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Topic Title: E&T Magazine - Debate - Is climate change a man-made phenomenon?
Topic Summary: E&T Magazine - Debate - Is climate change a man-made phenomenon?
Created On: 21 November 2012 10:41 AM
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 21 November 2012 10:41 AM
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jpwilson

Posts: 60
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For:
There is a conclusive body of evidence to support the existence of man-made climate change.


Temperatures are rising and in the past few decades there has been unprecedented acceleration. We know that our production and burning of fossil fuels is rising. We can measure the chemical signature of the gases in the atmosphere, and they are not all natural. This is due to what we have burned and put into the atmosphere.


Against:
There is no conclusive body of evidence to support the existence of man-made climate change.


There is a conceit that mankind is so important. Less than four per cent of all CO2 produced is manmade. Every tree and creature grows, dies, rots and ferments, giving back its CO2. The oceans covering 70 per cent of the Earth's surface contain 80 per cent of all plant and animal life. Man, compared to that, is far less significant. Only one-quarter of the 30 per cent of the planet that is land can support man unaided - just 7.5 per cent of the entire surface. Add volcanoes and natural phenomena, and man is quite puny.
 21 November 2012 02:08 PM
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Nigelfwhitehead

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Against

The efforts of the advocates of anthropogenic global warming seem increasingly alarmist as one by one the scientific arguments put forward by the IPCC fall away. Measured global warming over the last 150 years or so has indeed occurred, but it is by no means uniform. The IPCC figures show warming to 1878, cooling to 1911, warming to 1941, cooling to 1964, warming to 1998 and cooling to the present. The warming rate from 1964 to 1998 was the same as the previous warming from 1911 to 1941. This is not consistent with the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide (almost uniform) nor with the much vaunted IPCC climate models. Indeed one IPCC climate scientist, Kevin Trenberth, said in 2009 "The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't."

It seems the only science left for the IPCC to fall back on is climate modelling, as does Peter Langdon's article. But as Johnny Ball points out the models do not account for atmospheric water, by far the most significant of the climate forcings. As well as failing adequately take into account the effects of water vapour and clouds the models also fail to properly include the effects of the sun and of cosmic rays.

As the science that seeks to justify anti-CO2 policies becomes increasingly desperate it is emerging that the IPCC is not really a scientific organisation at all. The journalist Donna Laframboise has exposed that the IPCC itself is dominated by lobby groups such as Greenpeace and the WWF, and its key reports for policymakers are finalised not by the scientists but by government bureaucrats seeking to drive through political objectives.

Surely the greatest danger from Climate Change is the negative effects from anti-CO2 policies that endanger economic progress. Where does this leave the engineers? Rather than try to reduce innocuous carbon dioxide we would do better to focus on energy efficiency and reducing genuine chemical and biological pollutants.
 21 November 2012 04:05 PM
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simongarrett

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With the greatest respect to Johnny Ball, he is not a climatologist. Of those that are, the overwhelming majority agree that climate change is happening, and is accentuated significantly by human activity. From a scientific standpoint, to ignore the large majority view of the expert community is not rational unless there are particular reasons to believe that the expert community is biassed. The size of the expert community, and the overwhelming nature of the majority view both make a consistent bias very unlikely. I am surprised that so many engineers, taught to think logically and solve problems, should think it sensible to ignore the strong expert consensus view in favour of the views of those lacking that expert knowledge.
 21 November 2012 04:37 PM
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amillar

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If the question was
There is a body of evidence that demonstrates a significant probability that man-made climate change exists

I'd vote yes.

Unfortunately the question as put means that if one part in a billion of the evidence is inconclusive then it has to be a no, ignoring the remaining 999,999,999 parts.

An even more interesting question would be
Do the potential consequencies of ignoring man-made climate change (if it exists) outweigh the potential wasted costs of combating it (if it doesn't)?

(Sorry that's not put very neatly!)

I have no doubt at all that, given the evidence we have at the moment, my answer to that question would be yes.

