                            I could site an article that I found mentioning how climate scientists have said that sun spots causing climate change is bull

                            Sunspot activity reflects increases and decreases in solar activity and nobody doubt that increases and decreases in solar activity do affect the climate -- the question is by how much. AGW says not that much; skeptics say more than they think.

                            I think the video demolished any validity to the claim that the data is invalid in any way

                            That's another statement that cannot be true. No scientist would ever make that claim that no part of their data could've been corrupted "in any way". Claims like that just reflect badly on your own credibility. There are always problems with data, and the AGW scientific community has attempted to adjust and correct for those problems. There's nothing wrong with that, but the adjustments and corrections are always up for questioning, and that process isn't helped with the original data sets are somehow "lost".

                            I don't see how Bush and company hiding intelligence and lying to the world about WMD has any similarities between every prestigious scientific organization except for one, which is in the pocket of the fossil fuel industry acknowledging that we are causing climate change.

                            You should really go back and listen to the speeches from Democrats at the time:

                            "There is no doubt that ... Saddam Hussein has reinvigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status."
                            Letter to President Bush, Signed by:
                            -- Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), and others, Dec 5, 2001

                            "We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandate of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them."
                            -- Sen. Carl Levin (D, MI), Sept. 19, 2002

                            "We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country."
                            -- Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

                            "We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons..."
                            -- Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002

                            "There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years ... We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction."
                            -- Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002

                            "In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members ... It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons."
                            -- Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002

                            "We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction."
                            -- Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), Dec. 8, 2002

                            http://www.davidstuff.com/...

                            There was a bipartisan "consensus" that Iraq had WMD's. We launched an incredibly destructive war based on this consensus, hundreds of thousands of people died unnecessarily. Without that "consensus" it's clear that we would not have gone to war with Iraq.

                            To go back to the basics of this debate, what I'm simply trying to get at is the old doctor's adage that has been the first principle of most environmental movements: "First, do no harm".

                            If we ratchet down the extremism and alarmism that says that anything is justified because of climate change concerns, then we can get back to that basic principle of environmentalism, which is not to do things that in and of themselves harm the Earth in order to supposedly avoid some greater harm.

                            Nuclear power, carbon sequestration and emissions trading schemes are in and of themselves harmful to the Earth and to humanity. They are only justified in order to prevent a greater harm. I do not believe that there is enough certainty about both the probability and severity of AGW to warrant violating this fundamental principle.

                          •  Yes we have been putting CO2 into the atmosphere (0+ / 0-)

                            for hundreds of years. We've been burning coal since the 1700's. We starting polluting a lot more in the 1800's, and way more in the 1900's and are continuing to pollute more in the 2000's.

                            Again, sun spots do not account for the warming. We know that CO2 causes warming and that we have been rapidly increasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Temperatures became relatively stable mid century because of aerosols. The increasing amounts of CO2 we have been pumping into the atmosphere have caught up with us and caused accelerating warming in recent decades. This makes perfect sense with greenhouse gases as the cause. There is no need for sun spots to explain any of this. Sun spots at the cause make things enormously more complicated. Why did sun spots suddenly stop having an effect in 1980? Where did the greenhouse gas forcing go?

                            Invalid as in a data set that shouldn't be trusted. Yes I think the video demolished that. There is no reason why climate data in particular is untrustworthy.

                            Yeah Democrats capitulated, who's arguing that never happened? Politicians aren't the experts on gathering intelligence; Bush was actively covering up intelligence that showed Iraq likely did not have WMDs. Second of all, the biggest reason the lack of WMDs is not like climate is because intelligence is not a science. It's comparing apples and oranges.

                            First do no harm. Fine, but by burning fossil fuels we are doing harm; burning fossil fuels is not natural. Even if you don't except climate science, you should still be in favor of nuclear power over coal. Pollution from coal causes hundreds of thousands of deaths per year not including the climate consequences.

                          •  It's not about "nuclear power over coal" (0+ / 0-)

                            It's about what do progressives and environmentalists stand for in terms of public policy. I'm in favor of replacing dirty fuel with cleaner fuels wherever and whenever practicable. I don't consider nuclear power to be a clean fuel. Twenty years ago I'd have gotten no arguments from anyone in the environmental movement.

                            Now, all of the sudden, it's a "clean fuel" because it doesn't produce greenhouse gas emissions. Well I'm not buying that.

