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A few days ago some of us science-y bloggers were invited on a conference call with the Obama energy and environmental transition team. It was hopeful -- and freaking weird to be taken seriously by a White House team of any kind! And yet I couldn't help but wonder if they have a firm idea of the scope of the misinformation they're up against.

Just as one small example, you can't spend much time online discussing climate change without coming across the undead talking point, "In the 70s, all the scientists were predicting a new ice age, so why should we listen to them now." To hear the usual suspects tell it today, the earth science community was in a fenzied panic, claiming the ice was about the begin another long trek south. Like most zombie lies, this one is based on a few grains of truth, and a whole lotta whoppers (.pdf):

Despite active efforts to answer these questions, the following pervasive myth arose: there was a consensus among climate scientists of the 1970s that either global cooling or a full-fledged ice age was imminent. A review of the climate science literature from 1965 to 1979 shows this myth to be false. The myth’s basis lies in a selective misreading of the texts both by some members of the media at the time and by some observers today.

Back then, the temperature record did show a decline around 1940 followed by a sideways trend through the mid 70s. That item caused a discussion to break out between two camps. Both camps suspected increased industrial activity on the heels of the Great Depression was forcing the climate askew, but in opposite directions.

When stuff burns, two primary constituents are smoke and greenhouse gases (GHGs). In terms of climate, they tend to balance each other. Particles of soot reflect sunlight and cool the surroundings. GHGs retain reflected heat and warm things up. During the 70s, climate scientists debated which trend would win out. The smart money was on the more persistent GHGs because they were forecast to hang around longer and thus accumulate more than smoke particles. But suspecting and showing in science are not the same. With factory output on the sharp rise, and limited by 1970s computing technology, it was a challenge to accurately model the fiendishly complex dynamics to make evidence based predictions on which trend would ultimately prevail.  

Another ongoing debate during the 70s was over the triggers of Pleistocene Ice Ages. This one had nothing to do with anthropogenic factors: these climate shifts occurred before human civilization existed and spanned periods of time measured in many thousands of years. One leading candidate was the subtle interplay between cyclical changes in the shape of earth's orbit and periodic changes in the earth's axis. Scientists worked to determine the precise time in a meta-cycle when ice would retreat or advance.

Of course, the Me Generation had its share of climate change skeptics. Given the relative lack of data, and the absence of industry funded think-tanks and lobbyists to print astroturf, they were less visible in the public square. But, a look back at the peer reviewed research reveals very few papers predicting cooling and quite a few predicting warming. Of those that did lean cooler, some started with a hypothetical assumption such as "IF the soot was tripled, THEN ... cooling."

These discussions and others like them produced a rich source of ready made, peer reviewed quotes ripe for taking out of context. Mix all that up with a few skeptical claims and a dash of pop science, and the material to produce a sensationalist article with slick graphics hyping the onset of an ice age, is all there. That's exactly what happened. That's really all there is to it.

Today we have the enormous benefit of hindsight. And what an educational view it is! Not long after the Ice Age articles appeared in the mainstream media of the day, global temperatures began a sustained, upward trend and never looked back. Over the last decade in particular, signs of warming have accelerated and now threaten to outrace all but the more aggressive, scientific predictions. The picture is clearer and more nuanced:

  • Over the last three decades, GHGs have been winning big. Short of a planet earth shrouded by a smoky veil approaching a full on nuclear winter, that trend is forecast to continue.
  • The cooling during the 1950s through 1970s was restricted to the Northern Hemisphere, which is precisely where the particulates were being produced through industrial activity. This cooling impact began to disappear after the implementation of Clean Air Act[s], which limited the growth of sooty emissions in the industrial regions of the Northern Hemisphere. (And reduced acid rain).
  • Classic Pleistocene ice ages are indeed affected by Milankovitch Cycles but other, more down to earth factors were almost certainly in play. The exact tipping points between advancing and retreating glaciers is still a field of active and fascinating research. But it has no direct bearing on the immediate role of human activity on climate change.
  • During the Pleistocene, glaciers, and the cold that goes with them, may have tended to advance slowly and retreat quickly (This has ominous portent for the near future if correct). But there are fitful stops and starts, climate is quirky, especially on shorter time scales.
There was never a scientific consensus in the 1970s that an Ice Age was imminent. There was certainly no 'panic' or 'frenzy' among climate scientists. The fact is the consensus of climate science now is that observed global warming is forced, in part, by human activity.

For a few years, back in the 70s, the Ice Age claims took on a life of their own and echoed around in a subset of pop culture. Eventually reality and observation caught up to and killed it. It lay mostly dormant for thirty years until, a few years ago, the old story was lovingly exhumed by industry and right-wing PR hacks, and jolted dramatically back to life. It lives today only as a zombie lie in the heads of doubters, near impossible to kill, no matter how many times it's put down.

How the Obama energy and environment transition team deals with all that and more remains to be seen. Energy, climate, water, weather, agriculture ... The challenge before them is so Herculean, maybe it's not worth worrying too much about the siren call of zombie lies and those caught helplessly under their seductive spell (Look how long it took to just gloss over this one). Maybe all the transition team has to do is what it sounds like they're planning to do: craft a reality-based message to help explain the economic and national security benefits of clean energy at every opportunity; enlist the enormous technical talent, untapped for eight long miserable Bush years, to produce better evidence and brilliant solutions; focus on voters who are reachable. And yes, please, continue the promising early efforts to reach out to new media venues that are eager and willing to help.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 06:48 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Science returns to the White House in January (4+ / 0-)

      After 8 years of radical right wing nonsense masquerading as official policy, I know science being taken seriously by the White House seems a little odd.

      I am reading Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming and this non-issue is dealt with on page 44-45.

      "We let the special interests put their thumbs on the economic scales." - Barack Obama

      by Lefty Coaster on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 08:32:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Flashback to the 1950s & Weinberg's calculations (0+ / 0-)

      In the late 1950s, global climate change was an unknown threat to the world's environment and social systems. Except for a few ORNL [Oak Ridge National Laboratory] researchers who had just completed their first briefing to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) on the need to understand the global carbon cycle, the connection between rising carbon dioxide concentrations and potential changes in global climate was not common knowledge, nor were the consequences of climate change understood. It would not be until almost 15 years later—the mid-1970s—that a comprehensive Department of Energy (DOE) research program was established to study the effects of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations on the world's climate—the first global climate change program. DOE provided the leadership of the program.

      How did this happen? Oak Ridge had an important impact on the U.S. government's role in recognizing and offering solutions to the problem of carbon dioxide and climate. Former ORNL Director Alvin Weinberg was instrumental in bringing the problem of carbon dioxide's effects on climate to the attention of the government. Weinberg had learned from Jerry Olson, an ORNL ecologist, about the need to better understand green plants' role in the global carbon budget. Weinberg was the first to alert the Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA), the AEC's successor and the DOE's predecessor, to the potential of increased coal combustion to alter the climate in undesirable ways. The head of ERDA then established a carbon dioxide effects office in 1975. ERDA gave the new Institute for Energy Analysis (IEA) that Weinberg had established in Oak Ridge the responsibility of assessing the impacts of increased atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide. A few years later, ORNL and other national laboratories were addressing many aspects of what Vice President Al Gore calls "the most serious problem our civilization faces" or as other folks put it, "the granddaddy of all environmental issues."

      More science-based info here.

      The IPCC predicts average global temperatures to rise enough by 2050 to put 20-30% of all species at risk for extinction.

      by Plan9 on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 10:15:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm thinking that (0+ / 0-) apparent source for this diary is an excellent article published in a recent issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. Am writing this so anyone who wants a good source can check out that publication.

        btw--Kudos for putting this diary up!

  •  Great article. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WinSmith, Progressive Chick, rossl

    ""In the 70s, all the scientists were predicting a new ice age, so why should we listen to them now." "

    The difference between Partical pollution ( soot) which causes global cooling and green house gases?

    "Employees are the rungs on the ladder of success. Don't hesitate to step on them." Ferengi Rule of Aquistion #211

    by Vladislaw on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 06:51:26 AM PST

    •  New Ice Age (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pescadero Bill, Vladislaw

      I was one of those children of the 1970's that got a large dose of New Ice Age.  I remember reading a few Young Adult Sci Fi books about it too.

      I know the reason that they can't get the idea out of their little heads.  'Spock' told them that it was true in an episode of "In Search of!"

      "Whatever you say today in the comments...I shall take umbrage!" -- BiPM

      by Progressive Chick on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 09:54:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Lucky for them (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Anomaly

    I believe we have most of the solutions to these problems available to us, and most of the stupid, anti-scientific skepticism is gone (or removed to weird online quarters where only the brave and insane venture).  All we need is a team with the guts to implement the changes.

    Vote for yourself at

    by rossl on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 06:53:57 AM PST

    •  Solution - Continuously Simulate a Volcano (0+ / 0-)

      Lowell Wood (military scientist) has a solution to Global Warming

      Wood is infamous for championing fringe science, from X-ray lasers to cold-fusion nuclear reactors, as well as for his long affiliation with the Hoover Institution, a right-wing think tank on the Stanford campus. Everyone at Snowmass knew Wood's reputation. To some, he was a brilliant outside-the-box thinker; to others, he was the embodiment of Big Science gone awry...

      What if you could do an end run around carbon-trading schemes and international treaties and political gridlock and actually solve the problem? And what if the cost to get started was not trillions of dollars but $100 million a year -- less than the cost of a good-size wind farm?

      Wood's proposal was not technologically complex. It's based on the idea, well-proven by atmospheric scientists, that volcano eruptions alter the climate for months by loading the skies with tiny particles that act as mini-reflectors, shading out sunlight and cooling the Earth. Why not apply the same principles to saving the Arctic? Getting the particles into the stratosphere wouldn't be a problem -- you could generate them easily enough by burning sulfur, then dumping the particles out of high-flying 747s, spraying them into the sky with long hoses or even shooting them up there with naval artillery. They'd be invisible to the naked eye, Wood argued, and harmless to the environment. Depending on the number of particles you injected, you could not only stabilize Greenland's polar ice -- you could actually grow it. Results would be quick: If you started spraying particles into the stratosphere tomorrow, you'd see changes in the ice within a few months. And if it worked over the Arctic, it would be simple enough to expand the program to encompass the rest of the planet. In effect, you could create a global thermostat, one that people could dial up or down to suit their needs

      "Chance has put in our way a most singular and whimsical problem, and its solution is its own reward." -Sherlock Holmes

      by The Anomaly on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:40:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The problem with this idea (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        is that while the average lifetime of CO2 in the atmosphere is over a century and it's a decade or so for methane, the lifetime of sulfate particulates in the stratosphere is only a year or two.  So you'd have to do this in perpetuity.  Worse, you'd have to do more and more of it as the greenhouse gasses build up to higher concentrations.

