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The One and Only Global Warming Thread

Old 05-24-06, 01:32 PM
  #76  
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Originally Posted by CRM114
Uh, yeah. I guess in a short sighted and simple-minded kind of way....


What is short sighted and simple minded about telling the truth?
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Old 05-24-06, 01:35 PM
  #77  
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Originally Posted by bhk
The inventor of the internet could have given his talk via web teleconferenceing.

Yes.

I was going for a walk one evening, and there was a sign that said there was a Sierra Club meeting at a certain building around the corner. When I walked around the corner, the parking lot for the building was full of SUVs.

These meetings are all about making the participants feel morally superior, not about helping the environment.

Last edited by grundle; 05-24-06 at 01:37 PM.
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Old 05-24-06, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by CRM114
Uh, yeah. I guess in a short sighted and simple-minded kind of way....

kind of like incurring massive costs to reduce CO2 emissions despite negligible benefits?
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Old 05-24-06, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Birrman54
kind of like incurring massive costs to reduce CO2 emissions despite negligible benefits?
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Old 05-24-06, 09:14 PM
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http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=052406F

Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" opens around the country this week. In the film Gore pulls together evidence from every corner of the globe to convince us that climate change is happening fast, we are to blame, and if we don't act immediately, our Earth will be all but ruined. However, as you sit through the film, consider the following inconvenient truths:


(1) Near the beginning of the film, Gore pays respects to his Harvard mentor and inspiration, Dr. Roger Revelle. Gore praises Revelle for his discovery that atmospheric CO2 levels were rising and could potentially contribute to higher temperatures at a global scale. There is no mention of Revelle's article published in the early 1990s concluding that the science is "too uncertain to justify drastic action." (S.F. Singer, C. Starr, and R. Revelle, "What to do about Greenhouse Warming: Look Before You Leap. Cosmos 1 (1993) 28-33.)


(2) Gore discusses glacial and snowpack retreats atop Kenya's Mt. Kilimanjaro, implying that human induced global warming is to blame. But Gore fails to mention that the snows of Kilimanjaro have been retreating for more than 100 years, largely due to declining atmospheric moisture, not global warming. Gore does not acknowledge the two major articles on the subject published in 2004 in the International Journal of Climatology and the Journal of Geophysical Research showing that modern glacier retreat on Kilimanjaro was initiated by a reduction in precipitation at the end of the nineteenth century and not by local or global warming.


(3) Many of Gore's conclusions are based on the "Hockey Stick" that shows near constant global temperatures for 1,000 years with a sharp increase in temperature from 1900 onward. The record Gore chooses in the film completely wipes out the Medieval Warm Period of 1,000 years ago and Little Ice Age that started 500 years ago and ended just over 100 years ago. There is evidence from throughout the world that these climate episodes existed, but on Gore's Hockey Stick, they become nothing more than insignificant fluctuations (Gore even jokes at one point about the Medieval Warm period).


(4) You will certainly not be surprised to see Katrina, other hurricanes, tornadoes, flash floods, and many types of severe weather events linked by Gore to global warming. However, if one took the time to read the downloadable "Summary for Policymakers" in the latest report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), one would learn that "No systematic changes in the frequency of tornadoes, thunder days, or hail events are evident in the limited areas analysed" and that "Changes globally in tropical and extra-tropical storm intensity and frequency are dominated by inter-decadal and multi-decadal variations, with no significant trends evident over the 20th century."


(5) Gore claims that sea level rise could drown the Pacific islands, Florida, major cities the world over, and the 9/11 Memorial in New York City. No mention is made of the fact that sea level has been rising at a rate of 1.8 mm per year for the past 8,000 years; the IPCC notes that "No significant acceleration in the rate of sea level rise during the 20th century has been detected."


(6) Near the end of the film, we learn of ways the United States could reduce emissions of greenhouse gases back to the levels of 1970. OK. Assume the United States accomplishes this lofty goal, would we see any impact on climate? The well-known answer is no. China, India and many other countries are significantly increasing their emission levels, and global concentrations of CO2 may double this century no matter what we decide to do in the United States. Even if the Kyoto Protocol could be fully implemented to honor the opening of this movie, the globe would be spared no more than a few hundredths of a degree of warming.


Throughout the film Gore displays his passion for the global warming issue, and it is obvious that he has dedicated a substantial amount of time to learning about climate change and the greenhouse effect. This leads to an obvious question. The Kyoto Protocol was negotiated in December of 1997 giving the Clinton-Gore administration more than three years to present the Protocol to the United States Senate for ratification. Given Gore's position in the senate and his knowledge and passion for global warming, one must wonder why then Vice President Gore did not seize on what appears to have been an opportunity of a lifetime?


"An Inconvenient Truth" is billed as the scariest movie you'll ever see. It may well be, but that's in part because it is not the most accurate depiction of the state of global warming science. The enormous uncertainties surrounding the global warming issue are conveniently missing in "An Inconvenient Truth."

Dr. Robert C. Balling Jr. is a professor in the climatology program at Arizona State University, specializing in climate change and the greenhouse effect.
More flies in the global warming is killing us ointment.
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Old 05-25-06, 09:24 AM
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Another one of those nonexistent (according to Gore) skeptics weighs in:

http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=052506C

Questions for Al Gore
By Dr. Roy Spencer
25 May 2006

Dear Mr. Gore:

I have just seen your new movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," about the threat that global warming presents to humanity. I think you did a very good job of explaining global warming theory, and your presentation was effective. Please convey my compliments to your good friend, Laurie David, for a job well done.

As a climate scientist myself -- you might remember me...I'm the one you mistook for your "good friend," UK scientist Phil Jones during my congressional testimony some years back -- I have a few questions that occurred to me while watching the movie.

1) Why did you make it look like hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, floods, droughts, and ice calving off of glaciers and falling into the ocean, are only recent phenomena associated with global warming? You surely know that hurricane experts have been warning congress for many years that the natural cycle in hurricanes would return some day, and that our built-up coastlines were ripe for a disaster (like Katrina, which you highlighted in the movie). And as long as snow continues to fall on glaciers, they will continue to flow downhill toward the sea. Yet you made it look like these things wouldn't happen if it weren't for global warming. Also, since there are virtually no measures of severe weather showing a recent increase, I assume those graphs you showed actually represented damage increases, which are well known to be simply due to greater population and wealth. Is that right?

2) Why did you make it sound like all scientists agree that climate change is manmade and not natural? You mentioned a recent literature review study that supposedly found no peer-reviewed articles that attributed climate change to natural causes (a non-repeatable study which has since been refuted....I have a number of such articles in my office!) You also mentioned how important it is to listen to scientists when they warn us, yet surely you know that almost all past scientific predictions of gloom and doom have been wrong. How can we trust scientists' predictions now?

3) I know you still must feel bad about the last presidential election being stolen from you, but why did you have to make fun of Republican presidents (Reagan; both Bushes) for their views on global warming? The points you made in the movie might have had wider appeal if you did not alienate so many moviegoers in this manner.

4) Your presentation showing the past 650,000 years of atmospheric temperature and carbon dioxide reconstructions from ice cores was very effective. But I assume you know that some scientists view the CO2 increases as the result of, rather than the cause of, past temperature increases. It seems unlikely that CO2 variations have been the dominant cause of climate change for hundreds of thousands of years. And now that there is a new source of carbon dioxide emissions (people), those old relationships are probably not valid anymore. Why did you give no hint of these alternative views?

5) When you recounted your 6-year-old son's tragic accident that nearly killed him, I thought that you were going to make the point that, if you had lived in a poor country like China or India, your son would have probably died. But then you later held up these countries as model examples for their low greenhouse gas emissions, without mentioning that the only reason their emissions were so low was because people in those countries are so poor. I'm confused...do you really want us to live like the poor people in India and China?

6) There seems to be a lot of recent concern that more polar bears are drowning these days because of disappearing sea ice. I assume you know that polar bears have always migrated to land in late summer when sea ice naturally melts back, and then return to the ice when it re-freezes. Also, if this was really happening, why did the movie have to use a computer generated animation of the poor polar bear swimming around looking for ice? Haven't there been any actual observations of this happening? Also, temperature measurements in the arctic suggest that it was just as warm there in the 1930's...before most greenhouse gas emissions. Don't you ever wonder whether sea ice concentrations back then were low, too?

7) Why did you make it sound like simply signing on to the Kyoto Protocol to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions would be such a big step forward, when we already know it will have no measurable effect on global temperatures anyway? And even though it represents such a small emission reduction, the economic pain Kyoto causes means that almost no developed country will be meeting its emission reductions commitments under that treaty, as we are now witnessing in Europe.

8) At the end of the movie, you made it sound like we can mostly fix the global warming problem by conserving energy... you even claimed we can reduce our carbon emissions to zero. But I'm sure you know that this will only be possible with major technological advancements, including a probable return to nuclear power as an energy source. Why did you not mention this need for technological advancement and nuclear power? It is because that would support the current (Republican) Administration's view?

Mr. Gore, I think we can both agree that if it was relatively easy for mankind to stop emitting so much carbon dioxide, that we should do so. You are a very smart person, so I can't understand why you left so many important points unmentioned, and you made it sound so easy.

I wish you well in these efforts, and I hope that humanity will make the right choices based upon all of the information we have on the subject of global warming. I agree with you that global warming is indeed a "moral issue," and if we are to avoid doing more harm than good with misguided governmental policies, we will need more politicians to be educated on the issue.

Your "Good Friend,"

Dr. Roy W. Spencer
(aka 'Phil Jones')
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Old 05-25-06, 10:29 AM
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http://in.today.reuters.com/news/new...a-250545-1.xml

A representative affiliated with "An Inconvenient Truth", a film about global warming involving former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, has stressed that the movie and Gore's tour to promote it are "carbon neutral".

Last week, Gore and his team were seen driving the 500 metres or so from a hotel to the Cannes festival headquarters in several cars. The representative said that arriving at events like photocalls and news conferences in cars was normal practice in Cannes. And Gore walked the shorter distance from another hotel to the festival for the movie's screening.
Looks like Drudge had it wrong. Gore didn't take a car 500 meters to the screening. He took a car 500 meters to an earlier photo op at the "festival headquarters."
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Old 05-25-06, 11:40 PM
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"In the United States of America, unfortunately we still live in a bubble of unreality. And the Category 5 denial is an enormous obstacle to any discussion of solutions. Nobody is interested in solutions if they don't think there's a problem. Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous (global warming) is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis." -- Algore

Can you believe this guy. He just said its Okay to lie. Though given the administration he came from its no surprise. God could you imagine the country with this loser as our President. Manbearpig.
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Old 05-28-06, 12:47 PM
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This article is off topic, but it's still sort of relevant. And it's certainly very interesting. I hope it's OK if I post it here.


http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=428868

Digging black gold

Milwaukee machines unlock oil supply larger than Mideast's

By RICK BARRETT

May 27, 2006

Fort McMurray, Alberta - Like a monster rising from the tar pits, a Bucyrus mining shovel takes huge bites of gooey sand and drops them with a thud into the biggest truck you've ever seen.

