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Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 09/ 1/2009

Obama Needs to Give a Climate Speech - ASAP

By Andrew Freedman

President Obama delivers a speech. White House photo 2/9/09 by Pete Souza. Courtesy

At this point in their presidency, which president -- George W. Bush or Barack Obama -- had made three climate science speeches or statements, including one lengthy speech, while the other had barely addressed it at all?

If you picked former President Bush, you are correct.

Are you surprised? Although Mr. Obama came into office pledging to chart a new course on climate science and policy, he has largely pitched climate change legislation on "clean energy" and "green jobs" grounds, and has not addressed the scientific reasoning behind his desire to enact new climate policies. This is a mistake that may cost the planet dearly, in addition to any political ramifications for the president.

A search of reveals the closest President Obama came to clearly stating his views on climate science occurred in late June, during a speech on energy policy, when he said, "There's no longer a debate about whether carbon pollution is placing our planet in jeopardy; it's happening."

This point is largely consistent with the consensus view expressed in the peer-reviewed climate science literature, to the extent that it communicates the causal link between carbon dioxide and climate change. However, it represents somewhat of an exaggeration since no major scientific group has outright stated climate change jeopardizes the future of the planet, but rather that it poses potentially significant risks, depending on the pace and amount of warming.

To date, Obama's lone accomplishment on climate change science has been the release of a report on the potential impacts in June, but it essentially summarized the results of 21 studies commissioned by the Bush Administration. Furthermore, the White House has been sluggish in reorganizing the U.S. Global Change Research Program in a way that puts it on a path to producing scientific reports that policy makers can use -- a major criticism of those studies completed under Bush.

The need for leadership on climate change science further solidifies when one considers current public attitudes on the issue. Recent polling has shown public concern about climate change may be dropping, just when lawmakers are weighing new climate policies.

If the polls accurately reflect public opinion, which is questionable, then the increasing climate change skepticism among the public is troubling. It flies in the face of most of the scientific evidence on how climate change is already reshaping the globe, and indicates that there is a gaping disconnect between science and the public.

Scientists have repeatedly warned about the consequences of failing to act soon on climate change, and the chairman of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently endorsed a far-reaching goal of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million (ppm), down from the current level of about 389 ppm, in order to avoid dangerous climate change. Most policy makers are focused on trying to contain the increase of such gases to 450 ppm, and even this goal may be beyond reach considering the glacial pace of international negotiations.

To address the public's questions, President Obama needs to lay out the scientific case for action, including what studies show about the potential costs of inaction. Thus far, he has neglected to use his bully pulpit to hammer a climate science message home, thereby helping to fuel skepticism about climate science and lend support to the building backlash against the policies he favors. After all, if enough lawmakers and members of the public become convinced that the science is too unsettled to act, it's less likely that action will be taken, which would be a stunning act of defiance against the climate science community that has firmly concluded that mankind is disrupting the climate system.

Like the public, some fence-sitters in the Senate are unsure what to believe about climate change as well. Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), for example, was quoted by Grist Magazine as saying, in response to a question on his view of the link between human activities and climate change, "I'd be foolish if I didn't give it some consideration because there's a massive amount of scientists that feel that it does. But there's also an increasing number of scientists that have doubt about it."

"And so, not being a scientist, I don't know exactly where to say only those things that are really quantifiable, and temperature has risen. But the scientific aspect that I [am] still reserving judgment on is the extent to which it's manmade or natural," Grassley said on a conference call with journalists.

Grassley's statement regarding the number of scientists that have doubts about manmade climate change is telling, since that is the message being disseminated via blast emails and confabs sponsored by the pro-industry Heartland Institute, as well as the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), a market-oriented group that sponsors the Climate Depot Web site. That site, and others like it, consistently assert that there is a growing defection of experts from the scientific consensus view, seemingly based on the theory that if one repeats a message often enough, it will gradually become the truth.

Grassley's comments demonstrate that there may be a lot of merit in that strategy, despite a lack of evidence to back up the claims of diminishing scientific concern. The influence of groups such as CFACT is only enhanced by the White House's low profile on climate science thus far.

The bottom line is that if President Obama wants action to be taken on climate change under his watch, he needs to speak up, and not just about green jobs and clean energy, as worthwhile as they are. He should lay out the scientific foundation underlying climate policy proposals, basing his statements on peer-reviewed scientific research, conducted free from political interference.

Obama could do so by traveling to a laboratory of any of the dozen or more federal agencies involved with global change research, or by going to a location that is particularly vulnerable to global warming. Against this fitting backdrop, he would deliver a speech clearly articulating the reasons why scientists are so concerned that some have now turned to civil disobedience to get their point across, and remind people how the climate change problem is linked to energy policy. But he needs to do this soon, before the debate slips farther away from him, and more years of inaction pass by.