        This really isn't an answer.

        John McCain - all aboard the lobbyist express!

        by jrooth on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 08:17:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Right, but who says we have to stop? (0+ / 0-)

          Fix the short term problem and deal with the consequences later.

          Pumping 20 to 25 liters of aerosols per second to keep enough particles in the stratosphere would cool temperatures, causing the planet's carbon sinks to suck more carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

          "That kind of flow rate can be handled by a single fire hose," said Caldeira. "For something like $100 million a year you could probably keep a hose in the stratosphere suspended by an array of balloons with pumps along the way."...

          Bring the geo-engineering process to a halt, and those sun-warmed carbon sinks spit the carbon dioxide right back into the atmosphere. The rebound warming, to temperatures that would have been reached without the geo-engineering, would be 10 to 20 times the pace of today's global warming. The rapid warming, up to 7 degrees Fahrenheit per decade, would wreak havoc on the planet and threaten civilization.

          To prevent disaster, the geo-engineering process would have to continue as long as carbon-dioxide levels were elevated.

          "Chance has put in our way a most singular and whimsical problem, and its solution is its own reward." -Sherlock Holmes

          by The Anomaly on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 08:53:08 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Consider the offensive military capabilities! (0+ / 0-)

          Who needs nukes when weather can be used as a weapon?

          The offensive use of geoengineering could take a variety of forms. Overproductive algae blooms can actually sterilize large stretches of ocean over time, effectively destroying fisheries and local ecosystems. Sulfur dioxide carries health risks when it cycles out of the stratosphere. One proposal would pull cooler water from the deep oceans to the surface in an explicit attempt to shift the trajectories of hurricanes...

          The subtle, long-term aspects of geoengineering could make it appealing. Because the overt purpose of geoengineering would be to fight global warming, and because complex climate systems would make it hard to definitively blame a given project for harmful outcomes elsewhere, offensive uses would likely be hard to detect with certainty. And, in a world where nuclear deterrence remains strong but the value of conventional military force has come under question, states will look for alternative, unexpected ways of boosting their strategic power relative to competitors.

          "Chance has put in our way a most singular and whimsical problem, and its solution is its own reward." -Sherlock Holmes

          by The Anomaly on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 09:02:10 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Another problem with this idea (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          is that even if global warming was thwarted by reflective particulates, the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has other unpleasant effects.  CO2 dissolved in water produces carbonic acid.  The oceans are becoming more acidic as more CO2 continues to dissove in them.  If this continues long enough, shellfish and corals may not be able to exist, because their shells will just dissolve in the acid water.  

          Renewable energy brings national security.

          by Calamity Jean on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 05:09:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  That could result in things just as bad as GW... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rainmanjr droughts, global cooling, irregular rain patterns, etc.  What's the point of stopping global warming if you just start another global catastrophe?

        Vote for yourself at

        by rossl on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 09:29:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Fair point, however (0+ / 0-)

          there is a great deal of profit to be made with this proposal.  The raw materials (sulfate particles) used for this project are widely available as an oil byproduct.  Further, the capability to directly offset emissions would mitigate the need to quickly reduce energy consumption.  

          if geoengineering works — why wait? Americans can drive their gas-guzzling SUVs to their hearts' content, and China can build as many coal-powered electricity plants as it wants. The online edition of the conservative magazine National Review recently made the case for geoengineering — in part because it prevents us from having to cut emissions. Similarly, in a recent article in the right-wing journal The National Interest, Wood and a coauthor painted geoengineering as a favorable alternative to the practical difficulties of controlling global carbon gas emissions.

          The question is, do environmentalists have the political clout to leverage research which clearly demonstrates the drawbacks to geoengineering such as reduced rainfall

          The global mean rainfall increased approximately 4 percent for a doubling of CO2 and decreases by 6 percent for a reduction in sunlight in his modeling study.

          "Because the global water cycle is more sensitive to changes in solar radiation than to increases in CO2, geoengineering could lead to a decline in the intensity of the global water cycle" Bala said.

          or damage to the ozone?

          A much-discussed idea to offset global warming by injecting sulfate particles into the stratosphere would have a drastic impact on Earth's protective ozone layer, new research concludes. The study, led by Simone Tilmes of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), warns that such an approach might delay the recovery of the Antarctic ozone hole by decades and cause significant ozone loss over the Arctic.

          "Chance has put in our way a most singular and whimsical problem, and its solution is its own reward." -Sherlock Holmes

          by The Anomaly on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 09:55:35 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Profit? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            The Anomaly

            What?  Did you just say that profit trumps the environment?  Why, then, even propose solving global warming?

            Vote for yourself at

            by rossl on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 10:33:48 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm identifying the challenges we face (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              and taking on the role of devil's advocate here.  The point is that although the obvious solution to climate change is to reduce emissions there will be diversionary tactics and proposals to try to dampen the effect of upcoming legislation.  

              The political challenge to be recognized is that big industries such as coal and gas will inevitably try to usurp the process and implement their own solutions (such as geoengineering) which protect their profits.  We should be wary that this may come in the form of a substitute, stripped down bill slipped in by a sold-out senator which on its face would address climate change but in reality is just protecting private interests.

              We're not there yet, but we should be fully aware of the battle which is to come.  We have a mandate for change and must protect the integrity of the laws which will soon come forward.

              "Chance has put in our way a most singular and whimsical problem, and its solution is its own reward." -Sherlock Holmes

              by The Anomaly on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 11:27:08 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  It's just like humanity to propose more tinkering (0+ / 0-)

                We brilliant humans don't need to simply take steps toward clean energy.  NO!  We can take charge of the Earth's ecosystem and control it, make it useful to us, and even make greater money from this control.  We humans can control everything, after all, and not have to give up a damn thing.  Man, are we brilliant or what?

                "It's time to start all over/make a new beginning." - Tracy Chapman

                by rainmanjr on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 05:52:22 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  I had a personal view at the heart of this (18+ / 0-)

    In those years as I was in my teens, I was a first-hand witness to so many of these arguments.  My dad was one of the founders of the physical oceanography department at University of Miami, and the big players - especially in the modeling side of things - were regular house-guests.

    You don't know the number of times I've explained to various skeptics the nature of the discussion and have everything I say fall on deaf ears because of a few popular articles.  It's mind-numbingly frustrating.

    John McCain - all aboard the lobbyist express!

    by jrooth on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 06:55:49 AM PST

    •  They (7+ / 0-)

      don't want to give that zombie lie up. Human nature I guess. Interesting vantage point you had, maybe you should write it up?

      Read UTI, your free thought forum

      by DarkSyde on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 06:57:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Deniers are attacking the scientific method (8+ / 0-)

        just as the tobacco co's attacked the incontrovertible evidence that smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease and COPD (to name just a few ways smoking kills). The deniers are using the same nonsense "it's just a theory" word games that fundamentalists have used to attack the well proven fact of evolution.

        Scientists are always questioning existing concepts and proposing alternative hypotheses. That's the nature of science.

        The deniers, who don't like the results of science are using lies and distortions to attack science instead of proposing reasonable solutions to the build up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

        "It's the planet, stupid."

        by FishOutofWater on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:23:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And this is why we must stop RFK Jr. (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Plan9, esquimaux, 0wn, Korinthios, kathryn1812

          from being names EPA Administrator. How could we complain about right wing nutjobs denying the facts of global warming when he questions the facts that vaccines do not cause autism?

          •  Ya know, there is that one case (0+ / 0-)

            of a child who became autistic, triggered by an injection. I don't know how close RFK jr. is to that case, but the parents won a settlement from the drug company.
            And of course the FDA is never wrong.... right?

            "A lie repeated, may be accepted as fact, but the truth repeated becomes self evident." -Elonifer Skyhawk

            by Fireshadow on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 08:59:52 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  No more ideologues; bring back OTA (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            The right-wing global warming skeptics get their info from fossil-fuel funded think tanks.

            RFK Jr. gets his info from advocacy groups, not from peer-reviewed scientific journals.

            So that Congress gets peer-reviewed scientific info from scientists instead of lobbyists, let's revive the Office of Technology Assessment.

            The IPCC predicts average global temperatures to rise enough by 2050 to put 20-30% of all species at risk for extinction.

            by Plan9 on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 10:12:58 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  The issue (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MeToo, FishOutofWater, Fireshadow

          of denying, but never coming up with a solution is of interest. It's rather mindful of my children, when small. They would stand face to face yelling Yes it, Not isn't, until they were distracted by a shiny something.

          Perhaps, these folks just never got beyond that phase. Being right is of more import than solving any problem.

          Common Sense is not Common

          by RustyBrown on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:38:42 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  a Major Rewiring is needed.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eeff, NCrissieB

      Humans do not like change. Tradition and doing things "the usual way" is literally hard wired into our brains.

      We have to work to rewire the synapsis of our minds to not only accept change, but to actively embrace it.

      "Employees are the rungs on the ladder of success. Don't hesitate to step on them." Ferengi Rule of Aquistion #211

      by Vladislaw on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 06:58:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You could say that about every major issue! n/t (0+ / 0-)

        Vote for yourself at

        by rossl on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:04:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  99% of the Problem is Hardwired Into Our Systems (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        of government.

        There must be half a dozen serious flaws and internal contradictions in the Constitution we'll never lived to see recognized.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:10:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That could be a good thing (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Our government was designed to prevent hasty, regretful decisions.  Overall, what you're talking about isn't all bad.

          Vote for yourself at

          by rossl on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:16:14 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  It documents unresolved disputes. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Randy, jrooth

          That's the source of those "serious flaws" and "internal contradictions."  They're not "flaws."  They accurately document the unresolved disputes of the Constitutional Convention, and that's why there is no (singular) "original intent."  Simply, there was no single "original Intender."

          And as there's no singular "present intent" - "the Decider" notwithstanding - many of those disputes remain and will remain unresolved.  That's the nature of this grand experiment we call democratic government.

      •  More precisely ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Humans don't like uncertainty.  It's not that we don't like change, so long as we feel we know exactly how things will change, and feel we can control those changes.  We change stuff all the time.  We don't mind change.

        We do mind uncertainty, though, and therein lies the popular aversion to empiricism and science, which are founded on and grounded in uncertainty.

        •  Uncertainty - and lack of control... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          This is an excellent point! Uncertainty worries people.

          Yes, science is 'founded on and grounded in uncertainty' but the genius of science is that it attempts to quantify its uncertainties as a tool for reducing them.

          You make a second point which needs more emphasis: we don't mind change if 'we feel we can control those changes.' In fact I would argue that we love change - people are always planning improvements in their lives and surroundings. Change that we plan for ourselves is good. We think about the consequences and try to minimize the uncertainties and we convince ourselves that it'll be a great change. It's when we ourselves are not in control of the changes that the uncertainties loom large and become frightening.