Four scoops of the sticky dirt, roughly 400 tons, fill the truck that stands three stories tall. The dirt contains a tarlike grade of petroleum called bitumen, which can be processed into synthetic crude oil.

Most of the synthetic crude from this desolate region in northwest Canada is used to make gasoline, jet fuel or home heating fuel. It flows through a network of pipelines to oil refineries across North America, including Wisconsin's only refinery, in Superior.

The $20 million shovel was made in South Milwaukee by Bucyrus International Inc.

Bucyrus and P&H Mining Equipment Co. of Milwaukee are the world's only manufacturers of electric mining shovels. They're providing the muscle behind a Gold Rush-style boom in northwest Canada, as oil companies tap the riches of Alberta's "oil sands."

Pulling money from the ground

Trucks and shovels run day and night, year-round, in vast open-pit mines that resemble a messy, industrial version of the Grand Canyon. They're built to keep going even when the temperature falls to 40 degrees below zero and dirt becomes as hard as concrete.

It's a costly operation. But as oil prices soar, the shovels are helping turn bitumen into black gold.

"When there's money in the ground, people will find a way to get it out," said Mike Glennon, executive director of the Athabasca Regional Issues Working Group, a Fort McMurray-based industry association.

This oil has transformed Fort Mac, as the locals call the city of 60,000 residents, into a boom town. Drawn by high wages, thousands of workers are living in barracks-style housing or in mobile homes that sell for $300,000.

The oil sands boom also has unleashed a stream of money that flows through Milwaukee. Bucyrus and P&H have been on hiring binges, recruiting welders and metal fabricators to build machines so big they have to be delivered in pieces on railroad cars.

Almost everything about mining equipment is super-size, from truck tires that are 15 feet tall to electric shovels that weigh 1,500 tons.

A shovel operator's cab towers above the mine floor. From there, the operator can see for miles through floor-to-ceiling windows. The operator works from a plush, heated chair with a massage system to make it even more comfortable. Nestled in the chair, the operator runs the monstrous shovel with a joystick and a control panel, much like playing a video game.

An experienced operator can "feel" how the machine performs by how the control stick responds. Even with computers that can monitor a shovel's instruments and sensors from several thousand miles away, there's still a human touch.

The operator's job requires concentration and a steady hand while working under a wide range of conditions.

"In the pit at night, it's darker than the back side of the moon," said Hal Lundeen, manager of P&H Equipment's oil sands operations.

More oil than the Middle East

Alberta's oil sands cover 54,000 square miles, about the size of North Carolina. There are an estimated 1.7 trillion to 2.5 trillion barrels of bitumen there, more oil than in the Middle East. The supply could help reduce U.S. dependency on overseas oil by 50%, the U.S. Department of Energy says.

Much of the bitumen that could be turned into synthetic crude lies too deep for truck-and-shovel extraction. That resource will have to be tapped through other methods such as injecting steam into the oil sands deposits and collecting bitumen released by the heat.

But the region's full potential could not be realized without the behemoth shovels that can lift more than 100 tons in a single scoop, about the same weight as 40 large sport utility vehicles.

P&H and Bucyrus also make draglines, some of the largest machines on Earth, used to remove dirt and expose minerals or bitumen. A dragline can be 20 stories tall, and the bucket alone is about the size of a two-car garage.

But as big and powerful as draglines are, they've recently been replaced by the mining shovels that are easier to move and more adaptable to rough terrain.

In peak digging mode, an electric mining shovel can handle 10,000 tons of oil sand per hour. It takes two tons of dirt to produce a barrel of oil, about 42 gallons; each barrel produces 19.5 gallons of gasoline.

Petroleum companies such as Shell, Suncor and Syncrude consider shovels to be the front end of their oil sands pipeline.

The Milwaukee connection

P&H and Bucyrus are competitors that, combined, employ 2,000 people in the Milwaukee area.

Bucyrus steam shovels helped dig the Panama Canal. P&H and Bucyrus shovels and draglines are used worldwide for extracting coal, copper and other minerals, besides bitumen.

It's an enviable position for the two companies as soaring commodity prices have increased the demand for mining equipment. That wasn't the case only a few years ago, when copper and coal mines languished and bought few machines.

"They really turned off the spigot," said Mark Readinger, P&H president and chief operating officer.

The two companies are fairly well matched when it comes to working in Canada's oil sands, both in the size and number of machines.

P&H set the stage with a mining shovel in Alberta in the 1960s, but that machine became mired in oily sand and was forced to quit. Since then, shovels have been designed with extra-wide tracks to keep them from getting stuck.

Summer temperatures in the cavernous pits can soar above 90 degrees. Even with extra-wide tracks, shovels sometimes get stuck in bitumen that has the texture of cookie dough. Bulldozers and road graders clear a path so the shovels can crawl their way out of the sticky mess.

Constant motion

Pickup trucks dart about the mines on dirt roads that can turn to mush in the heat. Parked for just a few minutes, a pickup will sink several inches in the hot tar sand.

"This is definitely a weird material," said Todd McKenzie, a Bucyrus shovel mechanic.

Trucks and shovels are in constant motion. A five-second delay in the loading process could result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in productivity losses over an extended period of time.

A shovel operator has one of the most sought-after jobs in the mines. Operators easily earn more than $100,000 a year, plus bonuses and housing allowances. A journeyman shovel mechanic might earn $84,000 a year plus a housing allowance, overtime pay and night-shift premiums.

McKenzie leads a crew of mechanics. The Burlington, Ontario, native started out as a laborer in the mines but was always a mechanic at heart.

"When I was 8 years old, my dad bought me my first toolbox," McKenzie said.

A mine's haul trucks are the biggest trucks in the world. Fully loaded, they weigh more than 1.4 million pounds, and their 24-cylinder engines burn 70 gallons of diesel fuel per hour.

As burly as the trucks are, however, they can be jostled when a shovel operator drops a 100-ton scoop of dirt and bitumen into the cargo box.

"They teach you to brace yourself for it," said Bill Demeyers, a haul-truck driver.

After trucks come out of the mines, their valuable cargo goes through a complex process that turns bitumen into petroleum products.

Trucks take their loads to crushers, where a machine breaks up lumps and removes rocks, then mixes the sand with hot water. The resulting slurry is sent by pipeline to a bitumen extraction plant.

Like mining machines, some of the processing equipment is huge. A "coker" vessel in the extraction plant weighs 2,800 tons - equal to the weight of 86 humpback whales.

Labor shortage coming

Alberta's oil sands could supply North America's energy needs for decades, with mine expansions creating a demand for additional mining shovels for years to come.

But if world oil prices fall below $30 a barrel - an unlikely scenario any time soon - it could put a damper on some of the oil sands mining.

A global shortage of truck tires poses a more immediate threat. A single haul-truck tire can cost $50,000, and some tires are back-ordered for months.

A labor shortage also threatens to curtail the oil-sands production in sparsely populated northwest Canada. Some companies have recruited skilled labor from Europe and South America, while others have considered using passenger jets to fly workers back and forth from other parts of Canada.

The labor shortage could worsen as middle-age workers approach retirement.

"We are going to create 400,000 jobs (in the province) over the next 10 years, and maybe we will have 300,000 people to fill them," Glennon said.

Some people worry that open-pit mining is permanently altering the landscape with some of the biggest holes on Earth. It could take more than a century for land restoration efforts to return the area to what it was like before mining.

Only about 20% of the bitumen here is accessible by mine shovels. Still, there will be plenty of work for the shovels for years to come.

In the Milwaukee area, P&H and Bucyrus have created an economic boomlet that's rippled through their suppliers and other businesses. Steady business from the oil sands could help offset declines in coal and copper mining, which are almost certain to come in years ahead.

"These are good times," said Readinger, P&H president.

From the May 28, 2006 editions of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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Old 05-28-06, 12:58 PM
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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...301305_pf.html

The Tempest

By Joel Achenbach

Sunday, May 28, 2006; W08

As evidence mounts that humans are causing dangerous changes in Earth's climate, a handful of skeptics are providing some serious blowback

IT SHOULD BE GLORIOUS TO BE BILL GRAY, professor emeritus. He is often called the World's Most Famous Hurricane Expert. He's the guy who, every year, predicts the number of hurricanes that will form during the coming tropical storm season. He works on a country road leading into the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, in the atmospheric science department of Colorado State University. He's mentored dozens of scientists. By rights, Bill Gray should be in deep clover, enjoying retirement, pausing only to collect the occasional lifetime achievement award.

He's a towering figure in his profession and in person. He's 6 feet 5 inches tall, handsome, with blue eyes and white hair combed straight back. He's still lanky, like the baseball player he used to be back at Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington in the 1940s. When he wears a suit, a dark shirt and tinted sunglasses, you can imagine him as a casino owner or a Hollywood mogul. In a room jammed with scientists, you'd probably notice him first.

He's loud. His laugh is gale force. His personality threatens to spill into the hallway and onto the chaparral. He can be very charming.

But he's also angry. He's outraged.

He recently had a public shouting match with one of his former students. It went on for 45 minutes.

He was supposed to debate another scientist at a weather conference, but the organizer found him to be too obstreperous, and disinvited him.

Much of his government funding has dried up. He has had to put his own money, more than $100,000, into keeping his research going. He feels intellectually abandoned. If none of his colleagues comes to his funeral, he says, that'll be evidence that he had the courage to say what they were afraid to admit.

Which is this: Global warming is a hoax.

"I am of the opinion that this is one of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated on the American people," he says when I visit him in his office on a sunny spring afternoon.

He has testified about this to the United States Senate. He has written magazine articles, given speeches, done everything he could to get the message out. His scientific position relies heavily on what is known as the Argument From Authority. He's the authority.

"I've been in meteorology over 50 years. I've worked damn hard, and I've been around. My feeling is some of us older guys who've been around have not been asked about this. It's sort of a baby boomer, yuppie thing."

Gray believes in the obs. The observations. Direct measurements. Numerical models can't be trusted. Equation pushers with fancy computers aren't the equals of scientists who fly into hurricanes.

"Few people know what I know. I've been in the tropics, I've flown in airplanes into storms. I've done studies of convection, cloud clusters and how the moist process works. I don't think anybody in the world understands how the atmosphere functions better than me."

In just three, five, maybe eight years, he says, the world will begin to cool again.

We sit in his office for 2 1/2 hours, until the sun drops behind the mountains, and when we're done he offers to keep talking until midnight. He is almost desperate to be heard. His time is short. He is 76 years old. He is howling in a maelstrom.
Parallel Earths

HUMAN BEINGS ARE PUMPING GREENHOUSE GASES INTO THE ATMOSPHERE, warming the planet in the process.