By Andrew Freedman  | September 1, 2009; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  Climate Change, Freedman, News & Notes, Policy  
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Mr. Freedman wrote, "He should lay out the scientific foundation underlying climate policy proposals, basing his statements on peer-reviewed scientific research, conducted free from political interference."

I would love to see that happen!

He could base his statements on this peer-reviewed scientific research -
MIT climate scientists Richard Lindzen and collaborator Yong-Sang Choi soon-to-be published paper (Geophysical Research Letters, American Geophysical Union) pegs the earth’s “climate sensitivity”—the degree the earth’s temperature responds to various forces of change—at a value that is about six times less than the “best estimate” put forth by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The smaller the climate sensitivity, the less the impact that rising carbon dioxide levels will have on the earth’s climate.

And this peer-reviewed scientific research -
Scientists have confirmed that a reduction in sulfate aerosols, 'global brightening', during 1980's and 90's allowed more solar energy to reach the surface instead of being reflected back into space. Voilà, global warming increased. Since the 90's, aerosols have stabilized, CO2 emissions have increased, and global temperatures have barely budged, even with some slight cooling. Ergo, solar radiation and diminished aerosols combined to increase majority of warming, not CO2. Climate models were, and are, wrong because they do not properly account for the aerosol impact.

And this peer-reviewed scientific research -
Greenland Warming Unprecedented: Ooops, New Study Confirms That 1919-1933 Warming Was 33% Greater Than 1994-2007

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | September 1, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Does he have the courage and political clout to base his statements on this peer-reviewed scientific research.

--begin quote--
There is an important new paper in Science (H/T Steve Milloy) that confirms what we have been saying for years. It is Meehl, G.A., J.M. Arblaster, K. Matthes, F. Sassi, and H. van Loon (2009), Amplifying the Pacific climate system response to a small 11 year solar cycle forcing, Science, 325, 1114-1118. It blows away the IPCC and CCSP arguments that the sun is a bit player in climate compared to CO2.

Our sun does not radiate evenly. The best known example of radiation fluctuations is the famous 11-year cycle of sun spots. Nobody denies its influence on the natural climate variability, but climate models have, to-date, not been able to satisfactorily reconstruct its impact on climate activity.

Researchers from the USA and from Germany have now, for the first time, successfully simulated, in detail, the complex interaction between solar radiation, atmosphere, and the ocean. As the scientific journal Science reports in its latest issue, Gerald Meehl of the US-National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and his team have been able to calculate how the extremely small variations in radiation brings about a comparatively significant change in the System “Atmosphere-Ocean”.
--end quote--

source of the above quote

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | September 1, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Andrew, very interesting post! Do you believe President Obama should follow John Kerry's lead? On the Huffington Post yesterday, he wrote "Scientists tell us we have a 10-year window -- if even that -- before catastrophic climate change becomes inevitable and irreversible." And he also said, "Scientists project that the Arctic will be ice-free in the summer of 2013. Not in 2050, but four years from now." He also referenced 9/11. Is this the type of speech that is needed?

Posted by: MattRogers | September 1, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

When you say "conducted free from political interference", you are referring to Green Peace, the Sierra Club, Earth 911, Environmental Action, Environmental Defense, Environmental News Network, National Resources Defense Council, Rainforest Action Network, Rainforest Alliance, Student Environmental Action Coalition, etc... etc... etc...

You are referring to those sources of political interference, right?

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | September 1, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Matt - Thanks. I also noticed Kerry's piece yesterday, and I don't think it reflects what Obama should do. Kerry exaggerated the evidence, and reached for scary images (bringing up 9/11, for example), whereas I think the scientific evidence is sobering enough without resorting to alarmist rhetoric.

Posted by: Andrew-CapitalWeatherGang | September 1, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Judging from all the right-wing flack President Obama has been taking on the health-care issue at these [conservative-staged???] "town meetings", I think he would be well-advised to hold his tongue on the climate-change issue.

Speaking of the right wing, the Post has been doing a EXEMPLARY JOB by exposing Bob McDonnell's return-to-the-Stone Age anti-women, anti-gay rights, anti-liberal "master's thesis" @ Regent University. It would be a real shame if Virginians returned our Commonmwealth to the Dark Ages by electing McDonnell our next Governor.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | September 1, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Public support, schmublic support.

In a Republic, elected leaders are supposed to do the right thing - even if their short-sighted, ignorant constituents do not stay focused on the big picture / long term.

It is high time our Congress and President acted boldly to SAVE AMERICA and the planet. No matter what the polls say, special interests say, etc.

Posted by: jsmith021961 | September 1, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Totally disagree.

Public attention is scattered and diffuse by nature.

While all issues need to be worked all the time, if you bring too many issues onto the legislative and media front burner all at once, people lose focus and momentum gets lost. Worse, the message itself gets lost in the noise.

Obama has decided to make Health Care the issue of the fall. That's a big enough issue to occupty the attention of the government through September and October at least.