                            I wonder if they've talked to the Navajo people about whether nuclear fuel is clean:

                            In the Navajo creation story, there is mention of uranium. Uranium - called "cledge" - is from the underworld, and is to be left in the ground. According to the creation story, the Navajo were given a choice between yellow corn pollen and uranium. In Navajo belief, the yellow corn pollen possesses the positive elements of life. The pollen is prayed for and carried in medicine bags. Uranium was thought of as an element of the underworld that should remain in the earth. When uranium was released from the ground, Navajos believed it would become a serpent. Evil, death and destruction were seen as the problems the Navajo would face. These problems have become reality to the Navajo since mining began. Many Navajo see themselves on the brink of disaster as removal of uranium suggests will occur to those people.

                            http://www.umich.edu/...

                            Or other indigenous people around the world:

                            http://www.wise-uranium.org/...

                            Uranium is indeed a substance that should be left in the ground. We don't don't have to speculate about global temperature trends to understand the toxicity of uranium and other aspects of the nuclear power industry. We know the issues with mining it, with transporting it, with preventing it from falling into the hands of terrorists and despots, with finding water to cool the reactors, with leading power plants, with transporting the waste, with storing the waste. At every step along the way there are major problems, and I'm supposed to sign off on all of this because "science" says that we might be facing catastrophic climate change in coming decades?

                            And then there's this cap and trade scam. Europe enacted this in 2005:

                            Much of the cost of the European system is being paid by the public in the price of goods and services, including higher electricity bills, but whether the money is doing any good is an open question. The amount of carbon dioxide emitted by plants and factories participating in the system has not fallen. Their emissions rose 0.4 percent in 2006 and another 0.7 percent in 2007.

                            http://www.nytimes.com/...

                            Lovely, so poor people can choose heat or food, yet the emissions continue to rise, at an increasing rate at that. Bodes well for us . . .

                            Let's not get started on the environmental effects and outlandish costs associated with pumping billions of pounds of carbon dioxide into the Earth.

                            You ever heard of the cure being worse than the disease?

                          •  Sure nuclear power has problems (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Rei

                            I don't like it nearly as much as solar or wind. But the problems are far less than coal. You still don't accept climate change, but even if we calculated the chance of dangerous climate change at 0%, coal is still worse than Nuclear Power. Does Nuclear power kill hundreds of thousands of people a year?

                          •  Cars kill hundreds of thousands of people per (0+ / 0-)

                            year also. Are you proposing to do away with those. Cigarettes also kill hundreds of thousands of people per year. Should they be illegal? Malaria kills millions -- should we bring back DDT?

                          •  Clearly I want to do away with carbon emissions (0+ / 0-)

                            because of dangerous climate change which you deny even a significant possibility of existing.

                            However; I am making the case now that even with your denial, you should prefer nuclear power to coal because even without climate change coal kills far more people per year than nuclear power would.

                          •  I don't "deny even a significant possibility" (0+ / 0-)

                            of catastrophic human-caused climate change existing. I don't think we're sure enough about it to warrant doing things that we otherwise wouldn't do.

                            If you asked me, OK, we're going to build a new power plant, should it be coal-fired or nuclear? I would probably say, neither, renewable is better, first solar, then wind, then thermal, after that natural gas if all else fails. But nuclear? Never.

                          •  When I asked you for a percentage of 1 billion (0+ / 0-)

                            lives lost, you gave me 1%. I don't consider that as very significant, and a billion is a light estimate for what catastrophic human caused climate change could cause. Do you still stand by your 1% figure?

                            If the choice were between nuclear and coal, which would you choose? This could very well be the choice we are facing.

                          •  This is the crux of the argument (0+ / 0-)

                            I don't support taxpayer funding for nuclear or coal. I do understand why you would support taxpayer funding for nuclear given your belief in the potential for catastrophic climate change from greenhouse gases.

                            I believe that human beings will be able to adapt to whatever the Earth throws at us. It's just water, either too much of it, or too little. We're technologically not that many years away from solar desalination, which would mean unlimited fresh water forever. We might have to abandon certain places, but other new places will open up.

                            Will some people die during the transition. Most certainly, yes, but people are dying right now of climate causes issues, and they have been for all of human history. And whether we try to stop it or not, lots of people will die from climate-related causes far into the future. The Earth's climate is not stable, or hazard-free, and it never has been.