Since the dawn of the industrial era, atmospheric carbon dioxide has risen steadily from about 280 to about 380 parts per million. In the past century, the average surface temperature of Earth has warmed about 1 degree Fahrenheit. Much of that warming has been in the past three decades. Regional effects can be more dramatic: The Arctic is melting at an alarming rate. Arctic sea ice is 40 percent thinner than it was in the 1970s. Glaciers in Greenland are speeding up as they slide toward the sea. A recent report shows Antarctica losing as much as 36 cubic miles of ice a year.

The permafrost is melting across broad swaths of Alaska, Canada and Siberia. Tree-devouring beetles, common in the American Southwest, are suddenly ravaging the evergreen forests of British Columbia. Coral reefs are bleaching, scalded by overheated tropical waters. There appear to have been more strong hurricanes and cyclones in recent decades, Category 3 and higher -- such as Katrina.

The 1990s were the warmest decade on record. The year 1998 set the all-time mark. This decade is on its way to setting a new standard, with a succession of scorchers. The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a global effort involving hundreds of climate scientists and the governments of 100 nations, projected in 2001 that, depending on the rate of greenhouse gas emissions and general climate sensitivities, the global average temperature would rise 2.5 to 10.4 degrees Fahrenheit between 1990 and 2100. Sea levels could rise just a few inches, or nearly three feet.

All of the above is part of the emerging, solidifying scientific consensus on global warming -- a consensus that raises the urgent political and economic issue of climate change. This isn't a theory anymore. This is happening now. Business as usual, many scientists say, could lead to a wildly destabilized climate for the first time since the dawn of human civilization.

But when you step into the realm of the skeptics, you find yourself on a parallel Earth.

It is a planet where global warming isn't happening -- or, if it is happening, isn't happening because of human beings. Or, if it is happening because of human beings, isn't going to be a big problem. And, even if it is a big problem, we can't realistically do anything about it other than adapt.

Certainly there's no consensus on global warming, they say. There is only abundant uncertainty. The IPCC process is a sham, a mechanism for turning vague scientific statements into headline-grabbing alarmism. Drastic actions such as mandated cuts in carbon emissions would be imprudent. Alternative sources of energy are fine, they say, but let's not be naive. We are an energy-intensive civilization. To obtain the kind of energy we need, we must burn fossil fuels. We must emit carbon. That's the real world.

Since the late 1980s, when oil, gas, coal, auto and chemical companies formed the Global Climate Coalition, industries have poured millions of dollars into a campaign to discredit the emerging global warming consensus. The coalition disbanded a few years ago (some members recast themselves as "green"), but the skeptic community remains rambunctious. Many skeptics work in think tanks, such as the George C. Marshall Institute or the National Center for Policy Analysis. They have the ear of powerful leaders in the White House and on Capitol Hill. The skeptics helped scuttle any possibility that the United States would ratify the Kyoto treaty that would have committed the nation to cuts in greenhouse gas emissions (conservatives object to the treaty for, among other things, not requiring reductions by developing nations such as China and India).

In the world of the skeptics you'll come across Richard Lindzen, an MIT climate scientist who has steadfastly maintained for years that clouds and water vapor will counteract the greenhouse emissions of human beings. You'll find S. Fred Singer, author of Hot Talk, Cold Science, who points to the positive side of the melting Arctic: "We spent 500 years looking for a Northwest Passage, and now we've got one." You'll quickly run across Pat Michaels, the University of Virginia climatologist and author of Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians and the Media . You might dip into TCSDaily.com, the online clearinghouse for anti-global-warming punditry. You'll meet the Cooler Heads Coalition and the Greening Earth Society.

The skeptics point to the global temperature graph for the past century. Notice how, after rising steadily in the early 20th century, in 1940 the temperature suddenly levels off. No -- it goes down! For the next 35 years! If the planet is getting steadily warmer due to Industrial Age greenhouse gases, why did it get cooler when industries began belching out carbon dioxide at full tilt at the start of World War II?

Now look at the ice in Antarctica: Getting thicker in places!

Sea level rise? It's actually dropping around certain islands in the Pacific and Indian oceans.

There are all these . . . anomalies.

The skeptics scoff at climate models. They're just computer programs. They have to interpret innumerable feedback loops, all the convective forces, the evaporation, the winds, the ocean currents, the changing albedo (reflectivity) of Earth's surface, on and on and on.

Bill Gray has a favorite diagram, taken from a 1985 climate model, showing little nodules in the center with such labels as "thermal inertia" and "net energy balance" and "latent heat flux" and "subsurface heat storage" and "absorbed heat radiation" and so on, and they are emitting arrows that curve and loop in all directions, bumping into yet more jargon, like "soil moisture" and "surface roughness" and "vertical wind" and "meltwater" and "volcanoes."

"It's a big can of worms!" Gray says. It's his favorite line.

The models can't even predict the weather in two weeks, much less 100 years, he says.

"They sit in this ivory tower, playing around, and they don't tell us if this is going to be a hot summer coming up. Why not? Because the models are no damn good!"

Gray says the recent rash of strong hurricanes is just part of a cycle. This is part of the broader skeptical message: Climate change is normal and natural. There was a Medieval Warm Period, for example, long before Exxon Mobil existed.

Sterling Burnett, a skeptic who is a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas, says that even if he's wrong about global warming, mandating cuts in carbon emissions would mean economic disaster for poor countries, and cost jobs in America: "I don't know any politician anywhere who is going to run on a platform of saying, 'I'm

going to put you out of work.'"

The skeptics don't have to win the argument, they just have to stay in the game, keep things stirred up and make sure the politicians don't pass any laws that have dangerous climate change as a premise. They're winning that battle. The Senate had hearings on climate change this spring but has put off action for now. The Bush administration is hoping for some kind of technological solution and won't commit itself to cuts in emissions.

The skeptics have a final trump in the argument: Climate change is actually good. Growing seasons will be longer. Plants like carbon dioxide. Trees devour it. This demonized molecule, CO2, isn't some kind of toxin or contaminant or pollutant -- it's fertilizer.
The Free Market Solution: Zoos

AL GORE IS ABOUT TO COME ON THE BIG SCREEN. Fred Smith is eagerly awaiting the moment. We're at a media

preview of "An Inconvenient Truth," the documentary on Gore and global warming (it debuts this week in Washington). Smith is not exactly a Gore groupie. He is the head of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a factory for global warming skepticism.

CEI has 28 people on staff, "half a platoon," Smith likes to say. They're in the persuasion business, fighting for the free market. They lobby against government regulations of all kinds. Smith writes articles with titles such as "Eco-Socialism: Threat to Liberty Around the World." These promoters of capitalism don't really operate a commercial enterprise; like any think tank, CEI relies on donations from individuals, foundations and corporations. The most generous sponsors of last year's annual dinner at the Capital Hilton were the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Exxon Mobil, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, and Pfizer. Other contributors included General Motors, the American Petroleum Institute, the American Plastics Council, the Chlorine Chemistry Council and Arch Coal.

Smith is short, stocky, bearded. He talks extremely fast and sprinkles his remarks with free market jargon, climate change lingo, historical references and various mysterious words that seem to come from a secret conservatives-only code book.

As we wait for the movie to start, I ask him how he would define his political beliefs. "Classical liberal," he says. He explains that civilization is a means for allowing individuals to liberate their energies and their genius -- an emergence from primitive, tribal, collectivist social arrangements. When humans switch from collectivism to private property, he says, "you have greater freedom of ideas." This prompts the thought that the federal government owns way too much land in the West. Much of it should be privatized, he says.

Including national parks? I ask.

"Probably wouldn't touch it for political reasons," he says.

The movie begins: Images of a river. Lush foliage. Gore's voice, almost sultry, rhapsodizes about nature. Then we see him take a stage in an auditorium. He is in a suit and tie and looks very much like a candidate for political office.

"Maybe he is running," Smith says.

When Gore shows a big graph of rising CO2, Smith says, "That's a phony scale."

The film shows footage from Hurricane Katrina.

"It was a Category 3 hurricane," Smith says. Not the Cat 5, at landfall, you keep hearing about.

Gore reveals that insurance losses because of hurricanes have steadily climbed.

"That's just dishonest," Smith says. There are more beach houses and so on -- it's just an infrastructure issue.

Subsequent visits to the Competitive Enterprise Institute show Smith in his element. The think tank is a warren of offices lined with framed magazine advertisements from the 1950s and earlier. These are images of the Golden Age of American Commerce, when cars were like luxury liners and chemical companies bragged about their mosquito-annihilating concoctions.

"New Guinea is an island gripped in the vise of high, jagged mountain ranges . . . Choking entangling jungle is everywhere . . . In this appalling setting, aviation made an epic conquest." That's ad copy for the Socony-Vacuum oil company, later known as Mobil.

Smith loves this stuff. Those were the days! The message: Free enterprise brings people together and improves their lives. It was the Better Living Through Chemistry era. Smith points out an ad for Weyerhaeuser Timber showing clear-cut forests on a mountainside and two raccoons tussling with one another on the stump of a Douglas fir. Another photo, lower, shows a frame house. You can clearly see that cutting forests benefits people. Nowadays, environmentalists want the benefits without any of the pain. "It's all gain, no pain," Smith says.

We pass an asbestos ad.

"When I was a kid, this was called the miracle mineral," he says.

Although Smith can be rambling and digressive, he has a team of analysts who know the global warming topic inside and out and can quickly produce the latest nugget of potentially contradictory evidence (Greenland melted faster in the 1920s!). What rankles them most of all is the suggestion that global warming is a problem that must be fixed by the government, top down, through regulations. Let the free market work its genius, they say. Countries with thriving economies will, in the long run, be more adaptive to climate change and will find more technological solutions than countries that hamstring themselves by clamping down on greenhouse emissions.

Smith's office has a grand view of Farragut Square and the Washington Monument in the distance. A man named Chris Horner, general counsel of the Cooler Heads Coalition, joins us, as does, popping in and out, Marlo Lewis, a CEI policy analyst who works on climate change. They lapse several times into the Secret Code.

"Terrible toos," Horner says. I'm confused. He explains that it's shorthand for environmental doom and gloom.

"Terrible toos. Too many people, using too many resources."

Smith has a different equation: "Less people, less affluence, less technology: We call that death, poverty and ignorance."

They believe the rise of carbon dioxide may be a symptom of global warming, not the cause. Look at the chart Gore used:

Didn't it look like the warming comes before the CO2 increase?

Lewis says the snows of Kilimanjaro have been in retreat since the 1880s. The climate there is not getting warmer, it's getting drier. Just won't snow.

