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Posted at 12:00 AM ET, 12/17/2010

Ear ache

By Tom Toles

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Friday rant: Fool's cold edition

It's cold out! Where's your global warming now? Was this EVER funny? Or is it the wit of a grinning fool? It's hard to think of another word to describe climate change deniers, who have been infesting the comments section here again this week. So I'll stick with fool. Here's the case:

From the start, climate science has reasonably postulated that a large increase CO2, an established heat-trapping gas, could cause a significant shift in the climate that would otherwise not occur. The risks forecast included massive environmental shocks that could affect everything from agriculture to oceans to virtually every ecosystem and its species. This would, on its face, argue for prudence in carbon production, and taking simple, cost-effective steps to reduce it on a long-term basis, until the data suggested the plausible threat had abated, for one reason or another. We chose not to do this for the past couple of decades. Now the science is only more conclusive, and we are still resisting even the reasonable, prudent, risk-hedging responses on the hope, the now willfully-blind hope, that the science is not just imperfect, but ASSUREDLY, COMPLETELY and DELIBERATELY wrong, that in fact it is a purposeful, lying hoax.

The people who have embraced this hallucinogenic all-or-nothing-at-all analysis, have perhaps succeeded in delaying a response to the point where it is now too late. They exult in their certainties and relish each ludicrous joke they make about the subject. The result will be what it will be, and they will have been its handmaidens. There is a word for those who have generated the denialist propaganda (hello Fox News memo) to serve their current profits and pleasure at the expense of the planet and all its ecosystems. Cynics. And there is a word for people who will not take even minimal precautionary steps in the face of large threats and are boastful about it. Fools. --Tom Toles

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By Tom Toles  | December 17, 2010; 12:00 AM ET
 
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Comments

Tom, I like your political insights, bit . . . since I have mt degree in Chemistry, Physics, Math and Philosophy, I've learned that one must begin by questioning the basic assumptions of any theory proposed to explain some previously unexplained phenomena.

From what I's seen so far, there are a lot of questionable assumptions and physical relationships that are being ignored or minimized to justify the conclusion that man's industrialization has caused global warming.

Consider:
Carboniferous Age atmosphere concentration of CO2 is estimated by some investigators to be about 1800 pp, and the average temper at that time was about 18 deg. F higher than now. That's about 5.25 times as much CO2 for average temp. which, though significant is not what the Global Warming predictors are saying. The vast coal deposits and possibly the oil deposits were laid down by plant life forms using up the CO2 and increasing the O2 level to the present concentration.

Another relationship being ignored is the Solar system passing through space as it travels around the Galactic center at something like 230 miles per second. We don't know how our Galactic system is moving. velocity or direction. We don't know the condition of the interstellar gas clouds we may be passing through. We do know there are vast clouds of interstellar hydrogen, the fuel for the solar fusion process providing our energy from the sun. If our Solar system passes through a part of interstellar space with a preponderance of neutron poisons, the temperature of the sun will drop a few tenths of a percent and the earth will be frozen solid. We do know that galaxies have differing trajectories (our galaxy is being in the path of at least one other galaxy right now) so it is not possible to include these variables in the models so they are being ignored.

We must continue basic research!

Posted by: RubberDucky2 | December 20, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

The earth has been warming, and the greenhouse gas hypothesis for it is reasonable. It is not particularly testable and it is far from proven. And if true, there is little reason to believe that we'll be unable to adjust to a warmed earth. Finally, the amount of CO2 reduction needed to head off the supposed calamity is utterly unknown. In fact, it may already be too late to significantly ameliorate the worst of the effects. However, the costs of the proposed change are stunning and immediate.

It would be foolish to follow Toles' liberal pied pipers on a disastrous road of economic contraction to meet emissions goals pulled out of Al Gore's butt.

Posted by: GregS1 | December 19, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

You've just stated that it is happening and it is (in your opinion at least fairly) likely human-caused and that adjustments have to be made and that the level of what adjustments need be made, what it will cost, and how effective it will be needs to be debated. These are things you are absolutely correct about. Those that deny anything at all is happening do nothing to contribute to this discussion.

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | December 19, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Toles doesn't know anything about global warming; someone else wrote this article for him. Toles is a simple-minded, cookie-cutter liberal who is incapable of original thought. Having jumped on the global warming bandwagon, he is now in the uncomfortable position of having to argue that "science" supports his position even though Toles himself is incapable of understanding a single word or equation of it. So Toles support is just another form of liberal belief.

The earth has been warming, and the greenhouse gas hypothesis for it is reasonable. It is not particularly testable and it is far from proven. And if true, there is little reason to believe that we'll be unable to adjust to a warmed earth. Finally, the amount of CO2 reduction needed to head off the supposed calamity is utterly unknown. In fact, it may already be too late to significantly ameliorate the worst of the effects. However, the costs of the proposed change are stunning and immediate.

It would be foolish to follow Toles' liberal pied pipers on a disastrous road of economic contraction to meet emissions goals pulled out of Al Gore's butt.

Posted by: GregS1 | December 19, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

yeah...on another note...the warmer the temps that 'ole hole in the ozone contracts...the colder it is that hole expands...rock and hard place??

