Climategate

Discussion in 'Politics and other "Messy" Stuff' started by Norm03s, Dec 4, 2009.

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  1. Norm03s

    Norm03s New Member

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    For the fourteenth straight day, the three major broadcast networks have failed to report on the growing Climate Gate scandal. ABC, NBC and CBS morning or evening news programs haven't utered a peep. This news is every where else, do ya think maybe they might be part of the scam. WAKE UP.
    Is the public more interested in Tiger Woods than Climategate?

    Coppenhagan Treaty, According to the Kyoto principle, rich "Annex I" countries should take the initiative when it comes to reducing CO2 emissions, while poorer nations such as China and India would not be obliged to set their own mandatory targets until 2020 Obama is going to sign away our USA sovereignty on this one. USA, Just say no.

    Al Gore’s Crumbling Credibility Cracked By Climategate and Schwarzenegger Attempts To Rescue Collapsing Global Warming Fraud With Alarmist PR Stunt.
    We are being treated like little piggie banks.:mad2:
     
  2. minimark

    minimark Well-Known Member

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    Believe they call it "Redistribution of Wealth" which our President promised if elected........ :idea:
     
  3. Mike

    Mike New Member

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    I'm VERY tired of the fear mongering. YES, we can help the environment. YES, I want to conserve resources with sensible action. NO, I have no faith that any of the prominent eco-politicians want anything other than wealth, power and control for themselves. The whole scene is pathetic.
     
  4. BlimeyCabrio

    BlimeyCabrio Oscar Goldman of MINIs
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    Head of the UN IPCC flew 443,000 miles last year. In jets. Including a one day trip home to India to watch a cricket match. I wonder how many polar bears die when you fly 443,000 miles?

    If these jokers believed what they're preaching, they wouldn't be able to live with themselves and their own lifestyles.

    Real apostles practice what they preach. False prophets, not so much.
     
  5. minimark

    minimark Well-Known Member

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    Believe that's called "HYPOCRACY".....please see Washington, DC.
     
  6. BlimeyCabrio

    BlimeyCabrio Oscar Goldman of MINIs
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  7. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

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    Back about a tear of so ago a buddy of mine that lets just say is not known for having the best of intentions and possibly a wide streak of larceny in his heart came to me about creating a web site. We would sell carbon credits to the masses. Being "good" Jews our plan went something like this. Create a site to sell carbon credits, use a very small portion of the proceeds to plant trees in Israel. The rest would go the overhead of running the site (lining our pockets). Now if you were to search "buy carbon credits" in the Google thing you will find lots of sites for shall we say that, dubious activity. There are all kinds of calculators out there so one can figure their own carbon footprint. It's funny that each calculator gives different results. The cost of a credit varies wildly as well. I'm not going to say every one of these is a scam, some actually do some good with the money they take in by financing projects all over the world. But I dare say the vast majority have very high overhead where only pennies on the dollar are actually expending on the stated mission. The rest goes towards the unstated mission of making the site owners rich.

    Guess who is on the BOD of one the largest sellers of carbon credits. Could it be one Al Gore, who's own mansion in Nashville uses more electric in a month than the avg US household uses in a year.

    From http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/29/weekinreview/29revkin.html

    I'm not a rich man, I really could use the money that something like this would bring in. Really it is just found money, you toss up a decent looking site, cite lots of facts of figures and provide a payment method. Some back of a napkin figuring at the time showed this could be extremely lucrative. With little oversight in this area who is to know what management costs are and my gosh, it is so easy to create shell companies to hide all the income. In the end my conscience got the best of me.

    Please note, there are some legitimate folks out there that really do good work with the money collected. However, there are a lot of people out there making easy money praying on people's guilt.
     
  8. Mike

    Mike New Member

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    Indulgences! An excellent analogy, why didn't I think of that.
     
  9. Gil-galad

    Gil-galad Club Coordinator

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    #9 Gil-galad, Dec 5, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2009
    It appears that the Washington Post is trying to give this some coverage. This appeared today, a bit left of center but not too bad for what you typically see in the Post:

    washingtonpost.com

    I am an earth scientist by trade and while I don't deal with climate issues full time I am fairly regularly involved in the business of the observation systems that are used to support or discredit many of the purportedly science-based claims being made by the heads of organizations representing climate interests. Based on regular communications with peers, my views are fairly consistent with a majority of the "working-level" meteorologists, oceanographers, geodesists, etc. who know enough about the supporting science and have sufficient experience to form modestly intelligent conclusions.