    •  I was in my teens & 20s (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jrooth, esquimaux, Fireshadow

      and interested in climate change.  The mainstream articles on global cooling were few and far between.  The zombie lie is a NEW lie - propagated since 1990.

      Nuclear winter (in the late 1970's and early 80's) got a LOT more play than the earlier concerns about cooling.  But the rightwing does not reference those scientists because they are not useful, hence airbrushed from history.

      The conservatives are Stalinists to the core.  They rewrite history daily.

  •  January 20th can't come soon enough. (5+ / 0-)

    It will be wonderful to have an administration that values science. thanks for this excellent post.

  •  Sounds like you're saying the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DarkSyde, The Anomaly

    Clean Air Act caused global warming.

    Thanks a lot, evil hippie environmentalists!

    Yes, Santa Claus, there is a Virginia. And it went Democratic.

    by Anarchofascist on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 06:58:31 AM PST

  •  The "Ice Age" meme is 15+ years old (10+ / 0-)

    My father is a neo-con professor type and I can remember him warning me as far back as the early 1990s, when the Earth Day events were first finding renewed vigor, that I shouldn't trust environmentalists because "in the 70s, they said we were going through an ice age."

    With all due respect to my father, he's since changed his tune (he now acknowledges climate change is real).  But he was a big reader of National Review and John Birch society stuff.

    So I know the "Ice Age" myth has been firmly implanted in wingnuttia for 15+ years.

    As with most wingnut memes, it's the anecdote to disprove any and all science that subsequently comes their way.

    Republican minds need the "factoid" to go to whenever confronted with harsh reality and/or science.


    "George Bush continues to lie and distort facts on Saddam's WMD program!"  "Everyone thought Saddam had WMDs!"

    "Al Gore says ...."  "Al Gore once said he invented the internet!"

    "Ted Kennedy did...."  "Chappaquiddick!!!"

    That's how their minds work.

    Everything to be discredited needs the one icon to discredit it, which is used like a talisman whenever that person, place or thing, reappears.

    •  Good (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eeff, WinSmith, blue armadillo, Aidos, gsenski

      point. One of the people I discussed the ice myth with is an educated scientist with a stirng background in natural history. But no matter how much I talked about paleoclimate science and modern research, he got in a dig at "algore" (His spelling) in damn near every response he wrote.

      Read UTI, your free thought forum

      by DarkSyde on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:04:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There was an article in Science (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      about two years ago, suggesting that, based purely on climate cycles, we should be cooling, not warming. They traced back a number of these cycles and noticed that the expected trendline started to diverge from actual data about 8,000 years ago. The article suggested that man's habits began to have very subtle effects that far back when we learned how to burn forests, farm the land, and (especially) create huge methane factories in man-made rice bogs.

    •  "... you put Artificial facts inside your head!" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      my favorite quote by David Letterman to Bill'O. It shut him right up.

      "A lie repeated, may be accepted as fact, but the truth repeated becomes self evident." -Elonifer Skyhawk

      by Fireshadow on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 08:29:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  When the refrigerator is broken and the ice is (7+ / 0-)

    melting I dont want to sit an argue about who unplugged it. I want to know how to fix it.

    The artic is melting. We can sit and argue or try and fix it.

    "Employees are the rungs on the ladder of success. Don't hesitate to step on them." Ferengi Rule of Aquistion #211

    by Vladislaw on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:03:26 AM PST

  •  The biggest problem is that way too many people (11+ / 0-)

    are scientifically illiterate.  They cannot read an article and understand whether or not it is factual or built on shaky science.  They do not understand the difference between a hypothesis and a theory.  They do not understand that science is based on facts that are based on models and hypotheses.  Unfortunately this is going to make it very difficult to pass meaningful legislation to stop Global Warming.  

  •  Don't Listen to Doctors (9+ / 0-)

    As recently as the 1980's, doctors were saying that
    stress was largely responsible for causing ulcers. Now they say this bacteria existing in the stomach can be a big factor.

    Really their argument is that asinine. For even if some climate experts then were talking about a possible ice age back in the 70's, the knowledge of climate has grown enormously since then.

    H.L. Mencken: "A nation of sheep begets a government of wolves"

    by igneous on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:04:01 AM PST

    •  I'm One Such Patient. 8 Years of "Irritable Bowel (8+ / 0-)

      " accidentally cured in the first 5 hours on an antibiotic for a bout of diarrhea.

      The Australian doctor who discovered this finally got his Nobel last year or the year before.

      But I think big pharma is suppressing this information pretty hard. I rarely meet anyone who knows about it.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:12:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Big Pharma (9+ / 0-)

        is not interested in CURING a disease, they want to learn how to MANAGE it with a daily "purple little pill"

        "Employees are the rungs on the ladder of success. Don't hesitate to step on them." Ferengi Rule of Aquistion #211

        by Vladislaw on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:15:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  So skepticism is good for some things just not (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          the GW debate?

        •  Another Zombie (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MeToo, 1world, Aidos

          Big Pharma is not interested in CURING a disease, they want to learn how to MANAGE it with a daily "purple little pill"

          Any large pharmaceutical would be thrilled beyond measure to have the legendary cure for cancer.  

          Such a cure would not just eradicate all tumors in some patients for whatever time but cure all patients of all cancers and restore them to them the health that they had prior to developing cancer.

          You think Pfeizer, Glaxo, you name one drug company, would not like to have one of those?

          In the meantime they mostly eat other's lunch with copycat drugs while the FDA frowns on anything too radical and journalists write about people dying from drugs rather than living.

          I have written about one scientist in particular who believes he has a cure for cancer and most other diseases.

          Does he?

          Obviously the odds are rather long against him.  The money is short and skeptics - well you know how skeptics are.

          Just a crackpot?

          Nope.  His discovery is on the frontline of studies all over the world.

          What does that mean?

          What do you think it means when patents have limited lifespans and mortals have only a little more.

          Meantime Big Pharma will go where the money is and the FDA will play it safe with the old timey remedies and journalists write about the dangers of drugs and Naderites will lock arms with Big Pharma because there are too many drugs out there anyway.

          "We are going to cure childhood leukemia," a doctor told me long ago.  I didn't believe him.  Desperate people with doomed children begged for a chance of life for their kids.  Danged if he didn't do it.  Not a real cure but progress, great progress.  Took time and patience and many missteps and many doctors and scientists working against a backdrop of apathy and ignorance to cure some little kids with childhood leukemia.  

          And the monetary reward?

          Best to play it safe says Big Pharma.

          Is that what you mean?

          Climate is the same.

          Best,  Terry

          •  big pharma and advertising (0+ / 0-)

            One of the big problems is when pharma was allowed to market their products through advertising. There is a book on this (can't remember the name). How about Obama ban pharma marketing?

            •  We're the only ones (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              who DON'T ban big pharma commercials.  Time to catch up with the rest of the industrialized world.

            •  Ban Drug Advertising? Sure but (0+ / 0-)

              that is hardly the only, or even the worst, abuse used in promoting drugs.

              The drug companies are mighty helpful to aspiring doctors in medical schools, provide all manner of opportunities to attend conferences and symposia in fine resorts or on yachts in great locations.  The benefits handed out to doctors are mighty fine.

              Marketing power or some such is what is most important in the drug business rather than good drugs.

              Big Pharma is aided in its monopoly hold by the FDA and the critics rather than otherwise.

              No doubt advertising can create demand for dangerous and worthless drugs but they wouldn't so likely to be on the market in the first place without the aid of even their most severe critics who are more likely to concentrate on the advertising than their own sins of omission.

              Best,  Terry

            •  I love the mumbled "possible side effects" (0+ / 0-)

              litany that concludes these pitches.  If you're prepared to become a stroke victim or a paraplegic, big pharma's got the stuff for you.  

      •  The nature of empiricism ... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        winterbanyan, k from va

        ... is that the "best evidence" right now might turn out to be an exception to a more comprehensive "best evidence" tomorrow.

        It's still the "best evidence" right now, though.

      •  My IBS (0+ / 0-)

        was cured when I discovered I had Celiac Disease--gluten intolerance.

        I discovered it, not my doctors.

    •  science and medicine (0+ / 0-)

      What I've heard is that is a fundamental difference between the practice of medicine and scientific research. That is, medicine is still mostly based on apprenticeship (though it is changing) and scientific research is evidence based. After my bad experiences with doctors during pregnancy and childbirth, I am a more informed consumer and a strong skeptic of most doctors.

  •  We had a few cold winters (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in England at the end of the 1970s and early 1980s.  The MSM there was full of crap about "is a new Ice Age on its way", and all they had to do was go and talk with, say, sheep farmers (or in US terms, sheep ranchers) in their fifties or sixties who had seen what weather used to be like up where they worked in the Yorkshire Dales or the North Pennines, and they would say something like, "Aye, it's a bit parky up on t' moor today, but before t' war this is how winter always was."

    But the stupid MSM types evidently couldn't understand the Yorkshire dialect and the smart ones refused to, because, after all, the farmers were only old and working class.

    "Note: "parky"=chilly; t' war = THE war (World War II).  The Brits, at least Gen Y and older, still call it "the war" even now.  

  •  Alice's resturant (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RustyBrown, kathryn1812

    came on the radio as I was finishing reading this diary!
    I bet Arlo could do a good song on this topic

  •  RE Global Cooling (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jrooth, RustyBrown, Vladislaw

    From Confronting a Global Warming Skeptic

    RE GLOBAL COOLING:  The canard 'oh, those scary scientists, they predicted global cooling 30 years ago, now its global warming.  They're just loony environmentalists who want to scare us and do bad things to us.'  Well, today there is a widespread consensus (which will be, again, demonstrated with the coming IPCC report) as above, about Global Warming.  In the 1970s, there was a popular science book on Global Cooling (The Cooling) that fostered some reaction in the popular press. There were magazine articles (includingNewsweek ), and some scientific speculation due to developing knowledge of glacial cycles combined with noted cooling trend from air pollution particles blocking sunlight.  On the other hand, there was no IPCC, not 1000s of peer-reviewed studies, no ... Now, to understand just how strong the agreement was in the scientific community on Global Cooling, we have to go no further than the Professor Reid Bryson's (not the book's author) introduction to The Cooling:

    The Cooling will be controversial, because among scientists, most of the matters it deals with are hotly debated. There is no agreement on whether the earth is cooling. There is not unanimous agreement on whether is has cooled, or one hemisphere has cooled and the other warmed. One would think that there might be consensus about what data there is - but there is not. There is no agreement on the causes of climatic change, or even why it should not change amongst those who so maintain. There is certainly no agreement about what the climate will do in the next century, though there is a majority opinion that it will change, more or less, one way or the other. Of that majority, a majority believe that the longer trend will be downward. Nevertheless, it is an important question, as this book points out, and it is time for some of the questions to be settled. Lowell Ponte has summarized the data and theories very well, and has reasonably concluded that a rapid change in Earths climate is possible, perhaps even likely, within the next few decades, and that this would have serious consequences for mankind.