They see economic growth as an all-purpose cure for environmental problems. Rich societies are environmentally resilient; poor societies have dirty power plants and sooty huts. Government regulations aren't necessary. I ask Lewis if he thinks the Clean Air Act is a good idea. "It depends," he

answers. There follows a complicated riff from Smith about common law property rights and English fishermen suing upstream polluters in the 19th century.

Smith takes an abrupt detour into the issue of endangered species. The solution is to let the private sector handle it. They should be privatized, like pets or livestock. Dogs, cats, chickens, pigs: These creatures won't ever go extinct.

I want to make sure I understand what he is saying, so I begin to ask a question: "For endangered species, people should --"

"-- own them," Smith says.

But isn't there a difference between animals that live in zoos and animals that live in the wild?

"Yes and no," Smith says. " 'Zoo' is a pejorative term that PETA has turned into an animal slavery community. A zoo is nothing more than an elaborate ark."

What's unnatural, Smith says, is wilderness. The so-called wilderness of early America used to be inhabited by Indians, and they changed their environment. "They burned down trees, they burned forests, they ran buffaloes over cliffs. They were not dancing with wolves," he says. "Wilderness is the least natural part of this planet."

Human beings, in his view, are not apart from nature but very much of it, and thus whatever human beings do is natural. Environmentalists view human activity as a blemish, and animal activity as noble and good. If Manhattan had been built by termites, environmentalists would make it a World Heritage Site, Smith says. If the Grand Canyon had been the result of coal mining, he says, "Al Gore would say, 'This is horrible.'"

Horner talks about baselines used in climate trends. Why start in 1860? That was the end of the Little Ice Age. Of course the world has warmed since then. That's cheating with the baseline. At one point Horner refers to the "cooling" since 1998 -- a record-breaking year with a major El Niño event in the Pacific. He admits he is being disingenuous.

"We're playing the baseline game," Horner says.

And then -- I'm not even sure how it comes up -- Smith says we can solve the problem of gorillas being killed in Africa. They're caught in the middle of a civil war among African tribes. The solution: Evacuate them. Airlift them out, like soldiers caught behind enemy lines.

"We've got lots of land."

For the gorillas, he means.

"Build a Jurassic Park in Central

America."

Horner says that perhaps we are getting off track.
And Then There's Hitler

LET US BE HONEST about the intellectual culture of America in general: It has become almost impossible to have an intelligent discussion about anything.

Everything is a war now. This is the age of lethal verbal combat, where even scientific issues involving measurements and molecules are somehow supernaturally polarizing. The controversy about global warming resides all too perfectly at the collision point of environmentalism and free market capitalism. It's bound to be not only politicized but twisted, mangled and beaten senseless in the process. The divisive nature of global warming isn't helped by the fact that the most powerful global-warming skeptic (at least by reputation) is President Bush, and the loudest warnings come from Al Gore.

Human beings may be large of brain, but they are social animals, too, like wolves, and are prone to behave in packs. So when something like climate change comes up, the first thing people want to know is, whose side are you on? All those climatic variables and uncertainties and probabilities and "forcings" and "feedback loops," those cans of worms that Bill Gray talks about, get boiled down to their essence. Are you with us or against us?

Somehow Hitler keeps popping into the discussion. Gore draws a parallel between fighting global warming and fighting the Nazis. Novelist Michael Crichton, in State of Fear , ends with an appendix comparing the theory of global warming to the theory of eugenics -- the belief, prominently promoted by Nazis, that the gene pool of the human species was degenerating due to higher reproductive rates of "inferior" people. Both, he contends, are examples of junk science, supported by intellectual elites who will later conveniently forget they signed on to such craziness.

And Gray has no governor on his rhetoric. At one point during our meeting in Colorado he blurts out, "Gore believed in global warming almost as much as Hitler believed there was something wrong with the Jews."

When I opine that he is incendiary, he answers: "Yes, I am incendiary. But the other side is just as incendiary. The etiquette of science has long ago been thrown out the window."

In a media-saturated world, it's hard to get anyone's attention without cranking the volume. Time magazine recently declared that Earth looks like a planet that is sick (cover headline: "Be Worried. Be Very Worried"). Vanity Fair published a "worst-case scenario" photo illustration of Manhattan drowned by an 80-foot sea-level rise, the skyscrapers poking up from what has become part of the Atlantic Ocean. That's not inconceivable over the course of many centuries, but the scientific consensus (IPCC, 2001) is that by 2100 sea level will have risen somewhere between three and 34 inches from its 1990 level.

The news media -- always infatuated with doom (were it not for the obvious ramifications for ratings and circulation, the media would love to cover the End of the World) -- struggle to resist the most calamitous-sounding climate scenarios. Consider the January 2005 survey of thousands of climate change models that showed a very wide range of possibilities. One model at the very extreme had a worst-case-scenario warming of 11 degrees Celsius -- which is nearly 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

"The world is likely to heat up by an average of 11ºC by the end of the century, the biggest-ever study of global warming showed yesterday," the London Evening Standard reported online. This would cause "a surge in sea levels threatening the lives of billions of people."

Wrong, but whatever.

The skeptics feed on alarmism. They love any sign that global warming is a case of mass hysteria. Someone like Myron Ebell, an analyst at CEI, freely admits that, as an advocate in a politicized battle, he tries to make "the best case against alarmism." Everyone, on both sides, is arguing like a lawyer these days, he says. "What is going on right now is a desperate last-ditch Battle of the Bulge type effort by the forces of darkness, which is relying heavily on the lockstep/groupthink scientific community."

The president's science adviser, John Marburger, thinks the politicized debate has made it almost impossible to talk sensibly about the issue. "There seems to be the general feeling that somehow the administration doesn't feel that climate change is happening," he says. "That's completely wrong." The administration just doesn't think the problem can be solved with the "magic wand" of regulation.

Marburger recently declined to go on "60 Minutes" to address allegations that

federal scientists were being muzzled and government reports rewritten by the White House to minimize concerns about global warming. "In general the public discourse on this has gotten completely off the track, and we're never going to straighten it out on '60 Minutes,'" Marburger says.

This issue forces Americans to sort through a great deal of science, technology and economics, all of it saturated in divisive politics. Many Americans haven't really tuned in. A Gallup poll in March showed that global warming is far down the list of concerns among Americans -- even when asked to rank their environmental worries. More Americans were worried about damage to the ozone layer. No doubt some people have the two issues confused. Both involve air, and emissions of some kind, and some worrisome global effect. But the ozone issue, while hardly solved, has at least been seriously addressed with a global ban on chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

Climate change takes place on time scales of decades and centuries. In a 24-hour information society, it is hard to keep the year 2100 in mind. But these changes are happening at a geologically rapid pace. For roughly the past 10,000 years, since the end of the last Ice Age, human beings have enjoyed a relatively stable, comfortable "interglacial" period, during which they've invented everything from agriculture to moon rockets. Nomadic bands of hunters and gatherers have given way to more than 6 billion people, largely urbanized and energy-hungry. Pressure on ecosystems is immense. Biologists warn of a "sixth extinction" -- the sixth mass extinction of species since the rise of multicellular organisms about 600 million years ago. The most recent mass extinction, 65 million years ago, was apparently caused by a mountain-size object striking Earth. Human civilization, in this view, is like an asteroid hitting the planet.

The expansion of human civilization is an experiment on a global scale: What happens when a species obtains not only intelligence but technology? Do intelligent, technological species tend to survive for a long time -- or bring their environment crashing down around them?
The Hurricane Conference

BILL GRAY HAS THE HONOR of delivering the closing remarks at the National Hurricane Conference in Orlando. It's mid-April, and we're at a fancy hotel on International Drive, a main street for the tourist industry that has sprouted from the orange groves and cow pastures of central Florida. Gray seems to be everywhere, constantly talking, popping out to the terrace by the pool to give TV interviews, holding forth without any hint of fatigue. He has three media assistants following him around. They are working under contract for TCSDaily, a Web site that is a nexus of anti-global-warming arguments.

They set up two news conferences. At both events, Gray gives his standard arguments about global warming, bracketing a dispassionate discussion of the upcoming tropical storm season by his young protege, Phil Klotzbach. The two are a sight to behold: Gray, the white-haired titan, thunderous, outraged, and Klotzbach, red-haired, freckled, very calm, very mild, looking so much younger than his 25 years.

"I think there's a lot of foolishness going on," Gray says as he stands before a bank of 10 TV cameras and a couple of dozen journalists.

Hurricanes aren't getting worse -- we're just in an uptick of a regular cycle. But the alarmists won't let anyone believe that.

"The world is boiling! It's getting worse and worse!" Gray shouts. "Hell is approaching."

He was a paperboy in Washington in the 1940s, he says. There were stories back then about global warming. But then it got cooler, for decades, and by the mid-1970s the story had changed, and scientists were warning of -- yes -- an Ice Age! Gray shows a slide of magazine covers in the mid-1970s (Science Digest, 1973; Newsweek, 1975) fretting about the Cooling World.

The core of Gray's argument is that the warming of the past decades is a natural cycle, driven by a global ocean circulation that manifests itself in the North Atlantic as the Gulf Stream. Warm water and cool water essentially rise and fall in a rhythm lasting decades. "I don't think this warming period of the last 30 years can keep on going," he says. "It may warm another three, five, eight years, and then it will start to cool."

Gray's crusade against global warming "hysteria" began in the early 1990s, when he saw enormous sums of federal research money going toward computer modeling rather than his kind of science, the old-fashioned stuff based on direct observation. Gray often cites the ascendancy of Gore to the vice presidency as the start of his own problems with federal funding. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) stopped giving him research grants. So did NASA. All the money was going to computer models. The field was going off on this wild tangent.

Numerical models can't predict the future, he says. They don't even pretend to predict the weather in the coming season -- "but they make predictions of 50 or 100 years from now and ask you to believe the Earth will get warmer."

The modelers are equation pushers.

"They haven't been down in the trenches, making forecasts and understanding stuff!"

The news media are self-interested.

"Media people are all out for Pulitzer Prizes!"

The IPCC is elitist.

"They don't talk to us! I've never been approached by the IPCC."

He spots a famous meteorologist in the back of the room. It's Neil Frank, former

director of the National Hurricane Center.

"Neil, have they ever approached you?"

"No," Frank answers.

A TV reporter asks Gray a key question: "What if you're wrong?"

"We can't do anything about it if I'm wrong. China and India are going to burn fossil fuels."

After Gray finishes, he gives more interviews. Frank, waiting in the wings, tells me he agrees with Gray.

"It's a hoax," he says. He says cutting carbon emissions would wind up hurting poor people. I ask if he thinks more CO2 in the air would be a good thing.

"Exactly! Maybe we're living in a carbon dioxide-starved world. We don't know."
Skeptics and Conspiracies

THE SKEPTICS DON'T AGREE with one another. They will privately distance themselves from other skeptics ("I think he's full of beans") while maintaining a certain public solidarity against the Forces of Fear. Pat Michaels, the U-Va. climatologist, doesn't even want to be called a skeptic.