Posted by: bertzel | December 18, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

To Rockdoctor and others of similar view: Record-setting winter cold where? In Maine where I now live and throughout New England where I've lived all my life, we have not had a winter in the last dozen that supported iced ponds and lakes from December to March as was the norm in my childhood (50s & 60s). Last year, there was no firm ice on lakes, rivers, and ponds here through most of the state for most of the winter months.

We have had heavy rains in January and February in 2 of the last five years. Precipitation other than snow or sleet has been virtually unknown in those months since this area was settled by Europeans; it has been a land of winter cold by history and tradition.

The expectation that global warming will be uniform and consistently gradual is, as Tom says, the thinking of fools. Climate may have local effects, but it is a global system. Shift things in one place and things change somewhere else. We are altering wind and ocean temperatures and currents. I don't think we're going to like the results.

Posted by: Jazzman7 | December 18, 2010 7:04 AM | Report abuse

I meant GPS daly...sorry.

Posted by: bertzel | December 17, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

GNDlater.

Posted by: bertzel | December 17, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

which joke. cuz now I'm confused )

Posted by: bertzel | December 17, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

huh?

your little joke was funny

but now i am lost

Posted by: dalyplanet | December 17, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Yo daly...ever hear of 'honesty'?

Posted by: bertzel | December 17, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

yeah, now I'm in need of 'the code'. give me a break...

Posted by: bertzel | December 17, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

bertzel

That church thing crossed my mind today speaking fanatically, but I stepped in enough this week (funny stuff)

re yesterday not asthma? maybe eco-anxiety

Posted by: dalyplanet | December 17, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

All this vitriol from the new eco-religious left, yet the only thoughts on the fix come from the cynical fools.

