Counties where adults discuss global warming at least occasionally. The west part of the country is far more involved in the climate change conversation. Credit: Yale University.

Most Americans believe climate change is real but the media war on science clearly shows its teeth

On Wednesday, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D) gave his 163rd “Time to Wake Up” address on climate change in front of his colleagues from Congress informing them that most Americans believe climate change is real. Whitehouse cited a recent study released by Yale University scientists to highlight the gap between what lawmakers say and do in Congress and what their constituents really think and expect from their elected representatives.

According to the Yale study, 70% of Americans believe in climate change. That might sound like good news but there are a couple of caveats that we need to pay attention to. For instance, the same study found only 53% of Americans believe climate change is caused by human activity. In other words, one in two people thinks the direction climate is heading is completely natural or impossible to influence, which is just borderline better than outright climate change denial.

What can explain these stats in light of an overwhelming scientific consensus? It’s the media war on science, of course. The Yale survey found 49 percent of people thought that “most scientists think global warming is happening,” when in fact 97% of climate scientists agree climate change is not only happening but is caused by humans. It reminds me of the confusion around the health risks of smoking tobacco. Despite the fact that ever since the freaking 1950s an overwhelming majority of doctors cautioned patients that smoking can kill, the general public was polarized by Big Tobacco marketing campaigns and bogus cherry-picked studies made by ill-intentioned scientists or no real scientists at all, for that matter. Almost everyone nowadays knows smoking kills and it would be silly to think otherwise because you just can’t keep the lid on this kind of thing for too long — but just a few decades ago things weren’t that clear in the eyes of the general public.

So the confusion among the general public is understandable when you realize the country’s biggest broadcast networks collectively aired shows or news covering climate change for no more than 50 minutes for the whole year of 2016. That’s how much time the planet and the livelihoods of millions of species are worth to them. When they do talk about climate change or events under a climate change lens, often there are no real scientists invited to the discussion or, worse, they air climate denialism.

With half the population of the country dazed and confused, this Presidential Administration feels legitimized to undo policies that were actually helping the environment and enacting policies that will make it worse. The most recent attack on climate and science, in general, was last week’s executive order to destroy the Clean Power Act under which hundreds of new power plants would have been closed and replaced with renewable energy. The idea is to make ‘coal great again’, you know, last century’s tech which has been getting killed by the market for years. Reviving coal use is like trying to put back horse drive carriages on the road. Pure lunacy, just like one of the most embarrassing anti-science hearing ever that took place recently. Last week was a ‘good one’.

“Typical for this insider friendly administration. It’s a polluter’s wish list that’s terrible for the American people. ‘Sad,’ as the President would say,” Sen. Whitehouse spoke in front of Congress colleagues.

“The question of carbon dioxide as a polluter has been settled by the Supreme Court. So you have as a matter of law a dangerous pollutant and under the law it must be regulated. So this performance by the Trump show is a waste of time because ultimately lawyers and courts will give ‘the law’ — the final say,” he later added.

Yet again, it seems policy makers act with total impunity against the wishes of their constituents. The Yale study found 82 percent of respondents said the country should fund research into renewable energy sources. Moreover, 75 percent said the government should regulate CO2 as a pollutant.

If you feel justifiably underrepresented by these recent developments, don’t stand idle. Write to your senator letting him or her know that what you care about stands in stark contrast to Congress and Oval Office action. But before you do that, talk to your friends and family about this. A previous study found two-thirds of Americans are worried about climate change but rarely talk about it publically.

Counties where adults discuss global warming at least occasionally. The west part of the country is far more involved in the climate change conversation. Credit: Yale University.

Counties where adults discuss global warming at least occasionally. The west part of the country is far more involved in the climate change conversation. Credit: Yale University.

 

86 thoughts on “Most Americans believe climate change is real but the media war on science clearly shows its teeth

  1. my7mgt

    Likewise, a much heralded claim that 97 per cent of scientists believed the planet was overheating came from a 2008 master’s thesis by a student at the University of Illinois who obtained her results by conducting a survey of 10,257 earth scientists, then discarding the views of all but 77 of them. Of those 77 scientists, 75 thought humans contributed to climate change. The ratio 75/77 produced the 97-per-cent figure that global warming activists then touted.
    From FP

  2. Ron M

    My7mgt It's incredibly that your spewing this fake news. Give the name, article, date, thesis paper anything to support your claim. Provide a link to FP to your silly facts.

  3. gmarmot

    For anyone who seeks verified actual science rather than mere hot air: During 2013 and 2014, only 4 of 69,406 authors of peer-reviewed articles on global warming, 0.0058% or 1 in 17,352, rejected AGW. Thus, the consensus on AGW among publishing scientists is above 99.99%, verging on unanimity. The U.S. House of Representatives holds 40 times as many global warming rejecters as are found among the authors of scientific articles. The peer-reviewed literature contains no convincing evidence against AGW."
    http://bst.sagepub.com/content/early/2016/04/25/0270467616634958.abstract

    "2016 was the hottest year in 137 years of record keeping and the third year in a row to take the number one slot, a mark of how much the world has warmed over the last century because of human activities" states NASA and NOAA
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/2016-was-the-hottest-year-on-record/?WT.mc_id=SA_ENGYSUS_20170119

    "Most of the warming occurred in the past 35 years, with 15 of the 16 warmest years on record occurring since 2001."
    http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

    And from the World Meteorological Organization:
    http://www.wmo.int/media/content/record-global-temperatures-and-high-impact-weather-and-climate-extreme

    Why does the U.S. military make statements like these?:
    http://www.defense.gov/News/Article/Article/612710
    http://www.navy.mil/navydata/documents/CCR.pdf
    http://web.ornl.gov/sci/knowledgediscovery/Langley/docs/Langley_Air_Force_Base2.pd
    "We see the rising sea levels and flooding events,” said Capt. Dean VanderLey, who oversees Navy infrastructure in the mid-Atlantic region. “We have a responsibility to prepare for the future. We don’t have the luxury of just burying our heads in the sand.” W.J. Hennigan, Los Angeles Times, Nov 11, 2016

    Here's another 197 legitimate science organizations worldwide who write about it: http://opr.ca.gov/s_listoforganizations.php

    Not enough? How about these:
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/donner-the-kiribati-people-battle-sea-level-rise-slide-show/
    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/03/27/world/climate-rising-seas.html?_r=0
    http://ocean.nationalgeographic.com/ocean/critical-issues-sea-level-rise/
    http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science_and_impacts/impacts/infographic-sea-level-rise-global-warming.html
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2015/05/11/sea-level-rise-global-warming-climate-change/27119957/
    http://www.geo.cornell.edu/eas/energy/the_challenges/global_climate_change.html http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v517/n7535/full/nature14093.html
    http://www.voanews.com/content/scientists-say-global-sea-level-rise-happening-now-is-unavoidable/2934266.html

    On Thursday, U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced a new report revealing that three-quarters of 276 national parks are experiencing an earlier onset of spring. Half of the parks studied are experiencing “extreme” early springs.
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/10/climate-change-national-parks-early-spring/

    Arctic areas are now experiencing dramatic weather change:
    http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/projects/protecting-life-in-the-arctic/life-in-the-arctic/arctic-challenges
    "Melting Permafrost Could Affect Weather Worldwide"
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/melting-permafrost-could-affect-weather-worldwide/?WT.mc_id=SA_FB_ENGYSUS_NEWS
    https://nsidc.org/cryosphere/arctic-meteorology/climate_change.html
    http://climate.nasa.gov/news/958/
    http://dels.nas.edu/resources/static-assets/materials-based-on-reports/booklets/ArcticMatters.pdf
    http://www.ibtimes.com/exxon-arctic-drilling-benefitting-global-warming-oil-company-denied-climate-change-2136118
    http://climate.nasa.gov/interactives/global-ice-viewer/#/3

    Countries have recently reported record temperatures, such as India's 124 degrees:
    http://edition.cnn.com/2016/05/20/asia/india-record-temperature

    India 2016, 330 million people have extreme water shortage, and it will get far worse:
    https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/apr/27/india-drought-migrants-heagd-to-cities-in-desperate-search-for-water

    Very soon, there are going to be approaching well over 1.7 billion people on this planet with no water.
    "The Hindu Kush, Karakoram, and Himalaya (HKKH) mountain ranges feed the most important Asian river systems, providing water to about 1.5 billion people."
    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JHM-D-13-0196.1 and:
    "Since the mid-1970s, the area covered by glaciers in Peru’s Cordillera de Vilcanota range has nearly halved"
    https://www.newscientist.com/article/2108455-ancient-andes-glaciers-have-lost-half-their-ice-in-just-40-years/

    "In 1850, at the end of the Little Ice Age, there were an estimated 150 glaciers in the area that is now Glacier Park. By 1968, these had been reduced to around 50. Today the number of glaciers in the park is 25, and this is occurring worldwide":
    https://www.nps.gov/glac/learn/education/glaciers.htm

