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back to article SpaceShipOne man, Nobel boffins: DON'T PANIC on global warming

The debate over global warming flamed hotter over the weekend, as a group of eminent scientists and engineers – including Burt Rutan, the famous designer of the X-prize-winning suborbital rocketplane SpaceShipOne – signed an open letter stating that the dangers of climate change are being deliberately exaggerated. The statement …

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yes panic

Global warming really isnt an issue , certainly not something we can consciously change.

I say this because if its all "grossly exagerrated" then its a non issue,

If we ARE affecting the climate and if it is possible to reverse this by cutting co2 then theres no way on earth we could bring ourselves to cut enough co2

However...

The co2 output is about to cut itself , fossil fuels are about to start their inevitable decline , much faster than any targets we could possibly achieve, so we are going to fix global warming wether we like it or not .

problem is its going to at the expense of our entirecivilsation and the world as we know it.

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Mushroom

errr... uhhhh...

"problem is its going to at the expense of our entire civilsation and the world as we know it"

Problem? What problem?

Change will do you good.

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Anonymous Coward

"a large and growing number"

What was the civilisation whose number system went 1, 2, lots?

Perhaps they're using that?

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Trollface

It's "one, two, many, lots"

Sgt. Detritus

Troll, because, well, this is Sgt. Detritus

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Trollface

Global warming?

"That would be an ecumenical matter!"

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You are Father Jack and I claim my five bottles of drain cleaner.

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Anonymous Coward

Warmists?

So, the other lot are what - Coolites? Nullists? Status quoits?

Hurry up please, there's a nickname deficiency that needs sorting.

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Anonymous Coward

Well....

The Panicking Warmista's.......Chicken Little's.......versus the Don't Panickers... perhaps?

I do hope there's time for the scattered remnants of survivors to read this before the whole of the East coast dissolves in a fiery cloud of CO2 warming induced Magma...........

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I have my prefered terms already...

Themageddonists vs. Denialests!

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Thumb Up

You're making me think about RTG's again

What's the radiation tolerance if it can heat me hoose for 80 to 120 years? Or, alternatively - how big is the hole it needs?

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You're not thinking big enough

Plutonium 239 produces 2W/kg in decay heat. A few hundred kilos of that should keep you nice and toasty and put an end to any problems with the neighbours just as soon as you declare yourself an independent nuclear state.

There are 87 tons of the stuff in the UK right now - we should be parcelling it up to help old people stay warm this winter.

I have so many good ideas.

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@Mike Richards

"There are 87 tons of the stuff in the UK right now - we should be parcelling it up to help old people stay warm this winter."

What's brilliant about that idea is they'll all be dead before the cancer hits*, _and_ it gives us an excuse not to visit. Trebles all round.

*I know, Pu-249 is an alpha emitter.

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And on the other hand......

Forbes magazine, hardly a left leaning, tree hugging journal, had this to say......... http://www.forbes.com/sites/petergleick/2012/01/27/remarkable-editorial-bias-on-climate-science-at-the-wall-street-journal/

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Paris Hilton

By-lines...

Except that it's a contributed article, the "personal musings" of, and part of regular contributions from, Dr. Peter Gleick, founder of the Pacific Institute. While PacInst has its main focus on water, it does make this statement directly from Dr. Gleick, himself: "The threat of climate change cuts across all of the Pacific Institute's programs and has been a focus of our work from the beginning." This posted under one of the institute's listed programs and initiatives called "Climate Impacts and Adaptation."

Paris, a focus of our work from the beginning.

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Mushroom

the climate is definitely changing

Many parts of Austria have reported almost 4 metres of snow since December.

They call it white gold.

Temperature forecasts for this week are to get to -20c below.

A few weeks ago it was also below -24, only the fifth time in 45 years.

So i think many people are happy with "global warming" :>)

ps

summer sucks!!

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winters don't mean there is no global warming

It is now the middle winter in the northern hemisphere, so snow in Austria is to be expected. It's getting to be a pretty threadbare joke to point to snow on the ground and say, "What global warming? Ha ha!"