Posted by: dalyplanet | December 17, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

~~~AGW is the new religion it appears.
Posted by: dalyplanet~~

I assume you are speaking fanatically?
I hope so cuz, you know there is that separation of church and state thing.

Posted by: bertzel | December 17, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

dave...nothing but verbiage.
I for one have chickens and protect them...
also have turkeys...protect them as well.
They produce fertilizer, which in turn I use in my garden...just sayin'....

FYI dave I don't waste my time watching the tv shows you people are so crazed about...just like Mickey D's ...you don't like it don't eat it. You DO HAVE A CHOICE.

Posted by: bertzel | December 17, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

By stepping into what they consider their sacred territory of "End Times", AGW has to them become effectively a rival religion. And as we know from observing al Qaeda, or from listening to American conservatives' constant calls to exterminate Muslims, nuke Mecca etc, religious fanatics really hate rival religions.

Posted by: JenDray | December 17, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

AGW is the new religion it appears.

Posted by: dalyplanet | December 17, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

As a student of marketing, I have to give them credit. They're really quite adept at convincing people to vote for them, while at the same time taking the people's money, livelihood, and healthy environment away from them.
Posted by: PrairieDog60

As a student of reality...
I would think people would by now have a problem with FOX guarding the chicken house; this is particularly true when the FOX is feeding the chickens to his buddies.
With bad information comes chaos and with chaos comes death and destruction.
Small errors like saying the wrong thing can cause big disasters in a high-tech society.
Dave

Posted by: OchamsRazor | December 17, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

The "debate" as bertzel calls it, is purely political and ideological. The science is about as definitive as it can be at this point. With each passing year, the models are shown to predict actual temperature change quite well.

http://www.climatewizard.org/docs/Climate%20Models%20-%20Documentation.pdf

I'm not sure exactly how it happened, although it started in the Reagan years, but Republicans can no longer believe in science. If you're an R, and you believe in science, you are ostricized. Luckily there isn't quite as much money to be made trying to debunk evolution as there is trying to maintain the status quo for fossil fuels. Otherwise Fox News would have daily reports of how evolution science was "junk" science and was being manipulated in a great liberal conspiracy.

Now, just a little look back at the Republican Party and the environment.

Teddy Roosevelt was a conservationist and basically started our national parks system. He was a Republican.

Richard Nixon signed the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and NEPA (by the way, whoever posted it, although these are great pieces of environmental legislation, they do NOTHING about carbon dioxide), and he also created...that's CREATED...the EPA by Executive Order. Oh, he also signed one of current Republican's most hated laws, the Endangered Species Act. He was a Republican, by the way.

None of these pieces of legislation would ever make it through a current Senate with enough Republicans to fillibuster it, let alone ever be signed by any of the possible Republican presidential candidates.

So...I'm wondering what's next. If Fox News and Limbaugh, etc., decide that gravity is no longer real (because science says it is), then I guess we shall all start floating a few feet off the ground, yes? Oh, by the way, it wouldn't be just a decision out of the blue for Fox to start saying this. There will have to be some sort of financial incentive for News Corp to make more money by saying it, and for Republicans to stumble into more donors with gazillions of dollars. These are the only true motivations for the Republican party these days (and most Dems for that matter). But they do a really good job of convincing ordinary, hard working folks, that their motivations lie elsewhere...like preventing big government takeovers, and preventing higher taxes, and keeping evil doers from stealing your children, etc.

As a student of marketing, I have to give them credit. They're really quite adept at convincing people to vote for them, while at the same time taking the people's money, livelihood, and healthy environment away from them.

Posted by: PrairieDog60 | December 17, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Those of you who are putting blame on religion for this debate are really grabbing at straws! LOL...

Posted by: bertzel | December 17, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Michael Crichton pointed out some years ago that environmentalism had become the religion of Western elites. The theology of global warming has suffered numerous setbacks including the Wikileaks exposure of the proponent’s deceits to push their phony man-made climate change agenda. There is no evidence to back up the tenets of their religion but it is still pursued by those who want FedGov grants for their pseudo scientific studies. I suppose it is also followed by certain cartoonists who want to keep the favor of their employers who are committed to the hoax for their own political reasons. It is not the climate that is endangered –it is freedom and prosperity that is threatened. Statists find the religion useful in gaining control of vast parts of economies and to control populations as Communism never could. Repent! Give up your cars, your modern conveniences and give up your freedoms to the State and all will be forgiven. Amen.

Posted by: gblumel | December 17, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Tom, most of these people can't even get their arms around the theory of evolution, let alone climate change. Keep fighting the good fight though, I'm rooting for you.

Posted by: wheelman | December 17, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

PrairieDog60

Disagree about degree and speed. You have it in a nutshell.

On one end the change is minimal or invisible to the public and concerns only science geeks, on the other end the oceans rise 30 meters, the whole world changes and every person is aware of climate change.

So far, by the worlds populations actions, the consensus is not much will happen.

Insults and name calling do not illuminate the debate. (not you pdog)

Posted by: dalyplanet | December 17, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

America shouldn’t borrow to rebuild it’s infrastructure. It needs to establish a dedicated revenue stream that’s up for the task.
Posted by: EarlyBird1

My obvious observation…
Why ignore the obvious?

Every Nation has the right and responsibility to regulate its own economy.
That is what China is doing and we have the right and the responsibility to do the same.
We need to establish a new dedicated super fund that rebuilds our infrastructure and protects our environment without taking money out of our economy. That revenue has to be new money super funds as established after World War Two to rebuild nations.
We need to control economics not economics control us. Being slaves to an anal retentive economy is the ultimate foolishness.