    To make matters worse, 56 million years ago, a fairly short time ago geologically speaking, AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) approached what we're currently doing: "During the PETM [time period] temperatures rose by as much as 8 °C (over 14F) and geological evidence suggests that the effect on Earth’s life was tremendous. Massive extinction events ensued both on land and in the seas, accompanied by massive mammal migration to northern, friendlier climates. Polar ice melted completely and sea levels rose dramatically all around the globe, with effects being felt for at least 200,000 years." "even with these changes, many researchers believe today's man-made changes surpass anything we’ve seen during PETM. As a result, the consequences will also be more dramatic. Just earlier this year, a study led by Richard Zeebe of the University of Hawaii found that humans are now pumping carbon into the atmosphere 10 times faster than whatever natural forces drove the PETM." The key thoughts here are that many researchers believe that our changes from AGW will result in even more severe climate change than occurred then. We're apparently going to commit suicide instead of making a serious attempt to change.
    https://dev.zmescience.com/science/news-science/collision-petm-climate-change-14102016/?utm_source=ZME+Science+Newsletter&utm_campaign=b903ab3882-ZME_Science_Daily3_6_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3b5aad2288-b903ab3882-242599825&ct=t(ZME_Science_Daily11_8_2014)

    "one-fifth to half of the airborne CO2 released by human industry so far and in the next 100 years will still be present in the atmosphere by the year 3000. Combine CO2 persistence with the inertia of seas and it can mean sea level rise might go on at least 10 or more millennia—the unimaginable." "adding 5 degrees F of warming is very imaginable, given current trends of increasing CO2. So it is reasonable to imagine seas 60 feet higher. That would render all of Florida a memory, almost all of New York City, much of the Eastern seaboard, parts of the Western U.S. and Gulf Coasts"
    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/exposed-the-climate-fallacy-of-2100/?WT.mc_id=SA_ENGYSUS_20161020

  4. Jim Burgess

    Not the 97% nonsense again. How can anyone believe that 97% of scientists could agree on anything let alone something as complex as the climate and that a trace atmospheric gas might be the main driver causing it. Many factors are involved. Only the most scientifically ignorant would ever agree that the science is settled.

  5. Airis Damon

    You blinded me with SCIENCE! Thanks for posting this. This is more than I have seen any commmenter do, especially from Mr. Burgess.

  6. Ron M

    Good job a lot of great information, unfortunately the Climate Change denier's will still call all this Fake News

  7. David Hamilton

    Interesting – the 97% figure I've seen relates to the ratio of papers, not the consensus of scientists themselves. Either these two data points have been conflated somehow, or the two types of survey coincide on the same number.

    The survey of the papers was conducted by Skeptical Science ( https://skepticalscience.com/97-percent-consensus-cook-et-al-2013.html ), and they can be thought to have an agenda, but the data can be checked by anyone interested via a project on their site: https://skepticalscience.com/tcp.php

  8. David Hamilton

    Science is never completely settled, which is fine when the subject matter is academic with no impact on people and the world around us. But when it relates to areas that do have an impact, and therefore require policy changes and action to mitigate those impact, then some concept of 'consensus' needs to be applied.

    Similarly, there can be no certainty in predictions about the future – everything is a probability. But if astronomers made a prediction of, say, a 80% chance of a large body impacting earth in the near future, that would be enough for people to demand some plan of action. To cling on to the 20% chance that the event might not happen would be regarded as optimistic folly.

    Just because climate change isn't as obvious and tangible threat as a huge meteorite impact doesn't mean we should start framing the (non-scientific) debate in different terms and start asking if the "science is settled".

  9. Gallilao

    There is no such thing as climate science! AGW is a fraud and the proponents there of would destroy our future if we let them.
    CO2 is a blessing and a gift for the prosperity for all, in the future, provided we can keep increasing it. CO2 that is!

  10. Gallilao

    When climate scientists actually accept the real science, then they can call themselves scientists, until then they are just a bunch of meteorologists and meteorology is not science, it is guess-work and guess-work is the antithesis of science and those calling themselves climate scientists are frauds!

  11. Robert

    But noted trends are. Thus, the (mostly the) meaning of peer reviewed concerning scientists, the ones actually doing experiments necessary to notice the trends.
    Of course, the problem with non skeptics is that most think we can do with LESS energy…

  12. Robert

    Just as important as global warming is the need for FAR more energy (don't let anyone tell you otherwise).
    Think ahead…

  13. gmarmot

    Opinion? You post absolutely no references of any kind and then state that my references are opinion? You might consider taking some actual science at a university before making a fool of yourself.

  14. Robert

    I see, an argument that suggests one thing leads s to another different thing, until true=false. Nice try!

  15. Robert

    The science of greenhouse gases IS settled, just not the extent of future damages and future emissions, obviously.

  16. my7mgt

    Enjoy…please also read, Kyoto Protocal and Agenda 21

    http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/lawrence-solomon-finally-its-safe-for-the-whistleblowers-of-corrupted-climate-science-to-speak-out
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyUDGfCNC-k

    "The common enemy of humanity is man. In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. All these dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself." – Club of Rome, premier environmental think-tank, consultants to the United Nations

    "We need to get some broad based support, to capture the public's imagination… So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements and make little mention of any doubts… Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest." – Prof. Stephen Schneider, Stanford Professor of Climatology, lead author of many IPCC reports

    "We've got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy." – Timothy Wirth, President of the UN Foundation

    "No matter if the science of global warming is all phony… climate change provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world." – Christine Stewart, former Canadian Minister of the Environment

    "The data doesn't matter. We're not basing our recommendations on the data. We're basing them on the climate models." – Prof. Chris Folland, Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research

    "The models are convenient fictions that provide something very useful." – Dr David Frame, climate modeler, Oxford University¬¬

  17. Ron M

    Well I'm not going to try and change your mind. Even if Climate Change wasn't real. I still prefer to get energy from the most productive fusion reactor the SUN. We now can produce clean energy in many areas with solar and wind for less than fossil fuels. Adding storage to the equation only increases the viability. Throw in continued innovation I see no reason to take a single step backwards. But hey that's just me if you want to burn coal and oil it's your choice just don't stop me from pursuing alternatives.

  18. David Hamilton

    Says the non-scientific, pick a dogma first, then cherry-pick the 'facts' to support your case second world.
    Thank you for expressing the gulf in world-views between science (data-first) and politics/media (data last)!

  19. Jim Burgess

    How can it possibly be settled? The correlation between atmospheric CO2 and global temperatures is terrible. How would you explain the rapid warming that occurred during 1910-1940 when CO2 is acknowledged as not a factor? How would you explain the cooling phase from 1940-1970 when CO2 in the atmosphere increased by about 17% – you may remember the global cooling scare in the 1970's – also thought to result from increased CO2 levels. How would you explain the several hundred year lag in CO2 relative to temperatures from the ice core data? And what about the PAUSE – according to the gold standard RSS satellite data there was no warming from 1998 to present during which time there was a significant increase in CO2.

  20. Jim Burgess

    You have mentioned data – which data supports CO2 induced global warming? I have yet to see this definitive data. You mention cherry picking data – both pro- and anti-AGW groups are guilty of this. Anyone can pick a time frame to support their theory or damage an opposing theory. Changes in solar activity make more sense for the recent increases in global warming. IMO – over population and resource depletion will be the downfall of humans well before any asteroid impact or climate catastrophe. In the meantime I am all for cleaning up the environment and conservation of our important fossil fuel reserves. CO2 is not a pollutant and GHG theory has not been proven.

  21. Jim Burgess

    Any scientist would find these results to be very improbable. Can any scientist believe that 97% of scientist could ever agree on anything as complex as the climate and that a trace gas(es) are the only, or main, driver behind climate change. Give your head a shake. Re the skeptical science survey perhaps it was not noted that of the 12000 abstracts examined 8,000 did not express an opinion. Of the 8500 authors asked to participate only 1200 responded and of the 2100 papers examined only 2/3 expressed an opinion – however it is not noted what the opinion was – pro or anti-AGW. Any competent statistician (or politician) could make these numbers come to the opposite conclusion.

  22. Gallilao

    Glad to hear it, hope it happens around here. This has been the coldest and wettest winter in decades.
    Thank God the climate is still changing, as it always has!

  23. Gallilao

    No they don't, our food production improves when the climate is warmer and drier, as it was a few years back but the climate keeps changing from year to year, as it always has. Some years are better than others. Sure wish it warm up!

    The most pitiful things are your arguments.

  24. Jim Burgess

    Can't really comment on the poll you presented since it's not an open access site. I don't see how 99.99% is possible given the various petitions I have seen (the Oregon petition project had over 31,000 signatures, the Stockholm Initiative with 1200 signatures, a petition in Canada with over 500 signatures). It's fake news as Trump would say and damaging to any efforts to further our understanding of climate change. Regardless, I would have fit into the dubious 99.99% because I believe that AGW will have a small almost negligible effect. Increased CO2 is more likely to benefit mankind, through increased crop yield, especially if we don't do anything to curb population growth.