Climate change should wait until the Health Care debate is resolved. It should be taken up again in the spring.

By spring 2010, the economy will be on the rebound, and the idea of spending money to built a truly green economy will sit better with the public -- who are now still concerned about losing their jobs or having their houses foreclosed.

Posted by: ionospherey | September 1, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Andrew, agree that the President needs to get out front on HIS position on climate change and lay out specific proposals he want to see enacted. I strongly suspect the reason he has not done so YET is because of the overwhelming need to follow through on health care. He is speaking out firmly on that issue but has been very hesitant to prescribe the specifics encompassed by his eloquence. Unless he does and does so soon his strategy of turning over drafting health care legislation will fail. When he does turn attention to climate change (and he will once health care is out of the way in the fall - one way or another) he must lead, not just a follow - and be unwaveringly persistent in beating the drums. If he does not, the message will be overwhelmed by the "do nothing" crowd, as with health care.

The bottom line is that as with health care, climate change is dominated by politics, and politics almost always trumps any other consideration. The President as leader must work tirelessly to keep this from happening by ensuring logic and rationality prevail in achieving a viable consensus on goals and how best to achieve them. Otherwise the likes of Heartland will dominate the market of ideas, thoughts, and minds of opinion makers in and out of government. This will require much more audacity than hope on the part of the Administration.

Posted by: SteveT-CapitalWeatherGang | September 1, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Ionospherey: "Climate change should wait until the Health Care debate is resolved. It should be taken up again in the spring."

There is some merit in your argument. The economy will no doubt be better in the spring, and health care most likely will be off the front burner. President Obama could take his time assembling a strategy on climate-change measures, & lining up political support, and start the ball rolling in his state-of-the-union address.

But my opinion is that he should act sooner, delivering a major speech on climate change in the fall at some research center, or perhaps organizing a scientific symposium on the subject in Washington. I think it's important to be able to show some momentum toward legislation comparable to or stronger than Waxman-Markey before the December summit in Copenhagen. It would be nice to have such a bill on the President's desk by then, but legislative logistics make that highly unlikly.

Posted by: cpwinter | September 1, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

What's the difference between Chicken Little's claims and John Kerry's (Sierra "club", NRDC, et al) claims?

Although it was misinterpreted, Chicken Little at least had a bit of evidence to hand to support her claims that the "sky was falling."

Posted by: BrianValentine | September 1, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Just slap a $10 a gallon tax on gas and $100 a ton on coal and the reduced CO2 emissions will be met. The Crap and Tax will do nothing except line Gore and Friends pockets, cost more and do nothing.

BTW GW and GC are not caused by people, but people want action.

Posted by: runningonthebeach | September 1, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Soooo, you think global warming is a problem and what we need is another speech from Obama. Instead of listening to Obama, first stare at this map:

Most Americans know the source of the warming problem, and you know what, it's not global.

C3H Editor,

Posted by: C3HEditor1 | September 1, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Al Gore, dejected from loosing the 2000 Presidential election to W, grew a beard, became a part-time college professor, and appeared sullen and taciturn.

Then Al remembered what a professor at Harvard had told him a long time ago - The Sky is Falling!

So Al hopped aboard the mashed-potato circuit to tell everybody about this news - and make a few bucks (pile of money) at the same time.

Charging two and a half hundred big bills per session to tell everybody who cared to listen that the sky was falling!

Al had no evidence of that, but it sounded so good he won a Nobel Prize.

Al's former professor, Roger Revelle, later recanted his earlier prognositcations about the sky falling in a publication along with Fred Singer.

Al would just as soon forget about that, and Al tried as hard as he could to make it seem like it never happened.

It happened, Al.

Posted by: BrianValentine | September 1, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

They've already passed cap and trade, why worry about the enviroment? It's already fixed.

Posted by: HolyMackinaw | September 1, 2009 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Point and counterpoint.


Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | September 2, 2009 12:32 AM | Report abuse

Hi Brian, can you email me offline with a link to your source for the Roger Revelle recantation? Thx!

Posted by: Andrew-CapitalWeatherGang | September 2, 2009 1:06 AM | Report abuse

Nothing like a mention of climate change to bring out the looney-tunes deniers. They'll cite some misleading out-of-context snippet or another from their favorite industry-funded website, or paste some page-long quote from their favorite fringe climatologist and start jumping up and down like electrified monkeys. It's not unlike watching the TownHallers and the Birthers. Wait, sorry, they're the same people. Whatever.

As for the comparison of Bush to Obama on the issue... at this point in his presidency the most pressing Urgent National Crisis Mr. Bush had to deal with was how best to tear down the wall of separation between church & state. So he had plenty of spare time to speak on the issue. And note that it was all talk, and several years into his presidency it wasn't even sensical talk. I think it was 2006 when he finally admitted that the jury was "no longer out" on whether we were playing a role. Thanks George, you're only about ten years behind the scientists. Not to say that your oil constituency hasn't thoroughly appreciated the stall act you and Dick were pulling.

