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ClimateGate ---

Original post made by old timer, Menlo Park: Downtown, on Dec 4, 2009

The following message from respected scientists should be noted here in our local paper. It is time to reassess climate change and its possible outcomes. We must now stop taking everything that Al Gore writes as gospel, and think for ourselves.

Look at the credentials of those who signed this letter

Dear fellow member of the American Physical Society:

This is a matter of great importance to the integrity of the Society. It is being sent
to a random fraction of the membership, so we hope you will pass it on.

By now everyone has heard of what has come to be known as ClimateGate,
which was and is an international scientific fraud, the worst any of us have seen
in our cumulative 223 years of APS membership. For those who have missed
the news we recommend the excellent summary article by Richard Lindzen in
the November 30 edition of the Wall Street journal, entitled "The Climate Science
isn't Settled," for a balanced account of the situation. It was written by a scientist
of unquestioned authority and integrity. A copy can be found among the items at
Web Link, and a visit to Web Link can fill in
the details of the scandal, while adding spice.

What has this to do with APS? In 2007 the APS Council adopted a Statement on
global warming (also reproduced at the tinyurl site mentioned above) that was
based largely on the scientific work that is now revealed to have been corrupted.
(The principals in this escapade have not denied what they did, but have sought
to dismiss it by saying that it is normal practice among scientists. You know and we
know that that is simply untrue. Physicists are not expected to cheat.)

We have asked the APS management to put the 2007 Statement on ice until the
extent to which it is tainted can be determined, but that has not been done. We
have also asked that the membership be consulted on this point, but that too has
not been done.

None of us would use corrupted science in our own work, nor would we sign off
on a thesis by a student who did so. This is not only a matter of science, it is a matter
of integrity, and the integrity of the APS is now at stake. That is why we are taking
the unusual step of communicating directly with at least a fraction of the membership.

If you believe that the APS should withdraw a Policy Statement that is based on
admittedly corrupted science, and should then undertake to clarify the real state of
the art in the best tradition of a learned society, please send a note to the incoming
President of the APS, with the single word YES in the subject
line. That will make it easier for him to count.

Bob Austin, Professor of Physics, Princeton
Hal Lewis, emeritus Professor of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara
Will Happer, Professor of Physics, Princeton
Larry Gould, Professor of Physics, Hartford
Roger Cohen, former Manager, Strategic Planning, ExxonMobil

Comments (116)

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Posted by Manon L'eau
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Dec 4, 2009 at 3:41 pm

I have some low-lying bay-front property I'm trying to sell -- perhaps you'd be interested. It's going cheap.

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Posted by John Mashey
a resident of Portola Valley: Brookside Park
on Dec 5, 2009 at 10:43 pm

I'm a member of the APS (APS members can check, since I list a real name. I am rather familiar with the ongoing anti-science effort being run by these folks. In fact, I wrote a long, detailed analysis of this campaign, the PDF @ Web Link

The folks listed in the previous post petitioned the APS to throw out its Statement on Climate Change.

Their petition was recently rejected, so they are trying again.

I haven't quite finished updating for the last few weeks, but let me observe a few facts:
1) Austin is a biophysicist
2) Happer is an atomic/molecular physicist
3) Lewis is a nuclear physicist
4) Gould is a theoretical physicist of some sort
5) Cohen is a retired ExxonMobil manager.

NONE of these has ever published peer-reviewed climate science. They somehow just *know* that mainstream climate science is all wrong. The first 3 are distinguished, but not in climate science.

If the poster thinks these are good credentials, he (and it is almost always "he") should believe a few brain surgeons who claim that no cardiac surgeon knows anything about heart surgery.

Happer gives his Princeton affiliation ... but far more relevant is the affiliation he omits. He is the Chairman of the George C. Marshall Institute (GMI), a conservative thinktank, which was located for decades on K-Street in Washington DC. It was formed in 1984 to help Reagan sell Sta rWars. One of its 3 founders got a lot of money from tobacco companies. It has fought:
a)Regulation of CFCs (ozone hole)
b)Recognition of global warming
c)Environmental regulations in general.

GMI's President is William O'Keefe, whose job in the 1990s was a senior exec for the American Petroleum Institute.
GMI received most of its funding from wealthy family foundations, often built on oil, chemicals, munitions (Earhart, Scaife, Olin, etc). It got some from ExxonMobil.

Finally, the reader might consider a quote from Happer in the Daily Princetonian.
He is quoted in 2009:
“Physics professor William Happer GS ’64 has some tough words for scientists who believe that carbon dioxide is causing global warming. “This is George Orwell. This is the ‘Germans are the master race. The Jews are the scum of the earth.’ It’s that kind of propaganda,” Happer, the Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics, said in an interview. “Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Every time you exhale, you exhale air that has 4 percent carbon dioxide. To say that that’s a pollutant just boggles my mind. What used to be science has turned into a cult.”

2 people like this
Posted by old timer
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 6, 2009 at 4:21 am

Rather then concentrate on the fact that these credentials scientists are not directly involved in climate studies, you might want to comment on the whole ClimateGate issue. It is a scientific major scandal, just has they have stated.

Al Gore is hardly a qualified climate scientist either and he wins a Nobel prize for his propagandizing. Quite frankly the fact that these scientists are not directly involved, gives them an independent view.

At least now, the debate is much more widely known. Others can express their opinion and maybe get some attention.

2 people like this
Posted by old timer
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 6, 2009 at 4:25 am

George Will just wrote this column.

Web Link

It says a lot.

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Posted by so what?
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 7, 2009 at 9:48 am

Even if one disbelieves the concerns about climate change and the degree to which mankind is causing it, we still should change the way we humans live. We are using up very quickly finite resources, and fouling the very air and water needed for our survival. Most of the same actions proposed to address climate change are sensible ones to conserve and protect resources, and the future of our species.

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Posted by Nature Is Laughing At Us Stupid Humans
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 7, 2009 at 11:24 am

Decade of 2000s was warmest ever, scientists say
Web Link

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Posted by old time
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 7, 2009 at 7:01 pm

I agree 100% with 'so what'. Conservation is key. Carbon taxes, Co2 sequestering is non-sense.

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Posted by Dick Cheney
a resident of another community
on Dec 7, 2009 at 9:15 pm

Conservation is for wussies!
Drill, baby, drill!
(so Halliburton share price goes up, baby, up - c'mon, now, Pappa needs new shoes!)

Like this comment
Posted by Interested
a resident of another community
on Dec 8, 2009 at 11:49 am

If we cannot convince people to spend trillions of dollars "correcting" climate change, how will we bring the world out of recession.

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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Dec 8, 2009 at 1:25 pm

I also agree with "So what?". We should make reasonable efforts to conserve. That is what conservatism is about. But the radical environmentalists think that we have to severely punish the United States in the process. We can conserve without breaking the bank. Also, this summit in Denmark is a plan to have sovereign nations cede their authority to the UN and Obama seems anxious to oblige. That dog won't hunt!

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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Dec 8, 2009 at 4:56 pm

I like how we've changed from "global warming" to "climate change." Perhaps this is because since 2001, temperatures have actually cooled a bit.

Here's the link: Web Link

No matter. Don't let the facts get in the way of a movement that seems to be more religion than science.

Despite a lack of evidence that humans are the big problem with climate change, some of you ask, "what's the harm in doing everything we can to slow this process?" Do you realize that we can build homes that will withstand the greatest earthquakes and hurricanes? But we don't, do we?

And we don't because they simply aren't feasible or affordable. We weigh the risks with the benefits and have concluded that armor-plated homes aren't necessary. We risk that a small portion of our homes may be destroyed every few years by nature. But in return, we get affordable housing for millions of people.

So it is with climate change. Can we implement some extraordinarily expensive measures to reduce pollution? Yes, of course, and to the extent they are affordable, we absolutely should. A great place to start would be nuclear power which is clean and efficient (but you probably don't want to do that, do you?)

But we shouldn't bring our economy to it's knees on what appears to be little more than a scientific hunch that we're doomed.

And will it surprise anyone if, a decade or so from now, these same scientists are calling for urgent measures to stop "global cooling?" In fact, this reversal has already taken place in many quarters.

Scientists should re-examine this whole issue. If global warming is real, it will withstand closer scrutiny.

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Posted by Political Science Anyone?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 8, 2009 at 9:50 pm

Thanks for the link, POGO - of course it's to a bogus story where the "expert" cited is actually just a flunky for Senator James Inhofe who is the greatest global climate change denier in all of Congress.

So, yea, why not go with this nobody's opinion rather than that of literally thousands of scientists who have been studying and reporting on this problem for nearly 20 years now as part of the IPCC effort?
Web Link

2 people like this
Posted by Erin Brockovich
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Dec 8, 2009 at 10:20 pm

PG&E will make you all conserve by installing electronic meters that charge you for 3 times the electricity you actually use.

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Posted by nothingToSee
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Dec 8, 2009 at 10:55 pm

skeptics seem to focus on two issues in the emails: 1) the 'closed' peer review process that seems to stifle competing theories (which I'm not sure I quite buy at this point), and 2) the 'manipulation' of raw data to support the hypotheses. The second raises a question in my mind: while an email discussing a 'trick' does not necessarily infer academic dishonesty, I would expect that the stringent peer review process for respected journals would insist on full disclosure of methods used in 'massaging' the data. I've reviewed many (and rejected a fair number of) journal submissions, and would insist on no less. Are these methods published in any of the respected climate science journals? If not, I would expect some degree of group think has set in. Does anyone know if NOAA, NASA and CRU have released their raw data sets yet? It seems to me that would be the first step in defending accusations (especially given the magnitude/consequences of action/inaction).

2 people like this
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Dec 9, 2009 at 8:41 am

Political Science Anyone? -

It's interesting that climate change skeptics (which includes me) attack data and facts, but those who believe in climate change (like you) attack the messengers. Consistently, you never address the issue which is that a lot of critical data simply doesn't support your thesis. Why else has the cause changed from "global warming" to "climate change"? It's because we are actually experiencing stable to cooling trends from about a decade. Explain that, please.

After hurricane Katrina, I recall the proponents exclaiming that "both the frequency and intensity of hurricanes would be increasing." But since Katrina, the number has fallen to a near-century low and since that time, just one major hurricane has even made landfall in the United States.

The citation I noted was from a Google search. There were actually 99,999 hits on that search. I picked the first citation, I could have just as easily picked the second citation (from Nature magazine) or third citation (from the New York Times). Would that have made the data more robust?

But you choose to attack the messenger who the article called the "resident authority on global warming" on the Senate's Committee on Environment and Public Works. He doesn't agree with you, so you attack him.... not his data. Never mind that the data he noted came from NOAA - an authority you probably cite for yourself when it's not an inconvenient truth.

There was a very interesting exchange on yesterday's CNN program "Campbell Brown." It was an excellent debate on both sides of this issue from noted, world-class experts who conceded the expertise of their adversaries. I've noted the link below. Regardless of your position, I would encourage anyone to take the few minutes and watch the video. I doubt that it will change your mind, but you won't be able to challenge the credentials, expertise or data presented by the participants.

Web Link

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Posted by Political Science Anyone?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 9, 2009 at 10:52 am

Scientists call it climate change, because they're much more to it than simple warming. The media uses warming as its a nice and simple term, just the way they like to portray things in general.

As to supposedly attacking the messenger, yes one should when we have a political operative trying to masquerade as some scientific expert.

And as far as gaining any kind of "insight" from cable TV - be it Fox or CNN, give me a HUGE break - it's for entertainment purposes only, pure and simple.

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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Dec 9, 2009 at 11:02 am

Once again, you've totally avoided addressing the data... and have escalated your personal attacks.

So now you attack CNN, too. Interesting that the discussants on the CNN program were recognized as experts by participants on BOTH sides of the argument. They were mutually respectful and their credentials were not disputed. But you can't even bring yourself to watch, can you?

That tells me a lot about your willingness to defend your position. Very scientific of you on all counts!

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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Dec 9, 2009 at 1:47 pm

Global warming is a tactic used by the far left to expand Government, increase taxes and have more control over our lives. Voters can repudiate Obama Socialism by voting out senators and congressmen who want to expand Government, raise our taxes and erode our freedoms.

Vote your choice while we still have free and open elections.

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 9, 2009 at 2:21 pm

Pogo -
I agree with you that this should be a rational discussion with facts, as best we can determine them, deciding our course of action. Let's keep to the facts and avoid the personal aspersions. In that regard, you say that "a lot of critical data simply doesn't support your thesis" (of Climate Change). Could you please provide the links to the scientific papers where this critical data is presented. A link to a George Will diatribe doesn't count.
You blame one writer for attacking the messenger rather than dealing with the facts. Yet you yourself accuse those of us who think climate change is real of being "a movement that seems to be more religion than science". Seems to me that the great preponderonce of scientific facts point to Climate Change being real so those who remain doubters are resting their positions more on faith than facts.

Speaking of facts, if you're not afraid of facts, check out the position paper of the American Geophysical Union on Human Impacts on Climate: Web Link AGU is the world's largest society of geophysicists whose motto is "over 100 years of quality research in the earth and space sciences".
Better yet, attend the AGU annual meeting next week in San Francisco at the Moscone Center. There are guaranteed to be some great sessions on climate change and you can talk to the scientists themselves about why they're so convinced CG is real. Bring your "critical data" along to see how they evaluate it.