    Regarding global temperatures – I prefer the RSS satellite data to the land-based sensors. The satellite data is the gold standard because it measures the entire earths surface whereas the land-based sensors are poorly distributed around the world and often poorly maintained – they are heavily concentrated in the Northern Hemisphere and often located in heat sinks. The Southern hemisphere and Antarctica are not as well represented. In contrast to the land-based sensors which provide the media with new temperature records on a month by month basis the satellite data shows that there has been no significant increase in global temperatures since 1998.

    What's more the correlation between atmospheric CO2 and global temperatures is terrible. How would you explain the rapid warming that occurred during 1910-1940 when CO2 is acknowledged as not a factor? How would you explain the cooling phase from 1940-1970 when CO2 in the atmosphere increased by about 17% – or the global cooling scare in the 1970's – also thought to result from increased CO2 levels. How would you explain the several hundred year lag in CO2 relative to temperatures from the ice core data? And what about the PAUSE – according to the gold standard RSS satellite data there was no warming from 1998 to present during which time there was a significant increase in CO2.

    Solar activity makes more sense and with a much better correlation. The end of the Maunder Minimum mid 1800's ended the Little Ice Age and according to the Max Planck Institute solar activity continued to increase until the late 1900s and plateaued at an 8000 year high.

  25. Gallilao

    I too trumpet the merits of conserving petroleum. Petroleum is our only source of indestructible plastic and much as some people may see only the negative and ignore the positive, the fact is that those indestructible plastics are indispensable in some applications and some of those applications are in the sustainable energy industry. In other words, we will need the petroleum to generate renewable energy in the future, rather than just burning it and loosing any further benefits, because petroleum based plastics are infinitely recyclable and reusable. No waste.

    The problem is that then we need to find another plentiful source of CO2 and a dispersion mechanism.

    The necessary increase in atmospheric CO2 is vital to all life on this planet. The atmospheric levels are the lowest they have been in 4 Billion years and our planet is starving as a result. If you want your cattle to grow and thrive, you have to feed them. And that applies to all life, right down to the bottom of the food chain, and CO2 is the food, at the bottom of the food chain, so if we are going to farm this planet in an eco-friendly way, we want to increase the food at the bottom of the food chain, so all life may thrive! By increasing CO2 we can reduce the need for chemical fertilizers and maybe get rid of all those algal blooms in the oceans, around the planet. Increasing CO2 also reduces the demand for water, which increases greening, which conserves more water and increases greening, in a feed back loop.

    We already know how to artificially create most of what we need but we can’t do that without the raw materials and most of those can or could come from vegetable matter, like corn based plastics; we just need to be able to produce enough to supply our worldly needs and enough to feed ourselves as well. If our fish stocks are low, it’s not because of over fishing, it is because of underfeeding!

    We need to increase the food at the bottom of the food chain so everything else can thrive!

    That means………MORE CO2!

  26. David Hamilton

    If you'd read anything about food production, you'd know that it requires a combination of the right amount of rainfall, fertile soils, day length, together a lack of destructive events such as frosts and pre-harvest storms (for instance, you may have read about the French grape harvests being impacted in recent years by an increase in destructively heavy hailstorms). The result is that, even with modern agriculture, you can't just grow anything, anywhere.
    The one thing that we can be pretty certain about climate change is that the local climate patterns will change in unpredictable ways, and given that our crops are optimised for the current local climate, changing that… well, you do the math, as the saying goes.
    I'm fascinated, however, about why you're so emotionally invested in arguing against AGW: Is it a financial interest, or some socio-political dogma, or even that you just don't like being told that you might have to change your lifestyle( a bit)?

  27. David Hamilton

    What data? Hmmm, you mean apart from the very well known facts such as:
    * that CO2 absorbs more of the electromagnetic spectrum at the frequencies of radiation headed outbound from the earth than those of the inbound sunlight
    * that half a century ago scientists had observed that the planet Venus was much hotter than would be expected, even due to its location nearer the sun, and concluded that a major contributor was the CO2-rich atmosphere (because of differential absorption, see above). At the time, it was uncontroversial since it was on another planet, and so our politicians didn't see the need to challenge and try to rewrite the science.
    * that ice-core data shows a very strong correlation between temperature rises and increases in CO2 and methane (see first point for causation).

    That you apparently know none of the (most basic) science behind this suggests your knowledge of the subject comes purely from politicians and/or political websites. Unfortunately they're victim to a cognitive bias called the Dunning-Kruger effect – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning–Kruger_effect – which, in short, means that the less someone knows about a subject, the more confident they are of their knowledge (and their ability to make pronouncements on that subject).

  28. David Hamilton

    Maybe it's because those scientists have read the 2000 page IPCC AR5 report, and many of the 9200 research papers that contributed to it. (Unlike you, pretty evidently.)
    The world is definitely very complicated, but we now have a huge amount of data on it.
    Also, the science is reported in terms of probabilities and confidence levels (because it relates to the future – duh!). Unlike the politicians who make statements of complete confidence on things about which they know very little (c.f. Dunning Kruger).

  29. Jim Burgess

    Nice try David we have sparred before. You may know that water vapour also is a greenhouse gas. H2O would capture much more of the IR radiation greatly diminishing the CO2 effect. If we factor in naturally occurring CO2 versus man-made CO2 the anthropogenic effect decreases to a minuscule, probably undetectable, amount. Not sure what the proportions of natural versus anthropogenic CO2 are in atmosphere – I have seen estimates of 97% natural/3% anthropogenic – but not sure I trust these values. Suffice it to say – there is much more naturally occurring CO2 out there. Another problem with CO2 is that it absorbs and emits energy only at very cold temperatures (-70 C and colder) so I'm not sure how much energy the second law of thermodynamics would allow to be transferred back to the warmer earths surface. Water vapour on the hand absorbs and emits energy at temperatures much better aligned with the earths surface and lower atmosphere and its absorption spectrum somewhat overlaps with that of CO2.

    Venus is an interesting situation. There is CO2 there but it is also known that the atmosphere is much denser than earths due to its greater size and gravity. Is it the denser atmosphere or the CO2, or both, that provides the greenhouse on Venus. I seem to recall reports that the surface of Mars and Venus are warming recently similarly to earth despite the lack of humans on these planets. I won't belabor this point because I would have to review this evidence.

    Lastly not sure where you are going with the ice core data. It has been published in several peer-reviewed articles in top quality journals (if you want I can send refs) that warming precedes increases in CO2 levels by several hundred years – this is because the oceans warm slowly and CO2 is less soluble in warm water. So in this case warming precedes CO2 and not the other way around. I would assume that coming out of the Little Ice Age that increased solar activity has warmed the oceans somewhat and has caused degassing of CO2. So how much of this recent CO2 increase is anthropogenic and how much is natural.

  30. Jim Burgess

    David – please tell me that you don't believe that any scientist has read 9200 research papers in the 20 years that global warming/climate change has been an issue. I readily agree that I sure haven't. If you tell me that you have I will call you a liar. If you believe that any climate scientist has read this number of papers on the subject you are delusional. Climate change involves many scientific disciplines and it is impossible that any one scientist would understand all the papers in these varied disciplines.

    You're darn right the world is complicated – so why has the green crowd simplified it down to a single trace gas?Probabilities and confidence levels are fine until the models they are based on turn out to be crap.

  31. gmarmot

    I'm not understanding the data you present. Who and when were thousands of petitions signed in Oregon, Stockholm, and Canada, and for what purpose? Were they signed by meetings of scientists working in the climatology or related fields? I'm interested in peer reviewed science directly related to climate change. What you or I personally believe is not relevant. I worked for the military and NOAA in meteorology for several years, but would not begin to feel qualified to answer questions concerning climate change. I can, however, provide the virtually undisputed consensus that the earth is warming, that AGW is a large part of the cause, and that mankind is going to face a crises from this.
    When you state that you are dubious of AGW, I would ask what your educational and work background is and for what time period, as if its not in an appropriate field at an appropriate time, its irrelevant.
    "And what about the PAUSE – according to the gold standard RSS satellite data there was no warming from 1998 to present during which time there was a significant increase in CO2." My knowlege of your "pause" shows that it does not exist, in fact exactly the opposite occurred despite a deep solar minimum: "Most of the warming occurred in the past 35 years, with 15 of the 16 warmest years on record occurring since 2001. The year 2015 was the first time the global average temperatures were 1 degree Celsius or more above the 1880-1899 average. Even though the 2000s witnessed a solar output decline resulting in an unusually deep solar minimum in 2007-2009, surface temperatures continue to increase."
    https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/
    Why does the military make its statements? The WMO, Scientific American etc? Why have mountain glaciers disappeared from Glacier National Park since the late 1800s? As a retired BLM/National Park Ranger I backpacked there in 1972, and again 3 years ago: no comparison. I don't expect anyone to listen to me but:
    "In 1850, at the end of the Little Ice Age, there were an estimated 150 glaciers in the area that is now Glacier Park. By 1968, these had been reduced to around 50. Today the number of glaciers in the park is 25, and this is occurring worldwide":
    https://www.nps.gov/glac/learn/education/glaciers.htm
    The bottom line is that I'll listen to published experts around the world. Rather than attempting to show disputing results, please supply peer reviewed studies from legitimate experts and conclusions by legitimate organizations. I simply do not understand how anyone can state, without proof, that climate experts worldwide don't know what they are doing, but you do.