"I believe in climate change caused by human beings," Michaels says. "What I'm skeptical about is the glib notion that it means the end of the world as we know it."

John Christy, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, says: "We're skeptical that the observations we see now are indicating catastrophic change. And we're skeptical of our capability to truly understand the climate system, how it works, and so on, and therefore predict its evolution."

Of all the skeptics, MIT's Richard Lindzen probably has the most credibility among mainstream scientists, who acknowledge that he's doing serious research on the subject. Lindzen contends that water vapor and clouds, which will increase in a warmer world because of higher rates of evaporation, create "negative feedbacks" that counter the warming trend. "The only reason the models get such a big response is that, in models, the most important greenhouse substances, which are water vapor and clouds, act to take anything man does and make it worse," he says. Observations show otherwise, he says.

Lindzen argues that the climate models can't be right, because we've already raised CO2 and methane dramatically, and the planet simply hasn't warmed that much. But Isaac Held, a NOAA modeler, says Lindzen is jumping the gun, because the greenhouse gases take time -- decades, centuries -- to have their full impact. Indeed, we've already made a "commitment" to warming. We couldn't stop global warming at this point if we closed every factory and curbed every car. The mainstream argument is that we could minimize the increase, and reduce the risk of a dangerous, unstable, white-knuckle climate change.

Held studied under Lindzen years ago and considers him a friend and a smart scientist -- but highly contrarian.

"There're people like [Lindzen] in every field of science. There are always people in the fringes. They're attracted to the fringe . . . It may be as simple as, how do you prove you're smarter than everyone else? You don't do that by being part of the consensus," Held says.

The most vocal partisans in the climate change debate often describe their opponents as part of a conspiracy, of sorts. Both sides think the other side has a monetary or political incentive to skew the data. But there are people in this battle who fervently believe in what they say. Bill Gray says he takes no fossil-fuel money. He's simply sick and tired of squishy-minded hand-wringing equation-pushing computer jocks who've never flown into a hurricane!

Gray has his own conspiracy theory. He has made a list of 15 reasons for the global warming hysteria. The list includes the need to come up with an enemy after the end of the Cold War, and the desire among scientists, government leaders and environmentalists to find a political cause that would enable them to "organize, propagandize, force conformity and exercise political influence. Big world government could best lead (and control) us to a better world!"

Gray admits that he has a dark take on human nature: "I have a demonic view on this."

The most notorious example of climate change conspiracy-mongering is in Crichton's State of Fear . The villain is the director of an environmental organization. He's in league with radical environmentalists who kill people at the drop of a hat as part of a plot to trigger natural disasters that will somehow advance the theory of global warming. The novel's fans include the president of the United States, who met with Crichton in the White House.

There's a certain kind of skeptic who has no patience for the official consensus, especially if it has the imprimatur of a government, or worse, the United Nations. They focus on ambiguities and mysteries and things that just don't add up. They say the Official Story can't possibly be true, because it doesn't explain the [insert inexplicable data point here]. They set a high standard for reality -- it must never be fuzzy around the edges.

"They argue not as scientists but as lawyers," says Pieter Tans, who runs a lab at NOAA in Boulder, Colo., where he examines bottles of air taken from monitoring stations all over the planet. "When they argue, they pick one piece of the fabric of evidence and blow it up all out of proportion . . . Their purpose is to confuse, so that the public gets the idea that there is a raging scientific debate. There is no raging scientific debate."

Some of the anomalies cited by the skeptics go away over time. Remember that graph showing the world's temperature leveling off and actually cooling from 1940 to 1975, even as the industrial economies of the planet were going full blast? The mainstream climate scientists think one factor may have been air pollution -- aerosols pumped out by smokestacks, dimming sunlight before it reached the surface. In the early 1970s, governments passed air pollution controls, such as the Clean Air Act, that required scrubbers on smokestacks. The skies cleared. And the temperature has been racing upward ever since.

What about the Medieval Warm Period? If human industry causes warming, why were the Vikings sailing around the North Atlantic to godforsaken places like Greenland and setting up farming communities 1,000 years ago? Many scientists answer that the Medieval Warm Period wasn't a global phenomenon. You can't draw global conclusions from the experience of the North Atlantic.

"There is this misperception that global change is a spatially uniform and smooth in time process," says Kerry Emanuel, an atmospheric scientist at MIT. "In fact that's not true. There's all kind of variability. You can find places in the world where the temperature has gone down for the past 50 years. When you're looking for a signal in a very noisy record you do as much averaging as possible."

So what about all those fears, back in the 1970s, of a coming Ice Age? It was a minor issue among serious climate scientists. One paper commonly cited by skeptics as an example of Ice Age doomsaying merely stated that, absent any human-driven global warming, an Ice Age might return in 20,000 years.

The most famous anomaly, long cited by skeptics, was the satellite data. It didn't show the warming of the lower atmosphere.

It flatly contradicted the surface measurements. Earlier this month, the U.S. Climate Change Science Program announced that a re-analysis of the data resolved most of the discrepancy. Anomaly gone. Arch-skeptic Fred Singer says there's still some inconsistency, but the advocates of the consensus view of global warming feel vindicated. ("Game over," one environmentalist told The Washington Post.)

Scientists are argumentative by nature. They're supposed to be. They're supposed to attempt to disprove the hypotheses and claims of their fellow scientists. Theories are hazed unmercifully. And when they emerge from that trial-by-skepticism, they are all the more respected.

Certain skeptics -- really, they're optimists -- have scored debate points by noting that prophesies of doom have often slammed into a wall of human resourcefulness. But you can't solve a problem if you spend decades failing to perceive it. Humans adapt best when worried.

Or at least not in denial.
Back in Orlando

Climate change is generating headlines almost daily -- (e.g., "Peril to Walrus Young Seen As Result of Melting Ice Shelf") -- but it is also abstruse in its specifics, so journalists rely on "experts" to tell them where the truth lies. Someone like Bill Gray seems to be a fully credentialed authority figure. But when you press him on his theory of how thermohaline circulation has caused recent warming of the planet and will soon cause cooling, he concedes that he hasn't published the idea in any peer-reviewed journal. He's working on it, he says.

The Web site Real Climate, run by a loose group of climate scientists, recently published a detailed refutation of Gray's theory, saying his claims about the ocean circulation lack evidence. The Web site criticized Gray for not adapting to the modern era of meteorology, "which demands hypotheses soundly grounded in quantitative and consistent physical formulations, not seat-of-the-pants flying."

The field has fully embraced numerical modeling, and Gray is increasingly on the fringe. His cranky skepticism has become a tired act among younger scientists. "It's sad," says Emanuel, who has vowed never again to debate Gray in public.

When I ask Gray who his intellectual soul mates are regarding global warming, he responds, "I have nobody really to talk to about this stuff."

That's not entirely true. He has many friends and colleagues, and the meteorologists tend to share his skeptical streak.

I ask if he has ever collaborated on a paper with Richard Lindzen. Gray says he hasn't. He looks a little pained.

"Lindzen, he's a hard guy to deal with," Gray says. "He doesn't think he can learn anything from me."

Which is correct. Lindzen says of Gray: "His knowledge of theory is frustratingly poor, but he knows more about hurricanes than anyone in the world. I regard him in his own peculiar way as a national resource."

In Orlando, the national resource has the honor of closing the hurricane conference with a speech. He and Klotzbach go through their usual routine. Gray talks of global warming foolishness, untrusty numerical models, underappreciated ocean circulation, overly dramatized CO2 increases, the crazy complexity of the weather.

"It becomes an absolute can of worms!"

He seems to be running out of steam just a little bit. He's given so many interviews, he might have lost a little velocity on his fastball. But everyone claps at the end. He throws in a final few words:

"Don't believe everything you read in the paper! This whole business about global warming --"

But he steps from the mike, and his final words are inaudible.

In 20 years, he likes to say, the world will have cooled, and everyone will know he was right all along. When that happens, he says, he hopes someone will put flowers on his grave.
Adapting to Uncertainty

Let us say a word in praise of uncertainty. It is a concession to an interesting and complicated planet that is full of surprises. The fog of uncertainty surrounding climate change is routinely cited as a reason to wait before making cuts in greenhouse emissions. But if we wait for that fog to break, we'll wait forever.

Isaac Held, the NOAA climate modeler, is the first to admit that the models aren't perfect. "Clouds are hard," he says. The models on his computer screen are incomprehensible to the untrained eye. But Held argues that the models are conservative. For global warming to be less of a problem than is currently anticipated, all the uncertainties would have to break, preferentially, toward the benign side of things.

Moreover, we don't even know all the things that we don't know. James Hansen, the prominent NASA scientist, points out that the models don't realistically include ice sheets and the biosphere -- all the plants and animals on Earth. The global climate surely has more surprises for us.

"Our models were not predicting the ozone hole in 1980 when it was discovered," Held says. Scientists are haunted by the realization that if CFCs had been made with a slightly different type of chemistry, they'd have destroyed much of the ozone layer over the entire planet.

Hansen thinks we have less than 10 years to make drastic cuts in greenhouse emissions, lest we reach a "tipping point" at which the climate will be out of our control. Hansen may be a step ahead of the consensus -- but that doesn't mean he's wrong. In the brutally hot summer of 1988, Hansen testified before Congress that the signal of global warming could already be detected amid the noise of natural climate variation. Many of his colleagues scoffed. They thought he'd gotten ahead of the hard data. Judy Curry, a Georgia Tech climate scientist, says: "I thought he was playing politics. But, damn it, he was right."

Curry, who believes the skeptics have mounted a "brilliant disinformation campaign," thinks climate change is being held to a different standard than other societal threats. The skeptics want every uncertainty nailed down before any action is taken.

"Why is that standard being applied to greenhouse warming and not to other risks, like terrorism or military risks or avian flu?" she asks.

Mainstream climate scientists readily accept that there is natural variation in the system. For example, greenhouse gases alone can't melt the Arctic at the alarming rate that has been observed recently. Americans sorting through this issue may feel constrained by all the unknowns. Perhaps they need to adapt to uncertainty, to see uncertainty as the norm, and not as a sign of scientific failure.

Or as an excuse to do nothing.
Our Friend CO2

Ten years ago, Fred Smith says, the Competitive Enterprise Institute had contributions from companies across the board in the petroleum industry. It still gets money from Exxon Mobil, the biggest and most hard-line oil company on the climate change issue, but many of its donors have stopped sending checks.

"They've joined the club."

The club of believers in global warming.

The executives don't understand "resource economics." They lack faith in the free market to solve these issues. And they go to cocktail parties and find out that everyone thinks they're criminals.

"Or their kids come home from school and say, 'Daddy, why are you killing the planet?'"