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 21 November 2012 04:41 PM
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warrenhill

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There is surprisingly very little disagreement amongst the scientific community about this. Climate change is real and we need to do something about it. Its also probably man made It is probably a reflection of how strong a belief this is amongst the scientific community that E&T magazine have a 'celebrity' to argue the case against. They probably couldn't find a scientist studying climate change who would argue against this. I do not wish to disrespect Mr Ball but he is hardly known for his scientific research and has no qualifications as far as I am aware for climate study. Mr Ball misses a very important point in that while it is true that burning wood or food does release carbon dioxide this has little effect on atmospheric levels as this is carbon dioxide that has been recently absorbed from the atmosphere and most of which would no doubt have returned to the atmosphere anyway. Burning fossil fuel releases carbon dioxide that has been trapped for millions of years and so significantly adds to the existing levels

Edited: 21 November 2012 at 04:49 PM by warrenhill
 21 November 2012 05:07 PM
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morry

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Not quite right. The overwhelming majority of climatologists agree that climate change is happening and that human activity is a contributing factor; I would think most sceptics would agree with this. The question is how much does human activity contribute? And what scientific evidence is there to prove that, just because present world temperatures are high, they are about to run away to catestrophic levels? Modelling just doesn't cut it.
Besides, having a concensus doesn't mean they must be right.

Jack Thompson

 21 November 2012 05:38 PM
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jmccabe

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Originally posted by: simongarrett

With the greatest respect to Johnny Ball, he is not a climatologist. Of those that are, the overwhelming majority agree that climate change is happening, and is accentuated significantly by human activity.


I'd be intrigued to know what justification you have for your claim here. A common claim is the "97% of climate scientists agree blah blah". There are, essentially, two original sources of this claim; surveys by Anderegg and Doran/Zimmerman. It's worth looking on the net to see a number of critique on how these surveys were carried out. Ultimately though, in both cases, the gist of it was the majority of the small number of scientists sampled agreed there was a human signal in global warming (now known as climate change due to the lack of warming - see below). What's vitally important here is that, at no point, do either of those surveys show that:

1) The prime factor is CO2 emissions caused by burning fossil fuels (that is only one of a number of factors, including changing land use, that is cited)

2) the majority believe that the changes occurring will have catastophic effects within the next few (e.g. hundred) years. This is all made up by the IPCC!

Originally posted by: simongarrett
I am surprised that so many engineers, taught to think logically and solve problems, should think it sensible to ignore the strong expert consensus view in favour of the views of those lacking that expert knowledge.


Actually, I think the fact that many engineers who are not necessarily 'taught' to think logically but for whom logic comes as second nature, is a very good reason why so many engineers feel it is sensible to ignore a small number of very vocal climate scientist, particularly given the observations of the last 16 years or so that have shown no warming (in fact the trend over that period is one of cooling) and have also shown no evidence of extreme weather events outside the range that could be expected by natural variability. It should be borne in mind that, despite all the publicity about Hurricane Sandy, it was

1) the first major storm to make landfall in the USA in 7 years (that's far longer than you would expect normally, let alone in a world where AGW is supposedly going to make storms like Sandy 'more common')

2) at the point it made landfall it wasn't even classed as a hurricane

3) overall there have been significantly stronger storms making landfall in the USA in the last 100 years, especially in the 1930s prior to the time when 'scientists' are claiming CO2 emissions really started to kick in

4) the storm surge, while very high, was a result of a number of factors, including high tide; it's estimated that, under the same conditions, the storm of 1821 which previously held the storm surge record in that area was less than a foot lower, but happened at low tide (and the tides in that area can change the water level by easily 6ft.

Further, logic can be used to realise that, as many governmental and non-governmental organisations have picked up the AGW issue and ran with it, there is a lot of research grant money around to carry out studies on its effects and so on. This could quite easily cause a consistent bias to be likely as supporting the 'consensus' is an easy way to get a share of this funding and keep your career going.