    The earth is a terribly complex system, and the physical, chemical, and biological conditions that affect weather and climate are inherently nonlinear. That is why I have a personal distrust for even the most sophisticated climate models running on massive super computers, and I suspect I always will. The end results are incredibly sensitive to the initial conditions, and the rate at which those results diverge is exponential. Any research that makes bold claims based on the results of these models should be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism, IMHO.

    That said, there are changes happening to the earth system due to anthropogenic impacts that are real, unambiguous, and beyond dispute (global concentration of atmospheric CO2 is one of them). The big question is how our earth system will respond to these changes. Observations in our lifetime suggest that climate patterns are being altered but it is a short record in the grand scheme of things, and perhaps there is an as yet undiscovered system of checks and balances in the planet's energy budget that also comes into play that will cause the changes to slow, stop, or even become cyclic.

    For me, the sad thing is how quickly hypotheses and conclusions become politicized. The vast majority of climate science work, whether its in the government, non-profits, or academia, is dependent in some fashion on political support for its livelihood and that always results in spin, either real or perceived. Much of the non-profit research has links to government contracts and a lot of academic research is tied to grants and earmarks. This has been made even worse by the economic situation and the aggressive competition (with bank bailouts, central Asia conflicts, etc.) for dwindling slices of the Federal pie. It becomes really hard to separate the objective wheat from the partisan chaff.

    Gore's Inconvenient Truth is a microcosm of this reality. There were actually some shreds of truth embedded in it here and there, but they were hopelessly overwhelmed by the bombastic claims and political rhetoric of the whole message. In the end, the work really didn't do any favors other than to mainstream the subject matter and give the extremists one more thing over which to lock their horns.

    And yes, the whole carbon credits business model smacks of Enron.
     
  10. Dr Obnxs

    Dr Obnxs New Member

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    My dad and I talk about this a lot.

    FWIW, after doing real well in high energy physics, he's moved onto energy policy and the like.

    Anyway, on things like An Inconvienent Truth, there ARE lots of distortions in it. But I often wonder if that is needed to grab the attention in of the masses when all those whos interests would be upset by change fight so hard with distortion against any rational discussion. Kind of fighting fire with fire. someone has to fight the likes of all the fake grass roots organization that the like of Exxon paid for.

    On the transportation and carbon footprint of air travel, sure it's a lot to fly from here to there. Anyone have a clue about what percentage of transportation derived CO2 comes from air travel? Bueller? Bueller? Oh, here it is.... For the US in 2005, it was 9%. Transportation was 27% of US CO2 production. So air transport in the US was ~2.5% of CO2 emissions. It's not a huge contributor to carbon output and is a bit of a red-herring. Zeroing out all air transportation just isn't that big a world wide impact because such a small percentage of people actually fly anywhere. But it does make nice copy for indignant news stories and forum posts.

    Carbon credit trading gets a lot of negative press as well. There are places where it would work just fine (large stationary point sources are an example) and places where it just doesn't work too well (like cars and transportation). And guess what, there is an emissions credit trading program that has worked wonders on reducing acid rain. Sulpher emissions trading has been in place in the US for quite a while and has done very well. One could call that an "existance proof" that a well constructed system of emissions trading can help create desired effects.

    I just don't buy into selling out our national whatever from joining international treaties. START and the like helped to reduce warhead count, slow spending on nuclear arms and on and on. What international treaties are is an agreement that by joining a constrained action path we further our national goals. Furthering our national goals is what's important, and in the case of the START treaty, we gave up the right to do unlimited production of nuclear warheads. I think most would agree that the constraint to our national actions was well worth the outcome.

    Climate models do have uncertainty. There are two main effects to see with them. Since these things started, they have included more and more effects as we learn how to model them. This reduces uncertainty and leads to convergance of the results. Another thing that happens is we discover that more things than we thought have to be included to get the answer right. These new effects drive an increase in uncertainty and a decrease of convergance. But none the less, the modellers are increasing accuracy and including more and more as time goes on. To dismiss them as something not worthy of consideration is foolishness and really demonstrates a lack of understanding of the progress that is made in the field.