Just a couple of quotes from the AGU position paper should at least give you pause if you really care about the kind of world we leave for our grandchildren:
"The Earth's climate is now clearly out of balance and is warming. Many components of the climate system . . . are now changing at rates and in patterns that are not natural and are best explained by the increased atmospheric abundances of greenhouse gases and aerosols generated by human activity during the 20th century."

"As of 2006, eleven of the previous twelve years were warmer than any others since 1850."

"Evidence from most oceans and all continents except Antarctica shows warming attributable to human activities."

You know POGO, I'd rather do something now and find out the Climate Change is all wrong than do nothing and find out Climate Change is real. If in the end it isn't real, we've simply shifted to more efficient energy sources, reducing pollution and dependence on OPEC in the process. If we're wrong, the world will never again be the same as we've know it for the past 10,000 years.
Err on the side of caution so to speak.

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 9, 2009 at 2:32 pm

Please have a little more respect for your government and your fellow citizens than that.
Global warming is not a product of the far left - it is an observation confirmed by tens of thousands of researchers in most parts of the world.
It's not political - it's physics.
It's not about denying you personal freedoms, it's about keeping humans from stewing in their own hubris.
Listen to POGO and stick to the facts. Please.

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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Dec 9, 2009 at 4:04 pm

Steve -

First, it's nice to have a reasonable discussion about this subject. I think it's far too serious to fall into the trap of a Sarah Palin or Al Gore and react irresponsibly. In my mind, they are both guilty of over-reactionism. So thank you for this opportunity for calm discussion.

I actually had not seen the George Will column until you noted it. Will does cite some facts such as quotes from those inconvenient emails (from those same respected scientists...) that say "the fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment"... "and it is a travesty that we can't." Perhaps you would feel better if I had extracted that quote from the New York Times instead of Will's column? Would it make your defense any easier? It's hard when your principal proponents state something so unequivocal as "the lack of global warming."

But I know that believers will say it's not just warming and will blame cooler temperatures on global warming. You know, Steve, you can't win when opinion triumphs over facts.

And while the AGU is a very esteemed group, they aren't without their biases. But I'm not going to attack them like some attack the scientists who disagree or even CNN or George Will. But it WAS pretty easy to find citations slamming the AGU about past errors and prejudices. No one is without bias - including you and me.

I do support conservation, I want to see more efficient use of fossil fuels and less polution. Those are all good things. One fabulous way to do that is to build nuclear power plants. Personally, I would like to see a nuclear power plant come on line every month for ten straight years. If we did that, we could get off coal entirely and perhaps even reduce oil use to cars and trucks. I support these efforts - I do not support transferring huge amounts of our country's wealth to other nations. I'm sorry, but that is politics, not science.

Even if you believe in climate change, my big issue is man's role in that change. You will have to admit that man's role in climate change is THEORY. And like Einstein's quantum theory or Darwin's theory of evolution (and I do believe in both, by the way) - they are not facts but theories... and theories evolve with more data (as both Einstein and Darwin's theories have).

I personally believe other factors far more influential. For example, solar climate is an enormous factor and it is the least understood.

Finally (if you're still reading this!), you'll have to admit that there is something acutely ironic in watching 200 private jets and 1200 limousines shuttling these people in and out of Copenhagen to discuss our excessive use of polluting fossil fuels. I'm sure they've all bought green credits so they can feel better about their Gulfstream V's.

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 9, 2009 at 5:29 pm

So nice to read a response with no flames. Let me start off with the things I agree with you on:
1) I agree that nuclear power is the quickest way to wean us off of our addiction to fossil fuels. I too would like to see more nuclear plants come online every month for the next 10 years. The French did it and now produce 75% of their electricity from nuclear, export their excess to less advanced countries (Italy) earning 3 billion Euros a year, and have the lowest per capita carbon emissions of any industrial country in Europe (world?). Number of deaths or injuries from nuclear accidents: zero. Compare that to the number of miners killed in coal mines, people sickened by fossil fuel pollution, etc. I heard James Hanson on KQED yesterday and he shares our opinion that nuclear energy is the only way to quickly shut down our coal & gas powered power plants.
2) I also do not support transferring large amount of our country's wealth to other nations. So the sooner we stop importing oil from Nigeria, the middle east, Venzuela, and Canada, the better it is for our balance of payments and the environment.
3) I also get a chuckle at the inconsistency of people flying into Copenhagen to talk about reducing greenhouse gasses. Such is the state of our civilization that we have no real options except to fly. I did read about a special train from Paris that carried a number of dignitaries & press but that was clearly the exception.

But here is where I disagree:
1) You quote from a private email from one scientist to another: "the fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment". This is the smoking gun that blows a hole in the whole Climate Change theory?? I hardly think so. For a more reasoned analysis of what that episode is about I recommend an article in Time Magazine that puts it into a more realistic perspective: Web Link
Read that first and then let's have the discussion.

2) I also disagree with your rather too facile dismissal of AGU's position paper as being the product of a biased organization. AGU's members (50,000 scientists) are in the business of getting at the truth through careful observation of physical phenomena, reasoned argument, and thoroughly peer-reviewed publications. The results of their work is as close to "fact" as we get in the physical world and certainly seems to work when it comes to getting spacecraft to Mars, locating earthquakes beneath the surface, charting the deep sea currents, etc. A position statement from the organization is rare and is reserved for issues that are considered important. More importantly, a position paper is issued only if it reflects a clear consensus view of its membership on topics that they have expert knowledge of. To dismiss these statements based on bias (which you do not specify) suggests you are not as interested in facts as you profess to be. The facts in the position paper were specific (eg. "As of 2006, eleven of the previous twelve years were warmer than any others since 1850"). If you have information to refute this then present it. Otherwise this is a fact as best our scientists can determine it and let's move on to the discussion of what to do about it.

3) I do not have to admit that man's role in Climate change is theory. The increase in greenhouse gasses began a clear rise beginning with the industrial revolution when coal began to be burned in large quantities. The correlation between the burning of fossil fuels and increased CO2 in the atmosphere is so obvious that I don't really know of anyone who questions it. What evidence do you have that suggests otherwise?

4) I don't know where you get your facts on Solar Climate but from what I've found in a quick search, a recent paper suggests that Solar Climate for the past 20 years should have reduced global warming, not increased it. Check the link at: Web Link

The abstract says it all:
"Abstract There is considerable evidence for solar influence on the Earth's pre-industrial climate and the Sun may well have been a factor in post-industrial climate change in the first half of the last century. Here we show that over the past 20 years, all the trends in the Sun that could have had an influence on the Earth's climate have been in the opposite direction to that required to explain the observed rise in global mean temperatures."

Looking forward to your response - Steve

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Posted by old timer
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 9, 2009 at 5:30 pm


Your comment:

"Finally (if you're still reading this!), you'll have to admit that there is something acutely ironic in watching 200 private jets and 1200 limousines shuttling these people in and out of Copenhagen to discuss our excessive use of polluting fossil fuels. I'm sure they've all bought green credits so they can feel better about their Gulfstream V's."

absolutely wonderful thank you...

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 9, 2009 at 6:00 pm

Pogo -

I found a plot of world average temperatures since 1880. It shows that on an annual basis there are fluctuations where the average temperature falls for a year or two. But if you average out these fluctuations over 5-year intervals the trend for the past 30 years has been consistently upward.
Look at this figure and see if the trend doesn't scare you.
Web Link

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Posted by Political Science Anyone?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 9, 2009 at 10:24 pm

Thanks for not understanding what "theory" means when scientists use the term - it just proves that you have no idea what you're talking about and can only just spout out "talking points" obtained from right-wing political operatives like George Will.
(FYI: "Theory" = accepted as fact based on the scientific evidence available; "hypothesis" = theory as in the layman's use of the word)

For anyone who really wishes to find out the scientific facts, go to the source - the IPCC website at:
Web Link

And, if you want further confirmation, here's a statement from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) - the world's largest general scientific society - that reaffirms their statement that global warming is real, caused by human activities and is a growing threat to society.
Web Link

Sorry, POGO, but this is what happens when you try to take what George Will, Fox News and Rush spout off and use it in the real world: it melts real quickly in the harsh light of truth!

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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Dec 10, 2009 at 6:40 am

This is typical of the far left. When faced with facts rather than attempting to counter with an intelligent argument they go on one of their left wing rants attacking Fox News and Rush Limabaugh- as if their tired hackneyed attacks somehow repudiates the facts.

Meanwhile in Copenhagen you have the liberals flying in on some many private jets that the airport can not accomodate them. They have to drop off their esteemed lefties and fly to Stockholm, Oslo, or other cities. Then there are the over 2000 limousines and the caviar.

These people are engaging in such profligate conspicuous consumption that it makes it difficult for them to sustain their argument when they seem so unwilling to apply their standards to themselves. That, my friends, is called hypocrisy.

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Posted by steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 10, 2009 at 7:15 am

You're right that people on these forums tend to rant and write things that they'd never say to a person's face. Too bad the Almanac can't apply a civility filter to the posts first.
That said, I believe you might be found guilt of a bit of ranting yourself in one of the above posts wheb you called our preseident a socialist who wants to "expand Government, raise our taxes and erode our freedoms." A bit over the top don't youy think?
And as for facts, as I said above the vast preponderance of scientific facts indicate Climate Change is occurring. I haven't seen you cite many facts that suggest otherwise.

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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Dec 10, 2009 at 9:32 am

Political Science Anyone? -

It's refreshing to have an exchange sans flames (as Steve puts it). And for that very reason, it's intellectually dishonest for you to accuse me of "tak(ing) what George Will, Fox News and Rush spout off" and using it here. Once again, you resort to discrediting the messenger instead of confronting the data.

You don't know me or anything about me. I'll spare you my scientific credentials but unless you're a Professor Emeritus at Stanford, I'll be glad to defend mine. No, I don't listen to Rush Limbaugh and you should have noted that I hadn't read the George Will column until it was pointed out to me. I simply extracted a quote from that column just to make my point quickly and easily. It was one of those climate change experts who said, in one of those now infamous and inconvenient email exchanges, that "we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment." That expert is certainly far better informed about climate change than me so I'll stipulate to his interpretation of that fact. If you object to the George Will sourcing, that same quote can be found in last week's issue of Time magazine (a source you seem to prefer).

Perhaps you missed the first day of eight grade science class when they explained theory versus fact. Climate change is certainly fact, but it's cause is most certainly not. Man's role in climate change is theory - even proponents of that position freely admit to that. You point out some intriguing correlations, but correlation does not equal causation - at least not in any science class I attended. If that were true, the reason I pee every night at 4:00am would be due to my clock, instead of my bladder.

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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Dec 10, 2009 at 9:46 am

Barack Obama has expanded Government at the expense of the legislative branch, through the use of Czars. He has taken over many private businesses. Now he wants to put the Cap and Trade Bill into law which will tax the consumption of energy. He already has eroded our freedoms through the excessive regulations promulgated by his Czars.

The only thing that is over the top is Obama's quest for Socialism. Even Howard Dean said that the United States will have both Capitalism and Socialism. It may start out with both but if Obama has his way he will be phasing out Capitalism and phasing in Socialism until one day we wake up and realize that we have an over burgeoning government, excessive taxes and diminished freedom.

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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Dec 10, 2009 at 10:03 am

Steve -

Thank you for your thoughtful posting. A pleasure to have an intellectually honest discussion.

I'm thrilled that we agree on those three items. If we did nothing more than fire up nuclear power plants (which I believe is the biggest solution), reduced purchases from those nasty oil producing countries and acknowledged the hypocrisy of our elected officials, I'll consider it a successful day.

I didn't suggest that one email blows a hole in climate change theory. First, there are a little over a thousand emails, not one. And many of them are troubling. Second, these experts are stating that they cannot account for global warming at the moment. That's a pretty scary revelation, don't you think? We should be pretty sure of this before we bring an already fragile economy to it's knees. Our history is replete with examples of poorly conceived "cures" that didn't address the underlying cause. Bush's war in Iraq and Obama's health care reform legislation come to mind (trying to be non-partisan here...)

I also did not "dismiss" the AGU and I clearly noted that they are "a very esteemed group." They are. But like any other organization, they have their biases. Having been personally involved with high-level publication politics in peer-reviewed journals, I know first hand that authors that are "inside the circle" get published while those outside the circle - regardless of the worth or veracity of their research - do not. The AGU and other proponents of man-made climate change are no different than other organizations and those emails reveal those biases.

Regarding man's role in climate change, we will simply have to disagree about it being theory or fact. I'll stand on my recent post to Political Science Anyone? Recent evidence notes man's role in climate change may be smaller than thought. And I'm personally troubled by the fact that there have been far more profound periods of global warming that have lasted hundreds of years well before any industrialization and carbon emissions. That should at least suggest possible non-human causation. I fear natural hundred year climate cycles may have more to do with this than carbon emissions from coal powered electrical plants. That said, we should reduce those emissions and I think nuclear power is the best, cleanest, easiest and cheapest way to do that.