As for action, Obama's got two wars to settle and has to finish helping the country avert Great Depression II. Oh and there's that little health care thing too. I'm as aware as anyone of the small window we have to act within, and the long residence time of GHGs. But I can't realistically see him spending any real political capital on this till next year.

If there's one thing the mad-as-hell rabid right is stating accurately, it is that a lot of Americans simply cannot handle too much change all at once. They're still struggling to get their tiny, sclerotic minds around that metric system thing we were supposed to switch to in 1980.

Posted by: B2O2 | September 2, 2009 1:17 AM | Report abuse

Fred Singer discusses the Cosmos article he worte together with Revelle and Chauncey Starr here

The article was titled, "Look before you leap"

Posted by: BrianValentine | September 2, 2009 1:27 AM | Report abuse

It's funny how people who want to regulate CO2 look like Looney Tunes characters to people who have studied the evidence for AGW

Posted by: BrianValentine | September 2, 2009 1:33 AM | Report abuse

Man-Bear-Pig...South Park has had it right all along

Posted by: TheMot | September 2, 2009 2:25 AM | Report abuse

more musings in the echo chamber i see. it is truly astounding how many ways science has proven anthropogenic global warming false and yet these flat earthers continue to hang on to a disproven theory. as einstien said, "No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong." we have had many observations over the past 25 years (and 5 billion years worth of history) that show us agw is wrong. if co2 had the ability to spiral out of control, and it has had the opportunity many times with concentrations many times higher than today, life as we know it would never have evolved on this planet. let's have the open debate and get this nonsense over with so we can move on to real issues.

Posted by: changein2012 | September 2, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

No matter what you believe about AGW, Friedrich Nietzsche got it just right:

"The most perfidious way of harming a cause consists of defending it deliberately with faulty arguments."

Posted by: SteveT-CapitalWeatherGang | September 2, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I agree with you 100% about that, Steve T.

Any consideration of validity of "cold fusion" was eliminated for good when it was pointed out, correctly, that the seas would have boiled away within a few thousand years after they formed - if cold fusion was real.

Change in 2012 points out a similar common sense response to AGW.

There is no meaningful discussion of AGW after that, really.

Posted by: BrianValentine | September 2, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

President Obama is failing to provide climate change leadership??! The blame is squarely at the feet of IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri and Al Gore. Why haven't people who are gravely concerned with the human-caused global warming crisis demanded those two to get up and say, "To assure the world of our thoroughness, we have shown in our widely distributed documents ‘A’, ‘B’, and ‘C’ how we proved our conclusions correct and completely disproved the criticisms of science skeptics, and to further solidify our case, in document ‘C’ we show irrefutable evidence of how unethical influence from fossil fuel industries ‘X’, ‘Y’ and ‘Z’ actually prompted easily understood errors “E’, ‘F’ and ‘G’ in the skeptics’ science reports.”

Why on Earth haven’t they taken those steps? Do all those people utterly fail to see how the US Chamber of Commerce's call for a huge public hearing on the matter is a golden opportunity to bury their critics once and for all?? Do they all have no idea that declaring the debate settled while failing to wipe out doubt instead gives the appearance that they can't defend themselves against the critics?

Posted by: RoaldA | September 2, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I think that's the whole problem, Roald.

AGW advocates perceive that the tide of public opinion would turn completley against them.

I cannot envision any other outcome. If anyone else can, I would like to hear their reasoning.

Posted by: BrianValentine | September 2, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

By the way Pachauri already eliminated himself as a credible AGW advocate when he stated, "India cannot and should not be expected to cut carbon emissions. India's entire economy and existence depend on coal! People canot be expected to freeze in India by eliminating coal combustion."

Rajendra you got that dead right, pal. Now go tell the world to stop trying to cut carbon emissions.

Tell your friend Gore while you're at it.

Posted by: BrianValentine | September 2, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Considering the political naivete of this post, I suppose it shouldn't be surprising, but are you really that clueless about how easy it is to debunk that old Revelle fiction (total time on the Goog about 30 seconds)?

Posted by: CapitalClimate | September 2, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

But Capital, isn't Gore on record as dismissing Revelle's apparent turn-around as the result of "senility"?

Didn't a legal hearing instigated by Singer to keep Revlle's name on the paper demonstrate the authoriship to be authentic - not some "ploy on the infirm" by Singer?

Gore's people faught to get Revelle's name off the paper - and Singer had to fight to keep it on.

I have a very strong suspicion that Gore himself spoke with Revelle about the matter before Revelle passed away.

Gore would have no other reason to dismiss Ravelle in that manner if he didn't

Posted by: BrianValentine | September 2, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

If that's not enough, there's plenty of followup material on what he actually said.