Finally you need to question the source of the 'catastrophic global warming' claims; the climate models used by the IPCC. Now, a lot of IET members will be software engineers and will understand that, with computers/software, what you get out depends on what you put in. IN the case of the climate models, even the 'famous' Phil Jones (him of the 'please delete any emails about some dodgy climate stuff in case anyone comes along with a FOI request and shows it being a bit iffy' fame) admits that there are significant climatic features, including cloud cover and associated 'stuff' that are missing from the models. I know it's used a lot on this, but the whole GIGO (Garbage In/Garbage Out) paradigm is very relevant.
 21 November 2012 06:00 PM
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mpataylor

Posts: 7
Joined: 31 October 2002

FOR:
Dr Peter Langdon - reader in palaeo­environmental change at the University of Southampton
NASA
Scientific American
New Scientist
The Royal Society
The American Association for the Advancement of Science
etc

AGAINST:
Johnny Ball - TV presenter
James Delingpole
The Daily Mail
Sarah Palin
countless random webites
etc

--

"A comprehensive review of key climate indicators confirms the world is warming and the past decade was the warmest on record. More than 300 scientists from 48 countries analyzed data on 37 climate indicators, including sea ice, glaciers and air temperatures. A more detailed review of 10 of these indicators, selected because they are clearly and directly related to surface temperatures, all tell the same story: global warming is undeniable."

NASA
http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/...09-brochure-lo-rez.pdf

"Over the past decade scientists thought they had figured out how to protect humanity from the worst dangers of climate change. ..Now it appears that the assessment was too optimistic. The latest data from across the globe show that the planet is changing faster than expected."

Scientific American
http://www.scientificamerican....g-faster-than-expected

"Climate change is with us. A decade ago, it was conjecture. Now the future is unfolding before our eyes."

New Scientist
http://www.newscientist.com/ar...rt-climate-change.html

"There is strong evidence that changes in greenhouse gas concentrations due to human activity are the dominant cause of the global warming that has taken place over the last half century"

The Royal Society
http://royalsociety.org/upload...ns/2010/4294972962.pdf

"The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has reaffirmed the position of its Board of Directors and the leaders of 18 respected organizations, who concluded based on multiple lines of scientific evidence that global climate change caused by human activities is now underway, and it is a growing threat to society."

The American Association for the Advancement of Science
http://www.aaas.org/news/relea...limate_statement.shtml

 21 November 2012 07:10 PM
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cmarkr

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Originally posted by: jmccabe


Actually, I think the fact that many engineers who are not necessarily 'taught' to think logically but for whom logic comes as second nature, is a very good reason why so many engineers feel it is sensible to ignore a small number of very vocal climate scientist...



Finally you need to question the source of the 'catastrophic global warming' claims; the climate models used by the IPCC. Now, a lot of IET members will be software engineers and will understand that, with computers/software, what you get out depends on what you put in. IN the case of the climate models, even the 'famous' Phil Jones (him of the 'please delete any emails about some dodgy climate stuff in case anyone comes along with a FOI request and shows it being a bit iffy' fame) admits that there are significant climatic features, including cloud cover and associated 'stuff' that are missing from the models. I know it's used a lot on this, but the whole GIGO (Garbage In/Garbage Out) paradigm is very relevant.


Well put.

So often the argument put forward by those supporting the theory is that the majority of climatologists support the theory. Does anyone have any figures on the number of climatologist performing research in the 1980s? I suspect that the numbers have grown exponentially (hockeystick maybe?) since. I assume they became climatologists after taking a climatology course taught by other climatologists. These climatology lecturers would have no doubt recognised that the prominence of the man made global warming theory was directly responsible for increased student numbers and therefore increased funding for their department. It would most definitely be in their interest to teach the theory as fact and as such all future climatologists would have graduated having been taught a one sided story. Of course I didn't do a climatology course and can't provide any first hand evidence that what I think happened might have happened so my theory is only a theory.