However, if you like anecdotal evidence, here's some: the past autumn was the warmest here in Finland for decades, with no permanent snow anywhere in the country at the end of October, and no permanent snow in Helsinki until after the New Year. I hear that the autumn in UK was pretty warm too. These things in themselves doesn't prove or disprove anything, of course; for support of the theory of anthropogenic climate change, you need to look at long-term trends in temperature -- and those indeed do support the theory.

The fact that the _average_ temperature of the Earth is rising doesn't mean that seasonal changes will disappear, nor that the usual random variation between years will disappear. It does mean that the frequency of incidences of low temperatures will decrease, and conversely, the frequency of incidences of high temperature, i.e. heat waves, will increase. Other extreme weather phenomena will also increase in frequency.

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hmmmm

10 apostles of the apocalypse didn't get the joke!

Frankly i'm more worried about how it is that people can become ardent believers in any subject without absolute proof the of the theory.

Even the scientists admit that man made global warming is still a hypothesis, albeit a likely one.

And since our breathing population is in an ever increasing trajectory, could someone please explain how we are going to reduce CO2 emissions. I've yet to see any published figures on how much CO2 is produced by living breathing creatures on this planet.

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In science, there is no such thing as "absolute proof", but there is a point where the evidence so overwhelmingly supports a hypothesis that it can be accepted as the truth for all practical purposes. Climate science is now at that point with regard to anthropogenic global warming. Yes, of course there are still lots of details to be filled in, and when one of those details is corrected -- by the scientific community! -- then eager denialists, such as Lewis Page of this august publication, rush to point to it, in order to cast aspersions on the main point.

The main point is this: carbon dioxide, and some other gases, trap some of the Sun's radiation within the Earth's atmosphere; humankind is putting huge and increasing amounts of these gases into the atmosphere; the result is that more radiation is trapped, therefore increasing the total energy within the atmosphere-and-oceans system, therefore increasing the average temperature, which has various effects, many of which will obviously be bad for humankind. The rest is filling in the details.

For a further response on your accusation, I point to a previous letter of mine, the second at thread http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2011/07/01/lunar_camera/, titled "@Norfolk 'n' Goode".

(El Reg: It would be nice to have permalinks to posts, and the possibility of inserting hyperlinks at letters.)

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(Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

Re:

You mean like <a href="http://forums.theregister.co.uk/post/1303450">this</a>?

The hash beside post headlines is a permalink. We are thinking of making a more obvious way of showing this.

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yes, that

Thanks, I didn't realize that. Yes, it would be a good idea to make it more obvious, like naming it "permalink" or something.

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So what?

Isn't scientists trying to prove theories right or wrong how we get to the facts? Debating this amongst the unqualified masses probably doesn't help, and neither does the anecdotalism being indulged in here.

Everyone needs to just chill out (ho ho) for a while and put their claws away.

Oh, and everyone has agreed that "global warming" is a silly and daft term to use, so anyone who still uses it as a stick to beat "warmists" with is being more than a little obtuse.

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@Alex King

I would normally agree that the debate amongst experts is good and hopefully takes us to the right answer. Unfortunately, as the people with money have largely lined up in the 'warmists' camp, no scientist who wants his research grants etc. to continue can do anything but support this argument. Science in various areas (and global warming is one of them) is no longer about finding out the truth and more about ensuring the funding stream keeps coming.

That's effectively what the people in East Anglia were saying. If global warming isn't an issue, they're about to become very poor!! So, global warming simply HAS to exist. That's why they have surpressed evidence to the contrary and refuse to show the last decade (ish) on graphs.

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FAIL

"I would normally agree that the debate amongst experts is good and hopefully takes us to the right answer. Unfortunately, as the people with money have largely lined up in the 'warmists' camp, no scientist who wants his research grants etc. to continue can do anything but support this argument."

The people with money (oil companies, car manufacturers, power generation corps, industry in general) have largely lined up with, and funded, the 'denialists'.

If a reputable scientist went to Exxon, and said "I can prove* global warming is rubbish, all I need is the cash", then I'm sure the bucks would be rolling in, and the resulting papers would be filling the climate science journals.

As that has not happened, one has to accept that the 'warmists' who _have_ provided mountains of evidence, are probably correct lest one appear a moron.