Dave


Posted by: OchamsRazor | December 17, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

"Dog...nice post, some of it even sounds familiar. You forgot something tho, even Drs. misdiagnose" posted by bertzel

Yes bertzel. This is why we often seek second opinions. This is also why there are about a dozen different climate models out there, designed and run by different people/groups, and they ALL say basically the same thing. AGW is real. The only ways they disagree are on the degree and speed with which it's happening, and the regional effects.

Posted by: PrairieDog60 | December 17, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

TT -- I'm notone of your fans of global warming- not at all - but I do happen to like earmarks. The more earmarks that you have coming your way, the easier it is for you to come up with names for buildings and bridges and stuff like that for your local thankfuls. Just name your buildings and your bridges after your Congressional-type who added the earmark onto your totally unrelated bill -- the same guy who got you the do-re-mi for the special projects. It's practical, it's easy, and it takes zero imagination.

Posted by: dudeupnorth | December 17, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

In fact you'll get precisely the same kind of hostility from members of the political movement that Americans call "conservatives" if you mention, say, the possibility of a large meteorite impact.

Even though the Moon is visibly pockmarked with craters, and Earth would be too, were it not for erosion. Even though it happened to the dinosaurs (though, of course, most of them deny that too).

I remember one discussion about possible disaster scenarios in which I mentioned that Cumbro Vieja, a volcano in the Canary Islands, was slowly slipping into the sea, and that the scientists monitoring it feared a large sudden landslide which would send a huge tsunami clean across the Atlantic, inundating the US east coast and southern Britain.

An American conservative scoffed and guffawed. Such giant waves never really happened, he said. It was just scaremongering by Chicken Littles. He said this about six months after the Asian tsunami had killed nearly 200,000 people.

Posted by: JenDray | December 17, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Well, Tommy 'ol boy..... fool that I am, I just couldn't help but comment.
This latest rant is a perfect illustration of the problem we "deniers" have with your side. Your pronoucements basically say that "we" have done nothing at all to curb pollution or environmental impact; "We chose not to do this for the past couple of decades.", to quote you directly. Of course, this is preposterous. What have the EPA, NEPA laws and regs,etc. etc. being doing for the last 40 yrs +/-?? Pollution controls on autos, power plants, industry, etc. have reduced emissions to factions of what they were 30-40 yrs ago.
The contrary evidence , and other inconvenient little revelations (aka "climategate"), continue to be ignored and denegrated. Sorry, I see an agenda not based on science but politics, and government control.
And they still can't tell me with the certainty of a "good" climate scientist, whether it's going to rain a week from now.

Posted by: Shrimper | December 17, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

There is no way to penetrate the armour of ignorance that surrounds climate change deniers. One below writes of the "lack of evidence outside of the laboratory" - this after 100 years of steadily rising average temperatures, both in the US and globally, measured by NOAA!

Another talks of "three record setting cold winters in a row", when seven of the ten hottest years in recorded history have occurred since 1997, and the first half of 2010 has already been declared by NOAA the hottest first half-year ever recorded.

Where I think Toles is wrong is in attributing the fanatical fact-avoidance of deniers to economic motives. That's a part of it, but the major cause in my view is often overlooked: superstition.

Never forget that more than half of American conservatives are religious zealots who believe - as all fanatical Christians have believed for 2000 years - that the world is going to end in their lifetime. They have their "prophecies" and are continually trying to squeeze world events into that cookie-cutter mold: Is Obama the antiChrist, etc, etc. That's why they're always trying to start wars in the Middle East - a general conflagration around Israel is an essential precondition, the prophecies say, to their absurd Rapture.

Along comes global warming and it just won't fit. It posits Man as the author of his own downfall. It leaves no role for their angry God. And where's the seven-headed Beast? That's why they attack AGW with such genuinely religious fervour. The same fervour with which they attack evolution. The same way their forefathers attacked Galileo for revealing truths that contradicted their interpretation of scripture.

By stepping into what they consider their sacred territory of "End Times", AGW has to them become effectively a rival religion. And as we know from observing al Qaeda, or from listening to American conservatives' constant calls to exterminate Muslims, nuke Mecca etc, religious fanatics really hate rival religions.

Posted by: JenDray | December 17, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

You really can't debate global warming deniers. They change the subject when their point is challenged...and not because they are wily. Rather, they change the subject because they have the attention span of house cats...that's all that is required to watch Faux Nooz.

There another battles which rational people, i.e. progressives, stand no chance of winning:

Politifact ( http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/ ) named "A government takeover of health care" as the 2010 Lie Of The Year. This lie was in fierce competition with other Republican talking points, but won out because it was so widely repeated by "mainstream" Republicans, Tea Partiers, and conservatives in general. This lie was repeated so often that even I was starting to believe it--at least I never repeated it. The second-place choice for Lie Of The Year was Rep. Michele Bachmann's claim that Obama was going to spend $200 million a day on a trip to India. Is it any wonder why liberals/progressives don't care much about what conservatives have to say? [Not a rhetorical question!]

And yesterday, the results of yet another study came out, confirming the obvious. [Yep, I've watched Fox News.] Fox News watchers are among the least informed/most misinformed of all news consumers. Percentage who believe in falsehoods:

91% believe that the stimulus legislation lost jobs.
72% believe that the health reform law will increase the deficit.
72% believe that the economy is getting worse.
60% believe that climate change is not occurring. [Here we go again!]
49% believe that income taxes have gone up.
63% believe that the stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts.
56% believe that Obama initiated the GM/Chrysler bailout.
38% believe that most Republicans opposed TARP.
63% believe that Obama was not born in the US (or that it is unclear).