                            Again, none of that is to say that I don't support doing those things that make sense with or without climate change. Renewable energy research and development. Energy and water conservation. Re-forestation and/or rainforest protection. Anti-sprawl measures. Alternative transportation.

                            Radioactive waste though, that's something that we can't ever adjust to once it gets away from us. We're talking destruction on timescales of hundreds of thousands of years. That has the capacity to render places on the Earth unlivable for the foreseeable future.

                            The only reason why we are even talking about "coal or nuclear" is because of this AGW extremist alarmism, and I'm just not buying it.

                          •  You still didn't answer my question about (0+ / 0-)

                            percentages. A couple posts ago you said you did not deny a significant chance of dangerous human caused climate change. What is this significant chance you envision? Why don't you give me what you think the chance is that Human caused climate change will result in at least 1,000,000,000 deaths, the chance for at least 3,000,000,000 deaths, and the chance of a runaway greenhouse effect which we will say for this risk calculation means 7,000,000,000 deaths. We can ignore all values lower than 1,000,000,000 or between the measures I listed to make this calculation easier.

                          •  Ok, let's go with (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Michael91

                            5, 3 and 1.

                          •  Even with the odds you select I still think (0+ / 0-)

                            it is our best interest to spend massive amounts of resources, say 2% of World GDP, to get off fossil fuels. Those odds get us:
                            .02*1,000,000,000=20,000,000
                            .02*3,000,000,000=60,000,000
                            .01*7,000,000,000=70,000,000
                            Total=150,000,000 lives
                            Don't you think that's worth sacrificing around 2% of World GDP for? After all that's more than twice as many people as those who died in World War II.

                          •  OK, but let's compare: (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Michael91

                            For comparison purposes, let's talk about how many people will die unnecessarily because of poverty.

                            We know for a fact that poverty reduces life expectancy. As of 2001, life expectancy in Africa was 54 years vs. 77 years for the U.S. Although there are a number of different causes, the most salient is clearly poverty. The mechanisms are pretty well established -- malnutrition, dirty water, lack of access to medical care, lack of ability to get away from natural hazards, crime, hopelessness, disease, malaria, etc. There's no need to engage in much debate about causal links or probabilities there. Those are things that we know happen everyday, and that directly cause people to die prematurely.

                            So, you do the math: taking into account population growth, what is the probability that 1, 3, or 5 billion people in the world will die because of poverty over the next 100 years?

                            Even with a back of the napkin exercise, the number of lives worldwide that will be cut short by poverty in the next 100 years goes easily into the billions.

                            And what would be the cost of ending poverty?

                            According to this source, it could be done for $40-60 billion annually worldwide -- significantly less than the 1-2% of world GDP (which works out to $650 billion to 1.3 trillion).

                            We know for a fact that poverty will cut short the lives of billions of people in the next 100 years and we could end it for less than we are contemplating spending to combat AGW, which might costs the lives of more or probably less than the same number of people. We could also do so without having to do environmentally destructive things such as nuclear power, carbon sequestration and emissions trading schemes. We could also do so without raising the price of the very energy sources that people in povery often rely upon for their basic sustenance.

                            If it's about saving lives on a global basis over a period of 100 years, why not do that?

                          •  I'm all for ending global poverty (0+ / 0-)

                            You've got no argument for me there. There is no reason why as you mention we should not be spending this kind of money to wipe out world poverty. We can both agree this is a travesty. I feel that climate change is an even higher priority because I put the estimates of death loss at much much higher percentages than you do, and feel that climate change would greatly increase world poverty. Clearly you don't but theses are separate issues.

                            We both know that money not spent on dealing with climate change will not be spent on wiping out world poverty. That's because this country is full of nationalists who won't spend a bit of our money to reduce the suffering of billions. Of course we're almost assuredly not going to take action on climate change for similar reasons.

                            But these two are not opposing causes. If it is worth the cost for both curbing climate change and for ending world poverty, than we can both work for both of these causes even if we disagree over which is the higher priority. They are not in competition with each other.

                          •  Everything that we as a society (0+ / 0-)

                            decide to devote resources to is in competition with everything else. That's what I'm trying to get people to recognize. It's mushy-headed to just be in favor of everything "good" without considering what are the trade-offs.