Posted by: CapitalClimate | September 2, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Revelle. I keep getting the spelling of his name mixed up with Maurice Ravel!

Posted by: BrianValentine | September 2, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

"I have a very strong suspicion"
Well, that certainly proves everything. Why don't you get your sock puppets to chime in too?

Posted by: CapitalClimate | September 2, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Bush made more speeches on Climate Change for three reasons:

1) His view, that it was not an imminent threat worth the exhorbinant costs of mitigation, was the correct one

2) This view, as numerous polls have shown, is the view of most Americans

3) His simpler less drastic measures like extending daylight savings time and offering tax breaks to pioneers in energy efficiency created more results with less commitment than signing up to Kyoto would have.

Obama currently stands on the wrong side of all of these points. And given the other fires he is currently trying to put out, he doesn't have the political capital to spend on Global Warming hysterics.

He and his gang can say the science is settled, and the world is on board with taking the necessary actions now. But sadly actions speak louder than words. His current course of action says everything you need to know about the near future chances of success of a Climate Bill. There ain't one...

Posted by: shesgruesome | September 2, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I don't know. Nobody knows, now that Revelle has passed on.

But Revelle did express admiration for Singer much before Revelle's passing, and to all appearances, Revelle did not publicly hold forth claims about CO2 influencing the climate in later years of his life.

Posted by: BrianValentine | September 2, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I believe Fred Singer to be an honorable man, that's about all I can say.

I also believe you are doing what you do, according to your beliefs as to what constititues the best interests of the Public.

The issue has divided a lot of people, I wish we could broker common ground, but laws that influence people's lives are involved.

I think we both want to see laws that do some good, not cause harm

Posted by: BrianValentine | September 2, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Sweet article. The author justifies civil disobedience by "scientists", while totally squashing the very idea that scientists may be defecting from the Global Bandwagon.

Hard to say which point is more stupid.

First of all, no real scientist is out committing acts of vandalism in the name of political advocacy. Strictly by definition, if someone is so engaged in advocacy for one side of an issue, that they are committing civil disobedience, then they are not the impartial investigator that defines a scientist. Activists are idealogues, the exact opposite of scientists.

Secondly to claim to know the personal conclusions drawn by every scientist on the issue of climate change is complete and utter absurdity. So rhetorically wiping away all possibility that scientists may be defecting from the AGW camp takes an inconceiveable arrogance besides being a blatant lie. Funny that he should rationalize it with the "if you say something enough times people believe it" argument. How long have we heard that "the science is settled", yet here is the author conceding that for at least some scientists it isn't? That's called "the pot calling the kettle black" for those of you scoring at home.

So not surprisingly, another off base opinion piece, attempting to proclaim a completely baseless set of facts and arguments. I wish someone would measure the carbon footprint of producing the thousands of such propaganda pieces the media bombards us with every day. Then we could put the REAL climate criminals behind bars...

Posted by: shesgruesome | September 2, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse


I guess you are right, and the 97% of climatologists who are studying this are wrong. Silly them, with their irrelevant PhD's, mountains of data and many years of close experience.

I guess you and your industry hacks know better. Who knew that expertise in a field was so unnecessary?

Next you guys need to debunk that silly modern medicine thing. What does the medical profession know. Humors, bleeding and evil spirits are the basis for it all.

Way to go, "patriots".

Posted by: B2O2 | September 2, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse


"First of all, no real scientist is out committing acts of vandalism in the name of political advocacy."

You're right. They're busy in their labs cranking out analyses, or in the field collecting data.

"Activists are idealogues, the exact opposite of scientists."

Exactly. That's why the real scientists, 97% of whom agree that human actions are driving this (see link above), are not very vocal. It is the fringe, the industry-retained, and the otherwise no longer publishing folks who are making so much noise - and whom the skeptic/industry crowd are citing as the "growing wave of defectors from the AGW bandwagon".

You've made the point I did above. But oddly, it does not support your point of view.

Posted by: B2O2 | September 2, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

But the fringe crowd *is* committing vandalism, of a much greater magnitude than simply breaking windows. When you knowingly put out false info simply because a petroleum company pays you to, and that results in the hundreds of thousands of deaths that GW already is doing (see the WHO study published in Nature a couple years ago), I would say that qualifies as vandalism (or worse, really).

Posted by: B2O2 | September 2, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

That "97% of climatologists ..." concept has been examined elsewhere, there’s no need to go into that any more.

Those "mountains" of data look pretty shallow when scrutinized to find SOMETHING that identifies AGW as a “cause” of anything.

Dick Lindzen and some others would look pretty silly wouldn’t they – if they were out questioning Newton’s laws of motion.

Do you really think Lindzen would put himself in a position that would make him look like an idiot?

Some people took the word of others who took the word of others who took the word of some others … that’s the only explanation I have of any apparent “consensus” behind all of this.

If AGW isn’t right, then it just isn’t right. All the blabber from me or anyone else means nothing, it changes nothing.