    Matt
     
  11. Mike

    Mike New Member

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    I do not dismiss them as irrelevant. Certainly not. However, I do know that policy based on science can only be good policy if it is based on good science. So far, what I see is policy based on anything but good science, whether or not the good science exists. The policy has been based on politics, not science. I would like this to change.

    When I turn on NPR (and yes I like to listen to NPR to and from work) and hear a guest telling the listeners that the world must effect "immediate and radical change to save this planet" without basing his pronouncement on a single fact, I dismiss the statement as something not worthy of my consideration.

    The feeling I get is that people decide what is "right" or what is "truth" without letting science work in the proper way, that is, with pioneers of new theories facing the wall of skeptics, resulting in either new understanding when the new theory appears to be correct (plate tectonics is a great example) or a continuation of the status quo when the theory does not produce numbers that fit the data (cold fusion is an easy target for this one).
     
  12. Dr Obnxs

    Dr Obnxs New Member

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    There are a lot of things that I'd like to be that aren't too

    but politics drives a lot. So does public opinion. here's a quandry: Should one state the best knowledge out there if one knows that admissions of uncertainty will lead to dismissal and inaction or should one use whatever technique is required to get the numb masses to act?

    If one looks at large groups over time, thoughtfull gradual action based on nuanced reasoning seems to be pretty absent. It's more like going in cruise control until some urgent emminant catastrophy is about to come to be when there is enough collective will to act is the way that we as a society or species behave.

    Now we're at a state with regard to atmospheric CO2 that we can't really undo what has been done, but rather have to find a way to mitigate further harm while we learn to live with the changes that we can no longer avoid. Seems to me that it's possible to argue that radical and sudden changes of action and behaviour are prudent (I'm not saying that this is the case or not, but it is a defensable position based on fact).

    Instead, what we have now isn't a debate about whether or not to act, but what is the opportunity cost of various courses of action (or inaction). Today I was listening to the author of SuperFreakinomics arguing that really doing much about CO2 emissions is misguided because we can just add sulphates to the upper atmosphere, increasing cloud cover and reflecting more light away. They take this position because they think it's faster, cheaper and there's no way for the political bodies to agree to do anything about CO2. But they also failed to acknowledge how we'll get global consensus on doing global scale geo-engineering or what to do about many other consiquences of CO2, like the changing ph of the oceans.

    What this all comes down to is very very bad. As we delay action, we drive up the cost of action because it has to be more severe. Then we end up in the arguement about how much action we can afford to take, and the debate changes from prevention to mitigation. This is what has happened and will continue to happen.

    This if from Friday's What's New, a column by Physicist Bob Park at the University of Maryland: "When the ClimateGate story broke I immediately began digging through piles of paper on my desk to find my copy of "Doubt Is Their Product: How Industry's Assault on Science Threatens Your Health," a 2008 book by David Michaels, an epidemiologist at the George Washington University School of Public Health. When scientific evidence of a threat to public health becomes overwhelming, government intervention can still be delayed for years by simply manufacturing uncertainty. That's where of the global warming debate is right now."

    One can look at the convergence of position and interests and learn a lot. Even if you count the things like investments in carbon credit scams and smart meter companies, this is dwarfed by many orders of magnatude by the potential changes in revenues by the massive industries that make money by emitting CO2. Makes you wonder....

    What it comes down to is we're screwed. What remains to be seen is how badly and how soon.

    Matt
     
  13. Mike

    Mike New Member

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    Yes, the facts should be clearly stated. No, it is not OK to "use whatever technique" to motivate people, regardless of what one thinks of collective wisdom. Manipulation or strong-arming of the people is inexcusable. The citing of higher moral ground or a higher intellect (as some are wont to do) to justify such actions mystifies me. After all, moral people would not seek to deceive; intelligent people would work to explain information in ways that more simple people could understand. Or, so it seems to me.

    If the unknowns are very significant, then so be it. The aim of all scientific efforts should be on quantifying climate change so that sound decisions may be made. The aim of everyone else wishing to benefit the planet and mankind should be to understand the current body of knowledge, and help others towards that knowledge, so we may make good decisions as quickly as possible.
     