                            I serve on a Board in the City of Los Angeles. We face a budget crisis. You could raise taxes, but people and businesses move freely, so you can actually end up losing revenue when you raise the rate. You could cut pay -- but that means going to war against unions representing policeman, fireman, engineers, gardeners, etc. You can cut services, but that means that disabled people will no longer get rides to health clinics, that 911 emergencies will be responded to twice as slowly, that local at-risk youth will no longer have recreational programs in the afternoons and summers.

                            You can shout all you want about the rights of the disabled, of city workers and of the need to have th rich pay their fair share, but it's not going to solve the problem. You have to make hard decisions that involve trade-offs if you are to actually have an impact on anything.

                            The same is true for climate change. When you elevate the issue to the greatest threat facing mankind, where anything is justified if it will stop it, then of course other priorities including fighting poverty are going to fall by the wayside. To fail to recognize that is to fail to be serious about engaging with these issues.

                          •  Yes to an extent devoting resources to climate (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Rei

                            change would take away resources from combating poverty not caused by climate change, just as devoting resources to anything we do would. Let's take food stamps for example. Food stamps can help the poor in America but the money spent on food stamps would save more lives if it were used to combat poverty abroad where less money can do more good. Every dollar we don't spend on food stamps here has a chance of going towards ending global poverty, not high but a chance. So given your reason stated above for opposing using resources to tackle climate change, do you oppose food stamps?

                          •  I would oppose food stamps if it was presented (0+ / 0-)

                            as the most important use of government and societal resources, that any amount of money spent on food stamps is justified because PEOPLE WILL DIE if we fail to do so, that anyone who questions plans to spend all of our available resources on food stamps is akin to a Holocaust denier who might as well be signing the death warrants of poor people who will starve to death, if because food was expensive, we decided that all laws and regulations dealing with food safety, organics, GMO's etc., need to be immediately eliminated in order to facilitate our ability to confront by far THE GREATEST THREAT TO MANKIND. Yeah, I would be opposed to that.

                            But if we are to take a look at the needs, at other priorities, at the costs involved, and make a rational, reasoned decision about how much resources should be given to food stamps, then by all means, I'm in support.

                          •  I'm talking about spending around 2% of world GDP (0+ / 0-)

                            to shift the world's energy use to non-carbon fuels. This would involve heavy spending on non-carbon energy sources some sort of carbon tax or similar system, moratoriums on further coal plants etc. Given that by your own estimates climate change would cost at least an average of 150,000,000 lives, are you in favor of this?

                          •  It depends (0+ / 0-)

                            First, I gave you those figures in order to move the discussion. Before I signed on to that I'd have to be convinced that catastrophic climate change is enough of a threat to warrant those kinds of resources. As mentioned above, far more people die of poverty, we can predict this with 100% certainty, and we could stop it for more like .5% of world GDP, yet we don't do that, so why should we do this?

                            Second, if we are to engage in such an effort, you'd have to promise me no nukes, no carbon sequestration, no traders getting rich buying and selling emissions credits raising prices for everyone, while having no effect on greenhouse gas emission increases, and any other environmentally and economically destructive side schemes and that any impacts on poor people in terms of increased food and energy costs will be fully offset by subsidies, and that whatever plan is put into place will actually stabilize greenhouse gases (unlike Kyoto and Cap and Trade Version 1.0 E.U. both of which failed to do so). If I can be sure of those things, then sure, I'd consider spending some significant resources to shift to non-carbon fuels.

                            But the fact is that you can't even begin to give me any of those assurances, so it's a moot point.

                          •  As I mentioned earlier, you shouldn't compare (0+ / 0-)

                            Climate change to poverty reduction and deem global poverty reduction a more worthy cause as reason to abandon climate change if you aren't doing the same for other spending like food stamps and the like. Why is climate change so different?

                            You are never going to have that, that's why it's a cost. You could never get similar assurances when tackling global poverty either. Dealing with climate change will have costs; as I mentioned around 2% of GDP. The question is, are they worth it for the problems that climate change could cause. There are also benefits such as getting on renewable resources. I think that we will likely face losses of billions and have a significant possibility of destroying all life on earth so the cost is certainly worth it to me. Earlier you gave probabilities which gave an average of 150,000,000 lives lost. In that scenario I still feel 2% of GDP is worth it. Are you now backtracking from even those very low percentages you gave? If not, would you say it is worth the 2% for the 150,000,000 lives?