But it's nice to have the civilized exchange. No flames.

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 10, 2009 at 11:25 am

Pogo -
Yes it is good to discuss this important subject in a rational manner. Funny about your moniker "Pogo". Wasn't Pogo's most famous statement "We have met the enemy and he is us"? Seems like that comment applies equally well to Climate Change.
I feel you're being sidetracked when you focus so much on this pirated email from one scientist to another and that you're ignoring the much bigger picture in the process (which is probably the intent of those who stole the email - to muddy & confuse). You wrote "these experts are stating that they cannot account for global warming at the moment". Realize this was one scientist writing this in a personal email. His statement is ambiguous at best and certainly doesn't reflect the opinions of most climate scientist regarding climate change. From what I've read (in the TIME article I mentioned above) I believe he was referring to the fluctuations that are seen in year-to-year measurements that had shown a decline in temperature. But as the graph I linked you to, temps do go up and down year-to-year but the longer term average clearly shows no such decline. To a layman though, a decline in temperature for a year or two could be taken to mean that global warming is reversing. Certainly the doubters have seized on this as "evidence" that global warming isn't occurring. But no climate scientist ever said that there won't be fluctuations in climate, some downward, even as the long-term trend is clearly upward. I believe this is what he was referring to when he said we can't account for this short-term cooling "at the moment", and that he wasn't talking about the long-term trend, which is increasing in all the analyses of datasets, whether from CRU, NASA, or the other two big collections of temperature data that I can't recall.
Similarly, I think your perception of bias in the AGU position paper (which you still haven't defined have you?) is keeping you from dealing with the uncomfortable factual material that makes up the most of their paper. To quote from on on-line article by Jim Dressler who sums my frustration with your position quite well:

"While this is a strong statement by itself [the AGU position paper], its true strength comes when you consider that this statement is just one of a spate of similar statements by other expert organizations: the American Meteorological Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (PDF), as well as several others. Even the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, while not exactly embracing the connection between carbon dioxide and climate, cannot bring themselves to contradict it.

Then, of course, we have the "Inhofe 400." Whom should we believe? Jim Inhofe or virtually all of the world's experts? That's a tough one ..."

As I said POGO, the proponderance of the evidence tells us Climate Change is happening and that it is mostly caused by human activity (chopping down forests, burning fossil fuels, breeding vast herds of methane-emitting cattle). We can keep from doing something forever if we let ourselves get distracted by every little detail that doesn't agree but after awhile we're just being irresponsible in not confronting reality.

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 10, 2009 at 11:59 am

Pogo -

So let's get back to what we do agree on:
Yes to more next-generation nuclear plants!
Yes, to reducing imports of oil! Are you ready to support a carbon tax to make this happen?
Yes to tax rebates to those who exchange gas guzzlers for fuel efficient cars or make their home & offices more energy efficient.

Any you'd care to add?

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Posted by it's the law
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 10, 2009 at 12:50 pm

As a matter of law, (he California Legislature long ago passed a staute that no new nuclear power plants can be built in our state until the Feds designate and open up a nuclear waste disposal facility. The feds have not done so. Given a 25,000 year half life on the radioactive waste,not to mention national security issue on-site storage as is currently done everywhere (e.g. Diablo Canyon and San Onofrey), having a safe longterm storage location or two in the US is key.

I agree that nuclear needs to be on the table to address climate change. In CA we don't have any coal plants and PGandE only buys 2% of its electricty from coal sources - and we have 50& of our mix from non fossil fuel sources already (large hydro, nuclear, and qualifying renewables). And the renewables are only growing with continued roll-out of the Renewables Portfolio Standard. But in the rest of the US the vast majority of electricty is from coal which is a huge CO2 emissions source.

A federal cap and trade like AB 32 and/or a carbon tax Tand they are not mutually exclusive), would help get us off coal . It would price carbon to make emitters pay for their externalities (I.e. Using the atmosphere as a free CO2 sewer). This is basic economics that is long overdue. Time for climate action!

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Posted by Craig Breon
a resident of another community
on Dec 10, 2009 at 1:09 pm

The length of this debate is beautiful, although some of the content is weak. The sheer number of comments does make me believe that, in our community at least, this issue is well respected.

Like all humans, some scientists make ethical mistakes, or even intentional ethically bad choices--However you wish to portray them is a minor point. I, for one, can not imagine that thousands of scientists are in a mass conspiracy when they write or speak supporting the basic thesis that global, partially human induced, climate change, with potentially bad to devastating repercussions, is a reality that we should face. Facing that means changing some fundamental ways we have looked at energy, consumption, and economics. I believe those changes would be good for us in the long term, though painful for some in the shorter term.

I now live in San Jose, but to give myself validity, I will say that I have lived a majority of my forty-four year in PV and sat on the Planning Commission there for ten years.

Please continue the debate. The number of commenters on each side does say something about the relative intelligence of our region.

Craig K. Breon

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 10, 2009 at 1:31 pm

It's the law -
Welcome to the discussion and for pointing out how California has tied its hands in dealing with nuclear power. I suspect that, at the time, this was way to keep industry from building more plants when 3-mile Island was still fresh in peoples' minds.
Time to lobby for repeal of the law while also lobbying for more nuclear plants.

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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Dec 10, 2009 at 1:37 pm

Steve -

Yes, I agree with all three suggestions. If implemented, they would certainly reduce, and hopefully eliminate, our oil and coal consumption - which are, of course, major pollution agents. I truly believe that nuclear could eliminate most of our existing non-nuclear plants which would certainly reduce coal to near zero use. If oil were only used for internal combustion engines - especially those that achieved 30 or more MPG - that would be quite an accomplishment and solve most of our problems.

Please note that I do not take issue with climate change. My central point is that I'm unsure of man's role in this change. UNSURE. I will stand on my position that human causation is theory, not fact and there is disagreement on the relative contribution of each factor. I'm not sure I concur with your classification of cattle "emissions" as man-made, but I understand your point that they are there for us.

There is sufficient data to substantiate our arguments that no one needs to use Sarah Palin or Al Gore (both politicians, neither are scientists) to make our points. They are both zealots on opposite sides of the spectrum and I have little use for either of them. I have no use for Senator Imhoff.

I'm all for reasonable measures but these measures are and will be political decisions. Politics and economy matters.

And yes, POGO does mean that we are the enemy. It works for both sides, doesn't it!

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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Dec 10, 2009 at 2:00 pm

It's the law -

That's the problem. For unknown reasons, we seem to prefer using coal and oil powered plants - which spew hundreds of millions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere - instead of nuclear power that produces water vapor as a principal by product. I'm not aware of a major nuclear waste leak in... in... ever. Bury it in a salt mine or reprocess it. That seems to work for the French and, as inventors of Peugot and Citroen, they can hardly be called technically gifted.

I have no issue with wind, water or solar power. Just one nuclear plant is quicker, easier, more efficient and millions of times more powerful.

It's ironic that the most "feel good" of vehicles - pure electric cars (not hybrids like the Prius) - are among the biggest polluters. While they don't emit gases from their exhaust pipes, they likely emit a ton at the power plant in the next county that generated that electricity.

Mr. Breon - please don't be so quick to judge the content of these postings. I think people are better informed than our elected officials (faint praise). I think it was Winston Churchill who said that even fools are right sometimes. Politicians may be the exception...

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Posted by Cartoonist
a resident of Atherton: other
on Dec 10, 2009 at 4:43 pm

Pogo was a possum.

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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Dec 10, 2009 at 5:19 pm


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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Dec 10, 2009 at 5:22 pm

Jeepers. I can't help it, I'm drawn that way.

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Posted by elle
a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on Dec 11, 2009 at 1:17 pm

Many supporters/believers of anthropogenic caused global warming have become quite emotionally invested in the subject - just as the government prefers. Let's keep scientific issues and research out of the halls of congress and in the science labs and journals. Obviously, there's still more science to be worked out.
This has become a religion for many people - they need to step back and realize this and allow the scientific method to be employed. Don't be fearful of scientific research and debate otherwise you'll set us back. Just like the creationists are afraid of evolution science, the anthropogenic global warming believers are afraid of the scientists proving otherwise. Have you noticed how many churches have adopted global warming as one of their pet causes lately? They are even attracting atheists now through this avenue - pretty smart of the churches - they know how to get the emotions of people.
Stick with science.

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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Dec 11, 2009 at 2:21 pm

I couldn't agree more. Perfectly said!

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 11, 2009 at 2:25 pm

To those still following this thread, here's an abstract of an important paper that will be presented next Tuesday at the AGU meeting in San Francisco. I expect you'll be reading about it in the papers. To those of you who doubt Climate Change or imagine that scientists are still debating the question, pay special attention to the conclusions in the first bullet.

U.S. Global Climate Change Impacts Overview
T. R. Karl1
1. NOAA/NCDC, Asheville, NC, United States.

This past year the US Global Change Research Program released a report that summarized the science of climate change and the impacts of climate change on the United States, now and in the future. The report underscores the importance of measures to reduce climate change. In the context of impacts, the report identifies examples of actions currently being pursued in various sectors and regions to address climate change as well as other environmental problems that could be exacerbated by climate change. This state-of-knowledge report also identifies areas in which scientific uncertainty limits our ability to estimate future climate changes and its impacts. Key findings of the report include:
(1) Global warming is unequivocal and primarily human induced.
- This statement is stronger than the IPCC (2007) statement because new attribution studies since that report continue to implicate human caused changes over the past 50 years.
(2) Climate Changes are underway in the Unites States and are projected to grow.
- These include increases in heavy downpours, rising temperature and sea level, rapidly retreating glaciers, thawing permafrost, lengthening growing seasons lengthening ice-free seasons in the oceans and on lakes and rivers, earlier snowmelt and alteration in river flows.
(3) Widespread climate-related impacts are occurring now and are expected to increase.
- The impacts vary from region to region, but are already affecting many sectors e.g., water, energy, transportation, agriculture, ecosystems, etc.
(4) Climate change will stress water resources.
- Water is an issue in every region of the US, but the nature of the impacts vary
(5) Crop and livestock production will be increasingly challenged.
- Warming related to high emission scenarios often negatively affect crop growth and yields levels. Increased pests, water stress, diseases, and weather extremes will pose adaptation challenges for crops and livestock production.
(6) Coastal areas are at increased risk from sea-level rise and storm surge.
- Sea-level rise and storm surge place many U.S. coastal cities at risk of erosion and flooding. Estimates for sea level rise by the end of this century are up to five feet for portions of the Gulf Coast where global sea level rise acts in concert with sinking coastal land. Global sea level projections are as high as 3 to 3.5 feet for emission scenarios that are comparable to business as usual.
(7) Risk to human health will increase.
- Robust public health infrastructure can reduce the potential for negative impacts.
(8) Climate change will interact with many social and environmental stresses.
- Climate change will combine with pollutions, population growth, overuse of resources, urbanization, and other social, economic, and environmental stresses to create larger impacts than from any of these factors alone.
(9) Thresholds will be crossed, leading to large changes in climate and ecosystems

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 11, 2009 at 2:53 pm

Another abstract of a paper coming next week. This one gives an example of how Climate Change can affect multiple parts of a coastal system, leading to very serious rates of coastal erosion. To keep from taking up too much of your time, I'm only including the first part of the abstract.

Rapid coastal erosion on the Beaufort Sea coast: A triple whammy induced by climate change (Invited)
R. S. Anderson, C. W. Wobus, I. Overeem, G. D. Clow, F. E. Urban, T. P. Stanton
The effects of climate change on landscape evolution can be pronounced in polar regions due to amplification of warming at high latitudes and sensitivity of ice-rich landscapes to warming. Documented coastal erosion rates exceeding 20-30 meters/year suggest that the effects of climate change are already being felt along northern coastlines.

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 11, 2009 at 3:19 pm

And one final partial abstract dealing with rising sea levels:

The Response of Sea Level to Changes in Climate: Has There Been a Fundamental Shift in the Rate of Sea Level Rise?
R. Nerem1
1. CCAR, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, United States.

Geodetic observations have provided considerable insight into changes in sea level and their cause. Much of this insight has come from satellite observations, which span only the last few decades. Nevertheless, when combined with other in situ measurements, there is a growing body of evidence that there was a fundamental shift in the rate of sea level rise in the early 1990s, near the beginning of the satellite era. The data suggest that the rate of sea level rise has roughly doubled – from 1.8 mm/year during the latter half of the 20th century to the present rate of 3.5 mm/year over the last decade or so . . .

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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Dec 11, 2009 at 5:35 pm

Hey Steve, you're making compellng arguments to a dispute that really doesn't exist - at least for most of us.

It's not climate change - it's MAN'S ROLE (or, as elle would say - anthropogenic) in climate change that's the big issue. That's seems to concern about 50% of the population by most polls. If scientists concurred that climate change were due to normal cycling of solar flares for instance, then a lot of these proposed changes would be unnecessary. I'd like to be sure it's us before we impose such radical changes. And remember that I'm all for nuclear power, alternatives to fossil fuels and reducing pollution.