  32. David Hamilton

    I didn't say that any scientist had read them all – you're making up your own arguments to rebut.
    But the IPCC AR5 is the distillation of 9200 papers – that's a hell of a lot of work, a hell of a lot of data.

    Well, because that single gas – trace is a ridiculous term to use, as a 'trace' of soluble plutonium could wipe out tens of thousands of people – has gone from 270 ppm to 407 ppm in a very short time.

    If that change were happening that rapidly for any other gas, people would be demanding that scientists find an explanation. But here, you're demanding that scientists shouldn't. Why? What's your agenda? Why are you so emotionally invested in a single gas?

    As for models: well, 'crap' is ridiculous word to use. Anyone who has worked with models understands that they are an estimation of a complex reality*, used to improve understanding of that reality, and giving the ability to make probabilistic predictions. Any model is continuously updated against new findings and then tuned to take the new data into account.

    You seem to have a huge cognitive dissonance here: You say the world is complex, and yet you say that models to help us understand it are 'crap'. It's almost like you don't want us to understand what's going on. Why? What's your agenda?

    * Note: Apart from financial models. Bankers believe that their models are actually reality, it seems. Which is most likely a major cause of our economic problems. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

  33. David Hamilton

    So estimates of pre-industrial CO2 levels range between 260-280 ppm. Let's be generous and say 280 ppm. The value is now 407 ppm, so that's an increase of 127 ppm – 31% is new.
    Yet you cite that only 3% (12 ppm) is man-made. Where do you claim that the other 28% (115 ppm) has come from?

    The ice core data is interesting for two reasons:
    The graphs of temperature, CO2 and CH4 correlate very closely during the large, ~10C, shifts that occurred. This strongly indicates a positive feedback effect between the 3. If that is happening now then we have real problems to deal with.
    It highlights the cherry-picking of you and other anti-AGW debaters. Almost all the instances CO2 lags temperature, and yet you fixate on the one instance where it's the other way round. Obsessive!!

    Finally – you argue that these changes might be happening naturally. If that is the case, then by adding 9 billion tonnes of CO2 every year, we're doing the equivalent of pouring gasoline on a building that's already on fire.

    Causing a problem is dumb, exacerbating an existing problem is doubly dumb.

  34. Robert

    So it's cool to just keep on ratcheting up the level without concern simply because of some natural phenomenon was greater than the little bit we emitted in the past…
    Of course, is not ok for politicians to use it as an excuse to tax and destroy our rights (and to unlimited energy). The made everything so expensive and even made it impossible for advanced nuclear, which would be safer than the pressurized nuclear we have today.
    This whole enviro thing is just an excuse to tax and regulate, even though there's some truth to it (concern about excess GHGs are valid).

  35. Ron M

    Nuclear power is dead Toshiba lost 7 billon trying to build Nuclear Plants in Georgia Vogel 3 & 4. Westinghouse has already gone bankrupt on that project and Toshiba will probably go bankrupt too. These were new designs but cist overrun's and missing schedules makes even completing the project seem unlikely. Rate payers will pay for decades this mess.
    Solar wind storage batteries are cheaper and easier to get built.

  36. Robert

    Climate scientists are not just meteorologists… Just because some greenies want to tax and regulate our energy future didn't mean that the science is false. Btw, how could the science be false, physics and observations don't lie.

  37. Robert

    Too many NON scientific regulators making safe nuclear impossible. Look up the molten salt reactor or MSR. It's like apples to oranges. At ORNL, a 10MW test reactor in the 60's was turned off and on regularly. No loss of cooling and power catastrophes! Creates less wastes too!
    I don't think it was thorium but so what, it didn't have high pressures and that concept alone could power a thousand full blown civilizations for a thousand years (if we extracted uranium from the sea or thorium from the rocks). Better than stinking coal any day!

  38. Robert

    Another politically unacceptable concept is that of planetary power lines. Just over build solar and wind and instead of dumping it,
    ship it like we do everything else (because we'll probably have to wait 50 more years before we have cheap machine mass produced reliable bulk battery storage).
    Large hydro (with pumped storage) is also "unacceptable".
    The world today is just full of bed and corruption. Bty, batteries should take that long but you know they will, just like anything else (so, most the time I give up on MSR your nuclear, too.
    Or only hope is to expose all the truths:
    Clean unlimited energy is our right.
    Such endeavor is more important than Hollywood.
    Solar can't power New York City… Yet.
    Power lines from Australia is feasible.
    Batteries (so that solar CAN power NYC) are feasible, given continued and accelerated research.
    We can NOT accept energy rationing (some greenies want us to do with less even though we have the technology to have more AND save the biosphere from over people ism).
    And that there is actually safe kind of nuclear (liquid fuel in liquid salts at no high pressures in the mean time, just in case those powerlines and batteries, not to mention how many millions of sq km of panels, don't materialize).

  39. Gallilao

    Btw, there is no physics involved and observations devoid of understanding are meaningless.

  40. Jim Burgess

    Many fields are appropriate to the study of climate change. Just off the top of my head – any science involving the sun, atmospheric physics and chemistry, basic physics, oceanography, the carbon cycle, geological science, history, statistics and probably several more. I am a biochemist PhD and I was a senior scientist in a pharmaceutical company and I have taken advanced courses in physic and chemistry. Biochemistry is of course relevant to the carbon cycle. I would also point out that many distinguished scientists also doubt man's impact on climate change.

    The petition project information is freely available on the web. If you worked for NOAA you must know the superiority of the satellite data over the land-based sensors. Regarding the PAUSE – I hope you are not quoting the publications of Carl Mears and Frank Wentz in which they did not correct for the calibration shift in the old MSU satellite. Or maybe you are referring to the Tom Karl studies in which adjusted the past down to make the present appear warmer. The sleight of hand on this was so obvious that even warm-oriented scientists such as Michael Mann and Ben Santer co-authored a rebuttal paper that said Karl was dead wrong and the pause was real.

    I don't dispute that warming has occurred although I would take the measly 1 C increase since the mid 1800 with a grain of salt because the distribution and accuracy of land-based sensors is certainly much different now than it was back then. The end of the Little Ice Age corresponds to the mid-1800s and is largely believed to result from the end of the Maunder Minimum i.e. increased solar activity which according to the Max Planck Institute continued to increase until the late 1900s when it plateaued at an 8000 year maximum (published in Nature). If you have any science background at all you must know that land heats fast and oceans warm more slowly – the oceans are likely still warming relative to ocean temperatures of the Little Ice Age. Surely increased solar activity might account for some, if not all, warming and effects on glaciers. Another aspect of ocean warming would be degassing of CO2 – the solubility of CO2 in water decreases as the temperature of the water increases – this information can be found in any handout of chemical or physical constants. The oceans warm slowly and it is well acknowledged that atmospheric warming precedes elevated CO2 levels by several hundred years. This is the ice core data – You want references here are some – note the quality of the journals and that these publications are by the scientists who actually did the research. I even add a single line explanation at the end of the reference in case you don't want to read the paper:

    Petit, J.R., Jouzel, J., Raynaud, D., Barkov, N.I., Barnola, J.-M., Basile, I., Bender, M., Chappellaz, J., Davis, M., Delaygue, G., Delmotte, M., Kotlyakov, V.M., Legrand, M., Lipenkov, V.Y., Lorius, C., Pepin, L., Ritz, C., Saltzman, E., and Stievenard, M. 1999. Climate and atmospheric history of the past 420,000 years from the Vostok ice core, Antarctica. Nature 399: 429-436. As the world cools into an ice age, the delay in reducing atmospheric CO2 is several thousand years.

    Fischer, H., Wahlen, M., Smith, J., Mastroianni, D. and Deck B. 1999. Ice core records of atmospheric CO2 around the last three glacial terminations. Science 283: 1712-1714. This paper describes a lag of 600 ±400 years in the appearance of atmospheric CO2 as the world warms.