  14. BlimeyCabrio

    BlimeyCabrio Oscar Goldman of MINIs
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    #14 BlimeyCabrio, Dec 6, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2009
    Models are fine. But they basically extrapolate current and historical observations and analysis of these ("temperature increases correlate to CO2 increases") into the future, based on a fundamental hypothesis ("CO2 causes warming") via some observed - and many theoretical - mechanisms ("greenhouse effect"), and a set of assumptions ("effect grows as CO2 level rises", "we understand how nature buffers such changes").

    If what we were using as a basis of "historical observations" was a mass of, at best, sloppily handled data and, at worst, criminally manipulated data, and if the source data was destroyed due to either negligence or altruistic deletion to hide "inconvenient facts" that didn't support the hypothesis, such that we can't confirm the accuracy of the assumptions used based on these observations... and if the two key organizations responsible for managing observations data have consistently refused to allow the source data to be evaluated by any "unfriendly" researchers because they may "torture the data" in a different manner to get it to "confess" to a different set of conclusions... well, would that behavior be tolerated in any other field of science, other than where intellectual property might need to be protected for future patents, etc?

    If the data didn't support the analysis that temperature increases correlate to CO2 levels in the first place (without torturing it to get the desired outcome) then the rest of this is garbage.

    It's like collecting data on teen copulation and resulting pregnancy when you're a 17 year old male. You want the result to be "girls don't get pregnant when guys have sex with them". So you collect observations from all your buddies telling you about how many girls they've had sex with. Half the stories aren't true, but you assume they are. The two guys who knocked up their girlfriends aren't claiming paternity. So you don't get those data points. Your own girlfriend got pregnant, but since she's the "only one", you treat that as an outlier and ignore it. Net result... your observations confirm your hypothesis.

    There are many open questions here - and the science is far from "settled".

    1) Is the climate changing? This one is settled - "Yes" - the climate is ALWAYS changing - whether we're here or not.

    2) When studied on a geological or paleontological time scale, what are the general variations in climate that occur? What are the likely contributors to those changes? Are those changes of greater or lesser magnitude than current changes we are experiencing?

    3) What are the actual recent observations? Is global temperature actually rising? Or falling? Or are observed changes within the natural "noise" level?

    4) If temperature is actually rising at a significant rate, do past observations actually support that recent temperature increases correlate with rising CO2?

    5) If CO2 is the culprit, are there other natural mechanisms (e.g plant and algae growth, cloud formation) that will act to buffer this over time? If so, how much, and how do we know that?

    6) If temperatures are ACTUALLY rising... how fast? What will the result REALLY be?

    7) If, say, temperatures are a few degrees warmer in 100 years - what will the impact of this REALLY be? Will the negative impacts in some areas (possible coastal flooding) outweigh the positive impacts in others (e.g. increased arable land and improved food production in other areas)?

    8) If CO2 is actually creating a warming effect - how does this relate to global cooling cycles we should see kicking in right about now? Will the net impact be to make the next Little Ice Age less cold? Because far more people would be likely to die from the cold of such a natural cycle, than from the "forecasted" AGW.

    9) Even if all this AGW stuff is true and accurate... can we actually impact it in a material way? And, if we can, is the cost to do so greater than the costs of inaction? Is the cure worse than the disease?

    10-9999) Many more where these came from.

    Don't get me wrong - I am 100% for standing up more nuclear power plants and reducing ALL kinds of "pollution" in a responsible manner. Though I'm not convinced that CO2 is a "pollutant".

    But the AGW scheme, however well intentioned, has been corrupted into a tool to reduce the US standard of living and transfer wealth to other regions.

    It's interesting how intense the character assassination becomes on the "deniers". They MUST have other motives... so folks go find some... funded by Exxon... connections to the mining industry... etc.

    Well.... last time I checked, scientists work in both the public and private sector. If 100% of the public funding is going toward reinforcing the AGW position, the funding to express valid counterpoints has to come from SOMEWHERE... why would it NOT come from those entities who are going to be shaken down for the costs of "Cap and Trade"?
     
  15. Norm03s

    Norm03s New Member

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  16. minimark

    minimark Well-Known Member

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    A new world order?