"That's why they have surpressed evidence to the contrary and refuse to show the last decade (ish) on graphs."

What, like this you mean?

http://climate.nasa.gov/keyIndicators/index.cfm#globalTemp

* for sciency values of prove, obviously.

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"...The people with money (oil companies, car manufacturers, power generation corps, industry in general) have largely lined up with, and funded, the 'denialists'..."

This is one of the biggest myths. 'The people with money' are the denialists? Really? You just haven't done ANY homework at all, have you? Go check out the total sums (totalling in the hundreds of $billions) handed out annually to pro-warmist NGOs and puppet organisations such as the discredited IPCC and it's bottom-feeding leeches. You might be shocked just how much of your taxpayer money is siphoned off into these greedy, self-serving organisations.

In comparison, the anti-AGW movement (if there is such a thing) receives but a pittance from private benefactors (and no taxpayer funding at all), some of which might well include fossil fuel companies. Just do you research and go seek the figures for yourself. I guarantee you the BIG BUCKS are with the pro-AGW brigade. They always have been, right from the very start of this disgraceful charade.

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"In comparison, the anti-AGW movement (if there is such a thing) receives but a pittance from private benefactors"

That's all they need because they do propaganda, not science. The anti-AGW movement doesn't need to design and put satellites in orbit for example. Blogs are cheap.

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Anonymous Coward

Simian60, the problem is, the billions of dollars are rolling in, for the alarmists. And it's not just taxpayer cash (although there's plenty of that, many billions a year), companies such as Shell, Exxon, etc, also contribute. And if someone comes up with a proposal to show that AGW is "irrefutable", the millions roll their way, regardless of how ludicrous the proposal or how scientifically inept the work.

By contrast, the so called "denilaists" (nice holocaust reference there BTW) are marginalised and proposals to demonstrate, for example, a lack of warming, are not only very difficult to get funding for, but are also frequently excluded from publications not because of the quality of the work but the conclusions.

AGW work is mostly no longer "science", it has become politics. Writers like Gleick with their fervid imaginations claiming persecution are simply playing unpleasant political games. Publish scientific fraud supporting AGW and you'll get promoted and published in places like Nature, attempt to bring notice of such fraud to public awareness, and you'll get traduced from pillar to post everywhere from Wikipedia to New Scientist editorials. Yet the fraud remains.

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Anonymous Coward

It's far worse than that. The climategate e-mails show direct actions by Mann and company to remove journal editors that don't follow the party line. The fact that Gleick is complaining about FOIA requests for Mann's correspondence given the demonstrated McCarthyism from the warmist side is rich enough for me to retire.

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How has the IPCC had been discredited? Since is does no research itself but only reviews and assesses papers written on climate issues, and is composed of thousands of scientists from about 180 countries which are members, I find that hard to believe. Are you saying that these scientists ( all volunteers by the way ) have somehow been bribed ? I doubt it; I've known many scientists and getting them to agree on what brand of scotch to order is a challenge. As for the 'denialists' ant their lack of funding , the Koch brothers and EXXON have spread a bit of money around. The tobacco industry developed the tactics of 'the science isn't definitive' and they've expanded on it. What is foolish is the idea that scientists are pro-AGW because of the grant system - obviously you've never applied for a grant or you would know that's ridiculous. Read a few of the abstracts of papers on climate and you will see what I mean.

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I understand 'climategate' was investigated by both the university and by a committee of the House of lords and was found not to have engaged in any scientific or academic fraud.

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Unhappy

Nobel boffin ≠ being someone to take seriously with regard to AGW

He may have won a Nobel, but Ivar Giaever would be a bit more credible if

a) he'd published any peer reviewed articles AT ALL in the field of atmospheric science/global warming etc. during his career

b) wasn't signed up with the CATO institute - notable for denying/downplaying the health effects of cigarettes.

The fact that the tactics of the AGW denial camp are so similar to the tobacco lobby downplaying health effects in past decades does make me rather suspicious of them.