                          •  But I am . . . (0+ / 0-)

                            you aren't doing the same for other spending like food stamps and the like

                            . . . that's the whole point of my previous post which you seem to have just dismissed. I'm not an extremist about global poverty, food stamps or climate change. I think they are all significant issues that should be looked at rationally and addressed in the context of competing priorities and available data.

                            See, I don't need to be certain that climate change will not catastrophic. I can entertain the possibility that climate change is something that needs to be addressed, avoided, planned for, whatever the case may be without certainty. If I'm not certain about climate change then I can support measures to combat it that make sense because they are things that are good ideas on their own aside from climate change, and I can remain concerned about other things besides of climate change and make decisions about what the priority should be. It's only those who are certain about climate change who advocate for things that they wouldn't otherwise advocate for and who prioritize that issue above all others.

                            As I said, whether I would support a program to combat climate change has little to do with the particular percent of GDP involved. It has much more to do with whether climate change is being used as a cover to do these things that I'm opposed to: nuclear power; carbon sequestration; cap and trade. If you bring me a climate change proposal that doesn't do those things and does make sure that the poor are made whole for any additional food and energy costs, and that will actually do the job it's intended to do, then I might be able to support it. But that is not on the table, so it's moot.

                            I would only support those plans that are on the table if I was certain that catastrophic climate change will occur and that we won't be able to adapt and that it's the greatest of all the threats and problems facing mankind today. And I'm far from certain of any of those things.

                          •  That doesn't make much sense to me (0+ / 0-)

                            given the average, 150,000,000 deaths your % estimates produce. I would think this kind of cost in lives would warrant other costs paid to prevent it. Why should a cost such as this be dismissed as not worth any sacrifices to prevent?

                          •  I think you're confusing average with (0+ / 0-)

                            probability. There maybe a 1% chance of the Earth being destroyed by a meteor in the next 100 years; that does not mean that an average of 60 million people are going to die of meteor strikes over the same period.

                            But you're not really addressing my point. I said very clearly that it's not a matter of the money in my book. It's a question of whether the threat of catastrophic climate change is real enough to warrant doing things that we wouldn't otherwise do, such as publicly-subsidize nuclear power, carbon sequestration and emissions trading schemes.

                            The costs really follow that discussion. If it's a big enough threat to warrant potentially ruining parts of the Earth for (functionally) ever, then I suppose, yeah, you're right, any cost is justified. I don't buy that it's a big enough threat to warrant taking the chance with nuclear, and therefore I also think that any potential measures should have to compete with other economic, environmental and social priorities for priority in terms of commitments of public resources.

                          •  There is way less than a 1% chance of earth (0+ / 0-)

                            being hit by a large meteor in the next 100 years, but that's besides the point. Yes in that situation 60 million is the average if you are figuring a population of 6,000,000,000. That doesn't mean 60 million die every time, but that's not what an average is. An average is the total divided by the number of terms. Since this is in percentage terms that would be 99 trials where no one dies, and one trial where 6,000,000,000 die. The total of the 100 trials is 6,000,000,000. Divided by 100, that is 60,000,000, the average. Maybe you're thinking of a median. That is the middle term, which in that case would be 0.

                            You don't have to talk about climate in particular. For a situation in which an average of 150,000,000 would die, would you be willing to make these sacrifices? If not, why?

                          •  $40-60B? (0+ / 0-)

                            Under ten dollars per person per year?  To eliminate poverty worldwide?  Now how does that work?

                            We know for a fact that poverty will cut short the lives of billions of people in the next 100 years

                            We also know what AGW will do to them.  What do you think loss of coral reefs does to the food supply of people who depend on them?  What do you think the loss of a large percent of the amazon rainforest from the reduction in tropical rainfall will do to local populations?  What do you think the spread of Dengue Fever will do?  I could go on and on.

                            We could also do so without having to do environmentally destructive things such as nuclear power, carbon sequestration and emissions trading schemes.

                            Emissions trading is "environmentally destructive"?  Oh please.