As I write this, I note that the poll stands at approximately 70/30 split saying 'No'. I wonder what the split would need to be to convince those who are adamant that there is a consensus, that perhaps there is not. You can't always discard outliers when they don't meet your hypothesis...
 21 November 2012 07:38 PM
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griggnz

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With the greatest respect Simon, science is not determined by consensus, but by the scientific method. Postulation of any reasonable theory is fine, but the moment a single piece of evidence debunks that theory, it's all over.

Nigel's comment above and J McCabe's below pretty well say it all. In fact, I find it hard to believe that any professional engineer could support CAGW after making the most minimal investigation of the science, the temperature records and the models.

However I'm delighted that this discussion has finally commenced. In other areas such as EMFs where a lot of uninformed opinion abounds, the IET has been a shining light of reason. But somehow the climate-change (formerly known as global warming) lobby has captured some people who really should know better!
 21 November 2012 07:41 PM
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amillar

Posts: 1918
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Originally posted by: cmarkr
As I write this, I note that the poll stands at approximately 70/30 split saying 'No'. I wonder what the split would need to be to convince those who are adamant that there is a consensus, that perhaps there is not. You can't always discard outliers when they don't meet your hypothesis...


Apart from my comment above re this being a question worded to elicit the answer "no" (if you take it literally), this poll could result in a 100% "no" and it would still not affect the consensus amongst climate scientists. And sorry, but it's their area of expertise, not ours. The fact that 100% of climate scientists thought I had modelled an electronic circuit incorrectly would not convince me that I had!

Every statement I have read by reputable climate scientists (not journalists) not just accepts but actively points out that there are gaps and discrepancies in the data - it's called science. But the consensus seems to be that, allowing for those discrepancies, the balance of probability is that human generated climate change exists; and we can only go with that balance. I can't prove for certain that if I walk blindfold across the M1 that I will be run over, but given the probabilities and the potential consequencies of it happening I don't plan to try!

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 21 November 2012 07:42 PM
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RobertPalgrave

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Johnny Ball's case is fatally weakened by his exaggeration and distortion of certain facts. Try this:

"Electric generators that 25 years ago were around 30 per cent efficient are now around 70 per cent efficient. "

The truth is that coal fired power stations are still on line in the UK with thermal efficiencies of below 35%, and the designers of modern closed cycle gas turbines are still talking about the race to achieve 60%.

Ball's main thrust as always seems to be that mankind is puny, and we therefore can't affect the natural world, and we're arrogant to assume we can. So as an engineer, if I trust the body of evidence that the planet is warming etc and that mankind is partly to blame, I am big-headed. Better to be humble and stupid then?

On the mankind is puny point - an analogy with a set of scales illustrates how a small force can upset the equilibrium of a much bigger system. Take a set of balances, put a kilogram weight on each side. They will be in equilibrium until a feather is added to one side. That is the consequence of man-made CO2 - it affects the balance of a natural cyle, even though in absolute (and relative) terms compared with the natural flows of CO2 it is tiny.
 21 November 2012 07:48 PM
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amillar

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Originally posted by: griggnz
Nigel's comment above and J McCabe's below pretty well say it all. In fact, I find it hard to believe that any professional engineer could support CAGW after making the most minimal investigation of the science, the temperature records and the models.

Sadly, it is apparent that many professional engineers have, indeed, made a "most minimal" investigation If only the climate was simple enough that you could do that...

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 21 November 2012 07:55 PM
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mpataylor

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It's hard to believe that a professional engineer would think he had anything worthwhile to contribute to someone else's speciality. Do you think they're discussing the finer points of electrical engineering on the climatology websites? Of course, if you think you know better than NASA, The Royal Society etc...
 21 November 2012 08:35 PM
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cmarkr

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Originally posted by: amillar

Every statement I have read by reputable climate scientists (not journalists) not just accepts but actively points out that there are gaps and discrepancies in the data - it's called science. But the consensus seems to be that, allowing for those discrepancies, the balance of probability is that human generated climate change exists; and we can only go with that balance. I can't prove for certain that if I walk blindfold across the M1 that I will be run over, but given the probabilities and the potential consequencies of it happening I don't plan to try!