I'd like to see your citations to research that definitively establishes anthropogenic causes.

PS - I think it may be down to just you and I here.

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 11, 2009 at 5:55 pm

Pogo -
Yep, just you and me now. Hang in there kid.

Pogo, I get that you believe the Climate Change is real. I just don't get why you're so resistant to accepting that the cause is anthropogenic when the evidence so heavily supports this interpretation and evidence for a cause of solar flares is so flimsy. I mentioned a study above that said the last 20 years of solar flares should have reduced global temperatures, if anything.

Check out this link to the first chapter of the Global Climate Change report that I menioned above. It's the synthesis of hundreds of studies by the agencies shown along the bottom. Look at the graph that shows CO2 levels for the last 800,000 years and during that time CO2 never existed at the high levels we've seen in the past 50 to 100 years.

Web Link

The evidence is there in spades. You just need to read it and think about it. And then get very scared.

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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Dec 11, 2009 at 5:59 pm

I will.

When possums get scared they play dead. (That was for cartoonist.)

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Posted by Diana
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Dec 11, 2009 at 6:05 pm

POGO, you and Steve may be the only ones contributing comments to this discussion at this point, but that's only because you're doing such a good job in presenting different ways of looking at the issue. Don't assume no one else is paying attention.

So keep it up -- and don't start playing dead.

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 11, 2009 at 8:40 pm

Diana -
Thanks for the encouraging words. As much as I'm enjoying this discussion with Pogo, it's good to know other folks are listening and thinking about these important issues too.

Pogo -

Your last comment "When possums get scared they play dead", is profound. I think that that's how a lot of people have reacted to the dilemma of Climate Change and where they are now. When confronted by the concept that the world as we've know it for thousands of years may be changing irrevocably, we behave like the possum confronted by an enemy: we roll over, play dead, and hope it goes away. It's not necessarily a rational reaction but hey, it works for the possum.
Perhaps the better analogy for where many of us are at in grappling with this threat is to compare it to the 5 stages of grief. When we are confronted with the loss of something near & dear to us (the world as we know it), our first response is denial: pretend it isn't happening; that the science is still inconclusive; that it's really nothing different than the world has experienced many times in the past. The second stage is anger (Hank, are you listening?): "Global warming is a tactic used by the far left"; or "scientists are just saying this to get more research dollars"; or (better yet) "scientists are all in collusion to cover up the fact that climate is actually cooling to protect their pet theory". As if! Next comes bargaining "OK, I'll accept Climate Change but I draw the line that we're responsible" (Ouch! Hey Pogo, look's like you're more than halfway there). Next comes depression, followed by acceptance, followed (since we're not necessarily dead yet) by the 6th stage: "what the heck do we need to do to stop stop Global Climate Change?
And that's where we need to get - and the quicker the better.

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Posted by Political Science Anyone?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 12, 2009 at 9:56 am

Here's the exact text from the AAAS which, again, is the world's largest general society of scientists:

“The vast preponderance of evidence, based on years of research conducted by a wide array of different investigators at many institutions, clearly indicates that global climate change is real, it is caused largely by human activities, and the need to take action is urgent,” said Alan I. Leshner, chief executive officer of AAAS and executive publisher of the journal Science.
Web Link

That's not good enough for you???

Oh and by the way, nuke plants are horribly expensive. I suggest saving the money from building them and use it to build tall dike walls along both coasts plus the Gulf of Mexico to keep the rising sea levels back - they can double-up as anti-immigration walls as well, which I'm sure will make you and George Will very happy.

Good bye and good luck - I quit:
Web Link

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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Dec 12, 2009 at 10:55 am

Your comments about anti-immigration walls say far more about you than me.

One can only wish you would stop posting... but I'm sure that representation is just as disingenuous as your others.

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Posted by Richard
a resident of another community
on Dec 12, 2009 at 12:25 pm

One of the problems with climate science is that it is impossible to perform large-scale experiments to test hypotheses. Nuclear physicists can smash as many atoms as they want and they always have more; not so with climate researchers. We only have one atmosphere and we can't risk ruining it in attempts to understand it. That leaves us to study the historical record and do computer simulations, neither of which delivers authoritative and satisfying answers for such a complex subject. That leaves the researchers open to easy attacks from outsiders, many of whom assert that because the scientists don't understand everything they understand nothing. Every error or failed explanation is overblown by the critics in an attempt to discredit the whole field of study, but if researchers get too cautious and unwilling to speculate and be imaginative, progress slows and the whole field stagnates. It is a difficult problem, both scientifically and politically, and it makes me glad I am not a climate scientist.

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 12, 2009 at 1:19 pm

PoliSciAnyone -
The first part of your post was useful and the link instructive. The second part - not so much.
Why do you write things that you (hopefully) wouldn't say to that person's face? Just because the web keeps you anonymous? Not a very nice post - it cast a bit of a pall over the discussion.

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 12, 2009 at 1:57 pm

Richard -
I'm not a climate scientist myself by any means but it seems to me that we don't need to have accurate models of the future climate for us to recognize that we have a serious climate problem today. Comparisons of current conditions with historic and prehistoric conditions - all based on measurements of physical parameters - clearly shows that the climate has changed (highest average global temps ever, rising sea levels, decreased Arctic ice, etc) and that the cause of this change is related to the comparatively sudden increase in the production of greenhouse gasses that coincided with the beginnings of the industrial age.

The modeling is useful in that it may tell us how many years (months?) we have before we cross a threshold of no return. However, we already know enough that we, as an intelligent species, should be acting in every way possible to reduce this threat to our way of life, if not our actual existence.

The problem is that too many groups have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Think Big Oil, Big Coal, Detroit, third world countries just entering their industrial maturity, etc.. They will do everything in their power to slow down change, even if it threatens their own existence in the long run, and even if they have to lie, dissemble, and spend huge sums on propaganda to do so.

And of course most people, by their very nature, are resistant change. This is especially true if the change inconveniences them directly and especially if it costs them money.

So this is where we're at, waiting for another Messiah to lead us through this dessert to the land of milk & honey. Maybe Obama will be the messiah for the US. Al Gore seems to rub too many the wrong way so I guess he'll be seen as a prophet.

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Posted by Richard
a resident of another community
on Dec 12, 2009 at 8:07 pm

Yes, looking at the historical record tells us that we are in trouble, but it doesn't tell us the exact physical mechanisms and chemistry that is responsible. Modeling is useful but the models can only incorporate the things that we already know and understand well enough to incorporate quantitatively. In this field there are many complex interactions that are not well enough understood for the models to be sufficiently accurate to produce really good long term predictions at this time. That does not mean that they are useless or that we don't understand things at all, although many critics claim just that. It will be many decades before we understand all the chemistry and interactions between the air, water and land well enough to produce predictions that can be really accurate and detailed. If we wait until then before we act, though, it may well be too late to stave off catastrophe. There is enough evidence now to tell us that we need to change our course even if we lack complete understanding of the subject. We will certainly make some mistakes as a result, but they are likely to be less serious than the mistake of doing nothing. Most scientists are used to acting on less than perfect information and with less than perfect understanding of a subject, but that is difficult for non-scientists and politicians to understand.

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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Dec 13, 2009 at 9:50 am

I think Richard said it well and I thank him for the thoughtful analysis. Again, the issue isn't global warming, it's determining man's role in this change.

Steve - I did review the web links you noted and they make very compelling points. Because of your persistence, integrity and veracity (with zero personal attacks, thank you), I am doing something that is somewhat humbling, I am modifying my least a bit.

While reviewing your links, I was struck that I have approached man's role in climate change in much the same way a trial lawyer might look for "technicalities" to get their client off. That's probably not a good way to approach science. Yes, the data is as Richard noted "not perfect." I still can't acquiesce that correlation means causation and we know there are many other factors that confuse and confound these theories.

But this is admittedly an important issue, though I'm not sure it's as urgent as you represent, so we should show deference to a very large and compelling data set. So, now that I agree that man's consumption plays a role in climate change, perhaps even a larger one than I had thought, we need to figure out what to do.

Just three quick points. The first is about those pesky CO2 levels over the past 800,000 years. Yes, it is higher than ever today, but it didn't always correlate with temperature change so I'm still not sure that's the gold standard benchmark. That said, it is pretty alarming.

The second is a reference to Political Science Anyone? (who no longer reads these posts, of course) who said I should accept man's role in climate change just because the CEO of the AAAS said so. Personally, I don't care if all of the AAAS said so. It's not science to say we should accept something just because someone said so. Sorry, that's just not good enough. Scientists should not be afraid of sunlight and should always be willing to defend its data and conclusions. Sorry Poly Sci Guy, but someone's "say so" isn't good enough for me to change our economy.

Third, I wanted to address the costs of nuclear power plants. A lot of that cost is imposed by regulation - most of resulting from legal fights from local resistance. The actual cost of the power plant - especially if the designs are standardized and construction subject to competitive bidding like the French have done, they have costs that are remarkably similar to a major dam. But they are, by far, the most efficient way to produce energy (by about two orders of magnitude) and have the smallest environmental impact and smallest physical footprint. Why people resist this, I don't know. Perhaps they prefer their horizons littered with giant windmills rather than having a single plant located at an isolated point along the coast line.

And one final philisophical point to consider - what makes us think that today's average temperatures represent the ideal climate? Climate changes over time, so what makes us think that we will be better off trying to keep them constant? Ah, there's that trial lawyer in me again (btw, I'm not a lawyer...).

So, I would like to thank you, Steve for a thoughtful exchange. You made a little bit of progress with a skeptic.

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 13, 2009 at 9:52 pm

Pogo -

I want to thank you also, both for your persistence and for being honestly interested in searching out and really considering the facts of Climate Change (to the extent that we know them so far). I've really enjoyed our discussion and I'm sobered that you may have changed your position, "at least a bit", based on my arguments.
I'll be at the AGU meeting this week and will probably attend some of the Atmospheric Science sessions where Climate Change will be discussed. If I learn anything new & interesting I'll pass it along to you and anyone else who's still following this thread.

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 14, 2009 at 12:07 pm

Just talked with a seismologist who has been involved in the studt of Yucca Mtn, NV as a repository for hi-level nuclear waste for all nuclear plants in the country. After over 20 years of study, their report that the site is very suitable for that use was on the verge of final approval. But he said they just received word that Politics was killing Yucca mtn and that in the future these dangerous nuclear products will be stored above-ground at each of the 60 nuclear sites around the country.
Decision made not based on science or economics or best choice for country but because Harry Reid opposes it. He's running for reelection and Obama doesn't want to oppose him, even though Reid's position is based on local state politics - Nevadans generally oppose Yucca Mtn - rather than considering what's best for the country.
No waste storage means no new Nuclear Plants.

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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Dec 14, 2009 at 12:23 pm

Politics is the biggest player in this game. Truly unfortunate that these decisions are made by people who are really poorly informed and overly influenced by a small group of people.

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Posted by steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 14, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Pogo -
Heard something that I can't provide a reference for but it bears on your qustion about how much of global warming is due to human causes. An (unnamed) scientist has answered this question by stating that more tha 100% of global warming is due to human activity. When asked how there could be more than 100% he pointed out that without human inputs, average temp of the planet would have likely cooled slightly in recent years, probably due to the pattern of decreased solar flare activity that I mentioned above.

Also heard that average annual temp is expected to rise between 2 and 9 degrees over the next 100 years - 9 degrees if we continue to emit greenhouse gasses at current rates; 2 degrees if we start immediately to reduce greenhouse gasses.

Scary stuff.

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Posted by Shivering
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Dec 14, 2009 at 2:25 pm

Can any of you tell me just what the temperature of the earth should be?

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Posted by Hot to trot!
a resident of another community
on Dec 14, 2009 at 4:07 pm

The temperature of the earth should be ten Degrees Farenheit less than it is today according to Big Al. You know, the guy with the G-5 whose home uses 20 time more electricity than the average homeowner. Oh, I forgot he is an annointed liberal. He can do whatever he wants. The rules only apply to the rest of us.

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 14, 2009 at 4:38 pm

Here's a plot of temperature anomalies for the past 2,000 years. Can't tell you what the absolute average temp was but you can see it was pretty stable aside from the medieval warming and the "little ice age". Of course both those aberations are dwarfed by the recent spike in temps caused by greenhouse gasses.
Web Link

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 14, 2009 at 5:02 pm

It's worth thinking about that temp graph I just posted. Both the medieval warming and "little ice age" had huge impacts on the civilizations of Europe (and probably worldwide, though I don't know other histories). The warming produced widespread droughts and the "little ice age" produced what's commonly called the 'year without a summer', when crops failed to mature over much of Europe and starvation followed. I'm not a historian so I don't know much more about these episodes but you can look it up on Wikipedia or Google it.

Which is why the spike in temps in recent decades is so worrisome. I'm sure folks in Australia - coping with the worst drought in their history - aren't arguing whether Climate Change is real.