    Monnin, E., Indermühle, A., Dällenbach, A., Flückiger, J, Stauffer, B., Stocker, T.F., Raynaud, D. and Barnola, J.-M. 2001. Atmospheric CO2 concentrations over the last glacial termination. Science 291: 112-114. Found Dome Concordia – This paper found a delay in atmospheric CO2 levels on warming from the recent ice age 800 ± 600 years

    Mudelsee, M. 2001. The phase relations among atmospheric CO2 content, temperature and global ice volume over the past 420 ka. Quaternary Science Reviews 20: 583-589. These scientists found over the full 420,000 year Vostok history, that Co2 lags temperature by 1,300 ± 1000 years.

    Caillon, N., Severinghaus, J.P., Jouzel, J., Barnola, J.-M., Kang, J. and Lipenkov, V.Y. 2003. Timing of atmospheric CO2 and Antarctic temperature changes across Termination III. Science 299: 1728-1731. This paper describes an 800 year lag ± 200 years in the appearance of CO2 after warming..

    The other problem I have with AGW is basic physics. Starting at 13nm we get CO2 absorption but that wavelength corresponds to temperatures below even that of the south pole i.e. CO2 only absorbs and emits energy at very cold temperatures (-70 C and colder). How much of this energy would the second law of thermodynamics allow to be transferred back to the warm earths surface? On the other hand water vapour absorbs and emits energy at temperature relevant to the earths surface and lower atmosphere. Water vapour is a much more significant greenhouse gas. Also physics related is the model of AGW as proposed by Kiehl and Trenberth in 1997 and later modified by Rohde's andt hen by Stephens in 2012. The model proposes that the energy recycled back to earth by AGW is almost 3 times that delivered to the earth’s surface by the sun – that should cause any reasonable person, scientist or non-scientist and even climate scientists, to scratch their head and wonder.

    Sorry – I'm not an easy convert to AGW.

  41. Robert

    Grow up.
    1, you said "no physics involved" simply because you want it to be that way, like when you don't want to observe any changes caused by experiments because you close your eyes to them.
    2, how could there​ be understanding from such a point of view (no observation from you).
    3, results happen and there IS cause and effect but you call that "meaningless" because you don't <I>want</I> to observe.
    4, learn some science before you engage in any such debate.

  42. Jim Burgess

    David – CO2 is not plutonium. Certainly plutonium is bad but there is absolutely no evidence that increased CO2 is bad. There is actually evidence that it is good i.e plant growth, crop yields, greening of the earth. There are also physics-related problems with the concept that CO2 causes global warming – see my response to gmarmot above. I am not demanding that scientists "not demand the answer". I am asking that they explore every available explanation (including increased CO2) and arrive at well reasoned responses instead of causing worldwide panic. Computer models are only as good as the information supplied to them – if they can't predict past climates/temperatures then why would we expect them to predict future temperatures. And why would we panic if questionable computer model predict doom and gloom? I will say again – climate is too complex to plug into a simple computer model. It is idiocy to spend billions/trillions of dollars on a questionable environmental problem when there are legitimate environmental problems that can be dealt with instead.

  43. Jim Burgess

    David – you are implying that the total increase in CO2 we have seen since pre-industrial times is man-made. I would argue that a good portion of this results from warming oceans. Why are the oceans warming? This would be the result of the end of the Maunder Minimum (and the Little Ice Age) a slow rebound in ocean temperatures from pre-Little Ice Age with degassing of CO2 to the atmosphere. You may know that warming of the oceans is a slow process taking hundreds of years and that the solubility of CO2 in water decreases as water temperature increases. I would not argue that some of the CO2 is man made. I am not sure of your interpretation of the ice core data but the peer-reviewed literature (see my response to gmarmot above for references) clearly indicate the warming precedes increases in CO2 by several hundred years.

    You have yet to supply a single reference showing that CO2 is the main, or only driver, of global warming/climate change. You have not supplied any data that the climate is actually changing. You have not responded to the physics that suggests the unlikely involvement of CO2 in global warming. You have Al Gored the ice core data. You accuse me of cherry picking data when in fact it is you who have cherry-picked a single observation of an ice core from a single location in Antarctica showing that CO2 precedes warming. All other ice cores, from several locations (Vostok, Dome B, Dome Fuji, EPICA, Tayor) show that warming precedes CO2.

  44. David Hamilton

    But a meaningless generalisation like 'trace' is still a meaningless generalisation.

    I think it's pretty clear that increased temperatures – melting ice caps, extinction-level changes to natural ecosystems, potential positive-feedback and other disruptive events, such as changes to ocean currents – will be bad.
    You are – again – cherry picking just one piece of data, the increased plant growth rate due to raised CO2.

    In order to understand computer models, you need to understand the difference between underlying trends and statistical noise. I'm not sure whether your position is deliberately disingenuous or just confused (One of the very common games played by anti-AGW debaters is to throw up noisy events as if they're significant/important – of which the "the earth can't be warming, it snowed yesterday" is a most trite example.)

    I love your definition of 'panic' – by which you mean replace unsustainable power sources with sustainable ones, which we would have had to do in the future anyway.
    Only someone who is either a shareholder in Big-Oil or in love with some political dogma would see common-sense as 'panic'.

  45. David Hamilton

    So, you're arguing that the oceans are giving up CO2 – on a huge scale – while at the same time they're becoming more acidic due to more carbon (carbonic acid)

    That is hilarious.
    What do you do for an encore – try to prove that black is white?

  46. Jim Burgess

    The petition information is readily available on the internet. Many areas of science are involved in the study of climate change; just off the top of my head – solar physics, atmospheric physics and chemistry, oceanography, the carbon cycle (biochemistry, botany), paleontology, history, statistics. I am a biochemist and senior scientist in a pharmaceutical company. I have taken advanced courses in physics and chemistry. I have been interested in climate change for several years.

    If you were with NOAA you must surely appreciate the superiority of the RSS satellite data to the ground-based sensors. There have been publications that have supposedly busted the pause. These would include the Carl Meers and Frank Wentz paper in which they tried to bust the pause by not correcting for the calibration drift in the old MSU satellite relative to the newer AMSU satellite. In another publication Tom Karl pulled a fast one trying to adjust past temperatures down, so the present would be warmer. The sleight of hand on this was so obvious that even warm-oriented scientists such as Michael Mann and Ben Santer co-authored a rebuttal paper that said Karl was dead wrong and the pause was real. Only the land-based sensor data indicates a recent significant warming that delivers record breaking temperatures on a monthly basis. You may not know that the land-based sensors are poorly distributed around the earth (unequal representation in the Northern Hemisphere – mainly the US and Europe) and are often located in heat sinks – cities, parking lots, airports. Satellites on the other hand measure the entire earths surface – hence gold standard.

    You do know that the Little Ice Age ended mid 1800s with the end of the Maunder Minimum and an increase in solar activity that, according to the Max Planck Institute, has continued to increase and has plateaued in the late 1900s at an 8000 year maximum (published in Nature). It seems reasonable that this increased solar activity is likely to account for a loss of glacial mass. Oceans warm slowly and are likely still gaining some heat from increased solar activity relative to ocean temperatures during the Little Ice Age. Warming oceans would also degas CO2 because the solubility of CO2 in water decreases with water temperature. So – is the increase in global temperatures we see now a result of solar activity and a rebound from the Little Ice Age or due to increased CO2? If we take it a step further – what comes first CO2 or heat. According to the ice core data heat comes first when exiting an ice age followed several hundred years later by increases in atmospheric CO2. Here are references from high quality peer-reviewed journals and from the original authors i.e not contaminated by green blogs or politics – I have even added a sentence at the end of the references describing the findings in case you don't want to read the papers:

    Petit, J.R., Jouzel, J., Raynaud, D., Barkov, N.I., Barnola, J.-M., Basile, I., Bender, M., Chappellaz, J., Davis, M., Delaygue, G., Delmotte, M., Kotlyakov, V.M., Legrand, M., Lipenkov, V.Y., Lorius, C., Pepin, L., Ritz, C., Saltzman, E., and Stievenard, M. 1999. Climate and atmospheric history of the past 420,000 years from the Vostok ice core, Antarctica. Nature 399: 429-436. As the world cools into an ice age, the delay is several thousand years.
    Fischer, H., Wahlen, M., Smith, J., Mastroianni, D. and Deck B. 1999. Ice core records of atmospheric CO2 around the last three glacial terminations. Science 283: 1712-1714. Described a lag of 600 ±400 years as the world warms.
    Monnin, E., Indermühle, A., Dällenbach, A., Flückiger, J, Stauffer, B., Stocker, T.F., Raynaud, D. and Barnola, J.-M. 2001. Atmospheric CO2 concentrations over the last glacial termination. Science 291: 112-114. Found Dome Concordia – found a delay on warming from the recent ice age 800 ± 600 years
    Mudelsee, M. 2001. The phase relations among atmospheric CO2 content, temperature and global ice volume over the past 420 ka. Quaternary Science Reviews 20: 583-589.Found over the full 420,000 year Vostok history, Co2 lags by 1,300 ± 1000 years.
    Caillon, N., Severinghaus, J.P., Jouzel, J., Barnola, J.-M., Kang, J. and Lipenkov, V.Y. 2003. Timing of atmospheric CO2 and Antarctic temperature changes across Termination III. Science 299: 1728-1731. Found an 800 year lag ± 200 years.
    Pedro, J.B., Rasmussen, S.O. and van Ommen, T.D. (2012). Tightened constraints on the time-lag between Antarctic temperature and CO2 during the last deglaciation. Clim. Past, 8, 1213-1221. They show that the increase in CO2 likely lagged the increase in regional Antarctic temperature by about 400 yr