The issue is not that there is a balance of probabilities one way or another, the issue is that the general population are being fed a story of consensus without doubts. I personally do not conclude one way or the other on the theory, I merely recognise that the theory is not flawless and it is not unanimously accepted.

Like so many of those supporting action based on a consensus of the theory, you suggest that there is nothing to lose by not crossing the M1 and that if you were to cross it you would choose to do so blindfolded. By closing the debate on man made climate change, we are not assessing whether reducing CO2 is really the best goal - for example, nuclear power is currently in favour as a 'green' power source, however, in avoiding the release of a non-toxic gas that is abundant in the atmosphere already, we produce a highly dangerous waste product that we have no reliable way of storing which will not become safe for millions of years. And why are you crossing the road in the first place when the two options are so clear cut? Is it because of the billions of pounds that it will cost to not cross the road? Or is it because of the vast swathes of rainforest and food generating land that will be put used to grow bio fuel ingredients? There is a massive price to close mindedly cutting CO2 emissions and the real risk is that the price will be paid unnecessarily because a theory was treated as unquestionable fact.
 21 November 2012 09:03 PM
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geoffbenn

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On first realising that a paleoclimatologist was 'for' and a TV presenter was 'against' I laughed! Johnny was obviously the best the IET could find to counter the peer-reviewed scientific evidence. Perhaps I should distance myself from the IET? And then again perhaps it's all part of the plan?

I've been reading all I could for the last 12 years or so, and am tired of countering the same arguments over and over again. It takes significant time to research and find worthwhile sources to validate/refute arguments. But maybe it is worth it?

The IPCC is not some distant organisation. It consists of scientists from all over the world. I don't have current figures to hand, but there were 2500 scientists from 113 countries, including countries which sought to dumb down the conclusions, and they still reached a conclusion... The Earth's climate system is unequivocally warming, and it is more than 90% certain that humans are causing it. Time to move on and deal with it while we still can...

http://www.realclimate.org/ind.../2007/11/six-degrees/
""Alarmism" is a term that gets bandied about a lot. It is often said that one should not call out "fire" in a crowded building. But it really depends, one might say, on whether the "calling out" is done in such a way as to simultaneously prevent a stampede and prevent anyone getting burned."

http://sourcewatch.org is a useful way to research people who might be funded to speak out against the main-stream peer-reviewed science. For instance by the fossil fuel industry.

http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php counters 173 myths! Some of the following match those mentioned in other replies in this thread .
- "Climate's changed before"
- "It's the sun"
- "There is no consensus"
- "It's cooling"
- "Models are unreliable"
- "Temp record is unreliable"
- "It hasn't warmed since 1998"
- "Antarctica is gaining ice"
- "CO2 lags temperature"
- "Hockey stick is broken"
- "Climategate CRU emails suggest conspiracy"
- "Hurricanes aren't linked to global warming"
- "1934 - hottest year on record"
- "Human CO2 is a tiny % of CO2 emissions"
- "IPCC is alarmist"
- "Water vapor is the most powerful greenhouse gas"
- "It warmed before 1940 when CO2 was low"
- "Global warming stopped in 1998, 1995, 2002, 2007, 2010, ????"
- "The science isn't settled"
- "Volcanoes emit more CO2 than humans"
- "Scientists tried to 'hide the decline' in global temperature"
- "They changed the name from global warming to climate change"
- "IPCC overestimate temperature rise"
- "Phil Jones says no global warming since 1995"
- "Humans are too insignificant to affect global climate"
- "The IPCC consensus is phoney"
- "It warmed just as fast in 1860-1880 and 1910-1940"
- "Trenberth can't account for the lack of warming"
- "Water vapor is the most powerful greenhouse gas"
- "Solar Cycle Length proves its the sun"

Is your favourite one there? If so, and you are a genuine skeptic, then you might like to take a look?

