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The Climate Change Thread

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Scotty, Mar 21, 2011.

  1. Scotty David Codey (61)

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    I have found it difficult to straight out accept the IPCC conclusions for various reasons (although I do accept that these reasons do not necessarily make their conclusions incorrect):

    1. Evidence of some scientists fiddling the data.

    2. The sheer number of scientists that don't seem to agree with the conclusions (if it was set in stone, then why is there so many 'skeptics').

    3. Politicians being involved. The process has been politicised, and a lot of politicians seem to be using climate change as an excuse to forward agendas. We have gone from global warming to climate change (so that politicians could start explaining why things like Britain's recent cold winter occurred). We are all talking about 'carbon' when we should really be talking about 'carbon dioxide', something that is crucial to life on this earth. We even hear politicians refer to it as 'carbon pollution' - you and I both know that carbon dioxide isn't a pollutant like carbon monoxide.

    4. Exaggeration of the affects of climate change by some 'respected' scientists (Tim Flannery has made ridiculous predictions, none of which have come true and he is meant to be one our top experts).

    5. Self interest. Climate scientists have a self interest to progress climate change theory. Skeptical scientists don't have this same conflict of interest in most cases.

    6. Hypocritical behaviour. This is mostly politicians - if you truly believe in something, then you live every bit of your life (or as much as possible) in line with that belief (just like you and Scarfy with no tvs in the house). People like Kevin Rudd travel to climate summits with 20 odd staff in tow, and end up emitting more C02 than my whole family will do for a decade.

    Worse still are guys like Al Gore, sitting in their ivory towers that pump out about 10 families worth of carbon dioxide per year, and then jump on planes twice a week. It is very hard to believe what someone is saying when they aren't themselves living by that mantra.

    Ross Garnaut is probably our highest ranking political consultant on the policy response to climate change, yet he was chairperson of a mining company that could be considered to be environmental terrorists by dumping heavy metals into the sea of PNG.



    It is so difficult for me to ignore a lot of these issues, and blindly follow what some scientists and politicians are saying. And I don't prescribe to the theory of the end justifying the means.
  2. sevenpointdropgoal Larry Dwyer (12)

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    1. It's happened a few times. It happens in every field. But the key data has been consistently vindicated, even by scientists who have previously labeled themselves skeptics (see Muller for an example).

    2. In reviewing it's position on the issue in 2010, the American National Academy of Science commissioned a report to determine whether consensus existed, and so whether to finalise a position. In a survey of 1,300 randomly selected research scientists they recorded that 97% accepted that climate change was occurring and was human influenced. These kind of surveys have returned results of anything from 80%-99% in favor, for virtually every scientific professional agency in the world. That's a consensus. There is, however, a significant industry in pseudo scientific skeptics, and there are plenty of outlets for them to speak publicly, which makes them seem like they occupy a larger part of the scientific community than they actually do.

    3. Of course they are involved, the situation requires a political response.

    4. Outcome prediction and pattern modeling are two completely different things. You cannot use specific failures in outcome prediction to negate the modeling. There is also a tendency to emphasize the most serious possible outcomes, as, if they were realised, they would be catastrophically costly to our current way of life; the argument Flannery uses is that people should be aware that, depending on the progress of warming, these are real possibilities.

    It's also worth pointing out that while some predictions have been wrong, we are also seeing effects that no-one predicted. (A few examples below)

    *In three out of the past 5 years the Amazon Rainforest has actually released more carbon dioxide than it's absorbed, due to changing rainfall patterns.

    *Large parts of the remaining arctic sea ice now seem to be sitting on a large "lake" of unusually fresh melt water - rather than being absorbed slowly it now seems that it will all invert in one great big blob, with potentially serious consequences for the earth's thermohaline circulation (the engine for the global climate).

    *Desertification in China, Africa, and Central Asia is progressing faster than expected. It was thought a small rise in temperature might possibly increase the net moisture carrying capacity of the air and, with it, rainfall, but, for whatever reason, the opposite appears to be happening.

    5. Exactly the opposite. Major polluters have poured hundreds of millions, if not billions, into spurious scientific stalling. This might explain the prevalence of pseudo scientific skeptics.