    The introduction to Ponte's book raises many questions and doubts about Ponte's work but says that this is interesting work, an interesting theory, and that this merits examination. Hmmm ... a scientist who is saying "interesting theory presented here, let's figure out if he's right and what it means".  Isn't that how science is supposed to work with hypothesis / theory and testing?  Well, Global Warming/Global Climate Change is far advanced beyond this test a theory/concept stage. And, pointing to one book and Newsweek article to discredit the Global Warming work is shallow efforts to create doubt rather than serious examination of issues that should be taken seriously.

    "But the science continued to evolve, and still does, even though so many choose to ignore it when it does not fit with predetermined political agendas."

  •  I Saw a Global Temp Chart in a Museum (0+ / 0-)

    and I think it was the Smithsonian, in the early 70's, showing the earth on the precipice of the plunge into the coming Ice Age.

    There was definitely more than enough sober discussion about it at the time for the conservatives to re-history it as consensus.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:13:56 AM PST

  •  Dr. Sagan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Dr. Carl Sagan talks about Nuclear Winter and Global Warming in this addendum to Cosmos just before the two minute mark.

    •  Here's the Link (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The video doesn't appear to me linking in.  Here's the URL:

      I voted for change.

      by Dotty Gale on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:16:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thx so much for the great clip, Dotty!! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dotty Gale

        Carl is pretty my biggest hero in science of all (and of many others), and i love to see any clips of him..  though it is bittersweet, and always brings a few tears too, because he was taken from us far too soon. :-(

    •  what is your point? Nuclear winter (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dotty Gale, esquimaux

      happens only if we set off alot of nuclear weapons.  It is not a climate trend.  Some right wingers have told me that Sagan's idea about nuclear winter "prove" that global warming is a hoax.

      1. Sagan's idea had nothing to do with long term climate trends UNLESS there was a widespread nuclear war
      1. back then the right wing said Sagan was an idiot and was completely wrong
      •  Ding (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        You get a climate friendly non-polluting cigar.  Being a child of that era, I only remember the Nuclear Winter part of global "cooling" which has absolutely nothing at all to do with ordinary human activity over time.  That indeed is my point.

        I voted for change.

        by Dotty Gale on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 08:05:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Nuc winter hypothesis was debatable even then (0+ / 0-)

        Only a small group of scientists took "nuclear winter" seriously.  It was based on the highly improbably notion that hundreds or thousands of nuclear weapons would be detonated around the world, kicking up a lot of dust.

        The IPCC predicts average global temperatures to rise enough by 2050 to put 20-30% of all species at risk for extinction.

        by Plan9 on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 10:19:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Back in the 70's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I was in high school here in Mass.  I distinctly remember our "unified science" teacher discussing what a global rise in temperature of 3 degrees farenheit would mean.  We didn't discuss global cooling at all.

    That's my earliest recollection of global warming and though that particular teacher was not an expert in climate, he was very interested in the topic even then.

    Oh, Snap! (I promise to only use this phrase wisely. Oh snappilicious, snap snap, I can't help it.)

    by lalo456987 on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:17:44 AM PST

  •  The Best Kind of Propaganda..... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eeff, DarkSyde, evora, wvmom, kathryn1812 the half-truth twisted into a whole lie, because you just can't say "That's not true," you have to explain it, and that takes time, time the MSM especially won't provide.

    The neocons know this. They are expert at taking a small kernel of truth, like a few comments from scientists, and embellishing it into a full myth...and from the length of this diary, we can see how long it takes to provide the real story. The people who put out this propaganda know that few people will listen or read a long truth...but they'll believe a short lie.

    •  Which is why 'politicians' use (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue armadillo, Fireshadow, Vladislaw

      sound bites. They know the general public has a short attention span, and for the most part, don't have the inclination to actually research the issue.  

      This is one of the things that I found impressive with Obama's debate performances..the ones where he was constantly criticized.  It was not his best forum simply because you could see he was considering a more complex question behind the superficial one asked and attempting to give a full, meaningful answer. All of the other long-time politicians had become very skilled at their sound-bite applause lines and he was actually attempting a thoughtful dialogue.  

      The nice thing about having a president capable of complex thought is that he is also very adept at explaining it in terms most people can understand. That, coupled with his ability to inspire, gives me a lot of hope that we will finally be doing something constructive to address global warming.

  •  Well, what do we want the O Administration (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jrooth, Bush Bites

    to do about it?  Is anyone looking seriously at Cap & Dividend proposal for climate policy? I think it looks way better than cap & trade (much simpler, much more progressive for US family incomes, more powerful in stimulating transition to green energy and non-carbon transportation).  Check it out at

    What do you think?

    •  I'm going to have to think about it some (0+ / 0-)

      but it looks interesting.

      One issue that concerns me is that without the trade portion of cap and trade, some industry infrastructure would be hit very hard and perhaps not be able to transition before going under.  Or is there trading of permits in this proposal too?  I didn't see it in the quick glance I gave it.

      John McCain - all aboard the lobbyist express!

      by jrooth on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 08:32:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  WBAP in Dallas (0+ / 0-)

    I've started listening to WBAP wingnut radio. They push the benefits of carbon dioxide and quote sources who says we're on the verge of a new ice age.

    O'REILLY: "the FOX News the most unfair channel and is always trying to get the Republicans elected."

    by plok on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:19:35 AM PST

  •  Data analysis is getting more rigorous every year (0+ / 0-)

    It seems most skeptics tend to just naysay climate change, and blindly true believers bristle at just the use of the term "climate change" instead of "global warming", but since the accumulated data sets have attracted analysis by more than climatologists, the whole field seems to be getting more open and objective. Mann et al, although now more of an early casualty, at least attracted enough attention to the field that it has triggered most of the rigorous work.

  •  Soot warms the atmosphere (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DarkSyde, blue armadillo, Onomastic

    When you burn stuff - gasoline, diesel, wood - the aerosol that is emitted includes organic matter (OM) and "black carbon" (BC) [coal power plants - see below].  Technically - and this we should be - soot usually refers to BC (more accurately, the BC comes along with some OM).
    As the name suggests, BC absorbs light, and warms the immediate atmosphere.

    The cooling aerosol is typically sulfates emitted by coal power plants, as well as the organic matter (and any biogenic organic matter).

    As I said earlier, OM and BC are often emitted together, and the net effect depends on the mixing state - whether the BC is by itself, or coated with OM (and even coated BC may be warming, based on the scattering/absorption balance).

    Here's an article that discusses addressing climate change by control of BC or "soot."
    [Disclosure - I worked with Dr Bond.  This is me.]

    Yes, I know CNN often uses "soot" to refer to all particulate matter - but most PM is sulfate or similar non-BC particles, and so this terminology is not correct.

    On GOTV duty Nov 1-4 in CO. Maxed out at $538 to Obama, Clinton, O2B and ActBlue.

    by randomsubu on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:27:04 AM PST

    •  Linked (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue armadillo, randomsubu, Onomastic

      I thought about being more precise, after a couple of climate science sources mentioned the same -- with the same caveat that soot can be used broadly too. But I was over a thousand words already and I didn't think anyone would catch it. Glad to be wrong about the latter though!

      Read UTI, your free thought forum

      by DarkSyde on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:31:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The strongest effect of all particulates (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DarkSyde, Onomastic

        is cloud nucleating. Water vapor requires a physical "location" to transform into the liquid phase as a droplet. Droplets can then build upon themselves - however, more particulates will tend inhibit droplet size growth in favor of more numerous, but smaller droplets. These wispy, white clouds are much more reflective and cause net heat loss.

        A perfect example of this is jet contrails. These contrails are a mixture of water vapor and small carbon and carbonaceous particles that the water vapor immediately nucleates upon.

    •  Cooling aerosols (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DarkSyde, Onomastic

      Just clarifying one more thing:

      IF the soot was tripled, THEN ... cooling.

      This "soot" that cools the atmosphere does NOT refer to the sooty (black) emissions from burning wood (see Arken's comment below), but to non-light-absorbing sulfates that are emitted by coal power plants, nitrates (vehicular NOx and dairy ammonia), and organic matter.

      On GOTV duty Nov 1-4 in CO. Maxed out at $538 to Obama, Clinton, O2B and ActBlue.

      by randomsubu on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:39:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  *Way* psyched Obama-folk listen to Kossacks!! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DarkSyde, RustyBrown, rini6

    (I wanted to use the tense "are listening", but the dreaded limit on characters even in the subject line restricted me.. ;-> )

    DarkSyde-  great analysis above, and i know you will be informing them well and rigorously - as they will need to be informed in detail on this and many other issues.  i'm quite certain now that groups like Scientists and Engineers for America, the Union of Concerned Scientists and other similar fine groups that lobby in DC for science to be heard as it is, vs. being warped and distorted by someone's agenda, are going to be much, much more heeded in this Admin.  

    And i'm just so tickled and even proud that a fellow Kossack is amongst that august group getting the new Admin's ear. :->  Because you're of course right -- they're gonna get a whole load of horsedoodoo from the Right as we move forward on this (just think: J. Inhofe.  ugh).

    Damn -- sometimes i still feel so far like i'm in an alternate world, where a  black guy has won the Pres. of the USA (and i can tell you for certain that if you had taken a poll a year ago, not too many folks -- including me, i have to admit -- would've believed America was grown up enough to do this).  

    DAMN proud now along with Michelle O. to be an American, today.. :->  .  and that we're going to have a serious and real Admin that cares about the American people, and the rest of the world, and science, vs. their little coterie's pocketbook, and their theocratic and ideological views of the world and the Universe.  

    Sometimes, i just feel like pinching myself and saying -- i'm not in some fictional movie here (like Bulworth), am i..??  but then i see Barack on Youtube giving his weekly 'fireside' chat about what he's going to do starting in just 60 days, and i am relieved, and calmed, and say to myself "yes, it does seem to be the Real World (DC), indeed."

    Anyway -- keep up the great work!!

    •  I'm (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      xylem, Vladislaw

      telling you, it was fucking weird man. We're just not sued to it. And it's a good thing, I don't mean to be cynical here. But we're human beings, and I could see how some of us might be tempted to trade access and membership, depending on the perks, for objective criticism.