I predict that the issue will be settled for most people's convictions soon enough, though.

Posted by: BrianValentine | September 2, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

B2O2 your facts figures and web links are a joke so I'm giving you a homework assignment. This way maybe you can spend one day not being a completely brainwashed idiot before you die from Global Warming.

It consists of 2 questions. The answers to which will either validate everything you've said about me (I already know the answers):

1) name one major US University that has a Ph.D program in "Climatology". Since obviously your only research tool is Google let me just warn you in advance that you won't find one. However this may help:
Quite a dose of reality in light of your numerous facts and figures about Ph.D Climatologists and what they believe. In fact wasn't my original point that it is idiotic to suggest that you simultaneously know what all scientists believe? Where does that leave you?

2) Name any/all corporations, oil companies, activist groups, astroturf groups, political parties, or anything else that is paying me or coercing me to make these points.

You won't of course. I am an scientist, speaking on behalf of scientific integrity and truth. I have patents and publications to support my understanding of what is proof of reality, versus made up garbage. Meanwhile your so called "facts" are just the standby rhetoric of those who have no real scientific substance to offer. Little of what you've said in your three posts makes sense. That which does is completely factless. Web links, appeals to authority, and statistics are not proof of anything and you are clearly to ignorant to understand that. This is, of course, why you are so certain about "science" that doesn't exist, isn't science and wasn't done by scientists.

In your efforts to be profound, all you have done is exposed the faulty lines of logic, and lack of scientific understanding that have made this a debate when it should just be a bad joke.

But hey, don'f feel bad, all of those PhD Climatologists don't know any more than you do...

Posted by: shesgruesome | September 2, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Gruesome, you give all us denialists [that's what I call myself] a big big service by writing your name with everything you write.

I put my neck right out there for anybody to come along and hang me if they want to try

Brian Gregory Valentine PhD PE
US Deaprtment of Energy
Washington, DC

Posted by: BrianValentine | September 2, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: BrianValentine | September 2, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

It is said that all truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

While "self evident" may be a bit too strong an emphasis, open minded individuals, even if now "violently opposed" to the notion of AGW, will likely accept falling into the Third Stage if proven wrong. Deniers (as self admittedly is BrianValentine) by definition will never acknowledge the truth should they be proven wrong. Arguing with them is hopeless, so I'm amazed that anyone seems willing to do so.

Posted by: SteveT-CapitalWeatherGang | September 2, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Average citizens reject the claims of the global warming hystericals because they are less gullible than those who work for the Washington Post. Those of us who have been around for awhile know that when those wanting political actions often greatly overstate any threat such as claiming North Vietnam was going to invade Hawaii or Saddam Hussein was going to give WMD to terrorists. the claim that slight changes in the very minor gas CO2 can cause huge increases in temperatures is an obvious exaggeration and out right lie. I realize that those with primitive religious beliefs like to believe that humans are more powerful than the sun when it comes to earth's climate, but the fact is humans have only a very limited ability to impact microclimates. The idea that CO2 which is less than 0.04% of the atmosphere can determine air temperature is magic and superstition not science. The self proclaimed climatologists who claim CO2 determines temperature are shaman not scientists and they should stick to playing with their beads and rattles and leave the study of climate to real scientists.

Posted by: reasonmclucus | September 2, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't your "three steps to recovery" program work both ways, Steve T?

Posted by: BrianValentine | September 2, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse


Please refrain from name-calling if you wish to continue posting here. You called another column an "idiot" which was removed from your comment. Personal attacks are not allowed here and any future comments that contain them will be deleted. Multiple offenses may result in you being blocked from posting here. Thanks for your cooperation.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | September 2, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

The science of AGW is really not that complicated. Both skeptics and alarmists agree that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. That also agree that doubling the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere will increase the temperature by 1.2 degrees C. CO2 won't heat the climate enough by itself to cause the problems. But it is theorized that the heating by CO2 will cause other greenhouse gases to be released, most importantly water vapor.

It's this feedback that is complicated by the fact that we don't actually know how certain climate systems work which is the divide between alarmists and skeptics.

Alarmist see feedback as strongly positive. In the computer simulations they run that tell us all the disasterous things that will happen, they use a factor of 3 to 5 times the effect of CO2 by itself.

The skeptics see feedback as weakly positive or even negative, that is they think the earth as methods of shedding excess heat. They see the a doubling of CO2 as perhaps increasing temperature by 1.5 degree C (weakly positive) to .5 degrees C (negative).

The water vapor feedback will heat the earth both as humidity and clouds according to the alarmists. High level Cirrus clouds are thought to add to warming. We don't know exactly how much and this is why the difference of 3 to 5 times is used.

Skeptics see the humidity and clouds, but the clouds they see are lower level clouds which reflect sunlight back into space there by lowering the temperature.