    6. True. That's not an argument against it though. People in positions of power are always hypocrites.
  3. Scotty David Codey (61)

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    5. Do you have any evidence to suggest that these scientists that I have linked articles to have been paid by 'major polluters'. (I assume you mean major CO2 emitters?). Do you have any evidence to suggest that climate change scientist don't benefit from there being a climate change to talk about?
  4. sevenpointdropgoal Larry Dwyer (12)

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    I wasn't accusing anyone you've mentioned of anything, but Roy Spencer does, in fact, have such links. I noted and accepted his membership of two Koch funded climate denying think tanks in my response to your original post on him, and then treated only his science, which is positive in some respects, but been shown to have delivered incorrect findings (his original critique of the measurement system of IR satellite measurement of cloud forcing is correct, but his tests of the new system delivered results that could not be reproduced, and used a flawed method of statistical analysis). I even took the time to attempt to break down why David Evans is wrong, even though he isn't a researcher at all (nor, since the completion of his PhD, has he ever been), but rather an engineer and statistical programmer/adviser who was contracted to advise on systems for the Governments climate change analysis programs, and he now runs a science lecturing and research communication company that gets paid specifically to speak against the science of climate change.

    Widespread, targeted funding of anti-climate research with the specific aim of stalling policy action is occurring, and it is often difficult to assess who is the benefactors. In 2008 Exxon Mobil was forced by a powerful shareholding block to take climate change more seriously by cutting funding (similar to the tobacco industry's funding of pro tobacco scientific groups) to nine largely anti-climate change think tanks and research groups. Exxon's own financial records show that it provided between $700,000, and $7 million per year over five years to each of these nine groups alone. The Rockefeller family's trust holdings in Exxon (one of the original shareholders group that forced the funding change) has continued to complain that funding of other such groups is ongoing in Exxon (though, predictably, have declined to actually sell their stake), and that other major polluters were doing the same kind of thing, and that the technical and shadowy nature of these funding arrangements made it very difficult to assess where funding was ultimately directed. In 2007, on receiving reports of the ructions amongst Exxon shareholders concerned about funding arrangements, the then chairman of the US House of Representatives Oversight Committee on Science and Technology, Brad Miller, examined the situation and said that Exxon's support for skeptics "appears to be an effort to distort public discussion", and has subsequently noted that this was being pursued with a scientific upset campaign, as with big tobacco's fight against health based cigarette legislation.

    As for Climate Change research scientists, well, they certainly get funding for looking into climate change issues, but there are a number of rigorous systems in place to attempt to limit, or account for the effects this might have on their findings. And that's largely irrelevant anyway, as most of the people you might identify as climate scientists are not the ones doing the bulk of the research. The researchers are a disparate group of mathematicians, physicists, oceanographers, meteorologists, chemists, environmental scientists, geographers, statistical systems specialists, biologists and geologists. And they aren't getting their funding to find climate change, they get funding to test a certain hypothesis, and indeed the tenure system exists to as protection for those who never find anything, or only find results that invalidate their initial hypothesis.

    There are a lot of collateral jobs associated with climate change action. That is undeniable, but these jobs are not research positions. These jobs have appeared because the results are unambiguous. It's real, and we are causing it. The data is publicly available, and the methods used to collect it are clearly examinable and falsifiable. The only argument is now coming from people who are scared that their wallets might be affected. And they aren't arguing because there is something wrong with the research, they are arguing with the science because if they accept the data, they cannot possibly justify doing nothing. If only they'd shut up and help, instead of agitating against the science to delay a policy response, the cost would be substantially lessened.
  5. matty_k Peter Johnson (47)

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    sevenpointdropgoal likes this.
  6. sevenpointdropgoal Larry Dwyer (12)

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    That's an interesting article to turn up in the Australian news cycle. The Koch Brothers have a long history of using their wealth for right wing, libertarian political action, sort of like right wing versions of George Soros or William Buffett, though slightly more secretive. It is often touted, not entirely correctly, that they are the force behind the Tea Party movement. The New Yorker did an interesting profile on their agitating against the Obama administration in mid 2010; I'll see if I can dig it up.