Geoff Benn CEng MIET


-------------------------
Geoff Benn BSc(Hons) CEng MIET
George Washington: Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains taken to bring it to light.
skepticalscience.com: getting skeptical about global warming skepticism
sourcewatch.org: exposing public opinion manipulation
 21 November 2012 09:05 PM
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geoffbenn

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Regarding some of the replies above:

SimonGarrett talks sense ;-)

AMillar makes a very valid point, which could explain the current results. Pity that so many might see those results not realising this point, and not knowing how few voted...

Warren Hill makes a very good point which demonstrates Johnny's lack of expertise.

morry (Jack Thompson) sounds like a true sceptic, and I totally respect that. Regarding how much is human caused, I don't know, but I do know that we can turn it around, so we're having a significant effect. From a quick bit of research, dodging sites which seem set on pseudo-science...

ScienceDaily.com "... from universities, journals, and other research organizations"

- http://www.sciencedaily.com/re...2/06/120611153234.htm
"Humans Are Primary Cause of Global Ocean Warming Over Past 50 Years, Research Shows"

- http://ossfoundation.us/projec...only-part-human-caused

-------------------------
Geoff Benn BSc(Hons) CEng MIET
George Washington: Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains taken to bring it to light.
skepticalscience.com: getting skeptical about global warming skepticism
sourcewatch.org: exposing public opinion manipulation
 21 November 2012 09:24 PM
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geoffbenn

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Regarding some of those who clearly disagree with main-stream peer-reviewed scietific concensus, and without going through arguments that have been visited so many times in the past:

- JPWilson: interesting response. The earth can be knocked out of balance by a relatively small change, for instance that caused by mankind, and see "Human CO2 is a tiny % of CO2 emissions" on skepticalscience.com. Emotional words like 'conceit' and 'puny' can give it away to those with less knowledge...

NigelfWhitehead seems to have collected many myths together. 12 comments which clearly leave no doubt as to any bias against main-stream peer-reviewed science:

- "alarmist" - see alarmism above.

- "warming to 1998 and cooling to the present" - see skepticalscience.com.

- "vaunted" - emotional give away.

- ""Trenberth" - see "Trenberth can't account for the lack of warming" on skepticalscience.com.

- "atmospheric water" - see "Water vapor is the most powerful greenhouse gas" on skepticalscience.com.

- 1998 - see "It hasn't warmed since 1998" on skepticalscience.com.

- "sun" - see "Solar Cycle Length proves its the sun", "Solar cycles cause global warming" and "The sun is getting hotter" on skepticalscience.com.

- "cosmic rays" - see "It's cosmic rays" on skepticalscience.com.

- "Donna Laframboise" - see sourcewatch.org, no scientific qualifications.

- "bureacrats" - how much control does the fossil fuel industry have in lobbying and financing pseudoscience?

- "economic progress" - see "CO2 limits will harm the economy" on skepticalscience.com.

- "innocuous carbon dioxide" - proven greenhouse gas.


JMcCabe:

- "97%" see the following:

-http://www.skepticalscience.co...entific-consensus.htm

- http://www.skepticalscience.co...schulte-consensus.htm

- http://www.skepticalscience.co...warming-consensus.htm

- "made up by the IPCC!" - emotional give away. See my comment on the IPCC above, and "The IPCC consensus is phoney" on skepticalscience.com.

- "Anderegg" - interesting that Delingpole was not a fan...

- "Doran/Zimmerman" see http://www.sciencedaily.com/re...9/01/090119210532.htm
Scientists Agree Human-Induced Global Warming Is Real, Survey Says "the more you know about the field of climate science, the more you're likely to believe in global warming and humankind's contribution to it"

- "last 16 years" - see "It hasn't warmed since 1998" on skepticalscience.com.

- "hurricanes" - alot has been written by experts in the field recently explaining why hurricanes are getting more dangerous as a result of a warming ocean. We could have an interesting discussion here, except for the other points on this list which make it clear that such a discussion would be futile.