                          •  Yeah, emissions trading is environmentally (0+ / 0-)

                            destructive, at least as it was applied in Europe:

                            Much of the cost of the European system is being paid by the public in the price of goods and services, including higher electricity bills, but whether the money is doing any good is an open question. The amount of carbon dioxide emitted by plants and factories participating in the system has not fallen. Their emissions rose 0.4 percent in 2006 and another 0.7 percent in 2007.

                            http://www.nytimes.com/...

                            I don't know the validity of the numbers cited by that particular campaign to end world poverty that I linked to. It could be off. I do know that the Grameen Bank has lifted people out of poverty by the thousands with $100 microloans that are paid back at rates that would put to shame the U.S. mortgage market. $40-60 billion recycled through that kind of a system could probably go a long ways.

                            We don't know for a fact what AGW will do. There are projects and models and anecdotes here and there, but we don't know for sure. There are those who argue that the increased CO2 has actually helped stave off hunger by providing fertilizer for agriculture. Who knows? The point is that the causes of poverty-related deaths are ongoing and not in question whatsoever.

                          •  I already refuted that elsewhere. (0+ / 0-)

                            And since when is a fractional-percent rise worse than business-as-usual?

                            As for microloans, that needs capital -- clearly something different, and doesn't make sense in the context of a recurring basis.

                            We don't know for a fact what AGW will do.

                            We don't know for a fact that the sun will rise tomorrow.  But I don't plan to gouge out my eyes and try to join the mole people.

                            There are those who argue that the increased CO2 has actually helped stave off hunger by providing fertilizer for agriculture.

                            There are those who argue that the moon landing was faked.  That doesn't make them right.  Some plants respond positively to increased CO2, while others respond negatively.  CO2 is generally not a limitation to plant growth except in tightly sealed greenhouses in the winter.  Growth constraints are generally either sunlight, water, or mineral.

                          •  What plants respond negatively to CO2? (0+ / 0-)

                            We do know for a fact that the sun will rise tomorrow. Even the most committed AGW scientist is going to acknowledge that these are modeled projections, and that there are always unexpected things that happen in the universe, far more likely than the sun not rising.

                            The loans are made on a revolving basis, so it is a recurring cost.

                          •  Loans (0+ / 0-)

                            The whole point of a loan is that it gets paid back.  To loan money, you need money upfront, but not recurring funds.

                            We do know for a fact that the sun will rise tomorrow.

                            Really?  Prove it.

                            Even the most committed AGW scientist is going to acknowledge that these are modeled projections

                            They are not "modeled projections".  Models are just one part of climate science.  Just to pick a random example, there's historical responses to different forcings.

                          •  I can't believe you're arguing this point (0+ / 0-)

                            on the anti-poverty loans. If you had 40-60 billion a year, you could start the first year and loan out say half of that amount and use the rest for other projects. Many of the Grameen loans have pretty short terms, and their are paid back at very high rates. So, year two, you take half of the next batch of money and make new loans, the other half against to the micro-loans. Except this time, half the loans from the first year are paid back. So, now instead of a 60 billion dollar program, now you have a 75 billion dollar program. Sweet. Rinse and repeat until you end poverty world wide.

                            Proving the sun will rise tomorrow? Yeah, it could be done, because we have satellites, and so even though it's dark, we know for a fact that the sun is still shining and the Earth is still spinning.

                            Historical responses to different forcings? What do you think the models are based on?

                          •  Re (0+ / 0-)

                            So, now instead of a 60 billion dollar program, now you have a 75 billion dollar program.

                            Then why wouldn't you just want all of the money upfront?  What is the point of spreading it out over multiple years?  There's no reason why a loan program should have a constant recurring cost associated with it.  That's why they're called loans; they get paid back, and you loan the money to other people.

                            Proving the sun will rise tomorrow? Yeah, it could be done, because we have satellites, and so even though it's dark, we know for a fact that the sun is still shining and the Earth is still spinning.

                            How do you know 100% that you're interpreting the data correctly?  Or that there's not a roving black hole entering our solar system?  Or that the Large Hadron Collider isn't about to turn the Earth into a black hole or a ball of self-expanding Strange matter?  How do you know for a fact that our world isn't a gigantic alien Truman show, or some extradimensional child's computer simulation ant farm?

                            Nothing is known 100%.  Which is my point.  But once you get to a high enough standard of evidence, you quit treating it like a mere hypothesis and start acting on it.

                            What do you think the models are based on?