Smith never sounds morose, though. He's peppy. He thinks his side is still winning the debate. Look at the polls: Americans don't care about global warming.

He'd like to get people believing once again in good old-fashioned industrial activity. CEI has created a new public-service TV spot. Smith and several colleagues gather round as we watch it on a computer monitor. The ad begins with images of people picnicking in Central Park on a beautiful day. A child is shown blowing the seeds of a dandelion. A woman's voice, confident, reassuring, says that all these people are creating something that's all around us:

"It's called carbon dioxide," she says, "CO2."

There's an image of an impoverished woman hacking the ground with a hand tool.

"The fuels that produce CO2 have freed us from a life of backbreaking labor."

We see kids jumping out of a minivan. There are politicians out there who want to label CO2 as a pollutant, the narrator says. We return to the child blowing the dandelion seeds.

"Carbon dioxide: They call it pollution. We call it life."

End of ad.

"It should always bring a tear to your eye," Fred Smith says, delighted.

Joel Achenbach is a Magazine staff writer.
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Old 05-28-06, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Jimmy 345
"In the United States of America, unfortunately we still live in a bubble of unreality. And the Category 5 denial is an enormous obstacle to any discussion of solutions. Nobody is interested in solutions if they don't think there's a problem. Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous (global warming) is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis." -- Algore

Can you believe this guy. He just said its Okay to lie. Though given the administration he came from its no surprise. God could you imagine the country with this loser as our President. Manbearpig.
I had to read through your unlinked quotation three times to find what I guessed would be your view of a lie.

I'm guessing it's this:

...Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous (global warming) is...

I obviously read it completely different than you. To me, he's saying, we need to just pile on the evidence in overwhelming fashion, inundate them with one chart/graph/expert opinion after another to get people to understand there is a problem.

That's not lying at all. That's not the same as stretching the truth, which I'm guessing is what you're seeing through your apparent "I hate Al Gore"-colored glasses.

You can argue that the alarmists generally do stretch the truth, but I'm not talking about that. I'm talking only about the quotation you provided, and I'm sorry, but I see nothing wrong with what he said (assuming it's 100% factual and not taken out of context).
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Old 05-28-06, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by DarkElf
I had to read through your unlinked quotation three times to find what I guessed would be your view of a lie.

I'm guessing it's this:

...Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous (global warming) is...

I obviously read it completely different than you. To me, he's saying, we need to just pile on the evidence in overwhelming fashion, inundate them with one chart/graph/expert opinion after another to get people to understand there is a problem.

That's not lying at all. That's not the same as stretching the truth, which I'm guessing is what you're seeing through your apparent "I hate Al Gore"-colored glasses.

You can argue that the alarmists generally do stretch the truth, but I'm not talking about that. I'm talking only about the quotation you provided, and I'm sorry, but I see nothing wrong with what he said (assuming it's 100% factual and not taken out of context).
Here is a link to the origin of the quote:

http://www.grist.org/news/maindish/2006/05/09/roberts/

You may be right in your interpretation of what Gore said. I think, as you said, the key word is "over-representation" which could be interpreted in more than one way. I do side with you though, that "over-representation" suggests something quantitative (as in the number of examples), rather than qualitative. But "over-representation" could also mean piling on his side's examples and ignoring the other side's. There is no doubt that Gore has belittled and misrepresented the skeptics' case when he is not simply ignoring it or dismissing it out of hand. (See Posts #68, #71, #80, #81.)

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Old 05-29-06, 09:18 AM
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http://www.washtimes.com/world/20060...4851-7254r.htm

Gore's 'Truth' splits hurricane scientists

By Tom Carter

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

May 29, 2006

Al Gore's new movie on global warming, "An Inconvenient Truth," opens with scenes from Hurricane Katrina slamming into New Orleans. The former vice president says unequivocally that because of global warming, it is all but certain that future hurricanes will be more violent and destructive than those in the past.

Inconvenient or not, the nation's top hurricane scientists are divided on whether it's the truth.

With the official start of hurricane season days away, meteorologists are unanimous that the 2006 tropical storm season, which runs from June 1 through November, is likely to be a doozy. The first tropical storm of this season showered light rain yesterday on Acapulco, a Mexican Pacific resort, but forecasters said the weather could worsen. Tropical storm Aletta was stalled 135 miles from Acapulco, with maximum winds of 45 mph, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami, which said the storm could move toward land today.

The 2004 and 2005 Atlantic hurricane seasons broke many records, and as forecasters predict 15 named storms, nine or 10 making it to hurricane strength and four or five of those major, 2006 is shaping up as another bad one.

The top names and brightest minds in hurricane science are divided, writing papers and publishing rebuttals regarding the nature and causes of the current "active period" that began in 1995 and is expected to run at least another 10 to 15 years. They study the same facts, but draw opposite conclusions.

Scientists disagree

In one corner, subscribing to the theory that the Atlantic Basin is in a busy cycle that occurs naturally every 25 to 40 years, are Chris Landsea, science and operations officer at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, and William Gray and Phil Klotzbach of Colorado State University, who pioneered much of modern hurricane-prediction theory.

"There has been no change in the number and intensity of Category 4 or Category 5 hurricanes around the world in the last 15 years," Mr. Landsea said, in a telephone interview from Miami.

On the other side are Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the most respected hurricane scientists in the world, a team of meteorologists from Georgia Tech led by Peter Webster, an MIT-educated monsoon specialist, and Greg Holland, who earned his doctorate at Colorado State under Mr. Gray.

"You cannot blame any single storm or even a single season on global warming. ... Gore's statement in the movie is that we can expect more storms like Katrina in a greenhouse-warmed world. I would agree with this," said Judith Curry. She is chairwoman of Georgia Tech's School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, and is co-author, with Mr. Webster, Mr. Holland and H.R. Chang, of a paper titled "Changes in Tropical Cyclones," in the Sept. 16 issue of Science, a weekly publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The paper concluded that there has been an 80 percent increase in Category 4 and Category 5 hurricanes worldwide.

Balancing the atmosphere

Tropical cyclones, rotating wind systems that include hurricanes, are heat engines -- nature's way of balancing extremes, mechanisms for taking heat from one place and taking it to another, as part of balancing the Earth's atmosphere.

All agree that in the past 30 years, the waters off the West Coast of Africa, where most Atlantic hurricanes are born, have warmed by about 1 degree, to about 81 degrees Fahrenheit, and as much as two-thirds of that increase is attributable to greenhouse gases, or global warming. Where the scientists disagree is what that means for the number and intensity of hurricanes.

Mr. Emanuel of MIT said that, globally, the number and intensity of hurricanes are unchanged over the past 30 years, and that according to Japanese models, global warming could even lead to a modest decline in the number of hurricanes worldwide. However, he said that in the Atlantic Basin, where just 11 percent of all tropical storms occur, there is a "quite nice correlation" between the rise in sea surface temperature (SST) and an increase in the number and intensity of hurricanes.

Mr. Emanuel, author of the book "Divine Wind: The History and Science of Hurricanes," said that while the 1-degree rise in ocean temperature has been recorded globally, the correlation between SST and hurricane frequency does not appear in other parts of the world.

Hurricanes double

"Since 1981, the number and intensity of [Atlantic] hurricanes has almost doubled," said Mr. Emanuel, based on his research published in a letter in the Aug. 4 issue of Nature, which surveyed 55 years of hurricane and ocean-temperature data in the Atlantic and Pacific. "In my mind, the jury is not out. The upswing since the 1980s is largely a global-warming signal. But if you polled my colleagues, I think you'd find they are divided on the issue."

The Georgia Tech meteorologists used data collected around the world and arrived at similar conclusions.

"The best available data shows that the number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes globally has almost doubled since 1970," said Ms. Curry at Georgia Tech, in an e-mail response to questions. "In the North Atlantic, there has been a comparable increase in intensity, and also a 50 percent increase in the total number of North Atlantic hurricanes. This increase in hurricane activity has been linked to a 1-degree Fahrenheit increase in global tropical sea-surface temperature since 1970. This global temperature increase since 1970 is attributed to global warming."

Asked about Georgia Tech's findings regarding Category 4 and Category 5 hurricanes, Mr. Emanuel said that he had reviewed their data.

"I came up with the same result. I think they are right," Mr. Emanuel said.

Rebuttal published

But Mr. Landsea of the National Hurricane Center vigorously disagreed with Mr. Emanuel in a rebuttal to his paper, published in Nature in December, saying, in effect, that Mr. Emanuel tortured the data until it confessed what he wanted to hear.

Regarding Georgia Tech, Mr. Landsea's argument is that primitive measuring techniques, here and especially in Asia, where most of the major tropical storms occur, made for imperfect data, and inaccurate "data sets" generate incorrect conclusions.

"At the beginning of the [Georgia Tech] study, in 1970, there wasn't even a tool for determining wind speed and how strong a hurricane was. The Dvorak Technique [for measuring wind speed] did not come into being until 1972," he said, adding that it wasn't perfected until 1984. "The incomplete data sets artificially causes the number of Category 4 and Category 5 hurricanes to go up."

Asked about the increase in Atlantic hurricanes, he said: "I think that is real, but the largest component of that is the natural cycle," he said.

According to NOAA hurricane records going back into the mid-1800s, hurricanes come in cycles. There have been quiet periods, with less hurricane activity, followed every 25 to 40 years by active periods, that last about 25 years. The current active period began in 1995 and is expected to last another 10 to 15 years.

Greenhouse gases

Mr. Landsea agreed that the 1-degree rise in ocean temperature is largely a product of greenhouse gases -- that is to say global warming -- but he said it was not a primary factor in determining the size and intensity of recent hurricanes.

"Models show a 2- to 4-degree temperature increase by the end of the 21st century, and hurricanes will get about 4 percent stronger for every 2-degree increase," he said, citing Princeton's Geophysical Fluid Dynamic Laboratory and Tom Knutson for the research in this area.

In other words, the 1-degree water temperature increase off the coast of Africa could fuel a Category 3 hurricane at landfall, like Katrina, with 130-mph winds, to increase by about 2 percent. Two or three miles per hour of Katrina's winds could have been the result of global warming, Mr. Landsea said.

"One or 2 percent stronger? That is a very tiny change today, and even in 100 years from now, it is very small," he said.

Offset in Pacific

At Colorado State University, Phil Klotzbach wrote a rebuttal, published in the Geophysical Research Letter last week, to the Georgia Tech and MIT papers, and concluded that where sea-surface temperature has increased, there is in fact a slight decrease in hurricane activity.

"With regards to the number of Category 4-5 hurricanes, there has been a large increase in North Atlantic storms and a large decrease in Northeast Pacific storms," wrote Mr. Klotzbach in "talking points" for the paper on his Web site. "When these two regions are summed together, there has been virtually no increase in Category 4-5 hurricanes."