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Posted by Richard
a resident of another community
on Dec 14, 2009 at 10:02 pm

The question about what the temperature of the earth "should be" has no objective answer. How you answer depends on your philosophy and what you see as the "purpose" of the earth. That is why scientists don't discuss that question per se. Instead they focus on how the temperature affects us. Clearly the temperature must be in the range for water to be liquid if life is to survive, but if you focus down you can define a narrow range that will allow us to sustain a large population at the quality of life and level of civilization to which we have been accustomed. That range is very narrow and we will soon be pushing the upper limit. I am sure that life on earth will survive even if we exceed that limit, but it may be without civilized humans as we understand them.

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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Dec 15, 2009 at 2:12 pm

HERE are the 100 reasons, released in a dossier issued by the European Foundation, why climate change is natural and not man-made:

1) There is “no real scientific proof” that the current warming is caused by the rise of greenhouse gases from man’s activity.

2) Man-made carbon dioxide emissions throughout human history constitute less than 0.00022 percent of the total naturally emitted from the mantle of the earth during geological history.

3) Warmer periods of the Earth’s history came around 800 years before rises in CO2 levels.

4) After World War II, there was a huge surge in recorded CO2 emissions but global temperatures fell for four decades after 1940.

5) Throughout the Earth’s history, temperatures have often been warmer than now and CO2 levels have often been higher – more than ten times as high.

6) Significant changes in climate have continually occurred throughout geologic time.

7) The 0.7C increase in the average global temperature over the last hundred years is entirely consistent with well-established, long-term, natural climate trends.

8) The IPCC theory is driven by just 60 scientists and favourable reviewers not the 4,000 usually cited.

9) Leaked e-mails from British climate scientists – in a scandal known as “Climate-gate” - suggest that that has been manipulated to exaggerate global warming

10) A large body of scientific research suggests that the sun is responsible for the greater share of climate change during the past hundred years.

11) Politicians and activiists claim rising sea levels are a direct cause of global warming but sea levels rates have been increasing steadily since the last ice age 10,000 ago

12) Philip Stott, Emeritus Professor of Biogeography at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London says climate change is too complicated to be caused by just one factor, whether CO2 or clouds

13) Peter Lilley MP said last month that “fewer people in Britain than in any other country believe in the importance of global warming. That is despite the fact that our Government and our political class—predominantly—are more committed to it than their counterparts in any other country in the world”.

14) In pursuit of the global warming rhetoric, wind farms will do very little to nothing to reduce CO2 emissions

15) Professor Plimer, Professor of Geology and Earth Sciences at the University of Adelaide, stated that the idea of taking a single trace gas in the atmosphere, accusing it and finding it guilty of total responsibility for climate change, is an “absurdity”

16) A Harvard University astrophysicist and geophysicist, Willie Soon, said he is “embarrassed and puzzled” by the shallow science in papers that support the proposition that the earth faces a climate crisis caused by global warming.

17) The science of what determines the earth’s temperature is in fact far from settled or understood.

18) Despite activist concerns over CO2 levels, CO2 is a minor greenhouse gas, unlike water vapour which is tied to climate concerns, and which we can’t even pretend to control

19) A petition by scientists trying to tell the world that the political and media portrayal of global warming is false was put forward in the Heidelberg Appeal in 1992. Today, more than 4,000 signatories, including 72 Nobel Prize winners, from 106 countries have signed it.

20) It is claimed the average global temperature increased at a dangerously fast rate in the 20th century but the recent rate of average global temperature rise has been between 1 and 2 degrees C per century - within natural rates

21) Professor Zbigniew Jaworowski, Chairman of the Scientific Council of the Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection in Warsaw, Poland says the earth’s temperature has more to do with cloud cover and water vapor than CO2 concentration in the atmosphere.

22) There is strong evidence from solar studies which suggests that the Earth’s current temperature stasis will be followed by climatic cooling over the next few decades

23) It is myth that receding glaciers are proof of global warming as glaciers have been receding and growing cyclically for many centuries

24) It is a falsehood that the earth’s poles are warming because that is natural variation and while the western Arctic may be getting somewhat warmer we also see that the Eastern Arctic and Greenland are getting colder

25) The IPCC claims climate driven “impacts on biodiversity are significant and of key relevance” but those claims are simply not supported by scientific research

26) The IPCC threat of climate change to the world’s species does not make sense as wild species are at least one million years old, which means they have all been through hundreds of climate cycles

27) Research goes strongly against claims that CO2-induced global warming would cause catastrophic disintegration of the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets.

28) Despite activist concerns over CO2 levels, rising CO2 levels are our best hope of raising crop yields to feed an ever-growing population

29) The biggest climate change ever experienced on earth took place around 700 million years ago

30) The slight increase in temperature which has been observed since 1900 is entirely consistent with well-established, long-term natural climate cycles

31) Despite activist concerns over CO2 levels, rising CO2 levels of some so-called “greenhouse gases” may be contributing to higher oxygen levels and global cooling, not warming

32) Accurate satellite, balloon and mountain top observations made over the last three decades have not shown any significant change in the long term rate of increase in global temperatures

33) Today’s CO2 concentration of around 385 ppm is very low compared to most of the earth’s history – we actually live in a carbon-deficient atmosphere

34) It is a myth that CO2 is the most common greenhouse gas because greenhouse gases form about 3% of the atmosphere by volume, and CO2 constitutes about 0.037% of the atmosphere

35) It is a myth that computer models verify that CO2 increases will cause significant global warming because computer models can be made to “verify” anything

36) There is no scientific or statistical evidence whatsoever that global warming will cause more storms and other weather extremes

37) One statement deleted from a UN report in 1996 stated that “none of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed climate changes to increases in greenhouse gases”

38) The world “warmed” by 0.07 +/- 0.07 degrees C from 1999 to 2008, not the 0.20 degrees C expected by the IPCC

39) The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says “it is likely that future tropical cyclones (typhoons and hurricanes) will become more intense” but there has been no increase in the intensity or frequency of tropical cyclones globally

40) Rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere can be shown not only to have a negligible effect on the Earth’s many ecosystems, but in some cases to be a positive help to many organisms

41) Researchers who compare and contrast climate change impact on civilizations found warm periods are beneficial to mankind and cold periods harmful

42) The Met Office asserts we are in the hottest decade since records began but this is precisely what the world should expect if the climate is cyclical

43) Rising CO2 levels increase plant growth and make plants more resistant to drought and pests

44) The historical increase in the air’s CO2 content has improved human nutrition by raising crop yields during the past 150 years

45) The increase of the air’s CO2 content has probably helped lengthen human lifespans since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution

46) The IPCC alleges that “climate change currently contributes to the global burden of disease and premature deaths” but the evidence shows that higher temperatures and rising CO2 levels has helped global populations

47) In May of 2004, the Russian Academy of Sciences published a report concluding that the Kyoto Protocol has no scientific grounding at all.

48) The “Climate-gate” scandal pointed to a expensive public campaign of disinformation and the denigration of scientists who opposed the belief that CO2 emissions were causing climate change

49) The head of Britain’s climate change watchdog has predicted households will need to spend up to £15,000 on a full energy efficiency makeover if the Government is to meet its ambitious targets for cutting carbon emissions.

50) Wind power is unlikely to be the answer to our energy needs. The wind power industry argues that there are “no direct subsidies” but it involves a total subsidy of as much as £60 per MWh which falls directly on electricity consumers. This burden will grow in line with attempts to achieve Wind power targets, according to a recent OFGEM report.

51) Wind farms are not an efficient way to produce energy. The British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) accepts a figure of 75 per cent back-up power is required.

52) Global temperatures are below the low end of IPCC predictions not at “at the top end of IPCC estimates”

53) Climate alarmists have raised the concern over acidification of the oceans but Tom Segalstad from Oslo University in Norway , and others, have noted that the composition of ocean water – including CO2, calcium, and water – can act as a buffering agent in the acidification of the oceans.

54) The UN’s IPCC computer models of human-caused global warming predict the emergence of a “hotspot” in the upper troposphere over the tropics. Former researcher in the Australian Department of Climate Change, David Evans, said there is no evidence of such a hotspot

55) The argument that climate change is a of result of global warming caused by human activity is the argument of flat Earthers.

56) The manner in which US President Barack Obama sidestepped Congress to order emission cuts shows how undemocratic and irrational the entire international decision-making process has become with regards to emission-target setting.

57) William Kininmonth, a former head of the National Climate Centre and a consultant to the World Meteorological Organisation, wrote “the likely extent of global temperature rise from a doubling of CO2 is less than 1C. Such warming is well within the envelope of variation experienced during the past 10,000 years and insignificant in the context of glacial cycles during the past million years, when Earth has been predominantly very cold and covered by extensive ice sheets.”

58) Canada has shown the world targets derived from the existing Kyoto commitments were always unrealistic and did not work for the country.

59) In the lead up to the Copenhagen summit, David Davis MP said of previous climate summits, at Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and Kyoto in 1997 that many had promised greater cuts, but “neither happened”, but we are continuing along the same lines.

60) The UK ’s environmental policy has a long-term price tag of about £55 billion, before taking into account the impact on its economic growth.

61) The UN’s panel on climate change warned that Himalayan glaciers could melt to a fifth of current levels by 2035. J. Graham Cogley a professor at Ontario Trent University, claims this inaccurate stating the UN authors got the date from an earlier report wrong by more than 300 years.

62) Under existing Kyoto obligations the EU has attempted to claim success, while actually increasing emissions by 13 per cent, according to Lord Lawson. In addition the EU has pursued this scheme by purchasing “offsets” from countries such as China paying them billions of dollars to destroy atmospheric pollutants, such as CFC-23, which were manufactured purely in order to be destroyed.

63) It is claimed that the average global temperature was relatively unchanging in pre-industrial times but sky-rocketed since 1900, and will increase by several degrees more over the next 100 years according to Penn State University researcher Michael Mann. There is no convincing empirical evidence that past climate was unchanging, nor that 20th century changes in average global temperature were unusual or unnatural.

64) Michael Mann of Penn State University has actually shown that the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age did in fact exist, which contrasts with his earlier work which produced the “hockey stick graph” which showed a constant temperature over the past thousand years or so followed by a recent dramatic upturn.

65) The globe’s current approach to climate change in which major industrialised countries agree to nonsensical targets for their CO2 emissions by a given date, as it has been under the Kyoto system, is very expensive.

66) The “Climate-gate” scandal revealed that a scientific team had emailed one another about using a “trick” for the sake of concealing a “decline” in temperatures when looking at the history of the Earth’s temperature.

67) Global temperatures have not risen in any statistically-significant sense for 15 years and have actually been falling for nine years. The “Climate-gate” scandal revealed a scientific team had expressed dismay at the fact global warming was contrary to their predictions and admitted their inability to explain it was “a travesty”.

68) The IPCC predicts that a warmer planet will lead to more extreme weather, including drought, flooding, storms, snow, and wildfires. But over the last century, during which the IPCC claims the world experienced more rapid warming than any time in the past two millennia, the world did not experience significantly greater trends in any of these extreme weather events.

69) In explaining the average temperature standstill we are currently experiencing, the Met Office Hadley Centre ran a series of computer climate predictions and found in many of the computer runs there were decade-long standstills but none for 15 years – so it expects global warming to resume swiftly.

70) Richard Lindzen, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wrote: “The notion of a static, unchanging climate is foreign to the history of the Earth or any other planet with a fluid envelope. Such hysteria (over global warming) simply represents the scientific illiteracy of much of the public, the susceptibility of the public to the substitution of repetition for truth.”

71) Despite the 1997 Kyoto Protocol’s status as the flagship of the fight against climate change it has been a failure.

72) The first phase of the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which ran from 2005 to 2007 was a failure. Huge over-allocation of permits to pollute led to a collapse in the price of carbon from €33 to just €0.20 per tonne meaning the system did not reduce emissions at all.

73) The EU trading scheme, to manage carbon emissions has completely failed and actually allows European businesses to duck out of making their emissions reductions at home by offsetting, which means paying for cuts to be made overseas instead.

74) To date “cap and trade” carbon markets have done almost nothing to reduce emissions.

75) In the United States , the cap-and-trade is an approach designed to control carbon emissions and will impose huge costs upon American citizens via a carbon tax on all goods and services produced in the United States. The average family of four can expect to pay an additional $1700, or £1,043, more each year. It is predicted that the United States will lose more than 2 million jobs as the result of cap-and-trade schemes.

76) Dr Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, has indicated that out of the 21 climate models tracked by the IPCC the differences in warming exhibited by those models is mostly the result of different strengths of positive cloud feedback – and that increasing CO2 is insufficient to explain global-average warming in the last 50 to 100 years.

77) Why should politicians devote our scarce resources in a globally competitive world to a false and ill-defined problem, while ignoring the real problems the entire planet faces, such as: poverty, hunger, disease or terrorism.

78) A proper analysis of ice core records from the past 650,000 years demonstrates that temperature increases have come before, and not resulted from, increases in CO2 by hundreds of years.

79) Since the cause of global warming is mostly natural, then there is in actual fact very little we can do about it. (We are still not able to control the sun).

80) A substantial number of the panel of 2,500 climate scientists on the United Nation’s International Panel on Climate Change, which created a statement on scientific unanimity on climate change and man-made global warming, were found to have serious concerns.