      Read UTI, your free thought forum

      by DarkSyde on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:39:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, that is the lure of the actual "Dark Side".. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DarkSyde, Fireshadow

        You must resist it, DarkSyde!! ;->

        Yes, it's very human i'm sure to want to start toadying up to power to get those perquisites that go along with being in the 'in' circle.  but as long as we politely and respectfully keep each other in check, through e.g. this ongoing 'national water cooler' conversation that is DKos, i think we'll all be ok.  which is i'm quite certain btw what Barack is doing for himself by creating his team of rivals, because he is very, very sharp and strong-willed and decisive himself, and hearing contrary opinions and being able to clearly argue against them not just for sophistry's sake, but to get at the truth, is what matters for a leader in the end.

        Anyway - i have utmost faith in you and the other scientists who are now finally going to get a real and impartial hearing with our govt.  so i am happy to have you and others represent the vast majority of other climate scientists who know the truth of this matter also, as you go talk with this Admin, and i will also take the responsibility of making sure to calmly and respectfully call you on something when i do disagree, or see you saying things just to curry favor.  deal?  i hope so. :->

      •  What was the stated purpose (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        of the conference call, if you don't mind me asking?

  •  MORE zombie lies ::: "mandated health care" ::: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The defining issue that will distinguish this administration from Republicans is HEALTHCARE!

    The Republican Party will go down in history as The Party Against The People. With 50 cents of every premium dollar wasted on "administrative costs," The Republican Party will finally trash itself, choking on its subversion of its own marginal base. Their most gifted spokespersons will ultimately betray their flocks with hypocrisy and lies. The battle for universal healthcare has already been fought and won in the election of 2008, but Republicans don't even realize it yet.

    Consumer Watchdog Comments On Health Insurer's Self-Serving Support of "Individual Mandate"
    CONTACT: Jerry Flanagan, (310) 889-4912
    Santa Monica, CA
    -- Consumer Watchdog said the health insurance industry's support of national health care reform on the condition that it includes a requirement that every American buy insurance coverage -- the so called "individual mandate" -- is self-serving.  The proposal amounts only to a customer delivery system for the fragmented, wasteful private insurance market.  It will not solve America's health care problems and will only encourage the industry to charge higher premiums and demand more taxpayer subsidies while providing less health care.

    "Insurance companies expect praise because they are 'willing' to sell their policies at whatever price they want to people who are forced to buy?  That's like GM agreeing to a bailout plan that requires every American to buy a new Suburban each year, as long as GM gets to set the price and decide whether or not to include the transmission," said Jerry Flanagan of Consumer Watchdog. "If consumers can't afford coverage, or refuse to pay for a junk policy, they'll face tax penalties. Turning the U.S. government into a collection agency for for-profit health insurers is not universal health care, it’s full employment for HMO executives."

    Not surprisingly, the mandatory purchase of health insurance is unpopular with middle-class Americans when they are told they could have to pay some of the premium costs, according to a 2008 Campaign for Consumer Rights poll. Less than one in five voters (16%) support such a plan.  Nearly two-thirds (63%) are opposed when told there is no limit on what insurers could charge.  According to a recent Harvard School of Public Health and Massachusetts Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation poll, only 37% of those impacted by the Massachusetts' individual mandate support it

    The Campaign of Consumer Rights poll is available at:

    The Massachusetts individual mandate law is not a national model for universal health care, not only due to the serious flaws in the approach, but also because Massachusetts has relatively few uninsured to begin with, and most insurers in the state are nonprofits:

    - Massachusetts’ policymakers failed to regulate insurance premiums. Despite the state’s stronger patient protections and lower percentage of uninsured, premium costs under the individual mandate continue to escalate. As a result, the board implementing the new law was forced to cut back on coverage benefits and shift toward high-deductible plans that reduced access to care.

    - Despite dramatic reductions in coverage, premiums continue to increase and fewer Massachusetts resident can afford health coverage. New enrollment numbers for the state-subsidized Commonwealth Care health plans show that the number of people newly enrolled fell from July to September.

    The inevitable outcome of Massachusetts' push for coverage expansions while refusing to regulate health insurance overhead and profit, provide an alternative to the private market, or guarantee minimum benefits is a proliferation of bare bones, junk insurance.  Under such an approach, a patient might be technically "insured" but will not receive the coverage they need when they get sick.

    [my emph.]

    Consumer Watchdog is a nationally recognized non-partisan consumer advocacy organization.

    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." -Thomas Jefferson

    by ezdidit on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:29:21 AM PST

    •  Well ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ezdidit, winterbanyan

      ... if we hold elections to choose a dictator who then can put in prison anyone who disagrees with him, then elections are a stupid idea and must be canceled immediately....

      Of course, that "if..." statement is untrue, so the rest of the argument becomes meaningless.

      And that's how "zombie lies" are told.  They assume a predicate which is not true - "If science were worth anything, it would get it right the first time and never need to change its findings" - and then use that to "disprove" any scientific finding.

    •  And this has to do with this diary how? n/t (0+ / 0-)
      •  LIES that the right wing tells us. (0+ / 0-)

        Their lies are ubiquitous, from the DoJ, the DoL, ...each and every Cabinet department has been subverted and corrupted! It is outrageous!

        (Please note: I respectfully did not intend to hijack a thread. Sorry if this comment appeared to do so.)

        "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." -Thomas Jefferson

        by ezdidit on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 08:42:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  What I have learned from this: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, DarkSyde

    To combat global warming, we need to generate lots more soot! Of course, we can't burn stuff because that will create more carbon, so everyone go to your nearest charcoal grill and throw its contents up into the air! We can do this, people!

    (-8.00, -7.18) I got my country back!

    by Arken on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:30:08 AM PST

    •  More Soot! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Well certain kinds of particulates anyway. But as you point out, it's a game of rapidly diminishing returns. Unless we find a reflective, airborne subtstance with the right set of properties cheap or useful enough to manufacture in large quantities without producing GHGs.

      Read UTI, your free thought forum

      by DarkSyde on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:34:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You want soot? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      As the graph shows, the 1940s cooling trend occurred when we were burning cities right and left during World War II. Also, my dad told me of the skies over Europe being filled with vapor trails of B-17s that helped cool things down. (Post 9/11 studies showed the temperature impact of the 3-day grounding of the U.S. air fleet.)
      Personally, I think green energy should be argued on economic grounds alone. There's really no need to get into the science debate.

    •  We can always nuke Finland (0+ / 0-)

      .. oh .. W is only going to be Preznit a few more weeks! Hurry George. Hurry!

      2008, the Year the Republican Party dissolved into a little pond of goo

      by shpilk on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 09:56:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Holocene glacial history in the Sierra Nevada (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    At a recent climate change conference (CEREC) held in Bishop, CA, Doug Clark spoke of his work and that of his students, studying the climate record found within moraine deposits in the Sierra and Cascades, and the sediment within lakes downstream of the Palisade Glacier in the central Sierra Nevada. They found that the Cascades and Sierra Nevada were pretty much ice free during most of the the last 11,000 years.  Beginning 3,200 years ago, cirque glaciers began to reform.  The Palisade Glacier showed a series of increasing peaks, culminating with the Little Ice Age maximum 150-200 years ago.  Beginning 150 years ago the ice began melting and the warming trend shows no sign of slowing.

    moderation in everything ... including moderation

    by C Barr on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:30:40 AM PST

  •  One of the reasons we now discuss (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "climate change" rather than "global warming" is that there is a serious body of scientific thought that is concerned that the huge fresh-water melt from the glaciers on Greenland, etc, could stall the North Atlantic current.  

    If the North Atlantic current stalls, there WILL be another ice age, and some scientists predict it could happen in a matter of 10 years once the current stalls, as it will no longer be carrying warm water north.

    The only thing anyone knows for sure is that we are dangerously nearing a climate change of epic proportions.  But as time passes, and more is understood... a new question is taking center stage: WHICH kind of climate change?

    I have read recent scientific projections that give us approximately ten more years during which the earth will be able to struggle to balance the climate.  Then the oceans, now the major engine of stabilization, will no longer be able to make the huge corrections.  And we will tip, one way or another.

    "It's what you think you know that just ain't so that will get you into trouble." --Will Rogers

    by winterbanyan on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:31:47 AM PST

    •  If however the continued CO2 releases (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      from industrializing countries continues AND globally giga tons of methane hydrates releases from shallow water deposits may exponentially increase (huge positive feedback there) plus all the methane from the thawing tundra in Artic regions of Canada and Siberia - there will be so flaming much more total greenhouse gas in atmosphere that the conveyor shutdown MAY NOT MATTER. It may moderate things OR not. Don't rule out future surprises, for example the recent news that manufacturing the flood of flat screen TVs currently releases unknown amounts of an unregulated greenhouse gas called nitrogen trifluoride that is extremely potent and long lasting.

      As a driver of global warming, nitrogen trifluoride is 17,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide, yet no one knows how much of it is being released into the atmosphere by the industry, said Michael Prather, director of the environment institute at the University of California, Irvine.

      Prather's research reveals that production of the gas, which remains in the atmosphere for 550 years, is "exploding" and is expected to double by next year. Unlike common greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs), emissions of the gas are not restricted by the Kyoto protocol or similar agreements.

      So the planet's reaction may not be enough to cool us down and maybe instead we will have incredibly unstable weather and climate disruption everywhere.

      Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie

      by IreGyre on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 10:58:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Overall global warming and regional glaciation (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      are not necessarily inconsistent:  Northern Europe might indeed become ice-covered if the Gulf Stream were to be shut off.  Many of the "ice-age warnings" assumed overall global warming.

      We are facing rapid large changes and we don't know where we are going.

  •  I'm glad Team Obama is reaching out to bloggers. (0+ / 0-)

    They'll need the blogosphere throughout their term if they are to get grassroots support for their programs.

    I hope they're doing it in areas beyond energy/environmental policy too.

  •  I heard a right wing talk jock saying that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DarkSyde, blue armadillo

    the temperatures are colder this year than last year.  They always have the same so called scientist that claims there is no such thing as Global Warming.  It is getting so old and tiring hearing these guys say the problem doesn't exist and is just a fabricated left wing conspiracy.  I hope the Obama Admin. will make it harder for these guys to be taken seriously.

    •  The (4+ / 0-)

      conspiracy claim is a stellar example of wingnut double speak. For starters, one can explain away any evidence with an indectectable, infinitely scalable conspiracy. But the funnier thing is the irony: climate scientists are engaged in an international conspiracy of epic proportion, motivated to defraud the public by a few million in grants. But industry lobbyists and energy funded think tanks motivated by hundreds of billions in revenue are utterly immune and trustworthy, even though their job description is to present their clients case in the best light possible to a general, scientifically apathetic public, facts be damned.

      It's gotta be mentally exhausting to be an intellectually honest, educated right winger these days.