                            First Principles.  I've seen the code.  What did you think the models are based on?

                          •  Hmm . . . (0+ / 0-)

                            I would think that the models would be based on . . .

                            historical responses to different forcings

                            among other things.

                            WRT ending poverty for $40-60 billion per year, I see no point in arguing back and forth about the exact methodology. It doesn't affect our argument. If there are credible advocates arguing that, then it's reasonable to assume that it would be easily done for 10-20 times that (1-2 percent of world GDP), which is what is being proposed to be spent on preventing global warming.

                            Yes, I suppose it's true that we don't know at 100% certainty that the sun will rise tomorrow, so I would agree that we can make decisions on less than 100% certainty. Ultimately we have to make some kind of societal determination about the likelihood of catastrophic global warming. I understand where you guys are coming from -- if I was 99% sure that we were ALL GOING TO DIE if we don't stop emitting greenhouse gases RIGHT NOW, I would support doing ANYTHING to stop it also.

                            I just think the degree of certainty is nowhere near there at this point.

                          •  Re (0+ / 0-)

                            I would think that the models would be based on historical responses to different forcings among other things.

                            They're not.  They're based on first principles; do you know what that means?  If not, I can get you some reading material on the subject.

                            The models are validated against historical data, but the calculations are almost entirely first principles.  There are a few statistical models in there for things that don't simulate well (namely, cloud formation response, which is a chaotic process); those are the primary source of uncertainty in the models.  But you can swing cloud formation in either direction, and the general results are still the same.

                            I just think the degree of certainty is nowhere near there at this point.

                            The experts in the field overwhelmingly disagree with you on the cost/benefit curve.  You're certainly free to disappear with the experts if you choose.

                          •  Wow, so according to you (0+ / 0-)

                            we've mathematically deduced from "first principles" AGW, with no need to actually consult the historical record other than to "validate" our deductions. That really makes me feel a lot more certain about things. Not.

                            The "experts" in the field do not agree about anything with respect to the cost/benefit curve. Science is usually agnostic about political choices, as it should be.

                          •  Are you even reading what I'm writing? (0+ / 0-)

                            we've mathematically deduced from "first principles" AGW, with no need to actually consult the historical record other than to "validate" our deductions. That really makes me feel a lot more certain about things. Not.

                            Are you even reading what I'm writing?  I pointed out that the models are just one line of evidence -- which is why I brought up comparing planetary responses to natural forcings as an example of another (out of many).

                            And why the hell don't you want historical validation of the models?  Don't get upset because you misunderstood how they work.

                            And lastly, what is your problem with first principles physics models?  Is your argument that our very understanding of the laws of physics is in error?

                            The "experts" in the field do not agree about anything with respect to the cost/benefit curve. Science is usually agnostic about political choices, as it should be.

                            IPCC WG3.  Read it.  Or at least look at the author list.  It's a mix of scientists and economists.

                          •  OK, I guess we have a semantic dispute (0+ / 0-)

                            between "models" and "projections". The original point was that no matter how you cut it catastrophic climate change is a (very) educated guess about the future, as opposed to death from poverty, which is a guaranteed occurrence both now and into the future. Same thing with the mechanisms -- we can theorize that because the temperature goes up by X, that this will mean that this or that geographic area will experience drought and/or famine, which will result on Y numbers of people dying, but it's ultimately still a prediction. It has not come to pass, and just as other dire predictions that seemed inevitable at one time -- the "Population Bomb" for example -- never came to pass, it's entirely possible that the dire predictions associated with climate change will never come to pass, whether or not we act (and vice-versa, it's possible that it will all come to pass even if we act).

                            I stand corrected that the predictions of catastrophic change are not just based on models, but also on other kinds of information and analysis. It was a semantic error on my part, because I was in my mind using "models" as a shorthand for predictions.

                            You are wrong about the role of IPCC on political/policy questions:

                            [The IPCC's] role as defined in the "Principles Governing IPCC Work" is "to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.

                            IPCC reports should be neutral with respect to policy, although they may need to deal objectively with scientific, technical and socio-economic factors relevant to the application of particular policies.

                            http://www.ipcc.ch/...

                          •  The IPCC reports don't advocate a particular (0+ / 0-)

                            policy.  But they do state what the consequences of each given policy will be, and the margins of error and understanding on each of them.  That's the reason why economists were retained for it.