I dug deeper. It turns out that people who watch Limbaugh or O'Reilly are among the most well informed--a very surprising result. People who watch Stewart or Colbert are the most well-informed. The main point that was made was that people did not become informed/uninformed by watching these particular news shows. It's thought that people self-select the news that comports with their existing prejudices. I think this is a reasonable conclusion. They are dumb or intelligent coming in--the problem is with those who wish to remain dumb. It's a person right to be dumb. How do we get people to watch news that does NOT comport with existing beliefs and prejudices when it comes to, say, global warming? [Yes, I'm a believer who has spent hard time at AGW denier Web sites.]

Posted by: ptgrunner | December 17, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Dog...nice post, some of it even sounds familiar. You forgot something tho, even Drs. misdiagnose

Posted by: bertzel | December 17, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

wvng...most people start out with 'good intentions'...and I was not 'picking on' scientists per se.
My reference to science was, and is, that it is Not Perfect.

Posted by: bertzel | December 17, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

TT, I know you've tried to stop talking about climate change, and the deniers keep baiting you back in. I suffer from this problem as well.

Lots of talk here about cost. Let's be realistic. Curbing our addiction to fossil fuels has nothing to do with cost. It's all about will. We've spent over a trillion dollars so far on two wars, completely unnecessary, beyond the patriotic "boot in your a**" flag-waving lunacy. Imagine spending that money on a new electrical grid for better electricity distribution, combined with subsides and R&D for all the various alternatives to fossil fuels. You see, we spend ALL kinds of money when we all get the "with us or against us" fervor going.

Step 2, The highest marginal tax rate used to be in the 90% range back in the 1950s. It's in the 30s now. If we REALLY want to create a sustainable energy future, we'd jack those rates back up. It's not going to hurt the economy...anymore that lowering taxes on the rich has helped the economy. This would go a long way toward helping us pay for things we say we can't afford.

But...these things will never happen because the Republican Noise Machine won't ever let people believe that fossil fuels are a bad idea. There's no money or power in it for them.

On an aside, someone mentioned the ozone issue. The reason you don't hear much about it anymore is because we've mostly taken care of it (though ozone depletion in the stratosphere is still happening, it's much less intense and progressive compared to 30 years ago). Why? Because the whole world agreed with the science back in the 70s, signed the Montreal Protocol, and began to phase out CFCs and HCFCs from products like refrigerants and aerosols.

Fossil fuels are finite...they will be gone soon...they are warming our planet...they are causing us to pollute places like the Gulf of Mexico and the remote lands of western Canada (tar sands). So, why not start to move away from them. Do you really need science to say "Yes, we have definitive proof that fossil fuel use causes global warming. Not one of us thinks any different. We are all in agreement!" Is that really what it's going to take? Newsflash: This is impossible. Science is seldom completely that certain about anything.

But...you are all entitled to your "opinions" about global warming and the science. As I've said before, you can continue to tell the doctor that you disagree with the science behind his diagnosis...up until you can't talk or function anymore because the disease he told you was killing you, does exactly that.

Posted by: PrairieDog60 | December 17, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Capn0ok...got that post on file do ya?

Posted by: bertzel | December 17, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

bertzel, the point was that people don't go into science, certainly not climate related fields, to make money. They do it to do science and make discoveries. They can only do that science if their work stands up to the scrutiny of the smartest people on the planet. The process of science is always self-cleansing, always leads toward better understanding (despite the occasional side trip into a blind alley) and has no place for lazy unsupportable work.

The ego of scientists is entirely tied up in getting things right, in making new discoveries that shape man's understanding of the 'verse and stand the test of time. Yes, scientists may decide to work in a particular field because there is funding available in that field, but that has nothing to do with the quality of the science. They want funding so they can do the work, not to get rich.

Posted by: wvng | December 17, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Even if they are at least partially responsible, and could do something about it, humans will never inconvenience themselves in any way to preserve the environment that sustains them. Nothing will change until and unless an environmental disaster thins their numbers. If a disaster does happen, people will attribute it to divine retribution for failure to adhere to ritual with sufficient strictness, or inadequate hostility towards those they perceive as the enemies of their religion. Don’t believe me. Look at the history of Easter Island.
Of course, there is the possibility that fossil fuels will be exhausted before any disastrous “tipping point” is reached. In this case, the resources will be inadequate to maintain current population levels. In which case, everybody left should have been paying attention to the way the Amish live.

Posted by: Capn0ok | December 17, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

wvmg...you are changing the subject at hand by playing mind games.
Which I might add, happens a lot on this blog.
Which group does hara fit into?
If you want to discuss a post of mine I would prefer the entire post be discussed not just a simple 'pullout' ploy.

Posted by: bertzel | December 17, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

bertzel said: " there are those who are looking to ‘cash in’ (make money) whenever possible, for whatever reason." I so love this argument. Let's do a little thought experiment, comparing two groups.

Group one exists in an extremely competitive environment of very smart people, where success is dependent on convincing experts in their field that one's work is worthy of funding and, when the study is done, must pass another expert review gauntlet to get work published in peer reviewed journals. A failure to produce work that stands up to constant expert review and scrutiny ensures failure to remain in this group. Rinse, repeat.

Group two exists in an environment funded by the richest industries in the history of the world, industries that have a short-term bottom line interest in preventing certain information about how the world works and how the world is changing from being accepted by the populace at large. To be a part of that group and reap the financial rewards of serving the interests of the very rich, one must be willing to prostitute one's credentials in service to the noble effort to confuse the public about the work going on in group 1. There is no concern over the quality of the work produced by people in this group, and no effort to do those tedious "studies" and publish results in peer reviewed journals. Studies here consist of looking over work by members of group 1 and finding nits to pick that only have to be superficially reasonable, and then relay those nits out to the unsuspecting public. Keeping them confused. The only requirement to remain in this group is to be successful at confusing the lay public about the issue at hand.