      Read UTI, your free thought forum

      by DarkSyde on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:46:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I find it endlessly amusing!! First of all (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I simply get a confirmation from the freepers that Global warming is a Left wing concept.

      They go off with a bunch of "Absolutelys!"
      Then I just smile and tell them to remember that it is the Left wing liberals who called Global Warming years before you Right wing nuts ever even accepted the facts....
      ... because it's happening, right now!
      So eventually you'll have to accept it, and its up to you if you want to keep your head in the sand until then.
      Because for the rest of us in the reality based world, all of you deniers just look like asses with legs.

      ... and I go on my merry way...
      After I send them to climate science sites by climate scientists, natch.

      "A lie repeated, may be accepted as fact, but the truth repeated becomes self evident." -Elonifer Skyhawk

      by Fireshadow on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 09:31:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for clearing it up! (0+ / 0-)

    There's been lots of great info lately debunking right wing talking points (RWTP). It really helps us all when average people (friends and family) repeat the RWTPs to have the info to debunk it.

    My only criticism (and it's pretty durned small) is that the 1970's were not the "Me Generation." Those born in the 1970s-1990s are the Me Generation. So they weren't running things back then, they were crawling around in their diapers. Even Baby Boomers were still either in college or fresh out of college. So the Baby Boom Generation wasn't the 1950's - but those born in the 1950s. Just sayin'.

    Electing conservatives is like hiring a carpenter who thinks hammers are evil.

    by MA Liberal on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:43:27 AM PST

  •  i never hear any discussion of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kosta, xylem

    population explosion and climate change. Is this too obvious to mention?  In the past 40 years we have gone from 2 billion to almost 7 billion humans on the planet.  Wouldn't the heat from cooking alone have an effect?  Not to mention burning fuel for transportation and food production and distribution.

    Is this a taboo subject?

    "When Obama speaks, Angels orgasm" Jon Stewart, 2008

    by fernan47 on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:43:42 AM PST

    •  Thx, *great* point -- population *does* matter (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DarkSyde, NCrissieB

      This is a complex and touchy subject for many, but it also needs to be broached, and i hear way too little discussion of it in many environmental circles these days.

      It is clear that with education, and empowerment of women, and easy access to contraception, and a decent standard of living, birth rates do go down naturally, and that's a good thing -- so i'm generally very against state-mandated population controls.  and, someday, when we finally are ready to colonize Mars and beyond (perhaps even within our lives), we will want and need to encourage a high birth rate throughout.

      [ On this page down near the bottom, you'll find a breeding and contraceptive "pressure gauges" that indicates how various govts try to influence birthrates -- the US definitely leans towards being quite pro-baby by both social and economic means, even though this has been changing verrry slowly over time.  if you surf around on this group's website (VHEMT) on which you find the above page, you'll find all kinds of great info and arguments, btw.  i don't agree with all of them, but i'd venture that some are perspectives many of us have not thought about before and will be quite possibly pretty thought-provoking to many.. ]

      But for now, we must learn to live within our means, and sustainably along with our other travellers on this glorious and beautiful little blue speck of a planet that we are so lucky and blessed to live on, i do strongly believe and feel.

    •  I think the planet could accommodate (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      even a good few more of us if we adopted sustainable lifestyles: not so much meat, and not so much energy.  But yes, talk of top-down population control makes me nervous.

    •  I = PAT (0+ / 0-)

      Remember Paul Erlich's old equation to define environmental impact, which says
      I, the human impact on the natural habitat, is a product of three factors.
      P = population (the number of people)
      A = affluence (average person's consumption of resources, which is also an index of affluence)and,
      T = technology (index of environmental disruptiveness of technologies that provide the goods consumed).

  •  The Right is so resistant to acknowledging any (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ezdidit, NCrissieB

    anthropogenic global warming because they see the "false science" of global warming as a plot to use the General Welfare clause of the Constitution to closely regulate every activity that creates CO2, from cow farts to camp fires and SUV's.  Find an answer to that concern, and you will be more than halfway home to rebutting the Dark Lie.

    Having credibility when making an argument is the straightest path to persuasion.

    by SpamNunn on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:44:27 AM PST

    •  The answer to that concern.... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Randy, Fireshadow, winterbanyan

      I agree with you.  That's their concern.

      The answer to that concern is for Democrats (and especially progressives) to stop hiding from the Constitution.  We need to embrace and welcome that debate, and prove that the Framers intended that government would act for We the People in the manner set down in the Preamble and Article I, both of which include "promot[ing] the general Welfare."

      Conservatism rejects any notion of "the general Welfare," "the common good," or other phrases that capture what George Lakoff terms "the commons."  By that Lakoff means the environment and other shared interests or institutions that are not owned by any "person" (individual or corporate).

      Conservatism says that government exists solely to promote the interests of "persons," individuals and legal corporations, to the complete exclusion of "the commons."  In the conservative worldview, "the commons" should either be privately owned - and maintained by and for those private owners - or their existence and maintenance should rely on the operation of Adam Smith's "invisible hand of the markets."  That worldview, grounded in Utopian and disproved theorists like Smith and Ayn Rand, says "persons" must have the "liberty" to pursue their interests, without any mandate of responsibility to or for "the commons."

      We Democrats need to embrace and win that debate over what our government was founded to be, and prove that among our Framers' intentions was that government would "promote the general Welfare."  It is not "un-American" to preserve and protect "the commons."  It's not unconstitutional to regulate CO2 emissions, or provide universal health care, or ensure that wealth disparity grow so extreme as to destabilize the economic and political systems.  Those policies "promote the general Welfare," and that is a proper and indeed explicit object of our government.

      When we Democrats begin to win the debate over "the commons" - that government has a duty to protect shared interests and institutions not owned by any "person" - then we'll start winning debates like universal health care, climate change initiatives, and the like.

      •  You will never win a debate that places (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        weal of "the commons" above the liberty of the individual.   Collectivism doesn't sell here. At least not yet.

        Having credibility when making an argument is the straightest path to persuasion.

        by SpamNunn on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 08:42:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  False extreme (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Fireshadow, SpamNunn

          I didn't say "above."  But surely "the commons" must be protected alongside "the persons."

          And you did a bit of verbal sleight-of-hand by substituting "the individual" for "persons."  Most of the "persons" our government bends over backward to protect are not individuals.  They're corporations.  Corporations are legal "persons."

          And when you start talking about placing the weal of "the commons" above the liberty of "corporations," I think you get a very different poll result....

          •  GReat REsponse!! THat's the way to smack the (0+ / 0-)

            phony arguments down!  

            "A lie repeated, may be accepted as fact, but the truth repeated becomes self evident." -Elonifer Skyhawk

            by Fireshadow on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 09:19:38 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  To whom do those artificial persons pass (0+ / 0-)

            their increased costs?  Corporations that are not owned by the State sometimes need protection (or less governmental interference) in order to keep the cost of their products down and, thus, benefit real persons.  Raised the cost of electricity by requiring strict carbon sequestration - bar the construction of more nuke plants - require the use of electric cars.   All good ideas, in a vacuum.   All for the common good.

            Having credibility when making an argument is the straightest path to persuasion.

            by SpamNunn on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 09:29:07 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Still missing the point.... (0+ / 0-)

              Maximizing corporate profitability is no less an "idea in a vacuum," especially if by doing so we are destroying the habitability of our planet.  When a jet crashes, there are no first class or coach dead.  Just dead.  When our climate becomes one humans can't survive or thrive in, there won't be wealthy and poor bones.  Just bones.

              To say that corporate profitability should trump the environment - part of "the commons" - is very much an "idea in a vacuum."

      •  Exactly-their "straw man" arguments (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        betray their lying and hypocritical goals!

        Embracing the debate, with all of the complexity that implies, will be the perfect antidote to BushCheney subversion of truth and science, fact after fact.

        "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." -Thomas Jefferson

        by ezdidit on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 08:45:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Nuclear Winter (0+ / 0-)

    Another factor in considering global cooling back during the Cold War, was the possibility of massive nuclear explosions sending dust clouds into the atmosphere, thus blocking the Sun's rays. Now it looks like we're just going to poison ourselves slowly, with Depleted Uranium and the like.

  •  Well done summary. Thanks. n/t (0+ / 0-)

    This is not what I thought I'd be when I grew up.

    by itzik shpitzik on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:49:22 AM PST

  •  It's called a thermometer (0+ / 0-)

    If average global temperatures are rising, and they are, then it's really not too hard to figure things out. I hope the ice age thing went out with earth shoes...

    oh no, some people are trying to bring earth shoes back!!! ugh..

    An eye for an eye and the whole world will be blind.

    by rini6 on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 07:51:14 AM PST

  •  A scientific inquiry. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DarkSyde, ravedave

    Just playing devil's advocate here. I have no expertise in climatology, I'm just tossing out a thought and hoping I'm wrong about it.

    If GHGs have a longer half-life (figuratively speaking) than cooling soot, then if their mutual primary source is cut off, the cooling agent in the model will disperse long before the warming agent. We know there's already more of the latter than the former. So is it possible that a global decrease in carbon emissions will most immediately cause a sharp increase in global temperature, before gradually tapering down to a much lower equilibrium?

    •  That's (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      a damn good question.

      Read UTI, your free thought forum

      by DarkSyde on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 08:07:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  See my response and article linked upthread (0+ / 0-)

      Some of the warming seen in the '90s was due to reduction in sulfates, which were masking the GHG warming.  This is the effect you suggest - aerosols do have a shorter lifetime than CO2.
      But some carbon aerosols - soot or BC - actually warm the atmosphere, and they are the second-biggest warming agents next to CO2.
      So reducing carbon particulate emissions would reduce some of the warming agents.  When you say reduce aerosols, you have to be careful which aerosols, and what their effect on climate change is.
      Some names you could search for on this subject include Tami Bond (article linked in my upthread comment) and V Ramanathan.

      On GOTV duty Nov 1-4 in CO. Maxed out at $538 to Obama, Clinton, O2B and ActBlue.

      by randomsubu on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 08:47:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Carbon emissions are only part of the problem (0+ / 0-)

      that is exacerbating the global cause and effect. Methane release from the yedoma is one. Then there's the whole ocean floor mantle emissions, ocean carbon sink "dead zones" and such.
      Earth really is a living, fire breathing, giant synergistic organism and we have yet to realize what some margarine company stated years ago: " You don't mess with Mother Nature!"

      "A lie repeated, may be accepted as fact, but the truth repeated becomes self evident." -Elonifer Skyhawk

      by Fireshadow on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 09:13:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  even dumber - (0+ / 0-)

    I have had right wingers tell me that global warming is a lie because Carl Sagan predicted "nuclear winter" in the early 80s.  Yeah, Sagan and other scientists are right - if we explode thousands of nuclear warheads we will have a nuclear winter.