- "research grant money" could be a valid point. Except that I just don't believe that the majority of scientists would think like that, or that the results would continue to stand up.

- "GIGO" - having been a software engineer for 30 years I fully understand. However see http://www.skepticalscience.com/climate-models.htm
"Climate models have already predicted many of the phenomena for which we now have empirical evidence. Climate models form a reliable guide to potential climate change."

- "Phil Jones" - see
http://www.skepticalscience.co...CRU-emails-hacked.htm
."The so-called "trick" was nothing more than a statistical method used to bring two or more different kinds of data sets together in a legitimate fashion by a technique that has been reviewed by a broad array of peers in the field."




-------------------------
Geoff Benn BSc(Hons) CEng MIET
George Washington: Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains taken to bring it to light.
skepticalscience.com: getting skeptical about global warming skepticism
sourcewatch.org: exposing public opinion manipulation
 21 November 2012 09:49 PM
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geoffbenn

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MPATaylor provides us with lots of quotes from good sources ;-)

cmarkr:

Interesting points, though see my comments above on JMcCabe's posting. Have you actually read any of the science? If so what do you make of it? Regarding the poll result, how can we take any regard to it when pseudo-science and mis-information abound?

griggnz:

- "but the moment a single piece of evidence debunks that theory, it's all over." indeed, but it hasn't been done yet. Instead there is a tremendous amount of pseudo-science. Unfortunately the argument works both ways. Once I see dodgy arguments being used then I discard the remainder.

- I'm wondering at your response to my demonstration of the unreliable nature of the positions of both Nigel and JMcCabe.

Andy Millar:

"it's their area of expertise, not ours" and "balance of probability" well said ;-) And given the balance of probability we should consider our options. The latest news is that it could well be cheaper for the world to address the issue properly..., though the fossil fuel industry could loose out...

RobertPalgrave:

mentions "exaggeration and distortion of certain facts", and so unfortunately Johnny Ball discredits himself.

AMillar & MPTaylor:

I must admit that I've come to the conclusion that I struggle enough with climate science that I can clearly see that many people will never understand. We are not the experts, and we need to trust to real experts. Unfortunately we need to see real action, that involves politics, and that requires a mandate, and that...

cmarkr:

- "consensus without doubts" that's simply not true. The doubts are being made clear in statements suggesting X% certainty.

- "the real risk is that the price will be paid unnecessarily because a theory was treated as unquestionable fact" and the alternative risk is that the situation becomes critical leaving us powerless to avoid catastrophe. On Monday the World Bank warned thaat we are on track for a 4 degrees C world. If you look into that you will realise why 2 degrees C is "dangerous climate change" and the limit goverments agreed.

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Geoff Benn BSc(Hons) CEng MIET
George Washington: Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains taken to bring it to light.
skepticalscience.com: getting skeptical about global warming skepticism
sourcewatch.org: exposing public opinion manipulation
 21 November 2012 09:55 PM
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geoffbenn

Posts: 245
Joined: 08 July 2004

A bit of fun regarding signs of pseudo science:

- Exaggerated claims

- Over-reliance on anecdotes

- Absence of connectivity to other research

- Lack of review by other scholars (called peer review) or replication by independent labs

- Lack of self-correction when contrary evidence is published

- Meaningless "psychobabble" that uses fancy scientific-sounding terms that don't make sense.

- Talk of "proof" instead of "evidence".

I wonder how many saw the Channel 4 programme The Great Global Warming Swindle? It was well presented and believable, but mis-leading, many will have seen it as real science. I was one of the 265 who complained. How many then followed the story as it went to OfCom? OfCom rules that it breached the rules: http://www.guardian.co.uk/medi...ul/22/channel4.ofcom1


-------------------------
Geoff Benn BSc(Hons) CEng MIET
George Washington: Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains taken to bring it to light.
skepticalscience.com: getting skeptical about global warming skepticism
sourcewatch.org: exposing public opinion manipulation
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