Which of those two groups is "looking to ‘cash in’ (make money) whenever possible, for whatever reason?"

Posted by: wvng | December 17, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

"Only, if evolution can be proved (science) where did the primordial ooze come from?" Okay, don't-need-no-stinkin-science, you have a BETTER answer than Science, than can be proved BETTER than the scientific one?

What is YOUR provable hypothesis?

Posted by: jonroesler | December 17, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse


Ya know Toles, I must confess that I too am curious as to why You are obsessed with AGW. I’ve only crossed your path recently so I really do not know how far back this ‘passion’ of yours goes. You seem to have no problem ‘exposing’ the ‘denialist’s’ reasoning and motives. That is all fine but turn- about is fair play.
I must admit that my curiosity has gotten the better of me. Would you care to explain what or who drove you to be ‘the earth’s spokesman’ in regards to ‘global warming’? Why you are so adamant that All of earths ‘changes’ are because of the way we humans live? Don’t mean to sound cynical or foolish…just asking honest questions here.
Surly you cannot deny the fact that science is Not perfect, and there are those who are looking to ‘cash in’ (make money) whenever possible, for whatever reason.
Therefore no one will ever be in complete agreement…perhaps instead of ‘fact- fighting’ a bit of common sense and compromise would serve us all for the better?
I agree we should do what we can to cut back on ‘pollution’ and mining.
I am pretty sure, tho I have no scientific proof, AGW will not be the cause of our demise…too many other possible scenarios at play. However, that is no reason why we should not be looking for alternative fuel sources and cutting back on ‘pollutants’ (and yes garbage; the verbal, statistical and physical) whenever possible.

And as far as asking the ‘deniers’ to do their own research (as I have seen posted here)or else…right…like the population of this country and the world has nothing better to do than research the cause and effect human life has on this planet.

Whatever happened to the harping of the ozone?
Oh yeah, that was,is…

Posted by: bertzel | December 17, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

The title of today's cartoon, surprisingly, put me in a great mood. Why, you ask: "Earache My Eye" ~Cheech and Chong

"My mama talkin' to me tryin' to tell me how to live, but I don't listen to her 'cause my head is like a sieve ( da na na - da na na- na- na naaaaaaa) "

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wy51CTN6AfE&feature=related

The subject at hand? It is the supreme lack of intellectual curiosity on the part of the deniers that is most disturbing. No, I will not do research for you, I have other things to do. If, and that is a very big "if", you are honestly interested in becoming informed, then do so. Otherwise, I said "Good Day, Sir".

Posted by: pete1013 | December 17, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

on HalflifeToolmaker brightening Tom's day. Turns out not so much:

"The Register demonstrates how climate myths are created

...

So while Page appears to have taken this control figure, subtracted what he thinks is the negative feedback of evapotranspiration, and tells us we no longer have a problem with CO2 concentrations, the researchers who actually wrote the paper came to a completely different conclusion.

"Bounoua stressed that while the model's results showed a negative feedback, it is not a strong enough response to alter the global warming trend that is expected," read the Nasa press release. It even had a quote from lead author Bounoua: "This feedback slows but does not alleviate the projected warming."

...

Hyperbole apart, the Nasa study is important. The idea that evapotranspiration is a significant feedback system is not a new one, but the question is how much of an effect will it have is. Research published in October suggests that evapotranspiration rates are in fact declining, so the negative feedback may turn out to be less than the Nasa study has quantified. (Jung et al, 2010)

Whatever the case, the Register's failure to get figures right, a misunderstanding of what control models are supposed to do, and what appaer to be primary school sums on the back of an envelope combine to create a myth that spreads like a virus through the Internet and is attributed to Nasa.

No doubt those who read it will wonder why the mainstream media is not reporting this stupendous discovery. Must be more of that conspiracy we keep hearing about."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/dec/17/register-climate-myths

Posted by: wvng | December 17, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

"The risks forecast included massive environmental shocks that could affect everything from agriculture to oceans to virtually every ecosystem and its species."

There is one ecosystem that will not be affected - the wealthy. Climate change will create bad spots that were once good and a few good spots that were once bad. The misery will come to those who live in the spots turning bad and don't have the resources to leave or cope.

But if you have the resources to leave the neighborhood when it starts to deteriorate, why worry. Do we really worry about floods in Pakistan and Bangladesh, earthquakes in China, tsunamis in Indonesia, famine in Africa, the destruction of Iraq at our own hands? Well maybe a little if there's no ball game or dance contest on, or the next wet tee shirt contest is a week away?

Why expend resources to help the working classes and the poor avoid or cope with climate change? Any dummy should know that the only thing we have to fear is distribution of wealth. Hey, if its hot turn on the air conditioning!!

Posted by: sherm1 | December 17, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

By the way the strategy below will work about 18 times until the tax rate is eliminated and Republicants just get elected to vote "No" on EVERYTHING!

Posted by: Rudesan | December 17, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

OK, here's how to pass climate legislation and silence the deniers at the same time:
Congress crafts legislation that requires industries to implement mandatory corrections (whatever they are) with incentives for improved technologies (whatever they turn out to be) and then attaches a reduction of 2% to the top tax rate.
Republicants will line up to sponsor the bill, Fox News will get behind it and talk it up on all their programs and the deniers will come around because they believe anything that Glenn Beck says.
And the best part is that we can pay for it all with money from China!

Posted by: Rudesan | December 17, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Well, Tom, you're really going to stir up the Idiot pool with this rant. They cling to their climate denial with a religious fervor reserved only for the denial of evolution, and no, that joke was never funny. What the pin heads don't understand is that the world has gotten warmer by two degrees Fahrenheit around the entire globe and it has changed weather patterns and ecosystems. It affects the jet stream and the ocean currents, which has everything to do with weather. The two degrees causes more water to vaporize into the atmosphere, and what goes up must come down, so we have record rainfall, and floods, and record snowstorms - not 90 degrees in January. It's very simple to understand - and prove, but the deniers resist it like the Scopes Monkey Trial, and I don't know why.