  •  Is anyone tracking the CHANGE (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Hi All,

    I have a major concern that no matter what is done, during the next election the conservatives will launch a Chnage-based attack claiming that Obama did not bring any changes. More importantly, I'm afraid many of the people I've spoken to are not aware of the many unique things that I've witnessed in the last couple of weeks that are amazing to me (though perhaps not so new), and when I share these with them, they are in awe, and wish they heard about it.

    For example:

    the site...

    the fact that AIG, a major corporation, sent their people to communicate with the Kos Community....CITIZENS...everyday people, to try to do damage control...

    the fact that Obama's people are reaching out to science bloggers....

    Which brings me to the there any way we can set up a simple site right now whose main purpose is to track these and all the other great changes taking place from this point on? I think it would be great to have a nice, easily accessible, comprehensive record for all the new, young activists and the soon to be active to point to to help combat the inevitable "Nothing has changed" mantra that will come from those who will look to denigrate what us everyday people have accomplished.

    Does this exist already? (and I don't mean a complex community like Kos...I mean something with this sole purpose)

    If not, how do we get that together?


    •  I (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      would imagine there will be tracking. Not that that will stop the opposition form saying whatever they want to say. On AIG, believe me, I'm deeply cynical of that compnay specifically and the indsutry in general. My experience with both ranks right up there with having a double root canal.

      But seeing as you and I and everyone in America now owns the AIG People's Insurance Company, they damn well better respond to us and anyone else.

      Read UTI, your free thought forum

      by DarkSyde on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 08:03:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  PBS's documentary "Dimming the Sun" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    should be aired again... and again.

    "Dimming the Sun" investigates the discovery that the sunlight reaching Earth has been growing dimmer, which may seem surprising given all the international concern over global warming. At first glance, less sunlight might hardly seem to matter when our planet is stewing in greenhouse gases. But the discovery of global dimming has led several scientists to revise their models of the climate and how fast it's changing. According to one recent and highly controversial model, the worst-case warming scenario could be worse than anyone has predicted. "Dimming the Sun" unravels this baffling climate conundrum and the implications for Earth's future.

    •  dimming the sun (0+ / 0-)

      Is this because the sun has reached its maxima? I remember reading that stars lose their intensity gradually before the supernova explosion. Aren't we still 4-5 billion yrs from that?

      •  Not so much (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Actually, our Sun will be getting gradually hotter and brighter over the next 1-3.5 billion years.  Right now, the Sun fuses hydrogen in its core to create helium.  Over time (billions of years) this helium builds up in the core, making it denser.  This increase in density leads to an increase in heat.  The Sun will actually get about 40% brighter over this period - but very, very gradually, so it's not contributing to our current warming period.

        Also, our Sun is simply too small to go supernova.  The lower range for a supernova event is about 9 times the mass of the Sun (this ignores Type I supernovas, which work in a fundamentally different way, but that requires a binary star system so it's nor a worry for our Sun, either).  Our Sun will eventually become a white dwarf, after going through a series of expansions and contractions as it goes from fusing hydrogen to fusing helium.

        If you're interested in this, I'd suggest getting Death From the Skies! by Dr Phil Plait. It has a great explanation of supernova events, as well as the eventual fate of our sun, in layman-friendly terms, plus descriptions of a variety of other potential doomsday astronomical scenarios.

      •  No, it's because of particulate emissions (0+ / 0-)

        The point they were making is that particulate pollution may have been keeping temperatures from rising faster due to green house gases than they otherwise would have.

        Due to their obvious and immediate harmful health effects, we've been making great stride in reducing particulate emissions. This may be like taking the brake off global warming.

        If, as seems likely, scientists have underestimated or even missed the effect particulate emissions have had in keeping warming in check, things may get worse faster than predicted.

        [-8.50,-8.31] Look out honey, 'cause i'm using technology. Ain't got time to make no apology.

        by patop on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 08:37:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Need a longer view (0+ / 0-)

    To see the profoundness of the recent change, it helps to step back, say, 12,000 years to the end of the last Ice Age here in the Northern Hemisphere. There is a rapid rise in temperature that plateaus for about 4,000 years (9-5,000 years ago), then some dips and rises, including the warm Medieval period and the "Little Ice Age" with effects that persisted right through to the start of the 1900s. In just a few decades we've again managed to work our way up to close to the Neocene maximum. Interestingly, in colder times, many places on earth were actually drier. For example, warming has caused increased precipitation in inland Antarctica, which possibly may negate some sea-rise effects.

    It is said that the living history of non-literate peoples rarely goes back more than seven generations. Americans, in principle, are literate. Thus, we'll just have to give climate change its proper scientific and let folks like Jim Inhofe live with their preference for post- or non-literate societies.    

  •  Many SF authors have dealt with the concept (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    of "information hygiene," i.e. ensuring that memespace remains contextually subordinate to empirical reality.  The only way to do this effectively is with an information-rating system based on transparent standards.  

    Freedom is in the fight.

    by Troubadour on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 08:27:05 AM PST

  •  climate change program and PM (0+ / 0-)

    If anyone is interested, you can check out this program, from Columbia Univ. It is a climate modelling program you can download and play with. What was amazing when I last used this in a class was that even 1-2 degree changes can make significant differences. One scenario with a 4 degree decrease had the Earth going into a glacial episode. However, how to interpret the results is more tricky because we were putting in parameters to reduce warming without accounting for the rate of increase in global temperatures. I do not remember now if the program allowed for that variable. Reducing the temperature rise is going to require big changes in behaviour because we have to reduce the rate of increase to 1980 levels (someone correct me on this, I may be wrong).

    Another post mentioned particulate pollution. At least for humans, there is enough epidemiological research showing a pretty direct correlation between high PM days and death, especially the elderly and young. What in the U.S. is allowed as a high for only a few days/yr is the average in Beijing and New Delhi. One recent study (there are few like this) has also speculated on the effects on plants, their pollinators and therefore on  food supply.

  •  global warming and a future ice age fluctuation.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The earth is a special planet that has long cooling trends called ice ages.

    Supposedly we are still in an ice age, but the warming trend between ice advances was extended by our human changes to the atmosphere.

    Right now, we need to deal with the WARMING accelerated by human addiction to energy caused by burning carbon-based fuels.

    So the fact that we WILL have an increase in ice, quite extreme is predicted, probably thousands of years from now, unless the currents of water are changed dramatically and we destabilize the earth's slow temperature changes and get RAPID CLIMATE CHANGE, is a correct scientific theory, but should not deter us from dealing with the CURRENT PROBLEM of accelerated WARMING.

    Eventually, the ice is predicted to cause incredible difficulties and push humans to the equator to survive. It is not a canard; but the Bushies used this scientific theory to fight dealing with moving away from carbon-based fuels and oil-based economy that favored Texas.

    Warming is our current dilemna.  But future generations are expected to see the ice advance one more time, before our planet slowly moves to extreme heat, until the planet is burned up by the dying sun.  The future ice age advance is real, but not immanent.

    Our current problem IS HEAT and OIL and COAL etc. Hopefully, we may learn enough high tech tricks to prepare for the last ice advance, many many generations from now, we currently predict.  Technically, geologists and astronomists have explained the long epochs of time in the earth's cooling cycle are real, and one more ice advance will occur, they think.  And growing plants and raising stock animals will be quite difficult.

    At the height of the last ice advance, very very few primitive humans were alive.  This next ice age will finally reduce the total human population, like no war ever has before.

    HOWEVER, clearly, our current focus is on HUMAN ACTIVITIES that CAUSE WARMING.

    So the lie is not really a lie, the full scientific theory is complicated, and most people don't understand that the ice is most likely far off, and the rapid melting and heating of our oceans is the CURRENT FOCUS for our country and our enlightened allies.  

    •  Who says this is "special" planet for ice ages (0+ / 0-)

      Mars it seems, wobbles on its axis, tipping over almost 70 degrees. Right now it appears that Mars in the coming out of an ice age, but come back in 800,000 years and some of that polar ice may have melted. Anyway, its probably a few centuries premature for would-be exogeophysicists to conclusively say that planets don't go through warming and cooling spells. Even our own sun it pretty unreliable as a steady supply of energy; it has its own weather with wide swings in output.

    •  Here's the text that explains the ice ages. (0+ / 0-)

      The Life and Death of Planet Earth by Peter D. Ward and Donald Brownlee, published in 2003 and very credible.

      The science is fascinating, and well-respected.  Eventually, the ice will advance again, possibly further south on North America than before.


  •  Ignore the deniers....and tie the energy/climate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    program to the economy. We can do it. Transform the economy at the same time creating jobs for the future in renewables and energy infrastructure.

  •  WHAT? I always strive to be truthful. (0+ / 0-)

    That's why I seem so harsh.

  •  great diary but (0+ / 0-)

    please drop the Me Generation meme--very annoying and totally plays into the Conservative description.

  •  science and the masses (0+ / 0-)

    Your post drives to the heart of a fundamental problem in democracies: they have an iq of 100. Math and science in depth require a kind of thinking and mental process that are in short supply, particularly in the USA given our educational debacle. A tremendous problem that must be dealt with is the communication of problems and solutions to the masses so that effective decisions and solutions can be made and offered. Democracy is messy business and participation required. Unfortunately, the current state of the American media is not only not helpful but is counterproductive. Best response I can tell is to keep the issue alive and push this administration to begin to systematically address it. A return to a White House that believes in and supports science is a start.

  •  Tell them I know how to fix healthcare! (0+ / 0-)

    Jumping Jehosaphat!  They listen?

    Omega-3 fatty acids help with depression, addiction, and violent tendencies

    and they help with a whole long list of modern chronic diseases

    Seriously, if we were to encourage the American population to start taking EPA and DHA, and perhaps reform our farming practices so once again beef and poultry are rich sources of omega-3's, it could truly help healthcare costs.  Maybe there could be a way to produce DHA very cheaply from algae farms.

  •  Thanks DarkSyde... (0+ / 0-)

    This was an article that was easy to digest and excellent fuel for the inevitable "Hanitized" attack on climate science.  

    You da' science bomb.

    "Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large. I contain multitudes!" Walt Whitman

    by Batensmack on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 09:11:20 AM PST

  •  A pleasure to read... (0+ / 0-)

    as this is written in a calm, paced, digestible form. Thanks as always.

    Time lost is always a disadvantage that is bound in some way to weaken him who loses it. -Clausewitz

    by Malachite on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 09:24:39 AM PST

  •  Thanks and keep writing about this (0+ / 0-)

    I keep sending your posts to the Denier that I live with.  He grew up in this rural area mainly listening to Radio WHO, a wingnut station in Des Moines that has a statewide signal.  The amount of misinformation that comes out of the Limbaugh/Hannity crowd, plus their local wannabees is really amazing.  Once a belief has taken hold, it's really hard to dislodge it, even with someone who is otherwise intelligent. And the denial message is still being broadcast regularly to the masses.