                          •  "The earth's climate is not stable" (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Michael91

                            Yes, the earth's climate has always changed.  What's different this time is the rate.  Species evolve and adapt when changes occur on the scale of tens of thousands of years, not hundreds or even tens of years.

                          •  We've already dismissed that in this thread (0+ / 0-)

                            Abrupt climate changes are all over the geological and climatological record, some that took place within just a few years. Nobody disputes this on either side.

                            I have a lot of trouble believing that a species as technologically advanced as ours, that lives in every climate zone on Earth from the Arctic to the tropics, would not be able to adjust even to a reversion out of the current ice age (given that our species got its start before the present ice age, it would be familiar to us).

                          •  Possibilities (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Michael91

                            of catastrophic human-caused climate change existing. I don't think we're sure enough about it to warrant doing things that we otherwise wouldn't do.

                            Approximately 97% of the scientific community is (Doran, 2009).  You're free to disagree with the experts in the field if you want, but I wouldn't recommend it.  If 97% of cardiologists told you that you had developed a major heart murmur and would likely die if you didn't have it treated soon, and the other 3% said you were fine, would you say "The jury is still out" and ignore it?

                          •  If you check back earlier in the discussion (0+ / 0-)

                            Pragprogress has said he doesn't take expert opinion into account on climate science for whatever reason, so I don't think this argument is going to work. I tried using similar analogies, but to no avail.

                          •  Europe was the first to institute a cap&trade (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Michael91

                            system.  As a consequence, it was rather poorly designed.  Any US system would be based on learning the lessons of the European system.  In particular, Europe's big problems were the grandfathering in of existing industry, which generally meant that those companies with the best political connections benefited.

                            As for prices, you may remember that energy prices spiked worldwide during the same timeframe.  So crediting that to cap & trade is more than a little dishonest.  The largest price increase occurred from March to December of 2007, when the credits were available for nearly free.

                            As for emissions levels, 2005 levels were 3-4% below projected without the cap.  The article then gives numbers for 2006 and 2007, but they don't list others.  Emissions dropped 3% in 2008.  This was largely due to an increasing shift in use of natural gas for power due to the cost of credits for coal power.  If that's not results, what is?

                            You ever heard of the cure being worse than the disease?

                            I'm not really sure you understand what the disease we're speaking of is like.  Let's use a few examples.

                            1. The goal of the Copenhagen conference was to limit the world to a 2C temperature rise.  Judging from the past glacials, a mere 2C temperature rise corresponds to an equilibrium sea level rise of 6-9 meters.  That takes hundreds of years to reach equilibrium, and we're only looking at ~1 meter over the course of the next century if we limit the rise (rates of sea level rise increase over time).  But a few hundred years from now, you're looking at 6-9 meters.  That's enough to put a third of Florida underwater.  Even 1 meter sea level rise is like adding a meter to the storm surge of every hurricane that hits.
                            1. Nature has done this experiment before.  It was known as the PETM -- the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum.  For reasons still debated, the planet emitted large quantities of carbon dioxide and methane in a relatively short period of time, of a scale similar to what humans are doing today.  This caused a rapid spike in temperatures, sea level rise, and ocean acidification.  The effects on the planet were profound, almost impossible to overstate; it left the world such a different place that we give the era a new name (the Eocene).  
                            1. Like corals?  What would you feel about the destruction of 97% of the planet's corals?  That's what a 3.7 degree average temperature rise in the Earth's oceans would do; corals are extremely sensitive to temperature.  What used to be the two most common corals in the Gulf of Mexico (the Staghorn and Elkhorn corals) are now threatened species after a massive dieoff during the super-hot waters of 2005.  The twin threats of warming and pollution have practically nuked Gulf coral reefs; it's tragic to compare before and after shots of what are now huge coral graveyards.

                            AGW affects so many different things it's almost impossible to overstate it's long-term effects if we don't act.  "Acting" doesn't necessarily mean nuclear.  There are lots of options.  But sitting around and doing nothing isn't one of them.

                          •  Try typing Cap&Trade. It becomes Cap&Trade (0+ / 0-)
                          •  Erm... didn't work that time (0+ / 0-)

                            Last time, the &trade became a TM.

                          •  Oh: cap&trade to cap&trade -- lower case. (0+ / 0-)

                            Cap &trade !

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