  47. Jim Burgess

    Oh David – you are deliberately obtuse. Water vapour and CO2 are greenhouse gases. CO2 is trace ; water vapour is not. The laws of thermodynamics do not support the concept that CO2 could have any relevant effect of global warming. I have picked the only piece of information regarding CO2 that I believe relevant – it is good. There is no evidence that it is bad. Increased temperatures – melting ice caps, extinction-level changes to natural ecosystems, potential positive-feedback and other disruptive events, such as changes to ocean currents have gone on since the earth was created and will continue to do so because of natural causes – solar activity and orbital effects being by far the most important. You are free to believe the computer models – they may predict that it will snow tomorrow but they are incapable of predicting events in the near or far future. Panic is the stuff the media puts out, tipping points or the 95% predictions of global catastrophe from the IPCC. I support the development of alternative inexpensive energy sources as a means of preserving fossil fuels which I view as a very valuable resource.

  48. Jim Burgess

    Oh – did I say a huge scale – I seem to recall saying degassing over centuries i.e. from the end of the Little Ice Age. A commonly held misconception is that as the carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere increase, thus increasing the dissolved CO2 in the oceans, the weak carbonic acid builds up, which causes the oceans to be acidic. According to Gattuso (2011), the resident carbonic acid that is created is less than 0.3% of the free aqueous CO2 in solution. In actuality, the carbonic acid that forms has a lifetime of about 26ms; it turns into a hydronium ion (which may react with other anions present) and a buffering bicarbonate anion (http://newscenter.lbl.gov/2015/06/16/unravelling-the-mysteries-of-carbonic-acid/). This creates a buffering system whose behavior is much more complex than generally appreciated. Historical pH data is sparse, thus depriving us of any measured benchmarks. The claim that the surface-water of the oceans has declined in pH from 8.2 to 8.1, since the industrial revolution, is based on sparse, contradictory evidence, at least some of which is problematic computer modeling. Some areas of the oceans, not subject to algal blooms or upwelling, may be experiencing slightly lower pH values than were common before the industrial revolution. However, forecasts for ‘average’ future pH values are likely exaggerated and of debatable consequences. The effects of alkaline buffering and stabilizing biological feedback loops seem to be underappreciated by those who carelessly throw around the inaccurate term “ocean acidification.”

  49. David Hamilton

    Well, Jim, you have a very well worked out internal universe there. Any facts that don't fit are either regarded as trivial, or the validity of the data questioned.

    The ironic thing is that you do exactly what you accuse the climate scientists of doing. The only thing is that the scientists follow a process of publication and peer review of their work – of cross-checking and balances. You? You only have the universe in your head.

    You disregard ground temperature readings – you know, the temperatures that all of us are experiencing – in favour of satellite measurements, because you *prefer* the numbers (it also probably helps that we only have satellite data for a very short recent period, which helps you argue that any changes are not proven to have gone on for long enough).
    ¯_(ツ)_/¯

    It strikes me that you approach this debate rather like some football (soccer) fans approach supporting their team. If their team is losing 4-0 after 2/3 of the game, they go home. They don't enjoy that the other team is playing great football – if they were fans of football, they'd stay and watch. For them, the game is all about winning.
    Similarly, you seem to see this "sparring" as a fight to be won for "your team". But it's too important for tribalism and winners and losers. If we get this wrong, we will all be losers – or at least, our children will be. And in the worst case scenarios that could be on a massive, millions of deaths, scale.

    But that won't happen in the universe in your head, right?

  50. David Hamilton

    Oh, yes the old "it's all happened before, so that's all right" argument.

    In the comedy Father Ted, he tries to explain to Father Dougal the difference between small model cows (in his hand) and real cows far away in the field. "Small…" he goes, waving the model cows, then "Far away…"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXypyrutq_M

    Similarly, you're assuming the events of the past were small because the human race (and all the plants and animals we know) survived. (We'd have trouble having this conversation if we hadn't, right?!!)
    And yet there is some (disputed) evidence that human population has bottlenecked to relatively small sizes in the past.
    But whether of not that did happen highlights one, really important point: We cannot tell based on today's population levels. In geological timescales, populations recover incredibly quickly.

    That doesn't mean that those climate events were not extremely challenging for humans, and for the plant and animal species that they depended on for food.

    Another problem is one of perspective: From a population perspective, any event that leaves enough breeding couples alive to rebuild the population is, in the long term, not a real problem. It will reduce genetic diversity for a while, but that's the limit of the problem.
    People who are part of that population have a VERY, VERY different perspective. In our press today, anything that kills more than 3 or 4 people is a tragedy. I've no idea how they'd classify an event that killed many, many millions of people.

    Also, our society is extremely fragile with respect to food. Look how quickly panic buying at supermarkets takes hold if there is any rumour of a shortage – making that shortage rumour come true.
    Now imagine how well our society would handle a real crop failure.

    So, Jim, I'll say this to you very slowly, in the style of Father Ted: "SMALL… FAR AWAY"!

  51. Ron M

    That was a small experimental reactor in the 60' or 70's that had problems with the metal pipes pumps etc developing fractures in the metal. If it would have been a viable option it would have advanced. Remember the cream rises to the top.

  52. Robert

    Lots of companies trying to do the MSR thing. They figure, just mass produce and replace every 4 years or so. To me, the tricky part would be the pump.

  53. Robert

    They're trying…
    Terrestrial Energy
    Trans atomic
    Terra power
    MIT nuclear lab

    Hopefully, Trump will fire all the gray beards at the regulatory agency and replace them with new, non fossilized scientific minded people.

  54. Jim Burgess

    Don't understand your comment. Are you saying if we looked at the cloud cover and total precipitation records since the Industrial Revolution (or whatever time frame you had in mind) we would see an increase that paralleled the measly 1 C increase in temperatures we have had since the mid 1800s? Good luck finding those records – and don't forget to include snowfall, hail etc. Or maybe you are inferring that we can't have global warming without an increased greenhouse effect?

  55. Jim Burgess

    It is not a soccer match David – it is pure physics and chemistry. You are correct on one front though. The satellite records are relatively new but they are the gold standard IMO. You might also note that climate records related to violent weather, precipitation, cloud cover etc are not that extensive either. It is interesting though with the limited weather related records we do have that the IPCC has stated (Chapter 2 of their latest report) that current datasets indicate no significant trends in the global frequency of tropical storms, cyclones, hurricanes and major hurricanes, typhoons or in the magnitude and frequency of floods over the last century.

  56. Jim Burgess

    The petition information is all available on the internet. Info on the biggest petition can be found here:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oregon_Petition

    What you and I believe is actually important because we vote for government representatives who may enact things such as cap and trade or carbon taxation.

    Many areas of science are involved in the study of climate change – solar physics, atmospheric physics and chemistry, oceanography, history, statistics, computer modelling, biochemistry, botany, any science involved in the carbon cycle. I am a PhD Biochemist and was a senior scientist in a pharmaceutical company. I have taken advanced courses in physic and chemistry – and yes biochemistry is appropriate to the study of climate change as it deals with carbon sequestration by plants.

    There have been several unsuccessful attempts to debunk the PAUSE. For example Meers and Wentz presented what they thought was a pause busting paper but it turned out that they had not corrected for the calibration drift of the old MSU satellite – they knew there is a substantial trend difference between the old NOAA-14 MSU and the newer NOAA-15 AMSU measurements. That trend difference amounts to +0.20 C/decade…a large discrepancy. Or maybe you believe that Tom Karl paper. Tom Karl pulled a fast one by adjusting past temperatures down, so the present would be warmer. This manipulation was so obvious that even Michael Mann and Ben Santer co-authored a rebuttal paper that said Karl was dead wrong and the pause was real. IMO the satellite data is the gold standard – it measures the temperature of the entire earth surface whereas the ground-based sensors do not and are often situated in heat sinks. The satellite data indicates that no significant warming has occurred since 1998.

    Why are there less glaciers now than in 1850. It'as not rocket science – the answer is obvious – the end of the Maunder Minimum coincides with the end of the Little Ice Age – global temperatures started to increase to pre-Little Ice Age levels, a process that continues today. Warmer temperatures = melting glaciers.