    The extent to which conservatives use email to keep these lies circulating is unknown, but I have seen that a lot of the information travels that way, just as the "Obama is a Muslim" lies did.  

    We just have to keep chipping at it.  I appreciate your writing, which explains these issues in a way nonscientists can grasp.  

  •  Easily explained (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks for highlighting the Global Cooling Zombie Lie.

    Here's how I explain it: - Global Cooling was a hypothesis, one of many in science. - The hypothesis was considered under the scientific method, tested, found wanting, and discarded. - There was no movement to confront global cooling.

    The history of the Global Cooling theory actually supports the need for action on global warming.

    Because the same scientific process that discarded global cooling has been applied to global warming and the theory of global warming has held up, too well.

  •  20 years of global warming SCIENCE is solid (0+ / 0-)

    The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) is actually celebrating it's 20th Year as of August 31, 2008.

    Setup in 1988 to examine the growing scientific evidence on global warming, it now has a long track record of solid scientific evidence of significant global warming trend with a significant man made element which is causing an unnatural acceleration.

    There will always be a minority who will disagree even in the scientific community, a friend who is an anthropology professor at USC does not agree.

    But the scientific consensus is clear as are the facts on the ground with the polar ice caps melting. It was only the US that was opposed to the Kyoto Treating on Global Warming.

    Now with Obama as president, a progressive Congress with environmental issues lead by Waxman, and an energy policy that requires significant reduction in the use of oil US will become a leader in reducing greenhouse gases.

  •  some science (0+ / 0-)
    1. The link betweeen CO2 levels and average temperature has been part of science for a century now, as CO2 is the primary atmospheric greenhouse gas.  It's in the deniers' court -- let them disprove what we've known for some time now.
    1. The average CO2 levels for the past 420,000 years have varied between 180 ppm during the deepest ice age and 310 ppm during the hottest hot age.  We are now at 385 ppm and increasing 2 ppm/ year at an accelerating rate.
    1. Thus at this point we are only waiting for already accumulated global warming potential to kick in.  We can safely assume no significant cooling trend to relieve this, as existing CO2 levels project a climate that will be two standard deviations hotter than the hottest era of the last 420,000 years.
    1. The problem with abrupt climate change is that, as technological society has significantly weakened the ecosystem resilience of planet Earth's various ecosystems, from the tropics to the temperate zones to the tundra, a drastic climate change will significantly impact our civilization's ability to survive.  Imagine crop failure leading to famine, with California in permanent drought and Peak Oil limiting energy accessibility.  So we want to prepare now...

    "If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about the answers" -- Thomas Pynchon

    by Cassiodorus on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 09:59:24 AM PST

  •  Blame Reader's Digest (0+ / 0-)

    I first heard about the impending ice age from Reader's Digest when I was a kid in the 70's. If I'm not mistaken, it's in a big compendium book called either "The Earth's Last Mysteries" or "Strange Stories, Amazing Facts." My grandfather ordered things like this from the ads in the backs of magazines.

    Being an imaginative elementary school kid, I was psyched-- I thought for sure that by high school, we would all be riding Woolly Mammoths.

    I remember that it was also mentioned in pop culture elsewhere, though I can't remember where. These myths come from a poor reading or misreading of scientific literature which is then morphed into something guaranteed to make a catchy headline. Hyperbole is usually involved, on the part of journalists.

    The good news is that for a mere 10 million dollars, I can have my mammoth. Think of it as Ice Age without the inconvenience.

  •  Excellent article. Indeed, rapid education (0+ / 0-)

    of the populace is the conundrum.  I don't know how it can be pulled off.  
    If people still can't manage to use a tire pressure gauge or reusable shopping bags because it's too much effort, it's going to take a magician or a catastrophe to really bring these realities into daily business.

  •  My personal fav krakpot solution is... (0+ / 0-)

    ...Tons of low orbiting Glitter. To keep it interesting, it could be organized into swirls and rings of orbiting glitter rainbows, or even sold to corporations to display logos --- like a sports stadium..

    After it has done it's job it can be swept up by giant  orbiting glitter scoops and stored on the space station for re-use in another 500 years.

    To the Pres of the Senate: This letter is to inform you that I resign from the US Senate effective 11/16/08, in order to prepare for my duties as POTUS.

    by olo on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 10:11:33 AM PST

  •  @ 10-100k years from now... is one guess... (0+ / 0-)

    not anytime soon to worry us anyway. Sheesh, between ten and a hundred millenniums or so... and then we might have been due for another deep freeze...or not

    In the model runs best resembling actual climate history, the switch to a long-lasting ice age happened as early as 10,000 to 100,000 years from now....

    ...but we will never know for sure. We have pumped so much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in little more than a century that levels are higher now than they have been for at least 800,000 years. This will have delayed any switch to a long-lasting ice age indefinitely......

    Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie

    by IreGyre on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 10:32:04 AM PST

  •  You don't even need scientific models (0+ / 0-)

    Talk to the Inuit in Greenland, the shepherds in the Alps watching the glaciers retreating, the inhabitants of the Maldives looking for a new place to live.

    Then tell me that we have no problem.

    Here is the rainbow I've been praying for. It's gonna be a bright Sun-Shiny day.

    by vanguardia on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 10:34:01 AM PST

  •  Absolutely, great to see this story on the front (0+ / 0-)

    page. Bravo.

    The denialists/delayers all know this lie and still, even after repeated debunking, continue to refer to it. If you don't know the history (by the way the PDF you link to above is from a peer-reviewed journal)of this bunkum, it's easy to be off-guard and uncertain how to respond.

    Blogging for the future at Climaticide Chronicles

    "My True Religion Is Kindness" -- The Dalai Lama/---/Do you know why 350ppm is important?

    by JohnnyRook on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 12:49:40 PM PST

  •  A couple of important nuances (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks for the excellent post, although I finished it with a murky impression of what was actaully said on the call.

    The nuances:

    "Classic Pleistocene ice ages are indeed affected by Milankovitch Cycles but other, more down to earth factors were almost certainly in play."

    It's certain that the orbital cycles are the trigger.  This article is informative about what else goes on.  IMHO it's always worth mentioning in a context like this post that the trigger fires blanks unless CO2 is low enough (see Hansen's latest stuff for the details).

    "The fact is the consensus of climate science now is that observed global warming is forced, in part, by human activity."

    "In part" sounds weak.  Per IPCC 2007, we can say "mostly."


  •  Because It's a Stupid Argument (0+ / 0-)

    "In the 70s, all the scientists were predicting a new ice age, so why should we listen to them now."

    How long ago was the 70s? Oh, yeah, about thirty eight years, nearly four decades. Have you ever heard of something called Moore's Law?

    Roughly speaking, Moore's Law says that the density of silicon-based electronics drops by half every 18 months. This means, basically, that the power of electronics tends to double every eighteen months. So, it's doubled about 25 times since the 70s. This is a little over 33 million times.

    Predictions of climate are based on computer models. These models become more accurate as the computer gets more powerful. A model that in the 70s that could make a 1000 calculations to get a result now can make about 33 billion calculations to get the same result. That makes it much more accurate, and you can look at far more alternatives to see what happens if some factor is changed.

    Comparing today's climate models with those of the 70s is hopelessly naive. It's like comparing a steam engine from today with a steam engine built by the ancient Greeks.

  •  I know (0+ / 0-)

    how about bringing the government's top climate scientist, James Hansen of NASA, to the Oval Office for a reality check with the American people?

  •  Yet another brilliantly written science diary. (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks, Dark.  I've learned something, today, and that is always good.  You are a welcome source of knowledge.  Good luck with the transition team and beyond.  

    "It's time to start all over/make a new beginning." - Tracy Chapman

    by rainmanjr on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 05:42:23 PM PST

  •  Verges on bait and switch, says nothing new (0+ / 0-)

    The bulk of the article and the title, they match. But the opening and concluding paragraphs hint at something different which the author doesn't deliver on. Here's what the rest of the article doesn't discuss.
    (1) What specific hints, if any, has "the Obama energy and environmental transition team" given that we might suspect they are skeptical regarding the scientific consensus or they are blissfully ignorant of their opponents' upcoming propaganda offensive?
    (2) Specifically which organizations or sectors are mobilizing to thwart the new administration's expected campaign against global warming, and
    (3) what strategy and tactics and we expect them to pursue?
    (4) What is the evidence that the "zombie lie" under discussion genuinely has influence in public policy discussion at present?

    This article doesn't leave us better informed politically. Kossacks already know that the "global warming skepticism" from the oil industry is purely a matter of stinginess. It's a sham -- the industry leaders  don't really believe in their own rebuttals to the scientific arguments on global warming. The topic is inherently interesting, but this treatment was belabored and twice as long as it needed to be.

    I think the true intended message of the article is in the opening sentence and closing sentence combined. "And yes, please, continue the promising early efforts to reach out to new media venues that are eager and willing to help." Translation: call me, Daily Kos's science guy, to participate in another conference call!

  •  I'm still waiting for some of that (0+ / 0-)

    "Global Warming" to start warming up my NY-48 state senate district. Count me among the disbelievers. Not that I actually expect any "global warming" to kick in any time soon. I'm aware that this process moves at glacier speed. But, I believe we can continue to pollute this planet right up the ol' wazoo and we'd be lucky to raise the temp one degree. I just don't believe for a second that we have much - if any - impact on the planet's temperature.
    And here's the thing I hate about "Going Green"...
    Why am i buying trash bag stickers??
    Hello?? Can anyone riddle me that??
    Trash Haulers should be paying me for my garbage!
    Somebody's making a Big Buck in this Recycling Biz, and they're making all that money without paying me a dime for it. Hell, forget paying me, they're frickin' CHARGING me to haul my treasure from the curb!! There's just something totally wrong with that picture.

    Second Life NetRoots Nation. Party with us at Cafe Wellstone!

    by winkk on Sun Nov 23, 2008 at 10:50:31 PM PST

    •  No offense meant... (0+ / 0-)

      but you've fallen prey to a classic fallacy regarding climate change.  The warming trend is a global scale event - local conditions can vary wildly without refuting the larger scale events.

      Really, calling this global climate change belies the situation - global climate chaos is perhaps a better description of what we'll end up with.

      •  I just don't buy it. (0+ / 0-)

        I could be wrong, Al Gore might be right. But, "climate change" is cyclical. I'm with el Rushbo, Vannity and the Wingnuts on this one.

        Second Life NetRoots Nation. Party with us at Cafe Wellstone!

        by winkk on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 12:39:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

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