81) The UK’s Met Office has been forced this year to re-examine 160 years of temperature data after admitting that public confidence in the science on man-made global warming has been shattered by revelations about the data.

82) Politicians and activists push for renewable energy sources such as wind turbines under the rhetoric of climate change, but it is essentially about money – under the system of Renewable Obligations. Much of the money is paid for by consumers in electricity bills. It amounts to £1 billion a year.

83) The “Climate-gate” scandal revealed that a scientific team had tampered with their own data so as to conceal inconsistencies and errors.

84) The “Climate-gate” scandal revealed that a scientific team had campaigned for the removal of a learned journal’s editor, solely because he did not share their willingness to debase science for political purposes.

85) Ice-core data clearly show that temperatures change centuries before concentrations of atmospheric CO2 change. Thus, there appears to be little evidence for insisting that changes in concentrations of CO2 are the cause of past temperature and climate change.

86) There are no experimentally verified processes explaining how CO2 concentrations can fall in a few centuries without falling temperatures – in fact it is changing temperatures which cause changes in CO2 concentrations, which is consistent with experiments that show CO2 is the atmospheric gas most readily absorbed by water.

87) The Government’s Renewable Energy Strategy contains a massive increase in electricity generation by wind power costing around £4 billion a year over the next twenty years. The benefits will be only £4 to £5 billion overall (not per annum). So costs will outnumber benefits by a range of between eleven and seventeen times.

88) Whilst CO2 levels have indeed changed for various reasons, human and otherwise, just as they have throughout history, the CO2 content of the atmosphere has increased since the beginning of the industrial revolution, and the growth rate has now been constant for the past 25 years.

89) It is a myth that CO2 is a pollutant, because nitrogen forms 80% of our atmosphere and human beings could not live in 100% nitrogen either: CO2 is no more a pollutant than nitrogen is and CO2 is essential to life.

90) Politicians and climate activists make claims to rising sea levels but certain members in the IPCC chose an area to measure in Hong Kong that is subsiding. They used the record reading of 2.3 mm per year rise of sea level.

91) The accepted global average temperature statistics used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change show that no ground-based warming has occurred since 1998.

92) If one factors in non-greenhouse influences such as El Nino events and large volcanic eruptions, lower atmosphere satellite-based temperature measurements show little, if any, global warming since 1979, a period over which atmospheric CO2 has increased by 55 ppm (17 per cent).

93) US President Barack Obama pledged to cut emissions by 2050 to equal those of 1910 when there were 92 million Americans. In 2050, there will be 420 million Americans, so Obama’s promise means that emissions per head will be approximately what they were in 1875. It simply will not happen.

94) The European Union has already agreed to cut emissions by 20 percent to 2020, compared with 1990 levels, and is willing to increase the target to 30 percent. However, these are unachievable and the EU has already massively failed with its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), as EU emissions actually rose by 0.8 percent from 2005 to 2006 and are known to be well above the Kyoto goal.

95) Australia has stated it wants to slash greenhouse emissions by up to 25 percent below 2000 levels by 2020, but the pledges were so unpopular that the country’s Senate has voted against the carbon trading Bill, and the Opposition’s Party leader has now been ousted by a climate change sceptic.

96) Canada plans to reduce emissions by 20 percent compared with 2006 levels by 2020, representing approximately a 3 percent cut from 1990 levels but it simultaneously defends its Alberta tar sands emissions and its record as one of the world’s highest per-capita emissions setters.

97) India plans to reduce the ratio of emissions to production by 20-25 percent compared with 2005 levels by 2020, but all Government officials insist that since India has to grow for its development and poverty alleviation, it has to emit, because the economy is driven by carbon.

98) The Leipzig Declaration in 1996, was signed by 110 scientists who said: “We – along with many of our fellow citizens – are apprehensive about the climate treaty conference scheduled for Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997” and “based on all the evidence available to us, we cannot subscribe to the politically inspired world view that envisages climate catastrophes and calls for hasty actions.”

99) A US Oregon Petition Project stated “We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind. There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of CO2, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.”

100) A report by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change concluded “We find no support for the IPCC’s claim that climate observations during the twentieth century are either unprecedented or provide evidence of an anthropogenic effect on climate.”

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Posted by Richard
a resident of another community
on Dec 15, 2009 at 7:17 pm

I stopped reading after the first few because they all seem to miss the point or are nonsensical. Let's start with number 1 and skip all the rest. Even if we accept that there is no "real scientific proof" (i.e. proof that meets this group's standards) that the current warming is caused by man-made greenhouse gases, that is not "a reason why climate change is natural". To say so demonstrates a complete failure of logic. Lack of proof for one hypothesis is not proof of its opposite, it just means you haven't proved it yet. There is a old adage that says something like "Failure to prove is not proof of failure". If today's evidence is not convincing enough, there might be more definitive evidence tomorrow.

Having seen this failure of logic in item number 1, I am not going to waste my time dealing with the other 99.

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Posted by Re-Posted For Your Reading Pleasure
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 15, 2009 at 8:39 pm

From "Mercury Rising" as posted under a thread on the PA Weekly Forum:

It's a huge hoax. It has faked centuries of climate records, even duplicating papers and inks that have not been used for many years, while thoroughly rooting out all contradictory data except for that heroically turned up by dogged internet bloggers, who have also found Obama's real birth certificates for all the countries he was born in. It controls the sun and the sea level. It is made up of untold thousands of scientists in collusion with a cabal of environmentalists, politicians, liberals, and Al Gore. It has subverted all of the progressive governments on the planet. It is far bigger than even the Priory of Zion.

This hoax operated totally undetected until adroitly exposed in numerous obscure bloggers who brought it to the attention of the Republican party and a hitherto unsuspecting energy industry, which instantly realized its threat and initiated a heroic counterattack.

The purpose and benefits to its perpetrators of this elaborate, extremely expensive hoax remain unknown. Its intent can only be surmised, but its level of secrecy, coordination, and apparently infinite resources can only indicate a dark sinister purpose. Even the most hardened bloggers cannot agree what that might be. Mankind has never faced a subversion of this magnitude.

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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Dec 15, 2009 at 9:27 pm

Although I do believe we are in a period of global warming, I don't consider myself an alarmist. I also suspect some human causation - likely more than I'd like to admit.

That said, it serves no purpose to publish (more likely, copy) a long listing of allegations that are highly suspect. Richard is right, just because you haven't proved human causation doesn't mean it's "natural"... although I suspect that is part of the cause as well.

As far as Re-Posted's posting, I can personally think of trillions of reasons for fraud - each reason being at least one dollar bill. There is a lot of money at stake here, and it is without dispute that some people, companies and countries stand to gain a lot of money from this crisis. That doesn't impugn the underlying science a bit, but you can't honestly represent that everyone's motives are pure.

As horrible as climate change may be (and I don't dispute it), the magnitude of the political problem cannot be underestimated either. The economies of rich countries are struggling and the poorer ones are clamoring for funds. Do you really think those despots in Third World countries are going to take those billions and trillions of dollars and build windmills and save their forests and not fund their personal armies and buy jumbo jets?

That's a bigger problem and one reason I'm skeptical of the Kyoto accords, carbon taxes and cap and trade. Many experts have said these expenditures will return about 20 cents for every dollar spent.

Instead, I think we should be investing in green energy sources, reducing emissions, increasing auto fuel efficiency and building nuclear power plants. Experts say these will return $11 for each dollar spent.

You decide.

And I think this blog may have run its course. Sounds like there's another scandal brewing in Atherton. Go figure.

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 16, 2009 at 11:08 am

Here's a thoughtful response from "Old Farmer" to a Paul Krugman editorial on the Climategate story:

? Climate change gives people a reason to implement left-wing policies. Leftists have always wanted to fight against corporations, capitalism and consumerism. Leftists have always wanted to take stuff away from the rich. Now they have an objective, scientific reason to do so, not merely an ideological one. Of course pro-market people like me are angry. I'm pretty sure that this is how politically correct liberals feel like when people talk about IQ studies. But we just have to ignore our feelings and accept the cold, hard facts. Climate change is happening, it is anthropogenic and it will have serious consequences if we do nothing about it. Yes, left-wing, anti-market, anti-rich policies would be bad and immoral IF there was no climate change. But the fact is that climate change IS happening, so the usual moral and economic pro-market arguments don't apply anymore. I believe that many other environmental problems can be solved by free markets, but not this one.?

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Posted by so what
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 17, 2009 at 8:01 am

We all need to focus on conserving scarce resources. Our community is infected with a bigger-is-better mentality, largely driven by "market forces" (didn't these also fuel the financial meltdown?). Thinking smaller and thinking long-term are the only ways for us to avoid the likely consequences of climate change regardless of what is causing it. We would be better off if status symbols change from consumption to conservation, from I-can-afford-it-so-I-will-do-it to none-of-us-should-use-resources-this-way.

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Posted by Not Fooled
a resident of another community
on Dec 17, 2009 at 10:46 am

Boo Hoo libs. Have fun worshiping at the alter of the climate cult with the boot of climate fascism planted firmly on your neck.

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 17, 2009 at 12:25 pm

Hank -
From what I can find about the European Foundation, it's a conservative political group basically opposed to such liberal institutions as the European Union. They should stick to politics since their knowledge of science, let alone that of global warming is so poor.
To take on just a couple of their fallacious statements:

You wrote:
"1) There is “no real scientific proof” that the current warming is caused by the rise of greenhouse gases from man’s activity."

Wrong. To quote from Wikipedia:
"National and international science academies and scientific societies have assessed the current scientific opinion, in particular on recent global warming. These assessments have largely followed or endorsed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) position of January 2001 that states:

An increasing body of observations gives a collective picture of a warming world and other changes in the climate system... There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.

Since 2007, no scientific body of national or international standing has maintained a dissenting opinion. Some organisations hold non-committal positions."

Hank, though I don't think you're really serious about exploring facts that disagree with your ideology, here's a link to all the statements from all of these scientific bodies stating their positions on Climate Change:
Web Link

You also wrote:

"11) Politicians and activiists [sp]claim rising sea levels are a direct cause of global warming but sea levels rates have been increasing steadily since the last ice age 10,000 ago"

Wrong. Just check out this graph of sea levels since the last Ice Age. It shows that after a long period of quickly rising sea levels as glaciers retreated, the rise slowed dramatically about 8,000 years ago and has been essentially flat for the past 2,000 years.

Web Link

For a more detailed graph of sea levels over the past 8,000 years check out this graph.

Web Link

By the way Hank, this info is available to anyone who has the least bit of curiosity about the facts, thanks to Wikipedia. My impression is you're not interested in facts when they don't support your ideology.

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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Dec 17, 2009 at 12:43 pm

If you want to see the greatest supporters of the Man made global warming theory just watch this U-Tube Video
Web Link

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 17, 2009 at 2:20 pm

Hank -

Not quite sure what your point is there. Are you suggesting that only socialists support doing something about Climate Change? That's clearly nuts. The crowds in Copenhagen come from all over and reflect all sorts of political viewpoints. They're all there to send the message that now is the time to do something meaningful about controlling greenhouse gas emissions. Everyone needs to be involved in fighting Climate Change - even socialists.

This really isn't a partisan issue Hank, much as you'd like to frame it that way. Global warming will affect us all. Capitalists and socialist, democrats and republicans, rich and poor - we all stand to suffer from a changed climate. Especially our children and our children's children will suffer if we don't act soon and if we don't act decisively.

I'm not sure why you want to turn it into a us versus them battle. The enemy here is the greenhouse gasses. Those are what need to be controlled.

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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Dec 17, 2009 at 3:36 pm

Too bad the earth has been cooling for the last 10 years. Too bad that Mount Pinatubo, Mt. Aetna, Mt. Erebus, and the other active volcanoes put out more pollutants than all of mankind.

This same crowd of alarmists were ranting about global cooling in the seventies. It just fascist liberals who want to exert more control over our lives and have us taxpayers pay them for the pleasure of doing so.

Yes we have cycles of global warming and cooling. But no one can say how much is anthropogenic. It is nothing by guess work.

We do need to conserve to protect our air quality and national security. We can't afford to give hundreds of billions of dollars to Arab nations who want to destroy us. That is like a gun shop owner selling bullets to a man armed with a weapon who wants to rob the store and kill the owner in the process.

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 17, 2009 at 4:52 pm

Hank -
I don't know where you get your evidence that the earth has been cooling for the past 10 years. Neither do you apparently or you would have posted it.
For the 3rd time in this blog I am posting a graph of average annual global temperatures since 1880, as compiled by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Three other worldwide data sets, collected independently by other research institutes, show essentially the same thing.
Web Link
The bottom line is that the annual temperature may go up or down year-to-year but the long-term average is clearly upward. The last year on this plot is 2008. I've heard that 2009 was the hottest year on record, so the upward trend apparently still continues.

Temperature readings are facts Hank. It's easy to rant and call scientists fascist liberals but that's just an excuse for you not to have to deal with the facts.
By the way, didn't you write the following earlier in the blog:
"This is typical of the far left. When faced with facts rather than attempting to counter with an intelligent argument they go on one of their left wing rants attacking Fox News and Rush Limabaugh- as if their tired hackneyed attacks somehow repudiates the facts." Sounds like you're using right wing rants to dismiss "the facts".