    “My friends, we live in the greatest nation in the history of the world. I hope you’ll join with me as we try to change it.â€

    – Barack Obama
     
  17. Dr Obnxs

    Dr Obnxs New Member

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    Couple of things...

    there was a gread write up of things by Jared Diamond in the NYT about looking to large corporations for progress... If you're not familiar with him, he wrote "Guns, Germs and Steel" and "Collapse" two really "must read" books. There are some great summaries of various points that have come up allong with why they are BS. Anyway, what most of these type of arguement distill down to is some really questionable assumptions:
    1) That it's a net cost to act. This ignores two things: that efficiency is usually a cost saver and makes money; and that there is a cost of inaction. Right now the consensus is inaction has overall much higher costs than action. It's just shifting who pays what. As usual, large financial interests would have to change in the short term (but may even save money or make more in the long) to act, and that inaction is most likely a distributed cost that all of us will have to pay.

    2) There is a demand for certainty here that is pretty much absent from every other risk mitigation arguement we undertake. Where is the certainty on having a car accident? Yet we all (I hope) carry a cost of insurance. Here we use probiblistic arguements about anticipated costs weighted by risk to choose a more prudent course of action. Why not choose to incure a certain cost to mitigate a probablity of risk? That how we do everything else... Why not these types of effects as well?

    3) I'm unsettled on the fight fire with fire. Let's use the analogy of two boxers entering the ring. One plays rigourously by the rules, no low blows, giving time when demanded etc. The other who is a weaker boxer, keeps hitting below the belt, punches after each round bell and the like all without challenge. What is the better boxer to do? Stick to his "morals" and lose the fight, or fight in kind, and win a fight he would have won if the rules were enforced properly on both parties? It's a tough choice for sure.... It's very evident to me that the forces in denial and the like are not subject to the very same strict standard that peer reviewed work is held to. This very much distorts the playing field. And it's true that action, while based on sound science and understanding, also has to pass muster and clear the hurdel of public support to get any real traction. So back to the boxer... Does he take one for the team so to speak and wake up the public (this would be the Inconvinient Truth type action) or stick to his moral standards, loose the fight and increase the risks, costs, and displacements that will come due to inaction.

    There are other things in play as well.. This goes under "willfull ignorance". There is a sattalite that was intended to sit at the point between the sun and the earth that basically stays in the same relative position. It's purpose was to study the abledo of the earth (how reflective the earth is). Ready to launch but mothballed by the Bush/Cheany admin. This could have helped narrow a lot of uncertainty in solar flux and earths reflectiviy. What possible motives are there for NOT learning about important stuff? Hmmmm... Only one that comes up it to maximize uncertainty and delay action. no other explanation fits the evidence.

    Anyway, I'll stick with my past position....

    We're screwed, we just have to find out how badly and by when. Delay and obfuscation has won the day, and we're all going to suffer for it.

    Matt
     
  18. BlimeyCabrio

    BlimeyCabrio Oscar Goldman of MINIs
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    #18 BlimeyCabrio, Dec 6, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2009
    You're very certain. Why?

    I'm just curious. While I have great respect for your knowledge and intellect, I can't imagine that you personally believe you have as much of a grasp of this particular area of science as many of the experts who do this all day, every day, for decades.

    If not, then you (like me) are accepting SOMEONE's assertion as "fact" and someone else's as "obfuscation". Given that there are pedigreed scientists on both sides of this thing... it seems that the assumption is that all on one side are being intellectually dishonest and all on the other are altruists... that seems like an untenable position.

    Do you really believe that all the "deniers" have ulterior motives? Or are just misinformed? Or whatever? No possibility that the "non-denier" side of the argument has its own obfuscaters who are misleading some others on it's own side? How did a consensus exist for a flat earth for so long, in spite of the evidence to the contrary? Hmmmm.

    I get the part about risk mitigation - I sell that for a living. But I refuse to pay for flood insurance when I'm nowhere near a flood plain. So you don't insure against risks that are highly unlikely. Likewise, I don't recommend most of my clients to build three data centers on the outside chance that two are simultaneously destroyed by completely independent events....

    The "peer reviewed" argument is interesting - since there's pretty compelling evidence now that the peer review process has been subverted to insulate against dissent. So we say "Deniers aren't peer reviewed"... then we tell our peers "no matter what you do, don't accept an anti-AGW paper for review". That's certainly one strategy for making sure you're always right...
     
  19. BlimeyCabrio

    BlimeyCabrio Oscar Goldman of MINIs
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  20. BlimeyCabrio

    BlimeyCabrio Oscar Goldman of MINIs
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