Posted by Jeff Id on August 22, 2010
I’m not sure what the heck this post is. I suppose it’s my attitude toward AGW after two years of discussing climate science in blogland. Perhaps after a couple of weeks of publishing accurate pro-AGW science (not extremist) it’s cathartic to post the rest of the story.
Possible alternate titles:
Gaia in a nutshell
Why be a skeptic
The benefits of blogging
A short term view of the visionary goal
Climate science crystal balls need batteries.
Climate Science™: We must act now, the end of the world is coming.
Science minded individual: That’s scary, what do you mean?
Climate Science™: The globe is warming from CO2 emissions, glaciers will melt, storms will strengthen, droughts will become commonplace, plantlife will die, the oceans will rise, the polar ice will melt, oceans will acidify, we must act now!
Science minded individual: Wow, CO2 causes all that? How do you know?
Climate Science™: We have dozens of lines of evidence, Models, measurements, paleoclimate data, environmental data, it’s all in agreement. We must act now.
Science minded individual: Let’s see, I’ll start with the paleo reconstructions. Hmm, it seems that the unprecedentedness is due to your mathematical techniques and special proxies. Why is it that we can remove some key data series and the whole thing loses the unprecedented shape?
Climate Science™: There is uncertainty in science, engineers and physicists have trouble understanding. These reconstructions don’t matter anyway, there are dozens of other branches and they are all in agreement. We must act before it’s too late!
Science minded individual: But you agree the paleo reconstructions are in error?
Climate Science™: They are unimportant, when you combine the whole of climatology the answer is clear. We must act to save mankind now!!
Science minded individual: Then why have them?
Climate Science™: Models project 4 C of warming by the end of the century, they agree with paleo reconstructions. Warming on this scale will bring destruction across the globe.
Science minded individual: Ok, moving on, I see that models all seem to assume a positive feedback to a small temeprature rise.
Climate Science™: It’s caused by water vapor in the atmosphere. The water vapor increases the global warming effect, crops will die, fish will shrink, people will starve if we don’t act.
Science minded individual: I see also that there is quite a bit of uncertainty in the amount of feedback.
Climate Science™: There is uncertainty in all science, perhaps you don’t understand that concept. We know it’s bettween 2 and 6 C of warming in the next century alone.
Science minded individual: Wow, that’s a lot of uncertainty. Why aren’t the measurements which show a negative feedback being used?
Climate Science™: Consensus says that a positive feedback is correct we must act now.
Science minded individual: But some believe the feedback is negative and what about the recent proofs on the internet and in publication that models have overshot measured data by 2 to 4 times?
Climate Science™: The IPCC represents the whole of climate science, the bulk of the evidence is in favor of 2 to 4C of warming. The sea ice and ice caps will melt, the ocean is rising, low lying land will flood, storms will grow stronger.
Science minded individual: Hurricanes haven’t grown stronger, they’ve weakened.
Climate Science™: You don’t understand the difference between weather and climate.
Science minded individual: But you said they will strengthen just 10 years ago, they didn’t.
Climate Science™: In time they will strengthen, especially if we don’t act, remember Katrina.
Science minded individual: Each year for say 10 years you’ve predicted stronger storms and each year you’ve been wrong, what’s happening?
Climate Science™: You have to look at 30 year trends, and other lines of evidence, the sea ice is melting, antarctic is loosing mass, the ocean is acidifying, we must decarbonize the economy.
Science minded individual: I notice that globally the total sea ice isn’t melting, yet all we read about is the Arctic.
Climate Science™: Models show clearly that the Arctic is more sensitive than the Antarctic to global warming.
Science minded individual: But you are missing my point, you predicted a decline in sea ice in the Antarctic as well, yet we have an increase? Globally, sea ice is basically at the 30 year average.
Climate Science™: You have been confused by denialist talking points, the Arctic is critical, not the Antarctic.If we don’t act soon the ice caps will melt and the ocean will rise 5 meters.
Science minded individual: Wow, 5 meters. How is that possible when the Antarctic averages 30 degrees below zero across its entire landmass.
Climate Science™: It will take time, there is uncertainty, I grow weary of your misinformation.
Science minded individual: About that temperature data, it seems that there is substantial warming by UHI at several instrument locations, perhaps even most.
Climate Science™: Many papers have demonstrated UHI is a minor effect at best.
Science minded individual: I can’t find any of decent quality. Can you show me one which did a proper analysis of the station data for trend.