Posted by: B_Al_Zebub | December 17, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Tom,

I'd like to brighten your day like you brighten mine: NASA has discovered that most climate models are overstating the effects of increased CO2 in the atmosphere!

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/12/08/new_model_doubled_co2_sub_2_degrees_warming/

Hope this news and the soon to be lenghtening days make for a Happy and Blessed Christmas for you and yours.

Half

Posted by: HalflifeToolmaker | December 17, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Tom, while you are correct, these people will not change - facts are ignored because they are afraid to ever think for themselves and need someone they admire to tell them what to think. The fact that zero experts (A Climate scientist and there are over a few thousand) have ever published in a peer reviewed paper a denial that AGW isn't true - that fact says it all - people who deney AGW are complete fools, liars or so self serving that they would deney reality to protect these self interests even if it means millions will die (alot like some very evil people in the past - scary.) Those people will never change - the crime is that so many congressmen do the same thing.

For the few who do not believe AGW but desire to learn for themselves, a great site is "Real Climate". There you can read the facts and decide if you believe what the scientist say for your self.

I guess the next thing repub-a-thugs will say is that since it gets cold in winter, AGW must be wrong ... wait, those fools already say that - how stupid can anyone ever get? Looks like we have the answer - the re-thug party.

Posted by: dennispbrown1 | December 17, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Seems Tom and I are on the same page. This was my letter to my local paper last week:

"Brrrrrr. It’s cold outside. I would like to offer the following observations in anticipation of the inevitable people on Fox “News” and AM talk radio and maybe even the hallowed pages of the Moorefield Examiner saying: “Well, sure is awfully cold outside. What is all this about global warming again? Yuck, yuck.”

As our planet warms in response to greenhouse gases emitted from burning of fossil fuels and other human activities, the Arctic Ocean has responded by warming much faster than the rest of the world’s oceans. The resulting loss of Arctic sea ice is changing northern hemisphere ocean currents and atmospheric circulation patterns.

This fall, a massive influx of warm water as much as 9° F above normal flowed up the west coasts of both Greenland and Norway towards the Arctic Ocean. A blocking high developed over Greenland as the unusually warm air rose up from the ocean into the atmosphere. This caused a northern hemisphere weather pattern called the Warm Arctic -- Cold Continents pattern to develop for only the fourth time in 160 years. The air directed south to the US by the new south-of-Greenland high is not only cold, but also picked up a lot more water from the ice-free Arctic so it is also wetter, bringing snow to England, cold to Europe and the north eastern United States.

According to NOAA’s 2010 Arctic Report Card: "There continues to be significant excess heat storage in the Arctic Ocean at the end of summer due to continued near-record sea ice loss. There is evidence that the effect of higher air temperatures in the lower Arctic atmosphere in fall is contributing to changes in the atmospheric circulation in both the Arctic and northern mid-latitudes. … Recent data analysis and modeling suggest a link between loss of sea ice and a shift to an increased impact from the Arctic on mid-latitude climate. … With future loss of sea ice, such conditions as winter 2009-2010 could happen more often. Thus we have a potential climate change paradox. Rather than a general warming everywhere, the loss of sea ice and a warmer Arctic can increase the impact of the Arctic on lower latitudes, bringing colder weather to southern locations.” (http://tinyurl.com/2damqfj)

If the Arctic Report Card is right, this could be the beginning of a long term change in winter weather patterns for the northern hemisphere, with colder, snowier winters in places like Hardy County, WV. Add to that the fact that our summers are likely to become hotter and drier, and it seems we live in very interesting times.

Yuck, yuck, indeed,"

Posted by: wvng | December 17, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Why do liberals have such a problem with life and death? Liberals pass laws to allow for some not to have the opportunity for life and liberals want to pass laws to take everything you earned away upon your death. Is it too much sun worship?

Posted by: jornolibist | December 17, 2010 6:33 AM | Report abuse

Amn brother. But I disagree that there are any relatively easy or painless steps that be taken now that will do any good. We need to move the market away from fossil fuels and that will entail sacrifice, no way around it. And I don't see the Chinese or Indians giving up their hopes for a middle class lifestyle, nor do I see Americans lining up for any kind of sacrifice. So we are good and cooked, no need to kid ourselves, no way around it. We're at the top of the roller coaster and there's no getting off now. Still, would be nice if Americans were willing to make some sacrifices to move the needle now -- show some global leadership, shift some resources toward energy conservation and alternatives -- to head off more wrenching, expensive, and potentially horrific consequences later. Ironically, even as the Chinese build more coal plants than anybody else they are also taking over the market in renewable technology. Once was the day the U.S. wouldn't let a competitor nation get away with that. Well, we are still the best at military technology since that's what our de facto industrial policy favors, and maybe when things go to hell in a handbasket we'll be glad we are. Sorry to say.

Posted by: moore_te | December 17, 2010 2:48 AM | Report abuse

PrairieDog60 and all

This type of anecdotal correlation weakens the science as the causal relationship is rarely established.

Garbage in = Garbage out

I poke a hole in the value added 'proof'

You poke a hole in my poke,

I poke a hole in the hole of your poke of my poke,

and on.

or seriously talk?

and lookout for garbage.

Posted by: dalyplanet | December 17, 2010 1:15 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Toles

OUCH!!! That REALLY hurts.

While it is clear that I am in the 'hope that the science is imperfect' camp, it is because the fix is not simple, easy, or likely cost effective.

Stop using fossil fuel in all world wide electrical production, and do the simple cost effective conservation efforts, and you have cut CO2 output by about half, significantly slowing but not stopping alleged AGW. The only present replacement for the bulk of that ever growing world wide need for electricity is nuclear power and it is also finite, messy, problematic in less stable governments, and dangerous without proper care.