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 17, 2009 at 4:59 pm

Hank -

One more thing. You're right to consider that solar activity and volcanoes affect global temperatures. It's just that they've been overwhelmed over the past 50 years by the increasing amounts of greenhouse gasses generated by human activities. Wikipedia once again summarizes it all in two sentences:

"The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that most of the observed temperature increase since the middle of the 20th century was caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases resulting from human activity such as fossil fuel burning and deforestation. The IPCC also concludes that variations in natural phenomena such as solar radiation and volcanism produced most of the warming from pre-industrial times to 1950 and had a small cooling effect afterward."

We also seem to agree on the need for our country to reduce its dependence on energy imports from other countries, though perhaps not for the same reasons. I presume you'd also support the construction of more nuclear plants to make up the loss of oil & coal fired power plants.

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Posted by Steven Heyward
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 19, 2009 at 7:09 am

Post removed; unoriginal material]

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Posted by Pat B
a resident of another community
on Dec 20, 2009 at 12:15 pm

[Post removed; unoriginal material]

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Posted by Richard
a resident of another community
on Dec 21, 2009 at 8:08 am

To go back to the original letter from the physicists to the APS, one of the authors (Austin) of the letter actually voted against adopting that message when it came up to a vote recently at an APS meeting. He said that his name never should have been on the letter in the first place because he didn't really have anything to do with it. Beware of items like this and the supposed support they receive from respected scientists. This is not the first case in which the names of scientists have been attached to statements that they don't actually support.

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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Dec 21, 2009 at 11:58 am

It seems to me that both sides have their fair share of bad information floating around.

For those that believe in climate change (and I'm one of them), the recent disclosures don't help. We can deny it and explain it all we want, but when key scientists make statements like those that were revealed in recent emails, they are troubling. And they should be troubling to those of us who support that thesis also. This is supposed to be science and suppressing dissent and fudging data is simply not allowed. Professors expel students who do that and I expect more of these elite scientists. They have done a lot of harm to their cause.

Regarding anthropogenic climate change, the evidence is certainly less clear. Those that believe man is the greatest cause will not be deterred by those that cite cyclical and other non-human causes. Unfortunately, these theories only show correlation, not causation - at least not definitively. No rebuttal is required.

The one thing that is clear, is that poorer countries see climate change as a great way of extracting money from richer countries. I still find it hard to believe that third world dictators are going to take these billions - purportedly to stop clearing their forests - and not going to use them for a new palace. Sorry, I just don't buy it.

I know I sound like a broken record, but I'd rather invest my money in developing cleaner and more efficient energy sources, which include building lots and lots of nuclear power plants - which are incredibly clean and about 10x more efficient than other sources. Arbitrarily sending money to these nations may make you feel better (like buying those green "credits" when you take an airplane trip), but it isn't the answer.

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Posted by Ethan
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Dec 21, 2009 at 1:19 pm

Aren't we missing the overall point just a bit?

World Population Growth (U.N.)
1750 791 million
1850 1.26 billion
1950 2.52 billion
2000 6.06 billion
Now 6.8 billion
2050 11 billion (worst-case scenario)

Current growth rate: @80 million a year.

Care to argue with those figures--or their environmental implications?

"We're all born mad. Some remain so."
--Samuel Beckett

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 21, 2009 at 4:46 pm

Ethan -
Seems like your population statistics underscore the need to move the world's increasing population to non-carbon-based energy sources ASAP. Otherwise small reductions in greenhouse gasses will be offset by increased numbers of people still relying on coal/gas/wood/etc.

Pogo -

We agree that more nuclear plants are needed to get us off our addiction to coal & oil while we build up our solar & wind technology and infrastructure. So what do you think of Obama's decision to abandon Yucca Mountain, NV as the national nuclear waste repository?
It seems to me that this decision was based totally on politics (keep Harry Reid happy and get him re-elected) while ignoring the ramifications that this decision will have on restarting our nuclear power industry. As was pointed out in an earlier post, without a place to store our nuclear waste, California law prohibits construction of any new plants. Can we really cut back on coal/oil in any meaningful way without having additional nuclear power, if only to fill in the gaps when the wind isn't blowing and the sun isn't shining?
Not to mention the threat to national security posed by the 62 "temporary" above-ground waste storage facilities scattered across the country.

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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Dec 21, 2009 at 9:34 pm


Well, like I've said before, this is all politics. Much more than anyone would care to admit. Shameful.

I'm incredibly disappointed about the Yucca Mountain decision. It's a travesty and not the kind of change Obama promised or that I can believe in.

Nuclear power is truly the low hanging fruit in this game. Unlike solar, tidal or geothermal power, it's well known and well characterized and produces LOTS of power. It's safe, clean and efficient. One nuclear plant can power a medium sized city - rain or shine - while producing a small warm area along a beach and some water vapor. Obama's decision just shows that nothing is going to get done for quite a while. Let's just keep burning that coal!

My proposal is that we copy the French model. The government (probably via panel of experts) should decide on a single plant design and stipulate that it is safe and acceptable to all regulatory agencies. This means we will have a single design and it will be copied and placed anywhere. The only thing a contractor will have to do is bid on that specification. Not only will the facility be standardized, any worker or inspector will be fluent in every other plant. It's efficient and will bring the cost down.

A few nuclear plants will have a huge impact on oil imports and the price should drop. With regard to oil, just a few percentage point differential in supply and demand results in pretty steep price changes. In this case, that should help us.

In the meantime, we should definitely pursue greener energy sources. I'm not sure wind will ever be a big energy source, solar, though expensive, does have the ability to provide power to small facilities like private homes.

Let us know what you learn at the conference...

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Posted by focus on the problems
a resident of another community
on Dec 22, 2009 at 9:07 am

The main problem is population growth beyond what the planet can sustain. On top of that is a value system of I Want What I Want rather than Conserve, Simplify, and Preserve. So much of this thread is arguing about whether the climate is changing, causes of climate change, and how to satisfy the insatiable demands of our all too acquisitive and prolific species.

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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Dec 22, 2009 at 10:00 am


Yes, climate change is the subject of this blog, hence the title "ClimateGate" in the original post.

Perhaps you missed that. Perhaps you should focus.

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Posted by Tired of the Right
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 22, 2009 at 12:35 pm

So... after decades of Rush and others pushing their agendas, we have to stop pointing out that they lie? All the science that was altered by the last Bush administration didn't seem to bother the Right Wing at all. They are happy to let corporations do as they will. Those corporations determine what Rush and others say. (That's not to say the Left wing doesn't hold the same sway, but usually the rest of the media is more concerned with making money then holding to the right or the left despite being called "leftist" all the time.)

I love how "--gate" was applied to this and other issues. Seems the right never got Watergate and Iran-Contragate.... they really want to water down the term or manage to make just one of their attempts stick.

Now... lets get back to the real news of Tigergate. We were asked to look at the "CREDENTIALS" of those signing this letter. That was the intent of the post. Those credentials were found wanting. Their opinion is not based on science. If the right has some actual science, please present it. Rush went on and on years ago about there being more solar radiation....... but there hasn't been more..... so scientifically what's their answer? Science would be HAPPY to accept another hypothesis or evidence that disproves the theory. Enough "political science" of the Rovian school. Yes, I went there, another proven LIAR!

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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Dec 22, 2009 at 2:17 pm

Once again, let's not argue facts or theories. Let's revert to name calling and demagogy.

You should review the posts. The only people invoking the name of Rush Limbaugh are those on the left...

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Posted by Tired of the Wrong
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 22, 2009 at 2:24 pm

The left tries to obfuscate the issues by dragging out the Rush Limbaugh piñata for another beating. As if doing so absolves the left of all its mendacity.

In April 1992, as the alarm over the Earth’s end times began, scientists worldwide issued what was called the Heidelberg Appeal, aimed at just the kind of hysteria we are witnessing now in Copenhagen.

“We are … worried … at the emergence of an irrational ideology which is opposed to scientific and industrial progress and impedes economic and social development,” said the scientists.

“We contend that a Natural State, sometimes idealized by movements with a tendency to look towards the past, does not exist and has probably never existed since man’s first appearance in the biosphere. … Humanity has always progressed by increasingly harnessing Nature to its needs and not the reverse.

“We do, however, forewarn the authorities in charge of our planet’s destiny against decisions which are supported by pseudo-scientific arguments or false and non-relevant data.”

Since 1992, 4,000 scientists and 72 Nobel Prize winners have signed on. Again, it needs be said: Global warming is cyclical, and has been stagnant for a decade. There is no conclusive proof it is manmade, no conclusive proof it is harmful to the planet.

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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Dec 22, 2009 at 4:10 pm

And just to add another consideration, what makes anyone think that today's temperatures are the ideal that must be preserved at all costs?

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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Dec 22, 2009 at 4:15 pm

From today's San Francisco Chronicle.

Link: Web Link

Nicely said, Debra.

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 22, 2009 at 10:58 pm

Tired of the Wrong -
You state that "Global warming is cyclical, and has been stagnant for a decade. There is no conclusive proof it is manmade, no conclusive proof it is harmful to the planet."
I can understand how you might think this since the report of U.S. Global Change Research Program just came out last summer. However, when you do get around to reading it, you'll see that the science is pretty convincing. To quote from their Executive Summary: "Observations show that warming of the climate is unequivocal. The global warming observed over the past 50 years is due primarily to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases. These emissions come mainly from the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas), with important contributions from the clearing of forests, agricultural practices, and other activities."
As for whether effects of Climate Change are harmful to the planet, I guess it depends on what you consider harmful. I'm sure the planet would continue to spin even if mankind were to be wiped out by global warming. Call me self-centered but I would judge such effects harmful.
The above report also mentions effects that have already been observed in our country that I would consider threatening, if not harmful. But you judge:
"Climate-related changes have already been observed globally and in the United States. These include increases in air and water temperatures,reduced frost days, increased frequency and intensity of heavy downpours, a rise in sea level, and reduced snow cover, glaciers, permafrost, and sea ice. A longer ice-free period on lakes and rivers, lengthening of the growing season, and increased water vapor in the atmosphere have also been observed. Over the past 30 years, temperatures have risen faster in winter than in any other season, with average winter temperatures in the Midwest and northern Great Plains increasing more than 7°F. Some of the changes have been faster than previous assessments had suggested."
As for temperatures being stagnant for a decade, I would suggest your time frame is too short. Take a look at the 5-year average rather than year-to-year variation and then convince me that temperatures are plateauing. Check out the average world temp graph since 1880 at Web Link.

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 23, 2009 at 10:59 am

Pogo -
You ask: "what makes anyone think that today's temperatures are the ideal that must be preserved at all costs?"

The purpose of trying to stop global warming is not because we happen to like today's temperatures, it's because warming will produce a innumerable changes to our world, many of which will be detrimental to many environments and to many species, including our own.
Simply put, projections indicate that this planet will be a lot less hospitable for most current inhabitants. Quoting again from Wikipedia:
"An increase in global temperature will cause sea levels to rise and will change the amount and pattern of precipitation, probably including expansion of subtropical deserts. It will likely cause the continuing retreat of glaciers, permafrost and sea ice, and warming will be strongest in the Arctic. Other likely effects include increases in the intensity of extreme weather events, species extinctions, and changes in agricultural yields."
"Additional anticipated effects include:
1)sea level rise of 0.6 to 1.9 ft) in 2090–2100
2)new trade routes resulting from arctic shrinkage
3)reductions in the ozone layer
4)changes in agriculture yields
5)ocean oxygen depletion
6)Increased atmospheric CO2 results in ocean acidification. Since organisms and ecosystems are adapted to a narrow range of pH, this raises extinction concerns and disruptions in food webs
7)One study predicts 18% to 35% of a sample of 1,103 animal and plant species would be extinct by 2050

Pogo - You and I will not be here to see most of these changes. It will be a horrible legacy to leave to future generations. Especially when the solution, though initially expensive, will free us from dependence on foreign oil and reduce our overall energy costs as nuclear, wind, and solar come on-line.

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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Dec 24, 2009 at 9:59 am

Thanks, Steve. My point was philosophical.

It's not earth we're trying to save, it's people. I'm guess that earth will do just fine with or without us.

Humans been here for a few hundred thousand years - during which time it has been intermittently extremely hot or cold (and I'm not talking about mean earth temperatures). Humans have shown an incredible ability to survive - even thrive - independently in relatively hot climates as well as extremely cold ones.

My question was academic, of course. My point is that species become extinct everyday. One species' disaster is another's holiday. Polar bears don't like global warming but I'll bet alligators probably love it.

That said, I definitely agree with your last sentence and I wish we would just get on with it. There are a lot of good solutions at hand.

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Posted by Dorothy
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Nov 1, 2012 at 10:21 am

"And just to add another consideration, what makes anyone think that today's temperatures are the ideal that must be preserved at all costs?"

How has Sandy affected the economy that deniers were so worried about preserving?

Having a Storm of the Century every other year is starting to get expensive.