I'm still hoping we'll sort out fusion power so we can stop having desert wars and coughing up trillions of dollars to a bunch of religious nutters (ok, not ALL Texans are religious nutters). It'd also be nice not to have to wait until London is underwater find out which bunch of scientists were right.

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Unhappy

London being underwater won't prove anything

Well, unless we have cut our CO2 emissions before then, in which case it proves cutting was pointless as far as climate change is concerned. (Reducing reliance on religious nutters is a good idea though)

In chaotic systems it's rather difficult to prove "If we had done X in the past we'd have Y result by now." - there's the same problem in economics, and that much easier to measure!

I have still not seen any evidence showing that meeting the CO2 targets would actually have a notable effect on global temperatures at all - nobody even appears to have published a "Carry on!" against "Kyoto" (or whatever agreement) prediction.

Not sure what that implies - possibly that it really won't make much of a difference, which may be why China can't be bothered. People won't forgo jam today if there's no chance of jam tomorrow no matter what.

(Pie in the sky when you die works. Hell and damnation regardless of your actions? That's a hard sell!)

Some politicians talk of us being on a cliff edge, but that seems to have been approaching for a decade so...

There seems a dearth of checking of the predictions at all really - for example, use the 'best' model with the data up until 1990 to predict 1990 to 2010, and compare against what happened in reality.

- I'm really hoping that this latter was done and is just buried in the publications that us mere mortals cannot read, but I would expect it to have been made public by one side or the other if it matched particularly well or badly, which implies it was probably inconclusive each time or just never done.

For a long time there has been an appearance of a requirement for the "science" to give the "right" answer if they want funding next year, so is it any wonder there is so little trust?

It's a mess, and it's the politicians and lobbyists who made the mess, and made the science so hard to do properly.

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Joke

Don't Panic!

They should have used large, friendly letters in the headline.

On a more serious note, climate debate is fine, it is what science is about. If proof is incontrovertible, then the global warming advocates need not resort to strong-arm tactics. If it is not, the skeptics have every right (if not duty) to challenge it.

Saving fuel seems a good idea whichever way you look at it. Oil has uses beyond keeping hummers on the road.

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Yag
Trollface

"The evidence is incontrovertible"

This kind of sentence should void any credential as a scientist...

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Glad to see someone else read that and thought hang on..........

(Sometimes the GWists really do not help themselves and this from someone who on the balance of the evidence that MMGW is a reality.)

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Facepalm

Who cares?

We'll all be dead before they manage to prove it one way or the other.

Climate Change happens. It has happened since the planet first realised it had a climate.

The causes are varied, complex and constantly changing.

What the "Scientists", as usual, are failing to state is that they don't know.

They "believe" but can't prove but are adamant about their beliefs.

And these are the same people who deride the "Creationists"? <LOL>

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It's easy to deride 'creationists' , at least from the point of view of science. And most scientists don't believe; they are convinced. In an interview Richard Dawkins said he was ' 6.9 out of 7' certain there was no god - he couldn't be absolutely sure he said, because as a scientists he was never absolutely certain of anything. Bertrand Russel once said something to the effect that it was a shame so many stupid people were so sure they were right and so many smart people worried so much that they were wrong.

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I see your 255 and raise you 8774

http://www.petitionproject.org/

9029 PhDs in the US alone who seem to not buy into the CO2-hoax.

That a gas so vital to all life on this planet should be deemed public enemy #1 is so extraordinary that IMO it requires a lot of evidence and observations to back up such tomfoolery.

Whenever I see a "we are doomed" newspaper headline, I can't help but notice that they fail to provide links to the underlying research. We, the unwashed masses, are asked to accept a helluva lot on face value alone. Quite frankly annoying.

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Joke

Oh, jeez, more random non-climate-scientists with an axe to grind?

Edward Teller? Who's he? If he's not on the IPCC panel, I guess I just don't care what he says about climate change, and I don't see why anyone else should either -- and besides, the domain was registered by a Republican, so obviously it's just a Koch-funded shill for the oil companies.

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Mushroom

Well, to be fair...

Edward Teller made a major contribution on local warming of earth...

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where did you get the number 9029?

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9029

Follow the link on the first line of my comment..?

"including 9,029 with PhDs" it says in big friendly letters.