    Edit: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/30/100830fa_fact_mayer
  7. Scotty David Codey (61)

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    Sevenpoint,

    You know that I can't satisfactorily debate these points with you, however I will still find it difficult to ignore all the opinions, studies and articles that have been written in opposition to some of the points of climate change scientists and the IPCC. Something is still not right in kansas, and I doubt if this issue was so clear cut as you seem to indicate there would be so much opposition, particularly from some of the respected scientists that we have discussed.

    However, I do thank you for the time you have put in to increase me knowledge in this area.
  8. Cutter Nicholas Shehadie (39)

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    Who are the respected, peer reviewed scientists to which you refer?
  9. Scotty David Codey (61)

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    Oh, sorry, I forgot people couldn't be respected or have an opinion until they are peer reviewed.

    I also forgot that peer reviewing makes all studies and findings perfect and without flaw.

    Next time I design a structure I'd better submit it to the peer review system, otherwise it will obviously fall down.
  10. Cutter Nicholas Shehadie (39)

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    Scotty you're comparing two different things. It is beyond doubt that, within scientific research fields, some form of verification is essential. Peer review is the best model we have for examining the scientific merits of studies papers etc. It is not without its faults or its critics, but there aren't many things which are considered faultless and there are no realistic alternatives (read here for more http://www.nature.com/nature/peerreview/debate/nature05031.html).

    Uncle Wiki will give you a very general warts and all: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer_review

    This is taken from Wiki:

    You're right that there are plenty of voices against climate change, just as there were plenty suggesting there were no harmful effects associated with smoking. Its the cliched comparison but its right. And, a little bit of digging shows that some of the voices are the same. Its important we all reach our own conclusions on these things, but its equally important we're critical of the information people feed us.

    I know that peer reviewed studies have already been through a verification process. That is why I can rely on them. Without testing the data and conclusions myself (which I'm not qualified to do), I can place no reliance on papers and studies which aren't peer reviewed. If they are meritorious, they will go through the peer review process at some point anyway and then I can rely on them. In the meantime, it is a fact that there are no peer reviewed conclusions supporting the theories that:

    1. Increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere does not lead to atmospheric warming; and
    2. Human activity is not increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to an extent that it is leading to atmospheric warming.

    Until there is solid science supporting the counter theories, what have we to go on? The "vibe" might be good enough for Dennis Denuto, but its not good enough for me.
  11. Ruggo Mark Ella (57)

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    I think you are right but at the same time not. In matters of science peer reviewing is essential.
  12. Scotty David Codey (61)

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    So I'm not allowed to make comparisons and talk about two different things, but you can talk about smoking and climate change in the same sentence?

    Do you truly think that nothing coming from the other side of this debate deserves consideration?
  13. Cutter Nicholas Shehadie (39)

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    Counter arguments have been raised for over 20 years and I am not aware of any which dispute the two key points (being that increased carbon dioxide warms the planet and that humans are responsible for increased carbon dioxide emissions which are causing a warming of the planet) and which have withstood rigorous examination.

    What is it that you are relying upon which is so compelling that it makes you disregard a global scientific consensus and which parts of it do you dispute?
  14. Scotty David Codey (61)

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    Why do you think I'm disregarding it?

    Just looking all the opinions. It seems it is you that is disregarding some of the information that is out there.
  15. Cutter Nicholas Shehadie (39)

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  16. Scotty David Codey (61)

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    I'll see you that article and raise you one (from a generally left slanted source):

    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/113676.html

    How much of this tax is going to be wasted?
  17. Scotty David Codey (61)

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    So the gas guy says 'breathing space' indicating a shorter to medium term solution, but the climate guy talks in terms of gas being the only future. These two aren't even talking about the same thing, or have been asked different questions.
  18. Scotty David Codey (61)

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    The peer review isn't all it is cracked up to be. I think we still need to question the results, particularly when those 'peers' are also colleagues/friends.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/04/25/the-ocean-wins-again/

    Reading this article there seems to be a huge issue with the process for this sort of stuff to get through.
  19. matty_k Peter Johnson (47)

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    It isn't perfect but it still is the best way at the moment.

    It needs to conducted by people that understand what is being studied.
    It needs to be rigorous and take some time to try and catch any flaw that might exist in the study.

    Come up with a better process the scientific world will be thankful.
    Ruggo likes this.
  20. Scotty David Codey (61)

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    Yes, but in this case the peers that reviewed it either don't have common sense, or they are complicit in the deception of this study.

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