Saunders a couple years ago: "As the Times of London reported last week, Gore told a Copenhagen audience, that according to a Dr. Wieslaw Maslowski, "there is a 75 percent chance that the entire north polar ice cap, during the summer months, could be completely ice-free within five to seven years." Read more: Web Link "

Scientific American this year: "On Sunday, September 16, the sun did not rise above the horizon in the Arctic. Nevertheless enough of the sun's heat had poured over the North Pole during the summer months to cause the largest loss of Arctic sea ice cover since satellite records began in the 1970s."

"It just fascist liberals who want to exert more control over our lives and have us taxpayers pay them for the pleasure of doing so."

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Posted by Barney
a resident of Atherton: other
on Dec 19, 2013 at 9:05 pm

Lots of nuclear talk from he posters above; am interested if they have changed their thoughts since Fukishima and the tragedy in Japan.

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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Dec 21, 2013 at 8:02 am

Japan installed the Fukishima nuclear reactors in the 1970s using a design from the sixties. Since that time the nuclear power industry has made great strides in improving safety.

The six Fukushima nuclear reactors were boiling water reactors. This means that the water used to cool the reactors is the same water that runs the turbines. That design is now considered archaic and below requisite safety standards.

GE (no I don't work for the company)has made numerous safety improvements since the seventies but the Government of Japan chose not to invest in the safer technology. It is unfortunate that nuclear power is getting such a bad reputation from outdated technology.

GE in a joint venture with Hitachi have invented a state of the art nuclear reactor called PRISM, using the Advanced Recycling Center (ARC). ARC burns most of the nuclear waste and has no CO2 emissions. The bi-products of nuclear fission are:

Transuranics(long lived isotopes)(1%), and
Fission Products (short lives isotopes (4%)

PRISM recycles the Uranium and the Transuranics as fuel for nuclear power generation leaving only the short lived isotopes for disposal.

Please refer to these two web links:

Web Link


Web Link

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Posted by trust us THIS time
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 21, 2013 at 6:13 pm

So we were supposed to trust nukes before, nah, nothing to see here!

Now Hank tells us to trust the new miracle designs.

Trust us - really!

Ignore the 50 US Navy that got cancers from TEC.

Yeah, sure.

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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Dec 22, 2013 at 8:54 am

It is unfortunate that the previous poster chose to misrepresent the situation. The sailors on the USS Ronald Reagan were engaged in Fukishima relief efforts and got radiation poisoning. Perhaps if the Obama Administration had been more careful in the relief efforts this could have been avoided.

To mislead the readers with the false equivalency of the Fukushima reactors and the PRISM ARC reactors is like saying since the 1963 Corvair was unsafe you should not be driving a 2013 Tesla automobile.

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Posted by Barney
a resident of Atherton: other
on Dec 22, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Hank: the previous poster was comparing your alleged historical support of the industry and it's old designs with your now telling us (with I'm sure the same language) that all will be fine (even though you were claiming the same with the old designs.)

Blaming Obama for the tactical decisions of our military leaders? Why do you hate our military so much?

Fun reading your posts above. So quaint - the old talking points! Czars? Haven't seen that one since it was dispelled in 2009.

The socialism ones are hilarious! The Dow was at about 8K when Bush left, where is it today since capitalism was destroyed by Obama? Near zero?

Oh, by the way, are you on Medicare? And SOCIAL Security?

(from Hank in 2009: "That, my friends, is called hypocrisy.")

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Posted by Nuclear Energy is a Sensible Choice
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Dec 22, 2013 at 2:33 pm

The current nuclear reactor designs are safe and more importantly consume almost all the nuclear fuel with the exception of radioisotopes with a short half life.

All of NASA's deep space satellites, without exception, that go beyond Mars have nuclear reactors on board. Nuclear reactors are launched into space by NASA.

Renewable energy is nice but it won't get us there. If you want to get off of fossil fuels then nuclear energy is the most realistic way of doing that.

Meanwhile solar energy does not get close to that and wind energy is killing too many bald eagles. Ask the Audubon Society. Besides Ted Kennedy did not wind energy either because it obstructed his views at Martha's Vineyard.

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Posted by tea party
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Hills
on Dec 22, 2013 at 7:29 pm

"Nuclear Energy is a Sensible Choice"

On what planet??? Nukes are extremely expensive and take a huge assist from big government to make happen. Once built, it takes a lot of government intrusion to shutter a plant and store the waste.

It's absurd to have the government in this industry, or any industry as much as this. We need free market solutions, not big government, and nukes are not feasible without the big handouts from the government - look at the insurance side of it - no one wants to insure a nuke plant, so the government steps in and does it. That alone tells me this is an industry that can't survive without government. They can't afford to take off the training wheels of big government subsidies.

Nukes are ridiculous.

re - All of NASA's deep space satellites, - have nuclear reactors on board.

Big whoop-de-do. And how many humans on board? Who cares if it leaks a little when it's 35 million miles away from the nearest human. No relation to the reality of the safety of human life on Earth.

Silliest. Debate. Point. Ever.

re - "solar energy does not get close"

Hah. Ever heard of Germany?

"German solar power plants produced a world record 22 gigawatts of electricity – equal to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity – through the midday hours of Friday and Saturday, the head of a renewable energy think tank has said ... Norbert Allnoch, director of the Institute of the Renewable Energy Industry in Muenster, said the 22 gigawatts of solar power fed into the national grid on Saturday met nearly 50% of the nation's midday electricity needs."

And that was a year and a half ago. They want it, so they're making it work. Halfway there, and you know Germany, they'll do it. Web Link

And we'll be left with our fuel rod in our hand, ordering another tanker of oil from the House of Saud.

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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Dec 22, 2013 at 8:53 pm

Germany imports coal from the United States which it uses to generate electricity from coal powered electrical plants, then exports the electricity to France because France does not have enough nuclear plants and also to other countries. Germany is primarily an exporter of electricity but is sometimes an importer as well.

Germany is increasingly providing coal and nuclear power to neighboring countries to the tune of 30 Terawatt hours. So 22 Gigawatt hours from solar panels is less than one tenth of one percent of the energy Germany is exporting from coal and nuclear.


Nuclear generated electrical power is cleaner than coal generated electrical power. Solar power is still just a drop in the bucket.

Web Link

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Posted by Einigkeit Recht Freiheit
a resident of another community
on Dec 22, 2013 at 9:34 pm

Germany was downwind from Chernobyl, and a hotbed for cancers. Thus their politics and energy policy strongly support the phasing out of nuclear plants and fossil fuels, to renewables. Germany isn't just talking about it, they are doing it. They also have a huge economy, so they have not turned off the coal plants yet.

For Mr Lawrence to grab selected some data posted on a site called world-nuclear . org, for the World Nuclear Association, smacks of selective use of facts.

A more evenhanded assessment: Germany's energy policy, "Energiewende", (energy turnaround,) includes phasing out nuclear power, and progressive replacement of fossil fuels by efficient renewables.

Germany has a thriving capitalist economy, the fifth largest on the planet, and is showing the world how to profitably shift out of dangerous polluting energy production to safe, clean sources.

Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit (Unity and Justice and Freedom)

Damn socialists.

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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Dec 23, 2013 at 1:09 pm

There is a huge difference between political posturing and reality. Politicians love to promote lofty goals while continuing to continue the status quo. Germany still generates over half its energy from coal. It is one of the largest polluters in the world. And that is not going to change anytime soon.

You see the brilliant genius Angela Merkel decided to shut down nuclear power plants and has replaced them with coal firing plants and CO2 emissions have skyrocketed through the roof.

From the Bloomberg report. "Coal is the most polluting fossil fuel and is blamed by scientists for contributing to global warming."

Even Greenpeace, the darling of many Menlo Park liberals is criticizing Merkel. "'The increase of coal is disastrous for climate policy and a bad signal for progress of Germany’s energy switch,' said Gerald Neubauer, a campaigner for Greenpeace, which demonstrated against lignite strip-mining at three locations in Berlin and in neighboring Brandenburg on July 26. 'The Merkel government doesn’t do enough to protect the climate anymore.'”

For more on how Germany is increasing carbon emissions by reducing nuclear power please refer to this web link

Web Link

Angela should be saying "Ich Bin Ein Schmuck"

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Posted by Human caused climate change by Hank
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Dec 23, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Interesting. Germany is rapidly shifting a first world economy to renewables (as evidenced by it's solar power gains, far more than the US, and a far worse climate for solar than the sunny US,) yet all Hank can moan about is they are still using coal during the transition.

Hank continues with his usual name-calling, but at least he is coming around to admitting that humans are responsible for climate change with CO2. "Coal is the most polluting fossil fuel and is blamed by scientists for contributing to global warming."

It's a start.

Think that, after Germany successly transitions in a couple decades, that only then Hank will say " we should do that!"???

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Posted by Germany is a Poor Example of a Sound Energy Policy
a resident of another community
on Dec 24, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Germany is a disgrace by swapping cleaner nuclear energy for dirtier coal burning power plants.

How can anyone defend that. While nuclear is not the most desirable form of energy it is far better than coal burning power plants. This is one time where Hank is right.

Germany is a huge polluter and when compared to the United States and produces more far CO2 emissions per GWH than does the United States.

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Posted by Germany ios a great example
a resident of another community
on Dec 24, 2013 at 5:54 pm

"How can anyone defend that."

Question or statement? We;;, if it's a question - the Germans can. After the radiation from Chernobyl rained upon their heads and crops, they decided to go green. Coal is a stepping stone to that, see the links above for their progress in getting out of expensive, unsafe nukes.

from above: "German solar power plants produced a world record 22 gigawatts of electricity – equal to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity"

That's a lot of nukes they didn't have to build, maintain and protect, then the ridiculous costs to decommission.

Mr Lawrence and his alter ego(s) will not be convinced for another 20 years. Just like it took 20 years for him to under stand that coal is bad, and man is the primary force behind climate change.

Give him time.

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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Dec 26, 2013 at 10:19 am

Greenpeace commissioned a study on Coal burning power plants in Europe with Stuttgart University. The bottom line is that coal is a disaster. In Europe Poland is the worst offender followed by Germany. According to the study in Germany 33,400 years of life have been lost from coal pollution.

Web Link

Until renewable energy sources can generate enough electricity, nuclear power is the cleanest source of sufficient energy that can be employed to fill the gap.

I sincerely hope that one day the world will be able to produce energy without fossil fuels and nuclear energy; but in the meantime (25 to 50 years optimistically) nuclear energy is our best bet.

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Posted by greenpeace on earth
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Dec 26, 2013 at 3:19 pm

Cool. Hank now cites Greenpeace for it's expertise. Why, you dirty little liberal, you!

Now, can he acknowledge Germany and it's economic prowess in leading the way to renewables? A year ago, they were able to generate the equivalent of 22 nuke plants.

Pretty awesome.

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Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Dec 26, 2013 at 5:46 pm

The point of citing Greenpeace is that even the most leftist of environmental organizations is excoriating the Merkel Government for its inept energy policy.

Forbes is even more scathing. Last year a former German environmental minister told the New York Times “After deciding to exit nuclear energy, it seems as if Ms. Merkel’s coalition stopped its work...There is great danger that this project will fail, with devastating economic and social consequences.”

From Forbes: "Merkel’s energy plan called for the addition of 25,000 megawatts of sea-based wind turbine power by 2030. However through the first six months of 2012 only 45 megawatts had been added to Germany’s existing 200-megawatt supply, according to an industry analyst quoted by Reuters."

In short, Merkel's energy policy is nothing short of being an ignominious fiasco.

Web Link

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Posted by the wind upstairs
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 26, 2017 at 3:45 pm

Hank: "Merkel’s energy plan called for the addition of 25,000 megawatts of sea-based wind turbine power by 2030.... Merkel's energy policy is nothing short of being an ignominious fiasco."

Not so:

"In 2015, the installed capacity of wind power in Germany was 44,470 megawatts" & "During 2015 offshore windpower was tripled to over 3 gigawatts capacity, signalling the growing importance of this sector."

From 45 megawatts to more than 3,000 megawatts in a couple years. Not so ignominious.

On to other points: "Obama Socialism" Really? "climate change is natural and not man-made" Wow.

In the short time since Hank Lawrence made these absurd claims, we've gone from 385 to over 405 parts carbon. The last couple years - the hottest on record.

Deniers and Oil Stooges never have to face scrutiny for their errors and lies, they just fade away. Who faces the problem? Their kids and grandkids.

2 people like this
Posted by The Skeptics were SOOOO wrong back in 2009
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Jun 1, 2017 at 1:31 pm

Skeptics, 2009:

"Perhaps this is because since 2001, temperatures have actually cooled a bit.
No matter. Don't let the facts get in the way of a movement that seems to be more religion than science."

Facts? Time has not been kind to your 'facts'.

"And will it surprise anyone if, a decade or so from now, these same scientists are calling for urgent measures to stop "global cooling?" In fact, this reversal has already taken place in many quarters."


"It's interesting that climate change skeptics (which includes me)"



NASA: "Sixteen of the 17 warmest years in the 136-year record all have occurred since 2001, with the exception of 1998. The year 2016 ranks as the warmest on record. (Source: NASA/GISS)."

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights

on Jun 2, 2017 at 12:28 pm

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