Climate Science™: Such studies are boring, who would fund them? We scientists like to do cutting edge stuff, not boring quality control.
Science minded individual: So no quality control is being done? Aren’t you concerned that you may have bad information in your calculations?
Climate Science™: You are annoying us. There is uncertainty in everything, what we do know from all the lines of evidence is that we must act now to prevent certain disaster.
Science minded individual: But models show that satellite LT warming should be higher than ground measurements, doesn’t it concern you that these measurements are not just in disagreement but on opposite sides of what models predict.
Climate Science™: They are statistically indistinguishable.
Science minded individual: But they are on opposite sides of the trend line, one or the other, both or the models must be in error. And some would say they are statistically separable.
Climate Science™: Oh, come on. You have to understand, we’re working from a large body of evidence which taken as a whole, means that global warming is real, it is dangerous, and if we don’t act now it will be disasterous for humanity.
Science minded individual: Ok, so if you’re right, what is it we need to do.
Climate Science™: We must act globally to stop burning fossil fuels, stop cutting trees and adopt renewable energy.
Science minded individual: What is renewable energy?
Climate Science™: Energy which can be created from things like biofuels, wind, solar, geothermal.
Science minded individual: Won’t it be bad for humanity if we don’t produce enough electricity, or it comes at too high a cost?
Climate Science™: Industry is destroying the planet, we must act now. We’ve calculated that the damage from global warming is much more serious than a tax on energy.
Science minded individual: So you want to tax energy?
Climate Science™: We need to limit and eventually stop fossil fuel usage before it’s too late.
Science minded individual: Why biofuels? Chlorophyl can’t come close to catching enough energy to power even our cars.
Climate Science™: We must explore all avenues to achieve our goals.
Science minded individual: But biofuel doesn’t and can’t work, and a first year engineering student can calculate it? Also, solar power is several times higher cost than any other methods and we can’t store it for use at night. It will be horribly damaging to industry if we have electricity that’s several times higher in cost.
Climate Science™: We must explore all avenues, we’re trying to save the world, if higher cost energy has a negative effect on industry it will be far better than what will happen if we don’t act now.
Science minded individual: I notice that wind has similar problems and requires fast acting powerplants to offset when they aren’t turning. None of these solutions seems to work for our problem, what about nuclear.
Climate Science™: Nuclear is part of the answer.
Science minded individual: Nuclear seems to be the only working answer, and it doesn’t work for cars because we have no good batteries. I notice you didn’t mention nuclear above.
Climate Science™: Everyone will have to make sacrifice for the good of the planet. Nuclear has problems with waste and safety so new technologies must be developed.
Science minded individual: But it can prevent the disaster right, and we don’t have the technology to change to a different source. If we limit production the cost of everything will rise and people will starve?
Climate Science™: We all must make sacrifices because not changing to renewable energy is far more dangerous than the damage to industry. We must form a global coalition to fight CO2 emission today, we don’t have time to wait.
Science minded individual: With all the predictions and uncertainty, how are you so sure that something as severe as shutting down industry is the right idea? I mean, you recommend a global coalition to tax successful countries and send the money to unsuccessful ‘developing’ countries for the purpose of balancing economies, yet that seems to have nothing to do with solving global warming.?
Climate Science™: Developing countries will be the worst polluters in the future, wealthy nations are known to be cleaner, so we must transfer the technology and ability to produce clean energy to developing nations.
Science minded individual: But wait a minute, don’t modern and properly managed nations need to work to stop emitting, aren’t these the countries which are creating the problem? Why would modern society spend today’s resources on the repressed governments and the medieval cultures in developing nations which repress their people, technology and buisness instead of investing in ourselves and our emissions? Shouldn’t we attack the source of the problem first?
Climate Science™: Developing nations are underprivileged and deserve equality. They are suffering the damage from our excess. They will suffer more than developed countries, so we must act now to help them make the transition to green technologies.
Science minded individual: But we haven’t seen any damage yet, and you still want to send them our money.
Climate Science™: The damage is everywhere, thousands of papers have reported it. We must act now, on a global scale to prevent doom.
Science minded individual: You mean the damage from shrinking sheep, fish, birds and plants, all of which makes no sense and still the paleo, sea ice, storms, temperatures, and models ALL have demonstrated very serious disagreements with reality. How can you be so sure you know the future that you can voluntarily repress industry?
Climate Science™: I’m tired of this denialist conversation. Thousands of scientists concur, we have a consensus, we must act now.
Science minded individual: Sorry sir, to waste your my time.