    You want peer-reviewed literature. Here is peer-reviewed literature from high quality science journals on the ice core data that clearly show that warming precedes increases in CO2 and not vice versa. I even supply a one sentence synopsis of the paper:
    Petit, J.R., Jouzel, J., Raynaud, D., Barkov, N.I., Barnola, J.-M., Basile, I., Bender, M., Chappellaz, J., Davis, M., Delaygue, G., Delmotte, M., Kotlyakov, V.M., Legrand, M., Lipenkov, V.Y., Lorius, C., Pepin, L., Ritz, C., Saltzman, E., and Stievenard, M. 1999. Climate and atmospheric history of the past 420,000 years from the Vostok ice core, Antarctica. Nature 399: 429-436. As the world cools into an ice age, the delay is several thousand years.
    Fischer, H., Wahlen, M., Smith, J., Mastroianni, D. and Deck B. 1999. Ice core records of atmospheric CO2 around the last three glacial terminations. Science 283: 1712-1714. Described a lag of 600 ±400 years as the world warms.
    Monnin, E., Indermühle, A., Dällenbach, A., Flückiger, J, Stauffer, B., Stocker, T.F., Raynaud, D. and Barnola, J.-M. 2001. Atmospheric CO2 concentrations over the last glacial termination. Science 291: 112-114. Found Dome Concordia – found a delay on warming from the recent ice age 800 ± 600 years
    Mudelsee, M. 2001. The phase relations among atmospheric CO2 content, temperature and global ice volume over the past 420 ka. Quaternary Science Reviews 20: 583-589.Found over the full 420,000 year Vostok history, Co2 lags by 1,300 ± 1000 years.
    Caillon, N., Severinghaus, J.P., Jouzel, J., Barnola, J.-M., Kang, J. and Lipenkov, V.Y. 2003. Timing of atmospheric CO2 and Antarctic temperature changes across Termination III. Science 299: 1728-1731. Found an 800 year lag ± 200 years.
    Pedro, J.B., Rasmussen, S.O. and van Ommen, T.D. (2012). Tightened constraints on the time-lag between Antarctic temperature and CO2 during the last deglaciation. Clim. Past, 8, 1213-1221. They show that the increase in CO2 likely lagged the increase in regional Antarctic temperature by about 400 yr

    What could cause CO2 to lag warming? Its solubility in water? Yes, that explains the data well. Simply put, when oceans warm due to greater solar energy absorption, they outgas dissolved CO2 just like soda water does because CO2 is less soluble in warm water than cold. When oceans are chilled, they absorb CO2 gas and hold it because CO2 is more soluble.

  57. Jim Burgess

    I agree in part – it is the land temperature data that the media bombards us with causing concern in the general public.

  58. David Hamilton

    If it is pure physics and chemistry, why do you only want to discuss the facts that suit your point of view? Point in case, the frequency of storms is a data point that you choose to select, because you think it supports your point of view (and you throw it in apropos of nothing) but actually it's what has been predicted by those very models that you accuse of being "crap".

    When I debate subjects, there's a telltale clue as to whether they're open to the possibility of change – whether they stick to refuting (or even discussing) a point that has been made by their opponent, or whether they ignore it and change the subject onto another point that they want to make, ignoring the point completely.

    Judging from your responses in this thread, it looks like you're much more interested in treating in as a football match rather than a scientific debate.

  59. David Hamilton

    Yeah, fair point, my response was ill-considered, given that increase in water-vapour is a significant part of the 'forcings' (positive feedback effects) that scientists fear that will multiply the effect of CO2 increase by several multiples, and which is a key part of the models that you cast so much scorn on.

    Certainly sunshine data that I've seen haven't yet shown any impact of this, but I'm sure that monthly anomaly graphs compared with 30-50 years ago aren't likely to show anything yet.

    So – you're saying that the data doesn't exist to prove or deny your theory that the temperature rise (why do you insist in using judgemental and unscientific terms like "measly"? This is not a football match…) is due purely to water vapour?

    I can see why you haven't published this as a scientific paper yet!

  60. Jim Burgess

    I would love to have a scientific debate on this subject. This is a fascinating area that covers many areas of science. Any scientist can learn much from other scientists in disciplines that is not their area of expertise. The problem with you is that you don't respond to my points – you just change the subject. For example – you have ignored the physics conundrum, the ice core data and the more likely importance of water vapour. If you have facts that support an increasing trend in violent weather send it on. Given the increase in CO2 we have seen since the 1800s shouldn't we see some evidence of increasingly violent weather?

  61. David Hamilton

    Re: Water Vapour: As per my comment above, that water vapour is included a key part of the 'forcings' reflected in the computer models you think are crap, so both sides cite them. Of course the climate scientists have predictions, whereas you wouldn't dare make a prediction.
    Re: Ice core data. I already answered that, but in more detail: If you read about the process of ice generation, there is a variation – of several thousand years – in the time it takes for snow to be trapped as ice. Even so, the vast majority of the correlations lead to the conclusion that CO2 led temperature – except for one instance, which is the one you cherry-pick and continuously cite.
    Re: physics. If you actually cited that those "problems" were I could try to answer them, but you are so non-specific that I can't, sorry.

    Re: violent weather. Oh FFS: There has been no increase in the frequency of violent weather, but none has been predicted by the models. What have you been reading?

    BTW: love how you only post during US working hours – are you paid to do this?

  62. Jim Burgess

    Regarding ice core data – you are the cherry picker. Here are several peer-reviewed papers from top quality journals that show that temperature precedes CO2. I have even included a brief summation of the paper at the end of the reference.

    Petit, J.R., Jouzel, J., Raynaud, D., Barkov, N.I., Barnola, J.-M., Basile, I., Bender, M., Chappellaz, J., Davis, M., Delaygue, G., Delmotte, M., Kotlyakov, V.M., Legrand, M., Lipenkov, V.Y., Lorius, C., Pepin, L., Ritz, C., Saltzman, E., and Stievenard, M. 1999. Climate and atmospheric history of the past 420,000 years from the Vostok ice core, Antarctica. Nature 399: 429-436. As the world cools into an ice age, the delay is several thousand years.

    Fischer, H., Wahlen, M., Smith, J., Mastroianni, D. and Deck B. 1999. Ice core records of atmospheric CO2 around the last three glacial terminations. Science 283: 1712-1714. Described a lag of 600 ±400 years as the world warms.

    Monnin, E., Indermühle, A., Dällenbach, A., Flückiger, J, Stauffer, B., Stocker, T.F., Raynaud, D. and Barnola, J.-M. 2001. Atmospheric CO2 concentrations over the last glacial termination. Science 291: 112-114. Found Dome Concordia – CO2 lags by 800 ± 600 years

    Mudelsee, M. 2001. The phase relations among atmospheric CO2 content, temperature and global ice volume over the past 420 ka. Quaternary Science Reviews 20: 583-589.Found over the full 420,000 year Vostok history, Co2 lags by 1,300 ± 1000 years.

    Caillon, N., Severinghaus, J.P., Jouzel, J., Barnola, J.-M., Kang, J. and Lipenkov, V.Y. 2003. Timing of atmospheric CO2 and Antarctic temperature changes across Termination III. Science 299: 1728-1731. Found an 800 year lag ± 200 years.

    Pedro, J.B., Rasmussen, S.O. and van Ommen, T.D. (2012). Tightened constraints on the time-lag between Antarctic temperature and CO2 during the last deglaciation. Clim. Past, 8, 1213-1221. They show that the increase in CO2 likely lagged the increase in regional Antarctic temperature by about 400 yr

    What could cause CO2 to lag warming? Its solubility in water? Simple physics David – CO2 is les soluble in warm water.

    Regarding physics there are several additional problems. First and foremost – CO2 only absorbs and emits energy at very cold temperatures (-70 C and colder). In contrast water vapour absorbs and emits energy at temperatures that align with earths surface and lower atmosphere. Second – How much energy/heat do you think the second law of Thermodynamics would allow to be transferred back from a -70 C environment to the warmer earth surface? Third – you may be familiar with the model of AGW as proposed by Kiehl and Trenberth 1997 and Rohde's rendition that followed or even the more recent 2012 model proposed by Stephens et al. This model proposes that the energy recycled back to the earths surface by AGW is almost 3 times that delivered to the earth by the sun. That should cause any reasonable person, scientist or non-scientist to scratch their head and wonder how this could be.

    Don't understand your violent weather comment – model predictions or not weather extremes are part of the ACC mantra, however according to the IPCC there has been no increase in any violent weather pattern over the last 100 years. If you have data otherwise send it on.

    I am retired – just happen to prefer blogging during daylight hours.