Like Mr. Landsea, Mr. Klotzbach attributes the Georgia Tech findings to bad data. Ms. Curry of Georgia Tech says that while there have been inconsistencies in processing the data over time and in different regions, no one has demonstrated that there is actually a major problem with the data itself.

"The key issue is whether you can distinguish a Category 4 from a Category 1 hurricane from satellite [data], the answer is almost always yes," she said.

Clearly, it is a busy period for the number and intensity of academic research papers being published on global warming and hurricanes, but Mr. Landsea said all remains collegial in the meteorological community.

Polite disagreements

"These are my friends and colleagues. The disagreements are civil. This debate is essence of science that is alive. Everyone here is doing science. This debate is confusing for us. I'm sure it is confusing for everyone else," said Mr. Landsea.

Mr. Emanuel said that for all practical purposes, the real problem of hurricanes is not number and intensity, but demographics and the desire of people to live by the sea.

If a hurricane blows itself out over the ocean or hits an unpopulated area, there are few consequences to life or property. However, if a major hurricane hits a populated area, like New Orleans, Miami or the Outer Banks of North Carolina, it can be catastrophic.

"By regulating insurance, by holding insurance rates down, we are subsidizing risky behavior. We are underwriting the drive to [build and populate] the coastline. That is the big hurricane problem in the United States," he said.
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Old 05-29-06, 02:02 PM
  #89  
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Originally Posted by movielib
Here is a link to the origin of the quote:

http://www.grist.org/news/maindish/2006/05/09/roberts/

You may be right in your interpretation of what Gore said. I think, as you said, the key word is "over-representation" which could be interpreted in more than one way. I do side with you though, that "over-representation" suggests something quantitative (as in the number of examples), rather than qualitative. But "over-representation" could also mean piling on his side's examples and ignoring the other side's. There is no doubt that Gore has belittled and misrepresented the skeptics' case when he is not simply ignoring it or dismissing it out of hand. (See Posts #68, #71, #80, #81.)
Agreed, and he's not my spokesman, which I'm sure you know by now. Gore can't seem to stop overstating his points, and often makes statements that if parsed in detail may technically be correct, but are nevertheless misleading.

But he also makes ridiculous statements like this, and I want to break it down in two parts...

Gore states, "The entire global scientific community has a consensus on the question that human beings are responsible for global warming..."

First off, I think a LOT of people confuse the word "consensus" with "unanimity". The two are not the same. Consensus merely means a general agreement from most of the members of a group/community/etc. I see the words used synonymously here on this forum, on other forums, and in articles and opinion pieces. So while I agree that the scientific community can indeed have a consensus on things, that does NOT imply unanimity. It's nearly impossible to have unanimity within the scientific community on anything, let alone on something as incredibly complex as global warming and climate science.

(BTW, in an interview with Katie Couric, Gore apparently reworded things slightly to, "there is almost a consensus amongst the scientific community...", which shows me that even he is misusing the word.)

But even giving Gore the benefit of the doubt with the term consensus, he has to throw in that word "entire" to mislead people into thinking there is no opposition, and this is what is so infuriating with Gore.

All that aside though, there isn't even a (general!) consensus that humans ARE responsible for global warming as he states. I think there is a consensus that humans are IN PART responsible for global warming, but that's as far as you can go.

Anyway, while I applaud Gore for trying to focus more attention on this topic, he's such a bad spokesman that I wonder if he doesn't do more harm than good sometimes. Rather than discuss the issues, what often gets discussed is the messenger and his overstated claims.
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Old 05-29-06, 04:19 PM
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Given that this thread (like the other environment threads) is really just a dumping ground for people to post anything they find refuting global warming, it's impossible to address everything.

movielib, since I enjoy talking to you about these topics, I took the time to watch these videos to see if they were all that bad. They're worse.

Originally Posted by movielib
The Competitive Enterprise Institute is fighting back in the TV arena with two ads defending CO2. AFAIK, they are paying for the ads as opposed to the ones at the start of this thread which air for free as PSAs. Also they are getting virtually no media coverage as opposed to what the alarmist spots got when they were first announced.

But I have to say these CEI ads pretty much suck.
And they shouldn't get any media coverage. Do you they deserve coverage? Even you think they pretty much suck. I think they're funny as hell.

The first one ..... I fear, will be merely an object of derision.
As it should be. It's not even worth my time to mock it, fun though it might be.

The second ad is a little better. It points out conflicting studies concerning growing or shrinking ice in Greenland and the Antarctic and that one side got much publicity and the other was ignored.
Actually, what it does is display the titles of a few scientific journal articles while blatantly mischaracterizing the studies.

I love that they show "Snowfall-Driven Growth in East Antarctic Ice Sheet Mitigates Recent Sea-Level Rise," but the voice over says, "The Antarctic Ice Sheet is getting thicker, not thinner." Talk about distortion of what the paper actually concludes. His study only reported growth for the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, not all of Antarctica, and furthermore, his study says the growth is expected because of increased precipitation.

They do the same thing with the Greenland study they display. They highlight the word "growth" in both titles, which helps to divert your attention from what the titles actually say.

It's very amusing that when they talk about the "several studies" that supposedly found that "we're doomed", they show columns in the USA Today and Wash Post, but not the actual journal articles. But when talking about the "other scientific studies" that found "exactly the opposite," they show the actual scientific journal articles.

All that has happened is that now both sides have churned out silly ads.
To some of us, it's merely comic relief, but unfortunately, to many, it's proof that "their side" is right. It's my sincere hope that everyone who's read this thread and watched the videos either rolled their eyes or laughed as hard as I did.

Funny stuff. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 05-29-06, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by grundle
http://www.washtimes.com/world/20060...4851-7254r.htm

Gore's 'Truth' splits hurricane scientists

By Tom Carter

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

May 29, 2006

Al Gore's new movie on global warming, "An Inconvenient Truth," opens with scenes from Hurricane Katrina slamming into New Orleans. The former vice president says unequivocally that because of global warming, it is all but certain that future hurricanes will be more violent and destructive than those in the past.

Inconvenient or not, the nation's top hurricane scientists are divided on whether it's the truth.
Does anyone know what Gore _actually_ said in his movie? I'm sorry, but I don't trust this (or any) author to summarize someone else's words. From what I've read, he focuses on Category 4 and 5 storms in the Atlantic, which makes the summarized statement attributed to Gore in his movie technically correct, but grossly misleading, something that Gore isn't immune from doing.

By presenting the two sides on equal footing, this article cleverly makes the reader think the community is split equally. That's not my impression of the community's general take on things. I think there is a general agreement that warmer waters will increase the intensity of hurricanes, but by how much is the question.

But I would definitely like to read more about if/why storms over warmer waters in other parts of the world supposedly aren't seeing any increase in intensity. As an example, it's understood that El Nino has an impact on the number and intensity of North Atlantic storms, what "external" forces are counter-acting the impact of the water waters in other parts of the world?
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Old 05-29-06, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by DarkElf
Does anyone know what Gore _actually_ said in his movie? I'm sorry, but I don't trust this (or any) author to summarize someone else's words. From what I've read, he focuses on Category 4 and 5 storms in the Atlantic, which makes the summarized statement attributed to Gore in his movie technically correct, but grossly misleading, something that Gore isn't immune from doing.

By presenting the two sides on equal footing, this article cleverly makes the reader think the community is split equally. That's not my impression of the community's general take on things. I think there is a general agreement that warmer waters will increase the intensity of hurricanes, but by how much is the question.

But I would definitely like to read more about if/why storms over warmer waters in other parts of the world supposedly aren't seeing any increase in intensity. As an example, it's understood that El Nino has an impact on the number and intensity of North Atlantic storms, what "external" forces are counter-acting the impact of the water waters in other parts of the world?
From what I've read, the numbers supporting either side of the question about global warming driving more and stronger hurricanes does not go along with the numbers for many other global warming issues. My strong impression is that on this issue the majority is on the side of not accepting that global warming is a significant factor, if any, (at most it is very tiny) for the hurricanes. In other words, many alarmists who think that gw is causing any number of things stops short of blaming it for the hurricanes.

Yet this is a direct Gorequote from the trailer for [i]An Inconvenient Truth[/b] and, presumably, from the film: "Temperature increases are happening all over the world and that's causing stronger storms." Perhaps he qualifies this statement in the film but I wouldn't bet on it.

And if you haven't, you really should see the trailer. If this isn't Alarmism Gone Wild I don't know what is:

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/126518...truth_trailer/

I am going to see the film when it comes to my town. I don't really want to see it and I don't want to give these people a stinking penny but I do want to be able to discuss the movie which I shouldn't and won't do if I don't see it.

While Gore has the majority of scientists on his side on most gw issues I do not think it is the case with the hurricanes.

For example, NOAA, which is onboard for most gw issues, has concluded that the increased and more intense hurricanes are likely just part of the natural cycle:

http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=18444


Hurricane Upsurge Not Linked to Global Warming, NOAA Concludes
Atlantic Ocean is in peak of 20- to 30-year natural pattern
Written By: Kerry Jackson
Published In: Environment News
Publication Date: February 1, 2006
Publisher: The Heartland Institute

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has concluded the upsurge in recent hurricane activity is not related to global warming.

In a study released November 29, 2005 NOAA concludes the Atlantic Ocean is experiencing more hurricanes because it is in a peak period of a 20- to 30-year natural hurricane pattern.


Natural Cycle Is Peaking

According to NOAA, the U.S. has been in a cycle of heightened Atlantic Ocean hurricane activity for the past 11 years. The cycle began in 1995 and is expected to continue for at least another decade. Importantly, the cycle is part of a naturally occurring pattern and is not in any way related to global warming activity, concluded NOAA.

"NOAA attributes this increased activity to natural occurring cycles in tropical climate patterns near the equator," states the NOAA study. "These cycles, called 'the tropical multi-decadal signal,' typically last several decades (20 to 30 years or even longer). As a result, the North Atlantic experiences alternating decades long (20 to 30 year periods or even longer) of above normal or below normal hurricane seasons. NOAA research shows that the tropical multi-decadal signal is causing the increased Atlantic hurricane activity since 1995, and is not related to greenhouse warming."

The current upsurge in hurricane activity is similar to the previous cycle of heightened hurricane activity lasting from the late 1920s to the late 1960s. An intervening cycle of below-normal hurricane activity occurred from 1970 to 1994, the NOAA study concludes.

"Since 1995, the tropical multi-decadal signal has produced lower wind shear (changing winds with height) and warmer waters across the tropical Atlantic, along with conducive winds coming off the west coast of Africa. This key combination of conditions produces active hurricane seasons," explains NOAA. "With an active hurricane era comes many more landfalling tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes in the United States. ... The United States can expect ongoing high levels of landfalling tropical storms and hurricanes while we remain in this active era."