If greenhouse gases are at work we should see a hotspot in the troposphere in the tropics. This footprint is one called for by the IPCC and James Hansen. We've been launching weather balloons for over 50 years and so far there has been no hotspot.

Secondly the ERBE system which looks at the energy balance has shown us that when the oceans heat up so does the energy reflected back into space. So it appears the earth has a way to shed excess heat.

For these reasons the 10 year canard we keep hearing appears to be nothing more than a SWAG. And since we first heard we only had 10 years in 1989, it appears to put any trust in that number makes you look like a rube.

Posted by: goodspkr | September 2, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Brian, yes of course, it does work both ways. I do not deny that there is some chance, perhaps the 10% IPCC specifies, that climate change/warming might not be anthropologically induced. As an open minded individual (and scientist), as true with the vast majority of scientists, I'm quite willing to accept that human activity is not a primary contributor to global warming- should that ever be convincingly demonstrated (or reversal of the yes/no odds from 90/10 to 10/90, for example).

And this is the difference between justifiable skepticism based on ever present uncertainties in all science and outright denial based on nothing more than infallible belief (or vested interests).

End of discussion with deniers!

Posted by: SteveT-CapitalWeatherGang | September 2, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Yo Alborites: Repeat after me. The climate changes naturally!!!

Consider this. The Florida Keys. What are they? Coral islands. Guess what coral needs to grow? It must be under water. So, children, what does that tell us? Any guesses? It means that in the past the sea level was higher than it is today!! So what does that mean? It means that in the past, unlike what Albore tries to indoctrinate you with, it was hotter than it is NOW!!!

Consider this. Geologists tell us that for the better part of 100,000 years there was a 1 mile thick layer of ice across N. America and Europe. Conservatively, that's at least a 1 million cubic miles of ice up on land.

Now when you look at the ice what do you see? A lot of people would say cold. I don't. Not at all. Quite to the contrary, I see heat. Lots and lots of heat. Here's why.

While in the past, the sea level has been about 20 feet higher than it is today, it has also been 300 feet LOWER than it is today. Quite literally, 1 million cubic miles of water was moved up hill from the ocean to the land. When I look at that, I see, from a physics perspective, potential energy. To become potential energy, it must have one time had kinetic energy to move up hill. Kinetic energy equals heat. Lots and lots of heat, especially to move so much water out of the oceans onto the land.

It says to me that in the past the Artic was much, much warmer than it is today. Moreover, if we believe the geologists (I do), this has happened multiple times. What it says to me is that the climate is highly variable, as is sea level.

Summed up, Albore and the whole Gorebal Whining or Climate change or whatever the flip it's called now is a croc.

Open your eyes. You liberals have been duped.

Posted by: A1965bigdog | September 2, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Brian, yes of course, it does work both ways. I do not deny that there is some chance, perhaps the 10% IPCC specifies, that climate change/warming might not be anthropologically induced. As an open minded individual (and scientist), as true with the vast majority of scientists, I'm quite willing to accept that human activity is not a primary contributor to global warming- should that ever be convincingly demonstrated (or reversal of the yes/no odds from 90/10 to 10/90, for example).

And this is the difference between justifiable skepticism based on ever present uncertainties in all science and outright denial based on nothing more than infallible belief (or vested interests).

End of discussion with deniers!

Posted by: SteveT-CapitalWeatherGang | September 2, 2009 9:25 PM
Steve, the IPCC report is a croc. You have to have your eyes open while reading it. You need a very, very skeptical eye.

In the report, the IPCC report says that since 1750 there has been almost no global warming induced by solar causes. Very interesting parsing. Prior to 1750, the Earth was in a period known as The Little Ice Age, that oorresponded with The Maunder Minimum, a period during which there was almost no sunspots. For those who don't know, solar output peaks with sunspot peaks. Long story made short, solar output rose after the dearth of sunspots. Also, coincidentally, the industrial revolution started around 1750, and with it, increased use of fossil fuels. It does make for a high correlation coefficient, but cause and effect it does not make.

Let's go to Albore's movie when he gets on that cherry picker. He shows that nice graph that goes back hundreds of thousands of years. Nothing wrong so far. However, old Al "forgot" to tell you that on HIS graph, that temperature rises 800 years before CO2 levels rise. Now I may be some poor country bumpkin from a redneck U., but for there to be a cause and effect relationship the cause has to happen before the effect!!!

However, it does reaffirm that higher temperatures reduce CO2 solubility in water. Nice cause and effect.

There's a lot more. Bottom line, you guys have been duped. You need to wake up!

Posted by: A1965bigdog | September 2, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

It is said that all truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

While "self evident" may be a bit too strong an emphasis, open minded individuals, even if now "violently opposed" to the notion of AGW, will likely accept falling into the Third Stage if proven wrong. Deniers (as self admittedly is BrianValentine) by definition will never acknowledge the truth should they be proven wrong. Arguing with them is hopeless, so I'm amazed that anyone seems willing to do so.