Other possible solution scenarios will make this current recession look like the top of the peak for the worlds economy, and humans in general, way downhill from here. Discussing this issue NOW is not a bad thing. This is not a party line issue.

Posted by: dalyplanet | December 16, 2010 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Tom,

Hope you keep your gig. I like your stuff. Good, biting wit in the cartoons. Oliphant quality.

But re the warming, you said, "the science is not just imperfect, but ASSUREDLY, COMPLETELY and DELIBERATELY wrong, that in fact it is a purposeful, lying hoax." Now I know (because I read what you said) that you don't believe it. Rather the contrary. But there you (and I) have just said it again.

Anything repeated often enough comes to be regarded as true. The brain doesn't know the difference. Evidence: those who repeat their comments without illustration, citation, or reasoning. And will not be stopped because they believe that whatever they say many times will become true. And not all of them are part of the great unwashed (though many, I suspect, are below the age of consent).

Posted by: askalib-CA | December 16, 2010 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Dear Mr.Toles,

Let's see...three record setting cold winters in a row, mysterious disappearing worlds worst hurricane seasons, supposedly disappearing glaciers growing in the southern hemisphere, lying, cheating, obstructionist, warmist scientists faking data, inventing events that never happened. Why do you suppose the public is exhibiting some skepticism over AGW? You know if it was Republicans doing this you'd be all over them.

Get a life Mr. Toles! The world is a much more complicated place than can ever be recreated in all those computer models that fervent warmists invent to support their theories and to keep the grants rolling in. The logic that is being used is the same straight line methodology that stated that house values would increase forever, that the market could never collapse, that some companies are too big to fail.

Climate change has being going on for the last 4.5 billion years and to be honest, Mother Nature doesn't give a damn about us. The seas rose and fell, the glaciers advanced and retreated, the sun went through warming and cooling cycles long before the first human being strode across the plains of Africa. It is somewhat arrogant to suppose that we are the single most important factor in the future of this planet.

And as for greenhouse gases try water vapour. It's much more efficent than carbon dioxide and there is so much more of it. Perhaps you'd like to initiate a UN conference on the reduction of clouds in the atmosphere?

Mr. Toles, you are supposed to professional skeptic so why do you take all these warmists at face value? What is it the police say...follow the money. It might be a revelation. You might find that it's politics as usual.

Posted by: RockDoctor | December 16, 2010 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Whatever are we supposed to do about China's "footprint"? Answer: We can do nothing, because it's China!

Posted by: chaunceygardener | December 16, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

So the solution to climate-gate is for everyone to stay home and not drive to work.

Posted by: quiensabe | December 16, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Well that's one idea. There may however be something in between "nobody ever drives anywhere" and handing out Hummers to everyone in the world. Maybe. Some kind of not-entirely-extreme steps that could be affordable and even beneficial in other ways besides reducing carbon emissions. I know I sound crazy here but I just might be on to something.

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | December 16, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

As liberalism implodes on itself....people are probably telecommuting from a beach side chaise lounge on Waikiki or some other warmer location.

Posted by: billybeer6 | December 16, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

If the cost of adapting to minimize the proposed damage to our atmosphere was negligible, than this would not be a controversial issue. On the other hand, if the costs were in the Trillions to make the changes required by the proponents of AGW, then the burden of proof becomes appropriately higher.
Given the lack of evidence outside of the laboratory, the lack of historical examples, and the complete inadequacies of the computer models used to make predictions, I think it is fair to say they haven't reached that point of certainty yet.
Ignoring this basic reality is the ultimate in denial.

Posted by: natecar | December 16, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

When I was a kid a shop had "I'll pay him, he'll pay you, and you can pay me" on its window. Bill Shakespeare said "Tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in to this petty pace from day to day...It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing."

So the solution to climate-gate is for everyone to stay home and not drive to work. After all, it's science. You yourself said it: "Now the science is only more conclusive." Again, I say, is this science like the science of evolution as you refer to it? You've just about got me convinced about that. Only, if evolution can be proved (science)where did the primordial ooze come from?

Amazing stuff, ain't it? Oh, it couldn't have come from a consensus of fools, could it?

Posted by: quiensabe | December 16, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Thank God for the sane voice of a cartoonist in regard to anthropomorphic global climate disruption. Who better to explain the complex theories of, and help us mere mortals understand, the settled science of the Earths ever changing climate?

If only AlGore could draw funny pictures and make cute little observations the world might be saved.

Posted by: beefeater | December 16, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Hear, hear!

Posted by: jonroesler | December 16, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Well put.

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | December 16, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

America shouldn’t borrow to rebuild it’s infrastructure. It needs to establish a dedicated revenue stream that’s up for the task.

Gasoline taxes currently do fund infrastructure, but that’s not nearly enough money.

A financial transactions tax on stocks, commodities, currency exchanges, credit default swaps and derivatives at a rate of 0.1% would be about the right amount needed to fix America’s infrastructure and fund it’s continuous upgrades forever.


Posted by: EarlyBird1 | December 16, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Yo Tom,

Good to hear you back ranting about climate change. I’ll keep ranting about infrastructure as a way of hiring the 25% of construction workers who are unemployed in America to fix the 2 trillion dollars worth of work estimated by the American Society of Civil Engineers with money borrowed at historic lows.

By the way, our rants intersect because better infrastructure means less traffic jams, less pollution while stuck in traffic and more commuting by rail and broadband.

Less than a week till the days begin to get longer….hope your SADD gets better as the days lengthen.

Posted by: EarlyBird1 | December 16, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

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