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Holmes

It is not science to quote sixteen opinions, however well qualified (or not). What research have these people done that supports their argument, and where is it published?

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Trollface

Unintentional hilarity...

The unintentionally hilarious aspect of the warmist letter comparing attacks on Climate Scientists with McCarthyism, is that McCarthy was later proved absolutely correct, at least in so far as his belief that there was a great deal of unacknowledged co-operation between the US civil service and the Soviet government, and that there was a strong pro-Soviet influence in US media and politics.

Where his analysis failed was in imputing malevolent motivations to those involved, and branding them as "un-American" when, for the most part, the diplomats and journalists sincerely believed that they were acting in the best interests of America and Americans, and -- most importantly -- in keeping with the fundamental spirit of America. Acheson and Hiss didn't see themselves as betraying the US, but living up to it's highest ideals.

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Silver badge

"Where his analysis failed was in imputing malevolent motivations to those involved, and branding them as "un-American""

Isn't that what the term McCarthyism is about?

It was a comparison with McCarthyism, not McCarthy

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Meh

<meh/>

I don't see that it matters... Aren't we all supposed to burn in some catastrophic event caused by the so-called Galactic Allignment this year?

But if science still can't agree on, for example, solar forcing, what hope is there for accurately extrapolating a spit roast future?

It's perhaps a moot point for some but:

1) Atmospheric CO2 concentration levels are curently lower than in most other geological time periods

2) The more recent temperature fluctuations are not as pronounced as others during the Pleistocene and Holocene.

3) The latest fluctuation is actually less most others during the Holecene.

4) Whilst the concentration of atmospheric CO2 is currently on the rise, it has increased at a greater rate in previous Eras.

The smaller the snapshot of geological data used the worse the scenario seems. It's getting warmer without doubt, but on a geological timescale it's nothing unusual.

If the 'warmies' cut the alarmist crap they might get a better reception.

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"1) Atmospheric CO2 concentration levels are curently lower than in most other geological time periods"

They are higher than they've been for millions of years

"4) Whilst the concentration of atmospheric CO2 is currently on the rise, it has increased at a greater rate in previous Eras."

You are missing a hugely important piece of the puzzle here. The current rate of CO2 rise is extremely fast compared to previous eras. In fact no past example of a faster CO2 rise is known.

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"They are higher than they've been for millions of years"...

I think you missed the part where I mentioned geological time periods... That's a lot more than just a few million years. Current atmospheric CO2 concentration levels higher than in most other *geological eras*? Absolute hogwash. A few million years is just a tiny snapshot compared to gelolgical timescales. Atmospheric CO2 was higher during the Precambrian, the Paleozoic, the Mesozoic and previous Cenozoic periods. (Although the Paleozoic does show a huge decline, which is perhaps not surprising).

"The current rate of CO2 rise is extremely fast compared to previous eras. In fact no past example of a faster CO2 rise is known."

That would depend on what data you choose to look at as far as I can tell. I can find seemingly endless sets of conflicting data.

The Paleozoic (Silurian/Devonian) and Mesozoic show rapid increases in atmospheric CO2.

Since the Tertiary, the general trend for CO2 and tempertaure - over geological timescales - is a not insubstantial downard trend. That is simply an incontrovertible truth, whichever side of the fence one sits on - although some do prefer to use a smaller data sample to avoid addressing this fact.

Though of course, if we pump all that sh*t back into the air - we contribute to any warming. It's the size of the contribution that is unproven and we are not yet in another wamhouse. (I do recall my Planetary Science lecturer - many years ago - having a good old rant about man-made global warming... It's just a shame I cannot convey his words here... Too many profanities).

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Mushroom

Another point, possibly moot...

"... perhaps a moot point for some but:

1)...other geological time periods

2)...during the Pleistocene and Holocene.

3...during the Holecene.

4)...in previous Eras."

At no time in the past has there been 7 (or so) billion humans all crying for the technological teat, with all increasingly dependant on the very complex, energy-costly relations--in the broadest possible sense--between them that feed the hope of another mouthful. Most can't swim.

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Simply not true

Saying it is doesn't make it so.

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