Posted by: SteveT-CapitalWeatherGang | September 2, 2009 8:06 PM

Steve, Brian Valentine is right. The whole human induced global warming is a croc. It just doesn't exist.

There is, however, plenty of evidence to affirm that the sun drives global warming (you'll notice I'm not saying that the climate doesn't change). Quite to the contrary, the geological evidence is repleat with examples of highly variable climate. 15,000 years ago the glaciers melted, meaning, we had massive global warming. And guess what? There was no GM or Escalades around. It happened naturally.

Take your blinders off. Human induced global warming just doesn't exist.

Posted by: A1965bigdog | September 2, 2009 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Somebody correctly noted, that best refutation of AGW is contained within the IPCC reports themselves (I don't mean the Summaries for Policy Makers).

From the TAR to AR/4, the IPCC Reports watered down the language that gives the appearance of uncertainty or equivocation - but the uncertainty is still there, nevertheless.

The careful reading of the "Modeling" chapters clearly shows there to be so much discrepancy between model projection and actual climate that no model projection can be given any credibility of accuracy to project the future - and much less, the past.

The GCM modeling is top-weighted for the influence of "greenhouse gas" on the climate.

When that is removed, just look at how much better model reconstruction of the historical climate is.

The people who develop these GCM models know this, but they are too sheepish I guess to come right out and say it.

They'll start doing it soon enough.

Posted by: BrianValentine | September 3, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Capital Climate, Go ahead and call me "sock pupeteer," "denier," "charlatan," "fake," or anything else you want.

Don't bother to read the IPCC Assessment Reports yourselves, however. It's easier to call me a loser and a liar than it is to dig into the matter to find the truth.

Posted by: BrianValentine | September 3, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Sorry about repeated words at the beginning of paragraphs - something seems to happen with the comment system?

Posted by: BrianValentine | September 3, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

The discovery of instances which confirm a theory means very little if we have not tried, and failed, to discover refutations. For if we are uncritical we shall always find what we want: we shall look for, and find, confirmations, and we shall look away from, and not see, whatever might be dangerous to our pet theories. In this way it is only too easy to obtain what appears to be overwhelming evidence in favour of a theory which, if approached critically, would have been refuted. In order to make the method of selection by elimination work, and to ensure that only the fittest theories survive, their struggle for life must be made severe for them.
Karl Popper, The Poverty of Historicism, 1957

A brief postscript to this morning's (UK time) little offering.


Posted by: RCEW | September 3, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Yes now is the time to be ohnest with fellow americans.As epic weather and disasters ramp up to Katrina like and beyond levels people need to know that FEMA and such agencies are disaster relief programs and not a magic insurance policy for all.Fellow Americans can remember being asked what can they do for there country? Well once again being inspired by our President to look out for each other in times of change is a great start.

Posted by: 3DogKnight | September 3, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Those are wonderful sentiments - to look out for each other, and to help each other, and look to see who might need help - whether thay are asking, or they aren't.

Good judgment is needed to decide who might need assistance - if they aren't asking for help directly.

I know I should and can do a lot more.

Posted by: BrianValentine | September 3, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Here's a classic logical blunder, demonstrated by A1965bigdog:

The climate has varied naturally in the past, THEREFORE, "human induced global warming just doesn't exist." The latter is simply not a consequence of the former.

The climate has lots of forcings. No one with a basic understanding of climate science disagrees with this. Solar fluctuations, snow albedo, aerosols, clouds etc. And also greenhouse gases.

The problem with the "It's the Sun wot done it" crowd is that the sun was more intense 30 years ago then now-

The problem with the "it's been cooling since 1998" crowd is that it's ONLY true if you use the very hot El Nino 1998 as your baseline. If you use 1997, 1999, or, say, an average over any X years, bingo, it's hotter now.

The problem with the "there's strong negative feedbacks" crowd is that they have yet to be shown. Lindzen's iris hasn't panned out (the mechanism he was counting on may actually be a weakly positive feedback).

Is there uncertainty in the science? Sure. Enough to discount the forcing of greenhouse gases that was first described by Arrhenius over 100 years ago? No.

Posted by: BCCC | September 8, 2009 8:27 AM | Report abuse

To date, I haven't come up with a method to convince an AGW believer that AGW just isn't there.

Global temperatures themselves are not convincing evidence that AGW isn't right - not for some people anyway.

Now we have people coming up with "twenty years cooling" theories that are somehow "consistent with AGW."

I can explain in 5 minutes what evidence, that if preesnt, would convince me that AGW is valid.

Believers of AGW have not presented (at least to me) what evidence they would need to see for them to conclude that AGW is not valid.

So I am at a stand still of developing an approach that would convince AGW believers that AGW isn't right

That is because, we could push this "20 years more of cooling" or whatever it is off for ever.

Posted by: BrianValentine | September 8, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

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