  63. Jim Burgess

    Regarding ice core data – you are the cherry picker. Here are several peer-reviewed papers from top quality journals that show that temperature precedes CO2. I have even included a brief summation of the paper at the end of the reference.
    Petit, J.R., Jouzel, J., Raynaud, D., Barkov, N.I., Barnola, J.-M., Basile, I., Bender, M., Chappellaz, J., Davis, M., Delaygue, G., Delmotte, M., Kotlyakov, V.M., Legrand, M., Lipenkov, V.Y., Lorius, C., Pepin, L., Ritz, C., Saltzman, E., and Stievenard, M. 1999. Climate and atmospheric history of the past 420,000 years from the Vostok ice core, Antarctica. Nature 399: 429-436. As the world cools into an ice age, the delay is several thousand years.
    Fischer, H., Wahlen, M., Smith, J., Mastroianni, D. and Deck B. 1999. Ice core records of atmospheric CO2 around the last three glacial terminations. Science 283: 1712-1714. Described a lag of 600 ±400 years as the world warms.
    Monnin, E., Indermühle, A., Dällenbach, A., Flückiger, J, Stauffer, B., Stocker, T.F., Raynaud, D. and Barnola, J.-M. 2001. Atmospheric CO2 concentrations over the last glacial termination. Science 291: 112-114. Found Dome Concordia – CO2 lags by 800 ± 600 years
    Mudelsee, M. 2001. The phase relations among atmospheric CO2 content, temperature and global ice volume over the past 420 ka. Quaternary Science Reviews 20: 583-589.Found over the full 420,000 year Vostok history, Co2 lags by 1,300 ± 1000 years.
    Caillon, N., Severinghaus, J.P., Jouzel, J., Barnola, J.-M., Kang, J. and Lipenkov, V.Y. 2003. Timing of atmospheric CO2 and Antarctic temperature changes across Termination III. Science 299: 1728-1731. Found an 800 year lag ± 200 years.
    Pedro, J.B., Rasmussen, S.O. and van Ommen, T.D. (2012). Tightened constraints on the time-lag between Antarctic temperature and CO2 during the last deglaciation. Clim. Past, 8, 1213-1221. They show that the increase in CO2 likely lagged the increase in regional Antarctic temperature by about 400 yr
    What could cause CO2 to lag warming? Its solubility in water? Simple physics David – CO2 is les soluble in warm water.

  64. Jim Burgess

    Regarding physics there are several additional problems. First and foremost – CO2 only absorbs and emits energy at very cold temperatures (-70 C and colder). In contrast water vapour absorbs and emits energy at temperatures that align with earths surface and lower atmosphere. Second – How much energy/heat do you think the second law of Thermodynamics would allow to be transferred back from a -70 C environment to the warmer earth surface? Third – you may be familiar with the model of AGW as proposed by Kiehl and Trenberth 1997 and Rohde's rendition that followed or even the more recent 2012 model proposed by Stephens et al. This model proposes that the energy recycled back to the earths surface by AGW is almost 3 times that delivered to the earth by the sun. That should cause any reasonable person, scientist or non-scientist to scratch their head and wonder how this could be.
    Don't understand your violent weather comment – model predictions or not weather extremes are part of the ACC mantra, however according to the IPCC there has been no increase in any violent weather pattern over the last 100 years. If you have data otherwise send it on.
    I am retired – just happen to prefer blogging during daylight hours.

  65. David Hamilton

    Hang on – it's a positive feedback loop, right? So both elements need to feed into each other, and, more crucially, either one can trigger the effect. It doesn't matter – once the effect starts, the positive feedback dramatically switches the environmental conditions.

    So even if your nicely cherry picked selection of papers are valid, its completely meaningless, since all they prove is something that's irrelevant to what is happening now, which is a very clear and obvious human-caused rise in CO2.

    Why don't you stop and think about these issues with a open mind for a change?

  66. David Hamilton

    OK, now you're getting very weird on me. The CO2 absorption is down to bond vibration, and all the resources I could find confirm that behaviour to be pretty stable in terms of absorption rates and frequencies across varying temperatures.
    Normally web searches are brilliant for bias confirmation (if you search for something specific you can inevitably find some resource to back that opinion, however barking mad), but in this case I could find absolutely nothing to confirm the -70C threshold that you claim. Are you sure you didn't just dream it?

    As for the 3x the sun's energy thing – are you sure you didn't dream that also? That doesn't pass any kind of basic sanity test – let alone a peer review process. The diurnal temperature changes make three times that just ridiculous.
    Either this is discredited research or you've completely misunderstood it. Either way, it's a great example of how tangental and weird climate debates get – such is the need to AGW-deniers to find and grab hold of any dissenting or outlying information.

    You are, as usual, misrepresenting the IPCC position. From the summary of the IPCC 2007 report: https://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch10s10-es-13-tropical-cyclones.html
    "Tropical Cyclones
    Most recent published modelling studies investigating tropical storm frequency simulate a decrease in the overall number of storms, though there is less confidence in these projections and in the projected decrease of relatively weak storms in most basins, with an increase in the numbers of the most intense tropical cyclones."

  67. Jim Burgess

    David – you need to review some real physics – look at the absorption spectrum of CO2 versus the Planck temperatures at the varying wavelengths. The wavelength we are interested in is the 15 nm range which corresponds to a – 70 C. This is the only relevant band for CO2 in global warming theory because it least overlaps with that of H2O – although it does overlap somewhat and water vapour is much more prevalent tin the atmosphere. I throw that in as further support for the dominant importance of water vapour in the greenhouse gas effect. I also include this ref which spells out CO2 absorption/emission in simpel terms.

  68. Jim Burgess

    Has anyone ever proven that there is a positive feedback loop? Send me the data please (and not some green blog nonsense). It is only a positive feedback loop if you believe that CO2 is having any effect on global warming. If you some papers from the ice core data that argue, with scientific data, that CO2 precedes warming please send it on. I very much doubt you can match the quality of the journals that I presented. You are correct in saying that warming preceding CO2 is not particularly relevant to what is going on now – although the warming oceans would certainly have contributed some small amount to the current levels of CO2 – and Al Gore has improperly presented this data to the gullible public as evidence to support AGW. My point is this – solar activity, whether due to variations in solar intensity or to variations in earths orbit or obliquity, is by far the most important driver of earths climate. I would suggest that someone who goes against mainstream thinking is more likely to have an open mind than someone who joins the herd.

  69. David Hamilton

    "Real" physics… *coughs*

    I've just realised why you've been rattling on about -70C (200K). Because you've confused black-body radiation (which relates temperature to emission frequency) with the absorption spectra, which relate to bond vibration frequencies.
    You're talking about this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black-body_radiation
    (which is a general property shared by all matter, not just carbon dioxide)
    And everyone else is talking about the carbon-dioxide bond vibration modes, as shown on page 16 on this paper: http://www-users.math.umn.edu/~mcgehee/Seminars/ClimateChange/presentations/2013-1Spring/20130212ThermalIRandCarbonDioxideintheAtmosphere.pdf
    (The rest of the paper is a pretty good discussion of the case, and if you read it you'd avoid errors such as the one you just made. But you won't, of course, as it might burst your bubble).

    I'm sorry, but your theory is so horribly, laughably, broken and irrelevant to the points that the climate scientists are making that I'm not even going to bother to pour more abuse on it.

    I didn't agree that Kiehl and Trenberth's theory didn't pass the sanity test, I agreed that your proposed interpretation didn't pass a sanity test. And indeed, a quick perusal of the paper indicates that it looks like they're saying that all the back-radiation from CO2 (of which AGW is only a fraction) comes to the much smaller number of 1/4 of incoming solar radiation arriving at earth.

    The Steven Goddard link is just an opinion (which reads like a rant) of one astronomer, with no cited sources, no data sets, no absorption spectra graphs. This is, I think, a valuable example of what happens when someone gets into a 'filter bubble', and materials like this get passed around as "evidence".

    Lastly, you were saying that the predictions were wrong and I merely corrected your statement with the actual predictions. I see that, rather than accepting the correction, you want to change the subject – a classic debaters trick.

    But, I'm sorry, you'll have to have that argument with someone else (or with yourself) as I've spent more than enough time checking out your points and found baseless and horribly misguided. But thanks, at least, for the amusement.

  70. Jim Burgess

    Whoa – hold on – not so fast – giving up so soon. I may admit my physics is really really rusty but the vibrational frequencies of molecular bonds – in any substance – depends on the temperature of the molecule and/or the environment that surrounds it – this is essentially Wein's Law. Are you suggesting that the CO2 bond vibrations are not affected by temperature? Are you saying that black body radiation does not apply to CO2? Water vapour soaks up almost all IR coming back from the earth's surface but has minimal overlap with CO2 at 15 nm – so the spectrum around the 15 nm peak is the only wavelength relevant to AGW and this corresponds to really cold temperatures.
    Regarding the Kiehl and Trenberth paper – your perusal was too quick or thought put into it insufficient. You are correct in that the back radiation is about 1/4 of the incoming solar input. The insanity part of this model relates to the radiation reflected back to the earth by AGW which is on the right side of his model – this is approx 3X the solar input..
    Regarding violent weather – predictions from computer models don't equal actual data.

  71. Jim Burgess

    Great laugh – thanks David. In keeping with our theme – I wish I had found it and sent it to you.

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