CO2 Not to Blame

Regarding the warmer Atlantic waters, the lower wind shear, and the conducive winds coming off the west coast of Africa, NOAA observes, "Research by NOAA scientists Gerry Bell and Muthuvel Chelliah, currently in press with the Journal of Climate, describes the tropical multi-decadal signal and shows that it accounts for the entire inter-related set of conditions that controls hurricane activity for decades at a time."

The NOAA study affirms the findings of most hurricane researchers. "There is consensus among NOAA hurricane researchers and forecasters that recent increases in hurricane activity are primarily the result of natural fluctuations," reports NOAA.

In interviews for this article, three of the nation's leading hurricane experts agreed with the NOAA assessment.

Chris Landsea, science and operations officer at the NOAA National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, observed any impact global warming might have on hurricane activity is neither large nor immediate.

"We may be looking at stronger hurricanes by 5 percent," Landsea said. "And even that is a very small change that is still way off in the future."

Even the potential 5 percent change in hurricane strength may be too small to measure. According to Landsea, hurricane experts can estimate a storm's winds "only to the nearest 5 mph."

"We can't even measure that [5 percent change], it's so small," Landsea said.


Current Activity Is Normal

Jeff Masters, director of meteorology for the popular Web site Weather Underground, confirmed global warming cannot be blamed for even the warmer Atlantic Ocean temperatures, let alone the other factors necessary for heightened hurricane conditions.

"Everyone agrees the tropical oceans have warmed a half-degree Fahrenheit over the last 100 years," Masters said. However, he noted, multiple studies on the subject have reached conflicting conclusions on causation.

It is "way too early to say one way or the other" if global warming is responsible, Masters said.

William Gray, head of Colorado State University's Tropical Meteorology Project, reported that despite media claims to the contrary, most hurricane researchers are skeptical of asserted connections between global warming and recent hurricane activity.

"There is no evidence of changes in tropical storms compared to what we would normally expect during this current cycle," Gray said.
No one has taken a poll to the best of my knowledge but I've been reading about this since last year's storms and that is my distinct impression.

Last edited by movielib; 05-29-06 at 07:12 PM.
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Old 05-29-06, 07:06 PM
  #93  
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Originally Posted by DarkElf
movielib, since I enjoy talking to you about these topics, I took the time to watch these videos to see if they were all that bad. They're worse.

And they shouldn't get any media coverage. Do you they deserve coverage? Even you think they pretty much suck. I think they're funny as hell.
My point was only that both sides' ads are equally horrible but the alarmists get tons of coverage for theirs and the skeptics get almost none. I also made the point that the alarmists get their ads aired for free and the skeptics must pay for theirs.

The mainstream media are as biased as can be on this issue.
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Old 05-29-06, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by DarkElf
Agreed, and he's not my spokesman, which I'm sure you know by now. Gore can't seem to stop overstating his points, and often makes statements that if parsed in detail may technically be correct, but are nevertheless misleading.

But he also makes ridiculous statements like this, and I want to break it down in two parts...

Gore states, "The entire global scientific community has a consensus on the question that human beings are responsible for global warming..."

First off, I think a LOT of people confuse the word "consensus" with "unanimity". The two are not the same. Consensus merely means a general agreement from most of the members of a group/community/etc. I see the words used synonymously here on this forum, on other forums, and in articles and opinion pieces. So while I agree that the scientific community can indeed have a consensus on things, that does NOT imply unanimity. It's nearly impossible to have unanimity within the scientific community on anything, let alone on something as incredibly complex as global warming and climate science.

(BTW, in an interview with Katie Couric, Gore apparently reworded things slightly to, "there is almost a consensus amongst the scientific community...", which shows me that even he is misusing the word.)

But even giving Gore the benefit of the doubt with the term consensus, he has to throw in that word "entire" to mislead people into thinking there is no opposition, and this is what is so infuriating with Gore.

All that aside though, there isn't even a (general!) consensus that humans ARE responsible for global warming as he states. I think there is a consensus that humans are IN PART responsible for global warming, but that's as far as you can go.

Anyway, while I applaud Gore for trying to focus more attention on this topic, he's such a bad spokesman that I wonder if he doesn't do more harm than good sometimes. Rather than discuss the issues, what often gets discussed is the messenger and his overstated claims.
I agree with this entire post (except the part about applauding Gore ).
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Old 05-29-06, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by movielib
I agree with this entire post (except the part about applauding Gore ).
Well, I haven't seen the movie, but I'm not hearing that Gore is way out there in the movie. He sometimes stretches the points, yes. Opposition ideas downplayed and ignored, yes. But from what I hear from less extremist sites, he does a reasonably good job at presenting the "pro-GW" science.

I think anything that helps to bring about more discussion is a good thing. We know it'll bring about more extremist POVs and silly ads/articles, but hopefully it will also spark more intelligent discussion in mainstream America about this topic.

So how about this: applaud Gore's efforts. It's okay if you don't want to, though.
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Old 05-29-06, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by movielib
My point was only that both sides' ads are equally horrible but the alarmists get tons of coverage for theirs and the skeptics get almost none. I also made the point that the alarmists get their ads aired for free and the skeptics must pay for theirs.

The mainstream media are as biased as can be on this issue.
I don't think I agree with you on this. I think it's just the nature of media to cover the exciting, sensationalized story. News is interesting only when things happen, not when things don't happen. Predictions are only interesting when something important and life-changing is predicted, not when future will be just like today.

With global warming, I don't think you can always point to the media being biased as the reason why alarmists get their views covered. Sensational headlines sell papers and attract viewers. How many people would be motivated to read an article titled, "Nothing Wrong Today, Go Enjoy the Sunshine"?

Simply put, the alarmists' view is more interesting and sensational than the skeptics' view. I don't blame the media's bias for how global warming is being reported, I blame human nature.
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Old 05-29-06, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by movielib
From what I've read, the numbers supporting either side of the question about global warming driving more and stronger hurricanes does not go along with the numbers for many other global warming issues. My strong impression is that on this issue the majority is on the side of not accepting that global warming is a significant factor, if any, (at most it is very tiny) for the hurricanes. In other words, many alarmists who think that gw is causing any number of things stops short of blaming it for the hurricanes.
I definitely want to make a distinction between MORE storms, and more INTENSE storms. From what I've read, very few scientists believe that GW will cause MORE storms, only make them more intense in general. How much more is the big debate, and even the statements I've read in this thread from skeptics aren't insisting that GW will have no impact on intensity.


Yet this is a direct Gorequote from the trailer for [i]An Inconvenient Truth[/b] and, presumably, from the film: "Temperature increases are happening all over the world and that's causing stronger storms." Perhaps he qualifies this statement in the film but I wouldn't bet on it.

And if you haven't, you really should see the trailer. If this isn't Alarmism Gone Wild I don't know what is:

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/126518...truth_trailer/

I am going to see the film when it comes to my town. I don't really want to see it and I don't want to give these people a stinking penny but I do want to be able to discuss the movie which I shouldn't and won't do if I don't see it.
Yeah, I just watched the trailer today and I really have no desire to see the film. I'm going to be sitting there stewing over the misleading statements and imbalance. Like you, the only reason I would want to see it is so that I can contribute to a discussion about the movie in a more informed and intelligent manner.



While Gore has the majority of scientists on his side on most gw issues I do not think it is the case with the hurricanes.

For example, NOAA, which is onboard for most gw issues, has concluded that the increased and more intense hurricanes are likely just part of the natural cycle:

http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=18444
I'll comment on this article in another post, but I would definitely agree that there is a consensus that the natural cycle is the primary cause in both the increased number of storms as well as the increased intensity. I just haven't gotten the impression that there is a consensus that GW has NO impact whatsoever.
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Old 05-29-06, 09:04 PM
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movielib,

Having read several more articles by scientists who seem to be treating the issue with an open and fair mine, it seems to me that the most we can say about the link between the increase in SST and hurricane intensity is that there is only some preliminary evidence that such a link exists. Seems that a significant number remain unconvinced, and the jury is still out. And I guess that's expected because this topic is still relatively new and there just hasn't been enough time/money/research to generate enough discussion to make any definitive statements about the link between SST and hurricane intensity.

And real quickly on that NOAA article:

The NOAA study affirms the findings of most hurricane researchers. "There is consensus among NOAA hurricane researchers and forecasters that recent increases in hurricane activity are primarily the result of natural fluctuations," reports NOAA.
I guess it's the use of "primarily" that catches my eye, indicating that increase in SST (or something else) has a hand in it too...

Okay, I've spent enough of my day reading about this stuff. Hmm, damn near all of it. I need to do other stuff now.

Last edited by DarkElf; 05-29-06 at 09:07 PM.
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Old 05-29-06, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by DarkElf
I definitely want to make a distinction between MORE storms, and more INTENSE storms. From what I've read, very few scientists believe that GW will cause MORE storms, only make them more intense in general. How much more is the big debate, and even the statements I've read in this thread from skeptics aren't insisting that GW will have no impact on intensity.

I'll comment on this article in another post, but I would definitely agree that there is a consensus that the natural cycle is the primary cause in both the increased number of storms as well as the increased intensity. I just haven't gotten the impression that there is a consensus that GW has NO impact whatsoever.
I think that's what I said: "My strong impression is that on this issue the majority is on the side of not accepting that global warming is a significant factor, if any, (at most it is very tiny) for the hurricanes." (From Post #92)

And yes, even some skeptics believe there might be some little impact on intensity from global warming. But couple that with their belief that the human contribution to global warming itself is real but negligible and that means they believe that the human contribution to increased storm intensity is a negligible of a negligible.
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Old 05-29-06, 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by DarkElf
I don't think I agree with you on this. I think it's just the nature of media to cover the exciting, sensationalized story. News is interesting only when things happen, not when things don't happen. Predictions are only interesting when something important and life-changing is predicted, not when future will be just like today.

With global warming, I don't think you can always point to the media being biased as the reason why alarmists get their views covered. Sensational headlines sell papers and attract viewers. How many people would be motivated to read an article titled, "Nothing Wrong Today, Go Enjoy the Sunshine"?

Simply put, the alarmists' view is more interesting and sensational than the skeptics' view. I don't blame the media's bias for how global warming is being reported, I blame human nature.
While the media does go for the sensational over the mundane I think in this case there's more to it. I think they have taken sides themselves and decided that the alarmists are not only the better story but that they are right. When the media decides one side is right, long before the jury has returned a verdict, their reporting becomes biased. I think that's the case here. The mainstream media have become alarmist advocates (there are, of course, a few exceptions such as John Stossel but for the most part the mainstream media is completely shutting out the skeptics).

The Time cover story, specials on CNN and reporting on ABC News have been particularly egregious. Reporters of those stories have said they have no desire, reason or need to include skeptical viewpoints because the skeptics are, and I exaggerate here but just a little, just a few lone nuts being paid off by Exxon and other evil corporations.
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